What does (or doesn't) MeFi do well? June 6, 2012 6:16 PM   Subscribe

What does (or doesn't) Metafilter do well?

The question has been pestering me for a while, especially since I've seen the phrase (or the converse of it even more so) crop up several times lately -- notably as a justification for deleting entire threads.

Of course, a moderator's doing something that I found slightly annoying is what spurred me to actually post this, but for the sake of avoiding the whole "protest post" routine, I'll avoid any specifics.

But generally speaking, I've noticed that I consider almost every single post that gets brought to MetaTalk (often for deletion) to be interesting (usually because of its discussion or discussion potential). Perhaps it's a minority of us who think so, but for me a tiny fraction of FPP content is especially interesting by itself. MeFi's "value add" is its discussion -- sometimes polite, sometimes nasty, but almost always at least edgy. AskMe is slightly different. It's a good place to get some truly helpful answers, but it's also great fun just reading many of the discussions.

For me, what Metafilter does better and more broadly than any other site is spark interesting (and often heated) discussions. If the moderators are so hard-pressed to monitor such discussions for especially egregious comments (something I say in good faith, not sarcastically) then is there truly a shortage of intelligent, reasonable people who are willing to volunteer as moderators/discussion monitors?

Am I off about Metafilter -- that what it does especially well is act as a catalyst for interesting discussions? Or do most people come to this site for great web content links and answers to questions that they can't find anywhere else? I'm totally willing to accept that I'm off and just shift more of my time/attention to sites liike... say... Daily Kos, but... that'd make me sad!
posted by GnomeChompsky to Etiquette/Policy at 6:16 PM (166 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

For the record: here was your deleted post.

then is there truly a shortage of intelligent, reasonable people who are willing to volunteer as moderators/discussion monitors?

You're aware that we are paid moderators with benefits and stuff right? We're not planning to hire volunteer mods. We have a lot of people who help us out in the flagging department and this seems to be a pretty good balance but honestly, part of the "MeFi doesn't do this well" situation is that the site's core purpose is "sharing neat things you've found on the web that you think people haven't seen before and might spark interesting discussion" This means less "outrage of the day" type stuff that is really popular on other places on the internet, and endless zombie articles.

MeFi at its best in my opinion is when someone drags up a topic that a lot of people didn't know much about and shares a few links and some explanation of why they are cool and a bunch of people discuss it and then it turns out that someone else on the site knows a fair degree about the thing and there's a really interesting discussion. Or on AskMe when the combination of people answering a question is just the right combination to help someone get enough information to answer their questions. Or on Music when there's a fun challenge and you see people's talents shine in new ways.

Bad stuff is the same old outrage and button-pushing articles as on other sites on the same old topics where the same people say the same things and then stand by scratching their heads when the same bad fallout happens.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:24 PM on June 6, 2012 [27 favorites]


Ban all NYT and CNN links.

(Sorry, just needed to say that. Carry on.)
posted by mediareport at 6:27 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, if you've seen the phrase 'mefi doesnt do this well' a lot, you've probably also seen the term OutrageFilter? It tries to convey a lot of what can be wrong with some post content. When a post's sole plausible reaction is outrage, that's not actually generally a very interesting discussion (imo, and many here seem to agree.) This is indeed something that metafilter and almost all modern news outlets/discussion sites seem to disagree strongly about, so that might be what's going on here.
posted by pahalial at 6:27 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


i'm a fan of the discussions here and i'd say 97% of the time i'm a fan of the moderation. i figure that 3% is me being a jerkface.

then is there truly a shortage of intelligent, reasonable people who are willing to volunteer as moderators/discussion monitors?

try as i might, i can't parse this...i find that one thing metatalk doesn't do well is vague callouts that avoid specifics and obfuscates the point, but that could just be my jerkface tendencies again.


on preview:
oh i flagged the heck out of that post. ireport is generally crappy, and that was just outrage bait. what's wrong with kids today/the schools is such a well mined field that if it's something you really wanted to see a discussion on, i think you could have found much better links to illustrate it. sensitive/hot button/outrage-y things can be posted here and can go very well, but it almost always starts with a thoughtful, not knee jerk, post.
posted by nadawi at 6:31 PM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think that part of the problem is that not everyone equates "heated" with "interesting," and that "edgy" is a pretty overrated quality for some of us.

I am personally further toward the "not interested in terribleness" end of the spectrum, and the moderation policy is therefore more lenient than I would prefer it to be in some cases. However, many other users value "heated" and "edgy" discussion more than I do. I think the mods do a very good job, overall, of finding a balance between these two extremes, both in moderating comments generally and in axing posts where terribleness in the comments seems unavoidable.

To more directly answer your question: I think Metafilter does discussion of all kinds much better than other general interest forums I've participated in, and those discussions are most of why I bother to read posts on the blue. But part of what I mean when I say "better" is "less likely to include people being terrible." If negativity is a large part of what makes discussion interesting to you, then yeah, maybe Metafilter isn't the best possible place to find that.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:31 PM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


I come to metafilter mostly for great web content links and answers to questions I can't find elsewhere. I do not come here for filterless progressive newsfilter. As a general rule, the more heated the discussion in a thread, the less I enjoy it, unless I am in a particularly bad mood.

I am also attracted by the curated nature of the site. Made possible by a small group of hopefully well remunerated moderators who have developed the trust of the community.
posted by pseudonick at 6:34 PM on June 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


There are some topics that metafilter tends to do worse at, especially when the post isn't well-framed.
posted by rtha at 6:38 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, I know that the moderators are compensated. That's why I was specifically wondering about the availability of volunteer assistants.

Also, it wasn't just about that post. That was the start. Then I started reading the AskMeFi thread that was called out here. Then the thread was deleted. Then I went to respond to the MetaTalk thread. Then it was closed. So... it was more a matter of three annoyances right in a row -- plus my annoyance at the entire snake dude thread getting deleted -- that prompted a more general question.

It just makes it feel like a lot of people have put effort into crafting some interesting community content... that then gets deleted. It feels a bit like the Quebec government's overly heavy-handed response to the student protesters. Yes, they're annoying (as are some threads) but is deleting them the answer?

Maybe this thread "won't work" because it's intended to prompt a philosophical discussion rather than address a narrow issue. If so, sorry to be a bother.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 6:43 PM on June 6, 2012


If you wouldn't talk about it at an office happy hour, it probably makes for iffy conversation here -- abortion, politics, israel-palestine, religion, parenting, etc...

Not to say that we can't talk about it, but it really needs to be framed carefully to stop it from turning into a food fight.
posted by empath at 6:44 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


posted by mediareport Ban all NYT and CNN links.

Wikipedia links, too.
posted by mattdidthat at 6:45 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


GnomeChompsky, you may find adding this blog to your rounds a useful companion.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:48 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's why I was specifically wondering about the availability of volunteer assistants.

how do you figure that more moderators (of the volunteer sort especially) would result in less moderation?

It feels a bit like the Quebec government's overly heavy-handed response to the student protesters. Yes, they're annoying (as are some threads) but is deleting them the answer?

oh man, that's one of the weirder "moderators as heavy handed government/police force" metaphors i've seen on here.
posted by nadawi at 6:48 PM on June 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


If you wouldn't talk about it at an office happy hour, it probably makes for iffy conversation here -- abortion, politics, israel-palestine, religion, parenting, etc...

AHHHHH NO PLEASE DON'T SAY THAT. If we're using what my office talks about as the yardstick, all we can talk about going forward is whatever sex scandal was on the cover of the NYPost yesterday, and none of us is allowed to have read the full article or have any solid understanding of the details of what is going on.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:49 PM on June 6, 2012 [18 favorites]


Nadawi,

I appreciate that perspective. It certainly seems to be common among the most outspoken, long-time MeFites. The notion of a well-crafted FPP with plenty of links is definitely part of the culture; that I recognize. I suppose one of my failings as a MeFi is that I usually skip the link-laden posts -- or at least only read the "main" link (or two) that seems most pertinent to the discussion.

The notion of impartiality seems especially prevalent re: FPP etiquette... even though it's usually obvious why the poster is making the post. I find that little piece of etiquette rather strange, too.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 6:49 PM on June 6, 2012


Ban all ... CNN links.

We already had that MeTa
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:50 PM on June 6, 2012


It feels a bit like the Quebec government's overly heavy-handed response to the student protesters.

Oh, sorry, I thought you wanted to have a real conversation about this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:50 PM on June 6, 2012 [36 favorites]


It just makes it feel like a lot of people have put effort into crafting some interesting community content... that then gets deleted.

The mark of a good post isn't that it generates conversation or that you put a lot of time into it.

My ideal metafilter post:

1) Is not about you -- that means it is NOT crafted so that people can talk about 'an issue'. Nor is it about something you personally are invested in, either because it makes you angry or because you are somehow connected to it personally.
2) Contains all the information needed for a reasonably well-informed consumer of mass media to know what's going on.
3) Is concise, and doesn't include any editorializing or opinion.
4) Is shared because you think people will enjoy the content itself, either because it is informative and useful information or because it's entertaining in and of itself.
posted by empath at 6:50 PM on June 6, 2012 [21 favorites]


Any post about homeopathy always does well!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:50 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "New Post" page says, first and foremost:

Found something cool on the web?

If your post doesn't answer that question with yes, or answers it with "Yes, sort of, I mean it's actually pretty crappy but..." then maybe you should rethink posting it.

RULE OF THUMB:

This is cool; other people will want to see it == Good post
This is important; I want other people to see it == Bad post


(I flagged your post. I'm sure I wasn't the only one.)
posted by Gator at 6:51 PM on June 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


it's usually obvious why the poster is making the post

Because the poster found something interesting/neat/cool, and wanted to share it?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:51 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


i don't think a well crafted post needs a lot of links. i think one solid link is often better. i think that the chances of a cnn ireport being that one solid link on a tense topic is about as close to zero as you can get.
posted by nadawi at 6:52 PM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sorry, hit post too soon. Additionally Nadawi, it was meant to be one of the weirder moderators as police force analogies. Mostly because... who could ever get outraged at the provincial Quebecois government for human rights abuses? I mean, c'mon. How stupid. But even such a benign, decent, and unremarkable government can make decisions that a notable portion of the popular find... curious.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 6:53 PM on June 6, 2012


Any post about homeopathy always does well!

Improve the front page by flooding it with SLGrar? No.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:53 PM on June 6, 2012


Wow... I really didn't want to talk about iReport. Thanks, Jessamyn. :P
posted by GnomeChompsky at 6:53 PM on June 6, 2012


Often, not always, people confuse things that Metafilter does not do well with things that they themselves have strong feelings about or are emotionally invested in.

Or, at least, I seem to do it myself a lot.
posted by box at 6:54 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jessamyn, I wanted to have a real conversation about the broader issue. Not my post. If you're truly offended, pardon my attempt at being a bit sassy (it's really not that mean of a comparison) in response to something that I stated I specifically didn't want to bring up... but that you did right off the bat.

Yes, I admit that post wasn't especially inspired. I posted it because I found it more amazing than many of the single link video posts here and thought it could lead to interesting discussion. I may be/probably was wrong. But that was literally a tiny percentage of why I made the post I did. I'd been thinking about it since the other day when you posted in a recent MT thread about what MeFi doesn't do well.

Lesson learned: Metafilter doesn't do generalities well.

...unless a lively discussion is your goal, anyway.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 7:00 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


but that you did right off the bat.

Someone else was going to, and probably less charitably than I would. When someone posts a MeTa within hours of getting a post deleted we usually link to the post so that there are not a whole lot of other people either confused about what is going on or linking to the post with their own possibly-jerkish side commentary. Other people can give you totally decent information about what sorts of things MeFi does or doesn't do well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:06 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


in response to something that I stated I specifically didn't want to bring up... but that you did right off the bat.

Okay, so that seems rather unfair of you. Your post here is about whether you've misconstrued what the site's intent is - "Am I off about Metafilter" - and you bring up the DailyKOS as an alternative in your mind, but we should steer clear of discussing your recent deleted FPP which is pure political outrage bait?

Your post is extremely material to the comparison of this site to others, particularly on the political/news side.
posted by pahalial at 7:13 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


A sort of paradox about the nature of MetaFilter is that what makes it special and what's the main attraction for most members is the discussion and the community even though it's ostensibly and nominally all about carefully selected links. However, what I think a lot of people don't understand, and this is particularly true of new members, is that the ethos of posting "best of the web" and not "something to talk about" plays a huge role in why the discussion is so good and the community is so special.

The connection isn't obvious and there's lots of nuances involved. But, mostly, I think it boils down to "good posts make good discussion". OutrageFilter and NewsFilter seem like they will be good because the discussion here is so good and so, well, the discussion about these things should be better than they would be almost anywhere else. But, really, the discussion in those kinds of threads is, in general, of a lower quality. There are exceptions, some of them fabulous exceptions. The most famous and notable in mefi's history is the 9/11 thread. But, on the whole, many of the very worst, uncivil and like-the-rest-of-the-web-cesspool discussions that have occurred here have been in the context of those kinds of posts. A big part of that is that those kinds of posts attract people who like to be adversarial for its own sake. And people who have very strong emotional investments in the subject of the posts (because the posts are things which are "outrageous" or are political because they're high-profile news, or similar) and this tends to lead to lots of conflict and not-good-conversation. The deleted post mentioned here about a kid behaving badly was guaranteed to bring out drive-by snarking and parents vs non-parents and all sorts of other things where people are being rude to each other, many of whom have a big investment in the topic.

I agree that it would be awesome if we could discuss these things well. And, yes, sometimes we do. But often we don't. And the bottom line is that the more of these posts there are, and the more there are crappy, unpleasant discussions like there are everywhere else on the web, the less and less MetaFilter is the sort of place that we want it to be and the less that it's the place that you'd think would be able to discuss posts like that well. Partly, because the more posts like that there are, the more there's self-selection for memberships and participation in those kinds of threads. MeFi is actually less snarky now than it was when I left four years ago and that's an example, I think, of how communities change via subtle peer-pressure and self-selection for participation and the like.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:14 PM on June 6, 2012 [18 favorites]


Improve the front page by flooding it with SLGrar? No.

In my best Foghorn Leghorn voice:

"That was a joke, I say, a JOKE, son."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:15 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The common formulation of 'Metafilter doesn't do X well' is something that mildly annoys me, because Metafilter, like soylent green, is people. All kinds of different people, even if it might be argued that the skew is a little older and smarter (or at least wordier) than some other communities. Some people who are all about being communitarian, some people who want a big audience for their opinions, some people who have questions they want answered, some people who love the web (and build it), some people who love to argue, some people who are just in it for the lulz, some people who are angling for favorites, some people who are bored and chatty, some people who are keen to learn from all the smart folks from different backgrounds who have congregrated here, some people who want to fight about politics, some people who are drawn by the stated intent of the site to attempt to be a refuge from racist and sexist and homoist and etc-ist crap that happens so much elsewhere, all kinds of different people and different reasons.

I reckon saying 'Metafilter doesn't do X well' can kind of pre-emptively close off the possibility that we, as members of a very large community, could discuss certain difficult topics and have it go 'well'. I mean it's probably true that it might just not be possible, and I understand that the phrase is a form of shorthand that is useful to quickly sketch out a whole array of problems inherent in the form and medium, but I think it may be true to the extent that any online discussion forum finds it difficult to have substantive, smart discussions about difficult, complicated, emotionally fraught topics. Especially at the kind of userbase scale we have here.

I guess my hope is that we don't stop trying to have those kinds of discussions, hard as they can make life for the moderation team, just because they are difficult and seldom smooth. Because those few times that things do shed more light than heat make it worthwhile, I think, and being able to point to positive examples rather than just go 'oh no not again -- this is going to go straight into the toilet' can, just maybe, set up a bit of virtuous feedback.

I don't think that the mods here do close things off preemptively too often, and I think that they do make efforts to let things that might go sideways stand, when reasonable, until they actually do go bad. But it's about user behaviour more than moderation intervention.

That means that people have to be aware, and make an effort to discuss things in good faith, to avoid posting things or framing them in a way that sets the community up for anger and recrimination. Even then, though, the problem is, always, that in any crowd there are always going to be some shouters and shitdisturbers and the first brick through a window generally means all bets are off. Anger happens, and hurt feelings, but even then, good can come of them.

It's a hard thing, but I do hope we don't stop trying.

Lesson learned: Metafilter doesn't do generalities well.

That's the wrong lesson to learn, I think. The right lesson is that if we're posting things to Metafilter that are likely to start arguments, or result in a lot of people echoing how bad something is, we should probably try harder to frame them in ways that will (hopefully) result in a better, more reasoned discussion, or reconsider posting them at all.

It's long been A Thing on the Blue that if you're posting something in order to start a discussion, you may be posting it for the wrong reasons. Better, it has often been suggested, to post something or things interesting that you found, and if discussion ensues, that's great. Fascinating, civil, funny, or illuminating discussion, all the better. Fighting and recreational outrage, not so much.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:15 PM on June 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


I suppose you're right about that, Jessamyn. Actually, my biggest problem is recently what an editor pointed out to me: my titles suck. I should have framed the question more along the lines of whether MeFi exists more to emphasize external content (links) or internal content (discussion). And, really, I didn't mean to majorly insult you with the Quebec reference. I have this horrible habit of trying to be "cute."
posted by GnomeChompsky at 7:16 PM on June 6, 2012


hopefully well remunerated moderators

I think most people would want to be paid a lot to put up with threads like this.
posted by Trurl at 7:19 PM on June 6, 2012


I think I overstated things by saying 'stated intent of the site' -- it is, more accurately, I think, 'an established moderation policy'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:22 PM on June 6, 2012


I reckon saying 'Metafilter doesn't do X well' can kind of pre-emptively close off the possibility that we, as members of a very large community, could discuss certain difficult topics and have it go 'well'.

It's more that we don't do them well, easily. If a lot of care is put into the post, and the moderators are on top of things, and posters exercise self-control, we can have fairly interesting threads about controversial topics.

Personally, I'm as entertained by the mudslinging flame-out inducing clusterfucks as I am by the polite conversation about the cute animal videos, but I recognize I'm in the minority, there.
posted by empath at 7:25 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Help me identify old cartoons.
posted by jonmc at 7:26 PM on June 6, 2012


Isn't it incredible that I can write: "Improve the front page by flooding it with SLGrar?" and have it be completely understood? Language is an amazing thing, even if it feels totally inadequate to conveying human experience.

flapjax at midnite, are you sure that's to whom you are referring?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:27 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Help me identify old cartoons.

Being a bit of an old cartoon myself, I am happy to help!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:28 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


*drops anvil on stav*
posted by jonmc at 7:28 PM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Lookit the pretty boidies!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:30 PM on June 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


thought it could lead to interesting discussion.

Honestly, what's there to say about a foul-mouthed grade-schooler?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:36 PM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


flapjax at midnite, are you sure that's to whom you are referring?

Absolutely! But yeah, I also knew that ol' Foghorn was based on ol' Cleghorn! Love 'em both!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:37 PM on June 6, 2012


how do you figure that more moderators (of the volunteer sort especially) would result in less moderation?

I think what he is suggesting is that with more moderators they would have more resources to try and prune bad comments from threads instead of throwing in the towel and deleting the whole thing.

Not saying I agree or disagree with the idea.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:38 PM on June 6, 2012


There's a weird little anti-What-Makes-A-Good-Post on The Wiki. Here's the list of topics from that page:

Israel/Palestine
Why no-one (apparently) likes the United States
SUVs
Obesity
Weblogs, and especially A-list bloggers
Richard Dawkins or hay guyz religion is good/bad, m i rite?
Circumcision
Tasers

Your post didn't really fit into any of those categories, but you can extrapolate the list pretty easily. "Outrage-filter" would be a great addition.
posted by carsonb at 7:41 PM on June 6, 2012


Octobersurprise, the moderators obviously thought I made an error in judgment (which I accept and didn't especially want to talk about, but okay, here we are). But, what I thought at the time of posting was...

1) Was this kind of behavior typical?
2) What did it say that there seemed to be little to no response from... anyone?
3) Privacy issues? Here's a kid being videotaped and potentially put in front of thousands (or even millions) without his knowledge. Added concern: it was on school property.
4) What about society has led to that kind of behavior?
5) How does transmission of such adult topics to such young kids typically happen?
6) What is our responsibility as a society to prevent such behavior/cultural shifts. Do we even have one? Should we even care?
7) What about the other video content? Any worthwhile ideas?
8) Do MeFites have any interesting ideas on what's wrong with public education? The topic has been touched on in the past, and I found the conversations interesting.

I actually didn't consider this outrageous content. I was just surprised and had no ideas that kids today talk that way... and that it was, in fact, so unremarkable that the bus driver seemed to take it in stride and there weren't tons of gasps and objections by the other kids. That the school bus had changed so much since I was a kid in an urban setting made me intensely curious... not outraged.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 7:46 PM on June 6, 2012


I think calling Metafilter posts "discussions" is a bit of a misnomer. An ordinary discussion is between a small number of people (often just two or three) and it is essentially ephemeral. The participants say various things, but there is a lot of back and forth and restatement. Discussions are rarely recorded. When they are, it is usually a summary of the conclusion and how it was reached that is recorded.

Compare with Metafilter: This is one of the more popular discussion sites on the internet with international reach. It is really only limited by our reliance on the English language and whatever content filters the local Internet providers enforce. Posts here are anything but ephemeral. You can't edit or delete a post (even being able to retract a post and have it show up collapsed by default or struck through would be a huge improvement). Most participants probably leave the thread in the beginning or middle, few hang on until the end. There is no summary, there is no conclusion.

In real life, the stupid things you say are mostly forgotten. Metafilter remembers all forever.

Metafilter posts are something, but they aren't discussions.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:54 PM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Any post about homeopathy always does well!

The amazing thing is that it turns out we only need one post about homeopathy per million. And the more dilute that ratio gets, the more effective the post is.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:07 PM on June 6, 2012 [36 favorites]


It feels a bit like the Quebec government's overly heavy-handed response to the student protesters.

Conflating your deleted post with the curtailment of free speech and freedom of assembly is just plain bizarre.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:24 PM on June 6, 2012


But, what I thought at the time of posting was...
[a long list of things that weren't brought up at all in the post]
posted by modernserf at 8:32 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter generally does not obit well. We tend to have little to say, and so we just populate those threads with our names.

I wish we didn't abide people who can't seem to find the shift key, but we do.
posted by found missing at 8:59 PM on June 6, 2012


KokuRyu: Bizarre those it may still be, the comment was in response to deleting/locking entire threads when a less heavy-handed response may have been enough. I was very specifically trying not not to talk about my post. Besides, I already admitted to it being a poor attempt at being cute (i.e. not an attempt at an intellectually consistent analogy).

It was also meant to be somewhat satirical and whimsical. Typical "police state" comparisons are China, Soviet Union, Burma, North Korea, etc. But I choose... a provincial government from one of the most reasonable, decent countries there is, whose population is largely in favor of it? I'll blame my lazy writing and attempts to respond too quickly to too many ideas. But I thought at least someone would appreciate (rather than just condemn) the absurdity of the comparison.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 9:02 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another thing worth mentioning is that MetaFilter isn't supposed to be all things to all people really. If you want to discuss outrageous political things, The Daily Kos is a much better spot for it. If you want to read about the outrageous things that happen in the world everyday, Huffington Post will most certainly have that covered.

But if you want to see a cool collection of interesting places on the web and some good discussions to back them up, then that's the ultimate goal of MetaFilter.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:03 PM on June 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


Modernserf, sorry... I try to keep my personal opinions/questions out of a post. I can't claim to be an especially prolific or exemplary poster or anything, but the policy has worked at least adequately in the past.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 9:03 PM on June 6, 2012


A. Your mom.
posted by Eideteker at 9:22 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nah, she was pretty underwhelmed by it.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 PM on June 6, 2012


The amazing thing is that it turns out we only need one post about homeopathy per million. And the more dilute that ratio gets, the more effective the post is.

At a ratio of one homepathy post in one billion, it is actually too effective - it will kill you.
posted by vidur at 9:53 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Any post about homeopathy always does well!

I think homeopathy posts are most effective when they are fairly rare e.g. 1 post in 10,000.
posted by stp123 at 9:58 PM on June 6, 2012


... or what Homeboy Trouble said.
posted by stp123 at 9:59 PM on June 6, 2012


What does (or doesn't) Metafilter do well?

Cats. Metafilter does cats really, really well.
posted by book 'em dano at 10:06 PM on June 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Metafilter does biking threads incredibly well.

If you like shit storms.
posted by mazola at 10:08 PM on June 6, 2012


Cats. Metafilter does cats really, really well.

I love me some cats. But "here's this cute kitty" = "best of the web"?

Hahahahahaha. Its time to put that tired old refrain out of its misery.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:43 PM on June 6, 2012


Ask Metafilter's greatest strength:

When I was 2 years old I saw this one cartoon that had a guy that was orange and his voice sounded like cupcakes and there might have been a banana or a dragon. Does anyone remember this or was I crazy?

....

30 Seconds later
....

I was the exeutive producers of Happy Cupcake Banana Time in he early 80s. We we a niche cartoon show on a local access channel in the mid west. Here is a youtube link to every episode we made...
posted by JimmyJames at 11:08 PM on June 6, 2012 [41 favorites]


But if you want to see a cool collection of interesting places on the web and some good discussions to back them up, then that's the ultimate goal of MetaFilter.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:03 PM


does this mean we can now officially call a halt to the "best of the web" claims and counter-claims, and related disputes, ballyhoos, leg-wrestles?
posted by philip-random at 11:31 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I flagged that post within about a minute of it appearing. It was silly outragefilter. The video had no value beyond "here's a bratty kid using bad language on the school bus." In no way does that speak to the state of American education.
posted by zachlipton at 12:06 AM on June 7, 2012


That was a "bratty kid using bad language"? I thought he might puke up and invoke Pazuzu at any moment.
posted by fleacircus at 12:44 AM on June 7, 2012


GnomeChompsky, apparently I'm in the minority, but I totally agree with you. You've put into words all of the things that I don't like about MetaFilter and why I almost never go over to the Blue (I'm strictly green and grey). FWIW, if you subscribe wisely, Reddit can be like MetaFilter but without all the crap modded out. Yes, you have to sift through it, but you've said you're willing to accept that to not miss out on a good discussion.

Also, I'm kind of with you on the link to your deleted post thing. I saw it and immediately thought "Dude! (S)he didn't want to make it personal!"
posted by Weeping_angel at 1:52 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reddit: like MetaFilter, but without all the crap modded out.
posted by fleacircus at 3:36 AM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm laying here sick in bed. I've been sick since Saturday night. Not really able to stand up, not really eating, consuming diluted gatorade. Continuous high fever that responds only temporarily to the usual pills. You know, the fun kind of being sick. Gone to the doctor twice and they've diagnosed me as "you're sick". I've missed the single most important event of my work year on Tuesday - you know the one where a supervisor said, "You'd better either be in the hospital or at work". It has been a truly crappy week.

What Metafilter does well: keeps me entertained when life gets crappy.

I know that that is not the meaning of the OPs question of what metafilter does well or not well, but I just wanted to put in a small Thank You to everyone who has posted anything anywhere on the site this week. Also to my cat who has decided that increased heating and availability of her napping platform is the best thing ever. And my boyfriend who has taken a bunch of time off work to help me out.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:25 AM on June 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'm willing to give GnomeChompsky points for framing this "why was my post deleted" post in a novel and quasi-constructive way.
posted by crunchland at 4:40 AM on June 7, 2012


does this mean we can now officially call a halt to the "best of the web" claims and counter-claims, and related disputes, ballyhoos, leg-wrestles?

BoTW has been deprecated for years now. So: yes.

Reddit can be like MetaFilter but without all the crap modded out.

I have an exciting proposal for you.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:50 AM on June 7, 2012


metafilter: SUPER SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE DETAILS INSIDE SUPER SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE DETAILS INSIDE SUPER SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE DETAILS INSIDE (HAHAHA it's funny cause meme)

This is for the next five famous people who die in case I'm too busy with my special snowflake details to type a cognizant response: . . . . .
posted by WhitenoisE at 4:57 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


is there truly a shortage of intelligent, reasonable people who are willing to volunteer as moderators/discussion monitors?

Wow.

I've had my run-ins with The Moderati. I'm probably overdue for one. We seem to hold completely opposite opinions about some things. OK, a lot of things. (They seem to be a diverse bunch, so the common factor is obviously me.)

But the suggestion that they're not intelligent, reasonable people is...wow. I don't even know where to begin, and I'm an arrogant smartarse who is pretty much never, ever lost for words. And the idea that they'd do it for free - that they're somehow amateurs? I wouldn't put up with my shit for free. I sure as hell wouldn't be polite, measured, calm and collected for free.

Here, have a hug. Seriously, I understand - it smarts. You know why it smarts? Because they're intelligent, reasonable people doing a job. If they lost their shit and waved the banhammer like a kipper, our owies would be justified. But they don't, so we're not.

Mmm, you smell like cookies. Wait, that's me.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:08 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually didn't consider this outrageous content. I was just surprised and had no ideas that kids today talk that way... and that it was, in fact, so unremarkable that the bus driver seemed to take it in stride and there weren't tons of gasps and objections by the other kids. That the school bus had changed so much since I was a kid in an urban setting made me intensely curious... not outraged.

Was there any reason why you didn't then try to find more links to offer other perspectives on the issue of "are kids cussing more these days"? Because that would have clarified that you were proposing a discussion on that larger topic, which was sparked by "this video of a kid cussing on a bus".

Since you didn't, it just looked like you were saying "hey look at this kid cussing on a bus" and that kind of feels like a dumb thing to make a big deal about -- not because I think kids cussing isn't a big deal, it's more like, what can people say about it? You're going to get people tut-tutting, and that's it. Kind of a boring discussion.

Except you had a lot of other things in mind, which....you didn't find links about.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:54 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually didn't consider this outrageous content.

Yet the first word in the title and the link is 'outrageous'. Hmm.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:00 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


To elaborate, the post read as 'outrage', even if that wasn't your intention. It's like when you write a paper that gets a poor grade because your ideas aren't coming across. You may have a great idea in your head, but everyone else can only interact with what you put on the page. Similar with your police state comment. You're communicating bluntly and trying to add nuance after the fact, but that nuance was only in your head, not on the page. Try to make more of an effort to imagine how your written words are coming across.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:03 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you want to discuss outrageous political things, The Daily Kos is a much better spot for it. If you want to read about the outrageous things that happen in the world everyday, Huffington Post will most certainly have that covered.

Which is all fair and good, but the problem often is that people want to discuss outrageous political things with the people that hang out here, not the hoi polloi at Daily Kos or HuffPo. At this late stage I'd say that MeFi does community very well and that's ironically why you get those sort of misplaced grah/outrage posts here.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:04 AM on June 7, 2012


I should have framed the question more along the lines of whether MeFi exists more to emphasize external content (links) or internal content (discussion). And, really, I didn't mean to majorly insult you with the Quebec reference. I have this horrible habit of trying to be "cute."

You think you misframed this post. You believe you wanted to frame it to hide your bias, but I believe you wanted your bias to prevail. And if I was mistakenly led to that conclusion by your misframing, it's because I believe it wasn't a misframing but your true intention peeping through which wasn't supposed to be that obvious.

On preview, what crunchland said above.

As for your "kids" post, if you really wanted the discussion to be about the school bus had changed so much since I was a kid you needed to frame it that way. Or, on preview, what EmpressCallipygos said above.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:29 AM on June 7, 2012


I was kind of hoping this MeTa would really talk about what MeFi does/doesn't do well, instead of being about the OP's deleted post. The lesson here is that if the deletion of one's post raises questions about Metafilter that are not specific to the deleted post, wait for a period before posting the MeTa about the general question.
posted by Jpfed at 6:31 AM on June 7, 2012


Hey, if you want to hear kids outrageously swearing, come to my high school in NYC for a day. If you want to see kids acting wild on school buses, go and see the Bully movie.

I wish it was surprising. Instead, it's just sad and terrible.

(Also, I am usually too afraid to 'post to the blue' but I think the discussion is supposed to be a side effect. Not posting things because 'this will create a great discussion'. You post it because it's cool and interesting to you...and then you leave it there. That's it. Sometimes the content that other people post might not be cool or interesting to you- but that doesn't mean only 'a tiny fraction of FPPs are interesting'...just that they are not particularly interesting to you.)
posted by bquarters at 6:36 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should have framed the question more along the lines of whether MeFi exists more to emphasize external content (links) or internal content (discussion).

Like the Stephen King threads I am obsessed with. You read the linked content. You realize he has a new book and order it, and then you realize from the comments "hey, all these other people are obsessed with him too! Cool!" But the priority I think is the external links. For Askme, the emphasize is on the 'hive mind'. So blue is external, green is internal. That's my take on it.
posted by bquarters at 6:40 AM on June 7, 2012


Which is all fair and good, but the problem often is that people want to discuss outrageous political things with the people that hang out here, not the hoi polloi at Daily Kos or HuffPo.

It's true, and I think the great tragedy of MetaFilter is that there is not a place for "general discussion", both deep and shallow, but I also think that might be what makes MetaFilter so great. The best art is often created under severe constraints, and I think the constraints that are placed on MeFi discussions help to keep the community from spiralling out of control. It's one of those blessing/curse things.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:47 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


MetaChat is an informal place for MeFites to touch base and post, discuss and chatter about topics that may not belong on MetaFilter
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:06 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter doesn't really do subjects well or poorly.

This is because MetaFilter doesn't really do subjects.

Well, of course, every post has a topic, and you have to keep the discussion more or less related to it. But topics aren't the site's "product". When you go here it's not because you're doing research, right? There are plenty of forums for that. And it's not because you have a cause you want to support, that's what DailyKos et al. are about. And it's not because you want cute pictures of cats, because of Cheezburger.

Every post here is a collection of links to other sites. Most of the time those sites aren't especially difficult to find. MetaFilter's value-add is in the framing and the resulting discussion.

The framing of the post strongly influences the quality of the discussion. Moreso, I think, than anything to do with the content. Not that content doesn't matter, but the set of content that cannot be framed in a way that works for MetaFilter is quite small. So in order to get your post posted here, and sometimes even to have your comment left standing, you need to understand what framing is, and how it works.

On the evidence of this thread, I think you do not understand what framing is, or how it works. This is a common affliction and doesn't mean anything bad about you apart from your ignorance on this topic. But it seems like you don't recognize the problem, so here's the evidence in question:
If the moderators are so hard-pressed to monitor such discussions for especially egregious comments (something I say in good faith, not sarcastically) then is there truly a shortage of intelligent, reasonable people who are willing to volunteer as moderators/discussion monitors?
There are several apparent assumptions here that I doubt you really believe:
  • The moderators disallow the discussions in question because of the excess of terrible comments, rather than, eg., the lack of worthwhile comments
  • There is a sarcastic interpretation of the sentence that you don't mean. You think it's obvious what that interpretation is. (I for one don't know what it is)
  • The interpretation you intend is "in good faith". The meaning of that is also obvious to you. (To me, "good faith" merely excludes trolling and abusive behavior, and has nothing to do with sarcasm.)
  • The solution to the problem of bad discussions is to recruit volunteer moderators.
  • The only (plausible, obvious) reason why this isn't being done is the lack of willing volunteers.
I doubt that you believe these things because when jessamyn contradicted these assumptions at the start of the thread, you accepted that with no argument at all. Normally it takes a bit more than someone else's contradiction to change one's own beliefs. But the sentence you wrote really made it look like you believed those things. Perhaps you meant for them to be your best guesses as to the reasons for the moderation policies that you don't understand? In that case you should have qualified those guesses appropriately, rather than simply assuming them to be true, as you did in that sentence there.

Another example:
It feels a bit like the Quebec government's overly heavy-handed response to the student protesters.
And then you followed with:
Additionally Nadawi, it was meant to be one of the weirder moderators as police force analogies. Mostly because... who could ever get outraged at the provincial Quebecois government for human rights abuses? I mean, c'mon. How stupid. But even such a benign, decent, and unremarkable government can make decisions that a notable portion of the popular find... curious.
I'm thinking your use of moderators-as-police-force analogy was meant to be sarcastic? That's what I get from hearing that it was meant to be weird. But the usual use of sarcasm is to make a point opposite to that of the literal meaning of the text, whereas what you actually did with it is ask
Yes, they're annoying (as are some threads) but is deleting them the answer?
We do in fact ask whether the Quebecois government is doing the right thing by abusing protestors. We do this in order to answer "FUCK NO" as loud as possible to whoever will listen. So the answer to that rhetorical question is "FUCK NO" combined with further outrage, protests, and lawsuits.

You didn't actually write out "FUCK YOU MODS AND YOUR MODERATING" but you implied it pretty hard. The fact that you did not mean the analogy to be altogether literalist doesn't really make it sarcastic. The fact that you were using an overblown analogy on purpose, for...comedy?...doesn't mean that anyone else gets it, and doesn't make it okay.

Framing is a very subtle business. Not many people are good at it. I'm entirely willing to accept that your mistakes here were honest errors.

If you want to understand why some posts stay and others go, you need to get a lot better at recognizing how they're framing their content.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:07 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


jessamyn: "You're aware that we are paid moderators with benefits and stuff right?"

I didn't know that. I thought you just did it because you loved us.

I don't know what to think now.
posted by theichibun at 7:08 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


theichibun: "I don't know what to think now."

I bet you also think there's only been one "jessamyn". I think we are on the third or fourth employee to fill the role of "jessamyn" this year alone.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:11 AM on June 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't know what to think now.

That it's a very good thing that this job comes with mental health benefits?

I know I can be a little overliteral sometimes but I really wasn't sure if GnomeChompsky knew that these were paid positions or not so I wasn't sure if he was saying "We need more volunteer mods" or "We need more volunteer mods in addition to the paid mods that we already have." Also I am just one person.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:18 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


The current "the Internet killed porn" thread boasts top-notch MeFi commentary.
posted by Trurl at 7:23 AM on June 7, 2012


I think we are on the third or fourth employee to fill the role of "jessamyn" this year alone.

Haha! Yes! Like travel agents (remember travel agents?) ALWAYS had "J" names*. They were always Joan or Janet or such. All. Ways.

*At least in NYC. Dunno if that was a thing nationwide.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:27 AM on June 7, 2012


Would it be alright to close this? I just can't see this thread ending well.

-Maybe this thread "won't work" because it's intended to prompt a philosophical discussion rather than address a narrow issue. If so, sorry to be a bother.
-who could ever get outraged at the provincial Quebecois government for human rights abuses? I mean, c'mon. How stupid.
-I wanted to have a real conversation about the broader issue.
-It was also meant to be somewhat satirical and whimsical.


You seem to be looking for a smarter community, where "smarter" = "reading your mind and agreeing with the contents". I think we all want that some times, but those communities exist in phone booths.

I have this horrible habit of trying to be "cute."

Allow me to suggest you break that habit.
posted by yerfatma at 7:34 AM on June 7, 2012


Things MetaFilter does not do well: gender politics, rape prosecutions, religious tolerance, Israel, police brutality, conservative discourse, single link outrage posts.

GnomeChompsky, people flagged the snot out of your post because it was a lame and crappy post. The mods pulled your post because your fellow members had flagged the snot out of it. If you want to make deeply flawed analogies, it's less like the mods as mob enforcers and much more like your fellow members as FBI informants.

You can make this as overblown and personal as you want, but it really is as simple as single link outrage post was flagged and pulled, as single link outrage posts generally are. There is no broader issue.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:36 AM on June 7, 2012


Having seen plenty of bad feedback loops, I support stavros' idea of building "virtuous feedback." And I agree that bad behavior is due more to human foibles when it comes to discussing topics we care about and not particular topics that are somehow more difficult to discuss than others.

I think calling Metafilter posts "discussions" is a bit of a misnomer.... Metafilter posts are something, but they aren't discussions.

Asynchronous persistent digital human intercourse?
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:44 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


That it's a very good thing that this job comes with mental health benefits?

I wonder if mine does. I should look into that.

Maybe someday.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:56 AM on June 7, 2012


They were always Joan or Janet or such. All. Ways.

This just made me remember that my long-ago travel agent's name was George! George was great.
posted by rtha at 7:58 AM on June 7, 2012


Part of the reason I come to Metafilter in the first place is there's a lot less Outrage of the Day/I'm Real Mad About This stuff and political threads are rare and usually interesting rather than taking over everything.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:04 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I had a friend who was a part time travel agent. Her name was Dawn, but that was in Bridgeport. FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 8:37 AM on June 7, 2012


Bras. We do bras well.
posted by Helga-woo at 8:46 AM on June 7, 2012


jessamyn: "That it's a very good thing that this job comes with mental health benefits? "

Can I get hired and have that be my only pay?

I'm being totally serious about that by the way. Unless it's such a ridiculously stupid request that I must be joking. Then I'll pretend like I was joking the whole time.
posted by theichibun at 8:46 AM on June 7, 2012


But the suggestion that they're not intelligent, reasonable people is...wow.

For what it's worth, I didn't get that read from GC's comment at all. I took it as "there's got to be additional smart people available to volunteer", not "well maybe we can find some smart people to moderate".

I am just one person.

...at a time! DUN DUN DUNNNNNN!
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:55 AM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I bet you also think there's only been one "jessamyn". I think we are on the third or fourth employee to fill the role of "jessamyn" this year alone.

I still can't believe they made me step down after that drunken rant about how libraries should stock porn DVDs.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:08 AM on June 7, 2012


I generally consider Metafilter to be a more comprehensive, crowdsourced version of Jason Kottke's blog. His content has a pretty big overlap with stuff that gets posted to (and goes over well on) the blue.
posted by schmod at 9:09 AM on June 7, 2012


Metafilter: Like Soylent Green.

Metafilter: We do bras well.
posted by schmod at 9:23 AM on June 7, 2012


I was just a lurker at the time, but my recollection is that kottke was the first person to respond in the affirmative to the phrase GYOFB.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:32 AM on June 7, 2012


> It just makes it feel like a lot of people have put effort into crafting some interesting community content... that then gets deleted.

Your post was not "interesting community content," it was shitty outragefilter that no one who's been here longer than a week should consider posting for more than half a minute. The fact that its deletion got you even mildly bothered shows you don't really understand this place. And the whole framing of this post, with its disingenuous pretense that it wasn't really your post being deleted that bothered you, honest! I can't believe jessamyn's bringing that up!... well, it's not a good advertisement for your membership in the class of "intelligent, reasonable people."

And no, it's not about number of links. I'm very fond of single-link posts and tend to skip those with too many links. Your post was shitty and rightfully deleted, end of story.
posted by languagehat at 9:39 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know it was meant as a bit of a joke, but the Québec provincial government, and the Sûreté du Québec in particular, have a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to policing protests.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:45 AM on June 7, 2012


I still can't believe they made me step down after that drunken rant about how libraries should stock porn DVDs.

You were a great jessamyn, furiousxgeorge, and imma let you finish, but Paphnuty was the greatest jessamyn of ALL TIME!
posted by Rock Steady at 10:02 AM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Languagehat,

Wow, languagehat. I just had a very sarcastic reaction, but I've grown! I'm going to shallow it and respond politely.

Unfortunately (for me, I guess), your attribution of motive to me is incorrect. Also, I understand that you're implying that I am unintelligent and unreasonable and primarily concerned about my own post.

In reality, my intelligence by professionally accepted measures is not below average and I have widely oscillating moments of both reason and unreason.

I explained that the reason for my posting this was more complicated than an objection to my post being deleted. I accepted that my post should have been deleted. I owned the fact that its removal caused some annoyance but that its deletion was simply a spark that got me thinking about a broader topic.

By time I wrote this post, I wasn't annoyed about my post's removal. I was mildly annoyed that a post on MetaTalk was locked that I wanted to respond to, and that the post it referenced (which I thought was interesting) had been deleted.

You say: Your post was shitty and rightfully deleted, end of story.

Yes, we love to end stories with bold (and especially accurate!) statements. My post was shitty, and it was deleted -- that was much is true -- but it's not the end of the story. The question was about what works and doesn't work on Metafilter. I did not frame the question especially well, but it was meant to be within the context of what I has been an uptick in "This isn't working" type comments from both moderators and members.

I could be completely wrong. I pay MeFi a lot less intention than a lot of people who lurk in MetaTalk. But saying that my shitty post is the "end of story" of what works or doesn't work on MeFI feels dismissive -- and maybe even incorrect.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 10:15 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, and I really need to learn to re-read before posting. Sorry for typos.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 10:17 AM on June 7, 2012


I bet you also think there's only been one "jessamyn". I think we are on the third or fourth employee to fill the role of "jessamyn" this year alone.

The real jessamyn has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia.
posted by Gator at 10:19 AM on June 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull: "I know it was meant as a bit of a joke, but the Québec provincial government, and the Sûreté du Québec in particular, have a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to policing protests."

Thanks for mentioning, TheWhiteSkull, because I was pretty aghast at that particular "joke" and had been ready to go all outrage on it. Really, curtailing freedom of assembly for everyone because students are protesting rising tuition causes is nothing to get enraged at? The Quebec government is a benign and unremarkable government? What? No one, not even the Bloc Quebecois, thinks of the QC government as being benign and unremarkable in any sense of the words.
posted by Phire at 10:32 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The question was about what works and doesn't work on Metafilter. I did not frame the question especially well, but it was meant to be within the context of what I has been an uptick in "This isn't working" type comments from both moderators and members.

I do not believe there has been an uptick. I believe this is Yellow Volkswagen Syndrome, or confirmation bias. You had a post deleted and wanted to comment on another post that had been deleted. That is rare but it is not a zebra. So yes, you are wrong.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:33 AM on June 7, 2012


LogicDash

I really appreciate your taking the time to post what you did. It addressed the question I posed politely without letting me off the hook for my mistakes.

Your point may be totally obvious to some people, but I haven't seen the mods emphasize it. I like your ideas that:

1. MetaFilter doesn't do subjects well. I hadn't thought about that, but it is awfully hard to have a coherent discussion about a "subject" on an online forum.

2. Thank you for illustrating the importance of framing. And thank you for analyzing how I suck at framing. I like your point that MeFi doesn't do poorly framed topics well. Well perhaps obvious to some, this notion surprised me. I guess I've misperceived Mefites as independent folks who really don't care about how something is framed and are likely to tackle whatever aspect of a topic that grabs their attention.

After reading your post, I would redo my original MT post (if I had to) so that it read something like this:

I recently posted something on MeFi without giving it the thought it deserved. I found the link intriguing and worthy of discussion because of some of the deeper issues it raised. Unfortunately, I didn't frame the post well and didn't communicate why the content might be interesting or discussion-worthy.

Right after the thread was removed, I came to MetaTalk because I was curious if I had been "called out." I wasn't, but I started reading some discussions of other recent posts that had been called out. A couple of them were posts that passed first-muster and had active discussions attached to them. Unfortunately, both the mods and some members decided that the posts "weren't working."

I've noticed this a lot lately -- that mods refer to MeFi doing or not doing things well, or things working or not working. This trend has started to concern me because I'm interested in many of the discussions that get deleted or locked. In fact, I often find the discussions in posts far more interesting than the posts themselves.

The notion that MeFi does or doesn't do certain things well seems to revolve around how much effort it takes (on the mods' part) to keep a discussion vaguely civil (and also readable). I recognize that sometimes it's easier just to stop or delete a discussion, but is that really best for the site?

I appreciate that the mods work hard and are under a set of very high expectations. If managing these discussions is especially difficult, is it possible for them to enlist volunteer assistance? It seems like there are plenty of intelligent, reasonable MeFi vets who would be happy to help.

Or am I completely off, and MeFi isn't interested in doing discussion of difficult topics well? MeFi's special value to me is its intelligent and lively discussions, but perhaps that's a secondary concern of the broader community?
posted by GnomeChompsky at 10:38 AM on June 7, 2012


Metafilter is certainly interested in doing discussions of difficult topics well, but that means the FPP has to go the extra mile in not editorializing, in even-handed framing, in neutral sources of information with more facts than outrage, etc. The standards are higher for an FPP about a difficult subject, as they should be, which is probably why it seems like more of them get deleted proportionally.
posted by Phire at 10:41 AM on June 7, 2012


I guess I've misperceived Mefites as independent folks who really don't care about how something is framed and are likely to tackle whatever aspect of a topic that grabs their attention.

That's not a misperception. Most MeFites, and I suspect most internet commenters, really are like that. But that manner of posting is not really related to the question of what makes a good post. You can make good posts and bad posts on impulse. I for one tend to make bad posts if I do it on impulse, but others do better; eg. some posters really have a knack for picking the best links to use for single link posts. "More framing" is not equivalent to "better framing".
posted by LogicalDash at 10:53 AM on June 7, 2012


you're completely off. we do difficult discussions that don't get deleted all the time. volunteer mods is an idea i wouldn't support. trying to back door discuss in the open two threads that have been closed, one of which was on metatalk, is something that isn't going to find much traction. if you wanted to specifically discuss the deleted ask.me thread and corresponding metatalk thread, you'd be better served asking the mods through email or the contact form.
posted by nadawi at 10:56 AM on June 7, 2012


Whether or not MeFites-as-a-group are "independent" is, well, independent from whether we-as-a-group care about how something is framed. People who participate in MetaFilter, especially those who (a) read the blue and (b) comment or flag, tend to appreciate posts which show an understanding of rhetoric: that is, posts which are framed appropriately for the site.
posted by catlet at 10:57 AM on June 7, 2012


I appreciate that the mods work hard and are under a set of very high expectations. If managing these discussions is especially difficult, is it possible for them to enlist volunteer assistance? It seems like there are plenty of intelligent, reasonable MeFi vets who would be happy to help.

The kind of assistance that it seems you're looking for -- helping someone frame a post - isn't the mod's job. You can question them for clarity, but the user is expected to be of sufficient intelligence that they can wait and observe for a while, and thus get a feel for which discussions work and which don't.

Or am I completely off, and MeFi isn't interested in doing discussion of difficult topics well? MeFi's special value to me is its intelligent and lively discussions, but perhaps that's a secondary concern of the broader community?

Metafilter is absolutely interested in discussions of difficult topics. However, the problem was that post you made was not "a discussion about a difficult topic." Since it was only a video you found outrageous, it was nothing more than a chance for people to say "hey look at this video of a kid swearing on the schoolbus."

I only found out now, coming in HERE, that you meant for there to be a broader discussion, but that wasn't in your initial post. So my reaction to your post as it stood would have been, "so what?" And there would have been no discussion.

And that goes back to why languagehat was so short with you -- your post was deleted, and you are assuming it is because "Metafilter doesn't do some topics well, and my own topic was one such topic." But what you are not understanding is, your post was NOT deleted because "it's a topic metafilter doesn't do well." Your post was deleted because it was badly prepared.

End of THAT story.

Not the end of "does metafilter not do certain topics well" story, but that's the end of the "why was my sweary-kid-on-the-schoolbus-video post deleted" story.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:59 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I guess I've misperceived Mefites as independent folks who really don't care about how something is framed and are likely to tackle whatever aspect of a topic that grabs their attention.

I think that actually does describe mefites in general. But it's one thing to look at how an individual responds in vacuum and another to look practically at the context of large groups of people interacting in real time on a popular site. Independent folks with personal opinions and perspectives and druthers interacting in large numbers is more of a cat-herding situation than it is a private-discussion-at-a-cafe situation; managing the emergent dynamics of those large-group interactions is part of the challenge of helping this place have interesting discussions without imploding under the weight of bad outlier behavior.

You don't get large groups without large-group effects. And part of reducing the amount of out-of-control aggro and frustration and escalation that comes with large groups is being realistic about the fact that things can and do get out of hand, and looking toward methods both reactive (deleting derails, leaving notes, diverting metacommentary, discussing what's gone down over email or in metatalk) and proactive (removing badly flawed and heavily-flagged posts, encouraging careful framing/reframing of difficult topics) for managing that.

It's specifically that there's a lot of individuality and a lot of individuals in the mefi userbase that makes some of this stuff more important than it would be if it was a handful of friends sitting around chatting over beers.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:01 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or am I completely off, and MeFi isn't interested in doing discussion of difficult topics well?

Can't generalize like this, in part because "difficult topics" is a term that's going to mean different things to different people, and in part because, well, it depends. It depends on who's reading the post, and who's commenting a lot, and what early comments look like, and if there are shitty comments, it depends on how many other subsequent mefites ignore or engage those comments.

I can almost guarantee that right now, on the front page, there is a post that's about a touchy topic that is nonetheless going well, and another that has lots of GRAR even though it's about something that doesn't, on the face of it, seem very grar-worthy.

If you scroll back far enough you'll find plenty of heated debate about difficult stuff that didn't get deleted.
posted by rtha at 11:02 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: I hope it's the end of the "why was my sweary-kid-on-the-schoolbus-video post deleted." It wasn't a story I was especially interested it. I'm not sure why so many other people are. The "End of THAT story" (for me) was the mod's deletion comment.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 11:10 AM on June 7, 2012


If you want to avoid discussing something in the future, try to pretend it doesn't exist. Oblique references present intriguing mysteries for your readers to "solve".
posted by LogicalDash at 11:13 AM on June 7, 2012


I hope it's the end of the "why was my sweary-kid-on-the-schoolbus-video post deleted." It wasn't a story I was especially interested in.

....Then why on earth did you make a post about it in the first place, much less make this MeTa inquiring why your post was deleted????
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:14 AM on June 7, 2012


Dude, dig up.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:15 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah um, another thing you should account for is that nearly all MetaTalk posts about deleted threads are requests for explanation of why the thread was deleted, protests against the deletion, accusations of censorship and corruption, veiled threats should the post not be reinstated, etc.

So if you mention a deleted post here, and don't want to start a conversation of that sort, you really need to go out of your way to make people notice you're not complaining.
posted by LogicalDash at 11:19 AM on June 7, 2012


Part of it is timing. If you'd posted this meTa a week or two from now because even after reading through past meTas about what we do well or not here you still had thoughts or questions, it's likely that no one would have brought your deleted post up. But your post got deleted and 15 minutes later you were making about this, and referenced being annoyed by mod action and how that spurred you to make the meTa.
posted by rtha at 11:23 AM on June 7, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: I posted mid-thread about why I made the MeFi post. If you really want a deep understanding of why, here's an explanation:

I spent yesterday bored and at home because I was feeling ill. I came across that video on CNN. I thought, "Wow! That's crazy! I had no clue this type of stuff happens in our schools!" Then I got to thinking, "There are some pretty interesting themes embedded in here. Not many people are going to notice this video on its own, or the rest of the videos. I bet people who are interested in education but don't have experience in our schools might find this interesting. Oh, my some folks at MeFi might find this interesting!"

Then I started to do a post, but I wasn't especially focused. I had a moment of pause, "It feels a little bare, but it's not my place to editorialize or bring up my opinion about privacy issues or cultural norms on language and authority-based interactions. Maybe someone else will, though. Lots of people do amusing SLYT posts and such, and they seem to do okay, so I guess this won't hurt. If people don't care, they'll flag it. No biggie."

So I posted it. Then someone commented. I thought, "Huh. Interesting perspective! If society didn't have 'bad words,' would that have nipped this kind of disrespect in the bud? If not, how would that disrespect have transpired?"

Then the post got removed. I thought, "Darn, guess it didn't fly. I wonder if anyone on MT called me out on being an asshole for violating some kid's privacy." (That, actually, was the biggest thing on my mind the whole time.)

So then I started reading MT. I found a pattern of language that started to irk me. I went back and glanced at the snake dude stuff (which I had been annoyed about earlier). I read the AskMeiFi objection post from earlier that day and thought, "WTF? Objecting because it's creepy on a true crime basis?" I wanted to reply, but the thread was locked. I thought, "WTF is this thread already locked? That's annoying. This seems like a legitimate topuic." Then I started reading the AskMeFi question and thought, "There's some good advice in here. Why was this so 'creepy?' Oh, OK, the OP is a little overbearing. Oh good, the mods told him to shut up. Hmm... more good stuff. WTF? It got deleted? Why, after everyone put all that effort into it?"

So I made my MT post, which obviously wasn't well framed, owing mostly to the same not-too-focused, slightly illness-clouded, all-day-bored headspace I'd been in for the whole day.

Lots of people decided to do me the favor of explaining why my post was deleted despite the obviousness of it. Whatever, that's fine. That's what I get. I read some some really thoughtful posts in this thread and thought, "Oh, cool! I'm glad some people didn't just assume that I'm some random butt hurt dick and took my question at face value, even if I didn't do a good job of posing it."

Then I went to bed. Then today after doing some morning stuff, I checked this thread (a bit fearfully) and noticed LogicDash's really cool reply. I thought, "Awesome! Even if it's a mess, I'm really glad I got to read that post. Hope it helps someone else, too." I should take the time to respond to him. I noticed a few other people wrote directly to me, so I figured I owed them the courtesy of addressing their points.

There's the whole story for you! I hope you were really interested and that your question wasn't rhetorical. :P
posted by GnomeChompsky at 11:47 AM on June 7, 2012


Okay, anyone else want to start an over-under on when we find out this whole thing was a stunt to begin with?.....I'm in for (digs in pocket) fifty cents.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:03 PM on June 7, 2012


the ask me was deleted before the metatalk thread was closed - so if you saw the metatalk thread get closed, and then started reading the ask.me, you would have already known it was deleted (in fact, you would have known that before ever clicking on it since the deleting is mentioned in the very first comment of the metatalk).

to me, it seems really obvious why the ask.me was deleted, contributions or no - the poster was being aggro and refusing to listen to guidelines. the metatalk was closed because the ask.me no longer needed a release valve. there is nothing in that situation that points me towards "something mefi doesn't do well" - which is maybe why so much of the conversation is about your deleted post.
posted by nadawi at 12:17 PM on June 7, 2012


Thanks for the clarification, Nadawi... I guess it says a lot about MeFi that many people decided to talk about why my post was shit instead of why my ideas/conclusions/thinking/question were shit.

Someone on MT told me once that I should lurk more (though they spelled more strangely) and talk less. But you learn so much more by being made the fool! ...and much faster, too. Also a great way to keep the ego in check, which seems to make being kind easier.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 12:30 PM on June 7, 2012


To reiterate Jess's opening comment: the site's core purpose is "sharing neat things you've found on the web that you think people haven't seen before and might spark interesting discussion". This is when MeFi is at its finest. I came to MeFi out of sloth. I could spend hours searching for bright shiny things on the internets or come to MeFin and find them in five minutes, and better yet get to discuss them with interesting, interested and intelligent people. The internet has changed a bit over the years and the really fun quirky sites that individuals put up are less common, and more links are to items in established media, such as a link to a blog post, newspaper article etc. These are still great, especially when they meet that criteria quoted by Jess.

MeFi also has a long tradition of political posts. It can get a little out of hand, especially near elections. I am sure that is a pain for the mods as those threads require more work for them. For me, I just skip the ones I am not interested in and click on the things that I like. That someone has made a politics post does not prevent someone else from posting to something cool and otherwise unknown to me. I also like the occasional politics posts here because the discussion is usually more nuanced, more thoughtful and intelligent, and less shouty and filled with talking points than you will find just about anyplace else on the net. Even so, they are more work, likely much more work, for the mods. Balance is good here.

MeFi is a great filtering tool. Most things of significance on the internet seen to make their way here fairly quickly; much of this is news in some form. I am not sure I would want MeFi to be my only news source, but most of the important issues can be found here. Politics are among those issues. The pure outrage items are but a subset. I am glad that many of them find a forum such as MeFi or whatever so that an injustice does not pass unnoticed (and it is clear that many journalists read MeFi) but they often make for awful discussion here. What I really like is that the mods rather than set some blinkard blind rule policy exercise judgment about what will or will not work in these areas. That takes courage as any such exercise of judgment leaves them open to criticism, sometimes harsh criticism. A blind rule is the easy way. MeFi is a better place for the current system. I might not always agree with the decision made but I am ever grateful that the mods have the courage to make them.
posted by caddis at 12:44 PM on June 7, 2012


your ideas/conclusions/thinking/question were muddled and hard to track. on my first read i honestly thought you were complaining about too many comments being deleted and harming conversation, not that you wanted a volunteer force of mods pruning even more comments. your very recently deleted post was easier to discuss. metafilter is a pretty big, sprawling entity and without specifics, trying to discuss what is being done well or poorly is difficult.

you keep thinking that things are saying a lot about metafilter, but you don't really seem to be considering that your way of communicating is saying a lot about you and might be more a factor in why you're getting the response you are. i say all this as someone who has received a beating or two on metatalk.
posted by nadawi at 12:44 PM on June 7, 2012


Nadawi, thanks for pointing out that I come across as an arrogant ass (even though you didn't say that, so thanks for being kind about it, too).
posted by GnomeChompsky at 12:58 PM on June 7, 2012


it's not even what i implied, but i'm glad you got something out of it, i guess. i was saying you weren't clear with your intent and your examples don't illustrate the problem you say you're complaining about, which is why people probably favored discussing the more concrete matter of your post being deleted - also, "my post was deleted but that's not what i want to talk about" is a well worn track for people who really do want to talk about how they were wronged through post deletions.
posted by nadawi at 1:05 PM on June 7, 2012


I had a friend who was a part time travel agent.

Man, if I was part time travel agent, it wouldn't matter what the other part was.
posted by gauche at 1:09 PM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Nadawi,

"you keep thinking that things are saying a lot about metafilter, but you don't really seem to be considering that your way of communicating is saying a lot about you"

I'm not contradicting your intended implication, but that statement to me confirmed that I made some statements of my own that seem arrogant -- i.e. I could say something much less grandiose than "it says a lot about MeFi..."

(though that would require my not being lazy)
posted by GnomeChompsky at 1:18 PM on June 7, 2012


But you learn so much more by being made the fool! ...and much faster, too. Also a great way to keep the ego in check, which seems to make being kind easier.

Thinking of this site (or any other community) as existing specifically for you is going to lead to frustration all over.
posted by yerfatma at 1:43 PM on June 7, 2012


Or am I completely off, and MeFi isn't interested in doing discussion of difficult topics well?

I'm pretty certain after all this discussion that you don't mean this to sound like "Oh, I'm sorry... I thought you were all smarter" but there is a bit of "I'm really disappointed that this place isn't the place I thought it was" which is a problem that a lot of people have. I have it. I think most users who have been here a long time have it. In fact MeTa is littered with the contributions of people who have serious issues with the way MetaFilter or the community operate and can't leave that alone. I get it. There are certain things about, for example, the public library that make me angry every time I think about them. However it's really important to me to not be that gal at a get together where I'm guaranteed to rant about the library and their system that is actually unlikely to change. And so I try to strike a balance between my own disappointment and the role I want to play as the "not always complaining" person.

Which is not, at all, to suggest that what you need to do is get over it, learn to love big brother or whatever. It is to say that in a long term relationship of any stripe [with a person, with a neighborhood, with a website] there is value in being able to identify the things that are less optimal to you and possibly work to change them but also understand that the place or thing or person that you love is imperfect, as you are imperfect, and that there is actually some value into accepting the flaws of a place the same way you'd love someone to accept your own flaws.

And again, this isn't me saying "quit complaining" but to understand that the site's been around a while, it's evolved slowly into whatever it is, and it's a place that mostly works and that most people mostly like. It's great when people have suggestions for how to make the place better than seem like they'd work for a big chunk of the userbase, but like any big institution [especially, oddly enough, one that doesn't have some sort of higher order goal like making money or hyping a product or whatever] change can often be slow and this is unsatisfying to bright people who say "Hey I've got some great ideas for how to make the place better by making this big change!"

So, for a lot of us things like not posting while sick/irritable is one of the things we do in order to show the place that we like it here and that there may be value to the community that is different than the value to us directly. We've seen this lately in a few places in MeTa where people are defending their rights to be as crabby as they want to in AskMe because that solves a problem for them without them thinking about whether it solves a problem for the asker or, to a larger degree, for the site in general.

I fear that this is already too long, but I just wanted to say that I really understand where you're coming from, but finding a way to balance what is great about this place with a way to see it more or less as it really is (and you as a part of making MeFi better for everyone not just for you) may help take the edge off of some of that disappointed feeling. Possibly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:04 PM on June 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


Jessamyn,

It's nice of you to respond further. To address a couple of your points:

No, it's really not my intention to say, "Oh, I'm sorry... I thought you were all smarter." Yes, there probably is a bit of, "I'm disappointed MeFi can't be my pet discussion forum." Disappointment probably isn't quite the right word, but it's close enough.

It's also nice of you to not tell me to quit complaining, but I'm done complaining, at least for a good while. Though this thread has highlighted a concern of mine about MeFi that I haven't mentioned yet, I'll gladly shut up and try to address it by modeling what I'd like to see in future interactions.

Yes, not posting while ill/irritable is certainly the responsible and respectful thing to do. Usually I avoid it... though I'm almost never sick, so I guess it's pretty easy to avoid!

And as for "help[ing] take the edge off of some of that disappointed feeling." It's essentially gone. It's those basically kind yet honest folks who're able to take the occasional grumpiness in stride that make it easy for me to ditch any disappointed feelings.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 2:45 PM on June 7, 2012


Just putting in a vote for appropriate usage of the Caps Lock Key.
posted by lalex at 4:17 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone else was going to

And that's the kind of asshat behaviour the mods here have had since it was closed signups and mathowie was sole (and somewhat lazy) moderator. You have people who act like hall monitors like it's there job or something, and then you're surprised. But you paid to join the party. Aren't you glad your $5 went towards that? I feel like a total idiot for doing it, that's for sure. And it sure isn't consistent. I've had a few remarks that were eyeballed, and stayed, even when I thought they should have been deleted, ten seconds later after I cooled down. (Note, this isn't one of them)

Yes, a lot of people here think the moderation sucks balls. And a lot of people here keep their mouth shut about it, because the sycophants are the most noisy ones in any crowd. They like to belong and the louder they shout the more they belong. Also, saying something (a la this callout) is a good way to get the gimlet eye focused on all your posts in the future.

Welcome to the party. As crappy as reddit is, most days I like it better. Just pick your class of asshole. Do you wanna hang with the hall monitors and do that group thing, or do you want to hang with the dropouts, and do that group thing. Unfortunately there's rarely a middle ground.

This is a business, people, not a community. Sure, the mods might have a pizza party when they're in the same place, but these people are not going to come help you move, and you can't call at four a.m. when your significant other breaks up with you. Treat it like what it is, and the mods like what they are: people who get paid to play whack-a-mole and think that makes them hot shit.
posted by thelastcamel at 6:56 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've had a few remarks that were eyeballed, and stayed, even when I thought they should have been deleted, ten seconds later after I cooled down.

You're like the 5th person in this thread to say something along those lines. I think I've had one comment deleted and it was in a nasty AskMe and I was hammered. Who are you people regularly posting comments you think should be deleted? If you're doing that, I don't think the community is the problem. Reddi feels more comfortable because, for the most part, no one is listening, so you're free to act like an asshole. Even if someone on Reddit calls you out for being an asshole, it's probably just some juggalo in a flyover state. If you get called out as an asshole here, you probably are.
posted by yerfatma at 7:01 PM on June 7, 2012


these people are not going to come help you move, and you can't call at four a.m. when your significant other breaks up with you.

People's experiences are different, I'm sure, but I've helped a few people here move and my phone number is on the internet. That's not your MetaFilter, totally okay too, but there are a lot of people here forming online and offline connections that are more than just words on a screen. You can make what you want out of it. Send me your email or mailing address and I'll be happy to refund your $5.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:20 PM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Treat it like what it is, and the mods like what they are: people who get paid to play whack-a-mole and think that makes them hot shit.

What?
posted by rtha at 7:44 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The mods here, while I may not always agree with them, have never struck me as people who relish hot shit.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 7:50 PM on June 7, 2012


thelastcamel needs a hug
posted by Justinian at 9:49 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


....As well as a binky and a nap.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:56 PM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


> I appreciate that the mods work hard and are under a set of very high expectations. If managing these discussions is especially difficult, is it possible for them to enlist volunteer assistance? It seems like there are plenty of intelligent, reasonable MeFi vets who would be happy to help.

So, instead of removing a post that doesn't fit the intentions of the site AND is framed in a way that mostly just spurs a lot of poor behavior within this community, you propose that the moderators leave the post and selectively remove comments from the discussion. Yay, we as a community get...uh, a weak post, the tattered remains of a flamewar, and an argument from multiple Mefites hashing out why their comments were deleted but not that other comment. Bonus, the original poster has the opportunity to jump in and complain about how people reacted negatively to their post or the heavy-handed moderation within the discussion.

But hey, at least the original poster doesn't suffer any momentary irritation from the deletion of their post.

Since you place a high value on the discussions generated within the community of people who participate here, this is kind of a weird thing to want.
posted by desuetude at 10:38 PM on June 7, 2012


I feel like a total idiot for doing it, that's for sure.

I'll help you make a 2 a.m. move to another forum, if you like.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:40 PM on June 7, 2012


No way you're getting any of this pizza now, dude.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:52 PM on June 7, 2012


I appreciate the restrained and reasonable moderation. The people here are real people, many are real friends who help each other in meaningful ways.

NOT A HALL MONITOR
posted by a humble nudibranch at 1:41 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, can I have summa that pizza then?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:10 AM on June 8, 2012


Sure thing. You got beer?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:46 AM on June 8, 2012


Is the Pope Catholic?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:05 AM on June 8, 2012


No, he's German.
posted by theichibun at 5:13 AM on June 8, 2012


Yeah, well I've got some German beer so it's all good.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:26 AM on June 8, 2012


the mods might have a pizza party when they're in the same place, but these people are not going to come help you move, and you can't call at four a.m. when your significant other breaks up with you

I'm late to this thread because I'm returning from a few days vacation, but I thought I'd mention that there's a MeFite cat-sitting for me and my wife. Oh yeah, my wife. Met her through MeFi. The best man at our wedding? MeFite. While on vacation, had drinks with yet another MeFite. And sometimes I've gotten late-night calls from MeFites because people know I keep vampire hours and am always happy to talk to folks who need to be kept alert on long drives.

I'm sure that if I'd invested the time and effort on reddit that I have here I'd have similar stories to tell.

But it doesn't change the fact that this IS a community, and it's up to you to enjoy that or not, at whatever level of participation you prefer.

As for moderation and comment deletion, eh. I've had comments nuked that I thought should have stood, sure. But not many, and not often. And generally the ones that got removed were me being a drunken asshole, so on the whole I think the system works pretty well, though I worry about scaling problems and creeping redditification.

I guess that makes me an in-group cheerleader who wants to hang out with the popular kids. Maybe so. But it seems more likely that after a decade of participation, I, like many others, have a small sense of pride and ownership in MeFi. I like to see it succeed. So I try to, you know, not mouth off like a fucking asshole all the goddamn time.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:44 AM on June 8, 2012 [21 favorites]


Someone on MT told me once that I should lurk more (though they spelled more strangely)

That genuinely made me smile from the cuteness.
posted by mippy at 7:29 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Though this thread has highlighted a concern of mine about MeFi that I haven't mentioned yet, I'll gladly shut up and try to address it by modeling what I'd like to see in future interactions.

You keep doing that - intimating some greater topic that you don't want to discuss. It comes off as very passive aggressive.

If you don't want to discuss something - not mentioning it works wonders.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:07 PM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just pick your class of asshole.

You're being a dick.
posted by quivering_fantods at 8:09 PM on June 8, 2012


Deoridhe. Okay then... What I'm going to make a point of doing is not saying mean things about people. Why the hell does everything have to judged? Sheesh.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 8:51 PM on June 8, 2012


not saying mean things about people.

Good policy!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:45 PM on June 8, 2012


Why the hell does everything have to judged?

Not judged - questioned. Unfortunately, that's a side effect of the whole "large group of intelligent and relatively free thinking people."

I tend to think it's a feature, not a bug.

And not saying mean things about people is always a good thing, I think.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:36 AM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like this question could have been answered with a pair of tag clouds - one for all the deleted posts and one for all the nondeleted posts. There'd be lots of stuff to argue about when trying to decide whether "deleted posts" is a good way of approximating the concept of "doesn't do this well," but I bet there'd be less grouchiness.

I also really need to send Jessamyn some chocolate already.

(My opinion is that the Wiki list is close enough for the purpose of getting a general sense of the right answer - those are the "awful sick feeling in my stomach" topics that got sorted out when I created that "My MetaFilter" list. I hate interpersonal conflict and could never be one of the mods.)
posted by SMPA at 7:48 AM on June 9, 2012


TMDNDW (Things MetaFilter Does Not Do Well):
Kids
Married People
Single People
Old People
Young People
Fat People
Skinny People
Tall People
Short People
Gays
Straits
Transgender
Drug Addicts
Teetotalers
Nerds
Jocks
Your Band
My Band
OMG-OUTRAEG!!1

TMDDW (Things MetaFilter Does Do Well):
Everything else.
And some in between.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 3:17 PM on June 9, 2012


Tall People
Short People
Gays
Straits


Yeah, that Gibraltar thread was a real, um, shipwreck, for sure. But Magellan and Bering threads usually go pretty well. Hormuz is always a little dicey (being in the Middle East and all).

And as far as Dire, well, that also ties in with "your favorite band sucks", so...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:14 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Red squares, your papers! (Le Devoir)

"Are the identity checks in the metro for wearers of red squares we’ve been hearing about since the beginning of Montreal’s Grand Prix real? Are those who show their opposition to the tuition hike now getting searched, taken to the nearest police station, as people have been saying on social networks for the last few hours? Saturday, two journalist from the Devoir tried to bring the situation to light by putting red squares on their chests before going into the metro station. The result? They were soon questioned and held for investigation. "
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:44 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Generally speaking, what any given individual considers "things Metafilter does not do well" are subjects said individual has such an emotional investment in that he or she can only view disagreement or argument as intolerable trolling.
posted by Justinian at 11:53 AM on June 11, 2012


« Older Thank you   |   Metafilter Fantasy EURO 2012 league Newer »

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