This post should've stayed. March 28, 2013 7:22 PM   Subscribe

I think this deletion was a bad call.

The reason given for the deletion was:
This post was deleted for the following reason: single link to a jezebel op-ed kind of has to be the most amazing thing to rise above the normal plethora of jezebel links here. -- mathowie
And I'm sorry, but that article isn't just an op-ed; it's one of the most well-written and concise explanations of the tenets of feminism and the enormous amount of common ground that exists between the goals of feminism and MRAs. Moreover, it was posted by someone whom I consider to be one of the most thoughtful members of the site, particularly when it comes to feminist issues.

I know that these calls rarely, if ever, get reversed, but this post actually fit the description given by mathowie-- it really was the most amazing thing. And it's a shame it's gone.
posted by shiu mai baby to MetaFilter-Related at 7:22 PM (96 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

The post was a single link to an article about an incendiary topic which, as I'm sure the mods will comment on, has not historically gone well on Metafilter. It's no surprise it was deleted.
posted by dfriedman at 7:29 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sure reads like an opinion piece to me. And one guaranteed to cause a trainwreck at that.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:29 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I was all prepared to agree with the deletion, but this is a pretty great essay.
posted by lalex at 7:29 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sure reads like an opinion piece to me. And one guaranteed to cause a trainwreck at that.

Far as I know, opinion pieces are allowed on MeFi. And the consequences of trainwreck threads should be laid squarely at the feet of badly-behaved commenters.
posted by lalex at 7:32 PM on March 28, 2013 [31 favorites]


I didn't say it wasn't an op-ed, I'm saying that it was exceptional, better than 99.9% of the other Jezebel stuff that's ever been posted here, and by mathowie's own metric it should've stayed.

Hell, I thought the article was so good I've bookmarked it for several of my guy friends who are sort of MRAish but interested in a conversation. This article addresses a lot of the more inflammatory talking points in a non-inflammatory way. I thought it was excellent, and it sucks that it was killed off the blue.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:33 PM on March 28, 2013


Well, we've had rough couple weeks as mods. The whole PyCon thing is just barely dying down now and occupied every mod's time 24/7 for the last week as it grew beyond a 1,000 comments. And that was on the tail end of an earlier feminism discussion, and there was certainly one before that as well. Posts about contentious issues are often derailed and descend into name-calling and fights and are a nightmare to try and control on the site. This post did get flagged a bunch in the few minutes it was up, as most every jezebel post does. I love what they do at jezebel, but for discussion fodder on MeFi, they're a bit too good at making grar-inducing posts that produce a lot of heat and not a lot of light.

We've had a pretty long string of controversial subject matter posts lately, and we were just discussing as mods internally that we should probably start raising the bar for what stands for posts about feminism, gun control, police abuses, abortion, etc. We didn't come to a consensus about it in this case, but I don't think this post was going to do much more than fan the flames that went into the PyCon thread from last week.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:37 PM on March 28, 2013 [21 favorites]


Excellent piece. Bad deletion. Lindy West keeps getting better.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:38 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, we've had rough couple weeks as mods. The whole PyCon thing is just barely dying down now and occupied every mod's time 24/7 for the last week as it grew beyond a 1,000 comments. And that was on the tail end of an earlier feminism discussion, and there was certainly one before that as well. Posts about contentious issues are often derailed and descend into name-calling and fights and are a nightmare to try and control on the site.

Personally, and I could be alone here, but I'd rather you just say that in the first place than use a deletion reason to denigrate a very thoughtful and informative essay.
posted by lalex at 7:40 PM on March 28, 2013 [22 favorites]


Thanks for the response, Matt. I know where you're coming from, and I have infinite respect for the mods, particularly when it comes to handling the harder threads. This one bugged me, though, even with your further explanation, primarily because the whole point of the piece is to try to defuse some of the vast amount of animosity that exists between those who are so quick to cry misandry and feminists by pointing out that we all have a ton of the same goals.

That's what, for me, really distinguished it -- that instead of two sides screaming at each other you have West calling for an attempt at unity, for people to push back against patriarchal bullshit because it harms both women and men alike, albeit in different ways.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:44 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


primarily because the whole point of the piece is to try to defuse some of the vast amount of animosity that exists between those who are so quick to cry misandry

Yeah, and I'm not saying it's a bad piece, it's a good one, just that on a quick read, I could already imagine a couple dozen people on this site posting "but, but...misandry is a real thing and here's why..." or "but, what I don't like about feminism is... (completely made-up thing)" comments that would turn into a clusterfuck to manage.

I like the jezebel site, and it looks like from a quick search we've had three links there already this month and 129 posts linking to jezebel in total in the few years it has been around, but I can't imagine a discussion around "things that MRA guys are doing wrong" would prompt a good discussion.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:49 PM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


PyCon thing
posted by mlis at 7:51 PM on March 28, 2013


primarily because the whole point of the piece is to try to defuse some of the vast amount of animosity

Then she's really bad at it. She pissed me off irretrievably about halfway down the first page.

And no, I really won't go into why because that's never been a terribly productive discussion in these parts. What I can say though is that I'm definitely not the only person around who would react that way, and I can say with some confidence that the conversation would not have gone well.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:52 PM on March 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


I could already imagine a couple dozen people on this site posting "but, but...misandry is a real thing and here's why..." or "but, what I don't like about feminism is... (completely made-up thing)" comments that would turn into a clusterfuck to manage.

Don't you think that, instead of penalizing the poster and the users who'd like to have a good-faith discussion of the topic, maybe it's these hypothetical commenters that should have their posts deleted?
posted by lalex at 7:52 PM on March 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


It's only a good essay if you agree with it. That is the problem with Jezebel.
posted by vincele at 7:53 PM on March 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


I now have a better understanding of why the post was deleted but I still think it should've stayed. But then, it's not my job to moderate the comments, so I default to Mr. Howie and the mods.
posted by jaybeans at 7:53 PM on March 28, 2013


Yeah, it didn't read to me as "things MRA guys are doing wrong." Like, at all. But I appreciate your answers, and so I'm forcing myself to observe the two-and-out rule. Thanks.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:54 PM on March 28, 2013


It's only a good essay if you agree with it. That is the problem with Jezebel.

Exactly. Unlike youtube, where the SLYT weeds the wheat from the chaff, Jezabel doesn't have thousands of new posts a day. People who care will go straight to the source to find out what they are talking about. I agree that it isn't worth the effort to keep a post to a single link op ed that brings nothing new to the table.
posted by gjc at 7:59 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks for that explanation, Matt. That reasoning makes more sense to me, and as much as I loved the essay I can also appreciate that it might pose moderation problems that you as a team would rather not get into.

I do would've preferred a brief version of that explanation to the stated deletion reason, which felt a lot like "Jezebel, baleeted" to me. I wasn't sure you'd even read (or cared to read) the article, which was very frustrating. I posted it because I thought it would be valuable (and, IMHO, much more than "this is what MRAs are doing wrong), but it's one thing to be told "hey, this is good but not good enough to clear the bar we've decided we want to set", and another to see a deletion reason that seems to dismiss it out of hand simply because of the URL it's hosted at.

Anyway, it's your site and I respect that decision even if I disagree with it.
posted by Phire at 8:01 PM on March 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


"...and we were just discussing as mods internally that we should probably start raising the bar for what stands for posts about feminism, gun control, police abuses, abortion, etc. "

This is an excellent idea.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:03 PM on March 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


And I'm sorry, but that article isn't just an op-ed; it's one of the most well-written and concise explanations of the tenets of feminism and the enormous amount of common ground that exists between the goals of feminism and MRAs.

That's what an op-ed is. The rule against op-eds doesn't really have an exception for really well written ones.
posted by empath at 8:03 PM on March 28, 2013


The rule against op-eds doesn't really have an exception for really well written ones.

EmpathFilter has some pretty draconian rules. Luckily, MeFi generally speaking doesn't.
posted by Nomyte at 8:07 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


maybe it's these hypothetical commenters that should have their posts deleted?

In general, sure. However with some topics the only way to make sure that happens, as mods, is to keep the thread open and continually reload it for our entire shift to catch these comments as they come up. In fast moving threads, this is literally the only way to make this work with the current system.

Occasionally there's a post that, even though it requires this level of attention from us, feels worth it and like a discussion where people will talk about the issues and not just pick sides and yell at each other for 1000 comments. This is what we did with the PyCon thread and the resultant MeTa thread. And we've been watching the two new marriage equality threads closely which are mostly going okay but we want to keep them that way. And this approach doesn't scale with our staffing levels. We can basically have one or two posts at a time that go this way and it gets everyone exhausted.

The downside to a lightly moderated site and one where you can't downvote things you don't like out of existence is that we can't support a lot of these threads and we have to make choices. Jezebel is a great site but it's not always a neutral position to start a discussion about feminism or MRA stuff. A lot of the MRA and faminism discussions about here get ugly fast and not just because there are a few devil's advocate folks trying to have arguments, people come at that topic from all sides really pre-outraged and it's a problem. With some contentious topics we feel that it's worth trying to dive in and moderate the threads. mathowie discussed this with me and I agreed with him, not this one and not now. Sorry for people who were hoping to discuss it here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:08 PM on March 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Don't you think that, instead of penalizing the poster and the users who'd like to have a good-faith discussion of the topic, maybe it's these hypothetical commenters that should have their posts deleted?

That's a great idea in the abstract, but in the running of the site day to day, we can't just delete anyone that disagrees with a post and topic. We're constantly accused of doing just that, and constantly accused of protecting those dissenting voices too much. When it comes to contentious topics, we do hope they go beyond a basic standard of being good enough to post and hope they are very good and/or very compelling and/or extremely interesting on their own.

As much as this appears to be an essay about how MRA people and feminists might have common ground, it also could be read (possibly uncharitably, but I also have to play devil's advocate too) as stuff MRA people are getting wrong. Part of this essay reads like essays I've seen about "what every climate change denier is getting wrong" and similar to "here is why every liberal is wrong about gun control" essays I've seen. Heck, just earlier today I saw an essay by a guy saying everything people are saying and thinking about Aaron Swartz is wrong and I don't think any of those would be a good post for MeFi, just provoke very heated, problematic discussions.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:10 PM on March 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


To be clear, and I mean this in a totally non-snarky way, are you saying that this post would be OK at a different time when there aren't other contentious feminism threads going on?
posted by lalex at 8:11 PM on March 28, 2013


Plus, it's a terrible article in that it's preaching to the Jezebel choir that the problem is them, not us. It's doubtful that many MRA types would listen to that essay.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 PM on March 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm mustly a lurker but am de-lurking to say...I was prepared to hate the article (despite being a self-identified feminist and not-so-much-a-fan-of-MRAs) because Lindy West's writing, particularly when she's trying to be funny (which is most of the time), makes me want to hulk smash my computer when I read it. When she's in joke mode, her writing is sloppy and irritating and...to me...not funny. Painfully, epicly, GRAR-inducingly not funny. And her attempts at humor are so grating that they tend to dilute whatever point she's trying to make, regardless of the point's validity. But I read this piece and was pleasantly surprised that she seemed to be keeping it reined in and not trying to inject her (to me) annoying sense of humor throughout the proceedings, and it was actually an enjoyable read, and well written - like her point wasn't obscured by tons of poorly executed snark and random parenthetical rambly asides in an attempt to be laugh-a-minute. So, that's kind of cool. Nicely done, Lindy West.

That said, I still totally get why the deletion happened, and I don't blame the mods for wanting a reprieve after the PyCon thread. I'm still kind of upset over the monster Girlzone Meta thread from last summer (and I didn't even participate in that thread - merely reading it was upsetting), and would not be happy to see Girlzone redux, which probably would've been the result had the post stayed up.
posted by thereemix at 8:12 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


instead of penalizing the poster and the users who'd like to have a good-faith discussion of the topic

I don't understand how deleting a post is penalizing anyone.
posted by muddgirl at 8:19 PM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Plus, it's a terrible article

"We won't be having a discussion about this article's merits tonight. But just to let you know: it's a terrible article."
posted by Nomyte at 8:19 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


And such small portions!
posted by adipocere at 8:22 PM on March 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


are you saying that this post would be OK at a different time when there aren't other contentious feminism threads going on?

No. We're saying that this post doesn't work now. Whether it would work at another time is one of those "what if" things we don't really get into in MeTa.

MRA/feminism topics tend to get ugly. Jezebel is not always a great jumping off point for talking about these topics specifically because their articles--while well-written generally--have a tendency to feel like they are coming from a set of premises that are not the premises that the MeFi community at large tends to hold (this is just me thinking historically here of other past MeFi threads that came from Jezebel articles, not about how that website works generally) which means a lot of arguing over first principles and much less discussing the actual meat of the articles. This is predictable and tiresome and not limited to a few people in the thread. I see it as a natural offshoot of trying to take articles written for one audience and presenting them as something an entirely other audience SHOULD read as opposed to something they'd like to read.

I think people idealize how these conversations could go here and then come to MeTa all pissed off about how the conversations actually went here. Even the PyCon thread, which went decently well from a MetaFilter-discusses-feminism-and-harassment angle has a handful of comments that are no more than "MetaFilter, I'm disappointed in you" and a bunch of people just dejected and pissed off and mad at each other because this community is not their ideal community. And so part of what we do is try to set expectations accurately and part of that is trying to not have constant threads that burn out the community on topics that tend to go badly here.

I like the articles on Jezebel personally and agree with many of them, but there's a preaching to the converted aspect to a lot of them that tends to get people's hackles up. Whether or not this is a reasonable response, it's an entirely predictable one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:23 PM on March 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't understand how deleting a post is penalizing anyone.

Well, I posted the link because I wanted to see discussion of it (which is presumably why many--if not most?--people post things here), and deleting it means the thing I was hoping would happen won't happen. It's not some great burden or anything, but it still is a bit of a bummer.
posted by Phire at 8:27 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, I posted the link because I wanted to see discussion of it (which is presumably why many--if not most?--people post things here), and deleting it means the thing I was hoping would happen won't happen.

"Let's have a discussion of a contentious topic" is almost 100% of the time a terrible reason to make a FPP here, imo.
posted by empath at 8:30 PM on March 28, 2013 [21 favorites]


What a great article. I'm so glad it's been posted here as I probably would have missed it otherwise.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:30 PM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


which means a lot of arguing over first principles and much less discussing the actual meat of the articles.

Well, I still disagree with the deletion, but this explanation is the first to help me understand it. Thanks for elucidating, jessamyn.
posted by lalex at 8:32 PM on March 28, 2013


That's a pretty uncharitable reading of my comment, empath. "I wonder what other MeFites can add to the discussion" is very different from "Oh boy, a controversy! Now kiss fight!"
posted by Phire at 8:36 PM on March 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


they're a bit too good at making grar-inducing posts that produce a lot of heat and not a lot of light.

Not if you close the post to comments!

I posted the link because I wanted to see discussion of it(which is presumably why many--if not most?--people post things here)

I extremely strongly disagree with this statement, and I've never posted a single thing that I wanted "discussed."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:37 PM on March 28, 2013


and I've never posted a single thing that I wanted "discussed."
What? I don't post a lot, but when I do, it's because I want to read the reactions of people here* rather than the broader internet, which is where I found it in the first place. Otherwise, I just assimilate the link for myself and move on... which is admittedly, back to metafilter, to see if the thing's already been discussed.
*except for the caterpillar-phobes, who I had no idea existed, I don't really care to hear from them.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:50 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The most interesting thing to me about this thread is the insight into how well human moderation is scaling with the userbase -- well enough, it seems, but just barely.

I hope things continue to scale well enough. It's been endlessly fascinating to me watching the way things have gone over the years.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:54 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gotta/should/must rule applies:
"Oh man, you gotta read this!" -- good MeFi post.
"Hm, people should read this..." -- possibly a good start to a MeFi post.
"Everyone MUST read this." -- bad MeFi post.

This was totally a must. Good deletion.
posted by Etrigan at 9:08 PM on March 28, 2013 [26 favorites]


and I've never posted a single thing that I wanted "discussed."

See, I think you guys are using "discussed" in different ways. It seems natural to want comments about something one posts. But comments about *the post* - "look at the cute kitty!" - are very different than the discussion when the entire post is an op-ed piece, which will inevitably be about the political/social issue itself.

For me, posting someone else's blog that you 100% agree with isn't really any different than posting your own blog post.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:15 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I empathise with the mods' reasons for deletion, but I'm also really glad I just read this—and I wouldn't have done so were it not for this post on the grey. 'Part Four: A List of "Men's Rights" Issues That Feminism Is Already Working On' is fucking gold.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 9:20 PM on March 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


I consider myself a Feminist, and don’t know or care about the Men’s Rights thing, whatever that is, but I couldn’t get further than the "men are like this, amirite?" tone of the beginning. Maybe it was a good article, but I’ll never know. Because I don’t have to read it. It’s a for profit site and if you want me to read your stuff you have to do better than that.
posted by bongo_x at 9:35 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Plus, it's a terrible article in that it's preaching to the Jezebel choir that the problem is them, not us. It's doubtful that many MRA types would listen to that essay."

It's not that terrible, honestly. I think it does a good job at being persuasive for folks in the middle by railing against the MRA extremists, who I tend to think of as just an extremely vocal minority of cranks.

"What? I don't post a lot, but when I do, it's because I want to read the reactions of people here* rather than the broader internet, which is where I found it in the first place. Otherwise, I just assimilate the link for myself and move on... which is admittedly, back to metafilter, to see if the thing's already been discussed.
*except for the caterpillar-phobes, who I had no idea existed, I don't really care to hear from them.
"

I don't post things that I want to discuss; I post things that I want to share. It's a different goal. A good 75 percent of the time, I'm satisfied even if I don't get any comments, though it's great when people can add things in a smart way. The other 25 percent of the time, well, it's not always a good idea to post that stuff.
posted by klangklangston at 9:41 PM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, I just want to say that the screen name "EXISTENZ IS PAUSED" makes me happy.
posted by klangklangston at 9:42 PM on March 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


I though it was an interesting article (a little on the 101-side, but there's nothing wrong with well-written 101), and thought it would probably wind up on Mefi.

I was initially surprised that it didn't stand, but after reading the comments in this thread...yeah, the thread itself would've probably gone to shit, depressingly fast.
posted by kagredon at 9:43 PM on March 28, 2013


I don't have a dog in this fight, but I really really dislike "this is going to be hard to moderate" as a deletion reason. I mean, I kind of understand, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. And I don't think that the fact that there have been some recent difficult posts should have any bearing on this post.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:49 PM on March 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


I post things I want to share, and often I hope to spur an interesting discussion about them. These are not incompatible goals.
posted by zarq at 9:52 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not being able to discuss a topic you want to discuss is not being penalized. If non double deletions came with a 72 hour time out that would be being penalized.

Phire: "(which is presumably why many--if not most?--people post things here), "

I can't speak for anyone else but in a quick review of my posting history I only see 2 out of 70 where I might have been motivated by a desire for discussion (and one of those was a mildly stunty post protesting the American centric nature of the site). But notwithstanding those two examples I post something here because I stumble across something on the web and think "This is cool, more people should know about this".
posted by Mitheral at 9:54 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Weeping_angel: "I don't have a dog in this fight, but I really really dislike "this is going to be hard to moderate" as a deletion reason."

Think of it as a triage system.
posted by Mitheral at 9:55 PM on March 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


And I don't think that the fact that there have been some recent difficult posts should have any bearing on this post.

It definitely has bearing, even if it's not a difficult subject. If we have three posts in a week on the same subject, we're often deleting almost anything related that comes up soon after due to the subject matter already being posted and discussed several times recently.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:56 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is infinitely depressing that, on this of all sites, women's rights is a "contentious issue" that has to be handled with kid gloves. The thing is, if you are an "MRA," (such a fucking joke of a term) you are already doing it wrong.
posted by nonmerci at 10:13 PM on March 28, 2013 [40 favorites]


Did other people read a different essay than I did? This was one of the worst, most half-reasoned essays on the topic I have read.
posted by rr at 10:16 PM on March 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Plus, it's a terrible article in that it's preaching to the Jezebel choir that the problem is them, not us. It's doubtful that many MRA types would listen to that essay.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 20:12 on March 28 [3 favorites +] [!]


...what?! As far as Men's Rights goes, the problem is ABSOLUTELY them. How is this up for discussion? Have I been teleported into Bizarro-land? Why is it okay to be hatefully misogynistic on this site but it is not okay, for example, to be an outright racist?! We wouldn't say the White Power folks are just upset because we're painting them with too broad of a brush, would we? So much wtf.
posted by nonmerci at 10:17 PM on March 28, 2013 [22 favorites]


Did other people read a different essay than I did? This was one of the worst, most half-reasoned essays on the topic I have read.
I was wondering the same thing. It reads to me like someone was approaching a deadline and had nothing, so threw together a whole bunch of platitudes and headed off to the pub. I was also a little surprised to see ads on the site promoting the latest weight loss fad featuring a bunch of women that don't need to lose weight. Also ads for clothing featuring impossibly thin models. I'm sure my impression is horribly mistaken, but I left the site thinking that the author must be seeking equality for thin women.
posted by dg at 10:30 PM on March 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


"I post things I want to share, and often I hope to spur an interesting discussion about them. These are not incompatible goals."

No, they're not incompatible. They are different, though.
posted by klangklangston at 10:32 PM on March 28, 2013


I thought it was a really good essay but I agree that that doesn't mean it belongs on the front page.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 11:28 PM on March 28, 2013


Personally, I love metafilter's feminism/sexuality/gender discussions. I'd actually single it out as one of the topics the site deals with particularly well, at least by comparison to elsewhere, if not relative to other topics.

Compared with most other places I visit on the web, threads here about this stuff are pretty much an oasis of well thought out, intelligently argued discussion.

I've seen Metafilter go from somewhere where "I'd hit it" was regularly posted about 7 years ago to somewhere that is vastly more considerate and thoughtful these days, and it's always a nice reminder that change can actually happen.

Still, I can see the need for a break sometimes. As well as I think Metafilter does this topic, it can be a little draining.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:39 PM on March 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Could I petition the mods to close this thread before it decays into the flamewar that the deletion was intended to prevent?

(Which I suppose is another way of saying "good deletion, IMO".)
posted by brennen at 11:58 PM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd like to ask an honest question about this article (because I seriously do not get it...yet). Is the contempt and anger towards the (presumably male) 'you' supposed to be ironic? (I mean, even the title has this ambiguous read and I just cannot tell if she's saying what I think she's saying.)
posted by iamkimiam at 12:00 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, good point brennen. I see I'm not helping that cause (but still genuinely (and parenthetically) perplexed).
posted by iamkimiam at 12:01 AM on March 29, 2013


Why is it okay to be hatefully misogynistic on this site...

Whoa there. It isn't.

One of the things I value about Metafilter is that it brings together a diverse group of people who are trying to genuinely understand each other. We value others perspectives and humanity. We all come to the table with our own lives and experiences, others with theirs, and people really try to be honest and ask questions and really, really do try to communicate with respect. We show each other things that we feel are worthwhile, we ask strangers for advice and for help. It is not uncommon to see people have their eyes opened and their perspectives changed, to come out the other side of a discussion with a far greater understanding of people they never would have sought out, never would have encountered, were it not here.


Are there posters who do not? Who occasionally are less than open, less than honest, who come to the discussion with shoulder-chips and prejudices that will not be undone? Yes, but the moderators and the community standards are actually very good at keeping them from taking over.

And there are also people who stumble, who maybe don't say the right words or just haven't had the same experiences you have, but mostly, they are, with the rest of us, trying. Sometimes that's the best any of us can do. And if we tell them that that isn't or never will be good enough, then how does that help?
posted by louche mustachio at 12:07 AM on March 29, 2013 [19 favorites]


Is the contempt and anger towards the (presumably male) 'you' supposed to be ironic?

I think it's supposed to be addressed to a man who's decent at their core, but is tempted to support some MRA-ish stuff and blame women/feminists for things that have gone bad for him. The goal is for him to see that feminism is not responsible for these things. But I didn't read the article very closely or completely. I really picked up on the contempt, and the repeated use of "you" made me feel like it was directed towards me (or should it be "me"), so I got turned off very quickly. Perhaps others might have gotten something out of it, but as a guy who's neither a feminist nor an MRA advocate I really didn't want any part of it.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:09 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, yeah, and it really seems like we are have the Blue discussion here on the Grey. I don't mind if a mod closes down my part of the derail, but I'm equally confused about the author's choice of style.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:12 AM on March 29, 2013


Yeah, this really, really needs not to become a place to have the thread from the post that was deleted, and it really needs not to be a free-for-all let's-all-attack-each-other thread. We're frankly exhausted with this stuff.

Just to address a couple of things, Metafilter is certainly not hatefully misogynistic, or even close, and I wouldn't work here if it was. It is a site that covers a lot of topics, and among them is feminism – but it is not a "Feminism Blog" ... or a Politics blog, or a LGBQT Blog, etc., and so not every link addressing a certain topic will – or should – show up here, and for those that do, not every discussion will necessarily reflect the sort of conversation that people who are particularly invested in that specific subject would like to have.

If someone wants to peruse a variety of posts on a variety of subjects with attendant discussions that reflect a fairly diverse range of opinion, experience, expertise, and personal investment, Mefi is a fine place to hang out. If someone wants to have an in-depth conversation about a topic in which all participants are on the same page, have the same general grounding in concepts, philosophy and education, and want to be free to explore that specific subject area in depth in a space that is designed specifically for that purpose, this just isn't going to be a satisfying spot for that, whatever the topic may be. We understand that this can be frustrating and disappointing, but Mefi will never be able to be all things for all people all the time. It's still a site for posting neat things that people want to share, and we have to manage our resources as well as we can to allow that to mean covering as wide a swathe of topics and interests as possible – within our abilities... which necessarily results in not everyone being happy all the time, as much as we'd like that to be the case.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:15 AM on March 29, 2013 [27 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the choice of style was to try and personalise the message, to make it clear that, yes, this is about you in particular, not just the general 'youse guys'.

As a tactic for getting people to pay attention, it probably works. As a tactic to get men to have the lightbulb moment that they are personally part of the problem and do something about it, it's probably not so effective. I doubt that the men she is targeting are all that likely to be reading an article on jezebel.com anyway.
posted by dg at 12:18 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry taz, shutting up now.
posted by dg at 12:18 AM on March 29, 2013


I found the content to be mostly unoffensive and the points the author brought up to be interesting (definitely had a few light-bulb moments and I assume I'm the target audience for a piece like this), but delete-worthy if only for the overuse of the second person tense which triggered bad memories of one too many terrible short stories I read in college by my fellow classmates who incorrectly assumed the second person perspective automatically made their work edgy and subversive.
posted by The Gooch at 12:24 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mods should be able to throw an uh-oh switch that sets a post to allow just one comment per account and automatically deletes any multiple comments that people slipped in before the uh-oh switch was thrown. If you had something to say in an uh-oh post, you would have to say it once, say it well, and then sit back and read what others have to say. If a subsequent comment got your goat, you would have to trust others to provide the appropriate rebuttal.
posted by pracowity at 12:30 AM on March 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


so nonmerci wanders into this thread, makes two not entirely unprovocative comments, then disables their account. For me at least, this indicates that it was good call to delete the initial post.
posted by philip-random at 12:35 AM on March 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think that there are certain pages on which we should (and seemingly do) expect all participants to be. So it doesn't seem entirely fair to say that discussion of certain "controversial subject matter" (my existence and participation in various mundane facets of life fall into this category) is going to represent a broad range of experience and opinion and discussion of other subject matter isn't because we don't tolerate racism or whatever. I understand the difficulties in moderating a community, and I understand that the moderation should probably reflect the understandings of the community, but it is painful to wait for certain things to reach the threshold of being understood by the community and see them left open to "diverse" opinions in the meantime. I don't have any brilliant solution to propose that would go over swimmingly with everyone, though, so. Just sayin', I guess.
posted by Corinth at 12:51 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not sure what the point of leaving this open is. Everyone is just talking about the thread that got deleted, and there's already an open thread about sexism in MeTa.
posted by empath at 1:10 AM on March 29, 2013


From the standpoint of trying interesting things with Internet discussion boards, for some threads I'd love to see a second thread opened up as an alternative thread on the same post, but anyone who had posted in the original thread wouldn't be allowed to post in the second one.

I'm not seriously suggesting MeFi do this, and typing this makes me realize that all it would do is proliferate sock-puppet accounts. But it's interesting to think about.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:12 AM on March 29, 2013


I just deleted a few comments that were just personal attacks based on comments from a different thread, and more comments wanting to fight more about that. I'm probably going to be closing this up pretty soon unless people want to discuss the topic of this post.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:18 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought this article was great. I have not been a regular Jezebel reader for ages (terribly UX and gross, link-baiting Gawker editorial practices are not at all my thing) and I have no particular feelings about Lindy West. The piece addressed, very specifically, a thread of thought and language which is ugly and disgustingly prevalent all over the internet, particularly right now. I'm not surprised the FPP was deleted, as I expected the discussion to be difficult and contentious, and I respect if the mods don't have the hours and emotional bandwidth to deal with that discussion right now, though I wish that was the reason given for deletion.

That said, my jaw honestly dropped when I saw the discussion here being about the writer's tone and how readers felt attacked and didn't like her use of "you". This will sound like hyperbole, but I mean it sincerely: To me, this is a subject that feels like war. The privilege necessary to allow you to discuss that a writer rubbed you the wrong way with her tone when I (and lots of other women) feel like we're we're under constant barrage for our rights and personhood is kind of shocking.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:19 AM on March 29, 2013 [46 favorites]


To me, this is a subject that feels like war.

Again, a good reason to delete the post.
posted by empath at 1:20 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


This sentence is a fair summary of where the writer of the linked piece is coming from and why the post was a fair deletion:

"Are you happy now? Is this what you wanted?"

Spittle-flecked op-ed pieces like those of this sort are deleted from Metafilter's front page on a regular basis, regardless of topic. When the writer preemptively impugned her reader, she disallowed any good faith communication from herself to that reader. It's hard to see how any discussion on Metafilter, let alone anywhere on the internet, could begin to repair that damage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:34 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"As a Metafilter discussion grows longer, the probability of somebody calling somebody else 'privileged' approaches 1."

Call it Afroblanco's Law.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:37 AM on March 29, 2013 [28 favorites]


That name is already taken for something similar.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:42 AM on March 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


To me, this is a subject that feels like war.

and one of the principal evils of war (any intense conflict really) is how quickly empathy gets lost, how easy it is to read only the worst intentions into the other's actions. We get so overwhelmed with the degree to which we've been wronged that we become blind to the harm we may be inflicting on the other side ... or certainly, we feel that our violence is in self-defense or in some other way justified. But at some point, inevitably, a line gets crossed, a grey area gets entered. This is how the "good guys" of WW2 (the Allies) can commit a war crime like the bombing of Dresden ...

The key point being that you do not know when you've crossed the line. It's just not that clear. There's too much passion, emotion tied up in it all.

Which is my long and admittedly heavy-handed way of suggesting that yes, as a matter of fact, as women become more and more empowered, some of them will go too far and inflict unrighteous violence on men. I'm sure there are many who would argue it is happening in some situations (the MRA crowd are not all wrong, one hundred percent, are they?). Which is not to say that there is anything inherently wrong with women having power (certainly no more than men having it), just that power corrupts, be careful what you wish for and all that ...
posted by philip-random at 1:55 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


full disclosure. I just pulled a "yadda-yadda-yadda" from the end of that last comment ... which was not supposed to be included (way too flippant). I wrote it earlier as I was trying to organize my thoughts, then forgot about it at the bottom of the text box.
posted by philip-random at 1:59 AM on March 29, 2013


There are two things I take from this deletion:

1) There's only so much room for potentially controversial moderation intense posts on here at any given time and you should take this into account
2) Threads that from the non-mod p.o.v. seem to be going along reasonably well (the PyCon thingie which never got too heated) may be much more of a burden behind the scenes than we realise.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:07 AM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


That's pretty accurate, MartinWisse. Plus just about every angry, contentious post/thread ends up spawning a Metatalk thread, as do many deletions of same, and we spend a whole lot of time on that. I managed to get through a very small part of my usual morning routine (and found/deleted five spam comments from a new user -- now banned) before I dipped into this thread when I first came on shift, but I have only done a fraction of the rest of the stuff that I usually do at this point, and this is usually the case when there are threads like PyCon and similar and their accompanying Meta posts.
.............................

though I wish that was the reason given for deletion

Well, if you look at Matt's first comment here, the deletion reason is in line with what we've been talking about on the admin side, which is that we need to go with a higher bar for these sorts of posts because they are damaging to the site and push our capability to effectively manage things here to the breaking point (in addition to the fact, of course, that the end goal of the site really isn't to enable as many angry threads as possible).

In this case, as with many (but not all) other deletions, the reason isn't easily compressed into a concise explanation, which in this instance would be something like, "we've had a lot of angry, contentious threads here lately + many of them have been on this subject + it is beginning to strain our ability to deal with the site on a regular basis + we've had a lot of Jezebel here too lately and we try not to overload on specific sites + we've discussed that in order to manage these sorts of posts on the site we probably need more filtering for the most outstanding stuff + we need to think more about this, but this link doesn't really meet that level in our opinion, + the site is just generally suffering from outrage-fatigue at the moment.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:47 AM on March 29, 2013


So, longer comment box for deletion reasons?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:54 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked that essay and started reading down through the thread thinking I might post a comment disagreeing with the deletion. However, now that I've read through all of this, I think the mods are right. The discussion of that essay would have been painful and unproductive. The substance and rhetorical style is more controversial than I would have thought, and, on the other side, the idea that anyone could criticize the essay in any way seems to cause more pain and anger than I expected.
posted by Area Man at 3:02 AM on March 29, 2013


So, longer comment box for deletion reasons?

That and a few Time Lord skills oughtta do nicely!
posted by taz (staff) at 3:07 AM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think this was a good deletion. I'm surprised that people see deletions as punishments or even as judgement on topic worthiness.
posted by OmieWise at 3:32 AM on March 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


There are people who see this place as their Speakers' Corner. When you shut down a discussion of a topic dear to them, they see it as an infringement of their imagined right to talk about that thing here.
posted by pracowity at 4:04 AM on March 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


... congratulations! — we are starting to hate you.

Regardless of the content of the article, when it is posted with this sentence on the front page then the discussion will basically never go well.
posted by knapah at 4:40 AM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Good deletion. 'op-ed of person I agree with about subject likely to stir contentious disagreement'.
posted by unSane at 4:49 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"As a Metafilter discussion grows longer, the probability of somebody calling somebody else 'privileged' approaches 1."

That's funny, it's almost like privilege is a thing that affects our lives and our decisions or something, just like hyperbolic comparisons to Hitler! How silly of us.

But then again, empowered women are apparently in danger of committing warcrimes, so y'know.

For the record: men's rights? Not a bad thing. The MRA movement? Absolutely is. To me, saying "those MRAs get some things right" is little different from saying "the white supremacists aren't all wrong, surely?" and is pretty freaking offensive. MetaFilter does not need to be all things to all people and I will happily get my feminist discussion needs elsewhere, but to argue that because women have gained a little bit of political power recently (not enough to protect our uteri!) means that we are now perched perilously on the edge of reverse oppression and must watch our tone lest we commit atrocities is...whatever. This discussion is clearly going nowhere.
posted by Phire at 4:56 AM on March 29, 2013 [69 favorites]


Honestly Phire, what sort of discussion did you think would happen about that article? It's a continuos topic, filled with a lot of emotional viewpoints. As a single link, it's practically guaranteed to be a firestorm.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:05 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm fine with the FPP having been deleted. I'm disgusted with the meta-discussion that's been taking place in this thread, full of false-equivocation and the tone argument and thinly veiled accusations of hysteria. Clearly this is what would have happened if the FPP had stood; that doesn't make it any less shitty that it's happening by proxy here.

I can see a lot of angles of discussions about this article but I have no interest in laying them out here lest my naive assumption that we are capable of not being absolutely awful in gender conversations be debunked even further. I'd honestly rather this thread just close so I can forget about it.
posted by Phire at 5:15 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm going to ask the mods to close this up. We've lost one member, we're being told to "be careful what you wish for" with regards to female empowerment (which: what the fuck), actual tone arguments, and some breathtakingly uncharitable and down right vicious interpretations of stuff that people have said here.

The deletion I kinda understand. The subsequent bullshit I've seen here I don't understand. Not at all.
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:18 AM on March 29, 2013 [24 favorites]


The best thing I can say about the article is that I find it to be a very powerful expression of the author's hurt feelings and anger, and that a lot of people share her feelings and connect strongly with this piece. But that boils down to "outrage-filter," which as far as I can tell is usually not considered FPP-worthy here. I didn't find it to be a strong piece either as argument or persuasion. It starts off saying that feminism is a social movement for ALL oppressed minorities, including you, MRAs, then directly contradicts itself and says, nope, feminism is of necessity more concerned with problems affecting women, and how can you not see that, MRAs? It addresses its purported audience, which isn't its real audience at all, with contempt and sarcasm, and draws a very clear "we" vs. "you" line in the sand, explicitly stated as such. I felt hurt reading it even though I don't consider myself to be in the group she addresses.

I think it's totally valid as an expression of her (totally valid) feelings, but not so great otherwise.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 5:22 AM on March 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't have a strong opinion on the article, but I agree with maybe giving the mods a rest. I understand the necessity of having discussions on hot button issues, but that dosen't mean I actually enjoy it.
posted by jonmc at 5:23 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I will close. I don't think there's a way to talk about this right now that isn't going to be a de facto angry-thread-we-didn't-have-in-the-blue. We can discuss the overall subject of how we deal with articles like this on Metafilter later, in a better way, I hope, without reactions being intwined with a specific article, necessarily.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:26 AM on March 29, 2013


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