The term "trolling" isn't enough anymore. March 31, 2011 4:09 AM   Subscribe

"a few comments removed - Mayor Curley, if you are not trolling, please make it seem like you are not trolling, thanks."

Well, I am expressing opinions counter to popular sentiment, and while that's not the classical definition of trolling it's come to be seen as trolling around here. So while I would not have been trolling a few years ago, perhaps the definition has expanded to the point where I am, actually.

As this site and its userbase has evolved, we're at the point now where smoldering rebukes are fine provided that they support the established correct position, but responses in kind that go against the majority position are offensive. And it makes sense: good discourse depends on people flagging pointed comments they disagree with and having them removed. It means that the flaggers are right in their convictions.

Seeing as the concept of trolling has outgrown the original definition, something should be done to avoid confusion. We probably need a Newspeak term that can encompass classic trolling, but includes other, previously acceptable expression forms that are no longer permitted due to the natural progression of community standards. I suggest "wrongthought." If that could replace "trolling" on the flagging dropdown it might make things clearer.
posted by Mayor Curley to Feature Requests at 4:09 AM (248 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

In my opinion telling people with PSTD to "get over it" and that the cause of their trauma is "the natural order of things" goes a bit beyond "opinions counter to popular sentiment".
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 4:17 AM on March 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


I can see where you're coming from, Mayor Curley, and I think the prevailing frustration is that people are trying to explain where they're coming from when they say that sometimes it's not possible to just "get over it", and you're refusing to give their argument any merit.

I don't appreciate the implication that Metafilter is engaging in 1984-style thought censorship, and I think opening up with a passive-aggressive jab like that and couching it in terms of insincere concern for proper terminology is a pretty toxic way to start off this dialogue, if a dialogue is what you're looking for.
posted by Phire at 4:29 AM on March 31, 2011 [16 favorites]


I, like you, Mayor Curley, received my fair share of bullying when I was a kid.

Like you, I too have moved past mine and it doesn't (as far as I can tell) really play into my daily life as an adult, other than perhaps through an hyper-developed sense of justice for the oppressed and marginal persons of our planet.

Unlike you, however, I can apparently realize that most of us on this site are the nerdy type who were bullied, and seeing that mine was traumatizing but mostly minor, I can only imagine what it must be like for those who had it harder than me. And so, I generally try to hold my piece and not expect more from others who's shoes I've not been tasked to take a walk in.

I do however generally agree with your sentiment that going against the majority opinion in a civil and earnest manner shouldn't be classified as trolling. Your comments that were left seemed to do that well enough. I can't see the ones that weren't left.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:32 AM on March 31, 2011


In my opinion telling people with PSTD to "get over it" and that the cause of their trauma is "the natural order of things" goes a bit beyond "opinions counter to popular sentiment".

For the record, I just searched the thread in question for all appearances of "get over it" (without quotes) and it only appears in the comments of people relating stories of t except for hal c. on stating "Does that mean if someone came to me and said they were being bullied I would say 'get over it'? no. Not at all."

And "natural order of things" never appears at all.

So way to start the thread on the right foot.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:35 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your opening comment said that you "got over it" and implied that everyone else could, too, and that "kids are mean and stupid and don't have compassion. This is their natural state." I don't think that was an unfair comment for Proofs and Refutations to have made.
posted by Phire at 4:41 AM on March 31, 2011


*Sigh*, serve's me right for quiting from memory.

Instead of "natural order of things" you said "My argument is that trying to suppress something that's part of the natural order is fruitless".

Instead of "get over it" you said "encouraging people to dwell on it only makes more people more damaged".

Still a long way from "opinions counter to popular sentiment" as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 4:45 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


And then I go and use a grocer's apostrophe, where's that edit window when you need it?
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 4:47 AM on March 31, 2011


Ah, fuck, I just realized those quotes were from Famous Monster and not you. That was totally my bad, sorry.
posted by Phire at 4:47 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Your opening comment said that you "got over it" and implied that everyone else could, too

I don't want to moderate this thread, really. But I want to keep the discourse accurate. The phrase "got over it" appear in comments by Scattercat, prefpara and FAMOUS MONSTER. I did not use it. Please stop doing this.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:47 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks. Sorry about the cross post.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:48 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree that the term "trolling" is classically defined as insincere provocative statements, calculated to elicit outrage, and that we should try to preserve that usage. I take you at your word that your sentiments were entirely sincere. Would you have been more comfortable if the note had said ""a few comments removed - Mayor Curley, stop being such a dick."
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:49 AM on March 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


I haven't read the thread, but I do agree with Mayor Curley's wrongthought comments.

There are a list of topics which we just do not discuss on Metafilter. Cat declawing, for example. It doesn't matter what your opinion or what point you want to make, mentioning cat declawing in any thread or else it will rapidly go down the crapper.

Now, discussing cats and their claws isn't automatically trolling - you could genuinely have exciting new evidence about it, or you could have a genuine point you want to raise, but the mention of the subject itself is considered trolling on this site.

It's not trolling if you aren't angling to start a flamewar, but it's certainly treated as such.

PS - don't mention cat declawing. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 4:51 AM on March 31, 2011


Instead of "get over it" you said "encouraging people to dwell on it only makes more people more damaged".

There seems to be a world of difference between these two statements both in content and rhetoric. (Should add I've not read the original thread recently, so while generally agreeing with Mayor Curley's main sentiment here can't offer an informed view of what took place in the conversation.)
posted by Abiezer at 4:51 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crap... feel free to parse that so it makes sense and doesn't look like I stopped half way through to answer the phone.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 4:52 AM on March 31, 2011


It's hard to know how to make this thread. On the one hand, I've read all of Mayor Curley's extant comments in the thread and they seem fine though contrary to the prevailing opinions in the thread. On the other hand, I know that comments were removed which I cannot read. The fact that some comments stood, while others were removed, suggests to me that it may not have been just the unpopularity of the content that got the removed comments excised. I will say that I've recently had a run-in with making some comments very mildly against the orthodoxy in one of the Wisconsin threads, and I was shocked at how vituperative the response to my rather mundane point was. (I certainly handled it badly myself, but I have much more sympathy for those here who buck the normative trend.)

In general, I'm skeptical of MetaTalk threads that present the poster as not just a victim, but a victim of a conspiracy of political correctness. I'm happy to debate whether or not particular deletions were worthy, but I don't see the kind of systematic bias from the mods that would suggest that we can do that based on content alone. Indeed, if content were the only issue here I'm not sure why all of Mayor Curley's posts wouldn't have been deleted.
posted by OmieWise at 5:14 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


It impossible to know what Mayor Curley is talking about, or whether his complaints are just, without knowing what was deleted.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:16 AM on March 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


In my opinion telling people with PSTD to "get over it" and that the cause of their trauma is "the natural order of things" goes a bit beyond "opinions counter to popular sentiment".

I haven't been reading that thread. If Mayor Curley said that, well, I think it's ignorant and wrong advice that completely misunderstands the nature and science of PTSD.

BUT IT'S IN NO WAY FLAGGABLE.

You disagree strongly enough to flag, then show the courage of your convictions and take the time to write a refutation. Don't take the lazy way out, suppressing what you don't agree with.
posted by orthogonality at 5:36 AM on March 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


It impossible to know what Mayor Curley is talking about, or whether his complaints are just, without knowing what was deleted.

Quick rundown:

I responded to scrump's comment about "The Voice," self-doubt which he specifically ascribed to bullying.

I replied that extreme self-doubt is the normal human condition. (that was not deleted)

scrump took offensive to my suggestion that I might understand what he was talking about:
Ah. So you'd know the real truth about my experience, then?
I leave the detection of irony as an exercise for the reader.
I had related my own experiences with bullying in the thread, so I took exception to the suggestion that if I understood him/her, I would not have an opinion counter to his/hers. I find that position arrogant and decided that scrump was engaging in a game of one-upmanship-- until I agreed with scrump's premise, my experiences were not on the same level of gravity as scrump's. It reminded me of memoirs of miserable Irish childhoods, where you get the sense that the author is essentially describing the condition of everyone around them, but asserting that their own is the worst. So I replied something to the effect of:
And if we were discussing our pre-War childhoods in Cork, your family was the poorest and your dad the drunkest. Despite everyone being poor and raised by a drunk.
Which probably wasn't contextual enough to make my point as effectively as I'd like, but does not fit the definition of "trolling" in my mind. Which is why I was surprised to find it gone and replaced with a warning about trolling. Which led me to open discussion here.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:40 AM on March 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


The comments that got deleted were short ones.

Mayor Curley said something, and then someone (don't remember who) responded with "Just what are you trying to accomplish here, Curley?"

I don't remember what MC said, but the response was fighty enough that it's probably what set off the flag chain. People were starting to jump on the hate on Mayor Curley and hal_c_on bandwagons, and my guess is the mods wanted to shut it down before it happened.
posted by phunniemee at 5:40 AM on March 31, 2011


And if we were discussing our pre-War childhoods in Cork, your family was the poorest and your dad the drunkest. Despite everyone being poor and raised by a drunk.

Oh yeah, forgot about that part.

Carry on.
posted by phunniemee at 5:42 AM on March 31, 2011


I haven't been reading that thread. If Mayor Curley said that, well, I think it's ignorant and wrong advice that completely misunderstands the nature and science of PTSD

Not necessarily (1, 2).
posted by MuffinMan at 5:49 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it isn't what you've wrote that begs offense, but how you've presented it.

I hate the tone argument because this is a medium where tone is assigned by the audience rather than the author, but there are weights to certain words and phrases that when strung together provoke definite reactions.

Also, this is a medium where your username, moreso than meat space, carries your (google-ble) history of previous statements. If someone finds your previous comments abrasive and rude, then it will add tones to your argument that you must acknowledge and avoid.

Though without the original comments it's something the commumity must trust the moderators to decide. If we don't trust the mods than the social contract of the site dissolves and then Metafilter isn't Metafilter. You would know this and should conclude such a callout is pointless. Therefore it's more of an emtional accounting than an intellectual one you're seem to be seeking.

As I doubt there is an apology forth coming for hurting your feelings while scolding you for hurting other's feelings, this entire excerise is noise. If you are unhappy here there is simply two options of recourse - suck it up and continue membership, or leave. You are not leaving, so please refrain from tantruming in the gray. It makes you look bad and adds further external emotional weight to your comments.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:01 AM on March 31, 2011


Wow. Ok, sorry about that. I'm going to go slink off and have some coffee now.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:04 AM on March 31, 2011


People were starting to jump on the hate on Mayor Curley and hal_c_on bandwagons

I don't "hate" hal_c_on. I do think that he often makes jokes that are poorly timed, as in a thread where people are recounting horrific personal trauma, and I said so. When he then tried to defend the content of the joke, I said "And then you hid behind calling it a "joke," which is something it seems to me you do a lot. I wish you would stop it. I don't care if you're a grumpy contrarian or whatever, but the fake blasé/joking tone you take, especially when everyone else is being pretty serious, consistently sounds an off note." I don't think that's unfair, but I am not going to dredge up citations for it as he wants me to. It's not about his opinions or what kind of person I think he is, it's about the shitty joking. And I said it there because I thought it needed to be said, finally, after having thought about it for a long time.

I'm sorry that I did it in a place where he was also being attacked for having opinions others disliked, because that may have made it seem like I was joining the pile on, which wasn't my intention at all.
posted by liketitanic at 6:06 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I flagged a few comments in that thread that were deleted -- like the "drunk dads in Cork" comment from Mayor Curley and the responses to that that were a little more strident.

Mayor Curley, I didn't agree with your comments in-thread before that but found nothing terribly offensive about them. The Cork comment, though, was just weird and snotty and shitty. I kind of figure, if you're going to be snotty and shitty to people in a thread where emotions are running high, don't be too surprised when your comment gets deleted and you get called out.
posted by palomar at 6:19 AM on March 31, 2011


smoldering rebukes are fine provided that they support the established correct position, but responses in kind that go against the majority position are offensive.

I doubt it. A comment of mine was deleted the other day for calling someone a dick for making quasi-threats against people who use the word "cis-gender." Is this word prohibited by Metafilter's established correct position? This is unlikely. Yet there it is, my comment is gone, sir, a mystery your hypothesis cannot account for!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:25 AM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hmm. Somehow I missed that thread yesterday. Probably just as well; I'd have spent too much time in it as it's a subject close to my heart.

Obviously without seeing the deleted comments I can't express an opinion on them. What remains of Mayor Curley's contribution seems perfectly okay, though. He's expressing a view that runs counter to the prevailing one, but he also seems to be doing so in good faith. I don't entirely agree with him, but I do think he's making a worthwhile point. I'm also glad he excluded physical bullying from his argument since that shit can be a hell of a lot harder to get over than mean words and general schoolyard taunts. I received my share of both so I agree that there's a real quantum gap there. It didn't take me quite as long to get past being mocked for my runty, undeveloped fifteen-year old physique as it did for that time I had my head shoved into a toilet while somebody pissed on it and somebody else kicked me in the balls. Ah, best years of yer life...

Aside from that... I, too, get extremely tired of the apparent eagerness of some folk to label contrary opinion "trolling". There often seems to be a censoriousness behind that behaviour; an attempt to both dismiss and silence opposing or provocative voices. This is not a good thing.
posted by Decani at 6:25 AM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Gonna have to say I'm with Mayor Curley on this one. This kind of sentiment is exactly what's wrong with this deletion:

"
In my opinion telling people with PSTD to "get over it" and that the cause of their trauma is "the natural order of things" goes a bit beyond "opinions counter to popular sentiment"."



That is exactly the definition of opinions counter to popular sentiment. Whether you like it or not, it's an opinion just as valid as yours and to pretend that there aren't a good number of people out there in the world who feel the same way is kinda like closing your eyes and covering your ears. And it's precisely the kind of 'all victims are sacrosanct and untouchable' attitude around here that is a little bit disturbing. No one came out and said "GET OVER IT, PUSSY". And whether or not you drew the inference that this was Mayor Curley's true feeling, it's your inference and not reflected in the actual words.
posted by spicynuts at 6:32 AM on March 31, 2011 [15 favorites]


And if we were discussing our pre-War childhoods in Cork, your family was the poorest and your dad the drunkest. Despite everyone being poor and raised by a drunk.

This does seem both fighty and insensitive. I wouldn't call it trolling, but are you really surprised it was deleted.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:13 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter loves to selectively quote out of context and then shout down the offender for having the insensitivity to posit an outlying opinion. I get where MC is coming from. He said very clearly he distinguishes physical bullying from the more pervasive psychological stuff that grows out of a sea of unformed, insecure adolescents packed into a building for six hours a day.

I think the long lasting impact of bullying is easy to understand when you look at it's converse scenarios - who are the friends you make for life, the loves you never forget, the camp you attended and try forever to return to in your mind? It all happens between 10 and 18, pretty much. So it's no wonder a negative experience would leave a lasting scar. But I agree, fixating on a past slight is giving your life over to the bullies. Live well and watch them morph into bloated chronically underemployed losers posting pictures of their muscle car on FB, I say.
posted by docpops at 7:20 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


polomar:The Cork comment, though, was just weird and snotty and shitty. I kind of figure, if you're going to be snotty and shitty to people in a thread where emotions are running high, don't be too surprised when your comment gets deleted and you get called out.

palomar, thank you for identifying yourself as a flagger, because I have some completely earnest questions for you:
  1. Did you think it was trolling? As in, did I appear to be taking a position that I didn't actually embrace for the sole purpose of stirring shit?
  2. What makes it snotty and shitty? The use of simile instead of directly saying "you're not being objective" or something else?
  3. If someone had instead used a similar device against me, would you have flagged it? (I am inclined to believe that you would have not, so I'm going to ask you to be objective and I promise to accept your answer at face value).
  4. Do you have any quantifiable criteria for judging whether a comment should be flagged, or is it an "I know it when I see it" thing? If it is the former, what are they? If it is the latter, do you apply it equally to people with whom you agree as well as disagree?
  5. If you flag by gut response, and do not apply it equally, do you believe that this practice contributes to a suppression of viewpoints outside of the majority consensus?
  6. If there were a suppression of viewpoints outside of the majority consensus, would this be a good or bad thing? How about just a bit of suppression?(This sounds like a rhetorical question because free expression is supposed to be a high ideal, but in practice many of us, including myself, choose our information sources according to position and I don't think it's unrealistic for a participant to want Metafilter to conform to her or his ideals, sometimes absolutely.)
I'm trying to understand others' expectations and judgements, so if anyone else who flagged is reading this, I'd like to hear from you as well.

Astro Zombie: This does seem both fighty and insensitive. I wouldn't call it trolling, but are you really surprised it was deleted.

I am surprised because I thought it was an apt analogy, especially because it was in response to "if you're not agreeing with me, you don't understand," which is about the most arrogant, condescending reply that one can make in argument. I'm not sure why I'm expected to reply with sensitivity to something like that.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:23 AM on March 31, 2011 [17 favorites]


Metafilter loves to selectively quote out of context and then shout down the offender for having the insensitivity to posit an outlying opinion

Metafilter doesn't love to do anything. If this is a repeated problem from identifiable users, let's work to fix it.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:30 AM on March 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


I typed out something long and rambly, but it was too long and rambly. Mayor Curley is bang-on exactly right about how Metafilter treats people expressing opinions contrary to the majority position, and I say this as someone who almost always holds the majority position. It's especially true that people get away with a lot more snark in their replies when they are rebutting a contrary opinion. Sometimes it seems like Metafilter is one big circlejerk as far as some topics go.
posted by Sternmeyer at 7:36 AM on March 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think MC was holding an unpopular opinion but doing it in a fairly civil way. I also think some folks were unduly quick to race up the ladder of inference to assert that because he got over his bullying, he was in some way blaming others for not getting over theirs. Finally, I think using the word "trolling" in the deletion message was a rare case of Jessamyn hitting a sour note in her usually pitch-perfect moderation.
posted by ottereroticist at 7:44 AM on March 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


What makes it snotty and shitty? The use of simile instead of directly saying "you're not being objective" or something else?

I didn't flag it or anything but I think this right here is your problem. What you were trying to say was "You're not being objective" but what it came across as - at least to me and I guess I'm not the only one who took it this way but who knows what everyone else's specific reading was - was "Everyone gets bullied so stop pretending you had it any worse than anyone else."

And that is a thing an asshole would say!

So at that point it appeared (and please note I only say appeared, I have no idea what was going on in your head) that it was more important to you to belittle another person, and their experience, than it was to have a discussion about some folks with issues that are heavy to them.

That's why it came off as trolling. If you didn't mean it that way then you didn't mean it that way but it wasn't really the best simile to use.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:46 AM on March 31, 2011


Bet hey, some comments got deleted and out comes the 1984 rhetoric. Surely, comrades, this will end doubleplusgood.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:49 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, in other words, we're having a Tone Argument about Mayor Curley's contributions?
posted by adipocere at 7:52 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mayor Curley,

1. I didn't think it was trolling. I thought it was unnecessarily snipey and antagonistic given the already contentious tone in the thread, but I wouldn't call it trolling. I believe I flagged it as derail, because that's what it was. It sure wasn't providing anything useful to the discussion.

2. See above, "unnecessarily snipey blah blah contentious thread".

3. I actually did flag comments after your Cork one, from other members. Those comments were directed at you and were things like "go fuck yourself" in Gaelic, among other deraily things.

4. I flag comments regularly, for a variety of reasons. I flag things when they are unnecessarily fighty in a contentious thread. I flag them when they are obvious derails. I flag them when they are awesome. I flag them when they are doubles (or triples), especially when it becomes a chain down the thread because clearly something is broken. I flag comments with bad links. I flag when someone says "fuck you" or "go fuck yourself" to someone, because come on. I've even flagged myself when I've posted something in the heat of anger and immediately regretted the post. (I try not to post like that anymore.)

5. Dude, what?

6. Suppression of viewpoints? Dude. That is not what's happening here. The comments that were deleted were fighty and pointless. I flagged them as the derail that they were. I flagged other comments from other users for the same thing. I do so regularly. I'm not sure why you're interrogating me for my reasons for flagging. Do you do this to other users? Do you ever flag things? Can I interrogate you now?

I hope this information was helpful to you.
posted by palomar at 7:58 AM on March 31, 2011 [6 favorites]



Metafilter doesn't love to do anything. If this is a repeated problem from identifiable users, let's work to fix it.


Metafilter loves to make broad, third person statements about itself. These statements inevitably shape metafilter's discourse, and do it a great disservice.

Example:

"Metafilter is bad at ________" all but guarantees that metafilter will continue to be bad at "________."

Inevitably sites like this rely on the judgment of the moderation team. I've always preferred methods that nail individual offenders, rather than taking aggressive scorched earth tactics against threads and topics that are frequently trolled. Targeting individual offenders and encouraging dialogue will lead to better discourse, especially since the site's pay wall arguably encourages a slightly more stable, and mature user base.

While sites like this don't fit the classic definition of community, I do think that they can rise above trolling, given some gentle nudges. Unfortunately, the limiting factor is always going to be the time and patience of the moderation team, which is a big variable.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:59 AM on March 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


I didn't flag or read the original thread, but I flagged this Metatalk post ("other") because of the assertions that, on this site, "smoldering rebukes are fine provided they support the established correct position" and that "responses ... that go against the majority perspective are offensive." The icing on the cake was when Mayor Curley accused someone else of getting the thread off on the wrong foot. I don't know what the term for that is but "unreflective" and "obtuse" come to mind.
posted by Jagz-Mario at 8:04 AM on March 31, 2011


I'm not sure why you're interrogating me for my reasons for flagging.

I'll quote myself: "I'm trying to understand others' expectations and judgements."

Do you do this to other users?

I'll quote myself: "if anyone else who flagged is reading this, I'd like to hear from you as well.."

Do you ever flag things?

A couple of times. Mostly in Ask Metafilter, for flagrant violation ofthe strict guidelines. Once on the main site for something so remarkably racist that I figured the account had been hijacked or the user had decompensated, and two or three other times where the comment was just completely no-context insane.

Can I interrogate you now?

You just did, but I seriously appreciate your answering me. So go ahead.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:11 AM on March 31, 2011


I'm not sure why I'm expected to reply with sensitivity to something like that.

Well, you and I both know you don't have to do anything in any particular way. But I guess the folks who thought it was a derail might imagine that, in a thread where people are making imperious statements about being understood, they're doing it because they feel really vulnerable, because their pain is on display, and because, when those things are true, we react defensively in ways we don't always take full responsibility for. And in those circumstances, it can help, and even disarm, to respond gently, even if, in some other context, it wouldn't be "deserved."
posted by liketitanic at 8:13 AM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


(I am being absolutely sincere here, by the way, and responding to your statement honestly and without being disingenuous.)
posted by liketitanic at 8:14 AM on March 31, 2011


Is your argument with the moderators or the rest of us? Because a mod clearly thought some of your comments were a little trolly. I think we've got very fair and impartial moderation here so that's good enough for me. Take it as constructive criticism for the next time you post.

If your argument is actually with the rest of mefi for not being more respectful of your divergent opinions, that's a different issue. I don't know anyone on mefi who would advocate a forum that suppressed differences of opinion, even minority ones. It clearly helps when presenting potentially controversial or inflammatory remarks not to do so in a deliberately provacative manner. Maybe this simply comes down to a question of style.
posted by londonmark at 8:14 AM on March 31, 2011


"if you're not agreeing with me, you don't understand" ... is about the most arrogant, condescending reply that one can make in argument

Maybe it would help to flip it around and restate it: "I understand the underlying facts, therefore my conclusion is correct. You disagree with my conclusion, therefore you must not understand the underlying facts." The counter to that is "Actually, your understanding of the underlying facts is incorrect, and so your conclusion is incorrect. It is actually I that understand the facts correctly." That strikes me as a template for most arguments, and nothing about it seems particularly arrogant or condescending.

Here we're talking about someone's particular, individual lived experience with bullying. It actually seems arrogant for one to suggest that one understands that person's experience better than they do. You argued that you had a similar experience and therefore understood things just fine, but that's a pretty bold assertion to make, I think, given the many interrelated factors that go into someone's experience with bullying (e.g. age, home life, support or lack thereof, duration of the bullying, gender of the parties involved, etc, etc).
posted by jedicus at 8:19 AM on March 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


As for the broader subject of this MeTa post: Should inflammatory minority view comments be dismissed just because they are made in an inflammatory way? No. But the in practice flamewars have to be cleaned up, and so some inflammatory comments are going to be deleted, including ones expressing minority views. I think the mods do a pretty good job of not pruning things back too far, and thus leaving in place the first few comments that establish the minority view, usually with a note saying "okay, take any further discussion of this elsewhere." They also usually do a good job of apportioning blame among the posters of the initial inflammatory comments and the posters that escalated or continued the fight.

I don't think this practice makes the term 'trolling' useless or meaningless. Some comments are so inflammatory and so contrary to the generally accepted views of the community that it's 1) difficult to tell whether the poster is arguing in good faith and 2) a moot point either way because the response will be the same: there will be a fight and the thread will have to be cleaned up regardless.
posted by jedicus at 8:20 AM on March 31, 2011


I didn't flag anything either but I dropped reading the thread pretty early. I think pulling out "tone argument" here as a defense is rather disingenuous. These "I'm just giving a contrary opinion, gosh, why is everyone so damn sensitive" rebuttals read as disingenuous as well. Yes, I can see where "pile on the contrary opinion" does happen (and I don't enjoy that). But the contrary opinions stir shit when they're immediately dismissive and not integrated into the discussion already happening, just like IRL. If someone doesn't recognize that then s/he doesn't know how to socialize well with others or simply doesn't want/care to consider how other people feel or might respond to them.

To me it's still trolling, even if one's opinion is sincere, if one is tossing it into a thread in a way that seems designed to provoke, and then the thread turns into this "what? I'm just givin' it to you all straight! you can't handle a different position!" against a bunch of people who are now on the defensive - because I can easily envision the provocateur behind the keyboard laughing at how s/he got the mundanes all riled up. I've seen that attitude too many times. I find it hard to believe it's not going on at Metafilter because this is often how some people appear to be engaging with the site on a regular basis; it's a pattern, it's annoying, and it shits up threads.

And this MetaTalk is framed in such a way to be provoking, dismissive, and inflammatory; it certainly doesn't make me think you honestly want to discuss this. To me it sounds like you just want to fight, trump anyone that disagrees, and flame on the mods for intervening.
posted by flex at 8:20 AM on March 31, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'm not sure why I'm expected to reply with sensitivity to something like that.

Well, I don't necessarily blame you for responding to a comment that you found condescending with a snotty response. But especially in a thread where people are baring their hearts, those seem like the sorts of comments that are likely to get misunderstood, seen as being especially tone deaf, and excised.

You know that I can be as much of a gunslinger as anybody. But when I start popping off shots, I'm not really going to be astonished when the bartender tells me it's time to check my gun.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:21 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am surprised because I thought it was an apt analogy, especially because it was in response to "if you're not agreeing with me, you don't understand," which is about the most arrogant, condescending reply that one can make in argument. I'm not sure why I'm expected to reply with sensitivity to something like that.

I'm not Astro Zombie but I hope you value my input.

You took the position of attacking what someone said in a personal confession type of way (the "Voice" stuff) and restating it, subverting their comment, retelling it back to them as what they actually feel. It served to make your point, but I don't think it's hard to see how it was a bit aggressive.

The other person came back with something to the effect of, "No, I know my life," and your response was a dressed up version of "No, I know your life better than you do, random internet person."

That kind of direct bald-faced discounting of someone else's pain or trauma or hardship is exactly the kind of thing that gets edited around here, and rightly so. You should probably be glad, too, because it's simply bad logic.

In general, when you are telling someone they haven't managed their thoughts and feelings correctly, you don't start out on equal rhetorical footing. There's an original sin there, an assumption of bad faith. It's kind of invasive and dickish right out of the gate, and it's an uphill climb (from the gate area...) to say things to the other person that don't offend their sense of self.

In my opinion the "arrogance" and "condescension" you imagine coming at you actually began on your side. They're built into your whole position on the issue.

That's just the way I read it, at least.
posted by fleacircus at 8:25 AM on March 31, 2011 [19 favorites]


BUT IT'S IN NO WAY FLAGGABLE....Don't take the lazy way out, suppressing what you don't agree with.

Flagging is not suppression. It's a way of bringing potentially problematic stuff to the mods. It's a non-gamable alert system, not a downvote/hide/autodelete mechanism. If more people could get this through their thick skulls, problematic stuff might get dealt with more quickly around here instead of devolving into fights as much as they do.
posted by Gator at 8:30 AM on March 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think we've got very fair and impartial moderation here so that's good enough for me.

I think that we have generally excellent moderation, but what I am calling for is an expanded definition of what is to be pruned. I don't think the moderation is completely impartial, because it relies on a flagging system and if it gets enough flags it seems to get removed, period. And the popularity of the sentiment denotes the flag traffic.

I'm not blaming the mods-- they are generally excellent and have plenty to do so I understand why they might just say "this is contentious. Kill it." Because it's driven by community desire to see disagreeable viewpoints eradicated. And I'm saying "that's how it is, lets be clear about it" and stop using non-applicable definitions for unpopular sentiments. It's pretty clear that if it makes people uncomfortable, it's gone no matter the context and "trolling" or "hate speech" doesn't adequately cover the reasons for why something causes enough flags for it to be removed. That's why I think "wrongthink" would be a better catch-all term for comments that do not fit and must be pruned for the health of the community. But we also have to figure out exactly what "wrongthink" is so that we can be aware of it and not do it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:31 AM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Call it groupthink, sadthink or whatever - there was something about the nature of your dismissive responses that elicited more ire and disgust than if, say, we hadn't just watched a video of a vulnerable kid describe what it is like for her, and/or read a lot of comments from our peers here about bullying.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:32 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't see Mayor Curley's remarks, but why was that thread allowed to turn into miserychatfilter? Everyone's got a victim story. Endless recitations of 8th grade unhappiness serve no purpose.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:32 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


but why was that thread allowed to turn into miserychatfilter?

What would you recommend? That people keep relevant personal anecdotes quiet because you personally don't find value in them?

I don't think there is a flag for that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:33 AM on March 31, 2011 [17 favorites]


I don't think the moderation is completely impartial, because it relies on a flagging system and if it gets enough flags it seems to get removed, period.

I think that, to a certain extent, Team Mod's primary responsibility is to keep the community working smoothly, and so if a shit-ton of people are complaining about something via the flagging system, it makes perfect sense to remove whatever is getting heavily flagged, as that indicates that it is a problematic thing for the community, regardless of the merit of the comment/post/whathaveyou.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:36 AM on March 31, 2011


It's pretty clear that if it makes people uncomfortable, it's gone no matter the context and "trolling" or "hate speech" doesn't adequately cover the reasons for why something causes enough flags for it to be removed. That's why I think "wrongthink" would be a better catch-all term for comments that do not fit and must be pruned for the health of the community.

I assumed your suggestion of "wrongthink" was satirical. I don't think anyone around here wants to censor viewpoints. Moderation sometimes comes down to maintaining a civilised debate though. There are ways to contribute contentious opinions that don't get scrubbed.
posted by londonmark at 8:39 AM on March 31, 2011


I don't think the moderation is completely impartial, because it relies on a flagging system and if it gets enough flags it seems to get removed, period.

A whole lot of flags on something that we don't see as problematic leads to us having a "what is this about" discussion, not to us saying "welp, I dunno but I guess we have to delete it" and pressing the button blindly. The cases where that happens are pretty rare, though; generally if there's an asspile of flags on something, it's pretty obvious why. Still doesn't automatically mean its getting deleted even then—it's going to depend a lot on the context.

But in any case there's not a "lotta flags, gotta delete" mandate, which is a big part of why the flagging system is important in the first place as compared to some robotic threshold system.

And the popularity of the sentiment denotes the flag traffic.

I wouldn't be surprised by that effect, but the variation by popularity of general sentiment would be absolutely dwarfed by the variation by actual tone and content. People have stated plenty of unpopular opinions around here in a successful, unflagged manner. People have stated plenty of popular opinions in combative or obnoxious ways and gotten flagged up the wazoo.

Avoiding any skew in aggregate low-volume flagging behavior would be a hard thing to accomplish, but more to the point it wouldn't accomplish much because we aren't doing significant amounts of moderation based on a flag or two here from someone who is annoyed merely by the ideological component of otherwise fine comments. Those people can flag, we can elect to ignore those flags, and life goes on. When something is getting flagged a whole bunch, there's generally something more going on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:42 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


You took the position of attacking what someone said in a personal confession type of way (the "Voice" stuff) and restating it, subverting their comment, retelling it back to them as what they actually feel ... The other person came back with something to the effect of, "No, I know my life," and your response was a dressed up version of "No, I know your life better than you do, random internet person."

That's a matter of perspective. I saw it as someone making proclamation that only they and other people who share a certain perspective about their childhood know a particular kind of emotion and gave examples to illustrate the substance of that emotion. I read the examples and said "no, that's a standard insecurity. I have that and most people have it." The person responded with "no, you can't possibly know that feeling. it's unique to a subset of people to which you don't belong." And I got irritated at that demonstrably false, arrogant assertion and made an analogy suggesting that s/he was engaged in some sort of negative one-upmanship. Which I feel is correct.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:42 AM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I didn't see Mayor Curley's remarks, but why was that thread allowed to turn into miserychatfilter? Everyone's got a victim story. Endless recitations of 8th grade unhappiness serve no purpose.

When you dropped basically that exact same comment into the thread last night, you were pretty much ignored. Looking to try again?

Do you read any of the threads here on MeFi? What are they, if not a collection of recounted anecdotes and experiences of the members? At least they're all contributing something on-topic to the thread. I think from this MeTa and some of the discussion in the original thread we can see that having a lot of different people's different viewpoints to draw on is more helpful than not.

What do you think would have been more productive filler material for those comments? (No, really, I'm curious.)
posted by phunniemee at 8:43 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mayor Curley, your removed comment was
Ah. So you'd know the real truth about my experience, then? I leave the detection of irony as an exercise for the reader

Yes, yes. I get it. And if we were discussing our childhoods in Cork, your family was the poorest and your dad was the drunkest. No sense pointing out that everyone was poor and every dad a drunk. You're special.
Here's the thing. I get what you are saying about groupthink. The concern is that the flagging feature [and, arguably, the favoriting feature] only works to reinforce community opinions that are widely held thus giving the impression that minority viewpoints are problematic in some way to this community and thus should possibly be eradicated.I'd like it if you'd give us some more credit than that.

I'm aware, Mayor Curley, that you're sort of annoyed generally in what you see as a shift towards the sort of group-hug nature of some of these threads on difficult topics especially ones involving topics that people have personal experience in, that the threads turn into this sort of co-miserating situation where the only way to respond without getting people pissed off is to say "oh yeah I totally get it, that sucks" and anything other than that gets chastised.

This seems to bother you enough so that, often, your contribution to these threads is some variation on "Meh." or "Meh, let's all have a group hug now I guess?" sort of taunting comments. You contribute other places on the site completely reasonably. I get that you find these threads annoying. What I don't understand is why you show up in them and basically decide to say "What's the big deal?" and then think that your sincere contributions ( I understand that they are sincere, I do not doubt that) are taken poorly by the community and the mods.

If what you are doing is looking like "What a troll would do" it would be a good idea for you to adjust that, even if what you have to say is the same thing a troll would say. You're smart enough to make this distinction and I'm not sure why you don't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:43 AM on March 31, 2011 [26 favorites]


I find the idea that I suddenly have to help define a concept couched in Orwellian terms by one aggrieved poster as a community standard...

Off-putting, to say the least.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:46 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


But we also have to figure out exactly what "wrongthink" is so that we can be aware of it and not do it.

So you believe wrongthink is ungood?
posted by octobersurprise at 8:46 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]



I didn't see Mayor Curley's remarks, but why was that thread allowed to turn into miserychatfilter? Everyone's got a victim story. Endless recitations of 8th grade unhappiness serve no purpose


Still sneering and derisive. Still wish you would stop.
posted by liketitanic at 8:50 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read the examples and said "no, that's a standard insecurity. I have that and most people have it." The person responded with "no, you can't possibly know that feeling. it's unique to a subset of people to which you don't belong." And I got irritated at that demonstrably false, arrogant assertion and made an analogy suggesting that s/he was engaged in some sort of negative one-upmanship. Which I feel is correct.

It's not "demonstrably false" because you can't know another person's mind. You might suspect, based on a few comments on a website, that you and others have those same feelings. The other person might suspect, based on a few comments on a website, that, no, you don't have those same feelings because to their mind those feelings are inextricably bound up with a particular set of experiences that you don't share.

So who's right in that debate is fundamentally unanswerable and probably not all that important anyway. But on the other hand it's also not particularly problematic to have that debate, at least so long as it doesn't become an endless back and forth that dominates the thread.

The problem comes when you dismiss another person's public sharing of a painful experience and the painful repercussions as one-upsmanship.
posted by jedicus at 8:52 AM on March 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


The person responded with "no, you can't possibly know that feeling. it's unique to a subset of people to which you don't belong."

No, the person responded with "So you'd know the real truth about my experience, then?" which is not the same meaning at all. It sounds like you read a lot of stuff into the comments that weren't there, making it about you, when it wasn't.
posted by fleacircus at 8:53 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Still sneering and derisive. Still wish you would stop.

Quite frankly, that thread was filled with a lot of sneering and derision towards Mayor Curley as well. It's not that two wrongs make a right, but it's reasonable to expect that you're going to get what you give, in a sense.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:06 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I wrote was an attempt to answer a question. I was explicitly careful to state that it applied to some people. Not all people. Not even most people. Yes, I wrote it from the first person, and clearly the voice I chose to use did not work for a subset of people.

It annoys me to see it mischaracterized as "miserychatfilter" and my position distorted as "negative one-upmanship". If you really think that's what it is, so be it. Nothing I can do about it. But I'm here to tell you directly: you're absolutely incorrect about the intent of what I wrote, the meaning of what I wrote, and my motivations for writing it.
posted by scrump at 9:06 AM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]



Quite frankly, that thread was filled with a lot of sneering and derision towards Mayor Curley as well. It's not that two wrongs make a right, but it's reasonable to expect that you're going to get what you give, in a sense.


I didn't sneer a thing toward Mayor Curley or to anyone else. ideefixee contributed nothing else to the thread but suggesting that people being vulnerable was immature, simpleminded, childish "miserychatfilter." It has nothing to do with Mayor Curley for me, and you'll notice I offered a sincere interpretation to him upthread here. I don't think there's anything wrong with pointing out that someone's being a jerk regardless of what other people are doing.
posted by liketitanic at 9:11 AM on March 31, 2011


I didn't sneer a thing toward Mayor Curley or to anyone else.

I didn't mean to single you out, I meant in general.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:13 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't mean to single you out, I meant in general.

Okay, fair. I think you picked a bad example to quote, though. Because my problem hasn't been with opinions I don't agree with.
posted by liketitanic at 9:15 AM on March 31, 2011


But I'm here to tell you directly: you're absolutely incorrect about the intent of what I wrote, the meaning of what I wrote, and my motivations for writing it.

I can't figure out what perspective to take in order to read it differently, but if your explicitly stating that I'm wrong about your intentions I don't have any other option than to take your word for it. I wish that I could see it as you intended and I apologize sincerely for the misunderstanding. If you can offer an explanation of what you actually meant, I'd like to see it so that I can better understand but I understand if you'd prefer not to.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:17 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't need to explain any of that. prefpara already did, when they posted this:
There is an enormous chasm between garden-variety self-doubt and insecurity and the kind of self-loathing that can result from many years of being told by everyone around you that you are a worthless piece of garbage.
Which is a pretty damn accurate read of what I wrote.

They, and plenty of other users, managed to clearly understand my intention, my meaning, and my motivations.
posted by scrump at 9:25 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Generally, it's more respectful to speak to a person's experience than for it. I found that the exchange, for me, fell under "trying to speak for scrump's experiences," and then degenerated into a Wheaton's Law violation.

That's when I flagged the specific comment, out of a feeling that the subthread had become about personalities and not positions.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:28 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, fair. I think you picked a bad example to quote, though.

Well, what I was trying to say was that both sides were being pretty derisive and prickly when it came to replying to others comments and making (what I think to be) bad faith assumptions about what the other side was saying. It wasn't just a one sided thing from the quoute-unqoute 'get over it' crowd. But the feeling I get from some in this thread (and the in the original post) is that it's acceptable for one side to be sneering and derisive towards someone they feel is dismissing their emotions, because that person couldn't possibly understand what their going through. Yet it's not acceptable for a person on the other side of the argument to be sneering and derisive in return because they're essentially taking a proverbial dump on people with emotional baggage or PTSD.

I'm not saying acting like assholes all around is the correct way to have a discussion (it's not), and ideally we'd all be accepting of other's views without the need for sarcasm or derision, but I think both sides were pretty equally snarky with each other.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:37 AM on March 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yet it's not acceptable for a person on the other side of the argument to be sneering and derisive in return because they're essentially taking a proverbial dump on people with emotional baggage or PTSD.

I mean, I guess I agree with that. Yes.

But it doesn't necessarily follow that I also think that "it's acceptable for one side to be sneering and derisive towards someone they feel is dismissing their emotions." I just think it's harder to, and very important to, call them out kindly for not taking responsibility for what they're feeling. In my case, I was specifically and only responding to swipes that didn't include substantive content of the emotional or even argumentative variety.
posted by liketitanic at 9:43 AM on March 31, 2011


I feel like the whole "miseryfilter" thing we're discussing here is a total tangent. Mayor Curley had an unpopular opinion. Other people disagreed. Things got heated. And then someone comes in and says "Why are you discussing this anyway? Who cares about your personal experiences, whether good or bad?"

I don't see that as being relevant to the derision on either side of the original argument, and it's the sort of condescending and dismissive remark that really has no place in a conversation like this. If you're not interested in the topic, don't read it, but don't dictate whether or not other people are allowed to discuss it.
posted by Phire at 9:45 AM on March 31, 2011



I don't see that as being relevant to the derision on either side of the original argument


My statement was directed towards the original argument, not the tangent going on.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:48 AM on March 31, 2011


"I agree that the term "trolling" is classically defined as insincere provocative statements, calculated to elicit outrage, and that we should try to preserve that usage."
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:49 AM on March 31

I think the mod quote preserves that usage:
"Mayor Curley, if you are not trolling, please make it seem like you are not trolling, thanks."

As an analogy, maybe the next email I get from a deposed Nigerian prince is sincere and honest and not a scam, but I don't think it's my responsibility to give him the benefit of the doubt, it's his responsibility to try to sound less like a scam.
posted by RobotHero at 9:50 AM on March 31, 2011


Seeing as the concept of trolling has outgrown the original definition, something should be done to avoid confusion. We probably need a Newspeak term that can encompass classic trolling, but includes other, previously acceptable expression forms that are no longer permitted due to the natural progression of community standards. I suggest "wrongthought." If that could replace "trolling" on the flagging dropdown it might make things clearer.

It's called "baiting"
posted by clarknova at 9:52 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


My statement was directed towards the original argument, not the tangent going on.

So why quote someone who was addressing Ideefixe? That just seemed a little weirdly out of context, that's all.
posted by Phire at 9:53 AM on March 31, 2011


You're probably right about that, it wast exactly used within the context of the ongoing discussion, but it encapsulated a feeling I had about the original thread. Sorry if it seemed like I was calling some one out individually.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:56 AM on March 31, 2011


I have noticed the phenomenon Mayor Curley mentions. In Internetese, "troll" used to be a noun (a provocateur) and an intransitive verb (to act like a provocateur).* So you have "He is a troll" and "He is trolling." Given the (increasingly frequent?) use the word simply to indicate someone you don't agree with, perhaps we need a transitive verb, as in, "He trolled me, " meaning "He called me a troll insincerely to silence me."

*I don't think the word is generally used as a transitive verb in the sense "to troll (smthg)." Can you "troll a thread?"
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:56 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're probably right about that, it wast exactly used within the context of the ongoing discussion, but it encapsulated a feeling I had about the original thread. Sorry if it seemed like I was calling some one out individually.

My point is that it really doesn't encapsulate what you're saying about the thread at all.
posted by liketitanic at 9:56 AM on March 31, 2011


I don't think the word is generally used as a transitive verb in the sense "to troll (smthg)." Can you "troll a thread?"

I've definitely hear it used such. Verb transitive. To troll X is to act like a troll to get a response from X.
posted by ego at 9:58 AM on March 31, 2011


As this site and its userbase has evolved, we're at the point now where smoldering rebukes are fine provided that they support the established correct position, but responses in kind that go against the majority position are offensive.

I'm not entirely sure what "smoldering rebukes" are, but I haven't found generally that politely expressing unpopular opinions gets you censored (and I've certainly got some unpopular opinions!).
posted by Jahaza at 9:59 AM on March 31, 2011


My point is that it really doesn't encapsulate what you're saying about the thread at all.

Well, I'm not sure where you coming from here. I posted what I felt in context to the original thread, and said that it maybe wasn't the best use of your quote as a jumping off point.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:02 AM on March 31, 2011


It's hard to know how to [t]ake this thread.

I take to be a classic exercise in trolling, actually. Mayor Curley does not sincerely believe that Metafilter is an Orwellian dystopia, nor that there should actually be a "wrongthought" flag. Rather, he was pissed off at a comment deletion so he posted a sarcastic, insincere Metatalk thread in order to get a rise out of the moderators and the community as a whole.

And, hey, here we are 85+ comments later. Mission accomplished, I suppose.
posted by dersins at 10:05 AM on March 31, 2011 [26 favorites]


SweetJesus, just to be clear, I'm not being obtuse and I'm not angry at all. I'll MeMail you so we don't keep going back and forth here.
posted by liketitanic at 10:06 AM on March 31, 2011


I don't need to explain any of that. prefpara already did, when they posted this:
There is an enormous chasm between garden-variety self-doubt and insecurity and the kind of self-loathing that can result from many years of being told by everyone around you that you are a worthless piece of garbage.

Oh, we're not discussing the same thing. I get that part and I don't buy it. The examples of self-doubt that you gave are the same ones that people outside your subset have. I'm not dismissing that being bullied had a profound effect on you, but you don't need to be bullied to feel like you're secretly worthless. So now we're back to the part where my insistence that these feelings are not unique to your experiences caused a response from you that I took for arrogant. That's where I thought I misunderstood your response.

I don't think we're going to get anywhere with that because you're going to continue to feel that I'm a clueless, insensitive appropriator and I'm going to continue to think that your examples are florid descriptions of the normal human condition. So sorry for bringing it up.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:12 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The problem with moderation via flagging isn't that unpopular opinions get too many "I disagree with this" flags, but that opinions with which the user agrees don't get enough, "I agree with this but it is offensive" type flags. Also, in conversations that have died down or didn't get a lot of attention to begin with stuff can get out of hand without enough flaggers on available, so someone has to make a judgement call and contact the mods directly.

Too often in the One V. Many discussions a lot of stuff stands that shouldn't. I've been on both sides of that here, but I have more regrets about the pileons I've joined in on. It would be nice to see some more diverse voices around here. St. Alia, for example, completely swore off political threads even though she had a pretty interesting perspective most of the time.

MC may have deserved a callout, but the community could have used a "Back off and calm down" as well and too often that doesn't happen.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:14 AM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Flagging is not suppression. It's a way of bringing potentially problematic stuff to the mods. It's a non-gamable alert system, not a downvote/hide/autodelete mechanism.

Horseshit. I've lost track of how many times I've read a mod justifying an iffy deletion by saying it had a lot of flags.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:22 AM on March 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


A deletion has any number of factors for the decision, one of which is the flag pileup. If it's a comment that the mods were already on the fence for, I don't see anything wrong with seeing a negative community backlash as an exacerbating factor. I've never seen a mod say "well I didn't think that comment was a problem at all, but meh, it hit the threshold of flags so I guess it has to go." I think trying to imply that that's what happens demonstrates pretty bad faith towards the moderation effort that goes on here.
posted by Phire at 10:28 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't "hate" hal_c_on. I do think that he often makes jokes that are poorly timed, as in a thread where people are recounting horrific personal trauma, and I said so. When he then tried to defend the content of the joke, I said "And then you hid behind calling it a "joke," which is something it seems to me you do a lot. I wish you would stop it. I don't care if you're a grumpy contrarian or whatever, but the fake blasé/joking tone you take, especially when everyone else is being pretty serious, consistently sounds an off note." I don't think that's unfair, but I am not going to dredge up citations for it as he wants me to. It's not about his opinions or what kind of person I think he is, it's about the shitty joking. And I said it there because I thought it needed to be said, finally, after having thought about it for a long time.

I'm sorry that I did it in a place where he was also being attacked for having opinions others disliked, because that may have made it seem like I was joining the pile on, which wasn't my intention at all.


Its called "bullying", liketitanic. Please dont take potshots at me in a thread, and then not respond when i ask you to back up your claims.

In fact, most of your commentsin that thread, are done under the guise of "well thats not right", but in fact, all you are doing is making several people in that thread feel bad for how they feel.

Not cool, bully.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:37 AM on March 31, 2011


Flagging is not suppression. It's a way of bringing potentially problematic stuff to the mods. It's a non-gamable alert system, not a downvote/hide/autodelete mechanism.

Horseshit. I've lost track of how many times I've read a mod justifying an iffy deletion by saying it had a lot of flags.


Which part is horseshit exactly? You think its an autodelete mechanism?
posted by Jagz-Mario at 10:38 AM on March 31, 2011


You know, you've only got to swap a surprisingly small number of letters to get from Mayor Curley to Miley Cyrus.
posted by box at 10:43 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Its called "bullying"

Similar to trolling, bullying has a loose meaning and a specific meaning. Sometimes people disengage and walk away instead of dealing with people who are being aggressive towards them, sometimes this doesn't come at the best moment in a back and forth discussion.

This is going to have to be okay. There's a much shorter list of ways to deal with disagreements in the text world than there is in the in-person world. It can be frustrating, but that's sort of how it works sometimes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:51 AM on March 31, 2011


Can I ask just what is exactly wrong with group hugs and general comforting remarks to people discussing difficult topics? Why does it have to be an issue in the first place?
posted by royalsong at 10:54 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


box, I think they call that the Disney–Levenshtein distance in computer science.
posted by adipocere at 10:55 AM on March 31, 2011


Its called "bullying", liketitanic.

No it isn't.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:23 AM on March 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


Its called "bullying", liketitanic.

No it isn't.


Bullying is in the black eye of the beholder.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:45 AM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


The examples of self-doubt that you gave are the same ones that people outside your subset have. I'm not dismissing that being bullied had a profound effect on you, but you don't need to be bullied to feel like you're secretly worthless.

Mayor Curley, that is true. But there's also a huge, huge difference when certain feelings and factors are external as opposed to internal. Locus of control and all that.

People who are told by outsides sources that they are garbage and worthless are facing something completely different from people who, without those factors, believe themselves to be garbage and worthless.

Dealing with them requires different techniques, even. And whether someone is a more external locus or an internal locus person will have different outcomes and different implications as well.

I get where you, phunniemee, and a few others were coming from on that thread. I do. As I said in a comment there, I get how someone can overcome bullying. I get how someone can overcome the trauma of rape. I get how someone can overcome the grief of losing a child. I get all of those things.

But what I also get, and it really, really seemed in that thread that you and phunniemee were making no efforts to get, is that different people react to the same set of circumstances differently --- people handle it differently. People have different abilities and ways of coping.

Whether intentioned or not, though, your comments in that thread and phunniemee's comments in that thread were dismissive and unappreciative of the experiences of other members of this community. They most certainly had a, "Well, gee. That's not what I experienced, so you're experiences are invalid," quality to them.

And that's where I took issue with your comments.

I didn't really care that you had an opinion that differed from mine and from others. But I did care that you didn't seem to care that other people had some extraordinary troubles and challenges that they are still working to overcome. And, to me at least, you seemed so bent on proving how your experiences and points were to be applied to everyone else's that addressing your comments in any way only made for an antagonistic situation.

I do think many people in that thread were understanding of your viewpoints even though your viewpoints did not apply to them, but you did not afford anyone the same courtesy.
posted by zizzle at 11:47 AM on March 31, 2011 [15 favorites]


Can I ask just what is exactly wrong with group hugs and general comforting remarks to people discussing difficult topics? Why does it have to be an issue in the first place?

Nothing is wrong with the idea, something huge is wrong with the practice. If there's a group hug going on, and someone decides to continue to appraise the merits of the article or general sentiment and takes any tiny bit of exception, the tone from the the huggers quickly turns into "Fuck off! We're trying to have a group hug here! You're debating the merits of [THING] or questioning the validity of the presented narrative? Die in a fire."

Sometimes (not in this case) it devolves into "You're not relating your personal tragedy or just stating a variation on 'this is a horrible practice'? Well, you must be for [HORRIBLE THING]." Which in turn causes a stampede of increasing shrill "How dare you be in favor of [HORRIBLE THING]!" Even the most carefully cited response stating "I most certainly did not say I was in favor of [HORRIBLE THING]," becomes ignored; the accusers would actually prefer that the accused WAS pro-[HORRIBLE THING], because it gives them a better orange crate from which to loudly proclaim how sensitive they are and how appalled they are about [HORRIBLE THING].

When this happens, I refer to it a "witch hunt" in comments for an accessible analogy in which a person stands accused by a mob of something ridiculous and the outcome is pre-determined. In my head it's a "Sensitivity Pageant."
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:49 AM on March 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


Yeah, "You can't understand how I feel" is legitimate for expressing yourself, but not appropriate for debate. The lines get blurry and it leads to trouble.

I didn't actually read the bully thread so I'm not going to comment on that in particular, but I have certainly seen people use their personal tragedies in debates here and then get offended when someone tried to respond to it. If you aren't prepared for that, don't use it to hammer a point.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:56 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, let's not forget that that entire thread was dedicated to a 12 or 13 year old girl out there who is immensely hurting.

People were sharing their stories as a commiseration with her current and painful experience. Ayle is living the experience that many in our thread have already lived.

Comments about "getting over" or "not dwelling" on what others say/do to you are disingenuous to Ayle's experiences. "It Gets Better" is a wonderful mantra. "You can overcome it" is a wonderful mantra. But Ayle is living this right now. I'd like to think that stories from some of the members about primarily coming to terms, primarily "getting over it" would be helpful to her and to all the Ayle's of the world, comments like the ones made in that thread from you could actually be far more harmful as you are devaluing someone's current experience --- not a past experience, not a experience someone looks upon with some bitterness but otherwise is done with, but someone's real, current life in March of 2011.

A lot of what Ayle is probably experiencing today, two weeks after posting the video, is some sentiment of, "Oh, you'll get over it."

I think most of the posters were trying to find a way to identify and connect with Ayle, even if she never comes across that or this thread. But your comments are of the very sort that could make situations like hers, for people who are living it now in this moment, far worse.

And I don't think you intended that. But I also don't think some of those people bullying Ayle intended to make her life as miserable and terrible as it is right now, etiher. There are unintended consequences to every action. That is a huge part of Ayle's point.
posted by zizzle at 12:01 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sometimes (not in this case) it devolves into "You're not relating your personal tragedy or just stating a variation on 'this is a horrible practice'? Well, you must be for [HORRIBLE THING]." Which in turn causes a stampede of increasing shrill "How dare you be in favor of [HORRIBLE THING]!" Even the most carefully cited response stating "I most certainly did not say I was in favor of [HORRIBLE THING]," becomes ignored; the accusers would actually prefer that the accused WAS pro-[HORRIBLE THING], because it gives them a better orange crate from which to loudly proclaim how sensitive they are and how appalled they are about [HORRIBLE THING].

Would you terribly mind linking to one or two examples of this? I'm asking not to try to create drama but because I legitimately have not seen anything like this on the site and I'm trying to get all sides here.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:03 PM on March 31, 2011


...phunniemee's comments in that thread were dismissive and unappreciative of the experiences of other members of this community...

Hey there, buddy. Did you actually read my (three) comments? Because the only thing I said that could be taken as dismissive (and really, I wasn't intending it to be at all) was four comments in. I wasn't responding to anyone. I think you're basing that assumption on what other people said in the thread, either to me or about me, and not my actual words. If, after re-reading what I wrote, you still think I was being mean, you're free to memail me.

I did respond directly to Toothless Willy's comments later on, defending the fact that a certain type of bullying absolutely exists, despite the fact that s/he has never encountered it.

I feel almost like I was the instigator here for how some of the side-arguments here developed, simply because I stated early on that I don't understand how some people don't get past the bullying. It was never my intention to be dismissive of anyone's feelings, but I still stand by what I said. I do not understand it. But that's on me. A lot of people weighed in with their experiences, and I realize that I'm extremely lucky. But the way you (and others) seem to have interpreted my comments has been blown out of proportion and was absolutely, completely, entirely not a point I was trying to make.

If you're going to call me out directly, at least please be fair about it.
posted by phunniemee at 12:13 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


FAMOUS MONSTER The idea of a giggling schoolMONSTER delights me to the point of blushing like a schoolLapin.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:14 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hurrah! Let us blush and giggle together.

Wait, I don't mean it that way.

Okay yes I probably do.

So off we go, crimson as the sunset and giggly as hyenas on nitrous.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:16 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is the best offer I've had all week. ( giggles )
posted by miss-lapin at 12:19 PM on March 31, 2011


Hi, I'm late for a meeting -- is this room 101?
posted by not_on_display at 12:45 PM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


And I just realized my response to FAMOUS MONSTER was a comment he made in the Pony Request thread. (Facepalm) This is what happens when I try to follow multiple threads on my phone. Apologies for the blushing and giggling derail.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:49 PM on March 31, 2011


I still stand by what I said. I do not understand it. But that's on me. A lot of people weighed in with their experiences, and I realize that I'm extremely lucky. But the way you (and others) seem to have interpreted my comments has been blown out of proportion and was absolutely, completely, entirely not a point I was trying to make.

I agree with you and I can see this, especially based on the other things you said in the thread. I see this. Phrasing your first comment differently might have helped, but I can also see that you probably didn't expect the blowback.
posted by liketitanic at 12:53 PM on March 31, 2011


...phunniemee's comments in that thread were dismissive and unappreciative of the experiences of other members of this community...

Again, i wholeheartedly disagree. I didnt get that from ANY of her comments.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:04 PM on March 31, 2011


moar blushing and giggling is never a bad thing

Will there be video?
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well since I'm working on flipping off the cat on video for ANOTHER MeTa thread, I'm sure I can work some giggling and blushing into it. (My cat apparently takes my flipping her off as "Oh, she's offering a finger with which I can scratch my chin.")
posted by miss-lapin at 1:21 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


so who is hal_c_on. i know he's not some random guy. Someone fill me in. I make it known who I am, everyone else should do the same.
posted by dead cousin ted at 1:38 PM on March 31, 2011


speak for yourself, bucko!
posted by not_on_display at 1:44 PM on March 31, 2011


I take to be a classic exercise in trolling, actually. Mayor Curley does not sincerely believe that Metafilter is an Orwellian dystopia...

And also never claimed that it was. Reference to "newspeak" does not mean that I fancy myself Winston Smith. You're presumptuous.

nor that there should actually be a "wrongthought" flag.

Again, you're presumptuous. How do you know what I think? I do want a "wrongthought" option. It's come to that, those are the present realities, let's acknowledge them. I'm not leaving in a huff this time, I just want it to be acknowledged that you can be only so much opposed to the general sentiment.

Rather, he was pissed off at a comment deletion
No, I was exasperated. I was given a condescending brush-off, so I responded in kind, and the pruning started with my rude response, not the rude comment which preceded it. And the only reason I could think of was that my comment was contrary to the sympathetic opinion so it generated more flag traffic. Again, I just want the present realities acknowledged so we can figure out who is allowed to say what.

so he posted a sarcastic, insincere Metatalk thread in order to get a rise out of the moderators and the community as a whole.

I certainly was not targeting the mods, and does anything I've said in the body of the thread ring sarcastic or insincere?
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:48 PM on March 31, 2011


[snip]
> The other person came back with something to the effect of, "No, I know my life,"
> and your response was a dressed up version of "No, I know your life better than
> you do, random internet person."
>
> That kind of direct bald-faced discounting of someone else's pain or trauma or
> hardship is exactly the kind of thing that gets edited around here, and rightly
> so. You should probably be glad, too, because it's simply bad logic.
[snip]
>posted by fleacircus at 11:25 AM on March 31 [3 favorites +] [!]

I won't speak for Mayor Curley, but if I had said any such thing it would not have meant that I thought I knew the other's life experience better than he. It would mean "Your (expressed by you) response to your (recounted by you) life experience is self-absorbed and self-indulgent. Kids are rape-raped by roving gangs of soldiers and then have fistulas. Kids are horribly burned in napalm attacks. Kids watch half their families starve, and survive by eating their feet. If your experience was less bad than that then quit playing 'I had an unpleasant time of it. IAmA WICTIM.' If you've still got arms and legs life expects you to man up and move on."

Saying so, and in such a tone, would surely bring the wraith of the sensitivity squad down on me but it would be neither trolling (in the traditional sense of saying something provocative that I don't believe just in the hopes of causing a thread trainwreck) nor baiting (saying something I do believe, but saying it exclusively because of hoping for a flamewar.) It would be an instance of useful social pressure against growing community tolerance for the unhealthy I'm-a-victim, we're-a-victim, he-she-it's-a-victim, wouldn't-you-like-to-be-a-victim-too attitude, as well showing publicly that there is still resistance to Group Hugs Uber Alles as, not just the default position, but the only position.

It is also a message that needs to be expressed shortly without any sort of discursive and empathetic justification, so that the message's form doesn't contradict the content. OMFG, GROW A PAIR is the way.


> Also, let's not forget that that entire thread was dedicated to a 12 or
> 13 year old girl out there who is immensely hurting.

Almost a good point, except that no one's talking to the girl herself here. Got some painful personal experience to share that may be comforting or useful to her? Register on youtube and put it up there where there's some liklihood she'll see it. Feeling self-revelatory but putting it here instead of there? "I'm saying this to help the girl, and other 12 year olds in her situation" isn't so convincing.


> And if we were discussing our pre-War childhoods in Cork, your family was the
> poorest and your dad the drunkest. Despite everyone being poor and raised by a drunk.

IAmA sympathy-deficient person. I LOLd.
posted by jfuller at 1:52 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Again, I just want the present realities acknowledged so we can figure out who is allowed to say what.

shall we draw up a list?
How can a summation of present realities of metafilter be made?
posted by clavdivs at 1:57 PM on March 31, 2011


the kindest thing i can say about this is that sympathy is probably the least compelling area in which you are deficient.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:58 PM on March 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Competitive suffering assessment is distasteful. Saying someone with one leg should "man up and move on" because they don't have zero legs is not an effective way of starting a useful conversation. And while it's not MetaFilter's job to make people feel better, certainly, you're expected to not show up and just say whatever the hell you want just because in your own mind it is true and justified. If you can't learn to have a conversation that shows that you are trying to talk to the people who are already there, then you might as well be trolling or baiting.

We tell people on both sides of the "This is an important story and it must be told and don't be snarky about it!" divide that they need to meet partway. Saying that people who were bullied should just suck it up and not complain because they weren't raped may work in your mental calculus but it doesn't work in a large community with a lot of different kinds of people.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:02 PM on March 31, 2011 [24 favorites]


it's driven by community desire to see disagreeable viewpoints eradicated. --Mayor Curley

That's one person's opinion, not the first time the one person has related their opinion as FACT!

Mods and lots of other take issue with an approach, a comment... and they're all wrong. They're determined to have groupthink! Dissenting views are not allowed!!!

Nonsense.

It gets old.
posted by ambient2 at 2:10 PM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


If I may piggy back on jessamyn's comment. I'm a survivor of a really aggressive, still often fatal cancer in infancy. (And I was diagnosed in 1975) As a result of the cancer and the treatment, I'm not only disabled but face chronic, sometimes life threatening, illness. In addition, I've faced bullying at school and alienation from my family. When I attempted to speak even to my parents about what was happening to me, I was told "There are kids who have it worse than you. Kids who have brain damage or are bed bound. You have no right to complain."

The whole "people have it worse" isn't a way to have a conversation, it's a way to silence one. Why? Because there are always people who will have it worse, but this discounts my subjective emotional experience of reality. Was cancer the worst thing that happened to me? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It was being dumped by my fiance 2 weeks after sept 11th (I was in the village in NYC when it happened-my second day as a prof to be exact). My friends found it odd, but honestly people react to different events differently. For me, that was the worst. I mean cancer is still in my top 10 things I wish hadn't happened, but not the worst by a long shot. I could easily say kids who were just bullied should "get over it" because other kids have it worse, but, honestly, I can't. I can't because I understand that the reality of their pain is NOT invalidated by what caused it. Some kids are bullied and recover quickly, that's fabulous, but that's not an excuse to tell those in genuine pain to STFU.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:23 PM on March 31, 2011 [32 favorites]


I wrote to try to help someone understand. That's all. phunniemee said they didn't get it, I wrote something to try to give them some understanding of what happens in some cases. I spoke from my own experience and from the experiences others have related to me over the past 20 or so years.

I did not claim that I had it worse than anyone else. I did not state that anyone who disagreed with me was wrong. I did not claim that I was a victim.

Pretty clearly, the way I chose to express my opinion caused a certain subset of the site to go on the attack. Whatever. Knock yourselves out. I'm weary of the theatrical shittiness, and bored by it.

Rory had the right idea. I'll see y'all at the lanes.
posted by scrump at 2:30 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


And the only reason I could think of was that my comment was contrary to the sympathetic opinion so it generated more flag traffic. Again, I just want the present realities acknowledged so we can figure out who is allowed to say what.

Generally speaking, nobody is ever going to be happy with where we cut off a brewing argument or derail or snipefest because we always have to choose some point to start cutting and there's a tendency toward lastwordism or whatever that makes it impossible for people to just say "okay, that's where they decided to cut it".

The present reality is that people being obnoxious in a thread stand a chance of getting their comments deleted. There's no guarantees either way, nor any systematic way in which we apply some opinion poll metric to where the cutoff point starts. If you're frustrated that your comment got deleted while a comment that annoyed you did not, you have my sympathy, but extrapolating from that to the notion that there's some significant systemic ideological bias in what gets deleted is silly and, given that we don't robotically just remove things based on flag counts, kind of personally insulting to boot. Either you think we as mods are buying into or enabling that kind of bias in our moderating decisions or you don't.

In any case, framing this post in terms of Orwellian references and asking for a new flag option that basically anyone here could tell you doesn't have a chance in hell of getting implemented is hard to get a positive read on. I don't care that you do or don't see mefi as some grim dystopia; I do care that you needlessly ran with the language of dramarama This Is Orwellian! dinguses in framing your post, because there is basically no way it was going to help this be a useful discussion and it puts us as mods into an immediately frustrated "why is he fucking around like this" mode.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:32 PM on March 31, 2011 [14 favorites]


The Voice means I haven't had a relationship in years, and that's it's easier to hide out in my apartment alone because it's the only place The Voice shuts up.

And I don't think that's me "not dealing with it" well. I mean, it obviously is precisely that, in one sense. But I don't think there's any part of me that's not willing to deal with or confront this. It's just that I'm unable.

I recognize that this state is the product of a few things from my childhood. I recognize that it continues because I've learned it, but also that it's now sort of just something I do to myself, with no relation to the sort of outside forces that taught it.

I've been to see a psychiatrist on a regular basis to talk about anxiety. I am trying. There is no part of me that wants to play the martyr or is happy feeding myself perpetually into this meat grinder or that wants to continue to be alone like I have been alone.

But this shit runs deep.

So is that how you feel, MC? Honestly, does that sound like what you experienced, and you just overcame it because, what, you're stronger/smarter/better than me? Because that's the fucking pisser of it, man. I know what caused it, I know what it did to me, I know how it continues to work on me, and I'm motherfucking trying, but I'll be damned if it makes much difference.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:32 PM on March 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm aware, Mayor Curley, that you're sort of annoyed generally in what you see as a shift towards the sort of group-hug nature of some of these threads on difficult topics ... this seems to bother you enough so that, often, your contribution to these threads is some variation on "Meh." or "Meh, let's all have a group hug now I guess?" sort of taunting comments.

I don't think it would behoove me to claim that I've never done that, because I have. And I assure you that I will never do that in the future. But that's too narrow a scope. It's not just "group hug" threads where I and a select group get hung up, it's any thread where there's an issue that makes for strong emotional responses. Like the "don't pull the subway brake even if someone exposes themself" thread, in which I carefully stated that the situation was awful but stated that stopping the train was not the appropriate action" and my name got pulled into the resulting Metatalk thread prominently as someone who was "blaming the victim," because people were more interested in demonstrating their absolute opposition to sexual assault rather than examining the realities of what was actually said. That pile of shit was never pruned, to the point that I still worry that someone skimming that thread might actually believe that I said what I ludicrously accused of.

And my initial question that got people flinging poo in yesterday's altercation was completely earnest and borne of curiousity. And it was phrased carefully to make it clear that I was familiar with the experiences of people on the other side but had reached different conclusions about what it meant. I honestly don't think "what's the big deal" is a charitable condensing of my thoughts. I don't think it was out of line for me to do, and I don't think my followup comments were particularly out of line when respondents to me were displaying thinly-veiled hostility.

I'm not ruling out a persecution complex on my part, but I think that being on the "wrong" side of issues (mostly by wanting to fully examine the presented narrative but also by pointing out that issues are rarely black-and-white), has caused me to be judged differently than people who are less civil than I am on the "correct" side (at least initially). To be clear, I am not suggesting that it's personal, I am suggesting that the squeaky wheels are on one side and they're getting all the grease by nature of their volume because there is an awful lot going on on this site and your team can't be everywhere or spending endless time sorting through polluted threads.

Further I am maintaining that this has altered the character of the site to the point that a large body of users expect that there will be one acceptable viewpoint on some (not all) issues and if someone even slightly questions, the body in question will use every available tool to silence them including flagging comments for simply failing to fall into line, or smearing so much shit beneath the "offending" comment that the whole lot must be dumped to keep the thread moving.

It's not my site, I'm not leaving in a huff because I know consciously that I don't have any say in how things work and have worked to also acknowledge that viscerally. But for whatever reason not all views are being treated equally and I think that needs to be acknowledged because it's more honest and will cause less strife if we know that there are things we just can't say beyond standard hate and illegal speech.

Thank you for clarification on the "trolling," and recognizing that there was nothing disingenuous about my position.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:45 PM on March 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


There's a "party line" in MetaFilter discourse that shall not be crossed; or, if crossed, that must be quickly and forcefully shouted down. It's always been this way, and nothing has changed since before the turn of the century, except there are now just more people to do the piling on, and the fuse burns faster. I for one am surprised to see a MeTa thread about it; Mayor Curley certainly must know better than to expect anything other than this. The list of topics is (relatively) short, but it's certainly there. Post something about a childhood-sex-abuse-surviving declawed Republican Israeli cat riding a bicycle on a city street to get an abortion, if you don't believe me... You'll see, oh yes, then you'll see...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 2:50 PM on March 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


In any case, framing this post in terms of Orwellian references and asking for a new flag option that basically anyone here could tell you doesn't have a chance in hell of getting implemented is hard to get a positive read on.

I don't think this is the most ludicrous feature request that I've ever seen. And the Orwell angle was a convenient way to frame a discussion about changing values and changing language to reflect on it. I didn't think anyone would take the parallels too seriously because Metafilter is a voluntary participation website, not a government the spies on and tortures you.

I don't care that you do or don't see mefi as some grim dystopia; I do care that you needlessly ran with the language of dramarama This Is Orwellian! dinguses in framing your post, because there is basically no way it was going to help this be a useful discussion and it puts us as mods into an immediately frustrated "why is he fucking around like this" mode.

Like I said, given the wealk parallels, I didn't think that it would be seen as a broad analogy. If I did, I wouldn't have used it both because it's (as I said) not remotely applicable and broad analogies to 1984 are pretty cliche. I'm sorry that it irritated you. Sincerely. It wasn't my intention to poke the mods with a sharp stick. And for what it's worth I did find some things of value in the discussion. Again, sorry. I intended it as spot-reference because I didn't think it would be taken for otherwise. And I have tried to be earnest and polite in my discussions and honestly believe that changing community standards should be recognized.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:59 PM on March 31, 2011


"Just because I mentioned jackboots and goosestepping, I certainly didn't mean to suggest that anyone was a fascist. The Nazi angle was just a convenient way to frame a discussion. I didn't think anyone would take the parallels too seriously..."

Nothing disingenuous, my ass.
posted by neroli at 3:14 PM on March 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


There's a "party line" in MetaFilter discourse that shall not be crossed; or, if crossed, that must be quickly and forcefully shouted down.

Again, one person's opinion.

Another person's opinion: You have an ego as big as Dallas and the self-awareness of a chair.
posted by ambient2 at 3:14 PM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mayor Curley, You really don't think anyone here would think too much of the fact that you chose Orwellian language? Really? Orwellian language is very emotionally charged and not likely to be quickly glossed over especially in a particularly analytical place like Metafilter. Since I can't you know get in your head, I'll accept it. Now it's been brought up, if "wrongthought" was thrown out entirely, what non-Orwellian terminology would you use to recognize what you consider to be "changing community standards" in regards to this issue?
posted by miss-lapin at 3:17 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Just because I mentioned jackboots and goosestepping, I certainly didn't mean to suggest that anyone was a fascist. The Nazi angle was just a convenient way to frame a discussion. I didn't think anyone would take the parallels too seriously..."

It's not like Godwins are deleted.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:27 PM on March 31, 2011


Well, I am expressing opinions counter to popular sentiment, and while that's not the classical definition of trolling it's come to be seen as trolling around here. So while I would not have been trolling a few years ago, perhaps the definition has expanded to the point where I am, actually.

As this site and its userbase has evolved, we're at the point now where smoldering rebukes are fine provided that they support the established correct position, but responses in kind that go against the majority position are offensive. And it makes sense: good discourse depends on people flagging pointed comments they disagree with and having them removed. It means that the flaggers are right in their convictions.


I've expressed a number of opinions counter to the popular sentiment, sometimes in a less than genteel fashion, and I've rarely if ever been called a troll. Only two of my comments have been deleted, and one of those was where the AskMe question was deleted. Yes, MetaFilter is something of an echo chamber but that has far more to do with its relatively homogeneous user base than the actions of the moderators. You could probably make a claim regarding political correctness, e.g. restrictions on language, no linking to racist websites, etc., but that doesn't seem to be part of your concern. Beyond that, I don't think you have much of an argument.
posted by BigSky at 3:27 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have an ego as big as Dallas and the self-awareness of a chair.

You know what I think about your idea that people are shouted down for disagreeing? PERSONAL INSULT, THAT'S WHAT!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:29 PM on March 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Just because I mentioned jackboots and goosestepping, I certainly didn't mean to suggest that anyone was a fascist. The Nazi angle was just a convenient way to frame a discussion. I didn't think anyone would take the parallels too seriously..."

Nothing disingenuous, my ass.


What else can you see with your magic "see inside other people's heads" device? I explained why I chose it, my posting history is full of tossed-out narrow-reference allusions, and as I hinted earlier it doesn't work as a broad analogy until mathowie gives me a two-way, one-channel TV. Go make your thought attributions for someone else, please.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:32 PM on March 31, 2011


I don't think this is the most ludicrous feature request that I've ever seen.

That's a heck of a yardstick, though. Question of mosts aside, though, it was pretty silly, yes. I don't know how else to convey that asking for a new, Orwell-flavored flag to vindicate your declarations about perceived fundamental biases of Metafilter is a non-starter, but you've been here long enough that I'm really honestly surprised that I'd even have to.

And the Orwell angle was a convenient way to frame a discussion about changing values and changing language to reflect on it.

You say convenient, I say inflammatory and counter-productive. I don't see the convenience for anyone but you, and if the primary thing driving your thoughts about how to frame an ambitious and contentious feature request is your personal convenience it's probably a post you should just up and skip on making.

And I have tried to be earnest and polite in my discussions and honestly believe that changing community standards should be recognized.

I genuinely appreciate that you make the effort. I am frustrated that you seem to sometimes decide not to make the effort for a while, or that that effort doesn't really bear fruit, because what I feel like we actually end up dealing with is a mix of politeness and actually pretty frustratingly combative or baiting stuff from you. I'm not wanting to give you a hard time here, but I also don't really feel like the long history you have on the site and the feedback you've gotten from us really jibes with a "how could this have been received so poorly" sort of reaction.

You're a smart guy, I have trouble with the idea that you somehow end up repeatedly surprised when something needlessly shirty that you say ends up getting a poor reaction. If it's still genuinely a mystery to you, I don't know, find some way to reassess your basic interactions with the site or something.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:33 PM on March 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Now it's been brought up, if "wrongthought" was thrown out entirely, what non-Orwellian terminology would you use to recognize what you consider to be "changing community standards" in regards to this issue?

I'm fairly certain that "wrongthought" isn't a direct allusion to 1984. Newspeak is of course. I think something simple like "OAD" would work, meaning "outside acceptable discourse."
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:36 PM on March 31, 2011


Suicide by cop, MetaTalk style.
posted by fleacircus at 3:37 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


What else can you see with your magic "see inside other people's heads" device?

Um, you do realize that this is just the kind of thing people were saying to you (more politely) when you were claiming that you were "familiar with other people's experiences but had come to different conclusions"?
posted by neroli at 3:45 PM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Mayor Curley, I can say this with fair competence, even if something isn't directly taken from a source "wrong thought" has been, even by you, acknowledged as a reference to Orwellian language. It's only now that I asked you for an alt. that you balked. I mean, even in 1984 while doesn't use language that was actually employed in a fascist regime, the reference is absolutely clear.

Honestly, you've painted yourself into "I'm not going to reconsider anything I've said" corner with me. I asked the chance hoping you would try to come up with some other term not linked to a satiric dystopia. You refused. I WAS willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.No more.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:48 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am frustrated that you seem to sometimes decide not to make the effort for a while, or that that effort doesn't really bear fruit, because what I feel like we actually end up dealing with is a mix of politeness and actually pretty frustratingly combative or baiting stuff from you ... I have trouble with the idea that you somehow end up repeatedly surprised when something needlessly shirty that you say ends up getting a poor reaction.

I think my recent posting history will bear this out-- Generally I start out self-consciously polite and carefully phrased. Someone (or someones) rudely take exception regardless, and I respond in kind. I'm not suggesting that I'm a total pariah, I have a contentious past and I've done my share of baiting purely because I was (unreasonably) offended that people were reacting emotionally without full consideration of facts. But I have taken pains not to react that way of late and it's irritating to find that my mere questioning puts me in a position to defend myself. Maybe it's karma. I dunno. Maybe it's reputation, but I would hope that my careful structuring of comments would mitigate that.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:53 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um, you do realize that this is just the kind of thing people were saying to you (more politely) when you were claiming that you were "familiar with other people's experiences but had come to different conclusions"?

Right, so you've been in my shoes. How did you convince cortex that your Orwell reference wasn't intended to be so broad?

Mayor Curley, I can say this with fair competence, even if something isn't directly taken from a source "wrong thought" has been, even by you, acknowledged as a reference to Orwellian language. It's only now that I asked you for an alt. that you balked.

Uh, I used the term "Newspeak" and I'm not denying it's a direct reference. That's what I admitted, and I was suggesting that "wrongthought" was free to use because it was of my own invention. And I gave you an alternate term "not linked to a satiric dystopia." -- OAD. I'm not sure what the issue is. I don't think we're understanding each other.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:00 PM on March 31, 2011


Generally I start out self-consciously polite and carefully phrased. Someone (or someones) rudely take exception regardless, and I respond in kind.

What if you just skipped that second part? What if, if someone responded to what you intended to be an unexceptional comment by taking exception, you just didn't respond in kind?

I know in a sense this is asking a lot because it sucks to have to be the one taking the high road, but we ask this of basically everyone on the site because people making that effort is a big part of what keeps this place from going to Yahoo!land via the USENET Express.

Everybody has their weak moments, I sure as hell do, and it's not a "please be perfect" thing because we don't expect anyone to be able to do that. But when it gets to the point where you can flatly identify that pattern of behavior in your own interactions, when we've had to have a "please don't do that" conversation multiple times, we're not talking about having just a random bad day anymore: we're talking about just plain doing a problematic thing again and again even when you know it's problematic.

This is not a you-specific thing; there are a whole lot of different people on the site (though still a small percentage of the overall mostly-don't-have-this-problem userbase) who we've had to work with on this sort of stuff to one degree or another over the years. And they're all kinds of people, with all kinds of ideologies and personal perspectives and backgrounds. And if you're working on it and you're working with us, great, I'd rather see something work out than not, but this is not a "you have the wrong opinions" thing, it's a "you need to not behave in that way we've talked about not being okay with" thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:05 PM on March 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


"I have a contentious past and I've done my share of baiting purely because I was (unreasonably) offended that people were reacting emotionally without full consideration of facts."

Dude, it's things like this that make people say you're trolling.

"Gee whiz, I guess I was a little out of line to call all the crazy people crazy, but they were acting crazy! Once they stop gettin' all crazy, why, I won't have to be out of line anymore!"

Well, that and that there's no "trolling" flag, or any number of other bits that can't help but provoke a snigger from anyone who's been here a while.

C'mon. If you're sincerely asking for a "wrongthought" flag, you're a fool, and you don't seem like a fool, so it's pretty reasonable to conclude this is some "Who, me?" shit to troll the mods with after you got your knuckles rapped a bit.
posted by klangklangston at 4:31 PM on March 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


In MC's defense, I personally thought I had something valuable to contribute to that particular bullying thread, but kept mum precisely because it appeared that how people dealt with or got past that situation was being shouted down in favor of...something else.

Not that I should have to justify my "I was bullied too" street cred or anything, but let's just say that growing up as one of the very few non-white kids in suburbs almost exclusively populated by white flight out of Chicago (which MeFi has pretty much decided is the most racist place ever) - let's just say that experience gives you a fairly unique perspective.

From where I was reading, that bully thread had zero interest in what I had to say - so I didn't. I can totally see where MC is coming from, and while I probably wouldn't have used his phrasing, I can't say I disagree with the fundamentals of his argument.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 4:55 PM on March 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


I am of no fixed opinion in regards to this matter, or so I would like to think.
posted by y2karl at 4:59 PM on March 31, 2011


it appeared that how people dealt with or got past that situation was being shouted down in favor of...something else.

I talked about how I dealt with / got past that situation and did not get shouted down. Maybe it's a thing of presentation? Who knows.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:01 PM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Because it's driven by community desire to see disagreeable viewpoints eradicated. And I'm saying "that's how it is, lets be clear about it" and stop using non-applicable definitions for unpopular sentiments. It's pretty clear that if it makes people uncomfortable, it's gone no matter the context and "trolling" or "hate speech" doesn't adequately cover the reasons for why something causes enough flags for it to be removed.

I didn't flag any of your comments in that thread or this thread, but when you tell someone, with dripping sarcasm, "You're special," or state as a given fact that the only reason a whole bunch of people flagged one of your comments is their "community desire to see disagreeable viewpoints eradicated," you are being personally insulting to those people.

I really don't care what side of an issue or topic you're on, that shit is going to piss people off. In a thread where many people are recounting having been verbally abused for years and re-experiencing all the emotional and physical sensations that went along with it,you can multiply that effect by 10. Just how the hell do you think someone reliving traumatic taunting and bullying is going to react to a scornful "You're special"?

It's absolutely your right to say that, but to expect to say it with impunity in that context is naive or disingenuous. People flagged you to say, without cluttering up the thread, "That is a hurtful and lousy thing to say, man."
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:07 PM on March 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Felliniblank, he didn't start out saying "you're special" IIRC, he started out in good faith asking why people can't seem to get past it later in life. Which a lot of people have, and there's not a single easy answer for why others can't. My impression was that comment was met with hostility and derision and backed MC into a proverbial corner. I think you've taken the "you're special" remark out of context. It was said in the middle of a heated exchange, wasn't it?
posted by Hoopo at 5:27 PM on March 31, 2011


But that's the comment that got flagged and removed, along with some other folks' pissy reactions to it. The previous MC comments that weren't disdainful, personal digs stand.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:29 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm on a phone right now so it's hard to go through the whole thread, but he's not complaining about the deletion, he's complaining about being called a troll for reacting angrily to a whole lot of attacks. He's acknowledged that's where those comments came from.
posted by Hoopo at 5:45 PM on March 31, 2011


I agree with Mayor Curley on this.
posted by tomswift at 5:55 PM on March 31, 2011


That people keep relevant personal anecdotes quiet because you personally don't find value in them?

Relevant is in the eye of the beholder. Almost no one posted about the actual video in the link. The rush to tell personal stories was a stampede. Maybe we need a special corner where people can tell their own stories about their cats, their childhoods, their parents, and so on. Anecdotes are seldom relevant.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:48 PM on March 31, 2011


Major Curley's thesis is that straightforward comments that express a minority opinion are deleted because many people disagree with them. I believe he is dead wrong, if I didn't, I wouldn't be here.
posted by nightwood at 6:53 PM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


To me it's still trolling, even if one's opinion is sincere

This is a problem. Trolling (as an Internet term) is not vague, rather it has a specific definition. A sincere opinion automatically disqualifies it as trolling.

Trolling means what it means not what you kinda think it should mean.

If people wish to have a fruitful discussion they must use a common vocabulary.
posted by Bonzai at 7:07 PM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Exactly. He's claiming that he was singled out for deletion because he expressed the minority view. But a) only the nasty personal remarks were stricken, not the minority viewpoint and b) people in the "majority viewpoint" camp who made nasty remarks back to MC also got deleted.

He (passive-aggressively) has complained at least three times about what he perceives to be the reason for the flagging and deletion:

1) [In the eyes of the flaggers,] "good discourse depends on people flagging pointed comments they disagree with and having them removed. It means that the flaggers are right in their convictions"

2) "the popularity of the sentiment denotes the flag traffic"

3) Flagging-and-deletion is "driven by community desire to see disagreeable viewpoints eradicated"

My response is that there are plenty of other reasons why someone might flag the comment in question and that it's freaking insulting and condescending to state as if it's obvious fact the puerile notion that "the community" actually sits here madly flagging every comment we happen to disagree with.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:11 PM on March 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


I've done my share of baiting purely because I was (unreasonably) offended that people were reacting emotionally without full consideration of facts.

Your lived experience you call 'facts'; other people's lived experiences require 'group hugs' because they are 'reacting emotionally'. There's a cavalier narcissism in this line of argument that rattles against the representation of suffering we've just seen of a young kid on the verge of cutting herself, who says that she's seeing therapists more often than her subject teachers.

MC, I am sincerely relieved that a sufferer of childhood bullying can share the experience of 'it gets better', but perhaps given the subject matter, it's not cool to 'bait' and then be 'offended' by nakedly honest people sharing painful details about their lives. It's a kind of aggression to do this.

Ideefixe, I am kinda of your mind on this. But I felt the thread's anecdotes of 'it does/doesn't get better' were in their way trying to show the impact of her experience not just in the moment, but also as it reverberates throughout an individual's life. I was hoping that somewhere along the way, we might have problematised the launching a YT of your experience - could it help/hinder the processes of confronting or extinguishing bullying? I tried a few times to frame a response about this but the tide of personal stories moved me away from wanting to discuss the post more pragmatically. I am not sorry this happened, as I was mesmerised by the way in which quasi-anonymous people can reveal so much aching, personal trauma to each other over the internets. Perhaps this tide of the personal is a reason why MC's comments grated so awkwardly in that context.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:13 PM on March 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


Exactly. He's claiming that he was singled out for deletion because he expressed the minority view.

I don't think the deletions had anything to do with it. He was attacked from all sides and publicly singled out as troll. I'd probably get defensive and angry too.
posted by Hoopo at 7:27 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your lived experience you call 'facts'; other people's lived experiences require 'group hugs' because they are 'reacting emotionally'. There's a cavalier narcissism in this line of argument ...

I'm on my phone in bed so I can't give this the proper rebuke it deserves, but you are doing a real out of context/misaapropriation hatchet job here. For instance, jessamyn instigated the trerm "group hug" and I was responding to her. And the reference to "facts" had nothing to do with the main thread in question. Offensively out of context. Do me a favor and actually read the thread before you get involved at this point, or I'll just jump feet-first into the next thread you're in and start accusing you of random shit because I isolated some words near your name.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:32 PM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's a "party line" in MetaFilter discourse that shall not be crossed; or, if crossed, that must be quickly and forcefully shouted down. It's always been this way, and nothing has changed since before the turn of the century, except there are now just more people to do the piling on, and the fuse burns faster.

There is literally no argument that annoys me more than "there is a party line" argument. (I'm using the word "literally" literally here, not figuratively.)

Metafilter is not some sort of monolithic comment-generating machine. It tends to attract people with certain sensibilities and that demographic will shape how the conversation goes. Metafilter is much better than other communities on the internet at accepting people who maybe don't look and think exactly like everyone else. The relative civility of this conversation alone demonstrates that, despite the high-strung GRAR emotions that prevail on both sides, we are still willing to have a discussion about the merits of the arguments on both sides.

I really fucking hate the implication that gets trotted out every single time there's a call-out that Metafilter has a "party line" that cannot be crossed. No. There is no party line. There is a prevailing sentiment, but that prevailing sentiment can and has been changed. The issue is almost never "you don't agree with me, how dare you"; in fact, we have a lot of shout-outs that explicitly highlight contentious threads where dissenting opinions got along just fine with everyone else else.

The issue is almost always "you're being a condescending and dismissive asshole, and that's partially due to the fact that you feel defensive because you have an unpopular opinion, please calm down". When tone and civility in a conversation is the very basis of a problem, you are by definition shutting the conversation down by saying "you just hate me because I'm different". It's a really really disingenuous way of engaging with the conversation, because it masquerades as an exasperated side observation when it really is an indictment of Metafilter as a community, and by extension everyone who participates in Metafilter.

Would I feel defensive if I were the lone voice of dissent in a thread and feel like I had my back up against the wall? Of course. But my choice to engage in it is my own, and if I'm going to wade into the conversation, if I think that my opinion is something worth convincing others of, then it behooves me to keep in mind the tone of the conversation, and how I will be perceived. A conversation doesn't happen in a vacuum.

There are certain topics that Metafilter has in the past had problems with, because emotions run so high for all parties involved that it can be really hard to settle down and figure out where your common ground is. They're not avoided because there's some sort of desire to shut down one particular opinion, they're avoided because no one can calmly approach the issue in a constructive manner and they often devolve into nasty namecalling.

You know what, if a "childhood-sex-abuse-surviving declawed Republican Israeli cat riding a bicycle on a city street to get an abortion" posted a YouTube video of its baby kitten suffering bullying at the cat daycare, I'm willing to bet money that Metafilter's response would be sympathy and commiseration. And if that same cat posted to AskMe wondering about whether or not they should eat that thing that their human left out on the counter overnight, they would get the half chanting "eat it already" and "omg throw it out", the same as anyone else.
posted by Phire at 7:34 PM on March 31, 2011 [22 favorites]


I've done my share of baiting purely because I was (unreasonably) offended that people were reacting emotionally without full consideration of facts.

You: 'facts'; other people: 'reacting emotionally'. Sorry I don't know how to do cross outs of sentences/words to show editing of my original but "group hugs" removed.

Pardon me. I should have just stuck to my direct quote of you above which was sufficient to make my observation. [But hey, if you want to rebuke me for 'random' words near my name, I am all for lashings of honey. Yummo. No, I mean that would be terrible. I couldn't stand it. I'd feel so punished!]

I haven't jumped 'feet first' into anything though I have read both threads thoroughly and with great interest and regard over the last few days, as indicated in the latter part of my comment. Possibly, as time differences between you over there and me over/under here has produced the sense that a late arrival here means lack of reading comprehension.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:58 PM on March 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Bonzai: Trolling (as an Internet term) is not vague, rather it has a specific definition. A sincere opinion automatically disqualifies it as trolling.

Your Urban Dictionary link isn't backing you up unequivocally, there, so I'm not sure why you included it. The top two definitions say nothing about sincerity and both have thousands of upvotes. The first definition says "being a prick on the internet because you can" and the second says "the act of purposefully antagonizing other people on the internet".

Wikipedia's definition as well focuses on being inflammatory and deliberately provocative and does not mention sincerity either - which is exactly the point I made.
Lack of sincerity is not a bright-line requirement here.
posted by flex at 8:00 PM on March 31, 2011


You: 'facts'; other people: 'reacting emotionally'.

Yeah but come on, he didn't say that the "facts" he was speaking of were his life experiences. You are completely taking that sentence out of context and saying it means something it doesn't.

I generally feel that some people feel license to be extra-super dicks to Mayor Curley because they perceive (through comments about his "trolling." among other signals) that he's sort of a "black sheep" in the community, and so they feel that it's safe to pile on - which only antagonizes MC and escalates the confrontation. I find this cycle of opportunistic pileons (which happens with more commenters than just MC) distasteful, no matter how distasteful I might also find their remarks at times.

I really do wish there was more community pushback against the idea that if you're in the majority, you're allowed to be a snarky, passive-aggressive jerk to people who don't agree with you. Our resident contrarians inspire many similarly empty, mean-spirited, vituperative remarks from others, and these contributions are hardly ever deleted or called out - whereas if those who disagree with the prevailing sentiment so much as inch a toe over the line, people are ready to line up to insult them. It's a pretty ugly dynamic, honestly, and I wish people on all sides of it could be more open-minded and less eager to assume the worst about each other.
posted by dialetheia at 8:24 PM on March 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


Honey-barbera, he was talking about past behaviour, not here, and qualified it by saying "felt". In both this thread and the one that started it he has been taken out of context, misrepresented, and had
other peoples' comments misattributed to him in a giant pile-on. In the context of a thread about bullying FFS. Yeah, yeah it's metatalk and all that. I'm leaving this thread now so all you folks can continue poking the guy you backed into a corner with sticks.
posted by Hoopo at 8:28 PM on March 31, 2011


so who is hal_c_on. i know he's not some random guy. Someone fill me in. I make it known who I am, everyone else should do the same.

Well...you can memail me. But if you pick one guy out in a subset of guys who are on metafilter, it might be me. So I would be a random guy.

A random AWESOME guy!
posted by hal_c_on at 8:52 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's pretty clear from both the top 2 UD definitions and wikipedia definition that trolling has an intent to cause a negative reaction.

It's about intent. If you make an inflammatory comment because you believe what you are saying then it isn't trolling.

If you make the same comment with the intent to inflame then you aren't being sincere, you are just trying to get a rise out of people.

It's trying to get a rise out of someone for amusement.
posted by Bonzai at 8:57 PM on March 31, 2011


Another person's opinion: You have an ego as big as Dallas and the self-awareness of a chair.
posted by ambient2 at 3:14 PM on March 31 [1 favorite +] [!]


Wow. The responses to Mayor Curley have become increasingly personal and ugly and seem to reflect upon the ugliness within those people making such comments. Ugliness and sadness.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:06 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe you Hoopo n dialetheia. And it wasn't my intention to show that he was only talking about this particular thread. I know that he and Jessamyn were talking more generally about some of his thread trends/patterns. This isn't a lone example is what I thought both were saying.

He may have a point here in Metatalk about his original comment that elicited such strong feeling being extra-flagged because it wasn't 'popular'. I don't know, and I read each thread without commenting until I saw the interchange with Jessamyn and MC. I do feel that noting a pattern of your own behaviour based on a perceived emotion vs facts dichotomy is flawed and selfish. But I'm also with you on the pile-on mentality and I am pretty sorry to look like I have made unfair or decontextualised criticism.
posted by honey-barbara at 9:09 PM on March 31, 2011


I just realized that I forgot a really crucial part of my reply to Mayor Curley upthread.

Mayor Curley, the reason I found your questions so weird and off-putting was that it felt like you were accusing me of having done something especially wrong by 'flagging it and moving on' -- which is basically the main community directive for how to deal with comments and posts that . Especially this, your question #3: If someone had instead used a similar device against me, would you have flagged it? (I am inclined to believe that you would have not, so I'm going to ask you to be objective and I promise to accept your answer at face value).

You'd already prejudged me at that point, as someone essentially out to get you. Based on, what, the fact that I flagged comments that you made on a website?
posted by palomar at 9:52 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sigh. That should read, "comments and posts that we see a problem with." Three minute edit pony, pretty please? I will send beer to all mods.
posted by palomar at 9:53 PM on March 31, 2011


(good beer. i swear.)
posted by palomar at 9:54 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


[folks, making up horrible things to say in a rape thread and saying them here as if someone else said them is not making MeFi or MetaTalk a better place. Please reconsider and think about maybe coming back a little later? ]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:41 PM on March 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


It would be an instance of useful social pressure against growing community tolerance for the unhealthy I'm-a-victim, we're-a-victim, he-she-it's-a-victim, wouldn't-you-like-to-be-a-victim-too attitude, as well showing publicly that there is still resistance to Group Hugs Uber Alles as, not just the default position, but the only position.

I can't help wondering why you feel this pressure is useful, or necessary? If there's a Group Hug going on that you don't want to be part of, why not just ignore it and walk away? Why do you need to school other people on their attitudes and emotions?

Then, again, there's the fact that you may not know someone's backstory. A friend of mine has pretty bad social anxiety, and might be a good candidate for being told 'man up, other people have it worse'. Except it turns out he has that anxiety because he went through some horrific abuse as a child....
posted by Infinite Jest at 11:51 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Almost a good point, except that no one's talking to the girl herself here. Got some painful personal experience to share that may be comforting or useful to her? Register on youtube and put it up there where there's some liklihood she'll see it. Feeling self-revelatory but putting it here instead of there? "I'm saying this to help the girl, and other 12 year olds in her situation" isn't so convincing.

There is a HUGE assumption here that I haven't. Or that others haven't.

The video itself has an e-mail address listed in it for people to contact her parents (and a note that makes it very clear no one is to contact Ayle directly).

Also, I made one comment in the thread related to the formation of PTSD and related as well as lesser disorders as caused by smaller, repeated traumas than one large singular event. My comment, and others comments, should have been enough for people who "don't get it" to understand that some people can form brain injuries from bullying. The, "I don't get how people can't get over it" statements just don't apply when talking about actual psychological and neurological outcomes that are known to exist.

The repetitions of "Well, bootstrap yerself just like I did!" after many of those comments (mine came much later in the discussion) isn't on the other side of an argument. It's demonstrative of a complete lack of compassion for people whose brains may have been altered enough by their experiences being bullied that it still impedes their daily lives to some degree. This clearly isn't true for everyone, and there were people who did thoughtfully express how the managed to move on and don't really think about it and it doesn't really hinder them now. Those comments weren't deleted and do add to the discourse of the effects of bullying over time. MC's were just plain inflammatory.
posted by zizzle at 3:21 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


honey-barbara: Your lived experience you call 'facts'; other people's lived experiences require 'group hugs' because they are 'reacting emotionally'. There's a cavalier narcissism in this line...

and after I pointed out that the attributions weren't accurate...

You: 'facts'; other people: 'reacting emotionally'. Sorry I don't know how to do cross outs of sentences/words to show editing of my original but "group hugs" removed.

But I'm also with you on the pile-on mentality and I am pretty sorry to look like I have made unfair or decontextualised criticism.

Okay here's the thing-- I never, NEVER called my "lived experiences" facts. You made that up. When I used "facts," it was obvious to anyone with the slightest bit of reading comprehension that it was in reference to what was actually said in threads, nothing to do with life experiences.

Here's the next thing-- I pointed that out, you insisted. Because how you want to perceive me is more important than what was actually said. Whether you actually felt it was true at the time or not, you slandered me. Lazily. "I don't like him, he's a witch." YOU are the reason this site sucks so much this time. You, and the similarly stunted "I don't like him, but someone said something negative that superficially rebukes him even though the cites aren't accurate so I'll 'favorite' it as a show if support" people. All ridiculous, all poisonous, all on the same level of reasoning as religious fundamentalists-- "I want it to be true, so it is. Here's a spray of words that ultimately don't mean anything, but to me they're irrefutable evidence."

But I'm also with you on the pile-on mentality and I am pretty sorry to look like I have made unfair or decontextualised criticism.

Take your weak apology and choke on it. You called me a narcissist based on manufactured evidence and you're "pretty sorry" to "look like I have made unfair or decontextualised criticism." I would have accepted your apology if it was sincere or fully acknowledging, but you're the narcissist. You clearly recognize that you made an unwarranted and ugly accusation, but you can't bring yourself to full-on say "oh, shit. I'm sorry." You disgust me.

Hey cortex, this shit is why I can't always turn the other cheek. George Borroughs of Salem elected to not defend himself and simply recite the Lord's Prayer on the gallows. You probably remember where it got him.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:46 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Closed the italics too early. the close should come after "look like I have made unfair or decontextualised criticism."
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:47 AM on April 1, 2011


You disgust me.

prove it!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:54 AM on April 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think if one is equating their participation in on a website akin to being falsely executed in the Salem witch trails, maybe one needs to reassess ones level of participation. Save everyone the grief.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:00 AM on April 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think if one is equating their participation in on a website akin to being falsely executed in the Salem witch trails, maybe one needs to reassess ones level of participation.

I think if one is taking acolorful analogy too seriously, they should keep it to themselves so as not to appear pedantic.

Unless you knew George Borroughs personally, in which case I am sorry for your loss and understand your exception.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:07 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow....allusions to 1984, the Salem witchcraft trials, the original Frank McCourt pastiche that got a comment deleted in the first place...

MC, I genuinely think you'd be better received if you just resisted the temptation to deploy literary references as rhetoric. Particular if you're just going to retract them with a "whoa...just JOKING" defense later.
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:13 AM on April 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


MC - you got called out in the first place because your tone or your style of expression came off as needlessly provocative or "trollish". So you started a callout thread here, and continued to use just the same provocative style of expression. You act like you're being persecuted, but the fact is you're just rubbing people the wrong way because of the way you're choosing to express yourself. I respect the right of others to defend and agree with you, but in my opinion you're 100% doing it to yourself.
posted by facetious at 6:22 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unless you knew George Borroughs [sic] personally, in which case I am sorry for your loss

I know someone who's grandfather knew John Burroughs and I've read the works of Edgar and William. How much sympathy does that entitle me to?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:31 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


MC, your position seems to be a bad one. As far as I can tell it is one of two things.

1. You seem to believe that you suffered no lasting impact, so why would anyone? This position is fairly restated as "all persons have experienced the same things in the same way and should react identically". I honestly have no idea how anyone could think this is true, but you seem to, which is bizarre.

2. You are sort of offended by a particular kind of thread and wish to disrupt what you see as that kind of thread. This is also pretty screwed up.

So what's the deal, dude?
posted by kavasa at 6:32 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


you got called out in the first place because your tone or your style of expression came off as needlessly provocative or "trollish". So you started a callout thread here, and continued to use just the same provocative style of expression.

I appreciate the rationed response, facetious, but that's not actually how it played out. I started the bullying thread measured and polite. As the conversation continued, I received an unwarranted response and I responded in kind. I didn't come out swinging. I felt borderline obsequious writing the initial comment because I was taking such pains to not offend anyone.

And I don't feel I was provocative in this thread until someone really crossed the line and mashed up tiny segments from a few of my comments to get the sentiment that they wanted. Please browse the two threads again if you can and tell me if you still feel that I was needlessly provocative because I just don't feel that's accurate.

Ipsifendus, point taken. Seriously. I often use the references for color, not for wholesale application. And I'm seeing that it's not obvious that I'm just trying to liven up my points.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:39 AM on April 1, 2011


Wow. The responses to Mayor Curley have become increasingly personal and ugly and seem to reflect upon the ugliness within those people making such comments. Ugliness and sadness.

Could you skip the Above the Fray shit for ten seconds? You always do that. Either address the matter at hand or stay out of it.
posted by yerfatma at 7:04 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


How much sympathy does that entitle me to?

Whatever it amounts to, you have to subtract the negative for using "[sic]" next to the name of someone from the 17th century. Unless you're sitting on a bunch of voter rolls from Salem around that time, in which case I will consider you the authoritative source for name spelling. Which is worth a grand total of nothing.

posted by yerfatma at 7:06 AM on April 1, 2011


1. You seem to believe that you suffered no lasting impact, so why would anyone? This position is fairly restated as "all persons have experienced the same things in the same way and should react identically". I honestly have no idea how anyone could think this is true, but you seem to, which is bizarre.

2. You are sort of offended by a particular kind of thread and wish to disrupt what you see as that kind of thread. This is also pretty screwed up.


1. That whole chain of events is fabricated. I asked "why are the lasting effects different for some than others." It's an emotional subject for some, but asking to explore why the difference exists isn't rude and isn't heresy. I never asserted that everyone should react identically. I later asserted (politely) that a well-received description of the effects was a standard part of the human condition. Again, my opinion, phrased considerately, no need for hostility.

I don't know if you came to those conclusions yourself or gleaned them from reading others' false assertions because you're not the first. It's gratuitous and makes me indignant, but I am hoping that by responding pleasantly you will review your assertions against available evidence and reach different conclusions.

2. I am offended by threads:
  • in which someone posts "Hey, everyone! [horrible injustice] happened! Here is [slanted presentation] which absolutely proves how [horrible injustice] transpired."
  • People begin making comments designed to loudly showcase how opposed they are to [horrible injustice]
  • Another poster carefully examines [slanted source] and points out that that it contains omissions/fabrications.
  • Angry mob cries "Why are you not wailing and balling your fists at the mere mention of [horrible injustice]?"
  • Someone seething at the perceived lack of sympathy declares "Poster X is for [horrible injustice]."
  • Poster X is buried under hurled feces.
  • Angry mob congratulates themselves for a victory against [horrible injustice].
  • I'm not against people commiserating. jessamyn's mention of "group hug" was misapplied shorthand for "threads that turn into a soft-left, emotional clusterfuck." I didn't have a problem with the bullying thread remotely until someone got pissed at me for politely discussing the nuance of the actual issue and I wasn't permitted to respond in kind.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:10 AM on April 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


yerfatma: Whatever it amounts to, you have to subtract the negative for using "[sic]" next to the name of someone from the 17th century. Unless you're sitting on a bunch of voter rolls from Salem around that time, in which case I will consider you the authoritative source for name spelling. Which is worth a grand total of nothing.

Googling george +borroughs salem "lord's prayer" returns 124 results.

Googling george burroughs salem "lord's prayer" returns 29,600 results, including this entry from the University of Virginia's Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project about George Burroughs.

Nobody was getting pissy about inconsistent contemporary spellings. What octobersurprise was doing, I would surmise, was getting snarky about Mayor Curley trotting out the noble image of Reverend Burroughs going to his unjust death but always remaining true to his convictions! ...and misspelling the man's name in the process.

It's a little like turning on one's heel to make a dramatic exit and tripping on the carpet in the process.

posted by Lexica at 7:33 AM on April 1, 2011


And I don't feel I was provocative in this thread until someone really crossed the line and mashed up tiny segments from a few of my comments to get the sentiment that they wanted.

That's pretty clearly not true. Your initial post in this thread proposes a "newspeak" style word to flag sentiments that are not held by the majority of the community here, and you suggested "wrongthought." The implication there is that the mods are here to act as a Thought Police for MetaFilter. You clarified that with:

Reference to "newspeak" does not mean that I fancy myself Winston Smith

Which may be true, as far as your actual mentality goes, but that's simply not the way people take that analogy. Ever. Referring to 1984 in a post on community standards carries with it a whole lot of extra baggage, and it's a little disingenuous for you to claim that you didn't bring that baggage in. Want to suggest coining a new word for something without being inflammatory? There's a perfectly good word for that: neologism.

This is actually a part of a trend that seems to be happening throughout this thread and the original: you use analogies that are a little hyperbolic, and then get upset when people react to the content of those analogies. Actually, the more I think about it, the more that seems to be a significant factor in what happened in both threads.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:43 AM on April 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Do me a favor and actually read the thread before you get involved at this point, or I'll just jump feet-first into the next thread you're in and start accusing you of random shit because I isolated some words near your name.

So because a user made an ill informed comment, it's completely appropriate for you to threaten to derail a thread just because that user commented on it as well?

Even if the commenter is wrong, threatening him/her like that hurts the site (as well as your own reputation) a lot more than an ill informed comment. I've seen a lot of ill informed comments over the years here and lo the site still stands. Often those ill informed users were educated by others not insulted, not threatened, but enlightened.

At this point, I'm giving up. MC seems absolutely entrenched in his belief that he was victimized and is absolutely right on all counts. I came into this thread honestly neutral and curious, I'm leaving having been alienated by MC's own behavior here.

On preview; yes yes yes yes Ragged Richard.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:53 AM on April 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hey cortex, this shit is why I can't always turn the other cheek.

Can't vs. won't. If your hands are not literally glued to the keyboard, if there is not someone holding a gun to your head and making you stay with an argument or else, this is not a can't thing in any practical sense.

If you legitimately cannot restrain yourself for some reason of compulsion or whatever, look into some other way to avoid getting into that position in the first place, up to and including just closing the window and walking away before you hit keystroke one on any given potentially combative comment. Because we basically won't accept "I must get in fights on Metafilter, there is no helping it" as a thesis. You're not on a gallows, this is not your life and liberty at stake, and I've got no interest in being told why you must be a jerk on this site because someone else started it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:55 AM on April 1, 2011 [20 favorites]


and misspelling the man's name in the process.

It's a little like turning on one's heel to make a dramatic exit and tripping on the carpet in the process.


Seeing as how his name is everywhere and we all see it 10 times a day, you're absolutely right. Everyone who saw that was instantly familiar with the man's actions AND how to spell his name. And it's extra-ironic because people in the 17th century were really particular about how their names were recorded.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:02 AM on April 1, 2011


MAYOR CURLEY YOU HAVE NOT ANSWERED THE QUESTION AT HAND: DO YOU WEIGH MORE THAN A DUCK?
posted by entropicamericana at 8:03 AM on April 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


mc can you perhaps just never use metaphor, simile or analogy or ever attempt to recap anything because doing any of the above only seem to make things a lot worse

Another poster carefully examines [slanted source] and points out that that it contains omissions/fabrications.
Angry mob cries "Why are you not wailing and balling your fists at the mere mention of [horrible injustice]?"
Someone seething at the perceived lack of sympathy declares "Poster X is for [horrible injustice]."


i asked you to provide examples of this and i'm still waiting and i have a feeling i'm going to be waiting for a long time because i have never once seen even the less-exaggerated version of this that you appear to want to be making a point about
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:10 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because we basically won't accept "I must get in fights on Metafilter, there is no helping it" as a thesis. You're not on a gallows, this is not your life and liberty at stake, and I've got no interest in being told why you must be a jerk on this site because someone else started it.

Did you actually read what that person accused me of and how she fabricated evidence? How about instead of lecturing me on the importance of not striking back you come out strongly against that sort of shit? Because it's pervasive here, it's revolting, and it kills useful discourse with invented smears that change the focus of the debate.

You've previously concurred that my behavior before provocation in recent instances wasn't out of line, but now you're asking me to walk away when someone pisses on me? Sounds like you're absolving someone else. It's not reasonable to ask someone at the bottom of a pile-on that they didn't initiate not to fight back. You could give Gandhi some strong hash and he still wouldn't ask someone to be that mellow.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:14 AM on April 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


YOU are the reason this site sucks so much this time.

Take your weak apology and choke on it. You called me a narcissist based on manufactured evidence and you're "pretty sorry" to "look like I have made unfair or decontextualised criticism." I would have accepted your apology if it was sincere or fully acknowledging, but you're the narcissist. You clearly recognize that you made an unwarranted and ugly accusation, but you can't bring yourself to full-on say "oh, shit. I'm sorry." You disgust me.

I disgust you. I should choke.

I didn't know that you could say things like that to other users here, but ouch.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:18 AM on April 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


i asked you to provide examples of this and i'm still waiting and i have a feeling i'm going to be waiting for a long time because i have never once seen even the less-exaggerated version of this that you appear to want to be making a point about

Now you're not in suspense. These are not hard to find. I pointed to this one because I could find it very quickly, because I was the subject of it.

Based on the tone of the text I just quoted, I can tell that your next job will be to skim it and to argue that it doesn't make my point. See you in a bit.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:18 AM on April 1, 2011


I'm starting to feel bad for the horse that is this thread.

Mayhaps it is time to close it up?
posted by zizzle at 8:19 AM on April 1, 2011


I disgust you. I should choke.

I didn't know that you could say things like that to other users here, but ouch.


You got called out for fabricating evidence so you're electing to take the high road/victim stance? The "pretending to take the 'choke on it' part literally" is a nice touch. You manufactured a very ugly false allegation and I called you on it. Come off your horse-- you're only garnering sympathy from people who want you to be right because it enforces their preconceived notions. To the rest of us you're just another person dishonest enough to distort evidence and shameless enough to refuse to apologize when called on it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:27 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did you actually read what that person accused me of and how she fabricated evidence? How about instead of lecturing me on the importance of not striking back you come out strongly against that sort of shit?

Which part of "they started it is not an excuse" is not getting through here? You are not the only person who has ever been aggrieved by someone else's comments. You are not the only person who we've ever had to have this conversation with. Us talking to you, in public or in private, about working on your own behavior does not happen to the exclusion of us talking to other people in public or private about working on theirs.

In short, everybody else's behavior is not about you. Your behavior is about you. When I say, "hey, you need to work on this", there's no "unless you don't like how other people are behaving" conditional attached. If you cannot abide the idea that you'd have to improve how you act on the site regardless of whether you're satisfied with the imperfect information you have about the work we do with everyone other than you, that sucks for you but I don't really feel like dedicating any extra resources to a Satisfy Mayor Curley's Desire For Satisfaction campaign. There are tens of thousands of people here, almost none of whom get into this sort of drawn-out argumentative bullshit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:27 AM on April 1, 2011 [17 favorites]


To the rest of us you're just another person dishonest enough to distort evidence and shameless enough to refuse to apologize when called on it.

PLEASE speak for yourself and do not project your feelings onto "the rest of us" especially when you're trying to shame another user regardless of your reasoning behind it.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:32 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not reasonable to ask someone at the bottom of a pile-on that they didn't initiate not to fight back.

Did I miss the part where you didn't start this MetaTalk yourself and throw around a bunch of Thought Police-style references to boot?
posted by rollbiz at 8:34 AM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Which part of "they started it is not an excuse" is not getting through here? You are not the only person who has ever been aggrieved by someone else's comments. You are not the only person who we've ever had to have this conversation with.

I mean this seriously, and without ire: the part I don't get is why it's not a excuse. Why if someone takes exception to an innocuous, well-phrased question am I obligated to just take it?

The closest suggestion you've given to an answer is to the effect of "it causes further escalation." I don't know what private discourse you have with the offenders, and I don't think the vast majority of them are going to get rebuked if it doesn't turn rather ugly.

Here's my understanding of your mandate: it generally leads to "one person gets a free punch, one person has to stand there and take it so that no more punches are thrown." That's not polite discourse, and that's not holding the initiator responsible for their actions. I don't understand how this is tenable.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:40 AM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


PLEASE speak for yourself and do not project your feelings onto "the rest of us" especially when you're trying to shame another user regardless of your reasoning behind it.

miss-lapin, you're clearly in the first group--"people who want [honey-barbara] to be right because it enforces their preconceived notions". No offense meant.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:43 AM on April 1, 2011


Did I miss the part where you didn't start this MetaTalk yourself and throw around a bunch of Thought Police-style references to boot?

No, you missed the part where the discussion wasn't centered solely around this thread. This is not an unwarranted pile-on. You should actually read the thread no matter how anxious you are to get to the bottom and share your quip.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:45 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean this seriously, and without ire: the part I don't get is why it's not a excuse. Why if someone takes exception to an innocuous, well-phrased question am I obligated to just take it?

Because that's one of the basic principle that stands between this place and any number of festering assholes of the internet.

If one person does something crappy and the next person responds by taking the high road, there's a little bit of net crappiness but things move off in a better direction. The conversation recovers.

If one person does something crappy and the next person responds in kind or escalates, there's a cascade of crappiness. The conversation doesn't recover, it devolves.

This is really, really basic stuff. Everybody has to make the effort, because that's the only way things actually work. When someone falls down on that, it's up to everybody else to try and not let that be the first step down a crappy path. That holds regardless of who fell down and who else is standing around. It holds even if it was someone else doing something you didn't like; it holds even if it was someone personally bothering you.

No one gets to reserve the right to be The One Who Always Punches Back. That just gets us a shitload of broken noses, and I don't find that an acceptable tradeoff for any given person's sense of personal satisfaction.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:49 AM on April 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


"Why if someone takes exception to an innocuous, well-phrased question am I obligated to just take it?"

Because you seem constitutionally unable to regard that taking exception as anything but a glove slap followed by a demand for pistols at dawn, and subsequently make yourself less sympathetic and more provocative with hyperbolic rhetoric.

It honestly makes you look worse than if you'd just taken it, or replied without the grandstanding vituperation.

I know from experience, though I forget it sometimes.
posted by klangklangston at 8:49 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, you missed the part where the discussion wasn't centered solely around this thread. This is not an unwarranted pile-on. You should actually read the thread no matter how anxious you are to get to the bottom and share your quip.

I've been reading the thread, the entire thread, for two days now. You should stop being so anxious to know for sure what other people are thinking or doing, since that seems to be a big part of how you wound up in this mess in the first place.

No one would be discussing this anymore if you hadn't started this MeTa yourself, with all of your attendant references to Newspeak and wrongthought. You said you were "at the bottom of a pile-on that they didn't initiate", when in fact the pile-on you're at the bottom of right now is entirely of your own creation.
posted by rollbiz at 8:50 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why if someone takes exception to an innocuous, well-phrased question am I obligated to just take it?

I may be wrong, but I don't think anyone's saying you're obligated to just take it. I think what's being said is that you're obligated refrain from being a dick while not just taking it. (viz. comments like "Take your weak apology and choke on it...You disgust me." That's not just standing up for yourself, that's being a dick.)
posted by dersins at 9:02 AM on April 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


You said you were "at the bottom of a pile-on that they didn't initiate", when in fact the pile-on you're at the bottom of right now is entirely of your own creation.

JESUS FUCK! We don't need another person stripping context to further their argument. I am going to quote the whole sentence:
It's not reasonable to ask someone at the bottom of a pile-on that they didn't initiate not to fight back.
This was clearly a discussion of past threads and reoccurring situations. If it is true that you have read and that you comprehend the thread, you're dishonest.

Why did you show up now anyway? Probably because you enjoy showing out for people, but ones who don't need your help. You're like Bizarro Bono or something.

There are plenty of people arguing with me without resorting to dishonest tactics. Why did you do that?
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:11 AM on April 1, 2011


Again you're projecting on to me and ignoring what I've said, a complaint you make about a lot of other users but seem to believe you are completely impervious to yourself.

1. Another user, a friend, who supported your opinion, sent me the link. I read this thread and that one. If I came into this thread with preconceived notions, it was in your support.In fact, initially I was mainly on your side (if you had changed the Orwellian language). So I am not in "first group" with preconceived notions against you who wants to believe horrible things about you. My opinions SINCE ENTERING THE THREAD, however, have changed. I'm sure you'll let me know what unpalatable camp that puts me in currently.

2. I do not like it when anyone here uses the phrase "the rest of us" to indicate what all or most users on the site believe or think. It's a broad generalization and considering the diversity of users here as well as opinions held by them, I'm not sure how any single user can make a comment about what the majority of us believe with any confidence. This is especially true when you are trying to make it seem like you have the support of the site behind on you in terms of your view of a user. Having said that does not mean I agree with honey-barbara. It DOES mean that I think you should speak for yourself, and your own view of honey-barbara, in the same way here that I have spoken for myself and myself ALONE. I agree with rollbiz that you seem very confident about knowing what other people think , and part of the trouble is that in my case, just now, you were dead wrong. And yes, that hurts your case with me although I'm sure you're going to tell me that I was against you from the beginning and I've been lying to myself if I thought I wasn't.

Personally, I've had enough. I don't want to continue this here or on Memail because it's pretty clear it's utterly pointless. Instead I'm going to get myself the largest martini allowed by law. Enjoy your weekend people.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:11 AM on April 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


(viz. comments like "Take your weak apology and choke on it...You disgust me." That's not just standing up for yourself, that's being a dick.)

That is absolutely commensurate with someone fabricating a quote to "prove" something that they wish were true. In fact, the latter says much more about that person's character. It's just not as overt. I'm fully capable of regret, and I've apologized here in the past, but nothing you can say will make me retract that remark. That person deserved that and more for that underhanded tactic.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:14 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having said that does not mean I agree with honey-barbara. It DOES mean that I think you should speak for yourself, and your own view of honey-barbara, in the same way here that I have spoken for myself and myself ALONE.

And yet you favorited her comment where she pretended to be surprised and wounded by my reaction to her flagrant misappropriation of my words. Presumably as a show of support because I don't think there's any measure by which it would be an insightful comment. Whether you see it that way or not to me it's tacit approval of a shit tactic.

I appreciate your attempts to be measured and I can tell that you're probably a good diffuser of volatility in real life. I shouldn't have been so dismissive of your protest because I just realized that I missed where you questioned the validity of honey-barbara's argument. I do apologize for both for the suggestion that you approved of it and for the "the rest of us." I meant it as a figure of speech and my retort was ill-conceived.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:25 AM on April 1, 2011


Hey, speaking of dishonest tactics...!

Why did you show up now anyway? Probably because you enjoy showing out for people, but ones who don't need your help. You're like Bizarro Bono or something.

Sorry you still hold a grudge for the other time I called you out for being an asshole. That was over a year ago, and I've been over it for over a year, minus a day or two. I guess we really have learned that people don't get over things in quite the same ways, eh?

It's not reasonable to ask someone at the bottom of a pile-on that they didn't initiate not to fight back.

Yes, that's your whole sentence. Please point out to me the context that your quote added that excludes the numerous discussions in this thread that you started about why you felt it necessary to start it or frame it the way you did. The conversation here started because you started it, and you framed it in the way you wanted to frame it, with yourself as a crusader against the fucking Thought Police. That's been discussed plenty here too, and you don't get to ignore it in your quest to be the victim of what someone else started.
posted by rollbiz at 9:27 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mayor Curley:

It's your manner of expression that people have a problem with.

You really do come across as someone who is not trying to engage in discourse in good faith. You come across as someone who's engaging in argument to amuse yourself. Honestly.
posted by flotson at 9:35 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not reasonable to ask someone at the bottom of a pile-on that they didn't initiate not to fight back.

Yes, that's your whole sentence. Please point out to me the context that your quote added that excludes the numerous discussions in this thread that you started


"Please prove to me that you didn't say what I am accusing you of saying." I know what I said and how I meant it. Follow along:

cortex suggested that the proper response to rude/underhanded treatment, not just in this thread but ACROSS THE SITE, is to ignore it.

I replied (explanation brackets):
Did you actually read what that person accused me of and how she fabricated evidence? How about instead of lecturing me on the importance of not striking back you come out strongly against that sort of shit [in general, ACROSS THE SITE]? Because it's pervasive here [in general, ACROSS THE SITE], it's revolting [in general, ACROSS THE SITE], and it kills useful discourse with invented smears that change the focus of the debate [in general, ACROSS THE SITE].

You've previously concurred that my behavior before provocation in recent instances [in general, ACROSS THE SITE] wasn't out of line, but now you're asking me to walk away when someone pisses on me? Sounds like you're absolving someone else. It's not reasonable to ask someone at the bottom of a pile-on that they didn't initiate not to fight back [in general, ACROSS THE SITE]. You could give Gandhi some strong hash [this is hyperbole, Gandhi is dead and cortex probably doesn't have any strong hash] and he still wouldn't ask someone to be that mellow.
If you're going to insist that I was referring to this thread, you're also going to have to insist that I was referring to one person maliciously misquoting me as a "pile-on." Which I have no doubt that you will do if it suits your purposes, even if doesn't make sense.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:40 AM on April 1, 2011


Sorry, you're so bent on taking on all comers in this thread that it was (and still is, for the record) really unclear what frame of discussion you've decided is appropriate in each sentence in each of your comments.

So, sure, you win. That's what it's all about for you, right?
posted by rollbiz at 10:03 AM on April 1, 2011


On MetaFilter, you are allowed no sense of personal honor. You are allowed (indeed, encouraged) to take offense on behalf of others, but not on your own behalf. Users may freely offer offense of almost any kind, but you are not allowed to respond in kind. I suspect that a number of users deliberately take advantage of this. It is a distasteful state of affairs.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:08 AM on April 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Or, paraphrased, opening up your own MeTa thread in a confrontational and adversarial fashion and then arguing that you are part of a pile-on because people don't agree with the conclusions you are drawing or the manner in which you are expressing yourself is a no-win situation. You're welcome to have personal honor. I have personal honor here. Lots of people do. In fact I feel that my honor is diminished if I tell people that they disgust me [even if they are digusting] because that sort of discussion leads nowhere, is not in fact a discussion, and doesn't solve any problems. Maybe I'm just missing the gene where I feel better about things if I make someone else feel worse, but to me the optimal outcome isn't that I am 100% totally vindicated and proven correct, it's that everyone walk away from the discussion feeling like they knew a little bit more about whatever it was [or each other] then when they came in.

I'm disappointed that this thread does not seem to be going this way, but Mayor Curley seems to have some fundamental disagreements with people about what the ideal discussion or even the ideal MetaFilter looks like and this is the place to go hash that out, I guess.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:21 AM on April 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


MC - there's a wide distance between supporting the fundamentals of your original argument/your criticism of the larger issue of how MeFi majority opinion could function better (both of which I agree with, btw) and the posture you're taking here.

I could say a whole bunch of things here because somebody opened the door to this kind of "discussion" - but I choose not to. Why? Because it won't help, and in fact will probably escalate when that's the exact opposite of what probably should happen.

At almost every opportunity, you are choosing to escalate, and the best justification I can see for that is something along the lines of 1) someone else started it or 2) saving face. The hard truth is - deliberately or accidentally - you've been trolled in essentially the same way as Marty McFly - someone accused you of something which you didn't like and that's good for a cascade of predictable, comedic response.

You aren't serving your argument well - and that's coming from someone who basically agrees with many of your talking points. Your argument deserves better.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 10:23 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


On the dearth of honor: "A real man would say, "Take a knife, quonsar, and face Minya to the death." If they would not say that, they could at least say, "We'll shock both of you with electiricity until quonsar admits his lies." I would accept either decision."
posted by klangklangston at 10:24 AM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, sure, you win. That's what it's all about for you, right?

When someone accuses me of something repugnant and I want to demonstrate that it's baseless? Yeah. Like you'd feel any different. And when the whole passage I cited is read, it's clear enough without the notation.

Your backhanded "you're right but you're full of yourself" doesn't seem adequate for those false charges, unwitting or not. You probably should have just slunk off after my reply if that's how you're going to try to redeem your position of unfounded accusation. That, or sincerely apologized.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:25 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or, paraphrased, opening up your own MeTa thread in a confrontational and adversarial fashion and then arguing that you are part of a pile-on because people don't agree with the conclusions you are drawing or the manner in which you are expressing yourself is a no-win situation.

That's not an accurate paraphrase, Jessamyn. The term "pile-on" was used in the context of contentious issues that arise outside this thread. I just laboriously demonstrated that. Any contention here I was asking for by raising the issue. And I for one have found this thread valuable in terms of ideas for better conduct outside this thread. This is a good cordoned room in which to work this stuff out.

I hope that the people on "my side" have better learned how to manage others' expectations and that the "other side" and the mods have taken to heart concerns about the limitations of discourse here and how they might be affected or addressed. I'm not expecting wholesale change-- that doesn't come about from one thread. But there is useful observation from all sides among the clutter.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:32 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


MC, what are you hoping to accomplish at this point?

You seem so entrenched in defending your point to the death that there is no point to see anymore.

I really can't fathom what you are hoping to get out of this. So, either, calmly and clearly state (or possibly restate) what your hopeful outcome to all this is, or let go and move on.
posted by zizzle at 10:34 AM on April 1, 2011


And I do hope the irony of this is duly noted.
posted by zizzle at 10:37 AM on April 1, 2011


"A real man would say, "Take a knife, quonsar, and face Minya to the death." If they would not say that, they could at least say, "We'll shock both of you with electiricity until quonsar admits his lies." I would accept either decision."

So say we all!
posted by octobersurprise at 10:39 AM on April 1, 2011


Your allusion escapes me, klangklangston (in case you were expecting a response).
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:43 AM on April 1, 2011


Stanning for personal honor is usually at best quixotic, and the motivation doesn't make ridiculous behavior less funny.
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 AM on April 1, 2011


what does that mean?
posted by clavdivs at 10:53 AM on April 1, 2011


Oh.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:53 AM on April 1, 2011


when the whole passage I cited is read, it's clear enough without the notation.

That's an interesting take, considering that Jess doesn't seem to have gotten that read from it either.

Your backhanded "you're right but you're full of yourself" doesn't seem adequate for those false charges, unwitting or not.


I didn't say you are right. I said that you win. The reason you win is because I'm not going to continue to have a conversation with you when you're going to accuse me of engaging in dishonest tactics and making false and "repugnant" accusations against you, and then turn around and call me Bizarro Bono and presume that I didn't read the thread in a rush to "share my quip", or commented because "enjoy showing out for people, but ones who don't need (my) help", and it's pretty clear this has never been about accomplishing anything but giving you a chance to take on the world in your battle to have the right to act like an asshole on the site.

You win because you seem to be enjoying this immensely and I should've never given you another outlet for your feelings of victimhood at the hands of the Group Hug Army. For that, I apologize to the rest of the site. I'm done here.
posted by rollbiz at 10:56 AM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well since this thread is still rolling, here's my opinion about how Metafilter discussions would ideally work. I think if everybody, including me, followed the same simple rule, everything would go pretty well: give your opponent the benefit of the doubt, take the time to put yourself in their shoes, and give what they're saying the most charitable read possible. I thought, and still think, that if MC had taken the time to imagine why and how a non-dick, non-persecutory, mod or fellow poster might have taken umbrage to his posts on the previous thread, this callout thread would never have happened.

I probably could have followed my own rule better a few comments ago, because while I tried to put the best construction on MC's post here, frankly I felt like he (she?) had dug himself into an entrenched defensive posture and I had to some extent backed away from a fully open-minded position myself.
posted by facetious at 10:56 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope that the people on "my side" have better learned how to manage others' expectations and that the "other side" and the mods

well it sounds as though you are drawing a distiction concerning discourse in terms of factions and this does not resonate. (at least in appearance)
posted by clavdivs at 11:00 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Based on the tone of the text I just quoted, I can tell that your next job will be to skim it and to argue that it doesn't make my point. See you in a bit.

Hmm. May want to recalibrate your Future Sense-O-Tron™ a bit.

No, here is what happened: I read the thread you linked, then I read the thread it was in reference to. What I saw is some people incorrectly said you were victim-blaming, and I don't mean this as an insult but I do not care enough about this discussion to go through and cross-reference the on-site comment histories of every single participant to try to determine what historical reason there might be for their eagerness (and a thoroughly unwelcome eagerness too, the MONSTER hastened to add) to jump on you for that. But back to the point.

Some people said you were victim-blaming. They were wrong. At least one of them apologized to you for using the wrong phrasing. There were a few well-reasoned and well-stated defenses of what you'd said. Your above summation suggested that at some point I would see that someone accused you of being in favor of the horrible injustice in question. I am not sure which one you mean; no one appears to have said you're a supporter of subway flashing. If the injustice in question is victim-blaming, then hell, I don't know, I think that discussion was hashed out satisfactorily in the the thread.

Later on in the thread you said this:

I actually had a little revelation recounting my previous comments, and I'm embarrassed that I couldn't see the need for this distinction earlier. When I said "Why should literally thousands of people get stuck underground for hours because some pervert showed you his dick? If your day is ruined, everyone's should be?" I was directing this at people in the thread who, despite having full knowledge of the situation, continued to insist that pulling the cord was a reasonable response. I realize now (and only just now unfortunately) that it was read as though I was ascribing motivation to the victim.

Which was an excellent thing to say.

Other things said in-thread were not so much. I point specifically to:

"either you're a hardcore uncompromising superfeminist whateverthefuck in every respect or you'll be treated like a convicted rapist" is an accurate description of the current environment in Metafilter

You don't strike me as dull in any particular regard so I'd think that if this came up in a discussion over brunch which did not have you at its center you might have an easier time seeing that it is kind of a ridiculous thing to say. I don't bring this up to try to drag it back out - please, please let's not - but to suggest that this may be part of a broader thing going on, where maybe you might say a contentious thing on an emotional topic and then the topic becomes emotional for you and that is when some over-the-top responses start happening. I say this because I don't get the impression a statement like that would have come out of you in a discussion which didn't feel heated.

In the bullying thread, your first post contained some fairly contentious phrasing. Unfortunately this isn't a practical suggestion given the speed with which the internet moves but I'd really suggest not reading that thread for about a week and then coming back to it when you might not have as much stake in it and seeing if it still reads as non-problematic to you.

I honestly don't have a dog in this fight. I thought the way you handled yourself in the bullying thread was shitty. I'm the kind of MONSTER to take you at your word if you believe that what you were doing was intended along the lines of "there's a group hug going on, and someone decides to continue to appraise the merits of the article or general sentiment and takes any tiny bit of exception," but if that's the particular tree that your first post was supposed to represent, I have to point out that the general tenor of the negative response was not to the tree but to some of the ornaments you chose to hang on it. I mean:

I was wondering how long it would take to see an irritated, flip response to that. Not bad.

It's the first sentence. It really comes off as picking a fight. If you start your thing that way, the message it sends is that whatever comes next is going to be one side versus the other. A lot of the other stuff was read by a lot of people (myself included) as belittling, and I don't know that that's an issue of oversensitivity - it's because the language you used was, to all appearances, kind of belittling.

If you say you didn't mean it as picking a fight, not even a little, then I am happy to believe you didn't mean it that way. But here we are, and maybe that discrepancy is the problem, if so.

I sincerely believe it is completely possible to have an opinion which goes against the majority expressed by the people in any particular thread, and even to lay out that opinion comprehensively without starting a dogpile. I know, because I've done it, and I've seen others do it. It's the difference between a discussion (even a debate) and a flat-out argument.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:01 AM on April 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


Personal bullying story. One time in elementary school some kids who liked to pick on me cornered me and starting making fun of me, something about my weight probably. I of course loudly replied, "Fuck you guys!" and shoved myself out of the way.

One of the aides saw the second part of this and of course sent me to the teacher for cursing and shoving, at which point I explained what had happened and the other kids got pulled in. They were punished too.

What I learned was that I didn't have to reply in kind or lash out with a shove, because the teacher would have my back.

Now, if the teacher had ignored what was done to me, I suppose I wouldn't have had much choice but to defend myself. To stand on my honor, because when I let people beat me up without a response I started to believe I wasn't worth defending. Some people have other coping mechanisms, but for me this is the way I coped with it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:02 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


With that in mind, I have to say that this ... I hope that the people on "my side" have better learned how to manage others' expectations and that the "other side" and the mods have is still setting up some sort of weird situation where the mods work for Team Not You. We work for everyone and our job sometimes is helping everyone get along with everyone else. Often we have advice on how best to do that. You don't want to take that advice, that's terrific, your choice, we're all adults, bla bla bla.

I think often it's tough for people to see that if they find themselves in a disagreement with someone on the site -- speaking more generally and not to this conflict particularly -- the mods really represent both sides as positioned against the entire rest of the site. Our general feeling is that if you want to be on this site, no matter what your opinions are or how majority/minority they are, we'll work with you to help you do that. THAT said if you want to be on the site on purely your own terms, well you're not always going to get to do that, at least not without this sort of ongoing struggle situation.

Mayor Curley, you come across as abrasive and dismissive and people have a problem with that in situations where tempers are already high. You know when you're being more over-the-top for comic or hyperbolic effect and when you've not and I'm here to tell you that other people do not know or understand that. We've talked about this before. This issue added to the fact that you seem to take grievous offense when you're misinterpreted or misunderstood, is a tough situation. And really, I've been there. I've had people here start getting all up in my face about being a censor which is about one of the shittiest things you can say to a librarian. And it makes me pretty angry. But hollering at people about it solves no site problems and in fact creates some of them. Tactically, it's a better move to quell the righteous indignation and just address whatever the content is and not let the little "you disgust me" crap sneak in because then you're not someone who has been insulted, your actively part of the "people insulting each other" problem. I know you feel this is justified. cortex and I are here telling you it's not.

That's my advice, as your mod, it's worth what you pay for it. I'd give different advice to other people about how they've dealt with this situation but this is your thread. I'm not on your side but I am also not NOT on your side.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:14 AM on April 1, 2011 [17 favorites]


The reason you win is because I'm not going to continue to have a conversation with you when you're going to accuse me of engaging in dishonest tactics and making false and "repugnant" accusations against you

Oh, but those accusations were founded, sweetheart. I proved it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:39 AM on April 1, 2011


setting up some sort of weird situation where the mods work for Team Not You.

To be perfectly honest, I do feel that MC (and a few others) are held to a higher standard than their interlocutors (at least in the blue, all bets are off in MeTa of course), and that actually the origin of this thread is a perfect example - if the deletion/warning comment had just included some token wording like "and the rest of you play nice too," I doubt this thread would have been opened and none of this ugliness would have happened. As it turned out, the "MC is acting like a troll and busting up our nice garden party" subtext just gave people even more license to pile on MC for stating his opinions - which opinions he had just as much right to share, though may have been brusquely stated and distasteful to some people. Things didn't really turn ugly until the argument had gone back and forth a few times, and it was escalated by both sides as far as I can tell.

I think furiousxgeorge's example is instructive - when only one party to an argument is singled out for chastisement, the chastised party can feel unfairly treated and develop a chip on his shoulder about it, which makes future interactions get uglier faster. As I said above, things have reached the point where I really do think many community members see MC as a safe target, in some part due to this sort of one-sided chastisement (not just by the mods, but by the community) as seen in the original context for this MeTa, and I just really wish that we as a community could not get sucked into that dynamic. The "it doesn't matter who started it" thing really ought to go both ways once in awhile, and I don't feel like I see that enough.

Disclaimer: I really am more concerned about the community dynamic here and am not accusing the mods of any malicious intent whatsoever, before somebody starts in with the "so you don't like the mods, huh? I TRUST THEM, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT" stuff. I love them and they do a wonderful job. Nor am I defending anything MC said in either thread, for the record. I just think that it's really important for everyone in the community to take care not single out one party to an argument as the Only Source of Ugliness, Discord, and Bad Faith in any given argument, and (at least as far as what is visible in the thread) totally ignore the crappy behavior on the other side. Just as an example of the kind of thing I'm talking about (and not as any sort of particular GOTCHA about the moderation, because it's really the trend of this stuff over time that matters), I thought this comment was just as beyond the pale as anything MC said in the blue in that thread, and it was allowed to stand without any chastisement or pushback from the community whatsoever (and this particular comment was actually rewarded by the community with a bunch of favorites).
posted by dialetheia at 11:48 AM on April 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


just address whatever the content is and not let the little "you disgust me" crap sneak in because then you're not someone who has been insulted, your actively part of the "people insulting each other" problem. I know you feel this is justified. cortex and I are here telling you it's not.

That "you disgust me" retort was borne of someone absolutely stringing together a total misappropriation of my words like a kid using a sound editor on the State of the Union. It was a revolting tactic that does not belong in a decent community. I've pointed it out to cortex, you've both been in and out of here. It's still here. I've had things deleted for much smaller infractions. Why is it still here?

I'm not on your side but I am also not NOT on your side.

It's very hard for me to take these distinctions you're presenting to heart-- I'm getting publicly scolded for making a mess after you just watched someone else actually defecate in the room and didn't say a word. I might be over-reacting, but fabricating quotes seems like it should a big deal in the sense of protecting the integrity of discourse.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:50 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why is it still here?

Because this is MetaTalk and short of comments actually threatening to harm someone [or weird firebomb sorts of comments] we generally don't delete comments here. You have never had a comment deleted form MetaTalk. In fact, most people haven't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:01 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was a revolting tactic that does not belong in a decent community... I'm getting publicly scolded for making a mess after you just watched someone else actually defecate in the room....

Well, thank goodness we're not being preposterously hyperbolic here or anything.

I'm frankly beginning to think Mayor Curley's entire performance in this thread may be just an elaborate, pointless and unfunny April Fool's prank.
posted by dersins at 12:01 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


When you said, "I suggest "wrongthought." If that could replace "trolling" on the flagging dropdown it might make things clearer" you were clearly being sarcastic. As I understand your complaint, you think that moderation policy is biased, and supports the majority view whatever that is.

I can see how it can seem that way to you or anyone else taking a minority position. People in the majority can and do get fighty. They may be more likely to do that simply because there are more of them. (A larger group will contain more assholes just because it's larger, and assholes may feel freer to attack people they perceive as having few allies.*)

However, I think moderation policy here is actually pretty fair. The mods are not responsible for there being majorities on certain subjects. They're responsible for intervening in fighty threads. If nasty comments get directed at you, they can't totally prevent from happening. All you can ask is that they delete those comments if you flag them. If you respond with nasty comments in return, they'll delete those as well. You can't really complain that they're being unfair, if they also delete nasty comments made toward you.

I think for the most part they do that.

It's not clear to me what you want changed.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*We were talking about bullying here originally. Bullies, at least smarter ones, pick on unpopular kids. They're less likely to have allies to back them up.** The same thing happens here unfortunately, even though we're supposed to be adults.

** This choice of targets, I suspect, has a lot to do with the discrepancy between your experience of bullying and other people's. Everyone gets harassed and picked on to some extent. It is part of life. But the people who get bullied the most are also the most isolated. Maybe if the thread hadn't gotten so fighty, we could have talked about that.
posted by nangar at 12:06 PM on April 1, 2011


It's so much more fun to collaborate on something with other Mefites (assuming they return their edits in a timely fashion, no names mentioned).

Yeah.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:11 PM on April 1, 2011


Because this is MetaTalk and short of comments actually threatening to harm someone [or weird firebomb sorts of comments] we generally don't delete comments here.

Awesome! In that case, honey-barbara said "I ... jumped ... a young child," and later stated that she was "on the verge of cutting her..." Real quotes, folks.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:20 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


a total misappropriation of my words like a kid using a sound editor on the State of the Union

Do people still do that? Man, I love those.
posted by box at 12:23 PM on April 1, 2011


Okie doke. MC, maybe work on that whole not-being-a-jerk-just-because-someone-else-was thing we've talked about for the nth time here, and maybe run future metatalk posts past someone else for a quick sanity check if you're still struggling with why the framing for this one sucked. Doesn't feel like there's much of anything getting done in here and you seem to be mostly in it for the sake of the fight.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:24 PM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


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