If you delete this post I win a prize December 4, 2010 6:53 AM   Subscribe

My last three posts have all been deleted. Just out of curiosity, how many more deleted posts do I need to win the record?

I'm actually not trying to be a jerk about this. I read deleted posts regularly (courtesy of a Greasemonkey script) and I've noticed that even the most frequent posters to the Blue get deleted every now and then. I take deletion as a possible risk of posting, but for risk-analysis sake: what's the record?

P.S. - I'm not at all interested in why you think my post was a shitty post. I'll take as given that my posts deserved deletion. I'm just interested in some kind of statistical probability here, so I can allocate resources. How often do posts get deleted?
posted by twoleftfeet to Etiquette/Policy at 6:53 AM (134 comments total)

Three. You win.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:02 AM on December 4, 2010


After winning the title in '08, I decided to take a good hard look at why my posts were being deleted with such frequency.
posted by gman at 7:02 AM on December 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


A shitpile is a really crappy place to hold a coronation.
posted by Dano St at 7:17 AM on December 4, 2010 [23 favorites]


You're up against some pretty stiff competition, I'm afraid.
posted by jokeefe at 7:17 AM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


'Allocate resources'? What?
posted by box at 7:18 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh-- two recent posts about wikileaks and a double. You might want to follow gman's advice.
posted by jokeefe at 7:19 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're up against some pretty stiff competition

Really? What's the record?

Spam doesn't count. Every one of my deleted posts was an honest attempt to make a decent post. Sometimes, unwittingly, I've made a double post, but more often I've just hit some unwritten editorial policy. Given that I didn't intend to violate this unspoken deletion policy, and given that I don't really want to try to analyze the nuances of a zillion previous posts and deletions, it seems reasonable for me to assume that deletions are essentially capricious, and to allocate my posting frequency according to a probability distribution whose parameters I'm trying to determine.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:26 AM on December 4, 2010


Based on the infodump:
Postroad                       79
mathowie                       69
delmoi                         38
gman                           35
swift                          33
four panels                    30
orthogonality                  28
vronsky                        26
jonson                         25
chunking express               24
chuckdarwin                    24
specialk420                    23
WCityMike                      23
loquacious                     23
hadjiboy                       22
pb                             21
netbros                        21
Effigy2000                     21
semmi                          21
augustweed                     20


I'm pretty sure that most of the deleted posts by mathowie and pb were test posts used to check a bug or feature, so they don't really count.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:26 AM on December 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


so I can allocate resources

To try and beat the record? Really?
posted by Forktine at 7:27 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clearly by the list above, you're a rank amateur, twoleftfeet.
posted by crunchland at 7:35 AM on December 4, 2010


Given that I didn't intend to violate this unspoken deletion policy, and given that I don't really want to try to analyze the nuances of a zillion previous posts and deletions, it seems reasonable for me to assume that deletions are essentially capricious, and to allocate my posting frequency according to a probability distribution whose parameters I'm trying to determine.

There are really, really obvious not-at-all-unspoken reasons why those three posts got deleted. Perhaps you could allocate your resources to reading and understanding the deletion reasons, rather than (apparently) trying to randomly search the parameter space...
posted by advil at 7:37 AM on December 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


If it's any consolation, in terms of quality, your posts were immeasurably awful.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:37 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seventy-nine? Seventy-nine!?

That blows my mind.
posted by meese at 7:41 AM on December 4, 2010


ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!
posted by zarq at 7:43 AM on December 4, 2010 [16 favorites]


Yeah, this is the kind of thing that the mods don't want to draw attention to because there are some people who would actually work quite hard to get the most deleted posts, which really sucks for mefi.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:44 AM on December 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


your posts were immeasurably awful.

My posts were measurably insufficient to beat delmoi and gman.

At last, a goal that could give my life meaning.

Thanks. The next post will be un-deletable.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:44 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well if you go by percentage 33% of mine have been nuked*, so in your case you have over 40 deletions to go before you can rightly don the mantle if we assume that metric.

*Impulse control is not my strong suit.

You can search (upper left) deleted thread by user name for the purpose of schadenfreude and/or enlightenment and/or if your bed of nails isn't doing it for you anymore.
posted by vapidave at 7:45 AM on December 4, 2010


Interesting that people like jonson, Effigy2000, WCityMike and loquacious are on that list, who I seem to remember have made some great posts too. I guess a lot of them are just accidental doubles, so there will be a correlation between # posts total (or "posting attempts") and # deleted posts.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:54 AM on December 4, 2010


I've noticed that even the most frequent posters to the Blue get deleted every now and then.

I don't hold to the argument that you should just throw stuff out there and if it gets deleted, it's no big deal because it happens to everybody. Many posters have never had a deleted post, ever. While I think standards for posts on MeFi are high in general, standards to merely avoid deletion are pretty low in my opinion, and if you are consistently falling afoul of them, you should rethink things. Take gman (please). While his posts used to be deleted all the time, recently I've noticed a stream of great posts.

I'm not at all interested in why you think my post was a shitty post.

That probably goes way to explaining why they were shitty posts.
posted by grouse at 7:56 AM on December 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


That probably goes way to explaining why they were shitty posts.

Well, no, not really. I just didn't want to ground out on this or that particular post.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:01 AM on December 4, 2010


If you try to post something that's already been posted, unless it's a really old double and there are significant updates, it'll get deleted. If you try to post something where there is already a post from the last few days or weeks on the same topic, it'll get deleted.

How hard is that to comprehend?
posted by crunchland at 8:03 AM on December 4, 2010


Given that I didn't intend to violate this unspoken deletion policy

What's unspoken about it? You even said in the Hitler one that cortex would probably delete it. The Beatles one was a double. The third was weak.
posted by rtha at 8:04 AM on December 4, 2010


it seems reasonable for me to assume that deletions are essentially capricious

Well, its your prerogative to assume that if you like, but flexible, variable non-robot human though I may be I'm not sure I'd agree it's reasonable exactly.

The double post is a non-starter. The other two were wikileaks chaff: one just Yet Another Downfall Parody, a meme that's been more or less beaten to death in its own right already regardless of the topic du jour; the other a deeply thin twitter-gossip post and a repost of content that we had seen four months earlier on the site.

So, if there's a trend here that you want to incorporate into how you approach posting, I think it comes down to "read the site more attentively and search more carefully". If you're looking to reduce the chances of getting a given post deleted, that seems like the missing element. If you're looking for a codex by which you can be certain of exactly which posts will and will not get deleted, I'm afraid this may not be the site for you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:05 AM on December 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Congratulations on your butthurt! You win a Brand New Day!
posted by Eideteker at 8:11 AM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


"The inevitable: Hitler does Wikileaks." you ask why?
I'm actually not trying to be a jerk about this
I dont think you are but you might be upset. Its a tough crowd. I see lists have been bandied, gman near the top, i dont know why, but i love his posts. The Beatles post was not bad but needed more and vacapintas' reason statement is in spirit with Beatles.
posted by clavdivs at 8:17 AM on December 4, 2010


Interesting that people like jonson, Effigy2000, WCityMike and loquacious are on that list, who I seem to remember have made some great posts too.

Exactly. Most of the people on that list have made a lot of very good posts as well as a lot of posts that have gotten deleted. And yes, there is an open debate about whether it's better to just make a ton of posts and assume some will be deleted just based on the numbers or wait until you've got a post you're just in love with and make an effort to hve it not be deleted. MeFi has tons of both sorts of posters, so it's really your choice.

it seems reasonable for me to assume that deletions are essentially capricious


That would be a reasonable assumption given your small dataset. And there's an element of "we had to make a decision and here's the decision we made" to some of the deletions [your Wikileaks ones in particular] but I maintain if you want to post here and never get anything deleted, it's something that's within your grasp, but it may mean you need to become a different sort of poster. I do think there are some posters who are less in touch with how we-as-mods or the community-as-flaggers make their decisions. Here are some guidelines for people who want to avoid deletion. This is not a "how to make a good post" list, this is "how to not get deleted"

- don't post about breaking news stories. they are likely to be doubles and/or newsfilter-y posts that are too light really to hold up here
- don't post about anything that has been posted about in the previous week - you might be hitting some sort of "please keep this topic in the open thread" limit - this means searching using tags and the search box, not just eyeballing the site
- don't post about something you read on other popular site, many people here read those too and they may already know about the thing or mentioned it in another thread
- don't post about something because you read an action item about it [sign this petition! vote for this guy! save this animal!] on another web site
- don't post about something because it's causing controversy on the internets unless you think you can do a really great job at explaining what is going on dispassionately, better than other people [this one is dodgy, but I think it's workable]
- don't post single link youtube posts
- don't post "my favorite band is doing this...." posts
- don't post an obit for a wildly popular person unless you have searched and done the work to make a grat obit

Get your inspiration for posts from somewhere that is not the internet and you will likely be linking to something that is more novel for the average MetaFilter reader than you think.

Again, there are ways of making great posts that don't hit these guidelines, but some of them may get deleted. There also may be people who are better at making posts like these and if you don't make a lackluster post, they may get to make a great post. Sometimes when I'm in Ask MetaFilter giving someone an answer to something and I'll notice I'm Googling for answers [without any special knowledge of terms or whatnot] I'll stop and think "you know other people can use Google too and if I show up with an authoritative-sounding well-Googled answer, that may actually be less useful than someone else showing up actually knowing something about a topic, every answer doesn't need to come from me" I think the same thing about front page posts.

And again, your question was how to not get deleted. We-as-mods don't really think having a post deleted is a big deal, but we also absolutely don't think nearly all deletion reasons are capricious; we're happy to talk about any of them that you are unclear on or want to know "how could I avoid this" in the future, though I think there are probably other "ways to be a better MeFite" that are more interesting and more fun.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:18 AM on December 4, 2010 [28 favorites]


Metafilter: in spirit with Beatles.
posted by boo_radley at 8:33 AM on December 4, 2010


I like that, jessamyn.

But grouse: standards to merely avoid deletion are pretty low in my opinion, and if you are consistently falling afoul of them, you should rethink things

I disagree with this. I happen to enjoy making "risky" posts. The riskiness usually has to do with unusual form or content (as opposed to, say, self serving stuff). Case in point: this post (Metafilter thread: here.) This was a quite deliberate attempt to push the envelope a little. It got deleted, but it didn't bother me, because I knew it was on the cusp.

But there's other stuff that seems less clear. Case in point: there have been no less than nine deletions related to the recent Wikileaks release during the last couple weeks (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 plus two of mine), all by cortex (hence an earlier remark*). It seems to me that when media and user interest is that high, it's unreasonable to assume an implicit ban on the topic (as earlier commenters in this thread have done.)
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:34 AM on December 4, 2010


I thought for sure I've had more than 20 posts deleted.
posted by empath at 8:40 AM on December 4, 2010


Case in point: there have been no less than nine deletions related to the recent Wikileaks release during the last couple weeks (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 plus two of mine), all by cortex (hence an earlier remark*).

If there as an open thread on the topic, use the open thread. Why is that hard to understand?
posted by empath at 8:41 AM on December 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


I disagree with this. I happen to enjoy making "risky" posts. The riskiness usually has to do with unusual form or content (as opposed to, say, self serving stuff).

I do too. And as a result, I've had a handful of posts deleted. It happens.

As Jessamyn says, if you frame a controversial post reasonably well, it does stand a better chance of surviving. But that's certainly not a guarantee.
posted by zarq at 8:43 AM on December 4, 2010


I'm just interested in some kind of statistical probability here, so I can allocate resources.

As others have said, I'd really like to know what you meant by this.
posted by John Cohen at 8:45 AM on December 4, 2010


I happen to enjoy making "risky" posts.

With all due respect, this desire is at odds with the "I do not want to bedeleted" desire.

It seems to me that when media and user interest is that high, it's unreasonable to assume an implicit ban on the topic

There is no ban. Heavily discussed topics, especially contentious ones, will sometimes hit a point where we'd prefer people kept discussion in one or two open threads and didn't open a new thread every time there was a news story they felt was interesting. We know that some people find this inhibiting, however it's the way the site has worked since the 2000 election cycle. If you think this approach is unreasonable, that may be the point in which your vision of the site varies enough from the site's vision of itself that you may encounter prolems.

This is not a news blog, it is a site where people sometimes post links to news stories. Hot button topics encourage a lot of conversation but often it's of the "fuck you" "no fuck YOU" variety. These posts take a lot of mod time and stray from what we feel is the core purpose of MetaFilter. Accordingly we are somewhat stricter about deleting vague fighty news posts going so far as to have some topics where we've said "If you want to make a post about fighty topic X, you need to take great care to make it not-another-fighty-thread on Topic X or we will delete it."

The nine Wikileaks deletions are a result of us trying to keep the Wikileaks discussion coralled into a few open threads, or trying to keep it down to a post about every other day. If you want a post to not be deleted, Wikileaks is a bad choice of post topic.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:45 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


And yet there are two WikiLeaks posts going on right now. State Department Columbia School of Jouranalism (which by the way in case it's not clear is not the official position of the state department, only a heads up from an alum to his alma mater) and the ongoing epic one.
posted by fixedgear at 8:54 AM on December 4, 2010


I'm just interested in some kind of statistical probability here, so I can allocate resources.

As others have said, I'd really like to know what you meant by this.


It takes time to make a post. I can do other things with my time. If my post is deleted then I've pretty much wasted my time. If I can't be sure whether or not my post will be deleted - if this depends on criteria that are unclear to me - then at best I have to use some kind of statistical judgment (e.g. 33% of my posts will be deleted).

This sounds absurd if you assume that everyone can tell whether or not they are making a good post, but from what I've seen it looks like most deleted posts are deleted for reasons that the poster didn't expect.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:56 AM on December 4, 2010


I can do other things with my time.
OK.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:01 AM on December 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


As jessamyn said (well, I paraphrase), it's going to be difficult to reconcile your desire to allocate resources with your desire to make 'risky' posts.
posted by box at 9:01 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


so I can allocate resources. --- Put half of your armies on Madagascar, and you can hold out forever.
posted by crunchland at 9:05 AM on December 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


(e.g. 33% of my posts will be deleted)

Well, you've had 19 posts deleted, and 144 have stood, so it's actually a touch under 12% if you're worried about the specific number. If you're worried about ever having a post deleted at all, Jessamyn's breakdown of things to avoid will get you into reasonably good shape for lowering that percentage further.

Of the stuff you have had deleted, a couple were doubles, another you asked to have removed, and the common thread in most of the rest is a tendency to post Here's Another Little Update On Topic Currently Being Discussed A Bunch sort of things (Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Michael Jackson) or sort of gossipy slightly social-media stuff (George Bush is on facebook, here's Hugh Hefner's twitter). So, erring on the side of not-so-much with that stuff—adding follow-on stuff to an existing post as a comment, giving "here is a tidbit of social media news about a famous person" stuff a pass if there isn't a lot more meat to it that you can include—would help out too.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:05 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


> it seems reasonable for me to assume that deletions are essentially capricious

This is a lousy thing to say. (It seems almost impossible for people to make posts about their deletions without insulting the mods.)

> It got deleted, but it didn't bother me, because I knew it was on the cusp.

This is a lousy attitude if you care at all about the mods who have to deal with this stuff, and a self-defeating attitude if you care about not being deleted and thus wasting your (and the mods') time.

Prescription: Think more carefully about posting.
posted by languagehat at 9:09 AM on December 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


you've had 19 posts deleted

Damn, I was just one away from making the the list.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:09 AM on December 4, 2010


Huh, according to my bed-of-nails hairshirt report, I only have 6 deleted posts, 3 were doubles, two were lame (ouch and on my BIRTHDAY Cortex) and the last one had too many borked links.

I now feel undeservedly good about myself.
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a lousy attitude if you care at all about the mods who have to deal with this stuff

I have tremendous respect for the mods but I don't think about them at all when I'm making a post. Baseball players stand at the plate and try to hit the ball... they don't think about the umpire. Basketball players drive to the basket without thinking about the referee. [Sports players] do their [sports goal] without thinking about the [sports official].

I think about about the mods after I make a post. And especially if I disagree with them.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:21 AM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I need to step up my game. Almost all of my deletions were doubles. That is my super power.
posted by chunking express at 9:25 AM on December 4, 2010


Baseball players stand at the plate and try to hit the ball... they don't think about the umpire.

This is nonsense. If they know that this is the guy who always calls that knee-high ball a strike they don't adjust their strategy accordingly?
posted by fixedgear at 9:27 AM on December 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


Baseball players stand at the plate and try to hit the ball... they don't think about the umpire.
They do not. The Umpire(s) are behind the catcher, with thier eye on the ball.
posted by clavdivs at 9:30 AM on December 4, 2010


[Sports players] do their [sports goal] without thinking about the [sports official].

MeFi is not a competition being refereed by the moderators. It is a community web log. People are supposed to be on the same team, and the moderators are more like your quarterback or team captain than an umpire. Some sports players do their thing without thinking about the other members of their team, but they are not good players.
posted by grouse at 9:31 AM on December 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


If I were a mod I'd have deleted this thread just for the irony. Another reason I am not a mod.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:34 AM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


MeFi is not a competition being refereed by the moderators.

OK then. My metaphor sucked. How about this one:

[Writers] do their [writing] without thinking about [editors].

Or at least they should.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:34 AM on December 4, 2010


hate the playa, don't hate the game.
posted by empath at 9:34 AM on December 4, 2010


No, that also sucks. When you write, you write for an audience, and if you want to make a living writing, you write for a market.
posted by empath at 9:36 AM on December 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


How soon can you start doing other things with your time?
posted by Wolfdog at 9:37 AM on December 4, 2010 [14 favorites]


Baseball players stand at the plate and try to hit the ball... they don't think about the umpire.

If you're going to use metaphors, then attendantly, they know where the strike zone is.

I knew it was on the cusp.

Respectfully, if the deletions actually are bothering you, then you might move your cusp over a bit.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


[Writers] do their [writing] without thinking about [editors].

Your editors, in this not-very-good analogy, are actually other mefites, and our red pen is the flag. If you are making posts without regard to the likelihood of it being flagged (and then deleted by the mods), then you should maybe make those kinds of posts on your own blog.
posted by rtha at 9:49 AM on December 4, 2010


I thought twoleftfeet actually meant record for deleted posts in a row.
posted by kenko at 9:49 AM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


people make posts?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:50 AM on December 4, 2010


if the deletions actually are bothering you

They aren't bothering me. As I said in the original post "I take deletion as a possible risk of posting". Sometimes, rarely, they bother me (deleted posts or deleted comments), if I feel that the deletion was unwarranted.

But I'm not doing that here. I'm not questioning the validity of a deletion (as I said in the original post "I'll take as given that my posts deserved deletion".)

What I want is the probability that someone's post will be deleted. Maybe somebody could run the infodump data to determine the relative frequency of deletions per number of posts. It's complicated by the fact that not every user posts, or posts very little. So anecdotal evidence could suffice.


I thought twoleftfeet actually meant record for deleted posts in a row.

Yes, actually. I did mean that. I might still have a record there!
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:58 AM on December 4, 2010


but I don't think about them at all when I'm making a post. Baseball players stand at the plate and try to hit the ball...

As a performing musician who started writing mid-career I am confident to say that you're totally missing the point of the mechanics of the art of writing. Writing is all about not having to do it all at once. In fact, the very problem of writing is that you've got too much time between the act, and going public.
To counteract the crippling effect of the inner critic that occupies that excess time, writers develop all sorts of strategies to act as if they were performing artists, for example by forcing themselves to free-write an hour a day, or 500 words in one uninterrupted sitting or whatnot. It is however pre-understood that this will, at some stage before going public, be followed by an editing session or two.
The performing artist, sportsperson, acrobat, on the other hand, has to make this one situation a success at one particular moment, with no chance of re-doing anything.

The baseball analogy would not help you much in any case. In sports (and music making), most of the preparation has to happen before you enter the arena. One step of the preparation would be to consult the rulebook (called FAQ on MetaFilter).
posted by Namlit at 10:04 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had a double, a I don't even know what I was going for, and only one deletion I didn't agree with, but that's because I saw the guy as a scammer (perfectly fine to make fun of), and not as a complete nutter: "Eh, it seems like we're laughing at random crazy people here -- mathowie"

That's all of mine! Unless the deleted thread misses some.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:06 AM on December 4, 2010


Maybe somebody could run the infodump data to determine the relative frequency of deletions per number of posts.

I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? Infodumpster.
posted by box at 10:11 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe somebody could run the infodump data to determine the relative frequency of deletions per number of posts.

I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? Infodumpster.


Does the Infodumpster give that information? I don't see how.
posted by John Cohen at 10:14 AM on December 4, 2010


What I want is the probability that someone's post will be deleted.

I haven't run the numbers recently, but I recall the raw rate being something like 6-9% of posts being deleted. It'd be easy to roughly check that with the postsdata stuff in the Infodump; just count up all the posts, and count up all the posts with the deleted flag set. Probably two minutes in excel if you're into that sort of thing.

Breaking that out by cause (double vs. spam vs. other, maybe?) would require some manual labor but would give a better picture of what the actual rate of deleted-for-being-not-a-good-post was. You'd also need to account for the fact that early on, posts weren't given a deletion flag so much as deleted from the database. But it'd also make sense to account for year-to-year differences as the userbase grew, moderation policy matured, etc, so to some extent that'd be a problem that manages itself if you were to partition stuff by year and just throw an asterisk next to 1999 and 2000 or whatever.

The probability of any given person's post being deleted depends on the post, though, and a bit on the context (particularly on whether we're in one or another variety of "Yet Another..." situations), and that's about it. There's no quota, there's no externality causing posts to be deleted for the sake of deletion itself. So talking about it in a statistical sense is not easy to do in a meaningful way if your concern is with strategies for improving posts rather than literally just datawankery qua datawankery.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:15 AM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


> I think about about the mods after I make a post. And especially if I disagree with them.

Yeah, you have a shitty attitude and should find something different to do with your time.
posted by languagehat at 10:34 AM on December 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think about about the mods after I make a post.

I'm watching World Cup Super G from Beaver Creek and I'm thinking about the mods. That's how sexy they are.
posted by Dumsnill at 10:47 AM on December 4, 2010


cortex and I have each had a nonzero number of posts deleted, for what that's worth. three of cortex's were test posts but one was a SLYT post with the deletion reason "this sucks" written by mathowie or possibly me. I've had two posts deleted for being doubles.

I feel like trying to answer this question is like trying to hit a moving target. There is a way to make posts and know almost for certain they will not be deleted. There is an average rate of post deletions-per-mefite and your own place relative to that number. There is lots of good advice in this thread. If you want to make posts for the community and not think about the community guidelines for making posts [or even the outer limits of what usually stays and goes] then you're not going to be able to determine whether your post will stay or go beforehand.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:51 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you have a shitty attitude and should find something different to do with your time.

Really? Because I have the exact same thought-relation to the moderators. I don't think about them when I'm making a post—I think about the stuff I'm posting about. I also don't think about them if

(a) they don't delete the post and I think that they shouldn't do so. Why in the world would I? I mean, what would bring them to my attention, as regards my post, at least?

(b) they do delete the post and, on reflection, I agree with the decision. I'll have thought about them when thinking about the deletion, of course, but then I'll move on to other things.

(c), they don't delete the post and I think they should, has not yet happened.

When would the mods occupy my mind, in regards to posts that I make? If they delete the post and I think they shouldn't have. That's not the sign of a shitty attitude, that's the sign of ordinary humanity. Stoics and saints and those who approximate them may be free from it, but most of us have it.
posted by kenko at 10:53 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


People are supposed to be on the same team, and the moderators are more like your quarterback or team captain than an umpire.

In a sports analogy, I disagree. A sports analogy works like the soft-shoe, gets the job done. Beyond that further extrapolation turns 'fighty'. I will be bold at my accounts risk. If the "game" is being played, it is mathowies' ballpark.
runs
posted by clavdivs at 11:05 AM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


"[Writers] do their [writing] without thinking about [editors]."

Actually, no. I write pitches more with editors in mind than with the audience for the mag/site in mind, because the editor is the one who ultimately puts the writing down.

And one of the biggest problems in writing is that a lot of editors are pretty terrible at editing, which means that when you find a good one, you try to work with them as much as possible. Not only are good editors able to make your piece so much better, but they're able to make you a better writer across the board, especially by forcing you to reconsider phrases/ideas/references that seem clever or clear to you, but are opaque or obnoxious to readers.

Likewise, great batters pay a lot of attention to their manager, who very much does pay attention to the ump and to the pitcher and to the shift of the fielders and to the situation (RISP, etc.). Baseball's such a marginal game that very little variations in, say, taking a pitch that's marginally a ball versus swinging at it because you aren't paying attention to the zone the ump has been calling etc., makes the difference between hall of fame batters and replacement level batters.
posted by klangklangston at 11:08 AM on December 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


twoleftfeet, if i were trying to win (which i am not, but if i were), i would try to with quality instead of quantity.

if you were to focus your efforts into creating the single worst, most delete-worthy post of all time your post would demonstrate precision with style rather than splatter-shot target-hitting by happenstance.

the post would be the penultimate example for all of what not to do. if the post were in the middle of the night you could possibly also snag the record for highest number of flags on a single post. no matter what, the would live on forever on deleted threads. who knows, your worst post of all time could be deemed important enough to be noted on the wiki, or maybe even get your user name canonized in the lore of the community.
posted by the aloha at 11:25 AM on December 4, 2010


It's easy. Quit making posts that suck and they won't get deleted. Check posts that have many favorites and lots of activity. Learn from them. That way, you win and bring up the tone of Metafilter at the same time.
posted by Lynsey at 11:28 AM on December 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Are we still at this?

[IMG]
posted by Eideteker at 11:33 AM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


"[Writers] do their [writing] without thinking about [editors]."

False as this may be about writers and editors, the moderators are only in the loosest sense editors of metafilter, and posts to the front page are not pitches to them.
posted by kenko at 11:37 AM on December 4, 2010


My last three posts have all been deleted.

Just seven more and you get an autographed poster of Mathowie!
posted by special-k at 11:43 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


empath wrote: "If there as an open thread on the topic, use the open thread. Why is that hard to understand?"

Because it's a very flexible "rule." There have been a couple of deleted WikiLeaks-related posts that seemed to synthesize new material reasonably well that might not have been deleted at other times.
posted by wierdo at 11:46 AM on December 4, 2010


It's ridiculously easy to make a post that will definitely get deleted. There's no skill there, and no fun in even trying.

It's not terribly difficult to make a post that doesn't get deleted. It's harder to make a good post, and much harder to make a great post.

But sometimes I want to make a post that may or may not be deleted. Sometimes I want to make a post that is interesting, but in a weird way that may be too weird to survive deletion. It's art, dammit! It's Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (booed by audiences when first performed, but now regarded as a masterpiece). It's Galileo's heliocentric model of the solar system (which almost got him killed, but is now, you know, the way we see things). It's Ringo, the last Beatle, not accepted at first but now considered to be the driving force. IT'S ART, DAMMIT! Sometimes I aspire to make art in a post.

If that means occasionally making a post that gets deleted, so be it. I'd rather make an interesting post than a safe post.

That said, I'm not saying that my posts have been especially arty. But they could be. Eventually.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:52 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I want to make a post that is interesting, but in a weird way that may be too weird to survive deletion. It's art, dammit! It's Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (booed by audiences when first performed, but now regarded as a masterpiece). It's Galileo's heliocentric model of the solar system (which almost got him killed, but is now, you know, the way we see things). It's Ringo, the last Beatle, not accepted at first but now considered to be the driving force. IT'S ART, DAMMIT! Sometimes I aspire to make art in a post.

Sounds great. But if that is genuinely your goal, maybe your own blog would be a better avenue for it. (This is not a snark or a criticism of any of your posts.)
posted by John Cohen at 11:55 AM on December 4, 2010


Every great artist learns the fundamentals first, so they know how to most effectively break rules.

Stravinsky could play Mendelssohn; Galileo knew geometry; Ringo played skiffle before he played rock.
posted by klangklangston at 12:03 PM on December 4, 2010


Galileo was also known for his skill with the sacrifice fly.
posted by box at 12:05 PM on December 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


But sometimes I want to make a post that may or may not be deleted. Sometimes I want to make a post that is interesting, but in a weird way that may be too weird to survive deletion.

That's wandering into GYOB territory, yeah. MeFi is not your own blog, and your own blog would not have to follow MeFi's guidelines.
posted by rtha at 12:07 PM on December 4, 2010


It sounds like your recent deletions are not at all because of artiness, but because either it happened to be a double or else it's a bit too repetitive of other things that have been posted lately (so, it's a weakness that is contextual -- updatefilter, or another downfall parody). It's not that they "suck", they're not horrible, terrible, atrocious, just they're a bit too repetitive, and so a bit weak. The deletion decisions are thus context-dependent, and the way to predict them is to keep a close eye on the site and on what the general buzz is these days. (might be too big a task, in which case you can take jessamyn's advice or just take your 1/12 chance or whatever)

But regarding this kind of deletion, the "art" aspect is irrelevant.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:13 PM on December 4, 2010


I'd rather make an interesting post than a safe post.

Well that might have stood a better chance of standing than a double, jumping the gun and an overdone meme...

Just don't make it stunty. Miko's epic Alice's Restaurant FPP was arty and interesting, so it can be done.
posted by edgeways at 12:26 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


A little light reading for those interested in adopting an alternative posting style:

hama7
posted by carsonb at 12:41 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's art, dammit!

my mistake! in that case, it is most unfortunate that your pieces invoke ideas already challenged, fosters only a retreading of discussion, and that the links point to other work that has been previously confronted.
posted by the aloha at 12:43 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


The recent deletions were definitely not due to artiness. I think we're on some other point now, though I'm not sure what it is.

Every great artist learns the fundamentals first

In this context, how many posts do you have to make before you can break the rules?

That's wandering into GYOB territory

I thought the Get Your Own Blog thing had more to do with editorializing, or perhaps posts preoccupied with the minutiae of some highly local niche. If Metafilter is a "community weblog" then I see no reason why the form or content of a post should be more severely constrained than that of an individual blog.

I think there's an opportunity to create posts which advance the nature of hypertextual communication. It's only 2010. The web is less than 20 years old (or so). It's not reasonable to suppose that all future forms of posting styles have already been invented. Therefore there will be new types of post that we haven't seen yet. It's wrong for a community weblog to censor these expressions because they are unfamiliar, but that's likely to happen anyway.

All this because I completely disagree with the idea that deleted posts necessarily are sucky posts.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:46 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who ever said that?
posted by box at 12:52 PM on December 4, 2010


I think there's an opportunity to create posts which advance the nature of hypertextual communication. It's only 2010.

I'm starting to think this is an elaborate, inter-textual joke. If so: cricket.
posted by Dumsnill at 12:53 PM on December 4, 2010


I think there's an opportunity to create posts which advance the nature of hypertextual communication.

Are you for real?
posted by empath at 12:53 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, props on going almost six hours before using the word 'censor.'
posted by box at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2010


> Really? Because I have the exact same thought-relation to the moderators. I don't think about them when I'm making a post—I think about the stuff I'm posting about.

You're missing my point. I'm not responding to the literal sense of the words I quoted but to the part they play in the ongoing parade of incomprehension and indifference that is twoleftfeet's participation in this thread. A normal person, on having it pointed out to them that their cavalier attitude to posting makes life more difficult for the mods, would say something on the order of "You're right, I hadn't considered that aspect sufficiently and will try to incorporate it into my posting habits, because I don't want to make their lives more difficult"; twoleftfeet says what in this context amounts to "Screw the mods."

> If that means occasionally making a post that gets deleted, so be it. I'd rather make an interesting post than a safe post.

> If Metafilter is a "community weblog" then I see no reason why the form or content of a post should be more severely constrained than that of an individual blog.

And twoleftfeet continues demonstrating that twoleftfeet cares about nothing but twoleftfeet and twoleftfeet's dreams of "artistic" posts. Seriously, I've rarely seen a clearer case of GYOB.
posted by languagehat at 12:56 PM on December 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's wrong for a community weblog to censor these expressions because they are unfamiliar, but that's likely to happen anyway.

Is this your central point? I still don't seem to understand your central point.

If you are in some way opposed to having community mores determine whether your posts are or are not deleted, then that is a great reason to have your own blog.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:02 PM on December 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


In this context, how many posts do you have to make before you can break the rules?

If you are 1) seriously asking that question and 2) expecting a serious reply, then for you personally, probably never.

Real artists don't waste time on websites trying to get other people to answer that question, they go out and find out for themselves. Your dicking around on this isn't doing anything but putting you further from your implied goal
posted by nomadicink at 1:07 PM on December 4, 2010


Prescription: Think more carefully about posting.

Languagehat is prescriptivist now. You heard it here first.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:08 PM on December 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


Quit making posts that suck and they won't get deleted.

Well, they might still get deleted if they're doubles--sometimes The Great Post About That Famous Dead Person is beaten out by The Pretty Good Post About That Famous Dead Person, frex.

But the work of writing a great post is never wasted, IMO.

(Not that I am much of one for the posting, myself, so I applaud all of you who take the time to make great posts here. I would if I had anything anybody wanted to read, I promise.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:09 PM on December 4, 2010


What's the record for most deleted posts? What's my personal ratio of posts: deleted posts? What's the sitewide ratio of posts: deleted posts?
(answered above)

Why were these specific posts deleted?
For the clear reasons given. It's not that they "suck"... just they're a bit too repetitive, and so a bit weak. No biggie, try a bit harder to avoid repetitive or updatefilter.

But I want to make art with my posts!
These posts were not art; what's your point in bringing up art?

There are unexplored possibilities!
Sure. But why is this relevant to posting at Metafilter, which has clear guidelines and community norms about what kinds of arty posts are within bounds, what's borderline, and what's pretty clearly out of bounds? If you post in the borderline area, you know that you risk deletion, which again is no biggie. If you post in the out-of-bounds area all the time, the mods will probably ask you to cut it out.

If you don't like the bounds here or can't understand them, you can have your very own free blog where you can post absolutely everything your heart desires in the most arty and challenging fashion imaginable.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:11 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


To really push the artistic envelope I think you should make some huge grandiose stunt post. Like generate a huge list of malware websites and have those be your destinations for a bunch of hyperlinks using the blank ALT-255 character ( ) as the anchor text.

Example:
[ ] <>
FPP that shit. Lotta whitespace. Carpe diem. Fuckin' ART.
posted by BeerFilter at 1:11 PM on December 4, 2010


Aww it worked better on preview.
posted by BeerFilter at 1:12 PM on December 4, 2010


Tyler Durden: How's that working out for you?
Narrator: What?
Tyler Durden: Being clever.
Narrator: Great.
Tyler Durden: Keep it up then...
posted by Babblesort at 1:20 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


it seems reasonable for me to assume that deletions are essentially capricious

This is stark flaming bullshit, and it makes it impossible for me to take anything you say in this thread seriously. If you really, honestly, can't tell any difference between your excellent molecular gastronomy post, which got a hundred favorites, and your flogging of a meme that's deader than the dancing baby, then I just don't know what tell you.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:23 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


This coming April 1 the mods should take the day off. Let every comment, post, self-linker or SEO bastard do what they will. No repercussions. Don't answer contact emails, ignore metatalk posts, and let chatfilter askmes through. See what this place is like then!

For maximum fun don't tell Vacapinta or pb.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:30 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


All this because I completely disagree with the idea that deleted posts necessarily are sucky posts.

They're not. Sometimes they're doubles. Sometimes they're "put this in the open thread" posts. Sometimes they're self-links.

And the GYOB thing isn't just for editorializing. It's also for stuff that, for a variety of reasons, just isn't a great fit for Metafilter. Sometimes your shit is going to be "too arty" for this place, and it's going to get flagged (by us, your audience), and it's going to get deleted. If you're going to push boundaries, you run a greater risk of deletion. Them's the breaks. If you want to push boundaries consistently, or break them altogether, and you don't want those posts deleted, then put them on your own blog. Mathowie is not obligated to leave up any damn thing at all.
posted by rtha at 1:34 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


IT'S ART, DAMMIT! Sometimes I aspire to make art in a post.

You know how shit in a can can be art?

Shit on the blue is never art. Seriously. Get a can.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:54 PM on December 4, 2010


For God's sake, don't declare your posts to be art. We have much lower standards for posts than we do for art.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:58 PM on December 4, 2010


Also, a lot of people here hate art.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:59 PM on December 4, 2010


Also, a lot of people here hate art.

Well, I've never understood that. I don't know Art that well, but he seems like a pretty cool guy.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:02 PM on December 4, 2010


But he's a bit obsessed with comics.
posted by Dumsnill at 2:05 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


And it's like, jesus, if you love Aliens so much why don't you marry it already.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:09 PM on December 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is so odd. How difficult is it to understand that if you don't have use some quality control in the writing of your post ("Is this a double?" "Is this something that everyone has seen already on Gawker, etc.?" "Is this lame?") then you are just offloading that on to the mods. If you're going to force them to screen your posts for worthiness, it makes more work for them. If you complain about it, then you're being rude. No?
posted by jokeefe at 2:11 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cortex, you may have just paved the way for an art/xenomorph pairing that could destroy MetaFilter.

I call it the xenomart. Also a good place to shop for sundries.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:15 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not to be confused with the xenumart, which is where I get my e-meters.
posted by box at 2:18 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


See also Zenomart, where the line at checkout keeps getting shorter but never quite ends.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:19 PM on December 4, 2010 [13 favorites]


There's always Zeromart which ought to have more than it does.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:20 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know it's not Art, but is it Paul?
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:21 PM on December 4, 2010


And Heromart, where Batman buys his cereal.
posted by grouse at 2:40 PM on December 4, 2010


I've been there.
posted by Sailormom at 2:56 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


don't post an obit for a wildly popular person unless you have searched and done the work to make a grat obit

I love typographical errors, and I doubly love ones that make me wonder whether that would be just a free obituary, or one baked with cheese.

And it's like, jesus, if you love Aliens so much why don't you marry it already.

They did this when Paul Reiser was on SNL once. The skit was called Mad About You Aliens.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:14 PM on December 4, 2010


Metafilter: literally just datawankery qua datawankery
posted by Chrysostom at 3:36 PM on December 4, 2010


Most Zenomarts work like that cortex, but the one at the Hotel California will send you through the checkout line straightaway and then make you queue at the door to the building-I guess the exit isn't wide enough? Anyway, I've been here for a little while...the guy in front of me is halfway-no, make that three quarters of the way-through the door. I'm sure I'll find passage back to the place I was before any minute now.
posted by Kwine at 3:43 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Listen, when I stand at the plate, I'm going to take my hacks and swing for the fences.

Why should I worry about the strike zone, or the fact that my coach has called for a hit-and-run or a bunt--or, even worse, he wants me to take a few pitches?

So I'm hitting .183 and have never risen above AA ball. That's my prerogative.

Yeah, I'm used to being silenced all my life.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:43 PM on December 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


given that I don't really want to try to analyze the nuances of a zillion previous posts and deletions, it seems reasonable for me to assume that deletions are essentially capricious . . .

Try this: "Given that I don't want to look for facts that may establish x occurred because of y, it is reasonable to assume that x did not occur because of y." For your next trick, will you become a creationist?

Despite the claim that this is not about the justice of your deletions, you've spent an awful lot of time telling everyone how the mods have capriciously deleted your art.

You're trolling.
posted by Marty Marx at 4:09 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I need to step up my game. Almost all of my deletions were doubles. That is my super power.

I honestly believe that the search function does not work for me specifically and that it has conspired to encourage me to double post because it enjoys taunting me. The mods must sit there sighing with every double post from my account thinking "Can't she use the search function?!" and honestly might not believe that not only do I search, but I also try and scan the front page for relevant posts. And yet, I still fail.

It's probably related to the fact that I never learned to read.
posted by sonika at 6:33 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


cortex writes "Well, you've had 19 posts deleted, and 144 have stood, so it's actually a touch under 12% if you're worried about the specific number. If you're worried about ever having a post deleted at all, Jessamyn's breakdown of things to avoid will get you into reasonably good shape for lowering that percentage further."

I bet if you cut it back to less than 1 a week, say 2 or 3 a month, your deletion rate will plummet.
posted by Mitheral at 6:39 PM on December 4, 2010


Deletion Blues

woke up this mornin'
and found i'd been deleted
said i woke up this mornin'
and found i'd been deleted
like Napoleon at Waterloo
i shoulda just retreated

what's the reason for deletion?
how should i play it next time round?
say what's the reason for deletion?
how should i play it next time round?
should i post some link i think is cool?
or should i leave it where i found?

i've had so many posts been pulled
seems like they mostly get the axe
i've had so many posts been pulled
seems like they mostly get the axe
i'm gonna have to end it all
i'm gon' go lay down on the tracks

but when i'm dead and buried
they're gonna write on my grave stone
said when i'm dead and buried
they're gonna write on my grave stone
there's plenty more whose posts got pulled
and so he did not die alone
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:31 PM on December 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


search engines not working the way you expect them to: wow, you aren't kidding. You'd think the word "beatles" in the search box would come up with more than two results from last year and 9 months ago.

Seems like a flaw.
posted by gjc at 7:33 PM on December 4, 2010


Try it again with a capital B.
posted by fixedgear at 7:44 PM on December 4, 2010


You'd think the word "beatles" in the search box would come up with more than two results from last year and 9 months ago.

Um, I get 191 posts searching for beatles or Beatles.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:01 PM on December 4, 2010


Do all these sporting analogies make this an appropriate place to crow about the severe tonking being handed out in Adelaide? Time for rain dances if you're an Aussie I think.
posted by Abiezer at 8:26 PM on December 4, 2010


Have you guys ever clicked the "next blog" button on blogspot more than a couple of times? Invariably, after about seven clicks you get into a never-ending stream of:

* Family blogs (OK, not my thing, but sure)
* Christian blogs (often the first category segues to this)
* Crazy Christian blogs
* THERE GONNA TAKE MY GUN SECOD AMEDMANT blogs (often seasoned with racism)

Thing is, I know of plenty of pretty cool blogspot blogs. How come the "next blog" button never gets me to those?
posted by maxwelton at 9:03 PM on December 4, 2010


You'd think the word "beatles" in the search box would come up with more than two results from last year and 9 months ago.

The site search will, by default, attempt to search the subsite from which you invoke it if you search from the bar in the upper right, as noted in the dropdown box on the resulting search results page. So if you search for "beatles" from this page or any other page of Metatalk, you will get results for metatalk posts, of which there have been apparently two ever mentioning beatles.

Change the drop down to the subsite you want (Metafilter, presumably, if you're vetting a post, or "all sites" if you want to be extra thorough) and you'll get the appropriate results.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:33 PM on December 4, 2010


jessamyn- I think you may very well be the mythical Moderator Goddess of the Internet, as evidenced by your apparently endless grace in responding to situations like these, and the way you manage to weave in just the right amount of cynical humor (re: the thread three up from this one).

Cheers.
posted by nzero at 10:23 AM on December 5, 2010


the post would be the penultimate example for all of what not to do

So which post should I look to first?
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 5:58 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I see. Maybe the default should be all sites with the dropdown acting as a filter. That seems like standard behavior for internet search boxes. Might be part of the reason for all the "jeez, I swear I searched for that" posts.
posted by gjc at 6:22 PM on December 5, 2010


Might be part of the reason for all the "jeez, I swear I searched for that" posts.

Actually, part of the reason is that stemming doesn't work right in MeFi searches. If you have a post about "toys" and you search for "toy", it won't list posts which have the word "toys" because that isn't equal to "toy". If you have a post about the Senate, and you decide to cover your bases and search for "senat" thinking that will yield results for both "senate" and "senator", you'll find it won't yield either of those results.
posted by hippybear at 11:12 PM on December 13, 2010


Aw. Why can't we have stemming, too? All the other cool websites can stem. Why can't WE?
posted by crunchland at 3:56 AM on December 14, 2010


I believe we do in fact have some limited stemming, but it's more of a special-case thing than a generalized feature. I don't remember the details. This is a constraint of the feature set (or possibly a disabled feature for performance reasons?) of the prefab search tool we're using (whether on the CF side or the SQL Server side, I don't remember) and not some conscious "stemming sux" design decision. Stemming is certainly useful stuff, though on the flip side being able to not deal with unwanted stemming has its uses as well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:37 AM on December 14, 2010


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