crapping on other members has become acceptable May 31, 2001 10:55 AM   Subscribe

In my opinion, following members around in order to flame them and personal attacks have no place in Metafilter. I get the impression from the bile spewn at both long-term members (like aaron) and newbies (like redgie) that crapping on other members has become acceptible.
posted by Avogadro to Etiquette/Policy at 10:55 AM (35 comments total)

I understand that keeping the noise level down is a Good Thing, esp. with 10,00+ members. But isn't that what MetaTalk is for?
posted by Avogadro at 11:00 AM on May 31, 2001

Maybe you should be more specific about what you're referring to. Are you talking about my pointing out to Redgie that she doesn't have to sign her name? That was "bile"? (No.) And I certainly haven't been following her around. That little discussion is the only Redgie-talk I've seen.

As for Aaron, he's certainly acquired some long-term adversaries--but he's not entirely blameless there.

I agree in principle with what you're saying, but I question its particular application here.
posted by rodii at 11:16 AM on May 31, 2001

I hereby present my wrists for slapping.

I don't know what to say about this. I don't believe there should be MeFi cops running around talking trash, but at the same time, this is a self-regulating community, and I felt it needed, well, regulating. Maybe I should have approached Redgie privately, via email, or maybe I should have been a little friendlier with my comment, but I had seen one too many "me too :-)" comments than I could stand.

Still, I remember when I was new to MeFi and how I learned pretty early on to hold my tongue unless I had something valuable to say. (To this day, I still kill about half my comments before I hit the POST button.) There are quite a few newbies in the post-Kaycee Metafilter who just want to hear themselves talk, and it's hurting the discussion.

FWIW, I think the anti-Aaron crap last week was completely uncalled for. As much as I disagree with Aaron on just about everything, I respect him and value his opinion because it's intelligent and well thought-out.

I think it's one thing to attack someone you think is hurting the community with pointless blathering, quite another to attempt to "squelch" someone you disagree with.

I realize that I was contributing to the noise, but I feel my intentions were good, and I hoped that others would reconsider
posted by jpoulos at 12:01 PM on May 31, 2001

whoops...dunno what happened there.

that others would reconsider before posting whatever came into their heads.
posted by jpoulos at 12:03 PM on May 31, 2001

Perhaps I should have been more specific, but I was too lazy to pluck out the dozen or so instances in the last week of members smacking members. So I wasn't trying to single you out, John; you just happened to be there when the proverbial straw broke the camel's back. I apologize.

I think that the best way (generally) of letting folks know that their actions are beyond the pale is via e-mail, and that MetaTalk is the way of making public what makes MetaFiler a Good Place to Be, and what doesn't. I myself have made the mistake of calling folks out on MeFi (the Postroad example) and in retrospect, I should have linked to MeTa for a discussion (he didn't have a listed e-mail so that I could contact him privately).

In any case, from what I have seen in MeFi and MeTa, there are few folks who want the calling out of other members to be standard operating procedure. So, that's why I linked to this thread.
posted by Avogadro at 12:58 PM on May 31, 2001

Gee, I don't know whether to be insulted or flattered. (Just kidding.)

Seriously, I had decided to take a break from Mefi, but someone alerted me about this thread, so I thought I would reply.

It's true that I am new here, and I guess I don't know "how things work" around here. I read a lot of sports related bulletin boards, where "random noise" is a way of life. Somehow, I figured that Mefi would be the same way. In that regard, I was mistaken. It is also true that I was defensive in the "Janet Reno" post, and for that I apologize. Moreover, I basically made a comment to make "random noise", and for that I apologize as well. (Hmmm....maybe I should apologize to Ms. Reno.)

As for the comment about me signing my name, I felt that I needed to defend my doing so. (That's why the "heaven forbid" reply.) I don't think that my signing my name is that big a deal, but okay. As for the "Hasta luego" sign-off.....hmm, maybe that IS getting a bit old.

I'm not mad at anyone here. I failed to realize that this was a more serious forum that I am accostumed to. But I have decided, after long and laborous thought, to step aside for awhile. I will continue to address threads that pertain to me, but I won't comment on anything else unless I have something truely of worth to add.
posted by Redgie at 1:25 PM on May 31, 2001

the only crapping-on that is annoying me is with EricBrooksDotCom and whoever else (i can't remember your name). but, aside from that, it's no big deal: i mean, if you choose to make yourself out to be an asshole, you will consequentially be treated as one. the responsibility is yours. i have a problem with people who sign onto mefi for the sole purpose of crapping on others, of course, though i don't think that is the situation here.
posted by moz at 1:52 PM on May 31, 2001

May I have an example of what you're talking about?
If I was out of line, I'm ready to apologize. If I wasn't I'll be glad to elaborate on what I said.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 1:58 PM on May 31, 2001


no, because i don't recall the thread, and i have no desire to sift through days worth of comments trying to find an example. but if you like, i'll call you out on it when i see it again.
posted by moz at 3:07 PM on May 31, 2001

OK, maybe we just need a periodic nudge to calm down (thanks Avogadro). One problem with the email idea is that a lot of people these days aren't showing their email (this doesn't apply to Redgie though, who does--thanks Redgie), so putting it out in public is really the only way to communicate. I think gentle socializing pushes in threads is kind of a MeFi tradition--it's when people misjudge what counts as gentle or the pushback starts to escalate that it gets out of hand.
posted by rodii at 5:10 PM on May 31, 2001

Yeah, I think I'm gonna chill a bit myself (thanks Avogadro & Moz).

posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 7:20 PM on May 31, 2001

I have not been around for awhile, so maybe I have missed something, but going from one thread to another just looking for a post by someone you disagreed on one subject and disagreeing with them on every thread or riding them about something silly is not my idea of good posting style.
posted by bjgeiger at 7:48 PM on May 31, 2001

I've noticed the scattered short tempers a bit myself.

I've been taking long walks to let the stress bleed off and the weather has been so nice. Go outside and play.
posted by john at 9:18 PM on May 31, 2001

Rodii--You're welcome. I never saw any reason to leave off my email or webpage (except maybe to avoid random spammers).

John, you're absolutely right. I have concluded that I have spent way too much time in front of a computer lately. I think it's because I am away from all of my friends. Anyhoo, I intend to get out a bit more. I think that when I get upset at people in a forum like this, it's a sign that I am getting too attached to the computer. It happens.
posted by Redgie at 12:41 AM on June 1, 2001

People in a forum are people too.
posted by sudama at 2:20 AM on June 1, 2001

Why Aaron gets picked on. I like reading what the guy has to say, but paints a target on himself with pointless insults like this.
posted by rcade at 3:52 AM on June 1, 2001

There should be a "he" in there somewhere
posted by rcade at 3:52 AM on June 1, 2001

You know, with the possible exception of one ongoing feud, I don't see any evidence that anyone is "following members around in order to flame them." It's more just that as people get to know one another, their feelings don't stay compartmentalized--how can you have a nasty argument with somebody in one thread and then be all larky and sunny in the next thread? And as time passes, opinions harden. I actually think people here do a great job at staying civil, all in all.
posted by rodii at 9:57 AM on June 1, 2001

Another chaser.
posted by Avogadro at 11:48 AM on June 1, 2001

While Aaron certainly paints himself as a target, sometimes there are out of line comments that legitimize his complaints. If we can just avoid pointless ad hominems, I think discussion would be better. I'd get pissed and bitter if people made stupid statements like that about me, too.

posted by norm at 11:50 AM on June 1, 2001

What really pisses me off about this situation is that Paris and Aaron were having a good conversation that got completely blown to shit by an obvious personal attack.

The conversation could've very likely turned into something someone like myself, who knows shit-all about the topic, could read and get two differing points of view and make my own judgement based on the bits and pieces of knowledge and the links to external knowledge.

Personal attacks just take all the fun out of debating. I'm inclined to side with the person who was attacked, not necessarily because their arguments were more persuasive, but because the person(s) who do the attacking have to resort to something as pathetic as insults to proove their point.

Personal attacks are the last resort of someone without basis for their opinion. Yes, I speak from personal experience (being an attacker) and yes, everyone can fall into that trap on occasion, but people swooping out to attack specific individuals is just plain stupid.

You are not going to sway the person you're arguing against to your opinion. What you are going to do is sway the opinion of one-lookers and lurkers who haven't formed an opinion they're certain in.

Y'know how you think about politicians who say "Senator McBlahBlah doesn't care about our children's futures because s/he supports Bill WhoopideeDoo. Vote for me!" in their ad campaigns? How annoying that is, that they aren't willing to really make their stake clear, and spend all their money just attacking the other person? You remember how much that kind of political campaign pisses you off?

Guess what? You're doing it. So stop. Convince us with your facts, with your knowledge, with your passion. Because you won't convince us with your insults.
posted by cCranium at 12:09 PM on June 1, 2001

Thanks for the link Norm. I generally keep a very civil tone in my posts, Aaron being the exception. I do not chase anyone around to respond to their posts but I've read many, many posts where this person has attacked others because their views do not agree with his. Reminds me of arrogant professors who broach no discussion of their officially approved view. My apologies if the above linked post was out of place but I felt it was only responding "in kind" as I'm sure many others feel about this troll. Pleasealso note that I suggested we ignore the flamebait and proceed with the discussion. Also note, I am a new member but I have been reading MF for a very long time, so I'm familiar with the historical tone of the site. Perhaps the problem lies not with those who disagree with Aaron but with his own inflammatory style? I've been over to freerepublic before and it seems a more appropriate forum for his style and viewpoints. Just a thought.
posted by nofundy at 12:13 PM on June 1, 2001

no fundy, you just made my initial point much more eloquently than I ever could.
posted by Avogadro at 12:26 PM on June 1, 2001

How wonderful it is that people can just waltz in here and start having their little three-day armchair psychological bullshit sessions about me, in a thread about me, even though I didn't start the thread.

I think I'll go create MetaTalk threads about all the people who have posted in this thread, so all of MeFi can discuss their personalities as well. Let's see how the rest of you like it.
posted by aaron at 1:07 PM on June 1, 2001

nofundy: yes, let's bring on pasteurized, homogenized, conflict-free MeFi. The sooner we 'neutralize' all those pesky people with opposing viewpoints, the sooner we can bring the site back to its *real* purpose: posting pictures of kitties and slapping each other on the back over the latest Bush joke.
posted by darukaru at 3:12 PM on June 1, 2001


Go ahead, but I'd rather we take this outside. I don't mean to fight.

I have been avoiding certain overtly plotical threads so I have not seen a lot of what folks are talking about. Can you at least address the point about trying to keep debates civil?
posted by john at 5:59 PM on June 1, 2001

I'd like to stick up for aaron here on two points:

1. He's in no way a troll. He's a little contentious some times, and he's not afraid of a fight, but he's not a troll.
2. He should have been informed that his name came up in this thread. I think the rule should be that the first person to mention another member by name in a thread should email that member and let her/him know.
posted by jpoulos at 8:23 PM on June 1, 2001

I agree with you there. There is a difference between being a troll and being rude. Just as there is a difference between overtly plotical threads and overtly political ones.
posted by john at 8:44 PM on June 1, 2001

Public discourse will always shake down people with views we don't agree with and/or hate. I can't think of a time I've actually agreed with aaron in my short stint here. In fact he was a huge prick when I first arrived back in March. Nevertheless, aaron adds as much here as anybody. He's like the host on "The Weakest Link", hard-ass, but I don't buy it for one minute.

As for Redgie. Now that's a serious dork.

Hasta Luego!
posted by crasspastor at 12:29 AM on June 2, 2001

> You know, with the possible exception of one
> ongoing feud ...

That's not a feud. I read and comment, just as anyone else does. If I disagree with some people more than others, that's life. If Aaron, whoever that is, considers it a feud, he must spend much more time thinking of me than I do of him.

> ... I don't see any evidence that anyone is "following
> members around in order to flame them."

I don't think Aaron is following me and I certainly don't follow Aaron. If we show up in the same places, it may simply be that we have common interests.
posted by pracowity at 5:25 AM on June 2, 2001

You are the weakest link...

If you want to know what she's really like then come the the UK and watch 'Watchdog' a consumer affairs show where she spends most of the time needling her younger, more attractive cohost about her appearance - cool!

Seriously though, it is a good act. But more than anything else I want to see what would have happened if Chris Tarrant had accepted the offer to host the US "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". Now that would have been a show I'd have paid to watch.
posted by nedrichards at 6:02 AM on June 2, 2001

We all lose it at times. Nine times out of ten, when I start a reply that's essentialy "oh, fuck right off", I'll backspace over it. The tenth time, depending on what sort of day I've had, or just how idiotic a position someone's taken, I'll click on "post".

So I judge people on their good days. It's a decent enough rule of thumb.
posted by holgate at 2:54 PM on June 2, 2001

Crass: How am I a dork? Just because I believe in God? Or is it because I actually was had by the Kaycee stuff?

Oh, I see. Because I actually care about people!!!

Well then, guilty as charged!

--The Dork

posted by Redgie at 9:18 PM on June 2, 2001

Those are pretty good examples for starters I 'spose Redg. If "caring about people" were a measure of one's overall dorkiness then I suppose I would be guilty as well.

Don't go martyring yourself either. I wrote what I wrote about you for its good natured ribbing qualities. Perhaps a little ill advised and I'm sorry if I offended you. It just seems a lot of the stuff you write would be better off on a site that has Carpenter's midis and puffy cloud rainbow teddybear gifs as decor.

Again, no hard feelings.
posted by crasspastor at 2:14 PM on June 3, 2001

How wonderful it is that people can just waltz in here and start having their little three-day armchair psychological bullshit sessions about me, in a thread about me, even though I didn't start the thread.

The thread was started by someone who thought you were being treated unfairly here. Considering the number of times you have claimed that, I would have thought you might appreciate the gesture.
posted by rcade at 9:15 AM on June 4, 2001

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