Censored!! November 22, 2004 11:44 AM   Subscribe

OK Matt : I took your deletion of my previous two posts on this subject, the 2004 election controversy ( and probably several by other folks ) as an indication that either 1) you oppose posts on the election controversy or 2) you want quality posts. Since I don't like to think of you as a site manager inclined towards censorship, I took the deletion of those posts as an indication that they weren't of sufficient quality. So, I addressed #2 : I thought that was a high quality post - well substantiated, and which presented an angle not yet discussed or noted elsewhere on the net. If you are opposed to discussion of the 2004 election, why not state that in your posting guidelines ? I feel that would be more helpful. Otherwise, new users may be confused for those unspecified posting categories which you are inclined to delete.
posted by troutfishing to Etiquette/Policy at 11:44 AM (224 comments total)

If there are so many facts, the #1 question is:
Why did Kerry concede? Is he a Republican? Is he in on it to?
posted by orange clock at 11:47 AM on November 22, 2004


If you are opposed to discussion of the 2004 election, why not state that in your posting guidelines

Stated in Metatalk. Many times.

We're all trying to set a good example for the n00bs, as their posting privileges will activate in the next few days. So perhaps things that have been tolerated in the past will now face the wrath of mathowie.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:49 AM on November 22, 2004


FWIW, I thought it was a high quality post, too. Time and effort went into aligning the supporting links, and the contrast was valid.

I can understand that people might not be happy with "politicsfilter", but good grief, is there some part of "all politics is local" that people don't understand? If we never talk about things that make a difference in our lives (like the [il]legitimacy of an election in our own country), then what's the fucking point?

Or is it just American elections that are off-limits? If Trout had made it a post all about the Ukranian election, and left the analogy to our imaginations -- would that have flown?

And on prev: Is this going to be a discussion about the election, or about the policy? And does that prove somebody's point? And if so, who's?
posted by lodurr at 11:50 AM on November 22, 2004


Stated in Metatalk. Many times.

Ah, maybe I get it: It's important to be inoffensive. Lesson taken...
posted by lodurr at 11:51 AM on November 22, 2004


Troutfishing is the Ralph Nader of Metafilter.
posted by orange clock at 11:53 AM on November 22, 2004


I thought the deleted post in question was definitely one of high quality. I guess it might have been one more horse in the pile of dead ones the blue has been kicking the shit out of since the beginning of the month... but there's a lot of information there that strikes me as interesting.

ON THE OTHER HAND--

I guess there's just not much left to discuss on this one particular topic, considering the senseless grade ten partisan Crossfire-like nature of political discussion here, sometimes.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 11:54 AM on November 22, 2004


orange clock: On a scale of 1 to incoherent, that was pure gibberish.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 11:56 AM on November 22, 2004


orange clock: On a scale of 1 to incoherent, that was pure gibberish.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 11:56 AM PST on November 22


I'll find my frog.
posted by orange clock at 11:58 AM on November 22, 2004


what this place needs is a few months of boring useability, CSS and web design posts. why, i bet even zeldberg or whatever his name was would start posting again.
posted by quonsar at 12:00 PM on November 22, 2004


BRING BACK RAPE HAIKUS! FREE MUMIA!
posted by Krrrlson at 12:02 PM on November 22, 2004


... boring useability, CSS and web design posts.

Boring. Heh. Boring.

This about that: I think we'd see pretty quickly that self-righteous diatribe is far from limited to electionfilter...or is that your point?
posted by lodurr at 12:03 PM on November 22, 2004


troutfishing posts on a limited number of subjects (U.S. conservatives and voter fraud allegations) and has strong opinions on that subject. That can make for a good blog, but in a community environment that's less effective and, frankly, less welcome -- regardless of what that range of subjects is. The quality of the post in question is not relevant: it's simply the latest in a series of posts, deleted or otherwise, on the same theme. Insert clichés about beating a dead horse, broken record, etc., etc. Matt's within his rights (as a subset of the fact that he's within his rights to do damn near anything here) to say "enough already".

Secondly, the post is sui generis: it's not pointing to something out there on the web; it's synthesizing what's out there to make its own point (in this case, a compare-and-contrast). It spooked me out to see a two-year-old comment of mine referred to recently (as well as on the posting page) as an argument about what a good post is, but it holds true in this case, I think.

troutfishing could make a decent blog out of these posts; here, they offend because they preach -- he's using MetaFilter as his soapbox, and taking advantage of its built-in audience -- rather than share (which I think is what the best posts do: they say "look at this!" rather than "listen to me!").

Executive summary: Get your own blog, fuckwit. And I mean that in the very best way.
posted by mcwetboy at 12:10 PM on November 22, 2004


There's nothing wrong with having a strong point of view on a particular topic. There nothing wrong with posting links to discussions and certain facts or opinions about that topic. There is something wrong with doing so over and over again while having posts deleted. This is called having an axe to grind, and it's something that should be done a) on your own site, and b) to an audience that isn't by and large agreeing with your principle if not every single point. I respect and admire that you spend so much time and energy on your posts, honestly, but I do believe it's overkill in this particular venue.
posted by loquax at 12:12 PM on November 22, 2004


"If we never talk about things that make a difference in our lives (like the [il]legitimacy of an election in our own country), then what's the fucking point?"

The point is that this site has a purpose - To find new and interesting things on the web. Not political ax grinding. Thinking this fits the site's purpose is naive at best, but more likely just someone being selfish on purpose.

The point is that the site has an owner. And that owner has made it very clear he thinks we've had enough of this already.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:14 PM on November 22, 2004


but in a community environment that's less effective and, frankly, less welcome....

Yeh, whatever.

Secondly, the post is sui generis: it's not pointing to something out there on the web; it's synthesizing what's out there to make its own point....

And your point on this would be....?

MY point being: That's what most good FPPs are.

Executive summary: Don't like it, don't read it, fuckwit. And I mean that in the very best way.
posted by lodurr at 12:15 PM on November 22, 2004


Come back, zeldberg!
posted by iconomy at 12:15 PM on November 22, 2004


... he thinks we've had enough of this already.

Yes, but enough of what? ElectionFilter? USElectionFilter? PoliticsFilter? RelevantInformationFilter?
posted by lodurr at 12:15 PM on November 22, 2004


Eh, whatever. What fucking ever. I get it: Nobody cares.
posted by lodurr at 12:17 PM on November 22, 2004


Shame innit?
posted by dabitch at 12:23 PM on November 22, 2004


MY point being: That's what most good FPPs are.

I disagree, for reasons I pointed out two years ago. A whack of links about the election in Ukraine and a whack of links about the election in the U.S. didn't have much in common (having to do with elections, indexed under "U") until troutfishing pulled them together. My point being, the problem is that he pulled them together to make his point. troutfishing used the Ukrainian elections to make an argument about the U.S. elections. The fact that he very badly wants to make that argument, again and again, is the issue.
posted by mcwetboy at 12:24 PM on November 22, 2004


"Since I don't like to think of you as a site manager inclined towards censorship, I took the deletion of those posts as an indication that they weren't of sufficient quality."

Bullshit.

You've been here long enough, and been called out enough, to know exactly what the problem was.

Rather than come to MetaTalk with one of the most disingenuous pleas ever, why not be honest? Why not make a case for why Matt should let you post things no one else would get away with? Why not tell us the reasons you feel justified in making someone else's site your soapbox?

Or better yet, why not explain to us what we're suppose to make of this:

"If you are opposed to discussion of the 2004 election, why not state that in your posting guidelines ?"

If? There's some confusion? Are you dense? Or just a jackass?
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:24 PM on November 22, 2004


Metafilter: Groupthink at its finest.
posted by lodurr at 12:26 PM on November 22, 2004


lodurr, you forgot to close your tags....

</bitter & entirely missing the point>
posted by dhoyt at 12:28 PM on November 22, 2004


Matt's site, Matt's rules. I thought it was an interesting (though tendentious) post, but I'm not the one running the site.

If Matt hadn't drawn the line about USPoliticsFilter posts where he has, I would probably have made an FPP talking about the ways in which the US Presidential Administration is "telling" (in the poker sense) its plans for an invasion of Iran. I would have liked to know what folks thought of that. However, Matt's policy seems pretty clear.

troutfishing, let me recommend Daily Kos and Democratic Underground to you as sites where people are really interested in talking about this stuff in detail from a point of view you might find congenial.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:34 PM on November 22, 2004


mcwetboy, this was extremely well stated.

This is not about "censorship" (troutfishing) or "groupthink" (lodurr). It's about things that have been hashed, re-hashed, and re-hashed again. Matt clearly believes his members are smart, inquisitive, and have had ample opportunity to reach their own conclusions on the hot issues of the day. Again: not "groupthink," not censorship, not ignorance, not blindness -- just not MetaFilter.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:36 PM on November 22, 2004


"everyone disagrees with me" != groupthink

Sometimes it means you're wrong. The site's owner and the community consensus would prefer if users would post such things on the front page. And that's been made very clear. Appeals to free speech, or just skip it, or it being the best of the web are all silly.

You don't like MetaFilter. We do. You lose.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:37 PM on November 22, 2004


......would prefer it if users would not post such things......
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:38 PM on November 22, 2004


Troutfishing knows all about daily kos. I think potential election fraud is a very important issue, and it's important to discuss and decide how to solve our elections problems. That doesn't automatically make it an issue that needs to be discussed on MeFi.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:41 PM on November 22, 2004


i'm just sick to death of you lecturing me, troutfishing.

maybe everyone else is too.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:41 PM on November 22, 2004


Pray, what point am I missing?

That Matt owns the site? I get that -- it's a shallow and facile point, but I get it.

That people are irritated by long posts that don't come from Matteo? I get that, too.

That we're officially "past" the US 2004 Election? Yeh, I get that, too.

That it's not cool to care about the fact that America is degrading into something akin to Sulla's Rome? Oh, yeh, I get that so much, you wouldn't even believe it.

BTW, I personally will say that I find this kind of "rally 'round the leader" dynamic to be pretty disturbing. I don't know Matt; I'm happy he keeps this thing going, but I can live without it and almost certainly will for the bulk of the rest of my life. [cue admonition to jsut go ahead and do so...] The fact that Matt keeps this going means that he has the right to delete or keep whatever the fuck he wants -- nobody disputes that. But that all you folks just knee-jerk into compliance with whatever you imagine his whims to be is, frankly, really curious to me, especially coming from people who would otherwise happily leap down one another's throat to clarify any minor misinterpretation of position.

The point that I take from this discussion thread is that Metafilter is a community, in many of the best and worst senses of the term. As I see it, this is a pre-emptive exercise in claiming the territory before the "noobs" encroach: Stake out your ground, establish "proper" rules of behavior. Get ready, boys, though, 'cuz if these folks actually bother to participate, the shit is going to hit the fan: You won't be able to control the discourse from on high anymore with a few well-laced barbs and admonitions about past behavior. The gray is going to get bitter; I'll wager that there will even be people advocating that new users be barred from it, or at least from certain categories.

Whatever. I care less with every word I write. But it's still fascinating.
posted by lodurr at 12:42 PM on November 22, 2004


You don't like MetaFilter. We do. You lose.

LOL! Oh, yeah, you could have been more of an ass, I suppose, and you could have worked a little harder to make the point of the post I just made, but I don't think so.

The beauty part, is that you will never even think about questioning the validity of that statement....
posted by lodurr at 12:44 PM on November 22, 2004


This post was deleted for the following reason: troutfishing needs a blog
posted by LarryC at 12:45 PM on November 22, 2004


Lodurr:

Metafilter was never supposed to be a giant discussion site about critical, important, and incisive issues. It can do that, but it isn't its purpose.

Calling participants groupthinkers, or implying they are blinkered or self deluding is just silly. It's like complaining that ice cream doesn't taste like pizza, or that Finding Nemo didn't present enough deliberations on the point of existence or a realistic discourse on the fear of death.

Troutfishing's post was fine, for a blog. It doesn't point out "the best of the web". It does bring together various interesting topics, to support his position. That's great. But that isn't what metafilter is for. And troutfishing has been here long enough, and read enough, to realize that his post may be a great post, but not a great metafilter post.

Put another way: when you post a link, you should be thinking, "Holy fuck, that is a cool/interesting article/site". When people read it, they should hopefully think, "Holy fuck, that was a cool/interesting site/article". If they're thinking, "ok, all right, I see what they're saying", and then seeing how you pull all the not-so-interesting sites together to support your opinion on a subject, you're nowhere close to presenting the "best of the web", you're just posting "a very thoughtful and thorough blog entry / opinion piece".
posted by Bugbread at 12:50 PM on November 22, 2004


Executive summary: Get your own blog, fuckwit.

Yup.

i bet even zeldberg or whatever his name was would start posting again.

Hah! All the cool kids know his name is Zoidberg. There goes your street cred with the design-wanks, lame-o!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:52 PM on November 22, 2004


That we're officially "past" the US 2004 Election? Yeh, I get that, too.

That it's not cool to care about the fact that America is degrading into something akin to Sulla's Rome? Oh, yeh, I get that so much, you wouldn't even believe it.


Man, are you always this obtuse? The point people have made to you, repeatedly, in this thread is that neither of those statements are true for Matt or MeFi as a whole, and neither of those statements is the reason posts like troutfishing's are deleted. The point is that no matter how important an issue is, MetaFilter does not exist to explore that issue from every conceivable angle. You may think it does, but most others (including, obviously, Matt) disagree. I don't see how you call that "rally 'round the leader." I see it as consensus.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:59 PM on November 22, 2004


Metafilter is getting a divorce, and it's somehow my fault for being born. Isn't it? :( :( :(
posted by Kleptophoria! at 12:59 PM on November 22, 2004


BTW, I personally will say that I find this kind of "rally 'round the leader" dynamic to be pretty disturbing...But that all you folks just knee-jerk into compliance with whatever you imagine his whims to be is, frankly, really curious to me, especially coming from people who would otherwise happily leap down one another's throat to clarify any minor misinterpretation of position.

I'm not sure why it's curious.

He sets up a site. People like the ideals behind the site. They join. Other folks try to change the point of the site. The owner of the site prefers the original point. The folks who liked the original point prefer the original point. Of course they're going to agree with the leader. There's nothing "knee-jerk" about it. I would find it a lot stranger if a group of people with the same objectives and tastes decided to rebel against the leader just because he shared their objectives and tastes. Isn't that just being contrarian?
posted by Bugbread at 1:00 PM on November 22, 2004


It's time for you guys to face the fact that this "best of the web" thing really doesn't work. It's become just a way to piss on whatever you don't like, just like arbitrary laws let cops sweep undesirables off the streets at will.

Heaven forbid the site should, say, organically change its purpose to something other than someone's imagined idea of someone else's imagined idea of what constitutes the "best of the web." No, just keep its purpose static. And, yo, like, Matt definitely needs us to chip in and help him with that...

BTW, I shouldn't have used the term "groupthink" out of context like that, because I had a particular phenomenon in mind: The "rally behind Matt" phenomenon that manifests whenever someone like troutfishing posts something that it's fair game to piss on. Because, let's face it, some people here are commonly regarded as a little annoying (and I'm probably one of them), but usually don't do anything to really legitimize a mobbing. But let enough senior members of the community pile on, and it's party time. "Matt" then becomes an abstract, like motherhood or America or freedom. "Lodurr, why do you hate Metafilter?" y6y6y6, when did you stop beating your wife?
posted by lodurr at 1:00 PM on November 22, 2004


You seem like a broken record troutfishing you seem like a broken record troutfishing you seem like a broken record troutfishing you seem like a broken record troutfishing you seem like a broken record troutfishing you seem like a broken record troutfishing you seem like a broken record troutfishing you seem like a broken record troutfishing.

Is this MeTa thread just a way to preserve a link to your thread?
posted by xmutex at 1:01 PM on November 22, 2004


That it's not cool to care about the fact that America is degrading into something akin to Sulla's Rome? Oh, yeh, I get that so much, you wouldn't even believe it.

You're completely missing the point and I don't think restating it is gonna help.

In addition, I, and many others, asked matt months ago to delete political posts/election filter stuff before it "became" Metafilter. He didn't, it happened, and now people are mad (just as it was suggested they would be) when he's finally deleting the posts. I don't see how anyone being happy he's now doing it constitutes rallying around him. I look at it as more he's rallying behind us. It seemed to me for a few months there that Metafilter had lost its focus. I'm glad it seems to be coming back.
posted by dobbs at 1:09 PM on November 22, 2004


lodurr: Stop being a prick immediately.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:11 PM on November 22, 2004


HERE HE GOES AGAIN! (get your scroll wheels ready !)

As Lodurr observed ( I was going to mention this ), matteo makes long, well crafted "concept" posts all the time : such as his last, a fine post in my opinion ( many others thought so too ) which was, essentially, a short hyperlinked essay on two divergent types - or interpretations - of what Christianity is or should be.

So - such posts are, apparently fine.

Political posts which are edgy - no matter what their truth quotient or level of substantiation - or apparently not OK.

It's funny - I just had the sudden sense that this might be an expression of an American middle class sensibilities which holds the discussion of disturbing subjects to be impolite.

Metafilter - "Don't disturb our digestion of pleasant and wonderful internet curiosities with your political axe grinding. We want animal dildos and flash presentations both saucy and yet somehow innocuous. We want long discussions of theology (as long as they don't get out of hand), we want newness, we want quirk. Political truths can take a hike "
_____________________

andrew cooke - I'm not lecturing you. If you choose to take it that way, fine.

y6y6y6 - I'm not interested in replying your insults - except to say that I've been more charitable towards you, recently and in general, I believe.

Disingenuous ? - I wish it were.

Prince Valium - You know what I meant, I hope.

lodurr - I have no interest in trying subvert this discussion to keep after my point : I was actually arguing for a more transparent posting guideline policy, with an explicit mention in the Metafilter posting form that posts on the 2004 election or on the election controversy should be "reconsidered".

Having that post deleted left a sour taste in my mouth, but at least it clarified for me that Metafilter is not about completely open discussion. Well, in the end Metafilter is whatever Matt wants it to be : and it's up to individual members to consider their participation. Matt's reasons for axing my post ("Troutfishing needs a blog") are his own, but for my part I have to think about my participation in a forum which seems - to me at least - to be undergoing the same sort of creeping censorship which is afflicting American society at large.

I posted links to international bodies which have established overall electoral guidelines with deadly serious intent : US Democracy, on those guidelines, no longer measures up especially well to many Democracies around the World.

The web makes it possible to achieve new insights and demonstrate compelling points. That is part of my "best of...." definition.

But that does not hold, I know, for everyone or even for most. I happen to think that American Democracy is in deep decline and deep trouble - especially if discussion of that very decline is not allowed on public forums such as Metafilter : the marginalization of the story of the 2004 election confines and ghettoizes all facts about the election, no matter how well substantiated, to the realm of "conspiracy theory" by way of a tautological argument - "If there were something to this, wouldn't the media have reported on it ?" - The media reports truth, and truth is that which the media reports.

And so - as here on Metafilter, so in the wider media landscape. Substantiating evidence is meaningless bereft of the imprimatur of mass media.

(an anecdote.....)

I once organized a little action group on Global Warming - there showed up, at the first meeting, a guy in rumpled clothes carrying a fat book of photos. He was a "chemtrail" conspiracy theorist, and I thought he was a nut. It was all in the presentation - in his rumpled appearance and in the fevered look in his eyes which sought out confirmation from others : who all tried to sneak or elide his maniacal obsession.

Well I later found out that there are, in fact, US gov. programs openly involving planes that fly around spraying out various chemicals in a variety of types of programs. Some vaguely nefarious sounding, others mundane or stupid - in a boringly bureaucratic sort of way. This is unsurprising.

I thought it was a nutty idea because it came from the margins, and was delivered with uncomfortable intensity.


: Both cranks and the truth both tend to get shoved to the margins when societal discourse is circumscribed : and it become hard to discern the two, of course! - nuts live at the margins and they they are unshaven and rumpled. They smell and say disturbing things. Or so they may just seem for the very fact that their messages have been marginalized - even if they are impeccably attired, clad in tightly researched facts, wider public still somehow smells a skid row stink of crankery.

Many of the stories I've written on at Metafilter have come from the margins - and many of them have been born out in time : I think of my suggestion that Iraq could become, in the event of an American occupation, like Chechnya and Iraqi cities like Grozny. Well, that's Fallujah today - a little Grozny.

I guess Metafilter is to become a place where posts on dildos shaped like the penises of various animals pass muster but posts on the decay of the democratic tradition in the oldest continuous Democracy on Earth are forbidden for being disturbing or for being "marginal" truths tarnished by accusations of crankery.

Metafilter will be less political, and more titillating - a sort of "Salon-lite" stripped of most political content and plumped up with racy internet novelty : so be it.

If it's no longer possible to discuss the health of American Democracy, even on an ostensibly liberal venue such as Metafilter, then American Democracy is in even more trouble then I thought.

Now, I know that - from Matt's perspective - he's likely just trying to jog me out of my broken record track, a monomaniacal fixation on the 2004 election.

Well, there are many things I'd rather think about and post about, believe me. I actually think the subject is quite dismal.

mcwetboy - "he's using MetaFilter as his soapbox, and taking advantage of its built-in audience -- rather than share" : everyone who posts and comments on Metafilter takes advantage of it's built in audience - hawk ideas or to hawk the titillation of sex toys.

I happen to find it notable that international norms of Democracy don't apply to the US - that we don't (or can't) make the grade any more. Do insights amount to the "best of the web" ? - Maybe, maybe not. That's a personal determination.
posted by troutfishing at 1:14 PM on November 22, 2004


Damn! Typos! - You howling mob of critics, you : you've degraded my syntax.
posted by troutfishing at 1:17 PM on November 22, 2004


I guess Metafilter is to become a place where posts on dildos shaped like the penises of various animals pass muster but posts on the decay of the democratic tradition in the oldest continuous Democracy on Earth are forbidden for being disturbing or for being "marginal" truths tarnished by accusations of crankery.

Well, there'll have to be a significant number of animal dildo FPPs to catch up, huh? I only saw one. I saw numerous ones on the election. Did you fail math?
posted by dobbs at 1:20 PM on November 22, 2004


Stop being a prick immediately.

And what I'm doing constitutes "being a prick", how? (That's only a partly rhetorical question, BTW: I think I know how it is that you and others perceive me as a "prick" on this point, but I dout it's the same reason you have in mind.)

This is the gray, right? Aren't we supposed to be open and discuss meTa, here? Or am I missing a point there, too?

on prev: TF, I'm really not trying to defend you, so feel completely free to disavow me. You're merely my involuntary poster-child, standing in for a bunch of things that have been bothering me about this joint for a long time.
posted by lodurr at 1:20 PM on November 22, 2004


In addition, Trout, and honestly no disrespect meant: you're obviously very concerned/passionate about the state of America(n politics). Why don't you go somewhere offline and be effective? If anything's been proven in the last month it's that concerns about the state of democracy in America cannot be altered by posting endlessly to any forum.

I'll ask you and those with an equal concern to stop posting election filter posts but I'll beg you to go make a difference someplace where it's going to cause some change.
posted by dobbs at 1:25 PM on November 22, 2004


Ahaaah - I've got the perfect post for the new, improved Metafilter !

No more politics. Politics are passe. Penis origami. That's it.
Now, for a quick search.........

dobbs - got under your skin with that one, eh ?

lodurr - Well then ( lets out harrumph...... ) don't make me your poster child.
posted by troutfishing at 1:25 PM on November 22, 2004


I guess Metafilter is to become a place where posts on dildos shaped like the penises of various animals pass muster but posts on the decay of the democratic tradition in the oldest continuous Democracy on Earth are forbidden for being disturbing or for being "marginal" truths tarnished by accusations of crankery.

I learned this in 5th grade kids: Animal dildos are Fact. They exist. You can buy one and use it if you want.

The decay of democratic tradition in America is an Opinion. An opinion of which, half of said country disagrees with. It may be fact to you, sure. Keep on rocking.

Should we be allowed to make a post every day about the glory of our only lord and savior, Jesus Christ?

And what I'm doing constitutes "being a prick", how? (That's only a partly rhetorical question, BTW: I think I know..

And Lodurr, you're a prick because you just admitted you know the answer to this question, but you went ahead and asked anyway just to be a prick.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:26 PM on November 22, 2004


I said you were involuntary.....oh, alright.
posted by lodurr at 1:27 PM on November 22, 2004


"It's time for you guys to face the fact that this "best of the web" thing really doesn't work."

Fine. So you'll go away? Or will you continue to piss on something in an attempt to make it better?

"If it's no longer possible to discuss the health of American Democracy, even on an ostensibly liberal venue such as Metafilter, then American Democracy is in even more trouble then I thought."

Why is it so hard to answer this - why do you have to discuss it here? After you've been asked not to? After the host has deleted other posts on the topic? Matt doesn't want it. Most users don't want it. Game over. The site isn't what you want it to be. This is a good thing. Because it's also not a lot of other things that you would really hate.

"forbidden for being disturbing or for being "marginal" truths tarnished by accusations of crankery."

That right there? You made that up. It's in your head. Please get help.

Shoving it down our throats isn't going to do you any good. We're quickly learning to not like you.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:28 PM on November 22, 2004


And Lodurr, you're a prick because you just admitted you know the answer to this question, but you went ahead and asked anyway just to be a prick.

Ah. So I was a prick for asking a question I hadn't asked yet?
posted by lodurr at 1:28 PM on November 22, 2004


dobbs - point well taken, but it is also the case that - to the extent that as messages which contradict mainstream perspectives are marginalized - doing "real world" work gets progresssively harder and harder.


Stan Chin - thanks for that illuminating lecture on fact vs. opinion, by way of "animal dildos" as illustration.

The scales have dropped from my eyes.
posted by troutfishing at 1:30 PM on November 22, 2004


maybe:

uspolitics.metafilter.com

maybe yes, maybe no, but soon, and for the rest of your life.
posted by gsb at 1:31 PM on November 22, 2004


The thing of it is, Trout, that no one dwells upon the dildos. eww. No one is making rabble-rousing posts on dildos. No one obsesses about them, at least not in a front-page fashion.

American democracy is in decline. We get it. It is indeed a horrible thing. Posting to MeFi isn't a solution. It isn't even the beginning of a solution.

In times of stress and moral decay, it's nice to have a place to relax and unwind and forget about America's problems. For many of us, MetaFilter is that place. So let's have more fun and less serious.

Also, a whole lot of your audience isn't even American. Now that you lot have made your decision, I really don't give a flying fig what happens to your democracy. Shame to see it go, but apparently that's what the majority is willing to accept. Ce la vie; this member of the international MeFi community is more than ready to move on to other, more-worthy topics, like animal dildos.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:32 PM on November 22, 2004


Fne. So you'll go away? Or will you continue to piss on something in an attempt to make it better?

To you, it's pissing. To a lot of you, it's pissing. So I guess it's pissing -- that's how you've defined the reality of this place. And the reality of a community, after all, is something that you just have to grok moment to moment, in the moment. And some of us just aren't that tuned in to the spiritual realm, I guess.

Rest assured, coach, if I go, it will be quietly, with no announcement. You will not miss me [cue "that's for sure" or equivalent], you will not even realize I'm gone. Probably ever. You'll be happy with animal dildoes and friday flash fun and projecting imagined neuroses onto other users, with the monotony broken up by occasionally mobbing ParisParamus (even though you admit that you know he loves it).

But I do think it is time I went from this thread [cue applause from stan_chin, y6y6y6, and several others]; so, barring any really egregious insults to my character or opportunities for one liners, I'm done.
posted by lodurr at 1:36 PM on November 22, 2004


It's time for you guys to face the fact that this "best of the web" thing really doesn't work.

How do you find that it doesn't work?

It's become just a way to piss on whatever you don't like, just like arbitrary laws let cops sweep undesirables off the streets at will.

And, again, what evidence do you have for that?

Heaven forbid the site should, say, organically change its purpose

If Matt decided to make it PoliticsFilter (or, to preserve your organic comparison, the populace decided relatively unanimously to make it PoliticsFilter and Matt gave it the OK), I doubt we (folks opposed to politicsfilter) would have much of a problem with it. Sure, we'd be disappointed and perhaps saddened, but such is life. The thing is, for it to organically change, people have to want it to change, and those of us who aren't too keen on politicsfilter don't want it to be politicsfilter. I certainly hope you're not suggesting that we should help it organically change into something we dislike.

And, yo, like, Matt definitely needs us to chip in and help him with that...

From what I've read: yes. Not so much what we're doing here in the gray, but he has said that he needs people to present a good example for us newbies, to post good links as opposed to pontification, and to be civil. He can't do it all himself, and, as a community, we have to chip in.

The "rally behind Matt" phenomenon that manifests whenever someone like troutfishing posts something that it's fair game to piss on.

I think you're misreading the phenomenon completely. Dobbs phrased it extremely well: I look at it as more he's rallying behind us.

"Matt" then becomes an abstract, like motherhood or America or freedom. "Lodurr, why do you hate Metafilter?" y6y6y6, when did you stop beating your wife?

Ok...You're starting to lose me here...

Troutfishing:

The web makes it possible to achieve new insights and demonstrate compelling points. That is part of my "best of...." definition.

Yes, well, the web also makes the viewing of copious porn free and easy, and it's part of my "best of...." definition, but I have the common sense not to link porn. And it isn't due to fear of creeping censorship or offending middle American values. It's because that's not what Mefi is for.

I guess Metafilter is to become a place where posts on dildos shaped like the penises of various animals pass muster but posts on the decay of the democratic tradition in the oldest continuous Democracy on Earth are forbidden for being disturbing or for being "marginal" truths tarnished by accusations of crankery.

No, they are forbidden because 1) There are too damn many of them, and variety is considered important here, 2) the discussion is never novel or interesting, it is just circular sniping (which, true, I'm engaging in, but as far as I know that's allowable in the grey), and 3) very seldom are the linked sites the principal item of interest and capable of being seen as "the best of the net".

If it's no longer possible to discuss the health of American Democracy, even on an ostensibly liberal venue such as Metafilter, then American Democracy is in even more trouble then I thought.

The problem isn't that it's no longer possible to discuss the health of American Democracy, it's that this is not the forum for it.

You are mistaking people telling you "this isn't the proper venue for what you're doing" to mean "what you're doing is worthless and you shouldn't do it".
posted by Bugbread at 1:37 PM on November 22, 2004


It's time for you guys to face the fact that this "best of the web" thing really doesn't work. It's become just a way to piss on whatever you don't like, just like arbitrary laws let cops sweep undesirables off the streets at will.

MetaFilter: This 'Internet' has to be, without question, the most infernal contraption since the motorcar!
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:40 PM on November 22, 2004


man, i have to step up for troutfishing here. i really thought that was the best post on mefi i'd seen since matteo's christianity post. i sort of understand the argument about post-election whining, and if matt doesn't like it, then it's gone. but i don't understand at ALL where all the animosity toward lodurr and troutfishing are coming from. what are you guys so angry at them about?

troutfishing, at the very least, is clearly not Super Worked Up about the whole thing, and i really think his justification for this thread is a very good one - i had assumed that much of the anger at election posts was due to lack of quality as well (either in the comments or in the post itself). also, it's a VERY good thing to get cleared up for new users, and so i think his suggestion of a note on the post page is a great one. if i had been brilliant enough to come up with a great post like troutfishing's (whether or not it's a great post for mefi in particular), i would have posted it here without hesitation, believing that it would stand on its own merits. what's so wrong with asking for clarification of that?

y6y6y6: "You don't like MetaFilter. We do. You lose." are you kidding me? you're actually using "why do you hate metafilter so much?" as an argument? i expect better from you, y6.

as for lodurr's comments: while the animosity in his case is beyond me as well, i think there's more validity to the argument that the "best of the web" defense has become meaningless than some of us would like to admit. "rate my professor", which i've seen linked at a lot of sites, is the best of the web where information on the ukrainian election, which i had not seen before, is not?

i don't know. these are the problems that arise when such a subjective term - "the best" - is used to describe anything. can we please be a little more instructive and constructive with our criticisms of "that which is not the best" so that people can get a clearer idea of what is considered "the best" right now? metafilter evolves like any community, standards change, and i wish everyone would be a little more understanding about the whole thing.
posted by pikachulolita at 1:40 PM on November 22, 2004


The struggle to clarify and discover what is truly the best of the web is what makes this site great; the tension between the old and the new, politics and art, news and games, elections and dildoes, fact and opinion, knowledge and argument - that's what makes Metafilter the best of the web.
posted by rocketman at 1:46 PM on November 22, 2004


okay, another look at the blue just got me more confused about what constitutes "ok" and what doesn't. can someone please explain to me why mojohand's post to an NYT op-ed on the elections (from yesterday) was not deleted while troutfishing's carefully constructed post contrasting two events was?

i don't mean that "if that stands, troutfishing's should stand, wah wah" - i just mean that it's a lot easier to be confused about the boundaries of this policy than a lot of you seem to think.

to reiterate, i would love to see something on the posting page saying to reconsider 2004 election posts.
posted by pikachulolita at 1:47 PM on November 22, 2004


pikachulolita - thanks, you just made ( or redeemed ) my day.

" "forbidden for being disturbing or for being "marginal" truths tarnished by accusations of crankery."

That right there? You made that up. It's in your head. Please get help.

Shoving it down our throats isn't going to do you any good. We're quickly learning to not like you." - y6y6y6, you're forgetting history aren't you ? Fascism and Stalinism ? Orwell ? The repression of truth ? Samizdat ? Are those alien concepts to you, or did you think you would escape the threat of such repression in your lifetime ?

Also ( re "we" ) - when were you elected Metafilter's ombudsman ?

And - as far as I can tell - you've never liked me. I can live with that. It's better than any pretense at friendship.

But, basic civility would be nice.

fff - To loosely quote GW Bush : You can hide, but not forever. Metafilter can be your comfort food for a while, but not forever.

bugbread - Once again, contrast matteo's religion post with my axed post.

The difference ? Comfort quotient.

In short - any post which is disturbing, which riles people up, is likely to be deleted.

Once again - Metafilter : "a nice place to go for soothing, polite discussion of non-threatening topics."
posted by troutfishing at 1:48 PM on November 22, 2004


Welp, this is going nowhere.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:52 PM on November 22, 2004


stanchin - if your goal for this thread is to convince troutfishing that he's wrong, then yes, it's going nowhere.

if the goal is to clarify posting standards for all users (not just users that read wanky meta posts compulsively), then i don't see why we can't get there from here.
posted by pikachulolita at 1:54 PM on November 22, 2004


Clarifying posting standards is proving troutfishing is wrong.

Would that post have been deleted if say, it came from me instead? To tell you the truth, it may not have. But that's the point, isn't it? There's a double-standard for certain posters, but only because we're all chained to our posting histories. If I had posted all sorts of political related posts in the past like troutfishing has, then yes, it would have been deleted.

It seems horribly wrong to you doesn't it? Well, that's just the way it goes, and I agree with it. You can't treat all your kids the same.
posted by Stan Chin at 2:00 PM on November 22, 2004


I think the difference between mojohand's post and troutfishing's post is that troutfishing has been posting often about alleged impropriety since the election, and has had several posts already deleted. The content was not the issue, the perceived axe grinding to the detriment of the site was - note Matt's reason for deletion.
posted by loquax at 2:02 PM on November 22, 2004


I mean really didn't it get annoying when all those people were complaining so often about flipper babies and that whole thalidomide thing? They should just get over it. I've heard it waaay to many times already. Or that whole civil rights issue way back in the day? All it was from Martin Luther King was blah blah blah-ing about rights this, equality that. Couldn't he just shut up about it for once? And those damn Fedralist Papers. Did they have to write 85? I mean after the first dozen we got the fricken point.
/snark


Me, I keep on clicking on those links and reading them, hoping that somehow, somewhere, someone has a coherent well researched retort to troutfishing.

No one ever does.

Ever.

You get snark, "your guy lost, get over it", "I've heard this way to many times".

The only relevant issue is that we've heard it way to many times. But dammit. It's fricken important as all hell.

True, having an axe to grind is annoying. I agree. Trout should get a blog. He shouldn't post so often about election fraud. Some of us do in fact get it , five fresh fish. The problem is there are many many others that don't.

"I get it trout, get a blog" is tremendously different from " You've an axe to grind, this is a stupid post, the election process is a-ok, all datapoints otherwise are the result of democrat loonies putzin' around with their godless statistics. And i have nothing to back up my statement, yet i nevertheless call on you to stop making such absurd, yet incredibly well researched and fact based claims to the contrary"
posted by Freen at 2:03 PM on November 22, 2004


yeah, it does seem wrong to me. while i understand that, say, parisparamus posting an I/P thread will get deleted where mine won't, there hasn't been a massive "no more I/P from anyone!" movement. the users who are "sanctioned" are probably made aware of it privately and know generally what their limitations are. but the response i'm hearing from this crowd is that ALL election threads are Wrong and Evil and Not To Be Tolerated, and if that is the case, i would like to know and i'm sure others would too.
posted by pikachulolita at 2:04 PM on November 22, 2004


I wish that people posted FPPs about Animal Dildos to such a degree that people started calling out "Dildofilter!" That would be so much more exciting.
posted by hughbot at 2:04 PM on November 22, 2004


loquax: if that's the reason, then that is fine with me (although i, personally, will miss such posts). but the arguments used against troutfishing mostly revolve around "no more election posts from anyone, we know already, it's not the best of the web", and i remain very unclear as to whether that's just the general sentiment of the people who chose to respond to this particular thread or the sentiment of matt and the rest of the posting community.
posted by pikachulolita at 2:07 PM on November 22, 2004


Can you imagine if people just kept posting links about dildos? Maybe dildos are anethema to the politics posters.

Let's do our part, and fill this place with dildos. Everyone'll forget all about politics for a second.
posted by hughbot at 2:10 PM on November 22, 2004




I hope that's how you spell "anethema".

Spell Check says: Anathema. One letter off.
posted by hughbot at 2:12 PM on November 22, 2004


freen - thanks.

pikachulolita - Also, you're the first person to take my suggestion here on this metatalk thread at face value.

I was mad when I saw that Matt had axed my post, but I saw no point in contesting that. He can do what he wants. But, the lack of clear guidelines for what constitutes an acceptable Metafilter post renders the site less than professional.

It's exactly analogous to the worst of liberal child rearing practices : the practices of permissive parents who somewhat randomly and haphazardly draw boundaries or inflict punishment.

Discipline is fine if consistently and fairly imposed : my suggestion was on the level. I think more clearly defined boundaries for posts are in order.

Otherwise, post deletion policy begins to look random and unfairly applied.

I have to wonder whether Matt would have axed exactly the same post made my someone else. I suspect not. But I'll never know.

It's funny - the amount of venom spat out on this thread makes me feel that I'm the level headed one here.

So much free floating rage - about what ? Words ? Or, and I supposed to lose my cool and reply to insults in kind ?

I'm not in the mood.

Stan Chin - I don't know if you have children or not but, regardless of the underlying reality ( kids DO require different treatment ), the perception of fairness is crucial.

Kids have a sharp sense for fairness - adults do as well.

loquax - "...perceived axe grinding to the detriment of the site" - I'm glad you used the word "perceived" there, but can you prove the "to the detriment of the site" part ?

One other thought - I've gotten irritated with Matt before, but I always try to step back and take a breather, to calm down before responding to what I might feel as an "outrage".

____________________

Last week, I checked my sense of matt's deletion policy. I rounded up all deleted posts for a week, thought about each one, and grouped them into three categories :

1) No question : appropriate deletion
2) inappropriate deletion
3) ? category

The #1 category was the largest - by far. I agreed with well over 1/2 of matt's deletions.

One thing stood out though - the 2004 election, and politically "disturbing" posts, whether or not I felt they stood on their own merits or not - seemed to be especially targeted for deletion.

So why not make this into an explicit policy ? Clear guidelines would make for less conflict and fewer deletions.
posted by troutfishing at 2:15 PM on November 22, 2004


Once again - Metafilter : "a nice place to go for soothing, polite discussion of non-threatening topics."

Once again, you've completely missed the point. Most people here agree with you about the election. Most people here enjoy regularly participating in adversarial, heated discussions on a variety of controversial topics. Just not endless times on the same topic.

Has there really been a dearth of serious discussion about the consequences of the 2004 election? What about this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this? And those are just the ones that survived! The "I guess the only acceptable posts are flash games and dildos" straw man argument is old and tired.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:17 PM on November 22, 2004


ok, here's something i don't understand: i'm not particularly bright, but when i scan the front page and see a post about something i'm not interested in, i don't read it and i forget about it.

i'm very interested in what's going on in american democracy right now, but there were a few days when i was sick of reading or hearing about it anywhere, and i didn't even "see" any of the various fpp's about it, even though i check mefi slavishly (not ashamed to admit i refresh the front page every 10 minutes to see what shows up.)

additionally, there's something eerie and children of the corn-esque about the way multiple people start flinging the "this is matt's site and he can do whatever he wants" line around whenever a thread gets deleted. it seems to me that it's a short hop from that sentiment to "zot happens" or whatever that line is freepers gleefully exclaim when something they don't like gets disappeared.

plus, maybe i'm crazy, but i've always imagined matt as a hagbard celinish-type "leader" who wouldn't at all dig that attitude coming from his fellow travellers: i pictured him as more of a "non serviam" dude.

i don't know, i just have a hard time rejoicing in - -or resigning myself to the fact of -- anything being deleted. for example, as much as i hate 99% of paris' postings, i would never want to see even one of them be removed.

that's just my $0.02.

this post was deleted because: lord wolf is an idiot
posted by lord_wolf at 2:19 PM on November 22, 2004


"So here's the thing. If the political junk doesn't subside...."

Stan, I read that too. I took it at face value - "junk", in my mind, meant mindless newsfilter. After Matt axed two of my posts in succession, I though "Oh, he really means it".

But - because of the ambiguity of posting guidelines - I made the assumption that Matt wanted a "A higher bar" - That's what I honestly thought. So I raised the bar ......a lot, and I fashioned a quality post - inspiration and perspiration. Work : not junk.

So now I have to assume that Matt meant "political posts" in general and not merely "junk political posts".

There's a difference.
posted by troutfishing at 2:21 PM on November 22, 2004


Troutfishing:

First, as Pikachulolita said, I have to commend you for not being all worked up, and for posting a good post.

I think, though, that you're projecting reasons onto us folks who oppose that aren't our actual reasons. I'm not going to speak for anyone else, but I think you should get a blog, because you DO have something to say, and you put a lot of effort into it.

I also don't think that politics, per se, will be verboten forever. The problem is that we've had too much. Not too much for our comfort levels, but so much that it has upset the balance of FPPs. In der olden days, I remember browsing the blue and being amused, aghast, intrigued, and educated. There were dildos, of course, but also various insider stories, technical explanations, art, and the like. It was a grabbag of all kinds of things, which couldn't be predicted (except that there would be Flash on Fridays). Recently, I know what will be on the blue before I go. The tilt, by the way, against American politics while accepting politics stories of other countries, is due to the same thing. If someone put up an interesting story about the politics of Namibia, it wouldn't incur nearly as much opposition, because we haven't been swamped with those kinds of stories yet.

And, in the future, I can see a world where American politics can be discussed on the blue. Just not every 4th post.

You think that our problem with politics articles is that they are threatening or uncomfortable. Let me at least say, for myself, that that is not why I dislike them. I dislike them because I have been burned out on them, and as far as I've ever been aware, metafilter was not a political discussion forum, and I don't come here to read politics. That's all. If it were just me, and my view of mefi was skewed, I'd just sit and bear it, but as my opinion seems to be borne out by a large number of other readers, as well as the owner of the site, I'll make the leap and say that not only do I not come here to read regular updates on American politics, but that this site isn't for continuous discussion of regular updates on American politics.

Oh, and, of course, the other reason being that, no matter how good the FPP is, the conversation following it is the worst of the web, inevitably. That's not the poster's fault, it's an unfortunate aspect of metafilter's reality.

Which, actually, is another reason I think you should get your own blog. Everything in your post is guaranteed to be 1000% better than any discussion that would follow it here on the blue, and having discussion would probably do little more than actually bring down the perceived quality. Blogging it somewhere that doesn't already have the kneejerk bitchslapping contests called "metafilter politics discussion" could only be a plus.

This may also be why the tame politics stay, and the "uncomfortable" politics, as you put it, are deleted. Not so much on the strength of the post itself, but in that the more extreme the actual post is, the more absolutely useless and worthless the discussion will be.
posted by Bugbread at 2:25 PM on November 22, 2004


"So here's the thing. If the political junk doesn't subside...."
...
So now I have to assume that Matt meant "political posts" in general and not merely "junk political posts".


I think we see the core cause of the disagreement here. I interpreted his use of the word "junk" in the slang sense, meaning "stuff, things", not the less slangy sense of "worthless things".
posted by Bugbread at 2:28 PM on November 22, 2004


i don't read it and i forget about it.

Well, let's imagine that one of your television channels started airing Reality Shows all day long. That's okay, you can switch the channel. This channel gets really, really, popular.

The other channels say, "Hey, that reality show thing seems really popular." They start airing reality show of their own.

So you flip a few more channels, no biggie.

Eventually though, all the channels say, "This reality show thing has gotten so big, nobody cares about documentaries or sitcoms anymore." Sure, you'll always have PBS, but then you find out that they're coming out with a Frontier House reality show this fall.

Then you wonder why you never said anything about this whole trend. But you do, and you say, "I don't think I like this whole reality show thing anymore!"

So you start complaining, but people who are so used to it yell back, "This is just how it is, you should have said something a long time ago. All these channels can't be wrong, everybody loves it." At this point, a channel exec who doesn't listen to everybody, who has a clear vision, has to step in and say, "No, this isn't what everybody needs to be watching. You're not going to like it, but I'm changing it."
posted by Stan Chin at 2:29 PM on November 22, 2004


Sorry, missed a few -- like this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this.

By my count that makes 23 posts since November 2 about either the election or its consequences. Again, troutfishing, how can you possibly support your insinuation that Matt's treatment of the 2004 election is evidence of MetaFilter becoming "a nice place to go for soothing, polite discussion of non-threatening topics"?
posted by pardonyou? at 2:29 PM on November 22, 2004


By my count that makes 23 posts since November 2

Not to nitpick, but wouldn't it be impossible to make 23 posts in 20 days?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:33 PM on November 22, 2004


Troutfishing - I hold you personally responsible for getting me all optimistic and worked up on election day, with your post-a-minute exit poll wankery. Give it a fucking rest, willya? And please don't turn a wrist-slapping you personally had coming into a quorum regarding this site, its mission, our collective philosophy, where this nation is going, blah blah blah, wank wank wank. Take your lump.

And for the love of all that is holy - go out and volunteer for your party. You cannot change the world with your OS clipboard.
posted by scarabic at 2:34 PM on November 22, 2004


Oops, my bad, I thought you were saying trout made all of them.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:34 PM on November 22, 2004


If troutfishing set up a blog, I'd read it.

Strong ideas, well used, thoroughly researched - he a good MeFite, although I'm not old enough for that to carry weight. And maybe, sometimes, it's like having Chomsky wade into a dispute about who should buy the drinks, but I like Chomsky and I'd be willing to let him talk so that he'd stick around and buy the beers later.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:35 PM on November 22, 2004


scarabic - I was optimistic too. Lots of people were. Damn misleading exit polls~! ( as Zogby said.... )


bugbread - OK, very well spoken, - and I do appreciate the compliment ( are you a mediator in real life ? You should be ). Anyway, I have to go. But - per my comment below - I thought my tie in to the larger world stage was what made my post interesting - as opposed to being merely more of the same tired politicalfilter fare.

I was actually TRYING to conform to the "New Regime" but didn't - apparently - understand the overall guidelines, which seem to be something like "Troutfishing can't make political posts" (although others - depending on matt's mood - can )

That's a fine guideline to me - if it's explicitly stated. I'm not asking for fairness, just clarity

____________


pardonyou - We're not talking about the pre-election past here. As Stan Chin quoted Matt saying (to paraphrase) - "this is a whle new ballgame."

In fact, many of the points of my post have never been discussed :

Especially the comparison of US electoral practices to those of the rest of the world.

Is Metafilter so parochial that such a discussion is unwelcome ? I didn't think so when I made the post. I guess I was wrong.
posted by troutfishing at 2:38 PM on November 22, 2004


troutfishing, I think you accidentally hit "post to MetaTalk" instead of the email send button. But if you must know in public here, I might as well tell you.

The election is over, but how many posts have you made that were related to the vote count since? I don't feel like counting, but in my mind the number is in the neighborhood of bazillion, give or take 2. You're grinding an ax. I let people post in their chosen topic more than once in many cases, but when it becomes a regular thing you do more than once a week, it's time to stop, and move on.

I know a guy that owns voterfraud.org and I bet he'd be happy to let you post like mad there. If you're interested, email me and I'll forward your details onto him.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:41 PM on November 22, 2004


The thing is that it is Matt's site, and Matt did say, very clearly, that he felt that there were too many posts about the US election, and that he was going to do something about that.

Now, I get that lodurr and lord_wolf and various other people don't think that Matt should have started deleting posts about the US election. But the fact remains that he said he was going to do it, and he has.

I don't think that it's a "short hop from that to 'zot happens'". I think that there's a point at which one accepts the fact that one venue isn't open to posts (or "many posts", or however Matt defines this) about the US election at the moment.

Given that Matt has been pretty clear about his intention not to have "too many", by his definition, posts about the US election, it seems that the logical person would take his or her inquiry into the US election elsewhere. The Raw Story is one venue that appears to be interested in political editorials.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:47 PM on November 22, 2004


You can only grind your axe for so long before all that's left is the handle.

And when that happens, we're going to beat you with it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:49 PM on November 22, 2004


"one venue isn't open to posts (or "many posts", or however Matt defines this) about the US election at the moment."

but this is exactly the point! i get that troutfishing was perceived as grinding his axe. i get it. but comments like this just serve to muddy up the waters again. i would have concluded from matt's comment that it's just a matter of repetition, taking into account one's posting history. but then you go and say "see? don't post about the election!" and then i'm all confused again.
posted by pikachulolita at 2:57 PM on November 22, 2004


Troutfishing knows all about daily kos.

BINGO!

Christ, troutfishing has a blog and he is posting the same identical stories to MetaFitler as he is to his DailyKos Diary

And I'm not trying to be mean, but there are zero comments and zero trackbacks on his blog, and of 14 comments on his story at his DailyKos Diary, 8 are by him.

Troutfishing knows the proper venues for these topics BUT PURPOSELY POSTS THESE ITEMS ON METAFILTER TO FOR ATTENTION HE IS NOT GETTING ELSE WHERE.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:59 PM on November 22, 2004


maybe because this is the only place he can get reasonable discussion.


[generously leaves punchline for another]
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:01 PM on November 22, 2004


Besides that bitching and whining about which side stole the election this time (as if either side 'wins') is just pedantic and boring, and counterproductive to what could be positive political posts (I believe they exist).

Plus, those fucking _______________'s gotta go.
posted by angry modem at 3:04 PM on November 22, 2004


June 18:
It is one thing to be posting your highly charged posts to site where it will get nearly 1.5 million pageviews a month. You are making a post to one of the most influential and most linked weblogs on the net, one that many in the major media read. You are setting the tone, you bringing up important issues, and more importantly you are changing minds! (so these people think)

It is quite another thing to be one of hundreds of bland partisans out there blogging away on some remote BlogSpot site that only your cat and your mother reads.

The difference is publishing your own newsletter in your basement vs. writing front page stories for The New York Times. If election2004.metafilter.com (when? please!) happens, it will be like getting moved from page A1 to the obituaries page.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:05 PM on November 22, 2004


okay, sentence fragment, but you get the idea.
posted by angry modem at 3:05 PM on November 22, 2004


aw jeez, now just because mathowie told him that he wore out his welcome on us election topics, y'all are going to pile on about how "pedantic" and "boring" he is. honestly, to wait until matt makes his statement clear and then hammer down once you think you're "in the right" is really childish, guys.

ninjapirate & steve_at_linnwood seem to think they're indicting him for the high crime (and rightfully so) of looking for publicity for himself. he's not. he's looking for publicity for an issue he thinks is of utmost importance to the future of our country. the line is now clear(er) on whether or not that is appropriate here, and i expect you won't have to deal with it on the front page for quite awhile. problem solved. so cut it out with the personal attacks, will ya?
posted by pikachulolita at 3:13 PM on November 22, 2004


hey, stan chin, i dig what you're saying.

but i don't think that would have happened on mefi. i think our big blue community here could be self-correcting such that people would see that their political posts are getting 10 responses while the animal penis dildo origami poetry post gets 150 responses and realize that the mood doesn't support a discussion about their topic no matter how passionately they feel about it. in that same situation, i would hope that people who don't like a.p.d.o.p. posts would akcnowledge that they must be striking a chord if they get 150 responses every day and content themselves with reading other threads.

and eventually, the pendulum would swing the other way, b/c we can't discuss akita and thor, or ohio and florida as the case may be, forever...can we?

and i don't think the "network exec" has to step in; especially since people aren't just passively receiving content here on mefi the way they are in t.v. land.

then again, i'm relatively new here, and have never even made a fpp on any topic, so even i take most of my comments with a grain of salt. ;-)
posted by lord_wolf at 3:17 PM on November 22, 2004


pikachulolita: As you can see from the link here, I have been saying this for some time.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:20 PM on November 22, 2004


oh! so this is more of that "axe-grinding" i've heard so much about! thanks, steve!
posted by pikachulolita at 3:21 PM on November 22, 2004


yes, exactly
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:24 PM on November 22, 2004


but i don't think that would have happened on mefi.

I believe Stan's point was that it has. And he's right. And the consequent argumentative cockbucketry that taking politics entirely too seriously brings has driven away many of the personalities that have made this place shine over the years (although many with hardier constitutions remain, of course), and the pendulum has swung.

Nobody gets more fired up about the rape of America than me (you know, in a negative way), but I'm with everyone who's chimed in in this thread and others; I strongly support of the idea of seeing fewer histrionics about it on Metafilter. Not that it should go entirely, I don't think, but an occasional thread-deletion slap to the dick of the worst politics.metafilter.com offenders is nothing but a positive.

If Matt starts banning them, then perhaps that'd be a different discussion.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:27 PM on November 22, 2004


i predict this will die down a bit and then explode all over the place when matt himself posts a blatantly political sub-par one-link newsfilter sometime next week. shrug.
posted by quonsar at 3:27 PM on November 22, 2004


Lord_wolf, I'm new too, and have zero FPPs to my name, so it's easy for me to talk without being taken to task, but (and I may be wrong), I don't gather that the number of comments is correlated to the quality of a post. I've seen some great posts where there was little to discuss, unless you post just to say "Great post!". On the far extreme, trolls get the most responses, on pretty much any board I've ever seen.

It's not an inverse relationship, either. Some things get few comments because they suck, and some get many comments because they're great. It's just important to remember that the number of comments isn't really indicative of post quality.

As put by Matt in the MeFi wiki: "Just because your post will undoubtedly generate a lot of discussion does not mean that it is a good one."
posted by Bugbread at 3:28 PM on November 22, 2004


I happen to think that American Democracy is in deep decline and deep trouble

And you think we need to be told this? Are you by any chance mistaking MetaFilter for a red state? We know it, trout, we don't like it, but we've talked about it and talked about it and talked about it and talked about it and talked about it and talked about it and most of us, including most importantly the guy who runs the place, are sick of talking about it. Here, anyway. I talk about it with my wife and my relatives and my friends, to let off steam and exchange the latest horror stories, but when I come to MeFi it's to see something new. The best of the web. Not "look, everybody, another reason to hate and fear Bush!"

We get it. Really, we do. Except for the Bush supporters, and they're not going to get it because you made a supersized multilink post about it. Seriously, with love: get your own blog. Or go out and take a walk. Or start a political party. But stop making these posts.

On preview: what the wonderchicken said.
posted by languagehat at 3:33 PM on November 22, 2004


MetaFilter - argumentative cockbucketry

That's so good I'd lick it.
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:39 PM on November 22, 2004


We know it, trout, we don't like it, but we've talked about it and talked about it and talked about it and talked about it and talked about it and talked about it

Damn you for unwittingly implanting "Funkytown" in my head, languagehat, but I agree.
posted by LionIndex at 3:57 PM on November 22, 2004


"Funkytown" redeems the thread entirely. Lets get back there.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:08 PM on November 22, 2004


i predict this will die down a bit and then explode all over the place when matt himself posts a blatantly political sub-par one-link newsfilter sometime next week. shrug.
Exactly! And that's the problem. Don't delete and then do worse than what you deleted--jeez.

This is some ugly thread, and it would have been me--Matt would have been deleted my post-- if I had posted that Washington Post anti-gay thing instead of McBain. There's something very wrong with that--why can't people take a thread for what it is? It's not hard, and no one ever dumps on the people that post environmental threads over and over and over and over, for just one of many examples. If you have to look at a username before you look at a post, you're just pathetic--seriously. I think maybe there are better things to do here.

And you dare talk about setting an example for all the newbies?!? That's a laugh. Pathetic. New people, don't be like those in here. And don't let these assholes stop you from posting what you want--if you think it's interesting, and it's on the web, go for it.
posted by amberglow at 4:13 PM on November 22, 2004


"Okay then, send it to Funkytown."

"That's a song sir."
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:14 PM on November 22, 2004


I really think you all should come to a meetup. For real for real.
posted by adampsyche at 4:24 PM on November 22, 2004


To me the key is "know your audience"

If the audience doesn't want to see it, it's not a good post. People come here for "best of the web" and TF has contributed to that end many times. But they don't come here for election fraud stories, unless the story is so big, interesting, and unique that it just needs to be posted.

Again, TF (and anyone else): Know your Audience. I think it's pretty clear based on this thread that the audience has spoken.
posted by cell divide at 4:28 PM on November 22, 2004


Exactly! And that's the problem. Don't delete and then do worse than what you deleted--jeez.

Jesus amberglow, relax. I don't have a pet issue I lob onto the front page day after day, do I? I might post something political every now and then but I try to stick to something truly beyond the pale, a milestone of sorts, not the latest AP wire in my pet issue. I have a feeling what I'm writing here may sound a bit harsh, but I'm kind of out of it and nursing a flu and don't have time to soften the edges.

You're the goto guy for gay issues. We get it. We know it. We all know it. On the downside, that makes you predictable and people tend to tune out those that are predictable. You might be thinking you're pushing your cause that would otherwise fall below our radar and that you're doing a service, but I beg to differ. I bet most people ignore those with pet issue that won't stop posting about them. I'm trying to prevent that here.

In any community there are often folks that fill roles that are predictable, but people often tune them out. There's always "the joker." There's always "the religious nut." There's always "the libertarian guy." We now have the "election fraud blackbox voting activist guy." Don't be "the gay civil rights guy." It makes you into a one trick pony, and your issues will get ignored as people lose patience reading thread after thread about the same topic from the same person.

I have a problem with someone like Paris or Postroad throwing up anything in the news that mentions "Israel" and I didn't hear any complaints (mostly cheers) when I went on delete sprees, but when you and troutfishing grind an ax yourselves, it's suddenly unfair.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:36 PM on November 22, 2004



You can only grind your axe for so long before all that's left is the handle.

And when that happens, we're going to beat you with it.


I <3 the glorious rev_crash_davis.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:42 PM on November 22, 2004


As a European I'd just like to say I'm heartily sick of your US election. Now if you'd made a post about the Ukrainian election and used it to focus on the Ukranian election....
posted by squealy at 4:44 PM on November 22, 2004


On the downside, that makes you predictable and people tend to tune out those that are predictable.

Tuning out is fine--i tune out Seth, and 111, and other trolls, etc.
That's not what deleting is, nor the piling on we see here. There's a difference there--Why don't people try "tuning out" if they don't like something? There's always--and always has been--plenty of other stuff to read and talk about here, even during the height of "politicsfilter". It's old advice, but it works perfectly. Tune out trout's posts if you don't want to read it. Skip.over.it.

and: if you were evenhanded about this, people wouldn't get so upset. It's the arbitrary nature, and that some issues can be reposted and reposted (see the environment, for instance), but others can't. And it's not helpful to all the new folks either.
posted by amberglow at 4:53 PM on November 22, 2004


Why don't people try "tuning out" if they don't like something? There's always--and always has been--plenty of other stuff to read and talk about here, even during the height of "politicsfilter".

Stan Chin's analogy above, comparing reality television's invasion of the airwaves to election/political posts here, is a perfect response to that question.

There seems, and I type "seems" because I have no hard figures to back it up, only a perception that appears to be largely held here, to be days where more than 50% of the front page is political news. It is getting to the point where tuning out means not coming here anymore.

There was never really any politics-free good ol' days of hot zoidberg on kottke flash action here. There has always been a mix of the best of the web and news/poli kinds of posts. The difference between then and now is the balance. The political is replacing the novel. The only way to fix the balance-- the only way to restore the previous use of the site-- is for Matt to prune the overtly political posts (which are usually the same topic over the same username) and hope the trend is noticed.

It isn't evenhanded because it can't be. These posts are by a small group of political junkies who only post, and incessently post, about the same topic. With the flood of new users, the balance has to be restored.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:30 PM on November 22, 2004


<delurk>

I think it's pretty clear based on this thread that the audience has spoken.

Point one: Count the number of unique IDs in this thread; subtract it from the total number of user IDs. Point two: Count the number of unique IDs, and then order them by the number of times that ID corresponds to a post in the thread.

From those exercises, you can see that an audience has spoken. But not the audience.

"The" audience speaks as a market do. If people don't want to see the post, they won't read it. If they're compelled to dive in and post, "this is a crappy post, I wonder how long 'til it's deleted", I submit that they were really just dying for someone to make that post so they could chime in and feel all righteous when they looked in the mirror.

But what determines MeFi's tone is not "the" audience, but "an" audience. When people with a high number of posts on that first line of their profile summary make a big pronunciation, it carries more weight. When people who (for whatever reason) are respected make pronunciations regarding something's value or lack thereof, it carries more weight. This is how small, insular communities, like Metafilter, work. What people actually believe, though, is not something that threads like this give you access to.

In the idealized economy of karma, such people gain influence by merit; but anyone here who's been on the net for more than a couple of years knows that the ideal world is a fiction, and that karma in this kind of forum accrues primarily from the degree of style with which you count coup.

(The preceding is offered as a clinical and cool observation. Please evalutate it without imputing to me any tone of voice or hidden agenda, as I would do for any post made by the vast majority of you.)

<delurk />
posted by lodurr at 5:32 PM on November 22, 2004


Don't you all feel weird when you like eat a vitamin and then take a piss an hour or so later and it's all like, really yellow, like it was Mountain Dew?

That totally freaks me out.
posted by xmutex at 5:37 PM on November 22, 2004


Just as a potentially fair and even-handed suggestion to avoid these "dead-horse" and possibly the newsfilter stuff, what about increasing the required time between posts? Backing it off to every three days, or even every seven days, might help with this impression that some people are abusing the front page for their daily editorial.

In addition to the "filter" aspect, I'd like to see more of the "meta" aspect. Direct to sites where there are communities discussing these particular issues.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:40 PM on November 22, 2004


It's the arbitrary nature, and that some issues can be reposted and reposted (see the environment, for instance), but others can't.

Some evidence to back up your claims here would be nice. I doubt of all the political posts I've ever made, that the environment comes in as #1.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:41 PM on November 22, 2004


Okay, so I am one of those new folk. But as a longtime reader of MeFi, it's easy enough to identify a few major patterns of axe-grinding and in-fighting. The thing is, I don't want to "tune out" and ignore certain people because they make frequent and predictable posts to the blue on a limited array of well-worn topics. Why should I have to narrow my field of view, just so that a handful of people can post whatever they want?

In other words, Matt's explanation above makes perfect sense to me, and it seems like a remarkably clear and temperate response to troutfishing's original question. It is always tempting for any dedicated agenda-driven advocate to adopt the "we're all going to hell and I'm the only one who gives a shit!" mentality, but that path tends to be circular.
posted by naomi at 5:44 PM on November 22, 2004


Tuning out is fine--i tune out Seth, and 111, and other trolls, etc.
That's not what deleting is, nor the piling on we see here.


True, but I suspect that is because mathowie is trying to avoid his site turning into something where a large number of posts are tuned out by the majority.

There's always--and always has been--plenty of other stuff to read and talk about here, even during the height of "politicsfilter".

As a long time reader, I have to disagree. During the peak of the politicsfilter, I stopped visiting, because it seemed that all there was was politics. To be fair, I may have been wrong. After all, if there are 9 non-poli posts and 1 poli post, it's a 90% - 10% ratio, and if there are 9 non-poli and 91 poli it's a 9% - 91% ratio. Either way, it's the same number of non-poli. However, it certainly doesn't feel the same, and having such skewed ratios will probably result in even fewer non-poli posts as people come to think of mefi as being "the site to discuss politics".

It's the arbitrary nature, and that some issues can be reposted and reposted (see the environment, for instance), but others can't.

I won't disagree with the arbitrariness being problematic, but regarding the environment: the comments section doesn't turn into a shitstorm. An enviro post may get a yellow card for overuse, but an ameripoli post gets a yellow card for overuse, and then a red card for bad discussion. So I can't say I'm surprised or dismayed that ameripoli posts get treated more severly than enviro posts.

And xmutex: yes, that totally freaks me out, especially because I always forget I took the vitamin, so I start to pee and go, "What the hell?! Oh, yeah, vitamins. Never mind."
posted by Bugbread at 6:02 PM on November 22, 2004


Don't you all feel weird when you like eat a vitamin and then take a piss an hour or so later and it's all like, really yellow, like it was Mountain Dew?

That totally freaks me out.
posted by xmutex at 5:37 PM PST on November 22



That's caused by excess riboflavin.
posted by orange clock at 6:11 PM on November 22, 2004


"Why don't people try "tuning out" if they don't like something?"

It's not that we don't like it. It's that bringing your agenda to the MetaFilter homepage is bad. I happen to be very interested in the possibility that the election may have been stolen via election fraud.

I like Bush bashing.
I like hearing new reasons to hate him.
I like thinking that the election was stolen.
I like seeing people flip-off the administration.

What I don't like is seeing politics threads at MetaFilter.

Bringing your agenda to the MetaFilter homepage is bad. Especially when you already posted the same thing on your blog and it doesn't get any comments.

I hate Flash posts.
I hate MuseumFilter posts.
I hate wacky news posts.

But I haven't bitched about those in years. Becuase clearly it's what the site is for. We do those well. So this has nothing to do with what we don't like.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:42 PM on November 22, 2004


y6x3- Damn. What don't you hate?
posted by xmutex at 7:09 PM on November 22, 2004


Now that the election is over, my hope is that users change their recent ways.

Excellent use of the subjunctive mood.
posted by mono blanco at 7:13 PM on November 22, 2004


I thought this site was for interesting stuff we find on the web, not just what gets "done well." We all have a role and a responsibility in what gets done well or not, not just the poster--many so-so, or even bad posts have been redeemed by the comments, and many fabulous posts have been sunk by the comments. Deleting them because of the perceived agenda of the person posting them doesn't allow even that to happen, and forestalls all discussion of certain topics.

And everyone has an agenda, even people who post Drudge or Fark/SA or PepsiBlueFilter links, etc. I think it's actually better to know what people care about (or don't)--we're all here together.

(spellcheck spells PepsiBlueFilter as pestilential, btw)
posted by amberglow at 7:14 PM on November 22, 2004


Maybe part of the reason so many political posts get deleted is that Matt and others don't want to be reminded that our guy lost and this is going to be a tough four years for this country. And it doesn't matter what the post is about, if you post the same thing every day, you're taking your chances.

Why not post something with a more postive angle to it Mr. Troutfishing? Try a political post that we haven't seen before.
posted by euphorb at 7:36 PM on November 22, 2004


If you have to look at a username before you look at a post, you're just pathetic--seriously. I think maybe there are better things to do here.

But that's the thing. You see a certain post and you don't even have to look at the username, it's obvious. That doesn't feel like metafilter. It feels like [insertusername]filter.

It's matts site, he's posted a million links, and I could never pick one out as a 'mathowie' link.
posted by justgary at 7:39 PM on November 22, 2004


justgary - "Ah you! I've got you pegged" : well, it's only human.
______

euphorb - I just did that, and it got deleted. Look at it again.
______

"The world is round" - "No, it's flat - and stop grinding that axe !"
_______ ( ___ : Ha! )

"There seems, and I type "seems" because I have no hard figures to back it up, only a perception that appears to be largely held here, to be days where more than 50% of the front page is political news.... The only way to fix the balance-- the only way to restore the previous use of the site-- is for Matt to prune the overtly political posts" -

eyeballkid, forgive me if I put words in your mouth, but you seem to be saying here that it is necessary to limit the range of discussion and to delete overly contentious ( political ) posts : in other words, to bowdlerize Metafilter of disturbing content.
______

naomi - how would you define "axe-grinding" ?

I used to post and comment on Global Warming/Climate Change a lot. I got tired of that and stopped.

What are your axes ? Isn't much of life a sequence of different styles of "ax-grinding" - otherwise known as shifting perspective, or evolving points of view ?

_________

mathowie - did I call your deletion unfair ?

No, I didn't. I'm grateful for the opportunity to post on this venue that you've created. I was actually puzzled and suggested a need for clarification : I can work within criteria and guidelines and would like to know what those are.

The vagaries of language being what they are - the more you spell things out in painstaking detail, the fewer posts you will feel the need to delete and the fewer feathers you will ruffle.

So (for example) "don't grind an axe (what is axe grinding ? see......)" - Do you get my point ?

"I try to stick to something truly beyond the pale" - I tried to stay within the pale and - here on this site - you, my friend, define the "pale" ( cue: languagehat ) .

Here on Metafilter, the pale has shrunk considerably of late, and I sense a vague fear creeping in around the edges.

I have no more use for such vague fear, which is little different from an overall fear of death, and about as useful.

_______

cell divide - if only it were so clear !
________

languagehat - when I post something which I consider factual and relatively objective and am met by yelling and invective but no actual reasoned response, I have to say that, yes, Metafilter is for me a "red state".

Or I could say that I see less blue here than some, but I reject that Manichean "red vs. blue" schema.

I don't like to think in such terms - I have things to learn from people of all stripes. I merely ask for reasoned argument, overall civility and a general refrain from cussing.

I went through through one battle on this site with Global Warming/Global Climate Change, as one of the earlier one to yell about that : mostly in commentary on the threads of others. When I started commenting and posting here, the perception of many on this site about the current prevailing opinion of climate scientists was very backward, skewed towards disbelief. I had a privileged position, having studied the subject a bit. I expended a lot of energy and might have helped to shift the group consensus here a little. But, that fight was easy compared to the fight over the assertion "mainstream" reality is skewed.

That's a bitter fight.
__________

y6y6y6 - Once again you adopt the royal "we".
posted by troutfishing at 7:49 PM on November 22, 2004


"y6x3- Damn. What don't you hate?"

PHP. Burdock's fish and chips in Dublin. Canon EOS lenses. Diet Coke. A really good scallop. "Return Of The King" (movie version). My old Honda CRX. batgrlHG. Reeses peanut butter cups. Fresh pesto. Zion Narrows. Tcp/IP. Downtown Michigan. Flogging Molly. Missoula, MT. Hitting people with clubs (SCA). I-15. Photoshop. Homesite. PVRs. San Diego. MetaFilter. "The Fifth Element". Port. Wulfgar!. "Call Of Duty" multiplayer. My job. New Orleans. The Carrowkeel tombs. Uni-ball Vision pens. Dell. Eudora. Chili (good chili). CompactFlash cards. Vegas dining. Tungsten Carbide. Toby's Tacos on Miramar. Columbia JB Booney hats. Master Of Orion. KFC barbecue wings. Cheap virtual hosting. AskMetaFilter. Monty Python. Fermented hops and malted barley. Fire. The Bass-O-Matic. Calphalon cookware. Tums. Thanksgiving. America. Sunsets. Inkjet printers. Clinton. Opera (the browser). Marcy Playground. Pot pies.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:33 PM on November 22, 2004


"y6y6y6 - Once again you adopt the royal "we"."

It's not an affectation, it's a lifestyle baby.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:37 PM on November 22, 2004


Wow. I think I might have said this before (ha!) but the litmus test for a post should be whether the link is something most readers will respond to with a "that's really cool, I haven't seen that elsewhere". The test is not whether "a good discussion" will likely ensue. The test is not whether "it is important" or not. The test isn't even whether "it is interesting" or not, because merely being interesting isn't enough.

But the one standard that clearly shows why your posts and amber's posts aren't acceptable and other ones are is the "get your own blog" standard. That standard is saying that using MeFi posts as a platform to air your opinions is a misuse of MeFi. That's what blogs are for. Who are you posting for? Yourself or the people on MeFi that you think want to see your post? It's disengeuous to claim that pushing some agenda because you believe it is important is the equivalent to givine MeFi members what they want. You're not that terribly concerned with what MeFi wants. You're concerned with making your case, with persuading people. Well, that's not what posts are for. They can incidentally be that. And, yes, it can be unclear if that's what the poster is doing or not. But, over time, a poster's history of posts is very telling on whether or not it's about the poster or about the audience.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:39 PM on November 22, 2004


/ gives troutfishing a hug ;-)
posted by madamjujujive at 8:41 PM on November 22, 2004


"the more you spell things out in painstaking detail, the fewer posts you will feel the need to delete and the fewer feathers you will ruffle."

You put your finger on the problem. The more you define the rules in detail, the fewer feathers you ruffle, the more boring the site gets, and the more creativity you drive out.

Painstakingly detailed rules? Who wants things to be safe now?
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:42 PM on November 22, 2004


My better judgement says, "leave it." My better judgement says, "your a n00b, so STFU." My better judgement says, "stick to making small, irrelevant jokes about popular culture." But hey ho.

It just wasn't a very good post. Your attempt to demonstrate that the flaws which have led to the Ukrainian election being condemned were also present in the American election was unconvincing, to say the least. As was pointed out in the thread comments, they were not merely of a different scale, but of an entirely different form. You exploited linguistic similarities in the discussion of them, and ignored the many examples of fraudulent behaviour which have no analogous counterpart in the US (which are the main reasons for the condemnation of the Ukraine election, and which dominate the articles you linked to), to focus on minor supposed resemblances. Your links did not demonstrate what you said they did.

On the issue of the discrepancy between the exit polling data and the actual results, one link provided a reasonable explanation from an expert, which you tried to refute with a link to one of you own posts on DailyKos. You claimed that "Professional statistical analysis supports the vote rigging hypothesis", when the studies themselves merely suggest that it could not be ruled out ("My purpose in this paper, however, has not been to allege election theft, let alone explain it. ") The quote "Something is definitely wrong" is supplied entirely without context in the linked article. Several links were repeated.

When one previous election fraud post was deleted, I belive Matt said something along the lines of "let's just wait until there's some hard evidence". I didn't see any hard evidence in this post. I don't think anybody here denies that lack of paper trails and poor allocation of machines are bad for democracy, but these issues have been discussed and agreed upon repeatedly, and you added nothing new. The specious comparison with the Ukraine was a mere rhetorical device, which is a shame, because it's actually quite a significant (and developing) news story in itself.
posted by flashboy at 8:54 PM on November 22, 2004


flashboy - You didn't go very deep, did you ? Do you have a sense of what I was getting at when I asserted that the US 2004 election didn't conform to international electoral norms ? As far as "hard evidence goes : what would that possibly be ? Try starting with the distribution of voting machines in Ohio - enough, in and of itself perhaps, to swing the election. But, there's much more. Are you boy enough ?

y6y6y6 - OK, I'll bite - I don't hate : " Diet Coke. A really good scallop. "Return Of The King" (movie version)..... Reeses peanut butter cups. Fresh pesto. Zion Narrows.....Downtown Michigan....Missoula, MT....Photoshop....San Diego. MetaFilter....New Orleans.....AskMetaFilter. Monty Python. Fermented hops and malted barley. Fire. The Bass-O-Matic. .....Thanksgiving. America. Sunsets.....Clinton." ( of the other stuff, I don't know and so I can't say )

That would seem like common ground.

EB - "one standard that clearly shows why your posts and amber's posts aren't acceptable and other ones are is the "get your own blog" standard. That standard is saying that using MeFi posts as a platform to air your opinions" - come on now. I know you're smarter than that.

MJJ - Thanks.
posted by troutfishing at 9:17 PM on November 22, 2004


Seriously, trout. I agree with your views on most things and I applaud your desire to further your viewpoint. I like you personally. (And all applies to amberglow, too, and all but the last part to y2karl. I don't have a problem with your views or your desire to proselytize.) But from when I began lurking MeFi long ago through to being a member, I've never thought of MeFi posts as an advocacy platform for me or anyone else. It was being used that way by many, and I complained about it. Now, I use MeFi as an advocacy platform as a commenter, and that, too, may be not totally kosher. But I've always seen a big difference between posting and commenting—I think it's implicit in the way that Matt has set MeFi up.

I sometimes wonder if the fact that comment threads are allowed to have a certain character isn't part of what confuses some people into thinking that the posts themselves are allowed to having that same character. I don't think they are, it seem obvious to me from a whole bunch of things Matt has done and said.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:26 PM on November 22, 2004


Oh my.

I am new here. I am about to disagree with Matt. But here goes.

Troutfishing's posts on this issue have been continuously thought-provoking. Obviously he's pushing an opinion, but he's doing so in an informative way. Maybe this would suit a blog better, but I don't think it detracts from Metafilter - I think it adds a lot (for me) that I know that if there is an important issue that is getting neglected in the news, regarding ANY topic, I will here about it here. As will others.

I don't care if Trout or Amberglow [or, alternately, others who I don't agree with] always post on a single issue. I tune some of them out, I happen to pay attention to these two. I like that it is all available - I'd rather have fewer deletions than more, that's what the scroll wheel is for.

I think the standard should not be - does it express an opinion? - but - is it interesting and thought-provoking?
I know this is all subjective and ultimately Matt's the one making the calls. But "Best of the Web" is not just one thing, it's not just about nifty flash games and whatnot - it is different things for different people, and the site gains more richness when more of those different types of things are represented.
posted by mai at 10:03 PM on November 22, 2004


mai, my problem is a simple one: what if everyone pushed their own agendafilter? So trout continues posting election stuff day after day, and many, many members follow suit with their pet issues.

What are we left with? Indymedia.org?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:25 PM on November 22, 2004


Can we make "__________" a bannable offense?

Pretty please?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:38 AM on November 23, 2004


Joke




...kinda.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:39 AM on November 23, 2004


So, KirkJobSluder posts the first actual suggestion for resolving this issue, and he gets ignored.

If I were a cynical man, that might lead me to believe that the argument is more important than what it's supposed to be about. <<-[... hoping that an incite-ful comment might get someont to actually read the suggestion...]
posted by lodurr at 3:50 AM on November 23, 2004


what pikachulolita said above rings very true to me:

troutfishing, at the very least, is clearly not Super Worked Up about the whole thing, and i really think his justification for this thread is a very good one - i had assumed that much of the anger at election posts was due to lack of quality as well

but then I'm not impartial because I like troutfishing very much, personally and politically, I consider him to be a very interesting contributor to this site (and, personally, I am thankful for his friendship).

having said that, as always the mantra should be: "it's Matt's sandbox".
posted by matteo at 4:35 AM on November 23, 2004


"That would seem like common ground."

????

I agree election fraud is an important issue. When the proof comes out over at TPM I'll be clapping my hands witrh glee. But it the MetaFilter front page isn't the right place to post it repeatedly. Once maybe, but after that it's a double post.

It's not you that's the problem troutfishing. It's what you're doing.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:05 AM on November 23, 2004


Wow. I think I might have said this before (ha!) but the litmus test for a post should be whether the link is something most readers will respond to with a "that's really cool, I haven't seen that elsewhere".
But your "that's really cool, I haven't seen that elsewhere" response isn't mine, nor other people's (almost 20k of them). Everything comes from elsewhere--that's why it can be posted. Nor is it a stated rule of the site. (Everything that exists online can fall into your standard, depending on who's judging, which maybe is why that's not the standard.)

There are thousands and thousands of sites online that each specialize--in Farkish links (most of which do it better than here), and odd/quirky real news, and unexpected media events, and art/visual stuff, and consumer culture, and pop culture, and sports, and gadgets, and tech, and Iraq, and the environment, and music, and obituaries, etc. I think the fact that no topic is verboten is one of the strengths here, or at least i used to think that. If this is going to just be a place for news of the weird, and flash cartoons, and the latest gadget--it's been done (over and over), and this is really not the best format for it.

The strength of Mefi is its breadth, not the supposed uniqueness. Why do you think so many people from different walks of life enjoy the site? Why do you think people still want in?
posted by amberglow at 5:36 AM on November 23, 2004


Amberglow: I doubt (and I will admit I have no proof) that this will be a permanent ban on ameripoli. I think that, currently, we're in a period of swinging back from an overabundance of ameripoli, and hence it is temporarily verboten, or at least discouraged. I would be surprised if, in two years, discussion of American politics is still so staunchly discouraged. The same thing would happen if we had 4 posts on animal dildos every day. For a while, there would be a "no animal dildo" policy, but that reduction in breadth would probably not be permanent.
posted by Bugbread at 5:48 AM on November 23, 2004


"Why do you think people still want in?"

I could give you the long answer, but in this context I think it's better to just give the short version - Matt. People like the site because of the little things Matt has done over the years. Things like this. Steering the site away from the edge.

You might have better luck trying to get Matt to segment the place. There's plenty of people here who would would breath life into AgendaNewsPoliticsFilter, even if it turned out to be a daily trainwreck.

And it seems to me that giving such wreck lovers a home would save Matt a lot of bother.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:57 AM on November 23, 2004


I could give you the long answer, but in this context I think it's better to just give the short version - Matt

At substantial risk of being branded a "Mefi-hater": Poppycock.

People still want in because Metafilter is Cool. (Note, not "kewl".) Matt has an enabling role in that, insofar as it's his sandbox. But like a bar owner, he owes his venue's popularity to the people who come here. It's a virtuous circle, to be sure, but as with a bar the place could suck at an interactive and feature level and still be popular, if it was where the cool kids hung.

Short version / paraphrasing Carville: "It's the content, stupid." As you've argude yourself, repeatedly, throughout this thread.

And still no one pays any attention to the one practical solution that's been suggested so far: A limit on posting frequency. Is that such a horrible idea that no one can stand to even see it when it's suggested?
posted by lodurr at 6:18 AM on November 23, 2004


I'm not just talking about AgendaNewsPoliticsFilter, bugbread and y6, but the whole thing--which is more than the sum of its parts. I think it is all the parts coming together that make it good, and worthwhile. There are plenty of people here who would breath life into FarkFilter too, etc...That that's just as true, says something. Which is why harping on just politics or agendas gets us nowhere.

A limit on posting frequency would be fine by me, lodurr--once a week would be cool, and may end up being necessary.
posted by amberglow at 6:23 AM on November 23, 2004


Lodurr, I agree, limiting FPP frequency would be good.

Amberglow, I agree, it's all the parts that make it good. We are harping on politics and agendas because those are the parts in contention. If you go to the doctor because of headaches, it's no surprise that discussion centers around the head, and not the heart, even though the heart is just as important.
posted by Bugbread at 6:33 AM on November 23, 2004


Actually, let me append: Regardless of the discussion about politics and agendas, a limit on post frequency would probably be a good idea anyway now, with this influx of us newbies.
posted by Bugbread at 6:37 AM on November 23, 2004


Guys, don't agree with me about this, OK? I'm just the squeaky wheel. It was KirkJobSluder's idea.
posted by lodurr at 6:41 AM on November 23, 2004


What is axe-grinding?

I think you already know that, but okay... Axe-grinding is posting the same topic and opinion to the blue on a regular basis. Axe-grinding is repeating that opinion over and over in the comment section. Axe-grinding is posting links to your own writings and creating a circular loop that seeks to persuade by sheer repetition. That gets boring really quickly.

We all know the election had problems. Many of us keep up with political news via other sources. When something groundbreaking occurs, please do update us. Lately you've just been plowing the same old field.

I happen to like science posts. But I would hope that if I ever start posting a weekly Naked Mole Rat update, some of you kind people would intervene to stop me.
posted by naomi at 6:42 AM on November 23, 2004


Another day, another poster nailing themselves to a cross because no one buys into their visions of themselves as a glorious Crusader for the capital-T Truth.


*YAWN*
posted by darukaru at 6:51 AM on November 23, 2004


Cool...ironic detachment...I've never seen that before....
posted by lodurr at 6:56 AM on November 23, 2004


y6y6y6 - "I agree election fraud is an important issue. When the proof comes out over at TPM" - TPM is the arbiter of truth ?

As I've said before, belated recognition - by mainstream media - of the flaws in the 2000 election, and also tacit recognition that without illegal methods (such as absurdly inflated voter purge lists) and a bizarre concentration of defective voting machines in poor black areas of Florida, the 2000 election would have gone to Gore - occurred one to three years after the fact : in other words, when the issue was moot.

Here's the NYT on the upcoming 2004 election :

"An accurate count of the votes cast is the sine qua non of a democracy, but one that continues to elude us. As now-discredited punch-card machines are being abandoned, there has been a shift to electronic voting machines with serious reliability problems of their own. Many critics, including computer scientists, have been sounding the alarm: through the efforts of a hacker on the outside or a malicious programmer on the inside, or through purely technical errors, these machines could misreport the votes cast.

They are right to be concerned. There is a fast-growing list of elections in which electronic machines have demonstrably failed, or produced dubious but uncheckable results."

___________

I fully expect that the story - or most of it - of the 2004 election will sooner or later come out : maybe, say, late in 2007.... too late to actually prevent a repeat in 2008, probably.

You see, there is already a large and growing body of damning circumstantial evidence. My favorite is the concentration, according to Ohio's own official numbers even, of more voting machines in Republican dominant areas of Franklin County, Ohio than in Democratic dominant areas of that county.

That evidence works for me : the official in charge of Ohio's election system is an openly committed Bush partisan. So : we are to believe that the apportioning of voting machines was somehow random ? Or that the clustering of defective machines in Democratic areas was also random ? The same sort of pattern held in the 2000 election :

"The ugly, secret shame of American democracy is that 2 million votes are "spoiled" in presidential elections -- tossed away untallied as "unreadable." And the nasty part is that roughly half are cast by African-Americans. To learn of this astonishing Jim Crow thumb on the U.S. electoral scales, you have to hunt through the appendixes of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission report on the Florida 2000 race. The government's demographers concluded that of the 179,855 votes "spoiled" in Florida that year, 54 percent were cast by blacks. All other credible studies tell us that Florida is horribly typical of the nation.

On November 2, in Ohio, Republicans played the spoilage game for all it was worth. Over 93,000 ballots were chucked on the spoilage pile, almost all of them generated by those infernal chad-making punch-card machines. Whose votes were lost in the chad blizzard? According to a recent ACLU analysis of Ohio's system, votes stolen away by punch-card machine error are "overwhelmingly" found in African-American -- read "Democratic" -- precincts. After the swindle of 2000, who would have the nerve to keep these machines in operation? Answer: the co-chair of Ohio's Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, J. Kenneth Blackwell, who also happens to have the convenient post of Ohio secretary of state. Blackwell, who makes Katherine Harris look like Thomas Jefferson, concedes the racially bent effects of punch-card voting; but in spite of this -- or because of this -- he refused to replace or fix these machines for the 2004 election. The result: 93,000 votes spoiled, uncounted. .....Now, on to the second pile of no-count ballots, the provisionals. And guess who got these second-class, back-of-the-bus ballots? Once again, Ohio's African-American voters. The Republican Party declared the hunting season open for dark-skinned voters in October, announcing a plan to challenge "fraudulent" voters on a mass basis, the first such programmatic attack on the franchise since the days of the Night Riders. And the tactic was very much the same as that used by the allies of the White Citizens Councils and Bull Conners in the early '60s: targeted and unequal application of picayune registration and voting requirements."


Then, there's the voting machine maldistribution, yadda yadda.

_________

I could go on and on, but this thread isn't really about truth, is it ?

I conceived of an interesting essay this morning - "Through Rovian eyes : the impropriety of fraud talk as a useful pathology of the American left". ( or, alternately, that could be : "You can't talk about that here" )

"What is axe-grinding?

I think you already know that, but okay... Axe-grinding is posting the same topic and opinion to the blue on a regular basis. Axe-grinding is repeating that opinion over and over in the comment section. Axe-grinding is posting links to your own writings and creating a circular loop that seeks to persuade by sheer repetition." - Naomi, one person's axe grinding is another person's baseline sensibility.

Extreme sensibilities - as expressed in public - can be called "axe grinding", except if that is done by political figures (such as George W. Bush) : then, it is called "(disciplined) staying on the message".

"We all know the election had problems. Many of us keep up with political news via other sources. When something groundbreaking occurs...." - Like what ? You have a curious belief that truth prevails, that the truth - if it be found - will somehow be miraculously blared out of a thousand and one media trumpets.

Not.

Try studying the history of the Soviet Union under Stalin - for one comparison to what the US, on it's current trajectory seems to be evolving into.

Guess what - in such a system, truth (and conversely lies) are broadcast through mass media on the simple basis of their utility to power. No more, no less.

Weapons of Mass Destruction, anyone ?

Truth has no inherent power but for media channels to convey that truth.

Truth can be marginalized and squashed.

That's going on right here, on your dear Metafilter. You're even participating in that process.

Oh, that tired old news about the election ! - I'd say that the implications of the "problems" you refer to in the 2004 election have not fully sunk in for you : you are living now in a compromised democracy, a pseudo-democracy - and one which is acquiring, little by little, the attributes of a Christian theocracy.

Try looking up "faith based", "Bush Administration" ( on Google ) if you doubt my words. You may be very surprised to see how fast that process is moving : much faster with the reelection and ostensible 2004 election mandate for George W. Bush.
posted by troutfishing at 7:28 AM on November 23, 2004


Limiting posting won't reduce the number of personal agenda items on the front page. The only way to do that is to discourage horse-beating agenda posts.

And it's the horse beating we're talking about here. If any one of us wanted to make one well crafted post about our pet agenda issue (mine would be that Bush & Co are bringing about the destruction of America), that wouldn't get deleted. It's when we post about the same issue over and over that's the issue here. At worst it's ax grinding. At best it's a double post.

We let it slide during the start of the Iraq war and the election run-up. Well, fun time is over. Time to go back to the traditional posting policy we had before - No horse-beating agendas on the homepage.

"he owes his venue's popularity to the people who come here."

Bars have bouncers for a reason. Matt's bar is popular because the bouncers have a standing policy to try and make the place less like Fark and LGF. Your dream bar is more like LGF. So, go drink your agenda there.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:29 AM on November 23, 2004


Why don't we just move this section to

http://incessant-whining.metafilter.com

Just so there are no misconceptions about what gets posted here.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:31 AM on November 23, 2004


"I could go on and on, but this thread isn't really about truth, is it ?"

We get it. We keep informed. For the most part, we agree with you 100%. Your case is very good. We like it. Keep up the good work. Seriously.

We just don't like it here, day after day after day. Do it on your blog.

You + agenda = no problem
agenda + MetaFilter = bad

Please stop thinking we don't want to hear what you have to say. Please stop accusing me of not caring about election fraud. Because that's silly. What you're saying isn't a problem. Where you're saying it is.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:36 AM on November 23, 2004


I could go on and on

And that's the whole problem, in a nutshell.
posted by naomi at 7:42 AM on November 23, 2004


Limiting posting won't reduce the number of personal agenda items on the front page.

Actually, it will; it will reduce the number of items on the front page, therefore, it will reduce the number of "personal agenda items".

Your dream bar is more like LGF. So, go drink your agenda there.

Wow, you really don't know jack shit about me, do you? Before this thread, you must have completely ignored everything I've ever written. Do you have any capacity left at all to actually evaluate what someone says, apart from the persona you project onto them?

Again, I submit: You're really not interested in solving the problem; what you're really interested in is getting all self-righteous about it. Maybe that's true of Troutfishing as well. Maybe it's true of me, as well. But at least I'm getting behind a partial solution; you're still posturing about right-behavior and right-thinking.
posted by lodurr at 7:50 AM on November 23, 2004


"you're still posturing about right-behavior and right-thinking."

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:54 AM on November 23, 2004


I used to post and comment onGlobal Warming/Climate Change a lot. I got tired of that and stopped.

And someday you'd get tired of this and stop. But Matt got tired first and stopped you.

The fact is that I had about written you off as a one-issue crank during your Global Warming phase; it was only a few wacky comments in other threads that clued me in that you were actually a funny and interesting guy and made me want to know you better. I was vastly relieved when the GW posts tailed off, not because I don't care but because you'd made your point over and over and over and you weren't adding anything to the mix. The same thing has happened here. You have to get out of your own head and realize that other people exist and have their own reactions and maybe there's a reason for that other than their own obstinacy/blindness/evil. When people tell you over and over to get your own blog, it doesn't mean they're not interested in your issues, it means you're doing something wrong in your capacity as MeFi poster. Instead of posting an aggrieved MeTaGripe and repeatedly defending yourself in the ensuing thread, why don't you try letting go of the assumption that you're right, dammit, right, and the others are all fools and try on for size the assumption that maybe the others have a point. Once more: most of the complainers are not trying to avoid the issue, we're very upset about the same things you are, but we don't want to see your posts about it. You're not using MeFi properly. Capisce?

As for the proposed posting limit, I don't really see that it would help much. I don't want to see trout's "Bush stole the election!!!" posts once a week any more than I want to see them every few days, and I'd be sorry to lose matteo's daily offerings of wonder. Keep the limit the way it is and let Matt do his smiting; things will be fine, except that there will be much whining in MetaTalk. But eventually people will see a shiny thing and forget about it.

On preview: Good Christ, trout, take a break. Seriously. You're not an Old Testament prophet called to harangue us until we see the light -- you're just another guy with a computer and a bunch of opinions.
posted by languagehat at 7:54 AM on November 23, 2004


"Wow, you really don't know jack shit about me, do you?"

Just giving you my knee-jerk response to what you've said. And no, I can't recall ever having read any of your comments. Which is something I can't say about most of the others in this thread.

I'm not saying that you're a conservative. I'm saying that you would prefer your bar to be full of political arguements.

Personally I wouldn't mind visiting abar that featured lots of productive political discussion, but we don't do that here. We do it LGF style. Which means we shouldn't do it at all.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:01 AM on November 23, 2004


naomi, if you started a Naked Mole Rat blog, I'd read it. They're cute in a vaguely disgusting way.

Trout, dear, I really hope you'll consider writing an editorial column about election fraud/the "dominionist" conspiracy/other topics that have you energized for something like The Raw Story. You have a lot to say on this topic. MeFi is not the place to say it at the moment.

KirkJobSluder gets points from me for trying to think of a systemic approach to the issue.

And pretty much what 'hat said.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:07 AM on November 23, 2004


You say that like it's a bad thing.

If all you do is posture about right-action and right-thinking, then yeh, that's a bad thing. At least, you seem to think it is -- since that's what you're criticizing troutfishing and the other "agendafilter" posters for.

That you can't recall ever having read any of my comments doesn't surprise me. You're very focused on community status as an indicator of value; you respond to people to whom you think you have to respond. Others don't interest you. You preach about getting behind Matt, but what you really want is for people you find inconvenient to just go away.

Just giving you my knee-jerk response .... We do it LGF style. Which means we shouldn't do it at all.

I really shouldn't have to say anything about this, but I suppose that's asking too much.

On prev: KirkJobSluder never shouts, and as far as I can recall generally tries to be constructive. We should have an anonymous backpat feature that lets us say things like this about people without looking like suckups.
posted by lodurr at 8:13 AM on November 23, 2004


I could go on and on, but this thread isn't really about truth, is it ?

No, this thread is about whether or not your post deserved to be on the front page. All arguments put forward in this thread should be true (or silly, like "matt deleted it because he's been possessed by space aliens allergic to all fish, including trout"). They should, hopefully, not be snarky. But this thread isn't about whether your post was true. In fact (I'm going to venture a guess), the vast majority of us probably think that the points made in your article are true. However, it's also true that we are all eventually going to die, and that will suck, but we don't want every post on the first page to be about our own deaths. If the place turned into DeathFilter, matt would probably ban death posts, but it wouldn't mean that the reality of our impending deaths was eluding us.

Look, I'm trying very hard to be even-handed, but please realize what many of us are saying: MetaFilter is "for" certain purposes. These purposes are good. Your posts are "for" different purposes. Those purposes may be even better. But that doesn't mean they get to supplant the purpose of Metafilter.

What you are trying to do may be more important to you, and perhaps all of us, than what this site is trying to do. But that doesn't give you the right to try to take it over because what you're doing is more important. If I'm late for work, I don't have the right to push some kid going to Six Flags off the train because work is more important than riding a roller coaster.

Everyone is telling you the same thing, but you appear to be choosing not to hear it. What you're saying is important. This isn't the place to say it. There are many, many avenues that you can use to say it. It's not that we're not interested in politics. It's not that we aren't interested in the truth. It's that these aren't the reasons we come here.

Or, to spin it in another way, which may make more sense to you but cause you to dislike a lot of us: We do care. But we don't care enough to read political stuff constantly. We don't care enough that we think it needs to take up a lot of Mefi's front page. We may be blind, stupid bastards (my words, not yours) for being that way. But we are. We want to be challenged and get angry and frustrated with politics sometimes. But we don't want to do that on Mefi. Or we want it to happen here occasionally, not regularly. We care, but we don't care enough, and no amount of posting or berating will make us care more.

Whew, there went any praise I got as being a mediator...

Oh, and lodurr: I think the reason you find few concrete suggestions about how to fix the system is that most people agree with the current method: matthowie deletes stuff. Few people see a need for a different system when, in most people's opinion, the current system is working just fine.

We should have an anonymous backpat feature that lets us say things like this about people without looking like suckups.

Well, I don't know about all the grizzled veterans here, but as a freshly scrubbed newbie, I read praise of someone as praise of someone, not sucking up. The only person I think someone could suck up to here is matthowie, and, from what I've seen, he doesn't care and it wouldn't work, so I even read praise of mathowie as praise of mathowie, no less, no more. That may just be me, though.
posted by Bugbread at 8:20 AM on November 23, 2004


I think the reason you find few concrete suggestions about how to fix the system is that most people agree with the current method: matthowie deletes stuff.

I don't see that working so well, for one thing.

I see it working even less well when those "2,000 n00bs" come online for FPP.

In fact, I expect either one person's (Matt's) or a bunch of people's (the FPP Quality Brigade's) lives are going to be pretty miserable over the next few weeks, dealing with the FPP traffic. (Though I wouldn't be surprised to see a delayed reaction. These things tend to sneak up on you....)
posted by lodurr at 8:25 AM on November 23, 2004


Phrased in terms of the future, I concur. The system works now, but may not work when us newbies get FPPPriveleges. If it becomes an issue, it will deserve a topic of its own on the grey. If you feel pretty strongly on it, I would even recommend starting a thread on the grey to discuss it (but try to avoid much discussion of politics, as it will derail faster than...uh...something that derails fast).
posted by Bugbread at 8:32 AM on November 23, 2004


*applauds bugbread*
posted by languagehat at 8:34 AM on November 23, 2004


For some reason, I'm now looking forward to the n00bs getting posting rights.
posted by adampsyche at 8:51 AM on November 23, 2004


I am. It's going to be wonderful, and will bring in even more agendas/interests here--things will get even broader. : >

Who needs these cranky, bitchy, old folks who can't even be bothered to skip over posts they're not interested in, and like to march in goosestep? They can go to Fark, and SA, and Filepile, and /., etc (just like they tell trout to go elsewhere).
posted by amberglow at 9:13 AM on November 23, 2004


They can go to Fark, and SA, and Filepile

Did they finally reopen signups there, too?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:15 AM on November 23, 2004


Who needs these cranky, bitchy, old folks who can't even be bothered to

*weakly raises cane, bonks amber on the head, pisses his pants*
posted by matteo at 11:17 AM on November 23, 2004


You have no idea how many banal Guardian links I've got stored up. You losers are going to be soooo sorry you re-opened the doors!

Honestly, I'm already bored of Metafilter. We n00bs had better live up to our hype, or else you guys will be so disappointed in us. *POUT*
posted by Kleptophoria! at 11:56 AM on November 23, 2004


*urinates again, this time on Kleptophoria's shoes*
posted by matteo at 1:15 PM on November 23, 2004


You losers are going to be soooo sorry you re-opened the doors!

oh, I am sorry already. the one who won't be sorry, no matter how bad your FPP's are, is mathowie -- you know, the guy currently sitting on a bed of of cash and licking caviar off off some lingerie model's navel
posted by matteo at 1:19 PM on November 23, 2004


I'm too new around here to feel comfortable intervening in a big nasty thread of this kind; besides, I don't care about the subject
of the 2004 elections anymore. Frankly I figure that it was yet another case of election theft -- and that the best we Americans could reasonably hope for is to once again have such a thing ratified by the SCOTUS. My take on it is that, at least in the forseeable future on a nationwide scale, American "democracy" is pretty much defunct, so kvetching about the 2004 thing is going to be about as effective as bemoaning the anti-Cathar "crusade", and beside the point.

But anyway.

Dobbs (I think) to Troutfishing: "you're obviously veryconcerned/passionate about the state of America(n politics).
Why don't you go somewhere offline and be effective?"


Huh? As I just hinted, Troutfishing is wasting his time online, and it'd be an even bigger waste offline: practically speaking there is nothing to be done. "Democracy American-style" is dead, and nobody's going to resurrect it by preaching. And anyway, what would be the point of a recount? Kerry's just a Republican-lite anyway, it's not ike a Kerry reign would be noticeably better. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Who already gave in.

There is no "somewhere offline" where Troutfishing could be effective with his concerns over the 2004 election. Or 2008's.

But then this is a bitter tangential rant, and having made it I'll now proceed to shut about up anything like U.S. elections.
posted by davy at 1:22 PM on November 23, 2004


Query/confession: Am I the only one who routinely typos "troutfishing" as "troutfisting"? ... and have I said far too much?
posted by lodurr at 1:27 PM on November 23, 2004


The real whiners on this thread are those who keep insinuating whining.
___________

y6y6y6 - Remember September 11 2001 and the following month on Metafilter ? How many posts on that subject did people subsequently make ? 100 ? More ?

The magnitude of that event demanded more posts, it seems. It rose above the "well, we've had one or two posts on that subject - more would be beating a dead horse." level of importance.

Now - the fact that various types of fraud threw the 2000 election has been well established. Florida's illegally inflated voter purge list was sufficient for that - although there were many machine-politics election rigging mechanisms employed in that election, any of which, alone, would also have been sufficient to throw the election to Bush. The 2002 elections were fishy too and by early 2004, the NYT had a running series on the deep flaws in the American Democratic system (including electronic voting).

A funny thing happened though : even though all of the methods employed in Florida in the 2000 election seem to have been employed in the 2004 election, and maybe on a more massive scale this time, mainstream media (including even the NYT, which was all over the story as of 6-8 months ago) have refused to cover any of the evolving research into Republican party machine election rigging in Florida, Ohio, and elsewhere.

I imagine Michael Powell's FCC plays into this, as does increasingly concentrated corporate control of media and also fear - quite likely - of retribution from the now Republican dominated government :

I suspect media are covering their asses ( that's a lot of asses to cover, too ).

There's lots of research going on into the 2004 election, but the wider public won't hear much - if any - of it : I hope i haven't irritated Matt to the extent that nobody can post on the subject again here.

That would be a shame - it's a huge story (that gets bigger every two years) which deserves some airplay somewhere.....

Now, of course, on a scale of importance this is all somewhat less serious than, say, the explosion of the Yellowstone caldera or a comet headed straight at the Earth, impact in one week : That's a "post on the comet every day, everyone" magnitude event. Metafilter, overnight, becomes Cometfilter.

So - where does the 2004 election ( given also the background - that fraud gave Bush the 2000 election ) fit into things, along the scale of magnitude, do you think ?

And, considering that given the fact that research into possible 2004 vote rigging methods was mostly impossible or at least only hypothetical BEFORE the election - I'd say that a clear case can be made that this is a very new story.

Evidence is building that fraud - by about a dozen different methods, really - may have swung the 2004 election for Bush.

Further, I also know that voting machine maldistribution, in Ohio, was NOT covered before, nor was the fact that the US does not meet international norms for democratic elections.

Is this story like a 9-11 ? 1/10 of a 9-11 ? 2x a 9-11 ?

That's very subjective, I know.
__________

Languagehat - I actually didn't do all that many Global Warming posts. Mostly, I commented on threads posted by others. When I first started, I got the sense - because I was well acquainted with it - that I could see the impact of industry disinformation on GW/Climate Change manifested in people's opinions here.

I spent an absurd amount of time simply posting links to mainstream credible info on the subject : the National Academy of Science, etc. It was a public service effort. If you thought that made me look like a crank, I'm sad. But, cranks don't generally reference mainstream consensus in their chosen fields for crankery.

It's my curse to notice larger, and longer term trends : it makes me sad and concerned when those trends get ignored and not dealt with - such as, say, contesting the religious right's power grab or acknowledging the extent to which the US electoral system has become compromised.

To even begin to deal with those problems, I believe, it's necessary to acknowledge their full extent. Otherwise, band-aid solutions will seem appropriate. But, mainstream media isn't allowing the election story any time at all. Before the election, that wasn't true - in early 2004, warnings of impending fraud were, seemingly, everywhere. Suddenly after the election, BAM! - a complete white-out. Media silence. Lots of lawyers and analyst are doing research into the anomalies of the 2004 election, including large and well established organizations ( NOT merely lone researchers who could be dismissed as "cranks" ) but no matter - for now, it's a mainstream media whiteout. And a partial blogosphere whiteout as well.

Matt's reasons for axeing my post may have nothing to do with this, I suppose. I suspect he had mainly practical considerations in mind - concern with setting the "right" sort of example for newbies. ( But what is that example ? - I suppose it's "don't axe grind" - don't focus too much on one topic, especially if it's disturbing to some people who read and comment on Mefi )

Hence my 9-11 example - was the flood of posts on that subject, following that disaster, tantamount to collective "axe grinding", or was it merely a collective expression of shock, grieving, and so on ?

Events of great magnitude - and especially impending disasters - demand discussion ( I think ) . Without that dimension, I'd consider a site such as this to be reduced to the level of a bazaar of novelty and trivia.

Others think so too. Here's an email I got today :

"Troutfishing,

What happened to your last Vote Fraud post on Mefi? It was fantastic and when I returned to read the thread it was gone. I have being drinking from Mefi for years and I hope they are not becoming a dry well..."


And that - for me at least - raises this point : almost everyone on this discussion assumes that my disturbing posts are a bad thing for the site - actual proof of that is mostly lacking : Indeed, if I were running the site I'd be very tempted to attach short poll questionnaires to certain categories of posts.

Take mine - if it had been allowed to stand, Matt could have fashioned ( this would be useful for any variety of posts, for site-marketing purposes ) a questionnaire to ask people : did you 1) like 2) dislike 3) no opinion this post ? Is this the sort of post you come to Metafilter for ? ( yes, no, other ) .

[ In fact, attaching such mini-polls to EVERY post, for a sample week, would provide fascinating data as well as solving these sorts of disputes, such as "Does Troutfishing's posting style increase or decrease Metafilter's wider readership ? ]
______

lacking that, we really don't know what sort of effect any one poster has on overall readership : the "you're hurting Metafilter" argument is purely hypothetical.

Further - since it's his business - I have to interpret Matt's treatment of me with the assumption that 1) he thinks I'm an asset overall (since he didn't ban me or can my account) but 2) he's annoyed by my "axe grinding' on the election 3) he doesn't want me whipping up newbies into a frothing, politicized, riotous horde 4) he's hoping I'll get into a more positive/constructive groove. ( more on that below ) .

I do admit - my monomania ( or bimania ) - on the 2004 election and the religious right - has been unbalanced.

Humans need hope, breathing room, and healing time.

I forgot that because I think - for my immersion in the religious right material - that the result of the 2004 election didn't disturb or traumatize me for very long.

Others, I recognize now, are still going through a political equivalent of Kubler Ross' psychological stages of death and dying. Some are in sadness, others denial...... No bargaining about it though, really -

Unless my concern with election fraud ( real or not ) constitutes bargaining - given that the Fourth Estate crowned W weeks ago, and so - barring GW buggering a goat on Fox television - his 2nd term's pretty much a done deal.

Hmmm...... maybe I am bargaining.... I though I was well into acceptance. it sure feels that way.

I'll think on that.....anyway :

Regardless, accusations of "axe-grinding" merely strike me as patronizing and dismissive : imagine how silly this would sound "you know, Trout, you really out to stop posting on the predicted disappearance of 40% of the currently existing species on the planet. Yeah, ecosystems are crashing, species are disappearing, the beautiful diversity of earthly life is being pared down. But, you're grinding an axe. We know it already."

Now, that last sentence might be true - but the overall approach is not an especially compelling way to convince someone to curtail a behavior that springs from a very deep concern : that approach comes off as crass.

Now, if anyone had thought to make the simple observation : "Hey Trout - your posts have uniformly been about negative stuff for quite a while. Good, but sometimes oppressive. Why not cut the mix - to 50/50, an even split between posts on disturbing material and uplifting posts. You've done those before. Why not do that consciously ? Otherwise you're merely sapping people's strength to fight all the bad stuff - real, sure - that you're always writing about."

Now, THAT would have shut me up quick : my jaw would have been on the floor, my cap in hand.
______________

"No, this thread is about whether or not your post deserved to be on the front page." - bugbear, I can't dictate the "meaning" of this post, but I intended it as a sincere question to Matt - "what are the guidelines ? For me ? For others ?"

That's why I posted this Metatalk thread., I wanted to know. I wanted to know if there was a de facto ban on posts about the election, or about politics in general.

"Look, I'm trying very hard to be even-handed, but please realize what many of us are saying: MetaFilter is "for" certain purposes. These purposes are good. Your posts are "for" different purposes. Those purposes may be even better. But that doesn't mean they get to supplant the purpose of Metafilter." - well what is Metafilter for ? What is it's true purpose ?

People come here for the posts, and also for the commentaries. I know they come for the commentaries because I get a steady stream of emails about mine, from people who like what I write and sometimes from people who want to challenge specific factual points of mine.

I actually got into the habit, last year, of writing spontaneous pieces of short fiction on Metafilter. Why not ? This one might be my favorite :

"A little known fact : Gandhi actually did work as a gas station attendant, but for the Crown Petroleum Corporation, in Baltimore, MD. It was to promote Indian gasoline self-reliance. In between pumping gas, he would work at his spinning wheel"

It was written as faux-history, and I actually got an email from a Gandhi history buff down in Texas. She wanted to know if it was true. I felt a little bad. But not for long.

Anyway, I've put in my dues at Metafilter in terms of contributing interesting commentary. You don't see any of that from a cursory scan of my posts though.

_____________

y6y6y6 - You've got an agenda too. Everyone does.
_____________

"why don't you try letting go of the assumption that you're right, dammit, right, and the others are all fools and try on for size the assumption that maybe the others have a point.....Good Christ, trout, take a break. Seriously. You're not an Old Testament prophet called to harangue us until we see the light -- you're just another guy with a computer and a bunch of opinions." - you left out one important aspect, one which people mention to me repeatedly - I try to keep a handle on the facts. I don't always succeed, but I like to try.

I used to speak in other idioms

Old testament prophets were just guys with strong religious convictions and, sometimes, desert visions born out of hunger and deprivation., and I'm just a man....

And. my opinions are nothing except insofar as they are connected to a world of facts and consensual meaning - truths that I can gesture at in a way such that others can follow my thought process.
_________

"Trout, dear, I really hope you'll consider writing an editorial column about election fraud/the "dominionist" conspiracy/other topics that have you energized for something like The Raw Story." sidhedevil - a lot of what annoys me sometimes about the discourse here on Mefi is in it's male heavy mix. I hope the newbies even things out a bit. A little bit of honey goes a long way.

I know I have to cut loose from this joint - I think part of my reticence stems from disorganization, part from being a recluse ( I enjoy even abrasive digital company ) and part from the thought of the tedium of banging out - day in, day out - little read screeds. Then again, I've got some longer essays in mind that could be slightly notorious.

For all the words I've spent here, I could have a nice frame for a 20-30 page journalistic essay.
posted by troutfishing at 1:31 PM on November 23, 2004


Certainly someone must have some kind of web app that can find the post with the most words?
posted by adampsyche at 1:46 PM on November 23, 2004


For all the words I've spent here, I could have a nice frame for a 20-30 page journalistic essay.

Pseudo-journalistic, anyway.
posted by me3dia at 2:00 PM on November 23, 2004


bugbear -> bugbread
posted by Bugbread at 2:10 PM on November 23, 2004


bugbread - I apologize.

me3dia - Yo' mama

"Government Accountability Office to Conduct Investigation of 2004 Election Irregularities

(Washington, DC) Reps. John Conyers, Jr., Jerrold Nadler, Robert Wexler, Robert Scott, and Rush Holt announced today that, in response to their November 5 and 8 letters to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the GAO has decided to move forward with an investigation of election irregularities in the 2004 election. The five Members issued the following statement:

"We are pleased that the GAO has reviewed the concerns expressed in our letters and has found them of sufficient merit to warrant further investigation. On its own authority, the GAO will examine the security and accuracy of voting technologies, distribution and allocation of voting machines, and counting of provisional ballots. We are hopeful that GAO's non-partisan and expert analysis will get to the bottom of the flaws uncovered in the 2004 election. As part of this inquiry, we will provide copies of specific incident reports received in our offices, including more than 57,000 such complaints provided to the House Judiciary Committee.
"The core principle of any democracy is the consent of the governed. All Americans, no matter how they voted, need to have confidence that when they cast their ballot, their voice is heard."

The Members listed above were joined in requesting the non-partisan GAO investigation by Reps. Melvin Watt, John Olver, Bob Filner, Gregory Meeks, Barbara Lee, Tammy Baldwin, Louise Slaughter and George Miller."
posted by troutfishing at 2:16 PM on November 23, 2004


OK, I'll bite: Troutfishing, what the hell did that last post have to do with the issue of whether your post should be deleted or not, and whether the rules behind deletion should be clarified or not?
posted by Bugbread at 2:21 PM on November 23, 2004


"y6y6y6 - You've got an agenda too. Everyone does."

Of course. I keep my repetitive ranting about it confined to my blog. Just as you should.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:25 PM on November 23, 2004


bugbread - nothing at all. I just think it's funny that the news is supposed to be verboten in the blue : the GAO is investigating election irregularities, but that news is forbidden on the Blue. Then again - maybe any Metafilter posts on that should wait ( I won't make them though! - but I bet some newbie will stumble across the story ) until that one ripens a little. It might go nowhere.

Will the media report on it ?

y6y6y6 - that's not what I was talking about.
posted by troutfishing at 2:31 PM on November 23, 2004


Are there any rules for posting to MetaTalk?
posted by davy at 2:41 PM on November 23, 2004


I hope matteo is fighting "lollerskates" with "lollerskates", or else I'll have to write him down on my list of users with no conception of humour and light-hearted chitter chatter. It'll be a cold day in hell when I post political links to the front page.

I think he was joking about the navel-licking, though. There is totally no way to back up that statement.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 2:41 PM on November 23, 2004


Troutfishing: Search google news for the word "election", and there's a link to this article on the first page of results. This is not exactly deep investigative journalism that you're posting. Personally, I consider Google News and CNet News as the media, so the answer to your question is, "Yes, the media will report on it".

So you posted it because you think it's funny that you can't post news on the blue? Not only does that not make a lot of sense to me, but it seems to point, more than anything, to your use of metafilter as a surrogate blog.
posted by Bugbread at 2:49 PM on November 23, 2004


*gives up trying to talk sense to troutfishing, joins mathowie in licking caviar off lingerie model's navel*
posted by languagehat at 3:19 PM on November 23, 2004


Fuck, if Matt had set up MeFi to be current events/politics discussion site, it would look much different than it is, the posting guidelines would read much differently, Matt would have said different things in the past four years, and he wouldn't be deleting your posts, trout. It's not fucking complicated.

When we argued about this a few months ago, it became apparent to me that a contingent of mefites thought this was what mefi is, and that's what they come to mefi for, and there was a growing number of lurkers reading mefi for this. It doesn't surprise me at all that there's confusion and hurt feelings now that Matt is deleting threads. But, really, pretty much the only thing he did to give the impression that this was what mefi was all about was to be very tolerant of FPPs like this for a good while. Which is a strong message, I admit, but, on the other hand, he didn't change the site design, didn't change the posting guidelines, and did repeatedly complain about the direction that mefi was going. So you can't really say that your vision of what mefi is is the "correct" one because a) Matt decides what's correct and, b) now that he's started to delete things, there's been much more of an exression of approval for doing so than the newsfilteristas thought there would be, right? It's not a democracy, but if it were, I think there's at least as much antinewsfilter sentiment as there is pronewsfilter sentiment.

A complaint is that without agenda politics news posts, mefi will just be fark or whatever. But even in the realm of whimsical or absurd or weird web sites, I think the posting standard for such topics is much higher here than it is at those other sites. Even in that context, "best of the web" has meaning. Maybe especially in that context. All wacky web sites are not equal.

Everyone always says that "best of the web" is too vague. And it is vague, but I think it excludes most (but not necessarily all) agendafilter posts. Because one thing that is unambiguous about "best of the web", and the fact that posts must have links, of course, is that mefi posts are other-centric. It's not about the post or the poster or using mefi as a forum to argue a point of view—if it were, you wouldn't need to link to anything, would you?

I strongly believe that turning mefi into fark or into a politics discussion site would in either case make it into something that is much more commonplace and far less interesting. Mefi tries to have high standards for posting, and that includes not only the content of posts, but high standards for the nature of the posts, as well. Mefi is community oriented, it clearly exists to serve its community and not merely as a publishing platform for individual members.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:43 PM on November 23, 2004


*hugs unjustly piled-on troutfishing, starts licking a lollerskate, looks funnily at Kleptophoria*
posted by matteo at 3:44 PM on November 23, 2004


I feel bad for piling on and being so frustrated with trout. I really really like trout personally and, again, I agree with his agenda. Same goes for amberglow. But I strongly disagree with their view of what FPPs on mefi should be like. And I'm especially frustrated with trout's comments in this thread where he's so monomaniacal that he goes on at length not about why his post should or shouldn't have been deleted, but on the topic of his post. For someone so likable, so smart, so informed, it hurts his credibility and makes him look nutty. It seems self-destructive. It upsets me because I like him.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:54 PM on November 23, 2004


"Hey Trout - your posts have uniformly been about negative stuff for quite a while.

Note to self: in first Blue post try to post something "positive". Maybe sex toys for dogs?
posted by davy at 4:45 PM on November 23, 2004


I find it incredibly fascinating and sad that I just read this entire, massive thread and not only was troutfishing's question not answered (What specifically are the guidelines for posting political content?), but the thread was turned into a referendum on whether Matt should have deleted trout's post.

How hard is it to articulate a simple policy about political content? Matt has not done that, and needs to.
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:15 PM on November 23, 2004


troutfishing is...

- isolated
- stuck
- confused
- feeling like a canary in a coalmine
- genuine, clear and sincere
- not bitter at mefites
- patient
- persistent
- well meaning
- a mefi essential
- likeable...

and close to wearing out his welcome. It seems to me.

*hugs troutfishing*
posted by dash_slot- at 5:22 PM on November 23, 2004



tagline!

MetaFilter -- Feeling Like a Canary In a Coalmine

posted by matteo at 5:45 PM on November 23, 2004


(What specifically are the guidelines for posting political content?)

I'd like to see that too. It often seemed to me while lurking since Springtime that MetaFilter was an American "liberal" discussion club (with token "fascists" and/or foreigners for "democracy's" sake) whose members might occasionally post threads about, well, doggie dildeaux. I've seen very little that is alien to the mindset of those who read Salon, for example. And I'm not talking just "politics" here, but "culture" and "community" of a particular sort. (In 1980 I would not have dreamed of calling such stuff "leftist", by the way; back then "leftist" meant Sandinista, not bone-hugger, at least to those of us who thought of ourselves as leftists.)

Note that I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, if that's what MetaFilter really is, nor a I saying I don't prefer the prevalent type here to its usual alternative. (And sometimes y'all are so *cute* about it too.) It's just that "that's too political" did not seem like the kind of criticism I'd have expected to see in August, when it seemed like more than half the posters might as well have been Kerry campaign staffers.

(Aside to Troutfishing: give that argument up, it's pointless. Dig a bomb shelter instead.)
posted by davy at 6:34 PM on November 23, 2004


I'm going to unjustly claim that somehow matteo and I saved this thread.

Honestly, I can't wait to post. I have so many non-political threads all ready to go. You'll all be screaming for Bush versus Anybody once I'm through with ya.

In my mind, instead of Metatalking all these political threads into the ground, we should be actively finding new and cool shit to spread all over the blue. Let's lead by example! Huzzah!
posted by Kleptophoria! at 7:53 PM on November 23, 2004


It upsets me because I like him.

Me too.
*hugs troutfishing*
posted by languagehat at 7:32 AM on November 24, 2004


.
posted by troutfishing at 8:59 AM on November 24, 2004


;/
posted by troutfishing at 9:22 AM on November 24, 2004


we love you trout
posted by matteo at 10:25 AM on November 24, 2004


for starters, i thank troutfishing for the quality post. i understand matt's reasoning for dropping it, but that doesn't mean it wasn't about as well-constructed as newsfilter posts can be. i almost posted a thread with the same editorial slant but i knew another mefite would do it better. it's unfortunate that the mefite who drew the obvious connection between the Ukraine and US elections -- and did so artfully -- had apparently already crossed some previously undefined line of welcome on the subject of the 2004 coronation.

what i'd like to know now is how deep does the NoFraudFilter "consensus" go? it seems like it is not even welcome in comments anymore as S@L and others successfully shouted down any chance of including the connection in this thread. as usual S@L went way over the top and so i came to metatalk to see if someone had finally called for his head...only to find the opportunity to discuss the issue in a perhaps more appropriate place -- troutfishing's thread -- had apparently been squelched earlier in the day.

so, umm, can i expect to be noted and shunned myself whenever i wanna mention that bushco has fuckin my stolen my country in any thread? is that the consensus mefi M.O. now?
posted by danOstuporStar at 1:15 PM on November 24, 2004


All societies have their way of controlling people by using authority. Americans seem to loathe communist and socialist regimes with their stifling bureaucracies 'cause they eliminate free speech and free will. Living in France, I see the bureaucracies and rules first hand, as well as the children who are taught early on when to speak and how to pronounce their words even. Their handwriting is similar, they drive the same cars and get the same haircuts. They're mostly thin or svelte and every child learns the same things from the same textbooks in all the schools. And yet, people are free to say what they think and if you say something interesting enough, people will listen to you for hours on end. Every plumber is also a philosopher or poet. It makes life endlessly fascinating if somewhat functionally exhausting.

Coming back to America (be it virtually or in reality) reminds me of 2 things: 1) we have so many more freedoms than anyone else 2) we are completely unwilling to live up to and walk the walk of these freedoms.

Trout has spoken about something that nominally is of the utmost importance to Americans, considering that it's shoved down the throat of foreigners constantly (how the US is the model for democracy and human rights, even though the French think they were first). But when push comes to shove, democracy is less important than property rights (it's Mathowie's site). Ultimately, with all the information you Americans get and for all the communicating that you do, you are infernally uninterested in pursuing a topic to its logical endpoint. How can one get tired of election fraud or Enron or Gaza or Iraq? How can one give a shit about cooking with cum? It's A or B... either admit that global warming (language hat) and election fraud is boring and worst of the web and eliminate it all... or talk about it deeply and for forever, because these are issues that are never going away.

Other countries might not even talk about election fraud on a website 'cause it's kind of boring and unsexy. But how dare you hide behind property rights and web site design FPP's when you've made it perfectly clear that politics do matter (y6: we're not sure about Jews), among others. You're all brilliant people and I'm sure fascinating individuals, and it's wonderful reading your comments. But a little less hypocrisy. You can't have it both ways. Either stand behind free speech all the way or admit that, like the French kids I teach, you can't always have everything you want and tough luck.
posted by faux ami at 5:45 PM on November 24, 2004


How can one get tired of election fraud or Enron or Gaza or Iraq? How can one give a shit about cooking with cum?

Watch me, very very carefully.

It's A or B

False dichotomy much?

Either stand behind free speech all the way or admit that, like the French kids I teach, you can't always have everything you want and tough luck.


Ok, then, if forced to make that choice, "Sorry, faux ami, you can't always have everything you want and tough luck."
posted by Bugbread at 6:55 PM on November 24, 2004


OK bugbread, that's exactly what I'm looking for and I think that's the right response. Having everything is boring and exhausting. It's mostly boring. But I do think we have a tendency to lay claim to absolute openness and transparency in our national character -- and yet, when push comes to shove, our attention span is relatively limited, particularly when it comes to tendentious subjects. So, we rely on bathroom humor, for instance, to fill in the blanks and come to the rescue when deeper subjects are just too difficult to process. I don't see why, for instance, J. Jackson's bare breast must be beaten back with a stick, but during the same Superbowl halftime period, horse-farting commercials hit the bullseye with the viewing public.

I also don't understand why we have this need to write each other off after 3 seconds of interaction. It's totally normal to write people off and be judgmental, too (just like it is to yawn about global warming), but man, people are merciless here. If forced to make a choice, I would cut down on the sarcasm here and have people be more patient with each other. As long as we admitted that only horse-farting and cum cooking interest us profoundly, I'd feel much more comfortable knowing how to situate myself in the public discourse.
posted by faux ami at 8:25 PM on November 24, 2004


faux ami, bugbread, danOstuporStar, matteo, languagehat, Kleptophoria, davy, Dash_Slot : I'd respond if it were permitted.

Just to let everyone know that I'm still following the discourse,
posted by troutfishing at 9:00 PM on November 24, 2004


False dichotomy much?

I was actually trying to avoid polarizing. Let me recast it in traffic terminology. I think it's more like a stop sign versus a roundabout. A stop sign gives you 2 options, stop or roll through it and get a $50 ticket or in this case a deleted post. You think you've got but 2 options. But a roundabout lets you just keep rolling and integrating in a constant flow with the other traffic.

I'd rather have rolling, fluid, continuing discussions like that, instead of having just two, polarized, frustrating choices. To finish the metaphor, I often find discussions here are uncomfortable melding with divergent ideas or tricky ideological snafus. Instead of just going with the flow and discussing things through, we start ripping into others, giving tickets left and right and polarizing people.

I'll stop now.
posted by faux ami at 9:02 PM on November 24, 2004


[W]hy do you have to discuss it here? After you've been asked not to?

Why do you keep reading it? After you've shown that it upsets you? Is it that you can't ignore such threads and/or posters? Or is it just that policing Troutfishing is what turns you on? (Or I should say trying to police, as Troutfishing has shown no desire to obey you -- whatever you're wearing.)

I myself ignore Troutfishing's 2004-election posts because the subject simply doesn't interest me anymore, and because the "alternative" of putting Kerry in instead doesn't interest me either.

(As for the American electorate, there have still been no serious allegations of significant misfeasance or fraud in the 1972 presidential election, the one Nixon won by a damn dramatic landslide, even after Watergate was on the TV news; apparently, in my lifetime anyway, "representative democracy" has meant the ability to consistently elect knaves and thieves instead of honest and honorable people. This too makes Troutfishing's point moot, because the People did not give themselves the option of voting for anybody worth having, regardless of which of those two thieving knaves they'd have elected. But anyway.)

But anyway. Despite my instinctive bias in favor of the underdog, and despite my (sometimes begrudging) admiration for underdogs who refuse to back down, it dismays me a bit to see Troutfishing (or anyone) get so monomaniacal when s/he could be more interesting in several subjects. But it bugs me far more that so many of you are so hot to pile on and punch away. Whatever Troutfishing is on about, and whether Matt deletes any particular thing from his blog, are no longer the issue(s): the issue is that so many of you, at least in this MetaTalk thread, are revelling in groupthinking sadism. You're making your "adversary" look better by comparison, easily.
posted by davy at 9:48 PM on November 24, 2004


What the hell are you talking about, davy? As far as I can see, most people "piling on" are very fond of troutfishing and are trying to dissuade him from becoming, as you say, "so monomaniacal when s/he could be more interesting in several subjects." How come it's OK for you talk about it but not us?

either admit that global warming (language hat) and election fraud is boring and worst of the web and eliminate it all

faux ami: Bite me. I made it repeatedly and abundantly clear that I do not think these subjects are boring, I think trout was becoming predicable and thus ignorable. If you can't read, that's your problem, not mine. And your "either A or B" choices are laughably simplistic.
posted by languagehat at 1:06 PM on November 25, 2004


If people don't want to see the post, they won't read it.

I've said this myself a few times, but I've changed my mind. Metafilter is not an average discussion site -- it reaches a huge and influential audience. Several times I've seen the subjects of my FPPs mirrored in major-media stories a few days later; once I was contacted directly by a New York Public Radio anchor. (This is why posting to the front page is very fun, and very tempting, and gives me a little rush each time.)

An inch of space on the mefi front page is very very valuble: the vast majority of visitors are not only nonmembers, but non-comment-readers (fpps aren't just doors to the comments section, they're the main component). But to use an economic metaphor, the currency of mefi frontpage space undergoes inflation if it's overused: FPPs are valuable because they're the condensed expression of the entire community, like the song a band or orchestra is playing is one thing, not just the keyboard part and the trumpet part and the bass part.

The music gets bad if a few people post all the time and nobody else does. (Unless those posters are virtuosos, which some of them are. But if a talented-but-not-genius jazz player goes thirty choruses in his solo, you start fake-clapping to get him to stop.)

Amberglow: because of that, posts should be judged by their posters, not just their content; also because, as mentioned, posters set an example. Metafilter has thousands of active users; shouldn't more people post less often? On that note:
Limiting posting won't reduce the number of personal agenda items on the front page.

Actually, it will; it will reduce the number of items on the front page, therefore, it will reduce the number of "personal agenda items".
Limiting individual posters won't necessarily reduce the total number of posts; a notice like "you have one FPP left this week" could encourage people who don't post much to have a go.

at least I'm getting behind a partial solution; you're still posturing about right-behavior and right-thinking.

Social and technological solutions are both solutions.

Addendum: sorry if this came across as arrogant; god knows I'm not as dedicated to this site (or as knowledgable about it) as most of the people in this thread.
posted by Tlogmer at 6:28 PM on November 25, 2004


Oh yeah:

Troutfishing: Election fraud is important. But it happens all the time, all over the world. And there are lots of other important things: millions dying from pollution in china, millions dying from hunger and disease in africa, millions dying from car crashes. Giving everyone command of 2 tons of fast-moving steel (functionally requiring everyone to have command of it, in large parts of the country) kills way more people than relying on bikes and mass transit would. Car crashes kill more people than smoking, but you don't hear anyone say "eh, smoking gives lots of people cancer; to be expected; nothing to be done".
posted by Tlogmer at 6:34 PM on November 25, 2004


FPPs are valuable because they're the condensed expression of the entire community

That sounds very strange. I'm thinking of ants, Party rallies, etc.

like the song a band or orchestra is playing is one thing

But the band or orchestra is playing a song they all know or at least have the sheet music to, by common consent beforehand. The only way you could approach that totality here is to have an Approved List of Subjects and/or take a vote on before every post.

The music gets bad if a few people post all the time and nobody else does.

Is there a total MetaFilter bandwidth limit, making posts a scare resource? If so you have a point; if not the obvious comeback is "then more people should post more". And in either case, if other people (try to?) post less than Troutfishing does that's not his problem.

Anyway. I see that the limit to MetaFilter democracy is that it's Matt's blog so he's within his rights to cancel any post he feels like, and I was getting tired of posts (or news articles, or letters to the editor, or whatever) having to do with the 2004 election long before anybody lined up to vote. I also recognize upon rereading that some of Trout's current critics seem to have (or to have had) affection for him, so my unscientific hunch is I might have over- reacted a little due to the depth of my instinctive revulsion.

However. Be that as it may. What's the need for people to line up to take turns saying "Bad Troutfishing, bad!"? Especially over this: he might have fucked up, but I really doubt the intention was to be mean to the rest of us readers and/or posters, nor were his deleted posts framed as personal attacks on any of all of us, nor have his posts here in the grey pages been mouth-foaming let alone fatal. As monomaniacs go Troutfishing's pretty frigging mild, and he seems to have for whatever reason shut up about it himself now anyway.

So I'll stop now too. (Note to self: shut up.)
posted by davy at 7:22 AM on November 26, 2004


Hey lhat congrats for your language skills! Chapeau!

I still think it's fair and important to talk about predictable issues, 'cause that's where most of the meaty stuff is. I say so particularly given the success with which my country has been able to compress and cache violence beneath the placid and mundane exteriors of our massive and merciless national wealth. Sure, you don't get crazy civil wars or ethnic cleansing in our country (oh, wait...), none of that exciting, sexy Ukranian vote fraud. No, you get institutional fraud on massive levels every day of the week that's so mundane and predictable that noone bothers to lift a leg and pee on it. It's all too easy to label Americans upset about election screw-ups or corporate greed as cranks, predictable or just plain anti-social. Election fraud is important. But it happens all the time, all over the world. And there are lots of other important things, says Tlogmer. Yes, we get the point. Go back to reading about cum recipes.
posted by faux ami at 9:32 AM on November 26, 2004


And your "either A or B" choices are laughably simplistic. Well, you're right. But, all the reasons for shutting up trout were stupid and hateful. And driven by mob energy. Not unlike the very mob energy that many of you are deriding chez the fundamentalists.
posted by faux ami at 10:17 AM on November 26, 2004


Mefi front page space is limited. 5000 posts a day will push new stuff down past the bottom before many get a chance to read it (they could go digging, of course, but most won't). For what it's worth, I didn't even read the cum thread; I'm just saying that "election fraud is very important" is not reason enough to post about it this frequently. Mefi is not a logistic for determining something's importance, nor should it be. If it was, we'd have 99 posts about famine and aids for every post about something else.

(I'm not sure what your whole "go back to your cum recipies" thing was about. Didn't I clearly say I agreed that this stuff was important? We should have lots of posts on lots of topics, including pressing political issues. But not a superabundance of posts on one of those topics. And I agree, troutfishing's had enough bashing, but I couldn't very well let faux ami's pseudo-rebuttal stand.)
posted by Tlogmer at 4:05 PM on November 26, 2004


Tlogmer, I didn't mean you should go back to the recipes! I meant the collective we. It just goes back to my pseudo-comments from earlier (above) :) Anyway, I'll let you have the last word argument-wise, but I'd just like to say that I think trout is expressing the desire to have a meaningful discussion about something pretty deep in our society. Maybe he/we aren't sure what it is, but it's out there and what the heck - why not talk about it every day, if we can find a fun way of doing it?

(You get the last word)
Tlogmer : word
posted by faux ami at 4:28 PM on November 26, 2004


As long as we admitted that only horse-farting and cum cooking interest us profoundly, I'd feel much more comfortable knowing how to situate myself in the public discourse.

But, if you read again, carefully, we aren't admitting that. You're totally misrepresenting a large portion of our comments. Election fraud is hella important. Big mondo important. It interests us profoundly. But it's not what we come here for.

Food is important to me. Hella important to me. If I don't eat it, I die. But if I go to the electronics store, and ask for a new hard drive, and the clerk says, "Sorry, we don't carry hard drives anymore, but would you like a hamburger?", I'd be annoyed. That's all.

the issue is that so many of you, at least in this MetaTalk thread, are revelling in groupthinking sadism.

It's not groupthink, it's called "agreeing". It is statistically likely to happen in any situation. If, for example, the question is "should there be politics in Metafilter", there are only 4 real choices: Yes, No, Maybe, and Indifferent. If you have more than 4 people, you're guaranteed to get at least two people who agree. That's not groupthink.

Be that as it may. What's the need for people to line up to take turns saying "Bad Troutfishing, bad!"? Especially over this: he might have fucked up, but I really doubt the intention was to be mean to the rest of us readers and/or posters, nor were his deleted posts framed as personal attacks on any of all of us, nor have his posts here in the grey pages been mouth-foaming let alone fatal.

Mostly agreed. First, the reason it's happening is that Troutfishing himself put up the issue for discussion (if it weren't for discussion, it would be an email to Matt, not a post in the grey). As such, people have come in to discuss it, and since many disagree with Troutfishing's use of MeFi as a personal soapbox, it comes out as piling on. However, as you say, it certainly wasn't to be mean to anyone at all. No personal attacks either. As far as mouth-foaming: no, but the fact that he occassionally veers off the topic of whether the post should have been deleted to instead post additional electionfilter news clippings seems pretty odd to me. But definitely not mouth-foaming level.

It's all too easy to label Americans upset about election screw-ups or corporate greed as cranks, predictable or just plain anti-social.

It's easy to, but that's not what we're doing.

But, all the reasons for shutting up trout were stupid and hateful. And driven by mob energy.

Ok, now we're veering into the territory of being plain insulting. my reasons are not, as far as I can tell, stupid. They're certainly not hateful. And I couldn't give a fuck what the rest of the mob feels on this, so I'm certainly not being driven by mob energy. So, at the very least, the word "all" in that sentence is wrong. And I would be mighty surprised if I'm the only person in this thread who has posted non-stupid, hateless, non-mob-driven things.
posted by Bugbread at 2:33 AM on November 29, 2004


bugbread, I find your comments to be pretty much always considered, sober and interesting. I'm not trying to character assassinate you (in particular) or anyone else.

Maybe he doth protest too much. But I found personally that the community protested too much here, which is suggestive to me of a whole lot.

And I'm afraid of the lowest common denominator (hence my silly example of the cum food thread) becoming a de facto safehouse for avoiding more challenging and polarizing discourse.

Now I'm protesting too much. Night night.
posted by faux ami at 3:04 AM on December 1, 2004


Actually, I can't quite stop yet: But it's not what we come here for. Without being hyperbolic, I think that's exactly why we come here. You and I, bugbread, live abroad, and I know that I come to touch base with the "politics" (the sociological trends, currents, thoughts) of "back home." (And to have fun and laugh at the witty, knowing comments and links.) I really get bothered, though, when people push the "politics" kill switch -- thus leading us to ever more constricted definitions of what is 'acceptable' speech, which leads to lower standards of intercourse. You don't agree?
posted by faux ami at 3:16 AM on December 1, 2004


then maybe you should set up a usa filter? because the rest of the world (tm) is a bit tired of america at the moment.

or you could, you know, read cnn.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:27 AM on December 1, 2004


you're right andrew
posted by faux ami at 3:55 AM on December 1, 2004


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