Batshitinsane Tags July 30, 2005 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Where did my "batshitinsane" tag go in this post? Was it deemed inappropriate?
posted by UKnowForKids to Etiquette/Policy at 6:14 AM (117 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

It wasn't inappropriate, it was just noise. The tags are designed as finding aids, not extra space for commentary.
posted by jessamyn at 6:46 AM on July 30, 2005


Hooray!
posted by grouse at 7:00 AM on July 30, 2005


I really can’t see how that kind of editing of others posts is necessary or helpful – rather it’s a nuisance.. In addition, it makes nonsense of this comment, which puzzled me when I read it yesterday. Once again, if you don’t absolutely have to change what other members have written, please don’t.
posted by Zetetics at 7:07 AM on July 30, 2005


But what if I want to find posts about things that are batshit insane?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:08 AM on July 30, 2005


Silly tags are only noise when that's the only tag you use for your post. If there's four other decent tags included that people might actually use for a search, then why does it matter if there is one that no one will ever use as a search term? Including bad tags along with good ones does not make it any more difficult to use the good tags as search tools.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:27 AM on July 30, 2005


It doesn't help with the clutter on this page. Not that that page is all so useful in the first place.

If you're using tags to make editorial comments, just GYOBFW and you can make all the crazy useless tags you ever wanted.
posted by grouse at 7:31 AM on July 30, 2005


Zetetics : "I really can’t see how that kind of editing of others posts is necessary or helpful"

The post wasn't edited, was it? I was under the impression that only the tag was edited.
posted by Bugbread at 7:35 AM on July 30, 2005


Holy cow. It *is* batshitinsane. On wheels.
posted by i_cola at 7:35 AM on July 30, 2005


Hooray! More active noise reduction, please!
posted by majick at 8:36 AM on July 30, 2005


"insane" should be ok as a tag by itself, and linked with "crazy" or "wtf"
posted by amberglow at 8:51 AM on July 30, 2005


I'm against editing posts, but this is quite different. I HATE these goofy joke tags. The whole damn point of tags is to have keywords to categorize posts, not to throw out another little zinger to laugh at. It's pointless.
posted by puke & cry at 8:52 AM on July 30, 2005


and now you know why you seemed to be the first mf'er to use the tag.
posted by crunchland at 8:53 AM on July 30, 2005


[this is bad]

Why do you feel the need to censor what others say? As we've talked about before, if you find a post objectionable then delete the post, but don't edit the content of the post or, in this case, the tags. It's pointless. And in this case he was clearly right. That comic is about as batshit insane as you can get.

Stop doing things like this.
posted by bshort at 9:18 AM on July 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


I thought part of the idea of this sort of tagging is to just ignore what people do and hope it all works well in the end? Not that I really care one way or another.

You know, this is like good cop/bad cop. Matt is the good cop, jessamyn is the bad cop. But they never switch places. Jessamyn is always the heavy. Even so, it's a useful arrangement. It just doesn't make jessamyn very popular.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:23 AM on July 30, 2005


just GYOBFW

I guess this is now the standard retort to any criticism on Metafilter. Yay Community Weblog.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:30 AM on July 30, 2005


MetaFilter: It's not what you really wrote.

tsk tsk
posted by mischief at 9:45 AM on July 30, 2005


I think joke tags are pointless and stupid, but I also don't see any possible way that true harm can come from them. It doesn't change the substance of the post, nor does it impact searching at all. I would say that it's always best to err on leaving posts alone. I don't think editing for the sake of "noise reduction" is a very good idea.
posted by absalom at 10:22 AM on July 30, 2005


"insane" should be ok as a tag by itself, and linked with "crazy" or "wtf"

yeah, it's a good idea, I second that. "batshitinsane" is a bit, you know, shrill, and we don't want to be, of all things here, shrill, or divisive, or God forbid vitriolic. so, in a new bipartisan spirit, we could OK more neutral tags like "wtf". so much better than "nutzoid", for example
posted by matteo at 10:56 AM on July 30, 2005


bshort : "It's pointless."

Actually, it keeps the noise ratio down in the tags, allowing them to be more useful, which is kinda pointful.
posted by Bugbread at 11:53 AM on July 30, 2005


SeizeTheDay: No, don't worry, it's off-topic in this thread, too. :)
posted by aaronetc at 12:06 PM on July 30, 2005


The tags are designed as finding aids, not extra space for commentary.

A good decision. Thanks Jessamyn.
posted by dhoyt at 12:11 PM on July 30, 2005


What absalom said.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 12:13 PM on July 30, 2005


Nobody answered my question. Seriously, what if I want to find posts about things that are batshit insane?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:51 PM on July 30, 2005


"The tags are designed as finding aids, not extra space for commentary."

Sorry, but that's bullshit. Tags are for personal use and organisation. Finding is a welcome bonus, and a major part of the tagging goodness, but its emergent behaviour. As has been said, tags are good for finding something, but not a specific thing, so tags are fundamentally flawed for finding in the first place.

I don't like the tag, but if the poster wants to collect links that are "batshitcrazy" and this has some meaning for him/her than that's up to them. I was skeptical about tags at metafilter in the first place. It makes sense for links, or tags, but for bodies of text what the hell is wrong with search? However, if we must have tags then please could the admins get a hint of a clue before censoring people willy-nilly? Seriously, you've got this thoroughly backwards.
posted by nthdegx at 1:06 PM on July 30, 2005


"for links, or tags,"

for links or photos I meant: flickr has completely non-policed tags, apart from the fact that the photo owner can delete other people's tags. The primacy is with the poster, and this is as it should be. Flickr has the most vibrant use of tagging on the internet. This just looks like they've been added to MeFi because they're cool, but with out any real understanding of their use.
posted by nthdegx at 1:11 PM on July 30, 2005


Metafilter: Things That Are Batshit Insane

Probably it doesn't matter so much that Jessamyn deleted the tag. On the other hand, it probably wouldn't have mattered so much if Jessamyn had just let it go. Not a big deal.
posted by voltairemodern at 1:13 PM on July 30, 2005


nthdegx : "Tags are for personal use and organisation. Finding is a welcome bonus, and a major part of the tagging goodness, but its emergent behaviour."

I don't recall Matt having mentioned that. Are you sure you're not thinking of how tagging is used on other sites?

nthdegx : "It makes sense for links, or tags, but for bodies of text what the hell is wrong with search?"

I was under the impression it's for finding things of a category you're interested in. If you're big into technology, you could click on the "technology" tag to find other links by other folks about technology. Search wouldn't work for that unless the person put the word "technology" somewhere within the text of the FPP.
posted by Bugbread at 1:19 PM on July 30, 2005


"
I don't recall Matt having mentioned that. Are you sure you're not thinking of how tagging is used on other sites?"


That's a ridiculous statement. I hate to use the word folksonomy, but seriously - people are becoming increasing conversant with this process of organization, you can't just do it differently even if you want to, and I don't think Matt intends to.

I accept your point about categorisation and tags are very useful: I use them myself. However, to implement tags when the search facility doesn't even work properly is a case of running before you can walk. Search will always be the first way to find bodies of text, and this is an argument for descriptively worded posts. Don't forget that categories at weblogs are nothing new.
posted by nthdegx at 1:28 PM on July 30, 2005


"I don't recall Matt having mentioned that."

Actually I'd like to take this further as I feel strongly about this (no shit!) but the idea that tags conform to any individual's point of view is ridiculous because no two people would ever tag all their stuff the same way. To say "I'm deleting that because it is not useful to anyone" is an assumption which stems from "I'm deleting that post because it is not useful to me". It's a very arrogant point of view to take.

If, in five year's time, a second person uses the tag "batshitinsane", and it leads them to the first post, and they find it even only midly interesting, then that tag has justified its existant. More than that it has excelled itself: most tags will never be used. Every time we do find a tag useful it is a fluke. It is only because tags are used in such volume that these flukes occur all the time. From this trends emerge, and people learn to tag things a certain way, but there isn't and shouldn't be any obligation to follow the trend. The strongest that should be put across is "suggested use" and no more.
posted by nthdegx at 1:43 PM on July 30, 2005





posted by matteo at 1:54 PM on July 30, 2005


nthdegx : "To say 'I'm deleting that because it is not useful to anyone' is an assumption which stems from 'I'm deleting that post because it is not useful to me'. It's a very arrogant point of view to take."

Not necessarily. Tags become useful once more than one person uses the same tag (being a category system aid, there needs to exist a category with more than 1 item for it to be of any use). If a tag has only one item, it may still prove useful, as soon as another person uses the same tag to categorize their own post. But until a second item exists, a tag in fact is of no practical use to anyone, beyond the extent that one can always find a theoretical counterexample if willing to stretch things enough.

But, I would agree that, perhaps, to say "I'm deleting that because it is not useful to anyone' is an assumption which stems from believing that it will not be of any use in the future either. I wouldn't call that arrogant, but it may be right and it may be wrong.
posted by Bugbread at 1:59 PM on July 30, 2005


I thought that hotlinking was a big no-no. In which case, matteo, what are you doing?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:07 PM on July 30, 2005


i thought batshitinsane was not only funny, but could have been appropriate ... there's at least one fpp i've done that this tag would actually fit ... in short, it could be a viable catagory, if you'd let it be one
posted by pyramid termite at 2:33 PM on July 30, 2005


Matt did say something to the effect of supporting folksonomy and that was his intent. On the other hand, he did delete the fq tags, didn't he?, and so there are some implied limits.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:04 PM on July 30, 2005


Actually, it keeps the noise ratio down in the tags, allowing them to be more useful, which is kinda pointful.

Did you read the rest of my post or did you just decide that you could take two words, respond to them out of context, and ignore the rest of what I was saying?

This isn't about useful vs. useless. This is about the difference between a community site and a Jessamyn site. I appreciate the fact that she's in a hard position here, but partially deleting or changing what someone said is unforgivable. If you don't like a post, delete it, if you don't like a tag then delete the post, but removing a tag just because you think it's noise is missing the whole point of having a community driven ontology. It's about what the community thinks is useful or relevant, not what Jessamyn thinks is acceptable.
posted by bshort at 3:31 PM on July 30, 2005


Also, one of the biggest problems with Jessamyn randomly changing things is that we have no idea what's been changed unless someone notices and complains.

I'd be more ok with some of these edits if they got logged somewhere so that we could get some meta-moderation.
posted by bshort at 3:33 PM on July 30, 2005


Silly tags are only noise when that's the only tag you use for your post. If there's four other decent tags included that people might actually use for a search, then why does it matter if there is one that no one will ever use as a search term? Including bad tags along with good ones does not make it any more difficult to use the good tags as search tools.

seconding what 23skidoo said, how exactly is the batshitinsane tag noise in this instance? how does it prevent me from finding other, more relevant posts if i don't use it? and what monju said -- what if people want to find things that are batshitinsane? how is it "commentary" any more than any other tag?

if it's commentary, then using "waronterror" is now commentary, because now the conflict is officially called "the global struggle against extremism." right, dhoyt?
posted by Hat Maui at 3:41 PM on July 30, 2005


How about the larger problem where people don't even use tags correctly to begin with? I.e., Cell phone instead of something like cell-phone or cellphone. The tag system is a novelty at best, and completely useless at worst.

How is anyone surprised that people often add a slightly amusing tag among the others? It doesn't harm anything.

I'm just... agreeing with others in the thread, delete the whole thing or leave it alone, stop changing people's words.
posted by odinsdream at 3:52 PM on July 30, 2005


"It's about what the community thinks is useful or relevant, not what Jessamyn thinks is acceptable."

As the sole elected representative for the community, I think Jessamyn's judgement about usefulness and relevancy is acceptable.

Seriously, she doesn't just randomly change things. She judiciously tidies the place up. Hell, given the sheer quantity of complete crap on the site that both she and Matt let slide, I'm of the opinion that there should be more frequent and brutal nukings around here, not fewer.
posted by majick at 3:52 PM on July 30, 2005


...elected representative...

Um, what?
posted by odinsdream at 4:00 PM on July 30, 2005


One qualified voter?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:13 PM on July 30, 2005


It's a folksonomy, except when it isn't.
posted by trondant at 4:31 PM on July 30, 2005


I don't know, I think goofy tags don't really hurt in the long run. I put joke tags on my delicious links all the time. In the end it's a wash, as the best tags will work as wayfinders, as other people use them.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:36 PM on July 30, 2005


Also, I can see why jessamyn did it, as "wtf" is a better, more widespread use container for batshit insane things, but to embrace the folksonomy is to embrace the chaos. Joke tags do make the tags less useful, but in the long term hopefully they remain the rare exception to the rule.

All that said, the freequonsar stuff was slightly different as it was a purposeful attempt to screw up the whole tagging system before it even got off the ground. It had clear intent, whereas "batshitinsane" not so much (just a goofy term to describe a wtf moment).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:41 PM on July 30, 2005


bshort : "Did you read the rest of my post or did you just decide that you could take two words, respond to them out of context, and ignore the rest of what I was saying?"

I read the rest of your post. I was replying in the context I could see in the post, and I paid attention to the rest of what you said.

Your followup, however, clarified greatly:

bshort : "I appreciate the fact that she's in a hard position here, but partially deleting or changing what someone said is unforgivable. If you don't like a post, delete it, if you don't like a tag then delete the post, but removing a tag just because you think it's noise is missing the whole point of having a community driven ontology."

Well, I disagree that it's unforgivable based on prima facie evidence: I have forgiven it. However, I do agree with your followup point, that (forgivable or unforgivable) deleting tags does miss the point of having a community driven ontology. I don't think of tags as being "part of the post", just as metadata to identify it, and therefore falls out of the scope of "editing = evil", but since the goal is community driven tag establishment, I do think "editing = out of line with stated goals" (as, apparently, does mathowie).
posted by Bugbread at 5:38 PM on July 30, 2005


bshort: partially deleting or changing what someone said is unforgivable.

Let's keep the rhetoric to moderate levels of hysteria, please. Raping your sister is unforgivable; deleting someone's tag is, at worst, a mild error in judgment, and I'm not even sure it's that. Perspective.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:40 PM on July 30, 2005


Also, I can see why jessamyn did it, as "wtf" is a better, more widespread use container for batshit insane things, but to embrace the folksonomy is to embrace the chaos. Joke tags do make the tags less useful, but in the long term hopefully they remain the rare exception to the rule.


Is there really a "wtf" tag? I only mentioned it bec i think tags should be linked and related to each other.
posted by amberglow at 7:56 PM on July 30, 2005


All that said, the freequonsar stuff was slightly different as it was a purposeful attempt to screw up the whole tagging system before it even got off the ground. It had clear intent, whereas "batshitinsane" not so much (just a goofy term to describe a wtf moment).

Er, how so? The freequonsar tag was a piece of metadata useful for finding posts made by people who were opposed to quonsar being banned. If the tag had been permitted to survive, there's a chance someone might have found it useful for searching for posts with that parameter. While it's primary purpose was protest, yes, that does not mean it was not useful metadata in some capacity.

It is HIGHLY unlikely that someone will search tags for 'batshitinsane' instead of something more conventional like 'wtf.' At best, both should be used. If a certain group of people want to use it as a catchall for conservative insanity that goes beyond the pale, then hey, that's their business and as you say more metadata is always good.

But pretending that some metadata is 'bad' just because you disagree with those using it seems dishonest to me, and smells of some pretty deep personal hypocrisy.
posted by Ryvar at 7:59 PM on July 30, 2005


While it's primary purpose was protest, yes, that does not mean it was not useful metadata in some capacity.

Oh *that's* what mefi needs, people "protesting" all over the place... that'll sure improve the signal/noise ratio.
posted by beth at 8:15 PM on July 30, 2005


Beth please go back and read my post again. It was a minor protest, yes, using the tags system, but it was also valid metadata in that it served a useful function. You remember one of those nutcase quonsar supporters posted something you really want or even need to lookup, but you can't find it?

Enter the freequonsar tag. Admittedly, this is not the most likely scenario, but it's more likely than someone using what is essentially a one-shot tag, which serves far less use as metadata.
posted by Ryvar at 8:25 PM on July 30, 2005


Ryvar, before you open up a can of "unrelenting rant" on Matt, maybe you could refresh your memory with these three threads. in the order I linked them and tell me that Matt doesn't have a right to remain slightly upset about the whole fiasco. In fact, something tells me you remember at least one of them quite vividly.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:25 PM on July 30, 2005


SeizeTheDay - I'm going to skip the 45 minutes it would take to read those threads and just say what I can based on memory. If I'm thinking along the same lines you are, then yeah the HTML injected tag was, obviously, complete bullshit and should've been deleted. Nevermind that it broke the tags system, it was a stupid five seconds of 'hey does this work?' that was a bad idea in the first place.

That, yeah, Matt is totally justified in being upset about.

The normal, unblinking freequonsar tag is a different beast, though.
posted by Ryvar at 8:33 PM on July 30, 2005


You remember one of those nutcase quonsar supporters posted something you really want or even need to lookup, but you can't find it?

You gotta be kidding me. This is a totally specious argument. Face it, you guys were out to stir the shit and create a problem for Matt. Your bullshit arguments hold no water.

You guys coordinated this through #mefi, I remember listening to you all bragging about it. You were happy to cause a disturbance, and support of quonsar had vanishingly little to do with it.
posted by beth at 9:02 PM on July 30, 2005


And please, try to keep the jokey tags to a minimum if you could, thanks.
posted by mathowie at 4:19 PM PST on January 18 [!]

This has no bearing on the post at hand, of course.

Some other highlights:
How long indeed.
Hilarious.


You need to recheck your memory, beth. There were three tags:

1) quonsar, which obviously should have been deleted (vanity)
2) freequonsar, which I would contend should not for the above reasons
3) <blink>freequonsar</blink>, which very very definitely should have been deleted, and was.

You gotta be kidding me. This is a totally specious argument. Face it, you guys were out to stir the shit and create a problem for Matt. Your bullshit arguments hold no water.

My bullshit arguments hold no water? You can't even remember what happened correctly, let alone why. Nobody wanted to 'cause' a problem for Matt at any point in the entire debacle start to finish. Quonsar wanted a vanity tag, then a freequonsar tag in a minor protest of his banning was started (and was the only of the three that could be considered relevant metadata, but I digress), and then, to the best of my recollection the HTML injection was done. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some negative feeling surrounding the latter, but the prevailing attitude was "Oh my God would that work?" Not, "ha ha ha let's make Matt's life hard and give him work to do!"

Good judgement giving way to euphoria always happens when you find a loophole in the system. I should know, having found a few of them at this point.

The way you paint people into villianous cariactures of themselves, hellbent on destroying everything good in the Universe is ridiculous and childish. I expect nothing more from you.

You guys coordinated this through #mefi, I remember listening to you all bragging about it. You were happy to cause a disturbance, and support of quonsar had vanishingly little to do with it.

Bragging about it? The quonsar tag thing was funny, even if it should have been, in retrospect, deleted (I certainly didn't think so at the time and I'm willing to admit I was wrong). The freequonsar tag was, I maintain, legit.

The HTML injected tag was something else altogether, though - a sense of "hey would that work?" "no idea, try it!" followed by "oh holy fuck we are so dead."
posted by Ryvar at 9:25 PM on July 30, 2005


The way you paint people into villianous cariactures of themselves, hellbent on destroying everything good in the Universe is ridiculous and childish.

Your hyperbole is almost amusing. Your intent was clear, and it was not benign. You're not fooling anyone.

You're like someone caught spraying graffiti, claiming you were doing legitimate tests of weatherproofedness of spraypaint.
posted by beth at 9:39 PM on July 30, 2005


Beth you really, really need to go back and refresh your memory at this point because you are totally talking out your ass, nevermind that you like to confuse me for the group and vice versa. The only time I was ever 'upset' in the whole situation was immediately after the quonsar tag got deleted. You very clearly do not remember what happened, and there's no point in further debating with you.
posted by Ryvar at 9:47 PM on July 30, 2005


Well, this is fun. For me, anyway.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:54 PM on July 30, 2005


mathowie: Also, I can see why jessamyn did it, as "wtf" is a better, more widespread use container for batshit insane things...

I would contend that "batshitinsane" conveys a quite different sense of wonder, at least on my part, than "wtf" does. "Wtf" is for more of a "I wonder what the hell this person was thinking" vibe, whereas "batshitinsane" conveys a "I know exactly what they are thinking, and it is completely bonkers" reaction. Timecube is a "wtf" tag-worthy site, whereas this comic, to me, is "batshitinsane."

No hard feelings, though. You guys do a hell of a lot of work to keep this place clean, and far be it from me to shit on it, even inadvertently.
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:00 PM on July 30, 2005


Ryvar, I'm not really sure what you're hoping to convey with your arguments in this thread, but if it is support of unedited tagging, I'm afraid you are probably achieving exactly the opposite.

I'm pretty much in the "don't edit" camp, but after reading your comments, I've begun imagining all the ways that tags could possibly be used for uglybad by posters just wanting to cause problems, and it's swaying me to the other side.

If you have a dog in this race (and I'm not at all convinced that you do - I think you might have killed the dog and decorated the parlor with his body parts) you should do a better job of supporting him.
posted by taz at 10:06 PM on July 30, 2005


Ryvar is a reactionary in the most literal sense of the word. Anything resembling in any way censorship is his Pavlovian bell.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:12 PM on July 30, 2005


taz: I'm trying to point out two things here:
1) the 'freequonsar' tag Matt references was actually three seperate tags, not one, all of which had different intent
2) the actual 'freequonsar' tag (the second as listed above) has about as much legitimacy as a 'batshitinsane' tag (some, barely)

My 'dog in this race' is that tag editing should have a consistent policy. Either stuff of highly marginal value like plain freequonsar and batshitinsane should stay or go, but to conflate the former with the other, seperate quonsar tags and pass judgement on it merely by association seems a little dubious to me.
posted by Ryvar at 10:15 PM on July 30, 2005


Ryvar is a reactionary in the most literal sense of the word. Anything resembling in any way censorship is his Pavlovian bell.

Ordinarily I'd take that as a compliment, but it's not quite true. Censorship depends upon context. Denial of service stuff (causing the entire tags page to blink on accident, for instance) absolutely should go. Graffiti like the original quonsar tag and, in retrospect, my HTML injected nicks thread should (and in both cases did) go.

If anything I wish Jessamyn edited the green a little more heavily - it has a specific intent and the protests against deletions within it seem aimed to counter that intent. I wish Matt edited the blue a little more heavily - the trolling on both sides both in posts and comments has gotten to the point where I can barely read it anymore and unlike Slashdot there's no +5 filter. This comment of mine on the blue and this comment of mine on the green should both have been deleted, in my opinion.

The gray, though, you're absolutely right - the gray has been the 'designated free speech zone' of MeFi for years now, and I've written a ton of very long screeds against it being censored in any capacity ever. Guilty as charged.

But I'm not completely opposed to censorship where appropriate.
posted by Ryvar at 10:27 PM on July 30, 2005


Okay. You seem that way, though.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:36 PM on July 30, 2005


"[the green] has a specific intent and the protests against deletions within it seem aimed to counter that intent. I wish Matt edited the blue a little more heavily - the trolling on both sides both in posts and comments has gotten to the point where I can barely read it anymore..."

I agree completely and I'm surprised to hear this from you. I misjudged you.

Particularly with regard to AskMe--almost everyone agrees it has a narrowly-defined mandate and almost everyone agrees what that mandate is...so censorship to maintain and further that mandate is not only acceptable, it's necessary.

MeFi would get "better" with either of two different increases in moderation: behavior or content. The problem with the former, though, is that only at the extremes can we agree on what "civility" is and so anything at all aggressive is going to run up against a lot of controversy. The problem with the former is agreeing on what content should be censored, which we probably can't...again excepting the extremes. I really, really, really, really think moderating heavily against NewsFilter would dramatically increase the quality of discourse on MeFi. But a lot of people think that's exactly what MeFi is for. (And a lot don't: see this MetaChat thread.)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:44 PM on July 30, 2005


Well, I'd have to say that there's a difference between tagging used to categorize the post in some way, and tagging used to give some kind of information about the poster. We could have the post:

Man kills dog, decorates parlor with body parts.
posted by Ryvar at 10:27 PM PST on July 30


Tags:
Scorpio
str8
160lbs
Bi
W/S
lol

and that would be a a piece of metadata useful for finding posts made by people who were 160-pound bisexual Scorpios into water sports, just like freequonsar "was a piece of metadata useful for finding posts made by people who were opposed to quonsar being banned".
posted by taz at 10:45 PM on July 30, 2005


The freequonsar tag was, I maintain, legit.

later...

2) the actual 'freequonsar' tag (the second as listed above) has about as much legitimacy as a 'batshitinsane' tag (some, barely)

so "barely" legit is the same as "legit" now?
posted by beth at 10:53 PM on July 30, 2005


taz: that's exactly my point, yeah (although that REALLY looks like I made the post above yours there - couldn't you have italicized it?).

'160lbs', 'batshitinsane', and plain old 'freequonsar' are all equally uselessful and should be treated consistently. Again, I don't at all question deletion of the Quonsar tag or the blinking freequonsar tag.

BTW, mad props to brownpau on all four uses of the lol tag. A good fit for my single FPP.
posted by Ryvar at 10:59 PM on July 30, 2005


Sorry! Should have indented it.
posted by taz at 11:04 PM on July 30, 2005


The freequonsar tag was, I maintain, legit.

IIRC, the tag had nothing to do with the posts that were tagged, so I would argue this is completely false.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:31 PM on July 30, 2005


I still think they're equally legitimate or illegitimate depending on your viewpoint, but it's your call to make, so I'll drop it.
posted by Ryvar at 11:44 PM on July 30, 2005


I'm pretty much in the "don't edit" camp, but after reading your comments, I've begun imagining all the ways that tags could possibly be used for uglybad by posters just wanting to cause problems, and it's swaying me to the other side.

Don't be swayed, taz. People who blatantly abuse the tagging system should have their offending posts completely removed. That's beside the point because this wasn't a blatant abuse of the system, nor IMO any abuse at all.

Sneak and clip editorial prunings disrespect the posters by distorting their speech. I beseech Jess to stop trying to tidy up; let speech be messy, and wrong, until it starts to do harm. Even if you, personally, don't see the value in it, the batshitinsane tag did no harm and was clearly valued by others here. In fact, if I had seen it, I probably would have picked up on it and used it myself when I found something batshitinsane to post.

Finally, let's put the tags-aren't-part-of-the-post horse out to pasture. If a poster thinks it up and types it in, it's part of the post. Like them or not, tags provide context.

(As a related aside, wouldn't it be cool to have a preview function that looked at the tags and compared them to existing tags, (as in "you used cel-phone; 39 users have used celphone")
posted by squirrel at 1:09 AM on July 31, 2005


"Joke tags do make the tags less useful,"

Meh! No they don't! More tags being used makes tagging more useful as it increases the chances of finding something in the future. It is best for everyone if people use commonly used tags where appropriate, but this just isn't going to happen: especially when we're not free to add tags to other people's posts.

Making an editorial decision on a tag is meaningless, so anyone defending this action as fair I don't think really has any grip on the practice of tagging.

The chaos of tags, as Matt has mentioned, is part of their nature and part of the fun of tagging.

Now that I know that the tag batshitinsane is useful to at least two other people at MetaFilter I'll consider using it in future, and look at previous posts where I think it is appropriate. A couple spring to mind.
posted by nthdegx at 2:37 AM on July 31, 2005


It was inappropriate enough that, like someone trying to get away with something, you continued to watch it to see if it would be deleted for that reason. Duh.
posted by geekyguy at 2:38 AM on July 31, 2005


Okay, squirrel. You are eloquent and kissable, and I will stand by my no-edit stance.
posted by taz at 4:22 AM on July 31, 2005


That zinger was a dud, geekyguy. He knew he was wrong because he noticed that his text had been changed? Did that come out of the "say you didn't do it with a straight face" drawer, or the "I'm rubber, you're glue" drawer? ;^)
posted by squirrel at 4:34 AM on July 31, 2005


squirrel : "If a poster thinks it up and types it in, it's part of the post."

We disagree. If a poster thinks it up and types it in, it's part of what the user thinks up and types. If they type it in the post, it's part of the post. If they type it in the tags, it's part of the tags.

nthdegx : "Making an editorial decision on a tag is meaningless, so anyone defending this action as fair I don't think really has any grip on the practice of tagging."

Yes and no. Saying it's "fair" doesn't indicate a lack of grip on tagging. Saying it's "helpful" may indicate a lack of grip on tagging.

And, Ryvar, I had you wrong as well. I thought you were in the "editing = censorship = Hitler" camp as well. I apologize.
posted by Bugbread at 5:31 AM on July 31, 2005


Why, taz, I...
*blush*
posted by squirrel at 7:31 AM on July 31, 2005


How can we sit by and allow the EVIL and OPPRESSIVE overlords in this community to censor of our precious messages? When each syllable is painstakingly crafted from spun GOLD, woven with precious GEMS, and laboriously burnished to a lustrous sheen after we've shit them out like so many turds?

I, for one, am outraged.

No, really.
posted by crunchland at 8:17 AM on July 31, 2005


"My Pavlovian Bell" is a first rate band name, thanks EB.

Now to find a cute female bassist.
posted by NinjaPirate at 8:29 AM on July 31, 2005


For the (untaken) record, Jess is so unfathomably reasonable that I find it hard to object to anything she does. In this case she tried to keep the tags tidy, as Matt warned they might, by removing a small element of the post's editorial expression which added nothing to the content. It wasn't a warranted edit, in my limited view, but it didn't harm the post in any way and UKnowForKids' pride was barely smudged.

Surely just another case of "Please tread more lightly Jess", and then we all get on with our lives. It sounds as though a few members have an axe, a grinder and a dancing monkey in this vignette.

posted by NinjaPirate at 8:36 AM on July 31, 2005


squirrel: That zinger was a dud, geekyguy. He knew he was wrong because he noticed that his text had been changed?

Except that his text wasn't changed; a tag deemed by an administrator to be non-essential was removed.

Tags are not posts.
posted by geekyguy at 8:49 AM on July 31, 2005


Speaking for myself, Ninja, I just want a clear policy. Between crunchland's straw-man and your no-blood-no-foul/ad hominem, a feller could get the idea that people here are over-reacting on both sides of this edit issue. That is most probably so, and a clear editing guideline from user 1 would sure help.

As regards tags, I say limit the number of characters that the tag field can hold (e.g. 15), and the number of tags that can go on a post (e.g. 10) and then let people go to town. As Matt and other have pointed out, open tags can lead in fun and interesting directions. And, on the other hand, did I miss the post in this thread where someone pointed out the harm caused by the batshitinsane tag? Who was offended? How was the server harmed?

In closing, crunchalnd, people needn't spin their words from pure gold to care about them. I get what you're driving at, but if you really feel that the words you post here are worthless, why (rhetorically) bother?
posted by squirrel at 8:52 AM on July 31, 2005


I say limit the number of characters that the tag field can hold (e.g. 15), and the number of tags that can go on a post (e.g. 10) and then let people go to town.

Good idea. Throw in allow 2-word tags tho too--i think that's more problematic--having to smush things like civilrights, supremecourt, modernart, etc. sucks.
posted by amberglow at 9:15 AM on July 31, 2005


squirrel : "if you really feel that the words you post here are worthless, why (rhetorically) bother?"

I can make a non-rhetorical guess: because the act of writing them might have worth? I was just thinking about the "turd" comment above, and I realized that, while my feces is worthless, I bother with excretion, because the act of getting the feces out of my body is worth something (preventing me from dying some sort of horrid constipadeath). Perhaps for some, the importance is not in the end product but the act of producing it?
posted by Bugbread at 9:16 AM on July 31, 2005


Putting rules on tagging is like putting rules to artistic endeavour. When they're self-imposed they're really useful, but when they're imposed by someone else they fundamentally remove the point. Every single suggestion for inhibiting tag use from deleting tags, to inhibiting their use, sucks.

amberglow's suggestion of allowing two word tags is a good one. This is allowed at flickr, where the tags "battle cat" and "battlecat" behave precisely the same way but cater for individual preferences, and individual preferences are what tags are all about. Flickr lets anyone add tags to other people's photos (if they permit) and it's a system that works really very well.

Anyone saying that the deletion isn't a big deal is saying it from the perspective of it having not messed with their system: its not a tag they use, so of course to them it isn't a big deal. Can people step out of their own perspectives for a moment to look at the bigger picture?

Tags are for individuals first, and communities second. Behaviour that benefits the community is emergent, welcome fluke. Embrace the chaos.
posted by nthdegx at 9:35 AM on July 31, 2005


nthdegx : "Tags are for individuals first, and communities second."

I'm not sure I follow how you're using tags, then. What, for you, are tags for?
posted by Bugbread at 9:47 AM on July 31, 2005


squirrel, I don't want to get personal on anyone (or do I have to say "ad hominem" like everyone else), but do I appreciate that Jess is a librarian, and that tags don't really fit in with the library ethos. I think she was trying to maintain some good order within something that doesn't thrive under order. It's an easy mistake, isn't it?

I would like some people (not necessarily you) to acknowledge that Jess is fallible, she learns from her fauxs pas, no one was hurt in the making of this film and that she's really doing a good job, considering the pitfalls, sensitive egos and hair-triggers she faces.
posted by NinjaPirate at 10:45 AM on July 31, 2005


batshitinsane is great because it led me to this gem -- 2,967!
posted by brad! at 10:53 AM on July 31, 2005


Can people step out of their own perspectives for a moment to look at the bigger picture?

You first.

why (rhetorically) bother?


Why bother, indeed. I guess the phrase "easy come, easy go" should be applied here. Delete all you want, we'll make more. It's not like we're writing for the ages, here. And if you think we are, then you need to stop taking yourself so effing seriously.

If Matt and Jess deleted enough to really amount to a hill of beans, then none of us would stick around. But the way some of you guys shriek about it, it's like your civil rights have been violated.
posted by crunchland at 11:14 AM on July 31, 2005


Were there any other posts tagged batshitinsane before this thread?

Tags are for individuals first, and communities second.

That's like saying that posts are for individuals first, and communities second. Might be true on your own weblog (or personal Flickr page or personal del.icio.us bookmarks) but this is a community weblog and the community comes first.
posted by grouse at 12:43 PM on July 31, 2005


"What, for you, are tags for?"

I think I might have covered this.

"You first."

Heh, that's a neat way of putting me on the spot, crunchland: you got me there! Except, erm, I am looking at... everyone's perespective... that's the... point...
posted by nthdegx at 1:29 PM on July 31, 2005


nthdegx : "'What, for you, are tags for?'

"I think I might have covered this."


Well, I checked through your comments, and these seem like the relevant comments:

"Tags are for personal use and organisation.

if the poster wants to collect links that are "batshitcrazy" and this has some meaning for him/her than that's up to them.

If, in five year's time, a second person uses the tag "batshitinsane", and it leads them to the first post, and they find it even only midly interesting, then that tag has justified its existant.
"

The first comment is kinda vague (not saying that as a bad thing, just that I don't grok what use you mean based just on the word "organization")

Second, I'm not sure what you mean by "collect links". You mean other people's links? If that's the case, wouldn't that be a case of community use? Or do you mean your own links? If so, what does "collecting links" actually mean?

The last comment is the most explanatory, but, again, it's talking about community usage, not personal usage.

So, uh, I don't actually understand what, to you, tags are for. What are they for?
posted by Bugbread at 1:36 PM on July 31, 2005


Go for your life, sport. I'm not sure why it's an issue, though. How *I* use them is as irrelevant as how any other individual uses them. It's that they're able to use them as they wish that's important.
posted by nthdegx at 1:50 PM on July 31, 2005


nthdegx : "Go for your life, sport. I'm not sure why it's an issue, though. How *I* use them is as irrelevant as how any other individual uses them. It's that they're able to use them as they wish that's important."

I'm sorry, you've lost me. I don't use delicious or flickr. In fact, Mefi's the only place I've been on that has instituted flags, and, as such, my understanding of flags is based on matt's initial explanation of his goals for flagging. You keep telling us to consider other perspectives, but I don't know of other perspectives, so I'm asking you for an example. How you *individually* use them is irrelevant, but, c'mon, throw a dog a bone, here. I'd like to understand your position, but to do so, I need you to explain it. It may help some of the other folks disagreeing with you as well.
posted by Bugbread at 1:56 PM on July 31, 2005


I do use del.icio.us and Flickr and I think that MeFi's goals for tags should be different. We have a quality control process here, which is a Good Thing, and is lacking on those other sites.
posted by grouse at 2:00 PM on July 31, 2005


God hates tags
posted by matteo at 2:04 PM on July 31, 2005 [1 favorite]


and shrimp
posted by Mid at 2:28 PM on July 31, 2005


no Mid, that's me, God hates that breaded squid stuff.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:37 PM on July 31, 2005


and fake crab legs.
posted by amberglow at 2:55 PM on July 31, 2005


God hates that I can't find good shrimp scampi nearby.

God also hates that although I found a nationally renowned authentic NY-style pizza joint here in ABQ, it's a fucking long way from my house.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:02 PM on July 31, 2005


"God hates tags"

Every time you tag a post, God masturbates a kitten.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:12 PM on July 31, 2005


And grills a Domo-kun.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:38 PM on July 31, 2005


I think [Jess] was trying to maintain some good order within something that doesn't thrive under order. It's an easy mistake, isn't it?

Absolutely. Just so no one is confused, I want to make it clear that I like Jess and appreciate her work here. But, as you point out, her instincts sometimes lead her to make librarian choices in a non-library environment. That's why we need clear policy from Matt. If he comes out and says "deletions aside, please make no edits to the text or tags of any user's post unless it's breaking the system," then she won't be in this position to have to second-guess her tidying impulses.

I would like some people (not necessarily you) to acknowledge that Jess is fallible

Well, of course. Again, a strong argument for clear policy. Without clear guidelines, Jess is going to be put on the spot again and again for her choices. I don't like that, and I'm sure she doesn't either. I think Matt needs to be proactive in this case.
posted by squirrel at 6:59 PM on July 31, 2005


I like the combination of Matt's laissez-faire attitude and Jess's librarian-ness.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:03 PM on July 31, 2005


Yeah, I'd like to second what squirrel is saying.

Jessamyn, thank you for the hard work. It must be really tough being an unpaid volunteer who usually only gets the short end of the stick.

The problem that I have with the edits you're making is that these changes are breaking our informal reputation system. The reason that getting banned is punishing, even with registrations open to anyone with $5 and a PayPal account, is that the banned lose their public face, and with it, their accumulated community reputation (whiffie points?). This threat of identity loss is significant to keep (most) members in line and to force the acquisition of sock-puppet accounts for those who want to screw around.

Inevitably you're going to have users who break the guidelines and contribute content that is illegal / questionable / detrimental, but unless it's content that warrants removal, or unless you're asked to change content by the author, you should let content stand.

When Paris put up his AirAmerica MeTa post he came off like a raving loony, and by toning down his raving you're changing how others see him. If he's a loon then people should be well aware of the exact degree of his insanity.

This whole tag fiasco is not as bad, but you're still messing with UKnowForKids's reputation. Some of us found the batshitinsane tag to be really really funny, I'm sure others thought it was insulting, and when you're removing this tag you're removing the chance for others to form their own opinions.
posted by bshort at 9:03 PM on July 31, 2005


I agree with the "keep batshitinsane" as a tag. Frankly, I can think of all kinds of things that would qualify for that tag.

I also think that the deletion thereof was well intentioned, but over the top. I believe it should be put back and the tag itself allowed to stand.
posted by dejah420 at 9:40 PM on July 31, 2005


Another day, another shitty editorial decision by jessamyn. Whatever.
posted by kjh at 10:57 PM on July 31, 2005


When Paris put up his AirAmerica MeTa post he came off like a raving loony, and by toning down his raving you're changing how others see him. If he's a loon then people should be well aware of the exact degree of his insanity.

When ParisParamus put up his AirAmerica post he made it clear that he knows what his reputation is around here and isn't afraid of poking fun at himself - and the rest of us. It was the first time I'd ever seen the man evidence a great sense of humor, and I'm still shocked at how few people seem to have gotten the joke.
posted by Ryvar at 11:36 PM on July 31, 2005


Unkind and untrue, kjh. Yet, the exasperation you express is not unique to you and will continue to be a problem until we get a clear and consistent guideline for editing users' text.

How many "yeah, Jess messed up, but she'll do it different next time" threads must we have before the poor woman gets some direction? Her role must be like a job where your boss doesn't tell you what to do, but lets the customers reprimand you when you do something wrong.

I think you're wrong to deride her; you should support her by calling for guidelines.
posted by squirrel at 11:41 PM on July 31, 2005


Ryvar: further reason to have left his text alone, I'll wager you'd agree.
posted by squirrel at 11:42 PM on July 31, 2005


When ParisParamus put up his AirAmerica post he made it clear that he knows what his reputation is around here and isn't afraid of poking fun at himself

Wrong. He spent most of his comments in his own thread asking the admins to have the post deleted, as well as complaining about the kind of response he had (IMO, deservedly) earned. That his post was edited in the first place was a gift to him, given how batshitinsane it was in its original form.
posted by Rothko at 12:17 AM on August 1, 2005


Rothko, that post about PP was number 111 in this thread. Think about it, man.
posted by squirrel at 6:33 AM on August 1, 2005


I just don't see the debate, nor why anyone thinks that non "useful" tags should be deleted. I can't imagine it generates any meaningful server load. Since tags are searchable rather than browsable, I don't see any way that non "useful" tags generate any real noise (that is, noise that impedes reception). If my assumptions are true, I don't see why it matters a whit how people tag.
posted by absalom at 8:02 AM on August 1, 2005


Another day, another shitty editorial decision by jessamyn. Whatever.

For some, any editorial decision by jessamyn will be labeled "shitty." Whatever.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:41 AM on August 1, 2005


Lot of beautiful and unique snowflakes around here, eh wot?
posted by darukaru at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2005


squirrel, your point is well made. I hope I didn't seem to be contributing to a Jessadmin pile-on -- I wouldn't want that job for a moment. Just to clarify, I don't think what she does is bullshit, just very specifically the reason given for this deletion.

bugbread, now that I understand what you're asking me I'll put some words together to explain my view on tagging. I don't feel like doing it now, but I'll probably email you.
posted by nthdegx at 3:08 PM on August 1, 2005


Thank you, it's very appreciated.
posted by Bugbread at 3:12 PM on August 1, 2005


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