"Tramp stamps" and boyzones May 14, 2015 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I think the community would benefit from talking about how the recent thread about "tramp stamps" went. A number of Mefites have expressed that they felt that this thread felt like a big step backwards, like they were somehow visiting Metafilter in 2005 and not 2015. What can we do as a community to maintain whatever advances we've made in pushing back on the boyzone mentality here?
posted by dialetheia to MetaFilter-Related at 10:09 AM (1847 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

I don't see why another mod would be a bad idea - preferably female. Also: more flagging by community members?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:11 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not aware of the thread, what was so bad about it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:13 AM on May 14, 2015


Oh sorry, here's the link to the thread.
posted by dialetheia at 10:16 AM on May 14, 2015


I don't see why another mod would be a bad idea

This feels kind of out of the blue, so I want to be clear that we have the number of mods we have because we pay the moderation staff and we only have so much revenue to work with. Payroll is by far the majority of Metafilter's budget; if we had the money to afford a higher level of staffing, we'd have a higher level of staffing. It's not a question of whether or not it's a good idea, it's economic circumstance.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:24 AM on May 14, 2015 [41 favorites]


I feel like this is a chain in a pattern recently - if I recall, a similar FPP on male privilege went really, really badly as well?
posted by Conspire at 10:24 AM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


Clicking on that thread was like that moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark when he realizes the pit is full of snakes. "hmm, I wonder what people think of- OH SHIT" *very slowly creeps backwards*.

The Greg Nog uterus socks comment made me choke on my water, though, so there's that.
posted by selfnoise at 10:24 AM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


Yeah holy gods the only reason that thread isn't literally a Bad Old Days thread is the intense pushback.
posted by griphus at 10:25 AM on May 14, 2015 [32 favorites]


And I mean pushback is great but a conversation that is almost entirely revolving around defending the very premise of the article from the loudly ignorant isn't the ideal way to have a thread.
posted by griphus at 10:26 AM on May 14, 2015 [34 favorites]


joseph conrad: I don't see why another mod would be a bad idea - preferably female. Also: more flagging by community members?

Restless_nomad and taz are both women. I am not positive but I believe LobsterMitten is as well. If so, there are more women mods than men. Cortex is a dude. I don't know if gnfti is still a mod (his profile says so, but may be outdated) and vacapinta was never full time.

The current women mods do not have the same presence in threads on difficult topics that tend to turn boyzone that Jessamyn did. I don't know what the difference is, but I sorely miss Jessamyn's presence in those threads. She was good at bonking offenders heads together (metaphorically-speaking) and getting them to quiet down. I think taz et al., do a good job, but still they're not Jessamyn.
posted by zarq at 10:27 AM on May 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


That thread was depressing and sad and pathetic and, as griphus notes, only intense pushback kept it from being disgustingly hostile.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:28 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


the fact that we still need to deal with shit like "devil's advocate here but some women really are sluts lol" is fucking unbelievable.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:32 AM on May 14, 2015 [127 favorites]


(Oh that was a silly comment of mine, then, sorry about that.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:33 AM on May 14, 2015


I feel like the thread is far more characterized by the intense pushback than the shitty comments that were being pushed back.
posted by josher71 at 10:33 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


The thread on photos of women w/ the objects they carry for protection was also not great (though nowhere near as bad as the other two linked above).
posted by melissasaurus at 10:33 AM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


Looks like, sadly, there is a lot of work for us to do, both within and outside of Metafilter.
posted by kalessin at 10:35 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


As I have said before, I wasn't on MeFi for the Serious Boyzone Years, but my participation and reading of those threads linked (and others I can't think of at the moment) have been very depressing and horrifying. I know I'll get lambasted for this, but I really do hold up this community as an example of a smart safe place for me, so it's disappointing to see crap like this happen. Er, rather, keep happening.
posted by Kitteh at 10:36 AM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


People have repulsive opinions on all sorts of things. If it's site policy to delete unpleasant opinions as opposed to simply patrolling behaviour then why have comments at all? We can hire a few professional writers to simply post the opinions everyone wants to see and all move on.
posted by GuyZero at 10:37 AM on May 14, 2015 [27 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: Not aware of the thread, what was so bad about it?

Dialathea's comment here is a recap:
Also wow, this thread really has everything.

Seriously. To recap the gist of this thread:

- It isn't sexist because lots of women really are sluts
- It isn't sexist because tramp is 'gender-neutral'
- It isn't sexist because it only means trashy sluts
- It isn't sexist because dragonflies are a universal symbol for sluttiness
- It isn't sexist because the author wrote this article for the attention
- It isn't sexist because they are simply signaling that they prefer doggy-style
- It isn't sexist because they just have awful taste, which taste clearly has nothing to do with gender or sexual mores
- It isn't sexist because this dumb girl just regrets her dumb girl decisions

Did I miss anything?
posted by zarq at 10:38 AM on May 14, 2015 [72 favorites]


If it's site policy to delete unpleasant opinions as opposed to simply patrolling behaviour then why have comments at all?

This is a discussion website, so it's fruitful to get rid of the egregiously dumb, ignorant comments in order to have an engaging and nuanced conversation.
posted by easter queen at 10:39 AM on May 14, 2015 [31 favorites]


Let's not forget the repeated trotting out of MRA talking points of the above-mentioned male privilege thread, the hilarribile response to the Toast thread, the tiresome slippery-slope arguments in the "f*** her in the p****" thread, the Rambo fantasies of a bunch of dudes from the thread about an art exhibit of women with self-defense, the usual idiocy about sexual assault in the Amy Schumer thread.

That was just in the last week and a half, folks.

On preview: 17 comments to the first accusation of attempting to silence people all their lives. Hoo-fucking-ray.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:39 AM on May 14, 2015 [59 favorites]


I mean, to try to be less sarcastic, did I miss actual bad behaviour? Were people being directly abusive to other members? I'm honestly not sure what the call to action is here.
posted by GuyZero at 10:39 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yeah pushback is better than no pushback but MetaFilter can either be that place I go to to argue with jerks, or a place to share links with other grownups. I had the fill of the former in my early 20s and I'm happy the site evolved with me so far.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:40 AM on May 14, 2015 [33 favorites]


Anyway, for the content of the thread itself:

And I mean pushback is great but a conversation that is revolving almost entirely revolving around defending the very premise of the article from the loudly ignorant isn't the ideal way to have a thread.

I basically agree on both points, and it was a frustrating thread to babysit all day yesterday. I deleted a bunch of things, and left several notes. But I also feel like there's a hard point of tension here between the idea that Metafilter threads are and always have been a generalist discussion space and the idea that active pushback on stuff people feel like is problematic is a sign that something's wrong. I think it's basically things working well, that folks are willing to call out stuff they disagree with or think is unkind or regressive or shitty; sometimes that means a frustrating thread because people are expressing unlikeable opinions, but people are allowed to have unlikeable opinions.

Knowing the Metafilter userbase, I'd expect a lot of pushback against the idea that "tramp stamp" is a non-sexist, non-problematic term; I'd expect the assumptions behind that to be picked apart, and for people to essentially call bullshit on the aspects of casual and systemic slut-shaming and classist dismissal and so on tied up in that. And that's what I saw: a relatively small number of people actually arguing the "yeah but it's sorta accurate" or "yeah but it's just words" angle, and a lot of people responding with rebuttals or redirecting the conversation to more interesting or engaging lines of conversation about tattoos, personal agency, etc.

Again: it was a frustrating thread. I think a few people were being somewhere between tonedeaf and actively antagonistic in there in a way that sucks, and had to tell at least one person to specifically take off from the thread after some deletions and notes didn't work. But it was a thread full of discussion from a big group of people with no prerequisite consensus on a bunch of complicated overlapping social issues. I want Metafilter to have good, non-obnoxious conversations about stuff but sometimes it's not going to be, as griphus put it, the ideal way to have a thread. Some threads will be better than others. I mostly find it heartening that we're at a place where people will thoughtfully push back on stuff they find problematic rather than just assuming no one else will think it's a problem.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:41 AM on May 14, 2015 [45 favorites]


I've only skimmed the thread over just now but I think I agree with josher71. Maybe I just feel this way because I wasn't following the thread in real-time and therefore didn't have a chance to have as much of an emotional response to the comments, but in general I think those comments as horrible as some of them are should stand (i.e. not be deleted). I also think it's more positive than not for sexist attitudes to be out in the open instead of censored expect when they get to the point of being hateful. And I think there was a good amount of strong pushback from the majority. But again, perhaps I wouldn't feel the same if I had actually been participating in that thread.
posted by Asparagus at 10:41 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly not sure what the call to action is here.

That men educate themselves so they don't turn this site into something defined by obliviousness, hostility, dismissiveness, and tactics that effectively silence female participation?
posted by maxsparber at 10:41 AM on May 14, 2015 [101 favorites]


There was definitely some weird and gross stuff in there and in that other recent thread. I'm not sure it there is a clear pattern of shittier behavior or just two outlier moments but I very much hope it doesn't continue.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:41 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Were people being directly abusive to other members?

Do you consider it directly abusive if someone says "all people with this thing are disgusting in my opinion" in response to members saying "i have this thing"?
posted by poffin boffin at 10:42 AM on May 14, 2015 [33 favorites]


> People have repulsive opinions on all sorts of things.

And they are not required by law to subject everyone else to them whenever and wherever.

I only came upon that thread because Errant had a comment that showed up in my sidebar and I was like oh a thread about tattoos that I missed that Errant said something awesome in *click* and then I though I had accidentally somehow clicked a "10 years ago today" link in the sidebar instead.
posted by rtha at 10:43 AM on May 14, 2015 [20 favorites]


The recent hellcanoe about Tinder also springs to mind.

GuyZero, no one was saying to make it "site policy to delete unpleasant opinions" in all cases. But the thing is, when those unpleasant opinions are coming up in every thread about women and are only becoming increasingly crass and nasty, then the effect is for women to stop wanting to be in those threads, because it's exhausting. So if that's the kind of echo chamber you'd prefer, I guess.
posted by kagredon at 10:43 AM on May 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


From now on when I hear people complain about the overmoderation here, I'm going to assume they're an active YouTube commenter.
posted by easter queen at 10:43 AM on May 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


Thanks for starting this discussion, dialetheia. I was talking to a friend off-site about that thread and we both definitely had that feeling of "wow, this is a boyzone shitshow the likes of which we haven't seen in a while and were hoping to never see again."

I mean, as someone who copped in that thread to having almost exactly the type of tattoo under discussion, I guess it's useful to know who in this community would make some pretty gross assumptions about me if they were aware of that fact. It'll inform how I think of some posters moving forward, and how willing I'll be to engage in any presumed-good-faith conversations about gender issues with them. (I'm not crying in my pillow about this - as noted in my post, I give pretty much no fucks about what random people think to themselves about my tattoos. But I do give some fucks about what they feel comfortable saying out loud and what that says about their feelings of entitlement and privilege in general.)

I appreciate the work the mods did in that thread. I think it sucks that people felt this was a space where they could or should post such misogynistic crap to begin with. I love this site. I want to keep loving this site. Every discussion like that makes it a little more difficult to do that.
posted by Stacey at 10:46 AM on May 14, 2015 [57 favorites]


That thread made me feel utterly shitty and judged in a totally unexpected and unprepared for way. So there's that.
posted by shelleycat at 10:46 AM on May 14, 2015 [34 favorites]


It's also a thing where, yeah, stuff that was deleted is stuff that some folks saw and got understandably annoyed by. But the ghosts of those things have a way of living on after the fact in a thread where deleting it to get it out of the mix is somewhat defeated by ongoing reference to it in absentia. Which there's no super simple solution to—I don't expect people to wipe their memories after something's been nixed—but it does create a kind of momentum that I think makes threads bumpier than they would be if folks focused more on what's actually still in the thread.

And that's not to say there wasn't still obnoxious stuff in the thread. On a quieter day or in a slower thread, I think I could have managed some finer nuance with that discussion. But busy days happen, and fast-moving threads happen, and stuff is gonna be imperfect and sometimes a little frustrating or depressing or angry-making even when the system is more or less working as expected.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:46 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thread was exhausting enough that I had to take a break from it. On the bright side, though, it did let me blow through some of my Netflix queue.
posted by corb at 10:48 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mean, to try to be less sarcastic, did I miss actual bad behaviour? Were people being directly abusive to other members? I'm honestly not sure what the call to action is here.

There was a commenter (who has repeatedly been a sexist ass in threads about sexism) who started out his first comment with "Ah, the tramp stamp, also known as the "respect-me-not" then continued to assert multiple times that they function as an invitation to sexualize, but had the gall to claim that he was totally not making a judgement call on women, their sexuality, or how open their bodies should be to criticism.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:49 AM on May 14, 2015 [30 favorites]


joseph conrad is fully awesome: (Oh that was a silly comment of mine, then, sorry about that.)

Not silly at all. And more flagging would probably be a good idea. I'm glad you mentioned it.
posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


And that was just the most visible offender, mind you.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:49 AM on May 14, 2015


People have repulsive opinions on all sorts of things.

No kidding. The point being, repulsive opinions, as distinct from areas in which reasonable people can disagree, are unwelcome here. This is not an accident. It's a choice to make this community function as a community.

If it's site policy to delete unpleasant opinions as opposed to simply patrolling behaviour then why have comments at all?

This is a distinction without a difference on a site devoted to a conversation among community members. Also, don't shift the rhetorical ground from repulsive to unpleasant in the middle of your paragraph.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:50 AM on May 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


actually, the comments I found most infuriating were the several dozen, many from commenters who I think are female, to the effect of "This isn't sexism, the author is imaginining it/has a victim complex", right alongside comments that were describing explicitly sexist reactions and readings of LBTs.

If all you're adding to a thread is "nuh-uh", maybe reconsider if that's really the hot take we are all clamoring for?
posted by kagredon at 10:51 AM on May 14, 2015 [21 favorites]


On closer inspection, there are probably several comments in that thread that would have ideally been deleted, but as corb points out, there are only so many mod-hours to go around and I think they did a pretty good job given those constraints.
posted by Asparagus at 10:51 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Count me in as another user who's been feeling a little WTF whiplash lately on this site, not even just in terms of Boyzone crap--it also feels like there has been more than the usual amount of general haterade and reflexive slamming of posts and posters. Had chalked it up to my own perception and maybe just being a little more of an exposed nerve lately, but after that tattoo horrorshow and the abortion access horrorshow and the Tinder horrorshow... I'm no longer inclined to think that it's all in my head.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:52 AM on May 14, 2015 [29 favorites]


even when the system is more or less working as expected.

I think it's exactly that idea, that things are working as expected, that I wanted to touch base with people about, because I'm increasingly hearing from other women members that the misogyny really really feels like it's ramped up here lately. Just speaking for myself, it's definitely been affecting my desire to spend time here recently (yesterday was just the last straw).

It's not that I want anything to be a safe space or to only have sanitized opinions, but we also should be mindful that we aren't implicitly 'sanitizing' threads in the other direction - where people who have traditionally done that pushback are getting exhausted and leaving. I saw multiple great commenters here talk about buttoning after yesterday's thread, and I considered it myself, and I want to make sure we aren't silently losing people over these issues.
posted by dialetheia at 10:52 AM on May 14, 2015 [30 favorites]


It wasn't even just the sexist slut-shaming stuff, I really wasn't prepared for the range of insults thrown directly at people just like me. Apparently I'm also thoughtless, stupid, conformist, low class, easily-lead, too trendy, rebellious, not rebellious enough, a show off, and more I've managed to forget. The stupid part is none of it is even remotely correct.

Some of the of people posting seemed to think that 'those' women are some kind of nebulous other to spit upon, not actual real people also joining the conversation. Which is an internet problem in general I know (forgetting there are real people on the other side of the screen), I'm just not so used to seeing it here I guess.
posted by shelleycat at 10:54 AM on May 14, 2015 [61 favorites]


I have a lower back tattoo and I read the article and was (stupidly, obviously) thinking it would be a cool thread of people showing tat pics and talking about whether they regret them now or whatever, or their experience of them being read in a sexual way or not. So when I started reading the comments and discovered that I had, in fact, been advertising my sluttishness and penchant for certain sexual positions and my poor taste and my sheep-like thinking for the last 14 years I was mighty pissed off. That some men came in right off the bat to say: well generally those types of girls were sluts...ugh.

I was going to tell my little tat story and discuss where I agreed/disagreed with the author and go on my merry way. Instead I just got a raging case of the "fuck yous". I'm glad people were pushing back but I didnt really have the energy yesterday, and it would be great if it wasn't necessary in every thread that references women's bodies.
posted by billiebee at 10:54 AM on May 14, 2015 [130 favorites]


This is a distinction without a difference on a site devoted to a conversation among community members. Also, don't shift the rhetorical ground from repulsive to unpleasant in the middle of your paragraph.

That was unintentional. Sorry about that. I am honestly not making a veiled argument in favour of harassment, directly or indirectly.

Other people's experience of that thread are not the same as mine. I see what you all mean. It's not like the mods did nothing, but per cortex's comment it seemed like a hard thread to moderate.
posted by GuyZero at 10:55 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Misogyny is not the "expression of a disgusting opinion of the sort that people have about all sorts of things." It is an expression of an entirely different thing. The expression of a misogynistic thought, attitude or opinion is intended to perpetuate a system that actively harms women, by devaluing them (in its mildest form) or by promoting/normalizing/tolerating violence against them in the form of taunts, punching, rape or murder.

If you think there were not overt expressions of entrenched misogyny at the minimum designed to devalue women as a class and specific women (known or unknown to the poster), I would suggest examining the intersection of thoughts, expressions, actions and approval in the world around you more closely.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:56 AM on May 14, 2015 [40 favorites]


Yeah, the bit about "obviously these women want them so they can engage in X position sex" was unreal.
posted by corb at 10:56 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the bit about "obviously these women want them so they can engage in X position sex" was unreal.

The bit about how those women were actively stupid was also pretty unreal tho
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:57 AM on May 14, 2015 [52 favorites]


That thread made me feel utterly shitty and judged in a totally unexpected and unprepared for way. So there's that.

This. I expect the instant, insistent I DIDN'T READ THIS BUT THE AUTHOR IS WRONG stuff, but I did not expect that gross wholesale value judgements about people (people who are me, at that) who might as well be used to prop a door open for all their worth as a human being because of some markings on their skin. Shall we do haircuts next? How about glasses vs contacts?

I haven't decided whether to stay, honestly, or just stop commenting, if this is what the bulk of the commenters want an opportunity to say. I just don't have the energy for a place where women start from a baseline of shit and have to fight their way up to Allowed. That's...the rest of the internet, mostly.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:57 AM on May 14, 2015 [40 favorites]


why have comments at all?

A question I ask myself more and more often.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:59 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


shelleycat, you make a good point. I've noticed a lot more boyzone recently, but I've also noticed a lot more cruelty in general. I thought it was just me too (since I've been spending more time on the blue) so it's good to hear that's not the case. I was thinking that maybe with new members the demo is skewing a lot more cranky than usual? I remember this place being cranky but not as outright hostile and tough as it has been lately.

Though also, I think the thing in that thread was that people were assuming women with LBTs were trashy, lower-class women, who probably wouldn't spend time on middle-class "tasteful" Metafilter, so it's OK to talk about them like they're not around.

It reminds me of the time I mentioned to a friend that my mom had a lot of biker tattoos and she said, "ew!" Like, did I not just say that was my mom? Is that the best you could do? It's almost like, "well, it's your mom, but you must realize how distasteful that is, right?" Like good taste is the great class unifier.
posted by easter queen at 11:00 AM on May 14, 2015 [25 favorites]


poffin boffin: the fact that we still need to deal with shit like "devil's advocate here but some women really are sluts lol" is fucking unbelievable.

What shocked me was the sheer volume of victim-blaming/slut shaming justifications. People arguing that tattoos were intended for 'male gaze' because the person wearing them can't see them without assistance. People arguing that only a certain type of person gets those kinds of tats. Etc. etc. Depressing as hell.
posted by zarq at 11:02 AM on May 14, 2015 [25 favorites]


to clarify my example above, it wasn't even a woman being called a gross awful person. it was a guy saying "well i have tattoos and i agree that gendered grossness towards women's tattoos is a shitty thing and men don't get judged like that" followed by another male commenter explaining that the first guy just wasn't smart enough to realize that people thought he was a gross loser for having tattoos.

so yeah, on top of everything else, fuck that.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:03 AM on May 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


Yeah, the bit about "obviously these women want them so they can engage in X position sex" was unreal.

Oh come on. Your first two comments in that thread were awful. They were right up there on the list of people actively trying, and succeeding for a change, in aiming to make me feel like shit about myself. You have nothing to feel good about here, except I guess that your horrible judgements (which aren't even true!) made at least one person feel bad.
posted by shelleycat at 11:03 AM on May 14, 2015 [47 favorites]


A good chunk of what was blowing my mind in that thread was a couple of female posters who decided that the tough love approach coached in talking down or criticizing the woman who wrote the article was a nice way to engage in the conversation.
posted by Kitteh at 11:04 AM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


Actually, I shouldn't assume gender by username, so I apologize.
posted by Kitteh at 11:04 AM on May 14, 2015


Like good taste is the great class unifier.

well, tbf, "good taste" often is little more than a polite term for performing class signifiers correctly, which is how we got that whole weird sidebar about "objectively bad tattoos"
posted by kagredon at 11:05 AM on May 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


I was thinking that maybe with new members the demo is skewing a lot more cranky than usual?

Almost all of them seem to be users of decently long standing, with several going back to the Boyzone days. The latter, rather unsurprisingly, also seem to have a lot of overlap of the kind of people who do this a lot. At least one of them was called out in a previous MeTa about sexism.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:05 AM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


it's definitely been affecting my desire to spend time here recently

I just don't have the energy for a place where women start from a baseline of shit and have to fight their way up to Allowed.

Ditto and ditto. Reading the male privilege thread in real-time was exhausting and sad and hurtful and just plain weird. I was about one evo-psych comment away from taking a break from the site when, luckily, erratic meatsack's comment came through (giving me the glimmer of hope that at least I was not alone in feeling like the thread was a shitshow).
posted by melissasaurus at 11:05 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


One of the things that made that thread so difficult and unpleasant to read was several Usual Suspects Usual Suspecting. I know that comments from at least one of them were deleted, but there was such great pushback in that thread and later on some amazing pictures of tattoos that MeFites have and it made me sad because it showed me what the thread could have been but wasn't.

I kind of hate to be this guy but maybe part of the answer is stronger warnings and potentially banning, or at least giving time-outs to, some members? I don't actually think it's an enormous proportion of users that are poisoning these threads and I feel like there are a few names I see over and over. I know that the mod staff is at capacity and I really, REALLY appreciate all their hard work, and I think that maybe recognizing that, sometimes, people have demonstrated that they are not capable of functioning in the community in a healthy way and acting on that could be good?

I understand the principle of educating people rather than exiling them but when a few users have consistently demonstrated that they are going to keep making the same arguments that are hurtful to other members of the site and that it's not going to get better, maybe it's time for us as a community to say "we will not accept this" and to part ways from them?

I am putting this up as a suggestion going forward, not even sure I'm advocating it, but it might be helpful. If it's a few bad apples, maybe we could ban them before they spoil the barrel?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:05 AM on May 14, 2015 [51 favorites]


well, tbf, "good taste" often is little more than a polite term for performing class signifiers correctly, which is how we got that whole weird sidebar about "objectively bad tattoos"

though also how we all got that sidebar about party dog. So maybe that particular part evens out.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:06 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


That Male Privilege thread had a bunch of v. old, low-post-count accounts come out of the woodwork to Deny Male Privilege in a drive-by sort of way. Weirdest fucking thing.
posted by griphus at 11:06 AM on May 14, 2015 [56 favorites]


People arguing that tattoos were intended for 'male gaze' because the person wearing them can't see them without assistance.

I felt sorry for those poor men living in the Land Of No Mirrors. Like how do they even know their lat pulldowns are working??!
posted by billiebee at 11:08 AM on May 14, 2015 [27 favorites]


Actually, I shouldn't assume gender by username, so I apologize.

If we're thinking of the same grotesque "ovary up and get over it already" comment, the poster has in the past confirmed their gender as female.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:08 AM on May 14, 2015 [25 favorites]


well, tbf, "good taste" often is little more than a polite term for performing class signifiers correctly, which is how we got that whole weird sidebar about "objectively bad tattoos"

Yea, I should've clarified that what I meant was that she was basically saying to me, "well, you're one of us now, so of course you agree that your mom is gross!" Which made me want to puke on her.

Thanks zombieflanders, that's actually good to know. I might be conflating shitty boyzone stuff with general crankiness elsewhere. One of the worst (and most obviously deliberately inflamatory) comments I read was from a relatively new user so that might have skewed my POV. It was also deleted so maybe being in the trenches has made me more angry than someone who came along later.
posted by easter queen at 11:09 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think it's exactly that idea, that things are working as expected, that I wanted to touch base with people about, because I'm increasingly hearing from other women members that the misogyny really really feels like it's ramped up here lately.

To me it seems like in the last few months we've been seeing a lot more feminist-themed posts on the blue, threads about catcalling and the patriarchy and discussions of sexism in every sort of media. Those threads inevitably reveal people with sexist attitudes that might otherwise go unnoticed if we were discussing, I don't know, architecture or something.

I think that the community in general is making progress in this area, but there are still some retrograde jackasses loudly making their opinions known (and then getting yelled at for being retrograde jackasses, which is as it should be).
posted by JDHarper at 11:09 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Like how do they even know their lat pulldowns are working??!

it is a cocktail of proprioception and compliments
posted by Greg Nog at 11:10 AM on May 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


That Male Privilege thread had a bunch of v. old, low-post-count accounts come out of the woodwork to Deny Male Privilege in a drive-by sort of way.

This has been going on for a little while, and on some other subjects. There was one other incident that springs to mind about a old, low-activity account that strongly defended the Russian government's ...uh..... participation in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Which was apparently not occurring at all, but it would certainly be both good and worthwhile if it was, and didn't NATO and the EU deserve it, whatever it was that wasn't happening.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:11 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


though also how we all got that sidebar about party dog. So maybe that particular part evens out.

party dog will destroy the false consciousness of capitalism

party dog will awaken the proletariat

thesis: (communist) party. antithesis: (capitalist) dog. SYNTHESIS: party dog
posted by kagredon at 11:13 AM on May 14, 2015 [37 favorites]


At an old site I used to moderate, there was one especially pernicious troll. He had actively harassed a number of female bloggers, in several instances actually contacting their employers and trying to get them fired. But he was very crafty, using multiple aliases and changing his style and his approach. We only managed to figure out it was the same guy by comparing IP addresses and blocking him whenever he'd show up, and, even then, it sometimes took a while, because he was constantly changing his tactics, and often took on personas that pretended to be helpful, and so you'd only get to the misogyny after he had participated for a while and suddenly would say something that seemed innocent, or naive, or just misstated, but you'd check the IP and, yep, it was that guy again. And I couldn't figure out what was in it for him. What did he care if there was a place on the internet where his particular odiousness was unwelcome -- there are plenty of places where they were.

I feel the same way about our usual suspects. I don't think they are trolls, I just think they have a shitty worldview that is especially nasty toward women. But the web is full of places where that is unremarkable. But here they stay, going quite for a long time, and then testing the waters again every so often: Maybe eight months ago I got yelled at for telling people that privilege doesn't exist, that men have it worse in America, but it's been a while, let's give it a shot again ...

And sometimes it rears up, super-agressive, and we have a rash of women leaving the site, and what is that? Victory? It's temporary if that, because every time it happens there is a crackdown on the sort of behavior that led to this site losing a percentage of the user base.

Strange game. The only way to win is not to play, and yet they keep playing, month after month, year after year.
posted by maxsparber at 11:15 AM on May 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


The silver linings I saw while reading that thread in real time were:

* the amazingly thoughtful and intelligent pushbacks, by both male and female mefites, to the sexist, classist BS that spoiled it all at the beginning
* cortex's obvious moderating and also thoughtful participation with his mod-hat off (that was a nice reassurance that Team MeFi is actively feminist!)
* those fantastic photos of mefite's tattoos

It was a tough thread to follow, but I learned SO MUCH from it. Not everyone is a fully actualized perfect arguer for these topics, and it is really good for people like me to read them and become aware of all these words and terms and cites that better verbalize my inner uncomfortableness with patriarchal stuff.

Can I, like, borrow you guys to help better handle my ignorant family members I have to interact with on Facebook and real life?
posted by jillithd at 11:16 AM on May 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


But for real though can the use of "authoress" be forever and ever forbidden here? I'm not saying anything should befall the most recent offender but a ban on "authoress" would be the MeFi Pony I want for Festivus.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:18 AM on May 14, 2015 [35 favorites]


I can't speak for others, obviously, jillithd, but this is why, in my experience, activists and folks who are just commenters/writers about any aspect of social justice ask allies to self-educate and ask allies to speak up on their own behalf to their ignorant family members. Because the work is exhausting and there's never enough people to do the work and we need all the help we can get. So I am totally glad you get a lot out of good efforts folks make to push back against the ignorant and the harmful. But my response to wanting to borrow us is merely, "Go forward, jillithd, and do your own good work." I have ignorant family members of my own. Still.
posted by kalessin at 11:22 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


They were right up there on the list of people actively trying, and succeeding for a change, in aiming to make me feel like shit about myself.

I'm sorry that you felt badly about yourself - it was definitely not my intention. Sometimes I get frustrated with other women who appear to be aligning or performing along with patriarchy-driven stereotypes or norms in a really unquestioning way, especially when other women are trying and often succeeding to resist it. However, that is largely my frustration talking, and it's worth noting that it's really hard to swim in the sea of patriarchy and not come out wet in some way. I'm one hundred percent sure that I also have some things that I'm not aware of that are irreparably tainted in some way by the pressures of our current shitty society.
posted by corb at 11:25 AM on May 14, 2015


Don't blame others for your shitty behavior.
posted by mitochondrial midichlorian at 11:28 AM on May 14, 2015 [57 favorites]


That last bit was just a flip comment - throwaway, really - to lighten up the previous sentences. I feel fully chastised for making it. Thank you.
posted by jillithd at 11:28 AM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry that you felt badly about yourself - it was definitely not my intention.

You straight out said insulting things along with 'they deserve to be judged because..'. How is that not intentionally and obviously nasty? Then the second time you admitted that maybe some of us have tattoos there because some guy told us to and we're too stupid to resist.

You have no right or reason to be frustrated because other women don't do things the way you want and judging us because of it is not the answer.
posted by shelleycat at 11:29 AM on May 14, 2015 [55 favorites]


sorry cortex, but:

I also feel like there's a hard point of tension here between the idea that Metafilter threads are and always have been a generalist discussion space and the idea that active pushback on stuff people feel like is problematic is a sign that something's wrong. I think it's basically things working well, that folks are willing to call out stuff they disagree with or think is unkind or regressive or shitty; sometimes that means a frustrating thread because people are expressing unlikeable opinions, but people are allowed to have unlikeable opinions.

So we gotta let shitheads be shitheads, and the rest of us have to continue to undertake the ongoing work of pushing back against shitheadery?

What I'm seeing from this, here and elsewhere, is: women are nope-ing out of these threads because (a) they're tired of reading boyzoney commentary, and (b) they're tired of having to push back against it.

Deleting shitty comments is all very well, but it's not enough by itself: the shitlords still get the pleasure of stirring up trouble, their targets still get affected by it, and the threads are still horrendously derailed.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:30 AM on May 14, 2015 [46 favorites]


corb, part of the deal is that having a LBT has fuck-all to do with men. Can you get one to attract the attention of men? Yes, but it's a perfectly acceptable place to get a non-sexual tattoo, and unless it's specifically sexual, there's no reason to dwell on it. The female lower back is not male territory; that's kind of what the original article was about.

I know you're apologizing and that's between you and shelleycat, but I think that's an important distinction.

To be honest, I think a woman could get tattoos on her breasts and it really does not mean they're sex tattoos either. (I feel like this is almost a more widely acceptable statment, and I'm not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the total proliferation of the "tramp stamp" idea. Which could demonstrate that calling them that is doing a lot of harm.)
posted by easter queen at 11:30 AM on May 14, 2015 [16 favorites]


Some of the comments in that thread left this flavor/odor behind them:

"Come on, you can't take everything away from us. Leave us one thing to make fun of. We can't make fun of minorities or gays, at least leave us tramp stamps (read: women)."*

Like they're exasperated by the efforts of people who try to enlighten them out of their comfort zone. I'm not sure why lower-back tattoos where the rallying point for privilege-deniers, but watching the pushback they received was impressive.



*no one said this, it's just my take on the underlying motivation for someone insisting that their misogynist viewpoint is no big deal. also, sorry for saying 'gays', but it fits the voice of that shitty character.
posted by GrapeApiary at 11:32 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


You know, of the several comments I've had deleted, the only one that bothered me was when I mentioned another mass murdering dude was a sign of some very male-specific entitlement. And as it was fairly bland, short, and not expletive-laden and not just "kill all the menz!!!" I was annoyed. And shocked. So much so I tried to repost it.

And I feel things like this are why. I can get that my comments are deleted for being too glib and cutting but things like this are allowed to stand? Not just one comment but entire posts full of this kind of behavior. But pointing out the fact that men are more likely to go on mass killing sprees because there is just something really destructive about the patriarchy, that needs to be silenced quick. Okay.

That said, I'm glad these comments are still there because I think it's better than deletion.
posted by bgal81 at 11:34 AM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Body, health and fitness shaming are still rife with opportunities to bully and snob the shit out of people who are tired of it and pretty much get away scot free.
posted by kalessin at 11:34 AM on May 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


And looking at the thread I see there were other comments from corb too, I missed those because the two judgmental ones stood out so much. Sorry if that's confusing.

To be clear I'm talking about this: "They are emblems of their stupidity and conformity. It's okay to make fun of them, because it's like a visible tag that someone thought it was a good idea to make a permanent modification to their body of something with no real relevance to them other than 'Butterflies are pretty!'" and this: "So while I still think it's a terrible choice of terrible placement, it's worth considering that some of the women who got those tattoos may have gotten them because sexist tattoo artist wanted to be dicks."

Coming on the heels of all the other shit being thrown around it was just more ugly shit we didn't need to hear.
posted by shelleycat at 11:35 AM on May 14, 2015 [20 favorites]


So we gotta let shitheads be shitheads, and the rest of us have to continue to undertake the ongoing work of pushing back against shitheadery?

Yep, this is bothering me. Is it really the job of the userbase to respond to the "Convince me this is sexist!!" dance every single time? For the same people who have demanded it before? Even when it comprises the entire thread? Is there really no way to get around that? I don't see how it's not a derail.
posted by almostmanda at 11:37 AM on May 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


I have to agree. I don't think it's a bad thing for the site to have commenters who don't 100% agree with me about sexism; I do think that allowing threadshitting and derailing just because it's about sexism is kind of uncool.

People kept commenting to say, "so she feels guilty about her tattoo, so what?!??" which is threadshitting and/or derailing. The article is about why, if you don't want to read it, or you're straight up ignoring it, you are not contributing.
posted by easter queen at 11:38 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


That men educate themselves so they don't turn this site into something defined by obliviousness, hostility, dismissiveness, and tactics that effectively silence female participation?

This is such a hard thing to solve, because I think much of the problem that we see repeated are by individuals that don't always (but sometimes do) have the institutional history to know how we've addressed issues repeatedly in the past, with some resolution to them. As long as we have an open-door policy for new members (which I think is good, by the way), we gain the very real risk that we'll have to repeatedly have the same conversations over and over to reeducate ourselves back to a place of (relative serenity) that has been hard-fought. So, I'm worried that we have one of four inevitable solutions:

1. Change the whole world, so that those who are new won't be bringing in toxic ideas that are typical knee-jerk reactions to social issues that are actually more nuanced and complicated.

2. Stop letting new members in, so that we can get some semblance of equilibrium that will not be sigificantly disrupted in the future (certainly a non-starter).

3. Have mod intervention that rigorously deletes troubling aspects of discussions (but really, this is a non-starter too, for reasons that cortex mentions. Better to have push-back from informed individuals than to overly limit free discourse.)

4. Be willing to keep having these discussions over and over as needed in order to defend precious territory from the barbarian hordes that sometimes come on in over the hill.

As much as it pains me to say this, I think number four is the inevitable reality to a seriously messed up world and an open door policy that invites people in. We want to be open (this is a good virtue), but we want some problems to stay continually solved. Some of this can be resolved by continually tweaking our community responses and moderation policies, but I'm not sure we can rest on our laurels, probably ever. And that's certainly frustrating.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:41 AM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


If the article is about how patriarchy affects the perception of women's tattoos, I feel like allowing a bunch of "lol patriarchy, not real" comments is an obvious derail. The article is not about whether patriarchy exists. There's a lot of room for opinions in terms of how and why patriarchy affects tattoos, and the entire thread doesn't just have to be cool tattoos and high-fiving, but I feel like allowing it to become referendum on the need for feminism every time is just kind of pointless. It's like saying "let's have the same fight about Mac vs. PC everytime there's an article about the new Apple watch." It's pointless.

The only benefit I can see is that I really do believe that some people read those threads and have their minds change. But I don't want to change minds at the price of not having actual important, nuanced conversations with people. I joined a discussion board for the discussions, not the weird attacks on my personhood.

(Sorry, meant to post this as part of above comment but hit the button on accident.)
posted by easter queen at 11:42 AM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


On a more general note, I don't know if this is an overall trend for this site recently. Basically I stay out of threads about sexism or politics or other likely to be contentious topics most of the time. I work a lot and don't get enough sleep so I know I don't have a lot of energy to go around, so I save it up and only go into those threads when I'm feeling ready for it. I knew last night's thread would be more difficult just because of the article in the post. But today is a public holiday so I had some time and I like tattoos so whatever. I was ready for the slut shaming stuff, but not for the low class thoughtless sheep stuff piled on top. It did take me by surprise, but I can't say if that's because I censor the site for myself or because it's a real overall change.

I think the most annoying thing in the end was that I didn't even get to engage with the article because I was so turned around by the time I got to the bottom of the thread. I did have opinions about it (mostly along the lines of how it sucks that the author was made to feel like that by others) but they were kind of gone by the time I made it to the comment box.
posted by shelleycat at 11:42 AM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Speaking for myself, I much prefer the userbase pushback against bad opinions, rather than mod intervention. But of course it's not either-or, and I think the mods strike a generally-pretty-okay balance as far as when they delete and when they allow for conversation/pushback.

Anyway, I don't in any way blame the mods for allowing people posting dumb stuff; I blame the dumbasses who are posting the dumb stuff.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:43 AM on May 14, 2015 [20 favorites]


Is it really the job of the userbase to respond to the "Convince me this is sexist!!" dance every single time? For the same people who have demanded it before? Even when it comprises the entire thread? Is there really no way to get around that? I don't see how it's not a derail.

Yeah, I agree with this, and I think that since there are only a limited number of mods and mod hours in the day (and this would be a fact of life even under different economic circumstances) sometimes it's time to start wielding blunter weapons.

Again, I feel like a dick for advocating for bannings, but I've thought about it since my previous comment and I've realized that, while I want to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone, sometimes you get to a point where not everyone can be part of the same community, and you have to decide whether that will happen explicitly by saying to some people "This behavior will not be tolerated. You are continuing to engage in it. You cannot be here anymore." or whether it will happen implicitly by allowing that group of people to attack others until it is clear to them that they can't be part of the community anymore.

I think the way to get around the "Convince me this is sexist!! dance" from "the same people who have demanded it before" is to say "You may not continue to do this" and back it up with action. It clears out the worst offenders, it keeps them from riling up others, and it demonstrates support for the people being attacked. I actually feel really badly and regretful suggesting this but not as badly and regretful as I feel about all the shitty, shitty stuff that got said in that thread by people who have said similar stuff before.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:45 AM on May 14, 2015 [39 favorites]


Isn't there a tradition of not banning but saying "hey, stay out of sexism-related threads?" That's fine with me. I don't care what sexists have to say about aerodynamics or kitty cats or whatever and I'm fine with them being on the site, just not dragging down every post about women.
posted by easter queen at 11:46 AM on May 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


While for the most part I trust our mod team to do the right thing, what has always bothered me is the emergent dynamic from the mod policies that lead us to have the same fucking fight over and fucking over about the same goddamned basic ass arguments. "Convince me this is sexist." "What harm am I doing to trans people?" "Convince me this is racist." "Convince me this is ableist." And so on, ad fucking nauseum.
posted by kalessin at 11:47 AM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


ask allies to self-educate and ask allies to speak up on their own behalf to their ignorant family members.

Here's my take on this, speaking both as a person in a category requiring activism, and an imperfect ally. Wearing ignorant ally hat: Yes, absolutely, it's my responsibility to educate myself, to read what I can. As a human being, though, as much as I read, I can only extrapolate emotionally from my own reflected experiences. Ideological blinders also put constraints on my ability to interpret things I read. So I've been hugely grateful to friends who've shown a ton of patience in bothering to answer stupid questions from their experience, and to challenge assumptions I didn't know I had.

It's not their job to do that, that's not what I'm saying. But an existing close connection makes it easier for me to get past my blinders and approach the idea on an emotional level, even though, of course, I can never really grasp it. I do think finding an emotional hook into a perspective that's not your own is a more certain, or stickier way of getting at it. To reiterate, though, it's no one's job to do that for me, it's a kindness.

Wearing person in category requiring activism hat: It's a necessary burden of givenness, and a fucking pain in the ass. I choose my battles based on how I feel at any time, and whether I think the effort will make a difference.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:48 AM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


So we gotta let shitheads be shitheads, and the rest of us have to continue to undertake the ongoing work of pushing back against shitheadery?

Yes. Forever. That is the social contract. It's exhausting, and it's unfair, and it is the human condition. There will always be assholes. Always. There will never be a time when all the assholes have been reeducated, or removed, or silenced all their lives while there are still enough people around to hold open conversations worth having. We can restrict speech to the point where there is little of interest left to say, or limit participation until only echoes remain, but we can't have open conversation and open participation without the messy, messy business of rubbing elbows with assholes. Sometimes, we're even the assholes (speaking purely for myself on that point).

The best we can hope for is to always have more people willing to push back than to stir up shit. And sometimes, it's good to take a break.

Because, yeah - it's hard to have the same conversations over and over. Pretty sure that's my definition of hell.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:48 AM on May 14, 2015 [39 favorites]


4. Be willing to keep having these discussions over and over as needed in order to defend precious territory from the barbarian hordes that sometimes come on in over the hill.

As much as it pains me to say this, I think number four is the inevitable reality to a seriously messed up world and an open door policy that invites people in. We want to be open (this is a good virtue), but we want some problems to stay continually solved. Some of this can be resolved by continually tweaking our community responses and moderation policies, but I'm not sure we can rest on our laurels, probably ever. And that's certainly frustrating.


Once a week, we could elect a representative whose sole job would be to smack down people who engage in those arguments. Pay 'em in donuts and beer. The "Schmuck Detector."
posted by zarq at 11:49 AM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


corb, part of the deal is that having a LBT has fuck-all to do with men. Can you get one to attract the attention of men? Yes, but it's a perfectly acceptable place to get a non-sexual tattoo, and unless it's specifically sexual, there's no reason to dwell on it.

Sorry if I was unclear - I in no way think a LBT is a sexual tattoo or is designed as a sexual tattoo. But I do think that in many ways, the choice of an LBT rather than another tattoo placement is heavily influenced by patriarchal considerations of women's worth. It became such a ubiquitous tattoo in part because of male opinions about what women with tattoos at all were. So you have a small, easily concealable tattoo, with plausibly deniable uber-feminine iconography - butterflies, dragonflies, cats, things coded strongly as feminine and unthreatening. And I think you can't look at that kind of thing and say 'well this isn't influenced by men at all, women would naturally choose to get LBTs in a world without shitty men.'
posted by corb at 11:50 AM on May 14, 2015


Boy, you phrased that poorly in the thread, didn't you?
posted by maxsparber at 11:52 AM on May 14, 2015 [52 favorites]



So we gotta let shitheads be shitheads, and the rest of us have to continue to undertake the ongoing work of pushing back against shitheadery?

Yes. Forever. That is the social contract. It's exhausting, and it's unfair, and it is the human condition.


Pretty sure the post you're replying to doesn't mean "everywhere, forever." What we're talking about is whether it is absolutely necessary to replicate the horrifying slog of the worst aspects of being human even in this semi-controlled environment that we participate in on purpose.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:52 AM on May 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


So we gotta let shitheads be shitheads, and the rest of us have to continue to undertake the ongoing work of pushing back against shitheadery?

Topics that are lightning rods for the weird underbelly of contemporary cultural and social shit are going to bring out obnoxious or objection comments from a mixed crowd sometimes. We live in a world that's deeply imperfect and in which people have a wide variety of opinions about stuff even if a lot of folks agree that some of those opinions are shitty or hurtful or just kind of dumb or uninformed.

I'm not saying that's a good thing, or what I think of as awesome Metafilter content. I couldn't have been much clearer that I found that thread frustrating as hell. But I think it's necessary to step back and look practically at the problem of people being wrong on the internet and look at what the options are for dealing with it, because it's one thing to (totally rightfully) complain that shitty behavior appears on Metafilter and another to come up with a workable plan for literally preventing shitty behavior from ever appearing on Metafilter.

We have pushback in comments. We have flags, and the contact form, and a human moderator on the clock twenty four hours a day. We have metatalk for talking some of this stuff out after the fact. These are standard mefi tools, and we can use them, and it works pretty well. It's not perfect, but it's pretty solid; the discussions we tend to have about stuff is the outliers where those tools get stretched to their practical limits.

And I completely understand the sentiment that, well, when shit gets stretched to the limits and conversation ends up going badly anyway, there must be something else we can do. But I think it's really, really non-trivial to turn that frustration into a gameplan that isn't itself moving away from what Metafilter is and how Metafilter works toward something pretty different, something more locked down. Because if it's more bannings, people will not agree on the set of people to ban; if it's deleting a lot more comments a lot sooner, people will not agree on which comments cross that threshold. And there's no clean way to resolve that disagreement without making fairly enormous fiat decisions that essentially say "Metafilter is now only this subset of what Metafilter used to be". Which may be fine for anyone who believes they belong to that subset, but it's a hell of a problem for anyone who doesn't or who doesn't agree with the idea of splintering the site like that.

And, again, again: this is not me saying there's no problem, or that dynamics like that thread are great, or that I don't think we can keep iterating our approach to the details and dealing with recurring problems by trying to increment and escalate our response to repeated behavior and the people committing it. That's something we will do, are doing, keep trying to find the right balance on, and it's an ongoing process. But I feel like frustration with high watermark things like that tattoo thread can lead to an understandable but unrealistic reaction of arguing that Metafilter can essentially become a wholly enlightened place by flipping a switch and without significantly messing with the baked in culture and expectations of this place as a fifteen-year-old community.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:55 AM on May 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


corb, can you please just not.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:55 AM on May 14, 2015 [38 favorites]


Once a week, we could elect a representative whose sole job would be to smack down people who engage in those arguments. Pay 'em in donuts and beer. The "Schmuck Detector."

I was just walking by this sushi place at lunch and I heard this guy with a tremendous amount of hair gel say that there were "not enough females for all the males! It's a bummer". I don't know the context of this but I suspect that he would have benefited from an unexpected moonsault.

So I guess what I'm saying is, how about a "Schmuck Luchador"? I accept payment in potato donuts.
posted by selfnoise at 11:57 AM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


'well this isn't influenced by men at all, women would naturally choose to get LBTs in a world without shitty men.'

Where would they get them instead? The politically correct bicep? The chest? The lower back is a pretty decent place to get a tattoo and I don't see how it's necessarily a result of internalized sexism.

On a different note: I have no personal beef with any of the guys who are in this thread saying they value user pushback over modding (in fact, I respect those that I recognize), but if you're not doing a lot of this work in the trenches (or if you acknowledge that it doesn't affect you personally as much) you might want to think about contributing more to those battles in the future, if you think they're important to the site. (If you do contribute a lot, not talking to you, obviously. I just usually feel like I see a lot of women doing that work and a lot of them are tired/burnt out on it.)
posted by easter queen at 11:58 AM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


That thread was fucking hot garbage up until people just started posting pictures of their tattoos and complimenting each other on the pictures of their tattoos. Then it got sort of ok. If you avoided every comment that didn't have a link in it (including mine), you'd probably have a much better experience, because y'all have some really cool tattoos.

That men educate themselves so they don't turn this site into something defined by obliviousness, hostility, dismissiveness, and tactics that effectively silence female participation?

This is such a hard thing to solve, because I think much of the problem that we see repeated are by individuals that don't always (but sometimes do) have the institutional history to know how we've addressed issues repeatedly in the past, with some resolution to them.


No, it isn't a hard thing to solve, we just have to stop being fucking assholes. The essential problem with "keep having these discussions until the barbarian horde comes to their senses" is that it absolves people who are being assholes of their agency by blaming it on their context or their culture. It presumes that people are, by default, sexist pricks until they have been laboriously taught otherwise. No, they're sexist pricks because power is great and not having power is not great, and one of the ways they retain social power is by insisting that it's just so hard for to let go of, please excuse me while I continue to commit violence, what is a poor boy to do in such a mad world. Context, culture, all of those things are influential, but everyone is a person, and it's everyone's job to get their shit together. It's "hard to solve" because people refuse to take responsibility for their actions, but they're not children. How do you not know that "well, if she doesn't like her whore mark, she shouldn't have been such a whore about it" is violently despicable? I don't understand that, but I know whose fault it is. This isn't a Metafilter vs. newbies scenario; no one needs Metafilter to figure this shit out, and it's not Metafilter's job to be their crucible.
posted by Errant at 11:58 AM on May 14, 2015 [37 favorites]


cortex, what I'm reading here is a number of commenters saying, please can we somehow figure out how to treat these topics that will derails us AS DERAILS and mod toward that almost certain prediction. I get that you see it as a fundamental and imposed change on a 15 year old community, but I think there is, here a significant number of members saying that we'd like this considered as a possibility.
posted by kalessin at 11:59 AM on May 14, 2015 [20 favorites]


Just as a general principle, please don't rehash the debate over those tattoos in here. This thread is about site issues.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:59 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


corb, can you please just not.

I mean, sure, I can absolutely stop trying to apologize for letting my frustration rule my initial post and trying to clarify where I'm being misunderstood. I can do that whether or not I think it's a good idea, because it is mod dictate and I'm jim-dandy at following orders. I can even leave the conversation entirely, even though I am one of the women who felt some of the dude douchebaggery in the thread was kind of gross and I would like to be able to talk about that. I can absolutely salute and move on. I am fucking fantastic at saluting and moving on. But what I straight up cannot do is figure out what you mean by asking me not to do a thing that you don't elaborate on and I'm just supposed to know.
posted by corb at 12:02 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Would it help if "not" were replaced with "don't"?
posted by maxsparber at 12:04 PM on May 14, 2015


The tattoo thread was a mess because of the obvious misogyny in some of the comments and for reasons that I see popping up in other threads. Personal expression through body and fashion is a language with no dictionary. It can be hard to read, it can be misread for a million reasons. People need to learn not to make judgement on the character of others based on that imprecise language. People need to stop insisting they know the meanings when people are straight up saying that is not what they meant to say. People need to not bring cultural baggage like misogyny into a judgement they are going to stubbornly hold to.

Assume the best of what people are trying to express. Listen if they want to talk. Ask only if it's appropriate. Nothing wrong with just ignoring it if you aren't sure what the message is supposed to be.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:06 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really don't mean to defend corb's arguments at all here and I'm staying out of the personal stuff altogether, but is there some reason saying "can you please just not" is not a conceivable reaction to other people causing sexist derails on the site? This is really all that many of us are asking for, and it's clearly something we do with some users since we just did it with corb right now.
posted by dialetheia at 12:06 PM on May 14, 2015 [24 favorites]


Pretty sure the post you're replying to doesn't mean "everywhere, forever." What we're talking about is whether it is absolutely necessary to replicate the horrifying slog of the worst aspects of being human even in this semi-controlled environment that we participate in on purpose.

While MetaFilter continues to have a basically open door policy and a comments section that allows unfiltered conversation - lightly moderated after-the-fact - MetaFilter is part of "Everywhere."

Is it absolutely necessary here? No. But without changing the entire dynamic of the site, it is inevitable.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:06 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is it absolutely necessary here? No. But without changing the entire dynamic of the site, it is inevitable.

If I'm not mistaken I think the whole point of MeTas like these is to discuss the possibility and desirability of changing certain dynamics of the site.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:10 PM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


I agree with kalessin. I feel like it's more likely for sexist, derailing comments to remain in woman/feminism related threads than in general threads. It's probably a result of the sheer volume of them and the conversations that develop and can't be deleted wholesale, but the result is that we end up defending our right to exist instead of talking about women. Mod predictions and reminders to not be shitty and not derail/threadshit and enforcement of those policies would be welcome. Just because a comment is ostensibly "about" women (and their failings) doesn't mean it's not derailing.

It seems like site policies on contentious issues grow organically out of their contexts; this is a context where I wish we could develop a little more preventative policy. A lot of the tattoo thread stuff was straight up derailing or threadshitting, imo.

It's Raining Florence Henderson, I'll admit I don't totally understand your meaning. A lot of sexist stuff has been stamped out on this site, thanks to jessamyn and others. It changed the site for the better. Telling repeat misogynist users who have a problem playing nice in sexism threads to cut it out seems no worse than telling Russian-interventionist-pro-Apple-anti-GMOs conspiracy commenter to cut it out.
posted by easter queen at 12:11 PM on May 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


Personal expression through body and fashion is a language with no dictionary. It can be hard to read, it can be misread for a million reasons. People need to learn not to make judgement on the character of others based on that imprecise language.

"Imprecise body language" doesn't invite what went on that thread. It doesn't invite declarations that women are sluts, or stupid conformists. It's not an invitation to objectifying women or speculate on any number of bullshit intimate details about them, from assuming their preferred sexual positions to their supposed exhibitionist tendencies.

Misogyny isn't invited or caused by a misread of social cues. It's simply people being assholes towards women.
posted by zarq at 12:19 PM on May 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


But what I straight up cannot do is figure out what you mean by asking me not to do a thing that you don't elaborate on and I'm just supposed to know.

I'm frustrated that you are digging in on the subject of the specific content of that crappy comment you left in the other thread. I'm frustrated that you are walking this line of simultaneously talking about how other people were being gross in that thread and pulling this discussion toward an apology-but-actually-I-was-saying exoneration of your own gross comment instead of just apologizing-or-not and dropping it. I would like you to not do that. I would like you to have the self-awareness to realize that's not helping this thread. I would like to not have to write a paragraph explicitly laying that out. I would like this not to be something that keeps happening, and not have to deal with the pretense that it's some new idea each time it comes up. I expressed my frustration about that too tersely.

cortex, what I'm reading here is a number of commenters saying, please can we somehow figure out how to treat these topics that will derails us AS DERAILS and mod toward that almost certain prediction.

And I'm feeling like, yes, that's doable, and it's something we do, by deleting the nth comment from someone on that subject, leaving a note saying to drop it, asking people to cool it or telling specific people to step away from the thread if they haven't already taken a hint from the preceding. And I can hear and am totally down with the idea that the meter for stepping in early on that could be nudged. Like I said, this is an ongoing process sort of thing.

But I want to be sure that I'm understanding that correctly as the idea, and not something else, and want to be sure that people have realistic expectations there. Trying to spot and preempt derails sooner is fine and practicable (especially with prompt flagging and contact form stuff); some of the other more heavy-handed ideas that have come up in previous discussions aren't so much, and I think when we're talking about site policy and practice it's really, really important to be clear about what the practical implications and ramifications of proposed changes are.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:19 PM on May 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


While MetaFilter continues to have a basically open door policy

Since this has come up a few times, I wanted to add that I agree that we'll never be free of the problem of new people coming in and not having the site background here, which is fine and not something I expect anyone to address. I just get frustrated when the exact same users (I could name several from that thread alone) get to keep coming in and starting the same derails with almost no pushback beyond some silent deletions or a brief universal "cool it". I think "but some women are sluts" was a derail in that thread, I think "but women are ruining the Democratic party" was a derail in the other thread, and I think there's something about these being "feminism issues" that's preventing those derails from being recognized.
posted by dialetheia at 12:19 PM on May 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


I think there's something about these being "feminism issues" that's preventing those derails from being recognized.

And I hasten to add that I don't think it's at all deliberate, it's just a fish-swimming-in-water sort of thing.
posted by dialetheia at 12:22 PM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


While MetaFilter continues to have a basically open door policy and a comments section that allows unfiltered conversation - lightly moderated after-the-fact - MetaFilter is part of "Everywhere."

Lots of places have open-door policies, too. But places that like having women around don't, say, let assholes loudly pontificate to the rest of the patrons on women's lower back tattoos and about how they're a signal that they like doggy-style and/or anal sex. Especially not when said assholes have been in that same place several times and demeaned women or dismissed harassment pretty much every time one of them rightfully complains about sexism and misogyny.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:24 PM on May 14, 2015 [25 favorites]


"Imprecise body language" doesn't invite what went on that thread. It doesn't invite declarations that women are sluts, or stupid conformists. It's not an invitation to objectifying women or speculate on any number of bullshit intimate details about them, from assuming their preferred sexual positions to their supposed exhibitionist tendencies.

Misogyny isn't invited or caused by a misread of social cues. It's simply people being assholes towards women.


Yes, that is why 0% of my comment contained advice to change how people express themselves and 100% advice to stop making judgments on people based on things like misogyny. Jebus.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:24 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


cortex, I can only speak for myself, but it's clear to me that no major site- or mod-policy changes are made without a great deal of research and trials and thinking and discussion. Thanks for making it clear what you (singular and plural) are willing to do to help figure out how to help here with this kind of dynamic.
posted by kalessin at 12:25 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Again: it was a frustrating thread. I think a few people were being somewhere between tonedeaf and actively antagonistic in there in a way that sucks, and had to tell at least one person to specifically take off from the thread after some deletions and notes didn't work.

I know there's no data on this, but cortex in your opinion: of the people who get asked to take a thread off (or are given a day off), how many come back and re-offend in the same way? Has there been a consideration at all amongst the mods that perhaps the penalties for spouting misogyny here are only pushing it out an hour, a day, or a month, and aren't curbing or changing behaviour at all?

I recognize names in a bunch of the hellish threads over and over again. Some seem to have figured out where the line is and run right up to it over and over again, and know that stepping their toe over it is gets a comment or two deleted here or there but they'll get another chance soon.

I am curious whether any analysis, or at least trend-thought, has been done on the policies of the mods here vis-a-vis misogyny in specific and the impact of the current interventions. You see a lot of these interventions (and/or what's tracked behind the scenes, or what work you do one-on-one with users) in a way we perhaps don't and so it might be useful to folks like me to at least hear how you perceive some of these soft-touch and redirect policies impact and whether they correct the behaviour of sometimes problematic users.
posted by buoys in the hood at 12:26 PM on May 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


I'm frustrated that you are walking this line of simultaneously talking about how other people were being gross in that thread and pulling this discussion toward an apology-but-actually-I-was-saying exoneration of your own gross comment instead of just apologizing-or-not and dropping it.

FWIW I personally am sick of hearing how corb thinks I'm too stupid and ruled by men to decide for myself where I want my tattoo so I really appreciate this, thanks.
posted by shelleycat at 12:27 PM on May 14, 2015 [44 favorites]


I don't understand why people read (much less comment in!) a thread when they find it upsetting or exhausting to do so. Metafilter writ large has an attitude that lies somewhere between uninformed and hostile on a couple of topics that I care quite a bit about, but I either go elsewhere to participate/consume or come here expecting to roll up my sleeves and get dirty.

I just had a week where I paid very little attention to the internet and no attention to Metafilter. I highly recommend it if you are feeling stressed about this place; I promise it will carry on without you, especially if you're tired of it. There was a time when this site was anything and everything to me but that just isn't a healthy way to use it in my opinion.

Note that this opinion is intended for individual use and is not intended to inform site policy in any way.
posted by Kwine at 12:28 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I mean, sure, I can absolutely stop ...

Ok, I LOL'd. I stayed out of that thread because of the someone there I have been instructed not to engage with and because I, too, am Jim-Dandy at following orders (tho, perhaps, less Jim-Dandy than some). Did anyone manage to ascertain if the set of Nickleback disdainers is larger than the set of tribal tat disdainers?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:28 PM on May 14, 2015


time to refresh my batteries in the non-misogynist meatspace world

wait

shit
posted by kagredon at 12:29 PM on May 14, 2015 [39 favorites]


One of the derails that went on for way too long was along the lines of "Explain to me how the word tramp could POSSIBLY mean the same thing as the word slut"--does that really deserve a good faith reading? Even when we read it in the best light, it's a dude demanding we Google shit for him.
posted by almostmanda at 12:30 PM on May 14, 2015 [65 favorites]


I don't understand why people read (much less comment in!) a thread when they find it upsetting or exhausting to do so.

Because this community is really important to me, and I don't feel like I should be effectively filibustered out of threads about issues that directly affect me.
posted by dialetheia at 12:30 PM on May 14, 2015 [79 favorites]


cortex: "especially with prompt flagging and contact form stuff"

What does that mean, from an individual user point-of-view? I mostly stay out of threads that are likely to be contentious like this, and when I do read them, it's usually hours if not days after the fact. Is it worth flagging 3 hour old comments in a fast-moving thread, or using the contact form a day or two after the thread has died down, just to register my displeasure with the way it went? It makes me sad to see some of the users who are leaving and who are thinking about leaving, and I truly despair when people say the atmosphere reminds them of the Boyzone days. Maybe someone could create a FAQ for "How to be a Good User" with specific action items and strategies?
posted by Rock Steady at 12:31 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I just had a week where I paid very little attention to the internet and no attention to Metafilter. I highly recommend it if you are feeling stressed about this place; I promise it will carry on without you, especially if you're tired of it.

This kind of feedback implies that topics and site patterns that I find really troublesome are just things I'm taking too seriously and I should be more casual about it. Casualness like this really only exists for folks who possess the privilege to ignore what would otherwise be pretty clear and present threats against folks who do not possess the same privilege as you do.
posted by kalessin at 12:32 PM on May 14, 2015 [38 favorites]


I don't understand why people read (much less comment in!) a thread when they find it upsetting or exhausting to do so.

Personally, for this particular thread, I was honestly so surprised at what a shit show it turned in to I was kind of stunned and didn't take it in properly until I was most of the way down. Then I kept reading to see the inevitable push back, and then more in puzzlement when that pushback went apparently unnoticed. That plus it was a topic I was honestly interested in with enough good stuff mixed in and I didn't have to get up the next morning so I kept going.
posted by shelleycat at 12:32 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


One of the derails that went on for way too long was along the lines of "Explain to me how the word tramp could POSSIBLY mean the same thing as the word slut"--does that really deserve a good faith reading? Even when we read it in the best light, it's a dude demanding we Google shit for him.

"But is this phrase that contains a synonym for 'slut' slut-shaming in its role? Obviously not"
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:33 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't expect a perfect safe space on Metafilter with regard to my feminism, and I respect what the mods are already doing. I am fine with disagreement and some conflict and gridlock and education and arguing and some Feminism 101 happening, and I don't mind having to do some "pushback" when someone is saying something I think is sexist and ill-conceived. My main wish is for threads about women/sexism to be pruned enough to allow a conversation about the actual topic to take center stage... instead of turning into the prerequisite remedial course you have to pass in order to be allowed to enroll in Feminism 101.

I don't think I'm living in a fantasy world, and the most heavy-handed I'd want to get would be giving repeat egregious offenders an advance warning that they can't just sally into a feminism thread and take a shit anymore. There are commenters on this site who I won't name (not to make it personal) who I disagree with about feminism but I would never want them banned or even banned from sexism threads, because the disagreements are relatively civil and in good faith, and it would feel unhealthy to kick them out just for disagreeing. I want a healthy site. It's just that if certain people can't help themselves when it comes to arguing that sexism even exists, and they keep bringing it up all the time in various threads... I don't know why that is not a derail and a problem behavior, same as being a rabid Mac/PC fan.

Metafilter writ large has an attitude that lies somewhere between uninformed and hostile on a couple of topics that I care quite a bit about

I think the point is that if a thread about women and tattoos ends up having mostly male commenters laughing at funny-cruel jokes about women while all the women who would normally push back avoid the thread to recharge... that is a symptom of a certain sickness. If you don't care that much about the site, go on with your bad self.

Thanks cortex, and I will think about using the contact form more when problems crop up in the future.
posted by easter queen at 12:35 PM on May 14, 2015 [40 favorites]


One of the derails that went on for way too long was along the lines of "Explain to me how the word tramp could POSSIBLY mean the same thing as the word slut"--does that really deserve a good faith reading? Even when we read it in the best light, it's a dude demanding we Google shit for him.

I like i-Ball's "I checked urban dictionary and it's about half-and-half in how it defines it" aspect of that response, given that the very first result on the page for tramp is 5000 votes in favor of "a loose woman"
posted by Greg Nog at 12:37 PM on May 14, 2015 [30 favorites]


Is it worth flagging 3 hour old comments in a fast-moving thread, or using the contact form a day or two after the thread has died down, just to register my displeasure with the way it went?

It is worth noting that this is also an issue that was talked about in the #JuneBy(?) thread. I feel like we had a pony thread about deleting older stuff that got shot down some time ago. Has the possibility of this been raised again, or would it be too heavy a mod burden?
posted by corb at 12:38 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why people read (much less comment in!) a thread when they find it upsetting or exhausting to do so.

I don't understand why misogynistic shit-stirring assholes should be the only people allowed to discuss topics I might happen to have an interest in.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:38 PM on May 14, 2015 [101 favorites]


What does that mean, from an individual user point-of-view?

Basically, letting us know about something that's a problem when you notice it. Which ideally if we're gonna nip something in the bud is soon after it happened; folks actively reading a thread or noticing something that just hit the front page are the ones most in the position to do this, obviously. I'm really glad that people flag and contact us to the degree that they do, but it's something that could absolutely use a broader population of active flaggers and contacters, both to increase the chance that something will get looked at promptly and to keep those things from relying on a smaller and thus potentially burnt-out-on-it crowd to keep the pointers flowing in to us.

So as a general thing one thing I'd say is, if you're seeing stuff that that's just happened and which makes you think "this is gonna maybe go somewhere dumb/derailing/blech" and you're not habitually tossing in a flag, that's worth trying to be more active about. It's a little thing for any given user but in aggregate it can make a real difference for our responsiveness on stuff.

I mostly stay out of threads that are likely to be contentious like this, and when I do read them, it's usually hours if not days after the fact. Is it worth flagging 3 hour old comments in a fast-moving thread, or using the contact form a day or two after the thread has died down, just to register my displeasure with the way it went?

Absolutely, yeah; the preceding is not to say flagging or letting us know after the fact can't be helpful. Contact form in particular is more useful later on, especially if the idea you want to express is something along the lines of "this situation kind of sucks because x and I wish it could have been maybe handled by doing y". Flags later on aren't wasted data but they're less likely to lead to direct action, so take that into account.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:39 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also I'm sorry, but "just get off the internet" just isn't particularly helpful advice to fully one-half the population of the planet.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:40 PM on May 14, 2015 [50 favorites]


I don't understand why people read (much less comment in!) a thread when they find it upsetting or exhausting to do so. Metafilter writ large has an attitude that lies somewhere between uninformed and hostile on a couple of topics that I care quite a bit about, but I either go elsewhere to participate/consume or come here expecting to roll up my sleeves and get dirty.

On my walk home from work, on one side of the street there's a dog park and the other there are a bunch of panhandlers.

I can walk every day on the same side and look at the dogs, and sure my life really will be more consistently stress-free, but the last thing I think the panhandlers (and the people and organizations advocating for them) need is another person avoiding noticing them because it's a little uncomfortable and occasionally a little exhausting.

So I spend some time on each side of the road and say hi to some folks even though sometimes it isn't as easy as the dog park.
posted by buoys in the hood at 12:41 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't understand why people read (much less comment in!) a thread when they find it upsetting or exhausting to do so.

In my case, because even though I know it makes me irritating to some, part of my contract with myself is that I will speak out against misogyny when I see it. Believe me, it's no fucking fun for me either, but, then, despite the fact that some people don't believe this, I get all sorts of privileges for being a dude, and when people are like, well, what am I supposed to do about privilege, just feel bad, the actual answer is that you speak out when the world is unfair.
posted by maxsparber at 12:42 PM on May 14, 2015 [55 favorites]


If I'm not mistaken I think the whole point of MeTas like these is to discuss the possibility and desirability of changing certain dynamics of the site.

It's true, we do discuss it. Over and over, we discuss it. We make some progress and we move forward for awhile, and now we seem to have moved back again. It ebbs and flows. Old users leave. New users replace them. We start over. That's exactly why it's so freakin' exhausting. Because people are intrinsically exhausting in numbers greater than 1.

Yes, this is a place to discuss the possibility and desirability of changing certain dynamics of the site. And my part of the discussion is to say that we can change the way the site works, limit conversation to approved talking points and opinions, users who believe as we believe, or close comments altogether... or we can continue to have open conversations and commit to the idea that hell is other people.

In my opinion, the thing that sometimes poisons the site is the exact same thing that makes it so special. And that is always going to require work to maintain.

I agree that we'll never be free of the problem of new people coming in and not having the site background here, which is fine and not something I expect anyone to address. I just get frustrated when the exact same users (I could name several from that thread alone) get to keep coming in and starting the same derails with almost no pushback beyond some silent deletions or a brief universal "cool it".

Yeah, that's maybe a better expression of what I'm getting at. When I'm saying we will always have to do the work and that the site is worth the work I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't do the work when it's warranted. I'm saying the opposite of that. So if a user is a constant problem, I do think the mods should (and sometimes do) find ways to limit that kind of participation. I just don't think that's going to be anything more than a temporary reprieve.

places that like having women around don't, say, let assholes loudly pontificate to the rest of the patrons on women's lower back tattoos and about how they're a signal that they like doggy-style and/or anal sex. Especially not when said assholes have been in that same place several times and demeaned women or dismissed harassment pretty much every time one of them rightfully complains about sexism and misogyny.

Yeah - continuing with what I just said above, specific instances require specific responses. I do think though that we will have varying ideas of what an appropriate response looks like, so it's not like that's going to keep shitstorms from erupting, either. But it absolutely has to be addressed. Unfortunately.

I see MetaFilter as a garden. Gardens take constant work and tending. Constant. Always. For the life of the garden. Or lots and lots of poison.

Personally, I think the harvest is worth the effort.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:43 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's Raining Florence Henderson, I think you are concern trolling a bit. This thread seems to be to be about having specific responses to specific misbehavior, not broadly banning anyone without an armband to the site. I think everyone is kind of on the same page there.
posted by easter queen at 12:49 PM on May 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


If Metafilter is a garden, it's like the garden I come home to after a long day of weeding everyone else's goddamn garden and then it's like, fuck it, I don't even LIKE gardening in the first place, why do I spend all day gardening.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:50 PM on May 14, 2015 [59 favorites]


Personally, I think the harvest is worth the effort.

I don't completely disagree, but I think it's worth reflecting on whether you're reaping the harvest from a garden where the burden of weeding falls disproportionately on women, or people of color, or whatever other marginalized group has to Do The Work that day before coming to a conclusion about the cost-benefit ratio of that harvest.
posted by dialetheia at 12:51 PM on May 14, 2015 [40 favorites]


That thread was, for me, the most frustrating experience I've had in about 6 years on this site. I'm a pretty tough dude to rile, IRL, and I was pretty mad over some of that.

I'm a dude, too. If I was a woman, I would've lost my mind in there, and likely nuked my mefi account.

I didn't flag anything in there, because I never flag anything, but I will certainly start, now that I have a taste for how much some things just need flaggin'.
posted by still bill at 12:51 PM on May 14, 2015 [25 favorites]


As someone who thankfully avoided commenting in that thread, I do think there is a difference between a derail and a comment which goes in a direction you don't want to discuss, even annoyingly so. Some of what people are calling derails don't look off-topic to me. They may be opinions which are wrong but wrong and derail are not the same.
posted by Justinian at 12:52 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am arguing, though, for some of those "wrong" opinions to be considered derails.
posted by kalessin at 12:54 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


It's not just that they're wrong, though. They functionally derail the conversation. Unless you think every conversation about women and sexism is a fighty conversation about whether sexism exists, which I don't. I actually hope this MeTa helps shift that POV for some people.
posted by easter queen at 12:55 PM on May 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


Does the tattoo thread get substantially worse after the first 15 or 20%? It didn't seem that bad. But then, maybe it got worse, or perhaps the tone was greatly altered if I'd been there live and seen the stuff that got deleted.

(I'm saying what I saw was all good, but it didn't seem Worst Thread in Ages bad either. Maybe I just bowed out before the shitstorm truly started.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:55 PM on May 14, 2015


"Explain to me how the word tramp could POSSIBLY mean the same thing as the word slut"--does that really deserve a good faith reading?

Well, no, but it legit cracked me up. (I skimmed that thread, late, and I'm tired, though.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:56 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why people read (much less comment in!) a thread when they find it upsetting or exhausting to do so.

Because this community is really important to me, and I don't feel like I should be effectively filibustered out of threads about issues that directly affect me.
posted by dialetheia


Yeah, I was too grossed out yesterday to comment but after reading this MeTa I just thought "fuck it" and chipped in my tuppence. Why should I - a woman in her thirties with a lower back tattoo - be silenced in a thread about an article written by a woman in her thirties talking about her lower back tattoo? This FPP is relevent to my interests!
It seems horribly ironic that her references to misogynistic bullshit were proved to be true in the comments, and those bullshit comments made me not want to participate. So I decided not to let the sexist bullshit-merchants win this time. But it's shitty that you have to be steeled and ready to comment on something that you're interested in. It shouldn't have to be this hard.
posted by billiebee at 12:57 PM on May 14, 2015 [34 favorites]


So far in this thread, the specific topics that have been called out as derails:

Is it really the job of the userbase to respond to the "Convince me this is sexist!!" dance every single time?

If the article is about how patriarchy affects the perception of women's tattoos, I feel like allowing a bunch of "lol patriarchy, not real" comments is an obvious derail.

I think "but some women are sluts" was a derail in that thread, I think "but women are ruining the Democratic party" was a derail in the other thread

One of the derails that went on for way too long was along the lines of "Explain to me how the word tramp could POSSIBLY mean the same thing as the word slut"

It's just that if certain people can't help themselves when it comes to arguing that sexism even exists, and they keep bringing it up all the time in various threads... I don't know why that is not a derail and a problem behavior


Would you care to explain which of those you think are merely "wrong opinions" that are still on-topic?
posted by kagredon at 12:57 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


However much of my (inherited) money I spend on a loaf of artisanal ciabatta, I don't get to decide whether farmers deserve air-conditioned harvesters.
posted by tigrrrlily at 12:57 PM on May 14, 2015


It seems horribly ironic that her references to misogynistic bullshit were proved to be true in the comments

Allow me to link you to Helen Lewis' Law.
posted by kalessin at 12:59 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


It's Raining Florence Henderson, I think you are concern trolling a bit. This thread seems to be to be about having specific responses to specific misbehavior, not broadly banning anyone without an armband to the site. I think everyone is kind of on the same page there.

Not concern trolling at all. This thread is about:

What can we do as a community to maintain whatever advances we've made in pushing back on the boyzone mentality here?

And I was responding to:

So we gotta let shitheads be shitheads, and the rest of us have to continue to undertake the ongoing work of pushing back against shitheadery?

My answer was, hard as it is, what we do as a community is what we have been doing. We do the work. Yes, we have to continue to push back.

If Metafilter is a garden, it's like the garden I come home to after a long day of weeding everyone else's goddamn garden and then it's like, fuck it, I don't even LIKE gardening in the first place, why do I spend all day gardening.

I love that comment. Would favorite again.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:59 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


we'll always have party dog though.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:00 PM on May 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


i dunno. i'm just tired. i've been trying to figure out for a while now if it's me or if it's metafilter. i have to admit that i'm caring less about the distinction. i don't know what concrete things to suggest but i do know that if there's not a sea change soon i'll likely be moving on from here. honestly the only reason i didn't hit the button yesterday is that i know long term active users leaving during contentious threads isn't helpful to the people i really like here or the site as a whole. i guess i'm just saying don't be surprised if you check my account at some point and it's deactivated.
posted by nadawi at 1:01 PM on May 14, 2015 [48 favorites]


If that happened, I would be sad but understand, nadawi.
posted by Kitteh at 1:02 PM on May 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm NOT saying is what I meant to type above, clearly.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:04 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm in favor of more blunt forms of moderation in threads like that one.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 1:06 PM on May 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


I don't understand why people read (much less comment in!) a thread when they find it upsetting or exhausting to do so.

Because in the everyday sexist world and the every day casually misogynist world, every single space a woman walks into--every single conversation she seeks to enter--will quite likely involve similar overtones or undertones, asides or slights, micro and macro aggressions of this nature. So, you know, we don't have the ability to avoid threads where it might happen without avoiding all threads, always.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:06 PM on May 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


Personally, I think the harvest is worth the effort.

Honestly, and I won't speak for other women on the site, but since your comment I keep thinking...ok so when do we get to enjoy this awesome harvest, hm? Because it seems like actually all we get to do is pull weeds, day in, day out, and...then pull some more weeds. I no longer feel like the efforts of the loyal feminist gardeners here are resulting in a harvest of awesome conversations, just derail after derail after shitty derail.

(Real talk, this is actually why I hate literal gardening as well -- I break my back for six months and then some shithead teenagers inevitably get drunk, break into my yard and destroy my garden.)

I know we'll always have Party Dog but honestly, I'm kind of in nadawi's boat too.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:07 PM on May 14, 2015 [41 favorites]


It'd be great if more people could internalize the idea what when you're composing a comment and you think to yourself "hmm, those politically correct Mefites aren't gonna like this!" there is about a .01% chance you are speaking an important truth to power and a 99.99% chance you are just fucking chain-yanking
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:08 PM on May 14, 2015 [63 favorites]


nadawi, I have found that long breaks from the site really helps to clear the bile out. Then, when I come back, I try to start out only looking at threads that present cool new things on the Internet. So that by the time I finally read a thread I know will probably go badly, I've fallen back in love with what the site is before remembering what the cost of that can be. Works for me, anyway. Usually.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:09 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


What is party dog? I think I missed party dog, and I want to know what a party dog is. :(
posted by Rock Steady at 1:10 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


It'd be great if more people could internalize the idea what when you're composing a comment and you think to yourself "hmm, those politically correct Mefites aren't gonna like this!" there is about a .01% chance you are speaking an important truth to power and a 99.99% chance you are just fucking chain-yanking

Can somebody cross-stitch this and put it up prominently in the break room? Cause DAMN.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Party Dog: The Beginning
posted by griphus at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Then, when I come back, I try to start out only looking at threads that present cool new things on the Internet.

This works as long as "cool new things on the Internet" is somehow a completely separate set from "things involving women on the Internet" which makes it not as practical a solution for some of us as you might think.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2015 [59 favorites]


I would like to favorite We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese's comment one thousand times, please.
posted by easter queen at 1:12 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


MeFi is pretty good about deleting personal attacks, when they're directed at other specific MeFites, but not so good about deleting hateful comments about groups of people (that usually include a lot MeFites, because the site has a fairly diverse membership). The site's moderators also seem to rely on really narrow definition of "slur". So we have an "offensive/racism/sexism" flag, but its utility is somewhat limited because our moderators, under current policy, consider terms of abuse like "trash" and "slut" OK ways to refer to other human beings.

This kind of thing does make people, including me, feel unwelcome here. I think we need to talk about where to draw the line on hateful comments directed at categories of people that aren't specifically directed at individual MeFites. And I think the line needs to be in a different place from where the mods are now drawing it. Thank you, dialetheia, for starting this MeTa. This is something we need to talk about.
posted by nangar at 1:12 PM on May 14, 2015 [21 favorites]


Party Dog: The Beginning

Thank you for this, Metafilter.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:13 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Party dog sweeps slowly through the room, people in its wake are dressed more colorfully and are having more fun than they were previously.
posted by nom de poop at 1:14 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


It'd be great if more people could internalize the idea what when you're composing a comment and you think to yourself

This does nothing in the face of bad faith comments. There might be one or two people who realize, as/after they say something judgemental or nasty, that they're on the wrong side of the discussion, but for the most part, it appears to be either very important to get their opinion aired or a gleeful opportunity to punch down.

It's those of us getting hurt and ground down by those comments who are doing all the stopping and thinking.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:15 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


party dog 2: the partening

party puppy: the prequel

look who's barking: the direct-to-video quasi-franchise sequel starring the voice talents of screech from saved by the bell
posted by poffin boffin at 1:15 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Huh, and we haven't even started in on the inherent racism of referring to various body mods on privileged white folks as "tribal.".
posted by spitbull at 1:16 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you want to discuss that you can start your own MeTa. Don't just come in here to snark or whatever you're doing.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:19 PM on May 14, 2015 [16 favorites]


I'm sorry, but "just get off the internet" just isn't particularly helpful advice to fully one-half the population of the planet.

I have a feeling that the "get off the internet" advice being offered was more of a temporary "log off MeFi for a couple hours, take a break, watch some kitty videos or walk your dog or have a brownie" kind of thing than a "hurf durf can't stand the heat don't be on line at all" suggestion.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:19 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


> walk your dog

Or party with your dog
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:20 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Honestly, and I won't speak for other women on the site, but since your comment I keep thinking...ok so when do we get to enjoy this awesome harvest, hm? Because it seems like actually all we get to do is pull weeds, day in, day out, and...then pull some more weeds. I no longer feel like the efforts of the loyal feminist gardeners here are resulting in a harvest of awesome conversations, just derail after derail after shitty derail.

(Real talk, this is actually why I hate literal gardening as well -- I break my back for six months and then some shithead teenagers inevitably get drunk, break into my yard and destroy my garden.)


Not sure if this was the comment that easter queen would favorite a thousand times, but I thought it was great, and worth a repeat in a long thread. I can only say, yeah.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:20 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't understand why people read (much less comment in!) a thread when they find it upsetting or exhausting to do so.

This is different from "take a break, have a cookie."
posted by easter queen at 1:21 PM on May 14, 2015


IRFH: Yea, it was.
posted by easter queen at 1:21 PM on May 14, 2015


I have a feeling that the "get off the internet" advice being offered was more of a temporary "log off MeFi for a couple hours, take a break, watch some kitty videos or walk your dog or have a brownie" kind of thing than a "hurf durf can't stand the heat don't be on line at all" suggestion.

I find that actually to be just a difference of degree, and maybe the latter to be even more condescending in a preschool time-out kind of way, but I know that the latter is a widely-accepted MeFi self-care directive so that's totally just my hangup and I'm perfectly happy to retract my previous criticism.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:23 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't understand why people read (much less comment in!) a thread when they find it upsetting or exhausting to do so.

Because this community is really important to me, and I don't feel like I should be effectively filibustered out of threads about issues that directly affect me.


Fair enough! Then show up and do the work, if it's important. That's why I commented, I guess, because the kind of perspective that I have on this topic was underrepresented or poorly represented in this thread so far. I don't like conflict generally and especially have little time for it on this website and I thought I'd weigh in, knowing that would generate some conflict and that I would find that unpleasant. I don't think that's a choice that's only available to me, despite what others in this thread seem to think.

I'm really jealous of people who are finding out about party dog for the first time right now.
posted by Kwine at 1:23 PM on May 14, 2015


i do know that if there's not a sea change soon i'll likely be moving on from here.

I hope not, nadawi. You are one of the voices I consistently see doing a lot of pushback on feminist issues. However, having said that, I understand why you might want to. So all I'll say is if you do, I hope you come back soon.
posted by corb at 1:23 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, it isn't a hard thing to solve, we just have to stop being fucking assholes. The essential problem with "keep having these discussions until the barbarian horde comes to their senses" is that it absolves people who are being assholes of their agency by blaming it on their context or their culture. It presumes that people are, by default, sexist pricks until they have been laboriously taught otherwise. No, they're sexist pricks because power is great and not having power is not great, and one of the ways they retain social power is by insisting that it's just so hard for to let go of, please excuse me while I continue to commit violence, what is a poor boy to do in such a mad world. Context, culture, all of those things are influential, but everyone is a person, and it's everyone's job to get their shit together. It's "hard to solve" because people refuse to take responsibility for their actions, but they're not children. How do you not know that "well, if she doesn't like her whore mark, she shouldn't have been such a whore about it" is violently despicable? I don't understand that, but I know whose fault it is. This isn't a Metafilter vs. newbies scenario; no one needs Metafilter to figure this shit out, and it's not Metafilter's job to be their crucible.

That was option number one that I suggested as a solution, "change the whole world." Of course people need to grow up. But we are talking about taking practical steps first so that we don't have to wait for the whole damn world to catch up to the obvious. You can do that if you want to, but then we will still keep coming back to the problem of what to do with the people when they show up, and much of the pushback here is all about that, when people who are assholes here disappoint you. That is the practical problem to solve, not simply expressing what we already know to be true for anyone, that the whole world should stop being assholes and take responsibility for themselves. Let's certainly keep working on that though while we figure out how to have good community experience. But until we have a suggestion on how to convince everyone in the world to stop being assholes without excluding them from signing up or having a severe moderator response that becomes problematic (neither of which is a good option, for reasons expressed repeatedly above), expressing what everyone here already agrees with doesn't solve a thing. And perhaps it is solvable in a better way than we are doing through our ongoing discussion (and I'm actually hopeful about that), but to say it's simple undermines the process, and it requires a lot more creative problem solving than we've currently done. And it will, in part, require figuring out how to deal effectively with assholes instead of simply expecting them to be better people. Because becoming better people often is, in part, when people who are good people push back against people who are bad. They don't always become good in a vacuum or because they should know better.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:23 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


So we have an "offensive/racism/sexism" flag, but its utility is somewhat limited because our moderators, under current policy, consider terms of abuse like "trash" and "slut" OK ways to refer to other human beings.

They're shitty ways to refer to other human beings, is my opinion. Current policy is that bringing those words up or having the personal opinion that as vocabulary they're okay or justifiable is not itself an automatic nuke from orbit, which is not the same thing as considering them okay unless the assumption is that that Metafilter and its moderation staff actively endorse and agree with literally everything that doesn't get deleted.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:24 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wasn't snarking.

But ok lobstermitten, I'm out. That was completely uncalled for. My comment was in good faith. As anyone who follows my comments knows, insensitivity to indigenous people is my hobby horse around here.
posted by spitbull at 1:26 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you do actually want to talk about 'tribal' that's fine, and I agree that terminology is gross -- but it's not the subject in here, so it seemed like a "why don't you talk about this other thing instead" kind of snark or derail.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:28 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Fair enough! Then show up and do the work, if it's important.

We... do. But frankly, the situation is not ideal. The options shouldn't really be 1) stay out of it, avoid, go outside or 2) get ready to wade through shit because you're a woman and want to talk about women.

It's easy to say "that's reality man" but since this is a discussion website with moderation, wouldn't it be nice to be able to actually discuss women/women's issues, and not either have to leave or watch the conversation get derailed into shit?

It's kind of reductive and bullshit to say "put up or shut up," essentially. MeTa is here so we can avoid that dilemma.
posted by easter queen at 1:29 PM on May 14, 2015 [31 favorites]


Are you asking for new rules and/or heavier moderation?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:31 PM on May 14, 2015


Fair enough! Then show up and do the work, if it's important.

So there you have it. Those are the options. Be prepared to fight, or get off the internet. If you aren't willing to have the same tiresome "but what if she really is a slut, is that ok, lolsluts" discussion for the thousandth time this year? Then it must just not be important to you.
posted by KathrynT at 1:31 PM on May 14, 2015 [60 favorites]


Because it's a meta about that thread?

Seriously wtf?
posted by spitbull at 1:32 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Then show up and do the work, if it's important.

This read seriously like binary and reductive reasoning and it doesn't speak well of you. Seriously, how difficult would it be for you to say, "Hey, sorry I misread the situation. Carry on." or something else instead of doubling down on being patronizing and directive?
posted by kalessin at 1:33 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Asking in good faith, easter queen. I totally agree with your comment, "It's kind of reductive and bullshit to say "put up or shut up," essentially. MeTa is here so we can avoid that dilemma." I just don't know what the solution is, and am wondering if you have a proposal.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:34 PM on May 14, 2015


my turn to offer an infinite number of faves to easter queen.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:35 PM on May 14, 2015


Seriously wtf?

This thread was specifically framed around the boyzone issues related to that thread.
posted by dialetheia at 1:35 PM on May 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


spitbull, I don't recall seeing "tribal" come up as anything other than a neutral reference to the common name for a style of tattoo in that thread. Which is not to say the fact that "tribal" as a common name for a style of tattoo not otherwise actually associated in any way with indigenous people isn't fraught, and that might be something to talk about if you feel the specific way people used it in the thread was actively problematic in some way, but that's something that it seems like you'd want to unpack a lot more clearly than an "and what about..." one-liner if you're gonna bring it up, especially given that it's something that's really pretty seriously tangential to basically everything in this discussion so far.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:36 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, spitbull, that was my reading -- I took it this thread was specifically about the sexist stuff in that thread.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:36 PM on May 14, 2015


It was really weird to see someone trying basically to justify the use of the word "slut" or "tramp." But there was a pretty big response to those comments. If anything I was more embarrassed that the fellow chose to double-down. It also seemed more thread-hijacking than Boyzone.
posted by Nevin at 1:36 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


if i had a proposal at all it would be for the mods to keep noticing when specific members are doing the same shit over and over and over again and do something about it - time outs, topic bans, straight up bans, whatever - which is by necessity a sort of back channel fuzzy process where we aren't privy to the ins and outs. for now, i'm trusting the mods and hoping they keep listening and adjusting their own meters.
posted by nadawi at 1:36 PM on May 14, 2015 [44 favorites]


when people hijack threads specifically to make space for them to call women sluts, it's boyzone bullshit.
posted by nadawi at 1:38 PM on May 14, 2015 [24 favorites]


I mean the discussion in this thread ranges very widely. And it's meta.


No, the problem is you took my sincere comment as snark, imputed bad faith, and scored cheap points being nasty to me in response from the sanctity of your mod position, lobster. if you assumed good faith you'd have phrased it differently. As my only comment in the thread, and as someone who is not normally axe-grindy on gender topics (which I tend to avoid anyway) what did I do to deserve that even if my comment could be seen as a "derail," which I don't think it was?

On hiatus. Bye.
posted by spitbull at 1:39 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Please skip the needling jokes.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:39 PM on May 14, 2015


Spitbull, I think you ran into a problem I often do, you went too pithy and got misunderstood because of it. I think most times Meta threads would be okay with addressing racial issues too but this thread is pretty focused on the misogyny for reasons coming from a lot of other recent threads. Best to leave it to tackle that issue. Mods did suggest you make your own if you think it's a needed discussion so the issue isn't going to be ignored.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:39 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I recognize that I may not be the best person to judge what is and what is not a Boyzone. I do remember MetaFilter's old Boyzone days. It's pretty remarkable (at least to me) how much the site has changed.
posted by Nevin at 1:39 PM on May 14, 2015


Yeah whatever. The meanness of this place lately is ugly. Bye.
posted by spitbull at 1:41 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


not normally axe-grindy on gender topics

Except for the hurtful driveby comment you left in the #JuneBy thread, but hey. That comment was the reason I was pretty irritated to see you derailing here - it felt stunty.
posted by dialetheia at 1:42 PM on May 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


>So we have an "offensive/racism/sexism" flag, but its utility is somewhat limited because our moderators, under current policy, consider terms of abuse like "trash" and "slut" OK ways to refer to other human beings.

>>They're shitty ways to refer to other human beings, is my opinion. Current policy is that bringing those words up or having the personal opinion that as vocabulary they're okay or justifiable is not itself an automatic nuke from orbit, which is not the same thing as considering them okay unless the assumption is that that Metafilter and its moderation staff actively endorse and agree with literally everything that doesn't get deleted.


Can we talk about shifting current policy to have moderators step in and ask people to back off on racial/ethnic/class/gender slurs when they're using them? There are steps between "ignore" and "nuke from orbit."
posted by jaguar at 1:43 PM on May 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


This thread was never about tribal tattoos, and it shouldn't become about tribal tattoos or people who want to leave the site because of how they were told to talk about tribal tattoos in another thread.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:44 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I say we bring back the concept of hellbans
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:45 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


*gets in time machine. Posts thread about party dog instead*
posted by josher71 at 1:45 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


This read seriously like binary and reductive reasoning

I think that is often the case when it comes to online community standards, though - people reach for pat, easy answers that are one-size-fits-all for any kind of situation. I don't think we're facing a dilemma between community self-policing, and mods maaaaaaybe giving a little bit less benefit of the doubt to users who are repeatedly guilty of pulling the same contrarian bullshit over and over again. There are different situations that can call for different approaches. For example: I think that Books Literally Every White Man Owns thread went great as an example of self-policing in action. The few resident contrarians who popped in with their tedious schtick were shut down pretty fast by the others in that thread. In the case of the LBT thread, well ... self-policing was clearly not enough there, especially with another usual suspect doing his damnedest to spray the walls with his effluence. I don't know how the rest of that thread went because I tabbed out.

But essentially, I think it's a mistake to reduce every possible community interaction here to a single solution. Whatever tools we reach for, I think we're all more or less on the same page that there's a difference between having a minority opinion and just being an asshole.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:45 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


And I can hear and am totally down with the idea that the meter for stepping in early on that could be nudged. Like I said, this is an ongoing process sort of thing.

I agree with the idea of moving the meter, and I also want to support a couple other proposals that have been put forward in this thread: (1) Heavier and more consistent sanctioning of those who have a history of repeatedly disrupting conversations and, related, (2) revisiting our definition of a derail with regard to sexist and misogynist comments.
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:46 PM on May 14, 2015 [21 favorites]


spitbull - i've been trying to figure out how to word this comment - but things were heated and i wasn't looking at add fuel to the fire. i hope you read this later and take it in the spirit it's meant. to give you some background, i am very disturbed that style of tattoo has that awful name - and that apparently we've moved to just calling all patterned arm bands by that name. i would have loved to have a discussion in the original thread about the problems with the name, any alternatives, links to things people from the cultures where those tattoos are usually ripped from speaking about them, and so on.

having said that - i was confused by your comment here. it did seem drive by and like you were spoiling for a fight, which does seem not in line with how i've seen you participate - so i was just confused, really. it seemed like snark with no real point behind it. maybe next time try either discussing it in the original thread, or if the problem is how mefi is behaving, be a little more wordy in how you describe your issue. as it is, i still don't really understand what your complaint is besides hating "tribal" tattoos and all that go with them (which i totally agree about).

hope your break is as long as you need it to be and that you come back to us when you're ready.
posted by nadawi at 1:47 PM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


I agree that the meter is worth nudging. As a woman, I find that my reaction to threads like this is usually:

Oh, wow, an article that's relevant to me, I can't wait to discuss—
Oh, shit, I can't possibly deal with a discussion or the certain aftereffects of my legitimate input and contribution and conversation if this is going to be the tenor of the discussion.
FINIS

That's...a problem for me, and I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one who feels this way.
posted by mynameisluka at 1:49 PM on May 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


audi alteram partem: Those seem like very reasonable and useful proposals.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:49 PM on May 14, 2015


Can we talk about shifting current policy to have moderators step in and ask people to back off on racial/ethnic/class/gender slurs when they're using them? There are steps between "ignore" and "nuke from orbit."

Sure, and I think that falls pretty well in line with the idea of nudging the meter on this stuff. Like, we already do take steps in that middle space, and I tried to do a certain amount of that yesterday in the tattoo thread, but where our threshold lands in practice and where it would have ideally been in retrospect for any given case is gonna be prone to mismatch and is something we'll have to keep working at.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:49 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


That was option number one that I suggested as a solution, "change the whole world." Of course people need to grow up. But we are talking about taking practical steps first so that we don't have to wait for the whole damn world to catch up to the obvious.

No, I saw that, and if it isn't clear, my irritation isn't irritation at you. But the thing I'm pushing back on in this instance is the idea that "changing the whole world" is an option. It's hopefully obvious that I'm down with having these kinds of discussions and, for better or worse, yelling a lot sometimes, but at the end of the day, there aren't any practical steps that we can take to make people stop being jerks. People just have to stop being jerks. There are lots of things we can do to explain why they should, and I know I for one spend a lot of time talking about that stuff, but there's no way to convince people, people convince themselves. The people with the power have to change themselves, and there's no substitute for that. I think the only thing we can do is hold people accountable for their actions and not let their bullshit go by just because it's unexamined by them. When you say "it's a hard problem to solve", I'm arguing that it isn't a hard-as-in-complicated problem to solve, it's just that the solution doesn't actually rest with us. If you're saying that it's a hard-as-in-strenuous problem to solve to get people to solve it for themselves, sure, I'm with you. I just think a lot of people (not you) say that it's hard-as-in-complicated in order to justify why they haven't even tried yet. It's a lifetime's work to hold to those solutions, and my argument in that thread is explicitly for people to keep talking and thinking about this stuff, but the solutions are pretty much one-liners.
posted by Errant at 1:50 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


("threads like this" being the tramp stamp thread, not discussions of how we can make this place better.)
posted by mynameisluka at 1:50 PM on May 14, 2015


It's Raining Florence Henderson, I think I've explained my POV in earlier comments, which is essentially to pre-warn repeat offenders that it's not OK to be an unrepentant ass in feminism threads, take more seriously sexism and classism (and other isms for that matter) as verbal attacks and hostility against the membership, and consider the idea that drawn out, fighty sub-Feminism 101 conversations are derails unless the topic is specifically related to hashing out sub-Feminism 101 concepts (even then, questionable, not sure when "is sexism real" is really on topic around here).

To me, the most important idea is that there is no need to nurture derailing "but what IS sexism, does it exist" type conversations when they are basically taking over the thread. That is tired, it is pointless, it is better cured in ways other than making a bunch of women explain it to you over and over, and it takes away space and energy for a conversation about the actual topic.

Other people here have offered better explanations than me, but I don't think I've been super vague about what I personally would hope for this MeTa to accomplish.
posted by easter queen at 1:51 PM on May 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


I just don't know what the solution is, and am wondering if you have a proposal.

Here's my proposal:

1. People stop being gleeful, sexist jerks.
2. In the absence or failure of 1, have a more unilateral pushback so that the burden of "showing up and doing the work" doesn't fall disproportionately on women. Pushback can include discussion in the thread, flagging, contact forming, whatever.
3. If that pushback starts to take up all the air in the conversation, mods step in and throw a blanket on it. In a perfect world with infinite moderator resources, this would come along with a note making it clear that the problem is the sexist douchebaggery and the derail, not the pushback / lively exchange of ideas in and of itself, but this isn't always possible with fast moving threads, particularly if there's more than one going on at a time.

the thing is, though, that there really needs to be a step 0: Believe that this kind of pervasive douchebaggery exists and is harmful, and that if a bunch of women see it and you don't, that the problem might be with you and not with them. Perhaps the most tiresome element of the whole enterprise to me is the part where we have to re-derive that theorem from first principles at the top of every thread.
posted by KathrynT at 1:52 PM on May 14, 2015 [77 favorites]


To note, with apologies to nom de poop for not just fucking going already, my sole comment in the JuneBy thread was (in its entirety) "we are descending into self parody," and was a reference to the meanness of the discussion, not the topic.

And it's true here too.
posted by spitbull at 1:53 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


cortex, by "not an automatic nuke from orbit", do you mean "let it stand and don't address it"?

How about, I don't know, a blockade and conventional surface bombardment?
posted by tigrrrlily at 1:53 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Those seem like very reasonable and useful proposals.

And they've been mentioned several times up-thread. I was just summarizing what I agree with.
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:53 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


my sole comment in the JuneBy thread was (in its entirety) "we are descending into self parody," and was a reference to the meanness of the discussion, not the topic.

but see - the thing is, that comment is just like the comment in this thread - you know what's going on in your head and what you mean and how you want to express yourself, but what's coming out is drive by snippy comments which aren't really helping anything get nicer.
posted by nadawi at 1:57 PM on May 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


KathrynT, your comment is like a beautiful precious stone cut to a high sparkle. I love it.

Thinking back to the "I'd hit that" days and jessamyn's effort to get that shit gone, that is a pretty good example of 1) the kind of intense amount of mod engagement required to change the culture and 2) the fact that a woman had to do it.

It's sort of problematic, but the fact that the change stuck and the site didn't implode is instructive. (Unless you hate the site!)
posted by easter queen at 1:58 PM on May 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


my sole comment in the JuneBy thread was (in its entirety) "we are descending into self parody," and was a reference to the meanness of the discussion, not the topic.

Then I completely misread you and a lot of other people probably did too, which is probably understandable given your terseness - it absolutely came off to me as a dig at trans folks for trying to advocate for themselves in that discussion.
posted by dialetheia at 1:59 PM on May 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


my sole comment in the JuneBy thread

Your sole comment in just about every gender MeTa has been similar dismissive, useless snark.

I think what happened here is that you discovered that you burned through all your good faith. You squandered it on a hundred little "this is self parody" comments just like that one.
posted by nom de poop at 1:59 PM on May 14, 2015 [26 favorites]


shelleycat quotes: "They are emblems of their stupidity and conformity. It's okay to make fun of them"

I only accept this claim from people wearing full Elizabethan dress to their day jobs at Fortune 500 companies. EVERYBODY CONFORMS, you stupid social monkeys who need interpersonal connections or you literally die!

easter queen: "The article is about why, if you don't want to read it, or you're straight up ignoring it, you are not contributing."

Yeah, having been in college at the height of the lower-back-tattoo trend, when it was first really acceptable for collegiate-type women to get visible (or semi-visible) tattoos, I actually had a lot of thoughts about the personal, cultural, and sociological issues that surrounded that cultural moment, having lived through it and observing its aftermath as those women go on to positions of responsibility and community leadership! Lots of thoughts! But that thread so quickly went to, "Those stupid whores!" that I felt like there was no possible discussion to be had about the actual cultural phenomenon of the rise (and semi-fall) of the lower back tattoo. My sole comment was just trying to push back against "it's only about sex" and I felt like it was lacking in nuance and seriousness but, ugh, there was just no space left to have an interesting conversation, just to defend lower back tattoos as NOT THE FALL OF WESTERN SOCIETY.

zombieflanders: "But places that like having women around don't, say, let assholes loudly pontificate to the rest of the patrons on women's lower back tattoos and about how they're a signal that they like doggy-style and/or anal sex."

Yeah, I have literally been to rural midwestern Tea Party events that featured less sexism. Like, a significant number of people in that thread were being so gross that they would have been asked to leave. Like, I have been at some pretty fucking appalling public meetings over the years, where backwards people feel perfectly free to air backwards points of view, and that thread was still shocking. I run across the occasional individual shocking post on metafilter -- hey, it's an open forum on the internet! -- but to see them in such a virulent cluster, full of so much ugly sexist rage, over such a trivial issue, going on for so long ... it was really shocking and upsetting.

nadawi: "if i had a proposal at all it would be for the mods to keep noticing when specific members are doing the same shit over and over and over again and do something about it - time outs, topic bans, straight up bans, whatever"

I trust our mod team and I understand how it's hard to moderate an open, real-time forum like MetaFilter, but I also do feel like on sexism certain offenders just. keep. coming. back. and never get any serious consequences. They're always on strike one. The count never increases. That does get frustrating.

(Apparently the time I took typing this comment has put me 25 comments behind the thread, apologies if my comments have become dumb in the interim.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:00 PM on May 14, 2015 [55 favorites]


cortex, by "not an automatic nuke from orbit", do you mean "let it stand and don't address it"?

No, I just mean let it stand as in not literally delete it. People responding to rebut and rebuke, mods telling people to cut it out or deleting followup double-downs, etc. are I guess the metaphorical infantry movements in this martial vignette.

I take it as a given that the userbase is heterogenous and folks are never gonna collectively agree with where we end up drawing the line on stuff—whether too permissively or too strictly—but I think it's important to reiterate the distinction between not outright deleting something and endorsing a thing. Conflating the two or collapsing the distance between them isn't workable on a site that operates on guidelines rather than rules and conversational ethos that is generally pretty open, is all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:00 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


the hilarribile response to the Toast thread

Wait, is there a tl;dr of why this one is so bad somewhere? I'm trying to power through it since it's huge, and all i'm seeing is a bunch of "i don't agree with this". The comments on the actual article and on their facebook are awful and lulztastic, but the ones on here seem relatively tame compared to the other recent shitty threads.
posted by emptythought at 2:03 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


pre-warn repeat offenders that it's not OK to be an unrepentant ass in feminism threads, take more seriously sexism and classism (and other isms for that matter) as verbal attacks and hostility against the membership

I agree.

consider the idea that drawn out, fighty sub-Feminism 101 conversations are derails unless the topic is specifically related to hashing out sub-Feminism 101 concepts

I agree, in theory. We've seen redirecting 101-type conversations to previous threads work at least temporarily before. I think there might be room to improve how that plays out.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:05 PM on May 14, 2015


I definitely feel like the tattoo thread was a prime example of where sexism is just derailment, for the reasons that Eyebrows McGee just outlined. Maybe the thread wouldn't have gotten hundreds of comments if it was a civil conversation, but it would have been much more interesting to actually talk about woman, tattoos, sexuality, and change in a substantive way. It's a very stark example because the sexism was so bad, and the potential for interesting conversation was so high (almost everyone keeps saying they had a lot to say until they opened the comments and saw all the revolting stuff). It was almost like an exciting, fun-serious topic (feminism! tattoos!!) that became totally, depressingly serious in a very bad.

I almost wish we could have that FPP over again but with a mind-wipe and none of the grossness. So much potential for a cool conversation.
posted by easter queen at 2:05 PM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


Not a response to you, It's Raining Florence Henderson, just thoughts.
posted by easter queen at 2:06 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


okay here is a concrete suggestion

how about the next time jayder starts pontificating on the sexual preferences of "lower-class" women or I-Ball starts playing clueless-ass babe in the woods who can't even use a fucking dictionary without guidance--and no I don't give a fuck about not naming names because it will happen again--the next time that happens and women and their allies start saying "what the fuck this is not okay", how about the response doesn't become "oh but dissent is so precious, we all of us contribute so much to the beauty of this place, put up or shut up"

How about that?
posted by kagredon at 2:06 PM on May 14, 2015 [91 favorites]


Aww this is all too bad. That was an interesting article. That thread turned into a shitshow. This thread is going nominally better. I sometimes think that cortex's "Hey cool it" remarks don't always carry the same weight as me or taz being all "I am watching you jokers" even though they totally should.

The biggest downside I've seen to the slightly-smaller mod team (now that LM is back around, woo hoo!) is that sometimes a thread like this can happen under one mod's shift and so you get one mod doing the whole damned thing which is 1) tiring 2) exhausting 3) as hard as anyone tries, one person mods a lot like themselves a lot of the time. If I could make one material suggestion at this point it would be to chop up the shifts into shorter pieces so a troublesome thread gets more than one set of eyeballs in a short period of time. It's tricky, there are great reasons for NOT doing things that way, but aside from new policies on dealing with sexism on the site, that might help. And bring back the 24 hour timeout as a more frequent deterrent for usual suspects who always become That Guy in those threads. But honestly, I think that thread was the system working almost as expected, it's just with a wave of sniping jerkoffs, there's only so much you can do.

And I have one of those tattoos. The only man I got it for is the devil, because it keeps him away.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:07 PM on May 14, 2015 [86 favorites]


Because this community is really important to me, and I don't feel like I should be effectively filibustered out of threads about issues that directly affect me.

And this is my biggest issue with this sort of thing, and why i think the bar needs to be a lot lower for suspensions. Not bans, just, you're being a shit take a day off.

The responses these sorts of things get are platonic sealioning. It's basically "you're not allowed to have this discussion without addressing my *legitimate* point".

When it drives people out or makes them not want to participate, you're letting them enforce that.

Fuck everything about that. If that's how it goes, the only thing we have going for us is that they can't upvote other shitheads to the top of the thread like they do on reddit.
posted by emptythought at 2:13 PM on May 14, 2015 [16 favorites]


I trust our mod team and I understand how it's hard to moderate an open, real-time forum like MetaFilter, but I also do feel like on sexism certain offenders just. keep. coming. back. and never get any serious consequences. They're always on strike one. The count never increases. That does get frustrating.

I feel there's a lot of truth to this, to be honest. Without diminishing the work that goes into babysitting an incredibly contentious thread, when I saw some of the names behind the more disgusting comments in that thread, I was like "This guy again?" How much ugliness would have been avoided by showing some of these repeat offenders the door, and by that I mean the door to the thread; not even the door to the site? Often times a user can be fine in a myriad of topics but in one, in particular, their ugliness just comes roaring forth. Wouldn't it have saved everyone - mods and users alike - a lot of time and grief by just giving these guys the night off?

I realize we're loathe to straight-up ban people here, and so am I. But people that cannot take part in Topic X without shitting up the whole thread shouldn't be given the benefit of the doubt. I feel like, a giant chunk of our problems here would be solved this way, while still allowing plenty of room for difference of opinion and spirited discussion.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:14 PM on May 14, 2015 [29 favorites]


Sure, and I think that falls pretty well in line with the idea of nudging the meter on this stuff. Like, we already do take steps in that middle space, and I tried to do a certain amount of that yesterday in the tattoo thread, but where our threshold lands in practice and where it would have ideally been in retrospect for any given case is gonna be prone to mismatch and is something we'll have to keep working at.

Yes. Which I think we get, and why I think a bunch of us are asking for quicker mod response on men calling women sluts, for example, rather than assuming the users should just "push back" on that for a while and the mods only step in once the users are completely exhausted.
posted by jaguar at 2:14 PM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


but I also do feel like on sexism certain offenders just. keep. coming. back. and never get any serious consequences. They're always on strike one. The count never increases. That does get frustrating.

i agree with this - that's how i feel, that's why i think of buttoning - but then in the last year or so around here there were some big troublemakers who seemed like they would just be given "second" chances forever and ever and ever until one day, poof, they were gone. normally the straw on the camel's back didn't even seem like that big of a deal (which always leads to people not following along to say, "well that was an over reaction! what did they do??" because by nature of how modding works here, some stuff just isn't for us to see).

so, i guess that's what i mean when i say i trust the mods - i trust that they're doing the back channel stuff with the people who seem like obvious problems, i trust that they're listening and adjusting their meters, i trust that some of the people will get better, or stay out of those threads, or get banned. i don't know if my trust is misplaced - that's the thing with trust - but for now, that's what i'm doing, cautiously watching and hoping the change comes before i can't stick it out anymore.
posted by nadawi at 2:15 PM on May 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


This problem might also be aided by a higher bar for FPPs in general, to decrease the overall load on the mods, allowing them to prioritize hot-button threads like this more easily (though honestly, I didn't expect it to be a hot-button thread and was kinda surprised). I dunno, maybe that's just because I feel like I'm seeing less of these threads just by virtue of reading other threads when they come up, and I'm reading a lot fewer comments in general these days.
posted by klangklangston at 2:16 PM on May 14, 2015


Or maybe the mods should stop giving the people who seem physically incapable of not being misogynist in every thread about women that they participate in a whole bunch of 24 hour slaps on the wrist? Some of these people are on, like, strike 20 by now, and unless they know they're facing serious consequences they'll keep on doing it.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:16 PM on May 14, 2015 [30 favorites]


I mean, male users discussing what sexual positions they think the author and women like her prefer and how such women are sluts is not any different from saying "I'd hit it" in terms of levels of misogyny.
posted by jaguar at 2:20 PM on May 14, 2015 [45 favorites]


Eh, I'm not sure what bar the FPPs themselves would be considered as having failed to clear.
posted by griphus at 2:22 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I feel like between 1) not having "lite" FPPs about topics like women + tattoos and 2) telling men not to call women sluts, 2) is just a better decision overall. I sympathize over the workload trouble but maybe taking a harder line on the "no gendered/sexualized derogatory speech toward women" is better than "women, can you not want to talk about your issues so much?" (I know that's not what you're saying, but that's how I think it would feel.)
posted by easter queen at 2:22 PM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I meant that as a first time offenders randomly shitting out of nowhere thing. There are definitely career shitposters on here that just inexplicably always come back.

I'd agree with the sentiment that people don't get banned easily enough around here. There's several comments in that thread that i would have agreed with being "ok fuck you, you're banned".
posted by emptythought at 2:23 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


>Eh, I'm not sure what bar the FPPs themselves would be considered as having failed to clear.

Short listicle of male privilege might not be interesting or unique enough content to be worth the trouble. Not defending any of the comments when I say that.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:24 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


That behavior is functionally indistinguishable from trolling. I know we have a "sexism" flag that sometimes leads to the removal of sexist comments. But can we have a "No [public threshhold n]-repeat *ist commentors" policy, too?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:24 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Party Dog: The Beginning

Somehow my brain shorted out when i got up thismorning, and the first thing i thought was we begin to dog, partyyyyy, party doggin all night long♫

It's a very silly place, inside my brain.
posted by emptythought at 2:25 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Meant to refer to zombieflanders' comment here.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:27 PM on May 14, 2015


That so many people have a usual-suspects list, but that they must go un-named here, feels strongly to me like a missing stair. Oh that guy; he always does that in these threads.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:27 PM on May 14, 2015 [56 favorites]


"Eh, I'm not sure what bar the FPPs themselves would be considered as having failed to clear."

Sorry if I was unclear; I didn't specifically mean those FPPs (though I do agree about the privilege listicle, and I don't think the trolled responses to a trolly Toast article really justify it either), but rather the idea that mod attention is fungible and raising the bar in general would mean fewer FPPs to have to moderate at any given time.
posted by klangklangston at 2:29 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Short listicle of male privilege might not be interesting or unique enough content to be worth the trouble.

Well I mean that's the thing; why is it okay to limit the range of things we discuss because some people can't help pulling their "well I'm just a simple country lawyer but the way I sees it..." act.
posted by griphus at 2:30 PM on May 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


It's helpful if people can drop a note to the contact form if you want to name names right now, or in general if you see someone being That Guy and you feel like they've been at it for a long time in a particular thread.

Getting multiple messages about a given person is definitely an attention-getter for us, and can move the needle from "man this guy is an idiot running his mouth" to "ok next comment gets a day off." We can't always catch up on a whole thread when it's a huge one like some of these are, or if it's a crazy busy day with many threads to keep track of -- so we may not realize that the dude was doing the same thing in the same thread yesterday, for example.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:30 PM on May 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


> When you say "it's a hard problem to solve", I'm arguing that it isn't a hard-as-in-complicated problem to solve, it's just that the solution doesn't actually rest with us. If you're saying that it's a hard-as-in-strenuous problem to solve to get people to solve it for themselves, sure, I'm with you. I just think a lot of people (not you) say that it's hard-as-in-complicated in order to justify why they haven't even tried yet. It's a lifetime's work to hold to those solutions, and my argument in that thread is explicitly for people to keep talking and thinking about this stuff, but the solutions are pretty much one-liners.

Cool, thanks for the clarification. I'm sorry I misread you on that. I think this is one of those we were pretty much on the same page and I didn't realize it situations.

By the way, I reread my comment, and I think it sounds a lot angrier than I intended. I apologize for that, too.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:30 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


how about the next time jayder starts pontificating on the sexual preferences of "lower-class" women

To be fair jaydar was told to stop it in the thread by cortex and it seemed to work at the time, I don't remember him coming back. I was pretty happy to see that when it happened.
posted by shelleycat at 2:30 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


That so many people have a usual-suspects list, but that they must go un-named here, feels strongly to me like a missing stair. Oh that guy; he always does that in these threads.

Have you seen what happens when you specifically call someone out on this site, especially in meta? a ton of people rally around them and call you an asshole for doing it and omg that's so uncouth.

People here are conditioned not to name names. It's like some of the bullshit passive aggressive activist groups i've been in.

So yea, i guess missing stair is apt, but people do it for a reason because talking about it is out of line and as bad as the original sin.
posted by emptythought at 2:33 PM on May 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


sorry if that comes off shitty, that kind of behavior is a sore spot for me, and especially on here.
posted by emptythought at 2:33 PM on May 14, 2015


If I am ever That Guy, please gawd, memail me and tell me right away.

But then, I guess most times, That Guy wouldn't accept being informed he has become That Guy.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:35 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's a hard part of community culture. Because folks understandably want to talk about who they don't like on the site and why they think that person should go, but folks also understandably get really uncomfortable about people getting together and saying "we should ban user x", and that's often the same conversation where both come up.

So we discourage it as a public discussion, but like LM said that's not really an issue with the contact form, so if you feel like there's an issue with someone that you don't think really flies as a callout in public, that's always, always an open channel. Talking about user behavior in metatalk is less of a problem, it's more the "this person should be banned" sort of thing that we've generally asked folks not to get into.

And yeah, finding the balance on stuff like telling people to cut it out or giving them timeouts is something we keep working on. One of the side effects of not wanting to make a public spectacle of bannings and such is that, as noted, some of the behind the scenes stuff and even actual timeouts and bannings aren't super visible when they happen. And as much as I know some folks would rather it be louder than that, I continue to strongly disagree on that specific narrow point; moving toward publicly broadcasting or celebrating bans is a non-starter. We'll acknowledge them if it comes up and sometimes it plays out in-thread, but that's really about all that's ever gonna be okay.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:36 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


But folks also understandably get really uncomfortable about people getting together and saying "we should ban user x", and that's often the same conversation where both come up.

That isn't really what was being talked about above though. It's that even "this person does this shit all the damn time" isn't an allowed discussion.
posted by emptythought at 2:38 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


People get all agitated about naming names because there have been horrible thousand comment long threads in which various people accuse others of having "a list" like it's joe mccarthy all over again and people are going to be driven out of their homes by screaming hordes thirsting for their pinko blood. The reality of this is that the list is called "your memory" and every single one of us has access to their own preferentially programmed example inside their brains. There isn't anything wrong with seeing someone say a shitty thing and then remembering that the next time you see it happen, and the next and the next and the next.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:38 PM on May 14, 2015 [47 favorites]


anyway cortex im sending you my list, it is 2.3gb in csv format
posted by poffin boffin at 2:39 PM on May 14, 2015 [100 favorites]


That isn't really what was being talked about above though. It's that even "this person does this shit all the damn time" isn't an allowed discussion.

Allowed where? It shouldn't really go in a thread on the blue or the green, but it's generally okay on Metatalk if it's not some out-of-the-blue thing where someone goes after someone else in a random discussion. I am sure there are specific situations where we've told folks to cool it, and we've been bearish lately on metatalk posts that look like unproductive "i don't like this person and everyone needs to know it" sort of things rather than something more constructive and less personal, but there's no general proscription on discussing what you see as recurring problem behavior from a member of the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:43 PM on May 14, 2015


poffin boffin: "anyway cortex im sending you my list, it is 2.3gb in csv format"

we have received your file and it's full of kitten pictures and sangria recipes, cross-organized by season, then by which kitten is best viewed with the sangria. We note that comma separated value files are a sub-optimal way to transmit both.

yours etc,
posted by boo_radley at 2:44 PM on May 14, 2015 [20 favorites]


Getting multiple messages about a given person is definitely an attention-getter for us, and can move the needle from "man this guy is an idiot running his mouth" to "ok next comment gets a day off."

Sorry to harp on this, but "ok next comment gets a day off" doesn't cut it when it's pretty clear they'll just wait until they think you forget about it and do it all over again, which is exactly what happened here. I don't care if a time-out or banning is public, but I do care that the repeat and/or especially egregious offenders keep on getting second chances. When you're getting a bunch of flags on comments from the same user for the same reason in threads grinding the same axe, to the point where you've told them multiple times to step away from those kinds of threads, doesn't it seem clear that they just don't care?
posted by zombieflanders at 2:45 PM on May 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


I'm glad this discussion is happening.

I'm with those who've seen a general meanness over the past week - and I haven't even visited most of the threads mentioned beyond the tattoo post. The misogynists are definitely taking the lead, but they're not alone.

For my part, I've learned twice this week that I am a part of the tribe of douchebag gaybros - all based on surface details.

I'm glad to see so much push back, but it's surprising to see it here again.
posted by kanewai at 2:47 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Have you seen what happens when you specifically call someone out on this site, especially in meta? a ton of people rally around them and call you an asshole for doing it and omg that's so uncouth

Everybody's got a list but the lists are not the same and sometimes they are in opposition.
posted by Justinian at 2:50 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


anyway cortex im sending you my list

wickerman.csv
posted by kagredon at 2:51 PM on May 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


When MetaFilter feels mean and contentious is when I feel compelled to make a thread like "show us your purse" or "tell us an interesting thing about yourself" MetaTalk because then people blow off steam and bond in a positive way and I learn lots of interesting, humanizing things about other mefites and I feel re-energized about MetaFilter being awesome.

Maybe someone should make a show-and-tell tats MeTa. (I would except I have none to show or tell because I am wimpy about needles and unable to make lifetime commitments to body art, so I would be a lame person to kick it off.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:54 PM on May 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


"Well I mean that's the thing; why is it okay to limit the range of things we discuss because some people can't help pulling their "well I'm just a simple country lawyer but the way I sees it..." act."

I don't think that we should limit the range of things that we talk about by topic; there are a ton of great male privilege or sexism related posts, and a ton more of great content out on the web about that stuff. Those just sprang to mind as being particularly weak sauce recent FPPs.

Though to be fair, in skimming back over the last couple of weeks (just to see whether my impression was an actually supportable one), we've had more good FPPs and less stupid newsfilter/weaksauce FPPs recently than I remembered, and since that's also played more into me reading fewer comments (just going from FPP to FPP), I'm going to concede that it's probably just my version of the GOP's "Cut taxes!" panacea and not something that likely has a ton of bearing on the MeSogyny problem. If more good stuff does mean less mod attention for anti-sexist deletions, the answer shouldn't be to cut the good stuff to give them more time.
posted by klangklangston at 2:55 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


... feel compelled to make a thread like "show us your purse" or "tell us an interesting thing about yourself" MetaTalk...

As something of a narcissist I just want to say I appreciate those threads.
posted by griphus at 2:57 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


"When MetaFilter feels mean and contentious is when I feel compelled to make a thread like "show us your purse" or "tell us an interesting thing about yourself" MetaTalk because then people blow off steam and bond in a positive way and I learn lots of interesting, humanizing things about other mefites and I feel re-energized about MetaFilter being awesome."

Those were both awesome, by the way. Like, getting back to good feelz about MeFi after getting kinda grumpy. Thanks again.

"Maybe someone should make a show-and-tell tats MeTa. (I would except I have none to show or tell because I am wimpy about needles and unable to make lifetime commitments to body art, so I would be a lame person to kick it off.)"

I love tattoos but don't have any for exactly those same reasons. I kinda jokingly talked about getting one after getting married recently and my wife was like "Suit yourself," and then I chickened out.
posted by klangklangston at 2:59 PM on May 14, 2015


Everybody's got a list but the lists are not the same and sometimes they are in opposition.

There's worlds of difference between a list of "people who are assholes" and "people who continually imply women's appearances are directly responsible for how society treats them" or "people who will bring up bathroom panic or evopsych or outdated DSM definitions every time we talk about trans* men and women."
posted by zombieflanders at 3:00 PM on May 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


I have a tattoo of my purse.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:01 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


This may have happened and I'm just having trouble eyeballing such a long thread for it, but when I showed up late in the day and read that thread for the first time, it seemed like it could have used some mod notes like [You can use Google or a dictionary to find out information on X] or [Slut-shaming/pontificating on the sexual preferences of lower class women is not what this site/post/life is for].

I know that's not necessarily in the style book, but wouldn't a public pin in that stuff be more effective than the generic "cut it out", or are we afraid the rules-lawyering would then take over the thread? I may have answered my own question there.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:02 PM on May 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


I have a tattoo. I got it in an easy place (my butt, as compared to across my ribcage or on my hands or whatever). I would be happy to share it and information and context about it in an appropriate thread.
posted by kalessin at 3:02 PM on May 14, 2015


i want a thread where everyone posts photos of their pets in dumb outfits

NO BABIES ALLOWED ONLY PETS
posted by poffin boffin at 3:02 PM on May 14, 2015 [16 favorites]


I love tattoos but don't have any for exactly those same reasons. I kinda jokingly talked about getting one after getting married recently...

Holy shit, really? I've spent most of my teen-to-adult years being terrified of getting tattooed (thanks, weird sensory issues!) and yet wanting to pretty badly. My wife has a lot of tattoos and after we got married, I was finally like OKAY I'M GONNA DO IT and got a tiny tattoo of our wedding date on my chest, and she got an enormous one across her arm also with the wedding date. And now I caught the ink-bug.
posted by griphus at 3:02 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, even knowing I got my tattoo in an easy place and even though it was almost 10 years ago, I would totally get another one and have thought about it at least monthly since then, looking for, deciding, slowly and intentionally, the right one for my next (and possibly not only) tattoo.

Yeah it's uncomfortable to get one, but it's not hard to care for while it heals and a good tattoo by a good artist is, well, a joy. Totally worth it. Especially if endorphins are something you enjoy. Especially then.
posted by kalessin at 3:06 PM on May 14, 2015


Maybe someone should make a show-and-tell tats MeTa.

I suggest a pet show-and-tell. Tattoos would be great, but participation would be a little self-limiting. Plus, cats! Dogs! Turtles! The cats and dogs and turtles of Metafilter!
posted by mudpuppie at 3:08 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cool, thanks for the clarification. I'm sorry I misread you on that. I think this is one of those we were pretty much on the same page and I didn't realize it situations.

By the way, I reread my comment, and I think it sounds a lot angrier than I intended. I apologize for that, too.


No apologies necessary on either count (it read as irritated, and I'm the last person to take someone to task for reacting irritably, especially right after I did), and I agree with you on our shared position. It occurred to me after the fact that I had something specific in my head when I was replying to you, which is a thing a real live not-a-simulacrum-designed-to-test-my-faith human said to me the other day, regarding the difference between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter: "Overall, it's a little too complicated for me to understand. It's much easier, and more acceptable to me, to be labeled as a bigot or a racist than try to figure out what's currently acceptable and what isn't."

That's the "it's so hard" mentality I was reacting to, which I think is often observable in these kinds of conversations even if it isn't stated quite so explicitly. In that context, my reaction to "this is hard" is "oh no, man down, call a waaaaaaahmbulance".
posted by Errant at 3:08 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


emptythought: "That isn't really what was being talked about above though. It's that even "this person does this shit all the damn time" isn't an allowed discussion.
"

I feel like this is chaff from the wilder days of metafilter when people would just up and start metatalks that were just "Yo, fuck boo_radley and his ding-dong opinions". Maybe I'm wrong there. Maybe when it was just Matt? Was his attitude that he didn't have enough hours in the day?

If we're going to allow user callouts, I feel like the mods need a lot of evidence prior to them coming up. People aren't always on the radar in this same way (how many users does metafilter have now?).

zombieflanders: "Sorry to harp on this, but "ok next comment gets a day off" doesn't cut it when it's pretty clear they'll just wait until they think you forget about it and do it all over again, which is exactly what happened here."

I feel like the flip side of this is that people aren't ever going to come around and snap out of their garbage behavior. You can't convert people you don't talk to. I know that's frustrating for people to hear, and the default opinion is probably "it's not my place to convert people". That's OK. I don't expect anybody to do it. It's exhausting, and it's not fair to ask. But I think that conversion is a satisfying result, and I'm typically OK being the person in MeTa trying to engage with people who are outside community norms on these things. I dunno.
posted by boo_radley at 3:08 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


For the first time in my life, I'm thinking of getting a tattoo. I've been feeling nostalgic for times with my grandfather, and he was a decorated Marine. I have a memory of him with a faded tattoo on his arm of the Marine corp insignia. I was talking to my Dad about wanting to do something to honor that memory of him, but I'm pretty sure doing that exact thing would be highly inappropriate for someone who wasn't in the military.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:11 PM on May 14, 2015


This thread is piling up too fast for me to follow right now but yeah, the tat thread was gross and I noped on out of there after reading a bunch of the comments. Body-shaming, slut-shaming, misogyny, classism, personal insults: the discussion was just awful.
posted by immlass at 3:13 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


NO BABIES ALLOWED ONLY PETS

That makes me think of this. Maybe they can be Metafilter-themed cats.
posted by corb at 3:14 PM on May 14, 2015


Isn't there a MeFite with a MetaFilter tat? Maybe an AskMe tat? How can we not be all in on the ink love when THERE'S A METAFILTER TAT?

Or maybe the drugs have kicked in and I'm misremembering.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:23 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


sigh. the point i was trying to make was less about the utility of individual callouts, and i probably should've stricken that part, because it's all anyone's going to remember about that comment now.

the point was that while it's a very small (but also often dedicated/repeat-offending) portion of the userbase that does this shit, it is supported and reinforced by the much larger portion that responds with useless nonsense about "well what do you want more BANNING? more COMMENT DELETION???!! oh noes free speech! you don't HAVE to be here if these threads are so bad!" I know this was also something that came up in the JuneBy thread: that there is still frequently a very reactionary response to threads where people are trying to address problems with transphobia in Meta and that it's kind of hard to feel warm and fuzzy about Mefi patting itself on the back for being a friendly place to marginalized people when there's still so much dismissiveness.
posted by kagredon at 3:25 PM on May 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


no i definitely remember the part where you accurately named the jerkbags.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:26 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Everybody's got a list but the lists are not the same and sometimes they are in opposition.

Yeah, I think my list is a lot different than many of the people commenting here. Some people are called out for being shitty, others applauded for it. I usually Nancy the worst of the worst but I turn it off for threads like this just this for the entertainment factor. Anyway, why don't the mods just give the 100 users that flag comments the most the ability to delete comments, I'm sure everything would be right as rain in no time.
posted by MikeMc at 3:30 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I feel like this is chaff from the wilder days of metafilter when people would just up and start metatalks that were just "Yo, fuck boo_radley and his ding-dong opinions". Maybe I'm wrong there. Maybe when it was just Matt? Was his attitude that he didn't have enough hours in the day? "

I think it was the general user revolt against using MeTa like that, where it became the sort of thing that if you posted about someone being a dick it was assumed that it was part of a long, disingenuous grudge match and that if you were going to post here you had to be ready for a good 100 comments of, "No, fuck you! Ban you!"
posted by klangklangston at 3:34 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Haters gonna hate" in the truest sense of the aphorism. But they especially hate it when you frown upon their hatred or, heaven forbid, try to confront their expression of it. Easy enough to recognize, but difficult to address.

And to that I can only say: quis odit ipsos osores?
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 3:34 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


That thread was awful, and I've seen a lot that have gone similarly badly recently, with many of the same Usual Suspects (jayder and I think dios come to mind, but my memory's not perfect) plus a lot of what seemed like drive-bys. There's a lot of "holy shit why has this person not been banned" that I've been seeing lately. (I don't know how to call corb out specifically without making this Another Episode of The Corb Show but the whole misogynistic-attitudes-toward-feminine-coded-things has been really getting to me lately, and she's one of the people who does that a lot, but it's mostly only noticable from her because her behavior in a myriad of threads has me noticing and remembering her handle; that particular form of misogyny is hardly unique to her.)

Regarding derailing, it seems like JAQing off is kind of an achilles heel for MetaFilter discussions. The fact that an actual honest-to-god "just devil's advocate" (!!!) comment was left up was astounding to me, but that's just an easily pointed to example of this tendency of people to be able to derail entire discussions with questions that often seem to be asked in bad faith. It's also a way of taking advantage of womens' socialization to be helpful, just like many of the "if you won't be nice to me, I won't be an ally anymore" techniques that I've seen a fair amount here. (Though that latter one seems to get hurled around in threads about LGBT, especially trans, issues, but intersectionality is at play, so trans women seem to end up having to deal with it a lot.)

we have received your file and it's full of kitten pictures and sangria recipes, cross-organized by season, then by which kitten is best viewed with the sangria. We note that comma separated value files are a sub-optimal way to transmit both.

in the future please find a host for these and put them on Projects so the world can see them
posted by NoraReed at 3:35 PM on May 14, 2015 [31 favorites]


"Isn't there a MeFite with a MetaFilter tat? Maybe an AskMe tat? How can we not be all in on the ink love when THERE'S A METAFILTER TAT?

Or maybe the drugs have kicked in and I'm misremembering.
"

Pot and Kettle above a nipple (a tat for tit)?
posted by klangklangston at 3:36 PM on May 14, 2015


I don't care if a time-out or banning is public, but I do care that the repeat and/or especially egregious offenders keep on getting second chances.

No, I think it's important that time-outs and bans be public. It lets people know that the preceding behavior is not ok, and will result in a time-out or banning. I was really disappointed a while back when I thought that someone who'd been a real shitheel in a thread was getting away with it, because his 24-hour timeout was invisible.
posted by hades at 3:43 PM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


in my perfect metafilter "well if you keep telling utterly harmless jokes about men then we're going to do our part to enact laws that actively harm you, neener neener" type comments would be deleted every single time.
posted by nadawi at 3:44 PM on May 14, 2015 [34 favorites]


The fact that an actual honest-to-god "just devil's advocate" (!!!) comment was left up was astounding to me

Speaking of JAQing Off, whenever someone begins a sentence with "Honest question here" in a contentious thread, I feel like we are about to enter the Land of the Devil's Legal Team and Their Fabulous Dancing Goalposts. This and "to play devil's advocate a moment" are almost never tools for stimulating a more nuanced, rounded discussion, or at least never play out that way. More often than not the entire discussion shifts to this one user and their precious But Guys What If speculations. It really oughta be considered a derail at this point.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:45 PM on May 14, 2015 [38 favorites]


oh, poffin boffin - it's not the best costume, but captain tightpants is adverse to accoutrements, so here is a picture of mal being dashing in his hat and then mal showing how he feels about hats.
posted by nadawi at 3:50 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


honest question ok but come on guys, are women even actually human? i don't mean to play devil's advocate here but how do we really know they're not eldritch horrors zipped up inside tittysuits.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:50 PM on May 14, 2015 [70 favorites]


I have a bunch of tattoos, but I am unlikely to share pictures of them on Mefi.

Because of things like the thread we're talking about.
posted by box at 3:52 PM on May 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


No, I think it's important that time-outs and bans be public.

I agree with that. It's impossible for the userbase to have an informed opinion on site issues if key facts are invisible to the userbase.
posted by Justinian at 3:52 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know that's not necessarily in the style book, but wouldn't a public pin in that stuff be more effective than the generic "cut it out", or are we afraid the rules-lawyering would then take over the thread? I may have answered my own question there.

What, no, that's a great idea. MetaFilter does actually have particular (broadly defined) values. "Here's a starting point" is way less rules-lawyery and more welcoming etc. than "stop it" or "cut it out" or "go away" imo.

(I have no tattoos because I'm indecisive and the need for symmetry would be overwhelming. And I'm glad I didn't let whatsisface from high school practice on my arm, that was wise.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:56 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


in my perfect metafilter "well if you keep telling utterly harmless jokes about men then we're going to do our part to enact laws that actively harm you, neener neener" type comments would be deleted every single time.

a JD from the University of Hell and an MPP from the wolfdreams01 College of Spiteful Dickheadery LOGIC
posted by kagredon at 3:56 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


That thread was horrific; I'd love to see a little ban-orgy like when Matt cracked the shits with those four or five people just before he handed over the keys - that was glorious, and I'm sure I speak for the entire universe, including people not born yet, when I say I miss the the presence of those douchesplosions not at all and think the site is immeasurably better without them.

There were four particularly noxious commenters in that thread. I personally, with my medium levels of participation on the site, have encountered them spraying douchiness over threads like a skunk in a sewerage plant multiple times before - and of those four, three in particular seem to have problem with women. How many chances to they need?

Ban them. Let's raise the bar a little here.
posted by smoke at 4:02 PM on May 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


kagredon you're just really lucky i know how to heimlich maneuver myself. i have bigger plans for my tombstone than "choked on a chocolate-covered espresso bean reading MeTa."
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 4:04 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I mean, you could just say "never comment in any thread with anything at all to do with women, ever again", I suppose.

But this isn't a Home For Neglected Assholes; they can get their jollies virtually everywhere else on the internet.
posted by smoke at 4:05 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


(I don't know how to call corb out specifically without making this Another Episode of The Corb Show ...

You could call corb out in a passive/aggressive sort of way...oh wait, you did.
posted by MikeMc at 4:07 PM on May 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


I just... why would you want to be the devil's advocate in the first place? That guy fucking sucks.

I've entered conversations from the unpopular or uninformed side, and it's just plain obvious* when someone is genuinely trying to have a discussion versus trying to control the discussion.

*Though maybe not always, and not to everyone, especially on the Internet.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 4:09 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


poffin boffin: "NO BABIES ALLOWED ONLY PETS"

What if I let my kids eat cat food? Asking for a friend.

Also, what if my pets are emus?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:09 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Don't let your pets use white face and mascara!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:12 PM on May 14, 2015


I regret commenting in that thread. By itself, I don't think my comment was problematic but it may have contributed a bit to the negativity there.
posted by octothorpe at 4:13 PM on May 14, 2015


You could call corb out in a passive/aggressive sort of way...oh wait, you did.

Why do people keep abusing "passive-aggressive"? Passive-aggression is a sacred tradition in my family. Any problem we faced, no matter how great, we could always get through it through coded language and dancing around the point with snide double-meanings and a lot of eye rolling.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:13 PM on May 14, 2015 [28 favorites]


Why do people keep abusing "passive-aggressive"? Passive-aggression is a sacred tradition in my family. Any problem we faced, no matter how great, we could always get through it through coded language and dancing around the point with snide double-meanings and a lot of eye rolling.

Mom?
posted by mudpuppie at 4:23 PM on May 14, 2015 [27 favorites]


Anyone remotely familiar with my posting history probably knows I don't really bother with the "passive" part when I'm being aggressive.
posted by NoraReed at 4:24 PM on May 14, 2015 [26 favorites]


I don't see why another mod would be a bad idea - preferably female.

I won't say that cortex is my favorite mod, but I will say that this is kind of rude thing to say.

As far as I know he's the only current male mod (i know PB has root, but i don't think he's ever banhammered, so not mod). Saying that having more female mods kinda says that cortex's lack of presence would have improved this situation.

I think he's a pretty inclusive dude who's really fair. I think all mods are. I'm sure they disagree about some stuff behind the scenes, but they have a united front whose goal is to make the place a nice place to write about stuff.

This is the reason why I don't feel that having more mods of my gender/race/sexual preference would make this place more welcoming place. I feel that these people are as socially welcoming as they can be.

When you make a request like that, it states that the problem exists because a lack of the female viewpoint, or maybe by inference because of the presence of that male viewpoint.

From what I've picked up over the years, cortex is a white, married, male in his 30s. If someone mentioned that description to me, I would have pictured typical white dude with all his problems and everything.

His viewpoints and words don't represent this at all. Maybe that banjo stuff, but nothing else. He gives a shit about making the world a better place. He's not the typical bro.

As much as I disagree with him for the next 3 things he says, I would never say that kinda insulting stuff. I may call him a jerk, but you know...it would have nothing to do with any aspect of his identity.

I don't know whats going on here. I think I just wrote a love letter to cortex or something.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:24 PM on May 14, 2015 [21 favorites]


I used to want a tattoo, partly because they're pretty and partly because I'm the only person in my family without one, but it turns out I'm both picky and cheap, so I never got one.

Now I just pretend it was deliberate because I'm a rebel against conformity.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:25 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


when Matt cracked the shits with those four or five people just before he handed over the keys - that was glorious

I missed this. Can anybody tivo it for me, or send me a link?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:25 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I used to want a tattoo, partly because they're pretty and partly because I'm the only person in my family without one, but it turns out I'm both picky and cheap, so I never got one.

Now I just pretend it was deliberate because I'm a rebel against conformity.


That just screams prison tats.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:27 PM on May 14, 2015


Anyone remotely familiar with my posting history probably knows I don't really bother with the "passive" part when I'm being aggressive.

Do you print posters? I'd like one please.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:28 PM on May 14, 2015


i know PB has root, but i don't think he's ever banhammered, so not mod

I assume if the day ever comes when pb has to personally ban someone, that poor soul's every contribution to the site will be razed to the ground and the rubble burned and the ground salted and the salt licked by ornery goats who will make those empty spaces their home.
posted by griphus at 4:30 PM on May 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


Okay, wtf? I posted in that thread that "tramp" usually means hobo. People disagreed with me and said that the "slut" meaning is much more common and prevalent. This was news to me so I checked it on urban dictionary and saw that the "slut" meaning was quite common even though I never heard it used that way before. The first definition on UD was the slut meaning. The second definition listed mentioned both the slut and hobo meanings and the 3rd definition mentioned the hobo definition so I didn't scroll any further and instead posted in the thread that I didn't know that the slut meaning was that common and that as per UD both meanings are commonly understood (as from the definitions on my screen I saw that it was 50/50.) So now I'm getting attacked for saying that my initial post was wrong? And people were saying "by admitting that you're wrong you're actually saying that you're right and that's wrong" which boggles the mind. And now in this thread the same thing is happening. Apparently you're never supposed to admit that you're wrong on Metafilter and you're not supposed to mention looking things up. So, yeah, lots of hostility aimed at me for me saying that I was wrong because I described the process through which I came to the conclusion that I was wrong.
posted by I-baLL at 4:31 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


wassup bro imma take that shovel from you now for your own sake
posted by klangklangston at 4:33 PM on May 14, 2015 [110 favorites]


I can absolutely not tell what you're on about with these posts, hal_c_on. I'm glad you like cortex but I'm in the crowd that prefers more female moderators, and I don't think saying "I wish there were more female voices on the mod team" necessarily means "because the male voice there is bad". I also think that a lot of this is just us still missing mod hat jessamyn, who did a really good job steering the site away from misogyny in a lot of ways.

I-baLL, you're either being really disingenuous or really dense.
posted by NoraReed at 4:34 PM on May 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


"Also, what if my pets are emus?"

My cousin used to raise emus, but they're total mean shits who love kicking down fences and almost broke my aunt's leg.

So, uh, good luck with the costumes.
posted by klangklangston at 4:34 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


just not a good decision
posted by indubitable at 4:34 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Indecision is really the only thing that has kept me from getting a tattoo. Most of my inked friends have solved this problem by just getting lots of tattoos. One of them began his love of ink by getting the word DRUGS tattooed over his pubic line. Maybe that has something to do with my reluctance.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:37 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I-baLL, you're either being really disingenuous or really dense."

Uh, how is me saying that I was wrong in what I said in my initial post on that thread "being really disingenuous or really dense"?
posted by I-baLL at 4:37 PM on May 14, 2015


One of the side effects of not wanting to make a public spectacle of bannings and such is that, as noted, some of the behind the scenes stuff and even actual timeouts and bannings aren't super visible when they happen. And as much as I know some folks would rather it be louder than that, I continue to strongly disagree on that specific narrow point; moving toward publicly broadcasting or celebrating bans is a non-starter. We'll acknowledge them if it comes up and sometimes it plays out in-thread, but that's really about all that's ever gonna be okay.

Speaking only for myself, this is a data point you can do with what you like - frankly, I feel much more supported as a user when I see that someone who's being a shit is getting brought up on their consequences. Mod notes to just "cool it" sometimes come across like when another kid in the lunchroom steals your sandwich out of your hands and you try to get it back, but the lunchroom monitor only says "no horseplay, you too, use your words and work it out on your own", and you feel now they've left you to fend for yourself; whereas "that's it, you get a day off"comes across more like a much clearer "oh, wait, he stole your sandwich? Bobby, give that sandwich back now!"

You know? It's an affirmation that in this community there are some definite codes of conduct, and that the mods will enforce them upon you if you transgress. I appreciate it may not always need to be visible, but in especially heated and contentious threads, I do appreciate seeing it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:41 PM on May 14, 2015 [46 favorites]


So, yeah, lots of hostility aimed at me for me saying that I was wrong because I described the process through which I came to the conclusion that I was wrong.

I didn't take part in the discussion but I'll offer an outsider's take. Reading this portion of the discussion now, your take does not really seem to be what happened. Your comments went from "I never thought of tramp as a slut, but a hobo" which is really hard to believe, but sure. Then what it's pointed out that no, that use of tramp is outdated, you consulted UD and came back to say that actually, it's 50/50 hobo v slut. Again, people pointed out that this is not so. Your final comment was your concession.

In other words, the pushback might stem from both perceived disingenuousness, and digging in with a pretty pointless (but brief) word lawyering about what "tramp" means. I don't think anyone was being overly hostile to you, but in a thread that was already incredibly contentious with a lot of smirky devil's advocate nonsense, it was maybe not the best move to drop that in the thread and dig in over it.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:46 PM on May 14, 2015 [16 favorites]



wickerman.csv


IT WON'T BRING YOUR TATERS BACK
posted by tigrrrlily at 4:47 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


endless arguing over the "dictionary definition" of a word that is well known to be in common usage as a slur is such 100% classic trolling that it might as well come with a lifetime achievement montage.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:50 PM on May 14, 2015 [68 favorites]


[soft music plays]

"a bundle of sticks..." [an image of a bundle of sticks fades in and the camera pans back and forth, documentary style]
posted by NoraReed at 4:53 PM on May 14, 2015 [67 favorites]


moving toward publicly broadcasting or celebrating bans is a non-starter

I'm not saying that there should be a special page of the daily unpeople, or anything. Just that if someone gets a timeout for some particular behavior or action, people who were exposed to that behavior or action should know that it had consequences. If someone's given a timeout for something that happened entirely in memail, then the only people who need to know about it are the people in that conversation. If they were shitty in a thread, that thread should have a [<user>, take a day off] note.
posted by hades at 4:54 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Or, on lack of preview, what EmpressCallipygos said.
posted by hades at 4:58 PM on May 14, 2015


I-baLL, I'm pretty sure I've seen you do this "I've never seen that word used that way!" song and dance a few times before, which, to me, suggests either genuinely wide ignorance of the language or disingenuousness. My two cents as a fellow user here.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:58 PM on May 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


So I opened that thread yesterday morning, saw how it was going to go down, then bookmarked it and noped the fuck out of there because work was already taking its hellish toll. Reading all of it today instead of engaging was the better choice for me, but I want to personally say thank you to all the women who didn't put up with that shit at the time and made it known.

(I also have a tattoo on my upper back that I'm adding to next month, and I'm super excited.)
posted by erratic meatsack at 4:59 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


"came back to say that actually, it's 50/50 hobo v slut. Again, people pointed out that this is not so. Your final comment was your concession."

and

"endless arguing over the "dictionary definition""

Where am I arguing over the definition? I pointed out that it was 50/50 (the first 3 definitions that I saw mentioned both the tramp and slut definitions) because some people said that the hobo definition was out of date and were wondering how I could in any way only have encountered only the tramp definition. To answer that question: nobody in the groups of people with whom I hang out have ever used the word "tramp" that way. However people with whom I hang out watch Chaplin films and know about hobo signs and such so I only heard "tramp" in the hobo sense of the word. Apparently that's not the case for most people.

My initial wrong comment got sensible responses from people telling me that I was wrong and why. The comment after I was corrected,

"What Jalliah said. I checked urban dictionary and half the definitions fall one wa and half fall the other way but I've never heard "tramp" being used as a replacement for "slut" before. I wonder how that definition evolved from hobo."

Was me just calmly stating that I looked at urbandictionary and looekd at the first few definitions. I didn't look at all the definitions.

Oh, on preview, the second definition isn't about hobo tramps.

Second definition: "The difference between a tramp and a woman? A woman lies around and sleeps; a tramp sleeps around and lies."

I literally misread that as "sleeps around" in the literal sense. Still, I was wrong.


"I-baLL, I'm pretty I've seen you do this "I've never seen that word used that way!" song and dance a few times before,"

Really? Where?
posted by I-baLL at 5:01 PM on May 14, 2015


Do you by any chance have a background that's maybe unusual for most people in the US and Canada, I-baLL? You're not e.g. the child of expats or missionaries? (Serious question.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:02 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


i-Ball, the idea that someone for whom English is their first language could believe that the "tramp" in "tramp stamp" refers to the "hobo" meaning is very, very hard for me to accept. Come on man.
posted by Justinian at 5:03 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I actually was wondering something akin to that, cotton dress sock.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:03 PM on May 14, 2015


Huh, CDS had the same thought as me in terms of language and culture.
posted by Justinian at 5:03 PM on May 14, 2015


I stayed out of the tattoos thread because I didn't want my snark over tattoos to be taken as snark about women.

I mean, I respect everyone's right to self-expression... and I'm sure your tattoo is just awesome.

But I tend to subscribe to the Charlie Brooker theory of tattoos, that being that I never need someone to tell me what their tattoo means, since to my eyes, they all mean "I should not have done this."

Except yours. Yours is awesome.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:04 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


If someone's given a timeout for something that happened entirely in memail, then the only people who need to know about it are the people in that conversation. If they were shitty in a thread, that thread should have a [, take a day off] note.

I wouldn't know about the first one, but I see the second one a decent amount, so I think this is probably already happening as a matter of course.
posted by Errant at 5:05 PM on May 14, 2015


me just calmly stating that I looked at urbandictionary and looekd at the first few definitions. I didn't look at all the definitions.

But... that's not what you actually said. "I checked urban dictionary and half the definitions fall one wa and half fall the other way" is just factually incorrect. "I looked at some of the urban dictionary definitions, and they seemed to be split 50/50" is not what you said, and not something I consider a reasonable reading of what you did say.
posted by hades at 5:07 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I feel like it would be a good idea not to get into a long argument here about the idea of arguing about the definition, etc. I-baLL, I think it's okay to be frustrated that people are disagreeing with what you feel like is just a recap/assessment of your take on the word, but digging back in on it in here feels like a poor decision; better to maybe just recognize that this is a point of friction and let it be.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:07 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


the hilarribile response to the Toast thread

==

Wait, is there a tl;dr of why this one is so bad somewhere? I'm trying to power through it since it's huge, and all i'm seeing is a bunch of "i don't agree with this". The comments on the actual article and on their facebook are awful and lulztastic, but the ones on here seem relatively tame compared to the other recent shitty threads.


The sum total of terribleness in that thread was twenty or so dumb deleted comments from their own page the Toast peeps posted on their Facebook. There were a lot of people assuming it was bad because of course it was, but afaict it was an even mix of good-natured lulz and gentle incomprehension.

For calibration, the Tramp Stamp thread had me smh, but I cleave to Cortex's position that a questionable view being questioned is the best approach for a discussion board, rather than preemptive deletion of non-compliant thought.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:08 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've decided I'm going as a slutty hobo for halloween. Thigh-high comedy loose-toe-cap boots, assless bindle, the works.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:08 PM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


when Matt cracked the shits with those four or five people just before he handed over the keys - that was glorious

Huh. That's interesting. I wandered away from MetaFilter for a while - not in a dramatic way, just a "lots of stuff going on" way, and when I wandered back in it seemed like some of the people who were driven to the greatest heights of anger by women talking or having opinions that were not theirs had gone. I didn't realise this might have been part of a clear-out.

More generally, I think that GamerGate and the fallout from GamerGate has made it much clearer to me when people are, unintentionally or intentionally, driving women out of spaces by making being present in those spaces debilitatingly unpleasant or exhausting, just by sheer weight of example. And, ultimately, intention or the lack of it doesn't make a lot of difference, if the end result is the same.

I'd like to see MetaFilter not being a place where that is a regular and accepted result. Whether that can be achieved by behavioral mechanics and nudging or whether it has to be more firmly moderated, I'm not sure, but it seems like the current response to it is not achieving that goal - if that's a goal shared with the broader community.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:08 PM on May 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


DirtyOldTown, that's awesome and all, and totally worked! It's exactly what a basically decent person would have done. Which is not surprising, since everything you've done on this site that I've seen points to you being a basically decent person. So...

This is to inform you that you won't get your basically decent person medal taken away.

I don't know what the fact that you think people who have tattoos make poor decisions has to do with the topic of this MeTa, though.
posted by tigrrrlily at 5:10 PM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


when Matt cracked the shits with those four or five people just before he handed over the keys - that was glorious

Oh, man. It was like the second-to-last episode of a season of The Sopranos up in here
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:10 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a funny Charlie Brooker joke I enjoy having a reason to bring up, is all. Well, that and it illustrated my aforementioned distaste for tattoos.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:11 PM on May 14, 2015


Okay, so here's a question. Metafilter once banned somebody (reklaw, if you feel like going and looking) for being an asshole by posting Harry Potter spoilers. It was malicious, he was being a dick, bam, get out, don't let the door hit you.

Why isn't being a misogynist troll also banworthy?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:12 PM on May 14, 2015 [51 favorites]


I see the second one a decent amount, so I think this is probably already happening as a matter of course.

Oh, it definitely does happen. I just have no way of knowing how reliably it happens, because I'm not in the habit of checking the user pages of everyone who's been awful in a thread to see if there was an invisible timeout applied. I think the site would benefit from those notes being a moderator policy, maybe even enforced by a pony request. (Giving a user a timeout? Provide the thread ID so a timeout notice can be automatically inserted, or a null ID positively affirming that no in-thread note is required.)
posted by hades at 5:13 PM on May 14, 2015


That would make Metafilter look like a feminist website, is my guess.

(this was to Pope Guilty)
posted by tigrrrlily at 5:14 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


It was like the second-to-last episode of a season of The Sopranos up in here

I just watched Whitecaps!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:15 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I feel like it would be a good idea not to get into a long argument here about the idea of arguing about the definition, etc. I-baLL"

I'm not arguing about the definition. I said that I was wrong about the definition. Maybe my comment didn't relay that clearly but I explained that I was wrong. I don't understand why people keep thinking that I'm arguing about the definition.


"i-Ball, the idea that someone for whom English is their first language could believe that the "tramp" in "tramp stamp" refers to the "hobo" meaning is very, very hard for me to accept. Come on man."

"Do you by any chance have a background that's maybe unusual for most people in the US and Canada, I-baLL? You're not e.g. the child of expats or missionaries? (Serious question.)"


So everybody on Metafilter had English as their first language and everybody here is born to people speak English unless those people are "expats or missionaries"?

I'm going to ask you guys something: In what context would I hear the word "tramp" used to mean "slut"? How is it so amazing to you guys that I've not heard the word used that way before? Like the word "hoagie" to mean a hero sandwich. If people around you don't use a word then how are you supposed to learn it? Maybe this is going to go all Baader-Meinhof on me.
posted by I-baLL at 5:15 PM on May 14, 2015


if someone gets a timeout for some particular behavior or action, people who were exposed to that behavior or action should know that it had consequences

Back in February, cortex, you wrote that a major takeaway was this:
More signposting of what's happening on the site in terms of notes in threads and explicit responses to problematic stuff... it's something we can make a focused effort to do better on.
Has that been happening? Because if it has, the change is way too subtle for me to perceive. What I'm seeing here is a call for more explicit responses for problematic stuff.
posted by sculpin at 5:16 PM on May 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


Because posting HP spoilers is objective, whether or not someone is a troll is subjective.
posted by Justinian at 5:16 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


You could call corb out in a passive/aggressive sort of way...oh wait, you did.

OK, as a newcomer to the thread on the blue at issue, let me say that it has been interesting to read this long MeTa and see that yet again, corb is in the center of the action. Because once again corb did what I have seen corb do over and over again . . . lay and light a fire, then show up to enjoy seeing the building burn.

I'll be blunt . . . in my opinion, corb is a troll. And this site for some reason keeps putting up with the same behavior over and over again, i.e. watching the grenade get tossed and blow, often hurting and sometimes driving out wonderful MeFites, protesting, letting corb deny responsibility disingenuously, and then . . . it all happens yet again.

I don't like the ban hammer but I'd vote for it for corb. Or, at a minimum, deleting corb's inevitable grenade comment the very first time it (predictably) shows up in a thread dealing with a subject of social and site significance.
posted by bearwife at 5:16 PM on May 14, 2015 [31 favorites]


I kinda like bans being handled on the downlow, or at least expediently and tersely. For instance, I didn't notice Matt's banfest, but I sure did notice a few threads that would have been shitty that were unexpectedly decent. And instead of taking it as the result of a bitter battle, it just came across as the website grading ever-so-slightly more toward awesomeness. And I liked that feeling.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:18 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry if that was an outlandish suggestion, I-baLL, you just reminded me of someone, no offense meant.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:18 PM on May 14, 2015


Because posting HP spoilers is objective, whether or not someone is a troll is subjective.

This is pretty flaccid reasoning, by this metric anyone being an asshole is subjective and no one can ever be banned for being a shit no matter how deraily, upsetting, mean, whatever what they're posting is because "trolling is subjective".
posted by emptythought at 5:19 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I never thought of tramp as a slut, but a hobo"

Well, "tramp" can mean "hobo" but I don't think anyone has really used it in that context with any sort of regularity in a long, long time. We've all said stupid shit, just throw up a middle finger and own that shit, backpedaling isn't going to get you any credit.

Oh, and I have a smallish tattoo I got when I was in the service but I've been mulling a largish (Dick Grayson as) Batman and (Damian Wayne as) Robin tattoo pulled from Grant Morrison's B&R run.
posted by MikeMc at 5:19 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


And yea, i also support straight up SA style [USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST] on shitposts, when someone actually gets banned. I think that would be an improvement.
posted by emptythought at 5:19 PM on May 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


"Sorry if that was an outlandish suggestion, I-baLL, you just reminded me of someone, no offense meant."

No worries. Anyways, I gotta go. See you all later!
posted by I-baLL at 5:20 PM on May 14, 2015


So everybody on Metafilter had English as their first language and everybody here is born to people speak English unless those people are "expats or missionaries"?

If you think that is what the people asking about your language history then you are not engaging here in good faith. If you don't know that or not, well I don't really care, it's not the job of everyone here (mods included) to teach you the why and hows regarding this.

As much as I'm hesitant to agree with folks saying "bans are a good idea" and "give more timeouts for X behavior", you're pretty much making yourself a poster child for their cause.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:20 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


if we all dropped the stupid tramp/hobo derail it would die. just a thought...
posted by nadawi at 5:21 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm going to ask you guys something: In what context would I hear the word "tramp" used to mean "slut"? How is it so amazing to you guys that I've not heard the word used that way before? Like the word "hoagie" to mean a hero sandwich. If people around you don't use a word then how are you supposed to learn it? Maybe this is going to go all Baader-Meinhof on me.

It's common usage to the point of not being at all slangy in UK/Aus/NZ English.

And this is going to count as a fighty derail in a thread that is already full to bursting with pent-up rage-jism, so I'd strongly recommend you leave it there if you would prefer people not to shout at you.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:21 PM on May 14, 2015


That would make Metafilter look like a feminist website, is my guess.

To a misogynist troll, it already does.
posted by box at 5:21 PM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


In hindsight, it seems like #Maysogyny was a bad idea for a month tag. I hope #JuneBy does better.
posted by uosuaq at 5:23 PM on May 14, 2015 [35 favorites]


I-baLL, you have two threads full of users talking about how hurt we are by the misogyny on display in the original thread. People are talking about leaving the site over it. Does arguing about why you're being misunderstood about a slang definition really matter as much?
posted by jaguar at 5:23 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


And yea, i also support straight up SA style [USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST] on shitposts, when someone actually gets banned. I think that would be an improvement.

Unless we're going to go whole-hog and introduce rpg.net style forbidden lines of enquiry I think this is a terrible idea. Metafilter works. What you are describing isn't Metafilter.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:23 PM on May 14, 2015


Until about the past week -- and I don't read every post -- I had the impression things had calmed down quite a bit (to answer sculpin's question), and kind of assumed it was from the more aggressive modding cortex described. Maybe I'm wrong and it was just luck; no idea.
posted by uosuaq at 5:25 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


And yea, i also support straight up SA style [USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST] on shitposts, when someone actually gets banned. I think that would be an improvement.

Seems like I vaguely recall old threads where timeouts and bans were explicitly called out in-thread. I remember having a sense of... relief? Justice? I don't know - like the system was working. Behind the scenes work is probably fairer and more productive, but it does leave me with a sense of lots of unfinished business lying about waiting to spring back up at any moment.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:26 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Visible, swift consequences matter SO MUCH when it comes to behavior like harassment and misogyny. Assholes REALLY DO think "everyone else is thinking the same thing, I just have the guts to say it" unless lightning strikes visibly and loudly.
posted by tigrrrlily at 5:27 PM on May 14, 2015 [51 favorites]


The entire article is more or less about the term 'tramp stamp'. Asking what that means if you never heard of it before is one thing, although trying to seek basic understanding of the article is something one should probably do on their own with a little bit of googling before hopping into a discussion about it. Wondering if that's even a thing people say and mean, when the entire article is about how yes, people say this term and mean it, falls under 'rtfa'.

To not read and understand the article and then repeatedly commenting on it, that's bad manners even when it's a neutral topic.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:27 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


I can't grammar but the tldr is rtfa.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:28 PM on May 14, 2015


I saw that thread, saw where it was going and stayed the hell out. The older I get, the more I've lost my taste for conflict for it's own sake. Plus, for the same reason, I've lost interest in how other people dress/adorn themselves etc. I have other things to think about.
posted by jonmc at 5:30 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think the reason we won't likely see the [USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST] thing on metafilter is because when one of these misogynist users is finally banned it's more [USER WAS FINALLY BANNED FOR YEARS OF MISOGYNIST TROLLING AND WASTED DAYS OF CUMULATIVE MOD-TIME DEALING WITH IT, USER-TIME ATTEMPTING TO PUSH BACK AGAINST IT IN THREAD, AND DRIVING MULTIPLE WOMEN TO CLOSE THEIR ACCOUNT, STOP POSTING OR AVOID THREADS THAT WOULD OTHERWISE INTEREST THEM, CULMINATING IN THIS POST]
posted by NoraReed at 5:31 PM on May 14, 2015 [42 favorites]


And yea, i also support straight up SA style [USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST] on shitposts, when someone actually gets banned. I think that would be an improvement

Having been on the other side of that particular banhammer for about 5 years, I can tell you it's more satisfying that it is particularly effective.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:32 PM on May 14, 2015


I'm going to ask you guys something: In what context would I hear the word "tramp" used to mean "slut"?

Off the top of my head, in the very thread you were commenting in.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:32 PM on May 14, 2015 [63 favorites]


I would donate $50 to MetaFilter to read that mod announcement.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:32 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is pretty flaccid reasoning, by this metric anyone being an asshole is subjective and no one can ever be banned for being a shit no matter how deraily, upsetting, mean, whatever what they're posting is because "trolling is subjective".

Well, no, it just means it's a lot faster and easier to ban somebody for an objective action not that it is impossible to ever do so for a subjective one. A pattern of behavior over a long period of time takes a long period of time to establish, tautologically.
posted by Justinian at 5:36 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


This read seriously like binary and reductive reasoning and it doesn't speak well of you. Seriously, how difficult would it be for you to say, "Hey, sorry I misread the situation. Carry on." or something else instead of doubling down on being patronizing and directive?

Because I don't agree that I misread the situation? Sometimes people disagree and in life it doesn't mean that someone is a monster unless the conversation ends with everyone agreeing.

Anyway, I feel like I've already said what I wanted to say and I'm only responding to suggest that if I were treating you the way that you are treating me, the whole thread would be calling for my head, like that's what the whole thread would suddenly be about, I think. But you are piling up favorites because people agree with you so strongly! It is actually the case that this site is already friendly to your perspective, to the degree that you have a free hand with your tone in a way that I don't think that I would. And I am tiptoeing around rewriting this comment several times (like I always do when I'm out of step! (and when I'm in step)) and I'm just not sure that the privilege plays out in the context of this discussion like you're so confident that it does.

In the end I'm reasonably sure that we agree on the vast, vast majority of political and social topics and I hope you'll understand that I'm not the enemy. I won't be back to this thread, but see you next time, it'll probably go better!
posted by Kwine at 5:36 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


In what context would I hear the word "tramp" used to mean "slut"?

In the article that everyone was discussing?
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:36 PM on May 14, 2015 [49 favorites]


I'm not sure I've ever heard the word "tramp" used at all unless Ella Fitzgerald was singing, so I have a modicum of sympathy for people who react like "why would I care about this word?" -- except that you've got to be aware it's not a compliment.
posted by uosuaq at 5:44 PM on May 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Many women have heard the word tramp aimed at ourselves and at other women. It is possible that your lack of familiarity with the word might be yet again an example of male privilege.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:51 PM on May 14, 2015 [30 favorites]


I should've mentioned this in the original thread, and maybe it will appease or gratify the "BUT I THOUGHT TRAMP MEANT HOBO?!?" crowd, but...

I actually have a bunch of hobo signs tattooed on me (no joke, although I don't put photos of myself online so you'll have to imagine them). So, if you insist on clinging to the delusion/willful lie that 'tramp stamp' somehow means 'hobo tattoo', well I'm your man!
posted by still bill at 5:51 PM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure I've ever heard the word "tramp" used at all unless Ella Fitzgerald was singing

Then you need to hear this (one of the best songs ever).
posted by jonmc at 5:52 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does one of them mean "a dishonest man lives here" ?
posted by almostmanda at 5:53 PM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


My pony request doesn't include a space for a ban/timeout reason because the mods will already have told the problematic user what the problem is, and the other users will either already know the reason(s) or not care. A simple "this user has been given a timeout" note will do. If the user is shitting in multiple threads at once, I dunno.

it's more satisfying that it is particularly effective.

Effective at what? It'd be pretty effective at the goal I want it for, which is public consequences for shitty public behavior.
posted by hades at 5:54 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The continuing pile on on Iball isn't great. I-ball you aren't going to change any minds. I'd leave it.
posted by josher71 at 5:55 PM on May 14, 2015


Many women have heard the word tramp aimed at ourselves and at other women. It is possible that your lack of familiarity with the word might be yet again an example of male privilege.

I have no doubt that it is.
posted by uosuaq at 5:55 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I should also say thanks to dialetheia for making this post. I have just survived that last month of the semester when all you can do is hang on for dear life, and I've been snatching readings of MeFi while my students take exams and at stoplights (you know, "me time"). I was just saying to the spousal dude "MetaFilter has been really shitty for the past couple of weeks. All these old accounts without a lot of comments are popping up to sea lion and make everything miserable." while reading the tattoo thread. It's nice to know I'm not the only one feeling this way. My speculation to him is that someone is sending folks here, but it may just be the current way the wind is blowing that makes trolls troll and sea lions sea lion.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:56 PM on May 14, 2015 [29 favorites]


It is possible that your lack of familiarity with the word might be yet again an example of male privilege.

Maybe, but I think there are other possible explanations. Easy to see how if any of the other possible explanations were true, a person might feel compelled to respond defensively in the face of a pile-on based on a genuine and very unfortunate, high-stakes misunderstanding. (Though it would probably be simpler to just clear it up.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:59 PM on May 14, 2015


It's an ill wind that blows
Sea lions in from sea
Ask not for whom the troll trolls
He trolls for He
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:01 PM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


Of all the evenings to need to run to the store. Catching up:

when Matt cracked the shits with those four or five people just before he handed over the keys - that was glorious

I don't really know what this is supposed to refer to. Matt didn't go on a banning spree; we banned a few notable nth-chancers over the period of a few months as team decisions, partly as a response to our stated desire to try and be more aggressive about some of these issues. I think it helped; there were definitely several threads in the ensuing months where my takeaway was "this went...well!" that felt like old stomping grounds on that front.

It's not a one-off thing, it's something we do keep looking at and thinking about. And, again, as much as some people may prefer a much louder ban process, it's not something we're going to get in the habit of broadcasting, because that is however satisfying it may seem something that has some serious negative sides as well. The important thing is dealing with the behavior, not making a symbolic figure of the banned user.

Oh, it definitely does happen. I just have no way of knowing how reliably it happens, because I'm not in the habit of checking the user pages of everyone who's been awful in a thread to see if there was an invisible timeout applied.

If it comes up as a result of something in a thread, we will generally leave a note, yeah; for a day off that's not going to show up on someone's profile page in any case, they're just cut off.

Has that been happening? Because if it has, the change is way too subtle for me to perceive. What I'm seeing here is a call for more explicit responses for problematic stuff.

It's been ongoing, yeah. Still a work in progress, still something that requires for me in particular changing long habits a little bit, but as much as there's been some frustrating shit this last week, the last several months have generally seemed better and we've gotten a lot of periodic good feedback on that front, which is nice. I don't know what is up with some of the recent stuff beyond just the internet and the world has weird fucking swings sometimes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:03 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think NoraReed mentions a good point about the nuance of this site's moderation that often goes unnoticed, and rarely stated explicitly.

There's a liberally used tool for banning comments, but the threshold for banning a commenter is relatively conservative. This is a good set-up for handling certain situations, and not so good for others (e.g., multiple users who provide consistently flagged or deleted comments, yet exist below the implicit "banned for being an asshole" threshold).

So, do you proliferate the liberally used tool? Or do you reduce the conservative threshold?

I'm using the phrase "banning comments" loosely here to include time-outs, but I guess the proposal for public notices would be an additional option (or maybe something that just strengthens the impact of the tool). Really, I like the idea of the website's significant moderation actions being publicly available data. (It technically already is, for anyone who wants to look for it, but a database is asking somebody to do some extra work.)
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 6:03 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


And this isn't to anyone in particular, but how much easier would it be to just say "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I misunderstood." than to go on trying to prove you should have been right?

Kill the boy and be a goddamn man already, everyone.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 6:07 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Thanks, Maester Aemon.
posted by Justinian at 6:08 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


>"I feel like it would be a good idea not to get into a long argument here about the idea of arguing about the definition, etc. I-baLL"

I'm not arguing about the definition. I said that I was wrong about the definition. Maybe my comment didn't relay that clearly but I explained that I was wrong. I don't understand why people keep thinking that I'm arguing about the definition.


I-baLL, I said an argument about the idea of arguing about it. And that was a pretty gentle attempt to let you walk away from this, that you then dug back into anyway, doing precisely that. You've peaced on out of the thread already but I want to be clear that this is basically exactly the problematic dynamic at issue, and you need to cut this sort of thing out in the future.

This is, to be super duper clear, not an invitation for you to get into this further when you see this. I'd have deleted the comment I'm quoting if I'd gotten to it sooner, but as is I'm just gonna be clear about it here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:10 PM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


And this isn't to anyone in particular, but how much easier would it be to just say "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I misunderstood." than to go on trying to prove you should have been right?
Kill the boy and be a goddamn man already, everyone.


FAUST PROPOSES CHILD MURDER...DETAILS AT 11.

Also, insecurity is a major factor in human psychology, and it seems like it's often much *harder* to say "I'm sorry, I was wrong". It can be helpful to give the other person an opportunity to do that without feeling humiliated. I'm also speaking quite generally here, since I don't know exactly what you're referring to. But "be a man" isn't helpful in the way I'm talking about.
posted by uosuaq at 6:15 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


or see cortex's comment about "a pretty gentle attempt to let you walk away from this"...that's well-put
posted by uosuaq at 6:16 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


And, again, as much as some people may prefer a much louder ban process, it's not something we're going to get in the habit of broadcasting, because that is however satisfying it may seem something that has some serious negative sides as well.

I'm curious: what are the negative side effects of "this user banned for X" notices? Seems to me it's like a signpost warning would be offenders that a particular set of actions has a consequence, rather than turds disappearing into the ether.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:18 PM on May 14, 2015


It also may be harder if it's in the context of an already fraught discussion and someone feels victimized, or if there are say different communicative norms working against each other.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:18 PM on May 14, 2015


I'm curious: what are the negative side effects of "this user banned for X" notices? Seems to me it's like a signpost warning would be offenders that a particular set of actions has a consequence, rather than turds disappearing into the ether.

Upping the likelihood of often kind of ugly post-banning "good riddance!" celebrations/pileons on one hand and inviting a lot more post-banning wrath/bullshit from aggrieved parties on the other, for starters. Inadvertently validating a culture of expecting to call for bans or of expecting that in the absence of an unambiguous declaration that nothing is being done. Sending the message that when and if someone is banned, their feelings about the situation are assumed to not matter, that satisfying people's desire to know that they're banned trumps any consideration of the fact that, whatever problems they had behaviorally here, they were still a member of this community.

Just as a general community strategy, focusing on banning as a positive public display in its own right rather than as a tool for dealing with an unfixable failure state in the notional goals of this place does not sit right with me at all. If someone's behavior is a problem and then it stops being a problem, that's the core goal accomplished and is what should matter. We'll continue as a team to look at where traditional reticence to drop bans comes up against the worthwhile idea of being more proactive about it, but needing to ban people is still a lousy outcome for the site and not something to ritualize or build a community ethos around.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:30 PM on May 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


Also, a little thing but just since it's come up and I hate having this sort of thing hanging out there wrong in a discussion, gnfti is in fact still/again a mod, working part time during US night hours to split up the week with taz who is full-time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:34 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


what are the negative side effects of "this user banned for X" notices? Seems to me it's like a signpost warning would be offenders

Because some will not see them as a warning, but as badge of honor; an achievement to be unlocked. Having a user profile here that says "This user banned for sexism/racism/assholism" might just be another piece of cred in some other corner of the internet.

Also, because of the approach to banning here tends to give people a fair amount of time to adapt to figure out site culture and multiple chances (with some obvious exceptions for things like the SEO mongers, or maliciousl sock puppeteers), with lots of behind the scenes conversations/coaching/nudging/warnings from the mods for problem users, it might be very hard to provide reason X, particularly if the problem behaviour has escalated in those behind the scenes conversations.
posted by nubs at 6:35 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yay gnifti! Thanks for clarifying!
posted by zarq at 6:36 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I totally agree with you cortex. And yet... when we lose good people due to a lack of perception that shit is being dealt with... that, to me, is possibly worse than if we increase visibility to a marginal degree. You don't have to go all Thunderdome all the time. Maybe just on special occasions.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:37 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


#MaybyMisogyny
posted by standardasparagus at 6:37 PM on May 14, 2015


Or maybe just Thunderbigtent.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:39 PM on May 14, 2015


I can appreciate that, cortex, though I think we already push against post-ban celebrations, and that part of addressing the core goal could be demonstrating the kind of behavior that can get you banned around here. I'm not saying our entire community ethos needs to be built around it, but it might go a long way towards prevention. Though I see the "badge of honor" point, I think anyone willing to drop $5 to earn that badge is an outlier at best.

Really what's most important to me is we try and find the balance between SA-levels of ban impunity and suffering fools well beyond their expiration date. I think a great part of this is showing that actions have consequences, visibly. Not just for would-be trolls but for the assurance of others here who have left or might leave because they don't see this in action.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:40 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Kill the boy and be a goddamn man already, everyone.

It is possible that this kind of wording is, um, unhelpful.
posted by NoraReed at 6:40 PM on May 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


If it comes up as a result of something in a thread, we will generally leave a note

Which means that if something comes up in the thread and you don't leave a note, we're left wondering if there's no note because there were no consequences, or because you didn't think it was an offense worth making a fuss about, or what. No note sometimes leads to requiring a later note saying that the user everyone's been responding to for the last N comments can't respond because they've been given a timeout, and maybe people should drop it.

Inadvertently validating a culture of [...] expecting that in the absence of an unambiguous declaration that nothing is being done.

Except we kind of already have that. I'm not saying that everyone who gets a timeout needs to have a paragraph of explanation about why they got one attached to their profile, or even in the thread which prompted it. But absent any note, what we have is that the one user who's behaving badly goes dark for a bit and we don't know if they've just gotten bored and walked away, or gone to bed for the night, or been given a timeout, or hit the red button themselves, or what. And the people who were most being affected by the behavior get to continue thinking that they don't have much moderator support, even if that's not the case.

I dunno, I just feel like if you're worried that telling people when someone has a timeout will result in people celebrating the timeout, then the answer to that is making that celebration a timeout-worthy offense.
posted by hades at 6:43 PM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


Really what's most important to me is we try and find the balance between SA-levels of ban impunity and suffering fools well beyond their expiration date.

I hear you, and I think I basically agree. I'm just much more interested in approaching the idea of closing in sooner and harder on repeat bad behavior as a matter of when and where to act, not in how to make more of a spectacle of it.

No note sometimes leads to requiring a later note saying that the user everyone's been responding to for the last N comments can't respond because they've been given a timeout, and maybe people should drop it.

That's almost always one of two things when it comes up:

1. A can't-be-in-two-places-at-once issue where the time between the timeout getting settled and applied and the mod dropping a note about it being the time spent doing the actual account stuff and communicating with the user about it.

2. People responding to someone who has closed their own account, and so not knowing that they're talking to someone who can't respond because there was no mod-side action taken and the user didn't make it unambiguously clear that they were taking off.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:58 PM on May 14, 2015


Can the admin note section of user's profile not be amended when a report comes in? Cause the report field to append a note automatically if it is deemed to be watchworthy/actionable, or to be ignored if it's nothing.

Point 1 seems like it could be automated, with a mod then popping into a thread to say "we've dealt with so and so, please move on" in the usual way.

Closed accounts seem like they could be put in their own usergroup with a little icon or whatever.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 7:11 PM on May 14, 2015


Can the admin note section of user's profile not be amended when a report comes in? Cause the report field to append a note automatically if it is deemed to be watchworthy/actionable, or to be ignored if it's nothing.

I don't know if I'm understanding. Do you mean make a behind-the-scenes note on a user's profile record about for future reference? That is something we will do already, yeah, re: significant issues on the site, or noting recurring behavior, or documenting specific correspondence about warnings or whatnot. Or do you mean something else?
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:17 PM on May 14, 2015


No, no, I was aware of the presence of the notes, I just wasn't sure if they were being used in that way - mostly noting recurring behavior - if a report/whatever comes in about a user's behavior it just makes sense to link that report to that note if it was something actionable. I don't know if that functionality exists but it would seem to be useful.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 7:21 PM on May 14, 2015


...with a little icon…

Perhaps a bindle!
posted by Drastic at 7:24 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, we've got a mix of in-db things that can e.g. attach a user note to a specific post or comment, and more casual "see email re: subject" notes for manually cross-referencing with off-site communications if we need to look something up later for context. All the hard bits of being aware of and tracking and acting on specific examples of problem behavior on the site are more on the soft human-wrangling side of the equation, not the technical limitations of note-taking or so on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:27 PM on May 14, 2015


It just seems like automation would help somewhere along the lines:

1. A can't-be-in-two-places-at-once issue where the time between the timeout getting settled and applied and the mod dropping a note about it being the time spent doing the actual account stuff and communicating with the user about it.


This just seems over-complicated. If the standard timeout is 24 hours, and the situation is the night mod needs PB to approve it or throw the lever or something, why not code it to be automatic from the mod's get-go? There's only so many of you and none of you seem mad with power.

I know MeFi likes the handmade touch, but an automatic timeout, a "please move on" in the thread, and a "Dear baby, welcome to bansville, pop. : you." shouldn't take too long.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 7:37 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's already very automated; any mod can give any user any sort of ban/timeout right from their userpage, and that itself creates a note in the system. The time involved is not the time required to physically cause the ban to go into place, it's the time involved to deal with possibly-already-ongoing communication with the user, with other users, and with the team if it's a borderline thing where someone wants a second opinion or a second set of eyes, plus everything else that might be going on at the moment on the site.

Again, the tricky bits here are almost entirely the squishy human factors and the random circumstances of the day, not the technical mechanisms. Technically, banning someone is the easiest thing in the world. Practically, though, it's rarely pushing a button in a vacuum.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:41 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lol & obliviousfilter -- Imagining myself in the author's position, I thought, comfortably, oh, I would just forget about it [having a regretted tatoo]. Also I wouldn't even see it (lower back), not even in the mirror, so. Plus I actually like dragonflies as a pattern. And then I thought, well, everyone's different, some people feel things more. And then I read the comments in MetaFilter -- well, lookie here, proving the point (that people are crazy-sexist)! (And so bracingly! lol (easy for me to say (see Helen Garner)).)
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:45 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I just had a vision, of moving in with someone who had never, ever had to do their dishes in their life. Picturing them just constantly leaving dishes in the sink, that I then take care of with my own, until I just reach a breaking point and ask them to do their damn dishes like an adult.

And I pictured that roommate making the discussion all about how it's not a big deal for me to wash one glass or one plate or one fork or one bowl, and about how I'm a nazi for forcing them to do stuff, and about how I'm making to harder for them to even just eat and come on don't I understand that they have to eat, and on and on and on.

And I realized what women, thus, have to deal with on the internet every damn day.

I don't know if I was part of the problem in that thread or not. I know I felt better about my comments towards the end than towards the beginning. If I hurt anybody, I'm sorry and would like to do better in the future.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:48 PM on May 14, 2015 [56 favorites]


Again, the tricky bits here are almost entirely the squishy human factors and the random circumstances of the day, not the technical mechanisms. Technically, banning someone is the easiest thing in the world. Practically, though, it's rarely pushing a button in a vacuum.

Maybe I was just spoiled by the larger team at SA (or maybe we were just Literally Hitler about banning people) but it seems like the same setup.

(Although I like to imagine Poffin Boffin having a lever of some kind that requires throwing, possibly on a stormy night, shouting, mad laughter, etc. - if this is not the case please remit to PB 1 (one) standard-grade lever.)
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 7:51 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be clear, the "kill the boy and be a man" is a Game of Thrones quote that is appropriate in context and was probably well meant - it comes off more misogynistic than I think he probably intended it.
posted by corb at 7:53 PM on May 14, 2015


And I pictured that roommate making the discussion all about how it's not a big deal for me to wash one glass or one plate or one fork or one bowl, and about how I'm a nazi for forcing them to do stuff, and about how I'm making to harder for them to even just eat and come on don't I understand that they have to eat, and on and on and on.

And I realized what women, thus, have to deal with on the internet every damn day.


And often the non-metaphorical version at home, too! And different metaphorical versions at work! And at kids' schools! And for partners' work entertaining!
posted by jaguar at 7:58 PM on May 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


My impression has always been that SA and Metafilter have pretty starkly different approaches to both moderation duties and ban policy and practice, yeah. Which is fine; different sites, different communities, different approaches.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:06 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't want to derail, I just wanted to pop and say, in response to hal_c_on upthread: I didn't mean to be rude to cortex in my first comment ! I don't know why you're interpreting it as some sort of personal attack on cortex.

Nora Reed upthread pretty much reads my mind, so I'm seconding her comment/interpretation. I did not express myself very well if it is being interpreted as a criticism aimed at cortex. (I appreciate the love letter to cortex, though.) I'm kind of deflated from this MetaTalk and the other MetaTalk, but I wanted to pop in to respond.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:11 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't really know what this is supposed to refer to.

Sorry it was decani, sgt serenity and 0 and I think there was someone else? I ascribed it to Matt cause in the first case his comments in thread seemed to indicate it was a spur of the moment kind of thing.

And it was wonderful. I generally appreciate the olive branchy approach you guys take, but I think it's easy to discount the... distress these provacteurs cause others and the community. The troublemakers in that thread have had multiple warnings to not be terrible in other threads, and that's just what I've seen. How many warnings do people need? If they can't correct their behaviour to match site norms, whether they agree with them or no, I submit they are not a good fit.
posted by smoke at 8:13 PM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


There's more overlap in posters than I would have thought, cortex. I'm mostly just curious about the difference in moderation practices and policies - people had suggested an SA-type practice (which wouldn't work imo) and I was wondering how the behind the scenes stuff worked.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 8:17 PM on May 14, 2015


The Fuzzy Bastard was the other one. It really felt like things were improving on the Blue, but it seems like others are eager to move in on the misogyny-vacuum created by their absence. (Though I do appreciate that this thread has been orders of magnitude better than a lot of the other ones; the Grey is much less thunderdome/"mefi with PVP" these days.)
posted by NoraReed at 8:17 PM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


Smoke-And yet, mods said they would welcome them back if said behavior changed. Now that's wonderful.
posted by clavdivs at 8:22 PM on May 14, 2015


I saw these Dude Wipes in the store just now and thought about those bans!
posted by mitochondrial midichlorian at 8:22 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't want to derail, I just wanted to pop and say, in response to hal_c_on upthread: I didn't mean to be rude to cortex in my first comment ! I don't know why you're interpreting it as some sort of personal attack on cortex.

That is totes how it read, so good on you for making it clear it wasn't.

My impression has always been that SA and Metafilter have pretty starkly different approaches to both moderation duties and ban policy and practice, yeah. Which is fine; different sites, different communities, different approaches.

Yes. SA also doesn't silently delete comments/threads, which is a crucial element of the Metafilter style; more vigorous use of the banhammer really wouldn't sit well with silent deletion, since inevitably people would be being banned for stuff that barely anyone saw.

Metafilter feels more, FWOABT, grown up than SA, and imo part of that is occasionally having to read opinions and viewpoints you violently disagree with .
posted by Sebmojo at 8:23 PM on May 14, 2015


I feel like Mefites and Goons are a lot more similar than I would have first guessed, and with probably a lot more literal overlap as well, but even there, I feel like it's like if you visited a small town, and saw largely the same groups of people at Church, the High School Football Game, and at the PTA Meeting. Totally different cultures with different standards.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:24 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


See, I think a part of being a more grown-up space is not allowing people to use that space to act like misogynist teenage boys trying on sex-shaming in the locker room, as opposed to leaving their graffiti up and adding "THIS STUDENT WAS SUSPENDED FOR THIS" under it, which seems more the SA style.
posted by NoraReed at 8:27 PM on May 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


(^ yes, though pre and post GBS 2.0 needs to be considered; I'd think most Mefites would consider current GBS an irradiated hellscape of badthink)
posted by Sebmojo at 8:28 PM on May 14, 2015


As far as I know he's the only current male mod (i know PB has root, but i don't think he's ever banhammered, so not mod).

Usually power isn't defined by what you do, but what you can do. Don't underestimate the abilities of a wizard just because they choose not to avail themselves of their true power.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:30 PM on May 14, 2015


Current SA is kind of like what Mefi would turn into if the complaints that "SJWs" were ruining Metafilter were taken seriously by the administrators. Though, some of the forums are better than others.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:31 PM on May 14, 2015


You ever hear some great news, but it's a secret, or you're in the middle of a meeting or a class or something, and you want to jump up and say yay but you're not allowed to?

So I understand that celebrating bannings is frowned on, and there has even been a call for people to be given a timeout for celebrating a ban. But after hearing the names of who was banned, I'm thinking, "Man, I've never been given a timeout on MeFi, but I'm so happy and bursting to share it that maybe it's worth being given a week off or something".
posted by Bugbread at 8:32 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


My exposure to SA is actually fairly limited to a handful of goons and ex-goons or whatever you call them I know personally and the emoticons that they use that got implemented on ShitRedditSays back when I was a regular poster there, so that just read like a bunch of English-sounding words in an order that makes no sense to me, Sebmojo. (I may also have misread your original comment because I do not know what "FWOABT" means and read it as "FWIW".)
posted by NoraReed at 8:32 PM on May 14, 2015


I'd think most Mefites would consider current GBS an irradiated hellscape of badthink

it's GBS, why limit ourselves to current
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:33 PM on May 14, 2015


'For want of a better term', sorry.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:34 PM on May 14, 2015


FWOABT = For Want of a Better Term
posted by Navelgazer at 8:34 PM on May 14, 2015


it's GBS, why are we limiting ourselves to current

I had a very nice little fiefdom of proper grammar and no -isms going there for a while.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 8:41 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


For want of a butt transplant.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:42 PM on May 14, 2015 [21 favorites]


:gas:
posted by Sebmojo at 8:44 PM on May 14, 2015


(POSTS GIF OF FROG SAYING GET OUT, KICKFLIPS OUT OF META)
posted by Sebmojo at 8:45 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


see that is the part i am familiar with because it stuck around on SRS. but instead of "USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST" they deleted the comment and left a reply which was an image of the word "banned", usually made out of dildos, and there were a zillion variations of these and particularly trolled-in threads would just be a river of different dildo banned images

i do not expect that to work here.
posted by NoraReed at 8:53 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Here is the "Leper's Colony" if you want to get a sense of what moderation is like on the actual forums.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:57 PM on May 14, 2015


Wow, that thread reads like a Orrie Hitt novel.
posted by clavdivs at 9:02 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


TW for slurs in Drinky Die's link
posted by NoraReed at 9:02 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and that's the moderators.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:05 PM on May 14, 2015


hi i just wanted to make sure that all fans of party dog are also aware of party cat

ok bie
posted by poffin boffin at 9:07 PM on May 14, 2015 [29 favorites]


i do not expect that to work here.

No, mods can still post images. Oh, you mean PURPLE DILDZ would not fit in with the color scheme.
posted by tigrrrlily at 9:13 PM on May 14, 2015


My dog is party cat.

Three times last night:
"get up get up get up!"
"i neeeeeeeeed to be outside!"
"because rabbits!"
"done now! bed!"
"get up get up get up!"
etc.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:17 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, and that's the moderators.

Those are mostly Idiot Kings and you know it.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 9:21 PM on May 14, 2015


Party Cat full, because "Is it breakfast time?" "No, it's X time" is still a thing my SO and I riff on regularly
posted by kagredon at 9:22 PM on May 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


TW for slurs in Drinky Die's link

In general if certain words make you sad you would be well advised to stay away from the somethingawful.com humour forums.
posted by Sebmojo at 9:25 PM on May 14, 2015


Kingdom Hospitals:Operation open air.
posted by clavdivs at 9:30 PM on May 14, 2015


I pretty much already do that, with the exception of today, when I clicked on a link in a MetaTalk thread.

Anyway, yeah, the purple dildz would only work on FanFare, and I don't think people really get banned there.
posted by NoraReed at 9:31 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow, ThatFuzzyBastard really is gone. Just, um. Wow. I honestly thought that was not possible.
posted by tigrrrlily at 9:35 PM on May 14, 2015


I am sometimes of two minds about the effect of deleting comments. Sometimes it isn't just the behavior that is visible in someone's user history that is problematic, and while I appreciate that deletions make a thread go a lot more smoothly, I feel like it can sometimes have the unintended effect of (and maybe this isn't a good way to phrase this) giving users who repeatedly cross the line a better and more "reasonable" public reputation than they have really earned. I get that deletions are visible on the mod side and I'm not really arguing for things to be done totally differently, it's just something I've noticed and wanted to mention.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:48 PM on May 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


Sending the message that when and if someone is banned, their feelings about the situation are assumed to not matter

I mean, i agree with the rest, but these things both seem totally not an issue to me. The second one i actually agree with.

If you were being a shit enough to get banned, your opinion does NOT matter. It is possible to be completely wrong about some things, especially the kind of stuff being discussed here.

Being a misogynistic ass and defending slut shaming BS is something it's possible to have an opinion that is just wrong on. You're either saying "i'm ok with not only supporting others in the process of but actively hurting people" or you aren't.

This isn't "what's the best mario bros game" or something.

"this shit is not welcome here" is not picking a side. I mean, it is, but it's in the same category as "we don't allow people who support beating children who misbehave".

Displaying that the site management is against these sorts of things would go a long way for a lot of people, and shying away from that is more than a bit disappointing.
posted by emptythought at 10:11 PM on May 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


The point being, repulsive opinions, as distinct from areas in which reasonable people can disagree, are unwelcome here.

Golly Gee. I read repulsive stuff here all the time.
Where do I start writing the list of stuff that gets banned?
posted by HiroProtagonist at 10:26 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay...that was a depressing little bit of number crunching I just did. Dividing total number of favorites by total number of total comments, to determine average favorites-per-comment, it appears that the comments of That Fuzzy Bastard were liked almost four times as much as mine, and even Decani's comments were liked twice as much as mine.
...urg.
posted by Bugbread at 10:33 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't see banning as helping when the people just come back for another years-long round under a new name.
posted by winna at 10:35 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


life is super awesome when you turn off favourites forever and never look back
posted by poffin boffin at 10:35 PM on May 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


but then how will you know if senpai notices you
posted by NoraReed at 10:37 PM on May 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


they'll make another fucking meta
posted by poffin boffin at 10:38 PM on May 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


even Decani's comments were liked twice as much as mine

He had a sexy accent and that whole badboy thing going on.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:41 PM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't see banning as helping when the people just come back for another years-long round under a new name.

My tolerance for bad behavior from returnees has gone down a lot over the years, for whatever that's worth. I still believe that Brand New Day has value and is worth pursuing when it makes sense—I have seen it work out well a bunch of times—but I don't consider it a given that someone gets a free pass six months or a year later if they ended up banned for an ongoing pattern of really problematic behavior. There're people we say "talk to us in a year if you get x sorted out" to when they ask, and then keep a close watch on if and when it ever comes up; but there's also people who just aren't welcome back.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:42 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


s-senpai it's n-not like i want you to make a m-meta or anything...
posted by NoraReed at 10:44 PM on May 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


it appears that the comments of That Fuzzy Bastard were liked almost four times as much as mine

Someone you dislike is gone. There's little need to compare and contrast an insignificant status symbol with them, you "won".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:44 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


People seek out and like stuff that is "edgy" to confirm their asshole-y worldviews a lot of the time; I wouldn't worry about small potatoes stuff like famous misogynists this small pond getting lots of favorites when there are awful rape joke comedians out there getting paid way more for their shit than plenty of deserving non-assholes, if worrying about it is something you are able to avoid. (I say this in a "well it's indicative of larger world problems and not about you personally" way, not a "I am trying to dismiss your feelings about this dude" way.)
posted by NoraReed at 10:49 PM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Okay...that was a depressing little bit of number crunching I just did. Dividing total number of favorites by total number of total comments, to determine average favorites-per-comment, it appears that the comments of That Fuzzy Bastard were liked almost four times as much as mine, and even Decani's comments were liked twice as much as mine.
...urg.


Decani had strong opinions about some topics (religion, music and more) that meshed well with the user base. Ranting about religion in particular is popular here.

Going against the grain can be as well.
posted by zarq at 10:52 PM on May 14, 2015


Ah, yeah, I'd kinda forgot about the religion and music stuff. Thanks.
posted by Bugbread at 11:13 PM on May 14, 2015


Hey, zarq, I see what you're doing there behind the scenes. ^_^
That's very nice of you, but really, you don't need to. I was only bummed out for a minute or two, I'm all good now.
(Sorry about responding here, but your MeMail is disabled)
posted by Bugbread at 11:23 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be fair, didn't we get favorites two years after you joined? Those should be excluded from your average (though I think Decani was definitely here then too).
posted by klangklangston at 11:40 PM on May 14, 2015


I thought that some people were at best tone-deaf with their understanding of the meaning of "tramp stamp." They were treated poorly as a result. I don't understand why people are so nasty on MF, but there we are.

cortex did amazing work in the thread.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:04 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not a native speaker and I, too, was unclear about the meaning of "tramp". And you know what I did?
I shut up and listened to the conversation and I inferred from it the common usage of the word. That's what you do when you are detatched enough to understand that a thread that is nothing to do with you does not benefit from your input. When you are empathetic enough to see that it is an emotionally taxing and heated conversation and your desire to offer a counterpoint out of idle curiosity would increase people's burden. And when you are humble enough to realise that your desire to have others cater to your quest for information does not trump the other two points because the internet dies not revolve around educating you.

Actually, that's what Metafilter taught me. To STFU.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:31 AM on May 15, 2015 [82 favorites]


Oh, man. It was like the second-to-last episode of a season of The Sopranos up in here

Can ANYBODY send me/post a link?

Please?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:41 AM on May 15, 2015


Sending the message that when and if someone is banned, their feelings about the situation are assumed to not matter


I mean, i agree with the rest, but these things both seem totally not an issue to me. The second one i actually agree with.


These are real people we're talking about here, people with complex thoughts and feelings not just all-bad straw men doing only horrible things. I'm not defending bad behaviour at all here. But I'm personally totally OK with the mods treating everyone with a reasonable level of humanity even when it's not reciprocated. Be the change you want to see and all that.
posted by shelleycat at 1:45 AM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


I can only think of one character who came back after a ban and had to be shown the door again. I think it works for the most part.

Having slept on this, I'm less inclined to think a demonstrative approach to probations and bans is the only way to go, but I also don't think doing so would mean we'd go full Purple Dildo Font a la SA. I think the small-font comments inthread work just fine. But even if that doesn't happen, if the important thing is that people on the edge of leaving due to the bad behavior of others are reassured, I think a lot of the response to feedback in this very thread provides that.

Also, don't agonize over the favorites count of more awful users. They likely bought theirs on the black market, and they're cheap knock-offs that look a lot like the real thing. Only a trained eye can tell the difference between authentic and counterfeit favorites.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:05 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can ANYBODY send me/post a link?

Really, it's not that hard to do yourself. Just go to their post history, find the last time they commented in MeTa, and look at the comments from mods that follow.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:17 AM on May 15, 2015


Hey, zarq, I see what you're doing there behind the scenes. ^_^

*whistles innocently*

That's just my 'cool stuff to read' list for this weekend :)
posted by zarq at 4:50 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I thought that some people were at best tone-deaf with their understanding of the meaning of "tramp stamp."

I am a native speaker and for a moment I thought someone was going around with an ink pad looking for vagrants.
posted by biffa at 5:32 AM on May 15, 2015


I can only think of one character who came back after a ban and had to be shown the door again.

It happens. There are usually a few different incarnations

1. banned and comes back as exactly the same, banned again and stays banned
2. banned and comes back once their life has gotten better, often things are fine, sometimes things get worse when their life gets worse, gets re-banned with a "come back when your life is better" message of some kind
3. banned and comes back and is Over It and becomes a great productive member of the community
4. never banned, skates the edge of bannable forever

And these are folks who got banned, not just folks who were given the night off. Most people are types 1 and 3 with a few people staying in category 2 who are people who are on-again-off-again issues (my own personal opinions is that there are some people in difficult relationships or with substance abuse issues or with some mental health issues that are difficult to manage). Mods often see the "back end" of what's going on with people in the second category and users often don't. Everyone sees the people in the fourth category and I think they sow a lot of ill will because they'll get numerous timeouts but those never seem to add up to a full banning.

It's challenging and I have, in my retired position here, no easy suggestions except that when those four longtime troublemakers got banned-for-good after a very long reign of general shitty behavior (including some that was very clearly targeted at the mods in uncomfortable ways) I think there was a lot less "We miss their unique voice here" feeling than maybe anticipated. I do specifically miss some of the contributions by those guys, but often it came at the cost of nearly constant ankle-biting and asocial behavior that, for whatever reason, they couldn't or wouldn't change. I think the Band New Day is predicated somewhat on users being willing to make a substantive effort to figure out how to get along here. Which is challenging because we act like it's a thing that anyone can learn but that's not entirely true, in my experience. And mods are (rightfully so, I think) softies and want to give everyone a chance to be their best self.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:41 AM on May 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


Band New Day is my new brand name.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:01 AM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Actually, that's what Metafilter taught me. To STFU.

MetaFilter: STFU
That would not make a good knuckle tattoo.
posted by MikeMc at 6:06 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Who are these four horsemen everyone is talking about? Decani, TFB, and who else?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:08 AM on May 15, 2015


Never mind, I figured it out. Wow.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:13 AM on May 15, 2015


I think there was a lot less "We miss their unique voice here" feeling than maybe anticipated.

It's at least a part-time job to keep up with who is banned, who's disabled their account, who's just stopped posting. Even if I did notice X is gone, it would be pretty rare that I'd so much as think about messaging the mods about it. E.g. I just noticed hoopo is gone. No idea why, would not normally raise the point precisely because I don't know whether it's a mod decision, a personal decision, or how private that decision was. From the mods' point of view, if they did ban him then they see a lack of push-back, but that doesn't represent apathy.
posted by topynate at 6:21 AM on May 15, 2015


I will never understand people who just can't stop antagonizing people on a website. Of course we all sometimes feel the need to be sharp, or to express a contrary opinion, but there always comes a time to let it go and mentally regroup, and that time is always "three posts ago".

As a more general phenomenon, I totally grok why somebody might feel like this or that community is not always on their side, but at the end of the day, they're just web fora, and you can always find more. Not even in the sense of replacing one site with another. Just in the sense of never letting any one website feel like your world.

That's not even getting into the whole "if you're angrying so mad, try getting off the computer" thing.

Also, that tramp stamp thread got super stupid super fast.

The book listicle thing is a somewhat different case. I think it shows off the common dynamic in which relatively uncontroversial opinions are generally overwhelmed by the loud, controversial ones. It turned into a weird argument about how the post was either actually rather genius and you'd be dim to think otherwise, or actually rather terrible, and you'd be dim to think otherwise. Those not in that exact argument are going to check out.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:22 AM on May 15, 2015


I think with long time users (I guess I'm one now, weird) we have to get to a point where we understand that

A: Metafilter is not essential to you
B: You are not essential to Metafilter

and if we don't, then sooner or later we're going to fall into one of Jessamyn's four categories above.
posted by selfnoise at 6:32 AM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


MetaFilter: STFU
That would not make a good knuckle tattoo.


S T F U     D O R K
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:08 AM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I am very late to this thread (traveling), and I spotted the LBT thread, thought "this needs pushback," but they were closing the plane door, and, when I looked at it again, it was like 300 comments long, and I was too tired to get into it. I find it kind of depressing that, not three months after this MeTa, we are once again talking about how badly MetaFilter treats women. It's infuriating. And depressing. If aggressive moderation is what is required to keep contrarian jerks from driving off valuable members, well, that's better than the alternative.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:31 AM on May 15, 2015 [23 favorites]


On the substantive topic of the thread, I guess I do buy the idea that if there's a small, vocal group of people (such that there's wide overlap on "lists") that are making Metafilter a hostile place, then the moderators should ban them. That's a different situation than there being 30% of the userbase who occasionally have a bad day or put their foot in it or are just insensitive on some things. If there are twenty users who make the site a worse place to be for 50% of the population, then get rid of them.

Like most white male academics, I'm always tempted to argue edge cases, but I won't. Just assemble your lists, share them with the mods, and let them collate and prioritize and get it done. Maybe the mods could give them a "you're on the list and if we see even one more move like that you're outta here" email, or not. I guess maybe refund their membership fees: I'll chip in for that.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:10 AM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think part of the problem is it's never that simple. For example I can think of hand of a couple username but everytime I see them in a thread arguing with someone they are unrepentant dickbags. But they're also very long term well loved and remembered users. Often people who have been users for seven or eight years and honestly who in many cases as long as they're not arguing with someone they think is wrong on the internet are great people. They have specialized knowledge about a variety of things. They regularly attend meetups and are vested in the community. It'd be easy to say oh man I wish those guys were banned, but the real answer I just want those guys to stop being a dick bags to other users.
posted by corb at 8:39 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


the real answer I just want those guys to stop being a dick bags to other users.

The real answer for me is: longterm-member-of-the-community should not be a protective shield for unrepentant-dickbag.

At some point there has to be a line drawn: you can either continue to be a dickbag or you can continue be a member of this community. But not both.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:58 AM on May 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


If they just annoy you, then they would't make it onto the mod's master misogynist list. If they alienate everybody then they would.

The mods could also say "Actually, we don't think this user is that bad, they're not popular but the animus against them is unwarranted." Please don't be offended, but I think you yourself might fall into that category. It's still the mod's call.

Basically it sounds like there are still some problem users around who are really making this site hostile to women, such that we're choosing between these few assholes and almost all the women who are potential members here except those few who are willing to gird for battle every time. Not just dickbags, but something... worse? Reading this thread, I get the sense that a lot of women don't feel like they can participate here as equals so long as these few people are around. So let's get rid of them.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:58 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


MetaTalk: Please don't be offended, but I think you yourself might fall into that category.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:04 AM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


For example I can think of hand of a couple username but everytime I see them in a thread arguing with someone they are unrepentant dickbags. But they're also very long term well loved and remembered users. Often people who have been users for seven or eight years and honestly who in many cases as long as they're not arguing with someone they think is wrong on the internet are great people.

Speak privately with the mods, who (assuming they agree with your assessment) may opt to have a word with them. If you ask, they may also give offer advice to you on how to navigate the interaction.
posted by zarq at 9:05 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I may have missed it (sorry, long thread!) but what is the mod policy on just telling problem users, "hey, we don't want to see you in threads about sexism until you learn how to engage productively?" And then holding them accountable, of course... I don't mind flagging it every time, especially if that's what's going on behind the scenes. I get the feeling that that already goes on. TFB was no favorite of mine in threads about feminism, but if I saw a comment from him in a thread about music I wasn't like "GARR I CAN'T BELIEVE HE'S HERE!!" I really don't care about banhammering people, I just don't want them ruining every convo about women.

There are certain users that seem to absolutely need to go into feminism threads just to say "yeesh, what's the big deal? It's just [sexist thing], everyone is free, man" and if they could just... not do that thing, over and over and over... I would have no problem with them as posters. Is that a situation where flagging and sending a mod note saying "this user ALWAYS DOES this dismissive, derailing thing, can you keep that in mind when moderating his comments going forward?' is more likely to create some kind of mod action?

Sorry if I'm being a bit dense / not understanding the whole flow of the thread here.
posted by easter queen at 9:20 AM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Didn't we go over list making in the previous MeTa? Unless we are willing to write really specific rules regarding language and engagement, it's the only way to test the waters of who feels welcome and who doesn't. Give everyone the option to submit a ban list, no questions asked, no qualifications needed. 20 names. Tote up the numbers and ban (I'll let people with more stats related backgrounds set the bar, but if 10% of users who have posted in the past year participate, then take the top 10%, something like that). I would argue being transparent about the results (not who voted for whom, but the voting results) would also help give a rough outline of the temperature in the community. Some people may feel validated, some may feel excluded, and everyone can act in a way that make sense for them with that information in hand.
posted by 99_ at 9:30 AM on May 15, 2015


Also, I would want to hear from mods and users if I seemed to be dominating or taking on all comers in a thread that's on a topic close to my interests and if other axe-grindy folks were warned away, I would, I hope, understand if I were warned away from, e.g. trans identity related threads.
posted by kalessin at 9:30 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I may have missed it (sorry, long thread!) but what is the mod policy on just telling problem users, "hey, we don't want to see you in threads about sexism until you learn how to engage productively?" And then holding them accountable, of course... I don't mind flagging it every time, especially if that's what's going on behind the scenes.

That's where we end up with some users, yeah, as a pre-ban attempt to say, y'know, whether or not you personally think there's a problem with your behavior, the problem is there and it needs to get better. Which for folks who seem like they want to be here and are okay 90% of the time but then have this recurring 10% that becomes incrementally a bigger and bigger issue, can be a workable compromise if they can actually abide by it. Sometimes they do and things improve; sometimes they don't and that ends up being it for them.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:31 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Give everyone the option to submit a ban list, no questions asked, no qualifications needed. 20 names. Tote up the numbers and ban

That is not a thing that is ever going to happen. Everyone already has the option to drop us a line and say "hey, I think this user's behavior is a serious issue", and often what happens when this sort of conversation comes around is people go ahead and do that and it's honestly pretty helpful, but that being an individual, explicitly private bit of communications about personal concerns with the mod rather than an open call for ban votes or any such similar idea is a huge and meaningful distinction.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:35 AM on May 15, 2015 [22 favorites]


Reading this thread, I get the sense that a lot of women don't feel like they can participate here as equals so long as these few people are around. So let's get rid of them.

As much as I truly want to support this and am invested in making MeFi a better, less horrible place for women, I am concerned that it could conceivably cast too wide a net or turn into a popularity contest.

Asking users to make a list of people they want purged from the site is a minefield waiting to happen. There are mefites who have nursed grudges for years.

Be careful what you ask for, folks.
posted by zarq at 9:38 AM on May 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


To be clear, I don't mean that mods need to solicit lists of users to be banned. But there's a lot of good organization among women at Metafilter and it seems like the mods would probably notice if they received fifty or sixty lists of people with a few users showing up again and again. Just because the mods aren't soliciting the lists as some sort of Hugo nomination process thing with vote tallies and voting system arguments doesn't mean that women shouldn't send them: just the opposite.

Since it's a private message and the mods are free to discount it if they think the users making lists are acting from bad grudge-holding and not something more serious and pernicious, it seems like a perfect thing for women to discuss among themselves and either do or not do as they see fit.

Since there's not going to be a big change of policy this time, this seems like a concrete act worth considering to just remind the mods that this is a thing. Sort of like JulyBy doesn't require any moderator go ahead to achieve more participation, either.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:41 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Asking users to make a list of people they want purged from the site is a minefield waiting to happen.

Asking users to make a list of people they want purged from the site and then doing it would probably destroy MetaFilter.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:41 AM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Or I could just preview next time. Thanks, cortex.
posted by zarq at 9:41 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


99_: "Give everyone the option to submit a ban list, no questions asked, no qualifications needed. 20 names. Tote up the numbers and ban"

This is pretty dumb as far as ideas go! I mean, if it were implemented, you'd be #1 on my list just on principle.
posted by boo_radley at 9:41 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Give everyone the option to submit a ban list, no questions asked, no qualifications needed. 20 names. Tote up the numbers and ban (I'll let people with more stats related backgrounds set the bar, but if 10% of users who have posted in the past year participate, then take the top 10%, something like that).

wow. This is an amazingly well presented plan for enabling passive aggressive mob behavior. In fact, it instantly inspires a sort of horror story along the lines of The Lottery. Every year, a small town culls its numbers by removing (via secret ballot) its most contentious, provocative members. Of course, in my version the town would eventually devolve into cannibalism etc. Others may foresee a more positive result ...
posted by philip-random at 10:00 AM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


In the end it'd just be The Whelk and poffin boffin standing on a boundless plain of skulls
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:06 AM on May 15, 2015 [42 favorites]


Vote #1 quidnunc kid
posted by PMdixon at 10:08 AM on May 15, 2015 [23 favorites]


Some the less successful "solutions" remind me of the episode of Angel in which a demon tries to disrupt a group under the guise of a New Age-y style group therapist.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:08 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Of course, in my version the town would eventually devolve into cannibalism etc. Others may foresee a more positive result ...

It worked OK for Athens...
posted by topynate at 10:10 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Eh, poffin boffin has some pretty egregious opinions re sour poffins, to be honest.
posted by gilrain at 10:10 AM on May 15, 2015


just don't ban mullacc. he does good comments.
posted by mullacc at 10:10 AM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


I really don't care about banhammering people, I just don't want them ruining every convo about women.

Yeah, obviously the lists are silly, so silly that I sometimes wonder if they're suggested as a reductio ad absurdum on what we're trying to accomplish here. I don't think that full-bannings are necessarily the only way out either. Even keeping some of the very usual suspects already named here out of sexism threads would be sufficient.

What it seems like would help most are notes in threads to rerail conversations and set norms. Not just "drop the Urban Dictionary thing", but more like "Your misunderstanding of this term is not the topic of this thread" or, in my dreams, "you can learn more about that confusing term by reading the FPP". I wanted to emphasize what Empress said earlier because she put it perfectly:

Speaking only for myself, this is a data point you can do with what you like - frankly, I feel much more supported as a user when I see that someone who's being a shit is getting brought up on their consequences. Mod notes to just "cool it" sometimes come across like when another kid in the lunchroom steals your sandwich out of your hands and you try to get it back, but the lunchroom monitor only says "no horseplay, you too, use your words and work it out on your own", and you feel now they've left you to fend for yourself; whereas "that's it, you get a day off"comes across more like a much clearer "oh, wait, he stole your sandwich? Bobby, give that sandwich back now!"

I certainly don't want to put anyone in the position of lunchroom monitor, but I completely agree that when the mod notes are just "stop making a fuss," things don't de-escalate the way they might if the note was more specific about what behavior is the problem. Those notes are especially useful for e.g. women reading a horrible thread trying to get a sense of whether this place is really that hostile toward women, or if something's just gone terribly wrong. I've been feeling more the former than the latter, and I do think the decrease in pointed mod notes like e.g. Jessamyn used to leave is some part of that.

I guess all I'm saying is, seeing a single "Everyone please give the 'but some women really are sluts' thing a rest" note from a mod would have been about as welcome a sight in that thread as seeing an oasis in the desert. There were notes, but they were mostly about specific users, not about the overall tenor of the thread.

I also think that keeping these already-named users out of sexism threads, as has been done for plenty of users before on different topics, would likely free up a bunch of time and energy for mods to deal with these threads. From the outside, it ends up looking like most of the mod efforts ended up going into keeping jayder from talking about what sexual positions cheap women like and their "respect-me-nots" and what have you, and if those sorts of big forest fires weren't burning out of control all the time in these threads, we might have more energy to put towards helping women feel welcome here instead.
posted by dialetheia at 10:11 AM on May 15, 2015 [34 favorites]


I don't support list making - I bring it up because it seems specious to posit that 'MeFi would be so much better if X users weren't here" as if there is complete consensus and the mods are just being dicks by letting line play out or are somehow giving cover to people who shouldn't get it. Sorry, it was a little troll-y, but it's a little frustrating to see the conversation start drifting into a presumption that it's super simple to classify and excise assholes.
posted by 99_ at 10:11 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Since this is MeTa, I also just feel like highlighting this thread as a case study, because it seems to me like there is a mass of female users (directly affected by sexism) and a mass of male allies (indirectly affected but sympathetic) and/or male users who are gently objecting/redirecting (i.e., "Metafilter isn't the only website out there"). If you just break it down by female / male:

Female users seem to be suggesting stronger moderation in general, but not many calls for banhammer or new policies being enacted; just stronger moderation of sexist white noise. jessamyn is here saying there is a problem, but there is no silver bullet; in general the call is for a closer eye on the rippling effects of letting women-related threads end in brawling. The question is, what is the balance of making people feel welcome vs. unwelcome? We acknowledge that there will always be sexism on the site, but question the idea that rehashing the same fights over and over isn't a clear case of derailment and threadshitting, which are not OK by the current standards. There is acknowledgment that banning doesn't necessarily solve everything, nor is it always the best option. There is acknowlegment that the best personal solution might be to take a long break from the site, but also the underlying knowledge that there are few places you can really go to "avoid sexism" anyway. There is an exhaustion with defending basic principles and a wish to move on from Feminism 101 to 201 by giving space to feminist discussions to develop, instead of seeing the "good fight" as an end in itself. (I don't mean to speak for anyone, this is just the paraphrase/vibe I'm getting.) The idea that we are "tending our garden" was questioned by a user who says, when will women get to reap?

Male users on the other hand seem to be calling for something directly to be done, and/or for female users to move on and distribute themselves more equally over the web in order to relieve stress. There are more calls for "lists," for bannings, and the idea that Metafilter is never going to be perfect so the MeTa is a bit irrelevant. There is an equation of "this thread about taxation is really pissing me off, I'm going to take a breather" and "this thread about sexism is really making me feel unwelcome on the site and I am not sure whether to try to make Metafilter a better place or just take off for awhile." To me these aren't equivalent situations, though I acknowledge that the advice comes from a helpful place. There are also a lot of call of appreciation for "fighting the good fight" and the idea that the site is better for these long battles over dignity/respect/personhood. Right at this moment, we have male users arguing with another male user over whether "lists" are a good idea.

I'm not highlighting this as a case of gender essentialism; I think the divide is a product of who is directly and indirectly affected, and how being directly affected by sexism hones your sensitivity to the situation and realism about how it can be resolved. I think this is important to note, because there is always a lot of concern trolling about how if the feminists got their way it would be a sterile place of no discussion, or that we would just ban everybody we don't like, and I think for the most part women here are floating practical and nuanced ideas and requests, whether they can be incorporated by mods or not. (And in fact, most of the requests seem to be saying mods are doing a good job, but could they do more of what they're doing, and maybe shift their perspective slightly toward sexism = site problem and derail.)

As someone who doesn't always check profiles or know who is male and who is female, it was surprising for me to go through this thread and realize how the divide between those to whom sexism is very real and those to whom it is theoretical really affects the tone of the suggestions.

Anyway, apologies if this is insulting to anyone male or female, or way off base, it's just something I've noticed in the past in these discussions and this time I actually spent time writing about it. It's not a clear cut case; there are feminist commenters who want more direct action, and male allies with a very subtle view of the situation. And of course, women must negotiate their desire for direct action with the consequences of coming off as too aggressive or "feminazi." Neither side is wrong, obviously, and there is truth in all approaches. Just different emphases that emerge.
posted by easter queen at 10:12 AM on May 15, 2015 [17 favorites]


in my version the town would eventually devolve into cannibalism etc. Others may foresee a more positive result

what could be a more positive result than cannibalism
posted by Greg Nog at 10:12 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I suspect the mods don't need doomsday lists in any case. I would wager that they, as a group and as individual moderators, all have a handful of names that they have often needed to say things such as, say, "I would like this not to be something that keeps happening, and not have to deal with the pretense that it's some new idea each time it comes up" regarding repeated bad behavior.

The difficulty is a philosophical difference, where they as a matter of policy, are very very reticent to become less forgiving of that repeated bad behavior. Ultimately it's probably an agree-to-disagree area of site policy. I happen to think it directly and predictably leads to things like yonder tattoo thread turning into alienating shitshows, but I'm just some guy, and in fairness, the field of skulls idea with lone survivors has a certain aesthetic appeal.
posted by Drastic at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]




what could be a more positive result than cannibalism

Free range cannibalism
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:19 AM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Sorry, it was a little troll-y, but it's a little frustrating to see the conversation start drifting into a presumption that it's super simple to classify and excise assholes.

I'm glad you admitted it was troll-y, because that is a canonical example of concern trolling. I hope we can 100% drop the list idea now.
posted by dialetheia at 10:22 AM on May 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


I guess all I'm saying is, seeing a single "Everyone please give the 'but some women really are sluts' thing a rest" note from a mod would have been about as welcome a sight in that thread as seeing an oasis in the desert. There were notes, but they were mostly about specific users, not about the overall tenor of the thread.

I totally hear you. With a time machine I'd go back and tackle the explicit messaging in that thread a little more aggressively than I did, though of course it's a lot easier to make that call post-game than in the middle of a crazy busy day. I have a personal tendency toward keeping notes a little more non-specific while trying to delete followup not-getting-the-hint comments from the folks who otherwise might have been named, as a compromise between aggressively putting people on the spot immediately and giving them a chance to just recognize the issue and cut it out, but that's something I'm still trying to find the balance on.

I also think that keeping these already-named users out of sexism threads, as has been done for plenty of users before on different topics, would likely free up a bunch of time and energy for mods to deal with these threads.

I think that is a part of it, yeah, though it's a tricker and more energy-sucking piece of work in practice than it sounds like on paper because working with people in a decent way on hard stuff is complicated stuff, emotionally and diplomatically. This discussion's been a useful reminder about getting on with that anyway in a couple cases, though, and I appreciate that.

From the outside, it ends up looking like most of the mod efforts ended up going into keeping jayder from talking about what sexual positions cheap women like and their "respect-me-nots" and what have you, and if those sorts of big forest fires weren't burning out of control all the time in these threads, we might have more energy to put towards helping women feel welcome here instead.

I can understand that perception. In practice, it was actually the whole collective pile of stuff going on in the thread, and the speed at which it was going on plus a couple other busy and needs-active-mod-attention things elsewhere, that was eating up most of my time, more than any one user's behavior. And the worst stuff in that thread, that kicked off a lot of flags and replies-to-replies-to-deleted-things needing cleanup, is the stuff that's not visible anymore, so how the thread looked and played from my end is for sure somewhat different than how it might look to any given user. Not a totally bridgeable gap, that, and so it goes; I know folks can't read our minds and I don't expect them to.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:23 AM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm glad you admitted it was troll-y, because that is a canonical example of concern trolling. I hope we can 100% drop the list idea now.

So we agree list making is a bad idea?
posted by 99_ at 10:25 AM on May 15, 2015


I think this is important to note, because there is always a lot of concern trolling about how if the feminists got their way it would be a sterile place of no discussion, or that we would just ban everybody we don't like, and I think for the most part women here are floating practical and nuanced ideas and requests, whether they can be incorporated by mods or not.

I agreed with nearly all of your comment, and you had me nodding my head until 'concern trolling.'

I think making ban wish lists is a terrible idea. Please don't characterize disagreement with what should be done as concern trolling. At least some of it is not trolling, but actual concern.
posted by zarq at 10:26 AM on May 15, 2015


So we agree list making is a bad idea?

Trolling is a bad idea. And that's what you're doing here.
posted by zarq at 10:27 AM on May 15, 2015 [21 favorites]


So we agree list making is a bad idea?

No. IIRC, the mods already have a list of users ranked by the number of times their comments have been flagged; this is a good thing, as it allows them to keep tabs on who's frequently causing ruckuses.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:28 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think making ban wish lists is a terrible idea. Please don't characterize disagreement with what should be done as concern trolling. At least some of it is not trolling, but actual concern.

My point is what dialethia said above: the call for ban lists is being floated mostly by men, from what I can tell, and being argued about by men, and it's really just a reductio ad absurdum (as she put it) of the idea that judicious banning of people who can't get it together has been a relief.

What I'm calling concern trolling is the idea that any time a MeTa like this one is posted, we get a lot of "but if we delete sexist comments, we'll destroy the community" type comments that are really not warranted based on the tenor of the actual requests from women.

I could be wrong, I am not running stats on who says what, it's just an impression I get (and a familiar one from being in feminist and ally spaces).
posted by easter queen at 10:29 AM on May 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


What I'm calling concern trolling is the idea that any time a MeTa like this one is posted, we get a lot of "but if we delete sexist comments, we'll destroy the community" type comments that are really not warranted based on the tenor of the actual requests from women.

Ah. Yes. OK. I understand and agree, of course.
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Overall, I think it's really good that we have plenty of tools at our disposal, e.g. visible warnings, thread exits, warnings to avoid X topic, and leaving mod notes to the collective whole to cool it (addressing a practice rather than a specific user), and I really hope the greater visibility of moderation in action will help reassure people that you can click into a thread about anything woman-related and it won't be a howling shit-slinging fest of obnoxious brorcs.

What I'm calling concern trolling is the idea that any time a MeTa like this one is posted, we get a lot of "but if we delete sexist comments, we'll destroy the community" type comments that are really not warranted based on the tenor of the actual requests from women.

In fairness, a lot of our Free Speech For Bigots Warriors are among those who have since been shown the door. I haven't seen anyone float "b-b-but muh freeze peach" on this subject with any great dedication, by cape and sword, in quite a while now.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:34 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


easter queen, I did a quick ctrl-F and found the comments that inspired me (by showbiz_liz and Mrs. Pterodactyl, both women) and then smoke, and then a lot of other stuff that was basically about topic bans and whether bans should be publicly advertised. I also mean "list" in the less formal sense of "people who I remember and avoid" from poffin boffin (a woman) and not something official in csv file.

It appears that 99_ took my serious comments (which ultimately was just echoing and trying to encourage what cortex and Lobstermitten have both said about private messaging when problematic users surface) and turned it into a concern troll. I'd rather not be lumped in with him, please.

That said, it's true that I am a man, and I'll happily bow out of the thread if it feels to you like I'm not being helpful.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:34 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


"b-b-but muh freeze peach"

It took me about 20 seconds to parse what you meant by this; until then I thought you were talking about a very unique peach sorbet recipe. and now I'm hungry.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:36 AM on May 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


anotherpanacaea, I totally understand and don't want you to leave the thread or anything; men are as welcome as anyone else to make well-meaning suggestions. For some reason though, then a lot of men popped up to argue with another man about an extreme solution to a nuanced problem and it just seemed like it was going to be a derail.

I don't think you're being unhelpful (or a concern troll, you sounded genuine and I appreciate the participation), it's just a dynamic of note.

I feel like my post might start a derail and I actually really don't want to do that, so I apologize.

Thanks for being gracious about it.
posted by easter queen at 10:37 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I haven't seen anyone float "b-b-but muh freeze peach"

Dudes, Metafilter is totally SRS-Lite

{/}
posted by tigrrrlily at 10:47 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks easter queen. I should say that one other thing that inspired me is the awareness that our mods are very much overworked and so we/you/somebody probably needs to take an active role here. If the site had more money and mod time available it might be possible to deal with these threads better in real time, but to some extent user-side solutions (including and especially solutions organized by women for women) are going to be necessary just because from comments by the mods themselves in this thread we know that the mods are at or close to their limit as it is. I think they'd love to do more, but we hear time and again that they're juggling a lot and babysitting contentious threads is already very difficult, even though it's obviously very important to them.

So that's one thing I hear from the mods that seems to stymie that more nuanced and sophisticated kind of work that you see as being the female side of this divide. I'm not rejecting it, at all; it's what I've always loved about Metafilter. But I wonder if part of getting used to life without as many mods is getting used to doing some of this stuff ourselves/yourselves.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:49 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


But I wonder if part of getting used to life without as many mods is getting used to doing some of this stuff ourselves/yourselves

Part of the problem, though, is that these users apparently relish forcing other users to stop having grownup conversations, and to instead make everyone start focusing on them. Other users saying "that is completely inappropriate for this discussion, stop behaving this way" not only does not work, it actually encourages them to keep sea lioning in many cases.

The ability of mods to actually turn off the mic of those people is something that users cannot do.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:54 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Isn't the point of this MeTa about getting something done?

The last MeTa and this one have all covered the following points:

1. Why can't we have more mods?
2. Why can't mods be more like jessamyn (though this one far less)?
3. Why can't we get the known bad actors permabanned more quickly?

The first two are easily answered. The third always sorts sleds back and forth around 'mods aren't aggressive enough' or 'we really know who those people are dammit and I wish I had the banhammer' and I just sort of throw up my hands and wonder why more people don't call for Survivor-style action.

I have never liked the idea that a person becomes the proxy community norms, so I favor a framework. But I think the same resource constraints that make point 1 a non-starter affect any sort of systemic action.

I don't think it's concern trolling to mention list making because almost every systemic solution involves it. Keep toxic assholes out of 'feminist' threads? How is that adjudicated? The author or mod tags a thread (or elects to monitor it) and then either systemically (via some programming that restricts users ability to post) or actively policies it, but either requires a list that is based on election (self selected, community, or mod-based). And I think it's disingenuous and unhealthy to act like there aren't lists (in our heads or in a DB) and I don't think we will ever stop having threads like the LBT one until something happens to address points 1 or 3. And I think more transparency about lists is the only way to effect any sort of evolution.
posted by 99_ at 10:55 AM on May 15, 2015


for myself, when I realize that a user is being a consistent ass, I consistently flag their useless derailing indistinguishable-from-trolling comments.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:58 AM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


So... are you for lists or against them? You're being pretty confusing here.

I think that as long as the modding system stays living and dynamic, these kinds of MeTas are important to push the envelope and empower users to do more flagging/mod form reporting of repeat bad/injurious behavior. If we establish in a MeTa that there is a problem, it also gives context to an uptick in flagging.
posted by easter queen at 10:58 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


easterqueen:
these kinds of MeTas are important to push the envelope and empower users to do more flagging/mod form reporting of repeat bad/injurious behavior

I would be curious to hear from mods about this a week from now with some comparison to the previous MeTa. My sense from the comments here is that we didn't actually move the needle (and reading through the LBT thread, it certainly didn't seem that way). If people think we're making incremental progress, great. But I thought this MeTa existed because we had not.


anotherpanacea, you specifically asked people to make lists.
posted by 99_ at 11:08 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


What I'm calling concern trolling is the idea that any time a MeTa like this one is posted, we get a lot of "but if we delete sexist comments, we'll destroy the community" type comments that are really not warranted based on the tenor of the actual requests from women.

Not wanting to start a fight, but this really jarred me, because I haven't seen this conversation taking place anywhere in this thread. It's like a meta-concern troll, to be honest (and speaking as someone you accused of concern trolling above). Has anybody in this thread suggested that deleting sexist comments is a bad idea? All I've seen are people arguing about how much more can we do, and what specifically that should be, and who should do it. I've been in threads where people argued not to delete shitty stuff, and those were horrible, horrible threads. This hasn't been that kind of thread at all, and I'm at a loss to figure out what your purpose is in trying to paint it that way, now?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:11 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


My point was that when it happens here generally, it's not warranted. For instance, this thread has not been policed to ward off radical feminists, and yet the women in the thread are suggesting practical, helpful, civil measures.

And I did think you were concern trolling a bit above, but it's not the end of the world.
posted by easter queen at 11:15 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been traveling the past few days so I haven't been able to keep up here as much as I'd have liked to, but I just wanted to chime in as an unapologetically feminist MeFite who has come to the conclusion that this place is not one in which I can reasonably expect to have any conversations about the reality of life as a woman without knowing that they are likely to be consistently and continuously derailed.

So for real, I give up. I'm beyond sick of the expectation that women need to do shitloads of thankless 101-level work just to be able to converse with our fellow nerds about things that are meaningful to or life-altering for us, and way beyond sick of watching my fellow feminists get burned out by having to answer the same tedious, pseudo-sincere "but if you won't educate me, how can I learn????" douchebags, certainly #notall but easily 90% of them men, every time women try to start operating from a simple first principle of acknowledging that women are human beings. I have those conversations elsewhere now (including IRL with other MeFites, like we'll be doing in DC tonight! you should come!) because it's become increasingly clear to me over the years that they simply can't happen here. Them's the breaks, you can't always get what you want, que sera, &c.

But many thanks to dialetheia for starting this MeTa regardless, I love the hope it holds. I wish our work was worth something, I wish we had a chance of changing something.
posted by divined by radio at 11:16 AM on May 15, 2015 [49 favorites]


Keep toxic assholes out of 'feminist' threads? How is that adjudicated?

The say way that "please stop being disruptive in religion threads" or "in Apple threads" is handled: mods identify a pattern of problem behavior, by their own observations and by flags and contact form comments; mods ask the user to knock it off; user either does knock it off -- great! -- or continues to be disruptive in those threads and gets a timeout or, if it continues, a ban.

At least that's how I understand it to have worked -- as cortex has repeatedly said, mod process is mostly social rather than technological, with the tools (flags, contact forms, timeouts, bans) informing human decisions.

The frustration here I think is mostly that that process isn't being activated enough: mods don't know enough about who who the habitual problems are in feminism threads? Mods aren't invested enough in addressing those problems?

(One thing jessamyn noted in her comment above: a number of the long-time-coming bans were triggered by not only public shittiness, but also ongoing bad behavior towards the mods. That bothered me a bit at the time, and still bothers me a bit now. No, shittiness towards mods should not be tolerated; but here it almost appeared to be the triggering behavior for the "OK, enough of this shit" bans. Ongoing and unchanging shittiness towards other users -- especially towards any specific subset of other users -- should also be visibly sufficient for "enough of this shit" action.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:20 AM on May 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


mods don't know enough about who who the habitual problems are in feminism threads?

Although that said, there's been very clear mod statements in this thread of "please let us know if you see this going on" so: let them know.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:23 AM on May 15, 2015


Okay - easter queen. I agree with your first point entirely, I just don't think it applies to this thread or conversation.

On the second point, we will just have to disagree. I see from the favorites on it that you apparently aren't the only one to have that opinion, so it's also entirely possible that it was my communication fail, so to whatever extent the result of my comments didn't match up to the intent, I apologize sincerely to anyone offended. I was being genuine, but that's not always enough. Moving on now.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:23 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think there is another issue in these threads that needs to be identified as a derail and addressed as such, and it is on full display in the Canadian reporter thread:

That when the subject of the thread is sexism, the discussion in the thread will be about everything but sexism. In this case, a thread that is about the fact that a new trend has arisen that seems to be primarily targeting women reporters that involves screaming a misogynistic phrase into a live mic during a remote broadcast. This is a thing that really happens and apparently happens all the time.

A vast majority of the thread is about the fact that a participant got fired. And the discussion is mostly about what might happen -- maybe in some dystopian future we will get fired because we did something that should be perfectly fine during our off hours. And somehow the topic moves from a real thing that happens to women to an invented thing that might happen to men and women, but I get the sense that the real fear is that it will happen to men.

And so the constant, soul-crushing everyday misogyny that the FPP points out becomes washed away in favor of male fantasies of oppression thanks to responses to misogyny. And whatever the merits of this discussion in that particular thread -- and I personally think there is no merit to them whatsoever -- it happens in every single thread. Every one. There's always a long, often thread-consuming derail about if we respond to misogyny in this way, won't it hurt men in this way in the future.

We need to be able to identify these derails, flag them, and have them actually nuked from orbit as derails. Because when a thread about women becomes a thread about men discussing the things that interest men and affect men, it's a problem. It's a chronic problem. A honestly think the way the tattoo thread is just a symptom of this problem, because that thread turned from "Women are being humiliated for their tramp stamp" to "here's what I, as a man, think about women's bodies."
posted by maxsparber at 11:28 AM on May 15, 2015 [83 favorites]


One thing jessamyn noted in her comment above: a number of the long-time-coming bans were triggered by not only public shittiness, but also ongoing bad behavior towards the mods.

There's some complicated internal context for the being-shitty-toward-mods angle there that is sort of the other way around, though—we'd for way, way too many years taken an approach to shittiness toward mods that was kind of a tough-it-out mantra: yeah, they're being super shitty to us, but what do you do, people get angry on the internet and of course we're the ones who have to just suck it up and be the adult and let it pass. We would decline to take action on someone's shitty behavior on the contact form or private email that, if it were directed at a user instead of a mod, we'd consider bannable behavior.

At some point I think we basically started to come to our senses on that, mostly as a result of expanding the mod team over time to our large collection of staff and realizing that as much as Matt and Jess and I had sort of convinced ourselves we could just wade through the bullshit and let it pass over us, it wasn't actually something we felt comfortable telling everyone else on the team to just deal with.

So the "you've been shitty to users and you've been shitty to us" thing started becoming something we were more willing to draw a line on the last few years, vs. where it used to mostly be more of a "be shitty to us, fine, but don't do that to a fellow user" in some of those older bullshit cases.

And that's certainly only part of the mix of issues with eventually banning long-time problem users, but I want to be clear that it's a lot more complicated than "bother other users, fine, bother us and now it's a problem" or anything approaching that. That a public mid-conversation last straw situation involving someone inter alia being a dick to a mod will probably contain a reference to their dickishness to the mods kind of makes sense as basic happenstance, but it's not the sole or standard form of a someone-getting-banned situation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:31 AM on May 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


And I should clarify that I think the phrase "tramp stamp" is odious. Had I not been writing with white knuckles and froth pouring from my lips, I would have used "lower back tattoo."
posted by maxsparber at 11:31 AM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


We need to be able to identify these derails, flag them, and have them actually nuked from orbit as derails.

The fact that the guy got fired, having been mentioned in the original post, is not at all a derail, and it's dishonest to characterize it that way.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:34 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


The fact that the guy got fired, having been mentioned in the original post, is not at all a derail, and it's dishonest to characterize it that way.

Please reconsider whether or not something being mentioned in the FPP means it's the point of the FPP, or the most important thing to discuss.
posted by maxsparber at 11:36 AM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


No, but "what if one day Canadian labor protections become as degraded as the US" absolutely is. This isn't parli debate, you don't get to double win by launching a derail and then successfully attacking the whole idea of "meaning".
posted by PMdixon at 11:37 AM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


"please let us know if you see this going on" so: let them know

OK, I have a *huge* problem doing this. Why? Because in most walks of life, if you're a woman, this is the way to get ignored, belittled, or labeled oversensitive or a troublemaker. *Especially* if you're trying to point out behavior that's by itself not horrible or egregious.

Normally, the way to let the mods know about stuff is through flagging. If I flag something chances are I feel pretty strongly about it, and then if nothing happens I can't help but wonder if some of the same things I talked about above are happening behind the scenes, as I've had happen to me in real life.

Sometimes it really is just easier to go someplace else.
posted by tigrrrlily at 11:37 AM on May 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


Although that said, there's been very clear mod statements in this thread of "please let us know if you see this going on" so: let them know.

Yeah, and I can't emphasize this enough. I feel like there's a frustrating if mechanically understandable thing that can happen where, as sort of an aggregate, group behavior thing that's not anyone's fault, folks will end up in this cycle of: find some behavior problematic, assume we know about it or the extent of it, see us not do something about it, decide we don't care, and then not bother telling us about it because it's assumed we know and don't care.

In practice, we do a decent job of keeping an eye out but as a small team of humans working in shifts on a large community site that none of us can read all of, our awareness can be porous; we can miss individual things, we can see some individual things but not see the scope of a whole pattern of behavior, we can get an aggregate of signals that's more diluted or spaced out than folks expect.

So that decision to short circuit the "if anything were going to be done, it'd have been done, so what's the point" feeling and just let us know anyway is really valuable. It's helps us see what we're missing, it helps us do better to not fall short on something or let something fester longer than it needs to. It really is very much part of what makes this place work.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:38 AM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


In some cases, though, the problem is in the framing. For example, that Canadian reporter thread includes the bit about the guy getting fired from his job in the FPP itself - it's very obviously one of the points being referenced even separately. So I think to ask people not to talk about one of the links in an FPP is a little bit of a nonstarter.
posted by corb at 11:38 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Please reconsider whether or not something being mentioned in the FPP means it's the point of the FPP, or the most important thing to discuss.

It's really not appropriate for commenters to decry something as a derail because it doesn't fit in with the subset of the FPP that they, personally, wish to discuss. That's not pointing out a derail; that's backseat modding.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:41 AM on May 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


You may be right, Corb, but, then, I suspect we could go through every single thread about women that has been hijacked by discussions of interest to men and say, well, it was a problem with the thread, well, it was a problem with the framing, well, of course we were going to talk about that.

Let me ask that we not fixate on individual threads, where it is easy to rule lawyer that this sort of thing necessarily was going to happen, and instead focus on the fact that this is apprently true of every thread about women.
posted by maxsparber at 11:41 AM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


I over-debate every flag. There are many that I let go by because I don't want to be seen as a troublemaker. You know, "maybe I'm being too sensitive." I guess that's part and parcel of the larger issue.

I promise to screw up my courage and be click-ier when I see what I perceive as crappy behavior, and if you feel the same as I do ... let's be click-ier together.
posted by kimberussell at 11:42 AM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


hat's not pointing out a derail; that's backseat modding.

Well, that's literally why I am asking for mods help here.
posted by maxsparber at 11:42 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


The say way that "please stop being disruptive in religion threads" or "in Apple threads" is handled: mods identify a pattern of problem behavior, by their own observations and by flags and contact form comments; mods ask the user to knock it off; user either does knock it off -- great! -- or continues to be disruptive in those threads and gets a timeout or, if it continues, a ban.

If we were treating the tattoo thread the way we tread Apple threads, dios coming in and dropping a "this isn't sexism" in a post about sexism would have been swiftly deleted. For some reason, it wasn't, and we get to have the sexism version of Mac vs. PC fight again. I am still having trouble understanding why "PCs are better than Macs!" is a derail in an Apple thread, but "This isn't sexism!" is allowed in a sexism thread. It's especially weird that the mods think specific outspoken users pushing back against it is the solution. Would we expect one or two really passionate Apple fans to take on the work of correcting derails in the threads they cared about?

I also want to note that the intense pushback didn't shut dios down at all. He escalated further in comments that had to be deleted anyways.
posted by almostmanda at 11:42 AM on May 15, 2015 [58 favorites]


Well, that's literally why I am asking for mods help here.

I'm not sure how you expect them to help, other than by excising the parts of FPPs you deem to be problematic.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:44 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


OK, I have a *huge* problem doing this. Why? Because in most walks of life, if you're a woman, this is the way to get ignored, belittled, or labeled oversensitive or a troublemaker. *Especially* if you're trying to point out behavior that's by itself not horrible or egregious.

Normally, the way to let the mods know about stuff is through flagging. If I flag something chances are I feel pretty strongly about it, and then if nothing happens I can't help but wonder if some of the same things I talked about above are happening behind the scenes, as I've had happen to me in real life.


I'd like to be able to dismiss this out of hand, but I can see the problem it's capturing. I mean, I'm a dude, but I ended up pretty much giving up on flagging when I was being targetted by another of our now-departeds (hilariously, as far as I could understand, over whether I loved the model of laptop I own enough), since I didn't really get a sense that it was going to go anywhere, and it felt, over time, like this was just the background radiation of MetaFilter, and all one would achieve would be to feed their persecution complex and feelings of justification. Fortunately, because I am a dude, experiencing that level of woo was rare enough to be picaresque and novel, rather than a tedious reenactment of meatspace power structures, though.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:46 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure how you expect them to help, other than by excising the parts of FPPs you deem to be problematic.

That is what I want. I have made the case that they are problematic, and I want them exised, because unless the mods step in, every thread about women will be derailed by men, who will then argue it wasn't a derail at all, but necessarily the subject of the thread.

I actually think I was pretty clear about that.
posted by maxsparber at 11:46 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I over-debate every flag. There are many that I let go by because I don't want to be seen as a troublemaker. You know, "maybe I'm being too sensitive."

I used to have this hesitation as well, but I've reframed flagging for myself as less "this needs to be deleted" and more "I would like a mod to take a look at this comment and determine what to do." Thinking about it like this makes it much easier for me to err on the side of flagging borderline content, which I think is ultimately helpful for the site.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:50 AM on May 15, 2015 [28 favorites]


Yeah. When it comes to flagging, let go and let mod.
posted by easter queen at 11:51 AM on May 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


Let me ask that we not fixate on individual threads, where it is easy to rule lawyer that this sort of thing necessarily was going to happen, and instead focus on the fact that this is apprently true of every thread about women.

So here's the thing - I think these things can actually be useful, because they're really illuminating. So for example - that thread had a link in the FPP about one aspect of the whole situation. Totally normal to talk about a link in the FPP. BUT at the same time, when I read the article, I became enraged that shouting that at female reporters was apparently a thing - and at the point I became enraged, I think I probably would have had little patience with discussing the other stuff.

And that's going to be a problem, because the person who first notices something interesting and brings it in is not necessary going to be the person most sensitive to the rage. So what do you do? What do you, sitewide, do?
posted by corb at 11:54 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I responded to you a few times in that thread, one more dead town's last parade, and I thought I did a fairly decent job of pointing out why going down that road is probably a bad idea. It's the same thing maxsparber is telling you now, and I don't really understand why this is the hill you're willing to die on - this weird "we should be allowed to discuss this no matter what". Treating discussions about issues women face as an intellectual game, as an "everything is up for debate" kind of thing is a bad pattern. It's a pattern that's also the subject of this meta, so maybe you can listen to the people who have concerns about threads going down this path.
posted by erratic meatsack at 11:55 AM on May 15, 2015 [24 favorites]


So what do you do? What do you, sitewide, do?

Flag things that seem like derails in threads and ask that mods be more sensitive to the way that threads about women's issues get derailed and ask that they step in to rerail, I suppose.
posted by maxsparber at 11:56 AM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I over-debate every flag. There are many that I let go by because I don't want to be seen as a troublemaker. You know, "maybe I'm being too sensitive."

I think this is a really important point. I have the same feeling a lot of the time, like if I overuse the flag button, it won't be taken seriously next time I use it because I'll be seen as having a grudge or whatever. I think it's completely understandable that people might feel this way, especially women, since so many of us have the experience of speaking up once or twice and then forever being tagged as "the one who's oversensitive" or "the one who's always going on and on about sexism", so that can be a hard thing to get over in this context. When I say it out loud like that it sounds silly, because I can't actually imagine cortex or anyone else thinking that about our flags, but it's so deeply ingrained in me that it really requires a conscious effort to overcome sometimes.
posted by dialetheia at 11:57 AM on May 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


Flag things that seem like derails in threads

So I guess maybe a better question would be - what, precisely, is a derail? My current understanding is: something that's not mentioned in the FPP and no one else is talking about except you. So in that sense, I wouldn't flag things like that as derails. What do you see it as though?
posted by corb at 11:59 AM on May 15, 2015


It's really not appropriate for commenters to decry something as a derail because it doesn't fit in with the subset of the FPP that they, personally, wish to discuss. That's not pointing out a derail; that's backseat modding.

Honestly, I feel like the points you keep on bringing up there were addressed multiple times in the thread, some before you even started commenting in it, and in at least one link in the FPP. Apparently it wasn't addressed to your satisfaction, but that doesn't mean anyone is trying to excise that discussion entirely.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:01 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry, Corb, I'm not going to sit down and come up with a specific set of rules for what and is what not a derail. Once again, we move away from addressing a general trend with general tools to hypothetical individual cases, and I don't trust that every single individual case won't be argued as not being something that counts.
posted by maxsparber at 12:02 PM on May 15, 2015 [22 favorites]


So I guess maybe a better question would be - what, precisely, is a derail? My current understanding is: something that's not mentioned in the FPP and no one else is talking about except you.

The problem is that it very quickly becomes something people are talking about, either in agreement or as pushback. When we're specifically discussing violence or oppression aimed at women, for instance, bringing up the context-free general incidence of violence against men is a derail. When we're talking about a gendered slur about women's appearance, bringing up an evidence-free assertion that a gender-neutral and non-pejorative term for appearance means men have it just as bad is a derail. And so forth.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:07 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry if I was unclear - I don't actually mean, talking about specific cases moving forward. I mean more generally. We have this idea that something has to be a 'derail' to be bad, but I think these things may be less 'derails' and more 'something else that has not yet been defined but might be useful to be defined'. Ie, I don't think the tools we currently have are adapted to deal well with the situation you seem to be describing, but there could be tools, I think.
posted by corb at 12:08 PM on May 15, 2015


I've also been hesitant to flag things because of a fear of being labeled an oversensitive trouble maker. But, this MeTa is definitely helping adjust my internal flagging threshold. I particularly like the idea of flagging as a derail rather than as sexism, there's just less involved mentally (for me) in justifying use of the derail flag than there is with the sexism flag.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:09 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


oh huh, well erase my last concern then if it seems to be working better for some people to click derail.
posted by corb at 12:12 PM on May 15, 2015


I don't really understand why this is the hill you're willing to die on

That's awfully dismissive of you, given that you were making pronouncements about what was a derail in that thread as though you were a moderator.

I'm not going to sit down and come up with a specific set of rules for what and is what not a derail.

It might help if you did, given that we're now seeing people say "derail" when they mean "part of the FPP I don't think should be discussed," despite that not being a commonly accepted definition of that word.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:18 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, I'm not going to. I will flag what I see as a derail and if you don't agree, go ahead and don't flag it.
posted by maxsparber at 12:20 PM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


"Read the room, nerds" is a hard thing to codify
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:21 PM on May 15, 2015 [17 favorites]


A derail is whatever the bulk of the conversation thinks it is, where "bulk," "conversation," and "think" are all contextual.
posted by PMdixon at 12:21 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's awfully dismissive of you, given that you making pronouncements about what was a derail in that thread as though you were a moderator.

Yeah, I clearly should just shut up and know my place. When I think discussing something is trivializing a real problem we have, I will say it. Anyone is free to raise the same concern - including you. Unfortunately you keep throwing out these lines as though every part of a topic is sacred, instead of responding to the actual point I'm trying to make.
posted by erratic meatsack at 12:26 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


given that we're now seeing people say "derail" when they mean "part of the FPP I don't think should be discussed,"

Ok, how about this? If a FPP is about a horrible behavior that is primarily practiced by men and targeted at women, and the FPP was only made because of the man-bites-dog nature of one of the horrible men finally suffering some consequences of his behavior, let's say that discussing only the theoretical implications of there finally being consequences for a man who engaged in that behavior isn't derailing per se, but is something for which "derail" is the conceptually closest available flag reason. Although, come to think of it, "offensive/sexism/racism" is probably more true.

So... congratulations? I guess you've convinced me that I shouldn't flag what you (and, to be fair, many others) were doing in that thread as a derail, but as entirely predictable sexism. Still gonna be making an effort to flag it when I see it in the future, though.
posted by hades at 12:28 PM on May 15, 2015 [27 favorites]


For people who are afraid "too much" flagging will make them look like troublemakers or like they're crying wolf, I'm pretty sure that it's not immediately obvious to mods looking at the flag queue who is doing the flagging? It takes an extra click or two to see that - am I remembering this correctly from some previous explanation of how the flag queue looks to mods?
posted by rtha at 12:28 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was a really fun ride and I stuck with it for a long time, but I'm done with the Blue.

I am very aware of the fact that I don't have the kind of posting history or depth to make this a big deal to anyone, possibly even myself. I just won't feel right without saying it, I guess.

Metafilter, whatever it is and whatever it's becoming, is honestly not a place that I feel welcome to be, and it's been that way for awhile. Conspire's comments in the recent Metatalk threads about the proposed #Juneby______ event read like I'd hired a site advocate to speak on my behalf regarding a significant amount of the tonal shift that I have been trying to ignore for a long time, and now realize that I can't, or won't, ignore anymore.

Metafilter used to be intelligent, irreverent, thought-provoking, and fun. Whatever it is now, it's none of those things, to me.

And, it isn't because of the posts.

It's because every god damn thread I open has one right answer, and I know what it is 90% of the time before I even look at the comments. And that is some bullshit. I'm not interested in spending time in an echo chamber, whether it's my voice or someone else's that is filling the space.

Metafilter is becoming what some of you want it to be (I know some of you don't think that's true, or you're worried sometimes that it will slip back to what it was or sideways into something else, but to my mind you have nothing to worry about), and that's awesome. I really, *really* enjoyed it while I was here. I hope you can get just as much out of it as I did, though my hope for you is that you will enjoy it in degree rather than kind since, and I mean this in all sincerity and without bitterness, you certainly don't enjoy the Metafilter I do. Sadness, sure, but not bitterness.

I'd delete my account, but I've discovered that I really dig AskMetafilter and I don't feel like I have to give that one up quite yet. While I still have to make sure that I stay within the bandwidth when commenting sometimes, it's nearly night and day from FPPs.

I'll miss a lot by not reading Metafilter anymore-- I've gotten to see some really great, informative posts and comments that have influenced my reading, thinking, conversations, and behaviors. But if any of that is still on the Blue anymore, it's just not worth wading through what we've made it into now. Thanks mathowie. This was my favorite website on the internet for a long time. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way either, and that's a hell of an accomplishment.
posted by Poppa Bear at 12:35 PM on May 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


Who are you?
posted by winna at 12:36 PM on May 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


Where the hell did that come from?
posted by erratic meatsack at 12:37 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I for one will miss his brave spirit.
posted by maxsparber at 12:37 PM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


"One of these guys got fired" - not a derail
"Will all men will now be fired if they do things like this?" - totally a derail
posted by soelo at 12:37 PM on May 15, 2015 [28 favorites]


He's the guy who used the word "authoress" in the first comment of the tattoo thread. If that tells you anything.
posted by almostmanda at 12:39 PM on May 15, 2015 [43 favorites]


I think the mods should give fewer chances and ban more when it's the same people over and over.

I have backed off in participation in these sorts of threads, partly because of life and partly because it's exhausting. And women here have been saying for years that it's exhausting and demeaning to argue with people over basic stuff. You lose us. We haven't been assholes or done anything wrong, and the site loses us (and, I guess, Poppa Bear, sorry), but keeps the people who are telling women that some women with tramp stamps really are sluts.

Give a warning and then, the next time, ban them, imho.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:39 PM on May 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


Conspire's comments in the recent Metatalk threads about the proposed #Juneby______ event read like I'd hired a site advocate to speak on my behalf regarding a significant amount of the tonal shift that I have been trying to ignore for a long time, and now realize that I can't, or won't, ignore anymore.

Judging by your comment in the tattoo thread and Conspire's thoughts in the last gender MeTa, I kind of doubt they would be taking your side in this case, but whatevs.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:41 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I clearly should just shut up and know my place.

Those of us who are not moderators should indeed remember that we aren't in charge. Thanks a lot for the wholly unfounded implication in the quoted sentence, though.

I guess you've convinced me that I shouldn't flag what you (and, to be fair, many others) were doing in that thread as a derail, but as entirely predictable sexism.

It wasn't a derail, and it wasn't sexism, which is probably why it wasn't deleted.

"One of these guys got fired" - not a derail
"Will all men will now be fired if they do things like this?" - totally a derail


"Where's the line between 'a firing offense' and 'not a firing offense' when it comes to behavior outside the workplace?"—not a derail
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:42 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Those of us who are not moderators should indeed remember that we aren't in charge.

What exactly do you think you're telling me with this? I'm so dumbfounded right now, somebody help me out. Did I go around responding to people with "Shutupshutupshutup"?
posted by erratic meatsack at 12:45 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


one more dead town's last parade: One of the hardest lessons I've ever had to learn - and one I still struggle with (see evidence in this very thread), is that being technically correct isn't always the same thing as being right. I have an overwhelming urge to argue specific details of complex issues, to discuss the minutia of emergent patterns that I see impacting at larger scales, and for me that means that I am constantly fighting the urge to discuss elements of threads that - while perfectly relevant - are still ultimately derails. I comment far less than I used to here, and I think that's been fine. Other voices have filled the space. And ultimately, when it's actually important to have the side discussions, an opportunity inevitably comes along where that comment I was just dying to make can find a more appropriate home. Even if that means letting someone else beat me to that comment.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:45 PM on May 15, 2015 [22 favorites]


But, no need to make him think you're proving his point by piling on.
posted by mitochondrial midichlorian at 12:48 PM on May 15, 2015


"Where's the line between 'a firing offense' and 'not a firing offense' when it comes to behavior outside the workplace?"—not a derail

As a comment on a FPP about a trend of people being fired for behavior outside the workplace, you bet. Is that what you think that FPP was about?
posted by hades at 12:49 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Read the room, nerds" is a hard thing to codify

This is a big truth, and everything else aside it's one of the reasons dealing with this stuff as a community can be hard. It's hard to teach people to read the room, and it's hard to teach people recognize that they are or aren't doing so. You get the itch to talk, and it can be hard to step back and really honestly assess whether the thing you're talking about and the way you're talking about it is actually improving the conversation for everyone in the room or just giving you some personal I Am Talking satisfaction.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:50 PM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: I comment far less than I used to here, and I think that's been fine.

Your absence is felt and your comments are missed. Please don't underestimate the positive influence you make here.
posted by zarq at 12:50 PM on May 15, 2015 [20 favorites]


I won't discuss one more dead town's last parade participation in that thread. It was an example I selected to illustrate a larger point, one about sexism, and now we're not discussing the larger point, because instead we need to rule-lawyers the question of whether or not that was the perfect example.

It's never the perfect example. It will always be rule-lawyered. It will always turn into a discussion about how it affects a dude. My example was supposed to lead to a discussion of derails leading to women's voices and experiences being marginalized or shut out. It has, instead, turned into a discussion of how it affects a dude.
posted by maxsparber at 12:52 PM on May 15, 2015 [48 favorites]


"It's because every god damn thread I open has one right answer, and I know what it is 90% of the time before I even look at the comments. And that is some bullshit. I'm not interested in spending time in an echo chamber, whether it's my voice or someone else's that is filling the space."

I dunno, man, I still find plenty to argue about. Plenty of people here feel like they've got the one right answer (I do it too), but in general I see less tolerance for swaths of wrong answers, which is different. Like, for ex, the tat thread: The answer "this isn't sexism" is wrong. That doesn't mean there's no buyer's regret or no "I don't like that this makes other people still think I'm young and dumb" but that there's also a significant amount of sexism, and telling people ('specially women) that there's not is just like tellin' 'em there's no shit in this shit cake, so eat up.

Or to play with a less loaded gun, the Mac vs. PC threads, there isn't one right answer for what's better, but "You only like Macs because you're a fan[gender-pronoun]" is wrong enough that we all benefit from not having another round of "LISTEN TO MY CHALLENGING OPINIONS." Fewer wrong answer doesn't mean there's one right one, just that we've been around long enough that there's no patience for another round of oblivious challops.

I mean, fuck, some of our members who are most concerned with inclusion and justice are wrangling over the JuneBy and haven't (as of last night, the last time I read it) come up with one right answer, just a lot of calls to discard wrong answers for [reasons].

I do feel you somewhat on the "less fun," but I gotta cop that some of that's me — it's less fun for me to argue with people on the internet, especially compared with seeing cool content. And when I just wanna argue with peer-moderated assholes, I can find Reddit pretty easily.

Top this all off with the fact that we're two dudes — which means a significant diminishment of skin in the game — and yeah, other people having their concerns taken seriously can be less fun because it's more serious. But my having fun at the expense of someone else having to pick the shitflakes outta their sandwich is something that I'm willing to give up in order to have a better, broader community. Also, when I just wanna spam SHITCOCK, I know where the chans are.
posted by klangklangston at 12:54 PM on May 15, 2015 [34 favorites]


As a comment on a FPP about a trend of people being fired for behavior outside the workplace, you bet. Is that what you think that FPP was about?

Given that the fourth of the five links in the thread was a discussion about exactly that, it's not exactly the fringe view some are presenting it as.

You're totally free to decide what's in your own FPPs. You're not free to decide what's in others'.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:56 PM on May 15, 2015


omdtlp (if, I may call you that): I agree with you that the subject wasn't technically, intrinsically a derail. It was a tangent subject that caused a derail of the main conversation.

So it's still valid to flag it for the reason of derail.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:02 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


For people who are afraid "too much" flagging will make them look like troublemakers or like they're crying wolf, I'm pretty sure that it's not immediately obvious to mods looking at the flag queue who is doing the flagging? It takes an extra click or two to see that - am I remembering this correctly from some previous explanation of how the flag queue looks to mods?

Yep, that's the case. We'll do the extra click now and then if it's not really clear why something would have been flagged—and the most common answers there turn out to be either "the user is flagging their own comment as a sign of commenter's regret" or "the user was aiming for fantastic and slipped"—but for the most part we don't have a reason to go looking unless something exceptionally weird is going on.

Just not necessarily thinking a flag justifies outright deletion falls way, way short of that something-weird threshold, so definitely don't worry about it. On the off chance that we see something that looks like an actually wonky pattern of flagging behavior, we'll just send a friendly note to check in about it, and we do that sort of thing maybe twice a year max and usually for very specific repeated flagging-thirty-things-at-once sprees across multiple threads.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:05 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


He's the guy who used the word "authoress" in the first comment of the tattoo thread. If that tells you anything.

An "I'm leaving" MeTa post from a man who used "authoress" in the beginning of a thread about sexism helps me feel like I understand the phrase "'Bye Felicia" for the first time.

I'm not trying to be flip, although I know it seems that way, it's just that I read a mournful goodbye from someone who began a thread about sexism with a diminishing term for women and I was like "Ooooooooooh...I get it now".
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:05 PM on May 15, 2015 [58 favorites]


the fourth of the five links in the thread was a discussion about exactly that

With apologies for continuing to argue over the specific example rather than the general behavior, come the hell on. Four of the five links were about a particular gendered behavior which primarily affects women. One of the five links also included a broader conversation about employment issues which equally affect men. That one link is the one which ended up getting discussed. This is a thing that happens a lot. People are saying it's a problem.

I get that you don't think your personal motivations for focusing on that one link are grounded in sexism, which is why you can say with no apparent irony that the redirection of discussion from the 80% of the FPP which affects women to the 20% which affects men isn't sexism. So, ok, let's grant that in this particular case, because there was some wiggle room, it was totally reasonable to talk mainly about the aspect of the post which affects men, not the aspect which affects women. Not sexist at all, in isolation. But when it happens every single time, even when there's no wiggle room to fall back on, do you see how people might be fed up with the overall pattern? And why there might be some pushback to an argument that in this particular case, that's not what's going on?
posted by hades at 1:18 PM on May 15, 2015 [34 favorites]


I always thought that "authoress" was unbearably twee but I did not know it was offensive until now.
posted by josher71 at 1:19 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


My editrix says "authoress" is OK
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:20 PM on May 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


I always thought that "authoress" was unbearably twee but I did not know it was offensive until now.

And now you do!

The implication is that women don't count as regular authors so you have to add a suffix to make it clear that they (we) shouldn't be taken seriously. Now in the future you'll know and, hopefully, extrapolate this knowledge to other areas of your life.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:25 PM on May 15, 2015 [34 favorites]


Yeah it's not always intended as offensive, but it's definitely a word that can be taken that way and often reads as either out-of-touch, old timey or "I am specifically trying to get your goat" This from me, the woman who has had executrix be one of her titles for the past few years and that shit chafes.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:29 PM on May 15, 2015 [25 favorites]


I always thought that "authoress" was unbearably twee but I did not know it was offensive until now

I mean I can't speak for everyone but I know my Lady Doctor and Female Pilot hate it
posted by billiebee at 1:30 PM on May 15, 2015 [52 favorites]


The National Council of Teachers of English has a good, detailed rundown on avoiding sexist language: "Guidelines for Gender-Fair Use of Language."
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:31 PM on May 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, the negative-or-not perception of gendered variants of job/role titles is probably somewhat porous—some folks are probably fine with it, in some contexts it's more an expression of personal choice and/or the intractability of insider language than an active attempt to reinforce a gender divide, etc.;—but as a general trend certainly movement has been more toward collapsing titles down to a generic single label than toward bifurcating them.

The fact that in practice "gendered variant" has usually meant "variant for ladies, because obviously that's the exception case and not the normal man-is-default thing" is a big part of why it's likely to bug people even if in context its intended as a totally neutral sort of specificity.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:34 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm kind of a fan of thinking of myself as a Gentleman Editor and Man Professor, though. Not to mention a Dude Director. (Those are my hats. None are fedoras.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:39 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm a Man Cook, but not for the obvious reasons.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:41 PM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


The fact that in practice "gendered variant" has usually meant "variant for ladies, because obviously that's the exception case and not the normal man-is-default thing" is a big part of why it's likely to bug people even if in context its intended as a totally neutral sort of specificity.

Not to mention the pernicious inverse of "Male Nurse" or even "Male Stewardess" which I've heard before and is really silly.
posted by selfnoise at 1:46 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm a Man Cook, but not for the obvious reasons.

Is it for Hannibal Lecter reasons?
posted by Grangousier at 1:48 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm a Man Cook, but not for the obvious reasons.

#CrockpotAllMen
posted by zombieflanders at 1:48 PM on May 15, 2015 [30 favorites]


We don't say crockpot any more, it's tacky like the 70s. #LowAndSlowAllMen
posted by gilrain at 1:49 PM on May 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


#sousvidetousleshommes
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:51 PM on May 15, 2015 [31 favorites]


Mispandry is real.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:51 PM on May 15, 2015 [17 favorites]


If we're going to start litigating specific examples of crappy derails like this, I thought the "you people are the reason people vote Republican!" derail in the otherwise rather lighthearted White Dudes Book List thread was basically a textbook derail. I was pretty surprised it wasn't deleted and was even basically mod-sanctioned.
posted by dialetheia at 1:53 PM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


We all serve humankind in our own way.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:53 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I want to kind of call a mulligan on that entire White Dudes Book List as a kind of shared hallucination happening-or-is-it-really-happening in parallel to the much more actively difficult and attention-sucking Tattoo and JuneBy threads. When I got up that morning I thought the Books thread would be my main thing I was keeping track of instead of the insane-but-mostly-goofy green room I'd head back to occasionally.

That's not to say I felt like I was in any way sanctioning the Why I Vote Republican thing, other than not literally delete it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:56 PM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


I just want to know how I get moonsaults for hire.
posted by winna at 1:56 PM on May 15, 2015


That side of it came from the link to that blogger dude, it became a bit of a B-plot to the whole thing.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:57 PM on May 15, 2015


I haven't read through the entirety of this (or the other) thread yet, but both of them appear to have been completely derailed by corb's trolling.

I've generally sided with the mods' discretion and judgment in the past, but I genuinely cannot see how corb's behavior fits within the realm of what MetaFilter has traditionally considered to be allowable.

I have no problem with corb being allowed to voice her opinion (even though I happen to disagree with it), but she's doing it in a way that's repetitive, relentless, and upsetting to a lot of people.
posted by schmod at 1:57 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sorry, not you cortex, I specifically meant r_n's note here immediately following that derail (sorry, I ought to have linked to it):

[It's totally legit to talk about the purpose and success/failure of articles like this. If, however, we could stay away from one-liner sarcasm it'd probably go better. Thanks. ]
posted by dialetheia at 1:58 PM on May 15, 2015


I know you (and a couple other folks, for what it's worth) had meta-ish comments deleted in the vicinity of that, so I don't know if that's informing the feeling that r_n was endorsing or sanctioning MattMangels' odd line of argument there, but I don't read her comment as doing that at all so much as just trying to deflate that at-that-point-sort-of-escalating back and forth in general.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:04 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm a Man Cook, but not for the obvious reasons.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:41 PM


I KNEW IT.
posted by almostmanda at 2:04 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


That one link is the one which ended up getting discussed. This is a thing that happens a lot. People are saying it's a problem.

I feel like this is one of those examples of people discussing the differences they have in detail because everyone nodding their heads in agreement isn't particularly interesting.

Is it a problem that I'm not also including the fact that I think these guys are jerks, MLSE is totally justified in banning them from its venues, and targeting women who are reporting on live TV to shout an obscene phrase at them for shits and giggles is a problematic thing that people really need not to be doing? I feel like basically everyone else here agrees with that. The only place we seem to differ is on the nature and scope of their punishment (which was largely the topic of that segment on The Current).

A lot of the reaction there (and here) based on what people decided I believe was really uncalled for.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:07 PM on May 15, 2015


Is it a problem that I'm not also including the fact that I think these guys are jerks, MLSE is totally justified in banning them from its venues, and targeting women who are reporting on live TV to shout an obscene phrase at them for shits and giggles is a problematic thing that people really need not to be doing?

I think it can, at the very least, come off as kind of tone-deaf to specifically elide that when it's a big part of the situation and is what a bunch of the post seems to be focused on.

Like, I get excited or engaged about thin tangents on existing discussions in posts sometimes; I feel that completely. But I think part of being in a discussion is having a sense of where other people are, what the context is, and having the social sense to acknowledge when you're basically saying "okay, all that is actually really terrible but I'm super interested in this specific detail off to the side".

And maybe you don't always think to convey that up front because you're in a hurry to get to the bit that has your brain tingling, but if you skip that bit and then people are like "yeah, but..." the best move there is probably to back up a bit and explicitly acknowledge where they're coming from, not to sort of bull on forward or argue about whether that that's what most folks are focused on should have any discursive restraint on your own topical inclination, etc.

Again, reading the room, basically. It's a hard thing and it's a shared-space thing. And even if you feel like you're ultimately justified in wanting to talk about x when other people are talking about y, there's a lot of value in being willing to slow down a little and acknowledge and concede y for the sake of the overall conversation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:19 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm a Man Cook, but not for the obvious reasons.

Is it for Hannibal Lecter reasons?


glad to see we're getting back to cannibalism again -- clearly the real problem
posted by philip-random at 2:29 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


"you people are the reason people vote Republican!" derail

Granting that arguments in the form of "[insignificant thing] are the reason people vote [x]" are always silly, I'm baffled by how a thread that was two parts sarcasm, one part facetiousness, one part absurdity, could even be derailed. How can you distinguish it from the rest of the nonsense?
posted by octobersurprise at 2:49 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is it a problem that I'm not also including the fact that I think these guys are jerks, MLSE is totally justified in banning them from its venues, and targeting women who are reporting on live TV to shout an obscene phrase at them for shits and giggles is a problematic thing that people really need not to be doing? I feel like basically everyone else here agrees with that.

I think when someone says "should this even be a thing people get fired for" in a thread like that without qualification, there's probably an even chance that it comes off as "it's PC gone mad!" as opposed to "...but I will defend to the death your right to say it". Especially when "the right to say it" is often the subject of massive "free speech tho" derails in conversations that look very much like that one, pretty much every time.

This is an area where "doesn't everyone agree with that?" seemingly-obvious decency runs up against the real experience of "so many people act exactly like this and think its fine". It's similar to ironic racism or sexism, in that one of the things that fuels that stuff is the idea that no one could really believe I mean this hyperbolically odious thing, when people hear that sincerely odious thing all the time.

Assholes ruin things for everyone. In this case, the thing they ruin is people's generosity in granting the benefit of the doubt, because too many people have gotten burned by it too many times. So yeah, it probably is a good idea to lay out where you're coming from on the central source of pain under discussion, not because you need to prove your progressive bona fides or march in lockstep, but because it helps to avoid misunderstanding. I really think part of coming to these conversations in good faith and without invoking 101-style garbage is understanding all the ways in which this nowhere-near-new topic is derailed and disrupted, and doing your best to demonstrate that you're aware of those things and aren't doing them or at least are not trying to do them. That's how you can garner benefit of the doubt, by respecting the history and struggle of a conversation and showing that you're not treating it like it didn't start until you got there.

Because assholes ruin everything, it's important to prove that you're not an asshole first, otherwise you risk being misinterpreted as one of the people who believes something you didn't think anyone could actually believe, especially when you're making arguments that might not be derails but sound a lot like derails. Maybe that's unfair, but that's where we are. Blame the jerks, not the people understandably worried that you might be another one.
posted by Errant at 3:09 PM on May 15, 2015 [36 favorites]


glad to see we're getting back to cannibalism again -- clearly the real problem

It's a problem?
posted by Grangousier at 3:16 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I saw Errant's post about that dynamic and was like YES YES and wanted to add that there's a similar dynamic with women's behavior in public, where dudes blame us and get mad that we're wary of harassment/assault because clearly THEY aren't that kind of guy instead of the people that make public spaces so hostile to women that we have to be super guarded all the time.
posted by NoraReed at 3:18 PM on May 15, 2015 [28 favorites]


Re: flagging's efficacy, I really hope more people toss up the Bat Signal on problem users. I think dios is more or less notorious at this point, so why his atrocious comment was allowed to stand is beyond me. But I think the community being more active with flags will go a longer way than having to waste time and energy pushing back when we just want to talk like adults.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:23 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


feel like this is one of those examples of people discussing the differences they have in detail because everyone nodding their heads in agreement isn't particularly interesting.

That happens a lot. When people agree on 90% of an issue it is the 10% that gets all the discussion. Because "yeah that sucks" is boring.
posted by Justinian at 3:25 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


A lot of times, what looks like boring head-nodding echo chamber to some is actually a conversation (often among women!) about the ways in which sexism affects us, experiences we have had that are like that in the fpp, strategies we have used (or fantasized about using) to combat it. But then someone (often a man!) comes along and nitpicks some tangential detail and if you think THAT isn't boring, I don't know what to tell you.
posted by rtha at 3:44 PM on May 15, 2015 [107 favorites]


Really agree with aya. They're talking about cortex's comment far upthread btw.
posted by halifix at 3:46 PM on May 15, 2015


That happens a lot. When people agree on 90% of an issue it is the 10% that gets all the discussion. Because "yeah that sucks" is boring.

And yet, the people who rely on this explanation often flat-out refuse to establish the 90% agreement.

If we want people to know what we think, we have to tell them.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:53 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


So just to be clear, if I started going into sports event threads and going off about municipal funding of stadiums every time, because the venue's almost certainly described in the FPP, I'm wouldn't be being obnoxious and terrible, I'd be forcing a "discuss[ion] of differences in detail," preventing any boring head nodding. Hey, I approve of the existence of sports too guys!

Did I understand right?
posted by PMdixon at 3:56 PM on May 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


what looks like boring head-nodding echo chamber to some is actually a conversation

This is such a good point. There are more ways to have conversation than AGREE/DISAGREE and whenever I see these accusations of "echo chamber," I wonder whether the accuser is aware of that. Not all conversation is debate, and debate is not the only way to learn or to broaden your experience or frame of reference.
posted by Miko at 3:57 PM on May 15, 2015 [88 favorites]


Yeah, accusations of "echo chamber" come across to me as "I am unwilling to parse this discussion at the current level of nuance."
posted by almostmanda at 4:03 PM on May 15, 2015 [44 favorites]


There are just some souls who honestly cannot stand an echo chamber. They need to be challenged! They need to stretch their wings, man. Pew pew pew! Those are ideas being exchanged by intellectuals. Watch them fly! But woah there, hold on. Not all ideas! Let's not get too close to the sun, Icarus. No, just the right ideas. Just the ones that are fun to debate from the relative safety of the couch. (The physical couch? The metaphorical couch of our various privileges? How nifty this all is!) And when they eventually evolve past all the hubris the rest of mankind carries on its shoulders, weep not - they fly to greener lands.

Echo chambers, man! Let loose and be freee!
posted by erratic meatsack at 4:09 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


So just to be clear, if I started going into sports event threads and going off about municipal funding of stadiums every time, because the venue's almost certainly described in the FPP, I'm wouldn't be being obnoxious and terrible...

Did I understand right?


If there's a link in the FPP about how people are debating how much municipal funding there should be for the stadium and they're not sure about how much it benefits the local economy, then sure, go ahead. Otherwise, I hope your Strawmen get a good draft pick this year.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:10 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel like you're trying to evade the real questions. What if they just mention the source of the funding? Does it have to be in the FPP? What if someone posts a link in the first few comments? Or if a "previously" links to such? Or if there's not actually a link but I had something open in another tab. I mean if you want to try and silence my straight up truth telling that's your prerogative but it's a slippery slope, is all I'm saying, and I think it's vitally important that we focus on me and my ability to force people to respond to me for a second here.
posted by PMdixon at 4:15 PM on May 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


If there's a link in the FPP about how people are debating how much municipal funding there should be for the stadium and they're not sure about how much it benefits the local economy, then sure, go ahead. Otherwise, I hope your Strawmen get a good draft pick this year.

You're still not getting it. Look at all the links and look at the conversation. If it seems to be centered around a Main Theme and not The Tangent You Want to Talk About, then either 1) join the conversation about the Main Theme, or 2) find somewhere else to talk about The Tangent You Want to Talk About.

TL; DR: Read the room.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:18 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Since you're clearly unwilling to engage in good faith, PMdixon, there's no point in me paying any further attention to you in this thread.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:19 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's utterly laughable. There have been so many replies to you explaining exactly why people took issue to the way you phrased your posts (cortex even!) and the only thing you've appeared to do is dig your heels in even harder. "Good faith" should be dripping with irony here.
posted by erratic meatsack at 4:21 PM on May 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


Will future tone deafness on discussing women's issues and women's bodies by the people in the LBT thread lead to a ban, eg, has anyone been warned of this? May I ask, has anything about the way bans are applied been changed, either due to the site changes over the last year or so or as a direct result of this thread?

I guess my fear about relying mainly on flagging is that, as many women have already reported, many people who care about these issues have stopped or slowed down on reading boyzone threads, and others read some comments and get explosive and leave the thread before they erupt -- these people reasonably can't do the flagging. I feel like we have boyzone threads all the time where the end agreement is "I resolve to flag more" but then stuff happens and for some reason people don't flag. Why not at least have a one-two punch of flagging and banning?
posted by onlyconnect at 4:26 PM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


I almost sent this as an email, because I hate being critical of the mods in public. It makes me feel like a dick. But I also don't feel like that would be fair to the people who always step up and speak out - they put themselves out there, and I think it's right to back them publicly.

I want to chime in as another voice asking the mods to think about stamping down harder on derailing BS in threads about gender/sexism/something tangentially related to ladies, especially early. I feel like there's a certain inertia when it comes to doing this, but historically mods have told people to STFU in threads about I/P or religion or (as has been mentioned) frigging Apple products if they're being disruptive to the conversation.

I feel like there's a learning curve for that sure, and I respect that Metafilter is a lightly moderated site, but much as I respect team mod and appreciate all that you do I think you guys could be a little more on the ball at this stage about 1) what kind of conversations you'd like to see, 2) what is impeding having these conversations, 3) what users are likely to say stupid shit. I feel like tech threads are more aggressively moderated than threads relating to anything women related. Giving people a 24 hour time out is not going to end their world, it's just going to let the rest of us actually have a chance to talk.

Metafilter is self policing and the community is already doing the heavy lifting with some users doing a heroic job of being vocal and pushing back. I think it's time to toss it back and ask for a bit of leadership on this issue, rather than putting everything on us to fix with the limited tools we have.
posted by supercrayon at 4:35 PM on May 15, 2015 [32 favorites]


That's utterly laughable.

You start right out of the gate with a ton of undeserved opprobrium, continue it all day, and you accuse me of not knowing what good faith is? Spare me the bullshit callouts. Thanks.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:37 PM on May 15, 2015


You are abusing the shit out of the "no using profile page info in thread" rule right now in your aggrievement.
posted by PMdixon at 4:40 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


"This could have come across as tone-deaf on your end because [reasons]."
"HAHAHAHA NOPE. UP YOURS!"


The end.
posted by erratic meatsack at 4:57 PM on May 15, 2015


one more dead town's last parade, you need to stop digging in here, and folks should probably drop it all around.

There's a weird parallel between the idea of insisting on talking about x in a thread where folks are mostly talking about y and then rejecting folks' attempts to redirect that, and insisting in here that your analysis of your own behavior in that other thread is correct and other folks' take is wrong, and it's of a piece with some of your past behavior on the site and altercations with other users and the mods. I would really like to see you find some way to just make your peace with the fact that part of how you tend to want to interact with the site keeps consistently not working well, and find a way to change your expectations on your end about what's workable here so it doesn't keep being the same old thing coming back around repeatedly.

NoraReed, comment deleted, cut it out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:00 PM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


billiebee: " Lady Doctor and Female Pilot hate it"

I feel like you mean Doctress and Aviatrix.

But the ix-suffix is awesome because it makes everything sound more badass and so I APPROVE of aviatrix and executrix and dominatrix and senatrix, like Senatrix Elizabeth Warren.

(Fun fact, it used to be a suffOR, but when English lost its noun declensions it became a suffIX because only female nouns declined.)

(Not really.)

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:07 PM on May 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


*claps*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:11 PM on May 15, 2015


May I ask, has anything about the way bans are applied been changed, either due to the site changes over the last year or so or as a direct result of this thread?

The previous discussion helped catalyze our thinking about where to draw the line on some of this stuff, which has contributed to the aforementioned decisions to ban some folks who were long-time "one more chance" types instead of giving them yet another one of those chances, as well as more aggressively trying to manage people's repeat problem behavior when we saw it happening, on a "cut this out if you still want to be here" basis, yeah.

It's an ongoing thing; I think it's helped, but part of the difficulty here is that threads that go well don't tend to stand out in people's minds because they just...went well. They were just unremarkably fine, the sort of thing you might notice the way you notice suddenly that you don't have a headache any more but otherwise it's just stuff going okay. On the mod side we notice it more because we've been sort of staring at these things thinking "please go well", and handing off to each other at shift changes the threads that bear watching just in case they're gonna go weird but then they usually don't, the folks we're keeping an eye on just in case they do act up but usually they keep it together or just decline to jump back in.

Which, it remains a hard thing to balance in terms of messaging. Because I know us quietly watching for trouble and either quickly taking care of it or being relieved that it never manifests isn't something that the userbase really gets much direct insight into when things are going well, but we're not going to start leaving reactive or preemptive "boy, it sure is nice that x didn't fuck this thread up" comments on the site because that'd be pretty actively terrible in its own right as a site culture thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:17 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


In terms of messaging, here's a suggestion: When you've got one person being persistently obtuse in the face of everyone, mods included, more or less gently and patiently pointing out why they're being read in the way they are, and what they could do to read the room better and be more productive site members, and they just Keep Doing The Thing, which finally has the effect of provoking a sharp retort from a member of the class of people they are Doing The Thing To, and your response is to continue talking patiently to them while leaving a sharply-worded comment deletion message aimed at the person they finally goaded into breaking the guidelines, that's a message itself. It's a message I've seen you send before. It's unpleasant.
posted by hades at 5:24 PM on May 15, 2015 [77 favorites]


This feels so familiar. It's tiring to have this conversation over and over and over. It's tiring to have to be patient and sweet and explain the same basic things in thread after thread while being so mindful of tone, because we can't be mean to the men. Not just here, but every day out in the world. And it's tiring to see NoraReed cut a curt "cut it out," and a general call to drop it while the other party gets, what feels to me, a gentle talking to. This is exactly the same pattern that happened the last time we had this Meta. I don't intend this as an anti-mod stance, and I want to be really clear about that, but I do want to point out it out as something that maybe could be done better? I feel like a lot of women in this thread are saying that there are certain posters/derails that need more of the cut it out approach than the gentle talking to. I hope that made sense.
posted by Ruki at 5:29 PM on May 15, 2015 [60 favorites]


Or you know, what hades said.
posted by Ruki at 5:30 PM on May 15, 2015


and your response is to continue talking patiently to them while leaving a sharply-worded comment deletion message aimed at the person they finally goaded into breaking the guidelines

I am tired of one more dead town's behavior and felt like I was being pretty clear about my frustration about it and the fact that he needs to cut it the fuck out there, partly as a specific attempt to do the thing people are talking about of directly addressing behavior and folks by name when there's a behavior issue instead of just saying cool it more generally and quietly cleaning up. And I mostly try to keep civil about this stuff even when telling people they need to work on their shit; if that's being too patient with people, I don't see a way around it because I do not want to let myself lapse into being my worst self just because I'm tired and frustrated with some of the cycles of behavior that play out on the site.

Now, NoraReed is a sharp and funny commenter, but she also has a habit of being kind of jerky and button-pushing in the process. I don't think this is something she'd disagree with, and I don't say it as a "and that's why they suck" thing, I'm acknowledging it as just a straight up ongoing issue and one that's come up before despite the fact that she's otherwise a smart, engaged user that a lot of people like and appreciate. It's an aspect of her participation here, not at all the whole of it, but it's there and it's sometimes pretty conspicuous. This was an example of that.

And if part of this discussion is talking about how people who repeatedly display bad behavior on the site is a problem that needs addressing but we're going to get flack for addressing that when it's someone people mostly get along with, then I'm in a totally untenable position. I generally try not to call people out until gets to be sort of a Thing, and that has gone in her favor as much as others a whole bunch of times. But "they were goaded" isn't a good defense for personal jabs in either direction, and if people feel like that sort of thing is a problem on the site then it's a problem on the site even when the jabber is generally considered a righteous party in a lot of conversations.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:39 PM on May 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


I kinda wonder what it would look like if the same norm against "I'd hit that" got applied to "whatabout" ruleslawyering.
posted by PMdixon at 5:44 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Like the last thread, I'm not saying the comment shouldn't have been deleted. But omdt got to go on and on. It became a Thing way earlier in the thread. What I'm saying is that particular behavior should have gotten a nip in the bud way before it got to NoraReed's comment. The line for personal jabs is clear and bright, but the line for wearisome behavior is less bright. And that's a problem. Personal attacks cut quick, but these multiple comments are cuts with a thousand knives.
posted by Ruki at 5:47 PM on May 15, 2015 [31 favorites]


It's the 'I'm not touching you!' of internet arguing.
posted by winna at 5:49 PM on May 15, 2015 [37 favorites]


It's the 'I'm not touching you!' of internet arguing.

This goes back to the lunchroom metaphor way up above.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:53 PM on May 15, 2015


What I'm saying is that particular behavior should have gotten a nip in the bud way before it got to NoraReed's comment.

Sure, but metatalk is the part of the site where we talk shit out. And as tedious as it can be, people being sort of wearisome while seeming to try and talk some shit out is part of what happens here. Even if it turns out that it's going in circles and someone doesn't seem to be trying as hard as they should be and needs to be told to cut it out when they can't figure that out themself despite clear hints and pushback from users and mods.

Personal jabs, not so much, and it's something we've tried to push back harder on the last few years. Even personal jabs motivated by understandable annoyance. It's not a grey-area sort of thing, and there's a lot of ways to say "your behavior here kinda sucks" that aren't that and that aren't a problem.

For all that, I spent 150 or so words basically telling one more dead town to cut the shit in general and declaring a pattern of behavior a problem, and six words telling NoraReed to cut it out with one specific deleted comment. If that's not asymmetrical enough because either (a) I wasn't sufficiently outright cursing at one more dead town in the process or (b) I said anything at all to NoraReed, then, again, that's a problem that I don't see a solution to.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:58 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'd like to throw out a couple very loose analogies that this thread has me thinking about, which I hope will be okay, and please bear with me.

Problem: True Detective (season 1, and it's looking like season 2 now as well) is too male-dominated. There aren't enough shows with what Netflix likes to call "strong female leads" on TV. But at the same time, True Detective was a good show in its own right; it's not the fault of that single show that most other shows are also male-dominated.

Solution: TV execs could start looking at balance in programming, bring in more female writers/directors, etc. (I'm not saying this is going to happen; bear with me.)

Problem: huge storm hits Florida/New Orleans/wherever. Global warming is likely causing an increase in huge storms. But that one storm might have happened anyway.

Solution: look at reducing carbon emissions, etc. etc. alongside improving FEMA response and preparedness for extreme weather. (Again, it's way too late and this isn't going to happen.)

Problem: MeFi thread about female newscaster being harassed turns into debate about who should be fired for things they do outside of work. Way too many threads go this way; women and allies get tired of dealing with it. But if this had been the only thread that went like that, it might be just an anomalous thread gone sour.

Solution: ???

Difficulties with finding a solution for MeFi:

- Unlike TV execs, mods don't choose posts (by analogy, shows) or approve their comments (by analogy, scripts/characters); they can only delete here and there.
- Unlike government (again, pretending our government were actually worthwhile), mods can't fund big initiatives to tackle the larger problem. Mods can basically do the equivalent of stepping up FEMA response.

To put this another way, how do you deal with a statistical pattern on an individual basis, *in the context of Metafilter*?

And that's as far as I've gotten. I don't know.
posted by uosuaq at 6:00 PM on May 15, 2015


(I completely understand and sympathize with her position but I wanted to say I will really miss divined by radio's contribution to threads about women.)
posted by gingerest at 6:04 PM on May 15, 2015 [31 favorites]


There's a certain point (and it can be very ambiguous) where people just feel like asking if a person "gets it." Reading the room, acknowledging a topic's background, etc. You just have to know in order to continue to engage with them. And if a person doesn't "get it" that's fine - stating so can also help move the conversation along. What happens very often is a person continues to elephant their way through the china shop regardless of other people going "Wait hold on, there's nuance to this you're missing."

It would really help if when mods notice the elephant they state very clearly the portion about missing nuance, and help someone understand they need to do some extra mental legwork in order to continue.
posted by erratic meatsack at 6:05 PM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


It would really help if when mods notice the elephant they state very clearly the portion about missing nuance, and help someone understand they need to do some extra mental legwork in order to continue

I don't disagree with that, yeah. It's something we try to do but also something we could probably be more aggressive about, and I'm gonna keep it in mind.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:06 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok, fair enough about Meta being the place where we talk shit out. But my thousand knives comment still stands regarding threads in the Blue. That's where my personal frustration lies.
posted by Ruki at 6:08 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sure, but metatalk is the part of the site where we talk shit out. And as tedious as it can be, people being sort of wearisome while seeming to try and talk some shit out is part of what happens here.

Maybe the line for wearisome could/should be recalibrated? It seems like people feel like those who are atypical commenters get to be overly wearisome, as long as they are/claim-to-be unable to see that they are atypical commenters.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:09 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's not a law of nature that personal jabs are a bright line offense and frog-boiling is a grey area. I mean, sure, it's kind of a law of nature that personal jabs are easily identifiable and the other thing can skirt by without tipping over into obvious for a long time. But it's a moderator decision that the one merits an immediate comment deletion and curt note while the other doesn't. Just because you haven't consciously made that decision doesn't mean there aren't two ways it could go and it's going one of them. You could, if you chose, make the kind of thing we can't quite give a name to but that we all know some people do on the regular a "once I've identified this, it is equivalent to a personal attack" offense. It'd be hard work, and probably no two people would agree on where exactly the line is, sure. But it could be an aspirational thing.
posted by hades at 6:10 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


"What I'm saying is that particular behavior should have gotten a nip in the bud way before it got to NoraReed's comment. The line for personal jabs is clear and bright, but the line for wearisome behavior is less bright. And that's a problem. Personal attacks cut quick, but these multiple comments are cuts with a thousand knives."

Amen. The watchwords here at MetaFilter are "using judgment" and "each case is different". I think there's every reason to respond to apparently polite sealioning and the like with extreme prejudice and to their rude, out-of-patience targets with leniance. Because there's a cultural context and a history.

"And if part of this discussion is talking about how people who repeatedly display bad behavior on the site is a problem that needs addressing but we're going to get flack for addressing that when it's someone people mostly get along with, then I'm in a totally untenable position."

This is what I wrote you guys in February in response to that previous thread:
But I began my contact form message before any responses had been posted to the thread and you can see how people are taking this. And, at the risk of repeating myself, it's totally understandable that they'd react this way. Again, you need to strongly signal in the other direction.

If I had anything specific to recommend, I'd do so. One thing I think you guys ought to do is to really strongly suppress your totally-understandable feeling of defensiveness about the criticism. I'm criticizing you guys and yet I agree that [user given a time-out] [...] deserved a time-out. Does that help? I'm sure that many other people agree with this. But people really don't want the result of this thread to be where we talked a lot about how angry, badly behaved feminists were the problem and one of them got a time-out. That's just such a bad outcome in how this will resonate with the concerns being expressed in the thread.
I'd suggest that the "there's a bright-line" and "what do you expect us to do" is not really a helpful response. People are saying something and that something is that NoraReed, in this context, isn't really the problem while omdt is. NoraReed's deleted comment should have been deleted, I suppose (I didn't see it), and, yes, people are telling you that it's helpful to publicly signal what you consider bad behavior, but a carefully composed critique of omdt's mistakes coupled with "cut it out" to NoraReed implies something. You shouldn't be implying what that implies, you should know better, and you should listen to people when they tell you this. You could as easily have written "cut it out" to omdt and a carefully composed warning to NoraReed.

Furthermore, it was LobsterMitten who, in the other thread, felt it was appropriate to write a long comment about how disruptive rude comments can be. She later acknowledged that it was the wrong thing to emphasize, but the reason she did emphasize it is because, as discussed in that previous thread and as discussed in this thread, you guys have an institutional bias that makes you very sensitive to one kind of disruptive behavior but relatively oblivious to another. You say you're figuring this out, you're working on it, but the proof is in the pudding. It's not about the gender of the MetaFilter mods, it's about your institutional biases. There's a reason why we're having this conversation again.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:14 PM on May 15, 2015 [49 favorites]


Part of the problem that I see is that framing things in a "aw shucks" kind of way gets a lot more leeway, even though that framing is no less problematic than blatant -isms. It's very often disingenuous and no less hurtful.
posted by Ruki at 6:14 PM on May 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ok, fair enough about Meta being the place where we talk shit out. But my thousand knives comment still stands regarding threads in the Blue. That's where my personal frustration lies.

FOR REAL. One more dead town's last parade got 10 comments that were a variation of the same thing with multiple responses from different users. One (admittedly snappy) comment for them to just leave it already gets deleted and a curt response. This is ridiculous. People who stomp into any thread basically bellowing "My opinion my opinion my opinion my opinion my opinion!!!!" and who don't actually read responses but continue to yell "My opinion!" are not here to have a conversation, they are here to stop any conversation from being possible, and why are they being given the benefit of the doubt?
posted by supercrayon at 6:16 PM on May 15, 2015 [53 favorites]


I think there's every reason to respond to apparently polite sealioning and the like with extreme prejudice and to their rude, out-of-patience targets with leniance.

Sure, but that cannot workably extend to the extreme where telling one person to cut the shit at length but in insufficiently angry or over-the-top language is not enough while briefly telling someone else to knock it off is going too far.

Like, to be super duper clear here, unless there is an expectation that if folks generally agree with a user then that user cannot be the subject of any degree of censure—and I don't think that's anybody's position here, but I guess clarify if I'm wrong there— it is totally inconsistent to both want recurring problematic behavior to be at least called out and to complain about it when it happens to both someone people are fed up with and someone whose poor behavior they're inclined to high five.

I am sorry I did not say something as soon as people would have liked regarding one dead last town needing to cut it out in here. The frustration is clear, and I hear it, and while I think it's difficult to draw a line as cleanly as some folks maybe feel it should be between going-on-at-length as a normal aspect of metatalk in particular and going-on-too-long as clearcut example of unacceptable behavior, I can understand where folks are coming from in wanting to see that calibrated and the fact that the discussion over on the blue is part of the context driving the frustration in this case.

I continue to be honestly surprised by the reading that I was too polite about it, because I don't see a path forward where "the mods should be intentionally meaner" makes any kind of sense. Faster to act, I can understand and get behind. But "insufficiently impolite" is a really problematic metric for us to try and incorporate as a policy thing here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:31 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I continue to be honestly surprised by the reading that I was too polite about it

It looks to me, and apparently to other people, that the staff yet again patiently and calmly explained to a user who routinely engages in disruptive threadshitting and derailing why their behavior is less than optimal, while telling someone objecting to the behavior to STFU.

Maybe you should patiently and calmly explain to both. Maybe you should tell both to STFU. But it appears that you are structurally prioritized to swiftly and sharply rebuke people with whom you are inclined to agree and who will not be disruptive, and calmly and patiently deal with (and deal with and deal with and deal with and deal with) users who have a demonstrated history of deliberately engaging in disruptive behavior.

It's not working.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:38 PM on May 15, 2015 [38 favorites]


"Cut it out" is not precisely polite. Speaking for myself, I wouldn't want to see you guys actually be rude in your warnings -- on other sites where that's common, it ends up contributing to a very authoritarian tone. I think you're right to not want to go down that road. But "cut it out" in its terseness and its directness and otherwise is pretty far in the direction of signaling impatience and being a reprimand, while your long comment to omdtlp was more ... understanding. I'd like to have seen the reverse. Thats not quite the same as asking for you to be "intentionally meaner".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:40 PM on May 15, 2015 [20 favorites]


To be clear, I am not high-fiving NoraReed's comment in any way, nor do I think that she needs me to defend her. Nor do I think you, or any other mod, should be meaner. I do think that there is problematic behavior, in this case specifically related to sexism, that is allowed to go on for too long, and the onus is on the female MeFites to be patient and tolerant of bad behavior before official mod action. So yes, it is the going on too long that is a problem. You quickly told NoraReed to cut it out. What I would like to see is that action taking place before other commenters get to dominate a thread.
posted by Ruki at 6:40 PM on May 15, 2015 [17 favorites]


Another way to think about it is that a few quick words are enough for some folks to get the message while others really, really need to have it spelled out for them.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:41 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


For example, how long was the "tramp surely doesn't mean what you women think it means" derail allowed to go on for? That right there is the problem. The benefit of the doubt was given, heels were dug in, and that is a large part of what made the thread toxic. It went on for way too long, despite the female response that, no, this is our lives.
posted by Ruki at 6:46 PM on May 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


What I would like to see is that action taking place before other commenters get to dominate a thread.

And I totally hear that, and, again, don't disagree with the idea of us trying harder to focus on that. I think it's doable in part just from the mod side and in part with the help of more flagging and contact form stuff from the community side to help us get at stuff early if we're not seeing it or not picking it out of the flow of a very busy thread or day. I'm very thumbs-up on that whole concept.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:50 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


It looks to me, and apparently to other people, that the staff yet again patiently and calmly explained to a user who routinely engages in disruptive threadshitting and derailing why their behavior is less than optimal, while telling someone objecting to the behavior to STFU.

As a datapoint, it looked to me like one person was getting a very clear and formal warning about their overall behavior and the other person got a stage-left aside "stop doing this one thing". Where you (and apparently other people) are reading calm, patient explanation, I was seeing "I am laying out a very logical case for why you are going to get the axe, so that you can make no mistake about why you are going to get the axe if you keep doing this shit". Where you're seeing STFU, I saw a wrist-slap "hey, quit it". Maybe "please cut it out" would have worked better? I wonder how (sub)cultural a thing this is, but "more words" doesn't necessarily equal "more polite" to me, and "brief" doesn't necessarily mean "hostile". Actually, I tend to view sudden increased formality as a signal that there is now serious trouble. I can appreciate that that isn't how that might look to other people and that I might not be right about that.
posted by Errant at 6:50 PM on May 15, 2015 [32 favorites]


I'm imagining Matt right now with a Pina Colada on a beach somewhere. He earned it.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:52 PM on May 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


To use my earlier analogy, it sounded like you were telling omdtlp that "now, it isn't nice to steal people's sandwiches, remember we talked about this?" but then told Nora she had to go to the principal's office for fighting.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:52 PM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


I was literally about to use the principal's office analogy in precisely the opposite direction. So that's interesting.
posted by Errant at 6:53 PM on May 15, 2015


NoraReed's deleted comment amounted to a single sentence not even long enough to wrap around to a second line on my monitor, and while it didn't contain the words "fuck you" or anything like that, I didn't see a problem with deleting it along with the comment she was responding to. I feel sorry for cortex at this point.
And Empress, sometimes you send the good student to the principal's office and try to reason with the bad one.
posted by uosuaq at 6:54 PM on May 15, 2015


I was seeing "I am laying out a very logical case for why you are going to get the axe, so that you can make no mistake about why you are going to get the axe if you keep doing this shit"

If that's how you see it, what would have been the downside to a more forceful/earlier call to stop doing something that most members don't have to be told not to do?
posted by 23skidoo at 6:58 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I once got sent to the principal's office for getting punched.
posted by selfnoise at 7:00 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]



And Empress, sometimes you send the good student to the principal's office and try to reason with the bad one.


But, see, when you do that all that does is send the message that the good students aren't allowed to do anything when the bad kids steal from them, and all the teacher will do is say "naughty naughty" but it's too late because he already ate your sandwich so your choices are to either get in trouble or go hungry and speaking as the good kid who got screwed over by bullies, that is a SHITTY AS HELL way to feel.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:05 PM on May 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


I lost my post, but NoraReed is a red herring. If I made that comment, it also would have been deleted. I'm not arguing that. What makes -ism threads go poorly is that the minority group has to be patient and polite, and any anger, righteous that it may be, gets dealt with faster than the commenters going on and on, making the thread worse. And I think Cortex is coming from the same place I am, and I appreciate that, but putting the onus on the minority group to explain and flag, over and over, is tedious. Like it's on us to make sure the thread goes well. That's not what I want, and I don't think that's what the mods want, so where do we go from here?
posted by Ruki at 7:15 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


If that's how you see it, what would have been the downside to a more forceful/earlier call to stop doing something that most members don't have to be told not to do?

None that I can see, and I'm in no way arguing against intervening earlier or intervening more forcefully or both. How I saw it probably doesn't actually matter all that much, since no one was talking to me, but since the man of twist and turns expressed his interpretation of this specific thing and mine was pretty much exactly the opposite, I thought it was interesting. I read cortex's note as being very forceful towards one dead last town and fairly lenient/rote toward NoraReed. That the same note could be read in precisely the opposite way would not have occurred to me and indeed surprised me. Now I wonder how much those contrary interpretations play into the perception of lenience towards seemingly repeat offenders.

It's funny, now I'm thinking about how we constantly say that having a post deleted is no big deal, just reframe and try again, yet we perceive a comment being deleted as invoking a kind of disciplinary action. I think I take the severity of the written rebuke to be a greater indication of transgression than whether a comment is deleted, but it seems like maybe other people don't see it that way? Do people see comment deletion as a worse ticking-off than being spoken to publicly and at length?
posted by Errant at 7:15 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, Empress, in my imagination the good student hears the principal say "we expect better from you, because we know you're a good student" and thinks "okay okay" and meanwhile the teachers are trying to keep the bad student in school and out of juvie. That's where my metaphor was coming from. Yours is different, obviously.
posted by uosuaq at 7:20 PM on May 15, 2015


"I read cortex's note as being very forceful towards one dead last town and fairly lenient/rote toward NoraReed. That the same note could be read in precisely the opposite way would not have occurred to me and indeed surprised me."

The thing that you characterize as brief and non-hostile you also describe without irony as a "wrist-slap" -- which implies to me that you oughtn't have been surprised, given that you naturally compared it to a violent act.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:23 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Actually, I tend to view sudden increased formality as a signal that there is now serious trouble. I can appreciate that that isn't how that might look to other people and that I might not be right about that.

That's an interesting take. Myself, I see it in the light of not word count but effort. The imbalance that I think a lot of people are pointing out is that it isn't a bad thing to calmly and clearly explain to a user what they're doing wrong and why; it's when this is happening to a user who has repeatedly demonstrated an unwillingness to listen to such explanations. I didn't see NoraReed's comment, and "cut it out" can be read any number of ways, but I think the major sticking point for myself and others is that our line of patience for schooling a user who's been a problem is a lot farther back than the line of patience for moderation staff. That might be a fairly common dynamic on other sites, but I think it needs to be recalibrated regularly. Flagging goes a long way to direct messaging the need to recalibrate that line wrt User X in threads about Subject Y, and the frustration seems to arise from the perceived slowness that calibration is taking.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:24 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Uosuaq, going to email.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:25 PM on May 15, 2015


(remember when they'd call you to the principal's office over the homeroom speakers? I bet that's all done over facebook or some shit now)
posted by uosuaq at 7:28 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


For a data point, count me as another person who saw cortex's comments to omdt as way harsher than his comments to NoraReed. Formality is scary, 'cut it out' sounds like you're talking to your adorable and much loved younger brother.
posted by corb at 7:33 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


As a parent I have used "cut it out" in states of playfulness, solid warning, and you are working my last goddamned nerve right now. I think it's impossible to claim those three words have any objective tone.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:36 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think I take the severity of the written rebuke to be a greater indication of transgression than whether a comment is deleted, but it seems like maybe other people don't see it that way? Do people see comment deletion as a worse ticking-off than being spoken to publicly and at length?

When you get a comment deleted, it gets deleted whether you want it to or not. A mod speaking to you over and over again about something? It seems like you can just ignore the mod for a really long time, and you might be able to get away with it. "Being spoken to publicly and at length by a mod" isn't really a punishment or a consequence or much of anything at all.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:38 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


> I think I take the severity of the written rebuke to be a greater indication of transgression than whether a comment is deleted, but it seems like maybe other people don't see it that way? Do people see comment deletion as a worse ticking-off than being spoken to publicly and at length?

I tend to see the comment deletion as a function of the general good faith NoraReed brings to MetaFilter. The deletion is a one-off, doesn't need to be explained, NoraReed knows better and because of that, generally fosters a good community here. On the flipside, being spoken to publicly and at length builds a substantial record about a problematic participant who could eventually get banned, and the evidence is available for anyone who cares to look.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:39 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Interestingly, cortex, I feel like your dilemna here is also about reading the room. I have total faith that you are trying to find ways to do the right thing, both now and possibly in improved fashion going forward, but I think you unwittingly communicated the exact wrong thing even while doing the right thing. Both actors deserved a Mod note for their actions, but the reason to balance your response more wasn't because their actions were similar in nature or offense, but because those following the thread deserved clarity of context.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:42 PM on May 15, 2015 [25 favorites]


I tend to see the comment deletion as a function of the general good faith NoraReed brings to MetaFilter. The deletion is a one-off, doesn't need to be explained, NoraReed knows better and because of that, generally fosters a good community here. On the flipside, being spoken to publicly and at length builds a substantial record about a problematic participant who could eventually get banned, and the evidence is available for anyone who cares to look.

OTOH, deleting of comments are also used against problem users who are just noising up a thread. It's kind of jarring when it happens in MetaTalk, to be honest, and I really wouldn't be able to guess the sentiment behind it happening here were it not for cortex explaining it afterwards.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:45 PM on May 15, 2015


The thing that you characterize as brief and non-hostile you also describe without irony as a "wrist-slap" -- which implies to me that you oughtn't have been surprised, given that you naturally compared it to a violent act.

At the risk of suddenly sounding like I think "tramp" only means "hobo", in the parlance I am familiar with, the expression "a slap on the wrist" is used exclusively to describe rebukes or punishments that are largely symbolic and carry little weight or force. They are very much the opposite of any sort of actually violent reprisal or genuinely punitive measure. So I'm a little surprised by this too, I didn't think it was an uncommon expression.

I think the major sticking point for myself and others is that our line of patience for schooling a user who's been a problem is a lot farther back than the line of patience for moderation staff.

To be absolutely clear, mine is too. I'm all for earlier and more direct intervention, and while I'm generally not a fan of banning, I also think that when you have people like we have had over the years who simply delight in testing the mods' patience, just get it over with.

When you get a comment deleted, it gets deleted whether you want it to or not. A mod speaking to you over and over again about something? It seems like you can just ignore the mod for a really long time, and you might be able to get away with it. "Being spoken to publicly and at length by a mod" isn't really a punishment or a consequence or much of anything at all.

Conversely, I would take public chastisement to be much more punitive. I don't remember the situation, but recently someone threw out an astonishingly tone-deaf and shitty joke into a tense conversation, and one of the mods said something like "I'm not even going to do you the favor of deleting that." If I do something shitty and a mod deletes it, hopefully I haven't hurt too many people and most people won't even see me making an ass of myself. If I do something shitty and that's followed by a mod (and very likely others) calling me out for being stupid, that would weigh on me a lot more.

Having said that, to reiterate what I said above, I'm not arguing for "speaking to someone over and over again". I do think the hammer should come down earlier in many or even most cases. I'm saying that here where our comments and the responses to our comments are our persona, I'm much more embarrassed by the very stupid things I have done which stand than by the (I think few) things scrubbed from my history. Then again, my intent here is to participate in good faith. I can see how the opposite would be true for a troll or provocateur trying to disrupt the conversation, in which case presumably deletions are worse than your shit getting to remain on the floor and stink up the room, and your tellings-off are probably badges of honor. Those people can go the fuck away.
posted by Errant at 7:53 PM on May 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


For the record, I would have added something like, "I know people are getting frustrated, but personal attacks are still not okay here," on the one hand, and "please move on and avoid similar threads until you can figure out how to demonstrate good faith in sensitive topics," or something similar, which if I'm reading you correctly is pretty much your position. Spelling both out a bit more clearly would have gone a long way, in my opinion.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:54 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


On the flipside, being spoken to publicly and at length builds a substantial record about a problematic participant who could eventually get banned, and the evidence is available for anyone who cares to look.

I had not considered this aspect, and some instances I recall where users claimed that there was no evidence of their shitty behavior, when comments had been silently deleted, illustrate the utility of this approach.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:55 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I read it that way, too, for the record. Building a case in public for further action - which is kind of what we asked him to do.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:58 PM on May 15, 2015


considering that I got through the "hey let's have a MetaTalk thread in which everyone circlejerks about how awful NoraReed is", I can totally handle a wrist slap and a comment deletion, but I'm frustrated as hell with sexist dudes taking over MeTa conversations that were about sexist dudes taking over conversations on the Blue, and I'm losing both my patience and my ability to give a shit.
posted by NoraReed at 8:01 PM on May 15, 2015 [64 favorites]


sexist dudes taking over MeTa conversations

If this is referring to me, I await your apology.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:03 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Amazing.
posted by erratic meatsack at 8:04 PM on May 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


If this is referring to me, I await your apology.

Seriously? You think this is the most important point being discussed?

If you do, you don't deserve an apology.
posted by jaguar at 8:05 PM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


For real. At this point it just looks like deliberate baiting.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:06 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Seriously? You think this is the most important point being discussed?

I've been given the impression from the comments above that there was somehow a Nora vs. me thing that I missed entirely because I wasn't sitting in front of this thread all night. If that's an attempt to repost the same, it's inappropriate.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:08 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


If this is referring to me, I await your apology.

Lols. I hope you're in a comfy chair dude. Might need someone to turn you periodically to avoid pressure sores.
posted by smoke at 8:08 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


Oh please, one more dead town. She's clearly talking about *me*. Must you be so vain?
posted by uosuaq at 8:09 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


No, this song is very obviously about me, wretch.
posted by Errant at 8:10 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


If that's an attempt to repost the same, it's inappropriate.

here's some advice:

backseat modding.

making pronouncements about what [is appropriate in this thread] as though you were a moderator

posted by twist my arm at 8:13 PM on May 15, 2015


I've been given the impression from the comments above that there was somehow a Nora vs. me thing that I missed entirely because I wasn't sitting in front of this thread all night.

If it's a thing you think you missed and that isn't there now, and you're coming back to a thread where you've been given a pretty clear "cut it out" message that was reiterated in mefimail just to speculatively demand an apology, you are not making good decisions about how to participate here and I am tired of hoping that you're actually going to manage it on your own recognizance. Take the day off and figure out how not to keep getting into this sort of Yeah But cycle.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:15 PM on May 15, 2015 [51 favorites]


Inappropriate?

Is this self parody hour? *bursts into flames*
posted by futz at 8:16 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


To date, telling someone I am waiting for them to apologize has yet to work at getting someone to apologize. It's a great way to get someone's defenses up though.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:16 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Lols. I hope you're in a comfy chair dude. Might need someone to turn you periodically to avoid pressure sores.

Cut it out?
posted by Drinky Die at 8:18 PM on May 15, 2015


On the bright side, the thread also turned into a "MeFites show off their awesome tattoos" thread, so that part is nice.
posted by homunculus at 8:19 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, just to be clear here, I am fairly sure NoraReed was talking about Mick Jagger, or Warren Beatty.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:20 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought she was talking about Caroline Kennedy?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:23 PM on May 15, 2015


Yeah, we're on the same page here. Happy Friday, or Saturday if you live in the part of the world where it's the future.
posted by Ruki at 8:25 PM on May 15, 2015


Hi from the future, walking my dog on a conveyor belt here and posting on my space phone.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:27 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, not reading the room well, I did learn about flagging and reading the room tonight. Can we get new wallpaper? I thought in boyzone threads mods spoke to guys because it was like gangata reapect. I thought my posts just get deleted without comment becaue they are beneath comment, and smell of mothballs and witch hazel covered cotton puffs.
posted by Oyéah at 8:30 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Guys I just came back from an amazing Thai restaurant, and on my way home there was this adorable husky pup that seemed to be running around without an owner, and just as I was commenting on how weird that is to my husband it ran out in front of my car. Thank god the breaks worked and the car behind me didn't crash into us. It ran off across 3 lanes of traffic with a group of kids trying to run after it.

Aya, hug your future dog for me?
posted by erratic meatsack at 8:32 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Before we move completely into one-liner territory, a respite which would certainly be well-deserved, I just want to say that I really appreciate this conversation and I've found a lot to think about with regards to community participation and public perceptions which I think will help me communicate better in the future. I hope this moves the needle in the right direction on resolving the frustrations expressed, and I hope that those of you who are voluntarily taking breaks decide at some point to come back, because you're pretty cool and I like hearing what you have to say.
posted by Errant at 8:36 PM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


Seconded. Things are hopefully moving in the right direction. Shows that it helps when people say what they mean and mean what they say.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:40 PM on May 15, 2015


So one of my best friends lives in Australia, and it always delights me when she wishes me a happy birthday on the day before, to me, my birthday. Which is next week, and the whole she lives in the future thing is so awesome to me, so that's where that came from. Also, my life would be so much better if I could walk my dog on a conveyer belt, especially if I had a robot maid to pick up the poop.
posted by Ruki at 8:47 PM on May 15, 2015


Just my two cents - I think it's shitty the way that boyzone seems to be creeping back in. I usually don't go into the kind of threads that turn ugly against women, just because I'm allergic to both conflict and assholes, but now I see that as really using my privilege to abdicate responsibility. I am resolving to be more involved in feminism related threads, and flag and call out bullshit.

To women users in general - I'm sorry you have to put up this kind of thing. I hope those of you who have thought about leaving reconsider. It's probably unfair to ask you to put yourself through this nonsense, but the site will be poorer without your contributions.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:49 PM on May 15, 2015 [35 favorites]


cortex, thank you.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:54 PM on May 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


I am resolving to be more involved in feminism related threads, and flag and call out bullshit.

This is a great sentiment. I often opt for the calling out (though I can also just feel nausea at the misogyny in some threads and tab out, which is a mistake on my part) while forgetting flags exist in the heat of the moment. Not mistakes I'll be making in the future.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:01 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hey, thanks for checking back in, NoraReed.
posted by tigrrrlily at 9:18 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


If this is referring to me, I await your apology.

This thread is amazing. Can someone use a scriptwriting program to turn this thread into a few different scenes with a few people?

Also, when the above sentence is done, I think some type of explosion is warranted.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:18 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seems like this thread is starting to wind down. I dig it.
posted by uosuaq at 9:45 PM on May 15, 2015


I feel like the thread is winding down but nothing has been resolved. I do not dig it.
posted by gingerest at 10:39 PM on May 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


I think it'd be a good start if the mod squad all got matching LBTs.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:46 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


"As a datapoint, it looked to me like one person was getting a very clear and formal warning about their overall behavior and the other person got a stage-left aside "stop doing this one thing". Where you (and apparently other people) are reading calm, patient explanation, I was seeing "I am laying out a very logical case for why you are going to get the axe, so that you can make no mistake about why you are going to get the axe if you keep doing this shit". Where you're seeing STFU, I saw a wrist-slap "hey, quit it". Maybe "please cut it out" would have worked better? I wonder how (sub)cultural a thing this is, but "more words" doesn't necessarily equal "more polite" to me, and "brief" doesn't necessarily mean "hostile". Actually, I tend to view sudden increased formality as a signal that there is now serious trouble. I can appreciate that that isn't how that might look to other people and that I might not be right about that."

Yeah, having been on the receiving end of "Come to Jesus" talks here, One Dead Town was getting the grinding millstone that precedes a banning. That's not coddling; that's cutting off every "Yeah but" that will come in email from both One Dead Town and other folks who will think he got a raw deal. He was playing the edges, and Cortex was taking those edges away methodically so that there was no confusion over why, exactly, he'd gotten the hammer.

Weirdly, the back and forth with Nora and the timeout probably extended his time here because he'll nurse a grudge over being called sexist (it is a personal attack) but instead of continuing to spar with a mod, he got a night off and since he's not an idiot will probably avoid anything similar for a while until he gets fixated on something down the road and ignores a clear "drop it" again.

It's frustrating because it's asymmetric and exploits a structural disconnect between text on a page and real people — I'd hope he wouldn't be so tone deaf in person, especially since a good five or six women are doing the equivalent of "Shut the fuck up!" — but from my read, cortex was responding in a way that took that asymmetry and structural disconnect away from him, in a way that had to end with either him dropping it here, getting banned, or (Christmas in May) finally understanding why people were upset with him.
posted by klangklangston at 11:02 PM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


Missed this meta, did not enjoy the original thread, and just want to add one more voice to the pile amazed how that one problem user is still getting away with dumping grenades in so many threads. Especially with a now-recognisable pattern of 1) make comment shitting on women 2) make several confusing "clarifying" comments which range from deeply suspicious to incomprehensible 3)drop into thread later with some "go feminism!" comments that are so at odds with the original bomb that I can't even
posted by ominous_paws at 11:02 PM on May 15, 2015 [20 favorites]


I know moderation is different here than on the Blue, but the way this conversation seemed to spend a lot of time in Man v Man time and the way men were able to hijack it a few times does not give me a lot of hope for the future. MeTa is way better than it used to be, and though this thread went better than I expected, it went worse than I'd hoped.

If there's anything I've learned from reading and writing about GamerGate, it's that it's really, really easy for a small group of dedicated trolls to make a space incredibly unfriendly for members of marginalized groups on any platform that doesn't have keeping those people out as a basic principle. MetaFilter doesn't allow that level of assholery and abuse, of course, but I still see the kind of arguments I'm used to from when I used to spend time on forums infested with hate groups; they're better at hiding them in apparently civil language here, but there are still comments that run the gamut from victim blaming to sex-shaming to slavery apologia that are not only awful to see but purposefully derail entire conversations and turn them into debates against one person with a particularly odious set of opinions and a chip on their shoulder. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't when this happens, because you can either be part of the pushback, firmly stating that what these people are saying is vile and hateful and awful, or you can ignore it and hope that the conversation goes back on track, but being silent about that kind of shit often indicates tacit agreement.

I'm definitely going to work on flagging more now, but I doubt we're gonna see this place be a place where women can talk about their experiences dealing with being women/sexism/patriarchy/etc in a way that is an actual conversation and not a debate with a small group of dedicated awful sea lions on basic stuff like "sexism happens", "patriarchy is a thing" and "women are people" unless the serious crackdown we saw with the bans of those four particularly awful misogynists continues. It was a combination of those bans and the general crackdown on using MeTa as the site's very own PvP zone that made me feel okay about coming back. MeTa's stayed somewhat better in general, though the JuneBy threads have raised a lot of issues with how awful and transphobic the site can be, a problem that's exacerbated by the fact that so many of the great active trans posters have been driven off the site because of it.

The Blue, though, was better for a while, but it seems like the banned misogynist users just left a vacuum that other people are working on filling in, and unless they're banned (either from those topics or the site entirely) and we start seeing more clear moderator notes about that kind of behavior being unacceptable even when there is community pushback, we're gonna keep backsliding into boyzone territory, especially considering that most of us have a finite amount of shit we can take before posting here stops being fun and we find other communities, which is already happening.

The community pushback/self moderation thing is NOT WORKING; we really need the official seal to say that hey, we might've seen that "well have you considered maybe some women are (sex-shaming slur)" is not acceptable here. With the rate that these clusterfucks have been going on lately, I think we need the unacceptability of misogyny to be clearly and repeatedly stated from the mods, I think, because right now it feels like nothing is happening.
posted by NoraReed at 11:31 PM on May 15, 2015 [52 favorites]


I don't want to add to any expectation of women being required to always do the work, etc., but for the purpose of some analysis (looking things over in more of a "big picture" way, as opposed to the piecemeal day-to-day that isn't necessarily great for recognizing overall patterns), I'm trying to put together a list of [feminism/sexism/happens to be about women] threads in say, the last year, that have gone badly in the way that people discussing here are sick of, and if anyone wants to send me/us links that they think would be particularly helpful to look at, I'd be happy to receive.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:53 PM on May 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


I've been doing a lot of thinking about the part of this pattern which frustrates me the most - and one piece is the expectation that "we all know sexism is stupid, so lets talk about other things instead because we all agree."

This seems to be of-a-piece with a lot of the "It's 2015, why are we still having this conversation?" and "ironic sexism"; it's a belief that the world is better than it really is, even in the face of explicit evidence it is not as good as we wish it was. I think there are some people who are honestly that naive, but more and more I think a lot of these people are actually made nervous by the profound paradigm shifts that women are calling for in general - including many of the women - and so minimize the sexism remaining imbedded in the culture (I've seen similar things happen with racism - it appears to be standardish).

Your equality is in another Castle.

It would help me a great deal if men who wanted to be feminist allies, or just wanted to help women in general, would be a bit more realistic about what is going on and how profoundly imbedded and complicated sexism is. It would make it a lot easier to spot the people who will claim to be feminist/anti-sexist but act in a manner which undermines the women present. This includes avoiding being sarcastic as much as possible, and in topics about women making a conscious effort to try to keep it about the women, and if it's about a sub-group of women, like trans women or black women or lesbians, it will be even harder because you're dealing with two axes of marginalization, not just one.

This will be a challenge - all of us are so used to focusing on men, white people, cis people, etc... - but I think it's work worth doing.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:22 AM on May 16, 2015 [45 favorites]


I think we need the unacceptability of misogyny to be clearly and repeatedly stated from the mods, I think, because right now it feels like nothing is happening.
posted by NoraReed

Perhaps from your view and experience. Is there any real specifics beyond what has been stated, confrontation, warnings?
I believe the mods are doing as much as possible to facilitate the changes they can make.
That thread was horrid, I did the reasonable thing and not even read it. Problem solved for me.
What works for you is still something you need to explore and examine with some specficity and data.
The progress I have seen is that the mods will be taking more action and keeping a keen eye out for said behavior and no more "rude" notes from mods in thread as Ivan F noted.

The important thing is for you to feel safe and included with in the community and judging from your observations, this is a chronic problem, as evident by that tattoo thread.
Very productive and informative work folks, keen observations and let's put a better foot forward.
posted by clavdivs at 1:03 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Addendum" I read parts of it, did not comment.
posted by clavdivs at 1:07 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now, NoraReed is a sharp and funny commenter, but she also has a habit of being kind of jerky and button-pushing in the process.

I, and i imagine the vast majority of the people replying to this thread in agreement that this is an issue, would rather read 1000 brash norareed callouts of argumentative comments than even 1/10th of the but-but-but/i don't see how this is a problem stuff that was in that thread.

And yes, i absolutely agree that, and even i've experienced this, the bar for calling out bullshit is much higher than the bar for just posting bullhsit. You get told to pipe down a lot quicker if you're replying to someone posting something outrageous than the people posting regressive crap.

On preview, as i caught the rest of the way up, many people have already essentially made that point more eloquently. But i guess it's at least worthwhile for me to stand here in agreement with them.
posted by emptythought at 3:11 AM on May 16, 2015 [28 favorites]


I agree with every word NoraReed said. My emphasis on self-policing and flagwork is predicated on that actually working, and the foundation for that is a very clear, loud, solid statement from staff that your sealioning, ironic sexism, diminishing/dismissing and straight up misogyny are not welcome here. Otherwise we get more rules lawyering and talking in circles in threads on the Blue, and right here in MeTa even. We can only do so much from the user end; a brighter line would go a long way.

I really should have qualified my earlier remarks with this. I guess I took it as a given that increased flagwork is done in concert with a clearer voice from the mods. I left this site once before over this same kind of ugly victim blaming. Things have gotten better in some ways, but in others it's creepingly gotten worse on this subject. Mods have pushed back against ugliness before, and it really needs to happen again.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:58 AM on May 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


I believe the mods are doing as much as possible to facilitate the changes they can make.

I love our mods. Modding is a near-thankless job and everyone's a critic. As a community, we're testy, often a bit humorless, and entitled and I am certain that we are really hard to deal with, so credit where credit is much-deserved. But I don't think we should say the mods are already "doing as much as possible," because there are many possible things they do not yet do, or do regularly, some of which might be harmful to the site, but some of which have potential and remain sort of untried.

I've said this before, but I think there is a problem of the frame. I tend to see a hesitancy here, a feeling of obligation to think and rethink and consider and justify and probe, resulting in maybe a bias toward inaction. The moderation philosophy seems still generally focused on atomized behaviors or, now, perhaps, user patterns across multiple threads, but the problem is more one of general sensitivity, of where the needle for 'acceptable' is set. The needle, right now, is set with a pretty high tolerance for background-level misogyny. Because it takes super-overt sexist behavior, and a long and visible pattern of it, for the mods to start asking people to modify their participation style, that means the users have to generally wade through a long 'burden of proof' period of dealing with sexist slings and arrows, and that changes the entire texture of the site experience for those people.

People have raised comparisons with jessamyn. I think that's more than nostalgia or a popularity or personality thing. I think what worked about jessamyn's moderation is that she was an excellent observer of people, highly sensitive to microaggressions and bad faith participation. They pinged her radar much more loudly, and she did not usually advocate for making a lot of room for those opinions to be held up and turned around and argued for as legitimate debate. She could see them, she could see that it was harming the site, and she nipped the heels of those people quickly and unequivocally (most of the time) in a visible enough way for everyone to understand that site standards were in play.
posted by Miko at 6:02 AM on May 16, 2015 [53 favorites]


Correct me if I'm wrong, but the general mod policy has always been to start gently and softly for lighter infractions, whatever they are. It's so only recently that a heavier approach is being done and it's constantly being rethought and examined as they try to find the appropriate line for each situation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:09 AM on May 16, 2015


if anyone wants to send me/us links that they think would be particularly helpful to look at, I'd be happy to receive.

you guys want it in the contact form or in here?

are you only looking for the worst of the worst? what do you think about non-feminism threads where sea lioning happens or is that outside the scope? because i think a lot of times those have some consistent problem users that overlap with sexism issues. i can have that in a separate list to be discarded if not helpful.

should there be any notes so you know why we included it or is it more presented for your consideration without comment so you can do your own analysis?
posted by twist my arm at 6:16 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anything you want to submit, in whatever form, with notes or without. Please send to contact form, and if folks want to use the same subject line for ease of searching on our end, you could use "list for boyzone problem threads."

I've begun to assemble some myself, and have a fairly good list going based on most-flags, plus relevant content, but there are some fuzzy areas, and we have a couple of busy / difficult threads going on at the moment, so a little pushed for time to pursue more just now. Will update though.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:29 AM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


PoppaBear: I've gotten to see some really great, informative posts and comments that have influenced my reading, thinking, conversations, and behaviors.

Me too! I read this comment and this one and this one, just in this MetaTalk thread alone, and they were all great!
posted by duffell at 6:31 AM on May 16, 2015


Is sea lioning actually against policy here? Outside of the context of feminism threads? How could the mods ever enforce that on a general interest site, where reasonable demands for backing up outrageous statements are often attempts at fixing derails not creating them.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:32 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Meaning I get the idea, but whoo boy what a minefield to navigate!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:35 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think sealioning is already against site policy, under the "Don't be a jerk" clause.
posted by workerant at 7:16 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


So this thread is huge and i havent read the whole thing but I have 2 suggestions that I hadnt seen anyone mention:

1. It seems that there are the same people who come in to derail threads about certain topics. The current solution seems to be some mod notes to cool off or a 24 hour ban. Would it be possible to ban users from certain tags? For example, users that have a habit of derailing threads about feminism are banned from commenting in threads tagged with feminism/misogyny/patriarchy, either on a permanent or for a period of time. I dont know how the behind the scenes works here so i dont know if its even possible.

2. The other issue, based on what i had read to this point, is new users who dont know the culture of the site. This may be too mod intensive but how about new users' comments maybe require mod approval before posting for a period of time, like training wheels. I dont know how often new users sign up and how often they comment so this could be totally infeasible based on the resources available.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:21 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Would it be possible to ban users from certain tags?

I see what you're getting at; the issue there is that to be effect that would have to rely on far more consistent and thorough tagging than we actually see in practice. It's far more practical along those lines for us to talk to someone directly and clearly about staying away from General Topic X and holding them to that reactively ("we said stay away from x, you did not, discussion over, adios") than to try and handle it on the technical side based on folksonomic labeling.

This may be too mod intensive but how about new users' comments maybe require mod approval before posting for a period of time, like training wheels.

Queue comments would be a big technical and social change to the site and so is not something I see us ever doing. That said, we do have existing tools for monitoring in aggregate comments by new users, and that's something we could revisit and tweak with a mind toward getting more utility out of it for potential problem situations.

That said, with new users who aren't familiar with site culture getting into tiresome Yeah But Let's Start From First Principles Re: Topic X loops after joining, we tend to see fairly prompt reactions from the community, conversationally but also in flags and heads ups; I'd say as much as anything a brand new person showing up for another round of a tired argument is the least likely case for crappy behavior slipping under the radar, because mefites tend to have a collective sense of this place and to recognize someone new and conspicuous in a way that might not happen so much when a dumb conversation is sort of kicking up from among people who have been around for a while and so seem more familiar.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:32 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think we've been seeing old accounts come out of the woodwork with really bizarre comments, rather than a bunch of new users?
posted by erratic meatsack at 7:35 AM on May 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I also feel like some of the recent wtf comments have been from longtime but very low-volume members. Like, joined in 2004, maybe haven't been around much since 2005, but now they're popping into some thread to offer their Factual Information About Women. I have sort of rolled my eyes at a few of these on the assumption that they're going to drop their one stupid comment and then leave again so it won't be a larger problem, and just letting the person show their ass is better than jumping on their comment with a delete and a note that will only draw their further attention. But this thread is a good push to be more firm on those.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:55 AM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


As a possibly-of-interest detail on that, I've moderated boards which have seen that kind of behavior manifest, and it was often that the users of those old accounts either had a public email address or had set up an email address in the same name as their user ID with one of the popular webmail providers. When those addresses fell into disuse and were shut down, trolls could set up new accounts with the same name, and request a password reset from the site.

That may not be what's happening here, but one of the core learnings of Gamergate is indubitably that there are plenty of people out there for whom a credit card payment is an insurmountable barrier, but who have effectively unlimited free time.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:56 AM on May 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


in a way that had to end with either him dropping it here, getting banned, or (Christmas in May) finally understanding why people were upset with him.

I don't have statistics on this, but (in my experience) it seems like Option 1 (dropping it) happens frequently, Option 2 (getting banned) happens less frequently, and Option 3 (the user finally realizing what people don't like about their behavior) almost never happens. While it would be nice if some difficult users could finally internalize exactly how their behavior disrupts the site for others, does that happen often enough to warrant mods interacting with difficult users in ways that allow them to loophole their disruptive behavior, as long as they eventually drop it? Or is it infrequent enough that the focus should be on getting difficult users to either 1) drop it, or 2)get banned? Holding out that someone might realize how disruptive they're being seems like it's seriously pissing off people.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:03 AM on May 16, 2015


We haven't seen much of anything obvious there; "person hasn't commented in eight years but suddenly wants to get in a fight about something tangential to...ethics in game journalism?" is a weird enough that we'll go looking when we notice. Not to say it's impossible that it's someone pulling identity hijinks, and the unknowability there makes it hard to say for certain either way, but in practice someone with an old mefi account who dropped off the site but then got reminded of it years later and logged back in is a really plausible situation and one we also see in far more benign and positive circumstances now and then. (Viz. older folks delurking to say a kind word or two when there's big site news, which is itself pretty common.)

But it's something we do sort of keep an eye out for, for all that. Explicit "hey, help me back in" requests tend to put a user top of mind for the the mods such that them immediately getting up to something odd (vs. the much more common case of them just hanging out like an average mefite) will tend to jump out at us. Someone signing in for the first time in a while to get in a fight may also turn out in practice to be someone who, when they were active years ago, was inclined already to get in the same sorts of fights.

While it would be nice if some difficult users could finally internalize exactly how their behavior disrupts the site for others, does that happen often enough to warrant mods interacting with difficult users in ways that allow them to loophole their disruptive behavior, as long as they eventually drop it?

My experience is that there are a lot of users who, whether or not they truly internalize and convert on a problem issue, do in fact acknowledge and internalize the need for them to change or eliminate their behavior on that problem issue. But those people fall off the radar because they stop doing the thing that people were finding bothersome, and so they don't stand out in the collective memory the way a ban or a real final line-in-the-sand moment does. Someone ceasing to behave memorably badly is just kind of inherently unmemorable.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:13 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's frustrating because it's asymmetric and exploits a structural disconnect between text on a page and real people — I'd hope he wouldn't be so tone deaf in person, especially since a good five or six women are doing the equivalent of "Shut the fuck up!" — but from my read, cortex was responding in a way that took that asymmetry and structural disconnect away from him, in a way that had to end with either him dropping it here, getting banned, or (Christmas in May) finally understanding why people were upset with him.

Man, did I have a different read of this from you. I think it would be extremely unusual to ban someone outright, rather for a day, as a result of sea lioning.

I also disagree that a good five or six women were doing the equivalent of "Shut the fuck up," which is against site guidelines. I'm not sure exactly which comments you were referring to but I don't see what you see.

I have problems with calling NoraReed's comment a personal attack, but I don't have time to explain what I mean before my computer is taken over for automatic updates.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:25 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


The real enemy here is Windows.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:32 AM on May 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


Yeah, I also feel like some of the recent wtf comments have been from longtime but very low-volume members. Like, joined in 2004, maybe haven't been around much since 2005, but now they're popping into some thread to offer their Factual Information About Women.

What if most of metafilter (silent majority) are like this...and there are only a few hundy who aren't?
posted by hal_c_on at 8:32 AM on May 16, 2015


Seconding cortex that we definitely do have people who act badly at one time, and then something changes (either the penny drops, or their life circumstances change) so that they stop the problem behavior.

It's still useful for people to tell us in a thread like this, look, this is a bigger problem than you've been thinking it is and something needs to shift. We are hearing that. We made changes after the big misogyny thread this winter, and I think those worked pretty well. In the last couple of weeks I don't know what's the cause (are we doing something different or is there just a random uptick in dumbassery) but we're definitely looking at reinforcing the changes we made before and revisiting some of the longtime problem users and acting more definitely on some of those cases. Thank you to the people who wrote in to the contact form about specific people/behaviors; I want to underline, that's very helpful.

It's been a weird week, since r_n and I were both offsite for most of the week (due to unrelated prior plans)... so cortex has been modding the US daytime by himself all week (4x16hr shifts, thank you Josh), during what has mostly-coincidentally been the busiest week in months. So, the particular threads from this week were subject to a very unusual mod situation. They do still represent real problems and I've appreciated the discussion in here; it will definitely inform my actions on this stuff.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:37 AM on May 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


Now, NoraReed is a sharp and funny commenter, but she also has a habit of being kind of jerky and button-pushing in the process.

I, and i imagine the vast majority of the people replying to this thread in agreement that this is an issue, would rather read 1000 brash norareed callouts of argumentative comments than even 1/10th of the but-but-but/i don't see how this is a problem stuff that was in that thread.


This is the kind of thing I think people who fear an echo chamber are talking about. A poster like NoraReed gets called things like "brash" and "kinda jerky" where someone on the "wrong side" would get flagged and called out for their "*ist bullshit" and a general pile on would ensue. No, not every conversation is a debate but I think some people are afraid that no conversation will be a debate because if you're on the wrong side of some ever shifting invisible line you're the devil incarnate where as if you're on the correct side you can abuse people, or groups of people, almost at will, and you're just considered incisive and/or brash*.

I'm not a frequent commentor, or particularly controversial, so I'm not super invested but I do read quite a few blue and grey threads and that's the impression I get. Oh, and I don't mean to make this about NoraReed but she's an easy pull as an example.

* May contain slight traces of exaggeration for effect. Comment processed on a keyboard that contains tree nuts and other allergens. Comment not available to residents of Quebec.
posted by MikeMc at 8:42 AM on May 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


This thread is amazing. Can someone use a scriptwriting program to turn this thread into a few different scenes with a few people?

Larry David could make a pretty funny episode about not understanding there are two definitions of "tramp", as opposed to the bizarre argument we had here.
posted by riruro at 8:46 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, not every conversation is a debate but I think some people are afraid that no conversation will be a debate because if you're on the wrong side of some ever shifting invisible line you're the devil incarnate where as if you're on the correct side you can abuse people, or groups of people, almost at will, and you're just considered incisive and/or brash*.

You know if I seriously worried about everything that some people are afraid of I wouldn't have time to get dressed in the morning.
posted by PMdixon at 8:47 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is the kind of thing I think people who fear an echo chamber are talking about. A poster like NoraReed gets called things like "brash" and "kinda jerky" where someone on the "wrong side" would get flagged and called out for their "*ist bullshit" and a general pile on would ensue.

It's not like I can't see where you get that idea from, but the fact is that the chances of NoraReed saying something sexist, racist, etc. are pretty fucking low, and the chances of someone on the other side saying something like that are... not so low.
posted by topynate at 8:47 AM on May 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


The overlap between "fearing an echo chamber" and "saying really shitty and hurtful things" is substantial. I'm down with a site ethos that places more value on "a place for likeminded people to share interesting stuff from the web" and less "the preservation of free speech is crucial to enjoyment of MetaFilter."
posted by MoonOrb at 8:49 AM on May 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


Perhaps from your view and experience. Is there any real specifics beyond what has been stated, confrontation, warnings?
I believe the mods are doing as much as possible to facilitate the changes they can make.
That thread was horrid, I did the reasonable thing and not even read it. Problem solved for me.
What works for you is still something you need to explore and examine with some specficity and data.


I... why was this comment even allowed to stand? This is precisely the problem. "Oh, well that's what you say, but it's not as if anybody else is agreeing with you and you haven't presented sufficient data to prove that you are harmed. On the other hand, I think everything is fine, without presenting any data, or in fact reading the things we are talking about."

Seriously?
posted by Lyn Never at 8:49 AM on May 16, 2015 [21 favorites]


I would like to see a firm line drawn on people coming into a conversation about sexism in which people are already discussing the sexism at hand and gaslighting that it's not sexism. Racism and classism as well.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:52 AM on May 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


I'd like a firm line drawn against "well, if it's a problem for you, just don't participate!" suggestions.
posted by Lexica at 8:57 AM on May 16, 2015 [39 favorites]


I... why was this comment even allowed to stand?

Well, it was allowed to stand because stuff very rarely gets deleted from Metatalk, and would probably have been allowed to stand on the blue as well. Godawfulness is not in itself a sufficient cause for deletion.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:00 AM on May 16, 2015


OK, here we have the spectre of the dreaded feminist echo chamber rearing its head again. At some point Metafilter will officially have to come down on the "side" that sexism is real, that feminism is OK, that anti-feminism is NOT OK, and that voicing opinions to the contrary is just not acceptable. Until then the women on this site *will* be stuck doing the heavy lifting until their backs give out.
posted by tigrrrlily at 9:01 AM on May 16, 2015 [34 favorites]


This is the kind of thing I think people who fear an echo chamber are talking about. A poster like NoraReed gets called things like "brash" and "kinda jerky" where someone on the "wrong side" would get flagged and called out for their "*ist bullshit" and a general pile on would ensue.

This sounds like you'd rather *ist users be allowed to poison the conversation for everyone than have a "brash" and "kinda jerky" user that wasn't being a bigoted asshole. Which: fuck that noise. And even if welcoming users who were not bigoted but were "brash" and "kinda jerky" over ones who are bigoted assholes defined what an echo chamber was, those two are not two sides of the same coin or equally bad. Of course, that's not the definition of an echo chamber, that's called "not putting up with bigoted assholes."

No, not every conversation is a debate but I think some people are afraid that no conversation will be a debate because if you're on the wrong side of some ever shifting invisible line you're the devil incarnate where as if you're on the correct side you can abuse people, or groups of people, almost at will, and you're just considered incisive and/or brash.

Not referring to women as if they were objects shouldn't be a shifting invisible line, for starters. The whole point of this MeTa is that line seems to be stacked against women rather than your contrarian silent majority pals. Same goes for any of a number of issues such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, and so forth.

Oh, and I don't mean to make this about NoraReed but she's an easy pull as an example.

I call bullshit. For someone who keeps on coming into contentious MeTas to brag about how many people they block, I find this extremely hard to believe.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:04 AM on May 16, 2015 [28 favorites]


Oh, and I don't mean to make this about NoraReed but she's an easy pull as an example.

I call bullshit. For someone who keeps on coming into contentious MeTas to brag about how many people they block, I find this extremely hard to believe.


Call it what you like, that particular user came up frequently in this thread for a reason. My comment wasn't about just her but she's a great example. It gets into that whole punching up/punching down down thing but NR works really well as an example.
posted by MikeMc at 9:11 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


It would be great if this didn't slide off into some kind of debate over NoraReed.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:12 AM on May 16, 2015 [34 favorites]


Wait, taking issue with sexists is now punching down?

Dogs and cats living together...
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:32 AM on May 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


Yeah, I... don't think punching up/down really applies here. Maybe try rephrasing that a bit?
posted by erratic meatsack at 9:48 AM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


One rule I've adopted recently is to stay out of threads on contentious subjects when I'm having a rough time in real life. It's makes it very easy to get into the "Oh yeah, you think you got problems?" head. (and I've had a very rough couple of months, but I'm better now. I'll tell you about it some other time, but the advice is good).
posted by jonmc at 9:54 AM on May 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


A pretty gross argument that has come up here before, and which I have unfortunately seen on the rise elsewhere, is that if someone's *ist views go against the majority attitude in a community then this accords them "minority" status, so calling them out on their *ist behavior constitutes bullying and abuse and silencing a minority. It is a really vile coopting of legitimate arguments presented by actually oppressed minorities used to further a hateful agenda and it actually sickens me more than outright unashamed hate speech.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:56 AM on May 16, 2015 [89 favorites]


I went in to that tattoo thread when I was in a good place in my life. It was an interesting subject, I was rested, I was relaxed, I had some free time for a change and was feeling sociable, and it was still unexpectedly awful. So can we give that whole thing a rest now?
posted by shelleycat at 10:05 AM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


I was just speaking for myself.
posted by jonmc at 10:06 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


if you're on the wrong side of some ever shifting invisible line

What constitutes misogyny is not an "ever shifting invisible line." What's happening instead is that you used to be part of a culture (and a website) that had a high tolerance for misogyny, that is now very clearly expressing a desire to have much less tolerance for it. What does and doesn't qualify as misogyny, though, has been a reasonably clear thing for decades.

This really isn't that hard. I think a lot of this kind of rhetoric is kind of a way to throw up a "but I'm so confused!" defense/smokescreen. Yep, the rules may be changing. To reduce tolerance for misogyny. Brash, jerky-acting people who are not acting misogynist, though, remain welcome. It's one of the secret ingredients in MeFi's special mix.
posted by Miko at 10:15 AM on May 16, 2015 [62 favorites]


accords them "minority" status, so calling them out on their *ist behavior constitutes bullying and abuse and silencing a minority.

I agree, completely vile. I think the variant that gets played here is the "that person isn't censured because they are popular With other users." It isn't that misogyny is bad itself, it's that the popular people just don't like it, so getting called on your misogyny is akin to being teased for being in the SCA.
posted by OmieWise at 10:16 AM on May 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


using sj-inspired terminology and ideas to imply hypocrisy is par for the course. the minority thing is one. white men talking about their "lived experience." using alleged abuse as a shield (gg calling zoe quinn a rapist/abuser) which then opens up "victim-blaming." reverse *ism eg. equality/i'm a humanist/all lives matter, also "i'm offended that you called my actions bigoted"/this is my religion/you're anti-christian. using actual minorities like #notyourshield, the PoC/women correspondents on fox news.

so then when you take issue with any of that well you're a hypocrite and you don't actually believe in equality, you just want women/"the right people" to be in charge of men and "ooooh some people just want to wear the oppressor hat with the exact same rules whereas i want *actual* equality."

it's impressive the way something horrible can still be impressive. they adapt like the borg and judo your shit.
posted by twist my arm at 10:24 AM on May 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


I was just speaking for myself.

Yeah, I get that. And I wasn't aiming it at just you but at everyone making similar suggestions. Because you're not the first to mention it, like seriously we didn't already think of this ourselves?, and I don't think we need it suggested again.

Because by now it's pretty clear, the only way for me to avoid this kind of shit on metafilter is to not read metafilter at all. So I'd rather work on fixing that than the ongoing suggestions about how we brought this on ourselves by reading the wrong thing or at the wrong time or in the wrong mood or whatever.
posted by shelleycat at 10:26 AM on May 16, 2015 [24 favorites]


I'm now going to take my own advice.
posted by jonmc at 10:27 AM on May 16, 2015


"that person isn't censured because they are popular With other users."

A sentiment that I most see aimed at female users, frankly.
posted by KathrynT at 10:31 AM on May 16, 2015 [23 favorites]


Man, I took like a month off of MF after my last attempt at a go round with the MRA brigade resulted in a ~timeout~, and these jackoffs are still being unmitigated fartlords about NoraReed, really?

Please get off NoraReed's spiritual dick, horrible men with horrible opinions of MeFi. I'm sorry it's bigger than yours, but holy shit.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 10:42 AM on May 16, 2015 [32 favorites]


This was bad, this is why it was bad. What are some ideas moving forward we can take as a community to stop this? What firm actions can be taken by the mods right now?

Once those are answered clearly, for the love of twinkies, close this thread.
posted by FunkyHelix at 10:46 AM on May 16, 2015


Seconding cortex that we definitely do have people who act badly at one time, and then something changes (either the penny drops, or their life circumstances change) so that they stop the problem behavior.

Oh, I acknowledge that there are users who act badly, then stop. The point I was making was that to some, it seems like the current unwritten mod rule is "Talk to problem users until the problem user sees the error of their ways, meanwhile non-problem users get frustrated or shy away from certain topics" -- if that's not anywhere close to an unwritten mod rule, then maybe adjust your problem-user strategy so that people don't think that's what you're doing.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:48 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am so, so tired of the Echo Chamber Spectre getting wheeled out whenever there's a pushback against crappy rhetorical devices. If people want to talk like grownups about grownup things without having to entertain tedious and transparent attempts at polluting the conversation, I think this is a reasonable expectation. That echo chamber charge is the rhetorical equivalent of "weed is a gateway drug" - just more unfalsifiable slippery slope bullshit that characterizes people who want to be treated with a modicum of respect as censorious and reactionary. Pretty rich considering the accusation is invariably used to defend reactionary behavior.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:53 AM on May 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


Once those are answered clearly, for the love of twinkies, close this thread.

I absolutely hate it when people do this while other people are clearly still talking about stuff. This is MetaTalk. We talk about stuff here, often at length. Sometimes it can feel tense, but without these briefly-uncomfortable conversations, long patterns of entrenched unpleasantness remain unchecked. I think the latter is worse, and I prefer the talking about it.
posted by Errant at 11:01 AM on May 16, 2015 [21 favorites]


I am so, so tired of the Echo Chamber Spectre

For serious. The best part is that whenever dudes get to whining about it, it's pretty much always because they sense the community might be trying to head toward a consensus that people who aren't like them (= the whiny dudes) are also human beings who are inherently deserving of respect.

It's like they think that for women to be afforded more respect and credibility than we currently are (which is to say, more than pretty much none), men will/must naturally be afforded less of those things -- which is where the "I'm not a feminist, I'm an EGALITARIAN" brigade comes in -- rather than just agreeing that men AND women are deserving of respect because we're all people.

So their fear leads them to lash out and raise the spectres of silencing and list-making and McCarthyism, much in the same way that their impending demographic obsolescence is making all the decrepit white dudes in Congress piss their pants over the prospect of one day not being automatically afforded the title of Rightful Leaders of the Known Universe, Forever. And I don't know what to tell them except "sorry bruh, but you're gonna have to get the fuck over it."
posted by divined by radio at 11:08 AM on May 16, 2015 [23 favorites]


I absolutely hate it when people do this while other people are clearly still talking about stuff. This is MetaTalk. We talk about stuff here, often at length. Sometimes it can feel tense, but without these briefly-uncomfortable conversations, long patterns of entrenched unpleasantness remain unchecked. I think the latter is worse, and I prefer the talking about it.

Yeah. If something's really intractable I can see it, but normally when I see this shit it comes with an unspoken sense of "oh no there is a conflict and also I am being exposed for not being firmly in the majority or even the plurality of user opinion, mods halp pls so I can continue to believe that I'm part of a silent majority and the lurkers support me in email!"

It's the same with the "popular users" shit. Why do you think they're popular in the first place, guys?
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 11:10 AM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


People were doing it above with the "I feel SO sorry for the mods" stuff. You know, I get it too, it's really really hard to be a mod and deal with everything that they deal with but is there really any reason to publically pity them other than implying that women here are being too harsh and demanding? Which, if you think that in this thread, wow we can't really tamp down the tone enough for you can we?

If you feel sorry for them, maybe tell them that you appreciate them or send them a private note some time. "Matt's on a beach with a piña colada" type stuff is pretty insulting-- we have an entire subset to bring up site issues, this thread is long but civil and a lot of good conversation is happening, with basically no actual attacking of the mods whatsoever.
posted by easter queen at 11:14 AM on May 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


The thing that bothers me the most about "we must avoid echo chambers!" is that it is just a way of preserving the echo chamber that the speaker agrees with or doesn't even notice.

I'm only just now getting to the "7 examples of privilege" thread, and I'm on the verge of frustrated and angry tears about all the mind boggling stupidity and ignorance there. But it shows what sad sort of echo chamber we'd be stuck with if it weren't for feminists: the assumption of gender essentialism (seasoned with evolutionary psychology) and the denial of oppression. THAT is a fucking echo chamber.
posted by meese at 11:16 AM on May 16, 2015 [31 favorites]


If you feel sorry for them, maybe tell them that you appreciate them or send them a private note some time.

Or fucking donate. We users pay their salaries. For once, there's an opportunity to actually be the opposite of the "MY TAXES PAY THEIR SALARY argh blarghle rarghle!!" crap Tea Partiers spew about every hapless public servant just trying to do their job. We literally pay for their salaries. I bet if everyone put a dollar amount on "the poooor mods dealing with those hysterical terrible OTHER users" and actually donated, after a few 300+ commenters they could at least afford to go out to a nice restaurant or something.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 11:22 AM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't mind people feeling sorry for the mods. They do difficult work, and walk thin lines, and very often just get criticized when something goes wrong but not really remembered when things go well. We have this site only because of the work they do. This is another difficult conversation. It's one of the reasons Matt left the site. I don't mind people pointing out that reality.

I am a woman, and I have historically participated in these discussions.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:23 AM on May 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


The LBT thread has bugged me for days. I think one of my comments did NOT get deleted in that thread. More and more on the blue, I feel like I can't disagree with the content of any FPP that has to do with women. And that really pisses me off, that because I don't have the right, sanctioned opinion, I can't weigh in on a discussion that is relevant to me as a woman. More and more, I feel that some people can get away with summarizing the worst they can think of someone and put it into quotes like a commenter actually said it and it makes the thread unnecessarily hostile. And that somehow is all OK and applauded.

It is uncomfortably like desperately wanting to speak up in class but not wanting to incur the wrath and mockery of the mean girls.
posted by sfkiddo at 11:24 AM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


your comments were deleted because they broke the guidelines - not because of your viewpoint or a cadre of mean girls. you can't complain about how metafilter does this or that on the blue. even if the rest of your comment is fine, if you include that kind of snipe, the whole thing will be deleted. personally, i think your swipes about women not having to be personally oppressed was shitty (especially since you're now using as a cudgel to claim oppression), but that wasn't what got your comments deleted.
posted by nadawi at 11:33 AM on May 16, 2015 [32 favorites]


Thank you guys for the kind words to mods. (Josh especially earned them the last few days, thank you Josh). But as jessamyn always said, we're ok, we are glad to be here, we're well paid, and we're appreciative of the spirit in which nearly everyone engages with the community here trying to make/keep it a decent place to be. So even though tough MeTas can be tough, they can be really necessary and useful (and mods benefit from that in the long run), and I think this thread has gone well considering it's a subject that people are understandably upset about.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:42 AM on May 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


I am willing to own that one of my comments broke the guidelines; I think it is the culmination of the hostility I've seen in past posts (that I've not commented on). It's frustrating to me, I used to really enjoy Metafilter.

Your comment that I'm "now using [the deletion] as a cudgel to claim oppression" is unnecessarily mean and fighty.
posted by sfkiddo at 11:45 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


LobsterMitten, I do appreciate you explaining the context of cortex having to work crazy hours this week. I know it doesn't make sense to always share that stuff, but it felt particularly relevant this time.
posted by almostmanda at 11:49 AM on May 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yeah, it's a situation that almost never happens, but it's also one that we don't usually want to advertise while it's ongoing - hence the explanation once I was back.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:50 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


at least 3 of your comments were deleted for venting your frustration in a way that is against the guidelines or complaining about the deletion.
posted by nadawi at 11:50 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


poffin boffin: "A pretty gross argument that has come up here before, and which I have unfortunately seen on the rise elsewhere, is that if someone's *ist views go against the majority attitude in a community then this accords them "minority" status, so calling them out on their *ist behavior constitutes bullying and abuse and silencing a minority. "

So common there's even a name for it: The Paradox of Tolerance ... whether by refusing to tolerate others' intolerance, you have betrayed your own principles of toleration.

The general answer is that there are some baseline "rights" that are more important than tolerance and that if the intolerant want to abridge those rights, the tolerant are not required to tolerate it; and more generally, that when the intolerant are demanding toleration of actions that tend to undermine the community in question, the community is not required to tolerate those actions. To the "You're being intolerant of my sexism!" people, I would respond, "The community needs to be intolerant of that for its self-preservation, as well as to meet the baseline 'right' of members to be recognized as fully human; the virtue of tolerance does not extend to issues that would destroy the community or cause clear violation of its members basic humanity."

If those people still want to complain "But inconsistent!" I say, "Well, yes, congratulations on identifying one of the most basic questions in political theory relating to modern liberal democracies; it's an irresolvable philosophical tension that probably won't be resolved here. Deal with it; it's not going anywhere."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:12 PM on May 16, 2015 [82 favorites]


You know, I kind of wonder if boyzone is at this point rather counter-productive phrasing, because on the surface it makes it seem like the problem is tee-hee boys vs girls, pink vs blues, ewww you have cooties nonsense, which gives a bit of cover to all the reactionary "wah mean girls"/"it's about ethics in forums posting!!!!" types. Sadly, "reflexively misogynist MRA shithead zone" doesn't roll off the tongue keyboard in the same way.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 12:28 PM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


The reason I used it, and what I like about it, is that it appeals to site history in such a way that I hoped we could avoid having to relitigate whether this place could even be hostile to women at all, or whether making this place less hostile to women was a site goal. It didn't seem work particularly well, though, since we're still having the same "but avoiding echo chambers is more important" conversation. I can definitely see your point too, and maybe there's a better a way to reference those conversations without making it sound overly juvenile or polarized.
posted by dialetheia at 12:36 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


> ... it's really really hard to be a mod and deal with everything that they deal with but is there really any reason to publically pity them other than implying that women here are being too harsh and demanding?

Yes.
posted by nangar at 12:37 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I actually kind of like the term 'boyzone' because it sidesteps having to debate any one person's view, or the exact niceties of whether a particular comment counts as misogynist. A bunch of comments of the bad kind don't have to be strictly speaking misogynist to make for boyzone. It's a good term (IMO) for the overall effect on the atmosphere.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:41 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


nadawi, I don't have screenshots (because I was gobsmacked that everything got deleted, first time I've had anything deleted in 9 years!) but I don't remember it like that. I was one of the few people actually talking about the article. The fact that I didn't like that she tried to universalize her personal tattoo regret to broad statements about all women was perhaps not framed as well as I could've done (I got pissy about the misandry celebration that was happening). But while I don't like when men speak for me, I don't like when other women do either (hence my issues with this and other posts).
posted by sfkiddo at 12:45 PM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Honestly, I don't think MetaFilter on the whole, or even certain threads like the LBT thread, can be accurately described as "reflexively misogynist MRA shithead zone." As a woman, that has not been my experience here.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:46 PM on May 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


sfkiddo, on a quick scan, it looks like your deleted comments in there were deleted for being metacommentary ("Mefites are like this" type of stuff).
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:46 PM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think "boyzone" generally works, but It can create some confusion if women are contributing to the sexist atmosphere. I don't think tirades about lower class women or "patriarchy is your imagination, ladies!" are any less offensive or deraily when a female voice is behind them.
posted by almostmanda at 12:47 PM on May 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


I take the point about the desirability of a political neutral term, LM, but I still think it's a little bit... dismissive? Minimizing? on some level.

I think "boyzone" generally works, but It can create some confusion if women are contributing to the sexist atmosphere. I don't think tirades about lower class women or "patriarchy is your imagination, ladies!" are any less offensive or deraily when a female voice is behind them.

It's also sort of giving tacit approval to the idea that being welcoming to women is something only women care about and that men are automatically or naturally opposed to, which is crap because there are a ton of cool, feminist men on MeFi who are totally awesome about these issues.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 12:54 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ok, LobsterMitten, I will work on not mixing Meta commentary into content. (Or, more likely, just go away.)
posted by sfkiddo at 12:55 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not at all suggesting you go away! Just meant to be answering the plain factual question about the deletions, that's all. It's fine, you're fine.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:56 PM on May 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


No matter how many of these and past MeTas I read, "boyzone" will forever conjure these guys up for me so it's hard to read it in the appropriate tone. It's an inoffensive word for offensive behaviour.

Taz said earlier it was helpful if people used the same subject line when they were using the contact form to send examples of problem threads. I'd be happy to make an effort to flag more often and follow up with a note to the mods to explain why (which I don't always do). Is there some term - and boyzone is grand as it has site history - that we could all use in the notes we send the mods about problem threads/users? So the mods would be able to collate them easily and clearly see where (or who) the specific problems were?
posted by billiebee at 12:57 PM on May 16, 2015


It's also sort of giving tacit approval to the idea that being welcoming to women is something only women care about and that men are automatically or naturally opposed to, which is crap because there are a ton of cool, feminist men on MeFi who are totally awesome about these issues.

I doubt that any guy who truly cares about the disturbing ways women are being treated or spoken about on this site actually gives a flying wallenda about the term 'boyzone'.
posted by zarq at 1:08 PM on May 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Given the record of the Wallendas', Boyzone works.

For example, when the dogs and I Rowl up to lamp breaking stage, my wife usually says "easy in the doodle zone"
Works.
posted by clavdivs at 1:32 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I also like "boyzone". It conveys a pretty precise kind of context, neatly.
posted by kalessin at 1:34 PM on May 16, 2015


Boyzone works for me. In my experience, when women come up with words to describe their experience, it's usually a pretty good choice, and even if they change it to something supposedly neural, men will take issue with that.
posted by maxsparber at 1:40 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I got pissy about the misandry celebration

You got pissy about the celebration of a satirical construct with no real-world examples. Way to go.
posted by tigrrrlily at 1:44 PM on May 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


I doubt that any guy who truly cares about the disturbing ways women are being treated or spoken about on this site actually gives a flying wallenda about the term 'boyzone'.

I was having a conversation about sexism and feminism with a woman once, who was surprised that I thought or gave a shit about any of this stuff. She said, "In my experience, boys don't usually like talking to smart women." I said, "Men do." She said, "Ooh, that is a good comeback, nice one." I said, "Yeah, I'm hilariously proud of myself right now, I'm definitely telling this story again."

I think "boyzone" sums up the childish and petulant atmosphere of ingrained sexism just fine. Maybe more to the point, if I start to feel personally affronted or implicated by that, maybe I should think about why I'm investing in an immature identity.
posted by Errant at 1:57 PM on May 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


Nthing boyzone as a perfectly neutral way of describing how boys carve out a zone for themselves by pushing all other discussion out of the way, especially as it denotes immaturity.

Misandry, though, is right up there with "reverse racism" for bonehead terms that co-opt the language of the oppressed while demonstrating cluelessness about what oppression is. I see that and I stop reading.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:04 PM on May 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


...did i miss a misandry celebration?
posted by nadawi at 2:15 PM on May 16, 2015 [30 favorites]


> You got pissy about the celebration of a satirical construct with no real-world examples. Way to go.

"reflexively misogynist MRA shithead zone" as a replacement for "boyzone" may not be actual for-real misandry but it sure does snuggle up reeeal close to it and purr.
posted by jfuller at 2:15 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


what? pointing out misogyny snuggles up next to misandry (which doesn't real anyway)?
posted by nadawi at 2:19 PM on May 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


jfuller, the point is, comments like that garbage "doggy style" one are not good for the site regardless of whether you prefer to call them misogyny or just "the kind of thing that makes for a gross boyzone". Fighting over what counts as misogyny is beside the point.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:21 PM on May 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


jfuller, then your concept of a boyzone differs considerably from mine.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:22 PM on May 16, 2015


"reflexively misogynist MRA shithead zone" as a replacement for "boyzone" may not be actual for-real misandry but it sure does snuggle up reeeal close to it and purr.

No it doesn't. What a weird thing to say.
posted by OmieWise at 2:22 PM on May 16, 2015 [33 favorites]


To elaborate what I mean by "fighting over what counts as misogyny": coming in here to say "oh but it's not misogyny" or "it's not sexism" is fruitless because even if you somehow won that argument, those comments would still be bad. So. More nixing of bad comments of that type, because gross boyzone is bad for the site.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:23 PM on May 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


I hate the "but but but echo chamber!" argument SO MUCH. No one wants everyone to be in agreement, we want to be able to actually discuss the topic of an FPP without it being derailed by this every. single time. I imagine it's like we had many threads on hip-hop on this site, and during the course of the conversation there were always people popping in to say "Is rap even music tho? Prove it to me! I demand this proof and I won't shut up til you provide it!!!!"

So instead of talking about how awesome Kendrick Lamar's last album was you talk about whether rap is even music. Instead of talking about whether Iggy Azalea trying to sound like she's from Atlanta is racist you talk about whether rap is even music. Instead of talking about how 90s hip hop seems to be pinging people's nostalgia radar lately you talk about whether rap is even music.

The echo chamber already exists because only one conversation is possible: whether rap is even music. Nothing deeper or more interesting than this can ever be discussed because yes, please, let's again have another conversation about whether rap is even music because discussing topics from first principles every time is soooo intellectually stimulating and not at all a waste of time.

Not all of the people asking "Is rap even music?" are trying to be deliberately obtuse, some of them honestly are just curious and are asking questions. But their contributions are functionally the same, which is to keep the conversation circiling the drain of "Is rap even music?" so that it can never advance to anything more interesting.
posted by supercrayon at 2:27 PM on May 16, 2015 [62 favorites]


"reflexively misogynist MRA shithead zone" as a replacement for "boyzone" may not be actual for-real misandry but it sure does snuggle up reeeal close to it and purr.

You sure do like inserting weird, ever so vaguely sexualized metaphors into your aggrieved MRA nonsense on these kinds of threads, that's like the third or fourth I've seen you do it and it gives me the hinks every time.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 2:27 PM on May 16, 2015 [25 favorites]


If anything, "reflexively misogynist MRA shithead zone" is less sexist as it describes a behaviour and does not ascribe that behaviour to an entire sex.
posted by cardboard at 2:27 PM on May 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


Neither are sexist.
posted by maxsparber at 2:30 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Is it just me, or would "misandry celebration" in some gorgeous calligraphy font make an AMAZING lower back tattoo? I have about a million pending ideas for indelible inking onto the canvas of my pre-carcass but I'm for real starting to think a beautifully scripted misandry might not be a bad one to add to the list.

And hey, at least it's something I would love to explain to the legitimately unsettling number of dudes who stop me on the street (or walk up behind me, hook their finger on my neckline, and pull down so they can reveal more of my mostly-hidden back piece) and demand a rundown of my tattoo choices. As I'm always fond of saying: misandry IS real... in my heart.
posted by divined by radio at 2:37 PM on May 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


"Misogyny" does not simply describe "hatred of women". Misogyny describes an ingrained socialization of hatred for women, an everyday atmosphere of hostility, contempt, and harm. Sexism is the resulting institutional behavior, but misogyny is the cause. In this sense, "misandry", like "reverse racism" or "heterophobia", does not exist, because there is no institutional and ingrained social framework of hatred for men.

Well aside from all that, the point of saying "reflexively misogynist MRA shithead zone" instead of "boyzone" is not because "MRA shithead" and "boy" are interchangeable, but precisely because they are not, so the former is maybe more accurate about who generates the hostile atmosphere and is less likely to implicate a theoretical bystander with overly broad language. So even if misandry existed, which it doesn't, this would be the opposite of that. It is, however, a worse site tag in any event, although it is probably more satisfying to say out loud.
posted by Errant at 2:39 PM on May 16, 2015 [36 favorites]


divined by radio, my friend has the T-shirt version of this hoodie, and it is glorious.
posted by Errant at 2:43 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Errant, that's more effort than I would have had energy for, and I salute you... but it won't stick. It never sticks.
posted by tigrrrlily at 2:43 PM on May 16, 2015


I don't think boyzone is actually sexist, I just think it's kind of minimizing, and while I'm sure no feminist man would actually find it to to be ~misandrist~ as the entire concept laughable bilge, I don't necessarily feel like it's a good idea to use a term that gives cover to the noxious "war of the sexes" trope or reinforces the misogynist/MRA/reactionary/call-em-what-you-want notion that feminist men aren't "really men".

A term of similar anodyne cuteness is kind of hard to come up with for equivalent atmospheres around race, class, trans and gender issues, access and ableism, but that's sort of my point. I just don't think there'd be the same general comfort level with using "low melanin zone" when talking about race on MeFi.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 2:45 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


More and more on the blue, I feel like I can't disagree with the content of any FPP that has to do with women.

I must say, the fact that a "SILENCED ALL MY LIFE" comment took this long to appear in this thread forebodes good things for metafilter.

Also in passing: was the pun entirely in my head this whole time, but I thought "boyzone" sounds like a perfect crtitical word because it sounds like "poison"? I thought that was the reason it is used...?
posted by Pyrogenesis at 2:46 PM on May 16, 2015


Could the people currently trying to decide what to call this kind of behavior please let me know what word you would prefer we use, so we can get back to having a discussion about the behavior itself, and not get bogged down in finer semantic points?

Seriously we can even call it "Sidney" if you want, just let us know what you want us to call it so we can DROP THIS AND GET BACK TO THE TOPIC good god
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:47 PM on May 16, 2015 [18 favorites]


Errant, that's more effort than I would have had energy for, and I salute you... but it won't stick. It never sticks.

No, probably not, but, near as I can tell, having energy when you don't until you do again is pretty much what allies are for.
posted by Errant at 2:51 PM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


i like boyzone - i understand the minimizing concerns, but i do think it does a good job of evoking the idea of an area where by action or inaction the message is "no girls allowed!" to me it's saying that we should work to make this a space that not only tolerates women, but welcomes them.

also, when i hear it i always for a second think of tori amos singing "i need a big loan from the girl zone" which has been my personal rallying cry for going on 20 years.
posted by nadawi at 2:51 PM on May 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


Because people have asked to be more aware of bans, and it's relevant here because of his earlier behavior in this thread: after some further correspondence this morning, one more dead town's last parade has been banned.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:54 PM on May 16, 2015 [49 favorites]


Really appreciate the update and how open you guys are to talking about these things, LobsterMitten. That goes for everyone on the mod team.
posted by erratic meatsack at 2:57 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Could the people currently trying to decide what to call this kind of behavior please let me know what word you would prefer we use

As I said just above, I prefer "poison" (pronounced "boyzone").

With that settled, let's go back to actual issues.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 2:59 PM on May 16, 2015


Metafilter: gross boyzone is bad for the site

I'm just gonna go ahead and title my mod notes "gross boyzone".
posted by billiebee at 3:03 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


That is an excellent idea.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:04 PM on May 16, 2015


Equating discussions of sexism to misandry is deeply disturbing because the good intent I'm supposed to assume appears to be absent in this maneuver to silence any criticism.
posted by kalessin at 3:23 PM on May 16, 2015


For transparency - what was the ban reason for odtlp? I mean, it's not that I think there's nefarious hijinks afoot, but more that "conversation" is so broad.
posted by corb at 3:29 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


For transparency - what was the ban reason for odtlp?

Ctrl+F is a rather handy shortcut to remember. The reason is here for everyone to see right in this thread, accompanied with a length mod comment.

How did you miss it exactly?
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:37 PM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Relevant.
posted by Stewriffic at 3:39 PM on May 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


No, i mean- he didn't get banned for actions in thread, but for what he said to mods after that, or at least that's how I read LM's comments.
posted by corb at 3:40 PM on May 16, 2015


My reading is that he got banned for the sum total of actions in this thread plus whatever he said to the mods after that.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:43 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Stewriffic, I had doubts but you called it
posted by tigrrrlily at 3:43 PM on May 16, 2015


Well so, this idea of "the ban reason" is one that maybe needs to be tweaked, because it leads to us being too willing to keep people around who really should go.

In this case, he got a careful and detailed note from cortex in clear terms stipulating what behaviors are a problem and what needed to work on in order to stay here. Then he ignored that in thread and got a day off. Then he sent us a message that demonstrated he wasn't internalizing anything we'd been saying to him, and that he wasn't interested in any kind of productive exchange about it. So we talked it over among a few of us, and considered his history (where he's been in this kind of position before and not shown signs that he's even understanding the problem). We concluded this had been a long time coming and further dancing around it was not going to result in any change in his behavior.

In case anybody is missing it, when a mod writes you a detailed note saying what you need to work on, that is something to pay attention to -- it's the sound of thin ice cracking under your feet. (People can come back from that, and have, by actually listening when we say there's a problem and being willing to change their behavior. It's something we've seen plenty of people do.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:43 PM on May 16, 2015 [30 favorites]


he didn't get banned for actions in thread

Which thread are you reading? This one? Yes, he got banned for comments in this thread. Rather obviously.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:44 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Or, more precisely, as above.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:45 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


...did i miss a misandry celebration?

It was a parade! With floats, and kids riding bikes with streamers, and a fire engine, and several marching bands!
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:52 PM on May 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


I mean, it's not that I think there's nefarious hijinks afoot, but more that "conversation" is so broad.

Oh, come on! "Nefarious hijinx?" You have been in this thread the whole time; if you think that omdtlp's comments weren't worthy of banning, you haven't been paying attention at all. And there are "nefarious hijinx afoot," but they aren't on the part of the mods, picking on some poor commenter who has somehow lost his way, it's the shitty behavior of a subset of members who are hellbent on shitting around in every thread on women that appears on the blue. And the whole point of this MeTa is about that shitty shitty behavior and the people who engage in it for months and years before they finally cross a line that gets them banned.

If we are going to keep good women (and men) members who are getting sick and tired of shouting over these parasites and leeches in order to have an actual conversation, the site mores are going to have to move; these people need less room and fewer chances to poison the well before they are kicked out so the adults can talk.

And I really don't care if omdtlp (or 0 or TFB before him) was a disingenuous MRA or just someone who is deeply confused and lacking the social skills and mental aptitudes to figure out why he was going so wrong and fix his behavior, the last note from the mods (which should, in my opinion, have proceeded this thread, but I'm not a mod) should have warned him what was up. We cannot read people's hearts; like most harassment situations, the harasser's motive can't matter because they are unknown; only their effects, which can be known, matter.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:06 PM on May 16, 2015 [23 favorites]


if you think that omdtlp's comments weren't worthy of banning, you haven't been paying attention at all.

I'm sorry - I commented while dropping off the kiddo at a birthday party and didn't go as deeply into my thoughts as perhaps I could have. I was trying to express, while not typing too much on my crappy phone, that I thought it might be totally reasonable - given said behavior, it didn't seem crazy that more had happened - but because a lot of banned users' interactions with mods take place behind the scenes, it's hard to see kind of what percentage of the ban was for, say, actions in thread, and how much of it was because maybe he said 'Fuck you' to a mod or something. This had happened with another user, which I can't remember the name of but I think got referenced in either this MeTa or the last one about dudebrahs, where he was banned as a result of conversation with mods, and some women had said they felt bad about that - about feeling like the problem wasn't that bad until the guy had pissed on the mods.

It's one reason I really appreciate LM clarifying as she did above - because it shows really clearly the totality of the whole process and the weighing involved.
posted by corb at 4:18 PM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


OK, I probably shouldn't be commenting at all right now, because I am just back from a funeral, and I am really raw about it (and seriously, fuck cancer), but, while some of that interaction (omdtlp and the mods, not the funeral) was behind the scenes, it's not hard, looking at what was public in this thread, that omdtlp was headed for a ban or a flameout (what with the bizarre doubling down on the doubling down), and I think hinting darkly about some sort of mod conspiracy against, well, anyone without really really solid evidence is not a productive route to take.

OK, I am out of here for tonight. I'm going to go hug my cat and cry.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:39 PM on May 16, 2015 [18 favorites]


corb, cortex addressed that above: Contrary to what some people think, being shitty to a mod is not okay. This is true because it does actually count as being shitty to a member, which everybody agrees is not okay.

I will add to his answer, it's also a quirk of the process. Bans often-not-always happen because of a long history plus a specific action. If someone's at the brink we'll often-not-always give them a warning. Some people respond to that with "fuck you," or similar "I'm not listening" response, and that seals the deal. Those parting shots are naturally going to be aimed at the mods because we've just given them a warning or a day off, which are often-not-always the penultimate step.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:41 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm very sorry for your loss.
posted by Errant at 4:42 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am so sorry GenjiandProust. Fuck cancer and death, too.

It was a tasteless joke - like, I was trying to kind of make fun of the idea of mods as nefarious moustache-twirlers while also making it clear that I didn't actually think that, and it totally bombed and as you say, was unproductive. I'm sorry for communicating more casually than I could have in a loaded thread and sorry for adding on more stress to what is clearly already a terrible day.
posted by corb at 5:02 PM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hugs if you want 'em, GenjiandProust.

Regarding the rest of the thread: I'm glad to see that user banned, since he was really taking up a lot of the air in the thread and I think these discussions will go more smoothly in the future, and I have a bit more hope for the site after seeing that.

Regarding misandry: I just have a WAV file of a wet fart that plays in my head every time I hear a dude unironically use that term. I actually wasn't around for most of the day because I was asleep, dreaming, and I had a wonderful dream about telling a dude who was standing in front of me so I could not see to fuck off, and he DID, and then there were like 50 Captain America cosplayers I could watch without any men in my way. I now feel much more confident about my evening, which involves going out into the wider world of sexual harassment and institutionalized misogyny, because I have been gifted with misandry-confidence from the goddesses of dreams.

LobsterMitten, thanks for nipping what looked like another attempt to have a hate-on fest for me in the bud, I appreciate it. I'm okay with being a sort of SJW tank, since a lot of people aren't able to take the kind of damage that those pile-ons can do and I am, but I'd still rather not if I can help it.

It's not like I can't see where you get that idea from, but the fact is that the chances of NoraReed saying something sexist, racist, etc. are pretty fucking low, and the chances of someone on the other side saying something like that are... not so low.

I do fuck up on this stuff, though. I've overstepped myself on trans stuff and ended up acting like I could speak for a group I'm not a part of, stuff like that. No one's immune to this.
posted by NoraReed at 5:46 PM on May 16, 2015 [26 favorites]


Catching up from where i last posted, but i think it's worth reflecting again on how hard it is to have a conversation about this as a whole without SOME bs tidbit getting poked and having to hit the brakes and discuss it.

The entire "is boyzone a bad term? is it SEXIST?" thing could have just been met with "fuck off, that's not the point right now".

Over and over and over when we try to discuss this behavior on this site, and in specific threads, this happens. I'm being that specific because we're not talking about the whole universe right now, just mefi.

Yea, it happens everywhere, a lot. But i'm perfectly comfortable with the response being a hell of a lot more harsh here. Because jesus fucking christ has this thread demonstrated super beautifully that this is on some level a taboo conversation.

It's like, too misandristic or something because hey I'M a guy and I'M not like that!, or this one detail bla bla bla, or whatever.

A bunch of (predominantly)dudes derailing a thread about dudes derailing threads is like "i rest my case, your honor" as far as demonstrating that Yes This Is A Real Problem. It's exactly the problem several people denied existed earlier up.

I really hope if i waltz in to another FPP and people are doing this, that linking to this meta and going "hey, read this, you're doing exactly this" won't get deleted as "fighty" or whatever.

Also on preview, condolences genjiandproust. i just lost my grandmother a few days ago, and just spent all day helping clear out her house. life sucks sometimes.
posted by emptythought at 5:53 PM on May 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


Again, reading the room, basically. It's a hard thing and it's a shared-space thing. And even if you feel like you're ultimately justified in wanting to talk about x when other people are talking about y, there's a lot of value in being willing to slow down a little and acknowledge and concede y for the sake of the overall conversation.

This is a tough one because:

1. It's not a room;
2. It's asynchronous;
3. There are literally thousands of people reading and hundreds of people commenting or not commenting; and
4. Stepping back, in real life, a "derail" conversation is basically the equivalent of a website banner ad. You can scroll past it with a minimum of effort and nobody gets hurt.
posted by ddd at 5:53 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, sorry, that's bullshit. A derailing conversation makes it impossible to talk about the original subject because it takes up all the space in the conversation.
posted by NoraReed at 5:57 PM on May 16, 2015 [24 favorites]


Man, hang in there GaP. Give your cat a hug from me, too.

This had happened with another user, which I can't remember the name of but I think got referenced in either this MeTa or the last one about dudebrahs, where he was banned as a result of conversation with mods, and some women had said they felt bad about that - about feeling like the problem wasn't that bad until the guy had pissed on the mods.

Hm. Well, there was this comment, which has been echoed by others at different times. I think this might be self-fulfilling though - people who are crappy to other users tend to also be crappy to the mods. In fact I've yet to see someone who was a heel to other users but an angel towards the mods.

1. It's not a room;
2. It's asynchronous;
3. There are literally thousands of people reading and hundreds of people commenting or not commenting; and
4. Stepping back, in real life, a "derail" conversation is basically the equivalent of a website banner ad. You can scroll past it with a minimum of effort and nobody gets hurt.


1. It's a simile.
2. Doesn't matter.
3. See 2.
4. Possibly true in theory, yet never actually spotted in the wild.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:58 PM on May 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm okay with being a sort of SJW tank

My friends and I have a running joke about SJW RPG characters. I believe in my current incarnation I'm a DPS class, on account of being lightweight and detrimentally aggressive, like a shitty yappy dog.
posted by Errant at 5:58 PM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


there was this comment

Thanks, that's what I was thinking of, but I do think you're right - and also don't want to imply that it's totally cool to be an asshole to the mods, because it's not.
posted by corb at 6:02 PM on May 16, 2015


You can scroll past it with a minimum of effort

Or, with a slightly less minimum effort, people could do the supposedly hard work of reading the room as requested, and not derail the conversation to begin with.
posted by hades at 6:04 PM on May 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


1. It's not a room;

Yea, it kind of is. An fpp is basically a sign outside a room that says "chess club". If you go in, you can expect people to be playing and discussing chess or follow on topics. I really don't get this one.

2. It's asynchronous;

...So? one person talks, another person responds. Or they respond to the original content. This doesn't follow.

Conversations are not full duplex. They're inherently asynchronous. There's always someone talking and someone listening or it isn't a conversation.

You're either reading, or you're replying. If you're replying without reading because you think you just MUST be heard you might be shitposting. That's what reading the room is. It's like playing darts blindfolded

3. There are literally thousands of people reading and hundreds of people commenting or not commenting; and

.....so? As someone who's been a convention panelist this is just wut. It doesn't change the dynamic. One person talks, another person talks or responds, etc.

4. Stepping back, in real life, a "derail" conversation is basically the equivalent of a website banner ad. You can scroll past it with a minimum of effort and nobody gets hurt.

Have you actually read any of the threads being discussed here? Someone comes in and says something ~outrageous~ that comes from not reading what's come before because it just HAS to be heard, everyone then responds to that because it's like someone ripping a really loud fart during a quiet conversation about food. Even if the response is just "eww GROSS!" it still interrupted the conversation.

And the way comments are linearly structured here, it actually fills up your screen for pages of scrolls sometimes, and it really feels like... essentially a DDoS of a conversation that they feel just CANT go on without their word or it's an ECHO CHAMBER OMG.

Fuck.

All.

That.
posted by emptythought at 6:08 PM on May 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


This is a tough one because:

1. It's not a room;
2. It's asynchronous;
3. There are literally thousands of people reading and hundreds of people commenting or not commenting; and
4. Stepping back, in real life, a "derail" conversation is basically the equivalent of a website banner ad. You can scroll past it with a minimum of effort and nobody gets hurt.


You're completely wrong. Mods have said that even though it's hard people need to read the room. Most people here can read a room. The ones who can't need to stop making excuses for their shitty behavior. It's completely tone-deaf and shitty to place this comment at this point in the thread, and I don't think your comment was left in good faith. Read the room.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:14 PM on May 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


I sometimes miss the old days of metafilter, when a noob would waltz into a conversation and say something dense they would be instructed to lurk moar.

I cordially invite derailers to lurk moar.
posted by supercrayon at 6:21 PM on May 16, 2015 [20 favorites]


Now that I think of it, yeah, "lurk moar" mostly means "watch this place for long enough that you figure out how to read the goddamn room"
posted by NoraReed at 6:36 PM on May 16, 2015 [39 favorites]




but because a lot of banned users' interactions with mods take place behind the scenes, it's hard to see kind of what percentage of the ban was for, say, actions in thread, and how much of it was because maybe he said 'Fuck you' to a mod or something.

To be clear, this was not a case of a retributive "fuck you" sort of deal. It was just him choosing to make the thing he did with his enforced day off be sending us multiple emails complaining about other stuff on the site and personal injustices and really really failing to acknowledge what I'd said in here and in correspondence or, basically, at all the idea that there was a problem with his behavior that needed fixing. And when part of the problem behavior in question is not letting up and backing off when he gets pushback, and his response is to not let up and back off, taking a wait-and-see approach goes from being maybe foolishly optimistic to definitively a waste of everybody's time.

Ultimately, the "what percentage was being a dick to a mod" thing is immaterial, because the case of someone with no other history of behavior problems on the site getting themselves banned for going nuclear on a mod is a vanishing outlier. I can't think of anybody who ever sealed the deal with a pointed "fuck you" type message who wasn't already skidding fast down the path toward a ban anyway. The co-occurrence of the two things is more just a reasonable likelihood given the circumstances than the actual definitive factor, as memorable and as proximal to the ban as it can end up being when it does happen.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:58 PM on May 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


"Yeah, sorry, that's bullshit. A derailing conversation makes it impossible to talk about the original subject because it takes up all the space in the conversation."

It's revealing that someone would think otherwise -- it implies that they don't see this as conversation, where we necessarily pay attention to others and think about what they say and engage with them and therefore time and attention are finite, but, instead, that it's a series of performative statements that people throw out there for whatever reason and which people choose to read, or not, as they wish.

Which is pretty much how most people think about writing something on the web, more's the pity.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:03 PM on May 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


...did i miss a misandry celebration?

S'far as I know, those are every Friday on the Toast in the review thread. I believe sparkles and drinks with umbrellas are encouraged. Since it's the Toast, a conversation about historical art and/or when you know you're in a novel might spontaneously break out.

If NoraReed is the SJW Tank, we need a bunch of SJW fish and some plants and maybe a nice Castle to go with her...
posted by Deoridhe at 7:23 PM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well if we get a couple SJW paladins, a radfem mage, an antifa cleric and a misandrist healer we can raid Castle Patriarchy for some real loot for a change.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:28 PM on May 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


and a misandrist healer

Ugh, shadow priests are so 2008.
posted by Errant at 7:37 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, looks like this thread is winding down...
posted by uosuaq at 7:40 PM on May 16, 2015


Try (remove from activity).
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:43 PM on May 16, 2015


Oh, does that link also drop hints? I didn't realize. ;P
posted by uosuaq at 7:48 PM on May 16, 2015


Derailers never lurk, that is the problem.
posted by bearwife at 8:12 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Usually, yeah. Though I think quite a number deliberately ignore content (which I guess is effectively the same end result as not lurking), while others take some tiny detail of the FPP to slingshot the discussion in another direction. As we saw upthread, this tactic gets used to lawyer what a derail is and isn't, which is its own form of tedious.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:25 PM on May 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


More than tedious, it is ongoing derailing/trolling. Oh ban hammer, I eagerly await your fall.
posted by bearwife at 8:39 PM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


....can we start the misandry celebration now?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:56 PM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


seriously, i'm wearing my misandry party hat and everything.
posted by palomar at 9:02 PM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Can't make the party. Can someone put aside a bit of cake? I could use some cake. Black Forest of Misandry cake, please.
posted by tigrrrlily at 10:00 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


can we start the misandry celebration now?

Well, you know what they say: "Misandry loves company."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:37 PM on May 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


We used to tolerate derailleurs but now it's 'on your bike',
posted by biffa at 11:06 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


My next sock puppet has got to be "Shimano Ultegra." Although I guess that might send the wrong message.
posted by koeselitz at 12:18 AM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's a fine groupset that deserves better decorum.
posted by mitochondrial midichlorian at 12:46 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just want to complain that because of the derail in that disaster [edit: hyperbole, sorry for the negativity!!] of a thread, nobody answered my really important but boring question about tattoos.
posted by polymodus at 1:53 AM on May 17, 2015


Mine, which was more an assertion seeking support or dismissal, either.
posted by gingerest at 2:11 AM on May 17, 2015


Polymodus: I'm not sure what you mean by 'space of tattoo design' - as in the space you get the tattoo? bodies with tattoos? the design process? In any case, BMEzine has huge image galleries of varying qualities, Pinterest actually has a huge amount of tattoo pics., and most tattoo artists I know use instagram a lot as well. For the tattoos, for designs, for the spaces they work in. It is most definitely a 3d bit of art which a lot of designs don't take into account.

(my thigh piece has a line that curves perfectly along a curve of my cellulite - when it was still swollen it looked unreal and even now has an odd tactile element compared to my other pieces)

Gingerest: the forearm thing is something I've never heard - my inner wrist tattoo is 10+ years old at this point and looks fine (mefimail if you want a link to my tattoos)*. Everything is gonna sag, gonna get frail, that's just skin, I don't think inner forearms are worse than anywhere else and a lot of artists I know have work there. I think the forearm is good because it is relatively flat and less prone to the sun. I have a tattoo on the front of my shoulder which I can see, control external viewing of fairly easily, and quite like. My sister has a large piece on her upper inner arm which looks lovely too.

*somewhat related, that tattoo has been through a LOT of weight loss, as have most of my others, with no discernible deformation but for me the areas of skin that were most affected by that were inner thigh, inner upper arm, lower belly (also had a baby in there so...).
posted by geek anachronism at 2:26 AM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


The privilege discussion has been criticised here just for people disagreeing with the original post, albeit in fairly predictable ways. That OP was a Feminism 101 listicle (which was a long way from being the best of the web), so the discussion is going to be at that level. Calling disagreement "de-railing" seems to extend the word too far. The discussion is on-topic. If you are surprised that people disagree, you haven't realised that you're in a bubble (nothing wrong with bubbles, but it's good to know you're in one).

Actually talking about the OP without insulting your readers doesn't seem to be the same thing as the "yeah but LBTs mean you're a slut" example, to me. Unless Mefi is going to require its users to believe the content of OPs like that one to comment at all on discussions about gender (as tigrrrlily might be asking), you are going to get those threads.

I guess there's a problem in non-101 level threads where people don't want to re-hash the basics. Some boards where there are a wide range of views have allowed posters to start threads with participation requirements. I'm thinking of boards for religious groups where they allow in atheists to the group but have some posts they're not allowed in, and vice versa, so discussions about nature of the the Trinity or whatever don't get sidetracked into discussions of whether God exists at all or worse, the sky-fairy type insults. Editorialising and threadsitting in your OP are against Mefi's norms. Could an exception be made in some cases?
posted by pw201 at 4:40 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I'm reading you right you are asking if Mefi should consider having feminism-related posts that are closed to some members, and will also be more editorial in format ("My Opinion"), and in which the original poster is encouraged to participate heavily in a way that is dominating or steering the thread?

This is not something we are considering, no, and not something we are ever going to do. I can't really tell if it's more of a suggestion that the conversation here represents a slippery slope to a version of Metafilter that is like this description, but either way, I disagree. People have said similar things before because of political posts, news posts, posts that concentrate on racial inequality, etc., suggesting that maybe the site needs another place just for people who want to talk about those things, separate from the main site, and it's not an option we'd consider.

It's also a bit of a sky-is-falling reaction, I think, because while I'm still trying to get a good overview of feminism and/or sexism posts generally versus the ones that go bad, what I do know is that we've had hundreds that go well versus a much smaller number that turn out particularly badly. I think it's worthwhile to take a look at the ones that stand out as being really terrible and get a handle on why it happens when it does, since we know for a fact that very, very many go perfectly well (for values of "well" that include being a generalist site at all, as opposed to a specialty site).
posted by taz (staff) at 6:12 AM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


That's a reading of tigrrrlily's statement that I think is not supported by the text. "Feminism is OK, anti-feminism is not OK" is both a far more limited and, more relevantly, a different proposition from "Mefi is going to require its users to believe the content of OPs like that one to comment at all on discussions about gender".
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:13 AM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I had dumb, unexamined notions about tattoos that have been exploded by people's reporting in the original thread and this one. It was worth the time I spent because now I'm a little bit less of a moronic jerk in the silent reaches of my heart. This isn't the first time MetaFilter has done this for me. MetaFilter teaches me excellent things that make me a better person. I love this site forever.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:58 AM on May 17, 2015 [42 favorites]


I love this site forever, too, and that is a lovely comment. But the misogyny in that thread drove me right out the effing door, meaning zero growth for me, so... it works differently for different people?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:05 AM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


(I know it's not up to MF to educate me, but I would like a thread I can read and learn from, not get so turned off that I have to exit...)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:06 AM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think that even in the good threads I think there are people running around dropping comments that are skeptical or somewhat uninformed. I think this one was bad maybe because it went right to dumb sluttiness, whereas other threads don't go directly THERE. ???
posted by onlyconnect at 7:08 AM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


joseph conrad is fully awesome, I agree entirely. I'm not at all trying to say that the boyzone isn't an enormous problem that has to get solved before more people exhaust themselves or leave. (I hate people leaving so so much.) I could only stick it out and find the good bits and get the benefit because of NoraReed and you and Ivan and everyone else who spoke up and fought while I sat on my ass way up in the bleachers lurking with snacks and not engaging, beyond favorite-ing and flagging. I'm saying, though, all the work that should not have had to be done was at least not in vain. I can't be the only one who had some beneficial realizations. "Wait, what's this crap in my head? I have an opinion about what somebody else does with their body? Nope." and "Oh dag, people are doing amazing stuff I didn't know about! A tattoo that incorporates a cellulite ridge so it's like a sculpture? That is so insanely cool." (And dozens of other great things people have done--these threads have completely flipped me out of my original reactionary "O, how sad, god's canvas besmirched" position.)
posted by Don Pepino at 7:43 AM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


I think that even in the good threads I think there are people running around dropping comments that are skeptical or somewhat uninformed.

All else aside I think that's just always gonna be part of the mix; there's no way to get Metafilter to the point where "person says something skeptical or somewhat uninformed" isn't an emergent property of a generalist approach and open signups. You let ten thousand people into the room, and they're all gonna be in different places, in terms of knowledge and familiarity and perspective on any given topic, and someone is necessarily going to be the least informed or most skeptical one in the room.

The takeaway from this discussion for me has been more that the difference between "dropping a comment" and "going on for ten comments in a row" is a big one and one we need to focus more actively on in some of these things-go-poorly occasions; that it's one thing for someone to be like "well, [half-formed thought or tone deaf response]" and have folks be like, ugh, no, here's why, and leave it at that—that's a valuable component of discussion here—and another thing entirely to have that turn into some intractable "Yeah, but..." loop that drags a thread down into a long going-nowhere distraction on well-trod ground.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:06 AM on May 17, 2015 [17 favorites]


Thanks for the good wishes from everyone, although I want to apologize for that derail. I was not thinking as clearly as I might have, and stomping out is way less effective than not staggering in.

I think the problem with the "Just scroll past it" argument is that a) you still have to sort of read it to know when you begin/stop scrolling, so you get some of the effect regardless, and b) it's another way of putting the onus on (in this case) women to protect themselves from harassment rather than on the harassers to just knock it off. It reeks of the clueless privilege of the person who prides themselves on having a thick skin when because they can shrug off the inconsequential jabs that life throws them. There is really nothing you can call a non-poor straight white cisman that has any teeth, because they can always retreat to the 99.99% of the world reserved for their needs and interests. This despite the huge whining about "misandry," "reverse discrimination," etc.And, yeah, someone somewhere can probably dig up an obscure case where someone did get hurt, but it's always one anecdote against 1000 pages of well-vetted statistics, and, so, OK, it sucks for that guy, but it also sucks for the millions of others who get it from the other side.

And, to paraphrase Andrew Ti of Yo, Is This Racist? -- if your response to getting called sexist (or racist or whatever) is to get really angry, that's probably shame you are feeling, and you need to think about what you said and did rather than dig in.

And, honestly, if you are in a thread and like 30 people are telling you that you are full of shit, there is a non-0% chance that you have some shit in you.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:12 AM on May 17, 2015 [23 favorites]


If I'm reading you right you are asking if Mefi should consider having feminism-related posts that are closed to some members, and will also be more editorial in format ("My Opinion"), and in which the original poster is encouraged to participate heavily in a way that is dominating or steering the thread?

Sorry, I wasn't clear. In the cases I'm familiar with, I'm not thinking about excluding specific people so much as the OP saying "in this thread, I want to talk about the Trinity, so if you're just going to debate God's existence or talk about sky fairies, do that elsewhere". I'm an atheist (although I'm out of the "sky fairy" phase), but I'm happy to go along with injunctions like that. Because the ban is on specific off-topic stuff rather than specific people, nothing stops someone like me from asking questions about just what the doctrine is saying, for example.

When I say "editorialising", I just meant that a poster could say something like that in the OP without it being seen as too close to blogging/editorialising/trying to supervise the thread. There is some kind of opinion being expressed by limiting a discussion in this way, because the OP is presumably ruling stuff out because they think it's beyond the pale.

There are a bunch of problems with this, for example, how restrictive you'd want posters to be (e.g. in the recent privilege post, if the OP had said "let's not talk about whether male privilege is real", people could rightly have said "Well, what's the point of your post then? The choir are already in agreement."); and how much you mods would take note of what an OP had asked people to talk about, i.e. is it just a social norm or is it backed by nuclear weaponsmod deletions? Also, if there were suddenly lots of quite restrictive posts like this, maybe the echo chamber complaints would start to have some bite.

Maybe a scheme like the one I'm talking about works better in other places where creating a new discussion is cheaper, so that people don't get the "silenced all my life" feeling: Mefi posts have to be about something you found out there rather than mini-blog posts about a thought that you had, and people generally take bit of care over them.

Running order squabble fest: the impression I got from the reaction to that privilege thing was that it was so basic that denying it was getting pretty close to denying sexism (certainly in the "prejudice + systematic power" sense) is real, which was one of the things tigrrrlily found unacceptable.
posted by pw201 at 8:30 AM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


GenjiandProust, I'm so sorry for your loss. Have lost friends and family to cancer and it's horrible.
posted by zarq at 8:35 AM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm keeping a somewhat humorous list of common rhetorical tropes (from this very site) that are often used to silence dissenting views (silencing often done by men commenters against women commenters, so the list is biased toward that) in contentious posts about any social bias. It's in my profile and folks can go see it there if they want to. I'm also happy to add to the list with any suggestions anyone may have.

GengiandProust, I'm also very sorry to hear of your loss. Be good to yourself.
posted by kalessin at 8:45 AM on May 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


Considering that the poster isn't generally given the power to control the direction a discussion takes, I don't see that idea taking off, pw201. I also do not think it is unreasonable to delete comments from people who are questioning whether systematic injustices exist in threads that are about the effects of those systematic injustices. These are basic, 101-level sociological concepts. I am guessing that going into a hypothetical thread about a listicle about 7 interesting examples of evolution to talk about how evolution isn't real wouldn't likely last, and if it did, it wouldn't go over well.

Kalessin, if you aren't already familiar with Derailing for Dummies, you should look it up.
posted by NoraReed at 8:48 AM on May 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


Mefi posts have to be about something you found out there rather than mini-blog posts about a thought that you had

Yeah, I think this is the basic thing. Having OPs add "we should only talk about x" to their posts isn't a direction the site is likely to go.

But people can certainly help their post to hew to a narrow topic - by choosing linked content that is well-argued and focused, and avoiding clickbaity headlines and framing. Clickbaity language lends itself to posters coming in with kneejerk pontification on the very general topic area. Clickbaity or weak articles will often have some bad analogy or some throwaway bit of the framing that widens the permissible topics, so those kind of articles make it easier for a discussion to get broad and stupid. Focused articles with focused description in the post make it much easier for a mod to say, no, the very-most-general questions aren't on the table here.

So a poster shouldn't say "In this post we'll only talk about the Calvinist concept of generosity", but can say "A good article about a Calvinist question: if predestination is true, how can any act be generous?." (And on the flip side, don't headline it "Generosity! what does it mean?" or "Can Christians be generous?", since those will lend themselves to more-general discussion.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:50 AM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Sometimes if you say in the first comment -- not the post itself, but a rapidly-posted comment -- something like, "I was really hoping to dig into the meat of the first link's discussion of the Trinity, rather than a discussion of whether God exists at all" or something like that, you get a good response. Or even just, "That first link blew my mind, the thoughts on the Trinity are blah blah blah and I thought blah blah blah, I can't wait to hear if other smart mefites think he's right about X being Y and Y being Z ..." that can at least start the discussion off on the right foot and it's easier to identify immediate derails or threadshitting. (Of course after posting my enthusiastic thoughts on the post I just made right in the first comment, I then try to stay out of the thread for at least 20 or 50 comments so that I'm not trying to be the boss of the thread.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:53 AM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I made a similar suggestion that OPs should provide "rails," pw201. On reflection reading this thread I realized a problem is OPs could provide unacceptable "rails" to an otherwise acceptable post.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:58 AM on May 17, 2015


Yes, this:

"That first link blew my mind, the thoughts on the Trinity are blah blah blah and I thought blah blah blah, I can't wait to hear if other smart mefites think he's right about X being Y and Y being Z"

That kind of specific comment about something interesting in the article can really set the thread off on the right foot. Don't start with "I hope we don't talk about x" but with something you do want to talk about - "y is really great and z is interesting"
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:09 AM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's even better when someone other than the OP does it. For example, schmod's comment on this post might have saved it from going off the rails. If it had come from me, the OP, that might have been perceived as an effort to steer the thread.
posted by zarq at 9:22 AM on May 17, 2015


True, yeah. I was more thinking of helpful early comments generally.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:29 AM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


> The takeaway from this discussion for me has been more that the difference between "dropping a comment" and "going on for ten comments in a row" is a big one and one we need to focus more actively on in some of these things-go-poorly occasions

I know in the past you've told us to use the contact form for reporting this. (And that makes sense.) Is there any chance you'd consider creating a flag for "bombarding the thread" (or whatever you decide to call this kind of behavior)? I think people might be more likely to report people using this tactic if reporting it was as easy as flagging, and I think it's something that it's easy for mods to miss if they're responding to flags on individual comments but not reading or following the threads the flags are occurring in.

Regardless of how you respond, thanks for taking this issue seriously and recognizing that it's a problem.
posted by nangar at 9:31 AM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


i enjoy when the mods come into a thread about trans issues and say explicitly in a note something like, "we are not going to debate if transgender people exist, if you should use the pronouns people ask, or if cis is a slur" - basically, in threads that need it, they have set those rails at the first blush of things going haywire. it doesn't always happen when needed and it doesn't always work, but i would still like to see some of that in threads about women's lives - "we are not going to debate if the patriarchy exists/what sex positions the writer likes/if rape culture is a thing/how guys will get laid if they have to stop harassing women, please stay on topic."

to me this is more useful than "lets discuss the fpp instead of going off on derails" or "cut it out" - it's direct, it expresses the values of the site, and it's easy to point to later in the thread if people start veering off again.
posted by nadawi at 9:32 AM on May 17, 2015 [47 favorites]


when people start really entrenching in a thread i usually use the flag "noise" because to me that describes what's going on. if i can't decide why something should be flagged and i just want to say, "can a mod please look at this??" i use "other" and if i know that i will eventually respond if a comment stays i'll shoot the mods and note and say "hey, if that stays i'm going to say this which likely will continue the problem that i see in the original comment." when i've done that last thing the mods are always greatat either a) removing the comment (and sometimes thanking me for sending a note because they didn't understand my objection from the flag) or b) explaining why the comment will stay while giving me pointers on how to respond in a way that won't itself get deleted. we haven't always agreed, but i've never felt like a burden or like they didn't hear me.

i've said it before and i'll keep saying it again a++++++ mod engagement, will contact form again.
posted by nadawi at 9:37 AM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


The takeaway from this discussion for me has been more that the difference between "dropping a comment" and "going on for ten comments in a row" is a big one and one we need to focus more actively on in some of these things-go-poorly occasions; that it's one thing for someone to be like "well, [half-formed thought or tone deaf response]" and have folks be like, ugh, no, here's why, and leave it at that—that's a valuable component of discussion here—and another thing entirely to have that turn into some intractable "Yeah, but..." loop that drags a thread down into a long going-nowhere distraction on well-trod ground.

Those "Yeah, but..." loops also sometimes involve multiple posters, and I hope that's a recognized issue, too. It's not always one poster doubling down but sometimes multiple posters continuing a tone-deaf derail and it would be good to know that's also on your radar, because it's harder to flag; a lot of times the individual comments aren't necessarily delete-worthy, and it's not that one poster is sucking the air out of the room, but the bulk of the comments together has created a problem.
posted by jaguar at 10:20 AM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's not always one poster doubling down but sometimes multiple posters continuing a tone-deaf derail and it would be good to know that's also on your radar, because it's harder to flag; a lot of times the individual comments aren't necessarily delete-worthy, and it's not that one poster is sucking the air out of the room, but the bulk of the comments together has created a problem.

I call those "tag team" derails, and for me they are one of the most frustrating dynamics, especially in threads involving gender, sexuality, or feminism. Dropped in at the right intervals, it can derail a discussion more effectively than any one person could manage on their own.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:26 AM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's even better when someone other than the OP does it.

This is true. However, it seems to me that a big chunk of early bad comments come from people who haven't bothered to read the linked materials. And that makes bad comments more likely to be posted before careful, helpful readers have a chance to look at things, think about them, and post. If that's right (and maybe I just don't have a good sense of things here -- I've also seen lots of cases where other people have already read the posted materials and can just dive right in), then I think Eyebrows McGee's suggestion is more likely to get the job done.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 10:30 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm keeping a somewhat humorous list of common rhetorical tropes (from this very site) that are often used to silence dissenting views [...] It's in my profile and folks can go see it there if they want to.

People, this is gold. Everybody should check out kalessin's list. It's good and funny - and unfortunately also full of hilaripredictability too - to the point that it's a pity I can't make an FPP about a user's profile page.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:57 AM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


cortex, thanks, that was really succinct and helpful, and just to be clear I wasn't trying to say we shouldn't allow skeptical comments or only have ONE OF US threads. The all flavors comments are part of life here and that's how I think it should be.

I think it might be a problem to moderate what Mr. Livengood calls "tag team derails" because whether those are five people sucking all the air out of a room or five people having a back and forth conversation can be much a more subjective call. It's easier to tell when it's just one person dominating the discussion. I mean, sure, if the topic is "should we discuss what sex positions women are signalling with tattoos" that is a derail, but there are topics that some people might legitimately want on the table, but that others in the thread might object to. This isn't a reason not to try, but I am a person who worries about managing people's expectations. (Not that anyone here is asking for too much!)
posted by onlyconnect at 11:05 AM on May 17, 2015


Hummm bombarding a thread, and kneejerk pontificatiom....slinks away, (I have often already read the linked fpp articles,) said over the shoulder, read all comments before posting as a part of reading the room...slink...slink...slink...(sounds like work, but, like the fun of it!)
posted by Oyéah at 12:31 PM on May 17, 2015


I have started to wonder, after seeing a dozen or more discussions about flagging that seem to get hung up on what flag and we need a new flag and if I flag it for this instead of that my objection might be meaningless, and then no flag gets flagged because of flag-choice intimidation.

Maybe the flag options should be reduced to something like:
Spam
Technical problem (link, html, code, duplicate)
Fantastic
Objection to content

And we'll trust the mods to be able to figure it out, and if the flagger is truly concerned that mods can't identify offensive content or a derail or somebody falling apart, the contact form can be used for clarification.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:31 PM on May 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


it doesn't always happen when needed and it doesn't always work, but i would still like to see some of that in threads about women's lives - "we are not going to debate if the patriarchy exists/what sex positions the writer likes/if rape culture is a thing/how guys will get laid if they have to stop harassing women, please stay on topic."

This is basically all i wanted to see come out of this thread. We've already had enough cries of pain, despair, good people leaving, and generally shitty behavior to get that for trans threads and fuck even I/P threads.

Can we not get that for a feminism thread that's obviously going to bring shitposters out of the woodwork, even one-off shitposters?

It wasn't one person litigating their tiresome crap in this thread ad infinitum, it was definitely a team lift. And i really think it could have been headed off at the pass with a "hey, this is not going to happen here, cut it out" at the very beginning before anyone even started to flatulate a little bit.
posted by emptythought at 12:52 PM on May 17, 2015 [22 favorites]


It wasn't one person litigating their tiresome crap in this thread ad infinitum, it was definitely a team lift. And i really think it could have been headed off at the pass with a "hey, this is not going to happen here, cut it out" at the very beginning before anyone even started to flatulate a little bit.

Yes, please, this. A thousand, thousand times. The more explicit the mods are about "your lack of agreement with the basic 101-level feminism is not okay and not in consensus with Metafilter values", the better.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 1:07 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Not disagreeing overall with this, but I'd make a message very clear "You are not going to litigate this issue in this thread which is about something else" and not "Your viewpoints aren't okay" which is going to be a non-starter from a communication perspective. MetaFilter values are more about not making a thread about you, not being an asshole and not generally being awful. It's entirely possible to still moderate on the basis of those values and not try to get into the murky "MetaFilter is feminist and you are not ergo here is the door" territory.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:12 PM on May 17, 2015 [34 favorites]


Yeah, I strongly agree with jessamyn. (I should probably just get a t-shirt that says that.) I don't think "you must have certain values/beliefs to comment here" is a workable path. Much better to keep it on the basis of "these are the baseline social needs, to make conversation work here", which allows people with different viewpoints to all buy in to the same set of expectations. Too much boyzone: bad for conversation. Too much returning to the same old tired derails: bad for conversation.

Lyn Never brings up flags: We've talked in the past about revisiting the flag categories and that's something we can look at. One thing the current options do is to tell people broadly what kinds of things are flaggable (derail, noise, offensive). "Objection to content" isn't really one I would want to include there, since I think it's more broad than we'd want... there are plenty of comments that people might object to but which aren't remotely deletable. A further complication with flags is that the subsites have different things that are deletable. (Very little is deletable in MetaTalk, for example, and it would be good to have the available flags reflect that.) Rejiggering the flags is more of a rabbit hole than it seems at first.

But for the moment, people should know: don't be afraid to flag. All you're doing is saying "hey take a look at this, it might be actionable maybe", or in the case of breaks guidelines/offensive, you're saying "wow I think this is pretty much deletable, look at this fast." If you pick the "wrong" category, it's no problem -- they all get displayed in the same place and we check them all. If there's nothing wrong with a comment, nothing will happen, so there's no danger associated with flagging "wrong."

The two flagging behaviors we sometimes see that are "wrong" are:
-Flagging a million comments all at once in a thread -- only flag the few worst, and if you're flagging more than about 3 or 4, drop us a note instead
-Flagging stuff in old threads, or stuff from many hours ago that's now baked into a long thread -- we'll almost never delete comments that are more than a day or so old, since they're usually baked in by that point. So this is usually not going to produce any action; fine if you want catharsis, just don't be frustrated by expecting action in this case. (Exception might be an AskMe, or a late comment in a hardly-any-comments thread where nobody else may have seen it.)

...and even those aren't really "wrong" in a bad way, just in a "this is not really how the flags are meant to work" way.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you feel sorry for them, maybe tell them that you appreciate them or send them a private note some time.

Or fucking donate


Ok done, sent another tiny donation. Thanks for handling this thread well, Mod team. I feel like we have had a pretty rough ride on this topic lately but the back and forth here has really helped to get the appropriate course corrections laid in I think.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:01 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I use flags a little sparingly, but, outside of things like HTML errors and doubles and the like, I tend to fill out a comment form too (unless it's in a thread that I already figure the mods are watching), if I feel there is any need for clarification.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:01 PM on May 17, 2015


I think it might be a problem to moderate what Mr. Livengood calls "tag team derails" because whether those are five people sucking all the air out of a room or five people having a back and forth conversation can be much a more subjective call.

Not terribly important, but "tag team derails" was from Dip Flash's comment, not mine.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 2:01 PM on May 17, 2015


"If you pick the "wrong" category, it's no problem -- they all get displayed in the same place and we check them all. If there's nothing wrong with a comment, nothing will happen, so there's no danger associated with flagging "wrong.""

I've more than once flagged something, then realized I should've used a different flag, and gotten a bit anxious as a result. This is really good to know.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:52 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


hey so whatever happened to that proposal to have summaries of long metatalk threads
posted by Jacqueline at 3:03 PM on May 17, 2015


start writing
posted by mitochondrial midichlorian at 3:15 PM on May 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I use flags a little sparingly, but, outside of things like HTML errors and doubles and the like, I tend to fill out a comment form too

I think, if commentary for clarification is something the mods are specifically asking for, it would be really useful for flag categories other than fantastic and double to pop up/ajax-magic/computer-gnome-wizard a text entry field. Lower barrier to entry than navigating, copying and pasting a link (although, yeah, I've sent stuff like 'that last thing I flagged' assuming you guys get stuff in chrono order) etc. Not sure how feasible this is, and I feel like maybe it's been floated before.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:18 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


The free-form flag idea has come up before yeah, and it's one that on the balance I kind of like, but we haven't gotten it out of the brainstorming phase so far. A lot of little details that'd have to be figured out to roll it out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:20 PM on May 17, 2015


Instead of developing a whole new pop-up form thing, would it be possible to have a link by each comment that would open up the (existing) contact form and pre-populate it with the URL of the comment? That would remove a lot of the friction that's currently involved with using the contact form.

My current process: click on link for the comment I'm reading so I can get back to it when I'm done; right-click on link again to copy the URL; jump to bottom of the page; ctrl-shift-click the contact form link to open it in a new tab; fill out contact form and send it; close tab; hit ctrl-L then enter to get back to the comment I was reading when I decided "I should contact the mods about this."

Yeah, I know, it's such a burden, cue the tiny violins. But if I could instead just ctrl-shift-click on a "load the pre-populated contact form" link, fill out the form and send it, then close the tab and be where I was before? Much quicker, much easier, much more likely that I'll do it (instead of just flagging and figuring "the mods will figure out why I flagged it").
posted by Lexica at 3:35 PM on May 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


I've more than once flagged something, then realized I should've used a different flag, and gotten a bit anxious as a result.

I hear that wrongly flagging can lead to wryly flogging.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I like Lexica's idea a lot -- reduce the friction for sending a "I flagged this because..." contact form along with the flag. To avoid cluttering up the page with an extra link in each "posted by" byline: could have a "contact us about this flag" link appear only after the user has flagged the comment/post.

(ISTR it being said that the contact form reports automatically include the referring URL. But this is hidden knowledge to users, maybe it could be made explicitly visible on the Contact Form? And even then, the referring URL won't be the URL to a specific comment unless the user has explicitly made it so by previously clicking on the comment's permalink.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:04 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


hey so whatever happened to that proposal to have summaries of long metatalk threads

Hmm. That might be strangely amusing because I confidently predict that no user will ever summarize a long thread in a way that rings true and exact across a range of users. But if done as an exercise by several posters we'd get graphic evidence of why communication is so hard because I think we'd see wildly different variations of the story by different readers.
posted by puddledork at 4:15 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


"In conclusion, Metafilter is a land of contrasts."
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:28 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


"I took a speed-reading course and read this MetaTalk thread in 20 minutes. It was about MetaFilter."
posted by uosuaq at 4:42 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Most all MeTa threads can be summarized as: "Some people are jerks. How can we try to minimize that?"

There are also birthday threads.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:19 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


ftr, sfkiddo, I do have screens of the thread that include one of your deleted comments, so if you want them, memail me, but I'm not posting them publicly because they are not a good look on you (or anyone).
posted by kagredon at 8:39 PM on May 17, 2015


Out of curiosity, is capturing screen a common practice for mefis?
posted by clavdivs at 8:47 PM on May 17, 2015


I do it sometimes when a thread takes an unusual turn, regardless of my own feelings on the turn. Just because it's interesting (to me) to see what happens on the mod end. I don't bring it up unless someone expresses a desire to see their own deleted comments, though of course they can also go to the contact form for that (AFAIK, the mods are always willing to reproduce your own deleted comments for you if you ask.)
posted by kagredon at 8:49 PM on May 17, 2015


Looks like this thread is winding down.
posted by uosuaq at 9:45 PM on May 17, 2015


uosuaq, I literally just suggested that you not make comments like that in threads like this.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:56 PM on May 17, 2015 [24 favorites]


Sorry, LM, you're right. I didn't connect your suggestion to my "this thread is winding down" comments. I don't really think of them as particularly sarcastic/ironic/whatever, but you also used the word "oblique", and yes, I guess it's my oblique way of saying "are we done with this now please?" and maybe it would be better to just say that in so many words.
posted by uosuaq at 11:13 PM on May 17, 2015


To be honest, uosuaq, I don't see any reason to say it at all. When we're done, we'll stop.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:16 PM on May 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


[A couple of comments deleted. Please don't charge into a long and complicated discussion to make outraged attacks and name names that you think will be on other people's ban lists. This is actually the opposite of helping in the way I think you think you want to help.]
posted by taz (staff) at 11:26 PM on May 17, 2015


I guess it's my oblique way of saying "are we done with this now please?"

Half of we is you.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:28 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


My reason for saying it, Too-Ticky, is simply that I think that the thread has gone on long enough. I've been wrong about that several times -- it's kind of impressive how a seemingly moribund thread can come to life in a positive way again.
But I'm not silencing anyone, nor do I have the power to close down the MeTa post. This is a 900+ comment thread and I just wonder if we're doing much more than hanging out here.
posted by uosuaq at 11:31 PM on May 17, 2015


uosuaq, go ahead and remove this thread from your recent activity and call it done. We're not closing it at this time.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:32 PM on May 17, 2015 [24 favorites]


[A couple of comments deleted. Please don't charge into a long and complicated discussion to make outraged attacks and name names that you think will be on other people's ban lists. This is actually the opposite of helping in the way I think you think you want to help.]

Well, that was quick on the comments deleted, I stepped away for a minute and didn't see any of them, though I'd be somewhat curious. And I didn't charge in here etc, I've been reading this thread with interest all day. This is supposed to be the place to discuss these sorts of things, and I personally want to advocate strongly against making lists of people who don't conform and therefore should be banned, and to strongly condemn the people who advocate that sort of thing. If not here, where?
posted by amorphatist at 11:34 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I apologize for expressing myself poorly; I didn't mean to suggest I was calling on the mods to shut this thread down. It was more like, "what are we doing here at this point?"
posted by uosuaq at 11:36 PM on May 17, 2015


I buttoned (quietly) over just being too exhausted about the boyzone to keep going with Metafilter. So much of the work was being put on the shoulders of women and then maybe a mod coming along and helping out once it had already been super toxic and painful. It sucked the fun right out of the place for me. I don't want to be somewhere I have to jab my elbows out just to exist.

The way this MetaTalk thread went down made me want to come back. Especially when I saw that the mods really are telling people to cut it out way earlier in threads on the blue. I want this to be a fun place where we get to talk about things with nuance and grace. I am actually hopeful that there's a deep recalibration of how long toxic people are allowed to run their mouths before the mods tell them to step off. I really hope that it wasn't so long in coming that people are burned out to the point of no return. I want the mods to have the backs of the people who have been doing the heavy lifting waiting for the harvest. Please let this be a thread we can look back at as a turning point.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:38 PM on May 17, 2015 [60 favorites]


I withdraw my question.
posted by uosuaq at 11:40 PM on May 17, 2015


yay stoneweaver <3<3<3<3
posted by NoraReed at 11:40 PM on May 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


I was just flagging stuff and I wish there was a flag that was just "Ugh". It is really hard for me to decide what to flag things as but I would like one for "you're making that disgusted face you get when you encounter mansplaining/mansplain-adjacent behaviors, or accidentally eat a tomato, so maybe the mods should look at this"
posted by NoraReed at 11:52 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


I recommend "offensive."

Also, I will totally eat all the tomatoes, so no worries!
posted by Deoridhe at 12:35 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


#notalltomatoes
posted by disclaimer at 12:39 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


i can almost always find someone to pawn my tomatoes off on but occasionally they are roasted and they look like red peppers and I am like "oh yum this will be great" and then apparently I make the most entertaining face ever
posted by NoraReed at 12:46 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


"oh I expect this small red fruit will be a delicious berryWHATAKGSGHRWWHE"
posted by NoraReed at 12:47 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I apologize for expressing myself poorly; I didn't mean to suggest I was calling on the mods to shut this thread down. It was more like, "what are we doing here at this point?"

Without any further context, this question serves no function other than to be a silencing tactic, even though you engaged it what appears to be good faith earlier in the thread. I know you say you don't have the power to shut down the thread, but obviously you have some sense of agency, or you wouldn't have felt there was any value in repeatedly expressing your desire to see this thread end.

And it does have an effect. Women go their whole lives with men communicating that their experiences and their input is not valued. Your decision to continue that trend, repeatedly, at the end this thread is very troubling, and mostly communicates that you wish women would stop talking about the subject, even if that's not what you intended to communicate. You may have bowed out of doing that in this thread, but please consider whether or not you are doing that in general, and stop it. And not just you; anyone who sees a conversation about women and feels like it has gone on long enough is part of the problem.
posted by maxsparber at 5:42 AM on May 18, 2015 [45 favorites]


Well, especially when a third of uosuaq's comments in the thread have been suggestions that it's winding down or defenses/apologies for those comments. I don't mean to particularly call out uosuaq, because he's been fairly good in this thread, but there is a tendency on MeTa to sort of Metaderail by calling for thread shutdowns, and it's a problem.

I occasionally call for a thread shut down myself, usually when I think a thread has become really ugly and unproductive and I feel like people are in danger of flaming out/leaving in disgust, but that's a little different from suggesting that, since a thread is no longer interesting to you, it should be stopped (which I don't know if that's what uosuaq was doing, so I am talking in general). Threads are open for a month, after all, and that is a site norm, and, while most fade away before then, there should be a pretty good reason for closing a thread before its time.

The same might be said for the numerous funny bantering derails that crop up even in contentious MeTas, often as a brief lull in the discussion. I don't think they are necessarily bad, and I participate in them (I am resisting the urge to post tomato opinions right now), but they feel different when participants in the thread engage in them as a sort of pressure relief mechanism and when someone pops in as a new voice in the thread and makes a joke -- the first is kind of organic and the second is more jarring.

So I guess that calling for closing threads is usually counterproductive unless you have a really pressing issue (and then its best handled in the contact form) and defending/apologizing for stuff should also be kept to a minimum -- just like responding less frequently to a series of responses reduced the "take on all comers" aspect of some threads.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:16 AM on May 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


hey so whatever happened to that proposal to have summaries of long metatalk threads

I don't have a written summary, but this video provides a pithy summary of MetaTalk threads in general.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 7:36 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I occasionally call for a thread shut down myself, usually when I think a thread has become really ugly and unproductive and I feel like people are in danger of flaming out/leaving in disgust, but that's a little different from suggesting that, since a thread is no longer interesting to you, it should be stopped

Yes, precisely this. There's a big difference between saying "this fire is getting really big and out of control, and we should put it out before anyone else gets hurt" and saying "i'm tired of sitting around this campfire, i've gotten all i need from it, so let's put it out".
posted by poffin boffin at 7:38 AM on May 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


I like the campfire example. I was tempted to say "[X] thread is getting close to a cliff and people are shoving" as a sign to haul a thread back from a perceived edge of no return.
posted by puddledork at 9:03 AM on May 18, 2015


I read the thread, most of it consists of people shouting down the 3-4 people with unsuitable opinions (in the future, Lord forbid you have a non-perfect opinion on the merits of 'tramp stamps'). What, exactly, is the problem here? Some people said some stuff others didn't agree with, the disagreement was made clear, and now we can move on.

Why do we have to go the next step and ban these people? Why are folks expecting that a general interest website will host specialized feminist discourse on the nature of lower back tattoos? Aren't there other places to go for that kind of thing?
posted by corcovado at 9:43 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Corcovado: maybe you should read this thread as well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:45 AM on May 18, 2015 [36 favorites]


So you're telling me there's a reasonable answer to my question in this 1000-post thread? There's an actual reason why we can't just disagree, we have to actively cleanse non-conforming opinions from threads?
posted by corcovado at 9:49 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


> What, exactly, is the problem here?

If you can't be arsed to figure it out thanks to the discussion in this thread, I don't think it should be up to anyone here to start the whole explanation all over again.

Also, the entire internet is jammed with places where people can go be judgemental about women's bodies and the choices we make around decorating them. There's no law that says metafilter has to be one of them.
posted by rtha at 9:50 AM on May 18, 2015 [28 favorites]


"So you're telling me I actually have to read what women say to understand what they're saying? Will wonders never cease."
posted by dialetheia at 9:51 AM on May 18, 2015 [55 favorites]


Why are folks expecting that a general interest website will host specialized feminist discourse on the nature of lower back tattoos?

Specialized feminist discourse? Perhaps not; that may be a bit much to expect from a generalist website.

Lack of misogynist discourse, however, is a pretty reasonable expectation. Nah, scratch that... it's a mandatory standard that we behave like women are actually, y'know, people.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:53 AM on May 18, 2015 [23 favorites]


Also, the entire internet is jammed with places where people can go be judgemental about women's bodies and the choices we make around decorating them.

Ok, I understand: the comments are offensive because they question women's choices, which is inherently offensive.

I disagree with this, but I'm happy to actually hear the rationale.

Thanks!
posted by corcovado at 9:54 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don't be obtuse. I'm sure you know the difference between judging and questioning. Even a non-native speaker of English (me!) knows that.
Kindly spare us your sarcasm. It's most unbecoming.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:57 AM on May 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


No, Mr (or Ms) Sea Lion, the comments are offensive because they exemplify the notion that anything women do is for the male gaze, that a woman is automatically slutty for having a lower back tattoo, that women's bodies are the property of men, that women cannot choose to decorate their own bodies the way they want to without judgement from men.

Or, you know, you could read this damn thread instead of this wide eyed disingenuous thing you're doing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:57 AM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


"Women are actual human beings just like men and deserve respect instead of constant derision and scorn" is not actually specialized feminist discourse unless you are a grotesque misogynist.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:58 AM on May 18, 2015 [41 favorites]


> Ok, I understand: the comments are offensive because they question women's choices, which is inherently offensive.

My eyes are rolling so hard it's a good thing my fingers know where the keys are.

I've always liked the AskeMe standard "Believe what people tell you about themselves," and I will certainly do so in this case. Thanks.
posted by rtha at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I disagree with this, but I'm happy to actually hear the rationale.

no sea lions will be fed in this thread.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


You could have found out what the rationale was by reading, say, the first 25 comments in this very thread. By coming in at the end and saying that you couldn't be bothered to read any of the previous conversation but you're sure everyone's wrong and you're right, you are being a perfect example of the behavior that prompted this thread to begin with. And now I'm torn, because I said I was going to be better about flagging that when I saw it, but this is such a perfect example that it would be a shame to have it go away.
posted by hades at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2015 [25 favorites]


I mentioned this to a fellow MeFite recently, but there really should be a word for comments like those, where you feel so fucking pissed off that it gets said because it's the same kind of dickery being discussed, but you have an incredible sense of vindication that it perfectly illustrates said dickery. It would probably be German and have 6 syllables, but whatever the case, it needs to happen.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2015 [26 favorites]


I disagree with this, but I'm happy to actually hear the rationale.

I mean, as people have said, you'd hear the rationale if you'd read the damn thread. I'm going to follow supercrayon's advice above and end with this genuinely serious advice: LURK MOAR.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:00 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


"maybe we can have a conversation about sexism where people don't theorize about which sexual positions the author of the piece likes because of her choice of body modification" is hardly demanding "specialized feminist discourse."
posted by nadawi at 10:01 AM on May 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


like seriously if your misogyny glands are inflamed and you can't express them yourself, please find somewhere else online to drag your asshole across, because no one here is interested.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:02 AM on May 18, 2015 [46 favorites]


no sea lions will be fed in this thread.

what if we feed the sea lions to some feminist wolves

with wailing & gnashing of teeth &c
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:02 AM on May 18, 2015


I'm not being disingenuous. A call has been made to actively remove perspectives that do not adhere to a certain standard. I want to know what the proposed standard is.

they exemplify the notion that anything women do is for the male gaze, that a woman is automatically slutty for having a lower back tattoo, that women's bodies are the property of men, that women cannot choose to decorate their own bodies the way they want to without judgement from men.

Yeah, this is not a standard, it's a collection of vague feminist platitudes.
posted by corcovado at 10:04 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


bye felicia
posted by poffin boffin at 10:04 AM on May 18, 2015 [49 favorites]


Recent account with no profile information, no Metatalk history, and only inflammatory comments on the Blue.

Don't feed.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:05 AM on May 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


I want to know what the proposed standard is.

Maybe you could start by reading the fucking thread instead of popping it at the end with demands? I mean, Jesus Christ, do you really think being both ignorant and shitty is the way to get your way?
posted by maxsparber at 10:05 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I want to know what the proposed standard is.

Read the fucking thread, dude. Seriously.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:06 AM on May 18, 2015


seriously dude - read the thread - it's what the thread is about - there's lots of opinions. hell, you can even just scan the thread for the staff tag and see what comes up. if you're not being disingenuous, you'd find the answers you seek right here on this very page. cheers.
posted by nadawi at 10:06 AM on May 18, 2015


bye felicia

Yes! YES! So good! I conceptualize this phrase better and better!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:08 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


corcovado, your behavior since you started this account has been routinely problematic and this does not look like good faith participation. If you are unhappy with Metafilter, hanging out here and hollering at people doesn't seem like a good use of your time or ours, and I am tired of giving this a shot. I'm closing your account, please don't sign up again.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:08 AM on May 18, 2015 [74 favorites]


Cortex, thank you so much for this! I understand the issues with people being glad about bannings and I'm not happy that it had to happen, but it really means a lot to me to see quick action being taken in cases like this. Very very much appreciated!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:11 AM on May 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


I want to know what the proposed standard is.

I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:11 AM on May 18, 2015


cortex - your phrasing of 'since you started this account' strikes me - is this (like fffm thought) a previous user with a new account?
posted by corb at 10:12 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh sorry, I credited fffm but actually it looks like it was anotherpanacea.
posted by corb at 10:13 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ditto. I had just flagged corcovado's latest (as offensive) though I don't think I've ever flagged a MeTa comment before, and then I saw the ban hammer. Thanks very much.
posted by bearwife at 10:13 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh hey wait, that was JAQing off, wasn't it?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:15 AM on May 18, 2015


Returnee but not someone who had been banned the previous time around. Beyond that, let's let it be.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:24 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ok, I understand: the comments are offensive because they question women's choices, which is inherently offensive.

I disagree with this, but I'm happy to actually hear the rationale.


Oh oh oh, can someone please send this in to Manfeels Park? Because holy shit, I have a desperate, overwhelming need to see these lines spoken by, I dunno, an illustration of a sour-faced old dude wearing a top hat and monocle. My mind's eye is enthralled by the possibility.

Cortex, thank you so much for this! I understand the issues with people being glad about bannings and I'm not happy that it had to happen, but it really means a lot to me to see quick action being taken in cases like this. Very very much appreciated!

The dittos: ALL OF THEM. Many thanks for the quick cleanup in aisle JAQ, cortex.
posted by divined by radio at 10:33 AM on May 18, 2015 [26 favorites]


I guess corcovado could be credited with providing an almost picture perfect example of "how to participate in bad faith on MetaFilter," so when the next bad faith commenter starts "what do you meeeean!?!" we can say "here is a great example how this thing starts. And how it ends."

The mods' quick action here (25 minutes from start to finish) is a good example of what we have been asking for in the way of positive mod action -- corcovado helped things along by being particularly hamfisted in his faux naivete, but a problem user was identified and banned within a very short time. Additionally, I don't think anyone of good faith would object to the process -- a problem user was shitting up a thread and it was really really obvious that action was needed (and that talks and warnings would only delay the inevitable rather than fix the situation).

So, hurray?
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:37 AM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


With respect to Don Pepino, I would like to say that for myself, "I had dumb, unexamined notions about tattoos how women experience life that have been exploded by people's reporting in the original thread and this one. It was worth the time I spent because now I'm a little bit less of a moronic jerk in the silent reaches of my heart. This isn't the first time MetaFilter has done this for me. MetaFilter teaches me excellent things that make me a better person. I love this site forever."

I'm an oblivious white dude, and since coming to MeFi I listen more than I used to and talk a little less. Thanks to everyone for your comments, and to the mods for keeping these Augean stables clean. In other words:

This Is Just to Say
I have commented
On the
Threads
On the Blue

and which
you were probably
saving
for reasonable conversation

Forgive me
I was thoughtless
so now I know better
and am more willing to listen

(Thanks again, Mods!)
posted by wenestvedt at 10:39 AM on May 18, 2015 [24 favorites]


I must say, corcovado's posts are basically a nearly impossibly perfect example of the object lesson of this thread. Usually the lines are murkier, but bizarrely enough I like his (obviously his) comments, because how textbook they are.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:05 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I followed the wonderful advice offered in this thread by The Master and Margarita Mix , and set up a donation. Thank you guys for being so vested in maintaining this community, and having the high standards for discourse that you do.

( ˘ ³˘)♥
posted by erratic meatsack at 11:18 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


no sea lions will be fed in this thread.

EXCUSE ME, DO YOU HAVE ANY DORITOS? I HEARD YOU TALKING ABOUT DORITOS.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:05 PM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


i really want a FEMINIST ORCA meme to appear in savage carnivorous opposition to sealioning.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:21 PM on May 18, 2015 [31 favorites]


you mean like this? or like this?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:28 PM on May 18, 2015


How about preemptive FEMINIST ORCA sealioning?

EXCUSE ME, I SEE YOU WERE ABOUT TO BUTT IN ON A CONVERSATION TO WHICH YOU WERE NOT INVITED. LET'S DISCUSS IT OVER LUNCH. NOM NOM NOM [CARNAGE]...
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:31 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm an oblivious white dude, and since coming to MeFi I listen more than I used to and talk a little less.

I started to joke that we should form a club. And then I realized that the entire problem is that it's all our fucking club. So instead, I decided to have some more coffee and keep listening as I best I can.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:35 PM on May 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


Why do we have to go the next step and ban these people? Why are folks expecting that a general interest website will host specialized feminist discourse on the nature of lower back tattoos? Aren't there other places to go for that kind of thing?

See this? This is why I think, as much as it would be an absolute sea change in site policy on a number of levels and would be fairly unpopular and will almost certainly never happen, and as LM and jessamyn have said would be very, very, very hard to draw an appropriate line for it to begin with, this is why the mods should make it clear that modding against MRA bullshit is as much political and from a position of feminism as just mechanic site garbage.

This shit, and posters like corcovado, are just going to keep shitting all over everything, again and again and again, in oblivious bad faith, forever, unless something changes, and more to the point, something changes that tells them that yes, they are in bad faith, because they will never, ever accept it. In fact, they won't even accept it when it does happen, they're just going to blame the feminists for "ruining MetaFilter", but I think there comes a point when you need to stop extending the presumption of good faith to what amounts to an entire ideology, and draw a line in the sand and just say: this is not how to do social justice threads on MF. Your failure is not fundamentally a technical one, where if you just phrase your odious opinion correctly this time it will be okay to shit it out all over a thread dealing with [insert underprivileged group here] issues. The problem is those opinions themselves, and if you have a problem with that and blah blah mean feminist girl cabal blah blah "SILENCED ALL MY LIFE!!!", go to Reddit because Reddit is what you're looking for, not MetaFilter.

I realize that's almost certainly not going to happen, and things will go on as they have and keep happening, but for the life of me I really don't understand why. I'm not saying the mods did a bad job or anything, either. You guys are awesome and cortex did an excellent job in this thread, but it's been a long while that the boyzone has been creeping back in. It was a problem when I took like a two month break and it's a problem now, female and other users were leaving or taking breaks from the site in exhaustion then and they're still doing it now, people are still being dicks to NoraReed, and all it seems like we've moved towards since however many long, 300+ MetaTalks I've missed in the interim is that the mods are slightly moving up their timetable for inevitably - and it is inevitable, we all know it's inevitable - telling the truly poisonous shitheads to Get Gone. And I don't want to belittle that as a positive thing because it is good and it is progress and so is jumping into social-justice-related threads earlier and more aggressively, but to me it seems like a small change in degree that's not going to meaningfully change a pretty oppressive, awful tide, and there really does need to be some kind of change in kind.

My apologies for the TL;DR. I don't know, I'm just tired of this shit and I haven't even been trying to do anything about it for a fraction of the time people like NoraReed or nadawi or GaP or everyone else has. This boyzone crap is really starting to feel like "definition of insanity" territory.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 12:37 PM on May 18, 2015 [24 favorites]


Erk, I should say: all the mods, including jessamyn in her Wise Elder role, have done an excellent job; cortex did a great job with corcovado specifically.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 12:44 PM on May 18, 2015


this is why the mods should make it clear that modding against MRA bullshit is as much political and from a position of feminism as just mechanic site garbage.

I'm totally comfortable personally calling bullshit on what I see as pernicious dumb/wrong arguments being shoehorned into threads, but that doesn't translate to declaring a political mission statement for Metafilter itself, something we have really pointedly declined to do since the site started. Metafilter's not designed to be a political entity, it's a site trying to be a good and interesting and civil generalist place on the web; the people on it can have political positions, and the process of helping this place be a generally good place to be and serve the needs of the people here can be furthered and improved, without changing that, and changing that would be a very big change indeed.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:31 PM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


On the one hand, I totally understand and support that, cortex...on the other, it almost feels like that statement is saying that feminism is political here, and so can't be explicitly supported. I know that's not the case, and I'm not trying to start shit but its a tricky distinction. I get that MeFi isn't going to make any site statement about it. But maybe that kinda sucks.
posted by agregoli at 1:49 PM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


"Metafilter's not designed to be a political entity, it's a site trying to be a good and interesting and civil generalist place on the web; the people on it can have political positions, and the process of helping this place be a generally good place to be and serve the needs of the people here can be furthered and improved, without changing that, and changing that would be a very big change indeed."

I see that, and it's pretty close to my default way of understanding MetaFilter ... but it's a mistake.

The fact of the matter is that the strong cultural norms are the sexist views in the tattoo thread, as well as corcovado's sense about this discussion, and there's no way for MetaFilter to structurally deviate from this that isn't implicitly a political position. And that's fine. It's a mistake to think that establishing our community standards of behavior can escape being political unless the standards are purely technical, which they're not. To the degree to which these standards affect who and how we interact here, they are necessarily political.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:54 PM on May 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


I had an exchange about this with another user over email. I know that the personal is political and that it's weird to not explicitly say you're being feminist when what you're saying is "We expect the "don't be an asshole" edict to include 'don't be an asshole to/about women'" but it does seem like that's the only way that some people will understand the "keep the boyzone from creeping back" actions.

Like, I think the notion that women are people is not so political it's just true. In the gross cesspool that is a lot of online discourse, it's like you have to spell it out, to direct people specifically how it's not okay to be skeevy creeps when discussing women's bodies or choices. I mean it's not okay to be gross creeps when discussing anyone's choices but this just isn't a thing that happens, by and large, in threads about men. Sometimes yes but it's the rare exception. In the past mods have basically had to babysit threads about female athletes' and scientists' accomplishments just so people wouldn't make hurf durf jokes about how they dressed. And so it feels weird, like you're specifically babysitting threads to make sure they're following feminist bona fides or something.

Except all you're doing (long suffering mods) is just making sure women have the same abilities to interact here without being objectified, harassed, belittled other forms of internet hassling (sea lioning, JAQoff was a new one to me) but that's not the same as taking a political stance, that's just managing the fucked up set of expectations people on the internet seem to have about how awful they should be allowed to be. I'm okay in saying it should stop here. I appreciate your assistance in helping stop it.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:55 PM on May 18, 2015 [60 favorites]


I agree that it is a very difficult and fine line to distinguish, to patrol, to enforce. I deeply appreciate mods' and other users' efforts put forward to hold to it.
posted by kalessin at 2:01 PM on May 18, 2015


I'm trying to come up with a proper analogy that doesn't step on the toes of some group I'm not part of by using them as an example or presuming that the moderation/climate around their issues is better than it actually is, which is surprisingly hard, but here goes: I get that it's an enormous change, yes, as I said, and that it won't happen, but at the end of the day I feel like someone in an early post-revolutionary fledgling democracy, constantly working to hammer out the issues and make the Republic a better place, told by The Directorate that yes, yes, of course those monarchist propagandists are terrible and of course the Divine Right of Kings is nonsense and offensive and All Men Are Brothers, but you need to keep explaining to the monarchists why Kings Are Bad And Not A Particularly Effective Form Of Government And Also You Are Not Better Than All Of Us Because Your Grandad Was A Count Before The Revolution, until such time as The Directorate gets fed up with it and throws them in prison or rides out to whatever village their reactionary army has managed to siege and restores it from the loving grasp of resurgent feudalism.

But meanwhile, Have You Considered That Actually You Really Are Low-Bred Scum Who Is Fundamentally Less Worthy Than Your Betters By Blood?

I'm all for diversity of opinions and letting people argue it out, and I think I'm actually way more aggressive in my alignment towards civil libertarianism than much of the rest of the supposed "feminist brigade", but there is actually an important, qualitative difference between giving room and consideration to people I disagree with on something like, to take yet another example where I'm probably more to the right than would be expected, nuclear power or government censorship and having to put up with "okay but have you considered that lol dumb sluts".

The personal is, indeed, political; and that does not hold just for feminist but also for horrifying MRA shitheads. The derailing, the threadshitting, the constant act of superiority like it's fucking beneath them to read the very thread where their questions have already been answered, the whining and scaremongering about an Echo Chamber, the constant and endless fucking bashing of NoraReed and basically just the repeated failure to Get It: it's not politically void, it's how they are doing The Political Is Personal. If the feminists of MetaFilter are asked, again and again, to do the work and explain and educate and pushback, if our participation in threads like the tattoo thread, like the Books White Dudes Own thread, is seen as political, why isn't the crap that we're supposed to be pushing back against seen that way and taken for that? Why are you allowing them the polite fiction and cover of having their flood of sea lion shit be seen as "politically neutral" and forever a bunch of individual acts of individual users, while you're explicitly asking us to get politically active more or less as a collective?

"okay but have you considered that lol dumb sluts" is not civil, but it is also not generalist. It is actively political. Can we please stop pretending that it isn't?
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 2:06 PM on May 18, 2015 [34 favorites]


Personally, knowing the mods, I'm fine with feminism not being "site policy," as long as they treat misogynist derailing/sealioning/whatever with the kind of no bullshit attitude people have been calling for in this thread. I don't really see a need for Metafilter to declare itself specifically this or that politically, and I think that would actually be a move in the wrong direction.

Not all anti-misogynists call themselves "feminists" so that is already a sticking point, and I think that the semantic details of that argument are irrelevant to mod policy and inclusion. (The underlying arguments are NOT irrelevant, but arguing over specific political labels seems like a misdirection of energy since there will never be a way to please everyone.) I'm a feminist because in our human rights tradition it's evidently the right thing to do and I think feminist policies are good for this site because they create space for interesting conversations but I don't think the label is necessary for the site to support either of those principles.

You can't escape the fact that Metafilter has a particular political bent, but avoiding specific political labels or affiliations makes the mod team more agile and effective, imo. As much as I appreciate the historical significance of feminism, saying "stop doing this shitty thing, Metafilter is a largely feminist space" and "stop doing this shitty thing, you are suffocating this conversation about women" are fundamentally the same to me and I actually prefer the latter as it's more transparent and thoughtful about what feminism is.

(Apologies for incoherence, I had a long weekend.)
posted by easter queen at 2:07 PM on May 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


i really want a FEMINIST ORCA meme to appear in savage carnivorous opposition to sealioning.

I'd like to suggest that the next mod hired be a feminist orca. Thanks.

EDIT: I actually have no idea what that means.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:11 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


As much as I appreciate the historical significance of feminism, saying "stop doing this shitty thing, Metafilter is a largely feminist space" and "stop doing this shitty thing, you are suffocating this conversation about women" are fundamentally the same to me and I actually prefer the latter as it's more transparent and thoughtful about what feminism is.

You know, I think I'll second that. "We don't tolerate saying shitty things about anyone and it's nothing out of the ordinary here regardless of gender" is appealing. In my mind it normalizes more that women are part of everyday conversations. It's like "Eh, of course they are. Nothing to see here. Don't be shitty."
posted by erratic meatsack at 2:13 PM on May 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


The Master and Margarita Mix: "This shit, and posters like corcovado, are just going to keep shitting all over everything, again and again and again, in oblivious bad faith, forever, unless something changes"

I want to call out for people that are maybe just skimming the thread that corcovado got banned because of his behavior. I'm just one anonymous dog on the internet, but I think that's kind of a good change.

jessamyn: " what you're saying is "We expect the "don't be an asshole" edict to include 'don't be an asshole to/about women'" but it does seem like that's the only way that some people will understand the "keep the boyzone from creeping back" actions. "

Oh man, this is pretty great phrasing, jessamyn.
posted by boo_radley at 2:21 PM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Okay, how about just being explicitly anti-misogyny, and not just some nebulous, echo-chamber-invoking conception of feminist? Not "mod note: your comment is bad and not allowed because it isn't feminist", but "mod note: you comment is bad because it is actively misogynist and that's not okay", not just wrong on some technicality. I don't see why this wouldn't, (or if it isn't, shouldn't) be the case with comments that were racist in the degree that many of the comments on the tattoo thread were misogynist.

I'm not actually asking for a collective burning of the bras, or anything, but I don't think it's ridiculous to suggest that no matter how "civil" or measured or, frankly, stiltedly pedantic someone on the Blue is about phrasing a racist opinion, those comments aren't okay because they're fucking racist*, beyond simple "Don't Be A Jerk", "we don't tolerate saying shitty things about protesters in Ferguson/Baltimore/whatever because it is racist".

*Not that I'm trying to speak for any MeFites of Color on this, since I'm sure there are plenty who might find my take on that hopelessly naive or optimistic; after the last depressing anti-Semitism thread, I suspect I'm probably more optimistic for issues that aren't my own than I really deserve to be, and that's it's own kind of obnoxious.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 2:21 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


but there is actually an important, qualitative difference between giving room and consideration to people I disagree with on something like, to take yet another example where I'm probably more to the right than would be expected, nuclear power or government censorship and having to put up with "okay but have you considered that lol dumb sluts".

I totally agree, and think that distinction is worth making. And more to the point I think the distinction is still useful when you get away from really easy to dismiss literal "but what if...actually dumb sluts?" shitbombs and more toward softer but still frustrating and pernicious expressions of some of those ideas. And I think part of what this conversation has been useful for is helping us recalibrate our sense of where and how to draw the line on that stuff, to be more willing to jump in earlier to explicitly say "hey, cut it out, this sort of thing isn't okay".

But stating, and moderating to enforce, the ideal that a specific line of commenting or type of behavior is not okay and someone needs to cut that shit out is not the same thing as declaring an explicit political mission for the site or saying that that behavior is not okay solely or primarily because the site has a political mission.

If what people are bothered by is behavior we can actively and concretely curtail, that is something we can really reasonable work toward. If what people are bothered by is that there's people who exist in the world and who turn out to have shitty misogynistic opinions once they open their mouths, that is not so easily solvable, and putting up an explicit political mission statement about it won't do it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:29 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not "mod note: your comment is bad and not allowed because it isn't feminist", but "mod note: you comment is bad because it is actively misogynist and that's not okay", not just wrong on some technicality.

It seems like that just triggers a back-and-forth from the poster about why what he said wasn't misogynist. I'm not sure what it accomplishes that moderators stepping in earlier and being more pointed about who's in the wrong (which I agree is needed) doesn't.
posted by jaguar at 2:30 PM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that insisting that women be treated as people in a culture where women are often not treated as people is inherently a political position and that pretending that it isn't is some weird obeisance to the repressive idea that being "political" is unseemly and uncivil.

It's accepting the framing that in order to be respectable and valid, and not "special interest", an advocated change must be considered "evenhanded" as conveniently defined by the prevailing structure that is itself not evenhanded and which judges what is and isn't "evenhanded" according to that bias. Which cripples a "valid" and "evenhanded" proposal at the outset.

Furthermore, it brings us a world in which MRA folk make accusations of "misandry" and where a majority of white Americans believe that "racism" by blacks against whites is a bigger problem than the reverse. If you remove the political context from the discussion and bend over backward to formulate your principle in a way that's "not political", then what you get is a structure that leverages all of its very unequal power to defend men from people being creeps about discussing their choices while mostly ignoring the far more frequent examples when women are the target. You get threads about sexism that are hijacked by men who argue that men are the real victims of sexism.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:31 PM on May 18, 2015 [25 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that insisting that women be treated as people in a culture where women are often not treated as people is inherently a political position

It is, but an explicitly feminist website would (I hope) go further than that, and this website generally does not. It would be weird to label MetaFilter a feminist space, because it's not. It is working toward becoming a space where all people are respected and given space to participate, though it's not quite there yet as recent MeTas have shown, and it sounds like the moderators are on board with that goal. That seems entirely more important to me.
posted by jaguar at 2:38 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


gah i sort of feel like i set off this last batch of long commenting about feminism as a site value. i should have been more clear in my comment. if mods go into threads and say "we're not going to discuss which sexual positions this author of a piece about tattoos likes," they aren't saying "metafilter is an explicitly feminist space" but rather "our members are important to us, which includes our members who are women and we aren't going to foster a space that drives them out." that's what i mean by site value.

it's not about sticking your flag in a specific political ideology and making it part of the masthead, but rather noticing and reacting that patterns that create a boyzone atmosphere at the expense of other groups. i appreciate the work the mods are doing in this vein and i hope we keep getting better on this sort of thing.
posted by nadawi at 2:38 PM on May 18, 2015 [27 favorites]


It seems like that just triggers a back-and-forth from the poster about why what he said wasn't misogynist. I'm not sure what it accomplishes that moderators stepping in earlier and being more pointed about who's in the wrong (which I agree is needed) doesn't.

Because he (or she! or some other pronoun and identity!) is having it with the mods, in a non-public channel, away from the thread and the feminist-aligned users and others who just don't want to listen to a bunch of assholes opine about sluts, who are trying to have a different and better discussion, and because just maybe the other sea lions see it and there is less "but have you considered how misandrist and close-minded you are not to allow me to offer my opinion about the dumb sluts?" crap in threads like these, either because they say to themselves "hmm maybe I should not offer the opinion, it is kind of misogynist, they have a point" or because they say to themselves "wah wah feminist cabal making MetaFilter a worse place a bloo bloo silenced all my life the overmoderation has gotten out of hand best of the web *fart noise*", followed by avoiding social justice threads entirely for ones about bass fishing, or decamps to Reddit, or I-honestly-don't-give-a-shit-I'm-just-tired-of-the-opinions-about-sluts-being-given-equal-air-time.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 2:39 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


"We don't tolerate saying shitty things about anyone and it's nothing out of the ordinary here regardless of gender" is appealing.

Sadly, it's vulnerable to the "intoleration of intolerance" rhetorical trick. There is a huge segment of the privileged for whom being disagreed with is shitty behavior pretty much on a moral level with bloody persecution.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:41 PM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Furthermore, it brings us a world in which MRA folk make accusations of "misandry" and where a majority of white Americans believe that "racism" by blacks against whites is a bigger problem than the reverse.

And that world is Metafilter as it currently exists? Because I don't think it is, not by a very, very long shot; as much as I think it's important for folks to talk about the shit they don't like on the site and their frustration with how good conversation sometimes falls short because of some user's behavior or rhetorical approach or ugly opinion, I am not under the impression that anyone thinks that Metafilter is on the balance more sympathetic than not to misogynists and racists. That stuff gets, on the whole, vociferous pushback from mefites when it does come up; it gets active, if imperfect, attention from the mods.

And again, that's in the absence of any explicit mission statement that this site is a feminist concern, or an anti-racist concern, or a pro-gay rights concern, or or or. That's the product of (a) a user base that has a collective tendency to stand up in words for what it thinks is right and (b) a moderative mission to try and help this place be a decent place to be.

That we don't have an explicit feminist or anti-racist or so on mission is not a rejection of the value of those ideas or a suggestion that people who value them have to go stuff it if Someone Has Something To Say. It's just recognizing the difference between this site, a generalist, open-signup place nominally about sharing neat stuff on the web and answering each others questions, and a site that has been built from the ground up with a specific political or ideological mission and the ground rules, community guidelines, and infrastructure to hew to that mission.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:43 PM on May 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


In conversations I've had with friends and colleagues on other sites who deal with this kind of moderation situation, it seems pushing back against misogyny and racism is a lot easier to do when you stop caring about whether or not you will be perceived as "political" or "making a sanctioned position on [X]" one way or the other. Instead of worrying over how best to phrase a particular rule or guideline so it doesn't sound like you're antifa or, heavens forbid, a feminist, you lose the exactness of language needed to fight this stuff, or at least make the language to be used a whole lot more difficult to wrangle.

For whatever reason(s), on the sites I'm talking about, this seems to be much easier to abide by when it comes to racism as opposed to misogyny. Saying something like "but there are biological reasons why [this race] are more prone to crime" gets shut down a damn sight faster than "well you know, there are biological reasons why women do [some completely non-biology-related thing]", for example. The bar for tolerance of repressive bullshit is way, way lower when it comes to racism - however "politely" phrased, however "relevant" to the topic - that it is for sexism.

So I'm all in favor of being clear and exact: misogyny will not be tolerated, and what constitutes misogyny is at the discretion of mods and community alike. Don't like it? Then flounce on off to some MRA subreddit and cry about it there.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:43 PM on May 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


Sadly, it's vulnerable to the "intoleration of intolerance" rhetorical trick. There is a huge segment of the privileged for whom being disagreed with is shitty behavior pretty much on a moral level with bloody persecution.

I think the mods flat out ignoring that rhetorical "trick" and continuing to encourage conversations between and about women (e.g., encouraging Metafilter to pass the Bechdel test with flying colors) by lesser bullshit tolerance is part of what is appealing about it.
posted by easter queen at 2:45 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Speaking only for myself, I have zero desire for MeFi to be an explicitly "feminist" or even "anti-misogynist" space, and not just because many, many dudes are very, very happy to argue the definitions of "feminist" and "misogynist" (and "privilege" and "patriarchy" and and and) for literally ever.

All I want is for this to be a place where women are considered people, and for insulting women qua women to be considered equivalent to insulting people -- which is to say, of course, men. (NB if that's all it takes to label a practice or philosophy "feminist" or "anti-misogynist," shit, I don't even know.) But until it isn't up to individual users to repeatedly and persistently attempt to draw that particular line in the sand, I feel like there's always going to be a division between the way "women" are treated here and the way "people" are treated here, and I'll just shrug and continue to operate under the broad assumption that MeFites are likely to be given more editorial leeway when it comes to issuing sexist insults than they are when it comes to issuing personal insults.

That isn't something that I'm necessarily unaccustomed to or even remotely surprised by in my daily life, it's just a bummer to watch it happen here, especially over and over and over again -- I want to think MeFi is smarter than that. And not to harp, but my whole damn life is political, has been since birth, I dunno, I've always had the impression that's it's kind of the whole deal with life as a woman in a patriarchy. I just don't have the option to make my belief that women are human apolitical by fiat, for any reason, up to and including a simple desire to take part in discussions on a generalist site -- or literally anywhere else in the world that isn't delineated by explicitly feminist boundaries -- without having my humanity litigated or repeatedly called into question. I really wish I did, though.
posted by divined by radio at 2:48 PM on May 18, 2015 [35 favorites]


"It is, but an explicitly feminist website would (I hope) go further than that, and this website generally does not. It would be weird to label MetaFilter a feminist space, because it's not."

I agree.

I guess where I'm coming from is not so much that I think that MetaFilter should very explicitly adopt X, Y, and Z political positions, because I don't think that's a good idea, but that I'm very opposed to the sensibility that says that MetaFilter should disavow being political in its moderation and community standards, or otherwise work at being "not political". It's a mistake to think that working to avoid being political is a virtue when we're talking about "how to make MetaFilter less hostile to women".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:48 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


If what people are bothered by is behavior we can actively and concretely curtail, that is something we can really reasonable work toward. If what people are bothered by is that there's people who exist in the world and who turn out to have shitty misogynistic opinions once they open their mouths, that is not so easily solvable, and putting up an explicit political mission statement about it won't do it.

That's not really my problem. My problem is that by not being clear about the fact that part of the problem with their shitty opinions is that they're misogynistic, you're letting them off the hook for the misogyny to some extent, and also encouraging this kind of thing to drag out and recur. The "maybe if I just rephrase my offensive opinion about women, the mods will let it stand this time" is a dynamic, the mods are as much participants as the users who are doing it, it's something you're kind of collaborating with them even if you don't want to be and that's not the intent. Maybe I'm totally off the mark and this won't actually work, but I feel like being somewhat openly political in the modding process will cut down on the kind of juvenile five-year-old-testing-Mom-and-Dad's-boundaries that seems to happen again and again and again with these users. That there's no way they can phrase the noxious comment to have it be okay, so don't even start.

That's not even getting into all the instances of boyzone tactic #37B: "I am a dude and I consider myself a feminist, how dare you call me out for my shitty misogynist opinion, I consier myself a feminist so I cannot possibly be in the wrong about this, also any opinion that differs from mine is therefore dangerous, hysterical radicalism".
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 2:56 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


GenjiandProust: "it's vulnerable to the "intoleration of intolerance" rhetorical trick."

Which is solely a sleight of hand, as I suspect you realize. Read your Marcuse. I'll quote from a bit at the start:
Tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery.
(...)
Tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery.
(...)
This sort of tolerance strengthens the tyranny of the majority against which authentic liberals protested. The political locus of tolerance has changed: while it is more or less quietly and constitutionally withdrawn from the opposition, it is made compulsory behavior with respect to established policies.
You can also find a good justification for FEMINIST ORCA ENFORCERS in the essay if you look.
posted by boo_radley at 2:56 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess where I'm coming from is not so much that I think that MetaFilter should very explicitly adopt X, Y, and Z political positions, because I don't think that's a good idea, but that I'm very opposed to the sensibility that says that MetaFilter should disavow being political in its moderation and community standards, or otherwise work at being "not political".

I haven't said anything about disavowing these ideas; I've been talking about not doing exactly the explicit adoption of political positions that you're agreeing with the idea of not doing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:57 PM on May 18, 2015


Maybe I'm totally off the mark and this won't actually work, but I feel like being somewhat openly political in the modding process will cut down on the kind of juvenile five-year-old-testing-Mom-and-Dad's-boundaries that seems to happen again and again and again with these users.

Based on a lot of years doing the ditch work here, I do think it's unrealistic to expect that to solve that problem, yeah. Us actively cutting down the repeat behavior before it repeats so much will solve it much more effectively, and that's one of the primary concrete actions folks have talked about wanting to see in here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:01 PM on May 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Based on a lot of years doing the ditch work here, I do think it's unrealistic to expect that to solve that problem, yeah. Us actively cutting down the repeat behavior before it repeats so much will solve it much more effectively, and that's one of the primary concrete actions folks have talked about wanting to see in here.

Well, I'm not naive enough to think it will solve everything with problem users, I think you're absolutely right.

That said, that kind of policy is not something that's only aimed at those users; it's also a way of making it explicit to the set of users-made-upset-and-uncomfortable-by-the-boyzone that hey, the mods see it too, it's a problem, it's not okay, we have your back, and This Is Not What MF Is. You don't have to take boyzone bullshit as the price of admission for participating in MetaFilter as a whole or these kinds of threads more specificially, and you also don't have to pretend that this is just one of those areas where reasonable people can agree to disagree.

Also, the thing is that I think at the end of the day those kind of users know; they realize when they're being swatted not just for, in essence, not phrasing the opinion about the sluts "properly", but expressing it at all, because it is a form of Being A Jerk. There's an unwritten rule that they find it very hard to wrap their head around that They Cannot Say The Thing About The Sluts that exists in conflict with their vision of what MF is, and part of that is driving the dynamic, because no one except the "feminist cabal" is actually coming out and saying "that is a bad thing to say, not a good thing said in a bad way", which is actually a lot of what's driving the "echo chamber"/"feminist cabal" crap, and let me tell you it is not a pleasant feeling at all. Hell, given some of these MetaTalk threads, I think for certain users that's almost the point, they want the mods to "admit" that MeFi has "changed", that you guys have fallen from the pure pedestal of The Best of The Web Super Civil Free Speech Zone or whatever reactionary fantasy of the past they have in their heads.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 3:15 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


"I haven't said anything about disavowing these ideas; I've been talking about not doing exactly the explicit adoption of political positions that you're agreeing with the idea of not doing