Bad deletion. December 27, 2011 5:35 PM   Subscribe

I think this was a bad deletion.

A) From what I can tell, it's not a viral ad, the guy has a bunch of videos up on youtube.
B) Even if it was a viral ad, plenty of viral ads have been posted on metafilter in the past.
C) If people shit in the thread, the problem is with the people shitting in the thread, not the thread.
D) It's not a double, since the other one was deleted at poster's request.
posted by empath to Etiquette/Policy at 5:35 PM (255 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I was pretty reluctant to delete it the first time, although it was getting flagged to hell, and was sort of annoyed to be presented with the debate a second time, but... it was getting flagged to hell. So... guess this one is a no-win for me, eh?
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:37 PM on December 27, 2011


No, it's cool with me, r_n.
posted by Edogy at 5:49 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I may be a slightly biased source, but I was not thrilled with your deletion.

You don't have to delete something just because it is being flagged.

I agree with the points that empath made in this metatalk, especially B, as people seem to be under the impression that there is, a priori, something wrong with posting a viral ad, and I did not think that was the case (but would welcome any correction on that matter), not that I have any reason to think the video actually is a viral ad).
posted by andoatnp at 5:54 PM on December 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't know what is wrong exactly, with viral ads.
Nearly every single one of these, for instance, is also a viral ad, yet those are pefectly OK.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:55 PM on December 27, 2011


Even if it's not a viral ad, it's so like one that it might as well be. I saw the first one and my instinct was to flag it as soon as it appear on the screen. Unfortunately it's also predictable that people could be unhappy with its deletion because they had a positive emotional response to it. Not a big fan of ads though. I'm probably overly sensitive.
posted by Edogy at 5:56 PM on December 27, 2011


Again, being a viral ad is not a valid reason for deletion, and never has been.
posted by empath at 5:57 PM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Should be.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:58 PM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


People flag based on their gut reaction. My gut reaction, when I opened that video, was that it was an ad, but:

a) Looking a the associated account made me think it wasn't.
b) It's pretty damn funny.

Sometimes the gut reaction is wrong.
posted by Kattullus at 6:00 PM on December 27, 2011


Again, being a viral ad is not a valid reason for deletion, and never has been.

Not by itself, no, but the people who don't like them loathe them, and unless there's something there to discuss (as there often is with the better ones) the thread tends to get really hostile. This one? Well, smiling golden retrievers are adorable, I'll grant, but there's just not much else there.

I like pet videos, and most other people do, too, so even if it's short and dopey a pet video is likely to stay up. But a short dopey pet video that also looks suspiciously like an ad for something is not much positive and a whole extra load of negative, so it changes the equation.

As I said, I'm pretty ambivalent about this one - I'm just trying to explain the logic behind the deletion.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:02 PM on December 27, 2011


The more slightly-amusing deleted Youtube posts we have, the better Metafilter gets.

This stance does not conflict with my feeling that comment deletion should be frictiony-er.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:03 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Should be.

No it shouldn't. There are plenty of quality bits of video or entertainment which are created by ad agencies which transcend the advertising they contain. Just look at a clip reel from Joe Sedelmaier -- great little mini-films which create their own world completely. The fact that they happen to feature products, well, that paid for the art being made.

If you're against advertising entirely, then live your life that way. Most of us aren't afraid of it and won't melt like brown sugar in water if we're exposed to it, so we don't mind seeing clever things which happen also to be ads.

Anyway, I have no position about this particular deletion. I just don't believe that something's status as advertising means it is completely unworthy of MetaFilter post material.
posted by hippybear at 6:04 PM on December 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


You don't have to delete something just because it is being flagged.

Of course we don't have to, but people seeming to not like it (according to the data we have available, people flagging combined with a mixed-at-best critical reception) is one of the reasons something has a pretty good chance of getting deleted, and in this the only real muddying factor is the first poster requesting to have it nixed before we ended up making a call ourselves.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with viral ads as post material, from a policy perspective. They're also sort of contentious, though, and from a people-in-the-community perspective there's a fair amount of feeling from some folks that there is in fact something wrong with them, and from other folks that they're fine, and that tends to produced mixed results sometimes.

We're generally pretty permissive on that front of the only issue with a post is that it contains something that is advertising, but this is hardly the first time that something like that wasn't well-received, got flagged a bunch, and got nixed.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:04 PM on December 27, 2011


Not by itself, no, but the people who don't like them loathe them, and unless there's something there to discuss (as there often is with the better ones) the thread tends to get really hostile.

The policy has always been to tell people to flag it and move on, right?
posted by empath at 6:04 PM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


And thus the Christmas queue officially ended.
posted by gman at 6:05 PM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Where's the Kwanzaa queue?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:07 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


HAPPY DOGGIE
posted by The Whelk at 6:08 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Finally, finally can we discuss the flagging and the people who do it. So many of these "bad deletion" posts seem to rest on posts that were flagged a lot and the mods get the criticism but it's really the community that needs to figure this stuff out.


Even if it's not a viral ad, it's so like one that it might as well be. I saw the first one and my instinct was to flag it as soon as it appear on the screen.


Like empath, I didn't know that "viral ads" can't be posted here. Sometimes ads are really funny, or cute, or even thought-provoking. What's the justification for flagging them on sight? Sometimes an ad is best of the web (not that links here have to be, anymore, they just have to be interesting and not break rules). Like that "I'm on a horse" guy last year. I was glad to be introduced to that phenomenon.

But even if viral ads are a problem or have to meet a high bar, how does it make sense to flag something as viral if you don't even know for sure? I guess for me flagging is such a big deal and I am quite reluctant to do it. I don't understand how this video could have gotten a lot of flags for being a viral on such thin evidence.
posted by Danila at 6:11 PM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


The policy has always been to tell people to flag it and move on, right?

...yes...because then the mods will see the flags and react to it, without having a bunch of threadshitting and arguments that also causes problems (needs cleaning up if by chance the post stays, just creates negativity even if the post goes).

This policy is not in conflict with a policy of 'everyone flagged it so we deleted it'.
posted by jacalata at 6:11 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


ADORABLE PUPPY

DOG LIKES SEEING DOGS ON TV

EXTRA: KITTIES

There, now we have lots of cute golden lab mixes to watch.
posted by The Whelk at 6:13 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, which isn't much, even to me, I support the deletion.
posted by box at 6:16 PM on December 27, 2011


more dogs to watch.
Doggy at the beach
posted by Packed Lunch at 6:17 PM on December 27, 2011


My problem with the flagging system is its lack of transparency. I'm sure this has been discussed in the past, but I'd love to see the number of flags an FPP receives, listed beside the post itself.
posted by gman at 6:17 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also I just checked out that Youtube account and that guy is basically like a real life Mouserat from Parks & Recreation!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:19 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's the justification for flagging them on sight?

Well, in this case it was the big Bud Light can in the foreground.
posted by Edogy at 6:19 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like empath, I didn't know that "viral ads" can't be posted here.

When they're not deleted, the threads tend to turn into people complaining vociferously that the post is Pepsi Blue, destroying the integrity of Metafilter and occasionally, that you're a bad person for posting it and promoting whatever it is that's being sold. (*gasp* the horror, the horror.)

I don't particularly care if this post survives or not. But I do feel we could do with less hand-wringing for the sake of hand-wringing.

Wait. Did I just channel Decani? Yikes. ;)
posted by zarq at 6:21 PM on December 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Flag it and move on does not mean flag it and that's the end of it. It means that the mods may take care of it if the flagging rises to a certain level. It sounds like that's what happened here.
posted by OmieWise at 6:21 PM on December 27, 2011


I gotta know, did anyone actually think that video wasn't manipulated?
posted by P.o.B. at 6:22 PM on December 27, 2011


This post would have totally survived if it had been a cat. Metafilter has obvious dog prejudice.

Note: I am fine with this.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:25 PM on December 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


What's the lead time on Superbowl commercials? If there's time, I predict there will be a smiling dog beer ad based on this during the Superbowl.
posted by Edogy at 6:27 PM on December 27, 2011


This post would have totally survived if it had been a cat. Metafilter has obvious dog prejudice.

Wanna test that theory? In the Cat Video meta, a non e mouse posted a link to a compilation video of cats throwing up hairballs to techno music. We could turn it into an FPP and see if it survives.... :)
posted by zarq at 6:34 PM on December 27, 2011


I triple dog dare you.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 6:36 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


My problem with the flagging system is its lack of transparency.

I hear that, but the lack of constant public scrutiny on flags is by my reckoning one of the main things that keeps the system from being a constant source of horrible rules-lawyering But This Had Less/More Flags Than This/That/Th'other noise. We aim for being pretty transparent about stuff around here as a general rule; the things that aren't completely transparent are that way mostly because it's a case where we think it'll actually be better for the site to have it be otherwise.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:37 PM on December 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


I gotta know, did anyone actually think that video wasn't manipulated?

I don't think the video is fake at all.
posted by Danila at 6:38 PM on December 27, 2011


Oh, come ooooooonnnnnnn...
posted by P.o.B. at 6:43 PM on December 27, 2011


ADORABLE PUPPY

if a human baby was making that noise i would feed it to a snake. AND YET FROM A PUPPY IT IS DELIGHTFUL.
posted by elizardbits at 6:43 PM on December 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


My problem with the flag queue is that it's a bunch of gut reactions from what can be assumed to be totally unreliable sources. My 18 sockpuppets all flag a post, and if a mod sees 18 flags go up on a post they'll likely as not delete it without another thought. This actually happened with my latest post (not the 18 sockpuppets thing) which was briefly deleted based on the number of flags it got off the bat and without any other consideration. The other reasons given were that there weren't any links to stuff on the web—but there were links—and no context, except there was enough context there for those who'd give it a chance.

But there was no chance given, not by the zillion people who flagged it nor by the mod who deleted it.

I was able to have it restored by pointing these things out and by changing the formatting to be waaaaay more transparent than I originally intended. I put something provocative (*cough*) and slightly edgy up and it was beaten down by a hoarde of goddamn savages with itchy flag fingers. Temporarily.

I'm not just here to bitch about the mods and the flag queue though. I'm also gonna suggest that mods put some effort into their deletions. Sure, some posts can be scanned and understood enough to warrant a judgement to delete quickly. But others I think should at least have their links clicked (or found and clicked) and/or their videos watched before that hammer falls. Otherwise there's no disguising the fact that the flag queue is nothing more than a mod trigger—it hits a certain number in a certain amount of time and BOOM there goes the post.
posted by carsonb at 6:45 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm going to guess that there might be some kind of safeguard in place against that 18-sockpuppet thing.
posted by box at 6:49 PM on December 27, 2011


I didn't think it was a viral video because I doubt the brand would allow the can to be shown without the full Bud Light logo showing. See this Bud Light viral video. Even though it's meant to be viral and the plotline seems to subtly sell the product, you can see the full logo every time it's shown. It's cut off in this video. I could be wrong, but brands are sticklers about their logo.

Yes, I work in advertising.


I thought the original thread phrasing was annoying with the "ssri" stuff, but otherwise neither post bothered me.
posted by sweetkid at 6:50 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


carsonb has 18 sock puppets?

Dammit. I picked 20 in the pool.
posted by hippybear at 6:50 PM on December 27, 2011


My 18 sockpuppets all flag a post...

We have a y2karl signal around here somewhere, right?
posted by zarq at 6:53 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be clear: my issue was cleared up very nicely by taz. I pled my case without being all "HOLY WTFUCK YOU DUMB BUNNY MODERATORS" in MetaTalk (I used the Contact form for that, natch) and she gave me a listen and an offer and I took her up on it and my post was reinstated. All in all it was about as pleasant as a post deletion could possibly get, and the fact that my post stands is a testament to what incredible moderators we have here.

But that initial reaction really bothered me for the reasons stated above.
posted by carsonb at 6:53 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


No it shouldn't. There are plenty of quality bits of video or entertainment which are created by ad agencies which transcend the advertising they contain.

That's debatable but irrelevant. Viral ads are yucky above and beyond whatever yuckiness regular ads contain because of the trickery involved.
posted by DU at 6:53 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I'm immensely happy that video was deleted twice. As someone else said, if it isn't a viral (which seems unlikely) it was so much like one that it was indistinguishable. Plus it wasn't that great to begin with. It's easy enough to sync a dog to some music after the fact, at which point what's the amazing thing here?
posted by DU at 6:55 PM on December 27, 2011


But others I think should at least have their links clicked (or found and clicked) and/or their videos watched before that hammer falls.

I do, unless the deletion is for non-link-related reasons (framing, self-linkery.) I assume my colleagues do too. I wasn't involved in your latest post but it looks like it was borked initially which is a totally un-link-related reason to delete a post if we can't fix it without input. (That's where being able to either undelete or have you just repost the next day if the time lag is too big is handy - deletions really aren't all that high-stakes in the grand scheme of things, although I certainly understand that they're annoying.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:56 PM on December 27, 2011


it looks like it was borked initially which is a totally un-link-related reason to delete a post if we can't fix it without input.

It was borked at first; I munged a link in the first iteration and was in the process of asking to have it fixed when it was deleted. Again, I'm about as happy as a guy could be after having his post deleted (after all, it was un-deleted) but I feel that the flag queue as mod-trigger issue is something that warrants some discussion here in MeTa. It's good to hear that you're on board with the thoughtful deletion process, r_n, I do appreciate that feedback.
posted by carsonb at 7:00 PM on December 27, 2011


So... I forgot to ask you if you watched that video before deleting the post (the second time)?
posted by carsonb at 7:02 PM on December 27, 2011


It seemed to me like the problem with the link the first time was a combination of the framing, a reaction against the framing, and the reaction to that so, while I don't particularly care one way or the other about this standing (it seems fine to me but I'm sort of shruggo on the whole thing) I wouldn't have guessed it would be an insta-delete.

I'd really like us to start saying "shruggo" again, if that's possible. Thank you.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:02 PM on December 27, 2011


My 18 sockpuppets all flag a post, and if a mod sees 18 flags go up on a post they'll likely as not delete it without another thought.

Nothing personal but that's actually not how it works. There are pretty much no threads [that aren't SEO douchebaggery] that get deleted without us checking out the links; something that get a ton of flags really quickly, yes we'd check to make sure they're not all sock puppets of one or two people.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:04 PM on December 27, 2011


I watched it the first time, and then clicked on it again to make sure it was the exact same link. It was cute but did not inspire in me a passion to defend it all the way to MeTa. Which is ironic.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:04 PM on December 27, 2011


"It's easy enough to sync a dog to some music " heh...try that with a husky..

And, for the record, and I really don't give a shit beyond this, I asked for the first post to be deleted NOT because of the claims it was viral, I don't believe that was the case, it was all about not wanting to get into it with folks about the framing of the post re the ssri comment, I might have been in the wrong about that, but I sincerely believe there was nothing in my thoughts that was intended to be disrespectful of people dealing with depression... I honestly believe in the healing power of dogs...
posted by tomswift at 7:10 PM on December 27, 2011


As far as I'm aware the rationale for not tolerating viral ads much around here is that, by saying "yes, I would like to see that viral ad", you open things up more to self-linking spammers who want your internet traffic, some of whom would presumably be cunning enough to make posts work, and also a whole bunch more viral ads. Which seems like a decent train of thought to me but maybe people want more places to see ads? I dunno.
posted by furiousthought at 7:15 PM on December 27, 2011


Oh, come ooooooonnnnnnn...

You know what? I apologize and take that back. I can see how people might think it's real, but it looks fake as all get out to me. It was enjoyable for about 30 seconds..
posted by P.o.B. at 7:15 PM on December 27, 2011


I don't care if they stay or get deleted, but the OP of the first one was kind of smarmy and inane. And it's ok for people to dissect videos. That isn't threadshitting. It's more interesting than a string of mindless "SQUEE!" comments, at least.

Anyway, the site owner posts viral vids so I suppose it's ok. And I was joking about the first post deleted today being viral, by the way.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:21 PM on December 27, 2011


Everything is a just one big viral ad for YouTube.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:24 PM on December 27, 2011


Tags:
Golden
Retriever
Dog
Guitar
Taylor
Jam
Acoustic
Puppy
Drew
Arcoleo
Richie
Hume
Dogs
Bailey
cute
pup
bud
light
beer
here
we
go
refreshing
Acoustic Music
Commercial
Spot
Cover
Acoustic Cover
Budweiser (Anheuser-Busch)
Guitar Cover
posted by phoque at 7:25 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Smarmy" sheesh..

Burhanistan, you shit on that thread out of the gate... "Gotta be viral for Bud Light. Also, dogs really don't have the circuitry for music so he might just be responding to the body language and emotional gestures of the guitar player."

get off the high horse.
posted by tomswift at 7:29 PM on December 27, 2011


Finally, finally can we discuss the flagging and the people who do it.

This seems as good an excuse as any to admit that I've started automatically flagging any comment that is a riff on the "rick rick rick" gag. Because, enough.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:33 PM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Flagging overdone jokes because you personally sick of them is okay, I guess, but you should probably ask yourself if there's something you want us to do about it or you just want us to get sick of them too? I am still in the "this is hilarious" phase of "rick rick rick" personally.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:39 PM on December 27, 2011 [23 favorites]


I'm still in the 'What the hell is that thing?' phase, myself. Looking forward to being sick of it, though.
posted by box at 7:42 PM on December 27, 2011


I watched the entire video then responded. If you consider a comment that dissects a post and isn't 100% affirmation "threadshitting" then you are in the wrong place. An interesting discussion about dog behavior could have resulted. Besides, your framing was smarmy bullshit.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:42 PM on December 27, 2011


Anyway, the site owner posts viral vids so I suppose it's ok.

Does this mean I CAN HAZ LOLCATZ?
posted by zarq at 7:43 PM on December 27, 2011


I honestly think a lot of people flagged this because they thought it was a double and/or because the first one had been deleted and they didn't realize it was a poster's request. And some people flagged because it looked like an ad to them. And all of those people were wrong.
posted by Danila at 7:43 PM on December 27, 2011


Burhanistan, threadshitting is threadshitting... frame it as you must...
posted by tomswift at 7:48 PM on December 27, 2011


I am still in the "this is hilarious" phase of "rick rick rick" personally.

Looking forward to being sick of it, though.


looking forward!
to being sick!
of that rick rick rick rick rick!
like a clock!
with just a tock!
I need a tick tick tick tick tick!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:49 PM on December 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Flagging overdone jokes because you personally sick of them is okay, I guess, but you should probably ask yourself if there's something you want us to do about it or you just want us to get sick of them too?

I actually don't; I'm just casting my vote. I always yield to the mod's judgement on my flags, and if nothing happens I figure "oh, well, I guess I was the only person bugged by it, then" and I move on. I only flag things because it stops me from having a temper tantrum and shrieking "ENOUGH OF THE G0D-DAMNED RICK RICK SHIT BECAUSE IT'S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE FOR THE LOVE OF J. EDGAR HOOVER" because that thing tends to derail threads and would probably cause you more problems in the first place.

I've only flagged one so far; i'll stop there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:50 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Flagging overdone jokes

i flagged an overdone joke
then went and had a smoke
thought about it again
and broke into a grin
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:52 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


This seems as good an excuse as any to admit that I've started automatically flagging any comment that is a riff on the "rick rick rick" gag. Because, enough.

I hate to admit to any more ignorance than I have to, but where did that originate anyway? Maybe I would think it was funny if I had any idea what was going on there.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:53 PM on December 27, 2011


Could it be viral? Maybe.

Could the dog have been synched with some music? Only if someone was sufficiently detail-oriented to add a moving reflection of the guy's hand on the guitar in the beer can every time the music played.

So what could make the video viral is also what could offer evidence supporting the claim that the dog was reacting to the music in real time. That's probably not quite ironic, but maybe it's aluminumic.
posted by maudlin at 7:55 PM on December 27, 2011


i flagged an overdone joke
then went and had a smoke
thought about it again
and broke into a grin


*plays spoons*
*plays forks*
*plays potato peelers*
*plays paring knives*
*calls 911*
posted by jonmc at 7:55 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


For those still wondering what it is: Rick. Rick. Rick.
posted by FishBike at 7:55 PM on December 27, 2011


Wait, the people who thought it looked like an ad to them were wrong? I thought the jury was still out on that one.
posted by box at 7:55 PM on December 27, 2011


jon, you'll put your eye out with those things...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:58 PM on December 27, 2011


box: Wait, the people who thought it looked like an ad to them were wrong? I thought the jury was still out on that one.

The guy totally said it wasn't an ad, so it's cool. He's just really, weirdly precise with his tagging.
posted by gilrain at 7:59 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


eye?
posted by jonmc at 8:00 PM on December 27, 2011


My problem with the flagging system is its lack of transparency. I'm sure this has been discussed in the past, but I'd love to see the number of flags an FPP receives, listed beside the post itself.

This I'm not so sure about. I think this could actually backfire, creating a sort of pile-on effect of people adding flags because it's gotten X number of flags already. There's arguably the same dynamic with Favorites, to a certain extent, but as flags can be a deciding factor in deletions, creating a pile-on mechanism for them might not be the best idea. If the concern is about transparency, I guess there's nothing wrong with asking "how many flags did this deleted FPP get?" instead.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:04 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


re the flagging system... is it really even necessary... there are paid employees to watch the threads, that is their job, let them make the call.. do they really need all the back seat drivers on this?
posted by tomswift at 8:07 PM on December 27, 2011


have you ever tried to read all of MetaFilter?
posted by Packed Lunch at 8:10 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


..... yes.
posted by The Whelk at 8:12 PM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


One of the things we're paid to do is keep an eye on the flags. A metafilter where the only stuff we took action on was stuff we saw ourselves would either be (a) a metafilter where lots of stuff that needed attention didn't get it because we didn't see it or (b) a metafilter where we spent all day systematically scouring every update to every thread trying to spot trouble without any external guidance. (a) would be a mess, (b) would get you burnt out mods in no time flat and probably still a mess.

The flagging system is a really, seriously powerful way to make how this place works be a matter of not just mod eyeballs and druthers but community feedback and input. In aggregate, thousands of users participating in the sense of what works and doesn't here is a very significant, very important thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:12 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


"have you ever tried to read all of MetaFilter?"

why do you think I stay up this late?
posted by tomswift at 8:12 PM on December 27, 2011


cortex, thanks for the response.... point taken.
posted by tomswift at 8:14 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


do they really need all the back seat drivers on this?

SLOW DOWN CORTEX, the intertubes are crowded.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:18 PM on December 27, 2011


Consider this thread shat
posted by nathancaswell at 8:24 PM on December 27, 2011


It should be like in some sports: you can question a referee's decision only x times a year (3?).

Maybe then we would choose our battles more carefully. This video may be worth a smile, but it is not worth a Meta post.
posted by bru at 8:28 PM on December 27, 2011


jess

jess

jess

he started writing them again you know

maybe we should keep the jokes up for a little longer you know just for more encouragement
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:31 PM on December 27, 2011


I'm sure this has been discussed in the past, but I'd love to see the number of flags an FPP receives, listed beside the post itself.

It would certainly put a new swirl of color in the Pollack of Grar that is a contentious thread to always include a vibrant splash of "Who the fuck is flagging this, what is wrong with you people/See, the lurkers support me in email/Obviously this thread should go look at the flag count/The flag count doesn't reflect my opinionthe community consensus on this topic/Fuck your sockpuppet army, you jackassDIGGPATRIOTS2010NeverForget!"

That would be...awesome. At the very least, it would be interesting to see whether that old wives tale about a person's hair turning white in a single night has any basis. We'd have to have the mods do a before and after flikr pool or something, and then I could post a thread praising Sarah Palin and comparing Obama unfavorably to her.
posted by Diablevert at 8:34 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


If the mods ignore the 700 flags from people who think it's a viral ad, the entire post just turns into a giant debate about whether it's a viral ad or not. When that happens, all opportunity for discussion of cute puppies is lost, so what is the point of letting it stand?
posted by DarlingBri at 8:36 PM on December 27, 2011


When you do the Rick joke but don't get any favorites does that just totally crush you? Like "what the fuck is wrong with me, not even one?"
posted by nathancaswell at 8:37 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Could the dog have been synched with some music? Only if someone was sufficiently detail-oriented to add a moving reflection of the guy's hand on the guitar in the beer can every time the music played.

Does that even matter as an answer? No. There's probably at least a half dozen ways you could tweak that video to get the dog to do that.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:40 PM on December 27, 2011


When you do the Rick joke but don't get any favorites does that just totally crush you? Like "what the fuck is wrong with me, not even one?"

No, I have favorites turned off and I don't give a shit about them. I honestly would have to go look to tell you how many I have.
It allows me such freedoms as making jokes I think are completely inane, like the Rick joke, and not care.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:44 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


it couldn't stay cuz people the world over would be all like "wow man have you seen metafilter? it's all virally and adish now." and putting that shit on their facebook status and stuff.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:06 PM on December 27, 2011


I am still in the "this is hilarious" phase of "rick rick rick" personally.

Clearly.
posted by drlith at 9:09 PM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks Fishbike, I'd missed that the first time.
posted by arcticseal at 9:14 PM on December 27, 2011


One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock, rick,
Five, six, seven o'clock, eight o'clock, rick,
Nine, ten, eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock, rick,
We're gonna rick around the clock tonight.

We're gonna rick around the clock tonight,
We're gonna

rick

rick

rick

'til broad daylight.
We're gonna rick, gonna rick, around the clock tonight.
posted by mintcake! at 9:20 PM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jingle rick bell rick bell bell bell
posted by mendel at 9:28 PM on December 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm not just here to bitch about the mods and the flag queue though. I'm also gonna suggest that mods put some effort into their deletions.

I have seen deletions I agree with and deletions I think are wrong, but I have never once thought that the mods here are guilty of not putting effort into their deletions. The fact that there is so much lively discussion when someone posts here in MetaTalk when there's disagreement with a deletion, and, agree or no, the mod explanations are thought out and defended (or not) as much as they are speaks volumes about how much effort is put into the moderation of Metafilter and all its other subsites.
posted by xingcat at 9:29 PM on December 27, 2011


schtick

schtick

schtick

get it?

because

its

a

gimmick?
posted by P.o.B. at 9:33 PM on December 27, 2011


I don't really have anything particular to say about this deletion stuff, although I guess the video was interesting; I saw it in the second post before it got deleted. My personal reaction to the video was that it was slightly frustrating; I kept waiting for the dog to do something, but s/he just sat there and did a tiny head bob. My dogs actually jam with me sometimes, and I think it's the coolest thing; one of them absolutely loves to howl along when I'm playing my trumpet, and one of my cats even sometimes joins in. It was neat to see the dog get into the groove, though, and since it's a video of a dog it's already a net win.

Also, I didn't notice the Bud Light can until I saw it mentioned in the second comment. I guess that goes to show how attentive I am when there's a dog to look at.

Basically, I just wrote this comment to say that dogs are awesome.
posted by koeselitz at 9:37 PM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


And amazing rhythm?
posted by P.o.B. at 9:39 PM on December 27, 2011


But koeselitz, did you see the gorilla?
posted by maudlin at 9:46 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You guys know the dog was playing the guitar, right?
posted by P.o.B. at 9:57 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I smile every time Don Cherry's mouth stops moving.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:05 PM on December 27, 2011


people seeming to not like it (according to the data we have available, people flagging combined with a mixed-at-best critical reception) is one of the reasons something has a pretty good chance of getting deleted

It seems to me that you (plural) are citing "it was heavily flagged" as a greater-weight authority than you were a couple years ago.

I don't know if that's reflective of actual behind-the-scenes thinking or not. But it definitely seems to me that a few years ago the mods' position was more, "Flagging is just one criterion," and nowadays it gets cited with greater weight. Maybe this is just me. If it isn't, then maybe that warrants a clarifying statement or a reconsideration from the mods' side of things.
posted by cribcage at 10:10 PM on December 27, 2011


Flagging is still just one criterion. It's just not not a criterion; flagging is part of how we look at this stuff, and the difference between a not-very-substantial post that no one is flagging and one that a lot of people are flagging is significant.

The comment I was responding to with the passage you quoted was asserting that "You don't have to delete something just because it is being flagged", which is why I was emphasizing the role of flagging in that context.

We don't really subscribe to a "flags, so stfu" approach to this stuff, which is why as we've pointed out many times there are heavily-flagged items that get left up sometimes for one reason or another and things that get removed sometimes even if they haven't actually been flagged at all. Flagging is part of the mix of factors we take into account when trying to decide where to go with something: they're not the whole deal, but neither are they immaterial.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:21 PM on December 27, 2011


Thanks for clarifying. And to be fair, maybe my perception is just because new moderators have been added lately, and a natural consequence of that has been more MetaTalk threads about deletions, and a natural consequence of that is increased talk about flagging.
posted by cribcage at 10:28 PM on December 27, 2011


104 comments and no one has owned up to it yet?

It's not about the dog or the music or the advertising or the fakey "viral" or mod hand-wringing.

There is a clear bright line here: if it involves Budweiser, it goes.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:28 PM on December 27, 2011


"flags, so stfu"

If this ever comes up as a deletion reason, somebody please let me know so I can gaze upon that glorious sight.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:31 PM on December 27, 2011


There is a clear bright line here: if it involves Budweiser, it goes.

I'd be okay with that ;)
posted by zomg at 11:03 PM on December 27, 2011


new moderators have been added lately, and a natural consequence of that has been more MetaTalk threads about deletions

I think it is partly the natural consequence of prior MT threads about flagging that has produced more of the same, not the addition of new staff. Certainly there may be some blowback to more moderation, but the "Why Did This Thread Get Deleted" posting is becoming as ubiquitous as obit threads in the blue. A derivation of the in-thread pile on (of whatever is being discussed) except this is on the sub-site posting level.
posted by lampshade at 11:05 PM on December 27, 2011


"Flagging overdone jokes because you personally sick of them is okay, I guess..."

Really? This whole flagging things confuses me. It seemed so easy back when I thought it was "flag comments/posts that violate policy in one of these ways so we know about it and can do something in response". That made sense to me.

I can see why people flagged this, by the way. There's something very...suspicious?...about how that image is framed and how the scene has been shot. Obviously, the Bud Light can where it is and all. But the coloring is suspicious. It really has that vibe of a professionally shot video that's pretending to be something else.

Which could be entirely coincidental. The law of large numbers and all. Isn't the number of videos on YouTube asymptotically approaching infinity?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:08 PM on December 27, 2011


"asymptotically approaching infinity". Er...it's late and I don't feel well. Please don't mock my stupid error.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:10 PM on December 27, 2011


Ivan Fyodorovich, I think the general idea might be the "lolmemejoke" posts often fall under the category "Noise."
posted by introp at 11:23 PM on December 27, 2011


> Isn't the number of videos on YouTube asymptotically approaching infinity?

And beyond!

Go on, watch it all the way through.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:23 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't even.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 PM on December 27, 2011


I wholeheartedly support the deletion of the thread in question if, for no other reason, than Bud Light is an insult to beer.
posted by philip-random at 11:38 PM on December 27, 2011


Really?

We're not going to tell people to not flag stuff, though we will sometimes tell people it's okay to flag less [like if you're flagging ten comments in a thread, we're probably checking it out after the first three or four. We remove flags by hand so flagging every single offending comment in a problematic thread can be overkill] and also that yeah they should consider flagging as a "note to mod team" in some way. So you can flag bad jokes if you want to, but we may find those flags confusing and/or non-actionable. We'd rather people flagged more even if it means we have to ignore some flags rather than flagged less and left us wondering "Did people not hate this, or not see it, or what?" about particularly weird-to-us seeming posts.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:48 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"asymptotically approaching infinity". Er...it's late and I don't feel well. Please don't mock my stupid error.

nah, just flagged it and moved on ..... joking!
posted by mannequito at 12:08 AM on December 28, 2011



Wait, the people who thought it looked like an ad to them were wrong? I thought the jury was still out on that one.


It's not a viral - its a friend of a friends pup, last i looked it had 2000 views.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:10 AM on December 28, 2011


I just realized that this too may or may not be a viral ad for Bud Light.
posted by homunculus at 12:27 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Think about what "Viral video" means. Ad or not, it's something created with the *express purpose,* not of being good or interesting or having artistic merit, but of being popular by any means necessary. It's lowest common denominator by definition.

When the post is nothing but one link, and the one link was created for those reasons, I can't see how anyone thinks it's a tragedy for it to be gone.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:34 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Making flags visible would turn them into downvotes and favourites into upvotes. That's not the system I want on Metafilter.
posted by litleozy at 3:35 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


We remove flags by hand

Why do you remove flags? And if they have to be removed, why can't you just click a Clear All Flags button for a thread that you have sanitized?
posted by pracowity at 3:41 AM on December 28, 2011


Flags are removed from the admin flag list once they've been dealt with so that every single moderator doesn't need to check out the same flag(s) on a post or comment. Sometimes we leave them alone to see if they gather more flags.

For example, there might be a single flag on something, and a mod looks at the comment/post and doesn't see a problem with it. Instead of clearing the flag (which means either it's been deleted and nobody has to deal with it, or someone has looked at it and decided that it's fine and nobody has to deal with it), they might leave it and watch, and if it gets more flags, it's obvious that other people are also finding something objectionable there... so they go back and have another look and try to see what it is, or else someone else comes on duty and checks it out. We don't often clear single flags that are ambiguous to us in case there's something we're missing.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:57 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ambiguous single flag is my new tumblr
posted by infini at 4:50 AM on December 28, 2011


We remove flags by hand

Why do you remove flags? And if they have to be removed, why can't you just click a Clear All Flags button for a thread that you have sanitized?
posted by pracowity at 3:41 AM on December 28 [+] [!]

You seem to be under the impression that the flags are on a computer or something...?
posted by From Bklyn at 5:20 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


We remove flags by hand

I imagine the full mod team struggling with each flag removal: it looks something like this, in reverse.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:37 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Think about what "Viral video" means. Ad or not, it's something created with the *express purpose,* not of being good or interesting or having artistic merit, but of being popular by any means necessary. It's lowest common denominator by definition.

Minor side issue, but does this mean you don't sometimes call a video that's gone viral naturally a "viral video"? Seems to me that usage happens a lot.
posted by mediareport at 5:44 AM on December 28, 2011


You don't have to delete something just because it is being flagged.

Of course we don't have to, but people seeming to not like it (according to the data we have available, people flagging combined with a mixed-at-best critical reception) is one of the reasons something has a pretty good chance of getting deleted,
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:04 AM on December 28


Is there any data on what proportion of the MeFi membership the flaggy people represent? And whether or not they tend to be the same broad group of people? Because I'd hate to think it's the same relatively small bunch of complainers who dictate what's seen as acceptable around here, but I can't help wondering.
posted by Decani at 6:13 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't care if they stay or get deleted, but the OP of the first one was kind of smarmy and inane.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:21 AM on December 28


Ah, good old Burhanistan with his mystery MeFI personal insult pass.
posted by Decani at 6:17 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


drjimmy11: "Think about what "Viral video" means. Ad or not, it's something created with the *express purpose,* not of being good or interesting or having artistic merit, but of being popular by any means necessary. It's lowest common denominator by definition."

That's not what "viral video" means.

Viral videos are by definition videos that have become popular and are spread through the public consciousness by word of mouth, like a virus. The term does not infer the creator's intent. Note that some of the most popular viral videos over the last decade, such as Charlie Bit My Finger and Evolution of Dance were not posted because someone was trying to be "popular by any means necessary."

Of course, that didn't stop cynics from accusing people of posting them for nefarious reasons.

That's not to say that people and companies don't engage in viral marketing, of course. But that's different.

"A video becoming viral is often unexpected, and an accident, and therefore a video cannot be called viral purely in the creator's intention at the time of recording."
posted by zarq at 6:17 AM on December 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


Edogy: "What's the justification for flagging them on sight?

Well, in this case it was the big Bud Light can in the foreground.
"

That's what upset me a bit about the whole thing. Clearly it's just people being all up in arms about seeing a Bud can. I doubt anyone would have said anything if it were a moleskin or even a bottle of more fashionable beer.

It doesn't help that the video creator decided that the prominence of the can merited tagging the video with budweiser, but whatever. The point is it was a gut reaction, not against advertising, but against lowbrow culture (and non-ironic lowbrow culture, at that).
posted by Deathalicious at 6:18 AM on December 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is there any data on what proportion of the MeFi membership the flaggy people represent?

Typical power function distribution: a few people flag a lot, a larger group flags a middling amount, a larger group yet flags only sparingly. Breaks down roughly like a hundred, a thousand, and ten thousand users, respectively; last I looked there were about ten thousand total users who had flagged something at some point.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:25 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Because I'd hate to think it's the same relatively small bunch of complainers who dictate what's seen as acceptable around here, but I can't help wondering.

WE ARE THE 1%.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:32 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Viral video
posted by infini at 6:45 AM on December 28, 2011


A few summers ago we were doing the communal family reunion beach vacation thing. I was watching some sporting event on TV in the main living room with the extended family all around. I was watching TV the same way I normally watch it, with the remote close by to mute the commercials and unmute when the program returned. After a couple of breaks one of my aunts asks, "What's wrong with the TV? The sound keeps going out."

I replied, "You know, you don't actually have to listen to the commercials."

The look on her face told me just what an utterly alien and unfathomable idea this was to her.

So, you know, whatever. There's people like her, there's people like me. There's people between the two extremes. We're all on MeFi. I think our ideal compromise would look pretty much like the status quo now. Some addy things get posted, the more brilliant ones survive, and the lamer ones get culled. About the best we could all hope for, really.

About the idea that this isn't a constructed, designed commercial advertisement, yes, I'll grant that there's certainly a significant chance that this video started from a position of complete sincerity. However, through the course of the two posts and subsequent MeTa discussion, I would argue that it has now effectively become a viral ad, with the product being mentioned at least 12 times so far (including once by even me, Mr. No-Ads). They couldn't have designed a better viral ad if they tried. Looking at it from that perspective, this is now the perfect viral ad. Grassroots subconscious advertisement. Sort of variation of a standalone complex, if you will.
posted by Edogy at 7:07 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because I'd hate to think it's the same relatively small bunch of complainers who dictate what's seen as acceptable around here, but I can't help wondering.

What, you mean the Metatalk posting crowd?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:09 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stop deleting posts just because the OP gets emo about the way the thread is going. Repeat after me:

"Sorry, we're not going to be able to delete that at this time, due to there already being a thread going which seems to be benefiting the community."

Meanwhile, users: Sometimes threads don't go the way you hoped. Stop taking your ball and going home, its screwing it up for the rest of us ffs.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:12 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


hippybear: I just don't believe that something's status as advertising means it is completely unworthy of MetaFilter post material.

I don't believe that ads are unworthy of this place either. But I would like to know if something is an advertisement before I click on it. I think it's fair to ask that a post on Metafilter would lay that crucial piece of information out beforehand. That way we can decide for ourselves whether our 'eyeballs get captured' or whatever the ad people call it now. If we don't want to actively participate in some firm's lame ad campaign for whatever reason we should have that choice.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:12 AM on December 28, 2011


Ah, good old Burhanistan with his mystery MeFI personal insult pass.

Nah, that's just your prejudice, poopyhead.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:16 AM on December 28, 2011


I think it's fair to ask that a post on Metafilter would lay that crucial piece of information out beforehand.

Everyone has their things and if everyone gave every warning possible about every single link, then metafilter would become basically unreadable.

If you have such a hair trigger about advertising that the mere appearance of a branded item in the video ruins your day, then I don't know how you function on the internet.
posted by empath at 7:20 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


That link deserved to be deleted, not because of the beer can, but because it wasn't the best of the web.
posted by Apoch at 7:21 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ad sense, no script, etc
posted by The Whelk at 7:21 AM on December 28, 2011


About the idea that this isn't a constructed, designed commercial advertisement, yes, I'll grant that there's certainly a significant chance that this video started from a position of complete sincerity. However, through the course of the two posts and subsequent MeTa discussion, I would argue that it has now effectively become a viral ad, with the product being mentioned at least 12 times so far (including once by even me, Mr. No-Ads). They couldn't have designed a better viral ad if they tried. Looking at it from that perspective, this is now the perfect viral ad.

yes, all the conspiracy-theorists whining about it being an ad have drawn more attention to the product than all the rest of us who just thought the smiling dog was amusing and didn't even notice the fucking beer can.
posted by empath at 7:22 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Edogy: "Looking at it from that perspective, this is now the perfect viral ad. "

kuujjuarapik: "But I would like to know if something is an advertisement before I click on it. I think it's fair to ask that a post on Metafilter would lay that crucial piece of information out beforehand. That way we can decide for ourselves whether our 'eyeballs get captured' or whatever the ad people call it now."

You want people to label overt ads. Which is fine and understandable, sure. We draw a line here at spammers, and posts should be no different. But things that are first posted to Metafilter often 'go viral' when they are picked up by blogs and other sites. And we're going to naturally see posts that link to the current virals, too. That's the nature of any site like ours which functions as a link aggregator.

In a sense, every post to the Blue is something of a viral ad. A concept does not have to be a video to become viral or a meme, right? A product or idea does not have to be promoted by an advertising or PR agency to translate into public awareness or increase sales.
posted by zarq at 7:22 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I don't know how you function under all of that hyperbole, empath.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:22 AM on December 28, 2011


Joy to the world and peace on earth over for the next 51 weeks?
posted by infini at 7:30 AM on December 28, 2011


infini: "Joy to the world and peace on earth over for the next 51 weeks?"

How much is this gonna cost us?
posted by zarq at 7:37 AM on December 28, 2011


I think it's fair to ask that a post on Metafilter would lay that crucial piece of information out beforehand. That way we can decide for ourselves whether our 'eyeballs get captured' or whatever the ad people call it now

Anything you click on at Metafilter that clicks to another site gets added to that site's traffic statistics. It's all impressions. It's not the same as ads necessarily but it's not that far off either, in the long run. This is all part of media and people's engagement with media is relentlessly measured.
posted by sweetkid at 7:37 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Decani and Burhanistan, get a room.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:38 AM on December 28, 2011


all the conspiracy-theorists whining about it being an ad have drawn more attention to the product than all the rest of us who just thought the smiling dog was amusing and didn't even notice the fucking beer can.

For me it's also a great example of the insidious nature of advertising's effects on human cognition.
posted by Edogy at 7:38 AM on December 28, 2011


Can't we all just be friends enjoy a Bud Light together? That dog wouldn't have wanted this. Come on people, not just for that dog. But for smiling dogs everywhere.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:39 AM on December 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


> For me it's also a great example of the insidious nature of advertising's effects on human cognition.

I just suddenly realized there are like ten cases of Bud Light right in my office that I never saw before. They're even load bearing! Damn you, advertising!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:42 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ad sense, no script, etc

I see what you're saying, but none of those would have worked in this instance. It was just a single link to youtube. In this case I think it would have been better had the poster(s) noticed that it was an ad and provided us with that information. If they kept up with the 'filter' part in Metafilter, so to speak. Those of us that didn't want to be part of a shitty beer's ad campaign could choose not to be. It's not a ridiculous request.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:49 AM on December 28, 2011


Repeat after me:

"Sorry, we're not going to be able to delete that at this time, due to there already being a thread going which seems to be benefiting the community."


Trust us, we do this. We don't do it all the time, but our first response to a "Poster's request" sort of deletion is to say something like this. And usually in AskMe, you get one "Get out of AskMe free" card and then you're done. With MeFi it's not something we like to push on people, but there are a few people who do this stuff frequently and almost no one else who does it at all. If there's a large active discussion happening, we'll often do just that. That said, this is one of those judgment call things and while we'd like people to basically not ask us [assuming there's not some "good reason" like the OP misunderstood the link or the linked site went down or whatever] occasionally it happens, almost never, and that usually works for both us and the site.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:51 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Suppose you had made a few videos that had gotten lots of views on YouTube.

Could you make money by approaching companies for product placements, or would they approach you?

Seems inevitable one way or the other, really, but it's not in Google's best interests in my opinion, so you'd better be subtle-- but regardless, I think there'll be a crackdown and stuff like this will disappear in the near future.

Flagging-assisted moderation is an inspired; I'm amazed someone didn't patent it.
posted by jamjam at 7:54 AM on December 28, 2011


Doesn't matter how many times I read a comment over, I still see what I intended to write instead of what I did write-- until it's posted.
posted by jamjam at 7:58 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Decani and Burhanistan, get a room.

according to the new societal rules we all have to watch, though. just in case.
posted by elizardbits at 8:02 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


all y'all can suck it
posted by Burhanistan at 8:06 AM on December 28, 2011


Jessamyn: I mean, you guys always say you never do it, but I'd estimate it happens at least once a month based on me hearing about it on Metatalk. In any event, this seems like a classic time to have said No. Why didn't you all say No here?

Of course I believe you that you say No a lot, but I wish you said it more, especially when it's an established user getting frustrated and spiteful that the thread is not going perfectly. It seems like a bad precedent that causes more problems and works as a counterproductive (dare I say it) technical solution to a social problem :p
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:06 AM on December 28, 2011


>Decani and Burhanistan, get a room.

according to the new societal rules we all have to watch, though. just in case.


Oh, good heavens, is this the future of slash fiction?
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:06 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


We remove flags by hand

I remember how horrified I was when I first learned this. Until then, I didn't realize I'd been causing you all extra work when I flagged. If I thought about it, I guess I assumed there was some kind of magically (by which I mean, brilliantly coded by pb) automated system that alerted the mods, like a klaxon going off or a big red Bat signal, whenever flags reached a certain number. Then you all had a Justice League-type "How are we going to handle this crisis?" discussion at Metafilter, Inc. HQ and that was it.

But clearing every one by hand....With the size of the user base here, even just the actively-posting and commenting contingent, that has to be a lot of flags you're dealing with on a daily basis, right?

Mods, could anyone give just a ballpark figure of how many flags you personally end up clearing on an average day?
posted by misha at 8:10 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why didn't you all say No here?

Because I was already debating removing it on grounds of lameness, actually. Seemed silly to make an issue of it.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:16 AM on December 28, 2011


Why didn't you all say No here?

Probably, and I'm just speaking for restless_nomad here, because the thread was already flagged into judgment call territory [i.e. where it could go either way, not so many flags as to be a "the community has spoken" situation] and "poster's request" as a deletion reason is usually preferable to "this is sort of thin and people seem not to like it." This post had the additional problematic framing aspect where we were basically like "Yeah that may have sounded better in your head than it sounds on MetaFilter" so it may have been something we were going to delete anyhow.

It seems like a bad precedent

Not disagreeing with you. We have a handful of frequent posters who sometimes don't do as great a job modeling what the MeFi response is likely to be in their own mind before they post. That said, we'll take the occasional MeTa hit for it because we don't think we're setting up some sort of "Sure well delete anything you don't like after the fact" situation and people are going to have to manage the fact that this sort of thing occasionally happens.

I don't have the flag data handy but this isn't really this onerous, it's just "Yeah saw that... *click*" but it does mean that someone going on a 20-flag tear in a thread isn't being that helpful.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:18 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course I believe you that you say No a lot, but I wish you said it more, especially when it's an established user getting frustrated and spiteful that the thread is not going perfectly.

We aren't really disagreeing on this front; it's just made tricky by the fact that "saying no" means everybody collectively preemptively deciding to say no, which is more of a hardline unified front thing than the normal case-by-case, whoever-handles-it-handles-it approach mod work generally operates under.

We have made a point of talking more explicitly about this not being a recurring thing with posters who have asked before, because I think that's really half the deal right there. Establishing clear expectations—that repeated poster's-regret stuff on the blue isn't something we're really okay with&mdsah;is part of the process. And it's historically not been something there's been much of, but the pendulum may be swinging more to the hardass side even so. I dunno, it's an odd edge-case thing.

But clearing every one by hand....With the size of the user base here, even just the actively-posting and commenting contingent, that has to be a lot of flags you're dealing with on a daily basis, right?

We're clearing them out in bits and pieces as we go, as a team, so it's not like it's some "sit down and spend the next half hour clicking on flag removal buttons" task. Generally speaking it's not a problem at all, it's only a little annoying in very specific circumstances and is totally tolerable as far as that goes. The "don't flag a dozen comments in the same thread" is the most obvious and common of those annoying circumstances and the easiest one to deal with with a quick note to the flagger is the main reason it comes up at all.

I'd have to go digging for the actual data on flags, but I'd guess it's somewhere on the order of 100-200 a day. Part of the thing is when we clear flags on any given item (comment, post) we clear all of them with one click, so it's not like a post that gets flagged a dozen times requires a dozen clicks.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:25 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


You guys ever get mad when people flag something, and you clear it. Then you go to grab a Bud Light and a turkey sandwich and come back and there are like 20 more flags for the same stuff? If it was me I would just delete eveything and put up a note "fuck it you ingrates, going fishing"

That is why I never flag anything. But then again, when I go to the store at 5 am and there is nobody at the counter I walk around the entire store to find someone to ring me out instead od just stealing eveything I want.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:27 AM on December 28, 2011


In my opinion, deleting something because the poster requested it is way way worse for the community because it is failing to work as a thread. As I said, I think it creates more issues than it solves, because as we are told, once you post a thread to metafilter, it belongs to the community, and if they want to bicker about advertising or something else in the thread, deal with it. I'm glad it is more of a topic of discussion and that perhaps will happen less rather than more. It seems like if R_N had just left a different deletion reason, the second thread and hence this Meta wouldn't exist.

Either way though, that original post wouldn't have been the best deletion. The video is fine, though the framing on the first post was poor. The framing on the second post was better, and definitely should not have been deleted preemptively before we figured out if it was going to actually go badly or not. "Grounds of lameness" seems like a poor reason to delete anything that includes cute animals DUCY? None of these facts are the end of the world, which is actually next week.

This has been another episode of In My Opinion, starring Me, Back At Work Briefly And Lovin' It.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:30 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


PS Bud Light markets in gay publications and to gay people and so even though I am straight I buy it when given the chance.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:35 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


What if it'd been a bottle of Magic Hat or Flying Fish? Eh? Hmm?
posted by Mister_A at 8:40 AM on December 28, 2011


Anyway, this ad totally worked as now I've got a six-pack of sporting dogs in the fridge.
posted by Mister_A at 8:41 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


all the rest of us who just thought the smiling dog was amusing and didn't even notice the fucking beer can.

Anyone who didn't notice that beer can is f***ing blind. As for the individual who posted it, if he/she didn't deliberately do so as a viral ad, then they're an idiot with regard to how the semiotics of advertising etc work. So yeah, good deletion.

Full Disclosure: I am generally NOT in favor of any ads getting posted on MeFi as I get enough of such garbage EVERYWHERE ELSE I GO (online, offline, even in my dreams). But that said, I tend not to flag things. I just don't think of it. I guess I view MeFi as more of an wide open public space (with $5 entry fee -- how public is that?) where pretty much anything goes, but that, of course, goes both ways. If I don't like something you've posted, I get to tell you about it -- to your virtual face. And so on.
posted by philip-random at 8:57 AM on December 28, 2011


Potomac Avenue: "In my opinion, deleting something because the poster requested it is way way worse for the community because it is failing to work as a thread. As I said, I think it creates more issues than it solves, because as we are told, once you post a thread to metafilter, it belongs to the community, and if they want to bicker about advertising or something else in the thread, deal with it. I'm glad it is more of a topic of discussion and that perhaps will happen less rather than more."

But you're talking as though this happens in a vacuum; it doesn't. The way things are deleted on the blue is inevitably related to the way things are deleted on the green. And on the green, it seems to me that it's almost always better to delete stuff if posters request it. I understand that that sounds like it's not how it actually happens in practice - jessamyn mentioned above that I guess you get one get-out-of-jail-free card to request a deletion, and after that you're out of luck - but it seems like there can be very good reasons to delete at a poster's request.

Largely, those reasons have to do with how easy it is for questions to feel super personal and sometimes hurtful. We can't pretend that those kinds of threads are 'good for the community' and therefore the feelings of the one person who posted it have to be sacrificed to the greater good. It doesn't make sense.

I guess my feeling is - the impact of having one thread deleted, even a thread with a lively discussion going, is minimal; it doesn't change the lives of us average Mefites in any appreciable way. Better to err on the side of making sure people feel welcome and not-threatened. Lord knows there are plenty of reasons people can feel threatened or hurt here already.
posted by koeselitz at 8:57 AM on December 28, 2011


Anyone who didn't notice that beer can is f***ing blind.

Well thank you very f***ing much for passing judgement. I didn't notice it because dogs are way prettier than beer, thank you; is a can of beer all it takes to distract you from something?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:03 AM on December 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think he meant "...is fucking visually impaired" or maybe "...is fucking suffering from a highly idiosyncratic visual agnosia."
posted by Mister_A at 9:05 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Still.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 AM on December 28, 2011


PS Bud Light markets in gay publications and to gay people and so even though I am straight I buy it when given the chance.

Miller also sponsors a lot of gay stuff and tastes slightly less like watered-down piss.
posted by desjardins at 9:08 AM on December 28, 2011


"That is why I never flag anything. But then again, when I go to the store at 5 am and there is nobody at the counter I walk around the entire store to find someone to ring me out instead od just stealing eveything I want."

If there's nobody there, that's an invitation to steal. If they don't want people to steal stuff, they should make sure that it's not possible for people to steal stuff. I'm joking, of course—an annoyance of mine is the whole "anything that isn't explicitly prohibited/prevented is allowed" claim.

With regard to Decani's question, while it may be a relatively small number of users who account for most of the flagging, I think that it's unpredictable who those people might be. For example, I'm pretty opinionated in being opposed to stuff that Decani often defends, but I don't, in fact, flag very often. I flag very rarely, because complaining to authorities about someone else's behavior is just, deep in my bones, something that is the last resort and not the first. But other people have different sensibilities and they may flag often about things completely unlike what I flag about...unfunny jokes, for example.

Given Decani's frequent complaints about a certain kind of mentality here, I inferred from his comment that his concern is the possibility that this mentality is disproportionately represented by the flagged and resulting moderation process. But I strongly suspect that the people who flag often are more diverse and are not congruent with the group with the sensibilities that Decani finds onerous.

"Still."

No offense intended, but it's hard to understand how you or anyone else wouldn't notice the beer car. It's right there in the foreground, taking up the right fifth of the image, in focus, and the color is directly contrasting the color of the rest of the image (in the now-somewhat-infamous blue-versus-yellow scheme). I don't doubt that some very small number of viewers track exclusively on the dog; while a somewhat larger number very briefly tracks the can but doesn't produce a lasting awareness of it. But I feel pretty safe in asserting that the overwhelming majority of viewers will notice the beer can and remember its presence while a somewhat smaller number will do so, but not recall the brand.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:12 AM on December 28, 2011


Does flagging it as "other" count because there's no choice for "this sucks, its a bad FPP and the thread is going to be less joy on earth etc"?

zarq, SAIT ;p
posted by infini at 9:14 AM on December 28, 2011


People seriously didn't notice the can of Bud and are taking offense at being shown that fact? I thought the whole reason the dude put it in the shot was so that you could see his distorted reflection in the can.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:14 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't see the reflection! DAMN YOU IDIOSYNCRATIC VISUAL AGNOSIA
posted by Mister_A at 9:16 AM on December 28, 2011


I don't take offense at someone saying "hey, you didn't notice the beer can?" Where I take offense is that my failure to have previously noticed the can is being chalked up to a default of character or cognition.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:18 AM on December 28, 2011


Well, it is a defect of cognition because the can is huge and right there in the shot.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:22 AM on December 28, 2011


The way things are deleted on the blue is inevitably related to the way things are deleted on the green.

I hope this isn't the case, they are very different environments.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:25 AM on December 28, 2011


The can is huge enough and off-center enough to look like "a piece of wall that I don't need to look at because look it's a dog."

But, y'know, thanks for insulting people's intelligence. That's a real great way to show off your character there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:26 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, can your histrionics.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:28 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


jamjam: " Could you make money by approaching companies for product placements, or would they approach you?"

Yes, you can make money. How likely it is to happen and how much you can make if it does is very questionable.

You can approach a company, but unless your "brand" and audience is large (or niche) enough, most companies won't care. Sponsorships like Stride Gum's Where the Hell is Matt? campaign are incredibly rare. Ad buys are more likely, or freebies. But honestly, they're also still rare unless you have an established, dedicated and measurable audience.

Companies prefer to spend money on known / proven quantities for obvious reasons.

I work for a pr agency that reps some corporate clients, non-corporate clients and non-profit organizations. We get approached by bloggers and 'vloggers' all the time asking for stuff. Free products, services, gift certificates, sponsorships and advertising support. We nearly always advise our clients to say no to anything other than a small freebie for review, unless what's being proposed is a sponsorship or ad campaign with a *huge* website that is likely to sync with our client's interests. And we make sure there's full transparency for consumers. No astroturfing. Ever. If a client of ours is sponsoring an event or something similar, their logo and participation better damned well be prominently visible.
posted by zarq at 9:29 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan: "Well, it is a defect of cognition because the can is huge and right there in the shot."

Is this really necessary? You're being nasty and insulting. Please let it go.
posted by zarq at 9:31 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went ahead and re-posted the dog video, which I think should satisfy everyone and end this debate.
posted by Mister_A at 9:32 AM on December 28, 2011


Burhanistan, I don't know why you're being fighty about this but it'd be nice if you'd cut it out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:36 AM on December 28, 2011


Where I take offense is that my failure to have previously noticed the can is being chalked up to a default of character or cognition.

All apologies. I could have voiced my observation a more charitably.
posted by philip-random at 9:37 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm really not trying to be fighty, and I'm surprised at the hypersensitivity given the subsite. But point taken.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:39 AM on December 28, 2011


I went ahead and re-posted the dog video, which I think should satisfy everyone and end this debate.

I posted it on AskMe, Projects, and somehow as a Podcast because cortex didn't respond to me on twitter within 45 seconds I assume that works.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:41 AM on December 28, 2011


The important thing is that whether or not it's viral advertising, bud light is disgusting.
posted by Hoopo at 9:51 AM on December 28, 2011


Thank you, philip-random.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:00 AM on December 28, 2011


I'm really not trying to be fighty,

Because "poopyhead" and "fuck y'all" are typically markers of not fighting.
posted by rodgerd at 10:33 AM on December 28, 2011


It was "suck it" and those were obviously jokey responses.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:35 AM on December 28, 2011


Well, in my culture they're terms of endearment.

(I hate my culture. Poopyheads. All of us.)
posted by Dumsnill at 10:37 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Burhanistan: "I'm really not trying to be fighty"

Telling people they're stupid (to paraphrase) isn't trying to be fighty? C'mon.
posted by zarq at 10:43 AM on December 28, 2011


Jesus, zarq. I didn't tell her she was "stupid". Your paraphrasing is uncharitable and it's really none of your business anyway. Not seeing a big can in a picture is a kind of defect of cognition. That's more a literal fact than an insult, at least in my alternate universe.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:50 AM on December 28, 2011


Not seeing a big can in a picture is a kind of defect of cognition.

You've got the necessary medical degree to ascertain the difference between "defect of cognition" and "just wasn't paying that much attention because it was only a damn yotube clip"?

I didn't tell her she was "stupid". Your paraphrasing is uncharitable and it's really none of your business anyway.

If you're concerned about people busting on things that aren't their business, perhaps public web fora are not the place for you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:57 AM on December 28, 2011


Alright, I've just watched that clip for the first time, and yeah, I'd suggest seeking medical attention if you missed that HUGE fuckin' can of Bud Lite taking up 25% of the frame.
posted by gman at 11:06 AM on December 28, 2011


Well, gman, I certainly hope you sought medical attention if you missed the gorilla the first time you saw this clip. Because that was also pretty obvious.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:11 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't tell her she was "stupid". Your paraphrasing is uncharitable

Is it? Telling someone they have a cognitive defect seems pretty unambiguously insulting to me.

...and it's really none of your business anyway

Whatever. Last I checked, this was still a public forum.
posted by zarq at 11:13 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The weird thing is that even after I was told that there would be a gorilla, I still missed it because I was too busy counting throws.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:14 AM on December 28, 2011


How bout you and I get a room?
posted by gman at 11:14 AM on December 28, 2011


I'll be the gorilla...
posted by Dumsnill at 11:16 AM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


No thanks, my new year's resolution is avoiding people who assume people are "dumb" rather than "distracted".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:17 AM on December 28, 2011


The beer can's to the far right of the visual field and is a static element of the shot. A viewer primed to look for a beer can cannot miss it. A viewer primed to look for a dog could easily miss it given that that the dog is center frame and actually does anything at all in the video. Priming matters enormously.

This is probably a thing where people can reasonably acknowledge differing outcomes without getting into pop neurology.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:18 AM on December 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the can helps frame the shot and can be easily and plausibly missed
posted by P.o.B. at 11:25 AM on December 28, 2011


Cortex is so painfully reasonable.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:26 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it depends on how many cans you've had.
posted by Sailormom at 11:39 AM on December 28, 2011


Hmm. I saw the can, in the sense that I noticed the reflective surface from which one could see the guitarist. I also assumed, like someone upthread, that the can had been placed there specifically as a reflective surface, to show the syncing between the strumming and the dog's head bobbing. I totally did not notice what kind of can it was or the logo on it, so was really perplexed by why people thought it was a viral ad, until I read the comments and realized that they were talking about the can.

Oh well. Cute dog. (I don't think it was an ad).
posted by bardophile at 11:42 AM on December 28, 2011


Why wasn't the guitarist in the shot? THIS PERPLEXES ME.
posted by desjardins at 12:17 PM on December 28, 2011


maybe he is and we were focusing on the dog.
posted by sweetkid at 12:48 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe it was an ad for guitars?
posted by Sailormom at 12:50 PM on December 28, 2011


This is probably a thing where people can reasonably acknowledge differing outcomes without getting into pop neurology.

So what percentage of people would have noticed a similarly sized and placed can of Pepsi*?

* This is a kind of pop. Some very bad, very deficient people may call it "soda", but I am not one of them.
posted by maudlin at 12:57 PM on December 28, 2011


How many people would have noticed the tortoise on its back helpless...
posted by Mister_A at 1:04 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm really not trying to be fighty, and I'm surprised at the hypersensitivity given the subsite. But point taken.

I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just really surprised at how fragile you guys are!
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:06 PM on December 28, 2011


Wait, there was a dog in the video?
posted by perhapses at 1:15 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just really surprised at how fragile you guys are!

I'm not trying to stir up shit that's already settled by restating someone's comments in a more unfavorable light, I'm just taking a dump in Metatalk!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:17 PM on December 28, 2011


Well, when somebody points out other people as being "hypersensitive", it makes me wonder, "why is this person being so hyperdefensive?"
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:20 PM on December 28, 2011


Enough with the passive agrressive already. This isn't Christmas dinner.
posted by Hoopo at 1:27 PM on December 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


I am HyperAwesome
posted by Mister_A at 1:27 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do they still make those Hypercolor shirts?
posted by box at 2:54 PM on December 28, 2011


Hoopo knows the true meaning of Christmas.
So does Mark E Smith
posted by philip-random at 3:58 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


box - no, but you can always screen print a hypercolour logo on a flouro tshirt to confuse people...
posted by russm at 5:06 PM on December 28, 2011


I would trade passive aggressive for some of the outright aggressive Christmas dinners I've suffered in the past.
posted by arcticseal at 5:48 PM on December 28, 2011


Wait, there was a dog in the video?

It was playing fetch with the gorilla.
posted by homunculus at 7:10 PM on December 28, 2011


I thought the flags were not a voting system, but were supposed to be a quick "hey, look at this" {potential problem}{fantastic}{etc} -- something quicker & easier than firing up the contact form. That is, flags would notify moderators that a bit more attention should be paid to a given post/thread, and if necessary use their wisdom, experience, judgement, and superpowers to set things back toward course (which, yes, might include deletion if, say, it broke guidelines)

It's been pointed out plenty of times that if a post subject is something a member isn't particularly keen on, they're welcome to stay out of the thread. The first post was taken down by poster's request, I presume because too many people were going wild over the opportunity to derail (I gather over perceived insensitivity to mental health issues and the difficulties of keeping panties pressed and clean it this turbulent world filled with music, dogs, and beer), so it was starting to careen off the rails. I thought that was unfortunate, but if folks are going to get worked up and steer a thread into the ditch, asking for it to be taken down for the health of community discussion is a perfectly reasonable and responsible reaction.

For the second post, If people are flagging it because It's A Commercial, well, (1) in the first place, the evidence is that they're wrong. (2) as pointed out above, viral commercial-thingys happen all the time, so evidently that isn't necessarily verboten -- (modulo self-promote & pollution). (3) Double? Nope. So we're left with "other" -- which apparently means "I don't like this post" (I assume it wasn't deleted because of "fantastic" flags) As others have now explained, it really means "I don't like this post because of personal held prejudices/values, which precluded me for actually RTFA, or considering to PoV of anyone else in the Meta universe."

I liked the post; but then I like dogs, and dog training (theory & practice), and music (and questions regarding other species ability to recognize music). I don't like Bud, unless it's OPB. I don't particularly like the color yellow. I wish it hadn't been deleted, but I understand that mods gotta do what mods gotta do. I also agree that greater transparency wrt flags would ideally be a Good Thing, although my sense is that it's been discussed, and it's thought to be problematic because of a tendency towards excitability among some members. But, now that it's been deleted, what's the tally after the fact? What (wrong) flags did people inflict? Did anyone flag it as fantastic? (Note: Example of why real time display of flag tallies might be problematic -- had I known that a bunch of dog-haters were going to jump on this, I'd have been tempted to flag it as fantastic (& I think we all agree we don't want flag wars))

Since I like examples, here's a counter-example: This is an example of a post that (a) Was, in fact, an ad; (b) A far stronger argument of misogyny could be made against that FFP than the claim that the use of the phrase "panties all bunched up" was misogynist; (c) resulted in one of the best followup links ever (spoiler: libraries rule!)

Finally, I gotta admit: This Meta really harshes the excellent mellow I got from the FPP. It makes me feel that an awful lot of Mefits are "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes," mean-spirited gleefs who enter FPP already spring-loaded into the pissed-off position, who quickly ascribe the worst possible motives to everyone except themselves. Which is to say: While I don't agree with the deletion, I see it more as a community failure than as a moderator error. {I mean, really: What's a mod supposed to do when a bunch of jerks members are itching to fight?}
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 11:27 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


It makes me feel that an awful lot of Mefits are "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes," mean-spirited gleefs who enter FPP already spring-loaded into the pissed-off position, who quickly ascribe the worst possible motives to everyone except themselves.

Emphasized for irony.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:40 PM on December 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Flagging is still just one criterion. It's just not not a criterion; flagging is part of how we look at this stuff, and the difference between a not-very-substantial post that no one is flagging and one that a lot of people are flagging is significant."

I can't think of a time when anyone has ever given you guys shit for using flagging as a powerful tool for finding stuff that needs dealing with, just when it is a percieved substitute and declared aid in judgement.

Flagging seems like it is fantastic as a tool for not being caught unawares, but as a tool for gauging community reaction it is predictably terrible. As a judge of content it relies on a distorted subset of dozens at best to determine the tastes of tens of thousands, that doesn't work. I loved the video, it was genuinely cute and there was a lot to talk about in terms of how it was made*. The last deleted post was great and would have never run into any issues if the beer had been some micro-brew, I bet a NASCAR hat would have done the same in a way that a Starbucks cup wouldn't. In this case the flags seem like they were little more than a reflection of our worst classist instincts as a user-base.

As a user I don't flag anywhere near as much as I'd otherwise like to because I know that there is no way to flag something as worth paying attention to without knowing that it would also be taken as some kind of perversely distorted vote on the merit of whatever might be worth looking at. It sucks, but I think it speaks a lot to the trust this community has in you guys' judgement that every time the issue comes up we practically beg you guys to not place value in this shitty form of input. It feels like flags have slowly become increasingly entrenched as a lightly filtered and policed version of downvotes, I think that is a terrible development, we don't have to be like reddit.

*I figure that the video was made first with the dog being signaled to pant and stop panting with a treat of some kind and then a music track custom built to the video was overlaid onto it. It worked because the talented musician was able to match the meter to the natural rocking of the dog as it panted.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:44 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It feels like flags have slowly become increasingly entrenched as a lightly filtered and policed version of downvotes, I think that is a terrible development, we don't have to be like reddit.

The difference between mefi flags and reddit's use of visible downvote tracking that automatically triggers changes in content visibility is fundamental, though. That's a really major functional distinction, and a pretty important one, and one that despite occasional proposals is not going to change.

I don't entirely disagree with you about the usefulness of flags as a way to accurately measure the mindset of the whole userbase—obviously with only a subset of the userbase actively flagging in any given period what we have to work with has sample-size problems and probably a lot of variance—but it is, for all that, better than anything else we've got and generally pretty useful as a gestural indicator of what the userbase's feelings are about something contentious.

People flag, we go look, we see if it seems like the thing being flagged needs action. It's never going to be something that satisfies everybody, because people's preferences vary from user to user: when we take action that someone doesn't agree with, or don't take action that someone thinks we should, the flagging system seems off to them; when we take action that someone thinks we should or decline to act when someone would prefer to see us so declining, the flagging system works. So it goes.

But the alternative of just not having that input at all isn't any better, and would I think in practice be a lot worse: it'd just literally be us making calls with comparatively nil input from the community, and/or folks taking more potentially disruptive approaches to voicing their feedback (threadshitting, much busier use of Metatalk, etc) in the absence of a dedicated back-channel for it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:06 AM on December 29, 2011


It seems obvious to me that when something is being heavily flagged it means that lots of disparate people have individually decided that the particular post/comment/question is not appropriate for Metafilter. This is the community part of Metafilter moderation. The insinuation that just a few people are actively stifling comment on here seems unlikely.

Matt has employed people to filter his site and has also intentionally made community opinion available via both Metatalk and the flagging system.

No-one likes criticism, particularly the harsh kind which leads to deletions and so forth but I think what we have is infinitely preferable to public shaming like upvotes and downvotes. I think the mods use what we give them, plus their own good sense and feel for what this site is about, to determine what stays and goes. We don't always get what we want but on here we usually get a pretty good reason why.

No system is perfect but on the other hand it is impossible to please everyone. There is always a reason why something has been deleted. You may not agree with it but nothing's being purged willy-nilly.
posted by h00py at 5:29 AM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


h00py: "It seems obvious to me that when something is being heavily flagged it means that lots of disparate people have individually decided that the particular post/comment/question is not appropriate for Metafilter.

The thing is, people can have a lot of different motivations for flagging. Sometimes the reason someone might consider something "not appropriate for Metafilter" could be, "conflicts with my personal worldview." The mods have said in the past that a very small number of people do react to criticism of their sacred cows by flagging. So that also has to be taken into account.

This is the community part of Metafilter moderation. The insinuation that just a few people are actively stifling comment on here seems unlikely."

"This thread is not going well." is a valid deletion reason here. Every once in a while, a small number of people misbehave in a thread to such a degree that they cause it to be shut down. Often, by threadshitting early and derailing a thread so badly that it gets deleted.
posted by zarq at 8:09 AM on December 29, 2011


that doesn't work

It does, actually, mostly work. The definition of "working" is not that every post you like doesn't get deleted and every post you dislike does get deleted. The definition of "works" to my mind, from a mod perspective, is that most people in the community look at the front page and understand why the posts that remained remained and why the posts that got deleted got deleted and that most people know how to make a post to the front page that will not get deleted.

As far as what "works" from a community perspective, we want the front page of MetaFilter to have links to interesting things on the web that will get people talking about them, that don't break a few major rules and several minor guidelines and that don't turn into various sorts of disasters. We do this with a staff of four-plus-mathowie moderators and the flagging assistance of thousands of members, round the clock. We use other feedback mechanisms such as email and our own judgment on these matters. There are some back-end tools we can use to see where there's a lot of http activity so we can see which places on the site are hopping right now.

If we're going to continue to have a site with moderation, staffed at this level [hiring twice as many people is not an option and not something we'd really like to do in any case] there has to be a way other than each of us reading the entire site to get feedback on how things are going. And we have MetaTalk for people to give feedback on how we're doing our jobs and to give feedback on our decisions.

I understand that deletions can sometimes be contentious, but there's a big gap between "I am not happy with this deletion" and "I understand how MetaFilter is supposed to work and I can say that the tools we are using to guide the moderators are badly broken for their stated purpose" We delete very little front page content that isn't doubles/spam/pending trainwrecks. We probably discuss maybe half of the borderline posts here in some fashion [either not deleted or deleted] and other than some new-mod-adjustment stuff that I feel we're pretty well worked through, I'm not seeing the "this is hugely broken" problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:56 AM on December 29, 2011


"I don't entirely disagree with you about the usefulness of flags as a way to accurately measure the mindset of the whole userbase—obviously with only a subset of the userbase actively flagging in any given period what we have to work with has sample-size problems and probably a lot of variance—but it is, for all that, better than anything else we've got and generally pretty useful as a gestural indicator of what the userbase's feelings are about something contentious."

If you guys are really interested in measuring the mindset of the userbase than there is already a superior metric in place, even if it is still pretty shitty, that one of you guys is even intentionally blind to. Looking at the favorites in both threads would give, I think, a very different impression of how the threads were going than looking at flags had. In second and short lived thread empath's comment

"It is not an ad for Bud Light, and it's not faked, and it's not a double, since the other one was deleted because everyone shit on it out of the gate. Let's not do that again, please. This is a good video and I enjoyed it."

was the only one that had any favorites, with a total of two in the 15 minutes the thread was alive. Whereas in the first thread, the only comment that addressed the link itself and not the framing with more than one favorite was one mocking those who were threadshitting based on the content of the link with 16 favorites. Its greater than an order of magnitude difference.

To be clear, I'm not asking you guys to use favorites as a means to measure site opinions, we've had those threads, I'm just saying that flags can't be any better. I also don't think the video was anywhere near 'hill to die on' good, but I do think that these threads might be an interesting example of how flags might give a meaningfully distorted view of site consensus.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:28 AM on December 29, 2011


I'm just saying that flags can't be any better.

Flags are a specific "note to mods" indicator/tool that we have on the site. Favorites are not. I understand that you think this deletion should have gone differently, but I'm not seeing a compelling "flags are broken" argument here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:46 AM on December 29, 2011


Like Tuesday After Lunch, I was of the opinion that flags were meant to bring mod attention to a comment/post, not to serve as a voting system. As for whether or not this post should have been deleted, I don't care, but I would like it if mods would stop using the number of flags as a reason for deletion.

"Flags are broken" in the sense that they're being used to justify deletions with no basis other than X number of people didn't like it. Have mods given us any indication what "flagged to hell" means? Tens of flags, hundreds?
posted by VoteBrian at 12:19 PM on December 29, 2011


"Flags are broken" in the sense that they're being used to justify deletions with no basis other than X number of people didn't like it.

I've read nothing to indicate this is true. Could you clarify?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:51 PM on December 29, 2011


When asked why the thread was deleted, restless_nomad replied:
"I was pretty reluctant to delete it the first time, although it was getting flagged to hell, and was sort of annoyed to be presented with the debate a second time, but... it was getting flagged to hell. So... guess this one is a no-win for me, eh?"

The only reason given for the deletion was the number of flags.
posted by VoteBrian at 12:57 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't understand this. The mods keep saying "that isn't how we use flags," but people keep insisting that it is and that therefore flags are "broken." There is a lot of information about flags and how they are used by mods, but you do have to pay attention to what the mods are saying to access it.

Looking at the favorites in both threads would give, I think, a very different impression of how the threads were going than looking at flags had.

Favorites comprise multiple reasons but flatten them into one [Number of favorites] that offers no indication of why something was favorited. Just the two most commonly discussed--liking something or bookmarking something are often at cross purposes.

Flags comprise multiple reasons and allow for all that information to be transmitted to the mods.
posted by OmieWise at 12:59 PM on December 29, 2011


THIS will teach that damn dog to smile around here!
posted by tomswift at 2:24 PM on December 29, 2011


Can't you see this smiling dog guessing game is tearing us apart?
posted by sweetkid at 2:28 PM on December 29, 2011


That was my intent from the beginning... The destruction of Metafilter, via dog.
posted by tomswift at 2:59 PM on December 29, 2011


Yes this is dog.
posted by The Whelk at 3:15 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


You've trashed Metafiler now, dog.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:52 PM on December 29, 2011


[whimpers]
posted by Meta Filter at 4:20 PM on December 29, 2011


I was going to make a YTMND with a pic of that silly dog and my shitty Connery imitation over the guitar music but I then I screwed it up and decided that I really didn't want my life to come to that.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:27 PM on December 29, 2011


Actually, I lied. My life really did come to that.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:35 PM on December 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


That is the worst Sean Connery imitation I have ever heard in my life.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:40 PM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but that line from Finding Forrester doesn't really sound like Connery's usual brogue.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:45 PM on December 29, 2011


holy shit that is turrible
posted by nathancaswell at 5:46 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


YTMND is the Taj Mahal of Turrible. That's why you go there.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:48 PM on December 29, 2011


I disagree, the one with Rowlf / Buju Banton is the opposite of turrible.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:52 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


And anything with the NEDM tag is going to be great.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:57 PM on December 29, 2011


That's a friggin' viral video, isn't it Burhanistan? You're pimpin' for the GRRM, aren't you?

I want my FPP undeleted!
posted by tomswift at 6:03 PM on December 29, 2011


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