moratorium on the ME? April 16, 2002 12:05 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way MeFi could have a voluntary moratorium on Middle East threads? Just for a week, a day, or even several hours? I understand that I should ignore them. I do. I don't post them and I rarely comment, if ever. But I can't even go a few threads without seeing another one. And now people are posting each and EVERY detail...come on, for the sake of some sanity, and a chance to reflect, a voluntary moratorium for any given time?
posted by BlueTrain to Etiquette/Policy at 12:05 PM (65 comments total)

dear god, yes! please, please, pretty please!

notification: interstitial which loads only once per user (cookied).

enforcement: anyone who posts about the middle east gets banned for ten (10) days; anyone who comments in a post about the middle east (before matt deletes said post) gets banned for five (5) days.
posted by mlang at 12:20 PM on April 16, 2002


drawback: something really major (i.e., detonation of a nuclear device) happens...is the posting ban lifted?
posted by mlang at 12:22 PM on April 16, 2002


That'd be nice, don't think it would ever happen, but It'd be great if it could. I was glad to see 16401 got deleted, at least.

Or, just give up and make a script once a day at 12:01 AM that generates a 1 line post:
Discuss Middle East News Here.
posted by malphigian at 12:22 PM on April 16, 2002


also, i'd support making this ban permanent (except in cases like that described in my second comment) and extend it to cover other topics which have been debated ad nauseum: abortion, gun control, smoking, 'the war', bush/clinton/gore/etc., the death penalty...

am i missing any?
posted by mlang at 12:25 PM on April 16, 2002


am i missing any?
Pancakes, ponies, rabbits...
posted by riffola at 12:28 PM on April 16, 2002


I think one post a day would handle it.. no need to keep linking to ever story on the front page multiple times a day.. you can link within a post to relevant news stories.


posted by rich at 12:28 PM on April 16, 2002


I like rich's suggestion.
posted by riffola at 12:29 PM on April 16, 2002


As do I. BlueTrain, you da man. As usual.

posted by iconomy at 12:34 PM on April 16, 2002


solution a: topic sorting and killfilters.

downside: work for matt.
upside: killkillkill.

solution b: manually killfilter, with your eyeballs.

downside: hard to ignore delicious drama you know is occuring within thread.
upside: moral high ground.

solution c: flood mefi with links to cool and perhaps forgotten sites/journals.

downside: flood.
upside: links to coagula

solution d: turn off computer.

downside: computer is off.
upside: catch up on dvd porn.

solution e: kill self.

downside: you're dead.
upside: possibility of reincarnation as moon man from the planet x, where monster zero (otherwise known to you as ghidra!) lurks.

solution x: pay fishfucker to personally berate every person who posts a middle east thread and each commenter within.

downside: it's just a dumb fucking idea.
upside: fishfucker, eventually, will meet his comeuppance at the hands of one of the more professorial types lurking on mefi, but then he'll call them a "doody-head" and things will be even.

dead even.


posted by fishfucker at 12:35 PM on April 16, 2002


I use solution b, but it is not at all hard to ignore the "delicious drama". It's usually all I can do to keep my eyes open. And I need my eyes open to enjoy MetaFilter. So I don't click on any thread that has to do with the Middle East.
posted by iconomy at 12:38 PM on April 16, 2002


~But I thought that the 'Me' in MeFi stood for Middle East.~
posted by iceberg273 at 12:52 PM on April 16, 2002


Naww, lets not. This isn't my.metafilter.com. If Matt wants to trim the fat that's fine, but asking people not to post because you personally don't like something or think its overexposed is kinda self-serving and defeats the concept of a community blog.
posted by skallas at 12:57 PM on April 16, 2002


Not to mention those that are agreeing either don't even bother looking for good stuff to post or have posted only a few links in your mefi history. Why not find good stuff so its easier to ignore something you don't like? In other words: Don't bitch about contributors until you become one. Contributing is a better solution than censoring.
posted by skallas at 1:00 PM on April 16, 2002


"am i missing any?" YES! Evolution and Religion.
posted by Mack Twain at 1:01 PM on April 16, 2002


Looking over all the front page posts from yesterday and today, other than Postroad's reactionary Middle East posts, all others were "new" and different.

Yesterday's 1st Middle East post was made by mapalm at 8:59 AM PST, discussing "Israeli myths." It was the 9th post of the day. The 2nd Middle East post was made by Postroad at 10:36 AM PST, about 90 minutes later, about an Italian Muslim cleric supporting Israel. Postroad did not comment in mapalm's thread. The 3rd Middle East post was made by Settle at 7:46 PM PST; a humor piece about Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. His was the 11th post from Postroad's and came about 9 hours later. Yesterday's 4th and last post about Middle East was from rschram at 8:33 PM PST. The last post was about Israelis hacking into Palestinian websites.

Today's 1st Middle East post was made by talos at 5:59 AM PST, about peace proposals made by an Israeli and a Palestinian working together. The 2nd Middle East post was made by onegoodmove at 8:42 AM PST, about American Right evaluating Sharon. The 3rd Middle East post was made by Leonard at 11:01 AM PST, about the genocide at Jenin. Today's 4th post about Middle East was from Postroad at 11:28 AM PST, less than 30 minutes after Leonard posted the Jenin Genocide post, and 10+ minutes before he commented in the previous thread at 11:40 AM PST. Postroad posted about "[p]ressure on Arafat to denounce terrorism."

Postroad is using front page posts to make his comments more prominent instead of debating the issue he cares for in the existing threads. He has in the past posted on the front page two year old news stories to further his political agenda.

posted by tamim at 1:05 PM on April 16, 2002


We heard the same argument during election 2000, 9.11 and we'll probably hear it again. Just ignore the threads that don't interest you. It isn't hard.
posted by owillis at 1:08 PM on April 16, 2002


My only solution is to ignore these links, but I feel at the same time that if we could get as much enthusiasm as we waste in the I/P links into the more interesting links, mefi would be more enjoyable. I don't want killfilters or anything of the sort on mefi, because it is the sense of community which makes every part of it work. So, basically, although I agree that one could skip these links, mefi would be a *whole lot better* if these links were more meaningful.

I really don't think common knowledge news should be posted at all. Anything important that happens we find out from sources other than mefi, for instance, a huge flash in the sky, a hellishly hot blast of air knocking us 20 feet, etc. I have nothing against these threads so long as they are tailored towards meaningful commentary, which isn't even attempted most of the time. Fact is, there is very little that can be said at this point about the whole issue. "Oh Yeah???" doesn't count.

Hackneyed analysis of a few past links:

Amid the...War Crimes: This one just presents us with information which we could probably get from a news source. It is not news that both sides are guilty of pretty offensive acts. And what is "strong stuff?" I'd say the fact that the world is 4billion people over populated is "strong". Why of all the "strong stuff" in the world do you mention this?

Sharon has gone too far..: This one presents us a very minor side to the issue as a platform for criticism of Sharon. The article could be interesting, but the intent of the thread is not discussion, or at least, the intent is discuss the question "What is sharon up to?", and the accuracy of the related speculations which follow.

An Israeli-Palestinian Peace Coalition: Interesting content which we might not have known. Addresses practical matters, takes both points of view into consideration. As of now, ZERO COMMENTS

Hacked Palestinian Webpages: Again, interesting article which is not news, but something that a good news source would have never brought us. Bringing webpage defacement is both obscure and interesting. Four comments.

Abigail Radoszkowicz meets Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi: interesting. I'm surprised a flame war didn't start up in this thread. The explanation is probably that the people who start these wars are too lazy or stupid to spell out Radoszkowicz or Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi on their lips.

Debunking Six Common Israeli Myths: I am quite sure these have been debunked many, many times over. I took the description "Vital and timely reading." with a grain of salt. Many times, people post their opinions, and try to hide the intent of a post by having a vague description of what the article is about. The only way you'd ever click on this link is if you agreed with it, and wanted to war over it, or disagreed with it, and needed to know what you were talking about when you warred over it.

Why Europeans And Arabs Hate America And Israel: Short description of brashly titled opinion piece in a british newspaper, followed by lots and lots of rabble rousing. Really, a masterstroke of rabble rousing, combining both the I/P deal with american xenophobia, which would have been a hell of a lot more interesting by all by its 1ley. The large non-american portion of mefiers is one of mefi's best qualities.

Palestinian leadership condemn bombings in english and arabic...any opinions out there?: We all knew about it, all this thread was attract those who actually had an opinion about it. Since it was so matter-of-factly stated, and since no people were killed, there wasn't too much good meat to fight over. Arafat/Sharon bashing, mostly.

No matter who is right or wrong in the Israel/Palestine matter, this op-ed piece...: Didn't pull at my heartstrings, as I said. This thread wasn't as bad as some others, but I had a hard time believing the sincerity of the "no matter who is right or wrong" sentiment, especially when it went on to tell us why Israel would stick to its guns...still, it's a better sentiment than most.

ETC!!!!

A am eager to make an analogy to the warring over the topic of I/P warring to the war-discussion of that topic to the actual warring going on in the middle east.

If we all accept that the other side will never agree with us, we will walk away filled with resentment towards certain people. We cannot ignore the opinions people have about this issue by not allowing them to be stated. What needs to be done is everybody needs to make a sincere effort to see that there is no point in scoring points over the issue.

Restatement of the obvious does not help. What us mefiers, as people fortunate enough not to have to worry about these things every time we go outside, should do, is simply take it in stride and although it may be hard, agree to disagree. Thank your lucky stars you do not have to worry about getting shot.

In my opinion, these heated discussions mock the concerns of people in situations you cannot begin to imagine, people who having gone though what they've gone through would never impotently argue over anything that does not concern them simply because they are given a nice, elegantly programmed forum to do so.

Fact, is no matter how clever you are, and most people are cleverer than I am, especially in regard to this topic, nothing you say has any consequence in the real world. This is okay. That is the nature of the blog. However, the problem comes in when nothing you say has any consequence in the blog, aside from attracting more and more comments of no consequence. It gives off a 'bad vibe', and however justifiable one's argument may be in an audience with Sharon and Arafat, it cannot be justified in an audience of people trying to enjoy themselves. And as we all know, the form of enjoyment in these threads is domination. You don't feel good because you offered something worthwhile, and you don't feel good because it needed to be said. You feel good because you think your side is better than Paris'.

Metafilter, even in the most intellectually oriented threads, is still inherently recreational. We should remember this. I suggest that the next time you get the urge to perpetuate this cycle of thread violence, you step away and look long and hard for the funniest link you can find. Post it.

Disclaimer: I am an ass. I know this.

posted by Settle at 1:29 PM on April 16, 2002


It's fair to say that BlueTrain is proposing - and stressed it - a voluntary moratorium. No big stick.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:58 PM on April 16, 2002


It would seem that so many people from MeFi are interested in the ME debate that a person could start their own weblog catering to the needs of MeFi members' issues being discussed w/out driving non-interested MeFiers completely bats.

Granted, that would presume someone would claim responsibility for the site, undertake a drive to get interested MeFi members to register there, and possess a willingness and tolerance to host the ultimate flame wars every now and then (but it might in the end be a noble endeavor).

Me, I look at the ME posts but usually don't touch.
posted by readymade at 2:29 PM on April 16, 2002


It seems to me that the people posting the threads we complain about most here are the ones least likely to agree to a voluntary moratorium. They don't give a shit what the community thinks (their responses in MetaTalk have been decidedly unapologetic), and they drag down the other I/P posts by association.

My solution is as follows: create MiddleEastFilter, with unlimited posting/commenting privileges and zero moderation, but have a script that automatically adds the following phrase at the end of each comment: "What do you think about that, asshole?"
posted by mcwetboy at 2:50 PM on April 16, 2002


Honestly...I have developed a blind spot in my brain at this point and I don't even see the posts anymore. Talk about dilution.
posted by anathema at 3:40 PM on April 16, 2002


I for one like the Middle East stuff (almost called it coverage.) This is the hotspot of the world right now and there is a lot of stuff going down there that you don't see unless you have your eyes peeled. Isn't that one of the things the MeFi is for? There is also a lot to say about the normal-media's treatment of the subject. While I think that pancake bunnies are very, very important I think really big-deal world issues where there is little agreement about what is right and wrong that might be the beginning of the end are also important.
posted by n9 at 3:43 PM on April 16, 2002


I like what Settle has written here and I liked his humor post, liked the way it was written.

I can be as big a gasbag as anyone here but I don't have that high an opinion of my opinions on any topic., nor of anyone else's--save those who know what they are talking about on any given subject.

And there is no one in the area of politics I trust--I feel like the drunk at the party in the old Willy Murphy cartoon, getting annoyed listening to some bullshit artist until he can't stand it anymore and then is cut to shreds for speaking out. All the idealogues, the bellowing baiters, the multi-link self-spinners, ax grinders, all of whom are never wrong, concede nothing ever, who make themselves right by making those to the contrary wrong by any means necessary--all seem intellectually dishonest to me, especially when they take on the easy targets and evade the hard questions.

When friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives fight, and fight fair, ideally the argument evolves organically to a common ground, tolerance and mutual respect for all perspectives present. That sort of argument is valid. This trench warfare which Settle so cogently describes above adds nothing, achieves nothing either here or the real world. Nothing. Except ill feelings.

I've mocked and I've teased, and in these metacommunications, been accused of stalking, being obsessed, making personal attacks by types like Real9, say, who seemed to me to be here only to drop a turd in the punchbowl in the name of cognitive dissonance. I can have a strong opinion as much as anyone but I am not married to my ego or my opinions, and worry about whether I'm just throwing more sand in the gears here, making someone else's day worse, being at less than my best, rubbing people the wrong way, being a pain in the ass. I don't believe in cognitive dissonance--well, except in clavdivs case, where it's something else again raised to an artform--nor in scoring points with no point beyond scoring points, but only easy points.

I've been sucked into commenting in the Mid East threads, but the whole topic is troubling for me personally and I regret those comments the most of all. Many of my men friends are Jews, pro-Israel but terribly upset and conflicted by current events. Everyone walks on eggshells in this minefield. in my real world, and there and here, I wish it would go away. I didn't come here for useless arguments and belittling bullies. I came here for news once but stayed for the pandora's box of links and facts and laughs and surprises on any other topic besides politics and any given war.

ps. mcwwetboy--or we can shunt all MidEast commentary through Pop Quiz: Miguel's mother fucking burnsifier.


posted by y2karl at 3:50 PM on April 16, 2002


You don't feel good because you offered something worthwhile, and you don't feel good because it needed to be said. You feel good because you think your side is better than Paris'.

Actually, you feel good when your manage to convince yourself that your side is as good as Paramus'

And permit me to correct the impression embodied in the hundreds of e-mails I received today: Paramus is not, I repeat NOT near Nablus!

posted by ParisParamus at 3:56 PM on April 16, 2002


Important for what? Information? I don't think it is the information we're arguing about here. I think that the main purpose of these posts is not informational but for a cheap argument, a pointless and tired argument (An argument isn't just saying no it isn't! Yes it is. No it isn't!). If we could keep it on an informational level, nobody'd have a big problem. The information in and of itself is not really interesting though. The IP conflict can be characterized by endless sameness, as can the arguments people have over it. I'm amazed the people in question don't get bored.

There are many hundreds of topics of greater importance than this, each of which we are not aware of. There are matters of grave concern which we pass over in favour of the gadfly's old standby.

I think McWetboy is right, personally.
posted by Settle at 3:56 PM on April 16, 2002


People are going to keep posting these things. They seem guaranteed to generate tons of comments and discussion, and that's what, in part, MeFi is about (discussion).

The proposal is for a voluntary system, it's not like BlueTrain is proposing reinventing the wheel. If you choose to continue, you will be put on people's mental lists, for good or ill. And if you DO post a Middle East question, for the love of God, don't link to something I could see on the DrudgeReport, or Yahoo!News and just leave it at that. Provide something interesting, like some background information or links to different points of view on the issue, etc. Otherwise your post looks like you spent 5 seconds thinking about it, with a big 'troll inside!' flag attached.

It's easy to be inflammatory, it's a bit harder to be thought provoking.
posted by insomnyuk at 4:04 PM on April 16, 2002


No it isn't.

o<
posted by Settle at 4:05 PM on April 16, 2002


My vote: go for the restriction.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:05 PM on April 16, 2002


Just to pose the question...

If events after 9/11, such as the anthrax scare, or other bombings were still unfolding in the US, or the war in Afghanistan was still at its height, would anyone be calling for a voluntary moratorium on posts about them.

People have been polarized by the issues taking place in the world since 9/11, and there was heated debate over what the US was doing and planning on doing (still is).

So is this now just a question of, "I'm tired of hearing about them", or "I'm tired of hearing about what's going on over there"?

Are we slipping back into a comfort zone of "I don't care what's going on in the rest of the world, I'm only interested if it happens here in my backyard"?
posted by mikhail at 4:18 PM on April 16, 2002


I HATE ISRAEL/PALESTINE THREADS! Add me to the list of people who wish other people would just lay off for a while. It's not so bad if limited to maybe one every couple days, but every fargin' day there seem to be multiple ones. And they all stink of brimstone and self-righteousness. Nothing ever comes out of the discussions.
posted by evanizer at 4:20 PM on April 16, 2002


Hey look!

The censorship crowd rears their heads on Metafilter. Again.

These people love freedom of speech. . . as long as it only applies to them of course.

Voluntary censorship is censorship. Metafilter isn't always a happy or likable place where everyone gets along, just like real life. That's why it's interesting.

I have to go with fishfucker's "solution b". I'm tired of reading some of the responses to these threads too, but I have a semi-functional human brain and therefore I can choose to ignore those threads. The Israeli - Palestinian conflict is the biggest news story of the day. It's absurd to expect people not to want to talk about it.
posted by mark13 at 4:22 PM on April 16, 2002


As a Jew and a Zionist it really is impossible for me to even pretend I can do anything but state my full prejudice in favour of Israel. I can't help admiring and agreeing with like-minded members, such as ParisParamus and Postroad, who bravely soldier on.

Would it be better if people as emotionally and politically involved as myself - whether on the Israeli or Palestinian side - pretended they were interested in being objective? I don't think so. There are widely different interests at stake here. All we can do is read and try to understand the other side, even though, let's not mince words, we're enemies in any definition of the word.

On the other hand, the other 80% or so of participants in Middle East threads are interested in approaching a balanced view. And the 20% who are involved are making them sick and tired of it all. Which is bad for us.

So I suggest that perhaps it's we who should follow BlueTrain's well-intentioned suggestion and quietly impose a voluntary moratorium on our own two clearly one-sided perspectives.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:25 PM on April 16, 2002


"We heard the same argument during election 2000, 9.11 and we'll probably hear it again. Just ignore the threads that don't interest you. It isn't hard." that is about the wisest thing said concerning the posting issue at hand. Scale back could equal black out. the nightly news ran Israel...what 3rd story back on ABC? MeFi is not the newstand. I had a boss, from around Bethlehem. he had a store, a der Tante-emma laden the store fell apart as the neighborhood around him. He took his son back home late 99. Last thing he said to me was he was glad to get out of "this" hole. (meaning Flint) Part of me wishes he was back here, where at least 'you' dont have to worry about snipers, mortars, and roving patrols.
posted by clavdivs at 4:27 PM on April 16, 2002


That's the second time in 2 days I've been told my opinion doesn't matter because I haven't been here long enough. Anyone who tells me that will be listened to politely, and then just told to go to hell, thank you very much. I'll say what I damn well please and agree with whomever I want. Or perhaps those of you whose opinions are of such import because you have low user numbers can let me in on exactly how many posts I have to make and how many comments I have to make before I'm considered a valued member here? Do tell.

Yesterday those of us with high numbers were accused of "piling on" someone and today we're all "bitching".
What a total load of bullshit. This is just plain insulting.

PS- Settle, with or without the ascii duck, you are far from an ass. More like a breath of fresh air.
posted by iconomy at 4:31 PM on April 16, 2002


am i missing any?

Um, anything having to do with obesity; the threads all end up being exactly the same.
posted by pudders at 5:03 PM on April 16, 2002


Hey look!

The censorship crowd rears their heads on Metafilter.


Where's anybody advocating censorship?

Go into any Middle East thread from the past few weeks. Can you point to a single comment that brought anything that wasn't already covered in a previous thread (or in the same thread for that matter)?

If you can't, then maybe it's time to find a new topic of conversation. If you can, then can you at least confine all of that great information/discussion in one rather than 10 threads each week? I mean it's all covering the same stuff yes?

Sure, I can step around dog shit when I walk out my front door. It's easy, just pretend like it's not there, but it's kind of a rude neighbor that keeps piling it outside my door each day.
posted by willnot at 5:24 PM on April 16, 2002


Or perhaps those of you whose opinions are of such import because you have low user numbers can let me in on exactly how many posts I have to make and how many comments I have to make before I'm considered a valued member here? Do tell.


Cry me a river, iconomy. You complain about posters. I point out that you barely post. In fact you've posted 4 times total. This isn't about elitisim or low numbers its about being a critical leech.

Don't like the state of metafilter? Then do something about it other than bitching. If the "theres too much this" and the "metafilter aint what it used to be" crowd put it some effort to find interesting links then you would have your new and improved mefi. Instead of participating, you see something you don't like, condemn those who participate, and expect to be treated seriously?

How about you change your tune from "don't post" to "everyone post something interesting once a week." Don't you think that's a better solution than trying to create a PC friendly stale mefi because you think the rhetoric in the middle east threads is tired? I do.
posted by skallas at 5:33 PM on April 16, 2002


Once a topic like this has been posted and debated over a certain number of times (and this one must hold some unholy record in that respect) it ceases being a discussion about the issues and merely another acknowledgement that something else has happened without the issues being resolved. I tend to expect something more engaging from MetaFilter.

And, skallas, while the idea behind change your tune from "don't post" to "everyone post something interesting once a week" is postive enough, what do you think everyone on MetaFilter is trying to do? There are only so many interesting things out there to find at any one time and to say that the measure of your worth to the MetaFilter community is based solely on how often you beat everyone else to posting these things seems rather harsh. There's more to it than that.
posted by MUD at 5:47 PM on April 16, 2002


skallas, you're being a prick. What's this shit about being a critical leech? Does she have to bombard this site with comments in order to have a voice around here? Even unregistered lurkers have a stake in how this site functions — this site is not a plutocracy of those who post the most.

And your solution — "everyone post something interesting once a week" — is just plain dumb. Fourteen thousand members divided by seven. A thousand posts a day. Oh that'll fix things around here. (Or is your definition of "everyone" somewhat more restricted [read: 1337] than that?) You can't drown out noise with signal, or at least I've never seen it happen. I've said it before: more is not the solution, better is. Never criticize a MetaFilter member because she doesn't post enough — the way some of us carry on, I think reticence is a virtue around here.
posted by mcwetboy at 5:49 PM on April 16, 2002


(Sorry, two thousand posts a day. Can't do arithmetic. Dammit Jim, I'm an historian, not a haX0r!)
posted by mcwetboy at 5:51 PM on April 16, 2002


*kneels before mcwetboy and begins singing hosannas*

Seriously skallas, if you noticed that compared to some of ud iconomy has a low amount of links and comments, you should've also noticed that she's only been here about two months, and for being here that short a time she's contributed a lot, IMHO. And besides who appointed you MeFi's official pageant judge anyway?

Despite our differences, skallas, I generally consider you an alright guy, until yu say something mean like that.
posted by jonmc at 5:56 PM on April 16, 2002


Only so many interesting things on the net? Maybe in the topical news department, but in every other category there's tons of good stuff. Sure it might only be good to you and 10 other people, but there's nothing wrong with that.

I never said one's worth is based on one's post as much as calls for less/censorship are a bit over the top when you could be improving metafilter's overall quality by finding a link once a month or week or whatever to drown out the noise. I don't think everyone is trying to do that, obviously most mefites never post or only post every so often. I think those people can bitch all they want, but they're only becoming part of the problem because they have the same ability as any old-timer to post a link and change the very things they complain about.

What kills me about this is that the links themselves, for the most part, are pretty good and make for some good ol' readin'. What some people can't stand is the discussions. Seriously, if you can't stop yourself from being drawn into a discussion perhaps you should take a stroll outside instead of yelling at the rest of us to quit posting. Shut the computer off, because you've lost your ability to control youself and you're just making things worse for everyone else.



posted by skallas at 5:58 PM on April 16, 2002


And your solution — "everyone post something interesting once a week" — is just plain dumb. Fourteen thousand members divided by seven.

Is it? How many people are going to read this thread? All 14,000 members most of which havent logged in since that first week. I'm specifically talking about those who have a problem.

I do think more is better on a communal site. If there's 8 posts today half of which are about the middle east guess how those threads are going to turn out? Now if there's 20+ with 4 about the middle east or whatever is your hot button issue this month, how do you think things will work out.

Like I said, if you don't like em, don't read em. If you can't control yourself that's your problem. Not the problem of the posters.
posted by skallas at 6:01 PM on April 16, 2002


Besides, iconomy has made 4 good posts since March 25, her first-post day. That's more than once a week. She's a model poster: she knows her way around; she's intelligent; she's fun and she constantly improves threads. And she does not bitch. So there!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:01 PM on April 16, 2002


Now to what I was working on before I got sidetracked by skallas vs. iconomy:

mark13: Hey look! / The censorship crowd rears their heads on Metafilter. Again. / These people love freedom of speech. . . as long as it only applies to them of course. / Voluntary censorship is censorship.

Hey look! Saying "enough already" or even "shut the fuck up" is not censorship. Your freedom of speech is not impaired if, after you say something, I complain about it. Censorship prevents you from saying something in the first place; "voluntary censorship" is therefore impossible — if it's voluntary, it ain't censorship. Prior restraint, man, prior restraint.

By that logic, rules of debate are censorship. Are Members of Parliament being denied their rights because they can't make twenty-hour speeches as often they like? MetaTalk is as close as we've gotten around here to rules of debate: talking about it here is very messy, but very democratic, and very open. The antithesis of censorship.

No one is a stronger believer in free speech than I. Yet I've found that many people invoke free speech or cry censorship when they're simply being assholes and don't want to stop. Case in point: Once, atheistic old me was cornered at a bus stop by an evangelizing Christian. I told him to leave me alone. He invoked his right to free speech, which in his view meant he could be as obnoxious as he liked and I couldn't do anything about it. I'm so tired of people crying censorship when people simply say they've had enough of their tiresome harangues. There ought to be something Godwin-like triggered when that happens.

The issue is not censorship, but people using MetaFilter as a soapbox and its members as a captive audience and source of new recruits to the cause. And you're saying that that audience can't complain about that? Wait a minute — that's censorship!

Those who think their speech is unfairly constrained here should do their proselytizing on their own blog, where their speech is as free as (a) Blogger's uptime; or (b) their ability to (i) install Greymatter, (ii) install Movable Type, or (iii) roll their own CMS.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:22 PM on April 16, 2002


(Wow. There have been 7 comments since I started typing this. I should just delete it but I'm a bit steamed and rather puzzled at Skallas' comments to me, so I will post it. Thank you for everything you've said in my defense, gentlemen. *sniff* ;)


Skallas, what are you going on about? Do you have me mixed up with someone else? I have never complained about anyone's posting style and I don't think I have ever criticized one person here. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Maybe you remember something I don't.

I have never said "don't post" yet you put it in quotes as if I had. And again you tell me I'm bitching. And I am not one of the "metafilter ain't what it used to be" crowd", since I've only been here 2 months, so why direct that at me?

My response in this post was to agree with Rich's idea - 1 post per day whereby everything related to Middle East links was sort of all thrown together - it would really save on the old bandwidth, and also open up some room for other people to contribute some links. I am advocating neither censorship or a PC friendly site. I'm bewildered as to where you're coming up with this stuff as it relates to me.

I'm one of those people who thinks that one front page post a week or even every other week is where it's at, not every day or every other day. I don't think any one person should be such a hog, although the people that do it usually have great links and lots of comments, so how can I complain? But posting 4 times a week is not my style. So I am holding true to my own standards of how often to post to the front page, and since I've been here 2 months and have posted 4 times, I'd say (again, by my standards) I'm doing just fine. By not crapping up the front page with my own (admittedly mediocre at this point) front page posts, I actually am contributing, whether it fits your definition or not. I freaking LOVE MetaFilter, and if I say anything, it's something I hope will improve this place. I have too much respect for Matt and for every member here (even you poor unfortunate ones who don't have nice hefty 5 digit user numbers like me) to do anything else. Peace.
posted by iconomy at 6:23 PM on April 16, 2002


iconomy: Or perhaps those of you whose opinions are of such import because you have low user numbers can let me in on exactly how many posts I have to make and how many comments I have to make before I'm considered a valued member here? Do tell.


I do believe that was aimed at my earlier post about contribution vs. complaints in a community atmosphere.
posted by skallas at 6:27 PM on April 16, 2002


Also:

Iconomy: I have never said "don't post" yet you put it in quotes as if I had.

Iconomy: As do I. BlueTrain, you da man. As usual

You may have never wrote 'dont post' but you surely agree with bluetrain's suggestion about not posting.
posted by skallas at 6:34 PM on April 16, 2002


Whoops, almost missed this.

Iconomy: My response in this post was to agree with Rich's idea - 1 post per day whereby everything related to Middle East links was sort of all thrown together

Umm, where is that? All I see is the Bluetrain cheerleading post and the post about fishfucker's plan b.
posted by skallas at 6:38 PM on April 16, 2002


Are Members of Parliament being denied their rights because they can't make twenty-hour speeches as often they like?

Giggle...
WEFUNK: all Bootsy Collins spoken word, all the time.
posted by machaus at 7:15 PM on April 16, 2002


machaus-
Put a glide in your stride and a dip in your hip and step on board the mother ship....
posted by jonmc at 7:19 PM on April 16, 2002


Nobody is trying to censor anyone, certainly not I. What I am saying is not that the I/P threads should be stopped altogether and categorically. What I am saying is that the people who perpetuate them are DORKS (imho).

I would like to hear one justification for these shouting matches, taking into consideration that:
1. They are not important issues, compared to other issues and considering that they have nothing to do with you. (How many of these threads have anything at all to do with American foreign policy, which you can supposedly do something about?)
2. They rarely teach us anything we don't know, and never anything which is remarkable at all.
3. They breed resentment and apathy to the extent a thread can.
4. Many people think that they are a waste our communal energy, energy better spent on something interesting, or at the very least something which doesn't piss good portion of mefiers off.

My real question is: why do people want to preserve them? It seems only all too obvious that many sincerely enjoy these epic pissing matches 'cross god's land, and not even the intellectual-excercise part of it, just the pissing element. They love to piss. They love pissing. All the time. On each other, on themselves. But sometimes the piss hits my suede shoes, and I look at all y'all, forming an angry, cascading piss-curtain, and I think, you know what, it'd be a lot nicer around here if they'd cut that out and get another hobby.

Capice?
posted by Settle at 7:56 PM on April 16, 2002


A little late to my own party...damn.

In other words: Don't bitch about contributors until you become one. Contributing is a better solution than censoring.

Bitching is simply complaining with no real solution in mind. My suggestion, a completely voluntary one mind you, is that perhaps we should come together, as a community, and take a undefined break. Bitching would be, "Fuck this shit! Let's get Matt to program Middle East threads to self-destruct." Again, I want the community to make the decision by itself; a group consensus, of sorts.

Voluntary censorship is censorship.

This was incredibly funny...although the statement is true, it's of zero value. OBVIOUSLY voluntary censorship is censorship, but it's YOUR decision. If you don't want to follow this moratorium, then don't. You CAN belch or pass gas in public; there are no laws against it. Yet, for some strange reason, most people don't do it.

Don't you think that's a better solution than trying to create a PC friendly stale mefi because you think the rhetoric in the middle east threads is tired? I do.

Again, there are no regulations made here. NONE. It's a voluntary suggestion that anyone, or no one, can follow. The reason for this post was that I felt that many MeFites felt the same way I did. So I decided that maybe, if enough people agree for a small break, others would just relax for a moment and catch their breath.

BTW skallas, this isn't the first time you brought up user numbers/tenure/contributions. Don't spend all your cash in one place; you might need it for when it's actually necessary.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:12 PM on April 16, 2002


Would it be better if people as emotionally and politically involved as myself - whether on the Israeli or Palestinian side - pretended they were interested in being objective?

Um.... Yes?

Or rather, it would be better if the partisans in this debate would be interested in being objective.

My problem with the Middle East threads is that they're always dominated by the same clutch of people who are, in general, talking out of their collective asses past one another, with no interest in actually having a discussion that might leave you enlightened and better off for having learned something.

I'd like nothing better than to have a source for intelligent discussion about a resolution to the Middle East conflict. But MeFi has clearly ceased to be that kind of a place.

If there is to be a voluntary moratorium on posting, I suggest that it be on those of you (you know who you are) who are, time after time, thread after thread, so pig-headedly arrogant about the certitude of your cause that you'll never let the tiniest sliver of an objective thought enter your head. You're an embarassment to your cause. We are all sick of hearing you bray.

posted by shylock at 10:23 PM on April 16, 2002


it will go away. i never hear anyone talking about gore or nader nader nader anymore
posted by chaz at 1:19 AM on April 17, 2002


BlueTrain, you honestly have no room to call for any moratoriums of any sort. Any more than skallas does. You don't like the filter? Filter out your own NYTimes or Yahoo news stories and get what you want. MeFi rises, crests and wanes with the currents of the day. Do you realize how often links sink like a rock to the bottom, never to gasp a breath of life again? You're part of a community. Part of being part of a community is allowing other members to do their thing. The only person who has any right at all to call for action in the way that you have is Matt.

Matt has to have a laugh at backseat administrators.

Who knows, he could be laughing at me for saying such a thing. You could be in the right BlueTrain. But I doubt it.

I understand also, that you BlueTrain, for bringing up this issue, are merely lending to the current of community, but like everyone else here, they also do the same. I call for a moratorium on MeTa threads telling the rest of this to do this or that.
posted by crasspastor at 1:56 AM on April 17, 2002


Bitching is simply complaining with no real solution in mind.

Which is pretty much what you did. You offered no alternative or any constructive criticism other than stopping posts on a highly charged subject that has world importance. I wouldn't have been so harsh with you if you would have thought things through and offered solutions like asking 'trouble' posters who dominate threads to lay off, recommending different sites for this topic, boyoctting these threads youself, etc. Instead you give us this:

But I can't even go a few threads without seeing another one.

So what? Call me an elitist until there's peace in the middle east dude, when you say you don't like a community you barely take part in and expect them to change for YOU, then you're the elitist.

posted by skallas at 7:29 AM on April 17, 2002


I ignore the majority of front page posts except for the select few that happen to catch my eye (if I didn't I'd be on metafilter all freaking day). So I couldn't care less if people want to keep posting middle east threads. However, I don't think BlueTrain should be dumped on for asking for a moratorium. What's wrong with asking? I can see how several posts a day that are simply magnets for mud-slinging can get annoying. (I'm not saying that intelligent discussion on the events over there is not necessary or possible. It just seems that whatever level-headed discussion there is tends to get lost in all the yelling.) So... um yeah. Stop yelling at BlueTrain.
posted by jojo at 10:47 AM on April 17, 2002


Matt has to have a laugh at backseat administrators.

No, a backseat administrator would be, as stated above, "We're going to do x because of y." What I'm suggesting requires nothing from any posters. If you choose to post Middle East threads, go for it.

Further, although we've repeated this ad nauseum, this is a community. WE, (yeah, I know you all love when I say this word) as a community, have some unsaid rules around here. I was suggesting another.

Call me an elitist until there's peace in the middle east dude, when you say you don't like a community you barely take part in and expect them to change for YOU, then you're the elitist.

Huh...again, the numbers don't mean anything. I know of several respected posters who don't contribute on a daily basis. You seem to have a fascination with my user number and links/comments. I don't contribute to Middle East threads because the mentality is that you're either with us or them.

I don't contribute to other threads because I hate saying, "Great link." I also don't like talking bullshit. When I say something, I stand behind my words, 100%, and therefore reserve my comments to items to which I'm truly committed. If you think I haven't established my credibility, perhaps I haven't posted for a long enough time. OTOH, perhaps YOU are just exhibiting a very judgmental nature.
posted by BlueTrain at 11:25 AM on April 17, 2002


Anyone care to answer my questions? Crasspastor perhaps? Why do you enjoy posting this stuff, discussing it etc.?? Got a dead end job and need something to argue about at the end of the day? Gotta make your posts look impotent if they are impotent? Other more flattering explantations?

Forget it. As much as I'd like to see mefi get better, it is clear that many people need somewhere to piss, and this place is as good as any.

And for the record, I commend Paris for siding with the moratorium, I was quite pleased and taken aback to see that. He pisses better than all y'all.
posted by Settle at 2:16 PM on April 17, 2002


For me Settle, is that I really have no one else in my circles who engage much in current event conversation. I come back here again and again because I usually like the discussion that I rarely get elsewhere.
posted by crasspastor at 4:36 PM on April 17, 2002


"Go into any Middle East thread from the past few weeks. Can you point to a single comment that brought anything that wasn't already covered in a previous thread (or in the same thread for that matter)?"

willnot: When I knocked myself out adding links and background material to a very partisan Israel - Palestine front page post, I was hoping it would spare us another "No more Middle East! complaint fest."

Naturally my plan didn't work, and Miguel ended up posting another MetaTalk thread pointing this out.

1. "The Israelis are wrong today, and here's why ..."
2. "The Palestinians are wrong today, and here's why ..."
3. "By the way, I found something a little unusual today about the Middle East, which I'm adding to today's thread.

--Which of these comments would you rather read?

posted by sheauga at 5:48 PM on April 17, 2002


Homer: Arafat...Sharon...Arafat...
Marge: Bart, are you going to Arafat the lawn today?
Bart: Okay, but you promised me Sharon money.
Marge: I Arafat, I Arafat!
Homer: Arafat...Sharon...Arafat...
Lisa: When Bart's done, can we Arafat to the Sharonvies? There's an Arafatinee.
Marge: Of course! All work and Sharon play makes Arafat a Sharon Arafat.
Bart: Arafatsharonarafat?
Marge: Sharonarafatsharon!

posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:22 PM on April 17, 2002


Do you think I should be locked in here? Not to be able to go outside, even?
posted by bittennails at 7:41 PM on April 17, 2002


Whatever we did (or Bluetrain did), it worked. Be it due to people's boredom with the topic (unlikely), a lack of interesting news (unlikely), sheer coincidence (likely), or the fantastic power of BlueTrain's suggestion (hey, c'mon now, it could happen), the last two days have shown a decrease in MeFi-ME activity.

April 15th:
1 [rschram] | 2 [Settle] | 3 [Postroad] | 4 [mapalm]

April 16th:
1 [talos] 5:59 AM PST | 2 [onegoodmove] 8:42 AM PST | 3 [Leonard] 11:01 AM PST
BlueTrain declares Moratorium. 12:05 PM PST

April 17th:
0

April 18th:
1 [Leonard]


If you explore the archives further, this isn't a big change (most days only had 2 or 3 M.E. posts), but it's still significant - if only because it's taken me too much time write this all out, and I'm going to post it, dammit.

If you ignore Leonard's second post (it should have been a follow-up link in his first thread, IMHO), the numbers look even better! Weee! Manipulating statistics is fun.

Now where'd I put that julep?

posted by Marquis at 10:11 PM on April 18, 2002


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