Why was the god question deleted? December 23, 2003 6:26 PM   Subscribe

What was wrong with the godly feeling thread that was on Ask Mefi? As an atheist, I thought the discussion, for the most part, was civilized and was more about people trying to come to terms with a certain consciousness. That an innocuous thread asking others to elucidate about an indescribable feeling, rather than inviting obdurate fundamentalism, is a pity. I thought Ask MeFi was about disseminating answers and people inferring their own individual understandings from the results. Explain.
posted by ed to MetaFilter-Related at 6:26 PM (108 comments total)

I suspect that was a preemptive strike on Matt's part. I'd be willing to guess that if it were a politically based question of a similar type, it would also have disappeared.

But of course I won't speak for Matt (doesn't mean it isn't fun to speculate.)
posted by konolia at 6:29 PM on December 23, 2003


I agree with Ed. What exactly is the problem that needs to be addressed? Matt, your widescale deleting of questions is an attempt to fix something that really isn't broken.

The problem with moderating AskMefi is that the judgment of what is too "stupid" to stay on the site is largely subjective. On MetaFilter blue, this decision is much more objective: double posts, uninformative news links, etc. are canned.

Furthermore, before Metafilter had guidelines, a lot of bad posts remained. The rules were only hard-coded after the community had come to a consensus that self-linking, linkless posts, etc. weren't appropriate for the site. We have no such consensus here. I fail to see the benefit of AskMe's unwritten rules being strictly (and quite arbitrarily) enforced after only a couple of weeks after its launch.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:38 PM on December 23, 2003


Matt's already said several times that he doesn't want questions as discussion. Discussion is all a thread like that could ever possibly be. I was surprised it lasted as long as it did.
posted by willnot at 6:55 PM on December 23, 2003


AskMe is about solving problems. What did the god-thread purport to solve? Nothing at all.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:13 PM on December 23, 2003


I replied to that question and enjoyed reading the thread. However, I understand the deletion. Askme isn't about "What you feel" but about "what you know". It's about experience; not opinion. In short, every question must at least raise the hypothesis that a satisfactory answer can be answered - one that brings closure to the thread.

Metaphysical questions, however interesting, can never be answered. Neither can poll questions. Both rely on a simple accumulation of various opinions - epistemologically endless and, conclusion-wise, fruitless.

To not repeat what already happens on the blue and the grey, I have to say I agree absolutely with Matt's policy. "Useful" is far too fuzzy a concept. A better one would be "At least in theory definitely answerable or, if the answers are more than one, limited by nature.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:17 PM on December 23, 2003


What five fresh fish said. Just because something makes a great discussion topic doesn't make it good for Ask MetaFilter.

Perhaps, in fact, the opposite is true - Something that makes a great discussion makes it a very bad Ask MetaFilter topic.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:51 PM on December 23, 2003


Part of me thinks that if there were an unmoderated MeFi discussion board, the majority of the brown would flow there, instead of being forced into a blue, gray, or green color scheme. People could ask about God, whine about Bush, or talk about favorite colors all day long without disturbing anyone.
posted by oissubke at 9:19 PM on December 23, 2003


if there were an unmoderated MeFi discussion board

There is one, it's been around for a long time.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:25 PM on December 23, 2003


He deleted it. Just deal with it and move on.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:02 PM on December 23, 2003


I thought there was supposed to be an appropriate period of mourning.




Okay, mourning period over. What's next?
posted by wendell at 10:27 PM on December 23, 2003


He deleted it. Just deal with it and move on.

I call BS on this.

I fail to see the point of MetaTalk (or of any online community) if it is OK for legitimate questions to be met with this kind of response.

I think democracy works better than whatever is in place here. But whatever. As long as you guys don't chase the heretics with big rocks, I'll continue to enjoy the links and discussion.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:34 PM on December 23, 2003


I'm pretty sure that the point of MetaTalk is to bring issues to Matt's attention, and all the rest is scary window dressing.

I can barely keep up with Metafilter, much less IRC. Just sayin'.
posted by furiousthought at 11:03 PM on December 23, 2003


mathowie - IRC isn't really the same sort of venue as Metafilter and - anyway - this begs the question : Is talk of God, gods, religion, or religious experience per se banned on Metafilter (or Metatalk) ?

Another way of framing the question is to ask : are you limiting the realm of "Ask Metafilter" to the "factual" realm , as opposed to the "experiential" realm?

If so, that's OK with me if you make it explicit - theological arguments do rage on Metaflter itself, while "Ask Metafilter" seems to be developing as a more practically oriented forum.

But God - or the ineffable - will intrude somewhere if not given an explicit domain.

BTW - Have you ever read Theodore Sturgeon's Microcosmic God ?

"This, then, was the answer to his problem. He couldn't speed up mankind's intellectual advancement enough to have it teach him the things his incredible mind yearned for. he couldn't speed himself up. So he created a new race - a race which would develop and evolve so fast that it would surpass the civilization of man; and from them he would learn.

They were completely in Kidder's power. Earth's normal atmosphere would poison them, as he took care to demonstrate to every fourth generation... "


Are we all just Neoterics to you ?
posted by troutfishing at 11:14 PM on December 23, 2003


are you limiting the realm of "Ask Metafilter" to the "factual" realm , as opposed to the "experiential" realm?

Pretty much yeah. The questions so far that seemed to work had an answer or a solution.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:23 PM on December 23, 2003


I think some of you just like to talk too much and over-think everything. Stop pretending as though you REALLY don't understand the point of AskMe.

Here, write this down:
AskMe is NOT the proper forum for a casual
discussion about religion and/or the existence of
God
... et cetera, et cetera.

Want to know how to make a chocolate chip cookie chewy instead of crispy? AskMe!
posted by Witty at 11:34 PM on December 23, 2003


mathowie - OK, fair enough. So about that Sturgeon story.....
posted by troutfishing at 11:52 PM on December 23, 2003


Lately, I have had a major Paul Bunyan feeling. Wanna talk about that?

Witty, I like my choco chip cookies crunchy. Then again, I usually cut the sugar by half and add half again as much salt. Sometimes, half the chips and replaced by pecans.

Ask Metafilter: Stop pretending as though you REALLY don't understand the point.

Well, I feel purged! ;-P
posted by mischief at 12:10 AM on December 24, 2003


There are always a lot of jokes about Matt being the "God" of MetaFilter Inc., but really it is as though a great many people expect him to introduce something new like AskMe fully formed, with all guidelines in place and features installed. I don't understand how he can come to any absolute conclusions about posting/answering protocol without the opportunity to see how things develop first. This period was meant to be exploratory and developmental, and I think he should be given the chance to get a feeling for the dynamics of the venue. Just about everybody readily agrees that Matt has a talent for this sort of thing, and that his restraint and judgement are laudatory; why not give him the time to use some of these skills to work out what he wants to do after getting as much information as he needs? I'm sure he wants suggestions, but maybe we could kind of lighten up on demands and accusations.
posted by taz at 1:33 AM on December 24, 2003


AskMe is about solving problems. What did the god-thread purport to solve? Nothing at all.

The point I was trying to make is that where do we draw the line at questions like the "godly feeling," which may not have a definitive answer and may or may not be known by humanity at this point in time.

To look at it from another perspective, the chronic hysteria that young women suffered from in the 19th century certainly did not have a clear answer at the time. Michelle Stacey's The Fasting Girl, which profiles hysteria's rise, and deals specifically with the case of Mollie Fancher, suggests that it originated from the same causes as anorexia. But if you were to introduce basic Freudian concepts or disorders to a Victorian, he would look at you as if you were nothing less than bonkers. Likewise, Darwinism. Many of these feelings and impulses were considered to be godlike in nature, because there was no absolute solution to the problem.

Attitudes like Stan Chin's (and, in this case, I'm sorry to say, Matt's), in which questions are taboo because there is no complete, or even 7% solution, are no different from the people who lambasted Copernicus for believing that the sun was the center of the solar system.

If AskMeFi can offer a place that offers people some components of a solution, without an absolute answer, as it has in other threads, then I see it as nothing less than helpful. And who knows? Perhaps it will allow another mind to pick up the threads and discover an all-encompassing answer as clear and as understandable as Darwin. To demolish a question because it is "metaphysical" or taboo in some another sense is to fall prey to the same closed-minded stance that plagues the worst of alleged "thinkers."
posted by ed at 2:20 AM on December 24, 2003


I think this is much ado about nothing. The opportunity for discussion of rhetorical / metaphysical / taboo questions is available on MeFi in a well-constructed FPP. "How-to" and advice Q + A are available on AskMeFi.

I do have to soften my comment by saying I didn't see the original question, so perhaps my little black + white understanding of the two is naive. ;-)
posted by dpkm at 2:53 AM on December 24, 2003


When AskMe debuted, the first time I saw it my first reaction was,

"Wow, this is Dear Abby with Kung Fu Grip!"

That is, a place to solve real problems and answer pressing questions drawing on the collective expertise of MeFi members. I think that's what the plan was, and I think it's excellent, as long as people only post mission critical questions and refrain from snarkiness in comments. Most people are doing it. Get with the program.
posted by planetkyoto at 3:18 AM on December 24, 2003


You'd think that a god question is kinda mission-critical for life on this planet, and here in the US, given the amount of lip service and bandying about it gets, and the billions who profess to believe in one god or another. I saw it as a request for information, not a discussion--there was no back and forth, just people of a variety of religions--and none--giving their experience.
posted by amberglow at 5:00 AM on December 24, 2003


I like Grumblebee a lot, but I see questions like that and despair.
There are roll your own Filters out there right now, someone could easily put up MetaGestalt and people could talk about their feeling and fears till the end of time. Pushing against Matt's obvious (to me anyway) desires seems like a selfish desire to kludge a useful tool so that you can tap into a robust audience.

Also, how does the deleted question really differ from "Please explain why you think George Bush is qualified to run the US? (No snark, I just really want to know)" in any meaningful way.
posted by thirteen at 6:05 AM on December 24, 2003


There is one, it's been around for a long time.

I was thinking more of a discussion board (bulletin board, etc.; whatever they're called) than a chat room. Though both are about talking, they're much different media, and it seems like a discussion board (red?) would serve well to give people a place to put things that they want to discuss.

There's obviously a strong desire among the users here to discuss things. The original blue principle of discussing links has grown, and so people do things like writing a post for the sake of discussion and throwing in a link as a technicality for the blue, or issuing a topic for debate that happens to have a question mark at the end for the green.

If you think about it, a lot of what you're deleting probably aren't trolls as such, they're just people trying to discuss general things in a non-general-discussion-friendly medium. If that medium could be provided to them, in a format similar to the other colors, I think a lot of that tension would be resolved.

And I'm sure I'm going to be admonished that people who want to ask general questions should just take it to a general discussion board, but the same principle as existed with AskMe applies -- there's an established community of people familiar with each other, and they want to communicate. That's why AskMe was created, instead of just telling people to take it to AllExperts.com or wherever.
posted by oissubke at 6:10 AM on December 24, 2003


Okay, sorry if I asked an inappropriate question. I wish AskMe could be a place where people could discuss both factual and philisophical questions, but that's just my taste, and naturally my taste shouldn't rule this site -- Matt's taste should.

But I would like to point out that one man's thought experiement is another man's fact. My question about God WAS a nuts-and-bolts question for me.

For someone who works with people in a psychologically-related field: therapist, teacher, rabbi, priest, fiction writer, thearte/film director, etc., not-understanding people who are different than him can be deadly. A couple people posted answers to my question that gave me insite and will genuinely help me with work-related problems in the future.

But from now on I will limit my questions to queries about which type of hard drive is best. I just wish, on any meaningful level, I could understand how God questions differ from hard drive questions. Does one have a solution and the other not? Yes. My God question DID have a solution, since I asked specifically about peope's FEELINGS and people can answer DEFINATIVELY and expertly about their feelings. Can anyone really answer DEFINATIVELY about which hard drive is best? They can just give their opinions.

I would certainly never ask a question like, "Does God exist?" or "Why is Bush such an asshole?" I think there's a major difference between such questions and my question.
posted by grumblebee at 6:58 AM on December 24, 2003


I'm sorry, but every time the expression MeFi's collective expertise pops up, I chortle a bit.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:58 AM on December 24, 2003


Dear AskMetafilter, a friend of mine got me a wonderful new pony. The problem is, this pony doesn't do what I want it to do. It wants to run and play, and I want it to fly. The person who gave me the pony is paying to board it, and feed it, and care for it, but I just won't be satisfied until he also pays for my pony to fly. What should I do?

(Here's a suggestion, that thirteen already made, but needs to be restated a bit more harshly: If you want MetaDiscussWhatEverEntersYourMindAtTheMoment, then set it up, host it, pay for it, moderate it, and discuss to your heart's content. In my opinion it is rather rude to keep asking Matt to change his vision and intent for you (whomever "you" might be).)
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:59 AM on December 24, 2003


By the way, just so I get this straight, is it okay here to ask a question about Sports if you're not an athelete but just someone who likes to watch football?

Is it okay to ask about the name of a movie that Matt Damon was in?

Is it okay to ask about the title of a sci-fi novel one once read?

How are any of these questions "mission critical"? I guess it depends on what your "mission" is. Are all missions equal or are some missions more equal than others?

If the answer is that these questions, at least, have definitate answers, then I'd ask what the definitative answer is to johnmc's question, about how he should tell HIS parents that he has a drinking problem? And what about the questioner who asked for some suggestions for "good worldban radio stations." Aren't any answers going to be aas subjective as answers to my question?
posted by grumblebee at 7:05 AM on December 24, 2003


Wulfgar, this is a thread about a question I posted, but you must be talking about a different question. I didn't post about something that had just entered my head at the moment. I posted a question about something I think about all the time, and something that impacts my life and my job.
posted by grumblebee at 7:07 AM on December 24, 2003


I told you so.
posted by rushmc at 7:17 AM on December 24, 2003


As long as you guys don't chase the heretics with big rocks

Attitudes like Stan Chin's (and, in this case, I'm sorry to say, Matt's), in which questions are taboo because there is no complete, or even 7% solution, are no different...


Actually, my point was just stop being a whiny dick when Matt does something without a reason or which conflicts with reasons he cited previously. Pure speculation, but it's entirely possible that deletions occur not because he's a hypocrite, but because he felt like it for that particular thread and failed to consult his ruling on Metatalk Thread Romans 2:30 from July 2001 where henceforth he decreed "Threads that end with prepositions will not be deleted" or something like that.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:20 AM on December 24, 2003


grumblebee, I never read your question, nor do I have any opinion concerning your motives for posting it. But here, your're setting up a false dichotomy between subjective and objective answers. I don't believe that anybody has said that any question asked of AskMe must have an objective answer or quantifyable solution.

What I do believe is that Matt deleted your question, he said why, and now you and others are grumbling because AskMe isn't what you want it to be. All things being equal, maybe it should be a place for experiential, anecdotal or conversive discussion. All things aren't equal. This site is Matt's and he has to work it. Hassling the man to make it what you want it to be, or to justify what he does on his site to you is rude. That's all I said.
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:26 AM on December 24, 2003


Wulfgar, I agree with you: AskMe should be rules by Matt, and if he wants to delete a thread because he doesn't like my hair color, that's his right, and I support him 100%.

I DISAGREE that people are grumbling. Or, at least, I am not grumbling. I am expressing my opinion about Matt's decision. Isn't that part of what MetaTalk is about? If Matt wanted to make unilateral decisions without knowing or caring how anyone felt about them, why did he set up MetaTalk?

So far in this thread, I see people suggestion that AskMe be based on factual questions; I see people asking if it could also include philisophical questions; I see people giving people who want to talk about philiosophy other suggestions about where to post.

Where is the rudeness? Where is the Hassling?
posted by grumblebee at 7:34 AM on December 24, 2003


"The problem is, this pony doesn't do what I want it to do."

Classic.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:46 AM on December 24, 2003


I just reread this entire thread, looking for the rudeness. I can't find it, though I do find a few statements that one could interpret as rude:

"Stop being a whiny dick"

"You and others are grumbling"

"Get with the program."

"Stop pretending as though you REALLY don't understand the point of AskMe."

"Just deal with it and move on."

I suspect these were all meant to be humorous or they were just written by frustrated posters. But they seem a little rude, because they all say, "your opionion is not important." Isn't that the definition of being rude? Trying to make someone else feel unimportant?

And all of these "rude" comments were made by people who AGREED with Matt's decision! (Though not all agreers made similar comments). The opposition seems, to me, like a polite bunch.

When I posted my original question, a couple of people replied that it too was going to start an tide of rude comments. Whether you liked or disliked the thread, it didn't. People on it were polite.

Now I'm off to spend Xmas with some friends for a few days. Have a great holiday, everyone!
posted by grumblebee at 7:49 AM on December 24, 2003


Back in the days of the MetaKvetch concerning IraqFilter, there were many folks who said that there needed to be an alternate website for that stuff because it wasn't appropriate for MetaFilter. Thanks to tobyslater, it was done. When people began pointing to WarFilter as an alternative to posting Iraq stuff in the blue, many folks round these parts said (with varying degrees of honesty) they didn't want to discuss over there, because all the people they wanted to discuss with were over here, at MetaFilter.

Again, this is just my opinion, but I find that kind of appropriation of the userbase a little selfish. I think that, to some degree, AskMetaFilter invites and encourages that selfishness. As part of my personal decision before I would ask a question of the green, I would decide for myself that I'm doing it because there might be (or I know there is) an authority out there in the Mefi readership who can actually help me solve my quandry. If I want to opin on matters of philosophy or experience with feelings of God, I'll do the legwork myself, and post it to the blue, hopefully offering the better parts of the web while doing it. Simply put, I feel the Blue is for sharing, and the green is for seeking answers, not viewpoints. In other words, if I'm going to appropriate Matt's userbase for my own ends, I'm at least going to have a care for the venue in which I do it.
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:54 AM on December 24, 2003


Grumblebee - I feel like in some of your posts to this thread, you're being a bit disingenuous. You didn't ask a question like I'm a councilor, and it would help me in my job to understand how people approach matters of faith. Even if you did, I really question the utility of polling the MetaFilter user base since I don't think you can extrapolate from us to the people you'd be working with. These things are inherently personal, so if you need to know how issues of faith impact the thinking of people you work with, then ask them.

What you asked was have you ever experienced the divine. That can only ever be a call to discussion. Basically, you are interested in the topic, and wanted to know what other people thought. You may as well ask something like how's the weather, cold enough for you or hey, how about those nix. And if (when) those questions got deleted, to come into MetaTalk and say hey I'm a weatherman, and it's useful to me to know what people think about the mean temperature would be little more than semantic BS.

So, how do I throw a curve ball, might be an OK question -- even though it is of no practical use to most anybody. Are the Sox going to take the pennant is pretty much just an invitation to a discussion of baseball, and there are other places for that.
posted by willnot at 7:58 AM on December 24, 2003


So MetaFilter wants to turn into The Well?
posted by the fire you left me at 8:09 AM on December 24, 2003


they're just people trying to discuss general things in a non-general-discussion-friendly medium. If that medium could be provided to them, in a format similar to the other colors, I think a lot of that tension would be resolved.

oissubke, you are forgetting one important aspect of this, which is: server resources. Creating a free-for-all chat place means another drain (likely of large proportions, due to the nature of constant reloading, etc). So imagine every part of the metafilter empire is 1/4 slower to accomodate some chatty place a few people would shoot the shit in and the rest of the users would ignore. If you drew a venn diagram of irc users and new chatty area of mefi users, I'm sure you'd get a lot of crossover. I'm also sure a rudderless anything-goes discussion space wouldn't attract the bulk of the users. Is that worth it to add this new space because some people feel compelled to post questions without answers and jokes in every nook and cranny of the site?

Everyone is coming out of the woodwork to enjoy ask metafilter because it has a purpose and a reason for being. It's a fairly well-defined questions-and-answers format and people are asking questions and getting useful answers. I'm learning something new everyday again, thanks to the expertise of others that are sharing it.

But, I don't think questions asked that have no answer or questions that are more philosophical than practical are all that successful. If you look back at the first couple days it existed, the lamest question in the bunch was someone asking essentially "what should I do with my life" which really is a question you need to ask and answer yourself. Sure the person really wants advice and they might have been sincere (I don't know, it was the first day and I think they might have been testing it), and the answers do help someone perhaps define boundaries for starting to answer the question themselves, but overall it's a crappy question and I have no idea if the person originally asking the question got any value out of it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:12 AM on December 24, 2003


If anyone really feels like discussing God questions, I'm available if you email me. Not that I am setting myself up as the end-all and be-all on the topic, but I do feel like I could be a resource for someone like grumblebee.

Personally I found the philosophical questions as interesting as the practical ones, but if the choice is between keeping it practical versus not having askmeta at all, I'll take practical any day.
posted by konolia at 8:28 AM on December 24, 2003


Oh, and if we did have a general Mefi conversation board, I would never get a single thing done in real life.
posted by konolia at 8:29 AM on December 24, 2003


Grumblebee, were "do you talk to yourself" and "why do people spit" also "nuts-and-bolts questions" for you?
posted by nicwolff at 9:08 AM on December 24, 2003


If grumblebee wants to bullshit about topics far and wide, with no structure and no real rules, he can go to one of the internet Citadel BBSes.

I'm really quite disgusted by the attitude I've seen in this thread. Who are you, grumblebee, to whinge on long and loud and rudely about what the OWNER of the facility decides to do?

Here's my suggestion: if you don't like the way MetaFilter or AskMeFi is run, fuck right off and start your own little Metawhatever. Does that seem a little rude? Well let me tell you: it's no more rude than what's been going on in here as regards telling Matt what he should be doing.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:11 AM on December 24, 2003


Why?
posted by item at 9:21 AM on December 24, 2003


MetaFilter: Fuck right off and start your own.
posted by quonsar at 9:22 AM on December 24, 2003


if you don't like the way MetaFilter or AskMeFi is run, fuck right off

I'm appalled by the lack of decency here, fff. This is inappropriate and you owe us all an apology. Seriously.

Even the most dictatorial, conservatively run businesses have meetings that solicit input from the lackeys. Even the most philanthropical of the solely-funded nonprofit organizations (Gates, Soros, etc.) allow their beneficiaries a platform to dissent if appropriate.

All of us recognize that mathowie is in charge. We all know that he can make unilateral decisions. Nobody's trying to stage a coup and prevent these decisions from being made. Myself and others on this thread are respectfully dissenting to a prevailing opinion, on a forum expressly maintained for that very purpose. Your "fuck off" attitude is disgusting. Shame on you.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:34 AM on December 24, 2003


Even the most dictatorial, conservatively run businesses have meetings that solicit input from the lackeys.

Yeah, that's why WalMart employees put up with shitty pay and getting stiffed out of hours - because their opinion counts!
posted by item at 9:40 AM on December 24, 2003


yeah, fff, that fuck off is way over the top.

As always, I'm open to feedback, but on the direction and limits of ask mefi, I'm going with what works and I'm exhaustively explaining my reasons so hopefully it seems at least somewhat clear to people why I'm making these choices.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:40 AM on December 24, 2003


What PrinceValium said. Matt is Il Duce here, but the trains don't run on time. And it doesn't mean that you have to agree with him. I was only asking why, and I realize, after reading Matt's explanation, that the answer has more to do with the difference over how I interpreted grumblebee's question and how Matt did. Which is fine. Let's move on.

Stan Chin: Well, that much is obvious. But, initially at least, I didn't view grumblebee's post as a "What do I do with my life?" query. But, now that I've committed myself to more important matters, the point here is beyond moot and, looking at grumblebee's responses in this thread, it seems that I may have been wrong about my initial conclusion.

And, yes, rushmc is right. Clear guidelines or an explanation (i.e., anything involving a fictional diety is off limits) would have prevented this thread and the resultant contentions. Nothing rude about that.
posted by ed at 9:41 AM on December 24, 2003


ed, then we'd be off to the races as I again patiently explained to rushmc and skallas that God is not fictional.

Half the fun here is Matt's subjective guidelines. I'm serious. Some stuff gets axed that people think shouldn't but on the other hand some stuff gets thru that under a rule-based system would not. And some of that stuff is great-if it wasn't Matt would have pruned it.

This place is what it is-and what it really is is an extention of Matt. Let's leave that alone.
posted by konolia at 9:57 AM on December 24, 2003


Clear guidelines or an explanation (i.e., anything involving a fictional diety is off limits) would have prevented this thread and the resultant contentions

Right, and as I have explained elsewhere to rushmc and others, it's a chicken and egg problem. You can't have perfect guidelines before you launch a site. I intended the first month of the site as a test for what works and doesn't before really plunging into writing some guidelines to go by.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:01 AM on December 24, 2003


Some areas lend themselves to clear boundaries between what is and isn't appropriate. Others (like what's appropriate for ask.mf) don't. Buy there's a different way to think about this kind of taxonomy problem. If there's a Venn diagram of appropriate posts and inappropriate posts in the different circles, focus on the core features of an appropriate post, and the core features of an inappropriate post, rather than focus on the boundaries, or the areas of potential overlap.

Core appropriate ask.mf post, in my opinion:
Practical question, with definitive answer.

Core inappropriate ask.mf post:
Metaphysical question, with only points of view, no definitive answer possible.

I am totally jazzed about ask.mf - I got an answer to a trivial question that's been bugging me for months. Answer came in, discussion over in 11 comments.

As you get closer to the boundaries, there's fuzziness, of course. But if people can ask *themselves* which core their question is closer to, and accept feedback, then we'll all learn how this can work best.
posted by jasper411 at 10:44 AM on December 24, 2003


Konolia has graciously offered to field any questions about deities, or a deity, which may or may not exist.

Meanwhile, I'd like to point out that - under Matt's guidelines [ and I hope he backs me on this one, though I suspect he will ] - anyone can ask a question concerning religion if there is an actual "fact of the matter", such as :

"I'm researching the history of the Dhukabors, from the beginnings of the sect to the migration of thousands of it's members to Canada to settle, eventually, in British Columbia. Can anyone tell me about or direct me to sources which would explain their specific doctrinal, theological differences with the Russian Orthothox Church?"

About religion, yes. But so different from "Is God real? What should I believe in?" - I propose a simple, "fair and balanced" way to deal with these sorts of nuisances. In half of such cases, these earnest seekers after the truth can be referred to Konolia (as the resident theological expert).




The other half can be referred to Quonsar.
posted by troutfishing at 10:47 AM on December 24, 2003


And any questions which Quonsar is too busy to field, or which annoy him too much, can be forwarded to me.

I'll learn 'em a thing or two.
posted by troutfishing at 10:49 AM on December 24, 2003


Here's what I see developing thus far in terms of the guidelines. This is not my personal vision, I'm just distilling what everyone, including Matt, is saying.

1) Keep the question focused. If everyone is likely to answer it differently, it's probably a discussion-starter, not a question. It should be possible to come to a satisfactory answer within a finite amount of time.

2) Use AskMe as a resource to overcome problems, not a forum for exploring ideas. If you're stuck on something that the knowledge of others can help with, seek a solution here. Don't just go fishing for opinions because you think the people here are smart.

3) Avoid radioactive topics that will polarize people and stimulate argument. Answers don't have to be obvious, but don't ask a question whose answering would require the resolution of an age-old fued.

4) Don't be lazy. Do some homework before you ask.

Although I enjoyed the thread, I think that it was in trouble with #1 and #2. Possibly #3, since religion is usually a firestarter.

I also love a good chat. But I understand that Matt not only can't host that, but is interested in creating something more intelligent and refined.
posted by scarabic at 11:13 AM on December 24, 2003


"Fuck off" was deliberately over-the-top. I am very, very appalled by the disrespect shown Matt over the past week.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:35 AM on December 24, 2003


Do you really think you're helping him by playing the pit bull?
posted by scarabic at 11:40 AM on December 24, 2003


Konolia, tell me all about Ganesh, willya? Why an elephant nose? : >

and fff, matt doesn't need you to insult us--he can do that himself if he wants.
posted by amberglow at 11:46 AM on December 24, 2003


I hope this doesn't sound like I'm 'endorsing the competition', but anybody who feels seriously restrained by the always-evolving rules for MetaFilter put down by Matt and want a more 'loosey-goosey' version of MeFi, MeTa or AskMe, they should Take it to MonkeyFilter.

But this thread has provided a bumper crop of NEW AskMe TAGLINES!!!

AskMetaFilter: "Useful" is far too fuzzy a concept.
AskMetaFilter: Just deal with it and move on.
AskMetaFilter: Every time the expression MeFi's collective expertise pops up, I chortle a bit.
AskMetaFilter: Stop pretending as though you REALLY don't understand the point.
AskMetaFilter: This pony doesn't do what I want it to do.
AskMetaFilter: Half the fun here is Matt's subjective guidelines. (written by the most openly devoutly religious MeFite... hmmm...)
AskMetaFilter: As long as you guys don't chase the heretics with big rocks.
AskMetaFilter: I'll learn 'em a thing or two.
AskMetaFilter: Mission-Critical.
AskMetaFilter: Mission-Over-Critical. (my variation)
posted by wendell at 12:06 PM on December 24, 2003


Any Ganesh questions can be taken care of either by going to the archives of Simpson's episodes, or simply contacting Quonsar (altho I suspect the elephant nose has to do with the fact that he's an elephant. But I doubt he's a Republican.)
posted by konolia at 1:02 PM on December 24, 2003


konolia may be onto something here, in that it seems over time "experts" in different subjects would become apparent, and moderation of questions related to those fields might be delegated to them. and amber, you really must stop obsessing over the elephant nose, it's just so freudian.

*passes around complimentary copies of tolower();*
posted by quonsar at 1:51 PM on December 24, 2003


One angle I have read not yet in this thread is this:

I have been enjoying AskMetafilter once I got over there and checked the place out. Some questions are a bit lame, admittedly, but overall, the knowledge I am gaining, both useful and trivial, is more than I would have received from idly surfing the web.

Thanks to everyone for participating, and especially, thank you very much to Matt for supplying us with it.

Thank you, that is all. I now return you to the usual bickering and one-ups-man-ship. ;-P
posted by mischief at 2:19 PM on December 24, 2003


I'm so transparent. Ganesh is totally a megahottie, ok? ; >
posted by amberglow at 2:20 PM on December 24, 2003


Any Ganesh questions can be taken care of either by going to the archives of Simpson's episodes, or simply contacting Quonsar

Similarly, any Jesus questions can be taken care of by asking any idiot carrying a Bible.

Jesus isn't the only "real" God in town, konolia.
posted by BlueTrain at 2:51 PM on December 24, 2003


fff, that was the most offensive anyone has ever been to me on the web. Usually, I go out of my way to try to excuse other people who write seemingly insulting stuff. I try to assume they were just joking.

But I can see no way of interpreting your post except as a personal attack against me. And I've never done a thing to you.

Did you actually READ through what I posted here, or just skim it? I made it very clear that I support Matt's rules. I didn't know that what I posted on AskMe was against his rules when I posted it. Now I know. And I have already said that I will never make another post like it again. And I won't.

All I did in this thread was to ask Matt to reconsider his rules. How on EARTH is that a rude thing to do? And apparantly Matt has thought about this stuff carefully, and he's sticking to his rules. Which is fine by me.

AskMe may not be 100% the site I want it to be. That's my problem. Your rudeness is YOUR problem, and you owe me personally and everyone else here a big apology.
posted by grumblebee at 3:50 PM on December 24, 2003


the elephant nose, it's just so freudian (NSFW.)
posted by homunculus at 3:57 PM on December 24, 2003


I'm going to have to post an AskMeFi question about language, because it strikes me as somewhat amazing that I can hear the word "fuck" in music, on television, and in the schoolyards, yet it's so incredibly vulgar that it causes so many folk on MetaFilter to shit themselves in a panic.

As for "supporting Matt's rules," grumblebee, you have consistently used a two-faced approach in this thread, mouthing your support for Matt's discretion and control, then in the next sentence stabbing him in the back, making disingenuous comparisons and insisting he justify himself to you.

I strongly believe that Matt deserves the highest respect and consideration, with an absolute minimum of bellyaching and whinging from those who consume his time and resources. Much of the time I'm considerably surprised that he doesn't shut the whole system down, given the grief he's being given for it.

BTW, Matt, this is the second time I've appeared to freak you out with my ass-chewings. I think a little over-the-top is required to clue some self-involved people in, but I'll attempt to STFU next time.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:20 PM on December 24, 2003


AskMe: Where users berate each other seven hours before the stroke of Xmas and still expect Matt to sort it out.
posted by ed at 4:25 PM on December 24, 2003


"[fuck is] so incredibly vulgar that it causes so many folk on MetaFilter to shit themselves in a panic"

The use of 'fuck' as an an intensifier, and it's use as an insult, is very different.

You do get that 'fuck...off' is an insult, right? That's why you used it.

And actually, lyrics are different - we may have different reactions to a musical expresion (pro or anti); text is, as you know, less forgiving.

PS: Why don't you let mathowie fight his own fights anyway?

'it's no more rude than what's been going on in here as regards telling Matt what he should be doing'

R-i-i-i-ght...
posted by dash_slot- at 6:49 PM on December 24, 2003


I wasn't offended by your use of the word fuck, fff. I was offended by your nasty personal attack.

I was not disingenuous, I didn't stab matt in the back, and I certainly never insisted that he justify anything. How can you possibly know that I was disingenuous without getting inside my head? You can suspect. But you can't know, and unless you KNOW, where do you get off attacking me?

I have nothing but the highest respect for Matt. I broke a rule of his site that I didn't know existed. I said I was sorry. I am sorry. I said I will never make another philisophical post again. And I won't.

I also questioned the rule. Is that backstabbing? Questioning? I disagreed with the rule? Is that backstabbing? Disagreeing? I follow rules that I disagree with all the time. And I have great love and respect for some of the people who make the rules I disagree with. And I politely tell them I disagree. How on earth is this two-faced or back stabbing?

But even if you're right about everything you think you know, that doesn't give you the right to talk to me in the horrible, hurtful way you did.

In any case, you may think this is two faced, but I wish you and everyone else here a happy holiday. This will be my last post here. Peace.
posted by grumblebee at 7:04 PM on December 24, 2003


This will be my last post here. Peace.

Hope not.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:32 PM on December 24, 2003


Yeah, it'd be a shame if anyone walked away over something like this. (That said, can we quit arguing about who respects Matt the most?)

By the way, scarabic's distillation above of the nascent (and unspoken) guidelines seems great to me.
posted by Vidiot at 8:05 PM on December 24, 2003


"fuck off" is an insult? since when?
posted by mischief at 10:16 PM on December 24, 2003


Another annoying aspect of discussionfilter questions to the green is that they are going to push another, possibly more legitimate, question off the front page
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:09 PM on December 24, 2003


Perhaps I should walk away from here. I've tried to contribute positively to MetaFilter, but I've failed significantly a couple of times.

I have tended to react hostilely to the amount of whining that goes on in the MetaTalk back rooom: I see it as an attack on our kind host. I have also reacted hostilely in the Blue, when effectively called a pedophile and when my "family" was attacked on no good grounds. Both these times have led to disasterous outcomes.

I weigh this against my other contributions in the Blue and Green; a lot of silliness, but also as part of some very intense and interesting discussions in which I think I was insightful and intelligent.

I dunno.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:10 PM on December 24, 2003


grumblebee - I've had worse thrown at me than FFF's curses. These are just words - suck it up, my friend. Or call out the behavior on a Metatalk post! Also - everybody here gets posts deleted from time to time.

I suspect that, on average, more of my Metafilter posts get deleted than for here : I used to feel annoyed by this until I noticed that - on the balance - I tended to agree with Matt's executive fiat deletions more than 50% of the time - especially after I had slept on the issue. [That might even run even as high as 66%]. Based on extended observation (and occasional unintended provocation on my part) I'd call matt a competent and judicious administrator of this site. Bear in mind - I don't tend to like authority one bit.

But - sometimes - it is a necessary evil. As a phenomenon, Metafilter is sort of like a libertarian version of the 1871 Paris Commune, with Matt as a ground rule. But - let's get this straight - we have, as physical beings, lots of ground rules. We breathe air, we need to eat and excrete waste, and so on. By comparison, the "Matt Haughey ground rule" is a trivial one here - as a restriction on individual expression. It is a minimalist ground rule which seeks to pare down the governance of this site to that which is minimally necessary - a version of "anarchism lite", really. So - in relative terms your personal expression is less constricted here than almost anywhere in modern human society. But there are no absolute rules. How could there be?

If you want absolutely clear behavioral guidelines, find a "gated community" (either on the Web or off of it). These tend to have massive, fat rulebooks heavy enough to stun an ox, and their penal codes are universally draconian.

Otherwise - just sleep on it, cool down, and develop some more appropriate posts tomorrow. You'll quickly adapt, I'm quite confident.

FFF - I feel that your "public face" in the Blue strongly outweighs your (less public) indiscretions in the grey.

What's wrong with occasional failure, especially with an honest effort to confront that failure? If we didn't fail sometimes, we would not be human. We're all imperfect. And further, you're a __________! (well - not really)
posted by troutfishing at 11:37 PM on December 24, 2003


ooops - a little typo there, should read - "I suspect that, on average, more of my Metafilter posts get deleted than for most here : I used to feel annoyed..."
posted by troutfishing at 11:40 PM on December 24, 2003


I have tended to react hostilely to the amount of whining that goes on in the MetaTalk back room: I see it as an attack on our kind host.
Stop doing that maybe? The rest of us don't see it that way, and matt doesn't either i don't think, unless it's persistent and repeated. (he recently called out rushmc for just that, and does it when he feels it's necessary) We all ask questions about how things are here, and what's ok or not, and sometimes we disagree with decisions he makes. All the more so since AskMe is new and there aren't rules yet. Isn't that what MeTa is for anyway? (and as for personal attacks against you or any of us--those are horribly hurtful, but hopefully rare.)
posted by amberglow at 6:09 AM on December 25, 2003


I said I wouldn't post here again, but just to clarify, I meant in this THREAD. Not on MeFi or MeTa in general. I'm not quite that dramatic. As for this thread, I made my point as best I could, I accepted Matt's judegment (I'm not upset that he deleted my post -- even from a totally selfish point of view, I got what I wanted out of it before it went away). So it seems the only thing left for me to do here is argue with fff. I'm not a fan of arguments, and I probably shouldn't have ever responded to him in the first place, but it's hard not to respond when you're insulted (maybe it's that testosterone thing.) But attacks and counter-attacks lead to wars, and I hate wars. Better to walk away.

This is absolutely positively for real (and actually) (fact, not fiction), my last post (in this thread). Let peace prevail.
posted by grumblebee at 7:20 AM on December 25, 2003


"I said I wouldn't post here again, but just to clarify, I meant in this THREAD." : Sheesh, that was a BBS cliché long before the hoi polloi discovered the internet. grumble: stop now; you have become a self-mockery.
posted by mischief at 8:17 AM on December 25, 2003


stop now; you have become a self-mockery.

Right, that's almost to be expected. Now we have people not only being unrepentant Serial Offender Assholes (UncleFes left because of FFF's attack on him in the blue, trout, I'd remind you), but others like mischief lining up behind them to get a sloppy-seconds kick in, too. Lovely.

We all know you've been communicating through keyboards since like 1912, when the Wright Brothers built a server out of balsa wood and chewing gum, mischief. You've told us, many times. The fact that what grumblebee said may seem to you to be a cliché doesn't mean that he didn't actually mean it.

At least grumblebee didn't intend to say that he was offended enough to leave the site entirely. That'd be a shame. Even if I completely disagree with what he was saying before fff shit on him, and think he was being wilfully dense and pointlessly obstreperous.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:17 PM on December 25, 2003


hey, it took me years of hard work to become a self mockery, don't falsely encourage the guy!
posted by quonsar at 3:21 PM on December 25, 2003


q, your self-mockery has become a sad self-mockery-mockery.

smockery?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:28 PM on December 25, 2003


smockery?

now you're on track!
posted by quonsar at 3:44 PM on December 25, 2003


Smockery?

*puts on Steve Allen glasses*
Smock! Smock!
posted by wendell at 5:35 PM on December 25, 2003


You can't have perfect guidelines before you launch a site.

Never thought I'd see you stoop to playing with strawmen, mathowie. No one is suggesting "perfect guidelines"—especially since Metafilter itself isn't even close to having any after several years. But you clearly have strong (and somewhat divergent from a significant portion of the user base) opinions about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate questions. It seems to me it would make sense to share these broad rules (for rules they are, since you are enforcing them), rather than just taking potshots at people for posting "crappy" questions.

I am very, very appalled by the disrespect shown Matt over the past week.

And I am very, very appalled by the disrespect shown to your fellow members, which in my book is a far greater sin to commit within a "community." Check the mote in your own eye.
posted by rushmc at 6:22 PM on December 25, 2003


Rush, technically that would be "beam" in his eye. Mote is what you pluck from the other fellow once you have gotten your own beam out.

Carry on.
posted by konolia at 6:53 PM on December 25, 2003


But you clearly have strong (and somewhat divergent from a significant portion of the user base) opinions about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate questions

Not necessarily significant. Definitely vocal.
posted by vacapinta at 7:22 PM on December 25, 2003


*psst, vacapinta, I think rushmc was talking about mathowie, there...

rushmc, I love you, man, but I think you should cut Matt some slack. It's Xmas for chrissakes (heh), and there are people (not me, clearly) who have higher priorities than this website at this time of year.

Mid/End of January, if AskMe still seems arbitrarily moderated to you, then go after Matt all you want, I reckon. Seems petty to do it now, given that he's promised to cut some code and draft up some guidelines soon, at least from my perspective. More so 'cause I feel like I have an extremely clear handle on what makes a good question and what doesn't, even sans the Holy Guidelines that people inexplicably seem to be calling for, and it just doesn't seem like rocket science to me.

Your mileage clearly varies. But you've obviously got a big brain on ya, and it seems to me that most people (though not clearly all) understand the emergent ground rules for AskMe, so I'm not sure if you're just being a devil's advocate here or what....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:46 PM on December 25, 2003


Mid/End of January, if AskMe still seems arbitrarily moderated to you, then go after Matt all you want

I actually have no problem with Matt's moderating AskMetafilter as arbitrarily as he likes. Nor do I really have any objection to the question being deleted that prompted this thread. It just seems very silly to set things up in such a way as to create the maximum amount of confusion and undesirable modes of participation and then to turn around and act all a) surprised and b) pissy about it. Particularly when 90% of what he perceives to be problems could be avoided with a couple of simple statements. But hey, if he prefers to do it in a month rather than now, that's his prerogative. What I really object to is his trying to shift the blame to the users for problems resulting from his choice to delay. On the one hand, he refuses to offer guidelines, but when people interpret the function of the site otherwise than he envisions/prefers it, he chastises (to the point of belittling) them: this is unfair. I have no horse in this race—I think AskMetafilter is a neat concept and a good read, but I feel no stake in it and really don't care one way or another which way it evolves. But I do care about what I perceive as poor and unfair treatment of people I consider part of my community. :::shrug:::

Merry Christmas, though (really).
posted by rushmc at 10:10 PM on December 25, 2003


/me shoves his beam up konolia's mote.
posted by quonsar at 10:23 PM on December 25, 2003


It just seems very silly to set things up in such a way as to create the maximum amount of confusion and undesirable modes of participation and then to turn around and act all a) surprised and b) pissy about it.

I've re-read all my comments here and I see neither happening with my answers, so I don't know if you're reading too much into it. If you read my comments here as pissy, it's because you started your contribution here with "I told you so" which doesn't help at all, and I've tried to answer your questions point-by-point.

I don't agree with the remainder of your assessments aside from something being better than nothing in the way of guidelines. Different strokes I guess.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:12 AM on December 26, 2003


Even I 'get' what Matt considers to be proper AskMe questions, so it cannot possibly be that difficult to understand.
To stav: ;-P
posted by mischief at 4:03 AM on December 26, 2003


That's more like it, mischief. (;-P>)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:16 AM on December 26, 2003


Quonsar, did somebody pee in your cornflakes this morning?

On topic, I agree with Mischief. Simply from knowing what Matt approves of in the Blue and the Grey, it is fairly easy to speculate on what he would like to see in askmeta. And if that was not enough, there have been hints in Meta from just about the beginning.
posted by konolia at 4:40 AM on December 26, 2003


This inability to fathom Matt's intentions must be an agnostic thing we wouldn't understand.
posted by mischief at 5:13 AM on December 26, 2003


I've re-read all my comments here and I see neither happening with my answers, so I don't know if you're reading too much into it.

Perhaps. However I was referring to your recent comments in all related Meta threads, not just this one, so I hope you scanned those as well.

If you read my comments here as pissy, it's because you started your contribution here with "I told you so" which doesn't help at all,

It was tongue-in-cheek, and intended to help only by noting that if you had addressed this issue up front as I'd suggested (along with several others), much of this argument and bad feeling now could have been avoided. And, by extension, that if you did it now, much future nonsense of a similar ilk could still be avoided.

and I've tried to answer your questions point-by-point

I don't think I've asked any questions. My only interest in this is in promoting the idea that setting some clear, though broad, guidelines for the type of question that you deem acceptable for AskMetafilter would make YOUR life a lot easier, as well as improve the general tone around here and keep people from swarming around certain questioners like piranha. I disagree that none of what has occurred could have been anticipated without a trial run. Certainly it would have been easy to state something along the lines of "The function of AskMetafilter is to solve specific problems, not to poll the Metafilter population for opinion. All questions should have a specific or definitive answer, and general, open-ended, or rhetorical questions are discouraged." Then, should someone choose to violate that standard by posting a transgressive type of question, the blame lies clearly with them.

That's all I'm saying. Anything else anyone chooses to try to attribute to me is simply false (and perhaps motivated by malicious intent).

I don't agree with the remainder of your assessments aside from something being better than nothing in the way of guidelines.

Fair enough.
posted by rushmc at 7:14 AM on December 26, 2003


so , wheres the present ?
thats what i want to know.
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:28 AM on December 26, 2003


Certainly it would have been easy to state something along the lines of "The function of AskMetafilter is to solve specific problems, not to poll the Metafilter population for opinion. All questions should have a specific or definitive answer, and general, open-ended, or rhetorical questions are discouraged." Then, should someone choose to violate that standard by posting a transgressive type of question, the blame lies clearly with them.

What rush said...By deleting questions during this trial run of AskMe without any guidelines for those of us posing those questions--except what we have to infer from your statements on MeTa, or your previous statements regarding content on the entire site (you don't like politics, and think religion isn't done well here either, for example)--we're stuck.

If AskMe is solely for product recommendations or "How do I...", it's ignoring vast fields of valuable knowledge and experience the varied members here have, which seems to some of us to be not the best use of the brains of the membership here.
posted by amberglow at 8:44 AM on December 26, 2003


Perhaps I should walk away from here. I've tried to contribute positively to MetaFilter, but I've failed significantly a couple of times.

FFF - I really like having you around, so I hope you work it out. I would only suggest that you ponder the kind host you seek to defend. He's patient, usually very polite, and seems to have a very thick fuse. He hates it when people start screaming at each other, and he's not above stepping in to answer any complaints about himself. I think he's a fine example for how to behave here, and I don't see how it's possible to defend his honor by breaking with his example. Just consider it before you bail.
posted by scarabic at 9:55 AM on December 26, 2003


FFF - I second that. I'd be much happier if you told Grumblebee that you're sorry, privately if you like, and kept participating on Metafilter. If I were administering this site, I would have let Grumblebee's post stand, but nonetheless I think Matt's a good administrator who - by the way - has axed an awful lot of things I've posted. As I said, after I cool down from initial annoyance and sleep on it, I eventually come to side with his decisions at least 60% of the time. And the other 40% - well, life ain't perfect. Clear AskMeta guidelines would have been great from the git' go, but no site administrator is perfect either. I'm sure some guidelines will result from this controversy. Perfect ones, or one's that suit everyone's tastes? Of course not.

Maybe we need some other kind of forum now, for Grumblebee's sort of post/questions - ExperienceFilter™

Recently, I've written the first chapter of a "New Age" book which I've titled, provisionally, "Talking to self in the shadow of God" - I'll have to send some of it to Grumblebee.

Anyway - so much controversy!

I blame Persian Dualism.
posted by troutfishing at 11:27 AM on December 26, 2003


A tempest in a teapot, this is.

Five Fresh Fish, stick around. Your positive contributions far far far outweigh any of your negative ones.
posted by ashbury at 12:26 PM on December 26, 2003


Jesus. Right now, it should be salient even to a Peruvian ox why the thread was deleted. For my own part, the intention of this post was to narrow in on what (if any) guidelines were in place. So I apologize for opening up a Pandora's box of in-fighting. Now that Matt and rushmc have pointed to the conceptual AskMe thread, and outlined the current gestation stage, query solved. I question why those who seek to beat a dead horse here feel the need to be so combatative, simply because Matt has decided (wisely) not to perpetuate the pugliism by spelling out in full Dick and Jane detail the m.o. behind his instinct. The showdown here is almost like a petty 18th century duel, and a waste of Matt's bandwidth. But, hey, if you want to remain indignant, keep the blunderbusses smoking. You'll kill yourselves off over really silly things. Might I suggest a low-carb diet or a walk instead?

Some things just are, folks. It's as simple as that. Are you folks in the habit of starting at "Guernica" and berating some underpaid security guard because he doesn't have the Cliff's Notes answer affixed next to his walkie-talkie?

Matt's read the thread, and I suspect he's pocketed the guidelines concern under his duster. But he is not a 24 hour suicide hotline. And Matt sure as hell ain't your daddy. However, I understand that quonsar is still paying alimony.
posted by ed at 12:26 PM on December 26, 2003


...and here I am without any popcorn. It was a great read nonetheless. We should bronze this thread.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:35 PM on December 26, 2003


ZachsMind - But it's organic, so we'd need to stick it in a jar filled with formaldehyde.
posted by troutfishing at 6:05 PM on December 26, 2003


(passes zach baked whole grain wheat crackers and beverage of his choice._

"Tee-hee, he said Persian Duelism"


We all know you've been communicating through keyboards since like 1912, when the Wright Brothers built a server out of balsa wood and chewing gum, mischief

"this is clearly the best comic analogy slam in recent metamemory, See, balsa wood inspires images of hobby like behav...ZACH...."

Are you folks in the habit of starting at "Guernica" and berating some underpaid security guard because he doesn't have the Cliff's Notes answer affixed next to his walkie-talkie?


naw, we just pay-off the security guard , scream "YOUR WRONG" into the talkie and write 'TOO BIG' in sturgeon blood and India ink below the painting then go hang glide into Limabaughs Florda compound stuka sirens blaring...

right zach, ZACH!....
posted by clavdivs at 6:09 PM on December 26, 2003


Who cares, my comments disappear regularly, even when they're innocuous and on-topic--see (or, actually, don't see) original posting of harmless anecdote about talking to myself in various accents.

Moral of the story: it's better to be interesting in real life when people can't delete you without breaking the law.
posted by The God Complex at 8:20 PM on December 26, 2003


i'll say it again , does anyone have word on matts christmas present ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:57 PM on December 26, 2003


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