Pitbull Threads October 5, 2015 7:25 AM   Subscribe

So I was under the impression that derailing a thread about pitbull pictures to talk about how awful pitbulls are was off-limits?

From what I remember, shitting up a thread about cute dog pictures with how those dogs are The Worst and Will Definitely Kill You was something that wasn't considered okay and I definitely remember threads going in that direction getting seriously modded or at times deleted. But this one just seems to be going on and on with how bad these dogs inherently are. I know I should FIAMO but I also know we're not supposed to be flagging every second or third comment in a thread and honestly that's what that thread is coming down to.
posted by griphus to MetaFilter-Related at 7:25 AM (292 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

"to challenge the common association of pit bulls with violence." When the poster frames it in that way, discussion of that association is not threadshitting in and of itself.
posted by Etrigan at 7:28 AM on October 5, 2015 [27 favorites]


I fall in the "It's the owners, not the breed" camp. But given the photos were created specifically to offset negative stereotypes about the breed (it's part of the artist's statement and everything!), it seems that debate is a natural part of the discussion about the photoset.
posted by schroedinger at 7:29 AM on October 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


But the whole point of the thread seems to be not "Look at these cool pictures of pit bulls" but instead "Look how harmless pit bulls are!" And, you can't make that point without people trying to contest it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:29 AM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


When 80% of the thread is people saying 'I know a person who was attacked by a pit bull,' that is neither discussion of the actual FPP nor, really, discussion at all.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:30 AM on October 5, 2015 [27 favorites]


My feeling catching up on it this morning is that it's a trickier setup than just "derailing a thread about pitbull pictures", because it's a post about some pictures framed specifically in the context of the prevailing negative feelings a lot of people have about pitbulls. A driveby on "hey, check out these adorable dog pix" would be a somewhat different setup.

Which: I don't have a great answer there because I do think yet another argument about bad dogs isn't super interesting and I sympathize with folks who really wanted to just sort of have a nice discussion about cute dog pictures. And with a time machine I'd go back and nix that first comment to avoid launching straight into an argument. But I think this is something where folks on either side of that argument are going to be coming at it from pretty strongly personal perspectives that makes it hard to really get away from the fundamental sense of disagreement on the subject.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:31 AM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Etrigan is spot on, when an FPP is posed as this one was, and when the site linked to is specifically created to argue a point, discussion on the other side of the opinion is appropriate and not a "derail"
posted by HuronBob at 7:31 AM on October 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


Also let's super 100% not have an additional argument about pitbulls, dog violence, owner complicity, etc etc etc in here as well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:32 AM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


And, you can't make that point without people trying to contest it.

It seems like that's part of the problem, the idea that every point of an FPP is up for long discussions contesting it. It makes it hard to talk about the actual subject of the FPP.
posted by jaguar at 7:32 AM on October 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


" It makes it hard to talk about the actual subject of the FPP" interesting... what would you consider the "actual subject" of this FPP? Perhaps that's where the difference in perspective is...
posted by HuronBob at 7:33 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've definitely seen mod notes of the "This side discussion has run its course, can we move on now?" variety, though. It's not like the only options are delete the first few comments or do nothing.
posted by jaguar at 7:33 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


But the whole point of the thread seems to be not "Look at these cool pictures of pit bulls" but instead "Look how harmless pit bulls are!"

I guess maybe I read it totally differently, because the FPP looks to me to be 'Look at these cool pictures of pit bulls! As an FYI, these pictures were taken in a particular way with a particular inspiration.' Thread: THAT INSPIRATION IS BULLSHIT BECAUSE MY SISTER'S BOYFRIEND GOT GROWLED AT
posted by shakespeherian at 7:34 AM on October 5, 2015 [36 favorites]


what would you consider the "actual subject" of this FPP?

The link. Which states, "Flower Power is about challenging myself to approach pit bulls with a fresh perspective and an open heart. I invite the viewer to do the same."
posted by jaguar at 7:35 AM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


what would you consider the "actual subject" of this FPP?

The link. Which states, "Flower Power is about challenging myself to approach pit bulls with a fresh perspective and an open heart. I invite the viewer to do the same."


So the subject is also about the negative associations of pit bulls.
posted by Etrigan at 7:40 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


that thread is an absolute shit show. i was excited for it right up until i read the first comment which is typical shitposting. sorry for late flagging, i didn't realize it had made it to meta.
posted by nadawi at 7:40 AM on October 5, 2015 [23 favorites]


I almost wonder about the utility of a "Didn't read the article/Not engaging with the article" flag. It seems like way too many users are treating the front-page text as a discussion prompt and ignoring the actual source material, and it means everyone's just arguing their own opinions rather than trying to learn new things. Which I realize describes the problems of most of society, but still.
posted by jaguar at 7:41 AM on October 5, 2015 [30 favorites]


When 80% of the thread is people saying 'I know a person who was attacked by a pit bull,' that is neither discussion of the actual FPP nor, really, discussion at all.

Lot of anecdata about how someone owned a pit bull for 10+ years and it never hurt a fly, too.

Honestly, this was probably the worst metafilter discussion I've read and I've been coming here since 2001, so that is actually a compliment. Just lots of nonsense on both sides, nobody listening, and tons of baseless/useless claims on both sides.

I'm not sure there's anything that can be done about it other than to include additional links when posting to the blue. This clearly isn't a subject that can be covered in a single link post-- especially since there's disagreement on what the post is about.
posted by paulcole at 7:41 AM on October 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't really get how there can be disagreement on what the post is about. There's one link. The link goes to cute photos of dogs.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:43 AM on October 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


I thought the level of debate was appropriate to the crappy photos. And the anecdata was from both sides.
posted by colie at 7:43 AM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I thought the level of debate was appropriate to the crappy photos. And the anecdata was from both sides.

Okay. Yours is the first comment in the thread, and set the tone for the thread, as it seems a couple people above have noted. It appears you think the photos were crappy. You did not mention this, however; instead, you made a shitty/lazy off-topic comment.

You have only yourself to blame, here, I think.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:46 AM on October 5, 2015 [79 favorites]


Pit bulls are absolutely one of those things that MetaFilter doesn't do well. There are (always) a lot of people, in thread, vocally and repeatedly expressing "opinions" that are demonstrably wrong, and painful to people who care about the issue.

It's just that we, as a community, apparently don't care so much about that. My guess is that it's because the mods don't see those comments as creating much danger of causing actual human beings to feel unsafe or unwelcome. That's absolutely valid, of course. Expressing fear and hatred about a class of dogs is in no way the same as expressing fear and hatred about a class of people, for example, and the mods are right to treat it differently. But for some (admittedly small, and maybe crazy) part of the population, to which I happen to belong, it's painful and stupid and ignorant in similar ways -- I think we owe a stewardship and respect to our animals similar to that we owe our fellow human beings.

So these threads make me sad and a little sick, and they make MetaFilter smaller, and the fact the we don't do anything about it also makes MetaFilter a worse place, IMHO. But I'm not sure there's much to do. I'm against bans on any speech, even the ones we have now, so I guess it's just FIAMO.
posted by The Bellman at 7:46 AM on October 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


if you think the pictures are crappy then why even bother commenting in the thread unless your point was to derail it? you're allowed to just pass on threads that don't interest you instead of turning them into a fight.
posted by nadawi at 7:49 AM on October 5, 2015 [55 favorites]


I love pitties and I love those pics and I was all set to love that thread. Nope. Pretty disappointing.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 7:51 AM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I understand you concern for animals being killed as a result of their reputation, but I disagree with this:

When 80% of the thread is people saying 'I know a person who was attacked by a pit bull,' that is neither discussion of the actual FPP nor, really, discussion at all.
Sophie Gamand has created a photographic series of pit bulls wearing flower crowns to challenge the common association of pit bulls with violence.
The FPP is basically "here are photographs to challenge the common association of [something] with violence." Commenters then post their lived experiences and those of friends involving [something] and violence. I think that's fair.
posted by ignignokt at 7:52 AM on October 5, 2015 [36 favorites]


Fair enough, the photos and concept behind them IMO do not really merit serious discussion so I will refrain from commenting further, apologies for the initial one. If it doesn't meet site rules then hopefully the mods will delete it.
posted by colie at 7:52 AM on October 5, 2015


Pit bulls are absolutely one of those things that MetaFilter doesn't do well.

Here, yet again, "doesn't do well" means people are allowed to express an opinion different than your own.
posted by grouse at 7:54 AM on October 5, 2015 [36 favorites]


Here, yet again, "doesn't do well" means people are allowed to express an opinion different than your own.

Right. Because other than people not agreeing with me, that thread is a peach.
posted by The Bellman at 7:59 AM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Exactly. The thread is fine.
posted by grouse at 8:02 AM on October 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


The link goes to cute photos of dogs.

And a bit of text which invited exactly the type of discussion that the thread engendered.

"America euthanizes upward of 1,000,000 pit bulls every year. It's a quiet massacre. Pit bulls make people uncomfortable. The country is faced with a major pit bull crisis. Around the world, pit bulls are equally victims of prejudices that associate them with ultra-violence and make them disposable dogs. Through my series Flower Power: Pit Bulls of the Revolution, I decided to photograph them with flower crowns, to infuse a softer energy into their imagery. I wish for this series to challenge the way we look at pit bulls, and ultimately the way we treat them."

The photographer would have done well to have kept silent and let the photographs do the talking, but was hoist by her own self-congratulatory petard.
posted by three blind mice at 8:03 AM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think the post itself was a bit of troll exercise in mifi-baiting. (pun not intended). Another part of the site was a lot more interesting and had more photographic variety. In fact why was the entire site not highlighted with a few links pointing to extra cute or unusual image would have make a much better and NON controversial post.
posted by sammyo at 8:07 AM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Self-congratulatory to explain the specific reason the photos were taken? I'm not feeling that.
posted by mintcake! at 8:10 AM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


My wife and I donate time and money to animal causes, and have met some amazingly loving pit bulls over the years. The people who work for the local pit rescues are among the best people you'll ever meet, and they make wonderful things happen to dogs that might not be given a chance otherwise.

Still, the framing of the linked page of photos and the FPP itself invites discussion about the underlying issue that inspired the photographer, so declaring talk of that underlying issue "threadshitting" simply because it is focusing on the reason for the pictures existing rather than the pictures themselves seems misguided to me. I have no problem with a mod intervention that says "we've had the pit bull violence discussion before, it's time to move on", and am perfectly comfortable with some topics being filed under "things MeFi doesn't do well" when discussion of them becomes so emotional that it ruins every tangentially-related discussion, but on this link and this FPP, a discussion about pit bull violence, including personal experiences with it, is clearly in scope.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:11 AM on October 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


This one wants to be a bad ass pit bull!
posted by sammyo at 8:11 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


i don't see anything in Athanassiel's history that can back up an accusation of trolling metafilter.
posted by nadawi at 8:12 AM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wow, that thread is bad. "The open carry of the dog world" is like an actual comment.
posted by zutalors! at 8:14 AM on October 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


I think the post itself was a bit of troll exercise

If you have a basis for that beyond vague gut feeling, that's something to let us know about at the contact form, but please don't speculate randomly in discussions on the site about other users being trolls etc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:14 AM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think that it's a pretty useless discussion as well, but I don't think Metafilter can or should ban every groups of widely-held unpleasant opinions.

Right. Because other than people not agreeing with me, that thread is a peach.

tbh I can't even be bothered going to read the thread, but I'm assuming that people are being jerks to each other by your comment.

People need to learn to disagree without being jerks, but I doubt heavy-handed deletion of comments in one thread is going to fix that problem.
posted by GuyZero at 8:16 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is up to the level of cliche in my house. When Mrs. Fry sees me walking away from my computer with a look of bewildered disgust the question always asked is "Thread about circumcised pit bulls?"

We don't do this well. There is no benefit of the doubt, tempers start too high, people's good faith is too limited.

Look at the first few comments. Before you're off the 1st page: defensiveness, aggressive tone and the worst reading of peoples intentions are rampant on all sides of the discussion. There is an intersection of deep love and protectiveness of individual dog owners and advocates and deep trauma of individual victims and their loved ones that is just a recipe for total crap.
posted by French Fry at 8:18 AM on October 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, the thread literally includes a call for the breed to be exterminated from the face of the earth. I think that people who have reservations about pit bulls would do well to find a way to phrase those that is slightly more moderate than "KILL THEM ALL".
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:21 AM on October 5, 2015 [37 favorites]


I also apologize for my offhand remark, which worsened the tenor on that thread. Never having seen a pitbull thread here before, I was just completely taken aback about something that I've got strong feelings about.
posted by hwyengr at 8:25 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: coming at it from pretty strongly personal perspectives that makes it hard to really get away from the fundamental sense of disagreement on the subject.
posted by Melismata at 8:27 AM on October 5, 2015


Man, that's a terrible thread.

colie: Fair enough, the photos and concept behind them IMO do not really merit serious discussion so I will refrain from commenting further, apologies for the initial one. If it doesn't meet site rules then hopefully the mods will delete it.

Unfortunately, it's too late now. Your initial comment set the tone for the thread. And here we are.

Also, the mods don't like to delete comments that have responses, because then it becomes a deletion rabbit hole. One comment quotes the first, so to maintain the thread and have it make sense to anyone reading, both have to be deleted. But another person responded to the second one, so that one has to go, too. And six more people responded to that one so.... you get the idea. If they catch derails quickly in a fast-moving thread, they'll be deleted. Otherwise, no.
posted by zarq at 8:28 AM on October 5, 2015 [24 favorites]


Wow, that thread is appalling from the very start.

apologies for the initial one

the rest of them are gross and hateful too.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:31 AM on October 5, 2015 [22 favorites]


While I'm sympathetic to those who have been or know someone who was attacked, there's a lot of repeating of the myths about killer instincts, attack dogs, and the like that absolutely doesn't belong. I feel sorry for Athanassiel, because they absolutely didn't need the tone of that thread set by people being nasty about the breed, some for what looks like no real reason at all.

Also, I'd like it point out that the tenor of some of the comments here claiming that the OP or the subject of the FPP were bringing it on themselves are really disgusting.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:35 AM on October 5, 2015 [18 favorites]


Gross and hateful? I can't see that in the other two, and it's sufficiently strong a thing to say that I'd appreciate you backing that up.
posted by colie at 8:38 AM on October 5, 2015


Although I must admit, the comment suggesting that cats are "least aggressive and least capable of causing serious injury" made me laugh out loud.

Commenter has obviously never owned a cat.

Please disregard the fangs and really sharp claws and intricate plans to smother you in your sleep.... Move along. Nothing to see here.
posted by zarq at 8:39 AM on October 5, 2015 [22 favorites]


Commenter has obviously never owned a cat.

Yep, anyone that wants a prosthetic hand for some aesthetic fetish need only come pet my cat.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:50 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Commenter has obviously never owned a cat.

You think he wants a belly rub, but what he's really doing is putting all the pointy bits upward.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:52 AM on October 5, 2015 [34 favorites]


So the subject is also about the negative associations of pit bulls.

So we have a way for people to weasel around the guidelines to get their 5 minutes of hate on for pit bulls. It may not be explicitly against the rules, but this place would be a hell of a lot nicer without that shit.
posted by zarq at 8:52 AM on October 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


Holy shit, that thread is awful. It's a shame, because I think there are plenty of interesting things to discuss about pit bulls and might have easily written a fpp about them. There are a LOT of things you can discuss about then in terms of class, race, rescue, the history of the pit bull in the US, hell, even an actual nuanced discussion of dog bites in the US and what legislation actually works to curtail them. I know where a lot of those cool discussions are and before today would probably have brought them to Metafilter eventually, in the same way that it once occurred to me to post about dog carting.

Fuck that after today, though. Jesus Christ, the quality of 'discussion' in that thread is appalling.
posted by sciatrix at 8:58 AM on October 5, 2015 [40 favorites]


So we have a way for people to weasel around the guidelines to get their 5 minutes of hate on for pit bulls. It may not be explicitly against the rules, but this place would be a hell of a lot nicer without that shit.

I haven't looked at the thread, the description here makes me think it's not worth it. But I pretty vehemently disagree that challenging a relatively controversial assertion about the "flower power" of pit bulls is somehow skirting the rules in a thread framed that way. I quite like pits, but I don't think the subject of those photos was cute dogs, I think it was rehabilitating a breed. That's what the artist said their goal was. It seems disingenuous to me to paint this as just a bunch of cute dog pictures just because there are people who disagree with the artist's mission.
posted by OmieWise at 8:58 AM on October 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


I posted a similarly simple single-link FPP about cute pitties about a month ago, and if there were any derail/threadshitting attempts, the mods must have snipped them tout de suite. It isn't clear to me what unleashed the wrath of MeFi's resident anti-APBT crew onto Athanassiel's FPP and not mine -- the framing? the language? the contents of the link itself? I dunno.

On a happier note, I'm just trying to use this entire exercise as nothing more than an excuse to look at more pictures of cute dogs, like these, from the same site/artist as the 'Flower Power' pics.
posted by divined by radio at 8:59 AM on October 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


So the subject is also about the negative associations of pit bulls.

So we have a way for people to weasel around the guidelines to get their 5 minutes of hate on for pit bulls. It may not be explicitly against the rules, but this place would be a hell of a lot nicer without that shit.


How is that discussion "weasel[ing] around the guidelines"? What guidelines are there that say you can't engage with a point of view that's presented in the post and the subject?
posted by Etrigan at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


I'm going to do a photo montage of guns wearing flower crowns. That'll scratch MeFi's itch!
posted by klanawa at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]




I posted a similarly simple single-link FPP about cute pitties about a month ago, and if there were any derail/threadshitting attempts, the mods must have snipped them tout de suite. It isn't clear to me what unleashed the wrath of MeFi's resident anti-APBT crew onto Athanassiel's FPP and not mine -- the framing? the language? the contents of the link itself? I dunno.


One possible point of comparison is that you used "Staffie" for Staffordshire terrier rather than "Pit Bull."
posted by zutalors! at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think we just need to put Pit Bulls down as something that Metafilter doesn't do well. Half of our members see them as cute cuddly snookums, the other half see them as dangerous beasts. There doesn't seem to be much opportunity for exchange of views or middle ground, just a bunch of shouting back and forth.

I am not at all surprised that the thread went the way it did, and I'd expect future threads to go the same way. That's fine. You can't expect people to stop defending their cute cuddly snookums, and you can't expect people to stay silent about their experiences of violence.

Since the resulting threads are such low quality, maybe we just shouldn't do them here.
posted by alms at 9:09 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Dogs with artificial flowers on their heads make me feel sad for them--they look like reluctant bridesmaids in tacky weddings.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:09 AM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I mean, yeah, but anyone who knows dogs should know that Staffordshire Bull Terriers (and American Staffordshire Terriers, who are also frequently referred to as "Staffies") are.... the two AKC registered breeds who are most likely to fall under "pit bull." Of course, the problem here is that "pit bull" is an incredibly loosely defined term encompassing at least three AKC-registered breeds, plus or minus two primarily UKC-registered breeds, plus or minus "any vaguely muscly short-haired dog with a not particularly pointy nose" up to and including actual lab mixes.

So maybe the people who are just rushing to get their hate on for "pit bulls" are easily confused by incredibly transparent changes in names? Whoo, problem solved forever!
posted by sciatrix at 9:09 AM on October 5, 2015 [24 favorites]


interestingly (or possibly ironically) just like the referenced thread seems to be PB good vs. PB bad, this thread seems to be turning into Referenced Post fine vs. Referenced Post horrible!

It's fascinating really (and I mean this with 100% sincerity and 0% irony or sarcasm!) - how different people see the thread differently.

It's like Blue/Black dress vs. White/Gold dress all over again, except here everyone's mad.

For what it's worth, I appreciate both sides of the PB discussion, I didn't think the thread was so bad, and the dress is totally white and gold.
posted by bitteroldman at 9:10 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


The swerve into the equivalency of sexism was a little weird.
posted by Mitheral at 9:11 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean, yeah, but anyone who knows dogs should know that Staffordshire Bull Terriers (and American Staffordshire Terriers, who are also frequently referred to as "Staffies") are.... the two AKC registered breeds who are most likely to fall under "pit bull."

Well, that's kind of my point, I think it's more people who don't know anything about dogs and especially rescue/shelter organizations and their struggles with Pit Bull PR are completely ready to come into the thread with "open carry of the dog world" type nonsense.
posted by zutalors! at 9:14 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I posted a similarly simple single-link FPP about cute pitties about a month ago

My modly eye sees one post that's very explicitly "here's a cute puppy photo, and another, and another, basically cute puppy photos guys!" that drew in...folks talking about cute puppy photos. Which is awesome and I'm glad that's what happened because, hey, cute puppy photos.

This one had both the post text and the link content framing the (decidedly cute!) dog photos in terms of a controversial reputation for violence, which is a pretty critical difference. Not to the point of being destiny or making irreconcilable arguments in the ensuing thread some awesome thing or whatever, but it's not just "two cute dog pic posts" with no other distinctions to explain the different reception.

Dogs and dog violence and dog abuse and so on make for difficult discussions. And I think it's easier for folks to feel okay about a difficult discussion coming from a post that seems to be actively focused on that—something like a post about a long-form piece on perceptions of dog violence and breeds and so on, or whatever—than from a post nominally about cute dog pics. So it can—doesn't have to, won't always, but can—end up becoming a thing where two different audiences come to the same post with very different expectations based on reacting to starkly different aspects of the same post. Which is a tricky thing to sort out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:19 AM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


And I'm pissed off here because I'd totally like to discuss pit bulls as a category with some level of nuance, but the people who are so vehemently insisting that pit bulls are perfectly capable of being sweet (which they are) get so defensive about it in the first place specifically because people rush to tell them that perfectly good dogs ought to be put down... which makes it more likely that actual aggressive dogs won't be treated properly, because people get defensive about the ones who aren't threats!

(No matter that any dog can bite, and that breed is a much poorer indication of bite risk than actually watching an individual dog's body language and treating dogs as individuals in the first place. Or that most people really and truly suck at guessing breeds on mixes.)

I mean for fuck's sake there are people in there going "ooooh, the dog can SPONTANEOUSLY TURN VICIOUS WITH NO WARNING." You have got to be fucking kidding me. Dogs don't actually do that, that hoary chestnut was old when I was born! How are you supposed to have a thoughtful discussion when people are repeating misinformation and outright lies from thirty years ago? Is someone going to advance the considered opinion that sometimes their brains grow too big for their skulls and that drives them crazy next?

I think I'm actually most angry because this is a subject I know quite a bit about, and the level of pig ignorance in that thread is astounding. Not "the amount of people who disagree with me on a topic." Straight up aggressive ignorance. You can disagree on the safety of "pit bulls" as a class while still taking the time to actually get to know what the state of dog ownership in the USA is.
posted by sciatrix at 9:19 AM on October 5, 2015 [50 favorites]


How is that discussion "weasel[ing] around the guidelines"? What guidelines are there that say you can't engage with a point of view that's presented in the post and the subject?

That's not the point I was making, Etrigan.

The over-the-top comments were derails that (in some cases) used a veneer of topicality to escape deletion. Those comments included the modified NRA slogan that kicked off the thread, "The open carry of the dog world" comment, a 'won't someone think of the children in big cities" comment, an apparent call for a breed ban (characterized later as eugenics), and at least one or two sexist comparisons.

And possibly others that I missed or were deleted.
posted by zarq at 9:20 AM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, after thinking about it for a minute, it's possible that's not why the comments that remain escaped deletion. Cortex said above that the first comment was seen too late. Other comments were deleted.
posted by zarq at 9:25 AM on October 5, 2015


How is that discussion "weasel[ing] around the guidelines"? What guidelines are there that say you can't engage with a point of view that's presented in the post and the subject?

That's not the point I was making, Etrigan.

The over-the-top comments were derails that used a veneer of topicality to escape deletion.


As divined by radio points out, MetaFilter is capable of (apparently) having a nice "Look at the doggies that happen to be pit bulls!" discussion. But framing it as "Look at the not actually violent despite what the media would have you believe doggies!" invites an entirely different discussion.

The over-the-top comments were over the top. They weren't derails.
posted by Etrigan at 9:28 AM on October 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


*shrug* We disagree.
posted by zarq at 9:32 AM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Comments telling people to use pictures of pit bulls like they were America's Most Wanted, calling anybody (including, apparently, one of the largest veterinary non-profits in the world) who doesn't agree that Pit/Staffordshire/etc are more dangerous to children than other breeds "deluded," and asserting that they have been bred with kill-on-demand behaviors are both over-the-top and derails.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:33 AM on October 5, 2015 [30 favorites]


I was attacked and bitten by a pit bull a couple of years ago

"A" was a rescue pit, off leash, who saw me more than a hundred yard away, charged me, growled, and then jumped and bit my arm while I tried to defend myself. A few months later, again off leash, A ended up chasing me up a fence when trying to attack me again; I blame the dog's early upbringing and current owners for refusing to recognize that their dog really really needed behavioral training and to always be on leash. I reported the initial incident and then again contacted the police when he tried to attack me again and then one further time when he was again being walked off leash. I now carry pepper spray to defend myself against his owners' stupidity. They clearly don't care about their dog.

I didn't go look at the photos or contribute to the thread because despite knowing that the dog who attacked me was like that not because he's a pit, I still am not totally keen on pit bulls and I knew that my contribution wouldn't be helpful or useful in the thread.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:35 AM on October 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


It would be very helpful if the pro pit bull people could be less condescending to people who have a different perspective.
posted by alms at 9:44 AM on October 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


what would you consider the "actual subject" of this FPP?

How adorbs puppies is.
posted by maxsparber at 9:46 AM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Pony request: replace all first comments with a jpg of Oscar Wilde sleeping peacefully.
posted by mintcake! at 9:52 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Please never say 'adorbs' again.

Also, we have a pit bull who visits our store almost daily, her name is Isabel, she's sweet as hell.
posted by jonmc at 9:55 AM on October 5, 2015


Nobody should own dogs. Everybody should own cats. Okay, not everybody. Some people should own mules. Um, well, a friend of mine has a yellow-headed amazon parrot name Punk. She shouldn't own mules.

If you must own a dog, don't cut off its tail or trim its ears. Keep your lap rat on your lap when you come to visit. One of our cats makes a living out of shredding their ears. By the way, if your cat is shredding a dog, wait until the dog gets loose before you try to comfort him. There's a myth going around, something to the effect that you can pick a cat up by the scruff of the neck and he'll go limp. Hahahaha. Maybe, but don't try this while he's shredding a lap rat.
posted by mule98J at 10:01 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


It would be very helpful if anti pit bull people brought more than anecdotes and opinions to that thread (ie: sources/links/citations).
posted by el io at 10:02 AM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm just gonna re-nudge here that to whatever extent there is a discussion to be had about MetaFilter discussion and moderation and so on, this needs to not turn into a second discussion/argument about pits/dogs/animals/ownership/etc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:03 AM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


It would be very helpful if the pro pit bull people could be less condescending to people who have a different perspective.

Yes! And vice versa.
posted by eisforcool at 10:04 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


It would be very helpful if the pro pit bull people could be less condescending to people who have a different perspective.

It would also be helpful if one of the "different perspectives" weren't literally breed genocide.
posted by phunniemee at 10:07 AM on October 5, 2015 [27 favorites]


But one side is wrong!
posted by cjorgensen at 10:07 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


It would be very helpful if the pro pit bull people could be less condescending to people who have a different perspective.

It would also be helpful if one of the "different perspectives" weren't literally breed genocide.


Perhaps we can all collectively agree that the answer to shittiness shouldn't be to balance out the shittiness by piling more shittiness onto the other side of the big shitty seesaw.
posted by Etrigan at 10:09 AM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Phunniemee, that's exactly the sort of comment I'm talking about.

This is a Meta. We're not supposed to get into the same fights that are going on in the thread.

It's very tempting to respond to you in kind, and rebut what you're saying. Then we'll have a Meta that is just is fighty as the original thread. Please don't do that.
posted by alms at 10:10 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the point of this post is how come the shit seesaw got onto the playground in the first place.
posted by phunniemee at 10:12 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Also, we have a pit bull who visits our store almost daily, her name is Isabel, she's sweet as hell."

Yes, but is she totes adorbs?
posted by I-baLL at 10:12 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you'd like to have a hyperbolic pit bulls good/bad fight the original thread is still open folks.
posted by French Fry at 10:12 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]




cjorgensen: "But one side is wrong!"

On the internet no less.
posted by Mitheral at 10:18 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


It would be very helpful if anti pit bull people brought more than anecdotes and opinions to that thread (ie: sources/links/citations).

It's been well-established that "this is a thing that happened to me" is a perfectly valid take to bring to a thread and that "citation please" is not a great response to that sort of contribution.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:19 AM on October 5, 2015 [33 favorites]


Earlier I said this isn't a thing we do well and I think that's underselling it. Reading more and more the thread there is a real "is this even Metafilter?" vibe to it. Both sides of the argument veer into 'open comments on a news site' levels of awful. I half expect to see someone pop in to note how they are making 10,000 dollars a week from home.

I'm not sure what would have "saved" the thread from a moderation perspective. Colie's first comment could be seen as the initial problem, but it's vague and not the sort of thing i'd like to see routinely deleted. A dozen comments later that comment has been referenced 8-9 times, so at that point it's clear things are getting heated and about the breed more than the photos. But deleting all those comments creates it's own problem, and likely a Meta about those censoring-asshole-mods.

Perhaps a friendly reminder early on that this is a loaded topic and we should treat it as such?
posted by French Fry at 11:14 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's been well-established that "this is a thing that happened to me" is a perfectly valid take to bring to a thread and that "citation please" is not a great response to that sort of contribution.

But using that thing that happened to you as a basis for making sweeping conclusions is a bullshit argumentation tactic that will rightly inspire pushback of the kind that you quoted.
posted by invitapriore at 11:15 AM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Getting real tired of that "you just don't want disagreement" stunt in defense of threadshits and derails.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:20 AM on October 5, 2015 [25 favorites]


It would be very helpful if anti pit bull people brought more than anecdotes and opinions to that thread (ie: sources/links/citations).

To which the canned response would be, "well, that source says it was a pit bull but it could be a golden retriever for all we know".
posted by Tanizaki at 11:27 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's obvious that people (A) with bad experiences of a Thing and/or no knowledge of that Thing say different things about it than those people (B) who have no bad experiences with it, or more knowledge. It is also obvious that a reconciliation between A and B cannot really be found here.
It's also obvious that the original link in the post we're looking at tried a different route altogether: The text there said something like "we know all about A and B and Thing and the logical conundrum but hey, CUTE."
Which, as Cortex and others have pointed out, makes it totally okay to discuss A, B, and Thing in that thread.
The rest appears to be compromised reading skills and/or amiritism.
posted by Namlit at 11:30 AM on October 5, 2015


Oh and also:

It would be very helpful if the pro pit bull people could be less condescending to people who have a different perspective.

Yes! And vice versa.

"It would be very helpful if the pro-people pit bulls could be less condescending to pit bulls who have a different perspective."

No, that won't do.

"It would be very condescending if the pro-pit people would be helpful to the pro-bull people who have a different perspective."

Hmmm...not sure either.
posted by Namlit at 11:30 AM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


can we get the gun derail nipped over there? especially since the person who sent the thread off in that shitty direction is still engaging in that derail after they said in here that they wouldn't comment further...
posted by nadawi at 11:33 AM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hmmm...not sure either.

Well gosh maybe they meant that should be said in Yoda speak. I guess we will never know.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:34 AM on October 5, 2015


Couple comments removed. I mean it about not turning this into Alternate Argument About Dogs thread.

colie, maybe just give both threads a rest at this point; whatever else is going on, it doesn't feel like this is something your commenting instincts are serving you well on today and those early comments in the thread on the blue have really eaten away at the benefit of the doubt further stuff might otherwise get.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:45 AM on October 5, 2015


People seem to be getting upset over my "open carry of the dog world" comment, so I'll explain it. That way, if it upsets anyone, it'll at least be for the right reasons.

Pit bulls make people uneasy. This is well understood, and makes sense - even if it is the owner, not the breed (which I don't agree with, but that's a different conversation), there's a ton of bad owners, and the consequence of a mistake are worse than nearly any other breed. So, owners should, as a matter of courtesy, make if clear that their pit bull cannot attack anyone - keep it on leash, get a solid fence, and don't walk more than you can handle. Pit owners are not good about this - there are multiple people in my area who walk them off-leash. And, my impression is that they like that their dogs intimidate people. Particularly people who hate or fear pits.

This is an attitude I find reminiscent of open-carry advocates.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:45 AM on October 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


Why is the gun thing a derail? "Guns dog kill people, people kill people" is directly analogous to "dogs don't bite people, dogs who have irresponsible owners bite people." In both cases you somethin that is potentially dangerous but that is also beloved to some people. (Yes, people really love their guns.). Are we now not allowed to make arguments that use analogies, because the analogy is in some way imperfect (as all analogies are).
posted by alms at 11:50 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


If
- I have a negative reaction to a post, and
- there are less than, say, 15 comments up, and
- I don't have an interesting counter argument, but just a throwaway comment,
I don't post it. Too many discussions here go right in the shitter based on early quicky comments pissing on the post. If you have a substantive counter to the ideas in it there's plenty of time and room for you to make it later on.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:50 AM on October 5, 2015 [23 favorites]


Why is the gun thing a derail?

Because guns are inanimate and dogs aren't. A subtle difference for some practical-minded people, it seems, but if thrown into an already absolutely unwieldy argument, it muddies the waters way past the pain threshold.
posted by Namlit at 11:55 AM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


the gun thing is a derail for the exact same reason "but if you change the person to black/female/gay" and "hitler!" are discouraged - not that those analogies don't occur to people but they bring a lot more heat than light and have a shitty history in the world of all the available analogies.
posted by nadawi at 11:55 AM on October 5, 2015 [27 favorites]


This is an attitude I find reminiscent of open-carry advocates.

Why is the gun thing a derail?

Because the solution to informing an already tempestuous conversation is not to insert a whole other, even-more-fraught subject for the sake of (specious) analogy.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:57 AM on October 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


(Oh, and I say that thinking that the specific post in this Meta is wide open for arguments on whether or not or why pit bulls pose a danger to others, based on the framing and intent of the project. I just think flip snarky comments about it don't contribute to that conversation.)
posted by benito.strauss at 11:58 AM on October 5, 2015


alms: Why is the gun thing a derail? "Guns dog kill people, people kill people" is directly analogous to "dogs don't bite people, dogs who have irresponsible owners bite people." In both cases you somethin that is potentially dangerous but that is also beloved to some people. (Yes, people really love their guns.). Are we now not allowed to make arguments that use analogies, because the analogy is in some way imperfect (as all analogies are).

A gun has a very specific purpose. It is a tool used to shoot projectiles at targets. If one of those targets is an animal or person, then that gun could easily maim or injure them. As a sentient being, a dog does not have a single purpose. They may be trained to do a single job, such as locating drugs or defending a property, but that does not make them just like a hammer.

The analogy seems almost designed to start an argument. And I can't speak for anyone else here, but it feels particularly tone-deaf and inflammatory to me considering it's been less than a week since the shooting in Oregon.
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on October 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


People seem to be getting upset over my "open carry of the dog world" comment, so I'll explain it. That way, if it upsets anyone, it'll at least be for the right reasons.

You led by talking about "genetic tendencies" and "the statistics are not looking good," neither of which were particularly true, and used that as a justification. FWIW, if you had posted this MeTa comment in the original FPP, I would have found that less galling (although still a bit icky for other reasons, as zarq says).
posted by zombieflanders at 12:02 PM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yeah, just as a general thing I feel like "I'll add a gun analogy" is the difficult conversation edition of the "I'll use a regex" approach to problem-solving.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:04 PM on October 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


FWIW, if you had posted this MeTa comment in the original FPP, I would have found that less galling (although still a bit icky for other reasons, as zarq says).

Agreed.
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on October 5, 2015


To which the canned response would be, "well, that source says it was a pit bull but it could be a golden retriever for all we know".

That's really weird and dismissive. I linked this in the thread, but I'll repeat here that if you hear the same argument come up repeatedly, maybe consider that it might be because it's true, rather than just assuming that people are mindlessly repeating shit they heard somewhere.

The media has a long history of bias and fearmongering when it comes to dogs. It is absolutely reasonable to question their accounts.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:08 PM on October 5, 2015 [19 favorites]


Because the solution to informing an already tempestuous conversation is not to insert a whole other, even-more-fraught subject for the sake of (specious) analogy.

I think this is absolutely the best explanation. Even if the torturous analogy somehow were accurate, even if analogies more often than not lead to tailspins of arguing the example, you're not going to make a thread on a touchy subject any better by slapping an even touchier subject on top of it. I guess we should be lucky no one found a way to drag I/P into this.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:09 PM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


... Analogies (like metaphors) are (or ought to be) used to make things clearer. Any editor and supervisor will know that this is the very thing people routinely don't get.
posted by Namlit at 12:13 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess we should be lucky no one found a way to drag I/P into this.

*cough*
posted by Etrigan at 12:14 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess we should be lucky no one found a way to drag I/P into this.

Out of curiosity, I looked it up. Pitbull Terriers, Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are all banned in Israel. One apparently slipped through in August 2013, though.
posted by zarq at 12:15 PM on October 5, 2015


Yeah, that really has helped
posted by Namlit at 12:16 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hmmm...not sure either

I'm feeling like maybe I'm too new to understand the nuances of this comment but I'll clarify just in case that's actually what you want.

The vice versa refers to both anti pitt and pro pitt folks trying to be less condescending to one another. You know, to be kind.
posted by eisforcool at 12:16 PM on October 5, 2015


I mean, that's just Israel though. I was thinking more along the lines of "pitbulls are the Hamas of the dog world" or something.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:17 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'll clarify...

i must have missed that


not really
posted by Namlit at 12:18 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane: I mean, that's just Israel though. I was thinking more along the lines of "pitbulls are the Hamas of the dog world" or something.

That will definitely end well.
posted by zarq at 12:22 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Heck, open carry guns were a comparison that I thought of too. It might be a derail in that conversation, but I think it's valid.

First, contra zarq, I'm slightly interested in guns because I admire the engineering, history, and craftsmanship behind some of them. I don't ever plan on owning one, or probably even learning how to shoot one, but they are more than just a target hitting tool.

I agree with zombieflanders that pulling out a gun analogy in a debate needs to be done very carefully, and can easily go wrong if done clumsily. (You see what I did there, right?)

But to defend the analogy, when people deny your experiences you start to yell. And it sometimes feels like the dog lovers are deaf to people saying "I have seen dogs maul people / I have been attacked by a dog." I'm saying this as someone who asks random people in the park if their dog is good with strangers, and if it looks okay I let the dog get a good hand sniff in and then engage in a short bout of head scratching. But there's such an obvious difference between people taking their pet out for a jaunt in the park versus those maintaining something they've acquired for their defense. I walk around the latter, and I feel I have to be concerned for my safety when I'm near them. You may not be one of those dog owners, but if you aren't willing to acknowledge my experience there I'm going try to find some analogy that will help make you understand it.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:22 PM on October 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


That's really weird and dismissive.

Not in the slightest. What is weirdly dismissive is the position taken that because no one can tell the difference between a pit bull and a golden retriever, there are no conceivably reliable statistics on dog attacks by breed. Thus, calls for "citations" ring hollow.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:22 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Glocks are soooo fucking cute! I just wish some of their owners weren't such assholes!
posted by hal_c_on at 12:25 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, just as a general thing I feel like "I'll add a gun analogy" is the difficult conversation edition of the "I'll use a regex" approach to problem-solving.

I'm not /.+?/ the problem.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:26 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


i must have missed that

In that case, thanks for the warm welcome.

not really
posted by eisforcool at 12:35 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Glocks are soooo fucking cute! I just wish some of their owners weren't such assholes!

Um yeah, that's kind of what I meant. I don't really know about Glocks specifically, and it's more "cool design" than "so fucking cute", and the problem with many of their fans isn't so much "asshole" as "don't seem to care much about how their interest can have a massive negative affect on others". That last factor is why the analogy felt apt to me. Though like we've mostly agreed, it's a heavy argument; don't try to toss it about casually.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:35 PM on October 5, 2015


but I think it's valid.

Why? Are there other reasons that someone would open-carry a gun besides warning people that you have a gun?

Do some people do that with dogs? Apparently. And those are the asshole owners that people are complaining about in the first place. Everybody else is just walking their dog.
posted by hwyengr at 12:37 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Phrasing!

We're seriously not doing that anymore
posted by phearlez at 12:49 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


. . . the "I'll use a regex" approach to problem-solving.

That that is a problem I'm sure we can all agree.




After we go google it.
posted by Herodios at 12:52 PM on October 5, 2015


Not in the slightest. What is weirdly dismissive is the position taken that because no one can tell the difference between a pit bull and a golden retriever, there are no conceivably reliable statistics on dog attacks by breed. Thus, calls for "citations" ring hollow.

Well, first of all, near as I can tell, nobody said what you're claiming there. You should probably try quoting instead of trying to rephrase.

It's not just the difficulty of breed identification, although it is dismissive to discount misidentification as a 'canned response.' I have direct personal experience with people misidentifying a dog that attacked my child, and I have just shown you several examples of dogs identified as pit bulls in the media that don't appear to be pit bulls at all. Those are not the only examples of that I've seen, either. Brent Toellner at least used to document instances of known or apparent breed misidentification on his blog as well.

The fact is that there are no reliable and consistent statistics on dog breed, ownership, dog bite injuries, or even fatalities. They do not exist. Every report you see is based on third hand information, usually gleaned from media coverage. Including the CDC's reports. So media biases are inextricably baked into pretty much any putatively scientific studies related to dog bite injuries and breed.

If that response seems canned to you, it's maybe because I've had to repeat it a lot. But it's not dismissive and it's not hollow.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:55 PM on October 5, 2015 [21 favorites]


>> ... but I think it's valid.
> Why?


In the paragraph that started with "But to defend the analogy, ..." I thought I explained why I thought so. To drill to the core of it, "...and I feel I have to be concerned for my safety when I'm near them.".
posted by benito.strauss at 12:57 PM on October 5, 2015

As a sentient being, a dog does not have a single purpose.
Dogs are manufactured by humans for specific purposes and selected for certain traits. Just like guns.
posted by klanawa at 1:07 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


ok., my excuses
posted by Namlit at 1:08 PM on October 5, 2015


baseballs are just like cannon balls! they can kill and they're round!
posted by nadawi at 1:09 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Twinkies are just like soy beans. They are both yellowish and smell bad.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:12 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


a smile looks just like a grin
posted by Namlit at 1:12 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are a LOT of things you can discuss about then in terms of class, race, rescue, the history of the pit bull in the US...

Aside from all of the vehement " 'I'm right.' 'No, I'm right!' " in that thread (which was bad), and apart from (what I consider) abundant knee-jerk bias, this is the comment that really bothered me. I only saw it after it had a number of favorites so I didn't flag it. (I realize number of favorites isn't a measure of okayness; not saying that.) It really rubbed me the wrong way, though, and I think it got lost in all of the other friendly fire in that thread.

But how do you flag it? To me, it was a sub rosa perpetuation of problematic stereotypes about race and/or class. If the comment had been written about people instead of chihuahuas, it maybe would have been blatant? The point (and the joke) is that we consider pit bulls and chihuahuas opposites. (They're not, but that's the setup). Pit bulls = big and dangerous. Chihuahuas = tiny and harmless. So the set of pictures that would be the opposite of pit bulls innocently wearing flower crowns would be chihuahuas wearing track suits and gold chains and being all dangerous and threatening. And that's the problem -- if someone made a comment that implied that people who wear track suits and gold chains are inherently dangerous and threatening, I think it would be called out as racist and/or classist. But you jokingly dress an imaginary chihuahua up in that imaginary track suit and gold chains and it's okay?

It's hard to flag because it's not blatantly racist or classist because come on, it's just an imaginary chihuahua. But, it's just a hypothetical chihuahua in the same way that Speedy Gonzalez is just a fictional mouse, and it makes me uncomfortable.

I know it wasn't an intentional slur or anything like it. But Metatalk has become an okay place to point out microaggressions and "background radiation" as people here work towards being more aware of those things, so I wanted to register my discomfort with this one.

Note: Everyone needs a hug.

Note: This is possibly the first time that a SJW-ish argument has ever been based on a hypothetical chihuahua.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:12 PM on October 5, 2015 [33 favorites]


Why? Are there other reasons that someone would open-carry a gun besides warning people that you have a gun?

Apparently?
"First, open carry is the right protected by the Second Amendment and most state analogs. Concealed carry is a state-granted -- and potentially revocable -- privilege.

....

Second, in many states a concealed-carry permit is denied to certain segments of the population who still have the right to open carry. A good example of this is Virginia, where concealed-handgun permits are only available to those 21 and over."

posted by zarq at 1:13 PM on October 5, 2015


Dogs are manufactured by humans for specific purposes and selected for certain traits. Just like guns.

...
posted by zarq at 1:15 PM on October 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


The gun analogy is a bad one, obviously. But how about a drug analogy. I imagine that the anti-pitbull folks think that this post is the equivalent to one that went:

Most people think heroin is dangerous, so we put together this photo series of these attractive and successful professionals who still go home and shoot up every night

It would, I think, in this case, be totally justifiable to jump in and say: this attempt to erase the stigma surrounding IV heroin use is fine and all but actually it's a pretty unhealthy habit that destroys peoples' lives.

While, on the other hand, the pro-pitties like myself, think this is more like:

People still think marijuana is a super-dangerous life-destroyer, but check out all these successful and brilliant people who still like to smoke a doobie on the weekend

In this case, it totally is a derail to be like: but what about the things I saw in Reefer Madness? And check out this DEA funded study that shows pot will literally kill you.

In other words, whether or not the anti-pit people are in the wrong depends on whether or not pit-bulls are actually a public health issue and a danger to everyone around them. To moderate this right, the mods would have to decide in advance who is right and who is wrong (just like they decide in advance that say, racism is bad as well as misogyny and harassment). I don't think we can always expect the mods to have all the facts of the matter at hand in order to decide these sorts of things.
posted by dis_integration at 1:16 PM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm glad this has gone right past being a proxy thread about dogs and is now a proxy thread about guns.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:16 PM on October 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


The gun analogy is a bad one, obviously. But how about a drug analogy.

How about no.
posted by Etrigan at 1:16 PM on October 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oddly enough the only other time I was bit by a dog it was a chihuahua who managed to levitate high enough to bite me on the rear end as I was walking past it on the walkway into my apartment building. I was more impressed than frightened or hurt.

It was another rescue dog. This one was very protective of its owner and had been upset by recent household changes - ie the owner had a new boyfriend; owner claimed it had never bitten anyone before and cried. A month or so later my boyfriend came in with a dog bite on his arm - a chihuahua had bitten right through his heavy leather jacket. He described the owner and told me that she'd claimed that the dog had never bitten anyone before.

I'm going to blame the owner not the breed here as well.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:19 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would like to know more about dog manufacturing. I assume the tails are extracted from little boys, but I am hazy on the rest of the process.
posted by griphus at 1:19 PM on October 5, 2015 [30 favorites]


Seriously, for chrissake, folks. If you have something meta to talk about—ideally addressing in some sort of "let's talk about how this place functions and what expectations people have" way content of the post—then great, here we are, but for the life of me this keeps feeling mostly like people wanting to argue about dogs or guns or I don't even know what just for the heck of it.

If commenting in here is being driven by boredom or unrelated stress or whatever, rather than a keen interest in the community-centric aspects of the concern raised, I am sympathetic at a personal level but not really feeling it at a justifying-the-continuation-of-these-subthreads level.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:19 PM on October 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


Okay, cortex, let me explain by comparing this thread to whether Obama is a liberal disappointment.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:25 PM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Why would it not be more enlightening to stick with a "people and their dogs" analogy? What is it with this "let's think of another quote unquote analogy that won't fly even across the room but will make a bunch of other people really itchy" syndrome? How does this help anyone in a discussion like this one?

It is really complicated enough just looking at various dogs and dog owners. So complicated that I, personally, can't find the heart to take sides.
Because I like some dogs just fine, and have cuddled with many, even done the growly game with some that are technically too big for me, and survived--yet I'm really scared of some other dogs, especially when their scary owners are around, but occasionally especially when their owners aren't around. We have neighbours who have a pit bull, and the only thing that thing does is to occasionally yelp in a goofy kind of way.
So what it boils down to is the question: "Do I need some silly analogy to not have to publicly admit that I'm irrationally, or rationally, scared sometimes?" Answer: No.
posted by Namlit at 1:27 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


a pit bull is like a wool sweater
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:33 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


The point is that the anti-pit people seem to think that pits are a danger. A public health issue, perhaps. That it would be dangerous to erase stigma about them.

But they're just wrong. They really are, and it's not actually a matter for debate, it's just the facts. Like global warming or whether or not fried chicken is best served on a waffle. But what if they were right? I dunno. I guess I wonder: how would one moderate that thread if they had no knowledge, one way or the other, about pits. Because if they truly were a public health risk, then it's actually important to warn people about them. Seems like maybe the best way is to let the discussion play out a bit, and then stop it when it gets too contentious. Like anything else.
posted by dis_integration at 1:33 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Now, WAFFLES are manufactured by humans for specific purposes and selected for certain traits.

Put some honey on that fried chicken and then we'll talk.
posted by selfnoise at 1:36 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think there is a site issue, but it's actually really, really difficult to sort it out. It's like dis_integration noted. Whether or not a post should be shit proof or not often depends on whether or not we think it should be shit proof. And a lot of that depends on whether or not we think the subject of the post should be protected from shittery.

So most people can agree that you know, we shouldn't dump on "Great Rap Songs" with "why all rap sucks." But when it's stuff people feel more strongly about - "Pictures of Charming Israeli Setttlements", say - it's much harder to keep from being "oh, fuck that."

And I mean, how do you moderate that?
posted by corb at 1:39 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


But how do you flag it?

Other? Or hit up the contact form with a link to the comment asking the moderators to take a look at it because it feels questionable to you but you're not sure what to flag it as?
posted by radwolf76 at 1:43 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Now, WAFFLES are manufactured by humans for specific purposes and selected for certain traits.
Is that a Staffordshire waffle or a pit-bull waffle? There's a huge difference you know.
posted by klanawa at 1:46 PM on October 5, 2015


Is that a Staffordshire waffle or a pit-bull waffle? There's a huge difference you know.

The real problem here is that anytime a sweet-yet savory flour based cake is served for breakfast, people call it a waffle! The truth is that a lot of them are pancakes, and even some are crepes.
posted by dis_integration at 1:51 PM on October 5, 2015


Don't get me started on tortillas for breakfast.
posted by klanawa at 2:00 PM on October 5, 2015


But when it's stuff people feel more strongly about - "Pictures of Charming Israeli Setttlements", say - it's much harder to keep from being "oh, fuck that."

If someone thinks that actual violations of international law are less problematic than subjective views on music or pets, they need a serious recalibration of their worldview.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:02 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thank you, zombieflanders, for proving my point, that there's some stuff that makes people so hot they can't even recognize someone else is not even taking a side about it before starting to fight about it.
posted by corb at 2:04 PM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm sorry, that was snarky. But seriously, this stuff is like poison, even well meaning people can fall a foul of it because it's Just! So! Important!
posted by corb at 2:06 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Forget it, zf, it's moral relativism all the way down.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:07 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


That was an incredibly stupid, uninformed, and inflammatory example to use, and it doesn't even really prove the point you're trying to make. It's pretty fucked up that you chose it, although not really unpredictable.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:10 PM on October 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


corb did a much better version of my joke but I don't think she realized what she was doing.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:21 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


But when it's stuff people feel more strongly about - "Pictures of Charming Israeli Setttlements", say - it's much harder to keep from being "oh, fuck that."

Not helping.
posted by zarq at 2:22 PM on October 5, 2015 [13 favorites]




"Thread about circumcised pit bulls?"

I almost made this joke in the thread until I realized that even that is a cliche at this point. It's not just a MeFi thing but a wider Internet thing, that discussions of the danger of pitbulls (or lack thereof) descend into intractable arguments disproportionate (possibly starting another fight right here) to the relative importance of the issue. Circumcision is another infamous one, hence the joke. I have a hypothesis that these discussions stand out especially in places where with a few exceptions most people are on adjacent pages, if not on the same one, about the big political stuff - but that's just speculation. Now personally I'd rather let a dog - you choose the breed - sink it's teeth into my leg than participate in one of those threads, but the framing of that post did take a side in the argument as I see it, and is there actually a rule against having stupid arguments?
posted by atoxyl at 3:01 PM on October 5, 2015


I was a little bit cheesed off about this one. I flagged that first comment literally the instant it popped up last night (my last night), and then watched increasingly frustrated as it wasn't removed and shitty responses continued to pile up, making it effectively impossible to get rid of.

We know, by now, how critical those first few comments in a thread can be. Shit begot shit.

The framing (of the photog, not Athanassiel) didn't do the post any favours, but really, it was mefites themselves who didn't do any favours, and I really feel like mods needed to be in there early telling people to cut it out.

It was like reading Newspaper comments, and virtually no one was legit engaging with the FPP, or even bringing a shade of consideration, thought, knowledge, etc to their comments. It was a very poor showing by mefites - and for the record I'm quite anti-pitbulls but the whole thing was unadulterated horseshit, really. In addition to rhetoric I'd find dim coming from my four year old, many comments were personal, sarcastic, patronising, ugh, just horrible. Is it because the ostensible 'target' is an animal and not a person or someone likely to be represented on mefi that a tone which would be nuked into orbit in many other threads was allowed to stand in there? I feel like the mods are much more sensitive to this stuff in threads on other topics, and I'm kinda mystified they didn't get into it a bit more here; threads like that are corrosive to metafilter.

I'm legit disappointed that "Dogs" is something that metafilter "doesn't do well" ferchrissake.

It seems like that's part of the problem, the idea that every point of an FPP is up for long discussions contesting it. It makes it hard to talk about the actual subject of the FPP.

Whilst I empathise with a reflexive contrarian "debating society" model, I think we should recognise that a) many mefites get a lot of pleasure from it, b) on many topics it is reasonably valid and indeed expected, and c) I don't like slippery slope arguments in general, but I don't think we should set a precedent where disagreement of an FPP is frowned upon.

The problem with that thread was not disagreement, per se, it was the cretinous way in which disagreement was expressed and responded to. Many threads are rife with disagreement, and are all the richer for it.
posted by smoke at 3:17 PM on October 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


Sorry "Whilst I empathise with a reflexive contrarian ", should be "Whilst I empathise with your disdain of a reflexive contrarian..."
posted by smoke at 3:39 PM on October 5, 2015


Unproductive disagreement seems due to people coming from very different contexts. When one person attempts to critique a post topic that another person is personally involved with especially in a way that involves identity (for example if they think of themselves as an owner (role) of a pitbull (subject of post)), that can trigger a defensive reply. You get responses like "why is it every time we have this subject you have people coming in playing the naysayer". Which is certainly true. The problem for the community is finding that healthy balance where different views and voice can participate safely meaning without having to feel threatened.

I didn't follow the pitbull thread, but yesterday's thread Gourmet plating displayed some of this dynamic too, merely to a lesser degree. My context is, being a fairly avid reader of the New York Times Dining section, comments in that forum that criticize some of the things that are done in fine dining is not only standard, but moreover well-written critical comments (about luxury cuisine / "Food Porn") do rise to become Reader's Picks (the nytimes' equivalent of favorites). So as a point of comparison I would like for MeFi to find ways to not just tolerate criticism, even and especially if it is not the explicit topic of the article, with the caveat that it is done so intelligently and with sensitivity.
posted by polymodus at 3:49 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


a pit bull is like a wool sweater

...But not "bulky" in a way that works for sweaters.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:58 PM on October 5, 2015


of course a collie hates pit bulls duh
posted by klangklangston at 4:29 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wait! I thought we were talking about pit bull the musician, not dogs.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:39 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I almost wonder about the utility of a "Didn't read the article/Not engaging with the article" flag. It seems like way too many users are treating the front-page text as a discussion prompt and ignoring the actual source material, and it means everyone's just arguing their own opinions rather than trying to learn new things. Which I realize describes the problems of most of society, but still."

For years, one of my biggest complaints about EVERYONE DOING MEFI WRONG has been that people routinely think that the discussion is more important than the links. That many people obviously, blithely don't RTFA is an outgrowth of that. That people post things to see what MeFi would say about a topic is an outgrowth of that. That crappy FPPs are often functionally "redeemed" by lengthy comment threads is an outgrowth of that.
posted by klangklangston at 4:42 PM on October 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


I want to float the idea that there is such a thing as "thread-pissing", which is a somewhat restrained version of thread-shitting. And I'm tempted to suggest a guideline that there be no scoffing, dismissive thread-pissing in the first twelve comments or else the first hour after an FPP goes up. So that the potential for a lovely discussion doesn't get completely flushed away.

I'm kind of in the middle on the question "Are all dogs terrific?" which is an uncomfortable place to be. But since I have no fur in the game, it makes this argument an interesting meta prism to look at how certain types of conflict are handled on Metafilter.
posted by puddledork at 4:51 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think I'll wait to post the album of labs wearing Nazi armbands.
posted by michaelh at 5:04 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Could we compromise on the picture, say a Springer Spaniel with a Jose Marti kerchief.
posted by clavdivs at 5:08 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think this is something Metafilter can't do well, but this was something where disagreement became a divide became an ideological rift. Wild claims and dismissal of personal experiences and a bunch of behaviours that rarely work well all crammed together because everyone is operating from very different perspectives and information levels.

One of the central relevant questions appears to be, 'What's the difference between a derail and discussion of the posted topic?', and I strongly disagree that discussing the negatives of pitbulls is a derail to the thread; it's not where I would have taken it, but it is definitely relevant to the linked post, even if it runs counter to its intended effect.

Too often, I think, there are users - and not even the OP - who try and keep the comments on only what they think the conversation should be about and how it should go, and I think it's something that, along with the hyperbole and strained analogies, the site could do without. That's the sort of thing Metafilter doesn't do well, not because it's Metafilter but because it's bad for conversation.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:23 PM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think "breed genocide" is a super...I just don't know how to say it, but I think that comparing this kind of anti-breed rhetoric to genocidal rhetoric is really quite bad.

I maybe could see it from someone who were a hard-core animal rights activist but from general people...I would like to strongly suggest not using the term/phrase genocide in relation to the death of animals.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:25 PM on October 5, 2015 [23 favorites]


I think there are several people in the thread who explicitly said they wished all pitbulls were dead, so calling that genocide seems not entirely hyperbolic. I mean, I can certainly understand wanting to reserve the "geno" of genocide for humans, but I don't think we have a specific word for killing an entire breed of animal. Forced extinction?
posted by chatongriffes at 5:29 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, I think "human-caused extinction", or just "extinction", work fine. I can see no good reason to use "genocide", and it takes the discussion to an ugly place, considering how many of us or people we know have crossed paths with actual genocide in some way. I think that kind of clarity and consideration matters.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:34 PM on October 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


I've been debating internally whether or not to weigh in on this MeTa since I woke up this morning, with my beloved having warned me that not only had my original post gone completely off-the-rails with vitriolic comments, but had spawned a MeTa. I still haven't had the spoons to go read the comments on the FPP; I can cope with the comments here better.

I would like to sincerely apologise for having posted the thread in the first place. I was having a bad day and came across the photos, which made me smile. I am not actually much of a dog person, being an avowed cat lady, but thought these photos were adorable and beautiful and should be shared. I hunted down the photographer's site to make it a bit more authoritative than the repost I'd come across and at that point discovered that the photographer herself had felt very dubious about dogs, especially dogs with a reputation for violence, because of having been a victim of dog attacks herself. This actually made me like the photos even better, because it struck me as a Good Thing to challenge people's stereotyped assumptions about such a topic. So I can't claim complete innocence in terms of framing the post the way I did, at least partly because I thought it added an interesting extra dimension to what was otherwise a throwaway cute animal post. But I genuinely had no idea that pitbulls were such an inflammatory topic, capable of generating even a fraction of the nastiness that has gone on to be generated.

I am somewhat baffled by the responses though. I have a healthy respect for dogs as potentially dangerous animals, no matter how lovable and adorable many of them are. (Also cats, and yet I choose to share my home with a cat who has, yes, injured me on occasion.) Pets are tame, sure, but they are still animals. I can insert lots of other anecdotes about dangerous Jack Russells, dangerous Alsatians, dangerous collies... but there would be little point. Just as MeFi has previously exhibited scorn for arsehole tourists taking selfies with buffalo who then get injured when the buffalo has other ideas on the matter, I think anyone who assumes that all pet dogs are always harmless - or conversely, that all pet dogs are always dangerous - hasn't thought terribly clearly about animals. All animals can be dangerous, particularly if provoked. Some animals are more easily provoked than others. Here's another analogy for you: people are also animals. All people can be dangerous, and some people are more easily provoked than others.

So I'm sorry for provoking so much nastiness. Thank you to all those of you who have attempted balance, and defended me here in this MeTa (particularly nadawi, divined by radio, zarq, zombieflanders, smoke) as not being a troll or having questionable motivations in making the post. Your support is much appreciated. Thank you also to cortex and the other mods, I'm sorry this has been creating extra work for you and I shall add pitbulls to my list of topics never to bring up on MetaFilter.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:37 PM on October 5, 2015 [71 favorites]


Canicide. But that is for dogs in general.
posted by clavdivs at 5:40 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Athanassiel, you're tops, don't feel bad.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:45 PM on October 5, 2015 [24 favorites]


I hope this experience doesn't completely dissuade you from posting about pitbulls again, although I can say I understand it. FWIW there've been some recent successes with improving discussions on the blue via the gray, even regarding some pretty entrenched topics. Whichever way the wind blows, thanks for what's one of the classiest replies to a MeTa about an FPP going up in flames I've seen in a long time.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:46 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


So I'm sorry for provoking so much nastiness.

The last thing you did was provoke nastiness. That the thread didn't go well is not your fault!
posted by futz at 5:48 PM on October 5, 2015 [25 favorites]


Having read through both, this MeTa seems much nastier than the original thread. Maybe I just didn't read closely enough, I don't know.

It seems like MeTa is where people go to be vicious to each other, under the pretext of "this will help improve discourse in the future."
posted by teponaztli at 5:50 PM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I was excited to participate in the fpp until I groked the tenor of the comments. So I just supported some folks with "bookmarks".
posted by futz at 5:56 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: MeTa is where people go to be vicious to each other.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:56 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, also thanks to sciatrix! I found your comments very interesting and enlightening.
posted by Athanassiel at 6:04 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Athanassiel, once again you typify class and understanding. Would that all participants in your post had done the same. You have absolutely nothing to apologise for!
posted by smoke at 6:07 PM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Athanassiel, please don't take this on yourself. I'm not a great pit bull fan myself but I thought the dogs in the pictures looked very sweet and goofy. It was an interesting juxtaposition with their usual reputation and I appreciated you posting them.

And
This actually made me like the photos even better, because it struck me as a Good Thing to challenge people's stereotyped assumptions about such a topic
makes me even more disappointed it went bad. I would love to have you post more interesting things along those lines, but I can understand if you don't think it's worth the nastiness it provokes here. Sorry you had this bad experience.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:10 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


But since I have no fur in the game...

D'oh, sorry, the correct metaphor was "I have no dog in this fight." You were *this* close.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:18 PM on October 5, 2015 [9 favorites]




I think "breed genocide" is a super...I just don't know how to say it, but I think that comparing this kind of anti-breed rhetoric to genocidal rhetoric is really quite bad.

I maybe could see it from someone who were a hard-core animal rights activist but from general people...I would like to strongly suggest not using the term/phrase genocide in relation to the death of animals.


I agree with your main point entirely. I can see why people use it that way, but if there isn't a different term for it, we need to come up with one. Forced extinction is a good choice.

I know this is going to sound very nitpicky, but calling people 'animal rights activists' can be kind of fraught. In animal welfare circles, 'animal rights' has a very specific meaning that is antithetical to many people's beliefs and goals.

I don't personally get prickly about someone using that characterization to mean something else, but to be clear: Animal rights activists frequently advocate the forced extinction of all domestic animals, period, and many people who work in animal welfare would sooner align themselves with factory farms than with animal rights activists.
posted by ernielundquist at 6:30 PM on October 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


Have the mods done cleanup on that thread? I had read maybe the first third before I wandered in here, and while there were a few crappy comments, most were informative, heartfelt, and/or nuanced. When I went back and read the rest of the thread, that seemed to mostly increase.

I also want to know which newspaper comment sections y'all read, because that thread doesn't read like the ones I occasionally accidentally stumble on. "Don't read the comments" means "avoid the racist, sexist, homophobic bullshit replete with logical errors and way too much ad hominem".

As someone who has, uh, no canine in this altercation, I enjoyed the thread. I learned some, sympathized some, and sure as heck enjoyed the pics of cute doggies (even though I prefer larger dogs-- yay St Bernard thread from recently!). I can't have my own pets (lifestyle plus raging allergies) so I have to enjoy them vicariously through other people.

And I more or less ignored the (small, by the time I got there) smattering of dumb/angering comments.

So, thanks for what I thought was a quite interesting post, to the mods for whatever work they did that I didn't see, and I am gonna try to go to sleep again now. Those pictures of dogs in pajamas seem about right..
posted by nat at 7:23 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Nope, no mod cleanup. At a quick scan, there's only one deleted comment in the thread, and one mod note.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:29 PM on October 5, 2015


That thread is an embarrassing shitshow. I don't know if faster/earlier deletions would have saved it or not, but at some point a line was crossed and things went bad. The photos are charming and should have spawned a much more interesting discussion.

I think I'm actually most angry because this is a subject I know quite a bit about, and the level of pig ignorance in that thread is astounding.

A lesson I seem to have to keep relearning is how frustrating discussions here can be when the subject is one in which you are expert. The corollary of course is that whenever I comment otherwise I am probably infuriating someone who is an expert in that subject, so perhaps it averages out in the end.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:39 PM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


MetaFilter: MeTa is where people go to be vicious to each other.

Rage is fun.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:42 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know this is going to sound very nitpicky, but calling people 'animal rights activists' can be kind of fraught. In animal welfare circles, 'animal rights' has a very specific meaning that is antithetical to many people's beliefs and goals.

Interesting point. I used that term pretty specifically and deliberately; I meant people who have a specific philosophical orientation towards animals that I think would be philosophically consistent with calling the mass killing of animals a "genocide". A certain subset of these people are typically, to my understanding, identified by others and by themselves as animal rights activists, specifically because of their belief that humans and animals have the same natural rights to freedom, bodily integrity, self-determination, etc.

Regardless of whether or not I agree with everything they think, I would be more forgiving of their extreme rhetoric on this topic because of the consistency of their beliefs about the difference (or lack thereof) in moral import between killing non-human animals and killing humans. IOW, if you genuinely believe that animals and humans have the same rights, then it makes a lot more sense to call the killing of animals a "genocide"--they would not be cheapening the meaning of the word so much as expanding it.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:43 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Animals are like analogies; it'd probably be best for all involved if people just left them alone.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:57 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Serious question: did the mods consider deleting this post initially? While I doubt it was Athanassiel's intention, the phrasing of the FPP and the content of the article itself seem editorial to me, especially given that the subject matter is apparently controversial here. It just strikes me as more "you should think about X" than "here is interesting thing X I found on the internet."

I'm just genuinely surprised not to see this FPP deleted, with a friendly note from the mods saying that this is a bit of a tricky subject, and maybe we can work on the framing to make it better.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 8:22 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know what to do with the comments in that thread that are not derail-y or nasty, but that repeat an incredible amount of misinformation about dog aggression, "dominance," and behavior and biology, apart from writing a gigantic reply complete with cited sources, which I don't feel up to right now. Just let it go, I guess? BSL is a highly charged issue with specific racial/class overtones and I wish the smart folks of Metafilter would think before airing everything they once heard about pit bulls.
posted by thetortoise at 8:26 PM on October 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


I had no idea that this post would have been so controversial. As some have said, a lot of these sentiments seem like really outdated ideas to me. Most dogs in NYC shelters are at least pit mixes so we'd have carnage in the streets if a lot of those viewpoints in the thread were true. I think it was some well intentioned but really wrong people, and a bad tone set by colie early on.
posted by zutalors! at 8:28 PM on October 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


This is one of the grossest bullshit proxy war MeTas i've ever seen on this site, in like, 10 years.

People snarkily suggest something someone could do to make it worse, and then you scroll down and it just happens. And even if it's like, analogies, or trying to make a point with some sass or whatever... ironic shitposting is still shitposting.

I don't even know what i expected from this, but the attacks, insinuations, and general grossness displayed when quite a lot of people here(and in the original thread as well) are describing someone they disagree with are like... some of the nastiest bullshit i've seen in that vein on here.

If this was any other subject, especially hot button ones like sexism that have been discussed recently, a bunch of people would probably be warming the bench right now.

Why is it ok for everyone to be total fucking assholes to eachother if it's about opinions on dogs? Why did the original thread get to be like that, and this got to be a bigass nasty proxy thread?

Did like, one of the mods moms get in a car wreck and they had to rush off or something? Y'all are usually on it and it's just crickets.
posted by emptythought at 8:29 PM on October 5, 2015


Serious question: did the mods consider deleting this post initially?

I don't think there's anything wrong with the post.
posted by lalex at 8:30 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


emptythought, I will say in a cool level tone that I'm not sure why you think that's a great thing to make a joke about.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:31 PM on October 5, 2015 [24 favorites]


I think the post itself has proved this should have been a use of the contact form, seeing as how no one seems to be able to handle playing nintendo without hitting their little brother with the controller after he uses the blue shell.
posted by emptythought at 8:31 PM on October 5, 2015


Did like, one of the mods moms get in a car wreck and they had to rush off or something?

wtf?
posted by lalex at 8:31 PM on October 5, 2015


Yea, sorry, that was a shitty example.(seriously, sorry)
posted by emptythought at 8:32 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


no one seems to be able to handle playing nintendo without hitting their little brother with the controller after he uses the blue shell.

WTF?
posted by lalex at 8:32 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think that most of us can relate to emptythought's emotional response here. The kernel of the comment was fine, if frustrated. At least guns, abortion and I/P weren't mentioned.
posted by futz at 8:37 PM on October 5, 2015


This is one of the grossest bullshit proxy war MeTas i've ever seen on this site, in like, 10 years.

It's not even the worst one this calendar year.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:40 PM on October 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


And to answer your question Guernsey Halleck, I wasn't on when the post went up, but in looking at it, I'd probably leave it up too. It's only lightly editorial, doesn't cross a clear line to me, and it's nice dog pictures, and I would have guessed that people would get behind it. (Except that for some reason dog posts often turn into these kind of really angry fights. Dogs, kids, weddings...)

I don't like the kneejerk contrarian thing, and I might have been more deletey early in that thread, but not sure, I didn't see it as it evolved. People have been asking us to do that mainly for threads involving people's personal identity categories (for lack of a better term) like misogyny or racism. I understand that people feel very strongly about dogs and the pit bull issue, but there are salient differences between the two kinds of situations.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:40 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Emptythought,

Don't be such a dick. I was gonna come and check on this thread, but your comment made me txt my mom just so I could see that txt bubble forming so I knew she wasn't in a car wreck.

Not cool to say that about people's moms. Not even if it's a mod-mom.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:41 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yea, sorry, that was a shitty example.(seriously, sorry)

Oh. You addressed it. That's cool. Sorry for missing it.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:44 PM on October 5, 2015


emptythought: This is one of the grossest bullshit proxy war MeTas i've ever seen on this site, in like, 10 years.

Take a moment and try to take some context. It's just about a dog breed. At the end of the day, the maintaining and breeding of specific dog breeds is basically just a hobby.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:44 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not even the worst one this calendar year.

+

Take a moment and try to take some context. It's just about a dog breed. At the end of the day, the maintaining and breeding of specific dog breeds is basically just a hobby.

To clarify why i feel that way: It's the most vitriol between people over the least actual content. This isn't disagreement over whether someones life or rights matter, it's opinions about whether dogs are dangerous or scary and people are getting just as nasty as they did in the rights-about-peoples-lives thread.

That is supremely nasty to me. It's like... someone threatening someone else with violence just because they don't like skittles, or something. It's a big pile of rhetorical violence over well, not a lot of content. Look at how deep we got into "lived experiences matter/don't matter" over this.

I don't know, these two threads were like walking in to the bar to find a bunch of friends who are usually chilling and having casual conversation screaming at eachother ready to throw punches over whether or not pacman crashed at level 255, or something.

I get it when it's social justice issues or something major... but whether or not a breed of dogs is violent and/or scary? This MeTa is nasty enough that i could see someone buttoning over it.

(and to be clear, if you could self delete comments, i'd just nuke that one. that was bad)
posted by emptythought at 8:46 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


People have been asking us to do that mainly for threads involving people's personal identity categories (for lack of a better term) like misogyny or racism.

no no no no no. Unless I am completely off my rocker, we want you mods to step in early in ALL posts to delete shit covered comments before they set a toxic tone and doom the fpp to to endless derails and arguments.
posted by futz at 8:49 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks LM. I read the language "often-maligned" and especially "challenge the common perception" as editorializing, but maybe I'm reading too much into the word choice. I'll leave it at that.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 8:50 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, no, I think your assessment is reasonable, and it is somewhat editorial but just didn't quite cross the line for me. Just a slightly different placement of the line, I think, and within the realm of reasonable-people-can-disagree.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:52 PM on October 5, 2015


You're not a dick emtythought.

Also. Here's a cute picture of pit bull playing with a baby. It's all good.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:52 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's the most vitriol between people over the least actual content.

Sayre's Law.

why do academics fights among herpetologists get so nasty?
the snakes are so small

posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:52 PM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Take a moment and try to take some context. It's just about a dog breed.

Given how passionate people have been about the topic, I find that type of comment very dismissive. Any "it's just about..." statement is probably not helpful.
posted by futz at 8:55 PM on October 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


Mitrovarr, this isn't about building model airplanes, or something. Dogs are peoples' companions, and they care very deeply for them. It was never about maintaining and breeding dogs.

Anyway, I'm not defending people getting nasty over this, but there's pretty plainly a huge emotional component here. I don't think it's entirely fair to compare it to Pac Man, because it sounded like a lot of people were explicitly concerned about animal welfare. That's much bigger than something unimportant, and I doubt the thread would have gotten so nasty if it wasn't about something that mattered so much to people.

I think the real takeaway here is that we need to be able to understand how peoples' levels of involvement differer. Something might not have much significance to one person, and a whole ton for another, and we might need to be more sensitive to that here.

Besides just the usual sense that everyone loves sniping each other, but maybe that's just a byproduct of the raising blood pressures.
posted by teponaztli at 8:57 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


it's more than a little weird that someone would complain about how awful people are being to one another in the same comment that he jokes about folks' mothers dying.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:58 PM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't want too get hung up on something someone apologized for, multiple times, pretty much immediately. Everyone is capable of saying the wrong thing and regretting it, and at some point I'm not sure what purpose it serves to hold that over them for a long time.

The fact that complaints of nastiness were paired with something people found nasty could, if nothing else, maybe illustrate how we can tend to get carried away when the moment strikes. Also, it's probably worth remembering that there's a person behind every comment, and they may not always mean to say things the way they do.
posted by teponaztli at 9:05 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm not like a major dog rights advocate or dog person or anything but it's not like skittles because there are just tons and tons of pitbull mixes in shelters right now, lots of them with behavioral issues because of crappy owners, but most of those issues are fear more than aggression. These animals are scared of people because they've been treated very badly. Many dogs of this breed are hard to deal with and adopt out because yeah they're strong and a lot of them have issues. But a lot of them do not. A lot of them need special rehabilitation.

It's more than wanting some pure breed to continue, this is really an issue about thousands of living dogs that are being abused and destroyed. That's why it matters to people and that's why it's different than candy.
posted by zutalors! at 9:14 PM on October 5, 2015 [19 favorites]


Sorry, I stand corrected by the OP - apparently it's as many as 1 million dogs killed a year. Which means how many more still in abusive, neglected situations.
posted by zutalors! at 9:27 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anyone mention the marsupial proxy war of aught 2.

We had a case were a pit bit a cop and the owners fought to save the dogs life.
Dogs life was saved but on the condition that the dog recieve training and removed from the owners.
Pit bulls can be terrifying, but IMO, nothing compared to 2 bull mastiffs. One with cancer. One of the hardest things I've done was get myself to have those dogs trust me and they did, big lugs.
Our two fellas are rescue dogs and they took some time. Dogs have an overwhelming sence of belonging for lack of a better phrase and they are loyal to a fault. Hell, my hero is that beagle who sacrificed himself for his owner when a bear was attacking.

Beagles are the cats of the dog world.
posted by clavdivs at 9:33 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


All my neighbors have pit bulls, and some are scary and some are not but the photos in the link are not my idea of art. FFPs that nothing but cute kitties and puppies seem rather prosaic.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:35 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ya, folks mentioning MeTa as a fighty time/ get even thing. Well it can and is. The only way to stem that is to make an effort.

Did I mention I gave the Mastiff peanut butter for his pill-right off the hand.
That's a cake walk compared to some meta battles so let's try on work on that.
posted by clavdivs at 9:40 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why is it ok for everyone to be total fucking assholes to eachother if it's about opinions on dogs? Why did the original thread get to be like that, and this got to be a bigass nasty proxy thread?

People do this, I think, when both sides feel as if there's something significant at stake and those stakes are at odds with each other. In this case, people are worrying about the safety of their children (for example), while the other side is concerned that overreactions based on disinformation could lead to animal abuse (for example). There's overlap, of course, but then there's disagreement about the right proportions.

Add this oppinion to both sides,

A lesson I seem to have to keep relearning is how frustrating discussions here can be when the subject is one in which you are expert.

and we have a recipe for some of us not always thinking and acting as kindly as we could, because we feel that something needs to be protected, even at great cost. The kicker is that in the heat of the moment a strong approach often feels justified, but sometimes it feels regrettable in retrospect after a good walk.

I would bet that we have a number of discussions that "don't work well here" because of a similar bipolar tension.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:06 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Athannasiel: But I genuinely had no idea that pitbulls were such an inflammatory topic

FWIW neither did I.
posted by colie at 1:02 AM on October 6, 2015


All my neighbors have pit bulls, and some are scary and some are not but the photos in the link are not my idea of art. FFPs that nothing but cute kitties and puppies seem rather prosaic.

For metafilter, probably the most inflammatory sentence in these two threads about pitbulls.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:45 AM on October 6, 2015


I'm not a pet person, but it's worth observing that a lot of people with pets care about them as much as a friend or a family member, and so maybe someone telling them their pet is a monster may not be "low stakes" for them.
posted by selfnoise at 4:50 AM on October 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


"I would bet that we have a number of discussions that 'don't work well here' because of a similar bipolar tension."

Yeah. I think there's almost always a reflexive or even deliberate rejection of empathy in favor of privileging one's sense of justice. I see this in the most problematic threads, I see this in other kinds of threads, I see this in life elsewhere, I see this in myself and people I know, and I see it in both my opponents and my allies. It's a bad thing. I think that a large amount of wrong in the world arises this way.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:51 AM on October 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


It's also worth noting there's a lot of components of this, and it's not low stakes for folks, especially because many apartments will not take pit bulls. And there's a class component to this, too - people with low incomes tend to take rescue dogs more often than not, and due to people not liking pit bulls, those are the breeds that dominate the shelters.
posted by corb at 5:12 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


" people with low incomes tend to take rescue dogs more often than not"

That's an interesting statement, I wouldn't have suspected that to be the case....
posted by HuronBob at 5:29 AM on October 6, 2015


This article (in French) contains interviews with people providing professional moderation services for on-line newspaper forums. A veteran moderator with 10 years of experience notes that while "internet users can turn into idiots about any subject", animals are one of the most taboo and touchy topics, and that people can become "crazy and uncontrollable" when discussing for example instances of animal abuse. According to her, this is due to animals having replaced children as the "ultimate embodiment of complete innocence in the collective psyche".
posted by elgilito at 6:15 AM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


My neighbor has a rescue mutt that looks like a small version of a pit bull. It snarls and growls and rushes at me because…well, its owner says it's because I am visibly a male, and sometimes I wear a hat. I am a pretty big human being, and I still definitely feel threatened by that naked aggression, but I figure this is due to a previous Shitty Owner, and I stay out of the dog's yard and simply always say a calm "Good morning, Bear" when I pass.

All my neighbors have pit bulls, and some are scary...

…so you stay out of their yards? Maybe the same can be helpful for folks on MetaFilter who don't like these dogs: stay out of their yard threads about them instead of going in with your hands already curled into fists. It's really hard to type coherently that way, anyway.

(Not bagging on you, Ideefixe -- just using your words as a springboard to make a point.)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:28 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sciatrix, yeah, that would be better: please post in the main thread, and I'll delete here, thanks!
posted by taz (staff) at 6:30 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hope I didn't cause you too much extra stress by way of this MeTa, Athanassiel.
posted by griphus at 6:34 AM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Athanassiel, I liked your post and the pics of pits with flowers on their heads made me smile. So, thanks for posting! And kudos for you for your graceful response.

It can sometimes be difficult to read the Metafilter room and predict how posts will be received. Feel-good stories can sometimes turn into cynical messes. (I've posted at least 2 or 3 that developed comments that made me go "ugh, seriously?") If it helps, consider this a rite of passage. :)
posted by zarq at 6:46 AM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Moved! HuronBob, if you're curious I have an answer there.
posted by sciatrix at 6:57 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I didn't mean to upset people in a specifically horrible way by using the word genocide. There were people in the thread saying that all pitbulls, the entire breed, all of them, should be killed. Genocide was the vocabulary term that came to mind and felt appropriate. I see that it was not.

I did mean to point out that there were people in the original thread whose "alternate point of view" was wiping an entire breed of animal from the face of the earth, and I don't particularly enjoy being told to just be a little more open minded and understanding about the opinions of people who want to solve problems through mass killings.
posted by phunniemee at 6:57 AM on October 6, 2015 [19 favorites]


Yea "I want them gone" was said in the thread and given that we're killing hundreds of thousands a year...well it's happening.
posted by zutalors! at 7:05 AM on October 6, 2015


That's what really stings me, too. These breeds are already vilified to the maximum extent possible, to the point that scores of even the friendliest, happiest, gentlest individual dogs are gassed, shot, starved, and poisoned on a daily basis. Pit and Staff-centric rescue organizations can only do so much, keeping the parable of the starfish in mind, but we're clearly not on the winning side of this particular battle. The losses are too numerous to count. But there are still countless keyboard warriors who feel the need to pontificate about how these vicious, irredeemable creatures need to be swept off the face of the earth.

I really wonder how the "this breed should be exterminated" internet brigade would feel about going down to their local county animal control to see what a desire to enact some sort of revenge on these dogs looks like when it's born out in real time. I wonder if they'd be consistent enough in their beliefs to watch terrified former pets get dragged into the euthanasia room day after day after day, or if they'd be too cowardly to deal with the real-life manifestation of their beliefs and have to look away.
posted by divined by radio at 7:34 AM on October 6, 2015 [27 favorites]


As a society we're already generally okay with mass killings of sentient animals. So I both see why it would be profoundly upsetting to hear someone advocate that, and see why people proposing mass killings of sentient animals might not consider their proposal to be likely to upset people. Dogs occupy an odd moral place in our various cultures--some people consider them closer to persons and some people consider them closer to livestock. The latter will inevitably horrify the former, but they're not particularly immoral for it.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:35 AM on October 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


well given that lots of people in these threads want to compare the dogs to guns, cars, candy, and Pac Man, I don't even know if "sentient beings" really plays into a lot of the thought process here.
posted by zutalors! at 8:02 AM on October 6, 2015


> It snarls and growls and rushes at me ... and I stay out of the dog's yard and simply always say a calm "Good morning, Bear" when I pass.

>> All my neighbors have pit bulls, and some are scary...

> …so you stay out of their yards?



We had neighbors in college with a similar aggressive dog. I think it was more German Shepard-y than pit-bully, but I don't know my dog breeds. Poor thing spent a lot of time confined to a fairly small back yard. I felt sorry for the guy except when it would go crazy barking at me from behind the fence almost every time I walked by.

I wouldn't bother telling the story except for the one time it decided to jump the fence and rush at me while it was snarling and barking. (Please don't tell me I was reading the dog incorrectly. I can see the difference between nipping vs. standing defending its home vs. charging. It was charging.) Something snapped in me and I turned towards it, bent low and spread my arms wide and screamed my fucking fear at it. The dog stopped its charge and instead just stood its ground barking, so after a few seconds seeing that I didn't resume charging I continued on, yelling "stay away" and "go, get back, get away" at it, not daring to turn my eyes away from directly staring at it as I went.

So when you say "so you stay out of their yards?" it feels like you're brushing aside this experience I had. If I'm going to keep discussing seriously with you I need you to understand what barking dogs behind fences with crappy owners sometimes do.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:12 AM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've done a fair amount of work with animal welfare group campaigns to eliminate breed bans, and to be sure, things are still pretty bad. Many many dogs are still being killed for looking like pit bulls, often after being confiscated from their families. However, the tide does seem to be turning on this issue. It's been some time, I believe, since any new breed bans have gone into effect, and several states now have laws prohibiting breed bans entirely. And in general, the tenor of comment sections even in the cheesiest local papers has changed pretty significantly as general awareness of the issue has improved. Even many media outlets have changed their reporting policies once people started calling them out on them.

So things still suck, but they do seem to be improving.

I mean, honestly, Metafilter is striking me as pretty regressive on this particular topic.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:25 AM on October 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


That is supremely nasty to me. It's like... someone threatening someone else with violence just because they don't like skittles, or something.

Dogs are not like skittles, no.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:29 AM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


That is supremely nasty to me. It's like... someone threatening someone else with violence just because they don't like skittles, or something.

Dogs are not like skittles, no.


Beer, though. . .
 
posted by Herodios at 8:32 AM on October 6, 2015


I think you must have dreamed it
posted by Greg Nog at 8:33 AM on October 6, 2015


[One comment deleted. Tanizaki, if your participation is going to be inflammatory analogies etc., just skip it.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:59 AM on October 6, 2015


It seems that my point is being misinterpreted and stretched a bit by people who want to think that anyone who isn't super upset by this just doesn't see dogs as living beings, or something like that?

I was hoping, for once, that i could write a post about people being shitty to eachother and how i thought that was shitty without some long qualifying credibility establishing see-i'm-not-an-asshole thing about how i've owned dogs most of my life, had my childhood dog stolen by an asshole family friend and am still upset about it a decade later, and have also been on the giving *and* receiving side of dealing with living in a house where our dog attacked someone and having to deal with "the system", and on the getting-attacked side.

I'm not some casual quipper going "wow these dog people sure take dogs seriously", and i get that people love their dogs, but an awful lot of this felt more like someone is wrong on the internet where people get kind of detached from the fact that there's people on the other side of the comments than "people are saying bad things about dogs and i care about dogs!".

In some cases, i understand that, in this one it felt massively outsized and more violent. If you don't see that then i guess... that's just on me? I'm ok with that, it just surprises me.

It's also worth noting there's a lot of components of this, and it's not low stakes for folks, especially because many apartments will not take pit bulls. And there's a class component to this, too - people with low incomes tend to take rescue dogs more often than not, and due to people not liking pit bulls, those are the breeds that dominate the shelters.

Many apartments just will not take dogs, or wont take dogs over a certain weight. My parents worked for one of the largest property management companies in the city and surrounding area, and i've read seriously thousands of listings and never seen a breed specific ban on an apartment here(in an area that firmly had pitbull-ban-mania for a while, at least in the surrounding purse-clutch-o-riffic suburbs). Knowing that you're in the same area, have you seen this be a thing here more than once or twice? And yes, i'm including low income buildings and management firms in this.

On the second point, that's definitely a show your work. There is definitely a subset of low income/low SES people who seek out pitbulls specifically. I have been fairly earlier in my life poor, had pretty poor friends, been homeless, etc and they are a fashion statement for people who want to seem "hard". While i've heard "well my friends pit had puppies and i took one", i've never ever heard of "well i went to the shelter and it's all they had". For the most part, anecdotally, everyone i've ever heard of getting one specifically wanted one before they even went out looking for a dog. "People just end up with pitbulls because of circumstances and then are discriminated against!" seems like a crappy loaded direction to take this.

I could go on quite a bit about my hatred for how hard it is to find an affordable apartment or rental house that accepts any dog ever at all and how discriminatory and classist that feels on the receiving end, but to me it always felt like the system was stacked against having a dog, not having a pitbull. That's just in the pacific northwest, and it might be different elsewhere, but as i said we definitely had anti pitbull mania here.
posted by emptythought at 12:22 PM on October 6, 2015


and i've read seriously thousands of listings and never seen a breed specific ban on an apartment here

Not around you, but there's a parapraph-long list of specific breeds on my building's obviously-boilerplate lease.

I also can't play my gramophone past 9 PM.
posted by griphus at 12:47 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just to add some data, I know this is also a thing in DC. I have friends with a Rhodesian Ridgeback and this was a specifically banned breed in many buildings where they tried to rent. (I still keep confusing it with the dragon from Harry Potter which seems like an entirely reasonable thing to not want in an apartment, but no, different Ridgeback.)
posted by capricorn at 12:52 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


There is an academic study of the social problems around 'status dogs' in the UK here.

It's quite interesting from the point of view of a country that has banned four breeds of dog and now has only around 3,000 of them estimated in total, as it notes that 'one of the results of banning the Pit Bull and similar prohibited types has been to increase their attractiveness to the ‘wrong’ (irresponsible) people. In doing this, pet ownership especially of bull types becomes more difficult for the ‘right’ owners.' BTW it also concurs with what many say here that any big dog, looked after irresponsibly, can be dangerous.
posted by colie at 12:57 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


benito.strauss: So when you say "so you stay out of their yards?" it feels like you're brushing aside this experience I had. If I'm going to keep discussing seriously with you I need you to understand what barking dogs behind fences with crappy owners sometimes do.

Oh, no, not at all -- I am with you! What I meant is, analogously, I avoid MeFi threads where I know that I am not ready to have my mind changed yet...and literally, I cross the damn street and avoid eye contact, and am still pretty sure that dog is going to breach the Invisible Fence one of these days, despite seeing me regularly for like four years.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:00 PM on October 6, 2015


I have mixed feelings on the genocide thing. I know of at least one holocaust survivor animal rights activist who makes the comparison to factory farming animals regularly. On the other hand, you could never in a million years get me to make that comparison and I take these issues very seriously. So, uhh, make your own choices on that but even most meat is murder people think killing animals is really an entirely different category than killing people.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:00 PM on October 6, 2015


There were people in the thread saying that all pitbulls, the entire breed, all of them, should be killed

Who said this? I saw a comment, "I want them gone" but that is not "line up all pit bulls against a wall".
posted by Tanizaki at 1:11 PM on October 6, 2015


Who said this? I saw a comment, "I want them gone" but that is not "line up all pit bulls against a wall".

I am confused about how else millions of living creatures become "gone." We don't exactly have a Star Trek transporter available to beam them to a safer galaxy.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:13 PM on October 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


Bird of Prey full of Klingons delighted with their new pitties.
posted by griphus at 1:16 PM on October 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


Rules lawyers gonna rules lawyer, Blast.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:17 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can we not, with this? "Let's get really specific about gruesome images that people have already said bother them" isn't really going to improve things here.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:31 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Bird of Prey full of Klingons delighted with their new pitties.

best spinoff ever
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:33 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I thought this MeTa was not for debating about pitbulls? The thread is still up for those who absolutely must express an opinion about them.
posted by smoke at 1:40 PM on October 6, 2015


MetaTalk: Can we not, with this?
posted by tonycpsu at 1:43 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah, I didn't get that you were using it as an analogy, westenvedt. Those things are tricky, aren't they?

Of course, as people have remarked in previous MeTas, dissension created in one thread can flow over to others and create a GRAR-y baseline for the whole site. Kinda like a dog jumping out of its yard and menacing the whole street. Man, I'm just stuck in this analogy mode today.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:00 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


One comment deleted - if folks want to talk about pit bulls and what should be done, that can go on the blue. If people want to talk about how we talk about pit bulls here or related, that goes here.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:03 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oops, right, sorry.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:14 PM on October 6, 2015


What We Talk About When We Talk About Pitbulls was one of Raymond Barker's lesser works, if you ask me.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:02 PM on October 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Wait, is that true? That 'I want them gone' has turned via 'We should kill them all' into even more dramatic language?

Because that's true or not, but either way that means someone is guilty of either inflammatory exaggeration or inflammatory downplaying.
posted by gadge emeritus at 3:38 PM on October 6, 2015


I vote that it's inflammatory exaggeration, but I'm hugely not a fan of "I'm
Going to rewrite this comment in the worst possible light then lambast the original poster because I just KNOW that's what they meant!"

No discussion on here has really ever benefitted from that, and many have crashed and burned.
posted by emptythought at 4:33 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've rarely seen any MeFi thread as shitty as the average I can't believe how shitty that thread was MeTa. Not sure how we fix that, though. We have to be able to talk about how we talk about things, and that is going to piss people off.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:34 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


The problem with this MeTa is that people are turning this thread into the thread on the blue. That's not going to benefit anyone, or do anything about why this was posted in the first place.
posted by Aranquis at 5:23 PM on October 6, 2015


zarq: If it helps, consider this a rite of passage. :)

Oh yeah, that again. I had that with my third post ever to MetaFilter, which also spawned a MeTa. I was even more horrified then, and to be honest, that was a much worse thread than this time round - both the original FPP and the MeTa. Maybe it is a kinder, gentler MetaFilter now. *snerk*

My current no-go topics for FPPs: anything fat-related, anything dog-related.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:30 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, that 3rd thread is a mess. The pitbull thread has led to some good discussion even among the mess, but on that one there isn't much to redeem the conversation. Anyway, you post a lot of links and most of them are well liked and appreciated. A couple hitting the sore spots is probably to be expected. Don't feel bad.

Weight is an issue that it is very difficult to do right. I've succeeded once with a well liked FPP but more often have found myself in frustrating no win scenarios that hurt me and the other people involved. I wish I knew the way forward on that one, Metafilter has helped me in a lot of ways with linking me to stuff that helped me deal with some of my demons but the weight issue is just pain often, even here.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:44 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sometimes MetaFilter makes me think of my friend group in high school. Everyone was really smart, but there could be this really mean competitive streak. There was a constant competition to have the best quip about something, and you could become totally invisible if you didn't have the smartest thing to say - or worse, you'd become a springboard for someone else's super witty comment at your expense.

I look at "discussions" like this thread and the one that prompted it, and it feels like the same atmosphere. So many comments that just read as zingers, or as gotcha lines about no, you REALLY meant this. And I'm sure I do it too, without even realizing it.

I don't know, maybe this isn't super relevant. It just drives me nuts to see it so often.
posted by teponaztli at 6:59 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was about to go to bed, and then I decided to check out your old weight FPP, Drinky Die. Damn, that was good. Lots to think about.
posted by virago at 7:16 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's just a tough topic because there are folks posting in that thread who have been attacked by dogs, worked for dog rescues, or are pit owners (and even all of the above), and all of those people naturally feel very strongly about it without anyone needing to be a jerk. And then there's speculation about the breed itself on top of it. I settled for just posting an article that said some of the things that bother me about pit bull and BSL conversations in academic-ese. Which is probably obnoxious in its own way, but what can you do, it's a charged topic.
posted by thetortoise at 7:16 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


My current no-go topics for FPPs ... anything dog-related.

I wanted to encourage you to not think of it as a bad post because people had bad conversations that were prompted by dog pictures. In the midst of the back and forth, I actually learned a lot about biases against certain breeds that I didn't know before. I know that wasn't the full intent of the post, but I certainly found the discussion more helpful than not when it came to something I hadn't thought very critically about, and I've historically been somewhat freaked out by pit bulls. It's not always about finding a signal apart from the noise. Sometimes the signal is a bit in the noise.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:48 PM on October 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Not pit bull related but general posting thought; sometimes a preemptive first comment (on where you found the link (was searching for xyz found this, bla bla bla) or why you made the post or even technical details like why you put links in the order they are or which is the main topic link) can sometimes remind people of the broader intent and make things go in a better direction. It isn't really steering to say why you were intrigued enough to make the post but seems to calm things by being an engaged/first comment about the content/post.
posted by phoque at 9:01 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, if anyone who likes Pitties (or animal rescue in general) wants to check out a blog by my friend Sweetie the Incredible, I'm just gonna leave this here.

I'm allergic to dogs, but gosh darnit if Sweetie isn't the most adorable herp derp dress-wearin' doggie on earth. I will go out of my way to give her scritches and lovin's before OMG WASH ALLLLL THE SKIN, ANTIBACTERIAL OVERLOAD at the nearest sink.

Also, the one time a stray dog chased me to my front door and I called Animal Control, the girl who came to get the Pittie off my porch was about 110 lbs. soaking wet.

So, I'm not taking sides. Critters are critters, and they have moods and issues just like humans do. If I see a thread I know I can't refrain from shitting in, I scroll along. It did take a bit for me to tamp down the "nothing nice to say, move along" urge initially, but luckily, the mods here are hella patient.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:22 PM on October 7, 2015


I am confused about how else millions of living creatures become "gone." We don't exactly have a Star Trek transporter available to beam them to a safer galaxy.

Another way is to not replace them when they die. That makes the breed(s) gone, eventually.
posted by Jpfed at 8:00 PM on October 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


well, there are tons of pit mixes out there now. Most of the people I know who are into PR rehabilitation for pit bulls are fighting the abuse and euthanization and promoting adoption, not trying to protect the purity of the breed. That argument is just incorrect.
posted by zutalors! at 8:17 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


The word people are looking for to replace "commit breed genocide" is "exterminate" or possibly "extirpate." Both of those words describe the process of ridding an area of a particular type of undesirable animal by killing them until there are none left.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:03 AM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


People should not be looking for a word to replace "commit breed genocide" or using words like "exterminate" or "extirpate" because nobody wants to kill dogs. The correct words to use when we talk about pitbulls are "stop" and "breeding" and "them."
posted by Don Pepino at 7:37 AM on October 8, 2015


That's the thing though, who are you talking to when you say don't breed them? Most of the people you are thinking of as pro pit bull are just trying to save existing animals. There's a weird stubbornness about acknowledging that going on here.
posted by zutalors! at 8:24 AM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mean from the photography page in the OP:

"I created Flower Power to challenge the way we look at pit bulls. Everywhere around the worlds, these dogs are the victims of terrible prejudice. In the US alone, upward of 1 million pit bulls are euthanized every year. By infusing a softer energy into their imagery, I am hoping art can change the fate of these creatures. All the models are dogs waiting in shelters to be adopted."

How can that be any more clear and distinct from "let's make sure to maintain the AKC breed standard."
posted by zutalors! at 8:36 AM on October 8, 2015


Folks, if you're just talking about the linked site and what we should do about the dogs themselves, take that over to the blue?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:39 AM on October 8, 2015


I'm trying (in this comment, anyway) to metatalk properly about how we talk about and to one another. We're polarizing this in a way that is unhelpful. Next to no people on the bluethread are arguing to preserve the AKC breed standard*--and I'm not arguing with those people over here. Over there we got through the "'dorble fuzzy wuddgiekins! / grannymauling furmurderers!" stuff pretty quickly and started seeing more interesting, sourcebacked arguments. Over here it's pretty much "noble dogadopters / sociopathic dogfighters" vs "people who just want defenseless grannies and toddlers to live to see the sun one more day / sociopathic doghaters."

Both the people who are "pro pit bull" and the people who are "anti pit bull" want to see the current era of shelters full of suffering dying animals end. It is not helpful to claim that the "antis" want to see that happen via the extermination, extirpation, or "genocide" of pit bulls. It is not helpful to claim that the "pros" are all a bunch of bloodthirsty dogfighters. Both claims are patently false appeals to emotion.

*It's not zero, but few, and the one argument I paid attention to was smart and nuanced and not possible to refute by hollering a slogan.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:13 AM on October 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Flagged the above as "fantastic comment."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:17 PM on October 8, 2015


I just finally actually read the pit bull thread, and you know what? It's not so bad. There are a lot of fairly ignorant comments, but I don't see a lot of the kind of entrenched ignorance and doubling-down that I associate with unproductive discussion. There are some carelessly-used analogies that people rightly express discomfort with. There are, granted, several shitty throwaway comments by colie which deserved to be deleted. And there's a lot of disagreement, but it's almost all as respectful and civil as one could wish for given how much people obviously care about the issues at hand.

Mostly I see a lot of folks struggling to find common ground and establish some kind of facts-based position while acknowledging that emotion, poor information, and personal experiences make the subject unusually fraught on several levels. You've got the relative importance of human vs. animal rights issue. You've got the difficult-to-discuss race and class subtext. There's the fact that media and government are most people's main sources of information on the issue, but those sources generally do a poor job of handling it. There's the problem of how people's desires for safety for their human familes and their desires for their animal companions to be loved and accepted are often in conflict, sometimes within the same person. There's the overarching issue of animal welfare and how badly we as a society treat our animals, especially stigmatized animals like pit bulls. You also have a nature/nurture argument in there, complicated by the fact that the "nature" in this situation is actually the product of human selective breeding.

Pit bulls (whatever that even means) stand at the confluence of many difficult and problematic subjects. It doesn't surprise me that we struggle to talk about them productively and respectfully. It doesn't surprise me that we sometimes stumble. But honestly, after reading the whole thread, I feel like we as a community are doing a pretty good job grappling with the subject. Not a perfect job, but a pretty good one all things considered. A lot of folks were really obviously trying to reach across the aisle and find some common ground, and I think overall the needle moved a little further toward a better understanding. I think, on the whole, that the thread is difficult and rocky but basically a success. That's my take.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:10 PM on October 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think the thread can be a good example of people grappling with the issue of whether pit bulls should be allowed as pets while still objecting to the idea that that should have been the subject of the thread.
posted by jaguar at 6:44 PM on October 8, 2015


(And I'm not necessarily agreeing that the thread was a good example of that. I got fed up and stopped reading fairly early.)
posted by jaguar at 6:45 PM on October 8, 2015


MetaFilter: many people obviously, blithely don't RTFA
MetaFilter: people routinely think that the discussion is more important than the links
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:30 PM on October 10, 2015


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