Is it bad form to invoke the name of another mefite in a thread they are not participating in? November 13, 2002 2:14 AM   Subscribe

I was recently reprimanded in a thread (politely, I should add), for invoking the name of a mefi regular who was not a participant in that thread at the time.

Is this poor form on my part, or is *the mefi who must not be named* being over-sensitive?
posted by backOfYourMind to Etiquette/Policy at 2:14 AM (15 comments total)

To give some context to this, I was commenting that the mefi member was once again participating in 'political' posts, in what I had hoped was a jokey, friendly fashion.

The thread in question
posted by backOfYourMind at 2:17 AM on November 13, 2002

Steve@ is being oversensitive. However, that thread would have been cleaner, and this thread probably wouldn't exist, if people had been courteous enough to use email for the one-to-one stuff.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:34 AM on November 13, 2002

bOYM: Some wise person once said, "if you're going to comment at all, you might as well say what you mean, mean what you say etc...even if you get scorched a little."

posted by mischief at 5:07 AM on November 13, 2002

mischief: I'm sure I don't know what you mean...
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:17 AM on November 13, 2002

This is all contextual, but I wouldn't like to be referred to in a thread unless I've already commented. I would consider it to be a sneak attack if the referral isn't in a nice light and I'm not around to defend myself. It's cheap. On the other hand, if the referral is very obviously said in a joking manner, then no harm no foul.

In this particular case it's borderline, I feel, due to the fact that it was a political comment. While the comment itself was by no means nasty, we all know that politics are an iffy thing here at MetaFilter and that some people take their politics very seriously. Very seriously indeed.

In a related note, I also think it's bad form to have a heated discussion in one thread (with all that implies: name calling, ad hominems, snarkiness, etc), carry it to another thread (unless the other thread is directly related, of course) and continue the nastiness with the participants of the original thread. As far as I'm concerned, each thread is a brand new place where the slate has been wiped clean.
posted by ashbury at 6:05 AM on November 13, 2002

It's a community, and you earn your MeFi reputation one post at a time. I see no reason to expect to be shielded from reference anywhere on the site (you are all free to refer to me as an "anal retentive crank" at any time). Granted, there may be little reason for such a reference, but I can imagine instances where it would be perfectly salient. Personal attacks, as always, are inappropriate, but if you want total anonymity, read the site but don't post.
posted by rushmc at 6:49 AM on November 13, 2002

I agree with everything ashbury said, but I would add that we should think twice before referring "in a joking manner." I can't forget that what the poster meant in a joking manner produced this; I know it didn't actually cause rodii's (much-lamented) departure, but it was a straw on the back, and I wouldn't want to do that to anyone.
posted by languagehat at 8:04 AM on November 13, 2002

O god that thread makes me sad.
posted by gleuschk at 8:50 AM on November 13, 2002


steve can't control what you say. he's not your father and he's not your moderator. i agree with you: i think it's bullshit to be called out for referring to someone without their knowledge. some people will talk about others when those others aren't around, and steve should accept that because he has no authority to dictate otherwise. likewise, i think if you don't like what steve has to say, you should ignore him. there's no need for this thread.
posted by moz at 9:07 AM on November 13, 2002

All I said was "It would be appreciated"... This is not an order, simply a request for a courtesy to be extend in the future...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:41 AM on November 13, 2002

People talk about other people all the time. Even requesting that they don't is pointless and ultimately futile. Accept that it's going to happen and move on with your life. There's far more important things to worry about than who is using your name for trivial matters.

(non-trivial is, of course, a different kettle of fish - but that doesn't apply here ...)
posted by ralawrence at 9:51 AM on November 13, 2002

O god that thread makes me sad

Still needs some work, but there's a great haiku in there

posted by matteo at 9:55 AM on November 13, 2002

In almost every case that another member is mentioned by name and is not present, it is used in a dismissive manner. A phrase like "Oh user232 will probably say we should legalize it" effectively typecasts another user, dismissing what they might have to say before they've ever said anything. What's worse is when there are followup comments mocking a non-present user further, as more people put words into another's mouth for their enjoyment. I see this pack mentality (not in this case mind you, but in others) often spring up as the "outsider" is piled on by the group, whether they are right, left, pro-life, pro-choice, anti-pancake, or anti-haiku, it happens.

On the flip side, if people are invoking your name, you're probably posting a bit much to get that kind of notoriety. If they're making fun of your positions before you've said a word, you're probably far more predictable than you think and you might want to back off on the ax grinding for a bit.

In this case, Steve was pronounced guilty of going against his own statements before he said anything in the thread. That's not fair, is it?

The site exists to find interesting stuff on the web and discuss it, and I never thought people would have personal battles like they have. I don't know how to make it any more clear that if you're debating something, debate the points and not the person making the points. The less people are mentioned by name on the site, the generally better behaved people are being and the more rational discourse is taking place.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:30 AM on November 13, 2002

That's such typical mathowie.
posted by luser at 12:51 PM on November 13, 2002

This is not an order, simply a request

That's fine, it's a request I'm happy to respect.

In this case, Steve was pronounced guilty of going against his own statements before he said anything in the thread. That's not fair, is it?

Point taken. However, the point I was trying to make in my comment in the thead was that if someone wants to make political comments (without narky, aggressive flaming), then they should just go ahead and do it. I would much rather see comments that I completely disagree with than threads full of:

- I agree
- Absolutely

Anyway, my etiquette question has been answered - thanks all.
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:59 PM on November 13, 2002

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