Why isn't this a "good post for MetaFilter"? October 14, 2013 7:27 PM   Subscribe

This post was deleted and I'm unclear why it isn't a "good post" for MetaFilter.
posted by Benjy to Etiquette/Policy at 7:27 PM (122 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

As I just wrote in an email to the poster of that thread, it's a combination of things.

First of all, local-newsy "awful people do something awful" is a story that we generally are not that big on, as a post.

Second, "awful people do something awful, and now the internet/Anonymous/etc are going to lead an attack on them" is not something we love to see as a post either.

Third, specifically, there have been a number of horrible cases very similar to this (smalltown high school football players rape a girl, then corrupt local justice system does not penalize them, and the girl or her family suffer) in the last few years, and we've had threads about several of them, which have led to the same huge fights on MeFi.

All of these factors together make it not a great post for MetaFilter. That's no slight on the poster or the effort they put in.

Also, if you ever have a question about a deletion, please feel free to use the contact form; we are always happy to elaborate on deletion reasons in email.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:32 PM on October 14, 2013 [22 favorites]


It's bad (as in awful situation) newsfilter.

I guess the turn around question would be why would it be a GOOD post for Metafilter?
posted by edgeways at 7:35 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Because when an FPP demands that I reach for a pitchfork, a torch, a post, tar, and feathers all at once it must be deleted, because I only have two hands.

Or, what LobsterMitten said.
posted by HuronBob at 7:45 PM on October 14, 2013 [21 favorites]


This case is a miscarriage of justice. Anonymous is not helping.
posted by maryr at 7:47 PM on October 14, 2013


i thought it was a bad deletion because the links to bad reviews of places implicated in the cover-up/shut-down/whatever were well researched and adds a new twist. i never knew people did that.

certainly a stronger post than a single link to an anecdotal essay about Teh Patriarchy.
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:49 PM on October 14, 2013 [15 favorites]


Given the speed with which the story is being picked up, we'll get a non-deleted post on it at some point. Patience!
posted by lalex at 7:51 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was so sad/outraged to see something like this happening in my state.
posted by limeonaire at 7:57 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Doesn't Jessamyn usually say a variation on "this awful thing happened and it's bad" as well? I'm pretty sure this is standard policy. I have definitely seen these types of stories deleted before and I can see why. Full disclosure- I read it on Reddit this morning and yes, it is a terrible terrible story/situation.
posted by bquarters at 7:58 PM on October 14, 2013


What is there really to say about this that wasn't said 10 times and fought over til voices were hoarse here?

Like really, what is there to do besides go "omg dis is horrible pls retweet", have people be all brave like they were in that thread and talk about how the boy(s) involved might be treated to harshly, and post twitter like updates about the story and then argue about more shit?

A good thread might come out of this at some point, but I'm just failing to see how this one would have been it. Regardless of who wanted to have a meta discussion about this type of thing in general or something like that, there will always be a bunch of "won't someone please think of these boys futures?" Type of "so I think what they did is horrible but.." Posts, and they'll fuck up the whole thread, and...

Yea, I'm just not seeing what this adds to the site when there's been a bunch of Internet storms over stories like this recently and it's always the same old discussion here for 1200 comments. Maybe I'm just overly frustrated about fighting with assholes in those threads though.

Not to mention that posting one of these is like posting two threads, because you can almost 50/50 guarantee a meta.
posted by emptythought at 8:03 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not a fan of newsfilter, but I think this post is a bit different because the first link is actually some really good, long-form investigative journalism, which usually seems to be well-received on metafilter.

I totally respect that it's not good for metafilter for the mods to have to spend a ton of time cleaning up messy threads, but I find it really depressing that apparently we can't have threads about sexual assault.
posted by lunasol at 8:07 PM on October 14, 2013 [17 favorites]


I assume there will be further developments in this story as well. Perhaps a post will be allowed then.

Anonymous is not helping.

Well, other than issue a vague threat, they haven't done anything yet (that I know of).

I was interested in the metafilters reaction to the local businesses being impacted, both the place that has hired the accused rapist, and the place that fired the victims mother... It probably would impact my desire to eat at a restaurant (so I would appreciate the review that let me take my business elsewhere). Likewise if I had a choice of a local vet, i wouldn't choose the one highlighted in my post.

Obviously there is a point where 'mob justice' and random folks on the internet trying to get involved can be inappropriate, counterproductive, and indeed illegal. But what is that line?

That was my motivation behind the post, to discuss 'the internet' and it's role in cases like this (where the local justice system seems to be failing those in need).

Perhaps a larger post that outlined several of these incidents would make a better FPP. Also the story is developing... The feedback that I got didn't ask me to wait until there was more meat to the story (the feedback I got was the same as the initial response here).

While I didn't want to make this a metatalk issue (i took it to the contact page), as long as there is one, I'll certainly participate.
posted by el io at 8:08 PM on October 14, 2013


apparently we can't have threads about sexual assault

This is not the case. We have a lot of posts on harassment and rape and similar kinds of bad things. There is no ban on these topics.

But I do think that the wider internet is primed to distribute outrageous stories like this one, and that having a post here about every horrible thing that gets wide internet attention (and in particular, every horrible rape/harassment/etc incident) would not be a good outcome for the site.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:17 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]



i thought it was a bad deletion because the links to bad reviews of places implicated in the cover-up/shut-down/whatever were well researched and adds a new twist.


Huh ? Those are reason enough for its instant deletion.

i never knew people did that.

What would be the Latin for Who shall freep the freepers ?
posted by y2karl at 8:32 PM on October 14, 2013


I was interested in the metafilters reaction to the local businesses being impacted ... It probably would impact my desire to eat at a restaurant

I don't know what they're all eating at that town's restaurant, but they probably need more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:34 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


".....having a post here about every horrible thing ...... would not be a good outcome for the site."

I think this is the point that needs to be heard. There are incidents like this (not just rape related, but also abuse, murder, harm, corruption, immorality, deceit, etc) that happen every day. When these incidents are posted here our options are to point and shame or lament the state of mankind.... there's nothing to debate or discuss.
posted by HuronBob at 8:35 PM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am a big fan of the modern 21st century "A"-team; and yeah, this probably would have been a heavily moderated post full of calls for pitchforks. With so much other stuff MeFi has debunked or assisted in; why not ride in, fire thousands of words, hit no real targets; but yield some result of sorts.
F-this small town cover up stuff, we shouldn't be doing the same by burying it.
posted by buzzman at 8:47 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think there could have maybe been a worthwhile post about the in-depth article, here, although that's just my opinion--but the framing really puts it into "look at this and be outraged" kind of territory without itself inviting any more thoughtful examination. I don't think the deletion was wrong. On the other hand, similar journalism with similarly sensational posting has made it through before, like in the Reuters adoption story thread--but at least there it was just the one story and not the useful story with a bunch of extra outrage tacked on.
posted by Sequence at 8:49 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


To clarify, I wasn't implying that there was a ban. I know that's not how things work here. But it does seem to me like the quality of the main article linked raises this above simply, "news article about a bad thing that happened."
posted by lunasol at 9:02 PM on October 14, 2013


Second, "awful people do something awful, and now the internet/Anonymous/etc are going to lead an attack on them" is not something we love to see as a post either.

Will it be FPP worthy after the internet/anonymous attacks them (assuming that such a thing happens, it may or may not - beyond the already noted bad reviews at two local businesses)?

Personally, I try very hard not to even read stories about individual crimes (rapes, mass shootings by a crazed individual, some crazy person keeping slaves in their basement, random murders, celebrity misbehavior, etc); I don't think it gives me any insight into my world or helps me understand the world I live in.

Stories that involve government corruption, corporate misbehavior, or conspiracies to avoid the justice system, or the like I do read - understanding how and why such things happens gives us a chance to help formulate responses to them. 20 years ago this story wouldn't have had reach beyond the state this occurred in (in m opinion); what will be the impact now that the entire world knows about this situation? Will state government intervene to try to correct the situation, will the FBI, will vigilantes attempt to take justice into their own hands (and what will that look like). While we've seen situations like this play out recently (comparisons to Stubenville are inevitable), it seems that are potentially entering a new age of accountability.

For example, regardless of any legal consequences, I doubt the accused rapist will be able to get a date with anyone that has the ability to use google.

I hoped to have a rational discussion about this story with folks on the internet, and honestly, metafilter is about the only place on the internet where I could envision having a reasonable rational discussion (pure outrage/anger over the story is available on any comment board for any news publications that allow comments).
posted by el io at 9:29 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Won't make any predictions about whether some hypothetical other post could stand. But I think if you want to have a calm discussion about how wide internet publicity affects prosecutorial decisions, it would be best to find an essay or study or something that talks about that question, separate from the horrible details of a specific case.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:41 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


a rational discussion about this story with folks on the internet

What would be the content of this discussion? Would this be provoking any new points of view on either angle?
posted by Miko at 9:42 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


LobsterMitten's last point is great. If there's a larger issue, let's talk about some analysis of the larger issue rather than another individual local case.
posted by Miko at 9:42 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because when an FPP demands that I reach for a pitchfork, a torch, a post, tar, and feathers all at once it must be deleted, because I only have two hands.

Uh....this is a rather trivial query, but what do you do with the post? Metaphorically.
posted by Diablevert at 9:53 PM on October 14, 2013


Post
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:02 PM on October 14, 2013


Uh....this is a rather trivial query, but what do you do with the post? Metaphorically.

heh... I initially thought you meant "post" as in "Front Page POST" and I was all ?????????... but, then, in a brief instance of understanding realized you meant "post" as in "post"....

The trivial answer is, there is no metaphor, it was literal, as in "riding out of town on a post, tarred and feathered"...
posted by HuronBob at 10:02 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Possibility 1: the severed heads of our enemies shall be displayed upon the post

Possibility 2: the post was actually meant to be a rail upon which our enemies will be ridden out of town

P3: perhaps the OP meant "a roast" for us to all take a bit of cold collation afterwards

P4: perhaps the OP meant "the post"; our daily mail shall be distributed afterwards

P5: the post is actually a captain who has just been made post and will therefore be expecting a celebration to wet the swab; we should have the makings for some admiral's flip on hand.
posted by elizardbits at 10:03 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


you spent WAY too much time on that EB.. :)
posted by HuronBob at 10:04 PM on October 14, 2013


Oh, burning at the stake didn't even occur to me, how embarrassing. I must turn in my badge as the president of the human sacrifice enthusiast's club.
posted by elizardbits at 10:04 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I took it to mean the post rail that we're to ride the subject of the tar and feathering out of town on.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:05 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


On preview, what HuronBob said.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:06 PM on October 14, 2013


The question, at this late hour, is, should I open another bottle of red (which I've been sipping for a couple of hours now), or should I just get that half bottle of white out of the fridge?
posted by HuronBob at 10:07 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


HuronBob: "there's nothing to debate or discuss."

There's quite a bit that we can discuss. Especially since this was an excellent piece of investigative journalism on the part of the KC Star. Whether people choose to do so is up to them, and the way a post is constructed (as well as what links it is constructed around) typically make a huge difference in how a post is received and responded to here.

Unfortunately, we have no idea what Metafilter's actual reaction to this particular post would be, because it was deleted before a discussion was allowed to build.

Or were there comments deleted from the post that we are unaware of?

With regard to the story and a discussion about it, we can look at what went wrong, and examine the situation to see how this might be prevented in the future. This is certainly not the first time a rape has happened in a small town, and it is not the first time a victim has seen a miscarriage of justice, nor been abused and harassed by her neighbors and peers for reporting what has been done to her. We could easily look at this abstractly: How often does this happen? Is there a way to determine whether this happening more or less infrequently in recent years? How have other small American communities handled similar incidents in the past? Statistically-speaking does a small town environment make it harder or easier for a rape victim to be heard and perhaps find justice? What recourse might the victim have now? Did Barnett's grandfather really abuse his position to protect his grandson, as has been claimed? If so, is there anything that could be done to prevent that in the future?

The topic is worth discussing. It's worth debating. It's worth looking for solutions. And if none are attainable, then dammit at the very least we've tried. Rape, sexual assault and violence are crimes of power and control which are perpetuated through silence, shame, stigma and fear. There is tremendous benefit to everyone in discussing and decrying these acts publicly. Frequently. It helps increase awareness, shows support and/or solidarity for victims and reduces the possibility that anyone might be shunned or dismissed or shamed in the future for daring to accuse their attacker(s).

It's not an easy topic. But yes, there is quite a bit we can debate or discuss.
posted by zarq at 10:08 PM on October 14, 2013 [14 favorites]


The KC Star article is superb investigative journalism, and truly best of the web.
posted by spitbull at 10:12 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


zarq... yes, those concepts are all worth discussing... but the FPP didn't really raise those points (although, perhaps the article does)...

The FPP pointed at the aspects that were pretty inflammatory, I'm not sure that the discussion would have gone into a more contemplative discussion. (please note that I'm not being critical of the OP with this comment, I believe the FPP was made with good intent).

I do feel that this topic could be discussed here, but it might need a more fleshed out post... a challenge to say the least.
posted by HuronBob at 10:18 PM on October 14, 2013


HuronBob: "The FPP pointed at the aspects that were pretty inflammatory,

The story itself is inflammatory. Many stories that get posted here are.

I'm not sure that the discussion would have gone into a more contemplative discussion."

Neither am I. We have no idea whether a contemplative discussion could have been possible because the post was nixed very early. But we shouldn't have to create an editorialized post that tells people what they should be discussing in order to find out.
posted by zarq at 10:35 PM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


At least now I know what to do with those left over cruise missiles...
posted by Pudhoho at 10:55 PM on October 14, 2013


because you can almost 50/50 guarantee a meta.

So theres a 49% chance of a meta?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:27 PM on October 14, 2013


This is also worth considering:

ZANNI'S RULE OF THUMB
This is cool; other people will want to see it == Good post
This is important; I want other people to see it == Bad post
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:43 PM on October 14, 2013 [14 favorites]


Won't make any predictions about whether some hypothetical other post could stand. But I think if you want to have a calm discussion about how wide internet publicity affects prosecutorial decisions, it would be best to find an essay or study or something that talks about that question, separate from the horrible details of a specific case.

This sort of contradicts the "it's about the links first and foremost" paradigm that usually comes up when a newer user posts something entirely for discussion purposes and it's entirely clear from their post and their explanation of why they posted it that they wanted to get MetaFilter's take on the subject rather than feed / entertain / inform the MetaFilter userbase. But I'm not pointing that out to be contrarian because guidelines aren't concrete barriers, I'm just riffing here and trying to come up with a cohesive understanding / explanation for myself.

It's not like posts aren't constructed to elicit discussion much/most? of the time, but the quality of the links support the post sufficiently such that any primary motive involving a discussion with smart MeFites is not a problem. The community gets more out of the post than just the discussion. The links are an offering.

It's a continuum from "this is transparently about nothing more than getting the community riled up" to "this post is so staggeringly complete and amazing that discussion is mostly going to amount to fawning about it, just jaw-dropping admiration of Rhaomi forex" and the secret sauce in between may simply be the spark that ignited the poster's desire to post -- did you just find something amazing to offer, to share, or just realize you know about something amazing and unique that hasn't been discussed on MetaFilter? Fuck yeah! It's going to be an easy post, so take it easy and post away, all things considered, assuming it's not a double.

Have you always wondered what MetaFilter thought about something and today's the day you'd like to ask? Or perhaps you know it's been a topic before but you weren't around to discuss it?

Then you better strive to find some good material and provide something to the community in return for the discussion you're trying to stimulate for your own edificiation. If it's transparently clear that you just want to hear an opinion or participate in a discussion about a subject, then your post stands a good chance of dying on the vine. If you strive sufficiently it won't be transparently clear because you will have offered something in exchange for your request and you will succeed in attaining your objective. Pretty basic stuff, give and receive.

But it becomes doubly-hard to pull this off when the discussion has occurred already and you're simply trying to re-ignite it. As details become increasingly specific between outrage-filter-discussion, likelihood of deletion increases, e.g. this small-town-motherfucking-rapists post. It pisses me off and it's a good article, but yeah, not much is to be gained here for someone who has been long enough to see it before. Now this seems unfair to newer users and what stimulated me to write this was the idea that maybe deletions like this could / should contain links back to very similar discussions in the past. Rather than "double post" it'd be more like "post is insufficient to justify a double discussion -- content does not pass muster but here's where you can read the exact same thing you were looking for." Assuming that in many cases the poster is in fact pursuing something for themselves rather than offering something, that might satisfy a large contingent of people and mitigate the volume of inquires like this.

And there's a subtle informal rule that a certain amount of OutrageFilter is to be expected here and there, with very high bars set for hot-button issues that come up so often there should be a computer-based-training test required before you can post FPPs. Or perhaps JavaScript to monitor you as you type and when you type key words like "declaw" or "Israel" you get a helpful hint that you may be stepping into the lion's den and the bar for success is that much higher.

You can only tolerate so much and when the stories just start blending together, we devolve into "look at these assholes" territory and I don't want my MetaFilter covered in sugar, but I don't need wall-to-wall holy-fuck-this-planet-is-fucked on the front page because there's so much positive and helpful material out there to discuss. Behind all of this is a sort of expectation of uniqueness...newbs haven't been reading the front page long enough to know what came before, what subjects are tired and worn out, etc. And that's a good thing really, because the overall quality of the site increases over time rather than being a live feed of rehashes of the same old shit.
posted by lordaych at 1:25 AM on October 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Unclear on the last sentence -- it's a good thing that MetaFilter tries to keep posts somewhat unique in terms of content and discussion, because it becomes more of a knowledge base and database rather than just a feed of stuff to read right now. If you were to apply some sort of combination of Bayesian analysis and de-duplication technology to the posts and comments here and take into account MetaFilter threads when they linked to deleted posts, you could probably come up with some models for determining how "here we go again" any given subject is. GET ON IT SOME PERZON
posted by lordaych at 1:29 AM on October 15, 2013


Metafilter is a fantasy world which is totally different than real life. Some things can come in, but not others...it would be too much like reality. So some posts alluding to some things have to be kept out to keep up the illusion that this is how the world really is.

So yeah. I agree with the deletion; the people of metafilter do not deal well with topics like that.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:32 AM on October 15, 2013


Metafilter is a fantasy world which is totally different than real life. Some things can come in, but not others...


It's a website, that's evolved over many years of posts, covering many shitty situations, and has developed a mechanism to protect itself by requiring nuance when dealing with certain issues.
posted by Packed Lunch at 1:47 AM on October 15, 2013


I think this could have been an interesting post, but wasn't framed that way. Instead of outragefilter, it'd be nice to see some discussion of why these issues are interesting and important - the clashes between sexual norms, particularly around consent, in small towns and larger cities, for example, or teens being charged for videotaping sexually explicit things under pedophilia charges because there aren't any charges for videotaping people having sex without their consent. But that wasn't posted. I think a "try again" would have been warranted.
posted by corb at 2:16 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The KC Star article is superb investigative journalism, and truly best of the web.

Yes. Well worth posting.
posted by Artw at 2:18 AM on October 15, 2013


Oh, also interesting for the "Is it reasonable to rate a restaurant based on their employment of an individual" angle.
posted by corb at 2:22 AM on October 15, 2013


Some things can come in, but not others...it would be too much like reality. So some posts alluding to some things have to be kept out to keep up the illusion that this is how the world really is.

As LM points out above, a post with a bit of a wider focus might work just fine here. I say "might", because it's difficult territory to cover in a way that works well here, but I don't remember any mod saying "do not discuss this topic in any fashion on this site ever". There's a grey area where deletion is a judgment call, sure, and outrage-provoking posts do tend to face a relatively higher bar, but I would venture that things aren't nearly as black and white as that statement would make it seem.

More succinctly, if reading Metafilter makes you view the world as a non-stop happy place solely containing bunnies and blankets and Breaking Bad mashups, well, I can only assume you've been reading a different site than I have.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 2:26 AM on October 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


What is there really to say about this that wasn't said 10 times and fought over til voices were hoarse here?

To be honest though, if we stopped discussing everything we had discussed a lot here before, MeFi would be empty. A certain amount of repetitive topics will always be around and shouldn't be a reason for deletion IMO (unless they really are a straightup repeat of a previous post of course).

it's always the same old discussion here for 1200 comments.

Again though, just because we've had these discussions before shouldn't be a reason not to have them again; people change, people come and go.

What matters is whether another post & discussion on a sensitive subject like this would be good for the site as a whole, or whether it would evoke a lot of bad feelings and anger between commenters.

In this case I can see why the post was deleted, as it was a combination of sensitive topics (rape, coverup of rape and internet vigilantism) with slighly inflammetary phrasing. I'd think that a better constructed post focusing more on the KC Star's investigation and less on the anonymous angle would stay up; a good learning experience for the original poster to create that?
posted by MartinWisse at 2:27 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Third, specifically, there have been a number of horrible cases very similar to this (smalltown high school football players rape a girl, then corrupt local justice system does not penalize them, and the girl or her family suffer) in the last few years, and we've had threads about several of them, which have led to the same huge fights on MeFi.

We discussed Steubenville, yes. It seemed worth discussing. I certainly stand by making a post on it.

Incidentally things are grinding on there: Steubenville school employee indicted in rape case over evidence tampering
posted by Artw at 2:29 AM on October 15, 2013


So some posts alluding to some things have to be kept out to keep up the illusion that this is how the world really is.

Not sure about your world but there is a significantly higher focus on people being assholes here on MetaFilter than there is in my "real world," meaning the day to day life that I inhabit that isn't online. Your comment doesn't bear a lot of resemblance to how things actually work here.

We pretty specifically do not have topic-based deletions of things based on their content but we do have "Make a better post" bars set pretty high for things like folks on the internet swarming in to deliver internet justice to people behaving badly in a crime involving the rape of a child. As the post indicated, this is being covered in lots of places and presuming it stays a big-deal news story some of the angles discussed here could make a totally fine post. And we're okay waiting for that post, not just "People online are pissed off about something."

The KC Star article is good, a different angle on that without the mob justice angle would probably be fine. Internet Anonymous/mob justice stories are their own stories in a way and conflating the two issues the way this post did makes for a muddy discussion where people come to it pre-outraged and then wind up arguing strenuously with each other in a sort of non-productive way.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:35 AM on October 15, 2013


Also please do not make this MeTa thread into a "Let's discuss other rape cases" thread. Not what it's for, not okay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:36 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is that addressed to me?

So we're NOT to discuss how a better FPP could be made around this article? TBH I don't see any point to this Meta if we don't.
posted by Artw at 2:48 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Doesn't Jessamyn usually say a variation on "this awful thing happened and it's bad" as well?

taz expanded on this a bit here; I think that much of that comment can apply here, too. As for do-overs: just to be clear, if someone wants to try their hand at a more contextualized post I don't think it matters whether it's the OP of the deleted post, or someone else.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 2:50 AM on October 15, 2013


The KC Star article is good, a different angle on that without the mob justice angle would probably be fine.

That's good to hear. I don't think the typical "a horrible thing has happened" FPP has at its center such a good piece if reporting.
posted by Area Man at 2:50 AM on October 15, 2013


Well, I have a long, well-known opposition to newsfilter but I've learned to accommodate myself to the fact that it's part of mefi culture. That being the case, I really don't see how this is different from many other such stories that have been deemed acceptable. Certainly the Steubenville case qualified as a news story that was big enough, with enough intense interest, to qualify for a MetaFilter post; I don't see how this story — now that's it's the subject of a big investigative piece and within a day has reached the national media — is any less worthy. This clearly is not just another local story of a terrible thing that happened.

I have a strong intuition that it's the topic that is problematic here, that this newsfilter post is getting more mod scrutiny because of it. And that doesn't really sit right with me.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:10 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter is a fantasy world which is totally different than real life. Some things can come in, but not others...it would be too much like reality.

What you have described, in a rather condescending manner, is a moderated space. Which is what Metafilter is. And the point of MeTa is that we all help decide what comes in - the norms on which that moderation is based.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:34 AM on October 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


The framing sucked because it was teed up for outrage pretty explicitly. Particularly outrage that has been done more than once here, and which stands a good chance of spilling over into at best a fraught meta and at worse a saga length one with a side helping of member exits.

I thought it was an interesting topic because of the angles - the appropriation of and development of the Steubenville playbook, the impact of complete strangers with possibly an incomplete knowledge of the fineries of the case exacting internet justice from a distance, the way small towns seem to protect star athletes at the expense of their victims.

Somewhere in this story there is an interesting discussion about whether mob internet justice for the underdog victim against corrupt local justice systems is a good thing generally and whether we're comfortable with this becoming a thing, whether the ends justify the means, even though we know that one day it will probably step over the line.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:11 AM on October 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


To me the post had a 'lets round up a posse and git these varmints' feel to it that I didn't feel to comfortable with.
posted by empath at 4:18 AM on October 15, 2013


If no one else does I'll be making a post on this subject tomorrow.
posted by Artw at 4:35 AM on October 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's a bad post for the same reason that a generic "honour killing" post about the tragic death of a Muslim woman killed by her family for transgressing some religious norm would be a bad post. WIthout SUBSTANTIALLY better framing, they're both in effect posts that say "HEY FUCK THESE GUYS AMIRITE?" They differ only probably in the socio-political commitments of the respective OPs, but they both make equally poor posts for MeFi.

They're stories about bad things that happen, but unless you can frame it in a way that speaks to some broader issue, then it's hard to read it as anything other than an attempt to whip up vitriol against a desired target. That's not what MeFi is for.
posted by modernnomad at 5:46 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm a little surprised by the idea that a post about the rape would be okay, but the mob justice framing isn't. The crime itself is horrible, but it's workaday horrible, the kind of terrible corruption of power and privilege that's been happening since towns existed. But the involvement of the internet is (somewhat) new, and much more in MF's wheelhouse. There's some hashing out to do about when is it appropriate for an online mob to intervene where the justice system has failed, and what the consequences for that could be. If anything, I think the awfulness of this particular crime is what obscures that discussion.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:54 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a bad post for the same reason that a generic "honour killing" post about the tragic death of a Muslim woman killed by her family for transgressing some religious norm would be a bad post.

I'm neutral on this particular deletion, but the main link in the post is a fascinating and very well-reported piece of investigative journalism - hardly a generic "news of the awful" blurb.
posted by lalex at 6:01 AM on October 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Silly/terrible things happen when mobs happen. Mobs are never a "good thing©"
posted by Packed Lunch at 6:04 AM on October 15, 2013


I think, FuzzyBastard, it's viewed as potentially a problem because of the intersection.

So, let's say you have a rape story that is not black and white - because really, which ones are? You're going to have different people posting there - people for whom the victim must automatically be believed, people who think accusers are usually lying, and people who are not sure what they think, but somewhere in the middle.

Then add to it the argument about mob justice - which is a really important one! In this case, though, it runs a risk of people turning into "You don't support mob justice, DO YOU SUPPORT THE RAPISTS?" vs "This mob justice is awful, maybe there has been enough suffering" which sounds like a conversation that should be shot at dawn.

Add to that a few people worried that the concern for mob justice is hiding real support for the males, and you have a disaster. Doesn't have to be that way, but I could see where it might at least.
posted by corb at 6:08 AM on October 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Good article, bad framing. Probably a good deletion.
posted by rtha at 6:17 AM on October 15, 2013


Kansas City Star article is extremely good journalism. I think a link just to it should stay, agree about the framing though.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:37 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


i also found the kc star article to be great journalism - that i almost entirely missed because the framing of the post was so mob justice/anonymous focused. i don't agree that this deletion is extra scrutiny by the mods because of the topic. it seems a pretty standard deletion to me.
posted by nadawi at 6:48 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ug. If people would just start their FPP with "This is a discussion I think we should have..." then it would be much easier to know which posts to automatically skip over. I'll discuss what interests me, thank you, and if you want to get me interested, then make an interesting post. When you frame your post as "This is important and calls for immediate discussion!" then you've assigned a topic importance that *you* haven't demonstrated. My life is awash in information, particularly in bad news worthy of outrage. Why should I care about grinding this particular axe?

Good deletion, this is not the kind of thing Metafilter is for. The importance of quality discussion has always come after the importance of a quality post.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:55 AM on October 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Would a neutrally-worded post with just the KC Star article stay?
posted by lalex at 6:58 AM on October 15, 2013


The Kansas City Star article is good and I was thinking of making simple post with just that link. But for what purpose? It's another news story of something gone bad, it's blowing up on the web and Metafilter isn't a newspaper. So I made a post about a Grasshopper instead, much more fun and interesting.

I was interested in the metafilters reaction to the local businesses being impacted, both the place that has hired the accused rapist, and the place that fired the victims mother...
There are few things less interesting or predictable than Metafilter's reaction to a story about child rape and the subsequent dismissing of charges in small American town. Yeah, that's not the reaction your'e interested in, but its probably the one you were going to get.

Would a neutrally-worded post with just the KC Star article stay?

The post I was thinking of making was simply going to be "And then there was Daisy" with a single link to the KCS article.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think, FuzzyBastard, it's viewed as potentially a problem because of the intersection.

Yeah, probably true. The more I think about it, the more it seems like there's some kind of baked-in connection between those two things---from American lynching to the origin myth of the Sicilian mafia, sexual assault and mob justice seem to walk together. Of course, this case isn't so much like American lynching--the mob isn't interrupting the justice system for carrying out its role too slowly, they're stepping in where the justice system has failed to complete its task. It is interesting to consider why sexual assault, rather than other crimes, inspires this kind of collective extra-legal action. But yeah, that's a discussion that's probably impossible on Metafilter.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:12 AM on October 15, 2013


Would a neutrally-worded post with just the KC Star article stay?

It wouldn't be an auto-delete but we don't pre-approve threads. And I'd suggest waiting til this MeTa has run a bit longer since having a thread pre-Meta-ed is not always a great way to have a focused discussion on a topic because there's an automatic parallel discussion. It will still be a great article a few days from now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:11 AM on October 15, 2013


But for what purpose?

For the same purpose as a post of an article about Astronauts or JJ Abrahms or the US Congress would be made, because it is a well-made thing concerning a subject people here are interested in.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:11 AM on October 15, 2013


The post I was thinking of making was simply going to be "And then there was Daisy" with a single link to the KCS article.

Please don't. If people like the KCS post because it's exceptional journalism, it's worth actually pointing that out. Making the effort to have a post not be read as "Here's another shitty thing that happened" is part of making a thread that goes well here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:17 AM on October 15, 2013


Also, if you must have a clever title, then I insist on "I thought of Daisy."

After reading the KC story and the piece in NY Magazine, I wouldn't be too appalled if Anonymous went through that town like prairie locusts.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:52 AM on October 15, 2013


Metafilter is a fantasy world which is totally different than real life. Some things can come in, but not others

Filter is right there in the site name.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:58 AM on October 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


DNLee outragefilter ok though. Huh.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:04 AM on October 15, 2013


The subject of the post was a helluva lot more preferable than the couple of puerile straight-up scatological posts on the front page I've seen recently (ugh, really?) but I agree that it this well-intentioned serious post was untenable because it was too slanted ... It's not a call to action but veering in that direction, I felt. Internet mob justice ( involving Anonymous or not ) is nothing new by now - even if the cause is definitely just ( and how are people knowing for sure? ) , it can have awful consequences
posted by Bwithh at 9:10 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I recall correctly, outragefilter doesn't usually go well here and that post seemed to me to be calling for outrage. So, no, not a good post, and hardly Best of the Web.
posted by Lynsey at 9:53 AM on October 15, 2013


why do people keep harping on the Best of the Web when the phrase was declared deprecated literally years ago
posted by titus n. owl at 10:19 AM on October 15, 2013


There are few things less interesting or predictable than Metafilter's reaction to a story about child rape and the subsequent dismissing of charges in small American town.

Ehh. There are loads and loads of posts made every day where you can safely predict MeFi's response; whether or not the response is interesting is up to the reader.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:53 AM on October 15, 2013


Post.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on October 15, 2013


Just what the site needs, more outragefilter.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:55 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


*shrug*

It's a good link, it deserved a second chance. I'd advise reading it.
posted by Artw at 12:09 PM on October 15, 2013


If Artw's post stands, can someone explain the relevant difference to me? I'm sincerely baffled. Personally, I'd have left them both, but I really can't distinguish the two.
posted by Lame_username at 12:10 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like that Artw's post focus less on the online aspect.
posted by maryr at 12:25 PM on October 15, 2013


Why did you tag your post 'Football' and 'footballtown', artw? Why not wrestling or iPhone?
posted by 0 at 12:44 PM on October 15, 2013


Pretty sure you can answer your own question by reading the links.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on October 15, 2013


If Artw's post stands, can someone explain the relevant difference to me? I'm sincerely baffled.

To my read, it's a tighter construction that focuses more on the good article and the social phenomenon and omits some of the looser "also, internet drama!" framing in the first one. Basically I think it does a good job of aiming for what Jess discussed upthread as far as a do-over. It's still not the sort of thread that I personally dig much because it feels like it's hard for folks to end up discussing the content of the article in a really interesting way vs. more generally beefing on the shittiness of the situation, but, hey.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:45 PM on October 15, 2013


Thanks for the clarification, mods/admins. I understand the reasons for deletion and don't disagree with them, but a little more detail on the initial deletion itself would have been nice. It was rather frustrating to go from the article and starting to form a response for the site and then find that it was deleted for vague reasons.
posted by Benjy at 4:55 PM on October 15, 2013


It focuses on the shitty thing that people who don't post on Metafilter did, while omitting the potentially-shitty thing done by people who do post on Metafilter. So it's become a thread that's entirely about hating some far-away assholes, with no need for introspection. Progress, of a sort.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:48 PM on October 15, 2013


Yes, that's exactly it, you have cracked the moderation code. Scratch off the strip to redeem your prize:

████████████
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:57 PM on October 15, 2013 [16 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: "It focuses on the shitty thing that people who don't post on Metafilter did, while omitting the potentially-shitty thing done by people who do post on Metafilter."

I'm lost. Are you trying to insinuate that Anonymous harassers are potential Mefites? I mean, sure, that's possible I guess. But to be honest, I can't imagine the mental acrobatics one would have to engage in to think that's why the first thread was killed and the second one survived.
posted by zarq at 7:17 PM on October 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


titus n. owl: "why do people keep harping on the Best of the Web when the phrase was declared deprecated literally years ago"

It's something to strive for.
posted by zarq at 7:20 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


*grabs a penny*

D...R...I...N...K...O...V...A... hey!
posted by maryr at 9:55 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


*throws scratch off comment on the bus floor with all the others*
posted by maryr at 9:57 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


zarq: The only thing that changed between the two was the reference to Anonymous going vigilante. Everything else was the same. So why is that the one thing that couldn't survive?

This MetaTalk thread won't provide much insight. All the talk here about how this is just outragefilter, it's a shitty thing that happened but there's not much to discuss, it's a crude call to action, all that turned out to be just mouth noises, because right now, people are outraged, people are having utterly predictable responses, there's nothing "contemplative" about it, and it's fine. So none of that can be the real reason it wasn't okay.

But the original post put front and center the idea that maybe heavy internet users who are angry about rape culture are doing something not-okay. And that's not an acceptable idea. Because while MeFites may or may not be in Anonymous (I certainly wouldn't be surprised if a few were), the suggestion that heavy internet users who are angry about rape culture might be paving a road to hell with their good intentions is "inflammatory".

So now the thread is a lot of "We hate jocks" (not many jocks on Metafilter), "We hate football culture" (not many football coaches or fans on Metafilter), "We hate small towns" (not many small town people on Metafilter), and "We hate entitled white boys". Any talk of whether internet vigilantism is an acceptable way of dealing with that is confined to Jurassic Park references.

So yeah, it sure does seem like the problem with the original thread was that it implied that people in Metafilter's demographic might be doing something wrong. Metafilter is capable of engaging in self-criticism on the level of "Maybe we haven't been lefty enough", but self-reflection about whether "By any means necessary" is actually a good motto is beyond its capacities.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:10 AM on October 16, 2013


I did prefer the post that has stayed up (artw's). It feels like it has a better chance of provoking, inciting, triggering reasoned debate than the original post. Whether it does, actually, provoke said debate is another thing.

One of my draft FPPs is on the ongoing Savile case which, several years on, keeps revealing new information and is having significant side-effects e.g. several high profile media people from decades past now imprisoned or awaiting trial. But have just realised the parallels between this and the MaryVille situation (a person uses power to get away with a sexual crime), and having two live possibly 'getting away with serious crime outrage' posts at the same time is maybe too heavy, so kicking mine into the long grass for a while.
posted by Wordshore at 5:22 AM on October 16, 2013


So yeah, it sure does seem like the problem with the original thread was that it implied that people in Metafilter's demographic might be doing something wrong. Metafilter is capable of engaging in self-criticism on the level of "Maybe we haven't been lefty enough", but self-reflection about whether "By any means necessary" is actually a good motto is beyond its capacities.

I may even agree with you as to whether or not there's overlap between people who think, say, that writing shitty restaurant reviews as revenge for someone hiring one of these guys is okay, and people on Metafilter, and may even agree that people would probably have gotten (and may still, the thread is still young) defensive about it. But I don't think the mods have a nefarious conspiracy to make everyone on Metafilter feel good about themselves.
posted by corb at 5:29 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


as a football fan from a small town, you might be relying on confirmation bias about who mefites are or are not.
posted by nadawi at 5:35 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ehhh...I think you can find at least one of everyone on Metafilter, maybe two, maybe a few. That doesn't mean there's not a massive swing the other way. There are, for example, I'd say maybe five pro-Second Amendment posters on Metafilter - and I'm being generous there - but that doesn't mean if someone said "Metafilter's demographic is pro-gun control" that they would be wrong.
posted by corb at 6:02 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


well, since that thread has a bunch of people from small towns and some from very close to the town in question, it seems a weird objection to raise as it relates to that thread. i think there are far more of us raised in small towns than is being assumed. also, i'm pro-second amendment and i think a lot of people here are, i just think we'd disagree with you about what that meant. you can be pro-second amendment and pro-gun control.
posted by nadawi at 6:06 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Any talk of whether internet vigilantism is an acceptable way of dealing with that is confined to Jurassic Park references.

Except that any attentive reading of the bulk of mefi threads about internet vigilantism over the years would yield a pretty clear pattern of people here by and large finding the idea gross and shitty and morally objectionable. Not universally so—this place isn't a monolith—but there's not some prevailing current of "let's string 'em up!" that's defines the userbase's collective take on this sort of situation. To imply otherwise is shitty, and to suggest that there's some active attempt on our part as mods to sweep revelations or self-reflections about same under the rug or whatever is doubly so.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:33 AM on October 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


So now the thread is a lot of "We hate jocks" (not many jocks on Metafilter), "We hate football culture" (not many football coaches or fans on Metafilter), "We hate small towns" (not many small town people on Metafilter), and "We hate entitled white boys".

I don't think even the owner and mods have demographic statistics on who are "jocks" or football fans or small town residents, but I know for sure that you certainly don't. In any event, people have spoken from all three of those perspectives, sometimes simultaneously in threads about the intersection between sports teams and rape culture, and the conversation is not frothing at the mouth like you attempt to portray it as, both of which puts your statement to a lie.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:53 AM on October 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, we have the "the son of a small-town football coach" advocating for castration therefore football culture is well represented and generally agrees that Maryville is its fault.
posted by 0 at 7:09 AM on October 16, 2013


Ah, the part of the MeTa thread where you and TFB take one comment in an otherwise calm conversation, blow it all of proportion, and then claim you're being attacked when people call you out on it. That shit is already stale.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:18 AM on October 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


call

zombieflanders, please stop mocking iPhone users who have not upgraded to the iPhone 5, thank you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:53 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's also the whole thing where it was getting pretty clear that this topic was going to keep getting reposted, so might as well keep one that looks somewhat less inflammatory.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:54 AM on October 16, 2013


There are plenty of football fans on mefi, based on what I see when I skim fpps about football (pro teams, anyway). Maybe you should find one of those threads and ask those folks why they're not commenting (if they're not) in the current one.
posted by rtha at 8:09 AM on October 16, 2013


ThatFuzzyBastard: "zarq: The only thing that changed between the two was the reference to Anonymous going vigilante.

I don't think it was, though. First of all, the links were different. Second of all, the other post spent two paragraphs talking about the internet reaction, including explicitly mention of the fact that the vet clinic which fired Daisy's mom was the subject of internet vigilante-ism. The new post only mentions "anger on the internet" with a single link to a news story. That's a big, big difference in focus.

Which yes, I realize helps support your point in a way. :)

More on that in a bit.

I would personally have preferred a different post than what Artw created. Something that provided a bigger picture and whose discussion didn't devolve into "those people suck." But I had a choice to do one myself and didn't bother. So beggars can't be choosers. Plus my own posting style isn't everyone's cup of tea, either, I know.

This MetaTalk thread won't provide much insight. All the talk here about how this is just outragefilter, it's a shitty thing that happened but there's not much to discuss, it's a crude call to action, all that turned out to be just mouth noises, because right now, people are outraged, people are having utterly predictable responses, there's nothing "contemplative" about it, and it's fine. So none of that can be the real reason it wasn't okay.

In my opinion it was probably deleted because the mods very, very often delete posts that throw the site into severe turmoil, for one reason or another. "Outragefilter" is shorthand for what happens when something is posted that results in angry mob mentalities, shouting arguments and a MeFi flamewar that spills over into Metatalk. Some topics have a higher bar than others -- making deletions almost a default reaction if the post isn't well constructed or over-editorializes. Topics like Israel/Palestine. Or circumcision. Or abortion. Or child rape.

I believe that comments and/or post deletions are nearly always done to keep Metafilter running smoothly. Even the removal of doubles and spam could be considered part of that. If you consider that perspective, specific deletion reasons may sometimes look like window dressing.

But the original post put front and center the idea that maybe heavy internet users who are angry about rape culture are doing something not-okay. And that's not an acceptable idea. Because while MeFites may or may not be in Anonymous (I certainly wouldn't be surprised if a few were), the suggestion that heavy internet users who are angry about rape culture might be paving a road to hell with their good intentions is "inflammatory".

I think it's less a matter of that than, "People did something horrifying. Others are reacting in kind." So you have a conflation of people involved in the situation who are all doing nasty things to each other. But, ymmv.

So now the thread is a lot of "We hate jocks" (not many jocks on Metafilter), "We hate football culture" (not many football coaches or fans on Metafilter), "We hate small towns" (not many small town people on Metafilter), and "We hate entitled white boys".

Can't speak for the prevalence of jocks. But we have Yahoo fantasy football and baseball leagues and FPPs about football and baseball, tennis, soccer and other sports are usually quite active. This is a great one covering a tennis match -- and if you have time the quotes from Xan Brooks, the "Guardan liveblogger who was slowly going mad" were freakin' hilarious:
"7.45pm: What happens if we steal their rackets? If we steal their rackets, the zombies can no longer hit their aces and thump their backhands and keep us all prisoner on Court 18. I'm shocked that this is only occurring to me now. Will nobody run onto the court and steal their rackets? Are they all too scared of the zombies' clutching claws and gore-stained teeth? Steal their rackets and we can all go home. Who's with me? Steal their rackets and then run for the tube.

It's 48-48. What further incentive do you need?"
Oh and lots and lots and lots of mefites hail from small American towns. Hell, I lived in one myself.

We do have lots of entitled white men. But we also have lots of people from all different cultures, races/ethnicities and religious persuasions. I don't think MeFi skews too much towards entitled white men anymore because everyone else is so vocal, although (since I am one) I could be wrong and just not aware of it. Personal bias.

So yeah, it sure does seem like the problem with the original thread was that it implied that people in Metafilter's demographic might be doing something wrong. Metafilter is capable of engaging in self-criticism on the level of "Maybe we haven't been lefty enough", but self-reflection about whether "By any means necessary" is actually a good motto is beyond its capacities."

We're definitely capable of that sort of self-reflection. I don't see it happening in that thread but I don't think that's really a criticism of MeFi as a whole. Just that thread.
posted by zarq at 9:44 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Late to the party here, but I have noticed that the mods seem to be more willing to remove borderline "people somewhere did something awful, you should hate them" type posts, and I want to say thank you.
posted by aspo at 10:46 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


But the original post put front and center the idea that maybe heavy internet users who are angry about rape culture are doing something not-okay. And that's not an acceptable idea.

lol, give me a break, a few minutes searching would blow this apart. I mean, remember the PyCon thread?
posted by en forme de poire at 11:15 AM on October 16, 2013


Lots of MeFites hail from small towns, and then got the hell out of them, yes. But that's not quite the same.

The only difference between the post that stayed and the post that went is that the post that got deleted talked about both the crime and the internet mobs. The new one talks only about the crime. Therefore, it was the talk of internet mobs that got it deleted. So why is that element unacceptable in the FPP?

remember the PyCon thread?

The one where the FPP was entirely about how terrible harassment was at conventions, the one that only got into whether publicly shaming for private conversation is acceptable after it happened, and that caused most of Metafilter to shout that of course it was acceptable to make the contents of people's private conversations public if they are unpleasant people? I do.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:28 AM on October 16, 2013


wow, you have some selective-ass memory. Why don't you re-read the first few comments in that thread, for example? Scrolling down should confirm that people defended both sides of that issue pretty enthusiastically. Certainly neither position was modded out of existence.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:34 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


also how would you make an FPP about publicly shaming for private conversation before it happened
posted by en forme de poire at 11:35 AM on October 16, 2013


Well, yes, one couldn't, which is rather the point. The mods have decided that a post where there's no possible reaction other than "That sucks" is better than a post where one could say "That sucks but..."

That said, PyCon seems like a really inapt comparison, as the scale of the crime is so much greater, and the retaliation so much less. I'm hoping Anonymous cuts it out with Yelp bullshit, and starts finding the conversations that led to the charges being dropped.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:49 AM on October 16, 2013


Therefore, it was the talk of internet mobs that got it deleted. So why is that element unacceptable in the FPP?

You are fantasizing and then begging the question.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:50 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fantasizing? That was the only difference I noticed between the two---what other changes made it go from a bad post to a good one?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:58 AM on October 16, 2013


To me the main problem with the original FPP was that it was sprawling in a way that detracted from a really strong central link - I didn't seek to exclude other material so much as build out from that link with a few other links. My natural inclination is to make FPPs as small as possible and if this one hadn't been around the block already I'd probably have gone with the Kansas City Star link only, but that would probably be begging for deletion.
posted by Artw at 11:58 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The mods have decided that a post where there's no possible reaction other than "That sucks" is better than a post where one could say "That sucks but..."

Our job in reality is more complicated than our job is in your mind, we're clear on that.

Internet mob topics are not only not great topics but they also become part of the thing they are describing in a really weird way. Anonymous and their squad may have every righteous reason to be doing what they are doing, but being voyeurs to what they are doing is rarely a good way to pass time in a MeFi thread. Making a post about a bad criminal situation and some nuances about that is one thing (and already a bit problematic but something we'll try to mod and defend) making a post that winds up being about that already problematic topic AND the mob justice topic makes everything really complicated in a way that rarely goes well here. Tough to mod, gets people all pissed off, has a tendency to go sour quickly, etc. This is just me after the fact talking about it, I wasn't actually involved too much in the decisions at the time except that I was and am commenting here.

Once this MeTa thread was going and it became really clear that a thread about the general rape/smalltown topic was going to be happening no matter what (and we gave some feedback into what would make a post better from our vantage point) it was basically all about deciding whether the next post made hit the "make a better post" bar or not. It did, and it remained. It's not like we looked at two posts side by side and said "Well one of them is a bit more this way and the other is a bit more that way and we like this better than that, so...."

At the point at which we only had the one post to look at, the first one, it looked problematic in a "These threads tend to go terribly, someone can make a better post" and that's what happened. People can quibble over deletion reasoning (and we're certainly talking it to death here) but that's basically MeFi working like it's supposed to. The KC Star article about this bad situation was the main point of the first post but was going to get lost in all the Anonymous rage-machine stuff that makes for easier reading.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:23 PM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Fortunately the Anonymous yelp - thing seems to be drowned out by flags, so it doesn't appear to be affecting yelp too badly. I say, by the 241 removed reviews.
posted by corb at 12:28 PM on October 16, 2013


Oh yeah- like I said, I'm not too concerned with the purity of Yelp reviews. I would just orefer that the low-hanging fruit of open review posting got less attention than the really important question if wtf was the d.a. thinking.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:57 PM on October 16, 2013


Which appears to be the reason the first post was deleted and the second post lived...?
posted by en forme de poire at 1:10 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


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