Brexit threads for those being Brexited on October 10, 2019 3:07 PM   Subscribe

The current Brexit thread is due to close soon, and it's gone OK, but I'd like to suggest a few ground rules so that the people who need the thread most can get the most out of it. Mainly, I'd like the thread to centre the needs of everyone resident in the UK and Ireland, with space for the frustrations of people in the rest of the EU, too.

I wrote up a few suggested ground rules, and reviewing them, it comes across as a long list of do not do thises. With this in mind, I think I'd frame a constructing comment on a forthcoming post as one which has one or more of
  • New insight into what's happening
  • Something which suggests progress
  • News of a setback, but without catastrophisation, and sensible pointers for mitigating it
  • An occasional very good Tweet
So, as for what became the do not do this list, it'd be great to have people talk about whether my preferences for the Brexit thread are shared goals, and how to communicate the goals we do share for the thread:
  • Everyone knows we're in big trouble, so do try not to repeat that big picture. If there's specific new problematic issues, they're of interest, but if people are likely to know about something, maybe take it as read that it doesn't need discussing again.
  • British residents who are UK citizens, please do try to make space for UK residents who are non-UK EU citizens. UK citizens need to be aware that however threatened our identity and home is by Brexit, EU citizens who made their home here stand to lose much more through Brexit.
  • Likewise, British residents, please do try to make space for residents of Ireland, both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland to say how this is affecting them. Brexit's been imposed on Ireland by Britain in a manner which repeats the many ways Britain has injured Ireland in the past. Mainly, when mentioning something about Ireland, leave space for Irish people to correct you and don't explain anything which is common knowledge in Ireland. And in particular, don't make clunking references to historic British atrocities.
  • If you're not a UK resident, make that clear somewhere in your post, but preferably not in the first sentence. The first sentence out to engage with the issue you're talking about.
  • This is an issue which matters to the whole EU, and people from the whole EU should feel welcome to contribute what they have to say. But, that said, if you're an EU resident and you want to remonstrate with the UK for being so destructive and xenophobic, please remember that everyone posting here is trying their best not to be that, and agrees with you, but they'll still be hurt when you say it.
  • If you're not an EU resident, please consider whether your insight is based on anything more than “I've seen a few politicians in my time, so I'll extrapolate from that and the coverage that I've read of Brexit”. There's a lot more nuance to who and how people are, and you're very likely missing this if you're not talking to people who, whether they acknowledge it or not, are affected by it. Your comment may well be harmless in itself, but if it doesn't give people anything new to engage with, it saps momentum from the thread.
Also, I've not given thought to framing the actual post itself, and I'm not really volunteering to post it. But I think it would be good to look at a constructive framing for the next post, which will take us past yet one more deadline.
posted by ambrosen to Etiquette/Policy at 3:07 PM (51 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

I would volunteer to dig the ditch.
posted by adamvasco at 3:53 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


The thing about the UK politics thread is that it's remarkably quiet most of the time, because at this stage what is there left to say? We're knackered, we're lurching between stasis and outrage, and by crikey have we seen it before.

When things actually happen, and it can be hard to tell what 'happen' is, then there are flurries of posts, but it's not as if there are traffic problems. There's the occasional derail (I try not to, honest, guv) but nothing that can't be dealt with by a little light modding.

So I don't think we need lots of ground rules. It's working. It's not pretty: these are not pretty times. There will be big events in the lifetime of the next thread, but while these could and probably will mirror some of the hydra-headed monstrosity across the pond - legal troubles, political shocks, third party players - they'll be on a much smaller scale.

So, I vote for just rolling over the thread and dealing with problems when and if they happen. Much like we do now.

God Save The Queen!
posted by Devonian at 4:16 PM on October 10 [18 favorites]


So I don't think we need lots of ground rules. It's working.

I feel like the OP is a (re)statement of what the de facto ground rules have been to enable it to work, though. And it is still annoying when someone completely unconnected to the situation barges in with their condescending it sneering hot take, which has kept happening (though the mods have mostly been on it with excising it).
posted by Dysk at 4:32 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


A local thread for local people?
posted by scruss at 5:24 PM on October 10 [24 favorites]


Here, here.
posted by clavdivs at 7:09 PM on October 10


I am in the USA and so have not been participating in the Brexit thread, but as a member of the community, I think those are excellent guidelines and "please try not to"s, and I hope active participants in any future Brexit threads embrace your suggestions.
posted by kristi at 10:16 PM on October 10


On one hand, I can sympathize with generally being mindful and courteous in these threads. That should always be the case. Yet there's a voice in the back of my head that says: we're an international forum and comment on events far from home on a daily basis here. So "if I had a nickel" every time someone described the country I live in or the one I was born into in a overly simplistic and generally ignorant way ...

I'm not sure if I'm saying everyone should be more courteous when discussing any event anywhere, or that we should be mindful that a criticism of a country or an event in a country is not the same as a criticism of an individual.

Maybe both. To me the rules above should read more along the lines of "be mindful of" rather than simply "do not do". I've seen comments from others deleted that in my opinion would be seen as totally fine when discussing a middle eastern country, China, Lithuania, etc.
posted by romanb at 11:22 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


I've seen comments from others deleted that in my opinion would be seen as totally fine when discussing a middle eastern country, China, Lithuania, etc.

It's the volume and consistency, as well as the sensitivity of the subject. Before they were stopped, the US megathreads had much stricter rules on what would fly there as well. Jokey or questioning consents that would be fine not just about any other country, but in any other thread about the same country, we're regularly deleted.
posted by Dysk at 12:42 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


I've seen comments from others deleted that in my opinion would be seen as totally fine when discussing a middle eastern country, China, Lithuania, etc.

Maybe that means we should be more mindful of how we comment in those threads too, then. It's definitely a problem if people have to phrase comments more carefully when talking about the UK (or the USA) than they do when talking about countries that aren't so centered in the Metafilter worldview, but of the two options for fixing the discrepancy (1. let thoughtless comments stand everywhere / 2. be more careful everywhere), I'd vote for (2).
posted by lollusc at 12:50 AM on October 11 [14 favorites]


I vote for just rolling over the thread and dealing with problems when and if they happen. Much like we do now.

Quite so. We don't need a written Constitution because we have one forged on the anvil of Convention.
posted by flabdablet at 1:22 AM on October 11 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: by crikey have we seen it before
posted by crocomancer at 1:23 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


Maybe that means we should be more mindful of how we comment in those threads too, then.

I would second this. That the community handles threads about countries/situations outside a particular US-centric context thoughtlessly is not an argument for doing the same for the UK and Ireland, rather that it should be better everywhere.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 2:17 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]

I'd like the thread to centre the needs of everyone resident in the UK and Ireland, with space for the frustrations of people in the rest of the EU, too.
If you're not a UK resident, make that clear somewhere in your post, but preferably not in the first sentence.
Apologies for failing to label my contributions to previous Brexit threads as coming from a non-UK resident. I wasn't aware that as one of the 1.3 million British in Europe my comments (examples) on Brexit were not appropriately centring the thread.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:38 AM on October 11 [8 favorites]


If we end up with food or medicine shortages here, other EU governments aren't going to restrict your access to the same based on your passport, as an example. There's lots of mention of there being space for people in the rest of the EU as well...
posted by Dysk at 5:19 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


As an example of what? I'd assumed the above was just a thoughtless omission, rather than conscious sidelining, but it seems my expectations were too high.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:57 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


As an example of why Brexit is potentially affecting people who are living at the epicentre of the clusterfuck in a more comprehensive and frightening way than people living elsewhere, which would be a reasonable thing to ask people to bear in mind?
posted by Dysk at 6:03 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


It is indeed reasonable to ask people to bear in mind the effects of Brexit on UK residents. It's also not what I'm objecting to, which are the sentences I quoted above.

Also, when there are people with terminal conditions facing the prospect of losing their healthcare in Europe, I'm not sure that 'living in the UK' / 'living in the EU' is such a clear dividing line between a more and less frightening experience of Brexit.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 6:22 AM on October 11 [7 favorites]


As a UK citizen living outside the EU I'm affected far less than others by the mess but I, and those close to me, still have skin in the game. I'm unwilling to supply a copy of my passport though.
Might I suggest some form of democratic check on whatever exclusionary policies this thread tries to push through? Some form of non-binding yes/no question perhaps?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:31 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


I wasn't aware that as one of the 1.3 million British in Europe my comments (examples) on Brexit were not appropriately centring the thread.

This is where I think the chain kinda falls off. Your comments were fine, and the reminders probably aren't for your benefit. There has been a recurring issue of people popping in to the threads to effectively say "glad I got/am getting out, you lot are all screwed" or similar, though. A lot of those have been deleted by the mods in the more recent threads, though. Clearly, some people do need reminding to consider the extent to which their viewpoints as Brits abroad is contributing to a healthy thread.

Also, when there are people with terminal conditions facing the prospect of losing their healthcare in Europe, I'm not sure that 'living in the UK' / 'living in the EU' is such a clear dividing line between a more and less frightening experience of Brexit.

There are indeed people who are potentially seriously affected in all situations, but as a blanket statement, it's only true of one of the two groups.

---

Might I suggest some form of democratic check on whatever exclusionary policies this thread tries to push through? Some form of non-binding yes/no question perhaps?

Mefi doesn't really do direct democracy. We should let our representatives (the mods) sort it out.
posted by Dysk at 6:46 AM on October 11 [7 favorites]


I’m generally fine with non-UK people weighing in to ask questions, even if they’re “I’ve just started following this and why are they talking about the Queen on the news, can she actually do anything?” level. International board and how else do we learn and all that. (Although you can also ask these questions on Ask, I’m sure I’m not the only person with time to kill and a fascination with weird constitutional issues.)

I would rather people refrained from the more blundering “wow gosh I hope this doesn’t affect my vacation!” takes but that seems to have declined a lot these days.
posted by Catseye at 7:10 AM on October 11 [10 favorites]

There are indeed people who are potentially seriously affected in all situations, but as a blanket statement, it's only true of one of the two groups.
This is not the thread to debate the effects of Brexit itself so I'll leave this here, but to me that claim is clearly mistaken.
There has been a recurring issue of people popping in to the threads to effectively say "glad I got/am getting out, you lot are all screwed" or similar, though. A lot of those have been deleted by the mods in the more recent threads, though. Clearly, some people do need reminding to consider the extent to which their viewpoints as Brits abroad is contributing to a healthy thread.
Thanks, that certainly makes the background clearer and helps me to understand where some of this post and your comments are coming from. I would however note that I have seen plenty of non-constructive comments from UK-resident Brits and yet in that case the behaviour is addressed rather than the group.

Now that I understand where the suspicion of British posters in Europe is coming from, it would be appreciated if UK residents could also try to understand why the sentences I quoted feel exclusionary.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:25 AM on October 11 [11 favorites]


I would however note that I have seen plenty of non-constructive comments from UK-resident Brits and yet in that case the behaviour is addressed rather than the group.

There's non-constructive, and then there's spiteful gloating. Haven't seen a lot of the latter from UK-resident Brits - not for a few years, anyway. Most of mefi's brexiters have gone quiet as the process has dragged on.
posted by Dysk at 7:49 AM on October 11


I am from a nation of victims so all of these viewpoints are very familiar to me. The tears and misery are real. As a community we should be careful to not exclude others. Some of the non-resident people are suffering the most. I met one a few days ago: a UK citizen, 3rd generation, who left because she no longer felt at home, her last name gave away her roots to some nasty people. Now she's learning the language of her grandparents.

Others here on the mainland are losing, or are about to lose, lifetimes of work.
posted by romanb at 9:35 AM on October 11 [6 favorites]


I would like much more input from people outside the UK on these threads - Metafilter should be a place where you do get comments from around the world about how this all looks. The threads being nothing but a handful of British voices who haven't been scared away by the rules is weird.
posted by grahamparks at 9:47 AM on October 11 [18 favorites]


[apologies for my previous comment which in hindsight is pretty pathetic. Just personal anecdotes. I keep meeting people affected by all of this, even though I'm not in the UK, and don't really have another outlet for those second-hand frustrations. I generally agree with what everyone here is saying, all the contradictions included.]
posted by romanb at 10:11 AM on October 11


I am an American who has occasionally posted in the Brexit threads in what I hope are productive and non-momentum-sapping ways. I have not identified myself as an American when I have posted (though that's obvious if you click through to my profile), just as in most of my comments I don't provide demographic information about myself.

While it seems likely true that UK residents will be the ones most directly affected by Brexit if it happens, by definition it's an international event that will have effects within the EU and the broader world. While of course people should take account of the concerns of UK residents, I think the inclusion of perspectives from outside the UK is worthwhile and necessary.
posted by crazy with stars at 11:51 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]


There are one or two specific posters who aren't personally affected by Brexit but seem to enjoy posting provocative, derail-spawning comments. If they admitted in their comments that they have no personal stake in the matter, people would be more likely to ignore them, and the conversation would be less likely to derail.

Additionally, there is a repeated genre of annoying comments that tends to begin with the phrase "I'm not British but..." As in, "I'm not British but have you all considered just not Brexiting?"

So I totally understand the temptation for a rule like "Tell us if you're not a UK resident but don't say it in the first sentence." It's a short and concise rule that seems like it would fix both problems. Unfortunately, both groups it's intended to address would probably just ignore it. Meanwhile, thoughtful posters like Busy Old Fool and Crazy With Stars would feel less welcome.

While I agree with Ambrosen on most of their guidelines, I would respectfully suggest we omit this one.
posted by yankeefog at 1:41 AM on October 12 [6 favorites]


As a UK citizen living outside the EU I'm affected far less than others by the mess but I, and those close to me, still have skin in the game.

I don't really think this post is about us. Of course, that precisely parallels some of my Brexit frustration.
posted by hoyland at 5:20 AM on October 12 [1 favorite]


I think Brexit has brought out a previously undiscovered fascination with political shenanigans and constitutional chaos in many people, whether or not the stakes are high for them personally. There may well be useful insights occurring to people who are mostly unaffected. Indeed, many of the most incisive things I've read about the crisis in the UK come from individuals in other places.

I'd say that if you come into a conversation aware that this stuff really matters to a lot of people close to it, and understand that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and that all thread participation should ideally be 99% reading, you're good to go.
posted by pipeski at 3:23 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Likes:
People from anywhere who provide Brexit news and commentary from useful sources.
Illuminating takes and thoughtful discussions.
Kindly meant commiserations at the shitness of our current political situation and abject Government.
Hopeful and/or plainly described scenarios based on a fairly knowledgeable reading of the facts.
Genuine questions about our political system.

Dislikes:
Drive-by "why don't you justs".
Equating the work of a corrupt Government aided and abetted by an assortment of dodgily funded cronies, a complicit media and about a billion spam bots with the wishes of the people of the UK.
Ignoring the huge and well-organised pro-EU / People's Vote / Remain campaigns.
Repeatedly telling us how bad we look from where you're sitting. (We are aware.)
Giving us the benefit of your hindsight.
Assuming that if British people resident in the UK are fretting about their personal situations then they don't have ties to or care about or worry about EU citizens resident in the UK and EU citizens who have now left the UK and British citizens resident in the other EU countries and the EU citizens whose jobs currently rely on trade with the UK.
"I'm alright, Jack"
"You're all fucked"
"You're all fascists"
posted by doornoise at 5:42 PM on October 13 [8 favorites]


British residents who are UK citizens, please do try to make space for UK residents who are non-UK EU citizens. UK citizens need to be aware that however threatened our identity and home is by Brexit, EU citizens who made their home here stand to lose much more through Brexit.

I'm not sure (as an EU national resident of the UK) that I agree with this. As I told my in-laws before the referendum when they weren't sure which way to vote, "It's ultimately your country that you're fucking up here, I can always leave if you damage it too much but you're stuck here".

I don't stand to lose anything that my British neighbours don't, we will all lose our freedom of movement on the same day. I'm much more worried about the economic effects of Brexit.

In fact, as pointed out above, retired British nationals living in rEU countries may actually be much more severely and directly affected.
posted by atrazine at 3:32 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


I don't stand to lose anything that my British neighbours don't,

They're not in danger of losing their right to live here.

Not everyone can just leave - not everyone has anywhere to go, or the resources with which to move.
posted by Dysk at 3:44 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


Not everyone can just leave - not everyone has anywhere to go, or the resources with which to move.

Exactly, most British people with only one nationality won't have anywhere they can go.
posted by atrazine at 12:41 PM on October 14


Maria Farrell goes into the different appalling situations of those two groups in "At least you can leave", in case that illuminates groups that have different stakes in the outcome.
posted by brainwane at 3:45 PM on October 14


I'm an absent Brit.
Absent for 45 years but I have the passport.
Paid my social security dues in Spain for 30 years.
My intentions in my nearing dotage and with the rise of fascism here in Brazil was to probably relocate back to a quiet corner of Southern Europe to sit quietly in the sun with my loved ones not so far away and move on slowly and contentedly.
Looks like that plan probably wont happen.
Am I upset. No. I'm fucking furious at these weasely lying self interested racists living in their imagined wartime imperial fantasies denying the right of our children and grandchildren to have freedom of movement in this wonderfully imperfect union known as Europe which has had no bloodshed among its nations for 75 years.
No curse is too great to cast at these miserable excuses for so called civilized people.
posted by adamvasco at 4:52 PM on October 14 [8 favorites]


Exactly, most British people with only one nationality won't have anywhere they can go.

They'll at least be able to stay where their homes, their social networks, their lives exist.
posted by Dysk at 3:13 AM on October 15


I guess we'd better get a new thread up or this one will turn into a continuation of the discussion by the backstopdoor.

I'm afraid I haven't had the heart to, as I've been making the most of a few quiet days at home to get on with other things. But this last minute deal-making today might be a good prompt to do so, sometime tomorrow maybe. If anyone else gets a post up first, fine by me.
posted by rory at 6:52 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


I feel Brexit threads too often disintegrate into a race about who is suffering most or will suffer most. It would be really great if we all acknowledged that it's a bad situation for almost everyone, and the ways it is bad are not directly comparable.
posted by tavegyl at 8:12 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


I guess we'd better get a new thread up or this one will turn into a continuation of the discussion by the backstopdoor.

The logical focus would be the EU summit meeting on Thursday, as that will have a significant impact on how the next couple of weeks pan out. Up until then it's basically twiddling our thumbs and speculation between wildly divergent possible outcomes (though this is also quite possibly going to be the situation after the summit too). I won't be making a post about it though, as I'm fairly sure half a screen of invective at this Government, much of Parliament and the *edit* proponents and backers of the *edit* *edit* *edit* umm, events of the last 3 years wouldn't be appropriate.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:20 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


Is anyone working on a Brexit thread? I'm thinking of making one if not.
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:46 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]


Go nuts, roolya_boolya. I still can't face doing it, but the timing looks good what with all the deal back-and-forth.
posted by rory at 1:18 AM on October 17


Just MeMailed you, roolya_boolya.
posted by penguin pie at 5:09 AM on October 17

So I totally understand the temptation for a rule like "Tell us if you're not a UK resident but don't say it in the first sentence." It's a short and concise rule that seems like it would fix both problems. Unfortunately, both groups it's intended to address would probably just ignore it. Meanwhile, thoughtful posters like Busy Old Fool and Crazy With Stars would feel less welcome.
I would be unlikely to contribute to a Brexit thread that required me, on grounds I find spurious, to label myself with each comment I made. As much as anything else, I'm pretty sure a repeated disclaimer would come across as passive aggressive.

Ambrosen posted the rules above as his preferences and this thread as a chance to discuss them, so I'm not sure where we go from here, given the lack of consensus.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 6:16 AM on October 17


Probably just status quo. We haven't set any strict legal deadlines for ourselves.
posted by Dysk at 7:21 AM on October 17


Go nuts, roolya_boolya. I still can't face doing it, but the timing looks good what with all the deal back-and-forth.


Seconded, on all points.
posted by Devonian at 10:37 AM on October 17


[Just noting for the avoidance of doubt that there is indeed a new Brexit thread up.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:48 AM on October 17 [1 favorite]


Ooops. Didn't spot it, assumed it'd be linked from here, got confused.

It's so nice and dark in here...
posted by Devonian at 12:14 PM on October 17


Ah, I missed it too, and I’d been specifically searching for it! Cool.
posted by penguin pie at 12:48 PM on October 17


Go nuts, roolya_boolya. I still can't face doing it, but the timing looks good what with all the deal back-and-forth.

Oh I went nuts! So nuts I forgot to tell y'all.

[Just noting for the avoidance of doubt that there is indeed a new Brexit thread up.]

Thank you!

In the spirit of MeFi and the best parts of this thread let's all go to the new Brexit thread and have a constructive, loving and empowering conversation.
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:35 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


let's all go to the new Brexit thread and have a constructive, loving and empowering conversation

Bless your heart.
posted by flabdablet at 1:19 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


I'm seeing that thread get a bit “fantasy Brexit league” at the moment from people possibly outside the UK. I know there's little of substance to discuss before tomorrow. Though I'm of the UK but not in it, I'm doing my best to steer clear of commenting in the new thread and let some of the 60 million voices better qualified than me speak up.
posted by scruss at 12:05 PM on October 18


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