Really? Really? November 26, 2010 2:36 AM   Subscribe

I tried a search and didn't find anything on what I'm about to mention, but I've noticed a trend in the Blue lately and it's getting on my nerves, and that is when a comment is preceded by: "Really?"

It's condescending and serves no purpose. If you disagree with someone your comment should be well thought out enough to make that clear without the patronising lead.

To be fair, I asked "Really?" once, but not to be supercilious; I was genuinely curious, but I could see how it might come across the wrong way.

By the way, the first person to comment here with "Really?" wins a virtual noogie.
posted by bwg to Etiquette/Policy at 2:36 AM (138 comments total)

Seriously?
posted by doublehappy at 2:47 AM on November 26, 2010 [36 favorites]


It's astroturf from Microsoft's secret agents; ban them all, I say.

Or rather, it's a prevalent meme-of-the-minute in pop-culture extending far beyond Metafilter; grit your teeth and bear it, it will pass when people latch onto another, more annoying rhetorical crutch in a few months.
posted by nowonmai at 2:47 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's condescending and serves no purpose. If you disagree with someone your comment should be well thought out enough to make that clear without the patronising lead.

To be fair, I asked "Really?" once, but not to be supercilious; I was genuinely curious, but I could see how it might come across the wrong way.


So when everyone else leads with "Really?", it's condescending and serves no purpose, but when YOU do it, it's out of genuine curiosity. Gotcha.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:49 AM on November 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


It's a meme.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:50 AM on November 26, 2010


Mother of fuck. Really?
posted by IvoShandor at 2:52 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


For reals?
posted by dg at 2:53 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Really.
posted by nevercalm at 2:57 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's a noogie? Is a virtual noogie better or worse than an actual noogie?
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:05 AM on November 26, 2010


Really, you didn't get the memo?
posted by From Bklyn at 3:08 AM on November 26, 2010


This.
posted by the.carol.baxter.experience at 3:10 AM on November 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


yes?
posted by clavdivs at 3:11 AM on November 26, 2010


What?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:12 AM on November 26, 2010


Nice use of semicolon.
posted by Artw at 3:14 AM on November 26, 2010


Artw: "Nice use of semicolon"

We aim to please.

23skidoo: "So when everyone else leads with "Really?", it's condescending and serves no purpose, but when YOU do it, it's out of genuine curiosity. Gotcha"

Really? You're going with that?
posted by bwg at 3:19 AM on November 26, 2010


Noogie for From Bklyn. Honorable mention for doublehappy and nevercalm for making me laugh.

Noogie for myself for breaking my own rule.
posted by bwg at 3:22 AM on November 26, 2010


One of these days, the people of metafilter are going to come to the realisation that different people have different writing styles, and these memetic argumentative structures are just part of that.

I mean, really? This irritates you?

I sort of think that as long as you're not being racist or too sexist, and you're not engaging in personal attacks, then you should be allowed to say what you want. If other people get all heated about it, then that's their fault.

Of course there's this push from some people to not say this, or not frame comments in that way, or not to talk about certain subjects. I was not sure if I should say this, and I'm sorry if it offends anyone. That's not the intention. But, the thing that currently pisses me off the most is that people are starting to apologise for completely reasonable comments before making them.

(I expect to see a metatalk thread about that particular practice before long)

So yes. Really?

I was really trying to find a phrase with the acronym TSA that described the metafilter thought police, because I thought that would be funny, but I'm not smart enough.
posted by seanyboy at 3:31 AM on November 26, 2010 [12 favorites]


This is not specific to Metafilter.

And sometimes, honestly, when someone says something idiotic, it's a perfectly fine response IMHO - it encapsulates disbelief and a mild tinge of disgust.

So, yeah. Really.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:34 AM on November 26, 2010


what is spelled without caps and no period
"What really?"
Uh.

To the point. Your identification of "tendencies" is unlikely representing a real circumstance. You're addressing the ongoing discourse of thousands of community members about - how many? several dozen a day? subjects from all ends of the virtual and real topic spectrum.
Discussion abandoned as impossible.

This is just my opinion and I am not trying to act any more patronizing and/or condescending than I'm made to be. But I bet that a paragraph like the one above makes some fingers twitch to ask "really?" Can't be wrong.
posted by Namlit at 3:37 AM on November 26, 2010


Does anyone remember that episode of South Park where the adults were being so unreasonable or sensationalist about something or the other that Kyle spent a lot of the episode just cocking his head and saying "Really??!?"
posted by Rhomboid at 3:39 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Another thing...

As much as I should maybe write "I find your statement to be unbelievable and yet would be happy for you to elucidate on it, at which point I shall be happy to review my initial impression", that statement is too long, and shouldn't need to be said. We're all adults here. If someone is so bemused by something you've said it's up to you to make your point in a better way.
posted by seanyboy at 3:49 AM on November 26, 2010


bwg makes entirely fair points--yes, some comments are just plain rude, and yes, condescension is practically a rhetorical device in some parts of this site. Of course it's difficult to censure these kinds of responses without getting drawn into a MeFi vortex of snark, and besides, censure generally works against the things that make MeFi wonderful. But it would be nice if we behaved like thoughtful, articulate adults more often than we do. Lord knows, we're capable of it.
posted by YamwotIam at 4:02 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


And now I have the urge to apologize for getting so angry, so it could be that I just don't like conflict.
posted by YamwotIam at 4:06 AM on November 26, 2010


This goes way beyond metafilter, and yes, it's nuts-driving.

I'm in the process of moving. The other day, I brought a load of heavy boxes home and shifted them all into the garage. I'm pretty out of shape, so I'm puffing and blowing pretty hard when I get in the door. As I stop to catch my breath, my roommate's boyfriend looks me up and down from his comfy seat on the couch, and says, "Really?"

Why yes, really, and by the way thanks for all the help. Ass.

But yeah, I don't know that this MeTa is going to fix it.
posted by darksasami at 4:12 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


‘Is my team _ ploughing,
  That I _ was used to drive
And hear the harness _ jingle
  When I _ was man _ alive?’

Ay, the horses _ trample,
  The harness _ jingles now;
No change _ though you _ lie under
  The land you used to _ plough.

‘Is football _ playing
  _ Along the river shore,
With lads to _ chase the leather,
  Now I _ stand up no more?’

Ay, the ball is _ flying,
  The lads _ play heart and soul;
The goal _ stands up, the keeper _
  _ Stands up to_ keep the goal.

‘Is my girl _ happy,
  That I _ thought _ hard to _ leave,
And has she _ tired of _ weeping
  As she _ lies down at eve?’

Ay, she _ lies down _ lightly,
  She _ lies not down to _ weep:
Your girl is _ well contented.
  Be _ still, my lad, and _ sleep.

‘Is my friend _ hearty,
  Now I _ am _ thin and _ pine,
And has he _ found to _ sleep _ in
  A _ better bed than mine?’

Yes, lad, I lie _ easy,
  _ I _ _ lie as lads would _ choose;
I _ cheer a _ dead man’s sweetheart,
  Never ask me whose. _

Housman, Shropshire Lad, XXVII
posted by maxwelton at 4:14 AM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think we should rename this category "Ettiquette Police".
posted by Omnomnom at 4:18 AM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


YamwotIam: "But it would be nice if we behaved like thoughtful, articulate adults more often than we do. Lord knows, we're capable of it"

That's mostly what I was asking for. Well said, YamwotIam.
posted by bwg at 4:23 AM on November 26, 2010


Is a virtual noogie better or worse than an actual noogie?

Neither can compare with a Yoga Fucking Noogie
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:24 AM on November 26, 2010


"Really?" and "Seriously?" and "Um, ..." are overused and annoying.

I'm also really and seriously adding "tell" (n., sign) to my list of, um, slangy usages I could do without hearing again.
posted by pracowity at 4:24 AM on November 26, 2010


I think you can say "Really?" in it's most condescending way and still be thoughtful and articulate. I don't think it's that rude. I'd rather we simply stopped getting angry because people articulate things in a different way than we do.
posted by seanyboy at 4:36 AM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


"The" really gets under my skin too.
posted by h00py at 4:37 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sometimes people say ludicrously stupid things, or things that sound that way. Sometimes they type ludicrously stupid things, or things that appear so. It is often possible when they're actually speaking to you to ascertain if they are serious or not. It is often difficult to do so in text.

In the latter situation, it may be necessary before bringing to bear the searchlight glare of our disapprobation (or whatever reaction seems appropriate) to ask if that dumb thing they wrote was written in jest. Just in case.

The single-word query 'Really?' is an effective, concise and non-judgmental way to do so.

Let's try this out, shall we? (I do not, obviously, believe the next thing I am about to write. It is, of course, ludicrously stupid.)

I am certain that Barack Obama is an Islamic terrorist sleeper agent, planted by foreign powers to destroy America with communism.

If it is not a perfectly reasonable (and possibly overpolite) response to ask if I really believe that -- perhaps by saying 'Really?' -- before you start pointing, laughing, and hurling rocks and garbage at me, then I don't know what.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:53 AM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


You got me. Really.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:59 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If it is not a perfectly reasonable (and possibly overpolite) response to ask if I really believe that -- perhaps by saying 'Really?' -- before you start pointing, laughing, and hurling rocks and garbage at me, then I don't know what.

That's fine if you honestly doubt that the writer is being serious, but that's not what I think people are talking about here. It's when people are (or should be) fairly certain in the context that you are saying exactly what you think, and yet they start their response to you with "Really?" as if to say "You must be joking! No one could seriously believe that..."

When used like that, "Really?" is shorthand for "I'm going to be a dick and mock you and what you've just written rather than simply counter your argument."
posted by pracowity at 5:06 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Advice.
posted by Decani at 5:07 AM on November 26, 2010


Really is a convenient shorthand that conveys a particular sentiment in a manner that serves to not derail the entire conversation. It is vastly more polite and utilitarian than the expression for which it stands in, namely "You may wish to reconsider than point of view or opinion because you, sir, are full of horse shit."
posted by DarlingBri at 5:07 AM on November 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's when people are (or should be) fairly certain in the context that you are saying exactly what you think, and yet they start their response to you with "Really?" as if to say "You must be joking! No one could seriously believe that..."

But I think that is covered by what I was saying, and I think it's often just fine. There are occasions where reactions that fall somewhere inside the margins of The Zone of Mockery are appropriate. I dunno. It's bedtime, and I've had a long day, so I'm probably talking shit again.

I guess what I'm really saying is: I have, as always, limited patience for complaints of this kind.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:16 AM on November 26, 2010


I'm digging myself a hole. I'm going to lay down in it until I satisfy my soul.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:22 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, yeah, in the interests of full disclosure, I just had a brainwave.

This very odd peeve of bwg's might well have been spawned from this thread, which he opened with what I thought was a somewhat fatuous comment -- "Every Cigarette Smoked in Mad Men. Well, clearly not every cigarette, but it seems to me [Mad Men] is one big tobacco ad" -- from someone who I had never noticed being fatuous before over the years.

I said: "Does it? Really? That seems a bit silly."

I said this because I thought it seemed a bit silly and I was wondering if I was missing a subtle joke or reference, and because I honestly found it a little hard to believe that he was saying it in all seriousness, and was curious if he cared to back it up his observation a little.

He did, but a very little, and I promptly forgot about it until just now.

Or maybe it wasn't. I dunno. Like I said, long day.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:28 AM on November 26, 2010


This is why we no longer have the img tag.
posted by bukvich at 5:30 AM on November 26, 2010


I think the deeper problem centers around the concept of Reality. When one says "really?" one implicitly asks "is this real? Is this something that belongs to reality?"

Reality is somewhat suspect. Etymologically, "reality" derives from the same root as "royalty". There is a notion that an unquestioned authority provides the stability of an unquestioned status quo. Thus, when someone asks "really?", there is an appeal towards affirmation of acceptance by a superseding entity which may or may not confirm the current dilemma. As such, the interrogative presupposes the existence of a super being, an all-knowing entity which could adjudicate ephemeral happenstances.

For this reason I prefer, in lieu of "really?", the simpler phrase "willy?", which alludes to the potential of the "will" to shape perception of sensory data. And it makes my cousin happy, because his name is William.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:34 AM on November 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


You couldn't think of anything more important to do instead of writing this? Really?
posted by nomadicink at 5:38 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: You couldn't think of anything more important to do instead of writing this? Really?
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:51 AM on November 26, 2010


I sort of think that as long as you're not being racist or too sexist, and you're not engaging in personal attacks, then you should be allowed to say what you want. If other people get all heated about it, then that's their fault.

That's a weird principle.
posted by John Cohen at 6:00 AM on November 26, 2010


nomadicink: "You couldn't think of anything more important to do instead of writing this? Really"

You couldn't think of anything more important to do instead of posting this comment? Really?
posted by bwg at 6:13 AM on November 26, 2010


I think your post is stupid.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:21 AM on November 26, 2010


I think I will start a MeTa post an how much, "Wow. Just wow" annoys me.
posted by mreleganza at 6:24 AM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Do it. Just do it.
posted by pracowity at 6:31 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


There was actually a AskMe thread about this.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:33 AM on November 26, 2010


The mods at Fametracker used to delete any comment that started with "um," because they felt no good could come from any conversation that starts with that sort of dismissive. But they were pretty heavy handed moderators, and I think they got burned out after a while.

The policy here seems to be more of a general request that people not be assholes to each other. Starting a sentence with "really" seems like it could be dickish to me, and definitely isn't starting on the most civil tone, but it's really going to be the rest of the sentence that defines it.

I think The Rock's new movie looks fabulous! He's got a gun and a car and wants to kill Billy Bob Thornton!

Really? It's not getting great reviews.

Really? What have you got against Billy Bob Thornton?

Really? What else do you like, you mental defective? Try not to drool as you offer your answer.

posted by Astro Zombie at 6:41 AM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Reality is somewhat suspect. Etymologically, "reality" derives from the same root as "royalty". There is a notion that an unquestioned authority provides the stability of an unquestioned status quo. Thus, when someone asks "really?", there is an appeal towards affirmation of acceptance by a superseding entity which may or may not confirm the current dilemma. As such, the interrogative presupposes the existence of a super being, an all-knowing entity which could adjudicate ephemeral happenstances.

Wait until you hear about the vaginas.
posted by briank at 6:41 AM on November 26, 2010


ORLY is still ok thought, right?
posted by Sailormom at 6:59 AM on November 26, 2010


OK thought? Sailormom? You're policing our thoughts? Fo shizzle?
posted by Mister_A at 7:04 AM on November 26, 2010


Can we kick "amirite?" to the curb too?

*whistles into the wind*
posted by futz at 7:07 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I agree with deleting "um" comments, but only because a policy of personal metaphorical cock-punches to each of the offenders is nigh impossible to enforce.
posted by Mister_A at 7:07 AM on November 26, 2010


You couldn't think of anything more important to do instead of posting this comment? Really?

I thought all you were asking for, really, is that people act like thoughtful, articulate adults? If that's what you want, shouldn't you be doing that, instead of pissing around in MeTa?
posted by nomadicink at 7:07 AM on November 26, 2010


The ORLY owl looks cute but it would probably leave a tangle of matted gore where your hand was if you were foolish enough to pet it.
posted by Mister_A at 7:11 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think "Really?" is a lot less obnoxious than "Um," but it really all depends on whatever words come after them. I can easily imagine "Really?" being said in a way that's genuinely curious or interested, whereas "Um" is more frequently followed by something snotful or dismissive. But, as with all things, context matters.
posted by Gator at 7:53 AM on November 26, 2010


I was really trying to find a phrase with the acronym TSA that described the metafilter thought police, because I thought that would be funny, but I'm not smart enough.

Thread Shitting Assholes?
posted by adamdschneider at 7:55 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we kick "amirite?" to the curb too?

Let's do this in order of annoyingness, please, which means starting by eliminating the incomprehensibly supercilious and condescending phrase "[user] has it" in AskMe. Ugh. Pains me even to type it in quotes.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:56 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The policy here seems to be more of a general request that people not be assholes to each other.

That's pretty much it, yeah. Try not to be jerks to each other if you can help it, because generally the only people who benefit from being jerks is people who enjoy jerkiness and we really don't want this to be a place that caters primarily to that demo. Act like adults (in the aspirational sense, not the grown-up-child You Can't Tell Me What To Do sense) whenever possible.

My take is, like a few folks have touched on up-thread already, that "Really?" and a number of other one-worders like "Seriously?" and "Um," are manifestations of a mode of discourse, not the core of the problem themselves. If someone wants to be condescending or dismissive, they have a wide array of options available to them.

I doubt we'll find ourselves any time soon in a universe where people no longer have that urge, that will to dismiss or condescend. Whether one specific manifestation is peaking, and how, and why, is fodder for some potentially interesting discursive analysis and metadiscussion, but it's kind of aside from the larger social question of why people elect to be dickish in that fashion in the first place.

I suppose there's the question of whether a faddish upsurge in any given token of condescension means more people who would otherwise not go that route if they were writing plainly will go the lazy zinger route. Not really sure how to pursue that question short of a survey along the lines of "On Whether You Have Chosen To Be A Bit Of A Jerk Mostly Because It Was Made Convenient To You" and collecting folks' attestations on the subject, though.

In any case, in the interests of SCIENCE! I have just modified one of my old datawankery scripts to produce a fairly complete list of comments in which the string "really?" occurs, from both the blue and the grey. Those are in chronological order, so the top is going to be 2000 or 2001 or so; the lists are long and don't provide much context, but as a way to skim through to see how the usage (both in the condescending mode and in the sincerely inquisitive) has popped up over the years it's at least a quick starting point. It might be interesting to graph usage over time and take a look at some of the other tokens as well, but I'm not sure that's happening this morning.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:00 AM on November 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Cortex has it.
posted by mreleganza at 8:07 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I doubt we'll find ourselves any time soon in a universe where people no longer have that urge [to be] dickish in that fashion in the first place.

But it is important to note that such behavior is dickish.

Damn. It's probably too late to mention "Are you suffering from poor reading comprehension?" and similar constructions, isn't it? Oh, well.
posted by pracowity at 8:11 AM on November 26, 2010


Really?
posted by nomadicink at 8:12 AM on November 26, 2010


Let's do this in order of annoyingness, please

That'll be the "@" notation, followed by "I haven't read the other comments but here are my thoughts."
posted by Gator at 8:14 AM on November 26, 2010


That doesn't really happen all that often, though, @Gator.
posted by Omnomnom at 8:16 AM on November 26, 2010


Que?
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:21 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I get you. I don't like it when people reply with "really?" in conversation. I think it started on the Gilmore girls or some other witty banter shows. It usually goes like this.

"check you out, rocking a new haircut, you got a date with the missus tonight? Maybe a bit of theatre and a late dinner? Make sure to go with the San pellegrino."
"Really?........ Really?"
posted by Ad hominem at 8:47 AM on November 26, 2010


I really wanted to say that last night to the loud talking couple behind our family at the Disney movie "Tangled", along with their infant with a cold, literally sneezing into the back of my wife's hair.

"Really? You need him to explain this movie to you? The movie my 5 year old is following perfectly?"

Then when she called my wife a bitch for asking them to be quiet, "Really" was the best of things that just about came out of my mouth. But I kept it civil and said "Seriously, you've been talking during the entire movie" in such a tone that shut them up for the remaining 25 minutes. I was condescending to these people on purpose.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:52 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Um, you're surprised that there are idiots at the Disney movie? Really?
posted by Mister_A at 8:55 AM on November 26, 2010


Gawd it's so awful but so much fun. It's better than Eskimaux song-fights.
posted by Mister_A at 8:56 AM on November 26, 2010


yes, some comments are just plain rude, and yes, condescension is practically a rhetorical device in some parts of this site.

Practically?
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:09 AM on November 26, 2010


Honestly?
posted by nomadicink at 9:10 AM on November 26, 2010


ZOMG sucks too. I'm really glad " die in a fire" seems to have trended down as well. Wasn't it because a mefite actually died in a fire and everyone felt bad?
posted by Ad hominem at 9:14 AM on November 26, 2010


No, that was "choke on a bucket of cocks" I think.

As far as all this goes, I prefer "For serious?"
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:15 AM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm really glad " die in a fire" seems to have trended down as well. Wasn't it because a mefite actually died in a fire and everyone felt bad?

Or we could just realize that some people actually do die in a fire, so joking about it is a little insensitive to them, whether or not they had a Metafilter account.
posted by John Cohen at 9:24 AM on November 26, 2010


...I've noticed a trend in the Blue lately and it's getting on my nerves,...

I've noticed a trend on the grey lately.
posted by rocket88 at 9:27 AM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Really?" and "Seriously?" and "Um, ..." are overused and annoying.

Guilty of "Um" + "Seriously". Not sure if I do "Really" much. I shall endeavor to be more conscious of my future usage. That is, I'll only use them if I'm intending to provoke a certain something. Which doesn't necessarily mean I'm being an asshole. Sometimes provocation is a perfectly worthy tactic in discussion. One of the things I love about MetaFilter is the degree to which it doesn't suffer fools. That is, you don't get away much with being sloppy about your word choice around here. It's like one ongoing session with Mrs. Tyler back in Grade 9. Annoying, yes. But she made me a far better writer.

Speaking of which, I wonder, if she was around here, if she'd have nailed me by now for my overuse of "that is". Something along the lines of, "It's a perfectly acceptable technique for clarifying a statement that you feel has potential to be taken the wrong way. But if you're constantly using it -- two and three times in a single paragraph -- you need to ask yourself why you aren't being more succinct. That is, if you'd taken the time to fully formulate your thought in the first place, the clarification would be unnecessary."
posted by philip-random at 9:27 AM on November 26, 2010


The.
posted by jtron at 9:31 AM on November 26, 2010


I don't find "really?" half as annoying and condescending as "You did know (blah blah blah)...right?" No, they probably didn't. You do know that you could just tell them, instead of acting like they should have already known, right?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:34 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


game warden to the events rhino: "Can we kick "amirite?" to the curb too?

Let's do this in order of annoyingness, please, which means starting by eliminating the incomprehensibly supercilious and condescending phrase "[user] has it" in AskMe. Ugh. Pains me even to type it in quotes.
"

How odd - I've never read that as anything other than 'another user has got the answer and I agree with them, here is further evidence'.

But then, all of this is just text and infinitely malleable in terms of perceived vs intended meaning. What is a perfectly reasonable way of expressing oneself to half the site is in all likelihood deeply ticking off the other half.

I suspect endless MeTa threads on pet peeve phrase/word of the day are a singularly ineffective way of ever dealing with this. If, indeed, it needs to be dealt with, which I don't think it does. Flag and move on, or even just close the tab.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:37 AM on November 26, 2010


We might as well as admit we're just a bunch of ornery malcontents who wish to exert a certain amount of control over the world.

Really.
posted by nomadicink at 9:40 AM on November 26, 2010


I think the mods should set up some sort of weekly or monthly poll for us, like "please rank the following trends/memes/catchphrases in order of annoyingness," and it should be MeFi-hosted and not some third-party polling site so that you have to be logged in to your MeFi account in order to vote, and if people decided to game the system by buying sock puppets then win-win and yay more money for mathowie, and the mods could see who voted for what but the rest of us couldn't, and the anonymous results wouldn't actually result in any policy changes of any kind but would give people a lighthearted outlet for their "You know what I really hate about MetaFilter" issues. Up for it, pb?
posted by Gator at 9:43 AM on November 26, 2010


DUDE.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:52 AM on November 26, 2010


It's a Rachel Maddow thing.
posted by Beardman at 9:58 AM on November 26, 2010


Can we kick "amirite?" to the curb too?

I guess we could throw it under the bus.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:58 AM on November 26, 2010


nthing the "amirite" curb-stomp. Seriously.
posted by philip-random at 10:02 AM on November 26, 2010


How odd - I've never read that as anything other than 'another user has got the answer and I agree with them, here is further evidence'.

"[user] has it" inescapably sounds to me as if the writer of that phrase is "picking a winner" in the thread, which implies that they believe they have the authority to do so. Of course, it's possible that some posters do have greater knowledge and qualifications than everybody in a thread so far, but they need to demonstrate this before they assert it, if you ask me...
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 10:08 AM on November 26, 2010


Man you people really like to talk about words.
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 AM on November 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Special snowflake. Please hope me. Hive mind.
posted by fixedgear at 10:13 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm with you on the searing hate of that phrase. It's especially infuriating to me when someone says "[user] has it" and [user] has just reiterated the same point that someone else already made earlier in the thread, or when [user]'s point is expressed by a number of other comments in the thread.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:15 AM on November 26, 2010


Argh, I had somehow (blissfully) almost forgotten about "snowflake" and its varying "special" forms. I swear its use is actually on a HEAVY rise in AskMe questions since the last time we talked about it.
posted by Gator at 10:24 AM on November 26, 2010


Which was a few months ago, at which point it was deemed not to be an epidemic worthy of doing anything about other than "Yeah, that's annoying, amirite?"
posted by Gator at 10:28 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


While we are on this topic, can the mods do something about the kids on my lawn?
posted by DU at 10:39 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Someone half-convinced me once that 'amirite' was some sort of precious metal, and was used as a dismissive nickname, like 'honey'. The real meaning is much more palatable.

With phrases that annoy me without adding much content (like 'this' or 'that is all'), what I do now is use a script to replace them with personalised reminders of things I'm better off thinking about (eg "Have you called your mother lately?")
posted by rollick at 10:42 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Really? Honey, this actually bothers you?
posted by ericb at 11:01 AM on November 26, 2010


I'm really glad " die in a fire" seems to have trended down as well.

Die in a fire falls under the general heading of "we don't tell other people to die around here" so it's a little easier to actually moderate. I find the uptick in "really" "um" and the shorthand "I am incredulous" stuff [though I am guilty of doing it somewhat here in MeTa] to be a little grating, but then I remember this SNL skit and I'm just start thinking "Keebler Elves" [sorry for folks not in the US if you can't see it]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:08 AM on November 26, 2010


If we need to be so polite that it's considered rude to even things we'd say to our friends, or strangers at a dinner party, we are really messed up here.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:58 AM on November 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


"Really?" is the leaf blower of rhetorical devices. Fast, convenient, and quite annoying to many people.
posted by FishBike at 12:06 PM on November 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


If we need to be so polite that it's considered rude to even things we'd say to our friends, or strangers at a dinner party...

"Really?!" is just as rude in real life.
posted by John Cohen at 12:15 PM on November 26, 2010


"Really?! is just as rude in real life."

That's what I said. It's not that rude at all. In fact it only seems rude here in the same circumstances it would be rude in real life - A job interview, a presidential debate. meeting the parents for the first time, etc.

It's a community blog where we talk about all sorts of things, much of which is rude straight out of the gate fer fuck sake. I think this is setting the bar for "rude" way too low. A mildly annoying and plebeian rhetorical device is just that, not rude.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:25 PM on November 26, 2010


Pretty much any sentence ending in both a question mark and an exclamation point is rude in real life.
posted by breezeway at 12:31 PM on November 26, 2010


I have a Greasemonkey script that substitutes "So's your old man" for "Really?!"
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:37 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pretty much any sentence ending in both a question mark and an exclamation point is rude in real life.

WOULD YOU LIKE SOME BABY MONKEYS!?!?

may be the only instance where you're wrong, breezeway.
posted by meese at 12:48 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a community blog where we talk about all sorts of things, much of which is rude straight out of the gate fer fuck sake. I think this is setting the bar for "rude" way too low. A mildly annoying and plebeian rhetorical device is just that, not rude.

Many people are not saying it's "rude," just that it's annoying. I happen to think it's both. But if it's simply an annoying, cheap, overused rhetorical device, wouldn't that be reason enough to avoid it?

As to your broader point, I actually think the site would be better if there were less tolerance for (or encouragement of) rudeness. Maybe you think this means I'm too sensitive and easily offended. OK. But the problem I have with rudeness isn't just that it's rude, but that it tends to be a substitute for reasoned discourse. If someone tries to make a serious point and the response by those who disagree is "Really?!," that's a missed opportunity to have an actual exchange of ideas about why people are disagreeing with each other (i.e. a genuine attempt to change people's minds, rather than just signaling "I'm so right and you're so wrong").

And to be clear, I don't think anyone's talking about a strict ban on "Really?!" People will always be free to use it, just like you're free to pepper your speech with "like" in every sentence. That doesn't mean it's the best way to communicate.
posted by John Cohen at 12:52 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


We'eeeeeeere having FUN! Tra la! (singing in falsetto)

And Cortex really has IT,
he really, really does have it,
and everyone else can share it
and some shall sing with glee! (me)

Whee!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:56 PM on November 26, 2010


"Really?" is the leaf blower of rhetorical devices. Fast, convenient, and quite annoying to many people.
Love that.
Reminds me of the time, in a professional harpsichord forum [Okay. Just cool down. I Am Not Making This Up, I swear], when someone mentioned his leaf blower in some silly context, everyone else got all environmental and flamed the poor dude to hell and back.
I don't use a leaf blower, but man, I would like to. You should see the neighbor's oak-chard (or is it ork-yard).

But there's a difference: with leaf blowers, leaves actually move. With "really", stuff only moves if the receiving party assumes a huff-stance. Well don't, then!
posted by Namlit at 12:58 PM on November 26, 2010


GOOGLE REALLY!?! WITH SETH & AMY
posted by Sys Rq at 1:45 PM on November 26, 2010


Black Friday, doop de doo.
posted by everichon at 2:06 PM on November 26, 2010


When you hammer down one way of being condescending, another one will simply pop up. It's not a thing you can legislate away. You need to appeal to a change of heart, not a change of vocabulary. But that might be what you are ultimately getting at.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:14 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


nomadicink: "You couldn't think of anything more important to do instead of posting this comment? Really?

I thought all you were asking for, really, is that people act like thoughtful, articulate adults? If that's what you want, shouldn't you be doing that, instead of pissing around in MeTa
"

I was being ironic with this comment.

And isn't MeTa exactly the place to mention something like this? Look, my goal wasn't to get everyone to instantly stop asking "Really?" (when implicitly used for condescension), it was simply to see if I could create a reduction in its use by getting people to think about the way they write.

We're all guilty of knee-jerk replies or missing the true tone of someone's viewpoint, and it would be nice if perhaps we might ask ourselves if posting "Really?" before commenting is helping or simply muddying the waters.
posted by bwg at 3:41 PM on November 26, 2010


I really need to get new glasses. I just assumed people were asking about realty.
posted by Eideteker at 3:42 PM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I say "Really?" non-sarcastically all the time. Since I can't convey tone and facial/body language here I 'm not going to worry about it. Especially since some people feel it's perfectly acceptable to be a Grammar Nazi
posted by P.o.B. at 4:43 PM on November 26, 2010


This was also a completely unknown idiom to me until recently when a friend introduced me to the TV show 'Modern Family'. Give a couple episodes a watch and you'll get the idea.
posted by empatterson at 5:35 PM on November 26, 2010


you should be allowed to say what you want. If other people get all heated about it, then that's their fault.

I am all het up about how badly you misspelled "het."

Probably my own fault.
posted by galadriel at 5:49 PM on November 26, 2010


Yeah, point missed.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:55 PM on November 26, 2010


no shit?
posted by victors at 7:22 PM on November 26, 2010


Pherhaps [sic].
posted by buzzman at 7:53 PM on November 26, 2010


Sometimes when I see a MeTa thread like this, I wonder if the rest of you all live the rest of your lives at formal diplomatic receptions hosted by the Kingdom of Hugtonia in honor of the Grand Duchess of Politeness-Holstein.

But then I remember that I am old and am used to the discourse levels of Usenet, where the exchange rate is three and a half "WHAT THE HOLY FUCK YOU CRETIN THAT IS THE MOST IDIOTIC THING I HAVE EVER SEEN" = to one "Excuse me sir, I think you may have forgotten this fact."

And then I remember why I hang out here, and not on Usenet. Really.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:10 PM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Kingdom of Hugtonia would like to announce a formal declaration supporting an increase in cuddles across the borders.
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hail, hail Hugtonia!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:18 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Squeeze with valor now!
posted by The Whelk at 9:32 PM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


While we're at it, use of the word 'Defenestration' should be thrown out the window.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:33 PM on November 26, 2010


I'd like to squash the use of the word squish
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 PM on November 26, 2010


Yea, verily?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:38 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Really" at 1:26
posted by Namlit at 2:44 AM on November 27, 2010


I was being ironic with this comment.
... it would be nice if perhaps we might ask ourselves if posting "Really?" before commenting is helping or simply muddying the waters


This pretty much wraps it up, doesn't it. Most people here are cool with the occasional bit of irony, perhaps even sarcasm, but sometimes, it isn't entirely clear what someone really meant; the waters are muddied, not by words, but by insecurities about the intent of some phrase or other.

Getting hung up on a word like that hence is pretty useless. "Really" doesn't qualify for any definition battles like some other old favorites around here. It can be used, and interpreted in a zillion of ways, and ignored in just as many ways. Even in situations where it likely comes along with some embedded sarcastic script, you need someone to react to it to activate that script. There's always the option of not doing that.

That's, for me, the fantastic thing about internet communities: that I have at any point the option to only see, or deal with, the constructive side of a discussion. The only thing it takes is to sit back and analyze for a while.
posted by Namlit at 3:10 AM on November 27, 2010


The only thing it takes is to sit back and analyze for a while.

And WHO has time for THAT?

;)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:20 AM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has anyone mentioned the commercial for the new Windows phone?

It uses the "Really?" meme quite well.
posted by morganannie at 6:22 AM on November 27, 2010


And WHO has time for THAT?
you typed that too fast!
posted by Namlit at 6:36 AM on November 27, 2010


Has anyone mentioned the commercial for the new Windows phone?

It uses the "Really?" meme quite well.


Oh, really? No, I mean, "Oh, really?" Really. I'm not trying to say "Really?" but just "Really?" Really. Really. I know what you're thinking - "Really?" but yeah, "really" because it kind of just occurred to me that, you know, sometimes "really" really is just "really" and not its half snarky half shitty cousin, "Really?"

What a mess.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:53 AM on November 27, 2010


* adds "Really?" and "Um," to the list of phrases to use more often *
posted by eyeballkid at 7:02 AM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


In conversation, I find the "Really?" comment to be infurating, to the point where I have said to friends when they use it, "NO, ASSHOLE, I'M LYING THROUGH MY FUCKING TEETH JUST TO FUCK WITH YOUR HEAD!" in a way that indicates that I find it a highly unpleasant method of describing a sense of uncertainty about my comments.

I haven't hit anyone for it.

But the century is still young.
posted by mephron at 7:54 PM on November 27, 2010


"NO, ASSHOLE, I'M LYING THROUGH MY FUCKING TEETH JUST TO FUCK WITH YOUR HEAD!"

"Oh, good. For a moment there I thought you were actually that stupid."
posted by Sys Rq at 8:09 PM on November 27, 2010


I hope you catch fire, Sys Rq.
posted by mephron at 9:38 PM on November 27, 2010


Aw, that's sweet, mephron. I hope you catch ebola.

Happy Holidays!

In all seriousness, though, the use of Really? as described in the post does not betray a mere "sense of uncertainty," but rather expresses shock and dismay vis-à-vis the profound boneheadedness of the words or actions in question.

See also: what
posted by Sys Rq at 1:11 PM on November 30, 2010


... and its dim cousin wut?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:55 PM on November 30, 2010


Not to mention the more incredulous uncle wait, what?
posted by dg at 5:02 PM on November 30, 2010


And the dismissive Yeah.... no.

(I always get an image of Gary Cole in Office Space from that phrase. I don't think he actually says it in the movie, but it fits so perfectly with the whole "I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too..." thing.)
posted by Lexica at 1:41 PM on December 1, 2010


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