I think I may have found the perfect metaphor for the Mefi network experience September 4, 2004 10:37 AM   Subscribe

I think I may have found the perfect metaphor for the Mefi network experience: it's like travelling, with high spirits and pleasant anticipation, to visit an out-of-town friend for the weekend - someone you've always liked and with whom you have a great deal in common, but once you get there, they are, like, rushing to put a coaster under your glass, and looking at you nervously as lower yourself into what must obviously be the wrong chair. And they're all like,"Ooh. Could you please not walk on that carpet? It just gets dirty so easily." and "Oh, no! Don't use that soap - it's really just decorative; here's the soap we use." and "Oh. Thanks for taking care of the dishes, but we don't put our glassware in the dishwasher." And when they come into the guest room to say good night, they tell you what time breakfast will be on the table, and then close the window you just opened to alleviate some of the stifling heat. "Insects, you know. We get a lot of 'em out here." And the next morning you have your bags repacked and sitting out on the front porch before dawn, ready for the first possible opportunity to get the hell out of there, and they are all like "Oh, no! You're not leaving so soon are you? We were having so much fun!" [SI more DE]
posted by taz to Etiquette/Policy at 10:37 AM (58 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

My point is that whatever one does around here, he or she is likely to be criticized in some way, by someone. Make a long post? You will be told to use "more inside". Use "more inside"? You'll be reading all about how horrible this practice is in MeTa. Don't get the "more" posted inside quickly enough? You'll hear about it. Did you ask a question that someone else finds easy to Google? It will be remarked. Etc., ad nauseum. Personally, I have one pet peeve that nearly drives me up the wall: when someone who is an inexperienced poster or commenter is upbraided about something minor (that they probably had no clue about unless they happen to haunt MeTa, which only a few people do). I always think that there's a good chance that person is going to have their bags sitting on the front steps before dawn, and this makes me choke. I love to see people who don't ordinarily de-lurk stepping in to make a post or a comment. If I had the time, I would just lurk the lurkers and try to submit an encouraging word whenever they make an interesting contribution. How hard is it to take a look at a user page, and perhaps grant a little leeway, or buffer the criticism?

"Self-policing" is actually meaningful and important - too much so to use it as an excuse for just hovering and nagging and closing the window to any bit of fresh air just to avoid the possibility of a single gnat gaining entry to the sacred temple. Ask yourself this: are you this picky and tiresome to other people in your own home? When I see the usual suspects snarking each other, it doesn't concern me much because I know that there is a certain shared history, and even though I personally wouldn't carp at my own family members in this way, it's pretty common behaviour. But, do you act this way towards a friendly acquaintance or casual friend? Regardless, it seems to me that in the grand scheme we are meant to self-police for felonies, not misdemeanors. Some of you really enjoy getting into the thick of things here in terms of debating, flaming, policing, creating bylaws and constitutions, bleaching the doilies, and just generally "soaking in it". That's not awful, because it's a fairly vigorous part of the big picture and about 90% of what makes this the fascinating soap opera that it is, but look, could you please just not stomp all over the entire carpet? It really damages the weave. Also, breakfast will be on the table from 7 to 7:45, and I can't promise there will be any leftovers after that.
posted by taz at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2004


what you said--but did you have to use so many words? ; >
posted by amberglow at 10:46 AM on September 4, 2004


Taz: your bags are packed and I've called a taxi. Y'all come back now, y'hear?

(Oh, and I agree.)
posted by ChrisTN at 10:48 AM on September 4, 2004


What we need is some kind of karma systemSHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:51 AM on September 4, 2004


HEY! that's my line!
posted by mcsweetie at 10:57 AM on September 4, 2004


Taz, thank you for addressing this issue. Many, many users, at least one of whom gets twisted knickers over something trivial or not, and Must.Say.Something. The rest of the kids ignore the minor annoyance, but it's too late, the threadjack, pileon or MeTafication has begun. It gets in the way of interesting discussion.

Not only should there be a preview button, there should be an "Are you sure?" button, followed by the "Have you actually thought about this?" button, and the "Read it again once more before you post, please" button.

Newsfilter doesn't bother me as it's easy to skip discussions that don't interest me. It's the rudeness and thoughtlessness that lower the level of the site.

I wish Matt had a posse of thread-deleting, comment deleting vigilantes.

Long week. I'm going to go outside now. Taz, we usually fold the towels in thirds, m'kay?
posted by theora55 at 10:59 AM on September 4, 2004


Regardless, it seems to me that in the grand scheme we are meant to self-police for felonies, not misdemeanors.

I realize any self-police state could use this for justification of really crappy things, but if Malcom Gladwell is right, small contextual cues that can be shapped by misdemeanors can make a big difference in the tone of a place...

I'll also say that while I see the point of the metaphor, I think for it to get as bad as you say, those who get involved have to be a little bit complicit. I don't think I've ever been called out. I've made a double post once, and found one or two of my comments deleted by Matt, gotten in a few heated arguments, but I generally try to be polite and careful, and so far, for the most part, I haven't seen much of the "would you please not walk on that rug" stuff directed my way.

Of course, I actually like the posts some of the people who both make that kind of discussion and make that kind of discussion happen, so...
posted by weston at 11:04 AM on September 4, 2004


wasn't someone working on a way to punch people in the face over the internet? I think it's a apache module
posted by bob sarabia at 11:09 AM on September 4, 2004


Here you go, bob.
posted by taz at 11:15 AM on September 4, 2004 [1 favorite]


These problems are directly related to a closed membership. You will always get this cabin fever when you don't allow for new users. So many people react to the usernames below the comments, and not the comments themselves. There is an over-familiarity here which breeds contempt. Pecking order, pile-ons, bullying, all school-yard knockabout stuff.

What gets me is how much so many members here don't want new users. It's almost like a hillbilly type attitude - no furruners thank you. It never ceases to amaze me that so many MeFi people think they're the most wonderfully liberal people on this planet, yet push a couple of their buttons, and you get the most narrow-minded bile back in your face. Just shows that people are people. I wish we had a few new ones to brighten this place up a bit, and widen the collective point of view.
posted by SpaceCadet at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2004


These are the reasons that I read Metafilter religiously and post comments rarely.
posted by kamikazegopher at 11:57 AM on September 4, 2004


ah! episode 8,241 of "There's something wrong here, and I think I know what it is!"

*yawn*
posted by quonsar at 12:19 PM on September 4, 2004


Sorry, q, but I just can't take a *yawn* too seriously from anybody who doesn't know what "twee" means.

For those keeping up, that was episode 5,976,459 of "Snarkme? Snarkme? SnarkYOUYOUYOU!"
posted by taz at 12:36 PM on September 4, 2004




One of these days there will be a Metafilter reference on The Simpsons.
posted by konolia at 12:39 PM on September 4, 2004


One of these days there will be a Metafilter reference on The Simpsons.

. . . and hundreds, nay, thousands of MetaBoners will pop around the globe.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 1:17 PM on September 4, 2004


Do the Metafilter weeks run Sunday to Saturday or Monday to Sunday? Because I think we had a post like this last week, and I thought we were trying to keep the whining to just once a week. More than once a week and quonsar beats you up for your lunch money.
posted by FunkyHelix at 1:50 PM on September 4, 2004


o man i wished i hadnt killed teh matt with boredum...
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:15 PM on September 4, 2004


Taz's post is hardly whining. I think Taz makes a good point. People here are Jerks for the most part.
posted by chunking express at 4:08 PM on September 4, 2004


I would say something, but I am a teeny bit worried about getting my ass kicked.
posted by Quartermass at 4:22 PM on September 4, 2004


This thread is referenced from here, seemingly because of these words:
Much more helpful to have the [mi] ready when you post, as it happens.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:06 PM PST on September 3

These links may help:
www.google.com/search
ask.metafilter.com/mefi/4176
ask.metafilter.com/mefi/683
ask.metafilter.com/mefi/6866
http://ask.metafilter.com/mefi/9891#182165
http://ask.metafilter.com/mefi/7675
ask.metafilter.com/mefi/9571
posted by dash_slot- at 7:12 PM PST on September 3
If that seems to be out of order, I'd love to know why.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:26 PM on September 4, 2004


Oh, give me a break. You act as though making a non-callout-bait post is like walking a tightrope — it's not. In fact, it's pretty fuckin' easy. There are a whole slew of regular posters who never get called out, because — guess what — they follow the motherfucking rules.

You want to post something you know is going to be a gray-area post, like a current events link that you think is interesting and neat but everyone else will think is another shitty op-ed? Guess what, you're gonna get called out. You want to pull some bullshit disingenuous "it's not a double post 'cuz the third letter of the eigth word in paragraph five has changed" crap? Guess what, you're gonna get called out. You want to post a front page post that spans two pages with eight line breaks between each paragraph because your stupid link is just so much more fucking important than everyone else's? Guess what, you're gonna get called out.

The people who get called out on their posts every other week know what they're doing. They choose to skirt the very edges of what's acceptable. Those of us who don't use our posts as some sort of bullshit statement about what ought to be acceptable find it quite easy to not fuck this shit up.

I get a little tired of those who shit all over this site day in and day out whining about how oppressed they are every time someone has the audacity to point out that they're shitting all over the site.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 4:57 PM on September 4, 2004


someone call a waaaaaah-mbulance.
posted by quonsar at 5:02 PM on September 4, 2004


Hey taz, this seems like a good time to say "thanks" for your welcome back when I first started posting. This is a big place. It's nice to meet someone nice when you first jump in.
posted by mmahaffie at 5:31 PM on September 4, 2004


In fact, it's pretty fuckin' easy. There are a whole slew of regular posters who never get called out, because — guess what — they follow the motherfucking rules.

also, they don't cuss out other users.

just sayin'.
posted by namespan at 5:44 PM on September 4, 2004


gee, maybe i should go somewhere else like k5 where they're really friendly and nice to each other
posted by pyramid termite at 5:45 PM on September 4, 2004


I think I've come up with the perfect metaphor for the MeFi n00b, it's like a visitor knocking on your door, who then comes in and sits right down in the wrong chair, puts down his drink without using a damn coaster, and stomps all over rhte good carpet.

/i keed.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:52 PM on September 4, 2004


dash_slot-, It's out of order because you pounced on the poor poster (realjanetkagan) after five minutes. There could have been a computer problem or something (as evidenced by the post, i.e. she would have been posting from the relatives' computer), and the above comment was, in my opinion, delivered with a bit of snark. Some people post from public computers and as such can't open Notepad to type their "more inside" before posting the original post. The second post was fine, but callouts for not putting the more inside should be done only after 20 minutes or so.
posted by calwatch at 6:03 PM on September 4, 2004


People here are Jerks for the most part.

Lose the 'here' and you've got the heart of the matter.
posted by ulotrichous at 7:07 PM on September 4, 2004


Well spoken, taz. And right on the button, IMO.

calwatch: [MI] can be typed in the same textbox as the FPP, then selected and cut for pasting into the thread. Saves hauling out Notepad and all that stuff.

It would probably be very interesting to do a bit of stats on MeTa, to see whether the MeTaWhinge problem is mostly due to a few habitual whiners. I'll bet you it's a classic 80:20 split, where most of the petty whining and fucktard behaviour is coming from a small minority of erstwhile Mussolinis.

The whole world would work a lot better if people were more mellow. Don't sweat the small shit... and it is all small shit on MeFi.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:22 PM on September 4, 2004


taz was wrong to put it in such stark terms, but I agree 109%.
posted by soyjoy at 7:29 PM on September 4, 2004


Don't sweat the small shit.

Amen ;)
posted by filmgoerjuan at 7:31 PM on September 4, 2004


File me under 'agrees with Taz.' Actually, file me under 'thinks this circle-jerk could use some new members,' too.
posted by willpie at 7:56 PM on September 4, 2004


But do rinse off the small shit, fgj!

MetaFilter as circle-jerk? I'm thinking that's an analogy that's best left unexplored. [smacks someone's hand away]
posted by five fresh fish at 9:16 PM on September 4, 2004


I wrote a long-winded 700 word complaint with multiple overwrought explanations to prove a point about people being pissy and complaining, but decided to junk it.

On Preview: I agree with everyone else that people bitch too much.
posted by graventy at 10:06 PM on September 4, 2004


dash_slot, I have to admit I did think you were being pretty snippy, but believe me, I'm not calling you out. I like you, and I think you are normally a really nice guy and certainly not a MeFi ogre. Could you have exercised a little more patience there? I think so. Consider this: if I go looking for help in AskMe, there's a good chance that it will be about something that I don't know much about. I don't know the proper terms for googling it or searching AskMe - because it's something I don't know anything about. I may be flustered, and frustrated and confused . That's why I need help.
posted by taz at 10:44 PM on September 4, 2004


These are the reasons that I read Metafilter religiously and post comments rarely.

That, and I'm usually late to the party. I'm used to threads being discussed for more than one day.
posted by somethingotherthan at 11:15 PM on September 4, 2004


dash_slot, I have to admit I did think you were being pretty snippy, but believe me, I'm not calling you out. I like you, and I think you are normally a really nice guy and certainly not a MeFi ogre. Could you have exercised a little more patience there?

Perhaps you're being just a touch (not to say much) too matronly, taz? With respect, you posted a fussy, matronly topic and you musn't chide the schoolchildren if they refuse to agree or beg to dissent. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:50 AM on September 5, 2004


If everybody behaved themselves impeccably, there'd still be callouts because dare I say it, many people here seem to enjoy making callouts. MeTa is the smoker's room, and people like to moan and drone. There are a bunch of people here praying for someone to post something stupid on the blue or say something outrageous so they can find a new outlet to spew their sanctimony and self-righteousness. It's just a process.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:18 AM on September 5, 2004


That's out of order? That's pouncing?

Sheesh. Not an unfriendly word or expletive did I type, and in fact added some useful search results - in a neighbourly fashion. I value highly a respectful attitude to other mefites, and don't accept that I snarked. It was a brief hint on customary Ask.Me posting style - and nothing more.

Equally, RJK's apology was unnecessary - I took no offence from her method of posting, it was just not proficiently made. As someone who has had malware issues before, I was keen to assist and waited for the [mi] so as to give more precise advice. It ended up being general pointers, but that was an ok response, no?

There's no harm & no foul here, as far as I can see.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:52 AM on September 5, 2004


I vote for Taz.
posted by JohnR at 7:07 AM on September 5, 2004


There are a bunch of people here praying for someone to post something stupid on the blue or say something outrageous so they can find a new outlet to spew their sanctimony and self-righteousness.

I think that's just silly.
posted by rushmc at 8:08 AM on September 5, 2004


Patience will be exercised better in future - thanks, taz.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:20 AM on September 5, 2004


SpaceCadet: There are a bunch of people here praying for someone to post something stupid on the blue or say something outrageous so they can find a new outlet to spew their sanctimony and self-righteousness.

RushMC: I think that's just silly.

I think so too.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:10 PM on September 5, 2004


SpaceCadet, it's just like you to set yourself up as the answer to people's prayers.
posted by clever sheep at 2:23 PM on September 5, 2004


Oh, and welcome back.
posted by clever sheep at 2:23 PM on September 5, 2004


For the record, I didn't think dash_slot- was being snarky.

I did think you were being an eager beaver, dash_slot-. But it was kind of you to jump in feet first (as it were). If I hadn't already spent the entire afternoon checking previous ask-mefi threads to see if someone had already addressed this particular sleazeware by name or by symptoms, the list you provided would have given me a much better idea what I was up against.

And I DID get the answer to my question, after all...!

I also (thanks to this MetaTalk thread) learned not just one but TWO ways to speed up a [mi] post. So it's all good.
posted by realjanetkagan at 5:50 PM on September 5, 2004


Chiming in late:

I agree with you, taz. We don't need this guy telling people how things should be done.



He chases good folks away.

(I mean, he has no tact, and besides, you can have your pudding if you don't eat your meat, especially if you're a vegetarian.)

(Hey, Hi sheep!)
posted by Shane at 6:02 PM on September 5, 2004


Shaaaaaane!
C'mon up to Minnesota...got a big slice of orchard-fresh apple pie & a glass of bourbon with your name on it!
posted by clever sheep at 8:03 PM on September 5, 2004


Shane, thanks for elucidating that point that always kind of bugged me about that song. Then again, it was yet another example of how meat-eating had to be enforced as strictly as possible among the young, lest they fail to acquire the taste.
posted by soyjoy at 8:54 PM on September 5, 2004


You've never heard the Luther Wright and the Wrongs version, have you, soyjoy? "If you don't eat your chicken, you can't have any meat!"
posted by arto at 9:49 PM on September 5, 2004


No, you're right, I haven't, but I now understand that the existence of such a lyric completely overturns and refutes everything I was saying. I hope you're happy, pretty boy.
posted by soyjoy at 10:16 PM on September 5, 2004


It was a brief hint on customary Ask.Me posting style - and nothing more.

Except that it's not written, anywhere what customary style in terms of the [more inside] is. And I personally don't trust cut and paste on a public computer myself, it has to be a window that I can see.

While your intentions may be good, can we please stop with any pressure to make someone post their "more inside" faster, OK? Unless they're really leaving you dangling. Thank you.
posted by calwatch at 1:09 AM on September 6, 2004


calwatch:
In a sense I was left dangling: I appear to have a shorter dangle time than you, calwatch, but as you point out, dangle time is not codified anywhere by User#1. I would conclude that this leaves room for interpretation, and that there is no need for offence when people of good faith differ on this.

I have made it clear before you last posted that I will make an effort to exercise my patience, and RJK has said that she did not think I was 'snarky'.

I still think it is good practice to have your post [whether Mefi fp, Meta or Ask.Me] prepared carefully, and where necessary divided in two: the second, larger portion, should that be needed, is written at the same time time and posted immediately after the shorter headline [which may or may not, as taste dictates, conclude with the words or initials that indicate "more inside"].

The reason is, that with thousands of members across many timezones, and hundreds of thousands of possible views, some of them immediately after the post reaches the FP, someone - who may have some answer to offer - will always be left dangling.

This discussion may be continuing so as to make an attempt to clarify 'policy' on this point, but as far as I am concerned, the offended & the offender are at peace.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:18 AM on September 6, 2004


OK, as long as you think it's good practice, and are just expressing your own opinion, that's perfectly legitimate. And I am glad that both parties came to a consensus. But I still feel no one should feel pressure to hurry up (and possibly make their question less helpful than it could be). And, based on the sentiments expressed in this thread, I think a lot of other members feel the same way.

That is all.
posted by calwatch at 10:47 AM on September 6, 2004


OK, as long as *you* think it's good practice, and are just expressing your own opinion, that's perfectly legitimate.
Well, who else's opinion would I spout? Crikey.

If you perceive that I disagree with any of taz'z POV, you'd be wrong. More than a lot of Mefites, I argue for civility on this site, and avoid personal callouts & namecalling across the divide. I am assured that I was not the target of this particular callout anyway.

In adhering to the best practice of having more inside ready, I am not alone - it has even been the subject of Meta callouts in the past.

I would say that best practice isn't settled at this point, with members differing in opinion, and it's simply a matter of courtesy to be prepared and considerate. That is what I was promoting, with no snark, no rudeness, no offence.

I hope that's all, too.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:31 AM on September 6, 2004


I think you've all participated in this thread incorrectly, it's totally out of the MetaFilter spirit.
posted by wackybrit at 2:31 PM on September 6, 2004


C'mon up to Minnesota...

I really hope I can sometime, CS!
posted by Shane at 6:54 AM on September 7, 2004


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