AskMe Deletion September 30, 2004 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Matt, did you delete weston's Why/Something/Nothing AskMe thread? Sure, it had some problems, as it was a vaguely-worded question that resulted in initial snarking, but I believe weston meant it as a sincere philosophical question, and it resulted in a number of good philosophy/religion links, as well as some unique personal perspectives. Maybe you didn't notice that it ended up as a very good thread?
posted by Shane to Etiquette/Policy at 1:48 PM (43 comments total)

Yeah, that's what the blue is for.
posted by papercake at 2:03 PM on September 30, 2004

It was an un-question. A non-question. It didn't make any sense for ask metafilter.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:09 PM on September 30, 2004

I don't understand why people who have "these types" of questions don't simply use the front page. Come on, we have a dozen posters who use the front page daily for their political rants; why not use it for a "good cause", posting a previously unseen philosophical site and using it as a springboard for a conversation?
posted by BlueTrain at 2:29 PM on September 30, 2004

And this is why I've been repressing my urge to ask for slogans for an "all-meat restaurant" that eschews the conventional beef/pork/chicken entrees.

AllMeatCo: When you're hungry enough to eat a horse!
AllMeatCo: Food so good, you'll rabbit on about it to your friends!
AllMeatCo: Don't be chicken: eat llama!
AllMeatCo: Don't stick your head in the sand: Ostrich is Great!

posted by five fresh fish at 2:38 PM on September 30, 2004

maybe a JustAsking for people who just wanna discuss

i was waiting to see what happened as certain fites like to be the post police
(was hoping someone's "anthropomorphic" comment would lead him to the plushie people)

or a place for removed posts

(yes, i believe all the fites who want me gone have made themselves clear on and off mefi)

posted by ethylene at 2:49 PM on September 30, 2004

Yeah, well, we were on our way to defining the meaning of life in that thread, now you CYNICAL NINNIES are all S.O.L. Live out your days in blighted confusion. Muddle onward...

Seriously though, that thread reached a conclusion, achieved a point:

A sense of wonder is required...
posted by Shane at 3:46 PM on September 30, 2004

It was an un-question. A non-question. It didn't make any sense for ask metafilter.

I disagree. To the extent that there's no easy answer for it, yes, it is, but there's some questions that even if you know there's not going to be a conclusive answer, you're going to find other people's thoughts illuminating. I mean, I could have just as easily asked "What causes consciousness?" and nobody knows the answer to that either, but if I didn't know who Daniel Dennett and Roger Penrose and Douglas Hofstaeter were, I'd surely get some links/pointers, and probably even if I asked it familiar with that, there's some minds on AskMe who are familiar with other figures in the field or who have done some good thinking about it themselves.

Perhaps I could have better phrased it:

"Why is there something rather than nothing? Which philosophers have grappled with this question? What do you think?"

And some of the answers... onlyconnect's and majick's statements and another comment (I think it was substrate or signal, maybe) drew some connections for me. Ideas about probability existing outside of time and stuff are nothing concrete that I'm going to use today as I work on email template and web projects or cook lentil soup... but it's fun to chew on and even revealing when I think back over my college physics.
posted by weston at 3:52 PM on September 30, 2004

A sense of wonder is required.

posted by weston at 3:54 PM on September 30, 2004

Shane - AskMe is to be reserved for resolving critical problems in the life of a member. NEED TO KNOW stuff, like this.
posted by scarabic at 3:58 PM on September 30, 2004 [1 favorite]

Perhaps I could have better phrased it

Yeah, that would have helped. As it stood, it just looked like an excuse for people to talk about nothing.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:46 PM on September 30, 2004

It would have been a good MeFi post. Hook in a few intriguing links, a dummy's guide to existentialism or whatever, and then let it rip.

AllMeatCo: Eat Venison. 30,000 wolves can't be wrong.

AllMeatCo: Bambi. It's what's for dinner.

AllMeatCo: Badger, badger, badger, badger. A snake! A snake!

AllMeatCo: Awww, isn't meat cute!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:13 PM on September 30, 2004

posted by timeistight at 5:16 PM on September 30, 2004

not gonna do the obvious howie post ref, not gonna--

*smile and wave, like the queen mum*

did have an odd dream where quonsar and amberglow were glowy space blobs mating on futurama while the how edited them,
pale blue and amber, respectively
doodly doodly doo

posted by ethylene at 5:34 PM on September 30, 2004

I agree with the deletion in every way. While such philosophical questions are fun and interesting, they are best asked at the local pub. When I want to know about SQLwhatever, askme rocks, if I'm doubting the existence of the universe, I get drunk.
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:56 PM on September 30, 2004

As it stood, it just looked like an excuse for people to talk about nothing.

No, something.

Can somebody who caches stuff from the site mail me the thread?
posted by weston at 5:57 PM on September 30, 2004

there are lots of reason to delete beside the obvious don't shout fire in a movie theatre, don't shout bingo in a church
it just sometimes seems random and subjective because it's people, metagreen is people--

weston, i don't think i have it, but i did mark a lot of fites who posted
posted by ethylene at 6:07 PM on September 30, 2004

NEED TO KNOW stuff, like this.

I see what you mean. Jesus H, that's a stumper. I'll be thinking about it all week ;-)

As it stood, it just looked like an excuse for people to talk about nothing.


See, if he'd just read the thread he'd understand that something and nothing are the same thing! ;-)

That's okay. It's been a good week. Great threads on both the blue and the green (and nifty EuroFi on the brown.)
posted by Shane at 6:33 PM on September 30, 2004

AllMeatCo: Get Your Moose On.

AllMeatCo: Satisfy Your Caveman.

AllMeatCo: Serving Only the Best Endangered Species.

AllMeatCo: Vegetables Are Murder.

AllMeatCo: We've Got Good Grubs.

AllMeatCo: Mary Had A Little Lamb.

AllMeatCo: You Can Have Your Croc and Eat It, Too.

AllMeatCo: Flamingo: The Other Pink Meat.

Gahd, it feels so good to get this out of me. I've been dying to use some of those.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:06 PM on September 30, 2004

i get the impression that certain topics are discouraged
but that's ill defined too, as things stray
some people do want info that is easily available but have no idea how/where to start, then people brainflex all over it
sometimes it's an interesting thread
sometimes it's an outlet for people to shade and frown all over it
maybe it makes them feel good but it's not like it's more functional in policing or community that a bad joke or good non seq.
some things say there is a general statement of purpose here, others contradict


thehousethatethbuilt: 98% tick free (netflix disk two of the Tick in the house)
posted by ethylene at 7:30 PM on September 30, 2004

MetaFilter: "Nothing. No, something."
posted by scarabic at 9:27 PM on September 30, 2004

There were some unexpectedly cool and interesting comments there. I think the openness of the question allowed people to approach answering it in a way that revealed their basic assumptions about the world. For some, it was a physics question; for some others, a metaphysical question. I think mathowie was too hasty with the delete button on this one. I wonder if he read it before it axed it. I say put it back.
posted by squirrel at 9:42 PM on September 30, 2004

I feel a tinge of existential woe, as no one seems taken with the idea of meat-heavy slogans. Woe!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:45 PM on September 30, 2004

I knew quonsar. Quonsar was a friend of mine. But I can tell you one thing, FFFish, you're no quonsar. Get a blog to stick your meat into.
posted by squirrel at 9:54 PM on September 30, 2004

eth:25% meat
you guys crack me up
posted by ethylene at 10:10 PM on September 30, 2004

You can always bare your meat on MeFi, fff.
posted by Shane at 2:45 AM on October 1, 2004

If this thread did not exist, what would it be about?

ethylene, I think I'm starting to understand you more often than not. This scares me a little.
posted by languagehat at 7:12 AM on October 1, 2004

We must delete all threads that deviate, regardless of how much interesting discussion they might contain! If we don't -- well, just think of the consequences.

posted by reklaw at 8:07 AM on October 1, 2004

I think I figured out the meaning of life in that thread, but now I forget...
posted by taz at 8:18 AM on October 1, 2004

That thread is nothing.
This thread is something.
I'm babbling.
posted by mischief at 9:18 AM on October 1, 2004

I can't believe I missed that one...

AllMeatCo: You Can't Beat Our Meat.

if nothing else, I've amused myself adequately.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:33 AM on October 1, 2004

AllMeatCo: The Best Meat You'll Ever Meet
posted by mss at 11:00 AM on October 1, 2004

AllMeatCo: your colon's not our business
AllMeatCo: my fishwife is a mad cow
AllMeatCo: ranchers have guns
AllMeatCo: focus longer, sleep longer, poop more at once
AllMeatCo: my cat loves it but still likes the nacho cheese food group

weston: i might have it, i have time to if i fish through my comp after the weekend

hattalk: that means you're paying attention. i think i'm the one who should be scared

posted by ethylene at 12:13 PM on October 1, 2004

Why does this get to stay when something/nothing gets deleted? I would so much rather read about something/nothing than drunk people who steal stuff.
posted by grateful at 12:55 PM on October 1, 2004

"drunk people who steal stuff" : Talk about getting something for nothing!
posted by mischief at 1:02 PM on October 1, 2004

I can't think of an AllMeatCo that involves kittens, alas.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:38 PM on October 1, 2004

Kittens: Not just for breakfast anymore!
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:45 PM on October 1, 2004

Metafilter: Drunk people who steal stuff

(Yeah, Something/Nothing was way better.)
posted by squirrel at 1:23 AM on October 2, 2004

Askmetafilter scoreboard:

WinXP problems 1000 : nil Philosophy.
posted by Blue Stone at 6:06 AM on October 2, 2004

sorry I missed this thread. I'm not all that surprised it went though; matt's never been really big on the philosophical-type threads. Like I said here, to some the question is meaningless, while to some it's pretty much everything... (eg, heidegger). Part of the problem for those sorts of threads on MeFi is that things are sorted by date, and no one posts on a thread after three or four days. If it were set up by category, with active threads sorted to the top, it'd be more conducive to general debates. Of course, then it'd be a different site (more like salon's table talk was, before they made you pay... they shoulda instituted a "pay what you can" period there; part of the reason it didn't work was that no one was sure if other people would bother sticking around so didn't want to spend the cash if the place was gonna be dead...)

Anyway. Didn't someone start a metafilter spin off on philosophy? Or was I just daydreaming about doing that? (Metaphylter, maybe?)
posted by mdn at 10:33 AM on October 2, 2004

ethylene, do you have a caché? I really liked that thread, especially some poetic comments by weston. I almost copy/pasted it to txt just before it was deleted.

Not that I blame matt much; he was just hasty.
posted by Shane at 12:06 PM on October 2, 2004

Shane (and others who emailed me) -- I've got a copy of the thread up to my last comment now, and am actually going to reconstitute it and post on my website. More soon.

Though if anybody else has bits of the thread that took place after 10 am on the 30th, that's great.
posted by weston at 8:30 PM on October 2, 2004

Maybe this question has been asnwered before, but it that thread just GONE? Shouldn't there be some kinda cache that "bad" threads go into for like a week before they're deleted? Just in case Matt gets an impulse to, you know, delete a thread full of interesting writing that many are enjoying, so that he can put it back in case he changes his mind? Only George Bush never changes his mind!
posted by squirrel at 2:00 AM on October 3, 2004

could make a good metatalk thread in iteself, squirrel...
posted by namespan at 7:42 PM on October 3, 2004

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