deddit March 11, 2015 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Given this FPP about reddit's racism, and with the notion presented in that thread here, I'd like to float the idea of a blanket ban on links to reddit on the Blue.

The title of the link is "How reddit became a worse hotbed of racism than Stormfront," and while that may be slightly hyperbolic, there is a blanket ban on links there.

Every time we link there, people clicking give reddit eyeballs and therefore ad revenue. I feel like we shouldn't be supporting that. (To say nothing of the gribble glommer/misogynist/non-consensual porn and spycams, child porn, etc etc etc.)

Thoughts?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering to Etiquette/Policy at 12:17 PM (308 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

[Preemptive note: this is a policy discussion we can have in here, but this thread needs not to turn into a proxy argument rehashing much of what's already been discussed in the referenced thread on the blue; if you just kind of want to talk about that, the thread is open and you can read up on what's already been said there and proceed from there.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:18 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are there any other sites we have formal blanket bans on? (And I don't mean "well, we would never link to Stormfront" or what have you, because that seems more a matter of an objection to the nature of the links themselves than because of a "guilt-by-association" objection to content that in itself is entirely unobjectionable.)
posted by yoink at 12:23 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, short answer from the mod side is no, a blanket ban on links to reddit is not something we'd consider. I think there are a lot of really, really legitimate things to criticize about how Reddit approaches the gross stuff that appears on the site, but Metafilter taking a formal activist policy stance on all the content on a very large, very varied site isn't consistent with how this place has worked.

It's entirely fine for folks to make the individual decision to not link to something because it's on reddit, and to talk in here about their reasons for that; it's fine to talk about that stuff in the context of a thread about reddit's issues (which is basically what's been up with that thread on the blue); it would be less okay to broach that stuff in threads that happen to link to otherwise-unobjectionable content that happens to be on reddit, though mostly we don't see much of that to begin with.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:25 PM on March 11, 2015 [47 favorites]


We should also ban links from the internet because they say hateful things there too
posted by just another scurvy brother at 12:27 PM on March 11, 2015 [64 favorites]


Here's your link to posts with Reddit in the body.

It doesn't really seem like we are getting a ton of objectional/poor quality material from there. Maybe others disagree?

I really don't like Reddit but I just skip the post if the actual content of the post is linking to reddit.
posted by selfnoise at 12:31 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Best of the web this box of old National Geographics I found in the attic
posted by mbrubeck at 12:31 PM on March 11, 2015 [28 favorites]


I think there's value in talking about and shining a harsh spotlight on hatred, rather than turning our backs on it. I'm suspect that couldn't happen effectively if links to such content were banned. Cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

Also, we've had 563 posts that included "reddit" either in text or html code since MeFi was founded and most of them have been about non-vile content. While I agree that supporting a site that turns a blind eye to racism is Not Good, I wonder if it would be worth the subsequent loss to us in content and posts.
posted by zarq at 12:32 PM on March 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


yoink: Are there any other sites we have formal blanket bans on? (And I don't mean "well, we would never link to Stormfront" or what have you, because that seems more a matter of an objection to the nature of the links themselves than because of a "guilt-by-association" objection to content that in itself is entirely unobjectionable.)

Unless things have changed since Jessamyn retired, links to Stormfront are deleted by the mods no matter their content. It doesn't matter if the linked content is itself objectionable.
But as mods we only delete links to what we consider racists or sexist hate sites which is a very short list of sites, with no actual URLs that I can think of offhand except Stormfront. As with everything else, it's case-by-case. Usually what we've seen is that someone looking for a source for something winds up finding it on a site like that and accidentally links to the site without knowing what the rest of the site is about. Or people link to it in a "Look at these assholes" way which is usually not a good link/post to begin with.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:24 PM on January 23, 2014 [+] [!]

posted by zarq at 12:36 PM on March 11, 2015


This is a bad idea. Reddit, with all of its many faults, is clearly not Stormfront. Blanket bans on a domain should be reserved for domains where there is no legitimate content, which can't be said about Reddit.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:37 PM on March 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


Didn't there used to be a ban on links to SA along with Stormfront? I don't think reddit is ban-worthy but, damn, am I tired of links to them. Sometimes it feels like a concerted, Pepsi Blue, marketing ploy.

1. Mefi is high-profile
2. Make links driving users to reddit
3. Profit
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 12:41 PM on March 11, 2015


Maybe more of a "definitely side-eye them hard when they come up" sliding-scale situation?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:43 PM on March 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Didn't there used to be a ban on links to SA

As in Something Awful? No, there has never been. I'm not sure why there would have been; SA has and has had its warts, but as noted above, "you can never link there" has never applied to basically anything other than, literally, Stormfront.

There have been periods when specific, small-scope publications have been linked overly much and we've pushed back on that more for "yes, everybody is aware of X, try to show some discretion" reasons after we'd hit the saturation point—The Onion is the classic old days example, Mallory Ortberg's Toast posts probably the most recent discussion—but that's a very different beast from objecting to links on the basis of deeply problematic content or policies.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:45 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


My issue is that I can imagine topics where the best source of useful information would be an obscure subreddit, where I really can’t imagine that to be the case with stormfront. Or the Daily Mail, for that matter. This might be more of an askme issue than a metafilter issue.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:47 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think each reader can make their own decision whether they want to follow a reddit link or not. Reddit is different from Stormfront because everything on Stormfront is racist/antisemitic garbage. That may also be true of certain sub-reddits like redpill, but not for the entire site. There are many good subreddits that may be worthy of a link.
posted by double block and bleed at 12:53 PM on March 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think the bar for banning any site on a domain level should be really really REALLY high. Stormfront qualifies. Reddit, as crappy as it is when using it in a default state, doesn't get there for me.
posted by disclaimer at 1:05 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


disclaimer: "I think the bar for banning any site on a domain level should be really really REALLY high. Stormfront qualifies. Reddit, as crappy as it is when using it in a default state, doesn't get there for me."

Agreed. Reddit as company is hecka dingdongs, but indivdual reddits are occasionally decent. I acknowledge this is hard to reconcile.
posted by boo_radley at 1:09 PM on March 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think it would be a bit rich to ban links to Reddit when roughly 50% of our content is pulled from reddit without attribution.
posted by Think_Long at 1:15 PM on March 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


roughly 50% of our content is pulled from reddit without attribution

This is a completely unverifiable claim.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:16 PM on March 11, 2015 [28 favorites]


Yeah, I admit it's a rather grand exaggeration.
posted by Think_Long at 1:18 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


It doesn't really seem like we are getting a ton of objectional/poor quality material from there

My concern is not about the quality of links. My concern is the amount of traffic we send to reddit, which increases their pageviews/stats/ad revenue for a corporation that actively invites and coddles hatred. I think we can do better.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:19 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: Best of the web this box of old National Geographics I found in the attic

You kid, but.
posted by odinsdream at 1:20 PM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think it would be a bit rich to ban links to Reddit when roughly 50% of our content is pulled from reddit without attribution.

This is one of the sillier recurring memes in reddit discussion on Metatalk. What reddit does is aggregate a huge amount of content, by sheer force of volume; lots of other sites also aggregate stuff; Metafilter also, very manually and collaboratively, aggregates stuff. And the nature of the modern web is this: stuff moves around a lot more quickly and broadly than it did ten years ago.

And so the likelihood that something non-obscure will appear on a random given site before it appears on reddit is on the low side, because reddit trades in crowd-sourced volume. Which is fine; that's reddit's model.

But it's post hoc ergo propter hoc silliness to assume that because it hit reddit first, it was gotten from reddit. The web is a big, complicated interconnected mess of sources and aggregators. There's a kind of weird misguided pride driving the idea that the flow of the internet is from-reddit-to-X for any given situation where something has appeared on reddit and on site X.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:21 PM on March 11, 2015 [82 favorites]


Fair enough. I'll fully admit that it's impossible to track virality through one person's limited perspective.
posted by Think_Long at 1:24 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Banning reddit FPPs with this rationale, as far as I can tell, means conceptualizing reddit as one thing when it's actually another thing. Functionally speaking, reddit is not a forum, reddit is forum hosting software. "Some subreddits are really awful so let's ban reddit FPPs" is a statement along the lines of "some blogs are really awful so let's ban Blogger FPPs".
posted by capricorn at 1:29 PM on March 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Stormfront has a much more cohesive editorial worldview than Reddit.

Reddit is more like a content host than a single site, and moderation/editorial policies vary wildly from subreddit to subreddit. Thus, a blanket ban on Reddit makes as much sense as a blanket ban on Tumblr, Livejournal, Blogspot, etc. Just because some subreddits/tumblrs/journals/blogs under a particular domain name are terrible doesn't mean that the others, which are written by completely different people, have no value.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:29 PM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


The reason that MetaFilter exists is for users to present interesting items that have been found at other sites. Worthy posts can be based on items found at Reddit, with additional links to create a richer experience, of course.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:30 PM on March 11, 2015


I'm not sure I would stay on Metafilter if it ever adopted such a poorly-thought-out blanket policy as this. I'm embarassed to even see it suggested here.
posted by Nelson at 1:31 PM on March 11, 2015 [44 favorites]


My concern is not about the quality of links. My concern is the amount of traffic we send to reddit, which increases their pageviews/stats/ad revenue for a corporation that actively invites and coddles hatred. I think we can do better.

This sort of concern trolling is just obnoxious. If you don't like reddit, don't visit it.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 1:32 PM on March 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


Off topic, but since the mods have led us there:

I don't think it's silliness to employ Occam's Razor on the internet.

I'm sure that at times we get stuff, and Reddit gets stuff, and it comes to us through separate channels. But it seems a little "doth protest too much" to say that there is no reason to think that there is a causal connection between something appearing on the front page of Reddit and then popping up here 6-24 hours later with slightly changed wording and maybe an extra link or two.
posted by Poppa Bear at 1:34 PM on March 11, 2015


This sort of concern trolling is just obnoxious. If you don't like reddit, don't visit it.

You're in no position to evaluate fffm's sincerity. Accusations of trolling, concern-flavored or no, are not conducive to a productive MeTa.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:35 PM on March 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


This sort of concern trolling is just obnoxious. If you don't like reddit, don't visit it.

That isn't even concern trolling, anyway. Concern trolling is when you criticize something but don't actually care about the outcome of that criticism, e.g. a Republican criticizing Democratic messaging like "they'll surely listen to your message if you say it like this!" when they don't actually support the message at all.

It's a useful term and shouldn't just be thrown around to whine when someone has a concern you don't like.
posted by dialetheia at 1:38 PM on March 11, 2015 [25 favorites]


This sort of concern trolling is just obnoxious.

I feel like concern trolling is a term that gets thrown around too loosely sometimes; this isn't really an example of it. You can disagree with the merit of fffm's argument and that's fine but it's just a disagreement, not a difference in literal validity or genuineness of thought.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:40 PM on March 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


But it seems a little "doth protest too much" to say that there is no reason to think that there is a causal connection between something appearing on the front page of Reddit and then popping up here 6-24 hours later with slightly changed wording and maybe an extra link or two.

Dunno, that seems to be proposing something against the null hypothesis without anything to back it.

More directly on-topic, I'm not generally a fan of Reddit, but I also don't think that it rises to the Stormfront-level to merit going against the Community Principles of context and rulings over blanket rules.
In other words, it doesn't necessarily need to be hardline banned, but if people make a conscious note to avoid it, that'll get most of the same effect on a community level.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:41 PM on March 11, 2015


This sort of concern trolling is just obnoxious. If you don't like reddit, don't visit it.

Enough with the dog-whistle. That's really unbecoming of you.

I share fffm's legitimate concerns about reddit, and WalMart for that matter: I don't patronize them, because I don't want to give them my very valuable time, attention or money. I also agree that it falls short of the criteria for site ban.
posted by Dashy at 1:41 PM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


roughly 50% of our content is pulled from reddit without attribution

I have here in my hand a list of 205 FPPs...that were made known to the moderators...as being Reddit related...and which nevertheless are creating discussion on Metafilter.
posted by corb at 1:41 PM on March 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


I'm absolutely against this. Reddit, for one thing, can be especially good when there is a live news type event, something the cabal has deemed MetaFilter "doesn't do well."
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:43 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


My concern is the amount of traffic we send to reddit, which increases their pageviews/stats/ad revenue for a corporation that actively invites and coddles hatred. I think we can do better.

In my opinion, to do better would be to do as cortex suggests: "It's entirely fine for folks to make the individual decision to not link to something because it's on reddit, and to talk in here about their reasons for that; it's fine to talk about that stuff in the context of a thread about reddit's issues..."

A site-wide ban isn't appropriate for Metafilter.
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:43 PM on March 11, 2015


I have many objections to Reddit - though I read parts of it anyway - but I don't think that the links from Metafilter have a significant effect on Reddit's traffic.

Per the about pages, Metafilter has approximately 17 million pageviews from 6.5 million unique users every month. Reddit has about 6.7 BILLION pageviews and 151.7 million unique users per month.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:44 PM on March 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Eventually Metafilter will only allow links to itself, finally becoming MetaMetafilter in the process. As it is we are already as it is, and frequently as it were.
posted by spitbull at 1:47 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


This sort of concern trolling is just obnoxious.

Have you read the article linked in the FPP that fffm is referring to? Because I just did, and I actually had to step away from the article a couple times before finishing it because the kind of racism going on in some of those subreddits is just so horrifying that it makes me feel physically ill.

I totally understand why the mods wouldn't want to make a formal blanket ban on reddit links, but at the same time, I'm glad that fffm posted this metatalk thread, because I know that I personally would like to avoid giving any form of support (even if it's just page views) to a site that helps facilitate this kind of hate, and at the very least, it's worth bringing attention to this issue so that each member of this community can consider where they want to draw the line for themselves.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:48 PM on March 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


My concern is not about the quality of links. My concern is the amount of traffic we send to reddit, which increases their pageviews/stats/ad revenue for a corporation that actively invites and coddles hatred. I think we can do better.

I strongly disagree with this stance, and don't think the notion of 'doing better' (which in this context appears to mean 'doing what FFFM wants') can be meaningfully applied to pre-emptively censoring links on a board devoted to discussing links.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:49 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Eventually Metafilter will only allow links to itself, finally becoming MetaMetafilter in the process. As it is we are already as it is, and frequently as it were.

Right, as evidenced by the... zero?... people seconding the proposal outlined in this MeTa?
posted by tonycpsu at 1:49 PM on March 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


A person truly hellbent on avoiding Reddit could also use the MyMefi page and add "reddit" as an exclude tag.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:52 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


But it seems a little "doth protest too much" to say that there is no reason to think that there is a causal connection between something appearing on the front page of Reddit and then popping up here 6-24 hours later with slightly changed wording and maybe an extra link or two.

You are welcome to get straight up quant on this if you want, I'll propose a napkin-math methodology:

1. Put together a collection of Metafilter posts that feature links that appeared on reddit previously.

2. Identify the sites on which the links appeared prior to its appearance on reddit—both the source content, and other intermediaries and aggregators.

3. Identify post-reddit sites on which the links appeared after its appearance on reddit but prior to its appearance on Metafilter.

4. Analyze the textual content of the Metafilter post, the reddit post(s), and the source and intermediary and post-reddit posts.

From there you can do a coding survey of the content of all the various permutations and come up with some fairly decent approximations of content drift from source to source.

The smoking gun you're looking for here is a prominence of cases where (a) the reddit post text differs significantly from the source and intermediary and post-reddit text, and (b) the Metafilter post significantly resembles the reddit post text but not the source or intermediary or post-reddit text. That'd be pretty compelling evidence of the assertion that people are specifically pulling from reddit without attribution, rather than pulling from the entire rest of the internet. And it's doable. Tedious, but doable.

And it'd be an interesting result in part because it'd be surprising; Occam's Razor does not favor the idea that Reddit, rather than the entire rest of the internet, is the source for any given link that has appeared in more than one place on the entire internet. As prominent and high-volume a site as Reddit is, it is not a majority shareholder in the ol' web-o-sphere.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:54 PM on March 11, 2015 [38 favorites]


You could do what I do; add a line to your hosts file to redirect the reddit url to 127.0.0.1. Suddenly the site doesn't exist anymore. I do this on nearly every work computer I have.
posted by hellojed at 1:55 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think there's value in talking about and shining a harsh spotlight on hatred...

I think there's value in demonstrating our belief in free expression by not getting freaked out any time someone says something we viscerally hate. Tolerance and diversity (real tolerance and diversity) will always include things we dislike.

The right answer is to ignore them, not to shine spotlights.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:03 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Poppa Bear: "Off topic, but since the mods have led us there"

They were trying to lead us away from that???

And also people who seed reddit with links seed other places as well. It's not like -- as opposed to what some people jere seem to believe -- you have to take a bloode oathe to House Reddit when you post things there To Nae Post Afirth and Traverse The Internet.
posted by boo_radley at 2:03 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, would Team Mod consider banning links to specific reddit subs if they're as bad or worse than Stormfront?
posted by zarq at 2:04 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


zarq: "Out of curiosity, would Team Mod consider banning links to specific reddit subs if they're as bad or worse than Stormfront?
"

Who wants to maintain that? "here is a list of garbage racists saying garbage racist things, I have vetted them all."
posted by boo_radley at 2:05 PM on March 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


My understanding is that Metafilter is intended as a general interest site, not an advocacy site. A blanket ban on linking to a particular website specifically so the website in question does not receive any material benefit is an act of protest that feels like a direct contradiction to this differentiation. No matter how noble the purpose, I'm really not a fan of Metafilter moving in that direction.
posted by The Gooch at 2:07 PM on March 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


What part of "this thread needs not to turn into a proxy argument rehashing much of what's already been discussed in the referenced thread on the blue" did some of you not get?
posted by zombieflanders at 2:08 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


1. How would this apply to people who suggest reddit as a source of useful advice on $particulartopic on ask? Because that happens all the time.

2. Most of the reddit content worth linking to is in the comments (because otherwise it would just be the link itself), and since reddit is a pretty don't-read-the-comments place, metafilter being a filter on that seems worthwhile.
posted by quaking fajita at 2:09 PM on March 11, 2015


Out of curiosity, would Team Mod consider banning links to specific reddit subs if they're as bad or worse than Stormfront?

Maybe? Given sufficiently specific context? It seems unlikely to be an issue in practice, is the main thing; who is casually linking to the equivalent of /r/jailbait in posts on a regular basis, that such a ban would ever come up?

It's notable that we basically have said "never post to Stormfront", not just in that it's something that we've said that links to aren't gonna work, but that it's high-profile enough that it'd have even come up.

There are a lot of other terrible racist/white-supremacist/neo-nazi sites out on the internet too, but we have no specific per-site policy about linking to them because why on earth would anyone do so other than out of some terrible clusterfuck of an error or some super-duper outlier racist nutjob signup? It's the sort of thing that is so likely to be handled well enough on an ad hoc basis ("this is not a good site to link to in a post" when it comes up) that having a specific policy about it seems excessive.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:11 PM on March 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


> A person truly hellbent on avoiding Reddit could also use the MyMefi page and add "reddit" as an exclude tag.

Even easier: just don't click any links in an fpp. You will be in the company of many, from what I can tell!
posted by rtha at 2:15 PM on March 11, 2015 [35 favorites]


zombieflanders: "What part of "this thread needs not to turn into a proxy argument rehashing much of what's already been discussed in the referenced thread on the blue" did some of you not get?"

Whether reddit is/is not a racist shithole is the topic of the mefi post. Whether or not reddit links should or should not be allowed on Metafilter is the topic of this metatalk post. There's a lot of cross-pollination between these two topics, but I don't see anyone coming off the rails.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:16 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think there's value in demonstrating our belief in free expression by not getting freaked out any time someone says something we viscerally hate.

This is a worthwhile point, but at the same time...

The right answer is to ignore them, not to shine spotlights.

I don't agree that the automatic right answer is to ignore, although I understand the rationale behind it. I mean, I get that if metafilter did ban links to reddit, it's not like the bigots on these subreddits would probably notice (or even care if they did notice).

At the same time, I feel like there are times when it can be worthwhile to say, "I fundamentally do not support anyone who engages in or facilitates this kind of behavior," if only to balance out in some small way the hate that these people are spewing.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:17 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: I think there's value in demonstrating our belief in free expression by not getting freaked out any time someone says something we viscerally hate. Tolerance and diversity (real tolerance and diversity) will always include things we dislike.

The right answer is to ignore them, not to shine spotlights.


Go to the main link in the Blue post. Read the Section under 'The Chimpire.' This isn't about "disliking" someone's point of view. It's redditors spreading seriously vicious hatreds, stereotypes and racist awfulness about their fellow human beings. I believe that in a civilized society, we have an obligation to challenge hate speech. Otherwise, it tends to be highly destructive.

Other people's mileage may vary. But no, this isn't a matter of "dislike." It's a matter of making sure ugly, nasty garbage directed at others doesn't fester into racist mobs.
posted by zarq at 2:20 PM on March 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


I was referring to the "free speech/free expression" argument being brought out above. It's been hashed and rehashed in the thread on the blue, and it's just the usual "why are you so sensitive" sneering when it pops up here (which is why I assume it was asked not to be brought up here).
posted by zombieflanders at 2:20 PM on March 11, 2015


How about a quota system? Every Reddit link needs to be balanced by five links to Fark.

There's still a Fark, isn't there?
posted by the phlegmatic king at 2:22 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


There is a common practice to put up a little warning about certain places we link to (from NYT to YouTube to Cracked). Maybe this practice should be made semi-mandatory for Reddit and certain other places, with a list of sites requiring "not a trigger but consider the safety off" on the posting page. Of course, if we want to give pb a challenge, he could try to hardwire it into the posting process. I know I feel a little slimy when I discover I've clicked over to the Wall Street Journal (which does not have anything Reddit-level bad, except it's owner Rupert).
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:24 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thanks, cortex. That makes sense.
posted by zarq at 2:25 PM on March 11, 2015


There's still a Fark, isn't there?

Good lord, there is! This is like looking outside and seeing dinosaurs grazing and your neighbors say, oh, those sauropods have always been there.

(Topically, I'm in the jostling crowded camp that doesn't think a blanket ban is a good idea or workable.)
posted by Drastic at 2:25 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]




There's still a Fark, isn't there?
I thought more of our content was pulled from Fark without attribution than Reddit.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:27 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah I'm on the no side on this.

Do have to say though, I appreciate how deeply FFFM and others here care about these issues. I don't always see eye to eye but I admire the desire to try and help everyone do better.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:30 PM on March 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


zarq: "Out of curiosity, would Team Mod consider banning links to specific reddit subs if they're as bad or worse than Stormfront?"

I feel like this would be counterproductive -- if such a list were ever made public it would inevitably worm its way back to said subs and ignite a firestorm of "silenced all my life" bitterness and anti-MeFi vitriol, including possible organized harassment of the mods. (Besides, as cortex said, any post non-critically linking to a known shitty subreddit would likely be deleted on grounds of general shittiness even absent a list, and such posts would not be common enough to make it worth maintaining a list of specific subs anyway.)
posted by Rhaomi at 2:30 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


And when I'm talking about "other places" to put notifications about links on, I'm talking mostly about other massive web destinations with some good content and some troublesome content... like Facebook, Tumblr (I KNOW there are a few people here who object to 'supporting' Tumblr as much as some object to 'supporting' Reddit).
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:32 PM on March 11, 2015


Oh dear, someone must save us from the terrible reddit.
posted by smackfu at 2:47 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Rhaomi this has already been settled by cortex, but I'm going to respond to you anyway.

I feel like this would be counterproductive -- if such a list were ever made public it would inevitably worm its way back to said subs and ignite a firestorm of "silenced all my life" bitterness and anti-MeFi vitriol...

Got this far in your sentence and all I could think of was Toby Ziegler from the West Wing yelling, "Who here has a problem with that? Does ANYONE here have a problem with that?"

I do not. If people don't like being called out and/or ignored for saying racist things, then that's their problem.

...including possible organized harassment of the mods.

I agree that's not ideal.

And yet, fear of organized harassment is precisely the kind of intimidating, silencing tactic that racists with authority/power have used against others for decades. I'm okay with the fact that this idea is clearly dead in the water. But man, I don't think giving in to that sort of scare tactic is either wise or acceptable.
posted by zarq at 2:49 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've fielded this war horse before.

Good luck. I actually don't even agree with that so much anymore. This site is plenty good at shitting on an FPP if it sucks, or has weaknesses, or whatever. If the content is crap, that will come up.

The system works.
posted by emptythought at 2:51 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


You are welcome to get straight up quant on this if you want, I'll propose a napkin-math methodology

I have a simpler one

1. Take the posts from two days of MetaFilter
2. MeMail the posters and ask 1) "Do you read Reddit?" and 2) "Was this from Reddit?"
3. Make a page with three columns. Label them Yes, No, Maybe
4. If they say it's from Reddit, that is a check in the Yes column
5. If they say it's not from Reddit but they READ Reddit, put a check in the Maybe column
6. Otherwise put a check in the No column.

I am confident that the Yes answers will be overwhelmingly small. I even have a decent feeling that even the Yes + Maybe answers may not hit 50%

And maybe what you meant wasn't people directly ganking content and not attributing it but just people who got stuff that was originally crowdsourced from Reddit, but that's a different accusation. Some people like to be further from the firehose, I know I do. I've talked about Reddit before. Stormfront is a single-purpose racist hate site. Reddit is many things but it is not that.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:00 PM on March 11, 2015 [22 favorites]


I'd like to echo Drinky Die's comment in that while I basically agree with cortex's argument against such a ban, I also think this was a perfectly okay question for fffm to pose, and his reasoning for his position is defensible.

I mean, the arguments defending reddit in the blue and here with regard to it being a platform and therefore the offensiveness of any given subreddit is irrelevant make me wonder if those folk would still advocate that position if reddit had absolutely no restriction on content at all, maybe it was hosted on some obscure island nation, and therefore had subreddits of videos and photos of the most morally objectionably content possible. Is there nothing that could be so bad that it stained the entire site where it would make sense to argue for a boycott? Surely there is.

My point is that whether most people will admit this or not, this isn't an argument about principle, about some qualitative distinction. It's about a quantitative distinction. For those defending it, the bad stuff isn't so bad, and/or isn't so pervasive, that it makes sense to boycott it. But that implies that it could be bad enough. And that means that someone else drawing the line at a different place, as fffm is, isn't making some fundamental error. Fffm's argument isn't essentially mistaken. It's just, I think, mistaken in that reddit is not sufficiently/pervasively objectionable to qualify for the sanction against it that fffm proposes.

And so while I will personally boycott reddit, and while I think that the strong criticisms of reddit in the other thread are justified and correct, I nevertheless see a MeFi-ban on links to reddit to be so unusually strong a sanction that it requires reddit to be more objectionable in toto than it currently is. But I do think it's objectionable and that some parts of it are incredibly, horrifyingly objectionable. And so I do think that fffm's proposal is reasonable, even though I don't endorse it.

"Oh dear, someone must save us from the terrible reddit."

This sort of comment is why I wrote what I just wrote. It seems to me that a large majority here aren't going to agree with fffm's proposal, but comments like yours make me angry. There are subreddits that are worse than Stormfront, much worse. To sarcastically dismiss fffm's concerns seems to me to be incredibly, offensively callous.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:04 PM on March 11, 2015 [28 favorites]


This sort of concern trolling is just obnoxious. If you don't like reddit, don't visit it.

It's not concern trolling. It's suggesting that maybe the world might be an incrementally better place if we don't facilitate pageviews for a site that pretty explicitly asks for bribes to continue providing a safe haven for hate speech.

Disagree with me if you like; that's fine. Please don't mischaracterize what I am saying.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:10 PM on March 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


I guess what I'm saying is this:

Generally speaking, as a community we believe ourselves to be people who are against ___ism.

Generally speaking, as a mass reddit more or less explicitly supports several ___isms.

Why give the parent company the airtime and pageviews?

That's all.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:13 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, the arguments defending reddit in the blue and here with regard to it being a platform and therefore the offensiveness of any given subreddit is irrelevant make me wonder if those folk would still advocate that position if reddit had absolutely no restriction on content at all, maybe it was hosted on some obscure island nation, and therefore had subreddits of videos and photos of the most morally objectionably content possible.

For what it's worth, if this doesn't stray too far outside the boundaries here, that content is there. It's in private subs that are either just tacitly known about, or that people know the names of but can't access, or just suspect with strong reason to believe exist. Jailbait and all that wasn't kicked off reddit, it was just driven underground. Yishan's comments per subreddits generating gold subscriptions being left alone do nothing but support that hypothesis.

If someone asked me if i believed all that content was still on there, up to and including the worst stuff i could(or possibly hadn't even occurred to me to) imagine, i'd answer a strong yes with the same duh-tone i'd give someone asking if i thought there were still black market weed dealers in washington now that you can buy pot from retail stores.

This isn't a hypothetical, in my opinion. That content is on there, you just need an invite or a password to see it. The plaintext is sitting side by side on the server with the comments in your knitting thread.
posted by emptythought at 3:20 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I steal my FPP ideas from Facebook, but my FB friends might be stealing them from Reddit.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:23 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Check out /r/metafilter if nothing else than for the sweet CSS
posted by exogenous at 3:30 PM on March 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Why give the parent company the airtime and pageviews?

That's an argument for any given individual to decide not to post links to Reddit. It is not an argument for Metafilter to take an official stance on the matter.
posted by Justinian at 3:30 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I guess what I'm saying is this:

Generally speaking, as a community we believe ourselves to be people who are against ___ism.

Generally speaking, as a mass reddit more or less explicitly supports several ___isms.

Why give the parent company the airtime and pageviews?


I'm totally fine with individual Metafilter members personally choosing to boycott reddit for exactly the reasons you've laid out (or whatever other reasons they may have).

What I'm less comfortable with is the entity of Metafilter choosing to enact an official ban, since it moves Metafilter further away from being a general interest site, and more towards an advocacy site. This would be a fundamental change in the mission statement and not one I'm in favor of.
posted by The Gooch at 3:32 PM on March 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I guess what I'm saying is this:

Generally speaking, as a community we believe ourselves to be people who are against ___ism.

Generally speaking, as a mass reddit more or less explicitly supports several ___isms.

Why give the parent company the airtime and pageviews?

That's all.

posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:13 PM on March 11 [+] [!]


Because it's a pointless political gesture that will achieve nothing and will open the floodgates of 'if those guys why not these guys' which will explicitly and meaningfully damage Metafilter as a machine for having good conversations.

That's why.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:38 PM on March 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


If you visit /r/metafilter I'll ban you.

(Flexes mod muscle)
(Gets a cramp)

Naah, never mind. Y'all are welcome there, you should check out the sweet CSS work Rhaomi put into that.

Also, /r/metafilter is ruled with an IRON FIST. We'll not be putting up with any reddit shenanigans there.
posted by disclaimer at 3:40 PM on March 11, 2015


The $5 fee is a shield against a lot of what goes on at reddit but it's also a weakness. I think right now Metafilter isn't really on the mob's radar in the same way that, say, Gawker/Jezebel is. An outright blanket ban might change that and in any case would attract a whole lot of heat as the news made waves across the web. I say the $5 fee is a weakness because I think if Metafilter really were on the radar of the mob, they'd be running fraudulent charges through until Metafilter's bank accounts were frozen and things like that. I rarely come down on the Neville Chamberlain side of issues but I think in this case it's best to retain a case-by-case-basis policy.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:41 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Generally speaking, as a mass the people of Canada more or less support various ____isms, [as judged from our political activity.]" The problem is there are, what, 3 different layers of equivocation in that sentence? Generally speaking / as a mass / more or less. That's too many to make this worthwhile, I think.

As above, totally a reasonable suggestion, just one I disagree with.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:43 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Generally speaking, as a community we believe ourselves to be people who are against ___ism.

Generally speaking, as a mass reddit more or less explicitly supports several ___isms.


I guess, my thing is, unless I misunderstand you, I think that's just false. My perception (and maybe I'm just full of crap, so please correct me!) is that Reddit has some communities that support several ___isms. As quoted up page, Reddit has about 6.7 BILLION pageviews and 151.7 million unique users per month - as a casual Reddit user (and again, please correct me if I'm wrong) - it sure seems like it's a very small percentage of those users who espouse this kind of garbage... I don't think it's accurate to say that 'as a mass reddit explicitly supports..'
posted by kbanas at 4:06 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


When has this site's content policy ever been dictated by whether a page gets ad revenue, and what happens with that revenue (aside from spam)? Every single day, sites that are linked here get ad revenue. Who knows where it ultimately goes or what awful things it supports. If we're going to look that deep into things, it's an endless rabbithole.
posted by naju at 4:19 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Disagree with me if you like; that's fine. Please don't mischaracterize what I am saying."

I don't agree with you, but I'm glad you brought it up. That's what MetaTalk is for. Well, that and fun things like that Miguel Cardoso post.

Even though it doesn't look like you'll get what you asked for from the mods, maybe some people will decide to steer clear of posting or clicking on Reddit links. I know for myself that I don't feel very comfortable on Reddit. I don't boycott them as a matter of principle, but I have a high bar of my own before I'll click on one of their links. I'll take it under advisement that maybe my bar should be even higher.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:28 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's notable that we basically have said "never post to Stormfront"...

If I remember correctly, the reason for the MetaFilter ban on links to Stormfront was originally as a self-defense mechanism rather than as a commentary on the exceptional nature of their content. The rationale I remember was that Stormfront was said to take legal action against those who linked to their site in criticism. Is that not the case?
posted by Jeff Howard at 4:34 PM on March 11, 2015


There's still a Fark, isn't there?
I thought more of our content was pulled from Fark without attribution than Reddit.


Man, this sideline feels like an echo from 10 years ago (I dunno, was reddit a thing 10 years ago?), because I very much enjoy the 'new' Digg, and I almost inevitably see stuff there first and here soon thereafter, which is just fine, because then I can discuss it if I am so inclined.

Does that mean people are 'pulling' links from Digg to post here? Probably not. New and interesting stuff on the web shows up on pretty much every site that does links to stuff, pretty much immediately. I've always leaned toward preferring to see things on Metafilter that are a little more obscure over The Latest Thing That Every Site Is Linking To, but I think that train has left the station, so shrug.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:34 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I never for a second imagined MeFi would ever block FPP links to reddit. But I do echo the calls in that thread and this one, to read that linked article. And then the current first couple of comments visible for me reference some misogynistic subreddits that are just terrible. It does make you do a double take and wonder just what you're supporting by using Reddit. I mean if there was a Metafilter subsite with simply the name of some of those subreddits, even if it had zero content, most of us would be horrified.
posted by cashman at 4:36 PM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am confident that the Yes answers will be overwhelmingly small. I even have a decent feeling that even the Yes + Maybe answers may not hit 50%

FWIW, I've posted, oh, about five topics in the last ten days. Of those, one I got from a podcast, one occurred to me as I was working on a Wordpress blog, one occurred to me while I was goofing off in MetaChat as a thing I'd seen and found amusing in a work context, one came up on a Dreamwidth linkspam, and one was a deliberate attempt to be funny and bring up a topic I frequently flail about off of MetaFilter. I'm about 100% sure that all of them except maybe--MAYBE--the Dreamwidth linkspam are at least two degrees off from Reddit. You know, if we're talking anecdata here. One of those went up yesterday, so if you really want to be all science-like you don't even have to ask.

I gotta say, I'm sort of irritated with this thread. No, from a mods rule-and-banned perspective, a blanket ban on Reddit posts is a terrible idea. We sussed that out on what, the third comment? Over and done. But I don't think fffm's point is coming from an invalid place, and I certainly don't think it's necessarily an intrinsically bad thing to go "hey, people who are linking to reddit? wish you wouldn't...." on MetaTalk.
posted by sciatrix at 4:37 PM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Can we ban links to HuffPo because they're sleazy? And Buzzfeed because I lose IQ points every time I look at it? And Gawker/Jezebel because Nick Denton is icky?
posted by Ideefixe at 4:39 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


My concern is the amount of traffic we send to reddit, which increases their pageviews/stats/ad revenue for a corporation that actively invites and coddles hatred. I think we can do better.

Leave me out of your "we." I think we can make these decisions for ourselves. Er, yourself…myself?

Generally speaking, as a community we believe ourselves to be people who are against ___ism.
Generally speaking, as a mass reddit more or less explicitly supports several ___isms.
Why give the parent company the airtime and pageviews?


Because not everyone sees the site the same way you (or the author of the linked piece) sees the site. You can disagree, and that's fine. I would treat reddit like any other site you dislike and move on.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:40 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


The rationale I remember was that Stormfront was said to take legal action against those who linked to their site in criticism. Is that not the case?

I don't remember that, specifically, but it's not impossible there was some pre-2007 situation that I just wasn't privy to. I do recall us being bearish about links to a couple of other sites specifically because their owners/administrators were grudgy jerks who would start inter-site shit when Mefi criticized their content, but that was more of a soft "let's save everybody a headache" guideline than any kind of legal or business concern.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:41 PM on March 11, 2015


the nice thing about metafilter linking to reddit occasionally is that i never have to go to reddit myself, if there is something on there that i might give a shit about it will be mentioned here, so i can mostly stay on islands above the shit as opposed to wading into the sewage
posted by NoraReed at 4:46 PM on March 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm not in support of banning Reddit links, but after the zillionth (re)iterations of "Well, I don't see it, so..." and "why don't you just not deal with [background radiation of -isms]?" I'm certainly in favor of a moratorium on that nonsense, at least in the thread.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:48 PM on March 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


I do recall us being bearish about links to a couple of other sites specifically because their owners/administrators were grudgy jerks who would start inter-site shit when Mefi criticized their content, but that was more of a soft "let's save everybody a headache" guideline than any kind of legal or business concern.

I first discovered Metafilter because I hate read LGF when Charles Johnson was still in his post 9/11 insanity and he constantly tried to set up Mefi as a nemesis.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:48 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thus, a blanket ban on Reddit makes as much sense as a blanket ban on Tumblr, Livejournal, Blogspot, etc.

Or a blanket ban of archive.org, where one can find writings and videos of many white nationalist figures. Or Youtube, which hosts David Duke's official channel.

Speaking of which, Youtube is reportedly closing down David Duke's channel any day now. I say 'reportedly' because I read that on Stormfront.

I would not make a fpp about such a thing. This is not the community for that. I mention it to point out that hate speech sites like Stormfront can be illuminating in unexpected ways-- in this case, revealing a policy shift by a major social media company.

This is not a contrarian argument in favor of racist content or links on the front page. At all.
posted by CtrlAltD at 4:49 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would not ban reddit links, but I still am thankful to fffm for bringing up the topic. MetaTalk has always been about users when it's not tech issues. Use the contact form if user input is not required. The corollary to any MetaTalk thread is "hey, I think this is something that the userbase should be aware of," and it can say a lot about people and their opinions.
posted by halifix at 4:52 PM on March 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yes, this was certainly a reasonable thing to bring to the table. While I wouldn't endorse a ban, it is a natural development to use this as a point of discussion to not only discuss site policy, but to encourage people to consider if they would like to continue supporting reddit in general (as a community discussion), and to think on it as a matter of conscience. There are certain places that I will not shop, for example, and while in the end I leave it up to people to decide where they want to spend their time and money, I share my story with others about my concerns.

I understand fffm's argument, and respect a boycott of reddit to be made by individuals who share the same beliefs. I also understand those who pause to consider if all parts should be reflective of the whole, and under what conditions, and if we are looking at a tipping point of moral culpability. It requires some kind of reflection, though, and people sometimes disagree on the best way to go about either ongoing participation or parting company with a place. But the mere presence of this post has made me think a whole lot more about it than I did previously, that's for sure, and it's made me wonder a whole lot about whether I want to support an infrastructure that could be doing more, while still retaining important aspects of free inquiry, but simply isn't.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:53 PM on March 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I've always leaned toward preferring to see things on Metafilter that are a little more obscure over The Latest Thing That Every Site Is Linking To

I see how it could be frustrating, but not everyone consumes Every Site, even big ones like Facebook and Reddit. I'm not on FB and the only time I visit reddit is via links. I still have a fair number of the usual suspects in my RSS feed but MeFi is always my first stop; I'm much more likely to see things on other sites that I've seen here first.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:54 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I definitely saw a lot of stuff on mefi several months after I'd seen it elsewhere when I spent a lot of time on reddit regularly. It was also making me hella racist and blind to a lot of microaggressive bullshit, though, so it's much nicer seeing it here on a delay, even though here can be pretty misogynist and racist and terrible sometimes
posted by NoraReed at 4:56 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'll go ahead and state that I didn't read the FPP as both Gawker and Salon are on my personal do-not-click-on list. But I'm on Reddit everyday looking at pictures of furry animals.

I get why someone wouldn't want to read Reddit. We all got our personal preferences.
posted by riruro at 5:01 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can we ban links to HuffPo because they're sleazy? And Buzzfeed because I lose IQ points every time I look at it? And Gawker/Jezebel because Nick Denton is icky?
Again, I wouldn't mind if all those link destinations were clearly identified before I roll over the link. And I follow via RSS two of Gawker's least icky subsites, Lifehacker and io9... but the crass cross-promotion (crass-promotion?) is making it a more icky experience.

Anyway, the discussion of Reddit is now moot, according to the Washington Post:
"Move over, Reddit: Tumblr is the new front page of the Internet."
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:09 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Reddit is massive and has many problematic users that are not moderated the way they are on metafilter. But given the scope of Reddit, I would say that banning links to it would be not entirely dissimilar to banning links to the Internet.

I really don't think that Reddit is top-down awful. They just have a moderation policy that doesn't remove the awfulness that occurs. In that way, it's not that different from YouTube or most newspaper websites.
posted by 256 at 5:14 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm glad that there's going to be no reddit fpp ban, but also that there's been discussion of reddit's glaring failures here.

I'm personally annoyed to see some single link content that's been at the top of the (filtered view that I get of the) reddit front page show up here without any additional context. Because that additional context is what's so great here. Additional context can sometimes be upvoted on reddit, in a comment, but frequently it's buried under a wave of terrible jokes and downvotes. But mostly Mefi posts, DO provide more context than you'll find elsewhere, and for that I am very glad.
posted by Catblack at 5:15 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Because it's a pointless political gesture that will achieve nothing and will open the floodgates of 'if those guys why not these guys' which will explicitly and meaningfully damage Metafilter as a machine for having good conversations.

I haven't said these words in many years but, this is like the platonic ideal of a slippery slope argument. You realize that right?

A defensible argument has been made here that reddit is markedly worse than even 4chan, and is literally where the shittiest of the shitty hangs out that isn't literally on the dark web/tor.

You can agree or disagree with the ban, but this isn't a good argument. The correct answer to someone going "oh yea, well what about THIS site" is just "nice try" at this point.
posted by emptythought at 5:15 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not so much though. As has already also been pointed out the idea that if you ban this site you have to look at what each site does, how it makes its money, and how that money is spent, then decide if it lands in the acceptable category. I bet once you start that you would find quite a few others that wouldn't survive.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:18 PM on March 11, 2015


I definitely saw a lot of stuff on mefi several months after I'd seen it elsewhere when I spent a lot of time on reddit regularly. It was also making me hella racist and blind to a lot of microaggressive bullshit, though, so it's much nicer seeing it here on a delay, even though here can be pretty misogynist and racist and terrible sometimes
posted by NoraReed at 4:56 PM on March 11


Huh?
posted by jayder at 5:22 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


When I was a redditor, there was a lot of stuff that I would see here a few months after I'd seen it on reddit. However, constant exposure to the toxic community of reddit was exposing me to so much casual racism, transphobia, misogyny, etc that I was absorbing some of that, and becoming increasingly blind to microaggressions and the like. It was making me casually racist, among other things, and able to tolerate a lot more "ironic racism" from myself and others. I'm not OK with that, so I left, and it's way nicer seeing content here a few months late than seeing it on reddit, even though metafilter can be pretty problematic itself and fights to make this place less misogynistic, racist and transphobic have met with a lot of the same awful, bigoted response that happens when reddit gets pushed to become less horrible.
posted by NoraReed at 5:42 PM on March 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


I get a few links from reddit now and then, but those are mostly from reading the paleontology subs and aren't exactly part of the usual meme-spreading landscape (memescape?). Generally I find the signal to noise ratio of reddit to be way too low to be a useful source of content. I obviously can't speak to how other people find their FPPable content.
posted by brundlefly at 5:51 PM on March 11, 2015


I think we can do better.

Agreed, but such a ban would be doing worse.

The right answer is to ignore them, not to shine spotlights.

You must be playing a different game show because that's the wrong answer in the one I'm playing in. Ignoring bullshit usually allows it to thrive though of course trying to reduce bullshit is often unsuccessful as well. It's the most virulent and resilient sort of shit. It's filthy, nasty, and it stinks so avoiding it is understandable but I think if you do there's a strong possibility it will soon seep under your door. See the rise of the Tea Party for example. Tea Party politicians got elected and the ramifications for people in those States have not been pleasant, such as blocking 100s of thousands from even the possibility of getting better health care among other things.
posted by juiceCake at 6:36 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Eventually Metafilter will only allow links to itself, finally becoming MetaMetafilter in the process.

This is the most awesome idea I've ever heard. Stick with me for just a moment. (Oh god, why is there no blink tag?? I need the blink tag!)

MetaMetaFilter would be a subsite where people post links to past MetaFilter (and subsite) posts. Ground rules are 1) the post being linked must be at least 5 years old 2) Each user can only post one link per month (to limit the volume just to make sure we're revisiting the BEST stuff, and not everything.) 3) You cannot post any past-post for which you were the OPP, nor any past post about which you posted in a MeTa or in which you flamed out.

Framing of a link to the post should give some indication why it's being reposted: Is the theme timely and relevant to some current event? The discussion was awesome and you want to draw attention to it? Historical significance? Some update to whatever is described in the events has occurred?

Oh please, Cortex! How often do I ask for a pony? And since it would come in at the beginning of your tenure, it would be YOUR site in a special way for always, just like the Blue will always be Matt's and the Green will always be Jessamyn's, and the Gray will always be disavowed by all.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:40 PM on March 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


My experience is similar to NoraReed's. Exposing yourself to that kind of low-level, ambient racism/misogyny/bigotry on a daily basis can't be very healthy. You probably stop noticing it's even there after a while. Ten years ago I was part of a law student forum (xoxohth.com) where that background toxicity was ever-present... it was funneled through a sense of humor and irony such that you could talk yourself into believing that no one was really saying anything awful, it was just seeing what you could get away with. And the place was genuinely an invaluable resource for law school and getting hired at law firms, with enough acerbic hatred of the whole process to be entertaining. After a while I couldn't stand it anymore, though, and I left and never looked back. I have no desire to engage with that level of conversation anymore, and have little tolerance for it being excused with an irony/humor defense (no doubt the Oklahoma frat members thought their chant was just a joke, too.) So I personally mostly stay away from Reddit unless someone expressly links me to something worthwhile. And there are many worthwhile things to be found! But even then, if I read on there's usually some gross throwaway joke that has hundreds of upvotes, just a page scroll down.
posted by naju at 6:42 PM on March 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I normally would just stay quiet on a thread like this, but in the interest of keeping the overton window from shifting to far, this is a horrible suggestion that I feels needs to be pushed back against strongly. If reddit is so morally wrong to you that you think metafilter shouldn't be linking to it, then maybe metafilter is not the right place for you.
posted by aspo at 6:45 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


If reddit is so morally wrong to you that you think metafilter shouldn't be linking to it, then maybe metafilter is not the right place for you.

Okay, why would that be the case?
posted by dinty_moore at 6:48 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


i will be incredibly shocked if it's not some kind of "because mefi is bad sometimes too so hypocrite! checkmate".
posted by emptythought at 6:51 PM on March 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've never had a reddit account. I think I've looked at it a half dozen times in my life, maybe. I'm not even that interested in making the effort to try to figure out how to look at reddit. But I'm skeptical that banning links to reddit qua reddit is going to make metafilter significantly better or reddit significantly less shitty. Seems more a "cut direct" than anything else. Which might be satisfying maybe, but I fail to see what it would accomplish beyond that.

All that said, I don't have strong feelings either way, really.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:51 PM on March 11, 2015


If you don't actually know what the Overton window is (hint: it's not "a couple users out of thousands have an issue"), suggesting that someone leave seems even more nasty than usual.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:58 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


1. Mefi is high-profile
2. Make links driving users to reddit
3. Profit


Reddit is so much bigger than Metafilter that this is not plausible.

I really don't think that Reddit is top-down awful. They just have a moderation policy that doesn't remove the awfulness that occurs. In that way, it's not that different from YouTube or most newspaper websites.

This sort of discussion might be more appropriate on the linked thread in the blue, but at least a few years ago it really was top-down awful in the sense that the owners of the site accorded special status and privileges to a moderator of many creepy / pedophiliac subreddits.
posted by Jpfed at 7:02 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a personal choice - knock yourself out.

As anything to put on other users - flat no. The position other people have been taking is that it's possible to find small oases in reddit that don't have the same problems as much of the rest of the site, and no-one seems to disagree with that, they just disagree about what the ratio is and whether that impacts their decision to go there. So as long as they're linking to the good bits, why fight it? A number of other Big Sites that get regularly linked to have huge problems, but if you can keep it to the good bits then MetaFilter is doing exactly the work intended.

Just let the site work the way it should. Otherwise it becomes a purity test for each FPP.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:31 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've linked to Reddit at least once before but thanks to this conversation I won't anymore.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:53 PM on March 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


I guess, my thing is, unless I misunderstand you, I think that's just false. My perception (and maybe I'm just full of crap, so please correct me!) is that Reddit has some communities that support several ___isms.

And not only does nothing to counter them, the former CEO is (proudly?) on record soliciting bribes to keep them around.

The position other people have been taking is that it's possible to find small oases in reddit that don't have the same problems as much of the rest of the site

I'm sure Raytheon makes some nice tech used in homes every day. And I think people are--deliberately?--flat-out ignoring my point. So allow me to restate.

Yes. There is good content on reddit.

Giving that content eyeballs supports the administration of the site, an administration that is at the very least tolerant of, if not outright complicit in (see: /u/violentacrez) promoting racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, child porn, and non-consensual porn.

I'm really disappointed in the people here who are saying "well, just don't look." Maybe she should have worn a longer dress, I guess? It's more or less the same argument.

Maybe MeFi isn't for me. I thought it was a place for people who were thoughtful and who cared about how their actions affect others. I thought that I as a queer person was welcome here, that my experiences as a queer person would be listened to here. That the experiences of women would be listened to here. That when people say "there is a bad place that supports bad things and outright supports people attacking me for being born and maybe, just maybe, we should be thinking twice about supporting that place" people would listen.

I guess I was wrong. That makes me sad.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:24 PM on March 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


If reddit is so morally wrong to you that you think metafilter shouldn't be linking to it, then maybe metafilter is not the right place for you.

I hate to be a broken record, but yet again I have to wonder, did you read the article that led to this MetaTalk? Because I did, and I absolutely can't follow your logic here. The objection to reddit is that it facilitates the kind of horribly bigoted discussions (among other things) that are absolutely indefensible.* Metafilter is my home on the web because I want standards, I want reasonable moderation, and I want a community that I know wouldn't condone such overtly toxic and hateful behavior.

I think fffm did a very good job of framing this MetaTalk by stating his personal opinion and reasoning behind it, and letting that be a starting point for this discussion, and I don't feel like some of these extreme responses make sense in the context of his original post. The mods have already clearly stated that this is not going to become site policy, but there are lots of things that get suggested in Metatalk threads which don't become site policy. That doesn't mean they aren't worth discussing.

*Or at least I hope that no one would defend their content, even if they would defend other people's freedom to say such things.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:28 PM on March 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


I guess I was wrong.

You weren't wrong. I think it's gotten a lot of people to think twice about whether or not to be on Reddit as it currently exists.
posted by cashman at 8:38 PM on March 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's a shame that very few of those people are commenting here, I guess.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:53 PM on March 11, 2015


Yeah, I'll think a lot harder before I ever get a reddit account.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:20 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


What I'm seeing are people commenting here who do care, who have thought about it, and on balance they mostly disagree with you. No shame in that.
posted by in278s at 9:21 PM on March 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think that on the whole, Reddit is more like Blogger than it is like Stormfront, so I'm opposed to this idea, but I don't think the idea itself was suggested in bad faith or that there isn't rational grounds for feeling that the actions of Reddit's admins in fostering and encouraging that kind of crap content has pushed them over a moral line.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:23 PM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't think that people who post links to reddit or even the Daily Mail are automatically thoughtless supporters of rape and racism, even though I never visit those site myself because I don't want to support them in any way.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:35 PM on March 11, 2015


Maybe a more effective method would be, when a thoughtful famous person you admire announces they're going to do an AMA, point out your concerns about Reddit to them. If they back out of the AMA, it might get a lot more attention than if Metafilter bans Reddit from the front page?
posted by gwint at 9:38 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't think that people who post links to reddit or even the Daily Mail are automatically thoughtless supporters of rape and racism

Probably a good thing that I neither said nor implied that, then. I said that the administration of reddit are thoughtless supporters of rape and racism and we should be taking a really long hard look at supporting that with eyeballs, but the consensus seems to be that oh well, it's only people who aren't white guys who are getting shit on over there and FREE SPEECH so... keep on linking.

Peace.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:39 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I only had a penguin, I had the exact MetaMeta idea this morning! Pro: It would be fascinating to revisit the more historic posts - the 9/11 thread for example. Con: We could re-hash the same old arguments for as long as the site and we drew breath.

I understand FFFM's concern, and I'm glad we have a chance to discuss the queasiness some of share about the site. I think I will be boycotting Reddit instead of supporting a ban. I will no long make or follow links to the site. Even the good subreddits are supported by a system that has no problem giving space and a voice to horrible, hateful people.

Dashy's comparison to Walmart resonates with me. I might like some of the stuff there, but I don't like the way they run their business. So even though I've found a few excellent threads over the years, I'm not going to click on their links anymore, regardless of who posts them. I won't even flag them - I'll just move on. I understand y'all are big on that.
posted by bibliowench at 9:47 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


but the consensus seems to be that oh well, it's only people who aren't white guys who are getting shit on over there and FREE SPEECH so... keep on linking.

Dude, are we reading the same MeTa?

The consensus as I see it seems to be breaking along the lines of most people agreeing with your statement of the problem (roughly speaking: Reddit is very problematic because the site owners take a laissez-faire attitude toward moderation which enables hateful bigots to post hateful things without repercussions) but disagreeing with your requested remedy of banning the entire site from being linked to.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:48 PM on March 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "I'm really disappointed in the people here who are saying "well, just don't look." Maybe she should have worn a longer dress, I guess? It's more or less the same argument."

C'mon, fffm. Nobody is defending the cravenness of the Reddit admins here, or their cowardice in failing to enforce decent community standards. I think we can all agree that the ownership there has been pretty contemptible so far.

But blanket banning links to one of the most popular content aggregators on the internet is a radical step, especially when there is plenty of worthwhile material produced by healthy, mature communities there. Yes, the admins through some combination of greed, laziness, and privilege value growth over enforcing basic decency. But forbidding all discussion of the genuinely compelling things generated by non-bigots there on a regular basis just to send those handfuls of people a largely symbolic message isn't worth it in most people's estimation.

That's what people mean by the "just don't look" comments. It's not an endorsement of Yishan et al's laissez-faire approach, just saying that your personal disgust with their management does not justify expecting the rest of the site to adhere to your particular moral decision to boycott *all* content on their platform, both good and bad.

betweenthebars: "I don't think that people who post links to reddit or even the Daily Mail are automatically thoughtless supporters of rape and racism, even though I never visit those site myself because I don't want to support them in any way."

feckless fecal fear mongering: "Probably a good thing that I neither said nor implied that, then."

You said:
Maybe MeFi isn't for me. I thought it was a place for people who were thoughtful and who cared about how their actions affect others. I thought that I as a queer person was welcome here, that my experiences as a queer person would be listened to here. That the experiences of women would be listened to here.
That pretty clearly implies those disagreeing with the boycott idea are unthoughtful, uncaring, and not welcoming to queer people and women.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:48 PM on March 11, 2015 [26 favorites]


Insulting everyone who tried to engage with this thread in a thoughtful way but didn't come to the same conclusion as you and then ending your post with 'Peace' seems just ever so slightly disingenuous, fffm.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:50 PM on March 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Disagree. People bristle at the Reddit=Usenet comparison, and yet nonetheless it remains perfectly valid, for those of us who remember "real" Usenet. Reddit hosts a whole bunch of stuff, including wonderful stuff, but also including shit. As long as we're not linking to shit, then I don't care.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:50 PM on March 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Comparisons to Usenet--which is a distributed protocol--are irrelevant. This is a site that enables child pornography, for crying out loud, a site where people go when they are booted out by 4chan.

Think about that. Exactly how much of an asshole do you have to be to get banned from 4chan?

Not linking to shit, sure, let's not do that. Linking there period is enabling the shit by providing ad revenue and eyeballs.

Sure, disagree. Go ahead. Think I'm a ___________ for thinking we as a community can do better by doing a small thing to make the world better.

And I'm going to go ahead and be disappointed by every single person who says "but there's good stuff there." Sure. There is. And that doesn't matter, because when we send people to reddit we are not benefiting the producers of good content--we are benefiting the people who are sitting there and enabling the horrible cesspool. If you're comfortable doing that--that is, the general 'you'--then I have misread the growth of this community over the past decade. This is not the place I thought it was.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:01 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


People bristle at the Reddit=Usenet comparison, and yet nonetheless it remains perfectly valid, for those of us who remember "real" Usenet.

I remember the real Usenet. As I recall, it was a decentralized system where anyone could create a group, not because no one would stop you (like on reddit) but because there was no way/system to stop you. Though if you went outside the established RFD process anywhere other than alt. it was unlikely any ISPs (that's how Usenet was accessed back in the day) would provide access to that group. That's the closest that existed to control over the groups -- ISPs could subscribe to particular groups or not. Nobody was "in charge" of Usenet in any real sense, certainly not anyone at the Usenet-Level (as opposed to group-specific moderators) on a post-by-post basis. Usenet did not have an owner. Reddit does.

If you mean it's like Usenet in the sense that there is horrific stuff there but lots of useful stuff, too. Fair enough, I guess. But in the case of Usenet, looking at the "good" provides no benefit to some entity that is profiting from the bad. I'm not sure it's a great idea to categorically ban all posts there, but Reddit is much more like blogspot or such than like Usenet.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:03 PM on March 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I see your point, If only I had a penguin, but my feeling on the matter is that I don't like the idea of banning a Reddit link just because one generally morally disapproves of Reddit as a thing, without regard to what exactly any actual link comprises. If you yourself dislike Reddit so much, then don't click on Reddit links. One could just as easily make an argument banning MeFi access from iPhones - how much human misery do you suppose is involved in iPhones' manufacture?
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:08 PM on March 11, 2015


I appreciate that Metafilter respects the intelligence and autonomy of its userbase. We get to listen to passionate arguments and come to our own conclusions. Outright hate speech, racism, transphobia, etc. are moderated out, and thank god because otherwise the site would be unbearable for a good portion of us. But when we're talking about murkier causal connections like this, where figuring out what to do hinges on some level of moral/philosophical consideration, it's really important to take a light touch, and refrain from overextending the moderating hand. We get to make up our own minds on this complex topic without anyone feeling condescended to.
posted by naju at 10:08 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


What is murky?

There is a company that makes money off advertising on reddit. That company has more or less explicitly supported child porn/racism/misogyny/etc etc. Giving that company pageviews makes that company money. Please explain what is 'murky' about that.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:14 PM on March 11, 2015


FFFM: For what it's worth, I hadn't been aware of some of these worst-of-the-worst pockets of reddit and will now not go there. Not that I ever went their much in the first place, but I had actually been thinking of trying to figure out how to get on their torrent site because my favourite TV torrent site went down and reddit seemed like a likely way to get an invite to somewhere else. But I will remain torrentless rather than go there.

I still would feel like a blanket ban would be troublesome, though I can't explain why that is my sense.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:17 PM on March 11, 2015


1) Metafilter is linking to Reddit
2) A portion (either a very small portion, a decent amount, or just about all of Reddit, opinions differ) of Reddit contains hate speech and deeply objectionable content
3) That objectionable content has been (explicitly supported, implicitly supported, or not supported but condoned by being allowed to exist, opinions differ) by Reddit's operators
4) Reddit's operators are making money from page views, and Metafilter linking to them (enables bad actions to continue, or doesn't make much of a difference, opinions differ)

So there's either one, two, or three levels of indirect causality, and a philosophical question about enabling bad actors (or enabling the enablers of bad actors), it all seems somewhat murky such that differing minds can come to differing conclusions.
posted by naju at 10:30 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


1) Yes
2) Opinions only differ, as the thread I linked to indicates, when it's people who aren't much affected doing the talking
3) It's explicit. Opinions only differ when they haven't bothered learning the history or reading the article in the linked FPP.
4) Are you suggesting that MeFi provides zero pageviews? Again... opinions don't differ here, except amongst people who aren't really bothering to understand the issue.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:34 PM on March 11, 2015


Anyway, I'm done. I thought MeFi could continue striving to be the best place on the internet by not linking to the worst. I was wrong.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:35 PM on March 11, 2015


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Not linking to shit, sure, let's not do that. Linking there period is enabling the shit by providing ad revenue and eyeballs.

You could make this argument about a lot of things. As Stitcherbeast noted, the device you're using to post here was likely made possible by deplorable labor exploitation and heavily polluting rare-earth mining in the third world. That doesn't make you immoral or careless for not boycotting laptops/smartphones/etc.

Sure, disagree. Go ahead. Think I'm a ___________ for thinking we as a community can do better by doing a small thing to make the world better.

Banning all links to the largest general-interest discussion platform on the web -- on a website dedicated to filtering the best of the web -- is not a small thing.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:36 PM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


We are discussing Reddit. Peace.
posted by Nelson at 10:37 PM on March 11, 2015


I apologize if I've gotten anything wrong, or if I've upset you. I read the article carefully and liked it. And I don't care for Reddit for many of the same reasons as you. I just thought it's a complex issue with many possible viewpoints.
posted by naju at 10:37 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nelson, what do you mean? I looked at the front page earlier today and the most innocuous posts had some pretty fucked up comments. Didn't surprise me and after this conversation dies down I don't plan to follow any links to reddit. Really disliked it before, for these reasons and because I think the structure in general support this type of comment. I don't get what you mean by linking tot he front page and saying peace, though.

FFFM, I think its pretty clear why mods don't want to blanket ban reddit links. I DO think that the FPP and this meta post have done a really good job articulating reasons not to use reddit and will have a really positive effect on Metafilter. Frankly I don't know about you but I basically use metafilter as my gateway/frontpage of the internet and I think a lot of other low volume users do also. I get why you're frustrated, but how often to you see a meta post with such a concrete and unilateral decision enacted within the first day? Are you more frustrated that a lot of users haven't agreed with you? If it was put to vote would check yes for banhammer but don't you think a significant decrease in the amount of reddit looks would be a good result? (I'm also cringing seeing reddit links on askme at the moment, bad timing user!)
posted by kittensofthenight at 10:47 PM on March 11, 2015


Hey fffm, I notice you have a Twitter account. Have you seen this site, which tracks the homophobic abuse being said there in real time? Can you explain why it's fine to actively assist that platform to make advertising money off the back of homophobic content (that could be prevented eg by blocking users or moderating keywords) — not to mention all the other oppressive user behavior Twitter is notorious for – but linking to reddit is beyond the pale for you?

(Also, "I'm a queer person therefore my opinion on reddit needs to be respected" carries the implication that queer people think as a bloc about this, which I can inform you is most definitely not true, especially for the hundreds of thousands of LGBT users of reddit.)
posted by dontjumplarry at 11:50 PM on March 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


Twitter does have a report button making it theoretically possible to push back on abuse. It's much more limited in scope than it should be so maybe Twitter deserves to be in this conversation, but ultimately the problem with Reddit is not just the bad content there, but the endorsement of the mods for that behavior in the interests of "free speech" and profit.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:02 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Twitter's management knows exactly the kind of racist/sexist/homophobic stuff that's happening on their platform because it's all entirely public and visible instantly in a realtime search. The mode and manner that they choose to accept it and make money from it seems like a distinction without a difference.

Of course, I bring that up not to suggest that Twitter should be censored, but to suggest that there is a place for public platforms and communities that are not strictly moderated, especially with the demise of structures that previously supported this, ie Usenet, blogging, forums, chatrooms, etc. It's a complex issue and that certainly doesn't mean I support reddit (or Twitter) as is (and certainly not its management), and I'm not all "free speech" about this, but on the other hand I do feel that some of you guys here would happily moderate the entire internet if only there were enough cortexes.
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:14 AM on March 12, 2015


On major mainstream platforms what I want is pretty minimal, a rule against hate speech and a report button to bring it to the attention of some administrators. Twitter does fail at that, looking more closely at the rules. They only seem to take issue with direct harassment or threats, not hate speech in general.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:20 AM on March 12, 2015


There's an interesting article on Reddit, which deals in part with moderation, that's just gone up on this morning's Guardian.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:38 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


christ, spare us the disappointed sighing
posted by ryanrs at 12:43 AM on March 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


Maybe a more effective method would be, when a thoughtful famous person you admire announces they're going to do an AMA, point out your concerns about Reddit to them. If they back out of the AMA, it might get a lot more attention than if Metafilter bans Reddit from the front page?

This has already happened. Over that "how do rapists feel" thread that also got an FPP.(how did I kinda forget about this one? That was some heinous shit damn)

Although they kinda figured that one out on their own, but still.
posted by emptythought at 12:47 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe MeFi isn't for me. I thought it was a place for people who were thoughtful and who cared about how their actions affect others.

Thoughtful, caring people can agree that there are lots of awful things about reddit and still disagree about whether or not a web site they do not own should ban links there, and why.

I thought that I as a queer person was welcome here, that my experiences as a queer person would be listened to here.

I'm sorry you don't feel welcome here, but it's hard for me to accept that you are not listened to, considering you said that in a MeTa created by you, where people are literally saying
I've linked to Reddit at least once before but thanks to this conversation I won't anymore.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:52 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is not the place I thought it was.

Well... good?
posted by Sebmojo at 1:23 AM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Anyway, I'm done. I thought MeFi could continue striving to be the best place on the internet by not linking to the worst.

what if someone is linking to a reddit thread as part of a "this is one of a number of threads on the Internet that got Joe Blow racist arrested"? Or "this is one of a number of threads that lead to the Supreme Court ruling that reddit had to require the mods keep track of real names and divulge them to police if another person felt threatened"?

An outright ban also prevents people from being able to call a bad site out for being bad sometimes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:57 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd like to note that while reddit is an absolute cesspit and it is possible for people to abuse its message system, Twitter is a far superior service for abusing people for various reasons and the "report" button seems to do little more than waste the time of victims most of the time. Reddit is a great place for toxic culture to develop, but Twitter makes it easy for it to spread, and so far they're either just moving turtle-slow on fixing it or they're only paying lip service to making it better. I think there's probably an order of magnitude in difference between how toxic Twitter is compared to reddit, but it still suffers a lot of the same problems.
posted by NoraReed at 4:17 AM on March 12, 2015


Comment deleted: do not bring offsite drama here. There are few hard-and-fast rules here, but this is one of them. I don't know how I can possibly phrase this any more clearly.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 4:51 AM on March 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


I haven't time to read all this stuff, but I can't stand Reddit. I hate the way it's divided off into little silos, cliquey little micro-spaces based on the tiniest little facets of human behaviour or identity. It doesn't have the community aspect of MeFi - the various Reddit sections are just groups of people trying to outdo each other, shouting into a black hole trying to say "I'm a better X than you," where X could be an Apple fan, a trans person, a racist, a biologist, whatever. A bunch of people picking apart everything people say doesn't make a great community.

Having said all that, I just choose not to engage because I think it's a shit platform - I don't see the point in blanket banning links to it. I would, however, probably encourage people to find other things to link in AskMe answers - for instance, seeing /r/asktransgender etc in trans* questions is frustrating, because it can be a really negative place for people who don't fit into a single, narrow definition of what it is to be trans*. I've personally had negative, "you're not properly trans" stuff thrown at me there from internet randos. There are probably more positive spaces and communities we could link to in order to help folk out in the specific context of AskMe.
posted by winterhill at 5:10 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I see this kind of request as swinging for the fences. It's a big ask, and pretty likely going to get an immediate "no" from the mods. But there's a chance that the userbase will embrace the request, and convince the mods to change their minds.

The problems come when there is no groundswell of support. Then it just seems like piling on, after the mods already rejected the request. I know I have a pretty visceral reaction to anyone suggesting site bans, and I was certainly not sparing any feelings in my response, and I should have been kinder. I wish I knew what the solution was.
posted by smackfu at 5:52 AM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


You also get a pile on when the meta poster is willing to take on all comers, and when people disagree he takes takes the offensive, accuses them of being bad people, all because they don't see things his way.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:23 AM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


If this is an obvious pattern with a poster, then just remember: "Not my circus, not my monkeys."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:51 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this thread is really frustrating because asking for feature requests is ostensibly part of what this section of the site is for, however, this wasn't a feature request it was a feature demand. A request implies that you ask for something and "Yes" or "No" are equally acceptable answers, even if it's understandable that one would be preferred. "No" was clearly not considered an acceptable answer to the OP based on his responses throughout this thread.

Maybe part of my reaction is colored by the fact that I'm not a fan of the posting style of the OP in general, whose comments frequently have a "Let's fight" vibe rather than "Let's discuss", but this whole post leaves a bad taste in my mouth, even while acknowledging that he is right that reddit is terrible to allow so much horrific stuff to live on their site. Making extremely inaccurate, least generous possible paraphrases of those who disagree with him in this thread and comparing those who are opposed to an outright reddit ban with rape apologists is just bad faith participation.
posted by The Gooch at 7:04 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was heartened to read at least one moderator relate that less nastiness would be tolerated 'round here, was surprised in the wake of that to see that the decision-makers are okay with this:

christ, spare us the disappointed sighing
posted by ryanrs at 12:43 AM on March 12 [3 favorites +] [Flagged]

posted by ambient2 at 7:20 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


fffm, my gripe with your participation here - of which this MeTa is a larger trend of - is that you seem to take a sharp moralistic stance on everything. This attitude is unfortunately not uncommon within queer communities, but it is a not a very helpful one at all. You're ignoring all of the complexities and competing/overlapping interests that naturally work as part and parcel of being in diverse communities - and therefore, intersectionality. How many times have you come into a FPP where women are discussing misogyny in gay communities, and then accuse them of being bigots because you seem much more interested in falling on the right of a sharp moral line than discussing complexities?

It's fine if you want to engage with everything as a sharp bipartizan bigots vs. queers issues, but the issue is that you repeatedly insist, anywhere a discussion is occuring, that people engage you on this ground. What I'm seeing here - again, reflective of your wider participation on the site - is that you're talking past all of the complex, nuanced and thoughtful engagement that the other members offer (many of us queer ourselves), and then reducing their arguments to straw men to toss slogans around about equality, as if to score points. You've derailed many FPPs this way. I see the same pattern play over multiple times, where the commenters are having a nuanced back-and-forth discussion on complex issues, and then you come in and choose to appoint yourself as the arbiter of morality, engage one side, not listen to any of the thoughtful reasoning they offer in response to your black-and-white platform, and then repeat the same sharp moral argument instead of engaging with what they've actually said. You aren't even arguing with them, you're just repeating, over and over again, "you're being oppressive to me!"

Truthfully, this behavior turns me off commenting in topics about identity or social issue as much as the micro-aggressions and sealioning that occur here. I'm here to conduct discourse within reasonable bounds, not to "win" arguments. Your repeated, obnoxious moralistic presence in a thread polarizes it into black-and-white issue - I can't really discuss anything when you repeatedly shout your moral stance from the rooftop of a FPP.
posted by Conspire at 7:22 AM on March 12, 2015 [44 favorites]


I thought that I as a queer person was welcome here, that my experiences as a queer person would be listened to here.

Huh. I as a queer person feel entirely welcome here and that my experience as a queer person is listened to. I guess your experience is different. I as a queer person have a particularly detailed understanding of how dangerous and foolish blanket bans on talking about particular topics, organizations, or types of people are.
posted by Nelson at 7:23 AM on March 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


I don't come to metafilter nearly as much as I used to, but when I do, it often reads like the FFFM show, where controversial topics are dominated by one intractable person who is not so much engaged in good faith discussion as opinionated comment graffiti.
posted by milarepa at 7:30 AM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Preemptive note: this is a policy discussion we can have in here

From the first post. Since we're apparently going to do the usual Public Hating thing can this be closed?
posted by selfnoise at 7:32 AM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


> I thought that I as a queer person was welcome here, that my experiences as a queer person would be listened to here. That the experiences of women would be listened to here. That when people say "there is a bad place that supports bad things and outright supports people attacking me for being born and maybe, just maybe, we should be thinking twice about supporting that place" people would listen.

Um, people do listen. You've got a whole thread right here of people listening. It's what Metatalk is for.
People are not agreeing with your suggestion of a site policy, which is not at all the same thing as not listening to your concerns, and it's really frustrating to see it framed that way.
posted by desuetude at 7:38 AM on March 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


Yeah, let's maybe re-orient this toward talking about reddit links, rather than fffm?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:41 AM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


LobsterMitten: "Yeah, let's maybe re-orient this toward talking about reddit links, rather than fffm?"

Be sure to drop FFFM a note saying as much.

What I've seen from this thread is a lot of people saying a whole lot of different things. If we're all getting broad brushed as anti-LGBTQ, anti-women (especially after "months by women!) and "bad place" supporters, you had better expect people to respond. If we're getting broad-brushed because somebody expects complete agreement with their position and chooses to be emotionally manipulative about it, you had better expect people to respond.

Like I said upthread, individual sub-reddits can be great -- cancer patient support, charities, meetups, many useful and humane things -- but the corporate culture of Reddit, Inc is terrible. Trying to get to grips between the useful micro and the gross macro are hard, and people are probably going to balance them in different ways. Some people have said "no more reddit for me", others have host file entries, or shut down their reddit accounts, or whatever else. I would expect that we should know it's hard to understand other people's takes on these issues and I'd prefer a little more emotional detatchment when dealing with the issue here.
posted by boo_radley at 8:01 AM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I use reddit, but I wouldn't mind seeing fewer links to content there because when these occur they are usually pretty thin. I can think of very few posts that weren't "Look, some guy is telling a cool story," or "Look, some celebrity is saying something because she's got a movie to promote," or "Look at this shitty/good thing reddit is doing." Generally, when I see these I think, "If people cared they should be in that sub. If they aren't, then they probably don't care."
posted by cjorgensen at 8:06 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I dislike reddit. I don't read it much. If I found something interesting enough for an FPP through reddit, I would just post the interesting thing as an FPP, not the reddit thread appended to it. A thread there would have to be extremely good for me to consider posting it here as an FPP. That said, I disagree with a blanket ban on reddit links. cortex's position up top sounds reasonable to me, as does Ivan Fyodorovich's comment here.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:08 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I understand the frustration with what I regard as geeky/internet culture's blind spot regarding Reddit. It can feel really personal when people you otherwise trust think it's great; I understand that, too. I've decided it's not the place for me, and I deleted my account a while back; it's on my internal Do Not Link list along with the Daily Mail, the chans, Fox News, and Huffington Post. And if I were running my own message board, I might put in a request for people not to link those sites.

However, Metafilter doesn't generally ban sites, so...the question of "should Metafilter ban linking to some sites" is much bigger than the "should MeFi ban Reddit links," and in response to the former, I still come down on "probably not." I do think people should think twice about where they link, though.
posted by wintersweet at 8:09 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't have an opinion about whether MetaFilter should impose a blanket ban on Reddit because they have created and maintain a structure that allows monstrous behavior to thrive, regardless of whatever good can be found elsewhere on the site. I do, however, have the ability to impose a personal ban. I will not be going to Reddit, nor linking to Reddit, nor following other links to Reddit, until they not only change these policies, but until there is actual, demonstrable change on the site. I am glad to see others are doing so as well, because if the internet is just a platform and it is the people on it that define it, I want to do my part not to support those parts of the web that create an opportunity for people to be miserable to each other.
posted by maxsparber at 8:22 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was heartened to read at least one moderator relate that less nastiness would be tolerated 'round here, was surprised in the wake of that to see that the decision-makers are okay with this:

christ, spare us the disappointed sighing
posted by ryanrs at 12:43 AM on March 12 [3 favorites +] [Flagged]


And I agree with this. What a shitty thing to say, and I'm flabbergasted it stands at the moment with a mod comment.
posted by maxsparber at 8:25 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


It is a shitty thing to say. That said, I don't think it rises to the level of "personal attack," which I think is considered the bar in MetaTalk.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:30 AM on March 12, 2015




Please don't do the thing of dredging people's history for past comments to use as gotchas.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:55 AM on March 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


That's cool that ryanrs is okay with deleting bad comments. I don't think that's relevant to mod policies.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:55 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know that I think it's objectively worse than the slanderish statements its in response to. Often there's more than one person who wants to wallow in the mud; the only mod response that I would think is called for is asking people to stop jumping in the pen.
posted by phearlez at 9:00 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Please don't do the thing of dredging people's history for past comments to use as gotchas.

Well, I suppose I would have liked if if a mod had said, hey, please don't be shitty to someone who came here in earnest with a concern. I will promise not to mention someone's past comments in the future, but I know I flagged that shitty comment, and as far as I can tell it has yet to be responded to.
posted by maxsparber at 9:03 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Something else to consider is that this request grew out of a thread where users were actively debating whether Reddit is even an overall bad site. It would be hard to read that thread and decide that MetaFilter as a whole agreed that the site should be banned. So this MetaTalk thread feels a little stunty, like moving over to the grey to try and "win" the debate.
posted by smackfu at 9:09 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


smackfu, I don't think it's stunty, it's just the part of the discussion that's about MeFi and what we should or shouldn't do, which is a fair reason to take it to MeTa.

maxsparber, fffm literally says in his comment that he's "disappointed" with the people here. It's not a personal attack to object to that. I would not phrase a comment that way myself, and I don't think it's helping exactly, but it's also not the kind of thing that automatically calls for a mod response.

Historically MetaTalk has been a place where it was fair game to talk about problems with people's on-site behavior, including objecting to how a person is engaging in a thread (which is how I read most of the above comments). We're now trying to keep it away from really problematic personal attack stuff, we're still figuring out the line there. I can understand why you feel like this comment was close to the line, for sure.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:15 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


"I don't remember that, specifically, but it's not impossible there was some pre-2007 situation that I just wasn't privy to. I do recall us being bearish about links to a couple of other sites specifically because their owners/administrators were grudgy jerks who would start inter-site shit when Mefi criticized their content, but that was more of a soft "let's save everybody a headache" guideline than any kind of legal or business concern."

Huh. For some reason, I thought they'd brigaded us in response to links over there, but from searching through the archives, I can't find any justification for that memory.
posted by klangklangston at 9:16 AM on March 12, 2015


I thought that was how we dealt with Little Green Footballs, almost before my time.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:33 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, I suppose I would have liked if if a mod had said, hey, please don't be shitty to someone who came here in earnest with a concern.

He came in here with an earnest concern, then acted deplorably when people disagreed with him. The comment was flippant, but I'm not sure fffm's behavior in this thread has earned him anything more than that, irrespective of how earnest his initial complaint might have been.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:41 AM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I would really, genuinely like for people to keep working on behaving decently in Metatalk and that's something we'll be continuing to keep an eye on and try to enforce a bit more actively than we would have a few years ago.

That said, people being just sort of grumpy or impatient or etc. in Metatalk is something that's gonna be in a lot of cases far more mild or borderline than the threshold for deletion, and as much as I think making a show of rolling one's eyes about someone's behavior is not great commenting it's also not where that threshold falls.

I think this metatalk was fine to post; I think fffm's reaction to pushback has not been great, and that he should leave it be (and seems to at this point have done so) ; I think people continuing to react to fffm's reaction has not been great either and having an ongoing referendum on it's not a good idea. If folks want to talk about the core policy question or matters related to that rather than to individuals on the site, this is the place for it and have at it. If you don't want to talk about that, that's fine to but just give the thread a pass then at this point as well.

Metatalk does not need to constantly swallow its own tail or wander into inter-user ugliness and it'd be nice if that could happen more on the basis of people just collectively making an individual effort on that front on all sides rather than mods having to repeatedly step in.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:52 AM on March 12, 2015 [27 favorites]


cortex: " I think people continuing to react to fffm's reaction has not been great either and having an ongoing referendum on it's not a good idea."

cortex: "Metatalk does not need to constantly swallow its own tail or wander into inter-user ugliness and it'd be nice if that could happen more on the basis of people just collectively making an individual effort on that front on all sides rather than mods having to repeatedly step in."

This is probably a great idea. Thanks, cortex. Thortex.
posted by boo_radley at 9:53 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the skills that I think Jessamyn brought to the mod team was the ability to say "no" in a way that still made the complaining member feel like their concerns were heard and would still impact site policy even if they weren't getting the remedy they wanted. I was thinking about this in an earlier feminism MeTa where people were making some unworkable requests about what should be allowed in certain threads (which luckily sort of petered out after an object lesson in how the desired policy would be unworkable), and I'm not sure how much of it was because of active effort on her part versus her identity and role within the mod team, but making people feel understood and valued even while they're not getting what they want is not an easy task in a fractious community.
posted by klangklangston at 10:06 AM on March 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


the ability to say "no" in a way that still made the complaining member feel like their concerns were heard and would still impact site policy even if they weren't getting the remedy they wanted. [...] making people feel understood and valued even while they're not getting what they want is not an easy task in a fractious community.

Agreed, though I'm not sure how that would have worked in this case. Right off the bat, many people chimed in saying some version of "yes, I agree with your description of the problem, but not the remedy." Many others suggested that they were taking this MeTa as a challenge to be more mindful of what's going on there, and to refrain from linking to them in the future.

fffm's response was to describe anyone who disagreed with his proposed remedy as carelessly supporting bigotry, even if they agreed with the premise that Reddit is problematic, and even if they personally had never linked to Reddit and had no plans on doing so. Merely being unwilling to support the drastic step of banning the entire site was enough for him to conclude that one doesn't give a damn about members of marginalized groups.

I think that's a bridge too far, and I say all of this as someone who admires fffm's contributions here, agrees with him way more often than I disagree with him, and probably hasn't willingly clicked through to Reddit in several years. Counterfactuals are hard, but I don't see how the attitude displayed above could have been softened with a more delicate touch from the mods.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:22 AM on March 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


This is probably a great idea.

What do you mean "probably"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:23 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


but making people feel understood and valued even while they're not getting what they want is not an easy task in a fractious community.

I've been trying to internalize a dialogue posture lately that is more other-centered (with varying degrees of success and failure). If I want to see people succeed as human beings, even in disagreement, I find that it changes the tone of a conversation for me. Say what you will about rational discourse and a desire for people to just do the right thing, I think that a lot of healthy give-and-take in a discussion boils down to a couple of things: 1) framing a response in a way that isn't flippant and communicates listening; and 2) caring about people as people who have feelings and background stories, even if we don't like the presentation.

The second one informs the first one for me quite a bit. I find it can also open ears to rational discourse where sometimes it's closed due to other non-rational reasons. Additionally, if I consider that someone is responding because they have experienced some hurt due to a particular situation being discussed, I tend to naturally extend a lot more patience and understanding, even if the way it's being expressed is wonky. I find that when I put less effort into creatively imagining whether others might be emotionally invested due to life experiences, I tend to say things more on the jack-ass end of the spectrum. So a good lesson for me is anticipating that how I respond could poke a sore spot, and as such, try to anticipate that . It's a practice of imagination, and empathy, even before I know if it's actually the case.

So yeah, valuing people and understanding them. Good stuff.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:27 AM on March 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "What do you mean "probably"?"

In the usual sense, I suppose.
posted by boo_radley at 10:33 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Boo, I can't think of a situation in which it would not be a good idea for an individual to try to exercise self-control in a discussion rather than expecting a moderator to be their conscience for them. That's not just "probably a good idea", that's, like, the kind of "how to get along with people" stuff they talk about on Sesame Street.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:40 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can think of plenty of times when exhorting someone to use more self control in a discussion can be detrimental to the overall discussion, even as self control is generally a virtue. I can also think of times when that self control can become self censorship to the detriment of the community, e.g. staying silent rather than angrily rebutting a harmful assertion.
posted by klangklangston at 10:46 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I can also think of times when that self control can become self censorship to the detriment of the community, e.g. staying silent rather than angrily rebutting a harmful assertion.

I agree with that, but I also agree with the mods that there's a difference between "that's a terribly harmful and incorrect thing to say" and "YOU'RE A SHIT-SUCKING DOODOOHEAD", and that the individual should ideally be tending towards the former as their default mode of speaking.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:59 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I thought that was how we dealt with Little Green Footballs, almost before my time."

This is my strong memory -- LGF and Something Awful were the sites where we ended up with a kind of ban on linking to them out of a kind of self-defense and just generally Matt saying that he was tired of inter-site drama. I feel certain that this was what the earlier poster was thinking of, and I guess cortex, too.

But there is that outright ban on linking to Stormfront. I remember that discussion, as well.

"Say what you will about rational discourse and a desire for people to just do the right thing, I think that a lot of healthy give-and-take in a discussion boils down to a couple of things: 1) framing a response in a way that isn't flippant and communicates listening; and 2) caring about people as people who have feelings and background stories, even if we don't like the presentation."

I'm so ambivalent about this because I think some things deserve angry responses and I really hate how people use the tone argument to delegitimize unprivileged voices. And I really hate the thoughtless elevation of civility to some universal and inherent good that so often goes along with this.

But, on the other hand, it took me a while but I've come to just see a powerful pragmatic argument for working hard to reduce and not increase the grar. Because the grar just gets in the way. It very strongly tends to make it about personalities and not behaviors, and even less the fundamental issues, and what I really hate is when someone's belligerence ends up causing self-inflicted wounds on people I agree with and/or like and am friends with and/or positions I support. There's a lot of times I read something and think stop helping. And it's also why more and more often I'll start to write a responding comment and then abandon it. I did that several times in this thread in the last eight hours, both when I began a response to fffm's angry comments, and then when I began a response to some posted by other people in response to fffm's comments. I asked myself: will this really help things? And the answer was "no".

And this is especially true in MetaTalk. I think I wrote this in a recent MeTa thread, but I've come to believe that two of the main goals of MetaTalk are fundamentally at odds with each other. One goal is that this is MetaFIlter's open mike, a place where mefites can feel more that they can express their feelings about MetaFilter with less editorial oversite by the mods. The other goal is that this is a problem-solving forum where we collectively work through issues. But all the personality-stuff and the grar and the pile-ons and all that really actively work against these threads being productive, they work against the problem solving. In a practical sense, the problem-solving aspect of MetaTalk implies that this should be the most heavily moderated area of the site, not the least.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:01 AM on March 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yeah, seems like both LGF and SA were in 2004/2005 timeframe. So it's been a while.
posted by smackfu at 11:46 AM on March 12, 2015


And it's also why more and more often I'll start to write a responding comment and then abandon it

I do this a lot. I also tend not to post my first drafts of comments -- nearly always editing them prior to clicking "Post Comment."

Taking a moment to be more circumspect about one's responses can definitely help refine what one wants to say. We can't know for certain whether it would reduce the overall level of anger/outrage/grar. It's possible that as some people have time to think about what they want to say, they would make a conscious choice to express themselves in anger, or edit their comments to be less diplomatic than they might have originally intended.

In a practical sense, the problem-solving aspect of MetaTalk implies that this should be the most heavily moderated area of the site, not the least.

One of MetaTalk's functions is to help diffuse disruptions away from the main part of the site. Moderating MetaTalk more tightly could potentially eliminate that (valuable) benefit.
posted by zarq at 11:49 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm so ambivalent about this because I think some things deserve angry responses and I really hate how people use the tone argument to delegitimize unprivileged voices. And I really hate the thoughtless elevation of civility to some universal and inherent good that so often goes along with this. But, on the other hand, it took me a while but I've come to just see a powerful pragmatic argument for working hard to reduce and not increase the grar. Because the grar just gets in the way.

The tension is real. I think what I've grown to be sensitive to over time is whether angry responses and more tempered responses need to be balanced with some wisdom that is still other-centered, whether it's the person I'm talking to or the important thing I would like to defend that is being deligitimized. I suspect what I've discovered about myself is that if I'm not careful, it's too easy to default to responses that you mention that aren't helpful or thoughtful. The "which when" question reminds me of other similar problems we experience in life, like when it comes to balancing mercy and justice in legal decisions, or deciding when to confront a loved one. I usually think very carefully about these things and the people involved before shooting off my mouth. One of the conclusions I've come to is that when we are told to pick our battles, it's a pretty bad strategy to pick all of them. And the ones I do pick are more successful if I'm known as a person who has empathy, understanding, and a generally gracious understanding about people in general. Somehow the understanding can legitimize the times that need some anger. I've heard it said before that a good percentage to look at it 90/10, where 90 percent of our interactions are tempered with grace, and 10 percent or less have to do with hard conversations that feel painful to the recipient. I don't know if that percentage pans out, but I think the general observation about intentional balance isn't a bad thing for people to give some concerted consideration.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:59 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


In a practical sense, the problem-solving aspect of MetaTalk implies that this should be the most heavily moderated area of the site, not the least.

One of MetaTalk's functions is to help diffuse disruptions away from the main part of the site. Moderating MetaTalk more tightly could potentially eliminate that (valuable) benefit.


Hard to quantify this, but I haven't found the "relief valve" theory to hold true. What I've seen in the past is:

-Members get fighty in a Blue post.
-Members "take it to Metatalk".
-The thread explodes into a toxic stew of personal attacks and general grar.
-Everyone decamps after a while or the thread gets closed but then all the personal stuff in the Metatalk thread festers and members take these grievances into the next round.

I think the theoretical idea is that members talk out the personal stuff on Metatalk, but there just seems to be escalating yelling instead.

I think a consistent expectation of behavior across all subsites makes more sense, but I'd be interested to hear what the mods/other users think.
posted by selfnoise at 12:01 PM on March 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


More about LGF. (Search has even more.) Seems like there was never a formal ban, just a general consensus among the mods and others that LGF links were almost always a bad idea, thanks to being burned in the past.
posted by mbrubeck at 12:03 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


selfnoise: -Members get fighty in a Blue post.
-Members "take it to Metatalk".


Stop here.

This is the only function of MetaTalk that I was referring to. A place where disruptions can be moved off the main parts of the site, so they're not affecting the flow of one or more threads on the Blue or Green. (Or FanFare, etc.) Most of the time, taking an issue to MetaTalk allows other areas of the site to remain readable.

Whether or not MetaTalk is an effective outlet for mefites to resolve problems in the long or short term, and whether that function can be improved is probably worth discussing. But it wasn't a point I intended to raise.
posted by zarq at 12:41 PM on March 12, 2015


Better yet, members take it to MeMail.

But I don't think there's any clean way to purge bad blood between MeFites. Grudges are held, fires are fanned, and venting can lead to more clashing. Maybe another member or a mod says something that helps to put an issue into a different perspective for some users in a MetaTalk thread, or maybe it doesn't and they feel like it's them vs the site.

But as zarq said, MetaTalk serves to keep some of the noise out of other threads. And because it can serve as a release valve, it seems to work better when there are less filters, otherwise that pressure is still bottled up.

[Maybe these analogies are all failing, but they make sense to me at this moment. Then again, I've come to come to embrace the view that much in life on the internet is Super Not Critical, and others are doing a better job explaining and defending a shared point of view, so I can walk away and do something else.]
posted by filthy light thief at 12:47 PM on March 12, 2015


I thought LGF had become much better/less newsmaxy in the recent years?

Anyway, posts like these are why I wander over to MeTa on slow work days.
posted by bgal81 at 12:52 PM on March 12, 2015


MeTa as a lightly moderated relief valve is crucial IMO. This place has a lot of smart opinionated people and these are complicated times. People choosing to leave is a much better failure condition than banning and ban drama and ban ill will, which is the alternative.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:59 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


That said, I don't think it rises to the level of "personal attack," which I think is considered the bar in MetaTalk.

Given that personal attacks aren't automatically deleted even on the blue, and I see it regularly stated by the mods that very little gets deleted, comment-wise, from MetaTalk, the "sighing" comment is not the sort of comment that you should expect to be deleted.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:15 PM on March 12, 2015


MeTa as relief valve is a shitty system that drives users away when they're sick of being treated like shit because they have opinions as members of marginalized groups. This especially happens with women (and seems to happen to trans women in particular). It doesn't relieve anything, it just gives users an extra opportunity to kick the shit out of other users, and it makes the site generally pretty goddamn unfriendly, especially because MeTa threads end up becoming a pile of shit and that ends up stinking up the entire site.
posted by NoraReed at 1:21 PM on March 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


Yeah I think the benefit of a "relief valve" is what zarq said just above - it's a way to prevent derails or, even more, meta-discussion about how the thread is going from affecting the thread, especially due to the flat structure of mefi threads. I think that is important.

Unfortunately, due to the light hand on Metatalk, it has the secondary meaning of being some battle royale garbage where people go specifically to call people out and make personal attacks, etc. An "airing of grievances" kind of thing. This, as NoraReed says, is a shitty system.

They both can (imo, appropriately from a linguistic perspective) be characterized as a "relief valve", but personally only one of them brings any actual relief.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:32 PM on March 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Lemurrhea: Unfortunately, due to the light hand on Metatalk...

That light handed ship sailed a while back.
posted by gman at 1:37 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


An "airing of grievances" kind of thing.

The Festivus Pole is gray, after all.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:48 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


That light handed ship sailed a while back.

Yeah gman, you're the reasons we can't have nice things!
posted by cjorgensen at 1:58 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


People choosing to leave is a much better failure condition than banning

Depends who's leaving and who's getting banned. It's not the same people. People getting banned are usually jerks and the site is usually better off without them, even though we don't like to see it get to that point with a user and we'll try (maybe too much) to prevent it coming to that. People leaving voluntarily are not usually the big flounces/flameouts that you might have in mind -- it's often quiet contributors who want interesting conversation but not constant hostility and anklebiting, and eventually they get fed up. That's not a win for the site, to keep the jerks and lose the quieter folks who want high signal.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:00 PM on March 12, 2015 [38 favorites]


MeTa as relief valve is a shitty system that drives users away when they're sick of being treated like shit because they have opinions as members of marginalized groups. This especially happens with women (and seems to happen to trans women in particular). It doesn't relieve anything, it just gives users an extra opportunity to kick the shit out of other users, and it makes the site generally pretty goddamn unfriendly, especially because MeTa threads end up becoming a pile of shit and that ends up stinking up the entire site.

What would be your ideal solution, NoraReed?
posted by Sebmojo at 2:07 PM on March 12, 2015


ban the people who are constantly egregious dickholes? it's already been super pleasant not having the 5 or so that've been banned recently around
posted by NoraReed at 2:11 PM on March 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


I thought LGF had become much better/less newsmaxy in the recent years?

It has, and I'm pretty sure the Mefi feud died long before that.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:40 PM on March 12, 2015


selfnoise: -Members get fighty in a Blue post.
-Members "take it to Metatalk".

Stop here.

This is the only function of MetaTalk that I was referring to. A place where disruptions can be moved off the main parts of the site, so they're not affecting the flow of one or more threads on the Blue or Green. (Or FanFare, etc.) Most of the time, taking an issue to MetaTalk allows other areas of the site to remain readable.


I agree, but I'm not sure I follow you when you say that "tightly moderating" the ensuing Metatalk discussion will reduce its effectiveness. If anything ensuring that the Metatalk thread remains on that topic increases the possibility that it will be resolved without excessive deviations into personal rancor.
posted by selfnoise at 2:42 PM on March 12, 2015


Chuck Johnson is still a dick though.
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:42 PM on March 12, 2015


ban the people who are constantly egregious dickholes? it's already been super pleasant not having the 5 or so that've been banned recently around

Getting a bit off-topic so I will stop talking about this, but yeah fair enough. That doesn't address the nature of MeTa as a venue though?
posted by Sebmojo at 2:45 PM on March 12, 2015


[One comment deleted. Can we not, with the 'so-and-so should be banned' needling? It helps nothing. If you want to suggest that, hit us up at the contact form.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:48 PM on March 12, 2015


Okay, who gets to define "egregious dickholes"?
posted by gman at 2:50 PM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I didn't name anyone in particular, and I'm astonished my comment was deleted.

I want to state my agreement with NoraReed 100%: we should ban egregious dickholes. We just might have a different opinion on who is first in line there.
posted by grouse at 2:52 PM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


LobsterMitten: [One comment deleted. Can we not, with the 'so-and-so should be banned' needling? It helps nothing. If you want to suggest that, hit us up at the contact form.]

Does the contact form work better these days than your response (or lack thereof) to posts you don't like in the MetaTalk queue?
posted by gman at 3:03 PM on March 12, 2015


"Okay, who gets to define 'egregious dickholes'?"

Me, that's my job. Got my license a few weeks ago. Well, strictly speaking, I don't define the term, that's someone else's job. But I'm the classifier. I've got a bit of a backlog, but if you need to know if someone is an egregious dickhole, just send me an email and I'll let you know as soon as possible.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:03 PM on March 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


But I don't think there's any clean way to purge bad blood between MeFites. Grudges are held, fires are fanned, and venting can lead to more clashing.

Honestly, this is a much broader issue than simply a MetaFilter one. Learning how to disagree - and how to foster disagreement - which respects the shared community and creates meaningful dialogue between people is one of the most challenging things I've run into in this society, and in internet interactions in particular. The online culture - which as near as I can tell was rooted in Usenet and continues in a dispersed manner to this day - was one of aggressive, opinionated interaction. Flamewars are and were not only common, but even sometimes encouraged as ways for individuals who were particularly witty and sharp to gain notoriety and fame. This is also a process offline - the connection between punditry and comedy is, I think, a telling one; both involve individuals of particular personal charisma and strong opinions who gain followers and fame.

Essentially, we see a slightly more polite version of this on MetaFilter, but the structure of the interactions are very much the same. Modifications of this form of interaction will always involve pushback, claims of "silencing" or "censorship" and calls for the people wanting to modify it to "grow a thicker skin" or tolerate pain as a price of interaction.

This cycle is gendered in the sense that women-are-expected-to-be-kind and men-are-expected-to-be-leaders, but it's internalized in a lot of women online and many men don't enjoy it. Disagreement-as-gladiatorial-combat with a clear winner and a clear loser is coded masculine in this current society on the internet, and that fractures communities as much as disagreement-as-treachery-against-the-group (which in my experience isn't gender-coded at all; all-female, all-male, and mixed groups all seem to have a similar disagreement-as-treachery failstate). Both of these understandings of disagreement seem to be contributing to how things in MetaTalk tend to break down, and both are common and commonly expressed and experienced outside of MetaFilter as well.

Disagreement-as-dialogue is not really part of current online myth/social dynamic/referred to phenomena. My read is that a lot of the sturm und drang on Tumblr is about trying to figure out a new way to disagree and a new way to hold people accountable while simultaneously working together - some way to short-circuit the "in-group members must be defended" dynamic which seems to be rooted pretty deeply. I think we could have similar dialogues here on MetaFilter, but I worry that peoples' pre-emptive, defensive "metafilter is an echo-chamber" / "metafilter has failed me" stories hobble these attempts at dialogue before they begin.

I think we can do better.
posted by Deoridhe at 3:04 PM on March 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


Does the contact form work better these days than your response (or lack thereof) to posts you don't like in the MetaTalk queue?

Contact form emails during the week get a response in ~15 minutes (perhaps as long as an hour on the weekend.) Queued MetaTalk posts can take a lot longer than that, since we often discuss them and we're not all around at the same time. If you haven't heard from us in a day or so, please feel free to send a contact form (although it's also worth double-checking your email on file - we've had a bunch of cases where the poster had an old address that still worked, and we never knew they didn't see our response.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:07 PM on March 12, 2015


Thanks. My email you have on file has been the same since Day 1, so no worries there. I put something in the queue about 12 hours ago now, so we'll see what happens tomorrow.
posted by gman at 3:10 PM on March 12, 2015


Okay, who gets to define "egregious dickholes"?

The mods.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:13 PM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Queued MetaTalk posts can take a lot longer than that, since we often discuss them and we're not all around at the same time.

Potentially contentious queued posts get discussed, I assume. My innocuous post to Meta earlier this week passed through the queue within 10-20 minutes.
posted by zarq at 3:24 PM on March 12, 2015


Oh, totally, if you post a "does anyone remember this?" or similarly non-contentious thing, it goes through as soon as the mod on duty sees it. It's just complicated policy stuff that sometimes gets held while we figure out when we'll have bandwidth and/or what our position is. There's no benefit to leaving a policy question up overnight while the poor duty mod can't commit to a response without checking in with the rest of us.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:27 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Interesting, I probably haven't been in the threads involved, and I'm not even aware of anyone who has been banned recently, but though there are people who seem to me to basically get off on being assholes - usually by embarrassing or humiliating other users or whatever - there is no one I can think of currently who deserves to be banned. It seems to me the internet is full of this sort of sadsim/assholism: getting off on bullying/humiliating/insulting other people. It exists on MetaFilter - and it can come from all directions - but it is usually much more refined and cultivated. I think it is better not to ban people unless they really cross the line into being truly hurtful, or are repeatedly ruining conversations as a whole.

I really like Deoridhe's comment (well, except I'm not so confident about the gender-expectations being as big a part of it). I wish we had a set of norms on how to improve the situation in a "disagreement-as-dialogue" direction.

Personally, I think it is just necessary to own emotions as my own, in such a way that anytime I am upset by a stranger on the internet, I realize that the primary problem a defective psychological shield, and that the feelings are probably more about me and something else in my reality. Unfortunately, MetaFilter is not really the kind of place where these emotions can be sorted out or "worked on" on an interpersonal level, because that requires a level of trust that is impossible here, at least for me probably.

Disagreement-as-dialogue is not really part of current online myth/social dynamic/referred to phenomena

When I look at some of the more vibrant and attractive intellectual atmospheres I've had some contact with, "disagreement as dialogue" and usually with mutual respect is exactly how they were, and I wish MetaFilter could have more of it.
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:33 PM on March 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Okay, who gets to define "egregious dickholes"?


Sorry, I tried..
posted by phearlez at 3:47 PM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


well, except I'm not so confident about the gender-expectations being as big a part of it

One of my main lenses for exploring human relationships is feminism, so I tend to talk about gender a lot. I am 100% cromulent with people not wanting to keep that part of it, or wanting to add in or modify my thoughts for a different lens, like race or class. I explicitly state the gender stuff because I want to be sure I'm being clear, however, because I know that my beliefs about gender affect how I analyze human interactions; I'd hate for someone to get caught up on that if they disagree with one of my foundational premises.
posted by Deoridhe at 3:51 PM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I put something in the queue about 12 hours ago now, so we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Ah, looked that up - gnfti wasn't explicit about it, but he answered your question in email and we weren't intending to post the MeTa. A more general one on the same topic just went up, though.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:52 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I look at some of the more vibrant and attractive intellectual atmospheres I've had some contact with, "disagreement as dialogue" and usually with mutual respect is exactly how they were, and I wish MetaFilter could have more of it.

I think we have just about enough of it here, but I also feel that pressure to move away from that atmosphere from people who-I-like-and-respect-even-though-they-irritate-me (English! give me a word for that!) is ultimately misguided and to be, respectfully, vigorously, fought against.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:13 PM on March 12, 2015


people who-I-like-and-respect-even-though-they-irritate-me

I believe this is where Frenemy actually comes in handy.
posted by Deoridhe at 4:28 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


We just might have a different opinion on who is first in line there.

I got a big basket of potsherds here...
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:32 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


... as much as I think making a show of rolling one's eyes about someone's behavior is not great commenting it's also not where that threshold falls.

Why not? How's the site/community better for that sort of stuff?
posted by ambient2 at 7:20 PM on March 12, 2015


Pinching down the level acceptable behavior to the point where terse impoliteness is a consistent outright deletion would be a really aggressive shift to expectations here and a nightmare to consistently enforce. There's a lot of room to move on trying to encourage better discourse around here without throwing the lever up to fifty, and a lot of ongoing disagreement between active members of the site about whether and to where the line on moderation should be nudged.

It's not a question of whether the community would be better off if people just weren't sometimes obnoxious; it's a question of whether the community would be better off under a rubric of enforcement aggressive enough to guarantee a lack of obnoxiousness by brute force.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:31 PM on March 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


Thanks. Good points.
posted by ambient2 at 7:51 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, who gets to define "egregious dickholes"?

"users with almost as many meta comments as mefi ones" might clear some of the most dedicated shit stirrers , I guess
posted by ominous_paws at 12:09 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


so the mods, basically

heh
posted by ryanrs at 1:19 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I miss zarq.
posted by Nevin at 2:45 AM on March 13, 2015


Err, has he gone somewhere?
posted by Drinky Die at 3:43 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


He's only made 9 comments in this very thread.
posted by Wolof at 3:54 AM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Right, as evidenced by the... zero?... people seconding the proposal outlined in this MeTa?
posted by tonycpsu


Right, because I was being totally and obviously serious with my metametafilter joke.

A big problem here being the several people who are always spoiling for an argument.

But actually, now that the thread is old, it's not "zero" people at all. The are quite a few agreeing in various ways with the op.

But I was still making an obvious joke, undeserving of a humorless, sneering putdown. I don't give a fuck about reddit or what anyone links to.
posted by spitbull at 6:18 AM on March 13, 2015


Right, because I was being totally and obviously serious.

The entirety of the comment in question:
Eventually Metafilter will only allow links to itself, finally becoming MetaMetafilter in the process. As it is we are already as it is, and frequently as it were.
What's obviously joking about that? It reads to me like argumentum ad absurdum -- not that you believe that MeFi will literally only allow links to itself, but that you believe that there is a tendency that, left unchecked, will move in that direction. If that's not how you meant it, then it's not my job to try to read in between the lines to try to figure out if you're serious or not, it's your job to be clearer. "Obviously" != "obviously to the person who posted it."

But actually, now that the thread is old, it's not "zero" people at all. The are quite a few agreeing in various ways with the op.

What I said is that zero people have "second[ed] the proposal outlined in this MeTa", and as far as I can see that is still the case. "Agreeing in various ways with the OP" doesn't meet that standard. I agree in various ways with the OP about Reddit itself, but also think the idea of banning links to it is completely without merit.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:34 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


What's obviously joking about that?

The part where Metafilter only allows links to itself. Any post on the blue that did so would be probably be deleted.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:40 AM on March 13, 2015


There's a lot of room to move on trying to encourage better discourse around here without throwing the lever up to fifty

If this is a Princess Bride reference, I like it.

Regarding spitbull's joke, I think what makes it an obvious joke is that the second sentence is gibberish. Also the part about MetaMetaFilter. Also, all of it.
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:41 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


What's obviously joking about that?

That's how I read it, but you wouldn't want to be like me. I have two heads and some nasty green carbuncles.
posted by Wolof at 6:42 AM on March 13, 2015


Executive Officer Obvious.
posted by zarq at 7:07 AM on March 13, 2015


The part where Metafilter only allows links to itself. Any post on the blue that did so would be probably be deleted.

To me, it didn't scan as a joke intended to get laughs, but as a "this seems ridiculous, but it's the direction we're heading" kind of slippery slope argument, with nothing in it to suggest otherwise. The presence of a seemingly impossible to reach end state doesn't change the message of a slippery slope argument. Haven't we all seen arguments that take the form of some dystopic end state that seems totally bananas, with the suggestion that we might not literally get to that point, but that we're headed down that road? Does someone need to literally believe that the end state of such a slippery slope argument must seem reasonable now in order to be held responsible for any flaws in that argument, such as the fact that nobody is supporting the suggestion that we ban links to Reddit? Am I not allowed to undercut the factual basis for what looks like an argument of that form simply because someone might not literally believe that the end state is possible?

Anyway, it wasn't meant as a "putdown", it was meant to undercut the notion that anyone here other than the OP supports the idea of banning links to Reddit, a point I think still holds. As long as we're clear on that I don't care one way or another about what the comment was actually trying to say.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:30 AM on March 13, 2015


As a fellow time rich person, I too can't be bothered about what the comment was actually trying to say.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 AM on March 13, 2015


What's obviously joking about that?

What wasn't?
posted by juiceCake at 8:26 AM on March 13, 2015


I keep hearing "child porn" mentioned. Did/does reddit actually tolerate or facilitate child porn? When we say "child porn", are we referring to illegal images of underage subjects, or creepy images of clothed kids? Both are obviously gross, but in my mind they are not remotely in the same league of grossness, and lumping them both into the bucket of "child porn" seems awfully misleading. If reddit has been facilitating actual child porn, I think a blanket ban should be a pretty easy sell (and someone should probably get the FBI involved).
posted by Turd Ferguson at 9:11 AM on March 13, 2015


That seems like a topic more for the other thread.
posted by smackfu at 9:13 AM on March 13, 2015


Concern trolling is when you criticize something but don't actually care about the outcome of that criticism

It has been broadly used to mean more "I don't like what was said here", I'm afraid.
posted by thelonius at 10:52 AM on March 13, 2015


I really don't understand the reddit hate. I am sure there must be plenty of people saying hateful racist things on reddit, just because it is big enough that there are bound to be people with hateful racist things to say there, but this idea that reddit is nothing more than a cesspool of awfulness simply doesn't correspond to my experience of the site at all. It's just people talking to each other. You don't have to go looking for racists if you don't want to, though I'm sure they wouldn't be hard to find if, for some reason, that was the sort of thing you were into.

So why rag on it? It's just an enormous collection of people talking about things. It skews younger and more mainstream than Metafilter, but it's not like there's something intrinsically bad about it. It's just this decade's version of Usenet.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:30 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


It also skews racist and misogynist, but this is probably just an internet thing. That's what I object to: I would like to see this shit become unacceptable on their "platform."
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:49 PM on March 13, 2015


Reddit skews racist and misogynist relative to Metafilter in the same way that mainstream culture in general does.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:52 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Would be great to not loop back to the beginning of the conversation in here. The thread on the blue is open for folks who just want to talk about reddit; let's try and keep this focused on the mefi/policy side instead of rehashing that all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:54 PM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, what more is there to say then? The general policy seems that there are no a priori bans on links to any sources without them either being uncontroversially hate sites that would benefit substantially from MeFi's reach or that have demonstrated a material harm to MeFi itself. From there, members should be aware of the community and ethical concerns over linking to any given source, whether it's Daily Mail or Reddit or some ALEC astroturf, and then reasonable people may differ on the utility and context for linking through one of the sites that the community has raised concerns about. For some, Reddit's implicit refusal to adapt their moderation to exclude hate speech means that linking to them is too similar to supporting that hate speech; for others, the combination of indirectness of the harm and the general knowledge that many, many content and media companies (to say nothing of all other companies that could be involved in any given post) are also run by shitty people who endorse through inaction demonstrable harms means that there's no special circumstance of Reddit that they feel is compelling. I think most people who have read this thread (which is probably, what, maybe 50 out of the hundreds of active members) will think a little more about links to Reddit and may choose to avoid them where possible without supporting an a priori ban.

Am I missing anything? I don't mean to preclude the idea that other people may have insights that I've missed, but I think that's a pretty fair summation, right?
posted by klangklangston at 4:47 PM on March 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


So why rag on it? It's just an enormous collection of people talking about things. It skews younger and more mainstream than Metafilter, but it's not like there's something intrinsically bad about it. It's just this decade's version of Usenet.

I almost wrote a lot here then I saw cortex's last comment so I'll just say look here and see the rest of that thread if you want to know the counterarguments. There are institutional issues and the are things that are particularly bad if not inherently, and Reddit is a business not really just "the Internet" or a distributed system like Usenet.
posted by atoxyl at 3:52 AM on March 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I really don't understand the reddit hate. ... It's just this decade's version of Usenet.

It seems a little disingenous to say that you don't understand a point of view if it seems like you haven't actually read the many comments discussing the point of view. For example. the argument that it is somehow the same as usenet has been discussed. I don't think it is. I think there are others who don't think it is. Some people do think it is.

The fact that you're oblivious to the fact that it's not self-evident (suggesting that you're not aware this has been debated), kind of makes me think you're not actually interested in understanding the reddit hate, which may be why you don't understand it. I don't understand how laser printers work for much the same reason, but at least I don't go around saying "I don't understand laser printers" as though this were evidence that laser printers make no sense.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:47 PM on March 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


That's the best and most concise formulation of that I've ever read.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:38 PM on March 14, 2015


I gave up when I first learned that toner is thing. Why do you need toner, you have LASERS, just laser the words in!
posted by Drinky Die at 2:39 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I used to think that inkjets were like Concordes for office emergencies across the pond. Boy did I feel dumb...
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 4:02 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Reddit, I served with Usenet. I knew Usenet. Usenet was a friend of mine. Reddit, you're no Usenet.
posted by Justinian at 6:10 PM on March 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: ""I thought that was how we dealt with Little Green Footballs, almost before my time."
This is my strong memory -- LGF and Something Awful were the sites where we ended up with a kind of ban on linking to them out of a kind of self-defense and just generally Matt saying that he was tired of inter-site drama.
"

Yeah, that's my memory too - for all of those, there was varying levels of push-back from (I think) some of their users, too, which just made the cost of pointing to them in any way simply not worth it.

ominous_paws: "Okay, who gets to define "egregious dickholes"?
"users with almost as many meta comments as mefi ones" might clear some of the most dedicated shit stirrers , I guess
"

That's kind of a petty way to describe people that are as interested in the 'meta' of the thing as much as the thing itself, although I'm trying to not assume it was meant in a nasty way.
posted by dg at 8:16 PM on March 14, 2015


It's probably true to some degree, people who post too much over here are often ax grindy. As a counter example though, cortex has way more comments over here. :P
posted by Drinky Die at 9:53 PM on March 14, 2015


I am just looking for a used car.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:04 PM on March 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


cortex: Sad to say, I think its been towed.
posted by el io at 2:26 AM on March 15, 2015


I note that if the site had a "no reddit" policy, we wouldn't have that post with the AMA from the last survivor of the Dachau death march that's up now, and if you don't think that's a worthy post I don't know what to tell you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:24 AM on March 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


That doesn't outweigh the shittiness of certain areas of reddit but to each their own. Other places exist for people to share their life stories. (Still not arguing for a ban but "the end justifies the means" argument always rubs me the wrong way. Slow clap for the excellent sideways Godwin though.)
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:23 PM on March 15, 2015


Other places exist for people to share their life stories.

Email that guy, tell him that, share his response

Slow clap for the excellent sideways Godwin though.

In all seriousness, this is much more offensive than anything I've recently read on Reddit. In all non-seriousness, I now suggest that we ban all intra-MeFi links.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:56 PM on March 15, 2015


Slow clap for the excellent sideways Godwin though.

If you think that was intentional then I don't know what to tell you for that either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:42 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a worthy post for sure. But I hated seeing the Holocaust denial in the comments, and I'm not sure if there is a way I could have seen the worthy bits and still avoided that.

Was it worth it? I'm not sure. I really did hate seeing that.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:31 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you think that was intentional then I don't know what to tell you for that either.

It's not even remotely a Godwin. A Godwin would be a Nazi comparison, viz. "banning Reddit links makes you like a Nazi". The mere fact that a Jew somewhere did something, even survive the Holocaust, is not a Godwin. It's as if somebody posted a link to a black guy doing a neato skateboard trick, and then somebody described that as "playing the race card". It just makes no goddamn sense. To the extent that it's a coherent thought, it's actually quite offensive.

It's a worthy post for sure. But I hated seeing the Holocaust denial in the comments, and I'm not sure if there is a way I could have seen the worthy bits and still avoided that.

Yes, in a story about surviving the Holocaust, truly the most traumatic aspect are the holocaust denial comments buried under piles of downvotes. I'll be haunted by that for years.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:13 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are you being sarcastic? It seems like you may be, but it's hard to tell sarcasm in a foreign language.

In case you are: yes, the Holocaust denials are what shocked me most in that thread. Maybe because the horrors in the stories this admirable survivor told, haunting as they are, were not new to me. Or maybe because of the implication that even stories like these aren't enough for people to learn from.
Yes, that thought is actually quite shocking and hurtful to me. And no, I'm not being sarcastic here.

I had never run into actual Holocaust deniers before. They're not really common here, for reasons that seem to make sense.

I'm not sure what 'buried under piles of downvotes' means. I simply followed a couple of subthreads and ran right into them. It's not like they were hard to find or I had to jump through hoops to see them.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:31 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, I was being sarcastic. It's nothing personal. In retrospect, I should have used better words.

As a Jew, I am indeed quite disturbed by the idea that people would turn away from that thread because denialists are lurking down in the comments. The idea that we should skip such a post, or that the post is fatally devalued, because we might see such comments, smacks of erasure and harmful, condescending insensitivity. The fact that those people exist is exactly why we continue to share these stories. At least in my corner of the Jewish experience, there is strong support for the "harsh light of day" to expose those idiots.

I would also say that it can be inadvertently disrespectful to those who went through the Holocaust to attach greater meaning to the pathetic flotillas of online Holocaust denialists. David Irving, et al. are buffoons and wastrels - it is disrespectful to inject them with more power than they actually have. I'm not saying that you have to agree with that, but please at least consider whatever cultural disconnect may exist.

Maybe if everybody thought like you, everybody in all contexts would nuke all of those comments on sight, but not everybody thinks like you. And that's not an insult in either direction! I'm not saying that MeFi should allow denialist comments, and I'm not saying that you're a bad person for not wanting to see those comments. Nor am I saying that Reddit is necessarily great for allowing those comments.

I'm just saying, please be sensitive of how people will take it when you attach greater power to those Reddit comments than to the actual memories of a survivor. This is especially pointed in the context of whether or not we're talking about a blanket ban on these kinds of links.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:00 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Put another way, let's say that with regard to the thread about the Dachau survivor, there are two options:

Option A: Allow the link to the survivor, accepting the fact that there are buried comments by denialist idiots.
Option B: Disallow the link to the survivor on the basis of the downvoted comments, or only allow the link's content if it's mirrored in a bowdlerized version without comments by denialist idiots.

For me, and the way I was raised, Option A does much, much, much more to honor those who went through the Holocaust and to combat anti-Semitism, to combat genocide more generally, etc.

Option B, on the other hand, flies in the face of how I was raised. It's actually quite offensive to be told that Option B is actually in my better interest - or, is this kind of sensitivity to denialism not actually supposed to benefit Jews? We're just props? This is especially ironic given Option B's obsession with avoiding exposure to offensive content.

...

And certainly there are Jews who would appreciate bans on denialism, but they are not the majority AFAIK, and I don't see why their opinions should trump those of myself, my family, etc. I mean, I accept the fact that Jews in Germany have more of a say about how denialism should be treated over there, despite my own personal disagreements, but worldwide communication is another matter. (And besides, what's the point of being Jewish unless you can disagree about things...)
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:22 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sticherbeast: The idea that we should skip such a post, or that the post is fatally devalued, because we might see such comments, smacks of erasure and harmful, condescending insensitivity.

I've not expressed either of these ideas. I have just expressed that I, personally, was shocked and hurt by these comments and I would have appreciated a heads up. (Maybe that's option C here.)
I'm sorry if that wasn't clear.

David Irving, et al. are buffoons and wastrels - it is disrespectful to inject them with more power than they actually have.


I've not heard of him. I just felt really bad when I read those comments. I don't know whether that injected anyone with any power. It just felt like crap and I'm not sure I can unfeel that.

I did not try to tell anyone else how they should feel or what is or isn't in someone's better interest, as far as I know. If it seemed like that's what I was doing, then I'm sorry about that.

It just really felt like crap.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:18 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


This thread is not about our personal feelings concerning Reddit. This is a thread about MeFi policy, particularly about banning Reddit links. Do you have a policy suggestion? If so, then what is it? Are you saying that people posting Reddit links have an affirmative duty to scour through the comments and to identify offensive ones? Why would this be preferable to you seeing that a link is to Reddit, and then making your own choice?
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:29 AM on March 16, 2015


... I don't know. I'll go away and hide under a blanket now, if you don't mind.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:41 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


This thread is not about our personal feelings concerning Reddit.

Jesus, dude. It can be about that, and anyway that Too-Ticky wasn't expressing feelings about all of Reddit but about shitty comments in that one AMA, and wasn't demanding mefi ban links to it or anything. Being shitty to someone who felt crappy after reading some stuff that didn't make you feel as crappy is a pretty mean thing to do.
posted by rtha at 5:55 AM on March 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


The mods have already made it plain that this thread is for MeFi policy regarding Reddit. If there is no desire to influence or compel anybody's behavior on MeFi, then it belongs in the blue's Reddit thread, not this one. To the extent that this is a mere misunderstanding, then I apologize.

I do actually find it quite actively offensive to suggest that the value of a Holocaust survivor's AMA is cancelled out by bad comments down below. Maybe my tone is not as sweet as it could be. I'll back off for all that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:05 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do actually find it quite actively offensive to suggest that the value of a Holocaust survivor's AMA is cancelled out by bad comments down below.

I thought we weren't talking about feelings, but about policy. Too-Ticky seemed pretty clear that they wish they personally could unsee the denialist comments, and not that no one on mefi should see any of the thread because reddit shouldn't be allowed here.
posted by rtha at 6:14 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


I do actually find it quite actively offensive to suggest that the value of a Holocaust survivor's AMA is cancelled out by bad comments down below. Maybe my tone is not as sweet as it could be. I'll back off for all that.

'I wish I could have seen the good bits and not the deniers' doesn't really say that one cancels the other out, though.
posted by zarq at 6:30 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure what 'buried under piles of downvotes' means.

Reddit has a voting system on comments. Comments that have a majority of downvotes disappear from the default view. Downvotes are the Reddit's first line moderation system. (In addition sometimes moderators also step in and manually delete or hide(?) inappropriate comments.) You have to start clicking little boxes to open downvoted comments to see them. When reading Reddit casually I never ever click the boxes. Mostly because the comment hidden is usually inane or off-topic and occasionally because it is awful. Occasionally good comments are downvoted because they are contrary to the majority opinion.

Metafilter's equivalent to downvotes is flagging. Flags are invisible to us normal users and (I believe) not automatically acted on, but our moderator team swiftly evaluates comments that are frequently flagged and deletes them if necessary. So Metafilter uses manual moderation (with hints) and deletion; Reddit uses automated moderation (with some manual intervention) and hiding, not deletion.

Youtube's equivalent is... well, I'm not sure. Youtube comments are pretty awful, but better than they used to be. Most online newspaper comment sections have no automated moderation and inadequate manual moderation.
posted by Nelson at 8:14 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there a third option (not just for the Dachau post but other Reddit posts): Assuming the post has run its course and isn't actively attracting new comments, would linking to the Google cache (either as the only link or as an alternative for those who don't want to click the reddit link) allow us to consume the "good" content without rewarding the owners with page views?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:08 AM on March 16, 2015


I was curious what people thought about that thread, actually.

I left it up because I felt like it was powerful, but at the same time, given the article about reddit and how in effect they're a haven for neo-Nazis to spread their ideas, I had mixed feelings.... I feel like a Holocaust link to reddit is an especially acute test case. (Maybe it's reddit consciously trying to push back on some of the neo-Nazi stuff?)

Anyway, I take it as given that everybody here feels that content (survivor answers questions) is worthy, so I'm only asking about the "where it's hosted" issue. Do people feel like that post should have been deleted because the good content was hosted at reddit?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:22 AM on March 16, 2015


Do people feel like that post should have been deleted because the good content was hosted at reddit?

No.
posted by grouse at 11:39 AM on March 16, 2015


I think Reddit does reasonably well on neo-Nazi stuff in the mainstream, moderated subreddits. Certainly that Reddit thread did. But Nazi stuff is easy; I think the vast majority of Reddit people have a reflexive understanding that pro-Nazi positions are bad. That's reflected in the conduct in that IAmA. (If you don't want to look; there are a few Holocaust denier comments but they're buried pretty deep under downvotes. I thought it was interesting the author chose to share his own opinions on deniers.)

Where Reddit does much worse is misogyny. I'd hate to read an IAmA which was "I was sexually harassed and sued my employer" or something, the discussion would be vile. I also trust Metafilter users (and moderators) to make that determination pretty quickly.
posted by Nelson at 12:10 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've seen more than one AMA from Holocaust survivors over there. If they are okay with posting there, I'm okay with linking to their conversation in that venue.

There are some ways in which the comparison to Usenet is valid. There are plenty of areas where Reddit hosts good content where the background noise of hate is no higher than in other places online. It's completely invalid to use that as an excuse to let the administrators or the people participating in the bad behavior off the hook, but as a descriptor of the variety of content you can find there it is on point. FFFMs argument has force because the admins are shitheads for hosting the hate speech and making no effort to shut it down, but unless you are taking a hardline stance on it like he is there isn't much reason to selectively limit what might be linked to there unless the linked content itself is too objectionable.

The confusing thing about Reddit links is that the comments are often the content, which is certainly the case in an AMA. Yes, Reddit comments might not be worse than comments elsewhere where moderation is lax but most places we link to the comments aren't the content. I would advise anyone posting about a high profile AMA to look for an additional link from somewhere off Reddit that summarizes the notable questions and answers. They pop up pretty often and it can allow folks who don't want to read Reddit comments or give them advertising money to still get at the important content.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:40 PM on March 16, 2015


I think Reddit does reasonably well on neo-Nazi stuff in the mainstream, moderated subreddits.

Not always. It depends on the sub, and the level of moderation. There have been quite a few large news and politics subs that have been overwhelmed at times by antisemitic garbage over the last two years. When it comes to any topic about Israel, there's a lot of "anti-hasbara" Jewish conspiracy theory garbage that gets tolerated.
posted by zarq at 12:44 PM on March 16, 2015


Do people feel like that post should have been deleted because the good content was hosted at reddit?

No, and that was kind of the point I was trying to make - that a blanket "never link to Reddit" rule would potentially block some really good posts, of which that one was an example.

While there are indeed sites on the internet where it is a safe bet that a "Nothing Good Can Come Of There" policy would probably make sense for Mefi, I do not think that Reddit is one of those sites; rather, a "case-by-case basis" policy, where the mods block or kill problematic links on the basis of the content therein as opposed to the domain host, makes more sense to me. (I ain't a mod, of course, but that's my opinion.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:48 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't think anything should be deleted based on the host. If the content is FPP worthy the host is irrelevant. Metafilter is not an advocacy site.
posted by Justinian at 12:52 PM on March 16, 2015


I would advise anyone posting about a high profile AMA to look for an additional link from somewhere off Reddit that summarizes the notable questions and answers.

That's a great idea. It's still on Reddit but /r/tabled does a pretty good job of this in a semi-automated fashion. Here's the Ben Lesser Holocaust survivor link.
posted by Nelson at 12:57 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there a third option (not just for the Dachau post but other Reddit posts): Assuming the post has run its course and isn't actively attracting new comments, would linking to the Google cache (either as the only link or as an alternative for those who don't want to click the reddit link) allow us to consume the "good" content without rewarding the owners with page views?

Put me down as one of those people who have more problems with google than I do reddit. I also consider this sort of thing unethical. Either link to them or don't, but circumventing access to the site and denying them the benefit of their content while still using their content is the same as torrenting.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:01 PM on March 16, 2015


I would advise anyone posting about a high profile AMA to look for an additional link from somewhere off Reddit that summarizes the notable questions and answers. They pop up pretty often and it can allow folks who don't want to read Reddit comments or give them advertising money to still get at the important content.

I would advise anyone posting about a high profile AMA to not look for additional links from other sources to accommodate those who don't want to visit Reddit and can't be bothered to either not click on the link or not view where the link is going to before clicking on it. If they are interested in it regardless, but still don't want to visit Reddit, they can look for alternate sources themselves. It's really not up to the poster to find the alternatives.

We have enough useful things to think about when making a post. Adding additional filters because users x, y and z don't like it and think you're an asshole for not agreeing with them is not a useful addition.
posted by juiceCake at 2:55 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but the summaries are often better links to the content because a high profile AMA is often full of hundreds of unanswered, poor questions and noise. So even if you don't want to extend the courtesy to people who want to avoid Reddit, at least consider using r/tabled like Nelson suggests.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:05 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would advise anyone posting about a high profile AMA to include whatever extra links that they fucking want to.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:41 PM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


I advise anyone wishing to view an AMA to see if it's available on www.reddit.com/r/tabled, simply because it's a way to see questions that the AMA'er has answered.
posted by disclaimer at 6:19 PM on March 16, 2015


I would advise anyone posting about a high profile AMA to include whatever extra links that they fucking want to.

Agreed, as well as not having to post links they shouldn't feel they have to, if they feel that way.
posted by juiceCake at 9:15 AM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


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