Guidelines for contenious or inflammatory topics April 6, 2002 2:42 PM   Subscribe

All mapalm's posts this year have been about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; all of them pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli. The problem is that his editorializing is getting more and more heavy-handed. Today's post is downright inflammatory. In the thread, Sheauga's valiant attempts to provide background material were in vain. Can something be added to the guidelines asking posters to reserve their more contentious opinions for comments made in the thread?
posted by MiguelCardoso to Etiquette/Policy at 2:42 PM (69 comments total)

It would certainly be nice. People should recognize that the more tendentious they are in a front-page post, the less likely anyone is going to approach the thread with an open mind.
posted by rcade at 2:49 PM on April 6, 2002

Israel is killing and terrorizing civilians; it's all over the news. The only thing I see that's arguable in that post is "it is clear that Israel is not interested in peace at all" which seems like a reasonable conclusion in light of recent events in the West Bank.
posted by sudama at 3:13 PM on April 6, 2002

It leaves out the bit about it being "clear", "in light of recent events" that the Palestinians (or at least their leadership) are "not interested in peace at all".
posted by Marquis at 3:20 PM on April 6, 2002

Oh dear God, sudama, take your ridiculous invective over to the other thread. This is about the post, not a continuation of the tedious argument. I vote that we pay Matt to write a script so that the words Palestine and Israel are filtered out of comments upon posting.

I agree Miguel, but there's obviously nothing that can be done about those intent upon slinging excrement.
posted by evanizer at 3:21 PM on April 6, 2002

Israel is killing and terrorizing civilians; it's all over the news. The only thing I see that's arguable in that post is "it is clear that Israel is not interested in peace at all" which seems like a reasonable conclusion in light of recent events in the West Bank.

Don't make this thread about Israel -- it's about MetaFilter etiquette.

I've always understood it to be that editorializing just doesn't belong here. If you have an agenda, get your own blog, no?
posted by mattpfeff at 3:23 PM on April 6, 2002

I would like to believe that it is ok to express one's opinion in the FPP. After all, how can you as an individual not have an opinion? And what could be wrong with expressing that opinion if you are looking for a discussion?

My problem here is with the way those opinions got expressed in that thread. Phrases like (Israel) 'gives the finger', 'Utterly disgusting' etc. are inflammatory and don't really add any value. Specially since threads on Israel-Palestine have a history of going awry!
posted by justlooking at 3:34 PM on April 6, 2002

you know, if I of all people can discuss the subject rationally and unemotionally, you would think everybody else could, wouldn't you?

But seriously, it is the Big Mama of all the emotional and explosive topics there are to discuss here....I honestly can't think of a way to keep the invective from flying back and forth. One's views are so obviously going to be shaped by one's beliefs regarding that particular piece of real estate in the Middle East-who owns it, who has eternal rights to it, who did what to who, who is the agressor, who is the aggrieved, and who is standing idly by and letting it all happen with hands folded. For the purposes of metatalk, unless someone can come up with a three-strikes- you're out system whereby the pastel-suited jackals haul you away to the penalty box for a cool-out period, I don't know what could be done.
posted by bunnyfire at 3:37 PM on April 6, 2002

A much simpler solution would be: No ideological/political trolling in front page posts, period. With "trolling" defined very broadly. You want to post from a one-sided source, fine. You want to make a political point, fine. But if you can't do it in a form that doesn't intentionally bait the other side, then the thread gets yanked, regardless of what it's turned into by the time Matt discovers it. That would put an end to this problem inside of 24 hours.

A simpler way of determining what's yankable might be to just ask: "Is the poster issuing forth controversial, inflammatory opinions as if they were unquestionable facts?" If the answer is yes, the thread goes bye-bye.
posted by aaron at 3:38 PM on April 6, 2002

The post, though incredibly inflammatory and not very conducive to discussion, did manage not to cross the line that the posts inside the thread quickly did, in assuming that a person must be supporting one of the sides in this conflict, and subsequently think only the other side was wrong. That kills rational discussion faster than ten posts full of ranting. (I am not claiming that the poster has a balanced view, based on posting history they have strong and rather one-sided views on the matter. I'm not claiming it was a good post. All I'm saying is that the post itself did not require the "one side or the other" reaction it got, regardless of the poster's views.)

There was the chance for discussion, of a specific issue: the policy of Israel as it relates to torture. Sheauga's additional links were a good effort to save the thread, had the thread been intended as a general discussion of the situation, which we've had what, a dozen of already this past week? As it is, only a few comments in the thread are remotely on the topic set by the post, and those are calling for a list of countries in the area who don't use torture. Now that's a convincing argument: "He did it too!" The rest are the same old "which side it better" argument and yelling about the post itself.
posted by Nothing at 3:40 PM on April 6, 2002

I'm sorry, there was more rational discussion of the torture issue in the thread than I made out.

posted by Nothing at 3:42 PM on April 6, 2002

Agreed, Miguel, putting something short on the front page with more inside is a much better format. "People who have experienced or witnessed a terrorist attack may go into a state of acute stress reaction." I won't address content and editorializing on the Middle East, except to note that for all we know, many of the people posting here may have lost loved ones and relatives in this war, or had a personal friend who was tortured.

Mapalm did post Buy Nothing Day, for what that's worth.

I'm hoping that if we all attempt to add lots of value and usable links, it will become easier to scroll pass the inevitable flame wars without getting so annoyed.
posted by sheauga at 3:50 PM on April 6, 2002

I like aaron's solution. Especially as it leaves room for what mapalm should have done, which is post the link with the minimal required explanation, then put the opinionating in the thread.

Remember kids: FPPs are for links, invective is for threads.
posted by feckless at 3:50 PM on April 6, 2002

Thank you for trying, sheauga. We need more of that sort of thoughtful, balancing, linking behavior on MetaFilter.

Which reminds me, where is Carol Anne? She hasn't been around much lately.
posted by gd779 at 3:52 PM on April 6, 2002

The post was made to inform those interested that there are egregious examples of Israeli brutality currently under-reported in the media.

My post was aimed at those who might be interested in alternative news sources, who might yearn for a refreshing perspective that doesn't vilify Arafat and tacitly condone Israel's rampage.

A FPP with an opinion? You betcha. And I apologize for nothing.

(As an aside, I challenge anyone to dispute any of the claims I referenced.)

[This was also posted in the Metafilter thread itself]
posted by mapalm at 3:55 PM on April 6, 2002

only one way to solve this, paris/mapalm cage match...
posted by machaus at 3:59 PM on April 6, 2002

Which reminds me, where is Carol Anne? She hasn't been around much lately

I don't think I ever posted this back when it happened, but she told me she stopped visiting MetaFilter/MetaTalk some time ago (probably a couple months now) after people began calling her out and using her name for an example in various MetaTalk contexts.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:01 PM on April 6, 2002

aaron: I'm not commenting on your opinion here either way (well, the Nobel Peace Prize doesn't carry a whole lot of weight here either). But c'mon, your post from yesterday was highly opinionated. Your post was slanted, at the least, to get a certain reaction. The link was not to an editorial or op-ed piece, but a news story.
posted by raysmj at 4:02 PM on April 6, 2002

Or can you only post opinionated posts which are rather non-controversial or narrowly targeted, or ones people look at and say, "Oh, whatever." Which is how I think most people took the Nobel thread, the ones who weren't a part of its target audience.
posted by raysmj at 4:05 PM on April 6, 2002

I can't make a rule against opinion (we're not robots) and I can't change the post page to make suggestions of not posting loaded posts, as it's a slippery slope that would cause many more to cry bias and foul if some opinions passed without note while others were pulled into the fray here.

I would hope that members use their best judgement, and I'm only going to remove the worst offenses, as everything else in between is a gray area.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:17 PM on April 6, 2002

she stopped visiting MetaFilter/MetaTalk some time ago (probably a couple months now) after people began calling her out and using her name for an example in various MetaTalk contexts.

But she was used as an example of a consistently positive contributor! I know I cited her posting style as praiseworthy once or twice; I'd hate to think that noting it could have made her uncomfortable.... Argh.

I was wondering where she'd gone, actually, and am sad to have got this answer.

Ontopic: Sharing your opinion in and of itself seems not to be harmful to a post; it's editorializing (i.e., proclaiming your personal views as Right and True) that, I think, only polarizes a thread and harms the chances for productive discussion.
posted by mattpfeff at 4:18 PM on April 6, 2002

...and by hoping that members use their best judgement, I meant that if you want to post what will be perceived as a contrarian point of view, or a link to a heavy opinion piece, you'll gain more understanding from the general membership if you word things in a clear, semi-balanced way.

What's the old saying? You catch more flies with sugar than gasoline? mapalms looks like gasoline to me.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:20 PM on April 6, 2002

I'd hate to think that noting it could have made her uncomfortable

IIRC, someone made a bad joke, and used her as the butt of the joke and I believe it made her uncomfortable and feel like she was being targeted. She was a fantastic contributor and I do miss her presence here greatly.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:22 PM on April 6, 2002

I miss her too, Matt! Just to help us all get on the same page about this sort of thing, here's a tutorial on Cyberstalking. Although it seems odd that someone would leave because they were getting positive comments, it wouldn't surprise me if other people are also uncomfortable being singled out online.

Somebody else will just have to step in and add a few links to these threads, evidently.

Here's the secret: you don't just google.
-- Big topic, or an abstract idea: type whatever you want into Vivisimo, look in the folders. Alternate search for this is Ixquick, Queryserver Web Search. Example: "what does that have to do with the price of tea in China" on Vivisimo yields a revealing, in-depth report on Quanzhou and Fujian.
-- Current news, government: Queryserver.
-- Expert links in an academic topic: Teoma.
-- Browsing your way into a topic: Try these links.
-- Consumer products: Dogpile
-- Find an expert, and use the Advanced Search to Google backwards by looking for who "links" to their page.

posted by sheauga at 4:25 PM on April 6, 2002

oops, make that, "when they were getting so many positive comments"
posted by sheauga at 4:29 PM on April 6, 2002

Good points, mathowie and sheauga.

Hopefully people will follow that well-worn but still true adage, Matt. Although in PA it was 'catch more flies with molasses than with vinegar.
posted by evanizer at 4:36 PM on April 6, 2002

Nevermind the being bait, or the trampling balanced views from more grown-up posters, the worst of it is that the behavior being discussed in this thread just makes for such fucking tedious reading.
It screams a need to be taken seriously.

Can't you find someone to tell you that you're smart and pretty without tracking hyperbole all over our nice website?
posted by dong_resin at 4:47 PM on April 6, 2002

I meant to post that a lot higher up in the thread, but I slowly edited out about fifty "fucks".
posted by dong_resin at 4:49 PM on April 6, 2002

d_r *invokes the Power of Yang, Courage, Animus, The Masculine*

posted by sheauga at 4:54 PM on April 6, 2002

sheauga, I consistently admire your efforts, particularly the agnosticism that you bring (posting links showing different points of view, not always in agreement). Not my style (more's the pity, heh) but especially in these Middle East Situation™ threads, they at least make the visit worthwhile even as the discussion may have deteriorated.
posted by dhartung at 4:57 PM on April 6, 2002

About Carole Ann: You know, I made a comment in the 'bad joke' thread in question here in MetaTalk to the effect that she was a public figure and should get used to it. But I know she is a very private person---she'd written me before to ask that I not cite her by name, which I pretty much did. But then I went made that comment and have regretted it long before reading these comments here, thinking I added another straw to whatever made her decide to leave. I really miss her.
posted by y2karl at 5:00 PM on April 6, 2002

just a note to matt: could you fix sheauga's search links? they're great, but most need http:// in front. and thanks, sheauga, for providing them. very useful.
posted by Dean King at 5:03 PM on April 6, 2002

Only one thing worse than being wrong, and that's being tedious.

"Why do we have to be polite? Who's going to make us? It's one thing to be pleasant, even friendly, to people we actually know and care about, but what about the folks who don't deserve anything less than a quick kick in the shin?"

Oh look, this third article from "Time" is somebody's opinion on How the U.S. Can Restore Mideast Peace! Betcha can't wait to read it.

*exits, quickly, holding breath, dodging tomatoes*
posted by sheauga at 5:08 PM on April 6, 2002

Before you scamper off, sheauga... am I .... am I meant to be sexing up a donkey in my invocation?
I'm not good with runes.
posted by dong_resin at 5:09 PM on April 6, 2002

But c'mon, your post from yesterday was highly opinionated.

It's a fair cop (I always wanted to say that). But I posted it precisely because I was so tired of the constant one-sided "it's all Israel's fault" posting here (well, except for Paris), even though I'm someone that generally thinks they're all nuts over there on both sides. I wanted something to balance it out. That and because I honestly couldn't believe their one-sidedness in attacking Peres while saying literally not one word about Arafat's role. In any case, I never claimed I've never done similar.

(In my defense, I do think their actions constitute direct evidence that the Nobel Peace Prize committee is indeed "not even slightly rational, even-handed or non-ideological," as I put it. I don't think that is a matter of opinion any more, regardless of what your opinion on the Israel/Palestinian mess might be.)
posted by aaron at 5:10 PM on April 6, 2002

"People who have experienced or witnessed a terrorist attack may go into a state of acute stress reaction." I won't address content and editorializing on the Middle East, except to note that for all we know, many of the people posting here may have lost loved ones and relatives in this war, or had a personal friend who was tortured.

As have most reporters, we should note, whether for "mainstream" publications or more one-sided outlets. I've often wondered why reporters aren't forced to come home after getting caught up in something especially heinous, or shot at/beaten up themselves. It unquestionably has a psychological effect on what they report after that point, and on how they report it.
posted by aaron at 5:16 PM on April 6, 2002

(Excuse me whilst I blow a headgasket.)

I'm just about at the point where I conclude that everybody who posts a highly partisan Israel-Palestine thread, whether pro-Israel or pro-Palestine, is an asshole and should fuck off.

I don't come to MetaFilter to listen to a bunch of jerks who sound like dimestore revolutionaries haranguing a crowd scream at each other trying to convince bystanders of the rightness (or righteousness) of their point of view. All that bullshit does is turn me off. And I don't think I'm alone — or hadn't you noticed the comments per thread have been dropping lately on this topic?

People: I don't care about the issue any more. And you only have yourself to blame for it. I'm much more likely to pay attention to something reasonable, something balanced, something intelligent. But not something so blatant. I'm tired of this. Post something interesting. Post something cool. Post something marvelous. Post something intelligent. But stop posting something as the latest salvo in a propaganda war.

What really gets me is that you people keep going when you get hauled into MetaTalk. Have you no clue?

(There. I feel better.)
posted by mcwetboy at 5:17 PM on April 6, 2002

dimestore revolutionaries

That's nice. Props to mcwetboy.
posted by dness2 at 5:35 PM on April 6, 2002

It's original, too: "dimestore revolutionaries" - did not match any documents.

Glad you feel better now. "A cultural healing ritual is any activity in a culture that acknowledges and responds to a distressing event with a series of events or activities whose intent is to promote healing: connecting, venting, emotional processing, meaning making, and so on."

Oops on broken search links!
Three more:

-- Wisenut, for very recent material.
-- alltheweb, for stuff that doesn't even show up on Google
-- NorthernLight, for info on companies, business news, great subject pages on tech

Web Searching Tips and Links from Search Engine Watch
ZD Net Search Engine Reviews
ZD Net Search Engines for Specific Topics
Champion Searcher, MaryEllen Bates

posted by sheauga at 5:40 PM on April 6, 2002

enjoyment and agreement with mcwetboy.
posted by goneill at 6:21 PM on April 6, 2002

People, people,people.....this stuff has been going on almost as long as Abraham sent Ishmael and Hagar off into the desert....the people of Isaac and the people of Ishmael have been at contention for centuries and centuries....we have a while to go on we might as well calm down, quit breathing so hard (in fact, take a deep breath and count to ten, that's a good fellow) and THINK before you go off half -cocked on the subject. I guarantee you none of us here-in the States anyway -are getting the full facts on what is going on over there anyway-unless you have a friend or relative over there as an eye witness. So it behooves us to be polite and calm on this-as any other-subject we discuss over there on the Big Blue. If you really want to influence someone's thinking -on this or any other subject- you have to communicate in such a fashion that the other person is willing to listen to you.
Mapalm, by that measure, you are failing miserably. I would think you wouldn't wish to waste your time....
posted by bunnyfire at 6:23 PM on April 6, 2002


well, except for bunnyfire maybe...
posted by y2karl at 6:31 PM on April 6, 2002

In all fairness (IMO) and with little regard to Israel/Palestine topic but to what Miguel posted to Metatalk-- I agree that this post (front page opinions, rather) were aflame, but that seems an exception. And only 20% (roughly) of Mapalm's posts have been in direct re to continued conflict, and not all of those siding blindly with Palestinian efforts.
Miguel, you are one of the members on metafilter that I enjoy reading because you're a magnet to valued discussion and have a healthy sense of humor. I feel, however (with due respect), that either I have completely misread your original comments or you are off the mark.
posted by G_Ask at 6:41 PM on April 6, 2002

In other news...Colin Powell calls off Mideast trip. Sends bunnyfire in his place. Both sides surrender pre-emptively. World peace is restored.
posted by Optamystic at 6:45 PM on April 6, 2002

Miguel: "Can something be added to the guidelines"

I think it would be nice to have some guidelines for MetaTalk too. I noticed a MetaTalk post earlier today, now deleted, in which grrarrgh00 asked for some domain advice. It was one of those posts that has nothing to do with MetaFilter and nothing to do with weblogs, yet I think grrarrgh00 posted it because he was unclear about posting specifics, and he even said so. The main page of MetaTalk gives this as a posting guidleline:

MetaTalk is a discussion area for topics specific to MetaFilter itself, or weblogs in general.

That's pretty vague, although I've always admired the way Matt leaves a lot of the interpreting up to us. He rules with a velvet glove, as the saying goes. But while some of us know where the boundaries lie, others do not, and post tentatively, with apologies, as grrarrgh00 did. He may have thought that the "weblogs in general" meant his weblog. Who knows. Just elaborating a bit on the guidlelines, such as saying something like

"MetaTalk is a discussion area for topics specific to MetaFilter itself, or weblogging in general. Metatalk is not a place to ask advice about your website redesign or start a chat about your love life or ask if anyone knows how Salon did that neato dhtml menu thingy."

defines the perimeters a bit more, gives the MetaTalk police something to point to, and hopefully cuts down on the deleting time spent by Matt. Something to think about.

And mcwetboy... first the triple double and now dimestore revolutionaries! You're the stuff that legends are made of.

mcwetboy: "People: I don't care about the issue any more"

Me either...well, I don't care about the issue at MetaFilter. I haven't clicked on a link about Israel or Palestine or anything remotedly connected with Israel or Palestine for weeks here. I read the newspapers and watch the occasional news show on TV, and scope out all of my fav online news sources. I don't want to read the same people arguing over the same points day after day after day at MetaFilter, so I just very happily skip those posts by.
posted by iconomy at 6:46 PM on April 6, 2002

only one way to solve this, paris/mapalm cage match...

Took the words out of my mouth, machaus. Good thing I read the whole thread before making an inline double post.
posted by adampsyche at 7:11 PM on April 6, 2002

I feel, however (with due respect), that either I have completely misread your original comments or you are off the mark.

Whatever happened to "pull your head out, fuckwit"?

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:15 PM on April 6, 2002

only one way to solve this, paris/mapalm cage match...


Let's get ready to rrrrumble!!!!!

posted by jonmc at 8:07 PM on April 6, 2002

/me slips a brick into mapalm's boxing glove.
posted by Optamystic at 8:08 PM on April 6, 2002

Two men enter; one man leaves.
posted by bingo at 8:34 PM on April 6, 2002

Our corresponding thread over at Kuro5hin is exemplary, and includes a chronology. The multiple thread format certainly changes the way this sort of topic gets discussed- makes it possible to argue every fine point of the situation. Here, with a single thread, it's too tempting to declare a single "winner" of the debate.
posted by sheauga at 8:40 PM on April 6, 2002

i think this thread might have been the relevant one regarding carol anne, in case you were curious.
posted by moz at 9:11 PM on April 6, 2002

I miss ol' Carole Anne, too. We were about as different as two people can be while still belonging to the same species, which is probably why her comments always made me stop and reconsider. Plus, nobody worked Google like she did.

[stanley kowalski]

Carole Anne!!!!

[/stanley kowalski]

posted by jonmc at 9:30 PM on April 6, 2002

Kuro5hin is not Metafilter. Its format has positives and negatives, not just positives. Example negatives: The infamously confusing Slashcodish threading system. The fact that said system allows so many posts that the entire thread is impossible to follow. (As I write this, it stands at 719 posts and is a 1.2MB page. You can cut that number down by ratcheting up the minimum rating, of course (or however it is those wacky "viewing options" work, but still ...) It just allows for anyone to feel they have the right to post anything no matter how silly, stupid, or tangential to the topic at hand.

The only reason they can "declare multiple winners" over there is because the threads are so overwhelming, and so many posts end up completely unread, that hardly anyone can ever deliver a knockout punch, and almost nobody will notice if they do. (Not that I agree that winners "get declared" on MeFi threads that often at all.)

There's certainly no reason such a chronology couldn't have been posted on Metafilter, either.
posted by aaron at 9:31 PM on April 6, 2002

aaron describes precisely why I find kur05hin overwhelming, though the contributions there are often thought-provoking and worthwhile : I can't follow the threading for the life of me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:45 PM on April 6, 2002

For the record I referred to Carol Anne as "a girl in pigtails" which she no doubt took offense to. Then someone else compared her to "a middle-aged lesbian" which unless she happens to be a middle-aged lesbian she probably took more offense to than my remark.

My original point months ago was that we honestly don't know who any individual is behind the mask they wear online. Having met some people offline after communicating with them online, even after you meet someone face to face it is absurd to assume you know them well. My original point still holds, and I am still apologetic for having used Carol Anne as an example by name. I could have pulled any name out of the MeFi roster. The fact I chose her was practically random, and no ill-well was ever met by it. I do recall emailing her privately regarding all this, apologizing in my own way. Her choice to leave was not due to my one slight alone, but seemed to indicate a "straw that broke the camel's back" so to speak. She had obviously had enough. Still, no person more than myself would be more willing and ready to welcome her back to the fold were she ever to grace us again with her presence.

In short, I miss her too.

As for this argument regarding whether or not Miguel is right to post as he does and whether or not provacative and controversially opinionated front page posts belong on MeFi, my answer is YES repeated loudly and annoyingly a few thousand times rounded with a large Acme brick to the head of anyone who disagrees with me. I'd also add a few paragraphs about my opinion of the first ammendment despite the fact that it doesn't apply worldwide or perhaps even in this medium. Let's just pretend I did all that and save myself the typing and you the reading.

The suggestions made above to restrict posting by insisting in the guidelines that opinions in FPPs are unacceptable, or rewriting the backend of MeFi to keep certain words censored, or any of that other buldada you're all spouting is a bunch of pointless rhetoric. Bottom line: if you don't like a thread, skip it.

Miguel's reputation in here already precedes him. Some like his style. Others do not. The same can be said for most any other participant. I disagree with him at times but that does not mean I want to stop hearing from him.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:49 PM on April 6, 2002

Zach, as I recall, the biographical details, true or otherwise, that Carol Anne let slip indicated that she was indeed a middle-aged lesbian, and not adverse to having the community here be aware of that fact. She chose to share that information.

This is why I thought her comment in the thread Moz linked above - "I'd appreciate it if my name would stop being bandied about on MetaTalk" - was worthy of being called 'bullshit' on, even though I did not do so at the time.

It seemed to reflect a willful misunderstanding of how one's persona on this InTaRWeb Thing is fundamentally and completely (the emergence of Google as a stalker-tool aside) a product of what you choose other people to know about you, and what you choose to say. The MetaMemory is fairly long, and I don't think she anticipated anyone remembering what she said and playing without the most soft and cushy of kid gloves.

I agree she contributed a lot to the place, but, well boo-fucking-hoo, basically. Sorry if that sounds callous - I'd love to see her back here, but.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:59 PM on April 6, 2002

Zach, don't you mean mapalm?
posted by mikhail at 7:06 AM on April 7, 2002

I'd appreciate it if my name would stop being bandied about on MetaTalk.

/me prays for more site hits.
posted by jcterminal at 8:21 AM on April 7, 2002

posted by clavdivs at 9:55 AM on April 7, 2002

I can windmill, robot, and burn stylee, but I can't bandy.
posted by dong_resin at 11:44 AM on April 7, 2002

I haven't read the post, but I can say that I've never really agreed with anything mapalm has had to say, and at times it does come off with that "I'm right, you're wrong, discussion over" mentality.

I think opinions on the front page shouldn't be eliminated, but rather kept quiet. The purpose of the post should be to present the link/purpose/information/facts and then let the comments kick off the discussion. I'm a fan of posters putting something on the front page, then presenting their views in depth in the first comment.
posted by tomorama at 12:46 PM on April 7, 2002

Maybe a shorter FPP would have been more concise, less inflammatory.
posted by yonderboy at 3:06 PM on April 7, 2002

The same flies-honey-vinegar concept that applies to discussing controversial topics like the Israeli/Palestinian situation also applies to the occasional personality conflict/name-calling incident we have here. Think about it folks, if you can't stay calm for the sake of etiquette, do it for enlightened self-interest. I would assume that anyone taking the time to post an opinion here wants at the least to have their post read and considered thoughtfully. Sometimes we're even trying to persuade someone with a different viewpoint. Practical Psychology 101 - people don't listen well when they feel they're being yelled at. They don't listen well when they feel that you are not listening to them. They definitely don't listen when they feel they're being attacked. Even if you're playing for the readers outside the conversation, rest assured that they aren't impressed by yelling or name calling either. All this applies even if the other person started being inflammatory, unreasonable or downright rude first.

Conversely, if you listen to someone respectfully, demonstrate that you understand what they're trying to convey, and then lay out your point - they're likely to hear you. They might not be convinced now, but they may do some more thinking about it in the future. And hey - in the process of listening and understanding the other guys point, you may realize that you aren't necessarily contradicting each other, just commenting on different parts of the elephant.

posted by tdismukes at 5:05 PM on April 7, 2002

I jusr rode home in car with someone who was from Pakistan.

He just couldn't understand that I was American and thought that all religions should exist as is. Actually, he thought that as an american, even before the Sept 11 attack, that Americans believed all Muslims were suicide bomber material.

I was shocked and saddend that he couldn't believe that I didn't think that Musllims were any different than any other religion in the world.
posted by rich at 10:49 PM on April 7, 2002

on the subject of 'opinions' in fpp's, as we all have a certain frame of reference from which we observe the world all, all our comments are coloured by it. this is very difficult to avoid, though discussion requires common ground on which to interact.
most posters do not seem to understand, or care, that their comments belie their point of view via the language used, and thus can inflame a respondent unnecessarily. more care could be taken in this area, for the sake of rational argument.
on the other hand, maybe less sensitivity to this may also help discussion. i may find the points-of-view expressed by any poster contemtible, as revealed by their use of language, but i must respond only to their arguments, not to (my imagination's construct of) their personality.

talking of posters building up reputations, this is something that i try to avoid considering, as a presumption about someone's outlook can distract me from the content of their post to the extreme that 'i already know what they are going to say'.
posted by asok at 5:22 AM on April 8, 2002

The single best way to restore civility here would be to ban all threads on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Let someone start MetaPalestine.
posted by anapestic at 6:05 AM on April 8, 2002

asok, I already knew you were going to say that.
posted by bingo at 10:01 AM on April 8, 2002

I don't care about the issue any more.

hmmm.... spoken like a true american.

i'm sure i would qualify as one of the dimestore revolutionaries and will try to hold my horses in future posts - id like to add that i've learned a lot from both sides through many (though definitely not all) of the posts about the israel/palestine issue and think it would be a shame to end postings on this controversial subject in lieu of posts about the last toy from apple or the like...

props to sheauga for being a good metacitizen and role model.

posted by specialk420 at 6:35 PM on April 8, 2002

How did I miss this thread for so long?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:51 PM on April 10, 2002

« Older Metafilter in The Guardian: "She's Dead! Yes!"   |   How real-time blogging could change conferences Newer »

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