FeelGoodFilter May 26, 2019 10:25 AM   Subscribe

I’m here to propose that we pursue a season of fun and non-controversial posts on MetaFilter. Let’s fill up the Blue with the interesting, the comedic, the curious, the lengthy disclosure… the topics which are posted to share something groovy and/or interesting and not posted to stir up the grar.

I’ve been on a personal campaign to make MetaFilter more fun, and the past couple of days of posts have reminded me of how much fun MetaFilter can be. So I’m here to suggest that the MetaFilter community work from June 1 until Sept 1 to try to flood the front page with more FeelGoodFilter posts than ever before.

We could maybe use the tag #FeelGoodFilter to help everyone filter for the posts which are aimed at not sparking shared outrage.

There’s so much out there on the web to share, let’s spend a few months seeking it out and bringing it before this global audience. We have a vast planet — let’s help each other discover the wonder and joy about what is out there!

Team FeelGoodFilter
posted by hippybear to MetaFilter-Related at 10:25 AM (46 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

What a lovely idea. I'm definitely down for participating in this. #FeelGoodFilter
posted by Fizz at 10:41 AM on May 26 [6 favorites]

That seems a fine idea, and I am going to update the tags on the GOAT LARP post!
posted by rmd1023 at 11:12 AM on May 26 [3 favorites]

If this becomes a place where we can't talk about civil rights, the climate crisis, politics, and other fundamental aspects of our lives that might be challenging for some people examine, then it won't feel good to me.

I'd rather see a call for more thoughtful framing in some posts that might otherwise become 'outragefilter,' and perhaps more participation from the mods in helping guide the development of posts and discussion, but censorship on this wide a scale seems contrary to what makes Metafilter a vibrant and welcoming community.
posted by Little Dawn at 12:18 PM on May 26 [18 favorites]

Little Dawn, I don't think hippybear is asking for a ban on certain topics/subjects. This is just a call to make the place a bit more cheerful for those who are looking for these kinds of subjects that are less focused on politics/grar.

If people want to participate they can, if they don't, then they should continue to post about other topics that they want to bring to the blue like normal. It's not a ban on certain subjects, it's an invitation for other subjects.

To each their own.
posted by Fizz at 12:23 PM on May 26 [24 favorites]

Let's be super clear, here - we often (in the last few years, anyway) have encouraged "theme months" and that sort of thing to increase participation and draw attention to kinds of posts that aren't getting a ton of attention. This doesn't have any effect, on the mod side, on posts that don't fit into the theme category.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:24 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]

It would be easier to view this as neutral or good if hippybear didn’t have a habit of threadshitting in posts he deems “outrage filter” often posts that have to do with women’s issues. I look forward to feelsgoodfilter if it leads to less drive-by’s.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:59 PM on May 26 [12 favorites]

I honestly have no idea what you're talking about, so obviously this is something I'm doing without realizing it. If you, Homo neanderthalensis, wish to discuss this, make a call-out MeTa and let's talk about it there. Otherwise, let this subject stand on its own.
posted by hippybear at 2:57 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]

Everyone needs a hug. I don't really agree with hippybear's framing, and I'm still going to post about stuff that he considers OutrageFilter, but I'd be delighted to see more feel-good content in this frequently feel-awful world. I believe that the FeelGoodFilter and the OutrageFilter can coexist in harmony, and I salute the spirit of being the change that you want to see in the Metafilter world.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:47 PM on May 26 [14 favorites]

Yeah I mean, I for sure support the idea of .. "more cool, interesting, fabulous posts and less grar/outrage posts".. But then again, America is a crazy ass country so there's so much to get outraged about.. I get it.
posted by some loser at 4:58 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]

I regret referring to the idea of #FeelGoodFilter as censorship, but it felt like that on my first read, basically like the kind of posts that make many of us feel empowered and stronger for being a part of this community are being categorized as unwelcome and unwanted. I now realize that wasn't the intent, but that was the initial impact for me. My personal campaign is against despair, and even though I try to post more about hope than despair, nobody's perfect. I personally feel there is only so much we can do to block out the world we are living in, but I also think there are ways we can frame our posts so they are more welcoming to read and engage with, and by doing so actually make progress against the grar.

I'm influenced by the current Fucking Fuck thread, where there has been a discussion taking place about feelings of exclusion after an outragefilter deletion, that I don't think is served well by the fucking fuck forum, because it's designed to be a place for venting and sympathizing. But the concerns are genuine, and the feelings of exclusion are real, but maybe this could be a thread where we can better articulate how to avoid creating 'outragefilter.'

I feel like I've seen 'outragefilter' sometimes used as a shorthand to delete underdeveloped posts, especially for breaking news where we don't know enough to have a full discussion yet, and all we've really got is outrage at that point. Sometimes, there are larger issues that a link could be speaking to, like the experience of being 'the other' and trying to navigate a society that often doesn't understand how that feels - it still gets deleted as 'outragefilter,' if it is one link to breaking news, but the deletion can still feel hurtful and alienating, because it can feel like the same kind of exclusion is happening again.

On the flip side, it can feel really good to have a discussion about those types of experiences, because there can be something so important about not feeling so alone and isolated, and I feel like I see these kinds of empowering discussions happening on Metafilter, where diversity is celebrated, and actions to serve and protect people who are disempowered are honored. It's certainly not perfect, but I see MetaTalk as a place where we can try to work together to address some of the rough edges, and better collaborate as a community that often feels good and supportive.

Given how some of us have felt about recent deletions, and how it doesn't feel good, I'd like to propose a broader goal about shaping posts so that we also try to look for the empowering aspects, including what is countering the outrage, perhaps e.g. what organizations are rallying to challenge the grar? where can we focus our attention so we don't despair? Basically, how can we post about sensitive subjects so we are looking beyond the outrage?

Maybe this isn't the thread for it, but I think there are ways to transform posts that otherwise seem only about outrage into what Metafilter often can do very well, unlike many other spaces on the Web.

On preview: what ArbitraryAndCapricious said.
posted by Little Dawn at 5:07 PM on May 26 [17 favorites]

Honestly, the original post would have lost nothing whatsoever if it had been framed purely to encourage positive posts, without repeatedly setting them up against "outrage" and "grar" posts and suggesting the userbase might filter the latter out. This to me would have felt much more #feelgoodfilter
posted by ominous_paws at 5:13 PM on May 26 [17 favorites]

gosh who would want to filter out outrage? what kind of weirdo would do that?
posted by some loser at 5:19 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]

Well, we may be using the term Outragefilter differently. To me, Outragefilter is when we post, not just bad news, but asshole people/organizations doing what they do, there’s not much we can do about it, and the only real response is “Christ, what an asshole.” Like almost every article about Martin Shkreli.

What moves a post from Outragefilter to Non-Outragefilter, to me, is when we include a “what you can do” section, which gives us actionable ways to help, rather than feeling like delivering a blistering comment is the only way to define ourselves as “anti-that.” Give me a charity to donate to or person I can contact or a politician to support for the cause, and I leave the thread feeling like I learned something and I did something.

I don’t think that most of our political, civil rights, metoo, climate change stuff falls into outragefilter territory. I mean, it can, if the framing is not great. But often times, the first few commenters are good about filling in the gaps, and I appreciate that.

So yeah, I’m down with #FeelGoodFilter, but I’d love some tweaks to the other stuff to make it feel not so bad, as well.
posted by greermahoney at 5:20 PM on May 26 [7 favorites]

Hippybear you’ve had comments deleted from a few of my posts. Maybe you don’t remember but I do. I’m not calling you out- I’m just asking you to stop. I’ll try to find some feel good stories for June- we could all use a hug.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:33 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]

This seems similar to a previous MeTa both in its intent and its reception. Whenever someone gets around to the MeTa proposing JubilantJuly or SillySeptember or whatever, it might help to avoid the notion of reducing negativity; just stick to accentuating the positive.
posted by Jpfed at 8:23 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]

But by negativity and outrage and so forth there's two different things. One is expressing emotions and justice, and that's surely valid (and explained by several comments above). Whereas the other thing is the media literacy issue of articles being basically politics clickbait. The conspiracy is that our attention is being exploited to manufacture outrage continually and that, I think, is the dynamic that deserves scrutiny and if/when Metafilter is party to this dynamic, that's what should be reduced or at least given mindful consideration. And to emphasize that's about judging the media critically when we bring in material in the posts. So it's really two different issues going on and being able to support the former conversations while not indulging in the latter for the health of the community and for individuals.
posted by polymodus at 9:07 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]

Well thank you for that link, Jpfed, because now I want a Yaypril and a DisMay!
posted by greermahoney at 9:23 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]

This is a great idea! Rock on, hippybear, I totally support it.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:59 PM on May 26

On the one hand, I love the idea. Boost the fun/depressing ratio not by discouraging the latter, but by intentionally posting more fun stuff. On the other hand, please let's not let post standards degrade to turning metafilter into all newspaper human interest pieces and cat pictures.

I think we can do this. I'll be on the lookout for stuff, even though I'm typically way behind the internet curve. By the time I see something, it's old news. (But potentially old old news the young'ns haven't heard of, I guess)
posted by ctmf at 10:16 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]

But we just had Poop Month!
posted by loquacious at 11:42 PM on May 26 [7 favorites]

because now I want a Yaypril and a DisMay!

Then things get less interesting with JeJune.
posted by biffa at 1:55 AM on May 27 [26 favorites]

What makes me ‘feel good’ is the idea that there’s a community out there that is as worried and angry and (sometimes) hopeless about the state of the world as I am. I love cat posts or weird shit as much as the next person but there’s nothing more depressing than being ‘flooded’ with forced positivity because it makes me feel isolated with my grief and anger.

posted by The Toad at 7:50 AM on May 27 [22 favorites]

So wait this and the fucking fuck thread are now the deleted posts/comments feedback discussions...?

There should be a thread for that. Not criticizing jjs.mama or little dawn (both of whom I respect and admire greatly for their posting/commenting) but why is this stuff hidden in random threads instead of in a proper place where the whole community can discuss it?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:24 AM on May 27 [10 favorites]

Because stuff comes up in passing and then people discuss it. To whit: this is now also a thread for discussing the organization of MeTa.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:20 AM on May 27 [2 favorites]

I'm happy for people to do that, but it seems like people are doing it because there is not a good outlet for it in metatalk in general, which seems like a separate issue. I would personally prefer to hear about people's substantive concerns without having to go into (e.g. venting) threads---I think those issues are important to the site's readership as a whole.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:23 AM on May 27 [9 favorites]

I think if moderation is becoming stricter/less laissez faire around here (it feels like that to me?), moderators should also be more proactive in picking up eg the discussion in the venting thread and actively trying to find a solution that isn’t just ‘delete/ignore’.

This is not meant as an attack on mods, just a personal opinion re: site policy and balance within the community.
posted by The Toad at 12:47 PM on May 27

Yeah, we do not regularly read the venting threads (or the politics joke/art threads) because they're there specifically to take some of the reading load off of us. If you need the mods to weigh in on a site issue, please do go ahead and use any of the regular channels for it.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:14 PM on May 27 [7 favorites]

It's a good idea but why did it have to be phrased in such a hostile way?
Anyway, these theme months seem to encourage first time posters - perhaps they feel more secure making a post in the company of an exquisitely tasteful mob. Could it somehow be stressed that first FPP's are especially welcome?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:04 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]

"Anyway, these theme months seem to encourage first time posters - perhaps they feel more secure making a post in the company of an exquisitely tasteful mob. "

We are also looking at a 20th anniversary best post contest for July, with definitely a lot of encouragement for first-time posters! And of course first-time posters should totally post FeelGoodFilter any time they've got 'em! The contact form is always open if you want the mod team to look over a draft or help you frame a post, especially for first-time posters! New-ish posters are shy about taking us up on it, but frequent posters hit us up with some regularity just to double-check if something will fly or nah, and it's one of the funner parts of our job.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:24 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]


Indeed, YMMV. On the other hand, I saw this comment earlier and it just felt like yep, this is normal forever now: to focus on the awfulness of things, and to form a bloc of people dismayed at the present and the future. Venting can bet useful, but we have a powerful negative energy in the front page at times. With the right constellation of posts this place comes across as a carnival of despair.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:44 AM on May 28 [9 favorites]

Honestly, the original post would have lost nothing whatsoever if it had been framed purely to encourage positive posts, without repeatedly setting them up against "outrage" and "grar" posts and suggesting the userbase might filter the latter out.

Agreed. Whatever the intent, this certainly read to me like an attempt to drown out a certain kind of conversation, and I do not find that uplifting.
posted by mordax at 1:32 AM on May 28 [9 favorites]

we have a powerful negative energy in the front page at times

The front page is somewhat representative of the world at large, yes.

I think a good compromise for the doomy gloomy people among us is to focus on analysis of what’s going on rather than just venting our anxieties and anger. I actually think this community often does a good job at that (thanks to, among other things, strict-ish moderation)

Sorry the times are bad; it is (mostly) not the fault of people pointing out the times are bad.
posted by The Toad at 7:13 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]

(Also, Metafilter: a carnival of despair)
posted by The Toad at 7:14 AM on May 28 [4 favorites]

The front page is somewhat representative of the world at large, yes.

This is a common refrain but it isn't that meaningful. Metafilter could only have posts about where new libraries are being set up, or what's happening to indigenous folks, or what's going on in the latest MCU franchise entry, and it would still be "somewhat representative of the world at large". I would say rather that MetaFilter is representative of the interests of the relatively small number of users who make front page posts.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:50 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]

A carnival of despair is still a carnival.
Yay carnivals!
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:57 AM on May 28 [10 favorites]

Yeah, we do not regularly read the venting threads (or the politics joke/art threads) because they're there specifically to take some of the reading load off of us.

hey y'all should keep an eye on the venting thread at least because there's a lot of folks using it to express feelings that they don't want to go on anymore, have given up all hope, etc
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:13 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]

Isn't that why the mods avoid the venting threads?

How I understood it, the mods were feeling like they were getting secondary trauma from people saying that stuff in the politics megathreads and so they needed it to be siphoned off into a venting thread. (Happy to be corrected!)

For what it's worth, I try to stay away from the venting threads for my mental health, and can't blame anyone else for needing to do the same.
posted by rue72 at 10:27 AM on May 28 [4 favorites]

I'd say we do generally keep an eye - it varies depending how the rest of the site is etc - but it's worth knowing that we don't always/automatically see things so [a] if you see something that's worth attention, go ahead and flag it, and [b] commenting in Metatalk threads on other topics isn't the best way to communicate with us about a deletion, it's better to use to contact form.

I'm sorry that that deletion lined up badly with the immediately preceding discussion in the venting thread. In general, the more emotional/outrage/unjust/important a link is, the more framing matters, because it starts off pre-heated and it's easier for things to go badly off the rails. Often important topics like that (PoC treated badly in white-dominated spaces like the art museum) will get a burst of media coverage when there's some single incident, but basing discussion around the single incident is tricky because it can end up with unproductive nitpicking about specifics of this one case, when the whole point is these kinds of things happen often and it's the pattern that's worth discussing rather than little details about the single case.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:34 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]

The front page is somewhat representative of the world at large, yes.

Yes and no. Many people see it that way and those people have found a home at MetaFilter and that is fine. However many other people see what is "representative of the world at large" differently and they are also welcome here. I'm one of those people who feels the front page is a bit more of a parade of awfulness than in times past. Which is fine, and understandable; the site doesn't have to bend to suit my will. But it's okay to both feel like

1) Hey things in the world are pretty shitty right now from a geopolitical and/or social justice and/or other directions standpoint

2) There are still cool things on the web that are not about those things and it's not bad or ignorant or head-in-sand to enjoy those things and want to see more of them.

there's a lot of folks using it to express feelings that they don't want to go on anymore, have given up all hope, etc

I think we need to be really careful about just how much of what is said on this site is the mods' responsibility to deal with. If people are expressing suicidal thoughts, people should flag those comments to bring them to the mods' attention. But the mods don't have to read all/every thread just on the off chance someone might say something they need to attend to. I think it's a good idea for mods to at least skim anything that shows up in MeTa because "that's how we've always done it" but the world is changing and the way people use this site is changing and it's okay if moderation changes with it.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:52 AM on May 28 [14 favorites]

Oh, and since this somehow continued to be a discussion after I went to bed:

Indeed, YMMV. On the other hand, I saw this comment earlier and it just felt like yep, this is normal forever now: to focus on the awfulness of things

That comment was in response to an uplifting post because a bunch of commenters decided to drop by and 'well actually' in it. The post wasn't negative. The early comments weren't even negative. People spoiled that one because heaven fucking forbid we value people for something other than the contents of their bank accounts. That somehow needed elaborate takedowns. That post made me smile when I saw it, share the article with someone I love as a way to feel better about life, and then be fucking furious when I saw the discussion in it later.

If you're citing that as why we're a 'carnival of despair,' then you're hitting on one reason something like this is getting some pushback: as other posters have mentioned, hearing "this is a better way to approach problems you have" is more uplifting for some of us than "here are some puppies." There's room in this space for both things - puppies are great too - but your implication that a post about how disabled people have worth outside the general frame of capitalism is part of a 'carnival of despair' or reflects 'powerful negative energy' is indicative that you probably don't share my values about what should make people feel better, a topic others have covered in some good ways above.

And again, this isn't to say more varied posts might not be nice, just that the attitude that people are somehow wallowing or pointlessly 'stirring up grar' rather than thinking in good faith about how to deal with real suffering is not good.
posted by mordax at 11:28 AM on May 28 [6 favorites]

This FeelGoodFilter, it vibrates?
posted by Kabanos at 11:59 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]

It better.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:41 PM on May 28 [13 favorites]

"They had been Promotionaries, on their respective sides of the Wars (which were not, of course, between Good and Evil at all, as non-combatants of every species always assumed, but between Banality and Interest)"

Walking on Glass, Iain Banks
posted by thatwhichfalls at 1:13 PM on May 28

More pages! More colors! The Blue, the Green, the Grey, the ANGRY GRAR RED, the soothing Lilac, the fun-happy Yellow, the meh Taupe.
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 2:24 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]

I'm very heavily into the gloom-and-doom, and yet I can't say I see anything wrong or invalidating with people also wishing to bring interesting or happy stories to my attention as well. Whatever the Metafilter Saturation Point is at which additional posts get lost, I don't think we're there yet.
posted by praemunire at 2:51 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]

I hadn't expected this thread to yield even mild discussion of the framing of posts and how this could be changed in order to make the ensuing discussion more productive... But hey, I'm glad that's here!
posted by hippybear at 9:19 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]

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