Requests for new post aren't appropriate in front page posts August 3, 2016 10:16 AM   Subscribe

The latest election thread seems to be getting creaky for some people. But asking for a new post in that thread isn't the correct venue, if anywhere it should be brought here. Users feeling a new post is warranted should just make one instead of contributing to the large comment count of the existing thread with off topic comments.

In addition I think a review of the official sanction of the previous daily election/convention threads is in order. Either we need to embrace it fully and have an official "Count down to the Trumpocalypse: day Foo" thread everyday or go back to people taking a chance on a posts significance not meeting the bar to avoid deletion.
posted by Mitheral to Etiquette/Policy at 10:16 AM (72 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Users feeling a new post is warranted should just make one instead of contributing to the large comment count of the existing thread with off topic comments.

I agree as far as formal expectations go; probably the best way to test the waters on starting a new thread if you're unsure is to drop us a line at the contact form about it ("Hey, I'm thinking about putting together a new post because the old one is huge...") and getting an opinion from the mods. But it's also okay to just give it a go, if the old thread is getting seriously creaky and you want to make the effort. The worst possible scenario is you get a post deleted, which is not a big deal.

All that said, I can understand how a testing-the-waters comment or two about a new thread end up happening in the course of the tail end of a megathread and I'm less worried about that happening now and then (in part because not everyone will get the memo about e.g. this MetaTalk discussion) than I am about people getting into lengthy or argumentative exchanges about it, etc. Better to skip it entirely but not a yuuuuuge deal.

In addition I think a review of the official sanction of the previous daily election/convention threads is in order.

For sure. I left a comment along those lines this morning in a previous MetaTalk thread, but for visibility's sake I'll go ahead and quote it here as well:
The plan [going forward post-conventions] such that there is one is to revert to where we were pre-conventions: a new thread when it's needed and justified, the former mostly about sheer size and the latter ideally about there being anything specifically new to post about other than "and the other thread got big".

I'm trying to allow for a little more wiggle room philosophically on the latter to not be a jerk about forcing people to stick with humongous threads, especially when this election season is looking like such a weird roil at times that it's hard to say what The New Concrete Thing Is vs. just This Madness Continues At Breakneck pace. So if someone wants to put together a new thread that's caught up with state of things, I'm okay shrugging and saying Make It So.

That said, I would also like folks to try and be a little restrained in commenting if possible so that the threads are only filling up because shit is occurring, and not just because hey new thread; I feel like that's the sort of thing that will make a difference between seeing a thread get creaky on day 3 vs. day 7.

The convention threads filled up fast daily largely because of the liveblog aspect, which shouldn't be in play for more normal (even busy) threads, but one of my primary misgivings about that daily con thread compromise is that people might sort of carry over some of that feeling as the new baseline normal. I don't think that's a given exactly and I think a look at just how goddam weird the last few days have been in US election land explains the brimming post-DNC thread as well as anything, but as a general phenomenon that is on my mind and I'd love to see people making an active effort to not just fill up a post out of reflexive because-its-there keyboarding.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:22 AM on August 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


Out of curiosity, how do you benchmark or QA performance behind-the-scenes? Is there an empirical way to track thread performance for the most common end-user scenarios? Could there be a way to have threads that are starting to get grindy by some accepted benchmark pop up a moderator-visible flag on the mod dashboard?
posted by scrump at 10:44 AM on August 3, 2016


I think you're mostly seeing that in election threads both as a request to mods, and also as a plea for help from other posters who could mayb contribute.
posted by corb at 10:47 AM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's not a ton of science to it; over the years pb tested the site on a variety of browsers and platforms to the extent that he was able, and we incorporate mod and user reports on where and when things go south and by how much. But at the end of the day: 1000 comments tends to bog things down a little. 2000 a lot. 3000 more so. And so on from there.

It's very difficult for a thread to get huge while flying under mod radar, so we're generally aware that something's going to get creaky before it does and to have the "is this likely to lead to an attempted new thread?" dynamic in mind; building out a warning system wouldn't really add anything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:49 AM on August 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


The latest election thread seems to be getting creaky for some people. But asking for a new post in that thread isn't the correct venue, if anywhere it should be brought here. Users feeling a new post is warranted should just make one instead of contributing to the large comment count of the existing thread with off topic comments.

People ask for a lot of things -typo corrections, broken link patches, etc. in threads when they should just use the contact form. Mefites gonna mefite.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:54 AM on August 3, 2016


cortex: "building out a warning system wouldn't really add anything"

Except a nifty new flag! Maybe a tiny red one, with animated waving. And tiny fireworks.

I'll Paphnuty myself out
posted by scrump at 11:02 AM on August 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


The convention threads filled up fast daily largely because of the liveblog aspect, which shouldn't be in play for more normal (even busy) threads, but one of my primary misgivings about that daily con thread compromise is that people might sort of carry over some of that feeling as the new baseline normal.

Yeah, this is going to be a problem. There's a new thread now, and already there's opening comments that are basically chatty "yay new thread!" type things. While I kinda understand (and I'm not saying I'm perfect as far as dropping smaller comments into earlier threads), these things aren't sustainable in the current liveblog/livetweet form they're taking.

I'm not against there being a new thread, but I think people have to use some judgment and scale back on the commenting-for-commenting's-sake.
posted by tocts at 11:07 AM on August 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I just assume there will always be an ongoing election thread from now until whenever it is over (assuming it is ever actually over). And the only quibbling will be how often it gets reposted, with that determined by when the current thread gets slow plus how often new threads are allowed through. Actual breaking news or things happening don't come into it, there's always something happening, always an excuse to refresh whatever.
posted by shelleycat at 11:09 AM on August 3, 2016


The convention threads filled up fast daily largely because of the liveblog aspect, which shouldn't be in play for more normal (even busy) threads, but one of my primary misgivings about that daily con thread compromise is that people might sort of carry over some of that feeling as the new baseline normal.

Too late, it is the new baseline normal. It's clear from what I've seen here and on facebook and in the media and in a few other social commenting type places that many people are live blogging / obsessively chatting about every little thing of this from now until whenever the actual election is. And the new thread just posted was very clearly just an excuse to start a new thread and continue where it all left off from before, as is now the habit here. I don't know how you're all going to keep up the outrage for that long but *shrug*.
posted by shelleycat at 11:23 AM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can we just do like imgboards and say after "x" many posts it's open to a new thread? I'm thinking 3,000 for a ballpark figure.
posted by Talez at 11:46 AM on August 3, 2016


Either we need to embrace it fully and have an official "Count down to the Trumpocalypse: day Foo" thread

I'm in favor of this just because I think it's silly that people feel obligated to post links to things (Here is Hillary Clinton's website so you know who she is! Here's a CNN article about some polling thing that is already irrelevant by the time I post this!) in what is obviously just a 'Now the conversation is on THIS webpage' post
posted by beerperson at 11:47 AM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


People are talking about how much they need the snark and constant commenting to stay sane, and I get that, but it's making these threads totally unreadable for me. I get that people are scared and frustrated, and that we're dangerously close to actual fascism, but I don't think I deal with stuff the same way the majority of posters do. Which is fine, you can't please everyone, but I get exhausted by these threads, and I wish there could be a quiet room, or something.

Also I was kind of hurt that I mentioned criticism of Tim Kaine and the response was "well you can be that awful annoying whiny guy who has nothing useful to add, but we don't have to like it." Which, ok, again, I get that people are coming to these threads for a reason, but it's kind of a downer when you don't fit in with that for whatever reason. I'm not saying I want to take away this outlet for people, but I wish people wound understand that for some of us (or me, anyway) it's just super overwhelming to the point that it actually makes me feel worse to try to read it all, and I wish there were some alternative here. As it is, I've kind of resigned myself to the fact that this isn't really the place for me to talk about this stuff.
posted by teponaztli at 11:50 AM on August 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


My alternative is I don't go anywhere near those threads, or anything else about the US election anywhere. But then it's not my country, I don't need to care.

I have noticed a spill over in people in other threads assuming bad faith and getting really upset over stuff that looks totally innocuous to me. I assume that's where it's coming from anyway, it may just be confirmation bias on my part at this point. I deal with it by rolling my eyes and moving in from those threads too.
posted by shelleycat at 12:02 PM on August 3, 2016


There's obviously a tremendous appetite for "liveblog" type threads whenever something big and newsworthy occurs, whether it's a terrorist attack or the current slow-motion train wreck of an election. I think it's great that MetaFilter is accommodating this, even though the site clearly wasn't designed with this in mind. But it fits in with the way people consume media these days, and I think it boosts the sense of community around here. I know that many others, like me, have become near addicted to these.

That said, while it made sense to have a new thread each day for each of the conventions, I'm not sure we need a new one for each day from now until November 8. Given that the most common complaint about these threads is their sheer size and their unwieldiness on mobile devices, I'm in favor of a new Election Thread every 3,000 comments or so (or sooner if, say, Trump drops out, or some other major development.) Depending on the news cycle, that might mean a new thread every other day, or every other week, but at least the mechanism would be clear.
posted by monospace at 12:36 PM on August 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I will scream if I keep seeing "96 days to the election," "92 days to the election" and so on until November. I will scream.
posted by teponaztli at 12:39 PM on August 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


That has been an ongoing thing since at least the hoary I/P threads; any discussion that has sides, especially American political sides, tends to be very polarizing and users who come in somewhere in the middle are often assumed to be acting in bad faith defenestrating nuance.
posted by Mitheral at 12:42 PM on August 3, 2016


And by that I mean : "I have noticed a spill over in people in other threads assuming bad faith and getting really upset over stuff that looks totally innocuous to me. "
posted by Mitheral at 12:43 PM on August 3, 2016


For those of you who have the luxury of not caring, or have other issues (Brexit! Coup in Turkey! Greece on fire! Political upheaval in India) to worry about, I think this is perfectly appropriate:

> My alternative is I don't go anywhere near those threads, or anything else about the US election anywhere. But then it's not my country, I don't need to care.

I haven't noticed much spillover outside the election threads, but that's probably because (I confess) I've been living in those election threads and mostly giving the rest of it a pass. I'm not sorry - (half of) the American political system is going off the rails in slow motion, and it's a big deal to me.

> I'm in favor of a new Election Thread every 3,000 comments or so (or sooner if, say, Trump drops out, or some other major development.)

I'd be in favor of this, but I don't really think it needs any enforcement mechanism. It's been pretty clear with the ebb and flow of conversation when a new thread is needed. (At least, so far.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:49 PM on August 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have noticed a spill over in people in other threads assuming bad faith and getting really upset over stuff that looks totally innocuous to me.
Is that really a thing though? I have not noticed any such spill-over vitriol in other threads. But maybe that's because I don't read all the threads, only those that interest me. Besides, having an Election Thread to point to when people get nasty in unrelated threads is a Good Thing, IMO.

It's been pretty clear with the ebb and flow of conversation when a new thread is needed.
I think the size of the thread is what's really the problem here, not whether any debates on said thread have run their course.
posted by monospace at 12:55 PM on August 3, 2016


Which, ok, again, I get that people are coming to these threads for a reason, but it's kind of a downer when you don't fit in with that for whatever reason.

hahaha yeah this. Even substantive criticism of HRC or the ticket brings accusations that the commenter is a Bernie dead-ender, ignorant, sexist, blah blah blah. I like and admire Hillary, and I'll certainIy be voting for her, but...she's not perfect?

Anyway, I appreciate those threads more now that I treat them as Clinton rallies and not as actual discussions, and I follow them for the links and the usually excellent Trump snark.
posted by lalex at 1:06 PM on August 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


I totally understand that not everybody has the time, patience, or inclination to follow every single election thread, but pretty much every substantive criticism that gets brought up at this point is something that had a 1,000-comment hash-out back in February or whatever. The sheeple may have moved on to other things, but we're up, thank you, we're up, we've been up for a while and have had our coffee and everything.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:13 PM on August 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


The sheeple may have moved on to other things, but we're up, thank you, we're up, we've been up for a while and have had our coffee and everything

Uh, is this maybe the kind of bad faith people are talking about here? It feels like these threads can be weirdly hostile if you're not up to date on the past 10,000 comments over four threads, or something.
posted by teponaztli at 1:24 PM on August 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I mean, sorry, maybe I'm just getting defensive, but what do you mean making a comment about the sheeple? It reads to me like kind of a hostile take on what people are complaining about, but maybe I'm misreading you.
posted by teponaztli at 1:27 PM on August 3, 2016


I'm talking about the drive-by 'substantive criticisms' that often show up in these threads, and often seem like they're assuming that the people who have, in fact, been talking through all this shit over 10,000 comments and four threads weren't aware of the fact that Clinton voted for the Iraq War, or whatever
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:39 PM on August 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe that's not what people had in mind when they were talking about substance? There seems to be this idea that you can't have any criticism without seeing everyone else as sheeple or whatnot. That there's nothing to criticize, or that if you're bringing it up now it's because you don't want her to win. And I really don't want to start a proxy Clinton fight here (and I've never said I'm not voting for her!) but this ties into why these threads are weird to me.
posted by teponaztli at 1:53 PM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is this thread going to be arguments about how you argue about American politics? Because I didn't think that's what the original post here was about. Plus ug, no.

And no, that's not the bad faith I referred to, I was referring to unrelated, non-political threads (and, again, may just be confirmation bias on my part rather than a worse-than-usual thing). I assume this kind of stuff is a given in actual political threads, that's part of why I usually avoid them.
posted by shelleycat at 1:54 PM on August 3, 2016


Just FWIW, count me as another user who is resolutely opposed to daily or even weekly politics threads on Metafilter.

If people want what is going on in the RNC/DNC threads there is already a whole service where they can do that. I didn't say so at the time but in hindsight I think that the RNC/DNC daily post situation was a mistake and frankly people couldn't even follow the rule to wait on posting until close to the start of each day's events. It shouldn't become the new normal to have a new post every day.
posted by gauche at 1:56 PM on August 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


And why I'd rather stick to discussing the actual post here rather than getting into meta arguments about arguments. But maybe the arguments are inevitable in which case I should just go to bed since it's bedtime in Europe.
posted by shelleycat at 1:56 PM on August 3, 2016


I like the threads, because the MeFite participants are smart, but there are definitely issues with them within the MeFi context.

The big one is reiteration. Fast-moving threads generate duplication, and long threads generate duplication, because people aren't expected to read the whole thread (one iron rule of TWoP which isn't an iron rule of MeFi). Multiple long, fast-moving threads will lead people to post ICYMI things that appeared one or two threads ago. Duplication tends to generate "did you not see X upthread?" or other in-thread summaries of the thread and boards-on-boards stuff (the other iron rule of TWoP that isn't an iron rule of MeFi).

The other issue is liveblogging, which I don't think works well here outside of ongoing self-contained breaking-news events. I don't think election threads need updates while Trump rallies are in progress.
posted by holgate at 2:09 PM on August 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have nothing to say b ... Hmm wait, that's dangerously close to summarising my entire MeFi existence!

Um, taking that from the top again: I have nothing to say on this topic save that it gives me the chance to send my best wishes, strong thoughts and deep care to all America friends, who are in the midst of an awful situation (but one I hope and expect to end well enough, insh'Allah). And I am heartened by reading them discuss, opine and seek comfort from their MeFite colleagues here. Whatever thread structure works best is one for you all to create (or not create), of course; I am only myself proud to see that we have great hearts here who (I believe) no idiot politics can destroy. Take care, America friends, as we take courage and comfort in you!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:16 PM on August 3, 2016 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I'm sorry for starting to argue about proxy stuff. If nothing else, I'm sort of hoping I'm not the only person who feels sort of weirdly shut out by these threads, and it would be nice to express that without constantly being told that it's because I can't engage in good faith. It's, you know, not great.

Anyway, I think creaky threads are a bigger issue than me, and while I don't think it was a mistake to open up liveblogging for the conventions (because people are understandably anxious), I do think it'll be hard to tamp down on it now. I would almost want to flag a bunch of comments (like all the chatty stuff), but I don't know if that will help (and it's not like I want to shut down anyone's fun). I mean, should I flag any that seem especially egregious or distracting, or are the mods dealing with enough as is?
posted by teponaztli at 2:19 PM on August 3, 2016


Flagging egregious stuff makes sense, yes.

I suspect that for folks who find chatty stuff especially annoying, cranking the bar up a couple notches for what's flaggable will be important there because flagging a ton of stuff isn't so useful, and in faster-moving threads it can be harder indeed to find time to deal with sort of shruggy stuff; dropping us a note at the contact form about a specific dynamic's always a good alternative there if it's a "there's a lot of thing x happening in this thread" situation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:24 PM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


For me the biggest issue is that many people see the whole election as an ongoing self-contained breaking-news event that needs to be continually and exhaustively discussed. For months.

Personally I think this is obsessive and tiring and crazy and boring but clearly for many (many) people I'm totally wrong. So now we have regular ongoing threads about this and the daily posting during the conventions amped it up to full on open season, so here we are with the new normal three months out and yeah. Good luck getting that genie back in the bottle.

(I had coffee today *and* got a new kitten this week which explains why I am not sleeping right now when I should be.)
posted by shelleycat at 2:27 PM on August 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I kind of get what you mean. I've been following every comment on the election for like months, which is the first time I've been in literally every single thread about a thing, and there are things that have been pretty definitively hashed out and can't be gone into without buying the mods a bourbon subscription.

And there are definitely Usual Suspects, people who have been in all the threads and are pretty aware of what's been gone over, and that kind of makes the threads flow better? But I also get how that's kind of hostile to people who can't keep up with sometimes 4,000 comments a day (the estimation of 10,000 comments total for election threads is absurdly low), and just want to come in and talk about something and maybe don't know that Sanders Supporters Vs Clinton Supporters has already been done to death.

It almost makes me kind of want to post some sort of FAQ about mod notes of what doesn't need to be in the threads, so people can know without having to live there.
posted by corb at 2:27 PM on August 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


It almost makes me kind of want to post some sort of FAQ about mod notes of what doesn't need to be in the threads, so people can know without having to live there.

each of my waking moments not spent eating, clothing or washing myself, or attempting to raise funds so to do, is currently booked through approximately november the eighth of this year

i wish you well but i will not be able to join you in this task
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:46 PM on August 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


i have almost completely given up capitalization and end-of-sentence puntuation to save precious milliseconds

you will pry my hoard of en-dashes from my dead cold fingers though

and my fingers are the biggest
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:48 PM on August 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


For me the biggest issue is that many people see the whole election as an ongoing self-contained breaking-news event that needs to be continually and exhaustively discussed. For months.

It kind of is, here in the US. I actually think the megathreads are helpful by corralling every op-ed and new poll and breaking news event into one thread instead of having people try and post all this stuff to the blue.
posted by lalex at 2:54 PM on August 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


many people see the whole election as an ongoing self-contained breaking-news event that needs to be continually and exhaustively discussed. For months.

It kind of is, here in the US.


I'd add on to that that this seems to me to be a function both of our strictly fixed-date elections calendar (which naturally leads to election creep each cycle) and, honestly, the fact that we are a really big democracy with a very large spectrum of political positions: we have millions of almost any political orientation you can think of and it takes a lot of hashing out.

Plus, you know, the nonzero possibility of a fascist takeover in a economically-unparalleled nuclear state with a bigger military than the rest of the world combined is a bit anxiety-inducing.
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:07 PM on August 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


I can't keep up with conflation, so new threads are an ease.
posted by clavdivs at 3:32 PM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh clavdivs, glad you showed up. You're a couple generations removed, how would you say is the best way to navigate the whole democratic-ish republic --> autocratic empire transition?
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:42 PM on August 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


Is it time to revisit Electionfilter? At least to keep the insanity contained? I could imagine one thread per week or 3,000 comments and auto-close all but the most recent 2. I meant there are ... like ten thousand years of this until November, tags/election2016 is already borderline a subsite and at some point it must spill out and affect the general culture of the site.
posted by Skorgu at 5:18 PM on August 3, 2016


Can't you just not open post that's about the election?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:49 PM on August 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have really mixed feelings about this. I've been avidly following the chats and agree that the chatfilter inside is not the best. On the other hand, each thread (even the post DNC ones) has contained a ton of links to new things as they rolled out instead of someone trying to shoehorn them into a Blue post, which I think is good.

Part of me wonders if the spectacle aspect of them might almost better fit Fanfare (see: Overinvested treating the election like a show), but the threads are still on the fighty side for Fanfare.

I don't have a good answer. My perception is these are corralling a lot in one place, making it easier for people to ignore, but I feel like my perspective is skewed since I've been glued to each thread since the DNC started (I didn't care about the RNC).

I would appreciate it if people self-policed for chatfilter, cut back a lot or marked the sarcasm, and marked parody clearly, though. Funny as I found the mild meltdown over "IS THIS REAL OR IS IT PARODY WTF????", a lot of the parody/fake posts couldn't be told from the actual things that happened (see also: Poe's Law).
posted by Deoridhe at 6:12 PM on August 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, I adore the election threads and have obsessively read ~every single comment in all of them. I just wonder if there's a more structured way to manage the coverage that might make it easier for both the mods and people who don't adore the wall-to-wall coverage.
posted by Skorgu at 6:23 PM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wasn't kidding when I wished for some kind of quiet room, as in other threads for people who don't want the wall to wall coverage. But I don't think that's possible at all. As it is, it seems like the mods are already taking the best approach by having these rolling megathreads. Plenty of people like them, and I can't imagine an alternative that sounds preferable. The site can't possibly serve everybody's needs, and this seems to be what most people want anyway.

And it seems like they're less contentious and demanding on the mods than they used to be, or are they?
posted by teponaztli at 7:01 PM on August 3, 2016


This discussion reminded me that my introduction to this site (10 years ago!!) was a Kottke post about the web's longest comment threads. 1729 comments was MeFi's record at the time. Sad.

As to the topic at hand. Considering that the time between the conventions and the first debate is considered "silly season", It feels like a good idea to dial back my compulsive need to have minute by minute updates of this election. The threads are definitely starting to eat their own tails.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:16 PM on August 3, 2016


Deoridhe: "if the spectacle aspect of them might almost better fit Fanfare"

I don't think they belong on Fanfare at all because in six months no one is going to care about them. Fanfare should be kept for media that will be durable and that at least in theory a user consuming the media long after the original posting can come and make comments on. See also sporting events.
posted by Mitheral at 7:21 PM on August 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


"how would you say is the best way to navigate the whole democratic-ish republic --> autocratic empire transition"

With the Millennium Falcon, of course.
posted by clavdivs at 10:36 PM on August 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


How are the election threads any different than any other thread on a topic you're not interested in participating in? I missing something here. Why do the threads bother people?
posted by bongo_x at 11:23 PM on August 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I wasn't kidding when I wished for some kind of quiet room, as in other threads for people who don't want the wall to wall coverage.

There is literally every other thread on the site. Your election hasn't actually taken over metafilter, or even the whole world, much as the it might seem otherwise when you're immersed in it.
posted by shelleycat at 12:22 AM on August 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


It would be fine to just ignore the election threads if I didn't care, but I do. I am as anxious about this as everyone else. The problem is that it's a choice between a firehouse and ignoring everything altogether. It just seems like there's a majority of people who have established this long-running election coverage with its own culture and conventions and so on. If you're not up to speed on all that, or if you're put off by liveblogging Trump rallies, then you might as well not care.

What I keep trying to tell people is that these threads make me feel worse about all of this. I mean, they make me feel bad about myself, like if I'm just not willing to be 100% on board with everything everything it's because I have the luxury of not caring as much as other people do. But I do care! I just wish there would be a midpoint between ignoring everything and being a part of endless commentary about just how horrible Donald Trump is and so on, endlessly, over tens of thousands of comments that build up at a rate of hundreds per hour. We need to stop treating these as separate threads, because even this meta post is about the most effective way to keep that massive train rolling. Am I the only person who wants some alternative without having to check out altogether?
posted by teponaztli at 1:51 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think part of the answer is that there are plenty of perfectly valid ways to follow the election that don't involve a MeFi thread. I really like the coverage at Talking Points Memo and can check there periodically and get the latest happenings without wading through every comment here. Every major US news organization has people following the candidates and frequent election reports. It's just fine to check out of the thread for a while and still keep yourself informed through other sources.
posted by zachlipton at 2:42 AM on August 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


We shouldn't assume a one-size-fits-all type of "election thread" anyways, because that automatically excludes minorities say in how they want to participate. The choice shouldn't be "take a break" versus "skim/type in 500+ pro-Democrat discussion threads", because framing it that way is a kind of defaulting and assumption-making about the very neutrality of those threads as a political discursive space.

A simple thing to do is to let the topic of the post frame the kind/level of exchange you want. If you are interested in discussing critiques of a candidate, maybe one of the upcoming Wikileaks things, or a well-written essay/resource, or lesser-known event (like a talk), will create the framing for that conversation to happen. There would be an expectation that people commenting in these more specific topic threads to stay on topic, etc. Politics is multi-faceted, and post diversity should reflect that.
posted by polymodus at 2:51 AM on August 4, 2016


That said, I'd be down with a touch less of the Trump rally liveblogging. Watch or don't watch, sure, but most of it is just his rambling excuse for a stump speech, and there's not a ton of value in comments just reiterating that. He's doing 1-2 a day and most of them are pretty similar. Maybe if people just focus on reporting anything particularly significant (babies and mothers yelled at, fire marshals attacked, etc...) instead of recapping what has become routine?
posted by zachlipton at 2:52 AM on August 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


There would be an expectation that people commenting in these more specific topic threads to stay on topic, etc. Politics is multi-faceted, and post diversity should reflect that.

I hear you, but I think the resistance to this has been that the mods have generally wanted to corral election-related talk into single threads, and people who don't want election-related talk have told us clearly that they don't want a front page filled with election threads. Most of the FPPs that are of the form "here's an interesting essay about the election" tend to be closed with a note to drop it as a comment in the open thread. And this is pretty much a site norm for stuff not related to the election too; we don't generally do multiple open threads on closely related topics.

The result is that we pretty much have one active top election thread for discussing whatever the latest events are, along with a sort of community consensus that certain subtopics are, at least pending further events, essentially done and need not be relitigated.

So a greater diversity of posts would allow for better framed discussions, but it also means more discussions, which both the mods and some users don't seem to want. I think there's some more room for more general threads that discuss specific aspects of political theory without getting into this specific election though.
posted by zachlipton at 3:02 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


teponaztli: "It would be fine to just ignore the election threads if I didn't care, but I do. I am as anxious about this as everyone else. The problem is that it's a choice between a firehouse and ignoring everything altogether. "

I'm not sure whether the perspective of an outsider is worth much to you, but as someone very prone to anxiety myself, I honestly think it's okay to check out of the election for a bit. Come join us foreign devils in the rest of MeFi! It's terribly pleasant and calm over here (well, relatively speaking - actually it's pretty shit here too but it's totes nicer than over there in the middle of the hurricane).

I'm kind of serious. I lived in Ohio for the trainwreck that was the 2004 election, and as a foreigner I was just aghast at how overwhelming the whole thing was. It goes on for so long, and it does not let up. The election is everywhere, and everyone is so invested in it. All my American friends would get worn out, their nerves would fray, they'd lose sleep with worry, and yet still they couldn't make themselves tune out because this stuff genuinely matters. It's really important. But from an outside perspective, it's also kind of weird and sad to see folks getting so distressed about something you have very little control over. Heck, even if you really think there's something you can do personally, you're probably better off giving yourself a few weeks of saying "bugger the election", chilling out with us over on the rest of MeFi, and coming back to the whole thing in a few weeks when you're feeling a bit more resilient. We'd love the company!
posted by the existence of stars below the horizon at 3:26 AM on August 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Can't you just not open post that's about the election?

So, for one thing, "can't you just not read [that kind of thread]?" has never been an acceptable response to the question of whether a type of thread is appropriate for MeFi. It historically hasn't flown for newsfilter, chatfilter, I/P, or anything else.

For another, I think this response misses the point that it isn't a hard "yes/no" dichotomy. As I said above, I'm OK with the notion of election threads, particularly given that there's clearly a pent up desire for them and without them things will spill over elsewhere. However, the liveblogging aspect seems completely out of control. The current thread is going to easily cross 1,000 comments in a 24-hour period, with little sign of slowing despite the fact that not a lot of actual news occurred in the campaign yesterday.

For the conventions, OK, I get it. Even for the just post convention stuff (e.g. Trump's apparent meltdown), OK, kinda. But at this point, it feels like there's a few dozen people who maybe should just exchange twitter handles and do their snarking there.
posted by tocts at 4:36 AM on August 4, 2016


Everyone has the luxury of not caring. Really, everyone. This one event that's three months away is not compulsory, nor is getting worked up in a lather for months before hand. Caring so much that you subject yourself to internet discussions you don't like is a choice, caring at all is a choice. Particularly right now when nothing real is actually happening anyway.

I'd even argue that immersing yourself in this whole media storm propaganda event and being constantly worked up about it is the luxury. It's not like it makes any kind of real difference in the world after all.
posted by shelleycat at 5:55 AM on August 4, 2016


I'm supposed to be working right now, but I'm reading a meta post about the x * 105 comments I can't catch up with. I use the filter-by-favorites greasemonkey script, but I still can't keep up.

The obvious answer is "don't read the election posts". Maybe that's an obvious answer to a blue-stater, but here in red-state america, I need some refuge of sanity from the Trump yard signs, the "lock her up" and "Hillary for Prison 2016" bumper stickers, and comically large confederate flags flown from pickup trucks. It's easy to believe here that Trump can win. It's easy to believe here that Trump will win. I need a break from that shit. If you don't like election posts, read something else.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:19 AM on August 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I should note that I hate the very idea of filtering by favorites.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:20 AM on August 4, 2016


There are some threads that I participated in where I had an unpopular opinion and I found that as hard as it was sometimes, I have to just not go back into them. I really want to be part of the discussion and I feel what I have to say is important, but the (absolutely valid) response I would get just made me feel worse about the topic and myself. I find my quiet room in other threads like the ones about 70's decorating or how stores are setting up for Christmas already.

Maybe if you want a quieter discussion about the election you could reach out via memail to some of the participants for a one on one type of interaction. It might give you the level of information and back and forth that you can handle when the thread gets huge and overwhelming.
posted by hollygoheavy at 8:33 AM on August 4, 2016


> I'd even argue that immersing yourself in this whole media storm propaganda event and being constantly worked up about it is the luxury. It's not like it makes any kind of real difference in the world after all.

Yeah, I think this is important to remember. I'm an American and obviously concerned about the possibility that my country will turn into a fascist hellhole ruled by a Dictator For Life, but my immersing myself constantly in every passing detail of Democalypse 2016 does not help. My solution (at this point) is to dip into the election threads once in a while, usually via the most-favorited comments in the Contact Activity field on the home page, skim for snark and good links, and then back out and do something else before the agita takes hold. Obviously this requires a certain level of self-restraint, but I suggest giving it a try; it's a nice medium between total immersion and "la la la I can't hear you."
posted by languagehat at 8:47 AM on August 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


So, for one thing, “can’t you just not read [that kind of thread]?” has never been an acceptable response to the question of whether a type of thread is appropriate for MeFi. It historically hasn't flown for newsfilter, chatfilter, I/P, or anything else.

Yet, ironically, that would seem to be the heart of concept of “flag it and move on”. (Although, for the purposes of the metaphor, a MetaTalk would be the largest kind of flag.)
posted by Going To Maine at 8:50 AM on August 4, 2016


Everyone has the luxury of not caring. Really, everyone.

Actually, no. I realize that dismissive snark towards Americans and American-focused discussions is kind of your thing, but many of us in the US, particularly immigrants, minorities, and women, do not have the luxury of not caring about this election.
posted by lalex at 11:27 AM on August 4, 2016 [13 favorites]


Yeah, for some of us it's like being told to stop worrying and learn to love the bomb.
posted by corb at 12:40 PM on August 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm not dismissively snarking at anything or anyone, that's not my thing, and I'm actually quite offended.

Posting or not posting in those threads makes literally zero difference to anything real. You can step away from the whole mess at any time, nothing will change. It will still be there when you get back. This isn't actually an immediate, emergent crisis that needs constant attention no matter how much the media tells us otherwise. If having that pointed out makes you feel uncomfortable then maybe look at your assumptions rather than attacking me.

If you don't want to disengage then that's fine, that's your choice. But having people be upset that the threads aren't as they want yet feeling that they are forced or required to read those threads makes no sense. Unfortunately Metafilter has lowered the bar to allow ongoing update threads with all the attendant chatter so it appears that's what we're stuck with. The rest of us just have to hope that the shittiness doesn't spill over into the rest of the site more than it already is.
posted by shelleycat at 12:48 PM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Actually, it does have a lot of impact on real things. I'm currently working hard on getting Republicans not to vote for Trump. One of the major things I'm able to use is the information, links, (and sometimes, jokes) pouring in in real time. I'm able to push that to Twitter followers and to real people I know. Knowing as these things come in mean I'm able to start pushing the narrative anti-Trump people want before the pro-Trump people have begun to counter it.

This is actually a crisis that needs real attention - if Trump is elected, it will be a horror show for many of us, and he still has a 30% chance of winning. It's not going to go away by sticking our heads in the sand.
posted by corb at 12:54 PM on August 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


I don't think anybody's advocating sticking our heads in the sand, just not spending all day and night immersed in MeFi threads (with time off for sleeping, eating, and enough work to pay for the computer connection). MeFi is obviously valuable for all of us, but it's easy to feel it's more vital than it is. The world will not end, nor will Trump be elected, if we take a break for a day.
posted by languagehat at 1:15 PM on August 4, 2016


This isn't actually an immediate, emergent crisis

It is, actually, for many of us. Maybe stop telling Americans how to feel about American things?
posted by lalex at 1:16 PM on August 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


corb: "Yeah, for some of us it's like being told to stop worrying and learn to love the bomb."

Yeah, even based on my now very old memories of Bush v Kerry, it's not like you can completely let go - the whole thing is terrifying and sometimes the good guys lose. Just... from this foreigner's perspective at least, try to look after yourselves? The US election is a really rough thing to have to be a part of, and you have my sympathy.
posted by the existence of stars below the horizon at 1:42 PM on August 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


but one of my primary misgivings about that daily con thread compromise is that people might sort of carry over some of that feeling as the new baseline normal.

Looks like they've turned into chat-about-US-politics now.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:12 AM on August 9, 2016


They were very much that prior to the conventions as well; the previous thread and the current one are much more in the vein and pace (minus a good chunk of fractiousness) of what we were seeing in e.g. March and April, vs. the breakneck of the convention weeks.

I don't expect them to ever be quiet or slow or composed solely of trenchant analysis, but where it's at now is basically the previous baseline, not a new, fundamentally different or chattier mode.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:39 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


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