? is a Latin phrase traditionally attributed to the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires (Satire VI, lines 347–8), which is literally translated as "Who will April 30, 2011 10:36 AM   Subscribe

This seems a bit heavy-handed: "Unfortunately, restless_nomad, who is apparently a moderator, has told me that I cannot contribute to this thread any more."

lupus_yonderboy's comment, quoted above has since been removed from the thread.

I'm not exactly sure if, or why, he was told not to further comment, but as his two remaining comments in that thread each have 8 favorites, I don't think he can be said to have been trolling. To the contrary, he was making real contributions to the thread (despite my gently ribbing him).

It does look like restless_nomad did want to influence the direction of the thread, but it's not at all clear where to draw the line between restless_nomad's personal opinions and his official pronouncements as moderator.

But it looks to me like a difference of opinion ensued, and a moderator won the argument not on the merits, but on his power to tell a member to leave the thread. I don't think that's a good precedent.

Nor do I think it's good precedent in general for a moderator to referee in a thread where he's already been an active participant. The lines aren't clear, and the possibility of being a judge in one's own cause is too great.
posted by orthogonality to Etiquette/Policy at 10:36 AM (601 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Isn't restless_nomad a woman?
posted by box at 10:40 AM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I dunno, I tend not to keep track of that if it's not obvious from the username.
posted by orthogonality at 10:43 AM on April 30, 2011


it's not at all clear where to draw the line between restless_nomad's personal opinions and his official pronouncements as moderator.

First of all restless_nomad is female which is clear from her profile page. Secondly we'll often drop someone a note on the back end to let people know "Hey this thread seems to be becoming all about you, maybe you could ease back some for a while?" which is, I assume, what was happening. We don't have much in the way of power to make someone leave the thread unless they are causing a serious problem (we can give them the night off, we almost never do this), but if they're starting a fighty derail or something similar we'll often give them an opportunity to ease off on their own which we'd prefer to deleting comments. However if a thread is going to shit because one person is fighting with everyone in it or calling everyone names sometimes that's what we get to.

r_n was trying to get the thread to not turn into a toxic "republicans are evil" circle jerk and in doing so seemed to attract the attention of lupus yonderboy who, instead of taking things to MeTa, the mod contact form, or elsewhere, kept arguing about it, with her, in the thread. That's basically not okay and needs to go elsewhere. If r_n hadn't been on shift I would have done the same thing. r_n wasn't an active participant in that thread except to tell people to cool it as I read it, and very few comments were removed.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:45 AM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yay! My first MeTa!

So, there is some confusion here with the sequence of events. I removed one post by lupus_yonderboy and left the mod note. Lupus_yonderboy posted a less one-liner expansion of the deleted comment, and I clarified my mod note (although not using the mod style, which was probably overly confusing.) He responded again to discuss the moderation, which I deleted and took it to memail instead.

In that conversation I said "Please either engage in the discussion at hand or step away if you need to." Which I didn't intend and don't interpret as "You can't participate any more" but there it is. I wasn't participating in the thread in any other way (and don't intend to, because I agree that it's too hard to be on both sides at the same time.)

(And yeah I'm female, but no worries. If I cared I'd have a more obviously gendered username. And... name.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:51 AM on April 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


The title of this MeTa thread managed to take me back in time to last night, when I was tipsy! So tipsy..
posted by mannequito at 10:54 AM on April 30, 2011



r_n was trying to get the thread to not turn into a toxic "republicans are evil" circle jerk and in doing so seemed to attract the attention of lupus yonderboy who, instead of taking things to MeTa, the mod contact form, or elsewhere, kept arguing about it, with her, in the thread. That's basically not okay and needs to go elsewhere.


Well, first, it wasn't clear she was speaking as mod -- she spoke up in the thread, not via email, and I took it as her personal opinion, and I assume lupus did too.

Maybe when a mod is speaking as mod, they could use that little star you use next to your name to indicate that they're speaking officially.

So it wasn't clear that by arguing with a mod, lupus was doing something that's "basically not okay".

Second, lupus wasn't calling "fighting with everyone in it or calling everyone names" nor was the "thread going to shit". It was a perfectly good thread, which lupus was adding to.
posted by orthogonality at 10:55 AM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]



r_n was trying to get the thread to not turn into a toxic "republicans are evil" circle jerk and in doing so seemed to attract the attention of lupus yonderboy who, instead of taking things to MeTa, the mod contact form, or elsewhere, kept arguing about it, with her, in the thread.



Er............ why are you speaking for the other mod ? They're like a karate black belt or something, i'm sure they can stick up for themselves.
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:57 AM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


What the hell, is this pick on the mod day or something?
posted by Think_Long at 10:59 AM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


pb: perhaps we need a little warm glow coming from the letters to indicate the mod is speaking ex cathedra moderatum.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:00 AM on April 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


I am confused as i have just come from there and found L_Y's comments interesting - and in fact agreed with several things he said. The "evil" thing is a bit off, they are just people, however deranged they may be. Dahmer is maybe evil, republicans not so much.

also: Dear Mrs Nomad, please find enclosed 1 (one) Yurt. Thanks for shopping at nomadstuff.com ;)
posted by marienbad at 11:00 AM on April 30, 2011


Green belt :) And I'm totally happy for Jessamyn to chime in, since my name recognition is still well below most of Metafilter's power users.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:01 AM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Odd. It didn't seem there was any fightiness from LYB, but maybe I missed it. On preview, it seems I didn't see some posts, so I can't comment on that. Threadshitting is to be avoided and that's where mods come in. But I can't help but agree with ortho - this seems a case of over-moderation. Naturally, all mods are going to stick together, and that's to be expected regardless of merit, but the users too have opinions, right or wrong. The danger of over-moderation is that it chills participation, and this is exhibit A. LYB's contributions have been quite interesting and valuable. The upside to this kind of moderation is that the volume of posts drops dramatically, so there's that. For example, thanks to this type of moderation, I will no longer participate in any nutrition related askmefi, so win for all!
posted by VikingSword at 11:02 AM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


first, it wasn't clear she was speaking as mod -- she spoke up in the thread, not via email, and I took it as her personal opinion, and I assume lupus did too.

Yup, I think we understand where the confusion is coming from, but at some level if someone is dropping into a thread using mod style (as she did in her first comment, probably should have done in her second comment, okay.) and making mod-like pronouncements, I respect that someone might not know if someone was a mod, but clicking through to r_n's profile would have cleared that up fairly quickly. The "Go to MeTa and don't argue with mods in-thread" guideline has basically been around for years. If people are unclear or disagree, there is also the contact form which addresses all of us.

why are you speaking for the other mod ?

Because she's new and it's worth making a distinction between a situation where we'd be like "Errr, we wouldn't have done that; we'll address this with her" and when we're like "Yeah that's basically what we would have done"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:03 AM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't know, it didn't seem at all confusing to me. restless_nomad made a mod comment, lupus_yonderboy replied directly to that comment and questioned the policy, restless_nomad replied directly to that reply clarifying it. It doesn't seem like restless_nomad was engaged in the conversation at all except for those two comments, so I don't know where you're getting this "silencing dissent" angle.
posted by Errant at 11:04 AM on April 30, 2011


What the hell, is this pick on the mod day or something?

No, that's on Tuesday, 11am-2:30pm, there's a short break and then dinner is served 5pm-9pm.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:06 AM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know what was deleted, but the small/bracketed moderation note and subsequent comment about "the rabbithole" from restless_nomad seem weird and heavy-handed to me too, and I don't think it's fair to say "r_n wasn't an active participant in that thread except to tell people to cool it" (depending on what "cool it" means, at least), because she was trying to shift the terms of the discussion. The idea seems to be that the word "evil" — which came up organically in the course of a reasonable discussion, and indeed appears in quoted text within the FPP! — should be struck from the discussion because restless_nomad doesn't like it, or doesn't think it belongs in a discussion of politics, or thinks it's off-topic:
Both of which make for tedious, usually hostile, and actually fairly offtopic debate, so can we not, please? If you want to discuss specific policies that's fine but as soon as you start using words like "evil" and "crazy" we're down the rabbithole and there's no way out.
So suddenly it's not okay to talk about politics in moral/ethical or psychological terms? Why should only "specific policies" be allowed in this discussion — since when is generalizing against the rules? Nothing was wrong with talking about "evil" in the thread — it was part of Krugman's quoted writing and totally on-topic. Moderators shouldn't arbitrarily disallow words.
posted by RogerB at 11:07 AM on April 30, 2011 [17 favorites]


It does look like restless_nomad did want to influence the direction of the thread, but it's not at all clear where to draw the line between restless_nomad's personal opinions and his official pronouncements as moderator.

Is there another "official announcement" other than deletion of a comment?

Short of that, it seems to me, the mods have no more influence in a thread than anyone else.
posted by three blind mice at 11:07 AM on April 30, 2011


Speaking of silencing things....who else is still freaked out by Doctor Who last week? Check behind you....
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:09 AM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yup, I think we understand where the confusion is coming from, but at some level if someone is dropping into a thread using mod style (as she did in her first comment, probably should have done in her second comment, okay.) and making mod-like pronouncements, I respect that someone might not know if someone was a mod, but clicking through to r_n's profile would have cleared that up fairly quickly.

You need to make this less ambiguous; as it stands now, it's left up to the reader to figure out if a mod is speaking in her personal capacity (which it's presumably ok to disagree in-thread with) or in her mod capacity (which you've just underscored is "not okay" to disagree with publicly in-thread).
posted by orthogonality at 11:09 AM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Both of which make for tedious, usually hostile, and actually fairly offtopic debate, so can we not, please? If you want to discuss specific policies that's fine but as soon as you start using words like "evil" and "crazy" we're down the rabbithole and there's no way out.

I doubt it was meant to shut down discussion, but it's easy to see how it could be interpreted that way.

r_n, did you take Mod Voice 101?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:10 AM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


THIS THREAD IS A PERSONAL REFLECTION ON ME
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:15 AM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


"there's a short break and then dinner is served 5pm-9pm."
posted by Brandon Blatcher

Are you French?
posted by marienbad at 11:15 AM on April 30, 2011


Regarding the "evil" thing - it's really more that one-liner pronouncements that "Republicans (or Republican policies) are evil!" end up being total derails, because inevitably several people will take exception, and then we're discussing the exact degree of evilness of the Republicans instead of the current administration's economic policies. (The real irony is that kind of debate-steering was exactly what was being discussed in the thread at the time - it works just as well in forum discussions as in policy debates.)

So while I still feel pretty good about the original deletion and mod note, the second one was badly-formatted at best, and I apologize for the confusion.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:16 AM on April 30, 2011


I think this is a double.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:17 AM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are you French?

I doubt he is. The French are civilized—dinner would start much later.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:18 AM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised at the kind of threadgineering you are attempting, restless_nomad. Why intervene in this topic and not every other topic where people make some kind of kneejerk generalization?
posted by found missing at 11:20 AM on April 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


inevitably several people will take exception, and then we're discussing the exact degree of evilness of the Republicans instead of the current administration's economic policies

Who decided "the current administration's economic policies" are the only permitted subject in that thread? Why is this so, and how would someone participating in the thread be expected to know it?
posted by RogerB at 11:21 AM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm surprised at the kind of threadgineering you are attempting, restless_nomad. Why intervene in this topic and not every other topic where people make some kind of kneejerk generalization?

Because this one happened on my shift and got flagged?
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:22 AM on April 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


Are you French?

How do you think I got so many spouses?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:22 AM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


So while I still feel pretty good about the original deletion and mod note

And there you have it. If you were thinking, "well maybe it's an occasion for self-reflection, being a new mod and in a new role" rest assured, no such thing. Oy vey. Not very optimistic about this going forward. I guess:

.
posted by VikingSword at 11:24 AM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Because this one happened on my shift and got flagged?

Understood, but discretion in response to flagging would allow the thread to evolve and sort out the derails.
posted by found missing at 11:24 AM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, no, you're supposed to have one spouse and lots of mistresses.
posted by desjardins at 11:25 AM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's totally possible that it was an overreaction. That's probably going to be my failure mode for the first couple of months. Gotta say, though, looking at the thread this morning - it's a good thread. Interesting, nuanced, not fighty at all. Is that where it would have gone had that comment not been removed? Dunno. But I don't think it "shut down discussion" at all.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:29 AM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


But I don't think it "shut down discussion" at all.

Indeed, LYB's comment did not shut down the discussion at all. It was fine. The deletion sure shut down his further contributions though - indisputably. Oh well, as long as we are all in fact learning. And that's why, even if we are extremely reluctant, it's worth speaking up when mod-deletion abuse happens - because you're not going to hear it from other mods... it's awkward for them. But nonetheless, when you have this kind of outcry from so many users, it's time to reflect. Deletion should be a tool used with extreme care - better too rarely than too often, IMHO (IANAM - I Am Not A Mod).
posted by VikingSword at 11:36 AM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't see what the big deal is here, aside from giving some users the opportunity to play Cato to the big scary Mod Caesar.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 11:37 AM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


please delete that last ad hom comment.
posted by found missing at 11:39 AM on April 30, 2011


But I don't think it "shut down discussion" at all.

It's very easy, IMO, for the following to be seen as attempting to shut down the discussion and worse, police wording: If you want to discuss specific policies that's fine but as soon as you start using words like "evil" and "crazy" we're down the rabbithole and there's no way out.

It's a matter of being a mod and having authority, even when you're not trying to use that authority per se. I suspect anyone would have pilloried for a similar statement, but coming from a mod, in a political thread filled with people who are all sorts of resenting authority, it just sounds more commanding than you intended.

That's my take, at least.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:40 AM on April 30, 2011


Yeah. Looking at it again, it's clear that although it seems perfectly mild and harmless to me, that's because I can see the comment it's about. Without that, the context is lost and it sounds a lot more prescriptive than was intended. Definitely something I need to keep in mind in the future.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:48 AM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's totally possible that it was an overreaction. That's probably going to be my failure mode for the first couple of months. Gotta say, though, looking at the thread this morning - it's a good thread. Interesting, nuanced, not fighty at all. Is that where it would have gone had that comment not been removed? Dunno. But I don't think it "shut down discussion" at all.

Wow, just wow. I didn't have a problem with restless_nomad being mod prior to this, but the insensitivity and implied privilege of this comment really shocks me.

It's totally possible that it was an overreaction. That's probably going to be my failure mode for the first couple of months.

Translation: "Yeah, maybe I was heavy-handed. I'm probably going to be heavy-handedly deleting comments for months. SUCK IT, COMMONERS!"

Gotta say, though, looking at the thread this morning - it's a good thread. Interesting, nuanced, not fighty at all. Is that where it would have gone had that comment not been removed? Dunno.

Translation: "If not for my diligent policing, the terrorists would have won. The thread isn't good because of the comments made by various users, it's good because I micro-managed it. If you fools were left alone without me, it would have gone to Hell."

But I don't think it "shut down discussion" at all.

Translation: "Deleting someone's comments because they don't agree with my opinions, and bullying him into leaving the thread isn't "shutting down discussion", because everyone is still free to make comments I agree with."

Wow.
posted by orthogonality at 11:52 AM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've gotten the impression from a couple threads that people still don't realize that restless_nomad is a mod--people responding to her "Can we not do this here?" comments as if it's just general harping and not something official. Even though I know Jessamyn's star is special and was earned, I do think we need something both in-thread (a star of a different color?) and on profiles (different color background? Note below the name?) that instantly identifies a member as, in fact, an official mod.

So this meta is kinda meh, but can I have a pony instead?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:52 AM on April 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


Just speaking for myself - and nobody else, obviously - at this point, I think it's worth stepping back a bit. RN may say things that are not meant to be taken literally at this particular point... image and feelings and all that. So, let's see how this plays out from here on in rn's moderating, instead of making up our minds based on this thread. I sincerely hope rn pulls back a bit and realizes that no thread is ever going to be to anyone's perfect satisfaction, so there is no sense in jumping in trying to police things to some kind of personal ideal - especially if one's freaking out and fighting shadows and things that are not there. So I amend my "." to "?!" - hope!
posted by VikingSword at 11:59 AM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ugh, reading the above, I think I was too oblique. I meant, rn is a new mod, and however we feel - rightly or wrongly - we should cut some slack at this point. With a new mod there's hope, learning etc.; so missteps (in our judgment) are to be expected; it's when someone's been a mod for a long time, but still does egregious things, that it's time to give up in disgust. This is not it - from my point of view.
posted by VikingSword at 12:05 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, looking back over the thread and R_N's initial mod comment, it doesn't seem very different at all from jessamyn's typical mod comment. I mean, what's the diff between this and this? Sometimes threads get derailed via certain argumentative tacks, and mods step in and ask people not to be fighty--and the number of favorites shouldn't be the unit of measurement to decide whether or not someone is being fighty or derailing in unproductive ways. If r_n made a mistake there, it was to continue to debate with lupus_yonderboy's initial argument with her mod deletion (I think the way to respond to that would be to continue, in mod-small-text style, to direct people to MetaTalk, probably). I think this was exacerbated by the fact that people still don't know she's a mod, and are maybe bristling against the idea of a new mod. But the deletion seems fine, and the fears about her moderation style--or that she's using some kind of whatever bias to ensure that discussions agree with her--seem kind of like a ridiculous reaction to that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:08 PM on April 30, 2011


Because this one happened on my shift and got flagged?

Another reason to just show the feedback (flags or otherwise) directly to the poster. This would be more efficient than having a moderator stop by in their ambiguous roles and hint at being proactive when in fact they were just reactive.

Being pseudo-proactive in a thread is probably the worst policy, because manipulators can easily see that whining (and, by extension, ass-kissing) is taken seriously, and this can have disastrous consequences within the framework of their mental health treatment, besides being the source of all injustice. And it makes for a lousy forum where emotional feedback is more sound than reasoning, but that's just my opinion.

Personally, I do value terse moderation, but if it's not based on law or logic there's no constructive point to it and it's better left undone. Imagine a football game where the referees personally explain themselves at every call, maybe even enjoying themselves with snark or wit. It's beyond useless, and clearly jumping past simple policy enforcement into the very different role of weighed judgment between two parties, but without the individual cases being made. On that score, where is the official policy on moderators speaking as mod or not?
posted by Brian B. at 12:09 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


And that's why, even if we are extremely reluctant, it's worth speaking up when mod-deletion abuse happens - because you're not going to hear it from other mods... it's awkward for them.

Are you under the impression that we just handed her the keys and told her she could do no wrong? She's getting a ton of feedback. Talking in email us a pretty standard part of being on Team Mod.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:10 PM on April 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think the only problem here is that metafilter veers left and most of its users are used to talking about the enemy in terms of just that. Stupid, evil, crazy, what have you. The culture of doing this is incredibly ingrained here.

About every single political discussion in metafilter always has some one-sentence snark about Republicans that gets favorited by the likeminded.

Restless_nomad seems like she was trying to actually implement a general policy on what's been accepted culture at metafilter.

I applaud her efforts (I don't like political discussions that are cast in the conventional left/right terms), but just from this thread it seems many users are not ready to move beyond the accepted culture. IMHO.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:14 PM on April 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


Don't be too quick, r_n, and don't push too hard. It is not as though you aren't doing your job if you aren't pruning and warning! :) Watching and not doing anything is part of the job too. A light hand, I am sure this is what you are hearing from the other real mods in the back channels as we speak.

We've all seen derailed / fucked up threads, and this was not one of them. Even if l_y was beating his drum a little hard, hey, it wasn't getting personal and it wasn't getting hot.

Going forwards I hope you will keep this Meta in mind. Good luck and all the best!
posted by Meatbomb at 12:16 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This MeTa as written wasn't even "This is so wrong amirite?" as "This is so wrong iamrite". The kind of gross assumption of bad faith on the part of restless_nomad I see here strikes me as strange, at the very least.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 12:16 PM on April 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


SUCK IT, COMMONERS!

Ortho, I think you may be overreacting a bit here.

[Can we please not go down the "restless_nomad is evil! No she's not!" rabbithole? ]
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:17 PM on April 30, 2011 [20 favorites]


I felt there was some over-moderation here too. I had a snarky early comment that was deleted, and that was fine, but later there was a degree of trying to steer the discussion rather than maintain good behavior.

Republicans are evil isn't that controversial here, there are practically zero Republicans here to disagree, the problem threads are debates about Democrats. There are certainly times where stuff gets derailed into certain tired debates along those lines, but this FPP was too close to the topic to really force people away from it and comparisons to Republicans.

Republicans are pure evil is a valid viewpoint in debates about the merits of the left, even though I definitely disagree. You can make evidenced based allegations on that when you consider stuff like Iraq and torture.

The best way to avoid the derail is to just accept it as someone's opinion and not ask them to list out in detail why they have a negative opinion of them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:18 PM on April 30, 2011


Ortho, I think you may be overreacting a bit here.

It's totally possible that it was an overreaction. That's probably going to be my failure mode for the next couple of months.
posted by orthogonality at 12:19 PM on April 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


Actually though, I'd love to have more Republicans here so if you are going to enforce "Don't be mean to Republicans." as a general policy, I think that would be a good step. If not...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:19 PM on April 30, 2011


Another reason to just show the feedback (flags or otherwise) directly to the poster.

OK, though I'm pretty uneasy about using flags as the all-purpose moderation explanation. The mod should own up to their responsibilities, and not simply shift things to "oh well, they don't like it, sorry, so I had to delete it". This promotes the worst kind of tendencies of some flaggers. Just because a bunch of philistines or crybabies don't like something shouldn't be by itself grounds for a mod to take action - otherwise it'll soon turn into a sterile landscape where every group of aggrieved readers is satisfied and nothing worthwhile is ever said.
posted by VikingSword at 12:21 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I know both cortex and Jessamyn have said this, but flags are never the only reason to do anything. They do, however, draw our attention, so sometimes flagged stuff gets acted on while similar stuff that never gets flagged may not be.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:28 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


there was a degree of trying to steer the discussion rather than maintain good behavior

I am thinkiing about the "typical" mod comments and how this one from r-n kind of sticks out... Here are some typical but completely made up examples of what we see from team mod in a normal day:

[the rape jokes need to stop right now]
[the poster knows they made a mistake, please answer the question without telling them what a terrible person they are]
[deleted the massive peace treaty text dumps, Meatbomb please enjoy a week off]
[please argue the point without insulting other users]


Notice that these are putting out fires - a light hand otherwise, r-n. I cannot recall (it might well exist) a mod taking such a specific guiding hand to the conversation in a thread in the blue as you have just done in the example before us.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:29 PM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think this was a pretty crappy bit of moderation. For example, I don't see why lupus_yonderboy should catch mod flak while lazy bits of right-wing comment shit wind up being protected speech. That seems biased to me.

But that's the thing. I think you all are better off having no political threads at all than heavily moderated ones, because any heavily moderated thread is going to be moderated towards a particular stance, and all the heavy moderation is going to do is change "you're evil!" "no, you're evil!" to "mom, delete this" "no, mom, delete that!" which is crap, and the content of the threads are going to be dominated by people who learn how to game the mod's biases. Really, if you people don't want to have political threads here, then don't have political threads. That is all, I don't expect you'll listen, you really seem to think you're building the best place for debate anytime anywhere.
posted by furiousthought at 12:30 PM on April 30, 2011


Also, are people here assuming that r_n is republican or has a conservative bias based on the deletion? I don't know her but for some reason that would surprise me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:32 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


orthogonality: That's probably going to be my failure mode for the next couple of months.

That isn't your everyday mode?
posted by Stynxno at 12:34 PM on April 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


The thing is, though that I may not like the lazy bits of right-wing comment shit, but I'd rather it not be deleted. These are people's opinions, real ones. If we want more Republicans here, or even right-wingers (and I most certainly do), we'll have to accept what to us seems like lazy idiocy. I guess there's a line to be drawn somewhere at trolling (both right and left-wing), because that's no longer a sincere opinion, but how to tell when it's a troll and when not and always give the benefit of doubt... well, that's why I'm not a mod and don't envy them their task. Bottom line - better to undermoderate than overmoderate. And the one in question was a clear case of overmoderation IMHO.
posted by VikingSword at 12:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just heard about this thread, haven't read any of it yet... and there are a further 18 posts since I started writing this. :-(

From my viewpoint, I got a comment from rn, who I had no idea was a moderator, not liking what I'd written and I replied in what I felt was respectfully, explaining why I thoughtfully chose to use the words I did.

I then wandered into the Real World, when I came back to Mefi sometime later I had a Mefi mail with the subject "You were right" from rn. I thought, "Aww, he didn't have to do that," but in fact it was a message basically saying, "No, knock it off." I looked at rn's profile, confirmed that he was a moderator, I wrote back with a stiffly worded letter (it was the Subject: that riled me, basically) then posted a reasonably-nice "outta here" message on the thread.

Getting a response from rn, I discovered that two of my comments were deleted, which is hardly a huge thing. The general reason was mindless Republican bashing, which certainly had some element of truth to it - I just deleted a recap of what I thought were pretty reasonable arguments I'd made from here, because, well, it's not that important. :-)

I didn't even pay $5 and even if I had, it would have been a very long time ago, so I hardly feel it's a big deal.

Overall, I believed and still do that I was firmly within the guidelines with my comments, and am vaguely curious if I got flagged by someone else or not, but I don't want to get involved in any sort of brouhaha, as it is a lovely sunny day here...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


Is this where the recipes come in?
posted by VikingSword at 12:41 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, other than that first comment, which seemed like a quick, one-liner derail, the only real issue was the "take moderation discussion out of the thread" guideline. If your second comment hadn't been framed as a "let's talk about whether or not that mod note is good" it would have been fine. And confusion about whether I'm a mod or not is totally understandable at this point.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:41 PM on April 30, 2011


NO RECIPES UNTIL THE FLAMEOUT
posted by ryanrs at 12:42 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


And confusion about whether I'm a mod or not is totally understandable at this point.

Especially with a name like nomod
posted by found missing at 12:43 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Maybe I should be restless_yesmod? restless_themod?
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:45 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


And take a six digit user id? Because if you think we're giving you a hard time now... oh man.
posted by ryanrs at 12:47 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the feature request above to make the moderators' username in a different color or something could help newer users and newer mods.

I like the treatment at Reddit where an admin's name is red but the admin can also chose to post their comments under the regular color when they are not speaking in an official capacity.
posted by birdherder at 12:50 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


birdherder: I like the treatment at Reddit where an admin's name is red but the admin can also chose to post their comments under the regular color when they are not speaking in an official capacity.

Reddit is moderated?
posted by paisley henosis at 12:53 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jokes aside: I'm only reading the recaps in this thread, but I have to say I hate the tidying-up deletions. If somebody gets scolded or asked to fuck off or says fuck it I'm out or whatever, let it stand. It just makes things more transparent.

It isn't like there is a premium on space or a ceiling on the number of comments per day or thread or whatever.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:55 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's fairly easy to color the mod names yourself if you have a browser which lets you add own styles. For instance:
.comments .smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/1"], /* mathowie */
.smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/191"], /* pb */
.smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/292"], /* jessamyn */
.smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/7418"], /* cortex */
.smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/10705"], /* vacapinta */
.smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/28936"] /* restless_nomad */
{color:red !important;}

Will color the usernames of mods etc. red. I only use it on metatalk, but it should work on all subsites.
posted by bjrn at 12:56 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


If there's one thing that MeFites can do better than piling on the religious, Republicans, and cat declawers, it's piling on mods.
posted by dw at 12:58 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jokes aside: I'm only reading the recaps in this thread, but I have to say I hate the tidying-up deletions. If somebody gets scolded or asked to fuck off or says fuck it I'm out or whatever, let it stand. It just makes things more transparent.

The "I'm out" post actually got deleted an hour before this went up - I totally would have left it, otherwise. (Orthogonality must have had a cached version.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:00 PM on April 30, 2011


How about one of those temporary thin bars along the very top of the page which announces r_n is a mod? Like the ones used in the past for the 10th anniversary, and so forth?

Having that up for a month or so would alert an awful lot of readers who might not have seen the official announcement, read MT, or otherwise be clued in.
posted by Rumple at 1:01 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


There she goes again.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:03 PM on April 30, 2011


Yup, I am on shift :)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:04 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, are people here assuming that r_n is republican or has a conservative bias based on the deletion?

No, I'd assumed she was probably in the mainstream Mefi left. My complaint isn't about ideology, it's about the heavy-handedness.

I think it's probably a case of being new to the job. I think that when lupus expanded on his comment about Republicans, restless_nomad took that as challenging her authoritah, and her ego got involved.
posted by orthogonality at 1:04 PM on April 30, 2011


Holy crap, she deleted an askme from Mutant?! He is one of the most respected members of this site. What's next, a timeout for Miko?
posted by ryanrs at 1:05 PM on April 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


I think the people asking for the mod toggle switch in threads are missing the point. A feature like that gives the impression of a heavier hand, not a lighter one.

jessamyn and cortex have been doing day-to-day moderation and have been very visible for several years now. They are doing an exceptional job but it's easy to forget that their moderation styles and this community have co-evolved. Bringing a new person into the fold is a non-trivial task, and there will be differences in restless_nomad's style just as there are differences between the styles of jessamyn and cortex.

The job of a MeFi mod requires Sisphyean patience and continuous willingness to give others the benefit of the doubt. I think we could all take a page from that book when we conduct ourselves on this site.
posted by anifinder at 1:05 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


There are no republicans here? I'm a Republican, but then I'm English, so a slightly different interpretation is required.
posted by marienbad at 1:07 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think that when lupus expanded on his comment about Republicans, restless_nomad took that as challenging her authoritah, and her ego got involved.

I'm a little confused. I didn't touch lupus's expanded comment, although I did try to clarify my position (which, as we've covered, would have worked much better in memail to lupus rather than as an in-thread remark) and only deleted his next comment because, well, it really needed to be in memail.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:07 PM on April 30, 2011


I think the people asking for the mod toggle switch in threads are missing the point. A feature like that gives the impression of a heavier hand, not a lighter one.

Ironically, I think mod deletion comments from other mods are usually phrased in a more authoritarian tone that indicates that if posters want to debate points, they should take it to metatalk. I don't really think a light hand--particularly when people don't even realize that a mod is a mod and not a member--does anything but encourage people to argue with the mods and try to undermine them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:08 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow on the Mutant deletion from me too. Hmm. I don't know. I'm trying to stay optimistic, a fixed smile on my face, as the flames are licking outside the window.
posted by VikingSword at 1:09 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Listen, if restless_mod would just reveal her birth certificate, we could move on.
posted by found missing at 1:09 PM on April 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


I just want to say that I'm frankly quite embarrassed by the asshattery on display in this thread. I'm going to choose to believe that it's just people being jokey in a difficult-to-parse way, even though I suspect it's quite serious.
posted by wierdo at 1:11 PM on April 30, 2011 [37 favorites]


s/it's/they're/
posted by wierdo at 1:12 PM on April 30, 2011


I'm trying to stay optimistic, a fixed smile on my face, as the flames are licking outside the window.

::rolls eyes::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:13 PM on April 30, 2011 [35 favorites]


wierdo: I just want to say that I'm frankly quite embarrassed by the asshattery on display in this thread. I'm going to choose to believe that it's just people being jokey in a difficult-to-parse way, even though I suspect it's quite serious

Meanwhile I'm having trouble parsing this as anything other than "we must not question the Authority figures," so if that's not what you're going for you might want to clarify.
posted by paisley henosis at 1:14 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


jessamyn and cortex have been doing day-to-day moderation and have been very visible for several years now.

r_n is a weekend mod, so it's probably going to be trickier since she'll only be in official capacity on certain days. We should just try to remember that she's not out to get us or destroy Metafilter. Everybody just fasten your seat belt, it's going to be little bumpy for everyone

The mod badge isn't a bad idea, but probably needs to be thought out a bit. All of ya'll not me freaked out over the flag experiment, I can't imagine Mod Badges will be received well by Metafilter's someone irritable populous. Maybe just a note from r_n with her comments, something like "Hey, new weekend mod here, maybe we could tone the grar a bit in this thread before we go driving off a cliff?" What do ya'll think?

Holy crap, she deleted an askme from Mutant?! He is one of the most respected members of this site. What's next, a timeout for Miko?

Miko's been acting up a lot lately, I saw two misspellings in one of her comments. TWO! She's outta control.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:16 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's totally possible that it was an overreaction. That's probably going to be my failure mode for the next couple of months.

Oh my god that's so hilarious! Gosh, your wit sure does put the new mod in her place! What a lucky, lucky mod!

Good effin' christ. Mods get questioned all the fucking time, and they seem to do their best to explain their actions and stuff. The assumption that they're acting on bad faith and love reveling in their awesome powers is incredibly weird to me. It's totally possible to question and disagree with a deletion without sneering, assuming the mod has a hidden agenda, or generally acting like a jerk. Some people here seem to be unable to do that, and I think that sucks.
posted by rtha at 1:18 PM on April 30, 2011 [57 favorites]


Holy crap, she deleted an askme from Mutant?! He is one of the most respected members of this site. What's next, a timeout for Miko?

A deletion's merit should be considered on the content of the deleted post, not the status of the poster.
posted by Think_Long at 1:18 PM on April 30, 2011 [21 favorites]


I dunno. If Mutant called my mom a whore, I'd be like, "Mom!?"
posted by ryanrs at 1:19 PM on April 30, 2011 [30 favorites]


Wow on the Mutant deletion from me too. Hmm. I don't know. I'm trying to stay optimistic, a fixed smile on my face, as the flames are licking outside the window.

If I offered to personally send you your $5 out of my own pocket, would you leave and never come back?
posted by dw at 1:20 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's fairly easy to color the mod names yourself if you have a browser which lets you add own styles.

Sure, it is easy for you. But I think there's greater utility to having this feature built-in than on a one-off basis for people wanting to tinker.
posted by birdherder at 1:23 PM on April 30, 2011


All of ya'll not me freaked out over the flag experiment, I can't imagine Mod Badges will be received well by Metafilter's someone irritable populous.

As one of the freakers, I freaked because it changed the function of the site for me. I'm talking about things working in an otherwise identical way except that there's some visual cue that the mods are doin' their jobs, as they've always done. People already incorrectly assume that that's what jessamyn's gold star means (as evidenced in this thread).

Meanwhile I'm having trouble parsing this as anything other than "we must not question the Authority figures," so if that's not what you're going for you might want to clarify.

Eh? The mods generally do a stunning job here, and even if I don't always agree with their choices (see: aforementioned freaking about the great favorites experiment of aught-ten), I've yet to see any actions on their part that can't be attributed to good faith efforts to keep the community running smoothly.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:27 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pony thread's over there.
posted by rhizome at 1:27 PM on April 30, 2011


I'm pretty sure this discussion has been had before, about mods being able to post as themselves and as mods with some switch, and I'm pretty sure the message was that it wasn't going to happen (although of course, things might have changed).
posted by bjrn at 1:27 PM on April 30, 2011


It's fairly easy to color the mod names yourself if you have a browser which lets you add own styles. For instance:
.comments .smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/1"], /* mathowie */
.smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/191"], /* pb */
.smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/292"], /* jessamyn */
.smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/7418"], /* cortex */
.smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/10705"], /* vacapinta */
.smallcopy a[href="http://www.metafilter.com/user/28936"] /* restless_nomad */
{color:red !important;}
Will color the usernames of mods etc. red. I only use it on metatalk, but it should work on all subsites.
posted by bjrn at 12:56 PM on April 30 [1 favorite +] [!]


Can you do a different color for each mod? The mods becoming sixcolors is a sign of the End Times.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:28 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


If I offered to personally send you your $5 out of my own pocket, would you leave and never come back?

And who are you exactly? What $5? I didn't pay to join, it was comped by mathowie. Or is the $5 some kind of bribe? You bore me. Now run along.
posted by VikingSword at 1:28 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ten.
posted by box at 1:31 PM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


paisley henosis: "Meanwhile I'm having trouble parsing this as anything other than "we must not question the Authority figures," so if that's not what you're going for you might want to clarify."

There's a significant difference between "questioning authority" and "being an asshat," so if you're trying to say that "questioning authority" automatically rules out "being an asshat," you might want to clarify.
posted by wierdo at 1:31 PM on April 30, 2011


L_YB usually brings data to support his thesis concerning this issue. Also, we bring our passion and desire and anger at times. I'm not sure this is one of those. R_N made the call and we should respect that. Also, totally support L_YB assertion of not knowing about her being a mod. i did similar things popping in meta with goofy one-liners and there was cortex with a some good lines in response. my intial reaction was WTF, you wanna play? and then

oh, OH. I simply did not know, ignorance for sure but once known, it is a much better site IMO.

R_N, IMO is handling this well, if there seems to be some heavy hand in the perception, perhaps work it through with her, i believe this person to be honest and here to help.

maybe R_N should get a green belt for the '_' just for a while.

also want to apologize L_YB for the most recent unpleastness between some exchanges. To be fair, I wish not be do these things again but we also need community policing. A note from member to me if i was really off the deep end would be met with respect. (aside from the last incident, for which i discussed with another member. It helped, even if to say "I am being a bully and i do not like it)
we need to reach out more in mefi mail concerning these issues.
posted by clavdivs at 1:32 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


there is a big difference between making a reasoned argument and calling other people asshats
posted by found missing at 1:32 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


since my name recognition is still well below most of Metafilter's power users. --- Bit of an adjustment, I guess. You're the first mod who hasn't been around here for awhile, so it's not surprising that you're being treated like a bit of an interloper.
posted by crunchland at 1:33 PM on April 30, 2011


Really, there are a lot of dick comments being made in this thread, and not by r_n.
She didn't say or do anything anymore less heavyhanded than any of the other mods do on a regular basis. She is responding to feedback by looking at what she wrote, checking what she posted, and accepting the criticism. She's new, she's working on her tone, she's friendly and open. She's doing fine.

So shut up already.

Can we have cookies now?
I want lemon coolers.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


Or is the $5 some kind of bribe? You bore me. Now run along.

Did you get out of bed on the wrong side or something this morning? And flames licking at the windows? Jesus - drama much? Go outside or something.
posted by rtha at 1:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes, found missing, there is. There's also a difference between criticism and ridicule. A difference between rudeness and politeness. I saw a lot of comments that read to me like "you're a bad, bad because you deigned to intervene in a thread like the other mods," only in a much less polite manner. I call that asshattery, and I have a tendency to respond in kind.
posted by wierdo at 1:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, with the Mutant deletion, I wonder if restless_nomad maybe doesn't know the site regulars very well.
posted by ryanrs at 1:36 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


A bad, bad mod even.
posted by wierdo at 1:36 PM on April 30, 2011


I am a registered Republican. I avoid political threads. Take that as you wish.


If the new mod is responsible for deleting my askme yesterday I owe her a thank you. My problem got straightened out literally seconds later and I was cringing a bit over it being out there and me with no way to delete it myself.

I personally would like this site to dial down calling other groups "evil." MEMBERS of a particular group can do something "evil"-or perhaps do something that another group will call evil but will simply be the result of a differing viewpoint-but I for one think one of the main problems this country faces is the demonization of "other" no matter who or what "other" is. Namecalling and mudslinging and label slinging do not make for reasoned discourse; it's easier cheaper and lazier to call someone by a negative label than to discuss the nuances of that someone's actions and the ramifications of it. There are a lot of shades of grey in this world. If metafilter could calm down and take a breath and use their considerable collective brainpower to parse those shades of grey instead of chose teams and call the other team evil, we'd all be better for it.


Okay, that said, I myself am puzzled by Mutant's question being deleted.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:36 PM on April 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


You're the first mod who hasn't been around here for awhile, so it's not surprising that you're being treated like a bit of an interloper.

She's been here for five years. It seems so bizarre to me that she's being treated like a complete newbie unfamiliar with our community norms.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:37 PM on April 30, 2011 [19 favorites]


I can't imagine Mod Badges will be received well

What are you talking about? I, for one, would be delighted!
posted by scody at 1:38 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Really, there are a lot of dick comments being made in this thread, and not by r_n.... So shut up already.

It amuses me how, when defending authority, any norms about civility ("So shut up already") go out the window, even if authority is being defended by saying that its critics are being impolite and uncivil ("a lot of dick comments").
posted by orthogonality at 1:39 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, with the Mutant deletion, I wonder if restless_nomad maybe doesn't know the site regulars very well.

Shouldn't everyone be treated the same? Some of you are coming off ass elitist.
posted by futz at 1:40 PM on April 30, 2011 [25 favorites]


...typo. funny typo though!
posted by futz at 1:40 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


She's been here for five years. --- And in that time, until very recently, she's left fewer comments than the Whelk leaves in 24 hours.
posted by crunchland at 1:41 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


orthogonality: "It amuses me how, when defending authority, any norms about civility ("So shut up already") go out the window, even if authority is being defended by saying that its critics are being impolite and uncivil ("a lot of dick comments")."

You really can't see the value of (or motivation in) responding in kind? We don't all get to be Jesus Christ, you know.
posted by wierdo at 1:42 PM on April 30, 2011


Mutant's question appears to be back.

She's been here for five years. It seems so bizarre to me that she's being treated like a complete newbie unfamiliar with our community norms.

Her participation seems heavily skewed to AskMe.
posted by Rumple at 1:42 PM on April 30, 2011


An answer to Mutant's question would just about have put him all the way through grad school and several months into post doc work. It was pretty broad. So, yeah, I can see why its not there anymore. If your'e asking someone to write an advice book for you, AskMe is not the place.

No offense to Mutant, I hope. I just understand why the question didn't stand.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:43 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wish you assholes would stop calling each other names.
posted by found missing at 1:43 PM on April 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


What the heck, people? It's not our job to moderate mods. The nitpicky, sarcastic harshness in this thread is damn shameful. Many of the comments read to me like over-the-top, personal attacks on restless_nomad and I just don't get it. wth.

(And if this FPP is a post-podcast joke, then I'm at a loss for ever understanding orthogonality's idea of funny.)

Also, Mutant's question deletion was sound, IMHO. That was like 20 questions and a total mess. How could anybody possibly answer all that? And what kind of precedent does that set if it got to stay?
posted by iamkimiam at 1:44 PM on April 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


And in that time, until very recently, she's left fewer comments than the Whelk leaves in 24 hours.

Do we count comments now to figure out who's in and who's out? Sheesh, one moments it's user numbers. Another, it's favorites. I can't keep up!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:45 PM on April 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


I personally would like this site to dial down calling other groups "evil."

Ain't it cute how you want to dial back the rhetoric and hate?

"My 4 year old grandson uses the word "democrat" instead of "booger nose" as a perjorative term."
posted by to sir with millipedes at 1:46 PM on April 30, 2011


I wonder if the mods are all enjoying a drink and toasting to r_n's first MeTa thrashing. It must be considered some sort of initiation at this point.
posted by Think_Long at 1:46 PM on April 30, 2011


Shouldn't everyone be treated the same?

No. Some members are more prone to drama and fightiness than others. Some members post so many questions it verges on selfishness / abuse of the site. I believe effective moderation requires knowledge of who's who.
posted by ryanrs at 1:47 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, I am not uncivil very often. But ortho, some of your comments are very hostile, to someone who is new at the job, trying hard, and doing fine. They do come off as sounding pretty dickish to me. Maybe you don't mean them that way, but they are pretty darn harsh. I don't know what you want to see happen. What answer would satisfy you? Seriously.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:49 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't keep up! --- Cortex and Jessamyn were both here for quite a while, and participated in the site pretty heavily before they were made mods. restless_nomad, not so much. I'm just suggesting a reason why people might be reacting badly, not endorsing it.
posted by crunchland at 1:49 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


But ortho, some of your comments are very hostile,

Which of my comments, SLC Mom, are as hostile as your "So shut up"? Really, please point them out to me so I can better understand what angered you so much as compel you to an civility you do not "very often" display.
posted by orthogonality at 1:52 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, I'd assumed the latter (hard to tell when it seems there are people actually endorsing this sort of thing in the same thread).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:52 PM on April 30, 2011


Jessamyn undeleted Mutant's question.
posted by ryanrs at 1:57 PM on April 30, 2011


restless_nomad took that as challenging her authoritah, and her ego got involved.

It's totally possible that it was an overreaction. That's probably going to be my failure mode for the next couple of months.

Wow, just wow. I didn't have a problem with restless_nomad being mod prior to this, but the insensitivity and implied privilege of this comment really shocks me.


Ortho, if you don't recognize these as at least being slightly hostile, you may need to re evaluate your barometer.
posted by Think_Long at 1:57 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a general thought: I think it would be cool, babies, if folks could consider being as gracious to the new mod and her learning curve as they would expect (or at least hope?) to be treated if they themselves had started a new job that was open to one of the world's largest peanut galleries. But maybe I'm just happy with my shiny new mod badges, which are going to look super on my new jacket.
posted by scody at 1:58 PM on April 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


It was your 'translations' that set me off, ortho.
Putting word slike 'Suck it, commoners' into somebody else's mouth?
I think that really is beyond the pale.

I'm to step away, because I really don't want to be all fighty about this.

I just think we need to give people a chance, and this thread is not the way to go.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:59 PM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


No. Some members are more prone to drama and fightiness than others. Some members post so many questions it verges on selfishness / abuse of the site. I believe effective moderation requires knowledge of who's who.

People get one question a week. That is not abuse. That is you deciding that is abuse/selfishness? I cannot parse that statement.

As for your other statement about drama and fighting...that is what flags are for. She has been here 5 years and has some awesome mentors. Your comments speak to an ownership and sense of entitlement that once again, I do not parse.
posted by futz at 1:59 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi: Eh? The mods generally do a stunning job here, and even if I don't always agree with their choices (see: aforementioned freaking about the great favorites experiment of aught-ten), I've yet to see any actions on their part that can't be attributed to good faith efforts to keep the community running smoothly.

I wasn't saying in a general sense "everyone who says _______ is a head-in-sand fool," I was saying that the person I quoted was saying something that an asshole might say.
posted by paisley henosis at 2:02 PM on April 30, 2011


Putting word slike 'Suck it, commoners' into somebody else's mouth?
I think that really is beyond the pale.


Fair enough. I should have explicitly prefaced that with "restless_nomad, while I'm sure you don't mean for it to come off this way, this is how your blithe response reads to me".

And I appreciate your following up, rather than ducking the question.

But the idea that she acknowledged that she probably overreacted, but not only wouldn't then correct her overreaction but just told us to expect months more of overreaction did -- does -- anger me.
posted by orthogonality at 2:03 PM on April 30, 2011


Realistically, it will take a while for restless_nomad to earn the trust and respect of the community. If she's an excellent mod, then eventually she'll be accepted by just about everyone (minus a few unbalanced individuals, I'm sure). This process will probably take a year or longer.
posted by ryanrs at 2:05 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


iamkimiam: What the heck, people? It's not our job to moderate mods. The nitpicky, sarcastic harshness in this thread is damn shameful. Many of the comments read to me like over-the-top, personal attacks on restless_nomad and I just don't get it. wth.

It is, literally, Jess's and Cortex's job (I don't know if r_n gets paid,) to keep this site going the way that people want it going. If they "moderate" it to the point where 90% of the users hate the way the site is now then they did a shitty job at their job. For that reason, it is important for the users to be able to give feedback, otherwise the only options we little people have are deal with it or fuck off.

It's fantastic that Jess and Cortex usually listen, whether or not it changes their minds. Telling people to stop talking to them is ridiculous.
posted by paisley henosis at 2:06 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am a paid employee, yes (albeit part-time.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:09 PM on April 30, 2011


I don't know if r_n gets paid

To deal with this kind of aggravation, she'd better.
posted by ryanrs at 2:10 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, I thought we all got checks. Sorry you guys aren't.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:11 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


YOUR AD VIEWS AT WORK.
Mefi Dept of Moderation.

posted by ryanrs at 2:12 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]



iamkimiam: What the heck, people? It's not our job to moderate mods.



Metafilter is, (in theory at least) a self policing site.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:17 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


R_N, this was a good deletion. Nice job. Attagirl! (Even to the extra effort of removing the spammer's link!)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:18 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is restless_nomad's Kobayashi Maru test. You can't possibly win the Kobayashi Maru because it's supposed to measure you up and test your character.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:18 PM on April 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


r_n was trying to get the thread to not turn into a toxic "republicans are evil" circle jerk

I appreciate and respect the moderation/ers of MetaFilter quite a bit, but in this case I think addressing an existing issue would have worked better than anticipating a potential one. Another opinion from the peanut gallery.
posted by carsonb at 2:18 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Metafilter is, (in theory at least) a self policing site.

And yet we have mods, so it's not a self-policing site but a moderated site.
posted by dw at 2:19 PM on April 30, 2011


But the idea that she acknowledged that she probably overreacted, but not only wouldn't then correct her overreaction but just told us to expect months more of overreaction did -- does -- anger me.

This is a strangely uncharitable and hostile interpretation of what she said, it seems to me. I interpreted it to mean that she knows she'll be learning how to balance what she is recognizing as her own tendencies/impulses/weaknesses with the needs/expectations of the site. In other words, she'll continue to make some mistakes and will learn from them.

Why would that make you angry? If you were a new mod, would you expect that you'd perfectly hit the balance the first time around? These are not sarcastic questions. These aren't even questions I particularly expect you to answer in this thread.

But really, the whole profoundly aggrieved tone just seems... off-base.
posted by scody at 2:21 PM on April 30, 2011 [63 favorites]


But the idea that she acknowledged that she probably overreacted, but not only wouldn't then correct her overreaction but just told us to expect months more of overreaction did -- does -- anger me.

Make an effort to get over it, then, because her acknowledging that there's a learning curve to a new job and that she's going to spend some time navigating that and hence inevitably ruffling more feathers along the way is about the most sane and straightforward response available. What's the alternative, tuck tail and promise not to delete anything that might bother someone again just to be safe?

Our job involves removing stuff, leaving notes, making all sorts of little judgement calls about what works and what doesn't on this site. Feedback about that stuff is okay—this sort of thread is fundamentally fine as far as that goes—but just as Jeremy might have some bumpy bit figuring out the nuances of how best to communicate about a mod decision, there's certainly better and worst ways to raise criticism about any of that stuff and this has not been in a lot of respects a good showing on that front.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:21 PM on April 30, 2011 [25 favorites]


People get one question a week. That is not abuse. That is you deciding that is abuse/selfishness?

A few members post precisely one question per week, to the day. I believe those users should get less leeway vis-a-vis multiple sub-questions in a post.

She has been here 5 years and has some awesome mentors. Your comments speak to an ownership and sense of entitlement that once again, I do not parse.

I'm not sure what you're not getting here. I've been here a long time and I do feel a sense of entitlement and ownership. You should, too.
posted by ryanrs at 2:23 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


What $5? I didn't pay to join, it was comped by mathowie.

wow, mefi has affirmative action for assholes, who knew
posted by generalist at 2:23 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am a registered Republican
so, we are the last.
posted by clavdivs at 2:25 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


[generalist - welcome to the club. memail me your paypal address and I'll comp your $5]
posted by ryanrs at 2:26 PM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


generalist: wow, mefi has affirmative action for assholes, who knew

But I'm sure that this furthered the conversation in a productive way, right?
posted by paisley henosis at 2:26 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


If they "moderate" it to the point where 90% of the users hate the way the site is now then they did a shitty job at their job.

If we get to the point where 10% of the users hate the place, heck 5%, we're probably doing something wrong. And honestly, there are many channels of communication about mod stuff including talking to us, talking to Matt, using the contact form, and opening a MeTa thread. They're all fine.

But seriously, if you're angry or upset about things, it's fine to say "Hey I'm angry about this" but a lot less okay to just act out angrily and presume that r_n is acting in some completely assholish way. Put another way: if you already don't like the site, the addition of another mod is unlikely to help you like it more. If you like the site okay we'd appreciate some trust and patience, not that you can't question what's going on, but doing so with nasty sarcasm and presumed bad intentions on the parts of the mods [new and old] just makes talking about this stuff worse when everyone feels oppositional.

We brought in a mod on a schedule so that cortex and I could, conceivably, have some weekend time and not work seven days a week. This will, presumably, make us happier. There's a learning curve to a new person [and even one for all of us getting used to having anyone on a schedule at all] and we expect people to be patient and understanding. This does not mean STFU, but it does mean to try to differentiate what's constructive useful feedback for the mods and the rest of the community to have and what's just venting. If you can't tell the difference we'll be happy to help you out with that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:27 PM on April 30, 2011 [33 favorites]


A few members post precisely one question per week, to the day. I believe those users should get less leeway vis-a-vis multiple sub-questions in a post.

Insofar as we've had a few users over the years who've been sort of pathological about to-the-minute weekly asking, you could say there's a tiny category of "folks who get less leeway" that are people we've had to talk to and try and figure out how to break that weird cycle.

The other category is Everybody Else. There is no "only asks occasionally and people really like him so he gets extra slack" category that anybody gets to be in where stuff that we think should go gets to stay after all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:33 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


My point is that Mutant clearly isn't in the category of "folks who get less leeway".
posted by ryanrs at 2:38 PM on April 30, 2011


Mutant said your mother is a subprime mortgage lender.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:43 PM on April 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


Liar.
posted by ryanrs at 2:45 PM on April 30, 2011


My point is that Mutant clearly isn't in the category of "folks who get less leeway".

And I guess the implied point here is that I don't see anything here that indicates it's something where he's being treated by some sort of less-leeway standard, so what has that got to do with it? Detailed discussion of that particular question/deletion/etc stuff is probably best for the Metatalk that Mutant started about it, but in any case the question was indeed sprawling in a way that's borderline at best and restless_nomad wasn't like "oh, it's you, fie, fie!" in the deletion reason.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:48 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


If we aren't going with mod badges, is there any chance that when a new mod is hired, we could get a mass MeFiMail announcing, "There is a new mod. Her/his name is _____."

I easily recognize r_n as a user who's been around for a while, but if I'd seen the "[comment removed etc.]" in small font in that thread before coming here, I'd have initially assumed it was just a joke or snark from a regular user. We have very few mods, and getting a new one is a rare event, so seeing "mod comments" from someone long known not to be a mod is bound to create some cognitive dissonance.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:50 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


her acknowledging that there's a learning curve to a new job and that she's going to spend some time navigating that and hence inevitably ruffling more feathers along the way is about the most sane and straightforward response available.

Yeah, this. My role at work is changing, and I'm taking on stuff I've never had to do before. It's all well and good, but acknowledging that I'm going to be slower at doing it at first, and that I might not do things exactly the way they've always been done, and that I might make mistakes, is not some giant "fuck you, suck it up" to my colleagues, and if any of them accused me of that I'd be pissed off and insulted. It's a shitty assumption to make, and I'd expect an apology from someone who accused me like that.
posted by rtha at 2:53 PM on April 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


If we get to the point where 10% of the users hate the place, heck 5%, we're probably doing something wrong.

Cruel Shoes
posted by Brian B. at 2:55 PM on April 30, 2011


I agree with orthogonality's interpretation of r_n's "failure mode" remark; in fact, I don't see any other way to read it. I thought it was common sense that one should err on the side of caution when starting out in any new job.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:16 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


That you are willing to interpret a mod's remark and the moderation of this site in general in the worst light possible is a) unsurprising and b) not a great recommendation for that being the correct interpretation of it.
posted by rtha at 3:20 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


I disagree with orthogonality's interpretation of r_n's "failure mode" remark; in fact, I don't see any other way to read it. I thought it was common sense that one should err on the side of cutting someone a break when they are starting out in any new job.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:22 PM on April 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


I've gotten the impression from a couple threads that people still don't realize that restless_nomad is a mod

Admittedly I'm not in the mix as much as I used to be, but I've felt sort of in the dark on the weekend mod thing. I think I first heard about it in the podcast, but it was just a passing reference, and only found out who it was by looking for the announcement MeTa - and even then, it wasn't a name that I could put a MeFi face to. That's not to say r_n's a bad choice (Though I'm glad Mutant's AskMe was restored), but maybe the situation could be communicated a little better.

I just want to say that I'm frankly quite embarrassed by the asshattery on display in this thread.

Anyone else remember when cortex joined Team Mod? That was, like, a solid week of MeTa asshattery, IIRC. And probably some of the same asshats, to boot!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:26 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, I expect to make mistakes when I start a new gig too, but I don't think the fact that it is inevitable that I will make them means that I shouldn't show any contrition when I do.
posted by enn at 3:26 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


She's apologized. What else do you want her to do? Self-immolate?
posted by That's Numberwang! at 3:28 PM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


cortex is a mod ?!

This explains a lot.
posted by found missing at 3:28 PM on April 30, 2011 [21 favorites]


You ever been the moderator of a community you care about? It's a huge leap, and it's very difficult. You have to do the moderating, otherwise things catch on fire, and people get hurt. Every single decision (okay, maybe I wasn't such an awesome moderator) gets questioned. People tell you what your motivation is, your intent, and repercussions of your supposedly careless moderation (no matter how light handed you try to be). They threaten to leave, demand changes, claim prejudice. They wait until you're asleep/off duty and try and break the system - just for fun!

AND to top it all off, quite often you can't say what you want anymore. A simple joke becomes a coded attack at a group who don't support you (WTF?), a disagreement of fact is heavyhanded team mod.

You think you can imagine what it's like to moderate, but then, you think you know what it's going to be like to parent. Wrong both counts. It's rewarding and difficult. It changes how you behave. It changes your relationship with people you've known for ages. Moderating was one of the biggest learning experiences of my adult life.

I'm not saying we should never question mod decisions, but if we do, let it be with courteousy and goodwill, because that's the way they treat us.
posted by b33j at 3:28 PM on April 30, 2011 [20 favorites]


I thought it was common sense that one should err on the side of caution when starting out in any new job.

There's erring on the side of caution and then there's paralysis in the face of uncertainty. The former is probably good, the latter is not workable, and the only way to avoid stepping on toes is the latter. "I will continue to do things that annoy someone" is basic pragmatic awareness of the nature of the situation; believing otherwise would be either self-delusion or a really unworkable acquiescence to the forces of grumpiness.

Years into this job me and Jess and even Matt still regularly get pushback on mod stuff that one or another person thinks was overzealous or out of line or so on. It's part of the job even when things are going as smoothly as we can possibly make them. It's gonna be bumpier yet for restless_nomad for a while as she gets used to which buttons are sensitive to being pushed and which conflict-resolution strategies work best around here.

I certainly remember plenty of that from when I came on board. Some of it was my own trying to get my head about how this place worked from a mod side; I certainly made some calls that were more aggressive (and some more conservative) than whatever our platonic ideal of moderative decision making is, but I also got a fair amount of heat from people who seemed to mostly object to the fact that a new mod dared to touch their stuff or whatever. I'm quite positive Jeremy knows some of that is gonna happen, but we don't need folks to make sure it does.

Erring on the side of caution here means talking with us, asking questions, getting feedback about borderline stuff, etc. That has been and will be a big part of the next few months in particular. It doesn't, and can't, mean "if there's any doubt, don't act", or restless_nomad would be stuck emailing us all weekend that e.g. "there's a flag on a thing! What now?" and waiting for someone else to say "yeah, that thing sucks, delete it".
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:33 PM on April 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


They're not saints, they're people. Everyone who ever had a Metatalk thread about them has had mean things said about them, it's part of the culture in the grey and mods generally will leave such comments standing.

I'm not saying go all out and flame them but you don't need to get particularly outraged when others do either.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:34 PM on April 30, 2011


She's apologized. What else do you want her to do? Self-immolate?

BUT SHE WAS WRONG - ON THE INTERNET! AND SHE RECENTLY JOINED IN 2005 AND HAS A 5-DIGIT UID! WHEN WILL THE SPITTING-IN-THE-FACE STOP?? AND WHY WASN'T I CONSULTED!!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:34 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


She's apologized.

Not really. This sounds pretty unapologetic to me:

It's totally possible that it was an overreaction. That's probably going to be my failure mode for the first couple of months. Gotta say, though, looking at the thread this morning - it's a good thread. Interesting, nuanced, not fighty at all. Is that where it would have gone had that comment not been removed? Dunno. But I don't think it "shut down discussion" at all.
posted by enn at 3:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Apropos of mod identification, I've just pushed out an update to mefi-navigator that identifies Metafilter mods/Metatalk mods (policy deciders, et al) more effectively.
posted by ChrisR at 3:35 PM on April 30, 2011


(sorry, to be clear, this is for Chrome)
posted by ChrisR at 3:35 PM on April 30, 2011


So here's the thing: I'm a long-time Metafilter member (and a lurker for a lot longer than that) but I'm also a long-time professional moderator. Both of those things influence my instincts regarding moderation decisions. I know that because of my professional history, I'm inclined to moderate more heavily than is standard here. I'm taking that into account with every decision I make, but it's impossible to second-guess everything, otherwise I'd never be able to get anything done.

So I want to be upfront about my biases because a) my style is never going to exactly match either cortex's or jessamyn's, just like they don't match each other and b) acknowledge that it's likely to be further off from the norm during the learning curve phase in a predictable direction. Threads like these are great because they give me some concrete things to look for to try to correct back towards the middle.

(There's also the whole question about whether y'all would even notice errors in the other direction - it would probably mostly just irritate my coworkers who would have to do the work I was avoiding. Sort of the nature of the beast that the things y'all can easily object to are errors of commission rather than omission.)

I definitely made some mistakes in this thread, which I've discussed above. It is a little odd, though, because this thread was started not by the person who got moderated (lupus_yonderboy, who was totally gracious and seems not all that bothered by the whole thing) but by a third party who didn't have complete information and leapt to a couple of inaccurate conclusions. So if I don't sound sufficiently apologetic it's because I don't seem to have done anyone any personal harm, and otherwise this is just about calibrating my professional performance better. (Which, again, is good and necessary, and I'm totally grateful for the opportunity.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:39 PM on April 30, 2011 [31 favorites]


enn, I read that comment with a bit more forgiveness (less "I WILL STEP ON YOUR TOES ON PURPOSE" and more "I will step on toes in the process of learning"), and then considered her follow-up comment:

Yeah. Looking at it again, it's clear that although it seems perfectly mild and harmless to me, that's because I can see the comment it's about. Without that, the context is lost and it sounds a lot more prescriptive than was intended. Definitely something I need to keep in mind in the future.

Does it still sound unapologetic? I don't think so.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:40 PM on April 30, 2011


I'm pretty sure the people who know about mefi-navigator also know who the mods are. Not that your work isn't appreciated, but it probably won't help this particular issue.
posted by ryanrs at 3:41 PM on April 30, 2011


I kind of think that the kind of over-moderation done in the referenced thread has no place here, and if it continues, is probably going to lead to a lot of unnecessary drama and bullshit from the usual suspects.

But the usual suspects annoy the shit out of me, so I'm tempted to encourage more of the same moderation to see what happens.
posted by empath at 3:43 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mutant isn't getting special treatment, eh?

Alright then, when is the last time a member was able to have a question restored by complaining about the deletion in MetaTalk?
posted by jamjam at 3:43 PM on April 30, 2011


Also, if you're a mod, and you haven't done something grossly awful, don't apologize. Put on your mommy or daddy pants and tell people 'Because I said so" or "Shit happens" and get on with your life. It's just the internet, people will get over it, and if they don't, then fuck 'em.
posted by empath at 3:45 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


A couple times in recent memory, jamjam
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:46 PM on April 30, 2011


She's apologized. What else do you want her to do? Self-immolate?
HALDEMAN: It's a limited hang out.

DEAN: It's a limited hang out.

EHRLICHMAN: It's a modified limited hang out.
restless_nomad apolgized for the second deletion, but "feels pretty good" about the first

("So while I still feel pretty good about the original deletion and mod note, the second one was badly-formatted at best, and I apologize for the confusion."),

and implies the thread would have gone downhill without it

("Gotta say, though, looking at the thread this morning - it's a good thread. Interesting, nuanced, not fighty at all. Is that where it would have gone had that comment not been removed? Dunno.").

It's not so much what restless_nomad did, it's how she responded to criticism with a non-apology apology coupled with putting herself on the back, that wows me.
posted by orthogonality at 3:46 PM on April 30, 2011


Alright then, when is the last time a member was able to have a question restored by complaining about the deletion in MetaTalk?

I'm pretty sure I saw one a couple of months ago (however my time sense is out of whack and it could be as long as a year). I don't remember it being anybody "special".
posted by b33j at 3:46 PM on April 30, 2011


Wanna know how a pro complains about a bad call? I give you Wally Backman.
posted by found missing at 3:48 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Put on your mommy or daddy pants and tell people 'Because I said so"

Yeah, that doesn't work so well when you're talking to adults.
posted by ryanrs at 3:48 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Alright then, when is the last time a member was able to have a question restored by complaining about the deletion in MetaTalk?

I dunno. Once every couple months or so, seems like.
posted by empath at 3:48 PM on April 30, 2011


Alright then, when is the last time a member was able to have a question restored by complaining about the deletion in MetaTalk?

It has happened now and then. It happens a bit more often but still very much only occasionally via email without any metatalk involved in the first place, which is generally a far better way to handle it in any case.

If we've simultaneously got people beefing about how Mutant is being singled out unfairly with a deletion and about how Mutant is being given special treatment for non-deletion, we can't really win for losing. Which, lucky Jeremy, is just kind of how being a mod here works sometimes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:49 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, if you're a mod, and you haven't done something grossly awful, don't apologize. Put on your mommy or daddy pants and tell people 'Because I said so" or "Shit happens" and get on with your life. It's just the internet, people will get over it, and if they don't, then fuck 'em.

Pulling such an attitude would be a sign of emotional insecurity. They don't need to prove they are a mod, merely prove they are good at it (if that be their goal).
posted by Brian B. at 3:50 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a load of churlish, ungrateful rudeness. At least if you're going to slag off r_n do it directly to her. She's there in the thread. Hi!
posted by Summer at 3:51 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This sounds pretty unapologetic to me:

Eh, I interpret it differently. Shrug.

r_n's community-modding experience (hello, April podcast!) is interesting to me and may perhaps speak to some of the (mis)perceptions on both sides, given the differences in expectations and standards between communities.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 3:52 PM on April 30, 2011


{(number of posts) + (years of lurking) + (favorites)} / (uid) = ?

I lurked for YEARS before I could join, despite some appeals to please be let on the site. I paid 5$ to get in. Then I seem to never find stuff or finish what meets MY standard of a good post before it's posted on the blue (or somewhere where I feel enough people have seen it), my activity happens in bursts that aren't evenly distributed and my UID has 5 digits.....


I feel like I've seen the phrase "beyond the pale" in MeTa more than any other media I consume.
posted by nile_red at 3:58 PM on April 30, 2011


this thread was started not by the person who got moderated (lupus_yonderboy, who was totally gracious and seems not all that bothered by the whole thing) but by a third party who didn't have complete information and leapt to a couple of inaccurate conclusions.


and yet jessamyn coming in and blaming everything on lupus is entirely ok with you and passes without comment. Far from being some distant unaffected third party, Ortho is perfectly at liberty to question modding decisions on Mefi and even entitled to a reasonable answer whenever you feel like formulating one.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:00 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It has happened now and then. It happens a bit more often but still very much only occasionally via email without any metatalk involved in the first place, which is generally a far better way to handle it in any case.

That's funny, I can't recall a single instance. To paraphrase somebody or other, an example or it didn't happen.
posted by jamjam at 4:02 PM on April 30, 2011


really?
posted by found missing at 4:03 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


jamjamPardon? So this is now the all-mods-are-liars thread?
posted by coriolisdave at 4:04 PM on April 30, 2011


Here's an example
posted by empath at 4:09 PM on April 30, 2011


This should precede every comment by restless_nomad.
posted by doublehappy at 4:10 PM on April 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


That's funny, I can't recall a single instance. To paraphrase somebody or other, an example or it didn't happen.

You know, it's not your job to deal with those instances, so it's not particularly surprising that you wouldn't remember them. It is my job, I certainly am not fabricating them, and I am not feeling like hunting down a bunch of old examples just to prove that I'm not suddenly lying for no apparent reason.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:11 PM on April 30, 2011 [17 favorites]


So the lying is long term.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:14 PM on April 30, 2011


I definitely made some mistakes in this thread, which I've discussed above. It is a little odd, though, because this thread was started not by the person who got moderated (lupus_yonderboy, who was totally gracious and seems not all that bothered by the whole thing) but by a third party who didn't have complete information and leapt to a couple of inaccurate conclusions. So if I don't sound sufficiently apologetic it's because I don't seem to have done anyone any personal harm

So, it still seems like you're making some very bad assumptions here: first, that it's "odd" for a person to start or comment in a MeTa thread about moderation without having a personal grievance about how they personally "got moderated" (an absolutely terrible phrase), and second, that you'd only ever owe an apology for a bad mod decision to an individual person, and even then only if they were "bothered."

May I suggest, instead, that it's a really terrific thing that people talk in MeTa about moderation and site culture even when they aren't pursuing a personal vendetta, and that a moderator bears a responsibility to the community as a whole, not just to individual wronged parties? A bunch of different people without any personal stake in the deletions in that Krugman thread have raised totally reasonable concerns here about arbitrary thread-steering and language policing there (that is, not just some abstract kind of "overmoderation" like a higher-than-ideal deletion ratio or something), and it's still really hard to see any serious engagement with those concerns in your responses. The harm under discussion doesn't have to be personal for it to be real; arbitrarily declaring certain words and subjects off-limits in the middle of a thread, enforcing an arbitrary narrow conception of what's on-topic, is a serious collective harm to the discussion, and you've only addressed that here to say that you like how the thread turned out.
posted by RogerB at 4:21 PM on April 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


That is a perfect example, empath.

I'd actually read that thread, but didn't remember it.

It is entirely possible I don't remember others, too.

However, that one certainly was special treatment under unusual circumstances, and I continue to feel that this one is as well.
posted by jamjam at 4:26 PM on April 30, 2011


Jesus Christ, what is with all the dickery in this thread? Is everyone just super pissed that they didn't get picked for Team Mod, or something? Because if you are I will make you a special teeshirt so you feel included.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:26 PM on April 30, 2011 [25 favorites]


I'm not super pissed, but I would like a teeshirt if shirts are being made. I can reciprocate with a 1 1/4" or 2" button ^^
posted by nile_red at 4:31 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


METAFILTER IS MINE AND I DEMAND JUSTICE. *grabs pitchfork*
posted by Summer at 4:32 PM on April 30, 2011




It's OK to not like things...

...but I defy anyone not to like this.
posted by scody at 4:36 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think there's been a few people overreacting here. r_n has shown good faith in saying that maybe she was heavy handed and is going to be on a learning curve while she settles in as a mod. Skewing her comments to the worst case scenario is not constructive.

Remember the comment box note: Everyone needs a hug.
posted by arcticseal at 4:38 PM on April 30, 2011


The harm under discussion doesn't have to be personal for it to be real; arbitrarily declaring certain words and subjects off-limits in the middle of a thread, enforcing an arbitrary narrow conception of what's on-topic, is a serious collective harm to the discussion, and you've only addressed that here to say that you like how the thread turned out.

No, I've addressed that to say that comment was unclear, contextless, and shouldn't have been posted. I am totally sorry it came off the way it did, and I'm glad various people were able to make clear that I wrote it poorly. I see now a couple of specific mistakes I made and hopefully won't make those again.

I'm also glad that the conversation as a whole survived that fuckup and continued in a healthy and interesting way, although again, I am sorry that lupus_yonderboy felt like he couldn't participate at all, which was totally not my intention. (And noted: jokey memail header? Fail! Don't do that again!)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:40 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't understand the attitude that certain people are expressing here about people being "takers", that long term respected users should be cut some slack, and doesn't the new mod know who the real users are? type of crap. This is a community website of (40,000ish?) people. We can each choose our own level of involvement. It says more about YOU that how others choose to use the site offends one of or many of your (in)sensibilites.
posted by futz at 4:42 PM on April 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


that one certainly was special treatment under unusual circumstances, and I continue to feel that this one is as well.

Pretty much any time an askme has been restored it's a case of special treatment or unusual circumstances. Sometimes it's a result of the community pushing back on it. From what Cortex is saying, it sounds like more often than not it happens behind the scenes, so you (and I) don't know much about it.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:43 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


r_n: I definitely made some mistakes in this thread, which I've discussed above. It is a little odd, though, because this thread was started not by the person who got moderated (lupus_yonderboy, who was totally gracious and seems not all that bothered by the whole thing) but by a third party who didn't have complete information and leapt to a couple of inaccurate conclusions. So if I don't sound sufficiently apologetic it's because I don't seem to have done anyone any personal harm

RogerB: So, it still seems like you're making some very bad assumptions here: first, that it's "odd" for a person to start or comment in a MeTa thread about moderation without having a personal grievance about how they personally "got moderated" (an absolutely terrible phrase), and second, that you'd only ever owe an apology for a bad mod decision to an individual person, and even then only if they were "bothered."


RogerB, I totally admire how you addressed all of r_n's points except for the ones about the third part not having the complete information and leaping to several inaccurate conclusions (bolded part).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:44 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe some people feel more invested in the community than you do. I don't think that's wrong.
posted by ryanrs at 4:45 PM on April 30, 2011


prev comment to futz
posted by ryanrs at 4:45 PM on April 30, 2011


> Ortho is perfectly at liberty to question modding decisions on Mefi

Ortho is perfectly at liberty to do whatever the fuck he wants, and then if people don't like it he has to suck it up, just like the people he sticks his pitchfork into have to suck it up, especially if they're mods and aren't allowed the luxury of telling him where to go.
posted by languagehat at 4:47 PM on April 30, 2011 [23 favorites]


serious collective harm
Really? Really? C'mon people, perspective.
posted by generalist at 4:49 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


prev comment to futz

*puts semiautomatic pitchfork down*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:52 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I too have suffered under restless_nomad's tyranny. Where's my parade?

I talked to her about it over MeMail.

It was a good deletion.

Even though my heart is breaking.

posted by gerryblog at 4:53 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


By the way, that link has potential very minor Portal 2 spoilers about exploits and speedruns. Don't click it if you're going to get mad at me! Remember the real enemy.

The mods.
posted by gerryblog at 4:55 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just love the juvenal header ortho, I do believe the allusion has eluded you. For clarification, the watchers are us...get it?
posted by clavdivs at 5:02 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also I love Mutant and yet am not entirely on board with the idea that because he's respected he should be able to do whatever the fuck he wants around here.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:18 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I continue to feel that this one is as well.

Usually what happens is someone will email or IM us and ask what happened. We'll explain and, if I'm around and have some free time, will work with them to rewrite it. So questions that might have been too chatty benefit from having a concrete "problem to be solved" added or questions without crucial information from the OP get that information added and they're resurrected.

I probably do one of these per month. Usually the questions are deleted for less than an hour or so [so when they're reinstated they're still on the front page] and so there's no reason someone would notice unless they were really looking, or they noticed that the tags on a question changed (when a question is deleted the tags get stripped so that they don't show up in searches and so we have to add them back by hand to the best of our ability and encourage the OP to do the same). You don't have to be anyone special for this to work this way, you just have to be proactive about contacting us and it's got to be a good time for us to be able to work with you on it and the question has to be the type where it's fixable, which questions sometimes aren't. I hope that answers your question, this is a lot more of a regular thing than you might think.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:18 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, so the same people that bitch about every deletion and routinely smear any political thread with an intolerant, dogmatic quasi-leftism are the same ones who are all of the sudden butthurt here?

Folks who say things like, "Republicans are evil isn't that controversial here, there are practically zero Republicans here to disagree, the problem threads are debates about Democrats," as if it's not a sign of groupthink and conformist circle-jerking?

Or who respond to an honest response to an over-inflated complaint with allusions to Southern "authoritah"?

Frankly, fuck 'em. At least half the time, the stridency and bad faith argumentation they exhibit makes MetaFilter worse. If they don't like it, they can join Davy's forum and have their Revolutionary Committee For The Mutual Stimulation Of The People's Genitals meetings there.
posted by klangklangston at 5:29 PM on April 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


ryanrs, you are completely missing my point. I am invested as much as I can be. We just use the site differently.
posted by futz at 5:31 PM on April 30, 2011


Revolutionary Committee For The Mutual Stimulation Of The People's Genitals
posted by klangklangston


Ah yes. Maosturbation.
posted by George Clooney at 5:32 PM on April 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think everyone has completely missed the real takeout of this thread.

Clavdivs wrote a comment of, like, five whole paragraphs, and every single one was lucid and clearly understandable. This must be what Dorothy felt like when the wizard stepped out from behind that machine.
posted by smoke at 5:32 PM on April 30, 2011 [34 favorites]


Suck my asshole Klang. There is no debate there are practically no Republicans here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:33 PM on April 30, 2011


That isn't argument, it's just contradiction!
posted by Justinian at 5:34 PM on April 30, 2011


Well, this is certainly going swimmingly.
posted by Errant at 5:34 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


smoke, I noticed that too! Hi Clavdivs!
posted by futz at 5:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Suck my asshole Klang.

Knock this off please (klang, you too). I don't care if you need a hug or not at this point.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, so the same people that bitch about every deletion and routinely smear any political thread with an intolerant, dogmatic quasi-leftism are the same ones who are all of the sudden butthurt here?

It seems intolerance and butthurtedness usually go hand in hand.

Ugh, time to stay away from metafilter and metatalk threads for me.

Askme is a godsend, but I can't take the freakin' echo chamber that is the regular metafilter board, aka "WE ARE THE LOCKSTEP LIBERALS OF MEFI AND DON'T YOU DARE MODERATE OUR ECHOES!!!"
posted by The ____ of Justice at 5:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's totally possible that it was an overreaction. That's probably going to be my failure mode for the first couple of months. Gotta say, though, looking at the thread this morning - it's a good thread. Interesting, nuanced, not fighty at all. Is that where it would have gone had that comment not been removed? Dunno. But I don't think it "shut down discussion" at all.

Come on guys. You know its real fucked up when hal_c_on has to come in and say "give the mods a break".

I mean god damn.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:37 PM on April 30, 2011 [21 favorites]


I kind of think that the kind of over-moderation done in the referenced thread has no place here.

I have to agree with this.

I've really hesitated to join this thread, because of some of the phrasing of some of the objections made me not want to join a perceived pile-on.

I want to stress that I don't think restless_nomad, whom I have observed to be a sensible person, is secretly plotting some sort of coup d'etat, but it was a little alarming for me to read the 'failure conditions' comment. It came off as cavalier.

But I also have a strong belief that matt and jessamyn and cortex and pb and now restless_nomad value the way the site runs, and that there will be an inevitable period of adjustment which will settle down into things working much as they do today. Change is scary. Fortunately, change stops being 'change' and starts being 'the way things are' pretty quickly.
posted by winna at 5:39 PM on April 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Suck my asshole Klang. There is no debate there are practically no Republicans here."

I think you missed my point — Obviously there are few Republicans here. That's because of bullshit like "Republicans are evil." That the moderate Dem threads are now contentious due to the repeated assumption of lefty dogma is not a good thing; driving Ironmouth off the site would be a loss, but it's about the only thing that keeps those threads from just being an exercise in strengthening in-group norms and destroying any hope of a reasonable discussion.
posted by klangklangston at 5:42 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The idea of entitlement and ownership really doesn't sit well with me. I accept that the community benefits and thrives when users are engaged and invested. I appreciate the high quality of engagement of some users, and the investment of others sometimes impresses me favorably and sometimes not so favorably. I hope that where people are saying "entitled" and "ownership", they mean "invested" and "engaged". I like to think that no particular user has earned any right to metafilter that lower-profile users don't have. I like to believe no user has a license to demand it suit his or her vision of metafilter better than it suit anyone else's vision.

What I hear when someone use the terms "entitled" or "ownership", I hear a statement that some users do have more rights than others, that some can demand this place suit them to the detriment of others. I hear that some base level of name-recognition, or best answers, or number of years around the place, makes one user's investment or engagement per se more valuable or in itself earns that user some special say in how or what metafilter is or should be.

No single user is entitled to any more than any other user: His or Her opinion. No single user owns any more here than any other: the ownership of an identity recognizable to one or more other users.

I think the mods show remarkable restraint and a fair amount of grace. They didn't earn the trust of the actual owner enough to get those moderating positions by being popular or being entitled. I think the mods ability to handle these threads with restraint, grace, and patience shows that entitlement doesn't enter into making metafilter a better place.
posted by crush-onastick at 5:46 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Republicans are evil is a position likely to be found from either side of the moderate Dems debate. In fact, it is the underpinning of the "You can't possibly not vote for Democrats" fear mongering side of that debate.

Ironmouth can be a nice poster when you agree with him and he isn't calling you a crackhead or claiming your opinions are invalid and just based on feelings because you don't agree with him. He is no better than anyone else on tone issues.

I would love to have a site where Republicans were not demonized, which you could have noticed from reading my comments instead of using this as a springboard to launch F-bombs at people in the name of civility.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:46 PM on April 30, 2011


furiousxgeorge: Suck my asshole Klang. There is no debate there are practically no Republicans here

Wow! I did not see that coming!
posted by paisley henosis at 5:51 PM on April 30, 2011


That's what she said.
posted by gman at 5:53 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey-ohh.
posted by nile_red at 5:56 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The dearth of Republicans also comes down to the spectacular and total meltdown of the GOP in the 2000's.

Republicans with any kind of coherent and credible larger worldview are pretty fucking thin on the ground these days.
posted by fleacircus at 5:57 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are few republicans here because they're all too busy saving babies from abortions and taking away grandma's social security.
posted by crunchland at 5:59 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


orthogonality, you flat out lied when you claimed that restless_nomad had "already been an active participant" in the thread. You claimed she "won the argument" with a user by abusing her mod powers, when there was no previous argument. (We can all look at thread and see what she said and didn't say on it. I don't know who you're trying to kid here.) You're outraged that Jessamyn and cortex defended her actions, when they're just reiterating normal mod policy. The person who's comment was deleted doesn't seem too upset about it.

Could you please explain what your actual issue is here? Do you object to MetaFilter being a moderated site? Do you think that you and other people you agree with should be immune from moderation and never have comments deleted no matter how asinine?

You can object to moderators decisions. You can complain about site policy. That's one of the things MetaTalk is for. And sometimes the moderators actually change their policies as a result of that. That's one of the things that's really cool about the way this site is run. But if if you're going to try to do this, you need to at least be honest about what it is you want changed, and you need to get a lot of the rest of us to agree with you.

As it is, it's only clear that you're trying to take advantage of the fact that restless_nomad is a new mod to score points. It's not at all clear what your objective was for trying to score those points.
posted by nangar at 6:06 PM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Folks who say things like, "Republicans are evil isn't that controversial here, there are practically zero Republicans here to disagree, the problem threads are debates about Democrats," as if it's not a sign of groupthink and conformist circle-jerking?

Or who respond to an honest response to an over-inflated complaint with allusions to Southern "authoritah"?


I was alluding to Cartman in South Park (I think it's set in Colorado?), not some stereotypical Southern sheriff.

And don't accuse me of supporting "groupthink"; I heavily favorite St. Alia, and I started a metatalk thread asking that right-wing Republican ParisParamus be unbanned.
posted by orthogonality at 6:09 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm still just trying to figure out how left wing people vehemently debating each other is an example of groupthink. It's a group, but not groupthink.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:11 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


orthogonality, you flat out lied

Look (and I say this with restraint) asshole, if you're going to call me a liar, I don't have anything to say to you expect, crawl back into your hole.

(We can all look at thread and see what she said and didn't say on it. I don't know who you're trying to kid here.)

"We" can't see the deleted comments.
posted by orthogonality at 6:12 PM on April 30, 2011


ooh, I remember that ParisParamus MeTa post.... has anyone ever been unbanned?
posted by nile_red at 6:14 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


...and I started a metatalk thread asking that right-wing Republican ParisParamus be unbanned.

ParisParamus wasn't banned because he was a Republican. As mathowie said:

He wasn't sincere, he was having a laugh and it was a constant mess here I didn't want to clean up anymore.


Disingenous at best for you to intimate that his political stance was the cause of his banning.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 6:15 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


orthogonality: Dude, chill. If you were actually being restrained, you wouldn't have said asshole at all. At this point, if "we can't see the deleted comments", all "we" can do is take your word for it.

And at this point, you're sounding less and less like a reasoned trustworthy concerned citizen, and more and more like a frothing lunatic who's taken too many fighty-pills today. Please, take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard?
posted by coriolisdave at 6:16 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


There are few republicans here because the original user base was very center-left, and this site has never been a welcome environment for conservatives. They weren't 'driven away', they just never got a toe hold here.

Let's imagine the political spectrum as a line from left to right, with liberals being on the, i don't know, left, and republicans being on the right.

Now imagine the y axis as the level of tolerance for people of differing opinions, with up being higher tolerance, and b is lower tolerance. (if you like, you can think of tolerance as the inverse of grar-iness or maybe tribalism).

Now imagine that going from left to right, you have something that looks like a mexican hat, with maximum tolerance in the center, and less and less political tolerance as you move out to the edges.

Any message board that isn't excusively about politics is going to start close to the middle. But that's a precarious state. All it takes is a little lean to one side or the other to make the amount of tolerance by the majority that's needed to keep members of the less popular side on the site higher, while they're less and less inclined to give it. With every political thread, more and more people on the 'losing' side leave, more people are attracted from the 'winning' side.

I've seen it happen on one site after another, and it's rare that any site that flips to one end of the political spectrum ever goes back. The only way to keep multiple ideologies going on the same site is balkanize it so you have safe spaces where each side has a majority -- for example on reddit, where they have subreddits dedicated to various political ideologies.
posted by empath at 6:18 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


s/reasoned/reasonable, damnit.
posted by coriolisdave at 6:19 PM on April 30, 2011


Smoke: Clavdivs wrote a comment of, like, five whole paragraphs, and every single one was lucid and clearly understandable. This must be what Dorothy felt like when the wizard stepped out from behind that machine.

LOL this is basically my favourite part about the thread, too (Clav's bizarrely lucid post). Clavdivs, you better not be somebody's sock puppet account that posts random strings of words, mad libs style, just to mess with us, or I'll feel very betrayed (but I still love ya!).

Also, I can see both sides of the arguments here, but I think it's important to remind ourselves that as a community, we are adjusting to a new mod with her own style, and she is adjusting to moderating this community and our expectations (and sometimes crazy demands). It's gonna take awhile for us to get used to each other (I mean, R_N isn't exactly new here, but I mean adjusting to her being a moderator), and just realize that it's going to take awhile to figure things out together. [Heck, I'm relatively "new" here by MeFi standards, and I'm still trying to figure out this community...]

I'm all for calling out and questioning moderating actions when people feel that they are warranted, but there are ways to do so without being a jerk about it or downright rude and "fighty". I (would like to) think we are generally capable of discussing issues such as these in a respectful way. And I think that our mod team tends to do a pretty darn good job, especially when the actions/results are weighted with the sheer number of comments/posts, so I think that the team is fully capable of assisting our new moderator understand what works around here and what doesn't, along with respectful and helpful input (and constructive feedback) from the community.
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:24 PM on April 30, 2011


and I started a metatalk thread asking that right-wing Republican ParisParamus be unbanned.

see hear, paris is not here to respond and he might take acception to the label. PP took his lumps and well, thats an internal matter. Is this not what R_N was trying to avoid? Upon a short review, her intuition seems apt. Why, the same type of conversation ensues here with no jokes and it's a buzz kill man.
posted by clavdivs at 6:27 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Waitaminute, were comments from restless_nomad deleted from the thread?
posted by ryanrs at 6:29 PM on April 30, 2011


Nope.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:29 PM on April 30, 2011


Wow. I think Metafilter needs a Midol tonight.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:36 PM on April 30, 2011


Over-moderation is ruining MetaFilter. All the moderators have erred on the side of over-moderation, and they continue to do so. The last thing we need here is more over-moderation. Dial it back, guys.

Really. Do less. It'd be better.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:37 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


MrMoonPie, if this MetaTalk thread is any indication as to how contentious issues on the blue would be handled with less moderation, I think the current moderation level is sufficient.
posted by anifinder at 6:40 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


So who decides what is overmoderation? The posters or the man that pays the moderators?


(and in all honesty I think sometimes this site is UNDERmoderated. My personal opinion is that it averages out.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:40 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the problem is it's just hard for them to be everywhere. Stuff gets let go and you expect it to be the status quo and next time if there are more flags or close attention it may be gone.

But yeah, there are times at this point where it can be tough to tell what's allowed if you tend to push the envelope there, but deleted comments aren't the end of the world or anything.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:41 PM on April 30, 2011


So who decides what is overmoderation? The posters or the man that pays the moderators?

In the short term, he does. In the long term, we do.
posted by ryanrs at 6:42 PM on April 30, 2011


Wow. I think Metafilter needs a Midol tonight.

Let's not get sexist now too, on top of everything else.
posted by amro at 6:43 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Alvy Ampersand Anyone else remember when cortex joined Team Mod? That was, like, a solid week of MeTa asshattery, IIRC. And probably some of the same asshats, to boot!

Yep, it was like a garden party compared to the vitriol that jessamyn had to put up with when she became a mod. A few months of callouts and questioning what seemed like every deletion, whether she was qualified for the job, et cetera. One of the low points in Mefi history.
posted by mlis at 6:48 PM on April 30, 2011 [9 favorites]



Ortho is perfectly at liberty to do whatever the fuck he wants, and then if people don't like it he has to suck it up, just like the people he sticks his pitchfork into have to suck it up, especially if they're mods and aren't allowed the luxury of telling him where to go.


They're allowed the luxury of deleting his comments, blocking his memail, banning his ass and subtly directing a few keen supporters to personally attack him in thread.
If they should so choose of course.

These threads would stop in 5 seconds if the mod said "yep, you're right - sorry about that."
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:53 PM on April 30, 2011


Rough night, huh! Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting!
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:57 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, sarge. Are you honestly suggesting that's what's going on? Because... wow. Seriously, if you're going to question all of the mods' integrity like that, don't try and then hide behind a bullshit tacked-on "if they should so choose".

Wow.
posted by coriolisdave at 6:59 PM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Don't make me stop this internet and come back there!
posted by tomswift at 7:01 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


And in that time, until very recently, she's left fewer comments than the Whelk leaves in 24 hours.

You do realize how much I blabber on in nonsense threads, right?
posted by The Whelk at 7:01 PM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'll reiterate, orthogonality, could you please explain what your actual issue is here?
posted by nangar at 7:01 PM on April 30, 2011




Seriously, if you're going to question all of the mods' integrity like that, don't try and then hide behind a bullshit tacked-on "if they should so choose"


Well, it's actually better for all concerned if I do that, but anyway -if you're going to strain credulity i'll question you all I want.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:05 PM on April 30, 2011


They're allowed the luxury of deleting his comments, blocking his memail, banning his ass and subtly directing a few keen supporters to personally attack him in thread. If they should so choose of course.

Which we don't. What's your point?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:07 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


If you use comment count alone then I should be some kind of super mod, do you want that?

The metafilter will break. One by one, the sites will destroy themselves. You give me this? I do not deny my heart has greatly desired this In place of the Goodly Mods you would have a SQUID! NOT TERRIBLE NOT BEAUTIFUL AS THE DAWN! AS TREACHEROUS AS THE SEA! BROKEN DOWN TO THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE SERVER!

ALL SHALL FAVORITE ME AND DESPAIR!
posted by The Whelk at 7:07 PM on April 30, 2011 [34 favorites]


Walk it off, dude, walk it off.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll reiterate, orthogonality, could you please explain what your actual issue is here?

nangar, you -- someone I've thankfully never heard of before -- called me a "flat out" liar. I'm wiling to discuss things with people who disagree with me. But not with people who impugn my honor. And you're doing it again, by implying that my reasons for this call out, stated at the top of this page, aren't my 'actual" reasons.

As I said previously, I therefore have nothing to say to you.
posted by orthogonality at 7:10 PM on April 30, 2011


The Whelk: If you use comment count alone then I should be some kind of super mod, do you want that?

Your crown has been taken.
posted by gman at 7:10 PM on April 30, 2011


You realise, brandon... whelk's don't have legs?
posted by coriolisdave at 7:11 PM on April 30, 2011


I sleep under the server gman, to return when MetaTalk needs me.
posted by The Whelk at 7:12 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread is reading like one of those arguments couples have when they just feel like arguing about something, and it just keeps going on even though everyone's point has clearly been made. Surely there is discussion of moderation technique going on behind the scenes, and I'm not sure what continuing to berate restless_nomad about her moderation in that one thread is supposed to accomplish at this point.
posted by wondermouse at 7:20 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Upper-50000s userid here, without much of a posting history. "Translation": I'm basically a nobody, unworthy of the Raging Sense of Entitlement that some of you other assholes have. So just stop reading now, you don't care about my opinion anyway.

I might participate more if the site were more moderated in the sense that I am honestly a bit scared of being bullied by the assholery displayed so well in this thread.

There is some kind of subtext here, in the bullying of restless_nomad, that I can't quite get my head around or understand. I'm usually pretty good at understanding the power dynamic games that people play, but I don't really grok what the underlying issue here is.

But I know I don't like it. The complete and utter assholishness in this thread has been really bothering me. I can't be the only one. I just wanted to give voice to this feeling that some of us less-prominent ("translation": less important) MeFites may have -- that we'd like to participate more but there's just enough asshole behavior around that we have some trouble engaging.
posted by secretseasons at 7:22 PM on April 30, 2011 [132 favorites]


Hello, ladies, look at your mod, now back to me, now back at your mod, now back to me.

Sadly, she isn’t me, but if she stopped using a mod's keyboard and switched to Old Loquacious Brand Whiskey, she could write like she’s me.

Look down, back up, where are you? You’re sitting at your computer with the man your mod could write like. What’s in your hand, back at me.

I have it, it’s an plate full of beans being overthunk into elemental carbon. Look again, the beans are now diamonds! Anything is possible when your mod drinks Old Loquacious. I’m on some horse.
posted by loquacious at 7:22 PM on April 30, 2011 [30 favorites]


Is it.. a high horse? Cos this is MeTa.
posted by coriolisdave at 7:26 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, this is spring break week isn't it? My crazy theory picks up another datapoint!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:27 PM on April 30, 2011


secretseasons, you and your asshole laden comments are welcome anytime. I don't understand the reluctance to engage.
posted by found missing at 7:28 PM on April 30, 2011


To completely sidestep most of the arguments here, it's blindingly obvious from restless_nomad's profile that's she's an AskMe person, so no wonder moderating the site proper is a bit of a minefield, professional moderator or no.

jessamyn and cortex 'grew up' with the whole site (and IIRC, cortex suckled from the MetaTalk teat like a breech birth calf even before he was a mod) and they both caused as much fuss as this early in their tenure.

I suppose that's a long-winded way of saying cut the woman some slack.
posted by jack_mo at 7:29 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter - A toxic "republicans are evil" circle jerk.
posted by joannemullen at 7:30 PM on April 30, 2011


I don't understand the reluctance to engage.

No kidding. How much delicate decorum do you need to contribute? Hold your nose and jump into this barbarian cesspool. We're all the better for it.
posted by peeedro at 7:31 PM on April 30, 2011


Secretseasons, r_n is being hassled because she is a significant change to how the site works. Plenty of other issues have got the same treatment (see: changes to favorites). Of course, r_n is an actual person, so that makes it a bit different. But really, you should expect any kind of change to elicit gnashing of teeth.
posted by ryanrs at 7:32 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


The complete and utter assholishness in this thread has been really bothering me. I can't be the only one.

You're certainly not the only one. I've been cooling my heels for a while now because I don't want to get tarred for "groupthink" by the aggrieved and over-moderated, or get involved in any unnecessary piling-on. restless_nomad has done a fine job of both clarifying her position and showing a goodly amount of reasoned introspection in this thread, and her comments are being selectively ignored by people who have a beef with the moderation team, for some reason. It's pretty uncool in my book. I s'pose that makes me a toady or something, but this hasn't been a lot of fun to read.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [22 favorites]


orthogonality: "nangar, you -- someone I've thankfully never heard of before -- called me a "flat out" liar. I'm wiling to discuss things with people who disagree with me. But not with people who impugn my honor. And you're doing it again, by implying that my reasons for this call out, stated at the top of this page, aren't my 'actual" reasons.

As I said previously, I therefore have nothing to say to you.
"

Ortho, you've contributed more here than just your initial post, and nangar isn't the only person who has noticed that you're reacting rather aggressively to people throughout this thread. (I see that you're responding to Klang similarly in the post above this one, too.) Your subsequent comments in this thread, included this which took the worst possible (and imho, least likely translation) of restless nomad's comments.

With respect (and I do mean that,) my impression is that you're accusing her of things that I see no evidence of. We can see from the undeletion that she's not acting unilaterally. There's apparently oversight and a review process in place, and as always Team Mod seems to be taking things on a case by case basis.

She's new. She's shown no tendency towards dictatorship. She's finding her way and has assistance from the rest of the highly experienced Mod team and of course, positive and negative feedback from we merry band of Meta Mefites. Please count mine as another voice suggesting we cut her some slack.
posted by zarq at 7:35 PM on April 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


Which we don't. What's your point?

My point is: The Modding's coming off as too foregrounded and less than transparent.

I'm basically a nobody, unworthy of the Raging Sense of Entitlement that some of you other assholes have. So just stop reading now, you don't care about my opinion anyway.

I don't know about a raging sense of entitlement, but people give a shit about this place, which is entirely made up of free contributions from its users, who are now in a sense being farmed for their knowledge base with very little input into how that resource is handled.

There is some kind of subtext here, in the bullying of restless_nomad, that I can't quite get my head around or understand. I'm usually pretty good at understanding the power dynamic games that people play, but I don't really grok what the underlying issue here is.


The subtext is that someone who deletes a users comments and asks them not to participate further in the thread, somehow turns into the 'bullied' - thats the whole dynamic right there.

You think thats healthy for a community site ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:38 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


ryanrs: Just because I don't post a lot doesn't mean I don't know who most of you characters are, what the norms around here are, etc etc (and by extension, just because restless_nomad doesn't post a ton doesn't mean that she doesn't know who Mutant is, for example).

I guess I disagree that she is a "significant change to how the site works". Moderation here is not new. She's just the newest person to get the job. She didn't do anything that jessamyn or cortex don't do all the time. But there's some kind of bullying subtext where the floodgates of GRAR have been unleashed upon her because she's... new(ish)? or because of something else? I'm really not sure.

sgt.serenity: possibly, I dunno, people who become mods also care about the place? And users' comments get deleted all the time (indeed I've recently had a couple deleted, and I'm fine with it). This much grar is not warranted.
posted by secretseasons at 7:41 PM on April 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


ryanrs: "Secretseasons, r_n is being hassled because she is a significant change to how the site works."

Except, it's really not. She's been added to the mod team. No policies have been changed. No rules have changed. And her acts in the linked thread don't really differ from what cortex or jessamyn have done in the past. Moderation of the site has not been fundamentally altered by her addition to the team.
posted by zarq at 7:43 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nobody here is being "farmed for their knowledge base." And you can have all the input you want on how that resource is being handled. Isn't that what this thread is for?
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:44 PM on April 30, 2011


The subtext is that someone who deletes a users comments and asks them not to participate further in the thread, somehow turns into the 'bullied' - thats the whole dynamic right there.

"Someone who deletes a users comments" — which is part of the "what mods do" job description.

"and asks them not to participate further in the thread" — which did not happen.

Count me as another one who thinks there's some arguing in bad faith going on here.
posted by Lexica at 7:45 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


sgt.serenity: " I don't know about a raging sense of entitlement, but people give a shit about this place, which is entirely made up of free contributions from its users, who are now in a sense being farmed for their knowledge base with very little input into how that resource is handled."

Could you please clarify this statement? Because I don't understand in what way we're "being farmed for our knowledge base[s]".
posted by zarq at 7:46 PM on April 30, 2011


Think "Matrix". I for one am in a vat.
posted by found missing at 7:47 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, she's a new mod. I think people have mostly been critical of decisions as a mod, rather than, say, the existence of moderation in general. I think a lot of users have come to trust jessamyn and cortex and trust their judgement. But most people, especially those that don't read askme, don't even recognize restless_nomad's username. It'll take a while before people trust her like they do the other mods.
posted by ryanrs at 7:47 PM on April 30, 2011


I'll reiterate, orthogonality, could you please explain what your actual issue is here?

This is a loaded question, for anyone who didn't already know. To answer it would imply that there is another issue.
posted by Brian B. at 7:47 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


The subtext is that someone who deletes a users comments and asks them not to participate further in the thread, somehow turns into the 'bullied' - thats the whole dynamic right there.

sgt.serenity, Weren't these restless_nomad's actual words? "Please either engage in the discussion at hand or step away if you need to."

Aside from that, it's fully within the job responsibilities of a mod to delete user comments and ask them not to participate further in a thread if they're stirring up trouble. It happens all the time. It seems that the worst thing r_n did in this case was to act prematurely, because she saw that there may be a problem if things continued along certain lines, without actually waiting to see if they really were going to turn into a problem. Same with Mutant's AskMe question. You and some others seem to be twisting this into something way more diabolical than it really is.

I've been on forums that were reeeeally heavily moderated to the point where I couldn't post anything. This is NOT one of those places. I find the moderation overall here to be transparent enough, light, and reasonable.
posted by wondermouse at 7:50 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


My point is: The Modding's coming off as too foregrounded and less than transparent.

Yes. Lets go ahead and file that FOIA request.

Damn...I've never accused metafilter of "overthinking", but I can see how it may appear that way to some souls.

Therefore whenever I see something that could have the euphemism of "overthinking" attached, I'll just think "oh, I see...its just plain wrong".
posted by hal_c_on at 7:50 PM on April 30, 2011


I don't understand in what way we're "being farmed for our knowledge base[s]".

basically we're the yellow badgers of metafilter

can't eat in the cafeteria

can't ride the tram through the safari area

can't enjoy the spring breeze in a free metafilter-branded hoodie
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:51 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sarge, you really should re-read all on r_n's comments in this thread. It seems like you're being disingenuous and hyperbolic in order to push advance a point, instead of seeking to actually understand what she has said and what she was attempting to do. Do you really, honestly believe that she was brought on here purposely to "farm" the knowledge-base? That's a pretty strong accusation.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:53 PM on April 30, 2011


This thread is reading like one of those arguments couples have when they just feel like arguing about something, and it just keeps going on even though everyone's point has clearly been made.

My husband and I have been fighting in exactly this way all week, and I was feeling really bad about it. Maybe it's just something in the water or something?

I ended our last fight by just saying "I can't engage productively with that" and taking the baby and going and walking around a farm for a while. Does Metafilter have a farm we could all walk around? Baby optional.
posted by KathrynT at 7:53 PM on April 30, 2011


basically we're the yellow badgers of metafilter

OMG can a yellow badger pleeeease be metafilter's new mascot?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:54 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Entirely aside from the meaning behind it, I'm really entertained by Orthogonality's language choices (and not just in a snarky way, but a little bit of snark: "impugn my honor" for serious?)
posted by nile_red at 7:55 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yellow badger isn't afraid of nuthin.
posted by The Whelk at 7:56 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


the young rope-rider: " basically we're the yellow badgers of metafilter"

I almost have enough box tops.
posted by zarq at 7:57 PM on April 30, 2011


Sweet tapdancing Christ. It's threads like this that really, really make me regret encouraging a friend to check Metafilter out recently. Now I'm having to explain to them that no, usually Metafilter is not this full of specious arguments and extreme asshattery.

Thanks a lot, asshats with specious arguments. You know exactly who you are.
posted by palomar at 7:59 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Except, it's really not. She's been added to the mod team. No policies have been changed. No rules have changed. And her acts in the linked thread don't really differ from what cortex or jessamyn have done in the past.

Yeah, but it's a different person, with a different style. We have megathreads over the use of the word 'awesome', a whole new person with mod powers is a significant change. Especially when that person comes from one particular part of the site (though speaking as someone who's lurked for the last two years, r_n might well be totally into the non-Ask portions too).

users, who are now in a sense being farmed for their knowledge base with very little input into how that resource is handled.

Oh come on, look at this thread - brimming over with input. Also, I owe you an email, maybe a Meta thread ;-)


Could you please clarify this statement? Because I don't understand in what way we're "being farmed for our knowledge base[s]".


By typing that, you earned mathowie $0.00000000001 in advertising lucre. This might look like a fun place to argue vociferously about community weblog moderation, but it's really a content farm.
posted by jack_mo at 8:02 PM on April 30, 2011


Really, because in my view open discussion, including arguing down speciousness, is what is so damn great about this place. Sorry if you and your friend don't appreciate the messy marketplace that this place sometimes is.
posted by found missing at 8:02 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please count mine as another voice suggesting we cut her some slack.

zarq, I'm willing to cut restless_nomad some slack (not that I have any choice in the matter); I'm not calling for or asking for any change in her status.

To reiterate, I thought her moderation of lupus was heavy-handed, and I felt her attempts to micro-manage the direction of the thread, by declaring some kinds of comments off limits, was a poor precedent.

And sgt.serenity is correct -- if she'd just said "I was wrong" that would have been the end of it.

Instead she gave a non-apology apology that really rubbed me the wrong way. I think winna put it best -- restless-nomad's response seemed to be "cavalier", especially in that her apology concluded by implying that the thread was better off for her micro-management.

But contrary to what some apparently think, I'm not sharpening a pitch-fork. I think restless_nomad came off too breezily, I think she's too quick to delete, and I think she'll learn from this.

What else do you want me to do?
posted by orthogonality at 8:02 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


AskMetafilter ad revenue seems like it would be a big part of the income here, yeah. It's not farming though, it's a pretty symbiotic relationship between users who want world class moderation on a huge site twenty four hours a day and moderators who want to eat.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:03 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


"What else do you want me to do?"

Show some goddamn class and dignity
posted by Blasdelb at 8:04 PM on April 30, 2011 [22 favorites]


All I want to know is does this mean vacapinta gets a bump up to Senior VP? What is restless_nomad's official title? What does this do to the org chart?
posted by Ad hominem at 8:04 PM on April 30, 2011


"What else do you want me to do?"

Is self-immolation back on the table?
posted by found missing at 8:05 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


The subtext is that someone who deletes a users comments and asks them not to participate further in the thread, somehow turns into the 'bullied' - thats the whole dynamic right there.

That "somehow" is a bit disingenuous. By most reasonable definitions, the repeated and aggressive accusations of incompetence and/or malice that are being made in regards to restless_nomad -- even after apologies (which are then deconstructed for not being apologetic enough) and repeated requests to cut her some slack as she learns her new job -- qualify as bullying.

I'm getting increasingly weirded out that there are some folks who really do seem to have decided that FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE ASKME COMMENTS is the hill they want to die on. As someone who has a record of caring deeply about this site and being pretty invested in the community as a whole, I am asking, all hyperbole aside: can everyone who thinks this is such a big deal go walk a dog, or make some brownies, or go gaze at the stars (if they're out where you are)? Seriously, don't make me play my PERSPECTIVE: LET ME SHOW YOU IT card.
posted by scody at 8:05 PM on April 30, 2011 [45 favorites]


Could you please clarify this statement? Because I don't understand in what way we're "being farmed for our knowledge base[s]


You provide answers, which provides pagehits, which provides money - you don't get that money.

You have mods that are put in place by some unknown process, without any kind of nomination, vote or restraint - there are many reasonable and capable people on mefi that could do an equally good job - why can't people put them forward ?

For a site that supposedly champions democratic values, it looks a bit off and could maybe be better.

I realise we have to have mods, I know you can't just sit there and moan at them all day or say shitty things to them but when you can't even get a nuclear disaster sidebarred or your eyewitness account gets shoved alongside some trivial sxsw nonsense then you have very little input indeed.
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:06 PM on April 30, 2011


Aside from that, it's fully within the job responsibilities of a mod to delete user comments and ask them not to participate further in a thread if they're stirring up trouble. It happens all the time

But lupus wasn't storing up trouble. To the contrary, his comments (and mokuba's) were the most interesting in the thread.
posted by orthogonality at 8:07 PM on April 30, 2011


Thanks a lot, asshats with specious arguments. You know exactly who you are.

How do you know they know who they are?
posted by Brian B. at 8:09 PM on April 30, 2011


orthogonality, I would like to see you offer constructive criticism initially rather than "translating" restless_nomad's words in the worst light possible and driving a very contentious thread until 300 comments later you finally get around to stating your issue in a reasonable manner.
posted by Roger Dodger at 8:11 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


But lupus wasn't storing up trouble. To the contrary, his comments (and mokuba's) were the most interesting in the thread.

Yeah, I know. See, you cut out the part of my post where I said she acted prematurely. Are you just jumping on single parts of posts without reading them completely, or what? I don't know why you'd pick out and respond to that one thing when I even went ahead and said right after that that she still made the mistake of acting prematurely.
posted by wondermouse at 8:12 PM on April 30, 2011


Yes, I read your whole post. And it confused me, because you appeared to be excusing her premature action, her action to censure lupus before he's actually done anything to be censured for.
posted by orthogonality at 8:18 PM on April 30, 2011


For a site that supposedly champions democratic values...

We do? Well, so far as real-world government goes, we sure have a lot of democracy fanboys and -girls. But for the site? Very little democracy. We flag things, but that isn't a form of voting. It's a way of asking our benevolent dictators for particular actions.

I can't think of a single aspect of Metafilter that makes it seem like it's pretending to be a democracy. The whole set up seems to scream, "This is not a democracy."

That's a large part of what makes this crazy place work.
posted by meese at 8:19 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


You provide answers, which provides pagehits, which provides money - you don't get that money.

It's a great big internet. If this is objectionable to you, we'll miss you but we won't make you stay.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:19 PM on April 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


Metafilter has always been undermoderated and still is.

The number of people* who think they own the site and think they know how it works (or should be working) better than the owner and the moderators never fails to astound me. Creating a community and moderating it is a job as difficult to learn and to master as being a doctor or a plumber. The lack of respect for the moderators that is shown here would not be tolerated in most other professional contexts.

It not about disagreeing on a decision. It's how you disagree. How you talk to the carpenter, or the lawyer, or the nurse: first you have to think that they know what they are doing; then you ask politely a question. Politely, and with respect.

I have never understood why Matt and the moderators of Metafilter show so much respect for people who don't respect them. I have told them, several time. Of course, they know the recipe of the sauce better than I do. But I keep hoping that with the membership growing, the time will come when those who won a troll badge will be invited to wear it somewhere else.
posted by bru at 8:19 PM on April 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


[btw, I'm surprised at all the new names I'm seeing. Testy metatalk threads too often go the other way, with longtime members quitting in anger. This is a nice change.]
posted by ryanrs at 8:20 PM on April 30, 2011


I think restless_nomad came off too breezily, I think she's too quick to delete,

If you had started out like this, and left out all the accusatory and sarcastic language and assumptions of malice and bias, this thread would have gone very differently, I think.
posted by rtha at 8:20 PM on April 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


Sgt. Serenity, you actually said: "who are now in a sense being farmed for their knowledge base" (emphasis mine), as if there was some change. But you describe the farming as "You provide answers, which provides pagehits, which provides money - you don't get that money." Which is the exactly the same as it ever was. So, I still don't understand your point.
posted by Roger Dodger at 8:23 PM on April 30, 2011


Bru, there are plenty of other sites with that kind of moderator attitude. Those sites suck.
posted by ryanrs at 8:24 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


assumptions of malice and bias,

I never accused anyone of malice or bias.
posted by orthogonality at 8:27 PM on April 30, 2011


Instead she gave a non-apology apology that really rubbed me the wrong way. I think winna put it best -- restless-nomad's response seemed to be "cavalier", especially in that her apology concluded by implying that the thread was better off for her micro-management.

I see the 'cavalier'thing, but I wonder if restless_nomad is to some extent emulating the breezy, casual style of jessamyn and cortex. We know they're mods, we're used to them being mods, so when they say 'hey kids, cut it out, or else!' we get where their coming from.

You see the same thing in reverse, when brand new users bristle at comments from the established mods that the regular users see as jokey attempts to diffuse a situation.

You have mods that are put in place by some unknown process, without any kind of nomination, vote or restraint - there are many reasonable and capable people on mefi that could do an equally good job - why can't people put them forward ?

God, can you imagine the carnage?

Which is the exactly the same as it ever was. So, I still don't understand your point.

Without wishing to speak for the sgt., the strange green appendage attached to MetaFilter might be seen as a bit of a content farm, if it weren't so much fun for all involved.

I think this whole thread is about AskMe; in the same way that birth certificate is about racism.
posted by jack_mo at 8:32 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, I read your whole post. And it confused me, because you appeared to be excusing her premature action, her action to censure lupus before he's actually done anything to be censured for.

I wasn't excusing anything. But there's a point in an argument when it helps to accept that what's done is done and give everything a chance to sink in and see where it leads. So she didn't give the sort of apology that you were looking for, but she responded to the complaints about it. She even acknowledged that she may have overreacted and is still learning the best to way go about her mod business. Isn't that a fair response? At this point it mostly just seems like you're trying to wring an apology from her.
posted by wondermouse at 8:37 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find the habitual fawning to the long established mods on this site embarrassing, even though they're obviously good at their jobs. People suck up to them like giddy twelve year olds with a crush on the teacher. That said the picking on restless_nomad in this thread is ridiculous.
posted by joannemullen at 8:38 PM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Habitual fawning? I beg your pardon. Have you SEEN the rest of the internet? It's love and appreciation!

That doesn't mean some of us don't disagree with some of their decisions. But, dang, this is the best place on the internet, and they are a very big reason for that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:41 PM on April 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


I understand what you are saying, jack_mo. My only point is that Metafilter and subsites are no more of a content farm then they were last month. People who post and comment here do so willingly and own the copyright on their contributions. We are not guaranteed that hitting the post button will result in a permanent home on the web for our words. We all should understand that this large site is run by a small team of fallible moderators. Expecting perfection, being nasty about mistakes, and putting words in others mouths does not make things go more smoothly. Discussing issues in a calm, reasonable manner while giving the object of your ire the benefit of the doubt does make things better, and I hope that the uneasiness with our new moderator passes quickly.
posted by Roger Dodger at 8:44 PM on April 30, 2011


I find the habitual fawning to the long established mods on this site embarrassing, even though they're obviously good at their jobs. People suck up to them like giddy twelve year olds with a crush on the teacher. That said the picking on restless_nomad in this thread is ridiculous.

Completely agree with you.

You have mods that are put in place by some unknown process, without any kind of nomination, vote or restraint - there are many reasonable and capable people on mefi that could do an equally good job - why can't people put them forward ?

If they could only do an equally good job then what's the problem?
posted by doublehappy at 8:45 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where did anyone get the idea Metafilter was a democracy? It's Mathowie's site and he pays the mods. He can hire anyone he frigging likes. He'd be crazy to put it to the vote. Have you seen who gets voted in (around the world!) nowadays?
posted by b33j at 8:52 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


You have mods that are put in place by some unknown process, without any kind of nomination, vote or restraint

I would imagine that they were put in place by mathowie. I would also imagine that speaks to their qualifications.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:53 PM on April 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


When I worked as a janitor, I quickly grew to love the zen practice inherent in the job of widening ones eyes to really see a room in order to notice what might be wrong with it and need fixing. I want to retire as a janitor someday, it fits my skills and disposition in a way that I imagine modding would need to fit a MeFi mod for the job to work. However, somewhere around a week in, I noticed the job getting less fun. I was making the areas I was given pristine and glorious, finding creative fixes for dislodged paneling, getting every speck out of the carpets quickly and efficiently, and keeping everything in running order; but the slovenly college students I served were all the more nasty and inventive about breaking shit. It was terrible, here I was doing an awesome job and then here were these assholes playing Drunk Quidditch in a glass walled common room, deuchnozzles! My life buzz was totally harshed by what felt like people actively trying to make my life harder.

It took me another month or so of feeling alternately awesome and shitty before I slowly arrived at what I think was one of my favorite, and more subtle, life lessons. I enjoyed my job more, and was also thus more free to become better at it, when I viewed it from an almost deontological perspective. I loved being the best janitor I could be by working to see the room with wider eyes, thinking creatively about how I could do whatever I was doing more efficiently, and how to leave a better product behind; why should I let the almost teleological view of the results that I would always return to the next day bother me? Indeed they were just another fresh, new, and awesome challenge. Hell, Drunk Quidditch even sounds fun. What I realized was that my users were not the problem. Their drunken, assholish, mindless and disgusting (seriously, who the fuck shits in a clogged toilet twice, much less a third time) were just the canvas I was able to get creative on.

I guess what I am trying to relate is my experience with something that I think is reflective of a subtle cultural difference in moderation that I've noticed between MetaFilter and the rest of the internet, and is one of the primary reasons I stick around. Our mods are Zen Warriors where, unlike the wilds out there, our mods fix things stronger instead of sweeping them under the rug, clearly see the site with wider eyes than I ever had, creatively engage with problems individually, and at least seem to love the job. I hope that us now having a weekend mod will help make this even stronger by adding fresh perspective and allowing are previous mods some time for themselves. I certainly didn't work seven days a week.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:54 PM on April 30, 2011 [33 favorites]


I'm with b33j, the prospect of mod elections terrifies me. This place is well moderated, but the unnecessary picking on r_n is uncalled for; she apologized, took notes and we should all move on.
posted by arcticseal at 8:55 PM on April 30, 2011


And it really wouldn't surprise me if people did put themselves forward. I was in a position of relative internet power* for a while under a different moniker and I used to get emails from members of various standing/status who were convinced that they'd be respected and loved as admins. We gave one of them a go when we started to lose interest in the site and he flamed out about a month into it.

Being a moderator is like making modern art. You think it's easy until you're lying face down in faeces with a set square and half a dozen eggs.

*Not real.
posted by doublehappy at 8:57 PM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


restless_nomad writes "The 'I'm out' post actually got deleted an hour before this went up - I totally would have left it, otherwise. (Orthogonality must have had a cached version.)"

This is a problem with the "Foo new Comments" function isn't it? IE: clicking that button doesn't update the whole thread just adds new comments.

orthogonality writes "But the idea that she acknowledged that she probably overreacted, but not only wouldn't then correct her overreaction but just told us to expect months more of overreaction did -- does -- anger me."

You are only going to see over reaction, under reaction is not going to be noticed. Why this should anger you is puzzling.

Crabby Appleton writes "I agree with orthogonality's interpretation of r_n's 'failure mode' remark; in fact, I don't see any other way to read it. I thought it was common sense that one should err on the side of caution when starting out in any new job."

The only visible errors are going to be the false positives regardless of how conservative restless_nomad operates.


sgt.serenity writes "You have mods that are put in place by some unknown process, without any kind of nomination, vote or restraint - there are many reasonable and capable people on mefi that could do an equally good job - why can't people put them forward ?"For a site that supposedly champions democratic values, it looks a bit off and could maybe be better."

I'm a big fan of democracy for non optional governments but I think it is a lousy way to run optional organizations as it invariably leads to LCD blandness. See for example the vast majority of broadcast TV and most cable. Surprisingly non hereditary monarchy is often a good choice. And the process looks pretty transparent to me: Matt decides to hire a new employee, decides on a canidaite or three with input from his current employees and Boom a new mod.

sgt.serenity writes "I realise we have to have mods, I know you can't just sit there and moan at them all day or say shitty things to them but when you can't even get a nuclear disaster sidebarred or your eyewitness account gets shoved alongside some trivial sxsw nonsense then you have very little input indeed."

What is it about a nuclear disaster that it should be automatically sidebarred? It's not like anyone who was paying even a smidge of attention is going to miss it.
posted by Mitheral at 8:59 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


...there are many reasonable and capable people on mefi that could do an equally good job - why can't people put them forward ?

My fellow Mefites: Long have we suffered under the constraints of reasoned discourse, civility and good cheer. Long have wandered in the bright sunshine of a chat free AskMe and the putrid pool of a vaguely sane front page.But what has that gotten us, I ask you, what has such actions wrought? It has brought us to our knees and forced the yoke of civilized upon our filthy necks.

Enough I say. ENOUGH. Vote me for moderator and I promise to bring about the proper glory of an internet cesspool and put an iPhone in every pocket and 10 favorites in every account on a daily basis.

VOTE BRANDON FOR MODERATOR IN 2012
FUCKED UP CHANGE YOU CAN GET FIGHTY ABOUT
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:00 PM on April 30, 2011 [43 favorites]


You provide answers, which provides pagehits, which provides money - you don't get that money.

I'm fairly certain that this thread is losing the site a fair chunk of money, as 45% of people who read comments like this go insane and light themselves on fire and then jump into the Hudson.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:02 PM on April 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


sgt.serenity: “You have mods that are put in place by some unknown process, without any kind of nomination, vote or restraint...”

... who have had to ask a certain bitter old misnamed sergeant not to be an jerk more than once, for which reason he is ever prepared to intone darkly upon the theme of moderator error at any possible opportunity.
posted by koeselitz at 9:04 PM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


You need me, Metafilter. Your guilty conscience may move you toward the Mods, but deep down you long for a cold-hearted invertebrate to lower standards, brutalize users, and rule you like a king.

I'll take that crown now.
posted by The Whelk at 9:04 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian: “I'm fairly certain that this thread is losing the site a fair chunk of money, as 45% of people who read comments like this go insane and light themselves on fire and then jump into the Hudson.”

Oh, come on now &ndash' that's clearly an exaggeration. 45% of us don't even live near the Hudson; it'll almost certainly be a bunch of different rivers.
posted by koeselitz at 9:06 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


(The crown is a lie.)
posted by shakespeherian at 9:07 PM on April 30, 2011


Mefi hell is a very real place that you will sent you at the first sign of disobedience.
posted by The Whelk at 9:08 PM on April 30, 2011


ASK NOT WHAT YOUR METAFILTER CAN DO FOR YOU,
ASK WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR YOUR BRANDON.

BECAUSE HE HAS A LIST.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:08 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


(it's called reddit )
posted by The Whelk at 9:09 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm going to try not to step too deep into this puddle of nasty, but I will say that this
You ever been the moderator of a community you care about? It's a huge leap, and it's very difficult. You have to do the moderating, otherwise things catch on fire, and people get hurt. Every single decision (okay, maybe I wasn't such an awesome moderator) gets questioned. People tell you what your motivation is, your intent, and repercussions of your supposedly careless moderation (no matter how light handed you try to be). They threaten to leave, demand changes, claim prejudice. They wait until you're asleep/off duty and try and break the system - just for fun!

AND to top it all off, quite often you can't say what you want anymore. A simple joke becomes a coded attack at a group who don't support you (WTF?), a disagreement of fact is heavyhanded team mod.

You think you can imagine what it's like to moderate, but then, you think you know what it's going to be like to parent. Wrong both counts. It's rewarding and difficult. It changes how you behave. It changes your relationship with people you've known for ages. Moderating was one of the biggest learning experiences of my adult life.
is really true, if not quite as bad as all that, always. But yeah, truth. Is hard job, and disheartening sometimes.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:09 PM on April 30, 2011


BRANDON, I WANT TO PISS IN YOUR CESSPOOL, SIR.
posted by ryanrs at 9:10 PM on April 30, 2011


Now I want a teeshirt that says SCOTT ADAMS WAS RIGHT
posted by shakespeherian at 9:11 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'll take that crown now.
Brandon offered iPhones, you better be promising ponies if you want my vote.
posted by arcticseal at 9:12 PM on April 30, 2011


I'm fairly certain that this thread is losing the site a fair chunk of money, as 45% of people who read comments like this go insane and light themselves on fire and then jump into the Hudson.

Nah. Most of the ad revenue comes from random morons googling questions and ending up on AskMe. If they come over here and self immolate there is always an unlimited supply of new morons.

If anything we are farming the lack-of-knowledge base.

I wonder exactly what percentage of signups here can be traced back to a search string including the words, "Should I eat this?"
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:12 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


VOTE FOR ME AND IT WILL BE PONIES IN EVERY POTEVERY DAY!
posted by galadriel at 9:13 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah but now that you typed 'Should I eat this' in here, guess where they'll all wind up?

THAT'S RIGHT THE HUDSON
posted by shakespeherian at 9:13 PM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


A list Brandon?
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 PM on April 30, 2011


VOTE FOR BRANDON AND YOU WILL HAVE THE OPTION OF MEAT FREE PONIES
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:14 PM on April 30, 2011


Vote for me and I promise to have pot in every day.
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sorry if you and your friend don't appreciate the messy marketplace that this place sometimes is.

Messy marketplace? Is that what we're calling shitty call-out threads now? Because that's what I'm pointing out. Newbies wandering into this thread are seeing the worst of the worst of Metafilter right now. And you're proud of it? Different strokes, indeed.
posted by palomar at 9:15 PM on April 30, 2011


The bidding has started I see. Anyone need an agent?
posted by arcticseal at 9:15 PM on April 30, 2011


The Whelk For Patrician:

He owns more then two suits.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


VOTE FOR BRANDON
You can run this pony app on your new iPhone.
posted by ryanrs at 9:16 PM on April 30, 2011


Listen not to The Whelk, for he is a false Brandon and will lead your drunk ass down cobblestoned paths!

My ponies poop iPads!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:16 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Brandon and The Whelk, maybe go off to IRC and trade your jokes and one-liners there? You are both almost as annoying as the recipes, which is saying something.
posted by mlis at 9:17 PM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Can I play Angry Bords on your ponies?
posted by ryanrs at 9:17 PM on April 30, 2011


i.e. can I shoot the ponies with birds?
posted by ryanrs at 9:18 PM on April 30, 2011


Not trading jokes, selling them wholesale.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:18 PM on April 30, 2011


Messy marketplace? Is that what we're calling shitty call-out threads now?

Well, now it's just a food fight.
posted by found missing at 9:19 PM on April 30, 2011


But, yeah, even shitty call-out threads have self-corrective forces within, and they aren't the end of the world.
posted by found missing at 9:20 PM on April 30, 2011


Cool, I'm just waiting for a topic that you are VERY SERIOUS ABOUT and then I am going to be all Walpurgisnacht up in that motherfucker.
posted by mlis at 9:21 PM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


MLIS, I get you, but I'm not sure what's really being accomplished in this thread. It seems like r_n has been sufficiently chastised (whether fairly or not) that I'm sure she'll be extra-cautious about modding in the future; everything else in here is the same argument about whether the site is too heavily moderated or too lightly moderated or just rightly moderated, and whether people suck up to the mods too much.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:23 PM on April 30, 2011


Offhand, I don't know of any topic that BB or The Whelk are VERY SERIOUS ABOUT. So you might be waiting awhile.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 9:24 PM on April 30, 2011


Walpurgisnacht looks awesome. Some kind of European socialist holiday with bonfires? Sign me up!
posted by ryanrs at 9:25 PM on April 30, 2011


popcorn.gif
posted by nile_red at 9:25 PM on April 30, 2011


I find the habitual fawning to the long established mods on this site embarrassing, even though they're obviously good at their jobs.

I see you're in Australia - as a British person, I think I'm safe in saying that the habitual fawning here is the rough equivalent of a curt nod of appreciation, or a grudging eyebrow-raise. Took me years to get the 'OMG I FUCKING LOVE WHAT YOU SAY AND DO!!!! I' = 'nice one' thing here.

I understand what you are saying, jack_mo. My only point is that Metafilter and subsites are no more of a content farm then they were last month.

Course not, I'm just faintly obsessed with the idea that there's an AskMe v. MeFi culture clash.
posted by jack_mo at 9:29 PM on April 30, 2011


There are many things I'm serious about. The idea of electing mods on Metafilter ain't one of them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:31 PM on April 30, 2011


Course not, I'm just faintly obsessed with the idea that there's an AskMe v. MeFi culture clash.

Oh, is there ever!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:33 PM on April 30, 2011


Metatalk: all clash, no culture
posted by ryanrs at 9:38 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, is there ever!

I'm thinking embroidered satin jackets; knife fights at meetups.

Also, every sodding time I see a comment by The Whelk, I think this:
Even lying face down in a tray of vinegar there is something noble about a whelk. Which cannot be said for everybody.
Every time.
posted by jack_mo at 9:43 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


In the comment I was composing in my head before I decided it would be a waste of time to post it here, I was going to mention the fact that there are lots of web sites where the moderators are all like "Kneel before Zod, bitches!". Picture Nelsan Ellis in the role of Zod. I decided to post this because it's funnier than anything I've seen in this thread. (Yes, this is something you'd have to watch True Blood to get.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:46 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


*snap* *snap* *snap*

Just play it cool boy, real cool...

*snap* *snap* *snap*
posted by nile_red at 9:47 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


"VOTE BRANDON FOR MODERATOR IN 2012"

Friends, before we decide to vote for Brandon, we must ask whether he is even eligible for the position. I have never seen documents that prove to me that he is a member of MetaFilter.

Also, why does he refuse to tell everyone what he had for lunch? Was it hair? Was it molten kryptonite? Was it our children with deficit sauce?

I have been asking these questions for most of this comment, and still he refuses to list his sock puppets.

For a while I thought he lived in Pennsylvania, but I don't think he does now. How did he put that thought in my head? Can we trust a mod with mind control powers?
posted by klangklangston at 9:52 PM on April 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


I'm not sure what's really being accomplished in this thread

Well, a whole lot more people are now totally aware I'm a mod!

(Good night, all.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:52 PM on April 30, 2011 [26 favorites]


Course not, I'm just faintly obsessed with the idea that there's an AskMe v. MeFi culture clash.

Oh, is there ever!


Oh, is there ever?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:54 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, a whole lot more people are now totally aware I'm a mod!

Glad it worked out so breezily for ya!
posted by orthogonality at 9:57 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


You have mods that are put in place by some unknown process, without any kind of nomination, vote or restraint - there are many reasonable and capable people on mefi that could do an equally good job - why can't people put them forward ?


Yooooou know, I was sort of thinking about this earlier, but really, really trying not to say it. It was a general vibe I got in this thread and the one welcoming restless_nomad, a sort of, "but she's only mostly active on AskMe!" and "oh hehe look at that high usernumber" and tongue-in-cheek make reference to your own "job qualifications" thing.

But it's really, really starting to sound like some of you are jealous.

On the one hand, I get that. I'll admit it: I felt a twinge of jealousy when I saw the restless_nomad announcement. Because everyone wants to be at the cool kid's table and being a mod is the ultimate in that! But then I thought about it and realized I was being ridiculous because, fuck, I don't want to deal with the stuff these guys deal with in their daily job duties. Like, all the shit they get on a thread like this, or any of it. And also, I'm not really qualified. And restless_nomad seems pretty qualified, and seems cool and has been rolling with the punches in these two threads, which is better than I would have done.

When it comes down to it, i's not my site (if it was, it'd be purple and covered in stars; this is why it's good it's not my site). And that's okay. I'm happy to be part of the crowd here. You guys have made me a better writer and a thinker, and that wouldn't have been possible without the mods, I'm just going to work on being a less neurotic, jealous person and maybe some of you guys, should, too, because it's a miserable way to be, and metafilter is not a popularity contest unless you try to make it one. Maybe this makes me an enormous suck-ass brown noser or whatever, but who cares.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:57 PM on April 30, 2011 [20 favorites]


GOOGLE RON PAUL FOR MODERATOR!!!
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:00 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


But yeah, truth. Is hard job, and disheartening sometimes.

I used to be the lead admin for a nightclub message board with 8000 users. Imagine threads like this all the time, except everyone knew each other in real life, half of the people were sleeping with each other, and they were all going to the same club every weekend, and could confront me face to face over mod decisions they didn't like. I had people call my boss at my day job and tell him I was doing drugs, and other people threaten to kill me or beat me up. _THAT_ was a tough moderating job.
posted by empath at 10:01 PM on April 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


"impugn my honor" for serious?

I started reading his comments in the voice of Foghorn Leghorn halfway through the thread.
posted by empath at 10:02 PM on April 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


8000 people were going to the same club every weekend? Isn't that a fire code violation, empath?
posted by orthogonality at 10:03 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Capacity was 3000. Obviously not the same people went every weekend.
posted by empath at 10:04 PM on April 30, 2011


And 8000 registered users worked out to about 1500 active ones, or so.. Most people who sign up for messageboards never post.
posted by empath at 10:05 PM on April 30, 2011


So "message board with 8000 users" users was hyperbole, then? But the defamation, slander, and death threats you were subjected to were real?
posted by orthogonality at 10:10 PM on April 30, 2011


You're really looking for a fight, aincha ortho?
posted by coriolisdave at 10:14 PM on April 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


Good god you're in a fighty mood today.
posted by Think_Long at 10:14 PM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Glad it worked out so breezily for ya!

Life is so hard, isn't it?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:15 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jesus orthogonality, maybe its time to switch gears and go into hug seeking mode; either here or elsewhere.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:17 PM on April 30, 2011


_THAT_ was a tough moderating job.

I'm sure it was, and the moderation job at MFC, to which I was referring, is very very light duty compared to most, I am quite certain, because we have such a fine, considerate and reasonable group of folks there.

My comment was just an attempt to empathize. Ironic, that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:20 PM on April 30, 2011


Glad it worked out so breezily for ya!

Man, fuck this shit. Really.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:20 PM on April 30, 2011 [24 favorites]


Good god you're in a fighty mood today.

It's the next day now!* I would say he has to sleep soon, but indignation can keep one up for weeks.

*I know because I just did my first Health Month thinger. (Your timezone may vary.)
posted by Glinn at 10:22 PM on April 30, 2011


Between ortho's Lone Voice of Integrity Drama Nonsense, sgt. serenity's patented Bad Faith Shitstirring and the Sun Kil Moon compilation disc I was listening to today, it's like it's 2006 all over again.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:26 PM on April 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


In retrospect, that's unfair and incorrect; sarge's patented Bad Faith Shitstirring's can't be isolated to just a single year.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:28 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd like to thank all of you for your support, but honestly I am happy with my current fake mod / astral mod status. Your cash donations will be rolled into my new anti-Brandon PAC - stay tuned for the ugly smear campaign!
posted by Meatbomb at 10:30 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Reading the thread, I get the feeling that some of the skepticism towards restless_nomad stems from the fact that she was largely involved in AskMe before now, which is sort of a separate and stricter sphere from the rest of Mefi in terms of moderation style and commenting standards. I can see how one could bristle seeing somebody they're not familiar with suddenly joining Team Mod without any prior discussion (see: why wasn't I consulted?) and pushing what feels like heavy-handed moderation right off the bat, especially if such decisions are informed by prior community manager experience elsewhere on the web. (And as PhoB says, first-blush jealousy could be playing a role too -- God knows I'd love a challenging job at a place I really cared about in light of the crappy job market that exists in so much of the country, though I hope that wouldn't make me dickish towards those who caught that star.)

I'm not knocking her past experience there, btw -- just noting that jessamyn and cortex were much more visible parts of the community and proved their chops publicly here before officially coming on board, and those who were less so (vacapinta and pb) were more low-key moderators or not involved with such decisions at all. The community being smaller at the time certainly helped, but it's still clear that r_n is more of a lurker on Mefi than past new mods have been.

I'm sure she's a competent decisionmaker who will do a good job here (why else would the existing mods have picked her?), but the perceived outsider/unknown quantity status and lack of an established trust with most of the userbase is going to be a stumbling block starting out, especially with more contentious decisions like these. In the meantime, slack-cutting would probably be a good idea, though I'm glad the existing criticism has prompted Jeremy to examine her mod instincts more closely in the future.

(PS: Totally with you on the gender confusion, r_n... my username is apparently feminine-sounding for a lot of people here, enough to override the typical "everybody's male by default" attitude that prevails on the web, and I guess my real name could go either way, too. Incorrectly gendered Mefites unite! We're not ladies and/or dudes, not that there's anything wrong with that!)
posted by Rhaomi at 10:32 PM on April 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


I feel that this could have been productive; disagreements with mods in a civil, honest and concise manner, in a MeTa thread for public viewing and comment, (hopefully) leading to an informative critique. The over-the-top hyperbole, offended huffiness, and aggressive misinterpretation poisoned that well. I was irritated by the bullshit rank-pulling too; who's been here how long, 'power users,' who paid $5 and who didn't, blah blah blah.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:51 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't even get that. I paid $5, and I'm the most respected user on this site.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:53 PM on April 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


IIRC, BoingBoing, when they re-opened their comments sections, also brought in a professional community moderator (Theresa someoneorother), and it was and is an absolute disaster. Indeed, their comments have collapsed to a thin smear of sycophantic one-liners. My point is, extensive experience with the community here is worth far, far more than extensive experience with any other moderation job - here, the inertia of thousands of long-term members "self policing" will steamroll over blips like we see today. So it would have been welcome if the new mod had a more demonstrable engagement with all parts of the site.

With that said, I'm certainly glad that another mod has been hired because I noted a decline in mod good humour over the last few months, and it seemed they were being over-worked especially via 7-day work weeks. Like others, I'll be cutting tons of slack and expecting that over the learning curve of the next few months she will attain the pretty incredibly high standard which the current mods set.
posted by Rumple at 11:06 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's threads like this that really, really make me regret encouraging a friend to check Metafilter out recently. --- Friends don't let friends join Metafilter.
posted by crunchland at 11:17 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't wait for the contest to see who gets to be the 1000th MeFi Moderator. I just hope it's not some 8-digit-user-number member.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:18 PM on April 30, 2011


Meatbomb would be the Omega mod, he has the tenacity to hang in there for the long haul. Bravo Sir, well played.
posted by arcticseal at 11:20 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm waiting for someone to threaten to cut off their right hand, or burn someone in their tank.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:25 PM on April 30, 2011


You know tangerine's brilliant Ask vs. Guess Culture comment? I think we also have a divide on how mods and moderation are viewed: some people see moderators as legal/judicial and some people see mods as editorial/curatorial. Among the former, some are likely to be suspicious and touchy about any "show of power," some more apt to demand more definitive punitive action, and some will insist on By-The-Book, Letter-of-the-Law style moderation. Those working from an editor/curator view are probably less suspicious of the idea of mod power, but more likely push back on what they perceive as moderation choices indicating overall philosophical direction, and pushier about "style-book" adherence – how we present content, plus what mod actions constitute acceptable shaping versus editorial interference.

Moderators have to navigate all that by being all things to all people, and in fact fulfill all those roles to some degree at various times, plus eternally ready to engage and explicate without becoming defensive or highhanded. The reason that so few places are well-moderated is because, seriously, who can do all that really well, day in and day out, pretty much 24-7, rain or shine, sick or sad or busy? The array of personal characteristics that it takes to handle this is pretty damn rare... and on this site, not only do moderators have constantly change up hats to address all issues in the most efficient and useful way, but they also have to change the style of those hats between various flavors of subsites. And all without a net, basically, because anything could happen at any time, and usually does.

This is just a reminder of how difficult the job is. Jess and cortex both started out with great personal toolkits to do the heavy lifting, but also grew into their jobs with a whole lot of situation-specific hands-on experience while the site was growing and changing itself... and they've done it with a grace that tends to make it look easy when it isn't. Restless_nomad has the relative misfortune of stepping into the role at what is perhaps a less fluid moment in terms of user expectations and flexibility. She has her own toolkit, and her own modding experience – which will be staring into the abyss as the abyss stares back at her for a while, because that's the nature of the position, but she has the good fortune of having the help and guidance of our elder mods, so I don't think we're going to see Fukushima site meltdown because we have another hand on board, right? Metatalk is here for you, the mods are always accessible and willing to discuss concerns, so I'm just saying why not borrow a tiny bit of their restraint when bringing up issues? Getting hyperbolic may feel good in the moment, but why take an approach that would utterly outrage you if they were to adopt a similar tone?

And to borrow from the title of the Ask Me question where tangerine's Ask/Guess appeared... to restless_nomad, we say"'F.U!' and 'Welcome!'"
posted by taz at 11:29 PM on April 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


I think restless_nomad is doing a good job, and will get better with practice.

If you think MeFi is overmoderated, feel free to head on over to SA, Fark, YouTube, whatever. If you want the ad money from AskMeFi a content farm, feel free to start your own popular website and moderate ten thousand entitled arseholes. If you actually are jealous of r_n's mod status, you're not the sort of person who should ever be allowed to moderate a community. If you think there should have been a vote on the new mod, contrary to how any business is run or how any previous mods were chosen here before, you're... pretty optimistic, actually.

I don't always agree with the mod decisions, but the aggression and drama in this thread is jaw-droppingly ridiculous.
posted by harriet vane at 11:29 PM on April 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


exlotuseater, I've been waiting for that too. Perhaps it's time to close this thread up, before more piling-on/flaming-out/surprise elections occur?
posted by coriolisdave at 11:33 PM on April 30, 2011


I demand that a REAL mod be in charge for awhile!

[This post was deleted for the following reason: Those shoes don't go with that jacket, mate]

[This post was deleted for the following reason: fucking rocker, don't touch my Lambretta]

[This post was deleted for the following reason: this thread is useless without the Small Faces]

[This post was deleted for the following reason: you know I love you, scody, but a thousand comments about me is a bit much, innit?]

posted by scody at 11:36 PM on April 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


Play us out Porky
posted by The Whelk at 11:37 PM on April 30, 2011


If you think MeFi is overmoderated, feel free to head on over to SA, Fark, YouTube, whatever.

Or, hey, argue (politely) for Mefi to err on the side of lenient moderation. On MetaTalk. Which is for discussion of site issues. In general I mean since I have no opinion on this particular kerfuffle except to say that the mods on Metafilter have earned the benefit of the doubt in a way that no other site mods have (in my opinion), so I'm thinking maybe we can just chill and see how things go. If the disemvoweling starts we can bring out the trchs nd ptchfrks.
posted by Justinian at 11:38 PM on April 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


So it would have been welcome if the new mod had a more demonstrable engagement with all parts of the site.

Which is funny to me, in a formal irony way (not a Ha Ha I Laugh At Your Opinions way) because the loudest objections to my having joined the team were that I was too engaged and too much of a highly visible figure at the time and how could I possibly be a fair or objective moderator when everybody knew who I was and I'd just post a funny song whenever I was faced with legitimate criticism &c.

Finding some who is a good fit on basically all fronts for Team Mod is hard. There are a ton of variables, basically none of them allow for serious compromise because they're all pretty vital, and we were damned lucky to find Jeremy in the right place at the right time.

Open elections for mods would be a record-breaking disaster. It's a lovely thought in a vacuum, but, seriously, no.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:45 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


I guess the truth is, even if you picked Ghandi as a new mod, we would still rankle under the yoke. And meanwhile, with every new mod, Matt seems to move further and further away from the community he started. Too busy rolling around in all those $5 bills, I imagine.
posted by crunchland at 11:49 PM on April 30, 2011


American money is all gross and papery. I can't imagine it's very nice to roll around in.

Mmm, colourful plastic...
posted by roobot at 11:51 PM on April 30, 2011


My sarcasm filter must be broken, cos I simply can't figure out whether crunchland is serious or not. Can I get a hamburger?
posted by coriolisdave at 11:54 PM on April 30, 2011


What I remember from your Day of Elevation, cortex, is a number of people hoping that you would still be able to continue to be yourself on the site so that your secondment to mod-ernity wasn't a loss to the site. (Which, it must be said, it hasn't been, it's worked out fine, as I am sure r_n's will in the fullness of time).
posted by Rumple at 11:57 PM on April 30, 2011


cortex: "the loudest objections to my having joined the team were that I was too engaged and too much of a highly visible figure at the time"

That was a bizarre one-man campaign. I still remember the prediction that "this will end in tears."

That prediction sure didn't bear out....
posted by painquale at 11:58 PM on April 30, 2011


That was a bizarre one-man campaign.
So, entirely unlike this kerfuffle then?
posted by coriolisdave at 12:00 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


That was a bizarre one-man campaign. I still remember the prediction that "this will end in tears."

That prediction sure didn't bear out....


It wasn't specified whose tears; maybe it was some sort of hissy-fit threat, rather than a Cassandra-type precognition.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:05 AM on May 1, 2011


Open elections for mods would be a record-breaking disaster.

Don't blame me, I voted for ParisParamus.
posted by Justinian at 12:16 AM on May 1, 2011


I find the habitual fawning to the long established mods on this site embarrassing, even though they're obviously good at their jobs. People suck up to them like giddy twelve year olds with a crush on the teacher.

If you seriously think this thread (or most others for that matter) is sucking up to the mods I'm really curious what you think non-suck-up-to-it-ive discourse would represent.
posted by blucevalo at 12:28 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can I get a hamburger?

me too, dude, i'm soooo hungry right now.

or a chili cheese burrito from taco bell, if anyone is headed that way
posted by palomar at 12:29 AM on May 1, 2011


I don't know about a raging sense of entitlement, but people give a shit about this place, which is entirely made up of free contributions from its users, who are now in a sense being farmed for their knowledge base with very little input into how that resource is handled.

Metafilter: The Blue
Ask Metafilter: The Soylent Green
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:32 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am a moderator at another site, and I know only too well that damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't paradox. I say we give restless_nomad a reasonable amount of time to get her feet under her and come to grips with what she's bought into here. Let's not start boiling the tar and plucking the chickens just yet.
posted by pjern at 12:33 AM on May 1, 2011


Let's not start boiling the tar and plucking the chickens just yet.

But palomar wanted a Taco Bell chili cheese burrito, and that's the recipe.
posted by painquale at 12:35 AM on May 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


crunchland: "And meanwhile, with every new mod, Matt seems to move further and further away from the community he started. Too busy rolling around in all those $5 bills, I imagine."

What a hideous thing to say. Maybe I'm taking bait by responding seriously here, but Matt does things all the time that demonstrate just how much he is still at the helm and an active part of this amazing community. Your comment was so vulgar and crass I'm not even sure how to respond, actually. But for the second time in this thread, I hope it was a joke I don't quite get.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:41 AM on May 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm pretty sure crunchland's comment wos intended lightheartedly.

Matt rolling around in one time $5 subscription payments is kinda funny imagery.
posted by Packed Lunch at 1:03 AM on May 1, 2011


I was explaining this flare up to my friend, and he said, "I don't understand what the big deal is, that site is huge, it must have tons of moderators." I said, no, actually it had four, and this one is the fifth. And he said, "Are you fucking kidding me? And that place still works?"
posted by Errant at 1:10 AM on May 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


More than any of its members have time for.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:36 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I read this whole thing. Don't nobody write no moar. Please.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:03 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read it all, too. Kind of agreed that r_n was over modding a bit, but ortho came on so strong and fighty that I signed up for the restless_nomad fan-for-life club just to distance myself from that guy. Almost drove me to use profanity in response. I was this close.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:12 AM on May 1, 2011 [19 favorites]


Is this thing still on?
posted by nile_red at 2:25 AM on May 1, 2011


Dude I was working ALL NIGHT.
posted by The Whelk at 2:31 AM on May 1, 2011


Yes.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:31 AM on May 1, 2011


What a hideous thing to say. --- Yeah, I was joking, really. I mean, it's sad how little Matt interacts publicly compared to the old days, and that he doesn't bring me flowers (or sing me love songs) anymore.
posted by crunchland at 2:35 AM on May 1, 2011


LOOK!

DAWN!
posted by The Whelk at 2:41 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, she deleted an askme from Mutant?! He is one of the most respected members of this site.

You know, one of the great reliefs (to me) when jessamyn and cortex joined the mod team was that the tolerance for bullshit from the "old guard" disappeared. Jess was refreshingly disinterested in people lulzing it up in serious question on ask or engaging in the less productive and more abusive forms of trolling and getting away with, "Hey, that's just user x WHAT A CHARACTER".

Whether or not Mutant's post deserved to be deleted, I am more than happy to have mods that are interested in the quality of what's in front of them, not "the user's esteem in the community", whoever the fuck they are.
posted by rodgerd at 2:42 AM on May 1, 2011 [33 favorites]


I'm with rodgerd. To mangle John Adams, communities should be of laws and not of men. Or, uh, loose guidelines and not of men. You know what I mean. It's no accident that probably the finest community I've encountered online (present company excepted) ran Damon Knight (Damon Knight!) out on a rail because he wouldn't adapt to community standards.

If Jesus Christ himself returned bodily from the heavens and tried to announcement the second coming by self-linking on the blue I would expect and anticipate he would be banhammered faster than you can say "jesus christ".
posted by Justinian at 2:53 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Remember the Jesus Christ thread?"

"Yeah, what an arsehole"
posted by Summer at 2:55 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hammer.

Christ.

You can see why this is problematic.

(ON ANOTHER NOTE I CAN HEAR BIRDS IT MUST E MORNING)
posted by The Whelk at 2:56 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Jesus Christ himself returned bodily ... What do you mean, "if?" You've obviously never really closely examined a photo of Cortex.
posted by crunchland at 3:00 AM on May 1, 2011


I liked the image of mathowie rolling around in $51 notes2, if only for the fact that it implied that he kept and treasured each note.3

1. Although I believe I paid something like NZ$7.60.
2. Bills?
3. Bill.

posted by doublehappy at 3:05 AM on May 1, 2011


WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE PAPERCUTS?
posted by The Whelk at 3:06 AM on May 1, 2011


...remember FDIC
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 AM on May 1, 2011


Whelk,

You're cut off. You've had too much metatalk tonight. I'm gonna call you a cab.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:26 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO GO!
posted by The Whelk at 3:26 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, I think everybody needs to get in the cab.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:27 AM on May 1, 2011


We'll all go nowhere.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:27 AM on May 1, 2011


Is there an after party?
posted by Summer at 3:30 AM on May 1, 2011


just get in
posted by The Whelk at 3:33 AM on May 1, 2011


MLIS: "Brandon and The Whelk, maybe go off to IRC and trade your jokes and one-liners there? You are both almost as annoying as the recipes, which is saying something."

Damn - after reading through this whole, miserable, angry thread, I found Whelk and Brandon's election campaigns to be delightful and funny. They "gave permission," so to speak, to breathe out and remember why I like it here 99% of the time. I was really enjoying it, and now we're back to not being allowed to have nice things.

Mind you, I wouldn't vote for either of them for dog-catcher, but that's neither here nor there.
posted by tzikeh at 3:42 AM on May 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


but indignation can keep one up for weeks.

Really? I find it's usually erotomania.

But not with people who impugn my honor.

Never before have I felt such sympathy with the denizens of the dearly departed Scrapheap Challenge when they mock overwrought agonising on one's precious "e-honour".

These threads would stop in 5 seconds if the mod said "yep, you're right - sorry about that."

Funny, this sounds like what dickwad football "fans" say before they hound referees out of the game with death threats.
posted by rodgerd at 3:56 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's daybreak now and birds are trying to have sex with each other outside my window, so let's just leave on this note, shall we?
posted by The Whelk at 4:04 AM on May 1, 2011


what dickwad football "fans" say before they hound referees out of the game with death threats

Already looking forward to the All Blacks' premature exit from the World Cup, I see...
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:07 AM on May 1, 2011


"It's the first time it's happened, I swear!"
posted by coriolisdave at 4:22 AM on May 1, 2011


You have mods that are put in place by some unknown process

restless_nomad: I am your mod!
Mefites: Well we didn't vote for you.
restless_nomad: You don't vote for mods.
Mefites: Well how'd you become mod then?
restless_nomad: The Mathowie of the MetaFilter, his arm clad in the purest shimmering hex colors, held aloft the Banhammer from the bosom of the server, signifying by divine providence that I, restless_nomad, was to work weekends. THAT is why I am your new mod.
Mefites: Strange site owners lying around in cyberspace distributing banhammers is no basis for a system of moderation. Supreme administrative power derives from a mandate from the members, not from some farcical MetaTalk ceremony.
posted by amyms at 4:25 AM on May 1, 2011 [20 favorites]


Mefites: Look. If I wen' round, sayin' I was an emperor, just 'cos some moistened bint'd lobbed a banhammer at me? They'd flag me for noise!
Orthogonality: Help! Help! I'm being oppressed!
posted by coriolisdave at 4:30 AM on May 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


If every single one of you had apologised to me at the start none of this would have happened.
posted by Summer at 4:33 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should try being an Anarcho-Syndicalist Community.
posted by amyms at 4:36 AM on May 1, 2011


Maybe we should try being an Anarcho-Syndicalist Community.

For gods sakes we're not reddit.
posted by The Whelk at 4:54 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


rodgerd: "You know, one of the great reliefs (to me) when jessamyn and cortex joined the mod team was that the tolerance for bullshit from the "old guard" disappeared. Jess was refreshingly disinterested in people lulzing it up in serious question on ask or engaging in the less productive and more abusive forms of trolling and getting away with, "Hey, that's just user x WHAT A CHARACTER".

Whether or not Mutant's post deserved to be deleted, I am more than happy to have mods that are interested in the quality of what's in front of them, not "the user's esteem in the community", whoever the fuck they are.
"

Totally, 100% agree with this.
posted by zarq at 5:00 AM on May 1, 2011


Some of you seem to think that jealousy is the impetus for the scrutiny restless_nomad is receiving, but let me tell you, besides the ability to ban people, there is almost nothing appealing to me about being a mod. The hours are shit and you have to deal with... us. I really can't imagine that the pay makes up for it.

I reckon this will all be settled once plutor adds restless_nomad to the Navigator script. Until then, there's really nothing official about her alleged new status.
posted by gman at 5:06 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scody, I favorited this so hard.
posted by litlnemo at 5:07 AM on May 1, 2011


goddamned scripters.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 AM on May 1, 2011


Whelk, you're making me feel like I've been up all night on speed and red bull, even though I've actually had a full night's sleep since this thread began.
posted by Summer at 5:08 AM on May 1, 2011


Hello. I've been having a lovely weekend and the twattery in this thread has depressed the arse off me.
posted by Jofus at 5:09 AM on May 1, 2011




tzikeh and now we're back to not being allowed to have nice things.

I was grumpy, they ignored me, it's all good.
posted by mlis at 5:14 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had a beer and felt much better about the whole thread. Happy Sunday everyone.
posted by arcticseal at 5:25 AM on May 1, 2011


In retrospect, that's unfair and incorrect; sarge's patented Bad Faith Shitstirring's can't be isolated to just a single year.

America is not the world -We're not all laid back surfer dudes dispensing virtual prozac to each other pal.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:44 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a relative newbie, the interesting thing about this for me is not that the moderation seems strict or lenient, but that I hadn't seen it applied to impolitesse before. It's possible that this is about the balance of opinions - that there are fewer people outlining right-wing beliefs on MetaFilter, so those there are require greater protection to avoid the echo chamber effect.

Possibly where there is a balance of extremism the decision has been made just to let people slug it out. The first time someone absolutely lost their mind at me - over my not being sufficiently awed by Sucker Punch - it was bit of a surprise, but the balance of opinion was probably roughly equal on both sides of the debate, such as it was. Is it that MetaFilter is already an unwelcoming place for Republicans, and care needs to be taken not to make it more unwelcoming at the cost of diversity, or is it specifically the use of "evil" as a descriptor that crosses the line?
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:03 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The problem is that the Republican party is bat shat insane these days and Metafiilter has low tolerance for that sort of thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:12 AM on May 1, 2011


> MetaFilter: But, dang, this is the best place on the internet.
posted by pwally at 6:36 AM on May 1, 2011


This thread is an embarrassment to the community. Seriously, what the fuck?
posted by cj_ at 6:47 AM on May 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


Anyone got a good recipe for Jambon Iberico Bellota?
posted by Elmore at 6:58 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey Sgt. It would really show those mean ol' mods if you disabled your account!

*crosses fingers*
posted by to sir with millipedes at 6:59 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem is that the Republican party is bat shat insane these days and Metafiilter has low tolerance for that sort of thing.

Well, somebody just said "CALayer, though I seriously doubt you even know what this is" in the latest Apple/not-Apple slugfest. As a conversational gambit, that's at least as crazy as expressing a desire to defund NPR, although for hilariously lower stakes. Maybe it's about stakes, actually - getting worked up into a lather about science fiction, or different smartphone experiences, or border disputes in distant countries is seen as a sort of recreational activity, whereas the Democrat/Republican divide is experienced more viscerally and is more likely to turn people off joining or participating if one side is regularly spoken of as morally evil.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:02 AM on May 1, 2011


Have you ever noticed that whelk is exactly like loquacious?
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:04 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


... and I say that as someone who will reluctantly admit to grabbing the popcorn for a good flameout. I don't eschew drama on principle, as I mostly find it a fascinating insight into human nature. But this is just tedious assholery, and it doesn't even seem that the principal actors actually care as much as they let on. For all the hand-wringing, there's no account closures, ultimatums, or hand-cutoffs. This is just shitting in the pool for the sake of it, from what I can tell.

orthogonality, you are starting to sound seriously unhinged. What are you trying to accomplish here exactly? The people you are calling out have responded graciously at every turn. If you have some other problem that their reasonable responses don't address, you need to come out with it.

Have you ever noticed that whelk is exactly like loquacious?

Is that supposed to be a bad thing?
posted by cj_ at 7:11 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you ever noticed that whelk is exactly like loquacious?

I watched the whelk give a speech in front of two topless ladies making out. If loquacious has done that I haven't seen it.
posted by jonmc at 7:18 AM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


But wait. Has anybody ever seen The Whelk and loquacious together?
posted by likeso at 7:22 AM on May 1, 2011


At the same time? In the same room?

Does one of them wear glasses?
posted by likeso at 7:24 AM on May 1, 2011


You'll notice that Loquacious never posts while The Whelk is knitting.
posted by Gorgik at 7:24 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


East coast and West coast, Yin and Yang, lengthy comments and miniature quips. Whelk and Loquacious are the two polar ends of our community, each orbiting us round and round, equally attracted to and repelled from one another. If they were brought into the same room everything would collapse, fold upon fold, and the resulting expulsion of favorites would be scattered across the sky to form a new and glorious firmament of plus signs.
posted by Think_Long at 7:41 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


They're dopplegängers?

(which of course begs the question: if you have sex with your double, is it a dopplegängbäng?)
posted by jonmc at 7:44 AM on May 1, 2011


Is there an after party?

Some people like to think so, sweetie, but Mommy and I believe that when this party is over, it's over forever, and they just throw your drinks away.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:47 AM on May 1, 2011 [22 favorites]


Is there an after party?

This was answered at the before party.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:49 AM on May 1, 2011


I'm in a cab to somewhere called Vortex. Apparently The Whelk's already there. He's made friends with a German transexual called Mitzi and he wants you all to come down.
posted by Summer at 8:12 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have no idea what this thread is about, but I object to it on the grounds that orthogonality is using favorite count to justify rightness.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:35 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


You would say that, mister barely topping 7K. pshhh
posted by Think_Long at 8:37 AM on May 1, 2011


Tell us about how you hate favourites.
posted by gman at 8:37 AM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes?
posted by Elmore at 8:40 AM on May 1, 2011


I have no idea what this thread is about, but I object to it on the grounds that orthogonality is using favorite count to justify rightness.

VOTE BRANDON FOR MODERATOR IN 2012
FAVORITE COUNTS YOU CAN BELIEVE IN

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:44 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does Brandon Blatcher fuck goats? Why haven't the lamestream media explored this issue? Why hasn't he come out with an unambiguous denial?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:53 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


paid for by the Brandon Blatcher is a Goatfucker PAC
posted by Meatbomb at 8:54 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


won't somebody please think of the kids?
posted by taz at 8:59 AM on May 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


it's sad how little Matt interacts publicly compared to the old days

This is one of those weird things about moderation as well. While I miss mathowie being around more -- because I find him reasonable as well as funny as well as nearly-universally respected and he's my friend-- there's sort of two ways to go with this sort of thing.

1. Stick around and only mod the one site you created for now and forever, even as you head towards your 40s and have all of your self-esteem wrapped up in one place and one set of people
2. Branch out to do more different things which pretty much necessitates modding being just one of those things.

Matt and pb also run Fuelly, Matt's been doing more cycling and cycling advocacy, he invests in other web companies (Kickstarter, Sound of Young America), he has a daughter who he is serious about being a real parent to (not one of those stereotypes workaholic dads), a wife with her own actual career and the normal assortment of hopes and dreams. I think one of the reasons MeFi works so well (if you agree that it does work) is that all the mods do things besides be the mods. I do library and technology education stuff, cortex is a musician and serial blogger, r_n is working on a book and serious about karate, vacapinta has a full time job such that we can't even pay him for helping out, pb also runs Fuelly and other web stuff, has a family.

This is, to my mind, good. But sometimes it means that when the MeTa argument has reached its 20th hour, we're going to be a little more "man this is annoying" or "HTH HAND" than "Must Reach Consensus!!" about things [r+n may get breezy, I get terse, cortex gets irritable, mathowie gets distant]. I know that may rankle, especially if the thing being discussed is a very very important thing to you personally, but ultimately, we suggest Going Outside™ as one of the other things that can help solve MeFi problems. That's part of my plan for today, hope that's okay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:07 AM on May 1, 2011 [52 favorites]


Jessamyn is right, mathowie is very old.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:11 AM on May 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


I have a certificate for goat fucking that is completely legal and legitimate and my administration will be making it available to the public shortly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:13 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


eat the goat. EAT IT!
posted by clavdivs at 9:19 AM on May 1, 2011


won't somebody please think of the kids?

Where were you during the papal election?
posted by gman at 9:23 AM on May 1, 2011


and I'd just post a funny song whenever I was faced with legitimate criticism &c.

Wait isn't this an accurate description of what happens?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:25 AM on May 1, 2011


ultimately, we suggest Going Outside™ as one of the other things that can help solve MeFi problems

Well, that's one idea. I've been working on something else, though. I think that while in metatalk all our user names should show up as our royal wedding guest names, and we will have to address each other using those handles – which will naturally lead to greater civility. I mean wouldn't one feel quite the cad for hounding Lady Amelie Butterball-Beaumont of Craine, or Lord Gillman PooPee-Grenville of Beaufort?
posted by taz at 10:12 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher : Wrong for America, wrong for you.

Paid for by Americans for Favoritation Transparency and Espousenation Remediation. AFTER is not a 501c3 organization, and therefore may not be eligible for matching donations by your employer, and furthermore may not actually exist. Please make all personal checks out to Afroblanco LLC, 1 Market St., San Panchco, CA, 94105. AFTER : A Brandon Blatcher antagonist since 5 minutes ago.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:14 AM on May 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


BRANDON BLATCHER
WRONG FOR AMERICA
RIGHT FOR EVERYONE ELSE
FREE HEALTHCARE, WINE AND CHEESE

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:29 AM on May 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


America is not the world -We're not all laid back surfer dudes dispensing virtual prozac to each other pal.

Look, if you paid any attention to American politics you'd realize that we don't have nearly that good a health care system.
posted by maryr at 10:46 AM on May 1, 2011


Oh, virtual. I am an idiot. Sorry.
posted by maryr at 10:47 AM on May 1, 2011


I think we should be told if the mefite goat fuckers and chicken fuckers are allied?
posted by adamvasco at 10:51 AM on May 1, 2011



I think we should be told if the mefite goat fuckers and chicken fuckers are allied?


The International Brotherhood of Agrarian Sex Workers has a long and proud history, and do not discriminate on the basis of sex or species. Except bees, because that's just weird, I mean, they're bees.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:13 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I demand that a REAL mod be in charge for awhile!

Finally the username I picked for my Yahoo mail in 1998 because I was really into "Quadrophenia" and just kept using pays off.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:20 AM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


This barnyardism shall not stand.
posted by clavdivs at 11:30 AM on May 1, 2011


that's just weird, I mean, they're bees

But dude, they're like, all chicks!
posted by ryanrs at 11:58 AM on May 1, 2011


"Is there an after party?"

We're already in the hotel lobby.

Round about four, we are required to clear the lobby, though. It's the Ramada's rules.
posted by klangklangston at 12:04 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm up I'm up.

Where am I?
posted by The Whelk at 12:21 PM on May 1, 2011


I thought the Ramadan rules were that we couldn't eat until sunset.
posted by koeselitz at 12:28 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


...And you gotta pray towatds Meta.
posted by gman at 12:30 PM on May 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's sunset somewhere.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:44 PM on May 1, 2011


"they can join Davy's forum and have their Revolutionary Committee For The Mutual Stimulation Of The People's Genitals meetings there"

I went to a couple of those meetings.

But they got some new mod called restless_gonad and it, like, totally went downhill forever.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:48 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: laid back surfer dudes dispensing virtual prozac to each other*



* offer void outside the U.S.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:49 PM on May 1, 2011


Can we talk about what catchy name we're going to give this whole debacle in the future, when we want to make in-jokey references to it?

I was thinking we could call it Apocalypse restless_Nowmod.
posted by koeselitz at 1:14 PM on May 1, 2011


The Baptism.

(also, every time restless_nomad was referred to as "r_n", I kept reading it as "registered nurse")
posted by likeso at 1:34 PM on May 1, 2011


Wait, is it the after party or the AFTER* party. Which one is Brandon Blatcher going to?


*Americans for Favoritation Transparency and Espousenation Remediation
posted by nile_red at 1:36 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are we there yet?
posted by desjardins at 1:38 PM on May 1, 2011


AFTER is not yet a political party in the US, although we've held a smattering of seats in various European houses of parliament. If we did enter US politics, it is unclear which to which party we'd do the most damage, although it is suspected that we could probably intimidate at least a few write-in candidates.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:59 PM on May 1, 2011


Are we there yet?

5 more minutes.
posted by futz at 2:01 PM on May 1, 2011


Same as in town.
posted by ambient2 at 2:28 PM on May 1, 2011


This thread needs to be turned into a Night of Mayhem high school movie starring Seth Rogen and directed by Zombie John Hughes. Christopher Walken can play Ortho.
posted by nasreddin at 2:51 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only if I get a musical number.
posted by The Whelk at 2:53 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I assure you, fellow GRARs, that if I am elected Mod, my first course of action will be to recall our troops from Boing Boing and begin production of the above film, with TWO musical numbers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:00 PM on May 1, 2011


The Whelk: Only if I get a musical number.

Here, don't say I never gave you anything.
posted by gman at 3:02 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now come on, we need a heartwarming "we're all on this together" low-point of-act three tearjerker, a wacky ensemble number at the start to kick off some high energy and at least one montage-fixing the-bus-getting-the-show-ready number.

What I'm saying is we remake The Muppet Movie.
posted by The Whelk at 4:14 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


How about a NSFW Muppet Movie?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:27 PM on May 1, 2011


Can there be a montage? I love montages.
posted by nile_red at 4:29 PM on May 1, 2011


How about a NSFW Muppet Movie?

Have you never seen Meet the Feebles? Whoever let Peter Jackson make the LotR trilogy sure hadn't.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:32 PM on May 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


How about a NSFW Muppet Movie?

Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles.
posted by loquacious at 4:32 PM on May 1, 2011


MOD OPPRESSION! MOD OPPRESSION! HELP, I'VE JUST BEAN BEATEN BY A MOD!
posted by loquacious at 4:34 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]




It is well-known that Brandon Blatcher matriculated at a liberal arts college, where he consorted with admitted flautists, thespians, pianists and columnists!
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:45 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just realized that I also got a Mail from restless_nomad telling me to 'step back' in one of my threads. I took it as good advice, but if he/she sends this to everyone I'm not sure
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:55 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems like good advice in general, yeah
posted by Think_Long at 4:59 PM on May 1, 2011


Ah, didn't realize she was a moderator now. Sorry.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:01 PM on May 1, 2011


Seems like good advice in general, yeah

Yeah, I've found that threads make me a lot less miserable if I make a concerted effort not to reply right away or reply a lot. If I think of them as, "here's a nifty thing I've found I can share with people" rather than "here's a thing I love and I hope other people will love them too," it likewise makes me happier.

Also, I wanna be Animal in our muppet movie.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:09 PM on May 1, 2011


PhoB totally gets a drum solo.
posted by The Whelk at 5:21 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


AND I get to be a giant!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:22 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just got back from the Muppet Movie/Beer Tasting. I wish metafilter were like one of those.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:39 PM on May 1, 2011


Think_Long: Seems like good advice in general, yeah
Lovecraft In Brooklyn: Ah, didn't realize she was a moderator now. Sorry.

In your case, LiB, stepping back a bit might be good advice in general, not just when it's coming from mods.
posted by coriolisdave at 5:51 PM on May 1, 2011


I get to be Beaker. Me, me, me, me, me.
posted by arcticseal at 5:52 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wanna be miss piggy, but without the complicated hair.
posted by The Whelk at 6:10 PM on May 1, 2011


Oooh ooh, can I play? I wanna be that prawn guy, he cracks me up!
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:26 PM on May 1, 2011


Does Metafilter have a farm we could all walk around? Baby optional.

I have had it with these motherfucking babies on this motherfucking [content] farm.
posted by WalterMitty at 6:37 PM on May 1, 2011


I AM NOT A MUPPET, I AM A FREE MAN
posted by loquacious at 7:01 PM on May 1, 2011


Can I be Gonzo? I'm an extraterrestrial too; all my teachers used to tell me I was clearly from a different planet.
posted by galadriel at 7:11 PM on May 1, 2011


Once they asked if they could use me for ESOL credits, since obviously my home planet wouldn't have native English speakers.
posted by galadriel at 7:13 PM on May 1, 2011


it's like recipes w/o the ingredients.
posted by futz at 7:22 PM on May 1, 2011


Heh. I missed the title of this callout, but it's one that I regularly find hilarious when it's cited for shit like this — the context of the line, "Who watches the watchmen?" or "Who guards the guardians?" (my Latin's all received, not learned) is how rich aristocratic wives are unfaithful, and that you can't even trust anybody you'd hire, because these women will just fuck them too.

(I assume Ortho knew this; he quoted from the wikipedia entry.)
posted by klangklangston at 7:41 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to be the Swedish Chef. Second choice one of the grumpy guys in the balcony.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:46 PM on May 1, 2011


Ah, didn't realize she was a moderator now. Sorry.

OMG you decided to jump in at the end of this thread without reading any of it? Lurk moar.
posted by ericost at 9:08 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is completely over this thread now, in light of recent news.
posted by nile_red at 10:05 PM on May 1, 2011


Yeah, I've found that threads make me a lot less miserable if I make a concerted effort not to reply right away or reply a lot. If I think of them as, "here's a nifty thing I've found I can share with people" rather than "here's a thing I love and I hope other people will love them too," it likewise makes me happier.

In your case, LiB, stepping back a bit might be good advice in general, not just when it's coming from mods.

True, but 'posting about something I really love and care about' + 'MeFi snark machine' makes it really hard sometimes.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:23 PM on May 1, 2011


Yeah, I understand that. But generally, that's why I think it's good to not only post about things you really love and care about. I hate to be all GYOB, but generally, I post in my blog if I want to squee (which I often do); conversely, metafilter posts tend to go better with a level of distance. Generally, "things that are nifty and will make for good discussion fodder" go best here, I think. Tend to be more productive for other people, too--you get more range in the discussion and often more depth when you don't have the post-maker trying to steer the direction of it. I also think that some things that a passionate fan mistake for snark are genuinely attempts at reasoned discourse (a little tongue-in-cheek sometimes, sure, but most people post their reactions in good faith, even if they're negative reactions).

Anyway, just my two cents from someone who is likewise rabidly attached to a lot of things.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:31 PM on May 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


Have you never seen Meet the Feebles? Whoever let Peter Jackson make the LotR trilogy sure hadn't.

My ex-boyfriend LOVED Meet the Feebles, and I hated it, like seriously would walk out of the room when he got out the tape. (VHS! 1995 represent!) When I first heard that Jackson was directing LotR, I was all: "The Meet the Feebles guy? WTF? Ew!"

Sometimes it's nice to be wrong.
posted by epersonae at 9:03 AM on May 2, 2011


you totally jinxed yourself in that podcast, restless_nomad.
posted by ServSci at 11:04 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh, the timing was pretty hilarious.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:43 AM on May 2, 2011


Anyway, just my two cents from someone who is likewise rabidly attached to a lot of things.

Speaking as someone who posts a lot of things I love - I find it to be the most successful and the least stress to just make a decent, low key, low word count post and then just walk the fuck away from the thread for a few hours. If it's actually good and you're confident in your taste or selection, the worst thing that's going to happen is someone is going to make easily forgotten ignorant comments about the subject.

Also, I find it's good to avoid "issue" or news posts entirely. There's a lot of terrible stuff in the world. It doesn't all have to be posted to or discussed on MetaFilter. Sure, raising awareness is good and fine, but grinding an axe and using it to start arguments in what amounts to a collective social living room or pub is poor form.
posted by loquacious at 1:58 PM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm going to close this up now.
posted by vidur at 2:03 PM on May 2, 2011


My ex-boyfriend LOVED Meet the Feebles, and I hated it, like seriously would walk out of the room when he got out the tape.

It's a seriously bad movie. There are only rare moments when it's actually funny. It's filthy and misogynistic and just gross. The plot is thin, the character acting is unreliably wonky and inconsistent, and it's basically a string of one exceedingly tasteless and or disgusting scene after another held together by the thinnest of plots.

By comparison Waters' Pink Flamingos is high art. I only ever mention or recommend Meet the Feebles whenever someone says "Hey, you know what would be cool? An adult Muppet Show!" *groan* "Yeah, they did that and it sucked."

And the original Muppet Show was really for adults anyway. Sure, you'll never catch Dr. Teeth burning a Spliff with Animal and Fozzie back stage, but there's a lot of subtle adult humor and entendre in the original shows. And the musical acts don't suck, and they have awesome guest stars and appearances.
posted by loquacious at 2:08 PM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


And here we are.
posted by everichon at 2:41 PM on May 2, 2011


"Hey, you know what would be cool? An adult Muppet Show!"

I'll just leave this here.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 2:57 PM on May 2, 2011


I'll just leave this here.

Wow, I've never heard of that before. That sounds like it could be a coke-fueled nightmare.
posted by loquacious at 3:13 PM on May 2, 2011


Man, I love Meet the Feebles. I've seen it half a dozen times.
posted by empath at 3:30 PM on May 2, 2011


It's certainly not pleasant to watch.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:51 PM on May 2, 2011


Is Meet the Feebles like Garbage Pail Kids? That scarred me when I was younger...
posted by nile_red at 10:35 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's also that show with Seth Green (Greg the Bunny?) and Avenue Q
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:01 PM on May 2, 2011


if she'd just said "I was wrong" that would have been the end of it

This is a nifty new debating technique: assume you're right, pretend that everyone agrees, and then complain that the other side is just being obstinate for not capitulating.

Orthagonality, if you'd just say "I was wrong" that would be the end of this thread. I'm tired of your non-apology apologies.
posted by straight at 2:41 AM on May 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


assume you're right, pretend that everyone agrees, and then complain that the other side is just being obstinate for not capitulating.

Exactly. I don't think restless_nomad should apologise just to keep the peace. She believes she made the right decision. An issue like this doesn't really have an empirical solution, since everybody has different views on how heavy moderation should be. So she didn't do anything objectively wrong to apologise for.

I have to say that this thread kind of lost me with VikingSword's early comment: But nonetheless, when you have this kind of outcry from so many users

Because really, at that time there were really only a couple of users whose comments I would classify as 'outcry', plus a couple comments from people who thought it maybe wasn't such a great mod call but didn't exactly seem up in arms about it.

(Also, I wish people wouldn't default to male pronouns when they're too lazy to check a profile page to see if a gender is listed.)
posted by lwb at 6:27 AM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Orthagonality, if you'd just say "I was wrong" that would be the end of this thread. I'm tired of your non-apology apologies.


Well, the difference is:
I didn't delete anyone's comment;
I didn't restrict what topics could be discussed in a thread;
I didn't push a good commenter out of a thread;
and I didn't take any action other than to question restless_nomad's actions.

So you really think I ought to apologize for asking a question?

Because I didn't do anything else than have an opinion.

Now, I do admit that I was highly acerbic, not in my original question, but in my incredulity at what I felt was restless_nomad's very breezy and cavalier response, which to my ears read:
I have nothing to apologize for;
I'll almost certainly do it again;
and what I did made the thread better.

So I apologize for being acerbic. I could have reacted to restless_nomad's response more gently. I din't feel it what I wrote crossed a line, as it made no personal attack on restless-nomad, but I understand that sensitivities vary.

But you're wrong on another point; this thread is about over-moderation, so my apology isn't -- can't be -- what ends it.

I know you were cleverly quoting me and reversing teh intent of the words, and I've done the same in this thread and elsewhere and I certainly understand how that can be a good rhetorical trick. But like a bad anaology, your reversal just doesn't apply here.

Again, do you really think I, or anyone, should have to apologize for having an opinion or for questioning the moderation here?
posted by orthogonality at 11:44 AM on May 3, 2011


I didn't push a good commenter out of a thread;

lupus doesn't seem to feel he was pushed.
posted by rtha at 12:07 PM on May 3, 2011


rtha: lupus doesn't seem to feel he was pushed.

Well, what lupus wrote in the comment you link to is (empahsis added): "I looked at rn's profile, confirmed that he was a moderator, I wrote back with a stiffly worded letter (it was the Subject: that riled me, basically) then posted a reasonably-nice 'outta here' message on the thread.

So lupus was "riled" and then left the thread in response to restless_nomad's sarcastically titled* moderator email.

So to me that's "pushed".

What do you call it?


*lupus: "I had a Mefi mail with the subject "You were right" from rn. I thought, "Aww, he didn't have to do that," but in fact it was a message basically saying, "No, knock it off."

Had the moderation been less zealous, or perhaps had it been less breezily sarcastic, maybe lupus wouldn't have left the thread and we'd have had a better thread for it.

And honestly, the mods here do have a tradition of being catty/snarky, in both personal messages and in the notes left on deleted threads, and it's been observed before that while that's often clever, it also often leads to more rather than fewer hurt feelings.
posted by orthogonality at 1:05 PM on May 3, 2011


Oh, FFS. Forget who is right or wrong. The Feebles were the end of this thread.
posted by maryr at 1:23 PM on May 3, 2011


The Feebles were the end of this thread.

There's a monster at the end of this book thread.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:30 PM on May 3, 2011


Hey shut up, I know I need a hair cut.
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Again, do you really think I, or anyone, should have to apologize for having an opinion or for questioning the moderation here?

No, of course not. I was just lampooning the rhetoric of "look this argument can end if you just admit you're wrong" and of criticizing restless_nomad for making an insufficient apology when most people the thread didn't think she needed to apologize at all.
posted by straight at 1:53 PM on May 3, 2011


just lampooning the rhetoric of "look this argument can end if you just admit you're wrong"

I think you missed the context there: restless_nomad made an apology, but it was (in my view, and others' views) a non-apology apology that served to further exacerbate the situation.

Let me be perfectly clear: I'm in no way advocating someone should apologize when they think they have nothing to apologize for, much less that they should "have to" apologize. That's really antithetical to my values.

But if restless_nomad thought she had been overzealous in her moderation, an apology that begins "I'll probably do it again, for months" isn't particularly politic and doesn't serve to defuse the situation.
posted by orthogonality at 2:50 PM on May 3, 2011


I took r_n's comment to mean that she was in learning mode and during her trial by fire she may in fact make the same mistake again.
posted by futz at 3:29 PM on May 3, 2011


an apology that begins "I'll probably do it again, for months"

As has been previously discussed above, that wasn't an apology or a non-apology, it was an explanation that because of the way such things work, the way in which any "failures" by restless_nomad will appear is as an apparent overreaction.

Imagine a 2x2 grid representing whether the members of the mod team would or would not delete a particular comment. The top axis represents "existing mods would delete this comment" (Yes or No) and the side axis represents "restless_nomad would delete this comment" (again, Yes or No).

Top left quadrant: existing mods would delete the comment and restless_nomad would delete the comment. Fine, it gets deleted and any complaints that arise are about excessive moderation in general, not about restless_nomad's moderation specifically.

Bottom left quadrant: existing mods would delete the comment but restless_nomad wouldn't. Fine, she leaves it up until one of the other mods sees it and deletes it, and any complaints that arise are about excessive moderation in general, not about restless_nomad's moderation specifically.

Bottom right quadrant: existing mods wouldn't delete the comment and restless_nomad wouldn't delete the comment. Fine, it stays and any complaints that arise are about something other than excessive moderation (whether in general or specifically related to restless_nomad's moderation).

Top right quadrant and we get to the place there's trouble and the place that restless_nomad was trying to explain: She deletes it but because the other mods wouldn't have, it gets reinstated. And then come the complaints about how she's moderating excessively and all that.

This is where "problems" and "failures" in her moderation will show up, because by the nature of the situation it's about the only place they can.

Restless_nomad explained it fairly concisely (more concisely than I did):
There's also the whole question about whether y'all would even notice errors in the other direction - it would probably mostly just irritate my coworkers who would have to do the work I was avoiding. Sort of the nature of the beast that the things y'all can easily object to are errors of commission rather than omission.
posted by Lexica at 3:36 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


My re-reading of her comments is that she didn't apologize for deleting a comment that perhaps might have remained undeleted by cortex or jessamyn. She apologized for the confusion about her status (mod or not mod), which was aided by a comment she left in the thread that was not in mod "style." I don't think she needs to apologize for possibly making a mistake when she's new on the job, and I don't see her as being flippant or disrespectful to the community by acknowledging she might continue to make mistakes.
posted by rtha at 3:40 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh. You know, the whole time i've been reading here (i lurked for a few years before commenting) i've thought a Whelk was an imaginary creature. Like a Bandersnatch, maybe. And possibly looking similar to a mongoose.

Today is the first time it's occurred to me to google it and find its origins. It's a sea snail?!

Nothing will ever be the same again.
posted by pseudonymph at 2:08 AM on May 6, 2011


This prompts the question: Is The Whelk safe to eat?
posted by arcticseal at 2:15 AM on May 6, 2011


Sure, with herb butter and a fresh baguette.
posted by the_artificer at 2:53 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


pseudonymph: "Huh. You know, the whole time i've been reading here (i lurked for a few years before commenting) i've thought a Whelk was an imaginary creature. Like a Bandersnatch, maybe."

I know this isn't what you meant, but I'm amused by the thought of somebody who reads the site often enough to pick up on all the mentions of The Whelk while remaining oblivious to it being the name of a user, coming away thinking it references "an imaginary creature, like a bandersnatch." And possibly looking similar to a mongoose.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:38 AM on May 6, 2011


Yes, I like Rhaomi's interpretation. Did you think The Whelk's comments were imaginary, only visible to you? I now picture a moment of utter disbelief when you realize holy jesus other people are responding to The Whelk's comments.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:44 AM on May 6, 2011


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