So is Bernie off limits for anything slightly negative now? December 14, 2019 7:27 AM   Subscribe

I framed this post well. It is about a candidate that endorsed a man who's news group glorifies the Armenian genocide while same candidate refuses to endorse a young woman of color in Texas who could affect real change. We've had posts critical of Biden and Buttigieg but the other white man in the race is off limits? It's funny how: Unless it's actually big, *major* news, let's skip the "Candidate makes misstep" sort of thing. only comes into play when Bernie is involved or that this new rule appears only when Bernie starts seeing the heat. I would like clarification on the "new rules" that now only apply to some candidates. This is the sort of thing that would have been discussed in the megathreads- without them we need to have individual posts. But whats the point of individual posts if you're going to delete them?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis to Etiquette/Policy at 7:27 AM (163 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

It seemed like the discussion was going well, people were contributing. Did it gets lots of flags or something? I don't see immediately why this was deleted.
posted by cooker girl at 7:37 AM on December 14, 2019 [12 favorites]


It did definitely have a well-reasoned comment on Sanders, but it was going a little sideways on the Cynk-bashing. I think we could have (and should have) the discussion on Sanders' optics, and maybe delete the comments thread-shitting on Cynk, with a mod note that the post isn't about that.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:41 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think this community has a "missing stair" group of posters who both behave extremely badly when their preferred candidate (i.e. Bernie Sanders) is criticized and simultaneously expect carte blanche to attack other candidates. I think that the mods would prefer to delete anything that might invoke the ire of these posters rather than deal with the headache and emotional blackmail that arises when modding them, and it depresses the quality of discussion on this site.
posted by schroedinger at 7:41 AM on December 14, 2019 [82 favorites]


Also: I think these posters are a headache to mod and I am sympathetic to not having the energy to manage them. But in that case we should either acknowledge that is what's going on or deal with the problem directly, and if it's the former then maybe we should put a moratorium on criticism of any candidate.
posted by schroedinger at 7:44 AM on December 14, 2019 [14 favorites]


Did it gets lots of flags or something? I don't see immediately why this was deleted.

That would require a bit more transparency, which is something this site has been struggling with for a long while. Discussion around how flagging works and what we can and cannot see has been raised in previous MetaTalks. Yet here we are.
posted by Fizz at 8:26 AM on December 14, 2019 [25 favorites]


I think this community has a "missing stair" group of posters

ding ding

maybe we should put a moratorium on criticism of any candidate

Draconian solution that would fundamentally undermine the utility of the site.
posted by Miko at 8:37 AM on December 14, 2019 [17 favorites]


If I’m recalling correctly, the Biden and Buttigieg posts were about policy decisions and how they governed, not inside baseball stuff about endorsements. I have a feeling a critical Sanders post about how Sanders has taken a lot of money from the NRA (for instance) would not be deleted.
posted by Automocar at 8:39 AM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


This is the sort of thing that would have been discussed in the megathreads- without them we need to have individual posts. But whats the point of individual posts if you're going to delete them?

It was my understanding that like, literally anything could be in the megathread as long as it was related to US politics in some way. I don't think that the new standard should be that anything which would have been acceptable in the megathread should now be acceptable as an individual post.

I think it's fine to criticize Sanders for things he's done, like endorsing and then un-endorsing Cenk Uygur. I don't think it's fine to criticize Sanders for not-doing things that (I'm assuming) most of the other Dem candidates are also not-doing, like not-endorsing Jessica Cisneros.

I think the half of your post that was about Bernie endorsing and then unendorsing Cenk Uygur could've been a fine post by itself, there was a lot to discuss there: discussion about Cenk Uygur's beliefs, discussion about what things Uygur and Bernie have in common, discussion about vetting someone before endorsing them. I think that part of your post could have stood on its own as a post.

Overall, I don't think posts focused on specific endorsements or non-endorsements make for great posts simply because there's going to be lots of endorsements and lots of not-endorsements- encouraging posts that are about endorsements seems to be nudging us back toward having lots (for some definition of "lots") of political content on the front page, and that's what started the megathread, and (to me) if we're not going to have the megathread, we should also pull back on the things we did that gave rise to the megathread.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:40 AM on December 14, 2019 [7 favorites]


Bernie as a topic has historically brought about a lot of fighting on this website. I recognize that this is not fun for the moderators, but that doesn't mean that he should get a free pass to circumvent criticism.

There is a Bernie cult of personality. It's aggressive and bears semblance to a lot of other, less savory movements I won't name at the present moment. At times I have to wonder if the flagging that gets a post deleted like the one mentioned is less about the quality of flagging and more about the intensity and aggressiveness of the flagging. I have a lot of questions and skepticism about who is flagging and why, and I agree that this is why we need more transparency around flags/moderation.

The more that we give in to flags like this, the more that the people doing the flagging see their behavior as justified and effective. Stop giving in to it, accept that they're going to complain and stomp their feet, and move on. Every time a moderator folds in response to their flagging and complaining, they're teaching them that what they're doing works. They don't get to shape the narrative around here unless we allow them.
posted by nightrecordings at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2019 [36 favorites]


This was a well-framed, informative, neutrally-presented post, and I disagree with its deletion, and strongly disagree with the stated reason for deletion. I don't think it was an "attack" at all.
posted by biogeo at 8:57 AM on December 14, 2019 [28 favorites]


There is a Bernie cult of personality. It's aggressive and bears semblance to a lot of other, less savory movements I won't name at the present moment.

EXCUSE me? This is nuts. This kind of stuff is why I barely look at this site anymore.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:59 AM on December 14, 2019 [54 favorites]


In the middle of a primary campaign, any post about any candidate is going to have to be considered in that context. This post -- which I did not see until this MeTa prompted me to check it out -- absolutely reads as an attack on Sanders in that context because: 1) it mentions things he did with the implicit assumption they are bad and 2) uses the faux-neutral 'many are wondering' why he didn't do this other thing. The claim that it's neutral and informative is, to me, ridiculous on its face. And I'm not a Sanders supporter!

Good deletion.
posted by dbx at 9:02 AM on December 14, 2019 [26 favorites]


I think it's hugely unfortunate and problematic that US politics is become taboo here. I think there are far better resolutions than banning types of information and discussion.
posted by theora55 at 9:03 AM on December 14, 2019 [7 favorites]


We already have an active debate thread where we’re taking turns criticizing all the candidates. Couldn’t this go there?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:16 AM on December 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


theora55, and others who are discussing this as though the deletion means politics is off-limits: I think the controlling norm here is "Get Your Own Blog". Most Mefites have strong political opinions, and speaking only for myself there are takes aplenty that I could frame as posts on the blue -- I could link to news articles, analysis, whatever, that support my views -- and I could wrap them in language that is much more neutral than the current post's "Oddly, ...", and incongruous sign-off. But if I did -- if we all did -- we would be undermining the value of this communal space.

Politics is of course not taboo; there's literally a tag system designed to help people follow and engage with (or ignore) political discussion on Metafilter. This deletion is a prudent decision to keep opinion posts off of the front page.
posted by dbx at 9:20 AM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


Every time a moderator folds in response to their flagging and complaining, they're teaching them that what they're doing works.

Huh, I think you and I view mod deletions verrrrrry differently. I don't think mods look at flags and go "I don't really want to delete this, but it got a flag so I'm going to do it anyway", I think that mods look at flags and go "A flag has given me the opportunity to decide whether this post should be deleted- I'm going to delete it because I feel the deletion is the right thing to do."
posted by 23skidoo at 9:25 AM on December 14, 2019 [13 favorites]


Not a bad framed post but i see the pile-on aspect. I think more context could have saved the post, for example: a short history of political support gone wrong and what happened. Have not searched, but im willing to bet there is a ton of posts of political folk backing the wrong wagon.
posted by clavdivs at 9:28 AM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


This delete wasn't about flagging*. It was about how to handle this kind of post going into the primaries, as taz described in her note. It's a good discussion to have in Metatalk because it's a tough conflict of desires -- it's important to be able to discuss candidates but also important not to get swept up in every controversy; it's important to be able to criticize but also we want posts to be more-or-less factual rather than "editorial"/"get your own blog"ish and that can be a fuzzy line. So, it's good to throw this open for input from the community.

[*On flags: Most deletes aren't about flagging. Please do flag things to call our attention or drop us a note about context we might be missing, etc. But there's no magic number; we don't need some certain number of flags to take action; it's like 23skidoo says. And there is rarely coordinated flagging, it's something we're aware of and watch for. Generally once we're looking at something, we can just make a call on it -- based on community norms that we discuss transparently in Metatalks like this. The norms around what works for US Politics posts are tough and evolving so it's good to discuss!]

I'm interested to hear what people think about having this kind of post as we enter more seriously into the primaries.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:31 AM on December 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


Quoting from the megathread decommissioning MeTa:
Some of the substantial major stories or developments in US politics will make sense as standalone posts. We want folks to rework their expectations back in that direction, toward making topic-specific posts with focused discussions, as was the standard practice up until 2016. Sometimes that may be a couple paragraphs of roundup of links on a complex topic; sometimes that might just be one really good link worth discussing in its own right. More “here is a specific thing worth talking about”, less “here’s the state of everything, go”.

Much of the smaller stuff, the constant churn of nonetheless scorn-worthy crap the current US admin et al get up to and the daily twists and turns of political messaging, isn’t going to be good post material and may not have any natural home in what topic-specific threads do exist.
I think most would agree that, in isolation, Bernie's endorsements / unendorsements / non-endorsements don't qualify as a "substantial major story or development in US politics", or, as taz put it in the deletion reason, "big, *major* news". If we had a FPP for every single development of that magnitude, we'd have dozens per day on the topic of the Democratic primary campaign, and probably hundreds per day for POTUS45's assorted atrocities.

The question we're then left with is it "the daily twists and turns of political messaging", or is it possibly in the middle ground of something that, if properly contextualized, could have remained as a topic-specific post falling into the "a couple paragraphs of roundup of links on a complex topic" category.

It seems clear to me that this singular event could be accurately characterized as "political messaging." Endorsements aren't *just* political messaging, but they certainly do send a message about what a candidate values, and who they align themselves with. However, this isn't a single event. It's a Presidential candidate who's currently in second place in national polls and who has a long history of alienating major constituencies within the Democratic base on social justice issues choosing to support the so-called Breitbart of the Left* in a high-profile Congressional race.

The FPP directly cites some of the reasons why this is important, but leaves a lot of the historical context as subtext, which makes sense given that explicit references to 2016 primary divisions are pretty much kill-on-sight here. Nonetheless, the topic seems very worthy of discussion.

If it can't be discussed because mod resources can't handle it, then we as a community have to accept that and move on. But there is a bit of a tension between "this isolated event isn't major enough" and "if you include the context that makes it a major story, you're rehashing 2016." Moving on from 2016 requires grappling with and overcoming the divisions that were exposed during that campaign. If that can't happen here, it probably can't happen anywhere, because most other venues are already siloed to the point of epistemic closure.

* Yes, I know he rejecs that label, but when your defense is essentially "I'm not Breitbart! Breitbart stole his schtick from me", you doth protest too much.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:35 AM on December 14, 2019 [10 favorites]


The post might have worked better if it had just stuck with the Uygur issue and maybe fleshed out his backstory more for those of us who had never heard of him before.
posted by octothorpe at 9:36 AM on December 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


I think the half of your post that was about Bernie endorsing and then unendorsing Cenk Uygur could've been a fine post by itself, there was a lot to discuss there: discussion about Cenk Uygur's beliefs, discussion about what things Uygur and Bernie have in common, discussion about vetting someone before endorsing them. I think that part of your post could have stood on its own as a post.

This is my read on it, too. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention, but there's not an obvious link between Uygur and Cisneros, so the post as a whole reads a bit as "let's complain about Bernie Sanders" rather than "let's talk about this specific thing Bernie Sanders did".
posted by hoyland at 9:38 AM on December 14, 2019 [12 favorites]


While I disagree with the deletion itself, I can accept that the mods' understanding of how post framing can cause threads to go well or poorly is better than mine. However, I do more strongly disagree with taz's stated reason for deletion in this case.

I can see the case for wanting more context attached to posts that include negative news about a Dem primary candidate to help ensure that the conversation is substantive rather than merely people sniping at each others' preferred candidates. In this case, though, I would hope that the deletion would include a request to rework the post toward this end, rather than a judgment that this is simply an attack on a major Dem candidate based on news that is too minor to be noteworthy. For example:

"Can this post be reworked to include more links providing background and context on why this issue is noteworthy? Without more context the conversation is likely to turn into general sniping about Dem primary candidates, which we want to avoid."

However my preference is to let posts like this one stand; I personally feel there was enough meat there, and the discussion was going fine before deletion (unless there were deleted comments which aren't visible). In particular tonycpsu's point that this story is notable because it fits in a larger pattern of Sanders's behavior is the kind of thing that would be interesting to discuss, but hard to put into the main FPP without actually editorializing about Sanders in a way that would be unacceptable. The mods making judgment calls about noteworthiness makes it harder to have these conversations than it already is.
posted by biogeo at 9:57 AM on December 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


The post might have worked better if it had just stuck with the Uygur issue and maybe fleshed out his backstory more for those of us who had never heard of him before.

I’ve been struggling how to articulate this, but one of the ways politics posts can “go wrong” here is when there’s both a substantive underlying story and a political overlayer to it—here, that a guy who has a wide media following and is running for office has a history of misogyny, and is part of a newer trend in politics/culture of “ironic” misogyny, and then that that guy was endorsed by a presidential campaign that has its own issues with misogyny (not talking about Bernie the human being but the campaign apparatus and followers in 2016 and now, and clearly not all fans of Bernie, etc). When it’s about the underlying story, the post tends to go at least ok, but often the presence of the higher-profile political issue draws fighting unrelated to the underlying story from people who hate or love the major candidate. I’ve watched this train wreck happen in Al Franken posts, the story I posted about Biden and stuttering, and others. Some users can’t seem to contain themselves from responding to that trigger in a “sports fan/hater” way.

But that’s not to say only the underlying story matters. The famous-candidate parts matters to, and I can see why some even think it matters more given the ostensibly higher stakes of a presidential race vs observing a social trend (or however you would characterize The Young Turks).

Of course, looking over the post, it doesn’t seem like the comments were out of hand or derailing or anything—it seems to have fostered a solid discussion. So I find it a little surprising that it was deleted at the point in time it was (as opposed to right after posting).
posted by sallybrown at 9:58 AM on December 14, 2019 [17 favorites]


I thought the thread looked like it was going OK; I wish it had been left to develop longer, at the very least.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:04 AM on December 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


We've already had 'candidate X is pure, absolute evil, worse than Hilter, Stalin, Caligula, Pol Pot, Idi Amin..." about every major Democratic candidate in the race. We don't another one. There's nothing in taz's explanation for closing the thread that suggests that this policy specific to anti-Sanders posts. I assume another 'Buttigieg is demon from hell' post would have been closed too, and the same goes for similar posts about other candidates.

I'm glad the moderators deleted this post. I'm supporting another candidate (who's also been the subject of one of these 'worse than Hitler' posts), but we don't need more of this crap. I don't think any of the major Democratic candidates are worse than Trump, and I think Democrats who favor a different candidate than me prioritize different issues than I do. I don't think people who support other candidates are manifestations utter, complete evil. I hope we can work together defeat Trump in the general whoever wins the nomination, because, to put it mildly, this is kind of important.
posted by nangar at 10:17 AM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


Um... absolutely no where in my post did I categorize any candidate as “pure evil” and I specifically worded my post as neutrally as possible please don’t put words in my mouth.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:22 AM on December 14, 2019 [39 favorites]


I was surprised to see that the post was deleted, because I had glanced at it earlier and the discussion seemed to be going fine. However, I admit that I also rolled my eyes slightly because the endorsement-then-unendorsement story seemed pretty ephemeral to me. The kind of news that blows up on social media for half a day and is never mentioned again.

Based on the discussion in this MeTa, and the added context around Uyger (who I was not familiar with), I agree there was probably a good discussion to be had here. But based on the post itself and the few comments so far, I don’t really blame taz for classing it as a minor “candidate makes misstep” story. I’m not sure I agree with the deletion but it seems like a reasonable judgement call to me.

But I’m also really glad this MeTa exists, because it can hopefully help clarify (or change!) how we want to do this kind of discussion. Before we get to 2020 and the campaign news gets even faster paced.
posted by a device for making your enemy change his mind at 10:34 AM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


This seems like it's well in line with the principles articulated in the MeTa discussing the end of megathreads. I think tonycpsu's analyis is really on point here and this is less a discussion about "critical posts Y/N" and more a discussion about managing political posts in general, and trying to encourage posts that are more "major news" and less "news of the day."
posted by MoonOrb at 10:40 AM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


I think Taz had a sound deletion reason.
posted by biggreenplant at 10:42 AM on December 14, 2019


Homo neanderthalensis, while I get that you were trying to keep the language as neutral as possible, the framing didn't seem neutral to me. There's no attempt to look at, for example, who the other Presidential front-runners are endorsing/being endorsed by, and whether their records are better or worse (which frankly is a post I'd find really interesting). Instead it was just a narrowly focused "look at this specific bad thing Sanders did!" post. Basically, Sanders' brief connection with Cenk would bear more scrutiny, in my opinion, if a strong argument could be made that his competitors do not have their own Cenks?

I also think that we're going to see a lot of foolish and/or awful things done by candidates in this race, because they are none of them perfectly good people and they are partaking in a crazy, stressful, fast-paced political ritual. There are already innumerable media outlets which will be detailing those mistakes in mind-numbing detail. So I feel the mods setting a relatively high bar early on is a reasonable way to avoid a Deluge here. I'm sure it's no fun to have your own post be the one nailed up pour encourager les autres, but this seems like a reasonable place to draw that line.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:04 AM on December 14, 2019 [16 favorites]


This was a good deletion. I'm desperate not to see 2020 turn into a massive donnybrook between Sanders/Warren/Biden/Buttigieg fans. Isn't this election going to be painful enough without us all turning on one another?
posted by zeusianfog at 11:23 AM on December 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


There's no attempt to look at, for example, who the other Presidential front-runners are endorsing/being endorsed by, and whether their records are better or worse (which frankly is a post I'd find really interesting).

That seems to demand pretty comprehensive work, likely resulting in a post so link-heavy as to be unreadable (at least to me). Commenters could have brought up those angles, of course, but we won’t know now.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:23 AM on December 14, 2019 [10 favorites]


Fair enough. That was just one example that came to mind as to making such a post more even-handed, I'm sure there are other and better possibilities.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:31 AM on December 14, 2019


So, just to clarify for this relatively-new member: are the mods familiar with the "hecklers' veto" and actively trying to prevent its occurance on MF? Because that sounded like what several folks were referring to and I would like to hear it addressed directly.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 11:50 AM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


Like I said above - that's not what happened here. (In general, yes we're aware of that possibility and take it into account.) This is about a bunch of broader site norms around US politics discussions, the primaries/candidates given how things went last time, around framing/editorialness/etc, around what "size" of story people want to see as separate posts, etc, and these norms get worked out in part by discussions where members talk with each other about what they want to see.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:56 AM on December 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


(From the post:) " there is evidence he was warned and forged ahead anyways until the backlash fomented."
I personally find this sort of logic to be very faulty and extremely editorializing. There's no good way to respond to mob criticism - if you ignore it you'll be cancelled, if you agree, you're just doing it because you got caught. It's in the same vein of logic as "it's always in the last place you look". If it was an un-realized mistake, of course you don't fix it until it's pointed out. But with this logic, there's never room for it to be an accident.

anyway, "sanders supports someone and people didn't like it so less than 30 hours later he considered their perspective and changed his mind" really isn't the big news I think you think it is.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:00 PM on December 14, 2019 [22 favorites]


absolutely no where in my post did I categorize any candidate as “pure evil” and I specifically worded my post as neutrally as possible please don’t put words in my mouth.

(From the post:) " there is evidence he was warned and forged ahead anyways until the backlash fomented."

This is not neutral framing.

As of today, Senator Sanders has not endorsed Jessica Cisneros.

Neither is this.

It's basically "Bernie did a thing he shouldn't have and then didn't undo it quickly enough. And then, also, he didn't do a thing he should have" This level of micro-detail about a single candidate is, if I am understanding correctly from the mods, exactly the sort of "This is what makes MeFi sort of ungreat coming up into an election season" post that they'll be modding more heavily.

I, personally, think this is okay. It's definitely not going to be great for people who really enjoy the back and forth horse race that is "What's new today in the candidate I favor/hate?" (or the front runner or whatever) but I think it's better all around in keeping MeFi from being an "all US politics all the time" blog and I think that is useful. And, just looking at your title

So is Bernie off limits for anything slightly negative now?

I'm sure that is you just legit asking that question, but I hope you can also see that it's a pretty aggressive way of asking why your post was deleted. Do you really think this site is trying to say "Hey nothing even slightly negative about Bernie anymore, and this is a new rule that we're not bothering to tell anyone about" ? I think it's a lot more "Look, running this site is complicated and sometimes things get deleted for reasons that have to do with the MeFi ecosystem and not because of the like or dislike of the political candidate you posted about"
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:15 PM on December 14, 2019 [72 favorites]


But like? In that article people involved in the California Sanders campaign clearly state that they objected to the endorsement and he went ahead anyways. So that’s a statement of fact!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 12:23 PM on December 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


I don't agree with why this was deleted and would have liked to see it be discussed.
posted by odinsdream at 12:36 PM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


Facts can be conveyed in a biased manner
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:42 PM on December 14, 2019 [7 favorites]


But like? In that article people involved in the California Sanders campaign clearly state that they objected to the endorsement and he went ahead anyways. So that’s a statement of fact!

Except from the Politico article, CA campaign folks raised objections to national campaign staff. It's unclear whether that got to Sanders at all. Maybe he thought "nah, they're dumb, I should endorse Uygur anyway", maybe he never heard that any objection was raised because no one told him. I don't think "He went ahead anyways" is really a statement of fact if we're meant to treat this decision as reflecting on his fitness for office or the nomination (which we presumably are). It seem much more likely that this whole situation says more about the Sanders organization than it does directly about Sanders himself--of course, the organization reflects on Sanders, but somewhat less directly--but I read the post as wanting it to reflect on Sanders directly.
posted by hoyland at 12:43 PM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


Man this site is going to absolutely lose it when Bloomberg gets the nom.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 12:51 PM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


If that happens we should shut down and all be in the street.
posted by odinsdream at 12:58 PM on December 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


I also think the title of this meta really point to this being more personal than you're agreeing to admit to. The post was non-news about a sensitive subject that you presented with bias.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:00 PM on December 14, 2019 [26 favorites]


In the context of trying not to let US politics drown out literally everything else on the site, the judgment that this particular news item was insufficiently major to support an FPP seems reasonable, although I'm glad I don't have to be the one figuring out where the boundary of "majorness" is. It seems like this rationale could have been made a little clearer in the deletion reason, although I'm sympathetic to the difficulty of finding the right words here.

I do want to point out a particularly toxic dynamic in this current thread. (1) the poster is falsely accused of painting Bernie as "pure evil" and "worse than Hitler," (2) the poster politely requests that people stop making up things the poster never said, and then (3) the poster's response is shouted down because the poster's original post, which certainly contained no claims about evil or Hitler, was nonetheless ostensibly "biased."

By this logic, all forms of bias are equivalent to declaring someone "pure evil."

This dynamic is intellectually dishonest and toxic as hell, and there's a lot of it going around. I'm having a really hard time coming up with any reason for people to behave in this way, other than a specific intent to shut down any possibility of thoughtful discussion.
posted by Not A Thing at 1:44 PM on December 14, 2019 [44 favorites]


I think the deletion seems in line with what Cortex discussed when the megathreads got shut down? I dunno, I thought what he laid out back then was pretty clear and that a quickly-given-then-retracted endorsement seems like the kind of thing that wouldn't make the cut?

Additionally, homo neanderthalis, I checked out of US politics threads ages ago, and even I know that you do not like Sanders and his supporters one bit. I don't think there's anything wrong with that position, however I think it likely colours your reaction to news about him, and comments here either criticising or supporting him. Likewise, I imagine this stance might also colour the way some mefites might respond when you post or comment about him.

This dynamic is intellectually dishonest and toxic as hell, and there's a lot of it going around

Indeed. To be fair, darkly intimating that Sanders supporters are aligned to un-named yet evil movements is not much better.

Frankly, I wish we could just let people support the candidate they feel most aligned to, and accept we are all allies against trump. The savagery the left brings to internecine struggles is rarely justified and never profitable.
posted by smoke at 2:49 PM on December 14, 2019 [18 favorites]


darkly intimating that Sanders supporters are aligned to un-named yet evil movements is not much better.


Which I have done where?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:22 PM on December 14, 2019


Which I have done where?

They were referring to another user's comment.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:23 PM on December 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


I think it's reasonable to say there was a better framing for this post. That said, it seemed to be going okay, and was a bad deletion decision, to my mind.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:28 PM on December 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


(3) the poster's response is shouted down because the poster's original post, which certainly contained no claims about evil or Hitler, was nonetheless ostensibly "biased."

But like, I think bias is part of the stated deletion reason ("avoid posts that are basically attacks on a particular Dem candidate" does imply some sort of bias ), and I get the sense that the poster thinks they were not being biased based on the first sentence of the MeTa, so I don't think that it's a bad thing to bring the conversation back to whether or not there was bias in the deleted post.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:30 PM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


Sorry mate, I was referring to night recording's remarks here. I thought her comment was a bit problematic in that it was built around how many flags the post received, who flagged it, and how the mods responded that was entirely speculative.

I definitely don't want to contribute to a pile on you, or anyone else, that is not my intention.
posted by smoke at 3:32 PM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think we all perceive posts and group biases based on our own biases. I'm a Sanders fan. I have been since before 2016. I donated to him in 2016, donated to him this time around, and I plan to vote and volunteer for him. So, full disclosure.

My perception of metafilter is that it is one of the most anti-Sanders left leaning spaces on the internet. In past politics threads, I've seen suggestions that Sanders is a Russian agent, and most threads on politics contain heavily favorited posts attacking both Sanders and his supporters.

So, the idea that there is some sort of site wide bias or censorship against criticism of Sanders is ridiculous. If there is a lack of discussion or debate about Sanders or his ideas on this site, it could be because people don't want to even bother because they don't feel like getting involved in an argument about how horrible Sanders and his supporters are.

Which, to be perfectly honest, is fine with me. There are other more pro Sanders spaces on the internet.

I'm just not sure how this site is going to react given that it looks like none of the Mefite preferred candidates are going to prevail in the primary.
posted by eagles123 at 5:47 PM on December 14, 2019 [25 favorites]


Who do you think are the "Mefite-preferred" candidates? This is an honest, if rather wry, question. I think the note that I think we all perceive posts and group biases based on our own biases. is absolutely right on the money.

Personally, I am not super invested in any specific candidate. I don't care for two candidates who are currently in the running (and have made this clear in various places), but I absolutely refuse to view any specific candidate as the potential salvation for this country. I think the focus on the specific person who can save us is a distraction from other things we can be doing to take back more powerful institutions, like Congressional races.

But I notice a lot of fragility around criticism of Bernie here, often specifically Bernie in a way that does not apply to any other candidate now running. And I don't like where that leads. We should be able to criticize all of these candidates. We have to remember that each of them is a politician, and none of them are going to single-handedly save the nation. The more we allow ourselves to valorize each in turn, the more we make ourselves vulnerable to partisan infighting if our own preferred candidate does not win the nomination.

I thought this deletion was a bad deletion. I often come out here in favor of FPP authors being allowed to have their own voices and opinions present in the framing of the post, in part because I think that every choice of topic or omission of topic possible is an opinion on what is or is not worth talking about. I don't think the FPP was perfect, but what is? The important thing is that the discussion was moving well at the time it was deleted, and I was already beginning to see comments that made me think and consider where the main conflicts are that can be resolved--for example, I thought polymodus' comment was moving the discussion into a place that could have helped us hash out this specific decision by Bernie's staff in a way that helps us make sense of this entire wretched season, build coalitions of support in order to knock fascists out of government, and understand what his strengths and weaknesses as a politician are likely to be. (This is irrespective of whether or not his decision was a good decision. I don't care about that as much as I care about helping politically active MeFites learn to understand each other and help minimize conflicts within the left. Better understanding means better coalition building.) I was very startled when I noticed the thread had been deleted shortly after that comment.

I still think this FPP should have been allowed to grow and breathe before being pruned.
posted by sciatrix at 6:58 PM on December 14, 2019 [24 favorites]


Warren mostly, but I guess I more think this site doesn't like Sanders and Biden. I don't care for Biden either, but I do like Warren. I just don't think she has a realistic shot to win.
posted by eagles123 at 7:01 PM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


I disagree with this deletion.
posted by riruro at 7:10 PM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I find Sanders to be an awful candidate who I think should have not run again, and I think this is a good deletion. This was not, as claimed, "framed well". It's a really transparent hit job against a candidate using something that, if you don't already hate the candidate, is not nearly enough to hang a MeFi post on.
posted by tocts at 7:13 PM on December 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I don't care for Biden, either, and I'd say that I think you're right on that with respect to the site generally. I do have to say that I think some of both the sensitivity around Bernie and the irritation surrounding Bernie comes from the fact that he was a frontrunner candidate in 2016. We're all a little bit burned and terrified about that election, and there are still hurt feelings and nasty associations left over for that which don't necessarily carry over for any other candidate (since Clinton is not running in this election). Whether you're coming into this year really invested in Bernie or very leery of him seems to be a function of whether you believe he would have won in 2016 or whether you aren't sure.

The thing is, to win with any candidate, we on the left need to understand each other and figure out how to build coalitions with people we might or might not agree with in all areas. However, at the same time, there are a lot of groups of people who are used to being told "ally with me, and I'll see you're taken care of" and then ignored once the power is won.

This is true both of the leftists that generally back Bernie, having seen establishment Democrats ignore... a lot of class-related and global issues, and of the women on the left who are critical of tendencies among his supporters and his campaigns to minimize and ignore concerns of women. I don't think you can resolve this conflict without honoring both of those histories, and I definitely think that you can't build a strong coalition without forging a narrative of political alliances that pay attention to them. Otherwise, people are liable to accidentally elbow one another in long-established sore spots and ignite conflicts that are totally unnecessary. We have to know where one another's sorenesses are if we are going to march together effectively.
posted by sciatrix at 7:14 PM on December 14, 2019 [26 favorites]


I agree the left needs to unify. I'm not sure that post would have been a good starting point for that discussion because the framing seems guaranteed to put people who like Sanders on the defensive. I guess I'm agnostic on the deletion though. I was more reacting to the suggestion that there was some sort of ban on Sanders criticism. That is far from my perception.
posted by eagles123 at 7:23 PM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


Yeah, to be clear, I'm approaching with a belief that the discussion was trending in this direction and cutting off potential to do that is a difficult thing to do. We've all got biases, and this is a sufficiently high stakes environment that I don't think there's a way to approach these discussions that doesn't ever betray opinions in the FPP.

There isn't a way to criticize candidates in a way that comes bias free, you feel?
posted by sciatrix at 7:34 PM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Who do you think are the "Mefite-preferred" candidates? This is an honest, if rather wry, question.

It's quidnunc kid. And his ilk. Mostly his ilk, to be honest.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:54 PM on December 14, 2019 [53 favorites]


I'm afraid I'm very anti-ilkist.
In fact I think the revisionist ilkist bastards are our true enemy and must be destroyed.
Just my opinion.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:29 PM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


Splitter!
posted by Dumsnill at 9:33 PM on December 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


We've had at least one comment on the site explicitly comparing Elizabeth Warren to Joseph Stalin. I remember who posted it. Apparently it's gone now. Thanks, mods!
posted by nangar at 11:01 PM on December 14, 2019


MetaFilter: The post was non-news about a sensitive subject that you presented with bias.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:49 PM on December 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


I think this was interesting news, but more from a California and misogyny angle.

Cenk Uygur, who doesn't even live in the district, filled to run for a the congressional seat Katie Hill vacated after her ex-husband used revenge porn to get back at her for having a relationship with a staffer. Three amount of abuse she still continues to get from that is despicable, and she's been somewhat candid about how it's affected her mental health.

Uygur's gross and sexist comments about women are terrible, and juxtaposing them with the situation that caused the CA-25 seat to need a special election illustrates how many still don't take sexism seriously. That Saves endorsed him and then retracted it when the animal stuff came out is disappointing. I think there could have been an interesting discussion about the special election for CA-25, given the field and it's very much up in the air, but that isn't going to happen I guess.
posted by kendrak at 6:40 AM on December 15, 2019 [15 favorites]


Make a post about it. Sounds like a very different post than the one under discussion here.
posted by agregoli at 6:47 AM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Had I been able to leave a comment, I would have. Thanks for the encouragement though.
posted by kendrak at 7:07 AM on December 15, 2019


neanderthal, I didn't mean my comment to be taken as claiming that you had literally used the phrase "pure evil" in your FPP, and I think it's ridiculous to read it that way.

What I do think is that your post is basically a 'Bernie Sanders eating crackers' post. The only way your post makes any sense if you, and your readers, assume Sanders is a racist, misogynist bigot, and interpret everything he says or does in that light. Otherwise, we've just got a story about Sanders endorsing a candidate who's said problematic stuff in the past and then withdrawing his endorsement, plus, some of Sanders' allies endorsed a candidate in Texas I've never heard of, but Sanders himself hasn't. What does this mean? Why should we care?

The latter story might be part of a pattern and taken as meaning something, if Sanders had never endorsed any black or female candidates, but that's clearly not the case. In presenting the first story, you never even considered the possibility that Sanders might have withdrawn his endorsement of Uygur because of the problematic stuff he's said the past, even though that's the immediate assumption most of us would make about any other candidate in similar situation. And it's the assumption I make about about Sanders as well, because I'm not starting off with the assumption that everything Sanders does is motivated by evil.

(And, no, I'm not claiming you literally said something about crackers.)
posted by nangar at 7:49 AM on December 15, 2019 [8 favorites]


I'd like to add too, that I like Homo neanderthalensis, and I appreciate her contributions to the site, though I don't share her hatred of Sanders.

I don't intend for my criticism this particular post to be taken as an attack on Homo neanderthalensis as person. I'm being totally sincere when I say I appreciate her contributions to the site.
posted by nangar at 8:07 AM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


though I don't share her hatred of Sanders.

One: I don’t hate Sanders. I think he can do better which is why I want to see criticism of him.

Two: I’m a fuckin They.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:21 AM on December 15, 2019 [32 favorites]


because I'm not starting off with the assumption that everything Sanders does is motivated by evil.


So you aren’t literally accusing me of calling Sander’s evil, you’re just implying it.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:24 AM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


There can be no discussion on this topic can there? No matter how you word it, no matter how nice you are, If you aren’t 100% behind the one true candidate you’re an enemy. And god help you if you’re mildly critical- it’s the same thing with the last dust up, go off script and the firehose of shit turns on to wash away the unbeliever. Try to shine a light on the good in the world? You’re not sufficiently leftist. Try to mildly criticize a socialist candidate for a misstep any other candidate would get pilloried for? Get accused of hatred. How many comments have been posted and deleted by the mods with regard to Warren’s mistakes? We should be having those discussions too- she can do better too- and god knows Maybe I could have worded the post better, but it wasn’t going badly and there could have been a discussion there. I guess we’ll never know now.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:32 AM on December 15, 2019 [9 favorites]


I’m a fuckin They.

Yeah, another MeFite just pointed that out to me. I'm really sorry!

I really need to get used to always referring to people I don't know in real life as "they", unless I'm absolutely sure. It's way to easy to get wrong.
posted by nangar at 8:34 AM on December 15, 2019 [7 favorites]


So. I agree with this deletion but I think it could be a "revise and resubmit" with more context about Uygur and/or problematic candidate endorsements.

I am also politically to the left of Sanders and find him quite off-putting in a variety of ways, but that's not really enough for an FPP, either.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:38 AM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


> If you aren’t 100% behind the one true candidate you’re an enemy. And god help you if you’re mildly critical- it’s the same thing with the last dust up, go off script and the firehose of shit turns on to wash away the unbeliever.

Um, I'm a Warren supporter, neanderthal. And, yes, that comment did come off as a hateful tirade.
posted by nangar at 8:44 AM on December 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


Which comment? I have repeatedly said I don’t hate Sanders. I. Am. Autistic. I mean what I say! Is this some sort of NT thing where words have secret meanings? Where being a little fed up with the fan base a guy you sort of like has and how that fan base has treated you means you secretly hate the guy himself? Where no matter what you post or how you word it the worst possible interpretation will be used against you?
There’s absolutely no winning no matter how I word it huh? The worst possible interpretation will be made. I can post a thousand times that I don’t hate Sanders but because in a mega thread years ago I was critical of him or his followers I’m the context of 2016 the comment today will be ignored. And yet if we bring up all the “I’m not misogynistic I’d vote for Warren not HRC” megathread comments vs today’s “Warren is a Republican” comments from the same people we’re “relitigating”?
Mmmmmm yeah. It was a mistake to come back.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:55 AM on December 15, 2019 [13 favorites]


The framing and bias accusations really only matter insofar as we believe that a more neutrally-framed post would have survived, and I'm just not seeing it. As many have stated, the discussion was going fine, so this wasn't a case where the framing led to an unsustainably shouty thread. But let's assume for argument's sake that the framing was going to a problem as the discussion continued. How could it have been framed in a way that would comport with the various written rules and unwritten norms that govern what makes an okay US politics FPP on the blue?

Several people here seem to dislike the comparison to Cisneros, so let's assume that was left out. At that point, it's just a story about the endorsement and un-endorsement, with no connection to the underlying issues that make it hard for many progressives to unequivocally support him. That would seem to put it squarely in the "too small" category.

Maybe the post could have been less about Sanders and more about Uygur. He's certainly a notable figure in the leftosphere, and his entrance into a high profile race is certainly worth discussing. But no matter how it's framed, Bernie Sanders endorsing him is going to be a topic of discussion. You're just delaying the inevitable by omitting that context.

So maybe lean into the context and explain more about why this actually matters? OK, but good luck walking the tightrope between being explicit about his liabilities without invoking...2016! *Wilhelm scream* The last Presidential election was an extremely painful one for the left, perhaps so painful that this community can't conceivably handle a more candid discussion of how to build bridges, evaluate our second and third choice candidates more charitably, and focus on the over-arching goal of limiting POTUS45 to one term.

However... if, as LM suggests above, this deletion and MeTa are going to be used to try to probe the limits of what's possible in US politics-adjacent FPPs, I'd like to at least toss out the idea that we abandon this "none dare mention 2016" stance that we've been operating under, and instead acknowledge that some bad shit happened, that the rifts exist to this day, but that ultimately, we're all in some very deep shit if we don't try to heal the wounds. HN has acknowledged the framing could have been more neutral, but if we're not willing to talk honestly and perhaps have our feelings about our preferred candidates hurt a bit, I don't see any purpose to politics threads except as breaking news feeds, and I think I speak for many when I say that's not why I frequent them.

(Sorry to see you step away, HN. Hope you can come back soon!)
posted by tonycpsu at 9:14 AM on December 15, 2019 [15 favorites]


At that point, it's just a story about the endorsement and un-endorsement, with no connection to the underlying issues that make it hard for many progressives to unequivocally support him. That would seem to put it squarely in the "too small" category.

Maybe the post could have been less about Sanders and more about Uygur. He's certainly a notable figure in the leftosphere, and his entrance into a high profile race is certainly worth discussing.


I tend to agree - having read all the links, I think the articles about Sanders & Uygur (plus some other directly related pieces) could have been a good starting point for a discussion about sexism/misogyny on the left. Uygur's Young Turks podcast was high-profile, at least for a while, his "well, that was years ago and I''m different now" excuse is certainly questionable, the fact that he's running for Katie Hill's seat adds another layer of consideration, and of course Sanders and/or his campaign and/or some of his most vocal supporters have certainly had issues with (at the least) the perception of sexism.

Sexism and misogyny on the left is certainly a topic worth discussing and one MetaFilter could, possibly, handle.

Adding the apparently-unrelated bit about how Sanders has not (yet, maybe) endorsed an entirely different candidate is what kinda steered the post into a more generic "No Bernie" feel, and general "this particular candidate is terrible" posts I think are likely to be massively contentious and to generate more heat then light.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:59 AM on December 15, 2019 [8 favorites]


Not A Thing: trying not to let US politics drown out literally everything else on the site

Yes please. I'd like that.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:05 AM on December 15, 2019 [6 favorites]


[Deleted a comment. We are really, really uncomfortable with the pattern of people using other folks' buttonings to make political points and we really don't want people to feel like they can't take a break without Making A Statement. If the community wants to talk about buttonings as a pattern or the way the site makes them public or whatever, that's fine, but let's do it in a separate thread and not use what is intended as a self-care tool as a rhetorical bludgeon. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:41 AM on December 15, 2019 [20 favorites]


I didn't mean my comment to be taken as claiming that you had literally used the phrase "pure evil" in your FPP, and I think it's ridiculous to read it that way.

You think it's ridiculous to read it that way because you're the one who wrote it. Using hyperbole to describe how Mefites talk about political candidates they don't like leads to misunderstandings. Taking extra effort to not use hyperbole makes one's original points more easy to understand. I really think that Mefites should make an effort to not use hyperbole to describe how Mefites talk about political candidates they don't like, for the good of the site.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:45 AM on December 15, 2019 [37 favorites]


> I really think that Mefites should make an effort to not use hyperbole to describe how Mefites talk about political candidates they don't like, for the good of the site.

Reasonable enough, I'll try to avoid that.
posted by nangar at 10:51 AM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


I wish the post wasn't deleted. Was it a "Bernie eating crackers" post? Maybe, but we've had Warren eating crackers posts and Buttigeig eating crackers posts and Biden eating crackers posts. Why does Bernie get special treatment? As to the argument that the other candidate-specific posts were about "substantial"policy stuff, I think who a candidate chooses to endorse says a lot about what that candidate does and does not value. Also, I think the discussion was going well. (Had I written the post, I probably would have put the stuff about the candidate he didn't endorse in a comment, but I think that's a question of style, not substance.)
posted by Weeping_angel at 11:01 AM on December 15, 2019 [10 favorites]


Was it a "Bernie eating crackers" post?

Sorry, can you explain what this means? I know it's a reference to a meme of some kind, but I don't know what it means.
posted by hoyland at 12:29 PM on December 15, 2019


Bitch eating crackers meme
posted by MoonOrb at 12:31 PM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well, I commented on the post, so perhaps obviously I don’t think it should have been deleted.

For me the post was about Uyger. He has infuriated me for a long time and running for Hill’s seat added an extra layer to the discussion.

I am mixed about Sanders. I had started off supporting him in the Primary Which Must Not Be Named but when he lost, I got extremely tired of the way his followers treated Clinton as a candidate, particularly with the way it was so heavily laden with sexism. So that’s my true disclosure.

However— I think there is a very interesting discussion to be had about the progressive embrace of some pretty disturbing and problematic candidates (Uyger, Gabbard) if they on the surface embrace progressive values. While I note the (to my mind minor) issues with the framing, that was where the discussion was going and I think it should not have been deleted.
posted by frumiousb at 3:24 PM on December 15, 2019 [18 favorites]


restless_nomad, I am curious what "buttonings" as an adjective means? Apparently everyone here is just much more hip and with-it than me... In my defense, I did check several sites but didn't find anything helpful.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 4:01 PM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Gilgamesh's Chauffeur, "buttoning" is closing one's account, via pressing the "Are you sure [you want to close your account]?" button.
posted by youarenothere at 4:03 PM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


I really think that Mefites should make an effort to not use hyperbole to describe how Mefites talk about political candidates they don't like, for the good of the site

Yes, and politics aside it would be great if we'd acknowledge that written hyperbole in general can often read differently to folks who are neurodivergent in various ways than it might to NT folks. I get that a lot of us rely heavily on hyperbole in casual rhetorical contexts, assuming that other folks interpret it in the intended spirit, but that's not always a safe assumption and at minimum I wish we could avoid it in comments directly referencing other community members and our thoughts about their comments / implications / opinions / state(s) of mind, especially when the general tone is already borderline adversarial. It'd be great if we could be kinder and more understanding with one another than this.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 4:18 PM on December 15, 2019 [23 favorites]


Can I at least say I’m really sorry to see Homo neanderthalensis gone again, and I’m angry at the sequence of events an comments that led to it, and I’m getting really depressed at the number of MeTas over the last 6 months that have led to a shocking loss of quality posters/commenters? Not making a political point, just saying that it’s fucking awful.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:34 PM on December 15, 2019 [48 favorites]


[One deletion. This thread needs to not become a proxy thread for whatever politics stuff you have feelings about, sorry.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:21 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I do not, personally, want this kind of fairly micro-level foreign politics on the front page. I recognise that Metafilter is a US-based site, but even considered in a US context this seems pretty niche.

There is only a certain amount of front page that Metafilter can give to the subject of US politics. I'd prefer that space to be used for something with at least potential broad appeal. I recognise that the discussion potentially has its own value, but it feels like the people who need to have those discussions could have them under front page posts that are likely to be of interest to other people too.
posted by howfar at 11:34 AM on December 16, 2019 [18 favorites]


Isn’t that exactly why we had the mega threads? To keep US politics posts from taking over the front page? And now we don’t. So... I’m confused as to exactly what we’re expected to do.
posted by Weeping_angel at 11:55 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think it's that not everything needs to be discussed here. There are things that don't rise to the level of meriting a new post, and they may not fit in an existing post, so they will just be missed. I think we have to accept that fact in the interest of community management.
posted by Think_Long at 12:29 PM on December 16, 2019 [11 favorites]


’m confused as to exactly what we’re expected to do.

Post less about politics in general, and specifically fewer FPPs about really macro level political events. And also, try to post more about everything else.

FWIW, I feel like there was an interesting post there about Uygur (with maybe the Bernie stuff as a sidenote as part of a larger picture), but I agree with the deletion.
posted by anastasiav at 1:12 PM on December 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


I think the Uygur race in CA is controversial enough to have it's own post but the deleted post was clearly a "Fuck Sanders" editorialized project I mean c'mon. Pete, Warren, Bernie, Biden, as hyped up front-runnery candidates have all had their own posts as they've announced their runs or unveiled large plans and that's about it, and I don't see the benefit of beginning to allow inside-baseball "look at this fuck up that this candidate did today" and fail how it would lead to "best of the web/best of the primary" content, nor do I see that stuff netting out to any reasonable discussion. It would also turn into a pissing match of supporters trying to do FPPs smearing opposing candidates everrrry time someone Does a Bad or enough negative news comes out to compile an FPP which is often and very easy to find daily for each candidate. Then people would complain, wow, there are 4 posts criticizing Bernie for his mistakes but only 1 post critical of Warren. And none critical about Pete - coincidence??? Conspiracy!! Is this the Metafilter we want and deserve?

I think when big policy plans or campaign game-changers are being dropped it's worth discussing and debating or perhaps a big giant scandal that is really rocking the primaries, but this deleted one just ain't it unless someone really wants it to be and is trying to do their part in making it so. Like I'm not gonna make a big post about Mayor Pete and McKinsey and other super granular shit that everyone who is following the super granular shit is bickering over on Twitter. That's what Twitter is for, bickering over the granular shit.

My opinion is skewed here because I'm a certifiable BBR2VBNMW (Bernie Bro Ready 2 Vote Blue No Matter Who) so perhaps my reading of the post was biased but that's my take and I'm stickin to it where's my medal for bravery
posted by windbox at 3:16 PM on December 16, 2019 [9 favorites]


There’s way too much ‘This is what you should think the best of the web is’ and not enough ‘This is what I think the best of the web is’ around these parts these days.
posted by Drumhellz at 3:59 PM on December 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


Agree with the delete.
posted by dmh at 6:22 PM on December 16, 2019


There is a Bernie cult of personality. It's aggressive and bears semblance to a lot of other, less savory movements I won't name at the present moment.

I don't hang out here for politics and didn't hang out in the megathread and I have to say that this kind of thing is disturbing and really, really bizarrely out of step with what the vast majority of basically anyone thinks. Even people who don't like Bernie. Seriously, you gotta talk to more people outside of this bubble. Between this and the more paranoid versions of the Russian obsession, this place is really remarkably displaced from the truth.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:46 PM on December 16, 2019 [32 favorites]


Bernie Sanders got 43% of the vote in the 2016 Democratic primary. He's now polling around 17%. It's obvious that most most of the supposed Bernie "cultists" are supporting other candidates this time around when there are more candidates running.

Maybe, just maybe, some of you might consider idea that some Bernie supporters in 2016 might have actually cared about issues like access to health care, student loan debt and paid parental leave, a lot of times because those issues impacted them personally, concerns that Hilary Clinton and all of her supporters expressed total contempt for during the campaign.

You should understand that access to health care is a life-or-death issue for a lot of Democrats.
posted by nangar at 9:08 PM on December 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


Saying stuff like "all of her supporters expressed total contempt" really makes these discussions harder than they need to be. Please don't do that. First of all, "all"/"total" is an exaggeration. Second, the most toxic thing about the 2016 primaries was how much "supporters of X are the worst" stuff there was; let's not go back to that.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:21 PM on December 16, 2019 [28 favorites]


I think this community has a "missing stair" group of posters who both behave extremely badly when their preferred candidate (i.e. Bernie Sanders) is criticized

I can think of several people I liked who left the site in 2016 or in the aftermath because of the hostility they felt toward supporters of their preferred candidate (i.e. the same guy). I could try to pin this on the other side being awful but I don't really believe it's an inherent issue with a group of people so much as - these primaries are fraught, stakes are high, everyone is tightly wound and people within political groupings can really work each other up to be hostile.

Presumably deleting things like this is supposed to avoid escalating these tensions to the point of people feeling hurt, but the cost of making people feel like they can't discuss things is also apparent so - I don't think I'm really for a rule against critical posts about primary contenders.
posted by atoxyl at 10:33 PM on December 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


My perception of metafilter is that it is one of the most anti-Sanders left leaning spaces on the internet.

I mean, I wouldn't pretend there's not a significant contingent here that does support Sanders. I'm certain he'd be in the top three most popular candidates here if you took a poll - wouldn't be surprised to see him in the top two. It's just also undeniable that he has a contingent of vocal detractors on MeFi.

(My sense is that this divide is actually somewhat less hostile now than it was in 2016 or early 2017.)
posted by atoxyl at 11:15 PM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


well this was certainly a trainwreck. I couldn't stop watching and now I'm a bit traumatized. Kinda reminds me of christmas with one of my ex's family. Except no turkey here.

Homo neanderthalensis provided a lot of content to this site and even an evil robot like me will miss their presence here.
posted by some loser at 4:30 AM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


I don't think I interacted with them directly much, but I knew of and liked Homo neanderthalensis a great deal - their post this year on 'the anti-liberal moment' was one of the few times I felt compelled to leave a comment on the blue.

I understand the problems with both macro level politcal posts (so broad that it becomes an unfocused rant akin to the megathreads) and micro level political posts (newsfilter, so niche that it is irrelevant to many posters, not important enough to warrant 'best of the web' labeling'). I think I understand the balance that the site is trying to create around high quality political posts vs. becoming a place for breaking news or megathreads.

What I'm actually very upset about - and this speaks I think to issues that Homo neanderthalensis had ongoing - is the frustrating level of implied consensus building and ideologically motivated posting that is allowed to continue so regularly. While newsfilter is moderated fairly well ideologyfilter is definitely not, and I'm not sure what a reasonable answer is to that. It can be extremely intimidating for people who are either actually in the ideological minority, or at least feel that way due to not putting in the same level of effort to put up posts every single week (sometimes daily) on their belief system, to enter this space and voice an opinions that are largely treated as the out-group.
posted by the_querulous_night at 6:24 AM on December 17, 2019 [8 favorites]


Not sure you're out-group, for a few reasons, but I'll answer just one.

I want to push back against the idea that caring about economic justice is just about being part of a "team" or "group" (or, I guess, "cult.") Many, many people care a lot about the fact that people are going without insulin to feed someone else's bank account; that people are working themselves to the bone and are still food insecure; that poverty intersects with misogyny and racism to enable systematic, horrific abuses against marginalized people in our "justice" system.

If you see these issues as largely flags about whose team you're on, if you feel like they're about in-group, out-group politics...you're not alone, certainly. But I would be careful not to project that "team" feeling on everyone who cares about these things.

Many of us are simply working class or know people who are working class, and we care about the people we love. We don't want to see people suffering when we see other people having way, way more than they need.

For example, I grew up with people who had to worry about paying for college and simply didn't go because they didn't get help filling out their FAFSA. I got lucky for college but couldn't get a job with health insurance for years so I have massive, painful grad student loans. I have a child who has some special needs and the thought of losing my health insurance literally wakes me up at night, in a sweat, panicking about losing my job. I only got my job because I have the internet and could access small advice sites, is that even going to be possible in five years?

These are all real issues that have nothing to do with what team I'm on, or who I support, or anything. They're real life! Caring about things that affect me and the people I love is not an ideology, any more than caring about whether the grocery store is open is an ideology. People care about the things that matter to them, a lot, and economic justice matters a lot to a lot of people because they are drowning out there. Please, please think about that for a moment when you read a position or an article before dismissing it as "ideological" or part of a "cult."
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:04 AM on December 17, 2019 [24 favorites]


Also, look. I'm not trying to gaslight you here. There are definitely posters (Whelk, someone else I forget) who post lefty stuff all the time. You might find that kind of politically-driven posting mildly annoying or whatever and I get that. But the idea that people posting a lot about things they care about creates some kind of in-group that is excluding you, which presumably includes everyone who cares about anything similar to what they post about, does not really make much sense, and is, honestly, a bit demeaning to the fact that many people here have serious, real-life concerns with things like health care, housing, and food---basic human necessities---and want to talk about them.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:15 AM on December 17, 2019 [15 favorites]


ifds, sn9, supporting economic justice and supporting Sanders are two different things. You can be 100% in favor of the first and still not support the second.
posted by octothorpe at 7:26 AM on December 17, 2019 [14 favorites]

If you see these issues as largely flags about whose team you're on, if you feel like they're about in-group, out-group politics...you're not alone, certainly. But I would be careful not to project that "team" feeling on everyone who cares about these things.
Those all sound like issues that I'd say I care about a great deal as well. There are definitely certain word choices and interpretations when talking about these injustices that I'd associate with particular worldviews or 'teams' but that does by no means imply a negative evaluation or dismissal. Certainly I'd like to push back on the idea that I'm implying anyone is in a "cult".

I understand this is a very fine line I'm addressing - but I think there's a difference between posting things that are impacting an individual's life and well being, and using the Metafilter front page as a medium for activism and message amplification. Let's say there's a user who is very active in a hobby community - I would expect that their posts may tend to focus on things in their universe of interests. And there may be users who have a great deal of first hand experience with issues that have/are impacting orharming their quality of life - those are users that have unique expertise and knowledge that can provide valuable contributions and shared understanding. That's what can make Metafilter work so well - seeing the combination of things that people are most excited about or knowledgeable about being aggregated together.

But there comes a point at which I think posting behavior crosses over from 'focusing on an area of interest' to 'trying to amplify a particular worldview as much as possible' - this isn't focusing on an area of specific concern, or specific domain expertise. This behavior is I feel, trying to use the page as a kind of ideological advertising platform, and implied marking of the larger community as having a consensus about how best to effect change in our world.
posted by the_querulous_night at 7:36 AM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Look, it's been years of these same exact arguments. I don't personally care if someone hates Bernie Sanders, but what I do care about is being told again and again that conflict on this site is my fault for not reading the room, or that liking Sanders means I'm unserious, or that I'm going to be personally responsible for the next fascist president, or whatever other hyperbole gets tossed our way. I mean, before he even ran there were people on this site saying point-blank that supporting him would be a sign that I was willing to toss minorities under the bus because he wasn't a serious candidate. So now it's that Bernie Bros and Sandernistas can't handle the slightest bit of innocent, neutrally-framed constructive criticism, our cult of personality aggressively flagging things and browbeating the mods into doing our bidding.

I'm so done with this site that I wasn't even going to write this much, but it's all so aggravating.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:41 AM on December 17, 2019 [26 favorites]


And I'll back up a step and recognize that other people could feel the same way about their own beliefs and perspectives. Just please recognize that there's been a lot of invalidating, belittling shit over the years. I really do my best not to perpetuate that against other people, but it seems like that's not enough. There's still this image of the college bro for Bernie shouting down anyone he doesn't like, and it's a toxic lie that makes it really hard for a lot of people's voices to be heard in this. When any pushback becomes an inability to handle the slightest criticism, what are we supposed to do? That's what's so infuriating about the idea of there being this vague allusion to unsavory movements, because like, I'm just trying to scrape together enough money to pay my debts, right? I'm into the candidate who talks about the impact of those debts in a way I find most relatable. And yet the bro image remains, the cult of personality image remains, and at the very least I should be able to argue that those aren't great starting places if I want to have a conversation with you.

But I also think this discourse is now so ingrained here that I don't really see the point.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:51 AM on December 17, 2019 [18 favorites]


ifds, sn9, supporting economic justice and supporting Sanders are two different things. You can be 100% in favor of the first and still not support the second.

Right, I agree. I was responding to someone talking about economic justice related issue posting here as creating an "in group." I didn't mention Sanders. If the implication was that people are posting that stuff because they are into Sanders, that's not what I was responding to.

Since it matters a lot to people, I've donated to both Sanders and Warren and would pick Warren out of the two of them. I also like Castro an enormous amount, FWIW, and admire Booker but don't know enough about his policies to say I support him.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:13 AM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


This behavior is I feel, trying to use the page as a kind of ideological advertising platform,

Maybe; I'd buy this characterization of it

and implied marking of the larger community as having a consensus about how best to effect change in our world.

Don't see it, sorry. I also don't see this as being "extremely intimidating" or creating an out-group.

If the problem is that you don't think Metafilter should be so closely associated with leftism, I can assure you that no one who thinks about it at all thinks that it is!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:18 AM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


I also think it's a terrible idea to be thinking in terms of "in-groups and out-groups" here, for the simple reason that it's probably one of the worst things you can do when you have divides and tensions and mistrust like this.

Look. I've been hanging out in spaces where you have--call them group A and group B, who are both marginalized and take some Shit, but in opposite ways. Each group assumes that the other has primacy in the social spaces, because if I don't feel secure and like my viewpoints are welcome, someone else probably does, right? But both groups of people feel this way. Normal attempts to secure stability and security within the larger conversation inflame tensions between the groups because they're interpreted as a hegemonic force trying to secure more power and control for itself against a struggling minority, except that both groups interpret themselves as marginalized within the majority.

For context, I learned how to see this in queer and disability spaces. Neither of these groups is straight or non-disabled, but the ways in which each are marginalized seem opposed.

The way you handle this is through people who appear to be in the same group reaching out to people who feel like they are unwelcome or marginalized within the community and gently pointing out the ways in which the Other group also feels the same way. You point out commonalities of oppression. You help people unclench from their defensiveness and learn to reach out and listen. You talk to each other and find out ways you can ally against the actual source of everyone's tension and marginalization. You think about criticism of "your" side and you take it seriously and you explain where you're coming from. You listen.

We need to be doing that here.
posted by sciatrix at 8:25 AM on December 17, 2019 [25 favorites]


Or to distill all that down more concisely: There's no fucking cabal. No one feels like they control the space. No one feels like they're totally comfortable and totally accepted. That's just not how humans work.
posted by sciatrix at 8:27 AM on December 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


That's what can make Metafilter work so well - seeing the combination of things that people are most excited about or knowledgeable about being aggregated together.

But there comes a point at which I think posting behavior crosses over from 'focusing on an area of interest' to 'trying to amplify a particular worldview as much as possible'


I think this speaks to the difference between:

Here's something I think Metafilter people might enjoy seeing, and

Here's something I think Metafilter people should see.
posted by philip-random at 8:34 AM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Whelk's posts get like 9 comments unless someone decides today is the day to concern troll about the Kulaks. If that's the Cabal you are going to be ok.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:40 AM on December 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


Here's something I think Metafilter people might enjoy seeing, and

Here's something I think Metafilter people should see.


This gets repeated frequently in these discussions, and I feel the need to say: this is not an obvious distinction to all people, and it tends to have a chilling effect on people who want to post to the front page but are nervous about doing so. It is a comforting truism to spout, but it does not actually decrease this tension because the people who are making these posts often think "here's a discussion I think other people might like to have on Metafilter."

Repeating this truism doesn't appear to solve anything, because different people perceive "might enjoy seeing" and "should see" as the intent of posts at different thresholds. People also post to the front page not only to share neat things on the Web but also in order to have discussions about topics which they think other people here might like to talk about, which is the literal draw of this entire community and social network. How does "here's a conversation I think Metafilter people might like to have" fit into this model?
posted by sciatrix at 8:42 AM on December 17, 2019 [13 favorites]


also, I like the Whelk's posts. I like seeing them. I often don't comment but I love to see them and I generally find them interesting. Does my enjoyment of those posts matter in the balance of "think MeFi would like" vs "think MeFi should see?"
posted by sciatrix at 8:43 AM on December 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


There's no fucking cabal. No one feels like they control the space. No one feels like they're totally comfortable and totally accepted.

In my experience, there is a cabal, or certainly cabals. Not here at Metafilter specifically. They operate everywhere that humans congregate. But they're tricky. Invisible even. That is, you tend not to notice when you've joined, not in any overt way. There's no initiation, no secret handshake, no membership dues.

What you will notice if you slow down enough to actually pay attention is that you feel more than just comfortable, you feel confident, powerfully so. You're on a roll. You're in the zone. The cards keep falling your way. You've noted the cues (perhaps subconsciously) and you're playing very effectively to the prevailing mood of the situation. This can be positive, wonderful even if this prevailing mood is entirely positive, wonderful even. But how often does this happen? And even when it does, how long does it last?

Maybe this comes from being a kid who moved seven times before he was eleven and constantly had to negotiate a new peer group, work from outsider to insider (perceived anyway) only to have to start all over again. My overall point being, it's very easy to slide into a zone of privilege (or whatever you want to call it) without being aware, which is to say a position of power, because there is definitely power in privilege, which often also means corruption, because that's where power goes if it's unchecked. I don't think there's any way to really avoid all of this beyond being conscious, paying attention. And for me, part of that means being wary of those phases and situations where I'm finally feeling confident, perhaps powerfully so. You can achieve a lot in these phases, not all of it good.
posted by philip-random at 9:01 AM on December 17, 2019 [8 favorites]


How does "here's a conversation I think Metafilter people might like to have" fit into this model?

doesn't this speak to intention? If I think Metafilter might like to have this conversation, my intention is informed by ...

Here's something I think Metafilter people might enjoy seeing

It doesn't mean they will enjoy it. It doesn't mean the discussion etc won't go horribly wrong. Welcome to the hell road paved with good intentions, I guess. Which I suppose supports your point ...

different people perceive "might enjoy seeing" and "should see" as the intent of posts at different thresholds.

I guess even the best of intentions aren't unless they're examined, laid open to scrutiny.
posted by philip-random at 9:13 AM on December 17, 2019


If Bernie did a thing, I want to know the thing because I want to know as much as possible about what all the candidates are up to. Of course I do! Back in the day when Dean did his scream I happened to be lying half asleep in the predawn darkness and I heard it on the radio, and I knew right then and there that Howard Dean was officially nonviable and thus I could take time to prepare myself emotionally for a Dean-free presidency. (I liked Dean a lot.) These days, if RT is backing somebody, I want to know! If Biden is being bizarre about his leg hair in front of TV cameras, I want to know! I'm strapped in on this nightmare ride, and I want to know as much as possible about all candidates because I want to be able to watch my progress up the rollercoaster incline so I can brace for the inevitable bone-shattering descent.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:53 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


that doesn't sound healthy
posted by philip-random at 12:07 PM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


It's fine to want to know everything, but that doesn't mean that Metafilter is necessarily a good forum for providing that information.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:22 PM on December 17, 2019 [15 favorites]


For me, I frequently disagree with the Metafilter consensus, and sometimes I feel bad. But the times it makes me feel bad are when the consensus is expressed by insulting me or groups that I identify with, or when I don't think it's socially possible for me to express my opinion without getting shouted down. When The Whelk or other posters write interesting stuff from an ideological perspective that I don't share, I love it -- that's why I read the site.
posted by value of information at 3:59 PM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


My overall point being, it's very easy to slide into a zone of privilege (or whatever you want to call it) without being aware, which is to say a position of power, because there is definitely power in privilege, which often also means corruption, because that's where power goes if it's unchecked

A few points: first, a cabal implies an intentional and conscious power structure that at least its members are aware of. My point is that there's no such thing. Second, the experience you describe is totally and completely foreign to me, no matter how well established in a social group I am. The idea of sailing effortlessly through a community without being hyperaware of what I am doing, how it's impacting others, and my responsibility to other folks in that community is incredibly alien. This might be a function of our own personal histories, but the point I'm trying to make is that extrapolating from one's personal emotional experiences and feelings in a social situation is incredibly error-prone when it comes to understanding the motivations of other human beings.

Attributing intentions to other people based on our own immediate emotional responses is an error-prone process, and when those attributed intentions are negative (smug social hegemony, say, as in a "cabal" or "groupthink"), expressing them often creates more indignation and fury from other people.
posted by sciatrix at 4:53 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


is that there's no such thing. Second, the experience you describe is totally and completely foreign to me, no matter how well established in a social group I am.

Attributing the feelings described to someone else is wrong; you can't know what someone feels on the inside. But the mechanism is real and can happen, even if a person doesn't really want it to. It is possible for a person to develop a lot of privilege and power in a social group, even privilege that person didn't seek and doesn't want, without actually feeling it or placing any value on it themselves. Sometimes it is really, really hard to even recognize when one has entered that category. It's extra hard when one's self-concept has generally included identifying as someone with less structural power and privilege.
posted by Miko at 5:19 PM on December 17, 2019 [17 favorites]


You can achieve a lot in these phases, not all of it good.

Unconscious tribalism is a real thing in social settings. It's much easier to dismiss and degrade someone on the outside of the accepted line, when you have the privilege of enough people to back you up and shout down whoever is the unlucky target. It's a not an easy thing to admit to.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:04 AM on December 18, 2019 [6 favorites]


How does "here's a conversation I think Metafilter people might like to have" fit into this model?

Those are the worst FPPs. Since MeFi is a general-interest community, the "conversation" in a thread can go multiple directions. Someone who posts a link with the intent of forcing a particular discussion then has to thread-sit and yell at people, or complain to the mods, to suppress all the other possible reactions.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:23 AM on December 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've been here for 15 years, and I literally have never seen this happen. Thread sitting gets modded. Complaining to the mods only works if people are being absolute dicks, not if they're not having the conversation the OP wanted to have.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:37 PM on December 18, 2019 [4 favorites]


Is this what a midlife crisis looks like for a site? Because Mefi is way too old to be debating and rehashing its most fundamental principles like it was founded last year. It creates frustration and confusing as to how you're supposed to behave on the site and that causes all kinds of fear and resentment.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:04 PM on December 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think Bernie temporarily endorsing Cenk is FPP-worthy, so help me god. Sanders is a presidential candidate running on a progressive agenda. Cenk is a loud raving misogynist. HOW IS THIS SMALL POTATOES.

If there was some public personality who was famous for unironically, straight-facedly believing in the literal gospel of the SCUM Manifesto and Elizabeth Warren had endorsed their candidacy, the national outrage alone would be endless, as would the months of FPPs that would follow from it. But Sanders, as a dude, gets a free pass from the rest of the country to endorse as many misogynists (or Assad-lovers, as the case may be) as he desires, and as a result, we on Metafilter are shushed in turn. If nobody else is talking about it, we can't either. Since the rest of the country has all these blatant double standards for what constitutues outrageous behavior in male and female presidential candidates, we on MeFi must also follow those standards.

And that's how we reproduce the world's biases here.

(I cringe as I type up and post this, because I've called Sanders on his misogynistic set of priorities before, and that's going to be held up as proof that my argument here is worthless. It has happened before. FWIW, this will be my only comment on this thread, I don't want to turn this into a Sanders debate any more than others do.)
posted by MiraK at 8:56 PM on December 18, 2019 [18 favorites]


I'm not particularly happy to see the thread go, but it would definitely have been messy. I think it's something worth paying attention to no matter how disconnected Sanders is personally from it, because the line Not Me, Us also implies accountability down the line.

Where I feel the disconnect is that I would also like to see comparable posts for other candidates. The Sanders campaign has a problem with misogyny, and this should be open for discussion, as well as other faults, and the work done in repair ought to be used to judge them.

Similarly, every time other candidates, some who I despise, and some who I will cry less if they win, advance economic, foreign policy, healthcare, enivironmental and so on positions which I consider to be not just reckless, but knowingly injurious and lethal to a great many of the world's most precarised people, I would like it to be open for discussion.
We could be discussing how every candidate who supports capitalism is locking millions, if not billions of people worldwide into economic dependency because of their gender as well as Bernie's issues, because both are important to the struggle.
posted by Acid Communist at 2:43 AM on December 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Nice slice of whataboutism, AC.
posted by octothorpe at 4:37 AM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


you tend not to notice when you've joined, not in any overt way. There's no initiation, no secret handshake,

mine gives everyone a special hat and a $15 giftcard to Sephora!
posted by Greg Nog at 5:27 AM on December 19, 2019


You were told to keep that secret! You were told!
I can never remember, is the severed tongue buried above or below the tideline?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 5:37 AM on December 19, 2019


Can we maybe set aside the highlarious cabal jokes in serious threads?
posted by Etrigan at 6:18 AM on December 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Is whataboutism usually "yes this and more"? I'm sure I'm commiting some fallacy, but im less sure it's whataboutism.
posted by Acid Communist at 6:37 AM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Social Democrats have put a lot of emphasis on gender equality. In Scandinavian countries where Social Democratic Parties were in power for good part of the 20th century, and center right parties have been unwilling dismantle the social programs the Social Democrats implemented, policies like paid parental leave and subsidized daycare have done a lot to move these countries closer to gender equality, and women now have close to the same income as men.

People who claim that policies like paid parental leave, subsidized daycare or universal access to health care are inherently misogynist should explain why they think these policies are inherently bigoted and misogynist when Warren and Sanders advocate them, rather than simply engaging in personal attacks against anyone who disagrees with them. No-one on MetaFilter who opposes these policies as a matter of principle has ever been willing to explain why.
posted by nangar at 6:49 AM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Can we maybe set aside the highlarious cabal jokes in serious threads?

i cannot
posted by Greg Nog at 6:51 AM on December 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


No one has mentioned opposing family leave and the like, so I don't know why you bring that up, nangar.
posted by agregoli at 6:53 AM on December 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


People who claim that policies like paid parental leave, subsidized daycare or universal access to health care are inherently misogynist ...

Who has ever done that?
posted by octothorpe at 7:11 AM on December 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


People who claim that

Are you talking about a specific MetaFilter-discussion here? If so, we can talk specifically about that situation.

But one of the things I find most tiring as a moderator and as just a person wading through political arguments is the tendency for those arguments to move past "here the problem I have with what you just said" to "here's a problem I have with the worst or most outlandish thing someone supporting x once said, which is now the responsibility of everyone present who supports x". Because that is generally unanswerable, depends on a bunch of absent context, and gets back to the tendency to collapse stuff down to some artificially binarized Us vs. Them dynamic that makes things worse.

If you have an issue with a specific recurring issue on MeFi, okay. Maybe something to bring to the contact form for us to take a look at; maybe something to outline with a few links if it's a concrete and citeable pattern of behavior. But this kind of demand that a nebulous "you" have to explain themselves just sets up a weird impossible shadowboxing scenario and I'd like you, and basically everybody inclined toward this kind of politics trench warfare, to not do it on the site.

We've got enough actual problems in the world without scaffolding up new ones on MeFi to add to the mix. The primary season has months to go and 2016's was awful, and the answer to that this time is not "do the things that made it awful last time but more so".
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:22 AM on December 19, 2019 [24 favorites]


nangar: concerns that Hilary Clinton and all of her supporters expressed total contempt for during the campaign.

The last time you came on so strongly you ended up apologizing for so severely misremembering what happened that your memories were no longer connected to reality. Previously in this thread you insisted that a comment you definitely remember and are in no way mischaracterizing just happened to be deleted. Prior to that, you characterized various posts and comments as "pure, absolute evil, worse than Hilter, Stalin, Caligula, Pol Pot, Idi Amin..." and 'Buttigieg is demon from hell' . Normally I'd write this off as hyperbole, but you've demonstrated you're happy to play the I-never-used-those-exact-words game.

I'm tired of your bullshit, I'm tired of your bad faith, I'm tired of you insisting that your indistinguishable-from-lies hyperbole gets a special pass based on how you feel.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:25 AM on December 19, 2019 [20 favorites]


Is this worthy of an FPP? Is it considered substantive rather than a political ad? Is there bias in this framing? Is there anything newsworthy here? Is it okay to post about Bernie eating crackers if we note that he does it in, like, a dashing manly way?
posted by MiraK at 7:52 AM on December 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'm interested to hear what people think about having this kind of post as we enter more seriously into the primaries.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:31 AM on December 14 [5 favorites +] [!]


I would ask that we ONLY allow FPPs that are substantive, and not allow FPPs that are basically one-note political ads or rehashing the drummed up #hashtag controversy of the day. Using this standard, the deletion was a good one. The deleted FPP was totally non-substantive and added nothing to the universe that we couldn't get in one second on Twitter. In other words, Metafilter should not be used as a platform to promote candidates, but as a platform to provide considered information about candidates.
posted by schwinggg! at 7:53 AM on December 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


> Is this worthy of an FPP?

Yeah, I think so. Reads to me like a "couple paragraphs of roundup of links on a complex topic", which is the kind of US politics FPP that generally passes the mods' smell test these days.

> Is there bias here in this framing?

Yeah, of course. It's Whelkposting. If we were demanding both-sides framing in political FPPs, then nearly all of his politics posts to the blue would fail that test. I'm glad that we don't insist on that, because the posts are almost always informative and interesting, even if I disagree with aspects of them. Save the both-sidesism for CNN panel discussions and the pages of the NYT.

> Is there anything newsworthy here?

Yeah, I think so. It's a really interesting roundup of links in which major online outlets are taking Sanders seriously as a candidate, and considering the impact of his policies. It also includes some cherry-picked polls and a few "inside baseball" throw-ins -- who the fuck cares about Peter Daou? -- but there's a lot of things in there that I hadn't read yet, so I'm glad the post was made.

> Is it okay to post about Bernie eating crackers if we note that he does it in, like, a dashing manly way?

Even if we imagine the "eating crackers" formulation has some bizzarro non-pejorative equivalent -- and I'm not really sure how that works -- the links in that post contain a lot more than whatever the non-pejorative equivalent of "eating crackers" is. I don't agree with some of the conclusions, and I'm backing a different candidate myself at this point, but my way of dealing with that is going to be to post my thoughts and supporting links in that post, not to demand it be taken down simply because an anti-Bernie FPP was taken down.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:14 AM on December 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Prior to that, you characterized various posts and comments as "pure, absolute evil, worse than Hilter, Stalin, Caligula, Pol Pot, Idi Amin..." and 'Buttigieg is demon from hell' .

Because I was directed to it, I just re-read that comment, which I favorited. It ends with this:

I don't think any of the major Democratic candidates are worse than Trump, and I think Democrats who favor a different candidate than me prioritize different issues than I do. I don't think people who support other candidates are manifestations utter, complete evil. I hope we can work together defeat Trump in the general whoever wins the nomination, because, to put it mildly, this is kind of important.

My favorite remains. Though I do firmly agree with what cortex just said. We've all gotta be careful (potential bulls that we are) of how we maneuver through this proverbial china shop. And that includes stuff like:

I'm tired of your bullshit, I'm tired of your bad faith, I'm tired of you insisting that your indistinguishable-from-lies hyperbole gets a special pass based on how you feel.

I mean, do you two know each other out in the so-called real world, because it sounds like you do? If so, please use me-mail, or maybe some other medium altogether. And if you don't, this feels like it's assuming a lot.
posted by philip-random at 8:21 AM on December 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


I think that new Bernie post vibed a lot more "woo Bernie" and less "this is interesting politics news in its own right" than the ideal would be, yeah. There may be stuff in there that is meat for a good post, but framing it out differently would be part of making that work.

On the other hand, in an earlier stage of the whole primaries cycle or with a less well-established candidate it feels like it'd be less notable as a post. And I think it's also worth recognizing that this specific current MetaTalk context is gonna drive folks' perception of it and of it specifically as a post about Sanders vs arbitrary-candidate in a way that probably wouldn't come to bear as much on a random US primaries post on MeFi in a null context.

I think, at the moment, under the circumstances, nixing it is probably the better way to go, and I've done that. I have significant misgivings about both options and don't feel like there's a clear win here, as much as I understand that for some folks the answer of what to do is going to seem clear and obvious (and those folks aren't gonna have the same answer), but this feels like the better of two choices on the balance.

What is not going to work is to try and treat this as some touchstone that says "see, no positive posts about candidates" or "no positive posts about Sanders" or something like that, anymore than deleting the post that this MetaTalk spun off of was a declaration of no negative posts. We have had and will continue to have both. We can say, hey, there is a balance to strike here and sort out case by case, and that's fine, but I'm gonna pretty firmly reject any inclination to hitch moderation decision-making on what is going to be a bumpy and tiring primaries season to any kind of hard rubric of Never Allow X, or Always Allow Y, because that's not practical.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:21 AM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Well, shit.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:27 AM on December 19, 2019


I mean, do you two know each other out in the so-called real world, because it sounds like you do? ... And if you don't, this feels like it's assuming a lot.

TMOTAT lays out, with links, exactly what he's accusing nangar of doing. It's not assuming anything that it doesn't provide receipts for.
posted by Etrigan at 8:28 AM on December 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


> Is there anything newsworthy here?

Yeah, I think so. It's a really interesting roundup of links in which major online outlets are taking Sanders seriously as a candidate, and considering the impact of his policies.


... and it's gone.

But I'll go with the comment I was about to make. I saw the post and immediately added it to activity because I was curious to see whether it would last. Because it did strike me as being overly YAY! BERNIE! Not that I'm against folks being YAY! BERNIE! but at some point, such posts become indistinguishable from politicking. And I suspect there are way too many candidates still breathing for such posts to work around here.

What I wish the post had done was focus more clearly on ...

it looks like the media (despite the Bernie Blackout and the threat of Joe Biden) may finally have to ask “What Woukd A Sanders Presidency Look Like?”

posted by philip-random at 8:28 AM on December 19, 2019



TMOTAT lays out, with links, exactly what he's accusing nangar of doing. It's not assuming anything that it doesn't provide receipts for.


I'm not going to dispute this. It's well argued. But I'm still not convinced that it needs to planted here ... as opposed to being delivered via memail.

And then I go back to view some more of that previous thread and discover it's over three years old. Which I have to say strikes me as strange that somebody could so quickly remember so specifically (with links) something that happened that long ago. This is the kind of thing my brother and I do to each other when we get to serious contention ... and it never ends well.
posted by philip-random at 8:39 AM on December 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


tonycpsu and cortex, I'm sorry, I do see that my comment reads as "well you took that down so you must take this down." My frustration got channeled into the wrong words and the wrong sort of complaint.

I wish both threads had been left up. Or at least, if the first thread had to be deleted, it had been deleted due to lack of substance and due to nitpicking, somewhat, and too narrowly focusing on one small incident, making it possible for other, more substantial criticism-focused link roundups to be posted.

It seems like if I were to make an FPP rounding up a few links highlighting the much-protested but undeniable thread of Bernie's racism and misogyny that continues into this primary season, that would be deleted, too. To be clear, I wouldn't make such a post. It would immediately, but immediately, devolve into the same kind of ugliness that characterized 2016, I am sure of it. And more important, since Bernie is still a candidate in the primaries, I think it's unwise to criticize him too much just yet. If he becomes the nominee, by god I am going to keep my trap shut until he is safely int he white house --- at which point, all bets are off and I might post eighteen FPPs a day (you have been warned, mods).

And yet! There really is a need to criticize Bernie for his thread of misogyny specifically. I see a lot of others on this thread talking about how a thread about him taking donations from the NRA might be more appropriate, as if misogyny isn't that big a deal? As if there isn't something to be concerned about in this candidate who shows a troubling pattern of "As long as you like me, I will like you back, even if you're a bigot, even if you're a misogynist, even if you're an Islamophobe."

^ But this is just the sort of comment I would not dare to make on that FPP praising Sanders (if it had been kept around). It incites the same 2016 ugliness, it does not promote cohesiveness among Dems, and so I feel forced to keep these criticisms to myself. Swallow it. Allow Sanders to be praised for unabashedly mangling feminism and anti-racism for his own purposes. Possibly post an unwise tirade on the Grey.

I wonder what would be a good way for any of us to discuss these topics. Is MeFi not even the right place? Are we moving away from discussing political candidates at all? It feels like a real loss, because I don't know another community where this quality of discussion could be had... and yet I am all too aware that I myself have in the past contributed to the angry discourse that has made this cutback necessary.
posted by MiraK at 8:40 AM on December 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


And yet! There really is a need to

So this is kind of where I feel like we get to the liminal space between "things that are important to me" and "things that lead to good MetaFilter outcomes". And I want to emphasize that this comment isn't about you or that comment above; I'm leaving off the specifics in that quote because it's that general structure of things-that-are-needful that is a major recurring aspect of how folks talk about what should be on the front page and why. And that more general issue seems core to these overall discussions, and what happens with US politics on the site.

There's some discussion up thread about the old "people will want to see this" vs. "people need to see this" comparison. And I both agree that there's something to that and agree with some of the discussion that followed about the reality being not as clean and simple as that one-or-the-other breakdown suggests. Like, there's no clean bucketing of posts on the site into want to see vs. must see, and people aren't going to completely agree on which bucket a given post would fall into even if we used that rubric.

I see MeFi as capable of supporting a fair amount of discussion of US politics. I think we're at a spot right now where we've throttled back the totality of that level of discussion to a healthier level by retiring the megathreads, and we're continuing to navigate bit by bit the balance of more and smaller individual US politics-related posts in the wake of that. Wading through a contentious primary season is making that navigation harder than it'd be under more stable circumstances.

And politics being politics, it's not a subject on which many people are going to make a front page post on a whimmish "oh hey I thought this was neat" basis; there's going to be some aspect of needfulness about basically all of them, outside of maybe the occasionally genuinely charming "well this funny thing happened" story. So I think trying to tackle what works and doesn't and where to find the balance from specifically a "want vs. need" perspective is not gonna be very successful; it's a little bit moot once we're specifically in the genre of politics, or of news more generally.

That being said, I think where this leads is instead having to more carefully examine the bounds of what "need" means, and specifically how a personal sense of need intersects with the use of MetaFilter's front page as a place for sharing rather than for personally-motivated broadcasting.

When someone says "there is a need to [have a post about x]", what does that mean? It can't mean that there's a universal need among the userbase to see that thing posted, because we know people have a wide spectrum of preferences about what stuff and how much of different sorts of stuff they wish the MeFi front page and MeFi discussions would cover. So this is more about arguing priorities, arguing for a shift toward or support of some specific locus of attention in the ongoing compromise that is the front page.

What I generally take from "there is a need", in this MeFi/MetaTalk kind of context, is that someone feels there is a justifiable need, in the world, for an issue to be discussed or to be given attention, and that that means the posts that people make and that the moderation team lets stand should reflect that external sense of need.

Which is where I think most of the trouble comes in, because as a person I'm probably going to generally empathize with the underlying "this is important and merits attention" feelings, but as a mod I'm often not going to particularly agree that that translates to something needing to be on the front page, or for that to lead to good outcomes if it does end up there.

There's no clean mapping from any one person's otherwise understandable and justifiably motivated sense of "need" to what works well for MeFi as a practical mix of posts and discussions. The expectations that come with a sense of need about a topic aren't always going to be meetable in practice. But finding the balance there is likely in turn going to end up feeling like shutting down someone's personally strongly felt sense of need.

I don't really have a big picture answer for that. Satisfying people's competing needs and wants is some real human condition shit. I can speak at least to MeFi and the calls we need to make as mods and as a community to sort out compromises on post content and framing during what's bound to be a rough several months.

Mostly that's just gonna be kinda messy ongoing work. Hopefully most of that work can happen in fairly even-keeled discussion where everybody recognizes it's a hard problem we have to navigate together.

Partly that's going to need to come down to everybody making a personal effort to recognize that the front page of MetaFilter is not always going to be the best available venue for translating their personal strongly-felt needs into action. Doesn't make that sense of need not real or valid, but "this needs visibility" and "this needs visibility and the front page of MetaFilter is the most appropriate place for that" are two different things and that distinction is an important one to keep in view.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:37 AM on December 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


I would also have been in favor of leaving this thread up, personally. I just... We have to learn how to talk to one another when we disagree, even if we do it imperfectly. I don't know how to move forward if we're never allowed to try.

Okay. cortex, you want to avoid framing any of this in terms of blanket "this is okay /this is not okay" posts about primary candidates, yes? But I think folks are struggling with what would be good to see in these threads. There's never going to be a perfect FPP.

I am actually going to call out Acid Communist as someone with whom I have disagreed (and strongly!) about the relative values we place on various candidates' flaws and weaknesses. This ain't a negative call out, though : I'm pointing them out as someone I've had a few really productive disagreements with, someone who has helped de escalate tense situations with squaring off of "sides" by making a point of listening to what I'm saying and asking (and answering!) clarifying questions about why I feel that way. I really appreciate that effort, and I think that's the tack that is most likely to allow us to navigate these waters as safely as possible in the year to come.

So instead of focusing on what we shouldn't do, can we talk about what good practices are in the face of disagreement about our priorities and our allegiances? What do these productive disagreements and solidarity building exercises look like? How can we honor differences of opinion and experience along intersectional axes?
posted by sciatrix at 9:50 AM on December 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


Here's a good tactic I just heard of that promotes healthy discussion in the midst of difficult disagreements: steelmanning.
(1) Attempt to re-express the other person’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that they say, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”

(2) List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

(3) Mention anything you have learned from your target.

(4) Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
If we're putting together a bunch of guidelines to follow in contentious threads, there are worse ideas to start with. Keeping in mind, of course, that this might be just one of the guidelines.
posted by MiraK at 10:15 AM on December 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


[One comment removed. It's okay to talk about how interpersonal interactions go wrong, and about how your experience of the site is negatively affected by someone else's behavior, but I would like people to try and make an ongoing effort, in the spirit of some of the other stuff I've talked about above, of keeping that more to "here's a thing and here's how it made me feel" territory instead of making it about what you think of a given person etc.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:02 AM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


"nixing" the second Bernie post appears to have cost us the Whelk.

I was afraid it might, yet when I checked a couple of days ago he was still here, but I decided tonight it still might be worth making a comment in this thread to the effect that I think FPP deletions are too casual, and however much the mods might want it to be otherwise and point out that it isn't personal, it still makes people feel they aren't valued and that there's no point to doing all the work only to have it deleted, especially when they've been here a long time and may well feel like they know their way around and have earned the benefit of any doubt.

I felt I had to have the Whelk's permission to make an issue of the deletion of his post though, and when I went to send him a memail, I saw that his account is disabled.
posted by jamjam at 7:37 PM on December 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


I'm sad he left. This place is diminished considerably without him around.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:47 PM on December 27, 2019


Well, this is just great.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:12 PM on December 27, 2019


Has The Whelk said that this is why he de-activated? I'm not saying it isn't, but people do take breaks from the site for various reasons.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:06 PM on December 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Deletions are definitely too casual, and you'd think with the issues coming up lately around that (politics, PoC, etc.) the mods would be slightly less casual about it, but apparently no.

FWIW, MeFi used to be a site I visited at least a couple of times a day, and lately, it's more like "maybe once or twice a week". The site is nowhere near as active or interesting as it used to be, and deleting FPPs for weak or bad reasons doesn't exactly help.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:26 PM on December 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


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