Newsfilter, selfmoderation and namecalling do not make for a good post January 28, 2005 10:56 AM   Subscribe

In this thread, the poster begins with a cluster of mainstream political news links from BBC, Guardian, MSNBC, proceeds with with a healthy dose of self-moderation, and climaxes with "You're a lying SOB. Fuck off" for good measure, effectively derailing his own thread as one user points out. Aren't these exactly the kinds of posts we try to discourage?
posted by dhoyt to Etiquette/Policy at 10:56 AM (41 comments total)

That depends on whether you mean discourage by policy or example.

DOH!
posted by scarabic at 10:59 AM on January 28, 2005


I thought it was a well put together FPP which brought together a significant number of data points to form a cogent viewpoint on an ongoing area of international interest. Salaryman was indeed spouting fatuous crap that he wasn't backing up with reference to any actual facts. Frankly, I'd say it was an example of the kind of FPP we need more of, while Salaryman's reply is the kind of kneejerk response we need less of. insomnia's response was unwise but I can see why he's get frustrated with the replies in the thread.
posted by biffa at 11:07 AM on January 28, 2005


The reason why insomnia is frustrated is because people disagreed with him, and he's too goddamned childish to tolerate disagreement and respond respectfully. So he twists the words of those who respond to make more strawmen for him to bash.

If you'll excuse me, I'm late for the meeting of the secret neocon cabal that you and insomnia are fighting.
posted by casu marzu at 11:13 AM on January 28, 2005


Oh come on, Salaryman's response was anything but kneejerk, and Insomnia's was kneejerk despite the links he provided. Kneejerkness has more to do with tone and a following a party line than it does with a bunch of links to alternative media (and some decent links) that contain their own disconfirming perspective on the content of the post. Insomnia has chosen, in the thread, to treat anyone who says that they are worried about Iranian nukes as a drum-beater for war. Not content with that, he has resorted to name calling and foul language. Now I've generally got no problem with either of those, but the tone of Salaryman's post was respectful and rational, and Insomnia seemed like neither of those.

I can understand that this is a heated issue, I too feel strongly about the deceit of the Bushes et al as well as about the constant drive to war, but certainly if you are going to post something like what Insomnia posted as an FPP you should be prepared for some dissenting opinions.
posted by OmieWise at 11:19 AM on January 28, 2005


Many of the links were not mainstream. Certainly, the message was not mainstream. Certainly, the post was interesting, as it led to a very active discourse on the subject
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:20 AM on January 28, 2005


...a healthy dose of self-moderation, and climaxes with "You're a lying SOB. Fuck off...

Hmm. That doesn't sound accurate. Decent post, bad MeTa.

NEXT!
posted by i_cola at 11:21 AM on January 28, 2005


insomnia_lj has a really annoying and abrasive style of discourse with those that disagree with him, whatever the reasons are. Always has. It discourages open discussion of ideas and certainly intimidates people into suppressing their own opinions in threads where he is posting. But, it's a free country, and insomnia_lj is free to be a jerk, if that's what he thinks will best open the eyes of those around him.
posted by loquax at 11:22 AM on January 28, 2005


For the record, I think that insomnia's outburst was unfortunate. But I would also say that Salaryman's tone was not "respectful and rational. Using terms like "apologists" and dismissive points like "3. etc.etc." is not my idea of respectful. Perhaps the English inflection made it all sound reasonable to some, but it did not colour my response to what I found a very haughty post.

Still, insomnia effed himself by going nuclear.
posted by Cassford at 11:28 AM on January 28, 2005


What loquax said.
posted by trharlan at 11:31 AM on January 28, 2005


Great. Now all I need is one of our distinguished conservative posters pointing out how posts like these are what's wrong with the left. Come on, I know you want to.
posted by mr.marx at 11:34 AM on January 28, 2005


Great. Now all I need is one of our distinguished conservative posters pointing out how posts like these are what's wrong with the left. Come on, I know you want to.

It's no fun when you beat us to it...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 11:38 AM on January 28, 2005


I thought the FPP was well put together and coherent. I tend to skimright past trollish comments like the one noted above.

And I guess I'd stopped reading it altogether by the time insomnia exploded. I understand the sentiment in trying to argue with people who refuse to back up their claims but yeah, over the top and killed the thread.

But I really appreciate insomnia's posts alot, I can't say enjoy because many are very sobering and difficult but I've always thought they are well written and supported.
posted by fenriq at 11:41 AM on January 28, 2005


Ah, it was "a very active discourse". I will have to remember that one. Not quite the same as "a frank exchange of ideas", but close.
posted by boaz at 11:43 AM on January 28, 2005


good fpp, bad comments.

good lord can you imagine what it'd be like if there weren't preview? I know most don't reread what they write, but even a 5% deleted on previewing (or whatever the % is) is a god(buddha, empty-void-of-space)- send
posted by edgeways at 11:54 AM on January 28, 2005


This is a lame callout. That is one of the tamest poltical threads I have ever read. Save your outrage and our time for the real stuff.
posted by sic at 12:04 PM on January 28, 2005


Bad fpp. AgendaFilter. There's blogs for that. In fact, I think insomnia might know a little bit about the whole "blogging thing". One of them there dealies is a good place for an editorial. And compulsive moderation of the resulting comments.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:16 PM on January 28, 2005


I agree with loquax.
posted by rocketman at 12:19 PM on January 28, 2005


The post was fine. The discussion was fine for a while. Insomnia lost it, but with all due respect if you are going to argue a contradictory point here you better have links to back it up, so in that case, Salaryman was partially to blame (even though this does not excuse insomnia's calling him a liar.)

As for the types of links, it was a Catch-22 situation. Salaryman claimed the links to were fringe groups and that he only takes sites like NYT, Businessweek, etc seriously. Well, as it is considered bad form to make a FPP with links to those sites it is pretty difficult for insomnia. Couple this with Salaryman claiming ignorance of HTML and a browser that doesn't provide HTML assistants on MeFi (bold, italics, links) as his excuse for not backing up his position and it was bound to get ugly.

This wasn't call-out worthy though. Kiss and make up you two.
posted by terrapin at 12:35 PM on January 28, 2005


What EB said, only exactly the opposite.



Kidding. There was indeed some over-the-top self-moderating.
posted by soyjoy at 12:51 PM on January 28, 2005


The FPP wasn't that good. Not only were most of the links from last October or before, the ones about the issue of whether Iran has nukes or not were all essentially about the same piece of news. All of them pointed out that the IAEA is not sanguine about Iran (something that Insomnia chose to ignore) and at least one of them mentioned that Iran has weapons-grade plutonium.

My point is: a lot of links do not make a good FPP; the links did not prove what insomnia claimed they proved, making it perfectly fine to discuss things without providing disconfirming evidence since the links already did that; insomnia got upset because he had an agenda, not because anyone else didn't play by his rules.
posted by OmieWise at 1:00 PM on January 28, 2005


Bad fpp. AgendaFilter.

And posts about Apple aren't fueled by an agenda to post interesting things about Apple? What about posts about the space program? The "AgendaFilter" moniker is so trite and meaningless that I wonder why anyone bothers to use it. It grates on the senses like rough stone, skirting actual discourse in favour of unsubstantiated dismissal. Plus it has, for me--and I'm sure others--heavy undertones of irony, since it's often used by certain members to support an agenda.
posted by The God Complex at 2:41 PM on January 28, 2005


Plus it has, for me--and I'm sure others--heavy undertones of irony, since it's often used by certain members to support an agenda.

You took the words outta my mouth.
posted by dhoyt at 2:58 PM on January 28, 2005


This is a lame callout. That is one of the tamest poltical threads I have ever read. Save your outrage and our time for the real stuff.

Agree.

Lame. Callout. Strictly for wingnuts in the amen chorus.

The "AgendaFilter" moniker is so trite and meaningless that I wonder why anyone bothers to use it.

Apart from those with an ''agenda'' of their own, no one does.
posted by y2karl at 3:24 PM on January 28, 2005


Plus it has, for me--and I'm sure others--heavy undertones of irony, since it's often used by certain members to support an agenda.

Not me. And I don't like AppleFilter, but that's another discussion. (I'm not keen on pepsi blue in general, unless really and truly the link is something interesting on its own merits.)

I think agenda posts are bad for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it makes mefi into the high-profile mouthpiece for the people who choose to post this way. Besides the fact that it's pretty clear that mefi wasn't designed and isn't maintained to be that sort of a group blog, there's the problem that these sorts of posts create a lot of tension and conflict in the community as people battle it out for the "soul" of mefi. Put another way: agenda filter reminds of my days in public radio. And I don't like to be reminded of that aspect, anyway, of public radio.

Second, there's plenty of opportunity for advocacy and commentary in the comments.

Third, only a very, very few do agenda posts well and even then they get tiresome after awhile. Most of the time, posts of this nature are filled with very sub-par links.

Fourth, it's not that hard, really, to go to the trouble to seek out some high-quality link that "just happens" to support the point you'd like to make.

So, sorry you don't like the use of the term "AgendaFilter", TGC. But it's not at all trite or meaningless in my opinion.

On preview: Apart from those with an ''agenda'' of their own, no one does. Oh, bull. Would you guys quit attempting to squash dissenting opinion on the basis that it necessarily arises from an opposing politics? My "agenda", in this context, and if I have one, is that AgendaFilter posts are GYOB, usually more strident than interesting, have links that are subpar, and create unnecessary conflict within the member community. I think those are all bad things.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:35 PM on January 28, 2005


What EB said (both here and in the original thread).
posted by languagehat at 3:48 PM on January 28, 2005


Your agenda to limit agendas on metafilter is trite and meaningless. How about that?

What you're actually objecting to is politics, not agendas, since everyone has agendas. I'm just tired of the old American game (mainly political) of creating buzz phrases with negative connotations and trotting them out all the time, rather than engage in some sort of meaningful discussion about something's merits.
posted by The God Complex at 4:17 PM on January 28, 2005


agenda filter reminds of my days in public radio. And I don't like to be reminded of that aspect, anyway, of public radio.

your posts remind me of the obnoxious knowitall in my college class. And I don't like to be reminded of that aspect of my college class.

there's the problem that these sorts of posts create a lot of tension and conflict in the community as people battle it out for the "soul" of mefi
...
create unnecessary conflict within the member community

on preview: what TGC said

ok, so, from now on, fluffy bunny flash posts only?
posted by mr.marx at 4:21 PM on January 28, 2005


ok, weird formatting. sorry.
the "on preview" comes last, dammit

posted by mr.marx at 4:23 PM on January 28, 2005


Me: impersonal comparison with no insult intended. mr.marx: personal comparison with insult. Me: an argument. mr.marx: non sequitor. Loser: mr.marx with extra shiny demerits for being an asshole.

"Your agenda to limit agendas on metafilter is trite and meaningless. How about that?"—TGC

Lessee: I've said something like this on meta no more than a handful of times in months. And it's certainly "meaningful" as in "it has meaning".

"What you're actually objecting to is politics, not agendas, since everyone has agendas."

No, I'm not objecting to politics. I'm not objecting to political posts. I'm objecting to posts that are mainly op-eds with links thrown in for the sake of form and not, you know, consisting (and existing for the sake) of mostly links to really good content elsewhere on the web that I've likely not seen. That content can be political. It can represent the poster's point of view. The poster can feel strongly about it. The poster can post only on that one topic. As long as the post is about the links, and not about itself, I'm happy. AgendaFilter posts are about the agenda, not the links. With AgendaFilter, almost any ontopic and supporting link will do and that sort is what's usually included.

That "everyone has agendas" is neither here nor there since I'm not advocating that people be stripped of their "agendas" or have their lips stapled shut. I'm not even advocating that they should keep their agendas off the front page. I'm just advocating that if they must, then the post had better be a quality post. Not one that exists solely for the sake of putting their must-shout-from-the-rooftops point of view on the metafilter front page.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:49 PM on January 28, 2005


insomnia_lj has a really annoying and abrasive style of discourse with those that disagree with him

Insomnia_lj comes off as annoying and abrasive because he's posting something he strongly believes in, so strongly that he's become an advocate for his cause. That leads to moderation on his part. As someone said before, it really belongs on his blog. But I doubt he gets as many eyeballs as mefi does. He's not posting best of the web, he's posting a mirror of his opinions in hopes that others will believe the same. When they don't, well, "fuck off".

Plus it has, for me--and I'm sure others--heavy undertones of irony, since it's often used by certain members to support an agenda. posted by The God Complex at 2:41 PM PST on January 28

Except this time with EB, huh?

Apart from those with an ''agenda'' of their own, no one does.
posted by y2karl at 3:24 PM PST on January 28


Really? EB just did, and he's certainly no fan of bush. So you might want to add an 'almost' before "no one does".

I'm just tired of the old American game (mainly political) of creating buzz phrases with negative connotations and trotting them out all the time, rather than engage in some sort of meaningful discussion about something's merits.

Kind of like the old liberal response of "why do they hate america" in all it's sarcasm used every day on mefi? I'll be waiting to see you condemn the next one.
posted by justgary at 5:44 PM on January 28, 2005


he's posting something he strongly believes in, so strongly that he's become an advocate for his cause.

So strongly that anyone who even remotely disagrees with him is summarily branded a neocon (or unwitting instrument thereof) and a liar.
posted by casu marzu at 6:07 PM on January 28, 2005


it really belongs on his blog.
posted by casu marzu at 6:14 PM on January 28, 2005


I'll write this in normal type size if that's ok with you, EB.

1.What makes your "impersonal comparison" (to something you don't like to be reminded of) in discussing the post at hand -- which btw was made by a person, insomnia_lj -- less personal than my response to you?

2. You made an argument. Fine. I drew a conclusion from that argument, meant as a counter argument, A little harsh maybe, but I'm sure you got my point.
(The point being that if we were to avoid unnecessary conflict, we should only post non-controversial posts, like flash movies with fluffy bunnies. But, as I said, I'm sure you understood that.)
Then, you obviously didn't like that. Um, ok? So say I'm wrong. Say I didn't draw the right conclusion. Let's talk about it.

Btw, it's spelled "non sequitur", but maybe they didn't go that far in your "debate class" or whatever playbook the american "discussion is a game that has a winner and a loser" education comes from.
posted by mr.marx at 6:27 PM on January 28, 2005


mr. marx, you really don't want to be arguing Latin spelling with EB. Anyone can make a typo. You, for instance, ended a sentence with a comma. If you need an assistant for seppuku, give me a call.
posted by languagehat at 6:47 PM on January 28, 2005


Sharp blade?
If not, I'll take my business elsewhere. We have a thriving suicide business here in Sweden. I mean, it's Sweden.
posted by mr.marx at 6:52 PM on January 28, 2005


1. Because a) my comparison wasn't implicitly an insult to insomnia, and b) I didn't directly insult insomnia or anyone else. Not only is that the difference between "impersonal" and "personal", but it's also the difference between being nice and being a jerk. You should look into it.

2. Yours wasn't a valid conclusion to my argument. That's what made it a non sequitur. And I shouldn't have to "talk about it" because in my first comment I explicitly allowed for political posts that spring from an agenda (...to seek out some high-quality link that "just happens" to support the point you'd like to make.). And I further elucidated that point in the comment to which you're referring. So I did "talk about it".

As to your last sentence: everything about it is wrong except for your correction on my mispelling. I'm the one here making a reasoned argument and you're the one being a jerk and using hyperbole. Maybe you need to revisit your certainty of your virtue in argumentation. And I can assure you that my education is about as far from what you're assuming as one possibly could be. Unfortunately for languagehat's kind defense, it didn't include Latin. (Greek and French. Originally the New Program did include Latin and German, but that proved to be too much. The program books are more weighted toward Greek and French, thus the decision.)

Allow me to repeat: the quality of the links should come first, one's agenda second, and the the interests of the agenda should be primarily served by the amazing link that furthers the cause. Even people not on board with the agenda should find the link interesting. A post shouldn't be a mini op-ed. Having posts that are mini op-eds makes mefi into a political advocacy site which, in turn, creates internal warfare as different groups vie to define just what it is that mefi is advocating. Mefites are political, posts that are political in nature are in themselves okay, and there's plenty of opportunity to argue one's case in the comments which, in fact, people vigorously do.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:39 AM on January 29, 2005


bravo EB. you're one of the very few cool heads around here who actually makes good points WO letting your own biases stand in the way.
posted by poopy at 4:45 AM on January 29, 2005


the New Program ???

That sounds creepy--what is/was it?
posted by amberglow at 6:37 AM on January 29, 2005


Here's a nice history with a long Adler quote that popped up as a result of a Google search.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:39 AM on January 29, 2005


ahhh (have they added non-westerners or women or minorities to that yet?)
posted by amberglow at 6:56 AM on January 29, 2005


That's a discussion I'd rather not have here. :) There's a lot of us that advocate for as much inclusion as possible. The (in my opinion, best, but by no means only; other people have ideological objections1) argument against expanding the focus beyond the Western tradition is mostly a practical one: four years isn't enough time for what they're doing as it is. I agree with that. The Santa Fe campus (where I attended) has a graduate program in Eastern studies that is modeled on the regular graduate program (which is really just an abridged version of the undergraduate program). They don't make you learn Sanscrit and Classical Chinese, they make you pick one. :)

1 I prefer to ignore those people.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:16 AM on January 29, 2005


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