Enough already, dude. November 8, 2011 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Why the hell is every second comment in this thread by empath? Yeah, I'm exaggerating, the real number is more like every sixth comment, but fuck, man, 35 comments in a thread with just over 200 comments is ab-so-fuckin-lutely ridiculous. I may not even have brought this up if it were in anyway an isolated example, but it drives me nuts and keeps me from commenting in empath-dominated threads.

I know you may be bored, but for the love of god, man, go do something else for a while.
posted by gman to Etiquette/Policy at 12:58 PM (316 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Previously
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:58 PM on November 8, 2011


I regret to say that I was part of that dynamic.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:01 PM on November 8, 2011


I really hope that creating a thread to call a specific person out by name is in violation of some kind of rule around here.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:04 PM on November 8, 2011 [11 favorites]


This seems kind of personal to me.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:07 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


gman, I share in some of that; we've both been locking horns. Don't single him out.

For the record, I think it's winding down anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:07 PM on November 8, 2011


I don't understand why people get publicly called out for making too many comments in a thread - it's happened to me a couple of times when I passed some perceived threshhold.

If it's problematic, shouldn't we be asking the mods to step in and deal with it? If it's not problematic, shouldn't we let people express what they want to express? (For reference, I've never been asked by a mod to stop posting in a thread, even though in a couple of threads I was labelled a 'threadjacker' or a 'threadsitter' or what-have-you.) It seems to me that the only purpose such a call-out serves is to indirectly state that a particular user's opinions are annoying.
posted by muddgirl at 1:07 PM on November 8, 2011 [14 favorites]


My rule of thumb is 10%. Once you are over 10% of total comments you need to take a walk. This has happened repeatedly with empath and Ironmouth lately. It doesn't make for interesting reading.
posted by mek at 1:08 PM on November 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think with empath in that thread, I was being the gadfly, though.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:08 PM on November 8, 2011


and that's more than 10% in this thread for me. oops.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:09 PM on November 8, 2011


It doesn't make for interesting reading.

It does sound like a very special issue of X-Men, though. But I think empath was absorbed by Legion before Ironmouth ever became a new mutant.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:10 PM on November 8, 2011 [21 favorites]


He's participating heavily in what, on skimming, is a pretty much civil argument with a few other people who are commenting "every sixth comment." If there are rules around here about participating in active discussions, I don't know them.
posted by cmoj at 1:10 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey EmpressCallipygos - I've got your back on this one.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:10 PM on November 8, 2011


You're under 10% again. I'd wait for a few more posts before jumpin back in though. Just to be safe.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:11 PM on November 8, 2011


Hey, thanks for th-

*counts*

dammit!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:12 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


My rule of thumb is 10%

Really? Why is that? I'm not saying it's the case in this situation (I'm not reading the thread in question), but couldn't someone have a valid reason to be commenting a lot in a thread? What if they are having reasonable and cogent debate with several other folks in the thread?
posted by blurker at 1:13 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


"A rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation."
posted by mek at 1:14 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


It seems to me that the only purpose such a call-out serves is to indirectly state that a particular user's opinions are annoying.

I think part of the problem is that thread was a bit of the usual suspects grinding the usual axes, so I can see how it would be boring. Long contentious threads like that devolve into back and forths all the time, and if it wasn't me, it would have been someone else.

And that's all I'm going to say about that thread. I was done with it, anyway.
posted by empath at 1:14 PM on November 8, 2011


What a stupid call-out this is. What's the point of being on the blue if you're not interested in having (sometimes passionate, sometimes heated) conversations with people? This is a feature, not a flaw.
posted by jbickers at 1:15 PM on November 8, 2011 [27 favorites]


gman, trust the mods to handle a problem if there is one that needs to be handled.

It's okay. really. Not the end of the world or the end of Metafilter.

What is your goal with this metatalk? If it's just to vent, you could have mailed the mods. If you hope to change something.. insulting a member of the community is not the way to go about it. You're just going to piss people off.

Metatalk needs less threads of pissed off people pissing off other people.
posted by royalsong at 1:15 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Re-writing this to eliminate snarky sarcasm!

I respectfully submit to the committee that this is one of those times where MeMail was probably a better choice.
posted by kavasa at 1:16 PM on November 8, 2011


I really hope that creating a thread to call a specific person out by name is in violation of some kind of rule around here.

Sometimes folks want to talk about specific users' behavior. It needs to be an okay to do generally speaking, though we want it to be done reasonably well: more "this seems like a problem" than "hey buddy, you suck".

As an aside on that, gman, for what it's worth I think it's more useful to explain what the metatalk you're linking to from another thread is, in the comment where you do the linking, rather than just a bare and hence potentially cryptic "meta". Lets people know why they'd even click, for one thing, including the person you're calling out.

He's participating heavily in what, on skimming, is a pretty much civil argument with a few other people who are commenting "every sixth comment." If there are rules around here about participating in active discussions, I don't know them.

There's no firm rules or anything, but then most of the time it's not really a recurring issue—everybody is likely to have a thread now and then that they're particularly interested in or a conversation they get heavily engaged in, and that's fine and often quite good.

We do have a sort of core group of high-volume users in the userbase here, though, and it's possible for that heavy-engagement thing to get to being seemingly more a matter of habit of convenience than someone really deciding in each case that this is something where them commenting a ton in a given thread is going to improve that thread for everyone else.

So it's a mixed bag. I think empath is someone who comments with good intentions by and large but also comments a whole lot, and I don't think there's a black and white sort of answer here because he's not fucking around as far as I can tell but he probably also wouldn't do badly to throttle it back some with the frequent commenting.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:17 PM on November 8, 2011


Most of the time he was responding to comments directly addressed to him.
posted by vanar sena at 1:17 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, SO many people in that thread didn't bother to click any of the links. It seems like the same old axe-grinding is the problem more than any one person.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:18 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


My rule of thumb is 10%. Once you are over 10% of total comments you need to take a walk.

I agree, although I firmly believe that this needs to be self imposed, not something that others on the site need to try to enforce. Most of the time, when someone is dominating a thread in terms of individual contributions to overall comments, that person has most likely slipped into a take-on-all-comers kind of state, but not always. Not at all.

And when the conversation is mostly civil and parties seem to be trying to talk in good faith, I don't see a problem. It's a little frustrating when you want to interject a point and it gets bypassed in favor of the ongoing discussion, but that happens in any fast moving thread, not just ones with a couple of loud personalities.

For my money, it's generally more of a feature than a bug. But there are a few times when it happens over and over in different threads, that I just give up and walk away, as it's easier to remove myself from the irritating situation than to get people with passion to stop talking about what they are passionate about.
posted by quin at 1:18 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


What people keep forgetting about axe-grinding is that a sharp axe is a weak axe. The more you grind the quicker you'll lose your edge. The more you know!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:20 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think that we all have our list of "oh my fucking god, not YOU again...and again...and again people". I do. It has made me post even less. I mean, what is the point? You can SEE where the thread is going so why bother?
posted by futz at 1:21 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


It can seem like a small number of people keep going 'round and 'round and 'round with various debates. The usual suspects having it out yet again gets tiresome.
posted by ambient2 at 1:21 PM on November 8, 2011


And yeah, empath was seemingly in the position of "representative of ideas I don't like" where people kept trying to argue with him because they want to argue with someone who thinks that way, and smack them down in a satisfying way. Same thing happens with Ironmouth. Not saying either "side" is wrong, and it is fun to argue, but it's less fun to read. Gets to be like watching an especially dry and long debate.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:21 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


It seems like the same old axe-grinding is the problem more than any one person.

If someone else is grinding their axe, and you don't like it, then step away. It's clearly predictable, right? Or, metaphorically, empath can't grind an axe if s/he doesn't have a grindstone.
posted by muddgirl at 1:23 PM on November 8, 2011


I am choosing not to comment in this thread.
posted by slogger at 1:24 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


go do something else for a while.

I don't understand how any Metafilter commenter thinks they get to tell another Metafilter commenter how to act.

I don't understand what's wrong with the number of comments by empath in that thread.

I agree with most of what empath said in that thread.

This is a strangely hostile and personal callout of one particular commenter who happened to post a series of very reasonable, articulate comments in a controversial thread.

empath was seemingly in the position of "representative of ideas I don't like"

I didn't get that impression at all. I assume empath's comments were sincere, though I can't read his mind.

In conclusion, I don't understand this MeTa thread.
posted by John Cohen at 1:24 PM on November 8, 2011 [17 favorites]


Or a whetstone, or whatever.
posted by muddgirl at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2011


Cocktails all around?
posted by infini at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2011


Futz, there are opposites to that too.

"Hey it's [mefite]! He always has really interesting things to say.."


hmm.. idea!

..Is there a greesemonkey thing that hides people's usernames?
posted by royalsong at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2011


It can seem like a small number of people keep going 'round and 'round and 'round with various debates. The usual suspects having it out yet again gets tiresome.

It happens in religion threads, it happens in mac vs pc threads. It happens in israel/palestine threads, it happens in Obama threads.

Using apple as an example since, I don't usually post much in those -- if you banned Art W and Blazecock from ever talking in an apple-related thread again, in 3 months, it would be two other people tussling on it over and over again.
posted by empath at 1:26 PM on November 8, 2011


If someone else is grinding their axe, and you don't like it, then step away.

Right, but there are three distinct groups of people that we're talking about here:

1. person with unpopular/controversial opinion, or simply argumentative and prolific comment
2. people who really enjoy arguing with/harassing/mocking that person
3. people who do not enjoy watching the resulting argument or participating in a thread dominated by that argument
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:27 PM on November 8, 2011


And just for the record (this has been bugging me for days now), when I favorited this recipe in the civil_disobedient flameout thread, it was not because I condone posting recipes. I wanted to bookmark it so I could print it and use it. And I did print it and use it last night, and it was delicious. See, I'm one of those people who use favorites as a bookmarking mechanism, except for those times I use them to voice support for or agree with a common sentiment. At those times I'm using favorites more as a voting mechanism. Except when I'm using it as a bookmark. I know you know what I mean.
posted by slogger at 1:27 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Greasemonkey*

or maybe replaces it with the number?

I would like to be known as eight-six-two-four-six from now on.
posted by royalsong at 1:27 PM on November 8, 2011


If someone else is grinding their axe, and you don't like it, then step away. It's clearly predictable, right? Or, metaphorically, empath can't grind an axe if s/he doesn't have a grindstone.

But if one wants to participate in a conversation, stepping away is not a great solution. There have been a few threads where I wanted to participate in a thoughtful discussion, but the other tangential arguments kept whirling around completely destroying any serious trains of thought.

Hence my suggestion to meta of a limit on the number of comments that can be allowed by one user per time period.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 1:28 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't get that impression at all. I assume empath's comments were sincere, though I can't read his mind.

Me too; I mean that people are placing him in that position. For example, in vaccination threads someone who comes in and states that they don't vax will become THE ANTI-VAXER! and people will jump to argue with them.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:29 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


a sharp axe is a weak axe

But a dull axe is far more dangerous, as it takes considerably more effort to force it through wood. Axes can easily be sharpened so shave-ably sharp while still retaining a good edge holding characteristic with a bit of effort...

Oh, perhaps you were speaking metaphorically. Because if we want to turn this to a discussion of the proper way to hone and sharpen different cutting tools, I'm totally into that.
posted by quin at 1:30 PM on November 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


and it is also very cool that all the numbers that represent me are even numbers!
posted by royalsong at 1:30 PM on November 8, 2011


There are more and more topics every year where a couple of users will just dominate every thread related to it with the same arguments every time. These threads suck but they are getting to the point where they are a near-majority of Metafilter threads in general.
posted by enn at 1:31 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Me too; I mean that people are placing him in that position.

There were other people who were commenting who basically agreed with me. I was just the one that was going back and forth with people instead of just dropping a comment and leaving the thread.

I'm not sure that dropping a controversial comment in a thread and then bailing is better behavior than defending what you say. Although I get that there is a point where it's probably too much.
posted by empath at 1:32 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I actually thought it was a good thread that involved some interesting discussion. Even though empath posted a lot of comments, they were mostly short ones in response to something specific and to me at least it didn't come off as hijacking the thread and it didn't turn into a pile-on. The weird sniping back in forth that happened earlier with other users was a lot more disruptive to the discussion and I'm glad it was deleted.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:36 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know why it's coming off that I'm criticizing you, empath, but I'm not. I'm trying (and seemingly failing) to describe a pattern I see playing out among many different people in many different threads, in order to point out that it is not an "empath doing X" problem but rather a problem of human (mefite?) nature.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:37 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that dropping a controversial comment in a thread and then bailing is better behavior than defending what you say.

For what it's worth, I agree with the sentiment there, but, yeah, there's a continuum where you've got hit-and-run on one end and seriously entrenchment on the other, and generally where folks should be most of the time is in between.

Going back and forth with someone for a few comments is totally fine, but if you're habitually getting into protracted commenting sprees in a lot of threads it's something that bears thinking about in terms of whether it's a dozen or three comments at a stretch because you're helping foster really great conversation or just because you have time on your hands and the will to reply to whoever replies to you.

Which, this is a general thing that applies to a lot of folks who just spend a lot of time here, not some specific empath-only thing. But you're definitely one of the folks in that territory, and it would be good if you could try being more mindful of that stuff, if nothing else.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:37 PM on November 8, 2011


Using apple as an example since, I don't usually post much in those -- if you banned Art W and Blazecock from ever talking in an apple-related thread again, in 3 months, it would be two other people tussling on it over and over again.

Blazecock dialed it way down over the last year or so in Apple threads. He did not need to be banned, he worked it out himself. You should look into something like that.
posted by mlis at 1:40 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm trying (and seemingly failing) to describe a pattern I see playing out among many different people in many different threads, in order to point out that it is not an "empath doing X" problem but rather a problem of human (mefite?) nature.

I think the phrase you're looking for is "sometimes we all catch the the 'SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET!' virus."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:40 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


But a dull axe is far more dangerous, as it takes considerably more effort to force it through wood. Axes can easily be sharpened so shave-ably sharp while still retaining a good edge holding characteristic with a bit of effort...

I'm certainly not arguing for dull axes, but axes aren't cooking knives, it doesnt take much work to knock an axe into shape; you're much more at risk from over-sharpening than under.

Metaphorically.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:41 PM on November 8, 2011


Maybe we need a MeTa to call out gman for being too damn sensitive and telling other members to shut up.
posted by spitbull at 1:41 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know why it's coming off that I'm criticizing you, empath

I didn't take it that way.
posted by empath at 1:41 PM on November 8, 2011


3. people who do not enjoy watching the resulting argument or participating in a thread dominated by that argument

...

There have been a few threads where I wanted to participate in a thoughtful discussion, but the other tangential arguments kept whirling around completely destroying any serious trains of thought.

Is it too much to ask for people to simply ignore tangents that they're not interested in? Because that's what has to happen in a non-threaded commenting system like Metafilter.
posted by muddgirl at 1:41 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


the other tangential arguments kept whirling around completely destroying any serious trains of thought.

Say what? The beauty of text is that you can skip things you don't want to read.
posted by spitbull at 1:43 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's cool how so many comments there stayed short though, makes the thread more fun.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:44 PM on November 8, 2011


The more criticism there is of one commenter making many comments in a thread, the more this site is going to have a culture where majority views are privileged and minority positions are ostractized. For instance, if a thread has 100 comments but each one is by a different commenter, the thread will tend to be dominated by the majority position. If there's a view that's held by 90% of the commenters, then 90% of the comments will express the same view.

If, instead, one of the people in the minority decides to post many different rebuttals of various comments they disagree with, the discussion will tend to be more intellectually honest because everyone will get a chance to read a full-fledged version of both/all perspectives. The fact that one commenter's number of comments may end up being higher than others' seems like a relatively minor concern next to the question of whether different sides get fully voiced.

Of course, if it turns out that the majority view is the better one and that the dissenter doesn't convince anyone, that's just fine. But we should let the chips fall where they may, not discourage someone from making too many comments based on some arbitrary standard.

Surely there is some point at which a commenter makes so many comments on the same topic as to be more annoying than illuminating, but there's a built-in solution to that problem: people will get bored by that commenter and start skipping over their comments.
posted by John Cohen at 1:47 PM on November 8, 2011 [25 favorites]


My rule of thumb is 10%. Once you are over 10% of total comments you need to take a walk.

I agree. For example, once I realized I had been responsible for more than 10% of the comments here and here, I did not comment any further in those two threads.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:49 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


people will get bored by that commenter and start skipping over their comments.

In my experience this never happens. Instead, that person becomes a lightening rod of focus.
posted by futz at 1:50 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


lightning rod ffs.
posted by futz at 1:51 PM on November 8, 2011


Is it too much to ask for people to simply ignore tangents that they're not interested in? Because that's what has to happen in a non-threaded commenting system like Metafilter.

I think when it really becomes problematic is when the tangent is off-topic, and the thread suddenly becomes about something else. For example, if the Nest post had a lot of interesting comments about the thermostat technology. If the first few comments were about the iPod connection and it had veered off into the same old Apple is great/Apple sucks debate, that probably would have prevented people from having the technical discussion. Obviously it would be great if everyone could ignore derails and stay on topic, but in practice it's very difficult to do that when most people in the thread are commenting about something else entirely.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:52 PM on November 8, 2011


muddgirl: "Is it too much to ask for people to simply ignore tangents that they're not interested in?"

Kinda? If all the various articles I've read about what a wondrous place MeFi is are to be believed, the way you have a high signal to noise ratio is by actively managing the signal.

There are many threads where I would have loved to participate, but for it being dominated by back and forth between a handful of people. I moved on instead. Which ironically, is probably not good for the long term health of the site, if all the dispassionate bystanders do this.

And yeah it's always the people who I want to hear more from who post like one long comment and then say "oh man I hope I'm not blabbing too much! Sorry!", and the people who I really don't need to hear more from who are all "what? If you don't like what I'm saying, the door is over there!".
posted by danny the boy at 1:52 PM on November 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


To put a finer point on it, if people in the thread are asking you to talk more, you're probably doing it right. If you have the most comments in a thread by miles, is there really that much new insight you're sharing each and every time?
posted by danny the boy at 1:58 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't read articles about how wondrous MeFi is, so I guess I never got the memo that the point of discussion here was to be continually insightful.

As I previously implied, there's a middle ground between "engaging with high-output commenter" and "not commenting at all" - ignoring the derail and just posting what you were going to post anyway. I understand the frustration that such an action causes, like "Why isn't anyone reading and responding to my brilliant and insightful comment???" but that's just my own ego.
posted by muddgirl at 2:01 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


In the case in question, though, there could have been an element of empath on one side and a fuck-ton of other people on the other, kind of like that scene with Neo vs. the-whole-lot-of-Agent-Smiths. I've been the one person-against-a-multitude before, and it can sometimes feel like there's a need to keep a high pace up becuase you're getting hammered on all sides.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:01 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are two issues here.

One is: does empath comment too much? I have no opinion on that.

The other, though, is something I've experienced, and that I'm seeing other people refer to.

I come here for the community, and, increasingly, it's starting to feel like "the community" is basically devolving to "whoever can shout the loudest".

I actually like politics and religion, in small doses. And, in the past, I've been exposed to a lot of new viewpoints on MetaFilter.

But, lately, and this is probably just me, I'm starting to feel like I'm in a baby-and-bathwater situation with these threads. If I want to hang in there in the hopes that something new or interesting will get said, I very often have to wade through pages and pages of the usual people doing the usual shit.

Even just a few years back, it seemed like that was relatively rare. But, now? It seems like it's nearly every thread, whatever the topic. There will be a couple of people who will ride their particular hobbyhorses into the ring, and then we're off to the races.

And it's not like I want to bail out of the thread; I want to read stuff from someone else. I mean, I get it, we're a community, and it takes all kinds, but, really, it seems like about 10% of the user base dominates 90% of the discussion.

That, to me, doesn't seem like a community. It seems like a group blog. And, more and more when it comes to politics, I'm not seeing a lot of air between the comments here and the comments section on places like Balloon Juice.

I wish I didn't feel that way, but, well, that's how it feels. Take it or leave it.

Most of all, I'm sad that I don't feel angry writing this; I feel bored. And it's really shocking to me to recognize that. I'm bored because I'm tired of the same people making the same arguments again and again and again. I heard you. I mean, we all heard you the first five hundred times. And now we have to hear you again.

It just makes me tired.
posted by scrump at 2:03 PM on November 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


It seems to me that empath could've done a whole lot better by taking the time to put together a reasoned argument over a few paragraphs, rather than a drive-by one liner followed by 34 exegetic qualifications & explanations.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:05 PM on November 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


hey whatever happened to Lovecraft in Brooklyn (I ask because it felt like he sometimes did this, going a little comment-crazy, and just realized I haven't seen him post in a couple weeks now)?
posted by mannequito at 2:06 PM on November 8, 2011


scrump: " it seems like about 10% of the user base dominates 90% of the discussion."

This is a very common problem. The core users in any forum are usually the ones who comment regularly.
posted by zarq at 2:06 PM on November 8, 2011


it's starting to feel like "the community" is basically devolving to "whoever can shout the loudest".

"Devolved?" I wonder if this is a bit of confirmation bias - Metafilter has always been dominated by the most prolific commenters, although which users are the most prolific, and their particular pet issue, changes through time.

It's possible that as Metafilter matures, prolific commenters are more focused on political issues than cultural ones, but I doubt even that is true.
posted by muddgirl at 2:07 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


mannequito: "hey whatever happened to Lovecraft in Brooklyn (I ask because it felt like he sometimes did this, going a little comment-crazy, and just realized I haven't seen him post in a couple weeks now)?"

He's taking a break.

There are days when I feel like we need to keep a scorecard of who is and isn't active.
posted by zarq at 2:08 PM on November 8, 2011


> hey whatever happened to Lovecraft in Brooklyn

Check his last comment.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:08 PM on November 8, 2011


hey whatever happened to Lovecraft in Brooklyn

There's been a recent dearth of threads relating to Australia.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:08 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


muddgirl: "ignoring the derail and just posting what you were going to post anyway"

I don't know it sounds like you're asking why I don't want to wade into a pool of shit, because I can just ignore the shit.

Less metaphorically, why would I bother with the time and effort into writing a comment when it's going to get lost in the pile? I can send the link to my friends and talk to them about it, and actually have a conversation.

I have no opinion on empath or that thread btw. This is my generalized feeling about why I don't comment more.
posted by danny the boy at 2:09 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


That, to me, doesn't seem like a community. It seems like a group blog.

Metafilter
community weblog

Isn't it a group blog anymore?


And about that majority view - mostly I stay out of threads where its going to happen, like the ones where it devolves into arcane American law (primarily because I'm not going add to naming of the name) but more than that, I too have picked up a sense over the past few years that we're devolving into a sense of dominant culture (is it by sheer size?) than the many voices/opinions that threaded an interesting conversation together.

Today, I shall ignore that TV show post with a vengeance, since my earlier bout of sudden and inexplicable irk is still lurking
posted by infini at 2:11 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


...so it sounds like there's not really a problem here.

Honestly, and I'm sure you don't mean it this way, it sounds like you are saying, "When other people posts shit, it makes it hard for my shining diamonds to take their rightful place in the internet."
posted by muddgirl at 2:11 PM on November 8, 2011


That was in response to danny the boy - forgot to preview :(
posted by muddgirl at 2:12 PM on November 8, 2011


..Is there a greesemonkey thing that hides people's usernames?

Yeah, I made Mefinonymous a while back (I think during one of the many debates over favourites).
posted by ZsigE at 2:16 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


trust the mods to handle a problem if there is one that needs to be handled. --- this is good advice, except that it sort of makes Metatalk superfluous, aside from posting messages about other places that quote Metafilter.
posted by crunchland at 2:17 PM on November 8, 2011


John Cohen: " Surely there is some point at which a commenter makes so many comments on the same topic as to be more annoying than illuminating, but there's a built-in solution to that problem: people will get bored by that commenter and start skipping over their comments."

So.... I have taken to not commenting in political threads where Ironmouth is dominating the conversation.

This is because I know that no matter what I may have to contribute, his modus operandi is to comment and argue and comment and argue and comment and argue until he's attacking and belittling everyone who disagrees with him. He stakes a position and defends it to the last.

So no, it's not always a matter of boredom. Sometimes it's simply not worth the trouble of speaking up.
posted by zarq at 2:18 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think this is partly a function of a division of personality types who don't quite understand each other, not unlike the famous "ask vs guess" division. What I mean is that people tend to infer motivations and mindsets about others based upon their own sensibilities. But sometimes there's a pretty big disparity between personality types and inferences by one to another are faulty.

People here used to get really annoyed at my being long-winded and while I do think there are valid issues regarding conformance to community standards of behavior, a lot of the time the annoyance was more a product of making assumptions about my state of mind than it was about a deviation from community norms. I can't help but think that this call-out is similar—the tone of it signals (to me) a personal animosity that includes an element of "who does empath think he is, anyway?", which, really, is based upon making assumptions about empath's state-of-mind and motivations for participating so heavily in the thread.

I don't think that's a very productive way in which to approach these sorts of things. If the community wants to establish some standard for appropriate levels of participation, that's the prerogative of the community. But assuming that empath is just too full-of-himself and calling him out for it is more, well, personal.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:23 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

This is because I know that no matter what I may have to contribute, his modus operandi is to comment and argue and comment and argue and comment and argue until he's attacking and belittling everyone who disagrees with him. He stakes a position and defends it to the last.
And this is exactly the kind of thing that makes me want to press the big red button and have done with it.

Nobody gives a shit.

Why do you and so many other people who behave the same way you do insist on telling us, in great and numbing detail, exactly what your grievances are with each other?

If you're all so sick of each other, just shut up and let the rest of us have a civilized discussion. You have free will. Exercise some of it to pipe down.

I fully expect that this will now erupt into a flamewar about whether I'm trying to silence your opinion, which is its own particularly pernicious breed of hooey.

But, seriously. Nobody gives a crap why any of you go after each other, again and again, ad nauseam infinitum. I think most of us just want you to STOP.
posted by scrump at 2:25 PM on November 8, 2011 [18 favorites]


There are days when I feel like we need to keep a scorecard of who is and isn't active.

Maybe one of those office magnetic boards with names, and out/in columns. I want the red magnet.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:29 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


muddgirl: "Honestly, and I'm sure you don't mean it this way, it sounds like you are saying, "When other people posts shit, it makes it hard for my shining diamonds to take their rightful place in the internet."

If you're sure I didn't mean it that way, why did you type it out and hit post?

What I meant is what I said: why would I go to the trouble of trying to engage in a conversation that is most likely not going to happen? It costs me something to be sincere and thoughtful and reasonable. Like besides time. Emotional investment. If all I cared about was being recognized on the internet, I'd add some one line snarky shit* that I know a bunch of people are going to agree with and favorite. Instead of... I don't know, giving up and having a conversation with my real life friends, so we can like, exchange ideas and shit.

The problem here, is that I care about this place, and I feel it diminishes the site, and me, if people start to feel like they shouldn't even bother.

* I have done this. I am trying to cut down to zero.
posted by danny the boy at 2:31 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


Why do you and so many other people who behave the same way you do insist on telling us, in great and numbing detail, exactly what your grievances are with each other?

What are you doing in metatalk if you don't want to hear about it? Oh right, you're airing your grievances about other users.

Okay, then.
posted by empath at 2:31 PM on November 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is because I know that no matter what I may have to contribute, his modus operandi is to comment and argue and comment and argue and comment and argue until he's attacking and belittling everyone who disagrees with him.

It's exhausting to argue with him, I agree. I generally don't do it. But I still find the threads interesting. He presents challenging arguments that knock me back sometimes.
posted by empath at 2:33 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are days when I feel like we need to keep a scorecard of who is and isn't active. --- Pro tip: The people who aren't posting anything are the inactive ones.
posted by crunchland at 2:34 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Oh right, you're airing your grievances about other users.
Incorrect. I am airing my grievances about a pattern of behavior. Specifically, a pattern of behavior that I think discourages participation.
posted by scrump at 2:37 PM on November 8, 2011


I'm saving my clicks for later.
posted by Sailormom at 2:37 PM on November 8, 2011


> one of those office magnetic boards with names, and out/in columns

Barney Miller duty roster
posted by morganw at 2:39 PM on November 8, 2011


scrump: "And this is exactly the kind of thing that makes me want to press the big red button and have done with it.

Nobody gives a shit.


And yet, here you are commenting.

I have nothing against Ironmouth. But in this thread we are discussing why a specific behaviour: dominating threads by overcommenting, is a problem for some users. So I'm sorry, but it's appropriate to bring up that empath is not the only person who comments frequently in a thread. Empath may comment a lot, but when he is faced with an interesting argument tries to keep an open mind. Which I think is a nice quality.

Why do you and so many other people who behave the same way you do insist on telling us, in great and numbing detail, exactly what your grievances are with each other?

This is not a grievance. I'm not demanding that action be taken against Ironmouth. Mine was simply a response to John Cohen, who made an assumption that people will grow bored when someone overcomments. I provided an example from my personal experience which counters that assumption.

If you're all so sick of each other, just shut up and let the rest of us have a civilized discussion. You have free will. Exercise some of it to pipe down.

Whether you are aware of it or not, I actually spend a lot of time here pushing for people to be civil towards one another and asking people not to attack each other. But this was intended to highlight a behavior I believe is problematic, not launch a personal attack against Ironmouth. I really don't interact with him all that much. Which is, as I said, by choice.

I fully expect that this will now erupt into a flamewar about whether I'm trying to silence your opinion, which is its own particularly pernicious breed of hooey.

Telling me to pipe down ≠ silencing me? That's an... interesting... conclusion you're drawing there. :)

But, seriously. Nobody gives a crap why any of you go after each other, again and again, ad nauseam infinitum. I think most of us just want you to STOP."

Noted.
posted by zarq at 2:40 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


empath: " It's exhausting to argue with him, I agree. I generally don't do it. But I still find the threads interesting. He presents challenging arguments that knock me back sometimes."

I like having discussions with people who challenge my assumptions about the world. But I also like the people I'm chatting with to be similarly flexible and open to having their own preconceptions challenged. I don't particularly like being shouted down.

I suppose it's a fine line.
posted by zarq at 2:43 PM on November 8, 2011


But you're definitely one of the folks in that territory, and it would be good if you could try being more mindful of that stuff, if nothing else.

And this is one of those situations in which sometimes we'll step in [usually over email] with a "These threads can tend to become about you and your arguments in a way that is sort of tangential to everyone getting to talk about something" Not a huge deal, sort of a minor one, but we really do want this to be a place where everyone feels like they can contribute something and if it starts feeling like a place where people who contribute not as much or not as aggressively feel like they can't participate then we have a bit of a culture problem that can probably get a little tweaked. Big deal? No. But one of those things were some small steps by a few people can make a big difference in how the site comes across to a large number of other people.

Part of my job is to encourage lurkers or people who feel like they might be shouted down to try to participate and part of making that happen is not having this place feel like some sort of popularity contest or other meritocracy where only people who want to mix it up at a certain level feel comfortable commenting in a touchy thread. This is different from the "unpopular opinions" argument because we're really looking at the method not the content. Overcommenting is overcommenting, no matter what your subject matter is. It just happens that people prone to doing this are often people who have strong opinions on particular subjects so it can be hard to differentiate opinions from method of delivery.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:44 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


But I also like the people I'm chatting with to be similarly flexible and open to having their own preconceptions challenged. I don't particularly like being shouted down.

Yeah I was talking more as a spectator than a participant. I don't like arguing with him, but I do enjoy reading other people argue with him, to a point.
posted by empath at 2:48 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


particularly pernicious breed of hooey.

Hey there friend, I've been breeding pernicious hooeys since I was a kid, and I can assure you that I know more about this subject than you can possibly imagine.

The trick is to make sure their eggs are kept as close to the flames as possible without actually touching them, because if they get too hot, they'll turn into an full blown egregious hooha, and they are really much more difficult to work with.

Alternatively, you don't want them to get too cool, or you might hatch an exemplar ballyhoo which seem friendly and useful, but are wholly lazy creatures.

And don't even get me started about cross breeding, because once you start trying to brood a couple of pernicious ballyhoos, you are entering into some really frightening territory best left to the experts. Hell, even I don't wan't to mess with those kinds of things, they seem all friendly until they snap off a finger, and they shit absolutely everywhere.

Awful creatures.
posted by quin at 2:49 PM on November 8, 2011 [27 favorites]


scrump: "Incorrect. I am airing my grievances about a pattern of behavior. Specifically, a pattern of behavior that I think discourages participation."

If you'll reread my comment carefully please, you'll see that I was too.
posted by zarq at 2:50 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


royalsong: "Greasemonkey*

or maybe replaces it with the number?

I would like to be known as eight-six-two-four-six from now on.
"

I want to be Number 6.
posted by Splunge at 2:52 PM on November 8, 2011


I want to be Number 6.

Oh! I want to be Number Two.
posted by Amanojaku at 2:59 PM on November 8, 2011


Foci for Analysis: This seems kind of personal to me.

Can I ask what would prompt you to say that? No one else was dominating that thread as much as empath. If you add both KokuRyu and EmpressCallipygos' comments together you pretty much get the same number as empath's contributions to the thread. Anyway, since you used italics, I may be reading you totally wrong... is what you wrote a quote from some flick I haven't seen?

spitbull: Maybe we need a MeTa to call out gman for being too damn sensitive and telling other members to shut up.

I can't tell if you're trying to be humourous here, but there's nothing stopping you from making that MeTa if that's truly how you feel.
posted by gman at 3:16 PM on November 8, 2011


gman, ease up on empath, huh?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:34 PM on November 8, 2011


Why the bolding?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:47 PM on November 8, 2011


I keep hearing Ironmouth being describe as disruptive or whatever.

He doesn't need me to defend him, and maybe because I'm a former member of his "twisted tribe" (McNulty Season 1), but I value his contributions, which seem to me to be, while numerous, more grounded in analysis than a lot of the folks who get mad at him.
posted by angrycat at 3:48 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd rather be this Number Six.
posted by brina at 4:00 PM on November 8, 2011


I assume empath's comments were sincere, though I can't read his mind.

I see what you did there.
posted by scalefree at 4:00 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you add both KokuRyu and EmpressCallipygos' comments together you pretty much get the same number as empath's contributions to the thread.

Which makes sense, because I was arguing with both of them. And hey, guess what, I dropped out and VikingSword immediately picked up the slack. I guess you can start a new thread about him dominating the thread now.
posted by empath at 4:00 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you add both KokuRyu and EmpressCallipygos' comments together you pretty much get the same number as empath's contributions to the thread.

To be fair, somone on the internet was wrong.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:06 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bah, all you and your single numbers.
posted by royalsong at 4:10 PM on November 8, 2011


I am going to contribute exactly once to this thread.

There. You'll hear no more from me. In this thread.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:13 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is different from the "unpopular opinions" argument because we're really looking at the method not the content. Overcommenting is overcommenting, no matter what your subject matter is.

I don't believe this is true. A recent demonstration suggests this deserves some reflection. Jedicus left, despite his over-commenting consisting almost entirely of citations of fact-based research that did nothing but strengthen the clear and logical point he was making, comments which were never — not once — answered by any serious challenge based on reason and evidence. Unfortunately, despite his over-commenting, he was successfully shouted down by an even louder contingent of emotionally manipulative, know-nothing anti-vaxers who won, because they got away with using emotional pleas to bolster their views. Jedicus was saying too much, perhaps, but his real crime in that thread was saying the right things in the wrong way. If you say the "Right" things (or, contrariwise, voice clear falsehoods with a false veneer of polity) it doesn't matter if a Metafilter clique shouts down one person.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:16 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't read the linked thread and can't be bothered to. Because the description alone sounds like something empath would do. It fits the mental image I have of him as a member, somewhat prone to being fighty and arguing endlessly in a thread.

He's not the only one.

You could sub in several other user names besides empath's in this call out. I'd just sigh at those names also, peek at the thread to see I had any desire or energy to take part in it and then, mostly likely, just move along to something else.

It's fine if one wants to argue, but it gets annoying when that's mostly when you're known for. We could all do with a little less of that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:22 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


So the first person who comments, is faced with the dilemma of their comment constituting 100% of the comments, which is rather unseemly. Therefore, whoever makes the first comment should limit their the comment to one word, so as not to appear rude.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:34 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I keep typing things into the comment box, and then erasing them. But not this one, ohhhh, no. Not. This. One.
posted by not_on_display at 4:36 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's the record for stupid metatalk threads with lots of comments that don't get closed in a row?
posted by Artw at 4:37 PM on November 8, 2011


Three
oh man I'm gonna hit the post button. dammit!
posted by not_on_display at 4:38 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


doctor_negative: So the first person who comments, is faced with the dilemma of their comment constituting 100% of the comments, which is rather unseemly. Therefore, whoever makes the first comment should limit their the comment to one word, so as not to appear rude.

Dude, I knew this ridiculous argument would come up after mek made his comment up-thread. It's about being reasonable; that's all. No number or percentage needs to be put on the table, just be reasonable with how much you comment in a single thread. Not everything needs to be responded to.
posted by gman at 4:39 PM on November 8, 2011


Stop hogging the thread, gman.
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like gman.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:46 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


No number or percentage needs to be put on the table, just be reasonable with how much you comment in a single thread.

There are plenty of threads that go back and forth for days between a few people and nobody cares.

It only seems to be a problem when it's a contentious issue that a lot of people want to comment about, and in those cases (as in this thread) if somebody steps away from the thread, somebody else is just going to jump right in and say basically the same stuff anyway.
posted by empath at 4:48 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jedicus left, despite his over-commenting consisting almost entirely of citations of fact-based research that did nothing but strengthen the clear and logical point he was making

Wow, his comment in that thread are really good. I think a guy on the internet just convinced me to get a flu shot out of civic duty. What the how?
posted by Winnemac at 4:51 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


It only seems to be a problem when it's a contentious issue that a lot of people want to comment about, and in those cases (as in this thread) if somebody steps away from the thread, somebody else is just going to jump right in and say basically the same stuff anyway.

Maybe not in the exact same way, though - but I think the content of the arguments is only a part of this. Just seeing different names in the argument is what makes the difference. When it's not "Oh, look, it's this guy arguing with everybody again" then - from what people are saying here anyway - it feels like a more inviting thread to comment in; a discussion, rather than one user holed up in his machine gun turret mowing everyone down.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:54 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like Jedicus but he was kind of getting a bit too personal with his argument, which was why that whole derail was deleted I suppose. The one he was responded to probably should have framed their comments in a more general way rather than using personal anecdote, however.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 4:57 PM on November 8, 2011


Rather than one user holed up in his machine gun turret mowing everyone down.

It was basically three of us arguing with each other and a few other people jumping in with supporting comments on either side. But I get your point. I'm just not sure that particular thread would have gone much differently if I hadn't posted.
posted by empath at 4:59 PM on November 8, 2011


Calling out empath in particular over this thread seems really silly - EmpressCallipygos, KokuRyu, and infini were all just as vocal (if not more so, what with the tag-team argumentation) on the other side.
posted by dialetheia at 5:03 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hardly anything more annoying on site than a user who can't let an argument drop. It's worse than soapboxing- at least you have an idea in advance what that user is going to go on and on about. Some of the people mentioned in this thread will fight about *anything* just because they can't stand to not get the last word. Like Brandon Blatcher said, "We could all do with a little less of that."
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:06 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was basically three of us arguing with each other and a few other people jumping in with supporting comments on either side. But I get your point.

Hey, in fairness, I didn't even see the thread. I clicked through, saw the subject matter, and thought "OH NO THANK YOU" and clicked back. So my POV here is purely hypothetical. I have no opinion on yours or anyone elses participation in that thread.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:13 PM on November 8, 2011


EmpressCallipygos, KokuRyu, and infini were all just as vocal (if not more so, what with the tag-team argumentation)

I don't know how you could see our commenting as being "tag team", there was nothing coordinated about it... I believe I left the thread (to do some work!) before the others really started participating.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:17 PM on November 8, 2011


he was successfully shouted down by an even louder contingent of emotionally manipulative, know-nothing anti-vaxers who won [emphasis mine]

That's really an attitude that it would be healthier to let go of, for yourself and for the site. Believe me, I sympathize, because anti-vaccine people really fill me with rage and despair. But nobody actually wins a MetaFilter thread. That is not a thing that can happen, and acting like the stakes are that high can only lead to bad threads and bad feelings all around. The stakes you think are there simply aren't--no argument on MetaFilter was ever going to change someone's mind about such an emotionally charged issue. You don't need to feel like you've let science down because you eventually stopped responding to someone's (IMHO, bugfuck crazy) beliefs.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:20 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jedicus left, despite his over-commenting consisting almost entirely of citations of fact-based research

He crossed a line with some people at one point and wound up having a hard time un-crossing it. His contributions were great, the thread becoming the Jedicus vs. others--even though he was on the side of science and knowledge--was less optimal. Some of that stuff should have gone to email earlier.

I think it was pretty clear that the anti-vaxers did not win anything. Just being in the thread last doesn't mean your side is correct.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:22 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


recent activity token comment
posted by Anything at 5:23 PM on November 8, 2011


recent activity token comment

Waiting for a flameout or something? This is more likely to end in hugs and recipes :(
posted by empath at 5:25 PM on November 8, 2011


What's the record for stupid metatalk threads with lots of comments that don't get closed in a row?
posted by Artw at 4:37 PM on November 8 [+] [!]


What's the record for the number of days (hours?!?) you've gone without spewing snark?

The handful of core users come across like this site is more about them than about them being part of a community.
posted by ambient2 at 5:26 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Waiting for a flameout or something? This is more likely to end in hugs and recipes :(

No, precisely, I was running out of ideas in the kitchen.

Kidding aside, as the original OP I just want to see if there are any comments posted here that I specifically should read or respond to.
posted by Anything at 5:34 PM on November 8, 2011


Blazecock Pileon: "I don't believe this is true. A recent demonstration suggests this deserves some reflection. Jedicus left, despite his over-commenting consisting almost entirely of citations of fact-based research that did nothing but strengthen the clear and logical point he was making, comments which were never — not once — answered by any serious challenge based on reason and evidence. Unfortunately, despite his over-commenting, he was successfully shouted down by an even louder contingent of emotionally manipulative, know-nothing anti-vaxers who won, because they got away with using emotional pleas to bolster their views.

You're wrong. Not one person who comment in that thread is an anti-vaxxer.

At least, they gave no sign they were. Of the three people who were talking to jedicus about vaccinations, the first, anastasiav, said she vaccinates her child but did not give him a flu shot. Empress has been vaccinated. My kids had their flu shot this past Sunday and are up to date on all of their vaccinations. I even mentioned that I insisted my kids get the rotavirus vaccination when they were younger, because it was available. It's not on the 'required vaccines' list.

Jedicus was saying too much, perhaps, but his real crime in that thread was saying the right things in the wrong way.

He got way too personal and aggressive in that thread, which perhaps was not entirely his fault. I called him out on it and we were in the middle of having what I thought was a productive and informative discussion when he left. No one "won" that discussion, and I think your framing of the situation that way is both incorrect, and not particularly helpful.

If you say the "Right" things (or, contrariwise, voice clear falsehoods with a false veneer of polity) it doesn't matter if a Metafilter clique shouts down one person."

No one shot him down. And there is no anti-vaxxer clique on metafilter.
posted by zarq at 5:36 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


but his real crime in that thread was saying the right things in the wrong way.

Hmmm, not really, his "crime" - such as it was - was being very aggressive, dismissive and rude in tone, and participating in a derail. He was wise enough to recognise he was getting too personal and apologising civilly for it.

I do think your comment reveals something akin to the clash of cultures Ivan was talking about before. I think some mefites tend to view this place as a kind of gladiatorial arena; something like a sport with winners and losers, and battles etc. I personally tend to think of it more like an agora; a bustling and diverse melting pot of different viewpoints, ideas etc. Others no doubt feel it's more plebs and patricians than that - but regardless I do think some angst in general, and definitely in this case, springs from different expectations of Mefi, and the models of behaviour that people anticipate accompanying those expectations.
posted by smoke at 5:38 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I haven't read the linked thread and can't be bothered to. Because the description alone sounds like something empath would do. It fits the mental image I have of him as a member, somewhat prone to being fighty and arguing endlessly in a thread.

I actually did read that thread. If "something empath would do" is get into rather civil extended arguments with other users on the blue, then, sure. I can't help but think that this callout, and lots of others like it, have a lot more to do with people disliking the content of someone's opinions than how they make that argument.

If you have a problem with someone making too many comments in a thread, then by all means complain; but think carefully over whether your problem is "empath is making too many comments", or "empath is making too many comments that I don't agree with".

Similarly, "Fighty" often seems to get thrown around at people who are doing nothing worse than arguing an unpopular position.
posted by auto-correct at 6:03 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


You're wrong. Not one person who comment in that thread is an anti-vaxxer.

Maybe, maybe not, but there was an awful lot of indignant pleading when jedicus starting citing why you and several others were wrong in that thread. For example, one of you claimed stridently that you don't take medical advice from anyone but your doctor, and then not a few comments later that same individual says that we shouldn't listen to doctors when it comes to (vaccine) safety. If it quacks like duck, etc.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:03 PM on November 8, 2011


This is a toughie because I personally like some (reasoned) debate but I also don't like it when someone takes over a thread and it gets to be all about them. I'm sure I've been guilty of that a few times, although I keep those types of debates for here on the grey where it seems to be more acceptable, as long as it's not vicious. Honestly, before viewing the thread, I was prepared to agree with the OP here only because I think that empath, among others, tends to be one of those over-responders (if that's the right term?), so maybe he's pinged a few people's radars for this type of behaviour, thus leading to this response? I don't know. But after reading through most of the thread, I don't really necessarily think he's gone overboard or anything here. I mean, from what I read, he wasn't being particularly fighty or insulting or anything, he wasn't breaking any rules, the worst thing he did was be a little vocal. And since he had a, by all appearances, minority opinion and was being called out for it, it's only natural that he would respond. And one could always contact him directly or a mod if you think it needs some sort of third party to confirm your thoughts or intervene.

Frankly, I kind of agree with him in principle. I mean, I don't like minorities being picked on (such as Muslims, in this case) but I believe in free speech, which means that I also (often, reluctantly) believe in allowing hate speech or unpopular speech or whatever, and I don't think firebombing or any other violent act is ever acceptable in response to people exercising their free speech, even if I may find it offensive or hurtful. I think it's sort of hard to say one believes in free speech but only if it's this kind of free or that kind of free. And I don't think people should have to be afraid to criticize something (anything, really) because of fear of violence and retribution.
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:04 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dropped out and VikingSword immediately picked up the slack. I guess you can start a new thread about him dominating the thread now.
posted by empath


I read this and pictured VikingSword as TechnoVikingSword, marching into the thread, pointing at empath's exit, and then dominating the conversation with a steely dance of bearded, shirtless fury.
posted by George Clooney at 6:11 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think it was pretty clear that the anti-vaxers did not win anything.

That thread convinced me to give my son the chicken pox vaccine - which I'd been on the fence about. So. If that's a victory for anti-vaxers... I don't know what a loss would look like.
posted by sonika at 6:14 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


What's the record for the number of days (hours?!?) you've gone without spewing snark?

The handful of core users come across like this site is more about them than about them being part of a community.


Oh, I'm sorry, was I detracting from someones serious well thought out point?
posted by Artw at 6:25 PM on November 8, 2011


Blazecock Pileon: " Maybe, maybe not

No maybes about it. You're wrong. There were no anti-vaxxers in the thread.

Skipping a single vaccine for questionable reasons does not make someone an antivaxxer.

but there was an awful lot of indignant pleading

We can add this to your oh-so-pleasant description of us as emotionally manipulative know-nothings, I guess. It would be nice if you would cut out the name calling and clear mischaracterizations and stick to the facts, please.

when jedicus starting citing why you and several others were wrong in that thread.

Not "several." Just three of us were discussing the topic with him. I did not disagree with his scientific conclusions or his cites. However, I did point out that he was being aggressive, and perhaps not understanding the reality of what someone living a severe allergy may be told by their doctors. I used personal examples, as did anastasiav, in order to make my point.

For example, one of you claimed stridently that you don't take medical advice from anyone but your doctor, and then not a few comments later that same individual says that we shouldn't listen to doctors when it comes to (vaccine) safety. If it quacks like duck, etc."

I assume you're referring to this comment? If so, I suggest you read it again because that's not what she said. If you're referring to a different comment, I would appreciate it if you would please link to it, because I must have missed it.
posted by zarq at 6:28 PM on November 8, 2011


Although I get that there is a point where it's probably too much.

Breakthrough!

One can hope, anyway.
posted by mediareport at 6:36 PM on November 8, 2011


Why the bolding?

....I thought that bolding a given name made it easy for that person to see you were speaking to them. It's a habit.

As to the vaccination issue: I mentioned that I had discussed the issue of whether or not to get a flu vaccine with my doctor, and we had reached the conclusion that it wasn't necessary. I conveyed this information in a somewhat flippant way, which I'll admit didn't help. The thread was already about a somewhat contentious issue -- but jedicus reacted quite strongly, accusing me of cavalier disregard for the public health and safety. I re-affirmed that I had consulted about that very issue with my doctor and said so in more sober tones, but jedicus was still quite heated on the topic and made further accusations against me and my doctor.

Then things got to a point where I said "unless you start working with my doctor I ain't taking your advice over hers" and Jedicus said "great, then give me your medical records and I will" and I said "hell to the WHAT?" and the mods came in and cleaned things up and Jedicus realized "wow I went crazy" and went to go take a walk and calm down.

Long story short, it wasn't a matter of "vaccine-vs.-no", it was a matter of "my doctor and I made this decision for me specifically" vs. "your doctor is a butt and you are a butt and you both should eat butts and oh wow i need to calm down never mind".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:38 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


LOL BUTTS
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:45 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Artw still being here is, I think, a good Batsignal for me not to be. Each time I've come back, I've lasted a shorter time before winding up in 'remind me again why I still come here?' territory. Which is one o' them signal things.

It's not you, it's me.
posted by scrump at 6:57 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Long story short, it wasn't a matter of "vaccine-vs.-no", it was a matter of "my doctor and I made this decision for me specifically" vs. "your doctor is a butt and you are a butt and you both should eat butts and oh wow i need to calm down never mind".

That characterization doesn't seem to be aimed toward calming things, tbh.
posted by rewil at 7:02 PM on November 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm trying to be lighthearted, and it's apparently not as successful as I'd hoped. My apologies. Phrased more simply: I was speaking specifically of what I was advised to do, that rubbed Jedicus the wrong way in an already contentious thread when the general-health was already at issue, and was upset to the point that my clarification that "but I discussed that with my doctor too" got overlooked, sparks flew, and Jedicus realized s/he was getting carried away and stopped.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:11 PM on November 8, 2011


What are you doing in metatalk if you don't want to hear about it? Oh right, you're airing your grievances about other users.

Okay, then.


Boom: roasted.

Have we argued in the past...ah, who knows. Either way, just wanted to say that it was a really good comeback and now I have your back.

*Backing of hal_c_on +1*

Now what arbitrary grievance are we talking about...midterms are coming up and people do get stressed...and oh right, holidays are coming up!
posted by hal_c_on at 7:43 PM on November 8, 2011


empath: "Waiting for a flameout or something? This is more likely to end in hugs and recipes :("

MeTa is the path to the dark side. Meta leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to flameouts. Flameouts lead to suffering. Suffering leads to Chicken Pot Pie recipes. Chicken Pot Pie recipes lead to cocktail mixes. Cocktails lead to hugging....


Perhaps this is an idea which is better in concept than in application.
posted by zarq at 7:48 PM on November 8, 2011


Man, Lucas messed up a good character.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:51 PM on November 8, 2011


Why the bolding?

I thought I heard Buddy Bolding say...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:55 PM on November 8, 2011


I considered saying "Chicken Pox Pop recipes" but you know... too soon.
posted by zarq at 7:55 PM on November 8, 2011


"I'll stop the world and melt with you" takes on a whole new meaning when you're a grilled cheese.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 PM on November 8, 2011


Removing Empath from the equation, I agree with the spirit of this callout. Threads are less interesting when dominated by especially active members. This is something that threading could help, but since MetaFilter isn't and won't ever be threaded, I think it's a legitimate behavior issue to discuss.

When it's come up in the past, the common advice has been, "If you're patient, you'll usually find that someone else will say what you were going to anyway, so really, it's alright to step back and let other voices carry the song for a bit." It's interesting to see some folks above turning that logic around as justification: "Well, if someone else is going to say it anyway, then why can't I just be the one?" Well, because that other person is different from you and might make the point in a more interesting way or with insight that you couldn't. As someone else upthread noted, it can even add to the community depth just to have a chorus making a point, even the same point.

I think it's selfish. I get that it's more fun to slug away, but fun for you doesn't necessarily translate into enjoyable reading for everybody else. I have all the sympathy in the world for members who feel that a thread has quickly become a pile-on and they want to respond to everything (I'm a conservative and occasionally I participate in political threads, so really, I get it) but I do think the considerate thing is to step away and let the conversation breathe now and then.
posted by cribcage at 8:09 PM on November 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Dude, I knew this ridiculous argument would come up after mek made his comment up-thread. It's about being reasonable; that's all.

As a committed surrealist I refuse to submit to anyone's idea of reasonableness, including my own.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:12 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


...when you're a grilled cheese.

The swiss cheese was grilled by authorities, but still gave up no information on the numbered bank accounts or the whereabouts of the ham and rye bread.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:12 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


But his story was full of holes.
posted by crunchland at 8:16 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought flapjax was rationing himself to only one comment in this thread?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:19 PM on November 8, 2011


It's just in different segments.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:37 PM on November 8, 2011


I thought flapjax was rationing himself to only one comment in this thread?

Man, I can't be held accountable for things I might've said more than fifty comments ago!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:52 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Threads are less interesting when dominated by especially active members."

You know, my gut reaction—as evidenced by my previous comment—in this thread has been that those who agree with the sentiment above are being a bit oversensitive about this and probably projecting (as evidenced by your assertion that they are "selfish") things onto others that are not necessarily justified and, more importantly, not helpful.

However...well, my entire college education (St. John's) was very unusual in that it was exclusively in the seminar format. Early on, students there have to learn a variety of things about how to effectively participate in seminars and that certainly includes learning to self-regulate against dominating the discussion and effectively silencing other voices.

Yet this is all done very subtly there. The professors, which we call tutors, generally will only gently try to steer the conversation away from one person dominating it. The ethos there is always and forever that the students are responsible for their educations and that includes both being responsible for what they discuss in class and how they do so. Tutors take very seriously the Socratic "midwife" concept, indirectly influencing rather than taking the reins and forcing anything.

I think you can see that there are parallels between there and here.

One thing that happens, even all the way through senior year, is that every once in a while, someone feels very strongly about a particular reading or point of discussion and will, in fact, dominate a particular class. That's generally considered to be acceptable, as long as it isn't a pattern with that particular person. Not everyone will agree in each particular situation that it's been okay—my sophomore year, one person who had just directed a staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream completely dominated the entire two-hour seminar devoted to it with her own somewhat peculiar ideas on the play. It's my favorite; I had a number of things I wanted to talk about but was unable. The thing is, though, is that was also partly my fault. I was so annoyed at her (and the tutor who indulged her in this) that I ended up becoming frustrated and zoning out instead of doing what I should have done, and gently steered the conversation in other directions, obviously including anything I thought I had to say that was worth saying. My response didn't help me and, really, it didn't help the class.

And, even with her completely dominating the conversation, I also know that a good portion of the other students in the seminar found her ideas fascinating and didn't begrudge the time spent on them. Her domination of that particular seminar wasn't universally resented, particularly because it wasn't a pattern with her...it was the exception.

And when it is a pattern with a student, there are a variety of community forces which push back on such behavior, ranging from people actively contesting the tendency in class, to speaking with the student privately, up to and including having the issue addressed by the instructor. But I'll even qualify that: you won't get thrown out of SJC because you talk too much in class. But you will be "asked to leave" if you don't talk in class. Seriously. This usually happens with a few terminally reticent students in freshman year, who just don't understand that the program is discursive. The point being that it's understood that when the purpose is conversation, it's better to err on the side of too much conversation rather than too little.

Yes, quality is all-important. One quirk of all mature seminars everywhere (I assume) is that silence is acceptable, if no one has anything important to say right at that moment, or some reflection is called for. You see this increasingly at SJC over the four years, and it takes some people a while to learn to be comfortable with a bit of contemplative silence. So, yes, talking just for the sake of talking Isn't Doing It Right.

I hope you'll pardon my discussing this, it is a bit of an indulgence, but I genuinely think this is entirely appropriate to this thread. A conversation in the blue is a conversation and this site is lightly moderated and self-policed. I've only been back at MeFi for a couple of months and perhaps it's not obvious to me, as it might be to other people, that empath or someone else is a repeat offender with some need of gentle correction. That's not my impression, but my experience here now has been limited. However, if it's a problem with someone, then I'm not entirely sure that a MeTa post is the best, first solution because it's obviously the nuclear option from the community's side of things. Maybe gman memailed empath, or someone else has. I hope so, because that's a better initial response to this sort of thing.

Most important, though, is that while it's impossible to not react to people you interact with heavily on a daily basis in very personal ways, it's good and productive to try to avoid doing so and concentrate on what they write rather than who it is who is writing it. Whether a conversation in a thread is a productive and interesting one is the all-important test, and if it passes that test, then whether someone is dominating it becomes of much less relevance. Whether you like that person, or anyone in the conversation, is of much less relevance. Whether someone is saying the same things they always say, is of much less relevance. People repeat themselves and have pet issues. Believe me, in a small school with one program of study with only a few hundred students who all are in seminar style classes, this is something that can drive you nuts. But you learn to live with it because when you let it distract you, when you react personally, then your own behavior ends up also becoming less productive than it should be, and everyone suffers.

That's true here, too.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:53 PM on November 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


And when [dominating a conversation] is a pattern with a student, there are a variety of community forces which push back on such behavior, ranging from people actively contesting the tendency in class, to speaking with the student privately, up to and including having the issue addressed by the instructor. But I'll even qualify that: you won't get thrown out of SJC because you talk too much in class. But you will be "asked to leave" if you don't talk in class. Seriously. This usually happens with a few terminally reticent students in freshman year, who just don't understand that the program is discursive. The point being that it's understood that when the purpose is conversation, it's better to err on the side of too much conversation rather than too little.

I think this is where the parallel falls apart. We are not physical bodies facing each other in a classroom where conversation is a requirement. You can - and a great many do - simply lurk. There are forms of communication regarding "dude, dial it back a little" that you cannot convey on the internet, e.g., eye contact, a subtle hand gesture, a not-so-subtle hand gesture, and so on.

I do think thread-hogging should be a self-policing matter. In the absence of self-restraint, MeMail should be the first option, ideally. On the other hand, having this MeTa has given us a chance to talk about the subject in a more general sense, which doesn't strike me as a bad thing at all.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:11 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


it should be easier to shout down minority viewpoints around here
posted by planet at 9:15 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like it when you're around, scrump. Hope you're back soon.
posted by Kwine at 9:53 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't notice a single comment from gman in that conversation
posted by infini at 10:27 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


well, my entire college education (St. John's) was very unusual in that it was exclusively in the seminar format.

You know, the analogy isn't so accurate. Metafilter discussion happens in *written* format. That means no one can be "shouted down" or "talked over," and there isn't a limited amount of time into which all turns must be fit. A lot of the hotter voices in this thread seem to imply that discussion space is a limited good here, or can be monopolized at all. (And in fact, I'd say super-long single comments, like the one from which I quote, do more to take the air out of the room than a dozen shorter ones.)

You can skip or hide comments or commenters you don't want to read. You can come here at 2AM and add a line of snark to a month old conversation. You can jump into the middle of a raging argument with a recipe for chicken soup.

This ain't St. John's. I don't know why people can't chill out.
posted by spitbull at 3:34 AM on November 9, 2011


Also, last I checked no one was giving out A grades for brilliant comments or Fs for threadshitting. It really comes down to:

Metafilter: Nobody Wins
posted by spitbull at 3:36 AM on November 9, 2011


infini: I didn't notice a single comment from gman in that conversation

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, though that's not unusual. Do you mean in the original thread? If so, I did in fact make a comment in that thread and then as my MeTa states, the threadjacking that ensued kept me from participating further.
posted by gman at 3:40 AM on November 9, 2011


...the threadjacking that ensued kept me from participating further.

Wait - this is something I don't understand. Were you rendered physically incapable of typing a new comment?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:55 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


the threadjacking that ensued kept me from participating further.

Yeah, this metaphor.... "threadjacking," say what? "Kept you from participating" -- say what again?

You type a comment. You hit post. Lather, rinse, repeat in moderation. No one can "shout you down" or "keep you from participating" when there is only the complete silence and limitless horizon of an unlimited page of text with a "post a new comment" box at the bottom. No one can "hijack" a thread if the other conversationalists continue to proceed as if that person is sitting in a corner talking to him/herself. We have flags and contact forms for egregious comments. And threads stay open for weeks on end.

It's really time that we revised our figurative language here.

Fainting couches and pearl-clutching all around!
posted by spitbull at 4:07 AM on November 9, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: Wait - this is something I don't understand. Were you rendered physically incapable of typing a new comment?

Yeah, people hogging threads causes my cyber-glossophobia to act up. Don't be so fuckin' obtuse.

spitbull: You type a comment. You hit post. Lather, rinse, repeat in moderation.

In moderation; that's the key right there.
posted by gman at 4:17 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I kind of want a Greasemonkey script (not badly enough to actually write it myself), that does one of those tag-cloud thingies at the top of each thread, with the tags being user names and their sizes representing the frequency of their comments in that thread.
posted by Ritchie at 4:34 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe gman memailed empath, or someone else has. I hope so, because that's a better initial response to this sort of thing.

It's a sidetrack, but is there an orthodoxy on this? Looking at the available options - in-thread derail about posting behavior, admonitory MeMail, MetaTalk thread - it seems that, in general, none of them is likely to have a positive outcome, or at least a painless one.

Is there a way that peer-to-peer admonition can be made to work in these situations, or is it better to decide where your contact-the-mods ceiling is, and then flag what seem to you to be derails when they occur?
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:36 AM on November 9, 2011


(Including repeated posting by a small number of people addressing each other's points and ignoring the rest of the conversation as a de facto derail, because it stops the discussion from continuing the way a MetaFilter discussion is supposed to go.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:50 AM on November 9, 2011


I was thinking about that yesterday. Maybe an alert that you're collecting a lot of flags on comments or something, without necessarily telling you who is flagging you.
posted by empath at 4:52 AM on November 9, 2011


I don't know what the other mods think of this, but I suspect that it would become terribly unwieldy, and we'd be chasing our tails with a lot of those flags. As it is now, I think we see a relatively small number of flags that are really just this-person-and-I-have-an-ideological-difference, but if members were made aware of flags on their comments (even if it were only when they get into higher numbers) it might encourage more "punitive flagging," for lack of a better term. But I haven't given it that much thought – it's just the first thing that occurs to me.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:02 AM on November 9, 2011


Yeah, I was thinking maybe it would kind of ignore a certain number of flags, say 3-5 or so, but if they start piling in you just get a little red alert by the posting window or something... Nothing to say 'hey, you can't post any more', but hey, maybe take a deep breath, take a walk, etc.. It's not really punitive, just maybe the equivalent of a scowl or an exasperated sigh in a classroom where someone is dominating the floor.
posted by empath at 5:09 AM on November 9, 2011


Is it so so hard just to talk less and make your point succinctly?
posted by Wolof at 5:16 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, people hogging threads causes my cyber-glossophobia to act up. Don't be so fuckin' obtuse.

I was giving you the benefit of the doubt before I wrote off your "the threadjacking kept me from participating" as a weird comment.

Nothing is keeping you from participating except your own self.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:17 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it so so hard just to talk less and make your point succinctly?

In a thread where people are arguing your points directly and expecting a response from you? There's a point where it goes from being a spirited debate to being a grind for other people to get through, and when you're in the middle of an extended back and forth with one or two people, it's not always easy to see where it is.
posted by empath at 5:18 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really hope that creating a thread to call a specific person out by name is in violation of some kind of rule around here.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:04 PM on November 8


HAHAHA! Welcome, n00b!
posted by Decani at 5:22 AM on November 9, 2011


Yeah, I think "you are getting x flags" would be a problematic notification, because it doesn't give you a clear path about what they are for, or what course of action should follow...

I guess where I'm coming from is that when I joined MetaFilter, my last experience of online community was as a moderator, and my instinct was to avoid quote-unquote troubling the mods with what seemed to be non-structural issues. However, I think I was guided to the conclusion that trying to resolve issues dialectically requires a degree of trust on both sides (which might well not exist between two strangers on the Internet), a roughly equal ability and desire to engage in dialog _and_ a degree of impartiality (which is pretty much unattainable if you're already at the point where you have an issue to resolve).

So, I think my reaction has been to push down my aversion to "bothering" the mods a little, and at the same time to push up my threshold for responding to a comment at all. It's hard to know what's going to set someone off, though, including yourself.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:23 AM on November 9, 2011


In a thread where people are arguing your points directly and expecting a response from you?

You are constantly putting yourself in this position. Might I suggest it is not entirely a coincidence?
posted by Wolof at 5:28 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nothing is keeping you from participating except your own self.

Just curious: Are you really unfamiliar with the concept that conversation dominated by one or a few people turns off others, causing them not participate?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 AM on November 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Are you really unfamiliar with the concept that conversation dominated by one or a few people turns off others, causing them not participate?

Well, yeah, but I call that "causing them to not want to participate." That's different.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:34 AM on November 9, 2011


I don't understand the distinction you're making. Could you please clarify?

When an OP does it, we call it 'modding a thread.' When someone else does it, we call it 'threadsitting.' Either way, the result is the same: they dominate a thread and discourage participation.
posted by zarq at 5:39 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


In moderation; that's the key right there.
posted by gman

In all things, gman, in all things. That includes avoiding a MeTa clusterfuck by calling out one user by name for something many members do regularly and many more do sometimes. A moderate meta on this subject might have phrased the question as "how much is too much?" in general. Otherwise, frankly, the aggro in this thread is a lot worse for the site and its community than any amount of excessive posting in any given thread.

Disguising personal anger at one particular member as a matter of urgent general concern is more censorious than occasional over-posting could ever be. Like I said above, telling other members to shut up is not an effective approach to the problem of feeling silenced by "glossophobia," a condition I should think would be incompatible with being an active member of Metafilter. However, we have numerous threads with obscure topics and only 6 comments for those whose glossophobia is easily triggered by the site of words scrolling endlessly down a page.
posted by spitbull at 5:44 AM on November 9, 2011


I don't understand the distinction you're making. Could you please clarify?

There's a difference between saying "I don't feel like particpating because it's not worth the effort of being heard above the noise" and "I can't participate". The former statement allows that you still retain the agency to have still chosen to continue, but have decided it's not worth the effort. The latter implies that you are being physically prevented and it is against your will.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:46 AM on November 9, 2011


I am with Empress on this. My problem is with language that implies coercion -- "dominating a thread," "can't participate," or whatever. This is the mirror image of claiming that because you had a "fuck you" comment deleted in some AskMe that you are being "censored."
posted by spitbull at 5:48 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


My problem is with language that implies coercion -- "dominating a thread," "can't participate," or whatever.

I think this is a needless splitting of hairs that is caught up in minor semantical arguments, while ignoring the main point.

Practically everyone has dealt with situations in real life, where a particular person has hijacked a conversation and attempted to steer it to what they want to talk about. People often do feel as though they can't participate because they can't, because it's not longer a conversation, it's a speech delivered by a one track mind that refused to engage.

We can disagree on whether that was occurring in the thread gman linked and even whether empath was doing it or the only person doing it. But this careful parsing of words strikes me as just another example of people refusing to see beyond their own nose.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:57 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


People often do feel as though they can't participate because they can't, because it's not longer a conversation, it's a speech delivered by a one track mind that refused to engage.

I wasn't doing that. That thread was a conversation. I didn't tell anyone to shut up. I didn't insult anyone. I wasn't ignoring what people were saying. I wasn't derailing the thread to a new topic. The only thing I did wrong in the thread was post too often.
posted by empath at 6:03 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


We can disagree on whether that was occurring in the thread gman linked and even whether empath was doing it or the only person doing it. But this careful parsing of words strikes me as just another example of people refusing to see beyond their own nose.

Call it what you like. I, however, am choosing to own the fact that I am choosing to not participate in this thread any longer because it looks like you have it in for me in a weird way lately.

Good luck, empath.

*walks away, removes thread from activity*
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:03 AM on November 9, 2011


This is the mirror image of claiming that because you had a "fuck you" comment deleted in some AskMe that you are being "censored."

Oh, that's just dumb.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 6:05 AM on November 9, 2011


We can disagree on whether that was occurring in the thread gman linked and even whether empath was doing it or the only person doing it. But this careful parsing of words strikes me as just another example of people refusing to see beyond their own nose.

Call it what you like. I, however, am choosing to own the fact that I am choosing to not participate in this thread any longer because it looks like you have it in for me in a weird way lately.


Wow, way to prove Brandon's point, EC.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:23 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


because it looks like you have it in for me in a weird way lately.

My apologies, that wasn't the intended effect or emotion on my part. I haven't particularly noticed what you have or have not been doing on the site, nor do I recall any recent interactions between us in public or private, so I don't know where you're getting that sentiment from.

The last time I do remember us interacting is during the summer MeFiSwap where I was trying to help you find a CD template for Microsoft Word.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: "There's a difference between saying "I don't feel like particpating because it's not worth the effort of being heard above the noise" and "I can't participate". The former statement allows that you still retain the agency to have still chosen to continue, but have decided it's not worth the effort. The latter implies that you are being physically prevented and it is against your will."

spitbull: "I am with Empress on this. My problem is with language that implies coercion -- "dominating a thread," "can't participate," or whatever. This is the mirror image of claiming that because you had a "fuck you" comment deleted in some AskMe that you are being "censored.""

Okay, well first of all, the act of dominating any conversation is not coercion. It's a term that predates the internet, and refers to someone who turns a dialogue into a monologue. It happens in face-to-face conversations as well as those online.

We've all seen this happen. Someone will come into a thread and post 10, 20 or 30 comments, give no quarter and refuse to consider any raised counter-arguments. It's the equivalent of saying "you're wrong!" over and over in a thread. Threads are supposed to have some give and take.

I sort of feel like you're both transferring the responsibility to act in good faith from the person who is being disruptive in a given thread to the people who are put off by their behavior. Shouldn't there be an onus on the person who isn't engaging well to improve?
posted by zarq at 6:48 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really horselover? Creating a whole big meta kerfluffle over someone trying to silence you in both cases looks analgous to me.
posted by spitbull at 6:49 AM on November 9, 2011


Surely there is some point at which a commenter makes so many comments on the same topic as to be more annoying than illuminating, but there's a built-in solution to that problem: people will get bored by that commenter and start skipping over their comments.

In my experience, the built-in solution is that one gets bored with MetaFilter because the same damn noisemakers keep popping up in threads monopolizing the conversation like a boorish dinner party guest.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:51 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


> *walks away, removes thread from activity*

This kind of thing and that "Period" thing you did in the Metafilter question at hand is really rather childish. It's interesting that you were getting hung up on semantics there about censorship just like you were here about gman's phrasing of his tendency to not want to partake in threads where one user is dominating.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 6:52 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Where's the good old whaaaambulance? Of course it's a matter of etiquette. But so is not posting an angry-toned meta calling out specific users in overstated terms if the problem is really of general significance.


And lIke EC I'm done here.
posted by spitbull at 6:53 AM on November 9, 2011


> Creating a whole big meta kerfluffle over someone trying to silence you in both cases looks analgous to me.

No, it's a willful misread of gman's comment. You and EC were getting caught up on a really silly semantic point. Perhaps this thread really wasn't the best idea ever, but comparing it to someone complaining about why their comment was deleted in AskMe is just pulling stuff out of nowhere.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 6:54 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


John Cohen and empath had some good points here. And the feeling of overcommenting has happened to me on more than one occassion.

So - in a thread where people directly address you and a comment or point you made, what do you expect people to do? And if there are 10 people who directly address you, all on different points, do you just ignore them because you'd be "overcommenting"?

Really, gman, is it a case where one person is dominating, or that they are in the minority of holding an opinion or stance, so there isn't anyone else that would address specific questions, as well as having to answer questions directly addressed to them?
posted by rich at 6:58 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having looked at Horselover Phattie's thread, can I propose a lifetime ban for anyone who uses the word "semantics" without at the very least a Masters-level degree in semiotics, linguistics, philology or a related discipline? Classics degrees barely acceptable, as long they involve at least one language.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:05 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


(thread=link i.e. the Charlie Hebdo thread.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:05 AM on November 9, 2011


running order squabble fest: "Having looked at Horselover Phattie's thread, can I propose a lifetime ban for anyone who uses the word "semantics" without at the very least a Masters-level degree in semiotics, linguistics, philology or a related discipline? Classics degrees barely acceptable, as long they involve at least one language."

Stop being so semanticist. :D
posted by zarq at 7:11 AM on November 9, 2011


Word meanings = semantics in common parlance. Request denied and pooped on.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:16 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


can I propose a lifetime ban for anyone who uses the word "semantics" without at the very least a Masters-level degree in semiotics, linguistics, philology or a related discipline?

Actually, no one should use the word, ever again, since Elliott Sharp, Ned Rothenberg and I sold the name Semantics to Geffen records in the early 90s. Cause even though the Geffen-signed band that took the name after we'd sold it went on to no great fame (actually, it seems they maybe never actually released an album), Geffen still owns it. And you never know when their lawyers might start sniffing around Metafilter...

On preview: zarq and Horselover Phattie, watch out!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:19 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


rich: So - in a thread where people directly address you and a comment or point you made, what do you expect people to do? And if there are 10 people who directly address you, all on different points, do you just ignore them because you'd be "overcommenting"?

As stated above, certain people on this site tend to put themselves in that situation on a more than occasional basis. If one does find themself in that predicament and it's going to lead to a complete takeover of a thread, either wait and respond all at once within a single comment or don't feel that you need to prove your point over and over and over again; we get it. And as another user mention up-thread, someone else will most likely come along to get your point across.

Really, gman, is it a case where one person is dominating, or that they are in the minority of holding an opinion or stance, so there isn't anyone else that would address specific questions, as well as having to answer questions directly addressed to them?

The former. I saw this mentioned earlier and I don't actually think empath was in the minority until it became him versus the two users he was arguing with.
posted by gman at 7:19 AM on November 9, 2011


meanwhile, the aggressively stupid Empress Callipygos has gone out of her way to monopolize the thread with the most annoying, hair-splitting derail in history, taking pains to be as belittling and obnoxious as possible in her comments, and no one feels the need to create a meta about that. Seriously. She's the worst. The loudest in the room and always wrong about everything.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:21 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm still wondering if empath gets a special prize for having two individual MeTa callouts in a more or less the same number of weeks, that's got to be worth something.

FWIW they we're both quite silly
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 7:24 AM on November 9, 2011


Word meanings = semantics in common parlance. Request denied and pooped on.


Ah - so it's an appropriation of a term describing something that people actually study to become proficient in, in order to put a veneer of intellectualism on a concept that could otherwise be usefully and successfully communicated by the phrase "word meanings"? Gotcha.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:25 AM on November 9, 2011


> Ah - so it's an appropriation of a term describing something that people actually study to become proficient in, in order to put a veneer of intellectualism on a concept that could otherwise be usefully and successfully communicated by the phrase "word meanings"? Gotcha. posted by running order squabble fest at 9:25 on November 9 [+] [!]

This is also obtuse bullshit. No one is trying to put on airs of being intellectual because someone else is getting hung up on intent/meaning. Jesus.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:28 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


In a thread where people are arguing your points directly and expecting a response from you? There's a point where it goes from being a spirited debate to being a grind for other people to get through, and when you're in the middle of an extended back and forth with one or two people, it's not always easy to see where it is.

Totally. It's a really understandable sort of dynamic to get caught up in, and has probably happened at least once or twice to anybody who has spent time discussing stuff with other people on the internet. I'm not surprised when I see it happen and I sympathize with that whole it-got-away-from-me sensation where afterward you realize you sort of dug in in a way you wouldn't have chosen to do ahead of time.

That said, while it's something that's really understandable as accidental thing or a one-off, it's less defensible when it's a recurring pattern of behavior. There's being caught up unexpectedly in the weird rush of a back-and-forth and learning that that can happen to you, and then there's having been down that road a bunch of times before and just letting yourself do it again even though you know better.

So where I'm coming from on this stuff is that I'm sympathetic to the way a person can get caught up. And I'll explain this to new folks who show up and get in their first big scrap because they aren't familiar with the site culture or are used to arguments elsewhere where they can just say their piece and get no pushback, or whatever the culture-clash reasons for their show-up-and-get-super-talkative performance is.

But for folks who have been around the block already on Metafilter and know that this sort of thread-domination, take-on-all-comers hyperresponsiveness thing is disruptive and not something we want to see happening, it gets to be less of a "hey, heads up about this bit of site culture" thing and more of a "seriously, you're doing this again?"

For folks who have been here for a while, who know how the place works, and yet still let themselves frequently get into big back-and-forths (whether on pet topics or on whatever topic is available that day), the onus is on you at this point to recognize when you're doing that, not wait for a mod or other people in a thread to have to tell you. "I got caught up in it" is a legit excuse the first time; by the dozenth time, not so much.

Metafilter grants folks a whole lot of agency over how they interact with the thread; that's a choice driven by trust in individual users to moderate their own output. Volume is one of the things folks need to self-moderate, or we get to the point where us mods have to send email saying "hey, you really need to leave that alone", or where folks' frustrations bubble up into public discussions like this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Ah - so it's an appropriation of a term describing something that people actually study to become proficient in, in order to put a veneer of intellectualism on a concept that could otherwise be usefully and successfully communicated by the phrase 'word meanings'? Gotcha."

If you had, say, a graduate degree in linguistics, you'd know the difference between the common-language meaning of a word and its strictly (and often authoritatively) defined meaning in a technical context. Or, more broadly, register. Bitching about "incorrect" usage of a word, when said usage is in accordance with common parlance, because it conflicts with its narrow, technical definition, is, um, not good.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:32 AM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Volume is one of the things folks need to self-moderate

But... but this goes to eleven.

sorry
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:33 AM on November 9, 2011


Part of the problem as I see it as well is that by the tenth back and forth often people are getting exasperated as they talk past each other and then, sometimes, you see the sort of not-that-cool obnoxiousness that to sir with millipedes was talking about. And the problem is, by the time you're that far into something, it's significantly tougher to just walk away but then everyone sort of feels marginally worse abot the whole exchange.

So I usualy give myself, personally, three comments to more or less get my point axcross and if I feellike I'm belaboring something (can happen when I'm talking about library funding or a few other topics) I'll usually try to take things to email.

So I'm sort of with cortex, it's a good idea if anyone can have the little twinge of "Oh hey I guess I'm doing that thing again" [or have a buddy to help you with this, or something] because regardless of whether you can't comment [thread moves too fast, people too GRAR] or whether you just feel inhibited for some reason [too many people having too intimate an argument, no way to sort of bring the conversation back to a more general discussion] it's a site culture issue and one we sort of need to pay attention to.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:39 AM on November 9, 2011


I'm still wondering if empath gets a special prize for having two individual MeTa callouts in a more or less the same number of weeks, that's got to be worth something.

It happens a lot, actually (not to me, but I've seen it happen a bunch of times). Someone's name shows up on metatalk and people start paying attention to them in a negative way.
posted by empath at 7:39 AM on November 9, 2011


to sir with millipedes: "meanwhile, the aggressively stupid Empress Callipygos has gone out of her way to monopolize the thread with the most annoying, hair-splitting derail in history, taking pains to be as belittling and obnoxious as possible in her comments, and no one feels the need to create a meta about that. Seriously. She's the worst. The loudest in the room and always wrong about everything."

You're complaining that no one else has done something you are perfectly capable of doing yourself? If it means so much to you, then do it. But don't berate the rest of us, please.

Also, Empress is not here. She said she was leaving this thread and was removing it from her recent activity. If you want her to see that you're attacking and insulting her, then you'll probably need to start a MeTa.
posted by zarq at 7:41 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's so true, though.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:43 AM on November 9, 2011


I don't see how EC's behavior is off-topic in this thread; she's the one who came here in the first place to add herself as a topic of conversation.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:44 AM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: Actually, I'm not talking about register at all. Nor am I talking about "incorrect" usage. I apologise if you thought I was actually proposing a lifetime ban for people. I had no idea anyone would think that. That's kind of odd.

I was light-heartedly suggesting that introduction of the term "semantics" into a discussion which is not actually being held by linguists is almost never good for that discussion. Exhibit a:

This is also obtuse bullshit. No one is trying to put on airs of being intellectual because someone else is getting hung up on intent/meaning. Jesus.


I was suggesting that relying on the term "semantics" as a way to dismiss somebody's argument was likely to generate heat without light. Horselover Ph. losing his temper like this appears to support this contention.

Quite seriously, I have never seen "now you're just arguing about semantics" used as a productive argumentative technique. If what you mean is "I think that you are using an argument about word choice as a bad-faith way to derail the argument", say that. Acknowledge that you are moving to a meta-discusson about the way the discussion is going. Use, as they say, your words.

However, as I just said: I think I was guided to the conclusion that trying to resolve issues dialectically requires a degree of trust on both sides (which might well not exist between two strangers on the Internet), a roughly equal ability and desire to engage in dialog _and_ a degree of impartiality (which is pretty much unattainable if you're already at the point where you have an issue to resolve).

I don't think any of these things are likely to exist here - the fact the the response immediately went to the scatologically insulting, and then to "obtuse bullshit", frustrated exhalations of "Jesus" and now accusations of "bitching" suggests that there is some deep investment here, which I don't think it would be useful to try to peer-counsel.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:44 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, Empress is not here. She said she was leaving this thread and was removing it from her recent activity.

Betcha she's still watching it, though.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:45 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


> I was suggesting that relying on the term "semantics" as a way to dismiss somebody's argument was likely to generate heat without light. Horselover Ph. losing his temper like this appears to support this contention.

No, I was talking about usage in this thread. If you're trying to stake out your academic claim on the term in general then this probably is one of the worst places to start.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:46 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I have a degree in Semantics, for serious.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:46 AM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


ThePinkSuperhero: "I don't see how EC's behavior is off-topic in this thread; she's the one who came here in the first place to add herself as a topic of conversation."

I didn't say it was off topic.

I said that if to sir with millipedes wants her to see it, he'll probably have to start another meta.
posted by zarq at 7:47 AM on November 9, 2011


Some antics.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:47 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


You're complaining that no one else has done something you are perfectly capable of doing yourself

That's an interesting read. I was pointing out that Empath's contribution to that thread was actually a corrective for the wrong-headed "THEY DESERVED IT LOL" comments from people, and rather than monopolizing the thread managed to put together a pretty coherent argument in a respectful and intelligent way. And then Empress showed up and started painting the town stupid, but very few people seem to have any coherent criticism of her behavior. So I'm bringing it up in a MeTa about egregious, unconstructive participation that derails a thread.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:48 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I said that if to sir with millipedes wants her to see it, he'll probably have to start another meta.

Fair enough, I guess. But I don't see how it's unfair for users to discuss someone's behavior just because they plugged their ears and shouted I'M NOT LISTENING.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:49 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


You should all shut up, especially about greasemonkey - i've got a greasemonkey this, i've got a greasemonkey that - you ever see a monkey covered in grease ? No you don't, because it would be a STUPID IDEA to cover a monkey in grease.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:50 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


It seems like this whole problem is a case of two different mindsets. (And different users have different mindsets depending on the topic.) Some people seem to want metafilter to be a place where ideas are challenged and discussed, to come to some kind of conclusion. "I think I'm right, and here is why..." and "I think you are wrong, and here is why..." Other times, people just want to join in and air their version of agreement with the consensus.

Maybe it is emotional investment versus intellectual investment. When emotion is engaged, it is hard to remain intellectually open minded, and vice versa. The two styles or mindsets just aren't compatible, and lead to name calling and hurt feelings.

This discussion reminds me of a trait that the Right has mastered, and that I am noticing on the left with alarming frequency: when you have the facts on your side, trumpet them. When you don't, shoot the messenger.

It seems to me that most or all of these flameouts start with some kind of messenger shooting. Someone states an opinion, and starts getting sniped at. It is only natural that one would want to defend against that, and off it goes.
posted by gjc at 7:50 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

meanwhile, the aggressively stupid Empress Callipygos has gone out of her way to monopolize the thread with the most annoying, hair-splitting derail in history, taking pains to be as belittling and obnoxious as possible in her comments, and no one feels the need to create a meta about that. Seriously. She's the worst. The loudest in the room and always wrong about everything.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:21 AM
Just because you are thinking it, doesn't mean you need to say it.
posted by gjc at 7:53 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Better here than there.
posted by hermitosis at 7:57 AM on November 9, 2011


gjc - agree totally. If people are *trying* to understand each other's positions and educate themselves, if not necessarily change their own opinion, but inform it, I don't see the problem with a lot of back and forth. That is productive.

But what happens many times is some troll (no, not you, Troll) who has a strong opposing position comes into the dicussion and takes a quote completely out of context, and then other pile on, and the person on the receiving end is left to either ignore it and forget any chance of furthering the discussion or trying to respond, clarify and reply and fall into the 'overcommenting! stop making this whole thread about YOU!' Which is kind of blame the victim-ish, or monster of their own making.

And Empress Callipygos is not wrong about *everything*. I've found her quite reasonable over time. Sheesh - these hyperbolic comments are exactly what ruins perfectly good intellectual discussions.
posted by rich at 7:58 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think this is where the parallel falls apart. We are not physical bodies facing each other in a classroom where conversation is a requirement. You can - and a great many do - simply lurk. There are forms of communication regarding "dude, dial it back a little" that you cannot convey on the internet, e.g., eye contact, a subtle hand gesture, a not-so-subtle hand gesture, and so on.Marisa Stole the Precious Thing
With regard to your point about lurkers, while it's an obvious distinction, I'm not sure that it changes anything. If someone doesn't want to participate, then they're not in a position to influence the discussion. In my opinion, the "price" for having an influence over how interesting a conversation is to someone is being a participant in it. Otherwise, you get what you get.

The lack of body language and such to send social signals is, of course, the root of most of the problems with Internet discourse. It's a much larger problem than just this particular manifestation. And I don't know of any comprehensive solutions. As both of us seem to agree, sending a private message to someone is probably the best solution when it comes to trying to signal to someone that their behavior is inappropriate enough to require some outside nudging back to social conformance, while not so inappropriate enough to require public censure.
You know, the analogy isn't so accurate. Metafilter discussion happens in *written* format. That means no one can be "shouted down" or "talked over," and there isn't a limited amount of time into which all turns must be fit. A lot of the hotter voices in this thread seem to imply that discussion space is a limited good here, or can be monopolized at all. (And in fact, I'd say super-long single comments, like the one from which I quote, do more to take the air out of the room than a dozen shorter ones.)spitbull
I've mixed feelings on your point and, the funny thing is, you clearly do, too. You mention that my long comment disrupts the flow of the conversation and that is clearly in conflict with your point above. Years ago, back when I was notorious on MeFi for writing long comments, I often argued exactly as you do here—that I certainly don't expect anyone to read anything that they don't want to read, that unlike a live, spoken discursive environment, people aren't actually a prisoner of someone else's speaking time. The reader can effectively make any comment they don't want to read disappear, by not reading it.

Yet, obviously it's not that simple. Last week we talked here about the responsibility to read the comments in a thread before commenting oneself. The sense of such a responsibility exists because each thread is effectively a shared social space to which all who are active within it have both rights and responsibilities. If there is an ethos of reading what other people have to say in a thread here—and I think there is—then clearly every person who participates in the thread has a certain amount of responsibility to tailor their participation to be in accordance with community norms. That may include not writing comments that are too long, or not writing too many comments in a thread.

My long comment was intended to illustrate that where there is a highly successful discursive environment (and SJC is one of those rare places), there are a complex mix of forces which interact to maintain that environment. Being responsible for one's own behavior is critically important because a good discursive environment require a sufficient quantity of good-faith. Simple categorical rules on behavior are not only insufficient, they are actively counter-productive because what exactly makes for a productive conversation in one situation is different from what makes it productive in another. There are certainly times when it is not only acceptable, but helpful and good, for one person to dominate the conversation. If they have something to say that is worth it, everyone is better off hearing it. People can't always be trusted to be the best judges of this, and that's when subtle social signaling is important. We can't be as subtle as we like here, but I think we can be a lot more subtle than simply posting a call-out to MetaTalk.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:59 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


ThePinkSuperhero: " Fair enough, I guess. But I don't see how it's unfair for users to discuss someone's behavior just because they plugged their ears and shouted I'M NOT LISTENING."

I agree. It's not unfair. She's capable of returning to the thread, after all.

All I said was that if millipedes wanted her to see it, he'll have to start another thread. That's really all I meant.
posted by zarq at 7:59 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seriously. She's the worst. The loudest in the room and always wrong about everything.

I like her, but people insulting religion is one of her 'things', and she's just gonna argue it to the death. To be fair, though, she only does it in one out of a 100 threads or whatever.
posted by empath at 7:59 AM on November 9, 2011


Really? It seems like every thread.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:00 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


See? Even now empath's contributions are essentially constructive and thoughtful, even when I'm raging and frothing at the mouth. Again, I can't help but wonder why this meta was created in the first place. The guy may have unpopular opinions occasionally, but he's always great about arguing in good faith.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:02 AM on November 9, 2011


to sir with millipedes: "And then Empress showed up and started painting the town stupid, but very few people seem to have any coherent criticism of her behavior. So I'm bringing it up in a MeTa about egregious, unconstructive participation that derails a thread."

Ahhh. Okay, I see.
posted by zarq at 8:03 AM on November 9, 2011


"I was suggesting that relying on the term 'semantics' as a way to dismiss somebody's argument was likely to generate heat without light."

Okay, I share your frustration with this.

I misunderstood the thrust of your complaint because many, many people are, in fact, strongly prescriptivist when it comes to common usage of words that, to them, have technical meanings which are paramount. As a descriptivist about language, I really really want to go along with the common usage of "begs the question" but, also as a philosophy-guy, that usage is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. This is common with terms of art that leak into popular usage. But, once they exist in popular usage, in that context those terms are popularly determined.

Prescriptivists will disagree, of course. As they always do.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:03 AM on November 9, 2011


I'm confused, maybe you are too; consider having a break.


I'd say that Melbourne's a great place to visit, and it is.

Hey We're Going Into Summer Down Here In the South (antipodes).


It's quite nice, mods, don't you want to be between time zones? Cold Beer, bands, etc.

Otherwise, unless you're an academic what's the point of arguing the specific meaning of words? We've got that.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:04 AM on November 9, 2011


As both of us seem to agree, sending a private message to someone is probably the best solution when it comes to trying to signal to someone that their behavior is inappropriate enough to require some outside nudging back to social conformance, while not so inappropriate enough to require public censure.

I just want to point out that I didn't get a single memail before this metatalk thread, and that the only time I've ever gotten a memail from a mod telling me to knock something off was when i told someone to go fuck themselves in a thread like a year or so ago.

The only time I've ever gotten a negative memail from another user that I can remember was from flapjax at midnight when I was being kind of jerky about a song he posted. Most memails I get that are related to threads I post in are from people telling me that other people in threads are being jerks.
posted by empath at 8:04 AM on November 9, 2011


Even now empath's contributions are essentially constructive and thoughtful, even when I'm raging and frothing at the mouth.

And THAT is why I chimed into the thread initially, in order to DEFEND empath from a callout that was unjustified. Not to make it "all about me" -- I was admitting that I was provoking empath into the behavior that gman was complaining about.

TPS, apparently that's too much for you. I'll make you a deal of avoiding all the local meetups so you don't have to deal with me in real life, how's that?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:08 AM on November 9, 2011


The only time I've ever gotten a negative memail from another user that I can remember was from flapjax at midnight when I was being kind of jerky about a song he posted.

yo empath, start spelling my username right or I'm gonna send you another negative memail. ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:09 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


What are you even talking about? I'm talking about your behavior on-site.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:09 AM on November 9, 2011


ah! See? I knew EC was still watchin'!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:10 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Which one is Mel?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:12 AM on November 9, 2011


start spelling my username right

Sorry, flapjacks.
posted by empath at 8:12 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


to sir with millipedes: " That's an interesting read. I was pointing out that Empath's contribution to that thread was actually a corrective for the wrong-headed "THEY DESERVED IT LOL" comments from people, and rather than monopolizing the thread managed to put together a pretty coherent argument in a respectful and intelligent way. And then Empress showed up and started painting the town stupid, but very few people seem to have any coherent criticism of her behavior. So I'm bringing it up in a MeTa about egregious, unconstructive participation that derails a thread."

Also... I was debating whether to mention this, but it really irks me that you're calling her "aggressively stupid." Is there no other possible way for you to get your point across without engaging in personal attacks?
posted by zarq at 8:13 AM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sorry, flapjacks.

one of these days, empath... BANG ! ZOOM!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:15 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ivan F: As a descriptivist about language, I really really want to go along with the common usage of "begs the question" but, also as a philosophy-guy, that usage is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

We may well be related. Sorry about my poor initial phrasing - flippancy getting in the way of clarity, I suspect.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:15 AM on November 9, 2011


ah! See? I knew EC was still watchin'!

Zarq suggested I come in. Talk to him.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:23 AM on November 9, 2011


meanwhile, the aggressively stupid Empress Callipygos has ...

I think once you feel the need to resort to calling people "stupid", you might need to take a couple deep breaths and re-think how you want to phrase your criticism.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:29 AM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


THANKS a LOT, zarq.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:29 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


With regard to your point about lurkers, while it's an obvious distinction, I'm not sure that it changes anything. If someone doesn't want to participate, then they're not in a position to influence the discussion.

Right, but since you mentioned the entire deal about people in your class being asked to leave for not participating, I felt it needed pointing out that people can and do read silently here without consequence. Which brings me to:

The lack of body language and such to send social signals is, of course, the root of most of the problems with Internet discourse. It's a much larger problem than just this particular manifestation. And I don't know of any comprehensive solutions.

Maybe it's to not try to find real-life solutions to internet problems. As spitbull pointed out, there is a very different dynamic of communication in an online setting from a classroom setting. Any sort of analysis of, or solutions to problems regarding, internet discourse should probably be addressed on their own terms.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:34 AM on November 9, 2011


I thin it's time for a group hug.




You'll feel better.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:34 AM on November 9, 2011


I sent Empress a memail with a link to the comment.

Last December, I left the site and a small number of people spent time attacking me after I'd punched the button. I had stopped following the thread and obviously wasn't around to defend myself, but someone sent me a link, to let me know. Even though it was frustrating, I really appreciated it at the time: it reinforced to me that I had done the right thing by leaving.

I don't want to rehash it. I'm back here and have worked really hard over the past year to be a better mefite. I've apologized to a number of people publicly and privately for being an ass.

But if I were in Empress' shoes, I'd want to know someone was attacking me in Meta after I'd publicly said I was not going to follow/revisit a thread. I think it's only right. What she chooses to do with the information once she knows is of course, her business.
posted by zarq at 8:35 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or a security guard at the next NYC meetup.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:35 AM on November 9, 2011


or she talk for herself perhaps? she's only just up there ^
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:49 AM on November 9, 2011




20/259
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:51 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't see her comment about up and leaving the thread. But i don't really feel any compunction about what I said or how I phrased it. Just because she chose to take her ball and go home doesn't negate what I said or how I meant it. Thanks for bringing it to her attention.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:51 AM on November 9, 2011


TPS, apparently that's too much for you. I'll make you a deal of avoiding all the local meetups so you don't have to deal with me in real life, how's that?

ThePinkSuperhero is not the only one affected by your sometimes toxic way of engaging in discussion with other people here. Avoiding meetups does absolutely nothing to address that.
posted by grouse at 8:51 AM on November 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Maybe it's to not try to find real-life solutions to internet problems."

I'm in the camp that believes that while the "internet" is distinct in some respects from other milieus, in essence it's a human social environment and, as such, problems will most effectively be solved as they always have been, by tried-and-true (and partly instinctive) human social conventions.

Body-language social signaling, and vocal inflection signaling, are the important communication channels missing from internet discourse but we already see the development of emoticons and chatspeak as a way of encoding a part of this missing information into plain text. This is what people do. Technological or other artificial methods of influencing human behavior in a social context will almost always, for what I think are obvious reasons, fail to be as effective in the long-run as the mechanisms with which humans more naturally and historically achieved the same goals.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:54 AM on November 9, 2011


ThePinkSuperhero is not the only one affected by your sometimes toxic way of engaging in discussion with other people here.

I kind of think you guys are being a bit bullying right now. I don't think anything she did really calls for that.
posted by empath at 8:57 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Last December, I left the site and a small number of people spent time attacking me after I'd punched the button.

That statement reads as if people attacked you for no reason (which has occurred before), it should be noted there was plenty of hostility on all sides in that thread.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:57 AM on November 9, 2011


Alvy Ampersand: "20/259"

If you have something meaningful to say about my contributions to this thread, please by all means do so.
posted by zarq at 8:57 AM on November 9, 2011


If you have something meaningful to say about my contributions to this thread, please by all means do so.

Buzuh? I was pointing out empath is getting perilously close to ten percenting this MeTa.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:01 AM on November 9, 2011


I was going to say a bunch of controversial stuff, but, again, I think a lot of you need a holiday.

Jesus!
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 9:02 AM on November 9, 2011


I'm in the camp that believes that while the "internet" is distinct in some respects from other milieus, in essence it's a human social environment and, as such, problems will most effectively be solved as they always have been, by tried-and-true (and partly instinctive) human social conventions. Body-language social signaling, and vocal inflection signaling, are the important communication channels missing from internet discourse but we already see the development of emoticons and chatspeak as a way of encoding a part of this missing information into plain text. This is what people do.

I'm aware of what people do. Although this now has me a little confused. I don't understand why you made the thread-as-university-classroom analogy if you then go on to admit that the dynamics of communication on the internet are totally different from an IRL setting.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:03 AM on November 9, 2011


Buzuh? I was pointing out empath is getting perilously close to ten percenting this MeTa.

So i'm not even allowed to comment in a thread about me?
posted by empath at 9:03 AM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would strongly suggest that everyone here start treating one another with civility and make an effort to work from the assumption that everyone is participating in good faith, and that being insulting or denigrating anyone's efforts is not in the spirit of the site.

Because the alternative is that I'll start hugging people, and as I don't have a good grasp of interpersonal space or appropriateness, this is bound to make anyone and everyone really uncomfortable.

Don't make me use my powers of good against you...
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shit off!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:07 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


ThePinkSuperhero is not the only one affected by your sometimes toxic way of engaging in discussion with other people here.

I kind of think you guys are being a bit bullying right now. I don't think anything she did really calls for that.


If someone's behaving poorly, I think anyone has the right to say so. How is that "bullying"? I've seen that line of thinking before, both here and on other forums, that criticizing another person is the same as bullying, and it's just not true.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:10 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: " That statement reads as if people attacked you for no reason

*sigh*

I said in the very same statement I had apologized to people publicly and privately for being an ass. I accept responsibility for my end of that shitstorm, and have tried to make amends with many of the people who were upset by my comments and actions.

I've also been a lot more careful about what I post to the Blue, which is something you yourself have complained about repeatedly. I even asked the mod team for advice on how i could be less of an abrasive pain in the ass and have been trying my best to follow their suggestions.

So no, it should not read that way. Not to anyone who read the whole comment through. But if it does, that was absolutely not my intention.
posted by zarq at 9:10 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's going on here?
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 9:11 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alvy Ampersand: "If you have something meaningful to say about my contributions to this thread, please by all means do so.

Buzuh? I was pointing out empath is getting perilously close to ten percenting this MeTa.
"

WELL APPARENTLY I AM TOO. :D

oops. sorry.
posted by zarq at 9:11 AM on November 9, 2011


"...the 'internet' is distinct in some respects from other milieus, in essence it's a human social environment..."" the dynamics of communication on the internet are totally different from an IRL setting".

So, no, I didn't "admit" that.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:13 AM on November 9, 2011


I said in the very same statement I had apologized to people publicly and privately for being an ass.

I thinK I apologized to you in memail after that, but in case I didn't, I was way out of line in that thread, too, and you didn't really deserve the vitriol there.
posted by empath at 9:13 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am posting this comment for no reason whatsoever other than to reduce everyone else's percentages. That's my gift to you. You're welcome!
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:20 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


empath: " I thinK I apologized to you in memail after that, but in case I didn't, I was way out of line in that thread, too, and you didn't really deserve the vitriol there."

If you did, I don't remember. But thank you all the same. I truly appreciate it.
posted by zarq at 9:24 AM on November 9, 2011


> I was pointing out that Empath's contribution to that thread was actually a corrective for the wrong-headed "THEY DESERVED IT LOL" comments from people ...

Except no one was making "they deserved it lol" comments in the thread. Empath may think he was countering such a position, but I didn't get that impression. Sometime it's been hard to figure out what empath, Emperess & co. think they're arguing about. (It mostly seems like they're finding things to pick at in each other comments.) But no one's argued that Charlie Hebdo deserved it.
posted by nangar at 9:25 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


> But no one's argued that Charlie Hebdo deserved it.

I think the only angle regarding that one was whether or not the firebombing reprisal should've been a surprise to anyone. That got conflated with victim blaming and censorship and a few other constructs.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:27 AM on November 9, 2011


I went to SJC but I didn't read this thread lol. Didnt stop me from participating in class there either.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:51 AM on November 9, 2011


I almost went to SJC. I spent a weekend there when I was looking for schools, but it was just to weird for me.
posted by empath at 9:55 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I went to SJC but I didn't read this thread lol. Didnt stop me from participating in class there either."

I don't know if I've encountered a johnnie who'd admit to participating in class (regularly, or, hell, ever) without having done the reading. I'm honestly shocked. It happens, of course. But it's such a faux pas that no one admits that they've done it. In my experience, anyway.

This was really more a flippant joke, I suppose. And your profile doesn't include your full name.

But participating without doing the reading really is a Very Big Deal. Huh. I really am kind of shocked. (But, again, "flippant joke", I guess.)

"I almost went to SJC. I spent a weekend there when I was looking for schools, but it was just to weird for me."

You did the Thursday-night-seminar-through-the-weekend prospective student visit? Your experience is why they so strongly encourage interested applicants to do the prospective visit. Almost everything about the school is very unusual and it's a comfortable fit for only a minority of self-selecting students. But for many of us, it's like, wow, this is my tribe. It changed my life and I felt like I belonged somewhere in a way I never have before or since.

My impression is that as the school's profile and prestige has increased over the last twenty years, there's more students attending because of parental pressure, which is bad all-around because it either is going to work for you, or it's going to be extremely uncomfortable. Self-aware self-selection is absolutely required.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:12 AM on November 9, 2011


I went to SJC. It was undeniably weird, but a lot of the weirdness was the good kind. I made it about a year before I realized I could never possibly hope to repay all the loans I was taking out with the skills I was learning there, but I'm still really glad that I attended for that year. Sometimes I think of MeFi as a crypto-support group for Johnnies who can't live without seminar. I think we also have a really strong Hampshire contingent here, IIRC.

Incidentally, I visited both schools, and the people at SJC told me that Hampshire's system was akin to "giving a loaded gun to a toddler," while the people at Hampshire responded that SJC's system was "like locking a toddler in a maze with the minotaur." Good times!
posted by dialetheia at 10:17 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


You did the Thursday-night-seminar-through-the-weekend prospective student visit? Your experience is why they so strongly encourage interested applicants to do the prospective visit. Almost everything about the school is very unusual and it's a comfortable fit for only a minority of self-selecting students. But for many of us, it's like, wow, this is my tribe. It changed my life and I felt like I belonged somewhere in a way I never have before or since.

Well, I was fairly sheltered and provincial as a teenager and didn't do the bohemian thing until after I dropped out of college, and retroactively, I kind of regret not pursuing SJC, because I think I would have enjoyed it.
posted by empath at 10:18 AM on November 9, 2011


I realized I could never possibly hope to repay all the loans I was taking out with the skills I was learning there,

Yeah, that was the other reason I decided against it. My parents didn't save up for college for me, so I was going to have to bear the full burden of it. I ended up going to community college and not taking any student loans. I don't know if it was the right thing or wrong thing.
posted by empath at 10:20 AM on November 9, 2011


Probably the right thing, although I hear that in the US which school you went to matters a whole lot more than here in Canada(?).
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:33 AM on November 9, 2011


I think it depends mostly on the specific context. For most people and most situations in the US, nobody gives the least shit where you went to school, if they even care if you did. But it's possible those contexts are broader or more intense in the US than in Canada.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:38 AM on November 9, 2011


That makes sense. Unless you're going for a big job at a law firm or something requiring a business degree, I guess most companies don't really care where you went to school, just that you DID go to school and you have the qualifications (and, ideally, experience). Do employers in the US actually look at your transcripts/grades?
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:43 AM on November 9, 2011


"Well, I was fairly sheltered and provincial as a teenager and didn't do the bohemian thing until after I dropped out of college, and retroactively, I kind of regret not pursuing SJC, because I think I would have enjoyed it."

Ah, weird in that way. Smelly, poorly-dressed people who can talk coherently and with erudition about Heidegger and Newton while being seriously under-the-influence of numerous questionable substances at the same time.

Good times.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:44 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it depends on the crowd. Some look down their noses at anyone who isn't Ivy League. Others smirk at anyone who goes to an expensive college. Still others look down on the party colleges.

And then there's Antioch.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:44 AM on November 9, 2011


1000monkeys: "Do employers in the US actually look at your transcripts/grades?"

Depends on the position, but usually not. Once you've been in the workforce for a while, hardly ever. However, they may confirm you have a degree from your alma mater.
posted by zarq at 10:45 AM on November 9, 2011


Thanks, zarq and Brandon Blatcher. Sometimes you hear this weird stuff about how the US works and you're just not sure if it's true or just one of those oddities (like that everyone has to do or consent to drug testing, or that it's almost impossible to get a 'real' job if you have a bad credit score) and it makes me wonder what is true and what is BS.
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:47 AM on November 9, 2011


Oh, and thanks to cortex too, of course :)
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:50 AM on November 9, 2011


What does make a big difference, I'm sorry to report (because it's very inegalitarian), is the networking effect. It's been really eye-opening to me to watch the SJC alumn network operate, even given that it's not Ivy-league. While 60% of johnnies are on financial aid and not from wealthy families, a significant portion are. This stuff combines to create privileged channels for socioeconomic "success" that aren't available to the less-privileged. I look at this happening every day on alumni mailing lists and the like, and then I imagine the effect scaled to the size and exclusivity and advantage of it in the cases of places like Harvard.

There is a divide, I feel strongly, between the overwhelming majority of people who go to the state schools and those who go to more privileged places. It's not necessarily quality of education—numerous metrics demonstrate that private schools and even the best public schools don't necessarily provide anything remotely close to a ROI that people think they do compared to a carefully selected state school coupled with hard work and a well-selected degree. It's a class thing, partly. Those of us from backgrounds who aren't privileged can still hitchhike, to some degree, on those privileged class connection by finding our way to exclusive institutions. People who aren't privy to how those connections operate and influence things in the real world just don't realize it exists—not unlike how these things work in small towns with the Masonic Lodge and similar.

It's a bit unsettling.

"Probably the right thing, although I hear that in the US which school you went to matters a whole lot more than here in Canada(?)."

As someone who was formerly married to a Canadian, I think it matters in Canada, too. I mean, you know that UofT and McGill means something quite different from Windsor. Or even York. I don't know. I was going to say that it's partly a function of Canada being smaller that the disparity is smaller. But that's silly, because being smaller could increase the disparity rather than decrease it. It's more likely that it's the lack of private schools. And numerous other things. Still, I don't think the sociology of higher education in Canada is so much different than the US. Both are much less class-based and egalitarian than in Europe, including the UK. (Wealth plays a big role now in the US with regard to class and higher education, but class directly plays a big role in Europe with regard to higher education. Canada is most likely the all-around most egalitarian of the bunch. But by a large margin? I don't know.)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:00 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


If anyone is posting crazy amounts over and over and over again without adding much new to the conversation and/or is doing it in just about every thread... then we have a problem.

When its in a thread the user feels passionately about once every now and again, meh.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:34 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


jbickers: What a stupid call-out this is. What's the point of being on the blue if you're not interested in having (sometimes passionate, sometimes heated) conversations with people?

How stupid to call this call-out stupid. What's the point of being on the grey if you're not interested in having (sometimes passionate, sometimes heated) conversations with people?

Am I doing it right, jbickers?
posted by coolguymichael at 12:30 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


YOUR FACE IS STUPID

ICE BURN
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:31 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think once you feel the need to resort to calling people's faces "stupid", you might need to take a couple deep breaths and re-think how you want to phrase your face criticism.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 12:49 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I did not expect to encounter, on Metafilter of all places, this kind of casual facism.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:59 PM on November 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think once you feel the need to resort to calling people's faces "stupid", you might need to take a couple deep breaths and re-think how you want to phrase your face criticism.

OH SNAP! SOMEONE GOT SHUT DOOOWN!

Wait a minute ...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:01 PM on November 9, 2011


Just restart in Safe Mode, you'll be fine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:29 PM on November 9, 2011


I restarted in Face Mode. It's stupid.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:31 PM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Is there a Same Antics mode? Wait, never mind...
posted by futz at 1:33 PM on November 9, 2011


Siri doesn't care what you type.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:34 PM on November 9, 2011


Casual fascism? (I am genuinely perplexed, not trying to be snarky/mouthy/etc.)
posted by ambient2 at 2:07 PM on November 9, 2011


It's a face joke.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:07 PM on November 9, 2011


YOUR FACE IS A FACE JOKE
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:13 PM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


christ, what a facist
posted by mannequito at 2:15 PM on November 9, 2011


you know who else was a facist?
posted by mannequito at 2:18 PM on November 9, 2011


This guy.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:43 PM on November 9, 2011


I think once you feel the need to re-sort to calling people's faces "stooped", you might need to take a drink, breathe and recouple how you want to farce your phase criticism.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:33 PM on November 9, 2011


Everyone nose that face jokes are so 1980's they have wrinkles.
posted by rich at 7:06 AM on November 10, 2011


you know who else was a facist?

In the words of the late Bill Keane...

Not Me!

As anyone can see, if they squint hard enough -- or switch to the large picture format -- they will see that my anti-facist credentials hereabouts, (which became, soon after, Big Brother endorsed, mind you) have long been established.
posted by y2karl at 8:23 AM on November 19, 2011


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