Sigh. June 7, 2012 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Deleted comments discouraging.

Am becoming increasingly discouraged with deleted comments on both the main page and AskMe. Nothing in specific, I can understand why they were deleted, in some light. However, increasingly I find myself not posting because it takes a lot of time to contribute, and if it's just going to be deleted, then what's the point?

Seeing a lot of comments here about deletions. From my perspective, it's feeling very 'rule of man' rather than 'rule of law'. Which is fine, benevolent dictation is the right of the site, but it's certainly discouraging.

I think the moderators do a tremendous job, thus the criticism is not aimed at them at all, but rather, perhaps as the site grows, there may be the need to adopt different structures.

I will laugh if this is deleted. That would be quite funny actually.
posted by nickrussell to Etiquette/Policy at 8:07 AM (270 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

(and not just my comments... the comments of others, which disappear mid-reply)
posted by nickrussell at 8:08 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


nickrussell: "Seeing a lot of comments here about deletions. From my perspective, it's feeling very 'rule of man' rather than 'rule of law'. Which is fine, benevolent dictation is the right of the site, but it's certainly discouraging. "

In my experience, active moderation is what makes an online community good. Hands-off or only karma-based moderation is a recipe for total anarchy or gamesmanship.

Also, it's super hard to understand your complaint if you can't say what deletions you really think are problematic.

Mods, don't change anything. Keep being froody.
posted by Plutor at 8:11 AM on June 7, 2012 [34 favorites]


I think it's a matter of reframing. I saw the comment of yours that was deleted and I knew that it was just a matter of time before it was gone. It was kind of mean and it didn't really answer the question. You just berated the asker for feeling what he/she felt, which isn't the best way to answer a question on Ask. I think you had some good ideas in the answer and had you just kept your personal feelings out of it, it would have been fine.

I think this is the crux of the issue for nearly all deleted comments. Make sure you're contributing to the community, not just getting out your grar or shaming someone for something.
posted by cooker girl at 8:13 AM on June 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


You called the OP "cray cray" and maybe it was supposed to be a joke but I don't think people saw it that way so I deleted it and specifically left a note to rephrase wihtout that aspect to your comment. I'm not sure if you've noticed the number of "Your comments made the OP cry" MeTa threads lately [more than zero which is how many there should be] but we're trying to be mindful that just because you're being honest doesn't necessarily mean your comment is okay for AskMe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:14 AM on June 7, 2012 [44 favorites]


My experience with comment deletions does not frustrate me in the slightest. Maybe I need to work harder on my comments, but I have never had a comment deleted that I actually spent time composing. Most of my deletes that I am aware of are one-off threadshits or comments that I've specifically requested the mods to delete.
posted by Think_Long at 8:14 AM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Have you ever tried talking to the mods about why a comment or comments got deleted, and having a conversation about it? That might be a good idea. You may discover that it's actually fairly easy to avoid having comments deleted. You just have to avoid two or three things – mostly insulting people and off-topic stuff if you're in ask.metafilter.
posted by koeselitz at 8:16 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


However, increasingly I find myself not posting because it takes a lot of time to contribute, and if it's just going to be deleted, then what's the point?

It strikes me that spending just a few more seconds to make sure one hasn't inadvertently insulted anyone would not only ensure one's comment remains, but would also elevate the general level of goodwill around the site proper. Which is a lot achieved with only a few extra seconds.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:19 AM on June 7, 2012 [19 favorites]


That's the second time this week I've seen something referred to as "cray cray." Can we ban this before it spreads any further?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:20 AM on June 7, 2012 [40 favorites]


There are rules.

Don't break them.

It's not hard.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:22 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've had one or two comments deleted from AskMe and both were fair deletions because I didn't even try answering the original question. I love that AskMe is more strictly moderated because you can create an AskMe knowing people will be on their very best behavior, genuinely trying to answer your question.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:22 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remember, its not like stupid comments are a finite resource. However many the mods delete, they can always be replaced. Quantity has a quality all of its own after all...
posted by Chekhovian at 8:26 AM on June 7, 2012


You've been here for six years and you don't know what sorts of comments are acceptable? I really don't think the standards have changed. I've been here for five years and I'd bet I have had less than 10 comments deleted.
posted by desjardins at 8:27 AM on June 7, 2012


Christ. This is an incredibly diverse and tolerant group of people, here, and I reckon that if you're worried about something deleted once you post it, it's because you posted something shitty, not becuase of the site dynamic. As much as people clutch pearls about deletions and stuff here, the moderators are incredibly tolerant across a hugely wide range of topics. And let's face it, after a decade of this stuff, they've seen it all. If you're getting your comments and posts deleted, it's probably because your posts and comments are terrible and awful.

Lighten up Francis, and move on (LUFAMO, as we say).
posted by barnacles at 8:30 AM on June 7, 2012


How many times are we doing this thread?
posted by inigo2 at 8:31 AM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I get a ton of askme comments deleted because apparently my honestly sincere advice is often mistaken for egregious jackassery. I could dwell on this vengefully all day long or I could just not really give a fuck. Guess which one is easier?
posted by elizardbits at 8:31 AM on June 7, 2012 [21 favorites]


I think I may have had one comment deleted because it was responding to another comment that was deleted. Not sure. Fairly certain I've never had anything deleted from AskMe. Granted - I don't comment a whole lot, but it's really not hard. Pretty much all you have to do is be nice and stay on topic. Especially in AskMe. If you're having a lot of your comments deleted, it doesn't mean the site needs to change for you - you just need to be more aware of how your words affect others. So, no, deleted comments are not discouraging. They're a part of what make this site a good place to be.
posted by Dojie at 8:31 AM on June 7, 2012


That's the second time this week I've seen something referred to as "cray cray." Can we ban this before it spreads any further?

That fish cray.
posted by inigo2 at 8:32 AM on June 7, 2012 [17 favorites]


I just wrote out the exact same comment as inigo2. Nearly word for word.

Love you, preview function.
posted by troika at 8:33 AM on June 7, 2012


However, increasingly I find myself not posting because it takes a lot of time to contribute, and if it's just going to be deleted, then what's the point?

Well, I think it's a matter of pattern recognition and sizing the risk correctly. You've made several hundred comments and had a handful deleted; what has been deleted is overwhelmingly from askme and is likewise almost entirely stuff where you were (a) arguing with someone else in the thread or (b) popping out a comment that was more of an aside or an eyebrow-hitch sort of thing than a direct answer to the question.

So, your raw rate of deletions isn't particularly notable, it's in the territory of maybe high baseline average; and most of those could have been avoided by just hewing a little closer to the "answer the question" mandate on askme. If your takeaway is that that's still too high a risk for you, that's your call and I can respect your feelings there, but this has always been a moderated site, askme in particular, and expectations that things will not get deleted now and then are unreasonable.

perhaps as the site grows, there may be the need to adopt different structures.

If the core issue is that a small percentage of comments get deleted, I'm not sure what sort of different structures you're thinking of. "Stop deleting comments" isn't a workable approach.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:35 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


elizardbits: "I get a ton of askme comments deleted because apparently my honestly sincere advice is often mistaken for egregious jackassery. I could dwell on this vengefully all day long or I could just not really give a fuck. Guess which one is easier"

Not ending sentences with punctuation? Because I notice you don't do that very often ...?
posted by barnacles at 8:35 AM on June 7, 2012


barnacles: "elizardbits: "I get a ton of askme comments deleted because apparently my honestly sincere advice is often mistaken for egregious jackassery. I could dwell on this vengefully all day long or I could just not really give a fuck. Guess which one is easier"

Not ending sentences with punctuation? Because I notice you don't do that very often ...
"

And an instant ASSHOLE response to my own self, becuase, elizardbits, I didn't mean that in an asshole way but it certainly came out that way. I apologise; comments that are intended jokey don't always come off appropriately in text.

Sorry. :(
posted by barnacles at 8:37 AM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


"just because you're being honest doesn't necessarily mean your comment is okay for AskMe."

The time has come to create a "Lie to Me Filter".
posted by Ardiril at 8:38 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's actually "Kray Kray", a reference to the Kray twins, a famously violent and powerful pair of mobsters in London's East End in the '50s and '60s, one of which suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
posted by Edogy at 8:40 AM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think you mean a famously violent and powerful pair of Lobsters.
posted by elizardbits at 8:41 AM on June 7, 2012 [46 favorites]


Right, that.
posted by Edogy at 8:42 AM on June 7, 2012


just because you're being honest doesn't necessarily mean your comment is okay for AskMe.

To maybe unpack that a little, it's a necessary vs. sufficient sort of thing. Askme answers should be honest, pretty much full stop. It's necessary that people not be fucking around making stuff up or intentionally lying to or bullshitting people.

But "but it's honest!" isn't a sufficient defense of an askme answer, and it's very possible to wrap up honesty in problematic packaging. Honestly being a jerk to someone is still being a jerk; honestly telling someone you think they're horrible is really not productive stuff. So to the extent that that happens at the worse edges of what gets posted on the site, that's a problem.

There's basically always room for re-evaluating something you've written to consider whether you can throw the weight a little more toward the constructive end of the continuum. And especially if you find yourself a little annoyed or angry or frustrated or otherwise upset with the question your answering or the person who asked it, it's worth it to do that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:43 AM on June 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


The time has come to create a "Lie to Me Filter".

That's going to be a problem for me.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:44 AM on June 7, 2012 [33 favorites]


active moderation is what makes an online community good.

In full agreement. Is not a request for anarchy, but rather a bit more Wen Jiabao and a bit less Bo Xilai.

It was kind of mean and it didn't really answer the question. You just berated the asker for feeling what he/she felt, which isn't the best way to answer a question on Ask. I think you had some good ideas in the answer and had you just kept your personal feelings out of it, it would have been fine.

I understand the opinion here. I disagree on the matter of keeping personal feelings out of it, however the feedback is quite helpful.

You called the OP "cray cray" and maybe it was supposed to be a joke but I don't think people saw it that way

That makes sense. I realise the second 'cray' may have been a bit too much.

I'm not sure if you've noticed the number of "Your comments made the OP cry" MeTa threads lately [more than zero which is how many there should be] but we're trying to be mindful that just because you're being honest doesn't necessarily mean your comment is okay for AskMe.

No, hadn't noticed. I don't think people crying is a big problem. Sometimes the questions require tough love or an alternate perspective. If people had the answers they needed, they wouldn't be asking – and sometimes the truth hurts I suppose. Understandably there are going to be situations of outright meanness, which are inappropriate, however I don't think difficult or aggressive answers are intrinsically bad. (Note: this should not be taken as I want to see people cry, but rather, that life is a difficult navigation and it's not all hugs and sunshine.)

You may discover that it's actually fairly easy to avoid having comments deleted.

I think I make fewer comments than a lot of people, but I don't really think if they will be deleted or not. I think if what I am saying will contribute in some material way to the discussion. If I have to think about if they will be deleted or not, the answer is simply to use the time in a more productive manner than posting. Hence the request for less ambiguous rules.

You've been here for six years and you don't know what sorts of comments are acceptable?

I do know what comments are acceptable. In the past, it was never something I noticed. Now I notice it.

This is an incredibly diverse and tolerant group of people

I find it somewhat diverse and relatively tolerant at times. There's also a fair degree of groupthink and dog piling. It's quite an accurate reflection of the real world in that respect.

If you're getting your comments and posts deleted, it's probably because your posts and comments are terrible and awful.

Thanks for that. You're making me cry. Can someone delete that comment?

If the core issue is that a small percentage of comments get deleted, I'm not sure what sort of different structures you're thinking of. "Stop deleting comments" isn't a workable approach.

As mentioned, it's not only my comments and it's not about not deleting comments. And I don't have an answer in mind. I'm justing noting what feels like a change that is demoralising.

That's the second time this week I've seen something referred to as "cray cray."

And it probably will not be the last.
posted by nickrussell at 8:48 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


My shit gets deleted all the time, and mostly I'm glad it happens. I like to think of it as 'Perceived Asshole Prevention', or PAP for short. PAP keeps others from seeing the real me, a seething, teeth-baring menace chained up in a windowless dungeon with nothing but a laptop and thousands of cockroach friends, drinking homemade pruno and eating cold gruel. Instead, I come across as a huggable scamp with a quick wit and a sparkle in my eye living in a delightfully ramshackle treehouse with Spot, my mutt whose common sense keeps me from getting into too much trouble.

Thanks, PAP!
posted by item at 8:49 AM on June 7, 2012 [23 favorites]


Well, now it's just a ball game.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:54 AM on June 7, 2012


cortex: "an eyebrow-hitch sort of thing"

I'm just going to hitch my eyebrow up here and mosey into the saloon for some sarsaparilla...
posted by arcticseal at 8:59 AM on June 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I realise the second 'cray' may have been a bit too much.

The first one was also too much. Unless the OP is asking "Hey am I crazy here?" and even then there's an active difference of opinion about how much it's okay to respond with something like "Yes you are crazy" This question involves someone in a stressful situation dealing with injured parents driving them crazy at home and your comment opened with "However disrupting this is to your life, imagine how disruptive it is to them." Possibly helpful, but already sort of off topic and possibly button pushing.

I don't think difficult or aggressive answers are intrinsically bad.

This may be where you diverge from the guidelines of AskMe. Which is fine, no big deal, but it may mean that you see comments that are fine to you but maybe not fine for the site deleted. It is actually really easy to not get comments deleted if that's your goal and what you in fact want is airtight rules about how to comment without deletions in AskMe.

However, if what you want is to be able to give exactly the answers you want on your terms then you may occasionally run up against the guidelines that we have. There's no issue with this from our perspective, but it's a case of prioritizing. Figure out what you want more and work towards it. Right now you seem to be threatening to comment less if the guidelines stay the same and I'm not sure how to respond to that usefully. You will have to make your choices. I don't feel that this particular situation involved a real grey area in how we moderate the site but perhaps others do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:00 AM on June 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


As mentioned, it's not only my comments and it's not about not deleting comments. And I don't have an answer in mind. I'm justing noting what feels like a change that is demoralising.

I didn't refer only to your comments—a small percentage of comments across the whole site and userbase gets deleted under the current moderation rubric. More to the point, that's not something that has changed recently; I sympathize if your morale has taken a hit but this seems in practice to be a you-noticing-some-deletions thing, not a you-discovering-a-trend thing. You're talking about a change that isn't really there. So I don't know how to address that; we're starting from different premises.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:00 AM on June 7, 2012


nickrussell, I really enjoy your contributions here and I hope you stay and continue despite your concerns.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:02 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


From my perspective, it's feeling very 'rule of man' rather than 'rule of law'. Which is fine, benevolent dictation is the right of the site, but it's certainly discouraging.

Yeah, I was a tiny bit frustrated by that when I first joined the site. 'Rule of persons' seems on the face of it to be more arbitrary and capricious than 'Rule of law.' But here's the thing: application of laws requires interpretation as well. I suspect that even if every MeFi moderating guideline were carved in stone tablets and displayed on mathowie's front lawn, you'd still find their application rather arbitrary and capricious. 'Less ambiguous rules' are not going to solve whatever problem you see with the site. "Don't insult someone" is pretty unambiguous, but applying it requires a fair degree of interpretation and sensitivity to context.
posted by googly at 9:04 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


And it probably will not be the last.

Huh, I didn't know about Google Search Insights. Texas has the most searches for "gay porn" in the US, but Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, Namibia and Jamaica are the top four worldwide so I'm not sure how much I trust it.
posted by desjardins at 9:04 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I'm justing noting what feels like a change that is demoralising."

That's a 2-way street, actually. The well-being of the many tops that of the one. You shall conform.
posted by Ardiril at 9:05 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


This question involves someone in a stressful situation dealing with injured parents driving them crazy at home and your comment opened with "However disrupting this is to your life, imagine how disruptive it is to them." Possibly helpful, but already sort of off topic and possibly button pushing.

1) It's very odd that the comment is deleted but then you quote it back in public. That's a bit Bo Xilai feeling.

2) I disagree that it was either off-topic or button pushing.

Right now you seem to be threatening to comment less if the guidelines stay the same and I'm not sure how to respond to that usefully.

Nah, not really. More of a "something feels different, I find it demoralising". In the end, comment or no comment, everyone's lives go on.

this seems in practice to be a you-noticing-some-deletions thing, not a you-discovering-a-trend thing. You're talking about a change that isn't really there. So I don't know how to address that; we're starting from different premises.

Exactly. If there's been no change, than no worries I suppose.

Thanks for the kind attention. I feel complete in our discussion here.
posted by nickrussell at 9:05 AM on June 7, 2012


I don't mean to shock anyone, but I had a comment deleted last night. It was a shit response to a shit statement, which was also deleted, presumably because people more mature than I correctly flagged the inane derail-bait that I swallowed. In summation, the system largely works, most deletions are bang-on, and MeFites are better off not having stupid shit that usually gets the hook drifting around in the their comment history.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:08 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


One guy was getting deleted in that AskMe a few days ago about seeing a picture of a guy playing a punch game with a girl. It was weird and kind of disturbing to me since it seemed like he was answering the question then just tacking on "Mods, please don't delete, I'm trying to answer the question."

I think around his 4th or 5th answer they let stick. I didn't see his first one. Just 2-4(or 5)
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:09 AM on June 7, 2012


You called the OP "cray cray" and maybe it was supposed to be a joke but I don't think people saw it that way so I deleted it and specifically left a note to rephrase wihtout that aspect to your comment. I'm not sure if you've noticed the number of "Your comments made the OP cry" MeTa threads lately [more than zero which is how many there should be] but we're trying to be mindful that just because you're being honest doesn't necessarily mean your comment is okay for AskMe.

Yeah, I made a comment in an AskMe a little while ago that as deleted and then identified (without mentioning me) as essentially a really shitty AskMe answer.

I took it as a wakeup call, and have tried to be a little nicer (doesn't always work). OP, I would suggest you consider doing the same.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:11 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Understandably there are going to be situations of outright meanness, which are inappropriate, however I don't think difficult or aggressive answers are intrinsically bad. (Note: this should not be taken as I want to see people cry, but rather, that life is a difficult navigation and it's not all hugs and sunshine.)

I think that it's true that life is full of unpleasant, difficult things, but I disagree that unpleasantness is a value-add on Ask Metafilter. People often come here for help because they're upset or vulnerable or confused, and for whatever reason their usual support system can't help them out. That makes the Metafilter community a sort of surrogate support system for askers who're seriously in need of kindness and empathy. And sure, sometimes people need a gentle smack upside the head, but I can't think of a case where being aggressive made an answer more helpful.

Of all of the comments I've personally made on Metafilter, the ones where I've been unnecessarily harsh to AskMefi OPs are what I most regret later on. I don't see any problem with the mods enforcing a basically supportive atmosphere on that section of the site.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:11 AM on June 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's very odd that the comment is deleted but then you quote it back in public.

It's not odd at all if you recognize the distinction between an answer aimed at the asker in an Ask Metafilter question and the discussion of moderation policy in Metatalk. They're two different parts of the site with very different purposes, and the context of the comment is entirely different from one thread to the other. Your answer wasn't deleted because it was forbidden speech that eyes should never see; it was deleted because it wasn't a great way to answer that question.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:14 AM on June 7, 2012 [15 favorites]


One guy was getting deleted in that AskMe a few days ago about seeing a picture of a guy playing a punch game with a girl. It was weird and kind of disturbing to me since it seemed like he was answering the question then just tacking on "Mods, please don't delete, I'm trying to answer the question."

I think around his 4th or 5th answer they let stick. I didn't see his first one. Just 2-4(or 5)


The first one was problematic as an answer to the question, which is why it got deleted.

Two through four were, as you noted, weighted down with metacommentary on site moderation, which is basically an instant delete because that needs to happen in Metatalk or over email, not in threads.

Five was him regrouping and just reworking number one in a way that was totally fine and stayed. That's how it's supposed to work: if you've got a concern about a deletion, talk to us about it in an appropriate venue and we can almost certainly help you find a way to have another go at it that won't be a problem.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:18 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


me: “You may discover that it's actually fairly easy to avoid having comments deleted.”

nickrussell: “I think I make fewer comments than a lot of people, but I don't really think if they will be deleted or not. I think if what I am saying will contribute in some material way to the discussion. If I have to think about if they will be deleted or not, the answer is simply to use the time in a more productive manner than posting. Hence the request for less ambiguous rules.”

That's not really how communities work, and I think it's a bit unfair to insist that you will not contribute if you have to think about your contribution in terms of the community. When you go outside your house in the morning, you may not have to spend a lot of time contemplating the fact that it's against the law to steal or it's against the law to beat people up, but those things have to be things you're aware of, and if you break those laws the community will probably do something to stop you.

Like most people, you probably figured out the "do not steal" and "do not beat people up" rules pretty early, which is why you don't have to spend much time thinking about them. Similarly, I was suggesting that if you just have a conversation with the people doing the deleting you may find they're pretty reasonable, and the guidelines you have to follow to avoid comment deletion might become as simple and instinctive to you as the rules you have to follow to avoid going to jail. That's all I was saying – that you should at least try to familiarize yourself with those rules.

Because, honestly, they're pretty simple. You seem to think they're complicated and too arcane and weird for you to waste time worrying about them, but have you tried talking to the mods and spending even just a few minutes getting clear on what is and isn't expected here? In this case, apparently you said something that was dismissive and insulting to a poster in ask.metafilter – that's pretty simple, isn't it? I know it might have seemed random at the time, but knowing it now, it's pretty easy to avoid in the future, right?
posted by koeselitz at 9:22 AM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I find myself not posting because it takes a lot of time to contribute, and if it's just going to be deleted, then what's the point?

You have a ton of control over this. Nearly all, in fact, especially when it comes to askme answers. If your comment answers the question, is relatively polite/does not attack the OP, and isn't just arguing with something someone said earlier, then it won't get flagged for deletion.

I've had comments deleted in askme for being fighty/off-topic. I know how the green works and I could have just not posted them or reworked them so they wouldn't get deleted.
posted by rtha at 9:23 AM on June 7, 2012


I think you mean a famously violent and powerful pair of Lobsters.

"I remember one time, this would 'ave been about '63, I was drinking in the Bishop's Sister on Stepney Way with Eddie "Muttonchops" Jones and Eamon "Skint" O'Meara, when who should scuttle in but the fahcking Kray brothers! Now Reggie, 'e was allright, just looked abaht a bit and went over to the bar, but Ronnie got a butchers at Eamon and came right over, and lifted him right off his feet with that great fahcking claw of 'is! Now I fink that Ronnie must 'ave fought that Eamon 'ad been down the Compass & Trebuchet wiv' that Richardson mob, because 'e just starts shoutin' 'How dare you show your fahcking face in here, you Irish cahnt, I'll 'ave your fahcking pancreas!' and et cetera; and Eddie sort of pipes up and says someint like 'Steady on Ron, that's a bit harsh innit?,' and Ronnie just turns one beady black eye towards 'im, and, wivout a word, reaches over wiv' 'is ahther claw and just pinches 'is fahcking 'ead off! Right there in the middle of the pahb!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:24 AM on June 7, 2012 [23 favorites]


It's actually "Kray Kray", a reference to the Kray twins

This is an example of convergent evolution - "cray-cray" in the US is urban slang from the South (especially Atlanta) that made its way into the mainstream. It derives from artificial babytalk, with "Po-po" being the other famous example - that being the term for the police.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:28 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm beginning to wonder whether Metatalk is really necessary any more. The threads that manage to survive without the obligatory "you should have used the contact form" are increasingly filled with unhelpful responses, taunting the person who makes the metatalk post. I really don't see where this section of the site is helpful anymore.
posted by crunchland at 9:30 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first one was problematic as an answer to the question, which is why it got deleted.

Two through four were, as you noted, weighted down with metacommentary on site moderation, which is basically an instant delete because that needs to happen in Metatalk or over email, not in threads.

Five was him regrouping and just reworking number one in a way that was totally fine and stayed.


I can't imagine taking five shots at making a single comment, or being patient enough to moderate those efforts.
posted by brain_drain at 9:30 AM on June 7, 2012


I'm beginning to wonder whether Metatalk is really necessary any more. The threads that manage to survive without the obligatory "you should have used the contact form" are increasingly filled with unhelpful responses, taunting the person who makes the metatalk post. I really don't see where this section of the site is helpful anymore.

Better that it happens *in here*, rather than *out there* on the blue, green, etc.
posted by iamabot at 9:32 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Deleted comments discouraging.

"Doc, it hurts when I do this!"
posted by zamboni at 9:33 AM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't think I've ever had a comment deleted.

My point is, I try to take a helpful approach to AskMe's - if I have some sort of visceral reaction to the question where I'm pounding my head going "Why? That's the freaking dumbest thing I ever heard!" I generally don't answer it. Or I check myself at the front door and try and look what the actual question is and stick only to that.

MeFi - I haven't posted there in a long time, but also even on the comment side of things, it's the same thing, no? Have some respect for the other person, and understand their side of the coin. Otherwise counter-arguments aren't counterarguments at all, but just propaganda/self-indulgent opinion without any consideration of the flaws of your own side of things.

MeTa - I'm amazed by some of the complaints. The majority could be asked through just pinging the mods and asking them instead of crying 'woe is me!' from the mountaintop to get attention. Other than those posts, I think MeTa still has a very valid and useful purpose in open discussion where it isn't as simple as getting an explanation from a mod, or it may be case where raising it could actually improve the site.
posted by rich at 9:41 AM on June 7, 2012


> I'm beginning to wonder whether Metatalk is really necessary any more. The threads that manage to survive without the obligatory "you should have used the contact form" are increasingly filled with unhelpful responses, taunting the person who makes the metatalk post. I really don't see where this section of the site is helpful anymore.

You could always try staying away.
posted by languagehat at 9:48 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, just to be clear, I didn't mean to imply that the participation of the moderators in metatalk is unhelpful. I just wonder if it isn't time to make the link to metatalk just redirect to the contact form and be done with it. And I say that as someone who spends the majority of his time on the site here in Metatalk.
posted by crunchland at 9:48 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


But then what would you do with all your free time, crunchland???
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:51 AM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


But I think that imabot is right that an important function of MetaTalk is that it quarantines this type of discussion, which mostly keeps it out of the rest of the site. People are always going to want to debate the merits of a deletion, so it's better to have a place for it where people who aren't interested in that kind of debate can avoid it.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:53 AM on June 7, 2012


Damn, that supercomputer is Cray Cray!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:53 AM on June 7, 2012 [18 favorites]


"How many times are we doing this thread?"

Apparently, every day day.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:53 AM on June 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


MetaTalk is where I'm a Cray Cray.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:54 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I find Metatalk helpful because it frequently gives me forced exercise in being charitable. The lazy option is to look at many MeTa original posts, mentally toss them in a "they just want to play Let's You and Them Fight" and have done with it. Considering that maybe they honestly don't know about the contact form, or that they may just be framing things badly or plain old expressing themselves poorly, that's good cognitive reps that I'm healthier for.
posted by Drastic at 9:54 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


We could start a mefi intercity kickball league instead of poking at one another crankily on the gray. Presumably some sort of alcoholic beverages would be involved.
posted by elizardbits at 9:55 AM on June 7, 2012


Also obviously the kicking of inanimate objects can be deeply satisfying.
posted by elizardbits at 9:56 AM on June 7, 2012


Don't blame them. They're just trying to prevent triggering one of the AskMe snowflakes from shooting up a meet-up, and that is in everyone's best interest.
posted by Ardiril at 10:01 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


*kicks comput
posted by brain_drain at 10:01 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


MetaTalk is where I'm a Cray Cray.

Take it to the gray gray.
posted by bondcliff at 10:01 AM on June 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


it takes a lot of time to contribute, and if it's just going to be deleted, then what's the point?

The point is that none of us ever changes our habits without some incentive to do so, and having a comment deleted after taking time over constructing it acts as a slightly painful incentive to do better next time.

Doing better, for me, generally consists of turning off Live Preview and using the Preview button instead and reading over what I'm about to post to check for unintended and/or inappropriate putdowns. And if I find I've just written something that whiffs too much of making the discussion all about me, I'll delete it myself and save the mods the trouble.
posted by flabdablet at 10:01 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just wonder if it isn't time to make the link to metatalk just redirect to the contact form and be done with it.

No, it isn't time to do that. We've got a pointer to the contact form as the first item on the Metatalk posting page, which hopefully helps redirect a fair amount of stuff that might be a better fit for that; and we do get plenty of contact form communication, so by whatever path they got there folks do seem to be using it pretty well in general.

That some of the stuff that gets posted to Metatalk could have worked as well or better as a note to the contact form does not overshadow the usefulness of Metatalk in general; the proposed change would make zero sense.

Don't blame them. They're just trying to prevent triggering one of the AskMe snowflakes from shooting up a meet-up, and that is in everyone's best interest.

Ardiril, you've been really kind of digging in on this stuff in a dickish way and I wish you'd stop it already.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:03 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


OK. I still loves ya.
posted by Ardiril at 10:11 AM on June 7, 2012


Regardless of whether or not you view unpleasantness in AskMe to be a value-add (and I fall on the side of "goddammit, you've got to be kind"), calling someone crazy adds exactly nothing to your comment. "I think you're being unfair/unreasonable" would've carried the same message across without being a personal attack, and is difficult enough to swallow on its own if you're emotionally wrapped up in a situation, thus fulfilling the "tough love" criteria.

But really, you've got to be kind. Why fight for your right to call someone crazy?
posted by Phire at 10:20 AM on June 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


What if they are, in fact, crazy?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:22 AM on June 7, 2012


I'm two out of date supercomputers!

Also a tipi and a wigwam.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:22 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


However, increasingly I find myself not posting because it takes a lot of time to contribute, and if it's just going to be deleted, then what's the point?

Truthfully, the only time I've had my comments deleted was when I pretty much deserved it. It's not that hard to write comments that won't get deleted by the mods.
posted by deanc at 10:24 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


C'est tres cray.
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:38 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tough love doesn't work for most people. It especially doesn't work for people in distress. It should not be a model that we attempt to employ as good faith participants in a web community. Adequate application of tough love requires training that 99% of the people here do not have.

Einstein: "If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed."
posted by batmonkey at 10:40 AM on June 7, 2012


cortex to nickrussell: You're talking about a change that isn't really there.

Of course there's been change over time, and it's easily poor form to argue otherwise. Sometimes -- often -- team mod's push back when change is denied verges on gaslighting (for the want of a better word) ... Perhaps team mod isn't the best judge of the changes that necessarily evolve.

nickrussell has my sympathies; but nick, you're flogging a dead horse.

I'd like a set of flags applicable to moderators. One would be paternal; one denial. People need honest feedback.
posted by de at 10:40 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh good lord. I'm not claiming nothing ever has or ever does change here; over going-on-thirteen years and a lot of growth in the size of the community of course there's been change.

I'm responding to the specific premise that nickrussell's discomfort about comment deletions is the result of some significant change in how comment deletions are handled or in the volume thereof. There hasn't been some significant change in moderation policy or deletion rubrics, and while it's fine for him to talk about how he's feeling there's a difference between him feeling that way and there being an actual systemic effect in play, and a vaguely stated personal sense of something being off isn't something we can even respond to in detail.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:52 AM on June 7, 2012


I do find it kind of frustrating that it's nearly impossible to convey the sentiment that "I don't think this is a good post" or "This isn't up to MeFi standards." I mean low effort, "here's a bunch of wikipedia links" stuff. You can flag it, but unless it is really terrible, the mods aren't going to do anything. You can open a MetaTalk thread, but that's an awfully big arrow to point at the post, and MetaTalk is overtly hostile nowadays. You could use the support link, which I normally use instead of MetaTalk now, but again, the mods can only delete or not. And if you leave a comment, it will get deleted unless you thread the needle very carefully.
posted by smackfu at 10:56 AM on June 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


Truthfully, the only time I've had my comments deleted was when I pretty much deserved it. It's not that hard to write comments that won't get deleted by the mods.

Same here... I've had a few comments deleted over the years and every time (that I've noticed a deletion anyway), after giving my deleted comment a moment's thought, I was thankful that it was gone. Because the mods saved me from looking like an asshole when I was very much being an asshole.
posted by keep it under cover at 10:59 AM on June 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Those of you advocating for tough love in AskMe are missing an important point. Tough love works sometimes because both parts are present - the 'tough' and the 'love.' On an internet forum filled with strangers, there is no love. There may be kindness, good intentions, and general warm regards, but none of us have a loving relationship with anonymous. We're strangers. The 'tough' part without the 'love' part is not helpful to anyone and is really just being kind of mean to someone in distress.
posted by Dojie at 11:00 AM on June 7, 2012 [22 favorites]


I've had a few comments deleted over the years and every time (that I've noticed a deletion anyway), after giving my deleted comment a moment's thought, I was thankful that it was gone. Because the mods saved me from looking like an asshole when I was very much being an asshole.

The mods are also good about clearing up "why did you delete my comment" if you ask them nicely. Someone posted a derail to a thread and I left a mouthy comeback, but my comment was deleted and the derail wasn't. I asked about the disparity, and the mods politely pointed out that "well, you did call the other person an asshole....."

Ah.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:07 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like a set of flags applicable to moderators. One would be paternal; one denial. People need honest feedback.

I've contacted the mods exactly once, to give them honest feedback (in my case it was that I had read through the MeTa archives and had found the site policies to be well thought out, and well explained) they got back to me in under half an hour. If you look through MeTa old threads, you'll find scores of comments that say the same thing. This is one of the few sites were the contact form actually puts you in touch with a real person, real quick. I absolutely mean this as advice: if you want to provide feedback, use the contact form.
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:15 AM on June 7, 2012


Everytime I've contacted the mods via the contact form, I've received a speedy response and a helpful attitude.

This places MeFi second only to AMEX, and that's only because I can't get points towards a new toaster from Metafilter.
posted by arcticseal at 11:35 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah the eternal false dichotomy: "But I was just being honest!!"

There are two ways to be honest:

Honest and nice.
Honest and jerky.

One will get deleted, one won't.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:44 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Toaster points.
posted by iamabot at 11:45 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tough love works sometimes because both parts are present - the 'tough' and the 'love.'

Also, "tough love" means "I won't lend you the money because then you'll never learn to earn it yourself." It doesn't mean criticizing or judging the person.

It's "tough love," not "being an asshole to someone in need" love.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:46 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if moderation has really stepped up with regards to rude and insulting comments, but if it has them I'm all in support. I think it's weird that site policy is to eliminate direct flamewars while allowing all sorts of snideness, snarkiness, and condescension. I mean, I get it, since flamewars are really poisonous, but at least actual fights are sometimes cathartic and let people on both sides vent a bit and then calm down. The sort of cold war arguing that happens so often here tends to just keep escalating and escalating, over months and months, until some people on both sides leave and often they're people I miss.

I like policies that mean less passive-aggressive dickishness and more considered discussion and politeness. I know lots of members disagree with me, either because they enjoy the snark or because they appreciate that this site lets people vent feelings they maybe can't in real life, and I understand both perspectives, but my favorite thing about threads here is the back-and-forth which disappears when people get too rude. If that means more deleted comments I'm okay with that, if what remains is substantially better. Sometimes the value in a comment is writing it rather than in its being read. And I don't think any comment is so valuable that its disappearance ought to be missed too much.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:46 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Personally, I use favorites as toaster points.
posted by flabdablet at 11:48 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would like to encourage people to reconsider looking at their specific deletions and extrapolating it into a systemic problem. Maybe your comments are getting deleted because they are shitty, and not because the mods have suddenly become delete-happy.

The former can be cleared up with an email. The latter should be taken to MeTa. This post really seems an example of the former.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:59 AM on June 7, 2012


Forget toaster points - let's talk about toast points. With caviar.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:07 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like comments shouldnt be deleted unless its spam or hate speech. And maybe true derails.
posted by KogeLiz at 12:13 PM on June 7, 2012


I do find it kind of frustrating that it's nearly impossible to convey the sentiment that "I don't think this is a good post" or "This isn't up to MeFi standards." I mean low effort, "here's a bunch of wikipedia links" stuff. You can flag it, but unless it is really terrible, the mods aren't going to do anything.

If it is not bad enough for deletion and there is nothing factually wrong with the post, it is not necessary for anyone to say "I don't like this". This is a constant discussion here. The mod team has explained many times why that is so different from "I love this". I believe taz and jessamyn just did that a few days ago, in fact.

If you can find a better source or link about the topic, add it to the conversation. If you don't care enough to find one, let it go.
posted by soelo at 12:21 PM on June 7, 2012


Some of my best comments have been deleted.

I wish all of you could favorite them. You would. I know.

In some ways, my imaginary favorites mean more to me than the ones I do have.

Now how do I convert imaginary favorites into toasters?
posted by mazola at 12:25 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think my first contact to the mods was "er, did a totally innocuous comment get deleted, or am I too dumb to hit "post" correctly?" (the latter.)

"Two through four were, as you noted, weighted down with metacommentary on site moderation, which is basically an instant delete ..."

Had to laugh at that - I moderate comments at a newspaper website, and our rules are relatively few. One of our frequent commenters persists in calling other commenters names - one of the verboten acts. But metacommentary re: moderation is fine, so many of our stories have mysterious, context-free references to Why was my earlier comment deleted and You guys are censoring me again, etc.

We also generally do not directly address commenters, so sometimes they have to thrash around for a while like that. I broke custom by reminding this guy that passionate arguing was fine but name-calling wasn't. He was mystified, since he never! calls others names.

*sigh*

I have exactly zero complaints about the moderation here. Also, I'm kind of a suck-up.
posted by Occula at 12:37 PM on June 7, 2012


I'm sorry that you feel discouraged. I hope you have a good day today.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:37 PM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


*points*
posted by Talkie Toaster at 12:37 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cray Cray

What? You say that joke's been beaten to death already? Very well then, carry on.
posted by slogger at 12:39 PM on June 7, 2012


Please delete me,
Let it go,
For I don't mean it anymore.
To waste my keystrokes
 would be a sin
Oh, delete me
So I can d'oh! again

posted by y2karl at 12:42 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Have you ever tried talking to the mods about why a comment or comments got deleted, and having a conversation about it? That might be a good idea.

I have! They said to take to MetaTalk! I've also opened a MetaTalk thread and was told I should have PM'd a mod privately!
posted by entropicamericana at 12:50 PM on June 7, 2012


I have! They said to take to MetaTalk!

Sometimes the outcome of an email conversation is going to be "we've given you our take on this and told you what we will and won't do here; if you want to talk about it more you can start a metatalk thread." There's an implication here that we responded to an initial contact with "wevs, go to metatalk" or something, which would be super odd.

If there's something specific about whatever went down in that case that you want to talk about, cool, remind me what it was and when and I'll look through the archives.

I've also opened a MetaTalk thread and was told I should have PM'd a mod privately!

Sometimes that's the better fit for something, yeah. It's why we have a note at the top of the metatalk posting page pointing to the contact form reiterating the point. It's not a huge deal generally speaking, but there's stuff that works better for one or the other.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:02 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Narrative Priorities: "I can't think of a case where being aggressive made an answer more helpful. "

I can, but it's more of a "the Asker needs a kick in the ass to do what it is that the Asker clearly wants to do/the right thing" type of aggression than a "the Asker needs to get the F over it" aggression. Aggressive advocacy as opposed to aggressive rudeness, I suppose, although the lines can be blurry. (We don't and will never all agree on what exactly counts as rude)
posted by wierdo at 1:09 PM on June 7, 2012


Please delete obliviate me,
Let it go,

posted by octobersurprise at 1:15 PM on June 7, 2012


I moderate comments at a newspaper website

my sympathies
posted by Danila at 1:15 PM on June 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


I moderate comments at a newspaper website

my sympathies


Ugh, seriously. That's up there on the Jobs I Do Not Want List next to "incontinent elephant prostate examiner".
posted by elizardbits at 1:19 PM on June 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't really think if [my comments] will be deleted or not.
...
If I have to think about if they will be deleted or not, the answer is simply to use the time in a more productive manner than posting.


I think that AskMetafilter is likely to remain an unsatisfactory experience for you.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:20 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


*snort* Yeah, I hear ya. Thanks! The perk is that occasionally I get to actually make racists (etc.) shut up.
posted by Occula at 1:26 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Edogy: "Kray"

Ah, I think you misspelled "Piranha Brothers."
posted by Chrysostom at 1:32 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't really think if [my comments] will be deleted or not.
...
If I have to think about if they will be deleted or not, the answer is simply to use the time in a more productive manner than posting.

I think that AskMetafilter is likely to remain an unsatisfactory experience for you.

I am a big fan of Nickrussell's comments. So if he stopped responding I would be sad. And would know less about human psychology.
posted by bquarters at 1:45 PM on June 7, 2012


I used to get upset when I noticed a comment got deleted here. Then my friends started deleting my comments on Facebook.
posted by crunchland at 1:49 PM on June 7, 2012


Nickrussel, I think you may be asking for something that you can't get. Which is for everyone to ignore what is wrong with your post, and instead focus on what is right with it. And because we aren't doing that, you feel discouraged, and don't want to post.

So far, it sounds like variation responses to what's wrong with your post have included:
  • Yes, 'Cray Cray' is insulting, but the OP should more note your intent to be helpful.

  • Yes, 'Cray Cray' is insulting, but it's meant as a funny insult, and mood lightener.

  • Yes, 'Cray Cray' is insulting, but the OP shouldn't take things so personally.

  • Yes, 'Cray Cray' is insulting but you didn't mean it as an insult, even though, it kind of is.



  • In most of these responses, you acknowledge that 'Cray Cray' is kind of personally insulting.

    But rather than just stop, you then double down, and suggesting that readers then instead focus on what is right with your overall posts. Including:

    Your effort:
  • The amount of time you took to create the post



  • Your intention:
  • That you mean well, and have something to contribute.

    Your own reality:
  • (Perhaps) in your other communities 'tough love' responses are okay.

    And your overall contributions:
  • Focus less on that one part of the comment, and more on total comment.

  • Focus less on that one comment, and more on your overall contribution to the community.



  • And the answer to all of these approaches from the mods, not just to you, but anyone who rides those ponies, have been pretty consistent. That this is a community:
  • that wants and values you as a part of the community
  • requires members remain respectful, in an effort to maintain good relations
  • And so, at least here, you can't insult people personally, because it often goes wrong.

    But no matter how many ways you try to dance around it, there is no amount of witty and/thoughtful brilliance that any us are contributing here that gives us a pass to side step what is basically, like, one of the top three rules around here. No one gets to insult another community member personally around here, no matter how amazing your contribution is. That fact alone is why I don't think I've ever met one person in real life, but I like hanging around here. Regardless of how significant or insignificant I am in this place (I mean I don't post that much, and I know know how many people would note my presence or absence), it's a pretty good place to be.

    This works for me. Hopefully it will work for you. I personally have liked reading many of your thoughts on the site.

  • posted by anitanita at 1:52 PM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


    Ugh, clearly someone has not yet gained Yoda-like mastery over html coding for bullets.

    Oh wait, I just realized - the one person you can personally insult on this site, at least to some extent, is yourself.

    There is always a loophole (*drums fingers together thoughtfully*).
    posted by anitanita at 1:55 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


    While we're on the topic, I think the last couple of comments herecould do with disappearing. Wtf, people, the thread is like 100 comments long, filled with a lot of in depth discussion, and you felt that your half assed one liner of 'it's her life' was worth contributing? I don't even.
    posted by jacalata at 2:05 PM on June 7, 2012


    I don't think I've ever had a comment deleted.

    If I were a moderator I would totally delete this.
    posted by tigrefacile at 2:16 PM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


    That's the second time this week I've seen something referred to as "cray cray."

    There was a time when I would have thought "I wonder what that means?" and looked it up. Later I would have been irritated and tried to figure it out from context. Now I just assume it’s something stupid and won’t even click on links that might explain it. I’m getting to where I will avert my eyes from the plain text explanation right in front of me. I don’t want to know about the stupid. I like getting old.
    posted by bongo_x at 2:16 PM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


    There was a time when I would have thought "I wonder what that means?"

    I've now read a good chunk of the Wikipedia article and I'm still not certain what "That's a bit Bo Xilai feeling." means.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:22 PM on June 7, 2012 [14 favorites]


    Man, I think I've really had my fill of internet strangers who feel they are self-appointed arbiters of "tough love". This usually means "I can't be bothered with such quaint conventions as 'tact' and you can't handle my shoot-from-the-hip stylings". It's entirely possible to address a particular issue in a person without resorting to name-calling or similar overly confrontational approaches which, by the way, tend to make people get defensive and less likely to listen to you than they would if you approached them showing obvious respect with your candor. Yes, great, your intentions were good. Your intentions weren't the issue. If it really is too much to ask to drop things like "cray cray" than that's unfortunate, for all parties concerned. In a community setting, you have to meet folks halfway - works a lot better than crossing your arms across your chest and refusing to budge an inch while claiming injury.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:30 PM on June 7, 2012 [27 favorites]


    IMO, if someone who feels like too many or even a lot of their comments are deleted is feeling reticent to make comments because (s)he doesn't know if they'll be deleted or not, that's a form of community correction in action that I can get behind.

    I've had plenty of comments deleted for a variety of reasons, but it's not stopping me from making comments. Except about one particular thing, which should have been deleted but wasn't, and the resulting shitstorm was really awful.
    posted by hippybear at 2:49 PM on June 7, 2012


    There's a pretty big distinction between "Let me give you some tough love" and "I'm going to take this opportunity to act like an asshole because I'm just an anonymous user name on the Internet."
    posted by modernnomad at 2:52 PM on June 7, 2012


    "Let me give you some tough love" is a pretty good pick-up line, though.
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:06 PM on June 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


    And band name.
    posted by iamabot at 3:10 PM on June 7, 2012


    Tuff Luvv. Umlauts optional.
    posted by bongo_x at 3:20 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I find it interesting, that you say this: I don't think people crying is a big problem.

    But then feel that being "demoralised" is reason enough to post a MeTa and register unhappiness about site policy. When I see that, it makes me think that you feel okay with others' emotional upset (because you feel maybe it's good for them?), but not your own. Essentially, placing your feelings of demoralisation, over someone's feelings that may lead them to cry.

    It's interesting that there is such a big gulf, for you, between your emotional needs and a stranger's. I'm not a mod, but I would argue that from a mod perspective on high, they don't look a heck of a lot different, and in the context that the asker is the one asking for help, the moderation would naturally be predisposed for helping them.

    I've never, ever, regretted a comment of mine being deleted - even if I were to disagree with it. I don't have the behind-the-scenes, sitewide visibility that the mods do, I presume they understand what works for the site and users better than I do.
    posted by smoke at 3:41 PM on June 7, 2012 [19 favorites]


    ♫ A bit Bo Xilai feeling, I want sexual healing ♫
    posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:07 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


    How would I know if comments I made were deleted?
    posted by radioamy at 4:23 PM on June 7, 2012


    Phantom pain.
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:24 PM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


    What's the first rule of Silenced All My Life Club?
    posted by panboi at 4:27 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Either by noticing they aren't there anymore (unreliable, but by the same token possibly comforting) or dropping us a line at the contact form to ask (very reliable but potentially a Twilight-Zone sort of careful-what-you-wish-for experience).
    posted by cortex (staff) at 4:27 PM on June 7, 2012


    i wish we could enforce taking "my comment got deleted" threads to the contact forms, as we've been encouraged to do. just close these metatalk threads with that suggestion, and i think this problem will go away. as it stands, people think it's happening more often, for more scandalous reasons, and they comment with that in mind. and then it gets deleted. it's like a cycle!
    posted by Avenger50 at 4:33 PM on June 7, 2012


    I know when my comments have been deleted because my favorites count goes down!
    posted by cjorgensen at 4:34 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


    How would I know if comments I made were deleted?

    you'd see a metatalk post, by you, insisting your comments shouldn't have been deleted.
    posted by Avenger50 at 4:36 PM on June 7, 2012 [29 favorites]


    I'm still moderately uncomfortable with comment deletions as a general thing, and I've had my (public) struggles with the issue, but I think it's an exceedingly rare thing, even when it's my SPECIAL THOUGHTS that have been deleted from a thread, that they do anything but help to raise the level of discourse.

    I think it's a trust thing, for me at least -- trusting that the mods are doing the right thing when they make a call on deleting something. I think I do trust them, but I still worry, as I'm sure they do with every deletion that is borderline, about exactly where that line is and the danger of it moving too far.

    But that's the nature of the beast, and I think that on the whole, having good moderation (even with deletions) is a far better thing than not having any.

    I've recently seen bad moderation in action -- I don't hang out many other places than here, but there is a support/community forum for a web app that I use for one of my sites that I was re-engaging with recently. I'd had an account there for about 5 years.

    I made some comments that were, well, critical of the way things were going. Slightly ranty, maybe, but they weren't snark, and they were reasoned and civil, and overly lengthy, as is my wont sometimes. Some of the more... enthusiastic members of the forum, high profile people who show up in every thread and offer snark to newcomers as often as they offered substantive advice or help ('one word: grep' is the kind of suggestions they like to make to newbies. Hell, I've worked with the thing for 5 years, and I don't know how that was meant to help), took it upon themselves to berate me and tell me that if there was a killfiling tool, they'd use it on me. Then a couple of the developers showed up and got defensive, which I understand, and I made an effort to praise and sympathize with them about the small team supporting open source thing.

    The thing that made me decide to just not bother anymore was one dev (who has forum moderation tools) who had last commented in a thread a year earlier that was asking about some bad regex (though the poster didn't know that was the problem). I fixed it, posted the fix, and commented in passing that it was a bit shocking that something so simple and important had gone unfixed for so long, when there had been multiple versions dropped since. I'd also written and uploaded an addon for the community the day before, to demonstrate good faith and that I wasn't just coming in guns blazing or anything.

    The dev in question cast aspersions on me, got all up in my face, and when I did my best, again in extremely lengthy but civil form, to respond and suggest we were misunderstanding each other and that there was no need to insult me, but that the fix he'd claimed had been made hadn't, and the new regex I offered actually worked, he just said 'Yeah, it must be all my fault' and closed the thread.

    I know that's the kind of thing that happens all over the web, but it shocked and infuriated me. I haven't been back. And, which is the point of this long disquisition: it made me once again realize how reasonable, evenhanded, and downright swell our mods here are.

    So, yeah. Nothing's perfect, but MeFi moderation is pretty great compared to what goes on in a lot of other places.
    posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:39 PM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


    How would I know if comments I made were deleted?
    Either by noticing they aren't there anymore (unreliable, but by the same token possibly comforting) or dropping us a line at the contact form to ask (very reliable but potentially a Twilight-Zone sort of careful-what-you-wish-for experience).


    Of course if you were interested in more . . . *statistical* information you could ask someone to update the infodump page.

    I'm just sayin'.
    posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:48 PM on June 7, 2012


    I'm just standing behind Tell Me No Lies and nodding at the extreme justice of his remark.
    posted by stebulus at 5:00 PM on June 7, 2012


    I'm just sayin'.

    I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT

    *frantically pokes at vacuum tubes in underbelly of Info Dump 2000 mainframe*
    posted by cortex (staff) at 5:05 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I've had enough comments deleted that I don't want to know the exact number because I'm afraid it will make me feel bad and, and, honestly, there isn't a single one that I can't see the reasoning behind the deletion.

    Just as a data point or whatever.
    posted by box at 5:52 PM on June 7, 2012


    Every time one of my comments is deleted, it's like a piece of me has died. Luckily, I have a lot of pieces.
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:00 PM on June 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Dead comments sloughing of the site are the primary food source for Garra Rufa Metifiltarius.
    posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:10 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


    HEY GUYS JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW YOU'RE DOING AN AWESOME JOB, KEEP IT UP.

    Seriously.
    posted by odinsdream at 6:36 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


    elizardbits: "That's up there on the Jobs I Do Not Want List next to "incontinent elephant prostate examiner"."

    At least if you're examining elephant assholes, you know you can scrub yourself clean with enough hot water and soap.
    posted by boo_radley at 6:44 PM on June 7, 2012


    The thing about AskMe is that it's not about your right to offer an opinion as an answerer - it's about the Asker and his or her right to an answer to the question (if the question is a reasonable one - and sometimes the quality of the answers dictates whether the question stays, so there's some feedback there.) It's not personal, although the mods clearly rely on their knowledge of certain MeFites to judge whether a borderline answer is problematic or is going to lead the discussion into a thicket.

    If it's critical to you that your answer be seen by the Asker, send it in MeMail. If it's critical to you that your answer be recorded for posterity or witnessed by the general public, you might consider starting your own blog.

    I have found that the key to avoiding deletion in the Blue is to refrain from playing along when people start being dickheads. (Note: this does not mean I succeed. I just know what I should be doing better.)

    And it takes some egregiously shitty behavior to get deleted in the Grey. Gray. Whatever.
    posted by gingerest at 7:02 PM on June 7, 2012


    Oh Marisa, you are a dude I want to give a hug to and then a little pat pat on the shoulder as I am pulling away from the hug, because you are great.
    posted by Greg Nog at 8:02 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


    In my umpty-ump years I've had a few comments deleted, maybe a dozen? And I deserved all of them. I was being flip, adding noise, joking where it didn't belong, or being overly argumentative where it didn't belong. There wasn't a one of them that represents a loss to site discourse. It's not all that hard to maintain a really low ratio of deleted comments.
    posted by Miko at 8:11 PM on June 7, 2012


    I agree with Miko, nickrussell.

    I asked, and they tell me that I have around 30 or so deletions, overall. Given what an obnoxious frikken blowhard I am, this seems surprisingly tolerant to me. So, I'd have to agree that if you're getting deleted to the point that it's impacting your lifestyle, perhaps it's time to reassess your approach to the site.
    posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:32 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Please write your autobiography, and title it, My Umpty-Ump Years. I would totally read the shit out of that.
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:33 PM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Why should there be a low(er) barrier to commenting? If you already know which comments are ok and which are not, don't post the ones that are not.
    posted by J. Wilson at 8:34 PM on June 7, 2012


    The umpty dance is your chance to do the ump.
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:40 PM on June 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Every time one of my comments is deleted, it's like a piece of me has died. Luckily, I have a lot of pieces.

    Like horcruxes? IRFH is he who cannot be named!

    crap! I've just named him, now what?
    posted by arcticseal at 8:43 PM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


    S'okay. You only initialled him.
    posted by gingerest at 8:47 PM on June 7, 2012


    I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.
    posted by box at 9:01 PM on June 7, 2012


    Sometimes I get ridiculous.
    posted by box at 9:04 PM on June 7, 2012


    Finally got them to hold the pickle, did you?
    posted by fleacircus at 9:06 PM on June 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


    Comments discouraging discouraging deleted comments.
    posted by michaelh at 9:12 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I love it when people hate on a silly phrase they read on the internet. By love it I mean I find it completely mind-bogglingly ass-backwards willfully cray-cray.
    posted by roboton666 at 9:21 PM on June 7, 2012


    OH SNAP BRO.
    posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:24 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


    How are the cray-cray in these parts, anyways? I've heard that they're a bit gamey even when loaded down with lemon and butter. Me, I usually get my bugs from this old lady down near Baton Rouge. Yum.
    posted by item at 9:45 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


    However, increasingly I find myself not posting because it takes a lot of time to contribute, and if it's just going to be deleted, then what's the point?

    That is the point. You should get discouraged from posting comments that are just going to be deleted, or get motivated to post comments that won't be. THE SYSTEM IS WORKING.
    posted by BurnChao at 10:32 PM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


    Deleted comments hurt your feelings. Like a kitten sprayed with a water bottle when it jumps on the counter. You stop, ponder, then adjust.

    Deleted comments are for the most part, kinda easy to suss out why they are that.

    I don't think the rules need changing, maybe a sidebar every six months that captures the "mood of the mods" would help determine the overall "what's cool and what's crap" would be helpful for everyone.

    That aside, I'd delete my last comment in this thread if I were a mod. It was a lot of stupid contained in a single comment.
    posted by roboton666 at 10:52 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson Please write your autobiography, and title it, My Umpty-Ump Years. I would totally read the shit out of that.

    My Umpty-Ump Years sounds like line in a Dr. Seuss book about MetaFilter:

    Oh, The Links You'll Post!

    Congratulations!
    You've made your first post!
    You got lots of favorites,
    About which you can boast.

    You've been to Boing Boing.
    And Laughing Squid too.
    The Daily What, Fark, and 4Chan.
    They didn't suit you.

    You've found lots of links. So much awesome out there!
    And YOU are the one who'll decide what to share!

    You'll see lots of posts. About all kinds of things.
    Circumcision and Apple. Whether Lady Gaga can sing.
    You'll see people writing, long screeds about stuff.
    You'll see people freak out. Or storm off in a huff.

    And sometimes a post
    Makes you mad, sad, or yawn.
    In that case, of course,
    Just flag, and move on.

    You'll find lots of cool stuff!
    You'll post links to great sites!
    You'll get on the sidebar,
    You'll be a great MeFite!

    You won't post self-links, or shills, spam, or ads.
    Whatever you post, it won't ever be bad.
    Everything that you post, will be best of the best.
    And the favorites you get, you will top all the rest.

    Except when you don't.
    Because, sometimes, you won't.

    I'm sorry to say so,
    But sadly, it's true,
    That callouts
    And flameouts
    Can happen to you.

    You'll make a snide joke.
    You'll add noise or mean jeers.
    You'll make lots of mistakes
    In your umpty-ump years.
    posted by mattdidthat at 11:08 PM on June 7, 2012 [55 favorites]


    > That makes sense. I realise the second 'cray' may have been a bit too much.

    You're being a dick. AskMe isn't a place for you to belittle people asking for help and call it advice.

    /tough love
    posted by desuetude at 11:12 PM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Hi guys what's going on?
    posted by The Whelk at 11:12 PM on June 7, 2012


    someone ate up all my crackers and my licorice
    posted by elizardbits at 11:22 PM on June 7, 2012


    How are the cray-cray in these parts, anyways? I've heard that they're a bit gamey

    I read it as crayfish first, too. I thought it was a new nickname I hadn't heard of. You know, instead of Dawg, or something.

    Also, I still haven't gotten over "agro" meaning "aggressive" rather than agricutural.
    posted by small_ruminant at 11:44 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


    can we post recipes now.....oh, wait..... no, we can't! and jonmc doesn't get to come in at this point either with random twitter comments.
    See, it's not that hard to keep to the conventions of the community.

    (I had the sweetest message from Taz with the totally valid reason for my last deletion. It felt like my favorite teacher of all time at high school was disappointed in me........it was bittersweet and emphasised all that is good about the moderation on this site. I was almost devastated, nearly in tears. NOT about my stupid deletion....but I had disappointed Taz!!!!!
    posted by Wilder at 11:47 PM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


    I think the world needs a lot less "tough" and a lot more "love."
    posted by Deoridhe at 12:14 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I prefer to imagine that "aggro" still does mean agricultural.

    It's basically guaranteed to improve any story that the word appears in.
    posted by nebulawindphone at 12:38 AM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


    We could post crayfish recipes just to get it out of the system. Nobody should be disappointed about that, surely.
    posted by Namlit at 1:08 AM on June 8, 2012


    Rock lobster! Down, down.
    posted by Meatbomb at 3:37 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


    AskMe isn't a place for you to belittle people -- Right. That's Metatalk.
    posted by crunchland at 3:59 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    maybe a sidebar every six months that captures the "mood of the mods" would help

    I think the podcasts are taking over this function. Every six months we'll get a six-hour extravaganza.
    posted by in278s at 4:25 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Right. That's Metatalk.

    Physician, heal thyself.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:26 AM on June 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


    I could dwell on this vengefully all day long or I could just not really give a fuck. Guess which one is easier?

    I read somewhere that it takes something like 42 muscles to vengefully dwell, but only 12 to not really give a fuck. Which means, probably, that dwelling vengefully is a better workout, but you should probably do some stretches beforehand so you don't pull something.
    posted by GenjiandProust at 5:34 AM on June 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


    When a comment of mine is deleted, I know because I've installed a script which starts playing O Fortuna from my browser and a giant, red, flashing :( fills my monitor. I then run up to the roof of my house, where it is invariably pouring rain, rend my shirt open and fall to my knees, sobbing.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:58 AM on June 8, 2012 [33 favorites]


    And to join in on Guess My Deletions, I believe the bulk of my deletions have been from me quoting and/or responding to other comments which were deleted - sometimes even comments that I flagged myself, which is purty dumb. I also remember having a comment deleted that was nothing but a personal attack against another user on the Blue. Beyond that I have no idea.

    As I think of it, I'm thinking of some kind of deleted comments equivalent of the Jellybeans-in-the-Jar guessing game. Writing down the number of comments I think I've had deleted and seeing how close it is to the actual number. Maybe spice it up a bit by including guesses for deletion reasons. The prize? Why, a jar of jellybeans, of course.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:09 AM on June 8, 2012


    I'd ask the mods how many comments I had deleted, but I bet everyone is doing that right now. I'll have to setup a calendar alert to do it later, when the rush is over....
    posted by GenjiandProust at 6:22 AM on June 8, 2012


    I expect that I don't ever notice most of my deleted comments because when I say something fighty and over-emotional (usually on the blue), I'm usually embarrassed within half an hour and wish I hadn't gotten involved in something I was going to be fighty about and other people are going to be fighty back, but then I remove them from my recent activity so I don't get upset by other people's fightiness and feel the urge to defend myself, which just leads to a shame spiral. So anything where I'm being shouty and over-emotional I usually flush down the memory hole fairly rapidly.

    One thing I appreciate about Metafilter is that people don't say (or if they do, it gets deleted), "Oh, Eyebrows never came back to the thread, that means she loses the argument because she can't defend her horrifically indefensible position!" That happens a LOT on other forums and I absolutely hate it. It gets my goat, I KNOW it gets my goat, and I am still frequently powerless to resist it. In fact, I just hand my goat over to the goat-getters. The lack of "You bowed out, that means you lose, stupid loser!" makes it a lot easier to bow out gracefully from threads where I know I'm too wound up.

    Which I think leads to a virtuous spiral where it's easier for me to let go of upsetting threads (or not post in them at all), because there's no "penalty" (or reputation trashing) for letting go, so I have learned that retreating leads to better days than fighting, so I can more rapidly remind myself, "I am not actually required to argue with people, especially if I think they're Wrongy McWrongerson from Wrongtown."

    But I don't want to know about my deletions either, I feel like that would lead to a shame spiral. I've noticed them from time to time on the green, usually where I was not on topic, sometimes where I was far too strident, both of which I've tried to be more disciplined about. But I expect the mods will e-mail me to tell me to cut it the fuck out if I'm totally off the wall, so since that hasn't happened, I assume my deletions are mostly minor, procedural, and don't make me a bad person. Don't tell me if they do.
    posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:23 AM on June 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


    Physician, heal thyself.

    It is possible to recognize you are part of a problem. That doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist. Making the change you want to be part of is more difficult.
    posted by cjorgensen at 6:25 AM on June 8, 2012


    Is THIS THREAD ABOUT Americans?
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:25 AM on June 8, 2012


    In all seriousness, I remember a couple of years back when cortex posted the deleted-to-total-comments ratios for all who asked. I was up there near the top with gman and a couple of others. This struck a (very minor) nerve in my tender, diseased heart and I've endeavored to think twice before posting comments that either are inappropriate or might be deemed so. I haven't thought about it in a while - before long, it just became habit behavior to pre-edit the asshole out of what I've written. Have I been 100% successful? Of course not. Honestly, I don't know if it's made a lick of a difference at all, overall, but now I'd like to think it has. I know I can still be a pain, but I do believe I've improved, and if nothing else I'm slightly more aware of what I'm saying on this site. Who knows - maybe it's spilled over into my 'real' life, too.

    I don't want to see an updated ratio, though. Hell no.
    posted by item at 6:31 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    and I didn't mean to imply that gman is in asshole whatsoever. He's not - he's one of the shining examples of decency around here.
    posted by item at 6:34 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Mods.

    If Jonmc isn't supposed to pop in with a random aside is there any reason why a run of about a dozen (before I stopped counting) random asides are ok when they come from several other users?
    posted by Reggie Knoble at 6:54 AM on June 8, 2012


    I had an almond croissant and ginseng tea for breakfast.
    posted by octobersurprise at 7:03 AM on June 8, 2012


    Getting tired of these "I'm pissy about comment deletion for no specific reason" MeTa threads, which usually consist of the OP complaining and generalizing about the site moderation and not mentioning in their post that they're really just pissed about their own recent comment deletion.

    I will laugh if this is deleted. That would be quite funny actually.


    This reads like "Go ahead mods, CENSOR ME IN FRONT OF ALL THESE PEOPLE, I dare you!" which adds nothing to the discussion.
    posted by futureisunwritten at 7:08 AM on June 8, 2012


    To me it reads, "I don't know how MetaTalk works," which suprises me a little from a long-time user, but I guess not everybody is interested in baseball.
    posted by Edogy at 7:14 AM on June 8, 2012


    Yeah, the bar is pretty damn high to have something deleted from metatalk. About the only way I know it happening is if one of the volunteer mods does it.
    posted by cjorgensen at 7:19 AM on June 8, 2012


    stavrosthewonderchicken: " I think it's a trust thing, for me at least -- trusting that the mods are doing the right thing when they make a call on deleting something. I think I do trust them, but I still worry, as I'm sure they do with every deletion that is borderline, about exactly where that line is and the danger of it moving too far."

    You're absolutely right.

    When I've gotten upset over a comment deletion it's usually because in the moment I felt they were treating me (and as you say, my special thoughts) unfairly. I would be arguing back and forth with someone in a thread, the mods would come in and clean things up and... I didn't get to have the last word. So I'd memail the mod who had done the cleanup and say something along the lines of "SOMEONE WAS WRONG ON THE INTERNETS AND I WAS CORRECTING THEM! I WAS RIGHT! I SHOULD GET TO HAVE THE LAST WORD!" I've done this at least two or three times on the Blue and once on the Green.

    I don't publicly contest my post deletions. But something was deleted last year that I didn't agree with, and I got obnoxious with cortex about it over memail. (Which I also don't think I apologized for. Sorry, cortex.) Something he said to me then made me realize that every single time I had gotten upset over a deletion, anywhere on the site, I felt I was being treated unfairly -- differently than other Mefites. Which in retrospect was pretty stupid. I'm not a special snowflake, and neither is anyone else.

    It made me feel like a bit of an idiot, honestly. No one was targeting my posts or comments. The mods were just trying to make the place run smoothly.

    But this is the same position the mods see people taking repeatedly in Meta every time someone complains about an "arbitrary" deletion -- theirs or someone else's. It *is* a trust issue.

    Contributing here is a privilege, not an entitlement. The mods run the site, and we have to trust that they can see the big picture and understand the dynamics of the site and various member histories. That they have a better idea of what works well and doesn't. That idea is being constantly in flux, and evolves as new posts and comments to the green, blue and gray appear.

    But I share your concern that moderation here might one day become too heavy handed. I think moderation always naturally trends that way -- you have a hammer and every problem starts to look like a nail. We've been pretty lucky that the people who moderate this place have very phlegmatic personalities. And we all know that's by design and not an accident.

    In the meantime, there's nothing wrong with talking about borderline deletions. We're lucky in that we can weigh in when we disagree with something -- and ask for and receive responses when we have concerns. For me at least, that goes a long way.
    posted by zarq at 7:22 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Besides vacapinta, who are these volunteer mods?

    More importantly, would it count towards court-ordered community service?
    posted by item at 7:23 AM on June 8, 2012


    I just had a comment deleted! It was part of a derail! Which I should have known better than to participate in. Also, the comment that spawned it and the others participating were also deleted.

    It was for the best, and I should take my own advice more often.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:33 AM on June 8, 2012


    Besides vacapinta, who are these volunteer mods?

    I was making a joke!

    You're aware that we are paid moderators with benefits and stuff right?
    posted by cjorgensen at 7:54 AM on June 8, 2012


    who are these volunteer mods?

    Folks, the last thing we need here is vigilante moderation. Y'all just go on home now and let the authorities deal with this.
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:58 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    cortex: "Either by noticing they aren't there anymore (unreliable, but by the same token possibly comforting) or dropping us a line at the contact form to ask (very reliable but potentially a Twilight-Zone sort of careful-what-you-wish-for experience)."

    "You mean...you've deleted all of them?"
    posted by Deathalicious at 7:58 AM on June 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


    cortex deleted my father.
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:05 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    To the cornfield.
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:06 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    > potentially a Twilight-Zone sort of careful-what-you-wish-for experience

    You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!

    Narrator: [opening narration] Witness if you will a community. This community is made not of buildings, streets, and automobiles but of subsites, posts, and comments. The community has many members, and this is the story of one of them. We'll call him Asshat. He has a userpage with an ironic photo and some meaningless gibberish where the forms ask for gender and status. And he likes to comment. He doesn't pay much attention to the "rules," because he knows he is better than the people the rules are made for. What he has to say must be said, and only he can say it. Now witness if you will what can happen when a member breaks out of his usual routine and wonders how other members are reacting to his brilliant ideas and acerbic commentary.

    Asshat: Say, I could have sworn I made a hilarious comeback in this thread, but nobody's responded to it. [scrolls] And now I can't find it. That's funny, maybe I'm remembering another thread? [checks a couple of other threads] OK, what's going on? [shouting] Mod! Hey, mod! I know I made a hilarious comeback in this thread, but I can't find it!

    Mod: That comment was deleted.

    Asshat: Deleted?! But... what about in this other thread?

    Mod: Deleted.

    Asshat: OK, could you send me a list of all my deleted comments?

    Mod: Sure thing. [hits button]

    Asshat: I had no idea! This goes on for pages and pages... [struck by awful thought] OK, could you send me a list of all my comments that haven't been deleted?

    Mod: Dude, look at your userpage.

    Asshat [reading aloud]: MeFi: 0 posts , 0 comments... MetaTalk: 0 posts , 0 comments... Ask MeFi: 0 questions , 0 answers... NO! THIS CAN'T BE! [breaks down sobbing]

    Narrator: [closing narration] In a somewhat strange community is a man sobbing. For years, he thought he was a special snowflake, making contributions that others were enraged at or amused by, comments that one day, he assumed, would stand as his proof of existence. Now he has discovered that all of his comments - the brilliant, the bitter, the sarcastic - all have been deleted, gone forever, never to be seen again.... except - in the Twilight Zone.
    posted by languagehat at 8:06 AM on June 8, 2012 [39 favorites]


    Curse you, Deathalicious.
    posted by languagehat at 8:07 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    If Jonmc isn't supposed to pop in with a random aside is there any reason why a run of about a dozen (before I stopped counting) random asides are ok when they come from several other users?

    The only reason jonmc has gotten a couple public "seriously, cut that out" comments about this stuff is that he specifically has made a habit of repeatedly and deliberately jumping into metatalk threads to do it. Random aggressive derailing of metatalk threads is problematic in a lot of cases and we want folks to be thoughtful about it, but it's mostly as an intentional pattern of behavior that it tends to get over the bar of specific mention. (See also the Time For Recipes thing a while back, which wasn't so much a specific user issue as a collective trend.)

    A little bit of idle chatter in a thread is less of an issue on a case-by-case basis if it's not turning into A Thing.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 8:07 AM on June 8, 2012


    cortex deleted my father.

    It was that unnecessary goatse thing that did him in.
    posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:08 AM on June 8, 2012


    At the end of the thread, you can't be sure whether cortex or I are actually idle chatter Things. But you can be sure we'll both be drinking.
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:13 AM on June 8, 2012


    A little bit of idle chatter in a thread is less of an issue on a case-by-case basis if it's not turning into A Thing.

    If you say so.

    The fact that it seems to happen in every MeTa that goes over around 150 comments seems to be "a thing" though.

    It seems to be the same "thing" that the recipe meme was. It just has a little more variety since that got the hammer dropped on it.
    posted by Reggie Knoble at 8:25 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    It seems to be the same "thing" that the recipe meme was. It just has a little more variety since that got the hammer dropped on it.

    Bits of idle chatter have been part of the mix in metatalk for a very long time; the notable thing about the recipe thing was that it was a lot more of a cohesive NOW WE DO THE RECIPES thing and the recipes themselves were a lot more obnoxiously spacefilling. They were one of the odd outlier things that was different enough from the baseline "people will chatter a bit sometimes" situation that we tried to actively manage it.

    There's a balance in here and it's different from e.g. the green. And we don't want people aggressively chuckleheading it up in Metatalk threads just because (a) they want the topic be Not So Serious or (b) they're bored and think other people should change the subject; and to the extent that seems to happen in particularly conspicuous ways sometimes it's something we're gonna talk about, but we don't have an expectation that metatalk threads will be as strictly on-topic as AskMe. We'll ask folks to cut it out when we think it's getting out of hand one way or the other (and have done so as a one-off thing in plenty of threads in the past) but we're not going to moderate this subsite like we moderate the green, and so there's gonna be a certain amount of kibitzing and jokiness that as a self-contained phenomenon isn't really a problem.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 8:39 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Really brilliant, languagehat.
    posted by jamjam at 8:40 AM on June 8, 2012


    I missed it when the recipe thing was disappeared. I do not miss the recipe thing itself.
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:43 AM on June 8, 2012


    And I'll never miss those recipes again...
    posted by Elmore at 8:49 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


    "practice to be a you-noticing-some-deletions thing, not a you-discovering-a-trend thing."

    For the NY Times, you noticing something is exactly the same as you discovering a trend.
    posted by klangklangston at 8:50 AM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


    It just has a little more variety since that got the hammer dropped on it.

    Part of the variety is that there are a bunch of different people doing it. It may just be blinders on my part, but I don't see any specific people doing the "Here is a random non seq. which is my way of saying how generally tired I am of this sort of thing" If you do and there are specific people you feel are doing this over and over, let us know.

    Making the change you want to be part of is more difficult.

    All snark aside: yes it is. Which is why every time people say "I know I am part of the problem but THERE IS A PROBLEM THAT NEEDS FIXING" one of the things we ask them or politely tell them is that they can work on their own approach to the site. If you come here and make idle crabby comments and go after the mods and then complain about how this part of the site sucks then it sort of stands to logic that whatever compels you to do this without being aware that you're part of the problem is probably part of what compels other people to do the same thing without being aware that they are part of the problem. We muddle forward slowly, but it's challenging and it could be a little less so if people took a bit more ownership of their own roles here.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:04 AM on June 8, 2012


    Scorn begets scorn.
    posted by crunchland at 9:27 AM on June 8, 2012


    Scorns leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to madness, madness leads to Eurovision.
    posted by The Whelk at 9:30 AM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Scorn begets scorn.

    Anakin?
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:33 AM on June 8, 2012


    It just has a little more variety since that got the hammer dropped on it.

    Here comes the Hammer!
    posted by octobersurprise at 9:36 AM on June 8, 2012


    The Hammer.

    (I so want one.)

    "The lack of "You bowed out, that means you lose, stupid loser!" makes it a lot easier to bow out gracefully from threads where I know I'm too wound up.

    This is actually an important point in general, and something we consciously try to encourage (by stepping on direct callouts, encouraging people to take a walk/move on once their piece is said, etc.) There's no "winning" an internet argument, really.

    Of course, the counter to that is that dropping in, making your position statement, and then disappearing is also not awesome, so there's a bit of a balance, there, and we end up having to manage both ends of it. This stuff is complicated, and never going to get less complicated, really.
    posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:44 AM on June 8, 2012


    What I get from this (*I don't think people crying is a big problem. Sometimes the questions require tough love or an alternate perspective. If people had the answers they needed, they wouldn't be asking – and sometimes the truth hurts I suppose.*) is that I should never ask nickrussell if these pants make me look fat.
    posted by Lynsey at 10:00 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


    They don't.
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:01 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    They do really emphasize your Pascal comments, however.
    posted by fleacircus at 10:10 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Of course, the counter to that is that dropping in, making your position statement, and then disappearing is also not awesome

    It seems like this would be a perfectly reasonable thing to do if a thread gets contentious, as long as your statement is, in fact, reasonable.
    posted by bongo_x at 10:14 AM on June 8, 2012


    Never confuse intensity with transcendence.
    posted by Burhanistan at 10:24 AM on June 8, 2012


    The fact that it seems to happen in every MeTa that goes over around 150 comments seems to be "a thing" though.

    Well, often by then the issue has been resolved. I think my first metatalk I said something like, "Is there a point in leaving this open no that I've got my answer?" And cortex said something like, "At this point it become more freeform and people blow off steam" or something.
    posted by cjorgensen at 10:34 AM on June 8, 2012


    I think there's a difference between a general spontaneous free-for-all and a set, proscribed "this is the thing that we do to be funny" derail, like the recipes was. Because in the former case, more people can find their own way to participate or not do so, and it has its own organic lifespan; but with the recipes, if there was anyone who isn't a cook or just didn't feel like doing that ("...wait, someone made a joke about 'Car Talk,' and now I can't riff on that, dammit..."), it's kind of a source of annoyance.

    Similarly too, there's a difference between being one of the people who happens to be around to spontaeously take part in one such spontaneous free-for-all, and making a point of deliberately being all "Ah! That's my cue to be wacky in MeTa!". Because then you run the risk of becoming That Guy. It's a subtle distinction, but that's my take on it.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:46 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Yeah, the big problem tends to be one of intention. Just continuing a line of conversation that may not be totally on-topic is way less of a problem than comments that seem to be intended to say "The current topic is dumb, we need to talk about something else instead" which is exactly what the recipe thing turned into.
    posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:12 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Well I don't really understand why one person is banned from inserting idle nonsense when everyone else gets a free pass but if that is what the mods say then I suppose it is what the mods will get.
    posted by Reggie Knoble at 11:32 AM on June 8, 2012


    Well I don't really understand why one person is banned from inserting idle nonsense when everyone else gets a free pass

    ...And as we've explained to you, that person was doing it too often and was asked to dial it back a few notches. That's why.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:37 AM on June 8, 2012


    Idle nonsense is fine as long as we don't have to know about the details of your grubby life.
    posted by Burhanistan at 11:38 AM on June 8, 2012


    can't we just
    posted by Golden Eternity at 11:40 AM on June 8, 2012


    Well I don't really understand why one person is banned from inserting idle nonsense when everyone else gets a free pass...

    What's hard to understand? Their position is that when someone consistently adds noise to a discussion to the point where it's known as 'sorta being their thing', it has a negative affect and they'll try to discourage it.

    ... but if that is what the mods say then I suppose it is what the mods will get.

    Ah, I see. Nevermind.
    posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:40 AM on June 8, 2012


    I'm not usually one to make the argument that because something is so good in comparison to the alternative that there's no room for improvement, but jesus this is like the utopia of the internet in terms of moderation.
    posted by Nabubrush at 11:52 AM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Noise isn't any more noisy when it is jonmc doing it.

    His being told to stop while everyone else gets a green light is just arbitrary enforcement of something that apparently isn't even a rule (how can it be when it only applies to one person?).

    I'm not going to harrangue the mods about it. They have made their decision so fine.
    posted by Reggie Knoble at 12:00 PM on June 8, 2012


    Again, we've certainly told other folks to cut such stuff out before, and we haven't banned jonmc from metatalk or something.

    I am not sure where you are coming from on this unless your feeling is that no one should ever be told to throttle it back if they're doing something a lot more consistently or obnoxiously than the average user.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 12:22 PM on June 8, 2012


    Noise isn't any more noisy when it is jonmc doing it.

    I don't think you give him enough credit.
    posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:22 PM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


    I am not sure where you are coming from on this unless your feeling is that no one should ever be told to throttle it back if they're doing something a lot more consistently or obnoxiously than the average user.

    I disagree he is any more obnoxious. Consistency doesn't matter to me because the noise always happens so it may as well be jonmc.
    posted by Reggie Knoble at 12:35 PM on June 8, 2012


    Reggie Knoble: “His being told to stop while everyone else gets a green light...”

    Nobody gets a green light. Lots and lots of people have been asked to cut it out on this thing. As I recall, there have been times when I have been asked to cut it out on this thing.
    posted by koeselitz at 12:55 PM on June 8, 2012


    I had a really lovely pain au chocolat at lunch.
    posted by octobersurprise at 12:56 PM on June 8, 2012


    Octobersurprise, ironic douchebaggery is actually *worse*. Please don't.
    posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:02 PM on June 8, 2012


    You see? Quod erat demonstrandum.
    posted by octobersurprise at 1:12 PM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


    koeselitz: "Lots and lots of people have been asked to cut it out on this thing. As I recall, there have been times when I have been asked to cut it out on this thing."

    As have I. Sincerely, jonmc is not being singled out. He's just one example you've happened to notice.
    posted by zarq at 1:33 PM on June 8, 2012


    octobersurprise: "You see? Quod erat demonstrandum."

    Hilarious. :D
    posted by zarq at 1:34 PM on June 8, 2012


    As I understand it the point of all the horseplay is to let people who are here for the actual site policy discussion blow off steam. If someone is taking part in a stressful conversation and they need a bit of silliness to recover their equilibrium, then that's distracting but also useful. If someone is just popping their head in to tell jokes when they're bored, then that's distracting but not particularly useful.

    It's like the rule about swearing. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, you're allowed to swear, because that shit hurts and you have a legitimate need to vent. If someone else hits their thumb with a hammer, you're not allowed to join in on the swearing, because there's no legitimate emotional need there, you're just looking for an excuse to swear in front of Mom and get away with it.

    Was that just us? Or is this a rule other people's families followed?
    posted by nebulawindphone at 1:42 PM on June 8, 2012


    In my family only I am allowed to swear, doesn't matter who hits their thumb.
    posted by Meatbomb at 1:46 PM on June 8, 2012


    I'm not noticing more deletions. I'm noticing more whining about deletions. It's really not that hard to comment successfully on this website.

    1. DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE. For serious and reals, just treat people how you would like to be treated.

    2. Don't be an asshole.

    3. Don't be an asshole.

    4. Stop taking deletions personally and learn the damn rules. No fighty, no name-cally, no douchebaggery, no assholery, no derailing.

    5. Don't be an asshole.

    6. Frequently hug and pet your mods. They are really pretty nice folks.
    posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:46 PM on June 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


    Instead of being discouraged when comments are deleted, try being encouraged when they're not.
    posted by Obscure Reference at 4:51 PM on June 8, 2012


    HERE comes the hammer.
    posted by jenkinsEar at 6:11 PM on June 8, 2012


    Ah, a venue where I can share my mild and affectionate amusement recently when noticing a comment in Askme being removed and then replaced. It was one of mine and I would have been cool either way, but the replacement tells me that while sweeping clean, one can accidently sweep up stuff but there are lovely hardworking human beings also trying to make the right decision in an extremely subjective context without much to go on but bare text and perhaps, some history.
    posted by infini at 7:07 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


    someone extend macs' credit line.
    posted by clavdivs at 8:14 AM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    octobersurprise, you are my hero.
    posted by stebulus at 9:24 AM on June 9, 2012


    I would like to apologise as Reggie Knoble seems to have the impression from my comment above that jonmc was banned from metatalk, I used the two examples, recipes, jonmc's comments on long threads on the grey as the most recent I was aware of. I did not intend to single out jonmc except to send big hugs his way.

    Jonmc is awesome and one of the reasons I stay around the site, the fact that I remember him in this context is cos I liked those comments; due to the moderators decision I now know that I need to follow his twitter feed. That what I was trying to explain about following the conventions of this site.
    posted by Wilder at 9:25 AM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    As a relatively infrequent user of this site, I find OP's POV interesting, in that some of the examples people brought up about comments that got deleted are obviously nasty and mean-spirited.

    In general, seem to be a lot of passive-aggressive people around here with lots of spite, disordered mental processes, and too much time on their hands. Why a person, for example, who goes out of her way to label a new parent asking a question "neglectful" and a "bad parent" isn't banned from the site is beyond me.
    posted by Jon44 at 10:40 AM on June 9, 2012


    I don't have a twitter feed, wilder, but thanks.
    posted by jonmc at 1:04 PM on June 9, 2012


    And fwiw, I don't feel singled out or abused.
    posted by jonmc at 1:07 PM on June 9, 2012


    Why a person, for example, who goes out of her way to label a new parent asking a question "neglectful" and a "bad parent" isn't banned from the site is beyond me.

    Assuming this is an honest question: we don't ban people from the site for being jerks or for having negative opinions about other members. We don't even ban people for being assholes once in a while as long as it's not part of a general overall pattern of assholish behavior. I'm actually not sure what you're referring to, but we have a pretty long list of "people with consistent behavioral problems that still don't hit the 'we're going to ban this person' level" and we do the best we can with these people and with the site.

    Bannings happen when someone's behavior basically is incompatible with having a community site. People who can't not talk about their own pet topics, people who can't not troll the community, people who can't not spam other people, people who can't not threaten other people. It's really tough to get yourself banned here. Many people think it should be easier. Even if it was easier, if we somehow decided to ban the people on our Top Assholes list, we still wouldn't be approaching someone calling someone else a "bad parent" It's a lousy thing to say (and if it became a pattern of behavior we'd be a lot more not okay with it) but just saying a lousy thing doesn't get you banned here. If it did, this place would be more of a ghost town.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:37 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    That said, I did meet someone cool at work today: pxe2000. She was nice. I was sweaty and frazzled.
    posted by jonmc at 4:15 PM on June 9, 2012


    I just made this post:
    Slavoj Žižek (Wikipedia), in case any wonders who this guy is.
    posted by stbalbach at 3:23 PM on June 10 [+] [!]
    An earlier one I made similar to it was deleted (which consisted of two words (his name) and a link to Wikipedia).
    posted by stbalbach at 12:28 PM on June 10, 2012


    Whenever I discover one of my comments deleted I have this feeling of injustice and then anger. (Usually, sometimes I'm not surprised). It would make it easier to swallow if my comment was returned to me via email with a rejection notice (even a form letter), and not just destroyed by the man, which is somewhat uncivil, the very thing moderators are supposed to be upholding. There is this sense that since the comment was deleted, one must be behaving badly and therefore don't deserve the respect of notification or explanation.
    posted by stbalbach at 12:53 PM on June 10, 2012


    It's not a sense we've encouraged or endorsed, though. We have said, many many times, that we don't see deletions as a big deal or a condemnation or something people should see as punitive.

    I appreciate that some folks would prefer more compulsory notification about or demarcation of deletions, but it's a sort of impractical notion from our end.

    It's not us ignoring you because we think you've been bad, it's us trusting you to contact us if you want to talk about it.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 1:13 PM on June 10, 2012


    An earlier one I made similar to it was deleted

    Yeah. it was the first comment in the thread which consisted of just a link to the guy's name and a Wikipedia link. It was perfectly cryptic. If you were posting it to be helpful, it would have been good to include a few more words. Otherwise it's not clear whether you were commenting to be like "This is a link the OP didn't include so I am helpfully including it to be passive aggressive about this post" Or, what you later said "I am including this link in case people don't know who this guy is" In any case, as the first comment in a thread it's sort of... odd especially from a long-time user. We figured you'd comment again if there was something you were trying to say. We don't notify people about comment removal for a few reasons which we've explained here multiple times.

    - most people don't care or need them
    - some people will be angered and start a side email conversation about their deletion
    - everyone can email us or come to MetaTalk if there is a question or a concern and we reply super quickly

    With the amount of staffing that this site has, we can't contact people individually and be available to moderate the site and do all the other things we need to be doing. This is a conscious decision. I'm sorry it's angering but it's the site operating how it's always operated.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:11 PM on June 10, 2012


    jessamyn: That seems like really........weird criteria. You're limited in staffing, but you go to the trouble of deleting someone's strictly factual post (on the off chance it was passive-aggressive). But you don't see issues with posts that are aggressive-aggressive and would be considered nasty by most (non regular internet user?) people.
    posted by Jon44 at 2:49 PM on June 10, 2012


    We have a few different criteria for different parts of the site. As I said previously, I'm still not sure what or who you are referring to but we have at least two open threads about how people treat AskMe querents. You were, unless I am recalling incorrectly, asking why we didn't BAN people who were rude in AskMe and I replied with an explanation. I'm not sure if now you are talking about something else?

    Usually, if we see them, we do delete aggressive-aggressive comments in AskMe, less so in MeFi which is more lightly moderated. However over the past 3-4 years we've been a little more assertive about deleting early threadshitting from MeFi threads. That is if someone shows up in the first set of comments with early "I didn't read this" sorts of comments or snark, we'll often axe them in the name of having the thread run smoothly and not be derailed right out of the gate. I did not know what stbalbach was getting it, a few people had flagged the comment. I removed it figuring he could comment again, no harm no foul.

    If you have a specific person or event you are referring to, please either tell me what/who it is or email us at the contact form. I'm not clear if your use of the word "post" is intended to refer to FPPs [in which case yes, we delete many of them that are aggressive-aggressive] or comments in which case I do not know if this is you referring to what you were talking about earlier or something different.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:00 PM on June 10, 2012


    I find the fact that the mods manage to read and regulate even a fraction of the content of all these conversations nothing short of heroic. Keep on it, and delete noise with extreme prejudice. Mine included.
    posted by ead at 3:24 PM on June 10, 2012


    In my umpty-ump years I've had a few comments deleted, maybe a dozen? And I deserved all of them. I was being flip, adding noise, joking where it didn't belong, or being overly argumentative where it didn't belong. There wasn't a one of them that represents a loss to site discourse. It's not all that hard to maintain a really low ratio of deleted comments.
    posted by Miko at 5:11 PM on June 7 [+] [!]


    This is me also.
    posted by Sebmojo at 3:42 PM on June 10, 2012


    @jessamyn: Thanks for the reply. I understand now better what you're saying.

    I guess the issue I'd bring up is criteria for deleting comments: majority rules versus some objective sense of people being assholes or not. The problem with "majority rules" is that over time if you allow too much crap, the "majority" starts drifting into people who get a kick out of being nasty.

    In reading through comments on the issue, I get a sense that is what happens a lot (when people talk about "pile on's" and people "favorite" nasty comments.

    In talking about banning people, I was struck by just how plain mean KMennie comes across in this thread. I understand if you want to keep things open to as many people as possible--I guess it's sort a matter of taste (I also don't see what joy people get from reading Maureen Dowd, but there you go....)

    And you in fact did delete her nasty comments in the original post, but there does seem to be a pattern of people like her using the site as a way to vent whatever ideologically-driven spite they've built up on some issue. I'd like to see the balance tip more towards protecting the potentially vulnerable people they vent at versus protecting the venters' rights.
    posted by Jon44 at 4:29 PM on June 10, 2012


    Yeah, totally hear what you are saying and that was a pretty low point for weird crabbiness in AskMe. However I also feel that kmennie took some time off [her choice not ours] and came back and has been a more helpful, though infrequent, contributor since then. It's tough because sometimes (not always) the most passionate folks are also really knowledgeable about certain topics but they have to be able to set their own really strong feelings aside to be really helpful. If you see people being crabby like that in AskMe, please flag them or drop us an email. In MeTa the guidelines are different (and as a part of the site, it's totally optional for everyone but us) so people can be a little less careful about how they talk but also sometimes be more rude or more unpleasant.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:42 PM on June 10, 2012


    I just made this post:

    Slavoj Žižek (Wikipedia), in case any wonders who this guy is.
    posted by stbalbach at 3:23 PM on June 10 [+] [!]

    An earlier one I made similar to it was deleted (which consisted of two words (his name) and a link to Wikipedia).


    How original!

    Congratulations on your cultural (and grammatical) ignorance, though.
    posted by Sys Rq at 8:08 PM on June 10, 2012


    Sys Rq, you are wrong in so many ways I don't even know where to start.
    posted by stbalbach at 12:38 AM on June 11, 2012


    Forgive if this idea has been canvassed - but what if the commenter never knew their comment was deleted? Then at christmas or perhaps the anniversary of their account they could get an email stating how many comments were deleted during the year. It could be in accounts settings thing:

    [ ✔ ] Ensure I'm blissfully ignorant about comment deletions
    posted by the noob at 12:48 AM on June 11, 2012


    what if the commenter never knew their comment was deleted?

    The only way to do this would be to display the comment to that user and that user only (and that user's sockpuppets).

    You're talking about a hellban.

    Speaking of hellban, I remember reading an article saying, essentially, 'users are the problem,' and another article that detailed the various kinds of shadowbans/hellbans/ghostbans used on different sites. Does anyone else remember them?
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:24 AM on June 11, 2012


    Re: Types of Bans

    For "Ask MeFi," how about allowing the OP ban certain users from responding to their post? That way, once you get the obvious sense that someone has a perverse agenda when it comes to sensitive topics, you just don't have to deal with them.

    (This mirrors the "real world," where you would never bring up a sensitive relationship issue with the lady mumbling to herself and throwing rocks at pigeons in the park.)
    posted by Jon44 at 6:33 AM on June 11, 2012


    Jon44: " For "Ask MeFi," how about allowing the OP ban certain users from responding to their post? That way, once you get the obvious sense that someone has a perverse agenda when it comes to sensitive topics, you just don't have to deal with them."

    I think the resulting echo chamber effect would be worse for the site and its users. My impression is that there are quite a few Askers who don't want to hear the advice they're given in AskMe, especially in relationship questions. We'd be doing them a disservice by providing them with an additional way to only hear what they want to.
    posted by zarq at 7:04 AM on June 11, 2012


    zarq: I (strongly) disagree.

    Because there's a distinction between not wanting to hear something because of the substance versus not wanting to hear something because it's delivered in a vindictive / hateful manner. I think most people are more open to hearing substantive advice that contradicts them, than you think.

    In the thread regarding comments by kmennie--if I was the OP, I wouldn't have wanted to hear her comments because the intent that came through was judgemental and cruel. Personally, if I was the parent, I would have been completely open to the idea to hearing that my approach/attitude may not be in the best interests of the child if someone said that in a constructive way.

    As in the real world, you get a sense that some people's personal issues often prevent them from being civil or positive--there's just no reason people need subject themselves to that for the sake of some abstract, not-so-relevant, ideal.
    posted by Jon44 at 7:19 AM on June 11, 2012


    For "Ask MeFi," how about allowing the OP ban certain users from responding to their post?

    No, this is a non-starter. If a given user feels so strongly about not seeing comments from a specific other user that they want a mechanic for preventing that from happening, they pretty much have to go get themselves a third-party killfile script, because it's not something we have any intention of implementing as a site feature.

    If someone is being a pain in an askme, flag it or drop us a note at the contact form and we'll look at it. If you feel like someone has a habitual problem there, drop us a line about that and we'll take a closer look. If we feel like there's some specific issue where that user needs to just plain curtail some problematic aspect of their interactions on the site, we'll talk with them about it and make it clear what the issue is and what needs to change and it'll be up to them to make an effort there.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 7:46 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    For "Ask MeFi," how about allowing the OP ban certain users from responding to their post?

    Yeah, sorry, this falls into the "not a chance" category. Users have a lot of individual biases for and against other users that they bring to bear in various snarky and/or sideways comments which are more or less acceptable depending on what part of the site they happen on. Our "Everyone pretty much has to talk to everyone" guideline for the site is pretty serious and and one of the reasons this site doesn't have threaded comments. We're happy to keep people in line and we do pay specific attention to some problematic users as well as some sub-optimal intra-user interactions but asking and answering questions is not a feature that we are going to take away from anyone. If you can use the site, you can use the whole site.
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:28 AM on June 11, 2012


    OK, I wasn't aware of the "Everyone has to talk to everyone" ethos.

    Sidenote, I just find it interesting, culturally, what's acceptable or not to different people. (I think Maureen Dowd's a great example--she's hugely popular, but I find her Snark intolerable.)
    posted by Jon44 at 8:41 AM on June 11, 2012


    For "Ask MeFi," how about allowing the OP ban certain users from responding to their post?

    Who would be asking questions so often, and of such a specific nature, that they could know who might respond, how they’d respond, and that they wouldn’t like the response? Maybe that person is just asking too many questions.
    posted by bongo_x at 9:30 AM on June 11, 2012


    "Who would be asking questions so often, and of such a specific nature, that they could know who might respond, how they’d respond, and that they wouldn’t like the response?"

    I read just about all the questions on underwater basketweaving, even though I have only asked one or two questions on the topic myself, and I definitely know which posters like to come in and push their pet theory on underwater basketweaving, or call people neglectful underwater basketweavers for failing to weave baskets underwater in exactly the same way as the poster because that is the One True Way, and who manage to make every single underwater basketweaving question about how one must use only organic, locally-grown, extremely expensive willow for one's baskets because mass-market rattan is clearly inferior, such that any question about underwater basketweaving that says, "I am having trouble finishing my basket and I'm very stressed about it; how do I finish the top edge of this basket so that it doesn't look ugly and will take naps?" will be answered "STOP USING RATTAN YOU ARE ABUSING THAT BASKET."

    And by underwater basketweaving obviously I mean parenting.
    posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:52 AM on June 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


    Eyebrows McGee is both a poet and zen master of the highest order...
    posted by Jon44 at 7:19 AM on June 13, 2012


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