Can we call out the comment without calling out the commenter? June 11, 2002 8:32 PM   Subscribe

Have we at last completely abandoned any hope of civility and reasonable discourse on Metafilter? There's disagreement, and then there's constant, consistent patterns of personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with one in the slightest. Is there no line to be drawn, or is Matt on vacation? (links inside)
posted by rushmc to Etiquette/Policy at 8:32 PM (115 comments total)

What links? I see no links.
posted by jjg at 8:49 PM on June 11, 2002


There is no spoon.
posted by skallas at 8:58 PM on June 11, 2002


There was a Spoon.
posted by y2karl at 9:07 PM on June 11, 2002


What do we want to encourage/discourage? To me, the following attitudes towards other posters are beyond the pale:

okay, I admit, after Fes contributed, I felt the need to amuse myself. A very long while back, Fes filled a room with "BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA". That entire thread had me on the floor the entire time. It was funny. Very funny. So I decided to bait rushmc in the same respect. --BlueTrain

Wow, even the other lefties are calling foldy on his chortling bullshit now. --darukaru (same link as above)

Not to put too blunt a point on this, but fuck you. --fnord_prefect

Congrats; you were able to bring me down to your depths of trollish idiocy. --BlueTrain

Your jealousy and envy are appalling. --mikegre

The minute I stop annoying the y2k's, foldy's, and TyWebb's of the world will be the day it's no longer worth posting. --MidasMulligan


_______________________
Bah, got interrupted...should have done this in Word first...anyway, one could go on and on and find well over a dozen examples just from the past week, usually from the same few posters. You read the site, I don't need to grab them all. Most of us post something ill-advised occasionally in the heat of the moment, but when certain posters make it a habit to continually belittle other members and engage in childish namecalling rather than try to argue their position, I think that needs to be addressed. Nothing leads like example, and if people get the idea that this sort of behavior is tolerated (encouraged?), the whole site will flame out in a sea of unpleasant trolls.
posted by rushmc at 9:10 PM on June 11, 2002


Hey, foldy himself said that politeness was for the weak.
Way to also ignore me giving props to sheauga for his excellent comment.
posted by darukaru at 9:37 PM on June 11, 2002


rushmc:

fnord was speaking for a lot of people in that thread. While I generally appreciate what pracowity has to say, I was kind of perplexed by his desire to insult anyone that owns or uses guns. What I mean to say is, the quotes need to be considered in context, to some extent.

I do agree though, that for some members, insulting the "opposition" (whoever they are disagreeing with in a particular thread) is a favorite tactic, the use of which transcends all political biases (I've seen liberals, republicans, libertarians, and socialist environmentalists all use it). I've probably done it once or twice.

Many of us walk a fine line between critcizing the arguments of other people and criticizing the people themselves. This line is most frequently crossed in the politically related debates, which are the source of all of the inflammatory posts you cited. Which means its not entirely unexpected when it happens. Politics gets under peoples skin. You usually don't see as much trolling or flaming in a discussion about something relatively benign, like mattresses.

Witty banter and civil discourse good, fire bad.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:58 PM on June 11, 2002


I have noticed a lot of personal attacks too in the past few weeks, just a couple of days ago I was attacked by two posters, one of which called me an ignorant fuck without making any arguments.

I decided to just post again with some additional information to clarify my point, without making any direct comment towards the posters, and they both apologized. I was glad that resolved well. Still, I was somewhat disappointed that the attacks had occurred in the first place.

I think the best way to deal with personal attacks would be just to ignore them and only comment on them indirectly. Yes, ignore lists have been discussed before, do we need to bring the idea up again?
posted by bobo123 at 9:59 PM on June 11, 2002


Sheauga is not a Heauga.

Who was it that said, "We're trying to have a society here"? Those are pretty good words to live by as far as online community cohabitation goes. There have been some awfully shitty remarks made around here lately, although I don't recall any of the ones that rushmc has linked to. They seem to come in waves though, so hopefully a period of some civility will follow.
posted by iconomy at 10:16 PM on June 11, 2002


I think if there was a magic spell to allow all registered users of Metafilter laid tonight, this would be a much happier place tomorrow.
posted by crunchland at 10:20 PM on June 11, 2002


I think there is a fine line there, but it's possible to intelligently and stylishly debate someone's position without being puerile and insulting. I get plenty incensed at times, but I always try to somehow transfigure the anger into something nominally constructive. What I don't like is when it descends into ugly name calling, which seems to be the province of only a small minority of posters here. I usually totally ignore someone when they get stupid or nasty, or I take it to email instead of polluting the thread with a bunch of recrimination. When someone reveals themselves to be a jerk, it's better to just ignore them, or take them to task in a rational manner.
posted by evanizer at 10:29 PM on June 11, 2002


Perhaps using an impersonal example would be more convincing--lest it come off as a veiled vendetta, ax grinding, getting even on another level.
posted by y2karl at 10:41 PM on June 11, 2002


No vendetta, just slightly hurt feelings. I used a personal example (as did rushmc) since I tend to notice these thing more when they're directed personally at me.
posted by evanizer at 10:47 PM on June 11, 2002


Sheauga is not a Heauga.
Thanks for the correction, iconomy.
posted by darukaru at 10:48 PM on June 11, 2002


Well, this has been covered so many times before, how is it different now?

I'll tell ya... people don't care to make it better anymore.

If some of the best posters and best commenters were to get to work and quit complaining about the loss of "The Old Metafilter Quality" this place would improve dramatically.

Perhaps it's not possible to recapture the glorious days again but, it is possible to maintiain a dignified, intelligent, and respectful personality here.

I personally believe that there needs to be an outlet for pissing contests. Name calling, childish and brutish remarks, as well as the general level of nastiness can be held in an alternate location here... a mechanism to force those people to "take it outside" would be of use. Still spew their piss and vinegar so those who love the drama can view it.

My 2 cents.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 11:06 PM on June 11, 2002


Three Fark guys:
"Hi, we're Moe, Larry, and Curly."

Three MetaFilter guys:
"Hello, we're Moebius, Larricles, and Curliculitus."

Vidalesque burlesque.
Weightless gravitas.
Embroidered air.

Vac.
posted by Opus Dark at 12:23 AM on June 12, 2002


Name-calling is what happens when verbal incompetence, posturing stupidity and deep insecurities come together to boringly explode in the nervous little name-caller's red and spluttering face.

Reacting to it by doing the same is just as pathetic - it's like self-destructing to keep the other jerk company. Anyway. why waste time on an Internet board, of all places, with people you don't like and don't like you, when there are so many interesting people available to read and interact with? Considering none of us know each other, it's just so sad, such a waste of time, so irrelevant, so petty...

And that's enough name-calling from me for today...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:44 AM on June 12, 2002


I personally believe that there needs to be an outlet for pissing contests.

There are plenty. Just not here.
posted by adampsyche at 5:46 AM on June 12, 2002


Weightless gravitas.

That's a good tag, Opus
posted by matteo at 5:55 AM on June 12, 2002


Name-calling is what happens when verbal incompetence, posturing stupidity and deep insecurities come together. . .-miguel

miguel, I don't agree with this statement. You know as well as I that there are people who deserve a good shaking. I recently wanted to throttle rushmc, for that matter. I didn't because I thought it would be unfair to do so in a public forum. In the relative privacy of life offline, I had no problem declaring my feelings of anger toward him. Unfortunately, this doesn't always assuage the feelings--calling somebody an imbecile, or better yet, an imbecilic fuck, just feels good. (this isn't directed at rushmc or anybody else, btw)

The trick is to allow a few minutes to pass before replying. Let it go; breathe deeply; go get something to drink; stop drinking; get some sleep; find some humor in the situation.

I'm not dictating how to act or what to do in every situation, but if there are certain sorts of threads that inspire anger, disrespect and name-calling, maybe we should just stay away. Some of the threads that I don't often comment in for these reasons are: I/P threads, gun control issues, and religious issues.

Another thing I ty to remember: shit happens. We're all just people here and though I would like to see everybody react in a nicer manner towards each other, we often don't. C'est la vie. If somebody gets too vile, then call them onto the carpet to explain themselves.
posted by ashbury at 6:15 AM on June 12, 2002


fnord was speaking for a lot of people in that thread. While I generally appreciate what pracowity has to say, I was kind of perplexed by his desire to insult anyone that owns or uses guns.

If we're going to insult each other, can we at least abandon the childish pretense that they made us do it? I don't see how "kind of perplexed" translates to "fuck you," and all of BlueTrain's talk about baiting people and being forced to troll by someone else shows why the guy deserves the frequent mentions he gets over here.
posted by rcade at 6:27 AM on June 12, 2002


I wrote this in an email to a fellow MeFite last night:

I suppose I also feel guilty for not doing enough myself to lift the tone; I've lurked way too much, given that I read it all regularly. But knowing that any opinion, no matter how cautiously and considerately expressed, will meet its opposite (in every respect) simply because there are so many people and opinions represented there - well, it makes it hard to get motivated to play the voice of reason. Let alone the playful voice of unreason.

You either feel motivated or you don't. Let's not forget how much work it is to go in with all dignified, intelligent, and respectful guns blazing on a subject of any difficulty. The last time I could be bothered, I ended up writing four thousand words in a giant single thread that went on for a week. Props to everyone who stuck it out in that particular case, but it's pretty draining stuff - and that was just one thread. It's hard to find the motivation to do that every time you'd like to; the temptations of eating, sleeping, catching a good movie, are all so much greater. It's easier to drop in a snarky one-liner and flit away; and when the difficult subject keeps coming up again and again, as difficult subjects have a habit of doing, the temptation to edit the four thousand words down to four letters is strong.

Or, you lurk. Or, you leave.
posted by rory at 6:27 AM on June 12, 2002




"Why, thank you, kind sir", she said quite civilly.
posted by iconomy at 6:34 AM on June 12, 2002


There are times when I think there is definitely a group of people here who consort elsewhere on the net and mount a coordinated and unified assault on certain subjects they oppose. And usually that assault is way, WAY more caustic than it needs to be.

And what's more, it seems like it's the same 5 or 10 people who get into the same fray over and over and over again.

Can 10 people really lower the tone for a community of 14,000?
posted by crunchland at 6:51 AM on June 12, 2002


Sure, if those 10 people go against the common values of the community. They create anarchy and chaos, two things that the majority of people don't like.
posted by ashbury at 7:02 AM on June 12, 2002


Anyone want to team up with me and create a "coordinated and unified assault" in favour of common decency, respect and independent thought? (Ignore my recent indiscretion.) I'll bring the pie.
posted by Marquis at 7:22 AM on June 12, 2002


if anyone was wondering, I actually was on vacation, spending the past 5 days in New Orleans, ignoring the site (not all my fault due to things like faulty phone lines and lightning strikes frying DSL modems, everyone I know that lives there calls it a "third world country" when it comes to technology and I can see why now)

I'm a bit befuddled about the recent upsurge in personal attacks, specifically, people that go to the trouble of naming their target. It's happened in the past from time to time, but in the past few months several people have quit metafilter altogether after being named in an argument or even in jest. I don't understand the need for others to "call out" people by name when we're supposed to be talking about issues. Personal attacks have no place in a debate and frequently take threads into places they shouldn't go.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:01 AM on June 12, 2002


As a general rule, if one is unable to take it, one might consider not dishing it out. And implying that someone is a dumbass because they don't agree with your point is dishing it out.

Otherwise, what rory said.
posted by UncleFes at 8:04 AM on June 12, 2002


ok marquis, you're on.
i'll bring the ale.
just like last time ; )
posted by asok at 8:10 AM on June 12, 2002


There are times when I think there is definitely a group of people here who consort elsewhere on the net and mount a coordinated and unified assault on certain subjects they oppose.
That would be the Filthy Capitalist Training Camp. Today we're going to learn how Marlboros cure cancer, and then we're going to scientifically prove that cute bunny rabbits like having their eyes painted with nail polish. After lunch, we all read from the Holy Book of Rand, and to cap off the day we fire at the peasants from our 10-mpg gold-plated Cadillacs.
Wait, I'm not a filthy capitalist or a Randian! I don't even drive a car! I'm a traitor! Aieeeeee*bang*
posted by darukaru at 8:12 AM on June 12, 2002


Unfortunately, this doesn't always assuage the feelings--calling somebody an imbecile, or better yet, an imbecilic fuck, just feels good.

It may well make one feel better, but my point (which you seem to agree with) is that it is TOTALLY inappropriate to indulge in this sort of thing here, inflicting it on the rest of us. The thread suffers, the site suffers, Matt doesn't want it, none but the most flagrantly aggressive and offensive of users want it. What one does offline is, of course, one's own concern.
posted by rushmc at 8:26 AM on June 12, 2002


Sure, if those 10 people go against the common values of the community.

What we're talking about here is not political viewpoint, if that's what you're referring to, though many of the offenders insist upon trying to subvert the issue into one of persecution. If, otoh, you mean "rational, considerate, non-flaming discussion" when you say "common value of the community," then I agree, and suggest that the community has a right to assert and defend that value. I don't care what position someone holds. I'm here to discuss things with people, to explore other viewpoints and my own, not to win anybody over to my way of looking at things. If it happens, great, but it's not my motivation. What I DO care about, however, is petty childishness expressed in personal attacks on others. Would you tolerate this sort of behavior in RL?
posted by rushmc at 8:32 AM on June 12, 2002


And implying that someone is a dumbass because they don't agree with your point is dishing it out.

First of all, implication is not on the same level as directly worded denigrating personal attacks, which is what I'm complaining about here. Secondly, there was no such implication intended. I disagree with you more often than I agree with you, but I generally respect your ability to express your views and the thought which you have put into them. Therefore it would never occur to me to imply that you are a dumbass, since I don't think of you as one. I did think your booga booga post was out of line, but didn't even deign to comment on it, if you'll notice. The post you link to was a legitimate question that I sincerely wanted an answer to, which last I checked you had chosen not to provide.
posted by rushmc at 8:36 AM on June 12, 2002


I actually was on vacation, spending the past 5 days in New Orleans, ignoring the site (not all my fault...

I know you didn't exactly mean it this way, but I for one wouldn't equate your "ignoring the site" with "fault," nor was I trying to imply any sort of dereliction of duty. It just seemed unusual for you to let so much agression go unremarked and unchallenged, and I was puzzled.
posted by rushmc at 8:40 AM on June 12, 2002


I'm in, marquis. Let's call it Project Enduring, err, Decency, or something similarly ridiculous.

Wait, there's pie? Call it whatever you want!
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 8:41 AM on June 12, 2002


maybe we should have a metafilter dueling field. that way, someone can actually call someone out (by throwing a gauntlet at them, or whatever) "take it to metaduel!" and that way it's taken out of the thread and onto the field.

and then if you lose your screen name dies with you. :)
posted by witchstone at 8:45 AM on June 12, 2002


How about "The Pie-Hole Brigade"?
posted by insomnyuk at 8:46 AM on June 12, 2002


Key lime pie?
posted by adampsyche at 8:47 AM on June 12, 2002


There's a thought, witchstone; then we could get rid of all those dumb screen names!

Seriously, what's a good solution? Maybe we need a version of Godwin pertaining to the use of STFU (or similar.)
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 8:56 AM on June 12, 2002


snark happens; even to rush. i think it's fine to let your emotions get the better of you every now and then; how realistic is it otherwise? i know i've gotten upset here. i try to build up my courage to apologize and admit fault, though, and i think that's the best thing people can do here. if you called someone a dumbass, and you regret it, say so.

maybe that sounds silly in an uber-macho world where often it's unthinkable to admit that someone proved you wrong or that you were mistaken. i don't see what the harm really is. will people say:

"oh, that moz, he's such an apologizer. look at that, he totally admitted he was wrong about the name of microsoft's SQL server package. that fucknut; i'll never listen to what he has to say ever again."

or will they say:

"oh, jesus, moz. first you snark out someone for their double post, and now you say you're sorry? first i thought you were a dork, but now i think you're a rat-faced son of a bitch. if matt ever used killfiles on metafilter, you'd so be on mine."

most people don't seem mindful of what they say or how they may hurt others. whatever they can get away with, i suppose.
posted by moz at 9:06 AM on June 12, 2002


First of all, implication is not on the same level as directly worded denigrating personal attacks, which is what I'm complaining about here.

Agreed. My point here was that more subtle provocation can and does often escalate to the personal namecalling you rightly decry.

Secondly, there was no such implication intended. I disagree with you more often than I agree with you, but I generally respect your ability to express your views and the thought which you have put into them. Therefore it would never occur to me to imply that you are a dumbass, since I don't think of you as one.

I'll take your word for it. However, the post was sarcastic, and personally directed. If I was a thinner-skinned fellow :) I might have taken that as a veiled personal attack.

I did think your booga booga post was out of line, but didn't even deign to comment on it, if you'll notice.

That thread and series of posts was my first ever Mefi post, and I was soundly and rightly vilified for it. I apologized and made nice, and with a few notable exceptions (I am human), I have tried to post the subject and not the poster - always business, never personal.

druthers, I would prefer that particular thread be, ahem, forgotten :|

The post you link to was a legitimate question that I sincerely wanted an answer to, which last I checked you had chosen not to provide.

Well, you posit two questions in that thread - one, do I proscrastinate over important things in my life (typically, no) and why do I find pre-emptive vigilance and concern over government intrusion so "threatening" that I react violently against it, to which I would have to reply (a) violently? and (b) I don't. I simply (though snarkily, I'll admit, I was playing on davidmsc's earlier post) stated that my civil liberties seemed to be intact, and, later, would have made mention of the historical context in which far more severe encroachments on civil liberties (think Pearl Harbor and Japanese internment) resulted in far stronger civil liberties over time. I might have added something to the effect that Americans have always traded security for freedom over the long-term, and that the capacity for an American tyrant is hamstrung by the presence of the next election, in this case only two years off.

I didn't respond more promptly because I was sleeping :( But this isn't about me - in the end, I and many Mefi agree with you in that personal attack has become more prevalent lately, and done so for amusement as often as out of passion (which, unlike the former, may be readily forgiven). But Matt has (imo, rightly) refrained from to much overlordly rigidity in an effort to promote all (well, most) speech, not just that which he (or we) prefers. What I have tried to do is stop posting where personal attacks appear. It is difficult, and sometimes I fail, but in the end ignoring provocatory speech is the most effective way of ending it - feed thee not thy trolls, else they come to thy doorsteppe each evening to sup.
posted by UncleFes at 9:08 AM on June 12, 2002


Embroidered air.

Vac.


'damn you xeaphon, don't cut opies transmission node until he's done collating...he was just getting to
the part were Kirby's could be converted into hedge clippers'

i jotted this note down while day dreaming in anger management. (they have good reading material at the 'Y')

"Where wealth is widespread and men are capable of diverse feats of technology, choices are so wide open that a primitive situation arises in which every mans opinion is worth as much as any other's., regardless of what he may contribute to the community as a whole."

(to digress)

"The areas of human activity in which rational, efficient action is deemed appropriate grow yearly. That is fitting, because knowledge, understanding, and power grow. Men no longer beat a stupid child to make him learn, nor sacrifice goats to make rain, nor neglect to use computers to identify stolen cars. It would be equally irrational- a denial of what physiologists and psychologists both can and cannot tell about human nature-to suppose that unmodified reason and calculation can govern men satisfactorily. They need as much rationality as they can get, but they must not, for that reason, neglect the emotions and excitements of life, or the subtleties of human intercourse, or the politically crucial areas of emotional commitment"

-Calder.

that was published in 1970.

posted by clavdivs at 9:15 AM on June 12, 2002


YES ! I have suggested this outlet before.
We could have virtual frying pans and all sorts !

I'll get me coat.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:24 AM on June 12, 2002


They need as much rationality as they can get, but they must not, for that reason, neglect the emotions and excitements of life, or the subtleties of human intercourse, or the politically crucial areas of emotional commitment

Word.


posted by Frasermoo at 9:33 AM on June 12, 2002


You raise some excellent points, Fez. If I may be permitted to respond to them without seeming to attack (which is not my intent)? :)

I'll take your word for it. However, the post was sarcastic, and personally directed.

Sarcastic? Well, maybe. More frustrated, really. As I said, I have been trying to understand the resistance to vigilance attitude that some have, and haven't gotten much farther in my attempts to get a clearer explanation of it than "you're nuts, you're a paranoid whiner, damn lefty, quit picking on us poor conservatives" (aside: it STILL cracks me up to be identified as a lefty...I feel like such a poser...heh). So I tried to draw a specific analogy to clarify what I was asking--that's what it was, not a serious inquiry into your personal procrastination habits. And it was personally directed because I was asking YOU, figuring that you were the most likely to give me a coherent answer.

I and many Mefi agree with you in that personal attack has become more prevalent lately, and done so for amusement as often as out of passion (which, unlike the former, may be readily forgiven). But Matt has (imo, rightly) refrained from to much overlordly rigidity in an effort to promote all (well, most) speech, not just that which he (or we) prefers.

But this isn't really about "different kinds of speech," is it? What I'm objecting to is not a particular "style" or "voice" but juvenile namecalling, ad hominem, personal attacks upon fellow members. This is not just another acceptable variant on posting style but an petty, bullying attempt to shut people up, intimidate or shout them down, ridicule them. Intelligent people should be able to civilly disagree even on matters about which they are passionate.

What I have tried to do is stop posting where personal attacks appear. It is difficult, and sometimes I fail, but in the end ignoring provocatory speech is the most effective way of ending it - feed thee not thy trolls, else they come to thy doorsteppe each evening to sup.

This can be a good approach, but it worries me, and here's why. It empowers those willing to behave badly with the ability to shut down any thread that takes a direction they don't like, or whose premise they disagree with. Ultimately, it stifles discussion rather than stimulating it. If Member X enters a thread and starts cursing and insulting the other participants, and everyone responds by leaving, the thread dies--we all lose.

I don't think there is a perfect solution, but I think a critical first step is for all members to make it clearly known that personal attacks are neither appreciate nor tolerated here, that this is a place for discussion of ISSUES, and if one has to make it personal, they should leave and go back to Usenet or AOL or whatever other hole they crawled out of.
posted by rushmc at 9:38 AM on June 12, 2002


(posted too fast...that should read "ISSUES or SITES or LINKS)
posted by rushmc at 9:39 AM on June 12, 2002


They need as much rationality as they can get, but they must not, for that reason, neglect the emotions and excitements of life, or the subtleties of human intercourse, or the politically crucial areas of emotional commitment

That's a great quote, clavdivs, and I couldn't agree with it more. I do not, however, in any way, shape or form see it as carte blanche to "wig out" or launch a personal attack upon a fellow member.
posted by rushmc at 9:41 AM on June 12, 2002


rushmc - If Member X enters a thread and starts cursing and insulting the other participants, and everyone responds by leaving, the thread dies--we all lose.


Everyone doesn't have to leave the thread. Just ignore the name-caller and converse with those who want to have a civil discussion. If someone starts calling me names and I have any suspicion that they might have a legitimate cause for anger (perhaps due to misunderstanding a comment of mine), I'll politely ask the cause of this anger and offer to apologize if I've done wrong. Otherwise, I'll just ignore the person who clearly doesn't want to talk politely. Why ignore the people who are being reasonable in order to respond to an asshole? "Self-defense" is a lousy excuse. Being rude to a rude person doesn't improve my quality of life, or increase the chances that they will stop being rude.

posted by tdismukes at 10:19 AM on June 12, 2002


Did someone mention pie? I'd like to recommend the Hostess Apple Pies, they're quite good. Mmmmmm ;)
posted by iconomy at 11:35 AM on June 12, 2002


Well said, tdismukes. Only, when not all parties similarly ignore the person making personal attacks, it can come across as condoning or even approving the behavior, both to the insulted party and to the readers of the site as a whole. I still think it's important to condemn inappropriate behavior (not people), for this reason.
posted by rushmc at 11:58 AM on June 12, 2002


< joking >
I prefer Hostess Cherry Pies, you insufferable wench!
</ joking >
posted by me3dia at 12:22 PM on June 12, 2002


You know what pisses me off? That McDonalds stopped deep frying their apple pies, and started baking them. Sure, it was years ago that they made this diabolical switch, but I have been tortured ever since, with artery-clogging dreams of the apple pies of yore...

Oh, the humanity...
posted by adampsyche at 1:41 PM on June 12, 2002


but my point (which you seem to agree with) is that it is TOTALLY inappropriate to indulge in this sort of thing here, -rushmc

If, otoh, you mean "rational, considerate, non-flaming discussion" when you say "common value of the community," then I agree, -rushmc

Unlike our last discussion, we are in complete accord on this subject.

The wonderful thing about online discussions is that you can very easily avoid people who are being rude, obnoxious and shout. In this case, if you ignore them, they will go away, and if they don't, they will eventually get banned.

The problem is when discussions turn into arguments and the subtle provocation does its work...somebody gets upset and loses it. So, what's the point of subtle provocation? What is a person trying to do when they irk another with vague innuendo but to demean them and make them react? It strikes me as a power game, not a discussion. Just a thought.
posted by ashbury at 2:09 PM on June 12, 2002


Just to add my two pennies 'orth. Having just been befuddled by a thread discussing (I use the term loosely) the exit of argentina from the world cup I know I can rest easy and bask in the glow of my fellow englishman's unstinting sportsmanship. Hmm I wonder why we are perceived as a bunch of uneducated cretins.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:13 PM on June 12, 2002


The wonderful thing about online discussions is that you can very easily avoid people who are being rude, obnoxious and shout.

Can you? Certainly you can choose not to respond to them, but can you deny that they can have a direct and significant effect upon the timber of conversation? And if others rise to their bait, the whole thread can go in a direction that is impossible to ignore (though one may struggle to maintain one's original stream within it).
posted by rushmc at 2:26 PM on June 12, 2002


One wonders what newbies and lurkers think of all the sniping and flaming. I would think it would be intimidating in the least, and cause to dismiss the entire community in the worst.

That said, I think there has always been a class of online people who relish flamewars as a spectator sport... as well as a select few who enjoy being in the middle of it.
posted by crunchland at 3:18 PM on June 12, 2002


"Hello, we're Moebius, Larricles, and Curliculitus"

--only to the 4th power or so.

H'mm, I, for one, would prefer More Curlys, Less Moes.

(I'm unsure of the most elegant plurals for Curliculitus and Moebius to rewrite the proposed MetaFilterian Variation but heck, I'd settle for more Curlys, less Moebii, for that matter...)
posted by y2karl at 4:32 PM on June 12, 2002


rushmc, your point is well made. Often the original subject becomes tangential to the thread. Sometimes it's a welcome change and sometimes not. Altho the louder people can seem to dominate the thread, the discussion can also become more interesting, or simply degenerate into a disgusting mess. I think it sometimes depends on the thread subject.

crunchland, I admit to sometimes enjoying a good flamewar. I am simply amazed at how wittily nasty people can get. I feel shame.
posted by ashbury at 4:39 PM on June 12, 2002


everyone I know that lives there calls it a "third world country" when it comes to technology and I can see why now)

Not to derail or anything... but... I'm originally from Louisiana, and my AIM name is Third World Nath, because of it. So this cracks me up.
posted by nath at 5:43 PM on June 12, 2002


witchstone : "maybe we should have a metafilter dueling field"

aka The Ring of Death
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:18 PM on June 12, 2002


Just ignore the name-caller and converse with those who want to have a civil discussion.

I'll do you one better. Next time it happens, just tell the guy it was uncalled for and let him apologize. If he does, fine. If not, then there's a whole community of people that can all tell him to be quiet. Not so much returning his name calling as just telling him to go away. That type of thing can be very effective.

In a world in which every idiot with even one working hand and a keyboard can spout whatever twisted gibberish he wants, the only form of quality control really available to us is public humiliation.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 6:38 PM on June 12, 2002


While I'm at it : on the rise of vicious personal attacks. (March 13, 2001)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:48 PM on June 12, 2002


Maybe I should clarify why I posted that last archive link : not to be a 'see, the more it changes the more it stays the same' smartass (well, not entirely), but to point in the general direction of history and continuity while striking an heroic pose and making Significant Faces.

There've been quite a few times recently, a significant upsurge in fact, when I wanted to tell someone to 'shut the fuck up' (as I am sure there have been many times that people have wanted to say the same thing to me), and I think this is at least in part because that kind of shitty behaviour is gaining some currency. This is a pity.

I've also really wanted to call some people out on the floor for acting like squalling infants lately, and I haven't, perhaps because there's ample evidence around of my own occasional lapses in good judgement.

The reason I point back to threads that long ago discussed this kind of thing, when there were only a tenth or a fifth of the number of people here, is that I don't want the doomsayers to be right. I don't want this place to be beyond redemption. I don't want this turn to into Fark or (insert forum chock-full-o'-cretins here). I don't want all of the good people (so many of whom put in appearances in the two archive threads I just linked to and so many of whom I miss a great deal), so many of whom have left Metafilter as active participants, to have been right when they (publically or otherwise) declared that it just wasn't worth it to participate here anymore.

Does that make sense?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:08 PM on June 12, 2002


Sure, some remarks are uncalled for, but we all know there are a lot of trouble-makers out there who need to be pulled into line. If you can't take the heat, don't post, I say.
posted by claire at 9:10 PM on June 12, 2002


crunchland said: One wonders what newbies and lurkers think of all the sniping and flaming. I would think it would be intimidating in the least, and cause to dismiss the entire community in the worst.

OK. Here goes. (deep DEEP breath):

I am a long time lurker, newbie, and can only give my opinion and do not speak for all the other newbies and lurkers. That said: some of you completely frighten me. Some of you inspire me. Some of you make me laugh until I almost fall out of my chair. But most of you cause me to think. Think long and hard about what is going on in the world; by posting your links, your thoughts and your arguments.
I thought long and hard before making the one post I've made to the front page. I wanted to participate, I wanted to feel like I wasn't just here to be here. I want to be a part of MetaFilter. (and yes, it is just a website, but it's a damn fine one.)
I'm guilty of taking bait. I'm guilty of lashing back. And I didn't enjoy it one bit, and now just choose to ignore it.
Honestly: I could care less about a lot of the posts being made, but I read the comments from the other members and often gain an incredible amount of insight on a subject that I would normally not read about. And for that: thanks guys and gals.
posted by gummi at 9:15 PM on June 12, 2002


Hey, gummi, I was there not so long ago myself. It becomes readily apparent who you disagree with, who you agree with, and who you aren't going to give any credence to. But it still frustrates me that there's nothing we can do about the snipers, the flamers, because I don't want to listen to them.

Perhaps I am selfish. Perhaps I should realize that it is, after all, all speech, and perhaps it should all be listened to.

I wanted to participate, I wanted to feel like I wasn't just here to be here. I want to be a part of MetaFilter

I hope a lot of people still feel the same way. I do. But lately there's been a lot of things being said that make this a place I want less to be a part of, and I'm not sure how to fix it.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 9:39 PM on June 12, 2002


So it's about civility...

Friends, know this: in life there will always be a collection of manic little lap dogs yapping at your ankles. They rarely bite (not that they could break the skin in any event), and never dare to really confront. I'm not saying some of our fellow posters here are dogs, but forgive me...the nervous yips do seem analogous at times.

In other words, I'm not sure it's really possible to expect much civility in these cases.

One would hope that those who become gripped by some sort of ongoing emotional turmoil about a post or a poster would take such discussion outside the forum. For example, the person commenting on my post above, "darukaru" originally found time months ago to complain loudly that I had no email address (and "darukaru" was never able to explain why numerous other email-less MeFites...MeFites no doubt more acceptable to "darukaru" in their viewpoints...were not also singled out). Oddly, despite the burning need expressed at that time to contact me, and despite more than one invitation from me to "darukaru" (and others) to contact me by phone or mail (including the offer of telephoning collect), "darukaru" has never been able to do so. I'm willing to give him or her the benefit of the doubt, and so I just assume he or she has no access to a telephone, or to the United States Postal System.

The same goes for anyone else. If you have any name-calling or insulting to do to me personally (or to insult anyone else...contact them personally...by email, or hell, let's ALL post our telephone numbers and addresses), why not just call collect and do it "like a man" instead of dirtying up our poor long-suffering MetaFilter/MetaTalk and irking our poor long-suffering moderator?

Or, if like one MeFite who called at considerable expense from overseas with good words, you're always free to contact me for that as well. Maybe we'd both learn something...

However, I don't have a great deal of faith that my call for personal confrontation will be very popular among those who resort to insults here, because basically a) those who insult seem to be ill-equipped to refute an argument, and b) the ideas that irk them most are largely irrefutable. Insults are all these people have.

So as I've said before, just ignore the yapping. It means nothing.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 9:50 PM on June 12, 2002


Gee, foldy, I guess you weren't here for the times I called out MeFi's other most popular troll, Pat McGroin, AKA RightWinger, AKA PrivateParts. Whose views I also vehemently disagreed with. You must have also missed that thread where I argued my views on 'midnight gardening' without resorting to calling anyone murderers, pedophiles, or Nazis. And any number of other threads where I respond to people without expressing overt contempt for their ideas. Sure, I have my jerky moments, but who doesn't? Unlike you, I realize sometimes that I've crossed the line, and I have been known to apologize for it. *shrug* Hey, I don't care what you think of me. That leads me to my next point:
I have absolutely zero interest contacting people on the Internet off the Internet, especially when the response will be yet another predictable-to-the-last-~chuckle~ tirade on what a self-deluded doublethinking greedpig…Republican I obviously am. If you don't like it, I don't give a wet slap.
By the way, my email address is visible in my profile. Why don't you send me a message that way, if you're so bent on having a frank exchange of views? y2karl knows it works, he's contacted me and gotten a response before.
Take my challenge.
posted by darukaru at 10:12 PM on June 12, 2002


Yeah, but it was about kitties, let me add for the record. ;)

Everybody loves kitties.
posted by y2karl at 10:38 PM on June 12, 2002


Gee darukaru, I guess I just didn't get it before now. You're really an impartial, balanced "troll policeman!" Regardless of their political views, you merely "call out" those you judge to be trolls! You "call out" those who "call names" and who may be "uncivil" regardless of your own political viewpoints. I get it now.

And I'm particularly interested in the extensive "calling out" you did of the right wing "troll" you specifically mentioned. (But do post links to all your "calling out" work, will you?) I assume you made an enormous fuss over his/her lack of an email address, just as you have policed all MetaFites for email addresses regardless of their viewpoints, right? Please post links to all that "calling out" you did of him. Then I'll be glad to post all the links to your collective and reasoned commentary on my posts. Just for comparison.

Seems like there's been a lot of name-calling and uncivility here lately. Who have you "called out" recently? And why oh why are you mentioned above as an example of uncivil behavior? Are you planning to "call out" yourself? When?

Christ what childishness. I have just emailed you. After making an enormous issue over your inability to contact me, you have had my name, my address, my telephone number, and an invitation to use them for months. You were the one decrying the inability for a "frank exchange". Yet, when the opportunity for such an exchange presented itself, you consistently turned it down.

So much for your "challenge" - mine (if you can call it that) has been there in front of you for some time. Now you have even more ways of contacting me about whatever problem you may have with me. My feeling is that the "community" here would have been more civil and better off if you had done so to begin with. I invite you yet again to avail yourself of one of those means of communication.


posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:46 AM on June 13, 2002


... or hell, let's ALL post our telephone numbers and addresses.

Ummmm.... no. No. No. No.

The last thing I need is evanizer telling me "Ignoratio elenchi!" down the telephone line at 4 in the morning. No, no, no.

But I imagine your point is that it's such a lot easier to be confrontational in this non-confrontational manner of posting messages on a disembodied, relatively non-personal message board than it would be to pick up the phone and tell it to me personally.

Still. No thank you very much.
posted by crunchland at 3:36 AM on June 13, 2002


Well, at any rate, I was pleasantly surprised that you actually mailed me. And out of courtesy I'll refrain from posting your address here. But I still prefer to keep what's online online, and what's offline off. You, being such a tolerant and congenial fellow, can understand and respect my decisions. Right?
posted by darukaru at 3:57 AM on June 13, 2002


Oh, look who's trying to make himself the center of a discussion. How completely unprecendented, and how completely un-troll-like.
posted by NortonDC at 4:54 AM on June 13, 2002


No kidding. Hey, fold, if you're going to berate people for not contacting you personally when they have a problem with you, put your e-mail address or home page link in your profile. It's the year 2002, dude.

Otherwise, if you're going to insist upon rules for how you may be acceptably contacted, why not go the whole Megillah and demand that people who have a problem with you drop by your house?
posted by rcade at 6:02 AM on June 13, 2002


Hey, I'm up for it, as long as foldy has some beer in the fridge!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:11 AM on June 13, 2002


And he's picked up all his dirty underwear off the floor!
posted by y2karl at 6:25 AM on June 13, 2002


And, once again, somehow, some people have to make this about politics, rather than politeness; creed, rather than decency. sigh.

Does anyone really CARE if fold_and_mutilate is far left or MidasMulligan is far right or whatever?!? So long as they make the effort to clearly and effectively make their arguments and share their viewpoints, without resorting to personal attacks upon those who happen to disagree with them on a particular issue, who CARES about their politics? Are you all a bunch of missionaries with a deep compulsion to convert anyone and everyone who dares disagree with you about something? Labels are lies. People are individuals. Everyone here can learn something from everyone else here, if they'd just be willing to lower their sabres, lower their guards, and listen. It's not about proving to a mass of anonymous people that you are right; it's about leaving this place more right than you got here, having examined and challenged your beliefs, listened to other viewpoints, and LEARNED something. At least that's how I view it...perhaps some of you are already perfect and always right. Certainly some of you act at times like you believed so.

"We're all in this together."
posted by rushmc at 7:01 AM on June 13, 2002


The last thing I need is evanizer telling me "Ignoratio elenchi!" down the telephone line at 4 in the morning. No, no, no.

Darling, if I call anyone at 4 AM, that's probably the last thing I'm going to say. More than likely, I'd make inquiries as to what you might be wearing.

As our friend foldy would say- ~wink~

:-)
posted by evanizer at 7:18 AM on June 13, 2002


Darling, if I call anyone at 4 AM, that's probably the last thing I'm going to say. More than likely, I'd make inquiries as to what you might be wearing.

I got fifty bucks that says Evanizer wears red silk to bed...or one of those Ally McBeal pale blue numbers with the clouds all over it.
posted by ColdChef at 7:50 AM on June 13, 2002


Well, at any rate, I was pleasantly surprised that you actually mailed me. And out of courtesy I'll refrain from posting your address here. But I still prefer to keep what's online online, and what's offline off. You, being such a tolerant and congenial fellow, can understand and respect my decisions. Right?

Buddy, it's not a courtesy for you not to post my email address here...I expect and trust that you will not do so here or anyplace else. But in any event, I also trust that you and I can now have a bit of a dialog outside MetaFilter (in a form that doesn't really take into account my preferences for communication modes...but so be it).

Thank you for your email reply.

Oh, look who's trying to make himself the center of a discussion. How completely unprecendented, and how completely un-troll-like.

I see. Posting in a thread in which I have been mentioned before even entering the thread is making myself the center of discussion. In fact, your comment is what is actually helping guide the discussion toward a particular center, is it not?

And there's that word again...troll, used readily by some to label and deride those with whom they disagree. I think such personal labeling has some pertinence to the thread above, does it not?

No kidding. Hey, fold, if you're going to berate people for not contacting you personally when they have a problem with you, put your e-mail address or home page link in your profile. It's the year 2002, dude.

Email addresses were not a requirement to post here. There are a number of downsides associated with people emailing others from here, e.g. spam, the potential for having to check more than one email account, etc. Not the least of these downsides seems to have been a form of MetaFilter-associated "email-bombing." It's frankly just a nuisance.

It was not I who made an issue of this "personal contact if you have a problem with me" thingie. When others made that an issue, I provided a reasonable means to contact me, while suiting my own preference for not publishing an email address. Several people didn't seem to have any problem calling me to voice support (including one from overseas), yet not a single person (including all those who originally made this "personal contact" thing such an issue) made such personal contact to criticize, even after the original fire and brimstone about how important that was "to the community".

As I've said before, I find that largely unsurprising. But perhaps there are good reasons other than what my dumb, leftist, salad-suffused brain can conjure.

Otherwise, if you're going to insist upon rules for how you may be acceptably contacted, why not go the whole Megillah and demand that people who have a problem with you drop by your house?

The demands are not mine, as noted. And do let me know how many do not have access to a telephone, or to the postal system. This is 2002, you know dude.

~wink~

Folks...I'm up as usual for you bashing my ideas. I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that you were up for others to batter yours a bit. For those who sadly feel the need to crank into personal invective mode, the opportunity is there (and has been, in my case) for that to happen quite easily outside MetaFilter.

For some reason it continues to happen here, which I believe was the topic of the thread above. I can't help but notice that those who post email addresses here have personal invective heaped upon them on MetaFilter anyway...so much for that panacea.

It's not going to bother me much to see a continuation of the behavior condemned above. As I note above, it is commonplace.

As our friend foldy would say- ~wink~

See? It's not troll-like...it's endearing.

~chuckle~

Have a nice day, all.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:02 AM on June 13, 2002


fold_and_mutilate
>Oh, look who's trying to make himself the center of a
>discussion. How completely unprecendented, and how
>completely un-troll-like.

I see. Posting in a thread in which I have been mentioned before even entering the thread is making myself the center of discussion. In fact, your comment is what is actually helping guide the discussion toward a particular center, is it not?


Excuse me? Where did I quote your words or use your name? Or are you assuming this conversation is about you?

Or are you making this conversation about you? Typical.
posted by NortonDC at 8:12 AM on June 13, 2002


Who were you referring to, if not f_and_m, NortonDC?
posted by Marquis at 8:28 AM on June 13, 2002


i try to avoid any personal insults and have done for a long time, but i gotta say that alot of you are beginning to sound like proper old farts.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:54 AM on June 13, 2002


There are a number of downsides associated with people emailing others from here, e.g. spam, the potential for having to check more than one email account, etc.

And a number of upsides, such as the ability to work out personality clashes privately instead of inflicting them on the rest of us.

E-mail addresses on MetaFilter are no longer public to non-members. Your chances of getting spam that way are extremely low at this point.

If you are legitimately concerned with the site's "poor long-suffering moderator," as you stated earlier, you'll provide a way for people to contact you via e-mail. As someone who is constantly stirring up shit around here, I think you owe it to the community, as do the rest of us who share that trait.

Your whole shtick is that you make no excuses for being a rhetorical hard-ass. Why are you working so hard to make excuses for your lack of a means of contact? There are occasional times your behavior comes so close to normal human socialization that I have been in danger of liking you. Since you've affixed yourself to MetaFilter like a parasitic fungus, maybe it's time you took another baby-step into the community and put up some kind of contact information.
posted by rcade at 8:56 AM on June 13, 2002


Monorail !
Monorail !
Monorail !


sorry...
posted by Frasermoo at 9:00 AM on June 13, 2002


Does anyone really CARE if fold_and_mutilate is far left or MidasMulligan is far right or whatever?!?

No, I don't. I happen to disagree with Midas on, apparently, everything under the sun, but he is clear and concise about his opinions. That's cool.

Fold, on the other hand, is the worst thing that has ever happened to this site, and I'm pretty sure he knows it, and revels in it. See above. Can you name anyone else with such an insufferable writing style and tone? But hey, if you really, really have a problem with him, you can always contact him via carrier pigeon or spin-down electron transmission. It's all part of being in the community.

posted by Skot at 9:00 AM on June 13, 2002


*cue Carly Simon*

You're so vain, you prob'ly think this thread is about you, don't you, don't you?

Who'd athunk it? A thread about lack of civility and name-calling degenerating into...

This is really silly.
posted by groundhog at 9:06 AM on June 13, 2002


Mono...d'oh!
posted by Ty Webb at 9:41 AM on June 13, 2002


I can name one, Skot.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 9:52 AM on June 13, 2002


I find it depressing that fold_and_mutilate, after having been accused of hiding behind anonymity, should make himself entirely available to anyone wishing to contact him(going as far as to pay for collect calls)and then be berated for not offering his... e-mail address.

E-mail addresses are free and notoriously easy to hide and hide behind. He could easily set up a hotmail account and assume a false identity. It's been done before, has it not?

Yet this man chooses *shock! horror!* human contact. You know, that thing where one guy speaks and the other one's listening and they actually talk. I remember he offered his home address and said he would welcome anyone who'd wish to drop in for a chat. If people are shy and prefer writing, you could always use "snail mail".

I think his attitude towards others - basically "let's talk" - is at one with his general philosophy. It's human. It stands for life, for respecting life and living things. Otherwise why would he pay to listen to those who stand for different things?

People may say "this is 2002"(like it's a big thing and we've really evolved) but imagine *shock! horror!* that it was 1982. The issues are still the same. People are still the same. What else could we do, except talk? Talking is good. When human beings meet and talk, no matter how opposite their interests and viewpoints, something good happens. However small, it's better than mutual ignorance and hate.

Anyway - this is the part I don't get - what's so bleeding wonderful about e-mail? They're still written messages from strangers, with no real interaction, or responsibility. They're cute, quick and free - that's about all. How did humanity make it until the 1980's without e-mail?

Ah, if only people really wanted to keep personal attacks out of MetaFilter and discuss issues...with real people. As opposed to cute monickers with that beacon of honesty and full disclosure which is an e-mail account.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:34 AM on June 13, 2002


but he is clear and concise about his opinions.

He does write a good sentence, grammatically speaking, and far better than anything I can do but concise?

Brother...

MidasMulligan is interesting, when he's not beating the same dead horse of the wonderful gifts of corporation--which is next to never anymore--but he beats that dead horse in such an in-your-face and provocative way that it almost always draws retorts. And as he has this wieird code of ethics dlineated here, where he purports to be giving people the benefit of the doubt, and engaging at the level of ideas, and only responds to personal attacks. In my experience, even the mildest teasing, let alone mere heated disagreement without any name calling, draws sneering, personal attacks at ten times the length and original of whatever prompting, and always with all this sneering and belittling, as hicandenza noted.

It's as if his unwritten rule is to never lose an argument on any level, never concede to making any error or uncalled, inappropriate comment, and never addressing another as an equal who happens to simply disagree. It's an approach guaranteed to draw more and more fire, prompting longer and longer flames from him. The screen is filled, one could get carpal tunnel simply from scrolling past them.

fold_and_mutilate oftenmightily violates social convention hereabouts but my money's on Midas for being the one to drop the bigger turd in the conversational punchbowl more often.

And I know I have dropped a few of my own slagging him in the past and I've noted the heat I've gotten for doing so. I hate bringing him up here, by the way, as he's evidently out of town and it doesn't seem quite fair to talk about him in his absence, but I couldn't resist that concise... I'm sure he'll write something biblical in length here when he returns, though.

I've been snotty to people in the heat of the moment who annoyed me, much to my later regret--for example, dhartung used to annoy me with his encyclopedic length comments but I've come to respect him for his encyclopedic links and interests, and his new found concision. He has his bias but shows a great deal on intellectual integrity , which is something I respect.

I'm trying to bite my tongue these days but it's not always easy...

upon review, I have to agree with Miguel above on fold's reluctance to use email--what's the big deal?--and as long as we're talking about anonymous accounts, I can think of anothe example...

And when's iconomy going to fix that picture?
posted by y2karl at 10:44 AM on June 13, 2002


Yet this man chooses *shock! horror!* human contact.

What's human about snail mail that isn't also human about e-mail, Miguel?
posted by rcade at 10:59 AM on June 13, 2002


And when's iconomy going to fix that picture?

I've been wondering too, no matter many times I refresh it, nothing shows up :(
posted by insomnyuk at 11:08 AM on June 13, 2002


rcade: writing?
posted by i_cola at 11:16 AM on June 13, 2002


It's as if his unwritten rule is to never lose an argument on any level, never concede to making any error or uncalled, inappropriate comment, and never addressing another as an equal who happens to simply disagree.

Without commenting on the applicability of this description to MM, I will say that I think it makes an excellent picture of too many here, and it is the attitude I most loathe.
posted by rushmc at 11:17 AM on June 13, 2002


Ah, if only people really wanted to keep personal attacks out of MetaFilter and discuss issues...with real people.

Other than autoresponders, I don't know of many email accounts without real people behind them somewhere, Miguel. I understand what you are saying, but I think you are revealing a bias toward a certain kind of interpersonal communication that should be judged neutral rather than necessarily superior. It is easy to imagine that you, yourself, are of a type to enjoy and even prefer face-to-face interaction with people; not all are, nor should they have to be. Certainly, talking with people can be a great thing, and it can be an effective way of clearing up some of the misunderstandings that commonly arise due to this particular medium. But the Metafilter forum is also superior to face-to-face discussions in some ways, which is partially why we choose to utilize this channel.

I think it is entirely appropriate for people to choose to reject invitations to move beyond the parameters established for this forum and "personalize" relationships here beyond the degree that they desire to do (or are comfortable doing). It is fine for someone to offer to extend the channels of contact, whether it is fold_and_mutilate making his phone number available or someone planning a Mefi gathering in Seattle. But to in any way enforce these extensions upon someone who only signed up for a bulletin board system is wrong, IMO. People seemed quite ready to condemn an incident in which someone telephoned Matt without solicitation or permission, breaking the inherent communal barrier; surely we all enjoy the same right (or even more so, as non-administrators) not to have unwanted communications with other users forced upon us?

People feel differently about issues like privacy, socializing, and their identities, and I don't think it's right to try to drag others into your own comfort zone.
posted by rushmc at 11:31 AM on June 13, 2002


Love that kitty page...
posted by websavvy at 11:32 AM on June 13, 2002


Hey, does this mean you won't be coming to Lisbon after all, rushmc? Why you...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:07 PM on June 13, 2002


Glad you like the kitties, websavvy, but they aren't really mine; I just mirrored a page which not long after went down.
posted by darukaru at 12:36 PM on June 13, 2002


People feel differently about issues like privacy, socializing, and their identities, and I don't think it's right to try to drag others into your own comfort zone.

However, if we weren't all depersonalized, disembodied screen names, we might be less apt to tear into each other, or at least not so heartily. That's mostly true for the online community I run, whose core users have all known each other for years. Don't really know how it would work here, though. No way would I be able to remember 14000+ phone numbers or first names.

I've considered changing my screen name here to my real name, though. Don't really know where Matt stands on that issue.
posted by crunchland at 12:48 PM on June 13, 2002


However, if we weren't all depersonalized, disembodied screen names, we might be less apt to tear into each other, or at least not so heartily.

That may be true, ideally. But would it be worth what we gave up? I think not. And in any case, it isn't really practical in a forum of this size, is it? As you say, there are just too many people participating to in any real sense "depersonalize" the screen names, other than for a certain small core group, and that could just lead to entrenching the "A-List" feelings that people already have.

Me, I don't WANT to know any more about the vast majority of people here. I like reading each of their posts fresh, with few or no preconceptions or expectations. Except for the most blatant cases, I rarely remember who has said what in the past. Most people could post X on Wednesday and -X on the following Monday and I'd be none the wiser. Nor would I care, so long as both posts were interesting and well done.

I still don't see why it isn't just as reasonable for us all to acknowledge that screen names are people too and to try to respond to and interact with them with the consideration and respect that we would give to anyone. Anonymity should not even be a factor in whether or not someone deserves to be treated with respect.
posted by rushmc at 1:14 PM on June 13, 2002


Hey, does this mean you won't be coming to Lisbon after all, rushmc? Why you...

Hmm...my post disappeared...

Ha! You're not getting off that easily. Why assume that my comments in any way reflect my own feelings about the issue? My email and website are posted; my screen name is my real name. However, I am quite capable of appreciating how others feel about the issue, and acknowledging their concerns (which is not to imply that you aren't).
posted by rushmc at 1:53 PM on June 13, 2002


Hey, everyone sure does love to wax nostalgic about the good ol' days of MeFi. I'm too recent of a convert to know them. Does anyone have a favorite thread they could link to, par example?
posted by gsteff at 2:07 PM on June 13, 2002


rcade: writing?

Odd, most of my email is in the written form.

Hey, everyone sure does love to wax nostalgic about the good ol' days of MeFi. I'm too recent of a convert to know them. Does anyone have a favorite thread they could link to, par example?

http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/19
posted by ljromanoff at 2:57 PM on June 13, 2002


Still got it in for MidasMulligan, haven't you y2karl?
posted by evanizer at 3:27 PM on June 13, 2002


nope.
posted by y2karl at 3:39 PM on June 13, 2002


Damn. Were all the old threads like that?

On preview: look at the date on the last post! Are you posting dead threads now, crunch?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 3:51 PM on June 13, 2002


Nah. I've always been here.
posted by crunchland at 3:56 PM on June 13, 2002


this is the part I don't get - what's so bleeding wonderful about e-mail?

Nope, you don't get it.
posted by kindall at 5:08 PM on June 13, 2002


Wow. I looked at the subject of that post and tried to brace myself for the commentary. But I was totally unprepared.
posted by gsteff at 6:43 PM on June 13, 2002


I think the A group divided themselves into ideological and temperamental subgroups and for the mildest perceived provokation mass into attack. Perhaps periodic name changes would deconstruct old notions of identity and promote ideas to be discussed rather than the preconceptions attached to the names.

Me? I offer no clues that would allow getting me boxed into positions that I'd be obliged to eternally defend besides whatever clues my words and links provide, which isn't much because my preference is not to lecture. Of course this way, being an unknown quantity, I'm mostly ignored.
posted by semmi at 9:43 PM on June 13, 2002


But hey, if you really, really have a problem with him, you can always contact him via carrier pigeon or spin-down electron transmission.

No Skot. You yourself and most anyone else can extend their index finger, flex it slightly, then (follow me closely here) bring it down gently approximately 10 times on a plastic device I'd wager right at this moment is within arm's reach of you. Five seconds, maximum...synchronize watches....GO!

Imagine that convenience. Imagine that capability, in this day and age. Imagine that two people could actually talk, hearing at least nuance of voice if not body language....immediately getting feedback in a matter of seconds rather than in hours. Imagine the potential breakthroughs in understanding (or not, but I live in hope). Imagine the possibility of learning. Imagine me conspiratorially admitting on the phone sotto voce that I think the Bush daughters are hotter than Britney Spears. Imagine anger dissipating. Imagine small birds singing Disney songs (corporate bastards!) in the background. Imagine the sound of laughter instead of the cold glow of emoticons.

Imagine actually treating one another like real, sentient, sacred beings...instead of shouting pixels at one another.

Or course, there are apparently humans who just can't bring themselves to personally confront someone no matter what. I guess they'd then probably prefer what seems to be the safety and banality and blandness of email.

~shrug~

I prefer my interactions a little more lusty. Try it, you might be surprised.

And a number of upsides, such as the ability to work out personality clashes privately instead of inflicting them on the rest of us.

rcade, I supplied contact information for just that purpose. I have not inflicted these "personality clashes" on anyone. Those who have insisted upon continual and public invective here on MetaFilter and in MetaTalk are the ones who have done the inflicting on "the rest of us", which as you may now recall was the topic of the original post above. It seems to me your tantrum is strangely misdirected toward someone who supplied part of the solution to this problem months ago. I wonder why that is...

E-mail addresses on MetaFilter are no longer public to non-members. Your chances of getting spam that way are extremely low at this point.

I believe they were in fact public back when all the hullabaloo was originally raised about my not having an email address, based on the email name-mangling common then. And my understanding is that the recent "email bombings" that prompted a number of folks here to modify their listings had something to do with a member of the "community". I could be wrong. But frankly, based on the level of discourse exhibited by some "members", I wouldn't be surprised.

Really folks, if the phone is too scary for you, just drop me a line. If you leave a return address I'll write you a friendly letter back, but if you want you can just call me a parasite or discuss my level of normal human socialization anonymously by mail. That's pretty much on the same level as calling names here, but it does have the benefit of sparing the "community".

Why are you working so hard to make excuses for your lack of a means of contact?

What exact GODDAMNED lack of a means of contact are you talking about? You have my mailing address: anonymously send me photos of cheeseburgers. You have my street address: drop by and leave a cow head on my pillow and Italian music on the stereo for me to awaken to. You have my phone number: call collect and sing me the fucking "Star Spangled Banner."

~sheesh~

There are occasional times your behavior comes so close to normal human socialization that I have been in danger of liking you. Since you've affixed yourself to MetaFilter like a parasitic fungus, maybe it's time you took another baby-step into the community and put up some kind of contact information.

~sigh~

Somehow, I'm not surprised. In the exact same post that you decry the inflicting of personality clashes on "the rest of us", you do precisely what you condemn. You weren't capable of lifting a finger to bravely speak into a phone to give me your constructive criticism on my lack of "human socialization" or my various parasitic qualities (bring out the leeches!) and so spare the community your own personal invective. Instead, you chose to inflict it on the "community". Unbelievable...

Looks like (to use your "baby step" analogy) that you're in fact the one still crawling toward community -- diapers needing emptying of a certain hypocrisy. If I recall, your kind of behavior seems to have been the topic that brought us all here today, wouldn't you agree? And once again, I marvel at the doublethink exhibited by some in this (Rod Serling voice) odd little corner of cyberspace.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:43 AM on June 14, 2002


So, you got any beer in the fridge, or what?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:29 AM on June 14, 2002


What exact GODDAMNED lack of a means of contact are you talking about?

E-mail. The same network of communication we're using here. Speaking as a fellow fungus, I make my home page available so people can e-mail me off the site if a disagreement becomes personal, as it has done from time to time. No muss, no fuss, no lusty interactions.
posted by rcade at 6:17 AM on June 14, 2002


fold, I may be insane, or didn't see your initial delcaration of your address and phone #, but I see neither in your profile.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 4:08 PM on June 14, 2002


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