Can we delete this please? December 23, 2003 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Not designed to solve a problem. Begs a bunch of purely hypothetical discussion. Flamebait right from the very first comment. Heave-ho or what?
posted by scarabic to Bugs at 11:48 AM (23 comments total)

Sorry, should have been under "etiquette."
posted by scarabic at 11:54 AM on December 23, 2003

I dislike the chat posts more than most (despite my participation in that one), but it is a little too porkchop hill for me to have a MeTa battle for every single wrong themed thread that comes along. Matt is watching, and he is the only one who can stop the rising tide.
posted by thirteen at 11:55 AM on December 23, 2003

Scarabic, so if I phrased it as, "I'm thinking of moving to SF, but am afraid of earthquakes. What's the worst-case scenario if there were one when I lived there?", that would be okay? Or maybe, "Where I can I find resources on the effects of a major California earthquake on the US econonomy?"
It was kind of a silly question but I got a couple of good answers, and it's not the kind of thing one can simply Google for an answer. (I tried.)
I apologize for the early-morning poor presentation, but not for the content. If Matt wants to delete it, he should, but I don't think it's that big of a deal.
posted by pomegranate at 12:04 PM on December 23, 2003

posted by pomegranate at 12:04 PM on December 23, 2003

"so if I phrased it as, [...], that would be okay?"

Yes. Much better. The question you asked was purely rhetorical. A poll for conjecture. Ick.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:15 PM on December 23, 2003

We're all learning here. No worries. I'm sure Matt looks forward to the creation of the magical set of guidelines which will make it all good. I think we're actually doing a good job of narrowing the consesus.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:18 PM on December 23, 2003

scarabic, what's with the obsession? how many MeTa threads do you ultimately intend to start re: the appropriateness of AskMe posts? the more you go on and on about this, the less credence many readers will give your concerns.

back off and grant the new forum a few weeks to hit its stride, and give Matt some time and breathing room to make up his own mind about guidelines.
posted by clever sheep at 1:49 PM on December 23, 2003

that said, scarabic, I don't mean that to come across as a slam on you, particularly after I was so impressed by your contribution to one of the recent Ask threads.
posted by clever sheep at 1:57 PM on December 23, 2003

At the risk of agreeing with y6y6y6, yes, I'm trying to stimulate the consensus-building process about what the guidelines will be.

My "obsession" so far has been to politely raise some inconsistencies to light, and promote discussion about them. I'm not trying to short circuit the process by which Matt learns and decides. I think he's actually hasty in deleting any threads during this preliminary learning phase, but I also think he's open to discussions about it. That's what I've tried to create over the past week.

Pomegranate: you don't need to prove your post to me. I'm not even necessarily in favor of the "cirteria" I listed that your post doesn't meet. It's just that I've already seen them applied to other posts, and was waiting for them to be applied to yours (or not). I'm curious about where we'll wind up in terms of guidelines, and I'm trying to surface as much clarity about that as possible.

If I have an ulterior motive, it's to convince Matt that applying his own personal judgement isn't an efficient way to prune posts. I think AskMe is in dire need of guidelines (at least) and filtering mechanisms (when possible). It's much better for all concerned to have clear standards, rather than depend on someone's case-by-case analysis each and every time, even Matt's.

As any one person would be, he's inconsistent and overloaded. That's why I think cooking up clearer guidelines is essential, and I'm trying to stimulate that process, for the good of AskMe (which I believe is awesome and has great potential), and for the sake of Matt (who I also think is awesome).

I've always been in favor of more rhetorical discussion. But then, my preferences didn't make this place what it is. Therefore, I'm willing to consider axeing rhetorical questions from AskMe, and this one seemed ripe.
posted by scarabic at 2:50 PM on December 23, 2003

My one guideline would be very simple, I think: your AskMe questions should seek solutions, not answers.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:02 PM on December 23, 2003

I'd like to put in a polite request that if someone is displeased with a particular AskMefi post that they bring it here instead of soiling the conversation over there..

As scarabic is wisely pointing out, there aren't totally firmed-up guidelines as to what is and isn't appropriate for AskMefi, and there is definitely room for disagreement at this point. But I think it is impolite at the very least for someone to hurl a diatribe in the middle of what otherwise is a very thoughtful thread. The objector may be justified in thinking the question was not appropriate, but I don't think that's an excuse for what I would call rudeness.

posted by konolia at 3:18 PM on December 23, 2003

Fair enough konolia, if I had it to do over I would simply include a brief link to this thread.
posted by scarabic at 3:21 PM on December 23, 2003

your AskMe questions should seek solutions, not answers.
Good idea. If you are just asking "what do people think about this?", AskMeFi is not the place to do so. I see AskMeFi as a place where solutions for specific issues can be found - you should be able to describe a specific (not hypothetical) situation for which you need a solution. Otherwise, you are just chatting and there are any number of places you can do that.
posted by dg at 3:43 PM on December 23, 2003

If I have an ulterior motive, it's to convince Matt that applying his own personal judgement isn't an efficient way to prune posts. I think AskMe is in dire need of guidelines (at least) and filtering mechanisms (when possible). It's much better for all concerned to have clear standards, rather than depend on someone's case-by-case analysis each and every time, even Matt's.

I am happy with matt's decisions and think he's doing a fantastic job. He has a good instinct. This will always be subjective and there will always be people who disagree with him no matter what he does.

I'd like to suggest, though I cant prove the idea, that those in favor of stricter rules are all represented right here - all 10-20 of you. And that the rest of us are out in the green pastures, just out enjoying the newness of ask metafilter.

You guys, in contrast, are the legistators locked inside trying to figure out how to make it all conform more to your vision. I say let it be. Chill out.

I know that I'll now be told, "hey! this is what metatalk is for, so we can hash things out, etc etc" But i submit:
1) Sometimes not everything needs to be hashed out
2) If you are trying to reach consensus as you say, you are missing the voices of about 1000 people in here.
posted by vacapinta at 3:46 PM on December 23, 2003

I wonder if it would be possible to collect up all the deleted questions -- sans attribution, of course -- into a rough example of What Not To Do. Hopefully a negative standard to go by would save Matt a little work.

Having said that, I think everyone is fearing the inevitable: Ask is going to decline in quality, though perhaps only slightly, as more and more people start to participate. Drop by drop, eventually the cumulative level of piss in the pool will be hard to avoid, and we're relying on Matt to do all the filtering. Admittedly he seems to scale pretty well -- Metafilter is big and it works out for the most part -- but it's awfully unfair of us to raise a huge stink over the first few inches of slippery slope. After all, my own hopes for Ask are kind of unreasonable and unrealistic, and I'm a lot less anal retentive than some of the folks raising Big Questions around here.

y6: I, as well, really hope we don't screw up this Good Thing, but I think your nervous nellying over it has been a bit over the top.

vacapinta: Matt's got a good instinct, I agree. How do we convey his instinctual vision of Ask to its users, so that it's not a matter of "ask 'em all, let Matt sort 'em out"?
posted by majick at 4:04 PM on December 23, 2003

I think this thread has stuck around because it sought people's knowledge about a certain issue whereas the deleted threads did not, or at least weren't presented as such.
posted by philcliff at 4:28 PM on December 23, 2003

So I have to say I don't really get it, scarabic. You're committed to pointing out all the inconsistencies and you think I'm being too harsh in my choices thus far, and that I really need to make some guidelines, but it's only been up for what, two weeks now? If I'm being too harsh on deleting posts, wouldn't the lack fo guidelines be better (and I guess lack of deleting anything at all?)

I barely had any guidelines on MetaFilter for the first year, developing them as I went along. This thread about California is lame, and borderline delete-worthy. I know you feel slighted by a previous decision I made to ax something, but it's going to take time to form guidelines, and along the way there are going to be bumps.

I'll probably introduce the rating system I've been talking about putting on metafilter, so really good stuff can be marked as such, and then I guess we can effectively ignore the low-rated stuff and hopefully we don't have to drag every question in here for review.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:25 PM on December 23, 2003

Matt said it, I believe it, that settles it.
posted by konolia at 6:23 PM on December 23, 2003

"I think your nervous nellying over it has been a bit over the top."

I know. Many people here agree with you. Sometimes I would agree as well. But not in this case. I've concidered sitting on my hands and just staying out of the discussion. I don't see much benifit in this case however.

Perhaps "nervous nellying" is a subjective thing. If you want to paint me with that brush I guess I don't have a problem with that.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:59 PM on December 23, 2003

If you want to paint me with that brush...

Paint you with that brush? The "nervous nellying" brush? That's a new one for me. Is that liberal or conservative? Tell me more.
posted by Witty at 11:56 PM on December 23, 2003

konolia: Great MetaTalk tagline!!!
posted by mischief at 12:13 AM on December 24, 2003

mathowie - I think it makes a lot of sense to go easy on deletions during the first months. I say let a hundred flowers bloom and once we have a better picture, roll out some guidelines. We're somewhere in the middle now, and as you say, there are some bumps. I don't feel slighted, and I appreciate the position you're in. I never intended to short-circuit the natural evolution of guidelines by posting some MeTa threads, I have only been trying to contribute to the process. I think it will be good for the site in the long run.

Someone raised doubts about the need to have guidelines at all, and I have to disagree. Majick says it pretty well. The relationship between our beloved proprietor and the participants here will function better once expectations have been communicated between them.

I've already seen Matt get frustrated with people for posting low-quality questions, and thus bringing down the larger enterprise. Ideally, we will arrive at a place where obviously misplaced posts won't hit the page in the first place.

Secondly, in addition to sparing Matt work and aggravation, I think it's best for the participants to understand the administrator's standards. It's Matt's site, yes, but we all contribute to it. I've seen a conversation or two suddenly decapitated. I've spent tine composing posts to questions which have suddenly vanished. I'm not crying armageddon, but we should improve the situation. It's not clear now what is best, or why things get deleted.

I'm not asking for a pony, Matt. I'm merely suggesting that we evolve principles of participation, guidelines for posting and deletion. We've got them on MeFi, where they seem to contribute to the overall good. And perhaps, until we have well-evolved guidelines, let each deletion / non-deletion be an opportunity to discuss where we're going.

That's what the grey is for, yes? That's all I'm trying to do here.
posted by scarabic at 9:37 AM on December 24, 2003

I've seen a conversation or two suddenly decapitated. I've spent tine composing posts to questions which have suddenly vanished.

scarabic raises a valid concern here. The lack of guidelines in AskMe creates a chilling effect on participation because no one can be sure if the response they spend time and effort on is going to just disappear.

(voice=Tevye) On the other hand... (/voice) mathowie seems to be asking for some space here, as in back off for a while and let him figure out his position. That's valid, too. AskMe is young.

Perhaps we should have a period of training mode: instead of outright axing an AskMe thread, mathowie could flag it on the front page, or change the font color, etc.--something to indicate that this thread is deletable in his opinion, and that if others disagree, they should make their case in the thread.

Another virtue of training mode is that it wouldn't erase history; the threads would still be there to learn from. If all the offending threads are being deleted, how are we supposed to get in hindsight a gestalt sense of what offends?
posted by squirrel at 7:54 PM on December 26, 2003

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