We get the internet too... again.. October 15, 2010 2:09 PM   Subscribe

So its against MF policy now to point out that the the Internet is available outside the USA? - If you remove all the meta commentary who does the OP learn?

After all the meta-comments on the US-Centric OP 25 Most Dangerous Areas" thread are removed.. um how does the OP learn that they are being obnoxiously US-Centric?
posted by mary8nne to Etiquette/Policy at 2:09 PM (160 comments total)

No, it's against the general community guidelines to barge into a thread with something like "Is it so God damned hard for you people to realize that the US is not the fucking world?", which is why I removed it and the stuff treeing off of it. I don't know what ethnomethodologist was thinking, but that's not an okay way to deal with the subject.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:12 PM on October 15, 2010 [16 favorites]


Holy shit, there's a world outside america? I never knew.
posted by empath at 2:14 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh cool, this thread again.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:15 PM on October 15, 2010 [42 favorites]


It's an American website. Sensitivity to the outside world is appreciated, but not required.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:15 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


So if the FPP had had 'in America' all this could be avoided?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:17 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


When will people not from the US learn that posting something about the US, without formally admitting that there is, in fact, a "rest of the world," does not indicate that the poster is unaware of the "rest of the world"?

When there are posts about Europe, they are not qualified to death, and I never think that means that people hate me since I'm American.
posted by OmieWise at 2:19 PM on October 15, 2010 [34 favorites]


um how does the OP learn that they are being obnoxiously US-Centric?

Well, the OP did respond to the derail, so what's the problem?
posted by smackfu at 2:19 PM on October 15, 2010


/shrugs.

Metafilter occasionally likes to pretend that it's not a US site, but really it kind of is, and most posts are going to be framed that way.
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


When there are posts about Europe, they are not qualified to death, and I never think that means that people hate me since I'm American.

Yeah, also, too. Sometimes I'll see a post about 'blah blah recently elected PM' and it doesn't say whether it's Canada or Britain or something else, and no one seems to get confused.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:22 PM on October 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


Please, please, please close this before we have a USian debate.
posted by proj at 2:22 PM on October 15, 2010 [10 favorites]


Obnoxiously US centric?

Blech. GYOB.
posted by morganannie at 2:23 PM on October 15, 2010


The OP used the actual title of the report. Maybe the poster should have added "in the US," but as someone sensitive about this issue and generally careful about the language I use on the site, I don't think this particular post crosses a major line.
posted by vincele at 2:23 PM on October 15, 2010


But we haven't had one for ages!
posted by rtha at 2:23 PM on October 15, 2010


But we haven't had one for ages!
posted by rtha at 2:23 PM on October 15 [+] [!]


And, who's we? Hmmmmm? Oh, you must mean USians haven't had one in ages because us cosmopolitan global citizens had one last month!
posted by proj at 2:25 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


I meant The Cabal!

Oh shi
posted by rtha at 2:26 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


TBH A far bigger problem is all the GRAR that occurs when someone posts something that isn't from a US point of view but doesn;t bend over backwards to label it as such.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obnoxiously US-centric? cmoj just neglected to clarify the country in his title which, incidentally, is the exact title of the post he linked to. Even as an American, I wondered if it was going to be about the whole world or the US. The first paragraph gave me my answer. I don't know why it required so much angsty fightiness.
posted by katillathehun at 2:27 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]




Shit you non-USians are acting like that girl at the party who gets so pissed because your boyfriend was talking to some other girl off and on throughout the evening. THEY WERE JUST TALKING, OKAY?
posted by hermitosis at 2:34 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Okely-dokely ... here we go:
2010 Most Dangerous Cities in the World.
posted by ericb at 2:37 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


> If you remove all the meta commentary who does the OP learn?

That America is awesome!
posted by Burhanistan at 2:40 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only thing obnoxious about US-centrism is the reaction to it.
posted by rocket88 at 2:40 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are a fair number of post that do seem to take it for granted that "we are Americans talking about American things," and occasionally I find them vaguely annoying. But then again, this is an American site, a majority of the participants in threads are Americans, and it's perfectly understandable that not all of them will always frame their posts and comments in a way that takes into account that not all members are Americans.

But is that so bad, really? Surely most of us know that this is an American site, and surely we can forgive a poster for referring to a specifically American thing as if it were universal? (And, of course, in many cases the "American thing" is pretty much universal, in general if not in the specific details.)
posted by Dumsnill at 2:41 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a non-American, I have to say I am OK with Americans getting their exclusively-American thing on once in a while.

But I'm pretty drunk.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:41 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Did anybody really think the post was referring to worldwide? Data is hard enough to compare within a single country on a city level. Worldwide on a neighborhood level? No.
posted by kmz at 2:42 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lather, rinse, repeat.
posted by proj at 2:44 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


mary8nne: "So its against MF policy now to point out that the the Internet is available outside the USA? - If you remove all the meta commentary who does the OP learn?"

Fortunately for you, that same policy cautions me again wishing you did not have the internet outside the US to lodge a complain already well noted. So win some, lose some.

...

"who does the OP learn"?
posted by boo_radley at 2:51 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm going to post a link to Usonian everytime this topic comes up because I like the word, and it's better than USian.
posted by empath at 2:52 PM on October 15, 2010


Seriously? I don't see anybody complaining about the "UK-Centric" or "London-centric" London murder map. I'm a Canadian, and being such, I'm all ready for a LOLAMERICANS moment--but this is just a LOLNONAMERICANS moment (which is equally hilarious).
posted by 1000monkeys at 2:54 PM on October 15, 2010


how does the OP learn that they are being obnoxiously US-Centric?

Not only that, but how does the OP get off not referencing that this is a completely Earth-centric study. Shit, this whole fiasco of a list completely ignores some of the sulfuric acid and chlorine hoods on Venus. Straight up murderous to everyone who tries to live there.
posted by quin at 2:55 PM on October 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


I read the title of that post and just had the inkling that it would bring up the "US is not the world" shit again. But then I thought, no way, surely not. Clearly I forgot the audience.
posted by dead cousin ted at 2:56 PM on October 15, 2010


Oh, you're so precious! Of course your country matters too!
posted by klangklangston at 2:58 PM on October 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


Favorite imaginary bumper sticker:

"Liechtenstein: Yes, We're Really A Country"
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:59 PM on October 15, 2010


Higgamus Hoggamus
Doesn't the [!] button
Work in your country
As everywhere else?

Rally opponents of
Ethnocentricity?
Flag it! Press onward, and
Quiet yourself.
posted by The White Hat at 3:02 PM on October 15, 2010 [20 favorites]


This looks like anglo-centric infighting, which is also alienating. I'm offended that the post was written in English. 'Slike, what about the other 80% of the world, asshole, mkay?
posted by dgaicun at 3:10 PM on October 15, 2010


um how does the OP learn that they are being obnoxiously US-Centric?

I'm sure I'm not the only non-American who does not find this the least bit obnoxious. I've noticed that it's mostly people from the Anglo world who are chippy about this, probably because the rest of us assume that anything in English is obviously not about our countries.

Or maybe it's because I'm Dutch and being one of Nature's Own Royalty is reward enough to compensate for having to deal with America-centric posts on an American website with mostly American members.
posted by atrazine at 3:13 PM on October 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


whåt abøut the øther 80% åf the wørld, æsshåle, ømkay?

FTFY. (No, translating for our Norwegian and Danish readers, really.)
posted by Dumsnill at 3:19 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have ignored
your country
which lies
on that other
continent

and I know
you will probably
take
offense to this now

Forgive me
but I never think of it
and all the cool shit
seems to be over here
right now
posted by From Bklyn at 3:24 PM on October 15, 2010 [21 favorites]


How refreshing to see the majority mock the concerns of a minority within our community.
posted by saucysault at 3:25 PM on October 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: ""Liechtenstein: Yes, We're Really A Country""

Nationalistic complaints shall now be known as being a bit "Liechtensteiny".
posted by boo_radley at 3:28 PM on October 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


How refreshing to see the majority mock the concerns of a minority within our community.

Yes. The omission of "in America" in some post titles on MetaFilter is a slap in the face to non-Americans and a giant step back for global equality.
posted by katillathehun at 3:32 PM on October 15, 2010 [10 favorites]


How refreshing to see the majority mock the concerns of a minority within our community.

They came first for the Anti-Circumcisionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't an Anti-Circumcisionist.

Then they came for the Hipster-Hate-Hatesters,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Hipster-Hate-Hatester,

Then they came for the Anti-USian-Centrics,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Anti-USian-Centric.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:36 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


How dare they not clarify that the list of shitty places you don't want to live are in AMERICA. So pro-US, wow. I am not the most patriotic rah-rah American (by faaaar); in fact, I want to live outside of America if at all possible, but seriously, people. Not everything that is about the US is against the rest of the world, or ignoring the rest of the world. If someone posted "25 most dangerous cities" and it happened to be in China or something, I wouldn't be like, "How dare you not write [in China] in the title?"
posted by elpea at 3:43 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


If someone posted "25 most dangerous cities" and it happened to be in China or something, I wouldn't be like, "How dare you not write [in China] in the title?"

I assure you someone would.
posted by Artw at 3:46 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


How refreshing to see the majority mock the concerns of a minority within our community.

Does it smell shrill in here?
posted by dersins at 3:48 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]




If someone posted "25 most dangerous cities" and it happened to be in China or something, I wouldn't be like, "How dare you not write [in China] in the title?"

No, but I think most of us when reading that headline would automatically add "in the world" if we are not Americans, or "in the USA" - or possibly "in the world" - if we are Americans. When reading the first few entries in the list we would think, "but ... that's not really ... oh, in China! Why didn't you tell me so?"

(Or at least that would be my way of reading a post like that on Metafilter.)
posted by Dumsnill at 4:00 PM on October 15, 2010


I think we're doing fine with international topics and issues.

You forgot the Victorian post! 8 out of 10 MetaFilter readers had no idea which age or what geography it was talking about until they read the links.*

*Not a dis!
posted by oneirodynia at 4:14 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


So its against MF policy now to point out that the the Internet is available outside the USA?

You think that's bad? Back in 1865 they made everyone south of the Mason Dixon Line stay in the Union! I'm still pissed about that. At least you can be outside of the US

/sarcasm
posted by nola at 4:17 PM on October 15, 2010


how does the OP learn that they are being obnoxiously US-Centric?

In my fake religion I think karma takes care of it. In the real world, we have MetaTalk.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:42 PM on October 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


I am against this!
posted by Mister_A at 5:01 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


the US-Centric OP 25 Most Dangerous Areas" thread

They aren't areas, they're neighborhoods.

Dishonorable neigborhoods that harbor no valor and favor a flavor of bad behavior.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 5:03 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Funny, just this week I added a "we're not all Americans" check-box to my MeTa complaint form...
posted by .kobayashi. at 6:06 PM on October 15, 2010


Fine. Here's enough in America for everybody.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:10 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


There was that Russian woman all looking like Jared Leto and stuff, and there was that painting found in an apartment in Paris. So not everything happens in America.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:25 PM on October 15, 2010


Stop being so Earth centric! There are other planets, too! How do you think Jupiter feels when it's all "world's largest thingy" and it's all "BUT I'M A WORLD, TOO."

Um, I got nothing.
posted by sonika at 6:28 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


um how does the OP learn that they are being obnoxiously US-Centric?

Um, the OP isn't being obnoxiously US-Centric.

Here's my thought process:

"Oh, 25 most dangerous neighborhoods, that sounds interesting. I doubt there are any UK neighbourhoods in there though. Let's see. No, it's US neighbourhoods only; the post probably wasn't aimed at me now I think about it. What else can I look at? Charlie Brooker FPP! Definitely aimed at me. Result."

This is a seriously weak complaint.
posted by jonnyploy at 6:47 PM on October 15, 2010


There's bias, and then there's willful lack of reading comprehension.

Summing up all recent experience, I think most "USian"-related flaps have more to do with the latter than the former.
posted by Miko at 7:10 PM on October 15, 2010


Shit you non-USians are acting like that girl at the party who gets so pissed because your boyfriend was talking to some other girl off and on throughout the evening.

She got drunk?
posted by DNye at 7:11 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are you telling me there are other parts of the world other than New York City? And people live there? Well, bless your heart.
posted by fuq at 7:34 PM on October 15, 2010


considering how much you guys are posting at four o'clock in the muggafuggn morning I'd have to say this website is mongolian.
posted by krautland at 7:46 PM on October 15, 2010


I wish people would stop making these posts. When you complain about a post where somebody was accidentally kind of thoughtless you only invite another thread like this, where everybody gets to be deliberately kind of assholish.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:46 PM on October 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


...um how does the OP learn that they are being obnoxiously US-Centric?

Metafilter is an anglophone site. There are more than a quarter-billion anglophones in the United States, most of whom have internet access in some fashion. It's probably gonna be about the US unless otherwise stated, clearly and deliberately.

Plus, you don't really understand the US.

OK, it breaks down like this - China, India, USA - 1, 2, and 3 in terms of population. While less than half as big as India in terms of total people, the US is staggeringly huge in terms of population density: Until Hong Kong and Sao Paulo put up skyscraper housing projects in the '80s, Central Falls, Rhode Island was home to the most populated square mile on the face of the planet, and even today it beats out just about any urban slum hellhole you can name.

American Cities are dangerous in a way few others are outside of a war zone. Since the article was clearly not about war zones, and the US would dominate any list of dangerous urban neighborhoods - population density, race, ethnicity and class issues, and ready access to firearms all demand it - I think you aren't US-centric enough in your assumptions.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:53 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Since the article was clearly not about war zones, and the US would dominate any list of dangerous urban neighborhoods

I think this is only true if you define "war zone" extremely broadly.
posted by Justinian at 7:58 PM on October 15, 2010


"Well, bless your heart."

Hah, I was waiting for that.

/LEAVES SATISFIED
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:01 PM on October 15, 2010


Oh, and I don't think you're right about Central Falls. It can't possibly have been the densest square mile on the planet until 25 years ago... it isn't even in the top 25 most densely populated square miles in the USA!
posted by Justinian at 8:01 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't see anybody complaining about the "UK-Centric" or "London-centric" London murder map.

I don't think you understand the issue. It has nothing to do with posts being made about this or that country and everything to do with whether a particular country gets treated as the default one. While I'm honestly not too concerned about this example myself, the point is that the list in the post under discussion here is labelled only "25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods 2010", as if it were a list of the 25 most dangerous neighbourhoods in the whole world, even though it was actually only a list of those in the US. Whereas the murder map post very clearly indicates that it is about London. To be the same sort of thing, that post would have had to read:

The Murder Map. A project-in-progress to map the variety (by gun, by knife, by bomb, by blunt object) of homicides that committed from the 19th century to now. [etc etc etc]

And yes, I think everybody would have found that misleading and some people would even have been annoyed.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:02 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


OMNOMLOLNONAMERICANS

tasty!
posted by batmonkey at 8:35 PM on October 15, 2010


Ah, give the poor sad yank bastards a break. Their empire is collapsing, they've lost two wars just this decade, their country is riven with internecine conflict and weighed down by ignorance and systemic failure of their educational system to produce citizens who can compete on the world stage, their economy is on the brink of disintegration, their political system has been hijacked by corruption, incompetence and corporate interests, and they know as clearly as the rest of us do that the American Century is over and they're mid-air in the arc towards the dustbin of history.

They need to grasp at every straw they can to reassure themselves that they still matter. It's charming.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:42 PM on October 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


You know how when you are at a party, and not everyone has to be talking about something that everybody cares about? It's like that.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:46 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


everything to do with whether a particular country gets treated as the default one

Wouldn't the default always be the country in which the site is hosted, moderated and has the most members? On a site in Sydney, I'd expect Australia to be the default. On a London-based site I'd expect it to be the UK, and so on. That's not disrespectful.
posted by tyllwin at 8:52 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


The United States of MetaFilter: silencing the rest of the world all its life.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:58 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't mean to be American. I can't help it. It's where I live. And USian??? Stop that.
posted by wv kay in ga at 9:13 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Obviously what we need is complementing posts of 25-most dangerous areas of France, India, and Azerbaijan.
posted by polymodus at 9:20 PM on October 15, 2010


They need to grasp at every straw they can to reassure themselves that they still matter. It's charming.

I know. It's like we're Britain all of a sudden or something.
posted by maryr at 9:48 PM on October 15, 2010 [14 favorites]


Wouldn't the default always be the country in which the site is hosted, moderated and has the most members?

Well, I have my reasons for disagreeing with that - this is a general interest site, the internet can and should transcend national boundaries, non-Americans also create content here and paid equally for the privilege, it's just too easy for Americans to decide on criteria whereby huge swathes of the internet are really theirs - but whatever, it's not like there's a law about this, it's a matter of opinion. But anyway, whatever conclusion you come to, is it really best to treat non-American members here with the minimal amount of courtesy? To me, an appropriate reaction to a post like this one would have been anywhere along the spectrum from "oops, sorry" to "you're really overreacting to this". I certainly wouldn't have left as large a space for "lol shut up, this isn't even a problem" as it seems I needed to.

As I said somewhere above, the complaint in this MeTa doesn't really speak to me. Most non-Americans, and certainly most non-First World citizens, like me, don't bother worrying about being excluded in all these little ways simply because it happens all the time. So I don't mind if non-Americans slip your minds sometimes, but when you then go out of your way to outline why in fact we don't actually matter as much you on this site, I find that kind of dickish. Non-American members aren't a bunch of freeloading spectators here, we are full members of this site and of this community.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 9:56 PM on October 15, 2010 [11 favorites]


USian??? Stop that.
you should see what they call americans on 4chan.
posted by krautland at 10:02 PM on October 15, 2010


internet can and should transcend national boundaries

Being a US American sort of skews my viewpoint about that I guess. I like the feeling of locality. If I was visiting a site in (say) New Zealand, a certain feel of "not-here" -- of different politics and frames of reference -- is a feature to be enjoyed, not an obstacle to be transcended. And for someone in (say) Jerkwater, South Carolina, that ability to slightly plug in to some distinctly non-local flow is very valuable.

But, I can well imagine that a non-US English speaker might feel constantly indundated with US localization to the point where it becomes grating.

I'm not at all trying to be all LOL at your concerns. I'm just not sure how to strike a balance between those two competing goals: getting local flavor without making too many dishes taste "US"
posted by tyllwin at 10:35 PM on October 15, 2010


So its against MF policy now to point out that the the Internet is available outside the USA?

Depends. If MF stands for MetaFilter, then yeah, making a gripestink isn't a good idea. If it means Moaning Fool then by all means have at it. Just not on MetaFilter.

If you remove all the meta commentary who does the OP learn?

Rarely is the question asked: Who does our OP learning?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:40 PM on October 15, 2010


This comment is flesh-colored.
posted by taz at 10:52 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


The omission of "in America" in some post titles on MetaFilter is a slap in the face to non-Americans and a giant step back for global equality.

I heard you're supposed to add "in America" to the end of all your fortune cookies.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:10 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


What tyllwin said. Balance between local and international focus.

A lot of the reason I'm here is because I get a daily dose of how the US thinks. I do want some US localization.

If it was all how USA! USA! RA! RA! RA!, I'd probably leave real fast. But the amount we've got seems about right..

I mean, without a bit of a US focus, I never would have found out what peeps were.

And I'm sure that sooner or later, if you all keep yellin about him, I'll figure out who Glenn Beck is.
posted by Ahab at 11:25 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ahab, if you can figure out why Glenn Beck is, let the rest of us know.
posted by Cranberry at 11:39 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, I see what you mean. Getting insight into distant worlds is one of the nice things about the internet. But while online worlds can affirm the importance of geographical boundaries, and that's fine and adds to the interestingness of the internet, I don't think every site has to be like that, and I definitely don't think Metafilter is. To me, it's much more the kind of community that the internet is even better at supporting, one based on shared ideas, interests, experiences and points of view.

I'm sure I would learn a lot visiting a site about New Zealand or wherever, but ultimately, I would feel like I was engaging in virtual tourism and not much more. I also want somewhere that isn't just about one thing or one place, somewhere I can be at home - and that's what Metafilter is for me. The fact that so many people, Americans and non-Americans alike, seem to feel that way too only attests to the fact that this is an international place. So I'm not just saying that defining Metafilter as an American site isn't ideal, I'm saying it's not accurate. And that's why this issue only ever comes up in threads like this and doesn't actually result in any exodus of Canadians and Australians, etc, to more geographically appropriate places.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:40 PM on October 15, 2010


A lot of the reason I'm here is because I get a daily dose of how the US thinks. I do want some US localization.

Again, this isn't about the content of posts, it's about whether they should be framed as if everyone here were American or not.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:42 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I'm sure I would learn a lot visiting a site about New Zealand or wherever, but ultimately, I would feel like I was engaging in virtual tourism and not much more."

Except it's not a site ABOUT America; the analog is a site that happens to be in New Zealand. I used to read a Flying Nun forum and didn't bitch about the fact that half the shows that sounded really exciting, you'd have to click through two pages to realize they were playing outside of Christchurch. It wasn't tourism because the interests we shared were international (indie rock, mostly), but the off-topic threads about local elections and such were pretty interesting.

Oh, and if folks want a *filter based outside of the US, there's always Monkeyfilter, proudly hosted in NZ and with a pretty nice little community. Not my bag, but still kicking and they look like they're thriving fine.
posted by klangklangston at 11:58 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does a forum about a New Zealand record label really "happen to be" in New Zealand though? Seems like such a site is fairly inextricably linked to matters of geography in a way that Metafilter needn't be, and in fact isn't. I mean, I'm not from New Zealand either, and I wouldn't think to complain if bands from there assumed everyone knew their shows would be there by default. That's different from a) being annoyed at being addressed as if I'm part of a mass of Americans when Metafilter users aren't a mass of Americans and b) being annoyed at hearing that that's just as it should be because this site isn't really for us in spite of there being a whole lot of us who spend a whole lot of time here, there being no geographically-based activity that this site is based on, and it being trivially easy to occasionally type the words "in America".

Amyway, I'm not saying that hanging out at a site based in another country is necessarily tourism, only that there's more to the internet than just learning about other places as an outsider, and that people can also want to belong somewhere, and we don't have to make the former the basis of our approach to the whole internet.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 12:29 AM on October 16, 2010


To me, an appropriate reaction to a post like this one would have been anywhere along the spectrum from "oops, sorry" to "you're really overreacting to this".

MeTa is where appropriate reactions go to die, becoming neutron-starlike in their density of snark.

It's a lot of fun sometimes.
posted by hermitosis at 12:54 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes the issue I (and a number of other folk) had with the post was that the OP failed to flag this as "US" Neighbourhoods. When the subject matter had a kind of clear universality to it.


This happens quite often and leaves one with a distinct feeling of being 'rick-rolled' when they end up on a site about a specifically USA based treatment of what is potentially a World-Wide issue. Dangerous places to live for instance.

Clearly I was under the mistaken impression that Metafilter was more of an amorphous internet community than any geographically based place.
posted by mary8nne at 1:37 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


MeFi has had long productive conversations on curbing misogyny & homophobia. The curse "cunt" is not appropriate for MeFi, and neither is "I'd hit it," "That's so gay," "X looks like a tranny" or even to some extent "Batshit insane Texans|Southerners|etc."

These are all community mores that have been hashed out over time and are something I like to point to and say "This is why MeFi rocks."

But every time this topic comes up, the majority reaction of LOL hurf-durf foreigner makes me extraordinarily embarrassed for said majority. It's as if some spittle-flecked Glen Beckian ghoul possesses you all, trying to throw up some imaginary border wall with the whole "It's an American site" schtick.

The undertone, whether intended or not, tends to come off as fairly xenophobic & all "If you don't like it, then go home dirty foreigner." At the very least, it's extraordinarily off-putting & not at all in alignment with the reminder above the post button.

It says Everyone needs a hug, people.

signed,

just another American expat
posted by romakimmy at 2:11 AM on October 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


Not a great call-out, in my (non-American opinion). Sure, the original thread would have been clearer if it had explicitly said it referred only to US neighbourhoods, but it takes one or two clicks to find out that it doesn't, and it was still interesting (to me, anyway). And as said above, the OP was quoting the original article. Compare LobsterMitten's Greatest Calls in Sports thread, which acknowledges the US-centricism. I appreciate this approach: I don't think it's required, but clarity in posting is a good thing.

Looking at the front page at the moment, I think everyone's doing a good job of making the subject of their posts clear (my only real question is (who's Eric Holder? what's Prop 19? What's the CSA? but I think I can guess from context, even without looking).

That said, some of the 'screw you guys' responses in this thread make me kinda sad. Oh well. Seems like 'no, you're over-reacting' is a better response than snarking at non-Americans generally.

Or alternatively, the claims that this is an American site. I may be missing something, but I don't see anything in the About page, or on a quick look through the Wiki, which says this. Based in the USA, with American mods and a mostly American userbase? Sure. Great! I like reading the American threads, I learn a lot from them. But that's not the same as being an American site, where the rest of us are somehow guests.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:36 AM on October 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Clearly I was under the mistaken impression that Metafilter was more of an amorphous internet community than any geographically based place.

Metafilter is located in a secure bunker 900 metres under the Atlas mountains (convenient to, errr...chocolate production).

MeFi has had long productive conversations on curbing misogyny & homophobia. The curse "cunt" is not appropriate for MeFi, and neither is "I'd hit it," "That's so gay," "X looks like a tranny" or even to some extent "Batshit insane Texans|Southerners|etc."

Except that there's a bunch of foreigners right in this thread saying that we don't give a shit. The equivalent would be if a lot of women said "the casual use of the word cunt is just A-ok with me". Were there a lot of gay men saying "You straight boys go ahead and call me a fag, I don't mind!"?
posted by atrazine at 2:37 AM on October 16, 2010


As a different American expat, I kind of prefer the analogy upthread where the site is likened to a party with people having different conversations at different times. Hell, with my friends, there are topics some of us are all into (movies, drinking) and other topics that appeal to only parts of the group (we work in different fields, listen to different music, watch different shows), and it's perfectly natural to have a conversation on the side that doesn't involve the entire group.

The poster even apologized in thread for not writing "in America" in the thread. Personally, I think a lot more about the world outside of America now, since I live outside of America. It's part of my daily life. For some people, it isn't, and it's not because they're a thoughtless bad person, it's because, for some people, it just isn't a huge deal to them where people are from, or where the post is about.

As for anyone getting incredibly worked up about the lack of "in America" it would have taken mere seconds to click the link and find out where it was about. Seconds, folks. If wasting a couple seconds is that crucially upsetting, why are you reading MetaFilter? Shouldn't you be working? I mean, this is where I come to kill time, and believe me, that fucker is nearly dead. If I happen to click on a link that is a bit mysterious, only to find out that I'm not terribly interested, I close the tab. If I'm not interested in the contents, I don't complain about something being posted that doesn't pertain to my interests. I close the tab, and move on to something else. It's not all that hard.

I'm much more annoyed about the western hemisphere time bias. I mean, I'm here, awake, on Saturday, getting ready to go out, and there's nothing new. No posts, very, very few comments. I mean, what the hell, folks? Keep me entertained!
posted by Ghidorah at 2:55 AM on October 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Americans are selfish and blinded by their big bags of Chips Ahoy, and 500-count bottles of Aspirin. Over here you go to the pharmacy and ask for aspirin and they sell you one. Oh, you wanted more than one? And cookies. Damn it. First of all they aren't good at all, and they only give you, like, three in a package. I need more bad cookies, by god. I agree with Ghidorah. We need to make the Americans stay up all night and post. For their sins. And they should also send us aspirin and cookies. Stop being so selfish, non-headache-suffering, cookie-glutted Americans!
posted by taz at 3:15 AM on October 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


atrazine, there will always be people who don't "give a shit" one way or another. Hell, the whole "I'd hit it" crap never really irked me. But not giving a shit is at least (somewhat arguably) neutral.

It's the "You're overreacting" snark response I'm calling foul on. It is not, I feel, MeFi at it's best.
posted by romakimmy at 3:16 AM on October 16, 2010


ericb: "A sample of non-American FPP's on the frontpage right now:
Charlie Brooker calls it Quits.

Bye bye Big Mal. Malcolm Allison.

50 Cabbage "kimchi crisis" Warning.

Town in England turns off traffic lights, surprising results.

Gotthardt rail tunnel breakthrough in pictures.

A story in pictures -- The Secret of Kells.

Laila Kinnunen.
I think we're doing fine with international topics and issues.
"


Not to be snarky, but many threads purportedly about international subjects (including some of these) has an American or five saying something along the lines of 'Wow, this reminds me of $AMERICANTHINGORPERSON' or, sometimes more pleasingly 'Sheesh, I wish we had the equivalent of $THISTHING in America.' This is often perfectly fine (it is usually really interesting to see, for example, the difference in the way cyclists are treated in Europe vs the US), but I do sigh a little when threads about, say, UK politics get massively derailed because the Americans posting want to debate the meaning of 'liberal' and 'conservative' in their country, which has absolutely nothing to do with the post, is very definitely US-centric and is a tiresome retread of a million former threads to boot.

I personally think the FPP under discussion was simply not the most precise framing and the person who went off in the thread was over-reacting, but I think there is a definite trend to make discussions of anything eventually bend towards what Americans think and feel, purely by weight of numbers.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:39 AM on October 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Here's an idea: let's all descend on a Dutch forum. Using the power of Google Translate the opaque veil that's also know as the Dutch language will be lifted. And we will be able to observe the Dutch 'at home'.

And what we see is: amazing in it's reasonableness, tolerance, bikes!, global sense of culture, sensitity towards minorities.

Ok, not really. No not at all.
The whole of the conversation will probably be about let's say the recent suicide of a Dutch soap actor. Or youtube style comments on what is wrong with Moroccans.
posted by joost de vries at 3:52 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's an American website.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:15 PM on October 15


I have no strong feelings about this one way or another but I have to say that this seems to represent an extraordinarily old-fashioned view of internet forums.

It would also have been considerate of the poster to have said "25 Most Dangerous US neighborhoods 2010". It's nice to at least acknowledge to that small degree that there are a significant number of non-Americans on this "American website".
posted by Decani at 3:57 AM on October 16, 2010


I have to say though that romakimmy is right that mefi can be rather knee jerk judgemental about foreign situations they probably have little knowledge about.
It would be nice if people were more aware of the boundaries of their knowledge.
But I don't expect them to.
posted by joost de vries at 4:00 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


America, love it or leave it.
posted by crunchland at 5:13 AM on October 16, 2010


This, this, thrice this:

But every time this topic comes up, the majority reaction of LOL hurf-durf foreigner makes me extraordinarily embarrassed for said majority. It's as if some spittle-flecked Glen Beckian ghoul possesses you all, trying to throw up some imaginary border wall with the whole "It's an American site" schtick.

I've always found it fascinating that so many Americans fall into this trap, no matter where they normally sit on the political scale. I know it's tied up with the near-constant cradle to grave 'you are in the greatest country the world has ever known' hype they're subjected to but it still makes me cringe slightly when seemingly intelligent & educated people show such hubris &/or lack of self awareness. Kinda annoying too as it contributes to the 'Americans are stupid' stereotyping that echoes around the world and I always try to argue against.

If MeFites can't set an example what happens when the Tea Party are running the show?
posted by i_cola at 5:24 AM on October 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


If you remove all the meta commentary who does the OP learn? --- And here's where your basic premise fails. We're Americans. We NEVER learn.
posted by crunchland at 5:25 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


America, love it then leave it.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:39 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a side question...how are the folks who used to say 'America, love it or leave it' getting along now that they are generally the ones kicking up a fuss at how terrible America is?
posted by i_cola at 6:09 AM on October 16, 2010


Happy Dave: Not to be snarky, but many threads purportedly about international subjects (including some of these) has an American or five saying something along the lines of 'Wow, this reminds me of $AMERICANTHINGORPERSON'

To be fair, I think many people do this (I certainly do, and it's maybe a bad habit). We maybe notice it more here because the majority of people here are American. We make sense of the world by comparing new information to what we already know, so it makes sense that people would respond this way.
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:35 AM on October 16, 2010


Note: Everyone needs a hug.

Irrespective of their nationality.
posted by idiomatika at 7:03 AM on October 16, 2010


> Please, please, please close this before we have a USian debate.

American-vs-USian grar is useless without matteo. I hope nothing has happened to him.
posted by jfuller at 7:12 AM on October 16, 2010


> Compare LobsterMitten's Greatest Calls in Sports thread, which acknowledges the US-centricism.

And yet, even in Lobstermitten's very entertaining (and by consensus here, properly constructed) post, there are some who are bickering at the nationalist edges. When something like this happens in posts like Lobstermitten's, yes, somebody is being provincial. But if you think it's the OP, think again.
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:35 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


obnoxiously US-Centric?

Oh cry me a fucking river. Next time there's a soccer thread, I'll be sure to drop a steaming loaf in the middle of it because it's obnoxiously "UK-Centric."
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:49 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bad example. Football is played and appreciated in most of the world, not to mention the fact that there's a good chance any post using the word "soccer" was probably not crafted by a Brit.
posted by gman at 7:57 AM on October 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Actually, it's a bad example because the ratio of posts about American football to posts about the rest of the world's football, or whatever, is NOT what this complaint of US-centricity is about. As was initially perfectly clear, but has had to be further clarified by the OP and others, because people take instant offence and lose their ability to read, this is a complaint about language use. Basically, when shakespeherian asked at the beginning of this thread:

So if the FPP had had 'in America' all this could be avoided?

the answer was YES.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:10 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heheh. Anger & rational thought never work together ;-)
posted by i_cola at 8:11 AM on October 16, 2010


And yet, even in Lobstermitten's very entertaining (and by consensus here, properly constructed) post, there are some who are bickering at the nationalist edges. When something like this happens in posts like Lobstermitten's, yes, somebody is being provincial. But if you think it's the OP, think again.

Unless there were other comments that got the hook, my comment is the only one that comes close to being critical in that regard, and even then, it was pretty obviously tongue-in-cheek, and LobsterMitten was a total good-humoured mensch about it, and then a bunch of people added great clips from their respective necks of the woods, including the delightful Maggie Thatcher video and stirring Alan Partridge compilation. It's really not as an apt example as you think it is.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:24 AM on October 16, 2010


And yet, even in Lobstermitten's...there are some who are bickering at the nationalist edges. When something like this happens in posts like Lobstermitten's, yes, somebody is being provincial. But if you think it's the OP, think again.

No, there really aren't: I suggest you re-read.

Go through the thread: Alvy Ampersand (Canadian) makes an obviously jokey comment about the lack of Canadian commentary. [On preview, I see he's already said that]

A few people cite examples from soccer (IanMorr, stargell, dfan) and rugby (afx237vi), but without commenting on the content of the original list. Languagehat makes a mild criticism of the lack of context in parts of the original list).

And that's it: totally innocuous up to that point, so you must be calling me out.

I came in and said I liked the list, but it would have been better conceived as a US-only list, given that the original author probably didn't have the same emotions towards, or knowledge of, non-US sports/teams to include examples from those leagues - given that he includes the 66 world cup final, but has to say he is told that it's the most important call in English history, he doesn't know. I'm NOT complaining that the list is US-centric, I'm saying it works great as a US-centric list, but it would have been better to not even bother including non-US games.

I don't see anyone complaining, either about LM's post or the list. If you thought I was, you are mistaken.
posted by Infinite Jest at 8:33 AM on October 16, 2010


gman: "Bad example. Football is played and appreciated in most of the world, not to mention the fact that there's a good chance any post using the word "soccer" was probably not crafted by a Brit"

Actually it's a great example. There have been a number of football posts (happy now?;) that, despite my complete disdain for the sport, have been very enlightening, entertaining and add a lot to the site. The language of the sport leaves me scratching my head but I'll be damned if I didn't learn something. And I'm from the USA!

two or three cars parked under the stars: "because people take instant offence and lose their ability to read"

Nice try. We've had this conversation before, here, to death. Both sides need to buck up and stop running around all butt-hurt about their regional sensibilities being offended.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:35 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


That said, some of the 'screw you guys' responses in this thread make me kinda sad. Oh well. Seems like 'no, you're over-reacting' is a better response than snarking at non-Americans generally.

Or alternatively, the claims that this is an American site. I may be missing something, but I don't see anything in the About page, or on a quick look through the Wiki, which says this.


Well, I hope it's pretty clear that neither "screw you guys" or "this is an American site" are official positions we support. I don't think either is useful and we've talked at length in previous discussion about this about where we're actually coming from on those fronts—that taking care to put something into context if it's local in a non-transparent way is good, that not assuming your audience is entirely folks within whatever region/context your post is footed, that Metafilter is not by design or intent a American or US-centric site regardless of the demographics we happen to have.

Most of the stuff people have said they'd like more of—particularly the sort of situational awareness about the content of your audience vs. the regional assumptions/presentation of your post—is something that applies to everybody regardless of where they're from. But because something like 75% of the userbase is in the US, it's pretty simple napkin math that all else being equal something like 75% of the failures to provide that extra bit of consideration are going to come from Americans and thus likely to manifest as failures to put extra contextual scaffolding around US-related stuff.

In any case, yes: I think it's something people should be mindful about when posting, and it'd be great if folks were better about it and as far as that goes I think this is a totally valid subject for discussion. That having been said, this post was prompted by outright crappy behavior in a thread on the blue by someone complaining about the situation inappropriately; it's not the nature of the complaint that was the problem, it was how and where it was done. This whole thing goes both ways: more care and consideration on both sides, not one side has to do better and the other side can curse them out if they get annoyed.

Which is why this metatalk thread is a far better idea than the original deleted comments were, and why it should have come here in the first place if that's what people wanted to discuss. This stuff is worth hashing out but that doesn't make it okay to derail threads or act like a jerk about it, in either direction.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:57 AM on October 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Cortex (responding to me): on your first paragraph, it's 100% clear, but thanks for stating it. On your second paragraph, I fully agree and actually said something similar in a second post.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:07 AM on October 16, 2010


So if the FPP had had 'in America' all this could be avoided?

the answer was YES.


All this could have been avoided if people just memailed the poster and asked them if they would mind emailing the mods to add the words "in America". Simple, behind-the-scenes, constructive action. Instead we get a hyperbolic MeTa in which many people take the opportunity to be rude to one another.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:22 AM on October 16, 2010


Yeah, and to be clear that was more a general response on the subject than anything like a rebuke to you, IJ. Hope I didn't make you feel put on the spot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:25 AM on October 16, 2010


Metafilter is not by design or intent a American or US-centric site regardless of the demographics we happen to have.

Just wanted to add to this. We make an effort to do certain things to NOT be US-centric such as not doing date formats in 01/02/10 format and trying to make things work for everyone's timezones. IRL works everyplace there is Google mapping and we didn't consider it done until it did. We try, as mods, to be mindful of language and etiquette differences worldwide though there are some things we sort of draw a line on because of the site's American majority. We are always open to talking about how the site, from a moderation standpoint, could be more useful to people in places that are not the US.

That said, we can't be responsible for every individual language instance and/or oversight. I think we all agree that specifying US in the original post would have been a good idea, but we're not going to edit to. We try to assist people in finding video content that is available to people in non-US countries but we won't auto-delete a location-restricted video post. Sometimes a post about football is going to be about soccer [in US terms] and people will have to manage.

This is a problem we deal with specifically a lot when people post US-specific political or local crime stuff. Our feeling is that this stuff often has only moderate [if that] impact outside the US and isn't that useful or interesting to people in other countries. And we get a mixed bag of responses from people as to how much that's actually true.

So, just to stress, there's "well the site is predominantly populated by Americans so the content posted is going to reflect that" to "the site is about American stuff and run by Americans so you just have to deal with the fact that everything is in Pacific Standard Time format" The site can have jerks of all nationalities, and I'm not sure whether it's more important that an American jerk is American or a jerk.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:27 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not sure what Jamaican seasoning has got to do with it.

Ducks from virtual plate thrown by Jessamyn.
posted by i_cola at 9:35 AM on October 16, 2010


That being said, you Non-Americans are just jealous because we're the coolest, we're the best at everything, we totally rock, we came up with this website. And also because Jesus was American and God loves America.

Or, you know, get over it. Just imagine what would happen if an USian went into a mainly Japanese or Canadian or Austrailian based in said country and starting frothing at the mouth about how it's not Amero-centric enough. It's a website, you'll live. Besides, there's outside stuff here all the time.

/soyburger, sorta.
posted by nevercalm at 9:45 AM on October 16, 2010


The site can have jerks of all nationalities
See, we can be inclusive, we have found a common ground. There's a jerk in all of us.
Ich bin ein Wanker.
posted by joost de vries at 9:58 AM on October 16, 2010


We try, as mods, to be mindful of language and etiquette differences worldwide though there are some things we sort of draw a line on because of the site's American majority. We are always open to talking about how the site, from a moderation standpoint, could be more useful to people in places that are not the US.

It's not about "making" Americans stop posting about US issues. It's about wanting more posts from everywhere.

It's very similar to the skin colour or gender or gender-preference threads. American is the marked nationality here. It's the norm, the default nationality that never needs to be mentioned. Posts about other countries have to be specified, and, to a certain extent, apologised for---sorry, here's why X is important to the general interest. There are higher barriers, I think, for posting extra-US links, even if those hurdles are more perceived than real.

As consideration of, and a certain level of adjustment for norms in other discussions on the site are viewed as important, it seems to be against the spirit of the site to allow similar normative behaviour in the nationalistic cases. There appears to be a disconnect with what's perceived as acceptable on the site in other, similar cases.

The practical benefit would be implicitly allowing a greater diversity of posts, more neat stuff from around the world. I know the mods work hard on this, but this isn't something that can be solved by the mods alone. If the MeFi vibe is "this is an American site for Americans or you'll tell us why", "foreigners" are less likely to think a post is welcome.
posted by bonehead at 10:07 AM on October 16, 2010


Yes the issue I (and a number of other folk) had with the post was that the OP failed to flag this as "US" Neighbourhoods.

If it's "neighborhoods" (sic) then it must be USian by definition.

Or maybe Canadian, which is the same thing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:34 AM on October 16, 2010


The practical benefit would be implicitly allowing a greater diversity of posts, more neat stuff from around the world

Wait. Who is not "allowing" this?

Posts about other countries have to be specified, and, to a certain extent, apologised for---sorry, here's why X is important to the general interest.

I don't know that I've seen this kind of thing. Can you link to examples?
posted by rtha at 10:45 AM on October 16, 2010


Posts about other countries have to be specified, and, to a certain extent, apologised for---sorry, here's why X is important to the general interest.

I speak only for myself, of course, but I've never felt that I needed to be at all apologetic about 'non-US' posts. I do, however, tend to give a little more background context for non-Us posts. This is largely because I recognize that the vast majority of MeFites are from the Anglophone world, and therefore, likely to require more context about things that come from the non-Anglophone world, and not because I feel any need to justify posting about something that isn't American.

It would be helpful, and more polite, to indicate that a post was specific to the US, especially when we're talking about the "25 most" of something geographical. That said, it would probably be enough to politely note that, or bring it to MetaTalk then to be aggressive or belligerent about it in thread. (disclaimer: I didn't read any of the deleted comments)

I also think it's reasonable that the content of the site will reflect the interests of the majority more heavily than those of the minority. If there are more MeFites from the US than all the MeFites of the rest of world put together, then the tilt will be more pronounced.

Why do we have to be so angry about small things all the time? Aren't these things better resolved by polite discussion?
posted by bardophile at 11:39 AM on October 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Infinite Jest & Alvy Ampersand: Fair enough. It's possible to suggest that I'm reading Lobstermitten's thread through glasses tinted by this MeTa thread. Given this context though, some of the comments there read less tongue-in-cheek and far more purposive to me. The additional posted calls have almost all been enjoyable, however.
posted by .kobayashi. at 11:46 AM on October 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why do we have to be so angry about small things all the time?
Because we need strife. The fact that the things that raise our ire are so small is a token of the luxury of our position.
posted by joost de vries at 11:56 AM on October 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait. Who is not "allowing" this?

There's a lot of it on display above. From the "so cute" comments, to the "oh yeah, next time you do it I'll complain too" nonsense. See some of the other comments above about this.

I don't know that I've seen this kind of thing. Can you link to examples?

Nothing particularly blatant comes to mind. And the word 'apologise' is probably too strong a word. But why is an apology in the more inside text necessary here?

Maybe I should shrug and move on. Certainly, I didn't even think twice about the post in question---it was obviously as US thing, which is great. And, as I wrote earlier, I'm certainly not trying to suggest that those kinds of posts should change in any way.

But, I do a lot of work internationally and frequently have to mediate with disadvantaged groups, often with a language barrier problem too. Getting contributions from such folks often requires giving them a bit more space, rather than less. Mefi's better at it that a lot of places, but it can still be pretty intimidating. I'm just trying to explore ways that could expand the contribution and participation base for this site.
posted by bonehead at 1:16 PM on October 16, 2010


From the "so cute" comments, to the "oh yeah, next time you do it I'll complain too" nonsense.

People being shirty in Metatalk—and it's been going in both directions, here—are rarely the best example of what nominal day-to-day interactions are like around here. Not to say that someone being all NO U in the grey isn't annoying and maybe not a great way to approach the subject, but there's a big difference between the context of just a random post on the blue (whether US-related or the opposite) and a conversation that started specifically over the deletion of some crappy "YOU SUCK" type comments in the first place.

That is to say, how people react in the roughest-and-most-tumblesome part of the site to being specifically prodded is probably not the best ground on which to base an argument about how people act in more civil or neutral contexts. We can talk about both, absolutely, but I think it's important not to conflate the two situations.

But why is an apology in the more inside text necessary here?

It's not. Some sort of explicit acknowledgment of intent as far as a non-English link on a site where communication takes place almost entirely in English isn't a terrible idea just to avoid having anyone raise an eyebrow, but it's more courtesy than anything (like most NSFW, PDF warning, and spoiler alert stuff) and as far as that goes "apology" is hardly the only way to go. I think joost was just being nice.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:23 PM on October 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


...but I think it's important not to conflate the two situations.

Fair enough, but I thinks it's important to realize that it isn't just confined to these sorts of threads. You guys catch a lot of the worst of it and are certainly doing more than past years.

I think joost was just being nice.

I do too, and of course, that never hurts. My concern is that he felt he had to in the first place though. Is Dutch really as offensive as 2 Girls 1 Cup or the Treaty of Westphalia?
posted by bonehead at 1:38 PM on October 16, 2010


Belgium, man. Belgium.
posted by maryr at 4:16 PM on October 16, 2010


So, yeah, now I feel bad about calling this an American site. I simply meant that pragmatically speaking it's a site started by Americans and to a large extent populated by Americans. So getting upset with people because they momentarily forget that not all of us are Americans is an easily forgivable peccadillo.
posted by Dumsnill at 4:41 PM on October 16, 2010


If it's "neighborhoods" (sic) then it must be USian by definition.

Or maybe Canadian, which is the same thing.


Us Canadians know perfectly well how to spell neighbourhood properly, thank you.
posted by Go Banana at 4:41 PM on October 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


So getting upset with people because they momentarily forget that not all of us are Americans is an easily forgivable peccadillo.

Heh, that sentence came out all wrong. "Don't get upset with with trivial things," is what I meant.
posted by Dumsnill at 4:45 PM on October 16, 2010


Is Dutch really as offensive as [...] the Treaty of Westphalia?
Well, at least the treaty contributed to Dutch being still in existence today. End of the 80 years war and all.

To be truthful; Dutch can be pretty offensive in its gutturalness. Here, cover your ears or suffer the consequences ggggggggg.
hm, that just sounded like white noise.

At the danger of filigreeing my comment; I
- wanted to point out that the Dutch language in that link was accidental to the post. Trying to preempt early on focusing on irrelevant details in the thread.
- was indirectly inviting people to post links to English language picture galleries as they became available. Which people thankfully did.
- indeed apologised for not finding an English language link. When trying to communicate with people it's polite to not be unnecessarily obscure. Maybe it's a middle-class Dutch thing to want to communicate to our neighbours in their own language; UK, Germany and France/Wallonia.
So, US Americans, would it hurt so much to tag the postfix interrogative 'eh' to your questions when speaking to Canadians?!
posted by joost de vries at 5:39 PM on October 16, 2010


Here's a question: Are there metafilter-ish sites in other languages and focusing on other countries? There have to be, yes?
posted by empath at 6:33 PM on October 16, 2010


Are there metafilter-ish sites in other languages and focusing on other countries?

There are a lot of popular sites in my language (Norwegian), but they're mostly very political, or teenage pop/gossip-oriented, not so much general interest. (And they tend to be political in a wingnut/koz sort of way, not in a "let's talk about stuff" kind of way. Picture an anti-religious Tea Party site or an anti-new-age Huffington Post heavily peppered with bigotry. And people hate Muslims. The degree to which Norwegian threads tend to turn into anti-Muslim rhetoric is beyond embarrassing. I may have my problems with largely American forums, but they are awesome havens of reasonableness when compared to similar threads in my language.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:21 PM on October 16, 2010


So, actual question about other US-centric assumptions. There have been a bunch of review-my-budget AskMes. Do those questions annoy people? Should I talk about 4 USD instead of $4?
posted by salvia at 8:05 PM on October 16, 2010


It's not about "making" Americans stop posting about US issues. It's about wanting more posts from everywhere.

So write some. Jesus.
posted by Scoo at 9:23 PM on October 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Belgium, man. Belgium.

My dad's people came to Canada from Belgium around 100 years or so ago. Last year, my wife and I were considering buying a house and set up a look around with an pretty awesome inspector, who had immigrated from Germany. Very nice fellow, really good inspector, fortunately.
Anyhow, we meet at the house. He walks up: 'Hi, I'm [Something German], the inspector.'
'Hi, I'm [Real Name, Surname Vandenfoo], and this is my wife.'
[He shakes her hand, he shakes mine]
'Ah, Vandenfoo, is that Dutch?'
'Uh, nope, Belgian.'
'Oh.'
[German inspector looks at his hand as though I just farted in his palm]
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:44 PM on October 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


rtha, two of the recent-ish Australian election threads attracted criticism for being too soon, not having enough facts to analyse. I don't know if/how-much it got flagged, but it got raised in a related Meta as well, with the idea that the thread should have been deleted. Looking back, I'm not certain but I think some comments were deleted.

If you know anything about Australian politics, or read any of the links, you know that the lack of election result was in itself amazingly newsworthy. It just felt like we were being snarked at for talking about something important to us.

No mods or posters were harmed in the scuffle, but it does make me feel like I have to add a "and this is why North Americans should care" section to anything I might like to FPP if I don't want to spend half the thread defending it.
posted by harriet vane at 12:26 AM on October 17, 2010


Are there metafilter-ish sites in other languages
I recently stumbled on this Dutch equivalent of Ask Metafilter.
http://www.goeievraag.nl/
posted by joost de vries at 1:27 AM on October 17, 2010


Us Canadians know perfectly well how to spell neighbourhood properly, thank you.

Really? The Arcade Fire don't.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:55 AM on October 17, 2010


two of the recent-ish Australian election threads attracted criticism for being too soon, not having enough facts to analyse.

FFF's early couple of comments in the first of those were obnoxious—he should have just gone straight to Metatalk with it instead of grousing about it in the thread—but it's a sentiment that gets applied to American news as well, and to breaking-news-type stuff with no particular geographical bent whatsoever (the best example there probably being obit posts). I'm sorry he was making noises about it in that thread, but it was as far as I can tell only him, people told him why they disagreed, nobody flagged the post, and the thread went on its merry way.

The early all-caps shouting in the second thread was turgid dahlia, who is not an American, specifically mocking said line of complaint apropos of nothing that had come previously in the thread. the noob's response also apparently sarcastic, divabat's "previously" apparently a "see also" not a "double!" thing; all three self-declared Australia types, not whinging Americans.

So, again, I'm not saying there isn't any reason to a be annoyed at or to dig into the details of manifest US-centric obnoxiousness or thoughtlessness on the site, but one guy being a little bit of a butthead for a couple of comments in one thread is very different from any sort of community mandate that non-North Americans provide a "why should we care" qualifier for any post.

I think a bit of "why should any reader would care" framing isn't a bad idea for basically any post if it's something with a primarily localized or esoteric context, but, again, that's not really required in the general case and it's pretty much up to the poster. The risk that someone will wander into a thread they don't get and make noises about not getting it is pretty much universal, unfortunately.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:02 AM on October 17, 2010


Just FYI, I was rockin' a Canadian tuxedo yesterday, because I'm all multi-culti. I bemoaned loudly the absence of a large Rush embroidery on it, too.
posted by Mister_A at 11:02 AM on October 17, 2010


So, actual question about other US-centric assumptions. There have been a bunch of review-my-budget AskMes. Do those questions annoy people? Should I talk about 4 USD instead of $4?

For the first time ever, the Canadian dollar, the Aussie dollar, and the greenback are pretty much at parity so it's all the same really! (Bad luck Singapore)
posted by atrazine at 1:15 PM on October 17, 2010


Bad luck America.
posted by maryr at 6:10 PM on October 17, 2010


So, actual question about other US-centric assumptions. There have been a bunch of review-my-budget AskMes. Do those questions annoy people? Should I talk about 4 USD instead of $4?

Just my two cents (heh): if you give more information, you'll get a better answer. Giving the currency might help, but it would be better to tell people what city/state you are in, so they can get an idea of what your costs should be (budgeting on $50K/year is obviously going to be different in NYC and, I don't know, Colorado).

Speaking for myself, a lack of detail in Ask only bothers me when there's no easy way to work out what the poster means. (Like if you have NYC in your profile location, I can click through and see where you are. No big deal). But if you ask a question where relevant details are unclear, it's harder to help.

OTOH, if you say 'I live in NYC and have a budget of $50,000", I'm certainly not going to be offended that you didn't say USD.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:15 AM on October 18, 2010


Fair enough, cortex. The sentiment does get applied to other threads, but it was misapplied in this one, imo. To my way of thinking it's a similar situation to the 2000 US election - a result was not arrived at within the expected timeframe, causing panicked scrambling by politicians and curiosity about the correct procedure. I realise Australia's timeframe is a lot shorter than the USA's because there's fewer of us, but it really wasn't a case of posting too soon. It was a big deal to us. I thought there was more than one snarker though, someone saying our population was so small that no post on it would be acceptable. Maybe it got deleted, maybe it was in some other thread.

I do realise the comments in the 2nd election thread were jokey, but I feel they were kind of pre-emptive joking, trying to head off further criticism so we could get on with the actual discussion. "Not relevant to North Americans" is just one more target for buttheads, to add to the regular pile of "not best of the web", "saw it on Reddit last week", etc. It's just one more reason not to contribute something for other people to enjoy.

I think US-related posts have a lower bar to clear for "localised and esoteric" though. Plenty of small-town USA antics get through. And as much as Australia's parliament is a localised concern, I'd hope it wouldn't rate as "esoteric". We've got a standard Westminster system and we haven't let the kangaroos vote for years :)
posted by harriet vane at 5:12 AM on October 18, 2010


Yeah, not since the electorate turned against queue-jumpers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:23 AM on October 18, 2010


The sentiment does get applied to other threads, but it was misapplied in this one, imo.

Oh, sure, I have no stake in the idea that it was a good complaint. Just arguing toward the universality of it—that the primary phenomenon in play there is not "FAILURE TO CATER TO NORTH AMERICANS" so much as "FAILURE TO CATER TO GRUMPY PEOPLE". I think it gets misapplied a fair amount of the time across the board, as well.

As for the jokey-preemption thing, I get that and given the context of the grumpiness with the previous thread I can see the motivation for it, but it's tricky with that sort of thing to make sure your distracting preemptive ha ha bit doesn't cause more distraction or trouble than the hypothetical thing you're trying to preempt. Shouting sarcastically at unspecific fellow community members in all caps right at the beginning of the thread is not exactly a low-key sort of move, in other words, and maybe creates a little more remembered drama even in the minds of sympathetic readers than just getting on with the thread itself would have. Etc.

But I'm analyzing this more than I really need to. I hear you, in any case, and I don't think we disagree really about what the ideal sort of treatment any post should get from readers is, irrespective of the geographic locus of either.

I think US-related posts have a lower bar to clear for "localised and esoteric" though. Plenty of small-town USA antics get through.

There may be. I delete a lot of silly news-of-the-weird blurbs, and we tend not to be so hot from a mod perspective on e.g. "awful thing happens in small town" stuff and remove a fair bit of that as well. But, fundamentally, with the majority of the userbase in the US I think the majority of the localized stuff is gonna be US as well, so even with what we do cull the esoterica that survives is gonna trend Americana, yeah.

And insofar as there's a likely tendency to be more forgiving about something you're familiar with (the subject of a post having any kind of subjective proximity to your life being the thing that can make you stray from the flag button to the comment box, so to speak), low-to-middling posts that are about some US context probably have a leg up there, yeah. Gentle systemic demographic bias towards giving it a pass, something like that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:21 AM on October 18, 2010


Thanks for the over-analysis, it's appreciated. I like this kind of puzzling it out, just to see if a previously unnoticed element might make future grumpinesses easier to deal with. And you're right, no real disagreement over the big picture. Honestly I'd be sad if some of those small-town oddity posts weren't there.
posted by harriet vane at 7:58 AM on October 18, 2010


OTOH, if you say 'I live in NYC and have a budget of $50,000", I'm certainly not going to be offended that you didn't say USD.

You insensitive sonuvabitch.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:39 AM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


This problem doesn't even really originate with the internet, though it's exacerbated by the transgeographic nature of participation. It is a problem that has been solved in other media, particularly newspapers, with the convention of the dateline. All newspapers have style guides for their datelines, which tell you where, and sometimes when, each story was filed. In most cases, stories filed in the paper's home city (and thus most likely about the home city) carry no dateline, or if they do, it's just the date. The absence of a place being specified is an indication that it was filed in the default city, which is indicated by the paper's banner (what some people mistakenly call the masthead) - for example, "The Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger."Sometimes, reporters file stories from posts in other cities or states or nationss, and in those cases the dateline lists the city from which the story was filed. Newspapers maintain lists of those cities which can be referred to only by city name ("PARIS, June 2 - " ), like most US capitol cities and major population centers and most national capitals around the world. Style guides often demand that other cities that are less well known will require a state or country name for additional clarity ("KARACHI, Pakistan, June 2 - " "BUPKUS, Pennsylvania, June 2 -"). Newspapers also reprint stories from wire services, and those will carry the name of the service they came through as well ("(AP)", "(AFP)"). Letters to the editor are signed with the sender's name and location, and columns run with a credit bar at the bottom which usually identify whether the columnist is from the local paper or syndicated or reprinted from some other paper.

All of this evolved along with telegraphy, when a new technology made it much harder to tell whether the content in your paper was written by someone in your city. It's not a new problem, just one we really haven't got conventions and protocols for on MeFi. Right now, many people argue that "US" can be basically considered the default dateline for stories that don't specify another location. Other people don't think that's a good idea, and some of those want to propose a system where every post contains geographical information and there is no default.

The problem really isn't that anyone's evil or nasty about it, or that it's an unsolvable problem, or even a new problem in the history of communications, but that we simply have not established a convention, like a default dateline or datelining style protocol, on which most people agree.
posted by Miko at 5:27 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


List-based journalism sucks. List-based journalism on certain topics sucks specifically because the format encourages this kind of dumb blinkering (especially with sport).

MeFi posts built solely on list-based journalism suck^2. They suck even more than MetaTalk threads like this one, which is saying something.
posted by holgate at 12:15 AM on October 19, 2010


It may be too soon to point this out, but I think it's interesting how there's a post on the front page today that is clearly not US-centric, and yet there's absolutely no histrionics or bed wetting about how unfair the OP was for making a big chunk of the post that's unavailable to anyone outside in the UK.
posted by crunchland at 3:23 AM on October 19, 2010


but Crunchland the post you link to clearly states BBC and UK in the first two lines of the post so its not exactly misleading.
posted by mary8nne at 3:40 AM on October 19, 2010


Yeah, it's pretty clear what you're getting in that post. The problem is when something is highly-localised and not marked as such.
posted by harriet vane at 4:02 AM on October 19, 2010


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