MetaFilter has a real problem with voicing class genocidal attitudes June 20, 2023 1:15 PM   Subscribe

There have been two threads i've bailed out on in the past while. One was a thread about how small communities are becoming less economically viable which I'm unable to find right now because I can't find the right keywords. The most recent is the one about the submarine that is currently lost in the ocean. In both of these threads members of this community, a community I dearly love, have expressed either a desire for the extinction of people living in rural communities, or a bloodlust for rich people to perish doing activities only they can afford. Neither of these are acceptable and both of them make our community look shitty from the outside. I don't know if this is a reduced moderation hours problem or an issue where this group of people is becoming actually worse, but it is becoming more unappealing to me with every iteration.

These aren't the only examples, there are others. But they are the ones I have in my mind.

Honestly, they make our community look shitty from the inside, too.
posted by hippybear to MetaFilter-Related at 1:15 PM (662 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

Agreed. I've been trying to find the words to explain it, but yeah, honestly it's unpleasant. I understand the on duty mod basically had to go through and clean up the thread to make it readable.
posted by Braeburn at 1:25 PM on June 20, 2023 [9 favorites]


I think that conflating attitudes towards the rural poor, who deserve support, and the ultra rich, who deserve something very different, is not helpful. If we want to have both of these conversations fine (for the record, I'm teams "don't be shitty to people based on where they live/because they don't have much money" and "I'm not personally making guillotine jokes but I do laugh at them and think it's important for people to have a way to articulate their feelings towards the ultra rich whose existence harms the rest of us" respectively) but I think they are two separate conversations.
posted by an octopus IRL at 1:37 PM on June 20, 2023 [129 favorites]


Shit hit post instead of preview so sorry if that's not as well thought out as I meant.
posted by an octopus IRL at 1:37 PM on June 20, 2023


I'm not sure that "this group of people deserves to die because of their lifestyle" between the rich and poor are separate conversations, but I'm willing to entertain the difference if it can be made cogently.
posted by hippybear at 1:40 PM on June 20, 2023 [7 favorites]


I hope they're found. And if they cannot be found, I hope it was over before they knew what happened. And I hope the jackass running this fly-by-night operation sees the inside of a prison cell.

This take is the one that hits all the salient points for me. We are so used to seeing the wealthy cut corners, endanger lives, and get away with it with no consequence that it's a surprise when it's the fly-by-night jackass himself who's in harm's way.
posted by phunniemee at 1:42 PM on June 20, 2023 [30 favorites]


I don't think any mefite needs the ultra-rich to die. They could just stop being ultra-rich and screwing the lower classes and that would be pretty acceptable to most.
posted by tigrrrlily at 1:43 PM on June 20, 2023 [32 favorites]


tigrrrlily - that's fair, but the problem is that there ARE some Mefites who are saying that they want the ultra-rich to die. I saw the thread before it was cleaned up and there were a lot of "good riddance" types of comments.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:47 PM on June 20, 2023 [18 favorites]


Yeah, the casual celebration of death in that thread is making me rethink being here.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:47 PM on June 20, 2023 [32 favorites]


Flip comment or should we notify the FBI? Is there a difference? Perhaps an icon indicating the intended dark humor is just humor :-) should be used more often?

Pony request: add a notice near the posting button to remind that use of humor is tricky for some of the mfi community.

And yes I'm flip and have a high tolerance (perhaps obliviance, which is not a word) to dark humor. BUT I did read the sub thread pretty carefully, notice the bad jokes and did not think any rose to the level of more than an eye roll.
posted by sammyo at 1:48 PM on June 20, 2023 [11 favorites]


As a class, the poor are not actively trying to kill vast swathes of society. The ultra rich class are, on multiple axes. This provides an upper limit to my sympathy/empathy to the misfortunes of the wealthy. As far as solutions go, tigrrrlily has put it succinctly enough, but lacking a global system of wealth-redistribution towards the poor and destitute, I will not loudly mourn the passing of a single billionaire.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:48 PM on June 20, 2023 [105 favorites]


or a bloodlust for rich people to perish doing activities only they can afford.

I was watching the sub thread prior to the deletions, and can say unequivocally that this is a grossly uncharitable and frankly dishonest take on the comments that were made.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 1:49 PM on June 20, 2023 [56 favorites]


There's a fucking 19 year old kid down there. What did he do? Funny to laugh about him biting it, though, right?
posted by kbanas at 1:50 PM on June 20, 2023 [21 favorites]


That sub thread really brought out the weird of MeFi that's for sure.
posted by mazola at 1:51 PM on June 20, 2023 [4 favorites]


I don't have a dog in this fight. I didn't really participate in the thread (except for marking a couple of favourites) beyond reading it. Unless I missed comments that were deleted, I don't think the sub thread is as bad as you're making it out to be hippybear, although I'm willing to accept that my opinion may be the outlier.

Even though this is a real-time event that is happening, I don't think it's realistic for people to shut down how they feel about this kind of adventure-tourism to a mass casualty site. I know there were comparisons to mountain climbing made in the thread, but this excursion wasn't that. It also wasn't a visit to a historic battlefield or a site of a war atrocity. It was just voyeurism plain and simple.

Now, I can have sympathy for the family and friends of the people on the sub. I can hope that the sub's occupants escape without harm. But I can also hold the opinion that these people really had no good reason beyond ghoulish curiosity to be down there in the first place. They were not researchers. They're tourists doing something that a lot of people can and do find distasteful, and there absolutely should be room for that part of the discussion as well.

As for the company running the sub excursion itself, it's perfectly fair for it to come under criticism if it skirted safety standards and conventional testing. That's a perfectly valid discussion. By shutting it down, we'd be pulling the same stunt as Republicans refusing to talk about gun control in the wake of another school shooting saying "now is not the time, now is the time for healing." No, the time to be speaking about these kinds of things is when they happen. That's when they're in the public's mind. That's when they care and can be mobilized into preventing similar tragedies. Sure, there is always time to follow-up on the conversations, but the conversations need to start first, and usually they need a trigger to get them going. Accidents and tragedies, sadly, often have to be that trigger.

As for the moneyed angle, I don't think we can ignore it. Money made this possible. Just as the lack of money forced migrants to Greece to take the chances they did. Money is always problematic and it is pretty much always a factor in why things happen. Should those with excess wealth be condemned just for being rich? Generally, no, but it is easy to understand how people who don't believe that this voyage was respectful in the first place can find it challenging to be respect of the people who undertook it and the wealth that enabled it, as this is something that couldn't happen without massive amounts of money. I'm not saying "eat the rich" is fine, just as "first up against the wall" isn't fine. But I also try to assume that most MeFites aren't readying the blindfolds and seasoning the cauldron. They're just reacting emotionally to a horrifying situation. Sometimes they express their emotions well. Sometimes, they resort to linguistic short forms and exaggerations, and sometimes the way the express themselves comes as as more callous than they intend.

Look, I have plenty of issues with people's behaviour on this site, but I try to cut people some slack when I feel that their emotions are genuine and they're not just being PITA asshats for the sake of lording their opinions and judgments over others. Maybe I'm taking the wrong approach, but it's the best one I've got.
posted by sardonyx at 1:51 PM on June 20, 2023 [77 favorites]


I mean there were one or two shitty comments celebrating a billionaire's death, those have since been deleted, and a couple more comments expressing indifference to someone dying because they spent a shit ton of money to put themselves into a situation where death was a somewhat likely outcome.

This is hardly "Metafilter."

The overwhelming majority of comments in that thread, the ones that weren't deleted because they were talking about the shitty comments, were expressing concern, or were insightful comments about the technology of deep sea exploration.

And now we have this thread that, by tomorrow, will have 300 comments where everyone will be shitty to everyone.

THIS is Metafilter.
posted by bondcliff at 1:51 PM on June 20, 2023 [133 favorites]


I was watching the sub thread prior to the deletions, and can say unequivocally that this is a grossly uncharitable and frankly dishonest take on the comments that were made.

I could install the "deleted comment" plug-in to demonstrate that you're factually false here, but it's not worth the bother, really.
posted by hippybear at 1:51 PM on June 20, 2023 [11 favorites]


>> or a bloodlust for rich people to perish doing activities only they can afford.

> I was watching the sub thread prior to the deletions, and can say unequivocally that this is a grossly uncharitable and frankly dishonest take on the comments that were made.

"bloodlust for rich people" is a pretty good summary of what I saw in that thread fwiw
posted by dorothy hawk at 1:54 PM on June 20, 2023 [15 favorites]


You're allowed to hope people die. HTH.

Yeah it's kind of ugly to enjoy anyone's misfortune, ever. We're allowed to be ugly together. Being shitty at the people on the submarine is not "genocidal" no matter how uncouth it is.
posted by grobstein at 1:55 PM on June 20, 2023 [52 favorites]


I was watching the sub thread prior to the deletions, and can say unequivocally that this is a grossly uncharitable and frankly dishonest take on the comments that were made.

Disagree.
posted by oulipian at 1:55 PM on June 20, 2023 [10 favorites]


This has been a discussion that has happened since the birth of commenting on the internet. I read the thread and saw comments before they were deleted, and you're always going to get ones like that in a situation with billionaires. What I wish is people would flag it and move on instead of chastising a whole thread of people who may or may not sympathize with the comment that offended - that really makes me exasperated.

I feel the same about how this is phrased. I do not think Metafilter has a "problem" with this as it is the same everywhere on the internet.

Not sure what positive outcome could come from this thread but I will hold a good thought, same as most of the sentiments for the lost sub.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:56 PM on June 20, 2023 [20 favorites]


I'm sorry but I really find it hard to work up a huge amount of sympathy for people who paid more money than my house cost for a foolhardy folly. I guess that makes me a bad person in your eyes but that money could have gone to so many more useful things.
posted by octothorpe at 1:56 PM on June 20, 2023 [26 favorites]


I think this was the previous thread I bailed on, the one about rural communities. It's hard to tell with the editing that takes place here.
posted by hippybear at 1:57 PM on June 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


Another pony, it's really hard to discuss topics in ignorance and the difficulty of reviewing deleted posts is hard. There should be some system to view an original thread, perhaps with a special login that is not available for posting and has many warnings and caveats that need to be signed that the warning is accepted and perhaps anonymized.

There are hard things to talk about, being super nice at every turn is not expressive enough, and over reacting, well, hard to judge also. Perplexed.

I expect this will be deleted. Or shunned.
posted by sammyo at 1:57 PM on June 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


When I saw in that thread that something had been posted here, I assumed it was someone unhappy that at least one post contrasting the responses to the sinking of the migrant ship with this had been deleted (this deletion). Personally I really disagree with that deletion, because yes, actually, the contrast between the responses and the media attention is shocking.

To the point of this post, I didn't notice or maybe read right past any genuinely unpleasant comments about the rich. But, being honest here, I don't have much personal sympathy for people with that much money who get their rocks off doing things like launching themselves into space or going on deep dives. I don't wish personal ill on them, and I certainly hope these people are found alive, but I, personally, have only a tiny amount of sympathy for them compared to, say, refugees taking risky voyages hoping to reach a safer place.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:57 PM on June 20, 2023 [42 favorites]


What I wish is people would flag it and move on instead of chastising a whole thread of people who may or may not sympathize with the comment that offended

Which ends up being a moderation issue, because if the comment isn't removed and/or mod-commented upon quickly, it becomes part of the discussion and thus irremovable.
posted by hippybear at 1:58 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty comfortable with (and, frankly, prone to) snarky non-specific eat-the-rich/line-them-against-the-wall kinda digs, and I don't want to lose that kind of punching up or plainspoken acknowledgement that being extremely rich is a form of sociopathy.

That said, even if I cannot stake out where I think the line should be drawn, I'm pretty comfortable with "These particular people who weren't actively doing anything to hurt anyone should die horrible deaths" being on the wrong side of it. So, fair play emphasizing that. It's great to have an empathy check once in a while.

But let's not overcompensate, either. We can probably stop short of declaring contempt for the rich, even when expressed in an uncouth manner, to be advocating genocide. That's up there with that social media CEO (whose name and app I have mercifully forgotten) who tried to include "wealthy people" as a protected class on his app.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:59 PM on June 20, 2023 [64 favorites]


"In order to eat the rich, first we must cook the rich "
found inscribed on a bus stop,1984
I've long wanted to add the following
' this being necessary due to parasites they host.'
but the concrete has long since set.
posted by hortense at 2:00 PM on June 20, 2023 [40 favorites]


I think this was the previous thread I bailed on, the one about rural communities. It's hard to tell with the editing that takes place here.

ok that one is fuckin chilling
posted by grobstein at 2:02 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


I feel like someone is going to chew the OP right the hell up for tossing around the word "genocidal" to describe contempt for the rich.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:07 PM on June 20, 2023 [29 favorites]


I think this was the previous thread I bailed on, the one about rural communities. It's hard to tell with the editing that takes place here.

ok that one is fuckin chilling


hm well tbh on a closer look what i see there is like one mildly eugenicist comment (the chilling part) and a lot of pushback, which is maybe the best way this kind of thing can go
posted by grobstein at 2:08 PM on June 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


"this group of people deserves to die because of their lifestyle"

I guess part of my point is that I don't think that being incredibly incredibly rich is something as banal as a lifestyle, I think the existence of the super rich requires the immiseration and even death of millions of people all over the world and the people being harmed hoping that harm comes to those creating these conditions is not even close to on par with being a jerk about people who are poor or live in rural areas. I don't want to make this thread about my opinions so I'll be quiet for now but I think "should we be mean about poor people", "is it reasonable for the oppressed to wish harm and even death on their oppressors in the abstract", and "is it okay to speak favorably about the death of individuals based on their wealth/power/whatever" (let's call this the Kissinger dilemma) are super different questions.
posted by an octopus IRL at 2:08 PM on June 20, 2023 [99 favorites]


I was actually called out in the submarine thread for a couple comments which are still there I notice. Here's most of one of them:

in my defence, I did just see Triangle Of Sadness yt and it obviously did something to my empathy centres with regard to absurdly rich people finding the kind of dire circumstances that only absurdly rich people could afford to find.

Is this "... bloodlust for rich people to perish doing activities only they can afford"?
posted by philip-random at 2:09 PM on June 20, 2023 [8 favorites]


I feel like someone is going to chew the OP right the hell up for tossing around the word "genocidal" to describe contempt for the rich.

Go ahead. I've been here for years and I'm wiling to leave this place because this behavior has been really really shitty.

Oh, you're making a class point with this, that I might support.

In either case, I will fucking walk away from here under these current community standards. This should not be tolerated.
posted by hippybear at 2:09 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


And I will say, if you're focussing only on the rich people thread in my callout, you're missing the point.
posted by hippybear at 2:10 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


As someone in the top 1% of wealth globally, I would much prefer that the 99% beneath me not wish for my painful demise, but comfort myself with the hope that my fellows will cure aging and death-by-disease within my own lifetime.
posted by otsebyatina at 2:10 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


Leaving aside matters of, I dunno, basic human empathy, people should think about what they are actually contributing when they post some version of "lol at rich people dying" in these kinds of threads. I also hate rich people but if you don't have anything funny or interesting to say beyond that basic sentiment, who cares? The thread has a lot of interesting stuff about submarines and the science behind deep-sea voyages but it was being overshadowed by this pretty boring "is it bad when rich people die?" non-debate. The quality of the conversation on this website has been in decline and I think the deleted comments (mine included, sure!) is a good example of what that looks like.
posted by cakelite at 2:11 PM on June 20, 2023 [24 favorites]


I feel like someone is going to chew the OP right the hell up for tossing around the word "genocidal" to describe contempt for the rich.

It certainly raised my blood pressure when I saw that in the thread title.
posted by octothorpe at 2:12 PM on June 20, 2023 [36 favorites]


I could install the "deleted comment" plug-in to demonstrate that you're factually false here, but it's not worth the bother, really.

Sure, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 2:12 PM on June 20, 2023 [11 favorites]


Could someone list a few of the actual genocidal comments?
posted by sammyo at 2:15 PM on June 20, 2023 [11 favorites]


What is the desired outcome of this thread?

Starting to get angry that MetaTalks like this are allowed. This site should, in my opinion, stop sponsoring arguments.
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:16 PM on June 20, 2023 [36 favorites]


In either case, I will fucking walk away from here under these current community standards

I would beg you not to. You're a valued member of this community.
posted by lalochezia at 2:17 PM on June 20, 2023 [21 favorites]


Listen, I hate the ultra rich as much as anyone but I agree that that thread got positively ghoulish for a hot minute there, enough where I mouthed "Whoa" as I read.
posted by Kitteh at 2:18 PM on June 20, 2023 [16 favorites]


Hippybear is asking us not to be shitty out loud. Do some of us sometimes wish that billionaires, or perhaps an ex president, would no longer be alive? Sure. But we can't say that out loud to anyone, except perhaps my mother, though we can still think it, because there are definitely a lot of people fucking things up right now. But that's not the case here. Let's not be shitty, out loud.
posted by Melismata at 2:20 PM on June 20, 2023 [9 favorites]


What is the desired outcome of this thread?

The desired outcome of this thread is that MetaFilter members stop expressing that they wish members of either the poor or the rich to die based on their decisions in life.

I'm not sure how that is so difficult to understand.
posted by hippybear at 2:20 PM on June 20, 2023 [27 favorites]


What is the desired outcome of this thread?

I think it was intended to divert the river of meanness and grossness from the original thread. The original thread has a lot of insightful comments about science, physics, diving, the search itself -- it's genuinely terrific but for the sneering, insistent comments that the price of hubris is death.
posted by mochapickle at 2:22 PM on June 20, 2023 [10 favorites]


Also, what hippybear said. Thanks, hb. I'm glad you're here, btw.
posted by mochapickle at 2:23 PM on June 20, 2023 [11 favorites]


The desired outcome of this thread is that MetaFilter members stop expressing that they wish members of either the poor or the rich to die based on their decisions in life.

fair enough.

But are we allowed to see the humour (blackly ironic, for sure) in absurdly rich people managing to die in a manner that only absurdly rich people could afford?
posted by philip-random at 2:26 PM on June 20, 2023 [23 favorites]


I 100% agree with the idea that no one should have been cheering for human deaths in that thread. And I said as much, above.

And I will say, if you're focussing only on the rich people thread in my callout, you're missing the point.

I'm focusing on linking hatred of the rich to hatred of the poor, which is is one of those things that only makes sense in a shallow, context-free way, like comparing supposed "reverse racism" to actual systemic racism.

Like racism, genocide is inextricably linked to power dynamics. It's the powerful targeting the less powerful.

Let's not cheer for death. But let's also not All Lives Matter ourselves into believing that what happened to Marie Antoinette was basically the same as what happened to Anne Frank.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:27 PM on June 20, 2023 [128 favorites]


"There's a fucking 19 year old kid down there. What did he do? Funny to laugh about him biting it, though, right?"

This wasn't known from the start, for whatever it's worth. I don't recall anyone laughing about this at all though, and I was reading from the start.

I'm not sure how you're going to have a conversation about a news event like this without some people expressing bafflement at how incredibly stupid it is to spend so much money on something so wildly dangerous and unnecessary. It's absolutely part of the story, and has only become more so as details have emerged about how moronic the CEO seems to have been.
posted by imabanana at 2:28 PM on June 20, 2023 [42 favorites]


But are we allowed to see the humour (blackly ironic, for sure) in absurdly rich people managing to die in a manner that only absurdly rich people could afford?

I mean, you're 1000% fine to think whatever you want, philip-random. But to be perfectly candid I was pretty annoyed by your comments and the childish, braggy, look-at-me way they were phrased. It grossed me out and it made me lose a lot of respect for you.

These people are stuck in a tiny metal can in the bottom of the ocean. It's an awful end for anyone, rich or poor.
posted by mochapickle at 2:32 PM on June 20, 2023 [15 favorites]


The desired outcome of this thread is that MetaFilter members stop expressing that they wish members of either the poor or the rich to die based on their decisions in life.

That is very unlikely to happen, since I've seen these kinds of comments on every corner of the internet since commenting began. So are you asking that the mods start deleting any comment that strays towards this? Or just the ones they did delete? Why isn't this a policy thing to ask the mods instead of a general question here...which as we know, will not come to concensus in any way?

I don't understand the point, and I mean that kindly, I do.
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:32 PM on June 20, 2023 [10 favorites]


It's the linking of the rural poor to the extremely rich that is causing you to lose people, hippybear.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:32 PM on June 20, 2023 [82 favorites]


You're allowed to hope people die. HTH. Yeah it's kind of ugly to enjoy anyone's misfortune, ever. We're allowed to be ugly together. Being shitty at the people on the submarine is not "genocidal" no matter how uncouth it is.

It's not genocidal and people are going to ignore the meaning of this MeTa just to parse the shit out of one incorrect word choice until the cows come home because MetaFilter.

But that comment section was cruel and ghoulish. I don't think MetaFilter should be a community for people to be "ugly together" with those who actively hope for others to die. Being ugly together is a long fucking fall from "best of the web."
posted by kimberussell at 2:32 PM on June 20, 2023 [27 favorites]


I'd really rather we leave Anne Frank and the Holocaust out of this.
posted by TwoStride at 2:32 PM on June 20, 2023 [88 favorites]


I'd really rather we leave Anne Frank and the Holocaust out of this.

Definitely. That's why using the word "genocidal" in the title was an exceptionally poor choice.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:34 PM on June 20, 2023 [54 favorites]


"Genocide" is really not an accurate or appropriate way to describe hatred, even murderous, of the rich.
posted by dusty potato at 2:34 PM on June 20, 2023 [47 favorites]


This is gross.

No, dragging Anne Frank into this is gross.
posted by Pendragon at 2:34 PM on June 20, 2023 [34 favorites]


The law, in its majestic equality, permits rich and poor alike to travel in private unlicensed submersibles.
posted by Earthtopus at 2:35 PM on June 20, 2023 [52 favorites]


I have jumped out of a plane several times hoping that a bag strapped to my back would keep me alive when I hit the ground. It's worked so far (or has it?).

First, it cost me money I had to save to do it. It is an expensive dangerous thing to do. Second, I know what I'm signing up for when I do it. Plop is always a risk.

So while I don't think it's necessarily polite to say "Eh, they knew what they were getting into doing something like that" I do think it's nevertheless true. They got their danger and the roulette wheel came up 00 this time.
posted by East14thTaco at 2:35 PM on June 20, 2023 [11 favorites]


If discussion of genocide here is rubbing you the wrong way, I invite you to read the title of the post again, and to note that virtually all mentions of genocide have been with an expression of the belief that Hey, genocide is not a concept you should just throw around. Literally, the only reason Anne Frank was mentioned was to point a big, blinking arrow at how inappropriate that framing was.

That's not pedantry. That's drawing a big old line in the sand that there are some words, we don't just throw around, and certainly not on things like "Sometimes internet commenters don't have sympathy for the rich."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:38 PM on June 20, 2023 [64 favorites]


If we're looking at threads and wondering if they go too far towards "class genocidal attitudes", why keep it to two?

* Recent climate-change thread, calling for billions of people to die veiled by references to fiction.
* Unabomber memorial thread, more than a couple "he picked the wrong conclusions/way to go about it, but his manifesto made good points" comments
* Recent cryptocurrency thread
* Pick any number of past climate change threads where either rich or poor are called upon to die in service of the commenter's desired plan for averting apocalypse
* So much death-desire for Kissinger, etc.

Is it a great idea to mash all of that together? Absolutely not.
But we're clearly here & doing this, so let's not be selective.
posted by CrystalDave at 2:39 PM on June 20, 2023 [17 favorites]


One of the points repeatedly brought up in the next MeTa down was that posting here is sometimes exceptionally difficult because everyone jumps to the least charitable, most inflammatory interpretation of comments and posts and responds aggressively, which makes good-faith conversations really difficult.

It seems that a reasonable interpretation of this post is dismay that this website is wishing death on people due to their socio-economic status. So why don't we interpret it that way rather than picking on word choices. What if we have a conversation/discussion about whether it's appropriate to wish death on rural poor people? Whether it's ok to wish death on particular rich people because they are rich? Rich people in general?
posted by lapis at 2:39 PM on June 20, 2023 [22 favorites]


It's the linking of the rural poor to the extremely rich that is causing you to lose people, hippybear.

I get the linking. And I don't mind it on the level that I agree, we should not wish anybody death before their time. Period. If this were some kind of democratic vote, that's where I'd put my X.
posted by philip-random at 2:40 PM on June 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


Recent climate-change thread, calling for billions of people to die veiled by references to fiction.

Jesus Christ, talk about genocidal 😳
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 2:43 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I've said the things I needed to say: genocide was a wildly wrongheaded framing and contempt for the rich is fundamentally different than contempt for the poor. It's blaming the oppressing group, not the oppressed. I'm still good with the nudge that no one should be wishing specific ills on specific people in a contemptible way.

hippybear is good people, and I hope they hang around, even if we butted heads here.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:43 PM on June 20, 2023 [40 favorites]


So many of the comments here are defending the right to wish death on a group of people based on their economic basis.

That's feels just wrong to me. But if this is what MetaFilter is today, that's what it is. I hoped to change that, but I can't buck the trend.
posted by hippybear at 2:46 PM on June 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


There's a major difference between wishing death on people for being rich and not being sad or particularly empathetic in this particular situation of rich people (probably) dying.
posted by imabanana at 2:46 PM on June 20, 2023 [35 favorites]


The desired outcome of this thread is that MetaFilter members stop expressing that they wish members of either the poor or the rich to die based on their decisions in life.

I don't see any equivalency between a poor 14 year old boy living in Englewood who makes the decision to join a gang and a 60 year old CEO who makes the decision to get on an experimental sub designed to his own specifications and convinces x number of people a year to give him vast sums of money to also get on an experimental sub and dive 2+ miles under the ocean surface.

Both have "made the decision" to put themselves in extremely dangerous situations. I don't wish death for either. But I will mourn only one.
posted by phunniemee at 2:47 PM on June 20, 2023 [65 favorites]


The prevailing (moderated) vibe seems to be, hope they're found safely (or hope they at least got crushed in a fraction of a microsecond), but if they're not, then well sucks for them they picked a dangerous jolly of an adventure.

The site's only got so many mods, we generally suck at real-time news-- maybe the lesson is, give it a few hours and you'll see the moderated view without the visceral takes but you'll miss out on being part of that particular part of the dance.

Like, if I were to get fabulously wealthy and get to fly in a personal spacecraft-- and it Apollo 13'd me into the abyss of space, if you could spare me a 'well, sheeeeeiit-- that is horrifying' I'd appreciate it but I'd be fine with the very next sentence being 'guess he found the folly of limitless options-- f'king idiot'. Both can be true in someone's mind at the same time.
posted by Static Vagabond at 2:47 PM on June 20, 2023 [17 favorites]


How much difference is there between Anne Frank and the devastation being played out upon rural US regarding current commercial viability and hoping to survive?

That's it, I'm out. Taking at least a month break and then deciding if I want to button or not.
posted by octothorpe at 2:49 PM on June 20, 2023 [36 favorites]


My feelings about the extremely wealthy are colored by the fact that they get there by exploiting many, many people. Aircraft broker to wealthy oil nations? You may not have crushed people beneath your own boot, but your cash did. That they know or should know that people suffer and die because of the wealth they accumulate and that their lifestyles and means of accruing wealth generally cause a great deal of pollution and damage to the Climate. That they know or should know that their wealth could save lives, help save the planet. I can't wish them death or suffering, but I can certainly tolerate Eat the Rich memes. The 14 year old in Englewood may not have choices and the 19 year old son of a billionaire hasn't had a lot of time to consider his life.

The Titan post has a comment about the Verrückt water slide that was horrifyingly deadly and not regulated. That kind of wealth-making is explicitly evil, and is seldom held accountable. Paying people miserable wages because, profit, ends up killing people who can't afford health care, who use drugs to deal with misery and maybe physical pain from always having to go faster in the warehouse. or the many gruesome ways people die in agriculture.

I'm not responding to the rural poor thread because i haven't read the article or comments.

I'll also note that grim tragedies often evoke raw humor because we are so reminded of mortality.
posted by theora55 at 2:51 PM on June 20, 2023 [27 favorites]


under these current community standards

I'm with you on the shitty comments, hippybear, that were not only obnoxious but set off a huge MeTa-style derail in the thread, making it difficult to sift through for the smart stuff. But I don't quite get the part quoted above. As soon as a mod saw all the flags late last night they immediately got to work scrubbing the thread, of both the obnoxiously shitty takes and the replies, which no longer are present in the thread. That seems to me ok current community standards. I'm curious if there was more comments today that you think were missed? The thread has been going very well today, I think.

For as long as I've been here there have been occasional really obnoxious comments in threads like this (I admitted I'd probably made some myself in the past, in a rightfully deleted plea for folks to drop the extended derail), but I do think it's mostly better here on that score than it used to be.

Also, I dearly hope you don't button over this, hippybear.
posted by mediareport at 2:52 PM on June 20, 2023 [11 favorites]


hb: I agree that some of the more egregious comments from both of the posts you referenced are examples of this site at its worst, but only one of those threads reflects MeFi's genuine, deep-seated attitudes about class—and it's the one showcasing withering contempt and outright antipathy for the majority of people from poor and rural communities.

Comments to the effect of "Man the guillotines!" or "Eat the rich!" strike me as mostly LARPing by relatively well-off people who feel guilty, embarrassed, or otherwise self-conscious about the extent of their own privilege and wealth.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:55 PM on June 20, 2023 [12 favorites]


The phrasing of “Metafilter is like so” when each thread under discussion included a wide array of comments seems to me to be the same sort of over-generalization and stereotyping that led to some of the uncharitable comments being called out in this MeTa. I get that each of our emotional reactions to a given thread are informed by our past experiences and our own values and biases, and thus aren’t going to exactly reflect the specific numerical proportion of comments supporting any given perspective in a thread. But it seems to me that it would be a display of respect for our community to try, and to phrase responses more appropriately. “I’m feeling overwhelmed and discouraged” is a fair and accurate statement, and invites connection and a more thoughtful and generous response. “This thread/Metafilter is overwhelmingly X”, on the other hand, attacks even those of us who aren’t agreeing with the things one is finding overwhelming and discouraging.

I think it’s reasonable/affirmatively ethical to make an exception to this when it would amount to tone policing of marginalized folks speaking out against structural oppression and violence they experience.

As someone who is from a rural, working class background and also found a few of the comments advocating the full scale displacement of poor rural communities in one of the threads referenced super upsetting, I also find the erasure of power differentials and structural oppression in equating critique of rich people and critique of poor people upsetting and distressing.
posted by eviemath at 2:55 PM on June 20, 2023 [56 favorites]


Let's not cheer for death. But let's also not All Lives Matter ourselves into believing that what happened to Marie Antoinette was basically the same as what happened to Anne Frank. above. This is a corollary to Godwin's law, and I think Frank has been in the news as an example way too often lately.
posted by theora55 at 2:56 PM on June 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


Bringing Anne Frank into this to imply (paraphrased) "Rural living becoming economically difficult is pretty much the Holocaust" is a DEEPLY shitty take, and is one that's making it clear that the derail over the OP's use of the word genocide wasn't just an unfortunate word choice. Just like we don't accept people hyperbolically using "rape" to mean "did something unpleasant to," perhaps this is a line that could be drawn?
posted by JiBB at 2:56 PM on June 20, 2023 [53 favorites]


The success in this is that comments were flagged, a mod did deletions, requested behavior change.

People say stupid shitty things, they express thoughts poorly, they have bad days when they're jerks. It's not an indictment of the site.
posted by theora55 at 3:00 PM on June 20, 2023 [32 favorites]


"These particular people who weren't actively doing anything to hurt anyone should die horrible deaths"

I don't think this is an accurate representation of at least most of the deleted comments? Like, there is a big difference between 'I wish these people would die' and 'I'm not going to be particularly upset if these people die'.

If you want to say there was a lack of empathy in the sub thread, then sure, fine but there was not a lot of (if any?) actively wishing death on the guys down there. Just a lot of expressed indifference.
posted by Dysk at 3:09 PM on June 20, 2023 [27 favorites]


Eco-fascism is fascism. Wishing death is ghoulish and - worse yet - remarkably uncreative. If everyone else on the Internet is enjoying the shallowly perverse justice of the rich dying doing things only they can afford to do then why do we need to do it here? Is there some worry the barricades will go unmanned if we don't make sure to remind ourselves how very destructive the rich are and how they should be eaten?

Or does it just interrupt and abort the interesting, sympathetic discourse in ways that are painful to watch for anyone who has the empathy to imagine dying in this terrible way?

Comedy is tragedy plus time - the timing here is hacky.
posted by abulafa at 3:09 PM on June 20, 2023 [7 favorites]


The difference is that it is very easy for the rich to stop being rich, and thus escape needing to be The Most Dangerous Game-d. Heck, Bill Gates gets lots of praise for his humanitarian work, and he is still a multibillionaire.

It is immoral to be a billionaire. Just hoarding that much money, more money than you and your family could ever ever use in an entire lifetime, when people are suffering around you. Leave aside how you got that money (invariably, exploiting the poor and ruining the earth), just sitting on that pile of money like a dragon on its hoard is evil.

All they need to do to avoid the wrath that is to come is to repent, to turn that wealth towards the public good instead of their own frivolous adventures.

The ideal outcome would be that our governments take that wealth away from them, since they will not give it up willingly, and use it make the world better for those of us who aren't ultra-wealthy. But since the rich own our governments, it won't happen. They thereby own the military and the police, so even bloody revolution is off the table.

So, you get people fantasizing about guillotines. Which, frankly, the rich can fucking deal with.

I get that it is an unpleasant fantasy. It's impolite to cheer when someone dies from their own hubris. Decades of film and stories teach us that revenge doesn't pay, that putting violent end to the evil enemy is evil too. Which class made those films, who benefits from a house-broken populace?

I dunno man. These people are literally going to kill us by the millions with climate change, have killed and immiserated us for decades. Fighting back isn't genocide. Fantasizing about fighting back isn't a genocidal attitude. Laughing when one of them kills himself in the stupidest possible way isn't a sin.
posted by JDHarper at 3:11 PM on June 20, 2023 [121 favorites]


These people are stuck in a tiny metal can in the bottom of the ocean.

It's a carbon fibre can. And we don't strictly know that they're down there, or stuck. If the hull was breached, they're less stuck than dead.
posted by Dysk at 3:11 PM on June 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


Decades of film and stories teach us that revenge doesn't pay, that putting violent end to the evil enemy is evil too.

You must've been watching a different set of Hollywood output to me. Media has loved the loose cannon maverick breaking the rules to enact justice through violence longer than I've been alive.
posted by Dysk at 3:13 PM on June 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


Once again, the violent people here don't get it. The problem isn't whether the rich deserve violence. The problem is you bringing violence into this space.
posted by biogeo at 3:16 PM on June 20, 2023 [19 favorites]


The incontrovertible part of JDHarper’s comment, however, is that a rich person can, entirely through their own choice and actions, stop being rich. But a poor person does not have the same ability to stop being poor. There is a fundamental asymmetry between the two situations.
posted by eviemath at 3:16 PM on June 20, 2023 [62 favorites]


The MetaFilter response to both parties is entirely symmerical, and that's the issue I want to address here.

Well, that and in general wishing death on any group of people based on their life circumstances or choices.
posted by hippybear at 3:18 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


You seem to be requesting that the response still be symmetrical just in a different tenor, however.
posted by eviemath at 3:20 PM on June 20, 2023 [9 favorites]


Once again, the violent people here don't get it.

I’m sorry, who are you referring to? I didn’t realize that this site has a “violent people” demographic.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 3:21 PM on June 20, 2023 [27 favorites]


It's wild to me that something that effectively amounts to a shrug and a meh makes us violent people now.
posted by Dysk at 3:26 PM on June 20, 2023 [65 favorites]


I don't know about this particular dive, but not everyone who's gone has been a billionaire.

From David Pogue's account of going on a previous dive:
"We've had people who have mortgaged their home to come and do the trip. And we have people who don't think twice about a trip of this cost. We had one gentleman who had won the lottery."
One of the people had been saving up to see the Titanic for 30 years.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:28 PM on June 20, 2023 [4 favorites]


BBC: Who is on board Titanic sub?

Nobody on this trip had been saving up for thirty years
posted by Dysk at 3:30 PM on June 20, 2023 [8 favorites]


This thread is a counter-revolutionary attempt to prevent necessary consensus-building activities. The rural people are only included as a smoke screen.
posted by yonega at 3:31 PM on June 20, 2023 [20 favorites]


I mean, I get it. Living in capitalism sucks. The world is on fire, rich people are sucking us dry, ignorant people fight every attempt to remove the boot from our collective faces. Sometimes our empathy fails. Sometimes the violence of our society gets internalized. Sometimes we express our anger in unmeasured ways. That's all fine.

What I find extremely sad and frustrating is the extent to which people, when there's pushback at these excesses, instead of reevaluating and acknowledging that yeah, maybe they let their anger and frustration get the better of them, instead double down on why their willingness to celebrate the suffering of total strangers they know basically nothing about is actually completely justified and correct. We don't always choose our first emotional responses to things, but we do get to choose whether we subsequently endorse them. I judge people little for the former, and a lot for the latter.
posted by biogeo at 3:32 PM on June 20, 2023 [29 favorites]


Once again, the violent people here don't get it.

I’m sorry, who are you referring to? I didn’t realize that this site has a “violent people” demographic.


In case you are asking in good faith - wishing violence on others, whether that's putatively sociopathic wealthy people or even the proven-murderous and multiply homicidal, is all violence. It might feel "justified" but that doesn't make it easier to observe or be in proximity to, to many people. Some have direct experiences with violence, some don't but have significant empathy (not presented as some moral superiority, but literally feel things directly that other people perceive as abstractions or don't feel in the same visceral way).

So, yeah, I thought describing those as "violent" (maybe I wouldn't have short handed it as "violent people" but the adjective holds) was exactly the right term.
posted by abulafa at 3:33 PM on June 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


This thread has obviously got all sorts of hyperbole in it, but at no point in the sub thread was anyone actually wishing for or wanting death for the people on it. Just expressing an indifference to whether they lived or died.
posted by Dysk at 3:34 PM on June 20, 2023 [38 favorites]


Thanks, abulafa. "Violent people" is an imprecise and poor choice of words. I should say, those who regularly choose to employ the rhetoric of violence. And yeah, there are quite a few of them on MetaFilter.
posted by biogeo at 3:35 PM on June 20, 2023 [4 favorites]


It feels like there was a whole spectrum of responses on the original thread (I scrolled it last night before going to sleep), but I don't recall much "good, I'm glad those rich people are dead" sentiment. There were definitely some kind of gross assumptions about the passengers' mindsets _because_ they were rich, and I can understand where HB is coming from looking at it from that angle. We don't really know anything about them, and so just to say they got what was coming to them because they were able to pay $250,000 for this trip is a pretty unfair take on things.

However, I don't think calling out the fact that the passengers took a (hopefully informed) risk, and (in all likelihood) that risk proved fatal as perhaps a situation which it's hard to get overly upset about. Likewise, I think that the (potentially massive) amount of money being spent on this search and recovery as compared to other situations is a valid conversation to have, even though I personally think that that may be more due to the manner of disappearance than anything else. Even more effort was put into S&R for MH-370, and as far as I know no one rich or famous died in that.

I will say that to me hippybear is a wonderful and valued memory of this community, and I hope he is for a long time to come.
posted by jferg at 3:39 PM on June 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


I don't think the distinction between saying you hope someone dies versus, once their death becomes a real possibility, going out of you way to repeatedly assert that you don't care if they die over the course of multiple comments, is a particularly meaningful distinction.
posted by biogeo at 3:40 PM on June 20, 2023 [10 favorites]


This thread is a counter-revolutionary attempt to prevent necessary consensus-building activities. The rural people are only included as a smoke screen.

This is like Agent Provocateur 101 stuff - insultingly so if you're seizing the means of production one six person submersible at a time.
posted by abulafa at 3:42 PM on June 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


It's perfectly human to resent the rich as a group and they deserve that 100% for what they have done and continue to do to the rest of us. But it's absolutely not OK to wish death on any individual (if that's what really happened - I didn't actually see any of the deleted comments, as I suspect most here didn't). This is a pretty simple principle and doesn't seem like too much to ask of a group of intelligent adults.

This sort of nonsense is why I wish deleted comments could be viewed. Lots of people jumping to conclusions based on second-hand reports of what someone else said.

I also hope hippybear hangs around - they're good people and fuck we need more of those.
posted by dg at 3:42 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


I don't think the distinction between saying you hope someone dies versus, once their death becomes a real possibility, going out of you way to repeatedly assert that you don't care if they die over the course of multiple comments, is a particularly meaningful distinction.

Hard disagree. It's like the difference between not voting, and actively voting for [insert your local awful political party].

You can think that both are bad. But they are not the same.
posted by Dysk at 3:47 PM on June 20, 2023 [22 favorites]


But it's absolutely not OK to wish death on any individual (if that's what really happened - I didn't actually see any of the deleted comments, as I suspect most here didn't).

Luckily for us, no one did this in the original thread or in this one. The fact that site members are being called “violent people” for not displaying what some consider appropriate empathy is really quite disturbing.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 3:50 PM on June 20, 2023 [40 favorites]


The Titanic thread feels more like schadenfreude. There's also a covid-related thread which went the same way.
posted by meowzilla at 3:51 PM on June 20, 2023 [7 favorites]


What came to mind reading this was, Don't people want to be told that their way of life is unsustainable? (Probable misquote from Urinetown: The Musical.)

I think maybe that's what hippybear is getting at, that we're being weird about people whose ways of life, or specific actions, are unsustainable in ways outside the norm of our own (equally unsustainable) lives?

I enjoy dark humor and might draw the line for what I'm willing to read in a different place, IDK. I don't remember anything striking me as beyond the pale. But I think it's fair to draw our attention to something that may be a trend & maybe not a great one.
posted by mersen at 3:56 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


The Titanic thread feels more like schadenfreude. There's also a covid-related thread which went the same way.

It's exactly schadenfreude, but now we're supposed to feel guilty about it.

"His master's pain was his pain. And it hurt him more for his master to be sick than for him to be sick himself."
posted by yonega at 4:00 PM on June 20, 2023 [8 favorites]


Oh geez if there is a core conflict in me, it is definitely the one between "good riddance eat the rich" and "wish the best for all individuals in all the circumstances they encounter." They are my two strongest and most irresolvable intuitions. One motivated by anger, I'm sure, and the other motivated by . . . probably just that I was raised in a reasonably devout Catholic household, I dunno. Actually maybe they both come from the Catholicism, now that I think about it, but I digress.

So anyway, I say that to hopefully make clear that I'm going to ask a question in good faith. Let us just assume that all the people on board were billionaires. To be a billionaire is to wake up every day and do great, unjustifiable harm: hoard wealth instead of feed people who are starving to death; burn the planet down instead of seek to sustain it for the benefit of all.

We, as a little web community, regularly say good riddance to bad rubbish when someone who does great harm dies. I saw many of the names in this thread, myself included, gleefully marking the death of Pat Robertson just last week. What's the difference between celebrating the death of an awful celebrity and celebrating the death of an obscure billionaire? Maybe it's that hateful rhetoric is judged to be more harmful than class warfare? Or at least more painful to consider, because we experience it so much more directly? I'm sympathetic to that reading, even as an eat the rich type of person.

For my part, the human part of me does feel the extreme anticipation of death that these folks must be going through. It triggers my empathy, no matter my thoughts on the people. But surely, all people suffer when they die, including both the awful celebrities and the awful obscure billionaires. I think it was actually HippyBear who posted an Elvis Costello lyric celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher, in reference to Pat Robinson. I loved that, probably favorited it. It's my song whenever someone awful dies. I'm trying to figure out here why one is okay and the other isn't. Maybe they're both not okay.

Or maybe, as has been pointed out upthread, it's the timing. These people are dying as we speak, most likely. It's true that to cheer this is a bit ghoulish.
posted by kensington314 at 4:01 PM on June 20, 2023 [19 favorites]


What a disgusting insinuation. (In reference to yonega's comment.)
posted by biogeo at 4:01 PM on June 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


I'm clearly too upset, I apologize and I'm out for a while. Maybe I'll be back.
posted by biogeo at 4:04 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


Hard disagree. It's like the difference between not voting, and actively voting for [insert your local awful political party].

See above regarding the rush to defend how okay it is to wish violence instead of reflecting on whether that's what what you really want or whether it's even effective.

Do you dismantle capitalism by proliferating indifference to suffering? Are we going to snark billionaires into fearfully divesting their wealth or is that indifference more likely to repel the allies who might otherwise join the effort?

The fact that site members are being called “violent people” for not displaying what some consider appropriate empathy is really quite disturbing.

This is Tucker Carlson 101 "I'm being called racist for not displaying appropriate deference to holidays" logic.

The term violent to describe indifference to - and some celebration of - suffering of others in a dire situation remains apt, and the "violent people" phase was responsibly and quickly withdrawn by its author. What precisely is disturbing about that?

Oh right, see above regarding the rush to defend our initial emotional reaction even in the face of knowing better.
posted by abulafa at 4:04 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


The problem is you bringing violence into this space. The billionaires were here, too, and it's not ridiculous to frame having billions of dollars as a form of actual violence to real people, as opposed to snotty words on a website. I didn't see the deleted comments, it sounds like a good deletion.

How do we best formulate the tone we want? To me, I'm not losing sleep over billionaires having bad consequences from wealth-enabled options is not violence.

I like that hippybear called it out, it's a useful course correction. Personally calling people out and making accusatory remarks, not so much.
posted by theora55 at 4:11 PM on June 20, 2023 [8 favorites]


I’d be interested in a list of which groups it’s acceptable to wish death upon. This seems like a question for the Steering Committee, but since it appears the BIPOC Board has absorbed the duties of the SC, maybe they could formulate such a list?
posted by kevinbelt at 4:12 PM on June 20, 2023 [4 favorites]


See above regarding the rush to defend how okay it is to wish violence instead of reflecting on whether that's what what you really want or whether it's even effective.

See again how conflating "wishing violence" and not having much of an opinion either way on something way outside of the realm of influence of everyone here.

Like, you're mischaracterising what has gone on here, and the very objection I'm making in order to keep on this point.

I am explicitly not defending wishing death on anyone.

I am explicitly saying that expressing indifference is also not that.

This is Tucker Carlson 101 "I'm being called racist for not displaying appropriate deference to holidays" logic.

It is not. "Being violent" means something quite specific. Being okay with violence is not that. Violence is actions. Bigotry is beliefs. They do not operate in the same way.

If anything it is the reverse. You are saying that anything other than explicit support and empathy is violence, which is a much closer analogy to the Tucker Carlson logic.

The term violent to describe indifference to - and some celebration of - suffering of others in a dire situation remains apt

Again you are working to conflate indifference to and celebration of, because your thesis is naked nonsense without it.

I am objecting to having what was said mischaracterised in the constant way that it is. If you think they are the same, are equivalent, just call it the one that factually happened. Let those of us who do not think them equivalent continue to make the - to me, very fucking meaningful - distinction.
posted by Dysk at 4:13 PM on June 20, 2023 [44 favorites]


See above regarding the rush to defend how okay it is to wish violence instead of reflecting on whether that's what what you really want or whether it's even effective.

Once again, who’s wishing violence upon anyone? No one did in the original thread, and no one did in this one. I’d appreciate if you’d simply point to who you feel is wishing violence upon anyone, rather than simply defining violence as you did up thread. If you believe it’s happening, please point to it, because many here simply aren’t seeing what you’re alluding to.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 4:14 PM on June 20, 2023 [8 favorites]


And if we are doing analogy: you might well argue that stating "I don't care who wins, they're all the same anyway" in a thread where people are bemoaning e.g. a Trump or Johnson victory is bad. But you are trying to argue that people doing so are actively supporting Trump/Johnson. You can think both are equally bad, even, if you want. But they are not the same thing, and conflating them is friggin dirty pool, rhetorically.
posted by Dysk at 4:16 PM on June 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


I'd be curious to have taz's take on this once they get on duty, as they seem to have been the moderator who had to clean up the missing submarine thread mess.
posted by hippybear at 4:21 PM on June 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


The outcome for the people on the sub is going to be exactly the same whether people on MeFI make informative posts, empathetic posts or indulge in black humor and schadenfreude. Hopes and prayers don't work. By the same token, wishing others ill also doesn't work. I struggle to see where the harm is in people reacting to the news in their own personal way. If you think people are being callous, express your non-callous thoughts as a counterpoint. I think it's more a matter of preference than a moral imperative either way. It's entirely human and reasonable to judge people for taking stupid, thill seeking risks and suffering the consequences. It's also entirely human and reasonable to resent the uber-wealthy. It's also human to feel bad for people who may be suffering or pointless, unnecessary deaths.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 4:23 PM on June 20, 2023 [38 favorites]


The fact that site members are being called “violent people” for not displaying what some consider appropriate empathy is really quite disturbing.

there was a lot of this in the submarine thread. Or it certainly felt like a lot. I know that most of it was deleted by the mod. But yeah, it was emotionally driven anger at people who (my read of it) weren't feeling appropriate empathy. I get it. The emotion. And I pretty much refrained from replying to any of those comments, because I didn't see how that would help anything.

I did make one general reply because I'd been called out by name (deleted now because it was part of a back and forth) in which I stated A. I try not to wish untimely death on anyone, B. I hoped that all in the submarine survived, but C. given other stuff going on in my immediate region (over a thousand drug overdoses since the beginning of the year) I was having a hard time caring too much about the whole situation. If this is somehow now officially "violent behaviour", I'm sorry but I'm going to have reject that definition.
posted by philip-random at 4:23 PM on June 20, 2023 [22 favorites]


I'd be curious to have taz's take on this once they get on duty, as they seem to have been the moderator who had to clean up the missing submarine thread mess.

Honestly, without the mods being willing to discuss this topic as a matter of policy and/or provide examples of what was deleted, this whole thread is basically just a gratuitous fight around the thanksgiving dinner table caused by someone seeing something nasty in the woodshed (or so they assure us, but don’t go check yourself or it might indicate that you’re in cahoots with the nasty thing).
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 4:31 PM on June 20, 2023 [6 favorites]


"class genocide"?

yeah, no. when we see another orgiastic and violent purge led by an upswell of enraged and radical mobs targeting billionaires and only billionaires, coupled with legal and systemic proscriptions to exclude, diminish, and strip those same billionaires of personhood, i'll entertain that "class genocide" against the ultra-wealthy exists.

like, i'm in agreement that maybe celebrating the death of some rich fucks isn't a good look, or being callous towards the plight of rural communities, but it's not fucking genocide if some people show a bit of awful schadenfreude that rich people doing something most people will never be able to afford get squished by nature.

when mass media calls billionaires cockroaches, groomers, or subhumans on the regular while advising people to kill them on sight, we can entertain "genocide". fuck using that term for this piddling shit.
posted by i used to be someone else at 4:32 PM on June 20, 2023 [79 favorites]


How much difference is there between Anne Frank and the devastation being played out upon rural US regarding current commercial viability and hoping to survive?

They're coming for you in one way or another.


yeah, you know who they're not coming for?

fucking billionaires. they're coming for the poor, the queer/trans, the huddled masses of migrants. nobody's coming for the fucking ultra-wealthy because it's the ultra-wealthy that have all the fucking power.

the fucking ultra-rich aren't homeless or yearning to breathe free. they're the ones with fucking yachts and multiple homes and private jets and the free time to enjoy leisure.
posted by i used to be someone else at 4:35 PM on June 20, 2023 [78 favorites]


How much difference is there between Anne Frank and the devastation being played out upon rural US regarding current commercial viability and hoping to survive?

I have absolutely no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

I also frankly find it pretty frustrating to cast some theoretical internet grandstanding about eating the rich as in any way analogous to the very real and ongoing class warfare against the poor. So maybe I’ll skip the rest of this fighty thread and go back to the fun schadenfreude one where people are speculating about hulls failing and such.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:56 PM on June 20, 2023 [19 favorites]


I’d be interested in a list of which groups it’s acceptable to wish death upon.

If I'm ever in a situation where I can't communicate my wishes explicitly regarding this topic, please allow me to state them by pre-need: any of you are welcome to wish death upon me. I absolutely do not care. Happy to be of service, you're welcome 😚✌️
posted by phunniemee at 4:58 PM on June 20, 2023 [30 favorites]


given other stuff going on in my immediate region (over a thousand drug overdoses since the beginning of the year) I was having a hard time caring too much about the whole situation. If this is somehow now officially "violent behaviour", I'm sorry but I'm going to have reject that definition.

This is the definition of whataboutism. Nobody is asking you to express empathy, but I am - literally me - asking you to hold off aggressive indifference to death and the implication that it's somehow made okay based on who these people might be. When we barely know anything and all it's doing is making you feel a little... Better I guess? ... about the injustice you experience directly.

The rush to defend against "oh now I'm being called violent and that's just crazy" is so beneath what I like about this place.

You can express violent things and not yourself be a violent person. If you can't see how indifference to suffering is itself violent then I'm glad you've never been on the wrong end of someone expressing indifference to the death of the incarcerated, drug-users, gay people, trans people, any given ethnicity in a time of crisis, the list goes on. But, you say, the rich can stop being rich! You're right - but not when they're dead. Not when we're not even sure who is rich or rich enough to now be indicted rhetorically in the heat of the moment to make you feel better about the suffering you experience. (And if you have been in that shitty place, please consider how it felt to realize the person expressing that indifference - maybe someone you are stuck with - didn't think it was a big deal, it wasn't like they were actively threatening them anyway).

This isn't rhetorical dirty pool, it's a human who shares this place with you suggesting that there is significant space between being indifferent to the death of Pat Robertson who has been actively hateful and terrible for a lifetime and the of a 19 year old kid who is related to a wealthy person neither of whom you knew before today. All the blah blah it's just like politics is silly - this is actual first hand death, not the (also important) abstraction of which political party or leader you think will have the least terrible impact on the world.
posted by abulafa at 5:00 PM on June 20, 2023 [7 favorites]

I’d be interested in a list of which groups it’s acceptable to wish death upon. This seems like a question for the Steering Committee, but since it appears the BIPOC Board has absorbed the duties of the SC, maybe they could formulate such a list?
i mean, i'm not super enthused about the bipoc board given how glacial it's moved, but i'm going to assume that this is glib and not, say, a subtle implication that a group of non-white people are plotting on who's allowed to be hated.

which, you know, is basically the paranoid delusion of every single white nationalist out there.

but the phrasing and potential implication, oof.
posted by i used to be someone else at 5:01 PM on June 20, 2023 [11 favorites]


If you can't see how indifference to suffering is itself violent then I'm glad you've never been on the wrong end of someone expressing indifference to the death of the incarcerated, drug-users, gay people, trans people, any given ethnicity in a time of crisis, the list goes on.

It's precisely because I have been on the receiving end of people actively campaigning against the existence of people like me and our rights that I think a distinction between that and indifference is important. Indifference isn't helpful but it is not at all the kind of harm that people who very much want to enact real violence against me and mine are responsible for.
posted by Dysk at 5:04 PM on June 20, 2023 [43 favorites]


Like, I have to live and work alongside both kinds of people all the time in my life. The people who don't give a shit either way about my right to continued access to essential healthcare, or to not get raped in prison, for example, I can still get on with them. To a limited extent, I can even count some of them as friends. The people actively wishing for my death, I cannot.
posted by Dysk at 5:07 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


indifference to the death of the incarcerated, drug-users, gay people, trans people, any given ethnicity in a time of crisis

Won't somebody please think of the billionaires.
posted by phunniemee at 5:09 PM on June 20, 2023 [35 favorites]


indifference to the death of the incarcerated, drug-users, gay people, trans people, any given ethnicity in a time of crisis

Won't somebody please think of the billionaires.


Exactly. If the plan is to drum up sympathy for the billionaires with weird comparisons to Anne Frank, the incarcerated, or any number of other actually oppressed people, I have to say it isn't working.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:11 PM on June 20, 2023 [43 favorites]


asking you to hold off aggressive indifference to death and the implication that it's somehow made okay based on who these people might be.

abulafa, could you please just say what you mean? I have absolutely no idea what “aggressive indifference” you’re speaking of, and the ongoing vagueness coming from you makes it impossible to engage with what you’re saying. If it’s happening in this thread, please point to it, because many of us aren’t seeing what you’re seeing.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 5:14 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


Even further on top of what Dysk's said, if it's reasonable at all to posit someone's indifference to suffering as itself a form of violence, the suffering in question must be one which could somehow be alleviated if only some form of indifference (individual or collective, bystanders or the body politic) could be overcome.

This is the case for probably the majority of suffering in the world (from mass starvation down in scale to an individual being assaulted while others look on), but not in this instance.

When the extent of the suffering is fully in the hands of physics/nature/already-fully-tasked-rescue-parties, the indifference = violence formulation doesn't hold up.
posted by nobody at 5:20 PM on June 20, 2023 [9 favorites]


I wonder if its something like, the difference between seeing someone in crisis and shouting "I'M INDIFFERENT TO YOUR SUFFERING PLEASE GO AWAY FROM ME" whilst walking briskly away from the scene, versus just keeping your head down and picking up the pace and not making eye contact ?
posted by some loser at 5:20 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


The post in question is outstanding. Great information and discussion. Regardless of whether the deleted comments were bloodthirsty, callous or indifferent, the conversation is undoubtedly better off without them.
posted by lumpy at 5:20 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


Like, I have to live and work alongside both kinds of people all the time in my life. The people who don't give a shit either way about my right to continued access to essential healthcare, or to not get raped in prison, for example, I can still get on with them. To a limited extent, I can even count some of them as friends. The people actively wishing for my death, I cannot.

So what I'm reading is that because you need there to be a difference between indifference to your suffering and actively pursuing it as part of your day to day experience, you can't accept that someone else might perceive the indifference itself as a threat at all.

I'm glad you're able to thread this needle, but I'm asking for you to consider why you feel you have to and that - by extension - expect others to do so.
posted by abulafa at 5:23 PM on June 20, 2023


The world is full of awful people who cause harm. I'm not comfortable with attributing their harm to people who are not responsible for it, whose only crime is not actively fighting it, and I continue to be confused by your insistence that they are in fact responsible.

So what I'm reading is that because you need there to be a difference between indifference to your suffering and actively pursuing it as part of your day to day experience

So one minute I'm a bad person who must think what I do because I'm not oppressed. Now I'm a bad person who is broken and only thinks what I do because I am oppressed. Wow. I don't need there to be a difference. I see a self-evident obvious difference.

Why do you need the distinction to be erased, to be meaningless?
posted by Dysk at 5:31 PM on June 20, 2023 [22 favorites]

If you can't see how indifference to suffering is itself violent then I'm glad you've never been on the wrong end of someone expressing indifference to the death of the incarcerated, drug-users, gay people, trans people, any given ethnicity in a time of crisis, the list goes on.
also this response to one of the people you're arguing with is just wild. you know what they say about assuming.
posted by i used to be someone else at 5:35 PM on June 20, 2023 [15 favorites]


How much difference is there between Anne Frank and the devastation being played out upon rural US regarding current commercial viability and hoping to survive?

This statement is so stupidly antisemitic that it makes me not so sad that hippybear is threatening to button.
posted by rikschell at 5:35 PM on June 20, 2023 [30 favorites]


Making a declaration about how much one hates the rich is practically a daily act of faith among many Mefites. I'm not surprised when people popped up and actually confirmed that, gee, they they hate the rich, in that thread. I dislike it both ways, as I take hate pretty seriously, but it's been a common trait of Metafilter in all the years I've been here, and despite my dislike, I roll my eyes and tolerate it. *shrug*

And, yeah, the "genocidal" is a bit much.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:36 PM on June 20, 2023 [6 favorites]


Offhand, I can think of at least ten people I wish were dead, and I'm not going to apologize for it. Not the least because they deserve it and we'd collectively be better off without them.

Wishing is not violence, shouldn't be compared to violence, and — to pick a particularly salient example — I'd be thrilled if the fucking transphobes confined their genuinely genocidal beliefs to mere wishes.

But let's talk about this post.

That someone could be as morally obtuse as to equivocate schadenfreude expressed in response to the bad fortune of a few selfish assholes — who are at this very moment, through their choices, diverting more resources to themselves than any ten-thousand homeless people will receive this entire year — with genocide is so obscene as to itself warrant its own MetaTalk thread.

A MetaTalk post saying we shouldn't be so vicious? Sure, that's worth emphasizing. But this MeTa post was not that. This post and the poster's comments in defense of it reads like a New York Times op-ed by David Brooks, without the smarmy facade of gentility — for which I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies.

‘We shouldn't judge people based on their socioeconomic status’ means, to most people, that we shouldn't judge people on their low socioeconomic status because most of us understand that those with the highest socioeconomic status ought to be judged, they ought to be held to the harshest possible scrutiny, because they have the power.

It seems that this distinction is lost on some people here, which frankly surprises and disappoints me. The rural poor have little power; around 30% of rural black and indigenous people in the US are very poor. When one group is the rural poor and the other are the filthy rich, it is absolutely outrageous that someone would equivocate negative sentiments expressed about each.

And, by the way, I've known a fair number of extremely wealthy people, including billionaires. They don't need anyone to come to their defense.

[I wanted to fit into this a reference to Bruce Cockburn, If I had a rocket-launcher... with regard to wishing harm on people, but I'll just leave it as a PS.]
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:44 PM on June 20, 2023 [105 favorites]


I already regret reading both this thread and the threads that inspired it, and I'm not sure why I am responding, but since I'm here, a few disparate thoughts:

1. There is a difference between comments espousing violence and comments expressing apathy toward human suffering. Similarly, there is a difference between the kind of apathy that leads one to see a thread, shrug, and press the back button without comment and the apathy that apparently leads one to click on a topic about which one has no interest, read the thread in its uninteresting entirety and then take the time to type out a comment or comments publicly communicating their lack of interest to a community of people, some of whom have made clear that they find these professions of apathy somewhere between distracting and distressing. Surely an inherent quality of intense apathy is that it does not cry out to be shared?

2. Without speaking for everyone who does find such comments distressing, I will posit that the distress has little to do with their effect on the very rich and more to do with their effect on others in this community who are reading them.

3. This discussion has understandably hinged more on the recent submersible thread, but the rural poverty one contained what I found to be some really painfully cruel sentiments (although yes, thankfully, these were minority views).

4. The Anne Frank comparison is facile, nonsensical, trivializing and deeply offensive, and really merits a retraction.

5. This site should, in my opinion, stop sponsoring arguments. Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the discussion forum.
posted by eponym at 5:52 PM on June 20, 2023 [13 favorites]


I've been enjoying the thread about the submersible. It's one of those stories that is horrifying and fascinating at the same time. The comments gloating about rich people dying are/were very ugly and make me less comfortable to participate here.

I dunno. I have a hard time hating rich people in general or thinking it's funny when tragic things happen to them just because they spent their money on something that wasn't such a good idea. I think, if given the opportunity, the majority of humans would gladly choose to be very rich, and they would definitely want to stay very rich once they became rich. And if they were that rich, most of them would blow at least some of that money on bullshit.

People of all income levels choose to take part in really risky behaviors that can easily end in death if something goes wrong. Unless these people are actively doing something to actively harm someone else, they're just people being people.

We are all of course free to think whatever we want. If you want billionaires to die a horrible death, no one's going to stop you from thinking that. But that doesn't mean it's okay to post it here.
posted by wondermouse at 5:54 PM on June 20, 2023 [14 favorites]


I think there should be no billionaires, but I think the way to get there is taxation. I think it is gross to imply that anyone might deserve to be trapped in a submarine for four days as they run out of oxygen and die. In an age when Branson and Bezos are going up in their own rockets, I think there could be some interesting discussion around the risk-taking of the ultra-rich. Were mega-tycoons doing this in previous eras? Shouldn’t the very rich have people around them who are smart enough to tell them not to do this stuff?
posted by snofoam at 5:55 PM on June 20, 2023 [10 favorites]


OK, fine, let's treat "genocidal" as a poor choice of words and not a useful framing. I don't think my anti-billionaire bona fides need any restating here, I'm not often accused of having excessive empathy for anyone, and I was still taken aback by the nastiness of some of the comments in that thread. These people might have been doing something reckless, but they weren't doing something evil. I would be very happy to see enough of their assets redistributed to make them millionaires at best (we can draw the exact line elsewhere) and I certainly would not have a problem with a hypothetical obituary post about Hamish Harding (*) going into any awful things he did to make his money, including expressions of emotion from any people he actually harmed, but I still wouldn't make a point of expressing my indifference to seeing them killed in a simple car crash, even if it was a Maybach or whatever they were in. They're still human beings.

This wasn't known from the start, for whatever it's worth.

Since no one knew from the start who was on the sub--and it could have very easily included staff just doing a job, a sponsored artist (as go on Antarctic expeditions), or, as it turns out, someone's kid--that would in itself have argued for not being a glib asshole about these people likely dying or about to die horrible deaths. As someone who sometimes says harsh things, I would consider that the kind of basic care you need to be prepared to exercise if you want to be someone who sometimes says harsh things.

(*) Since no one here knew who Harding was before this, I don't think we need to pretend that this was some kind of necessary release of pressure for people he'd tormented for years. He's not Pat Robertson and not Henry Kissinger.
posted by praemunire at 5:55 PM on June 20, 2023 [15 favorites]


People of all income levels choose to take part in really risky behaviors that can easily end in death if something goes wrong. Unless these people are actively doing something to actively harm someone else, they're just people being people.

At the absolute very least, they actively harmed the 19 year old who, age of majority aside, is scientifically too young and incapable of making the kind of informed risk decisions that should be a part of going to the bottom of the ocean in an experimental submarine.
posted by phunniemee at 6:01 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


Since no one knew from the start who was on the sub

One of the people on the trip to the Titanic on this sub with David Pogue was the daughter of a Mexican dive instructor who was so obsessed with the Titanic she almost went into marine biology, but was discouraged by sexism and ended up working in banking and saving for decades to go see it. That trip could have ended in tragedy just as easily.
posted by snofoam at 6:02 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's realistic for people to shut down how they feel about this kind of adventure-tourism to a mass casualty site.

By the way, I think the idea that this was some kind of major motivation for the comments is a retcon, but, if that's the case, I look forward to the severe condemnation of every tourist who takes a selfie at Ground Zero. I really don't like the quest to find some high-minded justification to fit onto very low-minded comments.
posted by praemunire at 6:03 PM on June 20, 2023 [13 favorites]


Won't somebody please think of the billionaires.

Exactly. If the plan is to drum up sympathy for the billionaires with weird comparisons to Anne Frank, the incarcerated, or any number of other actually oppressed people, I have to say it isn't working.


The sympathy I'm looking for is for other humans first until you actually know anything useful about them other than they were passengers on an expensive trip. I haven't absorbed the other thread.

The examples I provided are personal, mine, where indifference to suffering is very few steps removed from actively supporting it. I don't think I know any billionaires but I know a lot of humans, and if I only had some news articles and circumstantial information I would probably stop way short of blaming the victim of tragedy. Because that's literally all we know for sure about these folks at this point.

Why do you need the distinction to be erased, to be meaningless?

Yes, that is clearly what I've argued for. At no point have I suggested it is a difference of degree rather than kind and hoped to appeal to any better angels that maybe we don't all have the same barometer of degree, so let's try to avoid wishes that - to you - might be a matter of kind (wishing isn't doing) and to me might be a matter of degree (indifference is on the wrong side of the spectrum toward actively supporting).

The sentiment I'm hearing is "I don't have time for all that," but weirdly there's still time to actively jump in and defend why you shouldn't have time for all that with the other higher priority threats. I agree! So why bother with these lower priority threats at all?

also this response to one of the people you're arguing with is just wild. you know what they say about assuming.

I'm not bothering to defend this. Go check post histories if you think I'm ignorant here. I'm also threading a needle of not assuming anything based on identity while still representing my own experience and reactions. Assumptions indeed.
posted by abulafa at 6:03 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


Yes, hi, queer disabled person of Jewish descent here. I could do without some of the glee over the sub situation and some of the ongoing weird opinions about rural life around here. I am much more disturbed by a) the Anne Frank comparison and b) the notion that someone who sees a clear and salient difference between indifference and violence must never have experienced oppression.

There's a real discussion worth having about how Metafilter thinks about and talks about people who are not Just Like Us. This thread isn't doing that discussion any favors.
posted by Stacey at 6:03 PM on June 20, 2023 [41 favorites]


someone who sees a clear and salient difference between indifference and violence must never have experienced oppression

This is not only uncharitable it is false - how do you get "must never have experienced" from "consider a time I'm relating where I experienced this, perhaps we have this in common".
posted by abulafa at 6:08 PM on June 20, 2023


At the absolute very least, they actively harmed the 19 year old

Except for the young man's father, did the other trip participants somehow cause or permit the kid to go?

If one wants to argue that the CEO dying along with the people who he helped put in harm's way with his (assumed) negligence is a grim form of rough justice...maybe, though still not one to be celebrated. But no one knew the CEO was on there at the time of the initial comments, so that does not work as some kind of defense of the comments.

I fully understand why people are rejecting the "genocide" framing and I don't think it's appropriate, either, but some of the defenses here just read like people don't want to admit they went out of pocket and so are doubling down, and it's a very strange position to be motivated to double down on.
posted by praemunire at 6:09 PM on June 20, 2023 [9 favorites]


I would probably stop way short of blaming the victim of tragedy. Because that's literally all we know for sure about these folks at this point.

I feel like I just keep repeating this and repeating this but one of the victims of this tragedy is in fact arguably the person most responsible for creating the circumstances of this tragedy, who is on record scoffing at safety procedures, who endangered not only his own life but the lives of others, and has charged people an exorbitant fee for the privilege to do so.
posted by phunniemee at 6:10 PM on June 20, 2023 [31 favorites]


At the absolute very least, they actively harmed the 19 year old who, age of majority aside, is scientifically too young and incapable of making the kind of informed risk decisions that should be a part of going to the bottom of the ocean in an experimental submarine.

I don't think harming the 19 year old was anyone's intent. At any rate, if I'm going to blame anyone for what happened there, it's going to be the company responsible for running these tours, for deciding they're somehow above generally accepted safety standards and protocols and not properly testing their vehicles. I would not blame any of the passengers who do not run the company.
posted by wondermouse at 6:12 PM on June 20, 2023


bloodlust for rich people

Open hatred of wealthy people has been a notable aspect of Metafilter since at least 2006 and probably for the whole history of the site.

For part of the Metafilter demographic possession of wealth inspires immediate, indiscriminate, and apparently visceral nastiness. I don’t think there is much hope of changing that situation.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:13 PM on June 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


Yes, that is clearly what I've argued for.

I mean, yes? You've consistently referred to indifference as "wishing death" on people, many times, including pointedly in response to people suggesting that that conflation is a factually inaccurate representation of the comments under discussion.

You literally haven't suggested that it is a matter of degree until your most recent comment. You've insisted that they are the same.

The sentiment I'm hearing is "I don't have time for all that," but weirdly there's still time to actively jump in and defend why you shouldn't have time for all that with the other higher priority threats.

You might be mishearing, then. I don't recall saying I don't have time for anything. I'm saying that two different things are in fact different, even if you think they're equally bad.

This is not only uncharitable it is false - how do you get "must never have experienced" from "consider a time I'm relating where I experienced this, perhaps we have this in common".

They might have gotten it from this:

If you can't see how indifference to suffering is itself violent then I'm glad you've never been on the wrong end of someone expressing indifference to the death of the incarcerated, drug-users, gay people, trans people, any given ethnicity in a time of crisis, the list goes on.

You know, the bit where you literally say that it must be because of my background being one of pure privilege.

You are fully trying to retcon your own words here.
posted by Dysk at 6:13 PM on June 20, 2023 [31 favorites]


There is a difference between actively wishing someone dead and expressing disgust, or at least a distinct lack of sympathy, when they are callous with their own life and safety and those of others.

My own example is an in-law of mine who perished in an ATV accident some years back, rednecking around in a woods at three in the morning and sustaning fatal injuries in an unexpected fall. Do I regret his passing? Do I empathize with the toll that it took on his family and friends? Of course I did, and do to this day. But when it happened, and to a large extent even now, my thought process towards him is a simple one: You goddamned IDIOT. Because he had a wife and kids and a business he ran and friends and extended family and he apparently didn't consider any of those when he decided that wee-hours thrillseeking was a good idea.

There are millions of wonders on this blue ball, places to go, people to meet, inspiring sights to see that do not involve actively putting your own life in extreme danger. If you're going to such places for scientific purposes, to learn important things, to seek out new discoveries that might benefit humanity, fine! That's an arguably justifiable reason to go. To go into harm's way knowingly for the sake of sightseeing? That's a callous waste when something goes wrong, and the environment dictates that something will go wrong eventually, and people's lives will end up at risk trying to get you out of there, or at least to recover what's left.

That's not "ha-ha, you're rich and you're dead." That's anger at the many, many levels of senseless waste.

If that makes me a ghoul, I'm fine with that. I'll practice my paralyzing touch that doesn't affect elves around town. I am tactful enough to save my own dark humor and orca jokes for Twitter, where such kindred lurk in numbers, as I am capable of reading the room.
posted by delfin at 6:16 PM on June 20, 2023 [39 favorites]


abulafa, with all due respect: reading your comments and replies to other posters, it’s clear that you’re not communicating as clearly as you believe you are.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 6:18 PM on June 20, 2023 [19 favorites]


i'm going to assume that this is glib and not, say, a subtle implication that a group of non-white people are plotting on who's allowed to be hated

It’s really a comment about how, once the Steering Committee was determined to be probably illegal, the SC’s duties were just dumped on the BIPOC Board, which seems… not great, from a racial justice perspective. I would’ve preferred to make the comment in the BIPOC Board minutes thread, but it was closed to comments because yay community governance.

But if someone is going to make such a list, I do believe the BIPOC Board would probably do a fairer job than most of the alternatives.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:20 PM on June 20, 2023 [8 favorites]


By the way, I think the idea that this was some kind of major motivation for the comments is a retcon, but, if that's the case, I look forward to the severe condemnation of every tourist who takes a selfie at Ground Zero. I really don't like the quest to find some high-minded justification to fit onto very low-minded comments.
posted by praemunire at 6:03 PM on June 20


It's nice to know that your interpretation is the sole one that people are allowed to have. My reaction to the thread--and I was essentially reading it "live" as it was being posted--was that people did react exactly to that point and said as much point blank. The word ghoulish, I believe, was used in reference to the death and tragedy tourism and I know I handed out a couple of favourites in support of that position, as it happens to be mine.

I have no idea what "ground zero" you're referencing, although I suspect the 9/11 one, but yes, my feelings would be the same for any accident death site. I mean we had a bus crash recently in Canada that killed a bunch of seniors going to the casino. If people deliberately trekked out to that site and took pictures where those people died for the sake of saying "look, I went to the crash site," then yes, I'd call them ghoulish as well. The difference between doing something like that (which is what the people in the sub did) and people going to One World Trade Center (or whatever it's actually called)--a thing that actually exists to welcome in people and that was rebuilt to honour the lives lost and that serves as place of commerce and taking pictures there is entirely different, at least from my point of view. But, then again, apparently my point of view doesn't matter as it's simply "retcon."
posted by sardonyx at 6:22 PM on June 20, 2023 [6 favorites]


You are fully trying to retcon your own words here.

Read literally two sentences later in that comment - the audience is the whole thread, the aside attempts to acknowledge fully that you individually are probably quite familiar with that situation. It's true, perhaps I'm not communicating as well as I hope, but it's not coming from a place of ignorance.

Shrug. Others are doing a better job here than I am.
posted by abulafa at 6:26 PM on June 20, 2023


It's true, perhaps I'm not communicating as well as I hope, but it's not coming from a place of ignorance.

It’s almost like there’s no way you’d know, with that attitude.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 6:29 PM on June 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


Read literally two sentences later in that comment

Yeah, two sentences after you've said that I haven't experienced something, no ifs.

(And I've explained how it felt to realise that, and I don't think I felt the way you assume I obviously must have done. I was annoyed, but not scared or experiencing it as anything remotely akin to violence. Violence hurts, physically.)
posted by Dysk at 6:31 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


The two threads chosen for this MeTa are a bit weird. The mistreatment of girls in rural America thread started off very compassionate, then a fairly few participants dropped eugenics/economics bombs and got a lot of pushback. While I think the thread overall was sympathetic to small downs (although fighty enough that it’s hard to parse), the real casualty was the original article’s focus on girls and young women. When people are grandstanding on whether rural communities should be allowed to exist, those communities’ impact on specific members get obliterated.

The submersible thread, on the other hand, suffered more from what might be called an “advanced knowledge” problem. Some members were able to bring quite a bit of knowledge to the thread, but the basic-level commenters had nothing to grab ahold of beyond “why were they there?” Which I think led to a more ghoulish version of “who cares about this band anyway?” Which is bad site manners and definitely lacking in empathy, but not quite the utter derail in the first thread. There was some pushback, and the mods trimmed it, but it’s stuck to the topic.

Anyway, I think the two threads aren’t good examples of a MF trend, except the tendency to gleeful and hyperbolic vituperation, which I agree we could use less of. A friend and I coined the term “favorites hangover,” where you make a quick nasty poke at something in a comment and come back later to find that it’s attracted more attention than a dozen thoughtful and knowledgeable comments, which is dampening, at the least.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:33 PM on June 20, 2023 [20 favorites]


One big difference between young women in rural America and people in a deep-sea sub is that, by and large, the young women in question have little to no input as to why they are there and subject to such terrors in life.

I will not dive deeply here into the red/blue rural/urban dehumanization and tribalism that caused so many of our political threads to get axed, and in fact political threads in general here to get axed because of the burden on the mods. But I will say that many of us have been consistent over the years in saying that there are no bad states, bad counties, bad regions; there are plenty of good people everywhere who are often badly outnumbered where they are, and who still deem those places worth fighting for.
posted by delfin at 6:40 PM on June 20, 2023 [26 favorites]


If this Meta post was framed as "Wasn't it a bit gross how a few people in that submarine thread were acting callous?" then there would have been 50 replies along the lines of "Yeah, a few people were. Glad the mods took care of it." but instead we got "ITS CLASS GENOCIDE" from the jump and a screaming match was all but guaranteed.
posted by gwint at 6:47 PM on June 20, 2023 [69 favorites]


We have these conversations over and over about what kinds of comments should and shouldn't be allowed on MetaFilter. Every time, people say they're reconsidering whether they want to be here. Some loudly leave. Do we have a community code of conduct anywhere? Do we have rules? If we don't, why not? Why don't we just collectively come to an agreement about what kind of discourse is acceptable here, make the results easily accessible to everyone, and then point to that? And if we do have it, and moderators get rid of comments that don't fit the community guidelines, then why do we keep having this conversation over and over?
posted by cosmic owl at 6:49 PM on June 20, 2023 [4 favorites]


The thing is, the whole derail that the mods has to prune back wasn’t the fact that some commenters were being callous, it’s that other commenters were calling out the “callous” commenters and instigating a back and forth that never should have been in the thread. “Flag it and move on” and “take it to meta” are the two legit options that were available, but some commenters couldn’t help themselves from chastising others for “violent” behavior.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 6:53 PM on June 20, 2023 [26 favorites]


It's nice to know that your interpretation is the sole one that people are allowed to have.

I did not say that. I expressed my own interpretation, as someone else reading that thread off and on while all the deleted comments were being made. I did not say that all other interpretations were invalid, and I'm not sure how you get from there to here.

The difference between doing something like that (which is what the people in the sub did) and people going to One World Trade Center (or whatever it's actually called)--a thing that actually exists to welcome in people and that was rebuilt to honour the lives lost and that serves as place of commerce and taking pictures there is entirely different, at least from my point of view.

They are both mass casualty sites. It is not possible to rebuild the Titanic as a memorial site. I am not sure how you are privy to the emotions and motivations of those who do visit the Titanic or those visiting the Ground Zero site, but I do not think you can declare with confidence that people spending $250K to visit the Titanic are not interested in the historical record or have no wish to memorialize the dead--especially with the confidence needed to morally condemn the likely-dead--any more than you can be confident that tourists going to Ground Zero aren't just "doing the site" the way people also "do" Pompeii. (If there was unexpected volcanic activity that killed visitors to Pompeii, should they too be condemned for visiting a mass casualty site? This is why it is such a bad idea to try to back a supposedly previously-held principle out of an emotional reaction.)

This is my opinion. I would gently urge you to attempt to understand that my disagreeing with you does not mean I am setting up as the arbiter of all that is right and true, even just with respect to that thread.
posted by praemunire at 6:54 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


e have these conversations over and over about what kinds of comments should and shouldn't be allowed on MetaFilter.

Because we don't have rules, we have guidelines, and sometimes the way they are enforced seems inscrutable and capricious. Like, "don't be mean guys" from the mods in the thread when Thatcher died, but no such sentiment in the Pat Robertson thread. Actively wishing for the deaths of thousands to millions is apparently okay in some climate change threads, but being interested in the sub rather than how the predicament of its occupants, apparently bad. The wild inconsistency makes it impossible to judge what will be a problem, where, and when.


I am not sure how you are privy to the emotions and motivations of those who do visit the Titanic

In this particular case, because they spoke about it publicly, speaking about it largely as fun trip or adventure, or advertised it as a tourism business where they were so excited they were making special playlists for it, or own the title to the salvage and said they were interested in scoping valuables to take back. I think that covers everyone on board, assuming Shahzada Dawood was speaking for Suleman as well.
posted by Dysk at 7:02 PM on June 20, 2023 [16 favorites]


If there was unexpected volcanic activity that killed visitors to Pompeii, should they too be condemned for visiting a mass casualty site?

Speaking as someone who worked as a sexton for a while, and whose aversion to gravesite tourism is rooted in experience working in graveyards, and assisting with funerals: yes, depending on how that is approached, I potentially find it quite distasteful as well.
posted by Dysk at 7:05 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


Actively wishing for the deaths of thousands to millions is apparently okay in some climate change threads,

Literally never seen this, and I read most climate threads.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:06 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


In which threads were people dumping on rural Americans? And were the comments allowed to stand?
posted by Tehhund at 7:09 PM on June 20, 2023


I swear, I look away from the site for a full day, and this happens. hippybear, you’ve got guts. I’ve pondered posting something like this for a while but not done so because I expected it to be an ugly, terrible thread, and here we are!

To offer a little more fuel to the fire—

I’ve flagged various comments over the last several months that advocated murdering generally-more-monied-than-not people (groups; named persons; sometimes the 1%) because I felt and feel they are not merely inappropriate and/or inhumane, but actually violate site guidelines. Maybe also illegal in the bargain, but I assume The Authorities have bigger fish to fry than this, and people personally threatened by this can act as they see fit.

Fun fact: not a one of those comments was deleted! I didn’t keep notes or whatever, as I figure this is my sharing my opinion with mods, and they should act as they see fit, and I assume no deletion days after I stopped reading the thread. The other day I contemplated flagging the comment where a site member (whose comments I regularly appreciate) advocated for the murder of people holding a particular academic degree… and then I just shrugged. Because it didn’t do anything before, and I think saying “hey, you shouldn’t advocate killing people” is probably not likely to work. Dunno, maybe I should try sometime.

I thought and think it’s shitty that MetaFilter is OK with selectively advocating murder of groups of people. It’s a different ugly than “kill all the [minoritized group]” stuff on sites elsewhere? But it’s still shitty. Does the murder that site members are allowed to advocate map to class identity? Often, but (see this whole thread) not always. This is a discussion forum, not the local insurgent squad training platform or whatever, so, you know, it’s talk and not actual murder—but it still sucks.

The submersible stuff — lots of talk here specific to the act, situation, etc., so I’ll give it a miss. I do think this is a problem so large, it’s probably a fact of the culture. I’d like to see it change, tho.
posted by cupcakeninja at 7:14 PM on June 20, 2023 [14 favorites]


I don't have strong feelings about the exact details of the Titanic thread but as a casual reader with some interest in the subjects (specifically the history of the Titanic and undersea and submersible tech/safety), I was also strongly put off by the vibe of some of the now-deleted posts. I probably wouldn't comment here about it, but I do feel like the Blue has been grar-heavy of late. Also the grar is sometimes only tangentially related to the nominal subject of the post.

Specifically, that was how I felt on the Talarico thread that devolved into arguments about Christian theology that didn't really seem to have anything to do with Talarico. But that's just one that I noticed particularly because I was interested in the subject. I notice myself removing threads from my activity because they're angry more of the time now and they make me angry too (e.g., the Alamo thread where I should have removed before I said the last thing I said).

I accept righteous anger has its place and sometimes that is here on Metafilter. At the same time, grar is not Best of the Web.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 7:20 PM on June 20, 2023 [11 favorites]


cupcakeninja, could you share a link to one of the comments that you flagged? I honestly can’t recall ever seeing a comment on this site that called for the murder of a person or group and was so extreme as to be potentially illegal (but wasn’t deleted), and it’s hard for me to consider what should be done about these kinds of threats without knowing what you’re actually talking about.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 7:24 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


I don't recall anyone laughing about this at all though, and I was reading from the start.


I think posting a link to This video called "Dumb Ways to Die" counts as laughing.

I was there watching the thread in real time and that was there and other tasteless comments were there. Something like 50 comments disappeared when the moderator woke up and got to work.

I already posted in the other Metatalk thread that "Basic Human Compassion" is something MeFi could learn from Reddit, and that's kind of like being in a situation where you could learn something about epidemiology from Donald Trump. I really feel like it's becoming increasingly toxic here.
posted by mmoncur at 7:52 PM on June 20, 2023 [7 favorites]


> nothing anyone has written here is illegal but many of the authorities would probably like to break some legs over it anyway, so thanks for bringing that into this discussion and community where there are people who are members of communities that are routinely brutalized by the police.

> i mean, i'm not super enthused about the bipoc board given how glacial it's moved, but i'm going to assume that this is glib and not, say, a subtle implication that a group of non-white people are plotting on who's allowed to be hated. which, you know, is basically the paranoid delusion of every single white nationalist out there.

> If you think comments on this website that bother you and make you upset/sad are "violence" do you think the people involved should be arrested? Charged? Looked at hard by the police? Maybe the FBI? Because that's what using the word "violence" implies. Genocide too, so maybe the US military should be involved all because people are offending your sensibilities.

Hyperbolic comments like this make discussion really, really impossible around here. I realize the phrasing of this MeTa was also hyperbolic, which I also think is a problem, but is there some way we can better support people choosing to take the rhetorical heat down, rather than inflaming things?

I have said in other threads that MetaFilter needs to get better at conflict. Taking a breath and choosing to interpret each other's comments as if they're not advocating police brutality, White nationalism, and a police state is something we can all choose to do, regardless of the provocation.
posted by lapis at 7:54 PM on June 20, 2023 [15 favorites]


If the subject of billionaire genocide hasn't been hashed out in 180 replies, it never will be, so I suggest that we pivot to whether the submariners accepted Christ before they died and if not, whether they're in hell. It would be just as fruitful and we could learn all about each others' theological inclinations, in a friendly manner no doubt.
posted by kingdead at 8:02 PM on June 20, 2023 [7 favorites]


Rock 'em Sock 'em wrote: "I guess once people stopped being able to exercise their aggression-masquerading-as-victimhood on issues of race (among other things) they had to find something to be fragile about"

Uhh, I was with you earlier in this thread, despite your being a bunch more aggressive than I'd ever be, but unless I'm misreading this bit, I'd say you're not helping.
posted by nobody at 8:04 PM on June 20, 2023 [7 favorites]


the whole derail that the mods has to prune back wasn’t the fact that some commenters were being callous, it’s that other commenters were calling out the “callous” commenters and instigating a back and forth that never should have been in the thread.

I used the word "callous" first, and that comment has now been deleted so I can't point to it.

I also said I was leaving the thread and I closed the tab.

I also couldn't get what I had read out of my mind which is why I posted this MeTa.

I close so many MeFi threads out of disgust or exasperation that nobody knows about because I never announce I'm leaving. I did in that thread. I have no idea what transpired between my leaving and my posting a link to this MeTa because I have not read any more of that thread.

I'm curious which moderator approved this MetaTalk thread, because it happened REALLY quickly and I've done other things that have taken weeks. Maybe this is a conversation the mod team wants us to have.

I have no idea. I am tired of the ugliness I see here, and apparently others like it. Okay, I will learn to cope, I guess. Or not. We'll see.
posted by hippybear at 8:05 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


Last week the Greek coast guard let hundreds of migrants drown because they tried to escape the crushing poverty that is required to maintain the existence of billionaires.

This week the US coast guard is moving heaven and earth to try to rescue billionaires who did something incredibly risky and stupid because they wanted to gawk at a mass grave.

Expecting everyone to have empathy for the billionaires is a big ask.
posted by zymil at 8:05 PM on June 20, 2023 [87 favorites]


Right now, there are very wealthy heads of fossil fuel companies who are taking actions that will result in the deaths of millions of people who would not have to die if those actions are not taken.

And those wealthy people are doing everything they know how to do to stop the people who are pointing out the inevitability of these coming deaths unless we reduce fossil fuel use, which will not incidentally be the greatest genocides in human history, from gaining the influence over governments which might lead to curbs on fossil fuel extraction and use which have the potential to save millions of primarily black and brown lives.

Do those wealthy people deserve to die?

Well, they sure as hell deserve to die more than the people their actions will kill.
posted by jamjam at 8:06 PM on June 20, 2023 [23 favorites]


not just everyday big moggies, I didn't link to anything in my comment because after I flagged and moved on, I wanted to let go of the specifics. Please trust that I'm not making it up. I am not a lawyer, nor a law enforcement officer, but were I a person someone on this site had said they thought should be murdered, I might construe "Joe Smith is an asshat and should be killed" as a threat. God knows, people have historically been treated all sorts of ways for making such comments. I do think we should be able to debate and criticize, but I think "kill Joe Smith" is a horse of a different color. Someone in the 1% or 3% or whatever feeling threatened or aggrieved by more general "kill the rich" stuff seems more inchoate, if not good.

Do you (or does anyone hear) feel otherwise? Or wish to speak for value that they think it adds to the site?

Rock 'em Sock 'em, your comment here is likewise thoughtful community building stuff. Police violence exists whether you or I mention it, and I think your comments are barely a shade different from the "smug moral superiority" you describe above. I think it's nonsense to talk about mentioning the law being anti-community when the community we're in and talking about is discussing the ups and downs of killing people and talking about killing people, or more generally wishing for their death. It's great that you, or I, or whoever don't feel personally threatened, but that doesn't mean that this thread isn't about some truly gross behavior here.

(That said, Rock 'em Sock 'em, your comment about calling not-actually-violence things "violence" is interesting! I'm not a historian of genocide, but my recent interactions with people describing not-actually-violence stuff as violence has been uniformly with friends or colleagues who self-describe as leftists and who would uniformly oppose genocide. If this is a thing on the right, I've been lucky enough not to encounter it.)
posted by cupcakeninja at 8:07 PM on June 20, 2023


(Could you clarify what you were getting at, precisely? Maybe I'm misreading it.)
posted by nobody at 8:11 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


If the subject of billionaire genocide hasn't been hashed out in 180 replies, it never will be, so I suggest that we pivot to whether the submariners accepted Christ before they died and if not, whether they're in hell. It would be just as fruitful and we could learn all about each others' theological inclinations, in a friendly manner no doubt.

I am hearing that, before the worst would have happened, all members of the expedition received the light of Islam and unhesitatingly recited the shahada.
posted by grobstein at 8:17 PM on June 20, 2023 [8 favorites]


Calling comments potentially illegal is the closest thing to violence this thread has gotten to.

Please help me out here: do you have alternative suggestions for how to think about "Joe Smith should be killed" or "the wealthy should all be shot" or things along these lines? You seem pretty angry to me, in view of this being a thread discussing a spectrum of murdery-type-stuff ranging from passively wishing for others' deaths to calling for them.
posted by cupcakeninja at 8:18 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


Calling comments potentially illegal is the closest thing to violence this thread has gotten to.

I'm entirely unclear about EU regulations. Or is MetaFilter blocked there?
posted by hippybear at 8:19 PM on June 20, 2023


I'm not a historian of genocide, but my recent interactions with people describing not-actually-violence stuff as violence has been uniformly with friends or colleagues who self-describe as leftists and who would uniformly oppose genocide. If this is a thing on the right, I've been lucky enough not to encounter it.

It's been a favoured tactic of UK TERFs for a good long while, at least.
posted by Dysk at 8:20 PM on June 20, 2023 [14 favorites]


The people making comments have been directly harmed by billionaires. I’m not exaggerating. The billionaire class has changed and worsened the way we obtain housing, receive news, elect officials, get (or don’t get) medical care, breathe air, and eat food. Billionaires are hurting us. I think our outrage and even a little malicious glee are pretty understandable under the circumstances. These are people with unfathomable power. One of them, just one, may be bearing bc the consequences of his actions for once rather than forcing the rest of us to do so. They would not - and indeed do not - grant us the same consideration when we are endangered.

I’m here rarely and I comment even more rarely. Sometimes, when I do stop by, I do not read threads because I suspect I will find the comments distasteful. I invite you to do the same. You can follow the sub news on literally other website right now.
posted by a hat out of hell at 8:21 PM on June 20, 2023 [52 favorites]


This whole question of billionaires will be much less salient once we kill all men.
So Saturday, at the latest.
posted by tigrrrlily at 8:32 PM on June 20, 2023 [30 favorites]


Please help me out here: do you have alternative suggestions for how to think about "Joe Smith should be killed" or "the wealthy should all be shot" or things along these lines?

As obvious hyperbole? Idle wish-casting? Justified expressions of anger? Are you seriously operating under the belief that a bunch of middle-class, middle-aged office workers on the internet's most old-fashioned website are gonna start murdering rich people? We're gonna lead the revolution?

I think Henry Kissinger should be killed. I will not be killing Henry Kissinger.
posted by Mavri at 8:33 PM on June 20, 2023 [23 favorites]


This whole question of billionaires will be much less salient once we kill all men.
So Saturday, at the latest.


I'm a man and I approve of this joke.
Because it's funny.
posted by philip-random at 8:33 PM on June 20, 2023 [19 favorites]


This whole question of billionaires will be much less salient once we kill all men.
So Saturday, at the latest.


I propose a deadline of midnight.

(Full disclosure, I played bass on that record, so it's kind of a self-link.)
posted by Dysk at 8:40 PM on June 20, 2023 [7 favorites]


If you want to search my comments I've brought this dynamic up a ton of times in threads about race because it has been a persistent problem here.

Ah, got you. Out of context here, it's possible to read your earlier phrasing as the direct opposite of what I now think you intended. Apologies!
posted by nobody at 8:40 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


I don't think it's a big whatever; that was an attempt to avoid elevating my own blood pressure before bedtime (speaking of which, headed there shortly). I think this stuff is potentially a real problem. MetaFilter is great for many reasons, but that does not include robust staffing or super-deep pockets for a legal defense fund, or fund for site members who talk shit and then run into trouble with the idle wealthy who have large legal teams and/or many LEO buds. Yes, I do also tend to think the death wish/threat stuff is reprehensible and not OK more broadly, and seeing that shit makes me enjoy the site less, but I hope I'm honest enough with myself to mean what I'm typing here, and not being a performatively aggrieved jerk.

(To be clear, this isn't to say I haven't had my share of dark laughs at "'I never thought leopards would eat MY face,' sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party" moments, or other hubris-laden situations.)
posted by cupcakeninja at 8:43 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


And if we do have it, and moderators get rid of comments that don't fit the community guidelines, then why do we keep having this conversation over and over?

Members come and go, or change their minds, and the Community Guidelines need to represent the current community. Constantly reviewing the guidelines and how they are interpreted is a necessary part of having a working community.

"People who respect the law or love sausages should not watch either being made." MetaTalk is a meat grinder that churns out community guidelines and the frustrating and sometimes revolting ugliness of the process comes with the package.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:44 PM on June 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


And if we do have it, and moderators get rid of comments that don't fit the community guidelines, then why do we keep having this conversation over and over?

I'd actually propose we'd be a better community if we weren't making comments that required moderator intervention, and maybe we're good enough people to know if we are and since we barely have a mod staff these days we shouldn't be making more work for them. Find our better angels, so to speak.
posted by hippybear at 8:53 PM on June 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


It was your better angel that chose your title wording then
posted by phunniemee at 9:02 PM on June 20, 2023 [32 favorites]


I’ve always wondered how many of the people on this site who have such definitive perspectives on what rural people are and want and think have themselves ever been to a rural area.
posted by oywiththepoodles at 9:09 PM on June 20, 2023 [7 favorites]


1. Basically the premise of this MetaTalk doesn't even make sense because if you understand what the term genocide actually means there is no such thing as genocide against billionaires. And you are making a folly of actual genocides and genocide victims.
2. I see a reprise of tone-policing a member on how they present their point of view. So basically MetaFilter is back to respectability politics now? "We can only hear what you are saying if you say it without what I consider hyperbole from my different experiences than you. And gosh why do you sound so angry? Let's discuss calmy" 😬
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 9:45 PM on June 20, 2023 [37 favorites]


Seeing someone in crisis and shouting "I'M INDIFFERENT TO YOUR SUFFERING PLEASE GO AWAY FROM ME"

Sometimes this is just necessary boundaries, especially if they're related to you.

I'm only half-joking.
posted by thivaia at 9:45 PM on June 20, 2023 [5 favorites]


First 20 comments are like no one on Metafilter is saying they want people to die.

Last 20 comments are like well actually I’m on Metafilter and I do want these groups of people to die and also these specific individuals.

So it goes.
posted by lumpy at 9:47 PM on June 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


and then there's all those Nazis we're supposed to be punching
posted by philip-random at 9:52 PM on June 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


"I guess we were all guilty, in a way. We all shot him, we all skinned him, and
we all got a complimentary bumper sticker that said, "I helped skin Bob."

-Jack Handy.
posted by clavdivs at 10:00 PM on June 20, 2023 [8 favorites]


Another reason why this is a big argument here, as well as on Twitter today, is because many of us are absolutely sick to death of the equivocations that obscure power differentials and, for example, invite white people to claim they suffer from racism, men from sexism, and the powerful from censorship — while centrist liberals in the media harp on about "courtesy" and "respectful discourse" as a way of muddying the waters in their effort to gaslight us into not noticing there is a burgeoning fascist movement firebombing abortion clinics, synagogues, and drag shows.

There was a time when I accepted this sort of handwringing as good faith, but that time has long passed. If it's super-important to you to express outrage at people wishing harm on billionaires, then either your values badly need adjustment or you're shilling for your own privileged interests in disguise. Many of the ugliest MetaTalk threads over the years have been "what about the men?" type threads where a few people are certain that their crocodile tears should be taken at face value and using the language of social justice when people won't go along with this charade.

I never would have been pleased to see a MetaTalk post chiding us for being meanspirited to rich people; but using the rural thread to give this complaint superficial legitimacy, plus invoking genocide, is inexcusable.

I myself would have been upset at the rural thread had I seen it. So I'm pissed that anyone would treat the two as equivalent because the issue isn't that mefites are too vitriolic and uncivil, it's that advocating for harm to come to relatively powerless people who didn't choose their circumstances and are unable to change them is, in fact, morally wrong ... not because it's vitriolic and uncivil, or because "wishing harm" is inherently bad, but because it's an abhorrent opinion on its own terms, no matter how pleasantly and civilly it's expressed. The well-being of billionaires is in a whole other moral universe.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:34 PM on June 20, 2023 [112 favorites]


"I’m not a paranoid deranged millionaire. Goddamit, I’m a billionaire."

-Howard Hughes.
posted by clavdivs at 11:06 PM on June 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


People in this thread have expressed dismay at the ugliness of the emotions on display in that thread. But this ugliness is not very surprising in light of ongoing economic trends. Things just keep getting squeezed tighter and tighter with no end in sight. As the world gets uglier and as the beneficiaries of that ugliness continue to evade accountability, more and more ugly sentiments are going to crop up.
posted by cubeb at 11:07 PM on June 20, 2023 [26 favorites]


I know this is a community but at some point it would really help if someone in a position of responsibility would say "x is OK, y is not OK".

As with all MetaTalk threads, whether it's about site features or community standards, the lack of any staff making a decision or announcing anything is infuriating. Every single time, MetaTalk threads eventually drift into silence, everyone ending up more battered, bruised and probably bitter, with nothing approaching a conclusion having been reached.

Maybe this is all part of some community process that everyone loves, in which case, fight on! But, even though any decisions or guidance from "above" would inevitably annoy some people, wouldn't it be refreshing?
posted by fabius at 11:20 PM on June 20, 2023 [16 favorites]


hippybear: I'm entirely unclear about EU regulations. Or is MetaFilter blocked there?

Huh. Do you really think all of us Elsewherians are actually posting from the US? Or have you simply never noticed us? That would be disheartening so I hope that's not the case.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:21 AM on June 21, 2023 [23 favorites]


First, hippybear, I think I understand where you are coming from. It's definitely okay to yourself take the view that calling for or taking pleasure in the death of others is wrong, full stop, and not do it. That's honestly where I am personally.

I think where you lose me, personally, is telling other people how they should use words to express their anger against the wealthy and powerful, calling it violence and genocidal. If my ancestors or ordinary germans wished for or even called for the death of Nazis, that is not genocide or violence. Being a Nazi is a choice.

Nobody chooses to be poor. Everyone who is ultra wealthy however is choosing to be, when they could give away their money. and I think that is unethical that people are billionaires while others starve. So while I don't agree with people talking pleasure in the rare times when rich people have bad things happen to them, I'd note that nobody is doing anything on the UN's definition of genocide to them.

I haven't seen people talk shit about the poor on here, but people blaming anyone who is poor for their circumstances is seriously missing who actually sets the agenda and creates the policies. They aren't poor folks, that's for sure.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 12:23 AM on June 21, 2023 [29 favorites]


Sorry, I miswrote, I meant I have seen people talking shit about the rural poor on here, directly and indirectly, just not in a way I thought was calling for their genocide.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 12:42 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


If all the billionaires in the world were to swap places with random people absolutely nothing would change. To hate billionaires is to hate humans. I don't see how you can claim be a liberal and take pleasure in the death of others.
posted by night_train at 1:47 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


Lefty misanthropes are very much a thing that exist. Increasingly, the way the world is going, it is very hard not to be a misanthrope to some extent.

But I don't agree - you need a degree of utter uncaring to amass and hold on to billions of dollars. There are a lot of people who would not want or see any benefit in having that money. If you swapped me into a billionaire's place, I'd buy a house, maybe stash a million or two, and give the rest away. Maybe not everyone would do the same, but I reckon a non-zero amount would.

To suggest that everyone would act like a billionaire in their shoes is to hate all humans.
posted by Dysk at 2:19 AM on June 21, 2023 [50 favorites]


I gave this thread some space but I feel moved to say that I think invoking Anne Frank in defense of an oppressive class (i.e. billionaires) is more outrageously offensive than virtually anything it's possible to say about the billionaires themselves. I didn't read the original thread because reading about people dying is upsetting to me but seriously what the fuck.
posted by an octopus IRL at 2:43 AM on June 21, 2023 [50 favorites]


Also, like, not to play the trans card but I very much agree that the genocide framing around rich people is gross especially when there are active genocides against many groups happening all over the world. I'm willing to be flexible on whether the term applies to poor people, I think there might even be an interesting conversation to be had there (and, if there is a genocide against the poor ongoing, worth considering who is perpetrating that genocide and, if the answer is "rich people", why they're being defended), but rich people are oppressing all of us and saying mean shit about them is not committing or advocating for genocide.
posted by an octopus IRL at 2:46 AM on June 21, 2023 [35 favorites]


I apologize and I'm out for a while. Maybe I'll be back.
posted by biogeo


I don’t know if you’ll read this far down, but: please don’t button. You and JHarris are foundational for the parts of Metafilter I hang out in. Like, I’m not sure any of the Ubernerd++ threads really work without you two.

And of course Hippybear is lovely and …dude: losing you would just be a huge blow for the site - it’s really nice to have an outspoken furry swing conversational elbows a bit and occupy some space in the discourse. After years of departures there aren’t too many others like you around here anymore. Please stick around; you have a good, warm soul and that’s why I think this sort of thing hurts you to read. Empathy is essential and as a diagnosed Robot-American it is something that I struggle to maintain on a good day; but it is also possible to have too much to the point where your attitudes can enable the sociopaths who run / ruin our society.

The reasons you are catching flak are therefore the best reasons possible in terms of what it says about the kind of person you are. But that doesn’t mean the people saying “actually no being a billionaire is fully diseased and to hell with them” are wrong, either. …also you may want to spend a little more time checking out what passes for normal conversation among adults under 30: this sort of talk is everywhere, all the time. Extremely normal, though the schadenfreude in the sub thread pre-deletion was over the line.

Finally:
As someone in the top 1% of wealth globally, I would much prefer that the 99% beneath me not wish for my painful demise

I am towards the bottom of the top 5% in terms of global income and I personally deserve to be killed, skinned, cooked and eaten for my indifference towards poverty and lack of meaningful actions to address the needs of people suffering under capitalism. But I can only speak for myself, and actually the whole idea that anybody “deserves” any fate is leaning into the myth of an intentional universe.

Nobody deserves anything, our existence is rudderless, and none of that changes the fact that making an effort to reduce suffering and oppression where you find it is improving the universe.

Unlike overly long comments and bitter MetaTalk threads.
posted by Ryvar at 3:30 AM on June 21, 2023 [13 favorites]


Ultrapoor people: most likely were born into a cycle of poverty and had no substantive decision in the matter nor easy way to escape from it

Ultrarich people: most likely became ultrarich by playing a zero sum game in which they / their family exploited others and stole their meager resources on a massive scale, deliberately creating the precise conditions those ultrapoor people are in.

Hmmm [thinking face emoji] appears to be the same to me.

People, PLEASE stop punching down on those who, historically, have architected entire economic models around automating punching down. It's unseemly.
posted by naju at 3:48 AM on June 21, 2023 [18 favorites]


Putting away only a mere "million or two" from your billion dollar lottery winnings would immediately put you in the top .05% of wealth globally.

I suggest only keeping $400.
posted by spitbull at 3:50 AM on June 21, 2023 [3 favorites]


Ok, on a roll, YAPR (yet another pony request)

Add a new flag "Upsetting" that automatically *hides* the comment, right then immediatly.

The questionable comment would be hidden unless the reader has previously set themselves to a new per user setting "Thick Skinned" -- then just the first person to see that comment would be upset but would protect subsequent readers without impacting mod resources.
posted by sammyo at 4:05 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


(ps i know we all have a short collective memory, but wasn't it like a month or two ago when we all learned about a billionaire literally purchasing unfettered access to and untold favors from a sitting Supreme Court Justice. at least some of these people have active designs to circumvent democracy at the highest level and turn our living/working/breathing spaces into their own personalized plutocratic sandbox game)
posted by naju at 4:12 AM on June 21, 2023 [14 favorites]


spitbull, I'll really admit to being a bit of an arsehole in keeping as much as a million or two. I'm no sociopath, though.

(It's also worth considering how cost of living varies across countries, and what someone's income prospects are. My lifetime earnings to this point in my mid-thirties is less than £100,000, and for a variety of reasons, I am incredibly unlikely to trouble even an average income for the UK again. So assuming a £300k house, and keeping a million quid, I'd be at about double the UK average lifetime earnings. So not a sociopath like a billionaire, but yeah: bit of an arsehole.

$400 wouldn't cover my half of one rent payment on the shitty little flat I share with my husband. If I were St Francis levels of pure of heart I'd do it anyway, hell, I'd forsake all personal property, but I'm not. Still a world away from the logic of keeping the lot, and setting up or continuing oppressive systems to make yet more.)
posted by Dysk at 4:14 AM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]


It seems that many people here have different definitions than I do of "punching down" or "tone policing." Calling for the killing of or wishing death on others doesn't strike me as the former, though I can understand it, given global trends, etc., but I don't think it's "tone policing" to disagree with advocating killing people, wishing for their death, etc.

These sorts of calls... I both think they're shitty and don't enjoy reading them, and it makes it hard for me personally to engage with discussions here, at even the low bar of lightly perusing threads. MeTa seems like a reasonable place to talk about that experience and to wish for the community not to do that. I click out of more threads these days than I used to, and there's less content here than there used to be, and I wish it weren't that way. I'm only going to sit around for so much "yes, it's fine that those people die, more of them should," just as I don't seek that out IRL. Different strokes, I guess.

I'm unsure if the site culture has changed, or my feelings have changed; maybe it's both. A bunch of people I love and many others I know have died in the last decade, and I have a more personal sense of death than I once did. I am cognizant of the global problems caused by billionaires and inequitable systems, but it doesn't change the fact that MetaFilter is the place where I most often see people advocating violence and using hateful language. Yes, I could go dwell in horrible swamps on Reddit or wherever and see worse, but I am where I am. That's not to say it's not a sometimes interesting and useful contrast to my local news, where legislators are pondering book bans and often trying to remove from law various civil and human rights, but I didn't start hanging out here to willfully subject myself to hateful rhetoric and general unpleasantness.
posted by cupcakeninja at 4:52 AM on June 21, 2023 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter is the place where I most often see people advocating violence and using hateful language.

Am I tone deaf? A real question.

Could someone list a few examples, please. I see dark humor sometimes. Actual realities pointed out (the knocking has stopped) (one way or another climate change will cause...) (Eat the...) but I'm just missing "someone please take out that rich guy" or "ha ha, dead" .

I've learned a lot about different communities, and see that some language really does need updates culture wide. (and still processing) but just not seeing this bifurcation.
posted by sammyo at 5:08 AM on June 21, 2023 [7 favorites]


We are talking about this disaster on a national level because the people who were involved are rich.

This disaster happened in the first place because the people who were involved are rich.

The grotesque spectacle that makes this story newsworthy, from the Titanic angle to the "going deeper down than tourists ever get to go," was enabled by the fact that the people who were involved are rich.

And if this story has parallels with a lot of other instances of gross, seedy, mercenary companies exploiting people who think that "having a lot of money" makes them more rational and intelligent than the poors, if it sounds weirdly similar to every time that a billionaire buys a cherished company or publisher and runs it into the fucking ground... well, the similarities are there because the people who were involved are rich.

If people are struggling to jump right to empathizing a handful of absolute strangers who willingly got in a sketchy submarine that they each paid a quarter of a million dollars to enter, well, yes, it is because the people who were involved are rich.

That's not necessarily because of a callous identity-politics dismissal of "people with privilege." It's because every last goddamn thing about this story, from the nature of the accident to how much the media is making a spectacle out of it, screams that the people who were involved are rich.

I find guillotine jokes tedious, and I find sneering at people unpleasant, and I generally have not found this story particularly worth engaging with. But it's poppycock to insist that people divorce the material wealth involved in this story from the story itself, because the story itself is about material wealth on every possible level. The shittiness of the company, the shittiness of the tourist gambit, the shittiness of this stuff getting media play while refugee tragedies are ignored and shitheads with Ivy League degrees blithely go about laying the groundwork for trans genocide in the New York Times and Substack and The Atlantic because "serious people" has never once referred to people actually being serious... it all has a recurring theme, and it's that this story matters and these people matter and this tragedy matters, because the people who were involved are rich.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 5:10 AM on June 21, 2023 [82 favorites]


Actually, I disagree... if a rich person slipped and fell and hit their head and died, or had a heart attack due to eating too much rich food, it would just be whatever. Perhaps some minor headlines as a curiosity, I'm not even sure if would have made its way to Metafilter as a post, even.

On the other hand, if a poor inventor somehow managed to jury rig a submarine to descend to 4,000 meters depth to visit the Titanic and had to be rescued? Hell yeah it would have made headlines around the world as well and also warranted a post to Metafilter.
posted by xdvesper at 5:15 AM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]


I suggest only keeping $400.

So I had a very visceral reaction to this put down. It seems pointless and cruel to attack someone for imagining enough money to live without worry (or at least with less worry). Anyway, I started to wonder why I felt that way, wandered around for a bit, and ended up at — it’s weirdly easy to mistake wishing or rhetorical excess as action. Maybe it’s worse here because everything we read is filtered through our imaginations. I dunno. I’m not a betting person, but I’d wager, when someone on MetaFilter writes “eat the rich,” they are not actually planning, much less carrying out, bloody revolution and cannibalism. If they say “let’s shoot all the tech billionaires into the sun,” they are not seriously proposing a new space program. Treating these statements that way is rhetorical posturing and as devoid of useful action as the original sentiments.

However, there are problems with those original sentiments, too. If you don’t mean them, they’re just glib one-liners, about as useful in a thread as a derailing joke. If you do really mean them, that kind of gristly fantasy is definitely a sometimes treat. They definitely carry more of a toll on the wisher than a random billionaire. If you hate the current social structure, surely working to revise tax codes is more productive, however unlikely, than wishing the mega rich dead.

The “they can leave or suffer” comments towards small town people are different in a couple of ways, most of which have been discussed above, but I think these kinds of attitudes can also lead to support policies that further entrench rural poverty and further restrict options in a way that wishing ill on the extremely wealthy won’t.

Lastly, I think a lot of the comments come from fundamentally good places. Societies and economies are broken, and exploitation is literally killing people every day; but expressing that through quick one-liners is another opium of the online.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:16 AM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]


I'm not a progressive, I just like Metafilter. I believe progressives don't fear and hate government nearly enough. As I understand it, progressives believe capitalism is the fundamentally bad thing, but government can be powerful enough to control capitalism and still safe to be around.

I can supply examples if you like, but being rich isn't enough to protect people from being murdered by governments, and the definition of rich can be expanded to include a *lot* of people.

I will grant that the folks who are proud of having no empathy are a minority of progressives, but they're a definite presence, and I don't think the decent majority have tools for controlling them if the progressives get as much political power as they want.

Minor point: I misread the advice above and assumed it was about only keeping 400K. That would make more sense than $400.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 5:23 AM on June 21, 2023 [4 favorites]


Joe Smith should be killed" or "the wealthy should all be shot"

Calling for the killing of or wishing death on others

This was not in the thread. It really wasn't. This MetaTalk has drifted into fighting a straw man.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:23 AM on June 21, 2023 [29 favorites]


This was not in the thread. It really wasn't.

I wasn't in the sub thread until midday yesterday, but it's worth remembering that taz' mod notes regarding deletions were not "stop saying violent hateful things" but "stop arguing here about how people should feel about this."

I don't believe for a minute that there were any genuine calls for violence at any point, because I've been here before with you weirdos. What I do believe is that there was a small contingent of commenters trying to have this stupid metatalk in that original thread.

The deletion notes from taz:
I will ask everyone to please discontinue the derail arguments about unsympathetic responses, etc., and to also discontinue responses that are just about expressing lack of sympathy

Let's try to focus more on this as a developing news story... and address the social issues regarding how people feel about it (debates about how much sympathy is deserved, etc., tone of public response) in a separate post


posted by phunniemee at 5:39 AM on June 21, 2023 [25 favorites]


"We are talking about this disaster on a national level because the people who were involved are rich."

Yeah, not sure this is true at all. We're talking about it because it's an multiday news story with lots of angles to provide grist for content/conversation mills with, probably most importantly, a "will they be saved" narrative. The entire world talked about the Tham Luang cave rescue, with a Hollywood movie made out of it, not because any of those boys were billionaires, but for pretty similar reasons.
posted by Hartster at 5:39 AM on June 21, 2023 [14 favorites]


This was not in the thread. It really wasn't. This MetaTalk has drifted into fighting a straw man.

The closest thing that I've seen to that kind of sentiment on mefi, anywhere, is that the ultra wealthy shouldn't be allowed to exist. I guess I can kinda see how someone might read that on first blush as eliminationist rhetoric, but it doesn't take much good faith to consider that it is at least as likely to be a call for a wealth tax.
posted by Dysk at 5:43 AM on June 21, 2023 [22 favorites]


sammyo, I'm personally passing on offering examples for various reasons, but not least because people often don't like it here when specific examples are trotted out, feeling it's a hostile or creepy act, not offering evidence or examples. You can poke around and find examples via the site search, though I do wonder about numbers of deletions over time -- I assume some quantity.

tiny frying pan, I don't like straw men or fighting them. Over the last year, I've bumped into enough serious or joking "kill the rich" comments here to make me say "hmmm." Not talking "fuck the rich," but advocating murder or wishing for death. I didn't read the sub thread deep or closely because I don't much care about the sub situation; I'm responding here to what I think is an ugly, problematic general trend (or perhaps long-term characteristic, per someone's comment upthread) on the site.

I guess I can kinda see how someone might read that on first blush as eliminationist rhetoric, but it doesn't take much good faith to consider that it is at least as likely to be a call for a wealth tax.

I'd favor a serious wealth tax. I hope that I haven't misconstrued calls like that for eliminationist rhetoric, though I guess it's possible. Def some examples out there, tho.

...and I'm bowing out of this thread and off to work. Cheers.
posted by cupcakeninja at 5:50 AM on June 21, 2023 [3 favorites]


Uh but the sub thread is what kicked this off. And its worth pointing out that characterization, once again:

Joe Smith should be killed" or "the wealthy should all be shot"

Calling for the killing of or wishing death on others


Was not in the sub thread. Even in the deleted comments I saw get deleted. Or in the description of those deleted comments by the mod who deleted them.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:53 AM on June 21, 2023 [20 favorites]


wasn't it like a month or two ago when we all learned about a billionaire literally purchasing unfettered access to and untold favors from a sitting Supreme Court Justice.

And another one today!
posted by Mavri at 6:00 AM on June 21, 2023 [18 favorites]


I'm personally passing on offering examples for various reasons, but not least because people often don't like it here when specific examples are trotted out, feeling it's a hostile or creepy act, not offering evidence or examples.

cupcakeninja, this is a completely evasive response to the fact that several people on this thread explicitly requested that you clarify what you’re referring to. Because your initial comment:

I’ve flagged various comments over the last several months that advocated murdering generally-more-monied-than-not people (groups; named persons; sometimes the 1%) because I felt and feel they are not merely inappropriate and/or inhumane, but actually violate site guidelines. Maybe also illegal in the bargain

is literally accusing site members of being criminals, and informing us that you’ve been reporting these threats of murder to the site admin and that these threats of murder are being allowed to stand. This really isn’t something to be coy about; if you’re serious about your claims you should be providing evidence to support them.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 6:30 AM on June 21, 2023 [19 favorites]


I'm entirely unclear about EU regulations. Or is MetaFilter blocked there?

hippybear, I'm genuinely confused why you think that Metafilter would be blocked in the EU. There are many people here posting from Italy and Germany and France (and that's just off the top of my head) and they've been doing so for years; I've even met several in person. (There are also several people posting from the UK, which technically is not part of the EU now but was until recently.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:45 AM on June 21, 2023 [5 favorites]


One thing that I notice in this discussion is that folks are sometimes talking about personal animus, and sometimes talking about political sentiment, and at least some of the feelings of upset and frustration that many have expressed seem to stem from discussions that mix up the two. Cupcakeninja, you alluded to this recently above, and thank you for that clarification. The impression I’ve gotten is that hippybear made this MeTa because he was upset at what he perceived as personal animus toward individual billionaires, but unfortunately framed the discussion as one of political sentiment, so the two got confused from the start. A lot of the arguments seem to be on one side folks believing themselves to be noting that a political disapproval of billionaires as a class is entirely valid, and not at all the same as political disapproval of classes of people based on characteristics that the members don’t have control over (eg. sex, race, gender, ability, and as a few of us have argued also poverty); and on the other side folks interpreting this as personal animus against individual billionaires and arguing in a way that the first group interprets as defending billionaires as an oppressed class. And in the other direction, folks believing themselves to be expressing dismay at what they perceive as levels of personal animus that they find distressing, but other folks responding with a defense of the political sentiment, which the first group is interpreting as defense of personal animus and violent sentiment toward individual billionaire humans. (From my perspective, this seems to be happening more than the first direction, but I’m not neutral in the matter, so it may be that my own biases are also affecting my perceptions of various comments.) A small number of folks do seem to really have incommensurate value systems on one or both of these axes, but many of you seem to just be talking past each other. Consider that this is perhaps why you are not feeling heard, and I invite you to re-analyze past comments in this framework to see if that helps you see others’ comments in a better light.
posted by eviemath at 6:55 AM on June 21, 2023 [13 favorites]


Add a new flag "Upsetting" that automatically *hides* the comment, right then immediatly.

The questionable comment would be hidden unless the reader has previously set themselves to a new per user setting "Thick Skinned"


Can we use "Calloused" instead?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:04 AM on June 21, 2023 [5 favorites]


on the other side folks interpreting this as personal animus against individual billionaires and arguing in a way that the first group interprets as defending billionaires as an oppressed class.

it does almost seem that way, like there are enough temporarily embarrassed billionaires here who see comments like "eat the rich" as a serious, genocidal policy proposal?
posted by i used to be someone else at 7:08 AM on June 21, 2023 [3 favorites]


'genocide' and the Holocaust got put out there as an idea that we should be more sympathetic to rich people who get themselves into deep shit because of the fact they have so much money--

But I guess it's good to know there are people on this site who think ah okay genocide runs the gamut from lack of empathy to slaughter.

Jesus Motherfucking Christ NO

This thread is bullshit and I am another person who will not be sad if hippybear
leaves.
posted by angrycat at 7:09 AM on June 21, 2023 [17 favorites]


Mod note: The comment comparing Anne Frank to the rural United States population is not great and there doesn't need to be any more responses to that derail, thank you. Let it drop, please.

No comments have been removed at this point.

posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 7:10 AM on June 21, 2023 [16 favorites]


I want to favorite eviemath's comment more than once.

I read The Ballad of Reading Gaol in high school and it really hit me where I lived in kind of a permanent way. Ever since, I've not been able to read stories about the death penalty -- I have to tap out. I know that the death penalty is factually unjust for many many reasons but here's the thing, it doesn't even matter what the crime was or whether they did it -- when I think about execution I can't avoid vividly imagining myself restrained, separated from loved ones, my doom inescapable. I wonder if something like that is happening here. As community members I think we ought to be sensitive to each other's squick in facing death.

It's not that I've never felt vicious things, or laughed inappropriately in some of the ways described here. To badly paraphrase/misquote Carter, I've wrathed in my heart. But to say that stuff out loud to a wide audience, and especially to persist when people tell you that it's hurting them, is missing the mark, I think.
posted by eirias at 7:14 AM on June 21, 2023 [7 favorites]


and on the other side folks interpreting this as personal animus against individual billionaires

The "some of us are just talking past each other" idea might be tempting, but, what would even be the argument for "personal animus toward individual billionaires" being the case? Unless I've missed something, none of the people who have made comments expressing some variation of indifference or schadenfreude personally and directly know any of the individuals in question. There is no sensical personal angle here that can be neatly carved away from the political angle. The comments can only rightfully be viewed from a political lens and should only rightfully be interpreted in that framework. If there is some personal framework at play, it's only in the sense of "the personal IS political", which itself suggests that the correct framework is politically-oriented and macro in nature rather than, say, literal personal murderous vendetta against individuals one is personally acquainted with.
posted by naju at 7:18 AM on June 21, 2023 [4 favorites]


I think the death penalty is a great example.

I don't think billionaires should be allowed to happen, and I think the very act of having that much money is immoral.

I also think wishing death on people, individually or as a class, is immoral.

There's a huge spectrum of things between "status quo" and "horrible death" and I think it's reasonable to want people to stop doing horrible things, or to be stopped from doing horrible things, without wishing for their death.

And it would be nice not to have to read death fantasies like that on this site.
posted by lapis at 7:20 AM on June 21, 2023 [11 favorites]


Please, where is anyone wishing for anyone's death? This is such a theme that people are railing against in this thread, but the removed comments were all expressing indifference, not wishing for anyone's death.
posted by Dysk at 7:22 AM on June 21, 2023 [32 favorites]


Right? This conversation has become completely nonsensical. It would make more sense as satire at this point.
posted by JenMarie at 7:26 AM on June 21, 2023 [23 favorites]


I think people who haven't posted an FPP in years should chill out on calling for people who actually contribute to leave the site.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:27 AM on June 21, 2023 [4 favorites]


Saying you won’t be sad if someone leaves is hardly calling for them to do so. Also there’s no requirement to make posts in order to have an opinion on the site.
posted by JenMarie at 7:28 AM on June 21, 2023 [36 favorites]


Also commenting is a contribution, if that’s your metric? The site would be fuck all if it were just links with no discussion.
posted by JenMarie at 7:29 AM on June 21, 2023 [20 favorites]


Let's not get into trying to rank or quantify or compare the relative 'value' of members here? That feels pretty fuckin' gross.
posted by Dysk at 7:31 AM on June 21, 2023 [88 favorites]


If there are mods reading this thread, then... is there any plan to offer comment on (or straight-up quotes of) what was deleted in the Titanic thread? Weigh in on the decision to let this metatalk get posted, and how they think this self-governing thing is going? Comment on the substance of the complaint here, which has basically gotten lost from the start due to framing?
posted by sagc at 7:32 AM on June 21, 2023 [8 favorites]


We are reaching the point where it might be helpful to gauge whether you comment here not by whether you can think of anything else to say, but on whether what you might say is helpful in any way.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:34 AM on June 21, 2023 [14 favorites]


The comment comparing Anne Frank to the rural United States population is not great and there doesn't need to be any more responses to that derail, thank you. Let it drop, please.

It was a weird comment but it wasn't a derail -- the framing of this thread is explicitly making a claim about genocidal attitudes to the extremely rich and the rural poor. Personally I think that framing is capital-W wrong in a bunch of ways and the original post should have been sent back for revision before letting it stand, but given that it was allowed to stand, it's not a surprise that people keep circling around to weird genocidal comparisons.

To make my point more clearly: the framing of this discussion was weird and inappropriate, and has directly led to a lot of problematic aspects of this discussion.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:34 AM on June 21, 2023 [43 favorites]


One day the sun will rise upon the world in which horseshoe theory will not be considered a paragon of virtue.

I will not live to see that day.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 7:40 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]




Also there’s no requirement to make posts in order to have an opinion on the site.

Maybe there should be.


We should call this rule the TheophileEscargot amendment. Credit where credit is due.
posted by tigrrrlily at 7:46 AM on June 21, 2023


Also there’s no requirement to make posts in order to have an opinion on the site.

Maybe there should be.


Such an edgy stance. Let's see how your MeTa for that destructive, divisive, exclusive little pony goes. Come on, bold user. I'd like to hear your argument for making Metafilter better by excluding people who feel they've been beaten back from posting over the years.
posted by heyho at 7:47 AM on June 21, 2023 [27 favorites]


Such an edgy stance. Let's see how your MeTa for that destructive, divisive, exclusive little pony goes. Come on, bold user. I'd like to hear your argument for making Metafilter better by excluding people who feel they've been beaten back from posting over the years.

That's the same guy who has called for the site to return to the days when marginalized posters were run off the site en masse by bigots.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 7:53 AM on June 21, 2023 [18 favorites]




There are many people here posting from Italy and Germany and France

As a citizen of the EU, the GDPR blocks me from seeing what you Americans are all posting about, but because of a legal oversight I can still post.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 8:00 AM on June 21, 2023 [10 favorites]


If there are mods reading this thread, then... is there any plan to offer comment on (or straight-up quotes of) what was deleted in the Titanic thread? Weigh in on the decision to let this metatalk get posted, and how they think this self-governing thing is going? Comment on the substance of the complaint here, which has basically gotten lost from the start due to framing?

Welp, if there's one thing we can all agree on after such a contentious thread, it's that this won't happen.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:01 AM on June 21, 2023 [3 favorites]


Since the comments were deleted from the submersible discussion how are we supposed to point out the ones that we flagged or were objecting to? I didn't screenshot them or archive the page. I didn't take notes on who said what. I don't live to argue on MetaTalk all day.

I think that the "huge pile of flags" and the subsequent deletion of possibly 15-20 comments (didn't count but would love to what the number was) is enough to indicate that something went down that was against community norms. But none of us have those comments, so the loud demands to PROVE that people were acting ghoulishly is a strange one.

I do know that the submersible thread became more interesting and much healthier once those comments were pruned. I also know that when my personal MetaFilter barometer dips into the "yikes, this place is a lot" zone , it's time for me to take a little break.
posted by kimberussell at 8:03 AM on June 21, 2023 [10 favorites]


It's curious that a mod apparently did not work with this thread's OP to frame the post's title.
posted by jgirl at 8:05 AM on June 21, 2023 [16 favorites]


Context is important.

If five extremely wealthy people were having a quiet Sunday brunch and were suddenly, randomly killed -- finding themselves in the path of a random mass shooter, let's say, or a runaway truck, or the kippers were tragically off -- would there be the same sense and intensity of animus towards them here?

There are those among us who would lament the loss of life, no matter who they were or what they stood for. I don't know that that's wrong.

There are those among us who would draw a moral distinction between that sort of random, unprovoked demise and those who, quite literally, spared no expense to place themselves in the heart of danger. Upon reading about an expensive, extraordinarily risky excursion gone horribly wrong, some of those people reacted with, roughly paraphrased, "And nothing of value was lost." And I don't know that that's wrong.

Those two perspectives will rarely find common ground. Whether one is more valid than the other, or whether one should feel more welcome here than the other, is in and of itself a matter of perspective.
posted by delfin at 8:08 AM on June 21, 2023 [8 favorites]


I think that the "huge pile of flags" and the subsequent deletion of possibly 15-20 comments (didn't count but would love to what the number was) is enough to indicate that something went down that was against community norms.

The mod comment you link to pretty clearly outlines why so many comments were deleted, and it’s wasn’t because of ghoulishness:

As I try to work my way through them, I will ask everyone to please discontinue the derail arguments about unsympathetic responses
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 8:10 AM on June 21, 2023 [3 favorites]


And if the "marginalized" users were run off, why do they appear to be a large portion of the (vastly-shrunken) user base now?

...because of user churn? It's not broadly the same marginalised members as it was back in the day.

...and because we are actually allowed and emboldened to take up some space now, in a way that we weren't in the past? That's part of why we "appear" more.
posted by Dysk at 8:11 AM on June 21, 2023 [32 favorites]


Yes, I certainly do think MetaFilter was better in the pre-Cortex era. Not because marginalized posters were "run off", but simply because the site was entertaining.

That's a distinction without a difference. The end result is you enjoy the site with fewer of those users for the sole reason that they harsh your mellow, which arguably reflects far worse on you.

And if the "marginalized" users were run off, why do they appear to be a large portion of the (vastly-shrunken) user base now?

So now, of course, the problem is that there are too many, which means it's harder get your rocks off on their suffering and eventual exodus. Boo fucking hoo.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 8:17 AM on June 21, 2023 [12 favorites]


I certainly do think MetaFilter was better in the pre-Cortex era. Not because marginalized posters were "run off", but simply because the site was entertaining.

So, I’ve spent the last 21 years on this site consistently pushing for less deletions, more transparency, and much, much less thread-shaping.

Your entertainment is not sufficient justification for marginalized people to experience abuse and open questioning of whether they should be allowed to live as their preferred gender or orientation. Your desire to say whatever you wish without fear of deletion is not sufficient justification, either.

You can, as I do, desire much less “thread shaping” overall and zealously enforced “reading the room.” Echo chambers suck; who wants to read 200 people vigorously agreeing that bad thing is bad? But the pre-Cortex era was not just that. It was a political “open-mindedness” that directly lead to women feeling like they did not truly belong, like LGBTQIA+ people were not assured fellow site members fundamentlaly agreed on their right to live their lives as who they actually are.

And I didn’t appreciate that until post-2006 when I got medication that worked and could begin - with therapist help - developing some semblance of empathy. I was a real piece of shit in the early days, because I lacked the maturity to encompass nuance, the insight into how other people feel. If you haven’t done the work in the nearly twenty years since to actually grow up, to realize that it isn’t just about you and your experience or your entertainment, then I want to suggest your time would be better spent actively pursuing that growth than on MetaTalk.
posted by Ryvar at 8:27 AM on June 21, 2023 [46 favorites]


since we barely have a mod staff

With kindness, we have 70% coverage during the weekdays, slightly less on the weekend (which was a data-based decision based on flagging patterns). The mod team had to make a decision between approving this MeTa with its less-than-perfect phrasing, or possibly waiting until much later after an email back and forth and they decided to approve it so that the MeFi thread could have a chance to continue and not get bogged down into a series of arguments about the ethics of the super rich balanced against discussion of a tragedy that affected a few of them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:28 AM on June 21, 2023 [24 favorites]


But the pre-Cortex era was not just that.

Also a pre-emptive self-callout that this phrasing elides jessamyn’s role in directly driving the community’s transition into something decidedly less toxic. Failure to credit women’s leadership is not cool, my bad.
posted by Ryvar at 8:33 AM on June 21, 2023 [26 favorites]


And if the "marginalized" users were run off, why do they appear to be a large portion of the (vastly-shrunken) user base now?

That kind of answers itself doesn't it? The site is now friendlier to marginalized users but doing so required changing the site experience. It's not to everyone's taste so people have left or aren't joining in the first place.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:38 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


One of the attacks on Jews leading to the holocaust was that they were rich. Some of them were actually very rich. If they didn't get out, they were killed anyway.

Kulaks were killed by Stalin for being rich, though I believe they were just mildly well off.

I don't know how much of "eat the rich" is just venting, and how much is reflects murderous intent, but I believe having some minimal respect for humans in general is an important guardrail against political violence.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 8:45 AM on June 21, 2023 [13 favorites]


Not because marginalized posters were "run off", but simply because the site was entertaining.

The one thing this thread needs: "we did it for the lulz" edgelord. The 2000s are to the right.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 8:46 AM on June 21, 2023 [8 favorites]


If the original poster had checked the submersible thread and seen the mod cleanup that had happened 15 hours before this post, they might perhaps have framed the issue in a more accurate way. And had the mod on duty before the one in Europe (who started a shift at 1am EST and immediately began deleting, so that "the mod woke up stuff" somewhere above is terribly unfair) seen the flags sooner, the ugliness may not have gotten to the point it did (not blaming, I'm guessing there's a good reason it took that long (which, if there was indeed a slew of flags that took 6-8 hours to address, probably wouldn't be a terrible thing to have clarified here)).

But nothing I saw in the original thread or in this one - neither the sneering fuck-the-dying-rich stuff nor the inappropriate escalation to Anne Frank - seems to me worth some of the vicious assumptions about other users occurring above. I can accept that folks have emotional moments or bad days or whatever that lead to over-the-top written reactions (I've had plenty on this site, for sure, so I try to be forgiving these days, or maybe I'm just getting old), but declaring you won't be sad to see a longstanding and frequent contributor to the front page go away, because of *this* mess of a thread? Nah, that's bullshit.

Comments that include lines like "I am another person who will not be sad if X user leaves" should get the axe. I know there's a bit more leeway for obnoxiousness in Meta but that seems to me an obvious violation of the spirit of the "be considerate and respectful, don't shut other users down" part of the site guidelines.
posted by mediareport at 9:02 AM on June 21, 2023 [28 favorites]


I certainly do think MetaFilter was better in the pre-Cortex era. Not because marginalized posters were "run off", but simply because the site was entertaining.

Maybe it was "entertaining" for you, but it wasn't universally so.

You may want to have a think about why you found comments and posts that insulted

* women
* people of color
* LGBTQ people
* people of non-Abrahamic religions
* non-North-American people

.....to be "entertaining."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:05 AM on June 21, 2023 [24 favorites]


Kulaks were killed by Stalin for being rich, though I believe they were just mildly well off.

Sorry for making a small derail! Just as an aside as a historical note. "Kulaks" are not a thing outside of the anti-peasant warfare of the Bolsheviks. It was entirely a legal fiction created for the purpose of appropriating goods for the Soviet Union. There were no kulaks by any reasonable definition of something actually existing in the world. The loose definition was any peasant who employed another person. In practice this did not matter at all. Outside of that legal figment, kulaks are not a thing.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:09 AM on June 21, 2023 [14 favorites]


which, if there was indeed a slew of flags that took 6-8 hours to address, probably wouldn't be a terrible thing to have clarified here

Ah, I see jessamyn's comment about 70% coverage on weekdays, which probably does clarify it. In that case, a quick email asking if the poster had seen the mod cleanup before approving this post might have been useful. Hinds, sights, etc.
posted by mediareport at 9:16 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


Since the comments were deleted from the submersible discussion how are we supposed to point out the ones that we flagged or were objecting to?

I saw it all go down. So, it's worth reiterating. The majority (all?) of the deleted comments were NOT concerned with people wishing death on billionaires. Rather it was the back-and-forth derail that was gaining steam between A. those who were calling out the alleged callousness of certain users and their comments and B. those who were pushing back on those allegations.

As someone who was personally called out for callousness (that word wasn't actually used), I only had one comment deleted which I already mentioned in this thread, and that wasn't any of "callous" ones ... unless that callousness was indicating that I didn't have a lot of empathy to spare for billionaires etc and their apparently fatal misadventure given horrible stuff that was happening to way more people in my immediate community.

tldr: if you're looking for smoking guns of alleged user awfulness in that thread, most (all?) are still there.
posted by philip-random at 9:43 AM on June 21, 2023 [8 favorites]


Very hot. Such takes. Wow.

(Being on the left for the US can still be pretty centre-right/right for a lot of the world.)
posted by Dysk at 9:53 AM on June 21, 2023 [29 favorites]


I found the site more entertaining back then simply because

ummm ... do we really need to have this discussion now here ... ?
posted by philip-random at 9:55 AM on June 21, 2023 [21 favorites]


OneGearIsEnough, what is it that you hope to accomplish here?
It seems to me that you're currently adding more heat than light. And the thread doesn't need that.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:59 AM on June 21, 2023 [12 favorites]


I believe having some minimal respect for humans in general is an important guardrail against political violence.

I agree, but then (apologies for the U.S.-centric example but most Mefites are Americans afaik): there are popular conservative politicians and media personalities who are openly saying things like ""If you want to get to President Trump, you're going to have to go through me and you're going to have to go through 75 million Americans just like me. And I'm gonna tell you, most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA."

This is a question I've been grappling with lately: how do you govern with people who are acting in bad faith? And then, such a statement above: are we supposed to take it as hyperbole? And if so: why would that be a productive thing to assume at this point?

I think this is where a lot of this sentiment is coming from, and to pretend that this is sui generis is naive at best and dangerous at worst.
posted by rhymedirective at 10:00 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


Another hot take for you to feel superior about: Like the majority of Americans, I don't care much about the rest of the world.

So then why bother coming here, if you don't care much about how other people think and if this place has gotten to be such a buzzkill for you?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:05 AM on June 21, 2023 [8 favorites]


Why are you guys feeding a reactionary troll?
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:07 AM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]


Why are reactionary trolls allowed to practice their bullshit here?
posted by Dysk at 10:08 AM on June 21, 2023 [30 favorites]


Trolling is not an acceptable use of MetaTalk. We need to draw a bright line here.
posted by eirias at 10:13 AM on June 21, 2023 [11 favorites]


It appears that one gear certainly IS all you want, at that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:14 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


I appreciate all those who sincerely try to make MetaFilter a place worth visiting and make their contributions in good faith.
posted by mazola at 10:23 AM on June 21, 2023 [9 favorites]


Narcissistic personality disorder isn't trolling, it's a mental illness. But it shouldn't be encouraged, either.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:24 AM on June 21, 2023 [1 favorite]


I am trying to boil this down to the central disagreement:

We can take as read that the rich are not materially harmed by a random comment no matter how vitriolic or unsympathetic.

So instead, the question here is about our relationships to each other, the kind of conversations we are interested in having in this space.

One side here has expressed that they are uncomfortable with other users expressing either dissympathy or active desires for harm to come to any group whatsoever, no matter how deserving they are of that harm. The other side expresses that to be restricted in this way is stifling censorship.

I am personally in the latter group. I think it is better, in a forum of this kind, to be allowed to wish harm on those who are oppressing others. We should be allowed to say, for example, that punching a Nazi is a good and right thing to do. You may disagree, and say that nonviolence is the only just position, but we should be allowed to have that conversation.

I can sympathize with the other side here: It's unpleasant and ugly to see people wishing harm on others, or in this case to engage in schadenfreude at these people who have caused their own suffering. But, I think that to say "no one is allowed to express this unpleasant thought" does more harm than good.
posted by JDHarper at 10:27 AM on June 21, 2023 [16 favorites]


As apologies are free, let me offer a belated lunchtime apology for making comments more tied to a perception of a general *thing* than the specifics of the sub post. I generally try to stick "close to the text" in MeTas, but when I hit this post, it was late for me, I was tired, and frankly this one slipped past my filter. Sorry if my comments were deraily or I worsened the discussion.

I think it's also helpful for people to remember they can be wrong. That includes me! The lack of response to the flagging I mentioned above irritated me for a bit, but after having a think, I decided just maybe the mods and site ownership knew more about how best to interpret and enforce site guidelines. As to the question of site culture, well maybe it is me who's out of touch; wouldn't be the first time.

Apologies again if I'm drawing something out, but I don't like it when folks don't respond to what I consider reasonable questions, so -- to the asks for specific examples of the stuff I was referencing -- again, politely, no. I think that doesn't tend to go well for reasons I mentioned upthread, and also because I have rarely (never?) seen it solve anything. It just winds up feeding the grar. Like, I expressed some question/hesitation about legality/liability (I am not a lawyer) around what I saw and see as problematic stuff. That got elevated in this discussion to "violence" and "literally accusing site members of being criminals." I don't know what to say to that, other than that I do my best to bring concerns where they are going to be most effective. The general tenor of this MeTa makes me think, again, that I'm out of touch with the site culture and just need to chill.

I'm no MeFite's minder, parent, or counsel (you want to get sued/dogpiled by Joe Billionaire, that's on you), but I am concerned for the welfare of MetaFilter, and I shared my concern with mods/ownership. I did that by flagging and got the response I got. I assume they'll also consider and dismiss or take under advisement the takeaways from this thread.
posted by cupcakeninja at 10:30 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


I actually think the solution is more FPPs (a thing I actually do not enjoy doing but I’ll still say it) and just a bit less personally venting.

I didn’t really think the Titanic sub thread was a great place for a bunch of comments about “why should I weep for the billionaires” just because it’s a bit like a stage collapsed and people are saying that band sucked anyway. It doesn’t add to the discussion a whole lot if it’s just “why should I care?” Attached to the economics of Titanic tourism, maybe, although I was surprised at how many non-tourists have apparently done this thing (that will probably stop now.) I’m into sub mechanics and company idiocy any day.

I would be into posts with new or thoughtful information on why billionaires suck, or people giving their money away, or Abigail Disney or whatever. And I would be into more posts about migrant ships and their outcomes. (I’m pretty sure there have been some.)

This is why I think it’s important to really encourage posting. We live in a world of inequity, and challenging that is important. But just like saying Band X sucks only goes so far, where a post about why Band Y is awesome musically compared to Band X is convincing. And easier to skip if you really just want to read about Band X’s stage collapse.

But if someone can’t post about a stage collapse without people slagging the band, probably there will be fewer posts overall.

I think the same thing kind of applies to empathy. It’s fine to say “hey these are real people.” But it’s not always necessary to say “and you suck for forgetting that.” Expressing empathy can raise empathy and I saw that in my skim of that thread where people were saying they felt for the crew or the 19 year old.

All this said knowing I’ve lost it from time to time. We all do.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:33 AM on June 21, 2023 [19 favorites]


I think it is better, in a forum of this kind, to be allowed to wish harm on those who are oppressing others. We should be allowed to say, for example, that punching a Nazi is a good and right thing to do. You may disagree, and say that nonviolence is the only just position, but we should be allowed to have that conversation.

This isn't about punching nazis. Yes to punching nazis. This is about expressing glee that some people in a submarine might be dead, because they are rich. If you think anyone of sufficient wealth - in this case able to pony up $250k for an underwater trip - is the equivalent of an actual nazi, well, I suppose there's no discussion to be had.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:36 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


No one expressed glee.
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:36 AM on June 21, 2023 [24 favorites]


I've started typing at least four different responses since I fell down this rabbit hole last night while I was battling insomnia, and the tl;dr version is:
  • many of us could use a reminder that loaded language matters (the framing of this thread and its characterization of some of the comments here and elsewhere)
  • when words tip over from provocative but acceptable speech to violence is a very important but tricky, nuanced issue (and one I think worth discussing at some point in the future, but not in this MeTa and not now)
  • a reminder that tone policing is real and not great
Personally, I come down on the side of the people with less power, fewer options, and likelihood of being targeted IRL when trying to decide if a comment is snarky or seeking to incite violence...which is not the case here imo. Although I also am not an expert this topic or website moderation, so I'm not pretending This Is The Way. I'm just a commenter who's been around this and other online communities for a little while.

And since I have learned since my own call out (growth!), can we please not conflate trolling with mental illness, please and thank you.

/I have myself taken a break from here because I was rightfully called out for saying something ableist and I needed to sit with that and how I approach online conversations, and I've also taken breaks because of people posting ignorant shit about some of my own marginalizations

//through strange twists of fate, I have worked around some very, very wealthy people (including two billionaires), so I definitely have some political and personal feelings about the matter and the kinds of harm that gets swept under the PR rug and Big Law no-slip backing.

posted by smirkette at 10:38 AM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]


I'm sure I'm not the only long-timer who's taken a moment to wonder what OneGearIsEnough's previous user names have been, but seriously: calling for them to be banned for their relatively mildly obnoxious comments here is *also* "feeding the troll."
posted by mediareport at 10:52 AM on June 21, 2023 [7 favorites]


Bear in mind that comments have already been removed from this thread. What you're seeing is only what was left to stand.
posted by Dysk at 10:54 AM on June 21, 2023 [4 favorites]


Oh. I thought mods had adopted a policy of noting when comments have been deleted in a thread. Is that not the case?
posted by mediareport at 10:55 AM on June 21, 2023 [3 favorites]


(Forgive me; I don't spend a lot of time in MeTa, usually.)
posted by mediareport at 10:55 AM on June 21, 2023


because they are rich

Minor point in the grand scheme, but: being rich is a choice. Marginalized people don’t get to choose to stop being marginalized.

Trust me when I say it is very easy to stop being rich. If you don’t want to hoard wealth you can quit it in under ten minutes, any hour of any day. And there’s no shortage of resources; plenty of people are very eager to help you stop being rich - your local yacht club is, after a fashion, a support group for this.

So, no, the rich are not and should not be a protected class, they cannot be discriminated against, and while I am fully aware that being able to provide yourself all the services of a socialized state like Sweden within the US requires having roughly $10 million in wealth, there is a point much past that where continued running up the score is directly harming an increasing number of people purely for the sake of your own ego.

Our time on Earth is limited and being that kind of person is a shit way to spend it.
posted by Ryvar at 10:57 AM on June 21, 2023 [23 favorites]


Oh. I thought mods had adopted a policy of noting when comments have been deleted in a thread. Is that not the case?

I though it was. I assume someone is going through the thread right now, or the mod team are consulting or something. I hope it's just that it hasn't appeared yet.
posted by Dysk at 10:59 AM on June 21, 2023


I think we should start focusing on positives in the threads we generally see on Metafilter and shift out of the remains of this discussion, which has gone far too deep.

Scan our posts and the vast majority of comments on Metafilter right now. Thoughtful, kind, good people. I’m grateful for it. It’s overwhelmingly good.
posted by glaucon at 11:22 AM on June 21, 2023 [8 favorites]


(There are also several people posting from the UK, which technically is not part of the EU now but was until recently.)

I'm sad that this has to be explained but not surprised.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:22 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


Mod note: I've deleted several comments and its replies. Moderation in MetaTalk tends to be "lighter" to allow for important conversations to happen (even if they get heated) but please note that comments intended to upset or provoke an angry response go against the Content Policy and will be deleted across all subsites. OneGearIsEnough has now been banned under the Brand New Day policy.

Also:

– Do not call marginalized groups "marginalized" (with quotation marks) this will be considered as Discrimination.
– Could we not diagnose people here, please?
– Please avoid using slurs even if they come with quotation marks.

posted by loup (staff) at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2023 [35 favorites]


One side here has expressed that they are uncomfortable with other users expressing either dissympathy or active desires for harm to come to any group whatsoever, no matter how deserving they are of that harm. The other side expresses that to be restricted in this way is stifling censorship.

Also The Spectacle.

ie: whatever big deal spectacular (but not exactly historically important) event the big deal media have chosen to latch onto -- it's not just a waste of everyone's time and energy, it's a purposeful re-directing of that all time and energy to stuff that (in this situation) is only really important to a handful of people and their various friends and loved ones. So yeah, don't look here where the Emperor has just given a speech with no clothes on, look over there where (spectacular but not particularly important thing) is happening.

Anyway, it's a way of viewing things that I got infected with a long time ago. And I suppose it manifests with me wandering into a thread where some apparent tragedy is unfurling and just not taking it that seriously. Which I know must land as callous to some, an ugly derail to others. And I'm certainly sorry for anyone whose day I made worse with those comments. But the flip of it is, I do sincerely believe we all need to be way more conscious of stuff like ...

these five rich people go missing touring the Titanic and we get worldwide 'round-the-clock coverage of the desperate international effort to rescue them.

Because that is the Spectacle described in twenty-three words or less. Sorry if this lands as condescending but I do think that many of us (the world over) are getting played by stuff like this pretty much all the time. Sure Metafilter is a sharper crowd than most, more conscious in all manner of ways, but emotions are emotions, we all have them and they can be played with.

So yeah, I do think it should be considered a relevant part of any breaking news discussion here to bring up the notion of the Spectacle, just as somebody with a way better grasp on Marx than me might point to the class and economic aspects of it.

And to be clear. My being somewhat dismissive of the import of the Titantic sub-situation -- that's how I try to take on the Spectacle when it crosses my path. I try to dismiss it as absurd. Because I believe it is. And if we don't see something for the absurdity it is, we become absurd ourselves.
posted by philip-random at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2023 [19 favorites]


Do not call marginalized groups "marginalized"

Thanks for calling this out. At the risk of asking someone else to perform labor, Google’s gonna make an unholy mess of searching for it, is there a preferred term?
posted by Ryvar at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2023 [1 favorite]


It's 'don't use quotes around marginalised' not 'don't use the word marginalised'.
posted by Dysk at 11:43 AM on June 21, 2023 [14 favorites]


The responses to the submarine thing are baffling, stories of hubris and Nemesis don't usually provoke strong reactions in people.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:46 AM on June 21, 2023


And I suppose it manifests with me wandering into a thread where some apparent tragedy is unfurling and just not taking it that seriously.

If the thread or topic isn't interesting or important to you, it's okay to pass it by. No one's taking attendance. You have interesting things to say, and we have lots of other threads to say them in.

Like, in real life, I'm betting you wouldn't wander into a room where your friends are having a lively discussion, elbow your way past them, climb up on the coffee table, and loudly announce you really don't care. So why do it here?
posted by mochapickle at 11:47 AM on June 21, 2023 [13 favorites]


It's 'don't use quotes around marginalised' not 'don't use the word marginalised'.

Okay. I read the quotes req as indicating this was a barely-tolerated, far-below-ideal term. I’m looking for an accepted not-needing-quotes term for the inclusive OR of less-privilege on every axis of social justice, with a very vaguely-implied floating point scalar based on how many axes and how far removed from privilege.

Which is generally how I’ve thought of the term “marginalized.”
posted by Ryvar at 11:50 AM on June 21, 2023


Like, in real life, I'm betting you wouldn't wander into a room where your friends are having a lively discussion, elbow your way past them, climb up on the coffee table, and loudly announce you really don't care. So why do it here?

You might, in real life, sit down at the table and offer your opinion that the whole thing is a bullshit distraction, being just another opinion round the table. Which is much more like what dropping a comment in a comment thread represents.

Unless everyone was elbowing each other to get on the table to talk, I guess. The point is, it's no more getting on the table and shouting than any other comment is.
posted by Dysk at 11:51 AM on June 21, 2023 [15 favorites]


Which is generally how I’ve thought of the term “marginalized.”

Using the word marginalised is fine. Calling people "marginalised" comes across as mocking, much like if you referred to a bloke as a "man" rather than a man, for example.
posted by Dysk at 11:52 AM on June 21, 2023 [4 favorites]


Oh jeez. I literally read loup backwards. I’ll be off dying in shame. Apologies for the derail.
posted by Ryvar at 11:54 AM on June 21, 2023 [10 favorites]


You might, in real life, sit down at the table and offer your opinion that the whole thing is a bullshit distraction, being just another opinion round the table.

You might, but you would want to do it in a way that lends to discussion, wouldn't you? Instead of just a drive-by announcement that doesn't shed light or seek to engage.

Do you see a difference?
posted by mochapickle at 11:55 AM on June 21, 2023 [1 favorite]


Talk about MetaTalk! If someone besides me in this comment could please mention fat-shaming or TERFs I'll have BINGO please and thank you.
posted by riverlife at 11:57 AM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]


I guess I didn't see any comments on the original thread that felt like drive-bys to me, they were just different viewpoints on what was going on. They certainly seemed to generate discussion...
posted by Dysk at 11:57 AM on June 21, 2023 [3 favorites]


So, no, the rich are not and should not be a protected class, they cannot be discriminated against,

So the constant drumbeat of disdain for wealthy people isn’t discrimination because they their money somehow renders them immune from basic needs like connection and acceptance?

There are some things money can’t buy. In fact many would say that the most valuable things can’t be bought.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:58 AM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


You might, but you would want to do it in a way that lends to discussion, wouldn't you?

How many rosaries does he need to do
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:01 PM on June 21, 2023 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry, what?
posted by mochapickle at 12:01 PM on June 21, 2023 [1 favorite]


Metafilter only wants discussion with those that have confessed all of their unwoke sins, and if they haven't, they get passively-aggressively scolded with therapy language until they repent or quit the site.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:06 PM on June 21, 2023 [4 favorites]


fluttering hellfire, please don't be obtuse.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:10 PM on June 21, 2023 [18 favorites]


I think Metafilter wants users to be mindful.

There's a lot of latitude there if one tries.
posted by mazola at 12:10 PM on June 21, 2023 [12 favorites]


One of the attacks on Jews leading to the holocaust was that they were rich. Some of them were actually very rich. If they didn't get out, they were killed anyway.

Is the concern here that indifference to British billionaires is going to lead to a genocide of Britons?? I'm Jewish, as I sure hope you are too to have posted this, and I think it's bizarre and somewhat antisemitic to imply that one can't be hostile to rich people because Jews.
posted by dusty potato at 12:46 PM on June 21, 2023 [34 favorites]


The scare quotes around marginalized was in response to a comment which alluded to "the days when marginalized posters were run off the site en masse by bigots". This use of scare quotes seems appropriate to me because that original comment pretends its dubious & exaggerated claim is a fact.

The poster of that dubious claim, by the way and to tie back to the OP, regularly uses dehumanizing language against people they don't like. Among the worse on metafilter in that regard.
posted by Press Butt.on to Check at 12:47 PM on June 21, 2023 [1 favorite]


So the constant drumbeat of disdain for wealthy people isn’t discrimination because they their money somehow renders them immune from basic needs like connection and acceptance?

The irony is that the wealthy are denied connection and acceptance by the fact of their wealth. The systems of oppression they benefit from alienate them from everyone outside of their own class. And their own class is all people who feel comfortable exploiting other people, which makes them lousy friends.

But no, that's not discrimination. Discrimination requires exercising power over another person, and the rich are the ones who have the power.
posted by JDHarper at 12:50 PM on June 21, 2023 [35 favorites]


The scare quotes around marginalized was in response to a comment which alluded to "the days when marginalized posters were run off the site en masse by bigots". This use of scare quotes seems appropriate to me because that original comment pretends its dubious & exaggerated claim is a fact.

So put the scare quotes around the "driven off the site en masse" if that's what you're taking issue with. Putting it around "marginalised" suggests that you don't think anyone here is actually a victim of discrimination or oppression in any way.

Like, if someone says about a tiny gathering 'there were lots of people there' you can justify responding with 'there were "lots" of people' but not 'there were lots of "people"'. The former suggests they are exaggerating how many were there. The latter suggests you don't think those who were there are really people.
posted by Dysk at 12:53 PM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


So the constant drumbeat of disdain for wealthy people isn’t discrimination because they their money somehow renders them immune from basic needs like connection and acceptance?

no, it means what is says: they're not a protected class.
posted by Miko at 12:54 PM on June 21, 2023 [21 favorites]


So put the scare quotes around the "driven off the site en masse" if that's what you're taking issue with.

Sure that's fair. But it might be asking a lot of somebody to craft perfect punctuation when they just had their posting history called out disingenuously without relevance to the larger discussion.
posted by Press Butt.on to Check at 1:00 PM on June 21, 2023


This might be a radical idea, but - what if we all tried to exercise compassion to people even if they AREN'T in a protected class?

Save the ire for people's deeds and actions, of course, but otherwise....?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:01 PM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]


I think the question of whether it’s tasteless or cruel to say something on this site is a different question than whether it’s acceptable to feel or not feel something. It seemed in the original thread as if some commenters were saying it’s a moral obligation to feel empathy for everyone, and I just don’t. You can think I’m a bad person for that, but it’s not really a decision I made.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:01 PM on June 21, 2023 [30 favorites]


But it might be asking a lot of somebody to craft perfect punctuation when they just had their posting history called out disingenuously without relevance to the larger discussion.

Then we ask a lot. You don't get to sneeringly dismiss the realities of swathes of your fellow mefites who weren't involved because someone else was shirty with you.
posted by Dysk at 1:02 PM on June 21, 2023 [9 favorites]


The scare quotes around marginalized was in response to a comment which alluded to "the days when marginalized posters were run off the site en masse by bigots". This use of scare quotes seems appropriate to me because that original comment pretends its dubious & exaggerated claim is a fact.

"the president" said he had the right to keep classified documents
the president said he "had the right" to keep classified documents
the president said he had the right to keep "classified documents"

scare quotes call into question the words placed into them. each of those three sentences above questions a different thing

"marginalized" people find themselves suffering at higher rates
marginalized people find themselves "suffering" at higher rates

do not mean the same thing, at all. to pretend that they do is as farcical as claiming that billionaires are a marginalized class, discriminated against by society and laws.
posted by i used to be someone else at 1:03 PM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]


Save the ire for people's deeds and actions, of course, but otherwise....?

It's the contention of many in this thread that being extremely rich is a deed and an action.
posted by Miko at 1:05 PM on June 21, 2023 [36 favorites]


But it might be asking a lot of somebody to craft perfect punctuation when they just had their posting history called out disingenuously without relevance to the larger discussion.

people and threads should not be considered tabula rasa and patterns of behavior are crucial to identify who may be participating in good faith and who might be trolling, who might legitimately be misinformed or who might be using dogwhistles and staying juuuuuuuust on the side of the rules.

and in a text-based discussion, heaven forbid we ask people to consider syntax, tone, punctuation, and word choice.
posted by i used to be someone else at 1:06 PM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


what if we all tried to exercise compassion to people even if they AREN'T in a protected class

My compassion is a finite resource.

Save the ire for people's deeds and actions

Their deeds and actions were using their considerable resources to do something foolish that quite possibly resulted in their deaths. The foolish thing their privilege enabled them to do seemed to explicitly flout basic rules and common sense, but they had the money to circumvent such things. And now, as usual, resources are being expended to try and save them. It's a stupider, wetter variation on privatize the profits socialize the losses.

That said, it would be pretty funny if they were rescued and emerged unharmed and said "Well, it got pretty hairy at times but what got us through was the certainty that everyone up here was rooting for us!"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:19 PM on June 21, 2023 [21 favorites]


heaven forbid we ask people to consider syntax, tone, punctuation, and word choice.

The English Is Not Everyone's First Language People are going to eat you alive.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:21 PM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


My compassion is a finite resource.

Sometimes compassion can be achieved by simply not trash-talking someone when they're near death.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2023 [8 favorites]


> There are some things money can’t buy. In fact many would say that the most valuable things can’t be bought.

If there are things that money can't buy why do the rich keep insisting that they can sell them to us because they think our lives are deficient in any number of ways that their lives are not?
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:23 PM on June 21, 2023


This might be a radical idea, but - what if we all tried to exercise compassion to people even if they AREN'T in a protected class?

Save the ire for people's deeds and actions, of course, but otherwise....?


I don't think "let's be nice to rich people" is a "radical idea", I think it is a feel-good way to support the status quo. Being very rich is in fact a deed and a choice that is made minute by minute; the action of amassing and hoarding vast wealth is not neutral thing. This isn't abstract, rich people literally cause suffering and death and basically all most of us can do is make fun of them. I don't personally feel super comfortable with making fun of people's deaths but Jesus Christ I'm not going to require anyone else, victims of a system in which we are virtually powerless, to show compassion to their oppressors especially when, really, most of us have very few other tools with which to fight or even cope. It's not sufficient that they have all the power, we have to be nice to them too?
posted by an octopus IRL at 1:25 PM on June 21, 2023 [75 favorites]




i didn't say they had to write in standard english; there's plenty of room for colloquialisms, regionalisms, and borrowed words. heck, arrangements non-standard of words, when understandable, acceptable are.

i'm just pointing out that in a text-based environment things like body language and facial expressions aren't present, so words and punctuation carry outsize influence, which is why thoughtfulness in all of that is useful.

instead of say, equating "genocide" with dunking on a rich idiot thinking "aerospace grade" carbon fiber would be useful thing for a deep submarine tube to made of
posted by i used to be someone else at 1:29 PM on June 21, 2023 [7 favorites]


There are basically no consequences for being obscenely rich except self-inflicted ones.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 1:31 PM on June 21, 2023 [21 favorites]


Sometimes compassion can be achieved by simply not trash-talking someone when they're near death.

Sometimes, yes. But it remains a conscious choice to do so.

This is why obituary posts contain both . and * with regularity, as an example, the latter for those whom posters consider to have committed active and intentful harm.

Whether or not possessing great wealth and choosing to flaunt it frivolously is active and intentful harm is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by delfin at 1:34 PM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


I don't personally feel super comfortable with making fun of people's deaths but Jesus Christ I'm not going to require anyone else, victims of a system in which we are virtually powerless, to show compassion to their oppressors especially when, really, most of us have very few other tools with which to fight or even cope. It's not sufficient that they have all the power, we have to be nice to them too?

No one is saying "be nice to them", not even me.

I don't feel comfortable making fun of people's deaths either - and THAT is what I meant, and that is ALL that I meant.

Look at it this way - indifference to their deaths, in the form of stone dead silence, might be an even more cutting sign of disapproval. It also has the added benefit of not saddling additional pain onto their kids, who don't know about the crap stuff yet and only know them as "daddy" or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:49 PM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


It also has the added benefit of not saddling additional pain onto their kids, who don't know about the crap stuff yet and only know them as "daddy" or something.

You may want to google Hamish Harding's kid before putting your eggs in the think of the children basket.
posted by phunniemee at 1:53 PM on June 21, 2023 [22 favorites]


Do you think his kid will skip the next Blink-182 concert for the funeral?
posted by schyler523 at 1:55 PM on June 21, 2023 [8 favorites]


i don't think we're supposed to bring posting histories, because apparently that's a mefi no-no, but my bet is his kid will be asking OF creators to sit on his face
posted by i used to be someone else at 1:59 PM on June 21, 2023 [4 favorites]


>> heaven forbid we ask people to consider syntax, tone, punctuation, and word choice.

> The English Is Not Everyone's First Language People are going to eat you alive.


Not me, I'm not. I do consider these things, and sometimes I fail, but I don't think trying is too much to ask.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:11 PM on June 21, 2023 [4 favorites]


I'm not saying, "Let's be nice to rich people." I'm saying, "Let's be nicer to each other by not being so focused on wishing harm on human beings and focusing on that energy here so often."

I would guess that most billionaires are not reading here, and I would guarantee the ones in the submarine aren't. I don't care about their feelings. I'm just tired of the constant negativity and one-upping on nastiness here about the world in general. And I don't mean that we need sunshine and rainbows always, just maybe we can dial it back rather than double down on our right to do it. You absolutely have the right to do it. That doesn't mean it's useful or helps anyone here.
posted by lapis at 2:13 PM on June 21, 2023 [21 favorites]


Thing is, with the conversation and thread framed around the sub thread, you effectively are asking for sunshine and rainbows, at least if you think there was anything objectionable deleted from that thread. If you're asking for people not to wish death on people, you had your wish before any deletions. Nobody in that thread wished death or harm on anyone. They merely expressed that they were having a hard time having too much sympathy for the ultra rich guys that actively put themselves in harms way. You say we have the right to say that, but it doesn't seem like we have any right to do so when those comments get deleted.
posted by Dysk at 2:20 PM on June 21, 2023 [17 favorites]


billionaires reading this thread like

This thread is so weird.

Listen, I like like to think of myself as a leftist (more of a blush pink than a blood red, but you know, here), but I'm also kinda broke and I have lots of debt and I'm not as young as I used to be and increasingly my morals are shot, so I'd like to offer up that if any billionaires out there are listening, I will happily stop making Marie Antoinette jokes forever in exchange for what would honestly be spare change to you.
posted by thivaia at 2:20 PM on June 21, 2023 [46 favorites]


I am also talking about this thread. And all the other threads. All the threads where it seems like, "Let's be nasty and uncharitable to as many people as possible, whether other users or people who have no earthly chance of reading this site."
posted by lapis at 2:26 PM on June 21, 2023 [7 favorites]


Social media has become the void in which to scream, this site not excepted. It's far from my favorite aspect of it, but I try not to get too hung up on that behavior when I see it either.

It's not easy to be in a world where bad things happen to good people constantly, and if some people are relieved or encouraged when a bad thing happens to someone they think is a bad person, I don't feel compelled to shut that sentiment down.
posted by otsebyatina at 2:45 PM on June 21, 2023 [13 favorites]


Glad I didn't notice this meta earlier. I have only this to add, as I was not about to in the main thread:

Then if your hose is being squeezed by more than 1k psi, it doesn't matter what your hand pump does, your ballast will never drop?


YMMV, but my ballast drops way before you can hand-pump my hose to 1k psi.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:55 PM on June 21, 2023 [12 favorites]


Dang, I think we can put this baby to bed now.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 3:03 PM on June 21, 2023 [3 favorites]


indifference to their deaths, in the form of stone dead silence, might be an even more cutting sign of disapproval

This is ridiculous. I mean, it may work like that for people who spend way too much time here and whose absence would be noticed because they weigh in in literally every thread*, but I'm not scrolling through Joe Diffie's ObitFilter thinking "Man, languagehat didn't post a dot, he must've really hated 'John Deere Green'."

*Not judging anyone, I used to too
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:05 PM on June 21, 2023 [10 favorites]


Anyway, I think this is funny (just showed up on my Facebook):

"I think they must be dead down there. Because live billionaires would just pull themselves up to the surface by their bootstraps."
posted by philip-random at 3:11 PM on June 21, 2023 [69 favorites]


No worse than suggesting that they didn't find out 'til they got down there that their Logitech game controller interface had a USB-A port but a PlayStation 1/2 plug.

(I'll get me coat.)
posted by delfin at 3:32 PM on June 21, 2023 [12 favorites]


I was pretty dismissive of that angle until I saw the controller in question.

I don't think it will turn out to be the point of failure, but you would have expected a stock Xbox or PS controller. Whatever the WHQL reference HW is (preferably Xbox if it's running Windows, imo.)

In any event, not some some MadCatz bullshit.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:45 PM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]

Lapis: I am also talking about this thread. And all the other threads. All the threads where it seems like, "Let's be nasty and uncharitable to as many people as possible, whether other users or people who have no earthly chance of reading this site."
I'm sympathetic to your position. I truly do hope some miracle occurs and they're found alive. I particularly feel for the 19 year old guy. I guess I just don't think that billionaires should be protected from criticism if something awful happens to them as a result of something they deliberately chose to do despite it being incredibly expensive, dangerous, wasteful, and when they have been warned about their choices (mostly thinking of the CEO and other execs here).

More generally, I feel a great deal of civility-at-all-costs fatigue. I get that they will never see my posts, but other Mefites will. But does that also mean that I have to suppress my own lived experiences for the comfort of others when commenting? I know this sounds like hot-take bait, but I'm genuinely wrestling with when does basic decency (good) become tone policing (bad)? (And I realize that's a pretty facile, probably false dichotomy, but it's the best way I can express this tension I'm feeling. I'm sure one of you could say it better.)

If it's not acceptable to express ambivalence in this particular context, is it ever? Are we only ever supposed to respond to a post about a disaster with kind sincerity and ignore all the larger contexts in which things happen (and how various dimensions like race, gender, etc. affect how things play out), particularly when digging into how situations like this even happen? This place will become crickets if we swing to far into the good-vibe-comments-only. I'm sensitive to the fact that the world is literally on fire, systems are failing folks everywhere in different ways, and totally understand people looking for a feel-good online community. I'm not sure Metafilter can or should be that. But I could also be in the minority and/or wrong.
posted by smirkette at 3:49 PM on June 21, 2023 [57 favorites]


"I think they must be dead down there. Because live billionaires would just pull themselves up to the surface by their bootstraps."

What a vile thing to say.


Isn't it the basis of The American Dream?
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:12 PM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]


So I have some incredibly rich friends. Not many. Just a couple. (We do not generally run in the same social circles.)

They are, to some extent, aware of the fact that their very existence is pretty fucked up. By my standards, that awareness is pretty dim; by theirs, it's a semi-admirable effort that falls way short of totally humane. But I do not, in fact, wish death upon their heads every time we talk, and for the most part value them as human beings and as part of my life.

That said, it is well within the bounds of our friendship that, if they ever display some grotesque display of wealth, I am absolutely justified in being appalled, giving them shit for it, and actively encouraging them to maybe reconsider that choice. I don't pull my punches: I say what I think, just like I'd do with any of my friends. It just so happens that few of my friends get chances to waste capital this extravagantly. (If they somehow did, I'd tell them much the same.)

I used to be a much angrier person than I am today. These days, I try to practice compassion as best I can; I find that the sorts of brawls I used to want to start rarely change things the way I want to change them. I can get all kinds of sappy and woo about it; I am not and will never be Christian, but for the last two years I've gotten increasingly engrossed with the idea of love as a defiant and radical act, and of forgiveness and mercy as strange and difficult and beautiful. Though I am also keenly aware that I have the luxury to find this all engrossing, in part, because I suffer far less than many people do on a regular basis; my fears are a lot more abstract than plenty of people's are, these days.

On top of all this, while I'm a fierce leftist, I increasingly find a lot of the outlets that the left finds to be counterproductive. I'm not sure the raging storms of anger are doing much, in and of themselves. In some cases—not all—I think that opportunities are missed because people whose politics I agree with don't know how to let go of their resentments and fears enough to take action in more fruitful ways.

I say all of this because, on a bunch of different levels, I understand why folks here don't love the whole "I couldn't care less about their deaths" jawn. I've mostly found this whole incident uninteresting and not really worth following, but I didn't jump into the original thread to say so. Generally speaking, I've tried to pull away from being as aggressively negative as comes naturally to me, and I draw the line way before being callous about people who've actually died.

Yet despite all that, I think it's totally acceptable for people to voice their less-than-empathetic opinions about this whole incident. I'd even go a step further and say that, past a point, the outraged reactions to that crowd become a lot less empathetic than the initial comments. This whole thread was intended as a call-out of real actual people who are in this community, unlike every single person who got into that submarine. And it wasn't just a call-out: it was a scold. A reproach, even. A how-dare-you. A shame-on-you.

The comparison to genocide, the insistence that people were gleeful about the probable deaths involved, is an extension of that attitude. It's not just high-handed: it insists that an emotional reaction to something matters more, and is literally realer, than actual reality. The objective fact of the comments made is less important than the subjective experience of said comments. And here that got taken to such a ridiculous extent that hippybear didn't just use the word genocide, but doubled down later to say that, actually, comparing this situation to the Holocaust was in fact a reasonable thing to do.

I really don't mean this as a call-out of the person doing the call-outs, and generally am trying not to get emotionally invested in the ways that people post online—text-based mediums turn everyone angrier and more sociopathic than they mean to be, no matter how hard we all try to avoid that. I think it would suck if hippybear buttoned. But I have noted a repeated tendency on their part to do exactly this: to take their emotional responses to a circumstance as the single most important reality in a conversation, to the extent that they wind up talking over other people, berating them, and generally getting to such a confrontational place that I've started cringing a little when I see their name in a thread. Not because it happens every time, but because, over the last year, it's happened enough times that it started to feel like a pattern.

I don't mean to say that in some kind of pissy, fighty way. It's made a handful of threads miserable enough for me that I wound up walking away from them, but it's always so conspicuous that they're having a rough go of things and are not really feeling great that I wind up just wishing the whole "everybody needs a hug" thing was easier to execute in practice.

And I'm not bringing this up to be like, Side A is right, Side B is wrong. In another version of this same thread, I probably wind up taking the "other" side and saying that, hey yeah, maybe fewer declarations that these people dying matters less. But the mods took care of that before this thread got posted, so on some level the system did work, and the thread has progressed to a more fruitful and productive place.

I'm talking through this because it always feels to me like there's a tendency, when we post online, to reduce everybody but ourselves to abstractions. It's easy to let your anger or upsetness take over, because it's so hard to express anything human in a digital space that you wind up having to be quite loud and upset for anybody to so much as notice. But that also dehumanizes the other people involved, in a way that's a lot more immediate and direct and has more corrosive results than mere callousness does. And in this particular circumstance, there are a lot of people in this community who suffer a whole fucking lot because of some pretty big gross systemic awfulness, in both the passive "let poor people suffer" sense and the more-active "we're not doing enough to oppress the out-group" sense.

That doesn't mean that we're playing Oppression Poker, where the most-hurt person in the room gets to decide how angry and unfeeling they're allowed to be, but it does mean—in my opinion—that we should be aware of what kinds of people are in the room if our immediate response is to get upset by the tone a conversation takes. Not in the sense that it's wrong to get upset: on the contrary, I kinda feel like it would be nice to avoid upsetting people? But if you immediately take the fact that someone upset you to mean that They've Done Something Awful, you pretty much negate any possibility that we'll wind up meaningfully aware of who's here and where we're coming from.

The thing I love most about MetaFilter is that, at its best, a bunch of fairly-different people wind up in the same room offering their perspectives on the same thing. I've had countless moments participating on this site where, after a group consensus was seemingly reached about the "correct" stance, someone came in and shared a radically different perspective on a situation, and you could feel everyone else go, oh, wow, okay, let me sit with that. Hell, in a lot of cases it's been me saying something that I felt was absolutely appropriate and intelligent and what-have-you, and then abruptly feeling like a shitty callous person because someone else popped in and made me realize I wasn't being nearly as considerate as I'd like to be.

I don't think there's ever been a "good MetaFilter" where this always happened. On one extreme, you get groupthink where everyone else flees the room; I think that this happened Back Then and I think it still happens now, for all the polarities have shifted around over time. On the other extreme, you get threads like this one, where everybody just shouts loudly and angrily at one another. But I feel like that in-between place has come about, and does come about, for all that nobody really seems to know how to make it happen any more frequently.

Like I said, I've been mostly indifferent about this specific incident, and avoided the thread on the blue because of it. On Twitter, where I mostly follow funny leftist shitposters, some folks have said some extremely callous and mean things about the incident—far worse than anything said in that thread—and I've laughed at some of it, because sometimes I think mean things are funny. But I can laugh at those jokes and care about the people who were upset by the early tenor of the thread here. I can think that this whole thing was a horrific vanity and recognize that human lives were involved. I can generally feel like billionaires are fucking up the world and listen to why some people still don't want to write their lives off.

But I don't think that this thread was that. I don't think it ever had the potential to be that. This wasn't pitched as an attempt to recognize the contradictory voices and feelings and impulses surrounding this issue, or to find ways to let people in this thread coexist. This was pitched in the most polarizing possible way, and framed in a morally condescending manner that explicitly marked certain members of this community as ethically and morally inferior to others. I don't love that the response back was partly framed as "no, WE'RE the ethically superior ones," but that's a totally understandable reaction to being called genocidal, imo.

(On top of that, the attempt to conflate the Oceangate thread with "how rural poors are greated" was unbelievably disingenuous—so much so that I do in fact believe hippybear didn't intend it as such, and simply didn't exactly think much about what they were saying.)

I don't think you're a bad person just for abstractly not caring about some rich folks dying. I don't think you're a bad person for being upset at other people turning the conversation into how little they care about rich folks dying, either. I guess I just feel like we are all collectively better than what happened in either of these threads, and would rather think of the version of this where we wind up seeing one another than attempt to score points in a community that holds close to no actual power in any way, shape, or form.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 4:38 PM on June 21, 2023 [82 favorites]


(I apologize for the length of that comment, but now that Succession's over I just don't have anywhere else to go on at length about rich people. Sorry everybody)
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 4:40 PM on June 21, 2023 [15 favorites]


"I think they must be dead down there. Because live billionaires would just pull themselves up to the surface by their bootstraps."

What a vile thing to say.


I was home from school when the space shuttle Challenger exploded. The next morning, on the school bus on the way to school, people were already repeating jokes about it ("What does NASA stand for?" etc.) That kind of black humor is completely normal and is part of how people process disasters. It can be tasteless, but it isn't vile or aberrant.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:03 PM on June 21, 2023 [45 favorites]


Social media has become the void in which to scream

I'm sure this happened without the input of any billionaires
posted by tigrrrlily at 5:42 PM on June 21, 2023 [5 favorites]


I'm sure this happened without the input of any billionaires

Seriously, one of the most unsettling things about this thread is that I'd counted on was this being the exactly perfect place to come and hang out the day Elon Musk predictably strands himself on Mars.
posted by thivaia at 6:19 PM on June 21, 2023 [32 favorites]


However, there are problems with those original sentiments, too. If you don’t mean them, they’re just glib one-liners, about as useful in a thread as a derailing joke. If you do really mean them, that kind of gristly fantasy is definitely a sometimes treat.
posted by GenjiandProust


Well, you yourself posted Is this another “all MBAs should be executed for the good of humanity” stories? in response to the Instant Pot debacle and the comment got over 100 upvotes so it's clear this sentiment is quite strong on Metafilter...

I work in one of the most unionized industries with incredibly strong worker protections, line workers and white collar office staff both get 32 days annual leave + 24 sick days and redundancy protection of 5 weeks pay for every year of service for line workers / 3.1 weeks pay for office workers. A significant proportion of management staff are MBAs, we churn out so many MBAs that the local university business school would send their lecturers to our manufacturing facility to teach their classes rather than make our executives travel to the university. I personally have an MBA from a top 50 global business school that was funded by the company. I know about a dozen colleagues who have MBAs, and probably a few hundred at the business school itself.

It does feel weird to be in a community that so enthusiastically cheers for my execution. Especially from a comment from someone on the steering committee.
posted by xdvesper at 6:33 PM on June 21, 2023 [22 favorites]


xdvesper, that sounds terrifying
posted by tigrrrlily at 6:58 PM on June 21, 2023


I find the premise of this whole thread extraordinarily bizarre. I run with an extremely leftist crowd and always thought of myself as a pretty normal democratic socialist who perhaps makes too many compromises with capitalism for the comfort of my communist friends. Some of the comments expressing sympathy with billionaires upthread is now making me question if I'm actually a revolutionary Maoist. Even my very normal, non-political, "love me I'm a liberal" friends are circulating tons of dark humor memes right now at the expense of billionaires in our group chats.

I don't say this to be like "hey everyone else is doing it, why don't you just chill and join us, man" but to share how completely widespread it is to enjoy some dark humor at the expense of billionaires who are responsible for setting this planet on fire. Billionaires are lucky that the most pushback they're getting are mean jokes. In a just world they'd be taxed out of existence.
posted by mostly vowels at 7:00 PM on June 21, 2023 [64 favorites]


It's fine to feel sympathy when your enemies die, and that doesn't really say anything about where you stand politically.

Grappling with morality is a very basic part of the human condition, and we all do it a little differently.
posted by schmod at 7:14 PM on June 21, 2023 [5 favorites]


"I think they must be dead down there. Because live billionaires would just pull themselves up to the surface by their bootstraps."
What a vile thing to say. posted by buntastic

a tweet thread

I think it's quite funny because it isn't actually dismissive of their tragedy and is sharply funny and gets right to how many of us feel about the Very Wealthy. I read it as a tweet from Nat Guest @unfortunatalie. I suspect this would be an effective dividing line.

Meanwhile, the thread in question is perking along, a few deletions, but so pleasant to read mostly news and details.

I don't advocate killing MBAs or others. I do advocate ending the redistribution of wealth upwards, and redistributing it broadly to everyone.
posted by theora55 at 7:19 PM on June 21, 2023 [11 favorites]


"Basic Human Compassion" is something MeFi could learn from Reddit
posted by mmoncur

I've been on reddit some in the last day, and the same memes and comments were present in abundance.
posted by theora55 at 7:27 PM on June 21, 2023 [1 favorite]


In the main thread, one person said:
It's going to be interesting how this all plays out in court. If they never find a billionaire what happens to his money?"

Which immediately reminded me of the original Titanic disaster aftermath:

As the story goes, because recovery ships ran out of enbalming fluid, the captain "and the undertakers aboard decided to preserve bodies of first-class passengers because of the need to visually identify wealthy men to resolve any disputes over large estates. As a result, the majority of the 116 burials at sea were third-class passengers and crew (only 56 were identified)." (Wikipedia)

Among children who died, 52 were from steerage...

"The dead came up holding children in their arms. -Mary Davis Wilburn, 2nd Class Survivor (titanicfacts.net)

111 years later, this angers and sickens me. I put myself in the place of those panicking lower-class passengers.

Meanwhile, on the topic of whether it's ghoulish to visit the the Titanic site, someone else in the other thread wrote:

There are a lot larger mass graves that millions of people visit...
We go because very few people can get the feeling of a place from a picture.

Well, dear god, I hope there aren't that many people lacking in imagination and the ability to have empathy from a distance.

My empathy for the less wealthy people who died in the Titanic disaster leads to great discomfort in general with whether it's appropriate to turn their death site into an expensive tourist spot. I empathize a little more with those less well off. I'm not a saint.

As for those on this submersible, the one I probably feel especially for is the 19 y.o., still a kid in so many ways, who was just trusting that the adults knew what they were doing. And (it appears at this writing) won't ever get a chance to become an adult who could evaluate and debate life choices and morality and money and all the rest.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:51 PM on June 21, 2023 [10 favorites]


1%er here. I think the jokes are funny and the shrugs are fair, and I do not believe for a second that some folks enjoying dark humor about the wealthy means that I am actually at risk of being genocided (if genocide of the rich were even a thing, which it's not), but I guess if I ever started to genuinely worry about it, I always have the option of giving my trust fund away and ta-da, problem solved (I should probably do that anyway, but if you've ever suspected that acquiring money inclines people to be self-centered and ungenerous...you would be right). Spend your time and energy worrying about the dignity of literally anyone else, I beg you.
posted by naoko at 9:01 PM on June 21, 2023 [53 favorites]


Some of the comments expressing sympathy with billionaires upthread is now making me question if I'm actually a revolutionary Maoist.

Since there have been plenty of attribution to others of sentiments without any evidence whatsoever (e.g. as if in the original thread there were bloodthirsty comments about killing billionaires), I'm going to return the favour: the most uncanny feeling I have about this entire thread is that there is a surprisingly large number of people who want to tell others that they are not sufficiently deferential towards their betters, the billionaires, and that being "meh" about the death of billionaires is sacrilege. As if this was some kind of medieval serfdom.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:07 PM on June 21, 2023 [39 favorites]


So, I was one of the people who made two comments about not caring about the deaths of billionaires. The first wasn't preserved, but was something about having sympathy for any workers on the sub but not for the billionaires. The second is reproduced, because someone was kind enough to send it to me, and because while it may have been inappropriate for the original thread, it's entirely appropriate for here, particularly because people are asking what was in the thread and what people are talking about with the supposedly "gleeful" comments.
Allow me to expand upon my earlier statement.

I'm an Iraq war veteran. Billionaires are absolutely responsible for the death of literally hundreds of my friends and friends of my loved ones at this point, as well as about a million Iraqi civilians, because their profit was more important to them than the lives of others. Just like, in this case, billionaires appear to think that their own pleasure in touring the mass grave of the Titanic is more important than either human decency or the safety of workers on the submersible.

Hamish Harding, the individual who was being spoken of earlier, headquarters his company in Dubai, and doesn't appear to have protested much the labor practices (tantamount to a form of slavery) that are endemic there. Do I know where his money started or where it's invested? No, but I think it's probably a safe bet that he's spending at least some of it in ways that harm others, because he's demonstrated that he's throwing some of his massive wealth into stupid, risky things that don't benefit humanity.

Is dying in a submersible a bad death? Yes. A lot of my friends had bad deaths too, because people like Hamish Harding wanted to move them around on chessboards and they either died in the process or died afterwards from suicide or risky living. So no, I can't summon a lot of sympathy for the life of Harding. But that doesn't mean I'm gleeful over his death. I also, however, find the handwringing over the poor billionaire who's being maligned by a few people who don't sympathize with him....bizarre.

And in this MeTa, I'd like to push back on the idea that those of us who don't mourn the billionaires are somehow lacking in empathy or compassion. We are not. Billionaires, in many cases, are responsible for the deaths and suffering of millions of other people. As someone noted upthread, the destruction of billionaire-level fortunes, whether by death and subsequent diffused inheritance, taxation, or voluntary divestment, is thus a net positive to the world. I don't think it's somehow callous to point that out, and I think it's worth noting that literally no one here has the power to disappear billionaires. It is punching up in every sense of the word it possibly can be.
posted by corb at 9:18 PM on June 21, 2023 [91 favorites]


I would also like to congratulate mostly vowels for becoming a part of MetaFilter's secret Maoist cabal. While there is no cabal in general, the Maoist cabal is very real, and our main goal is to ki... to make fun of capitalists and their liberal stooges.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:28 PM on June 21, 2023 [9 favorites]


I mean, hate billionaires. It's fine, I hate billionaires. What I'm asking for is some restraint in expressing negative and destructive feelings, over and over. I realize that any one person is probably not doing that, but in aggregate, it feels like the overwhelming tenor of the site is hating on people. At this point I don't even care who the people are, or whether I agree with the hate. It's just exhausting trudging through that much hate. It's not building anything, it's not offering constructive alternatives to the status quo, it's not insightful or corrective or consciousness-raising. It's just exhausting.

So to questions above about what's acceptable or moral or whatever, I don't know, because I don't really disagree with any one person's take. I'm just asking everyone to take a bit of collective responsibility for seeing that their one individual take is snowballing with everyone else's and there's an avalanche, and it's frustrating to see everyone defending their particular piece of ice.
posted by lapis at 9:36 PM on June 21, 2023 [17 favorites]


...meanwhile, instead of a snarky response, we are capable of going to reddit and twitter and facebook and instagram and so on to check things out, and indeed discover how widespread the dark humour is, that it is in fact the most prevalent, and that the private chats were in fact representative of the larger discourse! And patronizing feelings of self-superiority were not at all needed to determine that fact.

Here's an example: instead of a bolted on hatch they should have installed a wild west type saloon entrance gates instead.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:53 PM on June 21, 2023 [8 favorites]


it's frustrating to see everyone defending their particular piece of ice.

Sorry, no, I don't think you get to determine that everyone else should stop talking (especially after the extremely uncharitable and, well, blatantly misleading framing of the OP) just because you don't personally agree with a subset of (quite reasonable) takes that have been expressed here.

And, indifference =/= hate.
posted by wats at 9:59 PM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]


What a vile thing to say.

I wonder which vile ...

morally despicable or abhorrent
physically repulsive
of little worth or account : common
tending to degrade
disgustingly or utterly bad : obnoxious, contemptible


and then there's all the synonyms ...

bad
dark
evil
immoral
iniquitous
nefarious
rotten
sinful
unethical
unlawful
unrighteous
unsavory
vicious
villainous
wicked
wrong


guilty of at least one of them, I guess.
posted by philip-random at 10:14 PM on June 21, 2023


This is a great illustration of the early Metafilter: You're wrong! No, You're wrong! logo-ish thing. The wiki calls it the banner, seems right. The .gif is linkrotted, and that makes me a little sad.
posted by theora55 at 10:16 PM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


well at least I waited seven hours
posted by philip-random at 10:18 PM on June 21, 2023


Thanks for the patronizing suggestion, to what, go out and observe the world?

Yes.

What is this an example of? A stupid fucking joke? Is that funny to you?

A representative of the common discourse that is way more prevalent than you seem to assume.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:24 PM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


means that I am actually at risk of being genocided (if genocide of the rich were even a thing, which it's not)

Depends on which country you are in, and what race you are, as conflation of wealth with race has been used over and over throughout history to justify violence. In Malaysia the Chinese minority are often till today the rhetorical targets of being "rich" and "hoarding wealth" which eventually resulted in the May 13th incident where Chinese houses and shops were burned and armed gangs and military police roamed the streets executing anyone who looked Chinese, leaving 6,000 refugees and an official death toll of 135 Chinese, while Western diplomatic sources and recently declassified documents put the actual number of dead at around 2,000 dead. My own mother was separated from her family for three days during the terrifying violence.

Same in Indonesia, where racial violence against the Chinese minorities resulted in 1,000 Chinese being killed and 400 Chinese women being raped, again justified by their wealth.

If there were any "actual" wealthy Chinese in those incidents, they wouldn't be defending their tiny wooden shoplot against the rioters in the night, they'd be on holiday in the Bahamas or something...
posted by xdvesper at 10:39 PM on June 21, 2023 [4 favorites]


That's twice that argument has been made here and that's two times too many. I feel like I have some responsibility to explain what's so wrong with it — logically and morally — but I find that I just can't because I get angrier the more I think about it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:50 PM on June 21, 2023 [27 favorites]


You can't criticise the wealthy, because racists or fascists might use it as a fig leaf? Come off it, the bastards will do their bullshit regardless, they might just couch it in different terms. If you tell them you're scared of snakes, suddenly those out group guys? Totally lizard people. Should we ask stop being scared of anything, lest someone can use that as bullshit cover for their violent bigotry? No, we hold the fucking violent bigots responsible for their actions.
posted by Dysk at 12:33 AM on June 22, 2023 [24 favorites]


Dysk, I criticize the wealthy all the time! I vote Greens and Labour! I just don't think it makes a whole lot of sense that this should be a space where 100 people routinely favourite a comment calling for my execution because they perceive that I am too educated or too wealthy or something, as per my previous comment. This is a lived reality for me and my family.
posted by xdvesper at 12:39 AM on June 22, 2023 [4 favorites]


I just don't think it makes a whole lot of sense that this should be a space where 100 people routinely favourite a comment calling for my execution because they perceive that I am too educated or too wealthy or something

Yeah, I am not defending literal calls for execution. I am saying that there is a lot of space for criticism short of that. This thread was started, so many people got so fucking angry about much, much less.

I'm specifically responding to this:

"means that I am actually at risk of being genocided (if genocide of the rich were even a thing, which it's not)"

Depends on which country you are in, and what race you are, as conflation of wealth with race has been used over and over throughout history to justify violence.


Which I think is bullshit. You even kind of admit the same at the end of your comment:

If there were any "actual" wealthy Chinese in those incidents, they wouldn't be defending their tiny wooden shoplot against the rioters in the night, they'd be on holiday in the Bahamas or something...

The people at risk here are not the rich. The rich are not in danger. An ethnic minority subject to racism are, and the richer members of that group are, the safer they are as well.
posted by Dysk at 12:56 AM on June 22, 2023 [37 favorites]


I need to nope out of here at this point before I say something that I'll regret. Astonishing, just astonishing. Dysk, I consider your emotional fortitude to be a precious resource. May I suggest you save it for a more worthwhile audience.
posted by tigrrrlily at 1:11 AM on June 22, 2023 [25 favorites]


Haha, I've not been accused of having much emotional fortitude before! I guess as ever, it's those with the least who share most freely.
posted by Dysk at 2:31 AM on June 22, 2023 [12 favorites]


That's twice that argument has been made here and that's two times too many. I feel like I have some responsibility to explain what's so wrong with it — logically and morally — but I find that I just can't because I get angrier the more I think about it.

To me, it reads the same as every time a conservative says "Hey you know the NAZIS were LEFT-WING, right? Their name literally means SOCIALISTS."

There have, in fact, been bloody revolutions mounted in the name of equality. The French and Bolshevik Revolutions are right there! But instead, multiple people in this thread have attempted to conflate "people disliking billionaires" with racist pograms, and that's pretty fucking rich in an era where literal right wing billionaires are literally mounting genocidal campaigns while literally supporting literal white nationalists.

We KNOW where the violence in the United States is coming from. And it ain't from the fuckin' tankie Bernie Bros. People posting on r/latestagecapitalism aren't burning synagogues and spreading anti-Chinese conspiracy theories. I read a thing yesterday suggesting that upwards of a million Americans are either leaving their states or planning to due to anti-trans laws.

It ain't noted socialist Elizabeth Warren doing this shit, folks! (I know she's a socialist because Fox News told me so.)

So, yeah. I find it pretty disgusting, personally, that two separate people have tried to act like "not feeling sufficiently upset about rich people dying" is the kind of thing that sparks racial genocides. That would be disingenuous even if there weren't actual genocidal tendencies afoot in the world today, but guess what? There are, and they universally involve right-wing nationalists. Nationalists who, by and large, are supported by extremely corrupt and wealthy individuals who consider bigoted and even genocidal tendencies good for business.

Please, please, try and make your arguments for showing compassion to the .1% without suggesting it's racist. The bar is unbelievably low.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 3:24 AM on June 22, 2023 [76 favorites]


don't worry tom hanks the liberals will tut tut us into a republic of letters
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:48 AM on June 22, 2023 [6 favorites]


As noted many times above, even if there were literal, not figurative, death threats against the rich in the US right now (the geographic context for the two original posts), a rich person could use their immense privilege to do good for the world or pay taxes or find some other way to no longer be rich. I am sure it's scary to think about, but it's true. I am sure we could also concoct an example where that's not possible, in some other time and place, but this thread was very specifically about people in 2023 US of A.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:59 AM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]


Mod note: Removed comments and responses about whether hating Nazis is reasonable. Please folks, stick to the subject of the post, thanks!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 5:19 AM on June 22, 2023 [4 favorites]


Could the mods lend a hand in sticking to the subject by either describing what sorts of comments were deleted, or by reposting some of the most egregious?

Between the framing of this thread, and the fact that examples can't be cited, I don't know how else this was supposed to go.
posted by sagc at 5:25 AM on June 22, 2023 [4 favorites]


I did a brief comparison of archive.org's snapshots of the original thread, like this one from around 7.30pm on the 19th, four hours before a moderator mentioned deleting some posts (11.14pm). Mainly because I wondered what terrible comments I'd missed, compared to what had been allowed to stand.

At a rough count, there were 22 comments deleted then.

About 5 of those were along the lines of "this seems kind of Darwin prize worthy" or "I am deeply sorry for those who loved him, but I can't say I think [the jackass running this fly-by-night operation] didn't get what he deserved" or linking to a video called "Dumb ways to die".

There were a couple of neutral-ish comments, but the rest, the majority, were people complaining about the lack of empathy in the thread.

(Just my rough counts, and quick reading, don't assume this is 100% authorative, etc.)

So it seems that derailing – by commenting disapprovingly about earlier comments – was the main reason for deletions.
posted by fabius at 5:31 AM on June 22, 2023 [13 favorites]


Says you. I mean, I get that this is your personal feeling about it and I believe you. But it's obviously not how a good number of people on the site feel.

Sure. And I get that it's not only this site, that some of this is just the tone in a lot of lefty spaces. But that doesn't mean it's the only or best way to be, or super great for anyone's long-term well-being, or particularly helpful toward creating change. And it's not just me. There's a fair amount of writing on this. For example:

Activists Explore Joyful Transformation
What does “rigid radicalism” and a “norm of fearlessness” look like in activist circles? Are there ways that you think groups can try to work against that norm?

We tried to talk about rigid radicalism as a kind of proliferation of ‘right ways to be’ that take shape in different radical spaces, with different relationships to fear. In researching and writing the book, we interviewed folks from a bunch of different spaces and movements, and we try to avoid homogenizing what’s going on, but it seems that these kinds of conversations are pretty widespread – a lot of people are talking about how radical/activist spaces in North America can feel scary, cold, rigid, and so on. So we’re not trying to pinpoint one norm or space; it’s really complex.

In some spaces, this might look like a norm of fearlessness where we are all expected to want to fight with cops on the street – a kind of macho fearlessness that is sometimes called “manarchism.”

But the norm might look totally different than that. It might take the shape of needing to use the right words, and calling people out for bad words or behaviours – a kind of searching for flaws that comes with the flip-side of being scared to fuck up.

Or it might look like being super critical and cynical, so that you’re never too invested, never get carried away, and never surprised by any- thing – a kind of intellectual paranoia that is scared to be naïve, above all.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with fighting cops, or calling people out, or being critical – the problem is when they become norms that eat away at our capacity to experiment and connect. The norms of rigid radicalism might be totally different, and they even come into conflict sometimes, but they all close down possibilities for curiosity, working across difference, and transformation. Our main argument is that all these norms get in the way of our capacity to be different with each other and to create solid bonds.

The challenge is to find ways to work together based in shared commitments and values without imposing that on everyone else. So we are trying to refuse the idea that there’s a right answer for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s all relative and “anything goes.” Refusing rigid radicalism doesn’t mean being totally open or flexible. It means that boundaries and firm lines are absolutely crucial, but they can’t be dictated by some prefabricated moral or ideological framework – it’s about figuring out how to do it together, in a way that’s emergent and depends on input from everyone involved, including kids.

Can you share some approaches to embracing the kinds of transformation you’re talking about in the book?

In the book we’re interested in what might foster what we call joyful transformation. We focus on the concept of joy because it’s about immediate transformation. For the lineage of theory we’re drawing on, joy isn’t the same as optimism or happiness and it doesn’t promise a better future – it’s the name for a process of transformation that makes us more capable and alive right now. It might feel really scary, because we can’t know in advance where that process will take us.

One of our basic premises is that transformative potentials are always already present and emergent. So we talk a bit about the mass uprisings in places like Argentina, Mexico, and Greece, but we try to connect those big upwellings to smaller forms of resistance and transformation. The power of those moments is their capacity to interrupt the shitty forms of life imposed by Empire, and open space for something different – even if dominant institutions eventually re-establish control.

And then the challenge is to recognize that this is going on in smaller ways all the time: people constantly are figuring out how to relate differently, how to refuse some of what’s being imposed on them. At any scale, experimentation and curiosity is crucial. Joyful transformation is open-ended, which means it can’t be about following a blueprint or deciding what to do in advance. Along these lines, the Zapatistas talk about “walking with questions.”

A related theme is the importance of strong and intimate ties. We were really inspired by Donna Haraway’s recent work where she insists that “making kin” is the most important thing we can do today. White supremacy and heteropatriarchy has tried to contain kinship within the nuclear family, and it has attacked those who make kin differently, so we wanted to hold up all the ways that people are building strong bonds across divides of race, gender, ability, species, and so on. That might look like deep friendship, or chosen family, or an intimate connection with place and more-than-human beings. All that is connected to our next collaborative project that will be a podcast called “Making Kin at the Edges.” We want to create space for dialogue about themes like fear, families, grief, and so on – all the ways that people are building intimate connections against the grain of Empire.
posted by lapis at 5:39 AM on June 22, 2023 [7 favorites]


I'm not convinced that the tactics and aims of activist groups are necessarily applicable to a general discussion forum. Metafilter can't really be productive in the same way (nor counterproductive) because just talking is the aim.
posted by Dysk at 5:47 AM on June 22, 2023 [12 favorites]


sagc: Could the mods lend a hand in sticking to the subject by either describing what sorts of comments were deleted, or by reposting some of the most egregious?

I think that reposting them would defeat the purpose of removing them. And I also think that people would then just respond to them as if they were still in place.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:49 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]


Mod note: "Could the mods lend a hand in sticking to the subject by either describing what sorts of comments were deleted, or by reposting some of the most egregious?"

Hi. We don't repost removed comments because that defeats the point of removing them. We generally do leave a note about the type of comments that were deleted as was done in the latest removals.

posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 5:51 AM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]


Just something that confuses me, in loup's comment they say:

OneGearIsEnough has now been banned under the Brand New Day policy.

And I'm a little confused - I thought BND was a reason to let people back in, not to ban them?

(Also, their profile isn't showing up as disabled for me on any of my browsers, mobile or pc, though trying to send a email does error saying their account is disabled. Has something changed in how you handle bans on the backend?)
posted by Dysk at 6:00 AM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]


"I've seen my people working
Throughout this mighty land
l prayed we'd get together
And together make a stand.

Then we might own those banks of marble
With a guard at every door
And we'd share those vaults of silver
That we have sweated for."

- some genocidal hippy
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 6:04 AM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]


Dysk, I think part of the policy is "don't continue the behaviour that got you the first ban", which they were doing.
posted by sagc at 6:04 AM on June 22, 2023 [9 favorites]


Thanks for this meta. I don't have much to add except one of my adult kids sent me a TikTok that made fun of the people in the submarine, to which I responded that I thought I raised her to be a kinder person.

I don't know. People are just more openly shitty than I can recall and everyone needs a goddamned hug.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 6:06 AM on June 22, 2023 [11 favorites]


I'm not convinced that the tactics and aims of activist groups are necessarily applicable to a general discussion forum. Metafilter can't really be productive in the same way (nor counterproductive) because just talking is the aim.

Ok, then if we're just talking, that should take pressure off people to feel like they need to make political-based assumptions about unrelated subjects and use activism to justify doing so.

Because it seems like a lot of people in this thread at least are saying that wishing death on, or stating that they don't care about the death of, rich people is a political act in itself. That the act of posting those sentiments on this website is activism, necessary because of the political implications of being a billionaire.

If it's not, if we're just talking, then those kinds of comments are a total derail in MeFi threads unless the political aspect is a part of the post. Which it wasn't here. So the activism/political piece is not relevant to the MeFi conversation.

That would answer the question above about when the conversations are appropriate -- when they're the focus of the main post.

And I'm not suggesting no one could/should point out a post itself is racist, sexist, etc. But I suspect we'd agree that making every thread about a post involving a man about how men are sexist, or about a White person about how White people are racist, would get unmanageable, just in the sense of blocking our ability to talk about much else. So the anti-billionaire thing is a similar derail in that thread.
posted by lapis at 6:07 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]


If it's not, if we're just talking, then those kinds of comments are a total derail in MeFi threads unless the political aspect is a part of the post.

I hard disagree, here. "I'm not feeling a lot of sympathy for these guys" is every bit as on-topic as "my thoughts are with the people down there" - they're literally statements and opinions on the same thing. If you think the former is off-topic, so is the latter.

The justifications might be political, but the comments are on-topic regardless.
posted by Dysk at 6:14 AM on June 22, 2023 [36 favorites]


(And it should be noted that none of the political shit came up in the original thread - only here, and from both sides, frankly. Politics is part of how we justify our actions and stances, and that applies to both team "delete the unsympathetic comments" and team "we should be allowed to say 'meh'")
posted by Dysk at 6:17 AM on June 22, 2023 [5 favorites]


Removed comments and responses about whether hating Nazis is reasonable.

Man. The very existence of this mod comment is like a sign of an era.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 6:25 AM on June 22, 2023 [18 favorites]

OneGearIsEnough has now been banned under the Brand New Day policy.

And I'm a little confused - I thought BND was a reason to let people back in, not to ban them?
I could be wrong, but I think being banned under BND means, essentially: you have torched this username and earned a ban, but are free to set up a new account and try to come back and do better... As opposed to being banned and asked never to return.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:46 AM on June 22, 2023 [4 favorites]


The brand new day policy is here.

I have no inside information, but if you're trying to understand what just happened I would draw your attention to this line in the policy:

Users who open a new account and continue problematic behavior that caused their old account to be banned may lose the right to use that new account and/or set up new accounts.
posted by firechicago at 7:04 AM on June 22, 2023 [11 favorites]


Hi. We don't repost removed comments because that defeats the point of removing them. We generally do leave a note about the type of comments that were deleted as was done in the latest removals.


While I think this is quite a good approach in general, one thing that is occuring in this thread is "talking past each other" partly due to a lack of specifics. perhaps not here but at some point where the issue could be put on an agenda with all concerned focused on a clear and accurate example. There seems to be a very strong divide that should be worked on, but without clarity of just what the problem is the divide may widen.
posted by sammyo at 7:14 AM on June 22, 2023


"I'm not feeling a lot of sympathy for these guys" is every bit as on-topic as "my thoughts are with the people down there" - they're literally statements and opinions on the same thing.

I mean, it's on topic in the way that "your favorite band sucks" is technically on topic. But it's not great when a thread about an unfolding tragedy gets swamped with Twitteresque dunks, hot takes, and attempts to swerve the conversation into the nearest bête noire. The last few hundred comments in the submersible thread are much more informative, because most of the arguing is happening here now and not in the thread itself. Which I gather was the point of approving this otherwise ill-advised Meta thread.

I understand some people find camaraderie in the fightiness. But it's not for me, which is why I never took to Twitter. I find myself gravitating towards Reddit more than MetaFilter these days because it's easier to filter the noise, as ironic as that is.
posted by oulipian at 7:14 AM on June 22, 2023 [5 favorites]


I now have a song from The Wiz stuck in my head so thanks for that, everyone
posted by staggernation at 7:22 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]




This thread started like a school board meeting and now it's like being trapped in The Exterminating Angel.
posted by gwint at 7:29 AM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]


I love that movie, those rich skunks got what they deserved
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:34 AM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]


Has something changed in how you handle bans on the backend?

No, but there are two different ways a person can be banned (as opposed to just given a time out). Open-ended bans don't show up on the user profile page and "forever" bans do. I changed which one this was and it should show up properly now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:34 AM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]


Over hundreds of comments here I see repetitions of statements from multiple MeFites, then these statements are challenged, and it seems clear that quite a few people are showing up to express general disenchantment with aspects of MetaFilter and using the submersible incident thread as a surrogate topic to make their views known.

I do not recall a preponderance of outlandishly ghoulish comments in that thread. And when it comes to a question of taste, count me as one who has a lot of taste and it just happens to be poor. This entire discussion was framed so poorly and we have hundreds of comments as testimony to that. I appreciate anyone who contributes to say "hey wait, can we be better than this" but I don't see how this discussion is getting us there. I do not see how a member of this community can make repeated threats to leave, is a healthy way to discuss things either.

Anyone who made it to this grey part of The Blue must really care, or they are drawn to conflict (in this instance). That's an online community, in a nutshell. Again, hundreds of comments: it's not about who is most wrong, it seems more about individuals who absolutely have to be right, and somehow prove the other is wrong, and that's a fool's errand.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:36 AM on June 22, 2023 [7 favorites]


"I'm not feeling a lot of sympathy for these guys" is every bit as on-topic as "my thoughts are with the people down there" - they're literally statements and opinions on the same thing. If you think the former is off-topic, so is the latter.

Thank you: this remains one of my least favorite things about Mefi. 200 contentless positive comments are fine, a handful of negative comments are apparently literal war crimes.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:43 AM on June 22, 2023 [40 favorites]


Hi. We don't repost removed comments because that defeats the point of removing them. We generally do leave a note about the type of comments that were deleted as was done in the latest removals.

If I’m not mistaken, the request wasn’t for mods to repost material that has been deleted from this very thread, but from the one that inspired it (for the sake of context/discussion of what actually occurred rather than what was recalled), which mods have been happy to do in many past Meta threads.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 7:47 AM on June 22, 2023


As a member of the undead community who rises nightly from the grave to sup on the flesh of the living (and recently dead, preferably rich but also spanning all economic classes) I would be grateful if the MetaFilter community would stop using "ghoulish" as a pejorative.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:31 AM on June 22, 2023 [36 favorites]


lapis, the joyful transformation your linked piece describes is the kind of thing that I find worth considering and putting into practice on a personal or activist level; if MetaFilter's primary function was to help people figure out how to improve their ability to make a chance in the world, or just to push towards better things without scouring their soul in the process, I think that would make for a fantastic guideline.

But MetaFilter is primarily a conversational space, and I don't think that positivity is inherently always better in conversations. I find relentless negativity can also be exhausting, and sometimes find MetaFilter disspiriting when it goes overtly pessimistic or snarky or Your Fave Sucks, but it can also be cathartic, funny, or cast a meaningful critical or skeptical eye on the narratives that people form about a situation.

It's impossible to form a group consensus on where, exactly, we ought to be positive or negative—there are a lot of things that MeFi as a community gets enthusiastic about that drive me up the wall, and a lot of things that I'm enthusiastic about that I know MeFi doesn't love saying nice things about. But that's why it's important, I think, that we not have a dedicated policy insisting that people stick to positivity, even when negativity can curdle into anxious feedback loops, despair porn, or dull shitting-on-things. I think the best policy is to try to focus the conversation in any given thread on what makes for interesting discussion. And while I think that a whole hypothetical thread full of people going "I don't care about the deaths" would indeed have been dreary, comments like corb's feel like the kinds of things I read MetaFilter for.

I also think there's a difference between black humor and genuine disregard for human life; I've seen some very funny jokes about this whole situation, and my personal comfort zone would let more of those jokes onto the blue. But I'm aware that I'm on the more extreme end of "the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral," so it makes sense that my taste doesn't define the middle ground. I think that that is what we're looking for, though: a place where no one viewpoint overrides all the others. (And as far as I can tell, none of the people in this thread who were posting on the other thread are accusing the mods of censorship for deleting comments.)

We're approaching the tenth anniversary of Tom Scocca's On Smarm, which was specifically about the ways in which cultures of relentless positivity are often used to defend rich people and the institutions they own, so all of this has been running through my head as-is. I think there is a non-smarmy way to ask for empathy for the idle rich dying in weird submarine accidents, but a lot of the conversation in this thread does feel like Scocca's definition of smarm to me, and it rubs me the wrong way for all the reasons that Scocca's piece describes.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 8:34 AM on June 22, 2023 [24 favorites]


But it's not great when a thread about an unfolding tragedy gets swamped with Twitteresque dunks, hot takes, and attempts to swerve the conversation into the nearest bête noire.

That didn't happen. There were like five or six comments expressing "meh" or making a dark joke. The issue in the thread was a derail caused by the over-the-top reaction to the same. People are allowed to roll their eyes and move on, and the thread would have done the same.
posted by Dysk at 8:35 AM on June 22, 2023 [26 favorites]


I said nothing about relentless positivity, nor did the linked article.
posted by lapis at 8:40 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]


Your way of being is not everyone's way of being but only your way of being seems to require that everyone else's way of being change.
posted by yonega at 8:48 AM on June 22, 2023 [19 favorites]


But it's not great when a thread about an unfolding tragedy gets swamped with Twitteresque dunks, hot takes, and attempts to swerve the conversation into the nearest bête noire.

hmmm. Brings back a sudden memory of when Lady Di was killed and some of the back and forth that was going on in my network at the time (fortunately not online; we weren't quite there yet). It wasn't nice and I was definitely guilty of seeing a lot of funny in the situation.

It wasn't funny that she had been killed and her kids now had no mom and all the other realities of any untimely death. It was funny (to me) how over the top (and yes, absurd) the worldwide reaction to it was with unrelenting coverage on every cable news outfit, in every newspaper. The peak for me was a few minutes on CNN where some computer animation had been utilized to recreate the crash, this sorta video game visualization of a car annihilating itself as it bounced and rolled off various pillars and walls. And meanwhile they were cutting back and forth to an insert photo of Lady Di looking fresh and beautiful.

It was JG Ballard's CRASH come to life, and so horrifying I had to belly laugh.

Which I think needs to be emphasized here. These dunks, hot takes etc -- as unkind, gratuitous, ghoulish (sorry, Parasite Unseen) as they may seem, they are part of the conversation, they should be part of conversation, because they are speaking to The Spectacle. They are individual voices doing their bit, conscious or otherwise, to undermine its power -- trying to anyway.
posted by philip-random at 9:10 AM on June 22, 2023 [24 favorites]


I think MeFi is generally good at naturally tailoring threads to a particular audience, so operates well within those bounds (i.e. people don't usually read threads that don't interest them; they simply move on).

The sub story was such a combination factors (exploration! tragedy! titanic!, billionaires!) that the self-selection guardrails just weren't there.

For me, I like MeFi for expert/thoughtful analysis over amateur speculation/lolz that I can find elsewhere. But that's just me and it was jarring to see the spillover. If that sounds dismissive of the billionaire angle, it's not meant to be. That wasn't the way I was approaching the thread, but there's a definite point to be made about what consumes our mindspace (and resources).

In short, MetaFilter is a land of contrasts…
posted by mazola at 9:39 AM on June 22, 2023 [9 favorites]


a thread about an unfolding tragedy gets swamped with Twitteresque dunks, hot takes, and attempts to swerve the conversation into the nearest bête noire

This is an excellent example how history gets rewritten by impressions. Actual events, by what it felt like.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:44 AM on June 22, 2023 [21 favorites]


Here are the first ten hours of the sub thread pre-deletions, for anyone that might care to discuss what actually occurred.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 10:18 AM on June 22, 2023 [10 favorites]


Regarding tragedy, since the word was used here, I tend to defer to Mel Brooks's accurate summary of the human condition:

"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die."

To some, humanity possesses an inherent dignity that must be respected always, regardless of circumstances. Others, to repeat myself from earlier, have their responses tempered by context. To what degree is this event something to which I can personally relate? Is it happening to someone I know, someone local to me, someone whose circumstances resemble my own? Is what is happening something that could ever foreseeably happen to me or someone like me? Is this happening to the victims via random chance, or as a direct result of their own actions, or via the directive of other forces? 'Deserved' is a strong word choice, and one that I would hesitate to invoke personally, but is there an element of hubris in their fate?

So when it unfolds that wealthy people doing wealthy people things find themselves in unexpected peril, using equipment they've designed to a variety of idiosyncratic standards because they know better than prevailing field experts, symbolically _and_ literally distancing themselves from the rest of humanity more than any non-astronaut could hope to accomplish in their attempt... yes, many will roll their eyes in disdain and feel less hesitation before expressing that disdain or dropping one-liners. I would, and I did, and I would again.

"Think of their families," some insist. Yes, they do merit a thought or two. But even if we disregard what we have since learned about certain family members -- the Blink-182 enthusiast's milkshake-ducking coming out only well into the thread's progress, for instance -- it does appear that we may be giving those families more thought than those involved in the event itself did before launching.

There are tragic aspects to this. That's undeniable. But not all tragedies are measured equally.
posted by delfin at 10:31 AM on June 22, 2023 [7 favorites]


Here are the first ten hours of the sub thread pre-deletions,

which unfortunately does not include a bunch of the stuff that got deleted, I guess because those comments came after 7:27 pm. The first mod note shows up at 10:15 with the actual deletions being completed about an hour later.
posted by philip-random at 10:38 AM on June 22, 2023


Yeah, the shape and nature of the derail is pretty clear by that point, though.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 10:41 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]


I would, and I did, and I would again.

Knowing that there was a nineteen-year-old in the crew?

"Suleman Dawood has a sister, Alina, and his mother has been named as Christine. The family had been staying in Canada for several weeks before the dive.

Earlier this week a family statement described Suleman as a 'big fan of science fiction literature and learning new things', who was also keen on Rubik’s cubes and playing volleyball. He had recently graduated from ACS International School Cobham, in Surrey."

"Think of their families," some insist. Yes, they do merit a thought or two. But even if we disregard what we have since learned about certain family members[...] it does appear that we may be giving those families more thought than those involved in the event itself did before launching.

And...this justifies what you say or do how?
posted by praemunire at 12:55 PM on June 22, 2023 [4 favorites]


No one has to justify their thoughts and comments about this to anyone? The word justify is weird to me there.
posted by tiny frying pan at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2023 [8 favorites]


Several people have wondered whether this thread should still be open. Maybe confirmation today that everyone aboard the Titan has died is a good time to close this conversation, seeing as how it's their fate that led OP to post.
posted by kensington314 at 1:06 PM on June 22, 2023 [6 favorites]


It is time to close the conversation.
posted by jgirl at 1:08 PM on June 22, 2023 [4 favorites]


It was time to close the conversation like two days ago.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:15 PM on June 22, 2023 [10 favorites]


This thread seems to have run its course, but I don’t see the relevance of the latest news towards closing the thread. There’s nothing about this thread that’s contingent on the outcome of the search efforts one way or another.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 1:15 PM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]


not just everyday big moggies, I agree

Sometimes you just find a resonant moment to end something, that's all I'm suggesting.
posted by kensington314 at 1:23 PM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]



It was time to close the conversation like two days ago.

Absolutely.
posted by jgirl at 1:24 PM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]


Probably best to close this thread before a Dots vs Asterisks fight takes hold in light of the latest news.
posted by otsebyatina at 1:27 PM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]


And...this justifies what you say or do how?

The Internet enables profound context collapse, which can be awful. I'd hate if the victims' families happened to be MetaFilter users. Even if they weren't, Pandora's box has long since been opened: because the whole* of humanity is on display online, it is painfully easy to see people saying callous (or even malevolent) things somewhere.

But the solution kind of can't be to create a kindness panopticon. Because if every comment made online was made with the requirement of "don't say anything you wouldn't want anybody else to feel bad about hearing, ever," you wouldn't be able to say anything. Full-stop.

I think that it's important to talk about what etiquette guidelines should be set for inclusivity's sake: who should be considered "in the room," when we decide how to talk about things? And I think there are a lot of social circles in which it's very reasonable to say that callous remarks about people who've died in a very unusual circumstance would be wholly inappropriate. I would not say anything callous about this situation to my grandmother, for instance.

But I'm not sure that MetaFilter specifically should be a community where we need to be considerate for the families of these particular victims. And the arguments for that extra consideration haven't really been fleshed out in this thread beyond "How dare you?" or "You're a monster." I am sincerely open to hearing other people's feelings about this, but the closest we got was maybe when a 1%-er said "lol this is fine." (I'm going to ignore the people who tried to make sincere comparisons to genocides and pograms.)

I think it's unreasonable to say that this community ought to treat every death with reverence and respect, and I further think that it's incredibly rude to insinuate that people who are right here, in this thread, are being morally foul by saying that they laughed at a one-liner about this situation.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 1:30 PM on June 22, 2023 [16 favorites]


meanwhile in actually important news:

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg agree to hold cage fight
posted by philip-random at 1:31 PM on June 22, 2023 [6 favorites]


Probably best to close this thread before a Dots vs Asterisks fight takes hold in light of the latest news.

Okay I rescind my comment, I would totally stick around for that.
posted by kensington314 at 1:31 PM on June 22, 2023


Knowing that there was a nineteen-year-old in the crew?

I would, and I did, and I would again.

Whether or not he was properly instructed as to the risks involved in the voyage, which we will never know for sure, he was of the age of consent and made the decision to get in the tube, as did all of the other occupants. He could've been 19, or 29, or 49, or 99; no one deserved to die prematurely on such a fool's errand. But here we are.

Good night and good hockey, thread.
posted by delfin at 1:36 PM on June 22, 2023 [7 favorites]


I further think that it's incredibly rude to insinuate that people who are right here, in this thread, are being morally foul by saying that they laughed at a one-liner about this situation.


I think the "you're horrible" type comments in the original thread were rude too, and don't help anything but create more grar, but the important part beyond feelings to remember, for everyone, is that they were against the site rules, and that's why that derail was removed, making the original thread better in the end.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:38 PM on June 22, 2023 [8 favorites]


I think the "you're horrible" type comments in the original thread were rude too, and don't help anything but

yeah, I've lived with scolds. I ended up either A. ignoring them, or B. trolling them, maybe not even consciously. But you're not my mom, and anyway my mom wasn't much of a scold. She knew better. That's not how you get the best out of people.
posted by philip-random at 2:06 PM on June 22, 2023


Frankly, while I find these morality-debate threads to be ridiculous and overreaching at times (I think we all do), I am someone who has, strangely, benefited from them over the years, so I don't hate them. I'm glad they're not a once-a-week occurrence, but I find them to be helpful in a social-information-dump kind of way.

It's the experience of hearing not just two or three opinions on a subject, like one might in a conversation with friends, but dozens of distinct opinions, and not a lot of sugarcoating, which I appreciate because I find it less confusing that way. Thankfully, some users get passionate and go into exacting detail about why they feel a certain way, and while it can get unpleasant or a little heated, it's helped me a number of times to get in touch with how I really think or feel about something, or changed how I think.

So, I probably don't agree with half of you on this particular topic, but I'm here to read what you have to say because I respect your willingness to share your opinion, and I find it helpful to hear it, so thank you.
posted by heyho at 2:16 PM on June 22, 2023 [27 favorites]


I'm not sure that MetaFilter specifically should be a community where we need to be considerate for the families of these particular victims.

As a general rule, probably not. I do think it's remarkably misguided to argue that the survivors of these people don't deserve consideration because the victims didn't take sufficient care for them, which was the argument put forth and is almost the nastiest thing I've seen said in this context, but probably you are right about that.

For me, this is not really about context collapse. The odds are sufficiently low that any survivor will ever read these comments. It's just a question of whether this place is made better or worse (and there are several and potentially conflicting axes for evaluating that, I know) by people's making nasty comments about real people in the present with real families facing real horrible deaths while not doing anything particularly wrong, or at least parading their indifference to those deaths. This is clearly less of a systemic, recurring problem than many of the other tone issues that Mefi has tackled in recent years (please note that I am not on board with the framing of this as the site being happy with "class genocide" or whatever). I'm not sure there's a policy change to be found here, so probably the post should be closed. But it's still radically off-putting. I'm not going to try to argue any sociopaths out of being sociopaths, but...everyone who thinks they are somehow advancing social justice by dehumanizing others in such a particularly gratuitous and unpleasant way is mistaken. If we think there should be a floor for human dignity around here, some of those comments were beneath it.
posted by praemunire at 2:53 PM on June 22, 2023 [15 favorites]


I do think it's remarkably misguided to argue that the survivors of these people don't deserve consideration because the victims didn't take sufficient care for them, which was the argument put forth and is almost the nastiest thing I've seen said in this context

Was this argument made in this thread? I’m not seeing it.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 2:59 PM on June 22, 2023


I don't think calling other users here sociopaths over a difference in opinion is helping, respectfully.

(It's also directly against the rules)
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:59 PM on June 22, 2023 [14 favorites]


The CEO himself was so nonchalant about safety that it should have been illegal for him to take people down there.
In 2018, Rush was sent a letter by the Marine Technology Society, a professional society of ocean engineers, academics and other peers. The letter, obtained by the New York Times, warns Rush of their “unanimous concern” about the Titan. The society accuses Rush of falsely advertising the Titan’s safety standards while allegedly refusing to allow an independent third party to test the vessel.


“Our apprehension is that the current ‘experimental’ approach adopted by Oceangate could result in negative outcomes (from minor to catastrophic) that would have serious consequences for everyone in the industry,” the letter reads.

The Times reported Rush responded to the letter by complaining “industry regulations were stifling innovation.”

In a November podcast with CBS News, Rush said, “At some point, safety just is pure waste,” adding, “I mean, if you just want to be safe, don’t get out of bed. Don’t get in your car. Don’t do anything.”
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 3:07 PM on June 22, 2023 [11 favorites]


So it feels like anger is really misplaced here (against folks reacting not "empathetic enough") and really, a lot of people are acting out against a system that allows people like this CEO to balk at regulations and then essentially, be responsible for the other passengers' lives.
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 3:11 PM on June 22, 2023 [11 favorites]


"I'm not going to try to argue any sociopaths out of being sociopaths, but...everyone who thinks they are somehow advancing social justice by dehumanizing others in such a particularly gratuitous and unpleasant way is mistaken."

That that paragraph is doing an incredible job of fighting against itself.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:21 PM on June 22, 2023 [24 favorites]


MetaFilter: you're not my mom
posted by neroli at 3:24 PM on June 22, 2023 [10 favorites]


I mean, it's on topic in the way that "your favorite band sucks" is technically on topic.

Disagree. “Your favorite band” is a discussion about taste, and as we know well, in matters of taste there can be no dispute. The subjective difference between one band and another, barring outlier cases, is not a question with either a provable dimension or a moral one. The topic under discussion here, though, is an ethical and moral question to which people are applying various frameworks. Those kinds of discussions can be very meanfingul. This one has been pretty interesting, actually, in its variety.

I want to add one other narrow point about the questioned propriety of visiting a “grave site” or “death site.” My profession is public history, and there is almost nothing that attracts humans to a site more predictably than death. “Dark tourism” is an entire thing. And even people not consciously drawn to the morbid flock to sites of mass death in the quest to understand, to connect, to feel something. It appears to be a human need just as profound as the need to mark and memorialize ended lives in a physical manner. People picnicked above battlefields during the civil war. They stood on the beach and watched people struggle in the waves as ships foundered just offshore, unable to help them.

There is a curiosity about sites characterized by the great solemnity of death. There are museums at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing, the Battle of Bull Run, the crash site of Flight 93. At the concentration camps of Europe. There will be one at the Pulse Nightclub site. If it’s “ghoulish” to want to witness or be physically present at a site of mass death, then the majority of humans are “ghoulish,” so much so that to be “ghoulish” is then just to be human and normal and to be expected.

None of this is to say it’s a good idea or respectable move to get in a janky submersible with a bunch of overprivileged looky-loos and try to see such a site .
posted by Miko at 3:37 PM on June 22, 2023 [27 favorites]


The crew are apparently dead and there's not much left here but ill-will and seeming axe-grinding directed at other users. Perhaps this may as well be closed up: there is not much to discuss here that isn't seemingly content that is better suited in the original thread.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:42 PM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]


To close it now makes this about the specific incident and not the general tenor.
posted by Miko at 3:56 PM on June 22, 2023 [8 favorites]


Yep, we usually only close MeTa threads when they are (somehow) entirely resolved or going off the rails. This thread is fine. People who no longer want to be part of the conversation are welcome to remove it from their recent activity.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:09 PM on June 22, 2023 [20 favorites]


I guess I missed the early hours of the submarine thread. But I suggest at this point
a) This thread helped, in that people must have decided to quit doing that, or
b) This thread helped, in that it all moved over here instead

In any case, I think almost nobody is doing the thing in the submarine thread, and I've been watching it pretty closely. Can we all say, ok, point taken, thanks hippybear! and move on?

At this point we have almost 500 comments about how people feel about the thing. None of those people are probably going to reverse their opinions. But now we all know how it's being taken by others, and can change our behaviors (or not), as desired. That's about all that can come out of a MetaTalk thread.
posted by ctmf at 5:16 PM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]


Mods, please calm the fuck down in that thread.
posted by Artw at 5:25 PM on June 22, 2023


ok, point taken, thanks hippybear!

...cough, although I dis.... ok, ok, moving on

(next)
posted by sammyo at 6:46 PM on June 22, 2023 [4 favorites]


Oh and really don't go, plz
posted by sammyo at 6:47 PM on June 22, 2023 [8 favorites]


This feels like the point at which, after a long and contentious MeTa, a nice poem might raise spirits and mend bridges. But I'm only getting as far as "I have eaten / the rich / who were in / the submersible".

that's not true i wrote the whole thing but i will spare you the rest
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 7:56 PM on June 22, 2023 [18 favorites]


This tweet by the Onion seems apropos here.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:16 PM on June 22, 2023 [8 favorites]


Hi Rock 'em, I can't speak for the commenter you're referencing, but the bit about sociopaths seems to be a direct continuation of the discussion of online sociopathy introduced in the early part of this thoughtful, well favorited comment by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted. It's easily one of the best comments in this whole thread and definitely worth a look.

It's a long thread and I bet most of us are as tired as I am. Good night, all.
posted by mochapickle at 8:49 PM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]


It's just a question of whether this place is made better or worse (and there are several and potentially conflicting axes for evaluating that, I know) by people's making nasty comments...

Well that's a useless framing. I agree that nasty comments are bad! I disagree that comments expressing anything less than deferential sympathy for the billionaires that guy themselves killed by willfully ignoring all expertise and safety precautions are nasty, though I do think the comment I'm quoting is nasty.
posted by Dysk at 11:47 PM on June 22, 2023 [4 favorites]


I come for the exhortations to be a better community, but I stay for the armchair diagnoses of sociopathy.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:13 AM on June 23, 2023 [23 favorites]


everyone who thinks they are somehow advancing social justice by dehumanizing others in such a particularly gratuitous and unpleasant way

Where specifically is the "gratuitous and unpleasant" line here? Which feelings qualify as nasty in this situation? Because no you do not get to call people sociopaths just for having serious objections to the entire endeavor and thinking the people involved were complicit in their own unfortunate ending (and murder of the crew). The diagnostic criteria for sociopathy is not "unable to muster much empathy for a crisis that didn't even need to occur in the first place."
posted by Lyn Never at 5:30 AM on June 23, 2023 [21 favorites]


Calling out anyone who feels neutral about this or has no opinion, is really weird.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 5:43 AM on June 23, 2023 [8 favorites]


Mod note: Comment doing armchair diagnosis of who is a sociopath removed, along with a response to it. Please avoid continuing this derail of diagnosing people's mental states. .
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 7:27 AM on June 23, 2023 [5 favorites]


I'm torn between letting it go as a disruptive derail or pounding the table insisting that the comment/diagnosis violated at least two non-negotiable rules here and that it's astonishing that it and everyone associated with it weren't subject to some sort of cleansing mod fire. I know this is very lightly moderated MetaTalk, but still.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:19 AM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


Y'all I understand that tensions are high here but can we PLEASE keep this MeTa on topic??? The community is ONCE AGAIN engaging in BLATANT violent speech voicing class genocidal attitudes in the most recent FPP. It is disgusting and I'm seriously considering leaving the community over this.
posted by phunniemee at 8:41 AM on June 23, 2023 [19 favorites]


please don't go. the drones need you. they look up to you.
posted by i used to be someone else at 8:44 AM on June 23, 2023 [3 favorites]


What if you had a billion dollars and you were reading this thread... would it be more or less tragic than dying in your poorly made submarine?
posted by kingdead at 8:47 AM on June 23, 2023 [3 favorites]


“The community is ONCE AGAIN engaging in BLATANT violent speech voicing class genocidal attitudes in the most recent FPP. It is disgusting and I'm seriously considering leaving the community over this. [my bolding]

Really? After this whole thread?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:52 AM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


(psst, check phunniemee's other comments in this thread)
posted by Etrigan at 8:59 AM on June 23, 2023 [3 favorites]


You know she's kidding, right?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:59 AM on June 23, 2023 [3 favorites]


The CEO himself was so nonchalant about safety that it should have been illegal for him to take people down there.

Yeah, see, that's an obvious "he's a jagoff" indicator.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:59 AM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


“You know she's kidding, right?”

Nope. Sorry, phunnimee. I was fully credulous that someone else would pick up the mantle. This thread has broken my brain.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:02 AM on June 23, 2023 [16 favorites]


Nah you're good my metatalk engagement is just Satisfied Drake Meme pointing at a poop emoji forever
posted by phunniemee at 9:06 AM on June 23, 2023 [25 favorites]


I generally would like for any of the MeTas to have less of the "I'm considering leaving"/"No, User, please don't go!" exchanges. They always rub me the wrong way, I guess because I sometimes see the as emotionally manipulative detours and/or popularity contests.
posted by TwoStride at 9:08 AM on June 23, 2023 [61 favorites]


If it’s any consolation to anyone frustrated (one way or the other) by the tone of the discussion here, the phenomenon at the heart of this thread has been noticed all across social media and now articles are being written about it, with media experts being interviewed and all... some examples just from googling "schadenfreude billionaires":

Search for Titanic submersible unleashes ‘eat the rich’ sentiment online

From horror to fan fiction, the Titanic submersible disappearance ignited a torrent of mixed feelings on social media and became 'a perfect storm for virality,' a media expert said

Memes, jokes about Titan submersible draw criticism over insensitivity
posted by bitteschoen at 9:15 AM on June 23, 2023 [4 favorites]


Here is why you are seeing all of the submarine jokes



my first ever link to something from Tiktok
posted by philip-random at 9:24 AM on June 23, 2023 [32 favorites]


That is an outstanding video.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:29 AM on June 23, 2023 [9 favorites]


Yep, we usually only close MeTa threads when they are (somehow) entirely resolved or going off the rails. This thread is fine.

With all due respect to Jess, this thread was never on the rails to begin with.
posted by spitbull at 9:33 AM on June 23, 2023 [8 favorites]


Well, there's another thread about billionaires now so I guess people can go and wrap themselves up warmly in the spectacle of that. Usual Metafilter things like trying to outsmart each other about which billionaire fascist is the most fascist.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 9:54 AM on June 23, 2023 [1 favorite]


Hippybear,

With respect, old friend, it seems like some remarks from the callow end of the Meta pool stepped hard on your empathy feelers.

I have a deep reserve of gallows humor, but I have my limits, too. Mostly I get riled when the jokers have neither the creds nor the wit to indulge in offhand remarks they believe to be funny.

But Meta is truly an endeavor that thrives on variety. I draw the line at punching down in general, but I shake my head at the youngsters who haven't yet been gut-punched with actual tragedy and whose empathy nodes are still underdeveloped. I don't want them censored or their comments deleted. I hope they'll be met with examples of civility by those with the wit to do so.

I heard the bad news this morning, about that submersible. They imploded about a mile deep. At that depth, they may have had time to mutter "oh shit" but I am confident they never knew what hit them when that hull buckled. I was relieved. I spent the past few days thinking about what it may have been like huddling in the cold and dark, waiting for their air go foul. I can attest that in such a situation you never stop hoping, and the best you can do is fall into a mindless torpor.

These conversations, in all their aspects, are what make the Metas worthwhile.

I have buried too many friends. I could not share the gallows humor about this event.
posted by mule98J at 10:08 AM on June 23, 2023 [1 favorite]


I shake my head at the youngsters who haven't yet been gut-punched with actual tragedy and whose empathy nodes are still underdeveloped.

you know what they say about assuming
posted by i used to be someone else at 10:14 AM on June 23, 2023 [21 favorites]


This thread is the Energizer Bunny of ridiculousness.
posted by bondcliff at 10:16 AM on June 23, 2023 [15 favorites]


The takeaway for me from this thread is that it's remarkably easy to be reading a comment, to quickly glance down at the byline, and to get the letter-shapes confused between
phunniemee and
praemunire.
posted by nobody at 10:31 AM on June 23, 2023 [19 favorites]


The Levenshtein Distance is 9, pretty darned close.
posted by sammyo at 10:36 AM on June 23, 2023




yeah, it was always a Wednesday or Thursday back in the day
posted by philip-random at 10:47 AM on June 23, 2023 [4 favorites]


what do you mean by that, urbanwhaleshark

it comes across as further scolding on the types of things a person might share in MetaFilter

apologies if I completely missed your point, I'm just not sure insinuation and anything less than direct communication in a MeTa thread is doing much good
posted by elkevelvet at 10:48 AM on June 23, 2023 [1 favorite]


So - the 19-year-old kid who was on the trip was apparently scared to go, but ultimately decided to accompany his father as a Special Father's Day Treat, despite the fact that he was terrified.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:52 AM on June 23, 2023


This thread is the Energizer Bunny of ridiculousness.

Don't worry eventually it will get so far it will collapse in on itself
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:01 AM on June 23, 2023


and its batteries will leak acid that will eat through everything down to earth's core, which will explode and cause the planet to tear in two.
posted by philip-random at 11:22 AM on June 23, 2023


> it comes across as further scolding on the types of things a person might share in MetaFilter. apologies if I completely missed your point, I'm just not sure insinuation and anything less than direct communication in a MeTa thread is doing much good

It was a weak post, and Fizz clarified that - they were bored and wanted to have a natter. Which is fine if that's what Metafilter is now. My point is that it didn't used to be.

There have been a lot of troubling things happening with both Twitter and Meta this week and a decent post might have included that information rather than just be yet another way to amplify what's probably a marketing exercise by two awful people who are determined to destroy a lot of lives, and in doing so it might leave many marginalised people here who are affected by those decisions and who want to talk about them out of the conversation that other people consider fun.

I'm not scolding people for wanting to share things here or gate-keeping what they want to share. I am disappointed that this was a post primarily for shits-and-giggles about two very powerful men doing very great harm to a lot of people which, given the conversations about inclusivity Metafilter have been having over the last few years, seems to going against those goals.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:23 AM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


make the post you want to see? seems like the clear solution here

edit to add: in principle, I have sympathy for anyone trying to make a community a good place, or help slow the tides of a place getting worse, I'm just not sure we're all on the same page about what that means
posted by elkevelvet at 11:25 AM on June 23, 2023 [8 favorites]


It was a weak post, and Fizz clarified that - they were bored and wanted to have a natter. Which is fine if that's what Metafilter is now. My point is that it didn't used to be.

Really? When?

a decent post might have included that information rather than just

You could absolutely make that post. I have utter belief in the mod team not to delete it just because someone said "Zuckerberg" and "Musk" on the same day,
posted by Etrigan at 11:26 AM on June 23, 2023 [3 favorites]


*looks at shattered remnants of indignant comment fluttering in the wind*

phunniemee wins thread
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:27 AM on June 23, 2023 [1 favorite]


Lisshen. Some thingsh in here don't react well to bullshit.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:32 AM on June 23, 2023 [1 favorite]


> Really? When?

See my last-but-one comment. For the record I'm not having a pop at Fizz at all.

> You could absolutely make that post.

I haven't looked at the thread recently but I did notice that ArtW already referenced what EM has been up to this week in that thread but it seemed to have fallen by the wayside.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:35 AM on June 23, 2023


(Took me a search through the thread to realize you weren't choosing a weird place to express a grudge against Eyebrows McGee.)
posted by nobody at 11:42 AM on June 23, 2023 [5 favorites]


I believe the “when?” was in response to “My point is that it didn't used to be”, urbanwhaleshark.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 11:44 AM on June 23, 2023


Let me rephrase that sentence then. "I seem to recall it didn't used to be like that". That way the onus is on me for having a faulty memory rather on than something that may or may not have been true.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:53 AM on June 23, 2023


It was a weak post, and Fizz clarified that - they were bored and wanted to have a natter. Which is fine if that's what Metafilter is now. My point is that it didn't used to be.

Cat-Scan.com is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their scanners, or why.

posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:05 PM on June 23, 2023 [21 favorites]


Btw, if I was being vague about what Meta have been up to I apologise. Here's an example. Over the last week or so they've been asking the mods of major Mastodon instances to meet for secret chats. That screenshot is the mod of my instance giving a little feedback.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:09 PM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


So why not add that info to the post in question? I don’t think anyone’s going to accuse it of being off-topic or otherwise inappropriate. Or if you feel like it deserves a stand alone post, that’s always an option?
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 12:15 PM on June 23, 2023


yeah, I'd be very happy to see that stupid death match thread flip into discussion (with links) of just what these two fun loving billionaire bros (and their money) get up to while our eyes are diverted elsewhere.

This would be good application of Metafilter
posted by philip-random at 12:25 PM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


how do people communicate in the world? this whole thread starts out with the framing "MetaFilter has a real problem with voicing class genocidal attitudes" and hundreds of comments later we're getting a suggestion that MetaFilter used to be different (better?) but it takes several more comments to connect that to secret Mastodon chats among mods

more to the point: what am I doing here

be well all, I'm taking my fart jokes to another thread
posted by elkevelvet at 12:30 PM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


Does it not seem as if this class of people might be courting death as assiduously as the opposite leg of the bell curve, the class currently dying deaths of despair? Dickrocketing themselves into the stratosphere or plunging into the realm of the extremophiles? It looks like they're chasing deaths of joy. It's so ubiquitous, it's starting to look inevitable: The Way of Things.

As to what to say about it, well, it's like when Hamlet's asked to pity Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, whose deaths he's just machinated, and he says "they did make love to this office," or something like that--basically "wtf? Of course I'm not sorry for them! They asked for it!" Plus! The fuckers were trying to kill him!

What just happened to the wealthy submariners and the general reaction to their fate among the serfs is a cautionary tale for others of their ilk. And it's too bad so many of them will miss it or miss the message in it. Because if only they were to find it and heed it, not only might they be saved from themselves, so might the rest of humanity be saved. All of us that they are inexorably dragging down with them.

Because even if they're not shooting themselves into the sun or firing themselves at the Earth's core, the way they live is dangerous. It's not healthy to incur the wrath of the subaltern. And it's not healthy to live a life that requires the oxidation of the most possible oxidizable resources. Burn everything, all of it, immediately, now now now, and never stop burning it until it is all gone, as if we didn't know how that ends.

Even if you do, inarguably, have a whole bunch of power, it's still a mistake to think you're invincible. Thinking you're invincible is dangerous. That's the whole entire lesson of the fargin Titanic, hello? This shit is not hard, and yet they continue, endlessly, seemingly inevitably, on the same wildly destructive track they've been on since Easter Island dayz, getting more perilously effective at it with each passing decade to the point where now they're endangering not just themselves and the other members of their species but an entire biome. I hated the idea of them down there trapped and was very relieved when I found out yesterday that they blew up quickly days ago, but for the sake of the rest of them that didn't happen to die the other day, if laughing at them causes any of them to wake the fuck up and get off this murder-ride they're all on? Hallefuckinglujah. Laughing at them isn't cruel. Number one, probably none of them will see it. Number two, if any of them do, they might--probably won't, but might--take notice and cut the world-ending bullshit while there's still time for them and us.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:36 PM on June 23, 2023 [8 favorites]


Not sure if it clarifies much, but the Meta being referred to in urbanwhaleshark’s comment is Facebook, not Metafilter (I was pretty baffled until I realized that).
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 12:36 PM on June 23, 2023 [6 favorites]


We should just call it ZuckMeta to avoid confusion
posted by kensington314 at 1:07 PM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


METAFILTER: (I was pretty baffled until I realized that)
posted by philip-random at 1:08 PM on June 23, 2023 [4 favorites]


you know what they say about assuming
posted by i used to be someone else


Yep. I'm holding out both hands. One is already full. I'm waiting for something to show up in the other. (Okay, that was about hoping, but well, you know. I've spent enough years scraping it off my shoes to recognize the smell most of the time.)
posted by mule98J at 1:45 PM on June 23, 2023 [1 favorite]


Does it not seem as if this class of people might be courting death as assiduously as the opposite leg of the bell curve, the class currently dying deaths of despair?

No. for example John Astor and "Mollie" Brown.

Howard Hughes yes. Buzz Aldrin, no. Buzz light-year...in theory.
people who climb mountains, dunno.

I give hippybear a little leeway with the genocidal reference. on one hand it might seem overblown but on the other, the prime aspects of the psychological breakdown of your victim within fascism or any other authoritarian regime is to dehumanize the victim whether Rich poor or middle class as history has shown that revolutions turn Genocide are not begun by the rich well there are a few exceptions but they're mostly run by the middle class and implemented by the poor or so-called lower classes.
posted by clavdivs at 2:46 PM on June 23, 2023


Hi, just caught up on this thread.

I'm a member of the Global BIPOC Board (what we do; my thoughts, as of a few months ago, on whether/how the BIPOC Board has made a difference on the site).

kevinbelt, in a comment in this thread, you have claimed:

"once the Steering Committee was determined to be probably illegal, the SC’s duties were just dumped on the BIPOC Board"

and complained that the comments on the recent minutes posts were closed, and sarcastically implied that for those comments to be closed was a failure of community governance. At least, I think "it was closed to comments because yay community governance." was sarcasm, but I don't know you particularly well, so I'm not certain.

I suggest that you post your assertions and concerns as a new MetaTalk thread (ideally with straightforward language rather than sarcasm, for clarity's sake) so the BIPOC Board can address them there. (I am making this suggestion as an individual person and I haven't checked with other board members about it.)

Thanks.
posted by brainwane at 2:56 PM on June 23, 2023 [27 favorites]


on one hand it might seem overblown but on the other, the prime aspects of the psychological breakdown of your victim within fascism or any other authoritarian regime is to dehumanize the victim whether Rich poor or middle class as history has shown that revolutions turn Genocide are not begun by the rich well there are a few exceptions but they're mostly run by the middle class and implemented by the poor or so-called lower classes.

a) 10 stages of genocide
b) 10 patterns of genocide
c) how the lemkin institute identifies a genocide
(lemkin institute is founded/named after the guy who coined the term)

with a)
- is there a visual manifestation of hatred against ultra-wealthy? are they required to wear dollar signs on their clothes? is there even a call for this happening?
- is there discrimination against ultra-wealthy, where their civil rights are abrogated, their citizenship revoked?
- are ultra-wealthy being dehumanized? i mean, truly, really dehumanized, where they are given no consideration as humans and granted no dignity, to the point where they are denigrated on site? dunks and rhetoric about "eating the rich" aside, which cannot be taken as serious policy proposals.
- is there a large organization creating a process to exterminate ultra-wealthy?
- is there a massive wave of propaganda being published about ultra-wealthy aside from george soros (which can be chalked up to anti-semitism)?
- is there any real attempt to prepare for murdering ultra-wealthy? like, armies, camps, weapons.
- is there actual persecution?

with b)
- has there been any violence against ultra-wealthy? is it a cohesive identity?
- is there evidence of any plan to commit atrocities against ultra-wealthy?
- are ultra-wealthy prevented from organizing with each other, exercising any of their rights, living any of their lives? are they being ejected from their countries of residence?
- are ultra-wealthy historically discriminated against? and i mean as ultra-wealthy, as an identity, in a way that can easily be distinguished from, say, ethnicity or faith?

with c)
- is there a pattern of mass murder against the ultra-wealthy, whether it be gender-neutral, sex-selective, muder by labor camps, or famine?
- have there been human rights violations against the ultra-wealthy? do they have a culture that is being destroyed right now?
- are their homes being destroyed?
- are they being denied the ability, the right to identify and live as they wish?

the answer to all of those is a fucking no, none of that shit is happening to the rich, so calling it "genocide" is both overblown rhetoric and enragingly dismissive and denigrating to those actually facing horrific discrimination and dehumanization by governments around the world.
posted by i used to be someone else at 3:35 PM on June 23, 2023 [49 favorites]


seriously, there's so much weird defensiveness about the ultra-wealthy.

they're not gonna {invest in your idea|fuck you|call you}, bro
posted by i used to be someone else at 3:36 PM on June 23, 2023 [25 favorites]


like, where in the whole goddamn world is there a coordinated campaign to get rid of billionaires by any governmental/quasi-governmental organization? where are the laws being passed?

people dunking on them and saying they're right fucking bastards is a gnat buzzing in the ears of a giant that can just buy their way out.
posted by i used to be someone else at 3:40 PM on June 23, 2023 [4 favorites]


More on-topic regarding this thread (and speaking entirely for myself; I assume at least one or more other people on the BIPOC Board disagree with me): I'll share some of my own personal beliefs. I am trying to describe my own stance and not to criticize others; it's descriptive about me, not prescriptive about others, so I hope you will read it with that framing, or skip it. Then I'll mention how my own interior experiences, such as reactions to things, seem to differ from those of a lot of MeFites. And then I'll talk about how different places suit different needs, and how MeFi doesn't suit all of mine.

My personal beliefs: I'm not a Unitarian Universalist, but the first of their seven principles has always resonated with me: "The inherent worth and dignity of every person". delfin phrased it similarly when describing the point of view that "humanity possesses an inherent dignity that must be respected always, regardless of circumstances." I do actually extend this, personally, to every single human, including ones who oppress me and have made the worst possible choices that hurt the entire planet. There are a few pragmatic and ideological reasons to hold this position (e.g., there's less danger of mistakenly assigning a person to the "lesser human" category), but probably for me, at core, it's axiomatic on a level beyond reason. Avoiding certain kinds of wishes, statements, etc. about billionaires, racists, TERFs, and political enemies is not particularly, for me, about wanting them to like me, or trying to persuade uninformed voters, or things like that. There is something deeper, visceral, about the sacredness of human life, and about the discipline of remembering that I too have the capacity to be monstrous, that it would be too easy for me to jokingly dehumanize someone and then come to mean it.

And, as such, I try hard not to wish death on anyone; the closest I come is to wish for the end of someone's suffering. I find it pretty easy to not publicly say that I wish death on anyone. I'm also pretty limited in making gallows-humor-style jests about death, especially in public where I might hit a sore spot in one of my readers or listeners. When I joke, it's to make people laugh, and I don't want my humor to cause pain.

Different interior experiences: I recognize that, in this, I am out of step with lots of people on MetaFilter and on social media. Some comments in this thread have also helped me understand the very different interior experiences (meaning, different emotions and cognitions and reactions to situations) that many other people have:

"if every comment made online was made with the requirement of 'don't say anything you wouldn't want anybody else to feel bad about hearing, ever,' you wouldn't be able to say anything. Full-stop." said Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted. This is not my experience.

"More generally, I feel a great deal of civility-at-all-costs fatigue. I get that they will never see my posts, but other Mefites will. But does that also mean that I have to suppress my own lived experiences for the comfort of others when commenting? I know this sounds like hot-take bait, but I'm genuinely wrestling with when does basic decency (good) become tone policing (bad)? (And I realize that's a pretty facile, probably false dichotomy, but it's the best way I can express this tension I'm feeling. I'm sure one of you could say it better.)" I appreciated getting to read this articulation by smirkette, because I don't particularly have to suppress my lived experiences on MetaFilter for the comfort of others. I do not feel any civility-at-all-costs fatigue, and feel more energized in conversational spaces where everyone's civil.

As I said, I recognize that I'm out of the mainstream, here on MetaFilter and in some other online spaces, in my experiences and my preferences.

Different places suit different needs: I'm reflecting on how it has made me feel to consider this.

This is a message board where anyone can register for USD$5, there's no unifying purpose to why people join, participants generally don't know each other well or feel a responsibility to take care of each other, there are tens of thousands of registered users who post on a wide variety of topics including controversial subjects, snarky/dismissive responses to others' comments often are allowed, and, in general, there are tidepools of sweetness here, but the ocean as a whole is not such a place. I have had many opportunities to remind myself that MetaFilter, structurally, is often not going to be a comfortable place, and that we don't have a lot of shared values among the membership.

This thread is another reminder of these facts. Different places suit different needs, and MeFi doesn't suit all of mine. So this thread serves as another spur to make sure I spend significant time in spaces (such as a particular religious study group I'm in) where there's a stronger foundation of shared values, which shape the ways we share, for instance, frustration about inequality. Just as some people have said that they need a conversational space where no one is scolding them to be positive, I am remembering that I want to seek a particular kind of nourishment I want, which is more likely found in conversational spaces with different foundations.
posted by brainwane at 4:04 PM on June 23, 2023 [29 favorites]


A very thoughtful post, and while I had told myself that I did not want to return to this thread lightly, I'd like to respond to it.

You are completely correct that MetaFilter is a melting pot of personalities, motivations, experiences and worldviews, one that is less of an ocean of sweetness than a parade of elephants fed a random selection of food and drugs. It's hard to say what to expect from it on a given day. Some days it's inspirational and thought-provoking; some days it charges in random directions that no one had expected; some days it's a struggle to contain massive amounts of excrement.

And that's why I'm here, frankly. That kind of diversity and unpredictability -- bound by social norms and thoughtful moderation, to be sure; it is managed chaos, not a wild west free-for-all -- keeps it interesting. I encounter points of view that challenge my own, that disturb me at times, that make a small part of me want to open up my tablet screen and shout WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING? at certain posts and individuals.

There is sweetness here, on many an occasion. But all-sweet-all-the-time can make dental visits expensive for many.

If a more focused conversational space with specific values and beliefs is something that you would benefit from, by all means, spend time there; making conscious choices that benefit one's own peace of mind and mindset can only be a good thing. I would encourage you, however, not to give up on MeFi based on this particular set of conclusions you've drawn. That sweetness that you yearn for is part of the diversity here, after all. As a site and as an online community, we benefit from the light, the dark and all the grays in between, as well as hot pink, burnt ochre, neon green and octarine from wherever we can get them.

Lord knows that I am out-of-step with many here on MetaFilter, myself. I wouldn't have it any other way.
posted by delfin at 4:46 PM on June 23, 2023 [6 favorites]


seriously, there's so much weird defensiveness about the ultra-wealthy.

Huh, I'm not defending the ultra rich, I'm pointing out the the language used to dehumanize.

or is that the point.
posted by clavdivs at 5:50 PM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


https://twitter.com/cooperlund/status/1672364092642807815

Seems like reactions to millionaires dying on the Titanic were mixed back in 1912 as well.
posted by zymil at 7:16 PM on June 23, 2023 [9 favorites]


what a strange standard that makes it incumbent on the proles not to dehumanize those who perpetuate a system that dehumanizes the proles
posted by logicpunk at 7:20 PM on June 23, 2023 [24 favorites]


If the problem is dehumanizing people, it seems fairly self-evident that no one should do it. Same way that a system in which people oppress other people doesn't get solved by different people doing the oppressing.
posted by lapis at 8:07 PM on June 23, 2023 [4 favorites]


turns out asking the people on top to please, please stop dehumanizing others is not the power move we all would like it to be
posted by logicpunk at 8:14 PM on June 23, 2023 [17 favorites]


But if I don't do that, someone else will, and they won't be as talented at it as I am.
posted by delfin at 8:14 PM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


It sounds like some people aren't allowed to have human emotions and reactions to an unfolding event on this website.

Because the more people double down on accusations of genocide and dehumanization, the more it feels like it's just propaganda.

"Won't you speak nicely of those who have more power than you? They are human just like you."

It's super disturbing.

Oppression is a system. Speaking ill of people is not Oppression.
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 8:44 PM on June 23, 2023 [24 favorites]


And in fact, one way to cope with actual genocide and oppression is through dark/gallows humor. So this is very ironic indeed.
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 8:51 PM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


ah, the lumpenproletariat.
As Marx once said" as machines become more human, men become more like machines"
ah, the exploitation of Victorian England. what a wonderful system for capitalism with unorganized individuals but that changed to degree when workers started to organize themselves by being able to vote and form labor unions . commodity is inert. it cannot organize and it cannot fight back. take the Nixon Administration, they used many tactics to harass and prosecute anyone that got in their way. But what of the future, if there's an economic crisis and it continues with a catastrophic war, some future president might be tempted, being desperate, to accept radical measures to solve all the problems. COUGH. As Goebbels once wrote, "we solved problems in war that could be solved without it." or some such notion. The reality is that one can't really have a genocide of billionaire's. but let's use an example, Cambodia. all wealth was exterminated, doctors, lawyers, teachers. the point is that the new regime can expand the death downwards to the teacher, the doctor, the taxi driver. this rapid breakdown of society can be viewed in the French Revolution though that did not devolve into what we would call genocide today.
the real f***** up thing about it is that we have the constitutional mechanisms to change inequity with rapidity but fail to over and over again and that's on U.S.
posted by clavdivs at 8:52 PM on June 23, 2023 [1 favorite]


You can be angry at people and pissed off about oppression and still not dehumanize people or be indifferent toward their death. I don't understand why this keeps getting binaried. It's not an either/or choice between "Express indifference or even happiness toward someone's death" or "Say nothing but really nice positive things about everyone." There's a gigantic range of options between those two things, including anger and frustration and sadness and hurt, that aren't dehumanization.
posted by lapis at 8:58 PM on June 23, 2023 [7 favorites]


We must not be indifferent about someone's death who we did not know personally?

No one binaried this but you.
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 9:07 PM on June 23, 2023 [5 favorites]




Brainwane, could you clarify how that metatalk is relevant to this one? That phrase is completely not related to what we are talking about right now. I'm confused...
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 9:17 PM on June 23, 2023 [1 favorite]


If you do Buddhist Metta loving kindness meditations where you seek no harm to anyone and love to everyone, this is wonderful for you.

But do you see where it becomes sticky when you become judgmental about others' lived human emotions and expressions of said emotions? It's spiritual bypassing at its finest.

If you're a Boddhisatva, more power to you. But you're gonna be brought down a notch if you start expecting everyone to be one, too.
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 9:25 PM on June 23, 2023 [17 favorites]


You can be angry at people and pissed off about oppression and still not dehumanize people or be indifferent toward their death.

You can. You can also instead deal with the ongoing dehumanisation in action and deed of entire classes of people that some of us belong to by saying things that aren't very kind to our oppressors and those that directly benefit from our misery. You're right that we don't have to. So what?

"You don't have to do the thing" isn't really an argument against doing it. You're right that it isn't mandatory. There are other ways that some people might deal with stuff. But this is how some of us choose to deal with it, this is what actually works for many of us, in terms of getting through another day in this fucked up system. And another. And another...
posted by Dysk at 9:58 PM on June 23, 2023 [14 favorites]


There is legitimate evil in this world and I have no qualms about calling evil evil. Everybody has some degree of culpability in life. We all can be better, we can all lift people up. The average republican voter isn't as bad as the leadership or the propaganda experts at Fox. But they still do evil, and evil corrupts. They are risking my life, women's lives, the environment, social stability, a race war. Actual freedoms. I wish them the best, but their own math says I should be looking at them as an enemy who is almost certainly happy if I died. I'm ok calling them evil. Because their actions lead to an awful lot of evil. I'm not advocating for fascist solutions of camps and pogroms. I want them to leave me alone. But they can;t, wont, don't. Think it's a duty to oppress. And that means they will keep coming for me and mine until they have a reason to stop. Maybe it's because mine, pacifist loving types who go to goddamn therapy, are all dead or driven into hiding.
posted by Jacen at 10:29 PM on June 23, 2023 [3 favorites]


If you want people to stop saying mean things about the ultra-wealthy, you can ask the ultra-wealthy to buy their silence by paying for things like a social safety net, better working conditions, living wages, affordable health care, less discrimination...

But no, it's easier to ask the people in the margins to turn the the other cheek, then the third one, then the fourth one, and then to just bend over, right?

In the mean time, running interference for the rich still ain't gonna make them give you more than crumbs.
posted by i used to be someone else at 10:47 PM on June 23, 2023 [26 favorites]


And using the Khmer Rouge as an example is interesting given most of the *other* actual genocides didn't target just the wealthy.
posted by i used to be someone else at 10:50 PM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


OP, I think you overplayed your hand here.

I’m far younger than you but I learned long ago not to moralize out loud. You’re casting judgment on us for casting judgment on others. Let’s all acknowledge we’re hypocrites and sit the hell down.
posted by khrusanthemon at 11:04 PM on June 23, 2023 [8 favorites]


most of the *other* actual genocides didn't target just the wealthy.

iit s quite evident you don't have really a clue where you're talking about in this example. not one clue so I'm going to bow out thanks
posted by clavdivs at 11:26 PM on June 23, 2023


Obviously i misunderstood what you were trying to say there. I still am not sure what you were trying to say about Cambodia.

My point remains, it is absurd and offensive to equate what happened re: dark 'humor' around the rich to genocide.
posted by i used to be someone else at 11:33 PM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]


As the poster of the referenced MeTa asking people not to use the phrase ‘garbage people’ because I saw it as dehumanizing in a way that had specifically classist overtones even when sometimes applied to rich people (notably, Trump) - and because it was also being used in a context that overlapped with issues around how our society deals with sexual assault and how unhelpful the ‘rapists are monsters’ approach can be in that it seems to more often cause people to think that their buddy or brother can’t possibly be a rapist because he’s such a nice guy (to them) - I do not see expressing a lack of mourning for rich people who get themselves into trouble entirely based on being rich and having too much hubris, or even finding some humor in that, to be at all inconsistent with my previous MeTa. I avoid expressing direct wishes for harm against anyone on social media/in public for various reasons related to both personal values and prudence; and I think that taking some care with each other and having compassion for how our words affect other members of our community here is worthwhile. But that cuts both ways - many of the comments opposing the less solicitous comments in the submarine thread and above (including in the framing of this MeTa) were not, themselves, caring or compassionate toward fellow members of our community. Also, as I noted above, there was the issue of people talking past each other re: personal animus versus political analysis.
posted by eviemath at 11:34 PM on June 23, 2023 [6 favorites]


relevant previous MetaTalk post on the phrase "garbage people".

So are you saying the "garbage people" meta is similar in that not caring too much if billionaires meet an untimely end is also classist? That's a bit rich, if you'll excuse the pun...
posted by Dysk at 12:41 AM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


Despite all the arguments I don't think any of us generally disagrees with the site policy, as it seems reasonable enough - Violence: It can be okay to talk in strongly critical terms about people's words but don't cross the line into any threats of violence or wishing violence on other people.

This is not dissimilar to the standard that is enforced in major social media sites.

So if you say, X person or Y class of persons is (evil, garbage, deserved to drown, insane, horrible, irrational, stupid) that's fine. Making jokes over billionaires dying in subs gets a tick from me.

If you say, X person or Y class person (should be executed, should be raped, should be hung) then that's an instant warning and deletion, ban on second offense, that's how it generally goes on Facebook - because this qualifies as incitement. This is the attitude / atmosphere I'm more concerned about so, sorry about the minor derail earlier, but as a MeTa post I think the latitude for discussion is a bit wider than a Blue post.
posted by xdvesper at 12:47 AM on June 24, 2023 [2 favorites]


We must not be indifferent about someone's death who we did not know personally?

I don't think the objection is over "indifference", I think it's over "gleeful celebration".

Stuff like "Eh, whatever" or not saying anything at all is indifference. Stuff like "Good, hope those rich assholes suffer" is more in tone with what the complaint is about.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:15 AM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


Just searched this site for "eat the rich" and oh look a similar discussion has already taken place before, right here on MetaTalk, ten years ago:
Maybe we could try not hating people for their economic status?
posted by bitteschoen at 4:38 AM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


I don't think the objection is over "indifference", I think it's over "gleeful celebration".

If that's the case, that's great! Because there wasn't any of that in the sub thread.
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:45 AM on June 24, 2023 [7 favorites]


If that's the case, that's great! Because there wasn't any of that in the sub thread.

The mods DID have to pull a bunch....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:55 AM on June 24, 2023


A bunch? Not at the time this thread was made, no.
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:57 AM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


Because there wasn't any of that in the sub thread.

I mean, there was some of that in that thread.
posted by kbanas at 5:04 AM on June 24, 2023


gleeful celebration?

I really don't think so. Maybe one or two that got deleted. But most of the complaints here are about indifference. Let's just keep it accurate.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:12 AM on June 24, 2023 [9 favorites]


(Because that is what drives me nuts about this thread - the constant shifting of what was being said into "gleeful celebration" or "hope they die" comments. That wasn't there when this thread was made, it wasn't. It's either inaccurate or gaslighting to say it was.)
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:15 AM on June 24, 2023 [16 favorites]


There is a substantial difference between "I find it hard to care about the lives of ultrarich people stuck in a dilemma of their own corrupt making," or even "fuck the rich lol," and "I am happy that those people died" or "I am rooting for those people's deaths."

It's not a difficult differentiation to make! And we have a bunch of people who made those deleted comments in this thread re-articulating their thoughts, which are a mixture of "I don't feel the need to have arbitrary, performative empathy towards people who did an incredibly dangerous thing on a super-sketchy vessel whose creator actively bragged about the safety protocols he was violating before charging people $250k a ticket" and "that, plus there's something darkly funny about a vessel called the Titan sinking while it tries to take a bunch of aristocrat sorts down to see the Titanic."

Nobody making jokes about bootstraps killed the billionaire and the CEO. The billionaire and the CEO killed the billionaire and the CEO. The billionaire and the CEO also killed a 19-year-old child.

The jokes have not hurt anybody. The jokes have not killed anybody. One of the people who died could very plausibly be called a murderer, but I've been told that callousness towards that man's death is possibly genocidal in nature.

This is really really not a complicated thing to talk about, yet a handful of people continue to project their spurious interpretation of what happened onto the actual comments that got left, then insist that their interpretation is more meaningful and real than the comments that got made. Because I am not a sociopath, I have a great deal of empathy for the sorts of cognitive quirks that lead people to act this way, but I will add, as a data point, that it is mildly exhausting when it happens over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 5:30 AM on June 24, 2023 [45 favorites]


Just searched this site for "eat the rich" and oh look a similar discussion has already taken place before, right here on MetaTalk, ten years ago:
Maybe we could try not hating people for their economic status?


Wow. Wow wow wow. Excellent find.

That ten year old thread was started by corb, who has been in this thread with an entirely different perspective.

I searched for my own comments in that old thread and spotted one from EmpressCallipygos, also active in this thread, who also had a different perspective ten years ago. (I didn't name hunt for anyone in particular, she just stood out to me.)

You all will be happy to note that my shitty lil comments and I have shown no personal growth whatsoever in the intervening years, thank you.
posted by phunniemee at 5:42 AM on June 24, 2023 [31 favorites]


Speaking of "no growth no matter how much time goes by," this collection of jokes about the Titanic sinking immediately after it sank delighted me, and suggested that this phenomenon isn't even slightly new.

(Also they're funny)
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 6:15 AM on June 24, 2023 [11 favorites]


Whoops. I think I should have been more careful about giving context when I shared the link to that previous MetaTalk about the phrase "garbage people". Sorry! I wasn't trying to say "hey look, there was someone who requested five years ago that we not use a completely different phrase, and therefore [insert logic here] and therefore in this MetaTalk I AM RIGHT" or something like that.

Here's what I should have said: There's relevant discussion in the "garbage people" MetaTalk thread that people here might like to read or reread. Several individuals reflected on how they feel about using the phrase or seeing it used, and more broadly, how they manage their own choices around insults, "punching up," "the normalization of language that enables us to view other humans as disposable" (as eviemath put it), and related topics. For instance, two or three cars parked under the stars suggested that individuals MeFites govern their own language but avoid imposing a shared standard on others; Countess Elena wrote about choosing to avoid certain language usage for the speaker's sake; Mrs. Pterodactyl discussed the emotional relief of not policing one's own language; and saltbush and olive shared her perspective on privilege and cruelty.

AnyUsernameWillDo, in your "If you do Buddhist Metta loving kindness meditations" comment several hours ago, were you speaking to someone in particular, such as me, or more broadly to the thread as a whole? (I'm not sure, as it follows immediately after a comment you direct to me and your reference to Metta could be about the kinds of spiritual and religious groups I referred to in one of my comments, but your comment seems to be speaking to people who have disparaged others' personal experiences and/or on-site comments, which I have not done. Or at least, if I have done so, it has been an accident, and I apologize for doing so.)
posted by brainwane at 6:19 AM on June 24, 2023 [6 favorites]


Another relevant MetaTalk, from 2018, discusses "comments I see that express the desire to see violence done to someone, whether from face-punches or guillotines" -- again, I'm linking to this as a thread of interesting discussion about the topic of "blowing off steam" comments that some people find very offputting and some people cherish.
posted by brainwane at 6:36 AM on June 24, 2023


We're in the fascism now, y'all. If folks joking or enjoying the death of genocidal slavers is bothering you, do you think maybe there's some privilege to be explored there?

Comparing billionaires and their 100% necessary counterpart, the poor, as lifestyles, is as disingenuous a 2023 take as I can think of off the Rupert networks. I know we were all educated and entertained by capital financed media, but pleeeeeaaaase decolonize. Pleaaaaase.

Please don't run off more leftists again as the vice continues to tighten. Please don't put your comfort over those close to the grinder. I know some of y'all want to live in a world of abstracts, where death voiced is tantamount to death experienced. But it's not. Please stop it. You're reproducing white supremacy. Again. Please stop.
posted by CPAnarchist at 7:42 AM on June 24, 2023 [33 favorites]


Whether one hates billionaires or doesn't hate billionaires, and regardless of what one thinks about violence against them and whether it's sad when they die, they aren't a gens of any kind nor a caste within one. Nothing good comes from that equivalency.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:59 AM on June 24, 2023 [11 favorites]


There were, as I was reading the sub thread in real time, about two comments that were more actively celebrating or promoting the deaths of the billionaires on the sub. Most were more in the realm of ordinarily tolerated schadenfreude.

There have definitely been some things I’ve called out in more objective language (I seem to recall I’ve even had a comment deleted for calling something classist I insufficiently neutered language before). When I find the tenor of comments in a thread that I am otherwise interested in participating in to be upsetting or overwhelming on a personal level that, on reflection, is not based on a systemic injustice, however, I also speak up, but I try to raise my objections as “this is affecting me negatively”. I’m sure I’m not always successful at that (probably some less successful examples in the linked other MeTa, though I haven’t gone back to re-read it yet), that’s part of being human. But I think this is the core of the present argument about the language in the thread about the sub: some folks were finding it personally overwhelming and causing them emotional distress. We don’t have to agree with that being “objectively” reasonable or care about the billionaires in question to care about our fellow Mefites and how they are doing. On the other side, you have a right to participate in communities that care about how general engagement is affecting you, and you have a right to state personal boundaries for yourself. They don’t need to be objectively reasonable or aligned with other people’s boundaries. BUT, phrasing our personal boundaries in situations where a systemic injustice isn’t occurring as objective does disservice both to ourselves and to our communities. In particular, it invites argument about the accuracy of our “objective” analysis, which will only bring us more harm and distress/feelings of unsafety when the thing is not actually an objective issue for us; escalating distrust instead of providing an opening for compassionate engagement with each other.

The sub thread would have gone better if it had gone something like:
A: “I’m finding the dark humor really distressing. I haven’t sorted out why yet [or: this whole situation aligns with several phobias of line and I want to follow it to know the outcome for my piece of mind but comments of x type are making it really hard for me].”
B: “Sorry you’re feeling that way. Maybe take a break from the thread and just read in carefully timed chunks?”
C, D, and E: “We’re all feeling the same actually.”
F: “Ok, I’ve made a separate thread for the dark humor, click here.”

Secondarily, a less bad outcome might have looked like:
A: “What a terrible thing to say, you’re a terrible person!”
B: “Wow, I can see that you are finding this really personally distressing. You seem to be skewing or misinterpreting my meaning and I find that also quite hurtful, but can you explain more about your personal reaction so that we can better understand each other and hopefully be more compassionate toward each other in this thread?”
Or (from either A or B): [flag and move on].

Walking back the initial interpersonal animus between fellow Mefites once the personal accusations have begun is much more difficult than avoiding them in the first place, so a response like B is definitely not guaranteed to be effective at interrupting the escalation of an argument. But perhaps one positive thing we could all endeavour to take from this MeTa is a reminder to try to pay more attention both to our own needs (and remember that it’s healthy to have and express our own personal boundaries! The impulse to universalize is understandable since many, many folks are taught that they shouldn’t have personal boundaries that others disagree with, but in the end makes it harder for us to engage compassionately with each other), and to how our engagement on Metafilter is affecting other members of our community. There will always be times when we don’t succeed in this, but trying is important.
posted by eviemath at 8:19 AM on June 24, 2023 [5 favorites]


brainwane, thank you. No, my comment about the Metta loving kindness was not in response to you. It was in response to lapis, hippybear, as the OP, and anyone who is also doubling down on "just be kind why don't you?" Who are spiritually bypassing those who react to real horrific events in real time in our own way with our own emotions.

As you'll all see in the actual thread, I show empathy for the 19 year old who went to please his dad despite being terrified! This is awful and sad. But do I feel a bit of anger at the CEO and this 19 year old's father for putting them in this risky situation which led to their untimely death.

So tell me again how I should care about this CEO who balked at safety measures and killed himself and four others because of his hubris??? Of course, I feel sad for their families.

What is this Meta even about anymore?
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 9:04 AM on June 24, 2023 [5 favorites]


The garbage people Meta is a derail.
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 9:04 AM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos, the "indifference" comment is what I was responding to. But you chimed in to say something "gleeful." It's disingenuous. I know you don't mean to in bad faith but it's super distracting and this keeps happening in this thread and we have already argued about the "gleeful" aspect earlier.

lapis mentions "indifference" and I was responding to that. It is not helpful to change the words.
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 9:09 AM on June 24, 2023 [2 favorites]


Yep, we usually only close MeTa threads when they are (somehow) entirely resolved or going off the rails. This thread is fine.

I'd be curious to hear you expand on this a bit, jessamyn, if only because I've seen it repeatedly expressed in this same conversation that threads like this are bad and do damage to the community. no sarcasm or judgment intended with this question: what do you see as the value of a thread like this, both in its original formulation and in how it's developed? is the idea just "let's have a pressure-release valve over here so that it doesn't spill any more onto the blue", or is this more of a town-hall forum where ideas and thoughts can be posed toward and potentially incorporated into moderator/administrator thought and behavior moving forward?

It can of course be both and/or many other things. again I'm just curious to hear where you're coming from, since I think that understanding would help frame (for me, at least) how to feel about how this thread's been going.
posted by Kybard at 9:57 AM on June 24, 2023 [3 favorites]


handful of people continue to project their spurious interpretation of what happened onto the actual comments that got left, then insist that their interpretation is more meaningful and real than the comments that got made .... I have a great deal of empathy for the sorts of cognitive quirks that lead people to act this way, but .... it is mildly exhausting when it happens over and over and over ....


This thread title includes the words "billionaire genocide" and within equates society's inhumane treatment of poor people, concentration camp murders, and indifference toward ultra wealthy people doing ill-advised things as if all in the same basket of deplorable. That's absurd to me.

I had wanted a MeTa thread for the opposite reason than this - that the main thread derail attacking a few mild "Meh" comments was what began ruining the discussion.

This site 20 years ago was very much a straight, white tech boys club, and all that implies toward people who aren't. (E.g., me.) So, while I appreciate evolving challenges to how we all view the world, I think Mefi has become a little too rigid, to the point that the expectation of censorship/ censureship will drive (has driven) valuable participants away.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:16 AM on June 24, 2023 [17 favorites]


Because a deleted comment of someone else’s regarding a different deleted comment of mine in a different thread appears to have misunderstood my sentiments, due to, again, all the deletion making these ridiculous slapfights impossible to follow: I personally believe it is acceptable to make fun of both billionaires AND evil former hot dog vendors. For the record.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:00 AM on June 24, 2023 [8 favorites]


Have to admit, one of the first things I read on the internet this morning was "won't someone think of the hot dog vendors" and it started my day out with a much-needed laugh. Love you, metafilter!
posted by ctmf at 11:01 AM on June 24, 2023 [6 favorites]


Thing is, it required both "sides" of the debate here's teamwork to bring that comment into existence in the first place.
posted by ctmf at 11:04 AM on June 24, 2023


I honestly don’t mean this in a fighty way: I have no idea what you mean by that.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:07 AM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


I mean, person A had to complain about the disparaging of hot dog vendors, so that person B could snark about complaining about disparaging hot dog vendors. Without A, there's no B.

And in a roundabout way, we're a diverse group and that's not an entirely bad thing.
posted by ctmf at 11:09 AM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


For the record, I'm pro-hot-dog-vendor, but revoke my support when they become a hot dog vendor turned warlord.
posted by ctmf at 11:11 AM on June 24, 2023 [5 favorites]


I imagine Putin feels the same way.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:13 AM on June 24, 2023 [2 favorites]


To y'all writing public letters of support to OP and voicing your benefits of the doubt on the framing of the post (that OP has had 4 days now to remediate via commenting but instead chose petulant digging in):

it's giving missing stair.
posted by CPAnarchist at 11:15 AM on June 24, 2023 [9 favorites]


TLDR; Is bad things happening to bad people ever ok to celebrate, or should we all hope the people most hurt by bad things caused by bad people never ever do anything other than devoutly pray for deliverance?
posted by Jacen at 11:32 AM on June 24, 2023


For the record, I'm pro-hot-dog-vendor

I guess to be more accurate, I'm pro-hot-dog-vendor but also feel like they probably have enough self-confidence to take a little jokey ribbing re: their qualifications to overthrow a major world power's government.
posted by ctmf at 12:18 PM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


lapis mentions "indifference" and I was responding to that.

Yes, and I meant aggressive expressions of indifference, not just the feeling. Which I have expressed many, many times in this thread, that I am talking about actions taken on this site (that is, posting comments) and not people's internal feelings.

But apparently that's not enough to prevent people from jumping on a slight misphrasing, deciding I believe all sorts of things I don't, and accusing me of doing things I'm not doing.

There's zero way to have any sort of nuanced conversation in an environment where people are just reading everything in the worst possible light and then going further into rigid hyperbole and either/or thinking in response. There are more han just two sides on any topic or issue, with "everything I agree with" on one and "everything I disagree with" on the other. Pick any progressive issue and there's a huge range of thought about tactics, theory, implementation, etc, right? Even among people who agree on basic principles. So it makes no sense to assume that anyone here who disagrees with you on one point automatically disagree with you on everything, or automatically agrees with everything someone else said who agreed on that one point.

This style of reasoning or discussion or debate is a big reason why I find the site overall so unpleasant now, and I wish people would find different ways of engaging. Or that moderators would step in and facilitate conversation rather than this Wild West / cage match thing now.
posted by lapis at 12:44 PM on June 24, 2023 [12 favorites]


MetaTalk: an environment where people are just reading everything in the worst possible light and then going further into rigid hyperbole and either/or thinking in response.

(Sorry.)
posted by box at 1:13 PM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


aggressive expressions of indifference

I never saw any aggressive expressions of indifference. Hard to parse what that means.

Some of the responses to some of those expressions of indifference were aggressive, and were deleted because of it.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:35 PM on June 24, 2023 [8 favorites]


Prior to WW1 the ultra-richest were actually something of a gens.

So much so that they suffered from high rates of the maladies which characterize inbred populations, such as the hemophilia of Tsarevich Alexei of Russia just before the Russian revolution, not to mention distinctive and unfortunate characteristics like the notorious 'Hapsburg jaw'.
posted by jamjam at 1:44 PM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


Very late to this, but it's funny, I've actually found Metafilter to be often overly prickly about people being critical of the 1%, and this thread sorta confirms that. Also, while I haven't read the whole thing, doing key word searches the only example of a deleted comment from the sub thread I've been manage to find here is the one corb posted, which strikes me as not just perfectly legitimate, but thoughtful and the sort of perspective I come to Metafilter to find. The fact that it got deleted just adds to my general sense that this site has, since I began lurking here (roughly 8 years ago), gotten too quick to delete anything that might cause conflict or disagreement among users. I mean, if we can't even respectfully disagree whether or not billionaires are causing irreparable harm on our planet/society, what's the point of this site?

Sometimes I see a comment that rubs me the wrong way - I either respond if I think it's worth doing so, or I ignore it. Unless it's directing hate at another user or expressing bigoted views, I don't see the need for silencing those views (i.e. deletion). But clearly there is a contingent of users, like the OP, who want the level of conversation to be less like a group of friends shooting the shit and more like a college seminar discussion. I'm not really sure what the answer is here - yes, this is a community with certain shared values, but there is also a lot of diversity here, which to me is the site's strength, and I think we'll lose some of that if we don't get more comfortable with allowing a bit more disagreement to exist here. You can expect all of your close friends to have a similar sense of humor, sense of propriety and absence of crassness, but I don't think that's fair to expect of all the users of this site.
posted by coffeecat at 1:55 PM on June 24, 2023 [22 favorites]


What I'm gathering from all of this is that Henry Kissinger's memorial thread -- and I assure you that, despite appearances, Kissinger is mortal and his advanced age indicates it will arrive more sooner than later -- and the response to said memorial thread will be memorable in and of themselves.
posted by delfin at 3:21 PM on June 24, 2023 [11 favorites]


Honestly, I've always had the uneasy suspicion that any given hotdog vendor is potentially a warlord.

And I've worked with and befriended many chefs and propensity for warlordism totally tracks.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:05 PM on June 24, 2023 [10 favorites]


Some people are saying, you shouldn't wish ill upon someone just because they have a billion dollars. Some people are defending a much more exacting rhetorical pacificism: that you should never speak positively about harm to anyone at all. I think both are wrong (at least as site policies), but the latter is more interesting.

To me, it's disturbing to seriously think about anyone suffering severe bodily harm or most kinds of distress (maybe I don't feel this way if I'm angry, can't check right now). So when I seriously think about what the people in the sub might have gone through, that's upsetting. I prefer not to think about it. And I might even be kind of freaked if I thought someone else didn't have that kind of reaction -- that would be upsetting in its own right. So I can easily understand being disturbed by things that made me have these kind of thoughts.

Suppose we all agree on that. The problem, I think, is that different people do different things to protect themselves from those bad feelings. Some people will imagine that the worst won't happen. Some people will retreat into problem-solving. Ah, and, you see -- some people will tell jokes. Here's the example philip-random re-posted earlier, which someone said was "vile":
I think they must be dead down there. Because live billionaires would just pull themselves up to the surface by their bootstraps.
I also thought this was very funny. Now there is an element of righteousness to the joke, right, because it's based on the trope that billionaires think regular people deserve their suffering for not putting in the work to get rich themselves, and now the shoe is on the other foot buddy (not really but it's joke logic). But I don't think we should imagine that the people who enjoyed the joke were enjoying it because they were vividly imagining people dying in a plastic tube at the bottom of the ocean. Closer to the opposite -- the humor is a relief from what would otherwise be horror.

Okay, so what could be "vile" about this? Why would it be upsetting for some people to see this kind of humor? I think it's gotta be based on a misunderstanding. If you think that the people enjoying this joke are literally enjoying torture inside their mind palaces, yeah that's pretty upsetting. But, I have claimed, that's not really how the joke works.

Okay how about this: the people enjoying the joke are not being empathetic towards the people in the sub. Now in one sense this is true, at least at the micro time scale. I said above, I think the point of the joke is partly to get relief from having empathy for someone who's going through something horrible. If you empathetically focus on deep suffering all the time, you'll be miserable. Even the most saintly people don't aspire to that. Relieving other people's suffering is a blessing. Just mentally suffering along with them 24/7 isn't. I don't think anyone believes that, if a person is suffering somewhere on earth, everyone else needs to have it in mind at all times. (If you believed this principle, it would be weird to get exercised about 5 people on a submarine, anyway, given the much greater and more thoroughly ignored suffering elsewhere.)

So if it's untenable to think that everyone literally has to be feeling the sub guys' pain at all times, what else is there to say about empathy? Maybe you think someone making this joke just doesn't care about the sub people in general. I mean, I also don't see what's wrong with that. Obviously there was no shortage of people caring about these guys, they had a fleet the size of the Spanish armada out looking for them. Maybe you think it's not a contest and everyone should just care about everyone. Maybe at some level I agree but, one, you shouldn't call someone "vile" or whatever for not caring about the same stuff as you unless it's super-important. And, two, what do you mean by care? The law doesn't require me to piss on someone who's on fire (not legal advice, your circumstances may differ), but maybe I should do that, maybe I should care about everybody that much, okay. We are all on a message board talking about something unfolding in the middle of the Atlantic. The difference between callousness and compassion here is ... I wanna say kind of fake? Anyway there is a gulf between just about any rhetorical stand any of us could have taken here and actually making any difference in the sub guys' lives.

What is left? Well, making someone the butt of a joke is a kind of disrespect. It teaches that they are in some way not sacred and untouchable. There's a great tradition across societies of disrespecting the powerful in this way, to show they are not gods (or no more than each of us). People get mad about that too. But I don't like thinking that's what's setting people off here, cuz I would find that bootlickery.

I guess what I'm saying is that this is still somewhat mysterious to me. I don't think I will change my mind about what's acceptable but I would like to understand what's going on more.
posted by grobstein at 5:35 PM on June 24, 2023 [45 favorites]


Sometimes I think we're some sort of digital penitents who love the endorphin release of a painful catharsis.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:08 PM on June 24, 2023 [10 favorites]




Well this has been a waste of my time. Have a good day/night everyone. 🙏🏼
posted by AnyUsernameWillDo at 6:46 PM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


There is also quite a bit of rhetorical difference between:

a) All billionaires are evil and worthy of death.

b) These particular billionaires are evil and worthy of death.

and

c) These particular billionaires just did something really, really stupid and unthinking that endangered their lives and those of others, and if they die from this, they brought it on themselves.

Both Team Billionaires are People Too With Families And Everything and Team Eat The Rich With Fava Beans And A Nice Chianti have been mixing-and-matching these three in both threads a bit, and I sense that it's part of the reason that perspectives shifted from "I don't have sympathy for these idiots" to "This is class genocidal rhetoric" without a clutch.
posted by delfin at 7:30 PM on June 24, 2023 [2 favorites]


You guys had teams?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:17 PM on June 24, 2023 [7 favorites]


you should see our away kit
posted by glonous keming at 8:26 PM on June 24, 2023 [7 favorites]


you should see our away teams

put on this red shirt
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:02 PM on June 24, 2023 [6 favorites]


Heeee-he
posted by clavdivs at 9:08 PM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


Okay, so what could be "vile" about this? Why would it be upsetting for some people to see this kind of humor? I think it's gotta be based on a misunderstanding. If you think that the people enjoying this joke are literally enjoying torture inside their mind palaces, yeah that's pretty upsetting. But, I have claimed, that's not really how the joke works.

I actually do think that’s a big part of why this discussion went so wrong. Some people have higher empathy in the sense of literally and viscerally identifying with other people’s suffering, and think everyone else must feel that way too. But ironically, they aren’t empathetic to people who simply don’t have that type of reflexive emotional response, and just assume that people making jokes are experiencing that same visceral reaction and enjoying it.

I, by contrast, must admit that I tend to assume other people are like me - think suffering is bad in like a moral and academic sense but don’t actually experience strong FEELINGS about it outside of people I personally know or identify strongly with - and so when I am lectured for not feeling sufficiently horrible about something, I tend to assume the person just gets off on being a scold, because obviously they don’t ACTUALLY feel anything more than I feel.

I know intellectually that this isn’t the case, because people have varying levels of empathy and that’s fine and even good, but yes, my reflexive reaction tends to be “oh, come on, you can’t possibly actually feel this way.”

I would feel worse about admitting this if the reflexive bad faith wasn’t obviously happening in both directions.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:29 PM on June 24, 2023 [40 favorites]


I think grobstein and showbiz_liz have it.

We're are talking past one another because we start from different experiences with empathy.

I know intellectually that this isn’t the case, because people have varying levels of empathy and that’s fine and even good,

I think that this is particularly important.

From what I've seen, a lot of people equate empathy with being good, or even equate a particular kind of empathy (affective / cognitive / social etc) with being good.

And people equate the kind of /lack of empathy another person displays as proof of their goodness or lack thereof.

It really isn't. Empathy is neutral.

Some people (this is not directed to anyone in this thread) feel badly about someone in a bad situation, and that ticks their "do I need to do anything about this" box and they go on with their life without, actually, doing anything, secure in the knowledge that they are one of the good people who feel empathy.

Some people are so sensitive to the pain of others that they resent their existence. Their involuntary empathy overwhelms their capacity to do something to help the other person.

Sometimes (most of the time?) we can't do anything to alleviate the suffering of those we feel empathy for, and that's hard.

I also think that sometimes, Metafilter is like a small room, a coffee shop, maybe, that's adjacent to several large an rowdy bars (Reddit, Twitter etc).

Some people hang out only at metafilter, and they adjust their volume and body language to suit that of a relatively quiet space.

Some people hang out in the other bars, may get drunk, hear a lot of jokes there, hear things that make them angry, wander into metafilter still discussing those loudly.

All of these people are equally part of metafilter. But they're going to get annoyed with one another.

In this context I think that at least some people on both sides of the argument might be basing their takes on what happens outside of metafilter, than what was actually said in that thread.
posted by Zumbador at 10:15 PM on June 24, 2023 [30 favorites]


What I'm gathering from all of this is that Henry Kissinger's memorial thread -- and I assure you that, despite appearances, Kissinger is mortal and his advanced age indicates it will arrive more sooner than later -- and the response to said memorial thread will be memorable in and of themselves.

I've been wondering if Kissinger isn't going to end up outliving MetFilter.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:39 AM on June 25, 2023 [7 favorites]


Relieving other people's suffering is a blessing. Just mentally suffering along with them 24/7 isn't.

Adolph Reed Jr. once remarked that liberals don't really believe in politics anymore, just in "bearing witness to suffering." I think about that a lot.
posted by MrBadExample at 8:22 AM on June 25, 2023 [8 favorites]


I really appreciate grobstein and showbiz_liz's comments, and would hope the mods might consider them when making future calls over whether off-color/gallows humor jokes that bother some users ought to be deleted or not. I also found the bootstraps joke very funny, and clearly not directed at the specific billionaires in question, but playing off a broader trope.

I'm not sure though that the different reactions to such a joke necessarily has to do with different levels of empathy - it might in some cases, but I think it's more just that different people have different relationships/affinities/revulsion to crude/gallows/dark humor. A close friend of my family, while dying, had a family member make a dark joke about death and everyone, including the dying man, got a great laugh out of it. Nobody involved there lacked empathy - if anything it was the opposite- the person making the joke clearly knew their loved one would appreciate the joke, and hey, even the dying can enjoy a good belly laugh. But I can totally imagine a different social circle/family where this would not have gone over well. Since this is supposed to be a thread about class, I'll just add that obviously ideas about what sort of statements/jokes/discourse is in "good taste" vs. "poor taste" are heavily influenced by class (also culture- no doubt users in different countries will range on what is appropriate- I have lived in different countries, and have found humor varies more than anything).

So, Okay, so what could be "vile" about this? Why would it be upsetting for some people to see this kind of humor? I think it's gotta be based on a misunderstanding.

To use a sociological term, I think it's habitus - some people grow up in social settings where it's rarely (if ever) "too soon" to make a joke, while others grow up with strict rules like "never speak ill of the dead" or never finding humor in misfortune. I don't think either side has more or less empathy per se.
posted by coffeecat at 8:56 AM on June 25, 2023 [21 favorites]


Yeah, I don't see how folks reacting negatively to jokes about billionaires dying is empathy. They don't know the billionaires, their families, nor anyone close to them. Any "empathy" is based on imagined scenarios folks drummed up in their heads. You can empathize with your own invented fictions, but bringing it to a public forum as anything other than stated superstition is irresponsible.

No. This post and it's reactionary amplifiers are an apparent control play aimed at comfort for specific worldviews and ways of being. It's primary instigators and adherents have brought little in good faith and appear ill-equipped to have this conversation (beyond attempting to balance contemporary progressive ideals atop their own colonizer-axioms and then lashing out at every "Jenga!").
posted by CPAnarchist at 1:29 PM on June 25, 2023 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I don't see how folks reacting negatively to jokes about billionaires dying is empathy. They don't know the billionaires, their families, nor anyone close to them. Any "empathy" is based on imagined scenarios folks drummed up in their heads. You can empathize with your own invented fictions, but bringing it to a public forum as anything other than stated superstition is irresponsible.

Umm, human beings are human beings. When you break their arms they are in a lot of pain, when you threaten their lives their adrenal system goes into overdrive, when they lose something important they mourn. You can walk all around this big wide world and you will find families, and hospitals, and social structures, and humans applying a wide range of strategies to all the same hurts.

If your empathy doesn’t stretch that far that’s fine, but not everyone has the same limitations as you.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:39 PM on June 25, 2023 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: an apparent control play aimed at comfort for specific worldviews and ways of being
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:06 PM on June 25, 2023 [9 favorites]


If your empathy doesn’t stretch that far that’s fine, but not everyone has the same limitations as you.

Wow that's really mean and unnecessary...and unempathetic to other points of view, ironically.

If everyone followed the rule of not sniping at each other, the original derail against the indifferent comments wouldn't exist, and this long MeTa would be a lot more civil. Which is ostensibly what is being asked for.
posted by tiny frying pan at 3:18 PM on June 25, 2023 [15 favorites]


It's like a practice what you preach kinda thing
posted by tiny frying pan at 3:19 PM on June 25, 2023 [1 favorite]


(And I am speaking of both in that exchange of comments. The tenor of the convo doesn't need to be so fraught with insults, that's what got us here)
posted by tiny frying pan at 3:32 PM on June 25, 2023 [1 favorite]


Tell Me No Lies, you're not doing your credibility any favors by demonstrating my paranthetical.
posted by CPAnarchist at 3:43 PM on June 25, 2023 [1 favorite]


Umm, human beings are human beings. When you break their arms they are in a lot of pain, when you threaten their lives their adrenal system goes into overdrive, when they lose something important they mourn. You can walk all around this big wide world and you will find families, and hospitals, and social structures, and humans applying a wide range of strategies to all the same hurts.

If your empathy doesn’t stretch that far that’s fine, but not everyone has the same limitations as you.


Nobody is saying, like, "Billionaires don't have thoughts and feelings, they're just complicated machines not people." The question is not whether they can be the objects of empathy. Of course they can.

Actually I'm still not sure what the question really is, but it might be: when are we obliged to exercise empathy towards billionaires? And the answer I would like to defend is, Not necessarily all the time.
posted by grobstein at 3:46 PM on June 25, 2023 [25 favorites]


I'm sorry for your loss, buntastic. I hope you and any of your shared relations are taking care of yourselves.
posted by CPAnarchist at 4:45 PM on June 25, 2023 [6 favorites]


my pony request is recognition that MetaFilter has a real problem with is really Some MeFites have a real problem with
The site kind of is the members, but good people really outweigh jerks, in my experience, mostly.
posted by theora55 at 5:07 PM on June 25, 2023 [6 favorites]


Thanks for making it more human, buntastic.
posted by theora55 at 5:08 PM on June 25, 2023 [4 favorites]


he, and his son, and the other people on the submarine, were loved and will be missed.

And Rush's kids will have to bear the things said, rightly or wrongly, about their father for the rest of their lives. And perhaps about their mother's role in the company. Yes, the Rush offspring are adults, but I cannot imagine how awful that is and will be for them.
posted by jgirl at 5:41 PM on June 25, 2023


Metafilter: an apparent control play aimed at comfort for specific worldviews and ways of being

Spot on.

That was the apparent dynamic in the last two exoduses of transgender folks from this site that I personally witnessed. It was horrific each time. Moreso in retrospect given our vulnerability to current genocidal efforts in the states now.
posted by CPAnarchist at 7:46 PM on June 25, 2023 [4 favorites]


Tell Me No Lies, you're not doing your credibility any favors by demonstrating my paranthetical.

Believe me when I tell you I have no illusions that you will have a sudden, dramatic shift in perspective as a result of reading this thread. But there may come a time when you are forced to re-evaluate what you feel and how you feel it, at which point you will be aware of a different possible way to approach things.

Or you won't. Either way, my work here is done.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:35 AM on June 26, 2023 [3 favorites]


Okay, I'm trying to catch up on this thread. However, I have to say I find it amusing that I did a quick browser window search and got this.

(For the record, I am uncomfortable with laughing about these rich guys getting drowned/squished, while also knowing that I would go out of my way to piss on Kissinger's grave once he finally kicks it.)
posted by brundlefly at 10:20 AM on June 26, 2023 [2 favorites]


Idk. The decade of trauma informed therapy coupled with EMDR, Brainspotting, and weekly support group meetings has forced me to reevaluate quite a few times. As did the 2020 uprisings. As did Capital's response to COVID. As did my own steps out of my own closets. My approach to things in 2023 is radically different, and I hope to continue that trend.

I certainly hope it doesn't lead to say, inventing a fiction about someone you know next to nothing about, projecting several truths onto them, and then practicing or applying your empathy or ire, respectively, while being really loud about it to those who disagree.

Where next your work leads I hope you somehow find a way to stop prostyletizing the class-based version of Himpathy and colorblindness for a billionaire just because billionaire-owned media keeps shoving it in your face.

I also truly hope to see you next time you bring these framings, or, even more hopefully, when you don't.
posted by CPAnarchist at 11:02 AM on June 26, 2023 [12 favorites]


"Dmocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few".

-John Adams. 1807.
posted by clavdivs at 1:39 PM on June 26, 2023 [1 favorite]


If folks joking or enjoying the death of genocidal slavers is bothering you, do you think maybe there's some privilege to be explored there? ... Please don't run off more leftists again as the vice continues to tighten. Please don't put your comfort over those close to the grinder. I know some of y'all want to live in a world of abstracts, where death voiced is tantamount to death experienced. But it's not. Please stop it. You're reproducing white supremacy. Again. Please stop.

This is... quite a take.

What the OP specifically expressed concern about was statements expressing "either a desire for the extinction of people living in rural communities, or a bloodlust for rich people to perish doing activities only they can afford."

Turning that into "running off leftists" and "reproducing white supremacy" is an Olympic-caliber rhetorical leap. Almost DARVO-esque, even. *slow clap*
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:47 PM on June 26, 2023 [12 favorites]


When one of the key elements of this post was a “bloodlust” that was entirely lacking from the thread it was referencing, the rhetorically leaping pony had already departed the barn.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 3:00 PM on June 26, 2023 [21 favorites]


Just in case this meandering carnival is running out of stream I'm just gonna leave this news from last night here:

Prominent billionaire James Crown dies in crash at Colorado racetrack

It's got everything we need to keep dancing on the head of this damn pin. Plus cars.
posted by spitbull at 5:09 PM on June 26, 2023 [6 favorites]


Rock on
posted by grobstein at 7:49 PM on June 26, 2023 [1 favorite]


Where do we go from here?
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:44 PM on June 26, 2023


Any "empathy" is based on imagined scenarios folks drummed up in their heads.

No need for scare quotes. Imagining yourself into another person's situation is how a lot of people experience empathy.

As I pointed out in my previous comment, that doesn't make a person any worse or any better, as empathy is a neutral quality.

Cognitive empathy (where empathy is based on your evaluation of a situation and is comparatively dispassionate) is only one version of empathy.

Affective empathy (where you involuntarily feel what you image another person feels) is just as valid a response, and does not deserve this type scare quote scorn.

Another version of empathy (which I lack) is contextual empathy, where one intuitively understands how one's words and actions come across in a given social context, eg me making a comment like this one in a fighty thread where people are likely to read my tone as patronising.
posted by Zumbador at 9:12 PM on June 26, 2023 [13 favorites]


“Where do we go from here?”

The battle's done and we kind of won
So we sound our victory cheer
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:30 AM on June 27, 2023 [12 favorites]


MetaFilter: It's got everything we need to keep dancing on the head of this damn pin.

well into the 600+ comment and there are, in my opinion, some real insights being shared. I mean, there are strong opinions being restated endlessly also, but it feels a bit like how I imagine labour pains (as a human who can't experience them): doesn't sound like fun but you need to get from A to B somehow

if people are open to learn we'll all be fine
posted by elkevelvet at 7:22 AM on June 27, 2023 [4 favorites]


if people are open to learn we'll all be fine

well shit!!!! we are FUCKED
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 9:19 AM on June 27, 2023 [9 favorites]


my parents used to tell the story of how I quit nursery school (pre-school in today's verbiage -- I was four at the time) after less than a week because "they're always trying to learn me things".
posted by philip-random at 9:47 AM on June 27, 2023 [5 favorites]


John Adams seemed to have some funny ideas about wealth as a virtue. 1%er?
posted by biffa at 10:07 AM on June 27, 2023 [1 favorite]


I for one feel virtually no remorse for John Adams' death
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 10:14 AM on June 27, 2023 [4 favorites]


John Adams seemed to have some funny ideas about wealth as a virtue. 1%er?

In the era of Andrew Carnegie and John D Rockefeller, being wealthy was regarded as a scared calling — hence their philanthropy, among other things.
posted by jamjam at 10:37 AM on June 27, 2023


In that case, clavdivs has convinced me. Add them to the finger buffet.
posted by biffa at 10:46 AM on June 27, 2023


Autocorrect changed 'sacred' to 'scared' in my comment!

To be fair, modern billionaires are certainly more scared than sacred, and by the evidence of these threads, they should be.
posted by jamjam at 10:48 AM on June 27, 2023 [6 favorites]


Scared of what? Packs of socialist orcas?

I am reminded of Jello Biafra's Second Law of Rioting:
But you get to the place where the real slave-drivers live
It's walled off by the riot squad aiming guns right at your head
So you turn right around and play right into their hands
And set your own neighborhood burning to the ground instead


American billionaires, at a minimum, have the resources to buy and rent politicians who rig the systems even further in favor of channeling American wealth into the hands of those elites. They have the resources to afford elaborate security and enforce their own privacy. They do not fear layoffs, health insurance premiums, the prospect of higher taxes or the rising cost of living. When the planet we live on begins to boil over in the not-too-distant future, the billionaires have the resources to purchase comfort and security for themselves far more than the rest of us.

And if unrest occurs -- like, say, rioting over inequality or injustice or racial prejudice or shortages or any number of things -- the billionaires will be the hardest targets to get at.

The modern billionaire fears only two things; being preyed upon by someone else in their weight class and being found wanting, and their own private thrills getting the best of them.
posted by delfin at 2:58 PM on June 27, 2023 [17 favorites]


This is not to suggest that every billionaire -- or even millionaire, as not everyone aboard the ill-fated Titan was in the upper 1% of the upper 1%, though they had the kind of frivolous-pursuit petty cash that the rest of us can only dream about -- is automatically a terrible mustache-twirling serial villain and a horrific ethical nightmare. Whether it is possible to reach the upper echelons of wealth without (a) sticking it to many others along the way and/or (b) inheriting it is left as an exercise for the reader.

As was noted above, I can believe that at heart, the passengers were essentially good people at heart. No one kicked their dogs, abused their families or hunted random kidnap victims for sport, I presume. Their families will miss them, and they should.

And if Stockton Rush lied to them, deliberately misrepresenting the safety of the sub and downplaying all concerns in the interest of being a big shot, that certainly qualifies as "being preyed upon."
posted by delfin at 3:09 PM on June 27, 2023 [1 favorite]


John Adams seemed to have some funny ideas about wealth as a virtue.

Ah, this is why he left the finances to Abagail.

"But she didn’t always conceal her savings from her husband. Once, in December 1783, she tried to use some of this money to bribe John, who had spent the previous five years in Europe as an American diplomat, into coming home to her"

posted by clavdivs at 7:07 PM on June 27, 2023 [1 favorite]


The very definition of "pin money," not to be spent on saltpeter.
posted by delfin at 8:24 AM on June 28, 2023 [1 favorite]


socialist orcas

Cetacean needed, tbh
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:07 PM on June 28, 2023 [38 favorites]


I've heard Orcas are big tippers.
posted by spitbull at 8:50 AM on June 30, 2023 [15 favorites]


Actually I'm still not sure what the question really is, but it might be: when are we obliged to exercise empathy towards billionaires? And the answer I would like to defend is, Not necessarily all the time.

For the record, I (a person probably seen as being on Team Empathy) agree with that "not necessarily all the time". In fact, I would go so far as to say, empathy towards billionaires should happen rarely. In fact, "they may have been killed" is one of maybe only two times in which my own moral code says you should them some empathy in the first place. (Unless they also did something like commit actual war crimes or made a life policy of cruelty and actual to others, like Pat Robertson or Kissinger.)

I'm honestly not sure how thinking "maybe ease up on the insults and hot takes if they died" makes anyone a toady of the 1%.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:16 AM on July 6, 2023 [4 favorites]


I mean isn't this what gross inequality does? Creates cleavages that preclude any type of empathy or kindness between social groups?

I'm sure many aristocrats and bourgeoisie in 18th century France were good people who did good things. They still fell to the guillotine.
posted by sid at 12:26 PM on July 6, 2023 [4 favorites]


The majority of people who fell to the guillotine during the Terror of the French Revolution were not aristocrats or bourgeoisie, and most of the aristocrats and bourgeoisie did not fall to the guillotine. The rhetoric of the Terror was that it was necessary to purge these exploitive anti-revolutionaries from society, but in reality most of the people who were killed were just average citizens that someone had a vendetta against, and realized that accusing them of anti-revolutionary sentiment was a way to satisfy that vendetta. Many of them were rural priests who supported the social aims of the Revolution but refused to support its anti-clericalism. An awful lot of them were revolutionaries with minor ideological or personal differences with other revolutionaries, people who supported the Terror right up until the moment it swallowed them. Meanwhile, the actual anti-revolutionary aristocrats and bourgeoisie used their resources to leave the country until things died down, then returned and established a new regime under Napoleon and his successors.

Guillotines killed the first French Republic, and mostly spared the people responsible for the inequality that led to it. The positive political advances of the French Revolution and the First Republic were won before, and without, the guillotine. It was not a bloodless revolution before that point, by any means, but its major reforms were achieved without the kind of mass indiscriminate violence of the Terror; instead the Terror and the mass use of the guillotine marked the beginning of the end of the revolution.

Maybe if you don't know or can ignore the history, it's possible to invoke the guillotine as a symbol of hard revolutionary justice, a possibly unfortunate but ultimately necessary corrective to centuries of exploitation. But knowing the history, it's hard for me not to think of it as a call to open the door to violence against the least powerful members of society: the weirdo in apartment 3 that no one likes, the person with strongly-held but idiosyncratic convictions that align imperfectly with revolutionary ideology, the person who does an unpopular but necessary civil service job like tax collection.
posted by biogeo at 6:32 AM on July 12, 2023 [11 favorites]


You've caught us, that's what we weirdos were secretly referencing: wanting to kill the *other* weirdos.
posted by tigrrrlily at 8:04 AM on July 12, 2023 [4 favorites]


But knowing the history, it's hard for me not to think of it as a call to open the door to violence against the least powerful members of society

Yeah, you can think that the notion is misguided, but nobody is calling for a reenactment of the historical facts of guillotine use. They are referencing the popular idea. They are not calling for the kind of violence actual guillotines were used for. It's reasonable to think that it might be an inevitable consequence of what people are calling for, but people are very much not calling for violence against the least powerful members of society. The facts of history may be interesting, but they are irrelevant to people's intended meaning.
posted by Dysk at 8:17 AM on July 12, 2023 [10 favorites]


but people are very much not calling for violence against the least powerful members of society.

I think the point is that if you move toward using violence* as a tactic (however justified that may feel), it's inevitably going to get misused, and as with most breakdowns in social order, it's the poor/disadvantaged who will suffer it the most. Or so history seems to say.

* I doubt many (any?) here are serious about it anyway. Just speaking hyperbolically.
posted by philip-random at 9:23 AM on July 12, 2023 [7 favorites]


nobody is calling for a reenactment of the historical facts of guillotine use

Oh, okay. I'm glad you checked with everyone about that.
posted by biogeo at 9:40 AM on July 12, 2023 [1 favorite]


The context is plenty clear.
posted by Dysk at 11:15 AM on July 12, 2023 [1 favorite]


biogeo, I'm not terribly familiar with the details of the French Revolution. Thanks for the history lesson? I'm by no means advocating for indiscriminate murders of weirdos or anyone. It's bizarre, and quite frankly, offensive, that you would make that intimation.

I'm more pointing out that inequality breeds resentment which can (and has) led to violence. That the callousness that's being called out on this thread is a symptom of the times we're living in, and likely goes both ways. If we want a more compassionate and understanding society where disparate social groups see each other as fellow humans, it's necessary to reduce inequality and to ease the burdens of the afflicted.

I'm still reeling at the connection you made between my comment and advocating for violence against marginalized groups. Honestly, what the hell?
posted by sid at 12:16 PM on July 12, 2023 [8 favorites]


I think the point is that if you move toward using violence* as a tactic (however justified that may feel), it's inevitably going to get misused, and as with most breakdowns in social order, it's the poor/disadvantaged who will suffer it the most. Or so history seems to say.

Which I explicitly allowed for in my comment!

"It's reasonable to think that it might be an inevitable consequence of what people are calling for, but people are very much not calling for violence against the least powerful members of society."

...because I think there's a difference between "killing the powerless will be a consequence of what you want/are saying" and "killing the powerless is what you want/are advocating for".
posted by Dysk at 12:27 PM on July 12, 2023 [3 favorites]


Kinda sounds like you're closer to guillotining people whose tactics you don't like than anyone else here is.

Wow, what the actual fuck. I'm trying to understand the perspective of someone who could honestly make that claim in good faith and I fucking cannot. I'm sick of this shit.
posted by biogeo at 1:52 PM on July 12, 2023 [6 favorites]


A long time ago I read a article in The New Yorker by a population demographer who was looking at physical stature historically (there are some pretty surprising changes that can take place with surprising rapidity; the Dutch for example, were among Europe's shortest people right after WW2, and are now the tallest in the world), and he claimed the men coming over the ramparts of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 averaged less than 5 feet in height.

That bespeaks oppression all the way down to the cellular level, and when it’s that bad, society is like a forest which has had absolute fire suppression for generations, and when one finally gets out of hand, it burns everything to the ground.

Income inequality under capitalism is getting to that point if, in fact, it hasn’t already passed it.
posted by jamjam at 2:24 PM on July 12, 2023 [6 favorites]


Actually, I thought the info about the French Revolution was helpful. And pointing out that advocating violence against the deserving often leads to violence against the most vulnerable was also salient. I would have written that comment with more tact, though.

The problem with the scolds in this thread isn't so much that their basic criticism is wrong — there are good reasons to be wary of violent rhetoric, even when one feels it's entirely justified — it's just that they've been kind of supercilious dicks about it. And being on a high-horse about the badness of hating on billionaires, of all people, is predictably going to get people riled up. It's been the presumed moral superiority in some comments that really got up my nose. So while biogeo's comment was insightful, it probably shouldn't have made insinuations about the people taking the contrary position.

This all has struck me much as the "joking about killing all men is bad" MetaTalk thread, in that it's seemed really odd that some people would both take obvious hyperbole at face value while also doing so in defense of a class of people who have a lot of relative power and don't actually need anyone to defend them from that hyperbole. It's like: why? Why is this hill the one you really want to fight over?

But I've been on the other side of this. Sometimes because I've felt implicated by some criticism that wasn't actually aimed my way, but other times because I really did think it was important. So I'm not particularly upset by the scolds in this thread. Either they've somehow felt personally offended, or they've reasoned this out to their position and believe it matters. That might annoy me, especially if they're not being tactful in their disagreement, but their opinions are valid even if I disagree.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:19 AM on July 13, 2023 [4 favorites]


For the sake of clarity, because I think I am getting continually misread: I do not think the French revolution history is irrelevant to the discussion of whether calling for a violent revolutionary solution is a good idea. I think it is irrelevant to discerning what posters who use the guillotine idiom mean by using it, what they are intending to say.
posted by Dysk at 7:03 AM on July 13, 2023 [8 favorites]


i agree, the term is ancillary as the history is much more complex some of it trivia, like Sanson putting parts of the original devices in hock. The test runs were done in 92' on cadavers and a live highwaymen, nearly 3 years after the Revolution and that, the crowds found disappointing. The device was outsourced to the Germans. The provinces had them but used other methods that's where a lot of killing took place. while true in the days of germinal, prairial and vendemiaire, The killing abated but did not stop and the disparity between the rich and poor grew.
"In the early phase of the French Revolution before the guillotine's adoption, the slogan À la lanterne (in English: To the lamp post! String Them Up! or Hang Them!) symbolized popular justice in revolutionary France."

the height comparison thing is quite interesting as Robespierre was 5 ft 3, Napoleon was 5' 6, and Danton was at least six two or six three quote unquote colossal of a man. after a while, using the guillotine in a certain square, it was moved back to the place de Revolution because shop keepers and such were complaining of the noise and the crowds, the crowds were one thing they all would gather around during the executions like some holy altar unquote. concerning Danton, 1793 he addressed the convention and said: "the people are sick to death of them ( Herbertists) perhaps the terror once served a useful purpose, but it should not hurt innocent people. no one wants to see a person treated as a criminal just because he happens not to have enough revolutionary enthusiasm'.
it asks how does the man who set up the terror try to take it back down.
history shows that one cannot.
posted by clavdivs at 2:14 PM on July 13, 2023 [1 favorite]


Guys, its only a Guillotine if its from the Guille region of France, otherwise its just called a sparkling decapitation machine.
posted by Jarcat at 2:17 PM on July 13, 2023 [11 favorites]


I think it is irrelevant to discerning what posters who use the guillotine idiom mean by using it, what they are intending to say.

Dysk, I agree with you. I also think that what posters who use the guillotine idiom, or other forms of violent rhetoric, mean by it is irrelevant to the fact that some people in this community find it unpleasant to keep reading it, over and over and over again.

I suppose I had some vain hope that reminding everyone of the actual history here might help people to understand why some of us find it unpleasant to read these jokes, not because we are "scolds" or because we are sucking up to billionaires, or because we are engaging in bourgeois respectability politics, or whatever other thing we have been accused of, both in this thread and in every other thread over the past N years in which the unpleasant effect that violent rhetoric has on some of us has been argued about. I am well aware that most of you are not thinking about actually decapitating another human being when you make jokes about guillotines, nor are most of you actually thinking about human beings dying slowly and painfully of CO2 toxicity or being crushed instantly to a pulp in a catastrophic hull failure when you make jokes about billionaires in submarines. And you know what? A lot of the time, I'm not thinking about those things, either. But sometimes I am. And some people are actually much more sensitive than I am, and they can't help but think of it, every time. And for those of us who cannot help but think of the real suffering that the guillotines have caused ordinary people, who cannot help but think about how horrible a death that's being mocked might actually be, it makes MetaFilter a much more unpleasant place to be. And sometimes they leave, either temporarily or for good. And the community gets smaller and poorer because of it.

But quite frankly, having written that paragraph, I believe I have wasted my time. I do not expect it to be read with an intention to understand.
posted by biogeo at 8:34 PM on July 13, 2023 [6 favorites]


sid MeMailed me and demanded that I apologize publicly for suggesting that they are advocating for the murder of marginalized groups. I told them that I cannot offer a sincere apology for that because I did not do that, and that I am unable to see how what I wrote could reasonably be construed in that manner.

However, on reflecting on what I did write, it occurred to me that my use of the word "you" in the following sentence was ambiguous:

"Maybe if you don't know or can ignore the history, it's possible to invoke the guillotine as a symbol of hard revolutionary justice, a possibly unfortunate but ultimately necessary corrective to centuries of exploitation."

Although I am still unable to see how my words can reasonably be construed as suggesting that sid is advocating for the murder of marginalized groups, I can see how it seemed that my comment may have been directed at sid, specifically. This was a careless error on my part, and I am sincerely sorry for it. In my dialect, "you" is commonly used generically, as in "one." But in a conversation such as this one, I am well aware that it can make a general remark seem specifically targeted if it is not read as the generic "you". Although I was attempting to choose my words carefully, the context was such that it did not even occur to me as I was writing that the comment might be read as directed at sid specifically. I should have known better, and I am sorry for the error.

I am not sure if this is exactly the apology that sid was looking for when they MeMailed me, but it is what I am able to offer sincerely. I told them this by MeMail and they indicated they would still appreciate me saying it publicly. I hope this offers them some measure of peace.
posted by biogeo at 8:48 PM on July 13, 2023


But knowing the history, it's hard for me not to think of it as a call to open the door to violence against the least powerful members of society

This is the part that irked me: implies that you are reading people as calling for violence against the least powerful.

(I mention this only because you don't seem to see how people are reading what they are in your comment.)
posted by Dysk at 9:13 PM on July 13, 2023 [1 favorite]


I found your comments extremely worthwhile and informative as well, biogeo, and I’m sorry that you regret making them.

I also don’t think there was anything even slightly objectionable about them, and while I have no desire to deny or invalidate sid's reaction, requesting an apology is fine, but demanding one steps over a line, in my opinion.
posted by jamjam at 1:12 AM on July 14, 2023 [4 favorites]


biogeo: You haven't done anything wrong. You haven't been unclear in your comments. You don't owe anyone an apology. You're interacting with people who are arguing in bad faith. Whatever you say, it will be deliberately misinterpreted to mean something different, and used as an excuse to take offence. There's no point trying to debate these people.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:26 AM on July 14, 2023 [1 favorite]


I don't think you should regret your comment, biogeo. It brought me up short. This thread is not the first one in which I've commented with some violent flight of fancy and then was surprised when it got deleted because I forgot, again, that "some people are actually much more sensitive than I am, and they can't help but think of it, every time." And it has nothing to do with class politics or being an apologist for the wealthy or anything other than not wanting to think of pain-feeling, frightened beings suffering and dying. I don't want to put hideous, dispiriting, day-wrecking images into people's brains who just opened MetaFilter to have something to do while drinking some tea and skritching a cat. So it both horrified and helped me to read your comment and I hope this time it sticks.
posted by Don Pepino at 5:31 AM on July 14, 2023 [3 favorites]


Thank you biogeo for explaining your comments and for the apology - much appreciated!

jamjam, I will certainly take your unrequested etiquette advice on whether one demands or requests an apology when a fellow member insinuates that one is calling for the indiscriminate murder of innocents on a public forum into consideration if it's relevant for a future interaction.

TheophileEscargot, your unsubstantiated and totally absurd smear on my intentions is completely uncalled for. Not sure if I request or demand an apology in this situation but I'll hold off on doing either because IMO your comment is obviously ridiculous.
posted by sid at 5:35 AM on July 14, 2023 [2 favorites]


Happy Bastille Day, everybody.
posted by thivaia at 9:38 AM on July 14, 2023 [7 favorites]


Fête de la Fédération!
posted by clavdivs at 12:47 PM on July 14, 2023 [1 favorite]


Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.
posted by philip-random at 1:01 PM on July 14, 2023


"Ita. Haec est terra fertilis, et nos vigebimus. dominabimur super omnem terram hanc, et vocabimus illam....terram hanc;'

-Lava's Stegosaurus.
posted by clavdivs at 1:30 PM on July 14, 2023 [1 favorite]


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