reminder to put your location in your question October 9, 2013 9:13 AM   Subscribe

The answers to this question depended largely upon the location and culture of the asker, yet most of the answers were US-based and thus not that useful. Two lessons here: 1) let's not assume we're all in the US; 2) let's remember to put our location in the question.

-- posted from the Dairy State
posted by desjardins to Etiquette/Policy at 9:13 AM (106 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

I learned via Metafilter that it is verboten to not have an open bar at a wedding in the US. Like the guests-to-the-reception-only thing, it wouldn't even have occured to me that these are considered rude in the States, as they are very very common in the UK.

Mind you, people are apparently doing baby showers here now, so who knows if that will change.
posted by mippy at 9:34 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, not that it would have helped in this case, but 3) people will sometimes answer questions without looking at your profile for your location. (I'm not sure who is more at fault here, but it's another assumption people make.)

(For the record, I think the Dutch way of doing things for weddings as described in the thread sounds awesome.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:34 AM on October 9, 2013


I've posted questions in the past where people have answered as though I was American even though I specified otherwise. One was a computer question, where someone recommended I buy off of NewEgg. Another was where I asked for recommendations for a European holiday with a £500 total budget (note the pound sign) and someoen popped up to advise we go to Asia, which is an awesome idea but flying there from London would have cost us at least £500 each (Cambodia was £700 return last time I checked. Goddamnit. I envy you Americans and your cheaper access to the Caribbean, Mexico and other places that cost a fucking fortune to get to from here.)

I think if you hang around on here for a while, though, you know when you need to specify something - if I was posting a beauty question, for instance, I'd say that I live in a country without Sephora, as otherwise many would recommend that I go there for advice on X as that's what you do in the US/Canada/France etc.

However, that kind of thing is easy. The difficulty comes with issues that we might not realise are very much part of local/national culture or etiquette, because it seems so very normal to us to do things one way or the other - such as weddings, or marrying young/arranged marriages, or staying a virgin until marriage, or whether to circumsize your newborn son. That's where knowing where you;re from and where you're at is very much germaine to the discussion. There was a discussion on a US TV show recently when the Royal Baby was born on whether they would get the infant circumcised - ignorant of the fact that circumcision is generally only carried out in the UK for religious or medical reasons.
posted by mippy at 9:47 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


let's remember to put our location in the question.

I think the better place to store our location is in our profile. So may members ignore this detail.
posted by Rash at 9:49 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


let's not assume we're all in the US

Given that a large majority of Metafilter users ARE in the US, it doesn't seem unreasonable to assume, in the absence of contrary information, that someone is from the US.

In this particular case, once the asker pointed out that she is from Australia and living in the Netherlands, Americans with no experience of Australian or Dutch wedding customs should really stop posting.

I learned via Metafilter that it is verboten to not have an open bar at a wedding in the US.

Even "The US" is probably too broad. I've been to lots of weddings here with cash bars, "honeymoon dances", etc. I've been to other weddings where the guests would be utterly horrified at the idea of pinning a 20 dollar bill the wedding dress of the bride in exchange for a dance.
posted by muddgirl at 10:10 AM on October 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


Oh, I've seen people on discussions kick off at the idea of being asked to contribute cash for a wedding present rather than just letting people know where the list is. Mainly because, apparently, people tend to do this with 'twee little poems'. I think we'd just elope, to be honest, because the MINEFIELD of it all freaks me out.
posted by mippy at 10:22 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I envy you Americans and your cheaper access to the Caribbean, Mexico and other places that cost a fucking fortune to get to from here.

I envy you English people and your cheaper access to the Meditteranean, France and etc.
posted by box at 10:50 AM on October 9, 2013 [36 favorites]


I learned via Metafilter that it is verboten to not have an open bar at a wedding in the US.

The fact that people have very strong opinions about weddings in the US does not mean that those opinions are widely held or necessarily correct.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:52 AM on October 9, 2013 [44 favorites]


I learned via Metafilter that it is verboten to not have an open bar at a wedding in the US.

Don't know many Southern Baptists, I take it.
posted by TedW at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


mippy: "I learned via Metafilter that it is verboten to not have an open bar at a wedding in the US."

Some people may think that, but I wouldn't agree with it.
posted by zarq at 11:03 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I asked this AskMe wedding question, I learned it is tacky to ask your guests to foot the cost no matter where you are!
posted by Kitteh at 11:07 AM on October 9, 2013


It's not that it's verboten to not have an open bar, it's that it's tacky to charge your guests for refreshments. Limited bars and dry weddings are A-OK.
posted by lalex at 11:07 AM on October 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


I swear to god if you ninnies start having an argument about wedding etiquette in here I'm just eloping instead.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:11 AM on October 9, 2013 [42 favorites]


lalex: "It's not that it's verboten to not have an open bar, it's that it's tacky to charge your guests for refreshments. Limited bars and dry weddings are A-OK."

Yes! Exactly.
posted by zarq at 11:19 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


AskMe questions should also come with an open bar.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:22 AM on October 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


MetaTalk before AskMe.
posted by zarq at 11:22 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Imagine the drinking games.
posted by zarq at 11:22 AM on October 9, 2013


Actually, MetaTalk should BE an open bar.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:23 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think the better place to store our location is in our profile. So may members ignore this detail.
Many people (most even?) are not going to click through to the user's profile before answering a question. If the OP's location is relevant to the question, as it was here, it's much more helpful if they state that information in the question itself rather than assuming/hoping that people will take an extra step to find out information that may or may not be there.

Plus, they may be asking about a situation that's in a different location/culture/whatever from their profile location/culture/whatever.
posted by moxiequz at 11:24 AM on October 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


It might not be so obvious with questions like this that location is important - what amazes me is the number of What is this plant in my lawn?" and "Can my landlord legally do this? type of questions that still don't give the location, even though the question can rarely be answered sensibly without it.

Would it be possible to emphasize the relevance of location more in the submission form for asking questions?

(And I don't think that having the location in the poster's profile is enough - readers shouldn't have to click through to the asker's profile before answering the question.)
posted by Azara at 11:26 AM on October 9, 2013


Well, we mention location as one of the few specific examples of useful info to include on the posting page; while for some questions it is clear by its absence that location would have been useful to know up front, for many questions it's not really important at all, so underscoring that in particular more than we already do feels like it'd be a bit of overkill.

Ultimately people aren't going to always do a 100% successful job of framing their questions, and that's sort of just got to be okay. Folks can always for clarifications of followups when it's an issue, so it's a self-correcting problem in general.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:29 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


ASL
posted by HuronBob at 11:31 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


HuronBob: 37/M/kitchen
posted by aubilenon at 11:34 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually, MetaTalk should BE an open bar.

Wait, it's not? What the hell have I been drinking, tea*?!


*yes
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:35 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


once the asker pointed out that she is from Australia and living in the Netherlands, Americans with no experience of Australian or Dutch wedding customs should really stop posting.


Doesn't stop them. Like literally "My experience probably has no relevance to your situation, but here's 3 paragraphs anyway." It's maddening. And while I'm sure this will go down like a cup of cold sick, it smacks of well-meaning but clueless cultural imperialism.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:38 AM on October 9, 2013 [27 favorites]


I am so tempted to make some joke like "Sure, that's what you'd say over there" but I actually totally agree.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:44 AM on October 9, 2013


Would it be possible to emphasize the relevance of location more in the submission form for asking questions?

Literally the third bullet point on the Ask A Question page says

"Include necessary info (your gender, location, operating system, etc). If you want recommendations, include something about your preferences."

so no, I'm not sure we can emphasize that much more.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:47 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


it smacks of well-meaning but clueless cultural imperialism.

Yeah, that was my point. I couldn't even begin to know and explain appropriate wedding etiquette for an Australian in the Netherlands and it'd be obnoxious for me to try.
posted by desjardins at 11:53 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder what proportion of users here actually aren't in the US? Because I'm personally getting sick of being told that well we're mostly from here anyway so tough luck to the rest of you.
posted by shelleycat at 12:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


(and yeah, in my experience it doesn't matter if you specify a non-US location because at least a third of the answers will ignore it)
posted by shelleycat at 12:02 PM on October 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


One of the first replies asked for the location, so I don't think people do automatically assume people are from the US. And while some answers might not be relevent they might still be useful as a comparison, or for someone coming later with the same question but a different location. Also, I like when people slip in a personal anecdote or a random fact, as long as they still answer the question (which most people do.) Learning random facts is one of the joys of this place in general.

Speaking of which,
ignorant of the fact that circumcision is generally only carried out in the UK for religious or medical reasons.

What? That's not true everywhere? There's bound to be a really good thread about this here somewhere...
posted by billiebee at 12:02 PM on October 9, 2013


That is not what I meant by my comment at all - I definitely think people from outside the US are welcome on AskMetafilter, and that it sucks when US site users ignore stated locations, either in profiles or in questions, and just post US-centric advice - it's a form of Internet Answer Syndrome where some people assume that their opinion is super-necessary even when it isn't. I try really hard not to do that.

But if no location is given, then people are going to make assumptions. That's just how Metafilter is, despite many many Metatalk posts begging people not to make assumptions.
posted by muddgirl at 12:05 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh. Nearly every wedding I've been to had wine on the table with the meal, but guests bought their own drinks at the bar afterwards. Is that what you mean by 'charging for refreshments'?

I envy you English people and your cheaper access to the Meditteranean, France and etc.

I booked tickets up to Scotland last week as we're staying with SO's parents. The cost of a one-way ticket for both of us would have bought a return train trip to Paris. That can't be right...
posted by mippy at 12:11 PM on October 9, 2013


Nearly every wedding I've been to had wine on the table with the meal, but guests bought their own drinks at the bar afterwards. Is that what you mean by 'charging for refreshments'?

Yes, although as noted above, this isn't universal within regions of the US, let alone the entire country.

Also: travel, it should be cheaper for everyone!
posted by ldthomps at 12:16 PM on October 9, 2013


I wonder what proportion of users here actually aren't in the US?

Yeah, I'd really like to know this too. There are a lot of threads on the blue (for example) that provoke a kind of "WHO'S THIS WE, KEMOSABE?" reaction in me, but if it's like 90%+ US then I guess I can't complain too much.
posted by rollick at 12:34 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I noticed in that thread that most people DID specify where they were answering from, which means thery weren't assuming anything. And the asker didn't seem to have any problem with that. She did eventually clarify her background, which helped.

But I don't think any of the answer-ers can justifiaby be taken to task over this.
posted by SLC Mom at 12:39 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm from Florida, and I learned on MeFi that it's technically another country.
posted by Mooski at 12:39 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


We are getting married in a little over three weeks and I am genuinely savoring the idea that we are breaking more wedding etiquette rules than we are keeping.
posted by griphus at 1:11 PM on October 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-[click]

"This is a recorded message: This non-essential chant has exhausted its prudent reserve. Please check back in early November to determine if funding has been restored. Press 1 to leave a message. Thank you, and have a very American day."
posted by Debaser626 at 1:12 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Along those lines, I think it would be helpful if the form for anonymous questions includes the suggestion/reminder that the asker create a throwaway e-mail that can be included in the question before submitting it.

I bet there have been a lot of missed opportunities to give and receive help because even if someone asks for a throwaway email the asker may not see the request, and if it takes too long to add one then the person asking for one may miss it.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:45 PM on October 9, 2013


Yep, bullet point number three on the Anonymous Ask page already specifically encourages askers to include a throwaway email for further communication.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:49 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


As noted upthread: it doesn't seem to matter if you say "UK question", or any other specifically parametered phrase. People download their opinions to your ask.me based on how strongly they feel about it, not on how well they read or comprehend. You're welcome to read my ask me questions for evidence. It's annoying, people do not acknowledge they jumped in, it's rude and (contra askme ethos) unfuckinghelpful. Phew. Feels a bit better now.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:00 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


We have automated mefi admin mail saying "Consider adding a 'resolved' tag to the thread if your problem was solved. This will let other members know your question was answered and will help others find any follow-up information you add. You can add the tag by clicking this link:"

Could we email automatically to all the jump-in posters flagged as "off topic", or whatever new flag may be deemed appropriate? It may eventually help, with good faith and a following wind.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:12 PM on October 9, 2013


Given that a large majority of Metafilter users ARE in the US, it doesn't seem unreasonable to assume, in the absence of contrary information, that someone is from the US.

As one of the many, many, non-US users, no thanks. When you make an assumption, you make an ass out of u and mption.

While many users are US based, my understanding has always been that this is not a US specific site. The assumption you suggest is annoying and exclusionary to non-US users.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:28 PM on October 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


The assumption you suggest is annoying and exclusionary to non-US users.

But non-US users are free to assume that the asker is from their country of origin!

We all make assumptions on AskMe all the time, not just country, but class level, income level, relationship status, gender, etc. etc. etc. And yet despite the Metatalk posts about how we shouldn't answer questions based on assumptions, we do it anyway.
posted by muddgirl at 3:34 PM on October 9, 2013


Metafilter: Americans with no experience of Australian or Dutch wedding customs should really stop posting.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:38 PM on October 9, 2013


Oh, yes, it doesn't matter if you clearly state in your question where you are, or even that a common solution in the US isn't available in your location, you will still get answers that have completely ignored that part of your question.

What's that thing you say? Oh yes, 'bless your heart'

(To be fair, I have in the past answered questions as if the posters are in the UK, especially on anonymous ones, just in case. But only if they haven't made their location clear.)
posted by Helga-woo at 3:38 PM on October 9, 2013


Oh, yes, it doesn't matter if you clearly state in your question where you are, or even that a common solution in the US isn't available in your location, you will still get answers that have completely ignored that part of your question.

I flag those as "noise." It makes me feel quietly self-righteous.
posted by muddgirl at 3:41 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


But non-US users are free to assume that the asker is from their country of origin!

Which is less likely to lead to relevant answers for the asker. Bette to ask the OP to clarify their location.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:44 PM on October 9, 2013


I wonder what proportion of users here actually aren't in the US?

Is there some metadump that has stats on user-entered location?
posted by hal_c_on at 3:44 PM on October 9, 2013


Or maybe some rudimentary stats on what locations are LOGGING into metafilter?
posted by hal_c_on at 3:47 PM on October 9, 2013


once the asker pointed out that she is from Australia and living in the Netherlands, Americans with no experience of Australian or Dutch wedding customs should really stop posting.


Doesn't stop them. Like literally "My experience probably has no relevance to your situation, but here's 3 paragraphs anyway." It's maddening. And while I'm sure this will go down like a cup of cold sick, it smacks of well-meaning but clueless cultural imperialism.


I don't think that everybody reads all of the answers. Some people read the question and just jump to the bottom. It's like the green's answer to people on the blue who don't RTFA but just have to comment. Why let facts get in the way of bloviating?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:48 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


or maybe some rudimentary stats on what locations are LOGGING into metafilter?

We could run the numbers on the IP addresses and see where people are coming from. Let me see if that's a thing that is simple to do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:59 PM on October 9, 2013


It's simple depending on duration and traffic. I'm guessing it would be in your analytics if you use any such thing. It would be in the raw weblogs. It gets tedious quickly though.

Back when my site had little traffic 5% of it was coming from the UEA. I had a fan there. Now I have more readers and he's down to .001%, but he's still reading!
posted by cjorgensen at 4:14 PM on October 9, 2013


pb offers this. AskMe visits by members/geolocation. Links to a larger image.


posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:19 PM on October 9, 2013 [24 favorites]


mippy: "Oh, I've seen people on discussions kick off at the idea of being asked to contribute cash for a wedding present rather than just letting people know where the list is. Mainly because, apparently, people tend to do this with 'twee little poems'. I think we'd just elope, to be honest, because the MINEFIELD of it all freaks me out."

oh, hai mippy, i got you a wedding present in the form of a twee little poem about wedding judgementalism

(Actually it's not twee at all, it stuck in my mind because it's great.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:19 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]




Thanks pb!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:26 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


0.45% of signed-in visits are from the Netherlands, but of those, 100% are MartinWisse.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Because MartinWisse is awesome
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Fascinating chart, I wonder if what could tentatively be called 'active members' would fall under similarly specific country breakdowns.
posted by smoke at 4:39 PM on October 9, 2013


I should note that the charts include the last 30 days of activity. So those are recently active members.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:43 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Limited bars and dry weddings are A-OK.

Good God. What if you held wedding and nobody came?

(By which I mean attended, since consummation would have clear legal implications)

UK respondent of course.
posted by biffa at 4:51 PM on October 9, 2013


Hmm, more visits from Côte d'Ivoire than from Austria, Switzerland and Denmark combined. Interesting!
posted by desjardins at 5:47 PM on October 9, 2013


no, I'm not sure we can emphasize that much more

I'm sure that you can emphasize it more. Whether you should or not is an open question.

The middle of an unordered list is a pretty good place to hide information (especially if what you're trying to hide is inside a parenthetical). Moving what you want to emphasize to the beginning or end of the list would be the easiest change. But if this were truly a problem then including an optional text field for location (probably beneath tags) would be a lot harder to overlook than an unordered list of cruft.

This isn't a huge issue for me either way, but it's certainly a solvable problem if you care to solve it.
posted by Jeff Howard at 6:21 PM on October 9, 2013


This isn't a huge issue for me either way, but it's certainly a solvable problem if you care to solve it.

Yes, sorry, of course we CAN change the emphasis around. We don't really consider this a large enough problem that we're going to start messing around with the posting page, though if we do some sort of overhaul on that page we'll certainly consider it. This sort of thing is usually self-correcting. People leave out information, other people ask for it, the system mostly works.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:30 PM on October 9, 2013


So, IANAstatistician, but it looks like the United Kingdom, its settler nations plus the Republic of Ireland account for 96% of membership. I am not surprised.

I am surprised, however, that India appears in the top 25 on the visitors list but not on that of members.

Of course, this is for AskMe. How different is the Blue in either regard ?

And, do you have a breakdown by profession for AskMe. Just how many people are lawyers or doctors, for instance ?
posted by y2karl at 6:44 PM on October 9, 2013


All I know is that we have 314 librarians.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:47 PM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sorry, we don't have statistics about profession. You could start by eliminating all of the people who have explicitly said they're not lawyers.

The MetaFilter member visit numbers are very similar. 75.83% US, 8.45% Canada, 5.5% UK, 3% Australia.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:04 PM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


All I know is that we have 314 librarians.

And at least one zombie prison guard.
posted by y2karl at 7:22 PM on October 9, 2013


desjardins: "more visits from Côte d'Ivoire than [...]"

THAT IS CHURACHURA ON HER FIELDWORK!!!!!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:37 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I should note that the charts include the last 30 days of activity. So those are recently active members.

And some of them were me while travelling.
posted by lollusc at 7:50 PM on October 9, 2013


Not less than three of us work somewhere in an HR capacity, or used to.

My experience suggests that no more than 1/3rd of the answerers on a typical large-response-volume question actually read and comprehend the entire question prior to posting a response. I have actually gotten sympathetic private messages when I've been very specific about what I'm asking, in which the messenger advises me that they are very sorry to say that most of the answerers will totally ignore that part.

This would make me sadder if it weren't for the fact that I know for sure I have totally suggested someone start therapy when they explicitly stated that they're already in therapy. In the cases I've caught myself in this bind, however, my mistake was of the "actually, no, sorry, you should dump your current therapist and try again" variety.

For the observant reader, AskMe is actually a rather stunning display of failed therapy relationships.
posted by SMPA at 8:16 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


1. Read the question.
2. Peruse any other answers.
3. Write answer.
4. Go back and re-read question.
5. Re-write answer.
Now you can post your answer.
posted by theora55 at 9:23 PM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think I will start answering as if questions where posted from (not set) -- you know, just in case
posted by edgeways at 10:16 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Given that a large majority of Metafilter users ARE in the US, it doesn't seem unreasonable to assume, in the absence of contrary information, that someone is from the US.

Seriously? It wouldn't be unreasonable for them to assume you were ignorant then.

To illustrate it more nicely: if you are having a conversation with 10 people and you know 2-3 of them probably aren't from your country, wouldn't you have some awareness of your cultural position and make fewer assumptions about their background and context?
posted by stp123 at 10:35 PM on October 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Nth-ing the thanks to pb and jessamyn, awesome pie-charts!
posted by Rash at 11:04 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I struggle with the cultural/geographic specificity of answers that complicates nation-state boundaries. Like, I'm a USian but being Korean American means I think cash-for-play weddings are the awesomeness (I just made money on my wedding this summer, ask me how!). I also learned in today's flatulence AskMe that openly farting/discussing farting is considered rude by many Americans whereas I thought deliberately farting ON people was the rude thing and announcing gassiness was just giving fair warning.

Also all of Europe is some kind of cheesy blur in my brain, so mostly I have to stay away from any AskMes that deal with Europe in any shape.
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:25 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


> all of Europe is some kind of cheesy blur in my brain

Honestly, that's fine. I have to admit that all of the US is a similar, be it rather non-cheesy blur in my brain.

Personally I will assume that a poster is in the US if there is no mentioning of location. Because people who are from the US tend not to mention that here.

The only thing in this thread that upsets me is being told that I'm MartinWisse.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:20 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Part of the issue with weddings is that culture/class as much as nationality play a role. I've been to lots of weddings in the UK where there has been a pay bar. I've been to several where 'lesser' guests have been invited after the dinner. I've been to weddings where some invites have been issued without a +1.

In all three cases, this has felt a bit off to me personally, especially the last. But I also recognise both that people come from different places in terms of wedding etiquette and also that wedding etiquette itself has changed a lot, and that lots of weddings have a mismatch between budget/space and what the happy couple would prefer to do.

On changing etiquette: at least in the UK, wedding lists used to be considered tacky 40 years ago in the UK but have since gained total acceptability. The recent royal wedding had a wedding list. Similarly, traditional weddings used to take place earlier, and guests would leave by early evening. Now most weddings go on into the evening. British weddings, at least, have become a lot less formal than they used to be. They also tend to cost more.

As people have got married later and tended to take more ownership of their own weddings, including paying for some or all of it, the emphasis of the wedding has moved more from what the parents want and who the parents want to invite to what the bride and groom want. But not all weddings run like that - traditional South Asian weddings in the UK being a prime example.

I've read lots of threads about wedding etiquette where there is some conundrum about invitees or etiquette where people have responded along the lines of "you should do what you want because it's your wedding", which always strikes me as an unhelpful answer in instances where the poster has made clear that they don't have complete control over their own wedding planning for whatever reason or and aren't in a position to unilaterally piss off longstanding family or family friends. It's the wedding question equivalent of DTMFA.

As a general rule about etiquette or relationship or culture-specific questions it behooves responders to at least take the time to consider that the question has a culture-specific element and probably has some hidden subtleties.

I don't think this rules out, say, an American giving advice on a Dutch wedding necessarily if the question doesn't specify that only someone with specific knowledge of the culture should respond. Prefaced correctly, all relevant advice to the topic can be filtered out if unsuitable.

But I guess echoing shelleycat's frustration upthread, it can be irritating to non-Americans on AskMe when American posters don't state their location when the answer needs to be location or culture specific, and when explicitly non-American users get a raft of American-specific answers with no nod at all to the idea that the poster isn't operating within the same culture/legal framework etc etc. At 75%, members based in America are clearly the dominant group, but 25% of others is not a piffling number either.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:52 AM on October 10, 2013


Well I think it's disgusting that this website, once a shining example of American exceptionalism, is now squandering its resources on providing AskMe advice for a minority "fringe" of Australians and other foreign radicals.

I promise you all that, should you vote #1 quidnunc kid, I will immediately impose a MeFi shutdown to prevent the wasteful spending of the Mathowie Presidency on such unnatural marriages. God created Adam and Eve, not Bruce and Bruce, and the idea that two Australians should be helped to marriage each other goes beyond EVERY Biblical injunction.

Some say that a MeFi shutdown such as I am proposing would lead to catastrophic consequences, as MeFi would default on its obligation to pay the mods. I say: default, baby, default! I realise that I am confusing various conservative talking points of the last five years and recycling them into one nonsensical comment - but if we don't do that, who will prevent Iran getting medical marijuana? In closing, let me remind you that 9/11 was very bad, but 7-Elevens are very convenient - so what does that say about 8/11? It is probably "neutral". And that is the future I see for this Milk Hotel. Thank you, and cod bliss Armenia.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:40 AM on October 10, 2013 [31 favorites]


Interesting stats. The members seem to be more US-based than non-members: 76% against 65%. UK has 4.6% of members, but 9.5% of non-members: seems like something is discouraging Britons from signing up.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:45 AM on October 10, 2013


Well, I was unsure whether to sign up for a while. It looked like the site could be overwhelmingly US-centered and I wasn't sure whether I'd feel at home.

Who knows, UK folks may be feeling the same way.

And well, yes, it is rather US-centered. Guess I'm not easily overwhelmed.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:50 AM on October 10, 2013


Well I think it's disgusting that this website, once a shining example of American exceptionalism, is now squandering its resources on providing AskMe advice for a minority "fringe" of Australians and other foreign radicals.

It is a grave day. A day that will be remembered in ignominy. A dark, roiling day. For this day, for the first time ever, I find myself in a position where I cannot vote #1 quidnunc kid.

AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE MOTHERFUCKER. PEACE OUT FROM SYDNEY.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:55 AM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


This sort of thing is usually self-correcting. People leave out information, other people ask for it, the system mostly works.

There's a certain chilling effect, though. The time delay involved in asking for more information and waiting for an answer (especially if posters are in different time zones) can mean that the whole conversation has moved on before I know whether my contribution would be useful or not. I've certainly passed on a lot of questions where I could have given something helpful if I'd known a few more details.
posted by Azara at 1:57 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE MOTHERFUCKER. PEACE OUT FROM SYDNEY.

Don't you have a triathlon to run somewhere?
posted by smoke at 2:30 AM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not unless I can con some taxpayers into paying for it.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:06 AM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


And well, yes, it is rather US-centered

Funny enough, before I actually started reading it, my impression of Metafilter was that it was some sort of British geek site because, well, the only people who ever linked to it were British geeks.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:28 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm part of the 1%! Wait, the 1.92%.

Anyway, one of the other things not considered is the class of the wedding thrower. Like my bro and his mrs have done rather well, and all their events for their kids are drink as much as you like, these very cute wait staff in clothes more expensive than your own will keep bringing alcohol, and nice little nibblies to your table. Whereas my own wedding, and theirs if I remember rightly was - this many drinks and then you're paying your own way because I'm not going into debt for a party.

My kids are not getting married and I'm not going to be a grandparent. Ever. Yay.
posted by b33j at 5:41 AM on October 10, 2013


UK has 4.6% of members

Only 4.6%? In that case all I can say is, they're jolly noisy chaps.
posted by Segundus at 6:16 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


0.45% of signed-in visits are from the Netherlands, but of those, 100% are MartinWisse.

Don't doubt Martin's awesomeness, but one of the mods is Dutch.

posted by psoas at 6:37 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE MOTHERFUCKER

OI OI OI on behalf of Canberra, and my mother also says "Hi".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:28 AM on October 10, 2013


Too-Ticky: "The only thing in this thread that upsets me is being told that I'm MartinWisse."

I love ALL our Dutchies equally! I have a complex and long-winded theory about how Everything Awesome Is Dutch. It involves 16th-century mercantilism, royals with jobs, and DJ Tiesto. (Actually I'm pretty sure that both Too-Ticky and gnfti have been subjected to this theory before!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:09 AM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I guess in an ideal world, a question like this would be followed by a single poster saying "where are you located?" and everyone else would refrain from answering until that question was answered.

Not going to happen though.
posted by smackfu at 1:52 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we have a wedding of cannibals where all the cannibals eat each other and the new bride and groom are the best cannibals?
posted by lalochezia at 5:01 PM on October 10, 2013


Can we have a wedding of cannibals where all the cannibals eat each other and the new bride and groom are the best cannibals?

HANNIBAL SEASON 2 PREMIERING 2014
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:09 PM on October 10, 2013


To illustrate it more nicely: if you are having a conversation with 10 people and you know 2-3 of them probably aren't from your country, wouldn't you have some awareness of your cultural position and make fewer assumptions about their background and context?

AskMe isn't a conversation with 10 people - that's Metafilter proper. It's one person asking a question and 9 other people (hopefully) ignoring the other 8 people in responding. If one person walked up to me and asked my advice, I'd assume they were the same nationality as me absent specifics. If that makes me ignorant, well, at least it's a human disease.
posted by muddgirl at 7:23 PM on October 10, 2013


To be honest, if the asker doesn't mention where they are in the question... I assume they're in the US.
posted by randomination at 8:11 PM on October 10, 2013


To be honest, when the asker mentions their location, dipsticks jump in and assume their answers are relevant even when they plainly haven't read the whole thing. Or they did but they ignore it. These people need feedback.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:42 AM on October 11, 2013


So if I'm part of the 1.92% too, does that make y'all part of an occupy crew?
I can start to see the attraction of being in the elite.
posted by bystander at 5:20 AM on October 11, 2013


Interesting stats. The members seem to be more US-based than non-members: 76% against 65%. UK has 4.6% of members, but 9.5% of non-members: seems like something is discouraging Britons from signing up.

Not necessarily. The non-member stats could easily be including members who, for one reason or another, aren't signed in whilst reading. For example, I sign in when using my home computer, but when reading Metafilter on my phone whilst out and about, I don't log in. Mostly because I can't remember my password, but also because the only benefit of being logged in over not logged in is avoiding the ads, and the ability to write posts or comments. Typing into a little phone screen is awkward and irritating, so there's little benefit to being logged in, so I don't bother.

All that long-winded explanation was to point out that I (and I assume others may well be in the same situation) count on the UK list under both categories. So the non-member list is probably swelled considerably by members in disguise.
posted by talitha_kumi at 5:29 AM on October 11, 2013


To be honest, when the asker mentions their location, dipsticks jump in and assume their answers are relevant even when they plainly haven't read the whole thing. Or they did but they ignore it.

Or they read it, noticed it, and still assume their answers are relevant because that's how it would work in the equivalent US system. Like the "well I'm neither Dutch nor Australian, but you can't run your wedding like that because it's rude to the guests" answers to the original question, or "why are you talking to your GP about this? You need to go straight to a specialist" for a health question, or umpteen other versions of the same thing which are irrelevant at best and outright bad advice at worst. (I'm trying to imagine the reaction I'd have got from my wedding guests if I'd told them all "sorry, we can't afford to pay for everyone's alcohol during the ceilidh, so instead of opening up the fully-stocked bar over there where you were expecting to buy your own drinks, we've decided to make the whole thing alcohol-free instead. Here's some lemonade!" Ahahaha no.)

I'm not suggesting US posters should learn about every other country's systems and cultural norms before answering a question from somewhere else, but it would be good to keep in mind that systems and cultural norms do differ before answering a detailed question about somebody else's.
posted by Catseye at 6:50 AM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


The internet in the rainforest has never made me more pleased with the fact that almost all of my internetting occurs on a text-only site!
posted by ChuraChura at 7:50 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, not that it would have helped in this case, but 3) people will sometimes answer questions without looking at your profile for your location. (I'm not sure who is more at fault here, but it's another assumption people make.)

Realistically, what percent of answerers do you think will diligently click on the profile before answering? I'd guess 10%. So that's not very helpful.
posted by John Cohen at 10:21 PM on October 12, 2013


Boo, where's Vanuatu on that pie chart?? Feeling unappreciated here.
posted by orrnyereg at 5:32 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"It's not that it's verboten to not have an open bar, it's that it's tacky to charge your guests for refreshments. Limited bars and dry weddings are A-OK."

Yes! I agree.
posted by Alexsandra at 1:39 AM on October 18, 2013


« Older Which MeFite will be on Jeopardy! today?   |   Happy birthday Matt! Newer »

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