Personal attacks reducing contributions May 18, 2001 2:16 PM   Subscribe

I just wanted to point out that I just finished writing a pretty thoughtful message in response to some of the comments in this thread, but decided, before I hit submit, that I really didn't feel up to the onslaught of personal attacks that I'd have to endure because of my opinion. So I pressed the backpage button instead.

Not that it matters, really. Maybe I'm just being thin-skinned. Some might say that if I felt strongly enough about my opinion, I'd be able to suffer the slings and arrows of the opposition. I dunno. In fact, I don't know if I even feel up to the kind of response this message is going to get.

But how many other MeFi users are doing the same as me? How many have just given up completely? This is how the blow-hards and the flame-warriors take over.
posted by crunchland to MetaFilter-Related at 2:16 PM (16 comments total)

Yes, I'm pretty close to giving up. When someone who just registered launches a personal attack against someone, and then one of the oldest members of the site immediately celebrates them for doing so, something is seriously wrong either with that person, the site, or both.

I'm saddened that I had to post a response in that thread like I did, but I will not sit back and let people attack me like that.

Rogers's attack, while over the line and petty IMHO (do you really want a MeFi where everyone keeps track of every statement everyone else makes, and then starts using later threads to throw it back in their faces? I realize I was wrong, there was no need to name me personally), was at least based on something concrete, and he has the decency to talk to me about such things personally in email as well.
posted by aaron at 3:01 PM on May 18, 2001

I know it's impolite to serve a heaping plate of crow to two of the site's most outspoken conservatives, but calling it an "attack" is a bit much. What's the fun of butting heads with the same political adversaries dozens of times over the past year if we can't needle each other?
posted by rcade at 3:21 PM on May 18, 2001

And I've got $10 that says Aaron stays.
posted by rcade at 3:22 PM on May 18, 2001

Outside of her calling you a "ninny", aaron, I see nothing in aprilwinter's post that indicates a personal attack. She brought up an extremely valid point in the conversation, methinks, and you totally went off on her in your reply.

Cooling off period: recommended.
posted by hijinx at 3:58 PM on May 18, 2001

In one thread I said aaron being president would be my version of hell. I’m sure if I was citizen #1, he’d feel the same way, hence a joke, not an attack.

After I posted that I had serious qualms about it. I wasn’t sure if he’d take it the wrong way; whether he’d just chalk it up to angry attacks. Sarcasm does read very poorly.

As long as everything stays polite I don’t have a problem with people getting called out once in awhile, or made fun of. It’s just natural, people do that. MetaFilter certainly is not high society (nor is it the bathroom in the bus station bar), we shouldn’t consider emulating some idealistic version of it.

However, if you offer scones, I will eat them.

There are certain bourgeois stories flowing through MetaFilter — drugs, environment, political ebb and flow, dodgeball — and people who follow these stories. It stands that those who are interested will take note of where one another align themselves.

Aaron, just a few posts before the few you link to, Aprilwinter called Thunder’s comments “smug and condescending.” He didn’t come back with “you are quite the pompous little imbecile.” I’ve read when you take the high ground, and I’ve read when you’ve gone this route. The latter is always more effective.

On the whole, that thread isn’t one of MetaFilter’s high points.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 4:24 PM on May 18, 2001

Or, ha-ha, the former is always more effective. I’m always doing that.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 4:49 PM on May 18, 2001

I have lost count of how many times I've filled that little textbox below and decided not to press "submit".

Always the same people bitching too...

I've decided they can have MetaFilter. I'll just pop in every once in a while.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 6:31 PM on May 18, 2001

If someone called me a ninny, I swear to GOD, I'd quite MeFi the next day.
Actually, I thought your post, to which April replied, was remarkably restrained for you, Aaron. It even made me see the issue a little differently. April's post was uncalled for. But so was your reply. And then other people see your reply to her (maybe, ya know, user 8000-to-be) and they start to have it out for you. And then you get people developing what amounts to personal vendettas, and all that insanity.
I know this sounds like a weird conspiracy theory, but I've seen it before. People I've never seen before go after Aaron, and they know his deal. But I think Aaron calls for it by being kind of abrasive, sometimes.

posted by Doug at 8:09 PM on May 18, 2001

Cause God knows I've never been piled on by conservatives on Mefi before. Nope. Never.
posted by owillis at 12:54 AM on May 19, 2001

Confucius say:

abrasive fellow with thin skin
feels hurt when rubbed wrong way.

posted by lagado at 5:37 AM on May 19, 2001

I have lost count of how many times I've filled that little textbox below and decided not to press "submit".

Moi, aussi. However, I don't necessarily look upon that as a bad thing. Sometimes when I stop for those fifteen seconds I realize I'm just echoing something someone else already said, or am just giving fuel to the flamethrowers, or otherwise just setting myself up for attacks.

And I think that's what more people should be doing instead of escalating every discussion thread into a pitched battle between the forces of light and darkness, because eventually people will just give up and go away.
posted by briank at 6:19 AM on May 19, 2001

This a tiny thing. But it made me think of this thread.

I am one who does avoid posting to Metafiler because of the potential ugliness that seems to occur in almost every thread. I don't think it's a matter of being thin-skinned. It's a matter of tact and respect, and many comments on Metafilter lack both.

It seems most threads come down to members wanting to prove their intelligence or knowledge, and the manner in which they do so is to find any possible way to prove another member wrong, throw it in their face and say, "Na-na, you're wrong, haha, I'm right."

I did make a mistake in the above linked thread. I was excited that I found what looked to be a lead and I didn't read carefully. I apologized when this was (slightly snarkily) pointed out to me. But the comment linked above is the type I'm talking about -- a simple "your information is incorrect" would sufficed, yes? But, again, the complex of having to prove another person wrong prevailed.

I'd have to say, my first time in a while out of lurkdown, whole not unpleasant, did disappoint me.

Perhaps I'm just an oversensitive idealist that believes people can disagree and make corrections without patronizing others. But I don't believe it's unreasonable to hope for that.
posted by Zosia Blue at 12:33 AM on May 20, 2001

Nah... it was a nice try Zosia.

It was probably the closest people got to a solid lead at that point.

Of course, becuse of you I, searched all night through three state sites for a "Kaycee Bradley"... :0)
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 4:32 AM on May 20, 2001

I don’t know Zosia, I think bonzo’s reply was pretty even-handed. Did you find my reply in the same thread tactless?

Or maybe I’m looking at the wrong comment...?

And frankly, I should lurk more.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 4:48 AM on May 20, 2001

It's pretty easy to make the toss-off insults that we're comfortable making with friends to each other here, because it's pretty easy to feel like the people here are our friends, and that's definitely a Good Thing.

But sometimes we forget that we're not as well known to some people as they are to us. I mean, let's face it, Aaron's pretty much achieved infamy here, so people may just assume that poking him in the belly with a "fun little jab" is just innocent humour, but to Aaron it seems as though a few dozen people regularily jump down his throat for political opinions that are grounded in reason.

I used to read on a daily basis. It's dropped to every couple of weeks because my life's gotten busier, but I could make a joke that I feel comfortable making because fuck, it's Eric Brooks, he gets this stuff, and end up seriously insulting the man completely by accident.

I don't think people are attacking Aaron (and others, but Aaron gets piled on out of the blue an awful lot) for even remotely innocent reasons, but I think people are forgetting that even though he can be an offensive blowhard, there's an actual, real, intelligent, good person underneath the Republican ass we all hate.

Seriously, next time you read through MetaFilter make a mental note every time someone makes a comment about Republicans in general, and Aaron in specific. There are literally people out there that are intent on attacking the man.

Yes, Aaron could just up and leave, and there may be people who are hoping to see that happen. I am not one of them. I think that having someone with whom I can disagree and still consider a friend is an insanely valuable benefit, and I think MeFi would seriously, seriously suffer if he were to actually stop posting potentially controversial arguments.

Not to mention that personal attacks just completely take all the fun out of debating. It's like bringing up Hitler or the Nazis. As soon as you have to resort to a personal dig, you've officially lost your argument because you've resorted to something other than fact.

Even the thickest skin on the planet can be worn down.
posted by cCranium at 1:27 PM on May 22, 2001

« Older Cute kitty post on mefi   |   Pony: categories for posts Newer »

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