Verboten Schmoten November 6, 2011 12:36 PM   Subscribe

This post was deleted for the following reason: Pretty thin for a notoriously hot-button issue; there might be a way to do this, but as a stand-alone – not so much. -- taz

How could my post have been thicker? Jesus and Mo is what it is, and I included enough links to acquaint the reader. I don't grok how the FPP could be re-framed to taz's specification without moving the focus away from the comic--the implication being that a controversial comic can't be posted per se. If so, that's really fucking lame. If not, great, how can I do better tomorrow?
posted by troll to Etiquette/Policy at 12:36 PM (332 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Contact Form, copy text above, paste, click send.
posted by lampshade at 12:45 PM on November 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


Yeah, didn't really grok that deletion reason either. Was troll supposed to post a comic representing the opposite POV?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:49 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Six links to the same comic is broad, not deep.
posted by unSane at 12:49 PM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


How deep is it supposed to be? It's a webcomic. There are SLYTs all the time.

What I get from this (and, increasingly, other deletions) is that it's not okay to post potentially controversial things.

Functionally, though, I think the tipping point of this one was that the comic just isn't very good, and if that's the reason, it shouldn't be hidden in vague policy-y handwaving.
posted by cmoj at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


The comic is pretty sucky, IMO, just not funny. But I don't get the deletion either.

"...there might be a way to do this..." Do what?? It is some links to a web comic.
posted by ericost at 12:58 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


i think somewhere out there is a somewhat fine line between entertainment and (anti)religious propaganda. in this case i think it falls too much into the latter category.
posted by lester at 1:02 PM on November 6, 2011


yeah, odd deletion reason i think too. is the implication that if this comic were buried in a bunch of other links on atheism/humour/comics it would be ok? that kind of policy just encourages people to pad out stuff, even when really all they want to do is draw attention to a single particular thing.
posted by modernnomad at 1:02 PM on November 6, 2011


I understood the deletion to mean basically, "If you're going to open a thread that is likely to devolve into a religion-atheism shouting match, then the FPP needs to at least have enough meat on it that the conversation could go in a different, productive, and interesting direction." It's true that SLYTs are posted all the time, but I bet if somebody posted a link to a YouTube channel that did nothing but jokey or mocking religious videos, it would be deleted no matter how funny they were.
posted by cribcage at 1:03 PM on November 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


I think that the problem was more that the post was kind of "Hey, here's a mediocre webcomic which shits on religion and the religious," without providing any additional substance. There were only a few ways the thread could have gone, as I see it:

1) A huge pile-on in which we collectively shit on religion and religious people.

2) A big fight between believers and those who want religious beliefs respected, and the people who want to just shit on religion as in Outcome 1.

3) A medium-sized pile-on about how the linked webcomic isn't particularly good.

None of these to me seem like really great threads, the webcomic itself is pretty meh, and Threads 1 and 2 are sort of stock threads here on Metafilter which tend to be neither productive nor interesting but instead sort of nasty and fighty.

Absent some additional content which would have spurred discussion outside of the three possibilities I listed above, I think the thread deserved to go. Just one man's take on the matter, of course.
posted by Scientist at 1:04 PM on November 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


Yeah, it's not really the deletion reason I would have written, but then the deletion reason I would have written would probably have been "Eh". I'd say at a certain point when you're posting something that's basically "hey, check out this thing that's intentionally button-pushing" it does make sense to try and figure out whether the work itself in isolation really carries that through.

There's no super-polite way to say "this does not seem like a particularly good webcomic", but that's basically the feeling I get looking at it. Which, for a comic about kitties or something, would probably get it deleted in any case just for being pretty eh; for a comic that's basically premised on "here's some notoriously contentious religious stuff", I can understand taz wanting to sort of address that in the deletion even if I might not bother to in this case.

If it's at a glance kind of a mediocre comic, and it's noteworthy because of the subject matter, putting more of why that subject matter or how the comic presents it is noteworthy into the post would help make it clear why it's worth a post, basically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:05 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Needed more Chick tracts, to keep the thread out of purgatory.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:05 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


SLYT links to some mindless indie shit are fine on Mefi. Stuff criticising religion is... sort of fine, in a begrudging "Oh, I suppose we have to allow this too, even though it makes our finely-tuned liberal sensibilities squirm", but you do need to understand that the bar is set a good measure higher for that.
posted by Decani at 1:06 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd rather you didn't delete stuff I haven't seen before, since that's why I come to MeFi. Maybe it wasn't particularly well done, but I don't need a curator. I'd much rather you delete obits, since I've already seen them in five other outlets.
posted by found missing at 1:08 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stuff criticising religion is... sort of fine

Stuff criticising religion is, as a category, fine. Not very good posts are, as a category, not so fine and likely to get nixed. The two issues are orthogonal; conflating them, and taking a dump on the userbase in the process, is another not so great thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:11 PM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


found missing: It's "best of the web" not "stuff on the web that found missing hasn't seen before." ;-)

I mean, it's great that it works out that way and I use Metafilter that way too (among other ways) but this place is supposed to be somewhat curated, I think.
posted by Scientist at 1:11 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Stuff I hadn't seen before" is a pretty broad category and I can find my way there by typing random word combinations into Google. Having curators helps narrow MeFi to "stuff I hadn't seen before, that I should see," which is what makes MeFi worthwhile to me.
posted by cribcage at 1:13 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I dunno, I was amused.

I'm surprised this was deleted, given how many anti-religious screeds are often posted in the comments and the general anti-religion vibe of Metafilter in general.

I'm also surprised this was deleted on the fact it's mediocre. I'm sure we can all attest to MANY a mediocre link in Metafilter, that was left intact.

Just, really, surprised.

I have this sinking feeling making a mediocre post making fun of Jesus would have been okay. But throw Mohammed in, and the mediocrity-tolerance becomes much lower.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:16 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


LOL Xians stuff gets deleted alla time.
posted by crunchland at 1:16 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


cortex: "...the deletion reason I would have written would probably have been "Eh"."

Yeah, I think this is a case of overthinking a plate of deletion beans on taz' part - a link to an obviously crap thing should be deleted on sight, doesn't really matter if it's liable to provoke angry discussion about a thorny topic.
posted by jack_mo at 1:18 PM on November 6, 2011


I'd rather you didn't delete stuff I haven't seen before, since that's why I come to MeFi. Maybe it wasn't particularly well done, but I don't need a curator. I'd much rather you delete obits, since I've already seen them in five other outlets.

Rather than make the mods do even more thread wrangling, how about if everyone just emails you the fpps they're going to make, and if it's stuff you've already seen, you can just tell us not to make that post?

It's cool that you don't need a curator; the site, however, does. My personal method of curation is to skip posts I'm not interested in.
posted by rtha at 1:20 PM on November 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


Verboten shmerboten. Sheesh.
posted by griphus at 1:23 PM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Me too. But thanks for reducing my argument to absurdum.
posted by found missing at 1:23 PM on November 6, 2011


I have this sinking feeling making a mediocre post making fun of Jesus would have been okay.

We've deleted a lot of lazy anti-religious stuff over the years. I'd say a really significant majority of it has, mostly for reasons of demography, been Christianity-centric.

Beyond that we've deleted a whole hell of a lot of mediocre stuff over the years that has nothing to do with religion one way or the other.

Mediocre-but-amusing probably stands a slightly better chance of surviving than mediocre-and-contentious, but not being mediocre in general is a much safer bet if what you want is for your post to stick around.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:24 PM on November 6, 2011


How could my post have been thicker?

I like thick posts and I cannot lie
You other Mefites can't deny
When a post goes up
With a lot of meaty links
And discussion that makes me think
I hit Favorite
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:25 PM on November 6, 2011 [65 favorites]


I'm kind of the opinion it was pushed over the edge not because it was LOL Xian but because it was LOL Muslim. There is a lot of anti Christian sentiment here but anti muslim sentiment usually gets shouted down.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:25 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Me too. But thanks for reducing my argument to absurdum.

Welcome!
posted by rtha at 1:26 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mediocre-but-amusing probably stands a slightly better chance of surviving than mediocre-and-contentious, but not being mediocre in general is a much safer bet if what you want is for your post to stick around.

I guess then, I'm baffled why stuff like this:

http://www.metafilter.com/100670/Youre-tearing-me-apart-Judas

doesn't get deleted. But I guess we have differing definitions of mediocre.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:30 PM on November 6, 2011


How could my post have been thicker?

Not sure if you saw what you did there?
posted by Elmore at 1:31 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Good deletion. Thank you, taz.
posted by zarq at 1:31 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess then, I'm baffled why stuff like this

A. Moderation is inherently subjective.
B. Did you really just bring up a post from February?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:33 PM on November 6, 2011


Stuff criticising religion is, as a category, fine. Not very good posts are, as a category, not so fine and likely to get nixed. The two issues are orthogonal; conflating them, and taking a dump on the userbase in the process, is another not so great thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:11 PM on November 6

Not very good posts, eh?

So, not as good as this? Or this? Or this?

Come off it, cortex. Taking the piss out of religion is simply frowned upon on Mefi. You know it, I know it, and half a minute searching the archives knows it too.

"Jesus and Mo" is a pretty damned funny webcomic, and certainly at least as worthy of attention as some of the pretentious wank I just culled from the archives. And what's this bullshit about "taking a dump on the userbase"? What the hell are you talking about? That sounds like someone trying to poison the well, to me. I'd respect your position a hell of a lot more if you'd just come out and flatly admit that Mefi doesn't like people satirising religious bullshit. But until you do, don't imagine for one second that not-even-specious crap like you posted above is persuasive in the face of the vast evidence of Metafilter's hypocrisy on this issue.
posted by Decani at 1:35 PM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


I guess then, I'm baffled why stuff like this:

http://www.metafilter.com/100670/Youre-tearing-me-apart-Judas

doesn't get deleted.


That has zero flags and zero flagged comments. It may have been so astoundingly mediocre that it slipped under everyone's radar altogether, I dunno. But it's really hard to compare posts one-to-one - there are just too many variables.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:36 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]



I'd rather you didn't delete stuff I haven't seen before, since that's why I come to MeFi. Maybe it wasn't particularly well done, but I don't need a curator. I'd much rather you delete obits, since I've already seen them in five other outlets.

You should try Reddit, it has lots of things.
posted by St. Sorryass at 1:36 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, like, when are people going to stop calling out taz just because she's new?
posted by Melismata at 1:37 PM on November 6, 2011 [40 favorites]


And isn't there already an open why-was-troll's-post-deleted Metatalk thread?
posted by box at 1:39 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


cortex: If it's at a glance kind of a mediocre comic, and it's noteworthy because of the subject matter, putting more of why that subject matter or how the comic presents it is noteworthy into the post would help make it clear why it's worth a post, basically.

But isn't quality entirely subjective? It's really a matter of taste. Some will find value, some won't--especially in a topic steeped in controversy. But we are all adults here and I think we can handle walking that line. The comic addresses a broad range of religious fallacies in a humorous tone, which is noteworthy in itself. I think calling it "mediocre" is disingenuous hand waving. There is so much mediocre crap on this site. Why not be honest and just say "we don't do contoversy here."

Melismata: So, like, when are people going to stop calling out taz just because she's new?

Red herring.
posted by troll at 1:40 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


box: And isn't there already an open why-was-troll's-post-deleted Metatalk thread?

While the other MeTa isn't about his own post, there is one other notable difference. That one was about the junior mod, whereas this one is about the junior junior mod.
posted by gman at 1:43 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why not be honest and just say "we don't do contoversy here."

Because that's patently untrue?
posted by rtha at 1:44 PM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


So, like, when are people going to stop calling out taz just because she's new?

I might be biased because I thought the post was okay, but I don't think taz is being called out, or being called out because she's new. I think the poster is asking a legitimate question about the reasoning for deletion. Certainly, I'm curious, myself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:44 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


gman: That one was about the junior mod, whereas this one is about the junior junior mod.

To reiterate, this is not about taz.
posted by troll at 1:44 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Decani: " Come off it, cortex. Taking the piss out of religion is simply frowned upon on Mefi. You know it, I know it, and half a minute searching the archives knows it too."

This is utter horseshit, as a cursory review of posts including the term "Catholic Church" proves. There have been literally dozens of posts and hundreds if not thousands of comments (rightfully, imo) condemning the Church and Catholicism for their intolerance towards non-Christians, women, gays, lesbians and other minority groups. And that's only one sect of Christianity that's been posted about here on MeFi.

I didn't even need to take half a minute to search the archives to know your assertion was wrong.
posted by zarq at 1:45 PM on November 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


So, where's taz? This is the second time in a couple of weeks that a deletion of hers resulted in a Metatalk post and she hasn't shown up in the comments. I don't think I would have noticed if restless_nomad hadn't made the first comment in her latest deleted post callout. Is this like at McDonalds, where they won't let you work the fryer until you've been working there for a while? Because it feels really wrong to me that a mod hasn't shown up explain their decisions. I know this second post has only been open an hour, but already two other mods have shown up. Inquiring minds want to know.
posted by nooneyouknow at 1:46 PM on November 6, 2011


Don't you know, moderation decisions are just like movie review scores. They can all be compared on an exact scale. Just as Ebert obviously thinks that every 3-star movie he's reviewed has exactly the same quality, all mod decisions can be weighed exactly against each other.


(Also, anybody badmouthing Babbage and Lovelace as "pretentious wank" is a pretentious git.)
posted by kmz at 1:46 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just can't believe all the things people say. Controversy!
posted by box at 1:48 PM on November 6, 2011


I know this second post has only been open an hour

Come on, man, you just answered your own question. Relax, there's no one dying because taz is out to dinner or whatever.
posted by mediareport at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is utter horseshit, as a cursory review of posts including the term "Catholic Church" proves. There have been literally dozens of posts and hundreds if not thousands of comments (rightfully, imo) condemning the Church and Catholicism for their intolerance towards non-Christians, women, gays, lesbians and other minority groups. And that's only one sect of Christianity that's been posted about here on MeFi.

I actually think it's the anti-Islam thing that metafilter is more concerned about. Critiquing Christianity is generally okay here.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


or breakfast or whatever
posted by mediareport at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2011


I guess then, I'm baffled why stuff like this:

http://www.metafilter.com/100670/Youre-tearing-me-apart-Judas

doesn't get deleted.


Like restless_nomad said, neither the thread nor anything in it got flagged and there was nothing obviously trainwrecky above the fold. I don't know if it's mediocre or not or what it's about, because I never looked into it, and it's totally possible neither did any of the rest of the mods.

Beyond that, though, a big thing here is that we can't provide a codex of black-and-what rules about what will and will not get deleted because that's not how we have ever worked. I talk about increasing a posts chance of getting deleted or its probability of sticking around in those terms for a reason: some not-so-great stuff will slip through the cracks, some controversial stuff will get deleted and some will stick around, and so on.

And it's totally fine for folks to talk about how they feel about that stuff in general and in specific cases, we'll do our best to provide some context as far as where we're coming from and what we did or didn't see happening on the site regarding this stuff, but it's very, very rare that pulling two posts and sitting them side by side and asking for an explanation will be very fruitful because it's rare that two posts actually exist in some kind of coherent "these two things are directly related" sort of way.

Come off it, cortex. Taking the piss out of religion is simply frowned upon on Mefi. You know it, I know it, and half a minute searching the archives knows it too.

A lot of people here are bothered by it. A lot of people here think it's hilarious. It's a big, heterogeneous place. From a mod perspective we'd rather not have people go the path of lazy piss-taking about contentious subjects because it's spoiling for a big mess without any payoff. Well done or carefully presented religious criticism or satire is another thing entirely.

And what's this bullshit about "taking a dump on the userbase"? What the hell are you talking about?

I'm talking about dismissive shit like "in a begrudging 'Oh, I suppose we have to allow this too, even though it makes our finely-tuned liberal sensibilities squirm'" as a characterization of why you think something that shouldn't have happened happened, is what I'm talking about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:51 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, where's taz? This is the second time in a couple of weeks that a deletion of hers resulted in a Metatalk post and she hasn't shown up in the comments
Perhaps she's asleep. It's nearly midnight where she is
posted by rtha at 1:54 PM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Jesus and Mo" is a pretty damned funny webcomic

Yes, it's right up there with Day by Day, Ctrl+Alt+Delete, The Least I Could Do, and Boston and Shaun.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:54 PM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, like, when are people going to stop calling out taz just because she's new?

Hey taz? You're doing alright and you were great choice for a mod.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:55 PM on November 6, 2011 [38 favorites]


So, where's taz? This is the second time in a couple of weeks that a deletion of hers resulted in a Metatalk post and she hasn't shown up in the comments.

taz lives in Greece. I believe it's the middle of the night right now over there.

But isn't quality entirely subjective? It's really a matter of taste.

We'll never get away from subjectivity; the alternative is the front page is either (a) robotically managed by flag thresholds, no humans involved, or (b) people can post anything they want because removing something for just not being very good would be out.

We try to keep the subjectivity angle to a relative minimum and follow the feedback from the community for most decisions, but sometimes we're going to grab the reins and just say "nah, not so great" without waiting for some pile of flags to come in.

If something's great and we're wrong, someone can regroup and make a post that really makes it clear why it's worth having on the front page. The stakes on a deletion are pretty low.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:56 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Things like "sleep" are no excuse for not being at the beck and call of any and all Metafilter users.
posted by kmz at 1:56 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Since when are mods allowed to sleep? Disgusting.
posted by Elmore at 1:57 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Because it feels really wrong to me that a mod hasn't shown up explain their decisions.

Honestly, mods are people with lives, and they aren't on call around the clock, waiting for the Kallout Klaxon to go off and shift them into "defense mode." I suspect that taz will drop in eventually, but, by that point, this thread will be pretty long, and the appearance probably will not have much effect.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:59 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Jesus and Mo" is a pretty damned funny webcomic

It's quite possible you may have some personal bias related to its subject matter that is colouring your opinion re: the damned funniness of that strip.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:02 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh and Dobbs, please come back. You're a great contributer and asset to the site. Sadly, you're probably not reading this thread.
posted by Elmore at 2:02 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


rtha: Because that's patently untrue?

Ok, allow me to rephrase. Why not be honest and just say "we don't do controversy here, at least according to an impenetrable criteria when it's convenient, because we say so." Decani provided three examples of mediocre webcomics that were allowed to stay. The only difference is the subject matter.

cortex: A lot of people here are bothered by it. A lot of people here think it's hilarious. It's a big, heterogeneous place. From a mod perspective we'd rather not have people go the path of lazy piss-taking about contentious subjects because it's spoiling for a big mess without any payoff. Well done or carefully presented religious criticism or satire is another thing entirely.

Sorry, but this isn't "lazy piss-taking." The author puts a lot of thought into that comic; it's anything but lazy. Clicking through the archives, or even just the links in the FPP, yields a lot of conversational fodder. Why can't we, as a big heterogeneous place, have a big heterogeneous conversation?

Brandon Blatcher: Hey taz? You're doing alright and you were great choice for a mod.

kmz: Things like "sleep" are no excuse for not being at the beck and call of any and all Metafilter users.

Elmore: Since when are mods allowed to sleep? Disgusting.

Good Christ, people, THIS IS NOT ABOUT TAZ.
posted by troll at 2:05 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


We try to keep the subjectivity angle to a relative minimum and follow the feedback from the community for most decisions, but sometimes we're going to grab the reins and just say "nah, not so great" without waiting for some pile of flags to come in.

So, did anybody actually flag the post? Or was this the case of a pre-emptive strike?

For the record, I did flag it as "other" but it was because I wanted to ask the mods "why was this deleted", and then found there was no place to put the question. (And then I realized this metatalk thread was still open, when I thought for some reason it had been closed. Sigh.)
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:06 PM on November 6, 2011


So, where's taz?

Crikey, she's not your peon, and you're not her boss. Damn, five dollars obviously buys you a lot in the US...
posted by smoke at 2:07 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only thing funny about that comic is that it had the balls to talk about something else being poorly written.

But, come to think about, impressively ballsy actually isn't the same as funny.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:09 PM on November 6, 2011


Well, it buys you some Louis CK.
posted by found missing at 2:09 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, allow me to rephrase. Why not be honest and just say "we don't do controversy here, at least according to an impenetrable criteria when it's convenient, because we say so."

Because that, too, is untrue. Controversial or contentious stuff is trickier here (and in basically all of life in general, this is not a Metafilter-specific phenomenon) and so can take more care to get right and can more easily cause messes and fights than other stuff. We basically ask that people be flexible and be willing to work with the fact that sometimes this stuff doesn't work right out of the gate. If you want to write that off as us trying to be deceptive about some secret no-controversy rule you can do that but it doesn't leave us much of anything to discuss.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:10 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Jesus and Mo" is a pretty damned funny webcomic

Are there other ones that are funny? Because the ones linked in the deleted post were like when Fox News tried to make its own version of the Daily Show.
posted by Diablevert at 2:13 PM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


The only difference is the subject matter.

And that doesn't seem like an important difference to you? People react differently depending on the content.

A mediocre webcomic about cats is unlikely to even come to mod attention, because nobody flags it. A mediocre webcomic about...I/P is going to have a flag queue about 10 seconds into its life, which means mods know about it and keep an eye on it.
posted by rtha at 2:15 PM on November 6, 2011


troll, folks are responding directly to the comment asking where taz was. But you shouldn't be surprised that folks look at your two "why was this deleted?" posts in one week and wonder a bit.

For the record, I think the post should have stayed (I chuckled, anyway), *and* that taz is a great choice for Euromod, *and* that laughing at religious bullshit is something I expect, enjoy, and hope to continue doing at MeFi.
posted by mediareport at 2:17 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


MeFi has thin posts, and controversial posts. It has few thin and controversial posts.
posted by zamboni at 2:23 PM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh no, is this thread going to end up with a load of recipes for roux?
posted by Elmore at 2:27 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


How could my post have been thicker?

Find more comics that deal with religion. That would make an interesting post.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:32 PM on November 6, 2011


"Jesus and Mo" is a pretty damned funny webcomic

Eh, some of its funniness is directed towards people who haven't really thought too hard about some of the problems it purports to raise, I've found. In that sense, it's lower-shelf stuff. Which isn't necessarily bad in itself, but it's not going to foster good conversation here, I don't think. But it likely will foster a rehashing of outdated misconceptions, of which some people will think is great, but more will be like, well that's not even quite accurate, but this isn't always the safest place to try and explain why.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:32 PM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Good Christ, people, THIS IS NOT ABOUT TAZ.

Well maybe before you start shootin' your darn mouth off, you should realize WE'RE NOT PEOPLE.

Take it back, right now, and we'll pretend this never happened.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:34 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since when are mods allowed to sleep?

They got that in the last round of collective bargaining. They got eating too but I drew the line at personal lives.
posted by Meta Filter at 2:38 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey Brandon, where do you get off coming in to this thread halfway through and distracting us from disolving our prey?
posted by Elmore at 2:38 PM on November 6, 2011


Brandon Blatcher: Find more comics that deal with religion. That would make an interesting post.

That's actually the best suggestion so far. I think I'll try that tomorrow.

Brandon Blatcher: Well maybe before you start shootin' your darn mouth off, you should realize WE'RE NOT PEOPLE.

Damnit! I knew you were all solipsist apparitions of my mind. DO MY BIDDING, MIND MINIONS. BRING BACK MY POST.
posted by troll at 2:43 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Decani, don't shit in other threads to protest the deletion of a thread you liked.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:44 PM on November 6, 2011


Decani, don't shit in other threads to protest the deletion of a thread you liked.

You could've memailed him this. Calling him out here - even if you also memailed him too - makes it seem like you're spoiling for a public fight as much as he is.
posted by mreleganza at 2:50 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter's getting too big for contentious issues to be discussed. Eventually we'll only be able to talk about kittens.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:52 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Delicious, delicious kittens.
posted by mediareport at 2:53 PM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Hai, I can haz jezuzburger?
posted by Elmore at 2:55 PM on November 6, 2011


I hate kittens.
posted by Diablevert at 2:56 PM on November 6, 2011


The holiday mental breakdowns are starting early. Cheer up, people.
posted by Melismata at 2:58 PM on November 6, 2011


Things like "sleep" are no excuse for not being at the beck and call of any and all Metafilter users.

Crikey, she's not your peon, and you're not her boss.

Yes, this is exactly what I was thinking. Y'all's telepathy skills are amazing. Can you tell me if Obama is secrelty an atheist or not? I heard he only started going to church to get elected.

I was totally not thinking that the time frame between a mod deleting a post and someone noticing the deletion and making a metatalk about it would be small enough for the mod who deleted the post to comment (but I guess not). So I couldn't understand why she wasn't commenting in this one or the other one. It was this huge mystery to me, and since I can't read people's minds over the internet, I actually had to ask what was going on.

Seriously, though, I don't have anything against taz. I was just actually curious, because the other mods are always around to explain deletions. And part of me was being all irrationally suspicious about it and another was all "dude, you are being paranoid." So I asked to clear that up for me. Thanks for explanations. That whole sleep thing makes a lot of sense. (Also, I totally thought she was in Australia.)

Sorry for derailing your post, troll.
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:58 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate kittens.

You're using the wrong mustard.
posted by Elmore at 2:59 PM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Calling him out here - even if you also memailed him too - makes it seem like you're spoiling for a public fight as much as he is.

It matters to me that it not continue to happen. I'd be thrilled to not have any sort of fight about it, but I am basically out of patience for tiptoeing around crappy behavior that isn't some kind of maybe-understandable accident. We have a metatalk thread where folks can talk about their feelings about the site culture and moderation policy; carrying it over into other unrelated threads just to grump about something in more than one place is explicitly not okay.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:02 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


the time frame between a mod deleting a post and someone noticing the deletion and making a metatalk about it would be small enough for the mod who deleted the post to comment

Based on the time the last comment was posted to the thread, there was approximately 9 hours between deletion and MetaTalk time.
posted by kmz at 3:04 PM on November 6, 2011


Seriously, though, I don't have anything against taz. I was just actually curious, because the other mods are always around to explain deletions.

Yeah, it's kind of an odd reversal of the normal situation where someone posts a metatalk at two in the morning Pacific time to ask the mods a question about something that happened during daylight hours. We've got better coverage now as a team than we have had in the past, but we all still sleep sometimes and so timing will come into who is even potentially able to be around.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:05 PM on November 6, 2011


mediareport: "Delicious, delicious kittens"

Just as long as you don't post recipes.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:06 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate kittens.

Try the puppy with the chipotle sauce, it's amazing.

Kitten is for the help.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:06 PM on November 6, 2011


Metafilter's getting too big for contentious issues to be discussed. Eventually we'll only be able to talk about kittens.

This, IMO, is indeed a problem here. Or maybe not a "problem" as much as just something I don't agree with.

I would have been fine if a mod had, as cortex suggested, made an "eh" deletion. I thought it fell pretty flat as far as humor goes.

I also agree that screeds-as-mefi-posts that are downright posted to either start a fight or just stand as outragefilter are far too common and rightfully deleted. I don't think this post fits that demerit. So I think Decani and Troll have a point - If I'm not mistaken, I've seen deletions on subjects like police brutality where part of the deletion reason is, "(Subject) is something we just don't do well on metafilter." where no accusation of outrage-filter or thin-ness is even levied.

In those cases, it seems like a mod comes across it and says, "This is a subject that often goes bad, and even though it hasn't yet, I don't wanna deal with the headache if/when it does so KABOOM."

And if that's okay and a legitimate reason to delete a post - a sort of pre-emptive deletion when the link is NOT a slam-dunk outragefilter case, rabble-rousin' op-ed screed, or otherwise too thin - then, yes, I think the staff might as well go ahead and create a list of prohibited topics.
posted by mreleganza at 3:10 PM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Decani provided three examples of mediocre webcomics that were allowed to stay.

I haven't read "Multiplex" or "Ballad", but "Lovelace and Babbage" is... well, I'm not going to say objectively better, but it has more confident and competent art, it has things like backgrounds, it has characterization and plotting. These things may not be relevant in a comic the aim of which is to show religious positions set up and knocked down by the authorial voice, but the amount and level of craft in Lovelace and Babbage is considerably greater.

However, these matters are to a degree subjective. What I understand in this discussion is that there are several factors being mentioned in the deletion of a post, none of which are necessary or inevitably sufficient, but any of which are potentially sufficient:

1) Alarm-tripping content above the fold
2) Number of flags
3) Quality or variety of content in links
4) Likelihood that the content or the framing of links will lead to strife in the discussion

It seems that the webcomics in the three links provided by Decani didn't hit enough of these to make deletion a likely risk, and this one did. Is that a correct understanding of the situation? If so, it doesn't seem like there's an equivalency.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:17 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kitten is for the help.

What? The mods can have the claws, we'll use the flesh as fuel. Winter is coming.
posted by Elmore at 3:18 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Decani provided three examples of mediocre webcomics that were allowed to stay.

Hunh? I thought to be classified as "good" comics, they have to feature men in tights.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:21 PM on November 6, 2011


I dunno that the comics were necessarily great, but they've gotta be less thin than a post about turkeys running loose on staten island, which is currently on the front page.
posted by modernnomad at 3:38 PM on November 6, 2011


I hate kittens.

You're using the wrong mustard.


You silly person, mustard its for hot dogs. Kittenburgers call for cat-sup.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:45 PM on November 6, 2011 [23 favorites]


Since I follow metafilter primarily through Google Reader, I see all of the deleted posts. I think that there may indeed be some sort of issue with how the site handles controversy as it scales, and there are definitely topics where I won't even bother to read the mefi coverage vs. another topic-specific site, but I think the number of posts deleted on a "mefi doesn't do this topic well" basis is countered pretty close to evenly by the second or third attempts at discussing those issues which do make it through. Not every case resolves this way, but a lot of them do, and it's not the kind of thing you necessarily notice, because a post that is deleted is just more rare than one that isn't.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:48 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I actually laughed at one of the comics -- the one where Mohammed revealed he was a body double. But in the end, I'm beginning to think that laughing at true religious believers has become the too-easy-hip-posture of the now, and thus suspect.

Or to offer some context. Back in the 80s, if you were cool and hip and off the mainstream, chances are you were a punk. And if you were a punk, chances are you were anti-Reagan etc. So the easiest sorta of cred punk tune you could write would involve a bunch of fast shouting and thrashing around and then some kind of anti-Reagan statement.

Then along comes a band called the Pop-o-Pies and a song called Industrial Rap which is, you guessed it, a bunch of fast shouting and thrashing around and then an anti-Reagan statement. Except the anti-Reagan statement was ... "Anti Reagan and stuff man, yeah!"

Cue the laugh track. And the sound of a balloon with the air gushing out of it.

That's kind of how I feel now about easy lulz aimed at believers. It's been done, done, done. It's too easy. It's conformist and thus fast becoming its own self-parody.

Move along, folks. Go occupy something.
posted by philip-random at 3:53 PM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Decani provided three examples of mediocre webcomics that were allowed to stay.

None of Decani's linked strips - all of which I am sure he is incredibly familiar with, and weren't simply the result of his spending a minute scanning 'webcomics' search or tag results for post descriptions that sounded inane or wanky to him - were all that bad.

Multiplex is probably the weakest of the bunch; a pop culture riffing/minimum wage snarkery sort of thing, it's pretty generic, but it's not awful. Lovelace & Babbage doesn't grab me - Kate Beaton's really made things difficult for other webcartoonists doing zany anachronistic history comics - but it has some very fun cartooning and gags in it nonetheless (The jarring incongruity between the lettering and the art bugs me, though). Ballad is some seriously lovely cartooning, all else aside.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:55 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personally, I don't enjoy laughing at religious people, because it's mean and because, frankly, the evil some of them get up to because of their beliefs is much too real, serious, and frightening, but I might as well suggest that perhaps not everybody carefully selects all their attitudes just to make themselves appear more interesting to other people?
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:09 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think that there may indeed be some sort of issue with how the site handles controversy as it scales

There has been an ongoing issue with how the site handles controversy and some new ones popping up as the people on the site don't know each other as well. The existing one is: this is not a site that is, at its core, designed to talk about news-of-the-day and controversy-of-the-day stuff. We do it sometimes but that's not its main purpose. Want to post about a hot button religious topic? That's okay but it has to be a good post, just a mediocre post and it's sort of not worth it all around.

The newer issue is that with a larger userbase of people who don't know each other, the site scoots more towards the middle of the road in terms of what an acceptable post is, what acceptable methods of discourse are and all the rest. We don't do the tar and feathering/torches and pitchforks thing in MeTa anymore, we can't, the site is too big for it not to turn into something totally uncontrollable and toxic for the site. We ask people to tone their language down more than we used to because people are less forgiving as strangers as they may be with "the usual suspects" and their vebal pecadillos. And people are less forgiving of the mods, seeing us more as employees than as longtime community members who got our moderation positions partly because of a level of trust and respect that came from the community.

So, taz is asleep. She lives in Greece. She specifically works here so that we'd have more and better modeeration coverage but it does mean that if you want to ask her a question, it would be better to do it over email or open a MeTa thread when she is awake/around. No big deal this way, really, but the larger the site gets, the more people just sort of show up here without understanding the long laundry list of "how we do things here" and it can be a little tiring going over everything from first principles.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:31 PM on November 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


I am glad this post was deleted and I thought it was a good choice on the part of the mods. I wouldn't want to see a post about a comic that makes fun of atheists in this way either.
posted by shii at 4:33 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, while I share a few of troll's concerns, I'm so sad taz is going to have this to wake up to. I wish we could work it all out and just make it disappear before she got here, like at the end of The Cat in the Hat. But alas. Have a good day tomorrow, taz.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:43 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Deletion reasons should be more insulting, Taz is a good un and why the fk should she have to come away from dancing on the beach, drinking ouzo and smashing plates to talk to you ya totally uninteresting fud ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:45 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm puzzled by something that shows up here in MeTa all the time. It's clear to me that a post's "delete-worthiness" is being decided by the mods doing informal scoring: flags add to it, mediocre content adds to it, posts not being fleshed out adds to it, contentiousness adds to it, recent posts covering similar ground add to it, etc.

So, why do we act, over and over, as if the fact that other "meh" posts have been allowed to stand means anything? The "meh" factor is just one of many criteria.

Good job here, taz: I wouldn't mind a knock-down, drag-out religious fight if the content were dynamite, but it's not worth it for the sake of this.
posted by tyllwin at 4:46 PM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't want to see a post about a comic that makes fun of atheists in this way either.

Huh. I would.
posted by mediareport at 4:48 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh and Dobbs, please come back. You're a great contributer and asset to the site.

Yeah that sucked, and it was a good post too, and he is so right about how that thread went.
posted by Hoopo at 4:54 PM on November 6, 2011


I'd have left it up; seemed to pass the bar as to being a link to something on the web that would have appealed to enough users here. Agree that questioning the deletion could have been done a bit better.
posted by Abiezer at 4:57 PM on November 6, 2011


Does anybody ever use the contact form to ask about deletion reasons? What's the ratio like?

(Of course I only see the cases where it's brought to MeTa.)
posted by stebulus at 4:59 PM on November 6, 2011


Does anybody ever use the contact form to ask about deletion reasons?

People use it from time to time, but way more often they'll come here to MeTa. We get more requests about deleted comments via the contact form.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:02 PM on November 6, 2011


I came in here already to defend the mods from being bullied, but....

This was a terrible deletion. If anything should have been deleted, it was the first thread-shitting comment.
posted by empath at 5:07 PM on November 6, 2011


Yeah I complained a few times about deleted posts via the contact form. I complained about the deletion of the BGE post where we were talking about awesome BBQ gadgets. I also complained once about a Joss Whedon post being deleted. Why does metafilter hate Firefly so much? Metafilter just does not do delicious BBQ or Firefly well.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:08 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about adding to the little "staff" tag something saying "US" or "EU" or "US-daytime" etc, just to make it clear to everyone who will be available when, as long as people are willing to do some maths? Most users seem to come from the US, so a lot of the expectations are geared towards US hours, and something along these lines could help people figure out why the mod of their desire is incommunicado. So "taz staff" could be "taz - staff EU" or some such.
posted by miorita at 5:08 PM on November 6, 2011


This thread is a rerun of a rerun.
posted by jonmc at 5:09 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


What about adding to the little "staff" tag

We've gone about as far as we're going to go in that direction. The asusmption is that there will be some mod available to answer questions nearly all the time, and if one of those questions is "Where is the other mod?" then we can answer that. We don't have fixed schedules really, though we have general times when we're around and not around. Rule of thumb is

cortex/jessamyn: US weekdays and evenings
restless_nomad: weekends [and some Fridays, Mondays and fill-in times]
taz: US night times most days
mathowie/pb: usually US weekdays but they're often reachable other times
vacapinta: the occasional middle of the US night

But I travel a fair amount and so does mathowie and so it's always worth asking what's up. If we haven't said "I'm not going to talk to you about that anymore" assume that if we haven't replied to a direct request it's because we're not on shift.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:18 PM on November 6, 2011


So, why do we act, over and over, as if the fact that other "meh" posts have been allowed to stand means anything?

People seek patterns, and people seek malice. And nobody knows their own biases. So the post I liked about bunny-spaying gets cut, and they say it wasn't a good post, but I didn't think it was a bad post, so that can't be the real reason. And so I search the memory banks for patterns, and it seems to me that there's been a recent post about deer-nutering that got to stay and other posts about bunny care that got cut. Which I of course remember because I care a lot about bunny issues. And so I think: "Hmmm. Seems to me they don't like bunnies round here, though of course they won't come out and say it."

Sites have cultures, and people do have biases. These thing need to be hashed out, so we can determine when I'm right and everyone else gradually comes to see that and the site changes for the better, and when I'm right and all of you are a bunch of bullheaded, closeminded ninnies who couldn't see the truth if it was biting you on the nose.
posted by Diablevert at 5:21 PM on November 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Oh and Dobbs, please come back.

If it's any comfort, he's left and come back before. Hopefully this is that again.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:26 PM on November 6, 2011


Once again: Good deletion taz, don't sweat it.
posted by Gator at 5:48 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man Tortas de Aceite are like the the biscotti of the 21st century. Same anise flavor but light and airy, without the mouth scraping texture of biscotti. I suspect they would not stand up to dunking the way biscotti do though. They have been produced by hand in Seville, Spain since 1910. Somebody should do a FPP about these bad boys. I am enjoying a piece of chocolate ganache cheesecake and a torta de aceite right now, already finished my coffee though.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:48 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The roast pork special is the new cheesesteak.

(don't bogart my shtick, ad hominem ;>)
posted by jonmc at 5:52 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is a roast pork special and where can I get it. I've only had dinner once today, I had a chicken cutlet with fresh mozzarella and pesto hero. It is getting close to second dinner.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:00 PM on November 6, 2011


but we all still sleep sometimes and so timing will come into who is even potentially able to be around.

I swear I read that as "but we all still sleep around sometimes and..."
posted by Melismata at 6:10 PM on November 6, 2011


Since it's kind of come up - I also hope dobbs is taking a break and will be back soon.
posted by mintcake! at 6:18 PM on November 6, 2011


You're using the wrong mustard.

The only cat recipe I know uses garlic and olive oil.
posted by zamboni at 6:22 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


mintcake!: "121Since it's kind of come up - I also hope dobbs is taking a break and will be back soon."

I agree. I also hope the threadshitting that led to him taking a break stops soon. It's always been a "feature" here, but it seems a lot more rampant lately.
posted by zarq at 6:39 PM on November 6, 2011


What is a roast pork special and where can I get it.

This. Here. Be sure to specify sharp provolone.
posted by jonmc at 6:42 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread was worth having because it taught me that there is such a thing as sharp provolone.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:46 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a long standing and well known web comic with a strong following and I don't see why it was deleted. Claiming it was deleted because it's mediocre is disingenuous, the post was well put together and broke no rules. Jesus and Mo...ok, I see why it was deleted here.
posted by joannemullen at 6:55 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hells yeah there is Provolone Piccante. Most provolone you get at the deli is Provolone Dolce or Sweet Provolone (yeah I know, but sweet sausage isn't sweet either). Thanks for the tip jonmc, I gotta get that sandwich. I don't know about that place putting mayo on an Italian "hoagie" but I will give them the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:57 PM on November 6, 2011


If people are still talking about the topic of the thread we'd like you to take the food/recipe talk elsewhere, please.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:00 PM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


They're not. We just have someone trying to get people riled up about the Muslim angle.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:02 PM on November 6, 2011


Mr crash davis knows from previous experiences to trust me when it comes to sandwiches. And, yeah, I eat mild provolone on my brown-bagged sandwiches litwerally 4 or five days a week, but sharp stuff on a hot sandwich just ups the damn ante.
posted by jonmc at 7:03 PM on November 6, 2011


Geckodundee--I'm personally disturbed by what you call the "Muslim angle" and others have commented on it, but if it makes you feel better to dismiss it as "trying to get people riled up", all right then. Have a good evening.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 7:12 PM on November 6, 2011


I wasn't talking about you, but if the cap fits...
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:19 PM on November 6, 2011


The only cat recipe I know uses garlic and olive oil.

shoot me an email, I'll hook you up my grandma's notebook.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 PM on November 6, 2011


I don't care if you were talking about me or not. It's an issue.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 7:22 PM on November 6, 2011


The ____ of Justice: "I actually think it's the anti-Islam thing that metafilter is more concerned about."

Evidence?
posted by zarq at 7:29 PM on November 6, 2011


Claiming it was deleted because it's mediocre is disingenuous, the post was well put together and broke no rules. Jesus and Mo...ok, I see why it was deleted here.
Pretty thin for a notoriously hot-button issue; there might be a way to do this, but as a stand-alone – not so much. -- taz

Mediocre-but-amusing probably stands a slightly better chance of surviving than mediocre-and-contentious, but not being mediocre in general is a much safer bet if what you want is for your post to stick around... From a mod perspective we'd rather not have people go the path of lazy piss-taking about contentious subjects because it's spoiling for a big mess without any payoff. Well done or carefully presented religious criticism or satire is another thing entirely.-- cortex

Want to post about a hot button religious topic? That's okay but it has to be a good post, just a mediocre post and it's sort of not worth it all around. -- Jessamyn

If the mods were claiming it was deleted purely because of its mediocrity it would certainly be disingenuous, but as they and other people have explained, if something has the potential to be headache-making, the content should be worth the possible hassle which may ensue.

To pretend they haven't done that is most certainly disingenuous on your part, or you're just kind of dim.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:34 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought the lulzy depiction of Mohammed pushed it over the edge into something some American mefites would find distasteful. Christianity is the dominant religion in the US and is a constant presence in out lives whether we are christian or not, people are pretty ok with satirical depictions of christianity. Not so with Islam, there is a lot of guilt liberal Americans have regarding the way Muslims have been vilified by some in America and we would want to distance ourselves from it. Even if it was not on a conscious level, we would want to distance ourselves from anti-muslim sentiment. Taz is a Greek national so I don't know if that same impulse exists but I know from previous metas that mods all consult on deletions.

I am not saying that there is a blanket ban on lol muslims, I think it made the content seem more contentions than pure lol christian content would have been if only on a subconscious level. The depictions of Mohammed just tipped the scale in favor of deletion.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:43 PM on November 6, 2011


I'm fine with this being deleted, not for the subject matter so much as I could have drawn a better comic with my butt. Yeah, I get that poor drawing is a "thing" now, and I read Toothpaste for Dinner, um, religiously. Because it's hilarious. But (BUTT) seriously: as webcomics go, this one is neither funny nor artful.

I'm all for joking around about religion - I'm a Buddhist and have no particular feelings about Jesus or Mohammed either way - but these didn't even make me crack a smile, let alone LOL.
posted by sonika at 7:53 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Re: Dobbs last (hopefully NOT forever) post...

It should have been deleted because it was a Double. Posted almost exactly a year and a half ago, the same documentary (hosted at a different site; in fact BBC has since taken it down, suggesting the current copy was unauthorized). Also note how the previous post included detail and additional links that avoided the 'mystery meat' of dobbs' post. That was what derailed the thread, all the different possible definitions of "Rough Trade", and I have no regrets for my enthusiastic participation in it. I was not happy that you deleted all but my weakest joke before the whole thing was deep-sixed and that the reference to the "Rough Trade" that brought pitcher Edwin Jackson to the Cardinals didn't stay.

But if dobbs is reading this, COME BACK. I will apologize to you personally if I have to, but not to anyone else.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:54 PM on November 6, 2011


jessamyn: Want to post about a hot button religious topic? That's okay but it has to be a good post, just a mediocre post and it's sort of not worth it all around.

Can you please explain why the post itself is mediocre? I think it's well-constructed; I introduce the characters and outline the subject pretty clearly. If it isn't the post, but the comic, can you explain why it's not meritorious enough for MeFi? As joannemullen said above, this is a popular comic with a strong following in the atheist community. A glance at its homepage will show that such minds as Salman Rushdie, Richard Dawkins, Ophelia Benson, and Jerry Coyne endorse it. Hell, Benson commented on the November 2nd strip. This is certainly best-of-the-web according to atheists; do you intend to marginalize their voice?

Alvy Ampersand: To pretend they haven't done that is most certainly disingenuous on your part, or you're just kind of dim.

I'm not usually the person to say this, but dude, don't be an asshole. Do you really need to bust out an ad hominem to make your point?

Ad hominem: The depictions of Mohammed just tipped the scale in favor of deletion.

I think that's probably true. This kind of liberal tiptoeing is one of the most annoying things about this website. It infantilizes the userbase by denying them the agency of free discussion. I'm beginning to think Crabby Appleton is right.
posted by troll at 8:00 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was what derailed the thread

Well, your rapid-fire posting of a slew of "rough trade" jokes in a few minutes might have had something to do with it, too.
posted by mediareport at 8:03 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


okay, correction:

That was what inspired me (and some others, less so) to derail the thread.

Again, it shouldn't have stood anyway, it was a Double.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:05 PM on November 6, 2011


A glance at its homepage will show that such minds as Salman Rushdie, Richard Dawkins, Ophelia Benson, and Jerry Coyne endorse it.

My opinion of Rushdie and Dawkins just took a nosedive.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 8:09 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Unless you're claiming you knew it was a double before you derailed it (which seems to not be the case, since you didn't mention it there, but correct me if that's wrong), I'm not sure why the Doubleness is relevant.
posted by mediareport at 8:10 PM on November 6, 2011


I have no regrets for my enthusiastic participation in it.

You made four completely noise-y comments that had nothing to do with the subject of the thread and never once mentioned it was a double. While I wish dobbs had stuck around and allowed us to clean up all the crap from that thread, I'm also not surprised that he was frustrated that people were using the thread to argue with the way he framed his post, when they were done just making peanut gallery noises. It was really not MeFi at its finest and I found the whole thing totally embarassing.

troll: generally speaking posts that are just lulzy anti-religion jabs tend to not go well here. I think all of us looked at the post and were like "This is just a sort of weak anti-everyone atheist comic. Meh." So that translates to "This is not a particularly strong post about a topic MetaFilter doesn't do very well." Threads about religion have a tendency to devolve into the same people shouting at each other. It's bad for the site and bad for morale. We hate to moderate them. It's been years since we've sort of raised the bar for posts on difficult topics [saying you have to make a GOOD post about the topic, not just make any old post, for that post to stick around - this is true for posts about fat people, Israel, religion, child abuse, police brutality, animal abuse, rape, I'm not sure what else] and these threads still tend to go badly. People aren't trying. We find them problematic from a moderator perspective, they take up a large amount of our time for a topic that isn't what we consider MeFi's core mission. If you want a place that is totally unmoderated, that's not here. The site is lightly moderated but it's not a textual free-for-all, certain things don't fly here. The site has working guidelines that have been in place and haven't really shifted much for a decade. We're not changing the goalposts. You are welcome to think about whether you are okay with the way we do things, or whether you want to work to change the way we do things, or whether you're just not going to be happy here.

do you intend to marginalize their voice?

Seriously? This site is not about anyone's "right" to have a voice here. Pretty much the entire mod team are atheists of one stripe or another [don't know about taz]. There have been dozens of great posts talking about atheism in various ways. Implying that because we thought this was a weak post that we somehow can't handle the truth or are marginalizing anyone is completely without merit.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:12 PM on November 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


That's some interesting background, troll - if the post had some of that larger context it would have seemed much less thin and more of a "here's a thing of cultural significance to a subset of people." It may have seemed obvious (and I see those quotes are posted, although not with any sort of citation, on the front page) but that's the sort of framing that often makes a big difference in how a thread goes or fails to go.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:13 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


This isn't about Metafilter turning into a big hugbox over-moderated liberal guiltfest where you are infantalized and denied the agency of free discussion*. This is about you posting a shitty-ass webcomic.

One: The art is fucking terrible: drawn badly, with multiple repeat panels, and they can't even be bothered to incorporate the text into the speech bubbles in any kind of aesthetically pleasing manner.

Two: the jokes are pompous, lazy, self-righteous, and so damn smug that I wanted to smack the author after the first one. Love that barmaid Mary Sue character. Seriously, this shit reads like it was drawn by precocious thirteen-year-olds in Sunday School who want to Stick It To The Man and prove to Mom and Dad why they should get to stay home from church. Oh look, a joke involving a discussion about the diversity of texts all claiming to hold the only key to a moral life and the existence of people still acting ethically without their influence! Hahaha, how novel and original, that discrepancy has totally not been noted by every critic of religious establishments ever! I mean it is not like Socrates was put to death for issues involving that or anything! If you are going to copy Socrates, at least be clever about it.

For the record: I am agnostic and am not offended by critiques of religion. I just hate it when people play the "I am so persecuted by this terribly politically correct establishment" card when really they're guilty of liking stupid, shitty things.

*How are you denied the agency of free discussion? This is the Internet and there are a billion fucking ways for you to discuss things freely wherever and whenever you want, Metafilter is not some kind of fascist regime where there is a gun at your head for posting your shitty webcomics.
posted by schroedinger at 8:13 PM on November 6, 2011 [29 favorites]


Oh, and if this is a comic that is well-known and respected among the atheist community, the atheists need better artists and writers.
posted by schroedinger at 8:16 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


dude, don't be an asshole. Do you really need to bust out an ad hominem to make your point?

Ad hominem, shmad hominem. I think that would be more accurate had I said that joannemullen's criticisms were invalid because they are a liar and/or stupid. I just pointed out that their criticism was invalid because there were several examples disproving their statement, which lead to the conclusion that either joannemullen is lying about the mods' stated positions or ignorant of what they've actually said. Willful or accidental ignorance is ignorance, and dim either old way.

(jessamyn) do you intend to marginalize their voice?

Yeah, maybe you're not the person to nag on folks for rhetorical failings and logical fallacies.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:16 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm, yeah, I'm an atheist but maybe one of the seven linked strips got a "heh" out of me.

This comment above sounded about right to me: some of its funniness is directed towards people who haven't really thought too hard about some of the problems it purports to raise.
Basically, 12-year-old atheist me probably would have loved it.

On preview, ditto what schroedinger said.
posted by naoko at 8:18 PM on November 6, 2011


One: The art is fucking terrible: drawn badly, with multiple repeat panels, and they can't even be bothered to incorporate the text into the speech bubbles in any kind of aesthetically pleasing manner.

(Takes one last look at half-finished Akbar & Jeff post, hits delete, wipes away single tear.)
posted by mreleganza at 8:19 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Akbar and Jeff's art is simple, but it isn't bad. The characters are expressive, their actions are comprehensible, the line work is consistent. The panel grid is both used and subverted. Repeat panels are there for a reason. And it's funny. I don't want to be too hard on a cartoonist who didn't ask to be linked to, but artistically speaking Akbar and Jeff is in a whole different place from Jesus and Mo.

Incidentally, can you marginalize a voice? People you can marginalise, by moving them to the margins (of society). Ideas you can marginalise, by literally putting them into the margins (of reference texts). But voices occupy no physical space. I think you have to silence them.

All their lives.

Sorry.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:24 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


C'mon man, there is a difference between drawing simply and drawing badly. Nobody looks at "Akbar & Jeff" and thinks a third-grader drew it (unless said third grader is tremendously talented). You can also get away with less artistic ability if you make up for it in writing. This comic does neither.
posted by schroedinger at 8:26 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


A glance at its homepage will show that such minds as Salman Rushdie, Richard Dawkins, Ophelia Benson, and Jerry Coyne endorse it.

If you want to go this direction, it should be noted that 1) Dawkins will endorse anything with an "atheism" tag on it, and 2) you know what Salman Rushdie thinks is a really good comedy? Entourage. (Oh, and The Wire is just OK. It's no Dexter.)

And before anybody says anything, I'm a left-wing agnostic who does not give a particular shit about Mohammed.
posted by Adventurer at 8:26 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be honest, I think this thread proves that Taz was right to delete the FPP and it proves Jessamyn's point that there are some subjects MetaFilter just doesn't do well. I'm amazed this discussion is still going on, and that people are still taking issue with the mods' pretty clear (if deliberately non-specific) explanations why the post was a fail. I honestly think this discussion would have ended hours ago if the subject of the deleted FPP were neurosurgery or watermelons. It's only because the subject was religion, atheism, Jesus, Islam, etc. that this thread is still hot.
posted by cribcage at 8:28 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


troll, that was some interesting info. Too bad it wasn't in the original post.

And too bad the site kept breaking when I loaded it, and only saw one slightly funny comic.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:31 PM on November 6, 2011


Can you please explain why the post itself is mediocre?.. can you explain why it's not meritorious enough for MeFi?

Can you explain why you care so much? Honestly, I'm not being disingenuous or disrespectful. I mean, I've never had a post deleted, but I've had a few comments, and - though I 99% agreed with them - even when I don't, I just shrug my shoulders and move on. The world, the site, and myself are not meaningfully poorer for my comment not being on the internet.

Why didn't you just memail taz or use the contact form to find out about the post? I can't help but feeling that in putting it here, you're not actually interested in improving your post and making mefi better, so much as having a "are ye wit' me, or agin me?" showdown - like every other MeTa on every other day seems to be having at the moment.

That being the case, why weren't you content with the answers posted by mods in that multitude of other deletion MeTas? Because if you're not specifically interested in finding out about your post or if it's worth a do-over, the mods' innumberable responses in other threads so serve the "wit me or agin me" purpose just fine.

I wonder about you, Troll. You're someone familiar to the community, I'm fairly confident. Hope you get by a little happier this time around the carousel, whoever you are.
posted by smoke at 8:47 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, thank you for your explanation. At this point I think it's best if we respectfully agree to disagree. I'm relatively new here, and I want to meet in the middle as I mature and soak in the culture. Hopefully I can do that without pissing everbody off.

R_N, that's a fantastic suggestion.

schroedinger: One: The art is fucking terrible...

Two: ...Oh look, a joke involving a discussion about the diversity of texts all claiming to hold the only key to a moral life and the existence of people still acting ethically without their influence! Hahaha, how novel and original, that discrepancy has totally not been noted by every critic of religious establishments ever! I mean it is not like Socrates was put to death for issues involving that or anything! If you are going to copy Socrates, at least be clever about it...


One: It's not about the art. The creator is quite candid about this. It's a medium for the message, which brings us to...

Two: Most people can't even tell you who Socrates was, let alone what he died for. Believe it or not, every generation has to learn philosophy for themselves; there is no Collective Databank of Enlightenment from which we draw. You may be above the rhetorical style of this comic, as brilliant as you are, but for a large ideological group the message is incisive and challenging to their worldview. I agree that it's not top-shelf, but that's a good thing for people with short intellectual legs.

naoko: Hmm, yeah, I'm an atheist but maybe one of the seven linked strips got a "heh" out of me.

I focused on introducing the characters and background, and those strips don't really represent the best of the comic. That's my fault. But I encourage you to check out a few random strips to get a wider flavor.

Smoke, I appreciate your questions and tone. I need to chill and consider what you've said. I'll get back to you in a minute.
posted by troll at 9:02 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


there is no Collective Databank of Enlightenment

Can we get the astral mod to weigh in on this?
posted by Sailormom at 9:09 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You may be above the rhetorical style of this comic, as brilliant as you are, but for a large ideological group the message is incisive and challenging to their worldview. I agree that it's not top-shelf, but that's a good thing for people with short intellectual legs.

Hang on... I don't really have a dog in this fight - I don't believe in Zeus, and if I met him in the street I'd ignore him (since we're talking about Socrates) - but what you just said was, in effect "Yes, the art is terrible, but it's not about the art. It's about the message. Which is middle-shelf atheist propaganda for people who aren't so smart."

Would it not have saved some time simply to have responded to the question "why was this deleted" with that answer?
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:10 PM on November 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Clicking the 'random' link got me to an extended fart joke.


Oh well.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:14 PM on November 6, 2011


Clicking the 'random' link got me to an extended fart joke.

you are so middle shelf.

btw....what was the joke?
posted by lampshade at 9:15 PM on November 6, 2011


but for a large ideological group the message is incisive and challenging to their worldview. I agree that it's not top-shelf, but that's a good thing for people with short intellectual legs.

You have probably read this in MeTa before but I'll say it again for the record, if your impetus for posting something is not "People might enjoy reading this" but rather "People should read this" you may be using MeFi as a soapbox and not for sharing neat stuff that you find on the web. People do this from time to time, but it's straying from MeFi's core mission and it's often the stepping stone to a not-so-great post. I don't know who you are but you seem like maybe a young man who is gung ho about atheism. The good news is that there are an awful lot of atheists here on MeFi [and on the internet in general] the bad news is that if you want to make posts about this topic, you have to make them good, better than this one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:16 PM on November 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


running order squabble fest: Would it not have saved some time simply to have responded to the question "why was this deleted" with that answer?

Well, no, because I don't think that's a good reason for deletion. The front page isn't just for smart people. Exposing this propaganda, as you call it, does a service for a lot of people who frankly need an aggressive knock on the noggin.

I'm all for posting more refined atheist philosophy for a more refined audience--say, Bertrand Russell. This is just one tool in the toolbox.
posted by troll at 9:18 PM on November 6, 2011


Heh, should have previewed.
posted by troll at 9:18 PM on November 6, 2011


I don't believe in Zeus, and if I met him in the street I'd ignore him

What if he was making love to your wife, in the form of a swan.

re deletion: even if this comic was about kittens or StarWars or anything, it is just not very good and is a borderline FPP.
posted by lrobertjones at 9:27 PM on November 6, 2011


So you're openly admitting that you posted a thoroughly mediocre-to-terrible comic simply because it professed worldviews with which you agree and you have decided there are enough people on Metafilter with "short intellectual legs" that they need to read it? And you're accusing the mods of infantilizing?

I didn't know squat about the trial of Socrates when I was 12 and I still came up with those stupid jokes. My point about Socrates was that people have been making those points for millennia and they are not novel or new to anyone who does not find "Family Circus" to be highbrow art. This comic is not the best of anything. You're posting the atheist equivalent of Millard Fillmore, if the guy who writes Millard Fillmore lost 30 IQ points and the ability to draw (and getting dumber than Millard Fillmore is an achievement in of itself).
posted by schroedinger at 9:32 PM on November 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


I would think that if the cartoonist were interested in getting their message out and not simply preaching to the choir, they would put more effort in making the strip aesthetically appealing. Message>medium, but a more palatable medium=more propagatable message.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:33 PM on November 6, 2011


What if he was making love to your wife, in the form of a swan.

[Thestius, King of Aetoiia, and Tyndareus, King of Sparta, walk into a bar]

Thestius: So, Tyndareus, honoured son-in-law, how is my daughter, your wife?

Tyndareus: I fear I bring bad news, dear father-in-law. I caught my beloved wife, your precious daughter, in the throes of carnal passion with Zeus in the form of a swan.

Thestius: Leda?

Tyndareus: I'm very much afraid he did, yes.

Please, tip your waitresses. With obols.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:40 PM on November 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


smoke: Can you explain why you care so much? Honestly, I'm not being disingenuous or disrespectful. I mean, I've never had a post deleted, but I've had a few comments, and - though I 99% agreed with them - even when I don't, I just shrug my shoulders and move on. The world, the site, and myself are not meaningfully poorer for my comment not being on the internet.
Yeah, my contributions alone aren't anything special. I didn't create this MeTa with outrage or indignation on my behalf; I created it because I perceived a bias in the moderation which, cumulatively, could hurt the value of MetaFilter as a vehicle of human progression. That might seem ridiculous, but I believe that any forum of minds can function as such in its own way, and we have an ethical obligation to that end.
Why didn't you just memail taz or use the contact form to find out about the post? I can't help but feeling that in putting it here, you're not actually interested in improving your post and making mefi better, so much as having a "are ye wit' me, or agin me?" showdown - like every other MeTa on every other day seems to be having at the moment.
I actually received a couple of MeMails which basically said "it really sucks that your post was deleted, this is bullshit!" So I thought there was a schism that needed to be addressed by the community at large.
That being the case, why weren't you content with the answers posted by mods in that multitude of other deletion MeTas? Because if you're not specifically interested in finding out about your post or if it's worth a do-over, the mods' innumberable responses in other threads so serve the "wit me or agin me" purpose just fine.
I was genuinely befuddled by the given deletion reason. I created this MeTa in good faith and included the question "how can I do better tomorrow?" The ensuing conversation has been enlightening and productive for me, and I will definitely keep this community input in mind next time I attempt a similar post.
I wonder about you, Troll. You're someone familiar to the community, I'm fairly confident. Hope you get by a little happier this time around the carousel, whoever you are.
This is my first time around. It shows, doesn't it?
posted by troll at 9:53 PM on November 6, 2011


Exposing this propaganda, as you call it, does a service for a lot of people who frankly need an aggressive knock on the noggin.

Why not make half the front page public service announcements then?

You're underestimating not just the intelligence but also the age and irreligiosity of your readership. The people you want to hit in the head are the kids at yahoo answers. The ones who are really committed to not-atheism probably won't click on a comic with that title in the first place, though, so you'll have to pretend you're sending them somewhere else. And find a way to keep them from hitting the back button when they figure out what it's about or see the two guys in bed or don't think it's funny enough or whatever.

There are many, many atheists here, a large and vocal percentage of the userbase, and the people who aren't have had many, many opportunities to be convinced by all kinds of arguments. The issue isn't that none of the arguments have been basic enough.
posted by Adventurer at 9:56 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter as a vehicle of human progression

Can we get the astral mod to weigh in on this as well?
posted by Sailormom at 9:56 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


...next time I attempt a similar post.

Please don't. I don't know how old you are, or why you think you're in any position to judge which people are in need of "an aggressive knock on the noggin," but that's not what MetaFilter is for and making FPPs on that basis is selfish and a jerk thing to do. There are myriad forums in the world for messages that you think other people need. Please use MetaFilter FPPs for things you think we might like.
posted by cribcage at 10:01 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I created it because I perceived a bias in the moderation which, cumulatively, could hurt the value of MetaFilter as a vehicle of human progression.

I'm going to basically reiterate what jessamyn said and suggest that you are maybe treating Metafilter as a vehicle for something that it is not. This is first and foremost a place for folks to share interesting things they found on the web with one another. It's fine to want to share something you think has some philosophical value or whatnot, but mistaking this place for a some sort of explicit platform for the human progress is going to lead you down some confusing paths as your posts continue to go wobbly and get received poorly and/or deleted.

You're posting the atheist equivalent of Millard Fillmore

Mallard Fillmore. The strip is Mallard Fillmore. Like a duck. This is a detail that I find personally important.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:02 PM on November 6, 2011 [25 favorites]


Exposing this propaganda, as you call it, does a service for a lot of people who frankly need an aggressive knock on the noggin.

Honestly, any sort of post that sees itself as a "service" to the less intelligent here is not a good post. It's pretty condescending, actually. Please don't see it as your job to rile up an apathetic populous. That's not what Metafilter is for.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:05 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hi, everyone. I just woke up! I've only been able to read half the comments here so far, but let me answer a few questions, quickly:

Yes, I was asleep.

About the deletion reason (Pretty thin for a notoriously hot-button issue; there might be a way to do this, but as a stand-alone – not so much), religion topics are so contentious and painful – and plentiful – here that just posting a comic that makes fun of religion doesn't leave much room for more than the usual shouting and yelling (and anger and account-closing etc.). But I specifically didn't want to say you can't post religious comics/topics ever. Is there a way to give it more depth? Like historically when did comics first begin to dare to touch the topic, or how are all sorts of different religious figures addressed in modern comics, or maybe go with the body-double angle and address how different comics depict Mohammed without depicting him, if that exists... or something. Something more than just religion-is-dumb. Are there any anti-atheist comics that are worth looking at to compare and contrast? Something.

And, what I will do from now on is try to send a longer explanation of my deletion reasons to the other mods in case a Metatalk post comes up while I'm AFK. Now I gotta take a quick shower... so it will be a few minutes before I'm back to read the rest of the thread or answer more questions that get posed right now. :)
posted by taz (staff) at 10:06 PM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Man, that comic sucked. Atheist Barmaid is the new Mary Sue. That's one of the laziest, most smug and self-serving rhetorical constructs I've seen since The Screwtape Letters.
posted by loquacious at 10:13 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Exposing this propaganda, as you call it, does a service for a lot of people who frankly need an aggressive knock on the noggin.

Sorry, just one other thing: what if everybody posted this way? People would eventually stop coming here, and Metafilter would no longer be a vehicle for anything. We'd have to move on to other sites and use those up too. (And I promise that you are not the only person here who wants to convince people of something extremely important that will help everyone on Earth. If only there were just one or two important things.)

So if you're going to try to convert people to atheism, try do it in a way that would make the site a better place even if nobody were to change their minds about anything, because what you just described is really just an attempt to harvest its userbase.
posted by Adventurer at 10:28 PM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]



Gator's RULE OF THUMB
This is cool; other people will want to see it == Good post
This is important; I want other people to see it == Bad post
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:31 PM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


And now that I've read the rest of the thread I've spotted one more thing I can answer here if it's actually important: I'm either atheist or agnostic, I don't spend a lot of time quizzing myself on that. I'm definitely not religious, but I don't care if anyone else is.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:42 PM on November 6, 2011


okay, now I'm confused. are you people saying Jesus isn't Lord?
posted by philip-random at 10:43 PM on November 6, 2011


Do you weigh more than a duck?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:44 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]




oneswellfoop, I also don't believe that every atheist thinks exactly like every other atheist and acts in lockstep with them, and I don't believe all religious people are like that either. And that's really, really all I have to say about that.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:49 PM on November 6, 2011


The front page isn't just for smart people.

HRRRRNNNNGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

...oh, cool, I've developed pyrokinesis!
posted by furiousthought at 10:52 PM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Guys come on. Half the posts are of the "this is important" variety. Right now we are flooded with OWS and credit union stuff. Not so long ago we were flooded with wikileaks stuff. Some of that stuff gets deleted but there is still a lot of it. Let's be realistic here, Half the time someone posts something cool people are all like "this is thin... Where is the context.... Not best of the web". There are as many opinions on what makes a good FPP as there are users.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:56 PM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


I created it because I perceived a bias in the moderation which, cumulatively, could hurt the value of MetaFilter as a vehicle of human progression. That might seem ridiculous, but I believe that any forum of minds can function as such in its own way, and we have an ethical obligation to that end.

oh my god please go away. Create your own forum of minds to use as a receptacle for propaganda of whatever sort you like.
posted by jacalata at 10:58 PM on November 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: Pretty much the entire mod team are atheists of one stripe or another [don't know about taz].

Now i see why they pick on the FNG!
posted by hal_c_on at 11:10 PM on November 6, 2011


Guys come on. Half the posts are of the "this is important" variety. Right now we are flooded with OWS and credit union stuff. Not so long ago we were flooded with wikileaks stuff. Some of that stuff gets deleted but there is still a lot of it. Let's be realistic here, Half the time someone posts something cool people are all like "this is thin... Where is the context.... Not best of the web". There are as many opinions on what makes a good FPP as there are users.

The difference is those generally have at least one of the following:
1) Not totally shitty, patronizing links/articles/videos/etc that are focused solely on providing handjobs for a certain niche of readers to the alienation of everyone else
2) Not totally shitty discussion attached if a thread gets started
3) Not totally patronizing, pompous OPs who are posting the links for The Embetterment Of Us All (mods can't always predict this one but in the case of this post the influence of this characteristic is clear)
posted by schroedinger at 11:19 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


i could do with less OWS posts. sometimes i flag them as "double."
posted by nadawi at 11:26 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


schroe, jacalata, chill the hell out. jacalata especially. You're not the gatekeeper of metafilter.

The flip side to troll's sort of preachiness is that he is achingly earnest. Like hardcore dewy-eyed earnest. Maybe it will take him some time to adjust, I dunno, but I feel like picking up someone who starts from a position of good faith is more difficult than picking up yet another sarcastic d-bag.

He's done nothing to harm you - he made a post that got deleted and then a meta to talk about. Ok two of each. None of them did you any harm. Step off, yo.
posted by kavasa at 11:44 PM on November 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


And who do you think you are, telling me to chill out?

/CUTS OFF RIGHT HAND
posted by jacalata at 12:06 AM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey, you gonna eat that?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:19 AM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


schroedinger: So you're openly admitting that you posted a thoroughly mediocre-to-terrible comic simply because it professed worldviews with which you agree and you have decided there are enough people on Metafilter with "short intellectual legs" that they need to read it? And you're accusing the mods of infantilizing?

The quality of the comic ranges from terrible to excellent, just like any other creative endeavor. Your reading of my motivations is interesting. I had a dozen reasons for making that FPP, and some carried more weight than others. Among the least important were any sort of agendae to proselytize atheism or condescend the readership. The beliefs you reference are incidental to the conversation at hand, and they are not sufficient reason for an FPP in themselves. I was primarily motivated to make this post for three reasons: 1) I knew some people would enjoy it; 2) it was new to MetaFilter; and 3) I was interested in qualitative analysis of the comic by the community. To expound on the third reason, loquacious' criticism above is fucking interesting, and it caused me reevaluate the voice of the barmaid. His comparison to The Screwtape Letters shook me because I hate that damn book and I saw hypocrisy in my tastes.

schroedinger: 3) Not totally patronizing, pompous OPs who are posting the links for The Embetterment Of Us All (mods can't always predict this one but in the case of this post the influence of this characteristic is clear)

It's funny that I come off like that, because throughout this thread I've acquiesced on multiple points in a productive back-and-forth with the rest of the community. I assure you, I am quite humble and aware of my limitations. I think you are conflating a perceived self-entitled prerogative to guide the process with my desire to contribute to the process. There is a distinction, and it's the difference between pomposity and humility. In other words, you're projecting; that's not who I am.

I'm not looking for a circle-jerk, and it's really great that you disagree with me (no, really!), but the virulence in your tone is palpable, and frankly, weird. Why are you so angry?

jacalata: oh my god please go away

No.
posted by troll at 12:20 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


troll, you just lost any sympathy I had for you (which admittedly wasn't very much) with that "short intellectual legs" crack. We're not all Einstein, certainly, but to suggest that Metafilter is here as a public service to teach all those slack-jawed yokels who read this site the error of whichever belief system they subscribe to is just bullshit. And pretty offensive, at least to me.

Look, the mods are people, and people have biases, but that doesn't mean that the mods are in the business of willy-nilly deleting things they don't like and that don't go well. I feel like the mods are so unintrusive here that it's hard to remember -- or even understand, really -- just how much work they are doing to contain whatever shitstorms are raging behind the scenes.

No one is being silenced or marginalized.

The site is not overmoderated and the mods do not have a heavy hand.

If you (the general you) really think these things are true, then I'm not sure you (the general you) and I inhabit the same planet.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 12:22 AM on November 7, 2011


As to the deletion, perhaps the post could have been given a bit more time, to see it was going be crappy. Deleting some because you think it's gonna go bad can be tricky.

Just something to think about.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:23 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Short intellectual legs" has just been added to my top 10 list of meaningless metaphors.

To elaborate...for the metaphor to make sense, the idiom "short legs" would need to have its own immediate metaphorical meaning; something that would pop instantly into most people's heads. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

There's nothing good nor bad associated with short legs that I know of, other than being able to fit comfortably in airline or bus seats, and maybe being ruled out for a career as a catwalk model.

Other than that, short legged people have no particular advantage or disadvantage over long-legged people, for most intents & purposes. This would be due to at least a couple of factors, to wit: first, the variability in human legs is not particularly great, and confined mostly to the thigh alone; and second, where such variability exists, it tends to be in proportion to the entire body, so a short-legged person is generally equivalent to a short person with legs.

"You've got 'short legs'...in an intellectual sense! HA!" is, in summary, a meaningless metaphor - nothing is added to the meaning of this meaningless epithet by the reference to leg length, and moreover, the conflation of intellectual ability with the very opposite end of the body is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:47 AM on November 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


so a short-legged person is generally equivalent to a short person with legs.

Like someone who has developed cognatively, ie a child?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:52 AM on November 7, 2011


I have a small quibble, UbuRoivas. I said "I agree that it's not top-shelf, but that's a good thing for people with short intellectual legs." See that shelf? It's high. If "a short-legged person is generally equivalent to a short person with legs," then the metaphor roughly means certain ideas are beyond the reach of certain minds.

I think it works just fine.
posted by troll at 12:56 AM on November 7, 2011


Wouldn't they just step up onto a stool? Tool use is one of the defining characteristics of human intelligence, and the "short legged" people are more likely to have explored such lateral thinking approaches. Necessity being the mother of invention, of course.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:01 AM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ha! Touche.
posted by troll at 1:03 AM on November 7, 2011


Thanks for taking the time to respond honestly and in good faith, troll, I appreciate it. If, indeed, you are a new user here, I reckon a good challenge for you - if you're up for it, no pressure - would be to see if you can go a month to six weeks without creating a MeTa, maybe without participating in MeTa?

I realise the arrant hypocrisy of saying this, in MeTa, but I think one reason why people have got their backs up is that they see a new user posting 2 MeTas in a week (and one for each month you've been a member); it's a lot.

Secondly, two in a week - both questioning a deletion by one of the newer mods - in a way that might be construed, frankly, as an attack on them - when they are both long-standing members of high esteem is liable to get people defensive. Especially when it's for posts a number of users don't think are worth getting het up about.

Obviously, you have every right to continue posting MeTas as often as you like, and questioning every deletion if you must, but I do wonder why your first impulse is obviously to post to MeTa when you have a question or a query about how the site is run, when there's a wide range of options ranging from "shrug", to "flame out" and everything in between.

A MeTa might have been the right decision for you but - if you care about the community as much as you say - it's worth the question if it was the right decision for everybody? I'm sure the mods are grown-ups who don't need defending, but you can needlessly hurt people's feelings when you post something perceiving to be attacking them (this applies to both MeTa and orginal post; mods and other members of the site), or simply make more work for them. It might be worth exploring your other options.
posted by smoke at 1:22 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Ad Hominem gets to the meat of why I'd left it; there's plenty of issue-based content put up just as shabby (which this was), so can't see why this should be any exception even given the claims of it being hot-button. On t'other hand, it's not the end of the world that it's gone either.

The truth is clearly that we are not a vehicle for human progression; MeTa is a juggernaut for crushing your dreams. Sorry, troll.
posted by Abiezer at 1:35 AM on November 7, 2011


The quality of the comic ranges from terrible to excellent, just like any other creative endeavor.

Many of the creative endeavors that I am a fan of are not terrible at all.
I think that those are the the good sort of creative endeavors to post on Metafilter.
posted by St. Sorryass at 1:40 AM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think a lot of feelings could be spared by just treating the deletion of your FPP as a shrug-worthy "oh well shit happens" non-event. I can understand being genuinely confused by why a deletion happened (and for that, there's always the contact form) but the "why was this deleted?" MeTas I've seen lately have been really shrill and hyperbolic, ranging from the tedious in their circular arguing to the downright offensive in how people have responded to deletions of their posts.

It's just a set of links you put on the front page of a website; not someone kicking the puppy you got for Christmas. I really do not understand where this need to publicly demand an explanation for a deleted FPP comes from, and understand even less how incredibly hurt people get by the event.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:46 AM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cortex: Mallard Fillmore. The strip is Mallard Fillmore. Like a duck. This is a detail that I find personally important.

I guess an atheist version of Millard Fillmore would still stand for President on an anti-Catholic platform, but from a hugely different ideological perspective...
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:12 AM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey, I'm on and off a bit here today, because I'm out in the big blue room doing some things that I can't put off. I just want to say that, as usual, everyone is free to use metatalk to get answers to questions or concerns, though often the contact form works better. It's really up to the person who is seeking answers how they want to do that. I don't mind being questioned or doubted – one pretty much always faces that in a new job that affects the participation of other people, and I expect it. But an assumption of good faith would be cool... I have no desire to be a curator or censor, so I'm never going to delete something because I'm pro or con any philosophy or political position – I will always be trying to do what the Metafilter standard is as I understand it, and only that.

But tomorrow night, only dog posts. Seriously. Everything else gets deleted. Cute dogs or get out.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:17 AM on November 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


But tomorrow night, only dog posts. Seriously. Everything else gets deleted. Cute dogs or get out.

Can one of you guys re-enable the img tag for that? It would make tomorrow night magical.
posted by cmonkey at 3:26 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do wonder why your first impulse is obviously to post to MeTa when you have a question or a query about how the site is run, when there's a wide range of options ranging from "shrug", to "flame out" and everything in between.

This MeTa has given me pause. I don't know, man. It's part of my nature to question things and agitate against the status-quo. Perhaps it's a misplaced extension of my frustration with this fucked up world and its relentless, grinding, twisted machinations. Perhaps it's leftover existential adolescent angst (I turned 25 today--WHAT THE FUCK 15 YEARS 'TILL 40!?) combined with a genuine desire to make this world a better place. It's probably a perfect storm of all three.

MetaFilter is a bastion of intellect and wisdom against a rising tide of self-destructive ignorance. It's a vital locus of the marketplace of ideas, and part of a greater conversation that humanity is having with itself. If we fail to evolve a protocol that effectively selects for the best ideas, our chances of surviving this technological explosion (and resultant pollution and mass extinction) greatly diminish. Here on MetaFilter, deletion policy is part of that protocol, because what is verboten and what is not is fundamental to the marketplace. I react strongly because, damnit, we don't have time to fuck around! This is a turning point in our history, and we have never been more complacent. I take this shit seriously.

Don't misunderstand me; practically nothing hinges on my deleted FPP or this MeTa. To preempt the cackling jackals, I'm not saying that this site is the solution to the world's problems; but it can be part of the solution. I sound like a "hardcore dewy-eyed earnest" fool, no doubt. We all have embarrassing implicit motivations, and the above paragraph details mine. God, I need a therapist.

I reckon a good challenge for you - if you're up for it, no pressure - would be to see if you can go a month to six weeks without creating a MeTa, maybe without participating in MeTa?

You know, I think I've underestimated the cost of this sort of MeTa. It expends the capital of energy, trust, patience, and good-will. Two in two weeks is crossing the line. I'm going to take a six week break, and I hope the mods will take me back afterwards. I'll be watching.

Thanks for talking, smoke.
posted by troll at 3:34 AM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's part of my nature to question things and agitate against the status-quo. Perhaps it's a misplaced extension of my frustration with this fucked up world and its relentless, grinding, twisted machinations.
...
I react strongly because, damnit, we don't have time to fuck around! This is a turning point in our history, and we have never been more complacent. I take this shit seriously.


I suspect that some of the reactions you are receiving are from members who, like me, remember being 25 and are cringing at the memory that we too once came across as... young as you do, for good and for ill. Happy Birthday and enjoy your break.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:44 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


But tomorrow night, only dog posts. Seriously. Everything else gets deleted. Cute dogs or get out.

Finally, an excuse to post my favorite webcomic about talking dogs who incisively satirize religion! YOU'RE WELCOME TAZ.
posted by auto-correct at 3:45 AM on November 7, 2011


(I turned 25 today--WHAT THE FUCK 15 YEARS 'TILL 40!?)

Meh, I turned 40 recently. The white hot anger of 25 has changed to patient determination. Not everyone or everything changes on the schedule I would like, but they do it much more easily if I treat them as friends and offer an occasional suggestion.

The sex is better too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:48 AM on November 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


If we fail to evolve a protocol that effectively selects for the best ideas [...]

I know you're talking in a different context, but that's a really interesting phrase to pop up in a post disagreeing with the deletion of a weak post.
posted by auto-correct at 3:48 AM on November 7, 2011


taz: Hey, I'm on and off a bit here today, because I'm out in the big blue room doing some things that I can't put off.

Taz for PM!

Just kidding, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Dog post day sounds brilliant though.

Happy Birthday, troll!
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:54 AM on November 7, 2011


But tomorrow night, only dog posts. Seriously. Everything else gets deleted. Cute dogs or get out.

Can one of you guys re-enable the img tag for that? It would make tomorrow night magical.


Let's not forget the incident that caused Matt to remove the image tag to begin with, which was the post titled Everyone Post Photos Of Cute Parrots.
posted by panboi at 4:06 AM on November 7, 2011


Just to get back to the controversy, the REAL problem here is not the obviously freedom-hating censorship policy of the MeFi mods, but rather their SECRET policy of total site domination.

It's very clear that the mods have decided to delete "controversial" posts purely on the basis that "this post might cause arguments". And yet, all those controversies and arguments are then played out in MetaTalk - where irrelevant material, personal accusations and "flame outs" are the norm.

Why this inconsistency? It can only be because the mods feel that their control is greater here in MetaTalk - the dank and foul nest they call "home"! Here, they all gather in a writhing swarm of tentacles to utterly defeat any criticism - and if they sense danger, the entire thread can be halted at their disgusting whim.

Similarly, their control is even greater when they act in secret. Thus the call for users to "use the contact form instead" is totally misguided - as doing so allows the mods to exercise their malicious powers without the counterweight of transparency!

Obviously the mods have become so drunk on power that they are seeking to break the bonds of loyalty and service implied in their employment contracts, and desire to take over all discussion on MeFi themselves. By limiting any controversy to MetaTalk, where free-thinking can be ring-fenced and defeated in numbers, their aim is not to "silence" us, but to enslave our very minds. And yet, what vile beasts would even contemplate such a plot? Well, it seems clear that these "mods" cannot be human - they must be octopoid aliens from a violent planet of slimy doom.

In summary, then, let's all look forward to the 2012 elections when we can vote #1 quidnunc kid and be rid of the space-octopus threat forever. My patform for MeFi is "OCCUPY - not OCTOPI". I realise that is ungrammatical but I only have TWO ARMS to write this shit, unlike the 8-tentacled mod-lords who are currently controlling our minds. quidnunc out.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:10 AM on November 7, 2011 [18 favorites]


Let's not forget the incident that caused Matt to remove the image tag to begin with, which was the post titled Everyone Post Photos Of Cute Parrots.

If you think you can remember that incident, you weren't really there.
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:17 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can feel a definite groundswell building behind quid. Oh no, hang on , it's Solon, father of democracy, TURNING IN HIS GRAVE.
posted by Abiezer at 4:18 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Theagenes, the Tyrant of Megara and Solon, lawmaker of Athens walk into a bar.]

Theagenes: All right, Solon? How's the wisdom and justice business going?

Solon: Oh, fine, fine. But I can't shake the suspicion that it may be for naught. Within a few centuries I fear that the power and wealth of the Persian Empire might lead to a Persian satrap playing the great powers of Greece off against each other - molding us like clay into a shape of his choosing.

Theagenes: Tissaphernes?

Solon More like a kiln, I thought, or a crucible. But you've got the right idea.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:47 AM on November 7, 2011 [17 favorites]


The body double thing would be much funnier done as a surrogate, a la Larry in Arrested Development. That would require much finer drawing skills than this author is currently capable of though.

there is no Collective Databank of Enlightenment

Can we get the astral mod to weigh in on this?


This doesn't lend itself to an easy yes / no answer to, but I'll do my best here.

Insofar as we have the Internet, and contained within that dataset are all of the major religious and philosophical texts produced since the beginning of history, and given that with sufficient time and study any individual with the ability to introspect and access to these texts can reach a state of enlightenment, the answer is yes.

I think that in the way the OP was referring to it, though, he meant that there is some more straightforward path available to reach this stage, and that it should be a simple matter to plug in and turn on - instant karma, that sort of thing. Barring the illegal use of LSD or other powerful psychedelic drugs (which, by the way, I strongly recommend), enlightenment at this point in human development remains a time consuming and largely solitary process.

For a more immediate and wide-ranging enlightenment to take place we will need to wait for the legalization and mass use of psychedelics and / or the singularity. Incidentally, once either of those things happens there will be no excuse for these kinds of shitty web comics anymore. So stay tuned!

MetaFilter as a vehicle of human progression

Can we get the astral mod to weigh in on this as well?


While the terrestrial mods will quite naturally tend to focus more on the "best of the web" mission, human progression is indeed one of the more important side effects of the site. I don't want to post too many spoilers here, so again - stay tuned! I'll try to give MeFites plenty of advance notice when the Turn On and Drop Out phases are imminent.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:11 AM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought it was pretty funny, and there was at least one strip that was just brilliant.

I really don't like the idea that FPPs have to be padded out - "Here's a link to a comic. And here's a link to the Wikipedia page for Jesus, and to Mohammed. And here's a few [previously]s to the last time Jesus or Mohammed were mentioned. And here's a picture of a kitty!"

No. If the point of the FPP is one link, leave it as one link.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:14 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter is a bastion of intellect and wisdom against a rising tide of self-destructive ignorance.

It so is not. I'm a member, for one.
posted by Ritchie at 5:22 AM on November 7, 2011


The ____ of Justice: "This is utter horseshit, as a cursory review of posts including the term "Catholic Church" proves. There have been literally dozens of posts and hundreds if not thousands of comments (rightfully, imo) condemning the Church and Catholicism for their intolerance towards non-Christians, women, gays, lesbians and other minority groups. And that's only one sect of Christianity that's been posted about here on MeFi.

I actually think it's the anti-Islam thing that metafilter is more concerned about. Critiquing Christianity is generally okay here.
"

Look, if MetaFilter can criticize Islam, then the terrorists have lost.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:31 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


(I turned 25 today--WHAT THE FUCK 15 YEARS 'TILL 40!?)

for me - that 15 years seemed like 15 minutes. enjoy it!! *sigh*
posted by h0p3y at 5:36 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


225 comments to a post by a guy named "troll." You people. You practically ask for it.
posted by crunchland at 5:39 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I laughed at both the comics and the youtube derails. Thanks troll!
posted by jeffburdges at 5:42 AM on November 7, 2011


More like a kiln, I thought, or a crucible. But you've got the right idea.

*Scribbles running order squabble fest's name on a potsherd*
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:45 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Troll, as others have said, Mefi is not a soapbox. Not yours, mine or anyone else's. "You need to see this very important thing!" proselytizing posts do not fit this site's "mission" (insofar as it can be said to have one.)

We are a diverse community. Many of us have probably been struggling with and drawing our own conclusions about theistic questions and religious culture(s) for decades. How you choose to engage us all on those topics is your prerogative. But don't be surprised when one-note posts that exist mostly to say, 'look at those idiot assholes' without much additional context or point get axed.
posted by zarq at 6:03 AM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was primarily motivated to make this post for three reasons: 1) I knew some people would enjoy it; 2) it was new to MetaFilter; and 3) I was interested in qualitative analysis of the comic by the community.

I don't doubt that you had multiple reasons for making the post. But your argument for why the post should not have been deleted is that it would be useful for the stupid to see. It seems to me, therefore, that this must be the most important reason to you.
posted by Diablevert at 6:09 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm going to take a six week break

I'm going to take you at your word, unfortunately named internet friend. Have a good break. I sincerely suggest adding "have fun" to your list of things to do here. This place is a lot of things to a lot of people, but my favorite post on MetaFilter last week was a bunch of fake chat logs between a dude and his cat. Plug in. Maybe a little less with the insulting stuff when you return.
posted by mintcake! at 6:29 AM on November 7, 2011


No. If the point of the FPP is one link, leave it as one link.

I am with you on that idea, but in practice it has a tendency to not work.

Having to pad a post sort of sucks, but we do it all the time on the internet and in life. If I walked out on the street and read aloud the text of that comic, I would get shouted down by who knows how many passersby. If I explained a bit to a stranger passing by what the context was, I might have the chance to have them see my point for promoting the comic. This post did not do that. Each link contained within just pointed to the same site. That is not context, it is just re-hashing the same idea with multiple links.

And the comic sucked anyway. It was trite, tired and not at all insightful.

For all the verbal largess of Troll, he just blurted out a post and didn’t do the footwork on to make is viable as a discussion point. Then he comes here and starts this "why-did-my-thread-get-axed-#2billionandand63”. If he had really be interested in being more successful about not having a post axed, going to the people with their fingers on the button would be a logical first step or searching MeTa for deleted thread reasons. But no, instead we get yet another re-hashing of the same ideas that are well documented on this site and millions of others. And then he insults the user-base for good measure.

For all the verbal largess, Troll seems to have basic misunderstanding about communicating online.

But then again, I have very short intellectual legs, so what do I know? Hell, my legs are so short I wear my shoes on my kneecaps.
posted by lampshade at 6:31 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


What if he was making love to your wife, in the form of a swan.

I don't bother with water fowl disguises anymore when it is much easier to seduce wives in the form of George Clooney or Brad Pitt.
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 6:34 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your Intellectual Legs Too Short to Box With Mods.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:51 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: " I really don't like the idea that FPPs have to be padded out - "Here's a link to a comic. And here's a link to the Wikipedia page for Jesus, and to Mohammed. And here's a few [previously]s to the last time Jesus or Mohammed were mentioned. And here's a picture of a kitty!"

No. If the point of the FPP is one link, leave it as one link.
"

If a post on a contentious topic is going to survive on the front page without the thread turning into a shout fest, then it needs to not be too argumentative or so one-sided that the discussion has no place left to go but down. That does not mean filling out an FPP with wikipedia links. But often, it will help to provide deeper, thought-proving context to allow a post to be better received.

Not always, but often enough that it's probably worth considering.
posted by zarq at 7:09 AM on November 7, 2011


Troll, I'm not angry, I just didn't feel like politely tiptoeing around the "Your post is a shitty post no matter what position it was trying to take" issue and still don't. You are so earnest about your soapboxing that you are trying to translate the deletion of your objectively shitty comic into a referendum on the nature of free speech and how The Man Is Keeping You Down. You are just not getting that no matter how "earnest" you are and how much you want to "change the world, dammit *bright, starry eyes, fist in the air, etc etc*" the best way to do it is not by being insufferably patronizing.

If you want to "change the world," there are far better ways to do it then making an argument on an Internet forum your Line In The Sand. But as another poster pointed out, this may just be your thing giving your username.
posted by schroedinger at 7:12 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]




troll's gone on vacation and can't respond in this thread, so talking to him as if he can or will is odd.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:27 AM on November 7, 2011

"I don't bother with water fowl disguises anymore when it is much easier to seduce wives in the form of George Clooney or Brad Pitt."Hey, Zeus!
That really worked? Man, those pre-classical Greek women were into some kinky shit.

Oh, wow, look—it's Natalie Portman. She's hot.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:29 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "troll's gone on vacation and can't respond in this thread, so talking to him as if he can or will is odd."

No one here seems to be asking him to respond. Or expecting one.

There's nothing wrong with assuming he's still reading the thread.
posted by zarq at 7:38 AM on November 7, 2011


Hope you come back soon, troll. Sorry that you went out on this crappy comic. It really does read to me like an atheist Herb and Jamal, with the same pacing problems and stilted dialogue, but worse art.
posted by klangklangston at 7:43 AM on November 7, 2011


troll's gone on vacation and can't respond in this thread, so talking to him as if he can or will is odd.

There's not really any good mechanism for dealing with a MeTa thread that was opened by someone who quits it partway through. Closing a thread on the discussions that other people have started seems sort of unfair and yeah, we have no reason to expect that troll might or might not be reading this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:44 AM on November 7, 2011


Lose your mind and come to your senses.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:58 AM on November 7, 2011


troll, (assuming you're still paying attention) add me to the voices hoping you'll come back when it feels right. You've done some great work here with some of you FPPs. One thing I hope you won't feel a need to continue to do is take certain aspects of the site personally when they go against you (ie: this Meta). Just think of it as wind. Sometimes it's at your back. Sometimes it's in your face. What it isn't is ever personal. Unless you make it so ... which kills the wind analogy, unless you believe in God or something.
posted by philip-random at 8:00 AM on November 7, 2011


That really worked? Man, those pre-classical Greek women were into some kinky shit.


So, King Minos of Crete and his brother Sarpedon meet in a bar.

Minos: Sarpedon, my brother, my year has been a year of pain and tears.

Sarpedon: I grieve for your misfortune, brother. What has ailed you?

Minos: I discovered that my wife was pregnant not with my son but the child of a white bull - the very bull that once I refused to sacrifice to Poseidon. For my hubris, my wife was consumed by inhuman passion, and now has been delivered of a monstrous child - half bull, half man.

Sarpedon: Pasiphaë?

Minos: Actually, no - he just sleeps right through the night after feeding. Totally peaceful. If it weren't for the bull's head, he'd be an absolute angel.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:03 AM on November 7, 2011 [18 favorites]


Oh, Mister Peabody!
posted by octobersurprise at 8:13 AM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


According to Procopius, they actually re-enacted Leda and the Swan in brothels with a real swam and a real girl. The Empress Theodora herself was alleged to have taken part:
As soon as they were old enough, Theodora's mother put her children on the stage. The eldest, Comito, scored a great success and Theodora, the middle child, followed her on stage, playing a little slave attendant for her sister. Theater was considered the embodiment of immorality in the sixth century and by the end of the seventh century, the Church would succeed in banning it entirely. The staple fare was the mime, involving obscene burlesque, and on the evidence of Procopius, Theodora made a name for herself with her portrayal of Leda and the Swan: she stripped off her clothes as far as the law allowed, for complete nudity was banned, and lay on her back while some attendants scattered barley on her groin. Then geese, evidently playing Zeus in several guises, picked up the barley with their bills.
posted by empath at 8:15 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd rather have had the comic, an actual creative endeavour and example of original content on the web, than today's exciting news blurb / invitation to pile on Republicans in Michigan. But hey, we do all seem to agree that we can't have consistency.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:57 AM on November 7, 2011


What did Procopius have against Theodora? Because I guarantee you there is no way anybody who has seen a goose in action is letting one anywhere near their Swimsuit Zone. Of course, she was an empress, so maybe she didn't know what geese are capable of. What a puzzler.
posted by Adventurer at 9:07 AM on November 7, 2011


I really don't have much of an opinion about the comic (meh) or the deletion (meh), I would understand either way. I also recognize that when it comes to what goes or what stays pretty much every post is an apple to oranges situation. On a site that is pretty much all about the people that makes sense.

HOWEVER.

It is very difficult for me to take any of this seriously when there is a post on the front page that links to creepy pictures of celebrities without their eyebrows.
posted by Kimberly at 9:08 AM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


It is very difficult for me to take any of this seriously when there is a post on the front page that links to creepy pictures of celebrities without their eyebrows.

ò_ó --> o_o
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:21 AM on November 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


Of course, she was an empress, so maybe she didn't know what geese are capable of. What a puzzler.

She wasn't an empress at the time. She was the daughter of a bear trainer, and a burlesque dancer/prostitute.

Procopius did have something against her and Justinian both, though, so you kind of have to take what he said with a grain of salt, but it was probably at least plausible that they did that sort of thing at the time, even if she herself hadn't done it.
posted by empath at 9:25 AM on November 7, 2011


I'd rather have had the comic, an actual creative endeavour and example of original content on the web, than today's exciting news blurb / invitation to pile on Republicans in Michigan.

Why can't we just agree to not have both?


(seriously. A single link op-ed?)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:27 AM on November 7, 2011


I'd trust the veracity of Procopius' Secret History about as far as I'd trust a book about UFO abductions:
And some of those who have been with Justinian at the palace late at night, men who were pure of spirit, have thought they saw a strange demoniac form taking his place. One man said that the Emperor suddenly rose from his throne and walked about, and indeed he was never wont to remain sitting for long, and immediately Justinian's head vanished, while the rest of his body seemed to ebb and flow; whereat the beholder stood aghast and fearful, wondering if his eyes were deceiving him. But presently he perceived the vanished head filling out and joining the body again as strangely as it had left it.

Another said he stood beside the Emperor as he sat, and of a sudden the face changed into a shapeless mass of flesh, with neither eyebrows nor eyes in their proper places, nor any other distinguishing feature; and after a time the natural appearance of his countenance returned. I write these instances not as one who saw them myself, but heard them from men who were positive they had seen these strange occurrences at the time.
So now you know that the 'no eye brows' blog is really an homage to the literature of Late Antiquity.
posted by Kattullus at 9:36 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


seriously. A single link op-ed?

Almost no one has flagged it. The discussion is going okay, not great but okay. The legislation is weird and interesting [where does free speech end and religious freedom begin and why is this law ostesibly about ending bullying given such a weird loophole?]. We really err on the side of deleting as little as possible. Same goes for the doofy eyebrow post.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:37 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just think of it as wind. Sometimes it's at your back. Sometimes it's in your face.

Either way, it's still just wind. Hope you come back, troll. Not a horrible post, not a great post, but it's unfortunate about what was done to you here, in any case.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:45 AM on November 7, 2011


Blazecock Pileon: "it's unfortunate about what was done to you here, in any case."

Which was what, exactly? What was "done" to troll? He had a post deleted, for one of the more common reasons. Many, many people have pointed this out and done so relatively politely. He wasn't driven off the site by anyone here. He's chosen to take a break.

The threadshitting was unpleasant, but it clearly also wasn't personal.
posted by zarq at 9:52 AM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


FPP deletions have seemed rather more frequent to me, too, and so I actually appreciate the accompanying frequent MeTas so that everyone can have a better idea of where the goalposts are now. I was really surprised that this thread about funerals was deleted, for example - it seemed pretty obvious to me that there was a problem to be solved, and it can't possibly be any more chatfiltery than the open-ended human relations questions that are always allowed to stand. If the poster had written a long "special snowflake" exposition, would that have made it better? Why do people have to tell us their whole life story to get an answer?

I feel the same way about the "flesh it out" deletions - sometimes a single link to an interesting thing is plenty, and doesn't require ten halfhearted wikipedia links to make it a good post. Also, the more links there are, the less likely it is that people will actually read them, and then we just get a circlejerk discussion about what everyone thinks the post is probably about. It's frustrating and doesn't seem to happen as much in threads with only one link.

I wish there was a way to flag deleted threads to register disagreement with a deletion, and I wonder if that feedback would be useful for the mods. It seems like that might take some of the pressure off MeTa in terms of complaining about deletions, and it might be useful to know if there was substantial disagreement with a deletion without having to deal with a big snarky MeTa THUNDERDOME thread like this where people get to haul off and lecture the poster for having the gall to make a post they didn't like.
posted by dialetheia at 9:55 AM on November 7, 2011

Another said he stood beside the Emperor as he sat, and of a sudden the face changed into a shapeless mass of flesh, with neither eyebrows nor eyes in their proper places, nor any other distinguishing feature; and after a time the natural appearance of his countenance returned. I write these instances not as one who saw them myself, but heard them from men who were positive they had seen these strange occurrences at the time.
"Not Ostrogoths,-- not Ostrogoths," gasped the terrified man... "I saw... I saw the Emperor -- by the moat; -- and he showed me... Ah! I cannot tell you what he showed me!"...

"Ha Ha!! Was it anything like THIS that he showed you?" cried Procopius, stroking his own face --which therewith became like unto an Egg... And, simultaneously, the light went out.
posted by zamboni at 9:56 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Moderator's prejudice
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:59 AM on November 7, 2011


I wish there was a way to flag deleted threads to register disagreement with a deletion, and I wonder if that feedback would be useful for the mods.

Use the contact form, email or MetaTalk. These options have always been available to people and some folks prefer one or the other.

That AskMe, to me, was "What do you think about this?" it was unclear what the problem to be solved was which is rarely the care with the human relations questions, no matter what we think about them. Judgment call, in any case, but I don't know if I would have done anything differently.

cortex or FishBike can speak to this, but I don't think we're seeing an actual numerical uptick in the number of FPP deletions.

And honestly, I think the bulk of this MeTa discussion wasn't what I would consider a pile-on, troll had his opinions and statements of why he posted his FPP and this MeTa thread and some people suggested that he do things differently. I'm not sure how you sign up to be a member of an online community with a username like troll and don't expect people to be a little eyebrow-raised when you start making a stink about something. troll has assured us that he's not an actual troll (which I guess is what I troll might do? I have no idea. I'm trying to take him at his word) and to the best of our understanding he's not a Brand New Dayer. That said, MeFi doesn't have to be all things to all people and it may be that what he wants to use MeFi for isn't what the site is for. Or maybe the site subtly shifts and adjusts to his and others' viewpoints. It's a little up in the air.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:04 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish there was a way to flag deleted threads to register disagreement with a deletion

I wish there was a way to make a post on the front page about a subject that was interesting but frame it in such a way that it provoked quality discussion and didn't end up getting deleted and then argued over and over in MeTa to no good end.

Oh wait, there is. Nevermind.
posted by tommasz at 10:05 AM on November 7, 2011


tommasz: " I wish there was a way to make a post on the front page about a subject that was interesting but frame it in such a way that it provoked quality discussion and didn't end up getting deleted and then argued over and over in MeTa to no good end.

Oh wait, there is. Nevermind.
"

I agree that making an effort to that end is a good thing, but even the very best post can be deliberately undermined by one person with an axe to grind, or inadvertently by an asinine comment. Or by an OP who misreads the room, so to speak. (I've done the latter a few times, although not lately.) There's no way to construct a post so it is deletion-proof or threadshit-proof.
posted by zarq at 10:16 AM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's no way to construct a post so it is deletion-proof
Technically there may not be any "100% deletion proof" guarantee but jeez is it ever not hard to make a post which won't get deleted.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:37 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


But tomorrow night, only dog posts. Seriously.

this should have been done on 11/03 IMAO.

laika! *weeps*
posted by elizardbits at 10:56 AM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


That funeral ask.me seems like a straight-forward etiquette question on a thorny subject. It strikes me as a misreading to judge it as chatfilter but I can understand how it would have been read that way.
posted by Kattullus at 11:22 AM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


FPP deletions have seemed rather more frequent to me, too --- Many hands make busy work.
posted by crunchland at 11:32 AM on November 7, 2011


Many hands make busy work.

We have been asked for literally years to please get a moderator in a non-US timezone so that people who lived the UK and Australia could have someone to answer their questions or MeTa posts quickly. Finding someone who can more or less hit the ground running, deal with the peanut gallery and be good at her job is no easy feat. We are really lucky and pleased that taz is here and we think it addresses some holes in our moderator coverage that were problematic. The downside is that more bad posts don't remain undeleted because "By the time we saw it it was too late to delete it" which was something I was always a bit bummed to have to say. taz is super communicative with us and we go back and forth about a lot of deletion questions she has, so she's not all out there on her own just rolling the dice or deleting a bunch of stuff just to look like she's earning her salary.

It's cortex's wife's birthday so he's unlikely to be running numbers today but we can check the deletion trends this year and look for dips or spikes when restless_nomad came on board, when taz came on board, or during the times when more than one of us was on vacation/traveling at once. There's no need to holler about confirmation bias or make accusations about quantifiable things. Either it's true or it's not. I'll ping Fishbike and we can see if we can get something started.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:44 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Many hands make busy work.

So much envy.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:48 AM on November 7, 2011


Really, I think the deletion reasons could do with some standardization. If there's a set criteria for what's good and what isn't, there's no reason the deletion reasons couldn't be stock phrases selected from a list (with "other: ___________________" as the final choice).

Seems to me that'd cut the ambiguity and contentiousness right down.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:48 AM on November 7, 2011


It's just endless. We bitch if "not enough" posts get deleted for reasons we think are good ones, and we bitch if "too many" posts get deleted for reasons we think are bad.
posted by rtha at 11:49 AM on November 7, 2011


Sys Rq: " Seems to me that'd cut the ambiguity and contentiousness right down."

We could add a section to the FAQ: "Your Post Sucks: A Deletion Primer"
posted by zarq at 11:59 AM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Another said he stood beside the Emperor as he sat, and of a sudden the face changed into a shapeless mass of flesh, with neither eyebrows nor eyes in their proper places, nor any other distinguishing feature; and after a time the natural appearance of his countenance returned. I write these instances not as one who saw them myself, but heard them from men who were positive they had seen these strange occurrences at the time.

That guy was just having a migraine, Katullus.

As I wrote in a recent Answer:

I get painless migraines fairly often...

Back when they began, after about twenty I became aware of a preliminary symptom: first I would see faces in bushes, on brick buildings, in patterns of objects on the shelf. etc., followed a few minutes later by an inability to make any sense of the faces on people; everyone looked like Mr. Potatoheads with their features swimming randomly around like big pond insects on their faces.
posted by jamjam at 12:13 PM on November 7, 2011


Another said he stood beside the Emperor as he sat, and of a sudden the face changed into a shapeless mass of flesh, with neither eyebrows nor eyes in their proper places, nor any other distinguishing feature;

Hmm...
posted by the_artificer at 12:18 PM on November 7, 2011




Any chance you can run the actual numbers (in addition to percentages) and maybe put a trendline in there?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:59 PM on November 7, 2011


Procopius did have something against her and Justinian both

I'm right here, you know. This is getting really awkward for me.
posted by Justinian at 1:26 PM on November 7, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm not sure how you sign up to be a member of an online community with a username like troll and don't expect people to be a little eyebrow-raised when you start making a stink about something.

exactly.
posted by sweetkid at 2:53 PM on November 7, 2011




Metafilter Deletions (redone)

AskMe Deletions (redone)


By the way, my original Metafilter Percentage charts were incorrect. Everything was about a third higher than it should have been.

Also I really need to convince excel to handle multiple y scales simultaneously.
posted by Meta Filter at 3:04 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


By the way, my original Metafilter Percentage charts were incorrect. Everything was about a third higher than it should have been.

I was gonna say. A fifth of posts getting deleted in a week seemed a bit on the high side.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:36 PM on November 7, 2011


Wait, the mods don't keep track of brand new day accounts?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:40 PM on November 7, 2011


Thanks for the updated charts! It's tough to tell what's going on in those charts because of the scale, though. It looks like posting volume has decreased somewhat on both subsites, and it appears that at least the MeFi deletion percentage is up, but it's hard to tell by how much because of the cramped scale of the bottom two lines. Could you provide the slopes of the trendlines, maybe?
posted by dialetheia at 3:48 PM on November 7, 2011


Depends on what you mean. There's no formal "I am having a Brand New Day" process; if someone signs up again, they sign up again. There are a number of things that may tip us off, directly or indirectly, that someone is a returnee, and we can do a little bit of digging to try and verify our suspicions if it's not clear either way, but ultimately there's no way to be absolutely sure a new person isn't secretly an old person returning if they've (intentionally or otherwise) covered their tracks well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:49 PM on November 7, 2011


And not to pile on request after request, but for those of us who are colorblind it would be helpful if somebody could just confirm, "Yup, X-number is climbing" or "No, Y has been pretty consistent" from those graphs. Thanks in advance.
posted by cribcage at 3:52 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


ultimately there's no way to be absolutely sure a new person isn't secretly an old person returning if they've (intentionally or otherwise) covered their tracks well.

Pretty much this. We have the standard indicators. We've seen really dedicated people (people who were actually not on the "Hey come back whenever!" list but the "We are done with you!" list) come back with all new Paypal and all new IPs and all new contacts and email addresses and were a little challenging to track down. The whole deal really is that if you come back and don't do that thing again, whatever it was, we don't much care if you're the formerly-banned-or-buttoned user. And if you do that thing again, well it's the same old problem. It's really rare that someone goes away and comes back and really wants to hide their identity and can't. We only know the people who aren't trying very hard, or who don't care if the mods know that they're back. There's some stuff on the back end that groups people who have the same Paypal or email addresses and we can ungroup people by hand if it turns out they're siblings or married or roommates or parent/kid. Really we're more concerned if people are running multiple accoutns at once more than sequential accounts, though we do have our tolerance limits with people who are perpetually account hopping.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:03 PM on November 7, 2011


Things are pretty consistent, basically. Graphs slow a very shallow upward line fitting for deletions on askme and mefi and a shallow decline in total post volume, over the last year.

Notably, it doesn't show a big spike in deletions, or really any coherent shift in the last few months away from the spiky-on-a-week-to-week-basis-but-steady-on-average pace earlier on. The perception that deletions are noticeably up appears to be pretty much what we were saying based on mod eyeball estimates: a misperception.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:05 PM on November 7, 2011


The surprising thing to me is how few AskMe deletions there are, given its reputation as the most moderated part of the site. I guess that's down to there being much more lax guidelines, relatively speaking, for AskMe posts vs. MeFi posts, which is to say that as long as a question isn't chatfilter and can be answered, it pretty much always stays. Conversely, there are much more stringent guidelines for AskMe comments vs. MeFi comments, which is likely where the "heavy moderation" part kicks in.
posted by Errant at 4:14 PM on November 7, 2011


Yeah, you'd see basically the reverse for comment removal, with fewer on mefi and more on askme. Still low single digits in both cases, but it's definitely easier to get a comment deleted from askme than from anywhere else on the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:23 PM on November 7, 2011


It looks to me like there's a strong possibility of an uptick of deletions on the blue over the past couple months. There are the most deletions of the year in the current cycle, and I don't see a pattern before that that would have looked like an upward trend the way the last part does. Can we get average number of deletions per day/week for each week/month if you're not already tired of running numbers?

There's also the steady upward trend that's right there on the graph.
posted by cmoj at 4:41 PM on November 7, 2011


The perception that deletions are noticeably up appears to be pretty much what we were saying based on mod eyeball estimates: a misperception.

Huh? If there's an increase in the deletion percentage, and people have noticed it, by definition it would be noticeably up, no? Don't get me wrong, I'm not making the accusation that crunchland is making, that it's related to new mods coming on board. There are lots of good reasons why the deletion percentage might increase (maybe people are making more shitty posts; my hypothesis would be that the bar is being raised as the community grows). But it looks like the perception that post deletions are up is at least superficially borne out by the numbers (and I think a trend might be clearer if data from 2010 were included, but I can't quite figure out how to get the percentages by day/week from the infodump).
posted by dialetheia at 4:47 PM on November 7, 2011


One last Mefi Graph. I chopped off the very last result due to bad data.

Unfortunately FishBike will have to pick it up from here.
posted by Meta Filter at 4:49 PM on November 7, 2011


There's also the steady upward trend that's right there on the graph.

I'm not sure what you're referring to and I hate to sound clueless but the deletion percentage trendline on this graph seems basically flat to me. There's an uptick in both posts and deletions but the trend line on percentages is flat. Are we looking at different graphs or interpreting what we're seeing differently?

MF, is that last graph supposed to have data from 2004 or is that a labeling error?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:57 PM on November 7, 2011


Huh? If there's an increase in the deletion percentage, and people have noticed it, by definition it would be noticeably up, no?

There's a ton of local noise; there's been a week or two with high-for-the-year peaks, and a week or two with low-for-the-year troughs. The average even over the last two months is basically the same as the average for the previous two-month stretches for the year.

So, no, people saying "man stuff sure is getting deleted more lately" are not noticing that successfully. I would basically defy anyone to detect the trend line on that graph from casual day-to-day observation of post deletions even if they were studious about using a deleted thread detection script every morning, because the movement is spikey from day to day and pretty much stable over time on average. The rate of increase is incredibly subtle; it does not remotely bear out gut assessments of significant increases in deletions.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:03 PM on November 7, 2011


jessamyn wrote...
MF, is that last graph supposed to have data from 2004 or is that a labeling error?

Why, I have no idea what you are referring to...
posted by Meta Filter at 5:06 PM on November 7, 2011


Well, I happen to disagree with this deletion but I really appreciate taz's responsiveness in this thread. Again, great choice for overnight mod.
posted by lalex at 5:06 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why, I have no idea what you are referring to...

Edit window is fucking great, isn't it?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:11 PM on November 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


The numbers for deletion rates by month are pretty lumpy. One approach to smoothing things out to get a better idea of long-term trends is just to average a longer interval. So here's a table of the quaterly numbers for the blue.
year        quarter     posts       deletions   deletion_percentage
----------- ----------- ----------- ----------- -------------------
2002        2           2174        111               5.11
2002        3           2293        156               6.80
2002        4           2156        205               9.51
2003        1           2169        173               7.98
2003        2           1966        81                4.12
2003        3           1922        78                4.06
2003        4           1821        69                3.79
2004        1           1660        58                3.49
2004        2           1895        66                3.48
2004        3           1907        59                3.09
2004        4           2308        149               6.46
2005        1           2612        158               6.05
2005        2           2306        136               5.90
2005        3           2356        199               8.45
2005        4           2409        197               8.18
2006        1           2608        249               9.55
2006        2           2127        185               8.70
2006        3           2480        224               9.03
2006        4           2211        234              10.58
2007        1           2511        224               8.92
2007        2           2615        308              11.78
2007        3           2648        278              10.50
2007        4           2655        239               9.00
2008        1           2568        305              11.88
2008        2           2542        300              11.80
2008        3           2344        270              11.52
2008        4           2599        259               9.97
2009        1           2591        250               9.65
2009        2           2441        219               8.97
2009        3           2588        300              11.59
2009        4           2431        264              10.86
2010        1           2681        258               9.62
2010        2           2722        266               9.77
2010        3           2895        237               8.19
2010        4           2873        249               8.67
2011        1           2980        252               8.46
2011        2           3042        256               8.42
2011        3           2823        275               9.74
2011        4           1191        145              12.17
I went back as far as the first full quarter of significant deletion activity. Note that the current quarter shows the highest quarterly deletion percentage ever, but only by a tiny bit. Plenty of quarterly numbers years ago are flirting with 12% as well. The current quarter is nowhere near finished, either. The first week of November is basically 9%, so this could easily turn out to be a non-record-breaking quarter by the time it's done.
posted by FishBike at 5:37 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Huh, apparently I can't spell "quarterly" and auto-correct on this damn thing didn't catch it.

Posted from my Colossus Mark 2
posted by FishBike at 5:39 PM on November 7, 2011


You spelled it fine, if you were typing in Bostonian.
posted by Errant at 5:42 PM on November 7, 2011


Seems to me like there's two kinds of controversial content:
  1. Pro-X people think it's the bee's knees. Anti-X people think it's incorrect but still might find it interesting to read or look at or learn about. (For X = anti-theism, this might include, like, a post about Burzum, or a new Dawkins essay, or something like "Hey, they just announced a big atheists' convention" where even people who didn't want to attend might still be curious about it the same way we're all interested in what the Juggalos are up to this week.)
  2. Pro-X people think it's the bee's knees. Anti-X people just find it honestly tedious.
A lot of blasphemous humor falls in the first category for me, but a lot more falls in the second. I mean, I'll laugh my ass off at Sinfest, but this is no Sinfest. I can understand, in a sort of anthropological way, how this might be fun to read if you can get in on the us-vs.-them aspect. But without that angle, it's just dull as shit.

So that's different than "this topic is off limits" or "this topic is never funny" or whatever. It's just, like, "a joke that is only funny to your ideological allies is not actually a very funny joke."
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:50 PM on November 7, 2011


Oh man I hate when I forget to hit post and a thread drifts right out from under me before I get around to it again. If only we had some cleverly designed and implemented AJAX-type feature that would help me with this problem!
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:51 PM on November 7, 2011


The rate of increase is incredibly subtle

Chopping off the possibly skewed fourth quarter of 2011, deletions increased by 15% from Q1 to Q3. Even if the last quarter levels out, this first part of this quarter has definitely had a large (the largest, by a little bit) uptick in deletions. Whatever reasons are behind that, it seems obvious that people have noticed.

I do use the deleted thread script and it loads every time I view MeFi, so I do pay attention to deletions. I feel like I've noticed an uptick, and the numbers I'm looking at in this thread seem to support this.
posted by cmoj at 5:52 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


At any rate, now I know who is behind that Meta Filter account so that's something.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 5:54 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: "Edit window is fucking great, isn't it?"

Arrrgh.
posted by zarq at 5:54 PM on November 7, 2011


One thing that might be interesting to look at when I have more time (or of course if someone else wants to look at this first) is the deletion rates by time-of-day, and how those have changed over the past few months.

The hypothesis is that posts that would otherwise be deleted, but are rescued because a good discussion had time to break out, would be more likely to happen during times when moderator availability is low. And since that has recently been improved, we should see that historically, the deletion rate was lower at certain times of day, and now isn't. Or something like that.
posted by FishBike at 6:31 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah I was thinking about this over dinner and really the difference between having moderators roughly eighteen hours a day to having moderators more like 22 hours a day [we've still got this teeny gap many nights] has got to be something you could notice. Of course, that only started when taz started, though we could look at weekend moderation before and after restless_nomad.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:13 PM on November 7, 2011


It's not like we're not allowing most anti-muslim posts to stand.
posted by klue at 7:52 PM on November 7, 2011


Ideally you would also exclude posts that were deleted because they were doubles. It could be that moderation isn't increasing [and maybe it isn't anyway, based on Fishbike's table] but simply that posters are having more trouble finding the double as the archive becomes larger and larger.
posted by meech at 7:57 PM on November 7, 2011


o_O
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:57 PM on November 7, 2011


Chopping off the possibly skewed fourth quarter of 2011, deletions increased by 15% from Q1 to Q3.

Which, stated another way, is an increase of a skosh more than 1% in the total number of posts deleted from Q1 to Q3, or a change from an average of about 2.8 posts deleted every day to 3.0 posts deleted every day. I'm not saying there isn't a delta there, and I think it's interesting to look at the numbers (FishBike's notion of breaking it down by time of day is interesting, and we could break it down by mod too using the attribution in deletion reasons) but I very much stand by the idea that accurately eyeballing a net change at that scale through even consistent casual review of deleted threads is seriously unlikely, even in a hypothetical situation where the day-to-day variation didn't dwarf the quarter-to-quarter variation.

Ideally you would also exclude posts that were deleted because they were doubles.

Yeah, this is another challenge. Unfortunately I'm not sure there's a great way to really characterize deletions in details without going through and coding them by hand. You could take a guess at doubles by searching for reasons with links or "double" or "previously" in them, but that'd be a little rough.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:02 PM on November 7, 2011


Well, I'm also thinking all time periods are not equal, and intervals that encompass big news, especially ongoing big news like Occupy Wallstreet, will see more deletions as the flood of related posts becomes overwhelming and we have to start asking people to post updates in the open threads.

Even some things totally off the radar can have a seemingly significant short-term effect on raw numbers but absolutely not represent any change in moderation philosophy. For example, we recently were mentioned in a pretty popular (for a certain value of "popular") SEO blog which meant that a bunch of people signed up to try to spam the site. This is ongoing, but if we specifically get mentioned somewhere pretty visible as a place that can drive traffic, we get an uptick in spammers... and deleted posts. The same might happen if we get a highly visible mention of Ask Metafilter, with a certain increase of people not understanding the difference between the blue and green.

So, when trying to evaluate total numbers of deletions in terms of actual moderation trends, maybe also looking at reasons that include things like "open" and "thread," or "spammer," or even "Ask Metafilter" .... ? I'm not sure what else might also be helpful.
posted by taz (staff) at 9:13 PM on November 7, 2011


... oh, "banned." or maybe "KAPOW."
posted by taz (staff) at 9:15 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, I'm also thinking all time periods are not equal, and intervals that encompass big news, especially ongoing big news like Occupy Wallstreet, will see more deletions as the flood of related posts becomes overwhelming and we have to start asking people to post updates in the open threads.

Yeah, that'd be another angle on the coding of deletions—look at content, look at to what degree there are groupings within time periods across recurring themes. OWS has been a big thing the last while and we've definitely removed a fair number of those while there's also been (to some extent BECAUSE there's also been) way more thread on the topic that have stood than chance would suggest.

US Pres. election season is another thing that seems like a probable recurring source of not-great or one-too-many posts; you look at the 2-digit spikes from 2007 and 2008, with big contentious primaries in both major primaries and then a just seriously nutso general election campaign. There was a whole lotta crap posts in that period. And here we are in a nutty GOP primary season again.

Short of going through and tallying up the deletions by topic it's hard to go beyond just speculation on this stuff, though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:50 PM on November 7, 2011


Oh, more catching up:

I feel the same way about the "flesh it out" deletions - sometimes a single link to an interesting thing is plenty, and doesn't require ten halfhearted wikipedia links to make it a good post.

I personally adore good single link posts, and I've said so many, many times over the years. But controversial subjects that have a history of devolving into flamefests usually have a better chance of reasonable discussion if there is something more that just "religion is dumb" or "Israel is evil," or "outrageous thing happened."

My off-the-top-of-my-head examples of how the Jesus and Mo cartoon might have worked in a different kind of post didn't mean that it would have been a better post if there would have been a Wikipedia link to explain who Jesus is, or who Mohammed is, etc.

Moderators here have always been clear that news posts and difficult/touchy subjects may require more thoughtful framing, and this often gets turned into an accusation that all single link posts are discouraged when they absolutely, positively are not.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:00 PM on November 7, 2011


cortex: I very much stand by the idea that accurately eyeballing a net change at that scale through even consistent casual review of deleted threads is seriously unlikely, even in a hypothetical situation where the day-to-day variation didn't dwarf the quarter-to-quarter variation.

I think you might be looking at the wrong number. What regular, non-mod users would notice wouldn't be more deletions, so much as fewer threads surviving that should've been deleted. A small uptick in deletions could lead to a much smaller amount of survivor threads. I'm not entirely sure that would be going on, but it would explain why some people feel that there has been a marked increase in deletions.
posted by Kattullus at 6:23 AM on November 8, 2011


I have been a fan of Jesus & Mo for a long time. I wish I had "starred" or whatever my favorites over the years. I bookmarked these two from 2007 with delicious: well, holy. I did some digging for some of my faves and found a handful I think might be worth your time: angel, poll, girls, prize, edge2, close, bill. ... That was fun!

As for the art, have you seen webcomics? Or comics in general? Plenty are low-fi. I think saying the post is bad because the art is bad is a fig leaf. xckd and achewood are occupying the same aesthetic territory. I think a strong case could be made that The Far Side is in the same realm. This isn't Pogo or Calvin & Hobbes - with lovely art and subtle draughtsmanship.

Jesus & Mo is about religion. It often depicts Mohammed, which for Islam is a grave taboo. I can see why the post was deleted. I enjoy a religiously themed webcomic that makes me laugh because I like to think I'm serious-minded about the religious impluse. I see Sinfest and Jesus & Mo operating in the same sphere.
posted by artlung at 7:39 AM on November 8, 2011


xckd and achewood are occupying the same aesthetic territory.

Now that's what I call blasphemy.
posted by Zozo at 10:50 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


My issue with Jesus & Mo has nothing to do with the art; the "controversial" religious arguments are really well-tread and aren't presented in a funny or interesting way. It's high school senior atheism.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:19 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's high school senior atheism.

Is that AP, cause I don't see it on my course catalog.
posted by found missing at 3:22 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fun fact: Salman Rushdie loves Jesus and Mo.

For myself, my high school world religions class (Catholic high school) covered atheism, agnosticism, and freethinkers. Not an AP class.
posted by artlung at 3:45 PM on November 8, 2011


I did some digging for some of my faves and found a handful I think might be worth your time: angel, poll, girls, prize, edge2, close, bill. ...

Thank you for doing that. I have to say, looking at a few more of these... The didn't hit my funny bone, personally. I think if I were a religious person I might find them a trifle condescending, because the underlying assumption seems to be that many religious people are unaware that their are internal contradictions in their scripture. I personally, have not often found that to be the case. It seems to me to be kneeslappers-for-Data --- humour that would only appeal to people who are so relentlessly logical they have trouble understanding not only how other people think but that other people think. Idea being "if once you saw this logical flaw, then the whole edifice of belief would inevitably crumble," and that people who that doesn't happen for are simply stupid, and therefore stupidity can be the only plausible reason for the persistence of belief. I tend to think things are a little more complicated than that.
posted by Diablevert at 3:49 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, don't be fooled by the format; there's really no humour to be found. They're just Chick Tracts for Atheists.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:07 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't get a sense that the intent of J&M is to get people to drop their religion and be atheist.

I read J&M when I was attending Mass regularly a few years ago. I didn't find it destabilizing or condesending to my religious practice or faith. It's a comic strip. I like a comic that makes me laugh, simple as that.

Folks on this thread sure seem to hate it though.
posted by artlung at 4:10 PM on November 8, 2011


I like a comic that makes me laugh, simple as that.

Right, but There's nothing to laugh at. There aren't any gags or punchlines or anything. They all seem to be nothing more than: "Religious people believe this!" "I know, right?"

It's perfectly in line with Chick Tracts' "Non-Supervangelical-Christians believe this!" "I know, right!" And just as accurate.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:42 PM on November 8, 2011


no punchlines? I think those are pretty good punchlines.

You can not like the strip - but I don't think the claim that there are "no gags, no punchlines, no anything" -- I don't think you have a very strong case.

I'm a comics fan, and have read many Chick Tracts, and I think even if I were with them ideologically, they are humorless. Those are typically a systematic, extended assault on a belief or cultural tenet and how people who practice it are BAD BAD BAD. If you're taking the view that J&M is a smug comic strip, and that Chick Tracts are similarly smug, that's about as far as I could go. When I was working in a public library in the late 1980s I actually came across a Chick comic in the stacks and I was stunned at how hateful it was.
posted by artlung at 5:02 PM on November 8, 2011


artlung, those comics to me are like bad sitcom jokes. Yes, they have the correct form to be humor, and clearly they are intended to be funny, but they just fall totally flat. I feel like I am watching a stand up comic bomb, and it is unpleasant.
posted by ericost at 6:35 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah. No. I am the choir those comix are preaching to and they are fucking dire. Good delete.
posted by unSane at 6:39 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


In fairness, as an atheist myself, I think there's basically one argument against the existence of God: the lack of empirical evidence. Beyond that (such as the incredibly tired "if God is all good and all powerful, why do bad things happen?" line), you're basically travelling through Smugland on cruise control.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:10 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


there's basically one argument against the existence of God

True for (Abrahamic, world-bothering) Gods in general, but not true for the various instantiations proposed by different varieties of religion, which are susceptible to deconstruction I think. But yeah.
posted by unSane at 8:13 PM on November 8, 2011


"no punchlines? I think those are pretty good punchlines.

You can not like the strip - but I don't think the claim that there are "no gags, no punchlines, no anything" -- I don't think you have a very strong case.
"

I don't find either of those strips very funny, but I'm curious about why you do. To me, both have a huge pacing problem — with four panels, wasting three on didactic exposition means that the punchline really has a huge burden on it. And neither of those punchlines effectively subvert the exposition. Add to that, that none of the main three characters have more than a single dimension — a lot of the humor is supposed to work on the idea of these being historical persons, but there's nothing there that actually reflects the mannerisms of any of them or makes them distinct in any real way. For the majority of the comics that I've seen, you could switch the speakers pretty much at random, aside from the Mary Sue barkeep. The comparison to the conservative Daily Shows is pretty apt — since there's no humanity in these characters, didacticism is all that's left. Add to that punchlines that are essentially on the "What's the deal with airline food?" level of humor, and it just doesn't connect for me.

I'd love it if you could explain to me what you like so much about this.
posted by klangklangston at 11:05 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Uh... they make me laugh?

It sounds like to some of you I'm some sort of mutant for laughing at J&M. I've been reading it for a long time, look forward to new ones. The reaction I have is visceral, but I'm kind of a didactic person, so maybe that's it -- being wordy in itself is not a turnoff for me in a comic strip.

I've enjoyed the strip since at least 2007, possibly earlier. I don't know what else to tell you. My taste is different.
posted by artlung at 10:01 AM on November 9, 2011


Well, what I was trying to get at was "Why do you think those are pretty good punchlines?" Because honestly, they seem to elicit more of a "Heh. I agree with that," response than any sort of humor for humor's sake, at least to me. I know that humor is somewhat subjective, but I also believe in the value of examining subjective responses, and since you're the one left in the thread who believes those strips are funny, I'd like to figure out why — if anyone else thinks they're funny, feel free to chime in. (I'll also cop to being a person whose Research Paper Writing class in college had the broad topic of research on humor, so I may be more prone to dissecting the frog than most.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:49 PM on November 9, 2011


To me what J&M feels like is a witty conversation - I appreciate witty conversation - podcasts, talk shows, shows and movies that feature smart and/or funny people talking and raconteuring. That's what it feels like to me. Knowing that the conversation is coming out of historical figures I know a little about, and the appreciation I have for history, including the history of religion, the strips work for me.

Mind you, I've never proseletyzed (hah!) for the strip, never bought any merch, never donated money, I'm not really particularly pro-Atheist other than I like listening to Christopher Hitchens. I have been reading the thing at least 4 years. I think if I were reading it on ideological grounds (the comment about it feeling like a lifeless Daily Show clone by Fox News stung a little) I think I'd have unsubscribed from it.

Does that help any?
posted by artlung at 1:20 PM on November 9, 2011


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