mod abuse November 25, 2011 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Is it just me, or do we have a little new moderator problem with post and comment deletions?

Not that i give a damn about the specific post, but I just found a post deleted by taz that looked like a good fit to mefi AFAIK.

i realize these jobs are not advertised in the WSJ, but really, is there any abri-frigging-trary list of WTF IS or IS NOT acceptable here?

When something is deleted for a reason such as "not a good fit", it seems polite to say "according to whose fkcing list", don't you think? And if there is no list, I'm off to 4chan, where I expect sophomorics.

Honest to god, I am about to start coding up "betta filter". No sht.
posted by FauxScot to Etiquette/Policy at 10:09 AM (615 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Huh?
posted by R. Mutt at 10:12 AM on November 25, 2011


No. Please don't do this.
posted by Felex at 10:12 AM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yes, there is a list. Here it is.
posted by John Cohen at 10:13 AM on November 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


I agree; you should stick with 4chan.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:13 AM on November 25, 2011 [34 favorites]


If you disagree with a deletion and want to talk about it, sending us a note at the contact form or talking about that reasoning in metatalk is fine. It's definitely more helpful than objecting about something you claim not to care about to complain non-specifically about not liking taz writing something in a deletion reason that the existing mod staff has more or less said as well in any number of deletions. I do not think there is a taz-related problem here.

When something is deleted for a reason such as "not a good fit", it seems polite to say "according to whose fkcing list", don't you think?

It seems like there's more polite ways to say it. See also your "bullshitmoderator" tag and the how-we-do-our-hiring jibe.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:13 AM on November 25, 2011 [52 favorites]


Is this about this post?
posted by rjs at 10:14 AM on November 25, 2011


I think this is the post you are referring to? It's a single link blog op ed post to a link that is already in the larger Thanksgiving/Black Friday post a little further down the page. It's got all the "if your post is going to be about X, please make sure you make a good post about it and not just toss a link up and say 'discuss'" touchstones. And no there is not a list. We discuss what the general topics are here in MetaTalk all the time, but there's no specific list. General topics include: Israel/Palestine, police brutality, car/bike stuff, child abuse, rape, animal abuse, racism, circumcision and cat declawing. It hasn't changed much in the time I've been a moderator.

And even then, these aren't verboten topics but just a noted "Hey these topics don't go so well here, so you're welcome to post about them but please be mindful of how posts about these topics go and try to make a good post keeping that in mind" This is also keeping in mind that while there are current events posts on MeFi we are not, at our core, a current events blog and so things still have to meet the "Neat things that people have found on the web that most people haven't seen before that will encourage good discussion" bar.

taz is doing fine, she is learning on the job in a mostly-supportive-but-occasionally-hostile atmosphere. So in answer to your question, no I don't think we have a moderator problem here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:15 AM on November 25, 2011 [17 favorites]


betta filter
posted by griphus at 10:16 AM on November 25, 2011 [27 favorites]


"This will be the incident most talked about in the news today."

just the text of the post sets off my "not a good post for metafilter" alarms. it's pretty much always good that i don't have mod-ly powers, but this seems like an entirely on point deletion.
posted by nadawi at 10:17 AM on November 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


so much for the mods' day off.
posted by desjardins at 10:18 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Starting a MetaTalk thread to snidely, rudely bitch about the deleting of a post about consumers behaving badly at Black Friday sales?

Number one, how is that a topic that can be discussed in an interesting way? What is there to say about consumers behaving badly that hasn't been said a thousand times already?

Number two, what possesses people to post snotty, rude MetaTalk posts when their posts get deleted? Did you really think that was going to help your cause? I mean, really?
posted by palomar at 10:18 AM on November 25, 2011 [13 favorites]


This is what happens when people comfy on the Green try to make it on the Blue.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:20 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've used "This is not a good post for MetaFilter" or similar on quite a few occasions - it's useful shorthand for something with more problems than I can easily or usefully point out in a sentence or two. If the post Jessamyn linked to is the one you're talking about, that's a classic example.

It's also worth reiterating that if you're going to complain about a deletion, it's helpful to mention or link to that specific deletion, otherwise there's not all that much to say except yeah, we like taz and think she's doing a good job.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:21 AM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm off to 4chan, where I expect sophomorics.

are you a wizard
posted by $5 at 10:21 AM on November 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


What is a sht?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:22 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


When something is deleted for a reason such as "not a good fit", it seems polite to say "according to whose fkcing list", don't you think?

No, this does not seem polite.
posted by box at 10:22 AM on November 25, 2011 [41 favorites]


That was a bad post, and an obvious deletion. The tone of your post here is offensive and ill-considered, and in the spirit of not bringing extra hostility into Metatalk, particularly this weekend, I guess that's all I have to say on the subject.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:24 AM on November 25, 2011 [64 favorites]


You know, I don't know what goes on at 4chan, but on MetaFilter we expect vowels. Even in our swear words.
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:24 AM on November 25, 2011 [38 favorites]


Besides, Taz rocks.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:25 AM on November 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


It's just you. Lay off the new mods. More seasoned mods have already posted why. 4chan seems like a gd plc 4 u.
posted by Lynsey at 10:26 AM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ah, the irony of "FUCK YOU I'M OUTTA HERE YOU BULLSHIT MODERATORS BACK TO 4CHAN WITH ME oh but you still owe me a kind, reasoned explanation despite my spittle-flecked incoherent invective." I guess the irony would be more amusing if there hadn't been a bizarre explosion of these kinds of metatalks recently. I'm still trying to parse "betta filter." No shit indeed.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 10:26 AM on November 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


You know, I don't know what goes on at 4chan, but on MetaFilter we expect vowels. Even in our swear words.

...or at least some consistency in the unnecessary self-censoring. "frigging" and "fkcing"? Come on now.
posted by griphus at 10:26 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


frigging... fcking... sht... sophmorics...

Lol.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:26 AM on November 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm offended by swear words in tags. When is one of our bullshtmoderators going to deal with that filth?
posted by Gary at 10:31 AM on November 25, 2011


People need to lay the fuck off taz or I swear to god I will get all Neko Case up in this shit.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:33 AM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


"I've been accused of vulgarity. I say that's bullshit."
- Mel Brooks
posted by lampshade at 10:34 AM on November 25, 2011 [13 favorites]


The question is mods: How many of these do you have stored in the hopper now that metatalk thread's are held prior to approval? This is going to be a long weekend.
posted by Think_Long at 10:35 AM on November 25, 2011


Is it just me, or do we have a little new moderator problem with post and comment deletions?

To answer the question....it is just you.
posted by lampshade at 10:36 AM on November 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


I say we try two experiments, just to see what happens in the name of Science:

• Threaded discussions
• Moderators are given pepper spray dispensers
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:38 AM on November 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


This post is proof that vodka soaked tampons are indeed a menace.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:39 AM on November 25, 2011 [13 favorites]

Is it just me, or do we have a little new moderator problem with post and comment deletions?
It's not just you, no. Lots of people have complained, and the other mods have (as far as we, the users, know) circled their wagons and not responded to the (legitimate) complaints.

Mods, listen to us. We're the ones that make this place good, not you.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:39 AM on November 25, 2011


Not that i give a damn about the specific post

The fuck you don't.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:39 AM on November 25, 2011


I predict an epically good fit and a stellar future for you at 4chan. Enjoy!
posted by DarlingBri at 10:41 AM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


If this really is the thread in question, I say good deletion.
posted by lilac girl at 10:41 AM on November 25, 2011


Pretty sure the mods have responded to everyone of the complaints that have been levied at them, MoonPie. Just because they agree with the new mods' deletion reasons doesn't mean they're "circling their wagons".
posted by Think_Long at 10:42 AM on November 25, 2011 [17 favorites]


The question is mods: How many of these do you have stored in the hopper now that metatalk thread's are held prior to approval? This is going to be a long weekend.

It's been interesting, actually. There's been a couple of gimmes (Secret Quonsar thread, mix cd thread) and a couple of things that were more contact form issues in the middle of the night that if the posters end up really wanting a metatalk thread after talking it out with us a little on email we can totally go forward with with maybe a redrafted version in at least one of those cases; those and this is it, which is about normal I guess for Metatalk volume over a couple days.

Mods, listen to us. We're the ones that make this place good, not you.

A complaint that taz is doing something wrong as evidenced by her having made a bog-standard deletion that any of us would have made using basically the same words we would have used is not a sign of a "new moderator problem".

I know you have strong feelings about moderation being something that should be radically scaled back, MrMoonPie. I respect that this is a point of disagreement, but we're not going to suddenly gut the way moderation works here and I don't think FauxScot's approach here is anything remotely resembling a good argument that we should be doing so.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:43 AM on November 25, 2011 [25 favorites]


Is it just me, or do we have a little new moderator problem with post and comment deletions?

Honestly, I think it's just you. While the newer mods are far from perfect, the same could be said about the older mods too. They'll make mistakes from time to time, as human will do and certainly any human learning their way around a new job.

That said, I find this MeTa kinda amusing as you're yelling at the mods for being vague, while you're being vague. If you have a complaint that you're bringing before the community, it helps to be specific. As it is, I can't think of anything that taz or restless_nomad have done that's been awful or along the lines of "Uh oh, this new mod is not going work out."

So...yeah, I still think it's just you. If you have a specific issue, you're gonna have to point out what it is.

Lots of people have complained, and the other mods have (as far as we, the users, know) circled their wagons and not responded to the (legitimate) complaints.

Again, if you have a compliant, it helps to point out specific examples, both for yourself, the community and the mods.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:44 AM on November 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Number one, how is that a topic that can be discussed in an interesting way? What is there to say about [x] that hasn't been said a thousand times already?

This is speculative and kind of pointless. Also not a valid reason to delete a post.

And can I also say there's a shed load of hypocrisy going on when posters in this thread criticize the OP for being rude and insulting, and then go on to rudely insult the OP.

Metafilter needs its mods and they do a great job - but people here might consider it is a *job*. They get paid for their time and effort, you know. I hate the mollycoddling and circling the wagons that goes on here whenever anyone says anything the slightest bit negative about the mods or their work here; nobody should be above criticism.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:48 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


That link actually does seem post-worthy to me but deleting it is hardly "abuse" and the fact that it's already in other relevant threads makes me pretty meh about the deletion. Not even a bad call, it could go either way.
posted by XMLicious at 10:51 AM on November 25, 2011


I think the fact that the mods allowed this thread to go through at all is pretty good evidence that there's not mod abuse going on.
posted by Phire at 10:52 AM on November 25, 2011 [17 favorites]


If that is indeed the post in question:

Black Friday is an interesting cultural phenomenon and I bet there are a bunch of articles about the sociology and finance aspects of it in addition to the yearly news articles about people getting hurt in the scrum. Pepper spray seems awfully topical right now, but without additional content, this is just a LOLSHOPPERS!!11!!! kind of post.

I'm obviously not a mod, but it seemed pretty clear to me that this was a poor post which could have been made into a better one fairly easily.
posted by sciencegeek at 10:53 AM on November 25, 2011


The betta filter sht must be for the fsh.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:54 AM on November 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


'cause if the mods have been taken over by an alien that had been frozen in ice, then we'll need a blood test kit and flamethrowers.

nobody should be above criticism.

Of course not, but some decent criticism would be nice. There's lots of things I personally don't like about how Metafilter is run, or interface quirks. But when I look at their decisions through the "They're not overlords, they're just trying to keep things vaguely civil or at least non Lord of the Flies" then things become more understandable. Not every individual gets what they want, but all of tend to get a pretty decent community weblog.

Ya'll are on your own for grilled cheese though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:54 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


They get paid for their time and effort, you know. I hate the mollycoddling and circling the wagons that goes on here whenever anyone says anything the slightest bit negative about the mods or their work here; nobody should be above criticism.

It may. Be a job, but they work for Matt, not you. Personally I haven't seen much circling of the wagons, but doing so to deal with a staff issue in private - ie not on here- seems a perfectly reasonable and respectful method. Publicly shaming, or lack of, doesnt mean anything in how issues are dealt with behind the scenes.

I don't get why people think they have a right to be let in on that kind of stuff. The complaints are heard and acknowledged. We don't need to see the response between mods. None of our business.
posted by Brockles at 10:54 AM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


And can I also say there's a shed load of hypocrisy going on when posters in this thread criticize the OP for being rude and insulting, and then go on to rudely insult the OP.

No, wrong. I am not criticizing the OP for being insulting: I'm criticizing him for being incoherent, incorrect, guilty of committing egregious crimes against the English language in his pursuit of willfully misunderstanding this community -- and then, on top of all of that, further demanding that the mods then answer his questions. So no, your comparison is quite mistaken.

I hate the mollycoddling and circling the wagons that goes on here whenever anyone says anything the slightest bit negative about the mods or their work here

I rly, rly thnk you've chosn the wrng fkng hll to die n.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 10:55 AM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is it just me, or do we have a little new moderator problem with post and comment deletions?

Yeah, we totally do. It gets so tiresome people thinking just because taz and r_n are newer to modding, their deletions are worse even though they obviously know the site and community as well as anyone. It's a real problem the way people call out their deletions just because they're new.

Oh, I see that's not what you meant.
posted by solotoro at 10:55 AM on November 25, 2011 [63 favorites]


In the days when Matt was the only moderator people used to bitch about his moderation decisions; now everybody seems to like to dump on the newest mods.

The fact that the mods discuss things among themselves and are generally in agreement about how they go about things is really not evidence of wagon circling.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 10:55 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


We're the ones that make this place good, not you.

you don't speak for all of us. personally, i feel like the mods make great members of the community as well as moderators. cortex is certainly in the upper ranks of what makes mefi music awesome, for instance.

nobody should be above criticism.

metatalk is pretty good proof the mods aren't above criticism. i can think of a few of these shitty, pointed at a specific mod, grudge fests for every single one of them. they take more shit from their user base that i've ever taken from bosses or customers at any job i've had (and i worked in mall portrait studios for a decade).

if people don't want to be ganged up on, they should take care with their tone and not run into a room guns a'blazing. when someone frames a post like this, i can only guess they want all the drama.
posted by nadawi at 10:56 AM on November 25, 2011 [22 favorites]


This isn't criticism, this is abuse. Abuse rightly should trigger the circling of wagons.

and lordy, with spelling like that (this said by a sloppy speller) it would be ...interesting to see this so called betta filter, go for it.
posted by edgeways at 11:07 AM on November 25, 2011


They get paid for their time and effort, you know.

The mods may be compensated in part for the abuse they receive, but I don't feel the need to make them earn it.
posted by anifinder at 11:10 AM on November 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


That's a terrible post, and that link by itself is a terrible topic for a post no matter how it might have been phrased.

There's no way "here's some crazy shit that happened" can lead to any kind of good conversation. In this case there's some doubt as to who exactly would take the brunt (the shoppers in particular, the Black Friday tradition, the US, "Capitalism"), but any way you slice it it's just pinning a target to the dartboard and saying "take your shots."
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:15 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do think that this year's Black Friday is reminiscent of an orgy hosted by an impotent man, but I don't really have a venue for that quip so if any pundits want it they are welcome to it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:16 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Betta Filter: "No Sht."
posted by R. Mutt at 11:17 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hello Bruddah,
Hello Sistah,
I now blog at
Betta Filtah
It not fcking
Sophomoric
Since I left shtty MeFi I've been euphoric
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:18 AM on November 25, 2011 [103 favorites]


FauxScott explains what his intention were right in the title! He's here to abuse mods!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:20 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I especially appreciate how the dripping condescension is followed by a request for politeness.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:20 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the Walmart shopper post was what you're complaining about, it was dumb single-link news story post. Posts like this get flagged and deleted routinely. A lot of MeFi users, including me, heartily approve of this policy, and we grouch on MeTa when the mods don't delete stuff like this. There's nothing to it beyond 'a thing happened' and 'wow, what an idiot'.

This is not a deviation from standard policy and anyone who's been here for six years and fairly active, as you have been, should understand that.

If you intend this as a complaint that taz is deviating from standard deletion policy, you need to point to actual deletions she's made that you think deviate from normal deletion policy and explain what policies you think they're deviating from.

If you want to start a conversation here about something, you should at least explain what it is you want to start a conversation about. As it stands, this is incoherent,
posted by nangar at 11:23 AM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Always hated the notion that if you contribute in some small part to a person's wages it means the basic rules of civility no longer apply when you address them. By all means speak your mind about the modding, criticise what you don't like, but don't be an arse about it.
posted by Abiezer at 11:26 AM on November 25, 2011 [33 favorites]


Mods, listen to us. We're the ones that make this place good, not you.
No. This is incorrect. I would like to go into why this is incorrect, but I don't believe you'd give that any more thought than you gave this comment.

And of course nobody is above criticism. But that doesn't mean you make some up. However, I am sorry the OP is in a bad mood on a long weekend that would ideally be nice for everyone.
posted by Glinn at 11:31 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what's impolite? Dropping a turd of a Metatalk thread and walking away. Or would we call it a Metatalk Sht? Anyway, you should be here to respond.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:31 AM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


What a shitty post. Three cheers for that sort of deletion.
posted by atrazine at 11:34 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not just you, no. Lots of people have complained, and the other mods have (as far as we, the users, know) circled their wagons and not responded to the (legitimate) complaints.

Mods, listen to us. We're the ones that make this place good, not you.


Oh, bullshit. We also make this place a shitload worse sometimes.

Which of "us" should they listen to - the us that raises its hackles any time a taz or r_n deletes something, or the us that doesn't have a problem with those deletions? Or the us that doesn't give a shit one way or the other?

Define your terms. Also, have some pie, then go for a walk, then take a nap, then eat some turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce leftovers.
posted by rtha at 11:36 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dammit, I was counting on the queue taking care of crap MeTas like this so the mix swap could stay on the front page for a while.
posted by carsonb at 11:37 AM on November 25, 2011


Maybe they just let the one through so those people with bugs up their butts could use it instead of sending in new ones.
posted by Glinn at 11:39 AM on November 25, 2011


The mods may be compensated in part for the abuse they receive, but I don't feel the need to make them earn it.

Nor do I. I'm not defending this Meta at all. I've taken lots of crap from the public in my own work - I've written about it here and sought help dealing with that - and it sucks and I don't wish it on anyone.

I just think it's weird how a place with such a self-aware, anti-jock mentality as Metafilter doesn't see that Team Mod really can occupy that same part of the brain as your local [whatever] sports team, and that sometimes (maybe even a lot of the time) people here rush to defend (or indeed, to attack) any perceived lack of respect given the mods in a way that smacks of blind rah-rah fan-ish denseness.

On preview: Abeizer, I mention the fact the mods are paid because it really does seem to get forgotten about here, and it's a basic difference between the users and the moderators. If people moderate a site on an unpaid voluntary basis, I could understand site users having a 'stamp out the heretic' vibe a lot more. I continued to take abuse at my job because I was renumerated, not because I liked most of the people I assisted.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:40 AM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I mention the fact the mods are paid because it really does seem to get forgotten about here

What leads you to assume that their remuneration is forgotten?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:46 AM on November 25, 2011


I always wonder what people hope to accomplish with MeTas like this one. Like, what's your best possible outcome? What's your expected result?

Stinkycheese, have you ever considered that maybe people support the moderators here isn't because of rah-rah fan denseness but is rather because a lot of people consider the moderation the single most important contributing factor to what makes this place great? Good moderation is hard, and it's hard to come by. I've been a moderator, and I'm constantly seeing mod decisions here on mefi that make me think "Wow, I would have done that differently." *pause* "And I would have been wrong, and here's why."
posted by KathrynT at 11:46 AM on November 25, 2011 [24 favorites]


I'd say with the mods being paid it actually works the other way for me even more, stinkycheese. It implies Taz is not deleting the post because she had it in for the poster or the mood took her; it's a role this community has asked her to perform (or the owner of the site we make the community on). So there's even less call for invective as it's not at all personal. Again, that doesn't mean it's wrong to question, but since it wasn't some emotional whim that ought to be done civilly.
posted by Abiezer at 11:50 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not that money makes much difference to that argument, but you get the point.
posted by Abiezer at 11:52 AM on November 25, 2011


You know, I never understand it when people complain about their posts or comments being deleted. I learned about framing when I made a post on Ask which was nuked, and came to Meta to ask about it in my turn; the problem was the "clever" way in which I'd tried to present it. A subsequent post on the same question by another user, with a more clear and direct wording, resulted in a long and interesting answer thread (not that I'm bitter). Lesson learned: if you make a post, put a bit of work into it. A post that's pretty much "look at these assholes" has not and never will fly here on Mefi. And this is something for which I am eternally thankful.
posted by jokeefe at 11:58 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The moderator's jobs aren't at risk, are they? I think 99% of us think they do a super job 99% of the time. I do. I'm not quibbling about the mods but about certain cheerleaders of the mods who make my eyes hurt from rolling them so hard.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:03 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even pepper spray doesn't keep people from shopping junk from China at WalMart? Internet sensation.
posted by Cranberry at 12:04 PM on November 25, 2011


Just, to point out, in case the original posted wasn't aware, and was looking for somewhere to read about, or comment on the topic on metafilter; there are two (maybe more I am unaware of) places where this specific topic is both open, and being actively discussed. As well as other posts, with broader scope, where it is also being tangentially mentioned, discussed, and interpreted.

Pretty sure that by Monday, the number of people who will have had their "awareness raised" that this 'event' occurred will be about 99% of America... most will "know" about this... that is how the modern mass media works, it has pretty deep mindshare... bizarro news that allows the consumer of the news to feel smug, or superior, or better than some subject of the news is like Cows Milk to the mass media, Fox is particularly great at this, and it is why "The Onion" is so able to brilliantly satirize (Not-satirist) the modern mass media, they parody that snide, condescension, and smug superiority infused directed message that we see all around us daily (Euros and Canadians will lap this up too, "US SUX AMIRITE! THERYE SO IGNORANT AMAIRITE! STUPID CONSUMER SOCIETY" -they snorted and jeered un-self-awarely).

What actually 'matters' is what it means. A link to news doesn't help anyone establish meaning. It also facilitates simple reactions, and simple, binary "refutations", or "adoption" of the singular, limited positions in the single link, on a complex, multi-faceted topic.

In fact, it leads to "gut responses", rhetoric, and slogans or snark (all of which are pretty harmful to dialogue in a diverse ideas environment). Since we didn't need to be made "aware", because it will be on all newscasts for a week, and in papers, and then in a month or so, in the magazines... as noted by the entire body of the post... EVERYONE WILL SEE THIS, and it will be the "hey-didja-hearabout-this-weeeird-n-wacky-eh"; wait a month after news, or a week, people will write insightful things about this, but it sucks if some rando-poor-sourced weird news article is posted, then in a month everyone is like "posted a month ago", when there is something actually interesting written about it beyond "this happened". It will mean more. More will have applied the labour of their thought to the topic, and there will be interesting things to read about the "event". Anyway, there are probably about 3 or 4 "shoppers-be-crazy" posts a year. Not arguing for more or less... but this isn't, like, something us we Squares are putting our heads in the sand about, while A brave new 4 chan tells some unmitigated "Truth".

http://www.metafilter.com/109767/Subtext-meet-text

http://www.metafilter.com/109280/Its-going-to-end-up-like-Memorial-Day-or-the-Fourth-of-July-or-Labor-Day-where-its-all-about-the-sales
posted by infinite intimation at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Honest to god, I am about to start coding up "betta filter". No sht."

Please do. Have ever so much fun.
posted by Eideteker at 12:06 PM on November 25, 2011


Mods, listen to us. We're the ones that make this place good, not you.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:39 AM


Dude, what do you mean "us"? You don't speak for me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:19 PM on November 25, 2011 [19 favorites]


I am sorely disappointed to get to the bottom of this thread and discover that bettafilter.com is still available.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:21 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


That post made it into my RSS reader and set off both the 'this will be deleted' flag and the 'meta countdown' timer in my head.

There probably is an interesting black friday post to be made; that one was nowhere near.
posted by Skorgu at 12:22 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


FauxScott explains what his intention were right in the title! He's here to abuse mods!

He's right! Mods, I hate them, with their stupid little scooters and their expensive clothes.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:22 PM on November 25, 2011 [20 favorites]


Something is not right here.

We have a post by yclipse to Mefi. yclipse joined in 2005 and has made 11 comments to the blue total, the last one on July 10. This is their first post.

It was made at 8:02 AM EST and deleted sometime around 8:15 AM. It has not appeared yet in the mefideleted blog, so anyone complaining about it would have to have seen it live.

Now we have this 1:00 PM EST (e.g. five hours later) post by FauxScot. Been here since 2005, and has made 3 comments to MetaTalk the last one on September 8, 2009.

FauxScot is by all accounts a friendly and helpful guy, but everyone has bad days. Still, let's consider:

In 1410 posts/comments this is the first time he's used "AFAIK", fkcin (or fckin), friggin -- and in fact does not appear to be shy about saying fuck or shit when that's on his mind. He's never mentioned 4chan. On the other hand he did use the word sophomoric once in 2006.

If I were a cynical man I would suggest that a guaranteed-delete post on the blue suspiciously followed up by completely uncharacteristic flame bait post on the grey five hour later indicates someone fucking around.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:22 PM on November 25, 2011 [21 favorites]


FWIW, anyway, I think taz is doing a great job, and half the time when I read the deletion decisions I think 'yeah, good call Jessamyn', and then get to the end of the line and see taz's name, so IMO she's deleting the same sort of posts that the older mods would, and for the same reason.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:23 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you mean the Walmart thread?

I think there are two MetaFilters. One is a fascinating place, great links, experts pop in to explain stuff, people disagree with humor and wit. One is a tedious cynical knee-jerk rage-fest, which I'm sure I would have LOVED twenty years ago when I was a teenage know-it-all boy but now makes me sad and bored.

This would have fit very well into the second MetaFilter. It would have been very popular.

It would still be a poor post and I'm glad taz killed it. I have appreciated the deletions that taz has made of posts and of comments.
posted by alasdair at 12:24 PM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Since you didn't have the common courtesy to even link to the posts you're bitching about, I went to have a look at the posts taz has deleted in the past day or so:

Double.

Op-ed on a topic that's been getting at least one post every other day for the last month.

Single link OutrageFilter.

If these are types of post you want on your version of MetaFilter, I'll volunteer my time to help you get "betta filter" up and running if it means you and your like will hang out there and stop bitching about the good work the mods do here.
posted by auto-correct at 12:29 PM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not quibbling about the mods but about certain cheerleaders of the mods who make my eyes hurt from rolling them so hard.

As always, it's more helpful to be specific.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:29 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Insert "Good deletion taz, don't sweat it" here.

And MrMoonPie, if you really believe deletions are getting worse, you'll need to make a better case than this. Maybe go through the deleted threads and give a substantial list of the ones that fit the "found something cool on the web" guideline that were cruelly and mistakenly axed.
posted by Gator at 12:30 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


not appeared yet in the mefideleted blog

Whups, I forgot there were other ways people run across deleted threads. The rest of it stands though.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:37 PM on November 25, 2011


Mods, I hate them, with their stupid little scooters and their expensive clothes.

This shall not stand. Deckchairs at dawn!
posted by scody at 12:38 PM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


How many times have we had this same MetaTalk thread in the last few months? "[My|This] post was deleted and shouldn't have been and [taz|r_n|cortex|jessamyn|matt] sucks!"
posted by octothorpe at 12:39 PM on November 25, 2011


I wonder if perhaps deletion-signing needs to be put to rest, because it does seem far more likely of late that people will gripe if it's taz's name on the deletion reason.
posted by Gator at 12:41 PM on November 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think that's just because she's new. I think it's pretty important that we be individually accountable for our post deletions because otherwise it really IS circling the wagons and acting as if we're a monolithic entity. We all individually contribute here as users and even though we hope to be pretty consistent with what goes and what stays, I think having deletions attributable to individual mods is still important.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:47 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


[B]ecause it does seem far more likely of late that people will gripe if it's taz's name on the deletion reason.

If Taz deleted more threads on AskMe than any other mod over the last month, which it looks like she did, it's only natural many of the "Why was this deleted??" would be directed towards her. Maybe some of it is because she's new, but if all of her deletions were made by "senior mods" I'm sure there still would have been some MeTa threads.
posted by Lorin at 1:00 PM on November 25, 2011


Mods, listen to us. We're the ones that make this place good, not you.

That's the third-biggest lie I've seen in a comment here this week. Without the Mods and the way they do their jobs, the GOOD posters would have been drowned out and driven away long ago. And I'm speaking as a guy who got a post I was kinda proud of recently deleted (the 3rd or 4th in my long history here).
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:01 PM on November 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think shortly after the announcement was made that taz would be modding, I saw a deletion and just thought "Hmmmm...well she's hitting the ground running."

And just a few hours ago, before this was posted, I happened to listen to Podcast 66, where she was introduced. I would highly suggest anyone who has a problem with her decisions listen to that, before pissing and moaning in MeTa.

The post in question was a total no brainer. How someone could be around for 6 years, and not understand that a single link, newsfilter, outragefilter, right off that morning's front page of Drudge, is just not what we are about, is beyond me.

You go TAZ.
posted by timsteil at 1:05 PM on November 25, 2011


Wait..wait...i'm pretty sure this is about my Simon's cat post that Taz deleted! Now THAT was a reason for outrage!
posted by tomswift at 1:08 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Honest to god, I am about to start coding up "betta filter".

I'm waiting for I Can't Believe It's Not Betta Filter, myself.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:14 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


We all individually contribute here as users and even though we hope to be pretty consistent with what goes and what stays, I think having deletions attributable to individual mods is still important.

While I agree with this, I also think Gator's point has some merit perhaps worth considering. It's true that there will always be some griping about deletions, but it seems absolutely clear that the kneejerk gripe factor automatically goes to 11 the second some people see newer mods' named attached to deletions. Had this exact same deletion (with the exact same reason given) been made by mathowie, jessamyn, or cortex, I am virtually certain that FauxScot would not have posted this. But because it's a newer mod, the Metafilter Apocalypse Countdown is automatically chiming Oh The Humanity o'clock.

So I guess I'm just throwing out the idea that Gator's suggestion is worth considering in some way. What if, just as an experiment, deletion-signing goes away for a period of time (say, a month?) to see if there's a general decrease in these WHY WAS THIS DELETED posts and/or messages to the mods? Or what if the name of the mod who deletes the post is somehow only visible to the person whose post was deleted?

I'm not wedded to any of this, but I do think it could be interesting to see if the complaint dynamics might change somewhat, and thereby dial back some of the bullshit hostility that's targeted specifically at the newer mods.
posted by scody at 1:16 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't believe this hasn't come up -

Isn't stripping vowels what Boing Boing moderators were doing to censor comments?

Makes you wonder ...
posted by desjardins at 1:18 PM on November 25, 2011


Or what if the name of the mod who deletes the post is somehow only visible to the person whose post was deleted?

Huh. Yeah, I think I like this, at least as an experiment.
posted by rtha at 1:21 PM on November 25, 2011


If I were a cynical man I would suggest that a guaranteed-delete post on the blue suspiciously followed up by completely uncharacteristic flame bait post on the grey five hour later indicates someone fucking around.

This post was probably written less than five hours after that post on the blue was deleted; it just took some time to get through the post queue. I don't see anything fishy about it. My guess is FauxScot was just having a bad day and must be regretting that he even started this thread.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:22 PM on November 25, 2011


are you a wizard

Amusingly enough, it actually says so in his profile.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:23 PM on November 25, 2011


SILENCED ALL MY LIFE

(Did I do that right?)
posted by Trurl at 1:24 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"arbi-frigging-trary" is truly an abso-fucking-lutely abominable use of the written word.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:27 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Weta filter
posted by Trurl at 1:29 PM on November 25, 2011


Honest to god, I am about to start coding up "betta filter". No sht.

I read it (like three times), "sht" as "shirt."

No shirt.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:29 PM on November 25, 2011


This post was probably written less than five hours after that post on the blue was deleted; it just took some time to get through the post queue. I don't see anything fishy about it.

It wasn't actually in the queue for long at all, but I agree in any case that I don't think there's a fishy thing going on here and to whatever thin extent it matters I'm willing to believe that FauxScot doesn't really care much one way or the other about the specific deletion. I don't think basing a complaint around a really straightforward deletion you don't care about is a particularly useful move, either, but here we are.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:30 PM on November 25, 2011


No shoes, no shirt, no service. And those pantsless hordes from MetaFilter can stay away too.
posted by Abiezer at 1:31 PM on November 25, 2011


I could go for some cheddah filter but I'm greek , so I'll have to settle for feta filter.
posted by vrakatar at 1:33 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Met 'er filter, where we brag in cod West Country accents about women celebrities we've encountered. Saw that Rhianna coming out the Lidl in Yate, I did.
posted by Abiezer at 1:39 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it just me, or do we have a little new moderator problem with post and comment deletions?
It's not just you, no. Lots of people have complained, and the other mods have (as far as we, the users, know) circled their wagons and not responded to the (legitimate) complaints.

Mods, listen to us. We're the ones that make this place good, not you.


Actually, I like the new mods better than the old ones.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:40 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


FauxScot: "Honest to god, I am about to start coding up "betta filter". No sht."

Well, that would be fine, and you can take those who think

MrMoonPie: "We're the ones that make this place good, not you."

with you, and if it turns out to be a super awesome community then you can dance your victory dance and say I told you so.

We'll be fine over here.
posted by secretseasons at 1:41 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Curious, how long did it take for people to stop picking on Cortex when he was new?
posted by Melismata at 1:43 PM on November 25, 2011


And it is getting chilly so everyone be sure to put on your sweaterfiltah.

Okay I'm done now.
posted by vrakatar at 1:43 PM on November 25, 2011


I read it (like three times), "sht" as "shirt."

No shirt.


MetaFilter: No pants
Betta Filter: No shirt
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:48 PM on November 25, 2011


They get paid for their time and effort, you know. I hate the mollycoddling and circling the wagons that goes on here whenever anyone says anything the slightest bit negative about the mods or their work here; nobody should be above criticism.
...
people here rush to defend (or indeed, to attack) any perceived lack of respect given the mods in a way that smacks of blind rah-rah fan-ish denseness

It is, in fact, the lack of respect that pisses me off. Not even the specific complaint; that I take on a case-by-case basis. The mod style here has built this site into something completely unique on the web. Something I like. I've been visiting MeFi for more than ten years for fucks' sake. The bar is pretty goddamn high for suggesting they're doing something wrong.

So when some jackass starts rudely insulting them, including the ones who may be new mods but are not new MeFi members, yeah. I have an automatic negative reaction to that.
posted by ctmf at 1:49 PM on November 25, 2011 [24 favorites]


Curious, how long did it take for people to stop picking on Cortex when he was new?

What makes you think we've stopped?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:53 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Having a problem with a deleted post = okay i get this

Making a metatalk post about it = okay i get this

Making a metatalk post about concerns about moderation generally = okay i get this

Insulting and swearing at the mods in the post = WHY IS THIS NEEDED?
posted by insectosaurus at 1:55 PM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


ctmf: If you're going to quote someone and then drop how long you've been here as part of your response, you might want to make sure they haven't been here longer first.

/not measuring dick-ist
posted by stinkycheese at 2:05 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's no way "here's some crazy shit that happened" can lead to any kind of good conversation.

I'd enjoy a big bang/other universe origin post framed that way.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:10 PM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not dropping how long I've been here. I'm dropping how long MeFi has been here and working just fine. Barring radical changes to site policy, I think what they're doing has been proven to be good for the site.

Plus, one can have more than one account, and be a non-member reader even before that.
posted by ctmf at 2:12 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]




Jeeze, Happy Friday Mods. Just wanted to say I hope you all get time to relax for the american thanksgiving! Everyone needs a hug.

Psst, keep on trucking Taz! :-)
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 2:13 PM on November 25, 2011


/not measuring dick-ist

Sure sounds like it to me. Jeez.
posted by futz at 2:15 PM on November 25, 2011


futz: That's why I said it.

If I misunderstood, I apologize, ctmf.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:16 PM on November 25, 2011


HolidayGRAR? -- I usually just drink. Posting metas isn't wise at times like these.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:23 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


No sht, no shs, no srvc.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:44 PM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Insulting and swearing at the mods in the post = WHY IS THIS NEEDED?

If not here, where?

The thread title is 'Mod Abuse'.
posted by mazola at 2:51 PM on November 25, 2011


I LIKE THE NEW MODS.
I ALSO LIKE THE OLD MORE EXPERIENCED MODS.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:51 PM on November 25, 2011


If the OP is not chiming in perhaps it is time to close this up?

*makes strangling turkey noises*
posted by futz at 2:52 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I see a post get deleted I often thing what a ridiculous, bullshit, arbitrary decision. At first. But usually, after looking again at the post, I can see and appreciate the reason for the deletion.

However even if the post shouldn't have been deleted I can't imagine a post complaining about being deleted is ever a good or effective post.

It seems there are far too many people complaining about deletions instead of accepting them and moving on. It looks like just about everyone gets posts deleted from time to time. There doesn't appear to be favoritism or anything on who gets deleted and who doesn't.
posted by 2manyusernames at 2:57 PM on November 25, 2011


Bugging the mods with HolidayGRAR (Gra-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ar)
Showing them just what a jerk you are (Gra-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ar)
HolidayGRA-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-aR
HolidayGRA-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-aR!

Scot's bad callout got smacked down quick (Gra-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ar)
Probably shouldn't act like a dick (Gra-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ar)
HolidayGRA-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-aR
HolidayGRA-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-aR!
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:57 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I can say to FauxScot is, if you don't have the jam to follow up your hostile and incoherent post with at least a single comment in the thread you spawned, four hours later, well, yes you probably are better off in the loud pool of cowardness that is 4chan.
posted by Rumple at 2:59 PM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think the deleted post was pretty inconsequential... definitely not a strong post in terms of content... but also not delete worthy, in my opinion.

Yes, there is a page which suggests what makes a good FPP. Nowhere on there do I see "Don't post links to news."

Delete away if it's a self-link, a blatant troll, or if it's about what happened to you while buying mushrooms that day. But if it's none of those things, even if it is a pretty-weak link to a single news item, let it stand on its own merits. People will either read the link and comment in the thread, or they won't. I don't think a mod needs to make that decision for us.

I don't have a problem with taz, or any of the new (or old) mods. But deleting something based soley on the argument that it's "not a good fit for Metafilter" feels off, to me.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:04 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had a post deleted that, while i had a clear concept in mind, apparently seemed random and possibly drunk according to the deletion reason.

Although honesty compels me to admit that I spent several hours after the deletion supine on my fainting couch, gnashing my teeth and sniffing salts of hartshorn from my vinaigrette, I still comment here. Surely such fortitude can be emulated by those of the sterner sex.

If the very worst thing confronting one in life is the prospect of having a post deleted from Metafilter, such a life of Riley is a thing to be celebrated, however painful to the ego it may be at the time. Them as pay the piper call the tune.
posted by winna at 3:06 PM on November 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


"according to whose fkcing list"

ok, no one has *explicitly* said this yet, so i will: the correct spelling is "fcking" - because "fuck" is spelled "F-U-C-K" not "F-K-C-?"

(i mean, WFT? what the hell is that shit? and more seriously: it's spelled "fckn" thankyouverymuch)

this has been your micro-pedant rant of the day. thank you.
posted by jammy at 3:07 PM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


But if it's none of those things, even if it is a pretty-weak link to a single news item, let it stand on its own merits. People will either read the link and comment in the thread, or they won't. I don't think a mod needs to make that decision for us.

There are two words that combine to make the name and spirit of this site. One of those words is "Filter". Without it, this just becomes a community blogroll.
posted by Think_Long at 3:08 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually I have been wondering lately, was there ever a time when any of our mods admitted they made a bad call and reversed a decision they made?
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:08 PM on November 25, 2011


SLNCD LL M LF!
posted by idiopath at 3:08 PM on November 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's great when users solve their own problems, isn't it? Hate the way MeFi works? Make a betta place. Awesome solution as far as I can see and everyone wins.

Watch that door on the way out, won't you?
posted by dg at 3:09 PM on November 25, 2011


Effigy2000: "But deleting something based soley on the argument that it's "not a good fit for Metafilter" feels off, to me."

Those sort of deletions are one of the reasons I joined Metafilter. There is a difference between Metafilter and the countless other similar websites.
posted by 2manyusernames at 3:10 PM on November 25, 2011


if you don't have the jam to follow up your hostile and incoherent post with at least a single comment in the thread you spawned, four hours later

He's too busy being pepper sprayed at Wamart, because the new mods didn't want him to know the truth!
posted by Gary at 3:11 PM on November 25, 2011


Is this the rudest attack on a new mod yet? I can't think of a worse one. Who even cares about the underlying question when it is done like this?
posted by caddis at 3:13 PM on November 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Actually I have been wondering lately, was there ever a time when any of our mods admitted they made a bad call and reversed a decision they made?

There's been a few that I recall, but I'm too lazy to search for them (and they'd be hard to search for).
posted by dg at 3:13 PM on November 25, 2011


The essential feature of Mod Abuse is a maladaptive pattern of mod use manifested by recurrent and significant adverse consequences related to the repeated use of mods. In order for the Abuse criterion to be met, the mod-related problem must occurred repeatedly during the same 12-month period or been persistent. There may be repeated failure to fulfill major role obligations... etc...
posted by fuq at 3:14 PM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


There are two words that combine to make the name and spirit of this site. One of those words is "Filter". Without it, this just becomes a community blogroll.
posted by Think_Long at 9:08 AM on November 26

You're right and I agree with you Think_Long (and on preview, 2manyusernames), to a point. If the vast majority of posts to the Blue everyday were Newsfilter posts, I'd be here saying this is a trend that needs to stop. A couple of newsfilter posts on any given day isn't an issue, in my opinion, and basically does "filter" the news that our own community members feel fit to share.

I guess that's also probably why we have flags. If a whole bunch of us flag a post as "other", or whatever, it'll get deleted by the mods who are acting on the wishes of the community.

Indeed, while to me a mod simply deleting a newsfilter post on the basis of it not being a good fit here feels off., I'd reverse that opinion in a second if there were a bunch of flags to back it up with.

I'll close by saying that I think all our mods do a great job under often difficult and hostile circumstances, and I don't envy them. Just saying that in this instance, I personally didn't think the post was delete worthy, even if it wasn't the strongest FPP we've ever seen. That is all.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:18 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd reverse that opinion in a second if there were a bunch of flags to back it up with.

We don't mention flags much in delete reasons because it tends to be one more thing for people to nitpick, but that post was solidly into the "the community dislikes this" territory, flag-wise.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:23 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's too busy being pepper sprayed at Wamart

I'm pretty sure you meant WaaaahMart.
posted by hippybear at 3:25 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would have deleted it as "look at these assholes". And guess what, someone is trying it again! http://www.metafilter.com/109789/WalMart-has-a-Black-Friday-to-Forget
posted by jacalata at 3:30 PM on November 25, 2011


Indeed, while to me a mod simply deleting a newsfilter post on the basis of it not being a good fit here feels off., I'd reverse that opinion in a second if there were a bunch of flags to back it up with.

Can't you simply assume that anytime a Mefi FPP is deleted, it probably also got flagged (or would have gotten flagged if it hadn't been deleted so soon)? I mean, what are the chances that the mods are the only people out of 10,000 Mefites to object to a post?
posted by John Cohen at 3:31 PM on November 25, 2011


Yes, I think I've seen an deleted post get undeleted in the not-quite two years I've been a member. It was either jessamyn or cortex doing both sides of the move.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 3:31 PM on November 25, 2011


"Honest to god, I am about to start coding up "betta filter". No sht."


Code up "Mo betta filter.", and be prepared for Denzel to de-ball you.
posted by timsteil at 3:33 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Effigy2000 for re-railing this back into the MeTa it should have been. While I'm still more in the camp 2manyusernames describes, at least your tone doesn't bring out the grar.
posted by ctmf at 3:34 PM on November 25, 2011


but on MetaFilter we expect vowels. Even in our swear words.
posted by never used baby shoes at 6:24 PM on November 25


Except for "c*#t". We get hypocritical weird about that one.
posted by Decani at 3:46 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


But if it's none of those things, even if it is a pretty-weak link to a single news item, let it stand on its own merits.

This is a recipe for Fark. And I'm not being jokey or a dick about this, I know we've made derisive Fark references in the past but I mean this in a straight-faced, different-strokes-for-different-folks sense where Fark is, if it's what you want, a totally fine venue to go to for that sort of thing. One-liner news-of-the-weird "go check this out" posts are something they've always pretty much had a solid grip on. This is sort of a defining aesthetic at reddit in more recent years as well.

And if it's what you want, a lot of lightly-presented news tidbits, that's totally fine and those sites exist in a way that should service that need pretty well. Metafilter isn't that site, though, and while newsy stuff does show up here and even occasionally in lightly presented form, it's not something that has ever been uncontroversial and is something we've been eightysixing on a regular basis for years and years. Putting a bit more effort into "hey this thing happened" posts is just a standard expectation here.

Actually I have been wondering lately, was there ever a time when any of our mods admitted they made a bad call and reversed a decision they made?

Sure. We've undeleted the occasional post when it made sense; we've misread or misunderstood a situation before and done our best to reverse and rectify when the result is something not really working out the way it ought to have and fixing it is practical. Beyond that we've talked a whole lot over the years about our reasoning on acknowledged grey area situations, stuff where we felt like we had one of two not very good options and had to just pick one and try and make it work.

We're, none of us, under the impression that we're perfect or should be treated as such, or that the work we do is unassailable.

At the same time, much of what we do is pretty straightforward stuff. This particular deletion was really straightforward indeed in terms of what we have deleted over the last several years and what we've said about it. If there's conversations to be had about the place of news on the front page of the site, this isn't really the thing to hook that on I don't think.

Indeed, while to me a mod simply deleting a newsfilter post on the basis of it not being a good fit here feels off., I'd reverse that opinion in a second if there were a bunch of flags to back it up with.

In this case there were indeed a bunch of flags. But generally speaking, we don't always want to sit around waiting for a post that looks objectively poorly made to pick up flags just so we can say "hey, it got flags"; I have deleted plenty of lousy posts in their first couple minutes of life because the problem in the post was not some hazy "let's see what people think about this" sort of grey area thing. I'd have done the same with the post being discussed here if I was there right when it went up; it was a poorly made post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:51 PM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


For fucks sake. I'm extremely to the "less moderation" side of the bell curve as anyone who reads Metatalk knows, and I think FauxScot needs a good (metaphorical) walloping upside the head for this post. To be perfectly honest I'm surprised this wasn't posted noonish on Thanksgiving just for that little added frisson of dickitude. Or perhaps it was so posted and the Turkey Day Meta Queue did its job.
posted by Justinian at 3:52 PM on November 25, 2011


But if it's none of those things, even if it is a pretty-weak link to a single news item, let it stand on its own merits. People will either read the link and comment in the thread, or they won't.

And then we'll have lots of threads where people shout at each other about how cops suck/no they don't/NO U which then they require lots more mod attention because of the flags and the meTas, and that makes the site worse, not better.

We mostly seem to be very good at the flagging-and-hanging-around-a-thread-to-mock-or-shout and not so good at the moving on part, when it comes to weak posts.
posted by rtha at 4:04 PM on November 25, 2011


You know, I look at this thread, all the responses and especially all the effort already put in by mods, and I think: "This is how the Republicans do it, isn't it?" It takes so very little effort to stir up shit that takes a lot of effort to respond to with fairness and due process.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:15 PM on November 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


They get paid for their time and effort, you know. I hate the mollycoddling and circling the wagons that goes on here whenever anyone says anything the slightest bit negative about the mods or their work here; nobody should be above criticism.
...
people here rush to defend (or indeed, to attack) any perceived lack of respect given the mods in a way that smacks of blind rah-rah fan-ish denseness


I agree with all this, but.. Terrible post, terrible MetaTalk complaint, there will be better times to make the point.


If I were a cynical man I would suggest that a guaranteed-delete post on the blue suspiciously followed up by completely uncharacteristic flame bait post on the grey five hour later indicates someone fucking around.

Forget cynical, it seems like an open and shut case to me. Makes me wonder what the point of the Thanksgiving approval queue was.
posted by Chuckles at 4:24 PM on November 25, 2011


Mostly to know that we wouldn't have a bumpy thread unless a couple of us were actually around to be able to deal with it. As it happens, we were around when this came in and weren't all walking out the door soon thereafter, so we put it through.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:28 PM on November 25, 2011


Chrst wht n sshl.
posted by spitbull at 4:34 PM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have a mod problem. I just plugged in this new skin to make my dude look like chewbacca, but since he's wearing iron armor you totally can't tell, it just looks like he has brown skin. If I take off the armor, I risk being shot by skeletons or blowed up by creepers. I think the solution is *more* new mods so that I can also change the look of the armor. I mean, sure chewbacca's head will look unnaturally big but he's also not all blocky and rectangular either and I wasn't complaining.
posted by Hoopo at 4:41 PM on November 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh I hear that. People seem inclined to shout things like "No mods? Sucks to be you!" now that I'm now primarily a console gamer.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:43 PM on November 25, 2011


Makes me wonder what the point of the Thanksgiving approval queue was.

Pretty much to make sure that we were around when posts like this went up, which is how this one worked out. So, it worked?

Except for "c*#t".

As an insult, it's up there with kike and spic in the US, so it goes under the "no racist epithets" guideline which is pretty consistent. I know this isn't what it means in the UK. And really if people are using the word in a "let's talk about the word cunt" way, it's fine. See?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:59 PM on November 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


so it goes under the "no racist epithets" guideline which is pretty consistent.

I have been flagging it as sexist.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:01 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was kind of surprised not to see a link to this story on the front page. As a retail worker my comment would have been "Oh Shit. Bad Omen."

Thankfully, today was predictably exhausting and tiring, but nothing that fucking nuts happened.
posted by jonmc at 5:02 PM on November 25, 2011


And really if people are using the word in a "let's talk about the word cunt" way, it's fine. See?

CUNT

It's not even a fun word to say. Just sort of dead-ends. It doesnt roll out of your mouth like other expletives.

MOTHERFUCKER. nows thats got some legs. There is a cadence to it, you can put it smack in the middle of another word, and it works

CUNT. You cant add "ing", or "er". The best you can do is add MOTHERFUCKER before or after..

Aside from how offensive it is to women, or people it general, it's just a lousy word. America can do better.
posted by timsteil at 5:15 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]



Mods, listen to us. We're the ones that make this place good, not you.

No. This is incorrect. I would like to go into why this is incorrect, but I don't believe you'd give that any more thought than you gave this comment.


Presumably the explanation would cover the mods having to answer all askme questions and then post interesting stuff from the web on the front page.


Perhaps we're too entirely stupid to get that.


Perhaps you don't get that this used to be a community website that as well as making its own content, self policed it as well by general consent. It's not something that has somehow been modded into existence and would collapse in their absence.

Now we have a couple of people in charge of that dynamic, some people who had a bit of faith in the community solving its own problems find this approach rather problematic.

So this er thing about being 'mean' to the mods or whatever - theres a few people that do get up to that sort of thing, of course its unacceptable, but i think you'll find that most people griping here want the community dynamic to come back/ be strengthened/whatever.Mostly thats what people are bristling about, it's not really about any specific person.

Anyway, perhaps the mods would like to close these threads seeing as they were so keen to eat turkey/ have a good laugh in the real world etc - that was the excuse given for metatalk posts now needing mod approval, wasn't it ?

---- on preview i see its now changed "to make sure we were around when posts... went up" with yet another attempt to change the subject by bringing up some other hot button issues.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:19 PM on November 25, 2011


timsteil: CUNT. You cant add "ing", or "er".

Someone hasn't seen Good Will Cunting.
posted by gman at 5:19 PM on November 25, 2011


sgt.serenity, I don't understand why you stick around a place you don't like.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:24 PM on November 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


on preview i see its now changed "to make sure we were around when posts... went up" with yet another attempt to change the subject by bringing up some other hot button issues.

What it "changed" to is what we said it was for in the first place when we explained it three days ago in the Metatalk announcement thread.

Us saying the same thing now as we said then while you imagine that we said something else does not make us inconsistent.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:27 PM on November 25, 2011 [17 favorites]


MetaFilter would be so much less pleasant if the mods stopped deleting crappy posts. The new mods aren't systematically doing anything wrong at all.

Also the mods have more patience than anyone I've ever seen except for perhaps a former professor of mine who I recently got to see demonstrate the art of not being mean to freshmen trying to talk about philosophy in their first week of college.
posted by silby at 5:31 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I'm all "I really don't get why that had to be deleted" and I'm kind of annoyed or confused or annoyed about my confusion. Then I remember that there's a contact form if you have a question about a deletion, and Jessamyn once posted an update to an anonymous question I asked seriously within about five minutes of me sending the email (I was so very impressed, especially because she in particular was extremely busy that day,) and AskMe beats the pants off of every other question and answer site I've ever even heard of in terms of staying on topic and being helpful, and the mods periodically say stuff about how if you're not sure if your post is any good you can ask them to look it over... and then I'm all like "yay moderator team."

So... yeah, the answer is "it's just you." Or maybe "have a piece of pie;" it's Thanksgiving so sometimes I get the two mixed up. Pie is probably a wise choice regardless, really.
posted by SMPA at 5:34 PM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


sgt.serenity, you should perhaps reconsider one of your statements

/I wasn't doing this on purpose, I swear.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:35 PM on November 25, 2011


The state of play: The stunt poster hasn't come to defend his point, 99% of the site agrees with the deletion and rejects the resolution "this house needs to control the new mods" and we are about to degenerate into a cunt thread. Sounds like its time to close this one up.
posted by shothotbot at 5:38 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I recently enjoyed an extended correspondence with FauxScot about an electronics project. He was generous with his time and knowledge, and I am extremely grateful. This post is unattractive and seems sufficiently out of character that I'm wondering if he's overtired, dealing poorly with holiday stress, or perhaps had one more cocktail than he should've. Is it too much to ask that we be gentle with each other when one of us off the rails? That we not respond to incivility in kind?
posted by jon1270 at 5:46 PM on November 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


Good night, everyone!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:46 PM on November 25, 2011


The post was almost literally "this is some news" and the link was a basic news report. Not an interesting link at all and not likely to be any interesting comments. It needed to be deleted. Everyone knows this, except the one person who apparently doesn't and started this thread but has never came back (so I think he knew it too). So now it's going to be morph into a general callout of the mods. This happens time and time again. Bad post is deleted but there has to be a debate anyway. There was no self-policing needed the post just had to be deleted. I wish the people alleging any type of mod abuse would point to an actual example. Time after time with this.
posted by Danila at 5:47 PM on November 25, 2011


sgt.serenity, I don't understand your point. Of course Metafilter wouldn't exist without its community, but it wouldn't also be the community without people dedicated pretty much around the clock to monitoring behaviour that's not okay. It wouldn't collapse in their absence, but it wouldn't be somewhere I would want to hang out without them. AskMetafilter, for example, would be pretty unbearable.

There are legitimate instances of criticizing moderation decisions and you can see legitimate back-and-forths about this in the archives, but this was most definitely not one of those instances. Why pull out the passive-aggressive "go eat your Turkey, you twits"? Unless you're saying you don't want moderation at Metafilter at all (in which case I'd say that this probably isn't the community for you) I don't understand why you're protesting "a couple of people in charge of this dynamic" as being an approach that is "problematic".
posted by Phire at 5:47 PM on November 25, 2011


Three cheers for the newest mods! I LIKE the newest mods! And taz, the newest mod in question, why, the other day she just gave me my first FPP deletion in AGES, and she was RIGHT. So THERE!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:03 PM on November 25, 2011


Jebus wept, when are people going to learn to not post any more "help, help, I'm being moderated!" rants?
posted by Iosephus at 6:16 PM on November 25, 2011


I have no complaints about MetaFilter's moderation policy.
posted by knapah at 6:17 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


NO SHT
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:24 PM on November 25, 2011


I have a feeling that a lot of the attacks on taz and restless_nomad are also sexist in character. Yeah, Jess has been around a long time and gets respect (mostly). But most of the attacks seem to come from (apparently) male posters and have a patronizing tone I associate with not liking to be told what to do by a woman.

Just saying.

Also, pet peeve time, since we've drifted away from discussing FauxScott's initial grar-spew: e have "offensive/sexism/racism" as a flagging reason. I really believe either "classism" belongs in that list or "offensive" is all we need to cover any such instances. Right now, it implies that sexism and racism are unacceptable, but mocking working-class folks is OK (and it happens a whole lot around here with impunity, I must say).

Might as well make it a laundry list of minor grievances: how come omidius wasn't banned for blatant self-linking?

posted by spitbull at 6:36 PM on November 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


Is it just me

Unfortunately, no.

There's a fair chunk of the populace that seems to believe that authority is illegitimate by its very nature. These people spend an inordinate amount of time opposing authority wherever they encounter it, and the main effect of their attitude is to make it harder for those opposing genuine oppression to get a fair hearing; the wider public mind tends to tar all anti-authority sentiment with the same brush.

But authority derived from competence is every bit as legitimate as opposition to oppression.

In fact it's a tremendous pity that there are not more people in positions of power who wield their power as skilfully, impartially and transparently as does Team Mod. Were this so, it would be harder to fall into the time-wasting, self-defeating trap of dismissing all authority as inherently oppressive.
posted by flabdablet at 6:36 PM on November 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


"In this case there were indeed a bunch of flags."
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:51 AM on November 26

Then, as promised, I change my opinion to valid deletion.

"And if it's what you want, a lot of lightly-presented news tidbits, that's totally fine and those sites exist in a way that should service that need pretty well."
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:51 AM on November 26

In case it wasn't clear from what I said, this is definitely not what I want.

As I said in my comment, if Newsfilter posts were becoming the standard FPP to the Blue I'd be here in MeTa demanding action. But my feeling is that since there is no rule in this place that says "No newsfilter links", the few newsfilter posts that pop up every day should stand and be judged on their own merits.

That is what happened in this case, as it turns out, and I acknoweldge that now. The deletion reason could have been better, I guess, since what got my goat in this instance was that a mod had appeared to have said "This post isnt good for Metafilter" and deleted it based solely on that.

Now we know that there were flags, perhaps a deletion reason like "This has been flagged a lot and this isn't a good Metafilter post" would have saved everyone a lot of trouble in the end.

Again, I bear no ill will towards taz. Just offering my thoughts on the matter.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:42 PM on November 25, 2011


This post is unattractive and seems sufficiently out of character that I'm wondering if he's overtired, dealing poorly with holiday stress, or perhaps had one more cocktail than he should've.

Actually, my thought was perhaps this is a case of someone accidentally leaving their computer unattended while logged in? Especially at this time of year, a visiting family member/smartass could think it was funny to troll while logged in as someone else.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:43 PM on November 25, 2011


Might as well make it a laundry list of minor grievances: how come omidius wasn't banned for blatant self-linking?

Looks like catastrophic misunderstanding of the rules from an experienced user, not an intentional spam attempt. I love giving mods shit when they mess up as much as anyone else, but the ability to use judgement instead of zero tolerance is what makes them great.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:47 PM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


I really believe either "classism" belongs in that list or "offensive" is all we need to cover any such instances.

We talked about that a bit back when we had the discussions about changing the flag text, and it's basically an acknowledged problem that any specific version of "this is crappy x-ist stuff" can be read as some sort of implication that unenumerated x's are somehow okay. The other available options were to not change it or to change it to something sufficiently exhaustive that nothing was left out.

So we talked about that stuff, and ultimately decided to make the flag text more explicit to address the specific really-bright-line stuff we'd been talking about—casual sexism and casual racism as sort of pernicious gets-by-because-people-don't-object internet comment chaff—as a workable compromise that might not be perfect but at least did directly address what was at the center of that series of long, hard discussions.

I doubt we will be rolling that back ever as any sort of stand-alone move; I don't think we're likely to make the flag text more lengthy either. If flags got reworked fundamentally at some point, we'd maybe look at it then as part of that process, but for now basically we just need folks to trust that they can flag something as problematic even if the exact name of the problematic thing doesn't appear in a flag option. If someone is being shitty in a classist way, flag away, sure.

Might as well make it a laundry list of minor grievances: how come omidius wasn't banned for blatant self-linking?

He was banned, and then really apologetic about it from a position of not really having understood that it was not to be done and had that made super duper clear to him, so he's getting a closely-watched second chance. Mostly because he's a long time user with no previous pattern of sketchy behavior that we saw and he clearly acknowledged that he heard me on the "this is totally not okay" thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:50 PM on November 25, 2011


Now we know that there were flags, perhaps a deletion reason like "This has been flagged a lot and this isn't a good Metafilter post" would have saved everyone a lot of trouble in the end.

Well, again, we have, on many occasions going back years, deleted posts with essentially "this isn't a good post for metafilter" as the sole stated reason and pretty much the sole underlying reasoning, with or without a pile of flags.

There are such things as poor posts for Metafilter, newsy or otherwise, and I would absolutely have nixed this post with zero flags a minute after it went up if I was looking at it at that minute. Flags are not the only reason a post gets deleted, and explicitly invoking them in deletion reasons has historically seemed to cause as much grief as anything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:54 PM on November 25, 2011


I'm going to start coding Mo'BettaFilter. Take that, chump.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:57 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rules and guidelines are important tools in community communication. It is important to remember, however, that there is no perfect system and that people deserve the opportunity to express their opinions.

What a hot button this turned out to be. I can't help but think the hotter the button the more kernels of truth potentially exist.
posted by gypseefire at 7:00 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is this the rudest attack on a new mod yet? I can't think of a worse one. Who even cares about the underlying question when it is done like this?
posted by caddis


No. Unfortunately there was an even more disgusting attack on Taz by a member, IIRC. :-(
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:08 PM on November 25, 2011


CUNT. You cant add "ing", or "er".

Whaaaaa? "Do you know what she did? Your cunting daughter?"
posted by nathancaswell at 7:10 PM on November 25, 2011


> But my feeling is that since there is no rule in this place that says "No newsfilter links", the few newsfilter posts that pop up every day should stand and be judged on their own merits.

From the FAQ: Why was my MetaFilter post deleted?
... The most common reasons are

- double-post - the exact link or one linking to nearly the same content has already been posted
- self-link - you posted something to MetaFilter that is on your own site or that you contributed heavily towards
- newsfilter - you posted a link to a news article without creating a post that would lead to good discussion
- axegrindfilter - you posted on a hot-button topic that you frequently post about and/or used heavy-handed editorializing language.
- broken link - you posted a link to something that is no longer available on the web
- stunt post - you were doing something cutesy or pointed with your post that was making some sort of statement, not linking to something neat on the web

....
I don't see why the mods should wait for something to get flagged to death when it obviously violates a well known and documented community standard. We've argued and talked about NewsFilter here on MeTa for years. This was an obvious case of NewsFilter (bad variety). It doesn't take any kind of prescience to see that a post like this will get flagged and why. (And, yes, there is a rule about it.)
posted by nangar at 7:16 PM on November 25, 2011


He was banned, and then really apologetic about it from a position of not really having understood that it was not to be done and had that made super duper clear to him, so he's getting a closely-watched second chance. Mostly because he's a long time user with no previous pattern of sketchy behavior that we saw and he clearly acknowledged that he heard me on the "this is totally not okay" thing.

Alrighty then. I agree that the ability to make such judgments by the mods is a feature, not a bug. But how someone with that long a posting history could not know not to self link is pretty amazing. Also, gawd what an awful post, let alone a self-link.
posted by spitbull at 7:22 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, and mostly if you look at his activity it's clear he's been pretty much askme-only for five or six years. From someone who had been active on the blue regularly and recently, "oh shit I didn't know" would be even less plausible. But still, yeah, it was a total stinker.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:24 PM on November 25, 2011


It was probably a combo of "This is for a good cause!" and "I'm being up-front that I'm involved." that made it seem appropriate at the time.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:27 PM on November 25, 2011


Especially at this time of year, a visiting family member/smartass could think it was funny to troll while logged in as someone else.

A visiting family member/smartass who was aware that taz was a relatively new mod? Doubt it.
posted by spitbull at 7:29 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was probably a combo of "This is for a good cause!" and "I'm being up-front that I'm involved." that made it seem appropriate at the time.

He wrote to advertise the beta release of "an engaging application that encourages self-actualization of healthy living decisions." I find that clause a bannable offense against the English language (not to mention the "hypothesis" that a website would cure type II diabetes thereby, an offense against the scientific method).
posted by spitbull at 7:32 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Day old turkey is a helluva drug.
posted by iamabot at 7:33 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Translated, it sounds like a website to teach about healthy lifestyle choices. Standard liberal do-goodism.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:40 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I really believe either "classism" belongs in that list or "offensive" is all we need to cover any such instances. Right now, it implies that sexism and racism are unacceptable, but mocking working-class folks is OK (and it happens a whole lot around here with impunity, I must say).

Yeah, I get this. That's something that's made me pretty angry about the site in the past. (And still does if I think about it.) But I don't think it's something that happens 'with impunity' here now. We've had a bunch MeTa threads about this since I've been here, and the mods do seem to have been responsive and more willing to delete this kind of stuff than they used to - which I appreciate. (Plus a couple of the worst offenders have left.)
posted by nangar at 7:44 PM on November 25, 2011


It's just you.
posted by Simple Answer to a Simple Question at 7:51 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a hot button this turned out to be. I can't help but think the hotter the button the more kernels of truth potentially exist.

I wanted to log in to respond to this statement. For myself, I think it has been quite clear ever since r_n was added that new mod deletions have received greater scrutiny, and are more likely to receive a callout. People seem less likely to accept that when they speak they speak for the site in the way they accept that for jessamyn and cortex. I think that this is to a large degree a function of time --- for sure, they're more likely to fuck up being new and inexperienced, by to my mind the higher callout likelyhood seems driven more by a stronger Nuh-Unh dymanic on the part of the userbase ---people have an emotional attachment to their posts, a deletion is a rebuke, and the natural impulse is to challenge that to so degree. It's only the years long store of cred that stops that stops people from giving in when it's jessamyn or cortex on the deletion reason.

This particular callout was written in a particularly sneering and dismissive tone, which was picked up on and echoed by a strong proportion of those who disagreed with FauxScott. Or in other words, people got hotheaded and boom, flameout ensued.

That's my own take, anyway. I mention it because I took the implication from your comment that you think there might be some truth to what FauxScott complained about --- e.g., that the newer mods have itchy trigger fingers. If so, I hope you will come forward and say so explicitly. In my experience, just sort of hinting there's no smoke without fire can be incredibly pernicious.
posted by Diablevert at 8:03 PM on November 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Epony-awesome
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:05 PM on November 25, 2011


I'm familiar other online communities where the moderators are way more strict, are impossible to communicate with, but totally anonymous. They act unilaterally, their decisions are final, and there's no explanations for their actions, and no chance for appeal. On the other hand, there's none of this quasi-bizarre personality cult that we sometimes get here, and there are no sycophants who must constantly brown their noses in their attempts to stay in their good graces. And while we often get long explanations by Jessamyn that are usually invariably followed up by another, similarly long explanation by cortex, (or visa-versa), it only comes off like they're hypersensitive or "circling the wagons" to an untrained or uncharitable eye. I think the community here seems to almost seems to demand this sort of reaction from them, for some reason.
posted by crunchland at 8:10 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


sycophants who must constantly brown their noses

I'm not sure you made quite the most contemptuous possible interpretation there. Care to try again?
posted by stebulus at 8:53 PM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Note: Everyone needs a fish.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:56 PM on November 25, 2011


On the other hand, there's none of this quasi-bizarre personality cult that we sometimes get here, and there are no sycophants who must constantly brown their noses in their attempts to stay in their good graces.

Aren't you just ferocious, you rebel you.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:06 PM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm thinking you're misreading crunchland's comments. I read that as that referring other forums he's been on.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:11 PM on November 25, 2011


Oh, wait. I misread it. Whoops. He was being douchey.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:12 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, he meant here. That's just crunchy's way, the scamp.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:12 PM on November 25, 2011


I FOR ONE DEMAND THAT THE MODS BE FITTED WITH GPS DEVICES SO WE CAN ALWAYS SEE THEIR LOCATION
posted by neuromodulator at 9:14 PM on November 25, 2011


You know, that might be a good idea. I bet Matt knows some good bike rides.
posted by box at 9:16 PM on November 25, 2011


Then again, I imagine most of the mods carry GPS devices everywhere they go anyway.
posted by box at 9:18 PM on November 25, 2011


well, yeah, i meant that i could see. homing devices, then?
posted by neuromodulator at 9:19 PM on November 25, 2011


Metafilter: Oh, wait. I misread it. Whoops. He was being douchey.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:26 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


MrMoonPie: "
Is it just me, or do we have a little new moderator problem with post and comment deletions?
It's not just you, no. Lots of people have complained, and the other mods have (as far as we, the users, know) circled their wagons and not responded to the (legitimate) complaints.

Mods, listen to us. We're the ones that make this place good, not you.
"

Oh please. The people who piss and moan on MeTa about deleted threads are not what makes this place great. Nor is it the people who post weak, samey, or stunty threads on the blue.

The people who make this site great are the people who realize this is just a website and that the best thing to do is try to have fun here and share your insights and knowledge.

The posts I see deleted are either boring or contentious. Posts aren't deleted because the mods are heavy handed.

Your statement -- that mods have not responded to the complaints -- is beyond disingenous. The mods have bent over backwards to explain, several billion times, why a given thread was deleted. They almost always explain their reasoning, how the community was responding, what they anticipated the direction of the thread was heading in, and how they felt afterwards about making the deletion decision. You're absolutely living in a fantasy world if you think the mods have not, in any shape or form, responded meaningfully to these (frankly) shitty, monotonous complaints about moderation.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:47 PM on November 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


You know, I really think this post was probably due to some combo of having-a-bad-day or holiday-blues, plus (just guessing now) possibly some feeling that I might be deleting more of his comments in Ask Me, since he mentions comments? ... and on that, no – I checked, and all deletions (there weren't many) for OP since I started have been spread right across the board, in terms of who deleted. I've had no contact good or bad with FauxScot, so I don't think it's any kind of personal thing.

In terms of the actual deletion, it's a completely normal, near auto-delete, and if flags alone could close a post, it would have been closed by flagging. We can't write paragraphs of text in the delete reason field, but it was newsfilter without any kind of framing or context to bring more light to the story; it was outrage filter; it was covering an incident that was going to be on every single news site or page everywhere; it was connected to a topic that there were already open threads for, and the incident had already been mentioned in one of them... so really pretty much an all around not-a-good-post-for-Metafilter.

Anyway, I saw this (my) last night, but didn't comment because Metatalking just before bedtime is not so great for my dreamlife. I think FauxScot has been a great contributor on Ask Metafilter, and I'm not taking this personally. Holidays can be a bitch, so if this is anything to do with that, feel better, OP, and one and all.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:16 PM on November 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


You monster!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 PM on November 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm going to hop in and n-th the notion that "Filter" is a key part of what makes this site worth visiting.

Especially now-a-days with the ubiquity of facebook, g+, etc. if you have a cool link that you want to share with someone, but nothing else, well there you go.

But then again I'm too timid to actually attempt a fpp, so maybe I shouldn't talk.
posted by selenized at 10:19 PM on November 25, 2011


Metafilter: It's got "filter" right in the name!
posted by DaddyNewt at 10:32 PM on November 25, 2011


I think crunchland raised some interesting points. The mods spend a lot of time defending their actions to people that don't understand the site's norms, many users misunderstand that as a invitation to debate those norms, and it rarely seems productive or necessary.
posted by eddydamascene at 10:46 PM on November 25, 2011


Mod abuse? Bad mouse! A bum's ode, a mob's due.
posted by speicus at 11:31 PM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Im pretty sure Mo'dabuse is a killing word.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:45 PM on November 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


Bus e moda (an Italian fashion journal for bus drivers)
posted by daniel_charms at 11:56 PM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Taz no longer needs the weirding module!
posted by freebird at 12:15 AM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't get it, how are people who have been here 5-6 years having posts deleted. Either they just don't get it or they do get it and there are shifting standards. Or maybe both. I guess some shit is borderline, sometimes it will fly sometimes it won't.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:51 AM on November 26, 2011


I think GLaDOS should moderate, although maybe cortex should add a stalemate resolution button first.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:01 AM on November 26, 2011


I only brown-nose here because it saves those few pennies on fake tan now the nights are drawing in.
posted by Abiezer at 1:18 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alrighty then. I agree that the ability to make such judgments by the mods is a feature, not a bug. But how someone with that long a posting history could not know not to self link is pretty amazing. Also, gawd what an awful post, let alone a self-link.

[...]

He wrote to advertise the beta release of "an engaging application that encourages self-actualization of healthy living decisions." I find that clause a bannable offense against the English language (not to mention the "hypothesis" that a website would cure type II diabetes thereby, an offense against the scientific method).



What is your problem? You already had it explained to you why omidius wasn't banned. He made a mistake - and he isn't even here to defend himself. Jesus.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 1:29 AM on November 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't get it, how are people who have been here 5-6 years having posts deleted.

I've been here, in one form or another, since the 17,000's and still produce fpp's that get deleted once in a while. I think you're right, there have been some shifts in what is acceptable, there are also some quirks in how individual mods operate (nothing wrong with that, by the way). Sometimes, however, I see deletions that are because something that gets me all "oh, wow, neat!" is just "meh" to everyone else . Add those factors to my marginal fit into a community whose demographics, politics, and lifestyles are probably very different than mine...it's pretty understandable why, even with way too many hours of experience with the blue, I still make posts that disappear.
posted by tomswift at 2:48 AM on November 26, 2011


I'm getting pretty tired of the Mods covering up their antics by the use of things like facts and clear explanations.
posted by panboi at 3:15 AM on November 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


You make good posts, tomswift, and only three have been deleted. One was a double, one about Netflix's situation stated that the site was down, and commenters were saying "no, it's up" so that was confusing... and the last one was Simon's Cat, which mefites love (so no problem with fitting in), but which has been posted at least 12 times before, not including comment links – and which was posted just last month.

Comics and other series stuff obviously get a lot more latitude, but with some of the more popular ones they begin to reach a saturation level, at which point there maybe needs to be more of a story or background or news or something of extra interest going on... or at least just more time between posts.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:19 AM on November 26, 2011


Taz...I wasn't complaining.... I understood the reasons for the deletes.... Simon's cat is a great example... I think EVERY post should include a link to Simon's cat!
posted by tomswift at 3:23 AM on November 26, 2011


heh. =^.^=
posted by taz (staff) at 3:26 AM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


You are now my favorite Mod!
posted by tomswift at 3:33 AM on November 26, 2011


Thanks for that Simon's cat link from yesterday, tomswift. It made my day a bit brighter. For a Mefi FPP it was a bit thin, but it would be perfect for MeCha.
posted by daniel_charms at 3:50 AM on November 26, 2011


What is your problem? You already had it explained to you why omidius wasn't banned

I don't know, but your problem seems to be humor recognition dude.
posted by spitbull at 3:53 AM on November 26, 2011


a) Aren't these MetaTalks on hold?
b) Bad FPP, I linked to that event and even my comment had more information on what the link was about.
c) Bad MetaTalk post
d) Bad language


*whaps OPs nose with rolled up newspaper*
posted by infini at 4:03 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]




I see taz was busy abusing her power again this morning.

Serious question - how does a user, who's only ever posted on AskMe, end up posting their question to to the blue? This person in particular has been around for five years. I can understand that someone might be colour blind or they might possibly miss the fact that the URL is not the one for AskMe, but it says "Metafilter" in very large letters on the top left of the screen, and after you hit "New Post" (not New Question), it reads: "Step 1: Compose your post to MetaFilter" in huge font. I ask this because I see people getting confused all the time and I have not a fuckin' clue how it happens.
posted by gman at 6:31 AM on November 26, 2011


Gman..I think you meant to post that to AskMe?
posted by tomswift at 6:36 AM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I also didn't mean to be Jacob to to.
posted by gman at 6:39 AM on November 26, 2011


Right now, it implies that sexism and racism are unacceptable, but mocking working-class folks is OK (and it happens a whole lot around here with impunity, I must say).

posted by spitbull at 2:36 AM on November 26 [12 favorites +] [!]


Yeah, and short people! And gingers! And hipsters! And vegetarians! And people who like Lady Gaga!

This working-class person seriously wishes Mefi would lighten the fuck up and have a bloody good look at itself, sometimes.
posted by Decani at 6:43 AM on November 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Serious question - how does a user, who's only ever posted on AskMe, end up posting their question to to the blue?

It's not great mystery, IMO. People make silly mistakes all the time. I've done similar things on the site and it's usually when I'm multitasking when I shouldn't be. Shit happens.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:44 AM on November 26, 2011


I don't think you can lighten up and take a bloody good look at oneself. Self-examination is by definition SRS BSNS. Maybe the other way round?
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:00 AM on November 26, 2011


Serious question - how does a user, who's only ever posted on AskMe, end up posting their question to to the blue?

I use professional white background and I nearly did it the other day, just not paying attention. The no link filter saved me from the humiliation.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:01 AM on November 26, 2011


Yeah, I use a Stylish style sheet (when not using the official Metafilter white background) that leaches all the color from the interface. It can make it slightly difficult to tell sub-sites apart.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 AM on November 26, 2011


BAD boys, BAD BAD boys...
posted by infini at 7:30 AM on November 26, 2011


I don't get it, how are people who have been here 5-6 years having posts deleted

Sometimes one's guideline-applier just conks.

Once I had an AskMe deleted as chatfilter. And I immediately thought, "Shit, it totally was. Why didn't I recognize that?"
posted by Trurl at 8:09 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get it, how are people who have been here 5-6 years having posts deleted.

I figure there's a few things going on here:

1. Nobody is a constant.

People who make several posts over time are likely to make varyingly strong posts, and while for some folks that variation may remain pretty much unerringly within the This Is A Totally Solid Post range even across a large number of posts, it's pretty likely that someone will end up dipping below the bar now and then.

2. Nobody is the mold the guidelines were forged from.

Everybody has their own sense of what the site is and should be and what kinds of posts they like; there's a lot of general overlap if you talk to a bunch of mefites where people can pretty much agree that post type x is pretty solid or post type y is not so great, but on an individual level there's going to be a lot of variation. So people who have been around and have posted a bunch still may occasionally think "hey, this'd be a great post" and find out that that's not actually the reaction it gets.

And this goes for the mods, too; we have more of a ten-thousand-feet view of stuff by necessity, but we're still individuals with differing takes on stuff, which is why on more borderline stuff we tend to talk to each other to figure out a course of action.

3. Everybody has off days.

Sometimes someone who has a pretty solid sense of posting judgement just doesn't apply it very carefully when they make a post: they're having a bad day, or they're having a silly day, or something specifically has gotten them bothered in a way that pushes a notional post past their normal filtering process before they really take the hard look they normally would at what they're considering putting on the front page. And, boom: a not very good post from someone who basically knows better and has generally good intentions.

It's really worth keeping in mind that odd bumps and highs and lows are the natural swing of things in a more guidelines-and-judgement rather than explicit-codification scheme like we have here; the stakes on deletion are low and hitting something like a 95% success rate is basically knocking it out of the park in terms of people posting reasonably well in a great big community space like this. Even mathowie makes double posts now and then.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:40 AM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


So you guys got much snow in Vermont yet?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:55 AM on November 26, 2011


We got over ten inches on Tuesday night, but I'm down in MA right now where it's sixty and sunny.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:58 AM on November 26, 2011



I don't get it, how are people who have been here 5-6 years having posts deleted.


What Cortex said with a #4 added: Sometimes they're drunk when they post.
posted by philip-random at 9:08 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a coincidence. I just had a comment deleted from AskMefi, and I came here to look into it (first time I've ever wandered into Metatalk), only to find this thread.

Personally, yeah, I think someone is a little delete-happy.
posted by mikeand1 at 9:18 AM on November 26, 2011


> Personally, yeah, I think someone is a little delete-happy.

What did your comment say? Try to be as verbatim as possible.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:20 AM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


You were getting into an on-going "no but you should follow MY advice" argument with someone in an askme and kept at it even after a mod had dropped a note saying to cut it out. That's not delete-happy, that's arguing-in-askme-happy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:21 AM on November 26, 2011


It was continuing a product/brand debate after taz had already stepped in and said to take it to email/MeMail if it's not answering the OPs question directly. No big deal, but it was the sixth comment by mikeand1 in a thread with 26 answers and we felt that his point had been made and it was turning into a debate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:23 AM on November 26, 2011


But it was a strictly informative post. There was zero attitude or rudeness in it; to the contrary, it was quite polite, and it provided information that may well have been helpful to the OP in making her decision.

I understand the difference between argumentative and informative, and I'm pretty sure it fell on the latter side. (I don't know if there's a way to link to it, but if so, I'm sure I would be born out on that.)

If it amounted to debate, I didn't know that was somehow frowned upon in AskMeFi. Sometimes debate can be very informative, provided it's polite and to-the-facts.
posted by mikeand1 at 9:57 AM on November 26, 2011


> But it was a strictly informative post. There was zero attitude or rudeness in it; to the contrary, it was quite polite

I've had comments like that deleted as well. The takeaway is that it was a derail from the specific focus of the question. It can suck to have your comments deleted, but that's how they run AskMe. I suppose things would get out of control if everyone just started talking about tangential subjects that weren't addressing the OP's question.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:59 AM on November 26, 2011


A little bit of back-and-forth, like a comment or two to clarify a point of disagreement, is generally fine. When it gets to be an ongoing thing, at that point we basically expect people to either let it drop or take it to private correspondence so it's not two people derailing a question with an argument. Like jess said, not a big deal or anything, but that's pretty standard procedure with askme—it's more an answer space than a discussion space.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:03 AM on November 26, 2011


If it amounted to debate, I didn't know that was somehow frowned upon in AskMeFi. Sometimes debate can be very informative, provided it's polite and to-the-facts.

Extended debate gets sort of into a grey area. In questions that aren't anonymous, if you have a longer explanation of why what you are suggesting is the best possible thing for the OP, it's a good idea to just drop them a note. Otherwise the thread turns into one person dropping a lot of comments and links to a single product/thing and that tends to get people's "Ummmm..." alerts up. As I said, you'd made more than 25% of the comments in that thread, a thread which was just a "help me find a solution to my problem" not "I want to understand the debate between this product and this other product" So, answers are fine when they're continuing to answer the question, less fine when they're only engaging other commenters, and much less fine when they seem to be monopolizing a thread.

And really, not a big deal, your comments were helpful and informative, but they just needed to wrap up lest the thread become all about the one product you were suggesting.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:04 AM on November 26, 2011


mikeand1, I suspect if you had collected all of your links and information into a single comment and then posted it that it would have been fine. Your comments 2, 3, and 4 could have easily been condensed into a single comment, and that probably wouldn't have come off as derail-y as spreading them out did.
posted by lilac girl at 10:34 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


And while we often get long explanations by Jessamyn that are usually invariably followed up by another, similarly long explanation by cortex, (or visa-versa), it only comes off like they're hypersensitive or "circling the wagons" to an untrained or uncharitable eye.

Ahahaha no. A detailed, polite answer to a question that may or may not have been phrased politely is the exact opposite of hypersensitive or circling the wagons. Barring no response at all, responses that would demonstrate wagon-circling would include:

1. "deal w/ it"
2. "ugh you annoy me - banned"
3. "we've answered this question so many times before. use the search function or something."
4. "OK look don't judge me or anything but I'm pretty drunk right now and frankly i'm a litttle tired of getting this type of flac from you people so if yull excuse me imma go ahead and lock this thread now"

It's sort of beyond me why those of us who don't have some major issue with the moderation policies and practices of this site get accused of having a "jock mentality" or being "brown-nosers". What kind of high school crap is this? Seriously, it's really tired. Some of us are simply happy with the way the modding is done around here. You don't have to agree with that, but the petty name-calling and lashing out at fellow members of the community you purport to care so much about helps absolutely nothing, and does more to alienate other people than it does to help them see your point of view.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:45 AM on November 26, 2011 [16 favorites]


FWIW I find the quality of moderation so high here that, on more than one occasion, I have come to Jessamyn about a situation going on at a message board I moderate and asked her "how would you handle this?"
posted by IndigoRain at 10:56 AM on November 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's not a meTa about modding until someone comes in and accuses people who generally agree that the moderation here is good of being brown-nosers, Marisa! So now that it's a "real" meTa, thanks to crunchland, we can all go about our business.
posted by rtha at 11:00 AM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's the crunchland method.
posted by loquacious at 11:25 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


We got over ten inches on Tuesday night

we should all be so lucky

posted by elizardbits at 11:47 AM on November 26, 2011 [15 favorites]


Decani, nit to question your blue collar bona fides, but are you suggesting mefi lighten up about racism and sexism too?

We had an entire askme thread about a month ago that amounted to "where I can I go gawk at obese republican Americans within a short drive of New York City," for example.


OK, make it any ethnic or sexual minority and that would have been ok?
posted by spitbull at 11:52 AM on November 26, 2011


I don't see where crunchland accused people "who generally agree that the moderation here is good" and "who don't have some major issues with the moderation policies" of anything. I certainly fall in that group. I think invoking the term "brown noser" was a mistake, because I don't think that fairly represents any one member of the site, but the collective response to perceived criticism of the moderation sometimes veers off into something that does feel a little obsequious.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:20 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


but the collective response to perceived criticism of the moderation sometimes veers off into something that does feel a little obsequious.

I think a simpler explanation is that most members, and most of the most active members, agree with most moderation decisions. A moments reflection should convince you that if they didn't agree they would go someplace else.
posted by shothotbot at 12:30 PM on November 26, 2011


Well, here's what crunchland said: On the other hand, there's none of this quasi-bizarre personality cult that we sometimes get here, and there are no sycophants who must constantly brown their noses in their attempts to stay in their good graces.

What I see in threads like this is usually a mix of people - some say "This deletion/mod decision sucked and here's why" and some say "I thought it was a good decision and here's why" and some make jokes and some do all of the above.

Who does crunchland mean when he talks about sycophants and brown-nosers? It can only be people who have the audacity to post comments like "It was a good decision, mods have hard jobs, don't be a jerk."

If there are specific people he means, then he should say that. But otherwise, I guess in crunchlandtown, anyone who is okay with mod decision is a sycophantic brown-noser.
posted by rtha at 12:39 PM on November 26, 2011


On the other hand, there's none of this quasi-bizarre personality cult that we sometimes get here, and there are no sycophants who must constantly brown their noses in their attempts to stay in their good graces.

This is hilarious. When it comes to cults of personality and sycophancy surrounding moderators, Metafilter has absolutely nothing on places like Television Without Pity, which for many years has provided the answer to the question, "What might it be like if Stalin had run a pop culture website rather than the Soviet Union?"
posted by scody at 2:48 PM on November 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


Sycophant? Personality cult?

Sheesh, just because I have teeny tiny shrines with teeny tiny effigies of each of the mods sitting here by my computer does not mean I am a total brown noser. No siree. When those real life mods behave in ways I don't like, I stick pins hard in those statues, believe you me. Especially that rascal cortex.

You know, I think it is so totally fine to question and disagree with mod decisions. What bothered me about this posting is the tattle-taling tone "look what Taz is doing, now." Dude, do you think she couldn't hear you, she is right here in the house, you know. It would have been much more seemly to address her directly a la "Taz, what were you thinking?" She's wicked nice and very approachable.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:40 PM on November 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


The term "mod abuse" makes me think there's some nice preserve out in Africa where mods are taken at a certain point, to help them readjust to life in the wild.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:47 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think a simpler explanation is that most members, and most of the most active members, agree with most moderation decisions. A moments reflection should convince you that if they didn't agree they would go someplace else.

I'm at a rhetorical disadvantage because I'm three sheets to the wind and stinging from the loss of my particular home state's in-state rivalry, but this strikes me as an empty argument. Metafilter maintains its community through the strength of its content. The people that leave specifically due to disagreements over moderation typically leave in dramatic flameouts, and rarely. You can argue (and I would agree with you) that the strength of its content is bolstered by its moderation, but I'm not sure what that has to do with anything that crunchland brought up.
posted by eddydamascene at 4:59 PM on November 26, 2011


He's right! Mods, I hate them, with their stupid little scooters and their expensive clothes.

And then it turns out they're really bellboys.

....is there a non-gender-specific term? Luggage attendant?

Or am I just wandering off again?
posted by mephron at 5:05 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Bellhops," isn't it?
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:05 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I was in the business it was "Bellmen"
posted by tomswift at 5:08 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought the reference was talking about these kind of mods & scooters.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:16 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Just the place for some snark!" the Bellmen cried,
As they polished their posts with care.

posted by running order squabble fest at 5:16 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Persons of bell.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:18 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Persons pursuing their own bell ends
posted by flabdablet at 5:40 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bell Facilitation Enhancement Specialists, surely.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:40 PM on November 26, 2011


For Hume the Bell Tolls

(the autobiography of Brit Hume)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:00 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Michelle, ma hop belle, sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble
posted by argonauta at 6:13 PM on November 26, 2011


PLEASE HOPE BELL
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:16 PM on November 26, 2011


A Little Brit Country, A Little Brit Rock & Roll

(the continuing story of Brit Hume's travels in the UK and ensuing love of the Mersey beat)
posted by mintcake! at 7:37 PM on November 26, 2011


Hume's hardly human however.
posted by Sailormom at 8:10 PM on November 26, 2011


Hume may think you're better than Brit, but you shouldn't ass-Hume.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:13 PM on November 26, 2011


Cause when you ass-Hume, you make an ass out of Hugh* and me both.

*Hefner or Laurie
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:15 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


or Downs
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:15 PM on November 26, 2011


No one makes an ass out of Hugh Downs. I watched him curb a guy in '83 for making false claims about how energy efficient his chicken fryer was.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:43 PM on November 26, 2011


I'm going down down down down
posted by Sailormom at 9:21 PM on November 26, 2011


Television Without Pity, which for many years has provided the answer to the question, "What might it be like if Stalin had run a pop culture website rather than the Soviet Union?"

I hope MeFi's Own Linda Holmes (a former TWoP'er) doesn't see that or you are gonna be SO pogromed. Or programmed. Or she'll just pity you, fool.

I'm surprised we escaped the Bell punnery without mentioning Bell Labs, Bela Lugosi or Bella Abzug.

But maybe that's just my sense of Hume-or. Or maybe we shouldn't ex-Hume dead jokes.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:34 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or maybe we shouldn't ex-Hume dead jokes.

Abzug-lutely.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:36 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


maybe we shouldn't ex-Hume dead jokes

Ask not for Hume the Bell tolls.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:47 PM on November 26, 2011


dammit.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:49 PM on November 26, 2011


dammit.

You're a mod now; sneaky delete! Then we can have a rude MeTa about that too.
posted by Abiezer at 11:52 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or we could just have a pre-emptive rude meta about it because she was totally going to do it and it's the thought (or the crimethink) that counts.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:02 AM on November 27, 2011


Now I'm all disillusioned. Off to drive my scooter off a big-ass cliff.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:04 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


la la la la la! dum dee dum dee dum. I don't really have anything to say. I'm just waiting for TOR to finish installing whatever it's installing so I can start my beta weekend!!!! yay. Hope you all had a fantastic week! :D
posted by bam at 12:58 AM on November 27, 2011


Off to drive my scooter off a big-ass cliff.

*jumps on the back of drjimmy's big ass scooter*

I've gone up a whole size overnight around the hips and I shouldn't have bought that electronic weighing machine with extra sensitive calibration
posted by infini at 1:15 AM on November 27, 2011


You're a mod now; sneaky delete! Then we can have a rude MeTa about that too.

Abiezer, you cad! Are you suggesting I would start a rude MeTa against taz? Even if she went so far as to abuse her mod powers by sneakily deleting the pun that beat her to the pun(ch)? Sir! You know nothing of the man of Hume you speak!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:27 AM on November 27, 2011


cad... no no no old fruit, he's a bounder and a rascal
posted by infini at 1:39 AM on November 27, 2011


Last time I tried bounding I pulled something and had to have a lie down.
posted by Abiezer at 1:52 AM on November 27, 2011


when I am dead and buried, good people
when they lay me in the ground
come around to my graveside
and see this old bounder go down
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:01 AM on November 27, 2011


madamjujujive: I thought the reference was talking about these kind of mods & scooters.

I was. The bellboy comments above are a reference to the movie Quadrophenia, where mod Jimmy becomes disillusioned with the mod scene after seeing the Ace Face (played by Sting!) working as a bellboy in a hotel.

[Also, people: I make some silly mod quip and get 18 favourites, and make a sensible comment in support of taz and get ONE?]
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:15 AM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


[Also, people: I make some silly mod quip and get 18 favourites, and make a sensible comment in support of taz and get ONE?]

We're funky like that (what's a favourite?)
posted by infini at 2:18 AM on November 27, 2011


"This is hilarious. When it comes to cults of personality and sycophancy surrounding moderators, Metafilter has absolutely nothing on places like Television Without Pity, which for many years has provided the answer to the question, 'What might it be like if Stalin had run a pop culture website rather than the Soviet Union?'"

I just can't get enough of these kinds of comments. I have a love/hate relationship with TWoP. The discussion can be very good. But to participate there is to experience this constant fear of being warned, which everyone ends up channeling into, yes, a sycophancy and obsequiousness to the mods. I always end up getting annoyed at an inconsistent and often hypocritical application of the rules and get in trouble. It's one of only two places in twenty years on the Internet from which I've ever been banned. And not only once, but like three of four times.

When Angel's cancellation was announced, there was all this off-topic, boards-on-boards discussion in the episode thread about how everyone would miss Strega's recaps and even her moderation of the board. Pages of this. Pages of stuff that is explicitly against the rules...except when it's praising the moderator, apparently. Eventually, after reading dozens of such posts, I quoted her post saying that she would stop being the mod for the board after the show was canceled and I wrote, "Well, I guess there really is a silver-lining in every cloud". She instantly banned me, no "three warnings" (I had none), just BAM.

Yeah, your characterization isn't as much hyperbole as it seems.

While that's the extreme on the web, it's still the case that MeFi is far, far to the "light-touch" and "nice and kind and tolerant moderators" end of the spectrum of web discussion sites. And without any moderation at all, you get loads and loads of crap. It's hard for me to see how there's much room to complain here about moderation. It's not perfect, they make mistakes and they aren't perfectly consistent. You know, like all human beings on the planet.

In relative terms, they're about as good as it gets. And taz is awesome. She did moderate another site for years, you know.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:56 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok. So there are no brown nosing sycophants on Metatalk. It's purely a coincidence that Cortex and Jessamyn both have two to three times the number of favorites for compared to anyone else on Metatalk.
posted by crunchland at 7:31 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are others explanations for this. The simplest being that a) they're both intelligent, thoughtful people who are consistently considerate, and b) their job here strongly dissuades them from making comments that are uncharacteristic of (a) and generally which are valueless. They necessarily hold themselves to a higher-than-average standard than most other commenters.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:40 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's purely a coincidence that Cortex and Jessamyn both have two to three times the number of favorites for compared to anyone else on Metatalk.

We have also made by far the most comments on Metatalk. Third place there is Matt, and the bulk of his metatalk commenting activity was far earlier than mine and Jess' and so largely pre-favorites.

And we spend a lot of time over here in part because we're hashing out site policy and community guidelines and trying to make considered responses to peoples questions and concerns, which means we're dropping a lot of relatively information-rich stuff into comments that people may want to reference in the future. It's kind of our job to say stuff that might be worth going back to in the future.

Genuine sycophancy isn't usually that hard to see actually happening; it's not just an equivalency class to "being nice". The accusation around here seems to mostly come down to pointing at generic "people" who haven't done anything wrong other than not be sufficiently performative in a grumpy mode and declare them ass-kissers en masse, which seems like a kind of lazy and shitty thing to do. It's actually pretty possible to be okay with a situation without having your nose up someone's ass.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:42 AM on November 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes. I'm sure they are two to three times smarter than anyone else posting on Metatalk.
posted by crunchland at 7:43 AM on November 27, 2011


Or everyone gives them favorites as a show of supports every time a horrible callout thread happens.

Or, you know, they just post a lot of comments.
posted by absalom at 7:44 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok. So there are no brown nosing sycophants on Metatalk. It's purely a coincidence that Cortex and Jessamyn both have two to three times the number of favorites for compared to anyone else on Metatalk.

To answer this question I think you have to ask if it is to be expected that Jessamyn and Cortex would acquire more favorites in metatalk than other users.

There is a least one reason to expect that they would --- they work here, and they post in pretty much every thread. So on a pure volume basis, one would expect than to have more favorites than even the most prolific user, even if they were being favorited at the same rate of favorites per comment.

But there are also psychological reasons to expect they'll get more favorites.

There are three kinds of callouts in metatalk --- to object to the behavior of another user, to object to some aspect of the culture of the site, to object to a deletion. All involve, in to some degree, criticizing a mod's actions or failure to act. In important ways, they are the subject of metatalk. So inasmuch as their actions are the ones under scrutity, their responses are the most significant ones in the thread. Favoriting such a comment is a signal of alignment with the site and its general principles are well as a reward for a particularly cogent remark. In that sense, I tend to think it functions more to demostrate the strength of sentiment overall among users of the site being with the mods, and oppossed to the callout. I would expect that to be the case if most people who use metafilter like it and generally enjoy its ethos and culture.

Winning the personal approval of the mods themselves for the commentor may also be a motive. But I don't think it drives the dynamic you point at.
posted by Diablevert at 7:45 AM on November 27, 2011


People are just bookmarking site policy statements.
posted by knapah at 7:48 AM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's purely a coincidence that Cortex and Jessamyn both have two to three times the number of favorites for compared to anyone else on Metatalk.

Y'know, it has not passed my attention that jessamyn and cortex have only very rarely (if ever) favorited any of my comments in Metatalk, or anywhere else. And that hurts. That hurts deep. But I know they love me, as they love you, too, crunchland. I'm sure of that. Heck, I have a feeling that cortex would buy me a beer if we ever met IRL. So just drop this silly business, crunchy! Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:50 AM on November 27, 2011


Are you glowing in the dark yet?
posted by infini at 8:05 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in the top 22 and poor ol' pb is all the way down in the low 1600s which means that I either have way more people brown-nosing me - the suckers, my power is purely ceremonial! - or that I'm, like, twice smarterer than pb. Either way, hahaha!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:06 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bookmark Jessamyn and Cortex's comments full of links, pointers to comments and threads and other relevant site wide information. I also have a brown nose.

But that's not what you can kiss
posted by infini at 8:06 AM on November 27, 2011


Ok. So there are no brown nosing sycophants on Metatalk. It's purely a coincidence that Cortex and Jessamyn both have two to three times the number of favorites for compared to anyone else on Metatalk.

That is the stupidest thing I've read today - but it's still early here, so you might get outclassed later.

So anyone who favorites a comment you make is not being a brown-nosing sycophant - they're showing support, or agreeing with you, or you made them laugh. But anyone who favorites a comment by a mod is only doing so to obsequiously curry favor? Do I have that right?
posted by rtha at 8:13 AM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Genuine sycophancy isn't usually that hard to see actually happening

True. All you have to do is subscribe to Cat Fancy's lesser-known sister publication, Sicko Fancy.
posted by argonauta at 8:14 AM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Voluntary members of affective community in "broad agreement with its authorities" shocker!
posted by Abiezer at 8:18 AM on November 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


While I disagree with your opinion, crunchland, I would encourage you to make more arguments based on facts and data in support of it.
posted by box at 8:34 AM on November 27, 2011


Do I have that right? --- You're overlooking the 400% increase in these little marks of approval compared to everyone else, and they don't make four times more comments than the rest of us. (Ok. Maybe Cortex does. Jess has only made twice the number than the rest, but her comments get just as many favorites as his do.)

It's perfectly understandable, really. It's a pretty smart coping mechanism to ingratiate yourself with authority figures. People do it all the time. I think the lengths some of you are going to deny that it happens is a little weird, but if I were in that position, I'd probably prefer to deny it, too.
posted by crunchland at 8:40 AM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


thank you for petting everyone condescendingly on their little puppy heads dude.
posted by elizardbits at 8:43 AM on November 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


Quick! Everyone favourite crunchland's comment

I like the way you've framed it so that its "damn'd if we do/damn'd if we don't" - I'm off for a walk, that was not nice.
posted by infini at 8:44 AM on November 27, 2011


I think the lengths some of you are going to deny that it happens is a little weird, but if I were in that position, I'd probably prefer to deny it, too.

Man, I pity you. This kind of worldview is so fucked. I'm glad I don't live on your planet.
posted by rtha at 8:47 AM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


You're projecting, crunchland. Speaking from long, difficult, personal experience, I can definitely assert that I'm deeply averse to "ingratiating myself with authority figures". I've probably been fired for being insubordinate from more jobs than you've had, total.

I had a big disagreement with Matt once, and it's not something I'm willing to talk about. Other than that, though, none of the mods here—including Matt excepting that one time—have ever pushed my anti-authoritarian buttons. And, as I've mentioned, TWoP has done so repeatedly and I've been banned from it because of this, repeatedly. So it just isn't either accurate or fair to claim that my arguments here, at least, are motivated by a desire to ingratiate myself with the admins. Furthermore, it's not accurate or fair to claim that everyone else's, or most everyone else's, are rightly characterized that way, either.

I can accept that it's valid for people to think that there's too much moderation here. I don't agree with it, but I think it's a valid opinion. But asserting that everyone, or almost everyone, who thinks that over-moderation isn't a problem is necessarily and self-evidently being sycophantic is not only wrong, but it's invalid. It's unsupportable. It's not within the realm of what's reasonable.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:52 AM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


When a popular opinion, or scathing comment about a user who's out-of-favour, is expressed by a mod, it's going to receive a shit ton more favourites than a non-mod's near identical comment, even if the latter's is posted first. I'm not gonna go through old MeTa threads to find examples because I don't wanna waste my time on something I know occurs. Whether or not this is a good or bad thing, I have no comment.
posted by gman at 8:55 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never said that all people who are happy with the moderation here are sycophants, Ivan. I just said that there is a large population of them here.
posted by crunchland at 8:57 AM on November 27, 2011


...and only one idiot.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:00 AM on November 27, 2011


Poor crunchy will never be a moderator. It eats away inside him.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:06 AM on November 27, 2011


I frequently favorite mod comments/actions as a way of saying "Hey, thank you for that particular decision, and for doing this difficult and sensitive job so well." That's not sycophancy, that's just gratitude. I also thanked the checker who was working on Thanksgiving for making it possible for me to get the bottle of balsamic vinegar I had assumed we had in the cupboard; is that sycophancy as well?
posted by KathrynT at 9:11 AM on November 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ice Cream Socialist: ...and only one idiot.

Really, that couldn't be more untrue. Question for you - if you strongly disagreed with a comment that a mod posted, would you call them an idiot?
posted by gman at 9:13 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok. So there are no brown nosing sycophants on Metatalk. It's purely a coincidence that Cortex and Jessamyn both have two to three times the number of favorites for compared to anyone else on Metatalk.

You know what people favorite of mine in MetaTalk? Policy statements and jokes usually. And since other longtime members can't really leave policy statements, this leaves the field wide open for me to CLEAN UP IN FAVORITES.

A better metric might be our email which usually runs about 50/50 "you suck" and "you rule" with little outlying blips when we do something particularly pleasing and/or controversial. I'm not saying that there's not some favorite-inflation, just that I think people favorite mod comments for a whole host of reasons, remembering a policy decision being a huge one, and deciding that a large number of those favorites are sycophancy just seems odd to me. We don't care about favorites that much personally so it's not a particularly great way to curry favor and we try to be pretty even handed in MeTa even to people who continually give us grief.

I feel like there must be better ways of doing math to see if what you think is happening is, in fact, happening; counting favorites doesn't seem to be it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:24 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It'd be great to have people not call each other idiots/etc around here, period, yes.

Poor crunchy will never be a moderator. It eats away inside him.

Oh, cut it out.

crunchland, I think you're being seriously, seriously uncharitable here to your fellow community members, and I don't really know what to tell you other than accusing people of being pro-authoritarian asslickers is a pretty good way to piss them off. I don't know if pissing people off was your goal or not. If your goal was to try and start some kind of conversation about community dynamics, this was a pretty self-defeating way to go about it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:24 AM on November 27, 2011


I don't want to risk my good standing in the Sycophantasy League or anything, but someone whom I'm not saying is an idiot posted this comment to the sidebar, but neglected to add the link.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:24 AM on November 27, 2011


Burhanistan, crunchland long had, or still has, his own community website, IIRC. Maybe I'm misremembering. But attributing his (wrong and insulting) opinion to envy is, well, also (probably) wrong and (definitely and unnecessarily) insulting.

I don't mean to sound like I have a stick up my butt. It's just that it sort of bothers me to see wrong answered with wrong.

"That's not sycophancy, that's just gratitude."

What's ironic is that my own inclinations are probably closer to crunchland's than yours. I've never thought about it much, but now that I've stopped and done so for a minute or two, I realize that because the mods are the mods, I hold them to a higher standard than I do other people with regard to my decision to favorite their comments. I might be inclined to say "thank you", but I'd do it directly and not with a favorite. I think I tend to only favorite comments by them when either they're especially witty or I especially strongly agree with them. I don't favorite their comments the way that others have mentioned above, either.

Nevertheless, I just don't see the sycophancy that crunchland does. Not in comments people make, nor in their favoriting of comments the mods make. Like cortex says, I think that anything beyond slight levels of sycophancy and obsequiousness is pretty easy to recognize. I think it's obvious on TWoP.

On the other hand, trying to see the other viewpoint about all this, I think that if I felt that the moderation was heavy-handed here, then all the comments defending the mods would grate on my nerves and seem excessive and questionable. I don't think I'd assume sycophancy; more likely, I'd just assume an annoying level of groupthink.

This is really, at root, about how our theories of mind of individual people differs with regard to whether we agree or disagree with them.

When we agree, we are very generous in our assumptions about what's going on in someone's head. When we disagree, we are very ungenerous. The people who think the moderation level here is just right assume good-will and thoughtfulness on the part of the mods and assume rationality and levelheadedness on the part of each other. The people who think the moderation level is excessive assume some form of either irresponsibility or even bad-intentions on the part of the mods and assume that those who support the mods are irrationally (or differently rationally) motivated to do so.

Even so, even when trying to adopt the mindset of those who are critical of the moderation here, I have a very hard time thinking about either the history of the moderation or how it's been discussed, and very openly, here on MeTa and concluding that there's even a minimal basis for a claim of excessive moderation or, in particular, bad-faith in the moderation. I just can't see it; even when I'm make a strong effort to give the claim the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:28 AM on November 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


but neglected to add the link.

No idea what you are talking about!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:29 AM on November 27, 2011


So I started playing for Team Mod pretty recently, and I can say there is definitely a "favorites inflation" factor going on - it's too early in the morning for me to run the numbers, but if someone wants to take a look, I started in April. Thing is, though, there are a couple of factors that go into that:

- Jessamyn's point, that we're the only people that can make policy statements, is, I think, a major factor - especially on the gray, but mod comments I leave on the blue seem to get more favorites on average than regular participation comments I leave. (Not all my mod comments get favorited, but a lot of them do.) I think policy and moderation comments are a lot more likely to get "I agree" favorites, and the more detailed policy statements may get more "bookmark" favorites.

- I dunno about everyone, but I have been reading the gray for years, and I would often skim a long thread and just read mod comments. I didn't necessarily have time to dig in to a contentious debate, but I wanted to know what the official position was. (The fancy new markers make that even easier now.) These days I often pick up a bunch of favorites if I get a nice clear position statement in early in a thread.

- Name recognition is a thing. People know who I am and are more likely to be able to read my comments in the context of my larger site participation, so everything I say has more nuance. I know this was totally true for me with Jessamyn and Josh - it was actually a little eerie when I met them in person and they were pretty much exactly like I thought they would be, but I just had so, so much data to use to construct my mental model that it ended up being way more accurate that is usually the case.

I have a solid working knowledge of what sycophancy looks like - I've been in this business a long time and have had flowers and baked goods mailed to my office, a gaming guild making a "goody bag" for me with the clear expectation of quid pro quo, people hanging on my every word in person, and, most amusingly, a whole thread full of people leaping to my defense when someone made a comment implying, in a sideways fashion, that I was gay. I don't get that here at all, and I don't see it much with my colleagues either. I think this is on average a really internet-literate crowd that has strong opinions about community management and moderation and is happy to express those opinions, whether positive or negative. It's nice to be appreciated, and frankly it's nice to get called on shit, too.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:41 AM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


restless_nomad: - Name recognition is a thing.

That's totally true. The Whelk could fart in a thread and someone on here would favourite it.
posted by gman at 10:00 AM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I never said that all people who are happy with the moderation here are sycophants, Ivan. I just said that there is a large population of them here.

What bugs me about statements like this - whether it's about the number of sycophants on the site, or the number of mod-protected trolls, or the users who are given preferential treatment - is they are never, ever backed up with any actual data. I think if you're going to have a discussion about moderation policy in good faith, then making blanket accusations of that degree should be backed up with evidence instead of "this thing totally happens". Without something approaching evidence to back up these accusations, it really just seems like noise or nest-kicking.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:05 AM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


The thing about cortex and jessamyn is that they display a staggering ability to respond with grace and clarity when people get all types of angry and insulting with them or others. Being someone who has a hard time with not becoming highly charged around others who are highly charged, it's something I admire. So ... there's that, too. Maybe there actually is something admirable in them?

I think this has a relationship with the "stating policy" thing, too. It's not just stating policy, but often some person aggressively stating some grievance or another, and one of the mods responding calmly with an explanation. So the mods might see it as "people love policy" or whatever, but I think it's also "people love a calm, clear response to an angry opening".
posted by neuromodulator at 10:05 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I think it's also 'people love a calm, clear response to an angry opening'."

This is so, so true. At least in my case. You're totally right about jessamyn and cortex. I don't know how many times I've read numerous provocative and insulting comments to which they subsequently respond with not only an even temper, but with generosity. Every time I see one of them do that, I get this feeling of admiration tinged with envy, as in "that's so totally exactly the kind of person I very much want to be but can't quite manage".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:09 AM on November 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


MStPT, I read it (the sentence you quoted) two ways. Part of me reads it as loaded with condescension - "there is a large population" could be delivered with an actual sneer, or it could not be intended that way. It's hard not to react based on the hostility I can read into it.

The other part of me thinks, "Sure, it's the same dumb part of me that would be thrilled if Alec Baldwin responded to something I tweeted. It's human nature." So then it becomes "stating an obvious thing" and then I'm all shrug who cares.

on preview: "that's so totally exactly the kind of person I very much want to be but can't quite manage"

i know, right?
posted by neuromodulator at 10:11 AM on November 27, 2011


MStPT, I read it (the sentence you quoted) two ways. Part of me reads it as loaded with condescension - "there is a large population" could be delivered with an actual sneer, or it could not be intended that way. It's hard not to react based on the hostility I can read into

Totally, but even if we're really generous about the tone of the statement, it remains a baseless accusation being thrown into the discussion as an obvious fact. Then you get people asking for cites or proof, and none is ever forthcoming. This muddies what could have been a perfectly healthy conversation about mod policy. So crunchland using the number of MeTa favorites jessamyn and cortex have - even though their number of comments and other factors were left out of the equation - was actually a good thing: this is a data point, this can be observed and addressed, with the real explanation hopefully worked out.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:17 AM on November 27, 2011


There may indeed be sycophants but favourites aren't the way to identify them. That's what was so idiotic {calling the action not the person}
posted by infini at 10:21 AM on November 27, 2011


Favorite this comment if you're sick of ants.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 10:24 AM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I love ants! And I always try to be nice to them. If you leave them cookies, they won't bite you.
posted by nangar at 10:36 AM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I used to participate on a board that I eventually left because fighting with mods gets very tiring, even for people who are not rockers. It wasn't worth it to spend my days in a foment of righteous indignation over an internet site, so I packed my e-bags and stalked off into the sunset. The site had an extreme type of mod adulation culture, and part of what wearied me in my brief crusade was the people that would ignore what I found to be the most MADDENING behavior from the mods to chirp merrily in agreement with their most MERETRICIOUS remarks excusing what was nothing less that a total abrogation of their duties to be impartial and just. I feel empathy for crunch just remembering how upset things would make me and how it must feel for him to be somewhere that, from his perspective, is doing the same sort of thing. You really have to love something to fight so hard to make it the thing you want it to be.

I've been here for years now, and I still fret over subtle changes, because I like it here and I always worry that any new change will be the thing that destroys metafilter. However, I've become calmer over the years because I have learned that the administration here does things that they think will be the best for the site, not what is most convenient or most beneficial to their cronies. In addition, while we do occasionally have comments directed at the mods that make me wince at their fawning character, there are two important differences that I feel are important in evaluating how those remarks affect a good site, like this one, as opposed to a bad site.

First, I've not seen that the little mod mash note comments make a difference in how the people who make those comments are treated. I've not seen a culture of reward for being closely acquainted with the mods in an off-site capacity on the site itself. It may be that being a friend of taz means you get bottles of retsina at christmas, but taz doesn't bring that type of thing to her work and is indeed scrupulous in bringing her sense of what is right for the site to the contributions of all participants. I chose taz because her newness has led to some sort of taz touchstone situation, but it could be said of all the mods. It is true that I don't participate largely in the community which surrounds metafilter in the larger context, such as mechat, mefimail, other social media and the real world, and it may very well be that there are subtle interactions from that space that impact how things are implemented here, but if so it is not made overt, which it absolutely would be if it were part of the expected performance of the site as I've seen in other places.

Second, the way people are treated when they perform what might be considered the anti-mash note style of mod interaction is critical. The very worst thing I've seen is a sort of weary resignation in response to what can be the most vicious personal and professional remarks. It's possible that the responses in private are very different, but from the perspective of the public portion of the site itself, dissenters are treated with astonishing forbearance as a matter of site policy. That is extraordinary for a site of this size with such a close correspondence between the moderating staff and the user base. The fact that people are still here after years of bitter complaining about the site policies is really very rare. On almost every other site in which I've participated over the years, dissenters are hustled out very quickly, either through open mod action or a campaign of aggressive heckling led by the moderators. I hasten to add that I've seen people complain about being persecuted here, but it is a very slow campaign if so. I've seen moderators on other sites follow people around the site moderating undesireables until they left in a matter of hours. I have never seen that done here, even to people who needed that treatment if no one else on earth did from a site disruption perspective.

So although I will agree with crunch that occasionally there are comments here that are toadying and fawning comments and we tend to enforce group consensus on some topics in a way I don't think is helpful, I disagree that this is an issue that comes from the moderators' behavior. The only way to correct those things, particularly some of the site orthodoxies which have formed over time as part of the ordinary process of group creation, could only be changed by extremely vigorous and unprecedented mod action that I'm certain no one would want.

Tl;dr : the mods aren't driving the thing that is being complained about at this tag-end of the thread.
posted by winna at 10:39 AM on November 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


I've not seen a culture of reward for being closely acquainted with the mods in an off-site capacity on the site itself.

Well, this one time we rescued jessamyn from being stuck at SFO, and gave her a couch to sleep on, and in the next podcast she name-checked one of our cats, so there's that!
posted by rtha at 11:19 AM on November 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Man, I pity you. This kind of worldview is so fucked. I'm glad I don't live on your planet. --- Said like a man who is in the top 10 of the people who most favorite Jessamyn and Cortex.
posted by crunchland at 11:21 AM on November 27, 2011


Gasp! The iniquity of it!

I must take it all back and form a guerilla resistance movement.
posted by winna at 11:21 AM on November 27, 2011


Err, that was in response to the cat name check thing.
posted by winna at 11:22 AM on November 27, 2011


Said like a man who is in the top 10 of the people who most favorite Jessamyn and Cortex.

You keep waving these favorites around as if they have any relevance. Do you honestly not see how petty and bitter this sounds? You're above any kind of criticism at all, then, because LOOK, LOOK AT THESE FAVORITES?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:30 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It seems like that top-ten-most-favoriting statistic would benefit from some ratios or context or something. Most of the people on the top of those lists are heavy site users and/or profligate favoriters (and the number one person makes a point of saying in their profile that they use favorites/contacts differently than their intended purpose). If someone has 18k favorites, it's no surprise that some of the most active users are repeatedly represented in them. It seems to me that some additional analysis would be required before any meaningful conclusions can be drawn from those statistics.

Of course, that's just what you'd expect somebody who has favorited sixty of jessamyn's comments to say, isn't it? I'm totally in on the conspiracy.
posted by box at 11:33 AM on November 27, 2011


So we've established that rtha often agrees with mod decisions and policy statements in metatalk, inasmuch as you can conclude anything from a raw number like that.

My world has been so rocked I'm going to have to get the bus home.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:33 AM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Looks like I've only favorited 16 of Jessamyn's comments, which doesn't even qualify me for the free travel mug, let alone the tote bag. I better step it up.
posted by Drastic at 11:35 AM on November 27, 2011


Marisa: you want cites or not? You asked for them, crunchland gave you a stat, and your response is insults and condescension.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:35 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, dude - may I call you dude? - I am not a man.

And if you could stop with the mindreading for a second, you might want to consider that I have reasons that have nothing to do with currying favor when it comes to favoriting comments from jessamyn and cortex. They include: when they make me laugh; when they say something really clearly that I hadn't quite grokked before; when I agree with them; when they are so beautifully diplomatic in their response to a not-at-all-diplomatic comment, because I admire their ability to be all patient and explain-y when I would be all "Fuck off. Banned."

These favorites I have given have not kept me from getting comments deleted. If you don't believe me, consider this permission to the mods to reproduce here the comments of mine they have deleted.
posted by rtha at 11:38 AM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Jessamyn uses a Greasemonkey script that makes her favorites invisible and deposits them in the stockroom of an abandoned Borders store in Livingston, NJ. She literally never sees them. TRY HARDER, SYCOPHANTS.
posted by mintcake! at 11:38 AM on November 27, 2011


On lack of preview:

crunchland's stat shows that I have favorited a shitton of comments from cortex and jessamyn. It does not, and cannot, show why. I have just explained why. You (general you, not stinkycheese you) can assume I'm lying or defensive or making shit up, and there's not really anything I can do about that. But crunchland's stat does not show what he insists it does.
posted by rtha at 11:39 AM on November 27, 2011


I didn't insist anything. I may have implied something. I could also suggest that your extreme defensiveness over a statistic implies something else.
posted by crunchland at 11:41 AM on November 27, 2011


Marisa: you want cites or not? You asked for them, crunchland gave you a stat, and your response is insults and condescension.

Oh come off it, this is disingenuous at best. I think you're well aware that just tossing up some random, irrelevant statistic is not offering evidence. What I asked for is evidence. The "stats" tossed up by crunchland have no relevance, although you'll notice I did say upthread that even using any sort of stats at all is a step forward. So spare me the charges of being insulting and condescending.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:43 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You implied that I am either lying about why I favorite their comments a lot, or I'm so stupid that I don't know I'm a boot-licker. Either way, you are being a jerk. I am not implying that. I am saying it. Do me a favor and do the same: say to my (digital) face what you mean.
posted by rtha at 11:44 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Raw numbers of favorites don't mean much in this context. There's a pretty wide spread of how often people hit that little + in general. For example, although rtha joined about a year after I did, she's handed out eleven thousand more favorites. I am quite sure that she's favorited Jessamyn and Cortex more, even though I am clearly the much more successful ass-kisser.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:44 AM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Reading this thread has raised my self-esteem wonderfully. Some of my contributions here may have been stupid or ill-considered, but I've never been tempted to count favorites in an attempt to prove that some people like other people better than me. Yes! I do have a life!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:49 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread is a marvel of cognitive dissonance.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:56 AM on November 27, 2011


This is a long comment, and, as your comment was sort of "hostile" to others, you might get some angry responses. I don't think you are a bad guy, or want you to be eaten by dragons... I just really, really disagree with your "implications", I hope you don't leave, and act like a victim of attacks by sycophants... I do not make this comment out of hostility to *You*, but, rather, out of disagreement with what you are *hinting*.

I strongly hope you don't take disagreement (and, based on the stridency, maybe some people will not be as moderate as the mods... some people might react to "brown noser" names with angry... being moderate, cool, level headed, contemplative is not easy) with your assertions as a rebuke of you personally, you are probably a really good person, having a bad day, or hard time, and I think things you post otherwise are thoughtful, and interesting.

(a comment I will post, instead of just favoriting a comment that says "no, seems to be just you". So as to be clear.)

Are you calling out Koeselitz too?

He not infrequently posts comments clearly in "disagreement" with either site policy, or a moderators decision, or comments... he just doesn't act like he is a "freedom fighter", and does so, so far as I can tell, respectfully.

Are you calling me out too, I think I am on that list too... are you following what I favorite? Do you really think you know why I favorited any given comment?

Fine, I will use words, and if they belie a hidden tyranny, you can label me something monstrous... but I have a problem with someone using "raw-favorites" as indications of malice.

I disagree with your suppositions, the coy intimations, and attacks on nameless people, I think you are wrong in your assertions, that there is no "there" there... even if we have a "CRISIS" of "too many people favoriting comments posted by moderators, there is 100% no evidence, or reasoning behind why that would matter.

Unless you are making some larger accusation, not against "brown nosers", and authority lovers, who cow, and worship authority, but rather, a coyly intimated accusation against the mods, wherin it is asserted, by what is not said, that they CARE who favorites a comment they made. And not only care, but reciprocate in some manner.

But your comments have been condescending to other users, who have any number of reasons for using the site, for using favorites...

I just don't think that "favorites" is an appropriate metric by which to determine the color of a persons skin on their nose.

I don't understand why this is problematized.

Do you think that people "shouldn't be allowed" to agree? I doubt you hold that position. So do you think that people are disingenously agreeing with the mods? Do people not mean it when they say good job?
I don't think you believe that many people are being "disingenuous"... those thousands of "favorites" are not likely "troll" favorites, I don't get your position. If you restated it without sideways swipes at un-named "brown-nosers"... I might understand what you mean.

Is it outside the realm of possibility that people, in large numbers, find what the mods do here, and the patience, and openness of their processes to be achievements, displays of moderation, and contemplative decision making?

At the end of the day, mods must "do", they may love to "think", but, as part of running a site... "doing", or "acting", actual action is part and parcel with that.

As it stands, I feel like you are mad that more people don't agree with what you believe... but since your comment contained not what you, yourself believe, but rather, what you believe others believe, and how what you believe they believe is "wrong", "brown-nosing".

Do you think people get treated differently, because they favorite a mod comment (that is a pretty serious accusation, and would probably need at least something "there", the "if you agree with a mod you are bad" vibe I get from your comments, and others seems like trash...

You accuse people of sniffing poop, if they favorite a position parallel to one that a moderator posts... if you cannot explain why people are bad for marking a favorite, and if you don't think that mods are turning around and giving people who favorite their comments access to metafilterGold... what is your issue?

What I see is that comments like yours, the "if you agree with them TYRANTS, you are bad"... makes is less likely that someone who agrees with the mods will speak up.

Leaving more and more of the "doomsday sayers" as the only ones speaking up.
posted by infinite intimation at 11:57 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread is a marvel of cognitive dissonance.

Now that's how you do condescending.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:06 PM on November 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I have to say that for me, personally, this "please supply evidence" line is not all that useful. I disagree with crunchland's point and his rhetorical tactics (seriously, the "I could also suggest" voice is lame), but I don't think we need hard evidence to talk about this. It's a way of dismissing his concerns, assuming he can't supply evidence, and if he could, what then? It just doesn't seem relevant to discussing whether we think there's a trend in group behaviour that might be problematic.

Do I think what he describes happens? Sure, a bit. Like I said above, I think it's human nature. See also restless_nomad's explanations. Do I think it's a problem? Noooo...that hasn't been established to me, in a pretty much "what winna said" type way. I think it's possible and worthwhile to talk about issues like these without hard evidence, and if we adopted that as an actual prerequisite for discussing things I think we would have a real problem.

That said, I do want to emphasize again that I don't think crunchland is onto something. The mods are pretty likeable, and people are attracted to the recognizable, established community members. Big deal.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:19 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have a love/hate relationship with TWoP. The discussion can be very good. But to participate there is to experience this constant fear of being warned, which everyone ends up channeling into, yes, a sycophancy and obsequiousness to the mods. I always end up getting annoyed at an inconsistent and often hypocritical application of the rules and get in trouble. It's one of only two places in twenty years on the Internet from which I've ever been banned. And not only once, but like three of four times.

Heh, me too. The final time I was banned at TWoP was over a side note I made in a comment about an episode of Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares in which I -- and this is a direct quote -- "used the incorrect tone" in suggesting that, contrary to a mod's claim, it is in fact possible to find decent pizza in Los Angeles.

posted by scody at 12:28 PM on November 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


it is in fact possible to find decent pizza in Los Angeles.

A few years back, I had a LA born co-worker, who admitted that until he came to NYC, he didn't know what pizza was, but then instructed me that I didn't know what Mexican food was. He was right, although with Queens being the melting pot that it is, that's starting to change.

Also, I just tried Balcones Brimstone whiskey. It's fucking amazing.
posted by jonmc at 1:02 PM on November 27, 2011


I just had some pizza from Gjelina for the first time the other day. I thought it was delicious, excellent crust especially.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:09 PM on November 27, 2011


I think it's possible and worthwhile to talk about issues like these without hard evidence

I agree that the demand for evidence can be a tactic, but still, evidence is, or ought to be, highly desired, since without it it is too easy to fool ourselves.

A major difficulty in the present case, I think, is that the right kind of evidence isn't statistical; to assess sycophancy we'd need analysis of the language and mood in individual comments and conversations. Developing such evidence is difficult and time-consuming, and would inevitably embarrass the subjects (no matter what the conclusions).
posted by stebulus at 1:14 PM on November 27, 2011


It's also something no one is going to confess to, as it's very unlikely anyone sees themselves subjectively as being a toady.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:18 PM on November 27, 2011


Things have taken a strange turn - I thought this thread was dedicated to mod abuse, not toady abuse; did I read the title wrong?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:23 PM on November 27, 2011


A better metric might be our email which usually runs about 50/50 "you suck" and "you rule"

Not a good metric at all. Ingratiating yourself to authority is as much about being seen to do it by others as it is about its effect on the authority.

crunchland, I think you're being seriously, seriously uncharitable here to your fellow community members,

MetaTalk is full of ass kissing. If you honestly don't see it, you probably have to re-examine things a little.

I have a solid working knowledge of what sycophancy looks like - I've been in this business a long time and have had flowers and baked goods mailed to my office, a gaming guild making a "goody bag" for me with the clear expectation of quid pro quo, people hanging on my every word in person, and, most amusingly, a whole thread full of people leaping to my defense when someone made a comment implying, in a sideways fashion, that I was gay. I don't get that here at all, and I don't see it much with my colleagues either. I think this is on average a really internet-literate crowd that has strong opinions about community management and moderation and is happy to express those opinions, whether positive or negative. It's nice to be appreciated, and frankly it's nice to get called on shit, too.

Heh :) Okay, so... I guess my point above is more about places where authority is not seen to be giving favour to others. Once it is seen to have benefit, all bets are off.


Anyway, the ass kissing around here is mostly aimed at mathowie, and the drop off to each new generation of mod is steep. There is also a big negative reaction to all new mods as they come along--it looked to me as if jessamyn went through a certain kind of hell early on. However, the negative reactions just aren't relevant--there must be a fallacy name for this--existence of negative reactions doesn't mean there is no ass kissing.
somebody is bound to contrast this with crunchland's point about favourites and mathowie's favourite count.. before you make that your argument, think about it a lot
posted by Chuckles at 1:24 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, if you don't like what the mods do around here, close your account and go someplace else. The internet is a large place, and there's no sense in getting all riled up about this one corner of it.

I don't always agree with individual decisions made by the mod team, but I appreciate what they do to keep this place being as excellent as it is. The times they've done something which I question, they always have been able to explain why they made the choice they did and how it fits in with the larger scope of MetaFilter at large.

I'd rather have moderation which doesn't fit completely within my narrow vision of What Is Right And Correct and have it working well nearly all the time than not having moderation at all. And I'm not about to volunteer to take on the task myself, because I don't have the kind of patience and thick skin the MeFi modding team seems to have.

Overall, I'm glad for what they do, and hope they continue to do it as they always have done.

If that makes me a sycophantic toady, I'm okay with that. If I didn't appreciate what they do, I'd close my account and find another playground.
posted by hippybear at 1:25 PM on November 27, 2011


MetaTalk is full of ass kissing.

Are there examples in this thread? Perhaps you'd be so good as to point a couple out — picking some by members you know to be thickskinned, if possible — so we can move past unsubstantiated general impressions and actually look at the nuts and bolts of interpretation and attribution-of-motive that are involved here.
posted by stebulus at 1:35 PM on November 27, 2011


Ass-kissing is a really subjective thing, I think. Can those who accuse others of ass-kissing claim pure objectivity? I don't think that's possible.

A statement like "I think the mods do a good job, even though I don't always agree with every decision they make," - is that ass-kissing, or is it just what it says on the tin? Can crunchland, or someone else who sees what they think is toadying, explain how they tell the difference?
posted by rtha at 1:36 PM on November 27, 2011


"MetaTalk is full of ass kissing. If you honestly don't see it, you probably have to re-examine things a little."

I wish I knew what you meant by this. Not the second part...I don't really care what you meant by that. The first part. How much is the amount which is "full of ass kissing"? Because that sounds like quite a bit to me. A lot. Like, say, it would have to at least be the majority of comments that are favorable to the mods. That's the generous interpretation of your claim.

A less generous interpretation would be that it would have to be the majority of all comments in MetaTalk that are ass-kissing to make it "full" of ass-kissing.

Either way, it seems to me that such a large preponderance of ass-kissing would be unmistakable—as you claim it would be—to a majority of the non-ass-kissing members. Unless there's only a tiny percentage of members who participate on MeTa who aren't ass-kissers, then it stands to reason that all those non-ass-kissers to whom the ass-kissing would necessarily be indisputable would then have posted comments here in this thread to refute the claims that the ass-kissing isn't obvious and indisputable.

Where are they? I'm counting about four or five of you.

Honestly, I'm being snarky because I think you should reconsider your claim about how obvious is your assertion. Maybe, you know, re-examine things a little.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:39 PM on November 27, 2011


Cruchland, I think you fail to grasp that praise is always one of the best, and often one of the only means the powerless have to influence the relatively powerful.

You praise them when they do something that even faintly resembles what you want, and you particularly tell them how happy you are they did a specific thing you want even though they didn't, really.

And gradually, whether they want to or don't, they tend to become more what you want them to be.

Nor no do I think this need be cynical on either side. Our unconsciouses are perfectly happy to accomplish such wonders for us, thank goodness.

Insult them, and they must withstand a perpetual temptation to just squish you, which our moderators resort to amazingly infrequently, actually.
posted by jamjam at 1:46 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


it's very unlikely anyone sees themselves subjectively as being a toady.

Yes. Now, for bonus points: identify a source of bias which makes it more likely for someone to hold the position that you hold.
posted by stebulus at 1:47 PM on November 27, 2011


I've not seen a culture of reward for being closely acquainted with the mods in an off-site capacity on the site itself.

Amusingly, this thread was posted by a good friend of mine, someone I had Thanksgiving with last year, a neighbor, someone who has met cortex and mathowie, and someone I'd consider a close personal friend. But he's got [or had] gripes with the site and it's his right to post them here. So the close-to-mods thing can do both ways.

I don't think there's zero ass-kissing, I just don't think there's a lot of it. I define ass-kissing as someone who is visibly and disingenuously sucking up for some larger purpose, not someone who compliments us just because they actually agree with something we're doing or saying. I have felt, sometimes, that people are trying to suck up to me in order to have me do something more strict against their enemies or something [the old "work the ref" approach], but that sort of thing doesn't usually last that long because it doesn't work.

So I guess the call for evidence is more that I'm curious who people think are ass kissing and what they think it gets them? I'm friends with a lot of people on this site. I'll get a free beer or two at meetups. I can say I'm having a shitty day and someone will send me a nice email. I think part of that is just being someone who people like, in a visible job, or doing a job that people think I do well, or something. So sure there are a few people whose manner is such that they're more "you guys are great!" than I'm personally comfortable with, but I don't think this translates into an environment that is hostile to people who aren't as thrilled with the mods [if they're being decent to us and everyone else but just don't agree with us] or favorable to people who are nicer to us. And so I don't need someone to prove it to me or anything because I don't think it can really be proven.

So we sort of stare across the internet at each other and shrug. And it becomes a weird thing because as soon as you start alleging that people are fawning and toadying you wind up with people saying "I'm not fawning, I just really like it here!" which tends to make people grumpy if they're not among that group of people.

they tend to become more what you want them to be.


I just don't know what you get out of this? Most of the time when we implement features and/or try to fix/alter things it's because people ask or because they're complaining, at about equal levels. I guess you could argue that maybe we're harder/easier on people's pet topics because we align ourselves with them because they're nice to us, but man that seems like a lot of work for very little gain.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:51 PM on November 27, 2011


Not everything can be proven beyand a reasonable doubt by raw data and the degree to which members here suck up to mods is one of them. As someone else mentioned, you would have to analyse the language used in thousands of comments and compare comments from the same users that reference mods with those that don't. Even then, you would have trouble working out what you were actually seeing because it's all so subjective anyway.

I think there is a fair bit of brown-nosing going on, particularly here in MeTa (which is understandable, being the most common place for users to interact with mods in their official capacity as opposed to being just another member). That's pretty much par for the course when you start interacting with other humans and there is any sort of power imbalance in place. Sometimes it will be because some people tend to give added respect to those in power because they have power, but mostly (in my opinion - I have no data, of course ;-)) it's simply that the mods here have more power than other users combined with the fact that they are generally well-respected members of the community. Add to this that they often make statements that become part of the organic beast that is site policy here and that lots of people use favourites as bookmarks and it seems to me to be pretty easy to conclude that yes, there is some brown-nosing going on, but nowhere near as much as raw numbers would lead you to believe.
posted by dg at 1:54 PM on November 27, 2011


MetaTalk is full of ass kissing. If you honestly don't see it, you probably have to re-examine things a little.

Metatalk is often full of fairly supportive comments about moderation, along with critical comments about same, as well as once-removed comments critical of supportive stuff or critical of critical stuff. So, people talk about how they feel about how this place works, whether to their satisfaction or not, and about how they feel about what other people are saying about that stuff. Sometimes it's pretty dry or removed, sometimes it's a little het up.

So maybe this is a definition of terms thing, because I don't read "being supportive of the mods" and "being critical of stuff critical of the mods" as ass-kissing in and of itself, anymore than I consider stuff that's critical of moderation here or critical of moderation-supportive comments to be by definition reflexive anti-authorianism. People have a pretty wide range of reactions and responses to how this place works and what goes on, a lot of it fairly supportive of the existing community dynamic and the work we do in that context and some of it not so much, and that's just pretty much normal human behavior in large groups.

Ass-kissing is something else. Disingenuous support to curry favor; someone lying about how they feel to try and get in good here; laying on the support in a weird or over-the-top or manufactured way: that's the sort of stuff that falls into that bucket for me. And part of why it seems like a weird general charge against mefites is that this is a community full of people who tend to be pretty deliberate about making themselves heard, positively or negatively, and who seem most of the time to just want to make sure they're understood rather than to play some weird you-scratch-my-back game.

Calling someone an ass-kisser, by my book, is basically calling them a liar, saying that they're putting some imagined payoff for flattering behavior above their basic sense of discursive integrity. It's not a shoe that seems like it fits folks around here very well, all else aside.

If "ass-kisser" just means "supportive", then the term is close to meaningless.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:55 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


crunchland, I can understand how some people's defense of the moderators could be seen as sycophantic, especially if you think that no normal, rational person could ever agree with site policy as it stands or like the mods as people, but are you claiming that the mods actually keep track of who favorites on their comments and hand out favors to people on that basis? Do you think that a certain number of favorites or enough sycophantic "I agree with this deletion" comments earns users the right to derail AskMe threads or post doubles on MetaFilter?

Do you think that that people who favorite comments made by a moderator or agree with a moderator's decision expect rewards from the moderator for doing so, and if so what rewards do you think we expect from favoriting them?
posted by nangar at 1:55 PM on November 27, 2011


Hey, if you don't like what the mods do around here, close your account and go someplace else. The internet is a large place, and there's no sense in getting all riled up about this one corner of it.

I don't think crunchland's beef is with the mod team as much as it is with what he perceives to be the rest of the members sucking up to the mods. I think he is right to the extent that a sort of a personality cult of the mods does exist - see all the "happy birthday mod" and "mod x did y" posts for instance. But I don't think it only comes down to one factor. Sure, some people might actually be trying to influence the mods with their "brownnosing". Partly, I think, it's just the way people tend to behave towards all sorts of authority figures. The fact that the mods have actual personalities only makes it easier. People feel like they know them, and you tend to act friendlier towards people you know, so it's quite natural for them to be friendly to the mods. But it's also quite natural that some people are wary of this, because it really gives off authoritarian vibes.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:56 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Hey, if you don't like what the mods do around here, close your account and go someplace else ...

Uhm, no. Not necessarily. Disagreeing with policy is one of the things MetaTalk is for.
posted by nangar at 2:02 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Look, just because I have all of the trading cards and action figures doesn't mean that I'm obsessed.

but god do I love the cortex one where you press the button and he eats his giant donut
posted by XMLicious at 2:03 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't understand what you win by being a mod "syncophant" around here. Do you get banned less often? Do you get a free ride when you tell people to fuck themselves? Or do you get invited to all the cool mod parties?

Jesus fuck.
posted by spitbull at 2:07 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


FUCK OFF EVERYONE *invokes mod protection*
posted by Think_Long at 2:22 PM on November 27, 2011


You know, if your response to criticism is to trawl someone's favorites and then say "BUT YOU FAVORITED SOMEONE A WHOLE BUNCH!" then I'd like to submit that you don't really have a good response. The idea of trying to ferret out exactly which members are Right Thinking Members by counting the number of times they've favorited comments mods is so ridiculous I can't believe that people are countenancing it.

If there were some sort of brown-nose brigade here, you would have to prove it by showing that there was a systemic pattern by particular users to distort facts in order to lick up to mods. Simply pointing out that someone has favorited someone else is not even remotely close to a proof of this.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 2:23 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aargh, that should be "comments by mods."
posted by Frobenius Twist at 2:25 PM on November 27, 2011


Favorite this comment if you're sick of ants.

so tempted to make an EO Wilson sockpuppet and THROW DOWN
posted by elizardbits at 2:27 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


What is this, a sockpuppet for ants?

*angrily flashes Blue Steel*
posted by villanelles at dawn at 2:36 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has everyone had a chance to complain/praise/argue/favorite? Two days should be long enough for a thread like this.
posted by Cranberry at 2:37 PM on November 27, 2011


nangar: "crunchland,... are you claiming that the mods actually keep track of who favourites on their comments and hand out favors to people on that basis? Do you think that a certain number of favourites or enough sycophantic "I agree with this deletion" comments earns users the right to derail AskMe threads or post doubles on MetaFilter? ..."

Not that he needs me to defend him, but he made no such claims. For behaviour to be considered brown-nosing or sycophantic, there doesn't need to be any reward for the behaviour.
posted by dg at 2:41 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


For behaviour to be considered brown-nosing or sycophantic, there doesn't need to be any reward for the behaviour.

Then how does one identify it? Is "I think that was a good deletion" brown-nosing? If two people in a thread say "I agree with the mods on this one," is one brown-nosing and the other not? How is that determined?
posted by rtha at 3:02 PM on November 27, 2011


For behaviour to be considered brown-nosing or sycophantic, there doesn't need to be any reward for the behaviour.


Yes there does. Else how can you tell the difference between that an sincere admiration?
posted by spitbull at 3:07 PM on November 27, 2011


I've never understood the phrase brown-nosing; if your nose is brown then it's not their ass you're kissing.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:08 PM on November 27, 2011


Hm, unless you're climbing down their back, I guess. I wonder how it ties in with riding their coattails.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:10 PM on November 27, 2011


That depends on your position, I guess. We could call people "taintkissers" if you prefer.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:10 PM on November 27, 2011


rtha: If two people in a thread say "I agree with the mods on this one," is one brown-nosing and the other not? How is that determined?

I dunno, but the one who doesn't spend ten comments trying to refute the idea that people here suck up to the mods, certainly seems less defensive about the matter.
posted by gman at 3:11 PM on November 27, 2011


Is that brown-nosing?

No, it taint.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:12 PM on November 27, 2011


I've never understood the phrase brown-nosing; if your nose is brown then it's not their ass you're kissing.

Mods are notoriously bad wipers.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:14 PM on November 27, 2011


spitbull: "For behaviour to be considered brown-nosing or sycophantic, there doesn't need to be any reward for the behaviour.

Yes there does. Else how can you tell the difference between that an sincere admiration?
"
Sycophantic behaviour differs from sincere admiration in that one is sincere (the one with 'sincere' in the description) and the other is feigned admiration with the intent of gaining favour or attention. The favour or attention doesn't need to be provided for the description to fit and, without any other information to go on, both look pretty much the same. I don't think it's accurate at all to define the difference between the two based on whether or not the action is rewarded. A large part of the reason why it's so hard to define brown-nosing is that, to do so, you need to know the motivation and that, in almost all cases, is impossible.
posted by dg at 3:18 PM on November 27, 2011


Whoa, niiiiiiiiice Minecraft thingie you made there Cortex, it's looking sweet, OMG, it's the best thing ever!

Now where's my $#@* favorites?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:22 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


A large part of the reason why it's so hard to define brown-nosing is that, to do so, you need to know the motivation and that, in almost all cases, is impossible.

This is my thinking as well, but obviously other people think differently. I'm trying to understand in what way. I will not stop asking for clarification just because it comes off (to some or all, I don't know) as defensive, because except for this comment of crunchland's, I wasn't feeling attacked or personally accused.
posted by rtha at 3:26 PM on November 27, 2011


rtha: I will not stop asking for clarification just because it comes off (to some or all, I don't know) as defensive, because except for this comment of crunchland's, I wasn't feeling attacked or personally accused.

What about now?
posted by gman at 3:36 PM on November 27, 2011


What about it?
posted by rtha at 3:37 PM on November 27, 2011


MetaSchism.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:39 PM on November 27, 2011


There's sort of a game theory thing here, where, yeah, we don't have perfect information and a model of behavior that assumes perfectly rational actors is going to fall down in practice.

A basic game theoretical model of brown-nosing would assume that someone will only kiss ass if they have an incentive, if there's an established payout. You engage in bullshit praise because the expected value of doing so is greater than the expected value of not doing so.

So looking starkly at the incentives that actually exist would be key to applying that model, and my feeling is that we've provided pretty much zero clear incentive for it since being full of praise doesn't get people deletion insurance and being even a hardcore, long-term grump doesn't get people banned. Short of the extreme negative end of behavior on the site, there's no functional benefit to being more on the supportive vs. critical side. I feel like this is probably pretty clear to anyone who spends time here, though maybe this is a point of disagreement in which case maybe people can elaborate.

But then that model breaks down if someone has a bad value estimation thing going on: someone might brown-nose because they expect a payout that is not rational to expect. Maybe someone who really doesn't pay any attention around here but thinks they've got our number would ramp up the support/praise/defense because they're under the mistaken impression that there's some sort of quid pro quo in it.

So in terms of actual behavior, the idea that someone might sometimes make that bad valuation and put it into practice is totally plausible. Individual people have all sorts of odd social wobbles along one axis or another, this is one of those. You get enough people together in a group and you're going to find all sort of odd little bits of behavior.

But, again, that doesn't sound to me like most mefites; if there's a large population that is actively failing to discern the lack of incentives for disingenuously sucking up and pursuing that path anyway out of some misguided attempt to leverage curried favor, I'm not clear on who they are or why in the absence of direct access to their state of mind it makes sense to assume that that hidden motivation exists.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:42 PM on November 27, 2011


I'm an Ironmouth sycophant.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:42 PM on November 27, 2011


Yeah, but you'll favorite anything with a pulse!
posted by Burhanistan at 3:43 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's your motivation for this attack on rtha, gman?
posted by nangar at 3:45 PM on November 27, 2011


Yeah, but you'll favorite anything with a pulse!

Hey, I don't discriminate on basis of pulse.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:47 PM on November 27, 2011


What about now?

Oh shit, me too. Awkwaaard.

Quick! Marisa and elizardbits, make more comments so I can favorite them and fix my stats.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:48 PM on November 27, 2011


As somebody who has posted explicit praise for Team Mod in this very thread, I'd like to make it clear that my admiration (a) is sincere (b) has been of no help at all for getting "favorites" changed to "bookmarks".
posted by flabdablet at 3:48 PM on November 27, 2011


LOLBUTTS

sry i panicked under the pressure
posted by elizardbits at 3:51 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh oh, there's a plague!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:51 PM on November 27, 2011


Oh shit, me too. Awkwaaard.

Yup, it's not a good metric. (And I think crunch has more of a point than some are willing to admit)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:52 PM on November 27, 2011


À Propos of whatever, over the holiday a yout shouted "Faggot!" at me while I walked down the street. It wasn't very threatening since he was wearing a Gilligan hat and leaning out of mini-van.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:52 PM on November 27, 2011


villanelles at dawn: Oh shit, me too. Awkwaaard.

That's a pretty piss poor example. a) you're fairly new here and haven't dished out all that many favourites, and b) the numbers for the users next on your list don't drop off a cliff.
posted by gman at 3:53 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I probably shouldn't have used rtha as an example. Her attacks on me were just the most vehement. I've tried several different users (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), and all of them have either moderator as their top favorites in Metatalk. It seems like every one I try... except this one.
posted by crunchland at 3:54 PM on November 27, 2011


And this one.
posted by crunchland at 3:56 PM on November 27, 2011


oh my god dude you're so special how do you survive under the weight of all that awesome


meanwhile the number one favourited-er across the only three subsites I use appears to be griphus. I AM SORRY I AM INADVERTENTLY STALKING YOU GRIPHUS.
posted by elizardbits at 3:56 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's a pretty piss poor example.

Favoriting your comment to make my stats richer in piss.

Seriouslier, I don't really think my numbers refute your claim, but I don't think favorites given to mods in meta are a useful indicator of anything other than that they just don't shut up in here.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:58 PM on November 27, 2011


Every time I see one of them do that, I get this feeling of admiration tinged with envy, as in "that's so totally exactly the kind of person I very much want to be but can't quite manage".

I have nothing against any of you, I promise, but surely this is the kind of thing crunchland, etc. are talking about? To my sensibilities, it's pretty shocking to express such effusive admiration for any living human being who hasn't taken at least one bullet for at least one very noble cause, and man, even then... But, this type of talk does seem to me to be more normal in America, so maybe it's not really as strange as it feels to me personally.

Also, I don't think sycophancy is necessarily insincere. In any case, the real problems with it are that it can, where there is corruption, lead to certain people receiving unfair advantages; it can stop problems from being acknowledged and therefore from being addressed; and it's icky. I think the first one is a red herring in this discussion - it's the middle one people seem to be actually concerned about.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:00 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's a lot of bullshit nonsense going on in the name of science here.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:01 PM on November 27, 2011


Okay. Well, since you've gone to the trouble to list me explicitly as a data point, let me tell you in so many words that I don't do brown-nosing; not to the mods; not to anybody. I do occasionally display sincere admiration for people whose skills I sincerely admire.

At this point, the crunchland brown-nosing metric is looking about as reliable as the Aaron Barr Anonymous metric, and I think you should probably just let it go.
posted by flabdablet at 4:01 PM on November 27, 2011


Holy hell, what did I start? I concede the point that there need not *be* a reward, but there does need to be a perception on the part of the syncophantic that there *might* be a reward.

There is also passive-aggressive syncophancy of course, where someone pretends to curry favor just to get under the goat of the object of their brown-nosing attention. Seen it a hundred times in academic culture, almost a canonical stance to take when coming to bury someone *and* to praise them.
posted by spitbull at 4:01 PM on November 27, 2011


Seeing people get "get my goat" wrong gets my goat.
posted by flabdablet at 4:04 PM on November 27, 2011


Crunchland's example number 4 is cortex. I mean, the whole thing is absurd anyway, but that seems more absurd.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:05 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Data doesn't lie!
posted by Burhanistan at 4:06 PM on November 27, 2011


I've noticed I've given more favorites to people who I have on my contacts list than people who I do not.

Maybe that is because I notice their comments more (or when they hit the 12 favorite threshold, get called to my attention on the activity sidebar), or maybe it is because I like to curry favor for when I plan to go on my giant fucking flameout when I take all you fuckers with me. Who knows. The raw numbers (and the continual digging into it), make it looks like you have a grudge and are grasping at straws to justify and legitimize it somehow.

And I checked, my top three favorites are cortex, jessamyn and rtha apparently. Note: All of them have also stayed at my house on occasion and played with my cats. Maybe it's a side effect of toxoplasmosis.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:06 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll concede that maybe ass kisser is a less apt choice of words than sychophant.

And with that I was about to leave this part of the conversation behind.. But my attention fell upon this gem:
Hey, if you don't like what the mods do around here, close your account and go someplace else.
Dude...


cortex, I don't agree with the terms of the game as you lay them out. As I said above, unduly positive comments are as much about positioning relative to other users as they are about currying favour from mods. And then there is jamjam's point.

Anyway, I'm not trying to say how horrible this all is, or whatever. It is what it is. I'm just trying to make sure we don't ignore the elephant in the room.
posted by Chuckles at 4:08 PM on November 27, 2011


Just wait until the quidnunc kid finally takes over. You might think he's kidding with all that vote quidnunc kid #1 business, but we'll see how much you're laughing when you're submitting to a weekly nose check. As quidnunc says, a brown nose is a still attached nose.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:08 PM on November 27, 2011


OMG mrzarquon has had had MODS at his HOUSE

let me kiss the hem of your garment, o blessed one

FOLLOW THE GOURD
posted by flabdablet at 4:10 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


oops. That just slipped out.



Carry on.
posted by flabdablet at 4:11 PM on November 27, 2011


I don't get it, if I'm brownnosing the mods, shouldn't I be doing it the main site and Ask and Music (especially for cortex, who is a musician)? Why just Metatalk comments and not their posts also? I'm a terrible brown noser, WTF Brandon?!

To put it more simply, just because you can show numbers doesn't mean there's a relationship between them and your hypothesis. You've already made up your mind and you're just finding concrete numbers to "prove" what you think, despite zero evidence or even logical thought.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:11 PM on November 27, 2011


I have proof of the evil mastermind at work here.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:14 PM on November 27, 2011


"To my sensibilities, it's pretty shocking to express such effusive admiration for any living human being who hasn't taken at least one bullet for at least one very noble cause, and man, even then... "

Jesus. It was admiration in a specific context. As in: the kind of person I'd like to be online. Which, not incidentally, is a big part of my life.

Is that equal to someone taking a bullet to save a child? Do I really need to answer that question?

I just don't understand this apparent inability for people to calibrate their comprehension of other people's words according to context.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:15 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get it, if I'm brownnosing the mods, shouldn't I be doing it the main site

Pastabagel?? This is how I find out? Oh, that's it. It's marriage councilling time.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:16 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crunchland's example number 4 is cortex.

Examining those entrails, it turns out that between the Dave Faris and crunchland accounts he's officially tied for second in my heart of hearts, so go figure.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:17 PM on November 27, 2011


Aw, shucks. I take it all back. Every word of it.
posted by crunchland at 4:21 PM on November 27, 2011


Reading those entrails makes me curious who self-favorites the most.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:21 PM on November 27, 2011


Also, my comments are the sixth most favorited by everyone on MeTaTalk( and ya'll thought Miko was so smart, hah!). Ya'll better start doing some serious brown nosing.

Pastabagel?? This is how I find out? Oh, that's it. It's marriage councilling time.
He's pasta and a bagel. You're some guy pretending to be chick that keeps stealing precious things, how did you think that was going to turn out? Would it kill you to put on the Voltron outfit, at least once?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:22 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reading those entrails makes me curious who self-favorites the most.

Good question.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:23 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reading those entrails makes me curious who self-favorites the most.

Self-favoriting is a perfectly natural outlet for when you want to favorite but there just aren't any viable partners around. Of course doing it too often will make it lose its appeal, but contrary to popular belief, it will not make you go blind or grow hair on the palms of your hands.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:25 PM on November 27, 2011


I do think it's kind of interesting how this site has transitioned, fairly gradually and seamlessly, from one that was known for 'self policing' (10 or so years ago) to one that is now lauded for the quality of its moderation. It's really quite remarkable that there wasn't more friction along the way.

On the issue of sycophancy, I do sometimes wonder why so many people feel they need to make a visible show of support for mod decisions and opinions. I guess it's a nice gesture, but it sort of reminds me of when my sister would chime in after mom had laid down the law. Somehow that never helped to defuse things.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:26 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've contacted myself, how do I tell my parents?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:26 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reading those entrails makes me curious who self-favorites the most.

Here's a four year old list. Rerunning it would be pretty trivial as infodump projects go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:29 PM on November 27, 2011


two or three cars parked under the stars, my comment was too bitchy. You clearly attempted to avoid giving offense. On the other hand, your whole point is a bit offensive, regardless of how much you try to qualify it with inoffensive language. Nevertheless, I'm not helping things by reacting so strongly to your comment. Also: see? That's what I was talking about. Exactly what I was talking about. Jessamyn or cortex would have never written that comment. They would have written a very reasonable and generous response to yours. I admire that in them. Is that so wrong? If it is, I don't want to be right.

Well, scratch that. I always want to be right.

posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:29 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems to me that self-policing must still be a fair part of what makes a site this size manageable at all with so few mods.

Skilled though they may be, I can't imagine they'd have much success if tasked with bringing civilized discourse to YouTube or 4chan.
posted by flabdablet at 4:31 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


A basic game theoretical model of brown-nosing would assume that someone will only kiss ass if they have an incentive, if there's an established payout. You engage in bullshit praise because the expected value of doing so is greater than the expected value of not doing so.

and

I concede the point that there need not *be* a reward, but there does need to be a perception on the part of the syncophantic that there *might* be a reward.

I can understand why you might think people only do things for rewards, but life really isn't like that, at least by any definition of reward I'm inferring here (favourites, banning protection, status, etc.). People may act in this way because doing so makes them feel good, full stop, with no expectation of any further development or outcome. People may act in this way for reasons none of here can imagine. That doesn't make the behaviour itself any less sycophantic in my eyes.

We can't know the intentions of other people, but we can know their actions (or, at Metafilter, their comments or, indeed, their favourites*) - based on that alone, this place has more than its fair share of IMO pretty sickening toady behaviour. YMMV. In any large group of people with leaders or standout figures, you're going to get some of that stuff, most certainly.

Personally, subjectively, I think there's a lot of it here. But I'm not going to name names or any of the other ridiculous, possibly hurtful, suggestions made here. That's my opinion, formed after a long time spent here almost every day. Metafilter, for me, is great despite the toadies.

*all I'm saying is it is data. Again, we can't know the intention of a favourite.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:33 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


"On the issue of sycophancy, I do sometimes wonder why so many people feel they need to make a visible show of support for mod decisions and opinions. I guess it's a nice gesture, but it sort of reminds me of when my sister would chime in after mom had laid down the law."

The difference is what you had just mentioned: MeFi still is self-policing. The mods do the smaller part of this. Do you think the mods are what keeps chatspeak and emoticons away, or encourages correct punctuation and spelling and the like? The mods just keep the worst stuff in check. Mostly, MeFi is still self-policing.

More to the point, the community still sees itself as primarily self-policing. So, with that in mind, the agreement with moderators' decisions looks a bit differently. It's an affirmation that the mods are reflecting the values of the community, not creating those values out of thin air. Even if your sister agreed with you mother, I doubt that she had a sense that she played the primary role in establishing and protecting the standards by which you had been judged.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:34 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Deleted Thread Blog:

This post was deleted for the following reason: Child porn.

This post was deleted for the following reason: Pony porn.

This post was deleted for the following reason: Beastiality.

This post was deleted for the following reason: Rick Astley SLYT Double.

This post was deleted for the following reason: Recreational Scientology outrage.

This post was deleted for the following reason: Not a good post for 4chan.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:35 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ivan, you've clearly never met my sister!
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:36 PM on November 27, 2011


Heh. Come to think of it, that describes my sister, too.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:37 PM on November 27, 2011


The difference is what you had just mentioned: MeFi still is self-policing. The mods do the smaller part of this. Do you think the mods are what keeps chatspeak and emoticons away, or encourages correct punctuation and spelling and the like? The mods just keep the worst stuff in check. Mostly, MeFi is still self-policing.

That and I don't think the mods carry the same emotional impact that our parents do. Speaking for myself, that is.

But also, often those verbal shows of support for a mod decision are brought up in the midst of a discussion of a mod decision, and discussions about mod decisions are usually started by someone disagreeing with it. So in the different voices that come in over a mod action, there'll be those who don't approve said action and those who do.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:39 PM on November 27, 2011


MeFi still is self-policing

Using handcuffs is not the same as policing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:41 PM on November 27, 2011


So in the different voices that come in over a mod action, there'll be those who don't approve said action and those who do.

And this thread is a great example of what that looks like.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:42 PM on November 27, 2011


And this thread is a great example of what that looks like.

Yeah, further up the thread; now the discussion seems to be more about what makes someone a boot-licking mod-toadie and what doesn't.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:45 PM on November 27, 2011


I don't know if I'm doing this right, but interesting results:

http://mefi.marksmith.org/favees/comments?faver_name=1000monkeys&site=mefi&start_date=&end_date=
posted by 1000monkeys at 4:48 PM on November 27, 2011


(hello boys)
posted by 1000monkeys at 4:48 PM on November 27, 2011


stinkycheese, we can get into a debate about human nature, the basics of evolutionary theory, or behavioral science if you'd like, but yes, I think people only do thing for "rewards."

Of course, there are many kinds of rewards. I think sincere admiration has its rewards too.

In other words, I often think "brown nosing" is in the eye of the beholder. Ewwww, disgusting image.
posted by spitbull at 4:50 PM on November 27, 2011


I don't even have any mods in my top hundred most favorited people on MetaTalk. If you went by my favorite count The Whelk is obviously the king of MetaTalk, which we all probably knew anyway.
posted by winna at 4:50 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The real problem here is that some people, even folks who get all jokey and ironic about it, take favorites WAY TO FUCKING SERIOUSLY.

If we could turn them in for cash rewards or extra credit or something, then they'd merit this much consideration.
posted by spitbull at 4:52 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shit, that's WAY *TOO* FUCKING SERIOUSLY.

Seriously.
posted by spitbull at 4:53 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


WAY TO FUCKING SERIOUSLY is the name of my Boris tribute band.
posted by Drastic at 4:54 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


A brown eye is in the nose of the beholder.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:55 PM on November 27, 2011


Tell you what, let's get it all out in the open. pb, I will give you 100 favorites over the coming year if you will please code up a little edit window for comments. jess, I'll toss 200 of my favorites your way if you will organize my bookmarks for me. the rest of you mods, if you want in on the action, make me an offer.
posted by spitbull at 4:55 PM on November 27, 2011


How many bookmarks do you have?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:57 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


two or three cars parked under the stars: "...it's pretty shocking to express such effusive admiration for any living human being who hasn't taken at least one bullet for at least one very noble cause, and man, even then... But, this type of talk does seem to me to be more normal in America, so maybe it's not really as strange as it feels to me personally.
It's my perception that some degree of hyperbole is pretty common from Americans in this regard so, although it sometimes seems a bit over-the-top to me, I pretty much ignore the tone in cases like this.

spitbull: "Holy hell, what did I start? I concede the point that there need not *be* a reward, but there does need to be a perception on the part of the syncophantic that there *might* be a reward."
Exactly - it doesn't matter whether there is any actual reward, it's about the perception that there might be one.

I think there's also a not-insignifcant number of members here who are perceived as being somewhat anti-social at times and there have been intimations that those people are rewarded by not being held accountable for their behaviour when others are called out for what appears to be lesser infractions. What's missing in that perception is (a) an understanding of the person's overall behaviour and (b) an understanding that negative stuff very often gets addressed behind the scenes. So, I think it's understandable to think that maybe some users are treated differently to others if you start off from that perspective and maybe there are some who think that by being nice to the mods they'll get the same preferential treatment. You don't need to hang around here for long to know that's not really true, but it's not hard to see where that perception could comes from, especially for members that don't hang out in MeTa where a lot of this stuff is discussed.
posted by dg at 4:57 PM on November 27, 2011


WAY TO FUCKING SERIOUSLY

Underrated sex ed book
posted by mrzarquon at 5:01 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Tell you what, let's get it all out in the open. pb, I will give you 100 favorites over the coming year if you will please code up a little edit window for comments.

I'll toss in 1000 for this, more if you up the daily favorite limit too.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:01 PM on November 27, 2011


I've tried several different users (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), and all of them have either moderator as their top favorites in Metatalk.

You're still quoting absolute numbers, despite having acknowledged upthread that cortex and jessamyn post roughly twice as many comments in MeTa as the most prolific nonmods.

To correct for prolificness, let's try favorites-per-comment. The infodumpster has lists of users with most comments and most comments favorited; there are 253 users on both lists. Here are the top ten of those 253 by favorites-per-comment:
y2karl          8.41
dg              6.64
delmoi          6.27
Bugbread        5.52
caddis          5.15
sgt.serenity    5.03
Ethereal Bligh  4.89
puke & cry      4.82
quonsar         4.56
wendell         4.07
cortex gets 0.85 favorites-per-comment, placing 173rd in this group; jessamyn gets 0.46, placing 237th.

You, crunchland, get 2.56 favorites-per-comment, placing 23rd.
posted by stebulus at 5:02 PM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


This will all become worrisome when people somehow drag BitCoin into the picture.
posted by winna at 5:02 PM on November 27, 2011


I'm not one to mindread others, but I'll tell you why I occasionally write comments supporting Team Mod decisions and/or praising Team Mod skills. It's because I have on occasion had personal experience of similar roles, and it's hard, and getting very little feedback other than carping and poorly-thought-through criticism makes it even harder.

The only longstanding disagreement I have with Team Mod is its persistent refusal to understand what a rod it's made for its own back by persistently refusing to re-label "Favorites" as "Bookmarks". Apart from that glaring error the team does excellent work, and I can see no good reason not to say so.

The idea that praise where praise is due might be "icky" strikes me as terribly sad, as does the idea that such praise is prima facie evidence of sycophancy. Neither of these positions fits well within my mental picture of MeFi as a community based mainly on generosity.
posted by flabdablet at 5:03 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is what we call *lobbying* the mods, right?

Never mind, Jessamyn. I hired an illegal immigrant who would do it for 10 favorites.
posted by spitbull at 5:03 PM on November 27, 2011


stinkycheese, we can get into a debate about human nature, the basics of evolutionary theory, or behavioral science if you'd like, but yes, I think people only do thing for "rewards."

I would not like to get into such a debate, no.

We're talking about people making comments and/or pressing a button on a website. Why do they make these comments? Why do they press this button? Like I said, ultimately we can't know that. All we can deal with is the fact of their having done these things.

If a given behaviour is annoying, some understanding of the rationale for the behaviour may be instructive, but it's unlikely to alter the fact that it's annoying.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:03 PM on November 27, 2011


mrzarquon: "WAY TO FUCKING SERIOUSLY

Underrated sex ed book
"

Good companion piece on the shelf where one files How to Good-bye Depression.
posted by Drastic at 5:04 PM on November 27, 2011


Tell you what, let's get it all out in the open. pb, I will give you 100 favourites over the coming year if you will please code up a little edit window for comments.
Even if he just codes it, but never implements it?

stebulus, I think you have read that list upside-down or something - there's no way that I could be #2 on the favourites-per-comment list.
posted by dg at 5:05 PM on November 27, 2011


Ivan, you weren't too bitchy. I understand why you were offended, I think - but I didn't mean to say that you were wrong to admire the mods as much as you do, or imply that you were just sucking up or something. I just find it hard to understand how people can honestly have absolutely no idea what crunchland is talking about (quite apart from the question of whether or not there are real problems with moderation on this site), because it does stop me in my tracks a bit to read some of the things I've read people say about the mods*, and certainly not just today, from you.

* Good things and bad, but when people are very rude I just assume they lost their temper. Shockingly nice things are harder for me to understand.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 5:05 PM on November 27, 2011


spitbull: If we could turn them in for cash rewards...

Then the mods would be part of the 1% and this would lead to a massive backlash against them here on Metafilter.
posted by gman at 5:05 PM on November 27, 2011


This will all become worrisome when people somehow drag BitCoin into the picture.

Metafilter favorites have much more real value.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:06 PM on November 27, 2011


Why do they press this button? Like I said, ultimately we can't know that.

Unless of course they tell us.
posted by flabdablet at 5:07 PM on November 27, 2011


If a given behaviour is annoying, some understanding of the rationale for the behaviour may be instructive, but it's unlikely to alter the fact that it's annoying.

I find the premise untenable. If someone saying something nice to a mod, or giving them a favorite, is your threshold for "annoying," you need to close the laptop and go for a walk. Not you personally, stinkycheese, of course. The problem in other words is not "what is the motivation for syncophancy," which I would would argue exists mostly at the very margins dg identifies above, but what is the motivation for finding other people's enthusiasm or generosity bothersome. The suspicion that someone is getting one over on you is the problem, you abstract person who thinks there is a problem with people brown-nosing mods on any scale in the community.

In fact, I would argue that dark, suspicious view of others' motivations is a lot more damaging to the community than the occasional effusions of the over-enthusiastic or insecure.
posted by spitbull at 5:09 PM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


stebulus, I think you have read that list upside-down or something

Hm. You might be right. I'll take a look.
posted by stebulus at 5:10 PM on November 27, 2011


I just find it hard to understand how people can honestly have absolutely no idea what crunchland is talking about

I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about. I would love to see an example, but would probably see it in a different light.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:11 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter favorites have much more real value.

Bitcoins are currently fetching US$2.35 each on TradeHill and US$2.49 at Mt.Gox.

I will happily systematically find all your comments on this site and favorite each one if you agree to pay me, say, US$2.50 each for doing so.
posted by flabdablet at 5:14 PM on November 27, 2011


I just find it hard to understand how people can honestly have absolutely no idea what crunchland is talking about

Because he's coming at this from his own particular perspective, which is shared by some, and not by others. You yourself acknowledge that "shockingly nice" things are hard for you to understand; I don't find it difficult. Neither is necessarily better or worse, but the viewpoints are very subjective and full of life-informed bias. I think that assuming people being nice have nefarious reasons for doing so is not a very helpful way to go around in life (or here, whichever), but it clearly works for some people. For some value of works.
posted by rtha at 5:20 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Favorite all my comments now, I agree to pay you one Bitcoin per comment in 10 years.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:21 PM on November 27, 2011


that dark, suspicious view of others' motivations

*pulls coat collar tighter around face and retreats to the shadows*
posted by stinkycheese at 5:21 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have three different types of favorites: 1. here's some important stuff I'm bookmarking for future reference, 2. holy crap this made me shout-laugh, and 3. I agree and you put it better than I could. If only there was a way for the people I favorite - and for the people who check the favorites I make - to tell what kind of favorite I've made. Maybe color coding? Or you could mouse-hover the favorite and get a balloon that says "Informative!" or "lawl" or "hell yeah"? Maybe we could have little dancing 50x50 gifs next to them that would make the distinctions?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:22 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about. I would love to see an example, but would probably see it in a different light.

I'll try!

*coughs*

"Once cannot indeed without offence, to the mods observe that they excel the rest of mankind in the least as well as the greatest endowments.

We may congratulate our mods not only upon high achievements, but likewise upon the happy perpetuation of their command, which by their glory may never be dimmed by the power of fortune: and when, to our great sorrow, their persons shall be so, that the Author and Disposer of all things may place them in that higher mansion of bliss and immortality which is prepared for good princes, lawgivers and heroes, when he in his due time removes them from the envy of mankind."

Steele brings the awesome, it's true.
posted by winna at 5:24 PM on November 27, 2011


In metatalk, I favorite people who say what I want to say but I'm too lazy to write the actual comment.
posted by gaspode at 5:24 PM on November 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


Shouldn't that favorites-per-comment number be adjusted for the age of the comment?
posted by gingerest at 5:26 PM on November 27, 2011


stebulus, I think you have read that list upside-down or something

Hrmg, yes. Sorry about that. This time for sure: top ten of those 253, by favorites-per-comment:
Greg Nog	4.55
adipocere	4.47
Rhaomi	        3.81
elizardbits	3.16
BitterOldPunk	3.03
Horace Rumpole	2.88
hermitosis	2.82
griphus	        2.82
bondcliff	2.74
ND¢	        2.66
cortex at 1.17, ranked #82 in this list; jessamyn at 2.17, ranked #18; crunchland at 0.39, ranked #232.

Maybe somebody else would like to run their own analysis to double-check, since apparently I can't be trusted with a text file.

On preview: Age of comment? On the theory that older comments have had more time to accumulate favorites?
posted by stebulus at 5:28 PM on November 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


NOBODY FAVORITE THE WRONG NUMBERS!

I'll never live it down.
posted by stebulus at 5:32 PM on November 27, 2011


Age of comment? On the theory that older comments have had more time to accumulate favorites?

On the theory that older comments (celebrated for their excellence) have had more time to ferment in the bottle, like the best French champagnes.
posted by scody at 5:34 PM on November 27, 2011


older comments have had more time to accumulate favorites?
Up to a point, yes - even older comments were made before favourites existed. It might be more accurate to calculate the ratio only including comments made after favourites were introducted.


NOBODY FAVORITE THE WRONG NUMBERS!

Favourite them? Fuck that, I printed them out and hung them on the wall!
posted by dg at 5:35 PM on November 27, 2011


Also, are you isolating just metatalk, or is this site wide?
posted by crunchland at 5:36 PM on November 27, 2011


I hired an illegal immigrant who would do it for 10 favorites.


about that green card application you promised me....
posted by infini at 5:36 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hwhat?! You promised you'd green card marry me!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:38 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Favourite them? Fuck that, I printed them out and hung them on the wall!

I don't often favorite, but when I do, I favorite on MeTa.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:38 PM on November 27, 2011


Metatalk only. Data from the links in my original erroneous comment.

When were favorites introduced?
posted by stebulus at 5:38 PM on November 27, 2011


stebulus: On preview: Age of comment? On the theory that older comments have had more time to accumulate favorites?

Only two of the users on your list signed up prior to favourites. That means that the data for users who've made a lot of comments before favourites were introduced is distorted.
posted by gman at 5:40 PM on November 27, 2011


Favourites were introduced 11 May 2006. You'd think after all this time, they'd learn how to spell it correctly.
posted by dg at 5:46 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


... and it took 1:33 for the favourite/bookmark discussion to start.
posted by dg at 5:50 PM on November 27, 2011


In Canada, we can't spell favourite without u.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:51 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hwhat?! You promised you'd green card marry me!

You just want my brown nose don't you?
posted by infini at 5:55 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Age of comment? On the theory that older comments have had more time to accumulate favorites?
Yes, there's probably an initial peak in favorites when people first see the comment, but then it will continue to accrue favorites slowly but steadily over years, with occasional local peaks if there's a cross-reference in another thread. And obviously there needs to be a correction for that pre- versus post-favorites introduction, plus there needs to be some consideration of instantaneous versus average favoriting rate and the contribution of outliers and I don't get out very much plus I'm not the one coding any of this.

Yeah, your index is probably adequately informative as it stands.
posted by gingerest at 6:46 PM on November 27, 2011


Ok, so this time I went to the Infodump directly, using the Sat Nov 26 02:10:01 2011 files. I considered MeTa comments only, and only comments on or after 2006-05-11. The highest values of favorites-per-comment are by people who have made very few comments. (For example, here is the single MeTa comment of the record holder, who earns 130 favorites per comment.)

For comparison with my earlier numbers, I just eliminated users who had made fewer than 100 comments to MeTa. That left 1074 users, with cortex ranked #275 with 1.34 favs/com and jessamyn ranked #78 with 2.40. (Their favs/com went up from the previous, as you'd expect, because I've omitted comments made before favorites were introduced; but they didn't go up much.) The top ten in this group have favs/com ratios from 8 down to 4 or so.

But I think this graph gives a more comprehensive view of the data. I'll refrain from interpreting.
posted by stebulus at 6:49 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Haha, our mods would totally delete this.
posted by beschizza at 6:53 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh. Vive la différence, Rob.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:56 PM on November 27, 2011


Have you taken sockpuppetry in MeTa into consideration for favourites by "those who never commented since or again" category?
posted by infini at 6:56 PM on November 27, 2011


Actually, this graph is better still, since it includes all the data (otherwise it's the same).

I have not taken sockpuppets into account. I don't see any way to do so. Likewise with Brand New Dayers.
posted by stebulus at 7:01 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, looking at all these infodump lists, unless I'm somehow consistently missing my own username when scanning them, it would appear that either A) I am not included in the infodump, or B) I comment and favorite around here a lot less than I think I do. Weird.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:12 PM on November 27, 2011


Actually, I just found myself in one of the lists. Nevermind.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:13 PM on November 27, 2011


I don't understand how a rank of #275 and #78 translates into that graph - wouldn't ranks 1 and 2 be out there? (feeling dumb and fuzzy if its an obvious answer)
posted by infini at 7:16 PM on November 27, 2011


Y'all? Y'all! This is really stupid. For real. Some of you are going to be embarrassed reading your comments in this thread later, if you have a lick of sense.
posted by kamikazegopher at 7:17 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


How do the lists look if you treat each person's "favorite" as a fraction of one whole favorite? That is, right now I've marked 1340 favorites, so each person gets 1/1340th of a whole favorite from me.
posted by ctmf at 7:22 PM on November 27, 2011


What if a favorite scores a number of points = 2 - ( favoriter's user number / highest active user number ) ? Who has the most points then, huh?
posted by ctmf at 7:40 PM on November 27, 2011


Who's "faved for the cycle" the most? (Got a green, blue, and grey favorite on the same day)
posted by ctmf at 7:45 PM on November 27, 2011


I once had 10 inches in Vermont ...

Shit. Kinda late with that joke.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:53 PM on November 27, 2011


Don't worry, you'll still get lots of favourites!
posted by stinkycheese at 8:01 PM on November 27, 2011


Ten inches waits for no one, you gotta plow that as soon as you see it.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:03 PM on November 27, 2011


Just don't leave tracks behind
posted by infini at 8:10 PM on November 27, 2011


Question for you - if you strongly disagreed with a comment that a mod posted, would you call them an idiot?

Two, then.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:12 PM on November 27, 2011


39 minutes until Monday, EST
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:22 PM on November 27, 2011


Isn't it interesting how it was pretty much agreed in a bunch of recent workplace AskMe threads that being micromanaged and/or nitpicked by customers, colleagues or bosses is exhausting, soul-sucking, counter-productive, and possibly grounds for some version of "take this job and shove it?" Huh.
posted by desuetude at 8:35 PM on November 27, 2011


What if, just as an experiment, deletion-signing goes away for a period of time (say, a month?) to see if there's a general decrease in these WHY WAS THIS DELETED posts and/or messages to the mods? Or what if the name of the mod who deletes the post is somehow only visible to the person whose post was deleted?

Ooh, hey, instead, maybe the experiment should be a little off-site Guess-The-Mod quiz drawn from random deleted posts with their respective deletion reasons, with dates and mod names removed.

This leaves the actual site alone, as we know that it works just fine. Bonus: it would be amusing even to those who don't need a swift kick in the confirmation bias.

cortex, I'll favorite 10 of your lamest comments if you make this happen.
posted by desuetude at 8:38 PM on November 27, 2011


Isn't it interesting how it was pretty much agreed in a bunch of recent workplace AskMe threads that being micromanaged and/or nitpicked by customers, colleagues or bosses is exhausting, soul-sucking, counter-productive, and possibly grounds for some version of "take this job and shove it?" Huh.

But bootlickerology is science, dammit!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:44 PM on November 27, 2011


Isn't it interesting how it was pretty much agreed in a bunch of recent workplace AskMe threads that being micromanaged and/or nitpicked by customers, colleagues or bosses is exhausting, soul-sucking, counter-productive, and possibly grounds for some version of "take this job and shove it?" Huh.

This would probably work better if you said "intriguing" rather than "interesting".
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:51 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fart.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 PM on November 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


I don't understand how a rank of #275 and #78 translates into that graph

Well, they don't really.

What I could do is augment the graph with lines showing where you'd be if you have a certain ratio of favorites to comments. Let's see... ok, try this.

But maybe this will be easier to understand: a histogram of users by favorites-per-comment, omitting the 3000 or so who commented on MeTa but have no favorites to show for it, and about 90 users who have more than 10 favorites per comment. (The colors just indicate in which bin jessamyn, cortex, mathowie belong, not that they are somehow responsible for the whole bar.)

Also, the ranks I reported above are not very meaningful, because of the arbitrariness of my cut-off. (You can see in the graphs that there's no non-arbitrary place to cut.)

wouldn't ranks 1 and 2 be out there?

jessamyn and cortex are way out there only because they have the most comments and most favorites. But the point of the exercise is to understand if they get meaningfully more favorites per comment than others.
posted by stebulus at 9:12 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Neat stuff, stebulus. Pretty much looks how I'd have guessed—larger differentials between comments and favorites become less and less likely as you move into larger volume of comments.

cortex, I'll favorite 10 of your lamest comments if you make this happen.

It'd probably be pretty easy to throw together a blind taste-test deletion reason author quiz from the infodump's postdata files and a teensy bit of post-processing, but I'm not sure I'll get around to it personally.

But far more broadly but in the same spirit, there's the guess-the-mefite quiz, Says Who?, that I put together a while back.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:22 PM on November 27, 2011


But the point of the exercise is to understand if they get meaningfully more favorites per comment than others.

There seem to be a lot more bars in front of those coloured blue lines indicating the mods - so my interpretation of the histogram is that while they're certainly in the top ten or 15, if each bar of the histogram implies one username, they are not outstanding in this regard.

I bet by this metric The Whelk gets his ass kissed a lot more on the grey
posted by infini at 9:26 PM on November 27, 2011


(if he wouldn't fart, that is)
posted by infini at 9:27 PM on November 27, 2011


larger differentials between comments and favorites become less and less likely as you move into larger volume of comments.

That is how it looks on the scatterplots, but the log scales might be making it look more convincing than it should be. For example, you and jessamyn have fairly different ratios, both in simple numerical terms and in terms of population position, as shown in the histogram — but the difference between you seems negligible in that log-log scatterplot.

if each bar of the histogram implies one username

It doesn't. The x-axis in the histogram is favorites-per-comment; the height of the column says how many users there are with that ratio.

I bet by this metric The Whelk gets his ass kissed a lot more on the grey

The Whelk gets about 1.1 favorites per comment on the grey, if my data processing is correct this time. May his farts strike me down if I err!
posted by stebulus at 9:30 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It doesn't. The x-axis in the histogram is favorites-per-comment; the height of the column says how many users there are with that ratio.

Ah! *enlightenment* ok. now I understand
posted by infini at 9:33 PM on November 27, 2011


That is how it looks on the scatterplots, but the log scales might be making it look more convincing than it should be.

Maybe in terms of raw numbers, but unless I'm misunderstanding something it seems like as a description of a narrowing in the spread of actual ratios of one to the other, the scatter is pretty honest, log scaling and all—there's a lot more volatility at the hundred-ish comment/fave range than at the thousand-ish, and so to again at the ten-thousand-ish.

But I suppose that could also just be an issue of fairly even distribution probabilities expressed for smaller total data points at the higher values.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:36 PM on November 27, 2011


It'd probably be pretty easy to throw together a blind taste-test deletion reason author quiz from the infodump's postdata files and a teensy bit of post-processing, but I'm not sure I'll get around to it personally.

Waah! I feel so devalued!
posted by desuetude at 10:19 PM on November 27, 2011


cortex: "But far more broadly but in the same spirit, there's the guess-the-mefite quiz, Says Who?, that I put together a while back."

Neat. I don't know how many questions it goes for, but I stopped at 7/14, figuring that 50% is a pass. A lot of the ones I got wrong were where I went against my first judgement and over-analysed the writing.
posted by dg at 10:23 PM on November 27, 2011


How do the lists look if you treat each person's "favorite" as a fraction of one whole favorite?

Sorry, I missed this before. I can certainly bang that out, but I'm not sure whether it sheds light on sycophancy. A sycophant would repeatedly agree with their, erm, target, right? If we discount their favorites as you suggest, I think we'd reduce their visibility in the data.

Also, I guess my feeling is that the question needs a bit of discussion now, before further data crunching. Let me summarize: crunchland proposed that there is sycophancy in MeTa, and gave as evidence the fact that cortex and jessamyn get many more favorites than others on MeTa; I and others wondered whether they just get more favorites because they make more comments. Do the graphs resolve this question? Maybe someone who alleges sycophancy could comment.

could also just be an issue of fairly even distribution probabilities expressed for smaller total data points at the higher values.

Good point. I don't know enough statistics to evaluate that, but my gut feeling is that if it's an artifact of the smaller sample, the distribution in that area should be crazier (have more outliers, be less balanced, not have a single coherent mode, that kind of thing).
posted by stebulus at 10:38 PM on November 27, 2011


should be crazier

I take it back. It actually looks suitably crazy in slices by lines of the form y=-x+c up in the 1000 to 10000 range.
posted by stebulus at 10:40 PM on November 27, 2011


A sycophant would repeatedly agree with their, erm, target, right? If we discount their favorites as you suggest, I think we'd reduce their visibility in the data.

Well, actually, that wasn't a real question, just a lame joke. But now that I think about it... would a sycophant favorite a mod more often as a fraction of their total favoriting than a non-sycophant? If so, then that should make the gap between the mods' "scores" and everyone else's even bigger.

Maybe that should be the measure of sycophancy. Fraction of favorites that goes to the mods. Alternatively, we could take a group of pro-mod and anti-mod MeTa comments, and score how the potential sycophant's favoriting lines up. # of favorites for the pro-mod comments / # of favorites for the anti-mod comments = BNF.

/forgot how to make the hamburger symbol, but it sure would be handy about now.
posted by ctmf at 11:02 PM on November 27, 2011


Anyway, I'm not trying to say how horrible this all is, or whatever. It is what it is. I'm just trying to make sure we don't ignore the elephant in the room.

Okay, there's your elephant on the sofa fumbling with the remote. Now what? Do you have any larger point to make? The consensus in this thread holds that MeFi suck-uppery is its own reward -- so what's it to you? Or anyone?
posted by dogrose at 11:26 PM on November 27, 2011


> Do you have any larger point to make?

People are enjoying something and they should be cut down to size because enjoying things is bad.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:29 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I was thinking about fraction of favorites that go to a mod. But how to distinguish between genuine like and sycophancy?

Maybe with the newer mods we could compare favorites-per-comment before and after elevation to modhood. But at best this would isolate the effect (on favorites) of being a mod, without telling us why that effect exists. There are plenty of mechanisms suggested upthread (people bookmarking policy statements, etc). The real difficulty is distinguishing between mechanisms.

Lame jokes will treated as serious statements. Nonlame jokes will be randomly subject to such treatment as well. You have been warned.
posted by stebulus at 11:33 PM on November 27, 2011


Elevation to modhood.


*time to go do some work instead*
posted by infini at 11:42 PM on November 27, 2011


Bootlicker? :( I thought I was going to get bootliquor. This job suddenly became a lot less fun.

But seriously, I do love the number/stat nerdgeekery that evolves out of questions of site/user behavior. Boot liquor for all!
posted by taz (staff) at 11:43 PM on November 27, 2011


Even with yeasty toe cheese, you're not going to get much more than prison wine in those boots.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:47 PM on November 27, 2011


Boot liquor for all!

Oh no. If you give it to everybody we're just going to fight over it, like when pirates have a falling out about how to split up their treasure. Whatchacallit, a loot bicker.
posted by stebulus at 11:53 PM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Good companion piece on the shelf where one files How to Good-bye Depression."

I actually own that book. Buying it was really an insufferable attempt at hipster irony, I confess.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:27 AM on November 28, 2011


tsk you're all thinking of a bootlegger
posted by infini at 12:28 AM on November 28, 2011


Boot liquor for all!

Still a whole lot better than sandal beer. And easier to make.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:29 AM on November 28, 2011


tsk you're all thinking of a bootlegger

Yup. Moonshiner.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:22 AM on November 28, 2011


Simple question for one of our resident data wonks: what's the longest thread that has ever happened that the original poster didn't comment in?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:17 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


So is boot liquor better or worse than arse liquor?
posted by dg at 5:31 AM on November 28, 2011


Arse the experts!

(I believe crunchland has a list of them...)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:38 AM on November 28, 2011


Neat. I don't know how many questions it goes for, but I stopped at 7/14, figuring that 50% is a pass.

The Says Who? game goes for INFINITY. Because it samples from the comment databases with replacement. What that means is that practically speaking you will get sick of it long before you become statistically likely to see a comment twice (about 8,000,000 comments across the blue, green and grey at the moment, so sqrt(8M) = ~2828 questions before a repeat on average) and way, way more than that before you'd probably get to the point of recognizing repeats.

It's pulling live from the db, too, so the sample is always growing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:10 AM on November 28, 2011


But far more broadly but in the same spirit, there's the guess-the-mefite quiz, Says Who?, that I put together a while back.

Another dumb question -- does "it" know I'm logged in, and thus I won't get my own quotes, or be amongst the wrong answers? I haven't seen me come up yet, despite hitting it about 50 times, last night. (batting around .300 so far - just above random luck)
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:48 AM on November 28, 2011


A helpful guide for those so inspired: Beginner's Guide to Asskissing [Warning: Very sexy words. No NSFW images, though.]
posted by desuetude at 9:37 AM on November 28, 2011


It doesn't adjust the questions per user, no. So you can in theory end up seeing your own comment. However, even the folks who have commented the most in the history of the site still represent a wee fraction of the total comments over time, so not really seeing your own comments is a practical result of the numbers involved.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:37 AM on November 28, 2011


I tossed together a quick and dirty quiz from the infodump.

It pulls from a post-processed list of the 5090 deletions that have attributions attached to them in a way that I could grab without any effort.
posted by frimble at 10:17 AM on November 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


this is on a site that is totally some cheesy fucko linkbait SEO tarpit, no thanks

Hey that was me! I am enjoying this quiz.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:21 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey that was me!

Yeah, but you were quoting me from an email! It's a trick question!

I am enjoying this quiz.

Me too. Thanks, frimble.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:28 PM on November 28, 2011


Instead of bookmarks/favorites, let's call 'em "blue points" and "grey points" and so on.

I know, I know, I'm not helping, but what do you want for someone whose comment-to-favorite ratio across all sites is .7ish?
posted by davejay at 12:57 PM on November 28, 2011


or even better, "blue pants" and "grey pants" and whatnot.

pants
posted by davejay at 12:58 PM on November 28, 2011


frimble, you rock.
posted by rjs at 1:02 PM on November 28, 2011


frimble, your game is flawed: there is no way to choose "Meatbomb"
posted by not_on_display at 1:14 PM on November 28, 2011


there is no way to choose "Meatbomb"

Sadly, his deletions are unattributed. I won't speculate on why, though.
posted by frimble at 1:41 PM on November 28, 2011


Who the hell would choose Meatbomb?! That crap gets into your pores, clogs you up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:47 PM on November 28, 2011


Is that because of the astral ectoplasm?

Anyway, the astral mod stuff is kind of played out.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:33 PM on November 28, 2011


Played out, yes, but not half as annoying as that 'rick.' shit appearing all over the site these days.
posted by gman at 2:42 PM on November 28, 2011


RICK
posted by Brockles at 2:52 PM on November 28, 2011


DICK
posted by gman at 2:53 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


You mean, that, right?

YOU HAVE NO SOUL, gman. None.
posted by Brockles at 2:53 PM on November 28, 2011


Oh, Rick is som dopey shit, alright.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:56 PM on November 28, 2011


Gah! Who ate my E?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:02 PM on November 28, 2011


The number of times I've heard that at 4am on a Saturday...
posted by gman at 3:03 PM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


gman's soul was made in China.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:09 PM on November 28, 2011


gman needs a hug.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:58 PM on November 28, 2011


Everyone needs a "porcupine eating corn on the cob"
posted by not_on_display at 6:06 PM on November 28, 2011


Up the bum?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:09 PM on November 28, 2011


Porcupine eating corn on the cob don't give a shit!
posted by argonauta at 6:09 PM on November 28, 2011


The man don't give a fuck.
posted by daniel_charms at 11:48 PM on November 28, 2011


I tossed together a quick and dirty quiz from the infodump.

Just for fun I picked cortex seven times since there are seven options.
All tests should offer cortex as an answer.

You guessed: cortex. Correct
You have been right 5 times in 7 attempts, 71.43% accuracy.

posted by Sailormom at 5:03 AM on November 29, 2011


So if Cortex is commenting 71.43% of the time, then is he kissing his own ass by getting a statistically significant number of favourites?
posted by infini at 6:10 AM on November 29, 2011


Yes. Cortex can actually kiss his own ass. Tangentially, he hardly ever left his bedroom as a teenager.
posted by crunchland at 6:36 AM on November 29, 2011


Yes. Cortex can actually kiss his own ass. Tangentially, he hardly ever left his bedroom as a teenager.

With comments like that, I'm starting to think that crunchland's account has been hacked by an actual teenager.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:39 AM on November 29, 2011


Teen age? vat is das teen age?

*attempts to clear dusty cobwebs of memory*
posted by infini at 6:44 AM on November 29, 2011


Teen age? vat is das teen age?

That was when the drugs were fun.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:54 AM on November 29, 2011


Ah back when the night was young at 3am and nothing stayed stuck to my hips?

*Shoves cobwebs back over*
posted by infini at 7:15 AM on November 29, 2011


Teen age? vat is das teen age?

Teen, n.: Moving target. A group of people which keeps getting worse as generations go on.
posted by daniel_charms at 8:20 AM on November 29, 2011


Now that we're talking about cortex's ass, I would like to link to a cartoon from The New Yorker a couple of weeks back that shows what would happen if cortex ever needed to get a normal job again.

And here is that cartoon.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:54 AM on November 29, 2011


"...Withers..." Heh.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:59 AM on November 29, 2011


I particularly like how the boss' desk only has a phone, lamp, pen holder and some papers. The New Yorker sure captures the modern corporate office in all its glory.

The description also says he is "naked from the waist down", so those are some bitchin' sock/shoe tats he's got.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:27 AM on November 29, 2011


Hmmm, in revisiting this thread, I see I was sycophanitically prescient. All I can say is Brandon, Miko, if my sycophancy is on target, you both are mods of the future.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:56 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cortex owes me.... make Ubu the other side of the time zone mod
posted by infini at 9:14 PM on November 29, 2011


stebulus: "This time for sure: top ten of those 253, by favorites-per-comment:

Greg Nog 4.55
adipocere 4.47
Rhaomi 3.81
"

At first I was all like "haha, whut", but it turns out I only have ~500 MetaTalk comments (a fraction of the more prolific users, for whom the law of diminishing returns makes it harder to be an outlier) and the average favorite count is skewed by a number of highly-favorited comments, which are very hit-and-miss in terms of relative worth -- from awesome comment round-ups and cogent discourses on the favorites system to Muppet Mathowie and, uh, a toothbrush. A good example of why you can't easily judge people at a glance by favorite counts, or even by complicated ratios and rankings pulled out of their favorite counts.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:49 AM on November 30, 2011


Tell Me No Lies: what's the longest thread that has ever happened that the original poster didn't comment in?

I assume you mean on MetaTalk. Here are the ten longest such, up to the Nov 26 infodump (in particular, excluding this thread), if my crunching is crunchy today. In some of these, the number of comments listed in the infodump is a little higher than the number of comments stated in the thread. Deleted comments, maybe?

Speaking of deleted comments, if they don't appear in the commentdata files of the infodump, then the above list could be wrong, if the original poster commented but their comments were deleted.
posted by stebulus at 9:16 AM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving

Two years almost to the day...
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:24 AM on November 30, 2011


Two years almost to the day...

Maybe we should establish an annual observance of some kind. But I guess not everybody would want to participate...
posted by stebulus at 3:26 PM on November 30, 2011


Any data cruncher want to figure out how many users there are by country? Or is this someplace already?
posted by shothotbot at 5:28 PM on November 30, 2011


Better do a roll call then. Americans, please favorite this comment; non-Americans currently living in the United States, please flag it as fantastic.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:52 PM on November 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Be warned -- this year, I'm celebrating the Chinese New Year by the Julian calendar. Don't harsh my buzz with your dumb ball drop!
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:39 PM on November 30, 2011


I don't know... this year alone I've worked on three continents... which do I flag?
posted by infini at 7:30 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can't claim us, we live here!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:59 PM on November 30, 2011


Tell Me No Lies: what's the longest thread that has ever happened that the original poster didn't comment in?

I assume you mean on MetaTalk. Here are the ten longest such....


Thanks!

(just FYI you are correct that deleted comments are not in the comment data files)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:47 PM on December 6, 2011


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