Are MetaFilter members a bunch of negative ninnies? September 22, 2004 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Are MetaFilter members a bunch of negative ninnies? [more]
posted by mathowie to Etiquette/Policy at 1:12 PM (138 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I know we can tend towards the cynical, and we often dissect new ideas, new stories, and new sites. But I catch a lot of flak personally from folks that say being linked on MetaFilter is often unpleasant. I usually calm their fears and point out why people said a certain thing, or point out that it's just a minority of users, blah, blah...

So I'm currently busy on business and just popping into the site from time to time and I noticed this recent thread and another about projects that I'm interested in (and friends are doing them). I saw both threads with no comments and imagined in my head what would transpire in the next few hours.

Then work hit, and in both cases I came back several hours later and was kind of surprised. Most of the comments are negative. People grasping at whatever they can find fault with. General consensus is that everything sucks, it seems.

I realized that for the first time in quite a while, I got to see MetaFilter through a stranger's eyes.

Personally, the JPG magazine thing I could sort of see, since the site doesn't have content yet, though the idea of a magazine made up of web photographers seems ambitious and interesting to me. The BootyShotz site response totally baffles me, because the site's been around for a while and when I first saw it, I viewed it much like the mirror project. Here's a bunch of people taking wacky photos and even some of them are famous. What's not to love about that?

If the mirror project was posted today, would 75% of the comments be about how vain everyone must be that submits a photo? Would comments ask why on earth people would do such a thing, and why anyone would build a site for it?

So these two threads got me to thinking: are we really all as bad as people on the street tell me? Should we do anything (if there is anything) about it? Or am I off my rocker?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:12 PM on September 22, 2004


Are MetaFilter members a bunch of negative ninnies?

I am.
posted by scarabic at 1:18 PM on September 22, 2004


Negative comments are more interesting... easier to argue about?
posted by Witty at 1:24 PM on September 22, 2004


No, you're right Matt.
posted by mokey at 1:26 PM on September 22, 2004


what one can be certain about, is that her/his writing/site/whatever will be analyzed and also criticized, often very harshly -- but it almost always happens in a relatively fair manner. blatant unfairness happens, but it's not massively, constantly present in this community. I think.

but then, I'm a negative ninny
posted by matteo at 1:26 PM on September 22, 2004


What the fuck is wrong with you, Witty?
posted by mr.marx at 1:26 PM on September 22, 2004


also, as always in life, consider the cricitism of the user whose input (and fairness) you've come to appreciate. discard the rest.
it's a useful rule in life, too
posted by matteo at 1:27 PM on September 22, 2004


The price you pay for an arbitrary elitism (no new users) is that members of that elite will take any and every opprotunity to denegrate others in an attempt to rationalize their invented superiority. As a member of an exclusive society, you may look down your nose at others not in that society, hence they are worse then you, hence you are superior, hance you belong in an elite society, hence you may look down your nose at...

MeFi: the new British aristocracy
posted by ChasFile at 1:28 PM on September 22, 2004


Thank you Matt. You are definately not off your rocker, and I know it is kind of ironic for me to complain about the complaining, but I am pretty sick of all the complaining, negativity and overall "harshness" of a good deal of Metafilter. I myself am not exempt in this, but I personally think that we all need to step back once and a while and realize how lucky we all have it here.

Sure, as others have posted here, there are new "fresh" communities to explore, but I like it here. I think that when Metafilter is good it is really good, and that when it is bad, it can be really bad. I also think that we could all do our part to make it better; to be critical but not mean, to try and understand opposite points of view even if those points of view seem "wrong."
posted by Quartermass at 1:28 PM on September 22, 2004


Yes.
posted by keswick at 1:29 PM on September 22, 2004


I don't think it's just metafilter, it's an internet thing. One theory I have is that if you like something, there isn't much to say beyond "cool. great link" or some such. But if you don't like something, or you can find a fault with it, there's a hell of a lot more to say. Plus, there's the whole "regular person + Anonymity = total fucktard" thing.

Also, there's a lot of folks out there, I'm one of them, who think things like the mirror project and this Bootysnacks thing are just a bunch of silly "look at me, I'm on the innernet!" circlejerks.

To answer your question though, yes. Yes we are.
posted by bondcliff at 1:31 PM on September 22, 2004


It seems like lessons of the past are being taken too much to heart.

For example, the PepsiBlue callout on the BootyShotz. Once there was way too much talk about a particular product, so now any given post that concerns a product is lame.
posted by falconred at 1:33 PM on September 22, 2004


I thikn every community with a lot of users tends to the negative. Mostly because it's easier. It is impossible to write a cool little mini-OS without getting dozens of slashdot comments asking what the point of it is. MeFi has elevated snark to an artform, and I know I wouldn't really want to have one of my works subjected to it, to be sure.

/will listen to my mother and try and be more positive :)
posted by Space Coyote at 1:34 PM on September 22, 2004


I agree. For more information, see every music, television, or film-related thread on metafilter... ever. It seems the people here are far more interested in writing about music and other forms of entertainment that they hate than they are about what they like. I try to stay away--whenever possible--from going into a thread for the sole purpose of expressing my displeasure, though I do fail occasionally when something rubs me the wrong way.
posted by The God Complex at 1:39 PM on September 22, 2004


What the fuck is wrong with you, Witty?

Plenty, I'm sure. But what are you getting at? My first post was sincere.
posted by Witty at 1:42 PM on September 22, 2004


i think you're right; the comments tend toward the negative.

it seems to me that it comes from the fact that one negative comment spawns more negatives, whereas positives rarely embolden people to make additional fawning comments. over time, the people with something derisive to say become the only people talking, or at least the people talking most often, because that's the threshhold behavior. the people who have something nice to say just keep it to themselves, or quietly forward the link to a few friends.

i'm not sure what can be done about it. randomly disabling some users from commenting for a few months might discourage the negative groupthink by putting a premium on the ability to comment. so would limiting the number of comments a person can make in a week. but maybe it wouldn't, and both would be very heavy-handed.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:46 PM on September 22, 2004


As a long-term lurker, relatively new poster, I would say that I have only started posting at all because of Ask.Me. The normal MeFi discussions are, as you say, negative and snarky and unhelpful -- people aren't trying to shed light, or explain, for the most part, just put other people down, and it's not something I usually want to jump into. Ask.Me, by definition, avoids that.

And is, by extension, much friendlier.
posted by occhiblu at 1:47 PM on September 22, 2004


I can see your point. There have been some positive threads (the Threadless one springs to mind) but there certainly is a problem.

I was going to make a few negative comments recently but thankfully stopped myself in time, realising that they would have contributed nothing. I think that MeFi engenders such a combative enviroment it becomes tempting to go looking for a fight.

I mean just look at that Captain Jack thread the other day. I don't mean to be negative but talk about over analysis. How it ever turned into a pissing contest I'll never know.

I guess the feeling is that we're here (at least partially) to discuss the best of the web, and if there's no counter-point then there's no discussion. Not true of course but I think that that's how some folk feel.
posted by dodgygeezer at 1:47 PM on September 22, 2004


I find this to be one of the more disappointing things about MeFi. In my recent post about On Writing, I was floored at Satapher's comments [here and the 2 right after it] which leant nothing to the thread and, in my opinion, made him look like quite the idiot. Comments like his just make me second guess whether I should post something or not. A couple days later I posted this thread and 45 minutes later, Photar added his stellar comment as the first in the thread. After reading it, I didn't bother popping back in to see what others thought. It's too bloody depressing. (I just now read the comments and am happy everyone else appreciated it.)

I gotta wonder, however, what exactly do these people think they're adding to the site with their unsubstantiated opinions? Why the hell do they bother?

If someone makes a post about a new musician and you have nothing to say on that musician/post, there is really no need to add the comment "I only like classical music so who cares about this?", etc. etc. If you want to make your own FPP about classical music, go ahead. If you want to make your own FPP about how contemporary authors suck compared to authors of the past, go ahead, I'd love to read your links. But squeezing out chocolates in threads about topics that don't interest you (but which are perfectly valid posts) is rude and can change the course of the discussion. It also makes others question your credibility.
posted by dobbs at 2:01 PM on September 22, 2004


Achewood sucks.
posted by Stan Chin at 2:06 PM on September 22, 2004


Yes. I won't post friends' sites here any more because I don't want to set them up for the opprobrium that is sure to follow. "Hey, I think your site is the best of the web. Let me post it in MetaFilter so some total strangers can dish on your looks/spelling/politics/coding/taste/dog!"
posted by jessamyn at 2:10 PM on September 22, 2004




I don't think there's a problem, except that Matt might think there's a problem. But then the sites I tend to link to seem to have very thick skins, as I've never heard anyone complain to or about me linking them here.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:38 PM on September 22, 2004


Yes, it's negatively regarded in the way you describe.

Should we do anything (if there is anything) about it?

Manners and common courtesy combined with more thought prior to posting/commenting would be lovely- is it a realistic improvement for MeFi? The critical bent drives whether folks post or not, which doesn't seem a good motivation for sharing.

What would be the end goal of doing something about it? More positive post/comment content? What would be the guideline for snark demerits?

I do think that the discussion aspect, although frequently negative, is an attempt by the negatives to clarify the issue, and to raise the bar on "quality conversation". They just don't express it politely, so it comes off disrespectful.

I'm glad you were able to see the site with new eyes, Matt. Being objective about one's own work is not always easy.
posted by yoga at 2:38 PM on September 22, 2004


I agree with crush-onastick and jessamyn. I recall times that I have been shocked into silence by negativity on some threads even though the irony is that that silence repeated across many users is part of what feeds into a bad online ecology. Attempted "cures" like ignore lists or Slashdot-style ratings points are not without their own consequences.
posted by Stoatfarm at 2:53 PM on September 22, 2004


Not everyone here is a negative ninny.

But just like in life, the loud whiny ones get all the press.

Trying to say something nice in the middle of these threads is often like farting in a wind tunnel. People kvetch until their capillaries burst, not because they may have a cogent point in the thread in question, but because they just have to kvetch. Some have genuine personal issues, some are single-minded about whatever axe they're currently grinding, and some don't even know that they're just naturally loud and whiny.

If this were a social club we all met in physically, I would be punching people in the face left and right, just to stop them from carrying on about everyone they see. But it's the web, and the rampant and incessant negativity does little more than put me off my feed.

We should have a knitting circle for people who just want to complain about how they've been shortchanged by life and everyone else has it easy.
posted by chicobangs at 2:56 PM on September 22, 2004


Maybe if you changed the background color to pink...
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 2:57 PM on September 22, 2004


well, not to sound negative or anything, but nothing's more exasperating than a good idea executed badly or incompletely. I'm sure i'm guilty of being negative sometimes, but i'm usually trying to learn more about it, or wondering why certain things aren't clear.

Every single thing--on Earth, and online--is saturated with spin, and it's important to see things clearly. Take that Project Hello thing, for instance. Are we critical? Sure. Are we negative? That's debatable.
posted by amberglow at 3:12 PM on September 22, 2004


In both of the threads Matt linked to, I see a pretty even mix of positive and negative opinions. In dobbs's two examples, I see a couple people being jerks while everyone else either ignores or disagrees with them. Just like real life.
posted by ook at 3:13 PM on September 22, 2004


Well, judging by all the "shut up and stop whining, you superclenched elitist!" comments that ensue any time someone expresses an opinion about ettiquette, I guess this site is actually really quite positive after all! The number of complainers is nowhere near the number of people who swoop in to accuse them of gastrointestinal fragility and navel microscopy, so, in the end balance, we're actually one seriously rosy-cheeked bunch of slap-happy polyanna motherfuckers!
posted by scarabic at 3:21 PM on September 22, 2004


Shut the fuck up, scarabic. Jesus.

(Hey! Would you go see a band called the Slap-Happy Polyanna Motherfuckers? I know I would.)
posted by chicobangs at 3:28 PM on September 22, 2004


"Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse."

chicobangs - I would definitely go see a band called "Danny Fucking Kaye"
posted by scarabic at 3:34 PM on September 22, 2004


If someone makes a post about a new musician and you have nothing to say on that musician/post, there is really no need to add the comment "I only like classical music so who cares about this?", etc. etc. If you want to make your own FPP about classical music, go ahead. .

This is precisely the point I was trying to make in the MeTa call out of that band who had their gear stolen.
posted by Quartermass at 3:36 PM on September 22, 2004


"are we really all as bad as people on the street tell me?"

No. But I don't think there is any way for people on the street to know that. I think negatives just get posted more readily than positives.

1) I personally think JPG Magazine is great. I signed up for the mail list last night and picked out a photo to submit. But popping into the thread to post a cheerleading comment just seemed like too much bother. Negatives are low hanging fruit though.

2) Anyone who likes the JPG Mag idea isn't going to give a rat's ass about the negative comments, so coming to the rescue with a positive isn't as likely. And those who don't like it will just think I'm an idiot if I posted [this is good] (which I think it is).

3) Those who don't think a link is "best of the web" are quick to say so. Those who feel it is will usually sit on their hands.

Perhaps an informal rule that having 50 [this is good] comments isn't a bad thing might help. Or an easy way to flag something as good, but no corresponding easy way to flag it as bad.

I think it's the unspoken rules and social tides that are to blame more than the individuals. I see good stuff here every day. Don't we all? But we're more vocal about the bad/marginal stuff.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:54 PM on September 22, 2004


If some people we're so hung up on their self-appointed crusade to make sure every I is dotted and every T is crossed when it comes to Metafilter's "posting rules and guidelines", the site would be much friendlier and more enjoyable.

As it stands right now, a handful of posts are consumed daily by the policy sharks, because (good lord) the font is too small, or there too many links before the jump. And this is only part of the culture of animosity that Metafilter seems to have developed since sign-ups closed.
posted by SweetJesus at 3:59 PM on September 22, 2004


yeah, we should reopen signups.
posted by amberglow at 4:06 PM on September 22, 2004


That's how we got all these argumentative, negative ninnies in the first place.

I say cull some motherfuckers.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:20 PM on September 22, 2004


culture of animosity

As I implied above, if it were possible to simply discuss something like "maybe you shouldn't post huge, long essays to the homepage in 6-point font" without a bunch of people chiming in to say "hey! stop giving a shit about this!" then perhaps this culture wouldn't be so shrill. Really, sweet jesus, you think you're taking a fire extinguisher around the room when you say shit like "because (good lord) the font is too small" but you're only contributing to the din. If you disagree, as TGC did, fine. But the "stop having this conversation!" bullshit is as irritating and destructive as anything.

Not everyone has to care about every post on MeFi or MeTa. Dropping into a post you think addresses something trivial to say "hey fuckhead! this is trivial!" isn't helping. I don't think your righteous outrage that people would dare discuss such things is less ridiculous than my righteous outrage over karl's 6-point diatribes.

In other words: Can we, um, discuss how we do stuff around here? Please? If not, let's just unplug the Grey for good, because that's supposed to be what it's for.
posted by scarabic at 4:23 PM on September 22, 2004


Y'all are a bunch of nattering nabobs of negativity.
posted by Otis at 4:30 PM on September 22, 2004


Or, because now I feel guilty for the one-liner, let me explain further.

The climate -- which Matt overstates, but for which MeFi is ridiculed everywhere that people actually know about the damn place, and has led many (most) of our most intelligent and pleasant contributors to bail -- has nothing to do with closed sign-ups.

It has much more to do with a) the culture of the one-liner, which is more often snarky and unpleasant than humorous (and for which I take some responsibility for contributing towards, although I try to avoid being unpleasant) and b) the election-year, wartime (well, whatever), politically-charged zeitgeist.

Recently, the ban-happy mods at SA (ban-happy almost entirely because banned members almost immediately re-up for $10, something with which they all seem to be quite happy, and from which Lowtax must generate a mighty revenue stream) started banning people for just being unpleasant. If you're an asshole, you're gone. No whining, no second chance, $10 please.

And in a community far more skewed towards the 15-25 age bracket than MeFi, there's been a noticeable increase in civility.

I see no reason not to do the same here, although it'd be more in keeping with the tenor of the place to put the money towards scholarships (which never came back, after last time) or other Good Works (like flying me to NY for a meetup!), with enough left to stonk up the server and give Matt some recompense for his work.

Open the floodgates, charge 'em, ban 'em if they're dicks, let 'em pay to re-up and try again, until they learn. Goes for current members too.

And entrust a few people to be admins, already.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:31 PM on September 22, 2004


More people will dislike any given website (band, artist, snack food, ...) than those who like it. That's just human nature.
posted by mischief at 4:33 PM on September 22, 2004


Addenda: "Dropping into a post you think addresses something trivial to say 'hey fuckhead! this is trivial!' isn't helping."

Clicking a link with a big build-up to discover that the site does not live up to the hype is very disappointing. One way to cut back on the negative responses is to write FPPs that are honest, complete and objective in their description.

Oh, and please stop this "'stop having this conversation!' bullshit" bullshit. ;-P
posted by mischief at 4:39 PM on September 22, 2004


In direct response to Matt's question about 'if the mirror project was posted today', I'd have to say that's not just MeFi, that's the greater blogosphere.

(*waits, on-topic, for someone to tell me just how much they hate hate hate that neologism*)

A few years back, when there were a lot fewer webloggy types, and brighter stars in the firmament (other than the Usual Suspects) mostly because there were fewer, people were a lot more careful not to step on dicks (myself, excluded, of course). It's the way people work -- in a smaller community, people are usually more polite. As it gets larger, and more anonymous, people feel license to act nasty without consequence.

Notice that as it is in the world, so it is in the weblog world, and so it is at MeFi, on progressively smaller scales. This is why I say that merely opening up signups ain't gonna help.

The solution? You learn to live with it, or rule with an iron fist. If there's a third way, that'd be cool, but I dunno what it might be.

Self-policing is a noble concept, but I think only works when the populace is not pointing and laughing scornfully at those who would call attention to bad behaviour, while rewarding (quonsar, anyone? I love the q as much as anyone, but) the very people who do behave antisocially.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:46 PM on September 22, 2004


When I wrote movie reviews for my college paper (and classes), I quickly discovered it's way easier to write a negative review. Combine that with the anonymity of the 'net and everyone's need to be cooler than the last guy and you get a lot of negativity. I don't think it's (much) worse here than you would have in any other gated net community; we're just elitist enough to think we even do snark better than the last guy.
posted by yerfatma at 5:03 PM on September 22, 2004


I dunno--maybe we're looking at this the wrong way. Why do we all just agree that negativity is always bad? It can make for interesting conversation. In one of the threads dobbs linked, the comment about there being too many authors was something to consider. All the nice answers were bland. Snarks can be funny. A bit of vigorous back-and-forth can warm the blood, like a walk in the crisp fall air.

Maybe the answer is to not be thin-skinned and enjoy some virtual roughhousing. Maybe we ought to take pride in being critical and tough enough to take it (within bounds, of couse). Maybe we should revolt against the tyranny of niceness that pervades society these days.
posted by dame at 5:25 PM on September 22, 2004


As I implied above, if it were possible to simply discuss something like "maybe you shouldn't post huge, long essays to the homepage in 6-point font" without a bunch of people chiming in to say "hey! stop giving a shit about this!" then perhaps this culture wouldn't be so shrill. Really, sweet jesus, you think you're taking a fire extinguisher around the room when you say shit like "because (good lord) the font is too small" but you're only contributing to the din. If you disagree, as TGC did, fine.

Whatever you say. But I've mostly stopped posting over the past year or so because too many good threads on the Blue are sent into a preputial policy circle-jerk on the Grey, that in the end, is more annoying than the initial "infraction". I understand the purpose of Metatalk, but I think some people on this site abuse it, and call people out over the most insignificant, nit-picked details and end up not seeing the writing on the wall - mainly, that most people don't give a shit about the length of a post or the size of the font, and by calling someone out almost daily you (not you specifically, but the handful that do) take the focus away from the topic, and towards these personal pet-peeves.

Look, there are things that annoy me too about the way some people post links. But its much easier, and far less distracting, if you just suck it up, and move on. It's such a tiny infraction, but you'd think Karl just kicked your puppy by the way you posted the Meta callout.

For real, get over it. Most people aren't as emotionally invested in this site as you apparently are.

the "stop having this conversation!" bullshit is as irritating and destructive as anything.

It wasn't a conversation scarabic, it was one step below a lecture. Conversations usually involve more than just rhetorical angst.
posted by SweetJesus at 5:36 PM on September 22, 2004


a point i haven't seen anyone bring up recently - i think, in part, most members are simply more jaded than they used to be. it takes something more to impress most denizens of the int0rweb nowadays. we've all seen stuff like bonsai kitten or landover baptist church go around the web half a dozen times, and so now it takes more than just a clever hoax website to get people excited. same thing applies in other ways - JPG magazine, for example, is a cool idea, but not, in some ways, all that dissimilar from other reasonably well-publicized organizations/shows/trends/etc [for example, the show of pictures taken with cellphone cameras that warren ellis and others were in]. the bootyshotz site is reminiscent of other "people pictured with..." trends that've occurred recently, like the one that had people taking pictures of themselves holding bulky electronic things [game cubes or whatever] by their ears.

this doesn't mean that they're worthless, of course - they're not. but i think more people are apt to react negatively, or, at best, not at all. takes more - more novelty, more shiny shit, who knows - to make people rave about a FPP...
posted by ubersturm at 5:42 PM on September 22, 2004


I do find that it is a little scary in the blue...There are some fantastic editors and grammar fiends who tend to jump. As for my contribution the booty thread, I really didn't intend to be that negative. After realizing that some of the posted site's contributors were about, I tried to fish for some info, which was returned with smart assed comments. So...I guess, yeah, it can be quite the snarkfest out there sometimes Matt.

I agree with the chicken about the culture of the one-liners. Good ones are great, but it is true...too often they aren't funny, just mean.

I will try to take the call to arms and contribute in a positive fashion, rather than sitting on my hands, as I do think we do. If you are impressed, I expect it can't hurt to say so.
posted by Richat at 5:48 PM on September 22, 2004


For what its worth, I've made a concerted effort to avoid posting snarky or negative comments here. It's hard, let me tell you ... very hard. It goes against almost all my natural inclinations. But I've decided that making nasty comments about strangers who I'll never meet, except through glowing pixels on my computer monitor, does nothing but diminish me.
posted by crunchland at 5:50 PM on September 22, 2004


Okay, SweetJesus, I understand your point of view. But if you've so gotten over the tiny infractions in the Blue, why chime in to bust my balls over my adventures in the Grey? Really, you're just as much a part of this downward spiral of negativity as those you criticize, a point I'm making for the second time now. Why do you take issue with the fact of the conversation, instead of just lodging your opinion in it, or moving on? Could you be obsessed with the Way Things Must Be Done on MetaFilter, too? Hmm.

Raising an issue with karl's posting style in the Blue is appropriate use of MetaTalk. Your bitching about my callout in the callout itself is just bonus negativity.

and btw, the following is, indeed, a conversation:
"here's what I think."
"I agree with you."
"I don't agree with you."

posted by scarabic at 6:24 PM on September 22, 2004


We got to talking about this at the last meetup, specifically the difference between the blue and the green. In the green, for the most part, the tone is really positive & helpful. Polar opposite tone in the blue - to the point where it's like a complete inverse ratio of the green posts (yet sometimes it seems like the sonofabitch who dissed you in the blue is gonna turn out to be the one who gives you a kickass answer in the green, so go figure.)

Critical thought engenders negative vibes, whereas a cry for help brings on the sympathy. No different than in real life, so I don't have a problem with it.

If I have a problem with any part of mefi, it's the gray. I don't mind the bug reports, meetup announcements, etc. those are helpful, but the tone of a lot of the etiquette posts are just whiny - it's the internet equivalent of the school snitch.
posted by lilboo at 7:02 PM on September 22, 2004


Raising an issue with karl's posting style in the Blue is appropriate use of MetaTalk.

By anyone else but you. It's personal with you--as personal as you can get with glowing phosphors on a screen but still it's personal--you have a beef with me and whatever I post offends you in regards to content, style, what have you as a given. You and I have had words. You have made me your topic du jour for quite a number of jours. I could care less about your compliants because of it.

You post too many complaints to metatalk. You grasp at straws to complain. When you aren't posting your Burning Man roundups, that is... MetaTalk has become your self-infatuated all about scarabic blog.
posted by y2karl at 7:08 PM on September 22, 2004


I think it may have something to do with contemporary America. Y'all seem well worked up at the moment.

Maybe it'll all be hunky-dory in the new year?
posted by dash_slot- at 7:11 PM on September 22, 2004


Critical thought engenders negative vibes. . . . No different than in real life, so I don't have a problem with it.

Does no one really have a problem with this notion? If not, then I'll leave this here and go back to writing crackpot manifestos under the bare bulb--but Jeebus. Do you all really want Metafilter to be a land of only head pats and puppies? Isn't that kind of . . . sad?
posted by dame at 7:11 PM on September 22, 2004


I had what I thought was a great FPP, but now I'm scared to post it because I know one of the links has been posted to the front page already.

Getting a callout isn't what I want. But I know it will happen should I decide to work the post up.

I understand the reluctance on Matt's part to open up registration, I've watched what's been going on here since April 1 + 2 and honey, it ain't pretty.

I was a longtime lurker, 2 years +. Now that I have an account, you 'oldtimers' (and some not so old) who are so all about the proprieties and checking to see if a post is a dup, you make me wonder if I did the right thing in getting the account.

When the filter is good, it's great.

When you people start with the picking of nits, it's not.

Matt: I for one am not jaded, though I've been online for 12+ years, I've seen very little of what the the intarweb has to offer, simply because I'm lazy, and I want someone else to bring it to me.

Metafilter does that, though lately it's been way too political for my taste.

Does that mean I'm going to call someone out for a political post? NO!

Why? Because that link may have sparked interest to at least the person who posted it.

Am I being NEGATIVE? I don't think so, but I could be wrong.
posted by kamylyon at 7:12 PM on September 22, 2004


Do you all really want Metafilter to be a land of only head pats and puppies?

*tweet* Strawman. Twenty yard penalty.

Disagreement, vociferous intelligent disagreement, is always welcome, I'd say. Debate is good. Heated debate, even.

Holier- (lefter-, smarter-, snarkier-, whateverer-) than-thou oneliner turds dropped into a thread, one atop the other, those are not as welcome, I'd venture.

Attempts at humour are great, even if they're snarky, and offered in the 'we're all in this together' spirit. But like crunchland suggests, being unpleasant and negative ain't good for nobody, or for the site.

And it tends to make us look more like the picky comic-book-guy wankers Matt suggests many see us to be.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:22 PM on September 22, 2004


Sorry -- I'd add that I like having the black-humourists, the cranky sourpusses, the crotchety uncles (and aunties) and the cantankerous ranters amongst us around. I'd just hate to see that become the overriding tenor of the site (or become more so, if it is already.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:24 PM on September 22, 2004


kamylyon, just post it. Too many people are scared to post because of nitpickers/anal-retentives, and they shouldn't be. (and it's only scary the first time--after that it's easy.)
posted by amberglow at 7:34 PM on September 22, 2004


As the person posting the PepsiBlue comment in the first thread Matt linked, all I can say is that I was trying to use the jargon of this community as my contribution to the discussion. What kind of discussion was the poster of that FPP hoping to engender? What positive comments were expected?
posted by billsaysthis at 7:43 PM on September 22, 2004


This is somewhat timely. I got an e-mail tonight that accused me of "posting compulsively" and having "unresolved aggression," and that mycomments rendered threads "unreadable." This was all from someone I've never encountered here or anywhere else.

Blunt, it definetely was, but it's merely a more distilled version of what one encounters anywhere online when one ventures a challenge to majority opinion (which I realize varies from place to virtual place), so you tell me how you confront that without being somewhat "negative" or at least defensive.
posted by jonmc at 7:44 PM on September 22, 2004


I don't think it's so much a worry that the poster gets picked on, since they can answer back, it's the person who's site is being linked who looks at the MeFi thread full of snark and negativity that I think Matt is worried about.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:44 PM on September 22, 2004


"Personally, the JPG magazine thing I could sort of see, since the site doesn't have content yet"

Well, yeah, I'm pretty negative. That's just how I am. But I had a point. A link to "Coming Soon! The Thing You Can't See Yet! The One That Fails To Distinguish Itself In Some Way!" isn't really all that exciting to me, and I'm inclined to say as much.
posted by majick at 8:06 PM on September 22, 2004


Thank you amberglow I will, as soon as I finish my research.

btw, some of you may know me as esmerelda, from #mefi :)

(esmerleda is 'taken' in here but never used)

stav: yes, give us friction: "I agree"/ "I disagree" and some one liners can spark discourse that may open us up to new and even exciting ideas. It's the pickers of nits that I have the biggest problem with.

mathowie: thank you!
posted by kamylyon at 8:06 PM on September 22, 2004


dame: Don't forget their ponies. Headpats, puppies AND ponies!

You are such a square peg in this round hole.
Maybe that's why I like reading your comments.
heheh ;-P
posted by mischief at 8:18 PM on September 22, 2004


Really nasty personal attack in response to formatting gripe... Wow, karl, your tactic of attacking the speaker instead of addressing the complaint is virtually Bush/Cheney worthy.
posted by scarabic at 8:37 PM on September 22, 2004


Why should negative be seen as bad? As a photographer, you have the perfect analogy. It's not intelligent to see agreement and approval as positive and disagreement and conflict as negative. It's all, if done sincerely (it doesn't even have to be done well) criticism.

The whole noxious idea of "constructive criticism" was invented by Broadway divas and West End luvvies whose idea of criticism is saying "Loved the show - pity it didn't go on for another hour/Martini glasses would have been better than shot glasses in the suicide scene/I'd have liked to see more of the baby elephant/the caviar canapés were clearly faked with shad roe/next time round be sure to get the Mark Twain quote absolutrly right, though I agree it makes not a fartlette of difference to the final result."

As someone who's by nature positive (but not proud of it) I resent those who see agreement and gratitude as worthless dross (and even flattery). So-called "negative" comments are just as valid as their "positive" counterparts. Even perhaps a little more useful.

It's all criticism; comment; discussion; individuality; opinion. It's up to readers to decode and interpret; knowing there's generally a good reason behind every act of communication.

People who decry so called "negativism" need to work on their excessive closure and sensitivity. It's actually a learning disability not to be able to gain insight from even the snarkiest remark. The philosopher Peter Winch, following Wittgenstein, convincingly applied this criterium to even lies, arguing that the fact that they were expressed (as well as the way in which they were) is already telling enough.

"Positive" and "negative" are simplistic, barnyard terms. If I respond to a comment by saying "I couldn't agree more!" (because I genuinely couldn't and needed to say it) I could just as persuasively be condemned as being profoundly negative; inasmuch as I wasn't contributing to the debate or was trying to influence subsequent posters from expressing a contrary view.

MetaFilter is interesting and useful because the vast majority of users are honest and forthright, whether they tend to challenge or support whatever's on offer. Negativity and Positivity are entirely spurious, psychobabble-inspired terms which reduce criticism to a mere duel between boos and hurrahs. They're reductive and stifling.

Worry not, Matt Haughey - your negativity today is safe with us! ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:45 PM on September 22, 2004


AnectdoteFilter: In recent weeks, I've recommended MetaFilter to three different people as a "launch site" for interesting web wandering. I never heard anything from one of them but both of the others were put off by what they perceived as the often negative, occasionally vicisious comments in threads. The conventional wisdom around here is we're supposed to scroll past things we're not interested in; fresher eyes see politically partisan post after politically partisan post, with no hope of changing minds or even reasoned debate. I've been less and less interested in MetaFilter recently without really understanding why - but I was still surprised by what my two friends experienced as new visitors here.
posted by JollyWanker at 8:48 PM on September 22, 2004


Jolly Wanker - Could your growing disinterest be merely boredom which stems from familiarity ?

Miguel - I thoroughly enjoyed that comment of yours.

"MetaFilter is interesting and useful because the vast majority of users are honest and forthright" - and the ones who aren't so are nonetheless consistently disingenuous.
posted by troutfishing at 8:58 PM on September 22, 2004


fresher eyes see politically partisan post after politically partisan post, with no hope of changing minds or even reasoned debate

just thought that bore repeating
posted by scarabic at 9:22 PM on September 22, 2004


Miguel isn't worth reading anymore. It's all baseless conjecture seemingly brought forth from the ether.
posted by The God Complex at 9:38 PM on September 22, 2004


have i mentioned i have a fish in my pants?
posted by quonsar at 10:13 PM on September 22, 2004 [1 favorite]


It sounds like it's been there for some time now, q.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:20 PM on September 22, 2004


As an echo of occhiblu's post, i am also a long-time lurker and only recently poster. I found Ask.me to be much more of an inviting atmosphere.

And to answer your question, Yes, i do think there are too many whiners / complainers / negative opionions on mefi. That's mainly why i have been reluctant / not interested in posting there.
posted by escher at 10:36 PM on September 22, 2004


Really nasty personal attack in response to formatting gripe... Wow, karl, your tactic of attacking the speaker instead of addressing the complaint is virtually Bush/Cheney worthy.

Not so. Merely pointing out the combination of complaint with personal animus on your part sans the mind reading and insinuations of motive. You have made three posts on the topic of what I am doing wrong now. You make, to mind, an incredible amount of MetaTalk posts--Burning Man update included--and have devoted post after post devoted to my faults. It's not attacking the speaker to point out the speaker is attacking me. Again. Once more. People complain about people with whom they have had words. It's called holding a grudge, having a bone to pick, grinding an ax, puirsuing a personal vendetta. It's the bigger part of most callouts. It's just the truth of how it works around here.

On the larger topic, Matt, consider the negative ninnie-ism as the Harrison Bergeron meets Lord Of The Flies effect. Unto all of us a Handicapper General Diana Moon Glampers or Roger and Jack is borne. By turns.
posted by y2karl at 12:05 AM on September 23, 2004


Uh, excuse me karl, but I have never made a MeTa post to call you out before. Never. You're swinging wildly toward what you perceive as an attack, but do you really consider it controversial that your posts are long and often small? Anyone can see that, not just crazies who are out to get you.

Far from asking you to jump off a cliff, I've only asked you to make your posts more legible. Implicit in this is that I have accepted, inasmuch as I've bothered to think about it, your crusade to wake us all up to what's going on in Iraq. Please get over yourself if you think I know/care enough about you to have it in for you personally.

If we've crossed paths in the past (and though I don't doubt it, I certainly don't remember it either), it's probably because I have advocated for fewer news/Iraq links, and you've posted lots and lots of those. Repeat: it's not personal. If you think a request to post in LARGER TEXT is some kind of vendetta against you, you need to check again.

Your random swipes at me over Burning Man, now that's what I call making it personal: swinging at something completely random just because you need a target. What the hell does Burning Man or a meetup thread related to it have to do with anything? Is that some attempt to discredit my judgement or cast my interests as fringe and trivial? Character assassination. Wow. Now that is personal, isn't it?
posted by scarabic at 12:50 AM on September 23, 2004


stop being such a fucking pussy matt. people have negative opinions on the stuff that i'm involved with? oh no! boo fucking hoo bitch.

seriously, could you be any more of a whiney bitch? How about to talk about your fucking period in the next call-out you fucking cunt.
posted by bob sarabia at 1:14 AM on September 23, 2004


(I'll ignore bob sarabia's comment above, assuming it's just a spectacularly unfunny attempt at irony.)

It's the bigger part of most callouts. It's just the truth of how it works around here.

I think, or at least hope, you're wrong here, y2karl. That'd be very disappointing indeed. As far as all the rest goes, well, meh. It's all good, if it's good, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:26 AM on September 23, 2004


This website exists to break down the barriers between people, to extend a weblog beyond just one person, and to foster discussion among its members.

For a site that purports to link to the best of the web, it ought to represent the best of the web. In-fighting, negativity, opportunities for discussion lost due to closed-mindedness, topics of narrow geopolitical interest: these are the mundane anchors that prevent the manifestation of a vibrant, global community that values discourse, finely-honed arguments and consideration (both of others and of the topic).

I don't pretend to have a solution, though. I know how I would like to think of MetaFilter: I imagine a thousand pleps, each with an appreciation for that which transcends the mundane and a willingness to draw upon a multitude of disciplines to reveal more about the topic at hand and the collective human experience through the sharing of knowledge and considered discourse.

I realize that is a Pollyanna-ish projection of what I think ought to be; one of my flaws is idealism. Still, since the question was asked, that's my answer and impressions as a frequent reader and very infrequent poster.
posted by dpkm at 1:31 AM on September 23, 2004


Bob, could you possibly be more offensive?

Matt, how do you resist banning these people? I honestly marvel at your restraint.
posted by dobbs at 1:48 AM on September 23, 2004


bob, you need some quiet time.

Preferably, a long quiet time.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:32 AM on September 23, 2004


It would be very nice if, as an instinctive first reaction, people looked for what they liked in a thing, and framed any criticism in the context ofpotential improvement (wouldn't it be great if...)

If it is any sort of a consolation, members are absolutely as pissy with eachother as they are with external links.

It sucks.
posted by nthdegx at 4:19 AM on September 23, 2004


And, er, I think bob was being ironic, guys.
posted by nthdegx at 4:20 AM on September 23, 2004


Thanks, nthdegx. I wince when I point out irony, and wincing causes wrinkles. (Apparently, good Stavros' timely interpretation finds itself hidden within unreadably small print.)

Remarkable, isn't it, how Chihuahua Bob managed to sterilize his irony against humourous ingredient?

Lately, any kind of irony seems to require for its successful intercourse both editor and interpreter, and though the same could be said about many 16-year-old girls, in irony's case, the casual pursuit thereof does not seem worth the trouble.
posted by Opus Dark at 4:36 AM on September 23, 2004


I want to say: I am totally agree!
posted by wackybrit at 5:30 AM on September 23, 2004


Could your growing disinterest be merely boredom which stems from familiarity?

At least partially. But I've been a member here for a long, long time, and when Matt has opened the registration gates, we've been flooded with - what seems to me to be - a zillion duplicate posts, inundation with rehashed in-jokes that weren't that funny to begin with and the kind of swaggering, posturing pointlessness I associate more with the SlashDot crowd. OTOH, on further consideration, I think what I'm really wary of is more of the "flood" effect; if new users were added consistently and in measured doses (perhaps a set number per month?), I think the MetaSphere might expand to accommodate them in a less disruptive way.

Even this thread is supportive of the argument that we've all been holed up too long in this bunker without fresh reinforcements: scarabic points out - again - that some significant number of us find y2karl's posting style akin to being an asshole. Karl responds - again - by calling scarabic names and ignoring - again - the valid criticism being offered. Scarabic takes offense - again - and someone else jumps in - again - and... Oh, never mind. It's just a website, right?
posted by JollyWanker at 5:38 AM on September 23, 2004


It has always been thus. Leave Karl alone. He means no harm. He only gets mean when backed into a corner. If you don't like his posting style, get over it, and find something else to fixate on. I did.
posted by crunchland at 6:05 AM on September 23, 2004


That's how we got all these argumentative, negative ninnies in the first place.

I say cull some motherfuckers.


"Do not ask for whom the black kettle bell tolls..." ;-)

Yeah, MeFi sucks for overly snarky negativity and anal nitpicking. There are better ways to comment and even to criticize. Ninnies!
posted by Shane at 6:26 AM on September 23, 2004


There are a really lot of insightful, constructive posters here (who may sometimes be critical, but who are usually fair and logical), and quite a few sneerers whose voices just seem to carry further and register more loudly. A thoughtful comment is usually appreciated, but not necessarily memorable, while the effect of a razoredged zinger lingers longer. It may even be that, overall, MeFi is actually more positive than negative (political posts excluded), but it's human nature to focus more intently on outlying, outrageous or "deviant" behavior (and to believe that it is more prevalent than it really is). Another aspect that skews the view is the snowballing-pile-on syndrome, which happens a bit too much, and for which I can't find much of an excuse except for mob mentality.

That said, it is true that I sometimes cringe when I see certain posts, and not always because they are about our famous "bad" topics like obesity, religion, etc., but because somebody saying "hey, look at this neat project" does, so often, seem to bring out the blood lust. One thing I've learned is that it is generally very dangerous to explicitly say in a post that something is really good, or cool, or interesting, because somehow it just automatically triggers a "no, this sucks" response in a lot of people. If we are looking for a way to tone down the empty, thoughtless criticism and encourage more incisive comments, then we all need to decide that pack behavior isn't cool, and that snark isn't necessarily the epitome of wit. (Well, it can be, but unless you are Dorothy Parker, it probably isn't.)
posted by taz at 6:37 AM on September 23, 2004


One thing I've learned is that it is generally very dangerous to explicitly say in a post that something is really good, or cool, or interesting, because somehow it just automatically triggers a "no, this sucks" ...

ABSOLUTELY! That was one of the first things I learned here. Never say "This is great!" as that is just a great huge beaming beacon beckoning the naysayers outta the woodwork. Just post it matter-o-factly...

Second lesson you learn on MeFi (or leave if you don't) is to have a thick skin, ignore nastiness or blow it off dismissively and hopefully with humor, and save your meltdowns for occasions when you just have to let loose.
posted by Shane at 6:54 AM on September 23, 2004

Sunshine and lollipops and rainbows and kitty cats.
We now return to "The Days Of Our Lives"...
posted by mischief at 7:46 AM on September 23, 2004


One thing I've learned is that it is generally very dangerous to explicitly say in a post that something is really good, or cool, or interesting.

That's quite a sorry state of affairs. When I think something rocks, I'm quite happy to say so and frequently do - this might not add much to the conversation, but, if it means the poster is likely to come back with something just as good in the future, I believe it is beneficial to the community.

I would strongly urge anyone that is put off commenting positively about anything, to reconsider. It is a cliché, but it does absolutely apply: don't let the bastards get you down!
posted by nthdegx at 8:25 AM on September 23, 2004


Surely it's dependent on the links? The two you mention Matt had 'significant' flaws.

I can think of three recent posts I participated in where the comments were almost unanimously positive - the infinite cat one, the "Craziest" one and the Jesse Simpson (?) animation one.

If your project is half-baked or open to criticism for blatant commercialism (without too much else to offer to mitigate that) - damn right people are going to be somewhat critical - and the reason: because they're being posted here as an example of "the best of the web".

That's a pretty high standard. And whilst plenty of news fodder posts seem to frequently dodge this criteria, other stuff doesn't, and gets judged as such.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:38 AM on September 23, 2004


Maybe some people need to wake up to the fact that just because a few folks have a (perceived) negative view of their output, it doesn't mean that the whole of the internet hates them and wants them to die.

Matt - there is a minor amount of negitivity in the two threads you link to. Not a big deal and to be honest, dayan is the one who pops up in the Booty Shotz thread and gets nice & sarky. Richat apologises for any bitchiness, asks questions & dayan can't be arsed to reply.

If you're going to put something up on the internet be prepared for anyone else who has access to have any kind of opinion on it & don't get all crybaby if some total stranger doesn't approve. It really is a deal of teeny-tiny proportions.

Maybe it's just all these nerds who spend too much time indoors and as a consequence have, literally, thinner skin than the rest of us?

One other thing - 'negative ninnies'?!? Matt, have you be reborn as a 50-something woman living in Kansas?

Just in case, I'll advise anyone who hasn't done so already to read the above with a little humour...
posted by i_cola at 8:42 AM on September 23, 2004


Even this thread is supportive of the argument that we've all been holed up too long in this bunker without fresh reinforcements:

The counter argument is maybe we should learn first to treat each other decently before we scale up and subject anyone else to abuse.

I think, or at least hope, you're wrong here, y2karl. That'd be very disappointing indeed.

It's always personal, that's my experience.
posted by y2karl at 8:52 AM on September 23, 2004


I would strongly urge anyone that is put off commenting positively about anything, to reconsider.

nthdegx, she was referring to stating, in your own front page post, that the subject of your post is fantastic or cool. Positive comments within the post thread are, as you say, encouraged!

One other thing - 'negative ninnies'?!? Matt, have you be reborn as a 50-something woman living in Kansas?

It's a time-honoured phrase, Youuuu ninny!

Sunshine and lollipops and rainbows and kitty cats.

Okay, if you insist, coming right up.
posted by Shane at 9:12 AM on September 23, 2004


The counter argument is maybe we should learn first to treat each other decently before we scale up and subject anyone else to abuse.

Before or after we all agree to respond to repeated pleas for readability and appropriate self-restraint in copying and pasting entire pages of text that are available through simple linking? See, how easy it is to slip into? Just like Mr. Rogers' cardigan sweater...

(I'll just speak for myself, but I'm pretty sure that other members feel that you, in particular, no longer deserve the benefit of the doubt, so if you're feeling singled out and "backed into a corner" - as someone else described it - you're spot on. A new user would be granted far more latitude until we were as certain of them as we are of you that nothing the community says or does will influence your self-absorbed crusade to turn MetaFilter into a linkless, 7pt text wasteland.)
posted by JollyWanker at 9:44 AM on September 23, 2004


It's always personal, that's my experience.

From the Wikipedia entry on "psychological projection":
According to the theories of Sigmund Freud, psychological projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one "projects" one's own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings, and so on onto someone else (usually another person, but psychological projection onto animals and inanimate objects also occurs). The principle of projection is well-established in psychology.

An illustration would be an individual who feels dislike for another person (let's say Bob), but whose unconscious mind will not allow them to become aware of this negative emotion. Instead of admitting to themselves that they feel dislike for Bob, they project their dislike onto him, so that the individual's conscious thought is not "I don't like Bob," but "Bob doesn't seem to like me."
...a theory which can account for quite a bit of Mefi behavior.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:55 AM on September 23, 2004


I had what I thought was a great FPP, but now I'm scared to post it because I know one of the links has been posted to the front page already.

Getting a callout isn't what I want. But I know it will happen should I decide to work the post up.


The canonical way to avoid [most of] the criticism is with a self-callout. Add a "(previously discussed here)" as a link to the previous thread at the appropriate point in your post.

This isn't a get-out-of-jail-free card, though. If the previously posted link is your main point, and the additional links are just to give it an air of legitimacy as a new post, you'll rightfully be lambasted for it. But if the additional links are actually worth looking at, I doubt you'd receive much criticism for it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:34 AM on September 23, 2004


I know I'm a negative ninny, yes sirree.
posted by troutfishing at 12:18 PM on September 23, 2004


Also, I loved Miguel Cardoso's comment :

"....People who decry so called "negativism" need to work on their excessive closure and sensitivity. It's actually a learning disability not to be able to gain insight from even the snarkiest remark.....Positive" and "negative" are simplistic, barnyard terms...."

Metafilter : "Your indignation at my snarkiness betrays a learning disability."
posted by troutfishing at 12:26 PM on September 23, 2004


Okay, SweetJesus, I understand your point of view. But if you've so gotten over the tiny infractions in the Blue, why chime in to bust my balls over my adventures in the Grey? Really, you're just as much a part of this downward spiral of negativity as those you criticize, a point I'm making for the second time now. Why do you take issue with the fact of the conversation, instead of just lodging your opinion in it, or moving on? Could you be obsessed with the Way Things Must Be Done on MetaFilter, too? Hmm.

Really? So this is how you start your conversations -
Small text doesn't mitigate excessive length, karl. It exacerbates it, by making ALL THAT harder to read. What? Are you trying to make less work for those of us who will scroll past it? If you want to be read, leave your Iraq links + editorializing legible and stop pretending they don't take up as much space as they do.
That's a lecture, not a conversation. And now you're trying to lecture me too, and its condescending (hmmmmmmmmm). In any event, I don't think I busted your balls too much, and in fact, I never even mentioned you by name. I posted two ways to increase font size, and said the argument was asinine (which it was). Does that count as a call out? You're the one looking to hop up on a cross over this stupid shit...

Raising an issue with karl's posting style in the Blue is appropriate use of MetaTalk. Your bitching about my callout in the callout itself is just bonus negativity.

Blah blah blah , rules, blah blah blah appropriate use, blah blah blah self-policing, I've heard it all before. I know what Metatalk is for, and as I said above, I think some people take the self-policing thing a little too seriously and abuse it.

and btw, the following is, indeed, a conversation:
"here's what I think."
"I agree with you."
"I don't agree with you."


Great, maybe you should have one sometime instead of lecturing strangers on the Internet about margins, white space and scrolling...

If you really want to continue this idiocy, keep it to e-mail. I'm not going to vent in public about it anymore.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:41 PM on September 23, 2004


...a theory which can account for quite a bit of Mefi behavior.

It certainly explains the mentalist who wrote feeling like he's that guy at the meeting who has the podium, I'm talking now! please, this is very important and I find myself getting sleepy, considering the fuckin' ironic source. Who only recently wrote to me truce? after being told If you are going to preach, practice by me after a demonstrably hypocritical pontification on etiquette, and, who I have not said one word to or about since until this.

As for you Jollywanker, shall we collect every epithet you've hurled in my direction? Whenever I get a callout, there you show up with torch, pitchfork and insult.

It's always personal. You both, above all, are living proof.
posted by y2karl at 12:46 PM on September 23, 2004


"Are MetaFilter members a bunch of negative ninnies?"

No, no, a thousand times no.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:59 PM on September 23, 2004


Okay, so would it be a personal attack if I asked you to explain, in your own words, why you post in all-small, karl?
posted by scarabic at 1:20 PM on September 23, 2004


Wow, a link I posted got called out by number 1! *I* thought it was interesting. I think Heather and Derek consistently churn out "the best of the web" so I thought it was another good endeavor worth sharing with the class. And if that meant no comments in the thread, so be it -- but I guess we no longer have comment-less threads here.

I kept the post to few words (to avoid those offended by wordiness); I didn't monkey with the type (to avoid those offended by font monkeying); I didn't use an inappropriate or uninformative title (to avoid those using the RSS feed) and didn't mention the war (because the war isn't "the best of the web.") I thought it was a good post. Obviously I was mistaken. I'll make sure not to post again for a year, instead soaking in more examples of the way it should be done and the way it should be commented upon.
posted by macadamiaranch at 2:23 PM on September 23, 2004


"I came back several hours later and was kind of surprised. Most of the comments are negative."

Surprised to find negative comments would appear to imply that Matt liked your post. Am I not getting your joke or something?
posted by scarabic at 3:39 PM on September 23, 2004


You're really a piece of work, karl.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:57 PM on September 23, 2004


HAH!
posted by crunchland at 4:05 PM on September 23, 2004


macadamiaranch, you're kidding, right? mathowie wasn't snarking on your thread, he was snarking on the people who were snarking on your thread.
posted by Shane at 4:48 PM on September 23, 2004


When you're lost in the rain in Juarez
And it's Eastertime too
And your gravity fails
And negativity don't pull you through
Don't put on any airs
When you're down on Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they really make a mess outa you

Bob Dylan
posted by LouReedsSon at 5:47 PM on September 23, 2004


gah, I know. My attempt at...something...came out badly. I mean, I'm TERRIFIED to post anything here because of the lashing it takes prevents me from going past the preview point waaaaay more often than it should. Other than keeping my mouth shut there's really no way of preventing me putting my foot in it, which I should do now as well.
posted by macadamiaranch at 5:53 PM on September 23, 2004


post whatever the hell you want. if the whiners whine, tell them to fuck off and use quicksave often. if you know where an enemy will spawn you can be ready to rush them if possible, a shotgun blast or two to the head usually takes out most enemies. save rockets, grenades, and the bfg for the really nasty buggers. use the plasma gun, machine gun, etc to weaken moderately powerful monsters and then rush them and shotgun blast the bitches straight to hell. that's my take on things.
posted by bargle at 6:13 PM on September 23, 2004


and for the love of ewoks, move left and right to avoid snarks. standing your ground in bastardfilter is suicide. strafing, crouching, jumping and running. all qualities of a good poster. don't worry about the collateral damage, the whole place is full of monsters anyway.
posted by bargle at 6:16 PM on September 23, 2004


monsters?
posted by amberglow at 6:36 PM on September 23, 2004


It's all about the circle-strafe, motherbasters!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:05 PM on September 23, 2004


Oooh, monsters lead such innnn-teresting lives!

(Mad Scientist!) [blink!] (Boo!)

</BugsFilter>
posted by JollyWanker at 7:32 PM on September 23, 2004


...It was a graveyard smash...
posted by crunchland at 11:13 PM on September 23, 2004


macadamiaranch: At the risk of sounding negative, you come accross as more of an arsehole than anyone who might have been considered negative in your precious thread.

But you're right. I did a quick poll when you weren't looking and everyone here hates you and everything you've ever done! Whodathunkit? Back to hiding under the bad for you bucko!
posted by i_cola at 3:41 AM on September 24, 2004


Metafilter members are always being so negative on Iraq, Diebold voting machines, the environment, and so on.

It's as if they are brainwashed to the truth - that everything is getting better every day and in every way.

For example, I read recently, from the US EPA, that I wasn't supposed to eat any freshwater fish caught anywhere in the US due to high levels of Mercury, Dioxin, PCB's, and so on.

Some people - negative ninnies - would cast this news in a black light, ignoring the obvious promise of whole new extractive industries which would reclaim valuable metals and chemicals from freshwater fish before sending the tail-end product "downstream" to be converted into pet food and fertilizer.
posted by troutfishing at 4:28 AM on September 24, 2004


Democrats tend to be negative ninnys. I read that it's a sort of brain dysfunction - excessive worrying.

That makes sense to me - negativity as a mental illness :

What's the point of worrying when you can instead spend your time getting rich, accruing power, and drinking margaritas on the beach at delightful, sunny cut-rate resorts in the Carribean ? There are plenty of great hurricane damage specials this year which only a fool would pass up.

Only poverty stricken, clueless idiots worry.

In the banquet of life, God helps those who have the initiative, talent, creativity, and discipline to help themselves to the juiciest cuts, and if the negative ninnies opt to chop off their own hands and so starve - in front of plates heaped with juicy heaps of roast beef - well then, so be it.
posted by troutfishing at 4:44 AM on September 24, 2004


Metafilter : a nephritic necklacing neufchatel of negativity nauseates the nation
posted by troutfishing at 5:25 AM on September 24, 2004


i_cola: that was harsh, man. Harsh. The guy/gal is paranoid, ffs. No need to add to it, even if that was jesting.

Whatever happened to random acts of kindness?
posted by dash_slot- at 5:44 AM on September 24, 2004


Plus, she made a great post on vintage Chicago street gang compliment cards. I could do with a quite a few more bad posts like that!
posted by taz at 5:48 AM on September 24, 2004


i think i_cola was kidding.
posted by amberglow at 6:01 AM on September 24, 2004


i'm sure he was, actually.
posted by amberglow at 6:02 AM on September 24, 2004


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:11 AM on September 24, 2004


I'm quietly hugging all of you.
posted by nthdegx at 6:20 AM on September 24, 2004


Get your hand off my ass, nthdegx.
posted by jonmc at 6:33 AM on September 24, 2004


stavros, despite my usual contempt for you, that was a very cool cartoon! props to the wonderchicken! ;-)

macadamiaranch, buck up. I don't remember specifics, but I DO remember that I like you and your posts and comments very much. Unlike stavros, who picked on me a little too much when I first started commenting on Mefi and annoys me with some of his Mefi Cop attitudes and is now eternally on my Mefi Shit List, but whom I still compliment when he deserves it ;-)

Seriously, you're on my mental Utterly Cool List, which is not a long list and does not take up much memory. Among other Utterly Cool Mefites, you're situated very close to taz, who just stuck up for you, and amberglow, who just posted one of my all-time favorite Bugs Bunny characters. (Man, that fuzzy lumpkin creeped me out when I was a tiny tot, but then I grew to love him like a red-haired twin! Wasn't it cool when Bugs fell asleep and floated away on his bed to the magic castle, too?)

Okay, I'm kidding a lot here, but not about liking you. Be stainless steel. Oil cloth. Let it all roll off. If someone criticizes you, make a joke and tell 'em to fuck off. Mefi needs more macadamiaranch.

Now get out there and kick ass!

/whimsical version of Burgess Meredith as Rocky's trainer in that first movie that didn't suck but, like much Hollywood bullshit, spawned an inane number of inane sequals.

*sings "I see trees of green, red roses, too, I see them bloom for me and for you, and I think to myself, it's a wonderful world" in a bad Satchmo imitation, stumbles to the door, trips on carpet on the way out*
posted by Shane at 7:10 AM on September 24, 2004


stavros, despite my usual contempt for you

*cries*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:45 AM on September 24, 2004


How'd you know I'm a four-eyed git, stav? Huh?

*sings*
(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding
As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity.

I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,
There's one thing I wanna know:
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?

And as I walked on
Through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.

'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry.
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?


So where are the strong?
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.

'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry.
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?
*sings*
posted by dash_slot- at 7:52 AM on September 24, 2004


stavros, despite my usual contempt for you

*cries*


See, that's the way to do it, macadamia! "I'll cry tomorrow" is always a classic quip too.

*sniffles, hugs stavros and nthdegx, slaps jonmc's ass*

;-)
posted by Shane at 8:00 AM on September 24, 2004


dash & amber: I was very kidding. I don't have the time to conduct secret surveys...
posted by i_cola at 8:27 AM on September 24, 2004


Oh great. So what am I supposed to do with this absentee ballot?
posted by ook at 9:23 AM on September 24, 2004


well, i think that i've gotten more negative lately - but so has the rest of the country i live in. we can't have rational discussions without someone screaming rhetoric, we all immediately take sides, and nobody will budge. news is always bad, because bad news makes for great sales and good ratings. we all slow down to see the car crash, but nobody will slow down to look at the volunteers planting a field of flowers 2 miles later down the road. it's not good press.

we also have a US govt. that loves paranoia these days, a media that likes to use buzzwords and instant classifications. bush is a "patriot" and a "dummy". cheney is "evil". kerry is a "war hero" and he's "wishy-washy". we want our two-second sound bite. we want our neat pigeon-hole for everything. we can't deal with shades of gray, we only see it in black or white because nobody talks about shades of gray, or we call them spineless - pick a side, you flip-flopper.

so, mefites are largely USian, we've pointed that out before. those that aren't USian are generally strongly affected by the actions of the US, positively or negatively. the tension and holier-than-thou attitudes we spread at home are getting exported as well, either as an anti-US reaction or because our ham-fisted attempts at help muck up other countries to the point that our current state of affairs is of vital interest elsewhere in the little blue sphere we all call home. what we have here is probably a reflection of the world we're living in, where bad things happen more than good things - not because they really do, but because bad news = good ratings, so good things don't get any press. it's a self-sustaining cycle now. if our little microcosm reflects this, i don't necessarily thing any of us are to blame.

well in an attempt to be non-partisian i wanted to give more than one example for cheney, but c'mon. he really is evil. i mean, the dude eats babies. BABIES! just look at him. look at that evil grin. you know he eats babies.

ook - absentee ballot? have fun with it. write on it "not THAT guy, the other one, the one that won't fuck up my country. i vote for him." then send it in. let the poor bastard counting the votes figure out which dude you meant.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:56 AM on September 24, 2004


now eternally on my Mefi Shit List

Hey stav. What are you in for?
posted by scarabic at 9:57 AM on September 24, 2004


To all members of MetaFilter:

I like your glasses.

They look well.

Yeah, the automatic negativity is a problem, but it ain't going away, so... whaddayagonna do?
posted by languagehat at 11:21 AM on September 24, 2004


Okay, okay already! Kidding about the shitlist. I'm erasing the damn thing, not that it ever existed, and not that I'm not on a few shitlists myself. Can't I be just a little bit negative and grudgey? All the other ninnies are doing it ;-)
posted by Shane at 12:27 PM on September 24, 2004


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