Stop deleting comments. October 11, 2011 10:00 AM   Subscribe

If you want to talk about moderation go over there and do it to it.

OK, then. Comment deletion sucks, and unpopular comment deletion sucks and admins that delete unpopular comments also suck and MetaFilter in general is sucking a whole lot more because of it.

Now, maybe there was a good reason to delete those comments, but, you see, I wouldn't know, would I, because you fucking deleted them, thus robbing the community the chance to decide for itself. Used to be you reserved the nuclear option for personal information and spam and that was basically it. And when someone violated the community space, the punishment was a warning and then a time-out. Not outright memory-hole censorship. But based on the selective quotes from said deleted comments, I see nothing justifying their deletion save their unpopularity. And that's some fucking bullshit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient to Etiquette/Policy at 10:00 AM (277 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Stop deleting comments? Like altogether?
posted by sweetkid at 10:03 AM on October 11, 2011


For what it's worth, I believe some of the deleted comments were personal attacks. But then, I'm a stupid asshole, or some fucking thing.
posted by box at 10:05 AM on October 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


In the case of one comment which was deleted, I believe the reason it got the axe was that it contained this quote, more or less verbatim: "Go fuck yourself, you racist piece of shit."

And the only reason I remember that is that I read it and thought, wow, that's probably gonna get deleted.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:05 AM on October 11, 2011 [25 favorites]


*slips behind bar*

Right. Jessamyn? Cortex? Matt? This round's on me. What'll you have?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:05 AM on October 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


I wasn't involved in that thread, but I just now went over to take a look at it. It looks like the comment that spawned the troubles wrapped up with "Go fuck yourself, racist piece of shit." which is solidly in "we delete this" territory. Unfortunately, there were a few follow up comments to that one and then a bunch of people being all "Why did you delete that??" and so we directed people here. There were eight comments removed from that thread. The "go fuck yourself" one and the ones responding to it including one from Mr "go fuck yourself" arguing over his comment being deleted and people responding to that. We're not going to sto deleting comments, but the bar is pretty high for what we remove. This one wasn't even really borderline, it just had some collateral damage and we're sorry for that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:06 AM on October 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


And on a more serious note:

Now, maybe there was a good reason to delete those comments, but, you see, I wouldn't know, would I, because you fucking deleted them, thus robbing the community the chance to decide for itself.

There's actually been umpty-squillon posts in here about how the mods aren't deleting ENOUGH stuff. Sounds like the community's already "decided", and I'm sorry you weren't paying attention.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:07 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Used to be you reserved the nuclear option for personal information and spam and that was basically it.

Actually, such "memory-hole censorship" has been the norm with deleted comments for quite some time around here. I'm not always so fond of it, but that has long been the way the site works. It's (imho) been more noticeable as of late because we have a lot more new mods all of a sudden, but this is not a remotely new thing.
posted by zachlipton at 10:07 AM on October 11, 2011


Either that, or give us the option to see deleted comments. Perhaps we should have two types of moderation:

1) Deleted comments, used only when the poster requests removal or it reveals private information that shouldn't be public

2) "downmodded" comments that moderators feel don't add to the discussion, but which we can choose to view ourselves.
posted by notion at 10:07 AM on October 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Now, maybe there was a good reason to delete those comments,

Seems you are starting from a pretty skeptical viewpoint here. If you don't trust the mods, isn't that a bigger problem than comment deletions?
posted by smackfu at 10:08 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, even though I've had things removed from time to time, it happens [whatever], I think the personal attacks ought to be scrubbed out.
posted by Renoroc at 10:08 AM on October 11, 2011


SET DOWN TEH KEYBOARD AND SLOWLY BACK AWAY FROM THE SCREEN.
posted by carsonb at 10:10 AM on October 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


There's actually been umpty-squillon posts in here about how the mods aren't deleting ENOUGH stuff.

Yes, I think the main result to come out of complaints about early thread-shitting is that the mods have a much heavier hand deleting terrible first comments. Which seems to be working out well.
posted by smackfu at 10:11 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm happy when personal attacks are deleted. It's not like they add anything to the discussion and indeed they just lead to derails or yet more personal attacks. If I wanted to read those kind of things I'd read the comments on youtube.
posted by ob at 10:11 AM on October 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


Seems you are starting from a pretty skeptical viewpoint here. If you don't trust the mods, isn't that a bigger problem than comment deletions?

Seems like open government to me. Apply the argument you just made to the police or military. "If you don't trust the cops, isn't that a bigger problem than habeas corpus?" The reason I trust the cops, to the extent I do, is because of the fact I can see (part of) how the system works.
posted by DU at 10:13 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you want light moderation, go to 4chan or Reddit (which are not bad communities, just running on a different system). Part of MetaFilter's culture is the mods having a firm hand on threads that can get ugly. And it's not like this was deleting unpopular opinions, but personal attacks that can lead to a total, ugly derail about user's problems with each other instead of content.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:13 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you post on any other sites, then you know that the moderation is pretty light here. That doesn't mean it's perfect here, but I'd still give it a solid "A".
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:15 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now, maybe there was a good reason to delete those comments, but, you see, I wouldn't know, would I, because you fucking deleted them, thus robbing the community the chance to decide for itself.

OCCUPY METAFILTER
posted by KokuRyu at 10:16 AM on October 11, 2011 [42 favorites]


The reason I trust the cops, to the extent I do, is because of the fact I can see (part of) how the system works.

But isn't that role fulfilled here by Metatalk / the contact form, and not by charging in saying "outright memory-hole censorship" and "fucking bullshit"? Does CD want to rant or does he actually want answers?
posted by smackfu at 10:17 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do mind, the Dude minds. This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.
posted by iamabot at 10:18 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


OCCUPY METAFILTER

Clearly one of the 99%ers who favor comment deletion.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:20 AM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


notion: "Either that, or give us the option to see deleted comments. Perhaps we should have two types of moderation:

1) Deleted comments, used only when the poster requests removal or it reveals private information that shouldn't be public

2) "downmodded" comments that moderators feel don't add to the discussion, but which we can choose to view ourselves.
"

Per the mods, we're never getting threaded comments. Thankfully.
posted by zarq at 10:21 AM on October 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


This hasn't been one of the best days for Metafilter, has it?
posted by tommasz at 10:21 AM on October 11, 2011


Per the mods, we're never getting threaded comments. Thankfully.

Yes, many thanks!
posted by sweetkid at 10:22 AM on October 11, 2011


Also, this discussion is way too black and white. This is the Internet. There are many different levels between "everyone reads it" and "nobody does". Hide it similar to the way Slashdot (gasp!) does. Make some users able to see the "deleted" comments. Or any one of a number of schemes.
posted by DU at 10:22 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Delete the user.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2011


Hide it similar to the way Slashdot (gasp!) does

Aaaannd at that point you've given a permanent home to the ugliest of speech. A permanent place to show off "fuck you!" and "no, fuck you!". We've argued this back and forth hundreds of times and we're not going to keep deleted comments around and visible because it encourages bad behavior in the long run.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2011 [84 favorites]


Apply the argument you just made to the police or military.

No. Those are different things. Not all things need to work the same way. For example, I'm entirely comfortable doing things as a parent that would horrify from a random stranger on the street. Similarly, I expect a bar to have different social norms than a prison or a library.

Where the hell does this stupid idea come from that MetaFilter/your-favorite-website is supposed to be isomorphic to government, or that all parts of society are self-similar?

You don't make mean flamey attacks here, and you don't get all meta in the blue. These are totally great rules that help make this place what it is, and are enforced in a surprisingly consistent and light-handed way. Of course that wouldn't work everywhere, nor should it. So?
posted by freebird at 10:25 AM on October 11, 2011 [23 favorites]


I like the comment system just the way it is.
posted by chinston at 10:26 AM on October 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


If you make deleted comments as a hidden option all you're going to get is a bunch of stunt comments geared to having a secondary commentary deleted in the thread. It's going to increase the moderator load and sew confusion and discord.
posted by iamabot at 10:27 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Civil_Disobedient, you made pretty similar assertions in a comment in another metatalk thread a couple weeks ago, and I responded at the time, and I don't know if you had something to say in response to that or what since you didn't reply there.

Short recap: deleting comments isn't new, isn't done in significantly greater proportion now than it was years ago, and in fact the biggest memory-hole we have is Back In The Day when deleted comments and posts weren't just hidden (and hence retrievable for discussion when needed) but absolutely nuked from the db.

Some folks want more stuff deleted. Some folks want less stuff deleted. This will never be a settled discussion because it's not something that's ever going to be a matter of universal consensus. For our part as mods, we've been aiming to keep things mostly just steady over the last many years, keeping deletions to a workable minimum without letting the worst or most derailing stuff fester and fuck up threads.

It's one possible approach among many, we don't claim it's the only one or inherently the best on in abstract, but it's not a new one for this site and to go back far enough in Metafilter history to find something different requires going back to basically the first year when none of this stuff had been figured out and the userbase was comparatively tiny.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:28 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aaaannd at that point you've given a permanent home to the ugliest of speech. A permanent place to show off "fuck you!" and "no, fuck you!".

"Show off" assumes you are making it viewable to everyone. Instead of thinking of reasons why this is impossible, why not start with the assumption that open government is good, even necessary, and find a way to make it work.
posted by DU at 10:28 AM on October 11, 2011


Whoo, do we get to elect officials?
posted by iamabot at 10:28 AM on October 11, 2011


Deleted comments are in the database. If someone wants to talk about something that was deleted, we can do that; this has happened often in Metatalk and over private correspondence, and will continue to happen, and it's a compromise that keeps this stuff available without putting it on public display by default. That may or may not be sufficiently like "open government" for different people's tastes, but it's our best attempt at keeping this stuff pretty transparent without throwing out the idea of moderating content entirely.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:32 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry, DU, deleted comments ain't going to happen. I've never seen it improve any other site. We have mods here, we have a culture here, and we picked the rules we picked for good reasons, and there are plenty of other communities anyone is free to use that do different stuff.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:32 AM on October 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


What kind of needle does one use to sew confusion?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:33 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


A threaded one.
posted by Edogy at 10:35 AM on October 11, 2011 [25 favorites]


One with a camel in its eye, of course.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:35 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry. Shouldn't have posted the link. Politics never seems to a good topic for MeFi.
posted by Argyle at 10:39 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Just trust us" and "Love it or leave it" aren't really undrawing the parallel I made above.
posted by DU at 10:39 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I totally had the thought in my head "what, it can't be spelled sow in this context"....then I posted and then checked the googles. *sigh* now edit windows, that's something I could get behind ;)
posted by iamabot at 10:41 AM on October 11, 2011


why not start with the assumption that open government is good

One reason - this is not a nation, nor a government, nor would I like it to be. Look, democracy is hard, and it requires effort from its participants that I think we even see in the Real World actual government. If it doesn't get that time and attention, it doesn't work anywhere near optimally - witness, I think, the state of the USA today.

So, you know what? I don't want to put that effort into websites I visit, even ones I love dearly and maybe even form communities and have great discussions. So if you aren't going to expect that level of involvement from the participants, you shouldn't run websites as democracies. Benevolent dictatorship works really well for MeFi and Python, two things I love which are not nations.
posted by freebird at 10:44 AM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


At this point, you might as well repost the comment that got deleted here.
posted by empath at 10:45 AM on October 11, 2011


"Just trust us" and "Love it or leave it" aren't really undrawing the parallel I made above.

The police and the military are public servants, the mods are not but they sure do act like it most of the time. Considering what happens around here when a button changes it's a miracle they're as accommodating and patient as they are.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 10:46 AM on October 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Show off" assumes you are making it viewable to everyone. Instead of thinking of reasons why this is impossible, why not start with the assumption that open government is good, even necessary, and find a way to make it work.

This is a community of people who volunteer to be here. If you don't like the way the place is run, your option is to go to one of the many sites who operate according the principles you seem to prefer, such as Reddit, which has slowly been turning into an unreadable fucking cesspool over the past year or so.
posted by empath at 10:48 AM on October 11, 2011


I think the current level of moderating works fine. I, for one, welcome the process of our current overlords.
posted by arcticseal at 10:48 AM on October 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


undrawing the parallel

What parallel? The equivocation of the social construct of a police force, with a private just-for-fun website? The idea that exposing police corruption where people are tortured to death is equivalent to making sure jackasses who post racist crap always have a place to point to and say, "see my racist crap is on the internet, it must be true?"
posted by nomisxid at 10:48 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Just trust us" and "Love it or leave it" aren't really undrawing the parallel I made above.

That's how MetaFilter works. I've argued this before: this site works as well as it does largely because of active, discretionary, non-democratic moderation. The mods make calls based on their individual and collective wisdom. They always have.

If you disagree with said wisdom, there are fora in which you can make your displeasure known. Like this one. But if you dislike the idea that it's someone else's wisdom rather than either 1) your own or 2) some fixed, more-or-less objective, written ruleset, well, that's just the name of the MetaFilter game. I am many others think that it's the main reason for the site's continued success. If you dislike that idea, well... door's over there.
posted by valkyryn at 10:50 AM on October 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


I want to say I'm really happy with the level of comment moderation here, especially when it applies to personal attacks in contentious political threads. I've tried a few times in the last week to check out what people are saying about OWS at other places like fark, and the threads there are for the most part absolutely unreadable; it's just a chaotic spittle-filled mess of "Fuck you, you fucking fascist" and "Suck it libtards, u r gay lol" and so on ad nauseam, and I mean that I literally feel sick from having read it.

I know it can get heated around here too, but in general it's comforting to know that there's at least one small corner of the internet where people can disagree passionately but intelligently and actually exchange meaningful information in the process. So kudos to the mods and keep up the good work.
posted by albrecht at 10:50 AM on October 11, 2011 [23 favorites]


I'd be happy if we could limit deletions of comments to those from users who catch me in a factual error, disagree with me in any way or haven't favourited me at least ten times in the previous seven days.
posted by Abiezer at 10:51 AM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I was going to say what albrecht said. I don't want a mefi full of "fuck you," "no fuck you." The person was explicitly invited to repost the comment minus personal attacks, and for whatever reason s/he has not done so. If your comment can't stand on its own without the addition of "go fuck yourself" then it deserves to be deleted.
posted by desjardins at 10:55 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Also, this discussion is way too black and white.
> "Just trust us" and "Love it or leave it" aren't really undrawing the parallel I made above.

Speaking of black and white. This is a privately owned, ad-supported website. Let's not get lost in weird tangents of our false parallels.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:56 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


in open government, you want a document, you file a FOIA request. At metafilter, you request discussion with a mod.
posted by garlic at 10:56 AM on October 11, 2011


[...] and I mean that I literally feel sick from having read it.

I literally can't understand this. Do you mean that reading impolite comments that are (I assume) not even directed at you makes you feel physically ill? You might be better off addressing this problem with a therapist than a moderator.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:57 AM on October 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Is my memory failing me or didn't MetaFilter used to bill itself as self-policing?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:00 AM on October 11, 2011


They delete comments here???
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:01 AM on October 11, 2011


i'm racist

i fucking love racing
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:02 AM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sorry. Shouldn't have posted the link. Politics never seems to a good topic for MeFi.

The issue wasn't that it was political. It was that you presented it as a genuine starting point for a conversation, when it was so obviously flamewar kindling. It has a picture of an astronaut and said "Occupy the Moon because the Earth isn't enough for socialists." It had the modern incarnation of Chick tracts interspersed with accusations that protesters are a waste of time who aren't really looking for jobs.

You were either disingenuous with your intent, or you didn't read the whole blog. Those are the reasons you shouldn't have posted it.
posted by notion at 11:03 AM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Now, maybe there was a good reason to delete those comments, but, you see, I wouldn't know, would I, because you fucking deleted them

Dude, you undercut your whole point by pushing way past huffy in the post itself. [more inside] is where you start swearing at everyone. For the record, I had a decent comment deleted in that thread because it was in response to a large bit of lunacy. My comment got trimmed to keep the thread on-topic and I got a nice note from taz apologizing about it and including my deleted comment in case I wanted to re-post it after changing some stuff.

If that qualifies as jackboots and brown shirts nowadays, I don't know what to say.
posted by yerfatma at 11:03 AM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


entropicamericana: "Is my memory failing me or didn't MetaFilter used to bill itself as self-policing?"

We were never autonomous. There has always been a moderator here.
posted by zarq at 11:03 AM on October 11, 2011


didn't MetaFilter used to bill itself as self-policing?

We still do. The flagging and the MeTa system are both user-instigated methods of having us check things out and/or do something. But it's never been modded by the general population. So you can split hairs about whether the idea is true generally, but it's not less true now than when Matt just made his own decisions without the bene4fit of MetaTalk or a flag queue.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:04 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry. Shouldn't have posted the link. Politics never seems to a good topic for MeFi.

In order.

1) Apology Accepted.
2) Correct.
3) Incorrect.
posted by empath at 11:07 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the deletion policy here these days is excessive and I think it's generally become more aggressive over the last couple of years or so. And to still describe it as "self-policing" is laughable doublethink worthy of Fox News. However, I also accept it is what it is, and I would like to point out that "Love it or leave it" is not the only option available to those of us who feel this way. There is also "Hate it and don't leave it."

There's still lots of good stuff here. That's why I hang around. I can hate some stuff and love other stuff about a thing. I'm complex and fascinating that way.
posted by Decani at 11:11 AM on October 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


@decani

my guess is that the average age of people on the net, especially in privileged positions, is going up and that's what the deal is
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:13 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I do not want a government run like a privately-owned web site. I also don't want a web site run like a government. Also, if MetaFilter (or America) were truly a democratic self-policing state, don't assume that you'd like the result. Strong mobs also cry. Strong mobs also cry.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:13 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do you mean that reading impolite comments that are (I assume) not even directed at you makes you feel physically ill?

Yes, for two reasons: (1) it's mentally and physically exhausting to pick out the signal from the noise, and (2) it's a disturbing reminder of how cruel people can be to each other when they can hide behind their apparent online anonymity. Watching a train wreck is disgusting even if it's not my train.
posted by albrecht at 11:14 AM on October 11, 2011 [31 favorites]


"Outsourced immune system functionality vis-a-vis the flagging button and moderator contact forms" doesn't have the same snappy ring as "self-policing" though. But at any rate, regular users can influence moderation by drawing attention to problem areas since the mods aren't monitoring all active threads like some kind of operations war room.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:14 AM on October 11, 2011


This is one of those threads that makes me want to nominate the mods (and staff) for sainthood. I'd be swinging BanHammers (or at least STFUHammers) left and right.
posted by bondcliff at 11:14 AM on October 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


albrecht, desjardins and others have covered what I wanted to say. The system works.
posted by pemberkins at 11:23 AM on October 11, 2011


Some folks want more stuff deleted. Some folks want less stuff deleted.

Abortions for some, tiny American flags for the others.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:25 AM on October 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


I abort tiny American flags. I'm a people pleaser.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:27 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Go back to Soviet Metafilter!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:28 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like how most complaints about deletions basically boil down to "I don't like the way you do things, my way is better," yet there's no follow-up of "I'll make my own community blog and show you how it ought to be."
posted by CancerMan at 11:28 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


[...] because you fucking deleted them, thus robbing the community the chance to decide for itself.

I'm pretty sure you mean robbing you, personally, the chance to decide for yourself.

The community flags things to hell without waiting for you to show up. If your accusation is that the mods deleted the comment without anybody flagging it, please go ahead and make that clear.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:30 AM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I am a satisfied MetaFilter customer.
posted by pointystick at 11:30 AM on October 11, 2011 [18 favorites]


I think the deleted comment was from pastabagel, no doubt droning on about how Mr. Rogers may have been the last earnest man. Can we just agree that Mr. Rogers is a topic that MetaFilter does not do well?
posted by chinston at 11:34 AM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


What was Mr. Rogers hiding in that sweater, anyway?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:36 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good job. The whole post was "I found assholes on the internet. Look at these assholes." That gets ugly and emotional fast.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:36 AM on October 11, 2011


I don't like it either, I would prefer a hall of shame for deleted comments. Anyway, none of us are really customers, what is that phrase people always quote? Someting about you being a product?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:37 AM on October 11, 2011


If you're not the solution, you're the problem being deleted.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:37 AM on October 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Go back to Soviet Metafilter!

In Soviet... Metafilter... posts, um, delete... mods?

Am I doing that right?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:38 AM on October 11, 2011


I enjoy reading Metafilter because there are folks here who come at issues in a very different way than I do. The discussions here have given me cause to examine my own beliefs about race, culture, religion, gender issues, etc.

If the discussions devolve into schoolyard name calling, they are not as valuable to me. Therefore, I appreciate the mods, and fellow Mefites who find ways to express their views without flinging insults.
posted by agatha_magatha at 11:39 AM on October 11, 2011


@CancerMan

that doesnt really actually work in practice
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:39 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Our great Party has once again made worldwide strides in the battle for the people. Let us all rejoice in honor of our Party
posted by tovarisch to Party News at 1:00 PM (4 comments total) [100,000 favorites +] [!]


Amazing news, brother-in-arms. We fight the good fight!
posted by tovarisch at 1:15 PM on October 11 [100 favorites +] [!]

At last, the workers of the world will know true freedom.
posted by tovarisch at 1:35 PM on October 11 [100 favorites +] [!]

We shall sing the songs of Lenin's youth to honor this glorious development.
posted by tovarisch at 1:58 PM on October 11 [100 favorites +] [!]

[There is nothing to see here. Move along.]
posted by KGB at you do not need to know on This information is confidential [+] [!]
posted by griphus at 11:41 AM on October 11, 2011 [19 favorites]


I don't mean the OP, but the rest of the discussion.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:41 AM on October 11, 2011


It's Raining Florence Henderson: "What was Mr. Rogers hiding in that sweater, anyway?"

Neighbors.
posted by zarq at 11:45 AM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't think deleting "Go fuck yourself, you racist piece of shit." is excessive moderation.
posted by Sailormom at 11:46 AM on October 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think OP needs to look up the definition of the first half of their username.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:48 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've had a couple comment deletions that bothered me, and I've talked to the mods about them and disagreed with them, but I'm not sure I can say that any of those deleted comments were tremendously additive. So while I still don't think they were deletion-worthy, I don't miss them or feel like I was unable to express myself in general.

I do think there has been a slight trend towards more deletions, and I'm not entirely comfortable with that, but while there may be a firmer hand on the tiller than I care for, I haven't noticed much change in direction as yet.

It has seemed to me that, especially in contentious threads, the mods appear to be a little shorter of temper or more abrupt from the start than I remember them being in years past. I'm hoping that having more mods allows them to balance the server load a little better, so to speak. It makes me uncomfortable when the modly impression is like, "well, you guys are all assholes for even having this conversation, but here it is, so whatever".
posted by Errant at 11:48 AM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


And to still describe it as "self-policing" is laughable doublethink worthy of Fox News.

I appreciate the level of hyperbole here.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:59 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm basically OK with the comment deletion policy here, because

(1) there's a notification when comments are deleted, so they don't just sort of un-exist into an Orwellian "comment? what comment?" void, and

(2) there's a reason given for the deletions -- I'm annoyed by discussion threads on other sites where comments are zapped and there's just a generic deletion notice.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 12:05 PM on October 11, 2011


The solution is obvious, really: make me a mod*. I'll fix things good.

*note: baaaaaaaaaaad idea
posted by item at 12:06 PM on October 11, 2011


"Just trust us" and "Love it or leave it" aren't really undrawing the parallel I made above.

Why can't you make your point without essentially comparing Matt and the mods to tyrants and thugs. If there's a good point to be made, surely it can stand without the ridiculous equivalence you keep pushing.
posted by OmieWise at 12:08 PM on October 11, 2011


I'm glad that moderation is more even. If you search for "'fuck yourself' site:metatalk.metafilter.com" you will see a long history of discussions about this issue. I don't think Metafilter was ever "self-policing" so much as it was "vigilante moderation." Those with the biggest guns (ie, the most free time, the most charismatic writers, the most abrasive, etc. etc) controlled the tone of the community. I like it much better now.
posted by muddgirl at 12:11 PM on October 11, 2011


Metafilter: I appreciate the level of hyperbole here.
posted by camcgee at 12:19 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is also "Hate it and don't leave it."

A description which pretty aptly describes my parents-in-law.

It sucks hanging out with them too.

Not directed at you Decani, I'm just weary of the fighting over every little thing here lately. We are lucky to have a good site here, and I can't see any way that less moderation would make people play more nicely together, and mostly playing nicely together is the thing that keeps me here.
posted by quin at 12:21 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't know, would I

aaaand there is the nub of the problem.

I'm kind of curious if this was just a drive by hissy fit.
posted by edgeways at 12:27 PM on October 11, 2011


the mods appear to be a little shorter of temper or more abrupt from the start than I remember them being in years past.

Well it's a little tricky. The big flare-ups that tend to happen, especially on MetaFilter usually happen in a few fairly predictable [to us] ways, but mostly it's

- the same old people having the same old fights
- new people who don't know the culture who start something

We're pretty patient and tolerant with the latter because we figure either people will figure it out, or they'll wander off. Our "It's on you to prove that you're not trolling us." policy works fairly well. With the longtime users however, it's really something that requires more finesse and we expect people who have been here for a while to meet us partway with making the site more decent and usable. Twice in the past few days we've deleted very aggressive over-the-top comments by longtime users and twice we've been called out in the MeFi thread by someone who basically knew that there were proper channels for dealing with that sort of thing and just flat out refused to use them. So we're scratching our heads. It's not "We will ban you" territory, but it's tiresome and time consuming to deal with.

The charming other example was a user who thinks I have it in for him and demanded a looksee at his comments by a male mod [I am not making this up, I wish I were] and his comment very nearly derailed a thread early that is now going just fine. This is our goal: to not make one person's bad mood or poor impulse control allow them to single-handedly steer the thread into a "let's fight with me/each other" mode from a discussion [even a heated discussion] about the topic of the thread. And it's a challenge, particularly because I think there are people who would prefer the site was a different way and who, in fact, act like the site is a different way and get aggrieved when their comments get deleted or they get the night off. We just sort of keep putting one foot in front of the other, but it's really like 10-20 people who dwell in these edge scenarios, but they [and the associated email and MeTa threads] take up maybe 50-75% of our mod time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:28 PM on October 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


We are the 75%!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:34 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry. Shouldn't have posted the link. Politics never seems to a good topic for MeFi.

Which may or may not be so. But at the risk of seeming to pile on here, I'll echo what others have noted: that particular link, to a blog produced by the GOP's own Corporal Randolph Agarn was never going to be anything but an opportunity to snark. When someone starts a conversation with "Suck it up, whiners!" there isn't much chance that something reflective will follow. That isn't "Metafilter can't do politics." It's "Metafilter doesn't like professional assholes."
posted by octobersurprise at 12:35 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


We are the 75%!

Of the 38%!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:35 PM on October 11, 2011


> demanded a looksee at his comments by a male mod

It's like urology or getting extra screening at the TSA checkpoint, see.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:39 PM on October 11, 2011


I actually feel guilty when mods delete my stuff, and usually I'm grateful that some of the turds I've dropped in threads aren't around for posterity.
posted by empath at 12:39 PM on October 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, to be absolutely super clear, I think my impression stems directly from "same old people doing same old shit" sort of wearing on your nerves after a while. I certainly don't fault you for that. I think adding new nerves, so to speak, may help relieve some of that frustration, or at least that's my hope.

There's obviously a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that most of us don't, and shouldn't, see, and there are a lot of conversations you guys have that aren't in the public domain. It occasionally seems abrupt, at least to me, when that stuff spills over into the visible part of the site, and what may be a fairly natural progression from your perspectives sometimes comes out of nowhere from mine and appears to be directed more broadly than may be intended, because you have a backstory I don't.

It is definitely tricky, and I have no complaints, just the occasional concern.
posted by Errant at 12:43 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


demanded a looksee at his comments by a male mod

I demand that my deleted comments be reviewed by a geeky handsome black man with large hand and broad shoulders.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM on October 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Which ones do you want me to look at?
posted by cashman at 12:46 PM on October 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


usually I'm grateful that some of the turds I've dropped in threads aren't around for posterity.

same here. In fact, I've actually flagged MYSELF sometimes, after posting something and then calming down and reading it again and then doing that whole HOME-ALONE-horrified-hands-on-face thing all "omigod I that thing I said is SO EVIL". I've even emailed the mods to ask "um, that thing I said here? MAKE IT GO AWAY, please?..."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:46 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah and there's definitely some adjustment periods having a new mod and trying to make sure everyone's more or less on the same page. We trust taz. She had good judgment and also a good heart. At the same time, she's new here and so there may be some things she does (new mods have almost instant autonomy in some ways, especially with her out there in another time zone) that aren't exactly how we all used to do things for the past few years and with her and restless_nomad both being less than one year here and with cortex and I having been here for five+ years, there's some back and forth adjustment. I think concern is a totally reasonable approach, I'd just like it to be accompanied by a little less swearing or "quit ruining MetaFilter" accusations.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:47 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


That isn't "Metafilter can't do politics." It's "Metafilter doesn't like professional assholes."
posted by octobersurprise at 2:35 PM on October 11"

As someone who first remembers hearing the term "October Surprise" as an impressionable 6 year old used by my fairly level headed father against Reagan and company, I find this eponysterical (though through tears of a child)

I also can't decide what it means that I'm pretty sure the mods could delete my comments and I'd never realize it. I don't know if it means I respect my own thoughts or that I don't think I engage in the site in a way that I think will ever cause trouble. I mean, if people follow up with something I've said, I notice it, but if it gets ignored, I'm not sure I'd notice it missing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:50 PM on October 11, 2011


That isn't "Metafilter can't do politics." It's "Metafilter doesn't like professional assholes."

We're just bitter someone managed to get paid for what we give away for free.
posted by griphus at 12:54 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


n the case of one comment which was deleted, I believe the reason it got the axe was that it contained this quote, more or less verbatim: "Go fuck yourself, you racist piece of shit."

That comment was mine, and yes, that was the stated reason. And yet the original racist comment: "that's a whole lot of white people right there I tell you what" is still there, racking up favorites.

Because it's a clever comment, to be sure. That's an important detail, that they are white. If I were to say about the wearethe99% "that's a whole lot of women right there I tell you what" or "that's a whole lot of fat people right there I tell you what"I'm sure I would have been crucified.

So, I apologize, I shouldn't have called that commenter a piece of shit barring actual knowledge that they are, in fact, a non human piece of shit that miraculously has the capacity to comment.

They are racist, though. That's an objective fact, not an opinion. The comment was intended to dismiss the statements those people were making simply on the basis of their race.

Still waiting to hear why that comment gets to stay...
posted by Pastabagel at 12:54 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


About 25% of the time I'm convinced that nearly everyone has me on their killfile.

Still waiting to hear why that comment gets to stay...

...because you are still free to say that the commenter is racist?
posted by muddgirl at 12:56 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pasta, can you elaborate upon your objection to that observation about the, erm, homogenous nature of the people in the 53% blog?

I understood the observation that that comment was trying to make, and it wasn't a "racist" comment the way I think you are afraid it is. But you're seeing something that I'm not, clearly, so can you elaborate?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:57 PM on October 11, 2011


muddgirl: " ...because you are still free to say that the commenter is racist?"

Um... since when? Personal attacks are still not allowed.
posted by zarq at 12:59 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I were to say about the wearethe99% "that's a whole lot of women right there I tell you what" or "that's a whole lot of fat people right there I tell you what"I'm sure I would have been crucified.

Arguing from the certainty of hypotheticals always seems kinda weird. If you saw Harmony Korine do that in a circus tent, I bet no one would buy tickets.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:00 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, if you'd like, you can state that such an observation is racist.

Personally, I don't think that chargism of racism personal attacks (although we can talk about the difference between "you are racist" and "that statement is racist"). Do you really think the problem with your comment was the allegation of racism? Or are you being deliberately obtuse?
posted by muddgirl at 1:02 PM on October 11, 2011


That isn't "Metafilter can't do politics." It's "Metafilter doesn't like professional assholes."

We're just bitter someone managed to get paid for what we give away for free.


I don't know, call me old fashioned but I think there's something endearing about giving your away asshole for free.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:02 PM on October 11, 2011


My last comment should read "I don't think that charges of racism are personal attacks..." any more than "You are communist" or "you are facist" are personal attacks.
posted by muddgirl at 1:03 PM on October 11, 2011


I don't think any of those are tremendously helpful. Talk about the comment, not the person.
posted by Errant at 1:05 PM on October 11, 2011


geeky handsome black man with large hand

you mean like one of those giant foam fingers?
posted by elizardbits at 1:07 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think there's something endearing about giving your away asshole for free.

It's teru loev.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:08 PM on October 11, 2011


Pastabagel: ""Go fuck yourself, you racist piece of shit.""

Let's remove the word "racist" from your comment.

"Go fuck yourself, you piece of shit."

Comments telling people to go fuck themselves are always deleted. Because they are personal attacks. So is calling someone a piece of shit.

You could have left out the word "racist" entirely and the mods still would have had clear reason to delete your comment.

Pastabagel: " So, I apologize, I shouldn't have called that commenter a piece of shit barring actual knowledge that they are, in fact, a non human piece of shit that miraculously has the capacity to comment."

Whether you believe someone deserves it or not, personal attacks are not allowed here.
posted by zarq at 1:08 PM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't think any of those are tremendously helpful.

Lots of comments aren't helpful, but they still stand. Pastabagel asked why a comment that he thought was unhelpful wasn't deleted. The reason is that "unhelpful" comments like "You are racist" aren't actually personal attacks, and generally aren't deleted.

Now, "You are a socialist piece of shit" is both unhelpful AND a personal attack. We could agitate to let the mods have line item veto powers, but I don't think that would go over well.
posted by muddgirl at 1:13 PM on October 11, 2011


Metafilter: "'fuck yourself' site:metatalk.metafilter.com"

I hate these deletion MeTas. *They* become the true hall of shame. This is really so damn tiresome. It's not censorship. You are free to start your own blog.

And I don't understand how anyone who has been around MeFi for more than a few weeks can keep pursuing these useless dustups. Your comment took a minute to write, and that was half the problem. You could have thought over why it was deleted and resubmitted a better comment in a fraction of the time C-D spent composing this pointless mod callout. You were even *invited* by a mod to restate your point without the ad hominem use of profanity, which is explicitly against the rules here. You have now had an opportunity to do so in this thread as well.

The comment you were responding too was about as "racist" as a mild Dave Chapelle sketch, anyway.
posted by spitbull at 1:13 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personnel attacks aren't either.
posted by iamabot at 1:15 PM on October 11, 2011


muddgirl: "The reason is that "unhelpful" comments like "You are racist" aren't actually personal attacks, and generally aren't deleted."

Calling someone a racist isn't a personal attack?
posted by zarq at 1:16 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like metafilter more than not, but I also think too many comments get deleted. Whether or not that puts me in the minority I don't know, but I don't a scientific poll has been conducted on the subject, so it could be far to say that no one else knows either.

and i've had my own run-ins with comment deletion, and mods, to their credit, are more than civil, but there is certainly community and therefore comment deletion bias, and that is just the culture. I could make a list if anyone would find it helpful.

also, personal attacks is very vague, anyone who has read through threads for more than a month has seen people go after each other, it happens.
posted by Shit Parade at 1:17 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I do think calling someone "a racist" for anything less than a very clear example of overt bigotry will almost always be construed as a personal attack on a site where close attention is paid to the policing of offensive language in general (too much so, in my view, but that's another subject). It's different than calling someone "a socialist" or "a right winger.' It goes directly to their character.

Which is why the bar should be very high for using that word as an ad hominem attack. Someone can say something ignorant without "being" a racist through and through. Someone can fail at an attempt at humor without revealing a hateful soul. Racism is serious stuff, and the high dudgeon of the callout and the original deleted comment both reflect a very self-righteous sureness about the right to judge other peoples' essential characters based on what amounted to a damn joke.
posted by spitbull at 1:18 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Didn't I already cover that? I mean, I'm just talking about my own opinion, but the impression I get from the mods is that it isn't, no more than stating that someone is sexist of fascist or feminist.

Just because it's wrong doesn't make it an attack.
posted by muddgirl at 1:19 PM on October 11, 2011


It's different than calling someone "a socialist" or "a right winger.' It goes directly to their character.

Calling someone a right-winger doesn't go directly to someones character?

I grew up in a rural area, so I happen to know a lot of racists with "good character". Of course, I also happen to think that everyone in America is racist, so I try not to accuse people of being specifically, uniquely racist, but rather I try to point out racist actions or expressions.

But all of this is beside the point. Don't we all agree that there is a difference between, "You are racist." and "Go fuck yourself, you racist piece of shit"? Or am I wrong about even that?
posted by muddgirl at 1:21 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You are a racist" /= "you are a socialist" in any speech community of which I am a member.

You can refer to ideas, texts, and social institutions as "racist, " but when you call a person with whom you are having an exchange of ideas a "racist," you had best be sure you mean "you are an essentially evil person."
posted by spitbull at 1:21 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Even better, calling the comment racist instead of the commenter (ala Jay Smooth) would (I believe) be perfectly acceptable. Even better if it were followed with a line or two describing why that's a racist thing to say.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:22 PM on October 11, 2011


Many people are racists, that's not my point. All of us hold some racist ideas by virtue of the racist history of our societies, even when we remain blissfully unaware of that history or the ugliness of our beliefs.

My point is that in addressing the term as a charge to someone with whom you are currently interacting, you might as well say "fuck you" in the same breath.
posted by spitbull at 1:23 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't we all agree that there is a difference between, "You are racist." and "Go fuck yourself, you racist piece of shit"?

Yes, there is a difference; no, I don't think the first one should be deletion-worthy. I think it is better to talk about the comment than the person, regardless of whether both comments would be allowed to stand.
posted by Errant at 1:23 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, I apologize, I shouldn't have called that commenter a piece of shit barring actual knowledge that they are, in fact, a non human piece of shit that miraculously has the capacity to comment

That's not an apology.
posted by empath at 1:24 PM on October 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Comments telling people to go fuck themselves are always deleted. Because they are personal attacks. So is calling someone a piece of shit.

Eh, not all personal attacks do or should get deleted. The reason "go fuck yourself, you piece of shit" should get deleted (and I'm saying this as a member of the less moderation crowd) is a combination of factors; It is inflammatory, it adds nothing to the discussion, it derails the thread, and it degrades the community.

But "your opinion strikes me as so wrongheaded as to be insupportable and people holding opinions like this directly make the world a worse place" is also a personal attack and yet neither should nor would be deleted. So the problem with telling someone they are a piece of shit isn't that it's an attack, per se, but that it's a type of attack that is inappropriate here.
posted by Justinian at 1:24 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|     ________  __  ______  __  __  ________   _  __  ___  _______   ___    ________ __________   |
|    /  _/ __/  \ \/ / __ \/ / / / / ___/ _ | / |/ / / _ \/ __/ _ | / _ \  /_  __/ // /  _/ __/   |
|   _/ // _/     \  / /_/ / /_/ / / /__/ __ |/    / / , _/ _// __ |/ // /   / / / _  // /_\ \     |
|  /___/_/       /_/\____/\____/  \___/_/ |_/_/|_/ /_/|_/___/_/ |_/____/   /_/ /_//_/___/___/     |
|                                                                                                 |
|                   i t   h a s n ' t   b e e n   d e l e t e d   --   y e t !                    |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+

posted by mazola at 1:25 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Boy, this reminds me that there is a GOP presidential debate tonight!
posted by spitbull at 1:26 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, in future, just say GFY, when you want to say "Go Fuck Yourself".

And then say that it means "Good For You" if anyone asks.

That way, everyone wins.
posted by empath at 1:26 PM on October 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Still waiting to hear why that comment gets to stay...

Because there wasn't a reason to delete it. Comments don't need reasons to stay, they need reasons to go.

You could easily have taken the comment to task in a way that wouldn't have gotten your comment deleted. Trivially, even.
posted by Justinian at 1:26 PM on October 11, 2011




Didn't I already cover that? I mean, I'm just talking about my own opinion, but the impression I get from the mods is that it isn't, no more than stating that someone is sexist of fascist or feminist.

Just because it's wrong doesn't make it an attack.
posted by muddgirl at 1:19 PM on October 11 [+] [!]


You'd be better off pointing out that their statement is racist, without assuming that the speaker is.

Show, don't tell. Let the reader come to their own conclusions.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:28 PM on October 11, 2011


So, I apologize, I shouldn't have called that commenter a piece of shit barring actual knowledge that they are, in fact, a non human piece of shit that miraculously has the capacity to comment.

bless your heart
posted by edgeways at 1:29 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


muddgirl: "Didn't I already cover that?

If it had been clear to me, I wouldn't have asked, obviously. One can observe that something someone has said is racist without accusing them of being one. I believe this is an important distinction.

I mean, I'm just talking about my own opinion, but the impression I get from the mods is that it isn't, no more than stating that someone is sexist of fascist or feminist."

We disagree. And if the mods agree with you, then I guess I disagree with them too.

Racist a 'charged' term in a way that the others you list are not. It is an accusation of bigotry, which I do not believe is considered a mild insult, the way the other examples you mention might be. (Calling someone a feminist shouldn't even be considered an insult in this day and age, but whatever.)
posted by zarq at 1:31 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


That thread now has ball tickling!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:38 PM on October 11, 2011


...demanded a looksee at his comments by a male mod

I demand that my deleted comments be reviewed by a geeky handsome black man with large hand and broad shoulders.


I always demand that my deleted comments be reviewed by an asshole. Works every time.
posted by steambadger at 1:42 PM on October 11, 2011


You could easily have taken the comment to task in a way that wouldn't have gotten your comment deleted. Trivially, even.

No doubt. Instead he took a lazy walk along the low road to the tree with the low hanging fruit.
posted by Sailormom at 1:42 PM on October 11, 2011


Jessamyn: but the bar is pretty high for what we remove.

As someone who is rarely deleted, I respectfully disagree.
But I don't really care; it's not my site.
posted by coolguymichael at 1:44 PM on October 11, 2011


but when you call a person with whom you are having an exchange of ideas a "racist," you had best be sure you mean "you are an essentially evil person."

Well, I know that, of course. But I also think that this is sort of conceding the field, like when someone tries to insult me by calling me a lesbian, and I get all offended because OF COURSE I'm not a lesbian. But why is lesbian being used as an insult? Why am I insulted by it?

So this is a difficult conversation for me, because I understand that for many people it IS a personal attack, but I don't see it that way. And anyway, I'm now defending something that I don't actually do, which is something I am trying to avoid in the first place.
posted by muddgirl at 1:45 PM on October 11, 2011


On a serious note, I gotta say that I'm surprised Pastabagel lashed out like that. I doubt my opinion means much to him, but his comments are often highlights of the site, even when I often disagree with what he says. So I hope this is a one-time thing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:46 PM on October 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the comment was deleted for the "piece of shit" part not the racist part. Which I'm okay with, BTW. But what I actually requested an explanation of was why the original comment by the other poster stayed up, not why mine came down.

I know white people are silly and all, what with their inventing the scientific method and walking on the moon and whatnot. But guess what, there are a lot of white people on metafilter. Some of them are even men. Even worse? Some of those white men are old.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:46 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Go fuck yourself, you racist piece of shit.

Bhanchode! [spits]
posted by fuq at 1:47 PM on October 11, 2011


Isn't that going into the territory of "comments I disagree with should be deleted?" A lot of truly racist and sexist comments, which happen to be made civilly, don't get deleted, because that's not how moderation works here.
posted by muddgirl at 1:47 PM on October 11, 2011


On a serious note, I gotta say that I'm surprised Pastabagel lashed out like that. I doubt my opinion means much to him, but his comments are often highlights of the site, even when I often disagree with what he says. So I hope this is a one-time thing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:46 PM on October 11


No, I agree my statement was pretty crappy. I'm not defending it.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:48 PM on October 11, 2011


So you think your comment was deleted because you called someone a piece of shit and now you're wondering why a comment which did not call anyone a piece of shit remains undeleted?

I think you answered your own question.
posted by Justinian at 1:48 PM on October 11, 2011


I know white people are silly and all, what with their inventing the scientific method and walking on the moon and whatnot. But guess what, there are a lot of white people on metafilter. Some of them are even men. Even worse? Some of those white men are old.

Oh for fucks, sake.

Dude.

I mean, Dude..

Go outside and take a walk.
posted by empath at 1:50 PM on October 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


what with their inventing the scientific method

Are you quite serious?
posted by spitbull at 1:54 PM on October 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Go outside and take a walk.

This insufferably patronizing tone is usually taken on Metafilter when people are telling men and/or white people that their concerns are invalid.
posted by Dasein at 1:54 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Umm, they may not have walked on the moon, but here is a list of African American Astronauts, several of whom are women.
posted by spitbull at 1:55 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


But what I actually requested an explanation of was why the original comment by the other poster stayed up, not why mine came down.

And I asked you what your objection was to the original comment in the first place. I haven't gotten that answer eithr.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:55 PM on October 11, 2011


Favorites created that monster.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:55 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


oh come on empath etc, have you forgotten this metatalk thread already? metafilter is filled with white-race-conscious people who practically hate on themselves for being white.
posted by Shit Parade at 1:56 PM on October 11, 2011


Oh no can we not do this again?
posted by spitbull at 1:57 PM on October 11, 2011


I think it's a general rule of thumb that if you have to start listing General Accomplishments of White People in order to make a point in an argument, you are probably on the wrong side of that argument.
posted by griphus at 1:58 PM on October 11, 2011 [29 favorites]


And so we come to the "WASPs" are the REAL victims of racism!" part of our evening.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:59 PM on October 11, 2011 [13 favorites]


This insufferably patronizing tone is usually taken on Metafilter when people are telling men and/or white people that their concerns are invalid.

...or black people, or women. Patronizing dismissal of others is kind of what the internet does best.

But seriously, the scientific method is based on concepts of empiricism developed by the Egyptians and Babylonians, which came to Europe via the rediscovery of Greek texts.
posted by muddgirl at 1:59 PM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Everyone knows white people are inferior because they don't appreciate cilantro.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:59 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This insufferably patronizing tone is usually taken on Metafilter when people are telling men and/or white people that their concerns are invalid.

I reserve it for when people are embarrassing themselves.

But tell me more about white men and their concerns. I don't feel that we hear enough about them.
posted by empath at 2:00 PM on October 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


Pastabagel: "But what I actually requested an explanation of was why the original comment by the other poster stayed up, not why mine came down. "

Well for one thing, it's actually on topic and not noise. For another, it's an observation that people have been making about conservatives and the Republican party for a good 20-30 years now. The GOP is arguably not inclusive to minorities -- especially not Latinos, and after the last Presidential election cycle, especially not African Americans, either. The GOP is arguably not inclusive to non-Christians. They are arguably not inclusive to women. They have spent a great deal of time fearmongering about Muslims. And non-whites. And fighting against the right for women to choose what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. Southern white male voters have switched from the Democratic party to the GOP in droves for more than 15 years.

So a conservative website that turns out to have a heavily white male userbase is not exactly earth shattering.

The observation was so ridiculously obvious that mightygodking might as well have said the sky was blue.
posted by zarq at 2:01 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man, and I completely forgot about the scientists from the Islamic Golden Age whose works were conveniently translated into English right before white people invented the scientific method.
posted by muddgirl at 2:03 PM on October 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


when i read these comments it is almost like some people actually believe that white people cannot be the victim of racism, like it some mathematical and philosophical a priori self-evident truth.
posted by Shit Parade at 2:05 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I take it Civil_Disobedient was just pulling off a drive by dump in meta, as they've been really quiet since starting this whole thing. I guess they really didn't have that strong of an opinion on the matter after all ?
posted by iamabot at 2:08 PM on October 11, 2011


'Oh yeah well where is white history month then huh?' he WASPed.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:08 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


when i read these comments it is almost like some people actually believe that white people cannot be the victim of racism, like it some mathematical and philosophical a priori self-evident truth.

it could happen and so could neutrinos travel back in time we just havent seen much evidence of either one yet in the real world.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:09 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shit Parade - who has said that? I'm sure some people believe that, but it doesn't seem germane to this particular discussion wherein Pastabagel believes that it's racist to point out that the majority of participants in a particular astroturf website are predominantly white.
posted by muddgirl at 2:11 PM on October 11, 2011


Well there are two competing schools of what racism is, one of which (a sort of colloquial meaning) states that racism is basically equal to prejudice and the other of which (a more academic view) states that racism is specifically prejudice + power [otherwise it would just be prejudice, or bigotry, or other words that are similar]. So by the first interpretation you can be white and be the victim of racism in a place like the US, under the second interpretation this is much less plausible, though arguably sometimes still happens, but in a situation where there is some sort of entrenched anti-white powerbase which is quite rare in the US.

People on MetaFilter are divided in how they use the word and so we have long discussions where we talk about that, but that's the crux of this particular biscuit.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:11 PM on October 11, 2011 [17 favorites]


it could happen and so could neutrinos travel back in time we just havent seen much evidence of either one yet in the real world.

Even taking the prejudice+power definition as given, isn't what happened to (for example) white farmers in Zimbabwe under Mugabe pretty obviously an example?
posted by Justinian at 2:15 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scientific method's creator: Ibn al-Haytham
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:19 PM on October 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


Go outside and take a walk.

I'm going to moonwalk to "Whitey's on the Moon"
posted by Hoopo at 2:23 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


when i read these comments it is almost like some people actually believe that white people cannot be the victim of racism

And yet nobody has said that. Neither has there been evidence of white people who "practically hate on themselves for being white."

Can I ask you to stop recharacterizing people's discussions into something you find contemptable or easily dismissed, rather than addressing what they actually say? Because you don't do the whole paraphrasing thing very well.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:24 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


isn't what happened to (for example) white farmers in Zimbabwe under Mugabe pretty obviously an example?

And kind of a dumb one, because that isn't what's happening here.
posted by empath at 2:25 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bunny Ultramod: "Scientific method's creator: Ibn al-Haytham"

Heh. :D
posted by zarq at 2:27 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


... but that's the crux of this particular biscuit.

Mmm ... biscuits.
posted by ericb at 2:30 PM on October 11, 2011


Civil_Disobedience - I don't know why you made this post. You've been here long enough to know that meta commentary belongs in MetaTalk.

If some people are complaining about too much moderation and other people about not enough moderation - I think we're pretty much as close as we're going to get to a (happy?) medium. That's not to say that there can't be discussion about what is or isn't deleted, but I think that "Go fuck yourself, you racist piece of shit." falls solidly over the "should be deleted" line. There are other ways to say that one believes that another is being racist and should be called out about it without resorting to a vicious attack.

This post was unnecessary.
posted by deborah at 2:31 PM on October 11, 2011


I take it Civil_Disobedient was just pulling off a drive by dump in meta, as they've been really quiet since starting this whole thing. I guess they really didn't have that strong of an opinion on the matter after all

He's been really quiet because:
  • I don't like it when people over-comment on their own threads
  • I was working (one of the 99%)
  • I find it's generally good form to take a breather after spouting off and insulting mods
We've argued this back and forth hundreds of times and we're not going to keep deleted comments around and visible because it encourages bad behavior in the long run.

And that's why we used to have time-outs/cooling-off periods. Which I would argue are far more effective at discouraging bad behavior, since deleting comments leave no trace behind of the offending behavior. Just "something bad was removed, for your own good." Instead of "[user] was day-banned for abusiveness".

Short recap: deleting comments isn't new, isn't done in significantly greater proportion now than it was years ago

This is absolutely false. Just on a common-sense level, there are more comments then there were years ago. I mean, come on, that's just outright making shit up.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:34 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


You've been here long enough to know that meta commentary belongs in MetaTalk.

Oh for christ's sake. Look at the damned URL.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:35 PM on October 11, 2011


> I find it's generally good form to take a breather
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:36 PM on October 11, 2011


Perhaps it is best not to post rants to MetaTalk right before you go to work.
posted by smackfu at 2:36 PM on October 11, 2011


I take it Civil_Disobedient was just pulling off a drive by dump in meta, as they've been really quiet since starting this whole thing. I guess they really didn't have that strong of an opinion on the matter after all ?

If I had to guess, I'd say that Civil_Disobedient went out for a walk.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:36 PM on October 11, 2011


I agree with your first point, I get that but why would you post this right before you had to go to work, and why wouldn't have you taken today as a breather?

Now you're just rationalizing your crappy behavior and any point you had to make is kinda dumped in with your attitude about the whole deal.
posted by iamabot at 2:37 PM on October 11, 2011


> Short recap: deleting comments isn't new, isn't done in significantly greater proportion now than it was years ago

This is absolutely false. Just on a common-sense level, there are more comments then there were years ago. I mean, come on, that's just outright making shit up.


There are a greater NUMBER of comments, but that's why they said the comments aren't being deleted in a significantly greater PROPORTION.

And anyway, how do YOU know what the numbers and proportions are earlier vs. today? How do you know that the deletions aren't even LESS?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:40 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


And kind of a dumb one, because that isn't what's happening here.

You may have confused me with someone who agrees with Pastabagel.
posted by Justinian at 2:41 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


come on, that's just outright making shit up.

You have proof of this? You sound pretty sure. It's a determinable point, so let's see if there are some numbers.

You're splitting hairs and rationalizing, as iamabot said. But sure, I think some of us would agree that deleting comments is not sufficiently punitive for people who are being assholes and shitting all over other users in a thread. That's why I favor comment deletions AND punitive time outs, so there's that.

And if I were a mod, "fuck you, you racist piece of shit" would earn you both. Immediately. On the spot.
posted by spitbull at 2:41 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find it's generally good form to take a breather after spouting off and insulting mods.

Perhaps a breather before doing this would be good form as well.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:44 PM on October 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


Biscuit Crux is my third favorite Frank Zappa album.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:48 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


But tell me more about white men and their concerns. I don't feel that we hear enough about them.

I'm having trouble with my golf swing. Help, anyone?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:02 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dude, take the wallet out of your back pocket and let your caddy carry it. The weight of all that money is causing your swing to become unbalanced.
posted by spitbull at 3:09 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those caddies have sticky fingers. I think I'll just buy a second wallet and put my money in both back pockets. Thanks, Ask Metatalk!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:11 PM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Who carries money in a wallet? Get yourself a nice money clip.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:15 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I'm going to have cheesy biscuits for dinner. Maybe with bacon. Yum!
posted by garlic at 3:16 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is absolutely false.

It's not actually. We have numbers. cortex is at a conference today so they're not handy but the proportion of deleted comments is, if I recall correctly, about the same since AskMe started [since AskMe has a higher percentage of stuff deleted about 1.4% of comments and MeFi is way less than that]. FishBike or cortex could split it out more accurately than my hand-wavey half remembrances, but that was what I recall.

And timing people out, as a policy, causes some real problems. We still do it, but we mostly do it when it seems like someone isn't going to calm down on their own. It's not a "you made a bad comment, here's your day off" situation. This is mainly because it usually just gets the person mad in our inbox instead of on the site, and if there's a resultant MeTa thread opened, then they can't participate which is awkward. So we still do it, and someone who is not me might have the numbers on how often, but we never did it much and continue to not do it much.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:18 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Blazecock, get that wallet out of the back pocket and into your front pocket! Also, move to a slim wallet.
posted by Argyle at 3:21 PM on October 11, 2011


This insufferably patronizing tone is usually taken on Metafilter when people are telling men and/or white people that their concerns are invalid.

To be fair, if their concern is that they are not getting enough respect for having walked on the Moon, then I don't think science has yet invented a tone patronizing enough. Well, unless they are in fact Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin. In which case, fair enough. Play through.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:22 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ah ha!

The secret white conspiracy has just been revealed. Behold, Alan Shepard PLAYS GOLF ON THE MOON!
posted by spitbull at 3:24 PM on October 11, 2011


I know white people are silly and all, what with their inventing the scientific method and walking on the moon and whatnot.

I think we've covered thus previously on Metafilter ...
posted by feckless at 3:25 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


and if there's a resultant MeTa thread opened, then they can't participate which is awkward.

So a parallel rule: no more deletion MeTas, problem solved, bug becomes a feature.
posted by spitbull at 3:29 PM on October 11, 2011


Speaking as a white guy, I figure if I wanted to share the credit for good stuff that white guys have done, I'd have to share the blame for bad stuff that white guys have done. YMMV.
posted by twirlip at 3:31 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


we used to have time-outs/cooling-off periods

We still do.

Which I would argue are far more effective at discouraging bad behavior

As a mod, it is even more work to explain in painstaking detail to people why their account was temporarily banned. Removing a single "fuck you man!" comment is much easier, as most people don't ask us why their comment was deleted (I would say it's maybe 5%) but when we ban someone there is more like a 90% chance we will have to start a long email thread with "WTF, why was my account banned?!"

"[user] was day-banned for abusiveness"

We've never had an indication of a temporary ban on anyone's account. We have the account disabled text but that is only when an account is permanently banned either by us or by the user themselves.

So I'm not seeing your point that it would be better to ban people more often and leave their abusive remarks on the site, especially when we have no mechanism in place to advertise why anyone is banned.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:37 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


But what I actually requested an explanation of was why the original comment by the other poster stayed up, not why mine came down.

The comment regarding the number of white people on the 53% site quite clearly refers to the inherent advantage that comes with being white in many, many facets of society. I don't think there's any dispute there. This isn't to say that there are no disadvantaged white people; we know they exist. But it's hardly racist to point out the privileges that come with being white, and to note that a site speaking from luck and privilege contains an unsurprisingly large white demographic.

I know white people are silly and all, what with their inventing the scientific method and walking on the moon and whatnot.

OK, I'm genuinely curious what the point was of throwing this in there. Why toss in this "look at the good stuff white people did" observation at all? Is this relevant? Does it make white people above criticism somehow? I don't get it. What are you trying to show here, exactly?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:39 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Speaking as a white guy

I'd also like to speak here, but like so many of us white guys, I've been silenced all my life.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:40 PM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Short recap: deleting comments isn't new, isn't done in significantly greater proportion now than it was years ago

This is absolutely false. Just on a common-sense level, there are more comments then there were years ago. I mean, come on, that's just outright making shit up.


I guess the meaning of proportion isn't included in the definition of "common sense" if you don't understand why that's not a valid argument against the statement.
posted by phearlez at 3:45 PM on October 11, 2011


I know white people are silly and all, what with their inventing the scientific method and walking on the moon and whatnot.

The other thing I really like about this is that it casts walking on the moon as a specifically white triumph. Because if we'd put a black dude on the moon, he'd have taken a step and then just shot off into space. Especially if that black dude was Michael Jordan in Space Jam.
posted by Errant at 3:46 PM on October 11, 2011


Hey, I didn't choose to be born a white male. I was forced into this life of ease and privilege.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:47 PM on October 11, 2011


The other thing I really like about this is that it casts walking on the moon as a specifically white triumph.

Yeah well I don't see any black people in The Police, do you?
posted by Hoopo at 3:51 PM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey, I didn't choose to be born a white male. I was forced into this life of ease and privilege.

See, I think the whole point was that being white doesn't mean you have an easy, privileged life. That in itself is a racist assumption. And it's an assumption that lets comments that devalue the contributions of people simply for being white stand, while anything approaching that in reference to women or blacks or whoever would be deleted.
posted by Dasein at 4:07 PM on October 11, 2011


Whose whole point?
posted by sweetkid at 4:11 PM on October 11, 2011


while anything approaching that in reference to women or blacks or whoever would be deleted.

I don't know any plainer way to put this: that is not true. You have modeled a MetaFilter in your mind that fits your preconceptions of it, but we leave rude comments about everyone.

The one thing we tend to come down harder on are the "Oh yeah what if the tables were turned and this was about $_OPPOSITE people??" because it's rarely a way to have a decent conversation and often just plain old fight starting.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:12 PM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think the whole point was that being white doesn't mean you have an easy, privileged life.

You may not have an easy life, but you do have a privileged life. Just as being born a man offers a certain social privilege that does not come with being born a woman, and being born able-bodied offers privileges that are not available, or must be fought for, by disabled people.

I suppose one could argue this point, but there is a body of academic study behind it, and it jibes with my experience of life, and I think it's a good explanation for, say, the fact that 29 percent of the prison population is black, or that women make 23 percent less than men. Better, I think, than white men somehow have unique money making or prison-keeping-out of abilities, their walking on the moon notwithstanding.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:14 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hoopo: "Yeah well I don't see any black people in The Police, do you?"

Sure, but look at all the black people in Sting's solo videos.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:17 PM on October 11, 2011


I think "privilege" is probably being used in a different sense than you're using it, much like Jessamyn pointed out is often the case here with "racism."

The two definitions, and the fact that some people who know both definitions sometimes seem to use whichever meaning suits them at that point, make for some angry exchanges and a lot of bad faith without anything getting communicated at all.
posted by Hoopo at 4:19 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


there is also a confusion of what statistics actually mean. individuals make up statistics, statistics do not make an individual. Imagine telling a white male rape victim who has a congenial disease like huntingtons that he lives a life of privilege, it would be tone deaf at best.
posted by Shit Parade at 4:22 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


> especially when we have no mechanism in place to advertise why anyone is banned.

You could have temporary little icons next to their username like the staff icon you got there.

banned for a day or banned for a week or perma. Or even banneded.
posted by bukvich at 4:29 PM on October 11, 2011


I don't know any plainer way to put this: that is not true.

Are you seriously saying that a comment that said "whole lotta black people right there I tell you what" would not be deleted as racist? Because to me that would clearly be delete-worthy racist flamebait, whereas the same comment about white people is LOL RED STATE favourite-bait.

I think it's a good explanation for, say, the fact that 29 percent of the prison population is black, or that women make 23 percent less than men.

Or it could be that black men commit more crimes because black boys tend to grow up in poverty and without fathers, or women choose careers that are less lucrative so they can spend more time raising children because they're not hormonally driven to be competitive alpha males the way men are. Both of those explanations are certainly not complete, but they're no less of a simplification than some platitude about privilege.
posted by Dasein at 4:29 PM on October 11, 2011


Imagine telling a white male rape victim who has a congenial disease like huntingtons that he lives a life of privilege, it would be tone deaf at best.

It would be, just as it would be off-case to interpret "white people are privileged" to mean that every single, solitary white person on the face of the planet is living a life of ease and privilege.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:30 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Imagine telling a white male rape victim who has a congenial disease like huntingtons that he lives a life of privilege, it would be tone deaf at best.

He'd still be better off than a black woman in the same situation, most likely.
posted by empath at 4:34 PM on October 11, 2011


a congenial disease like huntingtons

A disease made even more pleasant when its victim is white.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:41 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or it could be that black men commit more crimes because black boys tend to grow up in poverty and without fathers

You're just explaining how privilege functions.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:42 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Imagine telling a white male rape victim who has a congenial disease like huntingtons that he lives a life of privilege, it would be tone deaf at best.

When I was a kid, if you wanted a straw man, you went down to the local straw man store, put your money down, took it home. You got three sizes - small, medium and large. That was it.

These days, if you want a straw man in the shape of an assault survivor with Huntingdon's Disease, you just have to order it up on the Internet. Any color you like, too! Really, it's the consumer who wins.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:42 PM on October 11, 2011 [20 favorites]


the point, which people are too impassioned to even try to grok, is that racism is categorically defining an individual, instead of actually taking the person on their own merits. but lol, i'm probably white, so lol lol lol
posted by Shit Parade at 4:51 PM on October 11, 2011


Imagine telling a white male rape victim who has a congenial disease like huntingtons

Imagine finding one. I mean, forget statistics, let's talk probabilities.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:54 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


i'm sure you'd be too busy looking at the color of his skin and the shape of his genitals to notice much else.
posted by Shit Parade at 4:56 PM on October 11, 2011


I know white people are silly and all, what with their inventing the scientific method and walking on the moon and whatnot

Because blacks, women and anyone else who wasn't a white male wasn't allowed to fully participate in society. Hurray, you won the race by repressing anyone else, way to go there studs, you really proved yourself the best of the best.

Anyway, there were no black test pilots that had the qualifications back in the 50s and early 60s, that i know of. John and Robert Kennedy pushed for a black astronaut, but the only one who came close to qualifying (and it wasn't that close) wasn't too interested. There was one in the late 60s who almost surely would have joined NASA in 1968 or so, but he died in a training accident. There were female pilots, but NASA wanted military test pilots, but women weren't allowed to fly in the military at the time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:59 PM on October 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


It's true, I have a thing for purple dudes with Q-shaped wieners.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:59 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


So I'm not alone after all!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:02 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


If any non-white non-male mifites ever need a white guy to hook you up with white guy perks, I'm here for you. Hail a cab, talk to the cops, that kind of stuff.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:04 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Q-shaped wieners

*glazed look on face*

Oh, you have NO idea what kind of wacky Kama-Sutra-type ideas THIS has given me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:05 PM on October 11, 2011


Go on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:07 PM on October 11, 2011


*glazed look on face*

This is a family website, madam!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:09 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Threads like this make me glad my job dosen't allow me web access.
posted by jonmc at 5:11 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Imagine telling a white male rape victim who has a congenial disease like huntingtons that he lives a life of privilege

Not Lennon's best work.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:20 PM on October 11, 2011 [36 favorites]


Hurray, you won the race by repressing anyone else, way to go there studs, you really proved yourself the best of the best.

See, the "You" is where it gets hard for some to keep in mind we are talking in generalities and not using privilege as a sledgehammer to win arguments.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:35 PM on October 11, 2011


Imagine telling a white male rape victim who has a congenial disease like huntingtons that he lives a life of privilege

Not Lennon's best work.

Yeah, he should have listened when Dylan wanted to sing him all those Woody Guthrie songs.
posted by jamjam at 5:42 PM on October 11, 2011


lol rape!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:47 PM on October 11, 2011


Not lol rape. lol mountains of precariously stacked hyperbolic strawmen. But I can't help myself. I'm a white man with a congenial disease.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:55 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


pony request: require all the privileged whites to have a "I'm white" disclaimer next to their names so we know who to ignore.
posted by Shit Parade at 5:59 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


pony request: require all the privileged whites to have a "I'm white" disclaimer next to their names so we know who to ignore.

Ponies are for rich white girls only, sorry.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:00 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


If any non-white non-male mifites ever need a white guy to hook you up with white guy perks

I originally read this as milfites, and I was like, what, why's someone descriminating against white male milfites? They need milf love too!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:02 PM on October 11, 2011


whose to say i'm not a rich white girl? Racist!
posted by Shit Parade at 6:03 PM on October 11, 2011


You know who else was a rich white girl who wanted a pony?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:06 PM on October 11, 2011


Dude, I don't even like that show.
posted by box at 6:07 PM on October 11, 2011


Catherine The Great?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:08 PM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know who else was a rich white girl who wanted a pony?

Richie Rich in drag.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:09 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't remember. Was it Cherry Valance or Marcia that wanted Ponyboy?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:12 PM on October 11, 2011


Without wading through the thread above, I'd just like to quickly throw in my vote for: Everything's fine with how mods delete stuff, carry on.
posted by odinsdream at 6:12 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Trisha Nixon?
posted by Sailormom at 6:15 PM on October 11, 2011


pony request: require all the privileged whites to have a "I'm white" disclaimer next to their names so we know who to ignore.

I'm curious if you actual want to have this discussion, or if you just want to mock it. I am going to go ahead and assume good faith this once, but you should know that you are presenting yourself in a way that makes it seem like this is a discussion you wish to mock or dismiss, rather than engage.

From your response to my comment, I gather you think "privilege" is a synonym for "comfort" or "wealth." This is not how I am using it, and not how it is used in this context. Instead it means that, all things being equal, some people will have certain benefits that others won't on the basis of a complex social we that tends to support one group more than another. There is a history of leaving certain people disadvantaged in this country. And we all have different privileges. Whites tend to have more advantages and less disadvantages in this society than black people. But black men are going to have certain advantages over women, and women over the disabled, and white disabled people over black people, and so on. It's not that some are at the top of the heap and others aren't. It's that society confers certain benefits, and we get some, and, depending on who we are, we lack some. So a poor white person is going to lack privileges that a rich white person will have -- privileges conferred by class. But they will enjoy privileges that are denied black people -- privileges conferred by skin color. And so it goes, not because any individual person is seeking to be privileges over another (although some will fight for their privileges), or because they are even aware of the presence of those privileges. But, instead, because those privileges at some point advantaged somebody who had power, and, as a result, were embedded into the larger culture.

Recognizing that you have these privileges doesn't mean you hate yourself for being white, or wish you were't white, or feel some sort of unearned guilt over your skin color (or gender, or whatever). Instead, it means knowing that you're part of a history and a society that wasn't always perfectly fair, and created institutions that benefitted from that lack of fairness, and some of those institutions still exist, and you still, without doing anything at all, get some of those benefits. And, from my perspective, it's useful to know this. Because I believe in a just society, but it can't exist unless we can identify unjust, even when it is accidentally to our benefit.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:29 PM on October 11, 2011 [60 favorites]


But black men are going to have certain advantages over women, and women over the disabled, and white disabled people over black people,

I agree very very much with your comment, Bunny Ultramod, but I disagree with this math. I think it is very much a matter of context. Specifically, I sometimes make the comparison that it bothers me when some men make comments about how I should feel about harassment or other issues I face as a woman, when I don't make comments to people with disabilities about how they should feel about people's perceptions of their disabilities or their own experiences.

Recognizing that you have these privileges doesn't mean you hate yourself for being white, or wish you were't white, or feel some sort of unearned guilt over your skin color (or gender, or whatever).

I also want to add to this that when minorities/women/whathaveyou disadvantaged/underrepresented group wants to encourage people with privilege to recognize that privilege, it doesn't mean that they hate them or want them to hate themselves. We're just trying to get on the same page here.
posted by sweetkid at 6:51 PM on October 11, 2011


at this point i'm just mocking everyone including myself, but sure i'm up for this.

I almost always use words in their basic, non-technical meaning:

A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to one person or group of people.

and i think we're both using the word in the same way.

In my own thinking, for this thread, I've never not recognized privilege, but to be explicit, systemic differences between "races", genders, and many, many other differences exist and are a result of myriad and complex interactions be they biological, psychological, cultural, historical, and both other and "misc".

What I was (attempting) to address was the assumption of privilege based upon appearance, "judging a book by it's cover" is text-book racism and the same goes for the assumptive tone and language of privilege. Again, to repeat myself, this does not mean privilege doesn't exist, it exists like class exists or "humans" exist -- in the way any large categorical group exists, in abstract, but not in reality; when someone makes an appeal to humanity or speaks of China or Iran as each were someone I could sit down and have a beer with, you'd think them daft if you assumed they believed such metaphors were literal, instead it's understood as a convenient short-hand to tackle difficult problems and the same goes with privilege -- even the supreme court agrees (caveat, this is from my memory) that racism need not be individual to exist and be caustic but can be institutional, systemic, and yet, seemingly, no one persons "fault".

To summarize, it is extremely extremely insulting for someone to look at me and think and say and act "oh you're a white male and therefore "privileged" and so I can be make assumptions and judgments about you, but all that is not to discount privilege as a concept, as a categorical and historical reality which needs to be addressed.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

sadly, sometimes the rhetoric of the left/liberal/pc/what-have-you gets in the way of dream so easily expressed.
posted by Shit Parade at 7:12 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bunny Ultramod, I appreciate your comment, but it ignores what goes on around here - someone makes a joke about white men, some white men take offence, and people tell them to stop whining, you privileged whiners. It's nothing about asking people to realize social context, and a lot to do with mocking and devaluing people's contributions (see: conservative whites, in the MeFi thread in question), and then getting indignant when called on it, and accusing those objecting to the mockery of being insensitive themselves (to their own "privilege").
posted by Dasein at 7:17 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would say that your description of "what goes on around here" is, at best, a selective retelling. I have far more often seen people mocked for discussing privilege than anything else.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:20 PM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


to shit parade, well put, but i think what a white person needs to keep in mind is that if he or she is categorized by his/her gender, she will have hurt feelings; while a black person subjected to the same categorization will have hurt feelings, plus a lower life expectancy, shitty health care, a bad job, time in prison, no cabs on the street, no-cause pat-downs, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc..
posted by facetious at 7:21 PM on October 11, 2011


sadly, sometimes the rhetoric of the left/liberal/pc/what-have-you gets in the way of dream so easily expressed.

I am not following as to how a rhetoric that recognizes privelege somehow contributes to it contributing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:21 PM on October 11, 2011


s/gender/race - freudian slip?
posted by facetious at 7:26 PM on October 11, 2011


the language of "privilege" can be racist.

@facetious: again statistics doesn't tell us anything about an individual, only about groups. And my personal opinion about blacks in this country? We(the country) are conducting a soft-civil-war of annihilation against them, and I am continually shocked there aren't more riots and violence particularly directed towards those outside inner-city communities. But I nor you can look at a black man and say with god-like certainty you have a lower life expectancy not even actuaries would be so flippant without a many additional data points about that individual and even so the science of insurance/statistics only works well when you have a huge pool -- see the law of big numbers.
posted by Shit Parade at 7:30 PM on October 11, 2011


pony request: require all the privileged whites to have a "I'm white" disclaimer next to their names so we know who to ignore.

no one is ignoring you because you're white, they're ignoring you because you say dumb shit.
posted by empath at 7:41 PM on October 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod: "There is a history of leaving certain people disadvantaged in this country. And we all have different privileges. Whites tend to have more advantages and less disadvantages in this society than black people. But black men are going to have certain advantages over women, and women over the disabled, and white disabled people over black people, and so on. It's not that some are at the top of the heap and others aren't. It's that society confers certain benefits, and we get some, and, depending on who we are, we lack some. So a poor white person is going to lack privileges that a rich white person will have -- privileges conferred by class. But they will enjoy privileges that are denied black people -- privileges conferred by skin color. And so it goes, not because any individual person is seeking to be privileges over another (although some will fight for their privileges), or because they are even aware of the presence of those privileges. But, instead, because those privileges at some point advantaged somebody who had power, and, as a result, were embedded into the larger culture."

There's a "You're Fucked" hierarchy. Ugh.
posted by zarq at 8:00 PM on October 11, 2011


Sure metafilter is boring. But, it's also safe. Safe and boring. On the internet our choices are safe and boring, or collapsing asshole of disfunction. Also know as 4chan.
posted by nola at 8:18 PM on October 11, 2011


4chan's moderation is brutal. We all would have had our IPs banned by now.Mods will ban people over there just to prove they are in fact moderators.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:33 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


even /b/ mods would probably ban 90% of the commenters in this thread for copypasta from every other thread on the same subject.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:38 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please forgive me skipping to the bottom, but did Civil_Disobedient ever admit that deleting a comment that wound up with "Go fuck yourself, racist piece of shit" was, in fact, acceptable?

Civil_Disobedient, you do think that comment was delete-worthy, don't you?
posted by mediareport at 8:56 PM on October 11, 2011


copypasta? Does that come with garlic bread? Come on guys I'm just having some fun with you. Don't take it to serious.
posted by nola at 9:12 PM on October 11, 2011


There has been way too much shaming of Civil_Disobedient in this thread. He didn't run away. He doesn't need to admit anything. His points were stated provocatively, but they aren't completely ridiculous.
posted by Chuckles at 9:24 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


the language of "privilege" can be racist.

I don't follow. Perhaps you can elaborate on a statement like this. It doesn't make self-evident sense, as you seem to think it does.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:35 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, between the obtuse "white men and their scientific method" thing and now Pastabagel's latest rant, I'm really wondering if he isn't just having fun with people. If not, please take a breath and try to make more sense and speak from facts, not some weird shifting value.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:53 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


For the record, it's hardly shaming to ask if the poster of this thread has changed his strong opinion about the deletions now that the exact nature of the deleted material has been made clear to him. Civil_Disobedient did post a rant about bad deletions without having seen the first comment that was deleted. Right? And he's been silent since then about whether he agrees that first comment actually deserved to be deleted. Right?

It's more than fair to ask for a direct response to that question from Civil_Disobedient, and more than a bit strange that he hasn't addressed the issue himself by now.
posted by mediareport at 10:07 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Folks, this is absolutely not where you come to talk about killing other users. Take a walk or we'll send you for a walk. Not okay, period.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:21 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Um, whoa.
posted by Shit Parade at 10:22 PM on October 11, 2011


Sorry for the Meta deletions. We've got a very high bar, but that was over it. Apologies all.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:24 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think this thread has run its course, I'm going to close it up before it gets any more insane.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:39 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


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