Dangerous precedent? June 4, 2004 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Am I alone in thinking that this thread could be setting a dangerous precedent? I spend more time reading the green than the blue these days, because it is 99.4% apolitical. ISTM that questions like that, which are clearly attempts to produce support for an exisiting agenda, rather than an actual request for knowledge, are just a stonesthrow away from the craptacular mess that the blue becomes alot of the time.
posted by jammer to Etiquette/Policy at 12:28 PM (18 comments total)

I think if the question had been more along the lines of "In what way is the war in Iraq like and different from WWII?", it would have been marginally better. I'd still be avoiding the thread, because I'm sure I'd be angered and frustrated by the bulk of the content in it, but at least that's a real question (even if it still smells a bit too much like DiscussionFilter), rather than thinly veiled axe-grinding.

Or am I over-reacting?
posted by jammer at 12:31 PM on June 4, 2004


It's pretty much a stretch of what Ask MeFi is for, but there is a question, however loaded it is. If people don't stay on topic, I'll ax it later.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:33 PM on June 4, 2004


No. You are not alone.
posted by trharlan at 12:47 PM on June 4, 2004


You are definitely not alone. Lousy question, lousy precedent. I'm glad Matt is keeping an eye on it, ax in hand.
posted by languagehat at 12:50 PM on June 4, 2004


Yeah, I can tell that mess should be in the blue because I felt free to post all snarky-like in it. I think loquax has saved it by making a really good meta-rhetorical point though.
posted by nicwolff at 1:24 PM on June 4, 2004


"Or am I over-reacting?"

Nope. That halfwit can't even form his own argument against such Limbaugh-ish drivel? The small matter of 6 million dead Jews, Nazis overrunning the entire hemisphere, and having war declared on us never occurs to him?

I call bullshit. This is someone sneaking their agenda into AskMe.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:29 PM on June 4, 2004


I had my eye on that one, too, jammer. Like you, I genuine appreciate AskMe's collegiality and would like to guard against its infection by the unresolvable partisan bickering the main site can so quickly degenerate into - as Matt has said before, "We don't do politics well." It's comforting to know that User No. 1 is standing by, Smack Down brand editor's axe (tm) at the ready...
posted by JollyWanker at 2:02 PM on June 4, 2004


Word, this thread is a bad deal all 'round.
posted by Capn at 2:13 PM on June 4, 2004


He (or she) was asking specifically how to refute the allegation, not whether it was valid. It's like the question asking for alternatives to shaving, not tips on how to shave (sort of). Anyone in the thread not addressing the question and arguing that it the analogy was valid would have been derailing. It seems ok by me, or at least, no worse than other questions about less touchy subjects that ask people for a shortcut to doing the research and analysis of a complex subject yourself. Not everyone can be an expert in 20th century history, but most people know where they stand, even if they don't fully know how to formulate their argument. This person was asking for help in formulating the argument.

And judging by the poster's comments in the thread, it doesn't seem to me that there was an interest in grinding axes.
posted by loquax at 2:16 PM on June 4, 2004


Actually, if someone comes to ask.me with a question, then they are acknowledging that they don't know they answer, the trouble always seems to stem from people who think they do know the answer. I see no slippery slope here.
posted by milovoo at 2:16 PM on June 4, 2004


Stupid? Yes. Dangerous precedent? I thought the bullshit levvy already broke...
posted by scarabic at 2:17 PM on June 4, 2004


I thought the bullshit levvy already broke...

It was dry the other day when I drove my Chevy down there...
posted by COBRA! at 2:53 PM on June 4, 2004


You are not alone.
posted by gd779 at 7:20 PM on June 4, 2004


It would be very educational for people to have a political question side to AskMetafilter, after the rebuild. It would of course be loaded with politics, but some good questions would receive some good answers.
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:09 PM on June 4, 2004


My turn to respond. First, please note in all my commenting and posting that I do not go political in here. Green or blue. Second my question in fact was an earnest call for expertise. I can see that rhetorically its a slippery slope, but I think after seeing/hearing many veterans on the news the last few days shaking their heads in disbelief at the comparison, I simply wanted a historical response. (refute?) However, if you see my question as politcial jerrymandering, I think it might be your bias, not mine which colors.
Y6, it is bad to be so eager to call names.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 11:54 PM on June 4, 2004


It seems like the more traditional thing would have been to post a link in the blue to one or more stories involving the veterans and comparisons you're talking about. When I saw the question, I knew I didn't even want to get involved, because it seemed to be to just be begging to turn into a big argument.

That said, when you ask a group of people this big a question, chances are pretty good that someone is going to criticize the assumptions behind the question instead of answering the question itself. And that can be valid, depending on the situation. But this one seems tailor-made for it.
posted by bingo at 9:00 AM on June 5, 2004


you are not alone. I WANT TO BELIEVE.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:16 AM on June 5, 2004


political questions to ask metafilter are pretty heavyhanded, if you ask me. I'd rather see stuff that actually helps people out instead of perpetuating arguments.
posted by angry modem at 10:46 PM on June 5, 2004


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