Normal feedback? July 25, 2011 7:56 PM   Subscribe

So, yay me, first post. But wow, is this what I should expect?

I posted the planking/owling/diving thing. I thought it was kind of funny, with some entertaining pictures. The response was a bit more vitriolic than I expected.

I thought calling it "Kids Today" would hint it was all silly, but folks seemed personally offended by photos of douchebag kids having a good time.

Should I have made fun of them more? Is this a leading question?
posted by kinsey to MetaFilter-Related at 7:56 PM (172 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Oh honey, it's not you. It's the subject of your post, is all. *hugs*

I am being completely sincere, btw.
posted by jokeefe at 7:59 PM on July 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


The best advice I've ever heard for posting to MeFi is to remember that once you hit that "Post" button your thread is no longer your thread. It's out there to become whatever it may at the whims of whomever is reading the front page for the next several hours. Once you learn to let it go, the whole experience is a lot less stressful.

Plus, this attitude is helpful when selecting a subject and/or writing a post about a link. If you're thinking 'what are the potential directions this could go in, and how much do I care about it', that can help you compose a post that is liklier to garner the response you're hoping for.
posted by carsonb at 8:00 PM on July 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yes, expect more of that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:00 PM on July 25, 2011


Not that that's any guarantee, that last bit. Weird shit happens all the time, just roll with it.
posted by carsonb at 8:00 PM on July 25, 2011


I am completely offended that you think those kids are douchebags.

They are just having fun. What's your problem, man?
posted by hal_c_on at 8:02 PM on July 25, 2011


Dude, this is not always a good place to come looking for people to grade or critique your posts.

Although my gut response is "WTF!!!! people are leisure diving? I'd much rather see the red marks/hear the gagging and coughing after they all awkwardly hit the water, where's THAT site?"
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:02 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure we need more (any) posts where the OP posts something just to make fun of it. If you're posting something just because it's a little dumb, maybe think twice.

That said, I've been here for almost seven years and I'm still waiting to find something I find interesting enough to post. But I keep searching, endlessly searching. I'm concentrating on sandwich-related posts. But what kind of sandwich? Endlessly paralyzing. Maybe a masturbating cat. Those are funny.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:03 PM on July 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


I like owling and I liked your post, but any time you make a post catering to the "let's make fun of people" crowd, this is at least partly what you should expect in response.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:05 PM on July 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


A masturbating cat sandwich, Admiral Haddock?
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:06 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I made a post once about JG Ballard that turned into an argument over how likely it was that your average Mefite knew his work. Never saw that coming. It's true, you just have to shrug and move on.

I thought it was an okay roundup of some recent silly trends, myself. No harm, no foul.
posted by jokeefe at 8:07 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think LiB said is best. I thought the post was fun. Let people have a creative good time.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:07 PM on July 25, 2011


A masturbating cat sandwich, Admiral Haddock?

It's like the clouds have parted and a host of angels have descended upon me. Pure genius. I shall return anon with MeFi's most complete and enlightening post on onanistic felines and their paninis.

Frisky felines--sultry sandwiches! If I could find a way to work the SS or biker gangs in there, I'd have a Russ Meyer movie. Although maybe not a particularly good one.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:14 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'd much rather see the red marks/hear the gagging and coughing after they all awkwardly hit the water

The ones where they're drinking from glass bottles in mid-dive make me wince.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:16 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


this is a perfect time to mention my juggalo furries FPP that got deleted.

and ouch, We had a deal, Kyle, me too.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:17 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was a really excellent deployment of "paninis" imo, Admiral.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


this is a perfect time to mention my juggalo furries FPP that got deleted.


Link me!
posted by Partario at 8:19 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


AH, I think there's some room there for a penes/panninis related pun. Of some sort.
posted by jokeefe at 8:19 PM on July 25, 2011


Dammit, BeerFilter.
posted by jokeefe at 8:20 PM on July 25, 2011


Partario, you're welcome.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:23 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


AH, I think there's some room there for a penes/panninis related pun. Of some sort.

I was thinking the same thing, but that's just gilding the lily, no? Work with me here; I want my masturbating cat sandwich thread to be a classy affair.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:24 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think I need to take a break from the internet for a while. BBL.
posted by hellojed at 8:29 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


pene for your thoughts.
posted by clavdivs at 8:34 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a bit more vitriolic than I expected.
posted by crunchland at 8:37 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Look on the bright side: your first MeTa post is going better than most.
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:41 PM on July 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


I've spoken out against excessive snark in the past, and there I am being all snarky.

I guess it's do-what-I-say-and-not-what-I-do: I'll own up to that.

But that stuff really does key right in to what I see as the nexus of things that are literally destroying our civilization -- no, seriously -- and I just couldn't resist. Sorry!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:42 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's probably helpful if you don't think of it as "feedback". They're just comments. Often just whatever your post makes people think of.
posted by anastasiav at 8:44 PM on July 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


You should actually expect a variety of responses to "hey, look at this, I think it's humorous/entertaining" which are all essentially different points on the spectrum between "Yes, that is humorous/entertaining" and "No, I do not find this humorous/entertaining". It happens. And you're actually getting off a little easier than some - there are plenty of people who enjoyed what you posted, and even those who didn't are at least providing reasons that could lead to discussion. Wait til you get your first "I though this was pretty meh."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:45 PM on July 25, 2011


Don't sweat it. Your post made me laugh. And Haterade is the one and only reliable thing about the internet.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:49 PM on July 25, 2011


I missed that they were "douchebag kids" and just thought they were people having fun, so I guess you should be more explicit about that next time.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:57 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seriously, welcome to the club. Reactions to posts are rarely predictable. Reactions to Metatalk posts, doubly un-so. The fact that you doubled-down on your front page post by making this one shows stamina. Here's to the hope, how ever unlikely, that the reactions you get to your next 300 front page posts better meet your expectations.
posted by crunchland at 9:02 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Basically, it is like putting a quarter into one of those machines that dispenses clear plastic bubbles with things like temporary tattoos or little tiny toys inside, except that some of the bubbles contain bees.

Some machines have more bees than others, and how violently you crank the handle after you put your quarter in will affect how roused the bees are. But you can never be sure that there aren't any bees, nor can you turn the handle gently enough to be sure that they don't wake up.

In this metaphor, being okay with walking away from the thread is represented by walking away from the machine without picking up the bubble full of bees, I guess. It kind of got away from me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:05 PM on July 25, 2011 [106 favorites]


In Metatalk, YOU ARE THE BEES.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:09 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Continuing with Cortex's bee metaphor, this is an illustration of how a political thread typically goes.
posted by hellojed at 9:11 PM on July 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


It kind of got away from me.

Wibbly-wobbly buzzy-wuzzy.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:11 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


stavrosthewonderchicken: "But that stuff really does key right in to what I see as the nexus of things that are literally destroying our civilization -- no, seriously -- and I just couldn't resist. Sorry!"

I thought we were all agreed that our civilization is being destroyed by things like the new Smurf movie.

Also Stretch Armstrong and the remake of Spiderman (the original movie only came out in 2002. Are our memories really that short? Seriously, you'd have to be eight years old right now not to know the story).
posted by misha at 9:14 PM on July 25, 2011


I would say that vitriol is normal and predictable. Some people hate memes. Some would make the argument that memes are basically distilled conformity and also have a stupid name. It would be better for, um, those kinds of people to stay out of threads like yours

The additional antagonism of those who come back to yell at the people who vocally scorn memes for being joy-hating joyless killjoys adds a whole other layer of vitriol, which is denser because it is hatred of hatred, so it sinks to the bottom, leaving a frothy emulsion layer between the two. Now that's a metaphor.
posted by nanojath at 9:20 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I saw planking on reddit and thought it was dumb. I later saw leisure diving on reddit & thought it amusing. Then some dumbasses killed themselves planking, which confirmed my feelings: very dumb. I saw your post and couldn't be arsed to see owling. Leisure diving remains hilarious and everyone should go look.

So, coming from that pov, I think your post was great. And also that the thread was appropriate. Great post: you found a trend and multiple links and Best of the Web'd it. And people are right to call some, or maybe even all, fads "dumb". Good post!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 PM on July 25, 2011


I liked your post. Don't worry about the jerks that hate things, they are more like roaches than bees imo.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:39 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suspect starting the post with planking, since that trend has gone disastrously badly, may have colored the rest of the post. If you start a list with something people think is foolish, there is a real possibility that the other items on that list will seem foolish by association.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:40 PM on July 25, 2011


MetaFilter: some of the bubbles contain bees.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:40 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I read that thread and didn't get any "wow, people are upset about this" bells going off. It's a set of silly fads, and you can hardly expect people to get epically insightful about it.


Here's a quote from the discussion on my first FPP..."This is the most retarded thread ever."
posted by redsparkler at 9:41 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do I have an unexpectedly thick skin, or have there been a bunch of comments deleted or something? I don't see a whole lot of hatery or vitriol in that thread.

But like carsonb and anastasiav say— don't think of the comments in a post you make as feedback to you. They're people commenting on the subject of the post. It's not your thread; you just brought it here.
posted by hattifattener at 9:42 PM on July 25, 2011


I'm speachless. I don't get any of this.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:46 PM on July 25, 2011


Well that's just peechee.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:52 PM on July 25, 2011


It's like feeding a bunch of dogs some fresh meat. It's not always a happy ending.
posted by Brian B. at 9:56 PM on July 25, 2011


*except for the dogs
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:01 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


cortex is the bees knees.
posted by bwg at 10:07 PM on July 25, 2011


When you feed cats fresh meat, the cat in the middle wins.
posted by maryr at 10:09 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Please tell me you're adding this to the FAQ, cortex.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:26 PM on July 25, 2011


BEES!!!
posted by eddydamascene at 10:59 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Haterade is just watered down grar and electrolytes. Don't take it too seriously.
posted by amyms at 11:04 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


The electrolytes that plants crave.
posted by maryr at 11:07 PM on July 25, 2011


Are the dogs planking?
posted by arcticseal at 11:12 PM on July 25, 2011


Welcome to Metafilter. Funny that yesterday somebody posted something similar - a YouTube of a country artist - and also got slammed.

People will snark on ANYTHING. I've seen a thread making fun of 'Good Vibrations'. If its got hipsters, young people, or pointlessness people will hate it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:21 PM on July 25, 2011



Although my gut response is "WTF!!!! people are leisure diving? I'd much rather see the red marks/hear the gagging and coughing after they all awkwardly hit the water, where's THAT site?"


MeFi in a nutshell.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:22 PM on July 25, 2011


But wow, is this what I should expect?

Snark? Absolutely.

Personally, I enjoyed the post, and even e-mailed it to a friend.

You posted pictures of people acting goofy and recording it. Some people will inevitably find that stupid. And on MetaFilter, they will inevitably tell you that they do.
posted by grouse at 11:44 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The second comment in response to your first FPP:

That's it, I fucking hate everybody.

Congrats. I've made more than fifty FPPs and I still haven't provoked anything close to that.

keep on rockin in the free world
posted by philip-random at 11:55 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


keep on rockin in the free world

How dare you quote a washed up old man like Neil Young! Baby boomers are ruining the world! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:58 PM on July 25, 2011


I don't get your problem. That entire thread is hilarious. Do you not have a sense of humor? People are not making fun of YOU...they are making fun of the entire concept of planking/owling/platypussing/whatever. Get over yourself.
posted by spicynuts at 11:59 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Basically, it is like putting a quarter into one of those machines that dispenses clear plastic bubbles with things like temporary tattoos or little tiny toys inside, except that some of the bubbles contain bees.

This is why I don't do drugs anymore.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:02 AM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Cake or bees?
posted by loquacious at 12:03 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]



I don't get your problem. That entire thread is hilarious. Do you not have a sense of humor? People are not making fun of YOU...they are making fun of the entire concept of planking/owling/platypussing/whatever. Get over yourself.


hilarious!


These are not 'young people goofing around having fun' (disclaimer: I haven't, as is my custom, even bothered following any of those links) -- it is young people recording themselves aping pointless trends, expressly to been seen doing so, preferably on the internet.

There is a world of difference between simple pleasures derived from enjoyable activities, and repeating some new twitter-trending pointless behaviour to be part of a notional distributed tribe, with the conscious requirement that one be seen engaging in that behaviour to earn an internet merit badge.

When cameras are ubiquitous and ritual is a trend-of-the-week, mindful existence-in-the-moment goes out the window, and I feel sorry for the poor bastards more than I hate them.

On the other hand, I may just be a joyless, bitter asshole. Or at least a bitter asshole that takes joy in things other than diplaying plumage and subsuming individuality.

posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:09 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


PANINI IS ALREADY PLURAL
posted by speicus at 12:10 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jesus, Lovecraft, why don't you just shorten that shit to GET OFF MY LAWN? Times they be a-changin - who are you to determine what's a simple pleasure or not? Besides, if you take the internet related stuff out of this statement:

repeating some new twitter-trending pointless behaviour to be part of a notional distributed tribe, with the conscious requirement that one be seen engaging in that behaviour to earn an internet merit badge

what you've got is a precise definition of peer pressure.
posted by spicynuts at 12:23 AM on July 26, 2011



Jesus, Lovecraft, why don't you just shorten that shit to GET OFF MY LAWN? Times they be a-changin - who are you to determine what's a simple pleasure or not? Besides, if you take the internet related stuff out of this statement:


I was quoting another user to point out that the thread in question wasn't just hilarious snark but actually rather bitter snark.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:55 AM on July 26, 2011


Part of making an FPP is the knowledge that if it is in any way possible to be violently opposed to the subject of your post, there will indeed be some people who are, and who want to talk about it, colorfully and at length.

On the one hand a good post has to be based on something you genuinely care about or think is cool and worth sharing, but on the other hand it can't be about something you're so involved with that you'd be really upset to read people hating on it. Or at least, if it is that, you should be prepared to turn your back on the thread, regardless of whether it's deleted or what, knowing that you made that personal or important thread just as a gift to the world.

Not that I assume the OP thinks planking/owling is personal and important, just being kind of general here.
posted by chaff at 2:16 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]



On the one hand a good post has to be based on something you genuinely care about or think is cool and worth sharing, but on the other hand it can't be about something you're so involved with that you'd be really upset to read people hating on it. Or at least, if it is that, you should be prepared to turn your back on the thread, regardless of whether it's deleted or what, knowing that you made that personal or important thread just as a gift to the world.


Seconded. Don't post anything you care about too much. So really, this is probably a perfect first post, and the sort of post that will probably continue if the constant snark does.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:22 AM on July 26, 2011


Most of the vitriolic comments were directed at planking and plankers, rather than at your post. Expect anything that has been popular amongst young people who lie to draw attention to themselves to provoke a vitriolic response on Metafilter.

But there are two things you've done that perhaps brought some of the response upon yourself: firstly, your choice of username. You will never post anything that doesn't provoke quips to do with the more famous Kinsey. It's sad, but that's how things work around here. Secondly, your choice of the first person plural - "We started with planking… Now we're leisure diving". I certainly didn't, am not, and resent any such accusation.

Although might seem a nice cute way to phrase things to some, to others it really grates. Some might see it as a way to deny diversity and force people who pride their individuality into a homogenous planking-owling-meme-of-the-minute-worshipping box; others might just resent that fact that it's a statement that is demonstrably untrue. Either way, it will provoke hostility.

See also: using "we" to refer to the USA or Americans.
posted by nowonmai at 2:29 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


You got a lot of responses to your post. What would have been worse, in my opinion, is if nobody commented at all.
posted by xingcat at 4:10 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is a job only Police Sqaud and MeFi can handle:

"There are teens an celebrities doing something stupid on camera! Kinsey, report!"
(Someone hands Frank a book.)
"Kinky, but that's not important right now. Being silly on the internet is a serious crime."
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:50 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Spiderman (the original movie only came out in 2002. Are our memories really that short?

Apropos of nothing, the original Maltese Falcon, featuring the world famous Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade, came out in 1931. The first remake? Satan Met a Lady, 1936. John Huston's "reboot of the franchise" hit the screen in 1941.

I try to tell myself this every time a pointless remake is announced, just as a reminder that we're no more shallow or unoriginal now than we ever were.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:10 AM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Some might see it as a way to deny diversity and force people who pride their individuality into a homogenous planking-owling-meme-of-the-minute-worshipping box; others might just resent that fact that it's a statement that is demonstrably untrue. Either way, it will provoke hostility.

Uh ... yeah, if we wake up in the morning just itching for a reason to fly into a fit of the pedantic rages. Unless we're joking here, in which case, we apologize.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:58 AM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was quoting another user to point out that the thread in question wasn't just hilarious snark but actually rather bitter snark.

You were quoting me, for some reason.

That was not snark, actually: it was and is my long-considered opinion. Snark is kneejerk, thought-free, nominally-humorous dismissal. Nor was my comment in any way bitter -- I personally have nothing to be bitter about -- I love the hell outta my life, most of the time, and have had more fun than any one man has any right to. I used that word sarcastically, riffing off you, Lovecraft In Brooklyn, because you'd said earlier in that thread 'Some of us are just joyless, bitter assholes.'

If I understand that correctly, you weren't including yourself in the 'us', so you were in effect suggesting that everyone who didn't think that those wacky fun-loving hijinks from the post are all that precious or amusing was bitter and joyless.

Which was a pretty shitty thing to suggest, to be honest.

By co-opting that pre-emptive condemnation of yours, and ironically suggesting that my commentary was 'bitter and joyless', I was jokingly indicating that it was exactly the opposite.

Man, you need to explain everything to these kids, don't you?

if you take the internet related stuff out of this statement what you've got is a precise definition of peer pressure.

Perhaps. But if you take the internet related stuff out of it, you remove the entire thrust of the point I was trying to make. So, yeah, that's dandy, but not what I was saying, really.

For what it's worth: I've thought for a few years now that we're living in a new society where Descartes' 'I think therefore I am' has been superseded by Berkeley's 'To be is to be perceived,' and not necessarily for the better. I think that's a big and fascinating idea to play around with. (And yes, I know that's not exactly what old George meant when he said that, but it's close enough, and gives me a handle on thinking about it.)

I believe that if this is a mindset that is growing among young people (like Lovecraft In Brooklyn, who, unironically as far as I can tell, asked "why would you goof around if there's not a camera around?" which if it wasn't ironic, I find mildly shocking), among people for whom privacy is a concept of diminishing import, who live their lives public and private on social media sites as much as anywhere else, who are constantly conscious of having their images captured (and often doing it themselves), well, I think that's an important and fun thing to think about.

I think a whole spectrum of technologies are enabling this, and though most of them are good things, fun things, interesting things, and occasionally world-alteringly excellent things, I am equally interested in mulling over (as a technology-positive person and diehard geek) the bigger questions about what it all means in the midst of the yays and the hoorays. Because that's fun, for me at least, and I like trying to make connections between things.

Others may not agree, or take my jaundiced eye and occasionally (often mock-)curmudgeonly tone as somehow in opposition to their god-given right to have fun as they see fit, and that's totally OK. But I'm all for fun, and for people having fun as they see fit.

As long as they don't suggest that I'm kneejerk snarking, and they keep the hell offa my goddamned lawn. Heh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:09 AM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


MetaTalk: more like roaches than bees
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:57 AM on July 26, 2011


People have opinions and are often tactless. Try not to take it personally.
posted by h00py at 7:11 AM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


> People have opinions and are often tactless. Try not to take it personally.

Nominating this for the new "Note:..." over the Post Comment button.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:28 AM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


On a post like that, you're not going to get a serious discussion nor will you get a lot of "wow that's awesome" (because it was only "kind of funny"). So who has any motivation to comment? The people that thought it sucked. Welcome to MeFi.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:32 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Two things about people talking negatively about something.

1) Anger, frustration, hatred, disdain: these are good motivators (dark side, yoda, something leads to something, etc.). If I see something posted which I like I often don't comment on it. I just think "oh that's neat" and move on. But if I see something I don't like then YOU HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT IT because . . . I don't know exactly.

2) If you read several negative comments in a row, it seems like there are a lot of negative comments about something. But if nobody read the comments before they posted (likely) or cared about them (almost a sure thing) then you aren't reading multiple negative comments about a thing in a row, you are reading multiple negative comments occurring in a vacuum that just happen to be next to each other but are completely unrelated. It is like if you roll a one on a die 50 times in a row then you are like "wow that is a lot of times to roll a one in a row" but there is no greater or lesser likelihood that you will roll a one the next time you roll. So its not really a lot of ones in a row. It is just ones that happened only one time and it seems like they are happening in a row but really they are just happening one time each. Each one is just its own one. They aren't ones. They are just a one and then a one and then a one. But without the "and then a." That is just science.
posted by ND¢ at 7:54 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


platypussing. lol
posted by Sailormom at 8:20 AM on July 26, 2011


anastasiav: It's probably helpful if you don't think of it as "feedback".

Ditto. It's a discussion, where people are commenting on the content of your post, not on you as a person or a poster.


carsonb: The best advice I've ever heard for posting to MeFi is to remember that once you hit that "Post" button your thread is no longer your thread.

Agreed. The post is now part of MetaFilter. People will comment on it, and you can join the conversation, but don't feel like you can (or should) control or shape how a discussion goes.

You can evaluate how people responded to the post, think about what you were trying to convey versus what people commented on, and try to frame your next posts differently, but there is really no telling how a discussion will go. The same post would have a different discussion if posted an hour later or a day later. Don't get hung up on anything you read as harsh comments.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:29 AM on July 26, 2011


Hi ND¢!
posted by Kwine at 8:30 AM on July 26, 2011


Personally, I enjoyed planking, and I plan to enjoy owling in the near future. It's just stupid fun as long as you don't do anything stupid/dangerous.

I'm pretty new too and have gotten some negative comments. No big deal, it's just the internet: you have a lot of different people who like a lot of different things. Don't let it get you down, just keep posting what you find interesting!
posted by mean cheez at 8:43 AM on July 26, 2011




But wow, is this what I should expect?

pretty much, yeah.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:03 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whenever I do an FPP (not very damn often), I have no idea how it will play. The ones that I have just tossed off, so to speak, end up getting faved to death, and the ones that I have felt best about have ended up getting largely ignored, in terms of numbers of comments, or have resulted in me getting my ass handed to me.

That's just how it goes here. It helps to have a thick skin, along with a compassionate heart and and alert intellect.
posted by Danf at 9:28 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Should I have made fun of them more?
No, because you want your posts to be more or less editorially neutral — you don't need to tell us why it's funny, or how funny you think it is. Let people react on their own.

Really, it's a lightweight subject, a lightweight post. What did you expect, a philosophical discussion of owling or leisure diving? The reactions were pretty predictable. As it turns out, because of this MeTa thread, the reactions got more interesting beginning, I assume with stavrosthewonderchicken's, posted right after this MeTa.
posted by beagle at 9:35 AM on July 26, 2011


If only metafilter had a /img tag, we could all submit photos of ourselves being snarky.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:41 AM on July 26, 2011


I didn't see any vitriol in that thread. Some snark, and some half-hearted criticism, but no vitriol.

Just because an opinion differs from your own doesn't mean it must be an affront against everything you hold dear.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:52 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


A good thing to consider when people seem huffy is to stop and ask yourself the following:

How trivial is this issue?

Andy Rooney may be a curmudgeonly crank, but as long as he's a curmudgeonly crank about the nasal tone of inferior car horns and the pointlessness of stripy toothpaste, what's the harm?

MetaFilter is, perhaps unfortunately, a perfect outlet for recreational opinioneers, and the fluffy and frivolous posts are the easiest to express quasi-strong feelings about without coming off as a troll or a bigot or anything.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:38 AM on July 26, 2011


Andy Rooney may be a curmudgeonly crank

Yes, but he's concise!
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:47 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just checked the manual, and yes, this is the expected response.
posted by odinsdream at 10:56 AM on July 26, 2011


kinsey : you get a lot of people on the internet who really have nothing to say . What you experienced was the Mefi equivalent of Slashdot's "First Post!" comments. It just happens.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:59 AM on July 26, 2011


Your responses were actually rather kind, compared to what usually goes down here. Oh, and if you didn't get the Metafilter New User Manual yet, here's a brief of what you can expect.
posted by Lynsey at 11:09 AM on July 26, 2011


The advice that comments on your posts are not a proxy about you as poster are very good ones. I've only posted a few times - but it's always in the context seeing what people on Metafilter have to say about it. It's the discussion I am interested in, not whether they liked my post or not. That's why it's important to frame the post as neutrally as possible.

That being said - I find the commentary on Metafilter incredibly smart, funny, and for the most part - very well reasoned. Even the snarky one's have their charms! It's like hanging out with the really smart kids - one's who'll call you out for your errors - but who still are glad that you came to hang out.

Just enjoy it!
posted by helmutdog at 11:13 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


In this metaphor, being okay with walking away from the thread is represented by walking away from the machine without picking up the bubble full of bees, I guess.

Not the bees!
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:14 AM on July 26, 2011


This reminds me: I've been watching Curb Your Enthusiasm lately. When I post something here, I just assume that at some point, Larry David is going to show up to the party.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:44 AM on July 26, 2011


the cat in the middle wins

Where's my masturbating cat sandwich?
posted by herbplarfegan at 11:52 AM on July 26, 2011


PANINI IS ALREADY PLURAL
posted by speicus at 8:10 AM on July 26


I HATE THE PHENOMENA OF USING THINGS THAT ARE ALREADY PLURAL AS IF THEY WERE SINGULAR! IT'S THE MAIN CRITERIA I USE FOR DECIDING WHETHER SOMEONE IS A PUNK ILLITERATE!
posted by Decani at 12:18 PM on July 26, 2011


any time you make a post catering to the "let's make fun of people" crowd, this is at least partly what you should expect in response.

That is, when you make a post aimed at the 'let's make fun of people' crowd, you might expect the crowd to make fun of you.
posted by box at 12:21 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Geez, Decani, you don't have to be such a Nazo about it.
posted by speicus at 12:22 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Isn't that Decanus?
posted by Mister_A at 12:28 PM on July 26, 2011


PANINI IS ALREADY PLURAL

So how do you feel about "shrimp scampi"?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:29 PM on July 26, 2011


Scampering shrimp. Next?
posted by Namlit at 12:33 PM on July 26, 2011


I like bees a lot!
posted by Specklet at 12:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Heh, that reminds me that in Sweden, not only the term Panini, but also "muffins" is treated as singular. You order: "en [or ett; there's a dispute going on about that] muffins, tack." Which makes it several "muffinsar". Espresso, on the other hand, seems to be singulare tantum, not only in Sweden. Found a few German sites where people ask, is it really "due espressi, per favore?"
...But they sold "Famouse Grouse" at the airport in Gothenburg (probably the extra blended version - don't want to know), so. Yeah.
posted by Namlit at 12:53 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like to eat, eat, eat ee-ples and pa-nee-nees ...
posted by Kabanos at 1:21 PM on July 26, 2011


Mm, in the Netherlands, folk use the term "a jeans". It's singular, no need for "a pair of". Guess it's because the Dutch word for trousers (or pants in the US use of the word), "broek", is singular. So you say to the shop assistant "Ik wil graag een jeans kopen" (= I would like to buy a jeans).
posted by likeso at 1:23 PM on July 26, 2011


Eh, once a word has been borrowed by another language (in this case English) then you can't expect it to follow the rules of the originating language. Pannini is plural in Italian, but you make a plural in English by adding S, so there you go.

In other news, it's lunchtime.
posted by jokeefe at 1:28 PM on July 26, 2011


Good, because I could go for a six-pack of panini.
posted by box at 1:35 PM on July 26, 2011


Oh god, I'm going to have to apologize to the Mefi Grammar Enforcers, aren't I?
posted by jokeefe at 2:18 PM on July 26, 2011


If you have only Italian fillings in your sandwiches, panini. As soon as you stick feta in there, you've got to admit you're fixing paninopuses.
posted by Sallyfur at 2:27 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


once you hit that "Post" button your thread is no longer your thread. It's out there to become whatever it may at the whims of whomever is reading the front page for the next several hours.

This used to be true!
posted by longsleeves at 2:27 PM on July 26, 2011


Pannini ain't only plural, it's innnflation too.
posted by Namlit at 3:00 PM on July 26, 2011


Eh, once a word has been borrowed by another language (in this case English) then you can't expect it to follow the rules of the originating language. Pannini is plural in Italian, but you make a plural in English by adding S, so there you go.

In other news, it's lunchtime.


In other new s, it 's lunchtimes.
FTFY
posted by herbplarfegan at 3:08 PM on July 26, 2011


If I understand that correctly, you weren't including yourself in the 'us', so you were in effect suggesting that everyone who didn't think that those wacky fun-loving hijinks from the post are all that precious or amusing was bitter and joyless.

I'm usually a bitter, joyless asshole actually. I didn't expect the overthought vitriol in your comments, though. There seemed to be lots of 'get off my lawn!' in the reactions.
And yes, I am used to recording pretty much everything I do. It's a generational thing.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:40 PM on July 26, 2011


Scampering shrimp. Next?

How about "PIN number"?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:55 PM on July 26, 2011


It's a generational thing.

Blink.
posted by h00py at 4:19 PM on July 26, 2011


I didn't expect the overthought vitriol in your comments, though.

You clearly don't know me if you didn't expect 'overthought'. There is as yet no official Metafilter Membership Requirement to know me, though, so all good.

But if you think that was vitriol, my friend, you ain't seen vitriol. It's actually illuminating to me, though, that you think it was vitriolic -- having dialed back the actual sound and fury of my wonderchickensian pronouncements over the years, for the most part, I am amused that my kinder, gentler (if no less overthought (heh)) takes on things still gives the impression to some folks that I'm getting the boot in.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I don't wear boots!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 PM on July 26, 2011


I had some Beer Nuts Pecans yesterday. I loved them and so did my co-workers. If you don't you're a communist.
posted by jonmc at 4:57 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "Scampering shrimp. Next?

How about "PIN number"?
"

That's PINS number.
posted by Splunge at 5:45 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


And yes, I am used to recording pretty much everything I do. It's a generational thing.

I dunno man, I'm not that much older than you and I get pretty weary pretty fast of recording everything I do. Maybe you should think twice before claiming to speak for an entire generation?
posted by speicus at 7:15 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I HATE THE PHENOMENA OF USING THINGS THAT ARE ALREADY PLURAL AS IF THEY WERE SINGULAR! IT'S THE MAIN CRITERIA I USE FOR DECIDING WHETHER SOMEONE IS A PUNK ILLITERATE!

Fish. Sheep. Deer. Moose. Mwa ha ha ha.

(And should it be criterium? criterion?)
posted by maryr at 10:27 PM on July 26, 2011


I keep thinking about browsing the shelves in one of those little hole in the wall Asian groceries and coming across this glass jar filled with these weird, pale, shriveled little prune things in some sort of murky reddish liquid, and turning the jar around to read "Joyless Bitter Assholes" on the label.

just me?
posted by nanojath at 10:57 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


I read the same post on Perez Hilton a few days ago - that alone should have served as a warning (I don't know where the story originated, but they were nearly identical). Shit, I almost created a sock puppet for this comment to avoid the shame.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 11:26 PM on July 26, 2011


(And should it be criterium? criterion?)

The singular of criteria is crouton.
posted by speicus at 11:35 PM on July 26, 2011


so what's the plural of asparagus?
posted by philip-random at 12:15 AM on July 27, 2011


More asparagus. It is a phenomena well known in my kitchens. A criteria sine qua never, in other word.
posted by Namlit at 1:43 AM on July 27, 2011


One asparagus is an asparguy. Several is an asparagang.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:02 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


And now I want asparagus and croutons for breakfast.
posted by Splunge at 5:55 AM on July 27, 2011


The past participle of chide is chode.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:25 AM on July 27, 2011


"Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo. So little time — so much to know!"
posted by Splunge at 7:46 AM on July 27, 2011


GRARmarians: Angry grammar enthusiasts who like to use all-caps for emphasis; often accompanied by puns and/or MeFi in-jokes, ripostes.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:49 AM on July 27, 2011


Not a bad definition, for all intensive purposes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:57 AM on July 27, 2011


So I need some folks to help me popularizing Dodo'ing... it's when you have someone club you in the head until you're extinct.

Let's get some people to do it, post the pictures, and see how quickly it catches on.
posted by owtytrof at 11:03 AM on July 27, 2011


You makes your post and takes your chances.
posted by davejay at 11:07 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Normal feedback?

Yes. Just try not pointing the microphone directly toward the monitor speaker. And if it does start to feed back, don't put your hand over the mic! That'll only make it worse!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:16 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it’s a let’s-make-fun-of-people post, the responsible thing for an admin to do is delete the post instead of sitting back and watching the OP get abused, then telling him he had it coming. This, however, is a typical Jessamyn technique.
posted by joeclark at 7:05 PM on July 28, 2011


joeclark, I don't even know where you're coming from with that. It's sure as shit not "a typical Jessamyn technique" or mod practice in general, and that's a super crappy thing to imply.

If you've got some specific beef, state it clearly so anybody knows what the hell you're talking about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:09 PM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well, that was odd.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:17 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Awkward.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:39 PM on July 28, 2011


Wrong.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:16 PM on July 28, 2011


Odd, Awkward and Wrong is the name of the law firm that represents Wonderchicken Industries™, coincidentally enough.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:33 PM on July 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


You don't mean our Jessamyn, right? Because that doesn't sound at all like her to me.
posted by misha at 10:07 PM on July 28, 2011


Fortunately for you, joe, another mod technique is having the patience of a saint when dealing with tiresome snipes such as yours.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:17 AM on July 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Just gearing up for another Friday afternoon I guess. Oh grar...
posted by Namlit at 6:33 AM on July 29, 2011


I’ve seen it over and over again, Cortex. It’s OK if you and your supporters think it couldn’t possibly be true. Jessamyn keeps a mental tally of troublesome posters and will criticize them in MetaTalk when they dare to complain.
posted by joeclark at 10:07 AM on August 10, 2011


It's entirely possible that everyone is wrong.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:10 AM on August 10, 2011


It's entirely possible that everyone is wrong.

I can count one person, at least.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:18 AM on August 10, 2011


Jessamyn keeps a mental tally of troublesome posters and will criticize them in MetaTalk when they dare to complain.

You are welcome to add links to what you are talking about so that we can all look at your examples and people can discuss if that is, in fact, what is happening or if perhaps there is something else happening.

It's super-simple to do and would mean that your comments here wouldn't feel like axe-grinding and instead seem more like constructive criticism.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:50 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn's mental tallies are mostly jokes. I dare to giggle.
posted by Namlit at 10:57 AM on August 10, 2011


Jessamyn keeps a mental tally of troublesome posters and will criticize them in MetaTalk when they dare to complain.

First of all, insofar as this is a thing it's not a Jessamyn thing, it's a working-at-Metafilter thing, so why you are fixating specifically on her I do not understand.

Second, what keeps us sane is mostly having a short memory as much as possible, because if we seriously tried to go around keeping tallies of everyone who has acted badly on the site or been a butthead to us professionally or personally in the context of Metafilter we'd have no time or brainspace for anything else.

This is a great big place, there's bound to be a lot of bumpy stuff, and as the visible representatives of it we get a fair amount of scattered crap, but mostly it happens, it's over, we let it go, and another sun rises. Everybody has a bad day now and then, we understand that, and we try not to worry about it over the long haul.

If you are bothered by the fact that you specifically have at this point defeated that short-term memory thing by being enough of an aggressive jerk to us variously, I can appreciate that but have totally run out of sympathy at this point. You take weird shots at us in Metatalk, you gripe at us over email, you talk shit about Metafilter on your blog, you throw around accusations and then disappear for weeks at a time without response only to show up again and take another shot so that it's impossible to even have a conversation with you about this stuff. I don't know if you think this is the normal metafilter user's way of being, but it's really, really not.

It's wildly frustrating from this end because we would frankly be happier helping figure out whatever is bothering you, if there's anything that is practically addressable beyond you just not liking how this place is run and thinking we're out to get you. But when it feels like you're just doing a driveby every other week or month and aren't looking to try and figure anything out, what are we supposed to say? "Great, please keep giving us shit"?
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:00 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


You take weird shots at us in Metatalk, you gripe at us over email, you talk shit about Metafilter on your blog, you throw around accusations and then disappear for weeks at a time without response only to show up again and take another shot so that it's impossible to even have a conversation with you about this stuff.

You forgot when he used the "What is your fondest memory from MetaFilter?" space on the 12th anniversary site to complain about the mods.
posted by grouse at 11:05 AM on August 10, 2011


Trust us, we didn't forget, we're just trying to mentally flag and move on.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:22 PM on August 10, 2011


I used to keep a mental list of troublesome posters, but there's a Greasemonkey script for that now.
posted by box at 12:25 PM on August 10, 2011


I kinda feel sorry for Joe. Whatever bit his ass appears to have permanently harmed him.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:28 PM on August 10, 2011


I particularly like how he jumps back on a thread that's been dormant for almost 2 weeks to continue to snipe for no good reason. Whatever bit his ass is also making him sleepy.
posted by arcticseal at 4:04 PM on August 10, 2011


I kinda feel sorry for Joe.

Yeah, me too, a bit. It actually scares me, too -- he and I are more or less contemporaries, and have both been here for more than a decade, and I worry that the next guy who starts to go strangely cranky and monomaniacal and start grinding axes for unclear reasons could be me.

Be of good cheer, joeclark. Seriously, man. I dunno why you have such a hate on for the site-as-it-is-run these days -- I'd love to read a long essay on it, detailing exactly why, because it might make for an interesting discussion -- but nothing I've seen you accuse Matt or the mods of in recent memory has really seemed based in anything other than a hard-to-understand free-floating disgruntlement at being treated just like anyone else would be, which is hard for anyone to respond to in any concrete way.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:57 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno why you have such a hate on for the site-as-it-is-run these days -- I'd love to read a long essay on it, detailing exactly why, because it might make for an interesting discussion

Seconded. I would read the Joe Manifesto. And it seems healthier to me to just get it all out there in one instead of parsing it out over weeks.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:04 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I’ve seen it over and over again, Cortex. It’s OK if you and your supporters think it couldn’t possibly be true. Jessamyn keeps a mental tally of troublesome posters and will criticize them in MetaTalk when they dare to complain.
posted by joeclark at 10:07 AM on August 10 [+] [!]


Crissakes, this guy. Now would be a very bad time for joeclark to act like he has any credibility left whatsoever when it comes to site policy and moderation practices.

Surely you've ground your axe down to translucence by now, haven't you joe?
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:31 PM on August 10, 2011


METAFILTER: a hard-to-understand free-floating disgruntlement at being treated just like anyone else would be
posted by philip-random at 8:13 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bit of unsolicited advice, Joe, from someone who has been there where you are. Even if they do keep a cheatsheet of all the shits and malcontents, coming here and sniping and griping is futility at its finest. They hold all of the cards. Nothing you ever say will make the slightest impact with them, nor on their devotees. Sucks, but it's true. So let it go, and move on. There are greener pastures for you if this place just isn't doing it for you.
posted by crunchland at 8:15 PM on August 10, 2011


Trust us, we didn't forget, we're just trying to mentally flag and move on.
posted by jessamyn ★ at 3:22 PM on August 10 [+] [!]


Mentally flag. Men-tally. Mental tally. omigod joe is right!
posted by maryr at 9:04 PM on August 10, 2011


They hold all of the cards. Nothing you ever say will make the slightest impact with them, nor on their devotees. Sucks, but it's true.

This is a spectacularly unfair thing to say. Let me tell you why, at possibly-unfortunate length.

In years past, when the site was growing and Matt made the conscious decision that self-policing was not turning out as intended (I am inferring, because he tends to hold his cards fairly close to the chest on meta-matters, unfortunately but probably wisely), and first jessamyn and then cortex (and the others who are less visible -- vacapinta and, er, I don't recall the other person's username because I'd never noticed them participating on the site before their selection as a mod) were made moderators, I made my feelings clear at ludicrous length about the possibly negative consequences of moving the main mechanism for steering the ship to an appeal-to-authority model. I wrote an awful lot of words about it. I wrote them because I cared about the site and the community, and I was interested in talking with people about how things might pan out.

Some of things I prognosticated have come to pass, but my worst fears about the site haven't really materialized. The site and community is perhaps worse in some ways, but it is also better in others, and, on balance, has scaled better than I could ever have dreamed. Some of that may have been luck, but I believe much of it was because of decisions deliberately made.

But much as I personally like jessamyn and cortex (though I've never met either of them), I still think it's a shame that the Grand Experiment that Metatalk represented didn't really pan out entirely. It is a shame, but it would never, ever have worked at scale. That's pretty clear now. Even if Matt had decided to devote every waking moment to actively administering and moderating things, the userbase just got too big.

My personal feelings that j+c are nice folks has literally nothing to do with my opinions about how well they do the job of moderating. I think that they do it well, but I would think that even if I didn't like them personally. Conversely, if they did their jobs poorly, I would be quite willing to say so, despite my warm feelings toward them. I think it's an insult to me and others to suggest that the mechanism here is 'devotees'.

Not to say that that doesn't happen. There are people who fawn over those in perceived positions of authority -- it happens all the time. But I would suggest that although it certainly might happen here to some extent, because it's human nature, it happens very little, and blanket statements to the contrary exhibit either a fundamental misunderstanding or just a deliberate attempt to misinterpret, for some personal reason.

Clearly, though, it gets suggested often enough when people have a beef with moderation and moderators, here and elsewhere on the internet, that it is a common feeling. For what it's worth, I tend to think it's more of a defensive emotional stance to insulate oneself when one disagrees with decisions made by those in positions of 'authority', decisions that most or many peers agree with, but that one personally disagrees with: well, of course, all those peers who agree with the decision are just kissing butt!

That's all kind of background, though. Here's the meaty bit of why I think your comment was unfair: I've had the experience of running an offshoot community set of sites (populated mostly by MeFites) for a few years now. It requires very little moderation or administrative intervention of any kind, although two fine members of the group do help out with minor spills and mishaps in the capacity of moderator. Things run smoothly enough and people get along well enough, by and large, that I think I can remember deleting maybe 3 or 4 items in the last couple of years.

Here's the thing, though. As the founder and admin of the site, I've always tried to be as completely upfront and honest about what I was thinking and why I was doing stuff and how I was making decisions as possible, in order to solicit feedback, to get a feeling for what people want, to try and keep the users of the sites as happy as I can. As the founder of the site, I think it is tautological that I want the best for everyone concerned, including myself. I think it is equally true that the administrative folks on this site feel that way about Metafilter.

But people still get angry at me, shout at me, accuse me of nefarious deeds and manipulative behaviour and all sorts of shit, sometimes, when feelings are running hot. I make mistakes. I'm human. Dealing with people, lots of people, can be difficult, and saying things in text in exactly the right way in sometimes-emotionally-charged situations is even more difficult. It's heartbreaking when I feel as if I am under attack (or, as happened a couple of months back, I literally am being told in anger that my work is worthless); I guess it's probably like being a parent of teenagers when, after raising them with love and dedication for years and years, start yelling 'I hate you!' and the like. I'm not complaining, here: I've tried to learn from the times that it's happened, and tried not to let it make me resentful or angry or inclined to disengage.

Do I have a fuzzy mental list of members of MefightClub who've been unpleasant towards me, or unreasonable, unkind, difficult or just disruptive to the community? Hell fucking yeah, I do. But it doesn't mean that I treat them any differently from pillars of the community, new users, or anyone else. That's job one for people who take the job or 'job' of moderation and administration of online community seriously.

On Metafilter, cortex and jessamyn are employees, sure, but they are in the same kind of position. They clearly and I would venture inarguably want the best for the site. They want to do their jobs as well as they possibly can, and even though they've been doing it for years, each new situation is unique in some way, and involves talking not only with the people that have a direct problem, but a large audience of other people who are keen to jump in and create a fray even if there isn't one, including at least some users who are negatively predisposed to any decision the mods might make.

They constantly show that they are willing to listen to people, even when those people seem clueless or incoherent or apoplectic, and they are willing to discuss decisions they make and the reasons they've made them, no matter how trivial in the larger picture those decisions might be. They are required by the nature of the job to keep an even temper, and even if they have people that they dislike (for perfectly good reasons or not), to treat them fairly.

The above is not 'oh, poor mods', not by any stretch, except in the most general way. MeFi mods make money doing it, it's a job, and there are thousands and thousands of people out there (like me!) who do the same sort of thing and aren't lucky enough to make a living. But goddamn, the mods here make a very very hard task look easy.

The point is, though, to get back to crunchland's comment, that to say

1. They hold all of the cards.

is a non-sequitur at best, and flat wrong at worst. A non-sequitur because it implicitly demands a state of affairs somehow different from the universal one where moderators have the power to make decisions about site content. Even before we had moderators here, as I've discussed, that wasn't actually the case -- Matt did the work that they do now, 'self-policing' notwithstanding. And flat wrong because it is abundantly clear to anyone who actually reads Metatalk that admin and moderators here are eternally (exhaustingly) willing to listen to the userbase. This site would not still exist and be thriving otherwise.

2. Nothing you ever say will make the slightest impact with them
is instantly refutable just by reading Metatalk. Further, and I learned this way back in the day when I was teaching children, and it is equally applicable to administering or moderating a website: when you make a decision, stick to it unless there is a very compelling argument that the outcome would be significantly better if you reversed it. Consistency and steadiness is more important than being right all the time -- army officers and good managers in business understand this, too. That doesn't mean that one should be rigid or inflexible -- it means that you should have well-thought-out reasons for the decisions you make, but that you should listen to feedback about them.

3. nor on their devotees

is something I discussed waaaayyyy up the page

and 4. Sucks, but it's true.

shows a surprising lack of understanding in the way that every other forum and forum-like website on the internet works. To the extent that what you say is true in general -- and it often is, elsewhere -- it is much less true here. If you do not truly believe that, then there's probably not much I can point you to (though the evidence is abundantly clear here in Metatalk) to change your mind.

Here's the TL;DR, then: the mods here are people, nice people in fact, folks like you or me, who have a difficult job at which they do the best they can, out of love for the site and the community, regardless of whether or not they get a paycheck for it.

Dismissing their constant attempts to explain decisions, engage with and listen to the userbase, and willingness to listen to all comers equally as some kind of Metafilter Tyranny, and dismissing as acolytes everyone who feels anything but resentment or anger that there actually are moderators here -- that's wrong, it's contemptuous, and it's just plain mean towards folks who are clearly and always, mistakes and all, doing the best they can.

Now I need some more coffee.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:58 PM on August 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


Mentally flag. Men-tally. Mental tally. omigod joe is right!

Never put salt in your eyes. Salt in your eyes. Put salt in your eyes.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:03 PM on August 10, 2011


I guess what I meant to say is not that they're not open to change, insofar as how the site operates ... it does happen. But that when you reach a certain point, and you are put on "the list," there's not much you can do about it. It's as true here as it is in any other group of people. Once you're there, it takes herculean efforts to remove yourself from it. And if you're already inclined to be a bit of a troublemaker, then it's a wasted effort all ways around. Best to take the stance of live-and-let-live, because kicking at their ankles, like Joe is doing here, isn't going to make any difference.

Regarding "they hold all the cards..." maybe a better cliche is "you can't fight city hall." Jess and Cortex aren't going anywhere, and neither is Matt. Nothing any of us say or do will make any difference in that regard. Joe is just spitting into the wind.

And to imply that there isn't a total cadre of buttkissers here is delusional.
posted by crunchland at 6:08 AM on August 11, 2011


But that when you reach a certain point, and you are put on "the list," there's not much you can do about it.

The mods have said there is no such list. Maybe you know something they don't?

And to imply that there isn't a total cadre of buttkissers here is delusional.

He did in fact say that there are a cadre of buttkissers. Maybe you just skimmed the response or something, which isn't entirely hard to believe.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:13 AM on August 11, 2011


Aw, come on. Everyone keeps lists, don't they? You see a name or a face, and say "oh yeah. That guy." Once they get on the list, it's really hard for them to get off it. They have to overcome a lot of prejudice to be given even the benefit of the doubt. And when they do anything that has even the slightest whiff of provocation, you say to yourself, "see? I was right. They're still that way." That's just basic human nature.

willingness to listen to all comers equally --- I think this could possibly be a goal, but I don't think it's an actual reality. On the other hand, both Joe and I are still here, and they still engage us is saying an awful lot, I'll grant you that.
posted by crunchland at 8:11 AM on August 11, 2011


Aw, come on. Everyone keeps lists, don't they? You see a name or a face, and say "oh yeah. That guy." Once they get on the list, it's really hard for them to get off it. They have to overcome a lot of prejudice to be given even the benefit of the doubt. And when they do anything that has even the slightest whiff of provocation, you say to yourself, "see? I was right. They're still that way." That's just basic human nature.

That's certainly the case for those of us who frequent few *.metafilter.com sites, and even fewer threads within those. But for a mod, the pool is much, much larger. Plus, I prefer to take someone at their word when they say "Second, what keeps us sane is mostly having a short memory as much as possible, because if we seriously tried to go around keeping tallies of everyone who has acted badly on the site or been a butthead to us professionally or personally in the context of Metafilter we'd have no time or brainspace for anything else."

So yes, I prefer to believe mods on this site aren't liars, and I believe it makes sense that'd be very, very difficult to maintain a mental shitlist that spans a wide a swath as they have to cover.

Now, having said that, there are certain users who - for whatever reason, justified or not - choose to draw attention to themselves with repeated grips about the site, its community and its mods. These are people who are hard not to make a note of, as they make sure we all DO note them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:27 AM on August 11, 2011


Once they get on the list, it's really hard for them to get off it. They have to overcome a lot of prejudice to be given even the benefit of the doubt.

I've been thinking about this on and off. Obviously what I say is immediately suspect because oh hey of course I'd think that I had decent motives, but I think people really underestimate the extent to which people's behavior, at the time and not historically, determines a lot of their treatment by the mods. However I think the bigger thing is people's treatment by the other site members, people who we have a lot less control over. I know there's the impression that we maybe let some users get piled-on more than other users because we secretly dislike them or something. My take has always been more that people don't really realize or own the extent to which their own negative behaviors determine the treatment they get here.

Now, there are certainly a lot of users who have turned over a new leaf with an occasional rare relapse and some people may still have it in for them for whatever reason. We try to keep that sort of crap away from here [MeTa and the site in general]. We're really honestly in favor of the Brand New Day approach where if you want to come back and not be that guy/gal, we will be totally happy to let bygones be bygones.

The problems seem to come up when people think they've turned over a new leaf but keep on doing the same old shit they were doing before and then get surly and angry because people are still calling them out on it. And I know it's tough. When I worked on being a less irritable and snappish person in my real life, I was really bummed out to realize that what took a lot of work on my part irritability-wise wasn't actually enough to make me a non-irritable person, and I had to do a lot more work, that I was really out on one side of the bell curve in terms of being a pain in the ass and I had to do a lot more work getting back to something approaching normal. If you've been inside your own head long enough you can lose perspective to what some sort of community-normal looks like [in this community, in other communities] and sometimes it's easier to assume that everyone else is an asshole or out to get you or misunderstanding you.

It would make my job significantly easier if I could just write certain users off and not bother treating them like real people, but that's a non-option here and for good reason. That said I do have a list of formerly-problem users who turned their shit around and are now terrific no-problem folks here. Sometimes they got something straight in their own lives, sometimes whatever was pushing their buttons here went away, sometimes they just grew up, but there are a lot of them, enough that I truly feel that saying it's an option for people "Hey you can come back to this site as someone where people don't hound you" but the work that needs to be done there is not-always insubstantial.

And to imply that there isn't a total cadre of buttkissers here is delusional.

And again, this is all about framing. For some people there are just a lot of people who like the site, like the mods, and enjoy it here. For some people, anyone who jumps in to defend the mods is labeled a buttkisser. I'm not sure what to do about that. Grousing about people being buttkissers here makes your opinion on the matter fairly clear and framed in a pretty negative way [along with calling people delusional] and if that's your take, it's your take. But it's just words, they don't exist in a vacuum, and your words [the generalized you] are 100% controllable by you (with very few deletion-exceptions). I know personally that it's difficult when the you inside your brain seems to not match up with people's view of the you that you type into boxes here, but that's a manageable problem, just not manageable, much, by us.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:02 AM on August 11, 2011


But that when you reach a certain point, and you are put on "the list," there's not much you can do about it. It's as true here as it is in any other group of people. Once you're there, it takes herculean efforts to remove yourself from it.

...

My take has always been more that people don't really realize or own the extent to which their own negative behaviors determine the treatment they get here.


I have a friend who, as a young adult (ie: old enough to know better) stole money and/or valuables from various members of her family. It was a rock-bottom point of her life. Long story made short: she turned her life around after that, got a little religion etc. But now, twenty plus years later, some of her family still don't forgive her, certainly not fully. She's still to some degree suspect, not to be completely trusted. Her attitude: it frustrates the hell out of her but she gets it. She willfully betrayed the trust of those who loved her, and those kinds of wounds don't heal easy, or possibly don't heal at all. Or in her own words, "It's my cross to bear, and just like Jesus, I made it myself. But at least God forgives."

Maybe MeFi needs a Pastor.
posted by philip-random at 11:13 AM on August 11, 2011


Maybe MeFi needs a Pastor.

Perhaps an Astral Pastor?
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:56 PM on August 11, 2011


My high school Latin teacher was always delighted that my classmate John Pastor's father was a minister, making him Pastor Pastor.
posted by maryr at 6:54 AM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


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