I was just curious as to why the link about a diarist's suicide has disappeared January 19, 2001 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I was just curious as to why the link about a diarist's suicide has dissapeared from the site. Did it upset too many people, or just not count as news? I went to see if any new comments had been posted and it was gone. Just wondering.
posted by crushed to MetaFilter-Related at 11:54 AM (30 comments total)

Probably because a lot of the comments were cruel, insensitive, and thoughtless. Even by our loose standards.
posted by ratbastard at 12:23 PM on January 19, 2001

It wasn't me again was it? I'm starting to feel like a bull in a china shop.
posted by thirteen at 12:50 PM on January 19, 2001

As someone who wrote in that thread, I'm curious myself -- 'specially since the last I saw of it (before I went to sleep) was around 7:00-ish am, EST.

:: resigned :: So someone tell me: how bad did the slagging get...
posted by metrocake at 1:34 PM on January 19, 2001

i was reading it this morning with interest, and then when i refreshed to check for new comments it was gone. damn.
posted by pnevares at 1:44 PM on January 19, 2001

Actually, I take that back. I don't want to know.

There's a lot of sadness here. She's gone, no words can bring her back.
posted by metrocake at 1:49 PM on January 19, 2001

I deleted it for one major reason. There were a few requests to delete it because readers found it cruel and insensitive, but there was one very important message I got, and I think it's key to understanding how noise can drown out signal here.

Someone sent me a message with their very thoughtful, informative post, which they weren't adding to the thread, due to the way things had progressed in it so far.

That for me, is a key symptom of MetaFilter's slide into a goofy-post-filled-Slashdot-esque mess. Someone wanted to post something really insightful and thought out, but didn't because of the previous comments.

Now, I'm not saying that humor has no place here. Often, there are two or three threads a day that are pure fluff and the whole point is to make people laugh, and those are fine. But, when wise cracks appear often in threads surrounding serious issues, they can muck up the place so much that people don't feel free to contribute intelligent disucssion.

When that happens, you know something has gone horribly wrong.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:02 PM on January 19, 2001

So one of the most fascinating (and most important) threads posted here in weeks is gone because one person managed to convince mathowie that we shouldn't be talking about it. Yeah, I guess something has gone horribly wrong.

Guess I'll go post another Ashcroft thread...:::sigh:::
posted by aaron at 2:31 PM on January 19, 2001

Maybe if there had been fewer comments about "snuff blogs" the conversation might have gone in a better direction.

Just a hunch.
posted by ratbastard at 3:07 PM on January 19, 2001

Maybe if you had read my explanation, you'd see I meant it. And was serious about that claim. It was a disturbing, too-detailed account of someone's death. And the rest of the thread was quite serious and meaningful and worth retaining, unless something truly horrible was posted after I last saw it late in the morning.
posted by aaron at 3:21 PM on January 19, 2001

As far as I know the only humor in the thread was at the beginning when no one was sure if it was real or not. And for some humor is the way to deal with tragedy. I understand that there is a very big difference between humor to cope and cruel wise cracks, though.

I'm new here, and I may be out of line, in which case someone please pull me back straight, but I think that something has gone terribly wrong when a person decides it would better to send their comments to mathowie, rather than post them and show people how insensitive and disrepectful they were being.

The only comments that I read that could have been considered cruel or disrepectful were the ones at the very beginning and perhaps a few which were posted by someone who had lived with the same type of tragedy. And as far as I'm concerned, that person has just as much right to be angry as the others had to be grievous. However I'm sure there were some sent after I last checked the thread and before it was deleted.

I regret that because a few of us cannot play nice we have now lost what could have been a very insightful and long discussion.

posted by crushed at 3:29 PM on January 19, 2001

I thought the thread was going well...opposing viewpoints make a discussion better.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:50 PM on January 19, 2001

BTW, I don't know if the thoughful, informative post mathowie is talking about above is the same one I got (though both our addresses were in the header), but if it is, it wasn't emailed instead of posted because that person thought the thread had deteriorated. Said person did it because that person was (rightfully) worried that the post would get spidered and end up in Google from now until the end of time, where it could one day come back to haunt them (potential employers hunting for dirt, stuff like that).
posted by aaron at 4:01 PM on January 19, 2001

I'm very puzzled by this. Firstly, because I have been checking MeFi at work pretty geekily for the last week and am surprised I missed it. Secondly, because I posted a reply to this thread this afternoon critical of the decision that is now missing. (On the other hand, I was also having cookie problems; maybe it was corrupted in some way)

But mostly, because I fail to see how this thread could have violated the stated guidelines for posting. Unless there is a violation of stated rules, it seems like the action taken was a bit too totalitarian for my tastes.

I recognize that this is Matt's page. However, I think when over three thousand people are members and each have a personal investment as part of the community that there is some sort of obligation on the part of the moderator to act within set rules to maintain confidence by the membership in their ability to speak freely without fear of censorship.

I'm not saying that we have a democratic right to set the rules; as far as I'm concerned we don't have any such right unless Matt says we do. I think we do have a right to participate in the community by the rules that are set and not to have discussion be arbitrarily silenced because one member has the ear of the moderator and can convince him to act.

What seems ironic to me is that Matt deleted the post because someone sent a response that will never be posted as an example of discussion lost due to "noise." How many other valuable posts were lost by this action? Just in simple cost/benefit analysis, it seems more good discussion was lost by deleting it, than was created or facilitated in other threads. I argue that we need better link guidelines and discussion guidelines if something so abhorrent as to prompt censorship is being posted. If I'm missing something in the existing guidelines let me know. As it stands, I'm really disappointed that this happened.
posted by norm at 4:09 PM on January 19, 2001

There is only one thing to remember here; this is Matt's site, you post here because of the countless hours of work Matt has put into making the site this way and if Matt wants to delete a thread for any reason he wishes, he has the right to do so.
Stop griping and go and post something thought and conversation provoking, the post has gone.
posted by Markb at 4:48 PM on January 19, 2001

I think norm has a point. Sure matt can delete any thread he likes for any reason but surely that doesn't mean a gag on anyone who might have thought that decision was arbitrary and/or wrong.

norm's point about making clearer guidelines is pertinent too.

I'm also wondering how the thread in question (one which I didn't see) compared with this one which prompted one contributor to complain (publicly) about the morbid direction it was going.

It's interesting to note matt's response in this case.

posted by lagado at 7:35 PM on January 19, 2001

Matt, I believe, deleted the post mainly because of members' opinions. Theirs counted, do ours not?

And apparently this was somewhat thought and conversation provoking since the link had many comments while it was up and has spawned this thread. ;P

Either way, it's gone. I just hope that the members, from now on, will respect each others opinions enough not to make cruel remarks, nor run to Matt every time something they don't like is said. And I'm not talking about this link in particular, I've just noticed that a lot of people will say something in their comments to the effect of "Matt, could we get rid of this guy, I don't like him."
posted by crushed at 9:10 PM on January 19, 2001

I just now read the thread that lagado posted. That's acceptable enough to be left up but the one today was not? Almost all of that one was either jokes or insults flying back and forth, while today's, when I last saw it, was actual sympathy and discussion with a few lousy comments. I truly don't want to know what sort of stuff was posted after I last read it.
posted by crushed at 9:27 PM on January 19, 2001

i think that one difference is that a whole lot of people had known [in some way, at least] the woman discussed in today's suicide thread.
posted by palegirl at 10:56 PM on January 19, 2001

The thread started badly, I think, because of an honest misreading of the initial posting's tone. Once that got cleared up, it became all too obvious that it was upsetting people on a personal level: while there's a worthwhile debate on the ethics of suicide -- in the abstract -- discussing it in the context of a specific case strikes me as deeply distressing, or at best unhelpful.
posted by holgate at 2:40 PM on January 20, 2001

Norm: The only thing additional posting rules will accomplish is arguments about those rules and more chances for people to use words like "totalitarian" and "censorship" against Matt, which strikes me as a particularly bad way to say thanks for running MetaFilter.

At some point, I think people should just accept that this is a personal site and threads are here at the host's discretion.
posted by rcade at 8:29 PM on January 20, 2001

I've been trying for about ten minutes to come up with a way to say this without sounding flippant, sarcastic, rude, ungrateful, or stupid.

I am grateful to Matt; profoundly grateful. This is my favorite site on the web; and I regularly visit somewhere between 200-300 sites a month, not counting the links I get elsewhere. The point I was attempting to make is that despite Matt's ownership of the site, this is a community weblog, right? That doesn't make everyone equal in voice or power, of course, but for the good of that community I think that there should be some built in predictability on standards for removing threads, comments, or members.

Look, consider what I'm saying as input from a member. Take it for what it's worth. I apologize if I have pissed anyone off, especially Matt.
posted by norm at 11:54 PM on January 20, 2001

I don't mean to seem like the rubbernecker looking for the car wreck, but can anyone give a link that would indicate something about the thread that's being discussed? I'd be curious to see some background before I (presumably) thank Matt for his good taste and willingness to err on the side of being too sensitive...
posted by anildash at 1:01 AM on January 21, 2001

This is what started it.
posted by aaron at 10:32 AM on January 21, 2001

Could I make a suggestion for the future? Wouldn't it be better for Matt to make a statement about why he finds the thread inappropriate, and then close it? That is, leave the thread up, but disallow future posts. That way, people could see what is there, and we could attempt to learn from what had been written. I think that would send a more powerful message to the community as a whole regarding what's appropriate than simply deleting the offending thread. As it stands now, I wonder how many people even realized it was gone, and why.
posted by megnut at 10:03 PM on January 22, 2001

Good point. It would probably mean that Matt would actually have to create this feature.

I have noticed that more often I have had a strong reaction to a post and refrained from responding, because I don't want to see things escalate.

I attribute some intense reactions to things just because I'm currently on the recieving end of a .com bust. Having left my hometown to pursue this dead job has left me feeling kind of isolated.

In other words, we can't expect everyone to be perfect posters. I try to find humor in things as a defense against the universe. Hopefully we can let threads die with explanations rather then without.

posted by john at 11:45 PM on January 22, 2001

Unless I'm much mistaken, John, Matt can already pinch threads.
posted by baylink at 12:39 PM on January 23, 2001

Um, yes, there is a precedent. I too agree that these type of threads should remain up but closed to further posts.
posted by Avogadro at 1:21 PM on January 23, 2001

OIC. Does this mean the post in question can be reinstated closed or is it lost?
posted by john at 2:12 PM on January 23, 2001

Actually, I refrained from posting in this thread mainly because it was pretty clear that some of the other members knew the person.

And for the record, I wasn't going to be flippant, but when you get someone who knows the person who committed the act, they get rather fired up and things get very strange very quick

(see I *can* be thoughtful sometimes!)
posted by tj at 5:22 PM on January 23, 2001

john: It's probably safe to assume it's gone forever. Even if it can be reinstated, why bother? It's gone, it's over, the decision's been made.
posted by cCranium at 5:43 PM on January 23, 2001

« Older They're fluoridating our water and embedding sound...   |   Javascript fix Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments