Please limit to answers in askme February 2, 2005 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Please limit comments to answers or help in finding an answer.
posted by Jim Jones to Etiquette/Policy at 9:00 PM (79 comments total)

caddis was really pushing it in there.

and, of course, anon shouldn't do it til the site expires.
posted by amberglow at 9:15 PM on February 2, 2005


Sorry Jim but I will not drink the Kool Aid. Anon asked for help to perpetrate a crime and telling Anon that this was wrong is part of answering the question.
posted by caddis at 9:16 PM on February 2, 2005


I actually think caddis has a valid point but that it is wrong to engage in it there.

Maybe the better MeTa would be, is AskMe allowed to be used to plan activities that are illegal?

I can't find it in search though.
posted by fenriq at 9:17 PM on February 2, 2005


Sorry, or might be illegal.
posted by fenriq at 9:18 PM on February 2, 2005


Anon asked for advice on how to AVOID breaking the law. Not how to commit a crime.
posted by Jim Jones at 9:22 PM on February 2, 2005


yup. there's a big difference.

and caddis, maybe you should have taken it here?
posted by amberglow at 9:23 PM on February 2, 2005


Sorry Jim but I will not drink the Kool Aid. Anon asked for help to perpetrate a crime and telling Anon that this was wrong is part of answering the question.

Ok, and you gave your opinion. But why keep pressing the point and acting crazy and then go so far as to compare theft to genocide. Such behaviour just undermines your own credibility.
posted by vacapinta at 9:24 PM on February 2, 2005


Yes, how should one avoid breaking the law while stealing from one's employer? Good question for AskMe? I think not.
posted by caddis at 9:28 PM on February 2, 2005


that's why it's perfect for here--your larger point was lost in there, and derailed it entirely.
posted by amberglow at 9:31 PM on February 2, 2005


I think some people are lucky MeFi has other distractions right now.
posted by xammerboy at 9:33 PM on February 2, 2005


Heh. What is the metatalk record for a thread?

OT: I showed the ad to an elderly, female relative and she thought Fear Factor was more demeaning.
posted by Jim Jones at 9:38 PM on February 2, 2005


Perhaps amberglow, but so many folks have taken so many petty disputes here as of late, that I am gun shy. I thought about it, but did not.
Fine, I am glad it is here because this is important for MeFi. In AskMe if someone asks about something horrible, should we be constrained to the question asked or should we tell it like it is? How about my last hypothetical, "I need some help in eliminating a large Jewish population in Poland. Bullets are expensive. What economical alternatives should I consider?"
posted by caddis at 9:38 PM on February 2, 2005


caddis, you have had your say. In fact you had your say eleven times, consecutive posts twice. You aren't adding anything new anymore, and you aren't going to be able to drown the others out.

Leave well enough alone.

(I will now take my own advice. Some may say a tad too late...)
posted by Chuckles at 9:40 PM on February 2, 2005


Fuck you caddis. The only person who has anything anything to be ashamed of you. Your narrowminded selfishness is almost scary. AskMe is a shared resource. It is not your personal soapbox. It belongs to everyone. If we wanted to listen you moan about your petty, algebraic morality we'd all go to AskCaddis--except no, we wouldn't. You knew full well what you were doing was wrong and highly disruptive to the thread and you just said a big FUCK YOU to the community and went ahead and did it anyways. You were asked repeatedly to stop and again you responded with a big FUCK YOU to the community and kept on going at it. Now you're here in the gray doing it again. So here's a FUCK YOU right back at'cha.

Christ. Did you ever even stop to consider what would happen if everybody treated AskMe like you did and carpet bombed threads with their own silly moralistic judgements? Wasn't the first four or five repetitive and judgemental posts enough? Even Christians had the quality to write a book--but you, you're just a broken record.

If there's any justice Matt will ban you and this kind of blatant, unrepetent dumping won't ever happen on the green ever again.
posted by nixerman at 9:40 PM on February 2, 2005


I vote caddis is trolling. Or a gimmick. Or VP_Admin. No-one else could be so hilariously self-righteous.
posted by Jairus at 9:41 PM on February 2, 2005


So nixerman, would you steal from your employer?
posted by caddis at 9:42 PM on February 2, 2005


Fine, I am glad it is here because this is important for MeFi. In AskMe if someone asks about something horrible, should we be constrained to the question asked or should we tell it like it is?
We are constrained for the most part--we can always stay out of the thread entirely, tho, or bring it here (which i wish you had done right away). Matt approves the anon threads personally (him or jessamyn) so he was aware of the topic.

Your hypothetical was really pushing it and offensive and not at all the same. Petty theft from offices (or even no-so-petty) is not at all comparable--morally or ethically or legally...
posted by amberglow at 9:45 PM on February 2, 2005


caddis, why are you trying to moralise AskMe? I would understand if the question was "how do I break into caddis' house?", but otherwise why not let the Q & A flow thick and heavy?

amberglow - same question, I guess. I agree that the two are not comparable morally, but why inject a moral element to what can and cannot be asked on AskMe at all? I think the ability to ask risque (and otherwise offensive) questions is part of its charm.
posted by cosmonik at 9:48 PM on February 2, 2005


From the thread:

"I will never be ashamed calling out evil where it stands. No moral justification can defend anon's proposed evil behavior."

This guy has to be a Republican. Has. to. be.

Anon would like to sell something anon does not own. Anon should be ashamed. You should be ashamed. This whole thread is quite disturbing.

Hey, caddis, I've got one for you.

There's a bunch of people who sell things that big companies make. They don't actually make the things (that's what the big companies do). They just go around making money off of selling other people's stuff! Can you believe it? And it's legal! True story!

I think they're called salesmen or something. Anyway, go back and read what you wrote, and then think about salesmen, and think about how utterly stupid you sound. Then, before you post some more of your morally virtuous outrage, ask yourself if Jesus would hit post? Ask yourself, "7 million died! Is my post worthy of their sacrifice?"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:54 PM on February 2, 2005


(Deleted comment): For instance, how about the question, "I need some help in eliminating a large Jewish population in Poland. Bullets are expensive. What economical alternatives should I consider?" Should we moralize about the answer or just provide helpful hints?
posted by caddis at 8:15 PM PST on February 2


I thought the original question was vague enough to include the possibility that the question asker bought the domain with their own money, but re-reading it, it does sound like they are basically stealing company property and that's clearly wrong.

But you know what? Stating that it may be a crime and there isn't a way "around" that or any "loophole" is a helpful answer. Going beyond that to judge the person asking isn't. And going even beyond that to make a nazi comparision is crazy. But even after being called out on doing that, still defending it to the death as a helpful bit of advice for Ask MetaFilter is approaching insanity.

And we talked about this over email hours ago, where I basically said the same things. Take a week off and remind me to grant your posting rights.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:02 PM on February 2, 2005


I normally enjoy comments by caddis. Strange to discover after all this time that he is, in fact, approaching the state of a raving lunatic.
posted by cosmonik at 10:13 PM on February 2, 2005


I'm no Republican -- I spent the evening grinding my teeth listing to Chimpy's latest plans to drag my country through the mud -- but I find "I will never be ashamed calling out evil where it stands" pretty refreshing.

And to me it sounded more like Martin Luther King than Tom DeLay (did you know there's actually a domain and website of DeLay's called http://www.majorityleader.gov/? Jesus.)

Please don't calumny those of us on the left by claiming that anyone who has a moral objection to stealing must be Republican.

caddis is right.

He perhaps beat the drum a bit too loudly by posting eleven times, and his analogy to hypothetical AskMefi questions about how to commit genocide efficaciously is a bit of stretch, but caddis is right.

Pretty_generic's AskMefi about where to find a hooker in London (where prostitution is legal) got a lot of responses questioning the morality or the wisdom of Pretty_Generic's plans. I don't recall seeing many posts complaining about the moralizing there.

Limiting AskMefi to "just the answers" is self-defeating: often the only good answer is a non-answer. If someone asks , "How can I take out my appendix myself, cheaply and at home", the only appropriate answer is "Don't do that". If someone asks how to convert an Oracle database to an Excel spreadsheet, the only appropriate answer is "Don't do that". And if someone asks "How do I find a legal loop-hole that allows me to steal", the only appropriate answer is "Don't so that".

caddis is right.

If you, for the intellectual challenge of it, or because you don't believe in property, or because you want to "stick it to the man", want to give anonymous advice on how to steal, fine, go ahead an do so.

But let caddis give his advice too, because it's really the only good advice anonymous will get.
posted by orthogonality at 10:18 PM on February 2, 2005


If Anon consults an attorney who tells him that LEGALLY it's okay to buy the site from his employer and then sell to the buyer and make a profit, is caddis still right?
posted by Jim Jones at 10:24 PM on February 2, 2005


Stating that it may be a crime and there isn't a way "around" that or any "loophole" is a helpful answer. Going beyond that to judge the person asking isn't.

What about that don't you understand, orthogonality?

Advise 'no' - okay.

Attack the asker as evil - bad.
posted by cosmonik at 10:24 PM on February 2, 2005


Anyway, the problem wasn't caddis' comment that the proposed idea was stealing--the problem was caddis calling Anon evil and comparing the thought to the act of genocide.
posted by Jim Jones at 10:26 PM on February 2, 2005


As a heavy participant in that thread, I understand caddis's position and empathize with him, but I have to agree with everyone else here that the comments were not appropriate for AskMe. I find this similar to the gun question that was much discussed previously. The commentary was inappropriate for that question, and it is inappropriate for this question as well.

On preview: orthogonality, I don't think anyone is arguing that saying not to do it because there are no loopholes isn't a valid answer. I pretty much did just that. The issue most people seemed to have was that caddis, after a while, began to use the thread as a soapbox. If he had posted on MeTa asking whether questions for getting around the law should be allowed on AskMe or whether this specific question should be deleted, I would have applauded him. But doing so in the thread just gets people's danders up.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 10:27 PM on February 2, 2005


Oh, and I personally wouldn't have banned caddis, because I think he had good intentions, but it's your call, mathowie.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 10:31 PM on February 2, 2005


As far as I am aware, caddis, it is not yet illegal to discuss things that are illegal. It's why, for instance, High Times exists. It's what exists as democratic debate. After all, if we're discussing breaking laws, we have to remember that laws are created and destroyed by the governments we elect. How can we take part in the democratic process if we can't talk about things that are illegal?

While I'm not suggesting any politicians are about to make it legal to steal and sell domain names from your employer, the basic point still stands. Talking about things that are illegal shouldn't (generally) be a problem. And if it is somehow a problem in the US (I don't know, to be honest, I don't live there), then you've got more problems than I thought. The poster was not asking if it was moral to do what they wanted, but how it might be possible.
posted by Jimbob at 10:53 PM on February 2, 2005


Anon asked for advice on how to AVOID breaking the law. Not how to commit a crime.

The answer to that would be "don't steal from your company." End of story, and the asker knew that in advance, so this was an inappropriate use of AskMe.

I thought the original question was vague enough to include the possibility that the question asker bought the domain with their own money, but re-reading it, it does sound like they are basically stealing company property and that's clearly wrong.

And yet you did approve it (as well as a couple of other recent anon questions asking for help in breaking the law). Is there a policy against this or not? Could you maybe, just for once, TAKE A FREAKING STAND so people know what the fuck is expected of them here? Personally, I find it appalling that you let this through. And then punished the user who points out that it's inappropriate (albeit in the wrong place).

WTF, Matt?!?
posted by rushmc at 11:05 PM on February 2, 2005


And bravo, caddis.
posted by rushmc at 11:07 PM on February 2, 2005


The OP specifically says "I don't want to break the law". If there's no way to do it without breaking the law, then you can say that. And some people did. It's a question with a definite answer, I don't think it's inappropriate.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:18 PM on February 2, 2005


In case anyone didn't catch it, caddis' initial comment in that thread was deleted before (s)he made a second comment in the thread. I believe it was removed because it was just rude and uncalled for. There are more civil ways of making ones point.
posted by riffola at 11:22 PM on February 2, 2005


If I work for a copier repair service, can I quit, open my own copier repair business, and then go around to my former employer's clients and try to get their business? Sometimes, yes; sometimes, no. You and caddis might call it client-stealing and a court might not.

However much fire and brimstone you might want to reign down on me, it's not illegal or immoral to ask about finding a method of getting those clients that doesn't break the law.
posted by Jim Jones at 11:22 PM on February 2, 2005


Jim Jones responds to me "Anyway, the problem wasn't caddis' comment that the proposed idea was stealing--the problem was caddis calling Anon evil and comparing the thought to the act of genocide."

caddis wasn't, I think, comparing stealing a domain name to genocide.

caddis was framing the question, "Should we moralize about an AskMefi that asks how to do [immoral act]" and replacing the bracketed abstraction with a concrete example of the most -- we hope incontrovertibly -- immoral act he could think of.

(And besides, it had a certain black humor to it, to the extent in conjured an image of a German version of AskMefi circa 1941 and an asker who saw the Endlosung der Juden Frage as a merely mechanical or technical problem -- which was precisely how the Nazis saw it and why Arendt's oft cited "banality of evil" is what makes the Holocaust and its planning at Wannsee so chilling -- and that gave the black humor an additional heft which took it beyond mere humor. It was a useful annalogy on several levels.)

Again, caddis was not asserting a moral equivalency or trivializing the Holocaust; as I read it, he was using a "high-contrast" example that showed the moral aspect of the question most clearly.

Certainly, we would do more than just say "don't so that" to a questioner asking how best to effect genocide, we'd also call the asker immoral -- as indeed, some did to Pretty_Generic's question about how best to find a hooker.

So caddis was asking, in effect, why would we certainly call someone proposing genocide wrong, and call someone seeking to pay for sex wrong, but not call someone looking to steal wrong. And that's a valid question.

Once caddis found anon's proposed action to be "evil" or immoral, one could well argue that caddis may have felt to not take a stand against it risked caddis failing his own sense of moral duty. Looking the other way, not speaking up, when confronted by immoral acts, may well be something caddis considers immoral in itself.

I can certainly understand how caddis might have been frustrated by his apparent inability to communicate to others in the thread what to him was the obvious moral clarity with which he understood the issue, and thus his inclination to repeat himself in hopes everyone else would get it. I can also see how at a certain point such repetition only serves to annoy.

As to whether caddis was too insistent, too often, by asking this repeatedly, well, I'll never know. I'll never know because some of his comments have been deleted, and in the absence of the full record, it's impossible to judge.

(This, incidentally, is my argument against deleting comments: it makes it impossible for a later reader to think for himself and make his own judgment of what went on in a thread, and thus also impossible to decide if the deletion was or wasn't a good idea. And if the deleted post really is "bad", deleting it lets the "bad" poster avoid a loss of reputation with those reading it, unfairly letting the poster off the hook; but if the post isn't "bad", it ought not be deleted at all -- so to me, no post should be deleted, but should be left to stand or fall in the readers' eyes on its merits.)
posted by orthogonality at 11:24 PM on February 2, 2005


Wow. I think I'm in love with this orthogonality person. *swoon*

I especially appreciated this line:

"Please don't calumny those of us on the left by claiming that anyone who has a moral objection to stealing must be Republican."

Damn straight.

Nixerman's parallel moral outrage is oddly pleasing, isn't it?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:49 PM on February 2, 2005


I agree with orthogonality and rushmc and caddis. Ninety-nine percent of AxMe threads should be limited to answers, but if someone wants to know how to do something illegal and stupid they should be reminded that it's illegal and stupid. This isn't "I want to buy a gun to defend myself, as I am legally entitled to do," it's, "Now that I've bought a gun, should I shoot the liquor-store clerk in the chest or in the head?"
posted by subgenius at 11:52 PM on February 2, 2005


rushmc, if you are going to go apeshit on me for not having RULES!!1! and then back caddis 100% for going godwin on that thread, there's really no way to discuss things reasonably with you.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:30 AM on February 3, 2005


they should be reminded that it's illegal and stupid

Illegal, by all means yes, stupid? Probably not a good answer for ask metafilter, and yet folks keep doing it and people are defending it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:31 AM on February 3, 2005


orthogonality is wise. I agree with the nuanced and non-judgemental opinion s(he) expressed. The part about not deleting seems very agreeable to me. Keeping the log of the conversation intact seems important.

Nevertheless, if metafilter weren't a benevolent dictatorship based on mathowie's judgement, I couldn't help but wonder what the culture here would be like.

A person can't be easily fooled, but any completely self-regulating system seems doomed to get exploited somehow. I'm sure mathowie intends build more features to make the forum even more egalitarian and self-regulating, but it's highly experimental work. His tweaks can only be tested by trial and error.

In the absence of a perfectly self-regulating community web-application, it seems that someone has to be at the wheel to keep the forum from disintegrating.

Besides that, isn't it entertaining to see the imperfect(human) judgement calls that mathowie makes? More grist for the mill...
posted by VP_Admin at 12:48 AM on February 3, 2005


I don't know about this particular instance (I haven't even read the caddis-smash! thread), but I'm all for more bannination for peeing in the pool, if that's what it takes to get the SS Mefi back on course. If the doors are still open (are they? I'm not sure) then it's a mere $5 to get back in, if someone cares to, hopefully chastened and less willing to abuse the delicate flower that is our lovely community. More revenue, less LOLOLOL!!! action.

Win win.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:28 AM on February 3, 2005


Anon asked for advice on how to AVOID breaking the law. Not how to commit a crime.

The answer to that would be "don't steal from your company." End of story, and the asker knew that in advance, so this was an inappropriate use of AskMe.


Not stealing is one answer, but it doesn't accomplish anon's goals (to make a bunch of money at the expense of his company). I don't know the law to be able to say whether or not there's a method that will accomplish this while still avoiding anything illegal, but it certainly seems like it could be possible (after all, people get away with unethical things which aren't illegal all the time). Why would this not be open for discussion?
posted by juv3nal at 1:59 AM on February 3, 2005


Gorram, but what a shiny opportunity.

BTW, VP_Admin is totally leading in this thread for mathowie kiss-up points. Not that this is a bad thing, but damn, it's kicking some serious ass.

On topic, caddis (when you regain the ability to reply that is), how do you feel about the fact that from my occasional employer I have a -- well I would call it regal, but maybe that's a bit much -- nice supply of post-its, staplers (and staple refills), tape, scissors, staple removers, a couple notepads, rubberbands, paperclips (in various sizes and orientations), plus a few boxes on cheap ballpoint pens.

I figure it's probably less than the take on the domain, but you know, life is work and time is life and time is money, so whatever...

But the real point -- my whole concern here -- my outlook? Illegal, unethical, or Hitler-esque? I'm curious, 'cuz I think I might feel bad.
posted by theatrical matriarch at 2:45 AM on February 3, 2005


capt stav ! the ss mefi is breakin up ! i've tied my kilt round the funnel to stop it breakin off but she cannae take it anymore !

*dances hornpipe*
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:48 AM on February 3, 2005


stavrosthewonderchicken: I challenge you to a duel. Weapons are your choice. Loser grants the winner an open-minded thought regarding mefi -- past, present, and future.

I will accept, if you insist, a battle to the death (I've got another $5...) Or if you're a "chicken" we can battle, sockpuppet to sockpuppet in another random forum (say some small random increment on the current top meta thread #?)
posted by theatrical matriarch at 3:05 AM on February 3, 2005


"Please don't calumny those of us on the left"

Isn't the verb "calumniate", and the noun "calumny"?

This nitpick aside, I find ortho a tonic, and a quality contributor.
posted by Wolof at 3:06 AM on February 3, 2005


orthogonality:Again, caddis was not asserting a moral equivalency or trivializing the Holocaust; as I read it, he was using a "high-contrast" example that showed the moral aspect of the question most clearly.

Which undermines the point. If the question was clearly immoral, caddis wouldn't have needed to bring up the Holocaust to establish immorality. Given that it is immoral for some, moral for others and ambivalent for the rest, caddis should have been done after his first post.
posted by Gyan at 3:22 AM on February 3, 2005


Here's the thing:

Morals=Relative (depending on one's viewpoint)

Law=Absolute (for everyone, depending on one's legal representation)

Anonymous asked whether it was illegal, and whether there were loopholes, not if it was immoral, and they were going to hell, or whatever.

So Caddis' answer was really an unhelpful non-answer. What would Jesus Do? ??? Who Cares?
posted by exlotuseater at 4:04 AM on February 3, 2005


hitler.
posted by Frasermoo at 4:10 AM on February 3, 2005


capt stav ! the ss mefi is breakin up !

Batten down the foc'sle and wind tight the poop chute, me hearties! She's a-blowin' up somethin' fierce!

I challenge you to a duel.

Only if you buy the whiskey and meth. I got standards.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:54 AM on February 3, 2005


The question stated "But, naturally, I don't want to break the law. Are you aware of any loopholes that might work to my advantage?"

So why on earth are people trying to justify caddis calling that evil? Is asking for legal advice - yes, even in the form of loopholes - akin to being illegal? Especially when he states he doesn't want to break the law. And even so, I wouldn't call everything illegal 'evil', but that's a judgement call on my part.

EB said: Wow. I think I'm in love with this orthogonality person. *swoon*

Dear gods! If the verbose dimensions of Ethereal Bligh and orthogonality ever collided and co-existed in a single thread, we could be stuck in some sort of long-ass-commentary loop of half valuable-insight, and half filler.

(said tongue set firmly in cheek...both of you guys type golden comments, but for god's sake keep it succint...)
posted by cosmonik at 4:56 AM on February 3, 2005


Oh, I've got the whiskey. And I've got this friend who knows a guy, who is pretty sketchy really, but he claims this friend of his knows this dealer person who has all sorts of shit, including (I think) some meth.

I was thinking, with regards to weapons, only rapier wits will do. Although, I do have one of those fencing swords with the little plastic bulb on the end -- we could do that, too, although we'd have to take turns stabbing each other (or more accurately, moderately bruising each other).

Anyway, to the death!
posted by theatrical matriarch at 5:04 AM on February 3, 2005


rushmc. There are no rules. There is no rule book. One reason for this is because no sane man would give you (that's YOU rush) an excuse to spread the "oh, but you said... This is a prime example of double standards" bullshit you're obviously itching to spread liberally around the site.

Despite what you may think, people do know what is expected of them here. Pretty much everyone is aware of the not-so-complex social laws which make up the place. There are transgressions, but in general it works.

Pretty_Generics question needed some flexibility in terms of how it would be answered, and flexibility was given. I'm sure that p_g appreciated some of the more off-topic answers. The question in question didn't need that flexibility, and it didn't need people going on about how illegal it was and how the asker was evil.

You know rushMc. I don't know what you've got against the site, and I don't know what you've got against Matt. There's part of me thinks that you're mildly autistic and you need the commonly requested "rules" in order to add some structure to the proceedings. If this is the case, then I apologise for having a go at you.

If not, then my advice to you is this. "There will never be hard and fast rules as to how this place works. Get over it. If you can't get over it, go and set your own site up. If you're just going on to be awkward and nasty and to cause a fuss, I'd suggest you try harder. "
posted by seanyboy at 5:22 AM on February 3, 2005


In case anyone didn't catch it, caddis' initial comment in that thread was deleted before (s)he made a second comment in the thread. I believe it was removed because it was just rude and uncalled for. There are more civil ways of making ones point.

For what it's worth, I pulled caddis' first post from that thread which was something along the lines of "fuck you, you're breaking the law, I hope you rot in jail" I agree that this was a borderline AnonyMe, and it would have been perfectly appropriate to answer the question by saying "that's illegal, don't do it" or any variation of that that wasn't just an all-out freakout. One of caddis' first posts was a good example of a totally reasonable answer.

http://ask.metafilter.com/mefi/14686#252749

Then I went to bed and the rest of that crap happened. I think seanyboy makes a good point about leniency being given in the PG thread where people were debating PG's decision to hire a prostitute and were contributing to a discussion even though they weren't strictly answering the question. Caddis was contesting the thread IN the thread, and then proceeded to not leave it alone. Rushmc, if you want to work with me on actually culling through years of MetaTalk to work out some loose guidelines for the wiki to help people post better, I'm all for that.
posted by jessamyn at 6:58 AM on February 3, 2005


amberglow - same question, I guess. I agree that the two are not comparable morally, but why inject a moral element to what can and cannot be asked on AskMe at all? I think the ability to ask risque (and otherwise offensive) questions is part of its charm.
Because both caddis and the poster framed it morally (and that was caddis' objection to the thread to begin with), and it's about breaking the law--even if victimless or very common. The moral element is present in the poster's own words and caddis' objections.

I think people should be able to ask whatever the hell they want--illegal or otherwise (and practical or otherwise too). When the poster himself asks how to do something legally--something they know not to be legal, morality is already there.
posted by amberglow at 7:01 AM on February 3, 2005


The anonymous poster is merely participating in an interesting thought experiment. Creative, intelligent people do stuff like this all the time.
posted by Eamon at 7:26 AM on February 3, 2005


It didn't sound hypothetical to me, Eamon, nor did it to others. A thought experiment wouldn't have been phrased that way.
posted by amberglow at 7:29 AM on February 3, 2005


rushmc, if you are going to go apeshit on me for not having RULES!!1! and then back caddis 100% for going godwin on that thread, there's really no way to discuss things reasonably with you.

If that's your view of what you're reading, then I agree with you. We cannot have a reasonable discussion.
posted by rushmc at 7:34 AM on February 3, 2005


It's amazing that it took me to the bottom of the thread to see anyone mention that caddis' first two words in that thread were "Fuck you." When I saw that last night, it struck me as so clearly an inappropriate answer that I've been sitting here shocked that folks like rushmc are defending caddis as some kind of moral avenger.

Christ, rushmc, are you really saying that "Fuck you" is an acceptable way to begin an answer in AskMe?
posted by mediareport at 7:36 AM on February 3, 2005


rushmc. There are no rules.

That's so blatantly false that I need not even read the rest of your comment.
posted by rushmc at 7:37 AM on February 3, 2005


Please don't calumny those of us on the left by claiming that anyone who has a moral objection to stealing must be Republican.

It wasn't the morality of the objection, moron. It was the fervency of the objection first, the erroneousness of the response second. Keep in mind that all your moral outrage is for naught, since poster originally stated "I don't want to break the law".
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:41 AM on February 3, 2005


Christ, rushmc, are you really saying that "Fuck you" is an acceptable way to begin an answer in AskMe?

Certainly not. But then, I never saw that response, did I? I can only respond to what remains in the thread to be seen. But the issue of how caddis expressed his reaction to the question and the appropriateness of the reaction itself are two separate issues really.
posted by rushmc at 7:41 AM on February 3, 2005


Keep in mind that all your moral outrage is for naught, since poster originally stated "I don't want to break the law".

Oh, good, then. That makes it all better. "I don't want to break the law, but at work they have a safe, Brand X, Model C, in which they keep diamonds and iShuffles. How do I pick the lock?"
posted by rushmc at 7:43 AM on February 3, 2005


And I'd just like to take this opportunity to say how glad I am that Matt is the one pulling the strings around here, and not some of the more bombastic, morally virtuous, intellectually bankrupt bores.

And on preview: Believe it or not, there's still no chapter in the legal books called Thoughtcrime. It's not illegal to discuss things that are illegal.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:46 AM on February 3, 2005


But then, I never saw that response, did I?

Ok, well now you know. *That's* what started caddis down the road to deletion and suspension. The issue of the appropriateness of the question is a fair one (for the record, I lean towards allowing questions about illegal activity, say, pot-growing), but nothing deserved caddis' juvenile, furious "Fuck you," which was far more poisonous to AskMe than the borderline illegality of the post.

Caddis deserves everything he's gotten.
posted by mediareport at 7:49 AM on February 3, 2005


Oh, and Matt did caddis a favor by suspending him. Who here hasn't seen caddis-style "post-a-minute" meltdowns? They're ultimately most embarrassing, if not downright harmful, to the person posting. How can you debate Matt's instinct to shut him up before he melted yet another thread?
posted by mediareport at 7:54 AM on February 3, 2005


So, would there have been any problem with caddis bringing it to the grey immediately and not trying to derail the AskMe thread?

Because, really, that was my only complaint, wrong place to complain about the legality of the question. And then the attempted one-man pile on didn't help at all.
posted by fenriq at 8:39 AM on February 3, 2005


That's so blatantly false that I need not even read the rest of your comment.
And that's such a blatantly stupid response that I'm completely at a loss as to what to say now.
You numpty.
posted by seanyboy at 9:26 AM on February 3, 2005


All I know is, that person doing the research paper on MeFi? Just hit the motherload.
posted by boymilo at 10:00 AM on February 3, 2005


I've been thinking that same thing since yesterday, boymilo.
posted by Cyrano at 10:13 AM on February 3, 2005


I agree with fenriq. The point should have been raised in MeTa, not in the thread itself.

but so many folks have taken so many petty disputes here as of late, that I am gun shy. I thought about it, but did not.

I see. "Other people's petty complaints belong in MeTa. My complaints are big and important, so they belong in the thread itself."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:37 AM on February 3, 2005


It's interesting that those who do not support AskMe being used to perpetrate a crime didn't single out PG's help me get laid by a hooker question. Isn't prostitution illegal in England? Just say'n.
posted by Juicylicious at 1:54 PM on February 3, 2005


"Just say'n."

MeFi is no more immune than elsewhere from double standards. See also: yesterday's Suicide Girls thread.
posted by mischief at 2:11 PM on February 3, 2005


I've never seen so many people get so upset about someone asking how to NOT break any laws.

And I'm grooving on this orthagonality person. Disagreeing, but disagreeing in a really good way.
posted by Bugbread at 2:20 PM on February 3, 2005


Believe it or not, there's still no chapter in the legal books called Thoughtcrime. It's not illegal to discuss things that are illegal.

Not yet, anyway. Get your questions in now, while you can.
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:58 PM on February 3, 2005


rushmc: "...the issue of how caddis expressed his reaction to the question and the appropriateness of the reaction itself are two separate issues really."

Not if how caddis expressed himself was in itself inappropriate. They're one and the same in this instance. As you said, you never saw the response, so perhaps you shouldn't run to put the boot in on calling/timing-out caddis just yet.

On another tack, I am surprised at the simplicity of some people's view of AskMe. All information in answers can be used for legal or illegal purposes. Would it make you feel safer if they just re-phrased the question to conceal any illegal intent, rather than getting straight to the point? The Green is the purest information-based place left on MeFi...don't spoil it by injecting morality/ethics-based issues over it, because there will be no consensus among members as to what is acceptable or not. Please, let it be.
posted by cosmonik at 4:37 PM on February 3, 2005


Would it make you feel safer if they just re-phrased the question to conceal any illegal intent, rather than getting straight to the point?

Yes--obviously. it would.
posted by amberglow at 7:44 PM on February 3, 2005


Eh. If you really want AskMe help of the more illicit variety, just flat-out ask. God's sheep won't have anything good to offer you anyways except loads of moralizing, which you'll get regardless of how you phrase the question. They're always so generous with their opinions about what a bad person you are.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:46 PM on February 4, 2005


Isn't prostitution illegal in England? Just say'n.
posted by Juicylicious at 1:54 PM PST on February 3


Yeah, it is. So is speeding, underage drinking and smoking dope, and they ain't been eliminated yet. Though I do see your point, and I was going to clarify this law anyway.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:05 PM on February 5, 2005


If anyone is still reading this thread, my apologies to the community for losing my cool.
posted by caddis at 6:45 PM on February 9, 2005


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