Reminder to FIAMO, people. February 26, 2012 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Reminder to FIAMO, people.

It is just the most recent example, here. I have no qualms about the deletion.

What totally sucks is the people who cannot keep the metacommentary to themselves:

This is not a good post for metafilter.
posted by empath at 4:14 on February 27 [5 favorites +] [Flagged]


Flagged as GRARbait.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:17 on February 27 [+] [Flagged]


I see this happening all over the place, all the time. You are not supposed to do this, even if you are absolutely certain that it is a bad post and needs to go.

As you see, the mods are very much on the case. That post was live for all of 20 minutes or so. There is no need to tell us all that it is bad. The only thing I could see that serving would be collecting some cheap favourites, and letting everyone know that you know that the post will be deleted - what's the point?

In summary, don't do that. Metacommentary goes to Metatalk. Flag stuff and if it sucks the mods will delete it.
posted by Meatbomb to Etiquette/Policy at 3:08 PM (161 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Afro-American?
posted by silby at 3:09 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Flag stuff and if it sucks the mods will delete it.

Not always.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:15 PM on February 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Flagged as observational bias.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:21 PM on February 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


All threads should have a little javascript bedpan for people to shit into. Once it's full it automatically becomes a MeTa post.
posted by The White Hat at 3:22 PM on February 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


Not always.

Well, fair enough. But I guess that is irrelevant anyway. If they decide NOT to delete it, they then have the extra work of weeding out the metacommentary which potentially further fucks up a difficult / struggling post.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:22 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Flagged because it felt good.
posted by timshel at 3:22 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


What does Federazione Italiana Associazione Medici Omeopati have to do with Metafilter?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:23 PM on February 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was about to post this exact metatalk. The post should have been deleted but the new poster deserved to not have people shit on their link without even interacting with it. The post was not quite right for metafilter, but the rampant shitting was shameful.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:25 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I burnt my flags.

ARE YOU HAPPY, OBAMA?!!
posted by found missing at 3:25 PM on February 26, 2012


Not always.

Sure. Everyone's "it sucks" value differs and a post you personally think is bad and flag does not necessarily reach the deletability threshold, insofar as any sort of fixed threshold exists. Early "this is a bad post" comments, however, add nothing of value to the conversation, belong here in the grey if anywhere, and are generally deleted if we see them before the post gets killed.

(Sometimes, if I'm feeling ornery, I'll delete them after the post gets killed, too. Just because.)

If you really think a post is terrible, feel free to send us a contact form message. There's a decent chance it'll actually speed up our response time, depending on who's where, and if the post ends up not getting deleted we don't end up with all that cleanup/grar to deal with.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:26 PM on February 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


Sometimes, if I'm feeling ornery, I'll delete them after the post gets killed, too. Just because.

But I killed a comment in MeFi
Just to watch it die
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:33 PM on February 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


Yeah if you're curious if maybe we didn't see your flag because we were having lunch or something you can drop us a contact form note but seriously "Flagged as _______" comments are problematic and we'd like it if people were a little better at the moving on.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:36 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I saw that link and my immediate thought was "what could I say here that would actually contribute to this discussion?"

I was honestly sad that I couldn't do anything about this, because I'd like metafilter to at least occasionally feature a political discussion more diverse than liberal vs more-liberal, but I guess this isn't going to be it.
posted by modernserf at 3:36 PM on February 26, 2012


"(Sometimes, if I'm feeling ornery, I'll delete them after the post gets killed, too. Just because.)"

I'm really glad that you do this sometimes, thank you!

Sometimes it feels like threadshitting happens in part because it works, where the more people who shit in a thread the more likely it is to get deleted. In this case the post was inherently not a really good one for metafilter, and I'm sure there were plenty of flags, but there are more borderline deletions where the deletion reason references how 'not well the post is doing', which I think might help to enable this shitty dynamic.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:39 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd like metafilter to at least occasionally feature a political discussion more diverse than liberal vs more-liberal, but I guess this isn't going to be it.

Upon checking out Kira Davis' page, I think she would make for a good FPP because all us liberal and more-liberal mefites could lace Davis with our snarky barbs and accuse her of being an attention-whore, and then we could politically-correct ourselves because how dare anyone refer to a black woman as a whore?! That's sexist, and racist if one considered black feminist thought and cultural portrayals of black women over time. Of course, didn't I, to satisfy my curiosity, add more page views and therefor play in to her need for attention even though she doesn't have anything worthwhile to say? Damn!

A very curious game. It seems the only way to win is not to play.
posted by fuq at 3:43 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not everybody likes the flagging system.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:44 PM on February 26, 2012


breaking the guidelines seems a weird way to protest. couldn't people who don't like the flagging system just not flag and also not shit in the thread?
posted by nadawi at 3:47 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dude you have no Quran.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:48 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


breaking the guidelines seems a weird way to protest.

*Sets various pixels on fire*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:54 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you insist, Meatbomb. I flagged this post as noise. Cheers!
posted by crunchland at 4:00 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked the part where he pasted the [Flagged], just so it's 100% clear that it's something up with which he shall not put.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:11 PM on February 26, 2012


Oh my god I just watched the video I knew I shouldn't have it's so bad. What an awful racist hag. Oh god I have to watch a kitten video now.


...


aaah. That's better.
posted by fuq at 4:11 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


breaking the guidelines seems a weird way to protest. couldn't people who don't like the flagging system just not flag and also not shit in the thread?

As blasdelb points out, threadshitting works.
posted by grouse at 4:16 PM on February 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I liked the part where he pasted the [Flagged]

All this delicious irony PLUS a bonus broadcast scolding to the "people" from the volunteer fire department!
posted by Sallyfur at 4:18 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What totally sucks is the people who cannot keep the metacommentary to themselves:

So flag the comments and move on.
posted by DU at 4:21 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will flag mercilessly, fear my wrath.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:21 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, no, DU, you missed the part where we talk about it HERE, in this part of the site specifically dedicated to site etiquette. I need everyone to be following these important instructions, so the silently moving on part does not apply.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:23 PM on February 26, 2012


I am not well-placed to be scolding for making unnecessary noise about a post, but it is true that the 'This is a bad post for metafilter' strikes me as a more refined, non-homophobe version of 'U R gay" comments on youtube.
posted by angrycat at 4:27 PM on February 26, 2012


FIAMO sounds like the name of a crime family.
posted by jonmc at 4:33 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


It really would be nice if the "Other" flag allowed people to write in a reason why they feel a post deserves mod attention. I am convinced it would save us all a lot of threadshitting.
posted by zarq at 4:35 PM on February 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


It's almost like a complaint about breaking the fourth wall.
posted by Atreides at 4:35 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


It really would be nice if the "Other" flag allowed people to write in a reason why they feel a post deserves mod attention.

I've said it before and I believe it still: the only flag (apart from "fantastic" and perhaps "display error") that should be in use is "noise." Specifying why you're flagging something may feel good, but at heart the others all come down to "you should delete this."
posted by psoas at 4:39 PM on February 26, 2012


For everything else, there's MasterCard the contact form.
posted by psoas at 4:41 PM on February 26, 2012


I've said it before and I believe it still: the only flag (apart from "fantastic" and perhaps "display error") that should be in use is "noise." Specifying why you're flagging something may feel good, but at heart the others all come down to "you should delete this."

It would cut down on the mods having to try to guess why people are flagging. Which might allow them to act more quickly. It might also cut down on angst about the system, which usually rears its head when people complain that explanations like "the post was being flagged to death" is too vague.
posted by zarq at 4:56 PM on February 26, 2012


A fair point, I suppose I assumed it's not that often a factor.
posted by psoas at 4:58 PM on February 26, 2012


I don't understand why there isn't a "This shit is really pissing me off, however it might just be me, but I had to tell someone, you know?" flag.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:59 PM on February 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm tryin, Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to flag it and move on.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:01 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


A fair point, I suppose I assumed it's not that often a factor.

It's probably not.

Actually, the primary reason I think it would be a good idea is that clicking and seeing "flagged" doesn't seem to be giving people enough positive feedback to let go and move on.
posted by zarq at 5:13 PM on February 26, 2012


As blasdelb points out, threadshitting works.

As a person who actually has to deal with flags, poor posts, and threadshitting all, I don't think this really follows. The problem is that short of outright refusing to delete threads if someone has been shitting in them (which would be a terrible idea), there's no way to avoid the possible perception (by threadshitters or bystanders alike) that "threadshitting works" even when it doesn't, because, hey, one happened and then the other did.

Correlation is not causation and all that: people dropping metacommentary that they shouldn't into bad posts does not get those posts deleted, the posts being not so good (usually indicated by some mix of flags and email and plain Know It When We See It gut checks) does. We think threadshitting is actually bad behavior, period.

People should not dump metacommentary into posts they think should be deleted or into posts they don't think should be deleted; they should flag or not and move on, possibly to the contact form if they need to let the mods know in more detail what they think the problem is, possibly to Metatalk if they think it's something that needs community discussion. Dropping meta-GRAR into a thread is bad behavior even if it's correctly assessing a thread's likely short lifespan.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:14 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It would cut down on the mods having to try to guess why people are flagging.

Flagging basically is designed to direct our attention to something either quickly or "when you have time" and the types of flags are directed both towards this and letting people who are newer understand some of the reasons you might flag thing with "other" being the catch all. Anything that makes the flag system more cumbersome for us or for users is going to have the exact opposite effect from making us being able to operate more quickly. People are welcome to use the contact form if they feel that they have something to explain to us.

As we've said before, single flags don't do much pretty much anywhere except AskMe, so we're mostly looking for flags that cluster and aggregate. We don't spend a lot of time wondering about flags. A single flag that doesn't make sense, we feel okay ignoring (sometimes people flag in error, among other things). I think people who are going to have angst about the system are going to have angst about it no matter what. We try to be as accessible as we can to explain the moderator decisions, but with a small staff we don't want to get into a situation where we spend more time talking about moderation than we do working at moderating. It's always a balance.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:17 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


So telling people what kind of posts are bad is bad, but telling people what kind of comments they can make is good?
posted by GuyZero at 5:30 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thread"shitting" not only works, it is necessary. Only a small percentage of the community visits MeTa. Plus, the mods frequently say things like "people aren't really loving this" in re: the thread"shits".

I.e., we react how we react. If negatively, it works. And that's OK.
posted by DU at 5:35 PM on February 26, 2012


FIAMO sounds like the name of a crime family.

It means "bad love" in Esperanto, something I hadn't thought of before that's now going to stick in my head.
posted by nangar at 5:38 PM on February 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


"this is a bad post for metafilter" and other statements like that strike me as people who aren't clever enough to figure out a way to say they aren't liking a post while staying on topic and within the guidelines. i'm guilty of this, but i try not to be and the few times i've done it i fully admit i should have either been more creative or moved on without commenting.
posted by nadawi at 5:39 PM on February 26, 2012


i have also absolutely made up a song for FIAMO to the tune of gaga's alejandro. thinking of it as alternately a name for crime family gives me ideas for new verses.
posted by nadawi at 5:43 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


So telling people what kind of posts are bad is bad, but telling people what kind of comments they can make is good?

Talking about policy in MeTa is okay and actually where it's supposed to be happening. Making those sorts of policy-ish statements in MetaFilter is a lot less great.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:43 PM on February 26, 2012


Thread"shitting" not only works, it is necessary .... I.e., we react how we react. If negatively, it works. And that's OK.

There's a difference between threadshitting and criticizing the thing the OP linked to.
posted by nangar at 5:48 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The worst is when people scream Chatfilter! in the first few comments of an askme post and then go on to answer the question like they can't make up their mind what to do.
posted by cuban link flooded jesus at 5:51 PM on February 26, 2012


It's even worse when I'm halfway through typing up my elaborate analysis of the chatfilter topic and then I realize I have to delete the question.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:04 PM on February 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


I've got meat all over me.
posted by telstar at 6:07 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


You're soaking in it.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:14 PM on February 26, 2012


I once had a comment that read "Flagged as boring" that got deleted. I don't remember what the FPP was about, but it was damn sure boring. But I thought it was funny and I don't regret it.

On a serious note, why doesn't Chatfilter actually exist as an official part of MetaFilter?
posted by MattMangels at 6:21 PM on February 26, 2012


FIAMO sounds like the name of a crime family.

I make you a nice comment, and you give da high flag. Are you givin' me da high flag?
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:27 PM on February 26, 2012


I was about to post this exact metatalk. The post should have been deleted but the new poster deserved to not have people shit on their link without even interacting with it. The post was not quite right for metafilter, but the rampant shitting was shameful.

There was basically nothing to say about that post except how much the content sucked. I was trying to figure out a way to say that I disagreed with everything about it, and then realized that it was a waste of time because it was shitty flame bait and the thread was doomed anyway. But your multiline screed about how shitty the post was wasn't any less thread shitting than my comment was.
posted by empath at 6:34 PM on February 26, 2012


There's no chatfilter on metafilter because that's not what it's for. It's why MetaChat was invented, if you want to chat with mefites.
posted by rtha at 6:38 PM on February 26, 2012


There was basically nothing to say about that post except how much the content sucked.

It's totally fine, in fact preferable then, to just not comment at all.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:39 PM on February 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Plus, the mods frequently say things like "people aren't really loving this" in re: the thread"shits".

Again, that threadshitting often co-occurs with unproblematic "not loving this" signifiers like flags and email and metatalk discussion is not the same thing as threadshitting being something we take into account. Assuming that this means threadshitting = good and effective strategy for expression metacommentary is wrong.

And I'm not saying people aren't going to mistakenly assume that sometimes, but, again, there's nothing we can do to prevent that sort of mistaken assumption entirely short of us actually refusing to delete a thread that otherwise should be deleted because we want to make a point of refusing to do something that could be mistaken for endorsing threadshit by implication.

We often remove crappy "blarg sux" commentary from threads that are perfectly fine and folks aren't flagging, or see such stuff end up weaved into the conversation in such a way that removing it is impractical, and those threads themselves stick around just fine. These are two largely separate issues.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:42 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Afro-American?

That was going to be my comment. I even typed it in and hit 'Preview'. But in the end, I decided to flag it and move on.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:55 PM on February 26, 2012


There's no chatfilter on Metafilter because that would be fun. Metafilter is not about fun. It's serious business here. So straighten up and fly right, boy.
posted by crunchland at 7:03 PM on February 26, 2012


Oh I knew about MetaChat, I just prefer to communicate with y'all asynchronously.
posted by MattMangels at 7:31 PM on February 26, 2012


The entire rest of the internet is chatfilter.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:33 PM on February 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh wow, I just now found out there is an actual MetaChat website. I always thought it was just an IRC channel. Well I learned something new here today.
posted by MattMangels at 7:36 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was honestly sad that I couldn't do anything about this, because I'd like metafilter to at least occasionally feature a political discussion more diverse than liberal vs more-liberal, but I guess this isn't going to be it.
If we wanted something other than a left-leaning electronic circlejerk, we'd go outside.
posted by planet at 7:39 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Afro-American?

Using Afro– rather than African– is way more common in compound words. It might be contrary to accepted use in this case, but it's a regular extension of accepted use in many other cases.
posted by Jehan at 7:42 PM on February 26, 2012


Here: Practice with this one.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:47 PM on February 26, 2012


Huh. I bet my old friend, the Hollywood producer, with the same name as that woman is not very happy right now. I read the post and freaked for about half a second.

It's a crappy post. But I think that things like the NYT story about people living alone is crappy. I'd be happy to see SLNYT-Lifestyle posts nuked from orbit. I'd like to see the articles themselves nuked from orbit. I was sorely tempted to bitch in that thread, if only because I (ahem, please forgive my hypocrisy) had earlier read the story and thought to myself, I bet this shows up on MeFi. Which of course it did.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:54 PM on February 26, 2012


In summary, don't do that. Metacommentary goes to Metatalk. Flag stuff and if it sucks the mods will delete it.

You should take your own advice.
posted by karathrace at 8:17 PM on February 26, 2012


"because we were having lunch or something"

I thought Matt chained all you mods to terminals powered by elliptical trainers. Huh.
posted by bardic at 8:19 PM on February 26, 2012


What's the purpose of the flagging mechanism for comments in MetaTalk? It seems like almost nothing gets deleted in this part of the site, and the most contentious threads move so fast they can't be moderated much unless a mod or two is sitting right on them.
posted by gingerest at 8:25 PM on February 26, 2012


If every vaguely meta- comment went to the grey instead of the blue hen the grey would be 10x busier than it is now. I understand what Meta talk is for but a the same time sometimes its OK to say a post is stinky in the comments.
posted by GuyZero at 8:27 PM on February 26, 2012


I'd be happy to see SLNYT-Lifestyle posts nuked from orbit.

Yeah, I think I'd be ok with a site-wide policy to automatically delete any post that is single-link to a New York Times article that either includes the phrase "small but growing number of" or quotes a sociologist with a new book just out.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:29 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hell no. Moderator's Union would never allow anything to be automatically anythinged.
posted by crunchland at 8:39 PM on February 26, 2012


What's the purpose of the flagging mechanism for comments in MetaTalk?

You're right, we only delete stuff that's pretty out-there egregious, but it seemed like a better idea to just keep the flag options more or less the same. But really one of our main jobs when we're on shift is, yeah, to sit right on top of fast moving Meta threads if there are any.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:48 PM on February 26, 2012


You should take your own advice.

But … this is metatalk?
posted by kenko at 8:50 PM on February 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Okay; I disagree, but I'm not going to make a big deal about it. I decided a while ago I shouldn't and wouldn't do that any more and I've been more or less successful in keeping to that vow.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:59 PM on February 26, 2012


"Again, that threadshitting often co-occurs with unproblematic "not loving this" signifiers like flags and email and metatalk discussion is not the same thing as threadshitting being something we take into account. Assuming that this means threadshitting = good and effective strategy for expression metacommentary is wrong."

I feel a lot better now that this has been explicitly stated, I'm not the only one in this thread who has gotten what seems to be the wrong impression from the correlation. Now that I think about it I can't really think of an effective way to consistently diffuse the impression that shitting in a doomed or borderline thread was effective at nuking it either. You guys have already been pretty darn consistent about how unacceptable threadshitting is in general.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:02 PM on February 26, 2012


It means "bad love" in Esperanto, something I hadn't thought of before that's now going to stick in my head.posted by nangar at 5:38 PM on February 26

I propose that from now on we refer to flagging a thread as "giving it some bad love"
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:21 PM on February 26, 2012


So...this post was a user taking it upon himself on behalf of the mods to tell other users not to take it upon themselves to do things on behalf of the mods?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:29 PM on February 26, 2012


now we understand what a shadow mod's business is.
posted by not_on_display at 9:35 PM on February 26, 2012


I believe that Meatbomb didn't think that flagging the comments sufficiently expressed his disapproval.
posted by empath at 9:36 PM on February 26, 2012


Mefite: There was basically nothing to say about that post except how much the content sucked.

Jessamyn: It's totally fine, in fact preferable then, to just not comment at all.

I don't understand your statement, jessamyn. I think "this sucks" is as valid and welcome as "that was great. Thanks for posting."

It wasn't clear that the poster agreed with the woman's YouTube rant. (And even if he/she did, that wouldn't render a "this sucks" less of a valid contribution in my view.)
posted by jayder at 9:38 PM on February 26, 2012


But … this is metatalk?
Take it to metametatalk, pal.
posted by planet at 9:41 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or he thought it was worth reiterating in metatalk, where that kinda stuff goes.

Come on empath, quit being a grump. You were wrong to complain in that thread and if you don't apologize you should at least take the criticism like a man.

Everyone else (especially DU): stop thread shitting now and always. It sucks.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:43 PM on February 26, 2012


Jesus Murphy has nobody ever read metatalk? Saying "this sucks" is not a valid response early in a thread. It just isn't. And the mods rightly delete that crap.

WHY AM I SO ANGRY IT'S BECAUSE KRISTIN WIG DIDN'T WIN I BET
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:44 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now that I think about it I can't really think of an effective way to consistently diffuse the impression that shitting in a doomed or borderline thread was effective at nuking it either.

Yeah, that's the tricky bit. We will sometimes explicitly address some crappy in-thread behavior with an admin-style note (especially if we've needed to delete some stuff) or with just a normal comment, regardless of whatever else happens to the thread it was in, but explicitly disclaiming that stuff every time would be really sort of heavy-handed compared to how stuff here normally operates and can itself feel like borderline picking a fight when we're not really wanting to guarantee some sort of metatalk throwdown to add on to an already busy day, etc. It's tricky.

So...this post was a user taking it upon himself on behalf of the mods to tell other users not to take it upon themselves to do things on behalf of the mods?

And we haven't even gotten to the act II reveal that the mysterious gentleman caller was in fact the young duchess in drag trying to work out her suspicions that her fiance was having an affair with another woman when, in fact, he was calling on his ailing aunt. Stuff is gonna get complicated.

But, really, the distinction between Metatalk and not-Metatalk is the key thing here; whether a user's question or complaint or exhortation is well-founded or not, it's fundamentally okay to try and have a discussion about site policy and etiquette here. That's what this part of the site is for, any quibbles with a given post's framing (and there's often stuff to legitimately quibble about there, sure) totally notwithstanding.

I think "this sucks" is as valid and welcome as "that was great. Thanks for posting."

They aren't equivalent in the kind of net effect they tend to have on a thread, though. And this is not to say you can't put up some sort of substantial criticism of the content of the links in a thread; that sort of thing tends to be fine and can be productive if a thread sticks around after all, because there's something to discuss even if people disagree with specific points being made.

But "this is a bad post" or something like it isn't a point of discussion about the content of links, it's metacommentary about whether a post should be on the site. That's for Metatalk, or for flagging to let us know and leaving it at that. "This is great, thanks" may be similarly light on substance but it's not starting an argument about posting guidelines or so on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:47 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Flagging basically is designed to direct our attention to something either quickly or "when you have time" and the types of flags are directed both towards this and letting people who are newer understand some of the reasons you might flag thing with "other" being the catch all. Anything that makes the flag system more cumbersome for us or for users is going to have the exact opposite effect from making us being able to operate more quickly. People are welcome to use the contact form if they feel that they have something to explain to us.

Okay.

As we've said before, single flags don't do much pretty much anywhere except AskMe, so we're mostly looking for flags that cluster and aggregate. We don't spend a lot of time wondering about flags. A single flag that doesn't make sense, we feel okay ignoring (sometimes people flag in error, among other things).

Okay.

I think people who are going to have angst about the system are going to have angst about it no matter what.

I think some of the angst that has been expressed here in the past might be fixable. Perhaps.

You have more experience in this to be sure, but from a user's perspective (and this has been brought up by others in Metatalk in the past,) there is really no transparent feedback involved in the system other than a quick tiny notice that you've clicked correctly. If one of you takes action on a flag (which is of course not guaranteed,) then that's additional feedback. But otherwise, a user clicks flag, the site acknowledges: "flagged," and that's it. As you note, by design one has to take an extra step to get more feedback.

I think this sets up a scenario that is perhaps counterintuitive? When something causes upset, it's natural for us to look for a sign that our actions are triggering a direct, predictable reaction.

I'm not advocating changing the way the system works, necessarily. I get that there are good reasons why the system has been designed the way it has, and now I understand why additional information in a fill-in field might cause an unwanted lag. I just wonder if even a mechanical placebo might relieve some user stress, that's all.
posted by zarq at 10:04 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thread"shitting" not only works, it is necessary.

Why?

There are prominently displayed and easily accessible site guidelines, a wiki, post deletion explanations, mods on call via the contact form, and a rather large archive of meta posts that people can be pointed to, devoted to what makes a good and bad FPP. What is it about thread shitting comments that somehow makes them necessary and vital to the proper functioning of the site? What purpose do they serve that the other elements I mention do not?

Only a small percentage of the community visits MeTa. Plus, the mods frequently say things like "people aren't really loving this" in re: the thread"shits".

So what? If a post doesn't work, there are certainly already ways to understand why, without it being somehow necessary for commenters to act poorly in a thread's comments.

I.e., we react how we react. If negatively, it works. And that's OK.

There are people on this site who are basically curmudgeons. You hit a subject they dislike, and they'll complain about it in an entirely irrational and unnecessary manner forever.

And that has a negative effect. I know for a fact that there are Mefites who do not make posts because they feel that Metafilter is a very tough crowd with high standards. Perhaps unreasonably high standards. They're afraid of people being obnoxious and threadshitting, and being attacked for posting something they personally were interested in.

A number of people have said this in Meta over the years. A handful of people have asked me via memail to consider posting on a topic they were interested in, because they were afraid of doing it themselves.

Doesn't that just suck?

People should not be afraid to post here. They certainly deserve better than to believe their post is not going to measure up. Or that if they step the wrong way, someone's going to call them out.

No?
posted by zarq at 10:25 PM on February 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


zarq: " People should not be afraid to post here. They certainly deserve better than to believe their post is not going to measure up. Or that if they step the wrong way, someone's going to call them out."

No they shouldn't, but I am afraid to post on the blue.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:07 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


You guys have already been pretty darn consistent about how unacceptable threadshitting is in general.

Except when inconsistent.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:27 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Thread shitting' not only works, it is necessary. Only a small percentage of the community visits MeTa. Plus, the mods frequently say things like 'people aren't really loving this' in re: the thread'shits'."

Back in my previous incarnation, I was in the camp defending what we're calling threadshitting. I thought it was necessary because it was important that there be feedback directed to and visible to everyone about what is and what is not a good post. That's what community standards are. And that this is hashed out here isn't really a game-changer, because only a tiny, tiny portion of even the active members of the site read MeTa, or even barely know it exists. If they know it exists at all.

And none of that has changed.

What has changed are a couple of things. First, more posts are deleted (I think). And, second, there's a lot more people, not just in total, but a lot more active members.

The latter really changes the dynamics of discussions in threads and it's at the point where discussing whether a post is bad is prohibitively derailing. The bad generated by that exceeds the good generated by having community-wide visible pushback against bad posts.

And if, in fact, more posts are deleted, then there's a fairly strong feedback mechanism to the individual posters, at least. If all bad posts were immediately deleted and therefore the only negative feedback that anyone got for bad posts was having their own posts deleted, then it wouldn't much reduce the number of bad posts (reducing only the number of subsequent bad posts from the same user, not reducing bad first posts), but, hey, I'm not a mod so what do I care? That's more work for the mods, but I'd never see the bad posts, because they'd all be immediately deleted.

True, in practice, it's not quite so absolute. And, furthermore, I think that discouragement of "threadshitting" in posts has had a direct influence on having it been a losing battle against certain kinds of popular posts, such as newsfilter. So, that's bad, and I, as someone who hates newsfilter, am not happy about it.

But, all in all, I can really see why letting people doing metabitching is counterproductive, on balance.

As to this:

"I think 'this sucks' is as valid and welcome as 'that was great. Thanks for posting.'"

...I find that very interesting because it's the inconsistency I absolutely hate about how TWoP runs their boards.

But it's different here in several respects.

First of all, the rule isn't formulated as a categorical rule which applies to both positive and negative metacommentary. At TWoP, it is—it's called "boards on boards" and it's a (cumulative) banning offense. They phrase it as a categorical rule and then they don't apply it categorically. That's irksome.

Here, there's no categorical rule about metacommentary. There's not really even a categorical rule at all. (Because Matt wisely resists such absolutisms and instead thinks that ambiguity and common sense about such things are desirable.) The rule, to the degree there is one, is simply that making strong negative judgments about the posts qua posts is a bad thing to do. Not all will be deleted. No one's banned for it, per se. So, you know, that's a lot different.

But, also, as cortex explains, the rule, such as it is, is transparently about how such provocative negative commentary results in threads which aren't any fun for almost everyone. These are functional claims, not claims about the inherent rightness or wrongness of saying certain kinds of things. If saying complimentary things were counterproductive, it would be frowned upon, too.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:32 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, also, as cortex explains, the rule, such as it is, is transparently about how such provocative negative commentary results in threads which aren't any fun for almost everyone. These are functional claims, not claims about the inherent rightness or wrongness of saying certain kinds of things. If saying complimentary things were counterproductive, it would be frowned upon, too.

I was thinking about exactly that this morning. Decani has made super-negative comments like this on two or three music threads I've posted, including one made this weekend. These comments stand out to me because the thread's general mood was "this is great" and his comments are at the far end of the opposite spectrum, i.e., "I hate this crap."

He's not threadshitting. And while I obviously disagree with him or I wouldn't have made the posts, he's totally entitled to express his opinions. But in the above linked cases, his comments appear to have stopped the threads cold. And I admit, I wonder if there's cause and effect there, or if I'm engaging in a bit of confirmation bias. Do people see negative comments about content and decide against commenting? It seems likely that if they were not counterbalanced with positive comments, they'd discourage people from clicking the link.

Stuff like this leads me to believe that 'counterproductive behavior' is not so easily quantified.
posted by zarq at 12:23 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


but I am afraid to post on the blue

The thing is, as contrary and crotchety as Metafilter can be, members here are actually really helpful and ... dare I say? ... even nurturing toward people who would like some help/guidance/feedback with a possible post. If you have an idea for a post but feel unsure, I can pretty much guarantee you that you can contact a poster you admire who is also active here in Metatalk, and they will almost certainly be really happy to help you work it out, or advise you to run with it or fuggidaboudit, as the case may be.

I can also say that if you send a note to moderators via the contact list asking about your post idea, absolutely nobody will roll their eyes and think, oh what a pain to deal with. Not at all.

Something else about posting: everyone who posts more than a little will have their bombs, threads that don't go well, posts that basically get ignored, whatever. Everybody experiences this. Sometimes it really doesn't even have much to do with the posted content, but everybody is super grouchy, or super busy, or the post that came directly after yours for some reason sucked all the air out of the joint, and nobody seems to be in a productive commenting mood. This has nothing to do with you, and you just have to say, "oh well," and let it go.

But guess what? Even if you make a really stinky post that just ends up being bad for some reason (let's say that Interesting Thing turns out to be a hoax or a viral), nobody is going to remember that you made that bad post unless you were self/friends-linking or freaked out in the thread or something. Generally, people just don't remember individual posts in connection with who posted them unless there's some epic element about it. Posters are more remembered for the aggregate of their posts rather than any particular one, good or bad. So someone is more likely to be remembered as a poster who makes a lot of especially interesting posts, or someone who posts a lot about gaming, or technology, or politics, etc.

I'd definitely urge anyone who'd like to make a post but is feeling uncertain to pal up. Contact someone you like who participates here and ask for their thoughts. Most of them won't bite. hard.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:24 AM on February 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


No they shouldn't, but I am afraid to post on the blue.

May I ask a question, that you should absolutely feel free not to answer? You've made 80+ posts to AskMe and 20+ to Meta. What's different about the Blue? Because man, I've always found that I have a lot more emotional investment when I post to the Green. The questions are a lot more personal. I sometimes even write AskMe posts that either never get posted or (rarely) wind up as anonymous q's. And when I do post I always find it (irrationally) a little weird and embarrassing.

On preview... I know I have an um... distinctive posting style that is not everybody's cup of tea. But if you ever want someone to preview a post for you, I'd be thrilled to do so. :)
posted by zarq at 12:30 AM on February 27, 2012


"He's not threadshitting. And while I obviously disagree with him or I wouldn't have made the posts, he's totally entitled to express his opinions. But in the above linked cases, his comments appear to have stopped the threads cold. And I admit, I wonder if there's cause and effect there, or if I'm engaging in a bit of confirmation bias."

Well, first, there's a distinction between being critical of the content of the post (and especially so with regard to matters of taste, like music) and being critical of a post as a post. Being harshly negative about the point of view or whatever in the content of the linked post is one thing. Being harshly negative about the poster's decision to share it with the rest of MetaFilter is very much another kind of thing.

Secondly, while Decani's comments didn't derail the thread, I do think that there's an asymmetry between positive and negative comments in general. We'd like to think this wasn't the case, but it is. It's most obvious in discussions about matters of taste, actually. When we dislike something that someone else strongly expresses a liking for, we might at most find that mildly annoying and perhaps think less of them. But this doesn't challenge our self-image, usually, or very much even when it does. But when we like something that someone else strongly expresses a disliking for, we often find that very provocative.

Arguably, we shouldn't. And I recall a conversation on the blue about this a few years ago that I participated in, and at the time I was only thinking about the general differences in emotional investment we have for things we like versus things we dislike. And that's true, there is an asymmetry. But, since then, I've learned about and thought a lot about Pierre Bourdieu's notion of cultural capital (and, yeah, I know y'all are probably sick of me mentioning it; but, really, take my word for it that it's something worth investigating because it has enormous explanatory power) and that makes most of this asymmetry much clear, at least with regard to matters of taste. Because our tastes reflect how we think we've accrued cultural capital; and in doing so, we see ourselves in a hierarchical relationship with other people. (Bourdieu's theories were very marxist-inflected, as you might guess, and so we're talking about class distinctions and conflicts where the terrain is not economic capital, but cultural capital. It's not a perfect analogy, not for the least reason that the Marxist theories it's built from are flawed, but it's still really damn illuminating.)

Our tastes reflect where we see ourselves in the class hierarchy, and as we've been acquisitive in accumulating this cultural capital, then someone else's dislike of what we like has one or more implications. That we have been mistaken about the value of the particular stuff we've been accumulating (and thus our position in the hierarchy isn't where we thought it was, it's lower). Or that this is a person above is in the heirarchy demonstrating that we're lower than they. Or that this is a person below us. The first two are very challenging to our self-image and self-worth. The last may or may not be, depending upon how we interpret it. We both sort of want people below us to demonstrate that they're below us by having bad taste, but at the same time we paradoxically want them to recognize that they have bad taste and admire ours. So how we react when someone says, oh, Radiohead is terrible, they're not nearly as good as Katy Perry, it depends upon whether we feel more validated that we know we have better taste, or that we're annoyed that they don't recognize that we have better taste.

Incidentally, if you're interested in this at all, and just the whole idea of how invested people are about being snobs about cultural things, particularly music, then the really wonderful book I read that introduced me to Bourdieu's theory—I'd heard the term, of course, but never knew where it came from or implied—is the best thing so far, in my opinion, out of the 33⅓ Press's Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste by Carl Wilson.

Anyway, I think that we should just take it for granted that expressing strong negative opinions is just not qualitatively, in the context of human interaction, the same as expressing strong positive opinions. Being negative is just more provocative. And, frankly, that's why some people have a much greater tendency to express strongly negative opinions. Decani intends to be provocative. He's not the only person here like that. In the thread you mention, it didn't derail it. But it can, even when it's entirely appropriate within the context of what's socially acceptable on MeFi to express a strong negative opinion. Being too provocative, by some intuitive metric of "provocative", or being too constantly and consistently provocative, might be a problem. But for pretty good reasons is there made a distinction between being negative about the content of a post, and being negative about the fact that a post was made.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:02 AM on February 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


"What's different about the Blue? Because man, I've always found that I have a lot more emotional investment when I post to the Green."

I haven't yet posted to the blue as Ivan, and in my former incarnation I made very, very few posts. I posted a few more times to AskMe than MeFi.

Because, for me, I feel exactly the opposite as you. I don't mind being open about myself, and in that context there's no more an emotional investment in posting to the green than being open elsewhere. And that's what AskMe is for, partly. It's about the poster in a way that the blue isn't. Which is why I can see how you'd think opposite than me.

But posting to the blue is, to me, a performative act. It's a performance in the sense that while it's about me in that it's a performance I'm making, it's more importantly about the audience, in that it's something I'm presuming they want to see. This is why I'm prolific at commenting, but not posting. Because for me, posting is walking up to a lectern in a large hall and assuming that the packed crowd wants to hear what I have to say. Which is fine, assuming that I actually am sure that it's something they want to hear. The commenting, while in some sense addressed to everyone, really isn't like being at a lectern. It's more like speaking in a place to a few people where others can choose to listen, and interact, if they want. No one is waiting for me to write any comments here. Not really. But people are waiting for new posts to be made to MeFi. We watch that lectern. There's a presumption that a post is for the entire MeFi audience. Comments are not.

And, really, neither are AskMe posts. AskMe is like a bulletin board. People look at what appears there and then engage if it has some particular intersection with them. Yeah, I know that people read AskMe more indiscriminately, and people read MeFi discriminately, but, overall, I see AskMe as connecting individual people with a question to one or more individual people with an answer. It's not something that happens in a metaphorical lecture hall.

And while MeFi may not precisely correspond well to a lecture hall, either, it's more like one. Frankly, while it's not actually the case, I think the ideal of a MeFi post is that it will appeal to the majority of the entire MeFi readership. There's no such ideal with regard to any other part of the site, especially not AskMe.

So, for me, I don't want to post anything to MeFi unless I feel confident that it will truly appeal to at least a large portion of the readership (both members and non-members!). And that matters to me because...I guess I feel it reflects upon me if, when I do post, I achieve or fail at that goal.

Back in the day, when I was basically the only prolific commenter who was also prolix, a good number of people felt this way about my comments. That I was presuming upon them with how long-winded I am. But I never have agreed with the claim that there's anything remotely similar to the ethos of reading everyone's comments, and all of each comment, as there is an ethos of that if it's posted to MeFi, it's probably worth taking a look at it. There's no such presumption about individual comments. I certainly don't presume that. I'm not offended at anyone, ever, who decides that all comments from me are not worth reading and they never read them again. Or if people skim them. More to the point, I'm not offended because I don't expect people to read what I write in comments. The strongest expectation I have is when I'm responding to an individual person, and the expectation applies to them alone. But when I make a MeFi post? I have a generalized expectation that people will read it. And, along with that, I think they have a right to expect from me that it's something worth reading. So when I fail in that, I've failed them. I expect them to think worse of me, in some sense or another.

This is partly a temperament thing. I can write, or talk, at length, and occasionally with great lucidity and insight, with other people about a number of things. But anything that's a formal bit of writing intended for an "audience"? Even, notoriously in my case, academic papers? Then I become a perfectionist and a harsh critic of myself, expecting nothing less than excellence. Which is too high of a standard to apply to oneself, at least all the time, and is arguably, on balance, a counterproductive standard for mefites to apply to themselves with regard to posts. Okay, I do think we should aim higher than posting a link to the latest NYT lifestyle piece. But we should't set standards for ourselves that are at the level of those amazingly researched exhaustive posts that are highly lauded here, nor even for something like that "make your own nebula" toy that was linked the other day. Neither in presentation, nor in inherent quality of the link, should we set extremely high standards for posts, because it's not realistic that people will meet those standards and, anyway, lots of posts are interesting and well-received that don't meet those lofty standards. But people like me, well, we sort of fear that unless we aim really high, we'll accidentally find ourselves achieving something that's embarrassing, at best, and humiliating, at worst.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:28 AM on February 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


taz: "but I am afraid to post on the blue

The thing is, as contrary and crotchety as Metafilter can be, members here are actually really helpful and ... dare I say? ... even nurturing toward people who would like some help/guidance/feedback with a possible post. If you have an idea for a post but feel unsure, I can pretty much guarantee you that you can contact a poster you admire who is also active here in Metatalk, and they will almost certainly be really happy to help you work it out, or advise you to run with it or fuggidaboudit, as the case may be.
"

This in a big way. I would never have made my first post without the help and guidance of hippybear. He made the whole process less scary. It still took me forever to pull the trigger. Be advised that while he was indeed helpful, any issues with the FPP are totally mine.

So yeah, ask for help.
posted by Splunge at 1:38 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Flame Indiscriminately and Massively Overreact?

OK, got it.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:36 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it really doesn't even have much to do with the posted content, but everybody is super grouchy, or super busy, or the post that came directly after yours for some reason sucked all the air out of the joint, and nobody seems to be in a productive commenting mood

I hypothesize the first 3 comments in most mefi posst are overwhelmingly of the negative variety.

It has caused me to imagine that a sure symptom of depression is acting as a first responder on the Blue, eagerly waiting for posts to arise and immediately explaining what's wrong with it and why everyone should hate it too.

You know who you are. Please seek help. Please.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 4:57 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Back in my previous incarnation, I was in the camp defending what we're calling threadshitting. I thought it was necessary because it was important that there be feedback directed to and visible to everyone about what is and what is not a good post.

I've never understood this. Threadshitting of the "this post sucks" variety is not going to teach the poster anything but that mefites can be wicked rude, and if the thread actually does suck, it's not going to be seen by "everyone" because it's going to get deleted pretty quick. And unless "everyone" is running the deleted threads script, they're not going to see it at all. Mod deletion reasons are terse but usually more explicitly helpful, and I know I've seem deletion reasons that direct the poster to the contact link if they have questions.
posted by rtha at 6:08 AM on February 27, 2012


In summary, don't do that.

Flagged as "You're not the boss of me."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:10 AM on February 27, 2012


Do people see negative comments about content and decide against commenting?

Data point: I don't comment in threads where the comments are overwhelmingly negative. I post a fair number of "nice link, thank you for posting" type comments because they do three things: reward the poster, tell other potential posters and commenters that there are readers interested in the subject, and keep the tone more positive, which I know encourages me to read and interact more.

I am not "afraid" to post on the blue now that I've popped my posting cherry, but I don't think "I should post this" when I see something cool and I have a pretty narrow idea of what I should post. In particular, I won't post on things relating to a long list of "metafilter doesn't do this well" topics and topics I really care personally and deeply about. If this makes me too thin-skinned, I cop to it, but there are patterns here that I don't want to encourage or engage with because life is too short to drink bad beer.
posted by immlass at 7:20 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


And that this is hashed out here isn't really a game-changer, because only a tiny, tiny portion of even the active members of the site read MeTa, or even barely know it exists. If they know it exists at all.

As an aside, it's true that Metatalk is less read than the blue or the green, something I know we've brought up from the mod side in the past when trying to talk about the reasonable limits on the penetration of some only-in-Metatalk discussion, but it's also easy to overstate how significant that difference is. In a given month, about half the active userbase drops by; somewhere upward of a thousand of them comment at least once here in that time frame (compared to four thousand or so on the blue and the green each).

The fact that Metatalk is less read than the main subsites is very much worth keeping in mind, but it shouldn't be mistaken for anything like "a tiny, tiny portion". It's a pretty significant chunk; it just can't, for all that, hope to be a method for directly preventing problematic behavior by everyone through discussion, even in those cases where basically everyone in a given discussion agrees about what's problematic or not.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:23 AM on February 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Innocent question: What does "FIAMO" stand for? "Flag And Move On" would be "FAMO".
posted by WalkingAround at 7:40 AM on February 27, 2012


Flag It And Move On
posted by zarq at 7:43 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Threadshitting of the 'this post sucks' variety is not going to teach the poster anything but that mefites can be wicked rude, and if the thread actually does suck, it's not going to be seen by 'everyone' because it's going to get deleted pretty quick. And unless 'everyone' is running the deleted threads script, they're not going to see it at all."

I answered all those objections in the very comment you quoted. First of all, I think in the past not as many bad posts were deleted, so those critical comments would be seen by everyone. Second of all, it's not necessarily rude to criticize the quality of the post, any more than it's necessarily rude to criticize the quality of a comment. Third of all, even if such criticism is rudely delivered, the degree to which the criticism is a consensus is the degree to which those criticized are likely to understand they violated community norms. This is exactly what happens to people who violate community norms in their commenting, whether or not the criticism is delivered politely or rudely.

I'm a good example, really. My longwindedness was more marginal back in the day than it is now and there was enough criticism of it that it caused me to become more aware that I was exceeding or at the edge of what the community found acceptable. And, you know, much of that criticism was brutally rude. Didn't make it any less valid.

I do think that, on average, the quality of posts on MeFi has declined1. And I think this is because there's no mechanism for public criticism of the quality of the posts. It was a battle fighting newsfilter posts then. People want to bullshit about the latest news, there's a tremendous motivation to do so even were it the case that the majority doesn't like posts which exist to bullshit about current events in general. I don't assume that this is how the majority feels; but it doesn't really matter, because even if the majority feels that way, absent any mechanism to strongly keep this in check, it's going to flourish except in the most extreme cases. As it has.

But given the circumstances of how MeFi works—and I don't mean its technology, I mean its character as a community—all the possible cures to this have symptoms that are worse than the disease.

What establishes and perpetuates standards of behavior in a community are a combination of examples of conformance to those standards and examples of sanctions against violations of those standards. This is an essentially public thing because community standards are public. Peer-pressure and criticism is a good thing just so long as it is constructive/productive, with regard to how the community understands its own good functioning. It can easily be destructive and counterproductive with regard to how the community wishes to function; and then it's also (or should be), ironically, sanctioned against. That's the case with threadshitting. It's especially bad when it doesn't, in fact, represent the consensus. But it's bad even when it does.

On Preview:

"The fact that Metatalk is less read than the main subsites is very much worth keeping in mind, but it shouldn't be mistaken for anything like 'a tiny, tiny portion'."

I stand corrected! I really thought that it was at least true in the past, if not now. But maybe I just formed an extreme impression of a much less extreme truth.

1. But there's more of them! So there's at least as many really good posts as there used to be, and likely more.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:49 AM on February 27, 2012


FIAMO to avoid fiasco.
posted by owtytrof at 8:56 AM on February 27, 2012


I don't know how long you've been back posting as I am not keeping track often and this is the first time I've seen you, but after a couple of comments I knew that was you, Keith, without checking the profile. It was the clarity and description of the logic that gave it away. Glad to see you are still kicking around.
posted by dios at 9:07 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


And I will add one thing: though it increases the volume of words on the site, I think there is value in people who are willing to painstakingly explain why they think the way do. That sort of transparency in thought should be appreciated even if you disagree with what a person says.
posted by dios at 9:11 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, dios, that's very kind of you to say so.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:14 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I answered all those objections in the very comment you quoted.

I'm not seeing that.

First of all, I think in the past not as many bad posts were deleted, so those critical comments would be seen by everyone.

Depends a lot on what you mean by "in the past." Like, when Matt was the one and only mod? And I think I'm remembering correctly that cortex has said that there has not been a significant increase in the number of deletions (maybe I'm thinking of comments rather than posts, so I could be wrong on this).

Peer-pressure and criticism is a good thing just so long as it is constructive/productive, with regard to how the community understands its own good functioning.

Right, which is very much not what the vast majority of threadshitting comments are. Public criticism that consists solely of "This post sucks" or the like is unhelpful. It isn't specific - sucks how? Because the commenter doesn't like the subject matter? Because it was framed poorly? Because the language was inflammatory? Because it needs to be more than a single link to a badly written blog post? Because it was a link to a reddit thread of bad jokes? Because it was made up of shortened links, which we don't do here? Because it was a link to a scraper site?

I guess my point is, if you're going the threadshit with the idea that it's educational - that the OP and others who see it should learn something from your threadshitting - then "this sux" is stupid and unproductive. If you're really committed to helping mefites who are new to posting fpps post *good* fpps, then I hope that at the very least you'd shoot them a memail after their fpp gets deleted to explain why you thought it was a bad post.
posted by rtha at 9:17 AM on February 27, 2012


Ivan, I know you are aware of it but may I remind you of the word précis.
You go on at length about how how long winded you are but do little to curtail it.
posted by adamvasco at 9:29 AM on February 27, 2012


Ivan Fyodorovich: "Because, for me, I feel exactly the opposite as you. I don't mind being open about myself, and in that context there's no more an emotional investment in posting to the green than being open elsewhere. And that's what AskMe is for, partly. It's about the poster in a way that the blue isn't. Which is why I can see how you'd think opposite than me.

Yeah, I'm a pretty private person.

But posting to the blue is, to me, a performative act. It's a performance in the sense that while it's about me in that it's a performance I'm making, it's more importantly about the audience, in that it's something I'm presuming they want to see. This is why I'm prolific at commenting, but not posting. Because for me, posting is walking up to a lectern in a large hall and assuming that the packed crowd wants to hear what I have to say. Which is fine, assuming that I actually am sure that it's something they want to hear.

Great. Just great. Now I'm going to have a "BILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE WATCHING YOU. DON'T SCREW THIS ONE UP." moment the next time I go to click "post." ;)

I can see where you're coming from, but we definitely perceive them differently.

For me, posting is "Hey, check out this thing I found." I don't see them as a performance, and that may be exacerbated by my urge to keep posts abstract and objective, whereas comments are different because they involve my opinions and sense of self. Commenting is far more revealing. Especially if I'm answering a question on AskMe, where answers presumably are drawn from a sense of personal experience and knowledge. Which is one of the reasons why I rarely answer questions on Ask. Unless I am pretty sure I can make a meaningful contribution to an Ask thread, I won't bother to comment.

No one is waiting for me to write any comments here. Not really. But people are waiting for new posts to be made to MeFi. We watch that lectern. There's a presumption that a post is for the entire MeFi audience. Comments are not.

And yet...

If I make a post about say, Star Trek, I know that anyone who is not a Trek fan is going to move right past without bothering to click through. But if I were to make a comment in a thread about Star Trek, people who are presumably interested in the subject are going to read it and be more likely to respond to it than those who are disinterested. In other words, by the time they're reading your comment they're probably engaged.

I don't know that this necessarily sets a higher bar in my mind, but it's a dynamic I definitely am aware of. I'd much rather make a bad post than try to pontificate in error.

And, really, neither are AskMe posts. AskMe is like a bulletin board. People look at what appears there and then engage if it has some particular intersection with them. Yeah, I know that people read AskMe more indiscriminately, and people read MeFi discriminately, but, overall, I see AskMe as connecting individual people with a question to one or more individual people with an answer. It's not something that happens in a metaphorical lecture hall.

Yeah, but worst case scenario, you become That Guy Who Spawned a MeTa Thread and Became a Site Meme. :D

And while MeFi may not precisely correspond well to a lecture hall, either, it's more like one. Frankly, while it's not actually the case, I think the ideal of a MeFi post is that it will appeal to the majority of the entire MeFi readership. There's no such ideal with regard to any other part of the site, especially not AskMe.

Huh. I've never assumed that anything I post would appeal to a majority of people on the site. In fact, it occurs to me that even some of my more favorited posts, like say, this or this, would most likely not appeal to the majority of the userbase.

So, for me, I don't want to post anything to MeFi unless I feel confident that it will truly appeal to at least a large portion of the readership (both members and non-members!). And that matters to me because...I guess I feel it reflects upon me if, when I do post, I achieve or fail at that goal.

But that's a HUGE bar to hurdle. Wow.

But when I make a MeFi post? I have a generalized expectation that people will read it. And, along with that, I think they have a right to expect from me that it's something worth reading. So when I fail in that, I've failed them. I expect them to think worse of me, in some sense or another.

We have very different perspectives and temperments.

The most I hope for from Mefi posts is that they:

a) won't turn into flamewars (or devolve into derails that turn people away.)
and
b) someone will get something positive out of them.

Everything else is frosting on the cake, so to speak. I try not to even have an expectation that they won't be deleted. If that happens, c'est la vie. I have 400+ posts that survived the banhammer under my belt, and I get to post again tomorrow if I want.

Which is too high of a standard to apply to oneself, at least all the time, and is arguably, on balance, a counterproductive standard for mefites to apply to themselves with regard to posts. Okay, I do think we should aim higher than posting a link to the latest NYT lifestyle piece. But we should't set standards for ourselves that are at the level of those amazingly researched exhaustive posts that are highly lauded here, nor even for something like that "make your own nebula" toy that was linked the other day. Neither in presentation, nor in inherent quality of the link, should we set extremely high standards for posts, because it's not realistic that people will meet those standards and, anyway, lots of posts are interesting and well-received that don't meet those lofty standards. But people like me, well, we sort of fear that unless we aim really high, we'll accidentally find ourselves achieving something that's embarrassing, at best, and humiliating, at worst."

I can see that. Perhaps my post volume skews this for me, but I only make an effort when I truly think a post has more to offer the reader than a single link.
posted by zarq at 9:36 AM on February 27, 2012


"I guess my point is, if you're going the threadshit with the idea that it's educational - that the OP and others who see it should learn something from your threadshitting - then 'this sux" is stupid and unproductive.'

Okay, I agree with you there. And insofar as those comments are of that nature, it's likely that they're more about the person just expressing their annoyance than being constructive. But, on the other hand, that's sort of how negative peer pressure really works in the real world.

So I'm a little ambivalent. I disagree with you about this sort of criticism not being able to actually be productive. It's less productive than it could be, because as you point it, what it's actually criticizing is opaque. But, in practice, people often sort of figure it out. It's kind of the worst way to go about it. But people are the way they are.

Anyway, it's tempting to want to say, then, that polite and specific explanatory criticisms of the quality of a post, as a post, should be acceptable. But, unfortunately, while I think they'd be far less damaging that the "this sux" examples you're talking about, I think the net effect would still be negative. And that's because people would end up having meta-arguments, even when the criticisms are polite and clear and detailed.

"Depends a lot on what you mean by 'in the past.' Like, when Matt was the one and only mod? And I think I'm remembering correctly that cortex has said that there has not been a significant increase in the number of deletions (maybe I'm thinking of comments rather than posts, so I could be wrong on this)."

I'd like to know about deletions of posts, too. I'm pretty sure that it is the case that what you're thinking of is cortex discussing comment deletions, which really haven't increased proportionally. But I do think that the 2003-2007 period, when I regularly read MeFi daily, there weren't proportionally as many post deletions. I do think that they grew toward the contemporary fraction over that period and that it may be that by, say, 2007, they were not much different from where they are now. I don't know. I intuit that they're a bigger fraction now than they were in 2007. I could be wrong.

But I think that this sort of meta-discussion about posts played a bigger role in enforcing community norms then than it does now. Necessarily so: keep in mind that the flagging system itself came into being during that period. And the community being smaller, those meta-discussions could still be manageably small and not completely overwhelm a thread and basically kill it. That's not true anymore.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:39 AM on February 27, 2012


Yeah, not really seeing the frenzied threshing machine of "this sucks" that some threads become as being a good feedback mechanism, more evidence that a certain proportion of Mefites see such threads as an outlet for their griefer jerk tendencies. I'd like to see such comments stomped on even if the thread itself goes, otherwise you're reinforcing that behavior.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


SO MANY WORDS.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:04 AM on February 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


The fact that you guys seem to be able to make a distinction between constructive criticism and threadshitting is immaterial. The mods pretty much delete all of it.
posted by crunchland at 10:13 AM on February 27, 2012


The mods pretty much delete all of it.

We really don't. A quick look at pretty much any MeFi thread will confirm that. We axe early "this sucks" comments, stuff that appears to be performance art ranting or trolling and are a lot more hands off otherwise unless a thread is going off the rails.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:36 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's just not true, Jess! ANY off-topic comment or observation, whether snarky or not, is getting deleted these days! I'm sure none of you really think so, but the fact is that with more moderators, more is getting deleted. Whether that's something that the site wants or needs is the issue that should be debated, not whether it's happening at all.
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:08 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


crunchland: "The mods pretty much delete all of it."

No, they don't.

Examples of negative criticisms. Not threadshitting.
posted by zarq at 11:20 AM on February 27, 2012


That's just not true, Jess! ANY off-topic comment or observation, whether snarky or not, is getting deleted these days!

Is this the kind of thing you're talking about? Because it's still there. Perhaps not for much longer, since now I've called attention to it. But I guess it didn't get any flags before, and therefore the mods didn't know about it and didn't delete it.

Maybe our definitions of what's off-topic aren't the same, but I just flicked randomly through a bunch of fpps and found lots of comments that I think are not very on-topic and/or are snarky and are, you know, not deleted.
posted by rtha at 11:34 AM on February 27, 2012


Those aren't even examples of criticism, zarq. They're dissenting views. What is the takeaway that any poster is going to get from "I hate this kind of music" or "I hate this particular publication?"

I had a comment deleted earlier this week. The OP posted a link to something that had been "semi-previously" posted. It had, in fact, been posted as a comment three days before in an open thread. When I pointed it out, my comment got deleted. That it got deleted is irrelevant, but I use it as a counter example of criticism made about a post that was summarily deleted. The OP did not get any feedback on his choice of wording, or on the content of the post. Nothing was learned, except maybe by me, and that is, "why bother?"
posted by crunchland at 12:00 PM on February 27, 2012


The same thing happened to me, crunchland. Probably the same link.
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:14 PM on February 27, 2012


if only there were some sort of system coded into the site to mark something as a repost...maybe some sort of flag or contact form...
posted by nadawi at 12:24 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


...or a way to contact posters directly and privately...
posted by rtha at 1:03 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


...or some device that'll lets you read the site while eating Cheetos in your underwear...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:32 PM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


...why would you keep Cheetos in your underwear? That would be kind of uncomfortable, I would think (but I've never tried it so I could be wrong).
posted by rtha at 1:39 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


They taught us to walk with Cheetos in our underwear in charm school. You have to have an elegant gait to not crush them into dust. That's how they teach poise to the 1%.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:43 PM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh, I had no idea that was part of charm school curriculum! At least Cheetos aren't as pointy as Doritos.
posted by rtha at 2:18 PM on February 27, 2012


Metafilter: a lot of threadshitting.
posted by herbplarfegan at 3:55 PM on February 27, 2012


My understanding from past discussions is that creating an FPP around a link that was previously posted in a comment, not as an FPP is not considered a double-post. Mods, is this a misinterpretation?
posted by Lexica at 4:22 PM on February 27, 2012


Correct, it's not a double post. Depending on the context it may or may not be fine but there's nothing outright wrong about a post that contains a link from another thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:27 PM on February 27, 2012


I know it's technically OK, but I usually don't post FPPs of things that previously appeared in comments. Maybe I should.
posted by grouse at 4:28 PM on February 27, 2012


It's pretty much a judgement call, yeah. My metric there is, am I thinking "it's a goddam shame this is not a post of it's own, because it's not really getting or going to get decent discussion in this thread and/or it's just totally balls-out amazing"? If so, that sounds like a post. If not, I'd probably give it a pass but my metric is not everyone's metric.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:37 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll try to FIAMO, TYVM, though MMMV AFAIK.
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 4:44 PM on February 27, 2012


I know it's technically OK, but I usually don't post FPPs of things that previously appeared in comments. Maybe I should.

I mostly don't, but on the other hand I don't really go out of my way to look for that, and there isn't really even a guaranteed way of doing that, so if it turns out that something turned up in comments I don't sweat it.

And if it's a secondary link to something else then I might just say fuck it and go with it.

And if it;s someone else posting a cool link late in a thread it's not unknown that I would say "you should totally FPP that".

So anyway...

/shrug
posted by Artw at 5:04 PM on February 27, 2012


It's also not unheard of for posts on topics that are currently being discussed in open threads are deleted, and the poster is directed to turn their post into a comment. But I was only using that as an example, and I can't exactly link to other examples of comments deleted just because a moderator was feeling ornery.
posted by crunchland at 6:28 PM on February 27, 2012


Crunchland, I remember the last time you were complaining about deleted comments and I was curious, since you're not on my radar as having had a lot of comments deleted, so I looked it up. I sort of meant to ask you about this then, but the thread had moved on, and I decided not to bring it up. But, really, I'm just not seeing what you are so upset about.

Since January of 2011 you've had eight comments deleted. (Of these, I deleted two and restless_nomad deleted one.) One comment was a complaint about the nature of link in a comment. Jess added a NSFW to the comment, and deleted the conversation between you and the comment poster about adding a warning (comment poster agreed it needed a warning), so that was just a bit of tidying up.

The other seven deleted comments (over 14 months) were in each instance a complaint about the post itself. The latest was: "Is it really 'semi' if it was linked three days ago in the thread you marked as 'semi-previously?'" Which was a complaint that the main link to a short story had already been posted as a comment in a previous thread, something that doesn't automatically constitute a double according to our guidelines, but if you felt it needed discussion, that would be a discussion that should happen in Metatalk.

The comment deleted before that one was "Why did you think this would make a good post for Metafilter?" regarding a post about refusal of services for gay people in NH.

The rest are all similar complaints, all of which could definitely be discussed in Metatalk, but not in the middle of a thread. This is something that has been in place for years: metacomplaints in metatalk, so I'm not really understanding why you are surprised, if "surprised" is the right word – or so angry.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:16 PM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


zarq: "May I ask a question, that you should absolutely feel free not to answer?"

Zarq, I know you'd be happy to help me out and you'd probably be the person I turned to if I was ready to make my first post.

Taz, I appreciate all your advice too.

I'm afraid my first post would get deleted and I'd never want to post again. I'm afraid that as long as I've been here, my post would "not be a good fit for Metafilter." I'm afraid that my post will be something old and uncool that everyone's already seen and no one cares about. I'm afraid that I don't entirely know how to make a post and then let it go... I mean, I see posters occasionally post in their own thread but I don't know exactly what degree of participation in the thread is acceptable. There's a lot more snark and fighting on the blue than the green. I'm afraid of making a post and people getting into a fight in that thread and feeling like it's my fault.

Besides Zarq, you take all the good subjects, like Peter Paul and Mary. /teasing
posted by IndigoRain at 3:36 AM on February 28, 2012


IndigoRain; don´t sweat it so much. I am sure whatever you post will give some reader, and its not only members there are a metric shitload of lurkers, a great deal pleasure.
Overthinking a post normally in my case means it doesn´t get posted. If people want to have a fight let them, many of us will mentally mark the participents as jerks unless it´s a civilized difference of opinion. Once you hit the post button it´s not yours anymore it´s up there flying free. Some crash, some burn, most give pleasure and nearly all get forgottenby most people in the passing of time. Diversity is part of what makes this such an interesting place.
Don´t be afraid; just do it. Then go outside and play and come back later in the day and see if the earth moved.
posted by adamvasco at 4:04 AM on February 28, 2012


Now that this thread has run it's course (TTHRIC), I just want to point out that my 15 Minute No Comment window suggestion would probably eliminate threads like this one, which seems like a remarkable amount of time and energy back in all of our pockets.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:45 AM on February 28, 2012


I just want to point out that my 15 Minute No Comment window suggestion would probably eliminate threads like this one

It would maybe solve that one problem and create other ones.

I'm afraid of making a post and people getting into a fight in that thread and feeling like it's my fault.

I sympathize with this perspective, but without knowing you it maybe sounds like it isn't a concern that is limited exclusively to MetaFilter. Everyone, myself included, is going to bring their own human levels of anxieties and concerns and worries to the table on MeFi the same that they do anyplace else. And while we try to honor people's feelings, hey you feel what you feel, we can't always make the site cater to any one set of quirks, except possibly Matt's.

People almost never fight in my MeFi posts. And I'm sort of like you, I think the site could do with a lot less fighting and general assholery generally. So I try to make posts about either long gone things or esoteric subjects (or crowd-pleasers like math!) enough so the people who bother to comment will be engaged and not just flipping lazy snark into the thread. And they're usually things I've just learned about, often through a book I've read, as opposed to something I care deeply about and decided to finally make a post about. They're almost never political (for the larger definition of political, they're not about issues) and if they are I let the article speak entirely for itself and don't pull out really aggravating quotations or start off with my own opinions. They usually link to things to read, not things to watch or listen to. And lastly, the post is usually saying "Hey here is this thing, here is why you might be interested" and not "Here is this thing, this is why you SHOULD be interested" which I think is helpful. And then I post it and stay away, or try to, and see what people have to say.

One of the things we're happy to do on the mod team is check out posts, especially for first timers, and let you know if we see any red flags that could be smoothed out. We know which topics are likely to be a problem and which ones aren't. We know what phrasing works well and what is more tricky. We're happy to do that. We feel like a little bit of advice and encouragement for first-timers or other people who would like some guidance is better than revamping long standing parts of the site to make it more novice-friendly than it already is. We're okay with it not being a site for everyone, but there are upsides and downsides to that and we're happy that we've got the time and attention to be able to substitute personal interactions for absolutely-needs-no-explanation-because-we-can't-afford-staff interfaces.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:03 AM on February 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm really not angry, though it does bother me that you guys are so cavalier about deleting comments. If I'm arguing about only having 7 comments deleted, how must the people who have many more deletions feel?

I think that making a post on Metatalk for every minor complaint is not a practical idea. It's like asking patrons of a restaurant to write a letter to corporate rather than complain about the cockroach that's in the soup bowl in front of them.

And we're clearly not using it the way you propose we should, with only one or two posts on metatalk a day at most, and three-quarters of them are have to do with other things besides commentary on the content of front page posts. How many comments are deleted off of the front page every day? Wouldn't you expect more people to take them here if that's what you honestly expected us to do?

What's the point of that stuff happening here instead of in the thread? It seems to be just sweeping the dust under the carpet. We all know that opening up a metatalk thread can be like a self-inflicted wound, where you expose yourself to more ridicule and scorn by people with all kinds of different agendas that don't necessarily include trying to make the site better.

So in the end, comments get deleted... the implication is that their contributions to the site really aren't that important. There are plenty more where we came from. Is that really the message you want to give?
posted by crunchland at 6:51 AM on February 28, 2012


What's the point of that stuff happening here instead of in the thread? It seems to be just sweeping the dust under the carpet.

The point is to not bollocks up threads with random metacommentary. I mean, it's a really straightforward thing: arguing about the nature or merit of the thread in the thread gets in the way of people having an on-topic discussion. It's derailing; it's distracting.

Metatalk may not be a trip to Disneyland but it's specifically the place Matt made over a decade ago to be a home specifically for metadiscussion. It's not dust under the rug, it's backroom chatter pointed in the direction of the back room. It's stopping and looking around for half a second when you want to have a side conversation and saying, hey, let's excuse ourselves for a minute and go talk over here.

You don't have to prefer that mode of dealing with this stuff but god knows you'd think you'd have acclimated to it at this late date. It's not going to suddenly change, the "keep metacommentary out of threads" rule is hardly new, and you've had a wee handful of comments nixed in the last year-and-changed from when you've ignored that rule and griped about threads within those threads. I feel like we're in "doctor, it hurts when I press sharp objects into my flesh" "well..." territory.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:49 AM on February 28, 2012


FIAMO to avoid fiasco.

"Flag It And Swiftly Carry On"?
posted by WalkingAround at 8:34 AM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


IndigoRain: "Zarq, I know you'd be happy to help me out and you'd probably be the person I turned to if I was ready to make my first post.

My proverbial door is always open to you. :)

Jessamyn and Cortex have both given me advice on posts in the past. (Not recently, but when I was first finding my feet.) They know Mefi better than any of us. Agree that checking your post with them would be a good idea.

I'm afraid my first post would get deleted and I'd never want to post again. I'm afraid that as long as I've been here, my post would "not be a good fit for Metafilter." I'm afraid that my post will be something old and uncool that everyone's already seen and no one cares about. I'm afraid that I don't entirely know how to make a post and then let it go... I mean, I see posters occasionally post in their own thread but I don't know exactly what degree of participation in the thread is acceptable. There's a lot more snark and fighting on the blue than the green. I'm afraid of making a post and people getting into a fight in that thread and feeling like it's my fault.

Totally understandable.

There's a secret to posting to MeFi and it took me years to learn.

Once you click "post" on your brand new FPP, the ensuing conversation about it doesn't need you. The thread doesn't require your presence or observation. It doesn't require your defense. And it doesn't belong to you any more. It belongs to the community.

Easier said than done, I know.

I'm going to be a total nerd here and quote something from DS9 to you. It's one of my favorite quotes:

"Worry and doubt are the greatest enemies of a great chef. The soufflé will either rise or it won't. There's not a damn thing you can do about it, so you might as well just sit back and wait, and see what happens."

Your post contains the ingredients for a great conversation. Most posts do. But whether that conversation arises is ultimately out of your control, and what the Metafilter community does with it is ultimately no reflection on you or your value as a MeFite. Plus, the wonderful thing about MeFi is that if something goes horribly wrong, you get to try again tomorrow.

About fighting: it is highly unlikely that your post will turn into a flamewar. But if it does, that's on the heads of the people arguing. It's not your fault for posting. That's not to say you can't or shouldn't broach sensitive subjects carefully by framing posts so they are less likely to trigger arguments. Or that some subjects simply don't make good posts. But if an argument ensues from a post you make, the blame for that is not your responsibility. You're not forcing people to be nasty to each other. And you're not trying to start an argument.

adamvasco's advice is perfect. Click post, then don't look. Or click, then review the post for errors and then walk away completely for a while. For a couple of my own FPP's, I've actually clicked post right as I was about to walk out the door to run an errand with my kids. So I wouldn't be tempted to jump in.

As for what is thread modding and what isn't.... I've always felt like I comment too much on my own posts. I'm not a good judge. But less is definitely better.

Besides Zarq, you take all the good subjects, like Peter Paul and Mary. /teasing"

Ha! See, I'm in awe of folks like Flapjax at Midnight and Filthy Light Thief and Trurl and Rhaomi and Katullus and... :)
posted by zarq at 8:50 AM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


though it does bother me that you guys are so cavalier about deleting comments

I'm not seeing cavalier, nor glee nor joy. Where are you seeing this?
posted by rtha at 9:15 AM on February 28, 2012


I hope they at least wear the hat with the big feather plume.
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on February 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


rtha: "Where are you seeing this?"

We should have pb install an eyeroll meter next to the big red delete button.
posted by zarq at 9:54 AM on February 28, 2012


I have to agree with crunchland on the "cavalier deletions" thing. I think the moderators are great people and it seems like they have a hard job. But I've noticed a lot of deletions lately that seem to enforce a rather narrow view of what the thread should be. And yes, those deletions seem cavalier, in the sense that they are weighing an idiosyncratic view of keeping people on topic or directing the discussion in a certain way, over respecting the comment that a member took time to craft. I've seen interjections by mods into a thread that are just plain weird in their sort of hectoring tone, totally disproportionate to the comments they were talking about.

I sometimes question whether this is worth mentioning, it almost seems impolite because I think there's definitely great value in rooting out assholery in threads. But I really do think the deletions have become more cavalier, maybe since the new mods came on. It's become somewhat annoying, but maybe that's just me.
posted by jayder at 10:47 AM on February 28, 2012


I don't understand what's cavalier about deleting comments that break the guidelines, as taz outlined here.

Also, my understanding of "cavalier" is that it means without concern or care, not that it means some guiding force or direction. And I'm pretty sure that "this post sux" kinds of comments are not things that anyone takes time to craft.
posted by rtha at 11:20 AM on February 28, 2012


Jayder, you had three comments in the blue deleted in 2011, and one so far in 2012. You've had 14 comments deleted since 2007, and five of those were doubles. One comment was deleted by restless_nomad, and none by me.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:54 AM on February 28, 2012


I don't think jayder said anything about his own comments being deleted.
posted by empath at 11:57 AM on February 28, 2012


If anyone wonders why a comment has been deleted, they can always drop us a line and ask. Sometimes people do, and we never mind discussing it. Nobody is actually being cavalier, but responding to a general non-specific charge of being cavalier is sort of tough if there is nothing in particular cited.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:15 PM on February 28, 2012


Has there been an increase in comment deletions site-wide in the last year?
posted by jayder at 12:25 PM on February 28, 2012


jayder, see here.
posted by rtha at 12:36 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not a significant one from what we've seen. Late last year, frimble did some graphing based on the Infodump and came up with this nice set of graphs showing raw post/comment volume and deletion volume. You can see that there's a fair amount of noise from point to point but the general trendlines for deletions are basically flat across the last year, and in fact from about 2008 or so.

There's been no specific effort on the mod side to delete more stuff in general, in any case, though it feels (and this is my subjective take) like there's been more discussion-of-deletions in the last six months to a year. Having new folks come onto the team makes that understandable since there's a slightly different mix of voices in the admin notes and such and the process of taz and r_n finding their moderative sea legs.

One place where we might have objectively a few more deletions is the late night timeslot, on account of having someone around full-time during what has always been either a wholly unattended stretch of hours or (when vacapinta has been available) a volunteer catch-as-catch-can sort of coverage; stuff that was problematic but went up in the middle of the night would traditionally either have festered till we could delete it in the morning or end up so wrapped into ensuing conversation over that stretch of hours that removing it was more of a pain than leaving it and addressing it after the fact.

I can't recall if anyone ever got around to trying to graph out deletions based on time-slot, but it'd be neat to look at the data that way and see if that notion bears out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:38 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


jayder, see here.

So the deletion rate has doubled over the last year.
posted by empath at 2:20 PM on February 28, 2012


It certainly feels like there's more deletions.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:26 PM on February 28, 2012


empath: " So the deletion rate has doubled over the last year."

No, it clearly hasn't.
posted by zarq at 9:34 PM on February 28, 2012


That's not the percentage.
posted by empath at 9:53 PM on February 28, 2012


It hasn't doubled. And the link you refer to shows a spike, not a doubling, and not over a full year.
posted by zarq at 9:58 PM on February 28, 2012


« Older How about a cookbook?   |   SocialStuffs Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments