Editorialising on the blue? February 1, 2023 3:00 PM   Subscribe

I was under the impression that too much personal input or editorialising is discouraged when making metafilter posts, posts are supposed to be fairly neutral. But I don't actually see this in any of the guidelines. Did I imagine this?

For example, I was thinking of creating a metafilter post which is a guide to interacting with the Neurodivergent online community.

It would have short statements about "x topic is sensitive in this particular place" with a link to, for example, a reddit thread with a typical argument about x.

Is that acceptable?
posted by Zumbador to Etiquette/Policy at 3:00 PM (10 comments total)

I think you may be thinking about this entry in the FAQ. It doesn't sound like what you are suggesting is likely to be an issue.

I think in the context of the FAQ it would be like posting an article about meat/vegan eating options and then being like "Anyone who doesn't like meat/vegan options for food is a bad person!" I'm exaggerating so that it's clear I'm not talking about anyone/anything in specific but basically taking a link to something and then turning it into an argument is more the thing that people are asked to avoid. Mild statements of "I like this" or "This is a good thing to know" are not at issue.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:10 PM on February 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

I’m in no position of authority and, having made some real stinkers, not especially qualified to speak on what makes a good or even tolerable FPP, but this sounds like a good one that would be useful for me and probably others. I hope you’ll post it.
posted by box at 5:27 PM on February 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

It was, and it's excellent. Well done, Zumbador!
posted by ashbury at 5:44 PM on February 2, 2023 [3 favorites]

Thanks ashbury! Although that's not the Neurodivergent social media post. I'm still working on that one.
posted by Zumbador at 7:32 PM on February 2, 2023

I had a post nixed once by a mod who claimed I was editorializing, when the fpp was actually a quote from the subject of the post. When pointed out, the mod didn't seem to care enough to reverse, and I didn't feel like making an issue, though it did kind of tick me off.

So I'd assumed since then there was a fairly stringent rule about editorializing, that seemed to be less stringent from time to time.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:07 PM on February 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, the post you already put up is a really good post which (to my eye) is in spots editorializing in the way that MetaFilter traditionally discouraged. For instance, when you write

"Even when our differences are recognised, treatment is often pathologising. They try to cure or mask difference, rather than meeting our actual needs. This is rooted in a pathologising view of neurodivergence: Nick Walker, a queer, transgender, autistic writer and educator explains: Throw Away The Master's Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm."


"It’s important to check whether articles are aimed at the “Autistic Community” or the “Autism Community”. That is, are resources written for (and by) autistic people, or are they aimed at parents and caretakers of autistic people. The Difference Between The Autism Community and The Autistic Community."

In both cases, you are paraphrasing the author and speaking in your own voice; the "non-editorializing" version would be like the bulk of your post, what you have below "Mental Health Resources," where the articles are allowed to speak for themselves with a selected short quote.

That said -- this is an area where I think MetaFilter norms have shifted over the years, and I would say most users have no problem with FPPs being framed in this way. When I see it, I flag and move on, my feeling being that if I'm the only person or one of the only people flagging, it is probably something most people don't mind and thus not a problem.

The "x topic is sensitive in this particular place" formulation actually seems less editorializing to me than what you already posted.

I agree with Jessamyn that there's a continuum here. "I like this" is obviously fine. "This is good to know" is fine. "It's important that you know this" is a problem for me, not a problem for others. "Some assholes don't already know this, or secretly know it but don't admit it" is what I think would still be against community practice.
posted by escabeche at 9:16 AM on February 4, 2023 [2 favorites]

Yes those are exactly the parts I was unsure about, escabeche.
posted by Zumbador at 9:46 AM on February 4, 2023

But I'm correct in thinking that "don't editorialise" isn't explicitly stated anywhere as an actual guide? I must have just picked it up from other people's comments.
posted by Zumbador at 9:49 AM on February 4, 2023

Well it's in the FAQ as a possible reason a post might be deleted but yes, we used to have a guidelines page that had content more along the lines of "What makes a good post for MetaFilter?" but it's been changed to be more modern and useful and clear to people who haven't been here forever.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:57 AM on February 4, 2023 [2 favorites]

"Don't editorialize" might not be in the official guidelines – but (IMO) it's simply common sense, and it always bugs me when I see people violating it.

If the word "I" appears in the post, that's a clear sign that the poster should rethink the perspective from which they're writing. Or if the post contains a value judgment – that's the poster implicitly framing the subject in terms of their opinion about it.

An FPP shouldn't be about the poster – it should be about the substance of the links.

Of course, this doesn't mean that an FPP should avoid acknowledging that opinions on the subject exist. Having introduced a topic, it's perfectly reasonable to link to an editorial, like: "Writing in the New York Times, Judy J. Journalist argues that this bill is clearly unconstitutional under the 69th Amendment".

Obviously, the very choice to write an FPP on a particular topic – and to include certain links, while excluding others – is an editorial decision.

But, that's kind of the point. If you want your FPP to advocate for a particular position on the subject, then link to the facts (or at least to robust arguments based on the facts), and let the facts speak for themselves. I don't really care what conclusion you've arrived at. I'm going to come to my own conclusion – and injecting your conclusion into the FPP reads as a presumptuous attempt to short-circuit that, and to tell me what you think I should think.

Having posted a non-editorial FPP, though, I don't mind if the poster takes a morr personal approach in the comments. As long as it doesn't get too axe-grindy. That's tedious no matter how the FPP is constructed.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:10 AM on February 15, 2023 [2 favorites]

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