Same sex marriage, 2002 August 22, 2002 5:14 AM   Subscribe

OK, I'm going to call troll on this. It's a continuation from another thread, so it's unnecessary. It's trollish because the poster is using the post not to point out something interesting or debate-worthy on the Web, but to further an agenda. Also, the poster uses arguments such as "wank off wanker".
posted by Summer to Etiquette/Policy at 5:14 AM (55 comments total)

And I commented in it, which I shouldn't have done.
posted by Summer at 5:15 AM on August 22, 2002

His non-troll posts seem quite rare. I suspect that he either is baiting us or has strong beliefs that are at odds with most of the local populace and the inability to express those beliefs without irritating folks for miles around. Either way, he/she's not going to win the Miss Metafilter Congeniality award at this rate...
posted by websavvy at 5:52 AM on August 22, 2002

...but to further an agenda.

a lot (if not the majority) of posts do that....why kill this one?
It's an important issue, and in terms of the post--if he had linked to the NY Times announcement about publishing marriage notices, would that have made it better? (newsy item, getting lots of press, etc...)
posted by amberglow at 5:54 AM on August 22, 2002

A thread with a topic that is introduced by a poster with (even the appearance of) an open mind can be wonderfully refreshing. People make valid points, back them up, enlighten and are enlightened.

Posts by those who have their own agenda and whose topics are hand-picked to cause a fight or serve as a sounding board to stridently convince the Metafilter-going public as to the superiority of their beliefs are different. They quickly turn into our version of hell. (see Israel/Palestine threads)
posted by websavvy at 6:08 AM on August 22, 2002

but to further an agenda

What agenda could I possibly have? I don't have time for agendas. I wanted to expand on an emotional and important topic that I thought deserved a front page thread.

Sadly, most of the thread's posters just told me what a dick I am, and what I had already said (again).

Frankly, I really didn't want to become such a central figure in the post. I wanted to leave it to the fifteen thousand other metafilter members.

I know what my own opinion is, and I don't want to hear it.

What I also don't want to do is to have to explain this.

What the hell happened to the discussion?
posted by hama7 at 6:08 AM on August 22, 2002

summer, I highly respect your opinion, but I've got to disagree with you on this one. Even though I don't agree with hama7's view, I fail to see how impassioned argument constitutes "trolling."

At an early stage in the thread he was questioned about the post, to which he replied: "adam: I made some goofy comments about a week or so ago, which, despite my being called a "bigot troll" several times, led to a conversation that I couldn't finish. I felt that a researched thread might be more appropriate. Is it?" This suggests to me that his intent was clearly not to "further an agenda," and just as clearly was to point out something debate-worthy (although whether it's particularly timely is a debatable issue).

As for the "wank off wanker," it was actually "wank on, wanker." And it needs to be placed in context -- hama7 was responding to a fairly vitriolic post from "JollyWanker": "MetaFilter: As Usenet as We Wanna Be"... So, you said something stupid in a previous thread, now you're gonna drag yourself (and everybody else) through it again in some lame attempt to save face, convince others, or both?" Considering that "JollyWanker" called him stupid and lame, I don't think saying "wank on, wanker" was particularly trollish.

Just my 2 cents.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:12 AM on August 22, 2002

hama7, I think your first mistake was in trying to moderate the discussion. When you do this, people get ticked off and the discussion doesn't follow a natural progression. Perhaps this might be part of what is meant by an "agenda". If you were interested in discussion, you should have sat back and listened to it, not contributed your well-known opinions on the subject.
posted by ashbury at 6:17 AM on August 22, 2002

It's going to be an uphill fight to convince some folks that this isn't about hama7's oh-so-radically-different opinions, but come on. Look who's been dealing with hama7 today. Is there anyone who thinks members like evanizer and dash_slot can't handle a difference of opinion?

This is about hama7's need for attention by continually pissing on basic principles of thoughtful debate. Fuck that garbage.
posted by mediareport at 6:18 AM on August 22, 2002

I don't think Hama7 is a troll.

But I am vaguely reminded of Jbou, in terms of. . . acuity, perhaps? Can't quite think of the word I want.

(Yes I read the MeTa archives. Maybe I'm housebound or somethin'.)
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:19 AM on August 22, 2002

I think the thread had a chance, until certain people turned it into an attack on hama--there's derailing for you, regardless of how hama responded.

and mediareport and others, did hama get demerits or just "F" on his metafilter report card? If you're pissed off by the way he plays, don't play with him.
posted by amberglow at 6:26 AM on August 22, 2002

Metafilter: Post whatever you like, but Jesus Christ don't disagree with our dogma.
posted by owillis at 6:28 AM on August 22, 2002

Hama, you're misunderstanding the objection to your post. You want to do repeat posts on topics that have already been covered, just to make yourself feel better (or, feel worse, 'cause the result's not going to be any different no matter how many times you post it)? Fine. There's a place for you and yours, but it sure as hell isn't MetaFilter.

Please try to understand: this isn't Usenet. If you want to post on a topic that's been discussed previously, you absolutely must bring something new to the discussion: new information, a new angle, something... This isn't a "chatboard", it's a place to post interesting links to web content and discuss them.

You don't want to be reminded of the opinions you already know no one will agree with. You don't want to explain your purpose in posting this again. You pop up numerous times to moderate the thread. And you wonder what happened to the discussion?!

Whatever. Just some friendly advice: you've been here twenty days. You might want to spend a little time learning how MetaFilter operates before you try this kind of thing again.

(owillis: C'mon, don't encourage him... This isn't about the topic content, and you bloody well know it.)
posted by JollyWanker at 6:32 AM on August 22, 2002

I know I got the wanker bit wrong, pardonyou, but it's still offensive, even if it is playing on Jollywanker's name.

Hama7 continued a thread that had already turned ugly in order to state opinions already given. He (she?) knows dot_slash and evanizer's opinions already. Why invite them in for a fight?

Saying you respect someone's opinion doesn't wash when you use an argument like: "Should I claim "discrimination" or demand state approval for my marriage to my macaw?" Just because Hama7 used polite language in the first bit of the thread doesn't mean he really does want a fair argument.

There are many people on Metafilter who I completely disagree with. I don't call any of them a troll because they attempt informed discussion and care more about the issue than seeking attention. I don't think this applies to hama7.
posted by Summer at 6:32 AM on August 22, 2002

If you're pissed off by the way he plays, don't play with him.

I don't, actually. But when I wake up to utterly illogical Campus Crusade for Christ "arguments" on the front page, it gets my attention, you know? Then, when I realized that hama7 hadn't even bothered to address a single one of the thoughtful points others had offered him in the previous thread before posting a tired fundamentalist Christian "opinion" he almost certainly doesn't share, I think I was quite justified in thinking troll.

Look, I *love* engaging opinions different from my own. I just wish hama7 felt the same.
posted by mediareport at 6:33 AM on August 22, 2002

Posts by those who have their own agenda

Everyone has their own agenda. The way you present it is what counts.
posted by insomnyuk at 6:33 AM on August 22, 2002

Unless, of course, you are for the hive-mind, collective, MetaFilter 'agenda', whatever that may be.
posted by insomnyuk at 6:35 AM on August 22, 2002


You might want to consider that within every arrogant boob, who thinks that they are surrounded by like-thinking sheep, there beats the heart of a troll.
posted by websavvy at 6:39 AM on August 22, 2002

No, insomnyuk, not everyone does have their own agenda. Everyone has their own opinion, which is not the same thing. Metafilter's about arguing those opinions not walking all over other peoples'.
posted by Summer at 6:40 AM on August 22, 2002

Unless, of course, you are for the hive-mind, collective, MetaFilter 'agenda', whatever that may be. --insomnyuk

I don't know what this means. Is it a slag against MeFi? Whatever it is, I don't think that metafilter has a hive-mind, collective agenda. For the most part people are allowed to have differing opinions, so long as they are presented in a cogent, literate, and logical fashion. It seems that when those opinions are presented as personal soap boxes, or a personal agenda is apparent, MeFites disapprove.

FWIW, hama7 should have published on his own blog, if he has one, and invited people over for the discussion.
posted by ashbury at 6:44 AM on August 22, 2002

I was being partly facetious regarding the hive-mind thing, but on MeFi if you hold an unpopular position, you risk being shouted down and not argued with rationally (although the better you do presenting your side, the less you get flamed). On the flip side, if you say something everyone already agrees with, there will be a lot of 'hear hear' and 'aye'. That's just how groups work, socially.

No, insomnyuk, not everyone does have their own agenda. Everyone has their own opinion

I was equating agenda with opinion. Apologies. So if by agenda you mean specific purpose, it seems hama7 was only trying to cause a debate, I don't think he has a secret gay-bashing agenda as some people are claiming.

You might want to consider that within every arrogant boob, who thinks that they are surrounded by like-thinking sheep, there beats the heart of a troll.

Yeah, and there are people who think they speak for everyone else when they talk. Opposite end of the pole, don't you think?

posted by insomnyuk at 7:02 AM on August 22, 2002

Obviously Hama7's reputation precedes him. At face value, his front page post seemed worthy of discussion albeit a hot button issue. When I first opened the thread, I didn't even look to see who posted it and noticed that the discussion started taking off and was rather intelligent. Then hama7 was brought in and the thread went in the shitter. So he's a troll? In what way? At face value it appeared to be a sincere attempt to get a healthy discussion going. Sure he's vitriolic but christ, I've seen a lot worse here. I have to agree with Ashbury's earlier comment about hama7 sitting back and listening. If you truly wanted to learn something then exchanging barbs with other members only undermines your efforts. Also hama7, I would suggest getting an email address where people can take the discussion off line if they like. Right now you are just a faceless username rolling grenades in a room full of already pissed off people.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:06 AM on August 22, 2002

Attention Metafilter: I love you.

I love the forum. I love the pretty blue color. I love the trackbacks. I love the characters. I love the pretty yellow sparkling links. I love that you can read back everything you've ever posted. I paid to join, eventually. I love that websites of almost all members are available at a mouse click. I love that mathowie has made all this possible for us.

What I don't love is hypocrisy. If this is truly a discussion forum (you may think I am new but I have been with you for years), presenting a different opinion should not come as a shock worthy hand-wringing and deliberation.

Admittedly, most of my views are right-of-center, and I have a lot to learn from the left-of-center enthusiasts, but political differences are only that.

Sometimes, there's a good reason for debate, and usually it beats calling somebody a "troll".
posted by hama7 at 7:09 AM on August 22, 2002

Hama7, are you Dave Winer?
posted by websavvy at 7:21 AM on August 22, 2002

note that the thread didn't turn into a troll thread until adamgreenfield asked for justification of the initial post, for which hama7 gave a reasonable explanation. seemed to open the floodgates for others to yell troll. enter defensiveness, namecalling, and the inevitable tears.

i'd be more prone to calling frasermoo a troll for his (completely off-topic) comment, which he never replied to. granted he did post late at night (assuming he's in the states), but if you're going to sling poo, have the decency to stick around and take responsibility for your actions.
posted by patricking at 7:29 AM on August 22, 2002

Psssst, hama7, for five bucks I can fix you up with a new identity, pronto. Just let me know what you were thinking of in the way of a handle. harveymilkman and chomskyfriend_3 are available. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:33 AM on August 22, 2002

I don't know hama7's posting history, so I can't speak to claims that he was beating a dead horse or repeatedly trying to get attention or whatever. But the specific wording of the post doesn't seem trollish at all. It's not my favorite kind of post (designed, as it is, to provoke discussion rather than to point out something interesting on the web), but it contains links to both sides of the argument and largely refrains from editorializing. Compare to any of a gajillion posts about the Bush administration, such as this recent one by Nofundy: "Things you won't hear at the Wacko dog and pony show today on the economy. Would some real discussion of these issues have been so bad? ... Isn't the keynote speaker a prime example of what is wrong in corporate America today?" That seems a lot more "Here's what you should think!" than this one.

If hama7's name was attached to the post, would we still have this MeTa thread?
posted by Shadowkeeper at 7:35 AM on August 22, 2002

Miguel: chomskyfriend_5100 would be more appropo, methinks
posted by insomnyuk at 7:36 AM on August 22, 2002

KevinSkomsvold: Obviously Hama7's reputation precedes him.

It was his failure to address the issues in the discussion he started four days ago that preceded him, Kevin. To refresh:

Also there is absolutely no reason that gays need to marry. There really is no reason to enter this discussion, because it's so ridiculous. I know plenty of people will get rabidly furious over a simple comment as that, but it is really that simple.

Someone please argue that's not a troll. I'm dying to hear that one. In response, bas67 posted a thoughtful comment, as did dash_slot, who added "feck off, bigot troll."

hama's response, as usual, was to ignore the thoughtful comment and reply with this:

I told you you'd get angry. But it's true.

It goes on from there. The discussion ended with hama7 disappearing, leaving unanswered many powerful points that punctured his "arguments." Now, today, he posts a Campus Crusade for Christ link to the front page as a reply. Uh, yeah. That's someone who "loves" MeFi.

One more thing: Why are tired rehashings of fundamentalist Christian attacks on gay rights OK to post to MeFi's front page when double-posts about the latest pop culture fluff aren't?

hama7: did you search MeFi for past debates about gay marriage and read the arguments there before posting?

posted by mediareport at 7:55 AM on August 22, 2002

Shadowkeeper: the immediate posting history is key here. If hama wanted to continue the discussion, he already had the thread he began and then ignored. His bids for attention have been obvious since almost the first day he got here, as has his unwillingness (or, I'm beginning to suspect, inability) to intelligently defend his positions. The fact that he covers for himself by playing the oppressed minority won't wash anymore.
posted by mediareport at 8:02 AM on August 22, 2002

Sorry, "the thread he began and then ignored" should read "the discussion he began in another thread and then ignored."
posted by mediareport at 8:04 AM on August 22, 2002

HarveyMilkman Miguel? wow, your more cold hearted then your 201 says...says here you were NOT in Lisbon in '74, is this true?
posted by clavdivs at 8:18 AM on August 22, 2002

It was his failure to address the issues in the discussion he started four days ago that preceded him,

Actually, it was that very unfinished discussion that prompted me to publish another post, to which all would have a chance to respond .

(as I mentioned in the first or second response.)
posted by hama7 at 8:38 AM on August 22, 2002

I felt that a researched thread might be more appropriate.

It would have been.

Just for feedback: I think you ventured into trollery at the scare quotes in the front page post, put on the troll mask when you compared two people gettiing married to someone marrying their pet, and hunkered down under the bridge when you said "But can we just discuss the issue? I still feel that an adequate counter-argument has not been presented, and probably won't be."

A key sign of a troll thread is pretending counter-arguments haven't happened when they already have been presented.

Apart from that: the gays around here will actually get their hackles up when you're trying to make a religious-based case for second-class citizenship. You should be prepared for that when you post links. Consider it part of the territory.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:56 AM on August 22, 2002

Also, it bothers more than just the gay people around here. It aggrevates the faux-mos, too.
posted by ColdChef at 9:17 AM on August 22, 2002

I hate those faux-mo mofos.
posted by liam at 9:51 AM on August 22, 2002

Thread's gone.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:52 AM on August 22, 2002

hama7, you've been a member since August 2, 2002. You've posted 5 links and 136 comments to MetaFilter and no threads and 10 comments to MetaTalk. It's been a busy 20 days. I think you might have more success if you read more, and commented and posted a bit more sparingly.

posted by theora55 at 9:52 AM on August 22, 2002

Actually, it was that very unfinished discussion that prompted me to publish another post, to which all would have a chance to respond .

So, why didn't you continue the discussion in that thread? Threads don't close for a month, and that thread was four days old.

Why would anyone suspect that you wanted to continue a discussion you never engaged in? It's not as if you did anything more than throw your opinion out there, simultaneously label any oppossing viewpoint "ridiculous,", and then said you didn't want to discuss it. How in the living fuck do you want the community to respond to that?

When you say, "There really is no reason to enter this discussion," why would you post a thread on the topic four days later? Can you please, for the love of all that is sacred and pure, explain these contradictions to us?

You illuminated our minds with this statement: "I still give up, but I would like to discuss this," again attempting to dictate the flow of discussion on your terms.

You were responded to, with a well thought out post, listing direct rebuttals to your "stance," and you continued the discussion with one, two, three, four, five, six comments in that thread. Can you tell me how this is an "unfinished discussion," as you stated above? What was unfinished?
posted by adampsyche at 10:00 AM on August 22, 2002

The Hand is swift and just.

[with thanks to ColdChef]
posted by evanizer at 10:01 AM on August 22, 2002

shit, number five up there was a link to your user page, not the post. my bad.
posted by adampsyche at 10:02 AM on August 22, 2002

I love that you can read back everything you've ever posted.

I love that about Metafilter too. Or, I should say, I used to love that, because that was true for me until today, when a thread I was participating in was deleted. There was legitimate, thoughtful discussion going on in that thread. Yes, there was a lot of flaming and name-calling too, but I valued the thoughtful discussion nonetheless.

posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:14 AM on August 22, 2002

Jolly Wanker nailed it

This isn't a community chat board, it's not solely about discussing topics.

hama7, it appears that you wanted to continue an old discussion, so you dug up some links from a quick google search, and figured that was a good enough excuse to post a topic you, a member among thousands, were solely interested in. It's a poor excuse for a new post on MetaFilter.

It's a controversial topic, yes, but the way it was posted and reacted to, I can't see how it could have been anything besides everyone vs. hama7. I question why you posted it hama7. Why start a new thread yourself, in a community space shared by others, just so you can see your pet issue discussed again?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:19 AM on August 22, 2002

DevilsAdvocate: the thread does live on here. No comments can be added of course.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:20 AM on August 22, 2002

Threads don't close for a month, and that thread was four days old.

Well, a debate rarely goes longer than that.

I'm personally disappointed that the thread was deleted only because I thought a fairly decent debate and discussion had been salvaged within. Here is the lofi cache of the discussion, in case people wish to review. Even if a user (other than hama7, who now has a Reputation) posted what they thought were well reasoned and honest arguments on any topic relating to such a sensitive issue, there would be inevitable flames. But the presentation could have been much, much better than what he posted on his blog (permalink).
posted by insomnyuk at 10:21 AM on August 22, 2002

I think the problem is when someone posts to the front page for the sole purpose of discussing an issue:

I wanted to expand on an emotional and important topic that I thought deserved a front page thread.

This isn't the place to discuss an issue. It's the place to discuss something on the web. If you're posting a link only to justify the discussion, you shouldn't be posting at all. That definitely qualifyies as "having an agenda" in my book*.

*Of course my book is a dogeared copy of "Superfudge!", but that's neither here nor there.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:24 AM on August 22, 2002

So let me get this straight, it's kosher for an adequate post to be deleted because the resulting discussion is deemed poor or problematic? So if the best MeFi post of all time is posted and several people go in and piss on the affiliated thread, it's the entire POST+THREAD that gets deleted, rather than the inappropriate comments? Seems to me this gives an inordinate amount of power to the agenda-driven troll-types among us.
posted by rushmc at 10:30 AM on August 22, 2002

I had to laugh, though, when hama7 referred to mediareport as mediaretort. I followed hama7's user link to his blog, and decided that if ever there was going to be someone who should double- and triple-check the spelling of other people's names, it would be a guy called "Bonner".
posted by websavvy at 10:30 AM on August 22, 2002

Rushmc, I think the thread in question became unsalvageable because the good comments (and there were many) were bound up with the stupid comments (and there were many). Take out the stupid and the good doesn't make any sense. On the other hand, isolated thread pissing trolls in a good discussion/post are easily removed.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:39 AM on August 22, 2002

it's kosher for an adequate post to be deleted

Adequate? Matt called it "a poor excuse for a new post." A poor excuse for a post is "adequate?"
posted by mediareport at 10:51 AM on August 22, 2002

Rush, it was a poor excuse for a post.

Let me elaborate on the problem.

Issues are only interesting on MetaFilter as an addendum to the original post.

If someone wants to talk about abortion, the death penalty, evolution, or prison life, a very poor post would be one that grabs a few pro and con links and aims to discuss the issue directly.

A more successful approach has been to talk about news stories or weird sites, and then tangentially discuss the underlying issues. I think that's when MetaFilter shines and isn't a polarized "you're a troll! no you are!" type of place.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:24 PM on August 22, 2002

Okay, I agree with that, and in that context, it was a poor Metafilter post. I certainly didn't care for it myself, and am not seeking to defend it per se. However, I don't think it was significantly worse by your definition here (as an "issue post") than a lot of other posts that are never questioned. It's just painful to see a lot of people put a lot of effort into a discussion, only to see it summarily deleted. But I guess I can see why you feel it necessary to actively discourage certain types of behaviors here, even where some of them might be far from uncommon. Perhaps those most of all.
posted by rushmc at 3:59 PM on August 22, 2002

Well, *cough* I certainly didn't add anything useful to that thread. Sorry about that.

It is probably better off deleted, because the barrage of bad posts (with exceptions, of course. Some were good.) that started the thread before the discussion firmed are nothing people should take examples from.

I think that there is definitely a resistance to some viewpoints here, but that's not entirely a bad thing (though it can be). It does, in some cases lead to threads like this, which is unfortunate. However, if you want to push a position that claims some people should be treated differently than others, it should be up to you to find well-researched and thoughtful examples of your opinion to post. It's not enough to just say "I think this." Not if you expect reasoned responses. No one deserves to be to be thoughtfully debated on whatever point they feel like posting about, so any issue posts need to be very carefully put together.
posted by Nothing at 4:28 PM on August 22, 2002

I think hama7 misunderstands what constitutes a discussion, you can't start a discussion out with something hateful and inflammatory and expect people to not want you to respond further. It makes people frustrated when you don't.

If this is truly a discussion forum... presenting a different opinion should not come as a shock worthy hand-wringing and deliberation.

exactly, key word discussion, which means you talk back and forth. Very rarely on mefi do people ask direct questions of one another, but i think when numerous people request an answer to the same question and you fail to respond you can no longer pretend you are in a "discussion".

this is another relevant thread.

and i love "mediaretort". hehe
posted by rhyax at 4:52 PM on August 22, 2002

have just read the thread on lo-fi, up to the point of deletion, before heading here.

i feel sad that all the support behind equal rights in that thread has been lost. hama7 was not persuaded in that thread - or anywhere else - & Hama, you don't provide an email, so we can't banter about it. I do put an email on my userpage, so, I'm open to correspondence.

I think you know that you are wrong, but somehow cannot refute the arguments that your opponents have on this topic. That means, if you are arguing in good faith (not fallaciously, not to abuse, not from ideology), integrity demands that you must concede the debate as lost.

And there only is MetaTalk, as Mefi is unavailable to us now.

Till the next time... ;)

LoFi is the way to go!

posted by dash_slot- at 5:38 PM on August 22, 2002

ok i've caught up now:

hama7, i'm not gonna rehash any arguments behind the post, it's been deemed sub-par, i couldn't argue with that. your arguments persuaded few people, and therefore also are sub-par.

the trolling you are not alone in, nor the opposition to equality. you're not even the only rightwinger here (i could name at least one self defined right wing gay who is a stalwart of MeFi).

don't lump us all together - there is as much one MeFi agenda as there is one american agenda. it would be a no-brainer otherwise.

i love people with dissenting views - i can indulge in my favourite pastime, debate. but i will not accept that i'm second class (yes, many classify, distinguish and discriminate between gay and straight - never to the straights disadvantage, as far as I can tell, so it can't be random).

equality-deniers are behind the times, bankrupt intellectually. you now need to justify your views to a fair minded constituency, at least here.

as has been said before, the thread we were in before is still open - anyone can still post over there if it's felt like this has more mileage. and as i said before, hama7, my email is on my userpage. i have been known to change my mind: have you?

[where's frasermoo, btw?]
posted by dash_slot- at 6:14 PM on August 22, 2002

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