Should Meta posters be able to close their own posts? March 23, 2014 11:39 AM   Subscribe

In this thread, the OP repeatedly demanded that the thread be closed because it wasn't going exactly the way he'd foreseen, which the mods complied with. The majority of the thread was both on topic and positive (and hadn't necessarily "run its course"), so I'm confused as to why it was closed. Previous closings of Metas always seem to focus on community needs, rather than the feelings of the OP.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear to Etiquette/Policy at 11:39 AM (296 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I think that thread was closed because it wasn't going to go anywhere good, not based on the OP's request; I'm pretty sure that closure was a mod "...and we're done here" decision (with which I agree as there didn't really seem to be a positive outcome to leaving it open).
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:48 AM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Wow. I hadn't bothered reading that thread since I wasn't expecting anything but a mildly nauseating love-in. It's oddly reassuring to see that grumbling and needless friction can arise even where you wouldn't expect 'em.
posted by Decani at 11:56 AM on March 23, 2014 [24 favorites]


Previous closings of Metas always seem to focus on community needs, rather than the feelings of the OP.

The community did not need what was starting to happen in that thread.
posted by Area Man at 11:56 AM on March 23, 2014 [23 favorites]


I didn't really pick up on that doomed vibe. I could be wrong, but it seems like minus the interpersonal sniping and rehashing of arguments from the FPP (which the mods specifically asked people to refrain from), it was a pretty positive thread.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:57 AM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


It sucks that that thread was closed, because the people it was praising deserve All The Praises. But it's not like there was some vital community issue that needed to be hashed out, and it was taking a turn for the ugly. It seemed likely to cause headaches for the mods and sadness and bad feelings in general, and I don't think anything particularly constructive was likely to come out of it.

But this thread is still open, so I will take it as an opportunity to concur with the positive callouts.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:00 PM on March 23, 2014


The longer that thread went the more minusing 'the interpersonal sniping and rehashing of arguments from the FPP' would have left nothing at all. The last post that was basically 'yeah, that was a good thread' was 6 hours before it got closed.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:01 PM on March 23, 2014


I closed it, because I felt it was going to turn into something ugly that served no purpose.

I can absolutely see the general case for keeping MeTa threads open even if the OP requests it closed. If it were a policy debate, if there were a site issue being discussed from the post, that would be a reason to keep it open. If a person opens a MeTa about their own behavior (eg, "why did my post/comment get deleted"), then obviously it's fine for folks to give them feedback including negative feedback, and we would in most cases keep that kind of thread open even if the OP requested it closed. But this MeTa was just meant to be a positive callout of some other people making great comments - it wasn't inviting a referendum on the poster's own behavior.... and for it to turn into one seemed like it was heading to a bad place.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:02 PM on March 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Schmoopy mixed with aggression is a kind of a noxious dish anyway, to be blunt.
posted by planetesimal at 12:29 PM on March 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


Is it me or does Metafilter seem to be getting progressively wierder and more fighty, like that relative who keeps acquiring more cats?
posted by killdevil at 12:34 PM on March 23, 2014 [56 favorites]


Can I politely request that people do not use this thread as an excuse to continue the argument in the previous thread.

Re: this topic, it's surely fine for anyone to request the closing of a thread, and the prerogative of the mods to decide whether to heed them or not.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:38 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it's fine to talk about that other thread in a meta way because it isn't necessary to always try to speak about things abstractly.
posted by planetesimal at 12:43 PM on March 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


Is it me or does Metafilter seem to be getting progressively wierder and more fighty, like that relative who keeps acquiring more cats?

In another thread I speculated that this may be due to the bulk of the posters residing in the northern hemisphere and thus having just lived through a fuck of a long winter and being grumpier than usual in general. (Ironically, even that statement earned me a snarky lecture from someone else about assuming everyone went through winter at the same time, so...I dunno.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:52 PM on March 23, 2014 [23 favorites]


Maybe posters in the southern hemisphere are just worn out by all the sunshine and beauty and happiness? But yes, this winter has made me grumpy, and I can't imagine that I'm the only one. Having said that, I feel like people constantly perceive Metafilter to be getting worse, and I don't think it's really true. At least for as long as I've been here, there has always been some crankiness.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:55 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


As someone who helped contribute to that thread's demise I think that LobsterMitten was right to close it up. That thread did seem like it was heading to a bad place. I'm sorry that I implied that fffm was an asshole. That wasn't the point I was trying to make, I got caught up in making a zinger and throwing his words back in his face. It was unnecessary and uncalled for.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:57 PM on March 23, 2014 [33 favorites]


Good sport for apologizing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:01 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I asked for that thread to be closed because its intent was to bring well-deserved attention on some people making some amazing contributions.

Then people started showing up and acting like jerks in a situation where there was absolutely nothing, not one damn thing, giving them cause to.

Chew on that.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:05 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Um, are we just re-opening that previous thread?
posted by benito.strauss at 1:06 PM on March 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


Chew on that.

Cool your jets, mebbe?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:14 PM on March 23, 2014 [22 favorites]


Shakespeherian, how would you feel if you posted something thanking people for being awesome, and instead it turned into--as Lobstermitten put it--a referendum on you?

It was shitty behaviour, it didn't need to happen, and somehow it's my fault for being upset.

The mods need to stop blaming victims. I'm out.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:18 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


By my lights, the only person acting like a jerk in that thread was you, fffm, when you started freaking out and demanding that it be closed when it didn't turn into the thread you wanted it to be. I agree with the closure, it wasn't going anywhere that was productive to the community, but telling the mods to close your thread when it becomes something you don't like isn't very community minded behavior either.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:19 PM on March 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


It's not your fault for being upset; but there is a new, other thing here which is your fault, and that is bringing that other thread's argument into here after having that thread get closed because it turned into an argument. If you don't want that argument to occur, don't make it be here also.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:20 PM on March 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


fffm, it just isn't worth the aggravation. Don't take the bait.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:23 PM on March 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


I asked for that thread to be closed because its intent was to bring well-deserved attention on some people making some amazing contributions.

Then people started showing up and acting like jerks in a situation where there was absolutely nothing, not one damn thing, giving them cause to.

Chew on that.


I am trying very hard to say this in a thoughtful and respectful way, and I hope that comes across properly; this is not meant to be snark, or an attack, or anything, and I really hope that's clear.

Something I've noticed is that it seems like you really want people to be happy and for there to be joy. This is a great quality and really a very positive thing; it is a sign that you are a good and caring person and I respect the hell out of that. It seems like you are trying to create a world where people feel safe and comfortable, which I one hundred percent, totally get and is an instinct I have as well.

It also seems like, when your genuinely really good intentions don't work out quite the way you want and people are still snarky or irritable or whatever, it's very frustrating for you and you take it kind of badly. Also, because your desire to provide the chance for people to be happy is so kind and genuine, you sometimes maybe misread people's tones and are a little over-sensitive to well-intentioned jokes.

What I'm trying to say, as thoughtfully and gently and respectfully as possible, is that (from what I can tell through the internet) you are a kind person and it's tough for you when that's met with something different from what you hope or expect. The thing is, this is just something that's going to happen. People are going to be snarky or angry or irritable or petty, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for bad reasons. This sometimes seems difficult for you to accept but it's not going to change. I would like to propose, with affection and respect, that maybe it's worth stepping back a bit to breathe and maybe distancing yourself from situations where people are not reacting in a way that's healthy for you.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:25 PM on March 23, 2014 [52 favorites]


Don't take the bait.

Doesn't look like he heeded your advice. Account is closed.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:27 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Christ.
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:31 PM on March 23, 2014


That thread had this strange feeling where I didn't get the sense anyone was, at heart, actually angry about anything but they all read each others posts in the worst way and somehow everyone ended up fighting. It was very confusing.

Also, I live in the northern hemisphere and we didn't even have winter this year (California). Just summer part 2 (The Revenge).
posted by wildcrdj at 1:35 PM on March 23, 2014 [12 favorites]


Does this past seven-day period hold the record for flame outs? The Thunderdome has been absolutely merciless. I half expect one of the mods to rage quit at this point.

Hopefully March will go out like a lamb in the end--but the lion is still going strong. Be careful out there on the Gray, dear hearts.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:38 PM on March 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Doesn't look like he heeded your advice. Account is closed.

I'll suggest the mods close this thread now, as LobsterMitten provided a response to the question in the OP, and a member has disabled their account. From my point of view, I'm not sure there's anything to discuss here. It's bound to get weird, unless there's a tangent away from the topic at hand, and then it might as well be a different thread.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:42 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


People are going to be snarky or angry or irritable or petty, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for bad reasons.

This. One thing that I've learned from Mefi is that you can't see H.A.L.T* through your computer screen. I hate when people make snarky jokes that border on mean, or veiled callouts, but I choose to believe that in the end they probably aren't personal.


*Hungry, angry, lonely, tired.
posted by Shouraku at 1:42 PM on March 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'll suggest the mods close this thread now

I suppose my feeling is, the question in the title of this post is something the community can discuss and might want to weigh in on. (I.e., not necessarily with respect to the specific other MeTa that is mentioned here, but speaking more in general terms.)

I agree it would be good if we don't get hung up talking about fffm, since he's not around to respond.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:49 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


One thing that I've learned from Mefi is that you can't see H.A.L.T* through your computer screen. I hate when people make snarky jokes that border on mean, or veiled callouts, but I choose to believe that in the end they probably aren't personal.

And it's hard to really convey sarcasm or subtle humor via text alone, especially when your content is a joke that can be taken as mean-spirited. Really, it's best to avoid the jerky jokes in a tense situation, unless you know the person in real life.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:54 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Does this past seven-day period hold the record for flame outs?

Dunno, but does it mean anything that the period overlaps with it being spring break in a lot of places? I've had this ludicrous theory that Mefi fightiness goes up during academic break times for some reason, but I can't be bothered to do the research.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:54 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


LobsterMitten: I suppose my feeling is, the question in the title of this post is something the community can discuss and might want to weigh in on. (I.e., not necessarily with respect to the specific other MeTa that is mentioned here, but speaking more in general terms.)

Good point, thanks!
posted by filthy light thief at 1:57 PM on March 23, 2014


I said this in the massive MeTa thread and was speaking somewhat specifically there, but also think that generally this impulse to call for MeTa threads to be closed is not as productive as it seems on first glance. I think there's a tendency for people to call for a thread to be closed as a way of artificially creating resolution to whatever the issue is. However, that ends up with some people thinking there's a consensus that doesn't exist and other people feeling like their concerns are being ignored.

So, naturally, I think enabling posters to close their own MeTas is a bad idea.
posted by hoyland at 2:09 PM on March 23, 2014 [15 favorites]


Also, w/r/t the prompt for this post, LobsterMitten has already chimed in to discuss the deletion, but it was a stunty post that didn't stick its landing. The "this is important" and "sorry, but I need to make a couple of callouts" would be next level bait and switch moves in any week, but coming on the heels of the ill-fated inkypinky MeTa, it just was not a well played way of offering thanks for some great contributions.

Once the joke framing flopped, and the thread was going nowhere fast, I can see it being good moderation to close it on the joker's request. Good modding, bad framing.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:10 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


With regards to the actual question outlined in this MeTa: one thing I've had to remind myself of time and again is that when you put a "thing" out there in the Big Wide World, be it a mefi post, a piece of artwork, a child, a plant, basically anything you've created - you have to deal with the fact that it's not necessarily going to work out the way you want. Insects might come along and infest the plant. People might think your artwork is terrible, or worse, not even worth noticing. Etc. That's a risk you take, sometimes. You can't control other people's reactions. If you can't take the rough with the smooth, then don't lay naked on unsanded hardwood floors, I guess?
posted by Solomon at 2:18 PM on March 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


> the question in the title of this post is something the community can discuss and might want to weigh in on.

Just checking, but surely the question wasn't intended to be how it was literally phrased ("Should Meta posters be able to close their own posts?" in the same sense as "...able to close their accounts?" without mod intervention. On the remote chance it was intended that way then OMG no. If it was intended as asking whether the user who opened a meta thread may request that it be closed then Cannon Fodder's previous reply ("...it's surely fine for anyone to request the closing of a thread, and the prerogative of the mods to decide whether to heed them or not") is how things stand now and how they should remain.
posted by jfuller at 2:22 PM on March 23, 2014


I feel like if the original MeTa poster wants the topic to stick to what they wanted to talk about, they should put it in AskMe?

Maybe AskMe posters should get to close their own questions. Now there's an idea.
posted by ctmf at 2:31 PM on March 23, 2014


Metafilter-related subjects are not permitted in AskMe and get deleted by the mods and referred to MeTa. Plus, in general, MeTa threads are not questions with answers, so much as they are discussion prompts.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:35 PM on March 23, 2014


it's hard to really convey sarcasm or subtle humor via text alone

Okay, so it's partly a matter of writing skills and language command. But then there that thing about humor in general: not everyone has everyone else's kind of humor.
A useful technique - if one doesn't want to preemptively dour down one's internet persona - is to tread carefully around other's sensitivities, and only pull the 'wow - such cat' type of humor (or the puns, wacky comparisons, or kilt jokes or whatever) when everyone else also does.
This, and being ready to be corrected by others, and to be prepared to apologize. I really don't think that it's any harder than that.
posted by Namlit at 2:37 PM on March 23, 2014


Is it me or does Metafilter seem to be getting progressively wierder and more fighty, like that relative who keeps acquiring more cats?

I don't think the site as a whole is getting any weirder or fightier, but more that once in a while there is a combination of personalities that spark weirdness and fightiness off of each other, and maybe lately we've had that magic personality combination in play.

Regarding the question in the headline, I'd say that in general the answer should be no, but sometimes it's the right thing to do. I hadn't watched that thread after glancing at it when it was opened and assuming it would be a not very interesting love-in, so it was a surprise to see that it had actually been a bit of a roller coaster.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:44 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, and my opinion about the main question here: I think the policy from over at Metafilter proper, that a poster doesn't "own" a post and needs to let the discussion develop on its own terms, should ideally apply to MeTa as well - but that doesn't say anything about exceptions. I feel the argument "was going to turn into something ugly that served no purpose" is a great one, especially since everyone's nerves are still raw from the last two weeks. Bad enough with ugliness that in the end does serve a purpose.
posted by Namlit at 2:47 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sometimes the hard thing about being in a community is the fact that people are coming from many different places; when you'd like to say something, you have to contend with the readings they hear as well as the reading you intended. When they read things differently than you wanted them to, you have to try to be graceful about it, even if you would rather everyone just understand things the way you were hoping they'd understand things. This can make even a nice gesture, like an expression of gratitude for the good comments of certain posters, a little difficult to do right. And the sad thing is that good intentions don't really make communication easier. Even the nicest person in the world might be misunderstood and have to work overtime in the patience department to keep things on an even keel.

If you genuinely want to be nice and give great members of the community a shout-out for being awesome, you might end up having to look past some silly snark about your framing, and you might have to have the grace to shrug and say "eh, sorry if that sounded weird, but anyway, I really mean thanks to the people I mentioned above." And if someone makes a joke at that moment, it's probably in your best interest to take it as lightly as you can, rather than taking it as a referendum on the community as a whole.

Otherwise, it's going to sound like you didn't really think those people were so great - you just thought the rest of the community was so terrible that they kind of stood out. And that ultimately you found the rest of the community so terrible that you weren't shy about closing your account when things unexpectedly went south.

I am being honest when I say that's totally cool if that's what you want to do. This is only the Internet, after all. It's not like we get a merit badge for participating, and you'd probably be better off reading a book or something. It's a community, and there are going to be ups and downs; there is no shame in not having the time to put in the effort to simulate something like neighborhood with thousands of people you've probably never met.

I'm only saying: that kind of flexibility and tolerance of silliness is really the price of making it work in an Internet community. The ability to shake your head, sigh, and shrug isn't just a valuable skill here; it might be a necessity.
posted by koeselitz at 2:48 PM on March 23, 2014 [28 favorites]


Is it me or does Metafilter seem to be getting progressively wierder and more fighty, like that relative who keeps acquiring more cats?

I don't think the site as a whole is getting any weirder or fightier, but more that once in a while there is a combination of personalities that spark weirdness and fightiness off of each other, and maybe lately we've had that magic personality combination in play.


I disagree with your statement so hard, I'm going to open up a passive-aggressive meta on this.

I mean seriously. What do you expect from a site that can't talk about Israel and Palestine, trans issues, dating without defaulting to dtmfa, and basically can't resolve issues without a mod stepping in to lay the smack down?
posted by hal_c_on at 3:03 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm skeptical of the claim that this is a community. The only thing we share is a blue background. We don't share a set of values, we don't share common interests, we don't share an identity. We're a bunch of fractious loudmouths with strong opinions who cheerfully destroy one another in the grey. Community? Pshaw. If it's a community, it's only in the sense that chickens in a coop have a community: a lot of noise, ruffled feathers if a fox comes near, and pecking our weakest to death.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:03 PM on March 23, 2014 [34 favorites]


hal_c_on: "I mean seriously. What do you expect from a site that can't talk about Israel and Palestine, trans issues, dating without defaulting to dtmfa, and basically can't resolve issues without a mod stepping in to lay the smack down?"

I've been around here almost a decade, and that might be the worst mischaracterization of Metafilter I've read. Can you give a single piece of evidence for the claim that Metafilter is increasingly dependent on moderation?
posted by koeselitz at 3:10 PM on March 23, 2014 [13 favorites]


I said this in the massive MeTa thread and was speaking somewhat specifically there, but also think that generally this impulse to call for MeTa threads to be closed is not as productive as it seems on first glance.

I agree so, so much. I almost wish it was flat out not allowed.
posted by BibiRose at 3:13 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


What do you expect from a site that can't

And yet here we still all are, talking.
posted by Namlit at 3:14 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Community? Pshaw. If it's a community, it's only in the sense that chickens in a coop have a community: a lot of noise, ruffled feathers if a fox comes near, and pecking our weakest to death.

If you feel that way, it's because you're only interacting with MetaFilter in terms of the Blue, Green and Grey, and aren't paying attention to all the other things which go on around here. Music has been doing some really great interactive stuff lately... the mixtape CD exchange (along with all the holiday exchanges) are great ways one gets to interact with individual MeFites in a way which gives you a sense that there is an actual human at the other end of that user name... IRL meets have always been for me amazing mixings of people from varied backgrounds who are all coming together in a space surrounded by kindness and generosity of spirit where everyone seems to feel like they are all valued no matter how diverse their viewpoints.

This is a community in all the best senses of the word -- a gathering of disparate individuals who have enough respect for each other that they want to engage and learn and stretch and grow and be affirmed by the other group members, but not so monolithic as to exclude those who aren't fully congruent with a narrow set of values, and who are willing and interested to have those with varied viewpoints share what they feel and be given the opportunity to grow from that exposure.

I guess what I would say is, if you don't feel this is a community, perhaps your approach toward the group (and perhaps your definition of "community") is too narrow.
posted by hippybear at 3:17 PM on March 23, 2014 [35 favorites]


I don't like it when people hit the big red button and leave the community. Sometimes all you need is a few days off, it's ok to push the keyboard away and go outside. It has been a hellishly long winter though.
posted by arcticseal at 3:19 PM on March 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


eponysterical

But I do agree about the winter and about hating seeing people go...
posted by Namlit at 3:20 PM on March 23, 2014


> I'm skeptical of the claim that this is a community. The only thing we share is a blue background. We don't share a set of values, we don't share common interests, we don't share an identity.

If nothing else, that you keep reading the site and commenting in it indicates to me that you have a set of interests that intersects the interests of many people on the site.
posted by ardgedee at 3:30 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


We don't share a set of values, we don't share common interests, we don't share an identity.

I shared a lot less of any of those things with the people who lived around me when I was growing up than I do with Metafilter, but not only would pretty much everyone agree that the town was a community, it actually held the legal designation "local community" -- it was written right on the sign when you drove into town.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:31 PM on March 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


Long winter

That's true - you never see a trans hating sock puppet in the summer, or indeed the autumn, when the foliage of New England bursts into its russet rhapsodies.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:34 PM on March 23, 2014 [14 favorites]


The claim that Metafilter isn't really a "community" strikes me as a bit similar to the claim that a particular painting isn't really "art." Well, fine - you're just demonstrating that you have some sort of refined notion of the term that excludes the object being discussed. But then you're just arguing semantics. Wouldn't it be more productive to strip those terms of their valuational content and then discuss their goodness and badness as such, rather than doing so by proxy by insisting that a thing must meet certain qualifications before being called a community or a work of art?

Let's just say that art is anything created by humans to be shared, and a community is any gathering of living creatures in concert. Then we can argue about whether a Francis Bacon painting is good art or not - or whether Metafilter is a good community or not (and, for that matter, how we might improve it.)
posted by koeselitz at 3:38 PM on March 23, 2014 [13 favorites]


Which reminds me - I need to get my socks out of the washing machine. That has to happen every now and then, year round...
posted by Namlit at 3:40 PM on March 23, 2014


As someone who tends to the lurker side and who has been here for some time, even before officially having an account, I can say that things were always better in the past. Until you go back and read some of the shit that went on in the past. Same story different day.

But, I do think there is community here. And people should keep that in mind. We are random strangers on the internet, but we have all chosen to be here. We all care. At least $5 bucks worth. $5 bucks and years of time reading what others who have chosen to spend years of their time in the same place want to show me. The other day, reading the Stupid Husbands Record Collection thread, I was absolutely incensed at how people chose to slag off on what to me seemed a pretty innocent blog coming from a good place. Even when the creators were in the room. My wife must have thought I was a bit off my rocker as I was trying to come up with the best way to show my displeasure. MetaTalk thread chastising the offenders! And then disable my account so as not to have the temptation to engage in argument. I was preparing it all. And my wife says, Are you sure you want to do that? I mean, you've been there forever...

It's true. I have been here for almost 10 years now, and bookmarked the place long before. I've always been a fan of metatalk, though not an active contributor. I'll drop a sentence here or there, if I think it is warranted. I'm familiar with your cameras and the longboat. I've heard of the cabal. I use the professional white background. People make friends here, and I've always had pleasant interactions with anyone who I've actually exchanged words with outside of a thread. I like it here. I don't want to leave. If I disabled my account and flamed out, it'd just lend more fire to those who say, "Look at all the flameouts. Something is fundamentally wrong!" There really isn't anything wrong. Some people just don't have as much patience. Or a helpful partner. Some people thrive on drama. And those people come to MetaTalk, because you can't do that elsewhere on the site.

People drop in and out on MetaFilter. Some disable their account, some don't. They drift away, they come back. Under different names even. I'm not going to disable my account. Because after I got up and had a Manhattan and watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I didn't really care any more. I went back to the original thread, said my piece (which was Try to be nice to each other) and was done with it. I declare a brand new day for everyone. Let's be friends.
posted by Roger Dodger at 4:06 PM on March 23, 2014 [39 favorites]


The stunt worked for me, and I see no evidence that anybody was actually confused about the subject of the thread. FFFM overreacted, yes, but, at the same time, the complaints about the framing and the chastisements to the poster seemed like walking into somebody else's surprise party and throwing the cake over because you were promised a quiet night.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:11 PM on March 23, 2014 [30 favorites]


In a thread like the one under discussion, I don't honestly see a problem with the closing of the thread, not because the request of the poster, but because the mods realized it was going to go very badly, very quickly.

In a thread like this, where we're actually discussion the site and how things work, and what could be changed, no, I don't think the poster should be able demand it be closed. Closing of metatalk threads, in an ideal world, only happens because the pony has been granted or the issue resolved. Sadly, it seems most are closed because 'nothing good can come of leaving it open.'
posted by Ghidorah at 4:17 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think we should ask if this self disabling would have happened if the other thread had stayed open. Discussing behaviour on the site is one of the things Meta is for.
The thread was closed almost before the dissenting discussion began.
posted by adamvasco at 4:18 PM on March 23, 2014


Bunny Ultramod: "The stunt worked for me, and I see no evidence that anybody was actually confused about the subject of the thread. FFFM overreacted, yes, but, at the same time, the complaints about the framing and the chastisements to the poster seemed like walking into somebody else's surprise party and throwing the cake over because you were promised a quiet night."

As far as I can tell there were only two comments in the entire thread that complained about it. Maybe those two complaints were totally out of line. The second in particular does read as rather arch and humorless. But there was some confused ire directed at Curious Artificer and double block and bleed there that seemed pretty unwarranted, too.
posted by koeselitz at 4:26 PM on March 23, 2014


It's surely fine for anyone to request the closing of a thread, and the prerogative of the mods to decide whether to heed them or not.

I hate it whenever threads are prematurely closed. Just bacause some people have started behaving like dicks, a subject gets shut down -- when some of us might not have even been aware it was going on at that point, and then we no longer get the opportunity to express our views on the issue.

If people are being assholes, delete their comments, or give them a time out. If hoardes of people are being assholes-- well then, the community has spoken, and said 'we're assholes'.

I just don't ever see what purpose is served by closing a Metatalk thread, other than circumscribing the discussion yet again.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:33 PM on March 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


When you make a MetaTalk post (or a MeFi post or any other post), it becomes its own thing and it certainly doesn't belong to you or anyone else. Any proprietary interest, whether a call for closure or a demand/complaint that the discussion have a certain character, is misplaced.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:41 PM on March 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


One vote here for adding "Close this" to the very short list of things that will get a comment deleted in MeTa. It never adds anything to the discussion.
posted by Etrigan at 4:45 PM on March 23, 2014 [19 favorites]


I guess when my jokes fall flat they really fall flat. I obviously didn't do a good job of reading the room by assuming that it was time to bring on the jokey comments. That's my favorite part of any meta post, but that doesn't mean that it's everyone's favorite. FWIW, I didn't have any problem with the framing of the post at all. I was trying to play with the idea of schmoop vs. grar.

fffm, please accept my apology for my part in this. I meant no harm and I would have kept my mouth shut if I had any inkling that it would push you closer to the big red button.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:47 PM on March 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


Is it me or does Metafilter seem to be getting progressively wierder and more fighty, like that relative who keeps acquiring more cats?

It's just you, jerkface.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:12 PM on March 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I think that what you get out of the community is what you bring to it. I am generally sad to see users leave (with a few exceptions, and those were all people who were bringing a lot of weird things to the community and not enjoying what they were getting back, as far as I can tell). I think that people are generally too quick with the assholish "the topic of this post sucks" and looking for something to pick at rather than praise, but I'd get pretty bored if this was just a mutual appreciation society, too. Some vinegar in the soup is tasty, but vinegar soup is pretty nasty is what I'm saying.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:16 PM on March 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Half the things that happen on AskMe are essentially the same thing as one primate grooming another primate and picking the grubs out of their hair. And everyone knows who the bellowing silverback is.† As a community we're at least a little bit more sophisticated than a chicken coop.

I actually have no idea of who would qualify as an Alpha Mefite, but needlessly causing strife with innuendo about social ranking seems like the sort of thing you do in communities.
posted by XMLicious at 5:33 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have no opinion one way or the other, except to point out that this was very obviously not FFFM's first go around as a MeFite, so I hope he comes back after a break because come on, this seems like a silly hill to die on.

However, I cannot be the only MeFite who found the constant appearance of the word "fecal" on my screen -- because FFFM was nothing if not prolific and diverse in his interests -- to be a bit of a textual eyesore around here, So I really hope he comes back with a new username. "Fecal" is just one of those cases where the medically proper term sounds way more obscenely, onomatopoeically, and iconically redolent of its referent than the vernacular alternative. So dude, just come back as "shit stirrer" or something, right?
posted by spitbull at 5:45 PM on March 23, 2014 [21 favorites]


Oh, and "fecal" is one of those words that fits the argument of the eccentric linguist Roger Wescott for a motivated phonetic-iconic relationship in English between "labiovelarity" (/f/ + /k/ fits the bill, you can imagine the classic instance is "fuck" itself) and "derogation," or the impulse to evoke and enact expulsive bodily functions as insults, in a 1971 paper that is an underground classic among phonologists but apparently not available online.

Here's the cite, if anyone can find a link, from my graduate exam notes:

Wescott, Roger W. (1971), "Labiovelarity and Derogation in English", American Speech
posted by spitbull at 5:53 PM on March 23, 2014 [16 favorites]


OK. So a fairly new user starts a MeTa thread praising a couple MeFites for sharing their expertise and helping to sort through rumor. In the thread, a couple MeFites decide to go after the OP for failing to get an in-joke. (ActingTheGoat and double block have already apologized.) A mod closed the thread when it looked like it was turning into a pile on. Then another user starts a MeTa thread expressly devoted to attacking the OP of the previous thread. (And, Hey! We got another account closure! We win!)

This is not cool, people.
posted by nangar at 5:54 PM on March 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


This is not cool, people.

From my perspective that's at best an incredibly egregious misreading of this MeTa, the previous MeTa, and several MeFites' motivations, intentions, and actions.

As a result, I suggest this MeTa be shut down.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:05 PM on March 23, 2014 [19 favorites]


"Then another user starts a MeTa thread expressly devoted to attacking the OP of the previous thread."

Hi, nangar. I did nothing of the sort, so please knock it off with the insinuation that my post was designed to run a user off the site. In your own words, "this is not cool".
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 6:06 PM on March 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


was FFFM really new? I had actually assumed it was a brand-new-day account given the instant volume of their postings in MeTa. I had thought most truly new users lurk a bit before launching themselves full on into MeTa arguments, though I freely admit that is based on no hard data.
posted by modernnomad at 6:06 PM on March 23, 2014 [21 favorites]


A useful technique - if one doesn't want to preemptively dour down one's internet persona - is to tread carefully around other's sensitivities, and only pull the 'wow - such cat' type of humor (or the puns, wacky comparisons, or kilt jokes or whatever) when everyone else also does.

Or maybe people could just try and give others the benefit of the doubt and not assume the worst. I know that’s been said a million times here before, but I’ll throw it out again. Why not just entertain the thought that someone is just joking, and if you’re someone who doesn’t get a lot of humor, why not take that into account. If you (and I don’t mean You, namlit, I’m just using your comment as a starting point) are that kind of person, surely this isn’t the first time that’s happened to you.

I’m not entirely convinced that there is so much misinterpreting comments and jokes as there is love of drama.
posted by bongo_x at 6:11 PM on March 23, 2014 [12 favorites]


Holy buckets. I wasn't serious about the cut-my-hand-off style of outcome. If I inadvertantly helped that thread along to it's outcome I sincerely apologize.

Yeah, I think you might be misreading intention nangar

I am honestly sorry fffm is gone, it does seem a little over reactive and I'd guess would have happened sooner or later. :/
posted by edgeways at 6:15 PM on March 23, 2014


was FFFM really new?

I hadn't thought about it before this thread. His volume of commenting suggests he felt pretty comfortable here. Not getting Curious Artificer's "DAYS WITHOUT A METATALK THREAD" riff suggests he's unfamiliar with some MeTa in-jokes and conventions. Maybe a new user who'd lurked for a while before joining, or somebody who'd left for a while and came back.
posted by nangar at 6:23 PM on March 23, 2014


Something that I've always thought is that on those occasions when a user disables their account the rest of us maybe could just go on as if nothing has happened without any mourning, hand wringing, fingerpointing, or discussion of it all. It's just this choice that people make; maybe it's permanent, maybe it's not, but we don't need to go and make a drama about it one way or the other.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:36 PM on March 23, 2014 [26 favorites]


I know it bums some people out when a user leaves, but I kind of think that if like 4 borderline jokes is enough to cause a meltdown, maybe some time away is best. It's the internet, you kind of have to expect a certain diversity of approach, never mind outright trolling (of which I am accusing nobody, I'm just speaking in general). FFFM had been on the site for 4 months (assuming no BND situation) and I've been here for 5 years (longer, really, as a lurker), and FFFM has twice the comments on the blue that I have. I'm not saying I'm a typical user (more likely atypical, heh), but that's a pretty intense level of involvement, and a breather might just be a good thing.

On preview: MoonOrb has a point, I think... ignoring huffy "I quit!" dramatics would probably reduce their number.
posted by axiom at 6:40 PM on March 23, 2014 [16 favorites]


> Yeah, I think you might be misreading intention nangar

Yeah, the "Hey! We got another account closure! We win!" quip in my comment was meant as sarcastic. I wish I hadn't said that. I don't think anyone was really pushing for that outcome.
posted by nangar at 6:41 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'll just toss out that for me one of the key charms of Metafilter, for all its less charming aspects, has always been the value placed on quick wit, wordplay, and clever inside joking. If this damn place wasn't so funny - or so full of edgy, funny people - it would be far less of a magnet for thoughtful people of diverse views. I realize a lot of discourse-reform-movement rhetorical politics calls into question the "frame" of humor, as a way to have your cake and eat it too, be offensive and disclaim intention to offend, or practice the fine art of microaggression (did anyone catch the article on the term "microagression" in today's NYTimes?). And fair enough, "I was only kidding, I'm sorry if you were offended" is the purest form of passive-aggressive behavior.

Except "that's not funny" as a response to every note of irony or charivari.


But on the other hand, a certain characteristic humorlessness (found in both left and right versions of ideological axe-grinding) is so characteristic of discussion on the web, where even what passes for "wit" is a blunt instrument indeed.

MeFi has always been entertaining in part because true wit has been valued here as a contribution to heavy topics. I think any a priori prohibition on humor really just comes down to reading the room and the topic. There's not much room for joking in a thread about a recent plane crash. But if you start a silly positive call out thread -- and whatever, that's always cool, it's been done plenty of times before for more consequential heroism in thread -- you can't really expect everyone to jump into the drum circle and sing Amazing Grace together. You're going to get some acerbic, dyspeptic MeFi snark and japery, and that is a feature and not a bug of this website/community/whateverthefuckitis.
posted by spitbull at 6:43 PM on March 23, 2014 [18 favorites]


I wish I hadn't said that.
[* obscure Monty Python reference, for the humor-deprived]
posted by spitbull at 6:44 PM on March 23, 2014


"I wish I hadn't said that. I don't think anyone was really pushing for that outcome.
posted by nangar at 6:41 PM on March 23"

I'm really having a hard time parsing your original comment, in that case.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 6:47 PM on March 23, 2014


* Do you feel like a large jam doughnut?
posted by Pudhoho at 6:48 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Your majesty is like a stream of bat's piss.
posted by spitbull at 6:48 PM on March 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


It was one of Wilde's.
posted by spitbull at 6:49 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think there is a specific personality trait that involves being needlessly fighty in a way that inevitably, inevitably turns the spotlight onto the person in question. This personality trait is rare, I think, in sheer quantity but feels really outsized because it mostly manifests itself in prolific posters.

IMO, fffm has shown a lot of this trait on the site in general. I apologize that I left a sort of snarky comment in that thread, but it was hard for me not to see the thread in a cynical light. I admit that I have a Janteloven-ish streak that sometimes makes me take an unnecessarily critical stance towards what are really positive attempts at recognition, but that thread looked so much like "me me me!" off the bat, and sorry, that suspicion was completely borne out by how things went down. Curious Artificer made a joke that was impossibly anodyne, which fffm somehow managed to immediately springboard into a discussion not about the people who deserved recognition, but about his recognizing them. I challenge anyone to find a speck of actual offense in the comment by Curious Artificer that caused fffm to flip out. I don't understand how people can be criticized for a "referendum on fffm's behavior" when the user in question made it such in the most literal sense.

This is not personal in the sense that fffm seems like a nice person in real life, and often has very interesting things to add to discussions here on the level of content. But yeah, this behavior pattern is crappy, and I don't think it's unfair to point that out.
posted by threeants at 6:56 PM on March 23, 2014 [24 favorites]


tldr; Literally the only reason there is not still an open thread recognizing eriko, divabat, Nelson, and Blasdelb is that fffm started a derail in that thread based on a joke that was so inoffensive I don't think most users would have even registered it as a comment.
posted by threeants at 7:01 PM on March 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


What I'm trying to say, as thoughtfully and gently and respectfully as possible, is that (from what I can tell through the internet) you are a kind person and it's tough for you when that's met with something different from what you hope or expect.

This is disturbing. You don't know this guy, and you are offering unsolicited armchair pseudo-analysis of his character and psyche. I think it's inappropriate. The fact that you couch it as you trying really really hard to be "nice" doesn't change that fact.
posted by nacho fries at 7:26 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


No, it isn't. Those who follow this sort of thing (MeTa and prevalent users) closely could easily determine the history here.
posted by planetesimal at 7:54 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, without naming any names b/c I realize that's counter to the purpose of the 'brand new day' approach, my other reason for thinking this was a BND situation was that fffm's posting style reminded me very much of another user who hit the big red button a year or so ago, after a series of escalating MeTa fights over perceived sleights from other users, many of which seemed to be rather minor or simple misinterpretations of comments.

The point only being this - if fffm WAS in fact a new user, then I hope they reconsider leaving and give the community another shot. If fffm was however a BND account and has left for the same reasons as before, I encourage them to reconsider whether the problem is the community or their own approach to engaging with it.
posted by modernnomad at 8:04 PM on March 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


This is disturbing. You don't know this guy, and you are offering unsolicited armchair pseudo-analysis of his character and psyche. I think it's inappropriate. The fact that you couch it as you trying really really hard to be "nice" doesn't change that fact.

Um, okay? I didn't feel like it was inappropriate (obviously, or I wouldn't have said it), although I guess I see your point about "unsolicited armchair pseudo-analysis" which wasn't my intention. I had a point I wanted to make about Mr. Fear Mongering's interactions with the site but I wanted to do it in a way that was easy for him to hear and not an attack. Based on how he had responded to previous interactions, this is the phrasing I chose.

You're welcome to find it disturbing, I guess, and I see your point about how I don't really know him (fact), but what I was actually trying to convey was an observation I'd made about his behavioral patterns on this particular website. Apologies if I phrased it badly.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:06 PM on March 23, 2014 [22 favorites]


I found Mrs. P's comment thoughtful, kind, well-intentioned, and insightful. If she'd presented her thoughts as definitive analysis rather than as suggestions for self-reflection then I'd have found that distasteful, but she didn't. The comment was very much in the vein of "this is what I see in your behavior, this is where I think that might be coming from, and perhaps you would find some value in reflecting on that to see whether or not this resonates with you." It was gentle, hedged with sensible disclaimers about the difficulty of accurately understanding anyone over the Internet, and encouraged FFFM to draw his own conclusions based on the insights Mrs. P. was offering. There's nothing wrong woth that; many of the comments I've found most valuable over the years have been in that mold, and more than once I've made such a comment myself and been thanked for it later by the user I directed it to. Giving people advice about themselves over the Internet is definitely tricky and can go awry easily, but I thought this case was a nice example of how to do it right.
posted by Scientist at 8:24 PM on March 23, 2014 [41 favorites]


Yes, okay. Take care fffm. With few exceptions, your response to the slightest of challenges has been menacing and domineering, and I am not sorry to see this particular incarnation of your personality go.
posted by dmh at 8:34 PM on March 23, 2014


I haven't followed fffm's posting history, but reading his Meta, I don't think he took offense at the in-jokes. My take is that he wanted to thank some of the knowledgable folks in the MH370 thread, but some posters wanted to bring some of the MH370 arguments into his Meta. And then the (not jokey as far as I can tell), complaining about his framing of the Meta. I'm not surprised that someone in fffm's position got annoyed. I'm disappointed that we couldn't have a Meta calling out the good work of a few posters without dragging in the baggage from other threads to turn it sour.
posted by nightwood at 8:47 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it was a perfectly nice positive callout, jokingly disguised as a negative callout; a thread type that we've seen dozens of times over the years. It went weird and bad quickly for no good reason; people brought in an argument from a referenced FPP, people started grumping at the OP, the OP overreacted to the grumping... it just turned bad. Bad vibes all around. Closing it was a good idea, whether by request or not.
posted by Scientist at 8:54 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


spitbull: "However, I cannot be the only MeFite who found the constant appearance of the word "fecal" on my screen -- because FFFM was nothing if not prolific and diverse in his interests -- to be a bit of a textual eyesore around here, So I really hope he comes back with a new username. "

Seriously, are there are any firm guidelines on permissible user names?
posted by Chrysostom at 9:02 PM on March 23, 2014


I thought fffm's previous identity was generally known. He didn't make a secret of it did he?

I have NO idea what the griping is about the framing of his MeTa, it was so obviously just a silly joke and the intent of the thing was nothing but positive.

In any case, he's a good person and an interesting contributor, thin-skinned or no, and it makes me sad to see people continuing to poke at him in this thread. fffm, I hope you're okay, and I hope you come back.
posted by torticat at 9:28 PM on March 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


He didn't make a secret of it did he?

No, he didn't. In a thread on the blue, the phrase "fecal fear mongering" came up, and he came into the thread or was in the thread already, under a different name (as I recall), and said, in effect, 'this will be my user name.'
posted by jamjam at 9:50 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah this whole situation is weird to me. I lurk on MeTa a fair bit, and every once in a while there's a pile on to a particular user, but it's "okay" because everyone seems to agree they deserved it (for previous bad faith conduct, for example). I didn't know fffm was in this group and I don't see anything in his post that justifies the weirdly hostile behavior from people in that thread or this one.

Clearly he has some history I don't know about, as a casual reader, but to me it's a strange and fascinating dynamic that there seems to be some kind of subconscious community shit list where people just know that user X is fair game for hatin'.
posted by annekate at 10:00 PM on March 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


there seems to be some kind of subconscious community shit list where people just know that user X is fair game for hatin'

This is the culture of retaliation I described in a previous thread. Few want to acknowledge it, but it plainly exists and it is allowed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:33 PM on March 23, 2014 [15 favorites]


I didn't know fffm was in this group and I don't see anything in his post that justifies the weirdly hostile behavior from people in that thread or this one.

Interestingly - and I do mean it in an "interestingly" way, not a "You're WrongWrongWrong" way - most of the comments critical of the MeTa itself read to me as in-joke joshing along the lines of the "Dammit, and I made all this popcorn" comment. MeTas that look like negative call-outs but are actually positive under the fold are not unknown on the Gray, nor are tongue-in-cheek disappointed responses. The MeTa appeared to take a weird tone shift with the OP's response that they were trying to do something nice and would refrain in the future, after which comments with more substantial criticisms of the OP were made.

it's a strange and fascinating dynamic that there seems to be some kind of subconscious community shit list where people just know that user X is fair game for hatin'

Another interesting perspective thing, I was either vaguely aware of or suspected the user as being a BNDer, but didn't feel they were on a shitlist. They commented a lot* and were sometimes fighty, but I certainly didn't think they were considered some sort of goat or fair game; on the contrary, I thought they were pretty popular and 'in' with the in-crowd.

*I do have a shitlist for that, but it's purely about quantity, not quality.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:39 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


So, as someone who is absolutely horrible at linking names to details, and is therefore unable to do the "User B mentioned that they live in Portland in one thread, said they were a chiropractor in another thread, and discussed golfing in another thread, which means they are clearly the same user as User R!" detective thing...If FFFM is not a BNDer but an open new-accounter (like wendell and oneswellfoop), what was his previous name?
posted by Bugbread at 10:47 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Another interesting perspective thing

Yeah, you're right that it's a matter of perspective, and I can see how the original thread could be read as mostly harmless in-jokes taken poorly. This is just my impression as a casual reader of MeTa for about... 6 months? 12 maybe? It's interesting to me how much cultural knowledge and history it takes to grok this part of the site. I'm slowly getting there but every once in a while I need to do some searching to figure out what the deal is with a particular person.
posted by annekate at 10:56 PM on March 23, 2014


IMO, bugbread, you do it right. Every thread is a brand new day for every user. This tracking/detectiving bullshit some folk do is simply poisonous. The actual names attachec to comments are the least interesting, least important part of any discussion.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:58 PM on March 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Let's do away with account names and have per-thread tripcodes.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:04 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you go into the thread already knowing/thinking that fffm and previous incarnations of them chronically overreacts to things, it reads very differently than if you go in knowing basically nothing about them. I think sometimes that phenomenon is good, and sometimes it's not so good.

I don't think this thread was meant as any kind of callout of fffm's behavior, but from where I'm sitting it did kinda go there. (Admittedly, most of that was post-flameout, but not all of it.)
posted by annekate at 11:10 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


five fresh fish: "IMO, bugbread, you do it right. Every thread is a brand new day for every user."

You give me too much credit. I still remember basic things like "Oh, hey, it's that poster I really like, the one who writes such informative stuff!" and "Oh, hey, it's that cool friendly poster" (and, of course, "Arg! It's that asshole guy!"). I just don't remember any specific details, so when people say "New user X is obviously old user Y", it's always news to me.

And, again, don't get me wrong. If fffm was here as a brand-new-day thing, then I don't want to know who he used to be. But if it's one of those "closed account, lost password, so opened up new account with new name, not a secret" thing, then I'd like to know.

(Also, for what it's worth, because people abbreviate his name to fffm, and yours to fff, I thought he was you for a long time, until I saw you both posting in the same thread)
posted by Bugbread at 11:16 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Seriously, are there are any firm guidelines on permissible user names?

One time, we told a guy who signed up as "cunt" that he had to pick something else because, c'mon bro, seriously. I think that's about it.

Certainly "has a poop reference in it" isn't a line we're inclined to draw in the sand, anyway.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:37 PM on March 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Draw a line in the sand with what?
posted by Pudhoho at 11:53 PM on March 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


cortex: "Certainly "has a poop reference in it" isn't a line we're inclined to draw in the sand, anyway."

You still use sand?! Anyone who truly loved his cats would use biodegradable or silica gel kitty litter. Let me guess, you're the kind of owner who doesn't even bother to declaw or circumcise his cats, right?
posted by Bugbread at 12:00 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is the culture of retaliation I described in a previous thread. Few want to acknowledge it, but it plainly exists and it is allowed.

I've had one beloved MeFite call me "weird" and an "alien" and nothing was ever sad, mostly because he's the kind of middle aged person wears glasses and dresses in inoffensive courderoys while still hanging out at the SUB.

So yeah, there is totally an "in" group, and there are totally users that it's okay to insult.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:12 AM on March 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


And then the (not jokey as far as I can tell), complaining about his framing of the Meta.

I caught a whiff of this, but mostly I feel that the Mefite-most-recently-known-as-fecal-fear-mongering kind of blew it. He didn't let a META he'd started go in whatever direction the wind was blowing ... and ultimately, he fell into a chasm (killed his account).

Which isn't to just dismiss him. I double-checked his account. The guy posted some great stuff, made some great comments.

... but he couldn't just let it go.
posted by philip-random at 12:17 AM on March 24, 2014


The thing about snark, and that I've been trying to take to heart for awhile now, is that those of us who choose to socialize in major ways on the internet are not the most socially adept people on the planet. No, I didn't mean you, I'm sure you have tons of friends who you met offline and who think you are the most charming creature on the planet. But it is so incredibly hard to read social situations that are just text unless everybody is being straightforward and operating in good faith. I generally believe that people around here are doing the good faith thing--but the joking can go really easily to a place where maybe everybody isn't on that same page.

And then sometimes people aren't joking, and how do you tell the difference?

Places like this don't work well if the general expectation is that we all have to be that good at subtleties. I have gotten really shy about actually interacting on a personal level on here precisely because of shit like this that's happened to me on other websites... it's not something you can make a rule against or anything, but I hope people who read this far will start to think about it when they're posting. "X was too sensitive" is never the whole story. Usually, at least part of the problem was that people knew X was sensitive and still couldn't pass up the joke-insult-snark-whatever.
posted by Sequence at 12:32 AM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm skeptical of the claim that this is a community. The only thing we share is a blue background. We don't share a set of values, we don't share common interests, we don't share an identity. We're a bunch of fractious loudmouths with strong opinions who cheerfully destroy one another in the grey. Community? Pshaw. If it's a community, it's only in the sense that chickens in a coop have a community: a lot of noise, ruffled feathers if a fox comes near, and pecking our weakest to death.

I couldn't disagree more strongly, but I do have a certain amount of investment, personally, in the idea of community online being a Thing That Exists, and I am absolutely comfortable (even if I may wish it were different) with other people not feeling the same way about it.

As with most discussion of abstract ideas, it can be helpful to try to define what one means by Y before getting in to any discussion about whether X is an example of Y or not. (That's not something I'm proposing to do, though, here and now, at least.)

I think it's an interesting question -- the 'what is community' question -- and it's one that has been discussed a lot here (by me included) over the years. Can community be virtual, partly or entirely? I think the consensus needle has swung from not-so-much end in the early days of this kind of place, like 15 and more years ago now, up into the yes-probably area in the middle years of the last decade, and has been inching back into cynicism for a few years, with the rise (and what is hopefully the peaking-out) of monetized social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

I don't know the answer -- I don't think there is an answer that would satisfy everyone that wouldn't be so chained up in provisos and conditions that it was meaningless anyway. The closest I might get is to suggest that for people who do enjoy a sense of community, in places on the web, with people they've never met, then community exists, and for those that don't, it doesn't. But even those who don't share that feeling might begin to built it if they engage in the kind of 'real life' interactions -- meetups and that sort of thing -- that web communities often give rise to.

And building up and building out and building on a sense of community in a group of users of a web site -- and recognizing that for many of them, there is a real and deeply felt sense of community -- can't be a bad thing. It's a sense of community that brings us closer to people in our everyday lives, that gives us pride in where we live and inspires us to do things that make that community and the lives of its members better, and even if for some the virtual version of that idea of community is a pale shadow, it's still better than nature red in tooth and claw.

There are always going to be people -- in physical, geographical communities just as much as virtual ones -- who don't feel a sense of community, and there's a chance they're going to be less engaged, or, you know, if they're negatively disposed towards the whole idea, toss litter and pee in the alleyways and stuff, and maybe even be downright antisocial and destructive. That's just the way humans are, but it doesn't mean that those of us who are interested in building community and bringing people together should give up or stop trying, even if sometimes it can be frustrating.

I guess in the end you don't need to acknowledge that you're part of a community to actually be part of that community. As long as you're not actively trying to tear it down, hell, there's room for everyone.

Hopefully fffm will reconsider. It's a shame to lose someone who's keen to point out the good, even if they may lose their shit a bit when things aren't going they way they'd hoped. I know that feel.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:35 AM on March 24, 2014 [13 favorites]


I think MeFi's a community, but I think MeFites mostly use the word "community" to mean not "community" but "positive, good community". There are all kinds of communities, from wonderful communities of people supporting and helping each other to backstabbing, gossipy, poisonous communities, and everything in between. MetaFilter is definitely a community, but I suspect that different people have very different ideas of what kind of community it is.
posted by Bugbread at 12:46 AM on March 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


MetaFilter is definitely a community, but I suspect that different people have very different ideas of what kind of community it is.

Yeah I think this is pretty accurate. An important thing I'd suggest helps to define a community is broad respect for community norms. We don't get too many people around here self-linking in a front-page posts, or bullying people, or engaging with 4chan-, Youtube- or even Reddit-style comments. There is a pretty strong sense around here about how to engage with the site and with members, and those who don't understand those norms (I can definately think of examples from the distant past - anyone remember Badcommie?) stand out like a sore thumb and attract swift and universal condemnation. That's enough to make it a community for me. It doesn't mean we're an amorphous mass of robots, though - people are going to have different opinions, interpretations, different assumptions about people's experience and knowledge, different buttons that can be pushed at surprising moments. Some people approach conversations in a way that's willing to give the benefit of the doubt, and assume humour and good will; others approach conversations very seriously and assume conflict and mistrust. I don't have that much respect for the later, and am never very sad to see them go.
posted by Jimbob at 12:52 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think MeFi's a community, but I think MeFites mostly use the word "community" to mean not "community" but "positive, good community". There are all kinds of communities, from wonderful communities of people supporting and helping each other to backstabbing, gossipy, poisonous communities, and everything in between. MetaFilter is definitely a community, but I suspect that different people have very different ideas of what kind of community it is.

Aye, but there's the rub. Community (it might be suggested) is not something that actually exists independently of its members. If the essential attributes of community, the ways we define and think of it, are mostly composed of the ways that the members of that community interact with one another, then we can start chasing our own tails a bit in trying to think about it. Or I can, at least.

To borrow from glib pop psych a bit, community is a verb, not a noun. It's not a thing-in-itself, it's the intersection of the things people do with and to and for each other.

It's a little like some conceptions of deities -- that 'god' is called into being by the rituals of worshippers. Which is probably a dangerous path to start down (heh), so maybe I'll stop there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:17 AM on March 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've had one beloved MeFite call me "weird" and an "alien" and nothing was ever sad, mostly because he's the kind of middle aged person wears glasses and dresses in inoffensive courderoys while still hanging out at the SUB.

So yeah, there is totally an "in" group, and there are totally users that it's okay to insult.


I suspect that the reason this was allowed to stand was not because of favoritism, but rather because "weird" is, instead, a fairly inoffensive insult. I once got called "one of the worst interlocutors on the site" and that was also allowed to stand (which actually ended up okay because I got to see a couple of other people say "okay that is totally not true" and that was sweet).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 AM on March 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


So yeah, there is totally an "in" group, and there are totally users that it's okay to insult.

this has not been my experience, and I'm anything but "in", knowing maybe three other MeFites in real life (that I'm aware of).

Of course, maybe I'm just too thick to get it when I'm being insulted.
posted by philip-random at 1:48 AM on March 24, 2014


Of course, maybe I'm just too thick to get it when I'm being insulted.

I cannot fault this strategy. I love its shiny immaculate coat, I love its cute little stripes, I love the way it mews at me when it's hungry.
posted by Wolof at 2:34 AM on March 24, 2014 [25 favorites]


I love its shiny immaculate coat, I love its cute little stripes, I love the way it mews at me when it's hungry

Great image. I think those owners of cute stripes and wielders of mews know one thing many humans don't: that an insult initially belongs to the realm of the insulter, unless the insulted takes action to make it a thing of her or his own.
Cats are a bit like honey badgers that way.

(almost time for a Doge - Honey Badger blend. Wow Such Dontgiveashit - but the subject is a bit too serious for that)
posted by Namlit at 3:16 AM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Whether BND or not, fffm gave off the vibe of a hyperactive commenter that gets kind of taken down a peg and tall poppied over time, on various occasions involving interaction with more aggressive community members. To some extent any sniping is inevitable and it will always be perceived as more slight-intended by someone who knows they're pretty involved and invested in expressing their perspective openly.

I always worried about it happening to me and it kept me quiet for a number of years, not that LURK MOAR isn't often a good strategy for anyone who feels somewhat defensive about posting so that they can get a feel for how to deal with the occasional or some might say inevitable deflationary comments that simply reflect the harsh reality and ultimate fairness of a world where everyone can say their piece and sometimes that involves simply attacking someone else's piece without a whole lot of thoughtfulness that went into the original piece's creation...so I make a point of saying my piece, popping my piece and then dropping my piece like a burner cell phone or a jankedy ass .38 causing ruckus, sometimes in the form of several comments, and avoiding any back-and-forth knowing how intensely invested I can get into those based on past experience in other places. It's how I live my normal life, conducting myself in ways that people don't understand without understanding where I came from before. "You seem conflict averse bro!" "That's so I don't EAT YOUR FACE GRARRRR."

So I say and pray and avoid the fray figuring that others will defend anything defensible that I might have let slip (that's a joke about myself) in my comment(s), and I walk away before any exchange even begins, possibly to the point where I'm developing a reputation as a turd-dropper, but usually I strive to keep them from being too turd-y.

Being hyperactive in and of itself becomes a sort of aggression so I get when people use that word, I certainly see that in myself and my son...and then being defensive and hyperactive combined can in turn manifest an accelerated form of uncomfortable aggression whether distributed in micro-aggressions or large outbursts...ultimately a lot of that just amounts to "being smart and able to express one's self very well but also young," it gives me a definite "under 30" vibe, which is not to say that all 30-somethings are collected individuals devoid of neuroses, but "we've" usually learned to devalue our own expressions or at least our expectations in those expressions' ability to change the world such that we're not really blown away when other people give us the "meh" treatment.

Posting a Meta thread really puts you out there and sometimes those "inside jokes that you should get" just aren't well-received, and in particular there's something about snarky questions like "shouldn't you X instead?" that can really set off an otherwise well-meaning individual on a defensive spiral. I get all of this. I once posted a Meta in a different life and it was all schmoopy but I still let a few negative snipes turn me into DEFEN-DOR MAN and got all manic-energy on some fools and eventually that other identity withered and was smothered by an id.

I hope fffm comes back a little calmer, more detached from the back-and-forth which ensnared me for a good 10-15 years in the BBS and early internet years to the point where I had academic staff warning me about my involvement in flame wars on UseNet, and admittedly would prefer it under a less fecal moniker.
posted by lordaych at 3:23 AM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I can't apologize enough for my comment. I am so sorry. I completely see how what I said was negative, snarky, and didn't help. I totally missed the mark, as being snarky was not my intention at all, but that matters little. As someone upthread said, I was trying to reference a MetaFilter in-joke (i.e., we were so close to breaking the record for the number of days without a MetaTalk thread!) and I (mis)interpreted the comment I was responding to as coming from that place as well. Anyways, again, all of that matters little as the whole mess has lead to that and this and now this. My apologies, for being obscure, in-groupy, and hurting people's feelings. I truly feel bad that I have played part to somebody from this community leaving as well.

I'm also sorry for being so late to responding—I've been moving house all weekend and didn't fully realize the extent of what my and others' comments had caused, as I hadn't been reading MetaFilter with a close eye.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:27 AM on March 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Also, my attempt to reference a MetaFilter injoke was problematic as well; I see that. And I don't intend that to be an excuse in any way. My comment was just off the mark under any interpretation.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:30 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


How do you have community, when almost all citizens change their identity at whim? Can you have a community of perpetual n00bs? How does it lay down roots, when everything is always torn up? What does it mean to have community when so many identities are driven out?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:39 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Threadfecaling just doesn't have the same ring to it.
posted by gman at 3:40 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

"However, I cannot be the only MeFite who found the constant appearance of the word "fecal" on my screen -- because FFFM was nothing if not prolific and diverse in his interests -- to be a bit of a textual eyesore around here, So I really hope he comes back with a new username. "Fecal" is just one of those cases where the medically proper term sounds way more obscenely, onomatopoeically, and iconically redolent of its referent than the vernacular alternative."
I don't know, I might be biased, but I was really quite partial to the username.

Beyond that though we seem to have a culture of being reflexively shitty towards people who open MetaTalk threads that has survived from times when most MetaTalks that were opened were themselves pretty shitty, but even with that context, how vigorously it still survives is among my least favorite parts of this site. While it is clear that fffm did kinda misread the room pretty hard, with the banal normality of reflexive shittiness here being such rich fodder for humor in non-intuitive ways, it is still kinda weird to blame him for it and pretty awful to taunt him for it. A community is something I'd at least like us to aspire to be, and especially one where we don't shit on others for not laughing at our in-jokes, don't taunt other for not being familiar enough with our shittiness, and respond to confusion with compassion.

I'm sad to see fffm go, while he has been around he has had a lot to offer us as a community and I hope he comes back at some point.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:02 AM on March 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't know why anyone would doubt that there is an in-group. Anywhere three or more people assemble there is always an in-group.

It's a sometimes pernicious, persistant trait among social creatures.
posted by vapidave at 4:20 AM on March 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Not to defend the joke as good, but I didn't even realize it was an in-joke. It's not like "Todd Lokken" or "portobello mushrooms", it's just a standard "hey, don't jinx this run" or "hey, we were on a roll" joke. Is there some inside context that makes it actually mean something different, or are people using "inside joke" to just mean "joke"?
posted by Bugbread at 4:50 AM on March 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Anywhere three or more people assemble there is always an in-group.

Nah, three people may not be able to keep a secret, but they can avoid schism. Five is the magic number for subgrouping.
posted by longtime_lurker at 5:11 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it's just inside by the fact that it's not known by the majority of people, but yeah, it seems more of an "don't jinx/on a roll" thing, which probably springs up in some form or another in any group over time (e.g., how long can we go for X without Y). It's just something I've always noticed myself, because I love MetaTalk threads (that is, the nice ones, feature requests, events, etc.)…when there's a stretch of days without a thread I go through a weird sort of sacrifice/withdrawl, a la "oh boy, oh boy the record is almost broken! I hope we can make it! Can't wait until we do, and then there will be lots of stuff to read afterwards, can. not. wait." It's juvenile perhaps, but it's also part of the fun and silliness that I think makes this site what it is, too. A sort of minigame. Then when I realized that this was a thing that others noticed as well, I thought, "Ha! We all think alike; I belong here." But I think I overestimated others' awareness of this dumb thing; we're all smack dab in the middle of our own range of perception and all that jazz.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:13 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


FWIW, I didn't consider my early comment in the thread an in-joke either; it was just a joke the context of which I thought would be patently obvious. I'm sorry if the line led to FFFM's meltdown, but it almost seems like he would have found some other way to be offended or upset in the long run.
posted by Curious Artificer at 5:26 AM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


If fffm is who I'm like 95% sure he is, he flamed out in spectacular fashion the last time, too. I think Metafilter is just not the place for him, and that's fine. I hope he has a good life in whatever online communities are right for him, but an arc of just over three months from BND to angry flameout over a hugs thread suggests that this is not a place that's going to make him happy.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:30 AM on March 24, 2014 [17 favorites]


I actually think that Metafilter is by far the least in-groupy forum I've ever participated in on the internet. (I took a Coursera course, and the forums there were totally not in-groupy, but they also didn't allow any off-topic discussion at all and were kind of a different beast.) I think that's because this is such a big and varied place, and there are lots of different little sub-groups: there are people who participate in music challenges and people who are really interested in gaming and people who want to talk about cooking or tv or education or whatever, and all those little sub-groups overlap in ways that prevent there being a single cool kids clique. To the extent that there seems to me to be an in-group, it has to do with the people who go to meetups and actually know each other IRL. (And that's not equally available to everyone, if only because of geography.) But that's probably unavoidable, and I don't think it poisons the atmosphere here in the way that it has in some other online places I've hung out.

I don't know. I took a pretty long self-imposed break from Metafilter, during which time I got some personal shit of my own together, and maybe my feelings about Metafilter mostly reflect my own emotional state. But I don't think it's become worse since I originally joined in early 2007, and I think it's easy for people to overlook what a pretty great space it is.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:44 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Threadfecaling just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Perhaps not, but please consider "threadfecating".
posted by Flunkie at 5:49 AM on March 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


I feel like the jokey mentions of having to reset a non-existent "Days since the last MeTa" counter are of a more recent vintage than jokey MeTas phrased in the "I would like to call out User.... for being AWESOME!"

I also feel like both jokes have enough internal context that a person could reasonably parse them upon seeing them for the first time.

I mean they're jokes and they've sort of become in-jokes just through repetition, but they're not exactly obscure Metafilter injokes. Certainly they're nothing like the kind of shit that Paphnuty used to pull...
posted by the latin mouse at 5:51 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


How do you have community, when almost all citizens change their identity at whim? Can you have a community of perpetual n00bs? How does it lay down roots, when everything is always torn up? What does it mean to have community when so many identities are driven out?

All good and interesting questions.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:53 AM on March 24, 2014


fffm was not "driven out". He disabled his account. We aren't excommunicating people here.
posted by Roger Dodger at 6:03 AM on March 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


But do we have a community of perpetual n00bs? Clearly, we get new users, but for that matter, people move into my small town. As a fairly recent MeTa thread showed, we still have lots of people who have been here since the creation.

If "almost all citizens change their identity at whim," means BND, I would challenge that. Not *that* many people reincarnate under a new username.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:31 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Let's do away with account names and have per-thread tripcodes.

Shudder. When you gaze long into /b/, /b/ also gazes into you.
posted by killdevil at 6:50 AM on March 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Confused about who were the users that are supposed to represent the "in-group"; the two or three people making nondescript jokes that caused fffm to flip out? The 90% of people in the thread conforming to its stated purpose of recognizing the users in the OP? The people who came to this thread to discuss what happened?
posted by threeants at 6:58 AM on March 24, 2014


Confused about who were the users that are supposed to represent the "in-group"; the two or three people making nondescript jokes that caused fffm to flip out? The 90% of people in the thread conforming to its stated purpose of recognizing the users in the OP? The people who came to this thread to discuss what happened?

As someone who has been on the record as not finding cabal jokes incredibly funny, I'd have to say that I seldom never seen a clearer call for a cabal joke.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:06 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Which one? There are so many now, we've cabalkanized.
posted by bleep-blop at 7:09 AM on March 24, 2014 [22 favorites]


Clearly he has some history I don't know about, as a casual reader, but to me it's a strange and fascinating dynamic that there seems to be some kind of subconscious community shit list where people just know that user X is fair game for hatin'.

My perception -- and this perception may be somewhat skewed by how much I generally don't pay attention to usernames -- is that it isn't users who get hated upon, so much as behaviours. Opening a MetaTalk thread is not a line-crossing act all on its own, but it comes pretty close. Any anger in the original post or any anger or defensiveness in the follow-ups pretty much kicks it over the line. I don't think that's a user specific thing -- hating on people who start MeTa threads is pretty much a hobby here.

And, well, in this specific case, FFFM responded to a couple of low-key jokes that were in the vein of the same joke he'd already made in the original post with a couple of angry and defensive posts attacking others based on what I can only imagine was a total lack of comprehension, because to me it was completely clear that the posts he was reacting to were lighthearted jokes, not particularly snarky ones.

I don't know who FFFM was before he was FFFM, but it sounds like flaming out isn't anything new for the poster. Some people just have trouble reading the room, and it's not necessarily the site's fault when they light themselves on fire.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:10 AM on March 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


Just to be clear, I'm not hating on FFFM. Just suggesting he return (as I very much hope he does, I join others in saying he brought a lot to the site and has a lot to offer and was typically a civil and interesting interlocutor) with a modification to his username.

And seriously, no joke, I think it was part of the problem. The username is so memorably gross (pace Blasdelb, the phrase was fine in its original context, but who sees such a phrase and goes "that is my new username, cool!" -- I mean, come on, the appeal is downright juvenile and seems intended to draw notice) that it was hard not to notice his appearance in any given thread, and because he was so prolific -- I'm sure I saw FFFM in about half of all the threads I followed on all the subsites, it stuck out (or stuck on, perhaps? sorry).

If you're going to name yourself after poop, you have a special obligation not to talk shit.

fffm, we've all been there. Please do come back.
posted by spitbull at 7:21 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

"(pace Blasdelb, the phrase was fine in its original context, but who sees such a phrase and goes "that is my new username, cool!" -- I mean, come on, the appeal is downright juvenile and seems intended to draw notice)"
For what its worth I was immediately jealous, if only for how eponysterical it would be whenever norovirus or anything else similarly hilarious would come up.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:28 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but you are a professional shit-stirrer, man. (And I love you for it, I join others in really appreciating what you bring to life science threads, seriously.)
posted by spitbull at 7:31 AM on March 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Ha!

I hope you don't mind if I put that on business cards! ...Because I do indeed stir shit for a living
posted by Blasdelb at 7:34 AM on March 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


when they light themselves on fire.

Do we yet have a user named "flaming bag of poo?"

FFFM, it's all yours if you want it. Blasdelb, you too.
posted by spitbull at 7:34 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Blasdelb: " I'm sad to see fffm go, while he has been around he has had a lot to offer us as a community and I hope he comes back at some point."

Seconding this.

---

I'm not trying to tell anyone what they can or can't talk about. But I know if I were a BND, I'd prefer people didn't try to guess who I used to be. The whole point of allowing someone to turn over a new leaf is to allow them to start fresh, and I think that's a good thing.
posted by zarq at 7:36 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I just came up with the really MeFi version: "Flaming Bag(uette) of Winnie the Pooh," with apologies to (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates.
posted by spitbull at 7:41 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I miss the old days when instead of posts being closed we just started swapping recipes.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:46 AM on March 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Threadfecaling just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Perhaps not, but please consider "threadfecating".


"Threafecating" rolls off the tongue (ew) a little better.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:47 AM on March 24, 2014


Yeah, I am not sure who this "in-group" is supposed to be. Is it long-time members? Frequent posters? Frequent commenters? People who tell a lot of jokes? People who write long comments that bring a lot of detail to a thread?

There are clearly high-profile members, usually due to frequent posting and/or commenting, but I don't think high-profile means "beloved," necessarily. And some members seem relatively well-respected but also considered kind of a menace on some topic where they can't keep an even keel for whatever reason.

So, while I think there is a recognizable group of high-profile members, I don't think they are all allies or have the power to pick on a given member beyond the power we all have to do that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:48 AM on March 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Jacqueline: "I miss the old days when instead of posts being closed we just started swapping recipes."

Time for the Treaty of Westphalia!
posted by Chrysostom at 7:50 AM on March 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Recipes were fine if everyone could agree a thread had run its course. But they also started to be posted by users as a 'We're all done here!' reaction, even when other users still had things they wanted to talk about. So while some people were still trying to have what was usually a serious conversation, others would be swapping recipes and chatting and essentially trying to declare the matter over by changing the topic so completely.

You can see why that would become frustrating, even considered silencing, and currently frowned on by the mods.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:01 AM on March 24, 2014 [27 favorites]


My introduction to fffm was a comment which included this sentence:
"One of the other friends, we'll call her Dorothy, didn't know my bf was gay. As we were leaving, he suddenly goes "Dorothy I have to tell you something. I'm gay, and this feckless mongerer of fecal fear is my boyfriend."

Her response: "Oh you're gay? That's so cool! I'm totally okay with gays!"
Now, keep in mind, it was a very long comment, so I was nowhere near reading the "by ..." line, and had no idea that the user name was feckless fecal fear monger, or that the sentence was a play on the name. I thought that the boyfriend of someone on Mefi called his boyfriend, apropos of nothing, a feckless mongerer of fecal fear. Which was weird enough, except her response wasn't "Wait, feckless what??" or "Huh?! Fecal?" but just "Oh, you're gay?" I read that little exchange like three or four times, trying to imagine what kind of context or tone of voice would create an exchange like that, before reading to the end of the comment and realizing, "Oh, he didn't really say that, fffm was just playing around with his user name!"
posted by Bugbread at 8:05 AM on March 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


I just came up with the really MeFi version: "Flaming Bag(uette) of Winnie the Pooh,"

If the MeFi cabal (there is no cabal) forced me, and I absolutely had to pick a new butt- or shit-related username, I think I would pick The Man With the Golden Perineum, after the James Bond film, GoldenEye.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:14 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Can you have a community of perpetual n00bs? How does it lay down roots, when everything is always torn up?

MetaRoulette?
posted by spitbull at 8:15 AM on March 24, 2014


There are a variety of other Bond-related butt/shit puns thoughtfully collated for you here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:19 AM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's awesome! I had no idea. An excellent use of a MeTa.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:28 AM on March 24, 2014


> I'm not trying to tell anyone what they can or can't talk about. But I know if I were a BND, I'd prefer people didn't try to guess who I used to be. The whole point of allowing someone to turn over a new leaf is to allow them to start fresh, and I think that's a good thing.

fffm had his full name, photo, and other identifying info in his profile and was not particularly secretive about things. He was also banned previously, not just buttoned on his own accord.
posted by planetesimal at 8:35 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'll suggest the mods close this thread now

I suppose my feeling is, the question in the title of this post is something the community can discuss and might want to weigh in on. (I.e., not necessarily with respect to the specific other MeTa that is mentioned here, but speaking more in general terms.)

I agree it would be good if we don't get hung up talking about fffm, since he's not around to respond.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:49 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:45 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter is definitely a community, but I suspect that different people have very different ideas of what kind of community it is.

For me, if a location (virtual or not) is one that I care about, and it allows me to interact with people whom I care about (even if I disagree with them at times), I will call it a community. The things that move it away from "community" on the spectrum is 1) if I don't care about the venue or what happens to it; nor 2) do I care about the people who interact there due to ideology or lack of commonality. You might say that this simply becomes a different kind of community, but for me it's now moving in the direction where the definition is substantially different such that it's not meaningful anymore, as I fell no connection to it. I'm more an observer than a participant at that point.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:46 AM on March 24, 2014


*blink*

....How did....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:47 AM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Did he really just restart his account momentarily in order to request the thread gets shut down? That is some grade-A meta-Meta humor there.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:48 AM on March 24, 2014 [14 favorites]


...Is something weird and new going on?
posted by Blasdelb at 8:48 AM on March 24, 2014


He asked to have it back open to leave a followup comment. I didn't know that comment was going to be an unformatted quote of a previous comment, which seems like not a really great way to communicate a point, but, okay. He closed his account again, not much else to say there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:48 AM on March 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


...Is something weird and new going on?

I'll tell you when you're older sweetie.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:57 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


fffm had his full name, photo, and other identifying info in his profile and was not particularly secretive about things. He was also banned previously, not just buttoned on his own accord.

it's the principle of the thing for me. I don't remember his previous profile having any of that info.

Again, you're totally entitled to do what you like. I just know how I'd feel about it in his place.
posted by zarq at 8:59 AM on March 24, 2014


butts lol
posted by Melismata at 9:13 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's oddly reassuring to see that grumbling and needless friction can arise even where you wouldn't expect 'em.

Jerks find a way.
posted by Sara C. at 9:15 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wha
I think I just saw a very quick cat's paw strike from under that blanket. Now it's gone. Magic.
posted by Namlit at 9:16 AM on March 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Seriously. Let's just quit talking about him and move on.
posted by Roger Dodger at 9:17 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


In general, how can one re-open their closed account?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:28 AM on March 24, 2014


By dropping us a note at the contact form asking to do so.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:28 AM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Clearly I'm a total idiot, but what does BND stand for? I'm pretty sure it's none of the things that came up on Google... Unless it has something to do with banks.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:34 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


So while some people were still trying to have what was usually a serious conversation, others would be swapping recipes and chatting and essentially trying to declare the matter over by changing the topic so completely.

I am reminded of the potato-chip eating subway peacemaker (itself a fine username for the taking). Used with care and in moderation, certainly a viable strategy.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:35 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Brand New Day - for people who feel they've behaved less than optimally and/or just want to make a fresh start with a new comment history and not be connected to their old account.
posted by LionIndex at 9:36 AM on March 24, 2014


Clearly I'm a total idiot, but what does BND stand for?

Brand New Day -- posters that left/were banned coming back under a new name for a fresh start.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:36 AM on March 24, 2014


BND stands for Brand New Day. It's when a poster feels like they got on a bad path, wants a reset and creates a new identity.

(I don't consider myself a Brand New Day-er, btw, because my old username is in my profile. I used to be craichead. It's not a secret!)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:36 AM on March 24, 2014


what does BND stand for?

FAQ entry, for reference.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:37 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


In a year we'll be like, "Pshaw, who hasn't tricked the mods to break expected rules of conversation."
posted by bleep-blop at 9:39 AM on March 24, 2014 [25 favorites]


Thanks! It was driving me insane. (All I could come up with was Big Name [something])

On topic, when threads just devolve into a pile-on, I get uncomfortable, even if it may be justified. I've surely participated in pile-ons as well, when I should have just let things be. Not proud at all of writing that and I'm really glad when the mods save me from myself by closing threads.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:41 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Blasdelb: "...Is something weird and new going on?"

"Something wonderful."

posted by Chrysostom at 9:42 AM on March 24, 2014


It was a pretty interesting bit of metacommentary in thread that is ostensibly discussing an aspect of the appropriateness of closing MeTa threads, though.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:44 AM on March 24, 2014


I appreciate the people who have apologized for their jokes in that thread — let the hugs and drinks of forgiveness be brought forward — but I don't think they need feel too bad about them. Remember, the whole thread was started with a tone of complaint fake-out. The jokers weren't accessing some obscure in-jokes out of the blue; they were responding to the tone set in the OP.

When I clubbed, if you started in on the mosh pit and bounced against people standing around it, they were fully permitted to body-slam you back in to it. That was part of bargain, part of the fun even. You can't slam into someone and then pout when they slam back into you.

We're pretty good at matching level-for-level here; far from perfect but still pretty good. FecklessFFM, I guess you're still following along, so if you decide to come back, feel free to return with the same amped up style. There are folks here who love to engage with that. But you'll have a better time if you find a way to not resent it when others get just as excited and bump up against you. Hope you find a way back, and if not, hope you find a place and a way to enjoy the community like I do MeFi.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:46 AM on March 24, 2014 [15 favorites]


In a year we'll be like, "Pshaw, who hasn't tricked the mods to break expected rules of conversation."

Eh, no trick in this case. He asked back in to make a comment, I told him he could, he did, he rebuttoned, end of. It's not the comment I would have made, but I'm me and not him and so it goes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:48 AM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


However, I cannot be the only MeFite who found the constant appearance of the word "fecal" on my screen -- because FFFM was nothing if not prolific and diverse in his interests -- to be a bit of a textual eyesore around here,

I might suggest to FFFM the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate as an alternative, but someone may already have that one.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:50 AM on March 24, 2014


I appreciate the people who have apologized for their jokes in that thread — let the hugs and drinks of forgiveness be brought forward — but I don't think they need feel too bad about them. Remember, the whole thread was started with a tone of complaint fake-out. The jokers weren't accessing some obscure in-jokes out of the blue; they were responding to the tone set in the OP.

Yeah, I very much agree with this, and I think it's really sad that people are feeling badly about jokes that didn't seem like that big a deal although I also think apologizing was super classy (not sarcastic). I also think setting a "no frivolous jokes in MetaTalk" precedent would degrade the site a lot. This is especially true because several of the jokes, especially those about stuff like "Days without a MeTa" were both more innocuous and less in-jokey/in-crowdy than a thread title that could be read as "Here's a callout -- of users I like!"*

*Note: There is nothing wrong with liking these users (or pretty much any users) and I think positive callouts are delightful, but that's a way I could see that being interpreted.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:52 AM on March 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


For anyone's information, the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate username is (currently) free.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:10 AM on March 24, 2014


"butts lol"

Though "Klang Klangston" used to be the name I used for filling out store card forms and stuff like that (to easily segregate spam), these days I've been going with, "Lowell Butz."
posted by klangklangston at 10:12 AM on March 24, 2014 [28 favorites]


I definitely think it's a community. Look at the IRL page activity to see. This month is the 1 year anniversary of me asking some mefites to volunteer at a local charity with me, and in that year, we've gone and volunteered together 8 times. We've had a variety of mefites show up, both local and from out of town. And the out of towners are as much of the community as the locals are because of this website. Every time or so, one of the people we're helping asks where we're from, and are a little amazed when we say "We're from the internet, and we're here to help." And none of that would have happened without Metafilter.
posted by garlic at 10:30 AM on March 24, 2014 [22 favorites]


I use "Matt Haughey."
posted by Chrysostom at 10:30 AM on March 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Haven't logged in for a couple days. Stuff gets kinda weird around here sometimes
posted by Hoopo at 10:32 AM on March 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


"We're from the internet, and we're here to help."

I went on a hike with some MeFites and several people had independently described it to friends as "going hiking with the Internet".
posted by benito.strauss at 10:50 AM on March 24, 2014 [15 favorites]


If you're not actually a member of this community, then I don't think you get a say in how this community behaves.
posted by Solomon at 10:52 AM on March 24, 2014


From my perspective, and I'm a sort who makes sort of unintentionally tactless comments and jokes sometimes and have tangled with fffm over that in the past, we can be kind of shitty to people like fffm and make a bad mood worse or make a good day into a bad mood.

And maybe we shouldn't do that? Seems like it would be the nice thing to do.

I mean I understand and empathize a little with the idea of personal freedom in expression, certainly, but if we're trying to be the best of the web, it seems like we oughta act like it.
posted by kalessin at 11:09 AM on March 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


Okay but have you SEEN the rest of the web?
posted by Hoopo at 11:19 AM on March 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't think we're trying to be the best of the web. I seriously don't. But I do think we demand respect and expect some kindness, and can get together with you in calling for less shittiness based on that.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:38 AM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Though "Klang Klangston" used to be the name I used for filling out store card forms and stuff like that (to easily segregate spam), these days I've been going with, "Lowell Butz."

Yeah, and now Radio Shack's going out of business. Happy?
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:38 AM on March 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Promise: "Lowelll Butz Just Wants To Buy Batteries" is now the title of something I will create this year.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:46 AM on March 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


That was some top-notch trolling from fffm just now.

To weigh in on the original question, I don't see a problem with asking to close a thread. You're free to ask, but whether or not it happens is beyond your control. If there's more to say on a topic the community will still have the conversation elsewhere.

We've seen it play out this way now:

1 person asks to close thread prematurely
Request is granted
There is much more to say on the topic
New thread opens up regarding issues that triggered the previous one to close.
Flameout.

So asking to close the thread was not a success.
posted by GrapeApiary at 11:57 AM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've had one beloved MeFite call me "weird" and an "alien"

That Mefite was exhibiting poor boundaries, and asserting an authority to define what is non-weird and non-alien that they don't rightly possess.

For people who don't get why "weird" and "alien" can be very insulting: both terms are commonly used to exclude and ostracize. Alien in particular is dehumanizing. "Weird" might get a hall pass, since plenty of people here self-identify as such, and wear it with pride; but that's an individual choice.
posted by nacho fries at 12:00 PM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Promise: "Lowelll Butz Just Wants To Buy Batteries" is now the title of something I will create this year.

The "Fifty Shades of Grey" knock-off market is already pretty saturated.
posted by jbickers at 12:00 PM on March 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think the question of whether to close a thread or not is a question of whether the thread continuing to stay open is good for MeFi. I would say that the OP usually has too much personally invested in the thread (especially on MeTa) to make an objective decision on that.
posted by Mooski at 12:04 PM on March 24, 2014


"Weird" might get a hall pass, since plenty of people here self-identify as such, and wear it with pride;

I like being weird. Weird's all I've got. That and my sweet style.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:23 PM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wha...? I missed the fact that he reactivated his account temporarily to make a single comment.

I was kind of ambivalent about the subject of this thread but that seems to pretty clearly say, "Actually I am around to respond, but I refuse to, and I expect my refusal to shut down any criticism of me in the same way that getting a MeTa thread closed should."

I'm all for respecting someone who is actually absent and taking a break or has moved on as a subject of conversation to be avoided, but this simply appears to be a second instance of manipulating etiquette to get what he wants. Which isn't okay even for a kindhearted soul who likes to say nice things about other people, not even as a Parthian shot.
posted by XMLicious at 12:30 PM on March 24, 2014 [15 favorites]


"Weird" might get a hall pass, since plenty of people here self-identify as such, and wear it with pride;

That would be wonderful.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:46 PM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate username is (currently) free.

Eww, who knows where it's been?

A long time ago I knew a Texas bartender who said "never put your finger where you wouldn't put your face" a lot. I'm still thinking about what that meant, obviously.
posted by spitbull at 12:53 PM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Parthian shot

If nothing else this thread has been worthwhile for teaching me 35 years too late that the expression is not "parting shot"
posted by Hoopo at 1:08 PM on March 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


The wikipedia article makes the argument that the two phrases are independent developments, though I haven't given the whole thing a real close look.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:12 PM on March 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


From the Wiki page, which is admittedly laden with warnings, it looks like the two expressions have separate histories. Neither is a mistake for the other.

On preview, cortex already said it.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:12 PM on March 24, 2014


I'm all for respecting someone who is actually absent and taking a break or has moved on as a subject of conversation to be avoided, but this simply appears to be a second instance of manipulating etiquette to get what he wants.

The guy was being subjected to all kinds of personality analyses and speculation about past MeFi incarnations (including one assertion that he'd been banned previously) after he buttoned. Hell we even had a nice go-round of how much we all didn't care for his choice of username. I can't imagine any of that was anywhere within spitting distance of "what he wants," and next time somebody gets fed up and takes a break it'd be awesome if fewer people descended like a flock of crows to pick apart the remains of their disabled account.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:12 PM on March 24, 2014 [13 favorites]


Thanks! It was driving me insane. (All I could come up with was Big Name [something])

"Doo-doo." I believe the D-word you're looking for is "doo-doo."
posted by aught at 1:26 PM on March 24, 2014


this simply appears to be a second instance of manipulating etiquette to get what he wants.

There are always going to be an aspect of "the benefits of social engineering" when you have a site that is run by humans. The fact that we-as-mods are not only human but also trusting and gracious and try pretty hard to not just be callous to people who email us (even if there have been issues in the past) I think speaks to the good nature of the people here but it also has the side effects of

- us being in the firing line of a lot of shit and bad behavior both publicly and privately
- us sometimes having to say we made mistakes
- us defending the fact that being gracious to someone who is not exhibiting grace is something we think has value

There are a lot of people who seem to have a hard time leaving someone alone who is pretty clearly having a hard time. Whether that's because they are having their own struggles or have additional information or are jerks or have different ideas about etiquette, the fact remains that it's a lot easier to police yourself than to try to get everyone else to fall in line behind an idea.

I always wince when someone makes a kidding on the square type of MeTa post because they tend to go sideways more quickly than other MeTa posts. The odd thing to me is how consistent MeTa can be despite a changing userbase.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:30 PM on March 24, 2014 [31 favorites]


next time somebody gets fed up and takes a break it'd be awesome if fewer people descended like a flock of crows to pick apart the remains of their disabled account

I realize this is a technical solution to a social problem, but closing the thread would have helped. There was little reason to keep it open after the fact: what does a "community" really have to discuss that is of value, after this point, when the end result shows itself to be this disassembly of motive and character, time and time again?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:36 PM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, my understanding has been that "Parthian shot" and "parting shot" have separate origins, with "Parthian shot" maybe having a slightly different shade of meaning because it's a case of responding when you're being pursued? I had to look it up to confirm I was using it correctly and I figured I'd drop the Wikipedia link in.
posted by XMLicious at 1:39 PM on March 24, 2014


flock of crows

I think it's delicious that crow hoe-downs are called "murders". There's a murder that regularly sits on the utility wire across the street from my front window. I will think of them next time a newly-departed user gets his/her carcass pecked here.
posted by nacho fries at 2:32 PM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Chrysostom: "Time for the Treaty of Westphalia!"

It's always time for me.
posted by Treaty of Westphalia at 2:58 PM on March 24, 2014 [25 favorites]


Holy shit.

A guy calls me out to thank me and this is where we end up?

Let's just say this was not the most enjoyable hour I've had on the site. Wow.

Maybe we were trolled, and we lost. Fine. That's one game in a very long season. Shrug it off, play the next game. There's always another post.

Jessamyn, you deal with this shit every day. I thank you for it -- and all the mods. Yeah, you occasionally get it wrong. WHO OF US DOESN'T? You have an amazing batting average, though. Even Ted Williams struck out once in a while.

FFFM, if you're reading this, thank you for the kind words -- and my apologies for using the initials, I'm typing this on my phone.

Jessamyn, Cortex, Lobster_Mitten -- thanks for all you do. Even when it's hard. Especially when it's hard.

If I've misspelled anyone's name, I apologize. I honestly see the typos, but only hours after I've posted them. Otherwise? I before E, except when it isn't.
posted by eriko at 5:52 PM on March 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


I just want to say, I have read all the threads: the Malaysia flight thread, the good callout thread, this one, and thanks, I have learned a lot. And I also value the posts/comments made by all the peeps involved, including FFFM, whose identity I can guess at his past history, but not sure. Maybe someone we really liked and who is frustrated, but at the same time, wtf, dude? Don't get your backhairs raised up so much! What? Are you a cat?

I think every 4th MeTa thread should involve recipes. Or there should be a Facebook MetaFilter group for sharing recipes. Because we all seem to get along when it involves food.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:09 PM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Re: "flock of crows", I think there's a thing on MeFi where there are some folks who have consistent behavior that in the aggregate really pushes a lot of people's buttons. To call attention to a single example at any given point in time feels like it would be overly petty or fighty, but so when things finally come to a head and there's an out-in-the-open discussion to participate in, it can be hard to resist jumping in and being like "ugh, yes, this". But to people who weren't bothered by the behavior of the user in question it just looks like there's this inexplicable swarm of browbeaters descending on someone needlessly. I sort of feel like it would be constructive to have some kind of pressure valve to temper the big releases, but I don't know what that might look like.
posted by threeants at 6:42 PM on March 24, 2014 [13 favorites]


Also, I fully agree with the idea that we should aspire to kindness. But building on that; for me personally, a huge part of the reason I often found fffm's comments on the site unconstructive is that he frequently was disrespectful and uncharitable to kind MeFites who I respect. (People who, FWIW, I do not otherwise have a relationship with and who probably don't know I exist. For that matter, I have never to my knowledge had a direct exchange with fffm.) So...where do we go from there? I disagree with the somewhat common-seeming view that it is unkind to identify obnoxious behavior where one sees it. I don't actually recall reading any comments here that were personal attacks; criticizing someone's behavior is not the same thing.
posted by threeants at 7:03 PM on March 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


But to people who weren't bothered by the behavior of the user in question it just looks like there's this inexplicable swarm of browbeaters descending on someone needlessly.

But what is the need for it? Especially since this thread is supposedly about whether or not users should be able to have their metas closed? I can't connect the dots.
posted by Danila at 8:29 PM on March 24, 2014


But what is the need for it?

I think the answer to this is often processing and validation (in a non-negative sense). Irrespective of the conversation upthread I think Metafilter does function as a community and so, when something turbulent or unexpected happens, some people (including me) find it really helpful to have a chance to think about whatever happened and maybe check in on their sanity in a "here's what I saw...did you see that too?" way.

Perhaps others have different opinions but, while I get the problems with rubbernecking and nitpicking and everything, I think there's some value in community processing and sort of saying "oh, hey, here we all are, let's check in."
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:45 PM on March 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm always amazed to see how quickly people can misread things on the internet and then take umbrage.

As to fffm, who knows what real life issue they were dealing with....maybe they just need a breather and will come back later.



Note: Everyone needs a hug.

This.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:59 PM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's no flock of crows here. It's chickens. Chickens spot a fellow chicken with a feather out of place. They peck at it. They draw a little blood. And next thing you know, the entire flock is pecking at the one chicken. Pecked to death.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:42 PM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The lesson, of course, is to never, ever be that vulnerable chicken.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:43 PM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


disrespectful and uncharitable to kind MeFites who I respect

Guy called me a "pseudo-anarchist" in Metafilter Mail, tryna insult me, but it's kinda what I'm going for, actually.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:16 PM on March 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Nah. I've seen cases where pretty much all of MeFi attacks somebody, and cases where half attacks and half defends, and cases where a few attack and most defend.

There's no need for metaphors, because the mechanism is really simple. The larger the number of people who have a problem with a given poster, the larger the number of people who will get on their case. The smaller the number of people who have a problem with them, the smaller the number of people who will get on their case.
posted by Bugbread at 11:17 PM on March 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Though "Klang Klangston" used to be the name I used for filling out store card forms and stuff like that (to easily segregate spam), these days I've been going with, "Lowell Butz."

Very occasionally I sign something "Farook Bulsara."
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:21 PM on March 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Also I periodically chuckle to myself because I remember I once went to an Italian restaurant in the Valley and in the back was a headshot of Ed O'Neill which he had signed, "Love, Marilyn Monroe."
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:22 PM on March 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


- us defending the fact that being gracious to someone who is not exhibiting grace is something we think has value

Damn. The internet made me reflect again.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:56 PM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm trying to get my head around how it is that so very often the people who are thin-skinned, grudge-carrying, paranoid, and self-righteous are also prone to being insensitive, judgmental, obtuse, and belligerent.

We really should be generous, tolerant, and forgiving. We should even be generous, tolerant, and forgiving of those who aren't themselves generous, tolerant, and forgiving. But we can't expect of ourselves, or each other, to not have either a collective memory or a limit on that generosity.

If someone does the same provocative things again and again, and then chastises us for not being generous, tolerant, and forgiving in response, that is behavior that's proven itself to be less forgivable than it is cynical and opportunistic.

Furthermore, being that it's the case that people who repeatedly violate other's boundaries often do as just much damage to themselves in the process, it is in its own way an act of kindness to say, nope, no more benefit of the doubt, no more tolerance, kindly step out the door and be on your way.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:13 AM on March 25, 2014 [15 favorites]


Fascinating.
posted by daq at 12:16 AM on March 25, 2014


"Parthian shot"

"Kidding on the square"


There was definitely value to keeping this thread open; I learned two new phrases!
posted by the latin mouse at 12:27 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to get my head around how it is that so very often the people who are thin-skinned, grudge-carrying, paranoid, and self-righteous are also prone to being insensitive, judgmental, obtuse, and belligerent.

It's a sort of defense barrier of thorns. If I'm aggressive and nasty enough, you won't be able to hurt me because you won't get near my soft spots; my soft spots also respond to a breath of air on the other side of the room. It can also be driven by other forms of insecurity, and valid and lasting pain. There are some people who can maintain deep pain and deep compassion, but it's a lot harder than it might seem and usually comes out of some sort of deep-seated ethical perspective of self-love and self-compassion first.

In my experience, the people who also seem the most narcissistic and self-involved are also the most self-hating and hollow inside. Ironically, pointing out flaws while maintaining a loving relationship seems to be the only way to thread that needle, without movement from the inside. It's the sort of thing which a community does poorly, as well; there isn't an intimate enough relationship, nor a swift enough and truthful enough reckoning. Even clinicians largely can't pull it off; I know I sure can't (yet).
posted by Deoridhe at 12:37 AM on March 25, 2014 [14 favorites]


OF COURSE we should aspire to kindness. Was that even up for discussion? And I just thought people were doing it wrong.
posted by Namlit at 2:19 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


after sort of just sitting back and watching this entire thing play out, i think the best takeaway that could possibly come from it is...

jesus christ, can we stop using the grey as a place to psychoanalyze people and write big screeds about how we think they feel, and why we think they feel that way?

It's something i see going on throughout this whole situation with these two threads, and it's been something that's especially gotten bad just on MeTa in the past few months.

Like, it seems to be the basis of a lot of flameouts and fights when they reach the point of chair throwing/table flipping or otherwise someone just crossing the line into actually being mad. I've seen mods call it out a few times, but maybe if people would quit reaching for that lightsaber and slapping each other on the back when others did shit wouldn't get so messed up that we need 300+ posts about one situation which right up until the very end are still doing that shit.
posted by emptythought at 2:47 AM on March 25, 2014 [9 favorites]


We are now all just trying to pin down the motivations of a user who is no longer here and seems unwilling or unable to participate productively even if he were here. That, and we're doing a really annoying "I know a secret but I'm not telling" thing with regard to that user's BND status. We're definitely not discussing whether or not it's OK for people to request the closure of MeTa threads. Maybe this thread is no longer useful, and could be closed up?

And if you have a problem with that suggestion, take it to Patafilter.
posted by Scientist at 4:11 AM on March 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


"We are now all just trying to pin down the motivations of a user who is no longer here and seems unwilling or unable to participate productively even if he were here."

I don't think that's the case; or, at least, it's not true about my comment. I was responding to, and had in mind, a number of comments in this thread by a few people who aren't that mefite (who I agree ought not be discussed in his absence). And the way I read the recent discussion, that's the case for other people, as well.

It's just a bad idea to talk about someone who's disabled their account. For many reasons, not just that it's not fair to them.

But some other issues have been raised in this thread that I think ought to be engaged. I think they ought to be refuted.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:18 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


we're doing a really annoying "I know a secret but I'm not telling" thing

Yep.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:26 AM on March 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's no flock of crows here. It's chickens. Chickens spot a fellow chicken with a feather out of place. They peck at it. They draw a little blood. And next thing you know, the entire flock is pecking at the one chicken. Pecked to death.

If you mean after the account was disabled, maybe. But that's not what was happening prior to fffm's account closed. He flipped out about some weak jokes that he misunderstood and made a scene. Then he bailed (then he came back, then he bailed).

Then we gathered together to talk shit.
posted by GrapeApiary at 5:39 AM on March 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Are threads ever closed because people start saying, "I think this should be closed up"? In my observation, a mod closes the thread when they feel that the thread is no longer generating value, a decision doesn't seem to have any correlation to people saying they think it should be closed.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:50 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have seen mods commenting "I agree", and then close it up, though.
posted by Omnomnom at 6:35 AM on March 25, 2014


Yeah, sometimes it's pretty obvious that a thread has basically run its course. Other times it helps to get a quick read of the room. No cloture motion is required, so to speak, but I wouldn't say there's zero correlation.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 7:18 AM on March 25, 2014


Patatalk. I would ride that paisley pony.
posted by in278s at 7:20 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Take your MetaTalk disputes to TaEpiTaMetaTalk, guys.
posted by killdevil at 7:41 AM on March 25, 2014


Yeah, I mean, sometimes people are thinking "I wonder if this should be closed up" at the same time we're thinking "I wonder if we should close this up". Especially in a community where people have collectively spent a lot of time reading and participating in various kinds of discussions on the grey, it's not really odd that there's a little bit of same-wavelength stuff that happens.

But we do make the close-or-don't-close decision basically independently and it's often something we'll talk about as a team over email first to try and size up the collective mod feelings on the pros and cons of letting a bumpy thread stand open. We aren't going to close a metatalk just because someone mentioned the idea of closing it, and we're not going to pointedly not close a metatalk we're otherwise inclined to just to prove that someone suggesting it isn't the boss of us or whatever, so: sometimes people suggest closing a thread, sometimes we're feeling like a thread should be closed, and sometimes both of those things are happening at the same time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:08 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]



OF COURSE we should aspire to kindness. Was that even up for discussion? And I just thought people were doing it wrong.

I often walk a fine line between a delicious, hilarious snark, and trying to be kind.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:26 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Please feel free to err more on the kindness side in AskMe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:32 AM on March 25, 2014 [17 favorites]


This particular case is a bit contentious. I suggest that had the praise thread not been closed up after the requests from FFFM then they would have not been easy to talk down from their upset. That they then stomped out after commenting in this thread suggests to me that they would have done that anyway unless everybody had done what they had expected (but didn't happen) in the praise thread. So not a good example for discussing this subject, as several people have already commented.

Anyway, what cortex said.
posted by asok at 9:52 AM on March 25, 2014


OF COURSE we should aspire to kindness. Was that even up for discussion? And I just thought people were doing it wrong.

except sometimes kindness and fun run at cross purposes, or more to the point, sometimes you're so engaged in a certain discussion and loving where it's going that you miss important cues from across the room that somebody isn't having any fun at all. I believe this speaks to pretty much my entire experience of high school, and yes, occasionally Metafilter.

re: FFFM specifically, I had a rather lengthy comment written way back in this thread (around the time he closed his account for the first time), but I suddenly just deleted it when I thought something along the lines of ...

jesus christ, can we stop using the grey as a place to psychoanalyze people and write big screeds about how we think they feel, and why we think they feel that way?

I mean, I realize such comments are often written from a positive motivation, but I know way too well how f***ing condescending they can feel, particularly if things have gotten contentious.

It's a tough lesson (and I personally seem to keep re-learning it), but sometimes the only wise thing to do when interpersonal tensions are laid bare is SHUT UP, don't even breathe hard, because that will just feed a fire that needs to burn itself out.
posted by philip-random at 10:14 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Patatalk

You know that patat friet is Flemish/Dutch for french fries, right? (hmm delicious french fires). So yes, that's something we should have here: PatatTalk. Tastes pretty good even without pony, actually.
posted by Namlit at 10:32 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I mean, I realize such comments are often written from a positive motivation, but I know way too well how f***ing condescending they can feel, particularly if things have gotten contentious.

Yeah, this times about a thousand. Kindness is nearly the opposite of judging, and yet it seems damn near impossible to ask others to be kind without coming off judgmental.

My takeaway from this and several other recent threads is the best way to call for kindness is to just be kind. I don't have to remind people how kind I am by telling them to be more kind themselves.
posted by Mooski at 10:49 AM on March 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Was anyone especially unkind, in either this thread or the thank-you thread that fffm opened?

Personally, I didn't think so, but maybe my calibration is off.
posted by rue72 at 1:23 PM on March 25, 2014


Promise: "Lowelll Butz Just Wants To Buy Batteries" is now the title of something I will create this year

Throw in the towel, Lowell
These Radio Shack folks are nuts
Phone number and an address, please?
They can stick it right up their butts
When I check my mail all the flyers sail
Unread pleas across stormy seas
Lowell Butz just wants to buy batteries
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:22 PM on March 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


God, I love you guys.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:21 PM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm going to go back a while to the MeTa that caused this and say "yes, I did think it was a bad thing". Not because of the praise callouts of the 2 posts, one of which I'd read and thought was great, and one which I hadn't, but which was also great.

But seriously, when I clicked on the link, it was with my heart in my mouth, because the kidding on the square framing made me pretty convinced that a fight was about to go down and that some quite possibly very good contributors to this community were about to be upset a lot. So if people writing mock callouts could do the "I think they're all cool really" reveal above the cut, that would be great on my part.

Also, I was a little put out that there was one commenter who said, paraphrased "oh, that airliner crash post is 1000 comments, so here's my 2 cents' worth in case it's not been written dozens of times in the thread already.". Which it had. That was moderately irksome.

Which is a shame, because other than those two things and the massive ensuing disturbance, that threat was pretty great.
posted by ambrosen at 5:44 PM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Was anyone especially unkind, in either this thread or the thank-you thread that fffm opened?

I'm probably going to sound like a complete crazy person here, but i guess i'm ok with that since it's MeTa.

I think that a lot of people were doing this prick thing that i see a lot on here, and in various activist/artist spaces and groups i've been in where they're letter of the law being polite, but engaging in an unproductive way that while not necessarily blatantly bad faith is just not fun for other people in the conversation.

Like, i don't see anything wrong with FFFMs jokey framing here. i think a bunch of people saw a soapbox to have a fight they wanted to have or drop a deuce they wanted to unload and did it, and it was done in a very calculated way that getting angry at all or attempting to go "woah, what the hell" made you look like the asshole.

It's a lot more advanced than, but follows the same formula as something i've also seen on the grey a lot which is;

1. huge dicky hyperbolic rant pooping on someone and calling their behavior by hyperbolic names in a comment in response to a meta
2. that person responds
3. "heartfelt" apology, that comes off as really saccharinely nice. Now if the person responds to them angry at all they look like the dick even though it's pretty justified because the case is closed or whatever. It's sort of an objection sustained sort of thing. The jury of peers has already heard the damning bullshit, but if that person tries to respond at all theyre the one "dragging it out" or being the dick.

This sort of thing is a really insidious, "So when did you stop beating your wife" + "I think you have a drinking problem" sort of thing where any response is a bad response you can get slagged on for, but not responding looks equally guilty. And the person who dropped the pithy little bomb has already cut their ties and apologized, or is otherwise engaging like they're done with that sick burn or accusation.

These threads can be fucking witch trials combined with drive by shootings, i swear.

FFFM did get angry, but that wasn't like the original sin or anything. The "chicken sees a feather and pecks, blood, all chickens peck" thing definitely happened. And if that isn't unkind, then i don't want to see what flies for unkind.
posted by emptythought at 5:53 PM on March 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I dunno, it's like melodrama is a drug or something.
posted by planetesimal at 5:58 PM on March 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


emptythought: "3. "heartfelt" apology, that comes off as really saccharinely nice. Now if the person responds to them angry at all they look like the dick even though it's pretty justified because the case is closed or whatever."

And I often see that pattern as "3. Person realizes they were being a dick and makes a sincere apology, but the wronged person refuses to accept the apology and instead assumes that it is some kind of passive-aggressive meta-attack." The first part of that reaction isn't a problem: if someone says "I'm sorry", that doesn't mean you have to forgive them. But one thing is refusing to forgive, and another is being so paranoid that you take an apology as a stealth-attack. People who do that are the types who flame out and hit the big red button.
posted by Bugbread at 6:03 PM on March 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


emptythought: "3. "heartfelt" apology, that comes off as really saccharinely nice. Now if the person responds to them angry at all they look like the dick even though it's pretty justified because the case is closed or whatever. It's sort of an objection sustained sort of thing. The jury of peers has already heard the damning bullshit, but if that person tries to respond at all theyre the one "dragging it out" or being the dick.
  • I made what I thought was a fairly innocuous joke.
  • It wasn't well received.
  • I said I was sorry.
  • I meant that I was sorry.
  • I wasn't laying a trap for anyone
  • There was zero diabolical planning involved
posted by double block and bleed at 6:05 PM on March 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


Not counting the OP, fffm, and staff members...

Did you know that THIRTY-THREE different individuals have felt the need to post at least THREE times to this thread? Does that seem like overkill? What is so important about this fairly desultory topic? It is the same hardcore power users posting again and again and again and again and again...
posted by 99percentfake at 7:01 PM on March 25, 2014


Hi, emptythought-17:53 meet emptythought-02:47, he has some words of wisdom for you.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:14 PM on March 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


99percentfake: "What is so important about this fairly desultory topic? It is the same hardcore power users posting again and again and again and again and again..."

Some people like to discuss topics, not just drop comments and bail.
posted by Bugbread at 7:39 PM on March 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Did you know that THIRTY-THREE different individuals have felt the need to post at least THREE times to this thread? Does that seem like overkill? What is so important about this fairly desultory topic?

Well, speaking as one of the THIRTY-THREE, I'd say my answers are:

I guess I do now.
Not really, no.
I don't think it's necessarily all that important, but I also don't think it's all that desultory. It goes off on a few tangents, true, but no more than is typical for MeTa. It happens to have covered some ground that I had either answers about or opinions on, so I shared them with the group. That's kind of what we do here in MetaTalk.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:25 PM on March 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


what jacquilynne said ...
posted by philip-random at 9:16 PM on March 25, 2014


There's not a hard limit on the number of times you can comment in a thread, you know.

Well, there was that one time, but after that mathowie put the rainbow in the sky as a sign that he would never again do something like that to his beloved creation.
posted by Curious Artificer at 5:55 AM on March 26, 2014 [9 favorites]


There is, however, a limit on the number of lette
posted by Bugbread at 6:05 AM on March 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Didn't someone once suggest that Metafilter switch to 140 characters per comment, or was that just a terrible, terrible dream?
posted by double block and bleed at 6:13 AM on March 26, 2014


Ha! Ivan Fyodorovich would plotz. :D
posted by zarq at 6:29 AM on March 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


On Opposite Day, Ivan writes only three word comments.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:40 AM on March 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


In German. And they're each over a thousand characters long. :D
posted by zarq at 6:44 AM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


The lesson, of course, is to never, ever be that vulnerable chicken.

Huh. I thought the lesson was not to use chicken metaphors.
posted by aught at 7:52 AM on March 26, 2014


Marge: Homer, you don't do things like that to be rewarded! The moral of the story is that a good deed is its own reward!

Bart: But we got a reward, the head is cool!

Marge: Well, then maybe the moral is, no good deed goes unrewarded.

Homer: Wait a minute! If I hadn't written that nasty letter we wouldn't have gotten anything.

Marge: Mmmm... then I guess the moral is, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Lisa: Maybe there is no moral, Mom.

Homer: Exactly! It's just a bunch of stuff that happened.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:13 AM on March 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


LOL! RT @doubleblockandbleed Didn't someone once suggest that Metafilter switch to 140 characters per comment, or was that just a terrible,
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:18 AM on March 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


In German. And they're each over a thousand characters long.

Yeah it begins with that "plotz" probably would be autocorrected into "Hotzenplotz". I shudder to think of the consequences for bandwidth and site sanity and stuff.
posted by Namlit at 2:45 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think that a lot of people were doing this prick thing that i see a lot on here...

Except nobody behaved that way.

Dude, please pull the bug out of your own ass before you reach for your neighbors.
posted by Pudhoho at 3:45 PM on March 26, 2014


Yeah, lemme temper that.

I dig on what you're saying, what you describe occurs. It didn't happen here.

Let's go have a beer.
posted by Pudhoho at 4:21 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I reached out to fffm in a pretty genuine attempt at kindness if such is possible while arguing that my perspective is perfectly valid and doesn't need to be stamped out. This thread sort of helped me because I was surprised at how sort of angrily and dismissively he responded to my best attempt at negotiation. Now that I know it had something to do with him and others see this-- it actually feels a lot easier to be kind because I don't have to contend with others believing his harmful interpretation of my words as being something I shouldn't be allowed to express.

Now I hope that whatever issues he has he can resolve or that if nothing else others can learn how to not let him and people like him stamp them out in a sort of aggressive manner.

Some times I think aggression makes sense as part of self defense or self preservation (or toward others) but sometimes it's more of a .. habit. A very harmful and destructive habit that maybe formed for REAL good reasons but is now just getting taken out on lots of people who have nothing to do with the origins of the habit forming.

I sincerely wish him the best but also hope that behavior that is really aggressive and not for any particular reason (like that someone is saying really hurtful things and probably needs to be challenged) will not be the norm here.

I don't think talking about a particular behavior or how it should be dealt with is at all out of line though the focus should be the behavior and how to deal with it not being mean to the person in question who may have perfectly valid reasons for being the way they are. (Of course, they also might not but there's no real way to assess that, and either way we can still maintain some degree of kindness... I think.)

I also really strongly believe in self defense so I don't want to create a sort of oppressive kindness that actually enables people to hurt each other and stomps out attempts to stand up to that sort of thing. Which makes it complicated to figure out how to make it ok to stand up against sometimes "nice" hurtful words. Something about balance... and stuff.
posted by xarnop at 4:42 PM on March 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


In another thread I speculated that this may be due to the bulk of the posters residing in the northern hemisphere and thus having just lived through a fuck of a long winter and being grumpier than usual in general.

I don't know about anyone else, but one more day of snow and imma go the full Father Jack.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:45 PM on March 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


today I went to the front porch to get the mail, and thought, hey, we should be able to put away the shovel and the bag of salt. 10 minutes later it was snowing again. spring is just fucking with us at this point.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:41 PM on March 27, 2014


My shovel is frozen into the goddamned ground.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:46 PM on March 27, 2014 [5 favorites]


I am so glad to be back out of the actual cold and in Southern California, even if we're in the midst of a slow-motion drought disaster.
posted by klangklangston at 6:52 PM on March 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


My shovel is frozen into the goddamned ground.

Just had flashbacks to my old house when we discovered our sprinkler system had been leaking water for ages. I stuck a shovel into the wet ground to find out how far down it went.

The shovel disappeared.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:12 PM on March 27, 2014 [5 favorites]


acquiring more cats

i find it hard to see how this could be a bad thing.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 7:37 PM on March 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't know about anyone else, but one more day of snow and imma go the full Father Jack.

FECK!

DTHRIIIIINK!
posted by winna at 8:40 PM on March 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've already put my shovel and salt away for the spring twice and been forced to drag them out again, and I live in Philly.

They'll be in my atrium until May.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:59 AM on March 28, 2014


I think my long johns have grown into my skin.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:30 AM on March 28, 2014


I think my long johns have grown into my skin.
posted by The Underpants Monster


Eponysterical!
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:19 AM on March 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


and I live in Philly.

sniffle
posted by shakespeherian at 10:51 AM on March 28, 2014


Don't worry shakes, I ain't changed a jawn. It's all wooder under the bridge.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:42 AM on March 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Alien in particular is dehumanizing

I just want to say that I spent, ohh, a good solid 20 years or so wishing I was an alien, which included a big chunk of time spent thinking that being de-humanized (sorta like simonizing, only with nanotech and unnecessary usage of thin-film diamond) would be a good thing.

So.
posted by aramaic at 12:39 PM on March 31, 2014


« Older >save   |   I'm looking for a post with a non-linear... Newer »

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