Yes quotes can be a bit outrageous, but.. December 25, 2013 4:54 AM   Subscribe

Any comments on how this should be reworked? I avoided discussing any of the stories mentioned in the article except for the good cop one specifically to minimize the outrage filter issue.

We really do not get enough discussion about ordinary police abuse on metafilter, the reason being that discussions often go badly. Abstract stuff like the NSA, drone killings, etc. all work because nobody gets as emotional about that. All the more ordinary abuse is a significant part of our world right now though, partially due to steroid abuse amongst officers, partially due to military-like training of officers, and perhaps partially due to society's violence thresholds getting lower across the board. I'd love seeing more discussions about it happening on broad based forums as opposed to blogs specifically because they let you see more how society as a whole views something.

It's annoying to me personally because this is really the only topic where I feel I cannot within a reasonable period of time craft a post that avoids fights, deletion, etc. Would it be possible to have somewhat more specific guidelines as to how to make a post on this topic that avoids an inflamed discussion? Take greater care when mentioning pets I suppose.
posted by jeffburdges to Etiquette/Policy at 4:54 AM (41 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I'm not a mod and certainly not a metafilter expert, but this read as a bit overly sarcastic/snarky for a FPP:

Salt Lake City’s Chris Burbank scored her Good Cop of the Year award though.
posted by lunasol at 5:09 AM on December 25, 2013


How so? Chris Burbank is awesome. That's obvious if you either read the article or the linked fpp.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:11 AM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I actually emailed the mods about this, but since the thread has been opened I may as well drop my two cents here too.

I liked the article a lot. I think that a roundup of many bad incidents transcends its subject matter; it's no longer outrage-filter if you're looking at these actions as a pattern of behavior rather than isolated incidents. And it may be a bit grim, but I thought the parakeet-smooshing was funny (in a horrible way). Sometimes all you can do is laugh at these things, because otherwise you'd have to cry.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:20 AM on December 25, 2013


The number one priority I feel is that whatever you put on the front page is an Interesting Thing on the Web. I linked to taz's comment here in the deletion reason because I think it's a great rundown of the dichotomy between "people need to see this" vs. "wow, this is interesting".

In this respect, the Vice article was borderline in my reading. The stories are horrible, sure, and personally I agree they need to be exposed and discussed. I'm just not sure Metafilter is the right venue for that. It's a fine line to walk because of course we do have posts about law enforcement, some of them detailing incidents of police misconduct, many of them leading to contentious threads. But that alone (is it going to be a difficult thread to moderate) can never by itself be sufficient grounds for deletion, in my view. Of the threads that stay, most of them present in some way or another a link that's interesting on its own and not merely a podium for exposing police brutality or whatever.

And again, that's thin ice, because that can easily be interpreted as me minimizing the importance of police brutality. Of course I'm all for exposing it! But Metafilter isn't an activism blog, it's a general interest blog, and generally I'm skeptical of slippery slope arguments but here I'm honestly worried that if we start thinking less in terms of "wow, neat" and more "this needs seeing" then there might over time be a creeping expectation that this is what MeFi does, and soon perhaps it would be all grar, all the time. What then of the funny cat videos?

No seriously, I do want to emphasize that as far as I'm concerned any topic can be posted about, of course, but yeah basically there's just a pretty high bar for outragefilter. To answer your question, letting the interestingness lead the importance is pretty much always a good idea; I do understand that that is not a very concrete suggestion in this instance. At any rate, as I noted in the deletion reason, I'd avoid leading a post with such a generalizing quote. As with "people need to say this" that's kind of an issue separate from whether the quote is true or not, moderation-wise; but in this instance in the *thread* there was bound to be a derail over the accuracy of that quote right out of the gate, in my opinion.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 5:22 AM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


We really do not get enough discussion about ordinary police abuse on metafilter...

Who says? This sounds like an agenda, and agenda posts are nearly always a bad thing. If you're doing "interesting things on the web" then there are no quotas; it's just whatever happens to come along. If you're doing "people need to know about this", then MeFi isn't the right place for it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:29 AM on December 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


It's not "people need to see this", goodnewsfortheinsane, that's what twitter is for. It's "I want to see what people say about this outside my twitter". Yes, that's not 100% the point of metafilter either, but it's pretty damn close.

Anyways, I'll grant that the quote's generality is itself a bit inflammatory, fair enough.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:30 AM on December 25, 2013


It's still rabblerousing, and no, it isn't the point of Metafilter.

I think this was a bad post, and I don't think there's any way to reframe it to make it better.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:33 AM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think this is a great post for christmas day, and there have been several police related threads on Mefi, so it is not verboten. The problem is that the way the police are behaving is going to cause outrage. Shoulda just titled the post "dogs were shot" and used the first line of the quote maybe?
posted by marienbad at 5:43 AM on December 25, 2013


I think this post shoulda stayed up.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:51 AM on December 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


I think you could go with a really dry description of the content, something like "Vice reviews police misconduct incidents in the US in 2013", then below the fold "some additional resources:" and a list of links.

If the article is as good as Joe in Australia says, it can probably work.
posted by nangar at 6:13 AM on December 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


We really do not get enough discussion about ordinary police abuse on metafilter

This seems like a red flag that this isn't a topic on which you should be making FPPs.

But also, it's Christmas, which has historically been a day when people have been a bit fighty, and it's also a day on which the mods might want to do things other than referee fights. I think it might be a good idea to try again on another day, if you're going to try again.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:19 AM on December 25, 2013


Needs more Cop Rock.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:34 AM on December 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow, I did not know Cop Rock existed.
posted by avocet at 6:35 AM on December 25, 2013


We really do not get enough discussion about ordinary police abuse on metafilter, the reason being that discussions often go badly.

This sounds kinda like you had a discussion in mind and found links to frame it. I'm not saying that's exactly what happened, I'm saying that's what it looks like.

My understanding of MeFi is that the pre-posting-thought should be "Hey cool! This is a Neat Thing, MeFi should see this!" about 99% of the time, and basically never "MeFi should have a discussion about this subject because Reasons, so let me find some links to support my point."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:45 AM on December 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


I did not know Cop Rock existed

My work here is done. Ho ho ho!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:49 AM on December 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


I think you could go with a really dry description of the content, something like "Vice reviews police misconduct incidents in the US in 2013", then below the fold "some additional resources:" and a list of links.

This.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:49 AM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's too early on Christmas to start fighting. Not everyone is drunk yet.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:52 AM on December 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


i think it was a perfectly fine post. there are so many other posts that don't pass the "people need to see this" vs. "wow, this is interesting". if i had to guess what's really happening, i'd say this one was singled out because it had to do with police misconduct.

now, if you wanted to post a single link to a 500-word fiction essay about terrible things things men do to women it probably wouldn't get deleted.
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:14 AM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm off duty and drinking champagne so I'm not going to say much here, but nangar has a very good point. A lot of people tend to try to "grab eyeballs" with the more contentious outrage-fuel sorts of quotes and /or titles (or editorializing via authorial voice or sarcasm), and that's ungreat for Mefi posts on hot button topics. If you want your post to stay and it's of the "grrrr, people need to read this!!" variety most likely to be deleted as outragefilter, double check yourself for other things that might contribute to the reasons to delete. If your title or lead quote is likely to lead people right into immediate fisticuffs, that's a big problem.

I haven't even read the main article yet (champagne! cooking!), but phrasing similar to nangar's suggestion would for me be a mark on the "keep" side when assessing possible deletion of what might be outragefilter.

On preview: cupcake1337, if you want to complain about women/feminisim on Mefi again, make your own Metatalk and don't hijack this one.
posted by taz (staff) at 7:16 AM on December 25, 2013 [30 favorites]


now, if you wanted to post a single link to a 500-word fiction essay about terrible things things men do to women it probably wouldn't get deleted.

That is incredibly uncharitable. I'd be willing to bet that jessamyn would be the first to delete something like that, unless it had significant redeeming value.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:21 AM on December 25, 2013


We really do not get enough discussion about ordinary police abuse on metafilter

This seems really, really off the mark, to me, as one of the folks who actually has to keep an eye on the many, many police abuse discussions we've had. And I can totally understand personally wanting to see more discussion on that topic because it's a difficult one and important one, but so too for a bunch of of other things that are also (a) not really something it's Mefi's mission statement to make sure there's discussion of and (b) do in fact come up around here repeatedly as it is.

now, if you wanted to post a single link to a 500-word fiction essay about terrible things things men do to women it probably wouldn't get deleted.

You do not need to actually actively make an effort to fuck up Christmas morning, dude.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:22 AM on December 25, 2013 [53 favorites]


Aaaand
CUT


jeez…
posted by Namlit at 7:23 AM on December 25, 2013


It really felt like you had an agenda in posting this. The title is inflammatory. The quote is inflammatory. The "good cop of the year" line reads like obnoxious snark.

The problem with the cop topic is that the web seems unable to have a nuanced, thoughtful, evidence-based discussion on it. Threads turn into nothing but patriotic "God bless our police officers" posts and snide "cops are pigs who need to be stopped" posts. Just look at the two comments you got before it was deleted. Check and check.

This almost inevitably happens when the discussion is framed with one point of view in mind. Your post might as well have been titled "Resolved: cops are doing tons of bad things and need to be watched."

If you insist on reframing, maybe go out of your way to make it more even-handed next time.
posted by Old Man McKay at 7:27 AM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


even-handed is something FPPs have to be now?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:29 AM on December 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


The "good cop of the year" line reads like obnoxious snark.

This bigger problem is not lack of even-handedness in FPPs, its that people don't read the links. Read that link. It wasn't snarky, at all.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:31 AM on December 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


The link was not, but the sentence that embedded it certainly was in the context of the post.
posted by sammyo at 7:39 AM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


We really do not get enough discussion about ordinary police abuse on metafilter, the reason being that discussions often go badly.

Where is this "metafilter" that you are speaking of and how can I start reading that one?
posted by Etrigan at 7:45 AM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


if you want to complain about women/feminisim on Mefi again, make your own Metatalk

Please don't encourage him.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:51 AM on December 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Half the people posting in this thread and actively demanding mod attention (including me) would also actively decry K-mart being open on Thanksgiving.

So thank you, mods, for working on a holiday, AGAIN. I hope the Santas in your lives have been generous.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:54 AM on December 25, 2013 [24 favorites]


I GOT SOCKS

actually some really great socks, thanks honey
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:56 AM on December 25, 2013 [30 favorites]


people socks are good. Startup in brooklyn that donates one pair each time you buy one!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:57 AM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


My daughter's favorite toy is socks. They're like security blankets you store on your feet! So that's what we got her this year.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:03 AM on December 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


I GOT SOCKS

OMG me too. They're black with orange toes so my feet look kind of like penguins or something.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:04 AM on December 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sock EnvyFilter
posted by sammyo at 8:08 AM on December 25, 2013


As a kid where getting clothes for xmas - especially socks - was like, ugh, how boring.

Now I'm a grownup and I love to get socks for presents. Socks!
posted by rtha at 8:17 AM on December 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


In conclusion, growing up is a land of contrasts.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:25 AM on December 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


I got my son a pair of warm boot socks. He likes to wear boots. He seems to like them, but he's a little more amped up about the PS3.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:26 AM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


As for the post, it could have been interesting, but you oversold it.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:27 AM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


patriotic "God bless our police officers" posts

Please note, I am not a patriot, nor do I believe in God.

I do, however, believe that the number of good cops is greater than the number of evil cops, my intent was to acknowledge them...
posted by HuronBob at 8:27 AM on December 25, 2013


even-handed is something FPPs have to be now?

If you want your post on a deeply inflammatory topic to hang around it is highly recommended. Otherwise it is off to the island of misfit Christmas posts.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:09 AM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


You do not need to actually actively make an effort to fuck up Christmas morning, dude.

Seriously folks, knock this off. I get why you made that post and I get why you are not pleased with its deletion but what I don't get is why you didn't/don't really see that it wasn't a great post for MeFi (hot button topics like police brutality, pet abuse, hot button phrasing like editorializing and axe-grinding) and also why you didn't just email us to ask about it since this is mostly about you trying to figure out how to make a post that doesn't get deleted in a place where posts like this routinely fall under the "make a better post" banner.

If you'd like to have a longer conversation with us about this specifically please hit us up on the contact form where you have a chance to talk to one of the five mods who are pulling some sort of a shift on Christmas day but we're not going to continue to go down this road here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:09 AM on December 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


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