Us declares itself above the law. May 6, 2002 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Us declares itself above the law.

Other than one or two people here and there talking about the topic at hand, this thread was basically a shouting match and trolling session. Is this the level of debate that now passes for inteligent from the MetaFilter community?
posted by Zool to Etiquette/Policy at 7:54 PM (20 comments total)

I think some people need to take a step back, and relax.
posted by Zool at 7:56 PM on May 6, 2002


no one claimed it was intelligent, zool. which isn't a bad thing, i suppose, if you're of a mind.
posted by moz at 8:05 PM on May 6, 2002


Hey, we got a good clavdivs poem out of it. Better than a lot of threads do.

I don't know about a "trolling session," by the by -- most of the screamers (on both sides) in that particular, ahem, discussion seem to legitimately believe what they're shouting about, which, I conclude, made it more of a mudslinging fest than a troll party.

That thread looked, from the very first post, like it was going to be rough territory, a free-for-all where the territory was pretty clearly marked. Stay out if you have high blood pressure or easily bruised feelings (that latter'd be me, by the way) -- but if folks want to have a brawl, let 'em brawl.
posted by BT at 8:15 PM on May 6, 2002


I was just going to mention clav's contribution. Diamond in the rough, indeed.
posted by gleuschk at 8:23 PM on May 6, 2002


I thought, for the most part, it was actually some good stuff - on both sides of the playing field. Any time you get righty vs. lefty going, u're going to get fighting. Its like religion threads w/ atheists vs. theists (or whatever the religious thread is about), passions will boil. Frankly, this place wouldn't be as exciting is people weren't as passionate as they are. And before one says that doesn't need to entail shouting, shouting entails passion-for better or for worse.
posted by jmd82 at 11:22 PM on May 6, 2002


Do you think they act like that in public?
posted by raaka at 12:51 AM on May 7, 2002


Zool, you call that trolling? I have seen real-world discussions get more emotional and baiting than that!

Characterizing that thread, I would call it rather sedate given the topic, and words like "screaming", "yelling", "fighting" and "brawl" do not apply at all. I don't think I would even use the word "passionate" to describe it.

posted by mischief at 3:21 AM on May 7, 2002

this thread was basically a shouting match and trolling session. Is this the level of debate that now passes for inteligent from the MetaFilter community?
I hope you're happy with yourself. You've ruined Christmas!
posted by holloway at 3:26 AM on May 7, 2002


I propose a new community policing technique. When a politics thread gets as bad as this one the community police (which is everyone) does one of two things:

1) ask clavdivs or Opus Dark for a poem about the irony of neophytes debating policy

2) Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- links to and quotes JParker's classic β€œfart in the wind” comment about culture warriors being completely useless.

β€œThe real intellectual leaders are not those who write with hatred, contempt or indifference about others with opposing views. We desperately need leaders who can see with some clarity through the fog of possibilites that surrounds us right now, who reaffirm the dignity and the values that we as Americans hold dear, and who can unite us as a people behind common principals to act in a reasoned and responsive way.”
posted by raaka at 4:39 AM on May 7, 2002


Zool: I agree with you, but I've been of this mind for quite a while now. Like (presumably) you, I am saddened that MetaFilter has become nothing more than an online version of the office watercooler, and I wish that we would stop praising people for being passionate and start praising them for being thoughtful and informed. But the majority here has spoken, and this is what they want. My suggestion is to let them enjoy it.

For more thoughtful discussion, you might try kuro5hin. I've never really been able to get into k5, though; I think it's the threading that throws me off.
posted by gd779 at 6:19 AM on May 7, 2002


I didn't think the comments were all that bad. I try not to participate in posts that degenerate into shouting matches. But I have to say that the worst part about the post -- and what set it up for failure -- was the first six words: "U.S. Declares Itself Above The Law." That title was both completely misleading and editorial (the U.S. did not in any way, shape, or form, "declare" itself "above" the law. It simply declined to participate in a court to which it had never agreed). This is why I've advocated for editorial restraint on the front page. When you start out expressing one side -- rather than simply stating the substance of the post -- all you're doing is inviting those holding the polar opposite view to come in with guns blazing, leading the other side to respond, etc. etc. etc.

This post, for instance, could have said: "U.S. Declines To Support U.N. Criminal Court. While most nations support this court, the U.S. says that it would be harmful towards maintaining U.S. military action. Critics claim that this sends the signal that Washington doesn't feel it's accountable for its actions." I personally think that might have spawned a more civil discussion. But what the hell do I know?

ps. I hate when people tag the word "Discuss" on to the end of their posts. Obviously, that's what's supposed to happen.


posted by pardonyou? at 6:42 AM on May 7, 2002


Funny. While I agree in principle with the points made by those who were unhappy the thread, I have to say I enjoyed it tremendously. Comments were pithy and often witty and covered the gamut of possible reactions. As for ed's original post - well, I think it balances content, description and an acceptable, provocative editorial viewpoint very well indeed.

His contentious lead, IMO, is a good representation of how non-Americans, whether they're generally pro- or anti-, react to the U.S.'s consistent refusal to sign international treaties, whether they're about pollution, weapons or criminal justice. It was instrumental in stimulating a lively, opinionated debate.

Though of course I can understand how this could be seen the other way round.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:45 AM on May 7, 2002


As one of the primary participants in that thread, I'd like to ask, flat out: Am I coming across as one of the mudslingers? Basically I just want to know if I'm part of the problem; it's hard to tell sometimes.

Arguments are no fun when they devolve into pure "You're wrong. No, you're wrong." -- which this one did towards the end -- but I still tend to find the contententious threads more interesting than the ones where everybody seems to agree. (Even when I happen to agree too.) I find debate interesting, because I get a clearer picture of how the "other side" thinks -- and because every once in a while somebody changes my mind about something. Maybe even vice-versa, if I'm lucky. Slogan-chanting and personal invective isn't interesting, because it has no chance of convincing anybody of anything.

If I'm overestimating the quality of my own contribution to the discussion, though, and am unwittingly being a slogan-chanter myself, tell me and I'll stop.
posted by ook at 9:01 AM on May 7, 2002


Praetor: 'Tonights watch word me lord'.

Gaius:..."Hmmm, silly buns....no ...slippery eel...no, (turns fast) Vvcle?"

Clavdivs: " restraint...and...cauuuacauuu...cogency"

i guess i have enough ego delusion to feel ive done my share to turn MeFi into the watercooler, and while resisting an office party joke, i'll chill abit. if anything to shut sinner up. ya know, two posts in one thread needling about my posting style? give me a break. And Camworld gets dragged into MeTa because of a comment?

britches.gettin.big.on.some.members.

wheres my belt.
posted by clavdivs at 9:14 AM on May 7, 2002


I meant to write: Talos VII
posted by ParisParamus at 10:10 AM on May 7, 2002


It's fairly obvious that many people on Mefi either have no sense of humor or believe a troll is any incisive comment they do not agree with. Talk about devaluation!
posted by ParisParamus at 11:30 AM on May 7, 2002


...or say nothing, and I'll continue to nurse the paranoid suspicion that I've been twitfiltered for months and am just too stupid to notice.

joking, joking...
posted by ook at 12:31 PM on May 7, 2002


all and encompassing i love that in a sp
ook
posted by clavdivs at 2:13 PM on May 7, 2002


If there was any editorializing on my part, I will confess that it came from the "above the law" part of the thread, which drew people's eyes more than the "accountability" part that I was curious in drawing discussion about. That reflects an egregious error in phrasing on my part and for that I apologize. I skipped out on the thread when it became clear to me that it was segueing into wild generalizations.

The main crux here is whether a particular MeFi thread that deals with probing into a decision by our government can be executed without broad generalizations about what represents the Left and the Right. I honestly believe that it can. pardonyou? has a very good point about phrasing a thread so that the resulting discussion is relatively civil, while Miguel has an important point to make about encouraging a provocative discussion. I'll consider both in phrasing any future FPPs and look for a halfway mark in the future.
posted by ed at 10:00 PM on May 7, 2002


hey, ed, nice post. I hope you know I wasn't trying to be overly-critical of you -- just expressing my personal philosophy of FPPs. And you're right -- Miguel makes an excellent point as well. I guess that I would rather see FPPs be more in the "traditional journalism" mode -- tell the story without "taking sides." If a poster has an opinion on the issue (which we all do), then they are obviously free to post the first comment. But like I said above, what the hell do I know?
posted by pardonyou? at 6:17 AM on May 8, 2002


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