What happened to all the comments that got deleted? June 12, 2003 2:12 PM   Subscribe

MetaFilter has an editor? More importantly, what happened to all the comments that got deleted? At least delted posts remain in the database, and are accessible. My comment is gone. Apart from the vanity of really liking my comment, I'm not a fan of the now-missing "public record".
posted by eustacescrubb to Etiquette/Policy at 2:12 PM (35 comments total)

I edited the comment down to something more manageable and deleted all the editorial comments mocking the post's former length.

I'm not rewriting history, I was merely doing maintenance and removing the comments that were made pointless by the fix. If you were making fun of the post's length instead of the content of the post itself, then try not to feel too bad, but it's gone forever.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:16 PM on June 12, 2003


My vanity and disappointment at the deletion of my explanation have moved me to tears, eustace.

I feel your pain, brother.
posted by trharlan at 2:19 PM on June 12, 2003


Just curious - since the posts are copyright their original authors, do you have to get permission to edit their content? I guess w/ outright deletions, it's not an issue, since you are just removing the content, but I'd think any editorial trimming would warrant approval from the author. I'm not trying to be snarky, just interested.
posted by drobot at 2:21 PM on June 12, 2003


a suggestion for matt: perhaps a box underneath a post could show up (kinda like the "This post was deleted for the following reason" box) that points out that a post has been edited. Might help prevent future confusion.
posted by GeekAnimator at 2:22 PM on June 12, 2003


Since Matt owns the server, do you have to get his permission before putting content on it, each time you submit a post or a comment? I'd think any additional editorial content would warrant approval from the person who has to pay for the storage, bandwidth and CPU to make it go zig. While I am trying to be snarky, it's in order to make a point. His house, his rules. Deal.
posted by mcwetboy at 2:27 PM on June 12, 2003


do you have to get permission to edit their content?

I should put a warning on the new thread post page, because yeah, ultimately they should have some say, but I liken it to editing interviews I've done in the past for publications. You can cut out as many sentences as you want, just so long as the message doesn't change and you're not putting words into someone's mouth.

As for comments, you still get your copyright, which I state simply to prove to people that I'm not going to steal your words and try to sell them. It's a bit of a moot point for deleted comments, as copyright doesn't cover the right to their display. Removal isn't a violation because no one has an absolute right to display anything on this server. I delete offensive and pointless posts and the site is better for it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2003


[quote] I'm not rewriting history[/quote]

I'm not trying to accuse you of bad motives. But you [i]did[/i] rewrite history in one sense. There's the FPP itself, which you've merely edited. But then there's the fact of the post's length, which is absent from the record, which isn't entirely a thing apart from the post's content. "Style" and "content" are not divisble from one another.
What's more, none of the rest of us get to have our dumb moments edited out for us. Anyone can look up my posting history and comments history and see if/when I've been an ass or shot my mouth off without knwoing what I'm talking about. This affects my ethos anytime I post or comment. Posting ettiquette makes for a significant part of ethos in an online multi-user setting, IMHO.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2003


See? Heh. Now the world will know for as long as MetaTalk exitts, that I used ubb code instead of HTML just now.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:32 PM on June 12, 2003


McWetboy - Neat! Thanks. Your snarkiness sure helped me get it.

Mathowie - Yes, makes sense w/ deletions. Thanks for the explanation.
posted by drobot at 2:33 PM on June 12, 2003


It's not Matt's responsibility to maintain a complete or even accurate record though. He could pull the plug this very second and owe you nothing -- not even an explanation. If you want a record for posterity, then you better start saving your own cache of the information you post here.
posted by willnot at 2:37 PM on June 12, 2003


eustacescrubb, with all due respect, you're making a big deal about nothing. MetaTalk was specifically designed to handle editorial comments about MetaFilter itself because they are distracting to conversations at MetaFilter. You were making editorial comments, saying a post was too long, when this was a more appropriate place.

I'm surprised that mega post didn't spark a post here calling for a word limit warning on new posts (it is something I could program that wouldn't be too hard to do).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:40 PM on June 12, 2003


Jeez, if I'd known this was pick-on-matthowie week, I woulda baked a cake or something.
posted by crunchland at 2:41 PM on June 12, 2003


I call for a word limit warning on new posts.


it had to be said.
posted by norm at 2:44 PM on June 12, 2003


you're making a big deal about nothing

Well that's kind of a matter of opinion, isn't it? *grin*

Seriously, I'm not upset or anything. Just had an opinion and wanted to air it. Feel my heartbeat. All's normal and peaceful. Promise.

You were making editorial comments, saying a post was too long, when this was a more appropriate place.

True.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:49 PM on June 12, 2003


eustacescrubb, I think the UBB code is a hangers-on from ipodlounge.com :)
posted by riffola at 3:11 PM on June 12, 2003


Indeed it is riffola. My online life often consists of clicking back and forth between the iPodlounge tab and the MetaFilter tab.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:15 PM on June 12, 2003


It's my understanding that Metafilter isn't "public record".
posted by adampsyche at 4:04 PM on June 12, 2003


t's my understanding that Metafilter isn't "public record".

Hence my decision to put the phrase between quotation marks. It's not the most accurate term, but it came closest to the idea I was trying to convey.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:09 PM on June 12, 2003


It's my understanding that MetaFilter is Matt Haughey's web site.
posted by tomorama at 5:32 PM on June 12, 2003


It's my understanding that MetaFilter is Matt Haughey's web site.

Let me see if I follow you here. matthowie posted, and posted, and then posted again. Yet you now arrive, hours after the fact, to speak for him. Am I to understand then that either matthowie is incapable or unwilling to speak his mind about these matters, or that you have been appointed his official spokesperson?
And what do you mean with your comment anyway?
Why, if he didn't want us to provide feedback, would he set up MetaTalk? Why, if he didn't want us to provide feedback, to he participate in a dialogue with me about it? He made a good point; I acknowledged it. I don't see what the big deal is.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:10 PM on June 12, 2003


That's it. I vote Matt shuts down MetaFilter for a week. Maybe when he puts it back up we'll all have gotten some perspective.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:55 PM on June 12, 2003


"Why, if he didn't want us to provide feedback, would he set up MetaTalk?"

Well, there is a difference between providing actual discussions about the site and just not knowing when to stop. Did *this* post really merit over 20 comments? Your post got edited, guess what....it happens. Deal with it or drop it. You got an answer now go to sleep.
posted by mkelley at 8:03 PM on June 12, 2003


It's my understanding that MetaFilter is Matt Haughey's web site.

MattaFilter?
posted by kirkaracha at 10:18 PM on June 12, 2003


This is all becoming uncomfortably reminsicent of the sort of thing that happened at Dreamless once it began circling the drain. Matt isn't Josh, and I can't imagine him inviting the 17-year-old members of the audience to hack the site for their own amusement once he's become bored of it, but the dynamic is the same.

FWIW, I've seen mathowie posting here in the grey at a higher frequency than any time I can remember during my membership or the extended lurkage before that. Bodes poorly.

I wish we'd collectively give the guy a break - by which I mean use some discretion, act like the adults we are, and quit doing shite that requires him to step in correctively.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:56 PM on June 12, 2003


Matt rawks. Thanks for trying to keep this site great and doing a damn fine job. 'nuff said.
posted by dazed_one at 1:35 AM on June 13, 2003


Deal with it or drop it.

Umm, I did. The past ten posts have been after that fact not because Matt and I disagree, but because other users keep coming on posting their snarky comments, yours most especially.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:54 AM on June 13, 2003


This is all becoming uncomfortably reminsicent of the sort of thing that happened at Dreamless once it began circling the drain.

I was eating breakfast and giving this comparison some thought. I remember Dreamless being a lot more annoying and elitist than MeFi, even in its early stages. I rarely did more than lurk there, because of the elitism.
But that difference aside, I think you've got a good point, and it makes me wonder if this is an issue every site like this will face once it's become popular.
The real question isn't "is MeFi like Dreamless" but rather, how can we avoid Dreamless's fate? This is, IMHO, what distinguishes online discussion nodes from real communities: there are no elders here. People with high post counts or smaller user numbers don't count as elders, because they're too young in real life. I'm talking about actual old people. Most communities die when the distance between the elderly and the adolescents becomes so great that communication is lost and wisdom and experience can't be passed on. MeFi has few (is any) genuinely elderly people, because few elderly people use computers or the Internet.
Young adults are often no good at dealing with problems begun by or involving adolescents because they themselves are still dealing with the effects of their adolescence. Elders, on the other hand, have distance from the traumas of adolesence, and are often no longer persuaded by the same things that persuade adolescents. Us younger adults are still too easily cuaght up in the kinds of things that drive kids.
Can MeFi survive its popularity without elders? I don't know. adamgreenfield is certainly right that we all need to be more adult here, but that's easier said than done. What kinds of things might we do to encourage mature behavior that will sustain the site? Or is it doomed?
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:43 AM on June 13, 2003


The past ten posts have been after that fact not because Matt and I disagree, but because other users keep coming on posting their snarky comments, yours most especially.

And why is it so important that you get the last word in?

I learned it the hard way myself, but it's usually better to leave the snarks unanswered.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:36 AM on June 13, 2003


Interesting musings, eustacescrubb, but making a few assumptions too many, I think. More than a few elderly people use the Internet, if you define elderly as >60 - my parents and all of their older siblings, for a start. And we do have self-confessed older MeFites, some of them quite prolific with their posts and comments. You seem to think of the average MeFi demographic as 'young adult'; I think of it as more late-20s/early-30s, with a sizeable contingent in their late-30s/40s; in other words, adult. Certainly old enough to have picked up some wisdom about the world.

What we might be seeing is that the older members don't post as much to the flamewar threads. They know when to walk away (usually) and save their energy for where it really matters. Or at least I'd hope so.

And this latest outbreak of bickering doesn't mean the site isn't doomed. This is hardly the first week in MeFi history where we've got all snippy at each other. It'll pass.
posted by rory at 5:16 AM on June 13, 2003


doesn't mean the site isn't is doomed.

Stupid aging braincells.
posted by rory at 5:19 AM on June 13, 2003


I'm old.
posted by netbros at 8:00 AM on June 13, 2003


first rule of MetaFilter is you don't talk about the editor
posted by matteo at 9:03 AM on June 13, 2003


And this latest outbreak of bickering doesn't mean the site isn't doomed.

freudian?

I've been posting here for a couple years and the end was near when I joined. If anything, I think the site has passed through a hurdle and is more likely to keep going than before. There was a transition period, between when the site was a local tech-savvy late-twenties hangout to what it is now, which includes a wider range of people and interests (certainly a lot more politics / events threads, eg).

As for the elders thing, besides what rory said above, there are also plenty of real-world communities that don't have "elders" as such. In fact, outside of the home or hospital, most communities don't have a large number of post retirement age people around. I think it's easily arguable you would find more "elders" on online communities than in your local workplace, school, gym or music venue.
posted by mdn at 6:41 AM on June 14, 2003


How old do I have to be to be an elder? And do I get a cut rate on stuff?
posted by timeistight at 1:25 AM on June 16, 2003


Good points, mdn and rory.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:32 AM on June 16, 2003


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