Cat Fight Club rules February 18, 2005 8:19 AM   Subscribe

If anyone captured the Cat Fight Club rules before they were deleted from the Cat Fight thread, could you email them to me at mischief at mail dot ru , please? Apparently, my asking for this list in a separate question was also deleted. I would really like to have that list. Thank you. ;-)
posted by mischief to Etiquette/Policy at 8:19 AM (54 comments total)

Quick Man! Before this thread is deleted, tell me where was the cat fight thread? Who was involved? What was the question? When did it happen? Why???!!! So many questions...so litttle time.

~looks over her shoulder fearfully~
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:29 AM on February 18, 2005


{This thread is closed to new comments - There was no thread in question; there is no user Secret Life of Gravy - Back to work!}
posted by squirrel at 8:32 AM on February 18, 2005


I too lament the deletion of this comment. Someone's moderation tendencies are killing the fun parts of this site.

Lameness. Woe.
posted by xmutex at 8:37 AM on February 18, 2005


Jessamyn deleted it because it was a bunch of joking in a thread about a real cat problem. Then mischeif posted in ask metafilter, asking if anyone saved it, and it's clearly not something for ask metafilter, but metatalk.

I'm not going to delete or close this, because I don't really care and hope you guys find what you were looking for.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:38 AM on February 18, 2005


This is odd. What's the deal with deletions running rampant? I remember watching a dozen or so answers in the "steak-by-mail" ask-me thread just vanish because they were all Omaha Steaks.
posted by odinsdream at 8:40 AM on February 18, 2005


There's just way too much to keep track of around here.
posted by mss at 8:41 AM on February 18, 2005


What's the deal with deletions running rampant?

The leadership may be overstepping their bounds. The natives are getting restless. The end battle is coming. Matt is securing his borders. A small but growing group of users is beginning to organize quietly.

Sides are being chosen. You're either with us or against us.

Choose wisely.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:47 AM on February 18, 2005


Has anyone else tripped on that bulge under the rug yet?
posted by scarabic at 8:48 AM on February 18, 2005


We've discussed deletions a billion times. Maybe more discussion is needed, but not in this thread, because this thread is about Cat Fight Club.

So, on topic: Anybody have the Cat Fight Club rules?
posted by Bugbread at 9:02 AM on February 18, 2005


Well, is there anyway to get jessamyn to stop deleting obviously brilliant jokes, sort of off-topic though they may be? The Cat Fight Club rules was an instant classic-- everyone loved it-- and poof, she killed it.
posted by xmutex at 9:10 AM on February 18, 2005


When there are deletions, you're not going to like them all. I say better to have a few comments you like disappear than to wade through a vast sea of lameness. I trust Jessamyn and Matt.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:16 AM on February 18, 2005


"it's clearly not something for ask metafilter"

... but, but, but it was phrased in the form of a question.

I put it in AskMe because I thought it was a short, simple question with a specific answer. I wasn't looking for any explanation for the deletion nor did I want to start a discussion on deletion policy.

Perhaps I overrationalized.
posted by mischief at 9:16 AM on February 18, 2005


Yes, please, delete all of the innovation, humor, and community from this site.
posted by bshort at 9:18 AM on February 18, 2005


Xmutex: Meh, I don't see what the issue is. AskMe is very, very clear about it not being a place for jokes, but straight answers. People posting jokes on AskMe are like people building sand castles: they know the castle may be beautiful, but they know before they start that it won't be permanent. No use blaming the sea if you happen to start a sand castle and it turns out really well. Next time, you should build it elsewhere.

The stickler with deletions, of course, is that it isn't clear whether humor is allowed in the blue or the grey. I'm one of the people who finds the heavy hand in blue and grey deletions to be a bad thing. But if you're posting a joke in the green, you've pretty much already admitted that you're cool with it getting deleted.
posted by Bugbread at 9:20 AM on February 18, 2005


If someone does indeed come across these secret codicils, why not post the Cat Fight Club rules here for us all to regail in the mystery?
posted by moonbird at 9:22 AM on February 18, 2005


I think someone is taking the first rule of Cat Fight Club a bit too literally. ;-P
posted by mischief at 9:26 AM on February 18, 2005


If I recall, it was this guy that posted the cat fight rules, though I could be wrong. Perhaps you could mail him, mischief.
posted by chill at 9:37 AM on February 18, 2005


I put it in AskMe because I thought it was a short, simple question with a specific answer.

I made this phrase bright green on the posting page, perhaps you missed it?
Make sure it's not MetaFilter, MetaTalk, or Ask MetaFilter related, as those posts would best be posted in MetaTalk than here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:43 AM on February 18, 2005


Well, as long as we're drawing this out into a policy discussion...

I didn't think it was AskMe related in the sense that, "I once read a joke about ..., could someone please repost it?" Like I said, I overrationalized. I'm not questioning your deletion of my question; I just want the list. (btw, that poke about the first rule was pointed at whoever wrote the list, not you Matt.)

ps: Thanks, chill.
posted by mischief at 9:53 AM on February 18, 2005


catfight, with chairs
posted by dhoyt at 10:21 AM on February 18, 2005


you might enjoy this in the meantime.
posted by jessamyn at 10:30 AM on February 18, 2005




Slightly off-point: The original fight club rules - The first rule of Fight Club is - you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is - you DO NOT talk about Fight Club. Third rule of Fight Club, someone yells "Stop!", goes limp, taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule, only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule, one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule, no shirt, no shoes. Seventh rule, fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule, if this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight.
posted by WestCoaster at 10:36 AM on February 18, 2005


Oh, I have the Cat Fight Club rules saved in my browser's cache. I'll just copy and paste th ++++**NO CARRIER**++++
posted by driveler at 10:39 AM on February 18, 2005


I understand the point behind keeping askme threads on-topic, in order to be more relevant, but I really enjoy the flavor of this site, which doesn't come from the colors or the questions, but from the responses. I just had a comment deleted from the Identify This Aerial Photo thread, I guess because it didn't specifically help find an answer (which had already been found, by the way). (I believe it said "Well it officially looks like ask.mefi can answer any question.")

I just don't get it, though. Why bother deleting miscellaneous posts that aren't either obviously derailing a thread, grossly offending another member, or otherwise degrading the experience? I just can't understand how sapping all the life and fun from the comments section provides a better user experience for everyone. It clearly doesn't.

Take the Omaha Steaks thread. There were around 6-or-so comments simply deleted because their answers matched ones previously given. Why is that a problem? Is it not helpful to see how many people answer one way, and how many people answer another way? Should we assume that one answer can only be said once? No seconding allowed?

It is a conversation, after all...
posted by odinsdream at 11:48 AM on February 18, 2005


I just don't get it, though. Why bother deleting miscellaneous posts that aren't either obviously derailing a thread, grossly offending another member, or otherwise degrading the experience? I just can't understand how sapping all the life and fun from the comments section provides a better user experience for everyone. It clearly doesn't.

I think this is an excellent point. Expecting AskMe to be entirely devoid of the humor, conversational quirks, etc. that are accepted parts of MeFi discourse as a whole is misguided. Yes, yes, it's certainly true that "wisecracks don't help anyone get answers." Got it. But it's also just as true that sometimes the process of getting answers on AskMe turns conversational and joking in a way that does not deter anyone from getting answers. People have cracked a few humorous asides in several of the threads where I've asked questions, and you know what? I wasn't bothered in the slightest -- because I still got my answers. The jokes didn't derail; they just made it a regular ol' Mefi thread, which I happen to like.

I would respectfully submit that Matt and Jessamyn consider asking themselves before deleting off-the-cuff remarks: "is this actively preventing the poster from getting his or her answer?" or "is this clearly going to derail the thread?" or "is this inappropriate given the tone of the question?" [the latter for a particularly serious/sensitive topic]. If the answer is no -- then please: consider going back to a lighter touch.
posted by scody at 12:30 PM on February 18, 2005


The rules were the same as in Fight Club with simple Cat substitutions, then there was a final rule saying something along the lines "if you saw a squirrel at Cat Fight Club you had to stop what you were doing and chase it or stare at it." Or something.

Yes, Cat Fight Club was funny. AskMe is there solely to answer questions. Case closed. If M&J let a few clever comments slide, then they need to start making judgement calls, and other people who aren't quite as clever as they think they are will start thinking it's okay for them to start sharing their witty insights, and other people start bitching about them, and eventually society collapses.

AskMe is one part of the current trinity of Metafilter. Can one not reign in one's natural instinct for smart-assery in just that one place? It's nice to have a place where you don't have to go over what you post three times with the legal team just to make sure some cyber-pedant won't find some ambiguity or inconsistency or opportunity to crack wise and divert the thread to vibrating pancakeland.
posted by cardboard at 12:30 PM on February 18, 2005


Everybody seems pretty understanding about not posting questions on the blue, or random links to interesting websites on the grey, so why the difficulty in understanding that you don't post wisecracks on the green?
posted by Bugbread at 12:51 PM on February 18, 2005


why the difficulty in understanding that you don't post wisecracks on the green?

I would argue that there's a difference between posting random one-liners/wisecracks and the conversational aspect that evolves in some threads and winds up including humor. What if I post an answer AND make a joke, for example? Does my first sentence stay and my second sentence get excised? Of course we all want AskMe to be helpful. Some of us just happen to think that humor isn't categorically unhelpful.
posted by scody at 1:30 PM on February 18, 2005


If we allowed jokes in AskMe, I'd post a hell of a lot more. And trust me, that's not because I'm brilliant. Far from it. I'm just a smartass.

I liked the cat fight club rules, but eh. One of the fundamental rules in the establishment of AskMe is no joking around. Answer the questions, please don't fuck around.

Of course, the best way around this rule is to joke about something, and then agree with a previous poster on a solution. Probably should've kept that little tidbit to myself
posted by graventy at 2:22 PM on February 18, 2005


What if I post an answer AND make a joke, for example? Does my first sentence stay and my second sentence get excised? Of course we all want AskMe to be helpful. Some of us just happen to think that humor isn't categorically unhelpful.

True, and if the disagreement were about an issue where helpful but joking answers were provided, I'd understand the hackles being raised a bit more. But (correct me if I'm wrong, as we're talking about post-deletion land, so I don't know exactly what was whacked), isn't the topic of this position humorous nonanswers?
posted by Bugbread at 2:29 PM on February 18, 2005


I'm pretty sure the helpful-yet-humorous response is the loophole you jokers (and I promise that I don't mean that in a negative manner) are looking for. But the answer has to be an actual answer and to meet some minimum standard of helpfulness. That's not so hard, I reckon.
posted by anapestic at 2:50 PM on February 18, 2005


Maybe you can find some sort of underground catfighting network and make some money off your badass kitty.

The Rules of Catfight Club

#1 - The first rule of Catfight Club is, you do not talk about Catfight Club.
#2 - The second rule of Catfight Club is, you DO NOT talk about Catfight Club.
#3 - If someone runs away, goes passive, stops to lick a paw, the fight is over.
#4 - Two cats to a fight. Other cats may growl and hiss.
#5 - One fight at a time.
#6 - No shirts, no shoes.
#7 - Catfights will go on as long as they have to.
#8 - If this is your first night at Catfight Club, you have to fight.
#9 - The fight is over if any cat is called for dinner, or if any birds or squirrels appear nearby.

posted by jdroth at 9:28 AM PST on February 17
posted by five fresh fish at 3:09 PM on February 18, 2005


aye. Wrap the joke in an answer, it's true (and I'm not even being sarcastic).

I'm finding myself less and less interested in Ask Me; at first I loved it because it was an intersection of the membership that was interesting, helpful, and more "real-people" than anything else we had here. Now that I understand it's supposed to be essentially "machine-like" I don't have the same fondness for the whole thing.

On preview: thanks, fff!
posted by taz at 3:14 PM on February 18, 2005


Just have to add, upon seeing it at last, that it was my first laugh-out-loud all day, and where I am it's very, very late in the day. It is in fact, the next day.
posted by taz at 3:33 PM on February 18, 2005


Everybody seems pretty understanding about not posting questions on the blue, or random links to interesting websites on the grey, so why the difficulty in understanding that you don't post wisecracks on the green?

I don't post questions on the front page of the blue, but I often do in comments. I don't post links on the front page of the gray, but I do in the comments, if it's relevant. And I don't post wisecracks on the front page of AskMe — but why shouldn't we be able to inject a little topical humor in the comments section?

Over-moderation like this doesn't just hurt the sense of community, I suspect it will ultimately hurt the usefulness of Ask (see taz's above comment). The thread in question had been answered many times over already, and some posted quite clever topical humor.

Likewise, I remember that shortly after someone posted about mispronounciation of "Valentine's" as "Valemtime's", there was a thread about Rice's verbal slip calling Bush her husband. The question was thoroughly answered -- with links to multiple news sources, et cetera -- when someone said, "Let's wait and see if they spend Valentime's Day together." It was one of my few laugh-out-loud comments on MeFi, or on the internet, period. I posted a comment telling the poster so, but a scant hour later both posts were vanished.

The surprising thing to me, though, is that this isn't a "whoops" type thing, where the moderator (be it Matt or jessamyn ) may have overmoderated once or twice in poor judgment. There is a pattern of these needless and somewhat arbitrary deletions, and despite several MeTa threads about it already, and a fair amount of community opposition, the problem just seems to be getting worse.

Not to make this into melodrama, but moderation like this could honestly be the death of the site. For me, anyway.
posted by rafter at 3:49 PM on February 18, 2005


I don't post questions on the front page of the blue, but I often do in comments. I don't post links on the front page of the gray, but I do in the comments, if it's relevant.

Good point. Thanks.
posted by Bugbread at 4:19 PM on February 18, 2005


Yeah, I personaly do not understand why matt wants to piss us off so much by deleting jokes. Unlike slashdot, or kuro5hin which just became cesspools metafilter has been handling itself very well. But pissing off the readers is no way to make the site usefull. If anything, it's going to make people even more difficult to control.

Especialy annoying is the whole 'memory hole' effect. Maybe what's needed is a way to mark posts offtopic, and then allow some users to hide offtopic posts if they want to.
posted by delmoi at 7:44 PM on February 18, 2005


I don't think anybody has disagreed with deletions and other recent administrative decisions more vocally than I have, but I actually agree with Matt for once. The green, unlike MeFi or MeTa, has a very hard-and-fast rule about what is appropriate for comments. While the slippery slope argument is a classic logical fallacy, in real life it tends to be true an awful lot. I'm the last person to think that anything humorous needs to be deleted from the blue or the gray - I have written literal tomes of text on that subject - but Matt's provided us (for once) with a clear, simple rule that makes sense in the context of what AskMe is supposed to be about (answering questions) even if it occasionally cramps our style.

One possible pony to solve this might be to, for every question posted, have a seperate comment thread linked next to [more inside] labeled "metacommentary" or maybe "discuss this", where humorous responses and stinging criticism of the question itself could both be placed.
posted by Ryvar at 8:04 PM on February 18, 2005


Ryvar, how do you feel about the two examples I gave above?

That is, how do you feel about multiple similar answers in the Steak-By-Mail askme thread being removed, simply because they were tongue-in-cheek humor, being similar to other answers? These were obviously appropriate answers to the question, and only subjectively can we assume one was a joke rather than a sincere recommendation for Omaha Steaks.

Or, how about the Identify-This-Aerial-Photo askme thread, where the answer had already been discovered, accepted, and verified, and my comment "Wow, ask mefi can officially answer any question" was deleted? How is that being a smartass, or derailing an already-answered thread? I would still be arguing this point even if it weren't my personal comment.
posted by odinsdream at 8:42 PM on February 18, 2005


I also find it odd that there's enough hyper-vigilance to delete odinsdream's own comment in his own thread (!), and yet the Bugs Bunny makeover double-post is still on the front page after more than 8 hours. I've usually strongly supported Matt's moderating style and decisions in the past, and up until the past month or so have also thought that the majority of deletions around here have been justifiable. But going through AskMe posts with a fine-tooth comb to take out individual comments that don't even derail or otherwise detract from the post while double-posts and other daily bits of crap continue to clog up the front page... well, I'm genuinely confused as to how Matt and Jessamyn think they're improving things that way. There's been a change for the prissy lately, and I don't think it suits us.
posted by scody at 9:01 PM on February 18, 2005


As regards the Steaks - that one wasn't a joke, and while perhaps redundant repeated opinions are often useful because when alternatives are suggested they provide the asker with a sense of the degree of support (and the different reasons for it) behind option A as compared to option B.

As regards your "Wow AskMe can officially answer any question" comment, the rules are laid out pretty clearly: "Please limit comments to answers or help in finding an answer."

The Omaha Steaks example doesn't violate that. Even if it is slightly redundant six opinions stating the same thing, those can be useful if later on in the thread three people have alternative suggestions. Your personal comment didn't abide by the simple, clear rule of AskMetafilter, which is "comments should answer questions." The wisecracks bit is just double underlining.
posted by Ryvar at 9:07 PM on February 18, 2005


There were around 6-or-so comments simply deleted because their answers matched ones previously given.

I missed that thread, but I'd like to suggest that was an asinine decision. I'd also like to suggest that ever since jessamyn started moderating, comment/thread deletions have been increasing at an alarming rate. There, I said it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:12 AM on February 19, 2005


Though, in fairness, thread moderation has got to be a tough gig (so many threads and users to watch, so few codified rules to back up your decisions). But the deletions do seem to be pretty heavy-handed in the past few weeks.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:15 AM on February 19, 2005


and I'll point out that jessamyn still hasn't said unequivocally that she won't edit user comments without first contacting them.
posted by bonaldi at 7:48 AM on February 19, 2005


I never read MeTa, and yet I come here on a a Saturday morning and discover my Catfight Club Rules are a point of conversation. Strange.

When I noticed they'd been deleted (and that a comment referring to them had been edited), I e-mailed Matt to ask what was going on. He hypothesized they'd been removed because they were silly and not relevant to the question, which seems to be the case. I, too, wish they'd remained, but it doesn't kill me that they didn't. (And I'm glad that fff saved them; I didnt keep a copy.)

But this is an interesting topic.

I don't pay much attention to the meta of Metafilter. I just don't care that much. (What is this? The third time I've posted in the grey?) But lately a couple things have bugged me.

First (and briefly, since it's not relevant ot this thread) is the obsession with multilink posts in the blue. It's silly.

The other, though, is the new desire for AskMe to only be about serious answers to a question.

AskMetafilter is my favorite part of this site. I love it. It was a brilliant idea. And I like that some of us, like me, spend our time reading the green instead of the blue.

I answer a lot of questions, generally in earnest, but there are times when it's fun, and seems appropriate, to be silly.

In the case of the cat murderer question, there were several answers regarding the nature of cat fights. In fact, I had already posted a rather long answer about my experiences with cat fights. I thought it all sounded like Fight Club, and the notion struck me as absurd, so I googled the rules and modified them. I thought it was funny. I didn't think it was too distracting. In the end, I understand why the rules were deleted, and respect the decision, though it makes me sad.

The occasional silly answers are part of the charm of the AskMe community. If I asked a question and received a silly answer, it wouldn't upset me, especially if it gave me a chuckle. Likewise (and I didn't know this was a problem), if I asked a question, and six people responded with the same answer, I'd want to know that six people responded with the same answer rather than have five of these answers removed. The sheer numbers form an answer of a sort. It's a rudimentary form of statistical sampling.

I have no problem with Matt and Jessamyn editing as they see fit, but I implore them to err on the side of leniency. When editing becomes heavy-handed, it becomes oppressive, especially in a community forum. It took me several minutes to modifty the Catfight Club Rules, and it was this loss of time that rankles more than anything. When one of your comments is deleted, it's as if you're being told, "Your thoughts -- and the time you spent forming them -- aren't important."

Keep AskMe fun and useful!

On preview: and I'll point out that jessamyn still hasn't said unequivocally that she won't edit user comments without first contacting them.

I wasn't contacted at all before the disappearance of the Catfight Club Rules...
posted by jdroth at 7:58 AM on February 19, 2005


Thanks, fff! (... and I didn't miss the irony of the Cat Fight Club rules being reposted by someone named "five fresh fish") heheh

PS: thanks, jd, for writing them in the first place.
posted by mischief at 8:02 AM on February 19, 2005


I second jdroth's post. Just to be clear, I completely understand why my "wow askme can answer anything" post was deleted, since it obviously isn't an answer to the question. That wasn't my point, though. My point was that I feel like there's a real danger of the AskMe section becoming machine-like and far too strict, for it to lose all the fun that made it an enjoyable place to hang out. That's what I'm talking about. The question had already been answered, by the way, so I certainly wasn't derailing anything.

Anyway, I don't want to argue for or against deleting that particular comment. I'm trying to emphasise, through that bad example, that it isn't always necessary to groom every thread to remove all the fun from it. Omaha Steaks is a prime example, it was clear that somebody interpreted the multiple identical responses as a joke, and somebody apparently didn't like the idea of the joke in AskMe, even if it's quite possible everyone involved was completely serious. That's what I'm talking about - there's a definite sense of a watchful eye ready to edit out any slightly amusing quips because they don't follow "the rules."
posted by odinsdream at 8:23 AM on February 19, 2005


There were around 6-or-so comments simply deleted because their answers matched ones previously given.

I counted two before mathowie deleted them, but maybe there were more that I didn't see. I was on the fence about them because it was unclear whether two+ additional eight word posts with later timestamps linking to the exact same URL as the posts above them were jokey or serious. I probably would have left them, since I didn't know. Matt adding another admin happened at about the same time that he also wound up being able to spend more time on the site [witness the pony explosion lately] and so I think deletions may have gone up for that reason as well, not just my coming on board, which may explain what you've seen C_D. MeFi went from having half of one moderator to two fairly involved ones. I know I've been getting a lot of email saying "quit with the deletions already!" and I know I'm not deleting almost anything from MeFi/MeTa [double posts excepted] and not much even from AskMe. anapestic and graventy outlined an easy way to get your jokes in to AskMe threads if you feel they must be there. And scody, if your post is half-jokey your whole post stays.

Otherwise the AskMe dilemma here seems to be more about debating the rules of the green, not whether Cat Fight Club was or was not an answer to the cat question. AskMe has rules that differ from other parts of the site and are fairly straightforward. Other MeTa posters have been clamoring for "hard and fast" rules for deletions/banning/callouts whatever, but when we do have them, they're not necessarily appreciated more than the more subjective guidelines that are at work in MeFi/MeTa. The Metafilter universe is big enough that there are a plurality of community opinions on how the site should work, and this is one of the more contentious topics lately.
posted by jessamyn at 8:26 AM on February 19, 2005


I guess the silence on the other point means that people's comments are only usually not edited then, but that's not cast-iron.
posted by bonaldi at 8:31 AM on February 19, 2005


people's comments are only usually not edited then

I can think of a few times I've edited posts according to what I told you in the earlier thread [URL/HTML fixing, bad line breaks, when I've been contacted by the poster, when I knew the poster and fixed a typo, deleting a post at the request of a poster, or when I asked if they wanted it fixed]. I've never edited for content, no. People own their own content. If people have email/IM info in their profile, I try to let them know if I've deleted a FPP of theirs.
posted by jessamyn at 8:52 AM on February 19, 2005


What made Meta* work before you came along, jessamyn, was Matt's infrequent, inconsistent, arbitrary deletions. There was no sense of "fair play": they just happened, and when they happened it gave us a hint of what was tolerable.

Trying to have hard and fast rules will be the death of Meta*.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:54 AM on February 19, 2005


AskMetaFilter seems to be thriving quite nicely despite (or, more likely, because of) the rules and editing. So saying that rules will be the death of any or all parts of Meta is inaccurate as well as hysterical.
posted by anapestic at 9:16 AM on February 19, 2005


Wehret den Anfaengen
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:58 AM on February 19, 2005


What made Meta* work before you came along, jessamyn, was Matt's infrequent, inconsistent, arbitrary deletions.

As much as I agree with you on the primary issue here, I don't think that it's Jessamyn's fault that the iron fist has come into play. From her post, she merely allows Matt to spend more time on content judgement.

Witness: I know I've been getting a lot of email saying "quit with the deletions already!" and I know I'm not deleting almost anything from MeFi/MeTa [double posts excepted] and not much even from AskMe.
posted by amandaudoff at 11:00 AM on February 19, 2005


« Older Toronto meet-up reminder   |   Poetic FFP screening. Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments