MetaFilter: Nazi bar problem. September 28, 2023 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I want to discuss how the MetaFilter community addresses comments and users who support or defend Nazi/fascist ideology. A user over in this thread, which discusses Canada's House speaker praising a Nazi veteran, had their comment removed and was given a moderator's note regarding this decision. But I don't find this acceptable. Why would we allow additional comments from this user to be made in that thread? An instant ban would be appropriate for anyone who wants to defend Nazis in this community, otherwise MetaFilter is just setting ourselves up for a Nazi bar problem. I'd like both the moderator team and the community to weigh in on this.
posted by Fizz to Etiquette/Policy at 1:28 PM (241 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

That thread didn't take long to descend into Middle Aged White Guys Explaining WWII to Everyone Else.

Here's the thing: tough applesauce that the Nazi who was praised in Parliament had no good choices in the war. That sucks, pardner, but at the end of the day, he's still a Nazi. And it turns here in Canada, we are really good at turning a blind eye to Nazis!

Shout out to all my Canadians who pointed out the very very troublesome occurrence of this throughout Canadian history, also for hipping me to actual Parliament knowledge I didn't have.

Edited to add: don't think I didn't see some flat out misogyny towards Chrysta Freeland either.
posted by Kitteh at 1:34 PM on September 28, 2023 [19 favorites]


That thread was absolutely wild, people tripping all over themselves to explain why this Nazi they didn't even know might have had good reasons to be a Nazi when they could simply not have done that.
posted by an octopus IRL at 1:43 PM on September 28, 2023 [16 favorites]


What was the deleted comment?
posted by mittens at 1:45 PM on September 28, 2023 [2 favorites]


I feel like this development has been brewing for as long as the site decided that the rolling Fanfare-style Ukraine War threads on the Blue are essential and constructive content, rather than a place where war stans gather to spectate a human tragedy like it's a Netflix series.
posted by dusty potato at 1:54 PM on September 28, 2023 [22 favorites]


That thread was absolutely wild, people tripping all over themselves to explain why this Nazi they didn't even know might have had good reasons to be a Nazi when they could simply not have done that.

It's why I had to nope the fuck out. And I haven't been in the Ukraine war threads--I don't have anything to add to an already fraught situation--and now that I know that this seems the norm in those, absolutely not, thank you.
posted by Kitteh at 2:04 PM on September 28, 2023 [2 favorites]


dusty potato: I feel like this development has been brewing for as long as the site decided that the rolling Fanfare-style Ukraine War threads on the Blue are essential and constructive content

As someone who lives in a country bordering Russia, who is far from fluent in any of the native languages, the Ukraine threads are the best regular source I’ve found for aggregating good English-language information on the conflict and the wider implications of the war. These are useful resources, doubly so now that Twitter is useless.

And to be clear, nazi apologia isn’t welcome in those threads.
posted by Kattullus at 2:15 PM on September 28, 2023 [60 favorites]


What was the deleted comment?

If this is a MetaTalk about whether a specific comment was so bad that a specific user should be banned from the thread, it's kind of important to know what the comment was!

There is also lot of other weirdness in that thread beyond that. I've been staring at the thread in my recent activity the last couple days and been consistently nonplused. But discussing the other weirdness will probably not address the actual nominal topic of the thread.

I suspect that if this becomes a MetaTalk where people are discussing both the correct mod response to one bad comment and also the general weirdness simultaneously, and perhaps not being clear which is which, is going to be less helpful than usual.
posted by mark k at 2:17 PM on September 28, 2023 [7 favorites]


And to be clear, nazi apologia isn’t welcome in those threads.

That was not my experience a while ago, criticizing an Azov propaganda video that was posted and receiving heavy pushback. But, for that reason I haven't been following on the Blue very closely since then other than general impressions, so maybe things have improved.
posted by dusty potato at 2:22 PM on September 28, 2023 [7 favorites]


I didn't see the comment prior to its deletion, so can only (uncomfortably) imagine just how bad it was, but I'm wholeheartedly in favor of substantially decreasing the banning threshold.

I'm aware that the site guidelines recommend that we "extend the benefit of the doubt in conversations" but clearly that's just asking for trouble from those that would take advantage to promulgate hateful ideas.
posted by otsebyatina at 2:24 PM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]


I kind of blame all the SF/F/comics/anime/video games that want to have a “rehabilitated villain” storyline. “Sure he participated in genocide, but he had a hard childhood/was misled/wanted to save an orphanage!” It trains us to want a dramatic antihero turn. In real life, it turns out that people who joined the SS were, at the end of the day, members of the SS no matter what their initial impetus, and the lack of solid documentation that any given guy did what the SS regularly did does not remotely suggest he didn’t participate. “I hated Communists so I had to support Hitler” is an excuse we’ve been hearing practically since there was a Hitler, and it never held water.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:25 PM on September 28, 2023 [23 favorites]


mittens, the deleted comment was: "For me, "Waffen SS" doesn't immediately conjure up the SS-run concentration camps and Operation Reinhard(t) extermination camps. Like their uniforms there is a bit of gray here, IMO."

Honestly not as bad as the "Hitler and his form of national socialism was really delivering the goods, until it all started unraveling in late '41." on a different post by the same person.
posted by qi at 2:52 PM on September 28, 2023 [32 favorites]


Yeah I was looking at that one and trying not to jump into a thread about a country I don't live in with 'breaking news, Oskar Schindler also not that crash hot' because holy fuck, toooooo many 'Oskar Schindler is the only excusable nazi'. No! There are no excusable nazis! Not soldiers, not physicists, not war profiteers, not rocket scientists, none of them.

It is 2023 and one of the conversations currently ongoing in my country is 'well are the people wearing swastikas and doing the nazi salute and yelling heil hitler ackshually nazis or are they just worried about men being in women's bathrooms'. Transphobic nazis are still nazis, nazis still do not belong in society, jesus christ.

I really love Mefi because I don't usually have to even debate this here, I can usually assume everyone in the thread is on the same page about 'nazis, not even once'. So that was suboptimal from my perspective.
posted by ngaiotonga at 3:47 PM on September 28, 2023 [19 favorites]


Dang but that’s a really bad comment. I mean, a really bad comment. I mean, whoosh, a really bad comment. I don’t know that I buy the thesis that MetaFilter is becoming a nazi bar and I do think we should assume good faith on the part of commenters, but there are certain tones that should be policed and I am glad that that one was.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:51 PM on September 28, 2023 [8 favorites]


I agree with Rock 'em Sock 'em that the best thing the mods could have done here was to give the user a verbal warning that they need to take a break from the thread, as well as give them a time out. This should be the bare minimum, or starting point, for this type of commenter-related dumpster fire. I was disappointed by the moderator response.
posted by nightrecordings at 4:01 PM on September 28, 2023 [9 favorites]


The thesis is we will become a Nazi bar if we don't push back on these narratives. The offending poster kept making those sorts of comments even after the creator of the thread asked him not to. And no mod action was taken. I could take a guess that Fizz flagged the shit out of a lot of comments and nothing was done.
posted by Kitteh at 4:36 PM on September 28, 2023 [14 favorites]


I understand the thesis, I can just also see everything else posted to the front page as well, and it seems like a far-fetched idea. But this is also a derail when the facts of that one thread are that, man, that commenter was really fighting hard about nazi labels for folks in a thread where he really should have read the room better and -as he acknowledges in a comment- he basically agrees that the nazi shouldn’t have been lauded in parliament anyway. It seems like terribly bad faith and defending a bad cause for no point.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:52 PM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]


That thread had a lot of horrible stuff in it. A prohibition against defending nazis should, I think, be a very easy bright line to draw.
posted by mai at 5:32 PM on September 28, 2023 [14 favorites]


People sure are eager to ban others around here.

I read that comment as coming from a dude (always a dude) who wants to split hairs about the roles of particular Nazi military units in WW2. The kind of thing the History channel does all day. Tone deaf to the thread, maybe, but hardly equivalent to walking into a bar covered in swastikas.

If MetaFilter starts banning everyone that offends MetaFilter, there will be nobody left in record time.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 5:42 PM on September 28, 2023 [22 favorites]


No! There are no excusable nazis!

The Israeli government has seen fit to give Oskar Schindler honorary citizenship (Righteous Among the Nations). If they can manage that and plant a tree for him in the Avenue of the Righteous at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, I'm comfortable with saying this topic is at least a tiny bit more ambiguous than you think it is.
posted by saeculorum at 5:45 PM on September 28, 2023 [35 favorites]


I didn't see the full original comment. From the portion quoted above, I can't tell if that is someone trying and failing to be funny, or like someone says just above maybe splitting hairs about something that is intellectually interesting to them in a way that comes off tone-deaf, or someone actually defending the indefensible. It seems like a solid deletion but not rising to the "nazi bar" analogy.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:09 PM on September 28, 2023


Well, that member did really double down on the idea, so “defending the indefensible” seems more likely than “failing to be funny.” There was some “don’t judge all of Ukraine by the actions of some SS members,” which I would be slightly more sympathetic to if anyone had pushing that particular line. All in all, it was a couple of seriously upsetting derails.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:23 PM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, what the fuck. We have full time moderation staff, and they're just sitting on their hands while Nazi apologia is posted to the site?

This is beyond unacceptable. I'm out of here if this doesn't get cleaned up immediately.
posted by schmod at 6:38 PM on September 28, 2023 [4 favorites]


Full comment:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14th_Waffen_Grenadier_Division_of_the_SS_(1st_Galician)#The_Canadian_Deschênes_Commission

For me, "Waffen SS" doesn't immediately conjure up the SS-run concentration camps and Operation Reinhard(t) extermination camps. Like their uniforms there is a bit of gray here, IMO.

posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 10:13 AM on September 26
posted by qi at 7:07 PM on September 28, 2023


I pasted as text in word while writing a reply. Then the comment was deleted. Replied to another comment instead in the end.
posted by qi at 7:10 PM on September 28, 2023


I read that comment as coming from a dude (always a dude) who wants to split hairs about the roles of particular Nazi military units in WW2. The kind of thing the History channel does all day.

He can go find a History Channel message board, then?

Look, I've basically stopped commenting on any part of the site, but I still read a lot of it (because I... don't like myself very much I guess) and for years the moderation goals expressed on Metatalk were "This is a general interest site, so we don't expect people to understand sexism or racism or transphobia" or basically anything that would requiretrying to be a decent person to other users who were different than you and also "We try to work with people so they can stay in the community when they mess up" and as a result pretty much everyone who made the site a "much lampooned leftist circle jerk" or w/e (aka an interesting place to talk to interesting people) rage quit and now the only people left are the ones who think some of the Nazis got a bad wrap, actually, as if there aren't, as qxntpqbbbqxl noted, a trillion other places to do that. AND we're all being asked for money for...more of this, I guess?

I'm annoyed and kind of over all this to the point that I probably need to take another year-long break from the site like I did back in 2015, aka the last time I got fed up with a completely different Nazi fancier on this website.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:14 PM on September 28, 2023 [17 favorites]


I read that comment as coming from a dude (always a dude) who wants to split hairs about the roles of particular Nazi military units in WW2. The kind of thing the History channel does all day. Tone deaf to the thread, maybe, but hardly equivalent to walking into a bar covered in swastikas.

Strongly agree (and my Jewish side comes from Ukraine mostly, whatever that's worth).

Since we're plopping quotes out of context from that user, they also wrote:

(I agree this guy should not have been presented for applause, unless he had some superhuman humanitarian-in-the-Waffen-SS backstory worthy of a Hollywood movie or something)

I do not wish to glorify Ukrainians in WW2, they were among the worst mass-murders when employed by the Nazis.


I don't see any Nazi apologia, mainly just hair-splitting in a style that yes, is very white, male, and Boomer. I have no desire to get a beer with that user, but I don't think they deserve to banned. Frankly, I'm more concerned by all the people willing to jump on the bandwagon of labeling this user a Nazi than anything the user said.

Oh, and the line out of context referenced above "Hitler and his form of national socialism was really delivering the goods, until it all started unraveling in late '41." is clearly not praising Hitler, just noting he was initially popular (as were a lot of his social/econ policies).
posted by coffeecat at 7:19 PM on September 28, 2023 [27 favorites]


People can always visit Yad Vashem if they are unclear about the choices people had during that time period. Many, many, many people knew what the choice was and took the risk to make the right choice.
posted by brookeb at 7:38 PM on September 28, 2023 [9 favorites]


I read that comment as coming from a dude (always a dude) who wants to split hairs about the roles of particular Nazi military units in WW2. The kind of thing the History channel does all day.

These days the History Channel is far more likely to run shows about aliens or alligator hunters or guys who try getting themselves stung for fun, so I don't think this is quite the defense you think it is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:03 PM on September 28, 2023 [5 favorites]


Yes, the History Channel is trash. But I think you knew what I meant with my comment, and I'm disappointed that you're choosing to engage with a trivial aspect of it to diminish it.

And since people will want to judge me, too, now, I'll make it easy.
Here's exactly what I have to say about all of this:

1. Yes, Nazis should be banned.

2. I disagree with the snap judgment that paints this particular user as a Nazi.

3. MetaFilter is way too enamored with snap judgments. By all means, delete comments to keep a thread moving, but banning should be a last resort.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:01 PM on September 28, 2023 [34 favorites]


Full comment

Yeah, nobody should have to extend benefit of the doubt towards that. I’m certainly not.
posted by Artw at 9:30 PM on September 28, 2023 [3 favorites]


i think the last resort should in fact be deployed when someone is saying hey, the waffen ss - were they really so bad?

there is a shocking confluence of typically wildly disparate opinions here, btw.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:10 AM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


Yes, the History Channel is trash. But I think you knew what I meant with my comment, and I'm disappointed that you're choosing to engage with a trivial aspect of it to diminish it.

....While we're talking about making snap judgements against each other - how do you know that when I said "I don't think that's quite the defense you think it is", that maybe I wasn't trying to help you?

Moreover - many users have been here for quite a long time and recognize each others' patterns of behavior. What you're seeing as a "snap judgement" based on a single comment might be a judgement based on a long-term pattern of behavior.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:26 AM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


At the end of the day, if BiPOC/trans members button because of inconsistent rules applied to egregious behaviour, MeFi will tootle along because I would guess the max userbase here is middle class white people and if it doesn't affect them or if they are like "well, what user X meant was this", then their experience will be unchanged. MeFi works for them as it is; why change the status quo?
posted by Kitteh at 4:49 AM on September 29, 2023 [8 favorites]


This wasn't just one comment and a bunch of people making a "snap judgement," this was a series of comments that received significant pushback over two days. There was a ton of back-and-forth in the first thread where he tried dropping knowledge bombs, that other users dissected in detail, including well-sourced citations. If that wasn't bad enough, it was followed by wandering into another thread about and dropping a random "well, actually" turd regarding Nazi military power, how impressive the "raw emotion" in Nazi propaganda was, then the "national socialism was really delivering the goods" bon mot.

So yes, context matters here, and in the context of the entire series of comments as well as the full comments themselves (deleted or not), some sort of serious mod action beyond mod notes was warranted, and sadly not taken. There wasn't even a "move along to another thread, please," even if in hindsight that wouldn't have saved him from himself.

At this point, whether or not he's banned, he's certainly earned judgements (well-reasoned ones, not "snap") from a lot of users here, and now he and the mods will have to deal with the fallout.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 4:54 AM on September 29, 2023 [24 favorites]


The Ukrainian threads have a distinct drive-by tankie/Putin propagandist problem, most recently insistence that everyone who was against the USSR in World War II was a Nazi (presumably not including the actual Nazis between 1939 Molotov Pact and 1941 Operation Barbarossa). And there, the moderators eventually show up to delete, caution or ban people, so I'm all the more appalled how much was left to stand in the applause thread.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 5:13 AM on September 29, 2023 [10 favorites]


Hi, it's the mod who was on duty when the deleted comment first started getting a lot of flags.
Long story short, I messed up and could have handled that better. I apologize about that, wasn't my finest hour at all.

What I did wrong was trying to figure out what, if any, nuance there was to the history being presented and whether it was factual. Instead, the focus should have been on the whataboutism of being in the SS in WWII and nipping that in the bud.

Again, my apologies about this and I'll do better in the future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 5:56 AM on September 29, 2023 [66 favorites]


I'm not going to check and see if it was the user who repeatedly demanded I state on the record whether I thought there might be fascists on Metafilter as if that was some kind of gotcha, but any community that doesn't want to have a Nazi problem should make some effort to get ahead of the Nazi problem, which should involve training developed by professionals and not left for individual mods to figure out once it's already an emergency.

These are lines leadership needs to draw, because someone is going to get mad that we're not being considerate enough to Nazis, etc, and it shouldn't be on Brandon to figure out the degree of leeway we're supposed to allow Nazi defenders in order to get yelled at the least, but instead a policy decision that this just isn't a space for Nazi defense, sorry, them's the rules.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:15 AM on September 29, 2023 [16 favorites]


The comment was super shitty.

Now, I am also a middle-age, middle-class white dude who has read some about WWII; I am familiar with the nigh-irresistible urge to post Clarifications, without thinking too hard about whether the broader point is defensible. I am not sure that the commenter needs to be expelled, but I sure as shit don't want there to be any doubt that this place is not a nazi bar.

Is there like a one-week ban that the mods can drop on the guy before permanent exile? Maybe he can learn from this (I don't know enough about him to say).
posted by wenestvedt at 6:41 AM on September 29, 2023 [5 favorites]


I posted the video because of its soundtrack: an extremely good & gloomy post-punk track by SadSvit whose lyrics were rather personal and not political. I warned people that the video portion featured Azov and Mariupol combat footage so they wouldn't have to see it if they didn't want to. I made it clear I was only linking to this for the music.

And you immediately jumped to assuming that I (and the others who stood with me) were nazi defenders.


And....posting a link to the song on Spotify, where there was no video to worry about, didn't occur to you?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:34 AM on September 29, 2023 [7 favorites]


I don't think posting far-right propaganda, even with a disclaimer, "for the music" is a great thing to be doing either!
posted by an octopus IRL at 7:38 AM on September 29, 2023 [17 favorites]


the only people left are the ones who think some of the Nazis got a bad wrap, actually

The only people left? I mean what the actual shit? Where does this thread even come from if 100% of remaining MeFites are Nazi apologists.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:48 AM on September 29, 2023 [10 favorites]


This place has become very toxic, lately. Seriously bad energy. Like, "Why don't we just burn it all down?" kind of vibes. It sucks.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:02 AM on September 29, 2023 [19 favorites]


Holy shit, what the fuck. We have full time moderation staff, and they're just sitting on their hands while Nazi apologia is posted to the site?

No they're busy deleting my references to the international legume trade and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

On one hand, yes, I am being petulant, on the other, get it the fuck together, people.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:16 AM on September 29, 2023 [6 favorites]


the only people left are the ones who think some of the Nazis got a bad wrap, actually

my dad fought Nazis, killed a bunch, I'm sure. He was in the Canadian artillery, front line stuff, spotting targets and calling in strikes. He was twenty years old at the time. The stuff he experienced affected him for life, which means it affected me, made for a distant, somewhat incomplete father (PTSD for sure). Which means fuck Hitler, fuck the Nazis and anyone and everyone who had even the smallest part in allowing/encouraging their rise to power, actions and inactions going at least as far back as Paris 1919, the Treaty of Versailles, the political cynicism of which pretty much guaranteed that a Hitler would rise from the ashes of post World War One Germany.

I haven't left.
posted by philip-random at 9:17 AM on September 29, 2023 [19 favorites]


PSA because I can't not. Sorry / you're welcome, depending on who you are. It's "rap."
posted by heyho at 9:22 AM on September 29, 2023 [5 favorites]


It would mean a lot if people who posted shitty takes and well-actuallies on these indefensible topics would man up and post some contrition for the faux pas. On the other hand, if sincere apologies are never made, that's a pattern of behaviour that might well be actionable.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:24 AM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure that a thread about how close is too close to fascist apologia is the spot to relitigate "Has Azov been suborned enough to uncomplicatedly root for them".
posted by CrystalDave at 9:37 AM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


I want him back because how the hell was WWI lost in 3 months? For real? Come back and explain that shit!
posted by kingdead at 9:45 AM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


We're on the third day of this nonsense, it's already too late for apologies.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 9:57 AM on September 29, 2023


So I posted the first link I had in mind. My apologies to you for posting a video in haste because I was caught up in the moment. How absolutely terrible of me.

If you prioritize "wow cool music" before you do "hang on lemme make sure I'm not even accidentally saying the kind of things that would make people think I'm a fascist enabler"?

Yeah. That was kinda bad to do, dude.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:22 AM on September 29, 2023 [5 favorites]


Also, for the record - I've done exactly 100% the same thing, I used a video to test the sound system in a theater once and had a massive brain fart and didn't notice that part of the video included footage of Hitler. However - when someone pointed that out to me - at least I had the good grace to give a sincere apology instead of being all sarcastic and shit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:23 AM on September 29, 2023 [6 favorites]


This place has become very toxic, lately.

Hate to agree with this but, yeah. Lots of just immediate presumption of bad faith and bad actors and I can't tell based on what.

(Note I am NOT talking about the initial shitty comment under discussion, and I am not talking about Azov. Just talking about a lot of random inter-poster hostility, plus it seems like a lot of general "I hate all people and wish I never had to see or hear them" kind of vibes. It really seems ramped up in the last couple weeks.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:33 AM on September 29, 2023 [33 favorites]


agree in general with Blast Hardcheese, Metafilter has been weirdly fighty and intense recently. (beyond just this thread/topic, not gonna state examples or link though. if you know, you know)
posted by supermedusa at 10:38 AM on September 29, 2023 [1 favorite]


I mean normally I don't even care, I'm here for a pretty high snark level and barely ever flag anything at all, but even I actually flagged a thing this morning, it was so absolutely nasty.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:41 AM on September 29, 2023 [5 favorites]


The video was showing Azov defending Mariupol from Russia. Please tell me how that is a far-right video.

Azov is no longer run by its far-right founders. Hasn't for years now. It's now part of Ukraine's National Guard and fully within the chain of command which includes the President of Ukraine. Who is Jewish.


Ok.

December 29, 2021, from an interview with Michael Colborne, author of From the Fires of War: Ukraine’s Azov Movement and the Global Far Right

What is the relationship between the Azov regiment in the National Guard and the National Corps party? Some researchers claim that the Azov regiment is independent from the movement and the party, and that it is not far-right.

This is about a formal distinction between the Azov regiment and the Azov movement. I disagree with this claim. Yes, the Azov regiment is subordinate to different government bodies, namely to the National Guard. But saying that there is no relation between the regiment and the movement is ridiculous. If we look at the memorial ceremony for their comrades on the Day of the Dead which Azov holds every September, it is suspiciously reminiscent of the Nazi Cathedral of Light by Albert Speer. An eerie ritual with torches. But if we look closer, we’ll see that Azov members are holding shields with the callsigns of their fellow soldiers who died in 2014. The shields feature the Azov logo—they’re still claiming that it’s not a “Wolfsangel.” There’s also a “black sun” on the shields.

I look at this and think, “Do you really want to convince people that the regiment under the same name, which uses far-right symbols and still invites Andriy Biletsky to give solemn speeches, and the movement are independent phenomena? Then why, when anti-fascists hold banners demanding to disband the Azov regiment, the radical right lose their minds in anger?”

I think that the myth that there is no connection between the Azov regiment and the Azov movement has been promoted since 2019 by the regiment’s supporters who want to defend it from attacks by promoting this myth.


January 7, 2021: Time Magazine

Its fighters resemble the other para-military units—and there are dozens of them—that have helped defend Ukraine against the Russian military over the past six years. But Azov is much more than a militia. It has its own political party; two publishing houses; summer camps for children; and a vigilante force known as the National Militia, which patrols the streets of Ukrainian cities alongside the police. Unlike its ideological peers in the U.S. and Europe, it also has a military wing with at least two training bases and a vast arsenal of weapons, from drones and armored vehicles to artillery pieces.

Outside Ukraine, Azov occupies a central role in a network of extremist groups stretching from California across Europe to New Zealand, according to law enforcement officials on three continents. And it acts as a magnet for young men eager for combat experience. Ali Soufan, a security consultant and former FBI agent who has studied Azov, estimates that more than 17,000 foreign fighters have come to Ukraine over the past six years from 50 countries.

The vast majority have no apparent links to far-right ideology. But as Soufan looked into the recruitment methods of Ukraine’s more radical militias, he found an alarming pattern. It reminded him of Afghanistan in the 1990s, after Soviet forces withdrew and the U.S. failed to fill the security vacuum. “Pretty soon the extremists took over. The Taliban was in charge. And we did not wake up until 9/11,” Soufan tells TIME. “This is the parallel now with Ukraine.”

At a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security in September 2019, Soufan urged lawmakers to take the threat more seriously. The following month, 40 members of Congress signed a letter calling—unsuccessfully—for the U.S. State Department to designate Azov a foreign terrorist organization. “Azov has been recruiting, radicalizing, and training American citizens for years,” the letter said. Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, later confirmed in testimony to the U.S. Senate that American white supremacists are “actually traveling overseas to train.”

posted by qi at 10:42 AM on September 29, 2023 [12 favorites]


The only people left? I mean what the actual shit? Where does this thread even come from if 100% of remaining MeFites are Nazi apologists.

I apologize, I shouldn't have used such all-or-nothing language.

I stand by the overall point that the past decade of moderation decisions has driven away many posters who couldn't stand the hemming and hawing over sexism or transphobia or racism anymore, while ensuring that the (admittedly, mea culpa) small number of posters who want to talk about which Nazis were okay get endless chances to improve and thereby exert an outsized amount of influence on the overall site climate.

I'm going to step out since I get too annoyed by this stuff to make non-fighty comments but I guess Memail me if you really want to talk more with me specifically.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:46 AM on September 29, 2023 [11 favorites]


I was the one who posted the video. In response to someone asking for some current Ukrainian cultural output. Music, art, etc. I posted the video because of its soundtrack: an extremely good & gloomy post-punk track by SadSvit whose lyrics were rather personal and not political. I warned people that the video portion featured Azov and Mariupol combat footage so they wouldn't have to see it if they didn't want to. I made it clear I was only linking to this for the music.

azov is a nazi battalion. instead of acknowledging that you're defending yourself about it all this time later. perhaps consider you were just wrong to post the video at all.

And you immediately jumped to assuming that I (and the others who stood with me) were nazi defenders. Azov has a complicated history in which its far-right founders were kicked out and the brigade brought under direct government control. We pointed that out. And you left in a huff convinced we were all nazis. Refusing to engage further.

No fucking clue what we were supposed to do with that.


"sorry i posted a Nazi video, won't happen again!"
posted by JimBennett at 11:02 AM on September 29, 2023 [9 favorites]


The Ukrainian threads have a distinct drive-by tankie/Putin propagandist problem, most recently insistence that everyone who was against the USSR in World War II was a Nazi (presumably not including the actual Nazis between 1939 Molotov Pact and 1941 Operation Barbarossa). And there, the moderators eventually show up to delete, caution or ban people, so I'm all the more appalled how much was left to stand in the applause thread.

it's not putin propaganda to acknowledge the ukranian military has a serious nazi problem, it's not being a tankie to believe that the USSR was on the right side in WW2 and that given when this man served he should be condemned not celebrated. i'm not Stalin fan but we're talking about an SS officer here, what does he have to do with anything?
posted by JimBennett at 11:05 AM on September 29, 2023 [7 favorites]


I never thought I would see the day I would say What Ivan Fyodorovich said but it has arrived. Also, with no such caveat necessary, what We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese said. This place has gotten so fucking nasty. I mean, Diane Feinstein dies and someone actually posts It's about time in the ensuing thread? That got flagged and deleted but, all the same, What the Fuck, MetaFilter? This place has become a cesspool in the last few days.
posted by y2karl at 11:22 AM on September 29, 2023 [10 favorites]


As I said above, that was a separate incident in which someone insisted that everyone who was against the USSR was a Nazi. Which did not go well in a thread full of people from countries that were trapped between two evils in WWII and did not choose to cooperate with either one (unlike the countries which agreed to draft their own SS units, natch). I brought it up to object to the fact that moderation in the applause thread was more lax, for which Brandon subsequently apologized.

I rarely participate in MetaTalk and a big factor is that people read with even less comprehension than in Ask here.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:23 AM on September 29, 2023 [15 favorites]


I rarely participate in MetaTalk and a big factor is that people read with even less comprehension than in Ask here.

Amen, brother, amen.
posted by y2karl at 11:34 AM on September 29, 2023


As I said above, that was a separate incident in which someone insisted that everyone who was against the USSR was a Nazi. Which did not go well in a thread full of people from countries that were trapped between two evils in WWII and did not choose to cooperate with either one (unlike the countries which agreed to draft their own SS units, natch). I brought it up to object to the fact that moderation in the applause thread was more lax, for which Brandon subsequently apologized.

I rarely participate in MetaTalk and a big factor is that people read with even less comprehension than in Ask here.


speaking of nastiness, lol. i have pretty good reading comprehension but i don't always express myself well so maybe i can expand on the point i was trying to make. i don't participate in Ukraine threads on this site because people here love to punch left, i didn't see the posts you brought up and can't speak to what level of tankiness/putin apologia goes on. mostly i feel that equating either of those positions to actual literal Nazis is part of my personal problem with the discourse surrounding Ukraine around here and in the media in general.

i understand why you brought up this example, i'm glad we agree the comment discussed in the OP needed different moderation, i just feel strongly that it is a false equivalence. this thread is about a specific incident and this thread is about nazi apologia. somebody coming in the room and calling everybody nazis without any proof is like somebody coming into a room flinging shit all over the walls - it sucks, it makes everyone mad, but it's a quick cleanup job. i'm much more worried about people spreading nazi apologia because their political project is likely much more insidious and subtle. that is the context in which i asked "what are we doing here?"

(the following derail is not directed towards I claim sanctuary in the slightest, but to maybe give some context to why there might be "drive by" comments based on my own personal take...) i don't think it's intentional on the part of anyone discussing this issue on this site, but i feel like i am going fucking insane watching people online minimize nazism to score cheap points on Russia in the social media war. of course the USSR was evil, but so was Winston Churchill, so what are we as a society actually reckoning with? why are we having these discussions now, at this moment in history? who stands to gain from this discourse, while the canadian government is honoring a Nazi in parliament and media outlets are doing glowing profiles of Ukrainian soldiers with nazi emblems on their uniforms and we had a Nazi president for 4 years in America?
posted by JimBennett at 1:10 PM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


Live and don't never learn, id est. Perhaps so but I stand by the last sentence in my comment above about what a cesspool of spite and rancor this place has become of late. For which I blame no one here. I used to fall asleep listening to the BBC overnight on our local NPR station
but no more. The news of late is so horrible that I can't stand it. I assume that is the same for everyone else. These are hard times for us all. We did Nazi that coming.
posted by y2karl at 1:10 PM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: "If you see one nazi at a table with ten other people, you have eleven nazis."

Also Metafilter: "You guys, I don't understand why making a formal alliance with Germany in WWII against the USSR and directly, enthusiastically helping them accomplish their goals of ethnic cleansing and genocide is somehow now being retroactively misinterpreted as some sort of formal endorsement of the third reich??!"
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 1:29 PM on September 29, 2023 [10 favorites]


MetaFilter: Nazi = you, him, her and them. Nazi ≠ me. Not ever. Because I said so.
posted by y2karl at 2:34 PM on September 29, 2023 [4 favorites]


Thank God someone's saying it. Regardless of your feelings toward Russia, post-Maidan Ukraine is a far-right ethnonationalist state. Having a Jewish president isn't some gotcha that makes it impossible for that to be true, c.f. Israel. Pro-war liberals on this site are so eager to chug any slop the Dems dish up in defense of U.S. foreign policy goals that they're now literally playing not-all-nazis IN THIS VERY THREAD. Horrifying.

While they pat themselves on the back about how leftist they are. Ugh.
posted by Krawczak at 3:07 PM on September 29, 2023 [1 favorite]


I do love to chug slop.
posted by sagc at 3:16 PM on September 29, 2023 [1 favorite]


Wut

I know it's just wikipedia but at least it provides sources.
posted by mazola at 3:17 PM on September 29, 2023 [9 favorites]


OK, look, this is getting pointlessly nasty with a lot of weird throw off attacks on people, because... why, exactly? I think we all (or almost all) agree that the Nazis were terrible. Even the comments in question were not arguing that Nazis or the SS weren't awful, although they were making apologies for the the specific guy by spinning a fantasy about his motivations. I am not excusing this; because, if you let this rhetoric slide, the move from bad actors is to push things a little further, and, soon enough, you've admitted that you are OK with "some" genocide. It's a fool's game.

I've mentioned this before, but, in ancient philosophy, there is a thing called the "Paradox of the Heap." It works like this: you ask "is one grain of salt a heap?" the other person goes "no, of course not, that's silly." "How about two?" "No." ... "How about 70 grains of salt?" "Yeah, I guess that's a heap." "What?! Adding one grain makes it a heap?!" The Stoics came up with a solution to this, and it's "This is a dumb game; don't play." Similarly, playing "is this a Nazi?" "How about this?" is also a fool's game.

Back to the thread. I can't speak for Fizz, but there are at least two aspects to the complaint. One is the hair-splitting over "this guy could have been in the SS for reasons." There is also the really stubborn effort to make that the point of the thread when repeatedly asked to stop, especially because Hunka's motivations didn't have much to do with the OP -- which was Anthony Rota, Canada's speaker of Parliament, invited a former SS soldier to be honored at a formal ceremony, which everyone agrees was a gaffe of unbelievable proportions which will have a lasting impact on Canadian politics. SS apologia is bad enough, but not stopping when repeatedly requested made it worse.

I'm not sure relitigating Ukraine threads is a good use of our time, but fine.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:26 PM on September 29, 2023 [19 favorites]


"it's not being a tankie to believe that the USSR was on the right side in WW2"

I wouldn't consider the side with Hitler to be the "right side". Many of these threads would be smoother, I think, if posters understood this.
posted by UN at 3:27 PM on September 29, 2023


I want him back because how the hell was WWI lost in 3 months? For real? Come back and explain that shit!

Warning: produced from history learned a long time ago.

The narrative is in 1917 Germany wasn't exactly winning the war but they weren't quite losing either. They'd made pretty massive gains and on the surface they appeared pretty good. The writing was on the wall though that probably eventually things were going to reverse because of supply problems. So the Germans decided to go for broke and attempted to starve the British out by resuming unrestricted submarine warfare (ie attacking American ships convoying food and supplies to the Allies) knowing full well that the until that point nominally neutral Americans would then declared war. The hope was to break the Allies before the Americans could effectively mobilize. That didn't happen, the Americans dumped a million and a half troops into the theatre plus supplies and basically mopped up the war in the summer of 1918. However to the low information German citizen it looked like the people in charge just abandoned a winning position for no reason and Germany lost in three months when really they lost when they started attacking American shipping in 1917, it just took awhile. This of course fed into the narrative that the eventual Nazis used to gain power.
posted by Mitheral at 3:41 PM on September 29, 2023 [8 favorites]


And like, the idea that it's cool to a deride a user for exhibiting "fragility" for explaining where they were coming from in defending themselves against being called a Nazi is gross.

Nobody called that person a Nazi. These fibs aren't helpful, we can all read upthread.
posted by dusty potato at 4:47 PM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


Sure, we can see that you accused them of posting “nazi apologia”. “Nazi apologist” and “nazi” is pretty much a distinction without a difference in a thread that’s explicitly likening MeFi to a Nazi bar.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 4:56 PM on September 29, 2023 [4 favorites]


Nobody called that person a Nazi.

Right, and the poster in question was just asking totally innocent questions about interesting historical facts, so why is anyone upset? This thread exists because we've decided that reading between the lines of someone else's statements and then judging them on what we read is fine. And that's not an illegitimate thing to do. Have at it. But what's good for the goose, etc.
posted by AdamCSnider at 5:10 PM on September 29, 2023 [2 favorites]


Sure, we can see that you accused them of posting “nazi apologia”. “Nazi apologist” and “nazi” is pretty much a distinction without a difference in a thread that’s explicitly likening MeFi to a Nazi bar.

the whole point of the Nazi bar analogy is that it only takes one unquestioned Nazi to spoil the whole community. i don't think anyone is saying there are a bunch of Nazis here.

i think the whole music video thing is really kind of a derail from the original point of the post and is muddling the conversation. i do not personally think posting a video with Azov footage is a good look but i also completely believe that person just liked the song and wanted to share Ukrainian art. that said, the punk and metal scenes have dealt with Nazi problems for a long time, which is where the whole Nazi bar analogy originates from, and i also don't blame dusty potato for calling it out because that is the approach people take in those musical communities.

sometimes you hear metal kids talk about early Burzum and punks talk about early Skrewdriver, "before they were Nazis" or whatever, but it's really just a dogwhistle, a way to have one foot in polite society and one foot in skinhead world. Nazis know everyone hate them so they have to speak in codes like this. when you come from that tradition, the slightest whiff of this kind of thing is a red flag. hence the Nazi Bar analogy.
posted by JimBennett at 5:46 PM on September 29, 2023 [7 favorites]


I don't think this site is any danger of the "Nazi bar" scenario.

Honestly if some real Nazis showed up it would probably be healthy for us to pile on someone who deserved it for a change.
posted by fleacircus at 5:58 PM on September 29, 2023 [33 favorites]


that's fair, but the premise of the thread is that it is already happening. i think in 2023 any gathering place on the internet is susceptible to far right propaganda.
posted by JimBennett at 6:06 PM on September 29, 2023 [4 favorites]


Oh, shit that comes from the bull -- c'mon, really? Read.The.Room. Apart from Daily Kos perhaps, of any gathering place on the internet -- this is by far the least likely to be so susceptible to right wing propaganda. Stop looking at things through the wrong end of your own telescope.
posted by y2karl at 6:34 PM on September 29, 2023 [2 favorites]


Examples please?
posted by y2karl at 7:30 PM on September 29, 2023


Just to begin. Not a Nazi nor a Nazi apologist. Punch them.

I saw that post when it was posted, (not the WAffen SS one), and looked up Stauffenberg and the Einsatzgruppe to learn about them, as I had not heard of Stauffenberg prior. And FWIW, Germany was "providing the goods" promised to the German people, and kicking ass at the start of the war. Ask France how things were going then. I didn't see it as Nazi apologia, but just some historical comments. Perhaps I am just naive. Nor am I familiar with all of the poster's posts to make decisions on whether or not they are a Nazi/Nazi sympathizer. (OK the Waffen SS comment is pretty fucked up). So yeah, maybe so. Can't see defending anyone who would join the Waffen SS.

Warn the user, delete the posts. But an insta-ban seems pretty extreme. And doesn't make MeFi a Nazi bar. The moderation shows the opposite.
posted by Windopaene at 8:25 PM on September 29, 2023 [1 favorite]


Edit after the edit window closed. The post I searched was actually in the Canada invites a Nazi to speak thread, but was quoted above. Got those two confused.
posted by Windopaene at 8:36 PM on September 29, 2023


The use of inaccurate history whether in this thread or the threads that are of contention can be problematc. I won't even start with "the last 3 months of World War I," utter nonsense, I could pick that apart with a straw. Quite a few historical inaccuracies by far the most accurate comment in this thread is Mitheral' though I would have added Germany sending Lenin to St. Petersburg, freeing up troops, revolution, though it really didn't help Germany.
but I'll use one very small inaccuracy to prove a point.

""If we look at the memorial ceremony for their comrades on the Day of the Dead which Azov holds every September, it is suspiciously reminiscent of the Nazi Cathedral of Light by Albert Speer. An eerie ritual with torches. But if we look closer,"

from qi' comment citing "an interview with Michael Colborne, author of From the Fires of War: Ukraine’s Azov Movement and the Global Far Right"

so, we take it that Colbourne is an expert, I see why not.

"Nazi Cathedral of Light"
was not just torches but most of Germanys AA spotlight and highlighted in Riefenstahl's propaganda as others.So big that,

"The British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Nevile Henderson, described it as “both solemn and beautiful… like being in a cathedral of ice”.

it makes little difference between Hitler's cathedral of ice and Azov ceremonies as it seems a matter of the size of the spectacle.
but the underlying ideaology remains.

the cathedral light was sinister, a perfect symbol of a bunch of Nazis in a stadium staring at photons pointed at the sky.

"suspiciously reminiscent"
The accurate analogy would be the Horst Wessel cerimonies or SA bund rallies honoring those killed in the '23 putsch.

the main point is that Hitler with the cathedral was huge self-selling propaganda whereas whoever posted the Azov stuff could be just informing. This is a critical point when I took Holocaust studies. Examining historical facts from the Nazi era from a wider angle you're studying one of the most horrible events in modern history and sometimes using data from the Nazis in order to prove a point is harrowing. for example, trying to find primary sources implicating Hitler for the final solution. this is not a new subject but suffice it to say it is difficult though doesn't mean it didn't happen, it just means that they tried to burn everything.
posted by clavdivs at 8:53 PM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


True that. The majority of the German people, who were pretty much on board with all the horrors. At least the ones who voted for those nazi fucks. Much like if TFG gets re-elected, lots of horrible shit will go down, and half of the voters will be OK with that. We probably won't invade Canada, maybe Mexico, but if TFG did that, he would be delivering what he had said he was going to do. And victories in war are lapped up by the followers. And again, fuck Nazi's
posted by Windopaene at 8:55 PM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


And FWIW, Germany was "providing the goods" promised to the German people, and kicking ass at the start of the war.

ask the Czechs, Poland, Belgium. delivering the goods to your people through planned warfare is not a badge of honor for the subject of provision. it's robbing stealing murdering others for material gains. and why did the German people push back when people were being murdered in hospitals. by Wars end nearly a million German citizens, opps, Nazis, were arrested by the Gestapo for being in the resistance over 70,000 were executed there were no less than 20 assassination attempts before 1941 on Adolf Hitler.
it's not so much getting the facts straight it's perspective.
posted by clavdivs at 9:04 PM on September 29, 2023 [2 favorites]


Windopaene, You are being naive thanks for being open to that possibility. Discussion of Nazis will never just be historical comments for many folks here. (On preview, see comments).

I'd really appreciate if we, here, can just not praise Nazis for doing anything on Mefi. It doesn't matter if you are right or wrong historically. It's just not a group that needs to be discussed in terms of accomplishments. Sure, maybe someone carefully could deftly make a limited statement in a very specific historical discussion about, IDK, 20th-21st century desert warfare, but that sort of discussion probably isn't right for this site anyway. What is intellectual and historical to you is way more visceral for others, much the same way a Southern plantation isn't just a neutral wedding venue for the descendants of American chattel slavery.

That said, I hope we can agree that the thread regarding the Canadian parliament applauding someone who voluntarily joined a unit to fight for the SS was about current events (he wasn't, as I understand it, invited to speak), and bringing up historical details was inappropriate, full stop. If the user doesn't get banned, they really need to never talk about Nazis again here.

Also, for the record, People don't need to be Nazis to be antisemitic. it's not like the Nazis invented it. For example, it was Ukrainians who murdered my maternal grandfather's family in a pogrom around 1920, way before the Nazi party got there. What happened a hundred years ago in Ukraine to my family has very little bearing on this current event though, so while I considered bringing this up in that thread, I held off.

Anyway, TL: DR, you do not, under any circumstances, "gotta hand it them" when it comes to Nazis.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 9:20 PM on September 29, 2023 [24 favorites]


Kristallnacht was in 1938.
a very crucial year 1938 but kristallnacht was the culmination of many events. the dissemination of the protocols of elders of Zion. Aryan race-soul. this has to do with Houston Stewart Chamberlain and his dear love for German philosophy in militarisism.
the destruction of democracy Prussia, Dachau, the first concentration camp 1933. Julius Streicher and then April 1st 1933 boycott. German anti Nazi resistance in the 30s mainly German citizens who refuse to say heil Hitler and stuff like. the absorbtion of the state police and security functions by the RSHA, consolidating surveillance and hate, 1937. the traumas of Jewish school children 1933. notified schooling 1933. the Nuremberg laws of 1935. the June actions of 1938.
I'm sticking with these points because I believe in what Fizz is doing with this post because it's sometimes better to beat and shout aloud that something that could be problematic because we do not want that to happen again I personally do not believe that's the case with the waffen SS quote, just rather lazy thinking. what I do not absolutely like about this thread is other members accusing other members of being Nazis or sympathizers or apologies or other such b******* and if you're going to do that use citations and better yet do we used to do in the old school and take it to memail because in my experience when a mod told one to take it an email, it's a great way to cool down and talk.
posted by clavdivs at 9:37 PM on September 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


I agree there's cause for action here, but not in quite the same way the post framed it.

When seeing the phrase "users who support or defend Nazi/fascist ideology" I take that to mean Holocaust denial, Holocaust advocacy, or otherwise supporting their anti-semitism, racial purity rhetoric, brutal totalitarian rule, etc. That's an extremely charged accusation to make, and without the source comment handy I can see why people would be outraged at the very idea of such dangerous bigotry not being insta-banned -- especially given the rise of literal no-shit neo-Nazis not-so-subtly agitating for those things nowadays. But that's not what the user was doing, and plainly not what they believe if you've read any of their other comments. They were definitely tone-deaf and too stuck in their armchair historian hairsplitting to see that folks weren't interested in hearing it, but to label that "supporting Nazi ideology" is pretty off-base. Maybe if they were arguing that Hunka deserved to be lauded for XYZ historical reasons, but they explicitly disagreed with that idea.

The Nazi Bar metaphor is about shunning contemporary neo-Nazis even if they're being nominally "civil", not regular people going on an insensitive historical tangent about a particular SS unit. The existing deletion and warning feels appropriate (which IMHO should have been followed by a threadban+time-out for continuing to belabor the finer points of Hunka's historical context), but this user is not some monstrous Nick Fuentes type that needs to be ejected to protect the community. If a user was spouting groyper-isms and wasn't immediately shitcanned with extreme prejudice, I'd be up in arms too, but that just wasn't the case here.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:49 PM on September 29, 2023 [43 favorites]


Azov Battalion footage is unquestionably right-wing propaganda, and it’s been shared dozens of times with a very positive reception in the Ukraine threads.

US Republican Party conventions are also right wing propaganda, and they get linked to and talked about plenty here, too. People still occasionally post links to the Daily Mail (or, being less charitable, literally any of the major UK newspapers). "Right wing propaganda" covers a pretty wide spectrum of stuff. Linking to or discussing something does not necessarily mean endorsing it. And right wing does not necessarily mean racist, supremacist, nazi. If you mean white supremacist, say that. Because, damn near communist that I am, I don't think being right wing should be a crime or problem on metafilter. I think being a supremacist should be.
posted by Dysk at 1:43 AM on September 30, 2023 [16 favorites]


The point of the nazi bar analogy is that it doesn’t matter what fig leaf nazis fly, they are nazis. And allowing one nazi risks that nazi bringing a friend. And then that nazi and then this is a nazi bar
posted by Francies at 2:51 AM on September 30, 2023 [5 favorites]


Sorry for being reductive but I don’t spend a lot of time on MeTa and the conversation about people being mean seems somewhat different from the conversation about nazis. To me
posted by Francies at 2:57 AM on September 30, 2023 [5 favorites]


Mod note: Comment removed for mocking another member.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 7:27 AM on September 30, 2023 [2 favorites]


Mod note: Actually, several comments removed. Let's avoid speculating or revealing information about a user who is no longer on the site and calling other members fragile.

We're here to enjoy ourselves, learn something, and/or share some cool links, so please focus on that instead of attacking others.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 7:32 AM on September 30, 2023 [15 favorites]


Thank you Brandon.
posted by 15L06 at 7:35 AM on September 30, 2023 [4 favorites]


The Nazi Bar metaphor is about shunning contemporary neo-Nazis even if they're being nominally "civil", not regular people going on an insensitive historical tangent about a particular SS unit. The existing deletion and warning feels appropriate (which IMHO should have been followed by a threadban+time-out for continuing to belabor the finer points of Hunka's historical context),

I could be misreading what Fizz wrote, but that follow-up you mentioned is exactly what I think they were asking for. That the first comment was deleted and the user was given a warning was the correct response. That the user was able to come back and essentially continuously spout the same garbage over and over without the later comments being deleted, then being told to leave the thread, then actively banning for a day is an absolute moderation failure.

I haven't checked the timestamps, but I believe the people above who say these comments were over multiple days (which would mean multiple mods should have seen them).

Did I flag? No. For the most part, I was reading the thread a day behind, so it didn't seem like it would make a difference.

I thank Brandon Blatcher for admitting a mistake and apologizing for it. (Something so many in the community have been asking mods to do for.... a really long time.) I would really like to hear from loup why all of the other comments from the user were allowed to remain.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:42 AM on September 30, 2023 [3 favorites]

Thank God someone's saying it. Regardless of your feelings toward Russia, post-Maidan Ukraine is a far-right ethnonationalist state. Having a Jewish president isn't some gotcha that makes it impossible for that to be true, c.f. Israel...
It is not true that Ukraine is is a far-right ethnonationalist state. Yes, like every country there are Nazis in it, probably including the 900 members of the Azov regiment. But their numbers are small and have shrunk in recent elections which are broadly fair.

The trouble with being hair-trigger zero-tolerance on accusations of Nazism is that there is a distinct group of people who live in Internet bubbles where Kremlin propaganda is taken for granted. They firmly believe that Ukraine is Nazi state. On the Metafilter periphery of Twitter and Reddit they're always yuk-yuking about how Metafilter is pro-Ukraine and therefore Metafites are all Nazis. So we can expect to see a steady stream of false accusation of Nazism.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:47 AM on September 30, 2023 [37 favorites]


The absurdity of the situation is that it's usually impossible to differentiate between posters who are anti-Ukraine because of misinformation, and posters who are anti-Ukraine because they are defacto modern day nazis in everything but name. If someone's getting their news from fascist sources (RT etc.) and repeating it here, what's the difference?
posted by UN at 9:04 AM on September 30, 2023 [2 favorites]


Let's avoid speculating or revealing information about a user who is no longer on the site

I guess this is why my comment, which was at heart a plea for people to be nicer to each other here, got deleted. Which you know, for whatever it's worth, I did put a fair bit of thought into and did in the spirt of trying to move the conversation in a productive direction. I wasn't speculating or revealing information about a since-buttoned account though, just recalling information that that user expressed themselves. Genuinely not sure why the move is to delete it without even giving me the chance to edit out the "objectionable" part that doesn't seem to break any actual rule on the site.

But thanks for deleting the post that engaged in name-calling.
posted by coffeecat at 9:15 AM on September 30, 2023 [4 favorites]


Which you know, for whatever it's worth, I did put a fair bit of thought into and did in the spirt of trying to move the conversation in a productive direction.

Coffeecat, I'm about to MeMail the removed comment to you. You're free to repost it, including criticism of mod actions, just leave out the name of the user who is no longer on this site.

The rational is that's it's their private information and they alone have right to reveal it. They may have done so in the past, but we have no way of knowing if they still feel the same way, so it's better to leave their name out of things.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 9:36 AM on September 30, 2023 [2 favorites]


Thanks Brandon Blatcher, I genuinely appreciate the clarification (albeit still confused how publicly available info is private, but I can agree to disagree there). I think the moment has past and I know plenty of people saw my comment before deletion, so I'm not sure it needs reposting. But thanks for taking the time to address my question/MeMail me.
posted by coffeecat at 10:25 AM on September 30, 2023


In 2023, I'd be less worried about hypothetical Nazi stuff than real pro-Russia propaganda being snuck into comments on social media sites (including this one) under the fly (such as those that were made upthread). If you're worried about a Nazi bar, wait until you see what a Putin bar looks like.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:19 AM on September 30, 2023 [18 favorites]


Look, if you ever think “but y‘know the Nazis did manage to…“ catch yourself and put that thought to the side. Yes, bad things/groups can contain elements that are not bad but the whole intent and reason for being of the bad thing/group is negative.
Do you want to align yourself with that group? Because that’s what you are doing - no, you’re not clearing up a point that would improve everyone’s understanding of blah blah blah.
In a scholarly setting maybe there could be some value in discussing some action of the Nazis - but here you are pretty much guaranteed to have it go awry.

The Nazis are a moral black hole. Any activity they might have engaged in that was less than abhorrent was a side-show, a blip - a misstep.

There was a time I could have maybe seen the “value” of clearing up some point about - but after living in Germany for 15+ years and seeing first hand how profoundly the nazis fucked everything and everyone (to this day, 80ish years later) No. There are things it’s not worth going into. Fuck the Nazis
posted by From Bklyn at 11:31 AM on September 30, 2023 [21 favorites]

''...He told me, “After the Hitlerjugend walked through, Hitler came by in an open black Mercedes with his arm propped up. I’m sure he had an iron bar up his sleeve, because he couldn’t have kept his arm that particular way for so long otherwise.” The Königsberg crowds produced an indescribable sound, Budrys recalled, and some individuals behaved as though experiencing epileptic seizures: men and women rolled on the ground, writhing and clutching at each other–or ran for the bushes as they pulled their underwear down, unable to control their bowels. “Some of them made it, some didn’t,” he said. “I was only five. It was quite a thing to see.” ...it was on the day he watched the crowds’ reaction to Hitler, he wrote later, that he understood that he had come into consciousness among a species of werewolf.
The Alien Novelist -- The science fiction of Algis Budrys showed literary artistry.

Scroll down while there to the description of Budrys's last novel Michaelmas -- one of first and finest novels of an AI utopia. A man and his Skynet level software benignly rule the world. All that and metaversally much much more. Btw: Michaelmas Day was yesterday.
posted by y2karl at 1:05 PM on September 30, 2023 [3 favorites]


Windopaene

I apologise, I really do as I sounded dismissive and haughty. you don't deserve that even to make a point.
posted by clavdivs at 1:28 PM on September 30, 2023 [4 favorites]


The thing I wish people realized about the Nazis is that they weren't ubermenchen, they weren't efficient, they weren't sinister masterminds. They were a bunch of Alexes Jones, obvious grifters and thugs fucking around with people's lives out of a mix of self aggrandizement, delusion, and brute chance. Sure, there was a German military, which was pretty solid, but the Naszis pissed that away out of jealousy and stupidity, and the completely Nazi groups suffered appalling casualties because they were shit at their jobs. From the top to the bottom, it was like an organization made up 100% of Tuckers Carlson and Stevens Crowder. Human misery was their only legacy.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:39 PM on September 30, 2023 [20 favorites]


shit at their jobs

Also profoundly methed up
posted by pullayup at 7:04 PM on September 30, 2023 [1 favorite]


It looks a lot like folks in this thread are arguing different parts of this syllogism:

1. Never defend Nazis.
2. Ukrainians are Nazis.
3. Therefore, do not defend Ukrainians.

2 is false. People who in 2023 obsess over Azov are Putin propagandists and probably deserve some extra mod attention—especially if they have really old accounts that were dormant for a long time and could have potentially been hacked.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:31 PM on September 30, 2023 [16 favorites]


We don't need Putin bots here, any more than we need Nazis. Let them pollute Facebook and Twitter.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:05 PM on September 30, 2023 [4 favorites]


People who in 2023 obsess over Azov are Putin propagandists

Oh come off it. We're here in this thread because we just witnessed a Waffen SS volunteer getting a standing ovation for being in the Waffen SS. Even the NY Times has acknowledged the Nazi Symbols on Ukraine’s Front Lines (June 2023). But never mind all that, let's instead focus on something scary and elusive and impossible to prove, and fill our minds with hatred, and not admit the uncomforting thoughts.
posted by dmh at 4:05 AM on October 1, 2023 [5 favorites]


From your link:
“That relationship has become especially delicate because President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has falsely declared Ukraine to be a Nazi state, a claim he has used to justify his illegal invasion.“
Not sure what’s scary and elusive about it. This thread already resolved the issue related to the Waffen SS. There was a mod acknowledgement and apology way, way above. People stuck around because having secured that one clear agreement that it’s always wrong to defend Nazis, there is now a question on the table about whether Ukrainians are Nazis.

Anyway, I’m an old, old user with an account that’s been dormant and could have been hacked, too, so I’m just as worthy of increased mod attention as qi. But it’s pretty clear there’s more at stake than a $5 sign-up fee, with billions in aid to Ukraine at stake right this second, and a major war that’s already killed half a million people.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:23 AM on October 1, 2023 [2 favorites]


Literally nobody here is generalizing that "Ukrainians are Nazis." Are you suggesting that it is impossible for a Ukrainian person to be a Nazi? Because that's a remarkable claim. I don't really understand the agenda towards flattening current events this way, and as a Jewish person it really creeps me out.
posted by dusty potato at 4:51 AM on October 1, 2023 [6 favorites]


I know that Ukraine is not a "Nazi state" and that the "denazification of Ukraine" is a terrible pretext for a terrible war. But in our enthusiasm to spank the Russians we were lead to literally cheer for literal Nazi's. To then hammer the "Putin bots spreading disinformation" refrain in response is itself propagandist fear-mongering. It's a thought-stopper.
posted by dmh at 5:05 AM on October 1, 2023 [6 favorites]


I don't really understand the agenda towards flattening current events this way, and as a Jewish person it really creeps me out.

Yeah, it's all very "I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five Mefites that were known to the moderators as being members of the Putin Disinformation Corps and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of Metafilter."

I don't see this ending well, especially now that specific users are being called out based on nothing but vibes.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 5:06 AM on October 1, 2023 [6 favorites]


Actually, it's worse than just vibes, they're accusing users who are doing the job of correcting misinformation.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 5:19 AM on October 1, 2023 [1 favorite]


Like, Nazism is endemic to contemporary Russia too! The reason I'm on here talking about Azov and not the Wagner Group is because nobody has ever insisted that I, as a Jewish person, celebrate Wagner or shut up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by dusty potato at 5:26 AM on October 1, 2023 [7 favorites]


Oh come off it. We're here in this thread because we just witnessed a Waffen SS volunteer getting a standing ovation for being in the Waffen SS.

I am afraid not. We witnessed a Ukrainian immigrant to Canada being invited to an event in Parliament for fairly banal political reasons. He was applauded because he was a) Ukrainian (since it was an event involving President Zelenskyy), b) old, and c) had fought in WWII, three things that should have been inoffensive political symbolism, if the Speaker had bothered to vet who, exactly, Hunka had fought for. That is what the original FPP was about.

This thread is concerned with the problem of a user aggressively derailing the topic of an appalling gaffe in Canadian politics with unsubstantiated speculation on whether Hunka might have joined the SS for “good (or at least understandable) reasons.” This was a problem for three reasons: a) it was off-topic because, whatever affected Hunka’s decision 80 years ago had nothing to do with the appropriateness of his invitation to Parliament, b) it is a complicated and fraught issue that couldn’t possibly be addressed as a sideline in another thread*, and c) the user wouldn’t desist after repeated requests and even mod actions (which weren’t escalated as the initial injections and warnings for various reasons, and have been apologized for).

Some people have decided to turn this into a discussion of the degree on influence the far right has in modern Ukraine, which I personally feel belongs in its own FPP, since it’s obscuring the original issues.

* All of this has led me to read Milton Mayer’s 1955 They Thought They Were Free, which is built around interviews with 10 men in a small town in Germany all of whom joined the Nazi party and their reasons, experiences, and feelings after. It’s not a long book, but there’s a lot there, and it works really hard to find explanations without granting excuses. We could have an FPP on this; it’s not a forbidden or impossible topic, but it would take a lot of effort, and trying to do it as a detail in another thread was… unwise.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:54 AM on October 1, 2023 [38 favorites]


Can anybody point out what the supposed Russian disinfo sources that were being used are? The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure, which was used to correct several blatant falsehoods and inaccuracies in the original thread, doesn't exactly strike me as a Putin front. Neither does the Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right, and I've seen Bellingcat used as a source in multiple Ukraine threads here, but I guess now both of them are on the list of unacceptable Putin mouthpieces as well given their use in this thread.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 5:58 AM on October 1, 2023 [2 favorites]


I am afraid not. We witnessed a Ukrainian immigrant to Canada being invited to an event in Parliament for fairly banal political reasons. He was applauded because he was a) Ukrainian (since it was an event involving President Zelenskyy), b) old, and c) had fought in WWII, three things that should have been inoffensive political symbolism, if the Speaker had bothered to vet who, exactly, Hunka had fought for. That is what the original FPP was about.

This is an absurd dissembling that elides the crux of the matter, which is that Hunka joined the Waffen SS to fight the Russians and was celebrated for exactly that fact. "fairly banal political reasons"? Bizarre.
posted by dmh at 6:19 AM on October 1, 2023 [2 favorites]


This is an absurd dissembling that elides the crux of the matter, which is that Hunka joined the Waffen SS to fight the Russians and was celebrated for exactly that fact. "fairly banal political reasons"? Bizarre.

Again, I am afraid not. The crux of the matter is the framing of the FPP in question, which has nothing to do with Hunka's motivations at all. Hunka was invited to Parliament for extremely bland Candaian political reasons -- he was a constituent of the Speaker, as was his son, who asked the Speaker if his father could attend the Zelenskyy event. I have no idea of Anthony Rota's thought process, but it seems like he was doing a favor for two of his constituents and, further, getting some minor political points by presenting an elderly Ukrainian veteran for view. Given the controversies over the years regarding Canada allowing immigration by people from Ukraine (among other ethnicities and nations) with connections to Nazi Germany (as well as monuments erected to them within Canada), you would think that Rota's people would have vetted Hunka more carefully, and that is a Canadian, not a Ukrainian, scandal.

For purposes of the discussion, Hunka's motivations, even if they were clearly discernible (as they mostly come from 10-15 year old blog posts), are irrelevant. He was a member of an SS unit which was led by Nazi officers and pursued Nazi aims. The unit has been connected to the murder of Polish, Ukrainian, Yugoslavian, and Jewish civilians, although it does not appear to be possible to connect Hunka personally with any given atrocity. This made it wildly inappropriate for the Canadian Parliament to give him a standing ovation, and has been embarrassing to many, including Speaker Rota and President Zelenskyy (who has condemned the use of SS Galicia Division symbolis previously).

So, no, Hunka's motivations were not appropriate to a thread about the Canadian Parliament and were a disruptive derail (even if we ignore other posters' discomfort at the apparent excusing of SS membership). As I said above, I think we could have a discussion about motivation for supporting (or, at a minimum, "going along with") totalitarian and fascist politics especially in light of modern-day events, but the place for that is not in a thread about a particular moment in the Canadian Parliament.

Since this is MeTa, I'll point out that one of MetaFilter's problems is people not respecting the scope of an FPP (or MeTa) along with not reading the entire thread before commenting.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:20 AM on October 1, 2023 [23 favorites]


Since this is MeTa, I'll point out that one of MetaFilter's problems is people not respecting the scope of an FPP (or MeTa) along with not reading the entire thread before commenting.

This. I'm probably guilty of the latter, I try not to be the former.

I think we (as a collective society) have a very poor understanding in general of much of that period (hence how the Parliament incident happened in the first place) and there are details and nuances that are harder still to get right. I say that not because I'm an apologist, but it is my personal belief that one weapon against Nazi-ism is truth. In any case, that work is sensitive, serious, and careful so probably best left to people devoted to those aims, probably academics (I am *convinced* that thread sure-as-shit ain't the place for that kind of discussion).
posted by mazola at 7:44 AM on October 1, 2023 [2 favorites]


Literally nobody here is generalizing that "Ukrainians are Nazis."

“post-Maidan Ukraine is a far-right ethnonationalist state”

posted by anotherpanacea at 8:43 AM on October 1, 2023 [18 favorites]


Can anybody point out what the supposed Russian disinfo sources that were being used are? The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure, which was used to correct several blatant falsehoods and inaccuracies in the original thread, doesn't exactly strike me as a Putin front

in my experience, it's less the specific sources than how those sources are focused on by Russian disinfo operations.

For instance, I don't think anyone is denying that many in Ukraine were (at least) Nazi sympathizers in and around World War Two, and that some of that vileness is still evident with the Azov Brigade. But how much of the current Ukrainian war effort is fascist? I don't think that's remotely clear. And yet, for certain acquaintances of mine (ie: eager readers of RT news etc), it's abundantly clear -- it's the only issue worth considering when discussing the complexities of the situation.
posted by philip-random at 8:59 AM on October 1, 2023 [6 favorites]


To get back on track, from the submitted MeTa:

had their comment removed and was given a moderator's note regarding this decision. But I don't find this acceptable. Why would we allow additional comments from this user to be made in that thread?

At this time, Heywood Mogroot III has ~25 of the 178 comments in the thread. 14% of the comments are from that user, even after a very early deletion. In entirety, there are 3 mod notes. One is specifically towards the user. The other two may or may not be.

14%

Even after the user had a comment deleted and all the additional comments were on the same track, the user was allowed to have 14% of the conversation.

I *really* want to hear why the mods think this is acceptable. loup especially, as they were one of the people who left a mod note.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 9:35 AM on October 1, 2023 [14 favorites]


in my experience, it's less the specific sources than how those sources are focused on by Russian disinfo operations.

What Russian disinfo operations have focused on the sources mentioned? I couldn't find a single reference to either EHRI or CARR having anything even remotely resembling criticism that they are used to further disinformation campaigns. And Bellingcat, which is somewhat famous for pissing off Moscow, and has been accused by Russia of being a "foreign agent", is one of the last organizations I would expect to be considered a useful avenue of Russian propaganda.

And yet, for certain acquaintances of mine (ie: eager readers of RT news etc)

What comments from the user referencing those sources have given you any indication whatsoever that they are an "eager" consumer of Russian propaganda?
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 9:54 AM on October 1, 2023 [3 favorites]



“post-Maidan Ukraine is a far-right ethnonationalist state”


Also funny about this whole line of attack or the one about Maidan being a coup is how no one had those arguments in 2014 when it happened. Only after Russia invaded. Very strange.


nobody has ever insisted that I, as a Jewish person, celebrate Wagner or shut up.


Who is telling you to shut up and celebrate Azov? Who on Metafilter? Link to them.

I'm sure some of you will be taking this to Reddit to complain about how you not getting to push idiotic tankie viewpoints is another sign of Metafilter's decline. I hope you do. The fact that you get downvoted there and yelled at here should clue you in to what the common denominator in your troubles is but I'm sure it's one big neolib conspiracy or something.
posted by asteria at 10:30 AM on October 1, 2023 [3 favorites]


Anyway, I’m an old, old user with an account that’s been dormant and could have been hacked, too, so I’m just as worthy of increased mod attention as qi

My account was not "hacked."

Don't spread baseless brainless conspiracy theories about other users.
posted by qi at 11:37 AM on October 1, 2023 [12 favorites]


Again, I am afraid not. The crux of the matter is the framing of the FPP in question, which has nothing to do with Hunka's motivations at all.

The FPP in question notes that "Jewish groups condemned the honor, saying Hunka had been a member of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division". This thread is titled "Metafilter: Nazi bar problem". In both cases the fact that Hunka was a Nazi is crucial. This is easy to see because if it were the case that Hunka was not a Ukrainian Nazi, then neither the FPP, nor this MeTa, would have existed.

Further, Hunka being a Nazi is inevitably tied up with his motivations for becoming a Nazi, because after all, we don't condemn Nazi's merely because they killed people during a world war. We condemn Nazi's because they felt there was something appealing about the gruesome Nazi program that motivated them to join.

So, no, Hunka's motivations were not appropriate to a thread about the Canadian Parliament.

Whether or not the user's comments in the other thread were appropriate is the subject of this thread, but Hunka's position in the Waffen SS, and his motivations for joining the Waffen SS, were and are highly relevant to the original thread. Because that thread isn't "about" the Canadian Parliament at all. It's about the Ukrainian Nazi who got a standing ovation in the Canadian Parliament.

I understand your position to be that this MeTa is about "users not respecting the scope of an FPP", but I think it's about Nazi's. Having considered your point of view, I think it mostly serves to obfuscate the issue at hand, which is why I reject it.
posted by dmh at 12:39 PM on October 1, 2023 [3 favorites]


People who in 2023 obsess over Azov are Putin propagandists and probably deserve some extra mod attention—especially if they have really old accounts that were dormant for a long time and could have potentially been hacked.

Anyway, I’m an old, old user with an account that’s been dormant and could have been hacked, too, so I’m just as worthy of increased mod attention as qi.

Did I miss something? Was there a deleted comment by qi or something? As this thread stands, it looks like anotherpanacea is accusing qi of being a suspected Russian bot because they . . . posted content from Bellingcat, specifically from a writer who, in addition to discussing far right politics in Ukraine, has also written very critically of Putin and his government ministers.

I think those comments are worthy of some consideration by the mods. From my vantage point that was an unwarranted and baseless accusation/attack against one member by another. Deeply uncool. Are you worried that qi is a Russian bot or Putin apologist? Maybe try to draw that out before throwing shit at someone. "Okay, qi, but just to know where you're coming from do you agree the Russian invasion of Ukraine is wrong?" "Do you agree that Ukraine should have national sovereignty and self determination, and that they have a right to defend themselves?" This stuff isn't super hard, there's a whole set of easily-accessible MetaFilter guidelines that encourage us to be our best selves in our responses to one another.

Much time is spent here bemoaning how MetaFilter is in a death spiral and user engagement is down and on and on. A longtime account and infrequent commenter comes along and posts links from . . . Time and Bellingcat? . . . and is immediately called a Russian bot? It seems counter to our common goals of fostering greater participation here.

Please let me know if I've somehow misread the situation. For whatever reason I've found this thread to be particularly difficult to interpret at times.
posted by kensington314 at 12:51 PM on October 1, 2023 [16 favorites]


Was there a deleted comment by qi or something?

I do not think any of my comments were deleted.

As this thread stands, it looks like anotherpanacea is accusing qi of being a suspected Russian bot because

Because I posted two links to content they disagree with.

I think those comments are worthy of some consideration by the mods.

I also think they should be.

From my vantage point that was an unwarranted and baseless accusation/attack against one member by another.

From mine too, as the one being accused.

A longtime account and infrequent commenter comes along and posts links from . . . Time and Bellingcat? . . . and is immediately called a Russian bot? It seems counter to our common goals of fostering greater participation here.

This is why I lurk.

Please let me know if I've somehow misread the situation.

You have not. Thank you (and Glegrinof the Pig-Man) for saying something.
posted by qi at 1:45 PM on October 1, 2023 [20 favorites]


What Russian disinfo operations have focused on the sources mentioned? I couldn't find a single reference to either EHRI or CARR having anything even remotely resembling criticism that they are used to further disinformation campaigns. And Bellingcat,

I don't have the information you're asking for.

I did preface my comment with "in my experience," and later made it clear I was talking about "certain acquaintances of mine" (ie: nobody here). But that said, I have gotten the same general feeling from some here (not this thread, but Metafilter's Ukraine coverage in general) as I have from those acquaintances. Which is a tendency to be less concerned about Russia's transgressions than some of the admittedly sordid stuff in the AZOV crowd's history. Actually "less concerned" may be unfair. So maybe just say a little too quick to get to anti-AZOV talking points.

I hope that makes sense.
posted by philip-random at 2:14 PM on October 1, 2023 [1 favorite]


Hunka's position in the Waffen SS, and his motivations for joining the Waffen SS, were and are highly relevant to the original thread. Because that thread isn't "about" the Canadian Parliament at all. It's about the Ukrainian Nazi who got a standing ovation in the Canadian Parliament.

On the contrary, the thing that annoyed me about that thread, and left me generally nonplused, is that Hunka's motivation had nothing to do with the thread.

The Canadian Parliament did not applaud him because they knew he was an SS member but felt that he had good motivations for joining. When it was called out, no one who applauded said "You just don't understand the context!" They said, oh shit, we just applauded a fucking Nazi.

The scandal is that they were applauding an ex-Nazi for his service as a Nazi. This whole "He was in a tough situation" thing does nothing to mitigate the scandal, because the scandal is about what the Canadian parliament chose to honor. The man could have been Mother Theresa before and after the war, it would still be a scandal to honor him for fighting under the Nazis (and against Canada).

And FWIW that neither of the links in the OP are "about the Ukrainian Nazi." They are not profiles of the Nazi; they are about the embarrassment to Canada and the speaker.

The fact that you can say in good faith that the thread was about him is simply a sign how far off the rails this stuff took it.
posted by mark k at 2:19 PM on October 1, 2023 [10 favorites]


putin's global strategy relies on disrupting a website community with 800 active members so he can finally kill superman
posted by the ghost of shakespeherian at 2:31 PM on October 1, 2023 [41 favorites]


Mr. Putin and Principal qi were in the closet making babies and I saw one of the babies and the baby looked at me
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 2:49 PM on October 1, 2023 [5 favorites]


The Canadian Parliament did not applaud him because they knew he was an SS member but felt that he had good motivations for joining. When it was called out, no one who applauded said "You just don't understand the context!" They said, oh shit, we just applauded a fucking Nazi.

Yes, thank you. It’s a fucking embarrassment. The Speaker resigned, the PM apologized, it’s horrible that it happened…and like many Western countries, there are deeper questions to ask. Including why it gets reported that “Jewish groups” are upset when it’s like, lots of people other than a few right wing people, are embarrassed and upset. Our Conservatives may be performatively upset, but at least they are performing it.

There are deeper questions but thinking it should have been ok to applaud this guy is not one of them. I think that standard could apply here - that it’s simply off-topic to delve into all this hair splitting.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:53 PM on October 1, 2023 [20 favorites]


Baselessly accusing people of being Russian propaganda officers using stolen accounts, or at least insinuating that this could be the case, and misrepresenting what they have actually said to make this idea seem more plausible, is extremely obnoxious.

Putting this much energy into arguing that Ukrainians are antisemites

Very straightforwardly, qi has not done this. As you note, he hasn't actually commented that much. He hasn't commented at great length, either.

He has only argued, first, that Heywood's comments about Nazi Germany, including one minimizing the evil of the Waffen SS, were batty, which they were; and second, that it's an insufficient defense of the Azov Brigade against charges of anti-Semitism to say that it has been radically reorganized and integrated into the regular National Guard, because it remains affiliated with the wider Azov movement, according to a writer for Bellingcat, which only a fully brainless and uninformed reader would take to be a pro-Russian source.

He has not said that all Ukrainians, or even many Ukrainians, are anti-Semites, that the Ukrainian leadership is anti-Semitic, or that the Ukrainian war effort is anti-Semitic, as a consequence of using Azov-affiliated fighters. He has only tried to keep the well established far-right history of that unit and that movement in view, solely as a matter of fact, in the face of other users who deny and minimize it.

You might say he hasn't said enough to support Ukraine's defense against the Russian invasion, but he hasn't said anything supporting the Russian invasion, either, unless you take measured criticism of foreign observers' willingness to ignore the anti-Semitism of some paramilitary units in the Ukrainian order of battle to be inherently pro-Russian.

These foreign observers do this for a perfectly respectable and sympathetic reason, that they want to support Ukraine against a powerful enemy with known expertise in subtle propaganda. In this case, that enemy exaggerates the importance of far-right influence on the Ukrainian side. Taken too far, however, this tendency results in incidents like the one in the Canadian Parliament, in which a heady brew of Canadian ethnic politics, western liberal desire to support Ukraine against a common historical enemy, and the Cold War's minimizations of the evils of Nazism in the interest of posing a united front against world Communism, resulted in a bunch of conventional liberal politicians giving a standing ovation to Yeah-He-Fell-Out-Of-A-Guard-Tower.

Anyway, I’m an old, old user with an account that’s been dormant and could have been hacked, too, so I’m just as worthy of increased mod attention as qi. But it’s pretty clear there’s more at stake than a $5 sign-up fee, with billions in aid to Ukraine at stake right this second, and a major war that’s already killed half a million people.

Speaking as another user whose account has long been dormant, and is therefore under extremely reasonable, not at all paranoid suspicion of being an FSB officer or a code monkey on a bot farm, I think we'd all do well to remember that this is a general-interest forum with a small, not very influential userbase, and that the pro-Ukrainian temperature of the forum as a whole has no bearing on whether the people who are actually being attacked by the Russian military will win or lose the war.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:48 PM on October 1, 2023 [24 favorites]


Without 2FA this site is a playground for anyone with an old, cheap list of hacked passwords, and I believe that this explains at least some of the nonsense that crops up here occasionally.

LOL.

This is such a derail, but what is your InfoSec background? Your website sure doesn't show that you have any.

TFA (and also MFA) are essentially speed bumps.

Hacking a Metafilter account? C'mon. No one. NO ONE. would bother with that. $5 says they could just create a sockpuppet account to spew their nonsense.

Oh.

Wait.

$5 is all it already takes!

(Before you ask, I passed the CISSP exam and have been very involved in PHI, PII, etc. for almost a decade.)
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 4:08 PM on October 1, 2023 [13 favorites]


Mod note: Comment and some follow-ups removed -- if you have specific concerns about a specific user, please email the mods, or loup specifically, directly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:26 PM on October 1, 2023 [6 favorites]


Holy shit I didn't realize this stuff was going on here but we need to marginalize tankies right?
posted by mr_roboto at 7:01 PM on October 1, 2023 [2 favorites]


"You live in a free society; you have no choice."

-Walter. The Russia House.
posted by clavdivs at 7:50 PM on October 1, 2023


I'm not even sure I understand the usage of the word "tankie" as it is often used on Metafilter, but regardless I will ask, who on this thread has advanced a tankie viewpoint? Asteria alleged that some group here was, and I suppose now mr roboto has implied the same (I think?), but if at bottom the usage here just means either broadly pro-Russian invasion or broadly opposed to Ukraine's defense effort, I haven't seen that here. Though I'll admit: lots of comments here and maybe I've missed or misinterpreted some.
posted by kensington314 at 8:17 PM on October 1, 2023 [3 favorites]


I'd have to assume that the use of "tankies" refer to people being ride-or-die on amplifying well-worn Russian talking points on Metafilter about Ukraine being a right-wing Nazi state. That would be the most historically accurate use of the term, anyway, in terms of promoting continuity of the Russian dictatorship.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:22 PM on October 1, 2023


because I stumbled across it the other day in a different context, here's something from the wiki:

The term [tankie] has also been used, especially in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that started in February 2022, for "elements within the self-identified [American] left that have soft-pedaled Russia's aggressive foreign policy and history of human rights abuses", to quote Sarah Jones of New York.[23] The Intercept journalist Roane Carey identified the "key element in the tankie mindset [as] the simple-minded assumption that only the United States can be imperialist, and thus any country that opposes the U.S. must be supported."[24]
posted by philip-random at 9:42 PM on October 1, 2023 [1 favorite]


It seems to have been so overused by people with a right-wing agenda they need to support that I side-eye anyone who uses it. Just like anytime I see a right-winger use the term "virtue signaling". Hopefully, people can make an effort not to parrot Fascist right-wing Russian talking points, now that they have been identified as such.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:55 PM on October 1, 2023 [6 favorites]


It seems to have been so overused by people with a right-wing agenda they need to support that I side-eye anyone who uses it.

You can side-eye me all you want but if you support putanist roc Russia over Ukraine you’re a fucking tankie.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:37 PM on October 1, 2023 [6 favorites]


You can side-eye me all you want but if you support putanist roc Russia over Ukraine you’re a fucking tankie.

I guess that's what I'm saying. The word is doing a lot of ad hominem work in this thread, it's not even discussing any specific argumentation. I just don't see anyone being a Putinist in this thread. Someone brought up Azov having a credibly-reported right wing Nazi origin, and suddenly that person is buying hook, line, and sinker Putin's assertion that Ukrainians are all Nazis? I just don't see it in this thread. I think people can hold complexity.
posted by kensington314 at 10:44 PM on October 1, 2023 [3 favorites]


I just don't see anyone being a Putinist in this thread. Someone brought up Azov having a credibly-reported right wing Nazi origin, and suddenly that person is buying hook, line, and sinker Putin's assertion that Ukrainians are all Nazis? I just don't see it in this thread.

"Regardless of your feelings toward Russia, post-Maidan Ukraine is a far-right ethnonationalist state."
posted by Dysk at 11:04 PM on October 1, 2023 [6 favorites]


I think most people can hold complexity. The problem comes when a comment gets lobbed (c.f. “…post-Maidan Ukraine is a far right ethnonationalist state.”) and then the commentator scampers off, leaving everyone else to try and parse all such a comment might mean. And sometimes that one comment from one person gets ascribed to a much larger but amorphous group - when in truth it is maybe only believed by the one commentator.

It’s a dynamic, it’s not so productive.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:05 PM on October 1, 2023 [6 favorites]


Oh! That was fast!
posted by From Bklyn at 11:08 PM on October 1, 2023


I did think about noting that one as an exception to my point, and maybe should have done, and I agree that it's not helpful to lob that one out there and not be present to elaborate or defend what you mean.
posted by kensington314 at 11:12 PM on October 1, 2023 [1 favorite]


It's one tankie, but one tankie is not "nobody in the thread".
posted by Dysk at 11:13 PM on October 1, 2023 [1 favorite]


It's one tankie, but one tankie is not "nobody in the thread".

It's a fair point! I could have worded better -- I guess what I should have said is that word is being thrown around a lot in this thread, and not really at the person who made that comment. Like I think they sucked his brains out was called a tankie despite having made several anti-Putin comments in this thread. I feel like a lot of people are sort of being accused of having pro-Putin affinities who have not expressed them.
posted by kensington314 at 11:20 PM on October 1, 2023 [3 favorites]


Like I think they sucked his brains out was called a tankie...

I can't find this happening in the thread?

(In fact, there were only six instances of the word "tankie" in this thread until it was brought up as a meta-discussion at the bottom here.)
posted by Dysk at 11:50 PM on October 1, 2023


"Regardless of your feelings toward Russia, post-Maidan Ukraine is a far-right ethnonationalist state."

Yeah, I swear people are being disingenuous at this juncture. This tankie nonsense needs to be clipped in the bud and like now. Seriously.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:06 AM on October 2, 2023 [6 favorites]


You can side-eye me all you want but if you support putanist roc Russia over Ukraine you’re a fucking tankie.

I think the point is that this term was really meant to be applied to the pro-Putin commenters in this thread (or commenters pushing pro-Putin talking points, whether they acknowledge it or not). If you're pushing Kremlin talking points, you really need to be eyeballed hard at this point.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:09 AM on October 2, 2023 [1 favorite]


Let's be clear: is there any comment besides that one Dysk pointed out being described here? Because it seems the same accusations against a different user were deleted by the site owner because they were completely baseless fabrications.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 1:05 AM on October 2, 2023 [3 favorites]


Yes, for example, another poster, in the context of criticizing Ukraine as having a nazi problem, writes "i'm not Stalin fan but [...]"

Not a fan, but what, he had some interesting points about Ukraine? Stalin? Give me a break.

But they don't stop at that. They then go on to talk about how the Canadian parliament gave the SS guy a standing ovation, as if that comes close to describing what actually happened — but it's a Putin talking point so there it is.

Same talking point is repeated by yet another poster:

We're here in this thread because we just witnessed a Waffen SS volunteer getting a standing ovation for being in the Waffen SS.

There are maybe 4-5 posters here and in the other thread who are persistent. The common thread in all of their comments are formulaic, in essence:

Russia = USSR = communism = anti-nazism = good

Ukraine = Azov = nazism = anti-Semitism = NATO = fascism = bad

What fits those equations will always be posted.

They insist that it's the others who are not being critical or biased or off topic. But somehow, in a thread about one man's actions in WW2, they'll make passive connections and misrepresentation about modern day Ukraine (and its allies) over and over again.
posted by UN at 4:08 AM on October 2, 2023 [5 favorites]


Wow.

Do you even believe that jessamyn deleting the accusations against another user was the right thing to do?
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 5:01 AM on October 2, 2023 [2 favorites]


I'm catching up on this thread and have a few questions/comments about stuff people said.

posting a link to the song on Spotify

I didn't know it was possible to post a Spotify link to a song that someone like me (who has no Spotify account) can listen to -- the whole song, not truncated after like 30 seconds. Is that the case?

We're on the third day of this nonsense, it's already too late for apologies.

I don't have an opinion on whether it is currently too late for the user in question to make amends for the particular behavior being discussed, but I will say that, in general, I do not think the window for MetaFilter-behavior-related apologies should be only a few hours or days long. I personally am open to and interested in apologies from people (on and beyond MetaFilter) for things that they did literally decades ago! I want to know if people have learned and changed, are feeling remorse, and want to make amends. I come to MeFi to learn about experiences that aren't mine, and "I made [this particular mistake], I really regret it now, here's how that changed" is part of that. Do others disagree?

Even after the user had a comment deleted and all the additional comments were on the same track, the user was allowed to have 14% of the conversation.

I *really* want to hear why the mods think this is acceptable
[comment posted October 1]

That's by number of comments. Is that also broadly true of the length of the comments? I skimmed the thread and I would estimate that Heywood Mogroot III has posted maybe 5%? of the text there. And, by the way, for other folks who haven't checked, there are no comments from Heywood Mogroot III in that thread since September 26. (I don't know whether they'd posted anything that has been since deleted.) There have been several comments by other users since the 26th, maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of the thread so far, although no new comments since September 30th.

What is your upper threshold for what percentage of comments (by numbers or wordcount) it would be ok for the user to have had in the subsequent conversation? I'm particularly interested if it is not "zero"; I do recognize that many people in this thread believe the answer is "zero" but I think most of those people would have preferred the user to have been banned and their account closed, but I may be wrong.

Or maybe you have a more qualitative feeling, like "they shouldn't have been able to have any significant influence on the shape of the ensuing discussion?"

Sure, maybe someone carefully could deftly make a limited statement in a very specific historical discussion about, IDK, 20th-21st century desert warfare, but that sort of discussion probably isn't right for this site anyway. What is intellectual and historical to you is way more visceral for others, much the same way a Southern plantation isn't just a neutral wedding venue for the descendants of American chattel slavery.

You've reminded me of a previous time I read that a particular online forum did not allow discussion of a specific topic, even though in theory it might have been edifying to some folks in there.

I have in the past participated in a mailing list called Systers, run by the Anita Borg Institute, that serves specifically as a place for discussion on women in computing. (It's a Discord now, I see.)

Here's the part of the FAQ about not talking about H1-B visas:
When I post, how do I take into account that this is an international list?

Postings that are disrespectful to non-US citizens who are currently or have in the past been working in the US are inappropriate. Discussions of H1-B visas (US visas for foreign nationals with technical skills) are simply forbidden; we have proven that someone will say something offensive every time.
It was very helpful for that prohibition to be in the FAQ. If MetaFilter is going to have something similar for this topic, then I'd like for that to be in our guidelines as well.
posted by brainwane at 5:29 AM on October 2, 2023 [5 favorites]


Wow.

Accusing the Parliament of Canada of being full of Nazi sympathisers that were suddenly outed because they couldn't hold in their inner-nazi when a former SS member showed up is wow q-anon level madness and should be deleted.
posted by UN at 8:11 AM on October 2, 2023 [3 favorites]


no, not deleted. Certainly not in this context where those accusations were rather soundly rebuffed/corrected in thread, and it didn't turn into a prolonged back and forth. I'd rather the incidence of such foolishness remain on the record. To some degree because I think we're all susceptible on some issues. Something happens in current events that speaks to our passions more than our reason and we leap to a conclusion that is yeah, foolish.
posted by philip-random at 8:24 AM on October 2, 2023 [11 favorites]


me, quoted by brainwane:
Even after the user had a comment deleted and all the additional comments were on the same track, the user was allowed to have 14% of the conversation.

I *really* want to hear why the mods think this is acceptable [comment posted October 1]


(part of) brainwane's response/questions:

What is your upper threshold for what percentage of comments (by numbers or wordcount) it would be ok for the user to have had in the subsequent conversation? I'm particularly interested if it is not "zero"; I do recognize that many people in this thread believe the answer is "zero" but I think most of those people would have preferred the user to have been banned and their account closed, but I may be wrong.

My apologies. In re-reading the mod notes, i thought it was explicit to drop the particular take the commenter had. (User was probably also a poor choice of words... it's just my IT background coming out.) It was not explicit, but I still believe it was implied.

In that sense, my answer is two-fold:
1. Comment as much as one likes, as long as it is not what one was told was unacceptable. (14% still seems pretty high in that regard and I would argue goes against the threadsitting guideline that is in place.)
2. If one comments again about something that was already deleted, more explicit warning, followed by request to leave the thread, followed by temp ban from the site.

Both of those seem to be what has been accepted practices here for a while.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 8:30 AM on October 2, 2023 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I think we're all susceptible on some issues

as good a summary as we could hope for, at this point

for the record I don't think MeFi has a Nazi bar problem. I don't think Russian agents have adopted existing MeFi accounts to sow disinformation. I don't think Ukraine has a Nazi problem such that it defines the current response to being invaded. I'd like to think every single parliamentarian was horrified that Hunka was applauded in Canada's House of Commons but it's a statement on our times that I fear a couple members, if pushed in the right direction, would certainly hand-wave it all away. It's a terrible shame for Canada and I'm sorry it happened.

I don't think it's healthy to find Nazis hiding in every nook and cranny but these are not healthy times. Good luck, stay well.
posted by elkevelvet at 10:28 AM on October 2, 2023 [21 favorites]


Yeah, we should have such a problem as MeFi being so large and culturally relevant that the Russians & or Nazis target it for disinfo/ propaganda. We could potentially sway TENS of people! is about where we are nowadays.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 11:33 AM on October 2, 2023 [16 favorites]


Yes, for example, another poster, in the context of criticizing Ukraine as having a nazi problem, writes "i'm not Stalin fan but [...]"

Not a fan, but what, he had some interesting points about Ukraine? Stalin? Give me a break.

But they don't stop at that. They then go on to talk about how the Canadian parliament gave the SS guy a standing ovation, as if that comes close to describing what actually happened — but it's a Putin talking point so there it is.


i'm the only person who said anything about Stalin, but I did not say anything about a standing ovation. you are maybe conflating multiple users here? mostly i don't understand why one's opinions on Stalin have anything to do with one's opinions on the Ukraine invasion of 2023, which was the whole reason i mentioned stalin (perhaps "tankie" was being used to refer to all militant leftists and not just stalinists? just felt like a weird word to use in general which, again, was the point of that post lol)

lots of ways to minimize a nazi getting lauded in parliment in this thread but none of them are really working for me idk. sorry if that's a "putin talking point"
posted by JimBennett at 1:07 PM on October 2, 2023 [3 favorites]


Russia = USSR = communism = anti-nazism = good

Ukraine = Azov = nazism = anti-Semitism = NATO = fascism = bad


i am capable of thinking that Azov is bad and that Russia is worse for invading them?

man this shit is insane to me lmao. the world is not "good vs evil", things exist in shades of gray.

i'm just saying: it's fucking WILD this thread about NAZISM has descended into "we need to stop the tankies!" as if they were any way equivalent. and then you say i'm a victim of propaganda!
posted by JimBennett at 1:12 PM on October 2, 2023 [8 favorites]


(and of course when i said "Invading Them" i was referring to Ukraine, not Azov - i promise i do not conflate the two, just a bit heated at my comments being combined with someone else's)
posted by JimBennett at 1:17 PM on October 2, 2023


But they don't stop at that. They then go on to talk about how the Canadian parliament gave the SS guy a standing ovation, as if that comes close to describing what actually happened — but it's a Putin talking point so there it is.

I have watched video of Canadian Parliament rising from their seats to applaud the Waffen-SS veteran Hunka. I believe this constitutes a "standing ovation." The standing ovation formula has been used by outlets including the Forward, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and Politico. Sky News reports he received "two standing ovations."

Is there some reason that I should not trust the video I've seen and the reporting of numerous mainstream outlets?

You seem to be arguing that a member should be distrusted for talking about a "standing ovation," because that doesn't "come close to describing what actually happened." But my eyes tell me it happened, and all the news sources I have looked at agree that it happened.
posted by grobstein at 2:01 PM on October 2, 2023 [9 favorites]


I don't have time to go into details but my recommendation is, don't let yourself get wrapped up in defending the Waffen-SS 14th Division "Galicia" as "not really SS," "not really Nazis," etc. You will end up defending some really terrible stuff. Do not rely on the findings of the Deschenes Commission, for example that Galicia veterans were individually screened before being admitted to Canada -- this is flatly contradicted by the supplemental report by the Commission's own historical researcher, still only partly released.

Seriously you don't want to do this to yourself.

Just admit that the Waffen-SS was part of the SS, as the Nuremberg Tribunal ruled in 1946, and find a way to defend your current-day geopolitical analysis without defending the SS.
posted by grobstein at 2:08 PM on October 2, 2023 [8 favorites]


No Jagermeister at non-Nazi bars?
posted by Ideefixe at 2:54 PM on October 2, 2023


Hunka was a member of the SS. I think that has been definitively determined.
What is not clear is that, at the moment when he was being applauded, anyone besides a small number of people knew he was a nazi. The people applauding him thought he was a Ukrainian veteran (the history of nazis in Ukraine is likely not as well known as it once was - I'm guessing when I say that but I feel pretty confident - most people applauding probably didn't think twice about who's side he might have been fighting on.) And so, in that moment Hunka was not being lauded as an erstwhile member of the SS.

... this is all obvious, isn't it? Even if you don't agree, I imagine you understand how many, many people thought, "He was not being applauded as a nazi."
(I don't understand your point, not really, but I also don't see the worth in arguing that point any further. Hunka is a fucking nazi, the Canadian Parliament - most woefully - fucking applauded him but if they had known he was a nazi I believe they would not have. and yes, that is conjecture on my part. )
posted by From Bklyn at 2:58 PM on October 2, 2023 [15 favorites]


In thirty-one words or less:

It was a standing ovation for a man who the crowd assumed was a war hero. If they knew he was a war criminal, they would not have stood or applauded.
posted by philip-random at 3:22 PM on October 2, 2023 [42 favorites]


What you all don’t get is that going to Parliament and being recognized is not that uncommon a thing. In this country you can also get letters from the Crown (GG or King) for milestone birthdays.

The reason for the applause being enthusiastic is that Zelenskyy was there and so everyone was applauding the 98-year-old “Ukrainian war hero” out of Canadian enthusiasm for diaspora relationships and yes, the current Ukrainian war effort. I’ve been recognized in provincial Parliament on a post-model-UN field trip. Now, he should have been vetted, esp. since there was a foreign dignitary there, and like I said, it’s a total embarrassment. But this is not like a Presidential medal.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:48 PM on October 2, 2023 [13 favorites]


... this is all obvious, isn't it? Even if you don't agree, I imagine you understand how many, many people thought, "He was not being applauded as a nazi."
(I don't understand your point, not really, but I also don't see the worth in arguing that point any further. Hunka is a fucking nazi, the Canadian Parliament - most woefully - fucking applauded him but if they had known he was a nazi I believe they would not have. and yes, that is conjecture on my part. )


Unfortunately I think it's slightly more complicated than this. Obviously yes everyone involved is now very embarrassed and wishes they hadn't done this thing in the first place. On the other hand, Canada has at least two war memorials to the Waffen-SS Galicia division. It's not unusual to see denials that its members were Nazis at all -- the Globe and Mail printed such denials in an article about Hunka last week; the Deschenes commission report tiptoed up to it. Minister Chrystia Freeland, who I've been told was in the gallery applauding (I'm not enough of a Canada head to pick her out in the video), knew her lionized grandfather ran a Nazi collaborationist newspaper on a press stolen from Jews but told the media those accusations were Russian propaganda. The general blanket rule that you shouldn't praise and honor Nazis is just not as widely accepted and internalized as it could be.

In fact, the academic article about Freeland's grandfather that triggered that previous controversy also includes significant documentation of the nature of the Galicia division and its crimes. Since Freeland helped edit that article, she would have known about its contents. Between that knowledge, her previous brush with similar controversy, and her connections to Canadian-Ukrainian communal life, I think it is quite unlikely that she didn't realize she was applauding a Nazi (although, like many, she might have been inclined to deny that a member of the Waffen-SS Galicia division or a similar formation was "a Nazi"). If she regrets the incident, it seems to me, it's not because she didn't know what kind of background Hunka had.
posted by grobstein at 4:51 PM on October 2, 2023 [6 favorites]


interesting.
In fact, the academic article about Freeland's grandfather.

I'd like to read that, could you provide the link.
posted by clavdivs at 6:12 PM on October 2, 2023


Minister Chrystia Freeland, who I've been told was in the gallery applauding (I'm not enough of a Canada head to pick her out in the video)
posted by grobstein

I'm sure I'm going to regret chiming in here, but this kind of comment right here is what gets Canadians' hackles up.

I can't imagine going into a US politics thread, spouting off all kinds of second-hand knowledge and then saying, "I'm told Kamala Harris was in the audience somewhere, but I don't know enough about all that stupid American stuff to spot her on the video." If I tried that, I'd be run out of the thread on the rails.

Freeland was not "in the gallery". If you want to spot her, she was front and centre on the floor of the House--exactly where she should be, not up with the spectators. In fact if you watched the speech at all (and yes, I watched the whole thing live, as well as the speech he Zelenskyy gave in Toronto later that evening), you could see her hanging all over the back of the chair that Zelenskyy's wife was sitting in, nodding here head up and down like one of those bobble-head dogs that people put on car dashboards (which, if you're familiar with Freeland at all, is par for the course for her).

I don't see why it's so hard to understand what people like warriorqueen and philip-random are trying to explain. This was a case of a brainless crowd action. Everybody there was excited to be part of a history-making event. They were reacting, not thinking or really processing what was being said. Nobody was knowingly standing up and applauding Nazis. Everybody was keyed up, plus they were impatient, as the event was running behind. There is also assumption that people being introduced to the House have done something commendable and worth acknowledging, so it's only polite--and again, we're talking about Canada--that you applaud, or stand up and applaud. It's just the way things are and the way things are done. And we all know how peer pressure works--especially political peer pressure: you don't want to be caught not applauding somebody introduced as a veteran, especially when your political rivals are doing so.

Additionally, it was the Speaker talking and if you don't believe any other word I say, believe this: nobody in the House listens or pays any real attention to the Speaker. Mainly Parliamentarians just keep talking over the Speaker, ignoring any admonishments and pushing the limits to see what they can get away with. In this case, they (like most of the audience at home) was just wanting him to shut the hell up because nobody in attendance or watching at home was interested in what he had to say. Zelenskyy was the draw, everybody else (including Trudeau) was just a time filler, although Trudeau gave a pretty good showing, all things considered.

Of course once people stopped for a second, thought about what was said and what it implied, the situation became clearer and everybody started to react. In general, people are upset, frustrated, embarrassed, angry, and chagrined it happened. It turned what was a good moment for Canada on the world stage--something that the country has been lacking--into a stupid, avoidable mess. It was human error and sloppiness rolled all together with good intentions, but we know what they say about good intentions.

Speaking of sayings, another one comes to mind when I think about this situation: A person can be smart. People are dumb. This was one of those situations where people were collectively dumb.
posted by sardonyx at 8:10 PM on October 2, 2023 [48 favorites]


So people could have just owned it is as a mistake, and moved on.
But that still doesn't explain how so many people then decided to come into the thread to start explaining how the volunteer nazi-SS were not all bad?

Which seems to be the reason Fizz started this metatalk thread.
posted by Iax at 8:46 PM on October 2, 2023 [8 favorites]


Fuck, I'll never get that link.
posted by clavdivs at 9:46 PM on October 2, 2023 [2 favorites]


But that still doesn't explain how so many people then decided to come into the thread to start explaining how the volunteer nazi-SS were not all bad?

I'm saying this in my kindest possible voice, which may not come through in text: can you cite comments about this, in this thread?

We're approaching 200 comments and so if folks want to cite Putin apologist or Nazi apologist sentiment here, it would be helpful to the larger audience if we could all cite.

I just Ctrl-F'd "SS" and waded through over 300 uses which, of course, include words like "discuss" and "Barbarossa." Gave up after nine minutes. A search for terms like "Nazi" or "okay, but what about..." would have taken still more time, all to interpret one comment.

I'm not saying the sentiment ain't here. I'm saying maybe we could all get very specific if we're going to make accusations of apologism in a contentious thread about fascism and Nazism.

(FWIW the general tenor of what I saw in my search on "SS" was that if this specific thread is a Nazi bar, it's that version where the Nazis in the bar are being punched which, y'know, I hate violence but I'd definitely spend 10 minutes there. By which I intend no comment on Fizz's larger purpose for making this post.)
posted by kensington314 at 11:14 PM on October 2, 2023


We're approaching 200 comments and so if folks want to cite Putin apologist or Nazi apologist sentiment here, it would be helpful to the larger audience if we could all cite.

Awkward dual use of "cite" there. What I mean is if we want to alleged apologism, we should be specific about the comments, so people don't have to wade through a broadly anti-Nazi and anti-Putin thread searching for less obvious affinities.
posted by kensington314 at 12:32 AM on October 3, 2023 [1 favorite]


Whether it actually happened or not seems less important than that we make it clear as a community that attempts to discuss nuance on the subject of Nazis is entirely unwelcome here. People that wish to do so are welcome to direct themselves to r/AskHistorians or the History channel instead. MetaFilter is not the appropriate place to have such discussions, as many of us here would prefer not to have to read about that sort of thing.
posted by otsebyatina at 12:40 AM on October 3, 2023 [4 favorites]


Everybody there was excited to be part of a history-making event. They were reacting, not thinking or really processing what was being said.

It's wild that people think this is, like, a valid excuse that clears everything up or whatever.
posted by busted_crayons at 2:13 AM on October 3, 2023 [4 favorites]


I don't see why it's so hard to understand what people like warriorqueen and philip-random are trying to explain. This was a case of a brainless crowd action.

Hilariously, this perfectly applies to this MetaTalk thread too
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 3:43 AM on October 3, 2023 [5 favorites]


Look, the commenter in question clearly was not trying to spout pro-Nazi propaganda. He was doing a different highly-problematic thing, and getting geeky in the abstract about something that is not, in fact, an abstract situation. It's the thing where you overtly and clumsily demonstrate that you have no skin in the game and therefore can treat any situation like a hypothetical parlor-game thought puzzle, even if you're talking about a movement that, at some point, killed one out of three Jewish people alive etc etc etc.

And that's not great, in the sense that he should've been sat done and had someone go, "Look, dude, save it for your little circle of history geeks, because it's an interesting tangent there but over here maybe respect the fact that you're upsetting people. Feelings matter more than who wins the argument, here. Shoosh." But it's not "Nazi propaganda," and it is not (as Rhaomi pointed out, eleven billion comments ago) what the "Nazi bar" analogy describes.

That said, people who are accusing this guy of being a Nazi propagandist aren't Putin propagandists. They are being bothered by a guy saying stuff about Nazis that they don't love. In my opinion, they're saying it clumsily and in a less-than-sensitive way, but then, "saying things clumsily and in a less-than-sensitive way" is basically what everyone here is doing at this point.

I think you can take issue with the dude whose comment this MeTa was about without thinking that he's a literal Nazi, and I think you can take issue with the people accusing him of Nazi propaganda without calling them Putin propagandists.

You know, it's funny: when I was a wee little aspiring community manager, I learned a lot from MetaTalk about listening to groups of users who were upset about stuff and not being listened to by management. Reading shit here made me a lot more keenly aware of issues regarding misogyny, racism, and transphobia, and of how well-meaning privileged people wound up perpetuating all that without realizing they were the problem. The initial comment in this thread? Textbook example of that privileged blindness. But over the years I wound up taking away another major lesson from this place, which is that the people who care about this stuff can get so self-important and reductive that you're left with an unpleasant, highly-hostile caricature of "well meaning."

The fact that this site is dying off and folks here are mostly trying to figure out who the Nazi and/or Putin is in between bemoaning how unpleasant this place feels is extremely funny. The only funnier thing, in my opinion, is when it ends in "well whose fault IS it??? clearly it's the MODSSSSSSssssss" because, at this point, you could call in Ursula K. Le Guin and Audre Lorde and the Buddha to try and mediate this site and within fifty comments folks would be calling for all three to be put in front of a firing squad.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 3:59 AM on October 3, 2023 [71 favorites]


It's wild that people think this is, like, a valid excuse that clears everything up or whatever.

Nobody thinks that up here, or at least very few people. In Canada, people are re-grappling with the Deschênes Commission, with calls to release the names in the second half of it, and an examination of how there is a real history in Canada that relates to this moment, as well as to the burial of historic atrocities, as well as the disturbing UN vote in I think? 2015. (Which the US voted no on too btw.) All of this is easily found in the press.

What is not worth spending out time on is whether all MPs, or Chrystia Freeland - who does have a Nazi grandfather - are secret Nazi sympathizers. Freeland is not a secret anything because Canada’s right wing has been attacking her on this axis for quite some time. There are a lot of serious issues around the history leading to this moment and this gaffe, including anti-semitism. But using those to win this argument is facile.

But that’s the thing: there’s no discussing that here on MF, because people lose their minds trying to prove they’re as smart as the bar owner throwing a punk out and swinging for anyone dressed up as one. Just throw the guy out and move on. There was an error in moderation, which has been acknowledged.

Now everyone’s arguing about punk rock. It’s understandable because the bar analogy is kind of perfect - this is like that bar, which did nothing about actual white supremacy but did ensure its own space stayed the same. And that’s okay. But it is not solving the issue of white supremacy. It’s keeping the bar clean.

As an actual Canadian, I’m aware that it was my fucking job to reflect on white supremacy in its colonial roots on Saturday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Not because Anthony Rota bypassed a background check or Freeland is a secret Nazi but because my country attempted genocide and like many is experiencing a resurgence of the far right - which is super happy to get ppl in bars yelling at each other.

Reconciliation and truth finding aren’t spectator sports, to quote Murray Sinclair. But they also aren’t bar fights.

This will be my last post on this because it’s 100% pointless.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:30 AM on October 3, 2023 [37 favorites]


Just realizing that in my last comment, I misinterpreted lax's comment as being about this thread when it was actually about the thread that Fizz created this post about. Sorry to add confusion to a contentious thread. I think I'll bow out at this point.
posted by kensington314 at 7:47 AM on October 3, 2023


yes, this metatalk thread doesn't have the nazi apologia, but in the metafilter one you can see in realtime the "clean" wehrmacht myth evolving into the the "clean" waffen-ss.
posted by Iax at 8:41 AM on October 3, 2023 [3 favorites]


But that still doesn't explain how so many people then decided to come into the thread to start explaining how the volunteer nazi-SS were not all bad?

What kind of explanation do you want?

I posted something because an obvious question tied to this event was "How the hell did this happen?" and I thought it provided background and context on that front. It was not meant as apologia, as was made clear in the link in question and I subsequently made clear in the thread.
posted by mazola at 9:42 AM on October 3, 2023


Yeah, we should have such a problem as MeFi being so large and culturally relevant that the Russians & or Nazis target it for disinfo/ propaganda. We could potentially sway TENS of people! is about where we are nowadays.

During the Cold War, Akron was seventh on Russia's target list.
posted by slogger at 10:16 AM on October 3, 2023 [2 favorites]


we do produce more than our share of rubber here
posted by philip-random at 10:52 AM on October 3, 2023 [10 favorites]


"yes, this metatalk thread doesn't have the nazi apologia, but in the metafilter one you can see in realtime the "clean" wehrmacht myth evolving into the the "clean" waffen-ss."

Interesting. I also thought there might be some Clean Wehrmacht influence, but was wondering if the idea Nazi atrocities were all, or mostly, the doing of the SS was colouring some of the arguments against Hunka. Also, in case it needs to be said, I'm against Nazis and of the opinion Wehrmacht and Waffen SS both were atrocity machines. I suspect Hunka was an SS volunteer because that was his only path into the Nazi army. Had they let him into the regular forces, I think available evidence makes it more likely than not he'd still be implicated in war crimes.

But, yes, thanks for the insight about an emergent clean SS myth. My impression was more that it was something of a hydra-like effort to open the door to the idea individual SS members could be clean. At best, I suppose that line of thinking is presumption of innocence gone wrong. Even so, no matter the intentions, it lays the groundwork for later efforts to widen the circle.

Really, if some people have a weird need for there to be special unicorn Waffen SS members, why insist (especially on the basis of such incredibly tenuous reasoning) Hunka might have been one? Why not just go with the 20th SS (Estonian) Division? A bunch of them were excluded from the post-war judgement of the SS and were even used to guard the Nuremberg Tribunal courthouse.

Finally, though I don't think it was in the thread, I've seen much made of Hunka joining the SS and making an oath to Hitler. Far as I know, the "Hitler oath" was also made by the regular army and was a big step in Nazi consolidation of power in the prewar years.
posted by house-goblin at 1:09 PM on October 3, 2023


with the 20th SS (Estonian) Division? A bunch of them were excluded from the post-war judgement of the SS and were even used to guard the Nuremberg Tribunal courthouse.

I always wondered that.

Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those persons who had been officially accepted as members of the SS as enumerated in the preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the organization with knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter or who were personally implicated as members of the organization in the commission of such crimes, excluding, however, those who were drafted into membership by the State in such a way as to give them no choice in the matter, and who had committed no such crimes.

posted by clavdivs at 10:49 PM on October 3, 2023 [1 favorite]


The fact that this site is dying off and folks here are mostly trying to figure out who the Nazi and/or Putin is in between bemoaning how unpleasant this place feels is extremely funny.

I don't understand this argument. Should nazi and stalinist comments get a pass here? That doesn't strike me as a pleasant atmosphere.
posted by UN at 3:18 AM on October 4, 2023 [2 favorites]


I don't understand this argument. Should nazi and stalinist comments get a pass here? That doesn't strike me as a pleasant atmosphere.

What's "not a pleasant atmosphere" is that you're responding to a comment whose first paragraph clearly articulates why the comment in question sucked, why the commenter shouldn't have dug in, and why that whole derail probably should have been deleted, and somehow your takeaway was: "Wow, Tom Hanks, are you saying that you think Nazis and Stalinists are good?"

It is, however, very funny that I was remarking on how half the people here are calling the other half Nazis and that half is calling the first half Stalinists—the implication being that "Nazi" and "Stalinist" are extreme epithets being lobbed in opposite directions, neither of which is remotely true in this circumstance—and you saw that and were like, "well I think we should get rid of both groups!"

Exactly! That's why nobody's here anymore. They all got called something, and they all got told they're unwelcome, and everybody left.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 3:24 AM on October 4, 2023 [28 favorites]


"Wow, Tom Hanks, are you saying that you think Nazis and Stalinists are good?"

You're accusing me of saying something I did not while complaining I and others in the thread are using reductionist/simplistic arguments.
posted by UN at 3:46 AM on October 4, 2023


We've reached the performative bafflement portion of the program, I see
posted by Jarcat at 9:13 AM on October 4, 2023 [17 favorites]


special unicorn Waffen SS members

I nominate Günter Grass
posted by pullayup at 11:43 AM on October 4, 2023 [3 favorites]


Seems a bit rich all this pearl clutching over Nazis in Canada.

Look at your own history. Operation Paperclip… the US wouldn’t have landed on the moon without the help of Nazi scientists. How does that fit your NO NAZIS EVER mental makeup?

Proud to say both my grandfathers fought against Germany in WWII. I just think there’s a huge amount of confusion and misinformation in this thread and a lot of folks advocating some dumb and even dangerous decisions.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:34 PM on October 4, 2023 [1 favorite]


I think people look at paperclip/moon stuff and yeeah, they were nazi, but nazi with unique skills. People can rationalize it as hardmen making hard choices.

What skills (other than killing union organizers) did the 2,000 waffen-ss members bring to Canada?
posted by Iax at 1:53 PM on October 4, 2023


The mind could go wild with speculation!
posted by mazola at 1:55 PM on October 4, 2023


yeeah, they were nazi, but nazi with unique skills.

The US, it turns out, was not so picky about their Nazi immigrants. They took in all sorts of Nazis actually.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:27 PM on October 4, 2023 [1 favorite]


oh yeah, the USA is not any better than Canada about this. I was more responding to your moon nazi part. And how people justify it, then use that to excuse others.

I mean look at some of the early NATO officers. Looks like this guy only took a peek at the ark of the covenant.

posted by Iax at 2:36 PM on October 4, 2023 [1 favorite]



The US, it turns out, was not so picky about their Nazi immigrants



I always wonder if cake was served.
posted by clavdivs at 7:41 PM on October 4, 2023 [2 favorites]


nuance
posted by amtho at 1:09 AM on October 5, 2023


Every time I look at this thread I reacquire Electric 6's 'Gay bar' an an ear worm. What's that about?
posted by biffa at 4:56 AM on October 5, 2023 [4 favorites]


Every time I look at this thread I reacquire Electric 6's 'Gay bar' an an ear worm. What's that about?

Mefite who's writing up parody lyrics even as I type this: I beg you to examine your life choices.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:21 AM on October 5, 2023 [4 favorites]


I don't understand this argument. Should nazi and stalinist comments get a pass here? That doesn't strike me as a pleasant atmosphere.

Nazis: White supremacists.
Stalinists: Fringe militant leftists who are willing to forgive the historical atrocities of the USSR.

why do you think these two things are equivalent? do you think there are anywhere near as many Stalinists in the world as there are nazis? do you think stalinists hold any power or participate in mass politics the same way white supremacist nazis do? is historical revisionism an extreme political belief on par with white supremacy? where are the stalinist mass shootings?

your first post in this thread was something about how the USSR was on the same side as hitler. idk what you're doing but it's giving me very bad vibes lol
posted by JimBennett at 12:55 PM on October 5, 2023 [8 favorites]


”Every time I look at this thread I reacquire Electric 6's 'Gay bar' an an ear worm. What's that about?”

Maybe that you don’t listen to enough Pansy Division?
posted by house-goblin at 1:07 PM on October 5, 2023


why do you think these two things are equivalent? do you think there are anywhere near as many Stalinists in the world as there are nazis?

Of the two philosophies, Stalinism is the only one that arguably still governs a nuclear armed nation state, so there's that.
posted by AdamCSnider at 2:23 PM on October 5, 2023


somehow this thread makes me feel like I've walked over 10 million Graves.

I still support fizzs premise but no longer have the stomach to participate in this thread and even the word participation makes me question quite a bit.
posted by clavdivs at 2:44 PM on October 5, 2023 [3 favorites]


Mefite who's writing up parody lyrics even as I type this: I beg you to examine your life choices.

*cough* *cough* Consider the source?
posted by y2karl at 4:13 PM on October 5, 2023


This is what I have to wade back into MF for?

why do you think these two things are equivalent?

Stalin's orders and policies killed millions of people, around or possibly more than the Holocaust.

Metafilter shouldn't be a Nazi bar (not that I think that the original comments in question qualify the poster as a Nazi) and Metafilter shouldn't be a Tankie bar either.

your first post in this thread was something about how the USSR was on the same side as hitler. idk what you're doing but it's giving me very bad vibes lol

That's indisputable fact, so the fact you're contesting it is giving me _really_ bad vibes.

LOL.

Nazis: White supremacists.
Stalinists: Fringe militant leftists who are willing to forgive the historical atrocities of the USSR.


The difference between the two is one is slightly more popular at this time but neither are good or virtuous. How do you even think that describing overlooking the intentional starvation death of millions of people as "forgiving the historical atrocities" makes you look? GTFO.
posted by Candleman at 6:00 PM on October 5, 2023 [1 favorite]


Totalitarianism (Wikipedia)
posted by Brian B. at 6:27 PM on October 5, 2023 [1 favorite]


There is no better or worse with Hitler and Stalin, other than the pedantry that sparked this entire thread. Both destroyed millions of lives and anyone that celebrates either of them should be shunned.
posted by Candleman at 6:47 PM on October 5, 2023 [5 favorites]


Stalinists: Fringe militant leftists who are willing to forgive the historical atrocities of the USSR.

Isn't that pretty much the definition of 'tankie' though? 'Stalinist' isn't just being willing to handwave the atrocities away, more like wanting to send the tanks in yourself.
posted by Dysk at 8:45 PM on October 5, 2023


That's indisputable fact, so the fact you're contesting it is giving me _really_ bad vibes.

UN was responding to me. what i said was "it's not being a tankie to believe that the USSR was on the right side in WW2". UN then said "I wouldn't consider the side with Hitler to be the "right side". Many of these threads would be smoother, I think, if posters understood this."

i tried to just let that comment go but sure. it did not occur to me UN was referring to 1939. like yeah i'm aware of the circumstances that led the USSR to join the allies and i am definitely ineloquent but you have to be insane or malicious to think i was referring to the USSR in 1939 when i made that comment. Yaroslav Hunka, the topic of the thread in question, joined the SS in 1943 and was deployed against the Red Army in 1944, the USSR was integral to the defeat of Germany, etc. - 1939 was not really on my radar. so now that you have provided the context that he was accusing me of being a nazi sympathizer, that actually makes the comment a lot worse to me.

anyway - once again i am not a stalinist. i do not think there are any stalinists on metafilter. i don't really think there are any nazis on metafilter either. what i was trying to do is point out that identifying what makes someone a nazi is really easy and identifying what makes someone a tankie is a lot more complicated. the fact that multiple users have continually reduced my point to some kind of argument about hitler vs stalin reinforces my entire criticism of this whole line of discussion in the first place. do not tell me the evil Stalin did. tell me the evil Stalinists are doing right now.

yes, i do think nazis are more dangerous in 2023 than tankies by far, it's not even close. i am more scared of white supremacists than wannabe totalitarian roleplayers, especially on the INTERNET where white supremacist rhetoric is insidious and pernicious and ever present. if you disagree, that's fine, but you have not actually managed to point out the waves of Stalinist violence we should be worried about.

we are not discussing these issues in a vacuum. tankie is a loaded term, as others in this thread have pointed out. like when someone who points out Azov's nazi ties is a called a tankie and then a bunch of people start saying tankies are as bad as Nazis for some reason that nobody can point out, why aren't we banning all the supposed tankies in here and in the Ukraine threads? it's a cudgel.

idk what you want me to say. i am scared of nazis and i think this thread has unequivocally proven fizz's original point to be valid. everywhere i look on the internet there are white supremacists. it did not feel like this 10 years ago. who am i to say we are immune from that here? i'm saying the same things over and over again so i'm pretty comfortable with the stance i've taken which is that this entire discussion of tankies/stalinist/putin bots is a derail, and a pretty gross one given that we were supposed to be discussing Nazis. when it comes to Nazis, my mantra is "What would a punk do?" A punk would look at this thread and never come back to this website again lol.

i am going to bow out of this topic. everybody go to a punk show sometime for christ's sake lol.
posted by JimBennett at 9:12 PM on October 5, 2023 [11 favorites]


I wouldn't vote for either of them.
posted by philip-random at 10:13 PM on October 5, 2023


Neither would Jim Bennett, per JimBennet's most recent comment.
posted by kensington314 at 11:15 PM on October 5, 2023 [1 favorite]


And that's not great, in the sense that he should've been sat done and had someone go, "Look, dude, save it for your little circle of history geeks, because it's an interesting tangent there but over here maybe respect the fact that you're upsetting people. Feelings matter more than who wins the argument, here. Shoosh." But it's not "Nazi propaganda," and it is not (as Rhaomi pointed out, eleven billion comments ago) what the "Nazi bar" analogy describes.

Revising history with intent to deceive the reader is a kind of propaganda.

The comment that was deleted: "For me, "Waffen SS" doesn't immediately conjure up the SS-run concentration camps and Operation Reinhard(t) extermination camps. Like their uniforms there is a bit of gray here, IMO." qualifies because it omits & distorts some of the history of the Waffen Ss and their many murdered victims. We know that the various divisions of the Waffen SS committed numerous war crimes during the war. Atrocities. It is a matter of historical record.

Holocaust denial and historical revisionism & negationism related to WWII are all forms of propaganda. On this topic, nazi propaganda.

The nazi bar analogy says, if nazis are allowed in a bar then it is a nazi bar. The analogy is not supposed to literally be about nazis.

But a discussion of whether it is okay to insert nazi propaganda into discussions here seems needed and should not be waved away as "people being offended." For example comments like "hitler and the nazi party really delivered the goods" that deliberately omits the invaded countries and the genocides it took to make happen.
posted by qi at 11:22 PM on October 5, 2023 [4 favorites]


I'm not so sure that was a deliberate omission, but it certainly is foolish not to try harder to cover all bases when commenting here. It's risky to assume communal understanding that, for example, the Nazis invaded countries and committed genocides.
posted by otsebyatina at 12:46 AM on October 6, 2023


Yeah, so this has got to be the back room of the bar, right? Cuz somebody just left a stack of flyers in the front of the bar.

I’ve skimmed the big flyer they attached to the wall and it says stuff like the Holodomor is a myth, inflation is caused by sanctions on Russia, and the “Nazi Ukrainian government” started a civil war against Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine. It even directed me to check out an offering from the LaRouche Movement.
posted by house-goblin at 2:38 AM on October 6, 2023 [1 favorite]


This thread has become a self-parody of the self-parody it already was. Goddamn.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 4:24 AM on October 6, 2023 [9 favorites]


...the Holodomor is a myth...

I missed that - where was that?

It even directed me to check out an offering from the LaRouche Movement.

Now you're just showing off... wait LaRouche still exists?! And they're being promoted here? (Or this all irony I have a tin ear to?)

(upthread was mentioned "performative bafflement" but a lot of this thread has genuinely baffled me. Probably naive, but I don't believe anyone in this thread is genuinely either a nazi or a Stalinist/tankie or believes the Ukrainians don't have a right to defend their country. I could well be wrong, but it strikes me the bulk of this thread is made up of misunderstandings and snap judgements interspersed with insight and compassion and intelligence. )
posted by From Bklyn at 4:39 AM on October 6, 2023 [8 favorites]


Go to the originating thread. Every point from the metaphorical flyer came from the article the big multi-paragraph link opens in the (currently) second to last post.
posted by house-goblin at 4:43 AM on October 6, 2023 [2 favorites]


Yeah, so this has got to be the back room of the bar, right? Cuz somebody just left a stack of flyers in the front of the bar.

So we were assumed to be a tankie bar and were supposed to 86 a non-tankie for them.
posted by Brian B. at 7:26 AM on October 6, 2023


whoa. That article is ...something is what is... yeah, I'm not clever enough to parse that level of smartitude. And I think I might have bedumbed myself even by allowing it to enter my thought-tubes. I mean, OK, Freehand is pro-nazi but then it gets very... complicated. There's all kinds of assumptions being made that - I just can't stay on top of.

That's part of the internet though, for better and worse (maybe weighted to the latter, unfortunately) - all kinds of people saying all kinds of things. Doesn't make them worthwhile. And LaRouche: just fucking wow So, thanks for pointing that out, but I cannot say I found it enriching. And I disagree with the person who posted it, thinking it moved the conversation forward in a constructive way.

I can't keep track with the black-and-white of if this is a nazi bar or not, frankly. Some people say stupid shit (myself included) other people point it out - it is what happens next that is relevant.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:31 AM on October 6, 2023 [5 favorites]


The major differences here is that it looks like they've already apologized, they aren't arguing with the mods or other users, and so far haven't dropped into another thread to do the same thing.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 8:49 AM on October 6, 2023 [5 favorites]


…maybe I should just tell you what I hope and believe
For every defeat there will be a victory
For every defeat there will be a victory in defeat
Victory

In related punk rock news, I have tickets to see Dead Bob.
posted by house-goblin at 11:06 AM on October 6, 2023 [2 favorites]


NoMeansNo for the win
posted by philip-random at 11:11 AM on October 6, 2023 [3 favorites]


Recent posts have dislodged a memory of sitting at a table in a Victoria bar with some punks. Note: not a punk rock bar, just a bar that would put up with punks. Some of the Dayglos people were talking about the tour they just got back from and how racist skins turned out for a lot of their shows. In particular, there was an LA show where they saw racist skins war dancing around a big block of solemn, unmoving, Suicidals types, trying to provoke them. Every so often a skin would get too close and get yanked into the Suicidals block and would get ejected, battered and bloody, a minute or two later. John Wright was there and when he was asked if they ever saw stuff like that, his answer was that the skinheads don’t come out to NoMeansNo shows. I suspect there’s a lesson somewhere in there.
posted by house-goblin at 11:34 AM on October 6, 2023 [2 favorites]


John Wright was there and when he was asked if they ever saw stuff like that, his answer was that the skinheads don’t come out to NoMeansNo shows

I saw them once (long, long ago) and there were plenty of skinheads there that night.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:39 PM on October 6, 2023


It's hard not to come to the conclusion that Metafilter is actually turning into a nazi bar, given the nazi apologism on display here and in the original thread, as well as the soft holocaust denial that comes from a false equivalence between the Holocaust and the famines in the USSR.
posted by Yowser at 8:21 AM on October 7, 2023 [3 favorites]


the soft holocaust denial that comes from a false equivalence between the Holocaust and the famines in the USSR

What?
posted by mittens at 8:48 AM on October 7, 2023 [13 favorites]


Identifying two autocratic regimes as being similar totalitarian ideologies is not denying either of them their infamy, to the contrary. The false equivalence is to suggest that non-Stalinists must be Nazis, a black and white view that only believes in the authoritarian spectrum.
posted by Brian B. at 10:47 AM on October 7, 2023 [9 favorites]


”I saw them once (long, long ago) and there were plenty of skinheads there that night.”

Well, I don’t doubt you, but also don’t see why he would lie. If memory serves this happened before Wrong came out. So maybe your long, long ago show happened after an earlier long, long, long ago stretch of racist skinhead free shows. Then again… those skins seemed to be on the march a year or two before the conversation in question. So, I dunno.
posted by house-goblin at 10:55 AM on October 7, 2023


skinheads weren't thugs in my corner of the world (also NoMeansNo's), certainly not while I was paying attention. In fact, I recall hearing of some drama where Nazi types started strutting their stuff and got soundly thrashed by some non-Nazi skinheads -- one of whom ended up in jail for assault (which indirectly screwed up a very good LSD source -- life in 80s).
posted by philip-random at 11:53 AM on October 7, 2023 [3 favorites]


Casually monitoring now to see if after 10 days this thread is reborn as a contentious discussion about the existence or non-existence of racist and non-racist skins.
posted by kensington314 at 11:58 AM on October 7, 2023 [5 favorites]


I’m really getting the sense the Nazi Bar Analogy is breaking down here. In the story, the Nazi punk is obvious—because he’s wearing the fucking uniform. That’s not the case here and I suspect that’s a non-trivial factor in the ongoing, and seemingly ever widening, gyre of accusations and recriminations.

That said, I still believe it best to remain vigilant.
posted by house-goblin at 12:40 PM on October 7, 2023 [2 favorites]


Well, I don’t doubt you, but also don’t see why he would lie. If memory serves this happened before Wrong came out. So maybe your long, long ago show happened after an earlier long, long, long ago stretch of racist skinhead free shows. Then again… those skins seemed to be on the march a year or two before the conversation in question. So, I dunno.

I didn't mean to suggest he was lying, just that it wasn't a universal thing at their shows. I saw them in either 1988 or 1989, and the audience had a pretty typical (for that place and time) number of skinheads of various sorts. There wasn't any violence, so really there was no need for the band to make a big issue of it that night. Good for them if they were able to establish a no-nazi norm at their shows, that is great to read.

To the point of the "nazi bar" metaphor (which I just don't think fits this site at all, but it's what is being discussed), when I was a teen I lived in places where the nazis (skins and with hair) were kept out of shows and parties, and other places where they were just a typical part of the audience. Kicking them out didn't make everyone there into anti-nazis; letting them in didn't make everyone in the room nazis. It's a simplistic metaphor that doesn't map well onto real life.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:58 PM on October 7, 2023 [5 favorites]


Ack. Didn’t mean to imply you thought he was lying. It was just a shit turn of phrase on my part. Sorry about that.

Sadly, I didn’t get the impression they established a no-Nazis/racist skinheads norm. More that they just didn’t come to the shows. But who knows what lurks behind a dim memory of a long ago off the cuff comment by some punk in a bar? Like you said, it might just be that they didn’t turn up in numbers. The thought certainly crossed my mind when I was responding to your original comment.

And, yeah, on the skinhead front, I hope I’ve specified racist skinheads enough that I haven’t made them all out as villains. I knew SHARPs and traditionalist types (i.e. originally a black and white working class movement now open to all) back in the day.

Anyway, square pegs, one size does not fit all. Nevertheless, gegen Nazis.
posted by house-goblin at 3:20 PM on October 7, 2023


>From the top to the bottom, it was like an organization made up 100% of Tuckers Carlson and Stevens Crowder. Human misery was their only legacy.

I agree with this take, which is why I argue online the way I do. The Nazi power structure and the people who joined the nazi movement were not monsters from mars, they were humans bent and shaped by traditions and events, and later, power, and led the German nation to ruin in '44 - '45.

They are the first 40% in what I think of with my occasional observation: "20% will agitate, 20% will bandwagon, 20% will dither, 20% will keep their heads down, and 20% will oppose".

A very similar dynamic happened in Imperial Japan (with a bit more overt Army involvement) during the same time period, and will happen here in the USA if we fail to adequately oppose their continued machinations.

"Reading the room" seems to be newspeak "accept my feelings", or in some cases my different take on things, and not defend any other alternative appreciation with actual facts and stuff.

The thing about Nazi Germany is at the start, that nobody signed on to the program of the secret death factories on isolated train stops deep in the Generalgouvernement of occupied Poland going in. It all devolved as it went.

When the following comment was deleted, I shrugged as I considred it bad moderation but wasn't going to start a fight over it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14th_Waffen_Grenadier_Division_of_the_SS_(1st_Galician)#The_Canadian_Deschênes_Commission

For me, "Waffen SS" doesn't immediately conjure up the SS-run concentration camps and Operation Reinhard(t) extermination camps. Like their uniforms there is a bit of gray here, IMO.
The SS was the primary institution of evil in Nazi Germany, the Waffen SS was a part of that, the 1st Galician Division was a part of that.

Like I said, I was born thousands of miles and 25 years away from 1942 Ukraine. The above link had this bit:

"The Germans made three political concessions: It was stipulated that the division would not be used to fight Western Allies, and would be used exclusively to "fight Bolsheviks". The other concession was that its oath of allegiance to Hitler was conditional on the fight against Bolshevism and in the fact that Christian (mostly Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church) chaplains were integrated into the units and allowed to function (in the Waffen-SS, only the Bosnian division and Sturmbrigade Wallonien had a clerical presence)."

Which shows some of the 'gradations of gray' that can be see here.

The overall topic has been poisoned by Nazi proponents and "Hall of Robots" type media operations on the other side so pretty much impossible to discuss online I guess.

(for the record I am not a nazi proponent, do not see or argue for the 'good side' of nazis, but understand that any popular mass movement, right or left, can turn totalitarian and run the same course of inhumanity as events and people devolve)
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 2:38 PM on October 17, 2023 [6 favorites]


"Reading the room" seems to be newspeak "accept my feelings", or in some cases my different take on things, and not defend any other alternative appreciation with actual facts and stuff.

I don’t think this is wrong exactly, but it touches upon why moderation and discourse that actually adheres to the guidelines is, yes, going to be suppressive. I used to be way more cool with people saying wild things around here, then I got around to finally reading the guidelines myself and realized that I had to change my thinking.

“Reading the room” implies taking into account the current tenor of the conversation and the structure of the post. (The conversation it is written to elicit.) This can be interpreted as “accept my feelings”, but is probably more generously understood as “don’t be trying to start a fight”. Even if we try to accord each other the benefit of the doubt, the way our plain text comments are phrased is integral to how they are passed. That constrains discourse on the site, but that seems in line with what the community has often wanted, going back years. (Heavy moderation of “bad” things -except sometimes not because we do contradict ourselves and people feel gaslit when everything they were fighting against disappears.) Arguably all of the big upheavals and site drama have been caused by not living up to the extremely aggressive moderation standards the community wants. We should give ourselves what we want, good and hard.

Simply coming in as an outsider to the thread original thread, it seemed clear to have been written with the intention of dunking on conservatives for doing a bad thing and associating with a nazi dude. Attempting to draw a fine line around the nuances of the Nazi military (with what seems like a rather glib joke about uniform color) doesn’t fit the tenor of the thread or make a point that, despite adding some nuance, this wasn’t intended to change the thrust of the discourse.

The overall topic has been poisoned by Nazi proponents and "Hall of Robots" type media operations on the other side so pretty much impossible to discuss online I guess.

Yes, it seems that nuanced discussion of the Third Reich / WW2 needs to be confined to specific forums and threads, that’s just kind of how it is. But that doesn’t really seem like a problem, exactly, just a fact. I do think it would be possible to even have a such a discussion here - it would just have to be in a thread built specifically around that kind of nuance.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:34 AM on October 18, 2023 [2 favorites]


I agree with Rock 'em Sock 'em that the best thing the mods could have done here was to give the user a verbal warning that they need to take a break from the thread, as well as give them a time out. This should be the bare minimum, or starting point, for this type of commenter-related dumpster fire. I was disappointed by the moderator response.

Yeah, I really want the mods to ban any user who says something I don't like.
posted by drstrangelove at 4:15 AM on October 19, 2023


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