A mixed blessing, perhaps July 19, 2011 7:52 PM   Subscribe

Apart from the 'Obama proposes cuts to SS' thread around the start of the month, there hasn't been much in the way of current-event political threads recently, despite a lot of stuff happening around the world (budget crisis in the U.S., and Murdoch in the U.K.) It seems to me that news has occurred in both of these cases which could be thread worthy, and since I usually value political discussion I've been missing their presence on the front page. Have they been made, and then deleted, or is there some sort of sub-conscious urge not to discuss politics right now?

I'm also thinking that maybe everyone's waiting for the big event to happen in either of these cases, and perhaps refraining from making a post (or the mods are waiting for a similar event, and deleting anything premature).

I'm going mainly basing my claims on a search for this thread tag, and my own observations. Maybe I missed some recently that weren't tagged 'politics' explicitly.

I tend not to make political threads myself, since it's something I enjoy discussing, but don't feel knowledgeable enough to make a FPP about the issues at hand.
posted by codacorolla to MetaFilter-Related at 7:52 PM (102 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Good fucking riddance.
posted by carsonb at 7:55 PM on July 19, 2011 [37 favorites]


I think there is disagreement as the whether "interesting content on the web" also means "interesting content that also happens to be on the web"
posted by Blasdelb at 7:55 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's an open budget crisis thread here and a Murdock thread here.
posted by octothorpe at 7:55 PM on July 19, 2011


You can check on deleted threads here.

I suspect that ascribing some motive to the actions, or otherwise, of the amorphous blob that is the Mefi membership is a mug's game.
posted by pompomtom at 7:56 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Huh, I was under the impression that the (old, defunct) deleted thread blog was the only one there was. Thanks for the link.

i never do it, but god help me... MetaTalk: A Game of Mugs
posted by codacorolla at 7:59 PM on July 19, 2011


I agree: good riddance. IMHO Metafilter shouldn't be a newspaper. (Now if only we can get rid of obituary posts, too.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:04 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I join the "good riddance" chorus.
posted by Maximian at 8:19 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to figure out how to make a good Murdoch pie-throwing thread. I'm not sure how.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:23 PM on July 19, 2011


I join the "good riddance" chorus.

yeah, that song always makes me tear up
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:23 PM on July 19, 2011


Some sort of sub-conscious urge not to discuss politics right now

Yep! Please don't jinx it!
posted by librarylis at 8:25 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I assume it's because of northern hemisphere summertime, but I agree it has been sort of nice.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:27 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


In the past, NewsFilter has been actively discouraged by the mods as something that Not What Metafilter Is For. Nevertheless, it is something that is tolerated in moderation by the um, moderators, but I agree (though often participate in the threads) that this detracts from the primary function of the site. And likely takes up an inordinate amount if moderator energy.

The now apparently defunct PoliticalFilter was created by Brandon Blatcher in the run up to the last US election when it seemed we could no longer contain ourselves. I guess that niche still exists, but it would be better if it wasn't on the blue, IMO.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:30 PM on July 19, 2011


I have been taking a pretty substantial break from the news to break out of some depressive cycles; it's nice that Mefi decided to cooperate in my opinion.
posted by Think_Long at 8:31 PM on July 19, 2011


Obama proposes cuts to SS

Sheesh, Godwinned already.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:34 PM on July 19, 2011 [19 favorites]


There's nothing subconscious about my urge to stay out of political new-junkie threads on the blue. If you want to make a post, you should make it, but if it has to be about politics or news in general, please make it substantial.
posted by immlass at 8:39 PM on July 19, 2011


it's too fucking hot to talk about this stuff..
posted by tomswift at 8:39 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pardon my french, I posted that last comment as I was walking away from the computer in disgust (and not because of MeFi).

NewsFilter can be the best of the web, and worth sharing. I'd argue that's not the default state, however, and actually more of a rare turn.

Discussion on MeFi is the best on the web, if you ask me (and you probably shouldn't, see previous comment) so it's only natural to want to discuss news of the day on MeFi too. Gradually that's become the norm around here, and NewsFilter has crept like kudzu around the rest of the posts. I wouldn't mind if gradually or not gradually it becamen't—even if that meant there were fewer posts overall and activity on the site took a dip (er, I doubt it, but you never know...)— but I understand how hard it is to rid fertile ground of a weed like kudzu, so. One lives with it. Grudgingly. After all, if I'm going to have to read the news of the day, MeFi's where I'd want to do it. But I don't really want to do it, anywhere.

But hey, if you're gonna point out how there seems to be a natural waning of kudzu, allow me to be the first to say, "good fucking riddance."
posted by carsonb at 8:42 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Turns out we save a ton of bits when we don't have such FPPs.

And yeah, GFR, watching arguments basically repeat themselves was excruciating.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 8:47 PM on July 19, 2011


I'd say, if the posts haven't been made, and you're missing them, then either you need to make a post, or you need to just keep your disappointment inside you. The Grey isn't a place to come to ask people to make posts about things, and if others aren't posting, it's because they haven't decided it's worth posting.

Be the MetaFilter you want to be, and you'll find MetaFilter reflects you.
posted by hippybear at 8:47 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd say, if the posts haven't been made, and you're missing them, then either you need to make a post, or you need to just keep your disappointment inside you. The Grey isn't a place to come to ask people to make posts about things, and if others aren't posting, it's because they haven't decided it's worth posting.

It wasn't a request (just a matter of curiosity), and I have no intention of posting political threads, but thanks for the suggestion.
posted by codacorolla at 8:52 PM on July 19, 2011


The deep summer time (July and August) tends to be a slow time for political news in the US anyway.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:34 PM on July 19, 2011


We've had a few breaking news threads here lately that were extremely useful and enlightening -- Egypt's revolution and the Japanese Earthquake specifically, and a few good running threads on Wisconsin, but by and large, I think we all know where the news sites are, and as politics are contentious, the fewer the better so far as those threads go, for me.

There are a few people here who can craft a good FPP with some background and framing, and I learn things in those threads, but when it's just today's headlines, I really dislike that stuff cluttering up the front page. Unless of course, it's something huge.

But I'm just re-stating policy, though, so I don't know if existing policy has shaped the way I expect to see the site, or if my own preferences just align with policy by luck.

Less politics and news of the hour is definitely a feature.

Also, yes, it's hot. I can't think too well when my brain has been slowly simmering in its own juices for 2 months.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:36 PM on July 19, 2011


Yeah, there's a lot of exciting political stuff going on but I don't really want to hear y'all's opinion on it.
posted by fuq at 9:48 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also I've discovered Al Jazeera in a big way.
posted by fuq at 9:51 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's an open budget crisis thread here and a Murdock thread here.

I think as more people have realized the existence of Recent Activity, more of the news activity that would have gone into multiple new threads is ending up in a smaller number of ongoing threads. The updates and commentary in the News Corporation thread are excellent.
posted by grouse at 10:01 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, the existing Murdoch thread is still doing just fine.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:04 PM on July 19, 2011


Devils Rancher: " Also, yes, it's hot. I can't think too well when my brain has been slowly simmering in its own juices for 2 months."

Marinated Brains!
posted by zarq at 10:13 PM on July 19, 2011


I wish it had been as you suggest. We've had four just on Minnesota politics/politicians in the last month.
posted by norm at 10:19 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't really get the hate for political posts, aside from the rare occasion where they really are coming fast and furious and threatening to take over the front page entirely. When it's one every day or less, it's plenty easy to skip over anything you don't want to read.

If it were mods saying they hate them, I would completely understand. They do get rather contentious at times and must be annoying to babysit. Even then, it's not as if there aren't plenty of other subjects that get contentious around here, several usually involving even more acrimony than the political/news of the world type post
posted by wierdo at 10:41 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out how to make a good Murdoch pie-throwing thread. I'm not sure how.

You could make it about this pie-throwing game instead.
posted by scalefree at 10:49 PM on July 19, 2011


For what it's worth, I kind of hate them. Not all of them, and not every comment in the ones I hate, but if I had to wave a magic wand and get rid of one sort of thread they'd be on the shortlist.

I like it when mefites get up to actually cogent discussion and analysis of political matters, just like I like it when mefites get up to cogent discussion and analysis of just about anything, including all sorts of topics that sometimes get the "mefi doesn't do x well" characterization. But while most things a person can post about on the front page default to neutral-to-positive discussion of something interesting with a chance of snark or oddness, threads about politics and politicking tend a lot more toward infighting and lazy rhetoric and arguments with if we get lucky a chance a substantive discussion in there.

Contentious stuff plus unbudging opinions plus strong emotional investment in the topic so easily adds up to bad discussion (and, from the mod side, crappy thread-herding and -cleanup work and misc. fallout on email and metatalk and so on) that it's hard to like those sorts of threads on the balance, even if some good discussion does show up part of the time.

It's frustrating for me personally because I feel like an undue amount of site resources get sucked up by things that are fundamentally farther from the site's notional "interesting stuff on the web" than pretty much anything else that gets posted, and I get sick to death of topics I'd otherwise be interested in because it almost never comes without some kind of mess.

So for what it's worth, for me a drought in these posts isn't a mixed blessing so much as an outright boon.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:53 PM on July 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


It's been fighty enough around here without dragging more politics into it. I'm absolutely dreading election season.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:14 PM on July 19, 2011


Obama proposes cuts to SS

Sheesh, Godwinned already.


Yesterday I saw my first Beetle here in Kelantan. My son was with me so I wanted to be sure he understood that this was a special good car. "Look, a Beetle!" I say to him, make sure he sees the one I am talking about.

As we approach it I see it really is a classic - the small windows and taillights looks like 1950s, wow! I am telling my boy that these are excellent cars. Look at how it is old, and different from all the other cars! Oooh!

As we get alongside, I see that the Malaysian teen driving it has it painted up as an SS staff car, with a BIG honking dual lightning bolt crest on the side. I didn't get into that with the boy, just sort of did an internal shrug / WTF and kept driving.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:01 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here in Greece, summertime TV news is always hot girls in bikinis: HEAT WAVE: High Temps over 40C - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. HIGHWAYS GRIDLOCKED as people leave the city for holidays - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. YOUR HEALTH: protect yourself from sun's harmful rays - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. CELEBRITY SOMEBODY DOES SOMETHING! - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. ENTIRE ECONOMY COLLAPSING: 120% Unemployment! - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach.

Maybe we could do something like that?

{\}
posted by taz at 12:43 AM on July 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


You could make it about this pie-throwing game instead.

Or this one.
posted by Maximian at 1:14 AM on July 20, 2011


The cool thing about Mefi is that if you feel the site has been lacking in post type X Y or Z, you can make one!

For my part, I'm okay with political threads (and the attendant arguments) staying at a slow trickle.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:17 AM on July 20, 2011


Mr Pants for political rants is not.
posted by pracowity at 2:11 AM on July 20, 2011


I do not understand why people post to MeTa asking why no one has posted a thread on a certain subject. It just makes no sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:03 AM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


We really need more MeTa posts about why people haven't made MeTa posts about why people haven't made MeFi posts about certain topics.
posted by 6550 at 3:38 AM on July 20, 2011


Hey, when did we get a new deleted thread blog?
posted by TedW at 4:24 AM on July 20, 2011


Well, maybe it's just battle weariness, and an inability for us to top the asshattery and sophomoric one-upsmanship that's actually going on up on Capitol Hill?
posted by crunchland at 4:36 AM on July 20, 2011


It also might be that one side is so transparently evil and stupid in both cases that it's pointless to talk about.
posted by empath at 5:33 AM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out how to make a good Murdoch pie-throwing thread. I'm not sure how.

Well, you could probably do a really interesting post about the slapstick history of the thrown pie, its resurgence as a form of political protest (started by a Belgian comedian, IIRC).

But maybe don't bother - everyone would just end up discussing Murdoch instead of pies, which would be a shame given how well the current thread is going. (Honestly, it's one of the best political threads I can remember here. Presumably because there's no such thing as a Murdoch supporter, so we can discuss what's going on without taking sides.)
posted by jack_mo at 5:46 AM on July 20, 2011


Hey, when did we get a new deleted thread blog?

Here.
posted by zamboni at 6:05 AM on July 20, 2011


I also dread election season. This place will become significantly more unpleasant than it is today.
posted by DWRoelands at 6:24 AM on July 20, 2011


Obama proposes cuts to SS

What are you gonna do? The Clinton years heralded the golden age of SS, with Jeter, A-rod, and Nomar. But Obama can only work with what he has - Tulowitski, Cabrera, and a few promising youngsters. As for the old timers, well, Jeter is the only one playing the position and he's a statue out there.

You play with the shortstops you have, not the shortstop you want.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:37 AM on July 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


From what I've seen, Tulo > vintage Jeter.
posted by drezdn at 6:49 AM on July 20, 2011


A dearth of arguing
No politics in Summer
Begone Tea Party!
posted by edgeways at 6:51 AM on July 20, 2011


You play with the shortstops you have, not the shortstop you want.

You've got your known gnomes and your unknown gnomes.

Some of them can play shortstop pretty good.
posted by Skygazer at 6:53 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Newsfilter was prohibited and the mods have been banning anyone who posts it.
posted by LarryC at 7:01 AM on July 20, 2011


Anyway, screw the anti-political sentiment. I think it's a frickin' shame everyone's censoring themselves about stuff as politically important and potentially entertaining as the debt theater and the Murdoch Circus (couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. That shit's positively Shakespearian. Especially given high and low art that took place yesterday in front of Parliament. The high art being the pie, and Murdoch's wife's epic display of volleyball spiking skill applied to a human head, and the low art being Rupert's big phony performance as a penitent and doddering fool, and his son's oily performance.).

And the debt talks, also pure theater, mixed with some deft Chess moves.

I think Metafilter should chime in on this stuff more robustly, it seems strangely foolish and going along with the machinations of the fools of the world when it remains silent.
posted by Skygazer at 7:03 AM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


LarryC: Newsfilter was prohibited and the mods have been banning anyone who posts it.

I call bs. I thought it was a case by case issue, but if people are going to believe that, than that might as well be the "policy."

So much for "community-run," if that's the case. And like I said I don't think it is.
posted by Skygazer at 7:05 AM on July 20, 2011


Newsfilter was prohibited and the mods have been banning anyone who posts it.

I have dreams like that sometimes, but, no.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:06 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Psst, Skygazer, over here!
posted by jack_mo at 7:14 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Threads that bring out the worst in me: Ones regarding politics, rape, and that one with the disabled lady who got treated badly on the airplane.
posted by angrycat at 7:22 AM on July 20, 2011


I miss joe beese.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:28 AM on July 20, 2011


Now that everyone is over the Casey Antony debacle, perhaps it is time to get the nation focused on more horrible local news.: (CBS/AP) NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - The attorney for a New Jersey man accused of throwing his 3-month-old daughter off a bridge said Monday that he is hoping to get his client's bail reduced and may opt for an insanity defense.
posted by caddis at 7:36 AM on July 20, 2011


Anyway, screw the anti-political sentiment. I think it's a frickin' shame everyone's censoring themselves about stuff as politically important and potentially entertaining as the debt theater and the Murdoch Circus (couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Nah, it's sort of boring and the thread will most likely have the usual suspects spouting the usual things and it'll turn into a referendum on Obama. It's impossible for people on MeFi to have a discussion about this stuff, eventually it all gets heated, everyone gets further entrenched in their positions and then a MeTa occurs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:41 AM on July 20, 2011


I'm trying to figure out how to make a good Murdoch pie-throwing thread. I'm not sure how.

Well, a start, maybe: "The Biotic Baking Brigade Cookbook"
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:01 AM on July 20, 2011


Tulowitski, Cabrera, and a few promising youngsters.

I was sitting here spluttering indignantly for a moment, but then I realized you left out Jose "Most Exciting Player in Baseball" Reyes (who is having an epic season, leading the NL in WAR, and might well end up the MVP) intentionally, to bait Mets fans into spluttering indignantly. Right?
posted by RogerB at 8:05 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is a testament to the amazing outlier of a season that he's had that you left off Hanley Ramirez.
posted by norm at 8:06 AM on July 20, 2011


Well, if people think this stuff is verboten, I just see Dios off somewhere laughing his head off, at the guilty-conscienced weak-spine liberals on Metafilter, so scarred and ashamed, for giving him a hard time once in a while (Which he deserved 99% of the time for his obtuseness and his legal bullying and bluster) that they effectively silenced themselves.

And that's just sad beyond words. It's sad to see people, smart people, who's voices are necessary, silence themselves.

I mean, am I wrong about this? I'm all ears, but that's what I'm seeing.
posted by Skygazer at 8:10 AM on July 20, 2011


I'm not worried about what dios thinks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it's all I can think about.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:23 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's a frickin' shame everyone's censoring themselves about stuff as politically important and potentially entertaining as the debt theater and the Murdoch Circus

Just because people don't want to talk about it on Metafilter doesn't mean we don't want to talk about it. Bloviating on Metafilter and playing for favorites from the audience is not the same as political engagement and work. I'd rather take the energy I'd waste arguing with people whose minds I have no hope of changing and put it into something more useful like researching candidates, voting, or maybe volunteering in my community to be the change I'd like to see.

As for what [blowlhard conservative x] thinks about my participation on Metafilter, I don't care. Internet blowhards aren't that important. Don't make me quote xkcd on that subject: it's kind of worn out but it really does apply here.
posted by immlass at 8:23 AM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm perplexed by this whole thing really. There are open threads on all (most?) of the topics brought up in this thread, and the beauty of them being off the front page is they're past the point where people leap in with one-liners and the point where the people who read the article at work but not the comments leap in with what they were going to say sixty comments after it would have been relevant. The Murdoch thread, at least, is still attracting new comments, opinions, and links, and hasn't even degenerated into two guys yelling at each other thirty paragraphs at a time yet.

From my blinkered perspective as a UK Mefite, this seems like polifilter at its best.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:28 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, am I wrong about this? I'm all ears, but that's what I'm seeing.

You're not wrong, but I don't think your characterization is entirely accurate either. I don't think people are censoring themselves. However, there's a big gap between people deciding to not post a news story to MetaFilter, a site which does not have newsy stuff as a primary purpose, because they just don't care to, and people not posting this sort of thing because they're afraid or because they think something bad will happen. People opting to post about one thing and not another is not equivalent to censorship. That is not what censorship means. We have said as mods frequently that while we don't like most news posts for reasons cortex explicated above, they're certainly not against the rules at all. Just make a good one.

People post links to things they care about. Usually because they like to have discussions about those topics with the people here. Many, though certainly not all, newsy stories turn into threads where people with entrenched positions holler at each other about them, generating a lot of flags, account closures, and ill will that spreads to other parts of the site.

And if we were a news site, this would be what we would be expecting, staffed for, and at some level resigned to. We are not, so there is a tension there. The same is true, to a lesser extent, with music posts. We're not a music site. People occasionally make music posts. Often there are a lot of people in them who have a "your favorite band sucks" or "I should care WHY??" responses. This is small potatoes and more easily dealt with because usually someone's musical tastes are not, when extrapolated, infringing on the rights, livelihoods and worldviews of other people. The same is not true for many political threads especially of the "Look at these assholes" types we see a lot here.

Murdoch is a fucker, sure. However, that alone is not a great basis for a thread in MeFi. Threads that are just "Fuck that guy" aren't much better than threads with two warring factions. They're not good discussions, they just devolve into animosity and snark wars and people willfully misinterpreting each other and then taking grievous offense at same. If people opting to not post news threads about the same old topics helps keep that from happening, I'm all for it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:29 AM on July 20, 2011


Here in Greece, summertime TV news is always hot girls in bikinis: HEAT WAVE: High Temps over 40C - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. HIGHWAYS GRIDLOCKED as people leave the city for holidays - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. YOUR HEALTH: protect yourself from sun's harmful rays - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. CELEBRITY SOMEBODY DOES SOMETHING! - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. ENTIRE ECONOMY COLLAPSING: 120% Unemployment! - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach.

Maybe we could do something like that?


Well, the thread reads a bit like SUMMER IN THE CITY: "It's so much better during the few months that we don't have to contend with traffic political threads." Voiceover: "Athenians swarmed the beach as the temperature reached 40 C" - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach.

hamburger
posted by ersatz at 8:29 AM on July 20, 2011


Here in Greece, summertime TV news is always hot girls in bikinis

I want to go to there.
posted by grouse at 8:34 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


And that's just sad beyond words. It's sad to see people, smart people, who's voices are necessary, silence themselves.

I mean, am I wrong about this? I'm all ears, but that's what I'm seeing.


I feel like you might just be misapprehending what it is that people who aren't minding the relative quiet aren't missing. The thing I find frustrating about political threads isn't the "smart people, whose voices are necessary" thing—setting aside entirely whether the notion of the necessity of I guess political arguments on Metafilter is one that makes a whole lot of sense—but rather the pretty-much-everything-else that comes with it.

At the root of it I think there's a significant opinions-are-like-assholes effect: it's one thing when the thing everybody's got their own personal take on e.g. 70s prog rock, or Olympic curling, or the merits of different newspaper style guides, because while in exceptional cases someone can get weirdly obnoxious about a strongly-held opinion there, that's more the exception indeed. A little bit of jockeying and a fair amount of plain discussion and maybe some fun storytelling is about what you get out of a random thread on most things.

But on some things you get a lot of jockeying, a lot of people getting in each other's faces about their strongly-held opinions, it is more like a matter of course that the content of a thread about a contentious subject will have a high heat index and a lot of people going at each other or at some absent post subject. And with politics there almost by definition is not a post unless there's some contentious aspect, because "politician operates in baseline normal, unremarkable fashion" isn't most of the time something anyone will care to post about. So whatever might be valuable for it's "necessity" in terms of interesting political discourse tends to get buried, either by the larger argumentative context of the thread or by the too-tied-up-in-it context of the commenter's own comment framing.

Which, again, not always, and great when that doesn't happen. But there's a reason people get tired of political threads, and it's not because of some weird lazy caricature about lilly-livered liberals and the ghost of dios. The threads attract crappy commenting behavior, go crappily, turn off everybody who isn't for whatever reason so into political discussion on Metafilter that they'll wade through or even perpetuate the crappiness, and, whee. Predictably tiresome threads that suck up good will and site resources.

We're not a news site. We're not a politics site. It's fine in the abstract sense that that stuff is part of the mix, because we're a generalist site and folks are interested in all kinds of things, but posts about politics that descend into predictable GRAR-fests are a far cry from being as necessary, let alone more necessary, than any other thing under the sun one could post about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:37 AM on July 20, 2011


Here in Greece, summertime TV news is always hot girls in bikinis: HEAT WAVE: High Temps over 40C - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. HIGHWAYS GRIDLOCKED as people leave the city for holidays - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. YOUR HEALTH: protect yourself from sun's harmful rays - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. CELEBRITY SOMEBODY DOES SOMETHING! - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach. ENTIRE ECONOMY COLLAPSING: 120% Unemployment! - cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach.

Maybe we could do something like that?


Or maybe we could reopen the discussion of how incredibly sick and tired so many women are of having every damn thing in the world used as an excuse to show images of "hot girls in bikinis". That sounds like almost as much fun as a politics discussion and just about as productive.
posted by Lexica at 8:43 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


The other really annoying thing about political threads is that they're about predictable issues, i.e. the US debt ceiling, the Minnesota state government shutdown or Murdoch.

Very few people are interested in looking at politics from outside their own government/comfortable zone and discussing a different system or events. Christ, the birth of a new nation merited all of 20 comments over the course of 10 days.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:47 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ha, thanks for that pointer, BB. I had a news article about South Sudan that I didn't think would make a fpp but now I have somewhere to put it.
posted by immlass at 9:03 AM on July 20, 2011


You know if something is annoying on metafilter you can ignore it or flag and move on.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:04 AM on July 20, 2011


A lot of people can't ignore things, let alone move on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:07 AM on July 20, 2011


I wasn't referencing other people; I was responding to your opinions on why political threads suck. Either way, politics is usually a contentious topic because when push comes to shove people's own egos get involved. I've noticed this moreso with Americans who seem to link their self worth and personal identity to the trials and tribulations of our military and or economy. When those institutions are critiqued and criticized they feel like they are personally being criticized. The same type of dynamic is also endemic in religious threads. Does that mean we should "not do them"? I guess that's up to the collective mind of our online community, but my opinion is that contentious issues should never be shied away from because some people may be offended or have a hard time "doing" something.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:22 AM on July 20, 2011


I wasn't referencing other people; I was responding to your opinions on why political threads suck.

If Brandon Blatcher expressing his opinion in MetaTalk is annoying, you can ignore it or flag and move on. Or you can escape the false dichotomy by expressing your own opinion in MetaTalk.
posted by grouse at 9:27 AM on July 20, 2011


If Brandon Blatcher expressing his opinion in MetaTalk is annoying, you can ignore it or flag and move on.

Brandon Blatcher's opinion is not annoying; I merely disagree with it.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:34 AM on July 20, 2011


my opinion is that contentious issues should never be shied away from because some people may be offended or have a hard time "doing" something.

And just to be a broken record, my feeling is that this framing of the response to why we don't have more contentious political posts is misguided. We absolutely will delete threads that turn into terrible trainwrecks here and we absolutely ask that people who are making a post on a difficult topic [where difficult is outlined as "tends to go badly here" or "is a difficult topic for people to discuss in general"] take care to make a good post on the subject and don't just throw out some weak news story as a premise to having the same old discussion about the same old topics.

When those institutions are critiqued and criticized they feel like they are personally being criticized.


My take on this, not that you asked, is that some people have a difficult time critiquing an institution without also making overbroad negative accusatory generalizations of all the people who in some way align themselves with an institution ["all people who believe in god are like this" "all people who enter their children in beauty pageants are like this" "all people who voted for Bush are like that" "all people from Texas are like this"]. I'm never totally sure if this is because the people making these generalizations actually believe these things, or if they think it's a useful rhetorical device but it's quite possibly the #1 shitty thing that happens here that the people involved in the happening [on both sides, the accuser and the accused] seem to be unable to extricate themselves from once they're stuck in it. #2 is flip asides/jokes/snark about a serious topic at a time when it's not appropriate or amusing to most people. #3 is the "here is me restating what you said, do I have this correct?" [when the answer is nearly always "No that is a two dimensional parody of my beliefs"] and #4 is the interrogation of one person's unpopular beliefs [often with full participation of the unpopular-belief-holder] while everyone else sits on their hands and wishes it were not happening.

All of these things result in suboptimal threads and community feeling here generally. If there could be a political thread absent these THREADFAIL mechanisms, on any topic whatsoever, we'd be delighted.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:44 AM on July 20, 2011 [12 favorites]


What is interesting is that alot of current event threads are still open, was going to remark on Southern Sudans lack of an IT FFP, but it is being discussed, we just a Lamo which did not end in a steaming info splash bath, well not yet.

I had this feeling sorta. lots of red boxs, but alot of these issues are in still open threads as mentioned by others here. Which brings me to a small observation, perhaps we are used to seeing a 1 to 3 (on average) straight forward politcal/news threads on the Blue a day.
I could see how members might become leary of posting political/news stuff. Though I do believe a good one takes more research esp. when researching what metafilter has covered before.
posted by clavdivs at 10:07 AM on July 20, 2011


There are discussions that draw people to the site, and discussions that drive people away.

It's my impression that discussions about "look at this stupid/evil thing/person", politics or religion correlate strongly with people pushing the Big Red Button.
posted by scrump at 11:08 AM on July 20, 2011


Bloviating on Metafilter and playing for favorites from the audience is not the same as political engagement and work.

Amen.
posted by LarryC at 11:17 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


...but my opinion is that contentious issues should never be shied away from because some people may be offended or have a hard time "doing" something.

One of the last thing I want to do is go ten rounds with you on whether the use of the atomic bomb in WW II was moral or anything remotely similar. It's not shying away, just a realization there's more fun things to do on the site.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:25 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's a good question though.
posted by clavdivs at 11:32 AM on July 20, 2011


had ya there
posted by clavdivs at 11:32 AM on July 20, 2011


It's sad to see people, smart people, who's voices are necessary, silence themselves.

Nobody's voices are actually that necessary; the loss to either the community or the world at large because we only ritually re-enact the same goddamn tribal argument 999 times instead of 1,000 is nil. It's particularly odd to invoke the specter of one of the site's few and long-gone conservatives when basically every political argument here in years has been between liberal incrementalists and the activist left.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 11:53 AM on July 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


conservitive specters want thier not necessary too.
oh, wait
posted by clavdivs at 12:38 PM on July 20, 2011


It's particularly odd to invoke the specter of one of the site's few and long-gone conservatives when basically every political argument here in years has been between liberal incrementalists and the activist left.

It's not so strange when you realize that the liberal incrementalists have been Overton-ed into positions formerly considered conservative.
posted by Trurl at 3:50 PM on July 20, 2011


Heh.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:10 PM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why do you want to hurt Metafilter? Seriously: why?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:41 PM on July 20, 2011


Why do you want to hurt Metafilter? Seriously: why?

Where did you get your psychic powers from? Seriously: where?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:23 PM on July 20, 2011


Why were you convinced that sarcasm was best response here? Seriously: why?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:27 PM on July 20, 2011


Well you're the one with the psychic powers you tell me :)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:00 PM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Worst DC relaunch title ever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:07 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


posted by jessamyn ★ at 12:44 PM on July 20

I completely agree. In fact I think we've already talked about at least a couple of those issues because those issues were my issues. I hope I've self corrected. Recently, I've stayed out of the political threads for the most part.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:07 PM on July 20, 2011


I too, love america-
posted by clavdivs at 7:48 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


fuck yeah
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:00 PM on July 20, 2011


cut to hot girls in bikinis on the beach.

I practically grew up on a beach in Southern California, so I never really understood why bikinis were such a big deal. Little deal, whatever. Seeing people walking around mostly naked was just another day at the beach. I never did the math and realized it was called a bikini not because of the tropical Pacific island, but because of the nuclear bombs that they blew up there. In my confused post-1970 childhood I figured there must have been a resort there, like it was Tahiti, and they invented the bikini swim suit because it was so hot. I mean, the air. I guess a hydrogen bomb is pretty hot, too.

Anyway, I never had any cultural context of why the bikini was such an outrageous if not even shocking artifact of the dawn of the atomic age. Until recently.

Now I live in Seattle. A couple of weeks ago I was walking through the Seattle Center near the cool International Fountain and lawn like a lot of locals do - it's more or less our collective front lawn and place to get away from the hectic noise of Belltown and downtown. And it's nice out, one of the first truly warm sunny days this summer. I'm wearing shorts and a T-shirt. I don't have a jacket with me. I don't even have so much as a hat or long sleeved shirt on. It's glorious.

Main point being that the people in Seattle tend to stay pretty well covered up. To the point you kind of forget what people actually look like without a rain-friendly hat and a jacket and boots. I'm cool with that, I like jackets (and pockets) and scarves and hats and rain. But summer here looks a lot like this Almost Live sketch. They're not really exaggerating - you can measure the minutes of a Seattle summer. So far this year we've had 78 minutes of "summer".

I'm going somewhere with this.

So, I find an empty bench near the fountain in the sun. I'm going to have some coffee, hop on the free wifi, listen to the fountain, grab some sun and free vitamin D.

As I'm turning to sit I gaze out over the north lawn near the fountain and suddenly my eyeballs are brutally scandalized and shocked right out of my head by two young women... naked? I do a triple-take as they lay out their blanket on the grass, thinking "Hey, it's Seattle. Whatever."

Oh, duh. Bikinis. That's why they were such a big deal. Man, when those first were invented they probably made people question their religion.

And that's the true story about how I was actually shocked and morally scandalized by someone wearing a bikini for the first time in my life.
posted by loquacious at 8:25 PM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


In his In Praise of Older Women, Stephen Vizinczey describes how, in the atmosphere of communist Hungary in the 1950s, wearing a bikini was an act of almost revolutionary defiance.
posted by Trurl at 8:32 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well you're the one with the psychic powers you tell me :)

I'm trying, but all I'm getting is blurry images of dessicated rotisserie hotdogs and angry clowns.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:23 PM on July 20, 2011


MetaFilter: Dessicated rotisserie hotdogs and angry clowns.*


*And the name of my next band.
posted by Skygazer at 4:47 AM on July 21, 2011


atoll, atoll
posted by clavdivs at 8:35 AM on July 21, 2011


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