Cannibal thread December 21, 2010 11:33 AM   Subscribe

I humbly submit that this is not a good post for Metafilter. A woman was murdered and her body was desecrated, and some commenters are taking the opportunity to make creepy jokes about it.
posted by zarq to MetaFilter-Related at 11:33 AM (449 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

ugh.
posted by Sailormom at 11:35 AM on December 21, 2010


those jokes really are creepy
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:35 AM on December 21, 2010


yes. bad post with creepy jokes. what else is there to discuss, his cook book, japanese law?
posted by clavdivs at 11:37 AM on December 21, 2010


The post is fine for Metafilter. Don't blame the poster for the behavior of commenters.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:37 AM on December 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


The topic itself didn't bother me - but the way people treated it? Repulsive. This is not how we should be doing things around here.
posted by saturnine at 11:38 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm still trying to process the "sane but evil" evaluation.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:39 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the conversation veered toward the oddity of law by which the person is free, that would be worthwhile. But the jokes are misogynistic and offensive, to say the least.
posted by jbickers at 11:39 AM on December 21, 2010


I think the post is fine. I cringed at Lutoslawski's joke, the rest don't really bother me.
posted by hermitosis at 11:39 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Creepy jokes are my favorite kind of jokes.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:40 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


That wasn't my intention at all, to spurn some of the comments that appeared in there. :(

I admit I set it up in a kind of light hearted way, but it is a very serious and disturbing crime. I thought it was interesting, above all.

Astro Zombie's comment, in my opinion, treats this delicate subject with the right: cautious, serious, and above all, lucid and informative.

I was not very glad to see some of the other comments. Like these:

"Let me be the first to say that I've felt this way myself."

"If you know a better way of completely possessing a Caucasian woman, I'd like to hear it."

I'm a bit new to Metafilter, and I'm not very experienced as to what's a good post. I sincerely found this subject of interest and I thought Metafilter would have something interesting to say about it.
posted by fantodstic at 11:41 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't mine the content — it's a fascinating case that illustrates a very strange cultural and legal difference between Japan and the west — but I was going to call out the weird more-inside "The top link directs to a video interview with Issei Sagawa done by VBS TV, an online broadcast network that streams free original content 24 hours a day" thing which seems like the post is an excuse for an advertisement.
posted by nicwolff at 11:41 AM on December 21, 2010


100% agreed. Between this and all the "tee-hee, dead deer" stuff this isn't a particularly bright day for the blue.
posted by mintcake! at 11:42 AM on December 21, 2010


I flagged everything I thought was unseemly. There are definitely some posts where gallows-type humor is expected and even tolerable, but this is over the edge.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:42 AM on December 21, 2010


Astro Zombie's comment, in my opinion, treats this delicate subject with the right approach**: cautious, serious, and above all, lucid and informative.
posted by fantodstic at 11:42 AM on December 21, 2010


Oh hi fantodstic — can you explain why you thought we needed to know that VBS TV is "an online broadcast network that streams free original content 24 hours a day"?
posted by nicwolff at 11:42 AM on December 21, 2010


I think the post is fine. I cringed at Lutoslawski's joke, the rest don't really bother me.

Oh god. I just saw this and was like "i don't get why everyone's piling on the comments", but then i searched for the comment you're talking about.

ICK.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:43 AM on December 21, 2010


I don't mine the content — it's a fascinating case that illustrates a very strange cultural and legal difference between Japan and the west — but I was going to call out the weird more-inside "The top link directs to a video interview with Issei Sagawa done by VBS TV, an online broadcast network that streams free original content 24 hours a day" thing which seems like the post is an excuse for an advertisement.

Yes, I thought that would come off that way. Well, I did take that straight from their "About".
Which is just lazy. Sorry about that.
posted by fantodstic at 11:43 AM on December 21, 2010


Oh hi fantodstic — can you explain why you thought we needed to know that VBS TV is "an online broadcast network that streams free original content 24 hours a day"?

Rookie, lazy, mistake. Simply put :(
posted by fantodstic at 11:44 AM on December 21, 2010


clavdivs: "yes. bad post with creepy jokes. what else is there to discuss, his cook book, japanese law?"

Theology, perhaps.

So, for people trying to wrap their heads around "Sane but Evil", please enjoy a lesser dissonant gem from the Scottish legal system called "Not Proven" -- I will sum up for you in voce as "We know you did it, but we can't prove you did it."

Basically you can't just jump to Sane but Evil. You have to work your way to it.
posted by boo_radley at 11:44 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


This post has been a learning experience for me. Thanks guys :)

I mean this sincerely. I think this conversation, so far, has improved my idea of what Metafilter content should include (and avoid). I'm glad to hear more suggestions.
posted by fantodstic at 11:45 AM on December 21, 2010


Agreed about some of those comments. Beyond that, I mostly wish stomach-churning posts wouldn't pop up around lunch time.
posted by naju at 11:46 AM on December 21, 2010


I admit I set it up in a kind of light hearted way

Which maybe isn't the greatest set-up for a thread about a horrible crime if you want people to discuss the more serious aspects of it.

I deleted some of the grosser comments [tip: please don't link to every horrible comment, just flag them and let us deal with it so we don't have to play the "what was deleted???" game] and am waiting to chitchat with cortex about the rest of it. Threads about horrible crimes tend to go badly in even the best situations, I tend to think they are rarely great topics for MeFi posts but that's just my personal non-mod opinion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:47 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's an interesting post, and I think Astro Zombie's comment more than makes up for the obnoxious one-liners.

And honestly, I'm not even really that offended by the crappy wisecracks. That's just how some people respond to horror. I think in most cases it's more akin to whistling in the dark than anything.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:48 AM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, some of us deal with tragedy through humor, and I'd appreciate not being discriminated against for that. Prejudice fuckwads!

mods: do feel free to delete my comment. really not worth starting a grar grar MeTa over. It was obviously toeing the line, and I probably shouldn't have said it. On the other hand, Christ people are touchy, and obviously bored.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:49 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's just how some people respond to horror. I think in most cases it's more akin to whistling in the dark than anything.

Exact.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:49 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, terrible post.
posted by LarryC at 11:50 AM on December 21, 2010


Basically you can't just jump to Sane but Evil. You have to work your way to it.
all from scottish law...

Its the Japans man, not Edinburgh.
posted by clavdivs at 11:54 AM on December 21, 2010


That's just how some people respond to horror. I think in most cases it's more akin to whistling in the dark than anything.

I think that this is really true -- I was torn between saying something like "I'm uncomfortable with many of these responses" and making a D&D alignment joke even though I found the idea of doing so horrific. I totally knew that it would be awful and hurtful and disrespectful but sometimes you just don't know what else to do.

Something I've learned from years of tense Christmases with my family is that no one appreciates my inappropriate humor except my father (and my husband but he wasn't around when I was a kid) so I should probably stick to whispering my jokes to the two of them and keeping everyone else out of it because the rest of my family does NOT deal with uncomfortable situations by making inappropriate jokes and it's hurtful to them when I do, so I try to keep it to myself. It's one thing to think it and another thing to say it.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:56 AM on December 21, 2010


jessamyn: " I deleted some of the grosser comments [tip: please don't link to every horrible comment, just flag them and let us deal with it so we don't have to play the "what was deleted???" game] and am waiting to chitchat with cortex about the rest of it. Threads about horrible crimes tend to go badly in even the best situations, I tend to think they are rarely great topics for MeFi posts but that's just my personal non-mod opinion."

Thank you, Jessamyn. Will do.

fantodstic, I just want to mention that in creating this thread I mean nothing against you personally. Your framing bothered me. The comments bothered me more. It happens. I've done it myself: I had a post deleted in September that highlighted an even more horrific crime, and I only realized in retrospect that it should never have been posted. It deserved to be deleted.
posted by zarq at 11:56 AM on December 21, 2010


As someone who really doesn't have a problem reading about horrible things... that thread is just irredeemably awful. The subject matter isn't half as horrible as the flip way that some people are treating it ("eating her" jokes, etc) and that's saying a lot when the subject is CANNIBALISM.

I don't know if the post itself could be made any other way, or if it should be on MeFi at all, but that thread is a shining example of crapulence if we're having a "Worst of MeFi" opposite day kind of thing going on.
posted by sonika at 11:57 AM on December 21, 2010


The documentary is interesting. With the benefit of hindsight (and this isn't an attempt at a joke) I shouldn't have eaten lunch whilst watching it, but then again I had no idea that they would show the crime-scene photos. Still, I'm not sure what I expected when watching a video of a cannibal.
posted by ob at 12:00 PM on December 21, 2010


Well, some of us deal with tragedy through humor, and I'd appreciate not being discriminated against for that. Prejudice fuckwads!

mods: do feel free to delete my comment. really not worth starting a grar grar MeTa over. It was obviously toeing the line, and I probably shouldn't have said it. On the other hand, Christ people are touchy, and obviously bored.


Since it's going to be deleted, here' what you said in thread:


I've eaten a lot of Caucasian women....but they seemed to enjoy it. I think he's doing it wrong.

Also: OMFG WTF!!?!
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:04 PM on December 21 [2 favorites +] [!] [quote]


You're complaining that this sexist, creepy comment pissed some people off, and I'm a touchy predjudiced fuckwad? Ass.
posted by zarq at 12:00 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anyone else feel like the comments in the Idris Elba thread about watching him sleep were also a bit creepy?
posted by ODiV at 12:02 PM on December 21, 2010


I think that this is really true -- I was torn between saying something like "I'm uncomfortable with many of these responses" and making a D&D alignment joke even though I found the idea of doing so horrific. I totally knew that it would be awful and hurtful and disrespectful but sometimes you just don't know what else to do.

I knew it was awful when I said it, and I did it anyway when I should have kept it to myself. Definitely one of those 'what do you say to this!' moments, as the second part of my comment sort of tried to elude to.

Sorry for those offended. I've asked Jessamyn to take it down. It wasn't even that funny, and certainly too much time has already been wasted by too many over something so trite.

And while I appreciate the emotion behind the concerns of many people here w/r/t joking about the topic, I also think that a few of you must have insane blood pressure, or something, and need to sort of relax. The thread isn't her fucking wake.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:02 PM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Whistle past the graveyard, but not at the expense of the victim (or at the expense of women in general).
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:04 PM on December 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


And while I appreciate the emotion behind the concerns of many people here w/r/t joking about the topic, I also think that a few of you must have insane blood pressure, or something, and need to sort of relax.

I'm plenty chill and also one of the first to indulge in dark humor, and I'm just sayin' - that was OVER THE LINE, SMOKEY.

MARK IT ZERO.
posted by sonika at 12:05 PM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


No problem zarq. I'm glad you posted this thread; it has been helpful to me as a Metafilter contributor/user.
I definitely have a better idea of how to contribute a good post after this conversation. I'm very fascinated by this community and the way it treats information and discussion - how seriously it takes these things. Because they are important things to keep in mind, in this internet age.

Thanks for the heads up :)

I just posted this comment to the main thread, aaargh :(
posted by fantodstic at 12:06 PM on December 21, 2010


I am always curious about the fascination with cannibalism. I have several books on the subject, as I have several books on the subject of torture, and know that a lot of my own curiosity comes not from seeing it as an abstraction, but wondering what things would be like if I were in the place. I cannot imagine myself a torturer, but I can imagine myself tortured. I'd like to imagine I would take it with grim forbearance, but I avoided a doctor for 20 years and did not go to a dentist for almost a year after I developed an abscess out of utter terror. And I wasn't afraid of the pain. I experience worse pain every time I stub my toe than I ever have at a doctor or a dentist. I prick myself with a needle every time I sew something, and it is far worse than getting a tetanus shot or blood drawn, which has always amazed me at how painless it is. I think the fear is the unknown, and how much of it is there. Will I have to have teeth pulled? Will the doctor tell me I have cancer? Am I terminal and don't know it? And torture is nothing but unknowns. Will I die? Will I be damaged forever? Will I be electrocuted? Will they take my teeth?

With cannibalism, I don't imagine myself killing and eating a corpse, in the same way I do not imagine myself a torturer. And I do not imagine myself a victim, in the same way I do not imagine myself in the grave or my ashes being spread. Once I am dead, my body really is no longer my concern. I won't know what happens, and won't care. But I do imagine myself in the circumstances of Diego Rivera, who tells of a friend acquiring meat from a cadaver, and them cooking it up and tasting it, just to see. What would I do in those circumstances? I am a vegetarian, and have been for 28 years. But would I eat human flesh?

I think the answer is the same as if I found a 1,000 year old jug of wine, or were offered meat from a frozen woolly mammoth. Hell yes, I would try it.

But we don't know until we're actually faces with the question. And these stories remind us that one day, it's possible we might be.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:08 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oddly enough I liked lutoslawski's joke. It wasn't weirdly misogynistic like a few of the others and anything that is pro- oral sex gets my vote
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:10 PM on December 21, 2010 [16 favorites]


It may have been tacky and not even really that funny, but it wasn't over the line.
posted by barrett caulk at 12:11 PM on December 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm a touchy predjudiced fuckwad?

Predjudiced and fuckwad are your words. What is going on here?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:11 PM on December 21, 2010


Agree with the young rope-rider. Not everyone's cup of tea, but I laughed.
posted by Melismata at 12:12 PM on December 21, 2010


One of those gross jokes was mine, and I'm glad it was deleted. I do indeed tend to respond to tragedy with black humour, but that's best kept in my own head or among very close friends, not dumped all over the internet. My apologies.
posted by Zozo at 12:13 PM on December 21, 2010


Jessamyn, Lutoslawski's follow-up comment protesting being discriminated against for his specific style of humour used those terms.
posted by Phire at 12:14 PM on December 21, 2010


and am waiting to chitchat with cortex about the rest of it.

And I'm pretty much where Jess is. My personal opinion is that it's a not-great, not-trainwreck framing of an interesting and discussion-worthy topic; the importance of good framing can't be overemphasized because of cases like this. The thread going off the goddam rails is an independent thing and hopefully that will right itself at this point and folks can have a decent discussion instead of going for the Ha Ha Geddit stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:15 PM on December 21, 2010


Lutoslawski's follow-up comment protesting being discriminated against for his specific style of humour used those terms.

Whoops, my apologies.

Lutoslawski, if you're sincerely apologizing for the extra work this is causing us maybe walk away at this point? Thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:17 PM on December 21, 2010


jessamyn: " Predjudiced and fuckwad are your words. What is going on here?"

No goddamit, they aren't.

Lutoslawski: "Well, some of us deal with tragedy through humor, and I'd appreciate not being discriminated against for that. Prejudice fuckwads!

mods: do feel free to delete my comment. really not worth starting a grar grar MeTa over. It was obviously toeing the line, and I probably shouldn't have said it. On the other hand, Christ people are touchy, and obviously bored.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:49 PM on December 21 [+] [!] [quote]
"

I was responding to him. Oh, and by the way, he's still complaining:

Lutoslawski: " And while I appreciate the emotion behind the concerns of many people here w/r/t joking about the topic, I also think that a few of you must have insane blood pressure, or something, and need to sort of relax. The thread isn't her fucking wake."

I was within my rights to respond. I would have been within my rights to tell him to fuck off, but I restrained myself.
posted by zarq at 12:18 PM on December 21, 2010


These are the moments when the preview button is our friend.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:18 PM on December 21, 2010 [19 favorites]


You're complaining that this sexist, creepy comment pissed some people off, and I'm a touchy predjudiced [sic] fuckwad? Ass.

Dude, the prejudice fuckwad thing was also a joke. Christ. Yes, you are touchy.

Seriously though, apologies for crossing the line, which I admittedly did. Certainly was not intending to be sexist and/or creepy. If you read into it more than a play on words that implied "I, Lutoslawski, have had oral sex with women of Caucasian origin, and, given the nature of the act, it seemed that it was pleasurable for all parties involved" followed by a stupid memetic comment meant only to illuminate the (poor) pun, then know that such a reading was not the one I intended. I apologize to all who read it this way.

I'm a touchy predjudiced fuckwad?

Predjudiced and fuckwad are your words. What is going on here?


No, they were originally my words. Upthread I was trying to make a joke about people being prejudice against those of us who find humor, even in its darker contexts, necessary to not wallow in Weltschmerz.

Again, apologies. Sigh. Must we continue? It's lunch time on the West coast.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:19 PM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


jessamyn: " Whoops, my apologies."

I'm sorry. I didn't preview.

I'm pissed off. Going to walk away from this thread for a while and calm down.
posted by zarq at 12:19 PM on December 21, 2010


Let's hug it out, everyone :)
posted by fantodstic at 12:21 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


...and scene!
posted by Floydd at 12:22 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


So now what? Recipes?
posted by barrett caulk at 12:22 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lutoslawski, if you're sincerely apologizing for the extra work this is causing us maybe walk away at this point? Thank you.

Sorry didn't preview. Yep, walking away. Hugs to all.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:23 PM on December 21, 2010


If anyone needs to abuse someone else in effigy, I have a meeting in five minutes and won't be able to reply for at least an hour.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:25 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was cool with your joke but I am not cool with you telling people to calm down. It's a really cliched and generally unproductive way to deal with criticism.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:27 PM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


Some people appreciate that there are defensible reasons for sick jokes about awful events; others don't. It was, is, and ever will be thus. Here's a thought about how to deal with jokes - or indeed any other kind of comment - you don't like:

Ignore them. Move on. Let the bad comment wash over you, and around you, and past you. Let it leave in its place a fine residue of reminder that not everyone thinks like you do, laughs at the same things you do or shares your particular set of sensibilities. Then go about your day refreshed and with a light heart.
posted by Decani at 12:27 PM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


What are you, my yoga teacher? DOWNWARD FACING DOG HURTS AND I WON'T CALM DOWN ABOUT IT, CHERYL!
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:29 PM on December 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


So now what? Recipes?

Perhaps not in this particular thread.
posted by elizardbits at 12:31 PM on December 21, 2010 [42 favorites]


Yeah, I laughed. Sorry. I mean, we all know that what the dude did was fucked up and wrong, right? So, you realize that's where the humor comes from — looking at something abhorrent and underplaying it, because we all know it's abhorrent.

But then, I'm a vegetarian, so eating any meat seems kind of fucked up to me.
posted by klangklangston at 12:32 PM on December 21, 2010


Perhaps not in this particular thread.

Now is clearly not the time to mention how good a strawberry granita tastes when you drink it out of a fresh coconut shell.
posted by hermitosis at 12:35 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was within my rights to respond. I would have been within my rights to tell him to fuck off, but I restrained myself.

We could use a lot less of this around here, and more, "Yeah, this pissed me off, but instead of asserting some nebulous 'right of response' and insisting on the last word or telling someone off, I'm going to flag and ignore and maybe drop a private line to the awesome, awesome mods."

Also, I didn't think the post itself was too terrible, but some of the comments were disappointing. Not the worst case of OutrageFilter I've seen on the Blue by a long, long shot.
posted by Gator at 12:37 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


No thanks.
posted by pianomover at 12:40 PM on December 21, 2010


I'm all for oral sex.
posted by Sailormom at 12:40 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've had it up to hear with oral sex. The subject is such an awful mouthful, and I have to choke down my feelings about the subject. Anyone who dares to raise it is due for an extended tongue lashing, and, if need be, I'm willing to come to blows. Frankly, it metaphor simile metaphor pun pun pun pun orgasm.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:42 PM on December 21, 2010 [27 favorites]


cannibalism to cunnilingus in just over an hour. We're like a smutty lenscrafters.
posted by boo_radley at 12:43 PM on December 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


btw, holy shit, Gator, how did you do that thing on your profile? The croc picture. That's really awesome...
posted by fantodstic at 12:45 PM on December 21, 2010


I've had it up to hear with oral sex.

Missed opportunity: "I've had it up to hear with aural sex."
posted by Gator at 12:45 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaTalk: metaphor simile metaphor pun pun pun pun orgasm.
posted by sonika at 12:46 PM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


We could use a lot less of this around here, and more, "Yeah, this pissed me off, but instead of asserting some nebulous 'right of response' and insisting on the last word or telling someone off, I'm going to flag and ignore and maybe drop a private line to the awesome, awesome mods."

Perhaps next time you don't like a post I make on the Blue you'll follow your own advice and flag it and move on or complain to the mods in a private memail rather than attacking me in MeTa. Wouldn't that be nice.

I do notice that you seem to have no problem with Lutoslawski saying I'm a prejudiced fuckwad. Interesting that you're addressing my comment and not his, considering that his seems more egregious. Interesting bias there on your part.

FWIW, I was being asked by Jessamyn why I had said something I didn't say I'm not going to drop her a private line to explain myself when she's asked me a question in public that needs clarification.
posted by zarq at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2010


...but I am not cool with you telling people to calm down. It's a really cliched and generally unproductive way to deal with criticism.

Yeah, but sometimes people do need to calm down. And what Decani said.
posted by marxchivist at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2010


Metaprudery on the march again.
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


And no one has noticed how pepsi blue this sounds?

done by VBS TV, an online broadcast network that streams free original content 24 hours a day.

posted by asockpuppet at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2010


Are word play and pun synonymous?
posted by josher71 at 12:48 PM on December 21, 2010


boo_radley: give us another twenty minutes and we'll get to transubstantiation and the Reformation.
posted by ODiV at 12:48 PM on December 21, 2010


klangklangston, I'm sure you didn't mean it this way: But all I read when I see your username is "Klingon".
posted by royalsong at 12:48 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


ODiV: "give us another twenty minutes and we'll get to transubstantiation and the Reformation"

Always with the upsell.
posted by boo_radley at 12:49 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pissed off. Going to walk away from this thread for a while and calm down.

zarq, I say this as a friend, but what happened to that walk?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:49 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


zarq, you're doing that thing again where you say you're going to go away and cool off but then you stick around and get even madder for no good reason.
posted by Gator at 12:50 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


zarq, with respect, please take a slightly longer walk.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:51 PM on December 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


Hugs for Zarq.

Go get a drink and a really nice dinner and forget this thread ever happened.
posted by royalsong at 12:51 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


And no one has noticed how pepsi blue this sounds?

Yes, they noticed.
posted by josher71 at 12:52 PM on December 21, 2010


And no one has noticed how pepsi blue this sounds?

done by VBS TV, an online broadcast network that streams free original content 24 hours a day.

A couple of people above already did :)

And I apologized and confessed my shame about it each time, and once more here. I'm sorry, it was rookie/lazy of me to do that. :(
posted by fantodstic at 12:52 PM on December 21, 2010


I don't agree with 99% of what people are saying here or how they're saying it, but I'm incredibly relieved that this community has this kind of fight. This is what (in my mind) holds it above the rest of the crap on the internet.

I'm also glad that the grey here exists to hash out the "he said she said" fighting over rules, without further muddying waters in threads.

Lastly I'm delighted to have been introduced to the word Weltschmerz today.

Anyway. I'm glad this stuff gets talked about.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:53 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hmm...this whole thing is interesting. It didn't even occur to me that people would be put off by this and the sick jokes inside, and when I saw zarq's meta link I was like "woah!" which says something about my terrible sense of humor and what I find interesting, I suppose...but I also can completely understand why some would be upset. I mean, that's some upsetting shit right there.

I would favor comments like Astro Zombie's great comment in that thread (which, for the record, was the only one I favorited), and I personally find the subject super interesting. I also like the darkly humorous comments, but again, understand they bug some folks, and why jessamyn and cortex might do well to keep to a theme of "these don't tend to go well..." This one didn't seem to, huh?

I also appreciate your considerate follow-up in this thread, fantodstic. For the record I like these kinds of posts, and would enjoy it if we had them in the future, but I guess the lesson is: frame them very carefully, and all the rest of you wisecrack-ers (don't get me wrong, I share your sense of humor, but) keep it to yourselves or tone it down. The fact is, if you want the community to be sustainable, and value everyone's perspective, then you have to make accommodations for others' sensibilities when necessary—and this is certainly one of those cases, methinks. No one is really losing out by not making, say, necrophilia jokes here, there are plenty of other places where that can happen, if it's really necessary.

There's my two cents.
posted by dubitable at 12:54 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm all for oral sex.

OMG, we have so much in common!!!
posted by nomadicink at 12:54 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


My sister in law used to get told to go and walk round the house and count to a hundred. Apparently the sight of her walking round the house counting aloud was quite the sight.

Also, nobody should make jokes about cunnilingus.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:55 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is actually my worst problem with MetaFilter.

I didn't even open that thread because I knew exactly the kind of thing people would say (a version of Lutoslawski's joke occurred to me as a possibility) and I didn't want to see that.

But what the hell good did that act of avoidance do me when I find myself doing the thing I abhor inside my own head?

Which is my problem with all the jokes, not just the offensive ones. When I consider opening a given thread, I find myself formulating the jokes I expect to see, having seen them and their ilk so many times before, and that means the joking has somehow taken me over entirely against my will!

I don't know what to do about it, either.
posted by jamjam at 12:57 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nobody likes it when oral sex produces gags.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:57 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, nobody should make jokes about cunnilingus.

eponysterical!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:57 PM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Now I'm interested to see how cannibal threads have gone in the past. We had a thread about the Canadian bus killing, right?

*goes looking*
posted by ODiV at 12:58 PM on December 21, 2010


Nobody likes it when oral sex produces gags.

Pun intended/not intended/joke? Haha *nervous laugh*
posted by fantodstic at 12:59 PM on December 21, 2010


Gator, how did you do that thing on your profile? The croc picture. That's really awesome...

Oh, it's grandfathered in from the Olden Days of MeFi when we were all allowed to have custom CSS on our profiles. I think ThePinkSuperhero and I and maybe a couple of other people are the only ones who still have custom stuff -- and we can never make changes to our profiles again, or we'll lose it! (It's an alligator, BTW -- I'm in Florida. Crocs exist here but they are quite rare.)
posted by Gator at 1:00 PM on December 21, 2010


eponysterical!

OH GROW UP
posted by shakespeherian at 1:00 PM on December 21, 2010


Fantodstic, you're adorable and remind me so much of myself.

It's fine :) Welcome to Metafilter and don't worry overly much about people's passive comments they make on MetaTalk.
posted by royalsong at 1:01 PM on December 21, 2010


It's a really cliched and generally unproductive way to deal with criticism.

Hear, hear! Would that people were more innovative and original in their responses to histrionic flabbergastment. Advising one's critics to perhaps hold off their admonitions until they've wiped the foam from their mouths just doesn't have the cachet it once did; it's simply been done to death. No, if one wants to respond to over-the-top tut-tuts in kind, I daresay one must indeed take a fresher approach.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:11 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


all the rest of you wisecrack-ers (don't get me wrong, I share your sense of humor, but) keep it to yourselves or tone it down

Without meaning to pick on your comment specifically, dubitable, I want to use it as an illustration of something that I think is going deeply wrong here. Why isn't it just as fine to say "all the rest of you upset-getters (don't get me wrong, I share your sense of moral revulsion, but) keep that to yourselves or tone it down"? Why frame a discussion about the boundaries of humor as though telling edgy jokes were always presumptively the wrong thing? Jokes about ugly subjects are funny sometimes, and people do need to lighten up sometimes. It's very frustrating to see MeFi sliding towards a discursive climate where the most vocally offended party always carries the day. The problem is that this:

if you want the community to be sustainable, and value everyone's perspective, then you have to make accommodations for others' sensibilities when necessary—and this is certainly one of those cases, methinks. No one is really losing out by not making, say, necrophilia jokes here

is a false way to frame the issue. We don't and can't "value everyone's perspective" — we as a community and the mods in making deletion decisions are always deciding that some things are "over the line." If you frame the issue so that a deleted joke is never a loss and always a reasonable accommodation, then you end up with a humorless community.

Jokes are worth defending, and a community that values them has to accept that sometimes crappy jokes happen without each new one being greeted with such histrionic offense-taking.
posted by RogerB at 1:13 PM on December 21, 2010 [33 favorites]


Thanks, royalsong. I have a strange relationship with MetaTalk threads: I lurked Metafilter for months before joining and part of the reason I didn't join sooner was because every time I found something online that I thought, "I would like to join Metafilter and share this!" I was always a bit scared by the potential way the post could end up in MetaTalk and all the different ways I could be nitpicked apart by all of MetaFilter's sharpest pens.
But lately I've come to appreciate this section because, aside from a lot of the back and forth escalation and heated debates that can erupt here, I think each and every MetaTalk thread I've read is, above all, trying to advance Metafilter in some way; there's a point to the threads that stands up and gets built on in spite (and in some ways, because) of the barbs that are traded here.

Still, there are some Mefites I would never ever want to start a word war with.
posted by fantodstic at 1:13 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hey, some of my favorite comments on this website have been tasteless responses to murder stories. (Not on that thread, necessarily, though there were funny bits.)
posted by furiousthought at 1:14 PM on December 21, 2010


Before deciding how shitty someone is behaving online, it's always a good idea to step back and read their post again through a well-intentioned lens. Text is pretty damn subjective, and doubly so when you're discussing charged issues.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:15 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


"If you know a better way of completely possessing a Caucasian woman, I'd like to hear it."

Failing to see the problem with this comment. It's not trivializing the victim, it's lampooning the madness of the killer. As if needing to completely possess a Caucasian woman were a totally normal and sane everyday thing. Which it's not.

"I've eaten a lot of Caucasian women....but they seemed to enjoy it. I think he's doing it wrong.

Also: OMFG WTF!!?!
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:04 PM on December 21 [2 favorites +] [!] [quote]

You're complaining that this sexist, creepy comment pissed some people off, and I'm a touchy predjudiced fuckwad? Ass."


Wow, between the last comment I quoted and this one, what's really clear here is that some people devote way too much energy to getting bent out of shape. FWIW, Luto, I got that the "Prejudice fuckwads!" was a joke. It wasn't too funny, but it clearly wasn't serious.

I mean, c'mon, zarq. What's eating you?
posted by Eideteker at 1:20 PM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


But then, I'm a vegetarian, so eating any meat seems kind of fucked up to me.

When the revolution comes, you'll be the first lined up against the bacon ovens.
posted by nomadicink at 1:21 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Note: That was also a joke. I have no intentions of performing actions of either cannibalistic or cunniligistic upon zarq. Even if he's into it.
posted by Eideteker at 1:21 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nobody likes it when oral sex produces gags.

I read that as "gas".
posted by ob at 1:24 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even if he's into it.

That doesn't sound kosher.
posted by nomadicink at 1:24 PM on December 21, 2010


Very well said, RogerB. Wish I could favorite that more than once.
posted by mbatch at 1:27 PM on December 21, 2010


Also, nobody should make jokes about cunnilingus.

Oral sex. Serious business.
posted by dersins at 1:32 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


fantodstic, I completely understand. Actively participating in this community is awesome and scary as hell all at the same time. You will always get some people who think what you posted was lame/stupid/not gold. Sometimes they will post to tell you about their opinion, sometimes you get flagged. Sometimes what you posted will be deleted, either rightfully so or because well-intentioned text still come off snarky.

If you were really doing something horrible, a mod would tell you.
posted by royalsong at 1:32 PM on December 21, 2010


boo_radley : Basically you can't just jump to Sane but Evil. You have to work your way to it.

I'm hoping that one day when the smoke clears, people will look upon what I've wrought and, after a lot of consideration, they'll pronounce me "Bored".
posted by quin at 1:34 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"If you were really doing something horrible, a mod would tell you."

Hopefully not by finding me IRL and sitting on a table next to mine at Coffee Bean and passing a note in bold black marker(!!!)
posted by fantodstic at 1:35 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


FWIW, I know for a fact that cortex only carries timid black markers.
posted by Eideteker at 1:38 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


If they do, then buy them a coffee!
posted by royalsong at 1:40 PM on December 21, 2010


If you were really doing something horrible, a mod would tell you.

I just can't read the last couple days. I read that one as "If you were really doing something horrible, a mod would KILL you."
posted by marxchivist at 1:42 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or a fancy fruity drink if they're like me if they don't like Coffee..

and if they're against fruity drinks, tea!

and if all else fails, buy them a cookie.
posted by royalsong at 1:45 PM on December 21, 2010


Now I'm super intrigued by the mods. I wonder things like:

Do mods meet up with other mods (in real life) and discuss metafilter things, under the table, so to speak?

Has a mod ever dated a non-mod Metafilter user?

Do mods dream of Metafilter? What kinds of dreams do they have concerning the interface? What kinds of nightmares? Do they beat up metafilter users they don't like in their dreams, etc?
posted by fantodstic at 1:45 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do moderators dream of linkfarm sheep?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:47 PM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


"If you were really doing something horrible, a mod would KILL you."

That just reminds me of how much I miss Paphnuty.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:48 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


sobs
posted by Paphnuty at 1:55 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or a fancy fruity drink if they're like me if they don't like Coffee..

and if they're against fruity drinks, tea!

and if all else fails, buy them a cookie.


Sorry, jumping back in to say that the mods would want you to know that it's beer, if they have it. Or for Cortex, a nice scotch.

Though of course you can't go wrong with cookies.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:57 PM on December 21, 2010


Do mods meet up with other mods (in real life) and discuss metafilter things, under the table, so to speak?

Not as often as we'd like. Jessamyn's in Vermont, is the biggest obstacle, but even the three of us in the Portland area aren't super near each other. I'm in town, Matt's in McMinneville, and pb is in Corvallis; those two co-work sometimes at Matt's place, but I see them only now and then because it's a total schlep into town for them and I don't have a car so I'm not headed their way. (Vacapinta is in London, so, you know, forget about it.)

We discuss mefi stuff pretty much daily over email, so that's not really a problem, and we do some kibitzing over skype every time we record a podcast (we'll often just sort of bullshit for 15-30 minutes before we start recording) and occasionally as a sort of Team Meeting thing with pb as well if we want to brainstorm some upcoming idea.

But it's always nice to be able to hang out face to face when we get a chance. We've managed to do that like once a year or so at least because of conference type stuff.

Has a mod ever dated a non-mod Metafilter user?

Jess has been dating a mefite for a while.

Do mods dream of Metafilter? What kinds of dreams do they have concerning the interface? What kinds of nightmares? Do they beat up metafilter users they don't like in their dreams, etc?

I don't too often these days. When I do it's usually a "aw, crap, what a mess this is" sort of thing where something is flagged out the butt. The flag queue is a likely prop in such a dream. Nothing I would describe as nightmarish; "I'm at school and I can't remember my locker combo" dreams cause me more stress. Every great once in a while I argue with someone over dream email; it usually ends civilly.

sobs

BACK IN THE CAGE, UN-PERSON
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:00 PM on December 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


Has a mod ever dated a non-mod Metafilter user?

Maybe we should set up some kind of study. I could see this having some pretty serious ethical implications, like a psychiatrist seeing a patient or a dealer sleeping with an addict.

Eek, only kidding!
posted by ODiV at 2:03 PM on December 21, 2010


Thanks for the answer, cortex.
So it turns out, mods are people too!

Haha.

Have a good Wednesday y'all !
posted by fantodstic at 2:03 PM on December 21, 2010


Also, nobody should make jokes about cunnilingus.

certainly not while on the receiving end; this goes more so for fellatio.
posted by philip-random at 2:06 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jess has been dating a mefite for a while.

Cortex is super-dating one.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:09 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


mods would want you to know that it's beer, if they have it.

Coffee Bean seems like a place that wouldn't sell beer of scotch..

but I could be totally wrong.
posted by royalsong at 2:09 PM on December 21, 2010


mods would want you to know that it's beer, if they have it.

Coffee Bean seems like a place that wouldn't sell beer of scotch..

but I could be totally wrong.


Sigh. You're almost certainly right. All we needed was more proof we don't life in Leibniz's world. Oh the Weltschmerz! It huuuuuurts!
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:11 PM on December 21, 2010


Jess has been dating a mefite for a while.

Cortex is super-dating one.


pb permalinked his.

actually I don't know if pb's wife is a MeFite or not
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:12 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


pb permalinked his.

This is my new favorite euphemism.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:13 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I always thought MeFi was pb's wife.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:19 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Frankly, it metaphor simile metaphor pun pun pun pun orgasm.

Oh, thank God, I have been doing it right, after all.
posted by y2karl at 2:22 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am so glad to know that I'm not the only person who has dream email.
posted by catlet at 2:23 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


However poor the taste, the puns were inevitable once the term "eating her" was used.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:26 PM on December 21, 2010


jessamyn: "zarq, with respect, please take a slightly longer walk."

With sincere respect to you Jessamyn, I stand by what I said to Gator. If he really had a problem with people saying shitty things to each other on MeTa, he would have also voiced an objection to Lutoslawski's comment to me. Since he didn't, I think he's being hypocritical and said so. He has a problem with me saying something "nebulous" but not with Lutoslawski being outright offensive. I do not see why it should be unacceptable to point that out.

With regard to this thread, and this isn't directed specifically at you, Jessamyn, but the group at large: I've now been called a prude, a prejudiced fuckwad, histrionic (twice) and repeatedly: "touchy." I've been told I'm getting bent out of shape for nothing. Under normal circumstances when I create a Meta, I assume I'm going to take some lumps, and that's fine with me.

But the vibe I've gotten throughout most of this thread and in the post on the blue is that making light of a woman's murder and the severe desecration of her body is a normal human reaction and should therefore be considered acceptable no matter the context. In fact, the only thing that seems to be held by quite a few folks here as unacceptable about this situation is my making this MeTa.

I've spoken out pretty consistently on Mefi and Meta against the promotion (inadvertent or on purpose) of rape culture and sexism, the shaming and mocking of victims, encouraged empathy and understanding towards those who have been violated and abused, and the value of treating people with respect and dignity. Yes, it bothers me to see people tastelessly cracking jokes about women being eaten in a thread where the FPP's subject killed someone, raped their lifeless body, cut them up and ate them. And no, I certainly don't think being sickened by that that makes me touchy.

I have no intention of shutting up because speaking out against those things makes some of you uncomfortable.
posted by zarq at 2:30 PM on December 21, 2010 [12 favorites]


FWIW, zarq, I agree with you about the post. It was a bad post, especially in tone. The comments, though, were just continuing the tone set by the post, and IMO should be excused to a certain extent on that basis. If the post had been framed seriously, the comments would indeed be absolutely beyond the pale. As it stands, though: Meh. Don't hate the playa, hate the game.

In short: Hey mods, why not delete the post?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:43 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"...making light of a woman's murder and the severe desecration of her body is a normal human reaction..."

Actually, it *is* a normal human reaction. Black comedy is so common that there's even a Wikipedia article about it.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:47 PM on December 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


The article it cites is actually just as bad. The writing is sleazy and grotesque. But no worse than the media usually is on these subjects.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:48 PM on December 21, 2010


No one's saying you should shut up, but maybe you should listen. The prejudiced fuckwad thing was in jest. Like I said, maybe not funny (FWIW, I didn't laugh), but it wasn't serious. So either you're taking something that was a joke seriously because you're too het up for reading comprehension, or you're doing it intentionally because you're determined to not be SILENCED ALL YOUR LIFE.

I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, bro, but part of the discussion involves listening to others and engaging them, not just saying the same thing over and over. And the fact that you're not picking up on the "Prejudice fuckwad!" thing just shows that you're not doing that.
posted by Eideteker at 2:48 PM on December 21, 2010


Zarq I agree with you as well. Whether it was a bad post or not, I'm not one to judge.. but the horrid jokes really aren't needed.

I'm not the only one who agrees with you. Just check above the point where you first replied to Lutoslawski. Most of those comments say: Yeah, you're right.

I think why several of us pointed out that maybe you needed a longer walk was because Jessamyn misunderstood the comment you made and the whole thing blew up. I think we were all worried it would blow up even more if you decided to comment some more when you were pissed off.
posted by royalsong at 2:49 PM on December 21, 2010


Eideteker: "No one's saying you should shut up, but maybe you should listen. The prejudiced fuckwad thing was in jest. Like I said, maybe not funny (FWIW, I didn't laugh), but it wasn't serious. So either you're taking something that was a joke seriously because you're too het up for reading comprehension, or you're doing it intentionally because you're determined to not be SILENCED ALL YOUR LIFE.

I took the joke seriously, yes. I do realize now that it was said in jest. Didn't at the time.

I guess what I'm saying is I'm seeing that specific joke as part of a bigger thing. The defensive, dismissive snark, comments and jokes here are essentially defending LOLZDEADCHICKGOTRAPED&EATEN. That bugs me.

I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, bro, but part of the discussion involves listening to others and engaging them, not just saying the same thing over and over. And the fact that you're not picking up on the "Prejudice fuckwad!" thing just shows that you're not doing that."

True. Okay. I'm listening now.
posted by zarq at 3:02 PM on December 21, 2010


With sincere respect to you Jessamyn, I stand by what I said to Gator.

That's fine, but I think it's worth pointing out that your assertion was this

I would have been within my rights to tell him to fuck off, but I restrained myself.

and I don't know if you mean your general inalienable human rights or your "rights" that you have as a community member here. You can stand up for whatever principles you want to in MeTa and elsewhere on the site but if you start getting into a heated angry exchange with one particular user we may tell you to cool down, take it to email, or flat out knock it off or we will knock it off for you. That is our job.

I don't know what history you and Gator may or may not have had, but your response to Gator seemed fairly out of proportion to what had been said in this thread and created a somewhat predictable response from others. If that's okay with you, then okay. If you'd like to find a way to better manage MetaTalk threads so they don't turn into angry shouting matches we can help you with that.

But the vibe I've gotten throughout most of this thread and in the post on the blue is that making light of a woman's murder and the severe desecration of her body is a normal human reaction

I didn't much like the post but, like cortex, didn't feel that it hit the deletion point. There are a few people defending their right to make jokes while most people seem to think that's not really the way to go with this topic. There's rarely going to be a point where everyone agrees on the correct emotional response to an issue, and some people may even agree on the correct response but do something different just to provoke a reaction, take the piss or needle people who are easily needled. We deleted a bunch of lulzy comments and will do so in the future. We can't keep lulzy comments from occurring and don't want to go too far in proscribing them.

And I do think that for some people, the minority on this site but more than zero, making light of horrific events is normal. That's true whether you agree or disagree with their feelings about the topic. What you, and everyone, do with that information is up to you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:04 PM on December 21, 2010


Black comedy is so common that there's even a Wikipedia article about it.

I'm not entirely sure that the existence of a Wiki article is evidence for the commonality of a behavior.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:16 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


The thing I've taken from my time on MeFi is that it isn't my life and that I act with greater restraint here. I can quite imagine, given the right company, that I might make some very dark-humoured jokes about this but I'm hesitant to have the same level of comfort here than I am in real life. It's got something to do with the power of the written word for me, I suppose, alongside the fact that this is a public forum and I don't know everyone here. Still, I welcome all-kinds of humour. Sometimes, on a very bad day for example, it's the only way of coping with things. So, put me down on the side of those that do not necessarily think that inappropriate jokes are the worst thing ever. I would rather we had the odd completely offensive joke than we act like a bunch of humourless puritans.
posted by ob at 3:18 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not entirely sure that the existence of a Wiki article is evidence for the commonality of a behavior.

depends on the social norm.
posted by clavdivs at 3:25 PM on December 21, 2010


(my comment which you quoted RogerB) if you want the community to be sustainable, and value everyone's perspective, then you have to make accommodations for others' sensibilities when necessary—and this is certainly one of those cases, methinks. No one is really losing out by not making, say, necrophilia jokes here

(and your response) is a false way to frame the issue. We don't and can't "value everyone's perspective" — we as a community and the mods in making deletion decisions are always deciding that some things are "over the line." If you frame the issue so that a deleted joke is never a loss and always a reasonable accommodation, then you end up with a humorless community.

Sorry, been away for a few hours (god forbid, haha...).

Well, for the record, I think what I said is not inconsistent with what you are saying. What you are talking about is exactly concerning what is "necessary" in my statement "...make accommodations for others' sensibilities when necessary..." Perhaps we have different ideas of what "necessary" means, and I think I've laid mine out pretty clearly regarding this particular subject: I have a pretty dark sense of humor a lot of the time, and as I said, it didn't even occur to me that people would find this offensive or hurtful right off the bat, and therefore I feel like it's good to tone it back. And it's also my personal opinion that it is better to be considerate of others when nothing is really at stake—this is not a political discussion, this is about something pretty "out there" which doesn't have a general bearing on most of our lives most of the time (it seems to me).

By the way, you're right I think to call out me for using "everyone" in my statement; but I might still replace it with "the majority of MetaFilter participants." The fact is, people who participate here on a regular basis make the community what it is. My feeling is that if I'm being hurtful to a significant number of them because I'm insensitive about something that gets to them which is in this particular category of weirdness, and I don't have any reason to not dial it back a notch other than I don't want to, then I should probably dial it back a notch. Seems like an easy decision. Although, of course, not one I can make for anyone else, and I apologize if I seemed way too prescriptive in my comment.

If you frame the issue so that a deleted joke is never a loss and always a reasonable accommodation, then you end up with a humorless community.

I really didn't mean that, and I apologize if that's what it sounded like I was suggesting. I think I would probably put my foot down if it were something else, but seriously, we're talking about cannibalism here. This is not everyone's cup of tea and probably the sort of tea very few people are actually into. Or maybe I'm confused about who MetaFilter really consists of (what are you people hiding from me!?).
posted by dubitable at 3:25 PM on December 21, 2010


Black comedy is so common that there's even a Wikipedia article about it.

see also
posted by girih knot at 3:32 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


But the vibe I've gotten throughout most of this thread and in the post on the blue is that making light of a woman's murder and the severe desecration of her body is a normal human reaction

Yes. We make light of things which frighten us, and those which sicken us, in order to stave of despair and panic.

and should therefore be considered acceptable no matter the context.

No. If one is among those who grieve, irreverence is appalling. The question is whether a thread on the blue 25 years after the fact is closer to a funeral parlor or a campfire. It's a matter of taste. Is one yet permitted to be titillated by the grotesqueries of the Donner party? It's 150 years or so, I think. By Lizzie Borden? It's always a temptation, of course, to be titillated. To understand such incidents forces one to imagine unimaginable things, to break in our minds the greatest taboos of our culture; the experience always produces a tension that seeks relief, often in laughter. We tamp down such impulses in the presence of grief and guilt, but yet there must come a point when to pretend to share in either, in the moral seriousness of the emotions experienced by those who actually knew these people, is mere sanctimony. Lizzie Borden took an axe...
posted by Diablevert at 3:38 PM on December 21, 2010 [10 favorites]


Speaking of, I actually can't believe nobody linked to A Modest Proposal yet, here or in the original thread.
posted by Gator at 3:38 PM on December 21, 2010


I enjoyed both the original post and this Meta. Thanks to all -- would read again.
posted by coolguymichael at 3:38 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


PS- I was also fascinated that there are 37 MeFi threads with the "cannibalism" tag.
posted by coolguymichael at 3:39 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I guess what I'm saying is I'm seeing that specific joke as part of a bigger thing. The defensive, dismissive snark, comments and jokes here are essentially defending LOLZDEADCHICKGOTRAPED&EATEN. That bugs me."

"I have no intention of shutting up because speaking out against those things makes some of you uncomfortable."


Wow, you've got a pretty low opinion of people on this site, huh?
posted by Hoopo at 3:40 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


cortex:
"Has a mod ever dated a non-mod Metafilter user?"
Jess has been dating a mefite for a while.


[I have decided not to make my lulzy in-joke comment about this because I just realized this is the "no jokes about cannibal stalker types" thread. I think I'll take a walk now, and make myself something to eat.]
posted by not_on_display at 3:41 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: "and I don't know if you mean your general inalienable human rights or your "rights" that you have as a community member here. You can stand up for whatever principles you want to in MeTa and elsewhere on the site...

I meant my right to defend myself and stand up for my principles. I felt he was being aggressive and that I could have easily responded in kind but chose not to.

....but if you start getting into a heated angry exchange with one particular user we may tell you to cool down, take it to email, or flat out knock it off or we will knock it off for you. That is our job.

I understand. And I do realize that you said something to Lutoslawski as well as me. Which I appreciated. Thank you for that.

I don't know what history you and Gator may or may not have had, but your response to Gator seemed fairly out of proportion to what had been said in this thread and created a somewhat predictable response from others. If that's okay with you, then okay.

He apparently has a problem with me and hasn't been subtle about it. It's not worth discussing. I'll keep it in mind in the future, if he tries to bait or snipe at me again.

If you'd like to find a way to better manage MetaTalk threads so they don't turn into angry shouting matches we can help you with that."

That might be helpful. Will memail you over the weekend, if you don't mind.
posted by zarq at 3:43 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, zarq, I just wanted to say that I understand why the post made you angry. A lot of times these days I refrain from saying something I know is going to just make a lot of work for the moderators. But, I must say here, that my initial thought on reading the thread reminded me of how society can be blind to the number of women who lose their lives in these situations. My first thought went to the Grim Sleeper here in Los Angeles this week. Pictures of suspected female victims took up most of the front page of the Los Angeles Times on Monday. It was such a devastating reminder of women's vulnerability. The string of jokes on the cannibalism thread only underscored my feelings.
posted by effluvia at 3:46 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Jacqueline: " Actually, it *is* a normal human reaction. Black comedy is so common that there's even a Wikipedia article about it."

I'm familiar with black humor and know its value. Mocking the victim, on the other hand, still seems like a shitty thing to do.
posted by zarq at 3:47 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was also fascinated that there are 37 MeFi threads with the "cannibalism" tag.
Users that often use this tag:
grapefruitmoon (2)
With genuine respect and sincere affection: heh.
posted by Gator at 3:48 PM on December 21, 2010


Hoopo: " Wow, you've got a pretty low opinion of people on this site, huh?"

No. As a matter of fact I respect and value many people on MeFi quite highly. In generally, I'm proud to be a member here.

If had a low opinion of my fellow Mefites, I wouldn't have bothered making this MeTa.


royalsong, effluvia and Sys Rq, thank you.
posted by zarq at 3:56 PM on December 21, 2010


" If he really had a problem with people saying shitty things to each other on MeTa, he would have also voiced an objection to Lutoslawski's comment to me. Since he didn't, I think he's being hypocritical and said so."

Dude, that's horseshit and you know it — there's too much stupidity and aggro, especially on MeTa, to be accused of hypocrisy if you don't specifically call out every single one of them. And from here it looks like you're trying to delegitimize any argument he might have been making by taking a convenient dodge in labeling him a hypocrite. I don't think that's what you mean to do, but it sure looks it from here.
posted by klangklangston at 3:59 PM on December 21, 2010


I am now concerned that I may be under-performing in the field of posts tagged "cannibalism".
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on December 21, 2010


"Mocking the victim, on the other hand, still seems like a shitty thing to do."

Ah, see, I didn't read it as mocking the victim, and I doubt that's how those commenters intended it either. My read was that those comments were all variations on the general sentiment of, "eating women as in digesting them is bad, eating women as in licking their pussies is good, hey ladies I like licking pussy!"
posted by Jacqueline at 4:15 PM on December 21, 2010


I didn't see any mocking of the victim, just mocking of the murderer and his cannibalism. And I agree that it's certainly in poor taste. So do the people that made them, apparently. Maybe people were mocking a murder victim for getting killed and eaten as you're implying and I missed it. But if that's the case I'm not sure any amount of "speaking out against it" is going to help.
posted by Hoopo at 4:15 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


cannibalism sketch
posted by philip-random at 4:16 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


klangklangston: " Dude, that's horseshit and you know it — there's too much stupidity and aggro, especially on MeTa, to be accused of hypocrisy if you don't specifically call out every single one of them. And from here it looks like you're trying to delegitimize any argument he might have been making by taking a convenient dodge in labeling him a hypocrite. I don't think that's what you mean to do, but it sure looks it from here."

I guess you missed where I replied to his comment. I'll quote, link and boldface it here, to make things easier.

OK, here's what he said:

Gator: " We could use a lot less of this around here, and more, "Yeah, this pissed me off, but instead of asserting some nebulous 'right of response' and insisting on the last word or telling someone off, I'm going to flag and ignore and maybe drop a private line to the awesome, awesome mods.""

Here was my response:

zarq: "Perhaps next time you don't like a post I make on the Blue you'll follow your own advice and flag it and move on or complain to the mods in a private memail rather than attacking me in MeTa. Wouldn't that be nice.

I do notice that you seem to have no problem with Lutoslawski saying I'm a prejudiced fuckwad. Interesting that you're addressing my comment and not his, considering that his seems more egregious. Interesting bias there on your part.

FWIW, I was being asked by Jessamyn why I had said something I didn't say. I'm not going to drop her a private line to explain myself when she's asked me a question in public that needs clarification.
"

Klang, I clearly responded to him. Do you see that now?
posted by zarq at 4:21 PM on December 21, 2010


And yes, it matters. He obviously saw what I was replying to. So he deliberately ignored the full context of the situation in order to take a shot at me.
posted by zarq at 4:22 PM on December 21, 2010


"Mocking the victim, on the other hand, still seems like a shitty thing to do."

I've thought about this more, and I think that there really is an important distinction between cunnilingus jokes that make light of the situation and mocking the victim. To provide the necessary contrast, I tried to come up with a sick joke that actually did mock the victim. For example, I think if someone had posted something along the lines of, "Well it's good he ate a Caucasian woman because if he ate a Chinese woman then he'd just be hungry again two hours later, hyuk hyuk amirite?" then THAT would definitely be mocking the victim and beyond the pale. (Please note that I am posting this joke as a contrast point to aid the discussion and not in the spirit of trolling.)

Whereas with the cunnilingus jokes, as soon as the term "eating her" was used, people's minds are going to go there because the frequency with which that term is used to describe cunnilingus is several orders of magnitude greater than the frequency with which it is used to describe actually chewing up and digesting a woman. And for many fans of performing cunnilingus, once their minds go there they tend to stay there for a bit. Insensitive, perhaps, but horribly offensive? IMO, no.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:39 PM on December 21, 2010


pepsi blue by a country fucking mile, nice how they pretend to be 'learning' from it though.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:46 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was not unduly disturbed by anything in the other thread. But I guess I'm not normal in that regard. I started to write a story about a female serial killer a long time ago. In fact I was collaborating on it with a woman friend of mine. We are both fascinated by the whole concept of serial killers. We did tons of research. I guess, according to one Mefite, we are both serial killers now.

Don't get me wrong, we didn't have some sick fetish about serial killers. We were interested in the mental process that would cause one to do such a depraved thing. We still understand the depravity and wrongness. Just as one who is interested in war does not necessarily condone mass slaughter, we just had an interest.

The story was never finished. Only because we were not a good pair to collaborate.

Neither of us have killed anyone as of this writing. Sometimes thinking about a thing is not doing a thing. Or condoning a thing. It's just thinking. Humans do that. Sometimes we joke about things that others don't think are joke worthy. Welcome to the human race.
posted by Splunge at 4:55 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please note that I lol'd at jaquelines example joke.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:59 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Getting hungry, time for dinner!
posted by nomadicink at 5:00 PM on December 21, 2010


Zarq,

I feel for you man. Being able to read, and not wanting to start a fight for the sake of starting one, I knew what point(s) you were teying to make.

Dude, take a walk. Rather an taking a walk because you need to calm down, you should take a walk and determine whether this is a "community", or whether its just a community when its convenient for everyone involved. That will insure you don't get any more pissed than when you read stupid comments made under youtube videos.

Stay happy, dude.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:05 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please note that I lol'd at jaquelines example joke.

Yup. Me too.
posted by ob at 5:10 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Klang, I clearly responded to him. Do you see that now?"

Yeah, but that's got very little to do with what I said. Which is that not calling out every instance of stupidity and aggro doesn't make him a hypocrite. All that "interesting bias" is nambly-pambly passive aggressive horseshit, and you know it.

Not only that, but in the original comment (the one that Gator was responding to), while you start out responding to Jessamyn, you take another shot at Lutoslawski. It's entirely reasonable to read your "right of reply" as some rage-fueled dueling craziness, the sort of pique-fit you'd have after being slapped with a glove.

In any event, this is more an example of a particularly toxic form of argument, where you allude to things unsaid in order to prove some assumed point. It's ad hominem reasoning and something that bothers me more than Lutoslawski's joke about prejudiced interlocutors (which you didn't get, or assumed wasn't a joke, because you were already mad).
posted by klangklangston at 5:20 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


^Black comedy is so common that there's even a Wikipedia article about it.

see also

see also, also

Diablevert, I think you raise an interesting point about perspectives, but I think that it doesn't attribute enough agency to those who use black humor. I have survived two deeply horrifying personal experiences using black humor, but the reason it was a useful tool is it provided distance. In this case, I think it's the same purpose: we are reducing our own discomfort with an almost unbelievably horrifying crime using black humor to make the situation less personal. But what are the disadvantages of this strategy? As you point out, it's potentially upsetting to those who personally mourn the victim.

As well, I think putting this crime at a distance, reducing the degree to which we share the experience of the victim, may allow us to keep ourselves separate from the global culture of violence against women that permitted the crime. We can register it as a complete anomaly rather than considering the possibility it may be an outlying point on a distribution of aggression against women centred around acts so accepted we don't even notice them. It's just a possibility. But I think it merits consideration.
posted by gingerest at 5:36 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I sometimes get accused of having no self control. I stayed out of that thread. Yes, I do deserve a pat on the back.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:38 PM on December 21, 2010


Can someone explain the references to Pepsi Blue to me?
posted by royalsong at 5:38 PM on December 21, 2010


royalsong: "Can someone explain the references to Pepsi Blue to me?"

http://faq.metafilter.com/#34

Also, on the wiki.
posted by zarq at 5:44 PM on December 21, 2010


Klang, I'm going to take a little time to think about what you said before I respond. Will do so either later tonight or tomorrow morning.
posted by zarq at 5:45 PM on December 21, 2010


@gingerest: zarq seemed surprised that people would consider making light of this situation to be a normal human reaction. I pointed out that black humor is common, common enough to be documented in a Wikipedia article, as evidence that yes, this was indeed a normal human reaction. I was merely addressing the question of fact about whether or not it was normal.

It seems that you overlooked that I purposely clipped out and did not address the second part of zarq's sentence, "...and should therefore be considered acceptable no matter the context." I did not state an opinion on this part. Thus your links to "appeal to tradition" and "rape culture" in response to me are non sequiturs. Nowhere did I say that normal = good.

My point, which perhaps I could have made clearer if I'd more explicitly noted that I wasn't addressing the second part of zarq's sentence, was merely that the people posting jokes in the thread were not freaky weird inhuman monsters that had somehow found a refuge here to get their freaky weird inhumane monstrosities on.

I agree that something that is normal is not necessarily acceptable. It is up to the mods, as informed by input from the user base, to decide what the community standards are. Depending on what kind of tone is desired, the community standards can be that some things that are normal in general society are not OK here and that other things that are abnormal in general society are encouraged or enforced here. In fact, I'll even assert that MetaFilter's generally high level of discourse and civility is abnormal for online discussions, but this is an abnormal thing that I think is good and it's rareness elsewhere is the reason I am here.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:07 PM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, and although I have defended the cunnilingus jokes as being more insensitive than offensive, if the mods/community decide to add cannibalism jokes to rape jokes as not acceptable here, I think that's fine too. I'd just prefer to see it done in the tone of "we don't do those types of jokes here" and not the tone of "if you joke about this stuff you are a horrible person." Many good people have sick senses of humor.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:16 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


For you education, here's a Dramatic Re-enactment of the case of Alferd Packer...
posted by kaibutsu at 6:41 PM on December 21, 2010


So what I'm getting from this is that Pepsi Blue is the perfect accompaniment to long pig?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:56 PM on December 21, 2010


Jacqueline, just to be clear, because I think my inline quoting html em whatnot muddied matters - the link to the Appeal to Authority entry was girih knot's. Since I was using the same approach you were to make a point, namely to say that black humor is literally normal and so (unfortunately) is the rape culture, and since I was making it after girih knot had cleverly used it to (try to) debunk your point, I felt obliged to cite it.

My main point is, I think, basically in agreement with yours - black humor is indeed a common strategy, normative and normal, and it's precisely because people are NOT freaky weird inhuman monsters that they use black humor as a coping strategy to distance themselves from the victim of an horrific crime.

But a secondary result of that strategy is the one we should perhaps consider more deeply: we may be strengthening the global culture of violence against women by the very act of distancing ourselves, which doesn't allow us to entertain the possibility that this crime sits on a continuum rather than representing an isolated act. (And that wasn't really meant to be an attack on black humor in the general case - hence my decision to point out that I have used black humor in my own life.)

I should probably step back, though, not because I'm getting angry (which I am really not) but because if I haven't made this point yet it's probably not as strong as I think it is. Also because I am treading fairly close to talking about BoyZones, which would be an unkind digression to inflict on the mods at an already stressful time of year.
posted by gingerest at 7:10 PM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


@gingerest: Ah, thanks for clarifying!
posted by Jacqueline at 7:14 PM on December 21, 2010


if the mods/community decide to add cannibalism jokes to rape jokes as not acceptable here, I think that's fine too

Yeah, I'm OK with this too in principle, but from a community standpoint I'm worried it might be too much change too fast and it could alienate people. I scarcely recognize Metafilter as the same place after the "no rape jokes" policy was instituted, and it's still quite a contrast when you read through threads from 2009 and earlier. Take away cannibalism jokes, and half our members won't have anything to talk about anymore.
posted by Hoopo at 7:17 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


You have my cannibalism jokes when you pry them from my smoked and slow roasted hand.
posted by nomadicink at 7:50 PM on December 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


@Hoopo: We'll still have Lady Gaga. :D
posted by Jacqueline at 7:53 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heh, that comment shows up as "fresh" in Recent Activity.
posted by nomadicink at 7:53 PM on December 21, 2010


Take away [rape jokes and] cannibalism jokes, and half our members won't have anything to talk about anymore.

And you said zarq has a low opinion of the userbase? Yikes.
posted by dialetheia at 7:59 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some people think Scarabic's "How to hide a body" comment is one of the best things in the history of metafilter. How is that different than making a tasteless joke about cannibalism?
posted by empath at 8:03 PM on December 21, 2010


What is a flavorful comment about cannibalism?
posted by nomadicink at 8:06 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Many good people have sick senses of humor.

I wonder if this doesn't encapsulate the thread, both in intended meaning and context.

If people you deem good have senses of humor you deem sick...well, ignoring what good and sick mean in people and senses of humor, respectively, is the juxtaposition possible? I mean, that's an open question I could argue either way if pressed.

There's rarely going to be a point where everyone agrees on the correct emotional response to an issue, and some people may even agree on the correct response but do something different just to provoke a reaction, take the piss or needle people who are easily needled.

Jessamyn, I'm wondering if that doesn't parse better a little more authoritatively (says the non-authoritarian):

There's no such thing as "the" correct emotional response to an issue. Even amongst people that agree on a correct response, there will be those who will do something different to provoke a reaction, troll, or harangue. The community comes from many different cultures, backgrounds, and personal experiences--and as a function of this, you may find your personal sensibilities are not always a part of everyone's playbook. This is not a bug, it is a feature.
posted by Phyltre at 8:06 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"And you said zarq has a low opinion of the userbase? Yikes."

@dialetheia: Go back and re-read Hoopo's comment in a wryly sarcastic tone.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:17 PM on December 21, 2010


Is this the time for dead baby jokes?

DAMN! Stop throwing things! I'm sorry! Fuck!

Who threw the blender? That hurt!
posted by Splunge at 8:19 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


#MetaTalk: Go back and re-read the ofending comment in a wryly sarcastic tone.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:31 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


"#MetaTalk: Go back and re-read the ofending comment in a wryly sarcastic tone."

My enjoyment of MetaFilter has gone waaaaaaaaaaaaay up since I started making a conscious effort to stop and try to re-read in a different tone whenever a comment offends me. Since I have no idea what tone someone intended anyway, why not give it the most charitable read?

Interestingly, as I think about it I realize that I don't do this elsewhere on the internet. I guess I feel that MeFites are the only online community to have earned the benefit of my doubt. I think the Russian girls drama was probably the tipping point for me.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:41 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Neanderthal family group was cannibalized. Make your jokes, but what if they were Cro-Magnons?
posted by longsleeves at 8:42 PM on December 21, 2010


"pepsi, no coke"
posted by clavdivs at 8:44 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some people think Scarabic's "How to hide a body" comment is one of the best things in the history of metafilter. How is that different than making a tasteless joke about cannibalism?

I think what makes Scarabic's post fantastic and funny is that it's clearly fiction but it's very realistic. So it's fun because it's over-the-top super-creepy but pretend, like a good horror movie or, I suppose, dead baby jokes.

The original post isn't just objecting to a "tasteless joke about cannibalism" but to a MetaFilter post and subsequent jokes about a real person who was murdered. A real woman whose murder is drawing this attention only because of the fashion in which her body was mutilated after her death.

So, maybe it's essentially like the difference between dead baby jokes and jokes about real dead children. (Which people don't seem to do - people take child abuse and loss pretty seriously. Thus poking a big hole in my humor-as-coping-by-distancing theory, but I'll survive.)
posted by gingerest at 8:51 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


longsleeves - I did an FPP on neolithic cannibalism. And made the first comment, which was a joke.

CLEARLY I AM A TERRIBLE MEFITE.

One more and I can challenge grapefruitmoon. Blood for the blood god!
posted by Artw at 8:55 PM on December 21, 2010


... or as I once heard a SubGenius put it, "The only thing worth laughing at is than nothing is funny anymore."

another cannibalism sketch
posted by philip-random at 9:02 PM on December 21, 2010


"...subsequent jokes about a real person who was murdered."

Maybe they were deleted too quickly but I never saw anyone make jokes about a real person who was murdered. All I saw was lots and lots of jokes from guys/gals riffing off the "eating her" line to let the world know how much they enjoy performing cunnilingus and/or how much their female partners appreciate their talents. Plus some jokes about the murderer's "sane, but evil" diagnosis.

Can you please cite some examples of jokes you saw about the murder victim? Because again, I think there's a significant distinction between joking about the murder victim vs. making jokes in a thread about a murder.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:30 PM on December 21, 2010


You know what? It matters greatly to me how zarq is treated around here. Letting Gator get away with that bullshit earlier in this thread and letting Gator get away with telling zarq to take a breather? Poor form. I am disappointed in the folks who just let that happen. Including mods.
posted by kalessin at 9:38 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


P.S. The kind of helpful advice many of you have given to zarq in this thread would, were I zarq, seem insulting to me. There's such a thing as a well-meaning pile-on, and it's a shame to see it here, of all places.
posted by kalessin at 9:54 PM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Jacqueline: Is it impossible for you to see that other people might be offended by jokes that you aren't? It's not hard to see jokes about cunnilingus in relation to a thread about a man who killed, raped, and ate a woman being terribly offensive, IMO, even if "for many fans of performing cunnilingus, once their minds go there they tend to stay there for a bit."

Is anyone bad for not being offended by this? Of course not! People have different triggers and different responses to things. But people still need to be respected when they are offended by something. I don't think anyone's said this directly, but my impression of some of the responses zarq has been getting here have been "lighten up and take a joke."
posted by girih knot at 10:05 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


He's pretty given to provocation and misrepresentation of other users, and in his own way about as fighty as MeFites get. Though he makes solid posts I'd say backing away from commenst would be good advice to him.
posted by Artw at 10:08 PM on December 21, 2010


But people still need to be respected when they are offended by something. I don't think anyone's said this directly, but my impression of some of the responses zarq has been getting here have been "lighten up and take a joke."

That's a perfectly reasonable response. People get offended by all kinds of shit they shouldn't get offended about.
posted by empath at 10:13 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: People get offended by all kinds of shit they shouldn't get offended about.
posted by Artw at 10:16 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


What determines what's appropriate to be offended by, though? Popular opinion? And does telling someone to lighten up ever actually make them lighten up? It seems like it would always make them more defensive.

I'm not trying to argue. It just seems like there are more respectful ways to respond.
posted by girih knot at 10:20 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can you please cite some examples of jokes you saw about the murder victim? Because again, I think there's a significant distinction between joking about the murder victim vs. making jokes in a thread about a murder.

Fair enough.
posted by gingerest at 10:23 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, you know what? I'm not really offended about any of this. I'm just (meta)talking - discussing how the discussion's going, talking about what I think's interesting about all of the exchanges and whether any of it has any effect on cultcha-at-large and on the online culture in general and on this particular online cultural outcropping.

Which is maybe not great to do here because the mods actually sort of have to read it and other people do have strong feelings. Hm.
posted by gingerest at 10:28 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


He's pretty given to provocation and misrepresentation of other users, and in his own way about as fighty as MeFites get. Though he makes solid posts I'd say backing away from commenst would be good advice to him.

With all due respect, I think that's a bit unfair. While it could be that I'm sort of a newbie here, seeing this comment about zarq is a bit disturbing to me. Reputation, from what you say, precedes zarq in not a very good light, and so zarq, according to you, seems once again to build on said reputation (that' he's "fighty") here: that seems to knock down the validity of whatever he's said in this particular thread. At the very least, it's a lumping of zarq's participation here with a whole vague (to me) past about zarq's entire participation on this site.
While you have a right to your own opinion/perception about how zarq, in the past, has interacted in Metafilter, I think when you prescribe him the "advice" that he should back away from comments - well - it just seems a bit patronizing.
I find that Metafilter's users recall, bring up, user's past threads or comments (sometimes in whole) to make a point about them and sort of create a script about how they work.
In reality, people have different opinions and personalities year to year (some even month to month, no?). The idea that zarq is fighty, so therefore he should not comment, seems to treat zarq like a little kid. It's kind of dismissive.

I disagree with some of the thing's zarq's said here, but I sure as hell don't want to say, "zarq, you're doing this again, like three months ago on this thread, and actually the whole of 2006-2010".

One of the things I notice about Metafilter is the way reputations work and how users respond to other users with regard to them. I remember reading about Faze a bit ago in another MetaTalk thread and a lot of the comments were like "Faze has trolled in the past, as we all know, anyways' SO..."
And I, reading that thread, thought, this Faze guy sure seems to suck, according to various users here. I went ahead and looked at some of his comments and posts, and he seemed, to me, like pretty much any other random user I've ever found on this site.

I'm not sure what I've said here is clear, but this is my response to that particular comment, in this thread, Artw.
posted by fantodstic at 10:38 PM on December 21, 2010 [14 favorites]


In a way, I guess what I've said above is silly: people's reputations are a marker, so we can use them as a maps, or guides, as to how they work.
My problem with your comment is that it's not really addressing anything he's said here, at all. So it just floats conspicuously above his comments here and seems a bit offensive to him.
posted by fantodstic at 10:43 PM on December 21, 2010


Wait, what did Gator do now? And the mods?

It's not hard to see jokes about cunnilingus in relation to a thread about a man who killed, raped, and ate a woman being terribly offensive

No, it's not. And I agree. AFAIK most people in this thread have admitted as much, including at least one of the people who made one of the jokes that got called out. And apologized repeatedly.

This

The defensive, dismissive snark, comments and jokes here are essentially defending LOLZDEADCHICKGOTRAPED&EATEN


however, is pretty mean-spirited and attributing something pretty fucking awful to people when it seems obvious to me and a lot of others here not to be the case. And this just comes off as kind of sanctimonious, and I'm not sure what reaction was expected when you're calling out the people who disagree with you about the motives for the jokes in the same breath as "the promotion ... of rape culture and sexism, the shaming and mocking of victims." If that quote is unrelated, I'm really not sure why it was included at all, but yeah, I guess I'll go for a walk too.
posted by Hoopo at 10:44 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


With all due respect, I think that's a bit unfair. While it could be that I'm sort of a newbie here, seeing this comment about zarq is a bit disturbing to me. Reputation, from what you say, precedes zarq in not a very good light, and so zarq, according to you, seems once again to build on said reputation (that' he's "fighty") here: that seems to knock down the validity of whatever he's said in this particular thread.

I think he does a pretty good job of it here without reference to any exterior threads, TBH.
posted by Artw at 10:50 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


@girih: I understand that different people will be offended by different things.

However, it's not clear what exactly is causing offense here that people want stopped. Instead, it seems like a few different possible sources of offense are being conflated:

1) Making jokes about crime victims

2) Making jokes about trigger topics

3) Making jokes about other things in threads about or connected to trigger topics

4) Making a post with the potential to lead to any of the above

It would help a lot if people could be more specific about which aspects of the above were the source of their offense, for which comments, and what they think should be done about it.

Here's my attempt to untangle them:

Regarding #1:

Some people are complaining that people are making jokes about the murder victim and that's why they were offended, but I never saw where that actually happened. (Again, perhaps it was deleted too quickly.)

If the claim is that the cunnilingus jokes were about the dead woman, I don't understand how they are being read as being about her at all? I read those jokes as being about each commenter's predilection for and/or skill in cunnilingus, with an implied swipe at the murderer's manhood and/or sanity because "real" and/or sane men prefer "eating" live pussy to eating dead female flesh.

I don't think it's fair to accuse people of having made fun of the murder victim if they never actually did that. Many/most people think it's evil or deliberately hurtful to make fun of the innocent victims of horrific crimes, so accusing someone of doing that is a pretty big aspersion against that person's character. Even after the relevant comments are deleted and no one knows who made them anymore, suggesting that lots of people here do that makes the community as a whole seem ickier. If no one actually did that, people should not exaggerate and claim that they did.

Regarding #2:

There are certain topics, like rape, that the MetaFilter mods (with what appears to be the support of the majority of the community) have decided are off-limit for jokes. OK.

Regarding #3:

But does that mean that any thread referencing one of those topics is now a joke-free zone, even for jokes about other topics?

Regarding #4:

To what extent is the original poster responsible for the comments made on the post? In light of that, what should he/she be reasonably expected to do?

More broadly:

Who should have the "right" to have things the way they prefer: the people who want to make jokes or the people who are offended by the jokes? (By "right" I mean whom should the mods side with, since obviously this is a private website and thus there is no inherent "right to free speech" here -- anyone who doesn't like the moderation policies can go start their own blog.)

It's possible to find offense in almost anything, especially if you're looking for it. If the default is to side with the offended, should topics be permanently censored one-by-one until there's nothing left we can joke about? I don't think anyone wants that.

But, if people are allowed to make jokes that offend some people, some people are going to get offended. How should they handle their offense? Should they flag it and move on, post about it in MetaTalk, or just let it go?

If they post their offense in MetaTalk, how should the people who aren't offended and/or want those kinds of jokes to be allowed supposed to respond to the offended? Is it never appropriate to tell someone to lighten up and take a joke? How about defending oneself or others against accusations of being a bad person or behaving in an unacceptably bad way?

And then how should the offended respond to accusations that they're prudes, overreacting, trying to censor MetaFilter too much, etc.?

Are we having the same essential MetaTalk discussion over and over every time there is one of these incidents? Or have we made any progress? How much of that progress is lost over time as old people leave and new people join?

Is there a policy change, announcement, community education effort, or other site change that would reduce the frequency of trips the offended, offenders, mods, and interested third parties make to MetaTalk?

Even if it would be possible to reduce the frequency, do we want to? Does MetaTalk serve as a good place for people to blow off steam and feel that they've been heard? Or does the acrimony of the discussions here alienate people from the site? Which effect is greater?

Do I need to stop writing 700+ word MetaTalk comments and get a fucking life? Or at least go do some of those household chores I've been avoiding by procrastinating here?
posted by Jacqueline at 11:06 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


"What determines what's appropriate to be offended by, though? Popular opinion? And does telling someone to lighten up ever actually make them lighten up? It seems like it would always make them more defensive."

With rhetorical questions, it helps if everyone agrees to the answers before you ask them.

And yes, pretty frequently telling someone to lighten up actually makes them step back and think, "Hey, am I taking this too seriously? Is there any real harm here?" They can still answer no and yes, respectively, but skipping that step often means than instead of saying "This is why I'm offended," and realizing that other people can come to different answers, it's just basically yelling, "I'm mad. Stop making me mad."
posted by klangklangston at 11:07 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I'm just (meta)talking - discussing how the discussion's going, talking about what I think's interesting about all of the exchanges and whether any of it has any effect on cultcha-at-large and on the online culture in general and on this particular online cultural outcropping.

Which is maybe not great to do here because the mods actually sort of have to read it and other people do have strong feelings. Hm."


Clearly, we need a new MetaMetaTalk subsite. pb?
posted by Jacqueline at 11:08 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clearly, we need a new MetaMetaTalk subsite. pb?

I think, for organizational purposes, yes, this would be a good idea. It's a significant enough trend to me.
Maybe call it, the "DON'T GO THERE" section.
posted by fantodstic at 11:12 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


"I find that Metafilter's users recall, bring up, user's past threads or comments (sometimes in whole) to make a point about them and sort of create a script about how they work.
In reality, people have different opinions and personalities year to year (some even month to month, no?)."


I hope you stick around, fantodstic.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:12 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are certain topics, like rape, that the MetaFilter mods (with what appears to be the support of the majority of the community) have decided are off-limit for jokes. OK.

Well, as a point of clarification, not really. As with most things it's more a matter of this stuff existing on a continuum and whether and when and how to make a joke about it in a way that won't (a) potentially piss people off pretty badly and/or (b) get deleted depends a lot on the subject and the context. I would say that as far as that goes rape is as an example one of the things down toward the farthest end of that continuum, but the distinction between that and "jokes related to rape are off-limits, period" is an important one.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:13 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Go back and re-read Hoopo's comment in a wryly sarcastic tone.

Aha, right you are; my apologies, Hoopo!

Letting Gator get away with that bullshit earlier in this thread and letting Gator get away with telling zarq to take a breather? Poor form. I am disappointed in the folks who just let that happen. Including mods.

What bullshit are you referring to, exactly? Do you mean this first (innocuous) comment about flagging and moving on, or the one where he mentioned taking a break? For what it's worth, it looked to me like zarq got the conflict rolling by calling Gator a biased hypocrite just because he didn't yell at Lutoslawski, not because of any provocation from Gator. Can you point out the specific behavior that you have a problem with? I just don't see anything in this thread that would justify calling out the entire community for "letting it happen."
posted by dialetheia at 11:14 PM on December 21, 2010


"but the distinction between that and "jokes related to rape are off-limits, period" is an important one."

It's just really, really, really hard to make a funny joke with the punchline, "Hey ladies, rizz-ape!"

And I know that leaving that context free would mean that some folks would read that as "Klang thinks it's OK to joke about rape," rather than "Klang thinks it's OK to joke about some topics being really uncomfortable, even to joke about."
posted by klangklangston at 11:28 PM on December 21, 2010


@Klang: Technically I think this counts as a rape joke but it's still pretty funny and/or cute.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:32 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


(Posted to test whether there really is any gap between where rape jokes fall on the continuum and outright "no." If anything can make it past cortex's standards, surely that?)
posted by Jacqueline at 11:35 PM on December 21, 2010


I think he does a pretty good job of it here without reference to any exterior threads, TBH.



You've got a point and, partly, yes, I see that.
zarq, you are a bit fighty (here). But I guess that's just your style. Plus, why did you call mine a bad Metafilter post (or do you, still?), why would you still call it a bad post for Metafilter, after all the argument's you've engaged in on this thread? I want to know what you've arrived at with regard to the post itself. Seems like a good question to ask at this time.
posted by fantodstic at 12:09 AM on December 22, 2010


As well, I think putting this crime at a distance, reducing the degree to which we share the experience of the victim, may allow us to keep ourselves separate from the global culture of violence against women that permitted the crime. We can register it as a complete anomaly rather than considering the possibility it may be an outlying point on a distribution of aggression against women centred around acts so accepted we don't even notice them. It's just a possibility. But I think it merits consideration.

I agree with you that black humor is used to distance. In this instance--and I should say that I never even saw most of the comments that were highlighted in this OP --- I think that people's tendency to use black humor was driven more by the association with cannibalism than with the association with murder. Personally speaking, I am not sure that voluntary cannibalism exists on a continuum with anything. It seems to me to be entirely too rare and bizarre a thing to attribute manifestations of it to larger cultural forces rather than the messed-up mind of the person engaging in it. Sad to say, if he had merely raped and murdered her I don't think you would have seen people cracking such jokes; mere rape and murder are entirely too commonplace to be grotesque.

But it does sort of go to the larger sense of what rules you want in place for this stuff...metafilter's a little bit in-between a private and a public space. In a private space black humor is much more permissible, because each is known to the others and presumptions of good fellowship operate, and so the unspoken code is "everybody here knows this is wrongand terrible, and if we crack a joke about it, it's to comment on the bitter absurdities of life." In a public space, you've got to assume that people don't know each other and inclined to take what the other says at face value, and so the unspoken rule is, "if you joke about shit that ain't funny it must be because you're an asshole," and also "we must strive to make clear at all times that we disapprove of these offensive and abhorrent practices, so that people may know where we stand." A club with 10,000 members walks the line. In this instance, I personally was not offended and don't think it's letting the side down to joke about this stuff. But I incline to Campfire Rules when it comes to discourse, which may put me in the minority here.
posted by Diablevert at 1:36 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


For example, I think if someone had posted something along the lines of, "Well it's good he ate a Caucasian woman because if he ate a Chinese woman then he'd just be hungry again two hours later, hyuk hyuk amirite?" then THAT would definitely be mocking the victim and beyond the pale.

That's probably what makes it so much funnier than the cunnilingus joke though. Not the mocking the victim thing, because I don't believe that it is. But the cunnilingus joke is a somewhat hackneyed play on the relationship between eating as sustenance and eating as oral sex. Whereas the Chinese food thing is much more disruptive of our expectations, utilizing one of those glib cliches about asian cuisine in a completely unexpected context and it's that sense of surprise on encountering something like that, that many of us find funny.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:22 AM on December 22, 2010


I would really like Metafilter to be a place where we can discuss just about anything; the site is for adults, after all. Adults should be able to discuss horrible realities just as they should be able to discuss amazing and wonderful realities.

It's not as though the post was falsely 'advertised'; anyone going in had seen the NSFW warning and the fact that a man who had "killed and ate" another person was going to be interviewed. What did you expect that would be like, seriously?

This world has almost unimaginable highs and lows. Can't we discuss both here? I find it really depressing and frustrating that some people want Metafilter to basically stick its head in the sand, to acknowledge certain aspects of life and completely ignore others.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:35 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I suspect an issue with the cannibalism jokes were that they all appeared at once at the very start of the thread. The first few comments can have a dramatic effect on the rest of the thread, especially as we MeFites are a jokey bunch and enjoy riffing off each other's jokes, but this made it seem like it was going to be the "let's make jokes about killing at eating white women" thread.

This hadn't occurred to me until right now, and I am going to make an effort to hold back with my jokes until a less jokey discussion has already started, even if I am feeling especially hilarious.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:49 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am going to make an effort to hold back with my jokes until a less jokey discussion has already started, even if I am feeling especially hilarious.

I have been doing this a lot for the past n months. The net result is, I comment a fair bit less than I did a year ago, but also I doubt MetaFilter is diminished in any appreciable way. I feel a little constrained at times, but I also haven't started a fight I can recall since the Mark Dery thread, so I'm guessing that me being a bit constrained is a net positive for MetaFilter. I have alternate sites where I can get lulzy laughs with my off-color humor, so I take it there.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:28 AM on December 22, 2010


You're seeing other sites? And this is how we find out?
posted by nomadicink at 4:42 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I find it really depressing and frustrating that some people want Metafilter to basically stick its head in the sand, to acknowledge certain aspects of life and completely ignore others.

I haven't seen anyone say that we shouldn't have any discussion at all about this story.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:28 AM on December 22, 2010


This is another case in which MeFi culture just makes absolutely no logical sense to me. People get up in arms about using "butthurt" as an expression, but it's totally cool to make cunnilingus jokes about cannibalism!

No. Sense.

But whatever. Life in general doesn't make sense a lot of the time, I guess.

One more and I can challenge grapefruitmoon. Blood for the blood god!

If this is indeed a challenge, gfm can't really compete as that account is closed. Would it count if the same human continued the cannibalism trend under a different name? Because man, I can definitely make more posts about cannibalism.

(Yeah, I think cannibalism jokes can be hilarious, but there was something about the cunnilingus joke that just felt... off... I dunno, maybe it was specifically referencing a Caucasian ladies? Anyhow. I'm all for black humor, but that one specific joke just didn't read right to me.)
posted by sonika at 6:32 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but that's got very little to do with what I said. Which is that not calling out every instance of stupidity and aggro doesn't make him a hypocrite. All that "interesting bias" is nambly-pambly passive aggressive horseshit, and you know it.

No, it's bringing up at least two or three past incidents that I know damned well he's aware of and assigning him a motive. It may have been uncharitable of me to do so, but it's neither passive aggressive nor horseshit, as far as I'm concerned, nor do I think it was in any way dismissive.

I'm quite literally unable to go trolling through his posting history to prove my point without having trouble with the mods, and honestly Klang I've had more than enough of the unending fucking pile-on of me in this thread to be bothered digging into this again. But I'll respond to your points as best I can.

Not only that, but in the original comment (the one that Gator was responding to), while you start out responding to Jessamyn, you take another shot at Lutoslawski.

"He's still complaining" was not a pot shot at Lutoslawski. It was a statement of fact, which I followed up with a quote pointing out exactly where he was continuing to complain. And I've already said in a later comment that I realize now that his comment was said in jest.

It's entirely reasonable to read your "right of reply" as some rage-fueled dueling craziness, the sort of pique-fit you'd have after being slapped with a glove.

The comment Lutoslawski made was quoted by me in the comment Gator responded to. He ignored the context of why I said what I said. If you think he was justified in doing so, then all I can say is, I disagree.

In any event, this is more an example of a particularly toxic form of argument, where you allude to things unsaid in order to prove some assumed point.

Just because something is unsaid here doesn't mean it never happened elsewhere.

Gator already admitted that he deliberately baited me in a previous thread because he was pissed at my calling for St. Alia to be banned. He's also complained about what he assumed my underlying motivations were on two of my (now deleted) MeFi posts here in Meta. And now he's telling me that instead of complaining about a post here in MeTa I should simply have flagged it and moved on. To which I essentially said, 'maybe next time you'll take your own advice with regard to me. That would be nice.' And yeah, I accused him of being biased. Because that's how it looks to me.

If you think referring obliquely to past incidents is ad hominem reasoning or somehow beyond the pale, then so be it. I disagree.
posted by zarq at 6:49 AM on December 22, 2010


fantodstic:
You've got a point and, partly, yes, I see that.
zarq, you are a bit fighty (here). But I guess that's just your style.


The tone of my responses has been dictated by what I perceived as a pile-on towards me in this thread. It has been an unpleasant experience for me. Some of that has definitely been my own fault.

Plus, why did you call mine a bad Metafilter post (or do you, still?), why would you still call it a bad post for Metafilter, after all the argument's you've engaged in on this thread? I want to know what you've arrived at with regard to the post itself. Seems like a good question to ask at this time.

Respectfully, the subject matter seemed poorly presented to me. It created a situation where the initial commenters flooded the thread with sexist, creepy jokes -- a series of 'How else would someone completely possess a caucasian woman? har har' jokes at the expense of the victim. (That particular joke (minus the 'har har' of course) was one of the very first comments in the thread.)

We talk frequently in MeTa about encouraging an environment on MeFi where women feel safe from rape culture, and it appears to me from this incident that we still have a long way to go. So despite the fact that the post seems to have been salvaged. I remain unconvinced that the topic is a good one for Metafilter. I also don't believe it was a good post. I'm sorry, but that's how I feel about it.

Obviously, that and other opinions I have voiced put me in the minority. C'est la vie.

No offense to you, but I'm not really interested in discussing this further. At this point, I'm not particularly interested in encouraging the "let's get zarq" mentality that seems to be flooding this thread by voicing further, controversial opinions.
posted by zarq at 7:12 AM on December 22, 2010


We talk frequently in MeTa about encouraging an environment on MeFi where women feel safe from rape culture, and it appears to me from this incident that we still have a long way to go.

I think women are capable of speaking for themselves.
posted by empath at 7:15 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think women are capable of speaking for themselves.

I'm not speaking for women. I'm speaking about my perception of the situation.
posted by zarq at 7:18 AM on December 22, 2010


I'm pretty sure Gator is a chick, not a dude.
posted by chiababe at 7:21 AM on December 22, 2010


I'm pretty sure Gator is a chick, not a dude.

Well, if that's the case, I'm sorry for referring to her incorrectly.
posted by zarq at 7:24 AM on December 22, 2010


The post was fine and should stay, maybe the tone could have been different?

I think zarq was correct in opening the MeTa thread to bring the discussion over here. I admit, most of my initial responses were off colour jokes, but I refrained from posting. Should we ban cannibalism posts? No, they clearly provoke a discussion and I value MeFi because it isn't LOLsy responses all the time.

If we're going to callout people, can we do it without the personal attacks though?
posted by arcticseal at 7:25 AM on December 22, 2010


No, you are. You've spent this entire thread acting as the gallant white knight protecting the wilting flowers of femininity that apparently are too intimidated by the locker room atmosphere on metafilter to speak for themselves, while one actual real-life woman after another has chimed in to say that they weren't particularly bothered by the thread.

When women are genuinely bugged by stuff on metafilter, they speak up about it.
posted by empath at 7:25 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, you are. You've spent this entire thread acting as the gallant white knight protecting the wilting flowers of femininity that apparently are too intimidated by the locker room atmosphere on metafilter to speak for themselves, while one actual real-life woman after another has chimed in to say that they weren't particularly bothered by the thread.

When women are genuinely bugged by stuff on metafilter, they speak up about it.


Fine. Next time I'll keep my fucking mouth shut.
posted by zarq at 7:26 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


No offense to you, but I'm not really interested in discussing this further. At this point, I'm not particularly interested in encouraging the "let's get zarq" mentality that seems to be flooding this thread by voicing further, controversial opinions.

If you aren't interested in discussing/defending your gripes, perhaps you should reconsider posts like this. I understand and totally agree with your complaints against some of the contents of that thread. But the offending comments seem a bit like outliers, and certainly not representative of a systemic Metafilter issue. This could have remained a discussion between you and the mods, or you could have FIAMO'd and those would likely have been deleted (and, at this point, they have been). But you chose to bring your complaints to Meta. People are discussing the validity of your complaints, and whether this is representative of a pattern of behavior on your part. Neither of these are unreasonable in my opinion.

In fact, rather than being satisfied that these comments were deleted, you have dutifully reproduced a couple of them in this thread, which, as near as I can tell, is just you trying to rub the commenter's face in it, trying to chasten them into commenting in a way you deem appropriate. Again, in that circumstance, I think questioning your behavior is entirely appropriate.
posted by orville sash at 7:28 AM on December 22, 2010


...and Zarq's disabled his acct.
posted by orville sash at 7:29 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


You've spent this entire thread acting as the gallant white knight protecting the wilting flowers of femininity that apparently are too intimidated by the locker room atmosphere on metafilter to speak for themselves,

I didn't read it this way, at all. I honestly have no problem with a man saying "misogyny bugs me and this read as misogynist to me!" which is how I read this thread.

What you're implying is more of a "Oh, we must protect the womens!" kind of vibe, which no, I didn't get at all.

I have no problem with men speaking out about sexism. In fact, I think more men should (though yes, the "white knight" thing is problematic and it's a fine line) because when women are the only ones doing it, the problem then becomes the "shrill" factor and people in general are more likely to take community criticism seriously when it's coming from a mixed group rather than a single gendered monolith. It's happened over and over and over again in sexism threads, a man will say "I've never seen that" and will ignore women who say it happens to them, but when other men chime in with "Yeah, dude, I've TOTALLY seen that/my girlfriend/wife/sister has it happen to her all the time" it helps reinforce that this is an actual thing that happens and not just something that women made up one day.

That's not what's going on in this thread, obvs, I'm just pointing out that men talking about sexism is perfectly cromulent and I don't think zarq was stepping on any toes by bringing it up.
posted by sonika at 7:31 AM on December 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


Before the wailing and gnashing of teeth begins, zarq has done this before. He'll be back in a week or two, with much feting and garlanding.
posted by Gator at 7:32 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've disabled my account over a bad metatalk thread I started before, too. It happens. I don't think badly of him for it. Or for starting this thread. It's just the whole tone of 'that thread is bad and you are bad people' vibe that rubbed me the wrong way (which I have also been guilty of doing before, too)
posted by empath at 7:37 AM on December 22, 2010


and Zarq's disabled his acct.

I always figure longtime contributors who do this in the middle of a contentious metatalk thread are secretly hoping for the typical "oh noes we've lost a valued member i miss you already come back please!!1!!!" outcry (viz. optimus chyme, et al). They often don't seem to stay gone for very long.
posted by dersins at 7:41 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


With all due respect, guys, zarq has indicated off-site that he has no intentions of returning and this was not a stunt. If you could stop speculating about the motives of someone who is not around to comment, that would be extremely awesome.
posted by sonika at 7:43 AM on December 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


indicated off-site that he has no intentions of returning

They always do, and yet...
posted by dersins at 7:45 AM on December 22, 2010


I always figure longtime contributors who do this in the middle of a contentious metatalk thread are secretly hoping for the typical "oh noes we've lost a valued member i miss you already come back please!!1!!!" outcry (viz. optimus chyme, et al).

I so was hoping for that when i did it. I got a couple of memails, but that was it :(

You are expendable.
posted by empath at 7:46 AM on December 22, 2010


"My enjoyment of MetaFilter has gone waaaaaaaaaaaaay up since I started making a conscious effort to stop and try to re-read in a different tone whenever a comment offends me. Since I have no idea what tone someone intended anyway, why not give it the most charitable read?"

FWIW, this also works IRL. Goes well with Hanlon's Razor.
posted by Eideteker at 7:59 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you could stop speculating about the motives of someone who is not around to comment, that would be extremely awesome.

Someone leaves and it's wrong that people speculate why? That just sounds odd.
posted by nomadicink at 8:14 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Personally, I demand to know how this thread became a scathing indictment of Black Comedy. Leave Cosby out of it.
posted by Eideteker at 8:18 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but is Cosby really Black?!
posted by nomadicink at 8:18 AM on December 22, 2010


o no you di'nt
posted by Eideteker at 8:26 AM on December 22, 2010


If you could stop speculating about the motives of someone who is not around to comment, that would be extremely awesome.

If I didn't want people speculating about my motives, I'd probably avoid disabling my account, right after being extremely active in a very fighty thread.

I'd stop posting for a while first, and then after a few weeks, if I was sure that I didn't want to spend time one that site any more -- well, I'd probably just let the account fall into disuse, but perhaps if I was worried that I might be tempted to post against my will, then I'd disable my account.

But then it's kind of important to me to avoid behaving in ways that might provoke allegations that I'm a drama queen.

YMMV.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:54 AM on December 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


A little late to the party but...

For a while now I have felt that MeFi (and MeTa, Ask) would benefit from a thread style conversation (think /., reddit, etc.)

A) It would allow for conversations to progress naturally

B) For people who want to joke, it would give them a place to do it, but it would be easily collapsable for the people who want to skip it

I know this would be a pretty radical shift, but it is frustrating how much the first few commenters can set the town for a thread (not always positively).

And I love the jokes, the black humor, the irreverence, but it would be nice if I could also skip it easier without it affecting the more mature real discussion.

$.02
posted by rosswald at 9:06 AM on December 22, 2010


town = tone by the way.

And I do love metafilter, I have been reading since 2000 or so, but I do feel like the discourse level has gone down.

I just wish I could coral all the "Obama is worse than Bush" or "everyone should use genderless pronouns" comments. Sometimes they are interesting, but sometimes it is just the same barely-on-topic crap over and over.
posted by rosswald at 9:10 AM on December 22, 2010


shakespeherian: I haven't seen anyone say that we shouldn't have any discussion at all about this story.

I'd really rather not cherrypick the thread for quotes but there's a lot of comments (esp early on) along the lines of "bad post", "terrible post", etc. I don't believe these comments were all concerning the Pepsi Blue quality of VBS' description; intended as such or no, they give a strong impression that such strong material, however it is presented, is not desired on 'their Metafilter'.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:10 AM on December 22, 2010


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the genre. For situation comedies featuring a predominantly African American cast, see Black sitcom.

posted by philip-random at 9:14 AM on December 22, 2010


Metafilter + threaded comments + an edit window would be awesome.
posted by empath at 9:15 AM on December 22, 2010


You are expendable.

I'm from Vancouver, a frustrating town full of misfits, loony toons and squalid criminals that has more than once driven me away FOREVER for all manner of very good reasons ... but I seem to keep coming back. Clearly I need them more than they need me. Such is community.
posted by philip-random at 9:19 AM on December 22, 2010


empath: "Metafilter + threaded comments + an edit window would be awesome."

Here's what I don't like about that idea: MeFi is unique precisely because its comments are sorted in chronological order without regard to their popularity. That format has a lot to do with why this place is a community: authorship of ideas takes precedent over their popularity. Hopefully that also cuts down on the echo chamber effect, at least a little bit.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:23 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


We're not adding threading. We're never adding threading. Threading is a thing that is not a thing that will happen. Just, you know. To be clear.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:25 AM on December 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


PeterMcDermott-

Well in theory that would work. In practice, people's emotions often over-rule logic. Sometimes when they feel attacked, they bail. I know that's generally how I operate when I feel overwhelmed by a situation. I totally disengage to get perspective and then re-evaluate. Maybe that's not the best way to handle it, and it does vary from situation to situation, but still it's a fairly well-known coping mechanism. Certainly, we have seen that here on Mefi.

Nomadicink-
I'm no saint and certainly there are users here who left that I had less than honorable feelings about, but I kept them to myself after he/she disabled his/her accounts. Why? Because it seems to me in truly poor taste to criticize a user who can not defend him/herself regardless of my suspicions. It's one thing to engage a user in a discussion, particularly about problematic behavior, it's another to ascribe manipulative intentions to someone who can not respond to such claims even if he/she left by choice. If I left mefi, I would sincerely hope that people wouldn't behave that way, so I treat others accordingly regardless of circumstance.

Of course, I'm not a really visible user, so I embraced my expendable nature long ago.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:27 AM on December 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


We're not adding threading.

And yeah I think the future-prediction stuff can be tough. We see it a lot of times with users who leave, swear they're never coming back, and then lo and behold they come back. Which is fine, door is always open. But sometimes you'd think they'd use that as a data point the next time they say they're never coming back. I don't know if zarq falls into this category, some seem to be saying he does, I'm sort of purposefully not digging to find out, but it's a pattern we're familiar with with a lot of users. So to people who have the steel trap sorts of memories, they can see this sort of thing plain as day. For people who are a little more live-in-the-moment, this isn't as noteworthy or interesting or relevant.

I agree it's pretty frustrating when you think you're having a conversation with someone and then they close their account and then there's a strong push to stop talking about them entirely. That said, I think it's a preferable thing to attempt instead of having a bunch of people jumping in saying "fuck that guy"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:40 AM on December 22, 2010


Miss lapin, you are a kind and charitable person. A cynic such as, myself, on the other hand --- well, if I chose to quit the site in the midst of an argument as A Gesture, I'd hope that people would continue to comment in the thread so as to enable me to identify both my enemies and my allies. After all, just because you can't write doesn't mean you can't read. We may be providing a valuable service, here. Hamburger.
posted by Diablevert at 10:00 AM on December 22, 2010


I'm might catch hell for this and, of course this might be confirmation bias, but I've seen a lot of MeTas recently about what should and should not be acceptable on this site. Some of them are quite valid, but many others (such as the "mouthbreather" one or the "punch Zukerberg" one) seem to be (and I know this is an inflammatory phrase but I can't think of another) "pearl clutchy" and designed to stop discourse. I feel this is sort of in that category, we can always FIAMO but there seems to be a push to stop discussion of certain things. Indeed zarq just said (before he disabled his account):

We talk frequently in MeTa about encouraging an environment on MeFi where women feel safe from rape culture, and it appears to me from this incident that we still have a long way to go. So despite the fact that the post seems to have been salvaged. I remain unconvinced that the topic is a good one for Metafilter.

This strikes me as an attempt to stop discussions of a certain subject. I'm not sure what the subject is, as zarq seems to conflate cannibalism with "rape culture" (and, I must admit to not being too sure what "rape culture" means, but I suspect it is quite a broad topic) and then goes on to say that this isn't a good subject for MeFi. I know that there are certain subjects that are akin to pouring petroleum on the site knowing that, in all likelyhood, there'll be a spark, but the very idea that there's a subject that this site can't do is particularly troubling for me. I'm constantly amazed by the level of discourse here and, like any discussion of what free speech means, I would have rather a few comments that step over the line of acceptability than avoid (or worse still being compelled to avoid by a vocal minority who cannot FIAMO and must have their opinion known) topics completely.
posted by ob at 10:07 AM on December 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


another cannibalism sketch
posted by philip-random at 10:12 AM on December 22, 2010


I'm actually kind of curious where the "rape culture" thing came from. I don't remember ever seeing it on metafilter prior to a couple of weeks ago.
posted by empath at 10:15 AM on December 22, 2010


zarq seems to conflate cannibalism with "rape culture"

To be clear, I think the association is "making jokes about 'eating' ladies with rape culture" and not cannibalism per se. At least, that's the way I read it. Because yeah, conflating actual cannibalism with rape is kind of... well, not so much with the logical.
posted by sonika at 10:23 AM on December 22, 2010


I'm actually kind of curious where the "rape culture" thing came from.

I'm familiar with it from college. I would prefer that this thread not become a referendum on rape culture, but folks can read the wikipedia article and get a decent idea of what it means.

I think the thing that surprised us as mods about the MeFi thread is that to us it was a "gosh, weird creepy caninbalism/murder topic" thread and to other people the fact that it features a female rape/muder victim [and also, jokes] made it an entirely different sort of thread for them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:31 AM on December 22, 2010


Before the wailing and gnashing of teeth begins, zarq has done this before. He'll be back in a week or two, with much feting and garlanding.

Gator, this is precisely the kind of passive-aggressive bullshit I'm disappointed in you for doing. We have a culture here where it's okay to take a step back and okay to disable the account and okay to come back to the community later. Taking it out on someone for doing what is functionally okay and correct to do is bullshit I'm not inclined to tolerate and it's what makes me disappointed in you for doing and other folks here for letting you get away with.
posted by kalessin at 10:36 AM on December 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


He'll be back in a week or two, with much feting and garlanding.

If you're not really a friend of zarq here, this reads as sort of nasty. Again I don't know if you guys have some sort of backstory that I am not aware of but I'd leave this alone.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:38 AM on December 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Because it seems to me in truly poor taste to criticize a user who can not defend him/herself regardless of my suspicions.

I'm not talking about criticizing, but speculating. To me, it's natural to wonder why someone left and to speculate about it with others. It can be a fine line, yeah, but I think there's a difference between "Did so and so leave cause they caught fucking chickens?" and "Hey, what's up with so and so, why'd they get so angry and leave?!"
posted by nomadicink at 10:42 AM on December 22, 2010


here's hoping zarq's just taking an extra long walk. wouldn't want to lose contributions such as this permanently.
posted by philip-random at 10:47 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


other people the fact that it features a female rape/muder victim [and also, jokes] made it an entirely different sort of thread for them

jessamyn, as you know I come from an activisty sort of background. The feminist/women's studies perspective I come from tends to indicate that threads like the rape/murder/cannibalism thread being divisive like that, the thread having "good" arguments for sticking around are contributory not only to rape culture but to the patriarchy. The fact that it's okay to have a thread discussing abominable things done in perpetration of violence against women because it's also interesting indicates a communal and moderation bent to tolerate what could be consumed as a thread about violence against women. One where some commenters find the subject light-hearted enough to make jokes within.

You and I have clashed over this before. I think that moderators not taking a stand against abominable subjects sucks and makes this place unsafe (in the "safe spaces" perspective) for a lot of marginalized people because topics that marginalize them are okay for discussion.

From my perspective, this is how I understand zarq's objections to that thread. And MetaTalk threads like these also weigh heavily on my mind and make me question whether I belong here. It really troubles me that we seem to have alienated zarq, a person I heartily respect and admire and whom until now I wanted to emulate (from the point of view of community contributions).

I'll probably get over it. I've done so before.
posted by kalessin at 10:51 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


nomadicink-

My criticism comment was in reference to the types of comments made by Gator and Dersin's which suggests that this is just a stunt. It's one thing to wonder why a user left, it's another to ascribe manipulative and negative intentions publicly when the user can't (even by his own choice) respond. As I said before, there have been users here who I suspected of doing such things, but I wouldn't do that publicly after they disabled their account for a lot of reasons, but certainly one of the chief ones is because I try to treat people the way I wish to be treated. Honestly I was kinda hoping that we could be more civil about a former member, but hey I'll just go write christmas cards so you don't have to speculate about why I left the thread.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:00 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


My criticism comment was in reference to the types of comments made by Gator and Dersin's which suggests that this is just a stunt.

Perhaps they were harsh in their comments, but frankly it's not too surprising, considering some of zarq's past history of getting angry and declaring he was leaving, only to return a little later. I see no reason why the community should be endlessly patient with someone who explodes like that repeatedly.

Much has been made of how the community should be react to individuals, but that goes both ways. If one is going to be an active member of this community I think they should take care to not treat it as their personal punching bag, soap box or revolving door. If they don't, it's not surprising if some people decide to not take them seriously.
posted by nomadicink at 11:11 AM on December 22, 2010


I think the thing that surprised us as mods about the MeFi thread is that to us it was a "gosh, weird creepy caninbalism/murder topic" thread and to other people the fact that it features a female rape/muder victim [and also, jokes] made it an entirely different sort of thread for them.

Yeah, that was the thing for me. Then again, I was taking a break so I watched the documentary that was the subject of the post. Once I saw it I didn't really feel like making jokey comments (which, I know, is odd for me.) So some of this could have been avoided by people watching the film.

I also understand the "rape culture" thing a little more. I can see that some of the jokes might conceivably fit into that narrative, but there are two things that I feel strongly about here. First, that the post was about cannibalism and the very strange case of Issei Sagawa. The fact that others made jokes and seemed to turn the thread into something else doesn't change the actual nature of the post. Second, tolerance is a two-way street. No one wants to entertain comments which encourage and/or condone sexual violence against women, but at the same time I think we don't want to stifle free-speech in our attempt to create what we think of as a more acceptable environment (especially given that there might be as many different versions of this MeFi utopia as there are members.) People will always be arseholes, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater and start thinking of certain subjects as verboten just because a few people make some off-colour jokes. Or, to put it another way, in the long-standing culture of MeTA: everyone needs a hug.
posted by ob at 11:12 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


When women are genuinely bugged by stuff on metafilter, they speak up about it.

As a friend of zarq's, I am happy to bet money that he will never return to MetaFilter. Yes, he has disabled his account before, but he indicated at the time he was just taking time off. This time he is gone. And since he a kind, smart, funny person who makes incredible posts, we are all the poorer for it.

I see a consistent pattern in MetaFilter which really disheartens me, and it leaps out at me from this thread too. This place has really strong misogynistic tones. No, not everyone is "bad" and the place isn't "bad," but over and over again, people choose language and framing which demeans women. Some people do it consistently.

Periodically, when something offensive goes up on the blue, some user, often a woman, does speak up about it. My experience is that said woman gets immediately denounced as an enemy of free speech. The nuanced view that the right to speak freely does not preclude the personal choice to do so with some sensitivity and care is shouted down. A few men -- zarq is one, AZ another -- reliably will try to support the complaining female. But apparently free speech requires personal ridicule and slamming, because that's generally how those threads go.

I've been around for a year and a half or so on MetaFilter, so I'm no longer a noob, and this is the aspect of this place that I view as a serious bug, not a feature. I'm not off now to disable my account, too, but I will say that losing zarq is a pretty awful way for MetaFilter to end 2010.
posted by bearwife at 11:23 AM on December 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


My biggest regret is that, seeing as this is the first time I've been called out in MeTa (is there a club? oh please say there's a club...with cake...and beer), it couldn't have been for something funnier or ballsier. But alas, here I will be immortalized on the internet because my brain is still 13 years old sometimes er...more than sometimes, maybe...

I love MetaFilter for lots of reasons, two of which are its outspoken members with strong opinions (regardless of whether I agree or not) and some of the funniest people on the internet hang out here. Astro Zombie and Devils Rancher - I really hope you don't let up too much. I sit at a desk all day in a city that's always raining, and the laughs help. And zarq - hope there's no ill will.

I'm a hugger. What.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:28 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The fact that it's okay to have a thread discussing abominable things done in perpetration of violence against women because it's also interesting indicates a communal and moderation bent to tolerate what could be consumed as a thread about violence against women

You seem to be suggesting that the sex of the victim means that any discussion of the crime can only be construed as a commentary on the nature of sexual violence against women. But this seems to me to lead to a logical absurdity where discussion of the similarly bizarre incident in Germany a while back would be permissible, because that didn't invole a woman and seriously that was some weird, fucked-up shit that went on, but a similar discussion of this crime is impermissible because while that was some weird, fucked up shit talking about it without sufficient gravity is, and can only be, further evidence of gender bias. I'm struggling to try and explain what I mean here without seeming to load my words, and I'm worried I'm failing, so I hope you will please give me the benefit of the doubt if they seem so.

One where some commenters find the subject light-hearted enough to make jokes within.

I have suggested up-thread that people make such jokes precisely because they are disturbed and discomforted --- that such black humor is inherently ironic. It would not occur to me to describe them as light-hearted. This is the reading Zarq seemed to make, too. That the use of humor in such a context --- perhaps in any context --- could only be an expression of contempt or derision. I find myself flummoxed by this. Perhaps it is a personal flaw; I believe I may say I have a rather dry sense of humor myself, and perhaps it simply comes easily to me to pre-suppose that words truly mean the opposite of their surface expression. It is so difficult to convey such nuances through this medium. I mention this to suggest that there are alternate readings of the use of humor in such a context.
posted by Diablevert at 11:31 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


sonika: I didn't read it this way, at all. I honestly have no problem with a man saying "misogyny bugs me and this read as misogynist to me!" which is how I read this thread.

What you're implying is more of a "Oh, we must protect the womens!" kind of vibe, which no, I didn't get at all.


This times 100. I cannot explain how your comment upset me, empath.. I much rather someone, male, female, tall, short, rich, poor say something then say nothing because they might be labeled as a white knight.

What the hell is so wrong with it anyways? I don't understand. I didn't feel like zarq was being degrading to women at all.. as a matter of fact I felt like he was trying to do the exact opposite.
posted by royalsong at 11:32 AM on December 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


Periodically, when something offensive goes up on the blue, some user, often a woman, does speak up about it. My experience is that said woman gets immediately denounced as an enemy of free speech.

And usually the offending post gets deleted and multiple people will defend her and we'll have a big long talk about women's issues. Metafilter is a big site and I think you are holding it to an impossible standard. I can't think of a general-interest site as large as metafilter that pays the slightest bit of attention to these kinds of issues.
posted by empath at 11:32 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


This times 100. I cannot explain how your comment upset me, empath.. I much rather someone, male, female, tall, short, rich, poor say something then say nothing because they might be labeled as a white knight.

I think his original MetaTalk post was fine. It's totally fine to say: Hey, let's talk about whether this is appropriate or not. But his continuing, holier-than-thou, judgmental attitude about it and pretense that he was speaking for all women when there were real, actual women in the thread actively disagreeing with him that was wearing me thin.
posted by empath at 11:37 AM on December 22, 2010


the right to speak freely does not preclude the personal choice to do so with some sensitivity and care is shouted down. A few men -- zarq is one, AZ another -- reliably will try to support the complaining female. But apparently free speech requires personal ridicule and slamming, because that's generally how those threads go.

Different people's sensitivity to this will affect the way they see these threads going. Different people's decisions on what they think the moderator team should be doing about how these sorts of threads go affect what we actually do. We frequently tell people to not shout other people down, to not make callous rape/misogynistic jokes and to respect other people's opinions. I'm aware we don't do it enough for some people's tastes. I'm aware we do it far too much for other people's tastes.

I am also aware that to people who feel we are not doing enough, or too much, they will see the site through the lens that supports their own opinions. That's fine, the tension of many people wanting to site to be more like their ideal version of it helps keep people honest and working towards a better version of the site as they see it.

However, this site is not going to be a safe place, it's not going to be a place where people are free from criticism, and it's also not going to be a place where you can always make the jokes and comments you want to make. cortex and I and mathowie try to make those decisions when we need to and with as much community input as we feel is appropriate. It's part of our job that people are rarely going to be happy with things. It would be nice if we felt that people appreciated realistically the extent to which we are on their side and trying to work to make things better as well as the extent to which their goals for this website may not be in line with the larger set of goals as espoused by the community and the mod team.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:55 AM on December 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


That the use of humor in such a context --- perhaps in any context --- could only be an expression of contempt or derision.

But many of the jokes we're specifically talking about here felt like the exact opposite, like mean-spirited lulz. One person's opinion, of course.
posted by jbickers at 12:01 PM on December 22, 2010


Periodically, when something offensive goes up on the blue, some user, often a woman, does speak up about it. My experience is that said woman gets immediately denounced as an enemy of free speech.

I can't see a way around this. Unless our posts and comments don't "go live" until they've passed some sort of approval then people are going to say offensive things and people are going to do some free speech type championing when it's not necessarily relevant.

The nuanced view that the right to speak freely does not preclude the personal choice to do so with some sensitivity and care is shouted down.

Really? Maybe it's just my perspective, but it seems as though MetaFilter has a pretty good track record lately of taking people seriously when they're offended. Not all of MetaFilter of course, because the site is made up of individuals, but I'm definitely not getting a sense of a "shouting down".

Again, it could just be my perspective, and I'm sure I'll go trawling through MeTa threads from the last year now just to see if I've been reading them wrong. Could be that once I start reading a comment like that I dismiss it, so it doesn't really feel like it contributes much to the tone the thread has in my mind unless it's filled with them.
posted by ODiV at 12:01 PM on December 22, 2010


I see a consistent pattern in MetaFilter which really disheartens me, and it leaps out at me from this thread too. This place has really strong misogynistic tones.

Compared to what other sites, online communities etc? Or is this just a generalized statement? I accept that our culture in general can show an ugly misogynist face at times, and sometimes this shows up on MetaFilter. I don't accept that MetaFilter is a particularly bad player in this regard.
posted by philip-random at 12:04 PM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


WTF, zarq? Do come back when you can. Take a breather.
posted by loquacious at 12:31 PM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


It would be nice if we felt that people appreciated realistically the extent to which we are on their side and trying to work to make things better

I was not implying any criticism of MetaFilter's moderation at all. I am always impressed with the quality of the moderators' unceasing work. And I am not suggesting that more things need to be deleted or banned or removed by moderators.

As for those of you who wonder what my basis of comparison is -- I don't actually think that misogyny gets better because it is not as bad as in other places or because other people do more of it. I just think it's like racism or homophobia -- a little is far too much.

MetaFilter is a great place. That's why I spend time here. But I think this particular aspect of MetaFilter, which is driven by users, not the mods, is incredibly unappealing and that we could do a lot better if we tried.
posted by bearwife at 12:32 PM on December 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


I can only echo bearwife's comments about how users here often reply to "hey, that's objectionable" with "free speech!".

Personally I think "oh, grow up and take responsibility for the effects of your words" is the appropriate response to "free speech!"
posted by kalessin at 12:55 PM on December 22, 2010


Well, yes, rights come with responsibilities. Of course they do. But when you say things like:
The fact that it's okay to have a thread discussing abominable things done in perpetration of violence against women because it's also interesting indicates a communal and moderation bent to tolerate what could be consumed as a thread about violence against women.
it sounds as though you don't think people should be permitted to discuss certain topics even if they are willing to "take responsibility for the effects of [their] words." Perhaps we have differing definitions of what constitutes taking responsibility.
posted by dersins at 1:02 PM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


By taking responsibility I do mean leaving well enough alone yes. I mean that instead of being willfully offensive, the responsible, community oriented approach to communication might include responsible self-censoring.
posted by kalessin at 1:06 PM on December 22, 2010


So you're cool with people having the right to speak freely as long as they don't exercise it, then?
posted by dersins at 1:08 PM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


This dialog is not in good faith.

Please enjoy yourself alone.

Happy Holidays!
posted by kalessin at 1:10 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


This dialog is not in good faith.

Apparently not!
posted by dersins at 1:11 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well that was disappointing.

It seems to me that the people saying "I'm allowed to say X offensive thing because FREE SPEECH," are usually outnumbered in any given thread and that's a good thing. Of course there will be some instances where very few people agree that X is offensive (like the mouthbreather thread, I think. It's been awhile since I read that one), but generally we'll tell the offensive party that they're indeed being offensive and with time hopefully bring them around instead of deleting everything or banning them. That sounds pretty good to me. I don't really see how "we could do a lot better if we tried." Are there other options that I'm missing?
posted by ODiV at 1:16 PM on December 22, 2010


How could we do a lot better if we tried?

1. The users that indulge themselves in misogyny could choose to stop. For example per dersins question, yes, one aspect of having any right is the right not to exercise it.

2. Those who don't engage in misogyny could try to back up callouts and those who post them. And could use their own rights of free speech on the blue to critique misogynistic post and comments.

I'm big on the marketplace of ideas myself. I think more willingness by other users -- versus requiring some lone female to say she's Offended -- to engage people who use misogyny would improve MetaFilter a ton.
posted by bearwife at 1:36 PM on December 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


One problem is: who decides what constitutes misogyny?
posted by stinkycheese at 1:39 PM on December 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


who decides what constitutes misogyny?

Well, as with whether something is racist, homophobic, culturally chauvinistic or otherwise bothersome, I think WE do. By talking.
posted by bearwife at 1:58 PM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


The only problem I see is that those who indulge in misogyny rarely think they do so and so probably don't see a need to censor themselves.
posted by josher71 at 1:59 PM on December 22, 2010


bearwife: I guess what I was saying is that I think this already happens for the most part. I imagine there are a few people who knowingly "indulge themselves in misogyny" and I agree they should probably stop.

What happens more often, I think, is that people are participating in good faith, not posting things that they think are offensive and that others are also participating in good faith by calling out what they feel crosses certain lines. Then, we hash things out and usually the people who have posted something that others find offensive come around a bit or at least agree that MetaFilter isn't the place for it.

It doesn't seem to me like people raising objections here are shouted down or not taken seriously. Maybe I just have my rose coloured glasses on?
posted by ODiV at 2:01 PM on December 22, 2010


Look, I've been in a similar position, because I started a thread pointing out what I saw as anti-catholic bigotry on metafilter. The thread did not go remotely as I expected, I was roundly shouted down and I got pissed off and quit metafilter for a couple of weeks.

The reality is that everyone is offended by something and just because something pisses me off personally, that doesn't mean that I get to set the boundaries of what's acceptable commentary on metafilter. And that goes for everybody else.

If you start a metatalk thread, and the result is that everyone disagrees with you and you are shouted down, that pretty much means that either A) you were wrong or B) you are fighting a hopeless battle. Either way, it's not worth getting all worked up about. Ultimately it is just words.

Take some time off and re-adjust your expectations of what's possible on a site like this and get on with your life.
posted by empath at 2:06 PM on December 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


who decides what constitutes misogyny?

I agree that the only way to get to an acceptable answer is by talking about it. The flip of this is that some who cry "misogyny" (or "racism" or "anti-semitism") are being disingenuous (or maybe just confused). Either way, it's a derail and can be immensely frustrating which, I suspect, is where many of the angry shouts of "Suck it up, I'm exercising my FREE SPEECH" come from.

And then, as it generally goes with armed conflict, things escalate.
posted by philip-random at 2:09 PM on December 22, 2010


It doesn't seem to me like people raising objections here are shouted down or not taken seriously. Maybe I just have my rose coloured glasses on?

I don't share this perception, as you know from what I already said here. I think there is a problem. I know there are other MeFites, many of them women, who share my view.

I do appreciate your thoughtfulness about this, ODiV.
posted by bearwife at 2:11 PM on December 22, 2010


Yeah, I'll readily agree it's totally possible I'm only remembering certain threads, missed some, or took away the completely wrong impression of some.
posted by ODiV at 2:16 PM on December 22, 2010


I think there is a problem.

I think that calls of misogyny are generally answered correctly here, in that they're put before the community and those who agree say so and those who don't also say their piece. Usually there's a bit (or a lot) of back and forth about misogyny and the specific situation and that's ok, in my opinion.

In short, I think it's good that the community examines the specific instances and decides, as a community, if it crosses that line. It's messy and contentious at times, but works well, in my opinion.
posted by nomadicink at 2:16 PM on December 22, 2010


Well, for instance, is a post about Issei Sagawa misogynistic in and of itself? zarq began this Meta post by stating that the Sagawa post "is not a good post for Metafilter". The consensus in this Meta seems to be (correct me if you think I'm wrong) that the post was OK, it was the comments/jokes which were objectionable.

Like I stated earlier, we ought to be able to discuss most any subject here. If people conduct themselves with an understanding that misogyny is a concern here and that misogynistic jokes or comments are frowned upon, why shouldn't we be able to discuss Sagawa or any number of other heated subjects?

What worries me is that certain topics themselves will become de facto verboten because they tend (or are viewed to tend) to elicit objectionable responses - that would really be a bad direction for the site to go in IMHO.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:21 PM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Black humor in the face of a singularly bizarre and intentionally super-transgressive murder is not what's keeping rape culture going.

I'm actually a little offended that this is being held up as an example. Because it's the utterly normalized sexism, objectification, slut-shaming, victim-blaming, the double-standard...all the ordinary stuff that really perpetuates the acceptance of sexual violence.
posted by desuetude at 2:22 PM on December 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


Things I've learned today: jokes about Japanese cannibalism are more offensive than jokes about German cannibalism. Weird, that.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:23 PM on December 22, 2010


Yeah, I usually go easy on the Germans, on account of them at least being vaguely reticent about the war.
posted by Artw at 2:25 PM on December 22, 2010


There was some pretty offensive stuff in the recent Japanese manga thread. I don't think I checked back, but I certainly flagged at least one comment there.
posted by ODiV at 2:25 PM on December 22, 2010


"Well, as with whether something is racist, homophobic, culturally chauvinistic or otherwise bothersome, I think WE do. By talking."

The root problem, at least for me, is that I don't think that a lot of these contentions can ever really be resolved, especially as we move in from edge cases. Not only is there the issue of context, making some phrases OK sometimes and not OK others, but there's very real disagreement on whether some are in fact harmful inherently. Take, for example, your concerns over "douchebag." While I didn't think that anyone saw it as misogynistic, and now I realize that some do, it's enough for me to be mildly more sensitive to the context of my usage, but not tremendously so because I still don't see it as a particularly misogynistic term as it's used.

Similarly, to move out of the loaded world of misogyny, the mouthbreather thing — I totally feel bad for the member that posted that thread, because he got jumped on with both feet, but on the other hand, it's just not something that needs to have wide protection.

A decent analogy might be the idea of legal intent — sometimes, it's easy to discern, especially if there are records or a clear pattern of behavior. Other times, it's entirely opaque. And this is before even delving into the ways that American law defines intent outside of its common language usage. There's just not always a way to divine whether someone intended the consequences of their action. Likewise, there's just not always a way to divine whether something was misogynistic or homophobic or hurtful, generally.

The further we move from subjective statements toward objective statements, the more evidence is required, and the more it requires a consensus — which is deciding by talking, but it's neither foolproof nor conclusive.

You could argue that an alternative standard, that of causing harm here, should be controlling, but there the subjectivity problem becomes even more apparent — how do we quantify emotional harm and set a reasonable threshold? There is simply no way to please all people on this, and (as a good ol' liberal) I do lean toward letting people say what they want and letting other people call them on it. I do fundamentally believe that no one has a right to not be offended, and that the gentrification remark way upthread was pretty apt. I'm also not really shy about arguing with people when I think they've been an ass, and I tend to be pretty good about taking my lumps when people go after me (or at least I think so).
posted by klangklangston at 2:26 PM on December 22, 2010


What worries me is that certain topics themselves will become de facto verboten because they tend (or are viewed to tend) to elicit objectionable responses - that would really be a bad direction for the site to go in IMHO

I agree. Completely.

Klangklangston, I agree with you, too, that none of these discussions is itself going to be the end all and be all final resolution. But I believe we can make progress, if only incrementally. I remember the days when lots of hateful words and acts (ethnic smears, racist jokes, homophobic slurs) were extant. Over time, people talking about that has created a much more civil discourse.
posted by bearwife at 2:42 PM on December 22, 2010


^You seem to be suggesting that the sex of the victim means that any discussion of the crime can only be construed as a commentary on the nature of sexual violence against women.

It isn't just that the victim was a woman. This was a particularly grotesque sexually motivated crime. That's why some of us find jokes about cunnilingus more offensive, than, say, a joke directly about cannibalism.

^But his continuing, holier-than-thou, judgmental attitude about it and pretense that he was speaking for all women when there were real, actual women in the thread actively disagreeing with him that was wearing me thin.

Ironically eponysterical? FWIW, I'm a woman who didn't think zarq was speaking for anyone other than himself.
posted by girih knot at 2:45 PM on December 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm with you bearwife. That seems entirely reasonable.
posted by ob at 3:31 PM on December 22, 2010


FWIW, I'm a woman who thought that the original post was interesting and fine for MeFi, and that MeFi is easily one of the safest places on the web for women. I am glad that the post was allowed to stand.

I do wish that people could understand that accommodating others in the community goes both ways; sometimes I have to be willing to say "hey, I found that offensive, but I am going to choose to read it charitably and not assume that you are a bad/misogynist/creepy person," and to react appropriately when the community disagrees with my assessment of what is offensive enough to warrant deletion. I am free to point out when something hurts my feelings, but others are equally free to disregard my feelings. I trust that the mods & community will take care of it if the other party is truly out of line. I don't have any inalienable right never to be offended, nor do offenders have any inherent obligation to change what their behavior just because I don't like it. I can appeal to their better nature, but that's about it. If the community and the mods disagree with me, I must accept that this is part of being in a community; it isn't always comfortable for everybody.

I mean that instead of being willfully offensive, the responsible, community oriented approach to communication might include responsible self-censoring.

I think that calls to turn MeFi into a universal safe space are completely unrealistic. With a large, heterogeneous community like MeFi, people are bound to find different things offensive, and to disallow every conceivable topic of offense would quash any hope of thoughtful discussion because everyone would constantly be walking on eggshells. There are many other safe spaces out there for people if this is what they need; but generally, these communities are small, very tight-knit, and homogeneous in makeup precisely because people must share the same idea of what is hurtful if they are to have a truly safe space. People here clearly do not universally agree about what is hurtful, so it will never be a completely safe space for anybody (including those who argue for unlimited free speech).

All in all, I think we do a very good job of addressing these issues when they arise, largely thanks to discussions like these and our fantastic mods (I particularly appreciated this thoughtful, nuanced comment from Jessamyn). But the truth is that the community will not always agree with the offended party that the behavior in question was out of line. You win some, you lose some.
posted by dialetheia at 3:48 PM on December 22, 2010 [14 favorites]


The reaction to this kind of post is quite easily explained: Who likes having lots of extra rules? Rules lawyers. What are rules lawyers? Basically trolls who use appeals to authority as their method of griefing. Who likes trolls and griefers? Nobody.
posted by Artw at 3:56 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like you, Artw, but I don't see how lots of name calliing -- "rules lawyers," "trolls" and "griefers" plus the assurance that nobody likes them, does anything but make noise.

I'm also not sure what you're trying to say -- that no one should do a call out on MetaTalk because that proves they are nasty trolls who are running to authority? For real?

If we can't talk about stuff, this isn't much of a community.
posted by bearwife at 4:00 PM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think everyone is fine TALKING about it. But this thread was a call to delete a post, delete comments and then ban a particular subject entirely forever more. Whatever that is, it's not a request to talk about stuff.
posted by empath at 4:04 PM on December 22, 2010


dialetheia: I'm trying to read your comment in good faith because I largely agree with what you're saying, but regurgitating my words makes it seem like you're refuting some point I didn't make.

I had no problem with the content of the post. The jokey tone of some of the comments made me cringe. I'm also entirely aware that sometimes people are going to be offended by things that aren't going to be deleted. And to my understanding, that's partially what MetaTalk is for. I think it's a real shame that this discussion built up so many walls.
posted by girih knot at 4:05 PM on December 22, 2010


Well, sometimes bluntness has certain advantages to it. You can call me an asshole for outright stating it, but that really is how this kind of MetaTalk post seems to a lot of people and they are often not wring in seeing it that way.

If we can't talk about stuff, this isn't much of a community.

Well, quite.
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on December 22, 2010


empath: Isn't it kind of a given that ANY post is a request to talk about stuff?
posted by girih knot at 4:08 PM on December 22, 2010


^
White knight, wilting flowers etc.


Wow, I stepped away from this thread at exactly the wrong moment. I am really sorry to see zarq go, and not just because flouncing is a party foul. I appreciate zarq and Astro Zombie, who's also taken flak as a white knight for taking offense at sexism. I can't speak for other women, but zarq's definitely not disempowering me - he's my much-appreciated ally in my resistance against sexism and patriarchy, just as I try to be a good ally to others in their resistance against racism and other injustices.

(Talking about talking can't be an assault on free speech, can it? Saying "that offends me and I think less of you for saying it" really isn't the same thing as saying "I will engineer your banning with my ability to control the mods with MY MIND".)
posted by gingerest at 4:16 PM on December 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


this thread was a call to delete a post, delete comments and then ban a particular subject entirely forever more. Whatever that is, it's not a request to talk about stuff.

zarq said it wasn't a good post, and that the comments in it were way out of line. But I just went back and reread the post and the first 70 or so comments, and I don't see any call for deletion of the post on the blue or ban of the subject. The strongest thing zarq eventually said, and he was the OP, was

We talk frequently in MeTa about encouraging an environment on MeFi where women feel safe from rape culture, and it appears to me from this incident that we still have a long way to go. So despite the fact that the post seems to have been salvaged. I remain unconvinced that the topic is a good one for Metafilter. I also don't believe it was a good post. I'm sorry, but that's how I feel about it.


That was his opinion, and he posed it that way, not as a call to delete and refusal to discuss. And he got well trashed.

My opinion is slightly different, though I respect zarq's. I work in the criminal field, and it isn't that unheard of for some people who harm others have a bizarre preoccupation with mutilation/examination, and even consumption, a la Jack the Ripper and Jeffrey Dahmer. I'm not sure what's gained by dwelling on these very sick obsessions. Similarly, the ideology behind genocide isnt' something I find rewarding to contemplate. In my experience, people who victimize others have lots of rationalizations -- so what? So I wasn't wild about this post on the blue myself. That doesn't mean I think it should have been banned or that posts about femicide/cannibalism should be off limits for MetaFilter. I am really bothered by some of the comments in the thread -- not that they weren't deleted, but their tone. I definitely think those comments are worthy of discussion.

Also, I'm not suggesting we have to make MetaFilter safe for all sensibilities. I don't think it's too much, though, to ask that we try to talk respectfully to each other when one of us calls out what we see as woman trashing (or racist, or homophobic, etc) behavior or language.
posted by bearwife at 4:33 PM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


But I believe we can make progress, if only incrementally. I remember the days when lots of hateful words and acts (ethnic smears, racist jokes, homophobic slurs) were extant. Over time, people talking about that has created a much more civil discourse.

Yes, maybe not a "safe space" but definitely safer, and why stop now.
posted by Danila at 4:58 PM on December 22, 2010


But I just went back and reread the post and the first 70 or so comments, and I don't see any call for deletion of the post on the blue or ban of the subject.

"Not good for Metafilter" is almost always a request for a deletion, isn't it? He said both the post and the topic were not good for Metafilter. And honestly, why start a thread about it if you don't want something done about it and don't want to engage with anybody who has a different opinion than you do?

Part of the problem here is that zarq never clearly stated what he wanted done about the situation, then he acted as though anybody who disagreed that this was offensive was either aiding and abetting rape culture or piling on him personally. He didn't seem to make any effort to engage with arguments that the post and jokes could ever be acceptable (i.e. that the jokes were not at the expense of the victim, that people use black humor to respond to things that horrify them, that the event was 25 years ago, that people were reacting to the extremely transgressive nature of cannibalism and not to rape). He acted like people who use black humor to cope with things must be sick or sexist or both. That's a pretty damn strong accusation to level if you just want to talk about something.

All that said, I still hope he comes back.

I don't think it's too much, though, to ask that we try to talk respectfully to each other when one of us calls out what we see as woman trashing (or racist, or homophobic, etc) behavior or language.

Nor is it too much to ask that if people disagree about the bounds of acceptable conversation, we try to talk respectfully to them as well, rather than implying that they must be terrible, unenlightened people for not agreeing with us. Many of the people he was arguing with in this thread, as far as I can tell, are women (which yes, doesn't mean women couldn't possibly be sexist, but it makes the "white knight" comments a bit more understandable in context, especially given the way he escalated the conflict rather than engage with what these women were saying).
posted by dialetheia at 5:12 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have definitely gotten a lot of "white knight" horseshit, and responses to my opinions have consistently been quite hostile, and not based in reasoned discussion, but instead in a sense that I am obnoxious and should just shut up.

As I said in a previous thread, I feel like a have made my points and they are now being ignored or disagreed with, and it's just not doing my mood any good to keep raising them when the responses to them are often so hostile and dismissive.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:15 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, that "white knight" attack on zarq was really shitty & mean-spirited.

zarq was taking a lot of flak for trying to stand up for a good principle, and generally responding in a balanced & thoughtful way. Right when he did a shoulder shrug "c'est la vie" to leave the topic, somebody had to come bounding in to give him a kick on the way out, for no good purpose whatsoever.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:31 PM on December 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


(by which I mean, white-knightism is a topic worth discussing in itself, but the timing & delivery of that attack was just nasty)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:34 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]



Black humor in the face of a singularly bizarre and intentionally super-transgressive murder is not what's keeping rape culture going.


Yeah. 40yo woman here, weighing in. I didn't find the deleted jokes particularly misogynistic; they were made at the expense of messed-up humanity, not women in particular, though in this case the pretext was a gruesome attack on a woman. I'd say the comments were tasteless but not sexist and not particularly offensive (to me).

That said, I watched the documentary last night, and I must say that anyone who would feel like joking after watching that might be a bit, um, callous to say the least. The VBS content was far more offensive than any of the comments made here (personally I was sickened by the way the story was framed), and I can't imagine anyone wanting to add to that after seeing it.

So. Maybe it would help if people followed the links before letting the snark fly?
posted by torticat at 5:48 PM on December 22, 2010


For the record, I agree that the white knight comments are almost always spiteful, mean, and unnecessary, and that the timing of this one was particularly harsh. I just wanted to point out that it shouldn't be a huge surprise that someone might have that reaction if, from their perspective, this thread looks like a man chiding women for perpetuating sexism. I hope we can progress to where it doesn't really matter which gender is making the argument, but the optics still matter to a lot of people.
posted by dialetheia at 6:31 PM on December 22, 2010


The white knight charge is an attack on motives, and we cannot know somebody's motives. It functions very poorly as a mechanism for discussion, and very well as a mechanism for shaming.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:31 PM on December 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


Dear MetaSanta, here are some things I'd like for MetaXmas:

1. Less freaking out in Metatalk generally, but specifically, if someone brings up a topic for discussion — let it be discussed. That's the primary purpose for MetaTalk. Coming to MetaTalk to get mad about someone asking to discuss an issue is like accepting a dinner invitation, then complaining bitterly that there's food on the table and people are eating it.

2. Less Grudge commenting. Okay, so you're angry about an exchange you had with someone in some other thread? You're on opposite sides of some political issue? That person is now your SWORN ENEMY because you have different opinions on net neutrality or Wikileaks or something? Don't snipe at each other in unrelated discussions, because it really muddies the waters. I see people getting incredibly nasty and pushing, pushing, pushing, long after it makes any sense to pursue some minuscule point ... and it almost always turns out that participants are really just still fighting over some other conversation somewhere else. But other people don't know that, so end up pursuing these overblown reactions and weird tangents that were all mostly about just poking someone because they're SWORN ENEMY.

3. Less panic, please. When people want to talk about community standards it's okay. Don't react like someone is breaking into your house to steal your most precious possession. Even if someone suggests that XYZ TOPIC BE BANNED FOREVERMORE, it's just a discussion, and they don't have the power to ban a topic. How many people really, really miss "I'd hit it" comments? Anyone? How about "First!" or "Yawn."? These are the sorts of no-content comments that are likely to be deleted or actively discouraged because pretty much everyone agrees they suck. In contrast, how likely is it that There Will Now Be a Rule that We Can Have No More Cannibalism Posts because we had that one MetaTalk thread that one time? Section 1073a of the MetaFilter Book of Rules: NO CANNIBALISM EVAR? Really, really not likely. Yes, some people will probably miss prison-rape-wishing, or that's-so-gay, but their disappointment should be mitigated by the fact that the internet is a cornucopia of delight for them outside of MeFi. And if you really do feel that lines are being crossed with regard to oversensitivity and topic/comment moderation, you should definitely bring it up as a MetaTalk discussion because it's a totally valid conversation to have. Freaking out with your hair on fire because someone brings up a question or makes a suggestion is far less productive.

4. Fewer personality attacks would be just jingley. And cloaking in insinuation does not help. Both Sides, goddammit. Goddammit. I'm not even going to elaborate because it's so freaking obvious.

5. One last stocking stuffer, please: if you're feeling tender, if you're feeling aggro, if you're feeling final-strawish, if you are feeling like pushing the button, yes — please take that walk. I've taken weeks- or months-long walks sometimes, and, hey — it helps. When I start having bad dreams about Metatalk threads? Time to take a walk. Stomach clenching much? Time to take a walk. Most of the time the people who leave really diminish the community by doing so, and I hate it so much. For the most part the only exceptions have been those who were clearly and purposefully not engaging in good faith — the real and actual trolls (of whom we have far fewer than accusations would suggest).

Thanking you in advance, MetaSanta, xxoo, taz
posted by taz at 9:13 PM on December 22, 2010 [41 favorites]


I can freak out if my hair really IS on fire though, right?

Thanks for the list taz, thoughtful and useful suggestions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:15 PM on December 22, 2010


That is an excellent list of suggestions, Taz. I could stand to remember a few things on there.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:20 PM on December 22, 2010


Yeah, great stuff taz.

I'll try to favourite it, but my work IE6 has only been able to fave about 1 out of every 20 attempts on average for the past month or longer, and that bug's just not going away because it seems that it only affects me.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:25 PM on December 22, 2010


hey, it worked. intermittent bugs are the worst kind to diagnose.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:26 PM on December 22, 2010


if someone brings up a topic for discussion — let it be discussed

If one brings up a topic for discussion, one should not put up a fight when people dare to, you know, discuss it. If the topic is one's own opinion, an inevitable aspect of the ensuing discussion will involve disagreement with that opinion. Is the opinion vehement? Expect vehement disagreement.

I mean, really.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:49 PM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


If one brings up a topic for discussion, one should not put up a fight when people dare to, you know, discuss it.

I suspect this may be in response to a flurry of "Why are we even talking about this?" type comments that sometimes start a MeTa thread, or comments to the effect, suggesting that the discussion itself is beneath consideration.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:56 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't snipe at each other in unrelated discussions, because it really muddies the waters. I see people getting incredibly nasty and pushing, pushing, pushing, long after it makes any sense to pursue some minuscule point ... and it almost always turns out that participants are really just still fighting over some other conversation somewhere else. But other people don't know that, so end up pursuing these overblown reactions and weird tangents that were all mostly about just poking someone because they're SWORN ENEMY.

I humbly suggest that Sworn Enemy Comment should enter candidacy as the Metafilter neologism for past friction between users that resurfaces in new arguments that derails threads by bringing up said friction - to everyone's frustration.
posted by fantodstic at 10:06 PM on December 22, 2010


At least, that's what I'll call these types of derail privately, if I can spot them.
posted by fantodstic at 10:07 PM on December 22, 2010


I agree with that, Sys Rq. I didn't address the issue of the OP of a MetaTalk thread suggesting that other people not make dissenting comments, but in my opinion, the same point applies: the point of MetaTalk is to discuss things.
posted by taz at 10:09 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


In case zarq is still monitoring this thread, I would like to add that although we disagree on some things (and he might have perceived me as part of the "pile on" against him in this thread?), I thought that he was a valuable member of the community. I am sorry if I contributed to him feeling unwanted here because I am sad to see him go and I hope that he changes his mind and comes back.

Regarding MetaFilter being an especially misogynistic community -- ha ha, what? I invite you to spend a week on Reddit for some perspective. This is the least misogynistic community I have ever found on the internet, short of some explicitly feminism-focused communities, and those only manage to pull it off through remaining relatively small and using very heavy moderation.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:40 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


^Regarding MetaFilter being an especially misogynistic community

Wait, wait, and I swear this isn't a rhetorical question or snarking, where'd that bit come from? If it was from anything *I* said, I want to take this opportunity to say: sometimes, MetaFilter has Boyzone moments, and everywhere is a bastion of patriarchy, because patriarchy is ubiquitous, but. BUT BUT. The community here is, on the whole, trying super-hard not to be an anythingarchy, which puts it many many miles ahead of nearly all of the internet (and of nearly all media sources and pretty much the entire real world.) I think there's maybe three or four of the umpteen-thousands of active users who think talking about Wimmin Stuff is a whiny downer, but on the whole, no, this joint is trying pretty hard not to be a Thoughtless Tool of the Man. (And that there's 3 or 4 is based on my overall impression plus probabilities, not on a particular incident or anything.)
posted by gingerest at 11:14 PM on December 22, 2010


Regarding MetaFilter being an especially misogynistic community -- ha ha, what?

Just to clarify, I don't think anyone said this. bearwife said
This place has really strong misogynistic tones. No, not everyone is "bad" and the place isn't "bad," but over and over again, people choose language and framing which demeans women. Some people do it consistently.

There's no comparative.
posted by girih knot at 11:16 PM on December 22, 2010


If some unrepentant asshole makes the most egregious comment ever, does it really matter? Should it really affect your life so much that it's worth ulcers and sleeplessness and anger and all that?

I suggest that it is not worth that amount of negative energy. In the big scheme of things—eighty years, seven billion people, war and famine—words on a screen from an asshole you'll never meet really ought not count for much at all.

A healthy sense of proportionality goes a long way to making online life easier.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:19 PM on December 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's that same sense of "the internet doesn't really matter" that encourages people to be unrepentant assholes in the first place, IMO. You and I will probably never meet. We're in different countries, even! But that doesn't change the fact that you and I are both real people communicating about a topic.

A detached, devil-may-care attitude towards other people because they're connected to you via wires attached to a computer thousands of miles away doesn't foster respectful, intelligent discussion. Sometimes people will get upset by things other people are saying online.
posted by girih knot at 11:27 PM on December 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


It doesn't seem to me like people raising objections here are shouted down or not taken seriously. Maybe I just have my rose coloured glasses on?

If you look back in this very thread, you can see people raising objections being told to point blank "chill out." So, yeah, I guess charitable reading and all that goes a long way - but the fact is that it does happen and it feels kinda harsh when you're the one saying "This bugged me" and the response is "well, yeah, just relax."

Things I've learned today: jokes about Japanese cannibalism are more offensive than jokes about German cannibalism. Weird, that.

I got more of the vibe that "it's tricker to discuss cannibalism that is a man consuming a woman than it is for, er, man-on-man cannibalism." At least my read is that it was the gender difference, not the difference in nationality, that made it harder to have a...um.... tasteful discussion... on the matter.

Also: great suggestions, taz. Perhaps SWORN ENEMIES should be obligated to settle things with a duel, as in olden times. Not sure how though... roll for it? DICE AT DAWN, GENTLEMEN.
posted by sonika at 5:56 AM on December 23, 2010


Eating contest would be more fitting, yes?
posted by nomadicink at 5:59 AM on December 23, 2010


If you look back in this very thread, you can see people raising objections being told to point blank "chill out."

I saw one guy use the word "relax" once and not vociferously. You and zarq both responded to him, and addressed the concept at more length in reaction than he did in action. And much as I think this whole thing has played out in a complicated way and don't want to give him an extra hard time when he's already closed his account, zarq has had a habit of reacting pretty strongly to stuff around here at times, to the degree that I kinda think he did, indeed, need to cool it a bit. Jessamyn tried to say as much at one point as well.

A shouting dismissive chorus of "relax, you're taking it too seriously, there's nothing here, you're being hysterical" is one thing. But one guy using the word once as criticism should not be portrayed as more than it is.

A detached, devil-may-care attitude towards other people because they're connected to you via wires attached to a computer thousands of miles away doesn't foster respectful, intelligent discussion. Sometimes people will get upset by things other people are saying online.

Totally agree, girih knot, but what five fresh fish is saying also has some merit and not as a strict contradiction to what you're saying: the point as I see it is not that we should treat other folks on metafilter or on the internet as arbitrary faceless non-entities but that when we come across something that upsets us, it's on us to decide how much to invest in allowing that upset to happen and to decide how to manifest that upset.

The sense-of-proportion thing mostly comes into the realization that it's an imperfect web and even if you constantly remember you're dealing with a person, the person on the other end might not, and choosing how you react to their moments of thoughtlessness and callousness is up to you and not to them. It's not a matter of a just or righteous response so much as a pragmatic one, especially in a community context where it's not just their crappy contribution but the content and footprint of your reaction to it that will have an impact on everybody else in the conversation/thread/community.

So there's tension there between both of those ideas. Neither trumps the other, and believe me I dearly with people in general were in fact a lot more consistently and more universally attentive to the notion that they're dealing with other flesh and blood humans and not some abstract practice target when they chose how to interact. But if I for example didn't put a lot of distance between how I'm inclined to respond to the shit that annoys me or offends me or pisses me off and how I actually respond to that I'd be a horrid, horrid moderator. Not everybody needs to be a moderator, but plenty of people could benefit from trying to manage that distance just a way to keep the heat index relatively low when they need to broach the subject of something they think is a problem. Because we're better off when people do broach that stuff, but when it gets out of hand it can feel more like two steps forward, three steps back.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:52 AM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


A shouting dismissive chorus of "relax, you're taking it too seriously, there's nothing here, you're being hysterical" is one thing. But one guy using the word once as criticism should not be portrayed as more than it is.

Oh, definitely. Agreed. I was just responding to ODiV's comment and this thread seemed like the best place to start in terms of examples, though granted, it's probably not the best example. This particular instance isn't a big deal at all, but it absolutely does happen that people who raise objections are told that they're over-reacting.
posted by sonika at 7:12 AM on December 23, 2010


...but it absolutely does happen that people who raise objections are told that they're over-reacting.

True, but I don't see that as problem. It's worth being brought up and discussed and dealt with because sometimes people are over-reacting.
posted by nomadicink at 7:17 AM on December 23, 2010


I thought most of the discussion in this thread went well, so long as people stuck to discussing actions and not other people.

There are some comments in this thread that make too much of what people are and how people should be, when the focus should be on actions. When you criticize a person in their being rather than what they have done, I think it is needlessly provocative and can be hurtful.

The way this meta is framed by zarq is strictly around the post and the questionable comments. Keeping it in the realm of critiquing behavior and actions. Some people agreed that the post and/or the comments were creepy or over the line, and some people disagreed, with both groups mostly keeping it about actions and interpretations of actions ("that's misogynistic" vs. "that's black humor"). As long as the conversation was about post framing and comments, it has been fine, educational even.

But starting with this needlessly insulting comment by Lutoslawski, things started to devolve.

In fact, a bunch of comments by Lutoslawski in this meta included some kind of personally offensive and dismissive remark about the people he was disagreeing with ("touchy", "bored", "need to sort of relax"). And some of the people who agree with him (Decani, Eideteker, artw, etc.) also made it about the people they disagreed with and how they are or should be ("metaprudery on the march", "some people devote way too much energy to getting bent out of shape"), rather than focusing their discussion on actions. Then empath dropped his nasty little personally insulting bomb and whatever. Others, like Jacqueline, were able to present their opposing point of view without taking personal shots at those with whom they disagree.

It is when they made it personal that it got personal. And this is not the first Meta thread in which this has happened.
posted by Danila at 7:40 AM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


taz, I'm so glad you're here. Please don't ever leave.

zarq, I'm so glad you were here. Please come back.
posted by angrycat at 7:49 AM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


needlessly insulting comment by Lutoslawski....In fact, a bunch of comments by Lutoslawski in this meta included some kind of personally offensive and dismissive remark....the people who agree with him (Decani, Eideteker, artw, etc.)...

Yeah, damn those people who make it personal by addressing people instead of actions.
posted by dersins at 7:59 AM on December 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


"(Decani, Eideteker, artw, etc.)"

That does it, Danila. SWORN ENEMY FOREVER.

Honestly, I was attempting to route zarq back onto the discussion. Energy spent getting frustrated and madder is, at least at a certain point, wasted energy. It's ok, even good, to be passionate about something, but when you're not engaging the other side (hard, when they're smug jokester assholes and don't seem earnest), you're not really helping either. It's tough to be cajoling in a purely textual medium, though I try to write with enough nuance (or just sheer over-the-top-ness) that my tone is clear. Bottom line is, if I'm joking, we're cool. When I find myself unable to inject some levity into a comment, that's generally Ctrl-A Delete Walk away time. So, zarq, if you're reading this [it's me, Margaret], we're cool. We were always cool.

And I keep promising to, but one day I really am going to run away and live with taz forever.
posted by Eideteker at 8:23 AM on December 23, 2010


Yeah, damn those people who make it personal by addressing people instead of actions.

I think this was meant ironically, but Danila provided an inventory of actions. I suppose she could have said "some people do this sort of thing," but we can all read the thread and see who she is referring to, and that seems unnecessarily circumspect.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:31 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nope, sorry. Her comment certainly gave lip service to the idea addressing actions rather than people, but there was a lot of loaded language pretty clearly aimed at calling Lutoslawki and "the people who agree with him" bad community members. More specifically, calling them people who make "needlessly insulting" comments, drop "nasty and personally insulting" bombs, and "[make] it about the people," which is tantamount to calling them bad community members.
posted by dersins at 8:38 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The fact that you have drawn that conclusion does not mean that conclusion is necessary or inevitable. I read it as saying "This creates roadblocks to discussion, and can be alienating."

This also creates roadblocks: Responding to a comment with a "gotcha" riposte based on your own uncharitably reading of the intentions of the poster, rather than phrase it as fully as you just did.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:41 AM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just dropped in to see what's happening here. Stunned by the awesomeness of taz again. My New Year's hope is we can all fulfill her Xmas list. Or at least try really hard.

Happy Holidays to all. We may only know each other by way of the mysterious, marvelous internet, but this particular corner of it seems especially worthwhile and worth making even better to me.
posted by bearwife at 9:17 AM on December 23, 2010


Her comment certainly gave lip service to the idea addressing actions rather than people, but there was a lot of loaded language pretty clearly aimed at calling Lutoslawki and "the people who agree with him" bad community members. More specifically, calling them people who make "needlessly insulting" comments, drop "nasty and personally insulting" bombs, and "[make] it about the people," which is tantamount to calling them bad community members.

Eh no, I only talked about what they did. My language may have been strong, but I didn't say anything about any of them as people. And I named names because I just have a hard time staying vague and I think that too can impede discussion so I don't do it. I may have broken a norm there?

I think this type of behavior is a recurring pattern in a number of threads lately. I decided to comment on it here because there are so many examples of people having the discussion without doing any of that and this thread was going very well before it got so personal in a very specific way (and even went well after, but this just keeps happening). Maybe it could be avoided in the future, or maybe people don't have a problem with it, we can discuss it if people want. But that's what I've observed.

Honestly, I was attempting to route zarq back onto the discussion. Energy spent getting frustrated and madder is, at least at a certain point, wasted energy. It's ok, even good, to be passionate about something, but when you're not engaging the other side (hard, when they're smug jokester assholes and don't seem earnest), you're not really helping either.

I thought you had good intentions in what you were doing, but I also thought those kind of calm down or you're taking things too seriously comments don't work so well in the middle of a discussion. Maybe in an email. That point has been made repeatedly here and I don't mean to harp on it, but I thought it was another example of what I was talking about which is making things about the person.

I just don't think it's great to talk about the kind of person someone you're having a discussion with is, whether a creep or someone who can't take a joke.
posted by Danila at 9:34 AM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


sometimes, MetaFilter has Boyzone moments, and everywhere is a bastion of patriarchy, because patriarchy is ubiquitous, but. BUT BUT. The community here is, on the whole, trying super-hard not to be an anythingarchy, which puts it many many miles ahead of nearly all of the internet (and of nearly all media sources and pretty much the entire real world.) I think there's maybe three or four of the umpteen-thousands of active users who think talking about Wimmin Stuff is a whiny downer, but on the whole, no, this joint is trying pretty hard not to be a Thoughtless Tool of the Man.

Strongly agreed, and those who think otherwise might need to check out some of the casually toxic sites and comments with which the interwebs are teeming.
posted by jokeefe at 9:46 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the response sonika. I totally agree that people will almost inevitably say "relax" or tell someone they're overreacting. No argument there. My (erroneous?) impression of bearwife's first comment here was that by using phrases like "Shouted down" and saying that's "how those threads go" she felt that the general community, rather than a user here and there, pretty much always tried to shut down these kinds of conversations.

I think I was mostly missing her point and talking past her.
posted by ODiV at 10:19 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I was mostly missing her point and talking past her.

I suspect there is none among us who isn't guilty of the same.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:47 AM on December 23, 2010


I think I was mostly missing her point and talking past her.

I thought you were very responsive and thoughtful, myself.
posted by bearwife at 11:03 AM on December 23, 2010


Regarding MetaFilter being an especially misogynistic community -- ha ha, what?

to clarify, it started with this comment of bearwife's which included the following:

I see a consistent pattern in MetaFilter which really disheartens me, and it leaps out at me from this thread too. This place has really strong misogynistic tones.

... to which I asked for some clarification. Was bearwife implying that Metafilter was especially misogynistic, or just the world in general (and thus such misogyny would inevitably show its face here)?

... to which bearwife responded ...

- I don't actually think that misogyny gets better because it is not as bad as in other places or because other people do more of it. I just think it's like racism or homophobia -- a little is far too much.

MetaFilter is a great place. That's why I spend time here. But I think this particular aspect of MetaFilter, which is driven by users, not the mods, is incredibly unappealing and that we could do a lot better if we tried.


... to which I saw no reason to respond further. Merry Happy Whatever-It-Is-Y'all-Celebrate-This-Time-Of-Year.
posted by philip-random at 11:08 AM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Satantide.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:07 PM on December 23, 2010


Sinners / roasting on an open pyre / hellspawn / nipping at your toes
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:11 PM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dad!! You DID manage to break out of hell for Christmas, yay!!!
posted by nomadicink at 12:14 PM on December 23, 2010


Satan claws are coming to town.
posted by empath at 12:36 PM on December 23, 2010


Satan claws are coming to town.

Where I come from we always sang it ...

"Satan's CLAW is coming to town ... "
posted by philip-random at 12:49 PM on December 23, 2010


FWIW, I hope Zarq comes back.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:50 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


He's back now, removing all favorites.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2010


he hates us all
posted by philip-random at 1:42 PM on December 23, 2010


Now he's gone again.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:44 PM on December 23, 2010


My God, he actually did that! He re-enabled his account, removed all his favorites, and disabled it again. That is really hilarious.
posted by furiousthought at 1:55 PM on December 23, 2010


He's like the anti-Santa Claus.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:55 PM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


God damn it, I just took a huge hit. ZAAAAAARRRRQQQ!
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:56 PM on December 23, 2010


But he didn't un-contact his contacts, so I guess there's still hope.
posted by Gator at 1:57 PM on December 23, 2010


No, he removed most of them (self included).
posted by Burhanistan at 2:01 PM on December 23, 2010


He's back now, removing all favorites.

Yep, that's a grown ass man.
posted by nomadicink at 2:02 PM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's an odd time-use choice, but then maybe he's not like me, where when angered, I do my Nic Cage 'fuuuuuuuk fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck Mexico" impression. zarq's expression is less obnoxious than mine.
posted by angrycat at 2:08 PM on December 23, 2010


a grown ass man.

Depending on where you choose to put a hyphen, that can take on all sorts of different meanings.
posted by dersins at 2:10 PM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


We all have brain damage.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently he never particularly liked my contributions to begin with.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:11 PM on December 23, 2010


No, he removed most of them (self included).

That oughta show you.
posted by Gator at 2:11 PM on December 23, 2010


He's back now, removing all favorites.

Damn! And just when I had enough to get a toaster.
posted by Floydd at 2:11 PM on December 23, 2010


that can take on all sorts of different meanings

"Million-to-one shot, doc!"
posted by Sys Rq at 2:12 PM on December 23, 2010


I vote we call this style of flame-out "the Donner Party flameout".
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


So he's taking his favorites and going home?
posted by Big_B at 2:14 PM on December 23, 2010


angrycat: "zarq's expression is less obnoxious than mine."

Not really. He flamed out, pretty much announced it in-thread, and then took the time to reactivate his account just so he could send us a message by de-favouriting and de-contacting everyone, save for a select few. It's fuckin' Christmas, for Christ's sake.
posted by gman at 2:15 PM on December 23, 2010


"MeFi Staircase Wit."

(I'm pretty sure zarq is Jewish, gman.)
posted by Gator at 2:16 PM on December 23, 2010


He's like the anti-Santa Claus.

So, he has a goatee? Because a Mirror, Mirror Christmas could make for a good story.
posted by quin at 2:17 PM on December 23, 2010


This is the anti-Santa Claus, folks.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:18 PM on December 23, 2010


He favorited me a lot. Until he didn't.
posted by rtha at 2:21 PM on December 23, 2010


That is some retroactive something or other.
posted by Babblesort at 2:23 PM on December 23, 2010


(I'm pretty sure zarq is Jewish, gman.)

Oh, that might explain the anger then.
posted by nomadicink at 2:26 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, however you feel about zarq, could we please not do this? It's really, really unseemly, and mocking his actions feels supremely icky and beneath us all. Please.
posted by shiu mai baby at 2:26 PM on December 23, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's really, really unseemly, and mocking his actions feels supremely icky and beneath us all.

Eh, it's understandable, since the departure was explosive and petty. He did a lot of good things around here and he's got a family in real life that I'm sure loves and cares for him, but the way he left is pretty much guaranteed to cause people to talk about and comment on it.
posted by nomadicink at 2:33 PM on December 23, 2010


the way he left is pretty much guaranteed to cause people to talk about and comment on it

Just try to be classy, is all.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:34 PM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure it's exactly unseemly to stop and stare a little when somebody pulls a stunt like this, deliberately designed to draw attention. This is a pretty much unprecedented move, right? Not the flameout itself, but this latest display. I don't think even dnab ever went this far in his efforts to tell MeFi how very, very done he was with us and this time he really really means it.
posted by Gator at 2:42 PM on December 23, 2010


I have my opinions about it, as well. But, I vote to close this thread now.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:44 PM on December 23, 2010


You know he actually told me he was going to re-activate his account to export some emails and then remove himself as much as possible from mefi. He let me know this via email as a form of politeness. He told me he wanted to remove himself as thoroughly as possible from mefi, and would have had his profile entirely deleted if possible, but couldn't partially to respond to users who claimed "he would be back." I'm one of the "unfavorited" parties and I didn't take it personally. I thanked him and assured him, like a fool apparently, that people wouldn't comment.

Zarq has left, and I'm saddened. One of the reasons he left was he was tired of the sniping. Way to go in terms of proving his point, at least to me. You lost a few favorites, as did I. So? And? That's worth a nasty pile on before christmas? This thread makes me infinitely more sad because honestly as someone whose been a member here for a helluva long time, I thought users would behave a little better because this looks like one helluva nasty pileon for I don't know what. I'm taking a few days to reconsider my own membership here, which is really upsetting because I just got my metafilter t-shirt. I was actually happy about that until I came back to this thread.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:45 PM on December 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


He was a great contributor and I'm sorry to see him go. I'm sad that he felt he needed to make a gesture like wiping the slate clean, but people react to things in different ways and if this is what he needed to do to make it right, I'm not going to judge.

Though I will mourn the hit it took, apparently he liked a bit of my stuff over the years
posted by quin at 2:45 PM on December 23, 2010


This is a pretty much unprecedented move, right?

I can remember one other instance of someone going in and pulling back a bunch of favorites, but can't remember who it was. Honestly, it's not the best strategy if you want to step away and make a clean break, but people choose their paths. If people could keep remarks from being totally assholish, that would be terrific.

At some level, this is the good and bad of online communities. People can get their feelings hurt and/or hurt other people's feelings in weird accidental ways and maybe not have the toolkit to patch things up [for themselves or others] using only words. A lot of us are well-spoken and have good writing skills and whatever, but that's not always the only thing you need when you've got strong feelings and are having trouble being understood or understanding people.

So, I'm sorry to see zarq go. At the same time he's an adult and these are the choices he's made. I'm not sure if it's better to stay someplace that makes you so angry or to move on past. I often like people's contributions because they're passionate, but there's often a flip side to that passion, for many people here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:47 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Zarq has left, and I'm saddened. One of the reasons he left was he was tired of the sniping. Way to go in terms of proving his point, at least to me.

It should be noted that zarq did a certain of sniping on his own, so I'm not sure what point is being proven, other than sometimes passionate people burn out.

I understand your sadness over this miss-lapin, and would be also be saddened if you left, so please don't.
posted by nomadicink at 2:54 PM on December 23, 2010


I can remember one other instance of someone going in and pulling back a bunch of favorites, but can't remember who it was.

I remember, but, y'know, brand new day.
posted by dersins at 2:55 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


miss-lapin : I'm taking a few days to reconsider my own membership here,

UNACCEPTABLE! You can't leave because I'm hugging you, and you'd have to drag me across the floor to escape.

And that would make us both look silly. You don't want us to look silly, do you?
posted by quin at 2:59 PM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry to see him go too…

Just a note folks, if it feels like you only ever get the SWORN ENEMY from me, it's because I don't always say something when I agree with you. There are very, very few people here that I disagree with more often than I agree with, and usually that's over fairly trivial aesthetic stuff (VAMPIRE WEEKEND STILL SUCKS!).
posted by klangklangston at 3:00 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


miss-lapin: I'm taking a few days to reconsider my own membership here

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO[breathe]OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...

NOT ZIM-IST
posted by bakerina at 3:04 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


(VAMPIRE WEEKEND STILL SUCKS!)

SWORN ENEMY FOREVER.
posted by girih knot at 3:27 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


He favorited me a lot. Until he didn't.

As far as I can guess, he must've favourited me about twice.

If only I'd known this before, then we could've been SEF. It all seems so pointless now.

* SWORN ENEMIES FOREVAH!
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:33 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


hey!
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:33 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vampire Weekend? They're the ones whose parents were into World Music back in the 80s, right?
posted by philip-random at 4:23 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]



Vampire Weekend? They're the ones whose parents were into World Music back in the 80s, right?


I was listening to the All Songs Considered Year End podcast the other day. VW's second album came in 7th in the reader's poll. i have never been so amused by a lack of commentary as by Bob Boilen's scrupulous avoidance of any comment which would indicate his opinion of that album. I think the only thing he said about it was "Well, they definitely seem to have pleased their fans."
posted by Diablevert at 6:22 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everything Miss Lapin and shiu mai baby said. I am sad Zarq is gone and sad at the pile-on about removing favorites. If you think his removing his favorites was a big eff you, or if you just think it was a mistake he made, it's cool to not point and laugh. To not draw more attention to a controversy.

Miss Lapin, please don't leave.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:31 PM on December 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maybe we can just try to remember that it is just a website after all, and that it can be a great place for sharing/online interaction/etc. Hold those two seemingly contradictory ideas in mind and try not to be so melodramatic about your participation and we're gold.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:58 PM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


This place is more than a website, that much is obvious.
posted by nomadicink at 9:04 PM on December 23, 2010


a dude accusing another dude of white knighting on behalf of women who never complained. If you can't see how ridiculous that is empath (and other dudes who do this shaming bullshit ) then you suck at irony.

I always associate white knights with the patriarchy, magic the gathering (awesom 2/2 card with firs strike iirc), and a jealous ex. Zarq, not so much.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:15 PM on December 23, 2010


I always think of a Soviet defector who accidentally ends up back in the USSR and is forced to dance with Gregory Hines.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:19 PM on December 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


the young rope-rider: "(awesom 2/2 card with firs strike iirc)"

Translation please.
posted by gman at 9:23 PM on December 23, 2010


Does two damage, has two hit points, and does not take standard combat damage in a fight if the damage it deals is enough to kill its opponent(s) outright.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:25 PM on December 23, 2010


I think it has protection agains black, too, which makes it a total cheater card (my partner has a thing where he casts giant growth on white knights which is why we don't play anymore)

My phone hates metatalk so forgive the poor typing.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:53 PM on December 23, 2010


wait, zarq disabled his account? no more adorable pics of his toddler twins?

also i disliked empath's comment on multiple levels. count me as a real life woman who appreciates men that do what they can to make the world comfortable for others.

*goes back to lurking*
posted by lwb at 7:56 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I probably overstated the case in my comment to zarq, but I still feel that he was grandstanding and imagining offenses that weren't there.
posted by empath at 8:31 AM on December 24, 2010


Exactly. And it didn't work as well as it usually does for him so decided to flounce out and garner some pity that way. When he comes back, and he'll come back, he'll find it's worked perfectly.
posted by Artw at 8:55 AM on December 24, 2010


maybe a little peace love and understanding should be flowing right about now. how'd we get from the grace of taz back to ANGER ANGER
posted by angrycat at 11:42 AM on December 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


miss-lapin writes "Way to go in terms of proving his point, at least to me. You lost a few favorites, as did I. So? And? That's worth a nasty pile on before christmas?"

That's not a nasty pile on and zarq is acting like a jester. I haven't seen such flameout foolishness since the great hand removal.
posted by Mitheral at 1:56 PM on December 24, 2010


*pours egg nog and rum*

Your guys is grate, reallys grate!

*passes out*
posted by nomadicink at 3:31 PM on December 24, 2010


.
posted by rosswald at 4:29 PM on December 24, 2010


Hand removal?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:29 PM on December 24, 2010


Yeah, a bunch of us chopped our hands off in protest over the occasional use of the Twitteresque "@" symbol. Didn't you take part? It's not too late to show solidarity.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:57 PM on December 24, 2010


Hand removal?

I believe Mitheral is referring to this.
posted by tomboko at 9:03 PM on December 24, 2010


Whoops. I accidentally clicked the link of the next comment. This is the one I meant.
posted by tomboko at 9:05 PM on December 24, 2010


Holy christ what a clusterfuck that thread was.

We need to up our game if we're ever going to reach the heights of the legends that came before us.
posted by empath at 9:21 PM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shit. Can anybody recommend a good hand surgeon?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:29 PM on December 24, 2010


Yep. Though not technically a flameout i suppose considering he was banned.

Somewhat coincidentally that was also a rape thread call out. Anyone who doesn't think things have changed for the better around here needs to merely peruse that meta and the originating FPP for some perspective.
posted by Mitheral at 10:31 PM on December 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


METAFILTER: Bunch of in-crowd mother fuckers, who have no use for reason whatsoever.

(from tomboko's link)
posted by philip-random at 10:40 PM on December 24, 2010


... oh, and Merry Christmas.
posted by philip-random at 10:40 PM on December 24, 2010


I love the quaint "I've removed son_of_minya's posting rights" by matt. This must have been before the invention of the banhammer.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:47 PM on December 24, 2010


banhammer is such a necessary word, and is wonderful

now I am trying to find a word for the humiliation that follows when one doesn't know the local language, as my non-French speaking, easily embarrassed bro is in Paris with his fiance and her (French, non-English speaking) family.

I am on a quest to find this word because I plan to bang my brother with it when he comes back, as he is in Paris and I am not.
posted by angrycat at 6:05 AM on December 25, 2010


Chagrin? As it's originally a French word, that might rub it in even more.
posted by tomboko at 11:35 AM on December 26, 2010


Did zarq just quit again? I lost three favorites today.
posted by philip-random at 11:26 PM on December 30, 2010


Favorites can neither be created or destroyed.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:53 PM on December 30, 2010


phillip-random, the characteristics of the
Voidness of all favourites
Are non-arising, non-ceasing, non-defiled,
Non-pure, non-increasing, non-decreasing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:39 AM on December 31, 2010


Did zarq just quit again? I lost three favorites today.

Somebody de-contacted me the other day, but I'm reasonably certain it wasn't him. Maybe there's a stealth gaslight campaign going on.
posted by Gator at 8:35 AM on December 31, 2010


« Older I don't like that comment button.   |   MefightClub: not just pew-pew! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments