Being trolled from the outside September 25, 2002 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Is he baiting us? Noted ex-Mefite Steven Den Beste, in self-imposed exile, says he left because we got "stranger and stranger" and, according to him, the inmates are still running the asylum. Are we guilty of lefty groupthink, or is SDB focusing on the posts that annoy him and ignoring the diversity of opinions here, and quit in a huff because we wouldn't all agree with him? (Note: we've talked about him before on Metatalk.)
posted by mcwetboy to MetaFilter-Related at 10:47 AM (85 comments total)

Three additional points:

He's using Metafilter posts to ridicule the assertion that we're living in a police state. We're not the crux of his argument, but the supporting matter. We're still deluded idiots, though.

I'm fully aware that he probably posted that entry in hopes that we would rise to the challenge right here in Metatalk (Mac-heads would call this "pulling a Dvorak"). I also think that third-party references to Metafilter should be posted here regardless, so I'm posting it anyway, albeit warily.

I read SDB's weblog, and sometimes enjoy it, but seldom agree with it.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:54 AM on September 25, 2002


Yes, he's baiting us, and thanks much for falling for it, mcwetboy.

If I wanted to go back to the not-so-good-old days of near-daily SDB threads on MetaTalk, I'd've begged him to stay with us back when he was very publicly quitting MeFi, instead of sort of hoping that the door would, indeed, hit him in the ass on the way out.
posted by Sapphireblue at 11:06 AM on September 25, 2002


I am well aware that some people may be heartily tired of discussing this subject. Apologies.
posted by mcwetboy at 11:24 AM on September 25, 2002


My feelings on discussing e-MeFi members on MeTalk:


posted by Dark Messiah at 11:35 AM on September 25, 2002


*ex-MeFi

Note to self: avoid spilling vodka on keyboard in future, and re-read posts more throughly.

Note to self #2: start reading notes to self.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:37 AM on September 25, 2002


I'll hand it to SBD for one thing: discussing issues of Iraq with mostly web designers and programmers is largely fruitless, just as it is for armchair generals.

The weird part is the development of any sort of groupthink in any community, if you want to call it that here, is largely spontaneous. I'll admit most people posting here lean slight left if you want to generalize across the entire population, but there's no overt agenda written anywhere, no campaigning to attract more liberals than not, and nowhere in any code of ethics or guidelines are politicis stated.

Of course, I'm just as tired of posts about Bush and business interests as Steven probably is. There's something there that is worth acknowledging, but I don't know if mentioning it dozens of times is getting anywhere.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:38 AM on September 25, 2002


The most telling thing about that article by "ex-mefite" SDB is that he still reads Metafilter, even if he doesn't post anymore.
posted by crunchland at 11:55 AM on September 25, 2002


most people posting here lean slight left
Slight? That's like "a little" pregnant.
posted by owillis at 11:56 AM on September 25, 2002


quit in a huff because we wouldn't all agree with him?

Actually the opposite seems to be true - apparently he left in a huff because he had no one to argue with. He likes to argue, I guess. I barely remember him. Didn't make much of an impression on me for someone who's posted as much as he did. He sure seems involved with MetaFilter for someone who's supposedly not involved with MetaFilter.

On preview....what crunch said.
posted by iconomy at 11:58 AM on September 25, 2002


I also think that third-party references to Metafilter should be posted here regardless, so I'm posting it anyway, albeit warily.

Third-party posts outside the immediate blogging community, for sure. I don't think we need to post every blog reference to MeFi, only those that make a salient point. I don't like most of the political posts here, but that Steven Den Beste thinks we're too liberal for his sensibilities, and not worthy of debating, doesn't constitute constructive criticism.

posted by liam at 12:00 PM on September 25, 2002


I submit this post by SDB.

And I accuse him - he's guilty of the same garbage he's accusing us of. Come on, Steven, don't just point out what's "wrong" with MetaFilter at a comfortable distance. That lacks class.

Join the discussion. Get your hands dirty.
posted by rocketman at 12:11 PM on September 25, 2002


liam, how do you define "salient"?
posted by mcwetboy at 12:14 PM on September 25, 2002


rocketman:

And I accuse him - he's guilty of the same garbage he's accusing us of. Come on, Steven, don't just point out what's "wrong" with MetaFilter at a comfortable distance. That lacks class.

Join the discussion. Get your hands dirty.


oh, god -- please don't tempt him, rman. i'm glad he's gone.
posted by moz at 12:32 PM on September 25, 2002


I remember he wanted to argue people on his terms, his framed assumptions, him as 'talk show host,' etc and left when no one wanted to take him up on his loaded rhetoric. Sad to see him take pot-shots from his weblog the way kottke and bunnyfire do, but so what? If SDB can dismiss the opinions of programmers and webloggers then he can be dismissed just as easily if not more so.

the inmates are still running the asylum

They always have, expect for those who buy the "good old days" argument which more or less boils down to "when I personally liked the site, everyone else be damned." Heaven forbid someone is enjoying something he doesn't like anymore. That's just selfish thinking.

As far as his "so-and-so can't understand/have an opinion on X because Y" argument goes its somewhat of a logical fallacy. Everyone, including our weblogging detractor has opinions. Feel free to take them on point by point, but dismissing the messenger because of lack of expereince or the use of hyperbole is a personal attack.

Here we are sitting in the begining on the information age and SDB demands personal experience before opinion? Heaven forbid someone reads a book or a webpage to learn a thing or two and forms an opinion. Or uses hyperbole (in this case police states) to make a point about loss of rights (as trivial as they may seem), political trends, new legislation, etc. There's ALWAYS something to be said about perception and perspective, but even then you have respect the fact that a trivial thing to one person may be very important to another and subjectivity sometimes cannot be overridden by objectivity.

There's some kind of special hypocrisy which needs a named coined for itself about decrying a medium while using the same exact medium. An opinioned weblogger complaining about webloggers expressing their opinions? Does SDB have some kid of special certification? His writing sure as hell doesn't seem any sharper than most of the comments here.
posted by skallas at 12:55 PM on September 25, 2002


Somehow, whenever Den Beste talks about MetaFilter, I think of the "bad breaker upper" episode of Seinfeld:
ELAINE: Right, so, I called my friend, you know - the one who set us up - I found out, he's a bad-breaker-upper.

JERRY: Mmm.. Bad how?

ELAINE: (Fast) Well, you know when you break up, how you say things you don't mean? Well, he says the mean things you don't mean, but he means them.
posted by tamim at 12:59 PM on September 25, 2002


If SDB can dismiss the opinions of programmers and webloggers then he can be dismissed just as easily if not more so.

skallas, it was matt who said "discussing issues of Iraq with mostly web designers and programmers is largely fruitless," not Steven Den Beste.
posted by timeistight at 1:07 PM on September 25, 2002


skallas > nail > head, I think.

At the same time, I am uncomfortable with the "I'm-glad-he's-gone" comments in this thread. The only people I'm actually glade are gone are the people who were banned from this place (apropos of which I note that 2611 has been axed). The rest -- the ones who felt that they had to leave, or was fed up enough with the place that they did leave, whether it was SDB or Holgate or Carol Anne -- have been run out of town, one way or another, passively or actively, and I don't think we ought to be proud of that fact.
posted by mcwetboy at 1:09 PM on September 25, 2002


As someone who puts themselves solidly in the 'whacked out lefty' camp, it's been my impression that MetaFilter has actually gained more pro-war right voices since the U.S. election and 9/11. In fact, some of the threads SDB linked to seemed to me to contain rational discussion that covered many different aspects of a topic.. yes, the main political ethos of MetaFilter is still left-of-center, but I don't think this site is anything close to a lefty version of Free Republic, which seems to be the implication.

(But while I'm here, I will say that this old MetaTalk post by jkottke is still one of my favourites.)
posted by jess at 1:11 PM on September 25, 2002


I am uncomfortable with the "I'm-glad-he's-gone" comments

Ditto here.
posted by rocketman at 1:16 PM on September 25, 2002


timeistight, matt was just paraphrasing this and the general sentiment behind his "they don't know squat, but I do" rant.
I'm afraid our MetaFilterian friends wouldn't know a police state if it fell on their heads, or repression if it was shoved up their asses. But they might try looking across the Pacific, at one of those marvelous Socialist People's Paradises where there aren't any corporate devils running things, to get some idea what real repression is like

What I called "so-and-so can't understand/have an opinion on X because Y"
posted by skallas at 1:19 PM on September 25, 2002


Jesus, are you guys nuts? He's going to track you all down and kill you with a pen.
posted by Skot at 1:19 PM on September 25, 2002


Stephen Den Beste has perfected the art of the you're going to miss me when I'm gone post. It's disappointing to see that we're still such an easy mark. Paying attention to stuff like this robs us of one of the great joys associated with public MetaFilter resignations -- the chance to enjoy that person's absence.
posted by rcade at 1:36 PM on September 25, 2002


It's probably worth noting that the taboo against self-linking found its most salient example in the case of Den Beste. Back in the old days, he posted a link to an essay he had written and posted on his site that was basically about how he couldn't get laid. Titled "Anglo Women are an Endangered Species", it certainly wasn't the first self-link but it was one of the most ridiculous. To my knowledge, there have been few more pathetic links posted to the site, and served for a while as a template as why you don't post self-links.

That being said, Den Beste is an intelligent (if intellectually narrow) person who can sometimes be interesting to read even (maybe especially) if you disagree with him. Perhaps he is not best suited for a 'community' however, it doesn't seem to be his strong point. He is best off at his own site, I think. Whereas someone like myself, with a less focused and strong intellect but perhaps an easier time at going with the flow, is inacapable of creating my own site but likes to comment on this one.
posted by cell divide at 1:39 PM on September 25, 2002


mcwetboy:

The rest -- the ones who felt that they had to leave, or was fed up enough with the place that they did leave, whether it was SDB or Holgate or Carol Anne -- have been run out of town, one way or another, passively or actively, and I don't think we ought to be proud of that fact.

Holgate and Carol Anne are in another class apart from SDB. SDB was quite confrontational. i had a prolonged argument with him regarding an issue i had raised on metatalk (that of excessive editorializing in the text of a thread, rather than via comment). in the end, i was disappointed to see steven mislead people about i'd said and done.

whenever the topic of SDB is raised, and i bother to comment (and maybe that's most of the times he is raised), this is almost always something i bring up. of all my memories of the guy's participation here, that incident is the one i'll remember. for reference, this comment of mine details a lot of what i am talking about. (and another.)

in standard accepting fashion, in that first comment i had said that i hoped his absence wouldn't be for long. i don't feel steven was "run out" of mefi: not passively; not actively. i felt steven was the one who made his membership here difficult; i felt, of all people, steven was his own worst enemy. in retrospect, i will say that i am glad he is gone. i'm sorry if that makes you feel uncomfortable, mcwetboy and rocketman.
posted by moz at 1:43 PM on September 25, 2002


Who cares what some self-absorbed, holier-than-thou, sniveling toad thinks about MeFi. I'm sure lots of people have opinions of MeFi -- and not all of them good.

Just keep things going, as normal, until something come's down from the head office. (i.e. Matt.)

Sheesh, insecure or what? Dashing to defend the faith every time someone dares question the 'Filter. He's obviously a publicity monger, wanting to garner attention from his tirade against the site.

If you acknowledge SDB's existence, the terrorists have already won!
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:11 PM on September 25, 2002


been there. done that.

seriously, why are we even discussing what sdb says anymore? his rants read like the ravings of someone who never leaves his house -- some hideous hybrid of harry knowles and the unabomber. calling him out in meta for the umpteenth time is like being his blowjob monkey. we're just getting him off. because this is what gets him off. i don't know if there's a psych term for it yet, but there you have it.

sdb knows this. he knows what button to push to get his fix. will everyone else please clue in? you're just enabling an addict.

imagine if he made a play for attention and nobody came? shudder. i guess he gets tired of all the right-wing-incest-adulation his sundry and one-note "why [places he's never been] hate us" essays get, so once in a while he phones in an order of mefi umbrage.

i dare you. end this thread right here.
posted by donkeyschlong at 2:15 PM on September 25, 2002


Sticking my neck out, I think anyone should be able to say anything he/she wishes on his/her own weblog. Why bother calling them out if they aren't here? Whether SDB or Bunnyfire or anything in between-weblogs exist precisely because they are a personal soapbox to the world.
Is this guy playing for attention? Does it matter? Don't most people post to their own weblogs for other people to read? Does that mean that the simple act of posting something controversial to a weblog means that the blogger is vying for attention? Or does that only come into play if one disagrees with said blogger?

I don't mind the link to his weblog because frankly it is always interesting to see an outside perspective. I don't mind the fact that people here disagree with his opinions. I do think it is silly that people object to his opinions being posted to his own weblog.



posted by konolia at 2:28 PM on September 25, 2002


I'm so tired of left/right and liberal/conservative categories. Is it really that simple? Do we embrace left/right and liberal/conservative categories because they already exist or because they adequately divide/describe citizens? I am sure that all of us have thoughts and opinions that would make both the "left" AND the "right" cringe. It's called being complex, contradictory individuals. I would love it if these tired categories slipped into oblivion. (We might actually be able to have a conversation.)
posted by jacknose at 2:54 PM on September 25, 2002


I didn't post this out of some knee-jerk need to defend the faith, Dark Messiah; I was interested to see what Mefiers thought about the post. (That's actually how I post around here: have a look at this; what do you think?) I anticipated everything from hey-he's-kind-of-got-a-point to polite disagreement to visceral hate-on. I'm a little surprised (should I be?) that there's been a lot of the last of these three.

I've learned that SDB still has some issues with Metafilter. But it's also abundantly clear that some of us still have some issues with SDB.
posted by mcwetboy at 2:59 PM on September 25, 2002


Of course, anyone can say what they want on their own weblog. And anyone can react (or not react) to it.

All I know is that if I were running a website with a lagging hit counter, I'd know what one of the first things I'd do would be.
posted by crunchland at 3:01 PM on September 25, 2002


i for one would like to proudly lift a cheek and fart in stevie bes dente's general direction.
posted by quonsar at 3:10 PM on September 25, 2002


I'm too new to have experienced SDB as a Metafiltarian and I've never read his blog, but I thought that this particular entry raised some good points about the prevailing climate here.
posted by timeistight at 3:14 PM on September 25, 2002


sounds like middle school antics to me. (sniffs quonsar's fart.)
posted by trioperative at 3:18 PM on September 25, 2002


Dark Messiah has a point, Den Beste's free to think whatever he wants, it's his problem.

But, just for the sake of the argument:

Matt wrote:
I'll hand it to SBD for one thing: discussing issues of Iraq with mostly web designers and programmers is largely fruitless

I don't agree. No disrespect here, even tho Iraqi threads aren't by far the most interesting stuff on MeFi, there's smart people here who actually read the papers and have some opinions and point the community to some good links.

Who's SDB to say that? His argument against MeFi -- we got so confused by our own bias and therefore we became dull -- is part straw-man part simply wrong. He's kinda like Bill O'Reilly with a website. The cluster thought thing, he's been repeating it for months -- and I'd bet it's not even an original theory of his

He certainly has a very high opinion of himself, but is he a university professor of Central Asia history? Of economics? A retired CentCom general? A CIA agent presently or formerly involved in Iraqi operations? He's Ahmed Rashid's American brother, a worldwide-published Taliban expert?

If he is, then he's right -- he could bring so much to the table, we lost a treasure.

Unfortunately many of us found his comments aggressively written but pretty shallow -- probably coming from a man who had read some stuff, had a certain aggressive writing style, but really, was there so much original thought? The man was (and still seems to be) pretty effective in stating his pov, but very narrowly
(I'm not even mentioning his gleeful "Much to the resentment of the A-list. I myself have been mentioned by the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal". "Mentioned"? Hundreds of journalists and academics actually WRITE for the WSJ and WP.

You know, there are published writers ( I mean published by book publishers and newspaper editors etc) in this community: there's probably people with more academic and professional credentials than an opinionated guy with a blog.

And, the "You'll miss me" MetaTalk thread was, sorry, kinda bunnyfirish

posted by matteo at 3:42 PM on September 25, 2002


elderberries.
posted by konolia at 3:42 PM on September 25, 2002


mostly web designers and programmers
matt, do you really think that the majority of members are designers and programmers these days? i know it was that way when i first arrived back in 2000, but if that's still the case, well, god save the web.
posted by quonsar at 3:48 PM on September 25, 2002


as for SDB, y2karl said it all, way back when: taking offense at the slightest sign of irritation from others after posting a three screen comment possibly come(s) across as self-importance. SDB just thinks he's all that. some here didn't agree, so he took his ball and went home. shrug.
posted by quonsar at 3:56 PM on September 25, 2002


I'm with jacknose.

And Steven makes some good points in his piece, but if he found it hard to operate here on Metafilter (he definately seems to be more personal-blog oriented rather than community blog oriented) then it's probably best for him and us that he left. Too bad, though. At his best, he could spar with the best of 'em, and we need intelligent posters from all political quadrants.
posted by evanizer at 4:59 PM on September 25, 2002


SDB doesn't seem to have a problem with Little Green Footballs, whose commenters are much farther gone into the looney bin than the admittedly looney crowd here, so clearly partisanship isn't something he has problems with. That he's willing to tar 16,000 people with the same brush indicates that he's holding onto some weird grudge against the site. Especially since he's maligning a good number of people who probably agree with him politically.

His post was inspired by his own emotions, so it's not something that's worth debating, because it's not a topic that exists in a logical realm. And, given that he's thrilled to have been adopted by the warbloggers, a development that wouldn't have happened if his verbosity here hadn't prompted some of us to urge him to get his own site, I don't see why he shouldn't thank MeFi for having helped him find a circle of online friends who don't seem to mind his misogyny and curmudgeonliness.
posted by anildash at 6:08 PM on September 25, 2002


I'm so tired of left/right and liberal/conservative categories. Is it really that simple?

It's not that it's simple, it's that it's easy and some people are intellectually lazy. Personally, I like for them to self-identify so that I am clued in to the likely depth of any comment they might make.
posted by rushmc at 6:23 PM on September 25, 2002


Personally, I like for them to self-identify so that I am clued in to the likely depth of any comment they might make.

Now what is right word for that? Bias, prejudice, partiality, preference, predisposition, taste, penchant, proclivity, predilection, or what? Surely not "open mind."
posted by semmi at 7:54 PM on September 25, 2002


put SDb in a real debate with a few good historians or even some journalists and he'd buckle.

to say that the saddamm gas nightmare was "not against his own people" but Kurds is a semantic card trick.

..."the largest hostile takeover in history" -SDB
as oppossed to all those non-hostile takeovers?

rudderless tripe.

posted by clavdivs at 8:04 PM on September 25, 2002


I do wonder if we'd be so critical of him and his views if he wasn't criticizing us... And I have to say, I think your objectivity, Matt, is quite admirable.
posted by crunchland at 9:10 PM on September 25, 2002


mostly web designers and programmers

Cool, I always wanted to be a web designer.
posted by dg at 9:40 PM on September 25, 2002


I do wonder if we'd be so critical of him and his views if he wasn't criticizing us...

frankly we wouldn't even notice him elsewise, and he knows it.
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:38 PM on September 25, 2002


I can't believe this even made a blip on the radar. We can hardly keep our own merry band of madmen (and women) together; must we haul in ex-members who have made it perfectly clear that they are done with us? This includes people who have exiled themselves, or been exiled by Matt. It just doesn't warrant time or energy when we have issues that clearly rankle those members who are still here, that pertain more relevantly to the site as it is in the present.

I propose that we don't focus on people who have chosen to not to participate here, but choose to participate vicariously through their own personal sites. That isn't really participation, is it?

The opposing argument may be that these sites outside MetaFilter reflect on us, and that there may be pertinent opinions that may be garnered from these links, but if we linked to every blog that a MeFi member wrote about MeFi post facto, we would be reading nothing but that. People choose to write whatever they want on their own sites. Let them. That's the joy of having a personal site.
posted by readymade at 12:07 AM on September 26, 2002


I sometimes read SdB's blog; though I rarely agree with his point of view. His research is excellent and his positions are well thought out. However, MetaFilter is for discussion; sometimes debate. His personal style doesn't foster those things; he's out for a soapbox rather than a debate. He's found a better outlet. Sometimes people on soapboxes have valid points - those of us that want to listen know where to find him.
posted by swell at 12:08 AM on September 26, 2002


It's my belief that SDB could be the Time Cube guy.
posted by gluechunk at 12:31 AM on September 26, 2002


if I were running a website with a lagging hit counter, I'd know what one of the first things I'd do would be.

*Bingo*

I can't help but notice that even as wArBlOgGErs like Den Beste claim to despise the distant, authoritative Voice On High of major media outlets, they do everything they can to mimic it. Fascinating. Truth is, WaRbLoGgeRs are scared shitless of their growing irrelevance. Most of the rest of us have figured out by now that the mere existence of blogdom doesn't count for jackshit anymore. In other words, it's the ability to engage opponents directly, stupid.

The few folks who haven't yet gotten that message are making fools of themselves by still insisting they deserve pride of place. They are most properly called din-o-saurs.

Anyone else think it's hilarious that someone whose user number is 522 so completely fails to get the open, anarchic nature of a site like this? Good lord; there are *so* many people here that talking about "our MetaFilterian friends" or "the" collective MeFi mind is just plain moronic. Or trolling.

Hey, Steven: it's called society. Think about re-joining it.

posted by mediareport at 12:38 AM on September 26, 2002


Hey, Steven: it's called society. Think about re-joining it.

he'd have to leave the house once in a while.
posted by donkeyschlong at 12:47 AM on September 26, 2002


Now what is right word for that?

It's part of my filter (which we all have and use, consciously and unconsciously). Note my use of the qualifier "likely," and I think you should acknowledge that your leap to conclusion that I prejudge and dismiss people's posts is not supported by what I said. There are many factors which influence one's assessment of a post or a poster; I simply admitted to one of mine. What's more, I think it's quite defensible, as it is a demonstrably significant criteria, unlike the color of someone's tie, say.
posted by rushmc at 1:02 AM on September 26, 2002


Why am I suddenly reminded of the way wArBlogGeRs Matt Welch and Ken Layne completely disappeared after being called out for their unsupported accusations about Ty Webb? Welch in particular owes the blogging community an explanation for his piss-poor journalism in that episode.

His and Layne's initial self-righteousness - and subsequent silence when confronted with the facts - are perfect lessons in the cultural norms of WaRBloGisTaN.

As if anyone needed the refresher.
posted by mediareport at 1:05 AM on September 26, 2002


Why are you typing the word "warblogger" in that funny way, mediareport? Is that supposed to be some cryptic form of ridicule that the un-1ib3r41-1337 among us aren't supposed to get? You're playing politics just like any of the writers you criticize, MeDiaRePoRT.
posted by evanizer at 1:29 AM on September 26, 2002


By setting up a context and then dropping in selected posts and comments, anyone can easily illustrate whatever charge they wish to make against the "collective mind" of Metafilter. Resorting to such a transparent trick must be somewhat embarrassing for Steven, but evidently not as embarrassing as returning to contribute.
posted by taz at 3:02 AM on September 26, 2002


Steven Den Beste bit the head off my baby.

But that's OK, as I never cared much for the squalling brat, anway.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:18 AM on September 26, 2002


Christian advice on squalling, complete with their own version of SDB.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:50 AM on September 26, 2002


A side comment: if anything 'ran holgate out of town' (or served as straw that broke the camel's back, or whatever), it was his frustration with SDB himself.
posted by rory at 4:07 AM on September 26, 2002


"At the same time, I am uncomfortable with the "I'm-glad-he's-gone" comments in this thread. The only people I'm actually glade are gone are the people who were banned from this place (apropos of which I note that 2611 has been axed). The rest -- the ones who felt that they had to leave, or was fed up enough with the place that they did leave, whether it was SDB or Holgate or Carol Anne -- have been run out of town, one way or another, passively or actively, and I don't think we ought to be proud of that fact."

Mcwetboy - At least one of the other posters you mention left at least in part because they didn't like being discussed in posts in absentia.....something you are doing now.

By which I mean to raise the point, that perhaps all of these people left for quite different, even opposing reasons.

"I've learned that SDB still has some issues with Metafilter. But it's also abundantly clear that some of us still have some issues with SDB."

Egads, you are right, all this time there have been issues simmering that have been affecting the health of metafilter and many Metafilterians in a most deleterious way. Thankyou so much for helping us work through these issues.
posted by lucien at 5:12 AM on September 26, 2002


lucien: Either I'm a naïve dupe for posting a link to SDB's post because that's exactly what he wanted, or I'm a bastard for discussing him in absentia. Pick one. Or are you referring to the others? We've talked about them before, in the "I miss $n" sense, which is about the sense I was talking about them here.

Egads, you are right, all this time

No need to be a prick. I guess I am naïve, because I genuinely thought this might make for an interesting discussion; I learned something from the vituperative responses.

I also figure it's unfair for some of you to take out your unresolved anger vs. SDB on me. Folks, I was just getting started here when SDB left, so I missed a lot of the cut-and-thrust and hurt feelings. And I stand by the issues comment: each side is acting hurt. Don't even think about taking out that hurt on me.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:21 AM on September 26, 2002


Darn, that part of my note which caused you anger was meant as a cheerful joke based on a comment I found funny when looked at from a certain viewpoint, no intent to cause hurt feelings, I 'twas just pulling your leg....friends?

Sorry for the mixup and I sincerely regret any hurt feelings I unintentionally caused. I thought you might just reply in kind (eg have a joke back) but that was presumptive on my part.
posted by lucien at 6:54 AM on September 26, 2002


'Sokay. I'm a bit touchy lately.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:12 AM on September 26, 2002


"...or I'm a bastard for discussing him in absentia. Pick one."

No, no, not at all. That was mix-up also. I don't think SDB minds so much being mentioned here, or even at all for all I know. I am not privy to this knowledge, and on this matter am navigating solely by intuition.

I was referring to one of the other posters you mentioned. Not that it was wrong of you to mention them, that you wrote your note knowing that. They left in a very low key way and it's hard for me not to go on mentioning them and keep bemoaning the fact that they left. I definitely miss their contributions here.

OK back on topic - I was just pointing that out to illustrate the fact that people leave online communities for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes there are unifying reasons that illustrate an over-all problem. I'm not sure that there is in this case, although that's not to say that there is not, either.

PS, I don't think that you are a bastard, quite the opposite! Your nick is one of the relative few I recognise because I like your contributions here.

"'Sokay."

Phew, that's cool :)
posted by lucien at 7:37 AM on September 26, 2002


Is that supposed to be some cryptic form of ridicule

No. It's supposed to be a very clear form of ridicule. It matches the absurd amount of ridicule many WaRBLeRs routinely direct at those they disagree with. They're goofy, pompous and insulting, and their name should reflect it.

Next question?
posted by mediareport at 8:14 AM on September 26, 2002


Next question?

Not necessarily directed toward you, mediareport, but my question is, "Why is SDB consistently able to push MeFi's buttons?"
posted by BlueTrain at 9:14 AM on September 26, 2002


It's not just SDB. Whenever Kottke makes noises against Mefi, a similar thread starts. Apparently that means SDB is an A-lister, too. He has become what he despises... (and probably most secretly longed for all along.)
posted by crunchland at 10:14 AM on September 26, 2002


Kottke's noises are typically non-self important. Also, he does make sense out of things, as opposed to just pontificating blindly. Koettke also listens to other people. I'd like to have Koettke around. I don't know why people slam him so much around here.

Den Beste.. well, I can't figure him out. Is he pro corporate? Anti-corporate? Pro globalization? Xenophobic? All I get is that he blindly loves the current President, and thinks anyone who disagrees with the President is some looney lefty pacifist/anarchist (which, in itself seems a bit of a contradiction).

And he believes anyone who disagrees with him is a crazy UFO-chasing nutjob. Hence, I can understand why people slam him around here.
posted by rich at 10:44 AM on September 26, 2002


Reading this thread, I'm reminded of exactly why Steven left. Fart jokes? Come on.
posted by gleemax at 10:53 AM on September 26, 2002


rich, do a search on SDB's blog for the term Jacksonian. That's what he labels himself, and he's made several posts about jacksonianism in the last couple of weeks and that should help you understand where he is coming for, and why he supports the movement for a war against iraq and such.

On a side note, why do pacifism and anarchy have to be contradictory?
posted by Apoch at 11:07 AM on September 26, 2002


why do pacifism and anarchy have to be contradictory?

They don't. I'm both an anarchist and a pacifist. My head has yet to explode.
posted by rocketman at 11:10 AM on September 26, 2002


Or was that the opening to a joke?
posted by rocketman at 11:10 AM on September 26, 2002


Anarchist:

1 : one who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power
2 : one who believes in, advocates, or promotes anarchism or anarchy; especially : one who uses violent means to overthrow the established order

Now, I know that one definition (and only one of 3 - the 2 others being not so peaceful) of anarchy focuses on the utopian aspect of a free-loving, yet lawless society. But if someone is an active anarchist because they believe it is possible to have a peaceful, lawless society, (more power to them) I think they may be ignoring human nature.

It's just the goal of an anarchist is difficult to attain without violent change.
posted by rich at 11:50 AM on September 26, 2002


Jacksonian. That's what he labels himself

You mean he's a Jesse Jackson fan?


rich,
Demanding the Impossible


posted by matteo at 12:08 PM on September 26, 2002


I find it much quicker to identify the information of interest to me in the context of MetaFilter's dialogue between multiple people, because we all bring something different to the table.

And therefore, even though SDB isn't a "a university professor of Central Asia history? Of economics? A retired CentCom general? A CIA agent presently or formerly involved in Iraqi operations? He's Ahmed Rashid's American brother, a worlwide-published Taliban expert?" I'm looking forward to checking out which MeFi threads he finds significant.

Hopefully, it won't be every year or every month that the US finds itself on the verge of a major war, economic problems, and a total change in its security policy, so we'll all get to go back to focusing on our professional concerns. Meanwhile, web designers and programmers attract a lot of sharp people to their communities, so why wouldn't this group swap some information about current events just like everyone else?

Speaking from the not-so-conservative side, the dialogue here at MetaFilter could get even better if we found a few more polite, civil people willing to take the time to present well-written, well-researched, linky and moderate viewpoints like Miguel's. (However, I suspect many well-informed moderates like evanizer are simply too busy to go digging out links for us.) Meanwhile I am glad that sites like SDB, Little Green Footballs, Free Republic and others continue their discussions and develop their viewpoints. A steady diet of professionally packaged attempts at objective and balanced truth is *boring*!

I hope we keep working on the idea of how to filter information back and forth to each other, on MetaFilter and with other websites / weblogs, even though we don't necessarily agree with each other.

With luck, the more descriptive terms "Jacksonian, Hamiltonian, Wilsonian, and Jeffersonian" will replace the tired, divisive, and adversarial "left vs. right" in describing foreign policy positions. As Apoch notes, SDB is an articulate defender of Jacksonian perspectives, and you may enjoy his writing more if you keep this in mind.
posted by sheauga at 12:29 PM on September 26, 2002


Jacksonian: from "Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World," by Walter Russell Mead. Just finished it - great reading!
posted by sheauga at 12:32 PM on September 26, 2002


If anyone tells you they're an anarchist, they probably aren't.

Same often applies for: actor, radical, artist, people person, go-getter, psychic, ......
posted by dhoyt at 12:38 PM on September 26, 2002


...liar...
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:11 PM on September 26, 2002


dhoyt: What do you mean by that? That the only "true" anarchists are too busy blowing things up to talk to you? The term "anarchist" covers a wide variety of philosophies having in common only a disbelief in the necessity of government. Actually, in my experience the reverse is true: people may have anarchist hearts (so to speak) but are afraid to even think about identifying themselves as anarchists because the term is so scary in this culture (except among young anti-globalization types, of course).
posted by languagehat at 1:16 PM on September 26, 2002


Apologies, I should've clarified.

In my experience, 99% of folks I've met in social situations who have, for one reason or another, felt it necessary to identify themselves by offering (sometimes unprovoked), "I am an artist" or "I'm an anarchist", for example, have been so royally phony and full of shit that the whites of their eyes are brown.

Contrarily, the best artists I've ever known have been so possessed by what they do, they simply don't ever find it necessary to define themselves as Artist, as the very act seems trite and so often disingenuous.

Wait, what was this thread about, again?
posted by dhoyt at 2:00 PM on September 26, 2002


Wait, what was this thread about, again?

Steven den Beste declaring himself too important for those of us who deign to label ourselves.
posted by rocketman at 2:41 PM on September 26, 2002


Fart jokes? Come on.
that fart was no joke, gleemax.
posted by quonsar at 3:23 PM on September 26, 2002


Oy, sorry rocketman, I wasn't talking about you specifically, I didn't mean it to come off that way. Your statement about being an anarchist led me into another thought more directed at folks I've known in the past, but I realize that you didn't literally mean you were labelling yourself a government-overthrowing anarchist. Comments actually weren't directed at you. I shouldn't have started the tangent.
posted by dhoyt at 3:27 PM on September 26, 2002


As many have said here in the past, including Matt, the occasional fart joke is just fine, as long as a thread does not become a chorting endless abortion of fart-joke oneupmanship, as so many have lately, for some reason. Very few people, myself included, are as amusing as they think they are, and it gets old very quickly. I don't mean you, quonsar, I mean in general.

One fart joke is not a dumb thing. Fifty, however, are.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:49 PM on September 26, 2002


Aside: I think SDB is much worse than FPP.
posted by rushmc at 8:16 PM on September 26, 2002


Hey, wait! I just made the connection between fart jokes and SBD!
posted by crunchland at 8:39 PM on September 26, 2002


dhoyt:

No offense taken. I was aiming for levity, but "deign" was probably the wrong word choice.

To continue the spirit of your tangent, I know exactly the sort of folks you're referring to. Yep, they're generally kind of flaky and generally kind of shallow. But it takes all kinds.
posted by rocketman at 7:37 AM on September 27, 2002


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