Donate here! January 24, 2012 8:58 PM   Subscribe

As long as we are looking for clarification on posts that push boundaries, how about this direct link to a project seeking donations? It's not a Kickstarter, but equivalent.
posted by Ardiril to Etiquette/Policy at 8:58 PM (38 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

huh, I didn't notice this link in the post had so much fundraising going on. I thought it was more about the subject of the film but the linked site does call out their IndieGoGo campaign in several spots. It got hardly any flags, and I think people are discussing the bigger subject than the film or fundraising itself.

I don't think it's quite delete worthy after being up for five hours with almost no complaints, but it's certainly close to the line where we do cut posts that are mostly kickstarter type pleas for funds.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:07 PM on January 24, 2012


Placing pleas for donations below the fold has become de rigueur for this reason.
posted by Ardiril at 9:11 PM on January 24, 2012


Yeah, it seems like there's a lot more to the project than just the "help us fund this good idea" and that seems to be the spirit that people are taking the post in.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:20 PM on January 24, 2012


What made this seem okay to me was that the content on the site was solid and there was a substantial amount of content beyond the trailer and solicitation (there are a number of related video and text contributions further in). I felt like the site presented a worthwhile assembly of viewpoints on its subject, enough to foster a discussion.

Also, the poster didn't point at or push the solicitation aspect.
posted by nanojath at 9:22 PM on January 24, 2012


Is this then an exception or a precedent?
posted by Ardiril at 9:32 PM on January 24, 2012


I bet it's neither, but rather a specific case on a site where most things are decided on a case-by-case basis.
posted by hippybear at 9:39 PM on January 24, 2012 [21 favorites]


It's sort of both, depending on how narrow your view is. It's an exception to the rule that posts that have a significant fundraising aspect to them are a poor idea, and it's a precedent that if the fundraising aspect is sort of borderline and the mods don't notice for several hours and in the meantime a good discussion arises around the non-fundraising aspects then the mods will probably let it stand when it is eventually brought to their attention.

But my desire to have the entire world sorted into little boxes ala Aristotle aside, hippybear's answer is better.
posted by Scientist at 11:03 PM on January 24, 2012


The donation aspect was just part of the site, not the raison d'etre, it had good links and information. My 2c is that it's OK to let it stand, the discussion on the post is going well.
posted by arcticseal at 11:10 PM on January 24, 2012


pimento based algebra. phosphorescent fishes. a battle between good and evil. goats. an anaenome. duluth. hotel. lizard. highway. a grand design for a futuristic city that would ultimately suffer from lack of sidewalks. stylish chairs and a lack of public transportation.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:28 AM on January 25, 2012 [7 favorites]

Is this then an exception or a precedent?
Why do people want rules so badly?

It is crazy how much people like rules.
posted by kavasa at 1:01 AM on January 25, 2012 [19 favorites]


pimento based algebra. phosphorescent fishes. a battle between good and evil. goats. an anaenome. duluth. hotel. lizard. highway. a grand design for a futuristic city that would ultimately suffer from lack of sidewalks. stylish chairs and a lack of public transportation.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:28 AM on January 25 [+] [!]


OH HELLS YEAH! Quoted for motherfuckin'allcaps TRUTH!
posted by From Bklyn at 1:38 AM on January 25, 2012


Why do people want rules so badly?

The mods make the rules. We just want clear ones that we can use to make decisions.
posted by smackfu at 5:06 AM on January 25, 2012


...that we can use to make decisions without fully evaluating the ramifications, implications, expectations, and situations resulting from and/or surrounding our action/inaction. Rules allow me to act without thinking as much.
posted by carsonb at 5:16 AM on January 25, 2012


Up to the point where you disagree with the rules, at which point they allow you to act in spite of your own judgements.
posted by smackfu at 5:57 AM on January 25, 2012


Why do people want rules so badly?

Probably for the same reasons they want a king.
posted by Jahaza at 7:03 AM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


The hard and fast rule on the site has been, specifically "No Kickstarter links" which was basically put in place so we didn't have to guess if every post about a thing that also happened to have a Kickstarter equivalent was a secret "Fund this" post. At the point at which we made this decision, Kickstarter was pretty much the only game in town for crowdsourced funding. Now there are more options and there isn't a bright line we've drawn, yet, about whether we're extending this to, say IndieGoGo because it just doesn't come up. We were seeing a mess of Kickstarter posts and we just did not want to be in the position where we had to evaluate each one to see if it was spamming for donations or not.

However, people have always linked to stuff that had a "fund this" aspect whether it's political campaign sites, or shareware games or whatever. While this page [which I can't get to now because there's some database error] has a big "Donate" link it also seemed to us to be a project that was already a thing in its own right, and maybe raising funds to become a bigger thing. So that's why we came down on this one in this way, but we may have to look into the larger "How much of a donate link is okay for a post to not be deleted?" issue
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:16 AM on January 25, 2012


My donate link is in my profile everybody. Make me rich!

jk
posted by cjorgensen at 7:37 AM on January 25, 2012


The mods make the rules. We just want clear ones that we can use to make decisions.

I dunno, it seems to me the only time a "clear rule" on this would be useful would be in a MeTa complaining about the deletion of a soliciting FPP based on the principle of "you let them do it and it was totally OK!" I'd rather not read that MeTa.

Still shorter: the rule seems to be "don't link to donation sites, and the mods will decide what is a donation site on a case-by-case basis."
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:44 AM on January 25, 2012


Why do people want rules so badly?

So they can feel ok when judging others. So much more fun to peek through the curtains when your neighborhood has a covenant describing exactly how tall the grass should be.
posted by yerfatma at 7:45 AM on January 25, 2012

We just want clear ones that we can use to make decisions.
"Post in good faith" seems like a good way to do that? I mean maybe you'll mess up from time to time, it happens, but it's no bigs.
posted by kavasa at 8:14 AM on January 25, 2012


"Post in good faith" is a good start, as is "recognize that while it may sting a bit, having a post deleted says absolutely nothing about your worth as a human being; conversely, another person not having their post deleted also says absolutely nothing about their worth as a human being".
posted by Lexica at 8:23 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Post in good faith" seems like a good way to do that?

Well, for instance, "No kickstarter projects" doesn't really match up with my personal "post in good faith" filter, especially if it's a cool project with a good video and I don't have any personal involvement. Does it match up with your filter?
posted by smackfu at 8:28 AM on January 25, 2012


Also, there's kind of the odd juxtaposition between "hard and fast rules" like "No kickstarter links" and then not having a list of rules anywhere that I can find.
posted by smackfu at 8:34 AM on January 25, 2012


smackfu: “The mods make the rules. We just want clear ones that we can use to make decisions.”

I think I see where you're coming from, and yeah, it would suck if we were always having to guess what was going to be okay and what wasn't.

The trouble with this formulation of it, though, is that it totally leaves out what is probably the most important and pivotal part of the process we use here: the part where we talk about it. Our system of loose guidelines and case-by-case decisions works because we regularly have discussions about what the community expects, and we can always talk about it if there's some confusion or question.

The world is too messy for set-in-stone rules that always apply in the same way. The more desirable alternative is to have open lines of communication about whatever might come up.
posted by koeselitz at 9:01 AM on January 25, 2012


A key problem with rules is that they can be gamed and worked around. Human moderators reasoning on a case-by-case basis can only be gamed or worked around until they figure out what's going on.
posted by Jpfed at 9:11 AM on January 25, 2012


The Kickstarter thing is a recent development; we should get it into the FAQ probably but haven't yet. It does get addressed in part on the Projects posting page, but that's sort of a side issue.

We've never had a List Of The Rules in any more concrete a sense than the FAQ and the signup/guidelines stuff that addresses the general spirit of the site and the guidance on various posting and commenting forms on the site. Stuff tends to get handled more through discussions in metatalk and a continuity of community awareness of what flies and what doesn't.

Which is less satisfyingly concrete than an actual list of rules when what you're looking for is the rule that says it's not okay to do a thing you've tried to do or for a rule that justifies your argument that a thing that was allowed should not be, etc. And that can be understandably frustrating if you're looking at something and feeling like there should be a quick and clean way to evaluate or point to the fairness/unfairness of something.

But the wall of rules, the explicit codification of dos and don'ts, presents its own problems. Aside from the basic philosophical question of whether or not it's a good way to go for the site (and my feeling is that it's very much not for Mefi but I don't feel that it's an inherently bad idea in principle and may work well elsewhere), there's the practical issue of how you balance the need to codify with the practical limits of people's willingness and ability to parse a list of rules.

Like, the hardest and fastest of the hard-and-fast rules, the one big long-standing over-reaching one, is the prohibition on self-links, and that's aggressively signposted on the posting page itself as well as elsewhere. And we still get people self-linking regularly. We could add the next nine or ten things that are at least somewhat brightline issues to that page as well, and then...probably still have people doing those things as well, and have a posting page that's another page long and more dizzying and intimidating to posters. Which doesn't feel like a great outcome.

So, yeah, things are handled through discussion and often mostly reactively. It's mefi culture in terms of both moderation and community metadiscussion, and it's not going to please everyone all the time but to a degree that's more of a question of whether mefi is a good fit for someone on an individual basis than anything. It may not always be, and that's okay.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:11 AM on January 25, 2012


smackfu: “Also, there's kind of the odd juxtaposition between ‘hard and fast rules’ like ‘No kickstarter links’ and then not having a list of rules anywhere that I can find.”

There is a list of guidelines that is provided by the site. (Maybe the Kickstarter rule should be added to it? Or is that evolving?)

Anyhow, this seems to me to be a kind of backwards way of seeing this "hard and fast" rule. I'm pretty sure that the point of having a "hard and fast" rule about this was to make it easier for community members to know what's expected and what will fly as a post. We've had a whole lot of discussions about Kickstarter links, and in the end this is what the mods decided to do just to make it clear to everyone posting and hopefully make it easier for them to know what would work.

There are two extreme poles here, really, as long as there's going to be moderation: mods could make all of their decisions case-by-case, expressing no philosophy whatsoever regarding what they will and won't delete, making the whole thing a crapshoot; or they could have immovable rules that never, ever have exceptions, rules that are set in stone. Instead of being so intractable or so unpredictable, it seems like the mods have tried to set good guidelines and try to make it known what community expectations are whilst also emphasizing that lots of stuff needs to be decided case-by-case. Setting out "hard and fast" guidelines like this is part of that effort to be clear and open with the community.

That's just my view of it, though. The mods themselves might want to correct me on a few points.
posted by koeselitz at 9:11 AM on January 25, 2012


Right, I don't disagree with all that. The original question was "Why do people want rules so badly?", and IMHO it's mainly because rules lead to more rules.
posted by smackfu at 10:43 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Precisely Smackfu. This is why it's dangerous to have hard and fast rules.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:55 AM on January 25, 2012


I mean, this might be a good one, but still. More guidelines, fewer rules. I can see an exception possibility where a link to kickstarter might be appropriate!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:56 AM on January 25, 2012

Well, for instance, "No kickstarter projects" doesn't really match up with my personal "post in good faith" filter, especially if it's a cool project with a good video and I don't have any personal involvement. Does it match up with your filter?
I don't think that's really a great way to look at it. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, I have no idea - there's no specific thing I want to post right now. I've had a couple posts I've thought of making recently and I ended up not doing so because in the end, to me, they felt thin. Maybe they'd've been fine, maybe not. The point is that if I had posted them and they got deleted (or otherwise went down in flames), it's still no bigs.

So I guess what I'm saying is I don't really think in terms of having a filter or not.

On those rare occasions when I decide to make a post (and wow my early posting history is kind of embarrassing), it's because I found a thing and was like "wow this is a neat thing. I bet others might like to view it."

Obviously this ran into difficulties with kickstarter, which is both full of neat things and the solicitation of money, making it SUPER difficult to evaluate the relative sketch level of any given post and also lending itself to the making of lots and lots of difficult-to-evaluate posts, and so in the particular case of one site, a rule was adopted. That all makes sense to me.

What doesn't make sense to me is seeing that rule and then asking questions about "precedent or exception". Post in good faith. If it gets deleted, no bigs.
posted by kavasa at 11:13 AM on January 25, 2012


What doesn't make sense to me is seeing that rule and then asking questions about "precedent or exception".

The way I saw it was... there was a blanket rule about Kickstarter projects. Then someone posts a link to a site on a Kickstarter alternative, this meta is opened, and mathowie says "it's certainly close to the line where we do cut posts that are mostly kickstarter type pleas for funds." To me, that does make me say "is there still a blanket rule?"

That does make sense to me, I guess.
posted by smackfu at 11:27 AM on January 25, 2012


(The mods did address that question later, but not at the point of the comment we are discussing.)
posted by smackfu at 11:28 AM on January 25, 2012


We need hard and fast rules. And some way of questioning those rules. And access to lawyers to quibble over the meanings of those rules. And 36 pages of terms and conditions so we know what those rules are.

Because a prescriptive approach to this is the only thing a small minority of people seems to understand. And as they'll no doubt tell us, this weird thing we have now, where a small number of pleasant people make rational decisions based on community expectation JUST ISN'T WORKING.
posted by seanyboy at 3:05 PM on January 25, 2012


I get the push and pull between having rules and having case-by-case approaches, but it's kind of inane to snark about people who would like clear cut guidelines as if it's some kind of statement about the affairs of the world writ large.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:29 PM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


That'd be fine in the context of questioning why a post you have an investment in has been deleted, but this is the third metatalk post in a row where people are questioning why posts they're probably not involved in have not been deleted.

The warez post, and the editorialising post I can sort of understand, but from the start this post just seems to be an excuse for some people to enforce hard and fast rules without there being a need for those hard and fast rules.

You've got comments like "Is this then an exception or a precedent?" and "The mods make the rules. We just want clear ones that we can use to make decisions." which push all sorts of buttons with me. They give me a feeling that a ruling is being asked for so that someone down the line can pull out subclause (b) of the "no donation sites" rule to cause shit.

So yeah - ignoring the tautological nature of "inane snarking", my snark probably was inane. But in my mind, there's a big difference between getting an idea of what the guidelines are and what this post was about. It's an invitation for more red tape by people who revel more in finding loopholes than they do in seeking clarity.

That's a harsh statement, and I feel bad throwing it at Ardiril, who's generally OK in my book. But it's how I have interpreted it. The post was not made in good faith and it deserves to be mocked.
posted by seanyboy at 3:59 PM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


yerfatma: Why do people want rules so badly?

So they can feel ok when judging others. So much more fun to peek through the curtains when your neighborhood has a covenant describing exactly how tall the grass should be.


Who is judging others again?
posted by spaltavian at 9:11 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


They give me a feeling that a ruling is being asked for so that someone down the line can pull out subclause (b) of the "no donation sites" rule to cause shit.

I understand that feeling, but I think involves attributing motive well beyond what the evidence really supports.

An alternative, more generous attribution: People want rules because they want things to be fair, and they think explicit rules is a good way to achieve fairness.
posted by stebulus at 10:37 AM on January 26, 2012


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