A MeFi women's forum? December 17, 2014 2:56 PM   Subscribe

I know this might have been discussed before, but my searches didn't yield anything; I was just wondering if there is any interest in a women's or women's-interest forum discussion here on Metafilter.

I know there are plenty of other women-oriented or feminist discussion forums on the internet, I just personally value the thoughtful discussion here and wondered if we could diffuse some of the intensity of women's topics (e.g. the recent controversy over 'too many rape theads') by having a designated group. I don't want to add to the mods' work, so maybe we could create some kind of subforum that doesn't negatively impact Metafilter traffic, but keeps some of these contentious threads off the main page? I know we can't create a subforum for everything, but I'd be interested nonetheless, and if there is a place where MeFi women or their supporters are having conversations, I would be glad to hear about it.
posted by ladybird to MetaFilter-Related at 2:56 PM (197 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

I'd love this too.
posted by bearwife at 2:58 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


This doesn't sound like something that we'd set up as an actual on-site subsite, no; new subsites are more a matter of tackling broad kinds-of things (Ask for questions, Music for sharing mefite recordings, Fanfare for discussing media in general) rather than tackling specific subjects or subsections of the front page.

Generally the advice we have for folks who want to have a dedicated forum for mefi-style discussion of some specific area of interest or subject is to go ahead and organize an off-site discussion space and present it here in Metatalk to let folks know where it is and what it's about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:00 PM on December 17, 2014 [7 favorites]


Fanfare for discussing media in general
On that note, shouldn't that be the tagline, 'media worth talking about', instead of 'TV worth talking about'. I don't listen to podcasts on my TV.
posted by unliteral at 3:14 PM on December 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've been running a women's (email) group since 1996 - which y'all are welcome to join of course - but if someone puts together a forum, I'd LOVE to be a part of it.
posted by VioletU at 3:15 PM on December 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


Glassboard was used during JulyByWomen for post planning and creation. Unfortunately it shut down on 1 NOV.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:18 PM on December 17, 2014


shouldn't that be the tagline

Yeah, we've been meaning to change it, it's tough to find a tiny word that fits in that space that conveys the same.

Like cortex said, I can't really imagine a workable part of MeFi that would function well for this, it wouldn't quite be a subsite, I think you're almost asking for a private MetaTalk kinda sorta, but an off-site thing might be the way to go.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:20 PM on December 17, 2014


One of the primary reasons I enjoy Metafilter is that there isn't self-imposed segregation by topics or groups.
posted by saeculorum at 3:48 PM on December 17, 2014 [75 favorites]


I don't think this would fit within MetaFilter's aesthetic, but I'd be a fan of a woman-centric or woman-only alternate discussion place with a lot of MeFites. I'm fairly fond of most of the women I've met on MetaFilter.
posted by Deoridhe at 3:54 PM on December 17, 2014 [14 favorites]


(I should have provided a link there if anyone's interested in an email-only group..)
posted by VioletU at 4:10 PM on December 17, 2014


Metafilter is inclusive for all members to comment on any post they wish, within the guidelines given and accepted.
Your suggestion is uninclusive and thus runs contary to site philosophy. As suggested above whynot contact likeminded people and set up your own board to play on. If it gathers enough interest, discussions or parts of them may be posted over here in relevant threads.
posted by adamvasco at 4:21 PM on December 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd be a fan of a spin-off site as well, although it doesn't seem like quite the right fit for a subsite here.
posted by Stacey at 4:22 PM on December 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


The place on Metafilter for women-focused posts is metafilter.com. We aren't a special interest.
posted by dame at 4:24 PM on December 17, 2014 [90 favorites]


I feel like this would suck many of the great posts and discussion from MetaFilter and funnel them to a sub-site (whether officially sanctioned or whatever), and that MF would become male-centric and male-dominated. No thanks.

(Nice to see this MetaTalk, though, and I'm very interested to read others' thoughts on the matter...)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:31 PM on December 17, 2014 [27 favorites]


There are at least a bunch of Metafilter women users on AltDotLife forums - I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for a woman centered community. It's not Metafilter, but the people there are generally great people, and there are some pluses to the forum structure.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:42 PM on December 17, 2014 [8 favorites]


If a bunch of Metafilter women went off somewhere else and posted there instead of here, it would be a HUGE loss to Metafilter, and to me.

And insofar as this is inspired by a desire not to traumatize moderators by forcing them to deal with threads that might upset them unduly, such as threads about rape, this is a demonstration of the great danger that institutionalizing moderator sensitivities per se as a primary criterion for deciding what makes a good post poses to this website.
posted by jamjam at 6:11 PM on December 17, 2014 [13 favorites]


🚺.metafilter.com
posted by oceanjesse at 6:26 PM on December 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


I understand the desire (and don't much like other internet forums for women-centric discussion, and would rather it were all more like MeFi), but I wouldn't want to add this to MetaFilter. I like the inclusion AdamVasco cites. I am a woman on MetaFilter but, perhaps more important to me, MeFi allows me a place where I can be a full human being with other full human beings talking about a wide range of things, and not operate from a single identity. It is that rare place where as a woman, I can both be unexceptional (because there are a lot of us and general support for our participation is well established) and and also contribute to discussions in ways that women don't always have access to elsewhere on the web.

At the same time, if someone started a separate discussion/forum site, I would at the very least be interested and check it out. I just think that should be something different and separate from MetaFilter.
posted by Miko at 6:28 PM on December 17, 2014 [24 favorites]


Leaving aside the fact that it isn't going to happen, it isn't clear to me that if it did happen it would accomplish anything. People who participate in the threads on Metafilter.com would participate in the threads on the subsite. Nothing would change except the URL.
posted by Justinian at 6:29 PM on December 17, 2014


Nothing would change except the URL.

Well, and making topics of interest to women optional in the overall site experience.
posted by Miko at 6:30 PM on December 17, 2014 [25 favorites]


One of the things I love most about Metafilter is the strong presence of women here. On AskMe it is great to see questions asked by women that will most likely only be answered by women (e.g. questions about pantyhose or bras or menstruation). It is striking because it is so very rare to have a space like this, a space that has both men and women but that also functions as a space where women can freely discuss women things. This is one the things that I am most proud of about Metafilter.

The world is already so segregated. I would hate to have all that woman energy siphoned off of Metafilter to a subsite. Metafilter would be a greatly diminished by that. It wouldn't just be the loss of women-specific posts, but the inevitable decrease in comments by women in general topics that would follow. Please no.
posted by alms at 6:32 PM on December 17, 2014 [41 favorites]


If there was a subsite, though, I have a color in mind...
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:57 PM on December 17, 2014 [18 favorites]


I don't especially want a women's space but I loved the month devoted to encouraging women to post on the blue. Supporting the women already here, doing the stuff that's already being done and making their voices valued, safe and comfortable... that I'd like to see more of. It's pretty good here.... but more is always better. And a WHOLE lot more intersectionality wouldn't go amiss, either.
posted by taff at 7:20 PM on December 17, 2014 [7 favorites]


Also I'm quite happy to hear men talk about menstruation if they'd like to. (Some men menstruate!)

Most men have met someone who menstruates and interacted with them when they were in the act of menstruating.

I've never had an erection, but I've met a few people who have. I might even have interacted with someone when they were in the act of having an erection. But I couldn't be sure...
posted by taff at 7:25 PM on December 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


> new subsites are more a matter of tackling broad kinds-of things

Really? Y'all are gonna let this one just float lazily by?
posted by waraw at 7:42 PM on December 17, 2014 [21 favorites]


On the one hand, my first reaction to this was please don't do this.

But on the other hand, given that I wouldn't have much interest in anything that was labeled "for girls," I guess if it was shuffled off to some ghetto where I didn't have to see it that wouldn't be so bad either.

But seriously please don't do this, all of MetaFilter is for women. It always has been.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:55 PM on December 17, 2014 [7 favorites]


on femafilter ladybird is just bird
posted by klangklangston at 7:57 PM on December 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'd love to talk to summa y'all Mefi chicks and all, cause I think y'all are just really groovy. So, could I like, join in y'all's discussions, y'know, sometimes?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:03 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Glassboard was okay but not as friendly in the interface for browsing as metafilter because it lacks customization. You need a pb for that!

My two concerns would be: dilution and cross-posting with metafilter - women contribute a lot of great content to metafilter, and if topics drifted mostly over to the women's site, that would be a loss to Mefi, and if there was a doubling up to cross-post, that would be a lot of extra effort and wear out fast.

I mean apparently "trivial feminine" topics like handbag fashion generated enormous lively discussion (I got my awesome purple bag as a result of that thread) going into fashion industry, personal stories and so much rich interesting conversation.

The other concern I have is gatekeeping. If it's a woman's topic site that anyone can post to, what's a woman's topic? If only women can post, then who defines a woman? #JulyByWomen left that for people to decide for themselves by their own definition and a fair number of women who made FPPs at that time elected not to post to #JulyByWomen, although AFAIK, no men pretended to be women to make posts - although if someone now came out and said "ahah! I was a dude all along", I'd just shrug. However, if someone else came and said User XYZ who posted in #JulyByWomen is actually a biological male pretending to be a woman, I'd say hey, User XYZ was and is welcome to the table if they identify as a woman, and you and I don't get to decide that for them. And the tiny but participating group of non-gendered or queer-gendered people on Metafilter too!

I think a better way to frame this is what kind of discussions could you have on this proposed site that don't fit on the existing metafilter sites?
posted by viggorlijah at 8:04 PM on December 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm groovy. Talk to me. Histhoughtswereredthoughts is deffo daggy, though. So best ignore him.
posted by taff at 8:05 PM on December 17, 2014


For what it's worth, here is this man's opinion: I think this is a very bad idea, as a formal division in the site itself. Segregating women into their own forum seems extremely regressive to me. Women's interests are human interests, and making a separate forum for women implies that everywhere else is for men.

I mean, people should associate with each other however they want, of course. But enshrining gendered space in the site itself, especially to "keep some of these contentious threads off the main page" just sounds like a massive tone argument sort of idea, to put it crudely. Like, what, you're all going to go into a little shed out back so that your women-talk doesn't disrupt things? It just feels totally wrong to me.
posted by clockzero at 10:05 PM on December 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


Would it be a gated community? or a ghetto?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:29 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I already assumed there was a secret subsite for this that us menfolk were not privy to. Or maybe there is and this thread is a diversion. Which if so, carry on.
posted by naju at 11:40 PM on December 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


I would LOVE this.
posted by jbenben at 12:00 AM on December 18, 2014


I just personally value the thoughtful discussion here and wondered if we could diffuse some of the intensity of women's topics (e.g. the recent controversy over 'too many rape theads') by having a designated group.

eh, i think this is sort of like upgrading from a 6 burner stove to an 8 burner stove with the same number of cooks. the problem is not the amount of hardware, but the number of people who can operate it.

i also can forsee soooo many nightmare metas about this. "why is this dumb ladypost on the blue instead of in there? It's like the 5th post this month like that its dominating the front paaaage", men going in there to #notallmen, and so much other crap.

i realize this site is better than a lot of sites, but i've been on the sidelines of several online communities where these sorts of spaces were created, whether it was on a gaming site in some way or a subreddit or whatever. Once, i was a minor moderator of one subsection and got to read the moderator forum. God. Damn. Nightmare.

It's one thing if it's a separate space station so speak, it's own independent website. But when it's attached to the side of another community any womens or minority spcae just seems to create a bunch of crap to deal with.

I realize this, as a response, might rub some people the wrong way... but i think it will just create a bunch of brand new problems when this site already handles this sort of thing very well directly on the blue. It's not like the site could really handle more posting bandwidth about topics people want to be shits about, either, from what i can tell. And the crap that's been stirred up over the past couple years has shown that although the quality here is on average higher, the $5 barrier by no means keeps everyone trying to start shit(including, recently, even gamergators) out.

I can't help but feel like it would just be a shining beacon to buttheads, both to go in and stir crap and also to complain about it "leaking" or whatever.

Maybe i'm just overly pessimistic though. If this is something a lot of people wanted, i wouldn't vote against it. I'd just abstain.
posted by emptythought at 12:27 AM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think JulyByWomen was an example of a great approach, while a subsite would be exactly what not to do. A dedicated tag allows users to self-identify and choose whether or not to participate in self-identifying as a woman posting. If a user doesn't feel like addressing gender as part of the context of the post, that itself is a legit choice for the user and the site. It's doing something positive to encourage use of the site rather than segregating the topic/making a big Kick Me sign for metafilter/identifying women as Other.

If I recall correctly, you can also filter tags for stuff you don't want? I would be in favor of a list of common tags to be used by posters just to make it easier to filter objectionable-to-me material and to more easily highlight content like JulyByWomen-- if everyone knows about the tag but use is optional, it could improve things and address what we're talking about. Some major topics would do well to have a known tag list codified -- right now we're just using ad hoc tagging and that's OK but maybe not meeting the community's needs.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:58 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Given that MeMail already exists and tagged, mutual contacts already exist, I wonder if adding a distribution list feature would really be too challenging or disruptive. It seems like the key requirement would be a new freeform tag system with mutual acceptance characteristics similar to contacts themselves.

Relevant to this discussion, that'd be a way to form FPP workshops like the one at GlassDoor but also groups for anything else. Whether people would really use them or not, I have no idea, and it'd be a bit of an inward turn, where I imagine a lot of the future of any website rests on what new users can see on the surface.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:17 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I identify as male and would have zero problem with being excluded from such a space. The storm I see brewing though, with gender and sex being fluid and non-binary is who decides what it means to be a woman or invested in women's-interests and hence who is included and who is excluded.

"and if there is a place where MeFi women or their supporters are having conversations, I would be glad to hear about it."

You can always set up a Tumblr [which has a different ethos where once read you are supposed to acknowledge], an obscure Blogger site, a private Facebook, an obscure Myspace, an obscure Livejounal, or a private subreddit where you are the moderator and allow or deny comments or members.

Anyway, there are free things that can help you do this.

Personally I wouldn't want to see this become an official subset of Metafilter.
posted by vapidave at 1:30 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've badly wanted a ladysite very like Metafilter for a very long time, and if one existed, I would be all over it. I don't think a Metafilter subsite is the answer to that, though. I spent the better part of a decade lurking here, before finally sucking it up and joining a couple of years ago (and I still don't post very much, although I'm trying harder these days) and over that time, I saw the transformation from boyzone to something far more woman-friendly, and that was no small factor in me finally overcoming my reluctance to jump in, much as I enjoyed and valued the site. I don't think that would've happened if a women's subsite existed.

That said, I'd still love to see something like this on a separate site. (Thank you for the pointer to the alt.dot.life forums, treehorn+bunny -- planning to check those out later.)
posted by skybluepink at 1:35 AM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Like most people, I'm in two minds about this. I'm very unsure about separating off a special "women's section" of MetaFilter because, as others have said, what defines a woman is fluid, gender is a spectrum, and I'm reflexively against anything that reinforces gender-specific spaces or a binary. If it were to be established, either as a sub-site of MeFi or an off-site space, I'd strongly suggest that anyone self-identifying as female should be welcomed - whether trans, genderfluid, cis or anything else. But I'd be generally in favour of keeping discussions of and for all genders on the main MetaFilter site - this proposal sort of 'others' women in a way I'm a little uncomfortable with.

Having said that, there are men in most spaces and communities who have little respect for what might traditionally be seen as women's discussions, and will attempt to derail, mansplain, wisecrack and generally act like a big swinging dick. That's a problem for men to sort out among themselves, frankly. (Perhaps we'd also need a men's section where they can hash this stuff out and figure out how to stop certain of their number being arseholes!) The solution to this might be the same as the solution to any other user who might be disrupting a discussion, but I can certainly see the appeal of a specifically safe space for certain discussions where there was no chance of these men appearing and upsetting participants in the first place.

tl;dr: It's a difficult question and I can see both sides of the argument!
posted by winterhill at 2:00 AM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I might even have interacted with someone when they were in the act of having an erection. But I couldn't be sure...

*puts hands in pockets, turns head, and walks slowly away whistling aimlessly*
posted by hippybear at 2:07 AM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


But seriously, don't do this.

Part of what I love about MetaFilter is that it exposes me to a lot of new topics, many of them very pointedly women's issues. Segregating them off of The Blue would cause me likely not to read them. (Like I already don't spend much time on Ask, Projects, Music, or Fanfare.)

I understand the desire for such a subsite, but the effect would be to diminish, not enhance, the overall MeFi experience.

I mean, like... okay, so we do a women's subsite. Then comes an LGBT one. Then a gaming one. Then a politics one. Then the politics one breaks down into liberal/conservative...

Yeah, um.. no.
posted by hippybear at 2:11 AM on December 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


I would be unlikely to use such a subsite or off-site setup. I am female, but I see the issues I face not as women's issues but as human issues; even those issues which disproportionally affect women. If I have to put up with bullshit catcallers, that's not just a problem for women. It's everybody's problem.

I would miss the richer experience of all the perspectives posted here if some of them got segregated to an offsite or subsite location.

(There is a separate question of what to do about mod burnout on some of the tougher threads; I think that issue is real and we should be concerned but I don't think this is a viable solution).
posted by nat at 2:53 AM on December 18, 2014 [11 favorites]


I'm groovy. Talk to me. Histhoughtswereredthoughts is deffo daggy, though. So best ignore him.

Lies! Filthy lies! I'm totes nifty.

That taff, however, she's a bad egg...
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:54 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


While I knew this idea would be a non-starter the moment I read it, it would be nice sometimes to have a discussion about womens' issues without it getting drowned in #notallmen garbage.
posted by winna at 4:09 AM on December 18, 2014 [31 favorites]


Generally the advice we have for folks who want to have a dedicated forum for mefi-style discussion of some specific area of interest or subject is to go ahead and organize an off-site discussion space and present it here in Metatalk to let folks know where it is and what it's about.

Have the mods ever considered setting up a system whereby other sites could hook into the the MetaFilter authentication process for sign in? It seems like we often have people wanting to have a forum where they can talk about something with MetaFilter people. Having a shared sign-in would remove a huge barrier to participation (i.e. having to keep track of yet another account) on a new site.

You could make it only usable by sites you approve, then publicize the sites in MeTa when they launch. You'll end up with some users with no activity on MetaFilter proper, but I think we'd also pick up some active users who come to sign up for WhateverFilter and then decide to join in here since they are already signed up.
posted by mikepop at 5:47 AM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am trying to think of a current site that has a similarish mefi feel - Jezebel is too crash&burn, Feministe and Shakesville are very focussed and super-moderated, TheHairpin and TheToast both have very 20-30s single women in the west vibes, and the rest of the women's sites I have bookmarked revolve around parenting.

I don't quite get what the itch is that this site would scratch - is it more feminist issues being posted, or creating a safer women-only space for discussion?
posted by viggorlijah at 5:49 AM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Seconding winna. For example, a comment from this very thread: "Your suggestion is uninclusive and thus runs contary to site philosophy. As suggested above whynot contact likeminded people and set up your own board to play on."

Set up your own board to play on? Seriously? Women frequently say that they are exhausted by the discussions here where they are still expected to explain feminism, remain polite while doing so, exhibit superhuman patience for users who say garbage things all the time and throw fits when called on it, assume good faith on the part of users who clearly do not extend that to anyone else, and on and on.

This is not the first time that female metafilter users have implied that it might be nice to have a place for these discussions where the “none of the women IIII know think this is sexist!!!!”/“well but how much does it impact you REALLY” comments are not a constant burden. To respond to that vague but sincere wish by saying "fine set up your own board to play on" is incredibly condescending. To do it in the name of saying that women are welcome on metafilter proper is simply absurd. This comment embodies the problem while pretending it does not exist.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 5:57 AM on December 18, 2014 [25 favorites]


Sooo, a reddit clone, then?
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:00 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would be against a women-only subsite, but if it were a non-mefi place for women mefites to shoot the shit, I might participate occasionally. (Sort of like mefight club but probably without the fight.) I used to run (and still host on my server) a very long-running women-only mailing list for lesbians, bisexual women, and their friends, although activity has pretty much faded out over the years, and I was on one of the very early women-only mailing lists out there in the mid 1980's (bof).
posted by rmd1023 at 7:03 AM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


This is not the first time that female metafilter users have implied that it might be nice to have a place for these discussions where the “none of the women IIII know think this is sexist!!!!”/“well but how much does it impact you REALLY” comments are not a constant burden. To respond to that vague but sincere wish by saying "fine set up your own board to play on" is incredibly condescending.

I think it's telling that given how much of a progressive echo chamber MetaFilter already tends to be (a few easily cited exceptions excluded) there are still some folks who are turned off by any measure of dissension in the ranks.

I don't think that it's condescension to state that, for the special snowflake type of women who cannot handle the well-moderated, generally civil, mature and thoughtful discussion that I and other women come to MetaFilter for, maybe MetaFilter is not for them and still wouldn't be for them even if the powers that be set up a professional pink background subsite for them.

I think that setting up a metafilter subsite for "women's issues" would fail to satisfy the folks who think that metafilter fails women, while at the same time ghettoizing discussion of legitimate women's issues that deserve a chance for discussion by the site as a whole on the front page.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:14 AM on December 18, 2014 [18 favorites]


Men posting here as if women's job on the site is to "enrich" your experience are not helping. It is not my job to enrich your experience. If you want more women here, maybe don't think of us like seasoning, nice but non-essential. Maybe even ask what you could do to make this place so much more welcoming that suggestions to start a subsite wouldn't even come up.

That said, I would love an unofficial forum for MeFi women to hang out and discuss things, but I think any official channel will get trolled often, if not constantly, and thus create more work for the moderators.
posted by jaguar at 7:15 AM on December 18, 2014 [8 favorites]


...if there is a place where MeFi women or their supporters are having conversations, I would be glad to hear about it.

Ditto, but just because I'd mostly like to read it as opposed to posting a whole bunch. It would be super cool to be able to read conversations taking place between women that are proceeding safe in the knowledge that they will not be interrupted by one or more sea lions, because that background noise/anxiety/awareness of the possibility of sea lions is stifling as hell. But I've learned more about feminism (insofar as it can be defined as 'the radical notion that women are people') right here on regular old MeFi than anywhere else. So many of the stories women MeFites have shared here are part of a parcel of strength and hope that I carry in my heart every day. And to me, part of the reason those stories have been so affecting is because they aren't only being shared between women, like so many of our stories already are, they're just being shared between people.

So it's not that I want a private place where Ladies can talk about Delicate and Fanciful Lady Things, I just want men with Very Important Opinions about how women conduct ourselves to try a little harder (which is to say, at all) to keep their proverbial knees from jerking in defense whenever a woman dares to express an opinion or relate an experience that runs contrary to a man's. A lot of women are fed up with having to keep wasting our time answering y'all disingenuous dudes who act like you're just innocently asking questions when you out with some nonsense that's a half-step more earnest than, "For real though, what if sexism isn't real at all? Have you explored the possibility that you may be experiencing hysteria?" It's exhausting in meatspace, it's doubly exhausting online because I tend to expect better of MeFites, my favorite bunch of argumentative nerds on all of the internets.

Like, if we could get to a place where the Very Important Opinions gang would just allow that women are frequently subjugated and oppressed in ways that are completely invisible to men, if those dudes could accept that the reason they've never been on the receiving end of sexist behavior is because they're men rather than because they're smarter or tougher, more special or more socially adept than women? If they could refrain from condescendingly instructing us how to respond to harassment and assault and everyday sexism? I think so much of the stress would be excised from these conversations. We're not there, and from the looks of things, I don't think we'll ever get there, so if there's a place where in-depth conversations about women's lives and experiences can happen online without the constant grinding of VIOs, I'd sure love to know about it.

As a stop-gap measure, I can highly recommend meeting women MeFites in person, because they are resolutely awesome -- not like the men aren't awesome, they absolutely are, it's just been extra-fun to talk to women MeFites about feminism IRL!
posted by divined by radio at 7:20 AM on December 18, 2014 [23 favorites]


Another vote for "no segregated space." Make mefi a safe(r) space.
posted by desjardins at 7:23 AM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


on preview, *preens*
posted by desjardins at 7:25 AM on December 18, 2014


An absence of beliefs and opinions different from yours is not safety.
posted by waraw at 7:33 AM on December 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


Chiming in as another person who would not want 50% of the population to be considered a subset of Normal; I would prefer to shift the idea of Normal itself.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:33 AM on December 18, 2014 [8 favorites]


I don't think that it's condescension to state that, for the special snowflake type of women who cannot handle the well-moderated, generally civil, mature and thoughtful discussion that I and other women come to MetaFilter for, maybe MetaFilter is not for them and still wouldn't be for them even if the powers that be set up a professional pink background subsite for them.

Could you be a bit more condescending about how not-condescending you thought the response a fiendish thingy was describing was? Maybe something about panties being bunched, or perhaps a menstruation joke, just to really make it sizzle.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:34 AM on December 18, 2014 [35 favorites]


> An absence of beliefs and opinions different from yours is not safety

Sure, but an absence of "ironic" sexism, which always fucking happens during these discussions, is a relief. And it's not like all the women here have the same beliefs and opinions anyway.

I'd go to a MeFi women-only chatroom with glee, especially to blow off steam when threads are being ridiculous; I'm not interested in a women-only subsite with FPPs, etc.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:37 AM on December 18, 2014 [11 favorites]


Delicate and Fanciful Lady Things

... OK, user name of the month, right here.

More seriously, I would be a little unhappy with this proposal, since I would be afraid that it would drain some of the women's energy from MetaFilter, but I understand the impulse. I think #JulyByWomen was fantastic, and I'd like to see more of that. But, as a male user, I figure it's surely not my place to be telling women what they should do or where they should do it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:37 AM on December 18, 2014 [9 favorites]


Yeah, we have a Metafilter-associated (loosely) gaming site, MeFightClub. Seems like a similar approach is appropriate here, rather than some sort of subsite.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:48 AM on December 18, 2014


I think #JulyByWomen was fantastic, and I'd like to see more of that.

I harrumphed all over #JulyByWomen and I'll admit that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Part of that was that it was user driven and optional, and not an affirmative act by the mods to say "Ok, ladies, we have deigned to set aside this special month whereupon your vaginas (if you have them) will be allowed to hold forth." It ended up getting some women to post for the first time, some of the posts were great, some weren't, just like all first posts on MetaFilter.

Similarly, if some MeFi-connected women want to go off and make their own thing, I also think that it would be fine. Sad, but fine.

But splintering off a subsite would be the mods basically saying that women are different and don't fit in with how MetaFilter is supposed to work. Which would have the effect of making me (and I'm willing to bet some other women as well) actually feel unwelcome on the Blue.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:49 AM on December 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


Metafilter is one of the few places on the internet where I don't feel like I'm being treated as part of a niche group, even while accepting that there are those who will insist on #notallmen and sealioning. Mefi can do better, but I don't think the solution should be to have a subsite just for women-oriented discussion.

That said, I would also be interested in a separate mefi women forum/chatroom to blow off steam.
posted by supermassive at 7:50 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I went to an all-women's school so I'm certainly okay with self-segregation in certain circumstances.

But this wouldn't work here, with the type of site this is, and if it happened I'd be the first one asking for a subsite for African American issues.

Also, I can't help but chuckle to myself because in many recent MetaTalk threads a lot of people are asking for more customization, being able to block or hide certain users or topics, and having specific subforums. Really, that's what Reddit is, a site so many Mefis seem to hate.
posted by girlmightlive at 7:51 AM on December 18, 2014 [11 favorites]


I don't think that it's condescension to state that, for the special snowflake type of women who cannot handle the well-moderated, generally civil, mature and thoughtful discussion that I and other women come to MetaFilter for, maybe MetaFilter is not for them and still wouldn't be for them even if the powers that be set up a professional pink background subsite for them.

Oh, right, I forgot one: "I'm a woman and this doesn't ever bother me and therefore people who are bothered are just too sensitive!"

I'm not even saying I want the subsite. I'm just saying that I understand why some people do, and responding by saying that the impulse comes from special snowflake-ness is incredibly dismissive, and also very reductive of the real issues that have been under discussion for so long.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:53 AM on December 18, 2014 [26 favorites]


I don't think that it's condescension to state that, for the special snowflake type of women who cannot handle the well-moderated, generally civil, mature and thoughtful discussion that I and other women come to MetaFilter for, maybe MetaFilter is not for them and still wouldn't be for them even if the powers that be set up a professional pink background subsite for them.

No, actually, that's extremely condescending, which I'm sure you were aware of as you typed the phrase "the special snowflake kind of women".
posted by Lexica at 8:02 AM on December 18, 2014 [27 favorites]


I guess I could have phrased it better, but I was just trying to acknowledge the fact, that the OP and others in this thread have missed, that Women are not a monolith, who all have the same opinions, needs or wants. And, in fact, some of us women are pretty happy with how MetaFilter is run, on the whole.

Given that the men around here seem to be of the it's surely not my place to be telling women what they should do or where they should do it variety, I think it's important for women who don't want to be shuffled off to some subsite because "that's what Women want" to speak up now before it happens.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:13 AM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


> I think it's important for women who don't want to be shuffled off to some subsite because "that's what Women want" to speak up now before it happens

Eh, the second comment in this thread is cortex saying that it isn't going to happen, which mathowie confirmed. So, now we're just talking. You (and I) will not be shuffled.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:17 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't want or need a lady subsite either but I'm not about to suggest that those who do like the idea are precious diaper babies who don't belong on mefi.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:17 AM on December 18, 2014 [37 favorites]


I don't want or need a lady subsite either but I'm not about to suggest that those who do like the idea are precious diaper babies who don't belong on mefi.

Yeah, I was generally against the idea until I saw some of the responses in this thread.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:20 AM on December 18, 2014 [21 favorites]


Ladybird's account has been disabled.
posted by 0 at 8:23 AM on December 18, 2014


I guess I could have phrased it better, but I was just trying to acknowledge the fact, that the OP and others in this thread have missed, that Women are not a monolith, who all have the same opinions, needs or wants.

As far as I can see, there's one person that unequivocally stated this, and that's the OP, and even that was couched in some fairly nebulous and hypothetical terms. Your response and the nastiness behind it, however, was a perfect illustration of the kind of attitude that makes people like the OP put the idea up.

Given that the men around here seem to be of the it's surely not my place to be telling women what they should do or where they should do it variety, I think it's important for women who don't want to be shuffled off to some subsite because "that's what Women want" to speak up about the fact that we don't want this.

You've repeatedly and uncharitably characterized this suggestion as a forced separation, when it the initial suggestion was more of a "release valve" kind of thing. I don't think it was even hinted that the other subsites would be purged of content.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:25 AM on December 18, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'd go to a MeFi women-only chatroom with glee, especially to blow off steam when threads are being ridiculous; ...

There is; it's called Twitter.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:29 AM on December 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


There is; it's called Twitter.

Twitter isn't MeFi, and is open to a wider community. I'd also like to participate without linking my MeFi identity to my Twitter identity.

Anyways, the chat room sounds like a great idea, and I would be SUCH A FAN of calling it "Delicate and Fanciful Lady Things", particularly after some of the responses in this thread.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:36 AM on December 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


Ladybird's account has been disabled.

So it has, which is a pity. I think there's been fruitful discussion around how this isn't a good idea for a subsite necessarily but that unofficial channels would be welcome.

Hopefully Ladybird reconsiders closing their account and adds their voice to the discussion once more--this is a great discussion to have even if it's not going in the direction originally envisioned.
posted by librarylis at 8:43 AM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't care about this either way! But I also don't like the straw(wo?)manning. Ladybird did not ask for a padded cell where no opposing opinions would be found.

I've been in very high-level, detailed, and passionate arguments on metafilter with other women. It would not be an echo chamber just because we all ID as women!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:00 AM on December 18, 2014 [11 favorites]


Have the mods ever considered setting up a system whereby other sites could hook into the the MetaFilter authentication process for sign in?

OpenID/OAuth/Owhateveryoukidscallitthesedays ought to be able to do this. But cortex probably knew that. All that's saying is "userA here is userA on Mefi", so there's no editorial endorsement implied. I guess that what the OP wants is for the mods to mod it, though, which they've said they don't want to do.

Even though I find the Mefi echo chamber annoying at times and this would presumably relocate some of it to a place I wouldn't be allowed in (though I hope if some news were posted on the main site and PinkFilter, some women would comment on both), I'm not sure I like the idea. Mefi is more or less still a generalist site and people learn stuff as a result of that. I know that this means I'm asking vulnerable people to tolerate sometimes getting upset by what they read (previously).

[edit:typos]
posted by pw201 at 9:00 AM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd be genuinely curious about what gets discussed on the unofficial channels that couldn't be discussed somewhere on Metafilter proper.

The OP mentioned the "too much rape" thread deletion kerfuffle, but even that was well hashed out on MetaTalk and I think it's been established that sexual violence is a topic that is OK for the main board.

So what kinds of topics are taboo/disfavoured and need a side-channel for discussion?
posted by sparklemotion at 9:01 AM on December 18, 2014


I am getting really worn out on the use of "echo chamber" as a poo-fling. I understand that the people who use this term think that there are widely shared views among MetaFilter's general population. However, it is possible to say that without lazily calling the result an "echo chamber," as if the content if threads is simply "I agree! You're so right on! Yep, you got it! That's exactly right!"

The potential of discussion is not limited to the narrow binary of agree/disagree. Even if a broad consensus on something is shared as a starting point, that does not mean that threads consist of people "echoing" one another. What I see happening is that the starting point of discussion is simply a different place than it might be either in the mainstream media or in a forum with a different and strongly ideological thrust. But what happens in the discussion is that people share links and information; raise and discuss more nuanced points than good/bad, right/wrong; bring in context; counter and critique ideas, etc. This isn't "echoing" and no one would read the site if the entire discussion were about how much we all see things in exactly the same way and never need to add to our knowledge or draw on outside sources.

Feminism is a fine example. MeFi, as a site, assumes the legitimacy of feminism. That means we get to start disussions with the assumption that people accept feminism itself as legitimate and rarely (any more) have to defend the basic existence of the philosophy. That, then, means that we can go on to discuss nuanced subtopics within that area of thought. it doesn't mean there is no disagreement about how feminist principles apply to this or that situation (there is), or critique about how feminism interacts well or poorly with other orientations (there is), or that we can't vehemently argue about whether or not some point of view is acceptable (we do). New ideas in feminism, new speakers, new problems are raised all the time. That isn't echoing.

Today's just the day I've had enough of that lazy term. If you have a problem with the widely shared consensus, that's one thing, but that doesn't make all discussion that follows and builds on that consensus "echoes."
posted by Miko at 9:09 AM on December 18, 2014 [64 favorites]


Sparklemotion, why do you ask?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:09 AM on December 18, 2014


> So what kinds of topics are taboo/disfavoured and need a side-channel for discussion

I've e-mailed or chatted on-line with other Mefites quite a bit. Mostly we talk about you. Mostly we talk about stuff that's too off-topic and would be considered "noise" on Mefi.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:12 AM on December 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


Sparklemotion, why do you ask?

Because I'm legitimately surprised at the number of people who want, and would actively participate in, and women's only chatroom/forum thingy.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:13 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


The OP mentioned the "too much rape" thread deletion kerfuffle, but even that was well hashed out on MetaTalk and I think it's been established that sexual violence is a topic that is OK for the main board.

That wasn't the point of either the post or the thread, and actually largely contradicts the mods' contention that there is a point at which it's not OK, for both personal and community reasons.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:16 AM on December 18, 2014


I'm another woman who would be happy to have side discussions with women but is relieved to hear there's no plans for a subsite. I'm reasonably convinced that a subsite here wouldn't even solve the problems of #notallmen; it's not like there aren't women who will happily play that card.

Having said that, I'm not sorry to have a discussion about it and I am sorry ladybird buttoned out over a suggestion that provoked that discussion.
posted by immlass at 9:29 AM on December 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'd be genuinely curious about what gets discussed on the unofficial channels that couldn't be discussed somewhere on Metafilter proper.

I frequently gossip about users who are gigantic pieces of shit! Also I gossip about users who are utterly splendid and wish I could meet IRL! It's a grand time to discuss all the people!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:39 AM on December 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


My motive in wishing for some sort of site (though not a MeFi subsite) comprised of Mefites identifying as women is at heart just a desire to know and interact with more women. Metafilter has lots of them, and over the years of reading and hanging out here, I've found how much I admire and appreciate the commentary of the women who participate here. Even the ones I disagree with on a regular basis. I have found no other forum where this is consistently the case. (It may exist, and I just haven't found it.) There aren't a lot of women in my life at the moment, mostly as a legacy of my misspent youth as a Cool Girl, which I bitterly regret. I am not seeking an echo chamber, I am not a special snowflake, and I resent the implication that anybody who would be interested in such a site is.
posted by skybluepink at 9:40 AM on December 18, 2014 [19 favorites]


Sparklemotion, I get that you're curious, but you've already said that you find these concerns to be invalid and/or a sign of personal weakness, so it doesn't strike me as being a friendly curiosity. Rather it seems to me that you want people to give examples so that you can debunk them. I would be happy to be wrong, of course.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:41 AM on December 18, 2014 [12 favorites]


I want a forum where I don't have to explain, again, to some condescending inquirer why it is a relief to talk about topics that concern me without also spelling out why my interest is legitimate or linked to my femininity.

Really, this is the kind of inquiry so deaf to the very reason for a woman's oriented forum that it makes me wonder if ladybird wasn't right to disable her account and look elsewhere. Raise if you'd like concerns about how this would affect Metafilter or our overworked mods or you, but enough with the privileged demand that people who aren't so privileged re-explain why they'd like a safe place to talk to each other.

I for one really would like a forum for Mefi women somewhere. I hate Facebook but my sense of this lack of a place to listen to intelligent women talk about all manner of female topics is why I recently signed up there -- solely to track the postings from graduates of my former women's college.
posted by bearwife at 9:41 AM on December 18, 2014 [19 favorites]


In addition to other offline chatting with Mefites, I have a Twitter account as desuetude that I use exactly for this sort of thing.
posted by desuetude at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sparklemotion, I get that you're curious, but you've already said that you find these concerns to be invalid and/or a sign of personal weakness

It's not my intention to take all comers and respond to every uncharitable reading of my comments but seriously, I never said this.

Rather it seems to me that you want people to give examples so that you can debunk them. I would be happy to be wrong, of course.

Some people have given some examples (I'm not sure how serious all of them have been), you'll notice that I haven't responded to any of them, and I don't particularly intend to.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think the difference between what ladybird and others are looking for and what is currently available on/thru MetaFilter is the forum aspect - on MetaFilter, everything is geared around posts, and discussions are generally focused on a particular topic. Some posts are made as fig leaves for other discussions, and the mods generally don't support that.

So a forum for women of MetaFilter wouldn't take away (many) posts or questions, but could be a less defined space for discussions. The closest MetaFilter has to a forum is FanFare, but that's still very focused on episodes, movies and podcasts as the core of the discussion.

This seems like a keen idea, and I wish whoever takes it on the best, because moderation will most likely be necessary, unless it is a small and close-knit group. Even among apparent friends, tempers can flare, and stepping back to moderate that can wear on you. I tried my hand at leading a ragtag band of generally like-minded people in discussing music cataloging, but some people brought serious baggage with them from other shared spaces, and it was a drag to have to deal with that, when I just wanted to geek out over documenting music.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:53 AM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


a less defined space for discussions

I think that might be cool -- "what do folks think about XYZ current event", etc.
posted by Miko at 9:59 AM on December 18, 2014


I'm all for it. The internet is not a zero-sum game nor are websites isolated castles. If any group of people feel the need for a safer place to talk and listen and share, they should be encouraged to create that space for themselves. Plus, if we're lucky, that haven will produce happier human beings who will feel more confident sharing with the rest of the Internet, MetaFilter included.
posted by eamondaly at 10:03 AM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hi! On the subject of sub-sites, I created and ran PoliticalFilter for a while. I knew it was dying as soon as several people posted a couple of comments about political discussion should be taken off MeFi and put on PoliFi and a bit of arguing about that occurred back and forth. Here's my comment about that problem, which applies to pretty much any sort of sub-site:
It doesn't get as much traffic, but perhaps move this over to Politicalfilter?

Thanks for the shout out, but as the admin of Polifi, I'd hate to see it be a ghetto of unwanted political threads from Mefi.

So yeah,come on over if you like, or point out a link in a political thread, but trying to force an either/or for both sites does no one any good and as evidenced by responses in this thread, tends to piss people off.
So a sub-site probably isn't the way to go on this, but a sort of informal "thing," be in a Google group, mailing list or private, that isn't designed to siphon off topics or people from Metafilter might work. Just don't cross the streams between it and Metafilter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:18 AM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Miko: Well, and making topics of interest to women optional in the overall site experience.

Reading any topic or subset of topics is already optional. Thread not about something you're interested in? Let your eyes skip down to the next one. Nobody is forcing you to read every FPP!

sparklemotion: I don't think that it's condescension to state that, for the special snowflake type of women who cannot handle the well-moderated, generally civil, mature and thoughtful discussion that I and other women come to MetaFilter for, maybe MetaFilter is not for them and still wouldn't be for them even if the powers that be set up a professional pink background subsite for them.

I mean, I agree that a women-only subsite would be a bad idea (and I probably wouldn't bother with a women-only sister site or forum either) but fuck me if that wasn't offensive. Almost makes me want to start campaigning for MeFemme just out of spite.

So what kinds of topics are taboo/disfavoured and need a side-channel for discussion

I know when I've chatted with other trans mefites off the site (wooOOoooOOooo, the shadowy Cabal!!) it's mostly been stuff that's either entirely inside-baseball and thus not really relevant for mefi, or to go "ugh this thread is so full of well-meaning but clueless assholism!" as a way to blow off steam. There's very little activity between us when there isn't a thread that's going terribly.

"Sparklemotion, I get that you're curious, but you've already said that you find these concerns to be invalid and/or a sign of personal weakness"

It's not my intention to take all comers and respond to every uncharitable reading of my comments but seriously, I never said this.


It's not really much of a stretch to read that into "the special snowflake type of women who cannot handle hte well-moderated, generally civil, mature and thoughtful discussion..." I mean, you're right that you didn't use te words "invalid" or "personal weakness" exactly, but that doesn't mean that you didn't express those same ideas...
posted by Dysk at 10:25 AM on December 18, 2014 [14 favorites]


The internet is not a zero-sum game nor are websites isolated castles.

Well, no, but attention and participation are limited resources -- my participation on MetaFilter means, practically, that I am not participating in other forums or hobbies, reading books, watching movies, grading papers, and so on during those times. For my purely selfish personal reasons, I would like the women of MetaFilter to keep posting to MetaFilter, but (as I said above), I certainly understand the impulse (just from this thread)....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:25 AM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


I would be keenly interested in a woman-oriented "less defined space for discussions" or a "place where MeFi women and their supporters have conversations."

I don't think that such a venue would take much, if anything, away from MeFi. In fact, it seems to me that JulyByWomen is a demonstration that a side venue could actually add some thing(s) to MeFi.
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:44 AM on December 18, 2014


For anyone who is unaware, there are two "little sibling sites" for MetaFilter, both of which sprang up from the dark days when user registration on MetaFilter was formally closed: MonkeyFilter, which is rather quiet these days, and MetaChat, where there is is more activity, but neither are anywhere near MetaFilter's level of activity. Both are more lax in posting requirements, though MetaChat might be closer to the ideas put forth in this thread - people can share general things, post specific items, or simply rant, vent and open up.

I'm not suggesting people look to these sites as alternative venues for discussion as posed in this thread, but rather as examples of sites that co-exist beside MetaFilter.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:07 AM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm all for it. The internet is not a zero-sum game nor are websites isolated castles. If any group of people feel the need for a safer place to talk and listen and share, they should be encouraged to create that space for themselves.

They were, by the mods, here and here.

This thread has been a weird discussion (or depressingly normal, I guess). The idea of people making a MeFi sister site / spin-off (rather than making a subsite) has precedent and is consistent with what subsites are supposed to be for. This idea was presented rather matter-of-factly by the mods. But then people had to be unnecessarily abrasive about their support for this position, creating a great deal of friction and leading to a buttoning. So unnecessary.
posted by Jpfed at 11:20 AM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


> Yeah, I was generally against the idea until I saw some of the responses in this thread.

Sometimes the people who share your opinions act like assholes. It's one of my MetaFilter lessons: to grit my teeth and try not to dwell on the image of the person who's decided to make their Internet persona "Unnecessarily Hostile Word Choice Guy/Gal" getting satisfaction from my agreeing with them on an issue.

As for the OP's question, I think the site's policy to generally not segregate by interest is a good one, so let's not make this an official sub-site. But I think it's a great thing when people spin off groups based on the people they meet here, and when those groups generate stuff that gets posted back here. I'm more likely to check out a site on something I usually don't care about if it's described as "a group of MeFites decided ....".
posted by benito.strauss at 11:40 AM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't see a place for that kind of thing here, in the spirit of "best of the web" type stuff.

I would like a place to have more conversations with the women I have these conversations with on Metafilter (some of whom I also know in other venues), for the purposes of philosophical kicking-around of women-centric and feminist ideas and discussion of politics and some of the harder stuff and all that, just because I would like a community like that in my life in general, and if I had it I would still be here doing what I do here.

It is difficult to have those deeper conversations here because of the 101ing and questionable-faith engagement that always shows up eventually in any discussion that's not about thin not-poor-but-not-too-rich white guys. That's a reflection of the larger world, I know, and it's a hell of a lot better here than in most places, and I will keep participating in hopes of helping further that improvement, but it's hard to go deep when you have to keep surfacing to deal with all that stuff. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be productive to do elsewhere in addition to participation here.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:43 AM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Reading any topic or subset of topics is already optional. Thread not about something you're interested in? Let your eyes skip down to the next one. Nobody is forcing you to read every FPP!

Obviously, as a longtime user, I am cognizant of that. However, there is a distinct difference between seeing of-interest-particularly-to-women content within the feed. and opting to read it or not but knowing that it is there, and having to go to a completely different site even to encounter it. There's an invisibilization to the latter that I think would be detrimental to the site.

MetaChat might be closer to the ideas put forth in this thread - people can share general things, post specific items, or simply rant, vent and open up.

As one of the quasi-emeritus admins of MetaChat, it's important to add that MetaChat is a generally pleasant place but in no sense a 'safe space' for discussion of women-only issues and ideas.
posted by Miko at 12:07 PM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the clarification regarding MeCha, Miko.

My intention was to show that there are good examples of what could be done. MeCha could theoretically be "cloned" in structure, if people thought it was a good way to build a less formal discussion site/forum, hewing closer to the MetaFilter structure than the usually range of forums elsewhere on the 'net. MetaChat focuses on conversations, where users can embed images but other users can individually opt in or out of viewing the images inline or as links. Otherwise, the site features a minimal layout, allowing basic HTML coding in the posts and comments. No nested conversations, built-in quoting features, ever-present footer text on user comments, or emoticons. No need to build a new site from scratch.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:22 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Absolutely, that's true.
posted by Miko at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2014


I apologize for putting words in your mouth, sparklemotion. I know that's frustrating. I still feel like the attitude I got from your comment was that people would only want this if they were somehow lesser-than, and feel that was a reasonable interpretation.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:26 PM on December 18, 2014


I really don't see that fitting in here (and I'm a woman who is very interested in women's issues) but then again, I pretty much stay on the Green when I'm here.

I would, however, be interested in seeing where this idea goes off-site.
posted by futureisunwritten at 12:29 PM on December 18, 2014


"I'd be genuinely curious about what gets discussed on the unofficial channels that couldn't be discussed somewhere on Metafilter proper. "

I imagine they mostly talk about what it would be like to stroke my luxurious beard. Several years ago, the mods started deleting all of those comments, which is why you won't find any.

Almost makes me want to start campaigning for MeFemme just out of spite."

The biggest attraction to the idea for me is all of possible names for it. LadyFilter? FemFilter? Femefites? meffem? And oh man, the arguments over pronunciation!

"I frequently gossip about users who are gigantic pieces of shit! Also I gossip about users who are utterly splendid and wish I could meet IRL! It's a grand time to discuss all the people!"

Most of my IRL friends are also members here, but honestly, we almost never talk about the site — we all read it, so we talk about the site on the site for the most part. Off the site, we talk about jobs, romance, biking, neighborhoods, drinking, regular stuff.
posted by klangklangston at 12:33 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I apologize for putting words in your mouth, sparklemotion.

Apology accepted. And, in turn, I apologize to anyone who may have felt belittled by my words, I hope that any abrasiveness can be interpreted as just my strong feelings on the subject of creating a metafilter sub-site.

As far as a metachat/MeFightClub clone dealing with women's issues in particular? Like I said before, that sounds fine, and I'd probably be interested in at least lurking there if not actively participating.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:38 PM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Off the site, we talk about jobs, romance, biking, neighborhoods, drinking, regular stuff.

oops shouting about terrible threads drunkenly in public is REQUIRED BY LAW, sorry, i don't make the rules
posted by poffin boffin at 12:41 PM on December 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


Many of my real life friends/roommates/spouses are MeFites as well. We talk about the site, including people we hate, all the time.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:44 PM on December 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


The biggest attraction to the idea for me is all of possible names for it.

FemMe, obvs.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:17 PM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Many of my real life friends/roommates/spouses are MeFites as well. We talk about the site, including people we hate, all the time.

This is true for me as well. Most of them are geographically nearby and/or people in my trivia league.

Speaking to the idea as just a concept not as and actual thing-being-considered-by-mods... I think this would be tricky, a women's forum area (as a subsite or not) because I think by identifying a topic area, you're creating a set of posting guidelines that are going to be tricky because people are going to bring their preconceptions about what those guidelines are that either have to be explicit or loosey-goosey (and then probably constantly fought about).

Which is to say, the things that make people want a site like this, and I can see the benefits of something like this as a spin-off site, are also going to be the most difficult parts to outline and deal with from a moderation perspective. I don't mean to be the worst kind of internet nitpicker and just be all "This won't work because of reasons" but it would partly require a dedicated mod team that could really set expectations and then enforce them and this is always difficult around sex and gender issues, even here.

Really when I get down to thinking about it, what occurs to me is that I want something that is Just Like MeFi only with about twenty fewer people who regularly (to my mind) gum up 90% of the conversations. So then I return to whether managing that problem might be easier than packing up and going elsewhere.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:22 PM on December 18, 2014 [46 favorites]


There are feminist sites that are moderated more tightly than MetaFilter. I don't know of any that police gender identity in the sense that you have to be a woman to post there, but there definitely are some that regularly shut down 101-level discussions with a reference to a FAQ, or are very quick put a bad-faith poster in a queue or ban them, etc. in order to keep the site a safe space that is open to higher-level discussion by like-minded people. I definitely enjoy such spaces and have learned so much from (mostly) lurking in them. I'm reluctant to name names, since I don't want to burden their mods, but would be open to MeMail from anyone who wants to know my faves.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 1:37 PM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


oops shouting about terrible threads drunkenly in public is REQUIRED BY LAW, sorry, i don't make the rules

the matriarchy hurts everyone

#misandry
posted by klangklangston at 1:57 PM on December 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


sparklemotion: I'd be genuinely curious about what gets discussed on the unofficial channels that couldn't be discussed somewhere on Metafilter proper.

Personally, I think many of the women here - especially the ones dedicated to educating themselves on intersectional feminism - are really fun, neat, cool, and awesome. Above the gender thing, MeFites tend to be beanplaters and often fascinating beanplaters. I would like to get to know them better, but I'm too scattered and disorganized to send a bunch of memail, and many of them sensibly have their memail disabled. I'd like a lower-pressure place where one could get to know others of a similar ilk and maybe work up the courage to say, "Y...y... you're kinda awesome and I like you, but don't LIKE like you."

And of course to gossip about klang and his luxurious beard, but shhhhh - don't tell him!

bearwife: Really, this is the kind of inquiry so deaf to the very reason for a woman's oriented forum that it makes me wonder if ladybird wasn't right to disable her account and look elsewhere.

She floated an idea in a relatively open way and it has the potential of causing an interesting discussion. Speculating about her or claiming she is somehow Not MetaFilter Material because she asked a question seems more than a little dismissive and cruel.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:04 PM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


How do we prove that we're female on the internet?
posted by Ideefixe at 2:15 PM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


Not to claim to be a mindreader, but I interpreted bearwife's "this kind of inquiry" as referring to sparklemotion's questions about what sort of thing could be discussed on a hypothetical FemMe site that can't be discussed on MeFi, not as referring to ladybird's original idea. The next sentence in bearwife's comment says "enough with the privileged demand that people who aren't so privileged re-explain why they'd like a safe place to talk to each other." To me that doesn't sound like a slam against ladybird, it sounds like agreement that such places are valuable.

(bearwife, please do correct me if I've misinterpreted you.)
posted by Lexica at 2:16 PM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I thought I would drop in and remind folks that, in addition to memail, an onsite avenue for connecting to other mefites is metafilter's Chat. If you are on an Android, the recommended platform is Jabiru. I have a tutorial (linked in my profile) for setting that up. The profile for twist my arm also has useful info that helped me originally get set up with a client (assuming you need a client -- some folks just use the web log-in, which is very straight forward for how to log in).
posted by Michele in California at 2:58 PM on December 18, 2014


"How do we prove that we're female on the internet?"

Be secretly dhoyt?
posted by klangklangston at 3:04 PM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


there definitely are some that regularly shut down 101-level discussions with a reference to a FAQ, or are very quick put a bad-faith poster in a queue or ban them, etc.

Those are not general interest sites, though.

There are third-wave feminist subreddits, and they have those restrictions in place, and they are incredibly boring to me personally, because they are echo chambers. Typically, someone posts something we would call outragefilter here, along with a rant about how it bothers them, and the participants in the thread agree with them, and if you are lucky, that's it. If you are unlucky, the thread just devolves from the specific gripe into a general gripe fest full of lazy stereotyping (Why do guys always do X? I know, right? Guys suck!). Which I guess is fine if you are just looking to vent, but not if you actually want a discussion.

Then there are feminist sites set up by Individuals, usually professional bloggers who make their money through writing and speaking about some aspect of society as it relates to third-wave feminism (feminist tropes in video games, feminism in the atheist community, etc.). The template for their blogs is pretty similar: posts about something that is pissing them off at the moment and a comment section where their readers and followers go to cheer them on and vent as well.

Since the entire 'discussion' in either setup is just a blame game and an excuse to blow off steam, disrupting that process by doing anything else is seen as violating the social contract. Which, again, is fine if you are just going to the internet for validation.

I prefer the inclusivity of a general interest site because, just as I don't want the default mindset to be women are bitches, I also don't want the default mindset to be that men are dicks.

in order to keep the site a safe space that is open to higher-level discussion by like-minded people

So I guess I am casting a vote In favor of keeping our lower-level discussion by differently-minded people.
posted by misha at 3:42 PM on December 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


Pretty sure that isn't the sort of place Bentobox Humperdinck was referring to, and pretty sure that isn't what they'd characterise as high-level discussion either. For sure what you're describing also exists, but they're not the only places on the internet with that kind of restriction.
posted by Dysk at 3:46 PM on December 18, 2014 [9 favorites]


What about a book club for metafilter women? Loosely organized around 24 books on women's issues or by women writers for the year, open to metafilter members who identify as women(ish), and thus with both a structure and the sort of casual wine & crackers chat times that allows for more serious and frivolous topics to come up. You wouldn't have to read the books to participate, but they'd give a sort of itinerary and jumping off point for the year, and at the same time allow for community moderators to shut down derails gracefully.

I'd be happy to organize a site and voting survey for the books and co-moderate if 3-4 other mefites can volunteer to moderate too.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:36 PM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


No - what? My husband and others of the male type might want to discuss books, too.

This is getting silly. Keep it all under one roof, people.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:44 PM on December 18, 2014 [8 favorites]


Not to claim to be a mindreader, but I interpreted bearwife's "this kind of inquiry" as referring to sparklemotion's questions about what sort of thing could be discussed on a hypothetical FemMe site that can't be discussed on MeFi, not as referring to ladybird's original idea.

Exactly right. I support ladybird's idea. My negativity was re sparklemotion.
posted by bearwife at 4:50 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Designating a space for women wouldn't stop the Metafilter equivalents of Christina Hoff Sommers or Caitlin Flanagan from showing up and asking What About The Men.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:01 PM on December 18, 2014 [11 favorites]


joseph conrad, and when fanfare opens up to books, that'll be awesome too. What I'm suggesting is a structured topic-driven alternative venue for discussion for metafilter women to hang out in - maybe it'll fizzle out, maybe it'll become a pleasant off-site hang out, and maybe it will explode. But as this thread shows, there's an interest in a community discussion site - not a 'pink' metafilter, but more of a shared space where there's already an understanding that feminism doesn't have to be rewritten and reargued from the ground up each thread.
posted by viggorlijah at 5:20 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


20 conversation cloggers

"So, why do you want to become a Police Officer ?"

"I want to arrest people"

"You're hired !"
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:23 PM on December 18, 2014


when fanfare opens up to books, that'll be awesome too.

Would a film club work? Sort of a #ViewingsByWomen? Is there one already? I looked around on Fanfare, but I have no idea. I also don't know what ethos has evolved around groups on Fanfare, but there must be movies that address interesting topics in such a general way that people could offer tangential personal comments based on simply reading the thread (which seems normal on the blue). While neither exclusive nor general in nature, perhaps that could approximate a dedicated sub-forum. Perhaps folks would flag trollish/clueless stuff a bit harder than usual too. I'm sure I could be surprised or off-base though.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:13 PM on December 18, 2014


What about a book club for metafilter women? Loosely organized around 24 books on women's issues or by women writers for the year, open to metafilter members who identify as women(ish), and thus with both a structure and the sort of casual wine & crackers chat times that allows for more serious and frivolous topics to come up.

I run a women(-identification)-only book club through a google group, a lot like you suggest, we read a book bimonthly and discuss it via the group. It's great, a wonderful, low key thing, and we don't just discuss a monthly book but relevant topics. It really only works because members are only added by recommendation from an existing member. I'm not sure how it would succeed in a situation where you didn't have that guarantee of good faith commenting.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:55 PM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


"No - what? My husband and others of the male type might want to discuss books, too."

Uh you know that just because there's a women's group for discussing books doesn't mean that there's no other places for dudes to discuss books, right? Like, if we wanna talk about books, we could start our own damn book club. Tell your husband that I'm almost done with the Crying of Lot 49, so if he can finish by the weekend, give me a call.
posted by klangklangston at 7:26 PM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Last night, I was lying in bed, reading a mystery novel. My husband was snoring away, next to me. I finally finished it, and I shut off the light.

Only to hear my downstair neighbor screaming. Screaming an screaming at his wife. Yet again. There is nothing I can do about this, because they are related to my landlord. I have to lay awake and listen to him screaming at his wife, who apparently thinks this is just good ole boy being loud and we have been informed that they will we loud but this is too much for me.

The next morning, my husband goes out to work and he has to put out the trash. But it's so muddie that he says, "I wish I had worn my boots!" And lo' and behold, the other guy is on his porch, smoking a butt, and he offers to take out the trash.

I talked to my husband and he said, "isn't he a nice guy?" And I was so upset. He didn't understand why I was upset. Yet he had been up at night due to this guy screaming at his wife. I was frantic at night, I was pulling all of my muscles and cramping and freaking out and I had no sleep. My husband had no sleep. He was like, "well, I got up and he stopped shouting."

I can't explain how this guy isn't a nice guy to my husband. I can't explain how I want to talk to women about things. But I do. I would love to talk to women about things. I would be all over a subsite for women. Because it's just that little thing, that I WISH I could talk to a women about, that a man wouldn't understand :::sigh:::
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:23 PM on December 18, 2014 [14 favorites]


Hey I just bought the crying of lot 49, for a reread! Is it time for bookclub discussion?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:31 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was very confused by the crying of lot 49, so I hope that girls are allowed in the boys' book club.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:36 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think that it's condescension to state that ...

special snowflake type of women

who cannot handle ...

professional pink background subsite for them.


If you talk about certain members in this way who have opinions that you don't like, where, then, are they welcome? I would vote more "against" than "for" a new subsite, but it really makes me feel sad that there are certain members here who would continue to be subjected to this kind of uncharitable interaction, simply for expressing the desire to have a safe place to talk about things that don't always go over so well here. I feel as if your statements make a strong case against the very thing you are proposing.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:36 PM on December 18, 2014 [14 favorites]


Oh, Marie Mon Dieu, that broke my heart. Feel free to MeMail me if you need to vent. I've been the yelled-at woman and your story actually made me feel better, because I always wondered if the neighbors noticed (because they had to have noticed).
posted by jaguar at 9:02 PM on December 18, 2014


That is, it made me feel better, because there's a way in which realizing that other people noticed, even if they couldn't do anything about it, just kind of reinforces my reality. Which is helpful.
posted by jaguar at 9:04 PM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Hey I just bought the crying of lot 49, for a reread! Is it time for bookclub discussion?"

It's my second time through too!

"I was very confused by the crying of lot 49, so I hope that girls are allowed in the boys' book club."

Our gender presentation rules simply require that everyone, no matter how they identify, wears a mustache. Natural, artificial or cyber.
posted by klangklangston at 9:58 PM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Can... can the mustache be anywhere on our bodies...? Just, you know, hypothetically.
posted by Justinian at 10:06 PM on December 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


"I can't explain how this guy isn't a nice guy to my husband."

Really? He can't even understand how HE would feel if the guy was yelling at YOU? If the neighbor's such a nice guy, why can't he respect neighbors enough to not scream at his wife? I mean, the best plausible outcome would be for your husband to let him know he can hear him through the wall, and hey is there anything you'd like to talk about? But barring some sort of extenuating circumstance (a next door couple at our old place did the fight-as-foreplay thing), if your husband has a cordial relationship with him it's a little close to canonical TMBG advice. Your husband's either gotta disassociate, intervene or not think of himself as a nice guy anymore, and you wouldn't have married someone who wasn't a decent person, right? It's awkward, but ignoring it normalizes it.
posted by klangklangston at 10:16 PM on December 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


"Can... can the mustache be anywhere on our bodies...? Just, you know, hypothetically."

I'm not the mustache police, man.
posted by klangklangston at 10:16 PM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


"I can't explain how this guy isn't a nice guy to my husband."

Couldn't you just point out your comment above to him? (Totally sincere, not having a go at you.)

*shrug* I don't know, if people want a book club for Mefites who are women only - then who the hell am I to rain on the parade?

(I would like to have books added to FanFare but that's another roundabout to wrestle with.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:31 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


(I guess you can't reach your partner - sorry.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:34 PM on December 18, 2014


Man, I am totally the mustache police.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:13 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have a question: What's stopping you women who want a place to vent, to talk about other people, to explode about the masses who just don't "get it," to carry out deep discussions with each other about women's issues without interference from whoever it is who interferes with your discussions on MeFi all the time - what's stopping you from just setting up a secure, safe chat room or blog or whatever where you can all get together and hash things out to your heart's content? What is it that stops you?

I've been coming to MetaFilter for years and I used to enjoy it so much because there was good conversation and good discussion about a myriad of topics by intelligent people who came from a variety of backgrounds, people who discussed things politely (there was very little, if any, swearing or offensive word exchange) and respectfully. If a topic wasn't of interest to me, I just went to the next one. If I was within a thread and a particular commenter annoyed me, I either skipped further comments by that person or abandoned the thread for another.

I never expected the site to be designed to please me, but I was very pleased with the way it was run and I felt at home here.

Well. The feminism thing. I don't know exactly how to put this without causing another tirade, but I'm tired, tired, tired of every single thread turning to the suffering of the poor, battered feminists. What I read is a heckuva lot of yes, an echo chamber - one after the other voicing the same words, piling on particularly to any woman who states that she just wants to discuss the topics without getting into gender identification - can't we just talk about the issue? Is it really necessary to identify myself as a woman or a man in order to have an opinion about the best chicken soup in the world? No, it's not.

Now this is straight-up - this is the way I feel. Must we always be SO careful not to step on any toes that we can't even express our honest feelings? Will this viewpoint of mine get so many flags that it's thrown away rather than being honestly discussed? Because if we absolutely cannot discuss something that's frustrating so many people in so many ways because we might use the wrong words or someone might read into our words the wrong tone, then the truth is that MetaFilter has changed very much.

So to my way of thinking if the ladies who are focused on women's issues and feminism want a special place where they can unload all their grievances and commiserate with each other, I think that's a great idea because it might just cut down on the inevitable backlash when someone says something that could be construed in some way as being anti-feminist. Seriously - it's a fine idea - but to expect the mods and MetaFilter staff to do the work, to link your safe place to MeFi, probably moderate it, etc. is not going to happen. So why not just set something up yourselves? You'll still be more than welcome at MetaFilter, you can post or comment anytime you like just like everyone else can - the only difference would be that some of the pent-up anger and frustration energy could be discharged as you discussed problems amongst yourselves. What's not to like about that?
posted by aryma at 2:33 AM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Stepping delicately away from answering aryma, I went ahead and made a small survey of possible books for people reading this thread.

The MeFi Bluestocking Club Survey - a scattering of novels from Goodreads' lists of feminist books, chosen mostly to be on the lighter and/or diverse side than the serious. Vote away!

I have to say, the thought of reading and discussing Wide Sargasso Sea and Monstrous Regiment with a bunch of metafilter women sounds amazingly fun.

(The survey is anonymous for IPs, you don't have to add your metafilter ID (if you do, then I can memail you later) and I promise not to share anything from the IDs and comments without explicit prior permission, etc.)
posted by viggorlijah at 4:03 AM on December 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


aryma, I haven't noticed people bringing up gender politics in ways that aren't relevant. There are a lot of threads about women and feminism lately because a lot of things have happened this year relating to women and gender equality. Metafilter reflects the world, and you're right, both are changing, for the better, I think. And yes, being careful with words and ideas is how things change, talking about these things (e.g., here) is how things change.

Why does this bother you so much?
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:23 AM on December 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


klang, with respect, that's what Marie Mon Dieu is upset about. You're explaining a situation that she already understands. Sometimes smart, caring men have huge blindspots about deeply ingrained sexist attitudes (eg that the way you treat your wife is irrelevant to your virtuousness...inadmissible somehow). It's depressing to uncover one.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:56 AM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


aryma, don't you just skip over them? I mean, the top three posts right now are on computer programming and the Beatles and candy: there won't be any of the stuff that makes you sad in there, so you can read them. Scrolling down the page of course there's yet another sexual assault thread about dentists or something, but it's really obvious what it is, so you just skip it, right? I mean, the Guardian has a Sports section, and I skip that. Because outside of these sexual assault threads, and the related OUTRAGE! topics like abortion or US policing, the conversation continues pretty much as it did - computers, linguistics, American politics, graphics, art...
posted by alasdair at 4:57 AM on December 19, 2014


But alasdair, the straw feminists are infecting those posts, too!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:07 AM on December 19, 2014 [19 favorites]


good discussion about a myriad of topics by intelligent people who came from a variety of backgrounds, people who discussed things politely (there was very little, if any, swearing or offensive word exchange) and respectfully.

I have never known this, this 'MetaFilter' you speak of. Where is it? It sounds ....magical.
posted by Miko at 5:36 AM on December 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ha ha, thanks! Thought the straw feminists look pretty cool, actually. "Come with us to the moon, where we'll blow up the earth!"
posted by alasdair at 5:43 AM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hi all, OP here.

I disabled my account temporarily because some of the initial responses made me very angry, and I didn't trust myself not to step in and respond in ways that would not have been constructive. I knew that I needed to sit back and let the discussion evolve, and I'm glad it did, because I think it was indeed useful. And while there are some responses that still make me very angry, I accept that not everyone sees the need for a space for women as I do and that my poor framing of the suggestion got some people's backs up unnecessarily, and that's on me. While I didn't want to intervene in the thread too quickly, I should have made it clearer from the outset that I wasn't only interested in a subforum, I was and am open to all suggestions, on site and off. I never meant to imply that it would be better to segregate all the women and their women-talk and shuffle off to a hidey hole away from the grown folks. I am sorry if my suggestion was interpreted that way; again, that was my failure.

I have always been a passive participant in discussions of feminism, and a lot of other topics on Metafilter for that matter, as I'm just not by nature the kind of person who always has the unfailing confidence in my actions and opinions that so many other Mefites do. I definitely look to other women for guidance on how to deal with certain situations.

What actually triggered me to offer up the MeFi women's forum suggestion was that I've been reflecting on a experience I had several weeks ago. I was with a small group of people I didn't know well, and one man suddenly looked around and, apropos of absolutely nothing, kind of menacingly asked, "So do we have any feminists here?" I never thought I was the kind of person to say nothing, but...I said nothing. The man went on to say all kinds of terribly demeaning things about his wife and kids, and I just sat there, stunned into silence. I've been beating myself up over the experience ever since and badly wish I'd handled the situation better. In that moment I just thought, and have been thinking since, "one of the MeFi women would have known how to handle this the right way." Like some of the women posting to this thread, I do not have a lot of female friends or confidants and never have, and MeFi women (as well as many of the men) are my touchstone with dealing with all sorts of issues including but not limited to women's issues, and I just wanted a way to more closely connect with them.

So, that's really all it was about for me. I appreciate many of the suggestions here and the support.
posted by ladybird at 5:53 AM on December 19, 2014 [58 favorites]


That kind of question could make a good AskMe. I've seen similar ones about dealing with racism in casual conversation.
posted by Miko at 6:01 AM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Glad you're back, ladybird! I find commenting here off-putting too, sometimes.
posted by alasdair at 6:02 AM on December 19, 2014


> Man, I am totally the mustache police.

I reckon I am showing my age but this is who immediately popped into my head.
posted by rtha at 6:06 AM on December 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


aryma, don't you just skip over them? I mean, the top three posts right now are on computer programming and the Beatles and candy

While I agree with what you're saying here, this isn't a great example - the computer programming thread isn't entirely about women's issues but it very much touches on them (at least enough that it'll probably bug aryma).
posted by Itaxpica at 6:25 AM on December 19, 2014


I accept that not everyone sees the need for a space for women as I do and that my poor framing of the suggestion got some people's backs up unnecessarily, and that's on me.

As a general rule, the baseline state of affairs has one explanation; the deviation from that baseline has another. The response that you got was totally average- the MetaTalk baseline. Please don't blame yourself for MeTa's unfortunate traditions.

I should have made it clearer from the outset that I wasn't only interested in a subforum, I was and am open to all suggestions, on site and off.

It sounds like your post suffered a little bit from the spurious subgoal problem (I refuse to call it the X Y problem, because that's the least informative name ever). But that in no way explains or excuses people being harsh in response.
posted by Jpfed at 6:32 AM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am also glad to see you back, ladybird.

I just wanted a way to more closely connect with them.

May I (gently) suggest that the best way to connect with women on Metafilter is to, well, connect with us (and everyone else) on Metafilter? If you can only find your voice in a place that's "safe", will you ever really be able to speak up when it matters?

I lurked on Metafilter for a long time (and stayed out of "women's issues" threads for a long time) because I felt that because I often disagreed with the majority, my voice didn't matter. Or I'd say something wrong or whatever. For me, learning to speak up regardless of what the response I get might be has been one of the more valuable things I've gotten from participating here.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:03 AM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think that's a great idea because it might just cut down on the inevitable backlash when someone says something that could be construed in some way as being anti-feminist. .

Like some gross hateful garbage about "poor battered feminists," for example? lol ok.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:08 AM on December 19, 2014 [30 favorites]


It'd be a lot easier to create WhatAboutTheMentafilter.com and send the derails there.
posted by almostmanda at 7:24 AM on December 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


people who discussed things politely (there was very little, if any, swearing or offensive word exchange) and respectfully.

To be fair, May 2011 was when mefi collectively agreed to get stoned as fuck for a few months, so 90% of the posts then were about Warner Bros cartoons and whether you could make the candy bar "Take 5" in your kitchen out of stuff you already had
posted by Greg Nog at 7:24 AM on December 19, 2014 [9 favorites]


Um guys hi. I'm writing a story in which the protagonist is high forever. Can you see my face
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:50 AM on December 19, 2014 [10 favorites]


If you can only find your voice in a place that's "safe", will you ever really be able to speak up when it matters?

I can't speak for ladybird, but I think you're conflating two categories. I am capable of speaking up for my interests and do so daily. That is 100% compatible with the fact that I'd like to have an additional venue in my life where I get to hang out with interesting people/do not have to read garbage from repeat offender obnoxious jackasses.

In essence, you're saying that because sometimes I don't want to deal with bullshit, I'm incapable of standing of truly standing up for myself.

That's really insulting. May I (gently) suggest that your personal desire and motivations to become more assertive are coloring your read of other people?
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:58 AM on December 19, 2014 [18 favorites]


My initial reaction was that I don't like the idea of there being a special 'women only' spot on Metafilter because I feel that in many ways my gender is the least important part of me on here (obviously I'm only speaking for myself) and I despise the (for want of a better phrase) boys vs girls shit that seems to be endemic in human society ie. boys do this, girls do that, not acknowledging differences is a form of repression, etc. I'd really hate to see that become an official part of Metafilter, which I think such a sub-site could perhaps encourage, because it sucks to be put in a box (no pun intended because that would be crass).

My thinking that hasn't stopped my life having been affected by the patriarchy which we all live under, though. It is good to be able to say that even though #allmen don't suck, statistics show that quite a few do. Male on female rape, sexual assault and domestic violence is through the roof, the glass ceiling is still incredibly hard to shatter, double standards with regards to sexual expression are rampant, et bloody c.

I like the idea of there being a place where this kind of thing can be discussed without having to apologise for feeling pissed off about actual things that have happened purely because of gender. A Metafilter sub-site may not be the place for it (I still think it isn't) but I'll always be in favour of people finding like-minded other people to hash things over without having to worry about the #notall* factor.
posted by h00py at 7:59 AM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


> I can't speak for ladybird, but I think you're conflating two categories

Actually I couldn't have said it better myself. And I think it is possible, even desirable, to express dissent, but I feel like we should make the effort to do this without completely dismissing the ideas and feelings of those we disagree with. Shouting my opinions from the rooftops, consequences and feelings of others be damned, is not the way I personally want to approach communicating with other people, on Metafilter or anywhere else.
posted by ladybird at 8:08 AM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Um guys hi. I'm writing a story in which the protagonist is high forever. Can you see my face

I look forward to reading your Inherent Vice fanfiction sequel.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:12 AM on December 19, 2014


If you can only find your voice in a place that's "safe", will you ever really be able to speak up when it matters?

Why do I have the song You're Not the Boss of Me Now going through my head?

sparklemotion, you are talking down to people a bit as if you are the person in charge giving some tough love regarding where they ought to be comfortable in their social interactions. It feels condescending. For one thing, how is having a safe space at all related to having the ability to speak up? If someone has a day with difficult interpersonal interactions at work, it's hardly dysfunctional to want to come home to a more quiet and predictable environment. One can even flourish in both places in this kind of scenario. Also, why feel the need to prod people along to where they "should" be in their social interaction? It is healthy for people to know what their boundaries are and to strive for locations in which they can do well.

Again, I'm not a fan of a new subsite, but as a general site narrative, I would love the idea that we discourage a condescending "I'm the teacher, you are the student" tone that sometimes comes into the conversation.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:44 AM on December 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


Hmm. Easier said than done, SS.
posted by h00py at 8:49 AM on December 19, 2014


sparklemotion, you are talking down to people a bit as if you are the person in charge giving some tough love regarding where they ought to be comfortable in their social interactions.

When the OP said:
I definitely look to other women for guidance on how to deal with certain situations. AND I just wanted a way to more closely connect with [women on Metafilter].

I read it as a request for guidance from other women on how to deal with social interactions. So I gave some. I get that this isn't AskMe, and so my AskMe-advice-from-my-experience response was possibly not warranted, and I hindsight I apologize for giving unsolicited advice. But I don't think that my reading was completely off-base.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:54 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


As has been proven in this thread, you're not going to get rid of misogyny, oppression, or condescension in the conversation simply by keeping men out. The cheerleaders for the patriarchy are all too frequently women, sad as that is.
posted by heyho at 9:04 AM on December 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Ladybird, I'm glad you're back. I had an experience in a meeting a few years ago where I stated that something was sexist, and I proposed a less sexist alternative. (The group had already reached consensus about discarding the thing; people had different reasons for wanting to discard it, though, and didn't know what the alternative would be.) A man raised his voice at me, spittle flying, aggressively pointing at me with a stabbing motion, as I and the rest of the room sat silently, while he lectured me loudly and in detail why it was not sexist and I was wrong to say so and he "proved" it to me, relying on his graduate education and long career and also the dictionary.

In discussing that incident later with other women who had been in the room, I was the only one who saw his tirade as an example of sexism in action. The meeting room had been full of women and men who all claimed to be progressive (including Fred Spittle-Flyer), many of whom I knew very well, who were smart and articulate, with phenomenal careers, who are in general very caring and in tune with other people. Every single one of them had sat there just like I did. And then afterward, the women I mentioned it to, denied to my face that he had been out of line. To a one, the women said, "Oh that's just Fred. You know Fred. That's what he's like." (That was the only time I ever saw Fred raise his voice at anyone or make pointy stabby gestures toward anyone.)

I share this to clarify that my discussion of the incident after the fact, in a women-only group, was not at all reassuring and in fact made me feel worse. What was satisfying, what made me feel not-alone and become able to view it even a little lightheartedly by now, was talking about it on a website that was heavily moderated (trolls quickly snuffed out, devil's advocacy not permitted, etc.). Heavier moderation is the answer to what you're looking for, I think, and unfortunately it's incredibly burdensome for a site to provide, because it means all the sexist troll ire is directed at the mods instead of at us, not that they stop attacking.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 9:05 AM on December 19, 2014 [9 favorites]


I wanted to add support to that idea of "just connect." I'm privileged to have forged some strong personal connections with many women on MeFi whom I admire (men too). It's almost a little hard to reconstruct how it happened, but I would say a general pattern is something like this:

-notice how awesome their comments regularly are
-add them to my contacts and/or favorite them and track their contributions more closely
-have some MeMail exchanges, like "awesome comment!" and "I never thought about it that way, thanks for saying that!" and "can you believe that garbage, I mean really!"
-start thinking of them as a 'friend'
-sometimes meet them at a meetup
-sometimes get to know them better on MetaChat or MeFi Chat
-sometimes follow them on other social networks - Twitter, Facebook
-sometimes email them personally about stuff outside of MeFi
-sometimes make plans to meet in person if life overlaps

I think I have awesome-MeFi-women-friends in just about every combination of these categories, but I know I'm not alone when I say hey, just drop someone a line via MeMail or list them as a contact. It's really nice to hear that people like what you have to say and think you're nice. Few people dislike that. And that often leads to stronger connections as you gradually become internet friends and sometimes, IRL friends too. It's one of the best things about this place. Of course that doesn't happen with and for everybody, and it's totally fine that many people have different purposes and boundaries for their online life that don't include becoming best buds, but it is great when it does happen.
posted by Miko at 9:09 AM on December 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


Accusing people of cheerleading is patronising all by itself. Not everyone is going to agree on everything, regardless of which particular group they 'belong' to. If you don't agree with something that someone's said then you should be prepared to rebut it, not just throw out words like cheerleading, as if whoever you're talking about is just stepping in line with the patriarchy and doesn't have an individual point of view worthy of attention.
posted by h00py at 9:20 AM on December 19, 2014 [10 favorites]


If we get another Mefi subsite it has to be either a food site or one of all our cute pets links.
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:43 AM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


RecipeMe & PetMe?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:52 AM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Combine them! PetMeRecipe!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:06 AM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


poffinboffin, you are SO right - "poor battered feminists" was disrespectful and I sincerely apologize to all.
posted by aryma at 10:12 AM on December 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


Okay, so, anyone interested in kicking around ideas about a discourse-centric offsite thingy that is feminist in nature, or at least interested in taking on a little admin duty (since I assume anything like this is going to require spam and troll mitigation), MeMail me.

I'll post back here when we get the tech sorted out, so you don't have to MeMail me if you just want to join.

This is just talking about talking about it, we can discuss the final format there.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:40 AM on December 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


Must we always be SO careful not to step on any toes that we can't even express our honest feelings?

Just going to put out there that this is why I, personally, would enjoy a feminist-oriented MeFi-type space: because sometimes I get SO BLOODY TIRED of avoiding the large toes of some of our less-feminist MeFites and hearing the cries of agony when said toes have been touched by a moderate expression of my feelings, never mind a blunt one. (And I know women aren't by any means the only group here who have this problem, just the one we're talking about in this thread.)

I talk about feminism because I'm interested in it and honestly, I get tired of justifying that interest.
posted by immlass at 11:58 AM on December 19, 2014 [27 favorites]


Must we always be SO careful not to step on any toes that we can't even express our honest feelings?

If you step on my toes, that's an accident. If you step on my toes and then become offended when I say OW, that's you being a problem.

Be as careless/honest as you like, I guess, but be ready to absorb the consequences of that. If you don't like those consequences, well, it's probably time for you to admit that you need to start taking more care.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:07 PM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


i thought professional pink background was really funny
posted by Sebmojo at 12:14 PM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


Again, I'm not a fan of a new subsite, but as a general site narrative, I would love the idea that we discourage a condescending "I'm the teacher, you are the student" tone that sometimes comes into the conversation.

Would this includes demands to "Educate yourself/I'm not here to educate you!" and "Read the 101"?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:20 PM on December 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Telling someone to educate themselves would be pretty much the opposite of playing the teacher. N'est-ce pas?
posted by bearwife at 12:26 PM on December 19, 2014 [13 favorites]


Would this includes demands to "Educate yourself/I'm not here to educate you!" and "Read the 101"?

I am not a big fan of certain modes of presentation, although when done right, directing people to helpful information can certainly be a good-faith and charitable thing to do.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:28 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sometimes, some people really do know more than other people about a thing.
posted by Miko at 6:49 PM on December 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


> I am not a big fan of certain modes of presentation

That's the best tone argument I've ever seen
posted by waraw at 8:28 PM on December 19, 2014


That's the best tone argument I've ever seen

I try to avoid speaking about tone (although I forget sometimes) because it's often associated with fallacies that discredit the content of arguments based on how they come across, which is infuriatingly disrespectful to the speaker and also counterproductive to any good-faith pursuit of knowledge or social change. I am a big believer in the idea that there are ways of presenting information and interacting with others that make it much more likely to have successful conversations, solve problems, or simply narrow in collectively on certain types of knowledge. There is certainly room for a whole range of emotions in the process, so I'm not thinking of people not being emotional, but in communicating in such a way that includes charity, humility, empathy, and a range of other virtues that sometimes get lost in the midst of disagreement.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:22 PM on December 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


I try to avoid speaking about tone (although I forget sometimes) because it's often associated with fallacies that discredit the content of arguments based on how they come across, which is infuriatingly disrespectful to the speaker and also counterproductive to any good-faith pursuit of knowledge or social change. I am a big believer in the idea that there are ways of presenting information and interacting with others that make it much more likely to have successful conversations, solve problems, or simply narrow in collectively on certain types of knowledge. There is certainly room for a whole range of emotions in the process, so I'm not thinking of people not being emotional, but in communicating in such a way that includes charity, humility, empathy, and a range of other virtues that sometimes get lost in the midst of disagreement.

sorry what
posted by Sebmojo at 2:03 AM on December 20, 2014


If you step on my toes, that's an accident. If you step on my toes and then become offended when I say OW, that's you being a problem.

It's more like walking in the general area and having someone yelling about his toes. Without even having stepped on them in the first place, the conversation will predictably become about his toes and his feelings about his toes, rather than what was the original subject. That's a crappy dynamic and personally I'm bored of it.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:30 AM on December 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


#notalltoes
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:58 AM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sebmojo: " sorry what"

Shorter interpretation:

I try to avoid speaking about tone (although I forget sometimes) because it's often associated with fallacies that discredit the content of arguments based on how they come across, which is infuriatingly disrespectful to the speaker and also counterproductive to any good-faith pursuit of knowledge or social change.

Tone arguments are bullshit.

I am a big believer in the idea that there are ways of presenting information and interacting with others that make it much more likely to have successful conversations, solve problems, or simply narrow in collectively on certain types of knowledge.

At the same time, it's true that how you say something can affect how a listener hears it.

There is certainly room for a whole range of emotions in the process, so I'm not thinking of people not being emotional, but in communicating in such a way that includes charity, humility, empathy, and a range of other virtues that sometimes get lost in the midst of disagreement.

It's fine to be emotional, and communication goes better when the goal is understanding than when the goal is scoring points.
posted by Lexica at 10:34 AM on December 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


"I despise the (for want of a better phrase) boys vs girls shit "

A visiting friend last week was calling it "the Kevin Hart routine," in that every Kevin Hart routine is about "Ladies do this, men do this!"
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 AM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Okay, I've got a forum set up to discuss the future forum (or whatever it might turn out to be). Please feel free to mess around in the testing forum to kick the tires, start threads in the discussion area, etc.

I'm Lyn Never there, you can PM me after you've posted 3 times (which you can do in the testing forum) or leave a note in the help forum if you run into a problem/question you think might be relevant to others.

I'll ask that you give me the weekend to harden anything I need to before spreading the link around outside this thread/Metafilter, but if you know a specific person or two you think would be a good contributor, do let them know.

There is no requirement that one be any specific sex or gender, but the idea is to talk about a place that is a safe space for women-centric and feminist issues, so be mindful of what your relative position to those topics is.

I have a really low bullshit tolerance and will ban anybody who just shows up to fight, for fun or otherwise. But anyone who wants to come contribute productively is welcome.

I should be around most of the day to address any technical issues. Your email confirmation is going to be coming from an odd domain (never.to) so check your spam filters if you don't see anything within a few minutes.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:47 PM on December 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


Must we always be SO careful not to step on any toes that we can't even express our honest feelings?

I've been thinking about this phrase a lot because I think it comes up regularly in pushback against women, black people, people of color, lgbt people, etc... critiquing something or someone for what they've said, and it's an underpinning for the anti-political correct language thing which emerged approximately 50 seconds after calls for being politically correct (which I'm not sure was ever a Thing, or at least no where near the Thing that being anti-PC is and has been for the last twenty years).

The unspoken basis of all of these objections is that some people have honest feelings, and some people are caving to The Man ("The Man" here amusingly redefined as cultural minorities*). The weird thing is, the framing either excludes cultural minorities entirely (as they/we would presumably not be caving to ourselves) or presumes that cultural minorities must not be acting out of they're/our "honest feelings" but rather acting as a power play. (It also repositions the power pyramid so the people with the most money and influence can advance themselves as victims no one pays attention to - but for the moment that is beside the point.)

When I object to sexism, racism, ableism, transphobia, etc... I am speaking out of my honest feelings. I find the default of the Unmarked Categories contempt-worthy and irritating. I find how often I fall into the assumptions created by their distortion aggravating. I find my difficulty of thinking beyond the categories we are assumed to be in rage-inducing. I find the immediate response of "what did you expect" to people objecting to truly offensive and cruel things infuriating. It is perhaps true that if I was to express my completely honest opinions there were be a lot more images of things blowing up, giant feet smushing things, property damage, etc... but I tend to temper my responses in accordance with Tone Argument Objections because I'm good at it. I use rhetorical and poetic beats because I can. None of the style aspects of my arguments make them any less my honest feelings, however.

So, by all means, stand up for your "honest feelings". I do. And expect pushback. I do. And if it rises to insults, and harassment, and stalking, and rape threats, and someone publishing your home address, and people phoning in bomb threats to where you'll be, and people sending you emails threatening to do a school shooting targeting you in a state where they can bring guns into your audience, and people hacking your company's financials, and people sending you extortion demands, etc... I will stand with you to object to that.

But that won't stop me from expressing my honest opinions to and about you as well, even if you experience that as unpleasant.


* I'm using the phrase cultural minorities because many of the populations are literal, world-wide majorities but in terms of cultural discourse within "Western" communities and the culture they export, they are literal minorities because so many are excluded from places of influence and attention.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:48 PM on December 20, 2014 [14 favorites]


Deoridhe, I think maybe you are speaking in general, societal terms, but I am not sure (and I could be wrong here, I don't want to speak for her) aryma was.

I felt she was talking, if not about Metafilter specifically, than at least online culture specifically. Online, communication is more volatile and more easily taken to extremes. Often, you will have special interest factions poised to do battle, already on the brink of outrage. This may well be because IRL they are dealing with a shit roll of the dice, but it also means they are primed to see any slight dissension as direct opposition to their cause. And online, where they can hide behind anonymity, trolls are perfectly happy to try to work anyone with an easily identifiable political, religious or other affiliation up further, too.

It's kinda like how relationships between people who meet over the Internet progress faster than IRL ones--online, the pace, the emotion, everything is just ramped up to high speed, or, in this case, high dudgeon.

I think that is where some of the frustration in this thread initially came from, when ladybird proposed this, the sense that there are already more than enough schisms and warring factions online, so why create another by splintering off the woman of Metafilter into another site?

I am at the point, just speaking for myself now, that all the Red vs Blue stuff has become wearying. My reaction, though, is not to want to carve out another gated Blue community, but to hang out with other cool Purples.
posted by misha at 2:03 PM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Often, you will have special interest factions poised to do battle, already on the brink of outrage.

And at least as often, you have people heavily invested in the status quo ready to do the same thing.
posted by Dysk at 2:39 PM on December 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


That's fair, Dysk, and I probably should have used "specific interest" rather than "special interest", because of course the status quo people could be the ones feeling defensive (Thanks, Obama!).

actually did have what I think might be a productive suggestion for dealing with some of the GRAR here on Mefi, too.

I know we are not big Reddit fans here, but one thing they do in some threads is to have a "serious" tag to keep the jokey comments to a minimum in threads about, say, abuse or another sensitive issue.

I don't think joking about serious stuff is the main reason we have threads where commenters clash. I also don't buy into the consensus that we have a bunch of misogynistic assholes here gumming up the works every time women dare to speak up, though.

I really have thought about this because I do want to take part in discussions but I don't want so much friction. I think one main problem is that we--meaning all the site members--have different expectations about the appropriate responses to the more contentious topics when we post them.

Some of us are looking for support, validation, celebration, or on the other side of the sane coin, outrage and disgust. In other words, a shared, communal outpouring of emotion.

Others are just reading stuff on the Internet, and reacting on a case by case basis.

Some are fans, eager to share their latest interest, or academics with a background in the subject, who really want to get down into the nitty gritty details and explore an issue from every possible angle (the Beanplaters).

Quick examples, on a very minor scale, of the way these different expectations can play out: In a recent thread about a gay umpire who was retiring, someone made what seemed to me like a harmless joke, and was taken to task for casting a sour note on a "celebratory thread". In another thread about the life's work of a photographer, someone starts quizzing the participants over what, exactly, is artistic about the photos with nudity, and why are breasts even an interesting subject, I don't get it, etc.

The mods want us to "read the room" correctly to see which way the wind is blowing in a given thread, so we don't "drop a bomb" in it. Sometimes well-meaning comments are taken to be doing just that because of the varying expectations.

I feel like posters tagging threads in specific contentious topics, somewhat like trigger warnings, could go a long way to helping that goal along. i also think having to choose the right tag from a select group might be beneficial to members already on the fence about whether a thread is truly a good fit for Metafilter.

If you start posting something but all you can think when you get to the tagging part is how pissed off you are? It might not be a good fit. If you think the subject is important rather than especially well executed or interesting or an unusual take on a familiar idea, ditto.

The hard part would be, of course, thinking up the right tags to use.
posted by misha at 3:10 PM on December 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think that is where some of the frustration in this thread initially came from, when ladybird proposed this, the sense that there are already more than enough schisms and warring factions online, so why create another by splintering off the woman of Metafilter into another site?

Given most people have been discussing this now as an addition to, as the idea of it being a subsite was scuttled right at the beginning of the thread, I'm not sure why this would create any more of a schism than a social club for MetaFilter Gamers did. I guess we'll see, though, since it already happened a bunch of comments back.

If there's anything this thread has proven, however, it's that women remain not-a-monolith. I also posit that the women likely to "splinter off" will both continue to comment on MetaFilter, and already are schismed on MetaFilter, as much as something like MetaFilter can schism.

I felt she was talking, if not about Metafilter specifically, than at least online culture specifically. Online, communication is more volatile and more easily taken to extremes. Often, you will have special interest factions poised to do battle, already on the brink of outrage.

I was speaking about online culture as well. Every specific negative response to speaking one's honest feelings that I cited has happened online in the past three months, many of them within the past month. Yes, the bomb and school shooting threats affected offline things, but the mode of transmission was online and it was in response to a series of videos on YouTube, which makes it pretty damn online.

The framing I addressed is that honest feelings can't be shared because the person with honest feelings "must"* worry about other people's toes. This is a rhetorical claim with some pretty ugly underpinnings to it, and the ugly underpinnings remain whether the interaction is online or offline.


*They actually don't have to.
posted by Deoridhe at 9:03 PM on December 20, 2014


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