Hey! What happened to that post I was about to comment on? March 26, 2012 7:39 PM   Subscribe

I was about to comment on a post earlier tonight about the state of the mental health care system in Louisiana, and before I could comment, the post was deleted. It seemed like a decent enough post with a number of links and I thought it probably would've engendered a good discussion. It disappeared so quickly, I couldn't even catch the reason it was deleted.


Anyone know what happened to it?
posted by dave78981 to MetaFilter-Related at 7:39 PM (45 comments total)



Yeah, cortex and I talked about it and looked at the flags and decided to axe it. You can read the deletion reason here at the original thread URL. We're having a long discussion in another MeTa thread about the general issue of deleting "Hey this is some really bad news" posts if you'd like to join the discussion there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:42 PM on March 26, 2012


Hey thanks. I guess I didn't know how to find the original thread url. Too bad the post was deleted, since I work in the field and was pretty interested in the debate. Oh well.

Thanks again for the quick response!
posted by dave78981 at 7:55 PM on March 26, 2012


You can always just mouseover the "x comments" links on the front page and pay attention to the thread number in the URL. A missing number is a deleted thread, so once you notice that the thread numbers jump from 114252 to 114250, you can find the deleted thread by typing http://www.metafilter.com/114251.

There's an unofficial Metafilter Deleted Posts blog, too.
posted by mediareport at 8:04 PM on March 26, 2012


There is also a grease monkey script that lets you see deleted posts...
posted by dfriedman at 8:28 PM on March 26, 2012


Greasemonkey Scripts and Plugins, from the wiki.
posted by zarq at 8:39 PM on March 26, 2012


I think the post was okay. There is a good amount of depth in the links if you check them out, didn't seem like just a standard news dump to me.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:45 PM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


This didn't particularly interest me, but it seems no different than any of the other local government posts that stand.
posted by smackfu at 9:24 PM on March 26, 2012


I'm more happy with the deletion than is probably warranted because I've been pretty unhappy with some of the discussion of mental health issues 'round these parts recently.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:24 PM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I flagged the hell out of it for being "look at this local bad news filter".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:13 AM on March 27, 2012


Brandon Blatcher: I flagged the hell out of it for being "look at this local bad news filter".

You can't just make up new "Xfilter" categories of badness and expect people to understand exactly what you mean. I really don't understand what is wrong with making a post about bad things happening. If the post in question was poorly made and was nothing but a collection of poor links, I'd understand the deletion, but the first link is good enough to base a post on.

Also, how can you flag a post that includes Dr. Sam Gore, chief psychiatrist for the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office? If that guy appeared in a TV show I'd be all "oh for heaven's sake, dial back that Southern gothic overload a notch" but he's real!
posted by Kattullus at 3:24 AM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


yeah, add me to the 'not sure why this was deleted' crew. Sure, local interest, but interesting in a microcosm more broadly too.
posted by bystander at 6:05 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't just make up new "Xfilter" categories of badness and expect people to understand exactly what you mean.

In metatalk you can. I bet 98% of the people who read that understood what Brandon meant.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:15 AM on March 27, 2012


> yeah, add me to the 'not sure why this was deleted' crew. Sure, local interest, but interesting in a microcosm more broadly too.

Same here. I don't usually disagree with deletions, but I find this one strange.
posted by languagehat at 7:33 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


That looked like a hell of a good post to me--the links raised issues about the short and long term effects of a major disaster on the mental health of a poor city, lack of resources for the proper care of seriously mentally ill, how to deal with resource-intensive patients whose sole source of care is ER visits, and, of course, the criminalization of mental illness. Not a thin newsfilter post.
posted by Mavri at 8:14 AM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey, thanks, guys!
posted by liketitanic at 8:27 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing I'd say is that a post that was more clearly framed to be about like "here are some interesting insights into the ramifications over time of a disaster on mental health care" and less "the situation in Louisiana post-Katrina is seriously bad" would probably pick up less flags and read more clearly to us as Interesting/Noteworthy Stuff (That Happens To Be Gloomy) rather than Notably Bad Stuff (But Interestingly So!). Presentation can go a long way toward making it clear what the meat of the post is in a way that will change folks' first impressions significantly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:28 AM on March 27, 2012


This morning, there was an excellent post on personal stories of racial abuse from police, etc. I know that the poster left directions after the jump, but that seems a very flimsy reason to delete an otherwise very well made post.

Also, I thought that the place after the jump was where the poster could put their own comments.
posted by jb at 9:06 AM on March 27, 2012


Living near New Orleans, and loving New Orleans, it's a big story, and I wish it would have stayed. That said, I understand the reasons it was deleted.

Though if the story would have been about New York City I'm guessing there would have already been 50 comments before any admin would have taken a look and it wouldn't have been deleted. Oh well.
posted by justgary at 9:07 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


(I think in the comments is more appropriate than anywhere in the actual Post)
posted by edgeways at 9:09 AM on March 27, 2012


I know that the poster left directions after the jump, but that seems a very flimsy reason to delete an otherwise very well made post.

It's actually a pretty bright-line issue from our perspective. I was clear in the deletion reason that a do-over that avoided that would be fine, but people absolutely need to not put personal statements or directives-to-posters into posts, period.

Also, I thought that the place after the jump was where the poster could put their own comments.

Nope. The more inside area is for more post if it doesn't make sense to put all of the post above the fold for space or presentation reasons. It's still all front-page-post stuff and bound by the posting guidelines and community expectations that apply above the fold.

If the poster has personal or editorial opinions about the subject they're posting about, they need to keep it out of the post; they can go there in the comments if they want though even then it needs to not be "this is the first comment of the post rather than the actual post so HERE IS MY OPINION". Getting into the resulting conversation as it develops is pretty much the okay way to go there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:14 AM on March 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


I thought the front page Sunday New York Times magazine story about how the lower ninth ward re-settlers are fighting a losing battle against kudzu and chinese willow trees was sure to make the front page of metafilter. I knew New Orleans East was a writeoff but I was amazed in the graphics at how depopulated Gentilly and Lakeview remain to this day almost seven years after.
posted by bukvich at 9:31 AM on March 27, 2012


I think I might have posted the only comment before this was deleted. Still, I understand it was 'local bad news' and I was surprised to see it, then surprised and disappointed that it was deleted. I live in New Orleans so I hoped for a discussion.
posted by Anitanola at 10:18 AM on March 27, 2012


As cortex suggested, someone could definitely try reposting the information.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:33 AM on March 27, 2012


I hadn't noticed that the Trayvon Martin post was deleted. While I understand better why that was deleted than the New Orleans mental healthcare post, I'm still very surprised.

If the mods felt like these were straddled the line of what should be deleted and what shouldn't, I'd like to put a metaphorical vote in that the line be shifted. The NOLA post was fine, in my opinion, and well framed, and the Trayvon Martin post was full of great links, even if the presentation was too pushy (that said, it didn't set off any alarms for me when I read it).

I realize that reading too much into deletions is a long-standing problem here, but these two deletions, especially so close together, really bother me. If the links are good and presentation isn't very problematic, I think the post should be given the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Kattullus at 11:03 AM on March 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't recall that the poster in the racial abuse thread intended to direct the discussion, but rather to point out that though many of the posts were about Trayvon Martin, the topic was separate from his murder. I thought that they were just justifying why a new post was warranted - a preemptive defense against deletion which, ironically, became a justification for deletion.

I am with Kattullus - I do not like to see good posts deleted even if they skirt posting guidelines. With the exception of self-links, posts should be given the benefit of the doubt and judged holistically.
posted by jb at 11:16 AM on March 27, 2012


Also, the thread on racial abuse itself brought forth interesting discussion and links - all of which are lost, even if it is reposted. I would prefer to see the post re-instated - edit the post to remove the direction, if you insist.
posted by jb at 11:19 AM on March 27, 2012


I don't recall that the poster in the racial abuse thread intended to direct the discussion, but rather to point out that though many of the posts were about Trayvon Martin, the topic was separate from his murder. I thought that they were just justifying why a new post was warranted - a preemptive defense against deletion which, ironically, became a justification for deletion.

I get the idea and don't presume any sort of ill-intent on j03's part; I'm certain it was a good-faith effort. It's just not an effort that manifested in a way that's okay for a post. You can hope folks will react to a post in a certain way, and you can to a degree gently try to help course-correct a thread that's going in a not-great way with a followup comment as the thread develops, but you can't explicitly outline how folks can/should/ought to engage with a thread.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:28 AM on March 27, 2012


Sad that this was lost, but the Facebook screenshot thing stayed.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:09 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sad that this was lost, but the Facebook screenshot thing stayed.

This is a constant concern among users here "Why did an important post get deleted when a stupid post stayed?" and I don't think it's that people don't actually understand why this is happening, they just perhaps don't like it. MetaFilter at its best is a mix of serious and stupid, light and heavy posts. Sometimes the site starts looking like it's listing too heavily in one direction and usually rights itself. However, I don't think it's that mysterious that fewer people flag stuff as "this is dumb and should be deleted" because at some basic level these posts are only taking up front page real estate.

They are not starting fights, they are not generating a ton of flags, they are not causing people to yell at each other and/or quit the site, they are not stoking the flames of a thousand old internet arguments. They are not causing trouble in the community. The fact that a lot of that trouble is self-generated "people should know better" stuff doesn't remove the onerousness of that sort of thing happening. I wish people behaved better in news posts. They don't. If this were a different sort of site with more 24/7 always-on heavy handed moderation, we would be poised to do something about this. We're not, and we're not planning to change that. We expect the community to manage itself and we step in when that appears to not be happening. If people want more news posts to be okay on the front page they should all make a much stronger effort to make sure those threads don't implode from all the bad juju they generate. A lot of times all we do as mods is step in and say "Hey cool it a little" and other people could be doing this as well, putitng hte "community" solidly back in community policing.

I know that to some people the fluff posts sticking around and the weighty news posts getting deleted is not okay. MetaFilter is not, at its core, a news site though news articles get posted here. It's a "neat stuff on the web" site which to some people means news and to other people means goofy feelgood facebook posts. If the site was getting too heavy into "here's your daily cute!" it would probably self-correct as well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:21 PM on March 28, 2012


It's not even a good fluff post.
posted by smackfu at 1:55 PM on March 28, 2012


(And as an aside, it's interesting that these MetaTalk threads are turning into moving targets for the deletion of the day.)
posted by smackfu at 1:59 PM on March 28, 2012


I loved the facebook post. I badly, badly, badly, FUCKING BADLY needed a smile today. I needed some sign the world was going ok, that people were good people, that there was hope. I had an awful day, and I needed a laugh/cry. That post and the batman post did me a world of good, and are best of the web as far as I'm concerned.

I think it's a sad world when only teh ubar srs bizniz (preferably depressing!) is considered "good" and "important".
posted by Deoridhe at 10:14 PM on March 28, 2012


I'm not saying a post has to be serious and/or depressing to be "good" and "important". I just remember that posts similar to the one I mentioned used to be deleted because they were too "thin". If you really needed to see an uplifting facebook screenshot you could go to reddit.

But as Jessamyn seems to be saying, we can expect posts like that to stay (as long as there aren't too many of them) because the moderators' priority is preventing the discussion from getting hostile, not ensuring that the posts are of a certain standard. I think I just need to change my attitude/expectations.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:18 PM on March 28, 2012


Light/thin posts have always had rocky prospects and that hasn't really changed. They used to get deleted a lot of the time and they still do get deleted a lot of the time, and if you want my general statement on the subject of the whether a single screenshot of a facebook discussion is going to stick around when it's the sole content of a post, the answer is a confident "very unlikely". This one was nice, we let it stay, that's not the likely outcome but it happens and such is life.

I totally understand looking at both of those posts and frowning a little bit if it's not the outcome you'd want to be definitive of your ideal Metafilter posting mix, but it's not definitive of that; it's two posts out of a much larger body of posts over time, in a specific context. "Let's have an argument / be collectively grumpy" threads and thin light-hearted threads are pretty much unrelated issues, not two endpoints on a continuum along which we're trying to slide a fulcrum niceward or something.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:13 AM on March 29, 2012


the moderators' priority is preventing the discussion from getting hostile, not ensuring that the posts are of a certain standard.

As cortex said our priority in making decisions that aren't community mandated [deleting something that was flagged so much we felt that it was basically the community saying "Kill this"] are, yeah, trying to keep the community cohesive. This isn't to say that if fluff posts started getting flagged more we might not delete more of them. We delete a lot of thin posts and we will continue to. Looking at any one thin post you didn't like an generalizing that we're basically somehow not concerned with quality posts is a leap that I think isn't necessarily accurate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:25 AM on March 29, 2012


Because I find what and why has been deleted quite interesting, I've been reading the deleted posts blog for quite some time. I don't agree with every deletion, but I think the mods are sane an amazing amount of the time, especially since I have seen (well, been involved in) the results of a lot of newsfilter threads. Really, some of them are [likely unintentional] trolling.

On this posts, I think if you try reading some of the ones which are considered too thin but do not resonate with you, and try to apply that to those which do resonate with you, you might think differently.

I think we've been thin on the arts lately, and a little thick on political issues which are, frankly, a bit warmed over.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:33 AM on March 29, 2012


I think we've been thin on the arts lately,

I'm trying my damnedest.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:47 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian: " I'm trying my damnedest."

Which has been appreciated. Thank you.

Thing is, posts about art, artists or the arts usually don't receive a lot of attention in the form of comments or favorites unless they're either done spectacularly well, or are about a subject that is already fascinating to people. They certainly don't attract the same amount of reader attention as newsfilter or political posts.
posted by zarq at 12:12 PM on March 29, 2012


Which makes sense, because anywhere you go, whether it's Facebook or CNN or the corner of your street you're living in newsfilter, so people have opinions or ideas or questions about those things (or related things) as soon as they pop up on Metafilter-- and newsy stuff is much more purely informational and thus ensuing conversations can be an exercise in trying to get to facts and reasons and people can link to studies or statistics and discuss the validity and etc. Art conversations are a lot more subjective and at least in our culture come saddled with this idea that You Probably Don't Know Enough To Be Taken Seriously In This Conversation.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:22 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


They certainly don't attract the same amount of reader attention as newsfilter or political posts.

From a brain chemistry perspective, the "seeking" instinct is one of the most appealing/compelling. We like to be in a situation where we are wondering "What will happen next?" and then have the ability to find out. The sort of newsfilter "These people are behaving terribly, tune in at 11 to figure out what happens!" aspect of many of these stories drives clicks and eyeballs (which is good if you are advertiser-supported) but often doesn't lead to good quality discussion. Our insistence that we keep newsfilter stuff down to a reasonable level is one of the strongest points we make that our editorial decisions, such as they are, are not finaicially driven ones.

On the other hand something like "here is a thing I appreciated, you may appreciate it also" also doesn't often inspire discussion other than people saying "I enjoyed that" So it's a balance. There needs to be, as the journalists say, some sort of hook. At the same time it's good if it's not just one of those eternal conflicts where nothing is resolved and the same people holler at each other because they have poor social skills. Sometimes a post doesn't have to generate a lot of favorites or discussion for it to still be a good post that people appreciate.

And to me this is the big difference between internet-land and the real world. Art has value whether or not it inspires text-based discussion. It has other cultural value. The same thing is true for public spaces that don't have barriers to entry the way online spaces do. The same is true for enduring cultural institutions whether or not you agree with the specific values they espouse [military, church, library]. If one is clamoring for attention, it's actually very very easy to get. But inspiring a thoughtful discussion or even a spirited debate that doesn't get brawl-ish is something else entirely.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:21 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian: "Art conversations are a lot more subjective and at least in our culture come saddled with this idea that You Probably Don't Know Enough To Be Taken Seriously In This Conversation."

I've noticed that comments in threads about art are usually personal, and yes, subjective, I agree. "This was my experience, or is my take on what I've just seen." Where as, as you said, there's a lot more that can be brought to the table in newsfilter discussions: studies, previous incidents, statistics, etc. That seems to have happened in the Frankenthaler thread. (Which we probably can't use as a reference point because it's also an obit post.

jessamyn: "Art has value whether or not it inspires text-based discussion. It has other cultural value. The same thing is true for public spaces that don't have barriers to entry the way online spaces do. The same is true for enduring cultural institutions whether or not you agree with the specific values they espouse [military, church, library]. If one is clamoring for attention, it's actually very very easy to get. But inspiring a thoughtful discussion or even a spirited debate that doesn't get brawl-ish is something else entirely."

Well put. Hadn't thought of it that way.
posted by zarq at 1:50 PM on March 29, 2012


Posts about art and literature, especially the lesser known ends of it, get very little attention. It's sad. I do my bit, pay attention to them (it's what I'm interested in anyway) and favorite and try to comment, if only to encourage more such posts. Same goes for posts about events in places with few MeFites that aren't large-scale events, such as uprisings or catastrophes.

I wish the community as a whole encouraged those kinds of posts, but I recognize that most people feel the same way about their preferred kinds of posts.
posted by Kattullus at 3:01 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Posts about art and literature, especially the lesser known ends of it, get very little attention.

And yet sometimes they work out.
posted by languagehat at 4:28 PM on March 29, 2012


Posts about the great and famous usually attract interest and go well, because many people have some connection to them. I was more thinking about posts about less known authors.
posted by Kattullus at 5:03 PM on March 29, 2012


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