everyone you disagree with isn't a rapist September 1, 2014 4:22 PM   Subscribe

I have noticed an increasing trend on MeFi, especially relating to issues of feminism, gender relations, etc, that threads quickly divide into us vs. them camps, where the "us" camp is defined by strong outrage and criticism, and the them camp is everyone else. This is problematic enough, but what then naturally occurs is any sort of deviation or criticism of anyone in the "us" tent immediately casts one into the "them" tent, and attacks that the person is pro-rape, in favor of abusing women, just the same as everyone else, etc. etc.

The latest for me is this by happyroach, responding to my argument against the idea that the people responsible for the celeb photo leak did so to "target women who are in the kid/ya sphere who are looked up to by girls. i don't think that's an accident", which I said seems overly conspiratorial, and happyroach responds:
So, can we next expect you to post that women getting catcalled in the street or groped at conventions can be best explained by simplistic biological/social motivations? And that women shouldn't complain when that happens? Why don't you tell us all exactly when women can have some expectation of privacy or dignity?
This is just utterly toxic to any sort of good faith discussion. I said nothing whatsoever condoning the theft or saying the victims couldn't complain, much less intimating that I support physically abusing women.

This is not even close to an isolated phenomenon - I have had numerous private conversations with other mefites who make a point of avoiding these types of conversations exactly because this is what happens again and again and again - dare to debate the community wisdom of how many angels you can fit on the head of a feminists pin and you'll get accused of shaming women's bodies.

It's a really cheap, bad faith way of arguing, and mefites should learn how to disagree with people without othering them all into the one homogenous group of hateful -ists.
posted by crayz to Etiquette/Policy at 4:22 PM (1514 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

It's a really cheap, bad faith way of arguing, and mefites should learn how to disagree with people without othering them all into the one homogenous group of hateful -ists.

So is "everyone you disagree with isn't a rapist." In fact, that's exponentially more shitty.
posted by maxsparber at 4:29 PM on September 1, 2014 [60 favorites]


Yeah, I feel like that title is kind a shooting-yourself-in-the-foot choice for framing a discussion about misrepresentation of difficult topics, and all in all I think there are better ways to try and shed light on the heart of conversational dynamics on the site than to get sort of argumentative and dismissive in a thread and then complain about other people's bad rhetorical habits when other people end up disagreeing with you about some of the things you're saying.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:43 PM on September 1, 2014 [12 favorites]


You say she was responding to you suggesting that this wasn't targeted/deliberate.

However, it seems more like it was a response to you suggesting that publishing those photos was totally understandable because of 'biology.'
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:44 PM on September 1, 2014 [37 favorites]


It's best to avoid the bad threads.
posted by michaelh at 4:46 PM on September 1, 2014 [12 favorites]


Frankly, also, the way you framed this post to leave out that little detail completely makes it seem like you knew that was a shitty thing to say.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:46 PM on September 1, 2014 [48 favorites]


Wow, is it Bad Framing Titles Day on MetaTalk or what?
posted by Jacqueline at 4:49 PM on September 1, 2014 [7 favorites]


I have had numerous private conversations with other mefites who make a point of avoiding these types of conversations exactly because this is what happens again and again and again...

It's a really cheap, bad faith way of arguing


So is "I am not alone in my opinion; lo, I speak for an invisible army!" Please present your position on its own merit, standing on its own two feet.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:49 PM on September 1, 2014 [30 favorites]


I don't understand how you're capable of using capital letters in the post, but not in its title. What kind of cilantro eating, American Idol watching, Yahoo Answer loving ogre are you?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:51 PM on September 1, 2014 [9 favorites]


I thought happyroach was fairly clear on the point he was making - that if you're going to chalk the particular motivations here up to biology/society rather than malice, then where does the biology stop and the malice begin? There's a continuum of sexual malice present from nonconsensual photos to nonsensual groping and beyond.

I think in general we could all do with nuanced analysis and good faith engaging with other users. There's maybe the seed of something useful in this metatalk. It's not all that easy to find in the bad framing and bad faith on your part, though (ironically?)
posted by naju at 4:51 PM on September 1, 2014 [5 favorites]


Dude, you are thoroughly misrepresenting happyroach's response, which quoted you saying that the photo hacking was "adequately explained by quite simplistic biological/social motivations." Characterizing the response to that as calling you a rapist is so far beyond the pale that happyroach should get some form of Get Out Of MeTa Free card for this.
posted by Etrigan at 4:51 PM on September 1, 2014 [139 favorites]


I'm going to actually take your advice, and not ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

A lot of stupidity.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:53 PM on September 1, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yeah, Etrigan's analysis seems spot-on to me.
posted by zarq at 4:53 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


You have completely overreacted to her response to your use of 'biological/social motivations', particularly considering that's traditionally been used to justify all kinds of hateful and restrictive behaviour. On preview, I agree with Etrigan.
posted by h00py at 4:55 PM on September 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


dare to debate the community wisdom of how many angels you can fit on the head of a feminists pin and you'll get accused of shaming women's bodies.

what about accusing you of trivializing important issues that affect real human beings, including members of this site?
posted by serif at 4:57 PM on September 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


Hmmm, I do think that there is a discussion to be had about how mods will let stand comments that are very clearly directed at specific people and very much an attack but will delete on sight "go fuck yourself" type comments. I mean, I understand why but personally and speaking for myself I can handle someone telling me "go fuck yourself" a LOT easier than someone making a clear attack on me or my character but phrasing it carefully enough to avoid the immediate-delete bin while leaving it almost impossible to respond without being deleted.

Dunno how to get to that conversation though.
posted by Justinian at 4:59 PM on September 1, 2014 [22 favorites]


It's also hard to post examples of what I'm talking about for that very reason; the comments in response get deleted.
posted by Justinian at 5:01 PM on September 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


2 years too early for this type of switcheroo nonsense arguing. It's maddening enough then, don't start it already.
posted by cashman at 5:01 PM on September 1, 2014


not everyone has to engage in every topic. metafilter is one of the more feminist friendly general interest boards on the internet. when the topics are things that touch on gender, sexuality, feminism, harassment, etc feminists will probably be in those threads. if you don't want to discuss these things with feminists, might i suggest moving on to threads that interest you more?
posted by nadawi at 5:02 PM on September 1, 2014 [12 favorites]


I don't like this thread but I've at least had a laugh at the notion of MeFi as some sort of feminist echo chamber. 7UP flew out my nose and I had to spray and wipe my laptop screen.

If you would like to know how many angels you can fit on the head of a feminist's pin, the answer is: more than we have here.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:07 PM on September 1, 2014 [32 favorites]


The post here seems to overreach a bit, but that thread did have more than its share of posts that follow the template: "So, what you're saying is [completely exaggerated reframe]? Real nice." I hate those and I wish Clippy would appear any time somebody started a post with a quote and then "so".
posted by ftm at 5:07 PM on September 1, 2014 [46 favorites]


i find it weird when someone suggests that the metafilter feminists are some sort of lockstep gang who all agree with each other and attack anyone who disagrees. the self identified mefi feminists disagree with each other often, we have different perspectives and priorities. there is no us vs them, people who agree with each or don't agree with each other change from thread to thread.
posted by nadawi at 5:07 PM on September 1, 2014 [70 favorites]


I wish people who came to Metatalk would at least attempt to dial down the rhetoric rather than dialing it up to 11. 'Cause it makes it impossible to actually talk about site stuff and instead turns into either a deserved dogpile or an undeserved one. But either way it makes for a bad metatalk.

Things not to use for comparisons when making a Metatalk: rape, racial slurs, Nazis, slavery. That's a good start.
posted by Justinian at 5:20 PM on September 1, 2014 [35 favorites]


I think there are instances where tough stances on things can have the danger of discouraging a more nuanced discussion, but it's absolutely no one's fault that I can think of and I don't know how to correct for it. For example, a recent comment in that thread said that anyone who intentionally looked at the leaked photos "is a bad person who doesn't give a shit about women's consent". That's an understandable position to have and I'm not countering it, but anyone taking a less bright line position - "I don't think they're bad people who actively disdain notions of consent, they just haven't given thought to how consent plays into the situation", for example - would seem to be apologizing or excusing behavior, which none of us wants to do, so I'm not going to make that comment. I think this is part of what crayz might be alluding to in the "us vs. them" mentality, but it's not dividing into camps really, it's more the nature of how these discussions play out - no one wants to be seen as excusing shitty behavior even a little, but a greyer approach to a situation often mistakenly implies that. (Again, not calling anyone out and not agreeing with crayz, just trying to describe a dynamic I notice in these discussions sometimes.)
posted by naju at 5:38 PM on September 1, 2014 [24 favorites]


I actually think it's more that people ignore the more "grey" approaches and jump on the absolute statements, so the stronger statements take up more space in the thread. Plenty of people in that thread softened that statement after it was made, in ways that I certainly still read as feminist.
posted by jaguar at 5:44 PM on September 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


But... that comment like second to last in the thread when naju posted, jaguar, so I don't see how plenty of people could have softened it. Must be more than one similar comment.

I do agree with Naju, though. On important hot-button issues it's tough to take a less absolutist position without coming across as an apologist at least by comparison.
posted by Justinian at 5:53 PM on September 1, 2014 [7 favorites]


If someone had never considered that proposing a biological imperative for breaking into celebrities' phones and stealing their naked pictures is very similar to proposing a biological imperative for rape, how might one point that out gently enough to not hurt their feelings? Where is the grey area in that?
posted by hydropsyche at 5:53 PM on September 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


That's not what crazy said, though. My reading is that he was simply saying that the reason a lot of people look at these pictures is not to try to take women with good reputations down a peg but simply because they like looking at nudie pictures of attractive women. The biological imperative part was just a really, really infelicitous description.

Don't ever use "biological imperative" unless you're talking about, like, breathing air with oxygen in it.
posted by Justinian at 5:57 PM on September 1, 2014 [14 favorites]


So, if happyroach had just said 'infelicitous' instead of explaining the logical implications of what was being said, everything would be fine?
posted by hydropsyche at 5:59 PM on September 1, 2014


You'd have to ask crayz. But I suspect that if happyroach had said "using the phrase biological imperative has implications I don't think you mean to make" then, no, crayz would not have come back with a "fuck off" or this metatalk. But it's not my Metatalk so who can say.
posted by Justinian at 6:02 PM on September 1, 2014 [8 favorites]


That's not what crazy said, though. My reading is that he was simply saying that the reason a lot of people look at these pictures is not to try to take women with good reputations down a peg but simply because they like looking at nudie pictures of attractive women. The biological imperative part was just a really, really infelicitous description.

That may be why people look at these pictures, but why they steal and share them was what crayz and happyroach were talking about, if I'm reading their conversation right.

Unrelated to that point, I agree wirh Etrigan's comment above.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:03 PM on September 1, 2014 [5 favorites]


The comment crayz quoted says (emphasis mine) "it's my impression that part of the hacking is to take women down a peg." Now maybe he didn't think of that when he was responding, but the digging in and the awful misrepresentation of happyroach's part of the discussion doesn't do him any favors in that regard. There may have been a good MeTa to post about that thread, but this isn't it.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:12 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


But... that comment like second to last in the thread when naju posted, jaguar, so I don't see how plenty of people could have softened it. Must be more than one similar comment.

Yeah, there was an early comment very similar, but the point's the same. Plenty of people made more nuanced responses, those responses were, in my mind, fairly feminist, and no one accused those commenters of being rape apologists.

I have found that people who complain they're getting lumped in with rape apologists are almost always people who are making very very very sloppy arguments and being very non-specific with their language. Taking some time to make sure what you are writing is conveying what you actually mean would solve a great many problems.
posted by jaguar at 6:12 PM on September 1, 2014 [13 favorites]


I said nothing whatsoever condoning the theft or saying the victims couldn't complain, much less intimating that I support physically abusing women.

But you do seem to be working awfully hard at trying to get everyone to drop the issue.

Although, you are impressive in your range of arguments - first you say that these pictures aren't that different from paparazzi photos so who cares, then you try the "they're a celebrity and this comes with the territory" approach, and you even found a way to work in the old standby "but this happens to men too" argument, which I personally found quite impressive.

You may not have said anything expressly condoning the theft, but you are sounding awfully hard like you're implying other people should accept the theft. Which is at least a close cousin to condoning it, in my book.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:13 PM on September 1, 2014 [143 favorites]


Ouch, that's a pretty impressive takedown EC. Crayz should probably just let it go now.
posted by Justinian at 6:17 PM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


Eh, I got a good night's sleep last night and I'm feeling my Cheerios right now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:18 PM on September 1, 2014 [14 favorites]


I think this is part of what crayz might be alluding to in the "us vs. them" mentality

To me it seems like there are participants in the threat whose empathy is first for the women who were hacked, particularly with how it would feel to have private sexual moments viewed by strangers, and participants whose empathy is at least as strong for internet users who don't (want to) feel bad about looking at any photo leaked onto the internet. Those are not camps that are going to meet kindly in discussion.
posted by immlass at 6:28 PM on September 1, 2014 [17 favorites]


Yeah if those are the sides of the discussion, then they're pretty much opposed by default. Not going to argue. Also won't argue with jaguar that people have taken more nuanced stances and it went over fine. Nevertheless, I've noticed generally in discussions that a bright line, hard ideological stance is often established early on, and then anyone taking a less bright line approach ends up (maybe even just slightly) on the reactive or defensive side of an issue, in danger of being an apologist for things they don't intend to make an apology for. Hell, I'm mostly the one agreeing with the bright line ideological stance, so I'll consider myself a part of establishing that dynamic.
posted by naju at 6:36 PM on September 1, 2014 [8 favorites]


Dang. This is something that I think does happen a lot on MetaFilter and really doesn't help foster anything resembling good-faith communication, but this is also not a good post to have that discussion from because it's not really what happened here.

It's a shame, because I think it would potentially be a useful discussion to have.
posted by gadge emeritus at 6:43 PM on September 1, 2014 [34 favorites]


Honestly, when I created that FPP, I was not expecting the resulting discussion to be contentious at all. To me the author had a very reasonable and well-defended position. This was in retrospect very naive of me. I do think a lot of interesting discussion was generated but I am wondering if there was something I could've done in the FPP that would have made it better received.
posted by Librarypt at 6:43 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Characterizing the response to that as calling you a rapist is so far beyond the pale that happyroach should get some form of Get Out Of MeTa Free card for this.

Exactly this. Is it a holiday weekend here or something?

I am wondering if there was something I could've done in the FPP that would have made it better received.


Usually a good start is skipping the provocative title and framing entirely (even if true) and just dispassionately report on a thing in a "this is a thing that happened" sort of way. Starting off with "It's a sex crime" is basically starting off the post on a "with us or against us?" sort of foot. And that may be how you feel (and you might not even be wrong, I really did not read the post and only sort of care, but I'm good at framing questions) but it's not usually a good way to start discussions. With something as hot button as "a post about someone's strong opinions about a famous person's nude photos" you basically don't need to do anything but downplay the situation and a discussion will happen no matter what. In this case you're into "hacking is not a sex crime." within the first ten comments.

The post was not a terrible post and this MeTa does not change that fact but there would have been better ways to frame it that might have been helpful even if they included less of your (or the original Forbes article writer's) opinions.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:53 PM on September 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


a bright line, hard ideological stance

But part of what I'm getting at is that looking at Jennifer Lawrence (or whichever actress or singer you want to talk about) and putting yourself in her shoes, and having a lived experience of how people will sneer at you for having taken nude photos for your lover/left them on your camera/put them in a cloud server/not used two-factor auth/etc., and knowing how you would feel personally if men around you were looking at the photos and possibly even fapping to them (Frex: the replies to Mary Elizabeth's Winstead's tweet on the subject.) isn't necessarily an ideological stance. This is a subject that's going to hit strong passions on that side alone.

FWIW, I see that mefites who are strongly invested in internet subcultures where information demands to be free and only those who are technically ept can have any privacy are equally emotionally invested in their end of the topic. Telling someone with this mindset that looking at stolen intimate photos is morally wrong at best doesn't make sense, and is more likely to be taken as an assault on how the internet should properly function.
posted by immlass at 7:01 PM on September 1, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm not saying anyone doesn't have strong passions or lived experiences with respect to this topic or other topics. Ideologies can be informed by those things, and I don't mean that word ("ideology") as a pejorative. I'm not clear on what we're arguing about, so I better drop it.
posted by naju at 7:21 PM on September 1, 2014


Thanks Jessamyn for the advice. I was quoting the writer and assumed it would be obvious it was entirely the writer's opinion and not necessarily my own, and that people could feel free to agree or disagree with the writer as they chose. But I can see your point and will take it into consideration for future posts.
posted by Librarypt at 7:23 PM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


IMO I think the 'sex crime' angle was interesting and made the FPP much less of a newsfilter post.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:24 PM on September 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


Just further to what Jess said, Librarypt, I think part of the thing to keep in mind is that a provocative title or lede or pullquote doesn't have to be mistaken for the poster's position to cause the kind of framing distraction she's talking about; it's sufficient that the words, whatever the source or intent, have that sort of setting-up-a-conflict rhetorical footprint.

Basically, yeah, it's easy for folks to end up zeroing in on an implied speicific assertion/challenge/thesis about the topic rather than discussing the whole topic in general, when there's something in the post's framing that can read like more than just a distant "here is a thing that occurred" summary.

It's tricky stuff sometimes, but one rule of thumb that I think helps in these situations is that the more potentially charged the subject (or current or historical context around the subject), the more boring the post text itself should be.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 PM on September 1, 2014 [8 favorites]


strong outrage and criticism, and the them camp is everyone else

I think it's interesting to pay attention to who is categorized against "everyone else" (an explicitly unmarked category with implications of majority).

In this case, the framing against "everyone else" implies that outrage and criticism are somehow beyond the pale. No one should be outraged - that sets us apart from everyone else. No one should critique - that sets us apart from everyone else.

I'm a fan of outrage. I'm also a fan of critique - especially nuanced, considered critique. I think by and large, "everyone else" is as well, when they agree with the outraged.
posted by Deoridhe at 7:43 PM on September 1, 2014 [10 favorites]


This is why I'm annoyed that it's a misleadingly framed post that won't support the argument it's making. Because it's not uncommon for threads, especially on anything high-emotion from I/P to guns to feminism/gender, to have participants whose position becomes one of, 'You either 100% agree with me or you're a bad person, as bad as the bad people we're discussing.'
So anyone who comes in to say 'I agree 98%, but there's this one thing...' gets immediate bad-faith reading, and presumed to be the enemy, something that only gets worse if they were even the slightest bit careless in how they phrased their disagreement. That's not good.

There might be a desire for nuanced, considered critique. But when it's partnered with outrage, it becomes a vanishingly small likelihood.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:04 PM on September 1, 2014 [32 favorites]


I'm not clear on what we're arguing about

I don't think we were arguing, but I wanted to be explicit on the point that this is a very personal issue for a lot of people with different operating assumptions: people who are likely to take it hard when those assumptions are questioned.
posted by immlass at 8:08 PM on September 1, 2014


Along with Clippy blocking sentences that begin with "So", it would also be handy if Clippy blocked sentences that include "can we next expect". A lot of Metafilter threads go off the rails when someone starts in with the "If you think x, you must also think y" presumptions.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:24 PM on September 1, 2014 [13 favorites]


This is not even close to an isolated phenomenon - I have had numerous private conversations with other mefites who make a point of avoiding these types of conversations exactly because this is what happens again and again and again - dare to debate the community wisdom of how many angels you can fit on the head of a feminists pin and you'll get accused of shaming women's bodies.

If people avoid threads like that because they are afraid their arguments against feminism and/or for the status quo will get torn to shreds by a team of ruthless, smart, witty, pissed-off feminists, then frankly I guess they are just plain chicken! BaWALLLK baWALLLk BuhbuhbuhBALLLLWK (I have never actually heard a chicken irl).
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:24 PM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


then frankly I guess they are just plain chicken!

If women didn't receive near-constant harassment for basically everything they do online, this would be funnier.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:25 PM on September 1, 2014 [34 favorites]


I'm picturing the Arrested Development people doing their chicken dances.
posted by Justinian at 8:26 PM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


Now I feel kind of dumb.
posted by Justinian at 8:26 PM on September 1, 2014


Whoops, sorry.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:28 PM on September 1, 2014


At this point I'd be down with Clippy also blocking sentences beginning with "yeah".
posted by uosuaq at 8:37 PM on September 1, 2014


I'm confused :(
But that is pretty normal.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:37 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


'I agree 98%, but there's this one thing...' gets immediate bad-faith reading

having been a person who has read this in bad faith, I feel the need to get into why. Often there is a lot in the 98% of agreement that could use some additional looking, or perhaps even discussion about ways to improve things and things we could do so that more people agree 98% or ways in which that belief can be turned into action, given we all agree 98% of the way. Focusing on the 2% we disagree on not only hamstrings discussion about the 98%, it also is a technique often used by people who disagree with the 98% as well but are lying.
posted by Deoridhe at 8:38 PM on September 1, 2014 [9 favorites]


Problems with the post include that it opens with the most provocative quote. That is compounded by the quote not being quoted, making it appear to be an assertion by the post author when placed next to actually quoted quotes in the post.

Without even getting into the veracity of the quote, those factors, which look deliberate, leave me with the impression that the poster worked to be as provocative as possible. Congratulations?
posted by NortonDC at 8:49 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


it also is a technique often used by people who disagree with the 98% as well but are lying

True. Though this is often a value judgement, as we're usually only guessing. Some guesses are pretty damned solid, though.

Focusing on the 2% we disagree on not only hamstrings discussion about the 98%

Or it's part of the nuanced, considered critique you are looking for. But the implication is that if you disagree with it, then it can't be a critique, it has to be something more insidious.

There's also an indication in your idea of turning belief into action that MetaFilter is meant for calls to action. They can occur, but it shouldn't be the drive behind these discussions or posts, and indeed has historically been something that would get FPPs deleted if they were too blatantly such.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:00 PM on September 1, 2014 [8 favorites]


If people avoid threads like that because
they are afraid their arguments against feminism
and/or for the status quo will get torn to shreds
by a team of ruthless, smart, witty, pissed-off feminists,
then frankly I guess they are just plain chicken!
BaWALLLK baWALLLk BuhbuhbuhBALLLLWK
(I have never actually heard a chicken irl).


Taken line by line, this is a pretty good illustration of crayz's general argument. (A redeeming possibility is that this was only a joke, but if so, it was in poor taste, and dismissive, not responsive.) If you find crayz's remarks a bit brittle, then you could at least call happyroach for being a bit over the top--hyperbole here, is toxic. Individual contact points on this particular hot button issue are all over the map. One thing to remember is that the families of those who have suffered the indignity of rape also undergo stress and misery. I'm not equating anything with anything else; these things are not simple.

By the way, I'm not completely on board with the title of this thread, but I think it's unfair to dismiss the argument on that ground.
posted by mule98J at 9:03 PM on September 1, 2014 [6 favorites]


Another reason why feminism threads go off the rails imo is this phenomenon:

Post: Article A by author B says 1+1=2.

First comment: oh boy yes 1 and 1 are 2.

2nd comment: I'm a man what about when 1 = .999999?

3rd comment: man here. Can someone define =? No not like that. No not like that either. In conclusion = cannot be define.

4th comment: not reading these other comments but has anyone mention .9999? This article is crap.

5: uh but 1 plus 1 anyone had any experience with that?

6: NUMBERS DOESNT EXIST I HAVE FEELINGS ABOUT THEM

It's like any post on a lady issue becomes a derail party right away because LETS POINT OUT THE ERRORS is the whole reason some dudes comment on web sites. It's actually worse to read than if they just violently disagreed with the premise under discussion or had any opinion on it whatsoever.

Anyway I have to go now good bye. Stop derailing threads.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:14 PM on September 1, 2014 [64 favorites]


Taken line by line, this is a pretty good illustration of crayz's general argument. (A redeeming possibility is that this was only a joke, but if so, it was in poor taste, and dismissive, not responsive.

I'm really confused by how people are reading my post there I thougt I was clear. There are some smart badass feminists who post on this forum and dudes who pop into threads about it being contrarians shouldn't expect not to get fully threshed out by razor sharp logic and cleverness. Not sure why that's a joke or dismissive.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:20 PM on September 1, 2014 [5 favorites]


I wanted to be explicit on the point that this is a very personal issue for a lot of people with different operating assumptions: people who are likely to take it hard when those assumptions are questioned.

Totally true. So how do we operate with this in mind? (I don't have an answer. Maybe we listen to people with lived experiences, and leave it at that. If the exchange of differing or nuanced ideas suffers for it, it's an okay sacrifice to make.)
posted by naju at 9:22 PM on September 1, 2014


I'd certainly love to see more nuanced discussion and less rhetorical point-scoring on Metafiliter (and I don't claim to be innocent of the latter, BTW). I think it says something that one can be *disappointed* by Metafilter threads, though, when the only reason to read a comment thread on YouTube or Reddit is to remind yourself that THERE IS NO GOD.
But a good rhetorical smackdown is always going to win, even here. I honestly don't see that changing.
posted by uosuaq at 9:22 PM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


So anyone who comes in to say 'I agree 98%, but there's this one thing...' gets immediate bad-faith reading, and presumed to be the enemy, something that only gets worse if they were even the slightest bit careless in how they phrased their disagreement. That's not good.

Actually I'm going to throw myself out there as a counter-example.

I've definitely felt ganged-up-on or presumed-bad-faith on a couple recent feminist threads where I overwhelmingly agreed with the majority of the pro-feminist posters. I'm not going to pretend like I wasn't expecting some of it given a very checkered history on the topic (extreme feminism/anti-free-speech conflation a decade back when I was unmedicated and completely incapable of empathy), although hopefully it's clear that I'm in the process of proactively re-educating myself on the subject.

However, in both of the recent Anita Sarkeesian threads, I changed tactics, tone (most important: stifling my own defensive reactions), but still said pretty much the 98% thing verbatim: "To reiterate, this is a disagreement with at most 5% of the videos, and I'm intensely grateful to her for braving the tidal wave of death threats and Internet troll horribleness she's encountered for the sake of educating developers like me who frequently roll critical failures at basic human empathy."

I didn't receive the negative reaction in either thread. The biggest difference is that I took the time to provide a detailed explanation of my objections with that 5%, citing examples from the source material and support in those objections from other developers both male and female, and firmly reiterated my support of the other 95%. The responses were much more accepting with good feedback and engagement from both sides. It probably helped that as a professional in the subject field (which is currently undergoing a massive awakening re: feminism), I have a lot more ability to offer an informed opinion as to whether specific complaints are borne of development process or institutional bias. Usually the latter, unfortunately.

What I'm saying is that you can get a fair hearing without simply echoing, but it requires putting serious effort into your presentation and it's super helpful to have a real understanding of the context before diving in. Ultimately this is still early days for my re-education and I have a long way to go but I feel like what I've said received actual consideration on the merits.
posted by Ryvar at 9:30 PM on September 1, 2014 [51 favorites]


I was a bit disappointed in the framing of that thread myself.

I thought there was a bunch of interesting stuff to discuss in regards to this incident, but 'this is a sex-crime' really didn't seem conducive to a nuanced or fruitful conversation on the topic.

This is solid advice for potentially contentious threads "..the more potentially charged the subject (or current or historical context around the subject), the more boring the post text itself should be."

I read the framing of the post as 'should people involved with this sort of thing have neighbors notified when they move in the neighborhood and be disallowed to be 1000 feet (or whatever) from a school" - you know, sex offender/crime stuff. While I have an opinion on that, it's (in my mind) one of the least interesting things to discuss about the incident.

Happily the thread went another direction after a bit of time.
posted by el io at 10:21 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, i should add, while I think the framing of the thread in question was poor and not conducive to a good conversation, I don't think it was nearly as bad framing as this metatalk post.

(seriously, no one called anyone a rapist, inflammatory post titles do *not* help nuanced discussion, sigh).
posted by el io at 11:28 PM on September 1, 2014

I have noticed an increasing trend on MeFi, especially relating to issues of feminism, gender relations, etc, that threads quickly divide into us vs. them camps, where the "us" camp is defined by strong outrage and criticism, and the them camp is everyone else. This is problematic enough, but what then naturally occurs is any sort of deviation or criticism of anyone in the "us" tent immediately casts one into the "them" tent, and attacks that the person is pro-rape, in favor of abusing women, just the same as everyone else, etc. etc.
What you're seeing - and I'd argue, misunderstanding - is a reaction to rape culture.

Sequence of events:

1) bad thing happens to woman, it's posted to mefi
2) some empathise about this, share their experiences
3) some disagree, say it can't be that bad/it's natural biology/why can't we all just accept the differences
4) someone says this is a bad attitude as it encourages rape culture, or the equivalent, and you should feel bad about it.
5) man from 3 takes offence, says 'I'm not a rapist, and it's sexist to lump me in with THEM!'

and we derail from there.

Most women experience a different world out there than most men do. They are extremely regularly harrassed, sexualised against their will, often assaulted, sometimes raped. They learn from a young age about the male gaze, the power of the patriarchy (even if they don't use those terms) the risks of being alone at night, how they tread a very fine line between being seen as sluts or frigid, that pretty much anything that happens to them will be downplayed as 'to be expected', or just plain their fault. If they are assaulted or raped, they may well not be believed, or if they are, will be blamed for leading him on/not doing the exact right sequence that 'would' have saved them/being in the wrong place when they should have stayed home etc etc etc. If they speak up about it, they will be criticized for how they say it, while ignoring the content; the tiniest things will be nitpicked. They will probably get threats of violence and rape if they're controversial on a topic men care about.

Men - who are not rapists! - don't see this all going on. It happens when they are not there. They just see women being defensive around them, and some get defensive and angry that it's harder to get dates. They don't empathise with women's lived experiences because that's not how our society works - we don't have a culture of listening to women, as a whole. So they end up saying something like 'I agree with you that THAT sucks, but you need to think about now that impacts on men like me! It's not fair to men!'

And that gets some pretty negative responses, because it's ignoring what women experience every frikkin day.

Rape culture is the culture that encourages, supports and allows rapists to feel safe, that they are among male friends that think like they do. Every time examples come up of men doing things to women to sexualise them, or otherwise treat them as a sex object, or blatantly overrides a woman's consent for the benefit of the man; every time these examples come up, and they are explained away, or minimised, or just not talked about, THAT, that is rape culture.

So to the hypothetical non-rapist man reading this; congratulations on not being a rapist! That's step 1!

But there's more to do I'm afraid. There's this whole culture out there that dismisses women's agency and experience, treats them like sex dolls for men's pleasure, and minimizes the pain and threats they live with. You had no idea! It's shocking, right? Worse, there are some men who take that and run with it, and see it as their absolute right to get their rocks off, what the woman wants be damned! These rapists, or at least rapists-in-training - and I re-emphasize, I don't think you're one of them - will do all sorts of things less than rape, but will be tacitly looking for your approval of them. They'll dress them up in all sorts of phony arguments around biology, how it happens to men too, that it's not so bad really. And they they can use that approval that it's ok to ignore women's consent and just take sexual pleasure from them how we like for whatever reason, and escalate to more forceful ways to take it from women, including rape.

Worse, even if they're not like that, some will see everyone else downplaying or agreeing that these 'bitches' are just 'crazy' or 'whining', and begin to think that way too! That women's feelings and agency and experience don't count, and everybody is doing it, so what's the harm in fooling around with that paralytic drunk girl, she was asking for it really...

Supporting or tacitly accepting or downplaying what happens to women sexually against their will, encourages and enables rapists to live right under our noses. To be accepted members of society. That can be there in plain sight, with many friends, to fool women into thinking they can't be that dangerous, really? Rapists are not some hideous monster that is visible to all. They look, sound like, and often act just like everyone else. Their friends will give them the benefit of the doubt, just call them a don juan, or a bit 'friendly', or a stud. We'll hear their stories about that woman they conned into bed, and congratulate them.

Again, you don't have to BE a rapist to be part of rape culture.

So step 2 is to listen to women's experiences, believe them, and have empathy for them. Try to imagine living in their world. It sounds bloody scary to me, to be honest. I'll admit, this is hard! You can't really know how it shapes their life, so you need to accept that they will have experienced different things, and react in different ways, and they will disagree, sometimes forcefully with you! And sometimes, they will get upset if we try to explain to them from our perspective what we think they should have said and done! And they're right. That's not to say we have to 100% shut up and sit down, but it wouldn't hurt to explain less, and listen more to how others live - and remember that women are people too, and they each have their own feelings and lives and opinions.

Step 3 is not providing breathing space for rapists! Rape culture thrives on the silence of good men. It requires the shutting down of women who speak up; criticism by a 1000 nitpicks so we forget about the original topic; threats of violence and rape so they'll be too scared to speak up; encouraging other men to shout them down and ignore them as having brought it on themselves; anything but look at WHY it happened, and what the end-goals of the men who did it are. When the conversation swings that way, we need to be firm and unequivocal that women need to consent, that an enthusiastic yes is the sexiest thing. Coercion and trickery and manipulation are the precursors for men that may well go on to do worse things, including drugging and force to get what they want. We must make damn sure that we make it clear that that's reprehensible, and they will not find support or collusion or silence from us.

I'm not sure what step 4 is, but I can assure you that it's not forced castration for all men, or re-education camps, or even a lifetime of being forced to watch musicals.

Women put up with a lifetime of shit on this topic. They will be intimately familiar with it, it being a defining part of living as a woman, or so I've heard said by numerous women. There's no clear answer on what we do to fix this. It's too big, too entrenched, too much part of how things are for simple, easy solutions. But we can start by not being an arse to women, listening to and believing women, and condemning other men when they're arses about and to women.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:12 AM on September 2, 2014 [140 favorites]


Sometimes it's difficult to have a neutral, balanced discussion because strong feelings, long complicated threads, and natural misunderstandings create difficulties.

Sometimes, in some contexts, perhaps not altogether mistakenly, people think that the very idea of a neutral, balanced discussion is inappropriate.
posted by Segundus at 1:15 AM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


it's super helpful to have a real understanding of the context before diving in

I am quoting this for emphasis. Is there any situation in which this doesn't apply? I'd posit not - you are always likely to experience pushback if you talk about something without an understanding of context. If you don't really know what you're talking about, don't go shooting your mouth off.
posted by Dysk at 2:46 AM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ryvar: "However, in both of the recent Anita Sarkeesian threads, I changed tactics, tone (most important: stifling my own defensive reactions), but still said pretty much the 98% thing verbatim"

I really think a ton depends on the individual posters in any thread. That whole thread, whenever I read your comments, I kept thinking "no, no, no Ryvar, no, stop, you don't know what you're getting yourself into", because I've seen people be super super super careful about tone and word choice and everything else and get lumped in with whatever evil group applies to a particular thread. So I was waiting for that to happen to you...and it never did. The only difference I really noticed was that some people who I've noticed go for the "if you disagree with me in any way you are an evil person" thing weren't participating in the thread.

None of which is in disagreement with your point. As you say, you need to put serious effort into your presentation and you need to have a real understanding of the context. But you also need to be fortunate enough to be in a thread which does not contain the people who ignore all of that stuff.
posted by Bugbread at 3:39 AM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


It's late and I'm sleepy. Can we just have a naked picture of every adult in the world and be done with it?
posted by vapidave at 3:43 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I do think this is a broader issue that could well be discussed; I think it's unfortunate that both framing and example used in this particular case are so crappy. I do think there can be a bit of polarisation going on - understandable, in many cases - in certain threads, and I do think thinly-veiled fuck-yous are generally unhelpful. I especially think the practice of rephrasing - with or without quotation marks - someone's argument in the most incendiary and insulting way possible is a pretty poor practice, regardless of how wrong you feel the other person is, how important you feel the topic is, how frustrated you are etc.

I think it's poor because:

a) It is built on an assumption of bad faith, that the person could only have meant the worst possible interpretation
b)It often extends someone's argument into territories that could be well removed from what they wanted to say, by:
c) Essentially putting words in someone's mouth that they did not say, and then reacting to them - bound to frustrate
d) It is not a genuine request for clarification, but actually a form of insult, which
e)Shuts down dialogue.
f) It often derails the conversation into something which has not necessarily been said or argued for

I kind of think, if that's the only reaction you are capable of, it's time to walk it off; someone else will fill the breach.

An excellent example was EmpressCalypgos' pithy takedown of Crayz' motives posted early in this very thread. It was comprehensive; relied on direct quotes with only the most neutral of paraphrasing; dealt purely with what was stated without deviating into motivations or hyperbolic character assessment; it explained what she thought and why she thought it by making a case; and invited Crayz to respond. It was also concise, and not rude or patronising. (They were some great cheerios! Fun fact: In Queensland where I am from, "Cheerios" is slang for cocktail frankfurters.)

If someone had never considered that proposing a biological imperative for breaking into celebrities' phones and stealing their naked pictures is very similar to proposing a biological imperative for rape, how might one point that out gently enough to not hurt their feelings? Where is the grey area in that?

"So, I why you might regard this as a fairly simple biological cause-and-effect, but I think that's a bit reductive. I guess I'm uncomfortable because the history of ascribing complex social phenomena to simple biological or 'evolutionary' drives is a pretty unsavory one in general - and also one that generally has not been validated, scientifically speaking. When you look at the history of this kind of stuff, people are using it to 'explain' everything from racism, to sexism, to sexual and other kinds of violence, and often the step after 'explaining' those things is justifying them. I'm not saying that you're doing that, however, I do think it's easy to fall into simplistic explanations for complicated social interactions, and I don't think it's accurate in general, nor accurate in this particular case. Socially speaking, people are often reluctant to examine issues around sex, power and notions of the profane - all of which this issue touches on, so I'm wary about buying into 'common sense' explanations."

Not concise, I grant, but it can be done easily enough.
posted by smoke at 3:57 AM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


I kept thinking "no, no, no Ryvar, no, stop, you don't know what you're getting yourself into"

Funny, I have the same thought every time I click "Post Comment"... or step outside my door, for that matter.
posted by Ryvar at 4:07 AM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


Fun fact: In Queensland where I am from, "Cheerios" is slang for cocktail frankfurters.

:-) No, I meant it as the breakfast cereal. And credit where credit is due - "feeling my Cheerios" is something I got from Tina Turner.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:24 AM on September 2, 2014


100% disagree.

it may not be an assumption of good faith, but what you posted as a setup is an equivalent step before to say, someone protesting outside a mcdonalds PETA style and then someone commenting "what's next, throwing blood on people?".

It's A Thing That Happens, and you don't get a, as mentioned above, get out of jail free card on that association. There is a large contingent of people who do exactly what was described and what you were saying was indistinguishable from that miasma of poop.

Other people have tackled this better, but no, sorry, roll the magic 8 ball later.
posted by emptythought at 4:27 AM on September 2, 2014


So, presumed bad faith and "no true Scotsman" make terrible bedfellows.

I'd like to add to Potomac Avenue's scenarios the occasional comment that says "1 - 1 = 0". Someone provides factual information but it's (subjectively) irrelevant, and a new dance has to be done around the relevance of the argument versus some terribly true fact that should be acknowledged. Although sometimes I wish there were a way to sidebar these entire discussions, because they are still usually meaningful.

But it's hard to say a thread got derailed if the argument is considered relevant. Say the phone hacking thread was posted in a neutral manner and someone brought up the concept that this type of hacking is not considered a sex crime and should (not) be considered as such. To what degree would that be a derail? And what is the likelihood the original statement results in a "98% agreement" case where people who share relatively similar levels of "-ism" now argue over pedantry?
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 5:20 AM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


And slightly off-topic, but because smoke mentioned it: misquoting other comments on a discussion board designed like this really adds to the problem. Which is a shame because the time stamp below each post also serves as a link (but I know people are browsing and posting from mobile devices and might not find it easy to make links). Still, that registers somewhere between "pet peeve" and "nuisance" for me, especially in the larger, more contentious threads.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 5:30 AM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love that maxsparber had the first, and nasty, reply here. it's so perfect.
posted by jayder at 6:13 AM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Presuming bad faith is a problem when it happens, but so is the borderline trolling and dropping of shitbombs into a conversation.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:36 AM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


I haven't read the thread yet, but even without reading it, I can definitively say stealing these (or anybody's) nude photos is wrong, and, though I hadn't thought about it before, treating it as a sex crime probably makes sense. I don't doubt it's a frothy thread with some stupid stuff being said by an insistent though not insightful minority and some apoplectic responses from the majority who have it right, but some of whom go a little off the deep end. But that's how 90% of the threads go on anything other than schmoopy and gee whizzery.

"everyone you disagree with isn't a rapist" is foremost not productive framing on how the site works, and is secondly one of my most deeply held grammatical pet peeves (aside from the lack of capitalization). It's "Not everyone you disagree with is a rapist"--i.e., there are people you disagree with and not all of them are rapists (despite the excoriation they get for their dissent). "Everyone you disagree with isn't a rapist" means none of the people I disagree with are rapists, which would be great, particularly if I didn't agree with anyone about anything. Mind where you put the "not," and probably try to frame your Meta better in the first place.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:40 AM on September 2, 2014 [11 favorites]


I love that maxsparber had the first, and nasty, reply here. it's so perfect.

Made even more beautiful by cortex's stock dismissal of the problem as the second.
posted by 0 at 6:41 AM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't think a lot of the objected-to comments are bad-faith summaries; I think they're mostly variations on saying, "Your logic is bad." And then the original commenter who has made the comment specifically because he thinks he's the only logical one and everyone else is overreacting, starts overreacting because he sees an argument against his logic as if it were calling him a bad person.
posted by jaguar at 6:51 AM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


And I think much of the reason some commenters don't understand the "Your logic is bad" responses is because they're not aware of the idea of rape culture and how lack of consent exists on a continuum; when that continuum gets pointed out, they get confused that someone brought up rape and jump to the conclusion that they must have just been called rapists.
posted by jaguar at 6:54 AM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


[ignores the OP's nasty framing and its poster's bad contributions to the original thread] ah-ha! the first comments are dismissive! Quod eros demonstradanum!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:11 AM on September 2, 2014 [19 favorites]


Jesus, that thread is a mess, and crayz does seem to work hard in that thread to suggest that celebrity women thinking they might have a right to privacy is ridiculous.
posted by OmieWise at 7:27 AM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


Made even more beautiful by cortex's stock dismissal of the problem as the second.

No, that was a custom-crafted dismissal of the needlessly crappy framing of the metatalk post. I tend to agree with folks who end up saying in Metatalk that they wish a post was framed better so that the actual problem being raised could get some good discussion instead of being compromised from the first by e.g. pointless rape-allegation hyperbole or the slopping over of an argument elsewhere on the site.

The framing didn't get to the point where I was going to tell crayz he couldn't make the post, and it was at least better than the deleted "go fuck yourself" comment from the Jennifer Lawrence thread that had preceded it, but it was bad enough that zero mod comment on the subject would have been pretty conspicuous.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:44 AM on September 2, 2014 [18 favorites]


Surely we can all agree that MetaClippy stops any AskMe comment beginning with "Oh, honey?"
posted by spitbull at 7:46 AM on September 2, 2014 [20 favorites]


I love that maxsparber had the first, and nasty, reply here. it's so perfect.

I guess an argument that calls for good faith discussion that starts by casting a good faith diagreement as an accusation of rape in the headline rankles me. You think there is no issue with it?
posted by maxsparber at 7:48 AM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


Surely we can all agree that MetaClippy stops any AskMe comment beginning with "Oh, honey?"

This would already be prevented if we (appropriately) set MetaClippy to stop any question containing: "Wall of text inside."
posted by OmieWise at 7:53 AM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Actually, I don't know how to phrase the implication of the headline here, but unless somebody actually said "You, who disagree with me, are a rapist," "everyone you disagree with isn't a rapist" is about as much misrepresentation as I can imagine one could get into a headline.
posted by maxsparber at 7:54 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


but it was bad enough that zero mod comment on the subject would have been pretty conspicuous.

Has there ever been a MeTa along the lines of "(gender) threads quickly divide into us vs. them camps" where a mod didn't dismiss the complaint within 10 comments?
posted by 0 at 7:55 AM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Totally true. So how do we operate with this in mind? (I don't have an answer. Maybe we listen to people with lived experiences, and leave it at that. If the exchange of differing or nuanced ideas suffers for it, it's an okay sacrifice to make.)

People's hard feelings are an exacerbating factor along with other things that are happening in feminism-related threads, as noted by Potomac Avenue et al. and ArkhanJG.

Also, jaguar's comments about people's logic being bad are relevant. Someone upthread got snarky about replies starting "So" and continuing with what the poster described as an exaggerated reframe. Those "exaggerated" reframes are frequently what the original post sounds like to someone starting from a different set of basic assumptions. In that sense, they're a flag telling people that their post didn't communicate what they may have intended to say.
posted by immlass at 7:56 AM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Has there ever been a MeTa along the lines of "(gender) threads quickly divide into us vs. them camps" where a mod didn't dismiss the complaint within 10 comments?

I bet there has.
posted by maxsparber at 7:56 AM on September 2, 2014


Has there ever been a MeTa along the lines of "(gender) threads quickly divide into us vs. them camps" where a mod didn't dismiss the complaint within 10 comments?

Do your homework and show me there hasn't been, because I already spent what feels like two wasted paragraphs responding to the problems in your first predictably grumpy swipe in here and I'm not gonna spend the next hour of my morning chasing your wild gooses for you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:58 AM on September 2, 2014 [45 favorites]


The framing didn't get to the point where I was going to tell crayz he couldn't make the post

Between this thread's title and the previous thread's "I'm too lazy to delete my snotty pun about a 9-year-old's death," I'm wondering if the MetaTalk queue can't be tightened. I realize I'm in a minority on that point, but I'd think the mods could at least fire back a quick note like, "I'll approve this as-is, but are you sure about that framing? In particular, this comment..." It's more work but I would think still less than moderating poisoned wells.

Then again, maybe you already do that. Maybe people really are staunch about their shitty framings.
posted by cribcage at 8:01 AM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


crayz, FWIW, I don't think you're a rapist. I have been scratching my head about whether you're willfully ignorant or just a troll, though. Do you really believe celebrities private moments involving nudity or sexuality are fair game? Do you really not understand the difference between a private photo with a puppy and a private nude photo? Are you really unaware of how the sexuality of the images makes them a form of ownership?

I try to assume the best of Metafilter posters. I cherish how we generally have a no-personal-attacks rule in our discussions. But when someone posts things like that I honestly wonder if they're just trolling, taking some extreme position because they like the provocation. Then I try to think better of the poster, and I'm left with the idea that someone is willfully ignorant.

I do think there's room for debate on the edges of this particular topic of the stolen photos, and plenty of room for disagreement about feminist issues in general. And I think Metafilter sometimes is a bit too rigid in its thinking, everyone having the same opinion makes for a boring conversation. But thoughtful discourse requires a certain amount of intellectual honesty, and I don't think the comments I linked above qualify.
posted by Nelson at 8:04 AM on September 2, 2014 [12 favorites]


Between this thread's title and the previous thread's "I'm too lazy to delete my snotty pun about a 9-year-old's death,"

If it makes you feel better, it was a snotty pun about a 9-year-old accidentally killing somebody, not dying. Wait, no, I guess that's really just as bad. Carry on.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:31 AM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Has there ever been a MeTa along the lines of "(gender) threads quickly divide into us vs. them camps" where a mod didn't dismiss the complaint within 10 comments?

Yes. Quite a few. This recent one comes to mind.

People who don't pose easily refutable hypotheses or look like they're spoiling for a fight usually get treated pretty fairly by the mods, as far as I can see.
posted by zarq at 9:13 AM on September 2, 2014 [11 favorites]


It's possible to make the claim that feminists are inflexible ideologues who instantly cast anyone who dares disagree into the outer dark. It's possible to claim that their tendency, as a group, is to apply dodgy point-scoring rhetoric, so they are to blame when the conversation curdles. I think those claims are wrong in point of fact and function as silencing tactics, but it's possible to try and make them in a serious, evidence-based way.

In this thread, though, we've got:

1. An original post with a nasty headline and fighty framing throughout, misrepresenting happyroach (as covered by Etrigan), and conveniently omitting the OP's repeated apologia for violating the agency of women in the original thread (as covered by EmpressCallipygos).
2. Unbacked assertions of moderator bias, with a bonus do-my-homework-for-me demand.
3. Personal attacks on people who pointed out problems with the way the original post was framed.
4. One member talking about good results they got from changing how they framed disagreement (good on you, Ryvar!), only to have another member turn that into an unfalsifiable claim that it only worked because unnamed bad actors chose not to attack.

And so on. This thread is a long complaint that feminists don't play by nice rhetorical rules, by people who are breaking those exact rules. This is completely unsurprising -- one of the values we learn from patriarchy is that it's ok or even necessary to hold men and women to different standards. It is also completely unconvincing if the goal is to get us to believe that feminists are to blame for these discussions going poorly.
posted by amery at 9:18 AM on September 2, 2014 [76 favorites]


This thread is a long complaint that feminists don't play by nice rhetorical rules, by people who are breaking those exact rules

Exactly! Nicely analyzed.

with a bonus do-my-homework-for-me demand.

To be fair, it's a pretty common request. Lots of us old-timers are used to providing 'historical context' links and info in MetaTalk.
posted by zarq at 9:34 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Happy Labor Day, everybody?
posted by phaedon at 9:34 AM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Lots of us old-timers are used to providing 'historical context' links and info in MetaTalk.

0 is one such "old-timer."
posted by OmieWise at 9:41 AM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


This MeTa is, as amply displayed above, a terrible jumping ground for this discussion. I will only add that all the things about rape culture are true, but my concern isn't about just feminism threads, but bad behaviour in all sorts of heated thread topics. Not every time in every heated thread, but often enough that it's a noticeable detriment, in my mind.

But this won't be the place for a broader discussion, because it's really not a good post with strong factual underpinnings. Which, fair enough, it's not really worth the salvage job it would take to make this that conversation.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:44 AM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Happy Labor Day, everybody?

Quite. I've come off other social media for a while as the relentlessly negative news of this summer is just amplified by it. Twitter, especially, is "Rage squared". And this constant flow cannot be good for mental health.

So I've retreated (as that what it feels like) to MetaFilter for a while as that - this - is the one online place where the comments are non-volatile, non-angry, non-accusatory, even for most, nearly all, contentious subjects.

But the way this Meta, and the associated Jennifer Lawrence post, have gone just makes me sigh and think MetaFilter can be better than this. And there are thousands of threads that show that MetaFilter, the debates, this community which, if you can type words into a box and hit 'post comment' you are a part of, is better than this.
posted by Wordshore at 10:23 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


In private discussions on and offline, I tend to debate from the direction I see un(der)-represented, not as if I'm giving some speech to the masses and want to get all the core bullet points covered. I see most topics as quite complex and grey, and I don't see any contradiction in agreeing something in 98% black but still not 100% black, or that something is shitty but not shitty in the exact way you say it is. If you say Mike Brown hadn't done a single thing wrong the day he was shot I'm going to say actually it looks like he shoplifted some cigarillos, even though that doesn't mean I think he deserved execution.

Although, you are impressive in your range of arguments - first you say that these pictures aren't that different from paparazzi photos so who cares

No, I made the comparison to point out that a phenomenon that seems incredibly similar is also widely socially acceptable, and that would seem like relevant context for a discussion of why people would think it's ok to steal/look at stolen photos. I said "Can we at least calm down the righteous indignation long enough to take the log out of our own eye?" - that allusion to me has a clear implication that neither paparazzi nor this theft are morally ok.

then you try the "they're a celebrity and this comes with the territory" approach

Again, pointing out what I consider the relevant cultural context - that what seem quite ethically similar photos are splashed all over mainstream media in this country. That isn't saying it's right, it's just reality. What I don't understand is how one frames this incident as a sex crime without also admitting that our society is practically swimming in celebrity sex crimes photos. If you had a guy secretly following you around on the beach with a camera taking shots of you topless and publishing them, that'd be a sex crime!

We just brush off hundreds of these sex crime photos all over of country, but when the internets duz it oh noes here comes the outrage machine!!

and you even found a way to work in the old standby "but this happens to men too" argument, which I personally found quite impressive.

I find it impressive how you find a way to decontextualize everything enough to be able to claim it's the same as "type of argument we all agree is terrible so I don't even have to respond to you".

That conversation started with digitalprimate saying that public figures in general do not have expectations of privacy, then sukeban said "And again we come around to women not owning the presentation of their own bodies or having a right to privacy", to which I responded that this is true of male celebrities as well. This isn't some anti-woman sentiment, it's just a fact about celebrities.

Do you perhaps see a common thread here, where while perhaps you and many see this as primarily a women's issue, I and others see the celebrity context as much more relevant - i.e. this is less about double-standards for women than about double-standards for celebrities. You can disagree with that idea, you can say no you're completely wrong, this could happen to any women celebrity or not, and nothing like it would ever happen to male celebrities, whose bodies and privacy are treated with utmost respect in our culture; it's about the lack of respect for their privacy as women, not primarily lack of respect for their privacy as celebrities. Fine, say that. Make that case.

But try to disagree without just pulling out your bag of rape culture tropes and playing pin the trope on the argument.
posted by crayz at 10:25 AM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


What I don't understand is how one frames this incident as a sex crime without also admitting that our society is practically swimming in celebrity sex crimes photos.

Consent. The answer is consent.
posted by Etrigan at 10:30 AM on September 2, 2014 [14 favorites]


Consent. The answer is consent.

The paparazzi shots of topless celebs taken from a half mile away with a telescopic lens are consensual?
posted by crayz at 10:35 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


But try to disagree without just pulling out your bag of rape culture tropes and playing pin the trope on the argument.

Or maybe people legitimately feel like a culture in which people argue it's okay for men to view stolen intimate photos of women--because other than Dave Franco, that's who we're talking about--is a part of the culture that condones rape. Particularly when the "she should have known any nude photos she took would be stolen so it's her fault" argument so neatly parallels all the "she shouldn't have worn that/walked on that street/gone to that party/had that drink" arguments that blame women who were raped for actions that led to the rape.
posted by immlass at 10:35 AM on September 2, 2014 [23 favorites]


Happy Labor Day, everybody?

Not really everybody, no. Just those of us in the US, as far as I know.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:36 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


crayz: The paparazzi shots of topless celebs taken from a half mile away with a telescopic lens are consensual?

Wait, you saw how that comparison went in the blue thread and you're going to try to use it here?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:39 AM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


Particularly when the "she should have known any nude photos she took would be stolen so it's her fault" argument so neatly parallels all the "she shouldn't have worn that/walked on that street/gone to that party/had that drink" arguments that blame women who were raped for actions that led to the rape.

I say celebrity expectations of privacy are different because of longstanding cultural context, and that both the cultural context as well as this specific incident are morally wrong, and you restate what I said as "it's her fault" and then compare me to people who blame rape victims for being raped.

Thanks for the case in point!
posted by crayz at 10:40 AM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


That conversation started with digitalprimate saying that public figures in general do not have expectations of privacy, then sukeban said "And again we come around to women not owning the presentation of their own bodies or having a right to privacy", to which I responded that this is true of male celebrities as well. This isn't some anti-woman sentiment, it's just a fact about celebrities.

I'm sorry, has there been another secret ring of girl hackers going after those ellusive Colin Farrell dick pics? I wasn't aware of it.
posted by sukeban at 10:41 AM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


The paparazzi shots of topless celebs taken from a half mile away with a telescopic lens are consensual?
...
I say celebrity expectations of privacy are different because of longstanding cultural context, and that both the cultural context as well as this specific incident are morally wrong, and you restate what I said as "it's her fault" and then compare me to people who blame rape victims for being raped.

Thanks for the case in point!


Is it the question mark that makes your version of "restate and compare" less loathsome to you?
posted by Etrigan at 10:43 AM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Do you perhaps see a common thread here, where while perhaps you and many see this as primarily a women's issue, I and others see the celebrity context as much more relevant - i.e. this is less about double-standards for women than about double-standards for celebrities. You can disagree with that idea, you can say no you're completely wrong, this could happen to any women celebrity or not, and nothing like it would ever happen to male celebrities, whose bodies and privacy are treated with utmost respect in our culture; it's about the lack of respect for their privacy as women, not primarily lack of respect for their privacy as celebrities. Fine, say that. Make that case.

This case was made dozens of times. People pointed out that there's an genre of pornography based on people's images and videos being distributed without their consent. They pointed out that the targets of these releases were all women. They pointed out that there's a cultural expectation of access to women's bodies that doesn't apply to men. And this case and similar points have been made repeatedly and extensively not just here, but many other places as well. At this point, it's getting harder and harder to believe that eliding or otherwise not addressing those points now seems harder to take as confusion or lack of education as opposed to deliberate ignorance or straight-up being contrary for contrary's sake. That you chose to and continue to choose to ignore those and many other comments isn't their problem.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:44 AM on September 2, 2014 [37 favorites]


i rage against those pictures too. we're absolutely swimming in it. it's all around us - that's what we mean by rape culture. i want those long lens photos to stop. i want people to stop putting up 18th birthday counters up on every female celebrity, i want people to stop releasing nudes that they don't have the consent to publish. i want creepshots to stop. i want adult men to stop creeping on the vacation photos of 12 year olds and making communities around sharing those photos. i want people to stop photoshopping heads on naked bodies. i want revenge porn to diaf. i want sites like perez hilton and the dirty to be shut down. i want paparazzi to be tried for stalking and harassment. i want it to be illegal to lay on the street and shoot up a woman's dress. i want people to stop blaming the (mostly) women who are victims of stuff like this. i want people to stop using this as evidence that women have to be more careful. i want women to stop apologizing for being victimized. i want their employers to stop demanding those apologies. i could go on forever.

don't think that someone pointing out one part of rape culture is ignorant or supportive of other parts of it just because they don't list them all out every singe time.
posted by nadawi at 10:45 AM on September 2, 2014 [87 favorites]


Actually, crayz, I'd rather hold off on having a debate about anything with you until I know that you're actually speaking your own opinion rather than just deciding to be the champion of "the under-represented opinion". Because if you're not going to be honest about what you actually think, then why should I bother?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:45 AM on September 2, 2014 [49 favorites]


I agree that this particular case is problematic for the purposes of the larger issue described in the post (polarization and increasingly acrimonious discussion). So, placing the specifics of this particular interaction aside, one thing I think that we each individually ought to keep in mind is that very, very often discretion is the better part of valor.

Even when it's not a hot-button issue like sexism, there's usually someone around who will see things in a very polarized, you're-with-us-or-against-us fashion and will immediately place you in that role if you say what they perceive as the wrong thing. But you don't have to respond.

Let me repeat that: you don't have to respond.

Part of the compulsion to respond is pretty much the same compulsion that led to the other person making the comment that they did. It's not seeing people as individuals, but rather grouping individuals into abstracted camps, and not allowing for nuance or just general human variability and fallibility. That other person took what you wrote as a direct challenge to something that's important to them in such a way that they're suddenly inclined to see you as an enemy. But their response also tends to cause you to see them as an enemy and not as an individual who had a multitude of reasons for reacting precisely as they did, at that precise moment. You don't have to give in to this reaction. They're probably not actually an "enemy", even if they're angry with something you said, even if they're characterizing you as their enemy. You don't have to automatically place yourself in the role that they offered you.

It takes two to tango.

There's often someone in every group who at that moment in time has those tendencies and this is increased proportionately to how contentious a subject is. So often someone is going to be pretty aggressive in disagreeing with something you say, even to the point of implying that you're a bad person. And when you engage with them on that basis, accepting the enemy relationship, the two of you end up enacting a public debate that invites other people to pick sides. And so what began as just the sort of normal, human thing where you may not have been as careful in your words as you ought to, and then someone else has had a bad day or is, understandably, very sensitive on the topic because of personal history, and they respond aggressively -- it becomes something that exists in a regrettably abstract way outside of the actual, living individual human beings involved.

So you can just let it go by and be silent, or you can make the effort to remind yourself that this is a real person who had real, individual and comprehensible reasons for responding as they did and to then engage with them on that basis, productively, and not as a defensive response to an "enemy". But simply not responding is easier and more likely to be productive.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:48 AM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


just deciding to be the champion of "the under-represented opinion"

Just asking questions! Devil's advocate! Pushing back against the MeFi echo chamber!
posted by tonycpsu at 10:48 AM on September 2, 2014 [32 favorites]


Just asking questions! Devil's advocate! Pushing back against the MeFi echo chamber!

"I'm just saying!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:49 AM on September 2, 2014 [28 favorites]


0 is one such "old-timer."

What I'm saying is those questions come up often enough that it's not great to portray them as out of the ordinary, or worse, "doing someone's homework for them."

This isn't a criticism of cortex. I understand full well why he wouldn't want to play 'gotcha' games with anyone who seems to have an axe to grind against the mods. But in MetaTalk it should be okay for anyone to say, "Has this ever happened?" and not be told, "Do your own homework."
posted by zarq at 10:51 AM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I say celebrity expectations of privacy are different because of longstanding cultural context, and that both the cultural context as well as this specific incident are morally wrong, and you restate what I said as "it's her fault" and then compare me to people who blame rape victims for being raped.

Yeah, people disagree with you and that's why. Also comparing your argument to the arguments of people who blame rape victims is not comparing you to a rapist. If your argument is any good, it'll stand up to the counters, or you'll have a better reply than "[inaccurate restatement of your counterargument] makes me feel bad".

If the real problem you're having is that Metafilter doesn't want to have the discussion you're having, perhaps you should consider looking for links on celebrity expectations of privacy that don't center on the sexual exploitation of women. Otherwise it looks like you're telling women to shut up because the conversation we're having doesn't suit your interests.
posted by immlass at 10:53 AM on September 2, 2014 [19 favorites]


Just asking questions! Devil's advocate! Pushing back against the MeFi echo chamber!

"I'm just saying!"


Without at all endorsing crayz's viewpoint or tactics here, I think comments like these are part of the overall problem with how discussions tend to go around here. I don't see how the conversation is at all improved by these kind of ganging up, "let's, as a group, sarcastically mock the OP" type of comments.
posted by The Gooch at 11:02 AM on September 2, 2014 [34 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: So you can just let it go by and be silent, or you can make the effort to remind yourself that this is a real person who had real, individual and comprehensible reasons for responding as they did and to then engage with them on that basis, productively, and not as a defensive response to an "enemy". But simply not responding is easier and more likely to be productive.

Your ideas here have a lot of merit, but I'd quibble with the last sentence, because the math there only works out if you're assigning a very low or perhaps zero weight to the very understandable human instinct to not want to have one's comments misrepresented. Take away the "you're attacking me" dynamic, and you still have "you're characterizing my words in a way that makes it look like I'm sympathizing with a position that I just spent an appreciable amount of my free time arguing against."

And yeah, of course "let it go" is an option, but when someone has demonstrated that they care about the underlying issue enough to post about it, one can't help but feel the need to correct the record.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:02 AM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


But try to disagree without just pulling out your bag of rape culture tropes and playing pin the trope on the argument.

Thanks for the case in point!


I'll have to remember next time I have a conversation that I get to declare which kind of arguments I'm just going to ignore.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:04 AM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


I rolled my eyes at crayz's "but this happens to men too" comment. It's on par with saying that men sometimes get breast cancer too. Sure, sometimes they do. But it's tone deaf to suggest that men have to worry as much about breast cancer as women do. It draws a false equivalency between the risks that men and women face. And it's dismissive of women's concerns.

That comment could have been the beginning of a compelling conversation. Someone downthread mentioned Anthony Weiner which I thought was interesting - he shared an image unintentionally and people shamed him for it. In addition to being offensive for the reasons mentioned above, I thought that comment in particular was unfortunate because it was a missed opportunity to consider and discuss a different perspective on the subject. Instead it compared pictures of a male celebrity taken in a public setting to photos of a female celebrity that were taken in a private setting and stolen from her. Apples and oranges.
posted by kat518 at 11:05 AM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


metafilter: going after those ellusive Colin Farrell dick pics
posted by el io at 11:07 AM on September 2, 2014


Without at all endorsing crayz's viewpoint or tactics here, I think comments like these are part of the overall problem with how discussions tend to go around here. I don't see how the conversation is at all improved by these kind of ganging up, "let's, as a group, sarcastically mock the OP" type of comments.

I think it's one thing if people jump right into such a ganging-up right out of the gate; it's another, though, if people try the reasoned approach and get their reasoned arguments shot down as "pin the trope on the argument". Once that happens, you kind of know that courtesy just plain ain't going to work.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:09 AM on September 2, 2014 [17 favorites]


But try to disagree without just pulling out your bag of rape culture tropes and playing pin the trope on the argument.

Except, references to rape culture are relevant. You can't divorce one from the other. They're directly related to whether sharing those photos contributes to the objectification of women, and their (possibly violent) dehumanization.

For heaven's sake, what the hell were you expecting in a discussion of whether sharing hundreds of private nude photos of various women is a sex crime? That's the first four words of the post! How can you possibly not expect that to be brought up?
posted by zarq at 11:10 AM on September 2, 2014 [15 favorites]


One thing I learned a long time ago (the hard way) is that if I happen to find myself fighting literally everyone else, that is a very reliable sign that I may be wrong, no matter how much my words are twisted, decontextualized, misconstrued, or mischaracterized by others.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:11 AM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think comments like these are part of the overall problem with how discussions tend to go around here. I don't see how the conversation is at all improved by these kind of ganging up, "let's, as a group, sarcastically mock the OP" type of comments.

It's a systemic problem with the site culture. If you're on the "right" side, you can get away with that stuff. It's even telling that a disclaimer is needed. Nothing to be done about it, really. So it goes.
posted by Mr. Six at 11:12 AM on September 2, 2014 [12 favorites]


I understand full well why he wouldn't want to play 'gotcha' games with anyone who seems to have an axe to grind against the mods.

I tend to assume that in these situations, the mods may have more information about various individuals than we do and are able to judge motives more accurately based upon that information.
posted by elizardbits at 11:13 AM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


crayz: “Again, pointing out what I consider the relevant cultural context - that what seem quite ethically similar photos are splashed all over mainstream media in this country. That isn't saying it's right, it's just reality. What I don't understand is how one frames this incident as a sex crime without also admitting that our society is practically swimming in celebrity sex crimes photos. If you had a guy secretly following you around on the beach with a camera taking shots of you topless and publishing them, that'd be a sex crime!”

“I say celebrity expectations of privacy are different because of longstanding cultural context, and that both the cultural context as well as this specific incident are morally wrong...”

The problem here is that you're not really aiming at a cohesive point semantically, but rather making an observation with an obscure and undetermined connection to the subject at hand.

You say you "don't understand how" one frames theft of naked pictures as a sex crime without also framing paparazzi pictures of naked celebrities who thought they were along as a sex crime. You say this with a disputative tone – you "don't understand how" people can do this.

The implication I presume every takes from your argument is this: you believe that it's wrong to steal or distribute naked pictures of celebrities, just as it's wrong for the paparazzi to take secret naked pictures of celebrities; but you don't think that quite stretches into the legal category of a "sex crime" because in our society celebrities just have a different expectation of privacy owing to the invasiveness of our media. You further lament that this is the case, and feel as though we ought to do what we can to change it.

Is this an accurate portrayal of your position? I ask because you've made it somewhat difficult to tell, but I think it's what you're trying to say.

If so, a piece of advice: you seem to be attempting a reductio ad absurdum, which means proving that an argument is wrong by reducing it to absurdity. In this case, you believe (I think) that stealing naked photos of a celebrity is horribly wrong, but that it should not be in the legal category of "sex crime" because of the unfortunately warped expectation of privacy celebrities enjoy in this country. In order to prove that this should not be in the legal category of "sex crime," you have taken the argument that it should to its rational limits and then presumed that everyone would see that it is absurd.

My advice is – what you think is absurd often isn't absurd to other people. I think there are a lot of us who would agree that taking topless pics of celebrities who thought they were in private could be considered a sex crime.
posted by koeselitz at 11:14 AM on September 2, 2014 [30 favorites]


The Gooch: Without at all endorsing crayz's viewpoint or tactics here... I don't see how the conversation is at all improved by these kind of ganging up, "let's, as a group, sarcastically mock the OP" type of comments.

Sure, if you ignore the fact that the first punch was thrown, the counterpunch looks gratuitous.

In fact, the conversation is also harmed when people are allowed to toss out arguments they don't themselves believe in, but just feel are "under-represented." Mods have in the past specifically warned against this kind of rhetorical approach as being a serious impediment to an honest discussion, because other participants find it difficult to know where your argument ends and the argument you're just adopting for devil's advocate purposes begins.

And yes, I've tried the "flag and move on" approach with these comments before, but since the comments often scan in isolation as good faith representations of one's own beliefs, it's kind of hard to make a case that they're bad in and of themselves, without the mods also knowing that the person is just projecting a viewpoint for the sake of argument / to stir shit up / to counteract site-wide groupthink / whatever else the excuse is.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:21 AM on September 2, 2014 [11 favorites]


I tend to assume that in these situations, the mods may have more information about various individuals than we do and are able to judge motives more accurately based upon that information.

*nod* Makes total sense to me.
posted by zarq at 11:23 AM on September 2, 2014


In fact, the conversation is also harmed when people are allowed to toss out arguments they don't themselves believe in, but just feel are "under-represented."

Again I feel like this is just willfully misreading what I said. I said "In private discussions on and offline, I tend to debate from the direction I see un(der)-represented, not as if I'm giving some speech to the masses and want to get all the core bullet points covered. I see most topics as quite complex and grey, and I don't see any contradiction in agreeing something in 98% black but still not 100% black, or that something is shitty but not shitty in the exact way you say it is. If you say Mike Brown hadn't done a single thing wrong the day he was shot I'm going to say actually it looks like he shoplifted some cigarillos, even though that doesn't mean I think he deserved execution."

i.e. I am not playing devil's advocate for it's own sake, but if I was in a discussion where a bunch of guys were like "wooo stolen pics this is awesome" I would be like hey wait, really? maybe we should think about this. But if I'm in a discussion where everyone seems in agreement that this is morally wrong but then some people start making what seem to me tenuous/unsupported statements about people's motivations, or say something that to me seems over the top comparing this to actual breaking and entering someone's home, rape, etc - then I will say hey wait, really? to that.

I never said I am tossing out arguments I don't believe in, so please you and others stop putting those words in my mouth.
posted by crayz at 11:33 AM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't see how the conversation is at all improved by these kind of ganging up, "let's, as a group, sarcastically mock the OP" type of comments.

Eh. When you start with nothing it don't matter much what you add, you still got nothing.

If you say Mike Brown hadn't done a single thing wrong the day he was shot I'm going to say actually it looks like he shoplifted some cigarillos, even though that doesn't mean I think he deserved execution.

As a career shit-stirrer you must know that sometimes the shit flies up and sticks to you. It's an occupational hazard.

(As it goes, crayz, this here effort is subpar next to your "Why must you mock us crack addicts?" C. Not your best work.)
posted by octobersurprise at 11:36 AM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


i.e. I am not playing devil's advocate for it's own sake, but if I was in a discussion where a bunch of guys were like "wooo stolen pics this is awesome" I would be like hey wait, really? maybe we should think about this. But if I'm in a discussion where everyone seems in agreement that this is morally wrong but then some people start making what seem to me tenuous/unsupported statements about people's motivations, or say something that to me seems over the top comparing this to actual breaking and entering someone's home, rape, etc - then I will say hey wait, really? to that.

So.....in other words, you're playing Devil's Advocate for its own sake.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:42 AM on September 2, 2014 [15 favorites]


Ugh. I dunno. The way this is framed is awful. The examples used are awful and off-base. The OP's history in the related FPP is awful and nothing I'd want to stand behind. Or next to. Or near.

But I wouldn't mind having a more even-handed MeTa conversation sometime about how, in FPPs about rage-inducing topics, when there is an absence of people who truly represent the side that is enraging us, some folks seem to sort of cast about looking for someone to get angry with.

Consider the exchange on the page in which someone said that "I'm not going to look [at the leaked pictures] because that would make me a creep" and someone shot back "It would." Yeah: that's what the person fucking said. Not sure why we need to double down on reminding someone how awful the thing they said they have no intention of doing would be if they did do it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:43 AM on September 2, 2014 [28 favorites]


Consider the exchange on the page in which someone said that "I'm not going to look [at the leaked pictures] because that would make me a creep" and someone shot back "It would." Yeah: that's what the person fucking said.

I....don't see what's objectionable about the exchange quoted here.

Person A says "I'm not going to do thus-and-such because of reasons" and Person B says "I agree with those reasons". What exactly is the objectionable bit?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:45 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


It read kind of shitty on the page. It was like the schoolyard bully making sure you understand how hard he would beat your ass if you had taken his seat. But you didn't. The only purpose is to give someone who failed to provoke you into the fight you wanted one more chance to do so.

I wasn't the only person who took it that way. Another commenter asked, "Are you actually shaming someone who's already doing the thing that you approve of?"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:47 AM on September 2, 2014 [20 favorites]


Why continue being a contrarian? Say what you feel, or say that you haven't thought it through well enough yet to do so.
posted by cashman at 11:47 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


It read kind of shitty on the page. It was like the schoolyard bully making sure you understand how hard he would beat your ass if you had taken his seat. But you didn't.

Okay, fair. I took it more like the way I stated above - "I'm not gonna do [foo] because ew, that'd make me a creep." "Yeah, right? I hear you on that."

I can see how that'd be mistaken, however.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:49 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I see most topics as quite complex and grey,

Everyone thinks their views are nuanced and complex. You're not special in this, nor are you the only one who thinks "hey, I agree with MOST of what this person says."

It's just that other people recognize that they're not talking in a vacuum, and that the sound of their picking nits can add to the white-noise of people trying to shut out the argument. So, if we really do agree with only a small portion of the argument, we don't bring up that in situations where it will help drown out the stuff we do agree with.

Sometimes people can have a conversations where they each get to explain your nuanced take, but the corollary is that sometimes they can't.
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:52 AM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


Anyway, that's just one comment. It's not the only time something like that has ever happened. So it's just an example.

I imagine it's a matter of general agreement that sometimes we misplace our rage or end up spoiling for a fight even if we have to carve it out of comparatively smaller disagreements within a larger framework of agreement.

And again, while this is a conversation I'd like to have, this MeTa is probably set up all wrong to do that the right way.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:52 AM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


So.....in other words, you're playing Devil's Advocate for its own sake.

No. He's saying he isn't. That was quite clear from the bit you quoted.

Also, his next line was: "I never said I am tossing out arguments I don't believe in, so please you and others stop putting those words in my mouth."
posted by zarq at 11:55 AM on September 2, 2014 [13 favorites]


It's confusing, I think? Because to explicitly state that you will choose your argument standpoint from whichever view is least represented in any given community doesn't really sound like an argument coming from actual beliefs and convictions. Unless the point is that he actually legitimately does strongly believe in every possible viewpoint, in which case I honestly don't understand how any interaction is function in a way that makes sense to most people.
posted by elizardbits at 11:59 AM on September 2, 2014 [28 favorites]


i feel like i worded that somewhat awkwardly but i can't figure out how to make more sense without taking a nap first
posted by elizardbits at 12:00 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Because to explicitly state that you will choose your argument standpoint from whichever view is least represented in any given community

Wait, I didn't think that's what he was doing? I thought he was saying that if he sees people drawing over-encompassing conclusions without evidence, he'd speak up.
posted by zarq at 12:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


No. He's saying he isn't. That was quite clear from the bit you quoted.

The point I was trying to make, zarq, is that he may claim to not be doing it, but his actions tell an entirely different story.

I thought he was saying that if he sees people drawing over-encompassing conclusions without evidence, he'd speak up.

But he's being awfully equal-opportunity about this evidence, to the point that it's hard to tell where his allegiance actually lies - and does indeed give the impression of someone who's just trying to be Devil's Advocate for his own sake. As I said.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:07 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure if I'm one of the people being called out by the post title, but I am one of the people who frequently calls out people who don't think about or care about consent or
boundaries as more likely than average to be rapists, and I stand by that, because I'm always trying to make the point that this isn't hypothetical for me, that the practical considerations of avoiding rapists is a part of how I at least plan my social life, and I also generally take a mental note not to go to IRL events with those people because I wouldn't feel safe there.
posted by NoraReed at 12:08 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Man I do not like this Metatalk trend of going around calling people the devil just because they make bad arguments.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:09 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


to explicitly state that you will choose your argument standpoint from whichever view is least represented in any given community

Wait, I didn't think that's what he was doing?

Maybe he's doing both and it's up to us to choose based on which one is under-represented? Sort of like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Grievance.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:11 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


Unless the point is that he actually legitimately does strongly believe in every possible viewpoint, in which case I honestly don't understand how any interaction is function in a way that makes sense to most people.

Again it's not that I'm going out arguing in favor of random points of view or "whichever view is least represented" - "have you ever considered the sky might be purple?" It's that if a given topic is complex, multifaceted and with many shades of grey, there are a lot of different true or interesting things that can be said about it or ways to look at it.

So if I'm talking with people where we don't even agree on any of what I see as core aspects of the situation, then that would usually be my focus.

But with a different group and different conversation where there seems to be more general agreement in perspective, then I see less value in "me too!ing" the general sentiment, and more in poking around the edges, pushing back against what seems like quasi-overreach/speculation/conspiracies, looking at something from different angles, etc.
posted by crayz at 12:14 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


The point I was trying to make, zarq, is that he may claim to not be doing it, but his actions tell an entirely different story.

Then you should explicitly say so, rather than telling him he's playing Devil's Advocate when he's clearly saying he isn't, giving two examples and then complaining that people are saying he's playing Devil's Advocate.

If you understand his motivations or agenda, then by all means, talk about that. But to respond the way you did does nothing more than extend the argument, uselessly.
posted by zarq at 12:16 PM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


But with a different group and different conversation where there seems to be more general agreement in perspective, then I see less value in "me too!ing" the general sentiment, and more in poking around the edges, pushing back against what seems like quasi-overreach/speculation/conspiracies, looking at something from different angles, etc.

*head desk*
posted by zarq at 12:20 PM on September 2, 2014 [14 favorites]


Okay, fine.

Crayz, I believe that your jumping back-and-forth to take the lesser-defended position in an argument is making you appear to be playing the devils advocate, even though you state you're not. And this makes people not trust your arguments.

And while we're at it: zarq, your defense of crayz on this point is looking a bit impassioned, and is giving me cause to wonder exactly why you are trying to defend crayz in this particular instance. And your singling out my own responses, when two other people have said the same thing, is giving me the impression that you've got a beef with me in particular.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:21 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


In some hot-button issue threads, I see some tendency for people to get intolerant of views that are even slightly different, or for people to interpret comments in the worst possible light. The best response to this is to try to make thoughtful comments, to try to clarify what others are saying, to listen, and to be respectful. Not very sexy advice, and on my hot-button issues, I may not do so well, but it makes the community better and stronger.
posted by theora55 at 12:22 PM on September 2, 2014 [14 favorites]


crayz: “But with a different group and different conversation where there seems to be more general agreement in perspective, then I see less value in ‘me too!ing’ the general sentiment, and more in poking around the edges, pushing back against what seems like quasi-overreach/speculation/conspiracies, looking at something from different angles, etc.”

If you mean that you will explicitly disagree when you think that other people are taking too extreme a viewpoint, then that's what everybody does and it seems unnecessary to say so.
posted by koeselitz at 12:22 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


zarq, your defense of crayz on this point is looking a bit impassioned, and is giving me cause to wonder exactly why you are trying to defend crayz in this particular instance

*snort*

Are you about to accuse me of playing devil's advocate for crayz?

This should be interesting.
posted by zarq at 12:24 PM on September 2, 2014 [12 favorites]


Man I do not like this Metatalk trend of going around calling people the devil just because they make bad arguments.

You are Asmodeus, King of the Nine Hells and Prince of Lechery, born from the coupling of King David and Agrat Bat Mahlat!
posted by winna at 12:24 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


I see less value in "me too!ing" the general sentiment, and more in poking around the edges, pushing back against what seems like quasi-overreach/speculation/conspiracies, looking at something from different angles, etc.

Did it ever occur to you that other people may have already considered those other angles and rejected them because they are transparently terrible?

For some people, these discussions aren't fun little rhetorical games, you know.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:24 PM on September 2, 2014 [57 favorites]


You are Asmodeus, King of the Nine Hells and Prince of Lechery, born from the coupling of King David and Agrat Bat Mahlat!

Worst D&D campaign thread ever.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:25 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Actually, zarq, the only thing I'm accusing you of is having a grudge against me for some reason, and so now whenever I say something you jump on it to try to prove ME wrong.

Please, whatever I did to piss you off, let's take it to MeMail so I can apologize for whatever the fuck I did.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:32 PM on September 2, 2014


Did it ever occur to you that other people may have already considered those other angles and rejected them because they are transparently terrible?

For some people, these discussions aren't fun little rhetorical games, you know.


Yes. If it is even possible to say that there is general agreement on feminist topics on Metafilter (which I'm not sure can be said), then that is a hard-fought victory carved out from a larger societal struggle which is the larger context. To come into one of these threads and say 'ew, everyone is getting along' is to ignore that they are in agreement in their disagreement with the norm, and that it's probably safe to say that counterarguments are not unknown here.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:33 PM on September 2, 2014 [22 favorites]


Def prefer Dispater over Asmodeus. 'Cause Dispater lived in the Iron City and his consort was Lilis, the Iron Maiden and Maiden rules!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:34 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


crayz, there's something really left to be desired about the manner in which you execute this interesting-to-you strategy of poking around the edges of issues and raising questions that don't seem to be addressed by the majority viewpoint.

Whether you want to call what you're doing "playing Devil's advocate" or not, it's confusing and frustrating when it's unclear whether you're a) actually repping a viewpoint b) honestly trying to better understand an issue from another point of view or c) shit stirring and being needlessly provocative.

Anyway, if you feel like you want to engage in this kind of exercise I feel like the burden is really on you to be wholly transparent about what you're doing and why, and also to accept a certain amount of risk that it's not going to turn out very well.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:38 PM on September 2, 2014 [17 favorites]


It's not that complicated: Don't argue points you don't believe. That's it.

I sometimes say stuff with which people disagree. You know why? Because I believe it. You know what I don't do? Argue bullshit for the sake of arguing it.
posted by Justinian at 12:45 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


The hallway marked "Devil's Advocate" gets narrower and narrower as you go further into it. And most of the doorways in this hall are not clearly marked, though you eventually you discover nearly all of them are properly called "Not Helpful," "Pointless Contrarian," "Troll," or "Asshole." It's not a path usually worth taking in these parts.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:45 PM on September 2, 2014 [11 favorites]


It's not that complicated: Don't argue points you don't believe. That's it.

Cool. So as I said, I am arguing things I do believe in, so I think we can wrap up this little detour.
posted by crayz at 12:48 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't think that looking for things to disagree with in a conversation is a good way of engaging in it. It's fine to express disagreement if you think it's over something important, but actively seeking out and highlighting points of disagreement strikes me as likely to refocus discussions onto issues that nobody really thinks are all that important.

This is especially true where a contraian doesn't take the time to express the scope of the disagreement carefully and explain the contrary position in detail. This lack of clarity really derails threads, since people who want to disagree with what the contrarian has written are aiming at a vague target. And when a contrarian ignores attempts by other posters to clarify his or her position (as crayz has done with respsect to koeselitz's careful comment above), I think it's reasonable for other participants to conclude that the contrarian is just trying to start fights.
posted by burden at 12:57 PM on September 2, 2014 [19 favorites]


And your singling out my own responses, when two other people have said the same thing, is giving me the impression that you've got a beef with me in particular.

Uh, I think it's probably because your comments came first and he saw them first and responded to them while the other similar comments were being made, and probably not because zarq has taken the opportunity, in this thread which is about an entirely different person than you, to made it secretly all about you.
posted by elizardbits at 1:05 PM on September 2, 2014 [15 favorites]


Actually, zarq, the only thing I'm accusing you of is having a grudge against me for some reason, and so now whenever I say something you jump on it to prove ME wrong.

Huh? Empress, to the best of my recollection, I've responded to you... twice in two months including today? What are you talking about?

For heaven's sake, I don't have a grudge against you, Empress. I simply disagree with you. Look, I'm not a particularly subtle person and usually have little patience for passive aggressive behavior. If I have a problem with someone personally, I have no qualms about confronting 'em directly. I've even done so with you in the past, both publicly and privately, yes?

I did not single you out. You were the only person who responded directly to this comment from crayz with what was basically a one-liner that directly refuted/denied everything he was saying without supporting context. I waited until a handful of comments had passed to see what else was said and then responded to you. Those other people actually responded to him with more than a one liner.

If this comment wasn't clear enough, I'm not going to be defending crayz any further than I've already done in this thread.

I'm not interested in discussing this over memail and I don't need an apology. Nor is one necessary. But, thanks.
posted by zarq at 1:05 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


My most frustrating experiences on this site have been point blank refusals to read my comments in good faith. So, I do my best to offer the courtesy of a good faith reading to others, something I had to work on learning to do and still am not perfect at. It can be very frustrating not to receive that courtesy in response, but it's not like I don't understand the reasons this can occur. I would ask mods to kind of keep an eye on this sort of thing though. I really did not like being recently told I vehemently hated a group that I am a part of because I disagreed with someone in a discussion about that group. Gentle reminders to both sides to disengage can be very helpful.

I say both sides, because even if someone is being disingenuous there is no way you can force them to like...admit it or something. Their thoughts and motivations are their own. Call them out, sure, but don't get in too much of a back and forth. When someone accuses you of believing something you don't based on a comment, clarify your position (sometimes people really do just misunderstand you) but don't expect you stand a great shot of being able to find the right words to convince them you are genuine if they are clearly assuming bad faith. Don't get in too much of a back and forth. I'm working on that too. If we tried to do that as a group we could handle these potential derails a lot more smoothly.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:17 PM on September 2, 2014 [16 favorites]



Cool. So as I said, I am arguing things I do believe in, so I think we can wrap up this little detour.

Do you believe that "So, can we next expect you to post that women getting catcalled in the street or groped at conventions can be best explained by simplistic biological/social motivations? And that women shouldn't complain when that happens? Why don't you tell us all exactly when women can have some expectation of privacy or dignity?" is literally the same as saying you are a rapist? If NO then you are a LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE.
posted by juv3nal at 1:26 PM on September 2, 2014


Happy Labor Day, everybody?

Not really everybody, no. Just those of us in the US, as far as I know.


*sips margarita poolside*
posted by phaedon at 1:32 PM on September 2, 2014


Do you believe that ... is literally the same as saying you are a rapist? If NO then you are a LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE.

Do you believe that my pants are literally on fire?
posted by crayz at 1:40 PM on September 2, 2014


I hope you have the good sense to piss in them if they are.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:42 PM on September 2, 2014


I don't agree with crayz's point in the original thread, or how it was expressed. I do believe that the hacking of these celebrities' pictures and their subsequent publishing were a horrendous invasion of privacy and a type of sexual assault. But, as a community, we're all really quick to pile-on anyone who expresses less than total agreement with the community at large, and it's really unattractive. I've seen it happen to other posters, and I've had it happen to me. There's a tendency to see any straying from orthodoxy of opinion in the absolute worst light possible and to take on a scolding and angry tone in responding. It doesn't educate people or change their minds, instead it often entrenches their position and makes them angry and confrontational. And again and again, I see users who enjoy huge amounts of cultural capital from their activity on the site using that cultural capital to bully other people, while racking up the favourites. So, while I think crayz is wrong, very wrong, would it not have been better to respectfully attempt to educate them on why/how they were wrong than to create a situation where they were painted in the worst possible light and to make uncharitable misreadings of what they were saying?
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 2:12 PM on September 2, 2014 [34 favorites]


Reading the FPP and comments I felt knee-jerk empathy for crayz's view.

The temptation to look for the discussed pics was one I fought, and in my younger days it'd have been a fight I'd have lost. Engaging with feminist viewpoints (here on MeFi and elsewhere) meant that I did not unthinkingly google for the pics.

Knowing that I would have sought out these pics when younger, and my discomfort that it is a shitty thing to have even considered, meant that the points in thread about complicitness in rape culture made me defensive/uncomfortable. The temptation to cry "oh come on!" when confronted by the relationship of this voyeurism and even more heinous acts stung. Because it is true.

The defensiveness I felt has been overcome due to learning. When I was younger I'd have been tempted to argue that my actions did not lie on a spectrum of shittiness. "Patriarchy", "rape-culture", harsh terms, terms those who have not examined them are apt to fight against as hyperbole. Harsh because they are true when examined.
posted by Gratishades at 2:13 PM on September 2, 2014 [26 favorites]


The defensiveness I felt has been overcome due to learning. When I was younger I'd have been tempted to argue that my actions did not lie on a spectrum of shittiness.

I think part of that is that some people do not make a distinction between "bad people" and "people who did something wrong in this instance" which are not the same. If everyone who makes a probably incorrect moral choice were to be considered bad people the term would lose all meaning since we'd all be bad people.

You'd have had the impulse to make that argument because you knew you weren't a bad person. So how could what you did be something bad?

This happens here on Metafilter too, including in this thread and the one on the blue.
posted by Justinian at 2:26 PM on September 2, 2014 [16 favorites]


And again and again, I see users who enjoy huge amounts of cultural capital from their activity on the site using that cultural capital to bully other people, while racking up the favourites.

Absolutely agree. It does seem like an exploitation of the non-threaded comment format, when people's snarky replies and other's 'attaboys can bring certain discussions to a screeching halt.
posted by girlmightlive at 2:26 PM on September 2, 2014 [11 favorites]


Thanks for that Gratishades, very well put and I have exactly the same feelings too.
posted by colie at 2:31 PM on September 2, 2014


It does seem like an exploitation of the non-threaded comment format, when people's snarky replies and other's 'attaboys can bring certain discussions to a screeching halt.

I don't think the commenting system makes a huge difference one way or the other in the amount of snark, nor in whether snark stops conversation. There are plenty of sites with threaded comments and massively more snark-y, derailing, off-topic comments than on Metafilter. Threaded comments encourage snark by shifting the burden on snark reduction to the reader, who is expected to skip past snark-filled sections if they so desire, and away from the snarker, who can defend themselves on the grounds that snark is 'easily' skippable. Couple that with a voting system for visibility, rather than nested timestamp order, and you're actively encouraging pepople to snark, and making it harder to find and respond to non-snarky comments.

That's not to say that snark and agreements with snark taking up conversational space are good things (they aren't; I find myself often holding back a snarky response and being much happier, aftwards, having not commented), just that insofar as that is a problem the solution is going to be social, not technical. It's an issue of expectations, and site culture, and talking about it -- which you're doing! and is great! -- is really the best way to change those expectations.
posted by cjelli at 2:42 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


would it not have been better to respectfully attempt to educate them on why/how they were wrong than to create a situation where they were painted in the worst possible light and to make uncharitable misreadings of what they were saying?

I get that this suggestion comes from you wanting to help make things better for everyone but please realize that some of us have been patiently doing so in response to things like this here, elsewhere online, and IRL, for literally decades. It's exhausting and demoralizing and ultimately doesn't seem to have much effect.
posted by elizardbits at 2:47 PM on September 2, 2014 [38 favorites]


I see users who enjoy huge amounts of cultural capital from their activity on the site using that cultural capital to bully other people

This, pretty much.
posted by Mr. Six at 2:48 PM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


I get that this suggestion comes from you wanting to help make things better for everyone but please realize that some of us have been patiently doing so in response to things like this here, elsewhere online, and IRL, for literally decades. It's exhausting and demoralizing and ultimately doesn't seem to have much effect.

This.
posted by cashman at 2:52 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


So, while I think crayz is wrong, very wrong, would it not have been better to respectfully attempt to educate them on why/how they were wrong than to create a situation where they were painted in the worst possible light and to make uncharitable misreadings of what they were saying?

We've already been down that road, crayz has a history and it didn't end well.
posted by zarq at 2:59 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


No matter how exhausted you are, two wrongs don't make a right.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 2:59 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


I see users who enjoy huge amounts of cultural capital from their activity on the site using that cultural capital to bully other people

Please cite even a single example of "bullying" in that thread.
posted by dialetheia at 3:00 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


Could either of you (alltomorrowsparties and Mr. Six) explain what you're getting at with the "cultural capital" --> "bullying" line of thought? I can think of some less than charitable interpretations, but it seems like it would be better to ask you to spell it out than to attempt to rephrase your assumptions and see if I'm right?
posted by nobody at 3:01 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


alltomorrowsparties: So, while I think crayz is wrong, very wrong, would it not have been better to respectfully attempt to educate them on why/how they were wrong than to create a situation where they were painted in the worst possible light and to make uncharitable misreadings of what they were saying?

The comment that prompted crayz to post this MeTa is somewhere around comment #335 in that thread. In the 334-ish comments that preceded it, there were many, many attempts to respectfully educate various people. Of course there were also some GRAR-filled "you're an idiot" responses, some uncharitable readings, and some flat-out snark. It's always a mixture in a fast-moving thread about a very contentious topic.

Let's stipulate that the community doesn't have an infinite amount of patience to educate people who don't want to be educated, and as such, members have to engage in some crude resource optimization algorithms to determine who they spend time educating. With that in mind, level with me here -- do crayz's comments in that thread read like someone who wanted to be educated?
posted by tonycpsu at 3:02 PM on September 2, 2014 [19 favorites]


No matter how exhausted you are, two wrongs don't make a right.

There's nothing wrong with refusing to spend time, labor, and resources to be respectful to someone who's disrespecting you or to educate someone who's demonstrated they don't want to listen to you, never mind learn from you.
posted by immlass at 3:05 PM on September 2, 2014 [41 favorites]


elizardbits, I'm a feminist and have identified as one for at least 40 of my 50 years on this earth. I currently am studying feminist philosophy, and I work with groups in my city to advance feminist aims and to educate MRA supporters. Your response to me is exactly what I'm talking about. You immediately assumed the worst of me; that I did not have to patiently explain myself over and over online and IRL, as a feminist like you do; that my appeal for reason and patience was because I haven't suffered enough under the patriarchy. If you don't think it (explaining things) has an effect, I'd respectfully put forward that you're wrong on that count, because I've seen things improve remarkably in my own lifetime and I will continue to keep patiently explaining things to people, while treating them with respect despite our differences. Thanks to cashman for illustrating my point about cultural capital, though.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 3:06 PM on September 2, 2014 [19 favorites]


> There's nothing wrong with refusing to spend time, labor, and resources to be respectful to someone who's disrespecting you or to educate someone who's demonstrated they don't want to listen to you, never mind learn from you.

I agree, and there's a difference between refusing to spend resources educating someone who's been disrespectful and choosing to instead spend resources further reducing the likelihood that this person will ever be successfully educated.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 3:08 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm confused about how we can all be lockstepped into rigid groupthink and yet also infighting among allies.
posted by jaguar at 3:08 PM on September 2, 2014 [17 favorites]


Without a doubt, I know more about one of the biggest stories in the country in the last month than anyone in the entire userbase because I have been directly personally involved in the exact type of case several times. I've also appeared on television as an expert regarding said story.

I have not brought my knowledge to Metafilter regarding the story for the very reason stated in this post. This place is far less tolerant than it once was. Fact-based argument is less tolerated here than ever before. I've been here 10 years and I really am not interested in being treated the way I would be treated if I was to participate in the highly commented-upon threads on the subject. Therefore I will not comment in them or even read them.

It isn't exclusive to Metafilter, but I had hoped that this place would not be like that.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:10 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


No part of my comment assumed the worst of you in any possible way, and I would be delighted to be proved wrong wrt constant explanations now or at literally at any time at all whatsoever.
posted by elizardbits at 3:10 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


There's nothing wrong with refusing to spend time, labor, and resources to be respectful to someone who's disrespecting you or to educate someone who's demonstrated they don't want to listen to you, never mind learn from you.

There is something wrong with being disrespectful in response though. Ironmouth, you should keep that in mind too because it's not facts people have a problem with when it comes to your posting.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:13 PM on September 2, 2014 [17 favorites]


Thanks to cashman for illustrating my point about cultural capital, though.

How did I illustrate the point? Instead of me typing out the same thing that was said because I feel the same way and have said as much in debates about race where people will be like "well I highly doubt the officer is really a bad guy, maybe this black teen was just scary!", I put "this".

So it looks like you did that same assuming you just accused another user of, in assuming that I didn't have that ingrained in me from years of experience, from arguing with people online since the late 90's when a child in the south got arrested like a full grown man, simply because he was black.

I know that "well lets just look at the other side" thing, that "well perhaps we should consider it isn't racism" thing, that "you can't really think it's racism can you" thing, that "I know it seems like on the face of it that this police officer shouldn't have shot this fleeing child, but maybe..." thing all too well. And there just comes a time when you can't keep going back to race 101, or in this case, feminism 101, to help along those who are not only ignorant but loud and insistent enough that they not only can't keep up with where the discussion is, but want to interrupt you and stop you from having it where it is, and drag it back to the first day of class.
posted by cashman at 3:17 PM on September 2, 2014 [14 favorites]


There's nothing wrong with refusing to spend time, labor, and resources to be respectful to someone who's disrespecting you or to educate someone who's demonstrated they don't want to listen to you, never mind learn from you.

There is something wrong with being disrespectful though. Ironmouth, you should keep that in mind too because it's not facts people have a problem with when it comes to your posting.


I beg to differ. Unlike others who have oft attacked me, I work very hard to back my points up with linked evidence. I could do that in threads on that particular subject, as well as bring my own personal, professional experience to the matter. But because that information and that experience tends to counteract the insta-outrage nature of these threads, I am often directly attacked.

In fact, a few persons often try and characterize my factual posts and personal observations from direct participation in these matters into personal attacks so that they may gain what they perceive as some sort of advantage (one that I do not see). It is so frustrating that I have chosen to no longer participate in such threads.

Persons with no knowledge of the subject in question will attack me because the do not like the facts I bring to the table, facts they find inconvenient. This is why I avoid those threads.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:20 PM on September 2, 2014


I'd be pretty pleased to see the 'This.' trope disappear, as well as the one where we decry any explanations as 'feminism 101', 'trans 101' or 'racism 101' , which is just a disrespectful positioning of oneself as superior to another because of knowledge one possesses that another does not and a reluctance to share it.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 3:22 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


This isn't about you, Ironmouth and you're better than this.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:24 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


And again and again, I see users who enjoy huge amounts of cultural capital from their activity on the site using that cultural capital to bully other people, while racking up the favourites.

Completely agree, and wish this thread was focused more on that issue of crayz's complaint.

I also just really have a hard time lately with the selective way the mods are going about pruning threads where that behavior is happening.

I get that crayz got his response to happyrosch deleted by cortex because he lashed out at happyroach. Getting into it with other users is not okay, it's against the guidelines. We're in agreement there. But I also think that happyroach's comment should have been deleted.

Really, what is the purpose of a comment that compares another user to a rape apologist by deliberately putting words he had not said into his mouth? The only answer I can come up with is that you are either mocking ex person and/or trying to goad that person into doing just what crayz did, losing their temper.

How is that not attacking another user personally, too? And if getting into it with other users is not okay, why was that comment allowed to stand?

A lot has been made of crayz's posting history here. I don't know about happyroach's posting history, so I can't comment on that specifically.

But I can think of a few users who repeatedly use this technique of putting words into other users' mouths when they disagree with them, as well as mocking, goading and condescending to them, for no other discernible purpose than to rile those other users' up, and I am repeatedly frustrated when I see their comments left to stand while the people they are targeting are advised to take a break, walk away, etc.
posted by misha at 3:25 PM on September 2, 2014 [17 favorites]


I beg to differ. Unlike others who have oft attacked me, I work very hard to back my points up with linked evidence.

You do research and bring an educated opinion, that you defend to the death as ironclad indestructible truth against all comers. Your issues come in the second phase, not the first. As I said before, back and forth too much leads to trouble. If you can't keep from going back and forth too much, it's probably right to stay out of threads where you are likely to get that way, but I think you can find a middle ground.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:26 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Seriously, alltomorrowsparties, now you want to police "this"? Does "quoted for truth" have to go as well? Maybe you could just give us a list of approved ways of echoing someone else's words that you don't think you can express any better than they did, keeping in mind that favorites aren't up-votes?
posted by tonycpsu at 3:27 PM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


Drinky, Ironmouth, new MeTa threads are free.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:27 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, characterizing any disagreement as someone in need of a "101" class in the ground rules for talking to you is not only ridiculously arrogant and patronizing, but it comes across as myopically privileged given how many people in this country don't even have access to the university system.
posted by crayz at 3:28 PM on September 2, 2014 [11 favorites]


The conversation is falling back into the "we're tired of explaining this" / "we can't do the 101 conversation everytime" thing, which I'm generally on board with when the same well-worn distractions and objections pop up again and again. I get that people are tired of having those conversations literally 1,000s of times. But I believe upthread people were discussing situations where everyone's 98% on board, and there's a disagreement with one aspect of something we're otherwise in agreement about. Those are the situations where it sometimes seems like people are repeatedly assigning bad faith and ill intentions on commenters who just see the issue at a slightly different angle, and aren't trying to obfuscate or deny injustice exists or anything. Simply taking people at their word unless they demonstrate otherwise - that's something that should be possible without getting into the education/101 conversation.
posted by naju at 3:29 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


This is why I avoid those threads.

I mean this sincerely and from the bottom of my heart: thank you.
posted by griphus at 3:31 PM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


Toni Morrison, speaking in 1975:
It’s important, therefore, to know who the real enemy is, and to know the function, the very serious function of racism, which is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing.
Transcript. Audio.
posted by cashman at 3:31 PM on September 2, 2014 [49 favorites]


I also just really have a hard time lately with the selective way the mods are going about pruning threads where that behavior is happening.

I completely agree with this, to the point that I wrote the mods after corb got a timeout in one of the Ferguson threads. I disagree with her on pretty much everything, but she wrote an articulate and not at all deliberately incendiary expression of her views and was punished because folks can't help but pile on and disrupt threads if someone deviates from the orthodoxy.
posted by lalex at 3:34 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


the practical considerations of avoiding rapists is a part of how I at least plan my social life, and I also generally take a mental note not to go to IRL events with those people because I wouldn't feel safe there.

Are you referring to Metafilter meetups where you are worried about getting raped because of things people have said here?
posted by jayder at 3:34 PM on September 2, 2014


I beg to differ. Unlike others who have oft attacked me, I work very hard to back my points up with linked evidence.

You do research and bring an educated opinion, that you defend to the death as ironclad indestructible truth against all comers. Your issues come in the second phase, not the first. As I said before, back and forth too much leads to trouble. If you can't keep from going back and forth too much, it's probably right to stay out of threads where you are likely to get that way, but I think you can find a middle ground.


I bring actual, personal, direct professional experience. Not just an educated opinion. Someone who has lived these types of cases.

I also find it telling that I am accused of personal attacks by a person who disagrees with me on the subject.

Why don't you provide an example of these personal attacks, rather than claiming their existence without evidence.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:41 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Simply taking people at their word unless they demonstrate otherwise - that's something that should be possible without getting into the education/101 conversation.

Yes, this is also part of it. I go into a highly academic, enthusiast, climate-science accepting forum that has in-depth discussions of e.g. arctic sea ice melt, and I see people criticizing climate science and scientists for weak and flawed models, and often a heated discussion will occur over the topic, but it's a tussle that occurs within a shared understanding that everyone's well past climate science 101, and even though climate change deniers often make arguments that looks vaguely similar on the surface, it would be incredibly bad faith and toxic to an open exchange of ideas to take people who completely accept the broad outlines of climate science but argue in detail about whether PIOMAS accurately reflects the health within the volume of sea ice and lump them in with the deniers

It's like you say maybe the sky is cerulean and then people pile on going "what are you blind? it's fucking blue! sky 101"
posted by crayz at 3:43 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't think that would be particularly productive, IM. I am sorry if I offended you, I don't think this is really the thread to hash out my opinions there.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:43 PM on September 2, 2014


Drinky, Ironmouth, new MeTa threads are free.

The first line of this MeTa is: I have noticed an increasing trend on MeFi, especially relating to issues of feminism, gender relations, etc, that threads quickly divide into us vs. them camps, where the "us" camp is defined by strong outrage and criticism, and the them camp is everyone else. This is problematic enough, but what then naturally occurs is any sort of deviation or criticism of anyone in the "us" tent immediately casts one into the "them" tent, and attacks that the person is pro-rape, in favor of abusing women, just the same as everyone else, etc. etc.

although the author indicates that the trend is especially relating to feminism, etc, the thread discusses a larger trend.

My point is that this trend does exist and I am agreeing with its author that it is about more than this type of thread.

And what happens when I bring it up? Well, I am attacked and told to go elsewhere.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:44 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


This isn't about you, Ironmouth and you're better than this.

That
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:44 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


characterizing any disagreement as someone in need of a "101" class

I think you may be overstating things here.
posted by cashman at 3:47 PM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


naju: Simply taking people at their word unless they demonstrate otherwise - that's something that should be possible without getting into the education/101 conversation.

I think most people do a good job of doing exactly what you're talking about here, and I say that even though I feel like I was the recipient of some uncharitable reading and a "that's bullshit" response in the blue FPP. When I responded with a clarification, the person who called bullshit on me conceded that maybe she jumped the gun a bit. That's how it's supposed to work. Would I have preferred that she got the message I was trying to convey right away? Sure, but maybe I didn't express myself properly, and even if I did, that thread was chock full of people trying to minimize/dismiss the damage done by these hacks, and in the fog of war, you're occasionally going to be on the wrong end of a blue-on-blue incident.

The problem here is that crayz didn't, at least to my eye, appear to be interested in a serious exchange of views. The first comment poisoned the well with the incendiary "Can we at least calm down the righteous indignation long enough to take the log out of our own eye?", and it didn't get any better from there. Even someone who wasn't familiar with his body of work that includes the magnum opus of trolling that is the "fat/crack jokes" MeTa would have to look at those first few comments and wonder if the author really wanted to exchange ideas. And, again, in a fast-moving, contentious thread, people are going to have to make somewhat snap decisions based on just a few data points. First impressions matter.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:48 PM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


'feminism 101', 'trans 101' or 'racism 101' , which is just a disrespectful positioning of oneself as superior to another because of knowledge one possesses that another does not and a reluctance to share it.

I think the Toni Morrison quote above does a good job of showing why it has nothing to do with wanting to feel superior. At least in the case of race, which is what she was referring to.
posted by cashman at 3:49 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


it's a tussle that occurs within a shared understanding that everyone's well past climate science 101

This is a great example of the major difference between a specialist forum and a generalist forum. In specialist areas, it's a good assumption that everyone has a ertain level of knowledge or shared engagement with the topics, and discussion can proceed from there. In a generalist forum, it's necessary to establish the shared level of understanding before branching out. And Metafilter is a generalist place.

In a previous MeTa, this was characterized as an "amen chorus." It's a part of establishing shared expectations and foundation for agreement, which is necessary if someone wants to discuss the 2% difference.

We must first establish the 98% agreement.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:53 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


Honestly nobody is attacking anyone in this thread. Attacks are personal and bullying has real consequences. This is all just rhetorical disagreement. Passion is fun and everything but people who feel turned on in internet threads really should examine what's up in their own heads that makes them invest so heavily in a bunch of near strangers thinking they are wrong or bad at posting internet. This goes in both directions too. I think Nora Reeds vehemence in that original thread was rude and kinda hateful. But on the whole, if you're coming into a thread knowing you disagree with the prevailing opinion like a wannabe Socrates, you should try to behave like the man too. Irony, kindness, thoughtfulness, humanism, meticulous specificity, and patience--that's how you take on a mob. Not by waving a (metaphorical) noose at them.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:54 PM on September 2, 2014


as well as the one where we decry any explanations as 'feminism 101', 'trans 101' or 'racism 101' , which is just a disrespectful positioning of oneself as superior to another because of knowledge one possesses that another does not and a reluctance to share it.

Usually this is me positioning myself as superior to someone because a) I have lived experience in that realm that they don't or b) I have actually spent the time and effort to educate myself. People constantly use the "but if you don't educate me, how will I learn" thing as a derail and a way to force marginalized people to spend time and effort to educate their oppressors. A ton of people have already done that work; there are lots of primers around if you google for 101s on the topic at hand. A lot of the people who are "just looking for education" also won't accept the basic principles and will keep coming back to them; there's really not much use for me, as a feminist with a sociology background, to talk to someone who doesn't believe that, say, rape culture or patriarchy exists, because these people have such an incredibly skewed worldview that they are no longer living in the same world as me; not accepting basic, Sociology 101 level concepts is like not believing in climate change or evolution, and it's not worth my time.

Additionally, requiring that people keep going back and explaining the 101s of feminism, trans issues, racism, etc. really limits the level of discussion that can happen. This is especially problematic because a lot of how we look at those issues these days is hashed out informally online, in places like tumblr and twitter and feministing and all these other sites, because these marginalized groups often don't have access to academia and academia is often explicitly hostile towards certain theories. When these people drag the discourse down to their level, it's kind of like they're constantly asking astrophysicists to explain basic multiplication.

Also, the idea that we should constantly be educating is asking us to do work for free, and that's fucking bullshit. I have an academic education in feminism; I built a major in college around learning about feminism and its intersectional topics as well as I could in an academic topics across multiple disciplines, and I paid for that education in time and money. I've continued keeping up to date on it by reading about it, all the time, online and elsewhere. If someone wants me to explain this 101 type shit to them, they should respect that me doing so uses my time and my background, and they should offer to pay me.
posted by NoraReed at 3:55 PM on September 2, 2014 [36 favorites]


turned on

Speaking of meticulous wording...er, I think I meant "ganged up on".
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:56 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


There's nothing wrong with refusing to spend time, labor, and resources to be respectful to someone who's disrespecting you or to educate someone who's demonstrated they don't want to listen to you, never mind learn from you.

I agree with this 100%.

I truly believe the number of people lurking on MetaFilter who do want to listen, who do want to learn, and who do want to question their own assumptions and beliefs far outnumber the troll, bad faith, and MRA types, and I'm starting to wonder what would happen if the "educators" just ignored those people completely and instead chose to engage people they think have sincere questions or may be unaware of some obvious blind-spots and privilege.

I really understand how exhausting and emotionally-draining it must be a self-described educator but it must be just as bad to have constant fights in MetaFilter threads. I honestly don't see how things could be worse if long, drawn-out disagreements were simply nipped in the bud and people moved on to the interesting and productive conversations most of us are here for.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:57 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


I have an academic education in feminism; I built a major in college around learning about feminism and its intersectional topics as well as I could in an academic topics across multiple disciplines, and I paid for that education in time and money. I've continued keeping up to date on it by reading about it, all the time, online and elsewhere. If someone wants me to explain this 101 type shit to them, they should respect that me doing so uses my time and my background, and they should offer to pay me.

This is pretty close to the most willfully-blind-to-your-own-privilege statement I have ever seen written on Metafilter.
posted by crayz at 4:00 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


On -- of course -- the rare instance I don't preview, that wasn't a response to NoraReed, although I agree that no one here is required to respond to any comment or to educate anyone.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:03 PM on September 2, 2014


There's nothing wrong with refusing to spend time, labor, and resources to be respectful to someone who's disrespecting you...

The problem with this is that they never (okay, rarely) think they're being disrespectful to you. So it becomes a downward spiral of "I wasn't being disrespectful until you started it!" "Nuh uh! You disrespected me first!"

...or to educate someone who's demonstrated they don't want to listen to you, never mind learn from you.

This part I agree with. Walking away is (or at least should be) an option here. No one on MetaFilter can follow you down the street and refuse to let you step away from an argument.
posted by Etrigan at 4:03 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


The "stripped of details" topic of this thread seems to, in my estimation, revolve around the idea that one shouldn't make assumptions about other people in discussion, and should respond to only what is explicitly said. This has a sub-topic of "don't associate people with things they don't like" and "don't universalize about other people" but is muddied by the generalizations about the groups of people being accused of generalizing about other groups of people.

I think we're all hampered by the fact that the assumptions we accept are transparent to us, while the assumptions we don't accept are not.

I'm worried by a tendency I see of pushing back against generalization by... generalizing. For example, the OP framed this as people making it "us versus them" and then characterized one group as "outraged" and the other "as everyone else".

I fail to see how saying to a group of people, "You outraged people keep making it you versus everyone else" in any way counters or even examines us vs. them thinking; it's just the same kind of thinking dressed up as your purported opponent's fault.
posted by Deoridhe at 4:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is pretty close to the most willfully-blind-to-your-own-privilege statement I have ever seen written on Metafilter.

I dunno man, dismissing outrage toward something pretty much agreed upon as outrageous that has tangible, negative, and pretty much permanent effects as "when the internets duz it oh noes here comes the outrage machine!!" has to be right up there.
posted by cashman at 4:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


tonycpsu - I agree with you about crayz not coming off well (EC's post pretty much cleared that one up), but I was attempting to examine a seed of truth within his larger point, not get into that stuff again.
posted by naju at 4:05 PM on September 2, 2014


But I believe upthread people were discussing situations where everyone's 98% on board, and there's a disagreement with one aspect of something we're otherwise in agreement about. Those are the situations where it sometimes seems like people are repeatedly assigning bad faith and ill intentions on commenters who just see the issue at a slightly different angle, and aren't trying to obfuscate or deny injustice exists or anything.

I agree with this. I'm a pretty diehard feminist and get pretty upset when the usual arguments get thrown out against us ladies who are tired of being treated like objects. However, to me, crayz's comments didn't read as denying women's lived experiences, or the fact that women are systematically objectified, but that he was looking at this situation through a less macro scope. I read his comments more as "this woman is being sexually objectified, and the fact that she is a celebrity is exacerbating the situation."

A trend that I've noticed in many threads of this type, is the need of some users to argue only on a macro scale. Every article about a feminist issue must be discussed in terms of the larger social issues that effect women as a whole, and any attempt to discuss the specific facts related to the specific event is dismissed as a derail.

On a micro level, I do think that the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is a celebrity is a contributing factors as to why she is being treated with such little regard for her privacy. Yes, on a macro level, women are systematically treated as if we have no agency or right to our own body, but JLaw's individual experience also includes her presence in the cult of celebrity, and I don't think that it's unreasonable to point that out.

On a micro level, if naked pictures of Tom Hiddleston or Benedict Cumberbatch surfaced on the internet, the cult of celebrity would implode the internet in their attempts to view them. So yes, it could happen to a celebrity of any gender. On a macro level, the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is a women, and that women are continuously over-sexualized, can't be ignored.

Crayz seemed, to me, to be discussing the event on a micro scale of woman+celebrity = disregard for privacy. However, there were a great deal of users who didn't want the conversation to discuss anything but "macro scale women's issues that affect us all".

I would contend that both macro and micro scale views of this tragedy are valid and important.
posted by Shouraku at 4:08 PM on September 2, 2014 [35 favorites]


Sorry, we posted sort of simultaneously so this didn't load until after I'd posted:

I think Nora Reeds vehemence in that original thread was rude and kinda hateful.

You mean where I spent a long-ass paragraph talking about The Hunger Games and then explained that I make social choices based on who's likely to cause me harm and am happy to write off people who use women sexually without their consent in any way? Um, okay.

This is pretty close to the most willfully-blind-to-your-own-privilege statement I have ever seen written on Metafilter.

It would be if the people whining about education weren't almost always white men who are older than me, if I didn't make thoughtful posts about intersectional issues that people outside of SJ circles might find useful for explaining and defining their own experiences, and if I didn't explicitly discuss the problems with academic feminism in the previous fucking paragraph.
posted by NoraReed at 4:09 PM on September 2, 2014 [12 favorites]


Shouraku, the micro vs macro scale is a really good point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:11 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


It would be [privilege] if the people whining about education weren't almost always white men who are older than me

So what percentage of white men who are older than you do you believe had an opportunity to spend years of their life studying feminism at a university?
posted by crayz at 4:12 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have no idea, but I do know that it'd be super rude of me to demand that they explain basic concepts from their area of expertise, whether they paid for that education or got it through less conventional means, while simultaneously shitting on the basic principles of that discipline/hobby/area of interest.
posted by NoraReed at 4:19 PM on September 2, 2014 [49 favorites]


Let me exercise a bit of my own middle aged white middle class dude privilege here to speak up in support of NoraReed's point, crayz:

I, in contrast to NoraReed, have not spent any portion of my academic career, or my professional career, studying feminism or intersectionality. My only real exposure to that material has been here on metafilter. And nonetheless, I find the constant requests for patience and understanding and education from reactionary throwback defenders of the sexist, racist status quo in this country to be fucking tiresome. I cannot imagine how out of patience I'd be if I had to filter them every time I stuck my head into a thread concerning those issues.
posted by Ipsifendus at 4:21 PM on September 2, 2014 [47 favorites]


crayz, this thing you're doing where you take the vocabulary and turn it back on people is a classic tiresome derail.

(and seriously, "pretty close to the most willfully-blind-to-your-own-privilege statement I have ever seen written on Metafilter."? Do you read MetaFilter?)
posted by Etrigan at 4:25 PM on September 2, 2014 [25 favorites]


You mean where I spent a long-ass paragraph talking about The Hunger Games and then explained that I make social choices based on who's likely to cause me harm and am happy to write off people who use women sexually without their consent in any way? Um, okay.

No that part was aight. You did say pretty clearly that you thought anyone who had viewed the pictures at all was a bad person who you think is more likely to be a rapist. (specifically you said "I just assume everyone who intentionally looked at the photos is a bad person who doesn't give a shit about women's consent...I probably wouldn't want to be around dudes who look at this kind of shit, because I figure that people who don't care about the consent of the people in their pornography are more likely than average to rape me." I think that's miles beyond saying you think it is a creepy act, which many other people were saying there. Especially since one guy had just written a long mea culpa about looking at the pictures right before you did.

I mean that's up to you who you associate with and who you think is a bad person, but it came across as filled with hate rather than being constructive in any way, is all I'm saying. I think it should have been deleted. For the record it could be because I looked at the pics before reading the thread. I was curious, and I do agree now that it is an unethical thing to do. Maybe you are right about me (and my wife, who checked em out with me). If you're going to burn with hatred everyone who does anything unethical ever, you're going to be pretty lonely, imo.

But hey, at least you were on topic and said what you meant! I respect that a heck of a lot more than someone marching around challenging feminist assumptions just cuz.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:39 PM on September 2, 2014 [14 favorites]


[crayz, don't bring offsite drama here, period]
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:40 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Posting people's non-metafilter posts is not allowed in metatalk.
PS I am not a mod.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:41 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I believe in owning it publicly when I fuck up publicly, so - zarq, I was totally misreading you and I apologize.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:43 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


Since when? People posted Optimus Chyme's tweets about the site when he left.
posted by zarq at 4:44 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, and that's a thing that happened which was also pretty uncool.
posted by elizardbits at 4:45 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


^zactly
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:46 PM on September 2, 2014


"Zactly" > "This"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:46 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Since when? People posted Optimus Chyme's tweets about the site when he left.

And Artw's.
posted by lalex at 4:47 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Since when? People posted Optimus Chyme's tweets about the site when he left.

C'mon man, that's one example from years ago. Make a stronger case if you're going to make one at all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:47 PM on September 2, 2014


Oops. Ack! That was directed at PA, not EC!

So sorry!

EC, really, sincerely you don't need to apologize. It's fine. But thank you. I apologize if I gave you the impression I was targeting you in some way.

Elizardbits, good point. And in hindsight we sure don't need that additional drama here.
posted by zarq at 4:48 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


People posted Optimus Chyme's tweets about the site when he left.

Closing your account and beefing about the site is different from making a link between someone's real life/off-MeFi accounts based on profile information. They're different situations. I'm surprised this post got approved at all, to be honest.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:49 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


So it's cool for Mefites to bring Mefi arguments out into the public on Twitter & name specific posters, but it's not ok for those posters to use Mefi to respond to the Twitter criticism?

I mean if some random dude started name-calling me on Twitter based on something I said on Mefi, that would be completely ok to point out & respond to on Mefi. But if we know the person making the criticism *also* has a Mefi account, that is the aspect that makes it out of bounds for me to respond to on Mefi?
posted by crayz at 4:50 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


I mean that's up to you who you associate with and who you think is a bad person, but it came across as filled with hate rather than being constructive in any way, is all I'm saying. I think it should have been deleted. For the record it could be because I looked at the pics before reading the thread. I was curious, and I do agree now that it is an unethical thing to do. Maybe you are right about me (and my wife, who checked em out with me). If you're going to burn with hatred everyone who does anything unethical ever, you're going to be pretty lonely, imo.

I've just made the personal choice to make my social circle a small one of people I actually trust, even if that means it has less reach. I don't think I'm exactly burning with hatred, just a mix of disappointment and the fear that comes from being a woman living in a rape culture.

On a completely unrelated to feminism but brought up by the thread note, I think that "this", "^", "quoted for truth/qft", the various iterations of "I wish I had more favorites," and the other statements of general agreement would be an interesting topic for someone doing a linguistics project on where that kind of statement comes from (which websites each one is popular on, etc) and whether you can track the usage of them to estimate cross-pollination between those websites.
posted by NoraReed at 4:51 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yep crayz, if someone emails or has a facebook group or IM or other offsite mention of you, feel free to take it up with them, preferably in that other venue rather than drag it all here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:52 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


So it's cool for Mefites to bring Mefi arguments out into the public on Twitter & name specific posters, but it's not ok for those posters to use Mefi to respond to the Twitter criticism?

I have literally no idea why anyone who is not stirring shit up would have a problem with that.
posted by griphus at 4:52 PM on September 2, 2014 [15 favorites]


I got ^ from turntable.fm (RIP). It's probably an IRC chat thing though.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:52 PM on September 2, 2014


So it's cool for Mefites to bring Mefi arguments out into the public on Twitter & name specific posters, but it's not ok for those posters to use Mefi to respond to the Twitter criticism?

It's not "cool" but neither is it actionable in the MeFi universe. Yes, you have that correct.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:53 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have literally no idea why anyone who is not stirring shit up would have a problem with that.

he's just exploring all the grey areas, maaaan
posted by kagredon at 4:56 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


Yep crayz, if someone emails or has a facebook group or IM or other offsite mention of you, feel free to take it up with them, preferably in that other venue rather than drag it all here.

It seems like a pretty fucked idea of community where members of the community can go outside and talk shit about other members of the community in public, but then the person being talked shit on isn't allowed to point out this bad behavior to other members within the community.

I'm fairly sure if a Mefite started posting hateful anti-feminist things on Twitter targeting and naming specific feminists on Mefi, that would be brought up and made public pretty quickly - the idea that that person could say such things with impunity in public and it'd be "inadmissible" to point out this behavior within Mefi is pretty absurd.
posted by crayz at 4:58 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


So it's cool for Mefites to bring Mefi arguments out into the public on Twitter & name specific posters

What exactly is anyone supposed to do about it?
posted by shakespeherian at 4:59 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


It seems like a pretty fucked idea of community where members of the community can go outside and talk shit about other members of the community in public, but then the person being talked shit on isn't allowed to point out this bad behavior to other members within the community.


Seriously. Fucked. Up.
posted by 0 at 5:01 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


What exactly is anyone supposed to do about it?

Be allowed to post a link and comment on it here, given that it's a public statement about Metafilter by a member of this community regarding another member of the community.
posted by crayz at 5:01 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm fairly sure if a Mefite started posting hateful anti-feminist things on Twitter targeting and naming specific feminists on Mefi, that would be brought up and made public pretty quickly

This has happened before. We don't give people the satisfaction and attention they crave. People go on and on about how much they hate MetaFilter for various reasons on Twitter or Facebook. So be it, I'm glad it's not all noted and debated here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:02 PM on September 2, 2014 [18 favorites]


He wants to be allowed to respond to it on Metafilter. I understand why that is, and I also understand why the mods don't want it to happen. I don't think crayz is a bad guy for thinking its a shitty situation and don't understand the dogpile.
posted by Justinian at 5:02 PM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


(to be absolutely clear like I said I understand why Metafilter can't turn into the BRING UR FIGHTS HERE place)
posted by Justinian at 5:03 PM on September 2, 2014


Be allowed to post a link and comment on it here, given that it's a public statement about Metafilter by a member of this community regarding another member of the community.

So you want to start shit here in addition to someone else starting shit elsewhere?
posted by griphus at 5:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also the gist of the post was basically "I don't like this guy" which isn't exactly breaking news. Crayz you gotta chill out man, sometimes people just don't like you it's not the end of the world.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:05 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


I do understand the logic of why you would want to respond to MeFi trashtalk happening offsite on Metafilter. But - in my own opinion - responding at the site where it's happening has much more of an "I see what you're doing over here, you know" wallop.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:06 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


OK I mean if this is the decision as it stands, I'm going to be quite tempted to open a Twitter pseudonym and just name and talk shit on anyone here I think is being a jerk, because I guess that's something mods think is OK to just let occur with impunity. And no one will be able to even mention that I'm doing it because rules!1
posted by crayz at 5:06 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was at a dog park once and there was a puggle there who would avoid the big dogs until she got in a person's lap and then would bark away at the rotties and weimeraners and so forth. I am reminded of Mocha the puggle right now.
posted by griphus at 5:07 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


People are allowed to have lives outside metafilter, lives and thoughts and opinions and fucking everything. Not every single thing any member of this site does or says elsewhere on the internets needs to be viewed and dissected and discussed by other members of this site, yes, even if it pertains directly to them. The fact that this isn't really plainly understood is nervewracking, honestly.
posted by elizardbits at 5:07 PM on September 2, 2014 [24 favorites]


crayz, be the better person and ignore it. Rising to their bait almost always makes things worse.
posted by Mr. Six at 5:07 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hell, starting a Twitter account just to talk smack about other MeFites strikes me as an "enough rope" kind of thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:08 PM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


Be allowed to post a link and comment on it here, given that it's a public statement about Metafilter by a member of this community regarding another member of the community.

This seems like a great way to have a long derail about whether or not a particular Tumblr or Twitter account belongs to a particular member, which invites all sorts of worlds of shit.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:10 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


OK I mean if this is the decision as it stands, I'm going to be quite tempted to open a Twitter pseudonym and just name and talk shit on anyone here I think is being a jerk, because I guess that's something mods think is OK to just let occur with impunity. And no one will be able to even mention that I'm doing it because rules!

If you need attention, you can ask for it, I promise to listen without judgement.

If you need something to do, come by and help me paint upstairs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:10 PM on September 2, 2014 [23 favorites]


I'm going to be quite tempted to open a Twitter pseudonym and just name and talk shit on anyone here I think is being a jerk, because I guess that's something mods think is OK to just let occur with impunity.

Whoa there, why should the mods here have any control or say over what you or anyone else does on Twitter? That would be so wildly far out of the bounds of this internet relationship that everyone here in this community has consented to by signing up and participating that I don't even know what to tell you.

Anyway in all seriousness, please go ahead and do this thing because it might be a helpful sort of release valve for getting stuff out you can't really say here.
posted by elizardbits at 5:10 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


I guess that's something mods think is OK to just let occur with impunity

No, they told you how to handle it. They told you they don't think the tweet was "cool" (your word). They also told you they're not going to host a grudge match between you and that Twitter user.

If you do set up a psuedonym, try and get my name right, would you please? it's spelled "g-r-i-p-h-u-s".
posted by zarq at 5:12 PM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


Whoa there, why should the mods here have any control or say over what you or anyone else does on Twitter?

They have a say on who can post on Metafilter. If they have proven themselves shitty people who should not be here based on behavior outside the site, why allow them to post here?

(Obviously, not what occurred in this case. But as someone who once had a user here spam my personal blog with insults I'm not exactly crazy about the, "What could we possibly do?" type responses.)
posted by Drinky Die at 5:14 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jesus Drinky Die, I apologized for confusing you with carrot top, let it go!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:16 PM on September 2, 2014


Prop comedy sucks, damn it! Subtle and dry is the best comedy. The giant balloon bow tie is a fashion statement.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:18 PM on September 2, 2014


Drinky Die: "They have a say on who can post on Metafilter. If they have proven themselves shitty people who should not be here based on behavior outside the site, why allow them to post here?"

I think the idea is that, say, if I create a Bugbread twitter stream or whatever the fuck you call what you make in twitter, and then used it to say "User X is a big poopie head", nothing would happen. And if I made a twitter stream and used it to say "User X is a big poopie head and I'm going to go to his/her house and kill his/her pets", someone would bring it to mathowie's attention via email, Memail, the contact form, whatever, and mathowie would presumably decide whether or not that user should be banned (as well as whether or not it is possible to confirm if that's really the user). At no point would either of these scenarios necessitate everybody talking about the tweets on MeTa, but that's not the same as "nothing can happen in response to twitter".
posted by Bugbread at 5:22 PM on September 2, 2014 [14 favorites]


So yeah, this looks like a real case of the community just not being patient enough and reaching out enough to someone who was just dying to participate in a good faith conversation.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:28 PM on September 2, 2014 [38 favorites]


s/mathowie's attention/the FBI's attention/

The MetaFilter ban should really be a secondary consideration here...
posted by uosuaq at 5:28 PM on September 2, 2014


Ok, maybe death threat was the wrong example. But, whatever, something beyond the pale. Point being, the response to "not beyond the pale" ("on this side of the pale"?) would be "do whatever you want, your life outside of MeFi is your own", and "beyond the pale" would be "Matt or maybe the other mods would decide what to do". In neither case would the response be "argue about it on MeTa".
posted by Bugbread at 5:35 PM on September 2, 2014


And, this is all beside the point because grumbling that someone over on MeFi is chapping your ass is not something "beyond the pale" anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:41 PM on September 2, 2014


I was just being silly, Bugbread, not trying to nitpick. I think your point got across fine.
posted by uosuaq at 5:43 PM on September 2, 2014


i view my twitter as a service to the mefi mods. occasionally i need to get a little grraaaarrrrr out of my system and my shitty pithy one liners are far less disruptive on twitter than they would be in the thread. i'm pretty sure the number of comments i get deleted went down in conjunction with me opening my twitter account.
posted by nadawi at 5:45 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm talking shit about everyone in my mind right now and there's nothing you can do about it.
posted by naju at 5:47 PM on September 2, 2014 [15 favorites]


Nobody follows me in their mind :C
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:48 PM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


It seems like a pretty fucked idea of community where members of the community can go outside and talk shit about other members of the community in public, but then the person being talked shit on isn't allowed to point out this bad behavior to other members within the community.

Well, we can't control what happens off of Metafilter in any direct sense. Sometimes what happens off Metafilter is mefites or non-mefites talk shit about Metafilter stuff; sometimes they specifically do that in public or semi-public spaces, and personally I think that in particular is a crappy and drama-riffic thing to do. But people are people.

More rarely that somehow rises beyond the level of being just sort of obnoxious and uncool to being actual harassment type behavior, and that's about when it actually comes back around to Metafilter because that's where we start looking at banning someone for being unacceptably shitty toward other mefites.

In the mean time, and in basically every case, we tell people not to bring drama from offsite back on to Metafilter. That includes someone bothered by someone being a dick, or someone crowing about being a dick; it's a general "do not do this" sort of rule the enforcement of which is not picking a side.

So: this specific instance reads to me like one user being kind of a dick in public on Metafilter but that's about it; it's not great behavior but it's also not grounds for a banning. A banning is pretty much the point of interface between Metafilter and non-Metafilter, beyond the non-actionable stuff like a mod saying "that person was not being cool right there". Litigating it or looping it back into Metatalk isn't a good idea, again as a matter of course.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:49 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised this post got approved at all, to be honest.

If any part of the intended function of MetaTalk is to act as a pressure relief valve for the rest of the site, approving this post was an excellent decision.
posted by jamjam at 5:53 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


And, this is all beside the point because grumbling that someone over on MeFi is chapping your ass is not something "beyond the pale" anyway.

Except that there is a (at least one) group of people who get together and do this on Twitter, trash talk other members and encourage each other in this behavior, and then we have people, sometimes those same people, saying,"Gosh, there are no bullies ganging up on anyone here!"

Which is pretty shitty.
posted by misha at 5:54 PM on September 2, 2014 [11 favorites]


A few good themes came up in this thread, I thought, although maybe there was enough chaff that it's a wash in the end.
posted by uosuaq at 5:55 PM on September 2, 2014


Except that there is a (at least one) group of people who get together and do this on Twitter, trash talk other members and encourage each other in this behavior, and then we have people, sometimes those same people, saying,"Gosh, there are no bullies ganging up on anyone here!" Which is pretty shitty.

And the mods aren't stopping anyone from telling them that on Twitter. Or for reporting them to Twitter, if you think that warrants it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:58 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


Except that there is a (at least one) group of people who get together and do this on Twitter, trash talk other members and encourage each other in this behavior, and then we have people, sometimes those same people, saying,"Gosh, there are no bullies ganging up on anyone here!"

I get the whole 'don't call out someone in a thread that isn't about them' thing but there's been several now of this type of comment in this thread which is basically making an argument with such a vague and unnamed basis for its reasoning that it's impossible to refute and I find that to be kind of poor argumentation.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:58 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


I have in my hand the official list of the Cabal-
Whelk, The
Rory Marinich
George Wallace
Avery Edison
Dogboner
Thomas Violence
Steve Porno

wait no wait that is my recent favorites list, there is no cabal
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:00 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


OK I mean if this is the decision as it stands, I'm going to be quite tempted to open a Twitter pseudonym and just name and talk shit on anyone here I think is being a jerk, because I guess that's something mods think is OK to just let occur with impunity. And no one will be able to even mention that I'm doing it because rules!1

And just to be painfully clear, actually doing this is a terrible idea and rises, in degree and intent and premeditation, well above "person being sort of dickish in public about disliking another person" to "person actively baiting a whole bunch of people just to make a point". So maybe consider getting off that bus pronto if your interest here is something other than locating the actual point at which a person can be banned from Metafilter for intentionally fucking with mefites on social media.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:00 PM on September 2, 2014 [29 favorites]


Damn it, I always wanted to be part of a secret, shadowy cabal that does secret, shadowy things on a public network where anyone can read about them.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:02 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's spelled Rorgy Manwich, first of all.
posted by elizardbits at 6:03 PM on September 2, 2014 [13 favorites]


hell, there's a dude who i argue with from time to time on another site and he's known who i am over here for seemingly some time and then only revealed who he was here when he wanted to act like we were continuing our fighting from elsewhere, even though i didn't know who he was here. that's shitty and makes me feel shitty, but isn't really a mod issue so i just rolled my eyes and moved on.

and they're pretty consistent for members or non-members bringing drama here. once the subject of an fpp updated the text in the link from the fpp to call me out directly and i was told to not argue it in thread, even though it was at that point part of the post. i didn't agree at the time, but i totally get that it's not about being always the fairest they can be, but reducing drama, which is a fine goal for a moderator to have, i think.
posted by nadawi at 6:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


No, not just NoraReed's tweet. I personally didn't even see that Tweet, which I guess is what crayz postd that got deleted.

But Mefites trash talking about other members on Twitter is a thing that happens, yes.
posted by misha at 6:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


And BTW I find the deliberate attempt to track down someone's social media presence when they haven't provided it to be pretty awful. Especially in a discussion about a thread involving invasions of privacy and where someone has said stalker/harassment behavior has them worried about IRL repercussions.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


I do my cabal business via email

but seriously though, this is a common accusation, and while I do like/date/sleep with/befriend/annoy in person/admire/room with people from the site, I've never heard or encountered any kind of concerted campaign to...anything. This has literally never happened in my hearing or presence.

Gossip? Hells to the yes, people like talking about other people, both positive and negative (and sometimes both about the same person/people, and people often disagree).

Concerted, planned, coordinated, or pressure to participate in bullying? Nope.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Cabal: There is no cabal.
posted by Justinian at 6:04 PM on September 2, 2014


I'm fairly sure if a Mefite started posting hateful anti-feminist things on Twitter targeting and naming specific feminists on Mefi, that would be brought up and made public pretty quickly

This seems like a pretty good example of the reason that crayz' posts in the other thread were maybe not read in good faith. If one's go to argument that you're being treated unfairly is that feminists have it easy and are treated much better, it's hard to seriously think that anything else you say that could appear anti-woman is, in fact, misunderstood reasonableness.

Part of the trouble with having these kinds of conversation about how we should treat each other on Metafilter is that MetaTalk threads get started very often by people who feel aggrieved, without necessarily having examined why their particular case is not generalizable, or even, is only generalizable in exactly the opposite way to what they are arguing.
posted by OmieWise at 6:05 PM on September 2, 2014 [25 favorites]


zombieflanders: "BTW I find the deliberate attempt to track down someone's social media presence when they haven't provided it to be pretty awful"

I agree in principle, but if you're talking about NoraReed, she did provide it, in her profile.
posted by Bugbread at 6:08 PM on September 2, 2014


I haven't read everything yet. In fact, there are 33 new comments that have shown up while I was trying to read (and another 7 in the time it took me to write this). But I do want to make this point to the OP, who said:

In private discussions on and offline, I tend to debate from the direction I see un(der)-represented

So, basically, for you this is some sort of game or intellectual exercise. And for women, this is a horrible reality they suffer with everyday. What is some kind of, I don't know, casual entertainment on your part really is not casual or entertaining to people on the other side of this.

My oldest son is kind of like you in that he likes jerking the chains of other people just cuz it's entertaining. I will give you advice based on what he found works for him, after years and years of hearing his mother say "If you do x, people will respond with y. Don't come crying to me when they do y.":


This amounts to fucking with people for shits and grins. If you want to do that, it's your call. I suggest you either choose your topics more carefully so that playing Devil's Advocate doesn't come with significant consequences or you accept that it will get you some really, really negative reactions. And then don't whine about it when that happens. It's enormously, monstrously disrespectful to get your jollies by playing Devil's Advocate for entertainment purposes on topics where a great many people are seriously, deeply hurting because of actual life experiences related to those topics.
posted by Michele in California at 6:08 PM on September 2, 2014 [42 favorites]


Concerted, planned, coordinated, or pressure to participate in bullying?

AT THREE O FIVE WE ALL SAY "YOURE POOP" IN UNISON
posted by Greg Nog at 6:09 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


I only recently started using my twitter account again, but it's just been about how I started using my twitter account again thanks to a work meeting about social media. I guess I'm doing it wrong because I haven't been using it to talk shit about mefites? I use memail for that.
posted by rtha at 6:09 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


I agree in principle, but if you're talking about NoraReed, she did provide it, in her profile.

No, I'm talking about the apparent harassment of @elizardbits, who is not the same as the member of this site.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:11 PM on September 2, 2014


everyone pretend like my comment had a grammar

AT THREE O FIVE WE ALL SAY "YOURE POOP" IN UNISON

maybe no one invites me to do bullyings b/c I'm always late :(
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:11 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Greg Nog: "AT THREE O FIVE WE ALL SAY "YOURE POOP" IN UNISON"

Wait, which time zone?

zombieflanders: "No, I'm talking about the apparent harassment of @elizardbits, who is not the same as the member of this site."

Ah, ok. Thread moving too fast and confusing for me now.
posted by Bugbread at 6:12 PM on September 2, 2014


No, I'm talking about the apparent harassment of @elizardbits, who is not the same as the member of this site.

"don't bring offsite drama here, period" - matthowie
posted by crayz at 6:13 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I often feel like I should send her an apologetic fruit basket or something.
posted by elizardbits at 6:13 PM on September 2, 2014 [24 favorites]


I get the whole 'don't call out someone in a thread that isn't about them' thing but there's been several now of this type of comment in this thread which is basically making an argument with such a vague and unnamed basis for its reasoning that it's impossible to refute and I find that to be kind of poor argumentation.

Shakespeherian, I completely understand why you might feel this way, because you and I had an altercation once where it turned out I was making a wrong assumption. Which I apologized for at the time.

But, FWIW, I mentioned this very same thing happening (seeing a bunch of Mefites trash talking other members on Twitter), to cortex in an email a while ago on a completely unrelated issue.

So I am not just bringing this up now to create internet drama or anything. I am just saying that yes, I can verify that it is not some one-off thing.
posted by misha at 6:14 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


"don't bring offsite drama here, period" - matthowie

Wow, you're really proving your point effectively, I totally buy that you're not a creep, good job. Your arguments are really great you should go to law school
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:14 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


I often feel like I should send her an apologetic fruit basket or something.

It's really odd that when I complained that I wasn't allowed to talk about twitter posts about me, you said stfu that's the rules here. But then you've now made what 2-3 comments here about some twitter comment you believe was about you and posted by me?

So ... you're a complete hypocrite?
posted by crayz at 6:16 PM on September 2, 2014


crayz, I'm not sure what you're thinking at this point, but I was being pretty unambiguous right here and you need to make a decision immediately about which account you care about more. Cut that shit out and drop this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:17 PM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


So ... you're a complete hypocrite?

You got 'er! She's gonna drop to the ground shrieking and melting like the green lady from the Wizard Of Oz!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:17 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's really odd that when I complained that I wasn't allowed to talk about twitter posts about me, you said stfu that's the rules here. But then you've now made what 2-3 comments here about some twitter comment you believe was about you and posted by me?

she never said you posted it AFAIK

I don't read as closely as you probably so feel free to link/quote if I'm wrong
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:18 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


I didn't actually think or claim that it was posted by you? Not sure where that assumption came from on your part.
posted by elizardbits at 6:19 PM on September 2, 2014


And everybody else drop the twitter shit in general too, please. If we want to have a general discussion about mefi & social media etiquette some time that's fine but let's save it for another day and non-bizarre circumstances.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:19 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "I often feel like I should send her an apologetic fruit basket or something."

Bacon of the month club subscription?
posted by Chrysostom at 6:19 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


The wonderful thing about the Internet is how it has brung us all together.
posted by Bugbread at 6:19 PM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


Sometimes I am not quite sure if someone's MeTa convinces me they are an asshole. I find though that the assholes eventually prove hellbent on removing any doubt I had whatsofuckingever.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:19 PM on September 2, 2014 [14 favorites]


Also, weird, "brung" is not in my spellchecker.
posted by Bugbread at 6:20 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


OK I mean if this is the decision as it stands, I'm going to be quite tempted to open a Twitter pseudonym and just name and talk shit on anyone here I think is being a jerk

Is there no respect for the old ways any more? You're supposed to threaten to shock someone or cut off a hand or fight quonsar to the death. Jesus, people! Don't make me raise my cane.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:20 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


You got 'er! She's gonna drop to the ground shrieking and melting like the green lady from the Wizard Of Oz!

Helpful.
posted by Mr. Six at 6:23 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


[A few comments removed; everybody drop it means everybody drop it, please refresh the page to make sure you're not responding to stuff that isn't there.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:23 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jesus fucking Christ. I go volunteer for three hours and this thread gets extremely weird. Can we go back to sniping at each other about feminism?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:23 PM on September 2, 2014


Nice try but everyone knows quonsar cannot be killed
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:23 PM on September 2, 2014


Can we go back to sniping at each other about feminism?

BUT WHAT ABOUT MEN?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:25 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hey we're back! All-right!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:26 PM on September 2, 2014


BUT WHAT ABOUT MEN?!

You forgot the "Z" at the end, man. You'll never be admitted to the cabal on the basis of such lackluster efforts.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:26 PM on September 2, 2014


refresh the page to make sure you're not responding to stuff that isn't there

This is like a mantra with which to live a better life!
posted by OmieWise at 6:28 PM on September 2, 2014


Names need to be named!


Unless one of them is mine!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:29 PM on September 2, 2014


I'm surprised this post got approved at all, to be honest.

If any part of the intended function of MetaTalk is to act as a pressure relief valve for the rest of the site, approving this post was an excellent decision.


Wait, did I miss something? I was under the impression Metatalk posts did not need approval?
posted by Drinky Die at 6:29 PM on September 2, 2014


Ever since the mod staff-down, there's a permanent MetaTalk queue.
posted by KathrynT at 6:30 PM on September 2, 2014


We turned the queue on full-time (vs. the previous occasional vacation break) back at the end of May to help deal with staffing down. I'd prefer a queue-less system with enough spare mod energy to really just be on Metatalk like a hawk responsively, but that's not where we are right now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:31 PM on September 2, 2014


Yes, you missed something.
posted by Michele in California at 6:31 PM on September 2, 2014




Wait, did I miss something? I was under the impression Metatalk posts did not need approval?

Sit down son, we need to talk about a few things...

The MeTa queue is always on now, this happened back around when layoffs happened.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:32 PM on September 2, 2014




I know about the queue, but I was under the impression everything would post from it eventually, which is why talk of approval is confusing me.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:33 PM on September 2, 2014


That is the happiest goat I've seen in weeks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:33 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]




Maybe we don't want to be exposed to goat.
posted by elizardbits at 6:34 PM on September 2, 2014


I'm just not goat watching like I did when I was younger. I probably don't see more than two or three a week at this point.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:34 PM on September 2, 2014


Have we had enough ugly fights, lulls, new fights, seeming peace, then additional fights that we can get to the part where I tell you I love all youse guys and I lament how I wish there was some way we could all get together at my place for homemade Romanian hooch? Because I like that part. I'm ready.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:34 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


The goat is winking at me. And no, that's not a euphemism.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:35 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Have we had enough ugly fights, lulls, new fights, seeming peace, then additional fights that we can get to the part where I tell you I love all youse guys and I lament how I wish there was some way we could all get together at my place for homemade Romanian hooch? Because I like that part. I'm ready.

We're only like five hours away! Next time we go up to Chicago we should trade Romanian hooch for homebrewed cider
posted by Greg Nog at 6:37 PM on September 2, 2014


MetaTalk, or Who Is Sylvia?
posted by griphus at 6:38 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not necessarily related to this thread but just as a heads-up, users who don't want their mefi usernames publicly associated with their twitter handles might want to think about delisting their twitter accounts from their mefi profiles, at least temporarily.

I don't want to fan any flames but I think it's really important that people (especially those who have been active in this thread) know that they should probably think about doing this if they need to keep those accounts separate.
posted by dialetheia at 6:40 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


That is one charming motherfucking goat.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:40 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is a link to Cortex's comment in which he links to that thread.

Okay thanks, this is a link to my comment in that thread so you can be clear I'm aware of it. If this post is an example of the sort of "problem" with a thread that should lead to it not being approved, then I have to reiterate my opposition to having a queue at all when that becomes possible. Burying a thread like this is exactly what I was concerned about. It was not my understanding at the time that this was the purpose of the queue.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:41 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yahtzee
posted by shakespeherian at 6:41 PM on September 2, 2014


We're only like five hours away! Next time we go up to Chicago we should trade Romanian hooch for homebrewed cider

You have yourself a deal.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:42 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


we could all get together at my place for homemade Romanian hooch?

Please tell me you are not talking about țuică because that shit is nasty (imho).
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:42 PM on September 2, 2014


I love the goat winking!

I use twitter to see pictures of strangers' cats and ponds and terraces and rpg miniatures. I feel like based on this thread I am doing it right.
posted by winna at 6:43 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


jessamyn this is serious please stop making zalgo font
posted by Greg Nog at 6:43 PM on September 2, 2014 [13 favorites]


Burying a thread like this is exactly what I was concerned about.

And yet, the thread is here, and was approved quickly after it went into the queue, so what do you oppose exactly?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:43 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


is that the plum death thing
posted by elizardbits at 6:43 PM on September 2, 2014


Drinky Die, you do realize the thread was posted, right? Put the glue sniffer down and give it to me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:44 PM on September 2, 2014


Nice try but everyone knows quonsar cannot be killed

Technically, it's not true that quonsar can't be killed, it's just that he doesn't stay dead afterwards.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 6:44 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I just had a comment removed from this thread and I have absolutely no idea why. This place has jumped the fuckin' shark.
posted by gman at 6:44 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


No wait, I'm thinking of palinka. So deadly.
posted by elizardbits at 6:45 PM on September 2, 2014


Goddamn felching high school up in this mother.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 6:46 PM on September 2, 2014


Bugbread: "This is a link to Cortex's comment in which he links to that thread."

Drinky Die: "Okay thanks, this is a link to my comment in that thread so you can be clear I'm aware of it."

This is a link to a comment where I clarify that I was just riffing on people linking things.

posted by Bugbread at 6:46 PM on September 2, 2014


And yet, the thread is here, and was approved quickly after it went into the queue, so what do you oppose exactly?

A moderator has suggested she would not have approved it. I am disagreeing with her and glad that other moderators disagreed. I am hoping this continues in the future. Good night!
posted by Drinky Die at 6:46 PM on September 2, 2014


Yeah, I just had a comment removed from this thread and I have absolutely no idea why.

It's cause you mentioned Twitter and that's not cool man, not cool at all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 PM on September 2, 2014


A moderator has suggested she would not have approved it.

Yeah sorry I have some other bad news for you.....
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:48 PM on September 2, 2014 [62 favorites]


A moderator has suggested she would not have approved it.

Jessamyn retired to the beaches of a library on the beach.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:48 PM on September 2, 2014


Drinky Die: "A moderator has suggested she would not have approved it."

Who?
posted by Bugbread at 6:49 PM on September 2, 2014


Ok but I think an ex-mod is entitled to their non-site-affecting opinion though.
posted by elizardbits at 6:49 PM on September 2, 2014


Ah, ok, whoops.
posted by Bugbread at 6:49 PM on September 2, 2014


Please tell me you are not talking about țuică because that shit is nasty (imho).

Yup, that's the stuff.

is that the plum death thing


No wait, I'm thinking of palinka. So deadly.


Same stuff. Palinka is the Hungarian name.

Although I'm generally a mild-mannered craft beer guy, for some reason my taste in liquor tends towards the hard-to-endure. I'm also a big fan of Unicum Zwack.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:49 PM on September 2, 2014


This is some Buster Keaton shit in here.
posted by griphus at 6:50 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "It's cause you mentioned Twitter and that's not cool man, not cool at all."

Oh, no, now you said Twitter!

Oh, now I said Twitter!

(Okay, somebody help me figure out what Monty Python sketch this exchange is vaguely reminding me of. It's not the stoning scene from Life of Brian, it's something else, but I can't remember.)
posted by Bugbread at 6:51 PM on September 2, 2014


Drinky Die, what we said in that thread about the intentions for the queue is what the intentions for the queue are: not to bury problematic-but-not-total-meltdown threads, just to give us time to plan for trickier stuff based on availability and how busy the site is.

cribcage's comment above re: checking in with a user about problematic framing before approval is something we actually have done a couple times since the queue started to generally good effect (basically "hey, can we fix minor but really distracting aspect x?" on one hand, and "hey, it's fine to post about this but your current framing is so off the mark that we'd have deleted it if there was no queue, please try rewriting it differently" on the other); I considered it in this case but it didn't feel like a situation where crayz was feeling particularly accommodating and I'd prefer that the stuff boiling over in the thread on the blue come here instead, so I just put it through as is.

A moderator has suggested she would not have approved it.

I value Jess' opinion like crazy and if she were being paid to be on the receiving end of it still I'd have probably buttonholed her on IM about it at the time to discuss the reservations I did have, but one of the parts of us moving on with this whole weird staffing situation is her not being a mod anymore and me not asking her to volunteer for some of the worst parts of the job after she's left it, so when we disagree about specific mefi stuff it's probably gonna happen in metatalk threads more than it used to. Which is weird and takes getting used to but it's not fair to either her or to us to expect her comments to be statements of policy or whatever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:51 PM on September 2, 2014 [12 favorites]


oh god palinka was the stuff my dad and his buddies used to sneak to the garage to drink in tiny little glasses and then yell hungarian swears about russians
posted by elizardbits at 6:52 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Hungarian swears are the finest I know.

Az isten bassza meg! That one means "God should fuck it."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:54 PM on September 2, 2014 [13 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that someone needs to do a FPP about deadly Central European booze and how to make/ obtain it. If nothing else, I'm pretty sure this discussion would make more sense if I'd had some palinka/ țuică. I have had a glass of white wine, and now I'm confused and befuddled, which I suspect has nothing to do with the wine.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:56 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


This place has jumped the fuckin' shark.

Goat, man. Jumped the fuckin' goat.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:56 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


oh god palinka was the stuff my dad and his buddies used to sneak to the garage to drink in tiny little glasses and then yell hungarian swears about russians

I'll see your palinka and raise you krupnik. I did a single shot at a friend's wedding and it got me from stone sober straight through to full-on drunk in only ten seconds.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:56 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah sorry I have some other bad news for you.....

Forever in my book!
posted by Drinky Die at 6:57 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I remember watching movies in English with Romanian subtitles and every swear word was replaced with "dracul." I think Zwack is mildly more drinkable and has better branding.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:57 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was going to come here to defend the Devil's Advocate.

However, first, "This is some Buster Keaton shit in here." WTF, griphus? Either I completely missed something or you and I have a very different understanding of the man.

But back to DA - dude is responsible for every con in every pros-and-cons list ever! That's a meaningful legacy.

So, my point is, some of this has been productive.

On preview, "God should fuck it" is all I will be saying in the next couple of weeks. One wonders if the Korda brother's said "Az isten bassza meg!"about their competitors' movie or obstinate costume designer's suggestions.

How did this become about movies?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:58 PM on September 2, 2014


This thread has been keeping me from continuing reading Dracula tonight and I am mildly frightened.
posted by griphus at 6:58 PM on September 2, 2014


I'll see your palinka and raise you krupnik. I did a single shot at a friend's wedding and it got me from stone sober straight through to full-on drunk in only ten seconds.

My uncle brought back some rakija from his time in Bulgaria, and that shit will put you on your ass right quick.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:59 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Rakija = palinka = țuică = slivovitz.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:02 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have one -- ONE -- experience with slivovicz, which was profound enough that I have never had to look up how to spell it again.
posted by KathrynT at 7:03 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


I did a single shot at a friend's wedding and it got me from stone sober straight through to full-on drunk in only ten seconds.

On this subject, did you know that there are higher alcohols more intoxicating than ethanol? For example, tert-amyl alcohol, which according to wikipedia "produces euphoria, sedative, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant effects similar to ethanol through ingestion or inhalation. It is active in doses of 2,000–4,000 mg, making it 20 times more potent than ethanol". That's like an effective 4000 proof.
posted by Pyry at 7:03 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


except apparently there's more than one way to spell it!
posted by KathrynT at 7:03 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Let's all do a meetup in my rec room and we'll do shots of terrifying Eastern European booze and dance to Goran Bregovic records.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [15 favorites]


"'The night is chill, mein Herr, and my master the Count bade me take all care of you. There is a flask of slivovitz (the plum brandy of the country) underneath the seat, if you should require it.'"
posted by griphus at 7:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ah! I said it again!
posted by ChuraChura at 7:06 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Goran Bregovic - Alkohol
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:07 PM on September 2, 2014


Ok but I think an ex-mod is entitled to their non-site-affecting opinion though.

Best privately conveyed to the current mods unless she wished to cast doubt on their judgement and undercut their authority, I would have thought.
posted by jamjam at 7:15 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Contrary to popular wisdom, I've made friends with salad.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 7:20 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


ChuraChura: "Ah! I said it again! yt"

Okay, now I'm super embarrassed. What am I going to do, follow that up with "I have this song about Yellow Submarines stuck in my head. Who sang this little-known song?" "Hey guys, what was the name of that guy who led Germany in World War II?"
posted by Bugbread at 7:22 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


If it makes you feel better I once publicly lamented the injustice of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci not getting anything named after him like all the other explorers.
posted by elizardbits at 7:24 PM on September 2, 2014 [28 favorites]


is this the point in the thread where I start yelling about how Jonathan Harker is the worst because he is terrible

also I recently read Frankenstein and it is at least 3x better and 5x gayer than Dracula
posted by NoraReed at 7:25 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


unless she wished to cast doubt on their judgement and undercut their authority

I stand behind the mods and they know that and I should hope everyone else does. That doesn't mean we don't sometimes have differing opinions. My expressing surprise that this thread was approved was only that, expressing surprise. If I wanted to start shit with Team Mod

1. You'd know, it wouldn't be oblique and/or subtle and/or passive-aggressive
2. I'd probably go for a walk instead because I know what a shit job this can be and they are all my friends. My desires would reflect more crappily on me than on them and would be better left unrequited.

Apologies if my intent seemed unclear. I hope this clarifies things.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:28 PM on September 2, 2014 [25 favorites]


also I recently read Frankenstein and it is at least 3x better and 5x gayer than Dracula

Fifteen times better, you say.
posted by griphus at 7:29 PM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


I think betterness x gayness = bestness
posted by NoraReed at 7:32 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why are the mods forcing jessamyn to be subtle and passive-aggressive when she's not even looking for this fight? That's what I want to know.
posted by uosuaq at 7:35 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


My girlfriend's mother once came over to our apartment and saw we had slivovitz. She had never heard of it before, so I poured her a shot, with considerable trepidation. She sipped it, and, in moments, it was gone.

"Smooth," she said, approvingly.

We now suspect she is secretly a superhero.
posted by maxsparber at 7:39 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


more Hungarian swears please

In a bar once a Bosnian taught me an Eastern European(?) phrase that translated roughly to "I will make the sound wolves make when they come out of the forest."

He could have been fucking with me- I've googled for it relentlessly with no luck - but it's my favorite phrase ever. I'm particularly fond of saying it in business meetings that aren't going well. "God should fuck it" is definitely going into that queue of things to say on said meetings and conference calls. And powerpoint presentations.
posted by barchan at 7:44 PM on September 2, 2014


What the heck happened here while I ate dinner? Everyone needs a hug.
posted by Justinian at 7:44 PM on September 2, 2014


Yeah, I mean - Jessamyn is a member. Members have a right to express opinions in MetaTalk, even if they are former mods.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:45 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is this another one of those things where my joke doesn't get across?
posted by uosuaq at 7:52 PM on September 2, 2014


uosuaq: "Is this another one of those things where my joke doesn't get across?"

Naw, people are talking about jamjam's comment, not yours.
posted by Bugbread at 7:54 PM on September 2, 2014


You were fine, uosuaq, I was still responding to jamjam's comment.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:55 PM on September 2, 2014


Oh cool, thanks guys. I do sometimes make jokes I can barely understand myself, so wanted to be sure.
posted by uosuaq at 8:00 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe you are right about me (and my wife, who checked em out with me). If you're going to burn with hatred everyone who does anything unethical ever, you're going to be pretty lonely, imo."

I think moving from what a woman has said about the boundaries she draws about the men she keeps company with to saying that she will burn with hatred and be lonely is really obnoxious. I've appreciated a lot of what you have posted in this thread, Potomac Avenue, but this bit sort of reeks.

A woman can make judgment about men and what constitutes a warning flag for her without being full of hate (even when that warning flag applies to you). And even if her judgment eliminates many men from her intimate circles, that doesn't mean she'll be lonely.

(I am pro palinka).
posted by Salamandrous at 8:06 PM on September 2, 2014 [30 favorites]


How about "you lost me there" instead of "this bit sort of reeks"?
posted by uosuaq at 8:20 PM on September 2, 2014


Okay, somebody help me figure out what Monty Python sketch this exchange is vaguely reminding me of.

It's the one with the mattress salesman who flips out if he hears the word "mattress".
posted by Daily Alice at 8:21 PM on September 2, 2014


All this talk about fruit brandies makes me want some kirsch, which I've never had, but I love cherries and anything cherry-inflected. It also brought to mind applejack, which brought to mind the Jack Rose cocktail, and which led to the Rose cocktail -- which includes kirsch. Mmm.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:23 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


It did kind of reek though. It's okay to point that out.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:23 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


Rakija = palinka = țuică = slivovitz.

Wait that is what you all are complaining about? A friend had a rooftop party a few weeks ago in downtown TO, and all I had lying around was a bottle of slivovitz. So I brought it, and drank the majority of a bottle that night. The only problematic aspect was that I got into an argument with dude-I-don't-know about 23-and-me and our host later told me that occasionally her conversation would just quiet down and listen to me argue, being impressed.

So naturally I assume it was all the slivovitz, because that shit is not normal. Y'all are clearly wusses. And the slivovitz was much better than the last party she held, in which a wonderfully attractive person convinced me to make whiskey, white wine, and orange bitters cocktails. And drink them. Ooof.

Also thank you Mefites for you comments in the 8-month old 23 and me thread, I used them to good if drunkenly half-remembered effect.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:25 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Let us stipulate that it reeks. But how about "you lost me there, let's try again"?
posted by uosuaq at 8:34 PM on September 2, 2014


IF, theJack Rose gets its color from grenadine (made from pomegranate) not kirsch.
posted by brujita at 8:37 PM on September 2, 2014


Yeah, I know? Kirsch is clear, anyway, and isn't in the Jack Rose, which uses applejack. But the Rose cocktail uses kirsch. It gets its color from one of those syrups, depending upon the recipe. The one I linked, raspberry.

But I understand that kirsch has cherry notes. Which, really, I like cherry so much I'd probably be happy with a cherry liqueur, but I especially like the idea of a more subtle cherry brandy and especially in an interesting drink. I think I first heard of the Jack Rose here on MeFi as an example of a past very popular cocktail that is little-known these days (though making a modest comeback).

I just like the whole idea of fruit brandies. I dunno why.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:46 PM on September 2, 2014


Okay, somebody help me figure out what Monty Python sketch this exchange is vaguely reminding me of.

-- It's the one with the mattress salesman who flips out if he hears the word "mattress".


Reminds me of the "don't mention the war" episode of "Fawlty Towers"
posted by Stoatfarm at 8:58 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


everyone you disagree with isn't a rapist So, this has been bugging me. Some people with whom I disagree might, in fact, be rapists. Not everyone I disagree with is a rapist. Thank goodness, because rape is a genuinely terrible thing. Also, grammar is your friend.
posted by theora55 at 8:59 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


Let us stipulate that it reeks. But how about "you lost me there, let's try again?"

A thing I notice sometimes in MeTa and MeFi posts about feminism is a sort of insistence that people should be nicer to men who say shitty things. Potomac Avenue in this case said a shitty thing. You're appearing to insist that people be nicer to him about it. Why?

It would have been totally fine if Salamandrous had, instead of saying "sort of reeks," said "you lost me there, let's try again." But "sort of reeks" was plenty nice under the circumstances, and insisting people coddle the feelings of someone who said a shitty thing--especially a man who says a shitty thing about a woman in a thread concerning feminism issues--is super tone deaf.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:59 PM on September 2, 2014 [27 favorites]


Are we doing that thing again where we're all presuming the worst in each other even though we mostly agree? Because that sucks.
posted by naju at 9:08 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess my comment's not making things better. Mea culpa.
posted by naju at 9:20 PM on September 2, 2014


naju, did you really need to use the word "sucks"? Seems like you could have used the phrase "it doesn't sit well with me" instead. ;)
posted by futz at 9:20 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


Haha. Point taken.
posted by naju at 9:21 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Also, grammar is your friend."

That statement's meaning wasn't dependent upon grammar in the way that you think; it's really not a question of grammar. Language isn't math and it's a mistake to analyse sentences as if they were propositional statements in a formal system. The statement you quoted may or may not be understood as it was intended by a given community of native English speakers. English grammar itself is pretty ambiguous about this sort of thing -- scope of negation and interactions of negation are complicated and often uncertain. I can see this example as either widely understood (especially in context) or a genuine misstatement arising from a clumsy negation. But converting it to a statement in categorical logic to determine which are the correct "grammatical" forms isn't going to work, just like double negatives are often intensified, not nullified. As I said, language isn't math.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:06 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: "double negatives are often intensified, not nullified"

By "not nullified", do you mean "not nullified" or do you mean "intensely nullified"?

(Just kidding)
posted by Bugbread at 10:11 PM on September 2, 2014


Not sure if it makes my comment reek less but my point wasn't just that it eliminates men from her circles of friends, but all human beings ever, not a single one of whom has never done an unethical thing. People do bad shit. We fail a lot. It's up to her of course which failures she sees as unforgivable, but that doesn't make it less hateful in my eyes. (Definitely partly cuz it hurts a bit for a poster you admire to call you a bad person!)

Perhaps I am wrong and she is pals with a group of perfect specimens of moral wonderfulness. I hope so! Maybe they live together in a house in San Francisco with three or (four?)adorable blond children, and the Beach Boys play Kokomo in their kitchen everyday. Whatever happened to predictability? Anyway I'm going back to bed before I stink up the place any further.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:03 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is getting weirdly directly personal and gratuitous with sarcastic fantasies of what someone's home life is like (not to mention expanding the comment far beyond what was actually said), and it needs to stop.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:27 AM on September 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


Would it help to frame it as 'risk assessment' which is something women are not only expected to be perfect at, but to never ever mention that they do? I have a similar risk assessment in my day to day life - if you prove, through your acts (one of which would be the porn you consume) that women's consent is option, or not even something you think about, then I would be wary.

Do you want to know why? I got it wrong once before and I don't want to pay the price for naive trust ever again.
posted by geek anachronism at 12:32 AM on September 3, 2014 [37 favorites]


I totally framed it as risk assessment, too. I mean, I also think that people who choose to perpetuate abuse by looking at unconsentually obtained pornography are bad and should feel bad, but the main thing is that I just don't want to spend time with people I don't feel safe around, and if you don't consider or care about consent in one case it's likely that will follow to other areas of your life as well.

I live in a non-idyllic apartment in an increasingly idyllic neighborhood and spend what social time I have with people who I trust, people who don't push my or other people's boundaries, people who generally try to limit their microaggressions, etc. Not everyone is in a position to limit their social circle thusly, and plenty of us, including myself, have put trust in people who have betrayed us in varied ways, from gaslighting to harassment to stalking to assault or coersion. I know that locking people out of my life who behave in ways I deem risky limits my social circle. I know that a lot of people are in living or work situations where they don't have the privilege that I have to do so.

But I am in a place right now where I can choose to opt out of situations where I have to push down that sense of nauseating dread that comes with waiting for a male "friend" to drop misogynistic joke or give an unwanted hug or for a straight friend to casually drop a homophobic slur.

I'm a lot happier for it. I never had fun at those kind of parties anyway.
posted by NoraReed at 12:56 AM on September 3, 2014 [21 favorites]


I don't think we need to argue the pros and cons of anyone's personal choices of whom they choose to hang out with. Insofar as this thread can be useful at all, it's better to stick with the topic of how we handle discussion on the site. Or Hungarian distilled beverages and/or swears is fine, too, if we're done with the Metafilter-specific conversation.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:14 AM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


Sorry about that, taz. I'm just not fond of being called hateful for this kind of thing, and every once in a while the explanation that women assess how risky a person is to spend time with actually manages to get through to someone.
posted by NoraReed at 1:26 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


I get it, but the personal-directed conversation here is something that can get wildly out of hand. It's better to discuss the topic itself in the actual thread, and specific aspects of site policy, moderation, discussion and engagement here in Metatalk.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:40 AM on September 3, 2014


Also, I should maybe say, "extended" or "continued" personal directed conversation. Things come up, they are responded to, and they aren't always purely on point in terms of being site-policy specific, and that's a thing that happens, but the discussion here on Metatalk should not become a debate about anybody's personal life, as opposed to what they are doing or saying on the site. In the blue, if folks want to introduce their personal experiences to illustrate what they mean, that's certainly fine (within reason, of course) and has often provided context for some very meaningful in-depth discussion.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:52 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


taz, I understand why you want to keep the thread on track. But removing the personal aspect of the conversation, I agree with NoraReed that this is all quite relevant to the conversation we're having, and found her follow-up explanation helpful.

Among other things, crayz took issue here and in the other thread with whether or not people were over-reacting to the story and making bad faith arguments. An explanation of why some folks responded in a particular way when challenged is valuable. And NoraReed is right: risk assessment is a very real factor in the every day lives of women and that shouldn't be dismissed or ignored. It's pretty understandable that any woman might feel threatened by anyone who has shown through their actions that they do not place a value on consent when it comes to privacy, nudity, bodily autonomy and/or sex. This story touches upon all of those issues. It's also one more example of how men and women have very different day-to-day concerns, living in Western societies.

That said... everyone, male and female alike, has unexamined biases and we are capable of maturing past them. Personally, I prefer to try to give people the benefit of the doubt in that regard -- at least once or twice. But then, male privilege affords a certain amount of protection against reprisals.
posted by zarq at 7:22 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


the discussion here on Metatalk should not become a debate about anybody's personal life, as opposed to what they are doing or saying on the site.

what NoraReed is doing and saying on the site strikes me as massively offensive abd bad faith which is to inject into discussions a very pointed statement that she would not attend a MeFi meet up with certain people... because of what they have said on thissite the risk of them raping her is too high for her to feel safe around them..." At least I think that's what this person is saying? if so, it's poisonous and absurd and should not be allowed by the moderators but I'm pretty sure it keeps being said.
posted by jayder at 7:27 AM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Uhh I was just making a Full House reference to lighten the mood and in fact make it explicitly impersonal rather than more personal. I'm sure NoraReed has friends and is a regular person. Me posting while half-asleep obviously is a bad idea. Sorry Nora! I don't think you are hateful at all, merely that the statement you made was. Any more thoughts I have about that I will memail you if you are interested.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:30 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


sorry it hurts your feelings that women live in a world where we're constantly in danger of sexual harassment and assault and also somehow responsible for keeping that from happening to us. it is absurd to call her comment hateful. women do this type of risk assessment constantly.
posted by nadawi at 7:33 AM on September 3, 2014 [32 favorites]


So, jayder, is there anything anyone could say on this site that would make you not want to hang out with them? Honest question.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:35 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


what NoraReed is doing and saying on the site strikes me as massively offensive abd bad faith which is to inject into discussions a very pointed statement that she would not attend a MeFi meet up with certain people... because of what they have said on thissite the risk of them raping her is too high for her to feel safe around them...

When did she say this? I don't presume to speak for her, but in the comment that can most clearly be read that way, I'm preeeety sure by "IRL" she meant, you know, "in real life," not "MeFi IRL." And beyond that, what would be wrong with avoiding MeFi IRL meetups attended by people from whom you would expect unpleasantness, never mind the threat of rape?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:36 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jayder, there's nothing wrong with someone saying that.
posted by introp at 7:36 AM on September 3, 2014


jayder, if I may direct you to this 844-comment thread from 2009, it may explain what NoraReed is actually saying when she speaks of risk assessment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:36 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was dreading wondering when the thread would get to the point where women's concepts around discussion of lack of consent, harassment, and violence in a culture steeped in it would be dismissed as invalid.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:37 AM on September 3, 2014 [15 favorites]


At least I think that's what this person is saying?

That wasn't my take. There's a difference between "I might not want to be around these people" and "I think one of them would criminally assault me" but this is, again, one of the weird issues with discussions of gender issues and safety. I can only speak for myself, but there is always a calculus of "How safe am I going to be at this thing?" that goes into deciding to do basically anything with other people I don't know very well, but safety is a spectrum ranging from "Having my politics constantly challenged in an obnoxious way" or "Sitting too close to me" to "Might try to start some shit" and "Might hurt me" and then you decide how much you want to get involved in a particular activity after you've thought about the risk. And some people are more cautious than others. And some people are more sensitive than others.

And this is a thing that my experience has led me to believe that many if not most women deal with at some level. And yet it's also not a thing that gets talked about out loud that much because then the very act of doing this gets picked apart by internet nitpickers as if we're casting aspersions about other people just by being concerned for our own safety. And the fact that this happens and we can't just talk about how dangerous things can be (and get into a long "Whatcha reading" discussion about how normal safe-seeming situations can turn dangerous very quickly and without warning) is part of the overall problem.

And then we're back to the crappy title of this post and the "Oh so you think I am a rapist, huh?" absolute nonsense. I know it's a weird thing to say but compared to worrying about getting raped/assaulted, I'd prefer worrying about people thinking I might rape/assault them. At least that way I could work on my own behavior/actions/impressions/attitudes and let them speak for themselves. That's not really an option I have, the risk exists for me no matter what I do. It's a bit tiring.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:37 AM on September 3, 2014 [65 favorites]


Nadawi: This was the comment I was calling hateful (ie filled with hate): ""I just assume everyone who intentionally looked at the photos is a bad person who doesn't give a shit about women's consent." Not the part about choosing not who hang out with. I agree that is pretty much a regular thing that happens. All of her other comments in this thread are totally not offensive too, and I appreciate her taking the time to chat about it. I understand her position a lot better now. Anywho.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:38 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia's recipe ( the one I've seen in cocktail guides and the kind I've always had to drink) says Jack Rose is applejack, grenadine and lemon or lime juice. Sometimes it has a cherry as garnish.

I hate cherries and wouldn't drink it if it were made with kirsch.
posted by brujita at 7:40 AM on September 3, 2014


if someone shows they aren't bothered by lack of consent in one area, i will wonder how far that lapse goes and i will file that info away in my head as part of the constant safety calculus that comes with being a woman. i do not consider that hateful and find it confusing that some do.
posted by nadawi at 7:44 AM on September 3, 2014 [17 favorites]


So am I the only person who got the Full House reference, and should I be ashamed of that?
posted by Bugbread at 7:50 AM on September 3, 2014


This was the comment I was calling hateful (ie filled with hate): ""I just assume everyone who intentionally looked at the photos is a bad person who doesn't give a shit about women's consent."

That isn't hateful, just descriptive of a valid perspective which is very different from my own but which is being informed by different life experiences than I have had, and consequently a perspective I value and listen to. Dismissing it as "hateful" is the laziest kind of privilege, the ability to preemptively ignore and demean that person's viewpoint.

There's no requirement to agree, but there's no reason to be lazy in one's disagreement either.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:51 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Potomac Avenue: Nadawi: This was the comment I was calling hateful (ie filled with hate): ""I just assume everyone who intentionally looked at the photos is a bad person who doesn't give a shit about women's consent."

I'm not seeing why that is a hateful comment? Seems like a rather straightforward analysis to me.
posted by zarq at 7:53 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nadawi: This was the comment I was calling hateful (ie filled with hate): ""I just assume everyone who intentionally looked at the photos is a bad person who doesn't give a shit about women's consent."

That's not filled with hate, that's a valid assumption to make. If you look at those leaked pictures, you've already made clear that it doesn't matter to you that these were stolen and published without the celebrity's consent. Should anybody run the risk that such a person also has a dodgy take on consent in other contexts?

Or is it just being called a bad person for doing so?
posted by MartinWisse at 7:59 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


should I be ashamed of that?

You're in big trouble, mister!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:59 AM on September 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


I think it may be as simple as a difference in interpretation of what the sentence means. One way is to interpret it as saying she believes anyone who looks at the photos is in fact a bad person. Another way is more like the way the secret service treats all threats against the president as credible threats. It doesn't mean that the secret service thinks all threats are actual threats, but that for security's sake it treats them that way. It seems Potomac interpreted as the former, and lots of other folks as the latter.

Just my guess.
posted by Bugbread at 8:00 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know it's a weird thing to say but compared to worrying about getting raped/assaulted, I'd prefer worrying about people thinking I might rape/assault them.

In the recent dystopian SF FPP, NoraReed said something that really caught me:

because while stuff like The Handmaid's Tale is great and worth reading, it kind of fucks me up and scares the shit out of me, and not in the way that thriller-type stuff does where it's hard to put down, but in the way that sticks with me and makes me scared, and I don't want to be like that all the time.

That comment stopped me in my tracks and made me realize something that probably should be obvious: As a white guy (and the privileged kind of white guy at that) there literally isn't a book, much less an entire genre, that even tries, much less succeeds, in scaring me like The Handmaids Tale does for so many women I know.

So yes, it is easier to worry about someone thinking you might be a rapist than than you might be raped. It's so basic and so obvious that I'm mystified why people argue it, but here we are.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:02 AM on September 3, 2014 [26 favorites]


Zarq: It's conflating a commonplace ethical lapse with a much deeper and more damning moral judgement. It's exactly what religious zealots do when they judge people based on things they consider sins. But again, probably I reacted to it so strongly because I like NoraReed as a poster and felt hurt that she was saying that she would avoid me and my wife because she thinks what we did speaks to us not giving a shit about all women's consent. Plus in the context of that thread I think it was over the line beyond "This is a creepy thing to do" into "If you did this, you are a bad person" which seems like its making it personal in a way that derailed the discussion.

Sounds like I may be alone in finding that overthetop though so I'll back out of here now and think about it over a gallon of plum wine or some other cheerful ending to this comment. Peace out.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:02 AM on September 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


In a more general context, I do think it's incredibly important for us blokes to learn about those automatic and hushed up safety precautions women have to undertake on a daily basis just to go along with their lives and that in fact things that we may assume are "victimless crimes" like looking at leaked nudie pics can be danger signals.

Should we be outraged that some people also apply this reasoning to Metafilter meetups? I don't think so. That's the same sort of reasoning that has gotten various science fiction cons in problems after all, that refusal to acknowledge that they're not necessarily a safe space just because we're all feminist or good people.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:03 AM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think it was over the line beyond "This is a creepy thing to do" into "If you did this, you are a bad person" which seems like its making it personal in a way that derailed the discussion.

Did the general consensus emerge that looking at paparazzi bikini shots in newspapers was just as bad as looking at the Lawrence pics in the 'bad person' stakes? Genuine question.
posted by colie at 8:08 AM on September 3, 2014


Okay, somebody help me figure out what Monty Python sketch this exchange is vaguely reminding me of.

-- It's the one with the mattress salesman who flips out if he hears the word "mattress".


That would be Full Frontal Nudity, Series 1, Episode 8 (Recorded 25-11-69, Aired 07-12-69)

Please take a moment in these times of heated discussion to enjoy the simple pleasure of seeing at least one thing completely resolved in this thread.
posted by chambers at 8:11 AM on September 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


Genuine question: why does it matter? What was the point of bringing up paparazzi bikini shots at all?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:11 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


...it's also not a thing that gets talked about out loud that much because then the very act of doing this gets picked apart by internet nitpickers as if we're casting aspersions about other people just by being concerned for our own safety.

Yes! The thing I think is most darkly hilarious about all of this is the fact that although women are ALWAYS reminded that we must be perfectly alert, aware, virginal, and sober at all times in order to prevent ourselves from being harassed, stalked, assaulted, raped, killed, or otherwise victimized, mainly by men, we are NEVER allowed to, you know, actually acknowledge that we have to perform that calculus constantly. We're supposed to keep perfectly quiet about the unreasonable double-binds that are placed on us -- and all for absolutely no reason other than because admitting as much might hurt the feelings of a well-meaning man.

If women dare to admit that we have indeed internalized those reminders to remain forever holy and unimpeachable, and more specifically if we admit that we are taking specific instances of a person's clear disrespect for consent under advisement while calculating who we might be able to trust or think of as a good person, we get called hateful. But after 30 years as a woman, I don't really feel like I need to be delicate with the feelings of people -- men or women -- whose behavior indicates any level of comfort with the idea that women's consent is something you can set aside or ignore whenever it suits you... like, say, when your desire to look at naked photos of a woman is allowed to trump her right to privacy and the knowledge that the photos were illegally procured and distributed. If that isn't the sort of behavior we should watch out for, what is?

Disrespect for consent is not anything like a grey ethical area for me or most of the women I know. It's very black and white. But even if it wasn't, I'm still pretty sure that every person has a right to determine what sort of behavior they will or won't accept from a purported ally without the accompanying accusation of being filled with hate.
posted by divined by radio at 8:12 AM on September 3, 2014 [88 favorites]


It's conflating a commonplace ethical lapse with a much deeper and more damning moral judgement.

To me, it is not conflating; it is a spectrum. Someone who knowingly looks at stolen photos like those is along a spectrum that includes people who do more invasive/physical/threatening things that ignore boundaries. I understand that they are not literally the same action, but they are related, and the photo-looking raises flags for me. I don't really care if that makes some people think this is "hateful" on my part; my consideration for my own safety and comfort comes first. (Also? It's not like it makes anything better that one is "commonplace".)
posted by rtha at 8:15 AM on September 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


divined by radio, i'd like to favorite that comment about 500,000 times.
posted by palomar at 8:15 AM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


What was the point of bringing up paparazzi bikini shots at all?

For me, it was because my wife (who has been a self-identifying feminist in her artwork pursuits and life for 25 years, if that means anything) buys the magazines that feature them regularly. They're mainstream women's magazines, yet the shots of Kate Middleton etc are obtained without their consent and sometimes lawsuits erupt. I thought it was relevant at that time in the thread.

I was surprised to find that nobody here looks at these magazines, but it's been an interesting discussion all round and certainly my opinions have been shifted.
posted by colie at 8:20 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]




It's exactly what religious zealots do when they judge people based on things they consider sins.

No. A religious zealot who judges someone's sin is calling out a supposed flaw in someone as a means of establishing and maintaining control over them or others.

A woman being wary of someone who's demonstrated they don't care about consent is trying to maintain and protect her personal agency, safety, and autonomy in a world that's completely hostile to them (in part because of religious zealots).
posted by amery at 8:28 AM on September 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


> more Hungarian swears please

Goddammit, I did not want to have this thread in my Recent Activity, but I can't let this pass unanswered, since I cowrote a book on the subject: a variant on Az isten bassza meg! is Az isten faszát! 'God's dick!' Probably the most common Hungarian curse is A fenébe, more or less 'Go to hell,' but the Great Hungarian Curse is Lófasz a seggedbe (LOW-foss aw SHEG-gedbeh) 'A horse's cock up your ass,' which goes back centuries and may be the first bit of Hungarian I learned (thanks to a fellow linguistics grad student of many skills and low morals).
posted by languagehat at 8:30 AM on September 3, 2014 [35 favorites]


Disrespect for consent is not anything like a grey ethical area for me or most of the women I know. It's very black and white.

Oh hell yes. It doesn't necessarily make somebody a terrible person forever, especially if they understand that there's an ethical lapse involved. But an overall practice of ignoring consent is a huge warning sign that a person, particularly a man, is not trustworthy.

paparazzi bikini shots

Data point: I follow a number of tumblrs that focus on photos and news about actors I'm interested in for one reason or another. Several of them are very explicit about not posting paparazzi photos of their subjects (particular if the photos feature the kids, because some actors are very protective of their kids). There are outlets for celebrity news that don't feature pap shots.
posted by immlass at 8:34 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Two things, that seem at odds with each other in my mind but nonetheless coexist:

1. I look at Feminism/LGBT/Privilege-101 education as a bucket of water. If everybody's going to get a drink, the bucket's got to be carried. You can be tired as fuck of carrying it, but it's got to be carried, especially if the person needing/wanting a drink wouldn't know where to get a drink otherwise. It's okay to leave carrying the bucket to other people for a bit, but the need to carry the bucket doesn't go away until there aren't thirsty people anymore. I don't know that that day will ever come. That said, once you've had a drink, you should grab a bucket and start carrying.

2. How a male human being is not reduced to tears of rage by the knowledge that most every woman on the planet is constantly doing the mental calculus of avoiding being assaulted by men is fucking beyond me.
posted by Mooski at 8:34 AM on September 3, 2014 [20 favorites]


It's conflating a commonplace ethical lapse with a much deeper and more damning moral judgement.

Seeking out non-consensual pornography strikes me as more than just an ethical lapse. Photos of naked people are pornography. (Disclaimer: I haven't seen the photos in question. I know they've been described as "topless.")

It's exactly what religious zealots do when they judge people based on things they consider sins.

No, it's drawing a correlation between a person's actual, questionable behavior and the possibility that the motivations behind them might lead to other, more problematic ones. That's not fundamentalism, which is, as amery explains, about control.
posted by zarq at 8:38 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


They're mainstream women's magazines, yet the shots of Kate Middleton etc are obtained without their consent and sometimes lawsuits erupt.

I personally think there is a pretty significant difference between snaps of celebrities in public, bikini'd or not, and snaps of them which require trespassing and long lenses and a fairly obvious deliberate violation of normal privacy expectations. The former are surely annoying and, due to relentless frequency, likely to become stressful for the subjects, but they are not, to my mind, analogous tp the grotesque violation of some creeper lurking in a tree and peeping over your backyard fence to get a shot of you poolside at home, or any other private property.
posted by elizardbits at 8:51 AM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


Photos of naked people are pornography.

What? No they aren't. I mean I guess I understand if what you are saying is that they fall into the same taboo bucket as pornography for many people, or maybe you meant to say that you have heard that these particular photos fall under the porn heading, but photos of naked people very much are not, by definition, all pornography and this is a super-important thing to me (as a defender of pornography and photos of naked people and first amendment rights and blabitybla) so I don't mean to be all jumpy about it, but making sure we're all working from the same definitions here is pretty important.

I've seen some of the photos and people can dislike me if they want to.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:52 AM on September 3, 2014 [21 favorites]


(I can't really think of something that would be parallel to the Royals situation wrt lawsuits and the like because we don't really have anyone in the same situation here.)
posted by elizardbits at 8:54 AM on September 3, 2014


If you think a rapist always looks like a "bad guy", is lit in green from below, and has a scar and an evil laugh, then I see how it sounds hateful that I see you in your regular normal clothes with your regular smiley face and your regular pleasant smalltalk and flattering lighting, and consider the possibility that you could be kinda rapey.

For us though, a rapist is just a regular dude. The progression from "seems like regular dude" to "oh, this one is a rapey one" is a gentle boiled-frog style progression. A situation becomes, in teeny tiny easily ignorable increments, less pleasant, less consenting, more risky to be around and more difficult to extricate oneself from politely (lord forbid we should be rude to a man or suggest he might be rapey, you can see for yourself how well this goes down).

Thus, a reasonable lady tactic is to avoid the whole damn progression, by avoiding dudes who give off any of the fainter whiffs of being consent-impaired. It is not because we hate you. It is because being around you is stressful and means that we have to maintain a background state of alertness for the next step along the Yellow Brick Consent-What's-That road of complete obliviousness. Doesn't make for a fun night out.
posted by emilyw at 8:55 AM on September 3, 2014 [47 favorites]


lord forbid we should be rude to a man or suggest he might be rapey, you can see for yourself how well this goes down

Lake Scene.
posted by Drastic at 8:59 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


They're mainstream women's magazines, yet the shots of Kate Middleton etc are obtained without their consent and sometimes lawsuits erupt. [...] I was surprised to find that nobody here looks at these magazines....

Yeah, I personally don't make a habit of reading magazines that get sued over the exploitative nature of their content.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


but photos of naked people very much are not, by definition, all pornography.

Pornography definitions:
Merriam-Webster: movies, pictures, magazines, etc., that show or describe naked people or sex in a very open and direct way in order to cause sexual excitement

Oxford Dictionaries: printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.

Naked people, check
Explicit display of sexual organs, check.
Intended to stimulate erotic feelings or sexual excitement, check.

In this case, I think the images combine all three factors, and qualify. I get that some folks might conceivably disagree on this, but people aren't downloading and passing them around for artistic purposes. The reddit community was called "The Fappening" for a reason.
posted by zarq at 9:19 AM on September 3, 2014


But you just said photos of naked people, full stop, were pornography. And I think pretty clearly they're not. Jessamyn's point is a good one.
posted by koeselitz at 9:22 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


But you just said photos of naked people, full stop, were pornography. And I think pretty clearly they're not. Jessamyn's point is a good one.

My mistake. I should have been clearer. I was referring specifically to the photos that were the subject of the leak.
posted by zarq at 9:26 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah – if you wanted we could get into a putative difference between pornography and erotica, which seems directly implied by those words, since "pornography" literally means "images of sex for money," which is a completely different dimension. I'm disagreeing with Merriam-Webster and Oxford, but so be it; it seems like the specifics of the word matter a good deal, and I think the capitalist dimension of pornography is an important one, particularly in this case. In this case it sounds like you were using the word "pornography" to highlight the seriousness of "seeking out" these pictures, and I agree that that is a serious moral act with a lot of heavy implications. I just think "pornography" is a rather more nuanced word.
posted by koeselitz at 9:29 AM on September 3, 2014


And just to be very clear, I do understand and agree that not every photo of a naked person is pornography. As I understand it, pornography includes a deliberately erotic aspect.
posted by zarq at 9:29 AM on September 3, 2014


Best privately conveyed to the current mods unless she wished to cast doubt on their judgement and undercut their authority, I would have thought.

I was going to fav jessayn's mostly excellent response to this and just leave it at that until she apologized. She doesn't owe anyone any apologies here.

She is no longer being paid to present a united front with the other mods and if we hold her to some weird standard of that sort, then she gets put in this really horrible rock-and-hard-place position of having to walk on eggshells because too much weight is given to her words. That will have negative consequences not just for her but also for the moderating team and the community.

She no longer makes those decisions. But, like any other member, she is entitled to have an opinion about them. She will continue to be in a slightly weird place of having more insider info than almost all other "just a member" members. But it isn't really different from the fact that, say, old timers know more about site culture and policy and practices than noobs do. It is just a little more extreme -- and will get less extreme over time because she no longer has direct access to that special insider info. As things gradually change, she will gradually become more like "just any other member (who has been here a really long time and knows a lot about the site)" -- if we kindly let her and don't hang our shit on her of expecting her to behave like a mod while not actually being one.
posted by Michele in California at 9:35 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm disagreeing with Merriam-Webster and Oxford, but so be it;

You can't just make up your own counter-to-the-mainstream definition, man. :)

Lots of porn is shot, produced and even published without capitalistic intent. Tons of erotic pictures. Amateur and private sex videos. The intent to make money or capitalize off a sex video doesn't turn it into porn. For example, Paris Hilton's sex video showed her having sex with someone and that was made public. By the accepted definition, that was porn, whether or not she or anyone else made (or tried to make) a sale on it.

The difference between erotic pictures and pornography isn't money. It's that erotica is primarily intended to appeal to our aesthetic sense as well as arouse sexual feeling. Since that definition depends on a subjective assessment, the line between pornography and erotica can certainly overlap.
posted by zarq at 9:43 AM on September 3, 2014


Thus, a reasonable lady tactic is to avoid the whole damn progression, by avoiding dudes who give off any of the fainter whiffs of being consent-impaired.

One time I was robbed at gunpoint in a parking lot by a young white guy. Had me lay face down, gun on the back of my neck, threatened to shoot me. So it's probably a reasonable tactic for me to avoid young guys who seem like they might rob me.

Nonetheless I think there is a distinction between me avoiding someone because of bad vibes, and me going into a thread where people are debating the ethics of downloading pirated songs and say that anyone who even contemplates piracy clearly has no respect for property rights and therefore is the kind of person who's likely to rob other people at gunpoint and threaten their lives.

One is a reasonable, personal, private action. The other is a public accusation based on a very slippery slope and very thin justification.
posted by crayz at 9:46 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]



One time I was robbed at gunpoint in a parking lot by a young white guy. Had me lay face down, gun on the back of my neck, threatened to shoot me. So it's probably a reasonable tactic for me to avoid young guys who seem like they might rob me.


Man, you're a winner to your core!
posted by OmieWise at 9:49 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Man, it really illustrates how common and accepted nonconsensual and boundary-violating behavior is when a woman who draws a bright line against it is called hateful and poisonous. This sort of behavior exists on a continuum from cat-calling to looking at nonconsensual nudes to rape, and woman are supposed to just shut up and accept the stuff on the "minor" end of the spectrum.
posted by Mavri at 9:51 AM on September 3, 2014 [30 favorites]


And it's pretty important to make sure people can tell the difference between a random naked photo of a kid in a bathtub that the parents took with an iphone versus a copy of Hustler. The fact that people could fap to either doesn't make them both porn (however much some people would argue that point) and even the fact that the latter is usually considered porn doesn't mean it's illegal or immoral to many people. Obscenity is usually where the line gets drawn for what is legally actionable in the US (this is different in other countries) and that has its own definitions (Miller, etc). People may find porn personally objectionable but most of it isn't illegal when it's done by/for consenting adults which is what so many people here are finding larger issues with.

That said, there are a lot of people who feel that any depiction of nudity should be considered porn-ish (John Ashcroft, so-called family friendly lobbyists) and I think this is an assertion that gets very strongly pushed back against, and should be. And, because we are nitpicky internet people we can look at the differences in intent (me taking a random cheesecake shot to send to my SO does not make me a pornographer according to most people) as mattering to our personal assessment of what we are looking at, and how we feel about other people looking at it.

And, like it or not, there is a standard of "What is normal in this situation?" and it's depressing that in some ways Reddit creates the new normal just by being vocal and visible and icky about stuff like this (re: The Fappening). But Reddit fapping to the Tesla Model S does not make the car porn.

The difference between erotic pictures and pornography isn't money.

But the porn-as-item aspect is part of it. Live sex shows aren't porn by standard definitions, for example. Sorry to belabor all of this, but it comes up in the library world all the time--"You have Joy of Sex in the library, you are all pornographers!"--and I've actually written encyclopedia articles on the topic so I can fall into a bit of pedantry about it.

The other is a public accusation


It's a woman talking about her personal safety considerations. People trying to proscribe that discussion are, to my read, basically saying that their own discomfort at knowing the ways women think about situations should outweigh the considerably larger issue with our society about how unsafe women are. I'm sorry you got robbed at gunpoint, that sucks. My takeaway from that is that we're all even less safe than we sometimes think we are. You'd think that would help us find some common ground in discussing these topics.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:53 AM on September 3, 2014 [31 favorites]


The other is a public accusation based on a very slippery slope and very thin justification.

A public statement of risk-assessment—even one stated bluntly enough to make people uncomfortable—is a different thing entirely from a public accusation, and it seems like it's of a piece with your crappy choice of thread title that you're jumping back in here just to decline again to manage to make that distinction.

There are far worse things in the world than overhearing that someone has a rubric for deciding who to spend time around that you disagree with. A lot of those worse things are the reason for that rubric even existing. You don't have to like it or agree with it but you seem to be wanting other people to make something of it other than what it is.

Society is not going to slide down some anti-man slope because someone says they think looking at stolen nudes is sketchy. Nor if you were to say that you thought piracy gave you concerns about other sorts of criminal behavior, for that matter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:57 AM on September 3, 2014 [22 favorites]


So it's probably a reasonable tactic for me to avoid young guys who seem like they might rob me

Not all young guys
posted by Greg Nog at 10:00 AM on September 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


Society is not going to slide down some anti-man slope because someone says they think looking at stolen nudes is sketchy.

While your general point is correct, that is somewhat far from what was actually said.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:04 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, ALL young dudes.

zarq: “And just to be very clear, I do understand and agree that not every photo of a naked person is pornography. As I understand it, pornography includes a deliberately erotic aspect.”

Yep. And I don't think really agree with the apparent semantic implication of what you'd said – I agree these images are probably pornography under the working definition I use, but I agree that looking at them is more serious or more morally weighty simply because they are pornography – but I do agree that looking at these kinds of images has some serious moral implications.

To return to the point: I don't think you and Potomac Avenue have a substantial disagreement; rather it seems like there's a certain amount of misapprehension of what's being talked about. You described someone "seeking out" the pictures; but in the comment that sparked all this, NoraReed talked about "everyone who intentionally looked at the photos." That sounds like a rather larger category to me, and the ambiguity lies in the word "intentionally." If a person found out about this browsing their Reddit feed, and happened to lazily click the link without thinking too hard – which is something I hope we all can acknowledge happens a lot when one is on the internet – then it wouldn't really be correct to say that they "unintentionally" looked at the images; but are they as culpable as someone who seeks the images out, as you put it, who searches for them specifically as pornography, as an object of sexual desire? And what about all the shades in between, the people who might have informational reasons to see the pictures, to see what kind of violation they constitute, to see what damage is really being done? I know at least one person here has admitted to having seen some of the photos, and I hope it's not presumptuous to say that I think I know that person well enough to know they probably weren't getting sexual gratification from it, but were (most likely) doing so for the sake of knowing what exactly is going on here, for the sake of knowing the implications, and for the sake of knowing the context in which these things were shared. In other words, what is pornography for one person might be research material for another, and it's hard to know the difference sometimes.

I just think there's a huge field of possibility that NoraReed was probably ignoring when she said that anyone who intentionally looked at the images is a bad person to be shunned. What does it mean to intentionally look at something, anyway? Does that mean seeking it out?

What I do have to say is that looking at pictures like this has serious moral implications. As far as I can tell, every person who chooses to look at these pictures has to grapple with at least these two issues:

(1) Looking at images like these is bad for your soul, in a real and visceral way; it puts you in contact with true violation of another human being, and you have to face up to what that means;

(2) Looking at images like these is in a statistical sense a kind of tacit support for them, since it gives clicks to advertisers who support them. This is sort of unavoidable on the internet in some sense today, but still, in cases like this, we have to weigh that monetary gain that violators are getting.

Mavri: “Man, it really illustrates how common and accepted nonconsensual and boundary-violating behavior is when a woman who draws a bright line against it is called hateful and poisonous. This sort of behavior exists on a continuum from cat-calling to looking at nonconsensual nudes to rape, and woman are supposed to just shut up and accept the stuff on the ‘minor’ end of the spectrum.”

I think it's important to say that NoraReed wasn't being "hateful" or "poisonous" when she made the comment I linked to above. And I think Potomac Avenue probably saw that before he signed off. I disagree with NoraReed's assessment on the face of it, but I agree in substance: these things have a serious moral weight.

crayz: “One is a reasonable, personal, private action. The other is a public accusation based on a very slippery slope and very thin justification.”

If someone says "if you do X in private, I think you're a bad person," as NoraReed did, it isn't really a "public accusation," because (a) it doesn't have an object, and (b) it's talking about a private thing. We're talking about what it means to give tacit support to non-consensual sexual violations. It really is a moral issue, and NoraReed is correct to frame it as such, even if I think her category was a little broad.
posted by koeselitz at 10:04 AM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


So it's probably a reasonable tactic for me to avoid young guys who seem like they might rob me

Hey, someone who's in a parking lot should accept that people are going to assume that they just bought something. It's part of the deal if you shop in public!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:06 AM on September 3, 2014 [15 favorites]


People trying to proscribe that discussion are, to my read, basically saying that their own discomfort at knowing the ways women think about situations should outweigh the considerably larger issue with our society about how unsafe women are.

Yeah, my take on this whole thread has been that people are very invested (not as a matter of considered thought, necessarily, but on a gut level) in certain premises. For me as a woman, one of those premises is that sexual consent is important and a lack of respect for it is a serious red flag, for reasons that have been discussed ad nauseam in this thread and elsewhere.

Another one, one I don't share, is a big investment in not feeling bad about other people's concerns about sexual consent and pornographic use of stolen photographs, to the point of attempting to suppress discussion of women's concerns on these issues.
posted by immlass at 10:07 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I personally don't make a habit of reading magazines that get sued over the exploitative nature of their content.

Might not be such a clear boundary for celeb magazines tho. Usually a magazine like Elle or Cosmopolitan or Heat will not be the one that gets sued but will still publish slightly pixellated versions of the pics with a framing around it like 'My paparazzi hell - Jen lashes out!' etc.

If nobody here reads those magazines because the pap content is equally as bad as the Lawrence phone hack then that's totally consistent, but in the other thread it was being put forward that you're a 'fucking creep' for having the desire to look at this stuff at all. Perhaps the framing device makes all the difference, because it allows us to be part of knowing what the Kate Middleton pics are all about or whatever, and having an opinion, but excuses us from feeling like we're supporting the more hardcore pap mags like Hello! and OK!.

It's still a fact that most people flip through even the 'lawsuit' kind of mags (they have them at my dentist) talking shit about Kardashians etc. and I didn't think at this time yesterday that they were all 'fucking creeps'.
posted by colie at 10:08 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


that is somewhat far from what was actually said.

The invocation of "a very slippery slope" makes zero sense if it's about something other than the idea of snowballing precedent sending things into irreversible acceleration toward an unacceptable future state. It is used again and again for that specific connotation; outside of ads for a Slip 'n Slide tournament, that is basically the only context in which the words appear in English.

Maybe crayz had some specific unrelated idea in mind in using that phrase; I don't know. Using a phrase with a very fixed rhetorical meaning to mean something else is a bad way to make a clear point, though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:10 AM on September 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


And it's pretty important to make sure people can tell the difference between a random naked photo of a kid in a bathtub that the parents took with an iphone versus a copy of Hustler.

I'm not questioning this.

I have already clarified that my comment was intended to be restricted to the leaked celebrity photos. Which I assume didn't include images that can be described the way you have above?

I took the initiative and asked a friend of mine whether she had seen the photos. She regularly talks about how hot various celebs are on facebook and shares photos of them from tmz and other sites. It seemed likely to me that she'd have downloaded the set. She had. I asked her if any of them were graphic, and among other things she described two brief oral sex videos and images of a celebrity using her vibrator where "you can see everything close up."

I do feel safe saying that's porn. I'd like to note as well that my issue is not that they are simply porn, but that they have been shared without the subjects' consent to the online masses. I said that originally, but I want to reiterate it because we seem to be having a conversation of whether or not the images are porn and about examples that aren't related to the leak. Which is fine, but I don't want my point to be buried in a "porn/not porn" discussion when that's not what it was originally about.

These weren't educational, like a Joy of Sex book.They weren't snaps of a naked kid in the tub by a parent. (Although I see that McKayla Maroney was underage when the photos were taken, so by US law they would be considered child porn.) They weren't images that appeared in Hustler (I'm assuming?) They're private photos and videos, some of them of sex acts and nudity, that were stolen and made public.
posted by zarq at 10:16 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


crayz, I'm sorry that you got robbed and I'm glad that you're okay.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:16 AM on September 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


"Slippery slope" is invoked fallaciously so much on the Internet that the mere sight of those words causes my bullshit detector to go off. The fact that the whole file-sharing / property analogy is so inapt with respect to the thing it's analogizing makes this particular slippery slope argument comically bad.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:21 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The invocation of "a very slippery slope" makes zero sense if it's about something other than the idea of snowballing precedent sending things into irreversible acceleration toward an unacceptable future state.

I think it was fairly clear from what I said, "The other is a public accusation based on a very slippery slope and very thin justification", that the slippery slope I was referring to was the one within the accusation (i.e. the accusation is based in a logical fallacy), not some idea that society will fall apart if the accusation is made.
posted by crayz at 10:27 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's a woman talking about her personal safety considerations.

But in the context of a conversation that is about something and someone(s) else. Personally I didn't go looking for the photos and I'm not going to heap praise on anyone who did, but I appreciate that we have a sufficiently open forum on MetaFilter that some of those people felt comfortable raising their hands and explaining their thinking. That's a conversational benefit that oughtn't be chilled by someone else announcing that, hey by the way, if there were a meetup being proposed with anybody who is admitting to this, I wouldn't attend.

These threads also aren't the first time that comment has been made. It would be a perfectly reasonable comment in some contexts, like the Schrödinger's Rapist thread. But just randomly tossing it into a conversation where nobody was inviting anybody to any meetups is less great. It's not totally out of place—I didn't flag it—but it's not an awesome comment.
posted by cribcage at 10:29 AM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


crayz: the slippery slope I was referring to was the one within the accusation, not some idea that society will fall apart if the accusation is made.

Yes, but you've outlined no forces that would actually make the first event cause the subsequent events in your scenario, a scenario that itself is a poor fit for comparison to the actual thing you're trying to argue against.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:29 AM on September 3, 2014


I mostly agree with you, Koeselitz, but I think you are still mischaracterizing what NoraReed said.

Your description of what NoraReed said: "I just think there's a huge field of possibility that NoraReed was probably ignoring when she said that anyone who intentionally looked at the images is a bad person to be shunned. What does it mean to intentionally look at something, anyway? Does that mean seeking it out?" (bold mine)

To me shunning has a particular connotation of ostracism and punishment. It sets a particular individual aside from the rest of the community. It is associated with religious discipline (someone earlier in the thread alluded to zealotry).

But what NoraReed actually said was: "I just assume everyone who intentionally looked at the photos is a bad person who doesn't give a shit about women's consent, and I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent, because rape culture is huge and exploitative and it encroaches into every bit of our culture. But, like, I probably wouldn't want to be around dudes who look at this kind of shit, because I figure that people who don't care about the consent of the people in their pornography are more likely than average to rape me."

It is kind of the opposite of shunning. There is no punishment aspect to it - rather, the goal is self preservation - and it is in the context of acknowledging that the individual who NoraReed does call "bad" is more like the broader community (characterized by rape culture) than not.

In context, the seeking out doesn't have to be a big purposeful effort for it to be problematically on the spectrum of rape culture; browsing Reddit and "lazily clicking without thinking too hard" is symptomatic and reflective of our culture's casual disregard for women's sexual agency and is really part of the problem.

Everyone is entitled to decide for him and herself how much to let knowledge of that act (of looking/seeking out/lazily clicking) affect their judgment of themselves or of another person who partakes in that act.

As for people who feel they have "informational reasons to see the pictures, to see what kind of violation they constitute, to see what damage is really being done?" they are entitled to make their own harm-benefit calculus, and they are not obliged to defend their choices to anybody. But neither are they are somehow magically lifted out of rape culture or entitled to dictate other people's perspectives on their decision.
posted by Salamandrous at 10:34 AM on September 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


Surely if someone announces the risk assessment they are making it's fair for others to say that's a pretty bad risk assessment? That's my feeling anyway. I understand that people do risk assessments all the time but I think it's pretty obviously true that using "looked at pictures of Jennifer Lawrence" as a part of that risk assessment is counter-productive and likely to lead to bad risk assessments. Unless what one is after is feeling safe rather than being safe, which of course is a different matter.
posted by Justinian at 10:42 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


(I can't really think of something that would be parallel to the Royals situation wrt lawsuits and the like because we don't really have anyone in the same situation here.)

Jaqueline Onassis vs Ron Galella was similar in 1972 when she got limits set about how close he could get to her to get a pic. He's had exhibitions of his pics at the Museum of Modern Art NY now though.

Kanye West has recently said that he's looking into suing paparazzi for a cut of the money they make. So it's a media vs rich people thing rather than just royalty.
posted by colie at 10:46 AM on September 3, 2014


Yeah, I really wish I hadn't used the word "shunned" above. "Avoided" would have been better.
posted by koeselitz at 10:47 AM on September 3, 2014


They're private photos and videos, some of them of sex acts and nudity, that were stolen and made public.

I don't think we disagree. Your quote that I was responding to was "Photos of naked people are pornography." which you've since said was a misstatement. I was just outlining my definition of what pornography is in general because people make actual statements of the kind you made all the time and I think it's worth being crystal clear about where the lines are drawn personally, politically and legally. No big deal, we're on the same page.

hey by the way, if there were a meetup being proposed with anybody who is admitting to this, I wouldn't attend.

I guess I just don't see why anyone else should really take this personally? I mean I can sort of see it but to take it personally and be angered/aggrieved by it is sort of on the person having those feelings. There are a lot of people, some of them MeFites, who I'd prefer not to be alone with or whatever. That's a choice I get to make, for me, and even get to talk about it if I feel that I need/want to. If the person who I don't want to be alone with decides they want to take affront to that, I guess they can and then we just won't be friends. But assuming the default position is that I should be a person who people have access to unless I specifically say no? That's weird to me. I should get to choose whether I want to hang out with anyone and that's a decision that rests with me and one that I am the final arbiter of, even if those reasons are ones that other people don't agree with.

I agree with you that as a tactical move in a conversation it's an odd choice and one I probably wouldn't have made. But watching the (to me) bizarre reaction to it as if there's something aggressive about just saying you don't want to be around certain people? As an individual (I am aware that I might have more status in this regard as a past-mod, but most users don't) that should be a thing you can do. And aggressively asserting that's a hateful act? I find that just confusing. Like it's an outgrowth of the geek social fallacy thing, that even having preferences puts you in league with the haters and the shunners and the people in actual positions of power that wield that power against the powerless. It's not how I see it. I sort of see how someone could see it that way, maybe?
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:49 AM on September 3, 2014 [27 favorites]


I think it's pretty obviously true that using "looked at pictures of Jennifer Lawrence" as a part of that risk assessment is counter-productive and likely to lead to bad risk assessments.

And your evidence for this is?
posted by soundguy99 at 10:52 AM on September 3, 2014 [14 favorites]


Unless what one is after is feeling safe rather than being safe, which of course is a different matter.

NoraReed's comment specifically says "because I wouldn't feel safe there." A good part of what seems so bad (to me) about the pushback is that that feeling is being dismissed with the old "but that's unfair to men" complaint. Which, tough shit, dude; that level of unfair is not even a drop in the bucket, comparatively speaking.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:54 AM on September 3, 2014 [23 favorites]


So it's a media vs rich people thing rather than just royalty

I was thinking more of something along the lines of prominent political public figures who have personal security details that accompany them pretty much everywhere. I can't recall if the media treated Jenna & Barbara Bush's 18th birthday the same as they did Emma Watson's 18th birthday, for example. I know the Secret Service has been very vigilant about not allowing beach photos of Sasha and Malia to be taken recently, but they are still minors.
posted by elizardbits at 10:55 AM on September 3, 2014


I think it's pretty obviously true that using "looked at pictures of Jennifer Lawrence" as a part of that risk assessment is counter-productive and likely to lead to bad risk assessments.

No, I can't imagine why this is pretty obviously true, maybe you can explain what is so obvious about this?

Unless what one is after is feeling safe rather than being safe, which of course is a different matter.

Yes, in addition to being safe, I like to feel safe from sexual assault as often as possible. Maybe when you go out, you don't need to consider whether you will feel safe from sexual assault during your evening, but from the rest of us: Yes, this is a basic part of what makes a pleasant evening out.
posted by emilyw at 10:56 AM on September 3, 2014 [25 favorites]


If I could favorite jessamyn and divined by radio's comments about risk assessment a bajillion times I would.

It saddens me that doing that is so background and commonplace in my or any woman's existence. Like, I'm going to Toronto on my own this coming weekend. I'm going to feel awkward and uncomfortable walking alone to and from my destinations--especially after dark--that if I hadn't paid money already for a train ticket and a room, I'd be trying to talk myself out of going simply because I will be a woman alone. But I am going anyway, despite running that assessment in my head, because I don't want to live my life being frightened of assault (though of course I am frightened of the possibility).
posted by Kitteh at 10:59 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have thought about this all night and wasn't going to post it since it seemed like the conversation had moved on. But with the recent turn of discussion, I think it is still relevant to say this about what the OP is doing here:

You are essentially taking the position that you have the right to swing your fist, it's a free country, man! And that other people should be less sensitive and not take it so personally when your fist accidentally connects with their face because you weren't intentionally trying to hurt them. But when the beat-down ensues, suddenly you want the mods to tell other people it is not a free country, they can't go swinging their fists like that, that shit hurts. But you still want freedom to swing your fist as you see fit.

Either it's a free country and everyone, you included, is free to swing their fist. (And please bring more body armor and man up the next time the beat down follows you starting stupid shit.) Or your right to swing your fist ends where someone else's face begins and that street also runs both ways, in which case you need to get a lot more cognizant of the fact that you are hurting people by picking at really ugly, toxic, festering wounds for entertainment. Because there are members of this very forum who are not only female but who have been beaten and molested and raped, in some cases from very early ages, in some cases by blood relatives. And that fact makes your complaint here about wanting to play Devil's Advocate for some reason and people harshing on your right to do that just laughable.

I am finding myself somewhat disappointed that this is raging on and the mods have yet to make good on their warnings that you could be banned for some of your behaviors. You are engaging in fairly ugly behavior for fairly trivial reasons and yet the entire site continues to make some good faith effort to engage you as if your position is equally valid to that of folks on the other side. Given your public admission that you basically like playing Devil's Advocate and that's all that is really going on here but you want to strongly defend your right to do that, I really do not think this should be taken seriously anymore.
posted by Michele in California at 10:59 AM on September 3, 2014 [15 favorites]


Why I Don't Ride the Night Bus, By Christin Scarlett Milloy
posted by theora55 at 11:02 AM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


No, I can't imagine why this is pretty obviously true, maybe you can explain what is so obvious about this?

Because the number of people who have now looked at the pictures is so large that its a pretty clear example of false positive paradox if you're using "looked at the pictures" for much of anything. Swamping the data with false positives doesn't make it as useless in this instance as swamping it with false negatives would, but it still makes it counter-productive. Bad risk assessments are sometimes worse than no risk assessments.

But, hey, it's no skin off my back if you want to believe that people who look at these pictures are bad people. I think it's dumb but I think lots of things are dumb.
posted by Justinian at 11:04 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Because the number of people who have now looked at the pictures is so large that its a pretty clear example of false positive paradox if you're using "looked at the pictures" for much of anything.

Respectfully disagree. If having looked at the pictures is an indicator (to you) of a suspect characteristic, it doesn't matter how large the number of people who looked gets, it's still an indicator of the characteristic. It would probably end up making you more worried, not less.
posted by Mooski at 11:09 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Because the number of people who have now looked at the pictures is so large that its a pretty clear example of false positive paradox if you're using "looked at the pictures" for much of anything.

That doesn't necessarily follow. Maybe that just means there is a very large segment of our society that doesn't value women's consent. I suspect many here would agree with that assessment.
posted by dialetheia at 11:10 AM on September 3, 2014 [28 favorites]


As the topic has moved further afield, I'll ask something I've been pondering: all the women, straight or otherwise, who are seeking out and actively choosing to look at these photos, where do they fit in to the rape culture aspect of this? My understanding of their place is tentative, and if I could get a better idea it would be good to know.
posted by gadge emeritus at 11:11 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


That could be I guess. Might as well just suspect everyone you meet at that point, though. Which is depressing. Maybe unsurprising but still depressing.
posted by Justinian at 11:11 AM on September 3, 2014


gadge emeritus: As the topic has moved further afield, I'll ask something I've been pondering: all the women, straight or otherwise, who are seeking out and actively choosing to look at these photos, where do they fit in to the rape culture aspect of this? My understanding of their place is tentative, and if I could get a better idea it would be good to know.

Seems to me they're still putting upward pressure on the "demand" side of the equation, just as the ones who purchase magazines that publish paparazzi photos are contributing to the demand for those. It's not like women are immune to the same compulsion to want to see something despite how it was obtained.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:13 AM on September 3, 2014


If people here were looking at my nude photos I didn't want on the internet and trying to tell me how it's not because they don't care about my consent or my humanity I would be less than interested in their rationalization for adding to my pain and dehumanization.

I have, however, clicked on things without thinking and this is not to say I think people simply clicked on something without processing the pro's and cons of doing so are part of some conspiracy to mistreat anyone.

It's just, if you're going with the flow, and the flow is hurting people, you're part of the something hurting people whether you meant to be or not.
posted by xarnop at 11:14 AM on September 3, 2014 [18 favorites]


I dunno, I feel that with NoraReed announcing she would not attend an IRL event with someone who had viewed the photos because there's too much risk that they would rape her ... it seems to me to be a really low-class, gutter way of scoring an argumentative point, nit at all honest or in good faith, but rather intimidating people who've said something she doesn't like by tarring them with a potential rapist label. Yes, I am saying I don't really believe her, I think she is saying this in bad faith to "win" on the internet. if anyone has a problem with me saying I don't believe her, well, I have a problem with her announcing that fellow commenters have revealed themselves to be likely rapists. (And no, I haven't looked at the pics. more because I just don't care than.out of any moral scruples.)
posted by jayder at 11:18 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Might as well just suspect everyone you meet at that point, though

Suspect? Not necessarily. More like a constant awareness that it is possible. Women are taught from a young age to worry constantly about stranger rape, and while this of course is a thing that happens, I believe it is far more prevalent where the perpetrator is someone you know, or are related to. But I would very much not like to google rape statistics right now if it's all the same to you.

I do not personally know one single woman who has not been assaulted. Worrying about whether or not it will happen again is something as commonplace and automatic as checking for your keys before you leave the house.
posted by elizardbits at 11:21 AM on September 3, 2014 [34 favorites]


Your interpretation of that comment is so signifcantly different than mine, and apparently, anyone else's, that there is no shared frame of reference for any possible continuation.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:21 AM on September 3, 2014 [14 favorites]


Yes, I am saying I don't really believe her, I think she is saying this in bad faith to "win" on the internet. if anyone has a problem with me saying I don't believe her, well, I have a problem with her announcing that fellow commenters have revealed themselves to be likely rapists.

What if the problem we have with you saying you don't believe her is because of your having based your statement on a mischaracterization of what she said in the first place?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:23 AM on September 3, 2014 [9 favorites]


Might as well just suspect everyone you meet at that point, though.

Um. . . I DO suspect everyone I meet. Yesterday I was at the gym on the track, and there was just me and one guy there. Until some more people came in, you had best believe that I kept very carefully aware of where he was and how he was treating my space. And honestly, if he was, say, wearing a "Bitch Make Me a Sandwich" t-shirt or something like that, it would have affected how careful an eye I kept on him and whether I chose to stay alone on the track with him. It doesn't mean that all people who wear dumb sexist t-shirts are rapists; it means that it goes into the constant rebalancing of safety vs. liberty that I, and every woman I know, perform all the time.
posted by KathrynT at 11:27 AM on September 3, 2014 [48 favorites]


A good part of what seems so bad (to me) about the pushback is that that feeling is being dismissed with the same "but that's unfair to men" complaint. Which, tough shit, dude; that level of unfair is not even a drop in the bucket, comparatively speaking.

Not only that, it's not really all that unfair to men. It is possible to be a man without looking at the pictures. I've done it. It is possible be a man without excusing other men who do crappy things. I've done it. There is nothing innate about being a guy that means you can't listen to a woman who says "this sort of thing makes me uncomfortable\scared\angry\etc.", and adjust your behavior where necessary to avoid making them uncomfortable\scared\angry\etc.

If someone, as a man, wants to be able to live in a world where women aren't viewing things they do in terms of threat awareness, work to make it so that women don't have to. At the very least, they should stop contributing to the environmental white-noise that provides cover for the guys who ARE a threat.
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:29 AM on September 3, 2014 [25 favorites]


Might as well just suspect everyone you meet at that point, though.

Looking both ways before crossing the street isn't the same as accusing cars of trying to run you over. It's using common sense to protect yourself from harm.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:30 AM on September 3, 2014 [45 favorites]


no, i don't care what men's opinions are on women's risk assessments with regard to harassment and rape. no, i don't care if you think it's in bad faith or not true or over zealous or hysterical to draw a line from this issue of consent to other issues of consent. no, i don't think seeking out stolen private photos that explicitly targeted women is the same as downloading music and i am angry that comparison keeps being made.

this entire thread of conversation has made me feel less safe here. the original back and forth about looking at the pictures/not wanting to go to meet ups with people who admit that, that part i could honestly give or take. i understand why some people might not have thought it was a big deal and i understand why a woman hearing that would be wary of being around them because of it. but all the shit that came after? where norareed was called toxic and poisonious and all manner of other things...where every single word was picked apart...where men tried to tell women they didn't know how to best exist in their own space? all of that fucking sucks and is gross and is sad.

sometimes i feel like we've grown leaps and bounds around here and sometimes it feels like there's just a sheen of respectability hiding the same issues that abound around women everywhere.
posted by nadawi at 11:32 AM on September 3, 2014 [54 favorites]


this entire thread of conversation has made me feel less safe here.

100% agreed, especially the part where many people who participated in this conversation (and some who didn't) had their mefi usernames publicly connected with their twitter handles without their consent. I get that it's not something within the mods' control, but I don't feel comfortable sharing outside account usernames in my profile anymore.
posted by dialetheia at 11:39 AM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Because the number of people who have now looked at the pictures is so large that its a pretty clear example of false positive paradox if you're using "looked at the pictures" for much of anything

SO if we posit that there's a huge number of people who weigh their own sexual satisfaction or curiosity over the consent of women could we maybe use this position to substantiate a hypothesis about a 'culture'-based problem, perhaps even one that could be shorthanded as 'rape culture'?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:40 AM on September 3, 2014 [32 favorites]


it seems to me to be a really low-class, gutter way of scoring an argumentative point, nit at all honest or in good faith, but rather intimidating people who've said something she doesn't like by tarring them with a potential rapist label.

Check a mirror, jayder. This comment reads very clearly to me as one intended to intimidate anyone - any woman, especially - who would want to express what kinds of attitudes and actions make them feel unsafe. Seriously, low-class and gutter? What the hell.

There are certain people I would definitely not attend a meetup with. For some, because I think they're creepy. For others, because I think we probably would annoy the shit out of each other and there's no fun in a meetup like that. Either way, it's my right to decide that, and about whom, and yes, to say so out loud.
posted by rtha at 11:40 AM on September 3, 2014 [44 favorites]


Justinian, you're right that it's incredibly common behavior. That's my understanding of the purpose of the term rape culture--it makes it clear that it's not just one guy hiding in the bushes, it's a broad acceptance of behaviors that treat consent as irrelevant or as a minor consideration, easily brushed aside.

I'm not an expert on the phrase though so that's just my take on it.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:40 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think you're right. But I wasn't saying the behavior wasn't bad, only that it was so common that it's not particularly useful as an indicator of anything except that they live in our culture.
posted by Justinian at 11:43 AM on September 3, 2014


I'd rather be low-class and gutter than be the kind of person who insults people by calling them low-class and gutter.

Although I'm interested to see that norareed is being both a highfalutin book-learnin snob AND low class. Good gigs if you can get them I guess
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:45 AM on September 3, 2014 [24 favorites]


I figured as much Justinian, thanks for clarifying anyway though :)
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:47 AM on September 3, 2014


But I wasn't saying the behavior wasn't bad, only that it was so common that it's not particularly useful as an indicator of anything except that they live in our culture.

This seems a fair point to make.
posted by colie at 11:49 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


...only that it was so common that it's not particularly useful as an indicator of anything except that they live in our culture.

To you, a dude who, unless there is something quite different about you than most dudes, are not under regular threat of sexual assault. You don't get to declare that's a not a "useful indicator" because you generally don't have to face the consequences of being wrong.

I have, in my life, at least a few times, set off a stranger's radar as a false positive for a sexual assault threat. I can only speculate why -- I mean that as in I can list things about me that would've set someone's radar off in the context in which it happened -- but none of those things meant for a fact that I was about to commit an act of sexual assault because, and you'll have to trust me on this, I was not about to commit an act of sexual assault.

I don't get to decide that those weren't "useful indicators," though. "Useful indicators" only show themselves if they're not paid attention to.
posted by griphus at 11:50 AM on September 3, 2014 [15 favorites]


I have, however, clicked on things without thinking and this is not to say I think people simply clicked on something without processing the pro's and cons of doing so are part of some conspiracy to mistreat anyone.

It's just, if you're going with the flow, and the flow is hurting people, you're part of the something hurting people whether you meant to be or not.


I think that's exactly right. If I'm reading something that says "the pictures in question are here [hyperlink]" I'm not necessarily going through a moral calculus in my head before clicking, because I surf through news and inform myself about things very quickly. It's only after I'm looking at the pictures does it sink in - holy shit, this is fucked. This is perpetuating rape culture. This is not good, not consensual, and I'm doing a bad thing by looking at it. Maybe it makes me a bad person who shouldn't be around other people, probably not, but it wasn't right and I recognize that.

In any case, NoraReed certainly has an absolute right to say what she did even if it upsets me or anyone else, because she's speaking her truth and lived experience. 100%. The analysis should end there.
posted by naju at 11:50 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


sometimes i feel like we've grown leaps and bounds around here and sometimes it feels like there's just a sheen of respectability hiding the same issues that abound around women everywhere.

It is just a sheen, nadawi. It just hopefully gets thicker.
posted by Mooski at 11:51 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well I do think whether you uphold or challenge rape culture, is in fact an important distinction, and possibly a valuable indicator of character.
posted by xarnop at 11:51 AM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


You don't get to declare that's a not a "useful indicator" because you generally don't have to face the consequences of being wrong.

Sure I do. I can decide anything I want. Whether people decide to agree with me is a different matter. I'm not trying to force anyone to change their minds.
posted by Justinian at 11:52 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Like sure, it's easy to make blunders due to blindness+going with the flow of rape culture-- it's just when you make that mistake do you buckle down and defend those actions or admit, huh, maybe that was cruddy and I'll do differently next time?
posted by xarnop at 11:52 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


some might find "looked at the pictures" too broad a category to be useful, but you might also be surprised by the number of women, especially sexual assault survivors, who close their social circle in very tight because the price for being wrong is too high. for instance, after one of my closest friends (who i'm pretty sure at least had a mefi account) drugged my drink and tried to get me to suck his dick, i stopped having close male friends who weren't my father or brother. does this mean i think all men are rapists? no. it just means that i can't tell and i don't want to be in that position again if a can help it. some might tell me i've gone too far, but they aren't living in my body so they don't get to tell me who to be comfortable around.
posted by nadawi at 11:55 AM on September 3, 2014 [16 favorites]


I'm not trying to force anyone to change their minds.

If you're not, you're at least discounting the usefulness of the methods someone uses to feel safe from a cogent threat based on your experiences, which aren't relevant to their situation. It's a shitty thing to say and to do to a person who already has to deal with having to develop and refine such methods in the first place.
posted by griphus at 11:55 AM on September 3, 2014 [12 favorites]


NoraReed wrote two things in combination, and they shouldn't be conflated as being the same thing and prosecuted/defended on exactly the same basis:

"Anyway, I just assume everyone who intentionally looked at the photos is a bad person who doesn't give a shit about women's consent, and I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent, because rape culture is huge and exploitative and it encroaches into every bit of our culture. But, like, I probably wouldn't want to be around dudes who look at this kind of shit, because I figure that people who don't care about the consent of the people in their pornography are more likely than average to rape me."

The first part is a specific moral judgment of an entire class of people. The second part is about risk assessment in a rape culture. Some people took offense at the first, some the second, some at both in combination. Some people are defending the first as if it were the second, partly because of the people who are complaining about both together.

The second part, which was mostly the point of her comment, is extremely important and I am equal parts angry and dismayed that, again, we have to have a discussion about why risk assessment in rape culture isn't some personal insult to some man.

But all those strong feelings about the second and most important part have made it impossible to disentangle what's going on with the first part, which is pretty provocative and which absolutely is involved in some people's reactions.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:59 AM on September 3, 2014 [9 favorites]


Because the number of people who have now looked at the pictures is so large that its a pretty clear example of false positive paradox if you're using "looked at the pictures" for much of anything.

The pictures are easy to avoid. It's not like there's a level of difficulty in not googling or reddit searching for [celeb names] + 'nude photos' or 'photo leak' or 'fappening.' It's not like avoiding 4chan is hard or anything.

The qualifying term in NoraReed and other people's comments was "intentionally."

There's plenty of free porn on the internet. If a person is specifically seeking out non-consensual x-rated stuff then that (imo) does say something about their character. And as someone mentioned above, it's all within a similar spectrum. Non-consensually obtained pictures (be they upskirts or stolen nudes) are (again, in my opinion) less problematic than a video or images of someone being assaulted, but there's truly not that much ethical distance between them.

(On preview, I see that nadawi hit upon this, but I'll leave it in anyway.)
People who have survived rape and sexual assault don't have the luxury of giving random strangers the benefit of the doubt. They are less likely to be trusting, or thinking that everyone is innocent in that regard before being proven dangerous. They may look for signs that reveal various aspects of people's characters. And yeah, a general disregard for consent and respect for privacy and comfort is gonna be a big one.
posted by zarq at 12:00 PM on September 3, 2014


And yeah there are no doubt thousands of people I've interacted with who have closed their social circle to not include me, and I'm never aware of it, it could be as simple as being too quiet or not quiet enough. It's cool. You kind of have to make your peace with that happening if you're going to live in this world.
posted by naju at 12:01 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The pictures are easy to avoid. It's not like there's a level of difficulty in not googling or reddit searching for [celeb names] + 'nude photos' or 'photo leak' or 'fappening.'

True now, but it is relevant that on Sunday at least, #JenniferLawrence was huge on Twitter and if you clicked 'Discover' and then 'Trending', you would get the pics in your face. Then you were in the story and part of the madness that was erupting.
posted by colie at 12:02 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Intentionally"
posted by zarq at 12:04 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's why zarq and others have pointed out the significance of the word "intentionally."
posted by MoonOrb at 12:04 PM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Also frankly my risk assessment is different from norareeds I'm sure, and different from literally everyone's here. Our lives are different and we have different priorities. I'm not just talking about socializing and sexual assault, I'm talking in general. Some people here are possibly even more cautious than her or cautious in different ways. Some people would never go to a meetup ever, period. Some people would never go to one at someone's house. Some people would never attend a meetup in a bar and have drinks with strangers. So the fuck what? Who cares? People form opinions of each other constantly and decide who to spend time with based on those decisions. You disagree with this one? Boo hoo, seriously.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:04 PM on September 3, 2014 [15 favorites]


colie, I don't mean to be flip. I'm just saying that NoraReed and others have made a distinction between stumbling across them accidentally and hunting them down.
posted by zarq at 12:05 PM on September 3, 2014


False positives might make some guy sad. False negatives might result in rape. So if our rapedar is overly inclusive and falsely IDs some perfectly fine guys as threats, well, boo fucking hoo I guess. Haven't you people ever heard the phrase "better safe than sorry," or does it just not apply when men's feelings are on the line?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:05 PM on September 3, 2014 [23 favorites]


hell, i saw some of the pictures, thanks to twitter not hiding inline images. seeking them out is a whole other thing.
posted by nadawi at 12:06 PM on September 3, 2014


I would really appreciate it if we could stop calling these photos 'leaked'. They weren't leaked, they were stolen. This is not a leak, it's theft.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:07 PM on September 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


"That said, there are a lot of people who feel that any depiction of nudity should be considered porn-ish (John Ashcroft, so-called family friendly lobbyists) and I think this is an assertion that gets very strongly pushed back against, and should be."

High five!

"I think that's exactly right. If I'm reading something that says "the pictures in question are here [hyperlink]" I'm not necessarily going through a moral calculus in my head before clicking, because I surf through news and inform myself about things very quickly. It's only after I'm looking at the pictures does it sink in - holy shit, this is fucked. This is perpetuating rape culture. This is not good, not consensual, and I'm doing a bad thing by looking at it. Maybe it makes me a bad person who shouldn't be around other people, probably not, but it wasn't right and I recognize that."

This is pretty much exactly my experience with seeing the pix and reading the resulting thread. In general, I'm someone who tends to think that the rights of the public and of free speech outweigh many privacy claims, to the point where I think that most anti-pap laws do more harm than good even if paps in general do more harm than good. And even the telephoto lens stuff is a false distinction — even with the lens, you still have to be standing somewhere that's publicly accessible, and people still get sued over that. It's less awesome and can slide toward skeevy, but I think that focusing on it elides a really powerful point about how these images were actually created and who the intended audiences were.

And yeah, I'm sorry if that means that some women here wouldn't want to be around me because of that, but that's on me. (I'm sure there are already people of all genders who don't want to be around me because I can be a bit of a jerk.) Knowing that this is part of their calculus, well, it matters to me in how I approach stuff like this in the future. But these are my actions, and even if they're pretty normal/popular, that doesn't mean that I don't have to own responsibility for them, or that someone saying that she'd feel less safe around me because of them is something that's unfair to me. Am I a bad person? I don't think so, but I don't think what I did was a good act and I also don't think that it's unfair to judge people based on their actions.

Reed's comment may have been intemperate, but if we're calling out intemperate comments here the MeTa queue will never clear.
posted by klangklangston at 12:11 PM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm not trying to force anyone to change their minds.

I don't think anyone here believes that you are trying to force or even convince anyone else to change their minds about their own personal levels & methods of risk assessment.

I do think many of them would like not to be told that their methods and standards for risk assessment are dumb or bad or objectively, obviously, counter-productive by someone who has no actual real-life experience in this particular kind of risk assessment.
posted by soundguy99 at 12:14 PM on September 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


If you're not, you're at least discounting the usefulness of the methods someone uses to feel safe from a cogent threat based on your experiences, which aren't relevant to their situation.

The thing with facts is that they don't change depending on how you feel about them. So you might think I'm incorrect but that's a completely separate matter from the strength of feelings about it. But at this point I don't expect you'll change your mind and I guess I'll have to learn to go on with my life somehow.
posted by Justinian at 12:18 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


counter-productive by someone who has no actual real-life experience in this particular kind of risk assessment.

It's well established that strong feelings make us less able to make correct appraisals of things not more able. That wouldn't even be controversial on any other subject.
posted by Justinian at 12:19 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


It might be sort of okay to not go the the damn mat for ten rounds about it, though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:20 PM on September 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


It's well established that strong feelings make us less able to make correct appraisals of things not more able. That wouldn't even be controversial on any other subject.

Are you arguing that someone with no experience of being harassed or sexually assaulted is in a better position to assess the risk of those things happening (to themselves, to other people who are not them) than someone who has that experience?
posted by rtha at 12:22 PM on September 3, 2014 [33 favorites]


It's well established that strong feelings make us less able to make correct appraisals of things not more able. That wouldn't even be controversial on any other subject.

Strong feelings ≠ direct experience.

Questioning the ability of people who have direct experience with being sexually assaulted to determine their own safety and comfort levels is rather nasty.
posted by zarq at 12:23 PM on September 3, 2014 [21 favorites]


Justinian: It's well established that strong feelings make us less able to make correct appraisals of things not more able.

Uh, no? Direct experience can both distort and clarify one's perception of something. Just as there's such a thing as being too close to an issue, so too is not knowing a god damn thing about it.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:23 PM on September 3, 2014 [12 favorites]


I've read every comment here, and I literally (like, actually, literally) have no idea what the possible reasonable objection to NoraReed's comment is. Her decisions about who to spend time with are her business, affect no one but her, and, at least in this case, are about an entirely volitional action by people that she clearly ties to it's threatening antecedents. I just don't get the strong objection to that, and it's really hard, after trying and failing to understand it, to not connect it to the very distasteful and inherently dismissive of women "not all men" thing.
posted by OmieWise at 12:24 PM on September 3, 2014 [25 favorites]


This is an awesome site that has solved the problem of how to encourage thoughtful, productive discussion better than almost every other place on the internet, and we can probably make progress on preventing controversial discussion from deteriorating due to assumptions of bad faith and incendiary rhetoric.

We shouldn't be satisfied that there are certain kinds of posts here that people avoid commenting in because those conversations "never go well," and we shouldn't accept as inevitable that this is just the way things are.

There are people in the world who are able to disagree respectfully very well and who are very good at telling the difference between the discussion they WANT to have and the one that is actually taking place, and they do this due to specific habits of thought. Many of them are members and contributors to this community, and we really want those people here!

Here is a pony request that I think would encourage more nuanced discussion:

A feedback aggregator similar to favorites, but works like this:

(1) It's not an option for every comment, just ones where the person making the comment chooses to solicit this sort of feedback.

(2) By allowing the aggregator to be posted along with your comment, you're saying, "I know this is a controversial topic and I'm disagreeing with something someone said in the article or in the thread, but I'm trying to frame this in a way that assumes good faith and encourages nuanced discussion where the disagreement needs to be respectful. Let me know how you think I did with that, whether or not you agree with the point I'm making."

(3) You could vote these things up or down.

This would encourage this as a good habit, and encourage minor course adjustments to be made to conversations and prevent things from getting so bad that someone is emboldened enough to post to Metatalk, where the frustration that prompted the MeTa post sometimes carries into the framing of the question, stifling efforts to make progress on the issue that prompted the post in the first place.

It would also signal to people who are wary of polarizing discussions that people are open to feedback and think it's important to hold themselves to a high standard not only in how they advocate their position but in how they treat the other people in the discussion.

This pony is probably not going to be seen grazing about on the blue, but at least it's an example of the kind of thinking that would attempt to make things better.
posted by alphanerd at 12:27 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Omiewise, It's a defensive reaction. People don't like being lumped in with rapists. And as Potomac Avenue said earlier, NoraReed is a Mefite that some people look up to, so her opinion of them matters.
posted by zarq at 12:29 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's well established that strong feelings make us less able to make correct appraisals of things not more able.

I don't think that actually has been established. I mean, certainly in specific cases, but not universally. And I am not sure you can compare "has strong feelings from watching FOX all the time," which is one study where I know people's emotions inaccurately color their understanding of the world, with "has strong feelings because of direct experience."

Anyway, let's say that somebody has decided not to hang out with me. We won't make this about sexual assault, but about something non-violent. Let's say there was once a bad odor in my vicinity, and they never want to smell it again. And let's say I wasn't the cause of that odor, and they're just flat wrong about it.

Guess what? They still get to not hang out with me. They always get to not hang out with me, no matter how wrong they might be about it. It is always their prerogative.
posted by maxsparber at 12:30 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The thing with facts is that they don't change depending on how you feel about them. So you might think I'm incorrect but that's a completely separate matter from the strength of feelings about it. But at this point I don't expect you'll change your mind and I guess I'll have to learn to go on with my life somehow.


Justinian: You lack experience avoiding sexual assault. Women, by and large, possess it. Stop telling women you know better than them on that score.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:31 PM on September 3, 2014 [29 favorites]


alphanerd: This pony is probably not going to be seen grazing about on the blue, but at least it's an example of the kind of thinking that would attempt to make things better.

Attempt? Sure, but it's really just optional upvotes/downvotes. Your statement that people, by choosing to put the upvote/downvote links on their comment, would be attesting to their good faith, is entirely unsupported, and in my opinion, false. They'd just be asking for a referendum on their opinion. And, really, making it so that the poster of the comment gets to decide whether people have the ability to weigh in on their opinion seems like the exact opposite of what I'd want from such a system (not that I'd want one at all.)
posted by tonycpsu at 12:33 PM on September 3, 2014


It's well established that strong feelings make us less able to make correct appraisals of things not more able.

Take that evo-psych shit back to the subreddit where you found it. I concede or whatever. Peace.
posted by griphus at 12:35 PM on September 3, 2014 [21 favorites]


It's well established that strong feelings make us less able to make correct appraisals of things not more able. That wouldn't even be controversial on any other subject.

Are white people the #1 experts about issues affecting black people, just because they don't care as much? Are straight people the #1 experts about issues affecting gay people, just because they don't care as much? Are westerners the #1 experts about issues affecting the third world, just because they don't care as much?

My dispassionate and android-like opinion is that you are talking out of your ass.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:37 PM on September 3, 2014 [58 favorites]


Um, no. Strong feelings have a track record of helping people make snap judgments. It is a form of memory and it is useful as hell when you face danger at every turn.

I am not sure what exchange started this line of arguing, but if it is some man taking offense at some woman implying men are dangerous or something, let me suggest that continuing to attack women is not going to help create a world in which most women do not have some negative knee jerk reaction to certain kinds of crappy things often done by men.

On an unrelated note:

If you have in the past called me names and generally been an asshole to me and then taken a break from that but never apologized nor ever publicly said anything constructive to me, writing me privately to say something nice to me puts me in a hellaciously awkward position of not knowing how the hell to respond to that. I am going to leave out additional detail as to why this is incredibly, unbelievably weirdly awkward because I don't want to make it more so. But, yeah, I won't be replying privately.

Thank you.

posted by Michele in California at 12:39 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Omiewise, It's a defensive reaction. People don't like being lumped in with rapists. And as Potomac Avenue said earlier, NoraReed is a Mefite that some people look up to, so her opinion of them matters.

Absolutely. That's consistent with what I said. I think it's one thing to have the reaction and another to have other people (who clearly do not respect NoraReed) chime in and add to it all.
posted by OmieWise at 12:40 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Justinian, it is an honor and privilege to be the 11th person noting that you're wrong on fuck on this one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:43 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Here is a pony request that I think would encourage more nuanced discussion:

I think I totally get where you're coming from on this, but it's not getting out of the barn, yeah. The amount of fiddliness and extra making-it-about-the-commenter that'd come with pushing a system like that into the flow of conversation really overwhelms the notional utility, which could be accomplished probably about as well in practice by someone just taking that extra pause before hitting submit to add a note that they're particularly unsure or concerned about the soundness/presentation of the thing they're saying.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:50 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Although I'm interested to see that norareed is being both a highfalutin book-learnin snob AND low class. Good gigs if you can get them I guess

So, yeah, the economy's terrible and also there's not a lot of jobs available for University Studies majors who studied academic feminism, so I actually am pretty literally low class. Hell, one of my favorite early internet experiences involved photos of my literally lying in a gutter.

I both want to be safe and feel safe; I don't want to spend time pushing down that sense of dread that comes with my spidey-sense tingling about someone.

Additionally, I have to say that men who get offended by risk assessment, act defensive about it, constantly second-guess it, make it all about them, or otherwise respond with a general failure to grok rape culture and/or hostility are an even bigger red flag, but it's an easy one to use to dismiss people from your social circle, because shit, even if I wasn't doing the will-they-rape-me calculus, they'd sure as hell fail the will-they-back-me-up-when-I-get-harassed-or-assaulted calculus, and also I'd have to put up with microaggressive bullshit and avoid topics where they might jump down my throat on some misogynistic bullshit. I don't have time for that shit.

There are a lot of tiers I'm doing this assessment on at any given time, though, and I'm also doing it for groups involved (an individual's friends/family if I may see them, the general website culture if I'm going to a meetup, the patrons and staff of where we're going, security/cops in the area) and I also try to do it roughly for people I'm with on an actual safety, perceived safety, trigger-avoidance and general "will it be fun" level (is it an overstimulating place/does it have anxiety triggers/are the doormen going to be dicks about my trans friends presenting a different gender than what's on their ID/can we hang out without drinking/can they get food within their dietary restrictions). It's not all straight risk, it's also about feeling safe and avoiding unpleasant people.

Everyone does this, I think. You might avoid a certain alley or parking lot after you or a friend gets robbed there. I avoid people who might be rapists. And, shit, if that makes me poisonous and hateful, y'all would be fainting like you're in overtight corsets to see the shit I'm actually angry about.
posted by NoraReed at 12:54 PM on September 3, 2014 [55 favorites]


...but at least it's an example of the kind of thinking that would attempt to make things better.

All it takes is one person with a bad attitude to defeat pretty much any technology solution.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:57 PM on September 3, 2014


Just as there's such a thing as being too close to an issue, so too is not knowing a god damn thing about it.

But if I don't give a fuck about anything, then I get to be an expert on literally everything!
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:00 PM on September 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


It's well established that strong feelings make us less able to make correct appraisals of things not more able. That wouldn't even be controversial on any other subject.

Human beings are bad at assessing risk. Period. The end. You included.

And "strong emotion" is vague and so is "correct appraisals". Your statement might or might not be right. Does PTSD make it harder to feel safe in relatively safe situations? Yes. Does hating olives make it harder to assess whether olives are likely to be in a given dish? No. Those are two extreme examples that both fit your statement.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:07 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Bronies are notoriously bad at assessing whether a TV show is My Little Pony

Roger Ebert was really bad at assessing films

I could do this forever
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:10 PM on September 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


If you hate olives, you might be less likely to know what the four seasons of a pizza quattro stagioni are.
posted by box at 1:12 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Game of Thrones... IS My Little Pony, right?
posted by Drinky Die at 1:12 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


We're 538 comments in, and we're STILL arguing about 'don't be a dick to women?' Is it THAT hard a concept to grasp? Seriously?

To all the guys still going 'but, but, but, you're lumping me in with rapists! You're making me uncomfortable! You're hurting my feelings! It's not fair when you don't even know me that you're afraid of me!!!!!'

Women get harrassed all the damn time, by men - strangers, friends, and family members. Women get sexually assaulted far, far FAR too often by men. Strangers, friends, and yes, sometimes family members. One of 5 women will be raped in college. And that's the ones that report it - there's far more that don't. You know what that means? Just by statistics, there are a number of women in this very thread, that have. been. raped. From previous threads, I know for a fact there are women in this thread who have been raped.

Your hurt feelings? I honestly, truly, don't give a fuck. You know who's to blame that women are wary around men? OTHER MEN. The abusers, the harassers, the rapists, the ones who taught these women that their consent didn't mean jack shit. The hordes of them living among us, happily ignoring women's consent because their jollies are so much more important.

You want to angry and upset? Get fucking angry at those men. Get angry at the many, many fucking men who think it's perfectly OK to abuse women, ignore their consent, and then get backed up by the vast numbers of other men - LIKE YOU - who minimise the threats women face, blame the women when they do get assaulted or raped, and minimise the harm caused by our goddamn toxic man-centered culture that tells women don't even get to try to protect themselves that allows these guys to keep getting away with it.

Stop blaming the women for being afraid. If we had to put up with the constant threats they do, we'd be bloody wary as fuck. It's. Not. Their. Fault!
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:20 PM on September 3, 2014 [64 favorites]


tonycpsu Being open to feedback about whether or not you're doing a good job of keeping the discussion nuanced and the tone respectful, and being willing to look at feedback and believing it will be show that you've been successful is a pretty good sign of good faith, and the fact that soliciting it requires concrete action is important because it encourages people to think more about whether or not it's warranted, and isn't something that's automatic. It's the difference between someone speaking up and doing so with the understanding that people may disagree with them openly, versus someone stating up front they care about how they're coming across and want people's input on that. In my experience, the latter mindset is predictive of better judgement on the part of the speaker.

It's not clear to me whether you think it will fail as a mechanism to allow people to attest to their good faith because you think people would misuse it intentionally, or because you think good faith is something that's difficult to self-identify, or because you think it's hard for people to recognize that a statement is polarizing if it makes a point that they agree with. Feel free to clarify if you think this is a good discussion to continue.

cortex Obviously your judgement about this is backed by a lot more experience than mine, but couldn't such a statement invite further discussion about tone that would detract from the main discussion itself? Certainly there'd be an element of, "Okay, this guy is stating that he cares about how he comes across, so I'll look harder at where he's coming from," but if the tone really is bad, now you've got someone who's inviting feedback, with the main way of giving that being in the discussion, which could have the effect of derailing. What I'm talking about would keep the feedback out of the discussion itself, and to the extent that it would make things about the commenter, it would be highlighting them as being people who engage in the behavior we want to encourage along with the example of them doing it well for other people to learn from.
posted by alphanerd at 1:21 PM on September 3, 2014


When it comes to "further discussions that detract from the main discussion," I am Potter Stewart.
posted by box at 1:29 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Given your public admission that you basically like playing Devil's Advocate and that's all that is really going on here but you want to strongly defend your right to do that, I really do not think this should be taken seriously anymore.

Given that I spent a great number of posts very directly and clearly explaining that is not at all what I am doing, I don't understand why you would continue to repeat this untrue statement about me many more times. Please stop.
posted by crayz at 1:30 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's well established that strong feelings make us less able to make correct appraisals of things not more able.

Oh, that's right: if we take precautions to avoid being assaulted, we are being paranoid, or overemotional (read: hysterical), or hurtful (hateful, even!) to men. The other side of the coin, as we all damn well know, is that if we do get assaulted in some way, we will be accused of having failed to exercise common sense in avoiding asssault in the first place. If only we had been more like men.

It makes me heartsick and infuriated that after all the conversations we've had here -- hell, after 40+ years of the contemporary feminist movement, or 165+ years after the Seneca Falls Convention, for that matter -- women are still having to put up with this retrograde bullshit that asserts that men are the real experts on how women should live their lives, because we are just too emotional.

This insistence that women are Doing It Wrong -- no matter what we do -- when it comes to navigating the world under a patriarchy is nearly identical to the insistence that black people (or all people of color) are Doing It Wrong -- no matter what they do -- when it comes to navigating the world under a racist system.

After 30 years of being a feminist (and an activist in general), I can say that my anger is finally being pierced by a deep, yawning sadness. I feel grief -- real, deep, painful grief -- that here we are. Here we still fucking are.

There's a line in Ulysses where Stephen says that "history is the nightmare from which I am trying to awake." I know the feeling. Millions of us know it.

That there are always those who find ways to excuse the nightmare, or insist that there is no nightmare, or sneer that the nightmare is really of our own making, or affect bafflement as to why we don't just shake off the nightmare, or twist it so that it's actually white people and straight men who are living the nightmare... well, sleep tight with your clean consciences, I guess.
posted by scody at 1:31 PM on September 3, 2014 [109 favorites]


alphanerd: It's not clear to me whether you think it will fail as a mechanism to allow people to attest to their good faith because you think people would misuse it intentionally, or because you think good faith is something that's difficult to self-identify, or because you think it's hard for people to recognize that a statement is polarizing if it makes a point that they agree with. Feel free to clarify if you think this is a good discussion to continue.

Not sure about the self-identification one, but your other two reasons certainly seem appropriate to me. I just don't think there's a technical solution to the "good faith isn't tangible" problem, and the question of "are they being honest or not" will certainly get conflated with "do I agree with their message or not." I'm doing my best to set my dislike of upvoting systems in general aside here, but certainly, an upvoting system where people can opt in sounds even worse than one that's present on all comments. People who disable it may not be posting in bad faith, they may just not want to see a bunch of downvotes on the merits of their opinion.

I just see very little upside and a ton of downside, sorry.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:31 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


crayz: Given that I spent a great number of posts very directly and clearly explaining that is not at all what I am doing

While it's certainly possible that you've "directly and clearly" explained this, but dozens of people have misunderstood you, I would urge you to consider that you may not have explained it as directly and clearly as you think you have.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:34 PM on September 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


women are still having to put up with this retrograde bullshit that asserts that men are the real experts on how women should live our lives, because we are just too emotional.

Which is, of course, laughable, as the thing that gets brought up again and again and again in these discussions is the idea that the ~hurt feelings~ of men are more important than the logical precautions employed by women.

Given that I spent a great number of posts very directly and clearly explaining that is not at all what I am doing

"I explained that I'm not doing the thing I'm clearly doing, so stop looking at my actions and just pay attention to my words, please!"
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:34 PM on September 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


While it's certainly possible that you've "directly and clearly" explained this, but dozens of people have misunderstood you, I would urge you to consider that you may not have explained it as directly and clearly as you think you have.

OK: I am not playing devil's advocate. I have complex thoughts on a topic and share different thoughts with different audiences. All of the thoughts I share are shared sincerely, i.e. not playing devil's advocate.
posted by crayz at 1:37 PM on September 3, 2014


couldn't such a statement invite further discussion about tone that would detract from the main discussion itself?

It totally could (and sometimes in practice does), yeah; my default advice for someone having doubts about a comment they're writing along the lines of "people are maybe going to read this wrong or react badly to what I'm choosing to say or how I'm choosing to say it" is not to add disclaimers but rather to take a step back and examine why they're saying what they're saying, how they're saying it, and what they're hoping to accomplish conversationally, and just rewrite until the doubts are significantly reduced, or to decide that maybe this isn't the time and the place for them to say the thing they're thinking of. Sometimes the best contribution you can make to a specific conversation is to refrain from commenting. I'm definitely often in that position myself.

Sometimes disclaiming or explaining the comment is still what feels like the right choice, and people can do that as their gut tells them. It's not the solution all the time, but it's available as one of those one-off things where the balance is such that it feels worth making a potentially difficult comment but also taking the time to try and mitigate the damage.

But building a system to automate a similar idea of disclaiming would likely have a similar distracting effect but systemize and normalize it to boot. That distraction goes from being a one-off decision by a commenter in framing their comment to being something sort of mechanically endorsed by the site. The history of how notionally side-channel feedback methods like favorites and flags and mefimails nonetheless end up becoming part of the conversation sometimes even with a lot of long-standing mod discouragement of same underscores why it's not so easy to add something to the flow of the para-conversational tools while keeping it out of the conversation itself.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:37 PM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


crayz, while you've stated that you don't consider what you're doing to be arguing as a devil's advocate, I'm not sure how to square that with your also-very-clear statement that "In private discussions on and offline, I tend to debate from the direction I see un(der)-represented." That, to me and apparently to many others here, is basically the definition of arguing as a devil's advocate.
posted by dialetheia at 1:40 PM on September 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


I have complex thoughts on a topic and share different thoughts with different audiences. All of the thoughts I share are shared sincerely, i.e. not playing devil's advocate.

Okay, so why DO you go out of your way to select the "underrepresented opinion" in a given group and have THAT be the one out of your kaliedoscope of opinions which you happen to share? If a more harmonious opinion would also represent something which you actually think, why NOT discuss that with a given group instead?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:40 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hey, alphanerd,

Your pony request is a really, really super bad idea.

"Okay, this guy is stating that he cares about how he comes across, so I'll look harder at where he's coming from,"


See, a helluva lot of people care about they come across. Unfortunately, in most cases, they care about Looking Good, not about actually respecting other people.

Over time, you can determine who actually cares about respecting other people. Additional public comment about how good someone looks doesn't help that. It hurts that. It hurts it enormously. You are requesting one of those things that sounds good in theory but, in practice, you can't get there from here.

Given that I spent a great number of posts very directly and clearly explaining that is not at all what I am doing, I don't understand why you would continue to repeat this untrue statement about me many more times. Please stop.

Speaking of untrue statements: My recollection is I commented on it twice, not "many more times."
posted by Michele in California at 1:41 PM on September 3, 2014


could we maybe use this position to substantiate a hypothesis about a 'culture'-based problem, perhaps even one that could be shorthanded as 'rape culture'?

I guess I wouldn't shorthand it as "rape culture" because so much of it is also "internet culture," which has been touched on in several comments in the later part of this thread.

I wouldn't be surprised if as many (straight) women have looked at the pictures as men have. While I know that women also can promote the patriarchy and rape culture, I doubt that's what's going on for the most part when they look at these pics (i.e. "taking her down a peg" or having no personal regard for women's consent).

I haven't looked at these pictures but I freely admit I've looked at other taboo material... Kate Middleton's skirt blowing up, wardrobe malfunctions, Andrew Sullivan's bareback ads, beheadings, Jon Hamm dick pics (clothed, public, I know not on the same level) somethingawful stuff...

I don't defend this at all because it's motivated by nothing more than the basest, crassest curiosity. I do think that for me it's more falling prey to internet culture though than rape culture. I'm pretty equal-opportunity when it comes to prurient interests. There is a sense of privacy when you're surfing the web (at home at least!) that deludes you into thinking that you can just click around and your activity will have no real-world impact. No one except you needs to know about your morbid curiosity. The stuff is out there, after all; it's unfortunate for the individual involved, but now it's done, what difference does it make if one more person looks to see what all the fuss is about?

These are privacy/decency issues to do with internet/smart phone culture that we're still working through and probably will be doing for some time to come. I think for a lot of people (not the fappers!), that's the broader issue here. Someone upthread asked why women would be looking at these pictures, and this is by way of an answer to that.

However having said all of that, I'll add that this thread has definitely made me think more about how invasive clicking verges into rape culture--how internet culture enables rape culture--because it does make it so much easier to disregard or become desensitized to notions of consent. Also, of course, in the general degrading of privacy that happens with internet culture, women WILL and DO get the worst of it, and I don't mean to deny that at all.
posted by torticat at 1:43 PM on September 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


crayz, while you've stated that you don't consider what you're doing to be arguing as a devil's advocate, I'm not sure how to square that with your also-very-clear statement that "In private discussions on and offline, I tend to debate from the direction I see un(der)-represented."

OK. Given the entire context of what I have said, can you understand how perhaps the good faith reading of this quote would be the implicit "I tend to debate (from within my own set of truly-held thoughts/beliefs) from the direction I see un(der)-represented." - rather than reading it as me saying that I am lying to you?
posted by crayz at 1:45 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying you're lying, I'm saying you're engaging with the discussion as an intellectual exercise in contrarianism. Whether or not you honestly believe the nitpicking arguments you put forth matters not one whit to me.
posted by dialetheia at 1:47 PM on September 3, 2014 [15 favorites]


I don't think anyone thinks you're lying. I think you're just mistaken about the definition of "Devil's Advocate".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:47 PM on September 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


Well, no I am not mistaken about the definition of devil's advocate. So you can continue to repeat that statement about me, but at this point I have told you it is not what I am doing so you are simply lying about me, and I have asked politely that you stop.
posted by crayz at 1:49 PM on September 3, 2014


Which is, of course, laughable, as the thing that gets brought up again and again and again in these discussions is the idea that the ~hurt feelings~ of men are more important than the logical precautions employed by women.

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was turning the accusation of racism/sexism/etc. into a worse crime than racism/sexism/etc.
posted by OmieWise at 1:50 PM on September 3, 2014 [38 favorites]


From your link:

In common parlance, a devil's advocate is someone who, given a certain argument, takes a position they do not necessarily agree with (or simply an alternative position from the accepted norm), for the sake of debate or to explore the thought further.

Wow, that sure sounds like exactly what you yourself admit to doing!
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:51 PM on September 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


Given the entire context of what I have said, can you understand how perhaps the good faith reading of this quote would be the implicit "I tend to debate (from within my own set of truly-held thoughts/beliefs) from the direction I see un(der)-represented."

No, I really can't see that as a valid reading because I have no idea what it means.
posted by OmieWise at 1:52 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


You attempted to harass people based on non-public information--to the point of going after people not involved in the conversation or even this site--while arguing that you don't actually believe in invading people's privacy just because they have a public presence. I'm not sure what you hold to be an actual belief.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:52 PM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


crayz, are you implying that your "complex thoughts on a topic ... shared sincerely" and "the direction I see un(der)-represented" are coincidentally identical?
posted by griphus at 1:53 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I don't know why y'all keep engaging him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:57 PM on September 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


Picking the argument you want to present based on its being contrary to the discussion at hand-- even if that argument is one with which you agree-- is playing devil's advocate. Or at least being a dick.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:57 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


What crayz says he is doing looks to me like something I often do, which is look for potential areas of disagreement on a subject and posting about my view on them. For me, that comes from enjoying debatey conversations more than other sorts of conversation. A good lesson to learn is that not everybody feels that way. An absence of debate on nuanced issues relating to the subject is not the same thing as a circle jerk, because discussion is just as important a thing as debate. Not every underrepresented, sincerely held belief needs to be voiced in a thread if it might take the air out of the room. It would be my sincere advice to crayz to at this point stop going back and forth here and dial down rather than trying to win this one.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:58 PM on September 3, 2014 [20 favorites]


I guess I wouldn't shorthand it as "rape culture" because so much of it is also "internet culture,"

Internet culture is a culture that normalizes and often fetishizes lack of consent (generally in women) and often treats rape, harassment, assault, theft of sexual privacy, etc as a valid form of punishment (generally of women but also sometimes of men, particularly in cases of prison rape and as a generally accepted shorthand for defeat, as in multiplayer games) for behavior deemed unacceptable. It also so normalizes shit like clicking on private photos that contribute to ongoing victimization and demand for similar images that people often do so without any consideration or thought.

That's a rape culture.
posted by NoraReed at 2:00 PM on September 3, 2014 [23 favorites]


"I doubt that's what's going on for the most part when they look at these pics (i.e. "taking her down a peg" or having no personal regard for women's consent"

If you look at someone's stolen pictures of them naked without their consent when you know they don't want you to you are disregarding their consent. It doesn't matter if "everyone else is doing it" that person has to live in a world where entire communities of normal "decent" seeming people feel entitled to do this to someone openly, and that person will never know who in their life has been ogling them naked without their consent. It matters very much to actual people this is being done to against their will and it's a horrific gross violation of someone's sexuality that our culture should be held accountable for doing to someone at both the cultural and the individual level.

This is absolutely about a culture that disregards consent, and that is part of rape culture even when women are participating in it, or even if it's men whose bodies or sexuality is being violated without consent.
posted by xarnop at 2:02 PM on September 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


crayz, are you implying that your "complex thoughts on a topic ... shared sincerely" and "the direction I see un(der)-represented" are coincidentally identical?

Good grief. It's not a coincidence, it's that he has complicated feelings about the topic to begin with.

It's like if you're prochoice but believe there are some difficult issues to do with abortion. Debating rabid prolifers, you will talk about women's autonomy. Debating pro-choice absolutists, you might argue that you do think a 39-wk-old fetus is a baby. They're both sincerely-held beliefs.

Why is this so hard to understand, and can't the devil's advocate derail stop?
posted by torticat at 2:03 PM on September 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


Devil's Advocacy is not for a lot of people in colloquial usage something that requires a strict representation of arguments you otherwise affirmatively disagree with, is I think the thing here. Even the more formal, narrow definition you're linking says "takes a position they do not necessarily agree with", emphasis mine; there's no claim there that you must disagree with the argument you're putting forth for it to be a practice of making an argument for the sake of debate.

I don't think it's gonna be resolvable to get everyone to agree with you that you're not doing what they think of as devil's advocacy, even if you feel that that's not the right term for it. In casual practice, that's the term people use to describe the kind of "here's an argument that I can make to be contrary to what people are saying" dynamic that you seem to have been pursuing in that thread and defending the decision to do in here. It okay for you to be annoyed at that disagreement but I think it's something you need to just make your peace with it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:05 PM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


It's like if you're prochoice but believe there are some difficult issues to do with abortion. Debating rabid prolifers, you will talk about women's autonomy. Debating pro-choice absolutists, you might argue that you do think a 39-wk-old fetus is a baby.

But where is the compulsion to even start a debate with either of those groups coming from in the first place?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:05 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Since I can only favorite it once, I want to quote from Michele in California's fantastic comment to emphasize why some community members might take umbrage at coming into a heartfelt conversation and deliberately responding from a place of maximum disagreement:

So, basically, for you this is some sort of game or intellectual exercise. And for women, this is a horrible reality they suffer with everyday. What is some kind of, I don't know, casual entertainment on your part really is not casual or entertaining to people on the other side of this.

This bit from shakespeherian is also key:

If it is even possible to say that there is general agreement on feminist topics on Metafilter (which I'm not sure can be said), then that is a hard-fought victory carved out from a larger societal struggle which is the larger context. To come into one of these threads and say 'ew, everyone is getting along' is to ignore that they are in agreement in their disagreement with the norm, and that it's probably safe to say that counterarguments are not unknown here.
posted by dialetheia at 2:05 PM on September 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


Well, no I am not mistaken about the definition of devil's advocate.

I suspect you might be, but since you linked a Wiki article rather than stating what your preferred definition is I don't really know.

It has more than one definition. It can mean 'arguing a position you don't believe in.' It can also mean arguing an unpopular or minority position for the sake of debate or discussion. The latter does not require the former, although they can both be simultaneously true.

It can also specifically mean a Catholic official who's arguing against canonization, but I doubt you're going by that one.
posted by cjelli at 2:05 PM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also this.
posted by griphus at 2:06 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Whether it's called "devil's advocate" or not, whatever conversational/debate strategy crayz is pursuing is confusing: that's on crayz, not on everyone else, because it's crayz's choice to engage with people this way.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:07 PM on September 3, 2014


So crayz, this whole distinction you want to make, as to whether or not you're "playing devil's advocate", hinges on your statement that you sincerely believe whatever thoughts you express in a given discussion, even though by your own admission you tend to select the thoughts that you express based reading for the consensus beliefs of the group you're talking to, and then going in the opposite direction.

So, fine, let's leave aside the phrase "devil's advocate". Surely you must realize by now that it's fucking annoying behavior to everyone but you, yes? For one thing, you're arrogating to yourself the position of knowing better than anyone else in the conversation what the really "subtle nuances" of any given topic are. And for another thing, you're postulating that your desire to play this rhetorical role has to override anybody else's concerns or priorities, such as, I dunno, not having to listen to some jackass who's never in his life had to worry about rape or having private nude photoes stolen and distributed on the internet explain that these things aren't all similar. Or at all worth worrying about. Or that anyway, worrying about them out loud where a guy might have to hear it is "hateful".

You can trust me on this: your favored rhetorical devices aren't nearly as important, or nearly as interesting, as you want them to be. You sound exactly like every other two bit wannabe contrarian on the internet, and there are a million of those. They're common as mosquitos, and just about about as pleasant to have around.
posted by Ipsifendus at 2:10 PM on September 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


Thing one does not want to discuss =\= derail.
posted by OmieWise at 2:10 PM on September 3, 2014


Okay, okay, since it seems that crayz is upset about the exact word we're using, I say we come up with a new one:

Fox-Newsing. The definition of which is, "to purposefully select whichever of your honestly-held beliefs would be most contentious when engaging in discussion with a particular group, so as to give an equal hearing to the opinion of yours which you consider to be under-represented within that group."

So okay, crayz isn't playing devils' advocate. But his Fox-Newsing isn't helping either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:12 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


For me, that comes from enjoying debatey conversations more than other sorts of conversation.

I used to be pretty heavily involved in the gifted community online. I was briefly a kind of important person in that space. An observation I made during that time which was often useful and helpful to parents with very difficult kids is that arguing or debating is kind of a lazy means for a smart person to get some of the intellectual workout they need. So, when you have a smart kid who just keeps picking fights and you are the parent, one solution is to get them into something more academically rigorous.

It is a valid complaint that being bored to tears when you are a bright person involves actual suffering. It is a valid assumption that MetaFilter can be a means to meet some of your intellectual needs. The problem here is that a) there are a lot of other ways to meet your intellectual needs that aren't as harmful to other people as playing Devil's Advocate Fox-Newsing sensitive issues like this one and b) the suffering of one bored person looking for intellectual stimulation on a topic where they don't really have much skin in the game is not vastly more important than the suffering of all the women on the planet who get treated so shittily on a daily basis that topics like this are hot button topics for them.

So I agree with Drinky Die's advice that now might be a good time to dial it down.
posted by Michele in California at 2:16 PM on September 3, 2014 [24 favorites]


Yeah, crayz' (crayz's?) comments read more as "shit, another one found his way out of reddit". There's literally nothing there we haven't heard before. We don't care if you're running around covered in shit because you sincerely like the smell or if you just want to make other people smell something bad, it's still a pile of shit, you know? Especially since we're all, like, dump-the-chamber-pot-in-the-street medieval Europe inured to the shit stink, so it's not really even particularly shocking.

In this metaphor, the shit is patriarchy. Think of rape culture as cholera and dysentery.
posted by NoraReed at 2:22 PM on September 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


the suffering of one bored person looking for intellectual stimulation on a topic where they don't really have much skin in the game is not vastly more important than the suffering of all the women on the planet who get treated so shittily on a daily basis that topics like this are hot button topics for them.

Quoted for emphasis.
posted by scody at 2:22 PM on September 3, 2014 [19 favorites]


But where is the compulsion to even start a debate with either of those groups coming from in the first place?

Well, Metafilter is a conversation. It's already happening. Unless you just want to say "me too," then responding to the parts you disagree with, or the parts you think are debatable, is normal and utterly commonplace.

Of course this can also be/come across as contrarianism, mansplaining, being a dick or what-have-you. In gender threads it's likely, in many cases, to be seen as "what about the menz" or a distraction from the more pertinent issues.

From that perspective I don't think crayz's argument in this thread was well-timed or well-placed or well-framed. But I also don't think responding to the aspects of an issue you disagree with rather than those you agree with is at all unusual or notable among mefites, so I don't understand the number of comments devoted to arguing round and round about it.

Having said that, I won't add any more myself.
posted by torticat at 2:30 PM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


"It’s time to destroy the trolls: Orange-fanged morons are choking the Internet. A brutally violent, hateful and sexist comment culture just keeps getting more out of hand. Time to say enough.
In recent days: a feminist culture critic was driven from her home by violent comments and emails; Jezebel, frustrated by the deaf ear of its Gawker father ship, published an open letter to management begging for help with rape GIF trolls; and over at Reddit, which would seem uniquely well-poised for self-policing its trolls, one subreddit was so overrun that it resorted to (wait for it) publishing an open letter to management begging for help.

The reader will have noted a pattern of attacks of women, almost as if the young men of the web, responding to the much-chronicled modern tide that has seen them grow less employable and less employed than women, have decided to piss on this one remaining tree, their digital tower of skulls."
To that end:

We should just call crayz's behaviour what it is. It's trolling.
* Creating a twitter account specifically to attack members of this community: trolling.
* Repeatedly misrepresenting ones actions and intentions: trolling.
* Shitstirring in multiple gender threads for the fuck of it: trolling.
And apparently, concern trolling.
Etc.

We have a bunch of MRA-wannabes on Metafilter and a handful of them have predictably come out of the woodwork in this thread (as they do many gender threads) with the same old unbearably stupid arguments. The same fucking names, again and again. Attacking the same users, again and again. Typically women who dare to challenge them on their bullshit. We all know who they are. And oh dear: they're being once again 'treated unfairly' and 'unfairly judged.' Everyone but them are 'hypocrites.' 'Women should be more polite.' 'Consent/Privacy is a slippery slope' 'Women who have been raped are incapable of properly judging risks to themselves.' Etc., etc.

And we, more fools us, engage them in good faith while they continue to say obnoxious, indefensible and idiotic shit in response.

Fuck that. The mods should ban their asses for being continuously disruptive.
posted by zarq at 2:34 PM on September 3, 2014 [60 favorites]


Creating a twitter account specifically to attack members of this community

Attacking people off-site should not be encouraged, but perhaps that policy should be applied to everyone, regardless of how popular their views are with some.
posted by Mr. Six at 2:44 PM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Attacking people off-site should not be encouraged, but perhaps that policy should be applied to everyone, regardless of how popular their views are with some.

Connecting someone's private, members-only mefi profile details with their public twitter account is super different from calling someone a mean name. The latter is pretty uncool, sure, but the former is basically doxxing and has historically been heavily frowned on in this community. Not connecting peoples' members-only profile details with their public usernames is one of the few actual rules I know of here.
posted by dialetheia at 2:50 PM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Bit of a difference between using your existing twitter account to have an admittedly public conversation with your existing friends about areas of mutual interest, and creating a twitter account with an intentionally confusing name for the specific purpose of calling various mefites terrible people -- including @-mentioning them and associating their twitter handles publicly with their metafilter usernames. One's a little gauche, the other's a little scary.
posted by KathrynT at 2:50 PM on September 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


I think there's a difference between starting a twitter account specifically to fuck with mefites (and misfiring attacks at other rando twitter users) and inquiring if a user has a history of shitty behavior or is just being shitty today and/or kvetching about the mosquito-esque jackasses who keep trying to bring down the discourse to their shitty, boring level in every thread. I mean, I'm not sure if either one is really actionable, but don't conflate them.

Why are you putting up netting? Not all mosquitos have malaria! Maybe they just really want your blood
posted by NoraReed at 2:50 PM on September 3, 2014 [12 favorites]


NoraReed: Why are you putting up netting? Not all mosquitos have malaria! Maybe they just really want your blood

And thus, #notallmosquitos was born.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:53 PM on September 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


We all know who they are.

Name names if you want go this route. Otherwise you contributing to an atmosphere of cliques.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:53 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


"But this is different" is just an excuse. Using social media to go after people is embarrassing and childish behavior, regardless of who does it or why.
posted by Mr. Six at 2:53 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I strongly object to the idea that the two scenarios I posited are functionally identical, and I wonder what the point of trying to equate two such dissimilar things could possibly be.
posted by KathrynT at 2:55 PM on September 3, 2014 [9 favorites]


Using social media to go after people is embarrassing and childish behavior

Not to defend whatever behavior I didn't see that was referenced earlier in the thread, but I believe that the first thing was something along the lines of someone being like 'ugh, Joe, am I right?' and the second thing was someone creating an account to send messages specifically to other users and call them shitty names.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:55 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


No, it's not, Mr. Six. In case this is unclear, some people list their twitter handles under their profiles for members only, which means that Google doesn't index that information. When someone tweets your metafilter username connected to your twitter account, that allows anyone who knows you from twitter to go to MeFi and see everything you've ever said here. For some people, keeping those accounts separate is key to their free expression on Metafilter, since they could be impacted professionally if those accounts were clearly linked.

Do you see the difference?
posted by dialetheia at 2:56 PM on September 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


Absolutely no one here has said "oh, fine, let's only let people on social media we agree with do this," so let's nip that misdirection in the bud. And while we're at it, trying to conflate blowing off steam outside the site indirectly with deliberately creating an offsite account and directly attacking people based on non-public information is ridiculous. It sucks that the former happens, but apart from the lack of enforcement issue, it's in no way the same thing at all. There was a couple Mefites or former Mefites making a stink about the site on Reddit not too long ago that I saw, but as long as they weren't planning 4chan-style raids, it was just (in this case, sexist/transphobic/etc) idiots being idiots. I don't know why some people feel the need to report it to the mods as if it was , because it's not, and in any case is out of their hands. But this case is completely different.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:57 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


the first thing was something along the lines of someone being like 'ugh, Joe, am I right?'

I have seen and engaged in this type of thing on twitter/fb and haven't seen specific usernames -it's mostly just joking about the cabal and how there isn't one. It might not be the most mature thing ever but isn't anything like creating a twitter name to harass people.
posted by sweetkid at 2:59 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


[Comment removed, cool it a bit.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:00 PM on September 3, 2014


In case this is unclear, some people list their twitter handles under their profiles for members only, which means that Google doesn't index that information.

Actually, it was worse than that, because at least one of the attacks was directed at someone who hadn't put Twitter info in their profile at all, and another was somebody who just happened to share a username.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:00 PM on September 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


[Comment removed, cool it a bit.]

Fine. Are you also going to delete the asinine comment that tries to goad me into breaking site rules?
posted by zarq at 3:08 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


you made your case, zarq, it really stands on its own. On the other hand, I doubt the mods will ban someone just because that person has a demonstrated pattern of behavior of harassing people and starting fights, while also ignoring clear direction from the staff.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:12 PM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


I wonder what the point of trying to equate two such dissimilar things could possibly be.

My single point is that bullying people off-site should not be tolerated, regardless of who does it, or why, or how popular they are.

My motivations for opposing that kind of behavior are based on my own continued unpleasant experiences of it at the hands of sociopathic individuals.

If you want to craft excuses for targeting people in certain cases, I cannot stop you, of course, but I am certainly within my rights to criticize excuse-making, just as you are within your rights to continue doing it and wonder about my motivations.

That's the extent of it that I see from my end.

I realize my viewpoint about social media bullying will not be popular with some, as much as I see that certain others disagree.

I apologize in advance that I will not be in lockstep agreement with those people on everything.
posted by Mr. Six at 3:13 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the point folks are trying to make is that gossiping-- even publicly-- is not the same as bullying.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:15 PM on September 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


Attacking people off-site should not be encouraged, but perhaps that policy should be applied to everyone, regardless of how popular their views are with some.

I tried to say as much already and we've certainly said so many times before, but attacking people off-site is in fact not encouraged and is specifically discouraged across the board as a crappy thing to do. Doesn't matter who and who, it's obnoxious drama. I talked about this a bunch yesterday. Not wanting people to bring that back onto the site is orthogonal to the question of whether it's a crappy thing to do in the first place, and if it had been someone linking to the tweet to say "ha, high five!" it'd have been just as deleted as crayz's link to it to protest it was.

But making a point of starting an account specifically to escalate a site beef by taking random shots at a bunch of people as some sort of point-making exercise differs in scale, and was a really weird and fucked up thing to do. Associating twitter handles and pointedly non-indexed profile page details makes it worse.

I didn't ban crayz yesterday for that on, I don't know, some kind of foolish belief that he'd actually realize how shitty it was and make it right somehow, but it's a decision I've kept trying to digest and failing. I'm not comfortable leaving it as a "cut it out or else" thing rather than a "that's it, we're done here" thing; it was too far out of line, and giving it any slack was a mistake on my part. We haven't historically supported that kind of willful, targeted harassment of users by another in the past and we're not going to start now. I've closed his account.

Fine. Are you also going to delete the asinine comment that tries to goad me into breaking site rules?

No. You need to actually cool it, you're coming on way strong right now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:16 PM on September 3, 2014 [30 favorites]


I never criticise the staff at my local store, but I've made sure to let everyone know I think their manager is useless and to contact me privately if they'd like details.

Not passive aggressively of course.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:24 PM on September 3, 2014


dang, if talking about people doing shitty things on Twitter is that much of an offense, I've been greviously impugning the honor of a ton of people, including Richard Dawkins, Adam Baldwin, George RR Martin and Phil Coulson
posted by NoraReed at 3:25 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


I realize my viewpoint about social media bullying will not be popular with some, as much as I see that certain others disagree.

Given that your viewpoint seems composed mainly of a false equivalency grafted on to the contention that "two [falsely equivalent] wrongs don't make a right," I suggest that any unpopularity said viewpoint might encounter has more to do with it being a weak argument on its merits and less to do with you speaking some sort of uncomfortable truth to power.
posted by scody at 3:26 PM on September 3, 2014 [12 favorites]


My single point is that bullying people off-site should not be tolerated, regardless of who does it, or why, or how popular they are.

"Soandso is driving me insane! ARGH" is exactly the same to you as "@Soandso you are an asshole!"? You make no distinction?
posted by rtha at 3:27 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Cortex: I've closed his account.

Thank you.

Cortex: No. You need to actually cool it, you're coming on way strong right now.

With good reason. Fine. I'll give him a less angry response.
posted by zarq at 3:29 PM on September 3, 2014


I think the point folks are trying to make is that gossiping-- even publicly-- is not the same as bullying

Malicious gossip can definitely be a component of bullying, moreso as the intent is the same: ostracization, othering, intimidation, etc.
posted by Mr. Six at 3:32 PM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


Mr. Six, care to respond to the doxxing/outing peoples' private identities aspect? You don't seem to want to acknowledge that but it's key to the difference here. Outing peoples' private profile info is simply not acceptable and that's what makes this a difference in kind, not a difference in degree.
posted by dialetheia at 3:34 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'd like to propose a group hug for all willing participants. This has been a very emotionally trying meta but the account has now been disabled, which I think is a good call, and it would be nice if we didn't let him keep tearing us apart even after he has been escorted out by security.
posted by Michele in California at 3:38 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: Name names if you want go this route.
"A brave and passionate man will kill or be killed.
A brave and calm man will always preserve life.
Of these two, which is good and which is harmful?
Some things are not favoured by heaven. Who knows why?
Even the sage is unsure of this.

The Way of heaven does not strive, and yet it overcomes.
It does not speak, and yet is answered.
It does not ask, yet is supplied with all its needs.
It seems at ease, and yet it follows a plan.

The net of heaven is vast, so vast,
Wide-meshed.
Yet nothing slips through."

-Tao te Ching #73
posted by zarq at 3:39 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


crayz, if you value being a part of this community and are reading this, you are very angry and upset right now. You feel you are right to be. You may be right, you may be wrong, about the stuff that has happened right now in this thread and previous interactions.

Put that aside, take some personal time. I've found the moderators here will listen to you and try and work something out even if you are past the point where you have trespassed over every reasonable line they laid out for you. This place is not a witch hunt, and the mods here will go out of their way to prove it to you. Cool down, try and find a way to honestly improve how you post here, and they will be willing to welcome you back and talk to you about the issues you might have with what they do here.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:42 PM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Mr. Six, care to respond to the doxxing/outing peoples' private identities aspect?

Both parties appeared to use names of identities that are, as near as I can tell, searchable by others using common, publicly-available web tools, which can be ultimately connected to real-world identities with sufficient effort (we've had "Metatalk detective" posts in years past where this was done with some success, I believe). I'm not convinced that "more work" excuses behavior ultimately grounded in malicious intent, in any case.
posted by Mr. Six at 3:42 PM on September 3, 2014


Can I get in on that group hug thing?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:44 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Both parties" my ass. No one that he attacked ever directly addressed him, and one of them wasn't a member of this site.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:55 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Worse, one of them hasn't even posted in this thread.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:56 PM on September 3, 2014


Mr. Six, maybe you're not aware of the subsequent tweeting (under a different username) in which the mefi usernames of a handful mefites (some from this thread, others not even involved) were tweeted alongside their twitter account names. Whether it's possible to obtain that info from here or elsewhere through detective work, this was a serious breach of the mefi social contract (one of whose sole rules is that you don't reveal private behind-profile details in a googleable way).
posted by dialetheia at 3:57 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Outing peoples' private profile info is simply not acceptable

Nothing was "outed," and profile information is not indexed but it isn't private. I don't think it should be okay to link such things from MetaTalk threads—as indeed it isn't; those comments were deleted—but it's not as if some secret was revealed. Frankly if Crayz had just paraphrased the tweet instead of linking directly to it, then I wouldn't have supported that being deleted. Matt characterized it as "offsite drama," but that's a bit disingenuous. It was MetaFilter drama that someone decided to vent about on Twitter, which is different from bringing your Instagram grudges over to this site.

That said, Crayz's subsequent actions went a long way toward substantiating Matt's concern. "I'm going to be quite tempted to open a Twitter pseudonym and just name and talk shit on anyone here." Well okay, if that's the level on which you were intending to address the dumb and infantile thing that occurred, then I can totally see Matt's point in not wanting that here. Take that shit elsewhere.

There are a lot of people, some of them MeFites, who I'd prefer not to be alone with or whatever. That's a choice I get to make, for me, and even get to talk about it if I feel that I need/want to.

I assume everyone agrees with the first part, that it's a choice you get to make. But whether you get to talk about it...I don't know, I think that depends on the context. The guideline is, "Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site." The context is a thread about stolen celebrity photos. John admits that he looked at the photos, and Sally responds that she wouldn't want to hang out with John. That's not really embracing the spirit of that guideline, I don't think.
posted by cribcage at 3:58 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fine. Are you also going to delete the asinine comment that tries to goad me into breaking site rules?

It's been my experience that those who advocate, as you did, for widespread banning of people that "everyone knows is X" are pushing a dangerous precedent. One that goes against years of Metafilter policy.

If you think the site should go that route, then do have the courage of your explosive convictions and name names. If you don't or can't do that, perhaps you should make a less violent suggestion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I wasn't aware of what you're describing, Dialetheia, and if that's the case then maybe I spoke out of turn. When I said nothing was outed, I understood us to be talking about Crayz's deleted comments linking to a single tweet that mentioned him and MetaFilter. If there was more, then I apologize for the confusion.
posted by cribcage at 4:02 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Thanks cribcage. In the spirit of clarifying but not escalating the conflict, yes, there were other interactions under another twitter username that connected peoples' twitter accounts with their mefi usernames. Some of those twitter accounts included peoples' full names.

While I understand that we can't have a complete assurance of privacy, I trust other members not to reveal that information, and since revealing it could have serious real-world consequences for community members I think it's a pretty important guideline to uphold.
posted by dialetheia at 4:06 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


On the NoraReed comment: As Ivan points out, there were two parts. The first was "anyone who looks at the pictures is a bad person". The second was "I would not want to meet any guy who looked at the pictures in real life".

If you are offended by the second part...well, honestly, I don't really understand getting offended by that. It's just risk analysis.

If you're offended by the first part, then keep in mind that it was a short summary of Nora's beliefs. It was not a categoric, definitive, complete statement without exceptions. Jessamyn stated that she has seen the photos. Do y'all really think that NoraReed thinks Jessamyn is a bad person? C'mon, no way. So, yeah, there are probably exceptions. And would you be bothered by a statement like "I think anyone who intentionally looks at the pictures is a bad person, with a few exceptions?"

I mean, I guess there are people who would be offended by even that statement. People who would be offended by even that statement are bad people.

...with a few exceptions.
posted by Bugbread at 4:07 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Internet culture is a culture that normalizes and often fetishizes lack of consent

I don't disagree and acknowledged this.

That's a rape culture.

NoraReed, do you believe they are one and the same? Is rape culture not an overlapping circle in the venn diagram? That is, can a person look at unauthorized content in a way that is admittedly invasive and lacking in empathy, but NOT gendered/rapey?

Or is it that participating in this aspect of internet culture inevitably has gendered/rapey effects regardless of the viewer's motivation/intent?

Please note I'm not just engaging in an intellectual exercise here; as a feminist in my mid-forties, I'm looking at the issue as someone who is both potential victim and potential perpetrator wrt rape culture and internet culture. I personally see separate but overlapping issues arising here and am interested in your opinion.
posted by torticat at 4:13 PM on September 3, 2014


I trust other members not to reveal that information,

Well you shouldn't. There are what, like... 40,000 members here? MeFi is just a microcosm of the real world. There is no community of 40,000 people in which every individual is worthy of your trust. Nobody should post, profile or otherwise make available here personal information they would be uncomfortable being published by a scraper outside of MeFi's control. That's just basic internet safety.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:41 PM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


80 million favorites
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 4:45 PM on September 3, 2014


I trust other members not to reveal that information,

Well you shouldn't.


I took that to mean something more like "It should be an expectation of the community that other members not reveal that information" instead of a more literal interpretation like "I do not believe other members will ever reveal that information."
posted by MoonOrb at 4:45 PM on September 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


That is, can a person look at unauthorized content in a way that is admittedly invasive and lacking in empathy, but NOT gendered/rapey?

If the unauthorized content is nude photos of women (famous and not), then I'm having a hard time imagining how someone looking at them knowing that they were stolen is not somehow gendered. Women can certainly engage in gender policing/harassment against other women, so this isn't a "just men" situation. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say it's impossible (life is weird and people are too), but it seems like an awfully fringe possibility.

I do also think that yes, participating in this part of internet culture has the effect of furthering the effects of rape culture. Someone upthread referred to it as the white noise, and yeah, that. There are a lot of people in this thread, and the fpp, and everywhere else on the internet who are all "what is the big deal, everyone is looking at stuff like this, so it's not that big a problem."

"Everyone does it" is culture in a nutshell. In this case, rape culture.
posted by rtha at 4:45 PM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Well you shouldn't.

Sure, it's true, and I don't actually have that info listed right now. However, it's unfortunate that following basic internet safety means that you shouldn't reveal anything about yourself in a community of people you like because that information could be used against you or connected to your professional name if you make someone angry.

I appreciate that Metafilter has policies (like deleting comments that tie profile info to usernames) to maintain a community norm of not disclosing these things about other members, since that allows many people to engage with the community in ways they might not feel comfortable with otherwise (e.g. making friends with other mefites on tumblr). While I know this norm can be violated, I still think it's important to continue to advocate for it.
posted by dialetheia at 5:03 PM on September 3, 2014


That is, can a person look at unauthorized content in a way that is admittedly invasive and lacking in empathy, but NOT gendered/rapey?

nope, w
posted by NoraReed at 5:14 PM on September 3, 2014


Aw shit, fat-fingered that on mobile. I meant to add "with the exception of people who stumbled on the photos unintentionally"
posted by NoraReed at 5:16 PM on September 3, 2014


scody, this is a really great comment. I'm sorry things seem so bleak, and honestly, I've got nothing to say that I can pretend would make you feel better, but I'm glad you're still around this site.
posted by OmieWise at 6:12 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am skipping down here, perhaps unwisely, to comment on the Eastern European hooch derail. In my experience, it is actually very fine stuff on the whole. I had been developing a taste for fine, rather expensive grappa when I met my partner. As it turns out, she grew up in Romania and was familiar with and introduced me to țuică. I immediately pegged it as similar to, and on the level with, the earthy, funkiness of grappa.

I've sinced maintained that trendy grappa is simply another country hooch from a somewhat posher country. The moral being not to degrade grappa, but to elevate country hooch. This was reinforced a couple years later, when the very best grappa I ever had was given me by an amateur winemaker in Paducah, Kentucky.

I say now, let every country be proud of their honest, unaged spirits! If you appreciate a certain fiery funk in your fruit, let fortune furnish your fist with frequent flagons!
posted by gilrain at 6:15 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am extremely heartened by this discussion. As an older woman, a grannie, I could never have imagined this type of debate happening with men and women together, and on such a grand scale! And with men sticking up for women.

Now we have women openly speaking out against things, Title IX stories all over the place, and the universities are being forced to sit up and take notice. People are questioning why it's okay to show nude pictures of female celebrities. Microagression: that was never a word in my day. And now it is! And there are men here who are listening, and thinking about not only how it affects their mothers, sisters and daughters, but themselves.

It's hurtful to think about and realize that what you are doing and have done for years, without thought might be harmful to others, and society as a whole. It's kind of shocking, actually, because this is the way it's always been. Why not look at the pictures? They are celebrities? I really enjoyed listening to the different points of view on this subject.

I had some nude pictures of myself stolen once, and shown to one or more people who I really did not want them to see. I had them hidden in a closet in my house. Not digital. Fortunately, I got them back and destroyed them. People do these things, they take pictures of their intimate partners, because they think they are beautiful, and ironically, because it is part of the celebrity culture, you want to be a model or artistic, and for once, to not feel ashamed of your body, but to view it as natural and right in the world. Then, to have it thrust out in front of others who view it only as slutty or to get their enjoyment, it is to be shoved back into the dark cave of shame again, even tho' those same people look at girly magazines, it's okay for the girls in those magazines, but not for someone you know.

I feel thankful that this discussion is taking place, to see the dialog and to see the tide is turning in favor of women's rights. This discussion never would have taken place 40 years ago. Yes, there will always be people who don't get it or don't understand, but now there are so many who do, and I find the sunshine here very encouraging. You all are awesome human beings for sticking with this topic and caring so much. It's only by talking about it, and then going home and digesting it, that we can begin to come to mutual understandings of each other. It never happens overnight.

And I enjoy krupnik, myself, having been given a bottle by some good Polish friends. Fiery, but they called it a woman's drink. I will happily say I agree, honey is good for you, and fiery at the same time. May it warm your belly and your soul, because without a woman, you would not be here today, and that's a fact.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:50 PM on September 3, 2014 [53 favorites]


If the unauthorized content is nude photos of women (famous and not), then I'm having a hard time imagining how someone looking at them knowing that they were stolen is not somehow gendered.

There is a population on men who not only are turned on by the lack of consent of pictures of this type, they are turned off by the idea of consent. It's a twisted take on The Virgin/Whore dichotomy women are forced into; the valuable woman is the non-consenting virgin; the consenting whore is undesirable. Women, seeking to remain on the virgin/desirable side of the divide often get into the act; the motivation is closer to self-preservation by siding with the "powerful" in the equation (women aren't the opponents in kyriarchy/patriarchy games, we are the ball) but can be equally damaging to other women.

Sadly, there is no actual way to know what people actually think this way besides watching their behavior carefully for signs that they minimize or downplay the consent of women, including - if they are women - their own.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:52 PM on September 3, 2014


Game of Thrones... IS My Little Pony, right?

"My Little Game of Throny: Friendship is Coming".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:05 PM on September 3, 2014 [24 favorites]


As far as women who look at these images go, the one woman I am close to who reads pap-filled magazines, and would probably search out at least some of these images, is the one with the least understanding of consent and who is frankly creepy as fuck sometimes. Not in a 'will she assault me' sense, but in a 'she would absolutely invade my privacy and continually oversteps my boundaries in minor ways' sense. If she were a man I would be more afraid of assault, but she's a straight woman so there's a certain amount of physical safety (but not emotional safety). I say close to because I am forced by circumstance to be around her fairly often, but I've made the decision not to try and deepen the relationship because I was sick of the stupid, vicious or creepy comments she would come up with about sex.

The body shaming aspect of nonconsensual voyeurism in the mags can't be overlooked either. Almost all of the women I know who read those mags and who follow stars engage in body policing far more than expressions of sexual desire. Part of that may be about orientation and homophobia, but a lot of it is about prurient and petty judgement.

Curiosity is not really an excuse for shitty behaviour. It might be a reason, doesn't make the behaviours less shitty.
posted by geek anachronism at 7:25 PM on September 3, 2014 [15 favorites]


> I've closed his account.

Thanks. That should have happened years ago. I'm sorry it took this twitter incident to get you guys to finally take action.
posted by nangar at 7:26 PM on September 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


Well, with the post author now banned, do we have much reason to keep this open now? I think this might be a natural point to move on...
posted by Drinky Die at 8:23 PM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm inclined to close this soon.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:33 PM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ok, everybody. Last call for amusing Hungarian profanity and drinks! The bar will be closing shortly!
posted by Bugbread at 8:41 PM on September 3, 2014


Surely if someone announces the risk assessment they are making it's fair for others to say that's a pretty bad risk assessment?

On the topic of risk assessments: I work in risk management, and no, we rarely (never) describe something as a "bad risk assessment". We might say that the person doing the assessment is too risk-averse, and discuss why. We might say that they're identifying potential risks that aren't really risks, and discuss why. We might agree that the impact of a particular risk is severe but disagree about its likelihood, and discuss why. We might agree that something is a legitimate risk that needs mitigation but disagree about how to do that, and discuss why. But I can't remember any of my colleagues saying "that's a bad risk assessment".
posted by Lexica at 8:55 PM on September 3, 2014 [9 favorites]


No, please don't close threads where folks still have stuff to say.
posted by lalex at 9:20 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


I agree with lalex. Don't close it. It won't require much moderation and people might still want to talk.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:11 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been greviously impugning the honor of a ton of people, including ... Phil Coulson

OK, now you've gone too far

PISTOLS AT DAWN!
posted by Jacqueline at 10:36 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is a complex topic with a complex outcome and, in the name of encouraging thoughtful posting rather than hasty posting, I too would prefer you not close this thread when many of us are not done addressing issues raised here.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:46 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


As far as women who look at these images go, the one woman I am close to who reads pap-filled magazines, and would probably search out at least some of these images, is the one with the least understanding of consent and who is frankly creepy as fuck sometimes.

That's fair enough, but if the women in your life who look at these images happen to be your wife and teenage daughter then you're going to react differently.

Also, I very gently raised with them some of the points made to me emphatically about pap mag consumption in this article and basically got told to 'butt the hell out of what we read'. Which is also fair enough!

Anyway, I don't buy the mags personally, and partly as a result of reading through all the comments in these two threads I also won't be clicking on the Lawrence pics.
posted by colie at 12:24 AM on September 4, 2014


That's fair enough, but if the women in your life who look at these images happen to be your wife and teenage daughter then you're going to react differently.

Well, I hope my kid won't also be making tedious and offensive sex jokes at me. And I hope that the values my household has - like informed consent, like no body shaming, like focusing on more than the aesthetic value of women - will inform my daughter's choices as she gets older. I mean, the fact those magazines don't exist in our house probably helps. The fact I'm not modelling that behaviour probably helps too.

If it were my husband reading this kind of thing, searching out the pics? Yeah, I'd find it creepy as fuck. Worse than if it were any other relationship actually.

But yes, oddly enough, context makes a difference to judgement.
posted by geek anachronism at 12:49 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, I hope my kid won't also be making tedious and offensive sex jokes at me.

I didn't understand this reference?
posted by colie at 1:03 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


In the comment you were responding to initially I said "the stupid, vicious or creepy comments she would come up with about sex" and that was part of why I didn't like to be around her. In essence, that I considered it part and parcel of why she, in particular, reads and enjoys those sorts of things. And so your comment, that it'd be different if she were my wife or daughter, didn't have the same context because I assume my wife or daughter would not make those comments.

aka context.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:30 AM on September 4, 2014


Oh FFS. I haven't been following the reaction to this particular hacking, but the women I know who've looked at similar photos in the past are a range of generally perfectly OK people who are into celebrity gossip and not into online feminism. As a result, they are, without knowing it, less enlightened about the specific issues involved in this case, just as plenty of people here are observably unenlightened about e.g. race, class, gender, nationality issues that they haven't experienced or had occasion to think about. Some of these women I know I could trust, some I suspect I couldn't. As a group, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with them, just as there's nothing fundamentally wrong with all of us. I think people forget, in their embrace of and desire to normalize the ethics of their various subgroups, that even many of our earliest and most basic ethical attitudes and behaviours have to be taught and learned, let alone the ones that are really only just beginning to be discussed in the mainstream.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 6:01 AM on September 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Oh FFS

Why this? Because this discussion is happening? Because some people have opinions about people who go looking for these photos? You seem exasperated with this post and the people in it.

Some of that teaching and learning is happening right here, so that's good, yes?
posted by rtha at 6:11 AM on September 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Oh FFS.

Yes, jumping into a long-ass metatalk thread, about another even longer-ass metafilter thread, and leading with dismissive snark while announcing that you can't really be bothered to follow the story that's being discussed....that's a GREAT decision. Not at all condescending or arrogant!
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:16 AM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


rtha: Why this?

Probably has something to do with the self-righteous tone a lot of people here have taken, but that's just a guess on my part.
posted by gman at 6:18 AM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


No, I've definitely followed the story, I just haven't followed the reaction on e.g. my own facebook or discussed it much with people I know IRL.

Yes, I am exasperated with feminism that needlessly excludes and rejects ordinary women who haven't learned as much as they might have.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 6:23 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jessamyn stated that she has seen the photos. Do y'all really think that NoraReed thinks Jessamyn is a bad person? C'mon, no way.

No, but it is on the level of somebody you respect telling a racist joke; not a hanging matter, but you're disappointed nonetheless.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:36 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, I am exasperated with feminism that needlessly excludes and rejects ordinary women who haven't learned as much as they might have.

I am really not seeing where feminism has done any such thing. Some people here, me included, have talked about where our boundaries are in terms of who we trust or hang out with depending on various things, like seeking out these photos. Conflating a wide-ranging philosophy with what some people who follow some part of that philosophy have said here seems....not helpful. If you have trouble with specific things that specific people have said, here, then maybe say that. Specifically.
posted by rtha at 6:51 AM on September 4, 2014 [17 favorites]


As a group, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with them, just as there's nothing fundamentally wrong with all of us. I think people forget, in their embrace of and desire to normalize the ethics of their various subgroups

very good point ...

I have often felt that some of the most vocal proponents of certain "takes" on things on Metafilter are really, probably, the least credible. ever notice how these people seem to spend all their time on Metafilter? how they are always current on where a multi-day, hundreds-of-comments thread is at? that they are keeping score and taking names of people who have offended them? you wonder how they have all this time because they seem to be full-time Mefites and you wonder how that's possible because in your experience, ain't nobody got time for that?

yes, it's Metafilter shut-ins who are setting the tone around here. who will scold you to "read the thread, what you are saying was covered three hundred comments ago, please keep up."

and these people consume an ideology an it becomes a flight of fancy, the natural friction that real world experience provides to put the brakes on the more extreme expression of ideology has no purchase on these people because the internet -- where they spend virtually all their time -- eliminates that friction and they ascend into Metafilter Shut-In Cloud Cuckoo Land that allows them to make bizarre pronouncements that have some prima facie plausibility if you rarely leave the comforting glow of your monitor. and everyone else, impressed by their ardor and the mantle of Social Justice that they've wrapped themselves in, and indeed not as savvy and schooled in advanced internet snark and MeTatoolery and tumblr jujitsu as the full-time snark brigade, gets cowed by them.

so yeah ... your experience with the "perfectly OK" people who have looked at the photos makes a lot of damned sense to me. thank you for injecting some real world sense into this alternate reality where shut-in ideologues would have you think that perfectly OK people like your friends (and like jessamyn! hahaha) don't pass a basic risk assessment for potential rapists.
posted by jayder at 7:03 AM on September 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


"Metafilter shut-ins"? Really?
posted by palomar at 7:07 AM on September 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


yes, it's Metafilter shut-ins who are setting the tone around here. who will scold you to "read the thread, what you are saying was covered three hundred comments ago, please keep up."

...Okay, see, one of the great things about writing as a technology is that you can read things at any time. You don't have to only read them as they are being written, you can read something hours, days, or even YEARS later.

So you don't have to spend all your time on Metafilter to be able to read a whole thread. It's not like, "oh, shoot, I wasn't here when this was posted three hours ago, dammit I have to scroll down to the end of the thread and skip all this older stuff now!" You can take your time and read the whole thing before commenting, even if some of the stuff you wrote was written days later.

So hooray! You, too, can avail yourself of all the writing on Metafilter, and read all the comments, without having been there when the comments were made. So you can read a whole thread and have a life too. Yay!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:12 AM on September 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Maybe not *all* the writing on Metafilter. That would be pretty challenging.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:22 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wow, jayder. Your post comes across as very bitter and sad. :( I think a quick survey would show that virtually nothing you said to be true. Certainly it doesn't fit any of the (admittedly few) mefites I know. I'd wager nearly all of us have quite full non-shut-in lives, and just have a good setup for monitoring interesting posts without having to spend much time at all on them.
posted by introp at 7:23 AM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


i mean, so someone who posts too much on the internet is a loser. what would you say about someone who wants to start a fight with a loser? on the internet?
posted by twist my arm at 7:27 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'd wager nearly all of us have quite full non-shut-in lives, and just have a good setup for monitoring interesting posts without having to spend much time at all on them.

Having a really boring desk job also helps.
posted by palomar at 7:27 AM on September 4, 2014 [22 favorites]


twist my arm: i mean, so someone who posts too much on the internet is a loser. what would you say about someone who wants to start a fight with a loser? on the internet?

I'd call them entertaining!
posted by gman at 7:35 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


You could call them Al.

You could call me Betty, but I'm unlikely to answer to that.
posted by Wolof at 7:37 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


jayder, that bit was a textbook example of attacking a person vice dealing with the argument.

I agree there are unexplored nuances to the question of what kind of person has actually seen a stolen nude photo of Jennifer Lawrence, but I don't think the best way to explore them is to accuse "Metafilter shut-ins" of cowing everyone else into submission.

I personally have seen one of the pictures, because I was stupid enough to click a reddit link that said LAST ONE FOR NOW. Had a NSFW tag and everything. Now I don't have a reddit account, 'cause the odds that this sort of thing will happen again are fairly close to 1, and I ain't going to throw my .0000001 cents into reddit's bucket.

Is that a nuance, or an excuse? People are gonna decide for themselves, "shut-in" or not.
posted by Mooski at 7:38 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Text, don't call.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 AM on September 4, 2014


Call me maybe?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:41 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


how they are always current on where a multi-day, hundreds-of-comments thread is at? that they are keeping score and taking names of people who have offended them? you wonder how they have all this time because they seem to be full-time Mefites and you wonder how that's possible because in your experience, ain't nobody got time for that?

Listen, I don't show up to your hobby and sweep the Magic: The Gathering cards off the table, so I would expect the same courtesy.

Now, who wants to play Magic: The Gathering?
posted by griphus at 7:42 AM on September 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


Nero Wolfe was a shut in.
posted by maxsparber at 7:42 AM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Look at the size of that book they finished in just a couple days. Nerds. Let's steal their lunch money!
posted by Drastic at 7:44 AM on September 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


jayder, when you have ugly thoughts like that, you're not supposed to say them out loud. Saying them out loud like that will lead people to think you're a giant asshole.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:47 AM on September 4, 2014 [22 favorites]


jayder: "you wonder how they have all this time because they seem to be full-time Mefites and you wonder how that's possible because in your experience, ain't nobody got time for that?"

Wonder no more!! Some of them work really slow night shifts! And then some of them quit their night shift jobs and work at home, doing work that requires frequent breaks in order to avoid mental burnout! (er, well, I assume that's why I require frequent breaks. That, or I'm just lazy. But if I were lazy, I wouldn't be pouring so much effort into reading MeFi threads, right?)
posted by Bugbread at 7:51 AM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Now, who wants to play Magic: The Gathering?

Alyssa Bereznak
posted by Tanizaki at 7:51 AM on September 4, 2014



I've clicked on awful things before without thinking through what I was about to see. I don't think people having poor impulse control when clicking around the web is the same thing as deliberately deciding women's consent is irrelevant and seeking out non-consensually obtained nudes or creepshots. It's also not the same thing as taking a strong moral position that looking at the pictures is morally right and harms involved are irrelevant. To me:

Poor impulse control = work on your impulse control, do better next time.
Arguing in favor of people's exposed bodies being public property for sexual entertainment or fulfilling curiosities; whether they want to be or not = you're disregarding consent, upholding the harm of human beings, and supporting rape culture.
posted by xarnop at 7:52 AM on September 4, 2014 [23 favorites]


I guess what I mean is, if you hadn't thought it through, cool. Now, as it has been thought through, to belligerently keep arguing in favor of violating someone in such a harmful way that their trust in their entire community is broken because everyone around them thinks they have a rights to stare at them naked even when they know that person is hurting over it-- it's really very cruel.

So in the context of this thread, people continuing to argue it's not a big deal, think that, well, cruelty is not a big deal.

I think cruelty is a huge deal and people who have very low empathy for someone being horrifically harmed do terrify me. I'm allowed to be terrified by people who don't care about the welfare of their fellow human beings. Not that I think they would "rape" me, but that if I were raped and there was video of it, might they entertain themselves with it a bit? What can it hurt?

It can hurt a lot. It matters. Don't do that to your fellow human beings.
posted by xarnop at 7:56 AM on September 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


"Metafilter shut-ins"? Really?

Yeah, you know - the shut-ins here in the low-class gutter!
posted by rtha at 8:06 AM on September 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


Seriously, jayder, there are people here with disabilities or life circumstances that keep them unemployed and/or homebound. And again, I'd rather be among them than among people who think that "shut-in" is some kind of zinger.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:06 AM on September 4, 2014 [19 favorites]


It's darkly amusing that this lecture on morals is coming from someone who said "I haven't looked at the pics. more because I just don't care than.out of any moral scruples."
posted by zombieflanders at 8:09 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


the shut-ins here in the low-class gutter!

Ahhhh. Now that's a classy gentleman right there.
posted by palomar at 8:10 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Actually, people in this thread are giant nerds. Not like me, who is a cool strong Nietszchean superman who gets lots of fresh air and has an EXTREMELY big amount of sex in the REAL WORLD where i do not look at computer screens. i'm not even looking at the screen as im typing right now, i'm just playing frisbee with my friends (REAL) in a good park full of real animals like horse and robin bird. i dont even know if i spelled Neitzchean correctly because my hot alive friends were too busy distracting me, and you guys dont know them, because they actually go to another school.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:44 AM on September 4, 2014 [90 favorites]


One time, I left my basement ivory tower (?) to get something to eat. I lived on Roosevelt Island, and the best place was this diner. At the diner, there were these dudes talking about historical baseball stats. They seemed to have a perfect grasp of the abilities of every player in every team from about 1975-84.

Baseball isn't really my thing. As a kid I spent a lot of time getting the shit kicked out of me by people who liked baseball. So the specifics were hard to follow, but he and his friends were drinking cherry cokes, the kind you make from regular coke and syrup, putting together dream teams and arguing about how they might do against each other because X player is really good at Y but Z is really good at A and B.... It was virtuosic.

It never occurred to me to go off on a defensive philippic and tell those dudes that because I have a life and don't have time to learn about stupid baseball which is stupid, I'm somehow in possession of salt-of-the-earth wisdom that's necessarily better than their hard-earned cloud-cuckooland expertise (?).

Instead, it's how I found out how it's totally mesmerizing, watching someone who cares about a thing and is good at the thing do the thing, even if don't care much about the thing itself, and when I don't know about the thing there are worse ways to spend my time than sitting back, eating my egg salad, and learning from the people who do.
posted by amery at 8:49 AM on September 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


they actually go to another school.

In Canada?
posted by palomar at 8:50 AM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


i met them at camp
posted by Greg Nog at 8:51 AM on September 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


they actually go to another school.

In Canada?


Dammit. That's what I was going to write.
posted by OmieWise at 8:51 AM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Well your friends sound really lame to me. Their tone is really off-putting and they are doing a really poor job of managing my emotions for me. It's pretty much their fault if i become a bad person.
*takes a step away* I'm just saying I'm starting to think your friends are jerks.
*takes another step* Fuck you and your friends! Oops sorry, forgive me, that was your fault for not nurturing our relationship.
*takes another step* Window of opportunity closing here.
posted by fleacircus at 8:58 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


jayder: “so yeah ... your experience with the ‘perfectly OK’ people who have looked at the photos makes a lot of damned sense to me. thank you for injecting some real world sense into this alternate reality where shut-in ideologues would have you think that perfectly OK people like your friends (and like jessamyn! hahaha) don't pass a basic risk assessment for potential rapists.”

Jessamyn said she was okay with whatever people want to think of her. And the more I read her comments on this, the more I feel as though that wasn't a throw-away line. People on the internet think all kinds of things about other people. If you get exercised about every one, you're likely to spend the rest of your life in a state of apoplexy. When other people think bad things about me, whatever – at worst, they made a mistake. It isn't personal.

You talk about "shut-in ideologues," insulting anybody who might have the temerity to privately assess their risks with certain people and (gasp!) might sometimes be wrong. What's ironical about this is that only a "shut-in ideologue" would be capable of convincing themselves that everyone must always trust everyone, because making a mistake and distrusting someone is a grievous error. How could anyone actually live in the world without making snap judgments about the people around them every day? We choose to trust this person or that person, we choose not to trust this person or that person, and for the most part this isn't a personal crusade – it's just what humans do in the world to get by.

I'd have to lock myself up if I really wanted to avoid ever having to possibly make a mistake about whether someone is safe or not. But I won't. And the women here who make "risk assessments" about people they meet – they're just doing what normal human beings have to do to live in human society.

It's natural to care deeply what other people think about us. But the adult thing to do, the decent, empathetic thing to do, is to realize that other people are living their own lives, and might make mistakes, might have other things they're dealing with, might be fighting their own battles, and to let go of whatever it is they choose to think of us and just accept that we can't control that. In the same way that it's necessary for them to make those kinds of snap risk assessments daily, even if they might sometimes be mistaken, it's necessary for us to accept that that's just something people do, and even though we wish everybody would like us, that's just not a statistical likelihood and not something that's ultimately within our control.

These are the conditions of living in a society with other people – the conditions of not being (in your endearing term) a "shut-in ideologue." It seems to me that those who have accepted these conditions with some understanding and flexibility are the ones who are most attuned to what it takes to live around other people.
posted by koeselitz at 9:00 AM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Shut-in ideologue" is an anagram of "ligneous hideout" which is hilarious.
posted by griphus at 9:09 AM on September 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


"Shut-in ideologue" is an anagram of "ligneous hideout" which is hilarious.

secret cabal treehouse confirmed
posted by kagredon at 9:13 AM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


i met them at camp

Wet Hot American Completely Unproblematic Summer
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:14 AM on September 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


> Well, I hope my kid won't also be making tedious and offensive sex jokes at me.

That's pretty much what kids do at a certain age. I hope if/when your kid starts saying tedious and offensive things (I'm guessing your kid isn't old enough yet, or you wouldn't be so cocky) you won't reject them for their imperfections.
posted by languagehat at 9:16 AM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


It's natural to care deeply what other people think about us. But the adult thing to do, the decent, empathetic thing to do, is to realize that other people are living their own lives, and might make mistakes, might have other things they're dealing with, might be fighting their own battles, and to let go of whatever it is they choose to think of us and just accept that we can't control that.

That's not merely the adult and decent thing to do...it's also the simplest, when you're talking about interactions online. I mean, given this scenario:

1) I am reading an online discussion
2) Somebody that I don't know IRL, who most likely lives many many many miles away, who is never likely to have to deal with me or be dealt with by me, mentions a personal risk assessment strategy that might possibly categorize me as a potential threat (me!). If it ever came up. Which, in by far the most likely set of outcomes, it won't.

....given all that, is it not enormously more effort to react as if someone pissed in your Cheerios, conclude that the whole community off as a bunch of koo-koo social defectives living in a dream world, and write up a comment to make sure they know it, that it would be just to blow it off?

jayder, that something so entirely personal to one woman. with whom you share only the most tenuous sort of social connection, would piss you off so badly doesn't make one bit of fucking sense.
posted by Ipsifendus at 9:19 AM on September 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


Mine make tedious and offensive sex jokes about me.
posted by colie at 9:19 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huh. I read jayder's comment as (rather dark) humor, a satirical riff, not meant to be taken seriously. Can I at least get points for not being one of those stereotypical feminists-with-no-sense-of-humor by giving him the benefit of the doubt there?

This thread has been pretty....cantankerous in tone throughoutl. Really ugly, in fact. I'm pretty sure one single comment upthread had more expletives in it than I would use in a year. Which, hey, that's how some people roll.

But for me personally, as someone who was brought up with and embraced the concept that words are important, who uses curse words sparingly because that gives them more emphasis when you do, when I see a comment liberally peppered with shit, for example, I think that person is SUPER PISSED OFF!!! And if that tone was directed at me, I would feel attacked.* Which affects my own reaction. Oh, are we OMG OUTRAGED WITH EACH OTHER now? Okay then, let's dial it up a notch.

And I can see how, with a few comments like that, thrown back and forth, the tone of the entire thread becomes one of hostility, and new commenters, reading the room, begin at that same level. Raising the GRAR factor, basically, dividing camps into Us against Them.

And inevitably, the mods have to take a side there, too, because to stop the GRAR from just going on, they wade in and begin deleting comments. Like I said upthread, I am frustrated myself with how those deletion decisions are made.**

Which goes to the initial point of this Meta (if anyone remembers back that far) that maybe we all--and I definitely count myself in this, because when I get frustrated I lash out, too--need to do a better job of remembering that we don't live in a binary world and we don't need to file every comment under good or bad, or even categorize other members as Good person and paragon of virtue I want to be internet BFF with vs Bad creepy person I hate and want banned.

And I would like to see the mods to recognize how the hostile tone in some comments, regardless of whether the person's position is one you agree with or not, contributes to this problem.

--
*Although another side effect is just starting to take those people less seriously because they are ALWAYS OUTRAGED anyway and internet drama all the time gets tiresome.

**I can even find it in myself to sympathize with crayz in this thread-- I may not have liked crayz's Twitter stunt, for example, but I can understand how frustrated and helpless he must have felt. Especially when, after moving well past that issue in the thread, new commenters come into the thread and start a whole string of comments addressing points crayz had already responded to, bringing Twitter all up again, too. Seriously, now, when things had (I felt) already died down somewhat until these members started the same old arguments up again, NOW, crayz gets banned?! I can empathize with how unfair that must have felt to him.
posted by misha at 9:21 AM on September 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


Huh. I read jayder's comment as (rather dark) humor, a satirical riff, not meant to be taken seriously.

If this is the case, he is worse at humor than he is at admonishment.
posted by griphus at 9:25 AM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


If it's satirical, then what is it making fun of, and how are people to know? Using the same words in the same order as the kind of bad argument you're mocking just produces another bad argument. It isn't actually funny.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:30 AM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


I have often felt that some of the most vocal proponents of certain "takes" on things on Metafilter are really, probably, the least credible. ever notice how these people seem to spend all their time on Metafilter? how they are always current on where a multi-day, hundreds-of-comments thread is at?

I am medically handicapped. I have spent a lot of time on the Internet for a lot of years. It started when I was a homemaker and homeschooling mom taking classes online. So I would be online at home and also in class and also also logged into the email list I moderated and people were just blown away at how I managed to be there all the fucking time and keep up with everything everyone said.

I am not really an introverted nerd. I am an extroverted nerd who likes things like fashion. If I weren't medically handicapped, I am sure I would not spend so much time online. I would, oh, go out dancing and go places where I could wear nice clothes and see and be seen and that kind of thing. But I am medically handicapped, so here I am, pretty much all day, every day.

So, like you, I tend to figure that people who spend as much time online as I do are losers with no life. Which got me into kind of significant trouble when I assumed that about someone I met through some forum I belonged to who turned out to be a semi-retired self-made wealthionnaire and mover and shaker. I am still trying to put that problem to rest. It's been more than three years.

Some people are on the internet all day long because, yeah, they don't have the life they wish they had and they are making the best of it. But other people can keep up with those long threads because they are very smart, they read really fast, they type faster than you, and they are already online for other reasons anyway -- like to run their business (mathowie comes to mind). And sometimes those two camps overlap a tad.

Also, my understanding is that Franklin D. Roosevelt was something of a shut-in when he was at the White House because of his handicap. Having had polio in his youth, he got around in a wheelchair and he basically spent most of his day in a single room, mostly confined to a couch or something along those lines while he ran the country. (It has been a while since I read about him. The details are a tad fuzzy.)
posted by Michele in California at 9:35 AM on September 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


Actually, people in this thread are giant nerds.

I'm just here for the goats, man.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:42 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can imagine how frustrated and helpless someone whose body is exposed right now for all to see against their will feels. I think, likely, it's quite a good deal bit more traumatizing than people calling you a bad person on the internet. For participating in harming a real human being.

I feel like often those who continually remind everyone to play nice, somehow seem to be very very worried about the hurt feelings of people who are being asked to stop harming people, and seemingly much less concerned for people whose actual bodies are being made public against their will.

I think perhaps there may be a bit of misunderstanding of who is most vulnerable and who needs an advocate to step up to the plate. It is generally not the poor people whose feelings are hurt to consider they did something cruel, but the people being actively harmed by cruelty who need advocates brave enough to stand up for them-- even if it hurts feelings.

Neutrality on matters of oppression always results in upholding the oppression of those with less power. So no, it's not more moral to always agree with both sides, or to nicely agree to disagree and allow a person to go on harming the vulnerable without opposition.

I can find in myself to sympathize with all kinds of abusers, who have done horrible things and what may have brought them to do such things. I can find sympathy for people doing more mildly harmful things, for the way evil is often not a fierce and obvious force, but a quiet gentle force, turning the minds and hearts of those who are unthinking towards valuing what serves them and ignoring the harms they commit until even the screams of those in terrible suffering from such behaviors can no longer be heard.

I know most people don't mean any harm, and are horrified to come out of the cloud of ignorance and self serving delusion to truly face the harms that occurred directly through their hands or through their unwillingness to stand up against such harms and profit once the harms are committed.

None of that means we should be quiet and accommodating on matters of injustice where people are being harmed. I want to be kind to everyone too, including people in prison, including people who have done awful things, I just don't want to support their behaviors and coddle their feelings at the expense of those they are harming who deserve a lot more people in their corner. And yes many people are consistently outraged over human beings being harmed, because it's a cruel world and humans suffer all to often specifically because of the actions of their fellow humans. There is no reason to be nice about that or to see it as a matter of two equally understandable sides whose behaviors should be upheld.
posted by xarnop at 9:42 AM on September 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


"I tend to figure that people who spend as much time online as I do are losers with no life."

That's terribly sad.

FWIW, although I frequently confuse your username with another (and think wow-out-of-character-wait-no-it's-not) you've never seemed constantly on -Metafilter or lacking.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:50 AM on September 4, 2014


And I would like to see the mods to recognize how the hostile tone in some comments, regardless of whether the person's position is one you agree with or not, contributes to this problem.

You phrase this like we haven't talked a ton of times before about the value of people trying to keep stuff cool and civil when possible or about the difficulties that come from folks escalating stuff rhetorically; a decent chunk of the work we do every day is in corralling this stuff to the extent that we're able and to the extent that it comports with the overall balance of the guidelines. People still get hot, still get hostile, still are less chill and even-keeled than in my ideal diorama version of a difficult conversation, but that's people and that's difficult conversations for you and we have a lot of both here.

I don't know if your feeling is it's just not enough; I don't know if your feeling is that there's too much darned cursing; I can tell you that over the years you've made it clear that the Metafilter that exists is not the Metafilter you'd personally prefer, and I can sympathize with that since I think that's the case for pretty much everybody in all sorts of ways, lots of which are contradictory from person to person. This place isn't perfect for anyone let alone for everyone, and that's one of the weird big challenges of it, for users and mods alike.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


you've never seemed constantly on -Metafilter or lacking.

Well, in some sense, I am not. I am just someone who, in youth, was expected by everyone -- myself included -- to have so much more in some ways than what I have had. But it isn't really terribly sad. It's complicated.
posted by Michele in California at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2014


I have often felt that some of the most vocal proponents of certain "takes" on things on Metafilter are really, probably, the least credible.

That's true, shut-ins or not. But you've gotta come to a place of, so what? I think about that XKCD comic ("Someone is wrong on the Internet"). It's a silly comic but so true, and it's helpful to me.

The reason certain people seem more vocal online is the medium's perceived equivalence. Sure, that guy is a doctor, but I can post about the same topic and link to six webpages and write a comment twice as long as his, so who's the doctor now, buddy? It's the nature of the forum. And the reason they are more vocal on certain topics is that the topics themselves are just ideas. Feminism doesn't have statutes you can point to. It's easy to bluster your way around.

It is dumb. I'm with you on that. And it's logical to then say, okay, we are inside this closed forum with signups and moderators and a MetaTalk channel, so can't we do something about this crap? Setting aside that yes we probably could, it ain't gonna happen. But that just leaves this place a notch—by virtue of being online—worse than most other places. Otherwise it's equivalent. The world is full of dumb coffee-shop conversations where people feel important.
posted by cribcage at 10:06 AM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


It was (is) a grumpy thread but I've learned a lot. Metafilter is a conversation, but there are so many different ways to converse and for me it is a bit of a journey to understand that what I think is just 'asking a question' (for example) is often layered with a whole bunch of other difficult stuff.
posted by colie at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think two or three cars read the thread. I think she was expressing annoyance at previous comments she was responding to. Her comment was on topic and it came across to me as pretty thoughtful. We're not prohibited from saying FFS, WTF or goddammit in comments here.

There are issues in this case about attitudes towards women in our society and how our society treats celebrities. They're both relevant, and, I think, interrelated. If someone wants to talk about how celebrities are treated by our media and attitudes people have about that, it doesn't follow that they're a misogynist bigot. That's part of the conversation, and talking about that doesn't mean we can't also talk about sexism and misogyny.

I think the idea that if you're a singer, musician, actor, actress or athlete and you're really good at what you do, you lose all the rights we would normally respect if they were "real people" like us is pretty fucked up. And that's definitely part of what's going on here, especially in terms of how the media have covered this story, and how a lot members of the public have responded to it. That's not all that's going on here, but that's part of it.

I don't think it's immoral, unethical or off-topic for some of us to try to talk about the qualms we have about how our media treats celebrities and our own and others' acquiescence in that mistreatment as consumers of the media in a discussion about how the media has handled the public release of illegally obtained nude photos of celebrities.
posted by nangar at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oy vey. There are lots of different kinds of lives and ways to have a happy, meaningful life and places where people currently are in their lives, and I don't think anyone has to apologize for how much time they do or don't spend on any particular website.

But it's good to know that we've gotten to the point in the conversation where various people accuse feminists of being pathetic and humorless and whatnot. How much longer until we can start exchanging cookie recipes?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:10 AM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


*I can even find it in myself to sympathize with crayz in this thread-- I may not have liked crayz's Twitter stunt, for example, but I can understand how frustrated and helpless he must have felt.

Honestly? Too fucking bad for him. It's one thing to feel frustrated and helpless, but it's another if that frustration a) stems solely from "someone said something mean about me on Twitter" and b) causes you to abandon all self-control and use Twitter for a massive temper tantrum. I mean, I feel frustrated and helpless about things, but I'm still somehow able to retain a modicum of maturity when I do, and if I feel like I'm having trouble maintaining my maturity online, I walk away from my computer.

I don't see how "I was feeling bad" should be used as an excuse for "I completely abandoned my social skills", especially when so many people right here in Metafilter aren't given the same leeway themselves, and over far, far, far less aggregious lapses in civility.

And once again, it was one single Twitter comment that made him lose his shit. If one single Twitter comment was the very worst thing that happened to him in his week, he should have realized how fucking blessed he was.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:10 AM on September 4, 2014 [23 favorites]


As a certified gutter-lying low-class Social Justice Ranger (favored enemy: redditors), I can say that I posted a lot less when I was legit depressed and anxious enough to develop agoraphobia. I didn't have the emotional/social energy to engage with people on that level.
posted by NoraReed at 10:10 AM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


But for me personally, as someone who was brought up with and embraced the concept that words are important, who uses curse words sparingly because that gives them more emphasis when you do, when I see a comment liberally peppered with shit, for example, I think that person is SUPER PISSED OFF!!! And if that tone was directed at me, I would feel attacked.* Which affects my own reaction. Oh, are we OMG OUTRAGED WITH EACH OTHER now? Okay then, let's dial it up a notch.

-- misha

As far as the swearing thing: Some people just swear more than others. I am someone who swears a lot. I was a military wife for a long time and swearing is fairly common in the military (which isn't an excuse -- my career-military ex husband rarely swears -- but it is an element at play here). I try to keep it dialed down when I am online but, yeah, my first drafts tend to be sprinkled with swear words. If I am tired or distracted, they are more likely to get through instead of being edited out. It isn't, per se, a big indicator of how strongly I feel about anything. It doesn't, per se, indicate outrage.

I completely agree with you that words are important and curse words should be used relatively sparing. That ideology and my personal tendencies are just not always on the same page. I try to gauge outrage in others by more indicators than just how colorful their language is. Because one thing about the Internet is that you are going to be mixing with people from all kinds of different backgrounds and all walks of life and we simply aren't all going to be on the same page about details like that.
posted by Michele in California at 10:14 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think the idea that if you're a singer, musician, actor, actress or athlete and you're really good at what you do, you lose all the rights we would normally respect if they were "real people" like us is pretty fucked up. And that's definitely part of what's going on here, especially in terms of how the media have covered this story, and how a lot members of the public have responded to it. That's not all that's going on here, but that's part of it.

I wonder how many people have also been upset by this incident in part because there were pictures of Jennifer Lawrence in what was stolen and released to the public. Lawrence is one of the most "everygirl" down-to-earth "A-List" celebrities out there. One who has been a bit goofy, charming and self-deprecating in public. She also seems genuinely star-struck when she meets other celebs.

When someone like Paris Hilton has a sex tape stolen / leaked, the public's reaction is probably going to be different. Hilton isn't "one of us" to middle America. People probably find her less relatable and likable than Lawrence.
posted by zarq at 10:20 AM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


"And I would like to see the mods to recognize how the hostile tone in some comments, regardless of whether the person's position is one you agree with or not, contributes to this problem."

I've mostly stayed out of this thread and even removed it from my recent activity because it was upsetting me so much.

The dilemma I have is that I think that many people very often have strong justification for being pretty aggressive, for stating their opinions and grievances in ways that are likely to provoke other people. And I think that sometimes it's very important that those strong feelings and thoughts are expressed, because they need to be expressed, and people need to listen and understand why they were expressed so strongly.

At the same time, the problem I see is that with a big, contentious thread involving a large number of people, like this one, such comments pretty much raise the stakes for the entire thread. Everyone gets moved up a notch in their hostility and polarization scale. And then inevitably people are hurt. Let's stipulate that some of those people who get hurt in some sense deserve to get hurt -- maybe they're just assholes, or wrote something that deserves to be slapped down with extreme prejudice, or whatever. But many of the people who are hurt are just people caught up in the high emotions of the thread.

I wrote that one comment about how you don't have to respond to a provocative comment and that, indeed, very often simply not responding is the best thing to do. My comment was completely ignored, it wasn't even favorited.

A lot of really good, important stuff that's happened in this community has occurred in the context of these very difficult threads. The last thing I would want is for us to not have them at all because clearly this is how we hash out and change community standards and in ways that I very strongly think is positive. I am very proud of MetaFilter for not being a boyzone and being vastly more aware of sexism. I am very proud of MetaFilter for becoming a more welcoming space for transfolk (though there's so much improvement still possible). As a disabled person, I've noticed we have a long way to go on that front, and I've personally come to understand just how painful it is to be involved in this stuff when it's actually about you and your life, but I think it's important that we improve about it and this will require difficult threads.

Even so, in every one of these difficult threads I feel so frustrated and helpless in that it seems like we could somehow manage to do what we need to do without being so hurtful to people. But one thing that doesn't work is to chide people in the thread to be nicer. That's just patronizing and also comes across as tone-policing, whether it's intended to silence, or not.

I think the only thing that works is to just be an example. To try to reduce one's own hostility and to be generous about other people's hostility. To not respond in kind when someone hurts your feelings. To let many provocative comments just pass without response. Sometimes, ignoring a provocative comment is the most powerful negative commentary on it.

The mods can't really do this work for us. They can slap down the worst behavior, they can ask people to be nicer, but ultimately they're constrained by the same things the rest of us are constrained by, and that is the simple fact that MetaTalk exists for a reason, and these threads exist for a reason, and those reasons work somewhat at cross-purposes for limiting conflict. Part of the point is that this is the place where we work out the conflict.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


I also think people misunderstand whether "social justice" is appropriate in every day discussions. Some seem to wonder, why can't that be quietly kept away somewhere private? That's exactly the opposite of how social justice works.

Most anti-bullying campaigns have found the most effective methods involve asking peers to challenge bullying or cruelty on the spot, when they see it. Not in some lecture hall, or some private website where you keep those beliefs against bullying to yourself where they won't bother people.

Challenging racism, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, in the context of the peer groups and communities they are being upheld is exactly where social justice activities belong. And no, it's not always convenient and it does sometimes quiet a discussion of how fun homophobia is or how maybe some racist idea has a point if you think about it. Yes it might snuff out some discourse, because challenging harmful ideas is exactly the point.

We're only now seeing as much policy change as we are on GLBT issues because of finally achieving a large portion of popular support, which is something that is better gotten by challenging homophobia when it comes up than coddling it or trying to make discussions and groups more accepting and friendly to homophobes, at the expense of GLBT identifying people who are actively harmed by their continual harmful remarks left unchallenged.

I feel like if one person says, "Maybe sexually violating people isn't so bad, why can't I get to do that? I just want to have a genuine conversation here"
And person two says "You're a fucking asshat"

I would be way more worried about person one doing something extremely damaging with their words than person two's transgression of cursing.

Harmful words, and ideas that can shred human beings right there in your presence don't always have curse words attached and sometimes aren't even MEANT to be harmful. Yet their capacity for destruction of real people can be huge.
posted by xarnop at 10:29 AM on September 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


I swear a shitload, though I try to be creative about it. I'm working on stopping oppressive slurs in particular, because I am a feminist who aspires to intersectionality. I do, however, use reactions to my swearing and use of caps (as opposed to actually bigoted statements made by other people) as a gauge to judge which people are and aren't oppressive assholes who value propriety over content.

I get less creative about swearing when I get frustrated and use caps more, but frustration runs hot and anger (above the basic, controlled, "I'm always angry" level that is feminist background radiation from being a feminist Hulk) runs cold for me.
posted by NoraReed at 10:29 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I can even find it in myself to sympathize with crayz in this thread-- I may not have liked crayz's Twitter stunt, for example, but I can understand how frustrated and helpless he must have felt

I honestly don't get this. Why does this deserve sympathy while women talking about assessing their risk get dismissed, or disagreement characterized as "stupid" or "stereotypical humorless feminism?" Why is someone who repeatedly tells us that he thinks invasions of privacy and harassment are horrible things, and yet goes on to do those things, given the sympathetic shoulder and characterized as "frustrated and helpless" while those who worry about those things happening to them--because it already has--get accused of being poisonous and toxic? Why is it that the people who are talking about how it feels being terrorized told to be nice and understanding, while those who seem like they just don't want to listen are tragically misunderstood?

EmpressCallipygos has it right: the things he gets more or less lauded for blowing a gasket over are light-years less horrible than what a lot of people are saying they have to deal with in every moment in their lives. It's a damn shame that sympathy for his problems exists as if they were on the same level.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2014 [31 favorites]


But for me personally, as someone who was brought up with and embraced the concept that words are important, who uses curse words sparingly because that gives them more emphasis when you do, when I see a comment liberally peppered with shit, for example, I think that person is SUPER PISSED OFF!!!

There seems to be very little recognition on MetaFilter that swearing is cultural. Yes there is of course the culture of your family and rearing at play, but there is also the culture of your geography. There are many, many cultures in the world where people swear conversationally. This would be the same for where I live. And umm for me.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:33 AM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


Can I at least get points for not being one of those stereotypical feminists-with-no-sense-of-humor by giving him the benefit of the doubt there?

This kind of ironic sexism is still perpetuating sexist ideas ("feminists have no sense of humor") and is tedious as hell.
posted by Lexica at 10:46 AM on September 4, 2014 [34 favorites]


misha, I admit to being confused by your position and your self-description as a feminist. While I've seen you express outrage before about sexism in other parts of the wide world, I find that when you are commenting about what happens at Metafilter you are largely castigating people who are pointing out sexism happening here. You frequently go further, and express sympathy, or outright support for people who many in the community think are being sexist. I think it's telling to see who favorites your comments. It isn't people who are concerned about the prevalence of misogyny, it's the people in these threads who basically argue that seeing sexism on Metafilter, or criticizing men for just "being men," are the real oppressed group. In other words, it's the Metafilter MRA brigade.

To me, you seem to want it both ways. You want to cover your ongoing pattern of attacks on critics of misogyny by saying that you are a feminist, but even in the broad group of positions that such a label covers, it isn't clear to me that you are showing yourself to fit.

We live with MRA types here at this site, and some of them are people who I otherwise appreciate as contributors or acquaintances, but it does really help things, I think, that when they are not disingenuous about their beliefs. In the case of your comments, which to me parse almost always as standard MRA positions sometimes dressed up in "why can't we all just get along" language, they seem not only disingenuous, but purposely like bad-faith engagement. I don't think you say what you really mean, so it's very hard to respond to your positions as stated. Your current comment is a case in point, as I don't think you are primarily concerned about vehemence and emotional escalation, I think you are concerned about those things when they affect a man whose positions you have sympathy for.

I think you often make good contributions, even about issue around misogyny and sexism, but I think you do yourself as a contributor a disservice by just not being straightforward and saying that you don't think it's appropriate to criticize men for being sexist, and that "angry" feminists make you uncomfortable. I think years of comments have made it clear that those things are true.
posted by OmieWise at 10:48 AM on September 4, 2014 [28 favorites]


There used to be a poster who came into every thread about racism and said that he wasn't racist, but....followed always by a comment about why it was inappropriate to identify or discuss racism. It was tiresome, and made it much harder to like the guy (who I did and do like) than it would have been if he had just stayed away or left off the "I'm not racist" bit, since he either was, or his actions made it close enough to nevermind.
posted by OmieWise at 10:51 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


misha, I admit to being confused by your position and your self-description as a feminist.....

I'd rather not go down the "No True Scotsman" route when it comes to defining feminism. I have no problem with misha saying she's a feminist; after all, there are a lot of ways to perceive the main goal of feminism, which is women's equality and equal treatment.

It's just that this isn't gonna stop me, someone who's also a feminist, from speaking up when any one says something I disagree with and saying of that particular thing that "that's wack, yo."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:53 AM on September 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


I have no problem with misha saying she's a feminist; after all, there are a lot of ways to perceive the main goal of feminism, which is women's equality and equal treatment.

I agree wholeheartedly with this. My only real problem with misha is when she goes on one of her rants about how awful all the other feminists here are. It's cool if you don't agree with our various positions on things, because lord knows I don't agree with many of yours, but it would be great if I never ever again had to see that hatefulness coming out.
posted by palomar at 10:57 AM on September 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


(and yes, I used the word hatefulness deliberately.)
posted by palomar at 10:57 AM on September 4, 2014


I'd rather not go down the "No True Scotsman" route when it comes to defining feminism.

No, in general I agree with you, but I'm pointing to a pattern of saying, essentially, "I'm a feminist but..." for years on end, with the but always something that sounds less like a marginal criticism and more like something that invalidates the first clause. I'm concerned about the rhetorical strategy, not about the self-definition.
posted by OmieWise at 10:58 AM on September 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


> I think it's telling to see who favorites your comments.

Nothing personal, but this sounds like a terribly unreliable way to measure another's character.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 11:01 AM on September 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


And while we're at it, enough with the Goldilocks-ing of these discussions. Don't make snarky one-liners because apparently those are for harvesting favorites (check the "Popular" tab up top at any given time to be proven wrong), but neither should one spend time making extensive and well-researched posts unless they're shut-ins. Don't be too serious unless you want to one of them humorless feminists, but god forbid you make a joke about misogynists. Don't point out that the extremism in sexism/racism/etc makes up a far larger or even majority of their groups, but don't deny that Tumblr apparently defines the entire social justice movement. Don't call the constant torrent of death threats and rape threats against women terrorism because this ain't 9/11, and besides this is "just" about games/comics/TV/movies. Talk about radical feminists being "just as bad" as MRAs, but don't you dare mention Elliot Rodgers, because that's escalating. Talk about MLK as he is in the GOP-approved Texas Board of Education textbooks, not Letter From Birmingham Jail. Metafilter wasn't ever really a Boyzone, but gosh it sure is tough to be male on Metafilter. You want to talk about attempts to limit conversations and who wants to censor who? Some of you need to look in the mirror.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:02 AM on September 4, 2014 [32 favorites]


I think it's telling to see who favorites your comments.

Please, let's not do this. People use favorites for all sorts of reasons. Ascribing meaning to who favorites what is at best ascribing guilt-by-association, and at worst inventing agreement where none exists.

If there's an issue with comments, then let's talk about comments.
posted by cjelli at 11:03 AM on September 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


"I tend to figure that people who spend as much time online as I do are losers with no life."

With the ubiquity of cellphones and the change in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, it's easy to stay online constantly. I'm often reading and commenting on MeFi and other sites while out and about, I bet other people are doing the same.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:03 AM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nothing personal, but this sounds like a terribly unreliable way to measure another's character.

Nothing personal, but that wasn't what I was doing. I'm measuring, with favorites among other things, the content and direction of another's comments.

I understand the limitations of the method, but without naming names, I think anyone who has been paying attention to who says what in these conversations can see what I'm talking about. If you haven't, then perhaps you either should or not assume that you know what you're talking about. Alternatively, you can explain why I'm wrong in this specific case and why the MRAs who favorites misha's comments, along with comments by other MRAs, and not much else, in threads like this, should be seen as not expressing concurrence.
posted by OmieWise at 11:10 AM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


If there's an issue with comments, then let's talk about comments.

It's easier to insinuate motives than to read comments on face value. Nothing much different from or any less poisonous than playground politics, really, (maybe a bit more technology involved) but it continues with our passive and active acceptance of that behavior.
posted by Mr. Six at 11:12 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


There are no MRAs here.
posted by 0 at 11:16 AM on September 4, 2014


There are no MRAs here.

Well, then there are some guys who seem to have perfected their MRA impression, then.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2014 [27 favorites]


" I think it's telling to see who favorites your comments." Unless it's me. I'll favorite someone in one thread, and then stop reading another thread over that same person's tone.

Case by case, that's how I favorite.

And I'd like to think I'm capable of feeling badly for any number of suffering people, even if I can't feel sympathy for them because of their actions.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


No true MRAs, of course.
posted by Etrigan at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


have no problem with misha saying she's a feminist; after all, there are a lot of ways to perceive the main goal of feminism, which is women's equality and equal treatment.

I agree wholeheartedly with this. My only real problem with misha is when she goes on one of her rants about how awful all the other feminists here are. It's cool if you don't agree with our various positions on things, because lord knows I don't agree with many of yours, but it would be great if I never ever again had to see that hatefulness coming out.


Agreed with palomar - I don't think feminists should feel like they need to defend "men" against other feminists, which misha seems to feel like she needs to do rather often. It perpetuates the idea that feminism is against men, and also that Metafilter feminists are some special breed of bad that doesn't exist in the "real world."

Neither of those is my experience with feminism or Metafilter at all, but that perception blocks conversation, I think.
posted by sweetkid at 11:19 AM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yeah, Brandon, I know that. It was, in fact, kind of my point.
posted by Michele in California at 11:19 AM on September 4, 2014


Mr. Six: It's easier to insinuate motives than to read comments on face value.

Perhaps, and I agree that you can't use favorites as anything but the most crude, blunt instrument to assess agreement with the content of the comment, so I would encourage OmiWise to call out specifically what "other things" he's using to draw his conclusions, because having favorites as the linchpin of your argument just isn't going to cut it.

Still, let's not pretend that people don't post things in bad faith on the Internet, or describe themselves with labels that go against what a vast majority of people understand those labels to mean. It's extremely hard to prove that someone is, in fact, participating in bad faith, but whoever mentioned the Potter Stewart principle upthread has it right -- at some point, you just run out of any other more plausible explanations, and conclude they're straight up trolling. (That seems to be what happened to the author of this MeTa, or at least part of it.)
posted by tonycpsu at 11:21 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


My comment was completely ignored, it wasn't even favorited.

I'd consider that there is probably a large overlap between people who use favorites as upvotes, and people who enjoy responding to provocative comments. You're right that it would be awesome if we had a MetaFilter where, when someone dropped a horrible sexist bomb of a comment, we all just flagged it and ignored it and then a mod deleted it while we continued our civil conversation unperturbed. That would be my ideal. It would be awesome.

But think about how much would have to change. First there are the people who earnestly believe that such comments need to be answered. Then you have the folks who just like smacking down stupidity. Just those two alone are large sets. You'd have to change their minds or change the moderation. Either way it's a huge task and, I think, unrealistic. If you can think of a feasible route other than gently raising the issue to pick up a handful of converts now and then, I'm on board. I just don't see it.
posted by cribcage at 11:22 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I hear what y'all are saying about the "feminism" thing, but I still think it's wise to focus on the things someone says rather than how they identify themselves. You do make a point about a pattern of "I'm a feminist but I think [foo]"; however, I wonder if simply following up such a post with your own "well, I'm also a feminist but I think [baz], so therefore whether or not you're feminist doesn't give an opinion any more or less credibility necessarily, so let's get back to the opinion itself".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:23 AM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


so I would encourage OmiWise to call out specifically what "other things" he's using to draw his conclusions, because having favorites as the linchpin of your argument just isn't going to cut it.

I'm confused. My entire comment describes my reading of misha's rhetorical presentation and the content of her repeated comments in threads like this. That is the "linchpin" of my argument. Those are the other things. Perhaps people are confused because they are reacting viscerally to my invocation of favorites, but I think it takes a real stretch to read my comment as foregrounding who is favoriting misha's comments. The favorites are clearly playing a supporting role in the paragraph and the argument.
posted by OmieWise at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


shut ins i think not
posted by klangklangston at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


That's locked ins.
posted by zarq at 11:27 AM on September 4, 2014


That's locked ins.

No, that's a book by Metafilter's own jscalzi.
posted by palomar at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


If you're calling someone an MRA who doesn't identify himself as such, then you're just batting around an insult, and that's not a constructive tone for the thread...?
posted by colie at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, people can be purposeful anti-equality misogynistic assholes without being MRAs.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:33 AM on September 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


I guess we have to treat it like racism, then? Like, instead of saying someone is an MRA, we have to very delicately state that they seem to be espousing many of the views of someone who DOES identify as an MRA?
posted by palomar at 11:35 AM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


But a rose's thorn by any other name would draw just as much blood.

Dammit. This was in response to shakespeherian. What, with the poetry and all.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 11:36 AM on September 4, 2014


Still, let's not pretend that people don't post things in bad faith on the Internet

Bad faith comes in different forms. We have a contingent that deliberately reads things in the worst possible light, and who "contribute" in increasingly combative ways with the assent of the majority, on the basis of their popularity or the popular or emotional appeal of their "contributions".

So if we want to talk about favorites, fine, but the flip side of that should involve a good, long look at how positive reinforcement is doled out to site personalities for toxic behavior.
posted by Mr. Six at 11:36 AM on September 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


OmieWise: I'm confused. My entire comment describes my reading of misha's rhetorical presentation and the content of her repeated comments in threads like this. That is the "linchpin" of my argument.

Having re-read the original comment, it's clear that I overstated how much your argument relies on the favorites. I still think it's a lousy point to use as evidence of anything in particular about the content, but I withdraw my comment about it being central to your point.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:36 AM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


If you're calling someone an MRA who doesn't identify himself as such, then you're just batting around an insult, and that's not a constructive tone for the thread...?

How interesting that you perceive the term "mens' rights activist" to be seen as an insult.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:37 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Mr. Six: Bad faith comes in different forms. We have a contingent that deliberately reads things in the worst possible light, and who "contribute" in increasingly combative ways with the assent of the majority, on the basis of their popularity or the popular or emotional appeal of their "contributions".

This has come up like a dozen times by different people in this thread, and I really don't think it's going to be a productive tangent unless one of you folks asserting the existence of a cabal / in group / "site personalities" clique is more explicit about who you're talking about, and where they're actually getting away with things that others aren't.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:38 AM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


i read that to mean that sometimes favorites can be a temperature gauge to see who your comments appeal to. so instead of just seeing the comment as one user's contribution within the constellation of only that user's comment history, it is also "oh, these people, who i see in these threads making these comments, also favorited this comment."

i mean we can see each other's activity on here. if i see you in science threads being all BIOLOGY eventually i'm going to remember that. if i look at your favorites history and see that you are all ASKME RECIPES i might draw some conclusions about what you find useful about askme. and yes, i check favorites and notice that commenters i think of as feminists favorite certain things and don't favorite other things. and so on for the "other side." i'm sorry i remember certain names after 10 fucking years of this site!

a less aggressive example would actually be for me in this thread, two or three cars's FFS comment which i noticed had some folks that i think of as being on both or multiple sides of the aisle and that made me re-read the comment a few times. it made me try to read the comment more charitably which i think is a good thing. a lot of times a peacemaker type of comment will appeal to both sides in thread and i'll notice that too.

checking favorites isn't always used for evil i guess is what i'm saying.
posted by twist my arm at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yes. For the record, I clearly made a bad choice in talking about favorites at all. I don't think it was central to my argument, but it does seem to have been read as central by many folks, which puts the onus for not being clear enough on me. I now understand that favorites elicit strong enough feelings that invoking them is loaded.

As I said in what I think was the earliest MeTa about whether favorites aresupposed to be bookmarks or symbols of approbation:

When I favorite one of your comments it's to bookmark it; when you favorite one of mine it's to express approval.
posted by OmieWise at 11:43 AM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


twist my arm: checking favorites isn't always used for evil i guess is what i'm saying.

Oh, sure, but because the mechanism itself isn't sold as an approval metric, and many people don't use it as one, I think the reliability of the information it provides is vanishingly small. I'm not pretending that I haven't noticed patterns in who favorites my comments or whose comments I favorite, but I've used favorites for other purposes often enough that I wouldn't want people construing my own favorites as approval of all or even most of what they're saying.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:43 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


How interesting that you perceive the term "mens' rights activist" to be seen as an insult.

You've lost me here. Would appreciate a pointer.
posted by colie at 11:43 AM on September 4, 2014


I really don't think it's going to be a productive tangent unless one of you folks asserting the existence of a cabal / in group / "site personalities" clique is more explicit about who you're talking about

I don't think that naming names would make that tangent any more productive.
posted by box at 11:48 AM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think it's because "MRA" is a title that was given to that movement by actual movement participants, unlike "SJW" which was a title invented by people whose intent was to belittle people for what they perceived to be overly "PC" behavior.
posted by elizardbits at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2014 [17 favorites]


I don't think it was central to my argument, but it does seem to have been read as central by many folks, which puts the onus for not being clear enough on me.

For what it's worth, I think what you wrote was quite clear; I didn't read favorites as being central to your argument. But I do think how people perceive favorites is a site-wide issue that's worth discussing when it comes up, so it felt like a part of your comment (but not your argument, if I could make that distinction) worth addressing in isolation. I could have been more clear myself in stating that the rest of your argument was clearly about actual comments; apologies if that was confusing.
posted by cjelli at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel like this "then name names already" vs "then I get called out for attacking people" dynamic pops up here fairly frequently. It's probably best just to say who you are talking about, backed with actual examples.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


tonycpsu: This has come up like a dozen times by different people in this thread, and I really don't think it's going to be a productive tangent unless one of you folks asserting the existence of a cabal / in group / "site personalities" clique is more explicit about who you're talking about, and where they're actually getting away with things that others aren't.

There are a bunch of people on here who can basically offer up a fart as their comment and it will receive dozens of favourites. Those same people use linguistic back-flips to call someone an ignorant dickhead, without actually saying "you're dumb as all fuck", and not only get away with it, but be high-faved to no end. It all depends on if your opinion (and you) are popular here. But really, what kind of person would use favourites from anonymous people on the internet as a gauge of self-worth?
posted by gman at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


You've lost me here. Would appreciate a pointer.

You are acting as if the mere title "Mens' rights activist" is an insult. What exactly is so insulting about that title if someone else uses it as a descriptor for someone's opinions?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:50 AM on September 4, 2014


But really, what kind of person would use favourites from anonymous people on the internet as a gauge of self-worth?

I don't know; who? And who has made that argument here? Besides you, I mean.
posted by rtha at 11:54 AM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


"I'd consider that there is probably a large overlap between people who use favorites as upvotes, and people who enjoy responding to provocative comments."

I should have elaborated on that a bit. I only mentioned it because it seemed like the lack of favorites in addition to the lack of responses to my comment implied that it utterly and completely fell on deaf ears and that, at that moment anyway, people were all like, hell no, I'm not going to fail to respond to a provocative comment.

You're totally right that this is very hard to do and it's unrealistic to except everyone, or even a majority, to do it.

But I'm surely not alone in having learned, the hard way, through years of participation on MetaFilter that very often the very best thing you can do is let some infuriating/annoying comment slide. And not just for myself, though that's initially why I learned to do this. But also because each response entrenches into the thread what is usually an unpleasant and polarizing interaction. It draws other people in.

Anyway, I didn't expect that my pointing this out would be cause some huge epiphany for dozens of people. Many people already understand this pretty well. I just thought it was worth reiterating.

"I hear what y'all are saying about the 'feminism' thing, but I still think it's wise to focus on the things someone says rather than how they identify themselves."

I agree. What someone says and does is 95% of what's important. Not how they self-identify. Self-identification is important, and we should respect that to some degree, of course. But insofar as the self-identification intersects how they actually behave, the behavior is what's most important.

Arguing about the label is a red herring because while it's certainly the case that some people deliberately present themselves as other than they are as a strategy to deflect criticism, I think it's much more common for people to just have cognitive dissonance. I mean, identity, both personal and social, is often, or even usually, aspirational or otherwise less reality than a sort of negotiation.

But because of this, not despite of it, I think it's food for thought when someone self-identifies as a feminist but consistently, in public, takes anti-feminist positions and/or defends anti-feminists. The rest of us shouldn't really be giving them the benefit of the doubt after such a long history, and the person themselves should really ask themselves what the deal is.

Speaking for myself, when I've found myself over a long period of time agreeing with or defending people that I nominally think of representing a position I oppose, I've had to re-evaluate both my own beliefs and the beliefs of those other people. Sometimes I've realized that I really do agree with those other folk and not with the folk that I thought I agreed with, that I was one of "them" and not one of "us"; and then on other occasions I've realized that the specific positions I've taken are incompatible with my general belief and have adjusted those specific positions to be more in alignment with how I self-identify.

And then on some other occasions I've just decided that I have a minority, dissenting opinion within a group I continue to have a strong affiliation with and that I don't think my dissent represents a fundamental conflict. But note -- I've learned to have a lot of discretion in how and when I express my dissent to avoid undermining the general cause or larger community.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:54 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


rtha: I don't know; who? And who has made that argument here? Besides you, I mean.

If you don't think there are people here who see favourites as doggie biscuits, you're kidding yourself. As for your disingenuous question, do your own search for MeTa threads/comments about people talking about "favourite milestones".
posted by gman at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are a bunch of people on here who can basically offer up a fart as their comment and it will receive dozens of favourites.

This is one of those "woe is Metafilter that is not me" myths that gets trotted out in every one of these discussions. As I said above, at any given time you can go into the comments listed under "Popular," and nearly all of them will be either well-written comments with extensive descriptions of actions or emotions, a evocative description of expertise or experience, or a particularly amusing bit of levity as part of a lighthearted conversation thread. The snarky drive-by/threadshit type that is brought up as a bogeyman here isn't at all the regular phenomenon you're making it out to be.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:02 PM on September 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


But really, what kind of person would use favourites from anonymous people on the internet as a gauge of self-worth?

So then why are you using them as people judging the worth of others?
posted by zombieflanders at 12:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CITEZ?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:03 PM on September 4, 2014


Yeah, I think that what gets perceived as "linguistic black flips" really amounts to "exercising care to stay with the the standard guidelines without sacrificing clarity or vividness.".
posted by Ipsifendus at 12:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are no MRAs here.

There sure are a few people who use the same handful of tired, boring, juvenile sexist/misogynistic/transphobic/racist/etc arguments that MRAs and the rest of their ilk are so fond of on the rest of the internet. There aren't many, but it doesn't take too much sewage to ruin a well.

There's also a surprisingly large about of the /r/tumblrinaction style bullshit: unironically using the phrase "Social Justice Warrior" and general dismissal/assholery about Tumblr (because a space where young people can actually get words for the more obscure sexual and gender identities and also talk about fandom is, uh, bad?), which is also often tied up in getoffmylawnism.
posted by NoraReed at 12:08 PM on September 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


If you're calling someone an MRA who doesn't identify himself as such, then you're just batting around an insult, and that's not a constructive tone for the thread...?

It's shorthand for people who espouse certain points of view, who may or may not identify with the actual MRA movement. Those points of view include but aren't limited to:

* "what about the men?" analogies
* identifying men as an oppressed/discriminated-against group in environments/cultures/societies where they not only outnumber women but exist a clearly privileged, patriarchal status
* On MeFi: claims of mod bias for women, where it is apparent that nothing of the sort is happening.
* Various claims of male disadvantage, usually accompanied by inflated risks. (this gets brought up in paternity and rape threads, among others)
* Complaints that women are unfairly being given special treatment in various situations, where it is apparent that nothing of the sort is happening.
* faulting women when they are victims of a crime
* faulting women for their own oppression / assault etc. (includes faulting women for inviting non-consensual/unwanted acts)
* faulting women for wanting to maintain their privacy/body autonomy/sexuality
* complaints of anti-male discrimination, where it is apparent that nothing of the sort is happening.
* complaints that feminists should be "more polite" when asking that people not be condescending/rude/victim-blame etc. (This particular point is quite complex. It's not as easily simplified as my description.)
* attacking women (as a group) for [reasons].
* attacking men who defend women as "white knights" (this doesn't happen often any more)

There are others, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind immediately. And that isn't to say that one person who does one of these things one time is a horrible, irredeemable person. I've asked people to be more polite in various threads. Sometimes, I've inadvertently made things terrible for women here by doing so. That's something I truly regret.

It's behavior that happens a lot in threads where the topic is 'someone accusing another person of a different gender of something.'

The issue is not whether someone is a card-carrying men's rights activist. It's whether they consistently raise misogynistic arguments on Metafilter. It's whether they are often dismissive of large groups of women for [reasons]. Well-intentioned or not.
posted by zarq at 12:08 PM on September 4, 2014 [32 favorites]


If you don't think there are people here who see favourites as doggie biscuits, you're kidding yourself.

I don't know anybody who does, and I try to not make presumptions about others' motivations. I assume they mean what they say, rather than say it for doggie biscuits. Seems like the only good faith way to proceed.
posted by maxsparber at 12:09 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


It's shorthand for people who espouse certain points of view, who may or may not identify with the actual MRA movement. Those points of view include but aren't limited to:

Question: Of the 12 descriptions you listed, how many does it take to qualify a person for being labeled as MRA?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:12 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Question: Of the 12 descriptions you listed, how many does it take to qualify a person for being labeled as MRA?

The issue is not whether someone is a card-carrying men's rights activist. It's whether they consistently raise misogynistic arguments on Metafilter. It's whether they are often dismissive of large groups of women for [reasons]. Well-intentioned or not.
posted by zarq at 3:08 PM on September 4 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]

posted by OmieWise at 12:15 PM on September 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


zombieflanders: As I said above, at any given time you can go into the comments listed under "Popular," and nearly all of them will be either well-written comments with extensive descriptions of actions or emotions, a evocative description of expertise or experience, or a particularly amusing bit of levity as part of a lighthearted conversation thread.

Heh, now try a similar exercise with users here who have over, say, 40k favourites by going to their www.metafilter.com/activity/user #/favorited/popular URL. Lemme know what you find.
posted by gman at 12:15 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Lemme know what you find.

Is the principal complaint here that other people are better-liked than you, or ... ? I'm struggling to see the relevance here.
posted by dialetheia at 12:16 PM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


If you don't think there are people here who see favourites as doggie biscuits, you're kidding yourself. As for your disingenuous question, do your own search for MeTa threads/comments about people talking about "favourite milestones".

Okay? But I was speaking specifically of this here thread, with these here people. Your need to bring in an otherwise un-brought-up point in order to sneer at straw people and their straw emotions is peculiar (and obnoxious). Also, an accusation disingenuousness is awfully rich coming from someone using an arch question like that.
posted by rtha at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


And I'm thinking that would be biased toward old hands with low user IDs, since it's an absolute count rather than a ratio.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:19 PM on September 4, 2014


Lemme know what you find.

dang, I am exceptionally articulate, well-reasoned, hilarious, and attractive
posted by NoraReed at 12:19 PM on September 4, 2014 [26 favorites]


Lemme know what you find.

A treasure trove of wit, erudition and insightful commentary and critique. Really, going through the popular favorites of many MeFites is delightful.
posted by griphus at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


I make jokey references to how much I crave favorites all the time, but really I just feel like it's nice to know your comments have been appreciated.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


OK, folks, we have the cabal -- I REPEAT -- WE HAVE THE CABAL:
96925	The Whelk
69565	elizardbits
52918	Artw
51576	griphus
50068	DU
45257	Astro Zombie
41629	empath
41405	shakespeherian
41224	Pope Guilty
Sorry, Greg Nog, you just missed the cut.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


As it so happens, Brandon Blatcher* fits my description perfectly. I mean, I'm assuming he doesn't think that his comments were begging for doggie biscuits, because the man has a way with words.

* Apologies, Brandon, but the link to your 50k+ favorites was mere pixels away!
posted by zombieflanders at 12:22 PM on September 4, 2014


As for your disingenuous question, do your own search for MeTa threads/comments about people talking about "favourite milestones".

Okay, I searched all the permutations of "favorite(s)/favourite(s) milestone(s), and found two posts (the latter from a comment), plus this one, which only mentions it offhand.

There were also a few comments here and there.

Is that a sufficiently ingenuous analysis for you, or do you just want to raise unsourced vague claims of how much this place sucks?
posted by Etrigan at 12:24 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


The issue is not whether someone is a card-carrying men's rights activist. It's whether they consistently raise misogynistic arguments on Metafilter.

A person doesn't take the time to write out a list of 12 qualifiers just 'cause they're thinking generally.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:24 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I suspect if gman thought this place no longer sucked, he'd stop showing up.
posted by griphus at 12:25 PM on September 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Etrigan: Is that a sufficiently ingenuous analysis for you, or do you just want to raise unsourced vague claims of how much this place sucks?

Naw, tonycpsu was kind enough to present us with a list right there, which has but a couple exceptions to my unsourced vague claims.
posted by gman at 12:26 PM on September 4, 2014


So I guess commenting on MeFi is like jazz music -- it's the favorites you don't get.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:28 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Geez, I'm glad to finally know who the cabal is. Puzzling over vague insinuations of nasty in-group popular people getting away with things was really starting to hurt my head!

Can I at least get points for not being one of those stereotypical feminists-with-no-sense-of-humor by giving him the benefit of the doubt there?

Words do matter, misha, and I'm going to remember you outright grubbing for approval for being one of the "good" feminists next time I start to read one of your comments and am tempted to take it seriously. Instead, I plan to just start skipping anything you have to say on the subject.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:28 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


> A person doesn't take the time to write out a list of 12 qualifiers just 'cause they're thinking generally.

Then, personally? I'd say just one of the (more than) twelve, if it's toxic and persistent enough. Bearing in mind that the first volley fired is usually "What are you, some kind of MRA jerk?" rather than "I hereby declare thee as Grand Wizard of the KKK and ye shall be banished from the premeses immediately!"
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 12:29 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


To me, it's blatantly obvious that some users are more popular here. I don't think it's nefarious, it's just how people work. Also, considering the active meetups mean that quite a few people start to know each other in person as well as on here, and it's unsurprising that friendship groups/cliques will form. Again, not nefarious, not an indictment, just the way people are.

If you want to draw a line from that to some users might get more leeway in what they can and cannot say, I can see that being valid. Not always, and not nearly to some malicious degree, but it's not strange to see, say, cortex write in his modly voice that he likes and/or respects a user even while deleting their post. That's not a sign of bias, except towards someone who has garnered some good faith through how they act here to allow a little understanding that a misstep is not representative of them as a whole.

But seeing as it seems so obvious to me that there are more popular users, even though it's a value-neutral judgement, makes me wonder why people will vehemently deny it so much if it's brought up. I imagine some of it is because it's usually brought up angrily or sneeringly, but rejecting it wholesale, as often happens, seems just being willfully blind to a basic fact.
posted by gadge emeritus at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


Naw, tonycpsu was kind enough to present us with a list right there, which has but a couple exceptions to my unsourced vague claims.

I was Astro Zombie. If I gave a shit about favorites, I would still be.
posted by maxsparber at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


gman: “same people use linguistic back-flips to call someone an ignorant dickhead, without actually saying ‘you're dumb as all fuck’”

Oh come on now, everybody knows you're the king of calling people ignorant dickheads, I mean good lord you're doing it right now.
posted by koeselitz at 12:32 PM on September 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


A person doesn't take the time to write out a list of 12 qualifiers just 'cause they're thinking generally.

I do not understand what this means.

--

To answer your original question:

If someone consistently raises misogynistic arguments on Metafilter, it stands to reason that people will conclude they're a misogynist. How long that will take and how many of the 12 arguments I listed (or others I didn't) they'll have to make in order to give people that impression is entirely subjective.
posted by zarq at 12:35 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


But seeing as it seems so obvious to me that there are more popular users, even though it's a value-neutral judgement, makes me wonder why people will vehemently deny it so much if it's brought up. I imagine some of it is because it's usually brought up angrily or sneeringly, but rejecting it wholesale, as often happens, seems just being willfully blind to a basic fact.

I don't think anyone here is refuting that there are more popular users, just that their top comments are written towards harvesting favorites and/or part of some cabal-type behavior, which is the accusation leveled here.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:37 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: Oh come on now, everybody knows you're the king of calling people ignorant dickheads, I mean good lord you're doing it right now.

The official title on my business card is capitalized - King Of Calling People Ignorant Dickheads, but yeah.
posted by gman at 12:37 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


But seeing as it seems so obvious to me that there are more popular users, even though it's a value-neutral judgement, makes me wonder why people will vehemently deny it so much if it's brought up. I imagine some of it is because it's usually brought up angrily or sneeringly, but rejecting it wholesale, as often happens, seems just being willfully blind to a basic fact.

I think the denial comes in response to the claim that the more popular users are treated with favoritism. I mean, arguably people like The Whelk and Greg Nog are popular, but if either of them went full-on raging nutbag and doxed me or called me "GUTLESS FUCKING WONDERBREAD HARPY" or something, the mods would delete that and most likely would email them all "dude, what the hell was that?" They're popular, but that doesn't mean their comments get any pass as a result of that popularity, is the thing.

No I have no idea what a "wonderbread harpy" is, it just came to me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:37 PM on September 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


As it so happens, Brandon Blatcher* fits my description perfectly.

My thoughts are favorites can be summed up like so: I have 50K+ of them. Mathowie, the creator of this site, has a little under 30k. There is zero question in anyone's mind that Matt is obviously much more important to the functioning and popularity of this site.

So favorites are a neat metric at times, but they're just this minor thing. Most of the time one can usually tell why people are favoriting something, even if one disagrees, but ...eh this isn't a favorite exciting topic.

Frankly, the site reads much better when you turn of favorites.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:38 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


If someone consistently raises misogynistic arguments on Metafilter, it stands to reason that people will conclude they're a misogynist.

Yes. MRA is a bit more specific though, it's a political movement (hate group). Just like someone can be racist but not a part of an explicitly racist political movement. Not sure that really matters here though but there is a distinction.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:39 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Frankly, the site reads much better when you turn of favorites.

Seriously, it is so easy to do and it's tied to your account, not your browser, so you don't have to worry about it across devices ever unless you are not logged in.
posted by elizardbits at 12:41 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


A person doesn't take the time to write out a list of 12 qualifiers just 'cause they're thinking generally.

uh yeah they do, you see them in guidelines published by organizations and diagnostic criteria and lists of useful hotkeys, stuff people might want to take with them to college, etiquette variations by region, etc etc

ye shall be banishéd

thank you for this, so few people embrace the use of the é to establish the rhythm of sentences and now I feel less alone

Oh come on now, everybody knows you're the king of calling people ignorant dickheads, I mean good lord you're doing it right now.

👑💩😞👑
posted by NoraReed at 12:42 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


No I have no idea what a "wonderbread harpy" is, it just came to me.

I'm getting a mental image of a woman in the bread aisle of the supermarket, ripping up all the white bread and hissing at anyone nearby.

And if the argument is that the popular posters get treated with favouritism by the mods, then sure, I don't see evidence of that going beyond simple past behaviour racking up goodwill. I think it's a good point made, there.

Popularity leading to users getting different treatment from other users, though, seems pretty self-evident. I mean, that's part of what being popular means. Now whether that has any real impact on the site as a whole, that's much more nebulous and grounds for subjectivity.
posted by gadge emeritus at 12:44 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


a wonderbread harpy is a mythological being with the head and torso of a woman and the body of a woman with wings made from the bread that comes in the bag labeled "Texas Toast"
posted by NoraReed at 12:46 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't know. I think maybe popular users continue to get lots of favorites and favorable attention because people like their posting style. If you've tended to post in a particular way in the past, you're probably going to continue to post that way now. I don't think it necessarily reflects membership in the Cabal.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:47 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


No I have no idea what a "wonderbread harpy" is, it just came to me.

idk but it is too good a phrase to go to waste, please consider making a glorious sockpuppet.
posted by elizardbits at 12:47 PM on September 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


note to non-Americans (non-North Americans?), we have white bread that is sliced slightly thicker than usual that is called "Texas Toast", but really that is the name for what it is AFTER it is toasted, but there is no real way to label that before it has been toasted; no one ever refers to this as "Texas Bread"
posted by NoraReed at 12:48 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


And if the argument is that the popular posters get treated with favouritism by the mods, then sure, I don't see evidence of that going beyond simple past behaviour racking up goodwill. I think it's a good point made, there.

Well, that's usually the basis of such complaints about the mods playing favorites - "oh we all know there are popular people who can get away with anything" complaints seem to come up only when someone is grumbling about their own inflammatory or problematic comment or post being axed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:49 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


[Folks, if we're to leave this thread open it needs to not devolve into simple namecalling. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:49 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


wonderbread harpy

I imagine it as a piece of white bread but with a face like Clippy, the Microsoft paperclip.
posted by sweetkid at 12:50 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


please consider making a glorious sockpuppet.

I would seriously consider it if someone photoshops up an accompanying picture.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:52 PM on September 4, 2014


"We're only now seeing as much policy change as we are on GLBT issues because of finally achieving a large portion of popular support, which is something that is better gotten by challenging homophobia when it comes up than coddling it or trying to make discussions and groups more accepting and friendly to homophobes, at the expense of GLBT identifying people who are actively harmed by their continual harmful remarks left unchallenged."

Just a brief note:

This is largely wrong in terms of how actual policy change has happened, especially in popular campaigns. This was the model that activists used prior to Prop. 8, and it failed pretty convincingly. The biggest lesson we got out of Prop. 8 was that the arguments which seem strongest to people who already support full LGBT equality are not the arguments that convince people on the other side, or in the moveable middle (who are the real targets). The assumption had been that if the case was made forcefully, and in specific using legalistic or equality-based arguments, that people would see the inherent righteousness of the cause and take it up. That works, but it's only really effective in motivating the base.

There are a couple of broad political psychology theories to explain this, from the fact that people tend to respond defensively when challenged and that the biggest tool that anti-LGBT folks have is by provoking a fear reaction that overrides deliberate and thoughtful reflection.

Instead of continuing with that, shit-tons of research was done explicitly on how to make discussions and groups more accepting and friendly to homophobes. The group I work for was one of the partners in a big research project (Breakthrough Conversations) that was basically all about how to talk to homophobes, and strategies of open-ended questions, empathy exercises and emphasis of positive emotions like love and respect ended up being almost a third more effective. We ended up not needing a lot of this research due to court decisions, but we've applied similar strategies in similar campaigns — we just did a ton of audience research on how to talk about transgender people, which is easier in some ways because people tend to have fewer preconceived notions and less of an attachment to revulsion over sex. So a lot of that research ended up being about how to explain the very nature of being transgender to people who didn't understand and were confused, and how to counter the fear attacks based on the "bathroom predator" trope.

A large part of the trainings on this is explicitly about how to not challenge harmful remarks, but rather to use them to draw people into a conversation and get them to shift their framing — this was something that was pretty contentious within the context of the trainings, since it was mostly younger LGBT activists who were pretty pissed off and pretty sensitive to othering language, something that the facilitators would try to address in the initial discussion about participation norms and how to assume good faith of your fellow activists.

So, no, don't mistake LGBT progress as coming from challenging homophobia wherever it's found, unless you mean "challenging" in the most soft and empathetic way imaginable. (I mean, even things down to why it's LGBT instead of GLBT, and why it should really be "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender" is because people react negatively to the word "gay" and less negatively to the word "lesbian" than every other sub-community within LGBT [LGBT should be avoided on first reference because it's jargony and turns people off], that all comes down to not alienating homophobes so that they can be cajoled into doing the right thing.)

This isn't to say that I don't think anger or stridency or polemics have their place, or that the goal of MeFi discourse should be to educate or persuade people — I have no problem telling someone to fuck off, and a lot of the anger that I see on MeFi specifically from individuals from historically disadvantaged communities is reacting to legitimate grievances and should be fine to express without the goal of persuading anyone else. Often, my goal isn't to persuade someone in that moment, and I don't think holding other people to that standard is particularly wise or healthy for MeFi. It's just that if you do want to persuade people, there are other communication strategies that are far more effective.
posted by klangklangston at 12:53 PM on September 4, 2014 [40 favorites]


I think the denial comes in response to the claim that the more popular users are treated with favoritism.

They are, in two respects. First, their individual comments are treated differently. A popular user can be snarky and collect favorites for it, while someone else being equally rude will get called out. Gman is hardly the only person in this thread who has been behaving like a dick. Second, their overall behavior pattern receives more leeway. You might be right that an individual instance of malice will get them an email from the mods, but it won't get them banned. If Crayz had initiated the Twitter shenanigans, I think a mod would have given him a timeout. To use an older example, if I scraped a bunch of users' profiles for an email list, I believe I'd be banned.

I have 50K+ of them. Mathowie, the creator of this site, has a little under 30k.

I don't think the objection about favorites has to do with overall tally. I think it's about present-tense affirmation. It's not about having more, just about getting them. Miguel Cardoso—just to pick a neutral popular user, for example's sake—could open a new account every month, and just so long as he announced who he was, the favorites would keep rolling in.
posted by cribcage at 12:54 PM on September 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


I like Wonderbread. I would be delighted to be a wonderbread harpy. Can I be a tatertot harridan, too?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:55 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


🍞🐦👩
posted by NoraReed at 12:58 PM on September 4, 2014


This really cries out for one of those online-name-generator deals.
posted by box at 12:58 PM on September 4, 2014


Just to clear things up: When I first signed up, the mods sent me a special memail that said that for every 500 favorites I get, I can auto-restore any one deleted comment. It's a perk I get because I'm in the top 10% of tallest users on the site, apparently. Just a cool bit of privilege I was born with, I guess. Didn't ask for it, but it definitely makes the site easier for me, so I'll take it!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:58 PM on September 4, 2014 [20 favorites]


To use an older example, if I scraped a bunch of users' profiles for an email list, I believe I'd be banned.


I can't remember who did that now, but I think that was a very different time at MetaFilter. I think anyone would be banned for that now. I don't have the sense that you would have been banned for that then.
posted by OmieWise at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I REPEAT -- WE HAVE THE CABAL

FWIW, those favorite counts are super old. I don't know who actually makes up the top ten days (I'll leave that to someone who doesn't have figure it out manually), but here's where those same ten stand today:
132594 	The Whelk
103278 	elizardbits
 78643 	Artw
 91354 	griphus
 55349 	DU*
 57278 	Astro Zombie†
 66708 	empath
 57943 	shakespeherian
 48326 	Pope Guilty
And, drumroll please...
 59909 	Greg Nog
* Ain't done shit in a year.
† Really should be up in the #4 slot because reasons
posted by Sys Rq at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2014


I mean, my sense is that some users who didn't get banned for a long long time would be banned much more quickly at today's site, just to argue it from the other side.
posted by OmieWise at 1:00 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Greg, I don't think your father, the inventor of the toaster strudel, would be too pleased to hear about that.
posted by elizardbits at 1:01 PM on September 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


† Really should be up in the #4 slot because reasons

You can have the #4 slot when you pry it from my cold, dead social life.
posted by griphus at 1:01 PM on September 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


You're number three!
posted by Sys Rq at 1:02 PM on September 4, 2014


They are, in two respects. First, their individual comments are treated differently. A popular user can be snarky and collect favorites for it, while someone else being equally rude will get called out.

But "how many favorites does something get" is a completely different thing from "whether a mod would delete it or not". I've seen plenty of things that had lots of favorites get deleted by the mods, or get called out by mods. And some of those things were by "popular" users.

You might be right that an individual instance of malice will get them an email from the mods, but it won't get them banned.

How can you be sure? Are you privy to what the mods might be saying to any one of us behind the curtain? For all you know, the mods may be contacting some of the popular folk on a weekly basis saying "dude, seriously, be careful". And moreover, from what I've seen, most of the time it takes a pattern of behavior to get banned here, and the mods always try to work with someone behind the scenes before resorting to that step. Very few things merit an insta-ban.

If Crayz had initiated the Twitter shenanigans, I think a mod would have given him a timeout.

What do you mean "if"? Crayz did initiate the Twitter shenanigans. Meaning, Crayz opened a Twitter account solely to talk smack against other users, and divulge their real names in many cases and link their Twitter handles to their MeFi handles in all cases. And he did get penalized (with a banning, rather than a timeout) by the mods.

A favorite count may influence your opinion of a comment, but the mods have a different scale.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:03 PM on September 4, 2014


(Also the infodumpster splits favorite counts by subsite, so the original Offical Mickey Cabal Membership Club list is accurate for just the blue.)
posted by griphus at 1:03 PM on September 4, 2014


Re the favorites/cabal/favoritism issue:

I think there are some real issues here. But, also, at one time, I had a couple of people in my contacts list -- added, no doubt, because they had said something intereting/noteworthy -- who seemed to show up in my feed on a routine basis with comments with like 50 favs. And every single time I clicked on the comments with bunches of favs, it seemed to be something snarky and assholish being wildly upvoted. It began giving me a really negative impression of those two individuals and of the site as a whole.

At some point, I removed them from my contact list. Now, when I run into their comments more organically, it isn't just the things that make me feel like "God, you are an asshole and ALSO I am sure if I said something like that (in terms of level of snark), it would get deleted or people would kick the crap out of me." So, I see these two individuals a lot less negatively and I see the site as a whole a lot less negatively than I did for a time.

For that and other reasons, I think there are some kind of valid complaints about "popular" people but I will also suggest that if someone in particular is really getting on your nerves, then maybe it isn't as simple as "they are an asshole or a favorites whore" and maybe there are things you can do to more finely analyze when you are running into things that really bother you and why it really bothers you and so on and adjust your relationship to the site a hair to avoid having so much experience of friction over it. Because it's a big site and there are lots of places to hang here where you won't necessarily run into them and, unless they are being doggedly assholishly stalkerish in how they relate to you (in which case, you can contact the mods), it can be surprisingly easy to just walk away from some of the things that grate on you the most.
posted by Michele in California at 1:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


FWIW, those favorite counts are super old. I don't know who actually makes up the top ten days (I'll leave that to someone who doesn't have figure it out manually), but here's where those same ten stand today:

I thought they were being examined for favorited comments only? Not posts.
posted by zarq at 1:03 PM on September 4, 2014


(Also the infodumpster splits favorite counts by subsite, so the original Offical Mickey Cabal Membership Club list is accurate for just the blue.)

I thought they were being examined for favorited comments only? Not posts.


WELL NEVER MIND THEN
posted by Sys Rq at 1:04 PM on September 4, 2014


:D
posted by zarq at 1:06 PM on September 4, 2014


Yeah, I selected the blue for determining cabal membership since I figured favorites on the other subsites probably didn't correlate as well with "popularity", "coolness", or whatever other metric people seem to think elicits "get out of jail free" cards.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:11 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Crayz did initiate the Twitter shenanigans.

Not really. He responded poorly to someone else's poor impulse control, but he didn't "initiate".
posted by Mr. Six at 1:12 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


He initiated going after a bunch of people who not only hadn't mentioned him, they weren't even in this thread. That's a loss of impulse control that I think is worse than saying "This person is being terrible over there!"
posted by rtha at 1:16 PM on September 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


He responded poorly to just about everything.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 1:17 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't have the sense that you would have been banned for that then.

To the contrary. What Matt said at the time was something to the effect of, "What, you wouldn't give one of your friends a second chance?" That's fine and not totally unreasonable, but it does illustrate the point. This is a social website, and social capital exists.

Are you privy to what the mods might be saying to any one of us behind the curtain?

Not generally. But since it's you asking, I'll answer honestly and say yes, somewhat. I have seen several instances where a mod has openly said to you, "We have talked to you about this before." I don't know what the mods have told you behind the curtain, but I do know that you've been talked to. And yet here you are choosing to respond to a non-sarcastic comment by posing sarcastic rhetorical questions. If you had less social capital here, I think you'd feel less rope for that type of response. You're welcome to disagree with that.

What do you mean "if"? Crayz did initiate the Twitter shenanigans.

No, he didn't.
posted by cribcage at 1:19 PM on September 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


He responded poorly to someone else's poor impulse control, but he didn't "initiate".

There is a vast and cavernous and filled-with-wonderbread-harpies distance between "one comment on twitter about something on metafilter, which is NOT linked to metafilter and only shared with a small circle on Twitter" and "starting an account on Twitter solely to make a series of tweets in which you intentionally connect someone's Metafilter AND Twitter handles".

I'll let you figure out which one Crayz did.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:20 PM on September 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


Before this devolves into a sequence of "no he didn't" "yes he did" "no he didn't infinity" "yes he did infinity plus one" let's all just scroll halfway up the thread to about 24-hrs ago when we had already had this argument.
posted by griphus at 1:22 PM on September 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


What do you mean "if"? Crayz did initiate the Twitter shenanigans.

No, he didn't.


Stating your opinion about someone's actions via twitter doesn't equal shenanigans, even if it's a negative opinion.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:22 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't know what the mods have told you behind the curtain, but I do know that you've been talked to. And yet here you are choosing to respond to a non-sarcastic comment by posing sarcastic rhetorical questions. If you had less social capital here, I think you'd feel less rope for that type of response. You're welcome to disagree with that.

Well, I'll disagree with the claim that I'm popular. That CAN'T POSSIBLY be the case.

And that ain't sarcasm, I'm perfectly serious.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:23 PM on September 4, 2014


For the last time: No one directly addressed him on Twitter, he went after other people's Twitter feeds, he tried to use unlinked information, and he went after people who weren't even part of the conversation.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:23 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


I missed all this! so what happened? crayz created a twitter account and said nasty things to other mefites on twitter?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:29 PM on September 4, 2014


I would seriously consider it if someone photoshops up an accompanying picture

Have at it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:31 PM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


HOw did crayz even know that people were saying things about him on Twitter? Did he search Twitter for his name or something? The cool kids could be calling me all sorts of names on Twitter and I would have no idea.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:31 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


tonycpsu: "Yeah, I selected the blue for determining cabal membership since I figured favorites on the other subsites probably didn't correlate as well with "popularity", "coolness", or whatever other metric people seem to think elicits "get out of jail free" cards."

Cabal is probably the blue + the gray. Ask doesn't really permit coolness so much.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:31 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


wait, so at under 30k favorites, does that mean i'm not part of the cabal?? well then why did they tell me meet at the secret clubhouse dressed head to toe in beans and glitter??
posted by nadawi at 1:31 PM on September 4, 2014


Okay, something else to disagree with -

I don't know what the mods have told you behind the curtain, but I do know that you've been talked to.

And I've also had comments deleted. Quite a few times. So even if I did have "social capital", that still doesn't render me immune from getting a comment deleted.

And it's comment deletion that seems to trigger the "but if I was one of the cool kids you'd let that stay" complaints, so I'm not sure exactly what it is that you're seeing about "social capital" being an advantage.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 PM on September 4, 2014


Stating your opinion about someone's actions

Facts are not opinions, but I admit that it is certainly harder to cite deleted comments. In any case, if you and others are going to continue wailing on a banned user, at least deal with the facts in an honest way. Stating that he initiated the exchange on Twitter is not a truthful statement.
posted by Mr. Six at 1:33 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Miguel Cardoso—just to pick a neutral popular user, for example's sake—could open a new account every month, and just so long as he announced who he was, the favorites would keep rolling in.

Because he's still the Last Of The International Playboys, buster. That does come with some privileges, you know.

If you don't think there are people here who see favourites as doggie biscuits, you're kidding yourself.

Favorites are even better than doggie biscuits. I have to buy doggie biscuits while favorites are free as love.

(I guess I find it kind of remarkable how people can go on about the utter uselessness of favorites and be outraged?—indignant?—miffed?—that other people have too many.)
posted by octobersurprise at 1:34 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


In any case, if you and others are going to continue wailing on a banned user, at least deal with the facts in an honest way. Stating that he initiated the exchange on Twitter is not a truthful statement.

We are saying that he initiated the Twitter shenanigans.

Another user's grumping about him on Twitter is not shenanigans.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


The guy was being an obsessive stalker and harasser, full stop. For no other reason than someone said something bad about him. Complaining that he wasn't the one who was mean first is rules-lawyering and whitewashing.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:35 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


(I guess I find it kind of remarkable how people can go on about the utter uselessness of favorites and be outraged?—indignant?—miffed?—that other people have too many.)

...and such small portions!
posted by griphus at 1:36 PM on September 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


cribcage: “Miguel Cardoso—just to pick a neutral popular user, for example's sake—could open a new account every month, and just so long as he announced who he was, the favorites would keep rolling in.”

This is attributing a level of awareness and savviness to a bunch of folks that people just don't have. Did everybody know maxsparber was Astro Zombie? Show of hands, now. Seriously, people aren't as aware of that sort of thing as you'd like to think they are. They were, once upon a time, when this was a site used by a couple thousand people who were in on every conversation – say, during Miguel Cardoso's heyday – but they sure as hell aren't now. The site is too big, and there are too many users.
posted by koeselitz at 1:36 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Mr. Six - i think people just have different interpretations - what he did wasn't an "exchange" it was an attack, and it was an attack that went way further than one person being all "so what's the deal with that dude?"
posted by nadawi at 1:36 PM on September 4, 2014


"This is a social website, and social capital exists."

Yeah, I'm in agreement with your general point. I mean, we talk about this all the time under the larger rubric of "reputation" and "history". We like to think that we judge people's actions neutrally on a case-by-case basis, but we don't and that's okay. It's okay because a) history does matter; and b) it's an inescapable fact of human nature that we are generous with our friends and harsh with our enemies.

I have issues, for whatever set of complicated reasons, about consistency in justice and it makes me pretty uncomfortable to see a popular person get away with something that an unpopular person wouldn't have. But those are my own issues, really, it's as much about me as it is some important principle of fairness.

Anyway, the thing about all this is that people are very touchy about this stuff. People make claims that they're being treated unfairly because other people don't like them or other people are jealous hate freedom all the time where it's a form of self-deluding self-righteousness and they're really just being assholes. But then other times the claim is completely valid and true. And then all the people these claims are directed against don't want to hear it, because we all like to think we're fair and on the side of the angels and all that.

So, my point is that it's very difficult to talk about what you're trying to talk about. I don't really know how exactly one raises the issue without it immediately turning into something pretty defensive and polarized. Maybe the only situation where it can be productive is when it's raised on its own, apropos of nothing in particular, as a general problem that we should talk about.

That isn't this thread.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:37 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Mr. Six: “Stating that he initiated the exchange on Twitter is not a truthful statement.”

Nobody said he initiated the exchange on Twitter, though.
posted by koeselitz at 1:38 PM on September 4, 2014


...and such small portions!

"God, this food is awful."

"And some people's portions are too large!"
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:39 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I wonder how many people have also been upset by this incident in part because there were pictures of Jennifer Lawrence in what was stolen and released to the public.

Certainly it has made me re-evaluate my responses to these kinds of leaks. Because I feel really bad for JL in a way I don't and didn't for, yes, Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. Intellectually I can say that, yes, we should have the same amount of concern for all of those invasions of privacy. But emotionally I don't feel much at all in the latter two cases while thinking about Jennifer Lawrence's last couple of days makes me really sad.

I still don't feel as bad emotionally for some of the other celebrities who have gone through this but the empathy for JL I have has certainly hardened what was purely a rational position into a broader one even in those other cases.

I don't think that's unusual. It would be great if everyone had exactly the same amount of emotional investment and empathy for everyone equally but in reality I think it's normal to feel worse when something bad happens to someone we think is nice rather than to someone we think is kind of... not.
posted by Justinian at 1:39 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


it was an attack that went way further than one person being all "so what's the deal with that dude?"

Let's use the actual words here: "Is crayz a regular highly shitty person on metafilter?" That is an attack or a shenanigan or grumping or whatever you want to call it. He took it way too far, and he was definitely attacking NoraReed directly in this thread, but he didn't start it on Twitter.
posted by Etrigan at 1:41 PM on September 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


I don't think there's much contradiction in feeling that crayz's initial upset was understandable and also believing he completely lost it and went into Full Throttle Butthead mode over it.
posted by Justinian at 1:43 PM on September 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


even with the actual words - i don't think that's an attack and i don't think it excuses or explains connecting mine and bunch of other people's usernames to twitter names. i didn't start shit with him here or there. it made me consider locking down my twitter. it made me consider closing my account here. it made me block a few people on twitter where it seemed like they were only following me to have shit to build some sort of fucked up case against me.
posted by nadawi at 1:44 PM on September 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


even with the actual words - i don't think that's an attack

Can't say fairer than that.
posted by Mr. Six at 1:47 PM on September 4, 2014


huh?
posted by nadawi at 1:49 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


He took it way too far, and he was definitely attacking NoraReed directly in this thread, but he didn't start it on Twitter.

Right, but she didn't post it in this thread. It was a thing done outside metafilter which presumably he only saw because he was already reading through her twitter feed at the time, or was maybe linked to it by someone else who was doing so? idk? And he decided to bring it here, which is not really a thing of goodness.
posted by elizardbits at 1:50 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


i don't think that's an attack

Oh, come on. Really?

and i don't think it excuses or explains connecting mine and bunch of other people's usernames to twitter names.

I agree 100 percent. He went way, way too far. But saying that calling someone "highly shitty" isn't an attack? That's just silly.
posted by Etrigan at 1:51 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


It was a question though.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:52 PM on September 4, 2014


So is "Have you stopped beating your wife?".
posted by Justinian at 1:53 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: “I agree 100 percent. He went way, way too far. But saying that calling someone ‘highly shitty’ isn't an attack? That's just silly.”

Years ago in college, I had a class with someone I disliked intensely. Later on I was sitting with some friends and one of them said: "so, you were really annoyed at X the other day, huh?" and I sighed and said "man, everything she says is so fucking stupid." Then of course (as always happens) it turned out she was right behind me.

I certainly should have been more aware of my surroundings. But – was I attacking her?
posted by koeselitz at 1:54 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes but this is more like, "Is he someone who beats his wife?"
posted by Drinky Die at 1:54 PM on September 4, 2014


? Yes?
posted by Mr. Six at 1:55 PM on September 4, 2014


yes really. "is this normal or is he having an off day" is exactly how i read it. i'm not sure why that's so unbelievable. also not sure why you think calling me a silly liar is the way to go, but whatever.
posted by nadawi at 1:56 PM on September 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


I wanted to know if he was one of the repeated awful MRA-types who are always in these kinds of threads but I am bad at remembering usernames so I asked Twitter.

But hey! Interpret it however you want! Postmodernism! Death of the author! It means I'm secretly a giraffe!
posted by NoraReed at 1:59 PM on September 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


I didn't see the series of tweets where Crayz apparently outed users, so someone can correct me here if I'm wrong. But I was reading this thread at the time, and my impression was that much of his overreaction was misdirected frustration with Matt. He didn't like that his comments kept getting deleted.
posted by cribcage at 1:59 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe I missed this earlier, but twitter is a bit complicated in this regard because in practice it's often a conversation you have with friends shared with many other people. That represents two opposing ends of a spectrum, where we wouldn't think twice about someone saying unpleasant things to their friends about someone on a website they frequent versus someone making a big public statement about the same person, which we'd probably think is very shitty. Twitter can be either of these things, or both.

And I suspect that how you think about this example in particular is strongly influenced by which direction on that spectrum you're inclined to see this.

I think it would be unproductive to rehash the whole argument about this, but I thought it might help if people considered that other people may react differently, more or less strongly, depending upon how much they view a tweet as a deliberately public statement to a large audience.

Speaking as a mefite who was talked about publicly elsewhere on the internet, in extremely denigrating ways, using my username in conjunction with my real name, I naturally have some strong feelings about people publicly gossiping/sniping about mefites elsewhere on the web. When this flared up, I flashed back on that past incident and thought about what crayz was saying, because in my case it was all about me, in this community, being publicly mocked in the most vicious way by other members of this community. It seems like a very weird thing to do to divorce here from there.

But cortex et al have explained that they agree that it's shitty when people do this and that it's a separate issue from the victims of it bringing it back onto the site. There's very strong reasons why this shouldn't be allowed, even if it feels very weird, especially to the victims of such things, that this is the case.

"I certainly should have been more aware of my surroundings. But – was I attacking her?"

Well, you should have known that if you were to bitch about someone in your seminar in the coffee shop after seminar, they'd be right behind you when you did it, because, d'uh. However, if you were grimacing and heavily sighing during seminar because that person kept bringing up their pet theory about the reading, over and over again for like most of the two hours and made it impossible for the rest of the class to talk about what they wanted to talk about, then the person concerned probably already knew that you thought everything they said was fucking stupid.

All of this is totally hypothetical and entirely outside my experience.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:00 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


mine too, but it was actually in music class the next day after seminar
posted by koeselitz at 2:01 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


i don't care why he thought it was appropriate to mildly doxx me and other users (and harass someone who isn't even a mefite). he gets no passes for being frustrated or fed up or whatever other minimizing descriptions people want to use.
posted by nadawi at 2:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


"is this normal or is he having an off day" is exactly how i read it. i'm not sure why that's so unbelievable.

That's not how NoraReed meant it:
I wanted to know if he was one of the repeated awful MRA-types who are always in these kinds of threads but I am bad at remembering usernames so I asked Twitter.

That's much less of an attack than calling him "a highly shitty person," but it's still initiating the use of another public platform for a MetaFilter argument.
posted by Etrigan at 2:04 PM on September 4, 2014


But I was reading this thread at the time, and my impression was that much of his overreaction was misdirected frustration with Matt. He didn't like that his comments kept getting deleted.

He was lashing out everywhere, I'm not sure what it was really all about. More than just feminism and Metafilter likely.

He was angry he wasn't allowed to respond about the Tweet here and rampaged on Twitter as some sort of illustration of why behavior on Twitter should be something the mods are willing to do something about, or to prove they would be willing to do something about it if it was him instead of Nora. Kind of ignoring the mods work often on guidelines and common sense, not hard and fast rules. So, he forced their hand to make a point and got exactly what he was asking for and the point was flawed in the first place.

That's much less of an attack than calling him "a highly shitty person," but it's still initiating the use of another public platform for a MetaFilter argument.

"Are you a Mormon?"
"Stop calling me a Mormon!"
posted by Drinky Die at 2:06 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


also not sure why you think calling me a silly liar is the way to go, but whatever.

I'm not calling you silly or a liar. I said that your action was silly. And "Really?" is a pretty common way to express disbelief at a person's argument, not an indictment of your honesty.
posted by Etrigan at 2:08 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Listen, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if there are MeFites who grumble about me offsite, either on Instagram or telling your friend "can you believe that bitch EC is at it again" or whatever.

The thing is, if you keep it over there and out of my earshot, I don't consider it an attack. As a matter of fact, I welcome it, if your calling me a bitch at the bar with your friends keeps you from going off on me here on Metafilter. I don't need to see it, mind you, but hey, I am not so egotistical that I think that everyone thinks everything I say is a pearl of wisdom dropped from the muse. People are gonna disagree with me, some of those people think I suck or I talk too much, and that's just that. And nothing I do can help that, because some people just rub other people the wrong way, even when you try your best to get along with everyone. So if the people I annoy discharge that annoyance elsewhere, that's...not an attack, in my books. That is the kind of thing NoraReed was doing.

By contrast, what crayz did was the equivalent of finding out the bar that she was grumbling with her friends at, going in and sitting in a table all by himself in the corner and pretending to talk to someone else, and loudly saying, "boy, can you believe how bitchy NORAREED is? OH AND DID YOU KNOW HER NAME IN REAL LIFE IS [FOO], BY THE WAY."

Again, BIIIIIIIIIIG difference between the two.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:08 PM on September 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Some people need to vent, especially if the forum/community (understandably) doesn’t allow you to just let fly. So they go to another medium and do it. I’ve been on both the receiving and giving end of it. No, it’s not very fun to hear that someone thinks you’re shitty or (in my situation) “fucking annoying,” but eh. It’s only bothersome to me when the person acts perfectly nice and friendly to your face - er, screen - and then trashes you behind your back. In my case, I couldn’t tell, because the venting was happening on an anon community, so I had no idea if these people were my “friends” or what. That bugged me more than the actual complaints, heh.

Other than that, though… *shrug* I’ve gotten into heated debates with other people, where probably the only thing stopping us from saying, “SERIOUSLY, FUCK YOU THO!” were the mods. (Not talking about Mefi, ftr.) It would neither surprise nor bother me to learn that they walked away from those conversations and vented about me elsewhere, just like I have on occasion.

I just don't think complaining about another user from Message Board A on Message Board B is that big a deal. When you take it to the level of doxxing, stalking, harassing, that's a different story. The anon comm I mentioned? I wasn't the only one being talked about, and I didn't think that the comments about me were a big deal, but the level of vitriol/harassment/obsession/stalking towards some of the other people mentioned were definitely OTT and Not Cool.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 2:08 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think thats what Ivan was getting at, though, EC. Twitter isn't "out of earshot" it's "standing in a public square with a megaphone." Unless your tweets are private I guess, which apparently these weren't or crayz couldn't have seen them in the first place. I assume that's how Twitter works at least.
posted by Justinian at 2:10 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


uh - "is this normal" "is he one of the repeated awful mra-types" i don't really know how those aren't the same. he acted like a total ass in here, few disagree with that. NoraReed was asking her group of followers, which while it's public it can feel pretty private most of the time, if that's expected behavior from him or not.

find that silly and unbelievable all you want. i'm done trying to convince you that i'm sincere.
posted by nadawi at 2:11 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


eh, it's more like standing in a room full of millions of megaphones. it's easy to forget that someone can tune the channel just to you.
posted by nadawi at 2:12 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Again, BIIIIIIIIIIG difference between the two.

Is anyone here actually saying that crayz wasn't way over the line? That doesn't give NoraReed a pass, is just what some of us are saying.
posted by Etrigan at 2:12 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I believe it was the late Joan Rivers who said there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about on MetaFilter, and that is not being talked about on Twitter.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:15 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don’t know about twitter, but I do most of my venting on LJ, which is dead as a doornail. Sort of. Maybe?
posted by imnotasquirrel at 2:15 PM on September 4, 2014


Did everybody know maxsparber was Astro Zombie

wut??
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:16 PM on September 4, 2014


what it sort of felt like was the time that I said that I recognized the name Will Shetterly and I was pretty sure it was from something awful but I didn't remember what it was and then he found it while doing vanity searches and got all angry-white-man-who-doesn't-believe-in-racism (I think a lot of people call him "Shitterly" so they don't have to deal with that*) at me, except, uh, more so. and with collateral damage.

*also because poop. 💩!
posted by NoraReed at 2:22 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is anyone here actually saying that crayz wasn't way over the line?

There is a noticeable lack of admission of this fact in a way that makes it seem like NoraReed's action just as bad (or "understandable") as his.

That doesn't give NoraReed a pass, is just what some of us are saying.

The worst you could say about her behavior (gossip) is that it's what many men hate but don't have to worry about. What you can say about his behavior (stalking, harassing, doxxing) is that is it's what many women fear becoming something worse.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:22 PM on September 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


Twitter isn't "out of earshot" it's "standing in a public square with a megaphone."

Yeah, but often it's a really wimpy megaphone that only the people who happen to be wandering in a 10-foot radius around you can hear. The vast majority of the people in the world wouldn't know either NoraReed or Crayz if either of them bit them in the butt, so they hardly have reason to be combing the Internet looking for information on either, and the odds that a random stranger would be coming across this kind of grumbling are vanishingly small. Especially since Nora made a point of not connecting his name to a Twitter handle, and not using his real name.

Is anyone here actually saying that crayz wasn't way over the line? That doesn't give NoraReed a pass, is just what some of us are saying.

And by the same token, no one is saying that Nora Reed's behavior was perfectly angelic either. It's just like, saying that she started the Twitter shenanigans is like putting grand theft auto in the same category as, like, jaywalking.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:23 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


"I think thats what Ivan was getting at, though, EC. Twitter isn't 'out of earshot' it's 'standing in a public square with a megaphone.'"

It's not necessarily what I was getting at because sometimes Twitter is a megaphone and sometimes Twitter is a conversation with friends. And while the number of followers makes the biggest difference, the way hashtags work can also make a big difference.

I think it's less productive, at this stage, to rehash the arguments about the tweet (especially since it's all mixed-up with crayz's indefensible subsequent actions) than it is to try to understand that people will have varied reactions to people talking about them publicly elsewhere.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:28 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


The principal just told me she doesn't care who started it.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:29 PM on September 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


I think Ivan Fyodorovich is right on on this one.
posted by sweetkid at 2:29 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


And by the same token, no one is saying that Nora Reed's behavior was perfectly angelic either.

Empress, you yourself said it wasn't an attack. You even said that it didn't rise to the level of shenanigan.

It's just like, saying that she started the Twitter shenanigans is like putting grand theft auto in the same category as, like, jaywalking.

I've said that the grand theft auto was "way too far," "way, way too far" and "way over the line" compared to the jaywalking. No one else is saying they're in the same "category" either, other than "bad thing."
posted by Etrigan at 2:40 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, #crayz is a pretty popular hashtag. It's likely that he saw the tweet on the in-site feed in her profile, rather than by doing a search on the site.

There's a lesson to be learned there, for everyone who has a twitter account that feeds into their mefi profile.
posted by zarq at 2:41 PM on September 4, 2014


I think we've all got to be copacetic with the idea that it's okay for a MeFite to go on twitter and say things about other MeFites, even things are that aren't really super-friendly. Just keep that stuff on twitter.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:42 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


"The worst you could say about her behavior (gossip) is that it's what many men hate but don't have to worry about. What you can say about his behavior (stalking, harassing, doxxing) is that is it's what many women fear becoming something worse."

That's an extremely important, relevant point. Just the fact that crayz was aware of the tweet doesn't exist in a vacuum, and neither does the nature of his response to it. I suspect that some of us here are not quite understanding this -- women online constantly have to deal with men stalking them, doxxing them, and generally intimidating women with whom they disagree.

My own personal example I mentioned was more extreme than I think people are imagining and it made me feel bad in ways that I've rarely felt bad. Also, through a perverse set of circumstances, my mom saw it. And then there was this one mefite who sort of obsessively hated me and began stalking me all over the web, placing comments where I'd placed comments and stuff like that. That really upset me because it seemed so unhinged, I felt threatened in a direct way because it seemed so weird and disproportionate.

But I've been all over the internet and online services for three decades, using my real name, and basically those are pretty much the only two incidents like them (notable, I guess, that they both involved mefites). That's my male privilege because, basically, a woman on the Internet only has to say the "wrong" thing to the wrong misogynist and she'll find her background being searched, threatened with rape, photos taken out of context and publicly ridiculed, and worse. When someone I'm in an argument with on MeFi goes to the trouble that day to read my tweets, I'll think it's kind of weird and obsessive. When this happens to a woman, she has to worry about lots of worse things.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:44 PM on September 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


There's a lesson to be learned there, for everyone who has a twitter account that feeds into their mefi profile.

Yeah: don't.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:44 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


While I make my identities pretty easy to connect on purpose, he did it to people who don't do that, which is a dick move and a serious breach of general internet etiquette around these sorts of things.

In any case, the general question of whether or not he is regularly terrible was well-answered by the subsequence enormous tantrum he threw.

Also I seriously doubt that he saw it by looking at the feed in my profile. I have a pretty high volume feed; before he started flipping his shitcakes there was one tweet asking about him and approximately ten billion tweets about who I think Steve Rogers should bone. It's possible, but unlikely.
posted by NoraReed at 2:47 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Was it ten billion tweets because the correct answer is "everyone?"
posted by zombieflanders at 2:49 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also I seriously doubt that he saw it by looking at the feed in my profile. I have a pretty high volume feed; before he started flipping his shitcakes there was one tweet asking about him and approximately ten billion tweets about who I think Steve Rogers should bone. It's possible, but unlikely.

Ah. It just seemed weird to me that anyone would follow a complete stranger's twitter link to hunt down mentions of themselves. I guess it's not out of character tho, given the rest of his activity in this thread.
posted by zarq at 2:53 PM on September 4, 2014


The latest turn of discussion reminds me of an article I read years ago about some study where men and women were asked about their biggest fear in regards to dating (or some question along those lines) and men said "being laughed at" and women said "being murdered."
posted by Michele in California at 2:53 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


approximately ten billion tweets about who I think Steve Rogers should bone

Wouldn't it just be easier to list who he shouldn't?
posted by MoonOrb at 2:55 PM on September 4, 2014


I think it's less productive, at this stage, to rehash the arguments about the tweet (especially since it's all mixed-up with crayz's indefensible subsequent actions) than it is to try to understand that people will have varied reactions to people talking about them publicly elsewhere.

I don't think that's right, though. I mean, I agree that there is not much that is productive that's going to come out of it, but I think the stakes are actually reasonably high.

In the first place, I think how you see the Twitter "occurrence" is likely to line up with how you view this issue as a whole. That is, how much of an imposition is it for women to set the terms and tone of debate about issues that primarily affect them, and when is it appropriate for men to push back against that and declare themselves somehow victimized by it. I don't see crayz' reaction to NoraReed's tweet as separable from how he started this thread, or how he conducted himself subsequently. I accept that it upset him, but his reaction, even before he went off the rails, was out of proportion to any reasonable offense. Given the dynamic of this thread, that reads to me as very gendered. In that case it's not at all beside the point who you think "started it." The insistence here that the girl started it seems, frankly, even if unintentionally, like part of an attempt to police and silence women.

In the second place, even if one doesn't accept any of what I've written above, pegging NoraReed as the instigator, which is what saying she started it does, communicates that it is not acceptable for someone to reach out to their friends in the face of a frustrating situation. I understand that it was a public conversation, or reaching out, but I don't think it can reasonably be seen as an attempt to actually affect how anyone who cares sees crayz. I would be very surprised if anyone who followed NoraReed as her actual friend didn't already agree with her about behavior like what crayz was displaying. The question is less whether anyone "heard" the tree falling, than whether anyone who heard it cared about it at all. If we just accept that people might react badly, even when they really shouldn't, then we accept that we should not be free to reach out for support to our friends when we need it, however we define support.

Finally, this is an important conversation because we're still in the midst of a national conversation about how to understand horrible behavior and its antecedents. The scurrilous things said about Michael Brown deserving to get shot because he might have shoplifted a few minutes before should still be on everyone's mind. This situation is nothing like that except insofar as one person's less than perfect behavior is being used to paint them as the instigator, even though the real damage was done by someone else.

All of these things make this an important conversation, and one that disadvantages NoraReed and the people in this thread who support her, if we just agree to "teach the controversy" and recognize that we disagree. That doesn't mean that I think that anyone will change their mind, but a proxy argument is still an argument.
posted by OmieWise at 2:55 PM on September 4, 2014 [18 favorites]


Did everybody know maxsparber was Astro Zombie

wut??


Look man if you're gonna unsubscribe from the Astro Zombie fanzine newsletter then you end up missing stuff.
posted by elizardbits at 2:59 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


his reaction, even before he went off the rails, was out or proportion to any reasonable offense.

To my recollection, his original comment was one word ("Seriously?") that linked directly to the tweet.
posted by cribcage at 3:01 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why is the twitter rehash being allowed by the mods now when it was verboten earlier? Many comments were deleted for even mentioning the twitter debacle at all.
posted by futz at 3:02 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


No flags, maybe?
posted by tonycpsu at 3:05 PM on September 4, 2014


because we asked the mods to keep this open and they're giving it to us. i'd be sick of moderating our dumb arguments too by this point.
posted by nadawi at 3:06 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Agreed with palomar - I don't think feminists should feel like they need to defend "men" against other feminists, which misha seems to feel like she needs to do rather often. It perpetuates the idea that feminism is against men, and also that Metafilter feminists are some special breed of bad that doesn't exist in the "real world."

Hey, I just came back into this thread, but I do want to respond to this, because this perception naturally bothers me. If that is what some of the userbase thinks of me, I want to just address that.

I identify with the women whose pictures were taken and used without their consent that were the subject if the original thread. I haven't looked at those pictures. I have also given a guy I know IRL flak for looking at them after they were leaked. I didn't comment on that, though I could have, because I think I am mostly in agreement with everyone on that.

Those women weren't in the thread, but if they had been? I would have had their backs. And any woman in the thread who says she worries about that happening to her personally, or about people not respecting her boundaries? I CAN SERIOUSLy relate to and support that. I have had my own boundaries crossed, been sexually assaulted myself, and I feel that vulnerability, too.

But--and this is the part where I get crossed with others here, I think--I can't identify with the type of reaction some have here within these threads that extrapolates those feelings--anger, betrayal, vulnerability--from this type of behavior specifically to "The Patriarchy" as a whole and even further to "Men Are the Problem."

Now, I get that right there many of you may feel that I am misstating your position, and PLEASE believe it is not a malicious thing on my part. I honestly just may not understand your position.
It is not from lack of trying, though.

My misunderstanding comes from not being able to reconcile the disconnect I see between the oft-stated common position that goes something like, "Feminists can and should be both men and women, and we should all be allies and work together because the patriarchy hurts all of us, and we are all working toward a common goal" and the discourse that actually takes place here on any given day.

There is this constant undercurrent of animosity here that comes up in the strangest places. Like when NoraReed was commenting in that thread about the importance of consent and I am nodding my head right along with her in solidarity and then WHAM, "I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent," knocks the breath right out of me.

I just don't see how you get to a place of working amicably together with people when you think the worst of so many of them. That's just one obvious example, but I picked it out because it speaks to that disconnect.

I didn't comment in that thread about what NoraReed said, because she certainly doesn't have to agree with me. I have read her comments and I know she has taken courses on feminism that I never had access to back when I was in college. I respect that, even when I don't agree with her.

I also think, maybe naively, that being a 48 year-old women, I might have some lived experience and insights of my own on these issues that others might find valuable, though. And part of that lived experience comes from raising feminist sons, who are amazing young men, in college now, and who make me proud every day. Which means I also often empathize with the gender and age group that so often comes under fire here, too. I feel that there is no respect for that position here, and I get unfairly labelled as misogynistic for that empathy.

You may not believe me, and that's okay, but I read all the Feminism 101 articles and links you all post. I have Feminista in my task bar and We Hunted the Mammoth in my favorites. I do think you all have some perspective I can learn from. When I made a comment about the radical feminists here and Jessamyn said in no uncertain terms that the majority of feminists here on Metafilter were NOT radical feminists, I was not being disingenuous; my understanding after reading up on the various feminist waves was that the whole concept of the patriarchy was associated with radical feminism. I considered doing an AskMe to learn more about the actual philosophies of the feminists here (I didn't only because I was worried people would think I was trolling when I really am interested in learning).

So that heated comment (which most of you apparently really remember) where I said the feminists on Metafilter seem to care more about being right and scoring online points? I was not trolling, I was frustrated. It really does seem like the default is assuming the worst in these discussions. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings in saying that. But it is sincerely how you come across to me.

I've been on forums and message boards for a long time. I've been a feminist, probably, since before some of you were born. What I am not is a misogynist. Or a troll. It's pretty obvious I have bothered a lot of people with my opinions. If you really do have a gripe with something I have said, please show me the respect of talking to me about that specifically, instead of making snide passive-aggressive digs.
posted by misha at 3:09 PM on September 4, 2014 [24 favorites]


Thanks, misha.
posted by Mr. Six at 3:11 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


"All of these things make this an important conversation, and one that disadvantages NoraReed and the people in this thread who support her, if we just agree to 'teach the controversy' and recognize that we disagree. That doesn't mean that I think that anyone will change their mind, but a proxy argument is still an argument."

I pretty much agree with everything you wrote, even though you're kind of painting my comments in a very bad light. The last thing I want to do is to victim-blame NoraReed or to enable anyone else doing so. You're totally right that a discussion about why crayz was upset inherently functions in that way.

What I was aiming for, though, was that I really didn't want to see people like Etrigan cast into that villainous role just because he (unwisely) feels the need to talk about it.

Can I repeat my thing about discretion often being the better part of valor?

Etrigan pushing that point is unwise, I think, and while I agreed with your earlier comment about another mefite, because I sort of felt that you were right and it needed to be said, I didn't say it myself, and I was very careful about how I responded to it because I saw an 85% probability of a shitstorm as a result and only a very small probability of something good coming from it. And that's pretty much the case with this comment of yours, too. If you think that it's not likely to be productive to continue some line of conversation, then that it's important is not in itself a good enough justification for posting the comment.

On preview: And there it is. Is this a good thing?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:18 PM on September 4, 2014


There is this constant undercurrent of animosity here that comes up in the strangest places. Like when NoraReed was commenting in that thread about the importance of consent and I am nodding my head right along with her in solidarity and then WHAM, "I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent," knocks the breath right out of me.

I'll be very frank with you. When you misrepresent someone's comments like this, it's very hard to believe all the other nice things you say about wanting to learn and not meaning to hurt people.
posted by palomar at 3:27 PM on September 4, 2014 [18 favorites]


Well, I just tapped out an insightful, compassionate, and even-keeled post but my phone ate it.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:30 PM on September 4, 2014


Like when NoraReed was commenting in that thread about the importance of consent and I am nodding my head right along with her in solidarity and then WHAM, "I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent," knocks the breath right out of me.

Are you sure you didn't switch a couple of those sentence fragments in your head or something? Because:

"I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent"

and

"I think it's really common for men who don't care about women's consent to be bad people"

are two really, really different statements. And what I saw from Nora was more like the latter, than the former.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:31 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Well, I just tapped out an insightful, compassionate, and even-keeled post but my phone ate it."

Can we just pretend that it was posted and decide that we're done here?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:33 PM on September 4, 2014


misha: There is this constant undercurrent of animosity here that comes up in the strangest places. Like when NoraReed was commenting in that thread about the importance of consent and I am nodding my head right along with her in solidarity and then WHAM, "I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent," knocks the breath right out of me.

Palomar: I'll be very frank with you. When you misrepresent someone's comments like this, it's very hard to believe all the other nice things you say about wanting to learn and not meaning to hurt people.

Context: "Anyway, I just assume everyone who intentionally looked at the photos is a bad person who doesn't give a shit about women's consent, and I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent, because rape culture is huge and exploitative and it encroaches into every bit of our culture. But, like, I probably wouldn't want to be around dudes who look at this kind of shit, because I figure that people who don't care about the consent of the people in their pornography are more likely than average to rape me."

I'm hesitant to say this, because I feel like a lot of people are piling on to NoraReed and I think that sucks and don't want to add to it. But given the context I don't think misha is misrepresenting what was said.
posted by zarq at 3:34 PM on September 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


Thanks, zarq. I was just about to link the actual comment, myself, because I don't do that shitty fake paraphrasing stuff.
posted by misha at 3:37 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


because we asked the mods to keep this open and they're giving it to us.

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." - H.L. Menken

/It's not a democracy, it's a modtatorship.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:41 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


It is interesting that people just assumed misha was lying or mistaken when she had in fact used a direct quote.

That could be an example of the social capital that was discussed above in action.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 3:41 PM on September 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


> and then WHAM, "I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent," knocks the breath right out of me.

> my understanding after reading up on the various feminist waves was that the whole concept of the patriarchy was associated with radical feminism.

And you wonder why people have trouble taking your feminism seriously?

Just to avoid your hurt bewilderment, I'll spell it out: anyone who doesn't believe it's really common for men not to care about women's consent (and in fact is so unfamiliar with the concept that to see it stated knocks the breath right out of her) and who doesn't understand that "the whole concept of the patriarchy" is absolutely fundamental to feminism is not really much of a feminist in the terms most people who identify with feminism understand. You may feel that's unfair, you may prefer your own idiosyncratic version of feminism (that is bizarrely concerned with men's reactions and feelings about it all), but that's the way it is.
posted by languagehat at 3:41 PM on September 4, 2014 [51 favorites]


And to be clear, I do agree with NoraReed's assessment there. I think that not caring about consent is far more widespread and common than many men would like to admit.

Shit, we're not that many years removed from Eddie Murphy's bit about "Remember in the old days when you could just beat up a woman?" I remember laughing at that when I was a kid. Not now, though. And with darn good reason: I grew up.

We've gone through drastic cultural changes in the last generation or two. That's a wonderful thing. But not all of mankind has caught up yet.

On preview: misha, you're welcome.
posted by zarq at 3:41 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


because we asked the mods to keep this open and they're giving it to us. i'd be sick of moderating our dumb arguments too by this point.

So it is not okay until it magically is okay? It was a mod decree to drop the twitter discussions. Also it has been mentioned often that flagging doesn't amount to much in MeTa.
posted by futz at 3:48 PM on September 4, 2014


I feel that there is no respect for that position here, and I get unfairly labelled as misogynistic for that empathy.

I feel like you often take personally what other people say as if they are talking about your actual children, when what they are talking about is their experience with people who are not your sons. Your method of expressing empathy is often not at all empathetic to people (often women) who are relating their lived experiences with men. Men who are not your sons. When I see you in these threads, I play a game in my head to see if your comment will be a "not all men"-type comment and nine times out of ten, I'm right.
posted by rtha at 3:49 PM on September 4, 2014 [26 favorites]


Why is the twitter rehash being allowed by the mods now when it was verboten earlier? Many comments were deleted for even mentioning the twitter debacle at all.

Because of shift changes; because it's a fast moving thread; because we try not to go outright scorched-earth on Metafilter in general if we can and particularly in Metatalk; because sometimes stuff we'd rather just not get brought into a thread manages to end up there anyway in a way that's really hard to properly and sanely extricate once it's what folks are substantially discussing anyway, especially when it leads to something conspicuous like a ban.

I'd rather folks more or less stop talking about the twitter stuff beyond what's strictly necessary to try and work out some site policy thing rather than talking about it for its own sake, and if the main issue there is people remain confused about the actual order and content of events I can write up a short summary or something just to have the whole thing self-contained and done with.

But shit gets weirdly penumbral sometimes. I'm not gonna armwrestle the entire thread to the floor this afternoon just to make sure no one uses the word "twitter" again. I'd rather people just make the collective effort to respect the spirit of the idea and not bring it back up other than as strictly necessary.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:50 PM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


Just to avoid your hurt bewilderment, I'll spell it out:

Isn't that what the kids call Mansplaining?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:51 PM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


Modtatorship! Modtatorship!


taters
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 3:53 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


if the main issue there is people remain confused about the actual order and content of events I can write up a short summary or something just to have the whole thing self-contained and done with.

Please do! This is a huge part of the misunderstanding. People who weren't targeted or weren't in the thread at the moment it happened are missing key information on crayz's behavior (specifically the mild doxxing) and it would really help to have it all on the table so everyone's on the same page.
posted by dialetheia at 3:59 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


The thing is, Misha, that I don't think you're the only self-identified feminist here who has men in her life whom she loves, or who is the mother of sons, or who feels empathy with young men. I just don't believe that those are the things that set you apart from other feminists.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:59 PM on September 4, 2014 [42 favorites]


misha: “It really does seem like the default is assuming the worst in these discussions. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings in saying that. But it is sincerely how you come across to me.”

It may be how metafilter generally comes across to you, but it is not what happened here. What happened here is that crayz was disputative in an entirely disingenuous way, contradicting themselves multiple times rather provocatively in an apparent attempt to show at all costs that the common opinion is wrong. People disagreed civilly. And crayz did not like that at all, so crayz started this thread to make the ridiculous blanket accusation that people had called crayz a supporter of rape, and to further accuse the entire community of doing this regularly. And that spun out of control, to the point where crayz did a really obnoxiously invasive thing that violated site principles, and crayz was banned.

That is what happened. Nobody assumed the worst of anybody. NoraReed said that it is common for men to disregard consent, but that has nothing to do with any of the conversants in this discussion, and it is not assuming the worst in people at all; it's just a statistical statement of fact, and a correct one for that matter.

You may be upset, you may be frustrated. But in this case crayz was frustrated or upset merely because other people had disagreed with them. And that's not a reason to make ridiculous accusations like the accusations in the post here. It's certainly not a reason to go off the rails trying to out people in order to prove a point.
posted by koeselitz at 4:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'll say it again for the nth time but I am a dude and I tend to get along pretty well with other feminists on Metafilter; it has been posited in previous threads that I must therefore be betraying my own sex.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'll be very frank with you. When you misrepresent someone's comments like this, it's very hard to believe all the other nice things you say about wanting to learn and not meaning to hurt people.

What she said was a direct quote. This is the type of thing people mean about reading in the most negative light possible!
posted by Justinian at 4:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


Justinian: “What she said was a direct quote. This is the type of thing people mean about reading in the most negative light possible!”

It sure doesn't sound like it. misha's complaint above wasn't "people are always confused about direct quotations on Metafilter."
posted by koeselitz at 4:05 PM on September 4, 2014


Without addressing her larger point, it's kind of hilarious, in a sad way, that Misha was dressed down for "misrepresenting" or misremembering the comment in question when her quote is literally exactly word for word what was said. I don't understand the confusion, when everything everybody says on Metafilter is preserved permanently in linkable form. It's not as if the comment disappeared down the memory hole, it's only a day old and anybody can go take a look at it.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 4:05 PM on September 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


When you take into consideration the surveys and stats out there asking men about issues re: consent and sexual violence, and how many men will cop to committing sexual violence against women - as long as words like “rape” aren’t used - then I don’t think it’s untoward that someone would think that it is indeed common for men to not care about women’s consent. Doesn’t mean that all men are like that, or even the majority. But common? Well, yes. Much more common than I’d like to think.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 4:07 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


MetaFilterTalk: Shit gets weirdly penumbral sometimes.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:10 PM on September 4, 2014


But in this case crayz was frustrated or upset merely because other people had disagreed with them.

I kinda got the impression it was a case of "you can't take away my toys." He had a thing he liked doing. He was ready to defend (his "right" to do) it to the death. Result: It ended up being the hill he (his handle/account) died on.

I can imagine there are a number of factors involved. This sort of strong reaction of "you can't make me!" seems to more often be something men do. So I think there is a certain amount of privilege involved in blinding them to the fact that, oh, no, actually there can be consequences here and you can't simply do any damn thing you please.

But I also imagine there are other factors, not just his gender. But probably me speculating on what else might have been going on wouldn't be seen by most folks as salient, etc.
posted by Michele in California at 4:10 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Obviously I'm biased, but this feels like the nitpicking response that happened back in the Trader Joe's complaint thread where every.little.detail of what she did got so ripped to shreds that it was really hard to actually talk about the song and the pervasive culture of abuse and misogyny that it represented. Also, I sorta think the tide changed when the exact quote taken from my tweet got left up for a while and I decided to actually respond to the shit about the tweet itself instead of trying to make everyone dance around dropping my username regarding it.

The latest turn of discussion reminds me of an article I read years ago about some study where men and women were asked about their biggest fear in regards to dating (or some question along those lines) and men said "being laughed at" and women said "being murdered."

It's not a study, it's a Margaret Atwood quote.

To my recollection, his original comment was one word ("Seriously?") that linked directly to the tweet.

Yeah, he fucking doxxed me. I'm one of the people here that posts under (half of) her real name and makes her accounts easy to connect. It's not okay to do that as a rule, though, because a lot of people want to be able to maintain separate online identities, or they might be worried about harassment, stalking, getting fired, cops, organized crime, or whatever else. As someone with a pretty public personal identity who is strongly connected to one other person with an extremely public identity, I've chosen to take those risks, which are increased because I am a queer woman, but the idea that some jackass on metafilter can decide who is or isn't worthy of their accounts being treated separately is absolutely deplorable.

Like when NoraReed was commenting in that thread about the importance of consent and I am nodding my head right along with her in solidarity and then WHAM, "I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent," knocks the breath right out of me.

It used to knock the breath out of me when Prominent Jackass Whitedude #83476 rapes somebody/gropes somebody without consent/harasses somebody/uses his platform to dismiss and shit on victims/defend rape culture and a shitload of dudes, some of whom I know personally/work with/whatever either agree with him or do jack shit about it, but then I stopped extending men the benefit of the doubt about having any fucking idea that they live in a patriarchal country that gives them privileges that they did not earn and punishes women, girls, and non-binary folks. I've stopped extending any trust, by default, to men, because they suffer no societal penalty for victimizing women; indeed, they often benefit from doing so. That is what patriarchy means. (It is not all that patriarchy means, patriarchy encompasses a lot of other stuff, mostly about gender roles.)

So I'm a bit surprised by the breathless exclamation about me being so cruel as to tar so many men with the "at least kinda rapey" brush-- and yes, EmpressCallipygos, I did mean to extend that brush to a lot of men-- when a 1987 study showed that 4.5% of men will admit to raping someone, when 1 in 3 self-report that they would rape if they could get away with it, where there are countless cases of apparently progressive organizations closing ranks against a woman victimized by one of their members.

I'm reminded of a metaphor about what you would do if you knew 4.5% of all apples were poisoned. I'd turn the apple peddling beggar-woman away at the door, personally.
posted by NoraReed at 4:10 PM on September 4, 2014 [27 favorites]


It sure doesn't sound like it. misha's complaint above wasn't "people are always confused about direct quotations on Metafilter."

If you want to say it was actually worse than interpreting in a bad light, sure, I won't argue with you.
posted by Justinian at 4:11 PM on September 4, 2014


The thing is, Justinian, misha was misrepresenting NoraReed's words. If I quoted your last comment, and said "what Justinian means here is that all elephants are light blue and four inches tall," I would be misrepresenting your comment. misha said that NoraReed was displaying "animosity" – but she really wasn't.
posted by koeselitz at 4:16 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Without addressing her larger point, it's kind of hilarious, in a sad way, that Misha was dressed down for "misrepresenting" or misremembering the comment in question when her quote is literally exactly word for word what was said.

Well luckily a man stepped in to confirm what she said was true and the accusers apologized, so everything is ok now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:17 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


"I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent" isn't an unaltered full quote, it's a pull quote. The second part of the sentence explains and mitigates the first; in its absence, the first part makes the [pull]quotee's position seem outrageous, maybe even intentionally provocative -- I mean, she didn't even give a reason why! She just said that she thinks it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent! But the rest of the sentence says, "because rape culture is huge and exploitative and it encroaches into every bit of our culture."

In context, particularly in the context of the standard tenets of feminism -- of which the concept of "rape culture" can certainly be counted as one; it's been under discussion for 40 years1 -- the full, unedited statement isn't shocking, it's downright basic. I mean, I guess you can be shocked or offended by the existence of the concept of rape culture, but that doesn't change the reality on the ground, which is that an attitude of disrespect for consent is supported by innumerable facets of our culture (IBTP). We're soaking in it, all of us, regardless of gender.

I'm way grossed out that yet another thread about sexism has devolved into yet another game of But Look At What A/The Woman Did Wrong and I'm even more grossed out to be participating in it, but I feel like it's worth noting that intentionally quoting only the most dramatic part of someone's sentence in order to advance the notion that their position is intemperate, cruel, or unreasonable is actually a fine example of "that shitty fake paraphrasing stuff."
posted by divined by radio at 4:18 PM on September 4, 2014 [36 favorites]


The thing is, Justinian, misha was misrepresenting NoraReed's words.

No, she wasn't. You're misinterpreting misha.

If we can't even agree on facts, I don't see how anything will be accomplished.
posted by Justinian at 4:18 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Okay. Where was the animosity in NoraReed's comment?
posted by koeselitz at 4:19 PM on September 4, 2014


My impression is that Crayz is literally, genuinely alienated and does not understand how engaging works.

I'm sympathetic to that, if it's the case.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:20 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Seems you're not on the topic anymore, but in terms of some users being more popular and allowed to get away with things: I once posted a response to some AskMe (maybe a couple of years ago) that wanted more exclamatory quotes that people use as a replacement for "oh my god"! Egads! Christ on a cracker! etc. My response was "holy cockgobblers, batman"! Which was deleted.

Months later, I saw a comment, different context, but still had THE WORD (which I assume was my transgression), which was not deleted.

So, I'm not sure how I parse that. Not ever upset about it, but just a little "huh. that's interesting they would keep that".
posted by waitangi at 4:21 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, he fucking doxxed me.

You have a Twitter account listed in your MetaFilter profile, which is connected to a widget that displays your most recent tweet in your MetaFilter profile. I'm not sure linking to that tweet in a MetaTalk thread constitutes "doxxing," which I understand to be either revealing private information or connecting public information that was left deliberately unconnected.

What he did broke MetaFilter rules, and his comment was rightly deleted.
posted by cribcage at 4:21 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


They don't really look at every comment waitangi. It's likely they just didn't see it.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:22 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Okay. Where was the animosity in NoraReed's comment?

I can't see this going anywhere useful since I expect we're going to start arguing about what "animosity" means. ie ill-will, bitterness, rancor.
posted by Justinian at 4:23 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


misha, for whatever it's worth... my commitment to re-educating myself on this whole topic has not been an easy thing for me for a whole host of reasons - ie super-patriarchal upbringing, massive psychiatry-related empathy issues - and those are the tip of the iceberg. That's not a misguided request for sympathy, just necessary context for what follows:

Every single time, without fail, that I have gotten frustrated with the discussions here and have been ready to just give it all up as a bad idea - you've shown up with a comment or even just a much-needed favorite at a crucial moment that made think, "Okay, at least SOMEONE out there thinks I'm not entirely crazy." So, from the bottom of my heart: thank you. Your words and encouragement have kept me going and for that I'm intensely grateful.

Some people here are implying or outright stating that you're not a good feminist - I'm not qualified to have an opinion, and even if I were I simply don't have the time to go back and read this entire thread - but for whatever it's worth I think your activity on Metafilter has on several occasions kept me fighting back against the misogyny I grew up with. I may not have as sophisticated an understanding of what it means to be a "good feminist" as most of the people still debating at this point, but I think I can say with certainty that you're helping forward the cause of gender equality in a way that is both powerful and under-appreciated.

Every worthwhile movement needs both exemplars *and* people who can build bridges. As someone who has desperately needed help from the latter in order to become a better (or at least less-shitty) person I just wanted to take a moment to publicly state: thank you for helping me change who I am.
posted by Ryvar at 4:24 PM on September 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


If we can't even agree on facts, I don't see how anything will be accomplished.

This may be a fundamental disconnect.
posted by Mr. Six at 4:24 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, misha has saved my site sanity several times as well. Thanks!
posted by Drinky Die at 4:26 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


For whatever it's worth, waitangi, I feel like that might just be a misunderstood/misremembered situation; you're talking about this askme thread, where you had made a comment later in the thread than this one by another user but linking to the same content and mentioning in passing the idea of using "cockgobblers" as the filler for the phrase; you then added another comment right after that saying "Ah, whoops, did not preview hard enough! Apologies, Amethyst.". I read that at the time as you acknowledging accidentally doubling up the content, and deleted both your comments accordingly to keep the thread a little thinner with what I thought was your acknowledgement. Didn't have anything to do with the presence of cockgobblers that I can recall; I'd probably blink at that more now than I would have then but still don't think it'd be deletable in that context.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:29 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think it's really common for men to be bad people who don't care about women's consent, because rape culture is huge and exploitative and it encroaches into every bit of our culture.

The sticking point here seems to be "It's really common for men to be bad people," not the contextually apparent "It's really common for men not to care about women's consent." The latter point is almost inarguably true - male rapists may not be common, but their friends, their enablers and apologists, abound - and the former point, if you consider men who don't care about women's consent to be bad people insofar as they don't care about it, is just a simple logical consequence. That conditional is clearly an uncharitable stretch for some people.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:29 PM on September 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


I think I can say with absolute certainty that if I am behaving with animosity, misha is not the only user who will notice it.
posted by NoraReed at 4:29 PM on September 4, 2014


I agree on the facts, it's the tone that's bringing me down.

We all agree on the facts now, right?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:30 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: the presence of cockgobblers
posted by MoonOrb at 4:31 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Justinian: “I can't see this going anywhere useful since I expect we're going to start arguing about what ‘animosity’ means. ie ill-will, bitterness, rancor.”

Mr. Six: “This may be a fundamental disconnect.”

Well, look, I guess you both would rather just not talk about this, but in the interesting of being clear:

It is not animosity, ill-ill, bitterness, rancor, etc for me to say "a lot of white people are racist." Is it? I guess it changes things a bit that I'm white; but it seems like it doesn't change them that much, does it? If I say this to a white person, I'm not accusing them of anything; I'm not assuming anything based on the color of their skin; I'm not insulting them personally, not saying they're a racist, none of this.

But in a parallel case, where NoraReed said that it was common for men to be bad people who don't care about consent, everybody is inferring some sort of grave insult from this – as though you can't even utter this statistical fact about men without it being an insult to all men involved in the conversation. And note that, far from making it about the men in the conversation, NoraReed went out of her way to say she probably wasn't talking about the men in the conversation, since that type of men aren't the sort of people she tends to spend time with.

Really, there was no insult, no animosity, no bitterness. Just a clear statement of fact about an awareness NoraReed has, an awareness that squares nicely with the facts of the matter.

If we take any statement of fact that might be uncomfortable, any statement of fact about a group with which we are associated – white people, men, Americans, etc – then we won't ever be able to talk about anything substantial at all.
posted by koeselitz at 4:33 PM on September 4, 2014 [21 favorites]


I keep deleting my reply. I think you're wrong but just saying why I think you're wrong would be argument bait, and this thread has had enough already. If you want to declare that a victory I can't stop you.
posted by Justinian at 4:35 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I have done some googling and can't find anything which indicates when this novelist Margaret Atwood was quoted as saying that. The PBS article linked above is from 1996. I am pretty sure that I had an email conversation sometime before 2000 about remembering this article from many years earlier that mentioned this study and, at that time, no one could really come up with a verification online.

At the moment, I can't keep googling or trying to search my old emails. The article I read was printed on paper made from dead trees back when I had a pet dinosaur and rotary phone. It's possible I am misremembering the details (I was trying to find a date on when Atwood said this to see if it predated my memory of roughly when I read this article or not -- if she said it later than when I read the article, then, no I would not be misremembering some reference to something she said). However, just because some novelist said something similar does not de facto prove there was no study. Unfortunately, I cannot currently prove there actually was a study. But I think the dismissiveness of telling me what I did or did not actually read many years ago as if you know better than I do what I have personally experienced is part of what does not go over well with some folks here.
posted by Michele in California at 4:37 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I believe that taking that small bit of NoraReed's comment out of context like that is misrepresenting her, yes. If you need to believe that I'm assuming the worst, that I'm out to get misha, that I'm in general a terrible person that ruins your site sanity or whatever, fine. Do whatever you need to do.
posted by palomar at 4:38 PM on September 4, 2014


I just don't see how you get to a place of working amicably together with people when you think the worst of so many of them. That's just one obvious example, but I picked it out because it speaks to that disconnect.

I don't get where you think other feminists "think the worst of so many [men]." I mean, not to be all "some of my best friends are men" about it -- and not that I should even have to prove my not-a-man-hater cred to you or anyone else -- but seriously, a significant number of my friends are men. I have been in a happy, healthy, delightful relationship with my (male) partner for nearly a decade. I'm friends with most of my exes. I get along with my male family members, coworkers, and neighbors just fine. I cultivate empathy and compassion for as many people as possible, men and women alike.

I also think -- yes, I am capable of holding this belief simultaneously -- that in a patriarchal society, men indisputably possess privileges that women don't have, and men use or rely upon those privileges to a variety of degrees with a variety of intentions that result in a variety of types of harm to women. Some men do little harm with their privilege, and/or defend it to only a small degree. Some men do great harm with their privilege, and/or will defend it by any means necessary, up to and including terrorizing, raping, or killing women. Do you really believe that the feminists you disagree with do not (or cannot) distinguish between the two extremes, nor see a continuum in between?

Feminism is the means by which we, women and men alike, take on those privileges and harms and work to change them. I know plenty of men who consciously recognize to one degree or another that they hold privileges that I don't have, and who try to mitigate that privilege in their own lives. Many of those men are right here on Metafilter -- they are right here in this thread. They don't seem to think that the other feminists here hate them. So why do you?

My ability to coexist comfortably with men also coexists with my anger at discrimination, bigotry, oppression, and violence against women (and people of color, and the poor, etc.) -- as well as men and women who perpetuate discrimination, bigotry, oppression and violence through their words or their deeds or both. As a feminist, I hate how women suffer in a male-dominated society, but that doesn't mean I "hate men" any more than an anti-racist black friend hates me for being white.

Other feminists have every bit as much capacity as you do to feel love, empathy, compassion, friendship, etc. for men. We love our fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews, and friends, too. If you are sincerely confused or surprised by this, then consider this a sisterly suggestion: you may want to interrogate some of your own assumptions around feminism and women in general. Alternatively, you can continue to characterize feminists you disagree with as humorless man-haters, but you can't say from this point forward that no one has ever told you why the rest of us think you are gravely and insultingly mistaken.
posted by scody at 4:40 PM on September 4, 2014 [69 favorites]


koeselitz: I would use the edit window but its too much of my last comment to edit. The second sentence about declaring victory didn't come out right, sorry. I just meant that any argument I make about it will likely result in more fightiness so while I disagree I just don't see how to argue about it usefully here and now.
posted by Justinian at 4:40 PM on September 4, 2014


[Comment removed. Before we restart this whole loop from scratch: if you're concerned about what someone is doing re: Metafilter in some off-mefi venue contact that mods about it at the contact form, don't drop it into a thread. Thinking someone is being a jerk is not the same thing as it being a good idea to plop it in here. Please work with us on this.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:42 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


where NoraReed said that it was common for men to be bad people who don't care about consent, everybody is inferring some sort of grave insult from this – as though you can't even utter this statistical fact about men without it being an insult to all men involved in the conversation.

I understood this MeTa to be about something similar: (mostly) women in the thread on the blue were talking about rape culture in the context of the photo hack/theft and the dissemination of the photos, and the OP of this thread took that as a grave personal insult tantamount to calling him and every other man a rapist.
posted by immlass at 4:42 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Other feminists have every bit as much capacity as you do to feel love, empathy, compassion, friendship, etc. for men. We love our fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews, and friends, too. If you are sincerely confused or surprised by this, then consider this a sisterly suggestion: you may want to interrogate some of your own assumptions around feminism and women in general. Alternatively, you can continue to characterize feminists you disagree with as humorless man-haters, but you can't say from this point forward that no one has ever told you why the rest of us think you are gravely and insultingly mistaken.

This is exactly what I wanted to say but could not say as well. Thank you, scody.
posted by palomar at 4:42 PM on September 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


Here's the earliest source I can find, Michele. It's definitely an Atwood quote and has been quoted here quite a bit. I really can't imagine that NoraReed meant anything dismissive by trying to point you to the right source (just as I don't mean anything by it) - we've all written veritable novels in this thread so maybe words are just at a premium today.

A woman's worst nightmare? That's pretty easy. Novelist Margaret Atwood writes that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, "They are afraid women will laugh at them." When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, "We're afraid of being killed."
posted by dialetheia at 4:43 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have done some googling and can't find anything which indicates when this novelist Margaret Atwood was quoted as saying that.

Second Words: Selected Critical Prose 1960-1982:
"Why do men feel threatened by women?" I asked a male friend of mine. So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. "I mean," I said, "men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power." "They're afraid women will laugh at them," he said. "Undercut their world view." Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, "Why do women feel threatened by men?" "They're afraid of being killed," they said.
This passage is from the essay "Writing the Male Character", copyright 1982.
posted by Lexica at 4:45 PM on September 4, 2014 [25 favorites]


Nice cite!
posted by Justinian at 4:45 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I did some searching regarding that quote a while ago because I wanted to figure out where it came from and gave you a link; I assumed you couldn't find further information because you were using the word "murdered" instead of "killed".

And Margaret fucking Atwood isn't just "some author".
posted by NoraReed at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't think NoraReed was being dismissive, Michele in California. The Atwood quote seems to come from her 1982 book Writing the Male Character, and the idea that it could have been used in a study that you read is not at all impossible.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


basically what I am saying is IMPUGN MY HONOR IF YOU MUST BUT YOU WILL NOT FUCK WITH THE HANDMAID'S TALE
posted by NoraReed at 4:48 PM on September 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


Some googling tells me that Gavin de Becker says something similar in The Gift of Fear, which was published in 1997. I've read that book, but don't recall the context, whether he said it in relation to a study or not. Could that be what you're thinking of, Michele in California?
posted by imnotasquirrel at 4:50 PM on September 4, 2014


The last time we talked about the Atwood quote (was it just July? Feels like longer).
posted by rtha at 4:52 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


It was a bad idea then, too.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:52 PM on September 4, 2014


Going back a bit...

gman: "But really, what kind of person would use favourites from anonymous people on the internet as a gauge of self-worth?"

...raises hand.

I've gotta say, I'm amazed that nobody else apparently does. It's not my only gauge of self-worth, of course. What my wife, kids, friends, parents, acquaintances, and business colleagues think is also important. What I think is also important. But I spend like an hour a day here on MeFi, voluntarily, without getting paid, because I enjoy engaging in discussion with y'all. So, hell's yeah, when I get a lot of favorites for a comment, it makes me feel really good.

Now, mind you, it's a gauge of self-worth. So I never craft comments in order to get favorites. If I did, the comments wouldn't reflect me, they'd just be a persona, not my self.
posted by Bugbread at 4:52 PM on September 4, 2014 [17 favorites]


I am not impugning your honor. But, you know, cussing at me while informing me how wrong I am to feel dismissed isn't much making me feel not dismissed here.

However, 1982 is far enough back that it is possible that is what was referenced. My recollection: It was some kind of women's magazine that I was reading in my late teens. I was 17 in 1982. So that is possible.

Anyway, I have things to do.
posted by Michele in California at 4:53 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


[You know, fuck it, no. A couple more comments deleted; we're not digging into it here and using the edit window to turn a comment that's just-barely-okay-by-being-oblique into one that's repeating the direct quote is bad pool. Drop it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:55 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Cortex, just to clarify: you get paid by the word for the threads you manage, right? So you're making enough money off this thread to get a new car, right? Because otherwise I'd feel really sorry for you, and want to buy you a coffee and a big piece of the most delicious, rich cake there is.
posted by Bugbread at 4:58 PM on September 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


Yeah lalex I don't think cortex is fuckin' around here, I'd probably just let it go.
posted by Justinian at 4:59 PM on September 4, 2014


i mean, so someone who posts too much on the internet is a loser.

:(
posted by homunculus at 5:01 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah lalex I don't think cortex is fuckin' around here, I'd probably just let it go.

This is utterly ridiculous. I don't understand why we can talk about crayz's Twitter behavior and not the bullying behavior of other folks on Twitter. Either it's relevant or it isn't.
posted by lalex at 5:01 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


i mean, so someone who posts too much on the internet is a loser.

:(


In the Guardians of the Galaxy sense. You've lost things, like change or keys, right?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


If it makes you feel any better, homunculus, your commenting style has been an inspiration to me. No joke.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ideally we wouldn't have talked about crayz's twitter behavior here either, but it was a fuckin' mess that was basically impossible to contain at that time. The argument that because a shitty thing happened we should do some more of the shitty thing is a really bad one; it's not ridiculous to try to get back to the spirit of the guidelines of this place just because something got weird. Stop trying to make this happen in here, it's not the place for it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:04 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ideally we wouldn't have talked about crayz's twitter behavior here either

You banned him for that behavior, which I happen to think was the right move. I don't think it's out of bounds to talk about what kind of offsite behavior directed at fellow MeFites is considered over the line.
posted by lalex at 5:07 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Does it make a difference when people set things up so that when they insult other community members it is automatically posted to their MeFi profile?
posted by grouse at 5:09 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh, and thank you to those folks who did, in fact, try to source the quote and pin down a date for me.

I am a hair busy today. Oopsy on me for not saying thanks earlier.
posted by Michele in California at 5:11 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure the difference is the old Us vs Them thing, grouse.
posted by 0 at 5:12 PM on September 4, 2014


You banned him for that behavior, which I happen to think was the right move. I don't think it's out of bounds to talk about what kind of offsite behavior directed at fellow MeFites is considered over the line.

That kind that crayz did was. I talked about why earlier. It was a weird and super aggressive burst of behavior directed at a whole bunch of people and breaking one of the major expectations we have here about dealing with profile/name stuff on the site. It was way over the line, end of story.

Being kind of a dick or passive aggressive is not the same sort of thing. It's not great, but barring serious extenuating circumstances it's also not actionable, it's just something to say "man, that person's being kind of a dick" about and shrug and move on from.

Again, if there's some specific issue where you feel like there's a serious, actionable pattern of behavior going on that rises somehow above the level of just people not being nice to/about each other, you can run that by us at the contact form. Where those discussions should happen. Not here. There is nothing ambiguous about what I just typed, please stop the Yeah But routine about this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:12 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


You have to make a a deliberate effort to look at someone's profile here. You don't have a choice to stop seeing someone ambushing your Twitter feed. Especially when you weren't a part of the conversation or a member of the site who is being yelled at by a seemingly unhinged crazy dude.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:12 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does it make a difference when people set things up so that when they insult other community members it is automatically posted to their MeFi profile?

You D&D rules lawyer, you.
posted by Justinian at 5:12 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


You're welcome.
posted by NoraReed at 5:13 PM on September 4, 2014


it's just something to say "man, that' person's being kind of a dick"

You would delete that comment.
posted by 0 at 5:15 PM on September 4, 2014


last i checked cortex can't delete things on twitter.
posted by nadawi at 5:16 PM on September 4, 2014


I was unaware that cortex was a Twitter admin in what you believe to be his abundant spare time.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:16 PM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


last i checked cortex can't delete things on twitter.

Lies! The giant donut gives him all the powers.
posted by scody at 5:17 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Maybe I was referring to such a comment being posted here?
posted by 0 at 5:18 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


You would delete that comment.

I meant more as in "say to yourself", not "type into a comment on Metafilter". I do a lot of cathartic grumbling under my breath, maybe that's not a totally universal experience, I dunno.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:18 PM on September 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


I was unaware that cortex was a Twitter admin in what you believe to be his abundant spare time.

That, and the actual Twitter admins allow militant misogynists, white supremacists, anti-abortion zealots, gay-bashers, neo-Fascists, Nazis, Stalinists, Maoists, and hardcore gamers to post whatever they want until enough people report them for spam, so I'm not sure that Twitter Admin Cortex would put Metafilter-related sniping atop his list of priorities.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:22 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


zombieflanders: "You don't have a choice to stop seeing someone ambushing your Twitter feed."

I have never used Twitter. Honestly, I don't really understand it. When someone links to a Twitter thread, I can't figure out who said what or how to read it or whether people are saying things, quoting other things, responding to things...it just makes no sense to me.

So, I guess "people can ambush a feed and you can't stop seeing it" is just one more thing to add on to the pile of "things whose meaning I don't understand, but make me not want to get into Twitter".
posted by Bugbread at 5:23 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Again, if there's some specific issue where you feel like there's a serious, actionable pattern of behavior going on that rises somehow above the level of just people not being nice to/about each other, you can run that by us at the contact form.

OK. So, just to be clear, we cannot talk about what is or isn't appropriate offsite behavior on MetaTalk?
posted by lalex at 5:23 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


You have to make a a deliberate effort to look at someone's profile here.

Agreed. Nonetheless, when people have been nasty to other MeFites in the "About" part of their profile page, moderators have taken action,