I know who you are. May 18, 2013 7:45 PM   Subscribe

Isn't this a pretty straightforward example of doxing?
posted by unSane to Etiquette/Policy at 7:45 PM (137 comments total)

Yeah, I think you're right. I went ahead and deleted the post.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:48 PM on May 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


No. Doxing would indicate A. This was on Reddit, cuz they're the only ones who use that phrase B. this was someone posting something online with some expectation of privacy and being found out offline rather than an investigation of a book's author. and C. The investigating part was happening in the MF thread by MeFites, which it was not.

This isn't the best deletion, but understandable since the investigation into the author's identity is just speculation. I would hope this post would stand if, like the JT Leroy or Belle Du Jour author's, they are identified completely by a more reputable source.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:30 PM on May 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yay restless_nomad.
posted by bukvich at 8:44 PM on May 18, 2013


I would much rather live in a world where doxxing meant being covered in tiny adorable daschund puppies.
posted by elizardbits at 8:48 PM on May 18, 2013 [112 favorites]


Yeah, I think you're right. I went ahead and deleted the post.

It takes my righteous indignation time to spool up as I weigh the moral implications enough to engage my thunderous condemnation. You work a helluva lot quicker, and with far less drama. Right thing, swiftly done. Rock.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:48 PM on May 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Whenever I read "doxxing" I invariably think it must be some sex act like "docking." I am not proud of this.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:39 PM on May 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


teeheehee docking. i always imagine it in the context of star trek slash.
posted by nadawi at 9:44 PM on May 18, 2013


but, that's probably related to the number of times i've seen docking come up in star trek slash.



i've said too much.
posted by nadawi at 9:44 PM on May 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


Re: Potomac Avenue: I remember people using the term doxing, doc'ing and doxxing more than 10 years ago, ~2001. I remember you would use the term for putting your warez group's signature on a piece of software you pirated.

People have been doing it since before I recalled that phrase: alt.religion.scientology suffered from that practice probably from the beginning, due to Scientology's awful practices.

Another evocative term for this shit is the Human Flesh Search.
posted by curuinor at 10:47 PM on May 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is... is this slash between people, or between like, DS9 and the USS Rio Grande?

Mostly I just want there to be a community of people getting off on describing magnetic railings clicking into place in pornographic detail.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:04 PM on May 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


Between Human Flesh Search and docking as subject matters, this is as close as I'll probably ever come to a thread about foreskins on Metafilter.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:08 PM on May 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


No. Doxing would indicate A. This was on Reddit, cuz they're the only ones who use that phrase

Doxxing isn't a reddit phrase, it's a 4chan phrase. Jeez!
posted by slater at 11:24 PM on May 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Sign me up for elizardbits' definition of doxxing.

Covered in puppies? HECK YES!
posted by Lizard at 11:37 PM on May 18, 2013


Dauxxing, surely, is the correct verbiage?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:03 AM on May 19, 2013


Dox News.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:29 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Err, this thread seems to be trying to metamorphose into some Giger-esque mutant freak alphabet thread. But we have one of those here so let's not uhh get carried away and let's keep it contained.

this thread title made me glance at the blinds for a sec

Unfortunately my salacious reaction is "cool, my wife will want to read this" as she was just talking about the article in Psychology Today.
posted by lordaych at 1:39 AM on May 19, 2013


Whoops, I wasn't familiar with the concept of "doxing" when I made the post. I guess I also figured that the author of the book a) gave out tons of identifying information in the Psychology Today article and b) went on the Dr. Phil show with a disguise that did nothing to conceal her identity. Anyway, I'll be more considerate of that in the future.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 3:26 AM on May 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was glad you posted it, Kitty Stardust. I wouldn't have seen it otherwise, and I thought it was interesting stuff.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:17 AM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Extree! Extree! Docs Dox Docks Doxy's Dachs'!
posted by fleacircus at 4:25 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the subject *went on Dr. Phil* with no disguise other than a blonde wig. I'm not sure the doxxing conversation really applies here.
posted by mediareport at 4:55 AM on May 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


So when people figured out Joe Klein had written Primary Colors, was that doxxing?
posted by Area Man at 4:57 AM on May 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


When did this no-"Doxing" thing become a rule, anyway? I seem to remember this kind of "MeFi Detective" work being rather commonplace here years ago.

What is the problem with revealing the identity of someone who a) Wrote a book released by a major publisher (a division of Random House) and b) Went on a TV show almost completely undisguised?
posted by JeffL at 5:20 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's doxing when super villains discover Batman's secret identity, and bust in on his party. It's investigation when Batman discovers the true source of the crime spree and confronts the super villains in their lair.

I'm hearing "double standards," are you?
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:22 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whaaaa??? Seriously?

Any time someone is trying to figure out the identity of an anonymous/pseudonymous author, that's "doxxing" and prohibited from being talked about here now? Even if that person has appeared on television???

It's reasonable to prohibit users here from "doxxing" each other.

I would even say it's reasonable to prohibit posts about people trying to find out the private information of a totally private individual, even if that doesn't happen here.

Authors?? No. That's patently ridiculous.
Public figures?
Politicians?
Criminal fugitives?

Finding out information about public figures is not "doxxing," what MAKES something doxxing is the fact that it is done to a private person and the only purpose is intimidation and bullying.

Is Wikileaks "doxxing" now? Should we ban all Wikileaks posts?

Is it doxxing now to talk about how many houses Mitt Romney owns and where they are?

Is it doxxing to talk about Deep Throat and who that was?

Is it doxxing for birthers to look for Obama's "real" birth certificate? [Not, whether or not it is absurd, but whether or not it is "doxxing"]

Was it doxxing when "Client 5" at that brothel was figured out to be Elliot Spitzer? Would a post about that be the kind of doxxing post that's not allowed here?
posted by cairdeas at 5:25 AM on May 19, 2013 [55 favorites]


No this isn't a "pretty straightforward" example of 'doxxing'. This seems to be an example of a concept developed in one context being applied inappropriately to another. Investigating the identity and credentials of a pseudonymous published author, who may or may not be what they claim to be, is part and parcel of assessing their book as a source - especially when the claims made in it may be dubious. In effect you're saying that people are no longer allowed to evaluate sources in this way on Metafilter. Having said that, the blog entry was a bit sleazy, but the principle behind the deletion is a bad one. Working out whether the author of a published book is who or what they claim to be is not posting someone's email for a campaign of persecution, or blowing the privacy of an ordinary internet user. Public claims made for profit are fair matter for public scrutiny.
posted by Flitcraft at 5:43 AM on May 19, 2013 [16 favorites]


Hmm. The last two comments make some good points.

I would, however, be okay with a blanket ban on Above the Law posts. Those folks are entertaining sometimes, but also often pretty creepy.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:04 AM on May 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Delete first, ask questions later. Welcome to MeFi 2.0

How many Mormon female law professors of a certain age who went to BYU, passed the California bar exam, and worked in a prosecutors' office can there be? She doxxed herself unless the back story is all lies. She either wants to reveal her identity or is truly convinced she's invincible. And she is an admitted liar, so who knows how much of what she says is actually true?

Other possibility is she's framing someone else, but I doubt Random House would be a party to that, given the liability.

Ah metafilter we hardly knew ye.
posted by spitbull at 6:10 AM on May 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


There is a difference between attempting to evaluate an anonymous source and what was going on in the Abovethelaw thread, it seems to me. Mostly because Abovethelaw is genetically incapable of refraining from creepy, mysoginistic attacks on women.
posted by muddgirl at 6:13 AM on May 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I can't wait until the author of the next bestselling "memoir" that turns out to be a work of complete fiction, indignantly dresses everyone down for doxxing him.
posted by cairdeas at 6:26 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is the kind of post that could use a checklist of reasons for the deletion, where none by themselves would be really clear winners, but in this case take your pick about what tips the scales:

- Not-news newsfilter: minor book's pseudonymous author probably revealed (unconfirmed)
- Reliability problem: what are the odds a self-professed lying remorseless liar is actually giving a good account of their psychological issues
- Mental health spectacle: that it's a maximally salacious 'insider' POV from a dubious source with something to gain from making it a spectacle makes this even worse
- Doxxing: it's such a minor figure already suffering such damage from the unconfirmed revelation that this is in play too
- Big-time gender essentialism: did you read the end of the book review?
- LOL Mormons potential: this wasn't played up in the articles (which is why it's last on the list), but there's some fodder there for a pretty bad discussion

To parse it a different way, I'd have read the Psychology Today story as thin and problematic by itself, and the extra material didn't help a lot. I'm not saying it's an uninteresting post--just one burdened with a few too many issues.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:28 AM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


That might be true muddgirl and if so it is relevant, but it also is overkill. If you assume that the identification is correct, then there is an argument to be had. The identification could be erroneous. If the identification is erroneous then the stuff in the Abovethelaw post is just horrible. Their evidence is kind of credible but nowhere near conclusive. The evidence is: visual match of face characteristics doctor phil video and a thumbnail photo; circumstantial she's a mormon passed bar in CA law school prof (they claim that is N=~1 which seems stupid); a few (they don't say how many) of their readers (unnamed) claim they positively ID.

If it isn't her and she gets fired and they have any resources I guess they are going to get their asses sued but meanwhile the poor woman is going to get fired. Probably it's her but I don't think the post should be up on metafilter.
posted by bukvich at 6:32 AM on May 19, 2013


So I agree that this Above the Law article doesn't count as doxxing, but instead is something much uglier. It's speculation without any real solid proof that has the potential to really fuck up a potentially completely unrelated person's life. And my first thought is that it reminds me of that Brown student incorrectly identified in the days after the Boston Marathon.

Lest we forget the lessons learned from that debacle, idle speculation on a blog without any real investigation to back it up is not journalism.

I'm glad to see that article deleted.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 6:35 AM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


One of the things I really, really love about MetaFilter is how, as a I read a thread, I'm taken through several different perspectives, most of which are fairly persuasive (we've got an articulate bunch of folks here).

I can see how someone's response to the now-deleted FPP would be 'yep, that's doxing,' and think it should be deleted - these days, dissemination of information is tantamount to participation.

Three or four responses down the thread, I can see how someone would say 'WTF? Last years' internet detectives are now getting a case of jelly spine over posting someone else's investigations?'

Looking it over (from both sides), I'm in favor of the deletion:

- if the identification is correct, an individual who has done nothing illegal has been identified that did not wish to be
- the identification is not correct, an innocent person may lose their job because they've been identified as a sociopath by teh internet
- either eventuality works out to a net loss for the individual being doxxed
- the only net gain for disseminating the information appears to be lulz (this was the deciding bit)
posted by Mooski at 6:44 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I always hear it as something that Saffron from Firefly said - "I'll not be anyone's doxy".

Also, I must be reading the wrong kind of star trek slash.
posted by Solomon at 6:45 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


the only net gain for disseminating the information appears to be lulz

In this specific scenario, we have a woman who claimed to be in a power position where other people's lives were at her mercy, and claimed to gleefully destroy other people's lives for fun. She also claimed she would have no problem with the idea of killing someone. She publicly declared this, accepted money for it, and appeared on television to promote her tale.

"Lulz" is far from the only reason for figuring out who such a person is.
posted by cairdeas at 6:58 AM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Delete first, ask questions later. Welcome to MeFi 2.0

What does this even mean? In the opinion of the mod this was doxxing, so fell afoul of Metafilter's no doxxing rule. Who is r_n supposed to "ask questions" too and what are those questions supposed to be?

And you know, even if Doxxing isn't the exact right term for what's going on, I agree with everyone that's said that thread was ugly, and the post wasn't a good one. There's probably a way to make that post once the information has been confirmed, it's just that right now, the information is "site on internet says this person is really this person," and there's really not a lot of there there. Maybe if it was that and also "site on the internet proves the non-fiction book is completely made up in a cynical attempt to make money off of a hot issue," then there'd be a good post. We could dive into the role of the publishing house, the root causes of the whole pop-culture-and-pop-science-sociopath trend, even a history of revealing the true authors of pseudonymous works, or publishing pseudonymous. There's where the there is.
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:59 AM on May 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


- the only net gain for disseminating the information appears to be lulz (this was the deciding bit)

I'm not that much against the deletion per se (as Muddgirl and others have pointed out the main linked site is dubious).

But I very much disagree with sentiments like the one expressed above. Personally I would very much like to know whether a potential employer, employee, colleague or life partner is a sociopath, and when they advertise their sociopathy to sell books, it's fair enough to try and figure out who they are.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:00 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone's written a book on a serious topic where there is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding around - if the book's a tissue of lies written by someone who is in no position to know what they are writing about, who then adds to the misinformation on the subject as they popularise it on television, then that's a serious matter - no 'lulz' involved.

However if the source linked to is too disreputable, skeevy and likely to be wrong to be worth considering, then that's a different matter. Deleting because the source of the possible information is poor - fine. Deleting because the concept of 'doxxing' has now been grossly extended to cover finding information about pseudonymous published authors making dubious public claims - is not a good development. The deletion may be sound, but the reason given for the deletion is not.
posted by Flitcraft at 7:02 AM on May 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Mostly I just want there to be a community of people getting off on describing magnetic railings clicking into place in pornographic detail.

I am here to "help".
posted by Zarkonnen at 7:07 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Out of curiosity, now I'm wondering if this happened today, and something were posted about it here, if it would be deleted for being doxxy.
posted by cairdeas at 7:11 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Lulz" is far from the only reason for figuring out who such a person is.

Of course; but I wasn't talking about reasons, I was talking about net gain. Also, I wasn't talking about finding out who the person was, I was talking about disseminating the information (correct or not).
posted by Mooski at 7:14 AM on May 19, 2013


Delete first, ask questions later. Welcome to MeFi 2.0

That kind of comment does nothing to add to the discussion of the specific case here. Please just stop with the crap and try to be an adult.
posted by mediareport at 7:52 AM on May 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


For that matter, I just read with interest a link posted recently to the Wikipedia thread from two weeks back about the American women novelist dust up, in which the identity of a contentious editor is revealed, bringing to light some conflicts of interest.

This would only be doxxing by some standards -- name and occupation but no private information, addresses, etc. given -- but definitions are slippery and I think it would be deleted in a strict anti-doxxing environment, like some subreddits.

I'm not saying this is hypocracy or calling folks out -- there's an obvious difference between a new FPP and a follow-up link to a weeks old thread, and looking at Wikipedia's structural and cultural problems is certainly more interesting than a one-off pop-psychology book, as the links in question seemed to be about. I like that this place takes a nuanced, case-by-case approach.

It's just interesting that attitudes around anonymity online and off are hardening in some corners, so that any information being revealed is seen as a fundamental wrong, with no difference between posting the address and credit card info of some poor kid who did nothing and revealing the name of someone who used anonymity for more obviously nefarious reasons.
posted by rewil at 7:52 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was just thinking about that one, rewil. I hope there's no one here who thinks that would be a delete-worthy example of "doxxing" if it had been posted to the front page.
posted by mediareport at 7:58 AM on May 19, 2013


To be more specific, the Wikipedia editor who did a series of revenge edits for "self-promotion" against the page of the woman who first noted the disappearance of American women novelists from Wikipedia's lists of American novelists turns out, after a detailed investigation by the folks at Wikipediocracy, to be someone with a long history of self-promoting and revenge edits against literary rivals. Assuming the original thread wasn't still open, would posting about that be deleted as "doxxing"? I'm open to the idea that there's a distinction I'm missing between that example and the one above.
posted by mediareport at 8:04 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


To be more specific, the Wikipedia editor who did a series of revenge edits for "self-promotion" against the page of the woman who first noted the disappearance of American women novelists from Wikipedia's lists of American novelists turns out, after a detailed investigation by the folks at Wikipediocracy, to be someone with a long history of self-promoting and revenge edits against literary rivals.

I think the key difference is the "detailed investigation" aspect. The Above the Law article amounts to "these people have similar chins and some people have said that it sounds like their professor. Let's put this person's face and name all over the place." At least that's what I was trying to get at with my comment upthread.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:07 AM on May 19, 2013


Yes, but it's the same chin. It's as plain as the nose on your face.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:21 AM on May 19, 2013


For a comparison that's not apples to oranges, maybe find a case where someone has been doxxed for claiming to inform the public about the nature of some other potentially 'dangerous' or 'disruptive' mental health condition. The author of the piece in question thinks she's talking about up to 4% of the population. If she's right, are all those folks reasonably subject to similar investigation?
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:25 AM on May 19, 2013


I don't know Above the Law at all. It may be they have a track record of sound investigative journalism and if they think an unnamed or anonymous source is reliable they are deserving of some cred. And maybe the writer of the post personally knows one of his sources and is acting in pure good faith.

What I got on reading the piece is the sources were anonymous internet posters. The person who wrote the piece did not even know their name or that they were students of the target or they were just dishing gossip.

The argument "Mormon + passed bar in CA + law school prof is a set with a most probable population of one" does not sound right. There is an implied female + . . . but I don't recall them writing that--I still think the number has got to be more like 10 or 15 or more and not anything like one. I think the identification is correct, but I also think it could very easily be mistaken and the Above the Law writer is way too casual in the interest of getting blog hits and page rank.

Aren't there many thousands of law professors?
posted by bukvich at 8:28 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


If she's right, are all those folks reasonably subject to similar investigation?

If they publish books about it and claim to be professors and lawyers, I say yes.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:30 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


If they publish books about it and claim to be professors and lawyers, I say yes.

So her real mistake here was to fit in well enough to achieve something and then tell the world she has a problem. Got it.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:35 AM on May 19, 2013


To be more specific, the Wikipedia editor who did a series of revenge edits for "self-promotion" against the page of the woman who first noted the disappearance of American women novelists from Wikipedia's lists of American novelists turns out, after a detailed investigation by the folks at Wikipediocracy, to be someone with a long history of self-promoting and revenge edits against literary rivals.

I am imagining a Martin Amis book about Wikipedia wars.
posted by furiousthought at 8:42 AM on May 19, 2013


For a comparison that's not apples to oranges, maybe find a case where someone has been doxxed for claiming to inform the public about the nature of some other potentially 'dangerous' or 'disruptive' mental health condition.

That comparison is apples to oranges, though. She didn't merely "inform the public of the nature" of this condition. She wrote at length about harming people on purpose. If someone with a different "condition" wrote at length about freely harming people on purpose, that would be apples to apples.

And all of that aside, it doesn't change the fact that if you publish a book and claim that it is non-fiction, it is legitimate for people to evaluate your credibility as a source.
posted by cairdeas at 8:43 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems like you would want to allow the exposure of people who are committing crimes or fraud (remember Kaycee Nicole?) but how do you let that happen after 9/11 without things turning into a witch hunt? I can't really tell if what this woman wrote falls into that category -- seems like she writes about injuring people's feelings on purpose but never their bodies.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:47 AM on May 19, 2013


She wrote at length about harming people on purpose

Did she confess to a crime--even anything tortious? I don't know--I haven't read her book, and maybe I didn't read the article carefully enough. If she did, I'd see your point. Otherwise, this seems to cover all sorts of confessions to emotional abuse, horrifying fantasies, and generic jerkiness induced by mental health issues.

And all of that aside, it doesn't change the fact that if you publish a book and claim that it is non-fiction, it is legitimate for people to evaluate your credibility as a source.

I think this is redundant. It's anonymous--you should already take that with a grain of salt. If her portrayal is bad, rebut it with something better and/or with something people are willing to put their names to.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:50 AM on May 19, 2013


Did she confess to a crime--even anything tortious?

Why is that relevant? Robert Clark Young didn't commit any crime beyond being an egotistical dick who routinely violated Wikipedia's edit policies while claiming to be enforcing them; would you call his outing problematic?
posted by mediareport at 8:55 AM on May 19, 2013


would you call his outing problematic?

If it were in the context of him writing a book about the problems with Wikipedia's editing, maybe.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:02 AM on May 19, 2013


That doesn't make any sense; in the situation you describe identifying him as someone who routinely abused Wikipedia's editing function would be *more* vital, not less.
posted by mediareport at 9:04 AM on May 19, 2013


Yes, but it's the same chin. It's as plain as the nose on your face.

Or the chin on my computer screen, as it were.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:08 AM on May 19, 2013


That doesn't make any sense; in the situation you describe identifying him as someone who routinely abused Wikipedia's editing function would be *more* vital, not less.

Why? Hypothetically, he has conveyed useful information about problems that exist on Wikipedia. He has alerted the world to a need to uncover more bad edits generally and to what's going through the minds of the folks doing that stuff. What makes his particular bad edits very interesting or germane, such that there's a public need to know his identity, when really he's trying to do you a favor and offer insight about a hidden problem?
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:08 AM on May 19, 2013


That makes even less sense; have you been following that story? He did everything he could to cover up "useful information about problems that exist on Wikipedia." But the promised thunderstorms haven't arrived yet and the sun just came out, so I'll leave it.
posted by mediareport at 9:11 AM on May 19, 2013


He did everything he could to cover up "useful information about problems that exist on Wikipedia."

Yes, that's exactly why it's not comparable to the case at hand.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:12 AM on May 19, 2013


The post seems like a lot of foofaraw over one very narcissistic lady who's got a book to sell, but I can't really see how it's deletion-worthy.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:12 AM on May 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


So if it happened today, would the comments investigating the identity or lack thereof of Kaycee Nicoll be deleted? Because this seems really trigger happy to me.
posted by Justinian at 9:18 AM on May 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


And that isn't a rhetorical question btw. I would like to know if the Kaycee Nicoll stuff would be deleted. That would be an absolutely radical change to Metafilter culture.
posted by Justinian at 9:25 AM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay, I just finished reading all the links, and all of the now-deleted thread, and I'm rather baffled. It was a public figure who's appearing largely-undisguised on TV to promote her book. I would not apply the word "doxxing" at all.

Delete first, ask questions later. Welcome to MeFi 2.0
...
That would be an absolutely radical change to Metafilter culture.


This strikes me as a bad deletion, but I don't think it's a sign of an overall culture-shift, especially since we've had only mod weigh in at all. I'm more inclined to characterize this deletion as a single bad decision, not part of a larger problem.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:28 AM on May 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I agree with Greg Nog - the entire reason people are looking into this is because she went on TV to promote the book. It's unfortunate, but you give up certain things when you are promoting yourself to make money. This woman had a reasonable expectation that her identity would attempt to be uncovered due to the subject matter of the book and her television appearance. She surely had some opportunity to disguise her face/voice (or to not appear). I think this was a bad deletion.
posted by antonymous at 9:50 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Honestly, after comparisons to Kaycee Nicole and the self-promotion aspect, I'm reconsidering my position. Let it never be said that Metafites are so dug in on their particular positions they can't be influenced by a decent discussion.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:59 AM on May 19, 2013


It does seem odd to delete the post when the woman is promoting herself on tv, with noting more than wig to disguise herself.

But it doesn't seem odd for Metafilter give the appearance that it discourage revealing people who wish to remain anonymous, no matter how poorly those individuals do so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:11 AM on May 19, 2013


I would like to know if the Kaycee Nicoll stuff would be deleted. That would be an absolutely radical change to Metafilter culture.

We don't really do this "Would you have removed this thing from 12 years ago as if it had been posted today?" thing here so much. That thread was before flagging, before favorites, before there were any other mods and when there were fewer than 10,000 people on this site. Google had just bought Dejanews, just started selling ads and didn't have image search yet. The internet world was totally different. There is no way to answer the question without some flat out speculation and then any answer just become a Rorschach for people who think it should have been different.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:21 AM on May 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


It sounds like the definition of "doxxing" on the 'net has expanded in recent years, and maybe this use of the term is in accordance with this. But I think it's confusing the issue.

The real issue here is misidentification, not with revealing the identity of the author. The latter might be problematic, but it's a lesser issue.

While there's a public interest in unmasking a "bad person who's done bad things", to the degree to which this argument is strengthened by the wrongness of the conduct, it also increases the ethical concerns about a misidentification. As we saw with the marathon and the missing college student.

And the interest with regard to identity and as it relates to credibility doesn't require publicly identifying the author, just verifying that the author isn't misrepresenting themselves.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:24 AM on May 19, 2013


Back envelope calculations:

50 000 people pass the bar every year (from google)
750 000 people have passed the bar in last 15 years (X 15)
100 000 people have passed the bar in CA in last 15 years (CA has 13 % of the country)
40 000 women have passed the bar in CA in last 15 years (I made the .4 up)
666 female mormons have passed the bar in CA in last 15 years (.016666 of the country is Mormon)

If 1/20 of these are law professors, that makes 30 women mormon law professors who passed the bar in CA in the last 15 years.

According to Abovethelaw blog post my calculation is 30X too big.

Can you point out any error which makes me over by a factor of 30? Or maybe their "evidence" is manufactured and their identification is quite likely erroneous?

(Obviously I could do this better but I like having 666 female mormons passed the bar!)
posted by bukvich at 10:27 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This does feel kind of shaky - "We think this person on Dr Phil is this person who wrote this article, and we think that both these people are this person, based on some correspondences of biographical detail and what we see as a physical resemblance".

Alos, I don't really see what interest is being served by exposing this person - J T LeRoy was making money by selling books which were supposedly representing the life experience of an actual person. "Outing" Belle du Jour or Girl with a One Track Mind is ethically vile, journalistically, but once the cat was out of the bag there was some sort of story to report on. This is speculation by some dudes on the Internet that someone appearing pseudonymously on Dr Phil is somebody else in real life, and that both these people are an anonymous blogger on Psychology Today. I don't really see the public interest argument.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:40 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, the KayCee Nicole thread never really got into investigating the full name of the person behind the hoax, from what I can tell. The woman named Debbie confessed on her web page and that was where things stopped. No one published her full name in the thread (or if they did it was deleted). So exposing KayCee Nicole as a hoax was still fundamentally different than figuring out what this woman's name is, I think.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:40 AM on May 19, 2013


We don't really do this

Fair enough, hypotheticals are pretty murky.

Non-hypothetical then, it seems like a policy of "don't try to figure out who people are ever" isn't sustainable. It leads to things like deleting attempts to discover the identity of Deep Throat.

I realize that's an extreme example so consider: Is there any difference between the post in question and trying to uncover Joe Klein as the author of Primary Colors? They strike me as absolutely identical cases in terms of a pseudonymous author hiding behind a (metaphorical in one case) wig. And not allowing such a thing is nuts!

Basically, it seems like trying to figure out who wrote a published novel has to be allowed.
posted by Justinian at 10:55 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So exposing KayCee Nicole as a hoax was still fundamentally different than figuring out what this woman's name is, I think.

How about trying to figure out Joe Klein's name, as I ask above?
posted by Justinian at 10:55 AM on May 19, 2013


I'm a bit afraid of giving the impression I'm more invested in this thread than my number of comments suggests, so I won't try to defend this, but I think it's worth looking at cases other than criminal activity and conscious fraud for comparison's sake.

Rachel Reiland is the pseudonym of someone diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, which in her case and her own description includes fits of rage, aggressive behaviors, and manipulation of others. She contributed a brief retrospective on her story to Psychology Today in which she confessed, at a minimum, to raising her hand in anger toward her toddler (her book says, "I slapped him so hard he went reeling to the floor," and then describes an uncontrolled fit of cursing and spanking him until her hand itself was "red and stinging"). She has promoted her book on numerous radio shows.

I suspect no one here reading her stuff would actively want her doxxed and many would object to it, not least because she now has her situation under control. Is that the difference between her and the author in the linked FPP? Or is it that the other author has confessed to 'worse' things than child abuse? Or are there folks here who actually think outing her would be interesting or relevant from a 'best of the web' POV?
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:56 AM on May 19, 2013


Hell, a policy of not allowing investigation of anyone's identity makes it impossible to investigate self-links. Although it seems like those haven't been a problem in years.
posted by Justinian at 11:01 AM on May 19, 2013


I find this whole thing very perplexing. No one gave a shit when this was posted.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:01 AM on May 19, 2013


Yeah, the whole thing is strange. The movie Catfish would be banned for being a giant doxxing.
posted by Justinian at 11:02 AM on May 19, 2013


Also for being awful.
posted by Justinian at 11:02 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think I would have a problem with a thread devoted to trying to sleuth out the author of Primary Colors. (Though I don't make policy here!) But when there is a stigma like mental illness or terrorist attached to the outing, and we get the analysis wrong and identify the name of someone incorrectly, what happens then? That's why I referenced witch hunts in my first comment.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:05 AM on May 19, 2013


What happens then? Nothing. We don't actually have any power to affect these people.
posted by Justinian at 11:08 AM on May 19, 2013


I see cairdeas made my points before I did. I like the cut of your jib, sir.
posted by Justinian at 11:10 AM on May 19, 2013


"What happens then? Nothing. We don't actually have any power to affect these people."

The history of defamation law would like to have a word with you in the corner.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:17 AM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Identifying the author of a book is not defamation.
posted by Justinian at 11:27 AM on May 19, 2013


Can Metafilter be sued for reblogging?
posted by Brocktoon at 11:28 AM on May 19, 2013


Doubtful. We certainly don't make any mod decisions as if we could be.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:38 AM on May 19, 2013


Now that I'm awake and caffeinated, I'll expand somewhat on my reasoning. This wasn't intended to be a broad policy statement so much as a deletion based on the following:

- a not-particularly-reputable site
- pure speculation, unconfirmed, mostly unsourced and fairly shaky
- for no clear purpose

If this line of investigation gets confirmed and there are actual consequences from it, then it may be worth following, but right now it just seems like the Internet Rumor Brigade at work, and their track record isn't awesome.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:40 AM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Identifying the author of a book is not defamation."

The question you answered was:

"...we get the analysis wrong and identify the name of someone incorrectly, what happens then?"

I don't quite understand how you could directly answer and quote part of the question and misconstrue it to be its opposite, but, well, shit happens, I guess.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:47 AM on May 19, 2013


I'm OK with this deletion based solely on the grounds that the author sounds utterly narcissistic and insufferable.

And this is why I'm not a mod.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:48 AM on May 19, 2013


Ok, Ivan, even if we got the analysis wrong I suggest nothing would happen. Look at the fiasco on reddit. They misidentified TERRORISTS and nothing happened.
posted by Justinian at 12:02 PM on May 19, 2013


They misidentified TERRORISTS and nothing happened.

do you mean nothing happened to them or there were no real life consequences for other people based upon their shitty witch hunt? because i agree with the first, but as to the second, the family and friends of someone who was missing (and basically everyone suspected had killed himself) had to spend that awful time in their lives beating off internet detectives and then crappy "journalists" who followed up on the story. they took down the facebook page that was put up to try to find him because it became so bloated with speculation that he was a terrorist. no one lost their job or went to jail or got killed, but it wasn't consequence free.
posted by nadawi at 12:09 PM on May 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Nothing happened to them, obviously, yes.
posted by Justinian at 12:21 PM on May 19, 2013


it wasn't obvious, which is why i asked. you said we can't affect these people and then brought up reddit - but they did affect people around their target, so i was confused.
posted by nadawi at 12:36 PM on May 19, 2013


I don't mind the deletion, particularly, but I do think it's ludicrous to say that someone is being doxxed when they have both published a book and gone on Dr. Phil, even if they wore a wig in the latter instance.

I mean, it's like the claims that the Reddit creeps were being doxxed when it was their publicly available information that was being collated. That's not doxxing, that's research, and I would like the difference between the two to remain in place. This post? Maybe not the greatest fit for Metafilter, but it wasn't doxxing, and I would like that to remain clear.
posted by gadge emeritus at 12:53 PM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


In addition to the pain that the Reddit speculation and accusations brought to the family of an innocent person, even the legal consequences are not as clear as you are suggesting. In the Reddit case any defamation suit is complicated by the fact that the misidentified student was already dead at the time of the bombings. It is much more difficult to bring defamation/libel/slander suits on behalf of deceased persons since the suits are intended as a means of protecting a person's reputation and ability to earn a living. But if the misidentified person had been alive it would certainly be easier to argue he suffered loss of reputation. (And who knows what else might have happened to him as a result of the misidentification had he been alive?)

Finally, the statute of limitations to bring such lawsuits is typically one to two years, so saying that nothing happened to Reddit is premature at best.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:01 PM on May 19, 2013


you said we can't affect these people and then brought up reddit - but they did affect people around their target, so i was confused.

Well, their target's family, but I take your point.
posted by Justinian at 1:03 PM on May 19, 2013


But in any case, none of that seems relevant to the question of investigating the author of a book.
posted by Justinian at 1:04 PM on May 19, 2013


(note: I realize we were talking about other types of doxxing, I'm just saying that given the good point about the family of the reddit guy, I agree there are far better arguments for cracking down on baseless speculation about whether somebody is a terrorist than for aggressively preventing discussion of a book's author.)
posted by Justinian at 1:11 PM on May 19, 2013


I don't mind the deletion, particularly, but I do think it's ludicrous to say that someone is being doxxed when they have both published a book and gone on Dr. Phil, even if they wore a wig in the latter instance.

This is kind of an odd way to construct the logical chain, as it starts from the thesis that the identification of the author of the book is the same person as the guest on Dr Phil, who is the same person as the named person. That's what the blog post is seeking to prove - based on biographical congruence, chin measurements and reports of stare intensity, so it is possibly unwise to start from the assumption that this quod has already been demonstratum at the start of the chain.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:22 PM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Again, what if we wrongly identified the identity of a person as the author of a book or website with a stigma attached to it, such as here, sociopathy? The Above the Law site has tracked down the law school where the person they suspect will be teaching and appears to have attempted contact with staff about her employment. What if they are wrong that she is the sociopathic author and the woman gets fired anyway, because once the administration is aware of the possibility of having a sociopath on staff they can't take the chance of putting their students in harm's way?

I'm not really sure where I come out on this but it does seem to me extremely naive and wrong to insist that we couldn't possibly cause innocent people harm or that nothing bad could possibly happen.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:32 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"But in any case, none of that seems relevant to the question of investigating the author of a book."

What? It's very relevant to misidentifying someone else as the author of an autobiographical book by someone who describes themselves as a sociopath.

"... aggressively preventing discussion of a book's author"

The person you are talking about is not the same person we're talking about in this discussion. You're talking about the author, the person who appeared on television. We're talking about the woman identified in the blog post. Those might be the same person, but they might be different people.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:43 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"We" weren't identifying anyone in that thread. We were talking about that law blog's (Bob Loblaws? But I digress) search for the identity. This Metatalk thread debate about the ethics of that search and its relation to doxxing could have been very interesting in the post on the blue. I don't know anything about Above the Law so it sounds like that played into the deletion, but the discussion here was not particularly contentious or detective-squad-ish, it was mostly about the phenomenon of sociopaths.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:45 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"'We' weren't identifying anyone in that thread. "

The linked blog in the post names a specific person as the author, and discusses her educational and employment history, and includes a photograph. You don't get much more "identifying" than that.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:01 PM on May 19, 2013


Ivan, do you think an attempt to identify the author of Primary Colors is likewise problematic? What's the distinction?
posted by Justinian at 2:06 PM on May 19, 2013


One distinction is, Primary Colors was published as fiction.
posted by cgc373 at 2:27 PM on May 19, 2013


Thats disingenuous. It was a Roman a clef and everyone knew it.
posted by Justinian at 2:32 PM on May 19, 2013


A useful thought experiment here is often to think of how you would answer the question you are asking.

Justinian, are you averring that you see no difference at all between these two cases? If not, what differences do you see? I can think of a few off the top of my head, but I'd be interested in your thoughts.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:34 PM on May 19, 2013


Any differences at all? Sure.

The aforementioned "published as fiction" bit. But as I objected that's irrelevant because it was acknowledged by everyone as a roman a clef. The author was also clearly a government official or political activist of some sort. But I don't see that as germane; the consequences for being revealed would be potentially at least as serious for such a person. Less personally embarrassing? Maybe. But it's not our jobs to guard against an author's personal embarrassment.

And so on. We could probably identify a thousand differences as we could for any two comparisons. But the question is whether those differences make it okay to look for the author in one case but not the other. I don't see why they would.
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on May 19, 2013


Justinian, I somehow have the sense that you'd feel differently if it were you the Above the Law blog had deduced as the author of the book, if it were your name and employment history and photograph that appeared in that post.

The problems are (chiefly) in the misidentifications, not the identifications. You seem to be assuming the latter, as if the former never happen.

Being known as the person who wrote Primary Colors has not even remotely the severity of negative social consequences as being known as the person who autobiographically wrote Confessions of a Sociopath. That's a big difference. And in accordance with this, the injustice to a wrongly identified person when this public knowledge is false is proportionately severe.

This is why I think the doxxing thing is a red herring. The issues with doxxing may well apply, and they might not, but this blog post and the MeFi post aren't even at that stage because they haven't truly identified the author, it's a speculation based upon evidence sketchy enough to apply to enough other people to allow for a good possibility that the woman isn't actually the author.

Is it okay to try to discover the author's identity? Maybe. I'll go along with this, tentatively. But that's not the same thing as actually saying that the author is person X when they don't have any strong proof that it really is.

Trying to locate a murderer (which is good!) is not the same thing as saying that John P. Doe is probably the murderer because he was walking-while-black in the neighborhood. Which is not the same thing as trying to identify an anonymous hero who saved someone from a fire and actually saying that the person who lives next door probably is that person. I just don't understand why you would claim that these various distinctions don't ethically matter and just reduce it to "sleuthing about pseudonymous author is good".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:58 PM on May 19, 2013


The author was also clearly a government official or political activist of some sort. But I don't see that as germane; the consequences for being revealed would be potentially at least as serious for such a person.

Something perhaps more immediately relevant there is not the consequences of discovery, but the fact that a Clinton insider might have written and released a roman a clef about the Clinton election campaign. Public interest is often used as a figleaf for ethically dubious journalistic practice, but there is a fairly clear public interest case that can be made. I am not seeing a comparable public interest argument here.

(Plus, of course, the book itself was a huge bestseller, and those connected with it were all public figures - front-rank political journalists and White House stafffers.)

There's also the level and quality of the investigation. Klein was finally outed by the Washington Post, and before that reports had been made by representatives of other news agencies, reporting proposals by former Clinton speechwriters, Harvard professors, handwriting analysis experts and so on. That compares with this case, in which the connections between the named person and the pseudonymous author are based on a perceived facial similarity and a number of confirmations and anecdotes from unnamed sources.

So, from a journalistic perspective, that's a fairly significant difference. If I were an editor, I'd probably be looking for something a little more solid than "I think the chin of this Dr Phil guest is similar to the chin of this still photo", and these biographical elements seem to match". It is possible that this more solid evidence exists, of course. One would hope so, because a good editor doesn't want the content they sign off on, even if by omission, to turn out to be right.

However, that is really about Above The Law's editorial practice, which isn't really being discussed here. The MetaTalk part of this is "is this allegation a good basis for an FPP?". r_n gave the reasons why it was deleted, above, concluding:

If this line of investigation gets confirmed and there are actual consequences from it, then it may be worth following, but right now it just seems like the Internet Rumor Brigade at work, and their track record isn't awesome.


That doesn't seem like a bad line to draw - if an FPP had appeared naming Sunil Tripathi as responsible for the Boston bombings, it feels like the same logic would have led to its deletion, which again seems like it would have been appropriate. Even if one is 100%, stone-cold certain that these three people are the same person, I am not sure, from a MetaFilter perspective, what is lost by waiting for the world to catch up.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:16 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perhaps if it was a sociopath that did something more heinous than abscond with library books and sort of date some guy but not really - Seems like a poor attempt at viral marketing really.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:36 PM on May 19, 2013


rosf: I agree, if the post was deleted simply because it was a bad post that's not at all problematic. But that's pretty clearly an ex post facto rationalization. The reason the post was originally deleted is simply "we're not really cool with doxxing". So it makes sense to me to examine the site policy on these issues even apart from this particular post which may, indeed, have been a bad post.

That doesn't seem like a bad line to draw

On the surface it does not, but if you examine it you'll find that it would exclude things like the Kaycee Nicole thread and so on.
posted by Justinian at 4:51 PM on May 19, 2013


I do agree this is a tough bit of policy to hash out, I don't want people to think I believe it to be absurd and terrible or whatever to believe differently than I do.
posted by Justinian at 4:54 PM on May 19, 2013


On the surface it does not, but if you examine it you'll find that it would exclude things like the Kaycee Nicole thread and so on.

That was a long time before my time, so I can't really speak to it... In terms of people claiming to be a terminally ill teenager on the Internet, the nearest recent comparison point is probably the Manti Te'o story, which was not deleted. That was a link to an online article, but I think a possible difference there was that that article was the product of careful research and verification, and that Manti Te'o is unmistakably a public figure. If MetaFilter had existed in 1996, my guess would be that this might be how a Joe Klein thread would have roughly gone...

(Although there are certainly complex elements in that situation...)

Kaycee Nicole feels very different, though - partly because it happened twelve years ago, and partly because people on MetaFilter knew, or believed that they knew, Kaycee Nicole. It might be more accurate to say that if the Kaycee Nicole thread happened in 2013, it would happen in MetaTalk, posslbly?
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:16 PM on May 19, 2013


Kaycee Nicole IS different, because it's not Metafilter doing the doxxing. In case it isn't clear, it is now policy here to delete posts that link to doxxing investigations.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:39 PM on May 19, 2013


In case it isn't clear, it is now policy here to delete posts that link to doxxing investigations.

That's actually not what I've said in this thread. We're likely to delete posts linking to poorly-sourced and unconfirmed investigations on sketchy sites. The deletion reason on the post was framed in more absolute terms, but, as always, deletion reasons aren't policy.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:42 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


it is now policy here to delete posts that link to doxxing investigations.

This wasn't intended to be a broad policy statement
posted by nadawi at 5:42 PM on May 19, 2013


That statement is no longer operative!
posted by Justinian at 6:02 PM on May 19, 2013


So the reason posted in the deleted post is wrong, and you are OK with it? Maybe that can be edited. If you are OK with it, then it makes sense why the "No Evidence" thread exists.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:17 PM on May 19, 2013


Yeah, you're probably right. I edited the deletion reason - hopefully that will avoid further confusion.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:26 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, there are a surprisingly large number of Mormon law professors and lawyers who work in California. Many, many, many of them are active in the LDS blogging community (example); it seemed at one point that the number of active LDS bloggers who have a degree from BYU, work as attorneys, and were Presidential Scholars at BYU as undergrads, was approaching 50%.

However, not all that many are female.

I am also, incidentally, of the opinion that this was a textbook "point and laugh" post, and I sort of thought these were mostly in the speedy-delete category, though I'm not really all that sure about it.
posted by SMPA at 8:17 PM on May 19, 2013


In case it isn't clear, it is now policy here to delete posts that link to doxxing investigations.

I would say what it is now and has been for a while is that doxxing-type stuff is kind of problematic at best and can easily be a thing that makes a post not such a good idea. Not firm policy but rather something to take into account.

Elaborating a little on Jessamyn's note upthread that there's not really a sane way to actually definitively lay out an answer to "what would have happened with Kaycee in 2001 if 2001 was 2013", one thing we can say is that the 2013 internet is a pretty different, bigger, faster-moving, and in at least some ways older and wiser and more cautious place than the 2001 internet was. Things that were sort of a curiosity back then are more familiar now; the possible and plausible consequences of crowdsourced whatever, both good and bad, are better understood and I think people in general are more cautious, all else aside, about the ramifications of just turning over as many rocks as possible as quickly as possible to see what's worth shouting about.

Anyway, I appreciate that people try to read policy into deletion reasons because hey, it's there, but it does feel like that stuff gets read as inviolate canon rather than a sketch of part of what the deleting mod is looking at at the time, and Jeremy did indeed clarify pretty well where she was coming from overall when this went down. I find myself wishing now and then that Metatalk threads that touch on the phrasing of a deletion reason would more often be about everything else that gets said in the thread and not so much on the exact text of said reason as if this was some sort of strict constructionist place where that's all that matters.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:03 PM on May 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


But the 3rd Edition Player's Handbook clearly states on page 192, paragraph 4, subsection a....
posted by Justinian at 9:18 PM on May 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I only brought it up because there still seemed to be confusion about what exactly we don't seem to like here. This thread is a call-out to remove a post that links to so-called doxxing, and was subseqently deleted. Then later, the reason for the deletion changed, and the call-out is now moot. I think you can expect some confusion.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:52 PM on May 19, 2013


Something that I'd recommend is that we stay away from "doxxing" as a term. It's too vague and too loaded, especially when people are construing a "no doxxing" policy — it's just a road to a lot of unsolvable arguments. Instead, R_N's justification as they wrote in the thread is good enough and doesn't once say "doxxing."
posted by klangklangston at 11:06 PM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


That statement is no longer operative!

Angle bracket Jack Donaghy close angle bracket.

I'm going to assume that was a Haldeman reference. In which case, thank you.

Angle bracket slash Jack Donaghy close angle brackets.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:36 AM on May 20, 2013


Justinian: "But the 3rd Edition Player's Handbook clearly states on page 192, paragraph 4, subsection a...."

3rd Edition? Heretic.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:11 AM on May 20, 2013


I find myself wishing now and then that Metatalk threads that touch on the phrasing of a deletion reason would more often be about everything else that gets said in the thread and not so much on the exact text of said reason as if this was some sort of strict constructionist place where that's all that matters.

This reminds me of one of my favorite legal phrases: Obiter Dictum.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:23 AM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


MCMikeNamara: "Between Human Flesh Search and docking as subject matters, this is as close as I'll probably ever come to a thread about foreskins on Metafilter."

Well, at least in a thread where people aren't shouting at each other.
posted by zarq at 9:00 AM on May 20, 2013


It's a deletion thread, the shouting will come.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:03 AM on May 20, 2013


This is true.
posted by zarq at 9:07 AM on May 20, 2013


I find myself wishing now and then that Metatalk threads that touch on the phrasing of a deletion reason would more often be about everything else that gets said in the thread and not so much on the exact text of said reason as if this was some sort of strict constructionist place where that's all that matters.

Wasn't there some discussion at some point of linking to the MeTa thread in the deletion reason in cases like this? Some sort of explicit for-more-information-see-here thing?
posted by solotoro at 9:29 AM on May 20, 2013


Mostly I just want there to be a community of people getting off on describing magnetic railings clicking into place in pornographic detail.

Isn't that railfans?
posted by maryr at 12:09 PM on May 20, 2013


After reading several posts about this, i support the deletion simply because i don't think MeFi should be involved in any way in this kind of he said/she said hi-drama borderline TMZ crap.

These are all good reasons, and i also get what cairdeas was saying. But i think there's a whole other angle here that if we're going to allow an FPP and a big discussion about this on here, now we've networked ourselves into this web of bullshit.

Someone else would make a post about this somewhere, and link to our thread of discussion and more links as one of the main links in their post, or in a reply. Then we're just another rung on the ladder of this crap situation.

Honestly i think that several layers of this story are fictional, and that with this post we'd essentially have become part of a viral marketing machine... Or at the very least been piling more attention on to what's either a growing pitchfork mob, some kind of histrionics, or a combination of both.

This thread quickly derailed in to what about this story is legitimate, rather than whether or not this is a legitimate post for metafilter(i'm aware there's more than a couple comments about that as well, but there's quite a few that aren't). This is almost reverse mefi, in that it's pretty much the worst of the web.
posted by emptythought at 12:59 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The author is reminds me of Sam Vaknin, who is considered an expert on narcissism by many, but also an unreliable source, because he's a self-professed narcissist. I think one of the key differences is the author in this case is still anonymous. Obviously, the author has many blind spots and has not reached true self-awareness, probably more NPD than APD, if the story itself isn't embellished or entirely made up. It's difficult to take this at face value because of the nature of cluster B personality disorders and the unreliable narrator, but even moreso if the author remains in the shadows.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:35 PM on May 20, 2013


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