Is this really deletion worthy? November 17, 2011 6:57 AM   Subscribe

This hasn't been voted on yet, so let's wait and see what happens before posting. Respectfully, I think this is a terrible deletion reason.

Yeah, there's a continuum between "batshit idea proposed by nutjob with no authority or influence" and "law just signed by the president", and a link to news about stuff way over on the former side is a bad link -- but are we really saying that links to public policy topics are poor subjects for FPPs until they actually become law?

Because one of the things I really l like about this site is, it makes me better informed and a smarter voter. If the horse is already out of the barn by the time we're allowed to talk about it, that's kind of suboptimal.

And btw, the deletion reason is incorrect. The bill has in fact been voted on, it just has not been signed into law. It is making its way through the legislative process.

If the mods thing the issue is insignificant or the post is newsfilter or outragefilter, or the discussion is a clusterfuck, fine, but apparently none of those things were true. It would be great if taz could weigh in with a clarification of the reason this post was deleted.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Etiquette/Policy at 6:57 AM (123 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I agree with the deletion but not the reason. This is a thin post, but it could be reposted with a little more meat (or vitamin-rich vegetable material, perhaps) on it and be a good post for the front page.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:59 AM on November 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Was a MeFi FPP deletion ever reversed?
posted by seawallrunner at 7:03 AM on November 17, 2011


deleting anything focused on american politics is fine by me.
posted by planet at 7:05 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


It had quite a few flags, and yes, pretty thin -- just a short MSNBC story... but if people feel like it's a bad deletion, I don't mind reversing it.
posted by taz (staff) at 7:06 AM on November 17, 2011


Aizkolari: "This is a thin post, but it could be reposted with a little more meat (or vitamin-rich vegetable material, perhaps) on it and be a good post for the front page."

Why?

I know this is going to sound super-ironic coming from me considering my posting history, but I'm uncomfortable with the idea that every single political thread should have to meet some sort of arbitrary bar to be good enough for the front page.

The OP could have added a lot of fluff to the post. But it didn't require it and probably would not have been a better post as a result.

seawallrunner: "Was a MeFi FPP deletion ever reversed?"

Yes. At least once that i know of, after being brought up in Meta. That said, it's extremely rare.
posted by zarq at 7:06 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't usually weigh in on these debates, but I agree w/Aizkolari. The post is not great, but the deletion rationale doesn't make sense.
posted by jon1270 at 7:07 AM on November 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


I agree that the reason for deletion is poor. I think it should have been deleted because it's a single link to MSNBC. It's thin newsfilter and there's nothing much to say about it other than "this is stupid."
posted by desjardins at 7:08 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a batshit idea proposed by nutjob with no authority or influence
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:08 AM on November 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


The post was basically Potential News of the Outrageously Weird/Sad. Not too confusing why it was deleted.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:09 AM on November 17, 2011


My vote is that ssF should have tried the contact form first.
posted by peacay at 7:10 AM on November 17, 2011


Here's my deletion criteria for Metafilter: if a post consists of a single link that I saw 2 days ago on Barstool sports, kill it with fire.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:10 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would have deleted it as well. If someone wants to make a solid post on the weird nutrition economics of US school meal logistics (hardly a new topic, cf. Ketchup Is A Vegetable, but maybe an interesting one) then they can do that. But this was a thin post just talking about a thing that's in progress; it's really unclear why it should be on the front page of the site.

The spirit of the deletion reason is basically exactly how I feel about it too, in any case, niggling over the specifics aside: this is a story that's bumping around the internet right now, it's very much a "oh hey here's an outrageous detail about US congressional governance" in tone pretty much everywhere I've seen it. Which doesn't disqualify something from being posted but also doesn't particularly qualify it and is a good sign that maybe a post about it needs to be done after a deep breath and taking a few steps back to see what the meat is and why it belongs on the front page.

We are not a political news or policy blog. That such stuff is part of what gets posted here is a fact of life, but it should indeed probably have a higher bar than a lot of folks treat it as having, because it is not the mission of this site to track government policy developments.

The OP could have added a lot of fluff to the post.

Or, better, the OP could have added a little or a lot of substance. Just as not every single-link post is badly made, so too not every link after the first is fluff.

Was a MeFi FPP deletion ever reversed?

Every great once in a while. It's never been done on the basis of a deletion reason not being written to people's taste.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:11 AM on November 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I would have deleted it too. "There is a crazy bill being proposed in the US" isn't really something that is worth getting all het up about. I know that some people feel that this gives us a chance to ACT but then we're solidly in "sign my petition" types of posts which aren't okay in their own right. So yeah I might have said that it's a single link newsfilter post that is essentially "look at those assholes on Congress" but honestly the fact that it's just about pending legislation is sort of what makes it extra thin.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:16 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has a deletion reason ever been changed?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:18 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The post is inaccurate and/or misleading" is a completely valid deletion reason, as far as I'm concerned. Which applies to the post under discussion here, even if it wasn't the stated reason.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:18 AM on November 17, 2011


Dig it! I saw the red flash on the deleted Jobs thread! And it was just as awesome as legend tells.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:18 AM on November 17, 2011


The post was thin and poorly framed, I agree with that and I agree with the deletion. I just thought the reason given was wacky, and provided poor guidance for future posters (if that is the intent of providing deletion reasons). Thanks for the clarifications.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:18 AM on November 17, 2011


This hasn't been voted on yet, so let's wait and see what happens before posting.

Commenting on proposed changes is more interesting, and different, than agreeing or disagreeing with decisions already made. I've seen this reason used before and it assumes some sort of paternalism, as though we aren't part of the decision, or trusted to know better. Even if a comet was heading towards earth, we don't wait for the impact. I say allow any and all discussion that weighs knowledge and reason as soon as it seems relevant, regardless of the pending circumstances. A reason for deletion would simply be that it doesn't matter enough.
posted by Brian B. at 7:19 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


WILL EVERYONE PLEASE STOP DUMPING ON TAZ BECAUSE SHE'S NEW
posted by Melismata at 7:22 AM on November 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


if that is the intent of providing deletion reasons

It isn't really no. It's intended to give a quick short reason to the OP and people reading the thread and a note to the other mods. The fact that we have stuff like the Deleted Thread blog so that these things stick around to be contemplated forever is an interesting side effect of having a tech savvy userbase, but wasn't part of the original how/why we do this. Often if we delete a post by a brand new user we'll drop them a note and explain why we deleted it because we don't want people to go away discouraged and confused. That said this post had a few decent things going against it, one of which was that it's pending legislation and I think taz's reason was fine. I might have written a different one, but not that different.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:22 AM on November 17, 2011


deleting anything focused on american politics is fine by me.
posted by planet


I can't figure out if this is eponypropriate or eponyhypocritical
posted by DU at 7:22 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like vegetable pizza
posted by Sailormom at 7:27 AM on November 17, 2011


I'm taking another shot at this. PLEASE HOLD.
posted by davidjmcgee at 7:27 AM on November 17, 2011


What an odd story that was. "The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now."
posted by smackfu at 7:29 AM on November 17, 2011


Respectfully, I think this is a terrible deletion reason.

It's pretty common for pre-emptive "this thing is being voted on, haven't had the results yet though" posts to get deleted actually.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:30 AM on November 17, 2011


cortex: " I would have deleted it as well. If someone wants to make a solid post on the weird nutrition economics of US school meal logistics (hardly a new topic, cf. Ketchup Is A Vegetable, but maybe an interesting one) then they can do that. But this was a thin post just talking about a thing that's in progress; it's really unclear why it should be on the front page of the site.

It's an interesting thing that's happening in the world and may also be something that the community would also find interesting.

The thread was up for a while and didn't turn into "look at those assholes" outrage.

Or, better, the OP could have added a little or a lot of substance. Just as not every single-link post is badly made, so too not every link after the first is fluff."

My point is that a post on a given political topic should not be required to include a history of tomato sauce to be deemed siteworthy.

I admit I may be misreading you here, but that seems to be what you're saying. Could you please explain further?

this is a story that's bumping around the internet right now,

Are you saying that a story's presence on other sites is one criteria that y'all use when determining whether a post is delete-worthy? If so, plenty of stories show up on other sites. A story can be posted here and our community might have a wildly different reaction than say, reddit or digg.

Doesn't it sort of jump the gun to assume that because a story went badly somewhere else, it will also go badly here? Was it going badly and I'm not seeing it? Other than flags, did y'all have to delete a bunch of comments?

jessamyn: "I know that some people feel that this gives us a chance to ACT but then we're solidly in "sign my petition" types of posts which aren't okay in their own right."

The post was not a call for action. That wasn't even implied.
posted by zarq at 7:31 AM on November 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


I agree with the deletion, but the deletion reason is really poor as explained by stupidsexyFlanders. I don't envy the work the moderators perform, but a more rational explanation for the deletion (even just "thin post") would go over much better than the reason provided here. Have you forgotten that yesterday Metafilter changed its main banner image for legislation that "hasn't been voted on yet"?
posted by exogenous at 7:35 AM on November 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


WILL EVERYONE PLEASE STOP DUMPING ON TAZ BECAUSE SHE'S NEW

I can't tell if you're being sincere or ironic here, but in the event you're sincere, I don't see anyone in this thread doing that.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:36 AM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


It seems a little weird to delete a post about an important bill as "sign my petition" when it was only hours ago that MeFi itself removed the link to the sign the petition about another important bill before Congress.
posted by DU at 7:36 AM on November 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now.

Herman Cain don't eat no tomato paste on his pizza! Herman Cain would call that a sissy pizza! Meat and bread is the only thing Herman Cain eats on his pizza and sometimes Herman Cain throws away the bread!

At this point, given the choices, the GOP must be wondering if they can persuade Joe Paterno to run for President.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:50 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


seawallrunner: "Was a MeFi FPP deletion ever reversed?"

This one time I got two deleted posts undeleted and then redeleted and then there were pies and nyuk nyuk nyuk.
posted by Plutor at 7:51 AM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]




It seems a little weird to delete a post about an important bill as "sign my petition" when it was only hours ago that MeFi itself removed the link to the sign the petition about another important bill before Congress.

False equivalency; if the FPP about American Censorship Day was as shabby as Pizza Is A Vegetable and wasn't deleted, it would be weird.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:53 AM on November 17, 2011


We hold these vegetables to be self-evident.

"It's too bad she won't live." [SLYT]
posted by Stoatfarm at 7:55 AM on November 17, 2011


That said this post had a few decent things going against it, one of which was that it's pending legislation and I think taz's reason was fine.

Pending legislation is the only kind you can actually actively do something about; legislation that is on the books is a lot harder to deal with.

This site went so far as to brand itself against pending legislation yesterday. To suggest that discussion about other legislation is unworthy because it's pending doesn't seem fair. The post might've been thin otherwise, but I think that the pending legislation part wasn't really a decent thing going against it.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 7:57 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Herman Cain don't eat no tomato paste on his pizza! Herman Cain would call that a sissy pizza!

I hadn't seen that before, but this

GQ: Let me ask you about your rivals. Recently, in response to a question about you being the new "flavor of the month," you said you weren't a flavor of the month, you were Häagen-Dazs black walnut, which "tastes good all the time." If Mitt Romney was an ice cream flavor, what flavor would he be?

Herman Cain: Oh, just plain vanilla. [laughs] Are you guys really going to print this? I have learned that with my new status in the polls, any- and every thing that I say will show up somewhere. Do you guys really want to do this ice cream analogy?

GQ: We do. Rick Perry?

Herman Cain: Rick Perry: rocky road.

GQ: Michele Bachmann?

Herman Cain: Michele Bachmann... I'm not going to say it. I'm not going to say it.

GQ: Oh, come on!

Herman Cain: Tutti-frutti. I know I'm going to get in trouble!

GQ: Ron Paul?
...
Herman Cain: I just don't have a good description for Ron Paul, because he's just not an ice cream flavor.


is spot on.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:57 AM on November 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


And this sort of coincides with something I was just chatting with jessamyn about last night over IM: I've spent the last four years periodically refining my approach to how I write deletion reasons largely as a sort of defensive tactic against metatalk threads and emails that are of the basic form of "I agree with what you did but want to complain about the dozen or two words your wrote in a box about it when you did it".

Which is a weird situation all around, and not really anybody's fault in some clear sense but it is an odd occupational hazard around here. Matt added the deletion reason field back in the day partly to get away from situations where people were all WHY WAS THIS DELETED, and all in all I think that was a good move but it does get into sort of damned if we do, damned if we don't territory because people around here, eagle-eyed crowd that I love for that in a lot of respects, sometimes parse the shit out of stuff that doesn't really merit that much fine parsing.

We write up deletion reasons extemporaneously as a sort of note of guidance when we're already past the threshold of deciding whether something needs to go. It's not an argument for why the deletion is valid, it's a sticky note attached to it as a secondary issue for the benefit mostly of the poster if they want to have a starting point for a conversation with us about the deletion or just want to take it under advisement as they consider either a do-over or just whatever their next post should be.

And I realize it's something folks besides the poster read, and that to some extent people see it as a source of moderation commentary above and beyond just a note on a specific thread, but it feels to me sometimes like there's this serious over-reading going on with them where we're not allowed to have a casual or imperfectly-formed thought on the subject when we're typing up a note on the fly or it's off to Metatalk again to discuss why an otherwise apparently reasonable deletion wasn't worded correctly.

So, like I said, I've adjusted how I write reasons over time. I stopped being jokey fairly early on in most non-double/non-spam deletions when it seemed to be bothering people to have a jokey tone show up tied to something touchy like a deletion; more to the point, more recently I've found myself being flat-out terse a lot of the time in deletions where I might otherwise be inclined to be wordy because I just don't want to deal with the potential grief of someone picking specifically at the deletion reason wording itself.

And it's something I've thought a lot about over the years but not really talked about much lately. Like I said, it's a weird dynamic and not something where I think anybody's doing anything that isn't fairly understandable in context—if you blink at the wording of a deletion, you blink at it—but it does feel like it becomes something with way more weight on it than really makes sense.

I feel like there's nothing coherent I can tell taz as advice about this—I feel like she's writing much better deletion reasons than I was when I started, really—other than "write less and don't give people something to bite onto", because in four and a half years I haven't found anything much more reliable than that myself. And that kind of sucks as an outcome because this is a place where people like to talk and where I like to explain where I'm coming from on stuff, but the I-don't-like-your-wording type of metatalk post feels more like a disincentive on that front than anything.

It's enough of a thing that me and Jess have on many occasions talked out ahead of time over IM just what the hell we should even write for a given reason to avoid a powderkeg situation because a deletion reason didn't hit exactly the right notes and avoid exactly the right touchy triggers or whatever.

So I dunno. It's weird stuff, and definitely an odd place for us as mods specifically because of the few-to-many relationship on this front. Like Jess said, having deletion reasons be a serious locus of user attention almost as a genre rather than just as a throwaway note wasn't ever the intention. It's okay for the most part that that has happened anyway by chance, but it can be sort of a complicated thing for us to deal with in some ways as a result.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:03 AM on November 17, 2011 [14 favorites]


False equivalency; if the FPP about American Censorship Day was as shabby as Pizza Is A Vegetable and wasn't deleted, it would be weird.

The reason given was not that the post was crappy.

Which, to respond to cortex as well, also applies to this thread. The longer reason given in this thread is not "it was crappy" but "it's activism directed at something that isn't a law yet".
posted by DU at 8:10 AM on November 17, 2011


I am sure it is weird Cortex and your explanation makes sense. Maybe an appended general note of "....and it is getting a lot of flags" (when that is the case) may help clear up the deletion reason and cut down the wtf-therefore-i-meta posts.
posted by lampshade at 8:13 AM on November 17, 2011


cortex: "And that kind of sucks as an outcome because this is a place where people like to talk and where I like to explain where I'm coming from on stuff, but the I-don't-like-your-wording type of metatalk post feels more like a disincentive on that front than anything. "

I do not think this was an "I-don't-like-your-wording" situation.

The reason given for deletion was: "This hasn't been voted on yet, so let's wait and see what happens before posting."

The objections being raised by the OP seem to be in direct response to that reason.
posted by zarq at 8:15 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Or, better, the OP could have added a little or a lot of substance. Just as not every single-link post is badly made, so too not every link after the first is fluff."

My point is that a post on a given political topic should not be required to include a history of tomato sauce to be deemed siteworthy.

I admit I may be misreading you here, but that seems to be what you're saying. Could you please explain further?


I don't think every post needs to be, no. I do think that a lot of them sure do, and that in general the "I'm just going to link to a short piece about a political/policy/news topic with no context" approach should be the exception rather than the rule. As in, if you have found something that is exceptionally worthwhile even as just a one-off link, okay; otherwise, stop and think about whether this is something that would benefit either from more substantial framing or just giving a pass.

>this is a story that's bumping around the internet right now,

Are you saying that a story's presence on other sites is one criteria that y'all use when determining whether a post is delete-worthy? If so, plenty of stories show up on other sites. A story can be posted here and our community might have a wildly different reaction than say, reddit or digg.


I'm saying that looking at the context in which it comes up is useful as a way of sanity-checking whether posting a thin "here's a thing that's happening" story to the front page of Metafilter is really making a good post rather than just making a post about that thing you've been reading about.

The pizza story may be totally worth making a solid post about (and cheers to davidjmcgee for doing just that), but that doesn't make it worth doing a lazy or sub-par job of. Deleting a thin post is not a declaration that the topic sucks, it's a declaration that the post we got wasn't good.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:16 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


We write up deletion reasons extemporaneously as a sort of note of guidance when we're already past the threshold of deciding whether something needs to go. It's not an argument for why the deletion is valid, it's a sticky note attached to it as a secondary issue for the benefit mostly of the poster if they want to have a starting point for a conversation with us about the deletion or just want to take it under advisement as they consider either a do-over or just whatever their next post should be.

Was the the fact deletion reasons are mostly for "the poster if they want to have a starting point for a conversation with us about the deletion or just want to take it under advisement as they consider either a do-over or just whatever their next post should be" and not an official mod statement ever explicitly stated to the community? I am asking because I have been here a while and I have always assumed that the deletion reasons were an "official" explanation for why the post was deleted. I don't know that I have ever seen the reason for their existence actually explained until this thread.

(Also, I miss the jokey ones. I always liked those.)
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:16 AM on November 17, 2011


The objections being raised by the OP seem to be in direct response to that reason.

And the comments in the ensuing thread, about the wording of the deletion, are what got me to writing up that comment in which I acknowledged that this is more of a long-term thing I've been thinking about than anything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:18 AM on November 17, 2011


Could this be somewhat mitigated by calling it "deletion notes" instead of a "deletion reason"? You can't argue with notes, but disagreeing with a "reason" gets people into SOMEONE-IS-WRONG-ON-THE-INTERNET mode.

Sounds trivial, but as you described with the deletion reasons themselves, sometimes little wording nuances make a big difference in people's attitudes.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:18 AM on November 17, 2011


The OP could have added a lot of fluff to the post. But it didn't require it and probably would not have been a better post as a result.

When people post about pending legislation I like to a see a link to the actual text of the bill.
posted by Jahaza at 8:20 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Deletion reason: You have not found something cool on the web.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:21 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am sure it is weird Cortex and your explanation makes sense. Maybe an appended general note of "....and it is getting a lot of flags" (when that is the case) may help clear up the deletion reason and cut down the wtf-therefore-i-meta posts.

I've mostly stopped explicitly mentioning flags in deletion reasons because it seems to set some folks off about e.g. what the flag threshold is for deletions or whether the post had more or less flags on it than apples-and-oranges counterpoint post x or etc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:22 AM on November 17, 2011


I've mostly stopped explicitly mentioning flags.....

ahhh....makes sense
posted by lampshade at 8:23 AM on November 17, 2011


What I think I, and perhaps others, have difficult understanding is why the number of flags and the thinness of the post usually come out in the metatalk thread, but not in the deletion reason.

Those are concrete things that users understand, but when you get in the territory of focusing on something vague like it being pending legislation, and therefore unworthy, it makes it very hard for users to take their deletions and correct their behaviour, as things like yesterday's activist branding on the site relating to pending legislation are happening. If it's about getting better posts, and not the content, then the majority of deletions that fit the "thin and got a lot of flags" mold should just have that as the reason they're deleted.

Point being, I guess, that these types of skirmishes wouldn't occur if the elements that contributed to the deletion which are site rules were actually in the deletion reason.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:23 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


cortex: "I don't think every post needs to be, no. I do think that a lot of them sure do, and that in general the "I'm just going to link to a short piece about a political/policy/news topic with no context" approach should be the exception rather than the rule. As in, if you have found something that is exceptionally worthwhile even as just a one-off link, okay; otherwise, stop and think about whether this is something that would benefit either from more substantial framing or just giving a pass.

But doesn't that act as an impediment to people posting? By filtering out posts that don't meet the "should be more in-depth" threshold, aren't you discouraging Joe MeFite from posting to MeFi in the future?

I get that sometimes it may be a desirable outcome. You want people to use some thought when they make a post. But when a thread isn't turning into an obvious grar-fest gets deleted I sincerely wonder whether you're setting the psychological bar too high for future efforts.

Most people probably do not put SO much effort into creating a post for MeFi. I think that's a good thing. (And I say that while totally cognizant of the fact that my posting style here is 'kitchen sink.')

I'm saying that looking at the context in which it comes up is useful as a way of sanity-checking whether posting a thin "here's a thing that's happening" story to the front page of Metafilter is really making a good post rather than just making a post about that thing you've been reading about.

OK. I understand.

The pizza story may be totally worth making a solid post about (and cheers to davidjmcgee for doing just that), but that doesn't make it worth doing a lazy or sub-par job of. Deleting a thin post is not a declaration that the topic sucks, it's a declaration that the post we got wasn't good."

With sincere respect to davidjmcgee, the focus of that post is not the current story. It was thrown in there as an afterthought, as the final link after [the more inside] jump. His post is a history lesson instead. Which is fine for what it is. But by placing the link to the current story where he did, and by only including links to things that happened more than 10 years ago above the fold, the post is practically mystery meat.

Which is all well and good if you're a mod and would prefer a post on the topic that diffuses the current story into something less potentially aggravating. But as a regular reader of this site, I wouldn't have bothered to look at the post unless it had been pointed out to me.
posted by zarq at 8:42 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jahaza: " When people post about pending legislation I like to a see a link to the actual text of the bill."

I do too. But even if it were included, by the deletion reason given, it still would have been deleted.
posted by zarq at 8:43 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Was a MeFi FPP deletion ever reversed?

Yes. I can't think of the right search terms to find the MetaTalk threads about deleted-then-restored posts, but they're out there.
posted by John Cohen at 8:44 AM on November 17, 2011


The reason given was not that the post was crappy.

Nor was it 'Sign my petition'; that was jessamyn's characterization, not taz's.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:44 AM on November 17, 2011


Maybe an appended general note of "....and it is getting a lot of flags" (when that is the case) may help clear up the deletion reason and cut down the wtf-therefore-i-meta posts.

Can't everyone assume that any deleted FPP probably got flagged?
posted by John Cohen at 8:45 AM on November 17, 2011


If someone is unsatisfied by knowing the mods found a post delete-worthy, I don't see why they'd be any happier to know that there are also other people who aren't mods who also found it delete-worthy. Anything the mods are thinking is probably also thought by some other Mefites.
posted by John Cohen at 8:46 AM on November 17, 2011


But doesn't that act as an impediment to people posting? By filtering out posts that don't meet the "should be more in-depth" threshold, aren't you discouraging Joe MeFite from posting to MeFi in the future?

From posting stuff like the original post? Yes. That is precisely the idea. I am discouraging thin posts about politics and news. We have more than enough of them, they are not "this is a cool thing I found on the web", the are disproportionately likely to lead to annoying arguments, and they are basically zero fun.

There's a whole world of interesting stuff out there, and a wealth of sites tailoring to all kinds of specific topics and niches. Folks who really, really want a politics blog or a newsfilter aggregator can get that from one of those; Metafilter is a generalist blog that is not primarily about that, and people not making more thin posts in that genre would be totally fine.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:47 AM on November 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Boo ya.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:50 AM on November 17, 2011


His post is a history lesson instead.

Yeah, an AWESOME history lesson.
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:01 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


But doesn't that act as an impediment to people posting? By filtering out posts that don't meet the "should be more in-depth" threshold, aren't you discouraging Joe MeFite from posting to MeFi in the future?

We are encouraging Jane MeFite to be more considerate when making her posts, yes. Newsy posts are easy to make and people like to mix it up in the comments but they are not MeteFilter's core purpose and "US legislation" as a topic is interesting to a lot of people but has a tendency to make this place seem like US-NewsFilter sometimes which I think is a problem.

We are 100% totally okay if people post fewer news stories, or only link to ones that have significant substance, wide-ranging appeal, or something at their core besides "People in the legislature are making bad decisions AGAIN"

And I'm not saying that this was a "sign my petition" post so much as I'm saying that if the reasoning behind having a thin "this is pending legislation" post is so that we can DO something before it becomes actual law, that does seem more like "people SHOULD read this" than "People might ENJOY this" and we like to see more of the latter and less of the former. I'm aware this is not to everyone's tastes but as a mod team we're pretty aligned in this way and pay attention to what we feel MeFi's central mission is. Other sorts of stuff is fine and people make good posts about any number of topics including US news and other things that have the tendency to go good/bad depending.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:11 AM on November 17, 2011


I really like davidjmcgee's post on this - a great piece of work, in my humble opinion; I love it. Top man.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:18 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


>> His post is a history lesson instead.

> Yeah, an AWESOME history lesson.

about tomatoes. For more on school lunches 1 2 and a comment thick enough to be a post of its own 3
posted by morganw at 9:20 AM on November 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Could this be somewhat mitigated by calling it "deletion notes" instead of a "deletion reason"? You can't argue with notes, but disagreeing with a "reason" gets people into SOMEONE-IS-WRONG-ON-THE-INTERNET mode.

Don't go dragging me into this. I can do that all by myself.
posted by someone is wrong on the internet at 9:20 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


We are encouraging Jane MeFite to be more considerate

TOTALLY down with Jane MeFite at the moment, too - her thoughtful contributions are rockin' my world. I'm readin', I'm learnin', I'm entertained - major props to Jane.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:20 AM on November 17, 2011


One more thing: have you TRIED ecstasy lately? It is fucking GREAT. I am REALLY loving everything right now. I LOVE you guys - I am NOT BULLSHITTING AT ALL. I feel FANTASTIC.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:22 AM on November 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


cortex: " From posting stuff like the original post? Yes. That is precisely the idea. I am discouraging thin posts about politics and news. We have more than enough of them, they are not "this is a cool thing I found on the web", the are disproportionately likely to lead to annoying arguments, and they are basically zero fun."

Yes, and by doing so you're preemptively moderating the site rather than responding to actual problems as they arise. I believe this is somewhat different from the way the mod team has presented their moderation style to us in the past: "mostly hands off."

Killing an innocuous, thin post because it has the potential to turn into an argument, but hasn't actually become one is really not the sort of moderation I expect on MeFi. I mean, it would be one thing if someone had created a post that said, "Fuck Israel and Fuck the Palestinians!" But this was a post about legislation involving pizza, for heaven's sake. And it did not become a shitfest, nor was it headed in that direction.

I can see the benefits of preemptive moderation. I truly can. But I am concerned that you're creating an environment on the site where casual posting on potentially controversial issues is going to be discouraged, solely because the mod team finds those posts too problematic.
posted by zarq at 9:47 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boris Yeltsin is DEAD????
posted by tigrefacile at 9:53 AM on November 17, 2011


Yes, and by doing so you're preemptively moderating the site rather than responding to actual problems as they arise.

This would make sense if this was a new phenomenon. It is not a new phenomenon. Arguments about newsfilter go back years, something I do not think is news to you. There has basically always been this tension between, on the one hand, folks who think of Metafilter as a news site or an activist/awareness/watchdog site, and on the other hand a long-standing belief by Matt, by the rest of us, and by a whole lot of the community that Metafilter is in fact more about sharing interesting stuff in general than anything like that.

Killing an innocuous, thin post because it has the potential to turn into an argument, but hasn't actually become one is really not the sort of moderation I expect on MeFi.

How about killing an innocuous, thin post because it's thin and could be done better if it's worth doing? Because that's what we do basically every day and is what, again sidestepping arguments about how the deletion reason was vs. could have been phrased, exactly what happened here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:53 AM on November 17, 2011


Yes, and by doing so you're preemptively moderating the site rather than responding to actual problems as they arise.

This is not at all new here. I'm not sure why this conversation is going this direction. This seems like a bog-standard deletion of a thin newsfilter post. We axe "this looks like it's going to be a trainwreck" posts all the time (though I don't think this is one exactly) and we have done this since there was moderation here.

I am concerned that you're creating an environment on the site where casual posting on potentially controversial issues is going to be discouraged

We actually do discourage causal posting of controversial topics. Full stop. We think, and have said repeatedly, that posts about on controversial topics are fine provided that they are framed with care and with the MeFi audience in mind. For new posters who may not know the long complicated set of guidelines we have, we will talk to them directly about this if we feel that they don't understand it. We are very supportive of people who are trying to make good posts here and we are very available to people with questions, it's the sort of thing we do over email/MeMail all the time.

We are still a small site with a small team of moderators. We are not primarily targeted towards news/conflict stuff though we accommodate it. Maintaining the MeFi guidelines does not scale to lots of tough, angry threads. If we felt that this was something that was a core purpose of MeFi, we might ramp up to accommodate this, but we don't. If we were running the site specifically to bring eyeballs to advertisers [i.e. where more clicks are better no matter where they come from] this might be appealing but it's not. And so we do a bit of pre-screening and this is why if you want to make a post about police brutality, animal abuse, pedophilia, rape, angry/difficult religion topics or a host of other things, you need to maybe not do that casually.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:01 AM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


How about killing an innocuous, thin post because it's thin and could be done better if it's worth doing?

You comment on the the post you have---not the post you might want or wish to have at a later time. Seriously, though, not everything needs a bunch of links to pad it out. Sometimes even short news of the weird kind of things. I think a post that is basically, "hey, Congress is doing this weird thing were they might label pizza as a vegetable!" is probably fine. A poster shouldn't feel obligated to give us a history lesson as some sort of justification for making a news post. If he or she wants to do that, of course that's fine, but I think we too often err on the side of requiring it.

And I guess it's great that someone decided to make a similar post with a bunch of extra junk in it, but look at the comments in the new thread. Is it a better, more enlightened, more erudite discussion? Nope. And I'll bet dollars to donuts that the vast majority of people in that thread haven't looked at all the links anyway. And you know what, the context of the original post was not "herp derp fruit or vegetable," it was the attempt of lobbyists to convince Congress to roll back rules promulgated by the USDA in an attempt to regulate the otherwise shitty lunch that many schoolkids get. But, that's not the discussion we ended up with.

Lastly, and putting aside the whole one-vs-many link debate, I think stupidsexyFlanders is exactly right that we ought to tread lightly on deleting stuff that "hasn't been voted on yet" (especially when that's an incredibly unsophisticated view of what's happening with complex legislation). When there is real news about real legislation, we ought to be able to post about it.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:15 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


but the I-don't-like-your-wording type of metatalk post

I don't think that's what this is at all. It's not that people don't like the wording (in this case), it's that someone thought the deletion reason was stupid, and then got told "Well, that's not the real deletion reason, the real deletion reason is that the post is too thin."
posted by 23skidoo at 10:15 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seriously, though, not everything needs a bunch of links to pad it out. Sometimes even short news of the weird kind of things.

I totally agree, but the flip side is that not everything needs a post. It's sort of a low-stakes thing on both sides: if a post doesn't cut the mustard, someone can turn around and try and make a better go of it and that's totally fine and happens on a regular basis, but at the same time Metafilter isn't a place where THIS NEEDS TO GET TALKED ABOUT for any given thing and not-cutting-the-mustard is a pretty routine path to deletion for stuff.

I don't think people are obliged to do a full-on history lesson just to make a post about something current, but I do think that people are often way light on the amount of effort that goes into justifying some bit of news being on what is not, in principle, a news site.

And I guess it's great that someone decided to make a similar post with a bunch of extra junk in it, but look at the comments in the new thread. Is it a better, more enlightened, more erudite discussion? Nope.

That comments on solid posts are not always great is not, in my view, a good argument for caring less about whether or not posts are solid in the first place.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:22 AM on November 17, 2011


Thin or thick FPPs crust pizza? Which is better? Discuss.
posted by ericb at 10:29 AM on November 17, 2011


That comments on solid posts are not always great is not, in my view, a good argument for caring less about whether or not posts are solid in the first place.

But it is a relevant piece of data when the quality of the discussion and the possibility of a fight breaking out in the comments are often explicitly cited as justifications for posts staying or being deleted. Especially in this case, where you have a deleted post and it's replacement on ostensibly the same topic. The fact that there is no functional difference in the discussions occurring in the two threads should be given some sort of consideration.

Next, let's back up and examine the underlying assumption, which is that this was a "thin" post to begin with. The linked article isn't actually all that short, contains a bit of history about the USDA regulations and what prompted congressional action, and a round-up of commentary from various interested parties. It's not like it's an article that just says "LOL CONGREES THNKS PIZAA IS VEGGIES." It's a real article about a real policy issue. Is every news article by definition a "thin" post? What does it mean to be "thin?" Is there some criteria, or do you just know it when you see it?

And since you didn't respond to this part of my last comment, let's get back to the actual stated reason for the deletion--that the bill itself had not been voted on. Again, that seems like a bad guideline to adopt, especially in this case where the bill has been approved in committee and looks likely to pass. It's not a weird one-off bill from a state legislature, but actual real legislation from the US Congress on a substantive policy.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:36 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?
posted by smackfu at 10:38 AM on November 17, 2011


I said upthread already that I agree with the spirit of the deletion reason in that the specific post felt more like a reflexive "here is a story going around" post as presented than someone finding a good substantial link on a story and making the best post they could about that. It was not a very good post. Posts that are not very good sometimes get deleted. I feel like we've covered a whole lot of this ground already in this thread, and it's not even a new conversation for this thread, and maybe it's just me being bushed this morning, but I am pretty much out of steam on this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:43 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nothing cortazzymyn is saying about this is really news or even arguable: the post was thin, the framing was weak, it was a bit newsfiltery and sort of LOLcongresscrittery.

But I am disappointed that writing "deletion reasons" is taken so lightly by them, to the point where saying one thing but meaning something completely different is waved away as a "wording" issue. It doesn't matter if they're seen by everybody or just the OP. I think if the community goes to the effort to create the content that pays the bills, then content deletions deserve a coherent response.

And guys, if you think that reason was a mistake, and it sounds like you might? -- hey, everybody makes mistakes, and you're incredibly respected by the userbase here, so you have the capital to spend on a simple "whoops, we fucked up, that's actually not a reason we would use to delete a post, assuming it was up to snuff in all the other usual ways".

Really surprised you wouldn't have come out with that off the bat, it would have ended this thread pretty quickly, and it seems pretty obviously true.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:50 AM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't mean to give you a hard time, Cortex, I really don't. And you know I am not generally keen on news posts, especially ones that are light on substance. I just wish there were more predictable guidelines about news posts (particularly political news)--moderation of those kinds of posts seems fairly ad hoc, and it seems like people get frustrated about it. Especially when their post gets deleted but a youtube link to cows listening to horns does not. (Not intended to disparage that particular post--just an example).
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:53 AM on November 17, 2011


Really surprised you wouldn't have come out with that off the bat, it would have ended this thread pretty quickly,

Well, I sincerely doubt that considering it is one of the newer mods who wrote the deletion plate of beans here.
posted by smackfu at 10:57 AM on November 17, 2011


But I am disappointed that writing "deletion reasons" is taken so lightly by them

I think what I am trying to say with my longish comment up here is that I have spent the last several years trying to find ways to take deletion reason writing, something that we do under time-pressure and never intended to be some sort of canonical law thing in any case, seriously enough that I avoid getting grief over having written one poorly. And after years of work on it I still haven't gotten there and am often these days resorting to just not even even bothering with an explicit rationale because that seems like the least grief-inducing approach.

So: we already take it pretty seriously, more seriously than we really want to have to. Me and Jess are very old hands at it and have mostly learned which eggshells to walk around, but we still get trouble over it sometimes. taz and restless_nomad are having to learn that particular brand of caginess from scratch, and while on the one hand I think they're doing better at it than me and Jess and Matt did when we each started in (partly because, I suppose, there's been a more established tone to them for taz and r_n to see in action as we've refined the tone of our deletions over the last several years), I think it's also pretty natural that they'll take some time to figure all that out to the degree we have. In the mean time, they'll keep deleting posts that need deleting.

Deletion reasons are less important than deletions, and deletions are only important most of the time as a "there's probably a better way to do this, if someone wants to give it a try" notice. I really genuinely love the ability of this community to collectively dig into the fine details of things discursively a lot of the time, but from a mod perspective it can get just kind of overwhelming when that sort of laser attention gets turned on something like "you said the wrong thing in that sentence you attached to that post that I basically agree was worth deleting". I don't know how else to communicate that: it's tiring. It feels like something on which we sometimes expend way more energy than we ought to.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:07 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: "And I'm not saying that this was a "sign my petition" post so much as I'm saying that if the reasoning behind having a thin "this is pending legislation" post is so that we can DO something before it becomes actual law, that does seem more like "people SHOULD read this" than "People might ENJOY this"

Yeaaaaaah, but the OP didn't say outright what their motivation / reasoning for posting was. And it was not overtly obvious from the post. I mean, it could have been posted for any number of reasons that weren't activist-related.

But yes, I do understand that as a mod you need to suss these things out. And I can see why you would all think that the post might develop in that direction.

and we like to see more of the latter and less of the former. I'm aware this is not to everyone's tastes but as a mod team we're pretty aligned in this way and pay attention to what we feel MeFi's central mission is. Other sorts of stuff is fine and people make good posts about any number of topics including US news and other things that have the tendency to go good/bad depending."

FWIW, I do prefer posts that have meat on them.

Perhaps this is just the principle of the thing, but I don't like people being discouraged from making posts. I like it when people post around here. Even thin posts usually have some inherent merit.

I get what cortex and you are saying about a post needing to meet a certain quality level. And normally I totally agree that we should be encouraged to create quality posts. But I'm truly unsure that greater context in this particular FPP was necessary for it to be of better quality.

cortex: "This would make sense if this was a new phenomenon. It is not a new phenomenon. Arguments about newsfilter go back years, something I do not think is news to you.

True. But my impression has always been that stuff gets deleted if it's really, really thin. Like Daily Mail / National Enquirer link thin. Not about something that's actually happened, is being covered by the mainstream media and isn't causing a ruckus on site.

Perhaps I'm wrong about that?

There has basically always been this tension between, on the one hand, folks who think of Metafilter as a news site or an activist/awareness/watchdog site, and on the other hand a long-standing belief by Matt, by the rest of us, and by a whole lot of the community that Metafilter is in fact more about sharing interesting stuff in general than anything like that.

Sure. I've commented myself in meta numerous times about people not using mefi as their personal soapbox. But I never thought the bar was set that high for newsfilter.

How about killing an innocuous, thin post because it's thin and could be done better if it's worth doing? Because that's what we do basically every day...

True.
posted by zarq at 11:21 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"And you know I am not generally keen on news posts, especially ones that are light on substance. I just wish there were more predictable guidelines about news posts (particularly political news)--moderation of those kinds of posts seems fairly ad hoc, and it seems like people get frustrated about it. Especially when their post gets deleted but a youtube link to cows listening to horns does not. (Not intended to disparage that particular post--just an example)."

From my perspective, as someone who was once enthusiastically constantly on the frontlines here railing against NewsFilter, that ship has sailed. Now, the mods and the community who don't like it basically just try to keep it from getting totally out of control.

The consequence of that are things like "adding lots of stuff to a newsfiltery post to make it acceptable". In my view, if we had a strict "best of the web and not news (unless it's best of the web)" policy, there would never, ever be any need to pad a post with links. But because that's not going to happen, and we're going to get news of the day posts because people want to discuss them, then the only solution is to set some sort of higher standard for such posts in order to keep them under control (not necessarily to make the discussion better, but just as a higher bar to entry). Which brings us to the present day.

It's obviously unrealistic for new members to be aware of the long, long, long, long, long history of arguments in MetaTalk about news posts. But, as is the case with some other things, it sure would be nice if they were aware of some of the context for the discussion. But, really, that's unrealistic, too. People are going to join and participate without reading any provided history or standards, or ever visiting MetaTalk. A few will, but most won't.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:24 AM on November 17, 2011


And to maybe touch on where we might be coming at this from different but legitimate angles, I can understand the motivation for a "hey, is this a reason we delete threads now" question as a response to a deletion reason if it's sort of a worry about precedent being set or policy being changed. If that's part of the thinking in responding to a specific deletion reason, I get that.

But I feel like it's pretty established at this point that policy is something we do not change on a whim around here, that we don't just induce new hardline standards for posts with an off-hand comment while deleting a post. Talking stuff out in Metatalk, generally at length over a period of months if not years, is the only way stuff really gets shifted significantly for basically everything in the neighborhood of what-is-okay-on-the-site. So from my end that's where zeroing in on a deletion reason can feel like overly much, like making a policy mountain out of side-comment molehill.

Again, I dunno, I may be just on edge today. I don't want to give anybody specifically a hard time for wondering about a given deletion reason, because I get that it can be coming from a totally reasonable place a lot of the time of just trying to understand the moderation process. It might help if some of this stuff went the path of either (a) dropping us a line to try and get some elaboration before going to Metatalk with it or (b) trying make the metatalk discussions about deletions more about the merits or not of the post that was actually made and less about the topic of the post (since a do-over is pretty much always fine) or about whether the specific content or phrasing of the deletion reason was ideal.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:26 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


True. But my impression has always been that stuff gets deleted if it's really, really thin. Like Daily Mail / National Enquirer link thin. Not about something that's actually happened, is being covered by the mainstream media and isn't causing a ruckus on site.

I know its not a democracy, but I'd like to cast my vote that that an AP story is always too thin for a Metafilter post. Even with the extra padding Ivan Fyodorovich mentions above. If someone else hasn't bothered writing a decent article about it, I don't think it's Metafilter-worthy.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:29 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I'm wrong about that?

I feel like maybe you think of Metafilter as more of a "if it's news and it's sort of interesting, post it" venue than anyone on Team Mod does, yeah. Which, it's a matter of druthers to some extent and you're not alone in that but I think that's a part of the tension here, yes.

I want people to want to post, but I don't want them to want to post middle-of-the-road Yet Another Thing That Is Happening newsy stuff. There is too much of it already. I am fine with discouraging more, even if that means someone who is totally a nice person isn't as attracted to Mefi as they would be if it were more thoroughly the de facto news aggregation site they were hoping for.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:30 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


WILL EVERYONE PLEASE STOP DUMPING ON TAZ BECAUSE SHE'S NEW

Can we stop doing this? This is getting about as annoying as posting recipes or video game reviews in Metatalk thread. Please? Can we stop this? Pretty please?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:33 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


There has basically always been this tension between, on the one hand, folks who think of Metafilter as a news site or an activist/awareness/watchdog site, and on the other hand a long-standing belief by Matt, by the rest of us, and by a whole lot of the community that Metafilter is in fact more about sharing interesting stuff in general than anything like that.

What we really need is a MetaTalk on how to discourage current events fanatics from taking over the front page entirely.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:36 PM on November 17, 2011


BP: stop doing what? Stop dumping on Taz, or stop asking people to dump on Taz?
posted by Melismata at 12:58 PM on November 17, 2011


(NOT dump on Taz)
posted by Melismata at 12:58 PM on November 17, 2011


cortex: " I feel like maybe you think of Metafilter as more of a "if it's news and it's sort of interesting, post it" venue than anyone on Team Mod does, yeah. Which, it's a matter of druthers to some extent and you're not alone in that but I think that's a part of the tension here, yes. "

OK.
posted by zarq at 1:02 PM on November 17, 2011


I know its not a democracy, but I'd like to cast my vote that that an AP story is always too thin for a Metafilter post.

I agree. The Washington Post has actually run a few articles (one in-depth) that look at this from different angles, and include information like who the major players in Congress pushing this are, what the arguments on both sides are, and evaluating the veracity of the arguments. While IANAMod, I suspect that a series of links to those 3 or 4 articles may have garnered fewer flags and avoided deletion.

In fact, looking at the AP story, it reads almost like an excerpt of one of the longer WaPo articles. If your news link is so thin that even the person posting it misunderstands the key dynamics--to wit, the fact that the legislation was an end-run by Congress around new regulations being developed for the past year by the Executive branch, and that legislation keeps the status quo rather than newly declaring pizza a vegetable--then I'd argue that story is too damn thin to be a decent link to the front page.
posted by iminurmefi at 1:06 PM on November 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Speaking as a noob I find the "we've posted about this before" reason for post deletion to be the most unsatisfying. It's a big archive, and there are times I feel like I'm expected to know it pretty well, which I probably can't achieve. On the other hand it's great that there are standards for what comprises a quality post, even if they appear a bit vague at times.
posted by zomg at 1:11 PM on November 17, 2011


I find the "we've posted about this before" reason for post deletion to be the most unsatisfying

I'm not sure totally where you're coming from on this, since that's not a deletion reason we've used, but there may be one of two things going on

1. This is a double post - there has been a link to this content on MeFi previously. Usually this is when there's a link to a site where the site IS the content [i.e. not a news outlet or something] and it's been on MeFi in the past few years. In that case we'll usually link to the previous post and delete it saying it's a double post

2. This is something that we're still talking about in an open thread - big topics often span a lot of different discussion areas and often people have differing ideas on whether each element of a big topic needs its own post or not. Usually in the early days of something [Occupy Wall Street is a recent example] people will pop up with a bunch of different posts. After a few days of this, we'll often tell people to keep discussion on this topic in the open threads unless there's something really big and new happening [and this is tricky, but it usually goes to a mod judgment call guided by the falgs that come from the community]

So the rule for doubles has usually been "Yeah this exact website or a website with the same content has been posted to MeFi in the past few years" and the rule for "we're already talking about this" is usually that there's a post that has happened within the past few weeks on the same big topic and discussion on related parts of that topic should probably go there. If you want to point out specific examples, I can probably give you some better guidance, but usually our double-post checker combined with checking tags or doing a search for your topic of interest is a pretty good way to see if you're posting something either that has been seen before or that we're already talking about.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:27 PM on November 17, 2011


WILL EVERYONE PLEASE STOP DUMPING ON TAZ BECAUSE SHE'S NEW

Melismata, I think it would help greatly if you would clarify whether you were being sarcastic in your original statement. The all-caps made it confusing.

I (and it seems others as well) aren't sure if you're trotting out "stop dumping on taz because she's new" as some sort of forced meme, or if you're legitimately asking people not to.

I want to read it as sincere, but because it doesn't seem like this post has anything to do with dumping on taz because she's new, it seems like a bizarre thing to say sincerely. Thus, it's reading as sarcasm, which also barely makes sense, because it seems to imply that people are already saying that a lot and you're mocking them. As a regular MeTa reader, I haven't noticed that either.

So yes, clarification, please? For what it's worth, I think there was/is considerably less bucking when taz got started than when r_n did (With one extreme outlier) mostly because people were more accustomed to the idea of a new mod. It took a second new moderator coming on board to make me realize I was unfairly judging r_n at first, even though I didn't say anything to that end.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:34 PM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


This hasn't been voted on yet, so let's wait and see what happens before posting. Respectfully, I think this is a terrible deletion reason.

Actually, I think it's an excellent deletion reason and I wish the mods would do stuff like that more often. I always feel frustrated by posts that are all like, "[X] thing might happen!" or "[X] thing going to happen" or "Part 2 of a 3-part series" (where the whole series isn't online yet)

It's like, just wait until X happens, or the whole series is online. It's a far more valuable experience for the readers, and it also eliminates the need for follow-up posts.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:34 PM on November 17, 2011


Oh sorry I wasn't specific! I meant oneswellfoop's Taibbi post from today. Which I cannot now find because I closed that window and haven't figured out how to retrieve deleted threads yet, sorry (noob). Reason for delete was essentially, "we've posted a lot of Taibbi stuff before" (am paraphrasing). And I am not complaining about it. Just that I didn't know that there had been a lot of Taibbi posts before, and darn, I was hoping to say something in there. I can get over my disappointment.
posted by zomg at 2:02 PM on November 17, 2011


Melismata, I think it would help greatly if you would clarify whether you were being sarcastic in your original statement. The all-caps made it confusing.

I was serious. It was in all caps because it's about the third time I've had to say it. If any other mod had given this deletion reason, this Meta would not be here.

Ok, maybe it would. It's the holiday season and people are punchy.
posted by Melismata at 2:02 PM on November 17, 2011


Thank you for clarifying. I'm definitely on watch for people being crappy to taz because of newness, and this one didn't trip my radar, but I get that it's subjective. I think SSF has been pretty reasonable, for what it's worth.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:13 PM on November 17, 2011


I meant oneswellfoop's Taibbi post from today.

I was sad about that deletion too. Also the /r/SRS post from yesterday, which I was really looking forward to and had considered making myself because SRS is pretty damn interesting and, I would say, best of the web. But I guess those posts were "not great."

If any other mod had given this deletion reason, this Meta would not be here.

I disagree, and it kind of feels like bad faith to assume that this very respectfully-worded MeTa is "dumping on" anybody. Your comment really seemed like an attempt at shutting down conversation; it was pretty much the MeTa equivalent of "I find your lack of faith disturbing." Talking about this stuff is pretty much what MeTa is for.
posted by dialetheia at 2:22 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Which I cannot now find because I closed that window and haven't figured out how to retrieve deleted threads yet, sorry (noob).

There is a Greasemonkey script for this, or you can check the deleted thread blogs for Mefi and AskMe.
posted by lalex at 2:26 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


it was pretty much the MeTa equivalent of "I find your lack of faith disturbing."

Can we do that? Because I'm totally going to start force-choking people.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:29 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, lalex. Duly bookmarked! Also I should acknowledge that this is something I probably missed from the FAQs (and I apologize accordingly).
posted by zomg at 2:55 PM on November 17, 2011


Also I should acknowledge that this is something I probably missed from the FAQs (and I apologize accordingly).

Not at all; I don't think they're mentioned in the FAQ or anywhere.
posted by lalex at 3:02 PM on November 17, 2011


That's what kind of makes this whole thing funny. That you have to be a pretty hardcore user to even see the deletion reasons, let alone use them as guidance for site policy.
posted by smackfu at 3:07 PM on November 17, 2011


BP: stop doing what? Stop dumping on Taz, or stop asking people to dump on Taz?

Please stop accusing people of dumping on Taz, when they aren't. Assume good faith on the part of people inquiring about a deleted thread. Please.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:12 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I need to set up a keyboard macro for "Good deletion taz, don't sweat it." Because, good deletion taz, don't sweat it.
posted by Gator at 5:22 PM on November 17, 2011


Great delete. There was no way any decent discussion could have come out of a topic sitting at the junction of politics, education, public health and corporate interests.

Maybe if there'd been more links to tangentially related articles, it'd have been fine, because more links are better - it makes it look like you've done some serious research (whether you did or you didn't), instead of just turning up to a community weblog expecting to weblog with the community.

Also, we must never discuss emerging issues, a purpose for which the Internet is ideally suited. No, it must always be with the benefit of hindsight, after it's all over. If you want to discuss current affairs, this isn't the place to do it.

Finally, the quote was OK, but try formatting it with an italicised blockquote, then have a one-line title underneath, with a colon. People love that shit. y2karl got away with single-link newsfilter this way for years. Check it:
"We are outraged that Congress is seriously considering language that would effectively categorize pizza as a vegetable in the school lunch program...It doesn't take an advanced degree in nutrition to call this a national disgrace."
I say tomato, you say tomato: pizza, purée, politics and power.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:16 PM on November 17, 2011


Sarcasm, that's what we were missing.
posted by smackfu at 6:18 PM on November 17, 2011


I was not missing it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:33 PM on November 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, we must never discuss emerging issues, a purpose for which the Internet is ideally suited.

Well hell, if that's the criteria then MeFi needs to go all free porn, all the time!

The web is full of places to share current events. This isn't one of them.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:59 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The web is full of places to share current events. This isn't one of them.

Except when we do talk about current events.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:20 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


So is it never appropriate to post about current events? I feel like Metafilter provides me with most of my current event news.

I concede that the post was thin and I should have filled it in a bit more. At the same time, more people are aware of this interesting tid-bit going on right now? Isn't that what Metafilter is about?
posted by Wanderlust88 at 8:04 AM on November 18, 2011


So is it never appropriate to post about current events?

It is not never appropriate. People often manage to post about something that is current. But something being a current event is not sufficient reason to make a post.

Stopping and looking at whether it'd still be a solid, worthwhile post when taken completely out of the current context is a good way to sanity-check that stuff: would lots of people actually be interested, a year from now, about this single AP wire report about the pizza sauce thing?

At the same time, more people are aware of this interesting tid-bit going on right now? Isn't that what Metafilter is about?

Metafilter is more about showing folks a cool thing you found than making them aware of something happening. Raising awareness in a contemporary news sense is pretty much not in the mission statement.

Basically, a post that is about Getting The Word Out is usually not on very good footing to begin with. Something that would work just as well posted a year from now as it would posted right now is a lot more likely to be solid from the get-go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:15 AM on November 18, 2011


I think the thing is that MeFi is not, at its core, a current events blog type of place. We like to say "neat things you found on the web" and obviously this is a little bit subjective because for some people interesting news stuff IS neat stuff they found on the web. I think the combination of "this is an ongoing bit of US legislation that is currently working its way through channels" with "this is annoying as hell, what are these idiots thinking?" is a tough combination to make a good post out of without some more there there, basically.

And to answer your question, MetaFilter is really not about raising awareness of issues, not really. Some people get their news here, and some people make issue-oriented posts, but we maintain, repeatedly, that we don't want people posting stuff here just because it's in the news. It should be something relevant and interesting to our diverse userbase.

So, no big deal really as these things go, but just wanted to explicate some more. Current events posts are not verboten, but people are going to be wondering "You're telling us this why?" and figuring out why a specific newsy topic might be interesting to someone in the UK or Australia or Japan can help somewhat with making sure the post is more about a thing and not just "hey here is a news story"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:17 AM on November 18, 2011


Understood. Thanks.
posted by Wanderlust88 at 8:24 AM on November 18, 2011


"We write up deletion reasons extemporaneously as a sort of note of guidance when we're already past the threshold of deciding whether something needs to go. It's not an argument for why the deletion is valid, it's a sticky note attached to it as a secondary issue for the benefit mostly of the poster if they want to have a starting point for a conversation with us about the deletion or just want to take it under advisement as they consider either a do-over or just whatever their next post should be."

cortex, for what its worth as a poster, I've really appreciated your deletion reasons on my posts, have found them remarkably useful and humane, and had been meaning to find an excuse to say so.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:53 AM on November 18, 2011


So is it never appropriate to post about current events?
It is not never appropriate.


[sulks]
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:43 AM on November 18, 2011


What! A logical double negative is the rhetorical equivalent of turning a frown upside down.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:47 AM on November 18, 2011


[sulks with an insane smile, teetering on the edge of maniacal laughter]
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:57 AM on November 18, 2011


As a side note, here are the last 6 FPPs that resulted in MetaTalk grar:

Please note that five out of six are "current event"-type posts.

Occupy Wallstreet
Congress has a bill in front of it
French publisher gets firebombed
Religious comics of questionable quality
Occupy Oakland
Wall Street firm loses money

I dare say there would be a similar division if we looked at the overall time moderators spend on threads.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:54 PM on November 18, 2011


As a side note, here are the last 6 FPPs that resulted in MetaTalk grar:

Please note that five out of six are "current event"-type posts.


That's somewhat circular. They share deletion. Regardless, what's probably needed in these discussions is a way of thinking about it, rather than labeling things current events or not current events, and then giving a free pass to some of each, for different reasons, and muddling it further.

Obviously things have a level of interest and effect on people. But then there's the problem that events like "Occupy Wall St." were staged, trying to be news; while the pizza companies were trying to slip one by us, hoping never to become news. One is a mass editorial, while the other is trying to insert a dubious fact upon us, and is in need of public or scientific comment before it should happen. So there it is, as there will always be form versus content debates, at least the posts content should monitored for opinionated-versus-factual relevance at some point. Less worries about thin posts and more concern about thin material.
posted by Brian B. at 9:18 AM on November 19, 2011


That's somewhat circular. They share deletion. Regardless, what's probably needed in these discussions is a way of thinking about it, rather than labeling things current events or not current events, and then giving a free pass to some of each, for different reasons, and muddling it further

My point is that a disproportionate amount of effort goes into managing current event links rather than "here's something cool I found on the web" links. Which OWS camp got raided last night should never have been a post at all. A French publisher getting firebombed shouldn't be a post at all. These things are derails to the site and suck up far too many resources to justify their presence.

Once again, there are plenty of places on the web to discuss these things. MetaFilter need not be one of them.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:47 AM on November 19, 2011


My point is that a disproportionate amount of effort goes into managing current event links rather than "here's something cool I found on the web" links.

I agree, but saying more energy is needed is only saying that more people are involved at a high level of interest, which is probably good for any site. There's also plenty of places to discuss anything we choose to discuss here, so that doesn't fly either (especially font styles, video games, or the worship of Steve Jobs, to name a few subjective common themes). But I'm not one to assume that least mod involvement is, therefore, best of the web. And I note that the "best of the web" is a utilitarian construct, as though the web exists for a reason we can alter or control, rather than the other way around perhaps.
posted by Brian B. at 11:02 AM on November 19, 2011


which is probably good for any site.

We're actually lucky in that driving more eyeballs to our advertisers is not one of the main things we think about when determining how to enforce community guidelines. Long argumentative threads sow a lot of ill will, bring out the worst in some people, turn into a mod headache for various reasons and aren't one of the core reasons the site exists. We understand that some people like them anyhow and that's totally fine, but this is one of those situations where just because something is popular or gets people going, it's necessarily a good post. We have other indicators of "good MeFi post" than just "gets us a lot of clicks."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:57 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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