Disambiguating 45 from 46 April 2, 2019 8:05 PM   Subscribe

For the sake of our tender political psyches as well as the mods' I propose either: A )Dem primary candidates' posts are not included on the current US politics side bar or B) there be a separate Demprimary side bar, with the same opt in/out button.

I have pre-emptive Democratic Primary heartburn, as I, like I'm sure many mefites do, have feelings about various candidates. For the sake of our mods, and our feelings, I hope we can cordon off the dem primary related posts. Altenatively, perhaps not include them in any sidebar, until there is a more realistic playing ground. Currently, the posts associated with a given candidate seem to be negative articles, with the dialog heavily pitched among opposing camps sniping, and not really any productive conversation.
Thus I suggest we stop pointing up candidate specific posts on the current sidebar for the duration and/or make a separate sidebar for this primary.... which is so. far. away. from. now.
posted by Cold Lurkey to Etiquette/Policy at 8:05 PM (29 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I definitely hear you on the preemptive fatigue; some of this "it's already yet already a pile of fraughtness" stuff is what we were anticipating with the big post about keeping primaries stuff manageable back toward the start of the year.

That said, my gut take is I don't feel like creating additional distinct space for primaries on the sidebar would be a net improvement; the US politics sidebar is there as a general navigation aid, and dedicated threads about primary candidates make sense to me part of what gets catalogued there.

Since we're frequently redirecting folks getting into the weeds of this or that candidate or issue to a dedicated thread if one exists, keeping those visible in the one space specifically dedicated to to that feels appropriate to me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:11 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


To be clear, is that support for two US politics threads, in Current Shit Vortex and Possible Future Optimism (with Distinct Undertones of Different Shit) versions? If so, it makes sense to me.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Currently, the posts associated with a given candidate seem to be negative articles, with the dialog heavily pitched among opposing camps sniping, and not really any productive conversation.

I would personally like a good balanced post on each candidate to get a feel for who they are and to get something more from the discussion about them, but I'm not sure that can happen here since many seem to have already gone all in on specific candidates. Some of the conversation has been really good, but there's a lot of sniping that is less productive for being antagonistic and sometimes not entirely accurate in the claims.

I don't know what the best course would be since it seems these conversations are going to be unavoidable but the manner in which they are discussed might make that a difficult thing to maintain for the site.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:33 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't it take up less space to have new megathreads for everyone who isn't running?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:53 PM on April 2 [14 favorites]


I would personally like a good balanced post on each candidate to get a feel for who they are and to get something more from the discussion about them

Yeah, the fact that our discussion of Pete Buttigieg is based around a hatchet job article which has been shown to be full of misrepresentations, posted by someone who's made it clear he has an ax to grind about liberals, has not made for the most informative and thoughtful of MetaFilter political threads.

On the other hand, I don't know if either the userbase or the mods want to go through the hell of two Pete Buttigieg FPPs!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:50 AM on April 3 [11 favorites]


On the other hand, I don't know if either the userbase or the mods want to go through the hell of two Pete Buttigieg FPPs!

Oh, lord no. Maybe if he's still anything like a viable candidate after the debates or something, but people did enough pushing back to at least give some broader notion of who Buttigieg is for that one to be sufficient I'd think. Let's just hope the other mayor, Wayne Messam, gets a better post. Heh.

Really though I would like to have a good post and discussion about some of the other candidates like Gillibrand, Klobuchar, Booker, and Harris but I can already see there are going to be some similar kinds of reactions to at least some of them judging from how Harris' name tends to bring some set responses. (Which doesn't make them invalid, just seem closed to discussion or further consideration.)
posted by gusottertrout at 2:57 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


The article in that Buttigieg post was just such a hit-piece that I was surprised that it stayed up. Are we just going to do this for every candidate? Or every candidate except for one who got a super glowing FPP?
posted by octothorpe at 4:48 AM on April 3 [9 favorites]


The candidate-specific FPPs seem less likely to go off track or become megathreads if they’re about a candidate and a specific issue, not just “talk about this candidate.” The Biden/touching thread seems like a good place to discuss Biden’s history of that and the concept of good touch/bad touch in general, a less good place to discuss Biden’s general electability, and definitely not the right place to discuss Other Candidate’s newest speech on health care or updated horse race analysis. Maybe that’s how we keep them from turning into megathreads or taking over the front page.
posted by sallybrown at 5:23 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


(I would also definitely read a thread explaining what it means that so many candidates’ names start with B.)
posted by sallybrown at 5:25 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


"The article in that Buttigieg post was just such a hit-piece that I was surprised that it stayed up."

Nobody flagged it up to us as an obvious hit piece until it had already been pretty robustly discussed, and it isn't feasible for us to read every single article posted (especially such long ones!) while also keeping up with the site itself. If someone had contact-form e-mailed us early on to say "hey this is a hit piece full of misrepresentations, such as X, Y, and Z, which you can see refuted here," or "the guy who posted this really hates liberals" or "the site this was posted on is problematic in these specific ways," we would have taken a second look at it much earlier.

I actually lived in South Bend for a while, so when I did read the article (some hours after it was posted), I was going, "thiiiiiiiiiiiis does not seem correct?" when reading about the housing program, based on what I knew from living there and what friends who still live there have to say about Buttigieg and the housing situation (and I'm kind-of a housing policy nerd), but then I was like "Well, it's been 20 years since I lived there and it's not like I keep up with the blow-by-blow of South Bend politics, so maybe I'm just not aware?" So even with some specific knowledge, it wasn't nearly specific enough to be sure (sure enough to delete, anyway!) that it was a hit piece and that I wasn't just ignorant of recent developments or opposing views. So if you think a piece is problematic to the point of deletion, and can provide us with specific information about why, that is super-helpful!

My paradigmatic example is, there was a hockey thread where people were calling a player by the wrong name, which I had no way of knowing (I like hockey and watch it sometimes, but I probably couldn't name a single NHL player off the top of my head), and it got flagged but I had no idea why? And then someone hit the contact form and said, "Hey, this player is actually named John Smith, and when people call him John Stacy, it's actually a homophobic & misogynistic slur suggesting he's too gay/effeminate to be in the NHL" (those weren't the names, but something like that, a usually-female name that could plausibly be a last name or male name) and linked to an article (from Sports Illustrated or somewhere) talking about the situation. And I was like, "Yeah, whoa, that is not okay!" and was able to take action. But sometimes we just don't have enough domain-specific knowledge to know, and users can help us a lot by giving us that context information.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:06 AM on April 3 [14 favorites]


full of misrepresentations

What are the other misrepresentations?
posted by fleacircus at 9:00 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the fact that our discussion of Pete Buttigieg is based around a hatchet job article which has been shown to be full of misrepresentations, posted by someone who's made it clear he has an ax to grind about liberals, has not made for the most informative and thoughtful of MetaFilter political threads.

Do you honestly think that the discussion would have gone significantly differently if it had been any other article about Buttigieg? That A) most of the commenters actually read the article, and B) that most of those commenters hadn't already read the article before it was posted here? That posting some other article would have tipped all of the various commenters the other direction on him? That the CA article wouldn't have come up in the first few comments anyway?

He's not an unknown candidate in April 2019. The Democratic presidential primary isn't a niche discussion that mefites need to be educated on and can be easily swayed by the framing.
posted by Etrigan at 9:20 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


posted by someone who's made it clear he has an ax to grind about liberals

this is an extremely uncharitable way of talking about a fellow mefite who you happen to disagree with, and exactly the kind of rhetoric that causes the politics threads to devolve into such nasty fighty situations.
posted by JimBennett at 10:13 AM on April 3 [12 favorites]


Do you honestly think that the discussion would have gone significantly differently if it had been any other article about Buttigieg?...The Democratic presidential primary isn't a niche discussion that mefites need to be educated on and can be easily swayed by the framing.

Not the person you're responding to, but: I do. I think that, precisely because the primaries aren't a niche issue, it's all the more important that discussions around them not be framed narrowly, because the range of people interested is broad rather than narrow.

Having the only article in a post be 'fork this guy' (self-admittedly, the piece is 'relentlessly negative') does, I think, skew who's inclined to comment and what people are inclined to comment about. Like: if the post was 'he's running,' and the first few comments were 'yeah, fork this guy' that...wouldn't actually be on-topic, would it? But if the post is 'fork this guy,' then sure, it's not a derail to agree.

I didn't comment on the post because it was wholly a hit piece. I'd be equally uninterested in commenting on a fluff piece. Neither of those really allows people to engage with the candidate: it forces people to engage with the poster's framing of the candidate, and I don't think it makes sense to ask people to basically derail a discussion in a way that wouldn't be okay outside of political threads in order to challenge a post's framing.
posted by cjelli at 11:07 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]


Idea for disambiguating 45 from (pre)46: a new tag.

In addition to the USPolitics and USPoliticsMegathread tags, I think we could use potus46, or prepotus46 if we want to separate the time before we actually have a 46th president and the time after, under the new POTUS.

As of writing this comment, there two posts on the blue that use potus46, so we could either edit those, or just stick with potus46.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:30 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


To me "2020Primary" makes more intuitive sense but I don't know how anybody else feels about that! (And I don't use the tags very often to find the threads; frequent tag-users may have different feelings.)

Part of the reason we settled on "POTUS45" was that some people didn't want "Trump" showing up in tag clouds/lists because he is just. that. awful., and POTUS45 was settled on as clear without being so obvious it might be triggering to the casual tag-scroller. Hopefully POTUS46 will be someone substantially less awful and triggering and we can decide on a tag without the consideration that their very name is upsetting.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 11:49 AM on April 3 [6 favorites]


Just chiming in that I do not feel the Buttigieg article was "full of misrepresentations," and I maybe missed it but I also didn't see those misrepresentations enumerated in-thread? And in general, I would rather see pointedly critical articles about the candidates instead of glowing love-fests. There's just so many candidates that I don't have much patience with fluff pieces right now. I do not see how Metafilter would be greatly improved by a discussion centering around the Vanity Fair article about Beto, for instance.
posted by zeusianfog at 1:12 PM on April 3 [11 favorites]


I could, I think for every single candidate in the race, make a moderately reasonable "but he/she did/said/is X, which is obviously bad/wrong/renders one unelectable, there are lots of other candidates, thank you, next" argument in about 30 seconds. There's usually at least a kernel of truth, sometimes something close to a whole-truth, behind these arguments, and we can debate them ad nauseam until they reach "but her emails" levels. But when I can reflexively do this for every candidate, it also becomes somewhat devoid of meaning.

I don't think that means we need all fluff pieces, but when the entire thread is framed around criticism and we start off the discussion with a bunch of reflexive "nope; they're cancelled" comments, we're not really setting ourselves up for anything helpful. I think that candidates still have ideas and attributes that are worth learning about and engaging with even if they are not the candidate we're going to vote for in the primary. It's ok to think a candidate has done objectively bad things for which you won't support them, while at the same time engaging with their plans for the middle class. It's ok to engage with a candidate's plan for teacher pay or child care or antitrust without first gatekeeping their leftist/liberal bona fides. And I think it makes for a better discussion and a better MeFi.
posted by zachlipton at 2:25 PM on April 3 [14 favorites]


"Just chiming in that I do not feel the Buttigieg article was "full of misrepresentations,""

Just to be clear, I don't know if it was or wasn't, although I thought the parts about the South Bend housing program were problematic or one-sided (and those bits seem to have been pretty well-rebutted in thread). But if someone HAD alerted us that they thought the article was fight-bait, or full of misrepresentations, or posted in bad faith, or (this has happened a couple times) from a brand-new smart-looking website that turns out to be a front for right wing propaganda designed to trick lefties or whatever, especially if you can provide us context for the problem, we will absolutely go and look at it a little more deeply. It may be that we decide the post ought to stay up even if it's an absolutely terrible article! Maybe there's already been good conversation about why it's terrible, or the terrible article is a big deal and is going to turn up one way or another, or whatever.

But if you do see a post that makes you think "this article is terrible and problematic," it's worth letting us know why via the contact form or flag notes, because there are lots of things we don't know, and if you can provide us with context, we can make smarter decisions, even if that decision is just to watch the thread like a hawk, or to look out for particular sorts of trolls, or whatever.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:14 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


this is an extremely uncharitable way of talking about a fellow mefite who you happen to disagree with, and exactly the kind of rhetoric that causes the politics threads to devolve into such nasty fighty situations.

In fact it seems to me that the guideline should be - say whatever you feel about any candidate but assume the other commenters are generally acting in good faith!

At the same time pretty much the only way people aren't going to get in some fights about this stuff is by not having the threads. I've mostly been staying out of the threads, for a reason!
posted by atoxyl at 1:11 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Also there's gotta be a difference between a negative piece and a "hit piece." Current Affairs/Nathan Robinson articles have been here and been more-or-less liked plenty of times. If you think details of an article are inaccurate by all means make that clear, but I don't think Robinson is a hired gun out to take down the unstoppable electoral threat of Mayor Pete. He's a guy who writes a lot - a lot - of articles (openly) from a particular ideological angle and this is one of them.
posted by atoxyl at 1:18 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


say whatever you feel about any candidate

While yourself operating in good faith and within normal parameters of decency, I mean.
posted by atoxyl at 1:27 AM on April 4


"the guy who posted this really hates liberals" is a reason to delete something? Is this real?
posted by Space Coyote at 5:17 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


If you think details of an article are inaccurate by all means make that clear, but I don't think Robinson is a hired gun out to take down the unstoppable electoral threat of Mayor Pete.

Oh totally, I agree. My qualm, I guess, is that now this one negative article (to its credit it is up front about being negative), is now The Buttigeig Thread. I think zachlipton was absolutely correct in saying when the entire thread is framed around criticism and we start off the discussion with a bunch of reflexive "nope; they're cancelled" comments, we're not really setting ourselves up for anything helpful. I think it's also maybe asking a lot to assume that mefites will be very familiar with a given writer's ideological angle, especially if that's the only link. I'm not saying every bit of negativity has to be countered with fluff, and I'm not saying every primary-related thread is expected to be as robust as the main politics ones, but there's a lot to d space between them. A happy medium exists. All of the candidates have positives and negatives, I think posts reflecting that, especially this early on, would be wonderful.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:25 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


Space Coyote: "the guy who posted this really hates liberals" is a reason to delete something? Is this real?

I think the idea is that if someone is already biased against any debated topic, any posts they make about that topic can be scrutinized for bias. Israel/Palestine is the first topic that comes to mind where the threshold for new posts was pretty high, and some MeFites were further scrutinized due to prior comments on the topic.

Anyway, I heartily second 2020Primary as the tag to use for any and all primary-focused posts, for individuals or groups.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:08 PM on April 4


I think the idea is that if someone is already biased against any debated topic, any posts they make about that topic can be scrutinized for bias.

What does it mean to be "biased against a topic"?
posted by dusty potato at 8:08 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


If they come out with the same issues and complaints, which the mods say "hey, we've heard you, please take a break," and they come back to complain or air the same grievances.

I don't think this happens too often any more, but I've seen some asked to take a break in politics threads in the last few months.

Maybe "biased against a topic" is not the right phrase, and should instead be "don't make the post if you're grinding an axe on the topic."
posted by filthy light thief at 3:12 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


I understand the reasons why this wasn't working, but I'm actually really frustrated that we're not having continual discussion of evolving primary stuff in the megathread. It was my one stop shop there for a long time for both "this terrible shit is happening" AND "here are some of the things we're doing about it," in the form of both activism and local elections. And I wanted that to continue because I'm lazy, but also because when we talk only about the current disaster without allowing discussion of the primary it takes a lot of energy/hope/optimism out of the room. It feels more just like the place we go to catalogue the horrors.

Anyway, I get it, but I am personally frustrated that we're not having good thorough discussions of primary candidates inside the megathreads.
posted by gerstle at 7:15 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Could we have one megathread specifically for all the candidates vying for the nomination of one political party, instead of specific threads for each one?
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:02 AM on April 11


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