It rarely stops. February 15, 2011 1:28 PM   Subscribe

With all due respect, this was a bad deletion.

So we've had SLYT PSA posts that cover aggressiveness toward public service employees and women honking their boobs, neither deleted.

In this case, the video was powerful and well-done (IMO and in the opinion of several people in the thread), it was framed well, zarq included information on the hotline, and it might have been genuinely helpful to people that need to see it, down the road.

I'm also really bothered by this sentiment:

what am I to do with this?

Really? Does everything have to be something that is up for debate, or fodder for an argument? We have SLYT posts of cats riding turtles, "Smooth Criminal" on cello and a cat putting on a bunny mask, but this topic somehow doesn't merit the space?
posted by jbickers to MetaFilter-Related at 1:28 PM (77 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

So we've had SLYT PSA posts that cover aggressiveness toward public service employees and women honking their boobs, neither deleted.

This is not an argument that can be won this way, or even a case that can be made. Some things are like other things, and some things get deleted while similar things do not. Sometimes the things that don't get deleted don't get deleted because nobody flagged them and so the mods did not know that perhaps a deletin' was in order.

It was an interesting and well-done PSA, but to my mind a thin post.
posted by rtha at 1:32 PM on February 15, 2011


We've had YouTube-flavored posts which cover workplace accidents, etc. Other than some early threadpoop, this sort of thing isn't new territory for Metafilter. I would respectfully agree that this is not a good deletion.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:34 PM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I thought it was kind of in a gray area and kind of a reference without context. It's certainly a well done PSA spot, at any rate. The deletion certainly could be seen as capricious given that many other thin video posts thrived.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:36 PM on February 15, 2011


Not having watched the video, could it be construed as outrage-filter?
posted by desjardins at 1:37 PM on February 15, 2011


Cortex and I talked about this some. This is why we think this sort of post is problematic.

- It's clearly an issue post. No big deal -- I mean who is in favor of domestic violence? -- but then it just seems like you're posting a PSA to... post a PSA. Like a PSA where someone says "eat your vegetables" is there something about it that makes it head and shoulders above other PSAs? I think we're supposed to sort of get why this PSA about this important topic rises above other PSAs on other important topics to merit an FPP. Is it creative? Original? Complicated? Complex? Does it have a good backstory?
- There's difficulty when people make short posts about touchy issues. I don't know zarq's background, but we know we have people who have been in domestic abuse situations and I feel personally like sometimes these posts are like "Oh look at the Important Thing" from some position of remove... except that not everyone is coming from the same perspective and so some people are like "this post sucks" and then other people react as if you'd just said you were in favor of domestic abuse [see also: rape, animal abuse] So if people don't take it seriously, these sorts of posts are "gotcha" posts for them. Like there's a proscribed way to respond. We got this in the no-cerebellum baby post from yesterday and we see it in basically every obit post and it's a problem.
- I know people are going to be like "oh yeah but skunk eating a banana is okay but Important Issue posts are not?" and frankly, this isn't Important Issue website. It's for neat stuff you found on the web that might encourage discussion. Some of these things are important issues, sure. But the bigger problem is that people have set ways of thinking how other people should respond to Important Issue posts and so they get flagged and fighty nearly immediately. As far as the other two PSAs you linked to one was Dutch and had a neat angle on augmented reality and the other was actually flagged to hell also.

I know people have differences of opinion on this sort of thing but we saw a lot of early flags [on comments as well as posts] and made a judgment call.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:38 PM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


> Not having watched the video, could it be construed as outrage-filter?

Not really. Well, maybe, but certainly not like a random video of a mall cop kicking a dude in the face or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:38 PM on February 15, 2011


> we saw a lot of early flags [on comments as well as posts] and made a judgment call

Well, the flags have it then. Democracy!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:39 PM on February 15, 2011


(no snark intended, by the way)
posted by Burhanistan at 1:40 PM on February 15, 2011


And I think there's a real difference of opinion between people who think that important difficult topics are necessary to immerse yourself in and discuss regularly and other people who would just like to see a rape and puppy abuse and domsetic violence-free MetaFilter. There's a tension that exists there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:40 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe zarq can buff it up and repost. I thought it was a great PSA. Years ago I had a class with someone where the professor was lecturing about domestic violence. She and I were on some of the same projects and she seemed just fine when I would talk to her and see her in class. I found out later that after a couple of the domestic violence lectures she broke down to the professor, realizing this was her (being abused). Ads like these are important, can stir emotions and can change lives. Zarq, I hope you put it back up with some buffed up content.
posted by cashman at 1:45 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]




And I think there's a real difference of opinion between people who think that important difficult topics are necessary to immerse yourself in and discuss regularly and other people who would just like to see a rape and puppy abuse and domsetic violence-free MetaFilter. There's a tension that exists there.


Having had my own post banned, and probably rightly so, I think I learned a lesson there. Frame and support posts about contentious issues very carefully. I suspect that they're much likely to get through if you don't assume that everyone is on the same page already, as this one kind of did.

In other words, inoculate before the flags go up.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:45 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


So we've had SLYT PSA posts that cover aggressiveness toward public service employees and women honking their boobs, neither deleted.

The former was a much more detached "here is a thing we did and how did it" thing than the PSA in question—more a video about a PSA, rather than a slap-in-the-face disturbing PSA in its own right. The latter was an extremely silly boob-honking thing, any comparison of which to this one in terms of the deletion reason provided here makes zero sense to me.

Boob one was also flagged a few times and I'm mostly glad it didn't end up in Metatalk at the time.

The "but this other sort of similar thing didn't get deleted" approach to this stuff doesn't really get us anywhere, because (a) context matters, (b) things that are similar aren't identical, and (c) we're humans who make calls from where we are on any given day, not from some eternal remove where everything that has ever happened and will ever happen on metafilter exists lined up on a shelf and frozen in time.

In any case, what jessamyn said. The deletion isn't an indictment of the PSA, which as a piece of affecting cinematography I think is very well made. It's an expression of our feeling that posting it, as it was posted, is not really a great use of the front page.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:46 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It seemed like a well-done PSA about a disturbing subject (I couldn't watch it after seeing the screenshot for it), but there's nothing really to say about it and it's a painful and uncomfortable. No one is for domestic violence and deleting it doesn't mean we're trying to silence the cause, it's just touchy issue posts that everyone deems as important and worthy of discussion are often pretty weak links on their own that don't make good MeFi posts.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:53 PM on February 15, 2011


Domestic violence is horrible, but that one video as the entirety of the post was pretty weak sauce.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:09 PM on February 15, 2011


Maybe zarq can post it again and send flowers afterwards to say he's sorry.
posted by peeedro at 2:14 PM on February 15, 2011


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you can't have nice things.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:14 PM on February 15, 2011 [20 favorites]


Goddammit.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:15 PM on February 15, 2011


Don't shit in the thread.

Do pee in the shower.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:16 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a difference between "framed neutrally" and "framed well".

Framing well might have looked like "Here is a history of domestic violence PSAs, including this powerful new example" or "Here are several different approaches people are taking to combat domestic violence, inlcuding this powerful new PSA".

As it was, the post only said "Here's a domestic violence PSA." And though we haven't seen it before, opinion was divided on whether the content was interesting [as opposed to just upsetting] and it was hard to see where the discussion might go beyond "That was upsetting" and "Domestic violence is bad".
posted by Joe Beese at 2:18 PM on February 15, 2011


With all due respect, this was a bad deletion.

I don't know, I think it went pretty well. I didn't see it on the front page at all.
posted by electroboy at 2:40 PM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you can't have nice things.

If my after-the-fact snarky post in MetaTalk is the excuse you were waiting for to delete a post about a difficult and moving topic in the Blue then I am happy to have been of service.
posted by peeedro at 2:41 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I actually think quite a few interesting things might have been discussed in the thread:

1. What made the PSA so powerful

2. Whether though the message is good, the PSA is at all likely to reduce DV or cause more DV reporting by victims/friends and family of victims

3. Who is running this PSA and why.

4. Whether what needs to be depicted in a PSA instead is other victim types -- elderly, disabled, GLBT, rich -- which the public doesn't have much education about.

5. What the background music was about.

And that's just off the top of my head.

I was sorry to see this post come down, especially so quickly. It was only last week, wasn't it, that we had a SLYT post about drunken guy cavorting on ice? I can't agree there is really less to say about this post than that one.
posted by bearwife at 2:41 PM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jesus, peeedro. There is a time and place for gallows humour, but this isn't it.
posted by deborah at 2:47 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


to delete a post about a difficult and moving topic in the Blue then I am happy to have been of service.

The post wasn't "about" a difficult and moving topic. It was a context-free link to a PSA.
posted by muddgirl at 2:48 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw this MeTa, and I said to myself: 'Damn. Now somebody's going to make an awful, totally tasteless, completely uncalled-for joke involving domestic violence.' Sad to see I wasn't disappointed.

peeedro: “If my after-the-fact snarky post in MetaTalk is the excuse you were waiting for to delete a post about a difficult and moving topic in the Blue then I am happy to have been of service.”

I'm not going to try to ascribe jessamyn's motivations, but I would guess that she had the same suspicion. And in case you can't parse it, the "nice things" isn't the post she deleted. It's reasoned discourse, something that we had in this thread before your bad joke.
posted by koeselitz at 2:53 PM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


If my after-the-fact snarky post in MetaTalk is the excuse you were waiting for

I didn't delete it. But seriously, a domestic violence joke? Spending a bunch of time watching a thread on an Important Topic waiting for people to make predictable jokes and then deciding whether we'd like to leave them and risk MeTa threads or delete them and feel bad about having a negative view of the community's ability to deal with difficult issues, that feels like a bad use of our limited time.

Because once these things start going downhill, if they do, which they don't always, that's really going to take up a good deal of our time. And in some threads, the topic and the discussion are well worth it. The Penny Arcade thread was fascinating, had a lot of good information and discussion, but it also had a bunch of rape jokes deleted [and some borderline stuff not deleted]. By February 4th there were 1,041 flags in all of MetaFilter for the month, and 219 of those were on the PA thread. I spent a solid week reading every comment in that thread and sending and receiving a ton of email about it. That sort of thing doesn't scale and it's not the sort of thing we're equipped to deal with. If MetaFilter were an issues-oriented blog, we'd respond by getting more staff, having more guidelines about this sort of thing and probably moderate it more heavily. But it's not and sometimes with a post we think is sort of thing, we decide we'd rather take the heat in MetaTalk than in MeFi and MetaTalk.

So people make these posts thinking in some ideal world it will help raise awareness of the topic and maybe help people. And I get that motivation, I really do. But then when people come into the thread and make jokes or just say "this isn't a good post" there's some sort of extra-problem created where it's not just someone disliking a post [hey, flag and move on] but someone making light of something else people think is very very serious. And then we, as mods, get it from both sides. The people who like the post complaining about people taking the topic lightly. The people who dislike the post or who want to make lighthearted comments thinking we're being assholes of we crack down on certain types of posts and not others. And, of course, the people who complain that posts on stupider topics stay as if posts about domestic violence are somehow more worthy of being on MeFi than a dumb video about something.

And I'm aware that it's just not about cortex and I and how we feel, but it's part of the set of things we think about when we make this sort of decision. I think people sometimes make posts on MeFi thinking they're going to go a certain way and we can see from the outset that that isn't going to happen. A lot of times we'll just jump into the thread and try to nudge it in a better direction because we try to err on the side of not deleting it, but today we made a different choice. This doesn't mean that people need to never make posts about touchy issues, but it would be nice if they acknowledged that these are difficult topics for a large number of people and just framing a post neutrally doesn't make it right for MetaFilter.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:57 PM on February 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


It was only last week, wasn't it, that we had a SLYT post about drunken guy cavorting on ice?

It's rare that I follow a SLYT, so I'll take your word for it.

But you can have my vote for deleting that one too.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:59 PM on February 15, 2011


I'll take your word for it

For real. Here it is.

But I get jessamyn's point -- a terrible reception can make a good post an undue burden for mods.
posted by bearwife at 3:05 PM on February 15, 2011


Stagger Lee: " Having had my own post banned, and probably rightly so, I think I learned a lesson there. Frame and support posts about contentious issues very carefully. I suspect that they're much likely to get through if you don't assume that everyone is on the same page already, as this one kind of did.

In other words, inoculate before the flags go up.
"

I usually try to.

Joe Beese: " Framing well might have looked like "Here is a history of domestic violence PSAs, including this powerful new example" or "Here are several different approaches people are taking to combat domestic violence, inlcuding this powerful new PSA"."

No. It seems unlikely that would have prevented it from getting flagged and/or deleted. If I had created a larger, more in-depth post, people would have accused me of soap-boxing. Perhaps even cited Bradley Manning.

jbickers and everyone else, while I appreciate the sentiments behind this post, I don't want to get into any sort of public debate about the deletion. I've been trying not to spark angry discussions in MeTa lately.

So I'll say this and be done with it:

I thought the video was powerful and creative. The final moment quite literally made me gasp the first time I watched it. I made the post because I thought it interesting enough to share with the community and hoped it would initiate an in-thread discussion. (Which is pretty much why I make all my posts, whether they are on contentious issues or not.)

Was also aware psa's had survived here before on far more contentious topics than breast squeezing or people attacking paramedics, but unaware they usually get multi-flagged.

I won't be reposting this video in another post. If someone would like to, please don't worry that I intend to do so in the future.
posted by zarq at 3:08 PM on February 15, 2011


peeedro: "Maybe zarq can post it again and send flowers afterwards to say he's sorry."

Next time you're consider using me as an example in a joke about domestic violence, please don't.
posted by zarq at 3:13 PM on February 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


I wish I had a job where I could make my clients feel guilty about the hassles they put me through on a day-to-day basis.
posted by crunchland at 3:19 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


crunchland, I can swear to you that it's not as much of a compensation as it looks.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:25 PM on February 15, 2011


With all due respect, this was a bad deletion.

*sniffs, then sips deletion, closes eyes, admires subtle oak and vanilla undertones, spits*

No, it was a pretty good deletion actually.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:33 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I had created a larger, more in-depth post, people would have accused me of soap-boxing. Perhaps even cited Bradley Manning.

I would have accused you of soapboxing had you adopted the "Recognize & bear witness to injustice, then work to stop it" attitude suggestd by the person I was replying to.

As it stands, I accuse you only of making a well-intentioned but thin post.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:45 PM on February 15, 2011


I hate SLYT posts. Spend a little more time, come up with some thoughtful test posts, and post in a way that makes the thread interesting and informative. I especially hate cyoot, silly SLYT posts. My pony is a sidebar for SLYT stuff, or a day of the week for them (but Thursday's out). And all video links should be so labeled.
posted by theora55 at 3:49 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was only last week, wasn't it, that we had a SLYT post about drunken guy cavorting on ice? I can't agree there is really less to say about this post than that one.

I thought it was kind of dumb, yeah, and wouldn't have argued if Matt or Jess wanted to delete it.

That said, "not a lot to say" + "kind of dumb and silly fun" is a very different sort of payload than "not a lot to say" + "disturbing and graphic". The practical considerations about the two are pretty different.

No. It seems unlikely that would have prevented it from getting flagged and/or deleted. If I had created a larger, more in-depth post, people would have accused me of soap-boxing. Perhaps even cited Bradley Manning.

It's hard to judge a counterfactual, but a more in-depth post that put the PSA in context would have had a reasonable chance of working out okay. Better than the basically no-context, "here is a graphically disturbing ad" approach. How the post was framed would matter a lot, something that read like HERE'S A BIG LIST OF REASONS TO BE OUTRAGED would obviously be its own sort of problematic, but it's not a gimme that substantial = soapboxing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:51 PM on February 15, 2011


We have SLYT posts of cats riding turtles

The turtle was chasing the cat.

The monkey was riding the pig.
Backwards. On a pig. Baby monkey.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:33 PM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


cortex: " It's hard to judge a counterfactual, but a more in-depth post that put the PSA in context would have had a reasonable chance of working out okay. Better than the basically no-context, "here is a graphically disturbing ad" approach. How the post was framed would matter a lot, something that read like HERE'S A BIG LIST OF REASONS TO BE OUTRAGED would obviously be its own sort of problematic, but it's not a gimme that substantial = soapboxing."

Okay. That's really helpful, thank you. If no one else posts it in the meantime, perhaps next week I'll try to figure out a way to create an FPP with a little more depth -- either around it or the topic. And hey, if someone does post it before that, lets hope they do a better job.

jessamyn: "I think people sometimes make posts on MeFi thinking they're going to go a certain way and we can see from the outset that that isn't going to happen. A lot of times we'll just jump into the thread and try to nudge it in a better direction because we try to err on the side of not deleting it, but today we made a different choice. This doesn't mean that people need to never make posts about touchy issues, but it would be nice if they acknowledged that these are difficult topics for a large number of people and just framing a post neutrally doesn't make it right for MetaFilter."

You know, I've made a couple of hundred FPP's over the years, but still have trouble predicting how any given post will be received. I try to frame posts in such a way that they're less likely to derail. It's a learning process that's probably not made simpler by my tendency to post about topics that aren't all sweetness and light. Even those aren't immune.

Joe Beese: " I would have accused you of soapboxing had you adopted the "Recognize & bear witness to injustice, then work to stop it" attitude suggestd by the person I was replying to.

As it stands, I accuse you only of making a well-intentioned but thin post.
"

Okay. Fair enough. Thanks.
posted by zarq at 5:10 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I won't be reposting this video in another post. If someone would like to, please don't worry that I intend to do so in the future.

If no one else posts it in the meantime, perhaps next week I'll try to figure out a way to create an FPP with a little more depth -- either around it or the topic.

zarq, nothing personal, but you're contradicting yourself here. You seem to simultaneously like to make posts about touchy subjects, but at the same time have a hard time finding a way to present them to the MeFi community. You often seem to wind up disappointed or frustrated. I'm not sure where the disconnect is, but it might be worth thinking on that or finding an ally who can give you a second set of eyes on this if you want to keep making posts like this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:19 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stagger Lee: "Having had my own post banned"

Term of art, perhaps, but posts aren't banned, they are deleted. USERS are banned.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:29 PM on February 15, 2011


zarq, nothing personal, but you're contradicting yourself here.

Sort of, yes. After cortex' comment I changed my mind about giving up on the video completely. When I believed I wouldn't be able to create a decent post, I decided to let go of it. But if there's a chance I might be able to do so, I'd still like to take a crack at it.

You seem to simultaneously like to make posts about touchy subjects, but at the same time have a hard time finding a way to present them to the MeFi community. You often seem to wind up disappointed or frustrated. I'm not sure where the disconnect is, but it might be worth thinking on that or finding an ally who can give you a second set of eyes on this if you want to keep making posts like this.

Ironically, and without going too much into this in public, this is one of the changes I've recently made. I'll keep it in mind, thank you.
posted by zarq at 5:52 PM on February 15, 2011


electroboy I don't know, I think it went pretty well. I didn't see it on the front page at all.

You're doing it wrong.
posted by mlis at 5:55 PM on February 15, 2011


"Maybe zarq can post it again and send flowers afterwards to say he's sorry."

Oooh, man, that was uncomfortably dark and not really fair to Zarq.
posted by klangklangston at 6:19 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Isn't it Fashion Week? Shouldn't you be sleeping? We need you to be coherent enough to tell us some entertaining backstage stories when it's all over!
posted by rtha at 6:41 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I certainly thought it was better than the single link House passes Patriot act extension post, but that is just me.
posted by edgeways at 7:44 PM on February 15, 2011


Sometimes the best of the web is a comprehensive list of every Hugh Grant hair flick in the history of film, sometimes it's an eight page soliloquy from a dying woman, and sometimes it's a youtube video whose lack of context makes far more moving and powerful than it would have been nestled between a pdf and a New York Times featurette.
posted by doublehappy at 8:23 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


i thought the skating/swimming norwegian was good. a beautiful landscape, shot and edited well...i found it serene. he very well may be an alcoholic [a different type of conditioning], but he still had conditioned himself well for the plunge. i am not counting the alcohol consumption as conditioning in this instance.

near the end of that thread, 'quinbus flestrin' posted an article about a long distance swimmer [lynne cox] who swam a half hour in the arctic ocean and more, which was interwoven with the first successful crossing of the northwest passage, which took three years.

all of those people had a choice that they made voluntarily. no one forced them to do any of those things.

the woman portrayed in the domestic violence psa, you may say, has also been conditioned. rather, involuntarily- - -

a shame to not being able to discuss it on metafilter, but the mods and owner know their audience here. sadly.

a worthy post isn't always determined by its front page post, but sometimes in its entirety.

some doors to this world remain closed, but i appreciate those that are opened.
posted by alicesshoe at 10:31 PM on February 15, 2011


Indeed a powerful and well made PSA. FWIW, I think the post could've/should've stayed up, but at the same time I understand and agree with points made upthread by jessamyn and cortex. Life ain't always black and white...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:48 AM on February 16, 2011


I'm just here to defend the breast honking post.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:10 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish I had a job where I could make my clients feel guilty about the hassles they put me through on a day-to-day basis.

I wish I visited a website where people understood that if one wants to receive the privileges of a "customer" or "client", one also must accept the accompanying responsibilities—including agreeing not to shit on the floor in the establishment, walk one's tab without paying, or throw rocks through the storefront glass before running away.
posted by pineapple at 1:21 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. Yeah, that was a really good ad. Here are my thoughts, because I'm pretty sure everyone has been waiting breathlessly to hear them:

I still resent the trend toward everything-must-be-a-multi-link post. I loved that in the past we had posts with tons of links, and lots of posts that were single-link, and nobody felt that they had to apologize for either one, and people didn't pop up in the first comments to snark about not arbitrarily having more links. I dislike that it's somehow become prima facie that if it only has one link it's not a good post. I personally often bypass posts with a lot of links because I have the feeling that I'm going to need to spend a dedicated period of time to understand/appreciate what the post is about. In many cases it seems clear that the poster really wanted to show one link, but threw in a bunch of wikipedia-type stuff to "beef it up."

I very often click through on single-link "oh, wow, look at this amazing/fascinating/startling/whatever thing." Yes, on some occasions it's not done well, and the single link actually does need support, but I don't like the increasingly inflexible expectation that it's not good for Metafilter if it's not link heavy.

Now, if Zarq posts this again, I know he'll do a good job, but it's probably going to look exactly like the kind of post I frequently bypass. And, by demanding that he contextualize this link, we are demanding some sort of mini-thesis editorial direction that I don't think is needed.

For example, I was immediately struck by the (IMO very, very effective) play off the "It Gets Better" ads, and that's something I would have mentioned in a comment if the post had stayed up. But if the post is reframed as a multi-link, then the direction may be the history of domestic abuse and how the legal system has addressed it, or perhaps how services are funded and organized, or perhaps a look at how politics affects services, or maybe a scientific slant, or ... well, there are a lot of ways to go, but that means it's not okay to post something just because it's a great example of its type: you have to have a whole theory, or message, or present a history or collection.

Why? I see one good thing, so I have to make a post showing 25 similar things, or giving the entire history of Thing? This is one reason I rarely post any more. I see something that is interesting to me that I think might also interest a lot of people here, and then get exhausted thinking about how to make it into a post with a dozen links.

Finally, can I say how really, really tired I am of the early commenter snark? It really upsets me that a few people with itchy fingers seem to be able to essentially downvote and toss out threads before they even have a chance.

For me, it was an interesting post. I'm interested in the cinematic element, in the current-culture (relating to the It Gets Better campaign) aspect, in the advertising/marketing element, in the human rights element, and in the question of violence in our culture, which I happen to have been reading about lately. I was really impressed with the ad's effectiveness, and am curious about how it was developed — and all those things and more could have been addressed in the sort of post that doesn't lead us by the nose to approach it in a prescribed way: in other words, a single-link post. I personally very much disagree that it was weak.

I'm not criticizing Jess and cortex, because they will always try to do what's best, but I felt like I needed to make my argument against the *We Must Always Multi-link!* fascism.
posted by taz at 10:41 PM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


I dislike that it's somehow become prima facie that if it only has one link it's not a good post.

I think there are some people who feel that way, sure, but it's not universal and it's definitely not the admin view on things. Single link posts are fine and dandy and just as capable of being awesome in their own way as any other sort of post. That's not going to hold true for every potential single-link post, though, any more than a bunch of links automatically makes a post good.

For something specifically sort of heavy and disturbing, a little bit of context, a little bit of framing that provides a touch of distance between the post and the disturbing content, seems like a pretty good plan in general. It's obviously not the only way to post something on the internet, and I totally respect that some folks may prefer a more lean and in-your-face approach to HERE'S A GRAPHIC REMINDER OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE or whatever as a presentational tactic, but our feeling is basically that that's not a great idea for the front page of Metafilter specifically. It's not a commentary on single-link type posts in general, it's just the deal with this case specifically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:27 PM on February 16, 2011


I didn't see it as a graphic reminder of domestic violence, like, "in-case-you-forgot/haven't been paying attention." I saw it as an excellent example of potently delivering a difficult message to a specific target group that is notoriously resistant to helpful advice/offers.

I don't think that this was directed toward non-victims in a lookee-here, shit is bad, mmmkay? way, and was very impressed with the economy of the delivery. It makes me wonder about who directed it, who developed it, etc. It's so much better than most advertising, I wonder if it's the product of an advertising agency at all. That's part of my curiosity about it, and something that might have been fleshed out in a thread. I'm not saying that the best approach for the post itself would have been to explore it from a medium/marketing standpoint.
posted by taz at 11:51 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


(I also want to note that there was a warning for disturbing content, so that nobody thinks that there was a post made that tricked and ambushed readers with graphic violence. And now I feel like I also need to add that there was no "action" violence in the clip, in case this discussion gives that impression.)
posted by taz at 11:59 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't see it as a graphic reminder of domestic violence, like, "in-case-you-forgot/haven't been paying attention." I saw it as an excellent example of potently delivering a difficult message to a specific target group that is notoriously resistant to helpful advice/offers.

Sure, yeah, I'm not trying to argue the intent or the functionality of the piece; I'm talking more about what it is functionally when laid in front of a general audience. But regardless of whether the person watching it identifies with it directly (which I agree is probably a big part of the intent, for those who do) or indirectly, it's still 30 very direct seconds of "this woman was brutally beaten and maybe is about to be again in just a sec".

It's potent; it's well-made; and it's something to set up a bit more carefully than "here's a PSA btw maybe disturbing".
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:10 AM on February 17, 2011


I didn't see it as a graphic reminder of domestic violence, like, "in-case-you-forgot/haven't been paying attention." I saw it as an excellent example of potently delivering a difficult message to a specific target group that is notoriously resistant to helpful advice/offers.

Sure, but that's not the function or goal of Metafilter. Not the site, admins or members are against such things of course, but not everything that is important and meaningful fits into the goal of a Metafilter post.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:09 AM on February 17, 2011


taz: "I wonder if it's the product of an advertising agency at all. "

Speaking of context, that information was actually in the FPP. The "Via" link was to advertising agency Young and Rubicam Chicago, who put together the ad for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Something I noticed this morning, in case anyone is interested: the video is also archived on Young and Rubicam's Posterous page. Scrolling down to the links, we see that other websites linked to it at the time of its release last September. Each of them presented the video in different ways, from Andrew Sullivan, who posted it with a headline of "Nothing Else Needs to be Said" to adrants, branding=m3, adweek and others, who fleshed it out with more context for their visitors.

Every website and online community is different and what works for one audience may not for another.

taz: " Finally, can I say how really, really tired I am of the early commenter snark? It really upsets me that a few people with itchy fingers seem to be able to essentially downvote and toss out threads before they even have a chance."

I find this tiring, too.
posted by zarq at 8:21 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


taz: "I didn't see it as a graphic reminder of domestic violence, like, "in-case-you-forgot/haven't been paying attention." I saw it as an excellent example of potently delivering a difficult message to a specific target group that is notoriously resistant to helpful advice/offers.

Brandon Blatcher: Sure, but that's not the function or goal of Metafilter. Not the site, admins or members are against such things of course, but not everything that is important and meaningful fits into the goal of a Metafilter post."

I feel like I'm being put in a position here where I should be defending my reason for posting. I would prefer not to do so.

If you're both going to speak about whether the post is appropriate for MetaFilter, would you please keep in mind that I've already clearly stated my reason for making the post and not assign alternate reasons to me for having done so?

Thank you.
posted by zarq at 8:34 AM on February 17, 2011


it's still 30 very direct seconds of "this woman was brutally beaten and maybe is about to be again in just a sec".

And to add to this -- while at the same time saying that single-link posts are super terrific as far as I am concerned -- there's sort of a responsibility that goes along with being able to post anything at all. This means, yeah, if you're posting a link to something that a lot of people are going to find upsetting (with the resultant effect of a lot of upset people in a thread on a website, a thread that may wind up containing jokes or asshole comments or people saying "who gives a shit") it might be good to try to anticipate that and find a way to smooth the reception something like this would get based on the way similar things have gone in the past.

Just staying on the correct side of the "please no editorializing" guideline is tough for this sort of thing because, honestly, there's an editorial aspect to deciding to post something graphically disturbing no matter how cautiously you frame it. This is not a bad thing, but it is a real thing. Things that are deeply affecting are important things to many people. That said, there is a difference of opinion on whether sparking a conversation with something that is jarring and upsetting will lead to a useful conversation. On MeFi sometimes it does and often it doesn't. And since people's emotions are often heightened by the content of these links, a conversation that goes bad spills over to other parts of the site fairly quickly.

And the pushback is this sort of "Why can't you handle the truth?" implication that because we don't think a post is good for MetaFilter that we're somehow sticking our heads in the sand about that issue or any issue. That there's a special regret when posts on important topics are deleted because people think it's important to get the word out about whatever the issue is. We see this especially often with topics surrounding rape, war, police brutality and US politics.

One of the things we know about the MeFi audience, through talking to each other over the years, is that people all have their own lived experiences some nice, some not so nice. And people have their own responses to those things, they're touchy subjects, they're not touchy, they're okay to joke about, they're not okay to joke about. None of these approaches is correct, they're just different ways of coping, of managing. These types of MeFi threads, on difficult topics, seem to be when people's varied experiences turn into an inability to empathize and interact with other people with differing experiences or responses.

And again, this isn't true all the time. In fact, I daresay it's been better lately. But these are some of the things that we think through when we make our decisions here.

I wish I had a job where I could make my clients feel guilty about the hassles they put me through on a day-to-day basis.

You know, I stepped away from this thread for the better part of a day and a half and this still seems, a day and a half later, like an incredibly mean thing to say. I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty. This is the reality of my job here. A job I'm incredibly fortunate to have [and I think all of us at Team MeFi feel the same] but a job that requires sometimes making and explaining difficult choices. No one has to feel sorry for me for any reason.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:41 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel like I'm being put in a position here where I should be defending my reason for posting. I would prefer not to do so.

I did not mention you by name nor was I thinking about you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:46 AM on February 17, 2011


Brandon Blatcher: "I feel like I'm being put in a position here where I should be defending my reason for posting. I would prefer not to do so.

I did not mention you by name nor was I thinking about you.
"

You said: (emphasis mine) : " Sure, but that's not the function or goal of Metafilter. Not the site, admins or members are against such things of course, but not everything that is important and meaningful fits into the goal of a Metafilter post."

Unless I'm completely misunderstanding this statement, you're assigning a "goal" to the post as something other than what I have already stated. So I reiterated my reason for posing.
posted by zarq at 9:11 AM on February 17, 2011


Unless I'm completely misunderstanding this statement, you're assigning a "goal" to the post as something other than what I have already stated.

I was speaking in a general sense about Metafilter posts, hence the phrase "a Metfilter post" as oppsoed to "zarq's post" or "the post made by zarq" or "the post formerly know as the post made by zarq".

If you want to take that personally, that's your choice, but it was not my intent.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:24 AM on February 17, 2011


Brandon Blatcher: " If you want to take that personally, that's your choice, but it was not my intent."

To be clear: I am not "taking it personally." I was concerned you are mischaracterizing my reason for posting. I don't want anyone assuming I was deliberately trying to engage in activism on MeFi.

Brandon Blatcher: " I was speaking in a general sense about Metafilter posts, hence the phrase "a Metfilter post" as oppsoed to "zarq's post" or "the post made by zarq" or "the post formerly know as the post made by zarq"."

Okay. Thank you.
posted by zarq at 9:37 AM on February 17, 2011


I don't want anyone assuming I was deliberately trying to engage in activism on MeFi.

It's worth understanding that, whatever your intent, posting links to issue-based PSAs is going to be taken that way by some people. You can not do anything about that, so it's worth considering if you're okay with that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:40 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


> posting links to issue-based PSAs is going to be taken that way by some people.

I would think that it will be taken that way by a lot of readers, especially if links to helplines are included. This isn't bad, but it will be seen as a form of passive activism. Stepping aside from the tragic subject matter of the PSA, the aesthetics and conceit of it are interesting and effective and can be discussed in that vein. But, without any framing of that sort then it's easy to see why people might take the post as a kind of spread the word thing about domestic violence or something. Just my opinion.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:49 AM on February 17, 2011


jessamyn: " It's worth understanding that, whatever your intent, posting links to issue-based PSAs is going to be taken that way by some people. You can not do anything about that, so it's worth considering if you're okay with that."

I understand that. I've been reading your comments on the subject in this thread carefully.
posted by zarq at 9:50 AM on February 17, 2011


You know, I stepped away from this thread for the better part of a day and a half and this still seems, a day and a half later, like an incredibly mean thing to say. I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty.

I feel for you, Jessamyn, but I also feel like there probably could have been some breathing room between that denial and the immediately preceding guilt trip, as the direct juxtaposition caused my screen to become covered in coffee.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:06 PM on February 17, 2011


I'm clearly missing something because I'm not even sure what you're referring to.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:51 PM on February 17, 2011


I quoted two sentences. One is a denial. The other is a guilt trip.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:00 PM on February 17, 2011


Jess : I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings. You have a job where you actually get to explain your motivations to people who are, for the most part, sympathetic and willing to listen, and the format of the site allows you to turn everything over and over and inside out.

I'm personally not in the same position. I'm in the service industry, and my clients are pretty much dictators. They want what they want, when they want it, exactly how they want it, and they're not particularly interested in hearing about why I might not be completely and utterly overjoyed to provide it at all hours of the day or night, for a fee that they're willing to pay. And my only option is to let them find someone else who is more willing to take their money and put up with it than I am. And I really don't think I'm alone in this.

I'll admit, when I later reread your original comment, I realized I was responding to your message with a lot less charity than it deserved and being my usual insensitive self. However, I still feel like you guys sometimes try to make it seem like your jobs are incredibly hard and how put-upon you are in doing it. Given that there is a willing audience on Metafilter who are willing to completely indulge you in this regard, I don't know that I can say I'd behave any differently.

But the reality of it is, you get paid for doing exactly what we're all doing -- reading and refreshing pages on a website, over and over. The upshot of it is that the dynamic between the people you serve and the people I serve are just very, very different. And that's why I truly do wish I had a job where I could make the people I serve feel guilty about putting me through what they put me through.

But in the end, we're both lucky we have jobs that let us spend endless hours reading and writing bullshit on an internet message board, and still, miraculously, have food on the table. #firstworldproblems, indeed.
posted by crunchland at 2:21 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


But the reality of it is, you get paid for doing exactly what we're all doing -- reading and refreshing pages on a website, over and over.

Without claiming to be able to read their minds, I'd guess that the mods' view of their jobs is more along the lines of "we get paid for wrangling the (sometimes truculent and uncooperative) membership, not for reading and refreshing pages".
posted by Lexica at 3:34 PM on February 17, 2011


But the reality of it is, you get paid for doing exactly what we're all doing -- reading and refreshing pages on a website, over and over.

what
posted by rtha at 3:48 PM on February 17, 2011


Yeah, What?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:02 PM on February 17, 2011


To try and break it down, I think what we do doesn't compare well to a normal client/service situation and so it's a little tricky to compare the two. I also don't think "reading and refreshing pages on a website" is really a particularly good expression of what defines our job. I love my job, but it's a hell of a lot more than that, and most of the stuff that makes it so is the stuff that's not me sitting around reading the web for pleasure.

I mean, I totally hear you crunchland insofar as I'm glad that most of what I do here doesn't involve having to put on a shit-eating grin and say "hey, yeah, your totally shitty idea sounds great, I'll get right on that after I'm done fixing this other bullshit that you broke and then blamed on us! Just keep paying us money, please!" It's a nice thing. I'm very thankful for that.

On the other hand, we don't really have the option of getting off the phone or being done with the meeting. Our jobs here are overtly social; as a small team we're essentially on call seven days a week while we're awake, and a whole lot of what we do is straight up public discussion, in real time, without warning, of whatever anyone is concerned about, and basically every action we take or don't take in managing the site is fodder for discussion as well.

And that's basically by design and I think it works well in general and is good for the health of this place as a community where folks feel like they have access to how policy is made and applied and are capable of taking part in making the site what it is. But it's also a little like living under a microscope sometimes. We try really hard to be as fair to folks as we can even under stressful circumstances, and to be patient when someone's upset even if they're not returning the favor, and to not let our own frustrations manifest in nasty ways in our responses to stuff, because we don't really have the option of just letting everything go red and having the sorts of Bad Days that a user sometimes has now and then. It beats the shit-eating grin routine, sure, but it's still a lot of hard work and involves a great deal of restraint and slogging one careful step after another along the high road some days.

Being frank about when something is frustrating to us, or explaining why we're not feeling good about how something has gone down, or trying to just like honestly communicate "this makes my job harder and my day worse" stuff: that's what we're stuck with as a compromise. I don't think never saying anything about this stuff is an option, we'd lose our minds and burn out and Matt would be stuck shopping for new employees. I consider it part of the deal that just as we're basically extremely transparent and available to the members of this community in our roles here, we're also entitled to be human beings with feelings and frustrations not all of which are going to be along the lines of "everything is great, i'm happy you said that to me".

And so I had the same bad reaction jessamyn did to your "I wish I had a job where I could make my clients feel guilty" comment. And maybe it's just a crappy miscommunication, maybe there's some baggage in here from the kind of dramariffic passive-aggressive bullshit I've encountered in other parts of my life over the years, because it read to me like a way of saying "you're doing a crappy thing that I am not allowed to get away with", and that felt lousy.

If that's not what you meant at all, I understand entirely if you're wondering why we would blink at it. But I feel like there's better ways to say "man, my job dynamic is different than yours in this respect" that wouldn't read like an accusation, if that sort of neutral observation is what you were going for. I dunno.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:23 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, I'd be a liar if I tried to claim there wasn't a passive-aggressive snipe in with the grain of jealousy. I've suffered a few unexpected setbacks with one of my key clients in recent months, and what you saw was my frustration with that leaking out, and there's no excuse for taking it out on Jess the way I did. And, it's a fair point, I did abbreviate your job descriptions. Unlike you guys, if I get tired of yet another "apple sucks" thread, I can walk away, while you have to slog through every tedious comment.
posted by crunchland at 8:36 PM on February 17, 2011


Usually if the thread is truly horrible one of us can tag the other in, that's maybe the luckiest part of all.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:28 PM on February 17, 2011


After looking it over for a while now, I can't see any possible way to frame this video in a new post that would be likely to allow it to escape deletion.

If someone else would like to take a crack at this, please feel free. I'm done with it.
posted by zarq at 4:45 PM on February 28, 2011


« Older Apple wars   |   Duck George, it's my shoe! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments