Have we returned to a civil MetaFilter? April 8, 2003 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Reasonable and reasoned talk about the war? a global warming thread where people correct themselves and say "climate change"? Is Mefi returning to civility? Which is to say, normality???
posted by UncleFes to MetaFilter-Related at 7:56 AM (33 comments total)

Links here and here, respectively. What gives? My theory: the pendulum, having swung aft so vigorously in the face of war, etc., now swingeth fore as intelligent, educated, thoughtful people get sick of yelling and seek debate, reason and answers.

I'm also pleased that we're seeing non-Newsfilter links becoming more numerous.
posted by UncleFes at 8:00 AM on April 8, 2003

Not quite all the way fore yet, but I see a trend, regardless.
posted by UncleFes at 8:12 AM on April 8, 2003

Fes, you're a lousy sack of shit who clearly loves Hitler.
posted by Skot at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2003

(I'm kidding. I really wanted not to have to post the disclaimer, but these days, I figured at least one person would flip out if I didn't. Hey, Fes.)
posted by Skot at 8:40 AM on April 8, 2003

Fes -

I've missed you. Now, I will admit that I dont read much of the warfilter stuff, but have you been taking a break?
posted by Irontom at 8:50 AM on April 8, 2003

"intelligent, educated, thoughtful people get sick of yelling and seek debate, reason and answers."

I'm seeing the same trend. But I think it's more about people trying to compensate. There's been so much crap, especially unsubstantiated breaking news and flamebait agenda items, that I think many are trying hard to balance that. So, not as much getting sick of it as trying harder to yell over the noise. I think the recent epidemic of double posting is symptomatic of that.

And we seem to have a small group who are regularly posting quality stuff. Very nice.

"Is Mefi returning to civility?"

I'm just surprised civility survived at all. I don't know about everyone else but my urge to turn over the table and just scream is very strong. That "Iraq in a Nutshell" post was an invitation to meltdown, but it turned a out to be one of the best Iraq debates we've had yet. The "Children vs. Soldiers in Iraq" thread was what I was fearing. I'm happy to find that sort of thing hasn't taken over.

One of my theories is that people are realizing that this is one of the few places both sides can talk openly about this stuff. So we might as well do it productively
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:53 AM on April 8, 2003

....or not
posted by Marquis at 8:54 AM on April 8, 2003

I must confess that my level of angriness has increased during my frequent visits to Metafilter.

My contribution to the Metafilter tranquillity has been to write my posts in Notepad. 10 minutes later I have a second look at the stuff. Most of the time they end in the recycle bin. I suppose I'll also have to thanks my poor written English skills in this matter. It is hard to write angry/ironic/thoughtful comments when you need them...

Have I said that this war and my government sucks?
posted by samelborp at 8:58 AM on April 8, 2003

I'm looking at Children vs Soldiers and wanting to cry.
posted by Summer at 9:28 AM on April 8, 2003

I do believe you're right, UncleFes. Perhaps the polarization of war and the relative ease with which users can now imagine the degeneration of discussions before they post has led to a renewed sense of "We're all in this together" and even a certain respect for one's adversaries. Or at least the realization that they're needed if interesting political discussions are to take part here.

Let's hope it lasts.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:40 AM on April 8, 2003

You guys just jinxed it.
posted by Hackworth at 9:52 AM on April 8, 2003

I think it was the nature of nofundy's post that helped it turn into such a good discussion. The link wasn't a great post per say, but it was a hell of a lot more rational to start with than the latest "Look at how bad America is!" news post that gave us Children vs Soldiers.
posted by Cyrano at 10:10 AM on April 8, 2003

To elaborate just a tad: nofundy's link is the kind that makes you think, "I disagree with your argument and here's why..." as opposed to a C vs S post which is pretty much the rhetorical equivalent of a slap in the face and likely to go just the way it has.
posted by Cyrano at 10:14 AM on April 8, 2003

well, i planned to roar on in and contribute the following:


but it would seem that Skot (whoa!) beat me to it.
who'da thunk?
posted by quonsar at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2003

No, I don't think so.
posted by SpecialK at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2003

New member registrations have been closed for a little while now....

Also, an aside -- quonsar, you needn't broadcast the unfortunate fact that you can't tell the difference between your typical sort of contribution and Skot's; one can't help but have noticed.
posted by mattpfeff at 10:27 AM on April 8, 2003

Fes is cool
posted by victors at 10:37 AM on April 8, 2003

I have to agree with Marquis the comment he linked is egregious and nasty and I think I would do well to follow samuelborp's method--which I have done in the past--more often. One problem is you tend to remember annoying comments someone has made in the past and then find you've been screaming at someone for the next thing they say.

cbrody, who posted one of the more thoughtful posts related to the war--the more thoughtful threads on the wa often get few comments--which went by unnoticed, posted a link in a thread to Spinsanity's Some war rhetoric turns against open debate. Note that the evenhandedness in which they cite examples from both side of the aisle.

I would recommend it as well as their Myths and misconceptions about Iraq in this context, as well as Framing critical news reporting as pro-Saddam as useful points on which to base some benchmarks for debate here.

Myself, I'm tired of the pro-Saddam slur--and not to excuse my lapse linked above but may I point out I was screaming at the more blatant promoters of the anti-war/critical thinking about the war=pro-Saddam slur here? I wish someone less partisan would post a thread on it--my record is too flawed for me to do so: I would like to see a consensus condemning the pro-Saddam slur and the French bashing, myself.

I must note that it looks a bit preening and self-congratulatory to post a thread on a topic where one has already gotten many strokes for writing some non-inflammatory paragraphs in the blue. I would have no problem had it been posted by someone else. It's worth the mention, nonetheless.
posted by y2karl at 10:51 AM on April 8, 2003

quonsar, you needn't broadcast the unfortunate fact that you can't tell the difference between your typical sort of contribution and Skot's; one can't help but have noticed.

yo rite, i cant hode a candel to de brillyunse uf yer intelekshul soopeereoritee. i fel so a shame i glad peepel lyk yu dun taak stuff to be phase valyou cuz den yu wood thick i is reelee stoopit en not pertend.
posted by quonsar at 11:37 AM on April 8, 2003

It's like Flowers for Algernon without the whole "getting smarter" part in the middle.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:04 PM on April 8, 2003

It's like Awakenings without the whole "getting lucid" part in the middle.
posted by iconomy at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2003

It's like Goodfellas without the whole "mafia" part in the middle.
posted by timeistight at 12:26 PM on April 8, 2003

Too bad about the "children vs. soldiers" post - I was much more taken with the bombing "kill zones". Soldiers reacting in the heat of battle is one thing (and hard to judge), but laying a box grid over a map and designating certain of the boxes as "kill zones" - that might have been an interesting starting point for a discussion.

And, since Mefiites can only take so much Iraqulence in a given day or week, it would be good to same some of that patience for some more posts such as this: "Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan." - Josh Marshall actually interviewed a number of Neocons, including Perle, for this piece and their comments were quite striking. (thanks homunculus)

But all of the "US thinks it might have killed Hussein (but maybe not)" posts flying around are suppressing some of the gems like this one
posted by troutfishing at 12:36 PM on April 8, 2003

I've just come back from being offline and I am am going to avoid reading the rest of this thread. But for the record:

What I said in the last paragraph I wrote was unfair to UncleFes--he was sincere and heartfelt and right to make this post. I have apologized to him in email and I do so here. Life, I find, is always having to say you are sorry.
posted by y2karl at 12:59 PM on April 8, 2003

Kaf, your comment and the next two just game me that creepy start-of-a-new-meme feeling.

(Unless it's just an old one that I haven't run across yet, but I guess since it would still be technically new to me I stand by my feeling.)
posted by Cyrano at 1:12 PM on April 8, 2003

As a participant in the thread Uncle Fes pointed out, I'll add that this was probably the first time I felt challenged to actually think like an adult on this topic, simply because everybody else in the discussion seemed to be doing the same. It was a refreshing reminder that MetaFilter does, in fact, collect together some of the better and more interesting netizens. My other contributions on the topic have been (ahem...) less than my best efforts, although calling Postroad and Hama7 assholes is relatively mainstream given their propensity for trollishness, it's not exactly what I'd call productive in retrospect.
posted by JollyWanker at 2:19 PM on April 8, 2003

JollyWanker - Shepd did, however, infest the thread towards the end of the discussion to make his obligatory "environmental wackos" rant. So I had to post my obligatory links (that I always post when he does this) to studies from the US National Academy of Science -on Global Warming and Sudden Climate Change (free, online books. They're very good.) - to banish him back to the denialist hell from whence he came.

Also, I followed the "trackback", and it is from a Christian blog which slings around a lot of that "environmental wackos" rhetoric. Sigh.....
posted by troutfishing at 3:16 PM on April 8, 2003

y2karl: the comment he linked is egregious and nasty

We can assume, then, that you also sent a letter of apology to soulhuntre?
posted by dhoyt at 3:43 PM on April 8, 2003

I just want to note that quonsar's been posting a lot more reasoned-argument type comments in the blue lately than I remember him doing before, and a lot less elephants-micturating type posts.

Not recognizing this would be to imply that thoughtful posts (a la quonsar, of course) are not valued, which would not be true, of course. I, for one, welcome...oh never mind.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:26 PM on April 8, 2003

Does this mean we have to give quonsar the "most improved" ribbon again?
posted by Mid at 7:39 PM on April 8, 2003

Yes, but we can still take it back after two weeks like we did before.
posted by wendell at 7:51 PM on April 8, 2003

dhoyt, in a word, no. UncleFes made a positive contribution. proSaddamer didn't.
posted by y2karl at 8:30 PM on April 8, 2003

Metafilter: Loud, civil conversation without the whole "civil" part in the middle.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:41 AM on April 9, 2003

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