user bares soul, is piled on March 25, 2002 4:36 AM   Subscribe

Mefi faux pas? aaron bared his soul, and the results are not surprising.
posted by crunchland to MetaFilter-Related at 4:36 AM (31 comments total)

I suggest that by publishing all this personal information here on Metafilter, aaron probably made a mistake... I wonder what would happen if he had taken a bullhorn and told his story from the pitcher's mound of Yankee Stadium to a packed crowd? Would he get booed?

If Metafilter were a small, tight-knit community, where every post was a love-fest, then it might have gone over better. As it is, aaron completely bared his soul to the beast, making himself totally vulnerable, and anything that could be construed as even vaguely critical (like my first reply) got pounced on with vicious swiftness.

And really, to what end? He's only opened himself up to personal attacks, possibly explained why he comes off as such a bitter individual sometimes, and reaped a bit of token pity from some.

Is there really a place here on metafilter for this kind of sharing?

(Please don't lump this in as an attack or even a criticism, aaron. More an observation about mefi than of you.)
posted by crunchland at 4:40 AM on March 25, 2002 [1 favorite]

i have just read the post and personally find it fascinating. we all go through times when we feel things are against us. we can't always have highs, although i buy alot of mine and that is dangerous in itself.
what i liked about that thread, was the pouncing and scrapping going on which i have previously said is a natural release for many people and a healthy part of life. i would be extremely dissapointed if matt does not see the absolute value in what took place there and takes action against it. absolute quality and should be published. (proceeds then sent to aaron for his extra RAM).
posted by Frasermoo at 5:01 AM on March 25, 2002

Is there really a place here on metafilter for this kind of sharing?

Apparently. Kind of a sharp-edged place. And that place seems to infect some visitors with the strange compulsion to build other, similar places. Bad idea. Zone the place resident evil, brick it up, hose it with holy water, and nag the horses into a trot whenever you pass.
posted by Opus Dark at 5:21 AM on March 25, 2002

reaped a bit of token pity from some.

That's a pretty harsh way to view the many genuinely supportive posts in that thread (directed to jonmc as well as aaron). For myself, I don't pity aaron at all. Seems to me he's in a bad spot at the moment, and I just wanted to lend a bit of moral support is all.

The whole thread took some pretty strange twists and turns; I wouldn't want to see that sort of thing take over, but it's hardly likely to. Threads like that are interesting; I guess I think of it as a contribution to the "community" rather than the "weblog", and every now and then such a contribution doesn't hurt. YMMV, of course.
posted by sennoma at 5:39 AM on March 25, 2002

I thought MeTa wasn't supposed to be a chat room to begin with. That whole thread should have been deleted, per mathowie's own "MeTa is not a chatroom" edict. But since he took part in the thread...well, it just confounds me when that happens. MeTa isn't the place for caring or sharing, or the MeFi on deck circle, or at least it wasn't supposed to be the last time someone's feelings got hurt caring and sharing.
posted by macadamiaranch at 5:53 AM on March 25, 2002

crunchland: Vicious swiftness? My post came five hours after yours. If I got your intent wrong it was because it looked like what you were doing was gratuitous snarking, rather than "vague criticism" -- "Thanks for the benchmark, aaron."

Few posters induce more eye-rolling and grated nerves in me than aaron. I smile whenever Aaron The Conservative takes a smackdown for his pugnaciousness and penchant for shoehorning everything into liberal/conservative slots. But that wasn't a political or remotely contentious thread. And I doubt that he would have written something so wincingly honest and personal if he didn't feel that he was amongst friends or at least, decent people. I'm sorry I misunderstood your post, it just looked like the first lowball shot from someone who'd use aaron's situation to cause him grief.
posted by nikzhowz at 6:12 AM on March 25, 2002

Given the context of how the thread evolved, I think it was appropriate. Aaron didn't start a thread that said "Look at poor, pathetic me." His comments about his life situation came out as a natural part of the conversation that someone else started. He received some genuine sympathy and moral support, some suggestions on different perspectives, and some outright challenges. Along the way, a lot of different people provided a wonderful range of heartfelt perspectives that were far less predictable than some of the political arguments we have around here, and actually less snarky than a lot of what we usually see. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and energy of the discussion.
posted by tdismukes at 6:17 AM on March 25, 2002

Closing your bold tag ;)

Nicely said, too.
posted by iconomy at 7:18 AM on March 25, 2002

I didn't use a bold tag, but thanks, I guess.:)
posted by jonmc at 7:23 AM on March 25, 2002

Is there really a place here on metafilter for this kind of sharing?

I'm not sure. I've seen it go either way recently.
In the course of explaining my point of view on making fun of the mentally ill in a metatalk thread a while back, I admitted to being an occasionally suicidal depressive wingnut and got nothing but warmth thrown my way for it.
I was a little embarrassed by it, and frankly was expecting to be told to stop whining or fishing for sympathy or attention or whatever, which would have been fine with me, because I wasn't looking to connect when I did it, I was just trying to qualify my point of view, and events in my life at that point colored my reply, it wasn't really an attempt at opening up with the rest of you.

Unfortunately, it was after his thread that Bunnyfire got a little more demonstrative describing her bipolar situation. I don't know if my kid glove treatment from others had anything to do with her feeling a bit looser about opening up, but I don't think that went the way she'd have liked.

I believe whenever you offer up any kind of sentiment to larger group, you can't really expect any specific sort of response. Everybody has different life experience that shape their idea of compassion and humor.
I suspect aaron just needed a catharsis and possibly some solutions offered. I don't know if he's getting what he was after, but there does seem to be genuine affection for the guy.

posted by dong_resin at 7:29 AM on March 25, 2002

i think there is genuine affection possibly available towards everyone, because alot of people here are genuine human beings. i flame occasionally because i read this mainly at work, and believe me, monday mornings aint usually pretty and alot of the time I want to kill my staff, let alone you bunch of losers....deep breath........
c'mon, let's have arguments and then feel the love...after all, we all know that sex after big arguments is sweeeeeeet.
posted by Frasermoo at 7:39 AM on March 25, 2002

Oops I assumed it was the bold tag, my mistake. I think you must have closed the link improperly, but not having had a cup of coffee yet this AM, I am too lazy to look.

posted by iconomy at 7:39 AM on March 25, 2002

*Backs slowly away from Frasermoo*

Wow, lookit the time...
posted by dong_resin at 7:40 AM on March 25, 2002

time for bed?
posted by Frasermoo at 7:50 AM on March 25, 2002

Why is it that I only get hit on by guys on at this site?
My fault for assless pants thing, I guess.

posted by dong_resin at 7:56 AM on March 25, 2002

i aint hittin' on you, i'm just saying it was nice to see some threads where pure emotion rose to the surface....

(honest i wasn't)

you wear assless pants?
posted by Frasermoo at 7:59 AM on March 25, 2002

Get a room, you two.
posted by jonmc at 8:05 AM on March 25, 2002

nikzhowz: My post came five hours after yours.

I didn't mean your response. I meant aaron's. He was pretty quick to respond to anything posted after his long message, leading me to assume he spent a good part of his day pressing the refresh button on that thread. (Not that I wouldn't have done the same myself.)

And not to cast any doubt on aaron's honesty, I've had several people independantly send me messages saying that they even doubt the veracity of his plight. Since few of us even know each other personally, it's all too possible for someone to post such things, exagerating details for better effect, or even making it all up completely, for whatever perverse reason. As it is, I tend to take things like this at face value -- the possibility of aaron making up any of it never even occurred to me.

I guess I suggest that in a place like Metafilter, since we don't really know each other, burdening strangers with your own personal plight is only begging for abuse .. a lesson I thought we'd learned with bunnyfire. The best that can be said of it is the relief that we're better off than they are, and the worst is that it devolves into a hateful venom spitting contest, where no one comes out clean.
posted by crunchland at 8:08 AM on March 25, 2002

dong resin I believe you were offered a spot in a fivesome recently that included two women
posted by goneill at 8:29 AM on March 25, 2002

I've heard a lot of the details of Aaron's situation over the last several months, and I think you can absolutely trust his veracity. That's not to say you have to respect his interpretation of his circumstances, but his circumstances are as he has described them. Frankly, I can't imagine why anyone would doubt him.
posted by rodii at 8:37 AM on March 25, 2002

So I let the original thread stand because I thought there were good things being said to jonmc, the person originally posting the thread and asking for feedback. Since that subject was well covered it went to other places.

Here's what really surprises me though: two threads have been started (this is one of them) to discuss another metatalk thread. Why? They appear as ways to "bubble up" the chattiest thread to date and bring a new meta- layer to an already meta-discussion. I'd like to close all three threads today, as there doesn't seem to be much point in letting them linger.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:50 AM on March 25, 2002

I think this thread is useful, especially since you're contemplating a new feature for MetaFilter users looking for work.
posted by rcade at 8:55 AM on March 25, 2002

Wow - things got ugly over there quick; it seemed pretty controlled when I last saw it Sunday morning...

I think it's a good question, crunch; and I guess my answer to it is no - at least, not in the way that it was done here.

Strangely, earlier on there was much warm-and-fuzzy and congratulatory backslapping about what a good thread it was. I agreed with that: it was interesting, and there was sharing, to a more... self-secure degree.

Aaron's post seemed to me to invite the kind of backlash it recieved; even I was tempted for a moment to post, but thought it best to just close the thread down and consider it spent out.


Because aaron decided that best wishes and idle conjecture wasn't what he wanted to have. People praised his posting, people told him chin up, and gave all the regular sort of premptory 'buck-up' smiles that people give to others they don't really know, and aaron decided to take them as insults. So, he pissed on these strangers offering token support, spewed of a litany of self-pity with questionable regard to his own responsibility for his own situation, and then defied anyone to say anything about it that wasn't a big smootch on his posterior. He did post it late - 5:30 in the morning - and the hour and the mood certainly contributed to a post I don't believe he would have made in the way he made it the following morning.

What followed could have been predicted. Everybody starts getting their Irish up, misinterpreting comments and accusing each other of evil posts and not being sympathetic. Aaron has created his own special SPCA: Not what he was hoping for, I'm sure - I dont think he wanted to become the poster-child for MeFi pity.

Y2karl had it dead right - by that time the thread had burned like the Hindenburg. I look at obiwanwasabi's initial post and see NOTHING that seems anything worse than a statement that could be capsulized as "Hey - it could be worse.." Supportive; maybe a little futile, but supportive. Is the problem that it was simply not cuddly enough? Was the choice of verbiage not soft enough?

Then the feeding frenzy began.

I don't think its a question of whether or not sharing is good - I think its a question of whether you can demand unconditional love and acceptance verbalized exactly to your specification without a misstep of communication to salve your bruised ego and self-image. And anything less is unacceptable.

No.. you can't have that.
posted by Perigee at 8:59 AM on March 25, 2002

I've closed the thread now, but I'll leave this one open. Perigee, I think you hit all the major points well, but if this thread devolves into flamewars or personal attacks, it'll have to be closed too.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:42 AM on March 25, 2002

I just read the thread in question and was amazed by how people jumped on obiwanwasabi's intelligent post, which really comes down to giving some real context to what Americans consider personal tragedy.

There is something funny for people living in poorer countries to see tragedy seen in terms of RAM, streaming audio, JC Penney and being overweight, as debated on the Internet by typing on their keyboards.

All obi was saying was "it's not that bad - stop moaning and get cracking". What in the hell is wrong with that? And how come aaron, whom I now like a lot less after his gratuitous attacks on members who were only offering genuine words of support, gets to tell people to fuck off die and it's OK?

Double standards and worse - ever-shifting double standards - are stupid, sick and disorientating. But they seem to love it here on MetaFilter.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:43 AM on March 25, 2002

MeTa wasn't supposed to be a chat room
So rather than speak directly to aaron, I'll talk about him like he's not here--this may not take any of the sting out of it, especially if insult is perceived where none is intended, but...well, what crunchland said, both in his comment on the other thread and at the outset of this one.

When aaron detailed just how bad his circumstances are, I sympathized, but his defensiveness put me off, as though he was not only expecting but also just asking for a "snarky personal attack" and seeing crunchland's comment as such. Maybe I'm the only one who sees it this way, and aaron and some others will think I'm kicking him when he's down. Well, if my impatience is seen as viciousness, sorry about that, and sorry about all the suffering and injustice in the world too.
But even if aaron is worse off than anybody else who views Metafilter, still there are many people less fortunate than he. "I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet." My nephew has no feet, or hands for that matter, due to a birth defect. And yet there are many people worse off than he is--I'm just using him as an illustration of the old adage.
I'm glad I'm not aaron or my nephew--but then, I wouldn't trade places with anybody, no matter how rich, smart and handsome they are (and I'm not).
And no, "counting your blessings" is no cure for depression; whether it's caused by neurochemistry or a bad situation, it sucks and you can't "just snap out of it." ("Cheer up"? Yes, that sounds so much better than being depressed, why didn't I think of that? duh.)
So I'm not saying any such thing to aaron or anybody who feels bad.
But aaron made it clear he wasn't just feeling bad, but feeling sorry for himself in what became an increasingly melodramatic and off-putting manner...which invokes the no-feet rejoinder. And if he truly expected somebody to use his "sharing" against him, why go there?
I thought the thread was mostly excellent (aside from my own unhelpful comments)--it was, at its core, about the same question which continually confronts me: Shouldn't I be doing more with my life? What am I needlessly missing out on...?
But toward the end, it went all to hell...although aaron's very first comment, about it being "suicide-ideation inducing," tried to suck the life out of it early on. "Suicide" is not a word to be taken lightly; if you feel at risk, get help (but don't admit to having thought about it too much if you prefer not to end up in a locked ward). Possibly aaron's use of the word truly was a cry for help. If not, sheesh.

On Preview, I see a lot of comments have been added that as usual pretty much cover it. But I'll post my longwinded but still heavily-edited comment anyway before this all gets shut down.
posted by StOne at 10:07 AM on March 25, 2002

Yeah, Miguel -- I'm sure he was just making a genuine attempt to help. When I'm at my lowest point, there's nothing that picks me up better than to be called a "no-hoper sponging whinging bludging lard-arsed pissweak excuse for a human being."

But what do I know? I'm an American, so I'm geographically disqualified from misery.

posted by rcade at 10:09 AM on March 25, 2002

Rcade, that was after aaron told him to fuck off and die, as you well know.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:14 AM on March 25, 2002

(Please don't lump this in as an attack or even a criticism, aaron. More an observation about mefi than of you.)

From you, no. But there's only one possible direction this thread can go, and we all know it.
posted by aaron at 10:19 AM on March 25, 2002

And, of course, it's already gone there.
posted by aaron at 10:20 AM on March 25, 2002

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