Dragging poster's previous answers in is not cool October 25, 2004 8:13 AM   Subscribe

"You also tried to fill a zippo with butane, so I'll reserve judgement." Everyone will likely tell me I've got my panties in a wad as that is the common response here at MeTa, but it'd be great if people didn't attempt to discredit the experience and advice of others on AskMe based on unrelated advice threads. Having to worry someone's going to throw your history of questions in your face later as an indication you are stupid or unable to give advice to others on different topics seems a bit shady. I'm not saying this is an established pattern, just that it'd be helpful to keep in mind.
posted by ifjuly to Etiquette/Policy at 8:13 AM (45 comments total)

Or he could just be busting his balls a little bit. As insults around here go, that one was pretty harmless and fairly witty to boot.
posted by jonmc at 8:34 AM on October 25, 2004


I saw that and thought it was funny, ifjuly. I didn't think it was offensive or that such a thing would prevent anyone from offering advice. I even half expect that at some point I'll read the snipe, "What do you know - you see silver sparks that aren't even there."

Matt does want us to keep the wisecracks in AskMe to a minimum, though....

The rule I try to stick to is, if I've said something helpful, I can slip a joke in there with it.
posted by orange swan at 8:37 AM on October 25, 2004


I'm glad this has been brought up because quite frankly I've been dying to say

'You tried to fill a Zippo with butane?'

good god.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:48 AM on October 25, 2004


I also thought it was a little snippy. Kinda like a jab that you need to know someone well in order to deliver.

In the end, I don't think it was as bad as say, calling someone a cockface, but...I think I might have been a wee bit offended myself. But I am a little thin-skinned sometimes, so...

And, for what it's worth, Steve's cockface comment actually made me laugh, cos it was sooo over the top. And, well, I think the work cockface is funny. Not as funny as cocksuckerface, but still funny. Guess I am now officially in the wrong thread eh?
posted by Richat at 8:58 AM on October 25, 2004


I also had to bite my lip not to say anything in that AskMe thread. I think the response there was pretty amazingly restrained and helpful. As for crunchland's crack, yeah, it wasn't nice. Certainly a bit personal for an otherwise drab conversation about credit ratings. Eh. If crunchland had shined on some doe-eyed newbie or ailing grandma in such a fashion, I'd call it extremely mean. But XQUZYPHYR? Maybe the lesson here is that questions entailing almost blowing oneself up should be posted anonymously.
posted by scarabic at 8:59 AM on October 25, 2004


He just said what everyone was already thinking. Would've happened sooner or later.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:07 AM on October 25, 2004


Pffft. It was an obnoxious, flip remark, but pretty mild for this place. I've had worse:

Yeah, he's an asshole. Pretty consistently, if you check his posting history. Just console yourself with the knowledge that someone with that attitude invariably dies miserable and very much alone.

Considering the souce, it didn't bother me. I'm sure that XQUZYPHYR, who has endured far worse by far better, isn't fazed.
posted by mkultra at 9:07 AM on October 25, 2004


besides, in an important arena such as aks.me, where folks are literally learning to breath, feed themselves, and find the toilet, i think it's pretty important to know when advice you are reading was provided by someone with butane in his zippo. or is sitting on a pile of wet clothes because the dryer only has two heat settings. or piling up a sinkful of dishes because they can't find the "lukewarm" faucet. yeah, i'd want to know.
posted by quonsar at 9:18 AM on October 25, 2004


I think XSQUEEZEME had it coming for being full of shit.
posted by angry modem at 9:31 AM on October 25, 2004


If I'm reading this callout correctly, it's not necessarily the severity of the comment that's at issue. It's the dragging of AskMe baggage onto the battlefield. When you ask a question, you admit you don't know something. Not knowing how to fill a Zippo seems stupid to me, but that's because I was a smoker for 5 years. Think about it for 2 seconds and you see I'm actually the stupid one in that picture.

I've asked some dumb AskMe questions. But I'd like to be able to continue entering a debate around here without someone saying: "Shit, what do you know? You can't even cut an onion!" The point of this callout, as I see it, is that we shouldn't make a barb out of one another's questions, aka: things we once didn't know. It could close down the openness and spirit of helping out that makes AskMe great.
posted by scarabic at 9:47 AM on October 25, 2004


thank you scarabic, for explaining. i was just about to say exactly what you did. i agree, the comment isn't any big deal as a barb, i just meant that it raises a consideration about ask me carryover baggage and resulting reluctance to be candid in askme or whatever. i felt weird posting this thought here at meta, where callouts tend to be for big flamefest problems, and i wanted to just respond inthread at askme to crunchland, but didn't think that was a good idea (sidetracking in askme, something matt hates). it's just something to think about.

but thanks for the responses, everyone.
posted by ifjuly at 9:55 AM on October 25, 2004


Before quonsar AxMes about it...


posted by shepd at 10:05 AM on October 25, 2004


Can someone explain why it's a bad idea to fill a Zippo lighter with butane?
posted by inksyndicate at 10:27 AM on October 25, 2004


"Think about it for 2 seconds and you see I'm actually the stupid one in that picture."

Some people around here would not need that long. ;-P

) Sorry, couldn't resist. (
posted by mischief at 10:33 AM on October 25, 2004


"....where folks are literally learning to breath, feed themselves, and find the toilet....."

quonsar - I feel your pain. For useless trolls such as you and I, AskMe is pure torture. All those stupid people. So many obvious smackdowns. Like yourself, I live for the opportunity to pee on people who aren't as smart as I am. Where do these morons get off using my Internet? Why must I be made to suffer stupid questions from people who can't wipe themselves?

Perhaps if you and I had something more to contribute to the place besides baiting conservatives or Beevis & Butthead jokes we'd feel better about it. But having to sit on our hands while stupid people go uninsulted is really hard. I don't think people give us enough credit.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:45 AM on October 25, 2004


[slaps knee]

...

[slaps mischief]
posted by scarabic at 10:46 AM on October 25, 2004


To be honest, I didn't see either of these until I saw this thread. My Zippo question was already answered, so I didn't really rush to check AskMe first thing in the morning.

As for my credibility of "almost blowing myself up," what can I say. The guy at the store said "sure" when I asked "is this the stuff you put in a zippo lighter, and having never owned one before, I chalk it up to experience.

The only thing I'm offended or riled by is the accusation that I'm lying. I did get my first credit card in my Senior year of high school, and contrary to crunchland's sudden knowledge of my birthdate, I was 18 at the time. It's a Capital One Visa, and yes, crunchland, I'm well aware that they offered it to me thinking they might want to bilk an irresponsible college student. I wasn't irresponsible, which I guess you must of missed as the point of my AskMe comment.

As for my apartment and not needing a security deposit, several useful MeFites know of the help they provided me a few weeks ago with my apartment-hunting questions on AskMe. I'm still unpacking, but I can try to make some time after work to set up my scanner and send anyone interested a copy of my lease agreement if they really think I fabricated such a statement for the apparent purpose of offering false information on a help board.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:02 AM on October 25, 2004


Pffft... XQ, if they can't take your word re: the rental agreement, you think they won't accuse you of typing up your own faked rental agreement and scanning it in?
posted by shepd at 11:10 AM on October 25, 2004


To answer ifjuly's subject, by the way, I think if anything that attitudes in the thread are more dangerous than one's personal stories from AskMe.

I've never used a Zippo lighter before and didn't know it used liquid instead of gas fuel. I don't see how not knowing that should hinder my ability to answer someone's question about credit ratings. On the other hand, crunchland accused me of lying and acted like a complete asshole to me for no justifiable reason, and frankly that leaves me really reluctant to offer him any friendly advice next time he comes asking for it.

If you want to reserve judgement of someone's advice because you think they're stupid, I can't really stop you. But telling people offering advice that they're stupid is a great way to make them reserve judgement on wanting to help.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:35 AM on October 25, 2004


Interesting paradox here.

1) the more "obvious" certain pieces of knowledge are supposed to be

2) the less proud you should be for already knowing them

This reminds me of the ammonia + bleach deal, where certain people were too busy dismissing those who didn't already know to just fill them in on what they needed to know... as if knowing household tip #243 really made them so superior.

Similarly, if you get such a big chest-pounding thrill out of knowing how to fill a fucking Zippo, you need to start mining a new location for self esteem.
posted by scarabic at 12:11 PM on October 25, 2004


WHAT Y6Y6Y6 SAID.
posted by quonsar at 6:35 PM on October 25, 2004


Everyone knows Zippos work best filled with ammonia and bleach.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:50 PM on October 25, 2004


The two of you need your own childrens' television show.
posted by scarabic at 6:53 PM on October 25, 2004


Amazingly, Google images does not turn up a single decent image for 'panties in a wad'. I'm sure someone here could correct that deficiency.
posted by mischief at 7:03 PM on October 25, 2004


This isn't germaine to this thread, but mkultra, you're attributing my ire to the wrong guy. That was directed at sad_otter in that thread from many months ago. Or so I'm pretty certain-- it was too long ago to remember.

But I'm touched that I'm on somebody's enemies list, even if its for the wrong reasons.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:42 PM on October 25, 2004


panties in a wad.
in a teacup.
burried under a molehill.
searching for a life with a telescope.
and not even finding a clue.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:40 PM on October 25, 2004


for extra credit, can you explain just what we can base our opinions on here, if not on what people write? are we supposed to start each thread afresh? next time i see a comment by ifjuly am i somehow supposed to not inwardly sigh? are we only allowed to count the most profound or useful contributions? hell, that would make most of us anonymous. i mean, look at your own damn userpage - it's full of judgements about people based on what they've said! you're even quoting languagehat.... hello? earth to mars?
posted by andrew cooke at 8:45 PM on October 25, 2004


Aside from meet-ups in real-space, the only thing we have to go on around here are the words we write, the arguments we make. Everything you type is attributed to you. Good, bad, and indifferent. You build your reputation word by word around here. If you're afraid of your "baggage," then reconsider before you press the "post" button, or take advantage of the new anonymous feature.

Just as Keyser Soze became suspect to a lot of us with his soap operatic and compulsive AskMe postings earlier this year, I don't think I was at all out of line. In any case, I'm not the least bit apologetic.

XQUZYPHYR's issue with the lighter indicates something to me about him and his intelligence, at least on some level.
posted by crunchland at 8:51 PM on October 25, 2004


My suggestion that the Gray be renamed "The Parade of Wounded Sensibilities" becomes less and less risible as the days pass.

"Panties in a Wad" or even "Knickers in a Twist" may also be considered as possible names.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:51 PM on October 25, 2004


XQUZYPHYR's issue with the lighter indicates something to me about him and his intelligence, at least on some level.

If you know something about Zippos, which XQUZYPHYR clearly does not (which was why he was asking about them), and which you clearly do. I think his question was reasonable, and pissing on him for it both here and elsewhere doesn't help anyone understand anything. Nor does it, as scarabic noted, help the generous spirit of AskMe. (Hell, I've never smoked, don't know beans about Zippos, and I could clearly see myself in XQUZYPHYR's position.)

No one knows everything about everything, so until you're omniscient, you might want to refrain from mocking people for their lack of knowledge in a particular arena. Besides, "knowledge" and "intelligence" don't necessarily go hand in hand.
posted by Vidiot at 10:23 PM on October 25, 2004


Not being able to understand that properties of butane and credit ratings are unrelated areas of knowledge strikes me as saying a lot about someone's intelligence.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:33 PM on October 25, 2004


crunchland, seriously man, if we were to judge you by the questions you're asking we'd not want to take advice from you about computers.

You're a decent guy and I hate to do that to you, but you shouldn't infer someone is dumb because they filled a lighter with the wrong type of fuel when said fuel was labelled "lighter fuel". It's like suggesting someone is stupid because they used Red Delicious apples instead of Granny Smith apples in an apple pie. You could legitimately call them stupid for, say, making an apple pie with oranges.
posted by shepd at 10:48 PM on October 25, 2004


Aye, Crunchland, and you lack of knowledge about, oh I don't know, how to start a business, an alternative to cafe press, how to use javascript, car tires, popups, and antibiotics all indicate something to me about you and your intelligence, at least on some level.
posted by jmd82 at 10:49 PM on October 25, 2004


Or what shepd said- though I think crunchland was just joking around...
posted by jmd82 at 10:50 PM on October 25, 2004


can you explain just what we can base our opinions on here, if not on what people write

Naturally you can and will base your opinions on whatever you want.

next time i see a comment by ifjuly am i somehow supposed to not inwardly sigh?

Sigh inwardly all you want. But don't hound his footsteps, crying his shame.

are we only allowed to count the most profound or useful contributions?

Of course not. But should our worst moments dangle like millstones around our necks forever?

You made a fine showing of yourself, chunchland, there and here. Keep bearing that beacon of truth against the darkness, brother (unless the topic is tires, of course).
posted by scarabic at 12:28 AM on October 26, 2004


This just gets better.

Zippo have produced a lighter that runs on butane. The Zippo MPL.

However it has also been recalled for being dangerous.
posted by Frasermoo at 2:38 AM on October 26, 2004


Everyone knows Zippos work best filled with ammonia and bleach.

Now that's funny. And dangerous. So it's doubly funny.
posted by yerfatma at 4:14 AM on October 26, 2004


XQUZYPHYR's issue with the lighter indicates something to me about him and his intelligence, at least on some level.

And your issue with me indicates something to us about you and your maturity.

Interesting how it "said something about my intelligence" only after you got into a hissy fit because I disagreed with you in a different thread, to which you responded by accusing me (falsely) of making up my answer.

I said and did nothing wrong, while you've now decided to follow up on lying about me by accusing me of being stupid instead of just admitting you were a dick. You're absolutely right, man- this thread has said something about someone.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:29 AM on October 26, 2004


For some reason Marlboro keeps sending me Zippo lighters. I don't smoke, and generally don't have a need for setting things on fire. But the main reason I never used them is because I had no idea how to fill them up or with what. I feel so stupid now.

*sobs*
posted by Otis at 5:50 AM on October 26, 2004


I never said that the guy was dumb. I said it indicated something about him and his intelligence. You've concluded that I said he was dumb.

Look, whether any of you want to admit it or not, we all make judgements based on the only information we have -- the words we read. How long will the judgement linger? Oh, I don't know.

I can say that this whole thread has highlighted XQUZYPHER's misadventure much more than my flip comment ever would have. I suppose the people who might not have read the two AskMe threads are now aware of it. Whether it changes the way they think of him (or me), and for how long, is up to them, and no amount of metatalk control freakery will stop it.
posted by crunchland at 6:08 AM on October 26, 2004


Dear Otis,
please feel free to forward me -

1 x Zippo Lighter
1 x Bottle of Bleach
1 x Bottle of Ammonia

Oh, and should Philip Morris deign to send you some Marlboro lung-grenades please don't hesitate to shovel them my way as well.

Your greedily,

longbaugh
posted by longbaugh at 7:39 AM on October 26, 2004


crunchland isn't the least bit apologetic -- what a shock!

Also, what vidiot said. And "I never said that the guy was dumb. I said it indicated something about him and his intelligence" is somewhere around fourth-grade level: "I just said Susie smelled! I didn't say of what! Maybe I meant she smelled good!" But then again, I have no idea what the fuck you fill a Zippo lighter with, so feel free to consider me just as dumb as XQ.

ifjuly, now that Andrew has directed me to your userpage, I'm a bit chagrined that you took that comment to EB so badly. To try to clarify: I have no problem with dilettantes; I'm a dilettante myself in all sorts of fields: jazz, history, wine, you name it. Furthermore, I at times allow myself, in a discussion with other dilettantes, to come off as perhaps knowing more than I actually do. I'm human, all too human. But what I don't do is try to engage experts in those fields on an equal basis, insisting they treat me as a fellow expert even though I'm just a reasonably well informed layman, and this is what EB was doing. It wasn't just that thread -- he had been doing this for some time, and I finally snapped. Not my proudest moment, but I don't want you thinking it represents a general attitude. You say on your userpage:

it's not like you're going to claim to be an expert. you just want some understanding

But he wasn't seeking knowledge, he was trying to convince me of his opinion. (It would be like me trying to tell crunchland what to fill his Zippo with.) I act very differently with people who "just want some understanding"; after all, I often want some understanding, and I try to treat people as I would want to be treated.

posted by languagehat at 7:42 AM on October 26, 2004


inksyndicate because classic zippos require a liquid lighter fluid filling with butane will a) not work and b) could cause them to go boom during or after filling.
posted by Mitheral at 8:55 AM on October 26, 2004


Oh, and as far as my being cranky lately: my corporate job was getting more and more intolerable, and then I lost it, so I have to sell my house and move away from NYC so I can live like a human being for a change. This will in the end result in vast psychic improvement, but for the moment it may be making me a little cranky. Sorry. Also, I may be hanging around here less for a while, painful as that will be for this MeFi addict.
posted by languagehat at 2:01 PM on October 26, 2004


maybe noone will read this, as i've come back late to this thread but:

languagehat, thanks for responding so fully and civilly--it's quite generous of you, considering you're who you are here in mefiland and hardly have to bother explaining yourself to a (most of the time) lurker like me (as andrew cooke, um, points out). really i don't intend my profile to be a shit list like i know some others (i forget who) have so notably made fashionable and controversial. it's more just a sort of public bookmark of favorite threads, threads i like to have readily on hand to reread when i'm visiting the site. i would not have put those particular comments there (as you have no way to respond to them directly) normally, but i wasn't able to comment inthread (the 30 day window had passed when i first came upon it...my mefi visits happen in waves often with month long breaks in between each) and i was just so startled by it. i realize EB is a controversial figure on mefi, but my amazement was more about that particular interaction than any past history (i consciously didn't take EB's (annoying to some) past into account when i evaluated reactions to him in the thread). but i see where you're coming from and really i never intended to badmouth you in any sweeping sort of way. i heartily enjoy reading your comments and posts and will continue to look forward to them. also, i'm sorry to hear about your sources for crankiness and hope you will still hang out here. the cranky comment's been on the page for ages, like since 2003 i think, and was meant pretty lightheartedly.

thanks again.
posted by ifjuly at 12:25 PM on November 4, 2004


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