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July 21, 2011 12:42 PM   Subscribe

If your website is full of assholes, it's your fault. from Anil Dash.

Metafilter gets a shoutout in the first bullet point.
posted by zarq (143 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
This post is really about how Metafilter is apparently not good enough for Anil Dash.

Stack Exchange? Humbug! Hive Mind 4EVER.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:47 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: it's your fault.

or

Metafilter: your website is full of assholes.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:47 PM on July 21, 2011


Mathowie was over at my house right after I wrote the post, and I was gonna tell him, "the assholes who mention 'plain white background' are your fault, buddy!"

Joking aside, always happy to point to MeFi for its truly exemplary moderation. Will have to revisit the "what design choices would best encourage valuable new members to join the community?" conversation some other time. :)
posted by anildash at 12:48 PM on July 21, 2011 [24 favorites]


Good piece! I agree.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:49 PM on July 21, 2011


See mods? It's your fault I'm here. FUCK YOU, AND ALSO EVERYBODY!!!1111
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:49 PM on July 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


We can post a harmless video of a child's birthday party and be treated to profoundly racist non-sequitirs in the comments.

And, yet, if someone posts racist non-sequitirs and get commended on turning six, things are working well.
posted by griphus at 12:50 PM on July 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


1. The points in that article are true and well stated.

2. anildash has contributed enough to this site and the web in general that we could probably leave off always mentioning the white background thing.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:51 PM on July 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


What if your blog is only HALF-full of assholes?
posted by luriete at 12:51 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


For me, the weirdest case is the Onion AV Club. Their editorial sense is superb, they seem like good, smart people, and they do at least some moderation. But their comment threads are still asshole farms.
posted by COBRA! at 12:52 PM on July 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


What if your blog is only HALF-full of assholes?

You're an optimist?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:52 PM on July 21, 2011 [31 favorites]


Horace Rumpole: " 2. anildash has contributed enough to this site and the web in general that we could probably leave off always mentioning the white background thing."

Well, I thought the post title was funny. :P

But yes, he has. Thanks, Anil.
posted by zarq at 12:52 PM on July 21, 2011


For a lot of websites, assholes are their target audience. Advertisers want an audience, I doubt they care about the level of social discourse as long as they spend money. That being said, his suggestions seem fairly standard. I'd say that they seem like common sense but the web proves otherwise.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:53 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've tried to hold off on actually naming names of people who run sites that encourage hateful horrible communities.

That's a funny way to spell "Reddit".
posted by Zozo at 12:53 PM on July 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


the WORLD is full of assholes - is that my fault, too?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:55 PM on July 21, 2011


Metafilter: FUCK YOU, AND ALSO EVERYBODY!!!1111
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:55 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would love to take a look but that page crashes Chrome.
posted by twsf at 12:56 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


From the inside, an asshole is an escape route.
posted by perhapses at 12:56 PM on July 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


FTFA: You need lots of these moderators. The sites with the best communities have a really low ratio of community members to moderators.

Present company excepted?

posted by workerant at 12:57 PM on July 21, 2011


And keep in mind: You need lots of these moderators. The sites with the best communities have a really low ratio of community members to moderators.

Anil thinks mefi is among the best, but there are, like, 3.75 mods here, for an active community in the tens of thousands of users. You don't necessarily need tons of mods; you need the right mods.
posted by rtha at 12:58 PM on July 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


the WORLD is full of assholes - is that my fault, too?

Only if you're God.
posted by aught at 1:01 PM on July 21, 2011


There may only be 3.75 paid moderators but many (maybe most) of the community has been trained to self-moderate as well. We may not be able to use the ban hammer or delete posts or whatever, but there's a lot to be said for peer pressure.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:01 PM on July 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


From the inside, an asshole is an escape route.

That reads like a quote from the koans of Buckaroo Bonzai, and I love it.

Fuck yous aside, MeFi is the only site I read on a daily basis, and the only site I ever recommend to anyone (which I think I do at least twice a week). I sometimes go to abovethelaw, which, I think, may be one of the worst sites on the internet--the contrast to MeFi is staggering.

Well done, mods.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:02 PM on July 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


...there are, like, 3.75 mods here...

God DAMMIT, you people. Yes, I was on transporter watch that day. Yes, I didn't see that one of the coils was burnt out. Yes, I beamed vacapinta down. But when will you put down your pitchforks and torches? It was an accident! An ACCIDENT!

I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry...
posted by griphus at 1:02 PM on July 21, 2011 [39 favorites]


It's always seemed to me that we have unusually few moderators for the number of active members.

(Also an unusually high degree of normal participation in the site from the moderators. I wonder how much that helps to reduce bad behavior. It's easier to misbehave if the moderator is seen as an impersonal antagonist rather than as a real person whose day you're about to make incrementally crappier.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:03 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was going to send this to my local newspaper (they've just turned on commenting on their site again after the THIRD hiatus) but I know it wouldn't do any good.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:03 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


The moderation on this site is usually very, very good - but the real genius of Metafilter is that they made a whole separate section where users can bitch, complain and have more, uhm, heated discussions.

It also helps that every single MeFi is waaaay cooler than the average joe.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:08 PM on July 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


Is anyone else having trouble loading the link? It keeps crashing the tab in Chrome for me.
posted by brundlefly at 1:10 PM on July 21, 2011


MeFite...
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:11 PM on July 21, 2011


If your website has assholes and dicks, you should look into accepting credit card payments.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on July 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


twsf, brundlefly, Chrome developer builds seem to crash on my site, though I didn't change anything. I reported the bug, but dunno if there's anything I can do but ask you to use lesser browsers. Sorry! FWIW, affects me too.
posted by anildash at 1:13 PM on July 21, 2011


This makes me nervous because it seems as though it's arguing that people should be policiing what others say on the internets so that no one gets their feelings hurt.

I am against racial, gender or disability slurs, but some of the funniest things I've ever read have been blisteringly critical tirades about other people.

You can't legislate morality and you can't censor jerks.

(You can limit their impact by charging 'em five bucks though...)
posted by mmrtnt at 1:14 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


For me, the weirdest case is the Onion AV Club. Their editorial sense is superb, they seem like good, smart people, and they do at least some moderation. But their comment threads are still asshole farms.

I agree, but it seems to me like the Onion AV assholes are in a different class than the YouTube or local newspaper assholes. Onion AV seems like a fraternity or a private club where a lot of the assholish behavior is one commentator riffing on other commentators posts. Nothing too racist or sexist, just dumb, "boys will be boys" ragging on each other. Of course, the fact that anyone can post a comment is probably the cause of that and speaks directly to the point of the article.
posted by dave78981 at 1:15 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


MovableType: If your website is full of assholes, it's Anil Dash's fault.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:15 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Panjandrum: "This post is really about how Metafilter is apparently not good enough for Anil Dash."

Whut? Did you mean to type "FIRST POST!" and slip?
posted by danny the boy at 1:15 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does anyone but me find it strange that he's equating "website" with "online community"? Most of the websites I've worked on, both personal and professional, just plain don't contain content that wasn't put there by the site's owner. Sites like that just plain don't have the kind of problem he's talking about.
posted by baf at 1:16 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


mmrtnt: "This makes me nervous because it seems as though it's arguing that people should be policiing what others say on the internets so that no one gets their feelings hurt."

Uhh no, it's saying that I don't want to hang around with a bunch of jerks. If you want to hang out with jerks there is the entire rest of the goddamn internet.
posted by danny the boy at 1:17 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was gonna write a post full of horrible, racist, gross comments as an obvious joke, then I realized that even as an obvious joke, I don't like using voicing those sentiments.
posted by oddman at 1:20 PM on July 21, 2011


All great advice, but there is a level of crazy, virulent hatred out there that his post doesn't address. You can actively moderate, delete the death threats, and keep the conversation on track, but there will be plenty of grey area that won't be covered by any set of policies.

Community sites also rarely get Drudged.
posted by destro at 1:21 PM on July 21, 2011


I must be in the minority, but I don't find the comments on Reddit (the ones I read, at least) to be that bad. If you have it set to sort by best, which I believe is the default, you usually get good information and harmless jokes.
posted by chaz at 1:21 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


the WORLD is full of assholes - is that my fault, too?

Only if you're God.


My God! It's full of assholes!
posted by joe lisboa at 1:22 PM on July 21, 2011 [19 favorites]


(/monolith)
posted by joe lisboa at 1:22 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Part of what allows Metafilter to work with a limited number of mods is that we, as a community, aren't especially shy about flagging stuff that we think is crap. That alerts the mods that there's a clean up needed in aisle six. They, then, can make the determination regarding whether action needs to be taken or not.

So, yes, there's peer pressure, but there's also some simple, well designed mechanics at play.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:22 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


2. anildash has contributed enough to this site and the web in general that we could probably leave off always mentioning the white background thing.

How about the 6A/LJ fiasco thing? Honestly that's the first thing I think of whenever I see his name mentioned.
posted by kmz at 1:23 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


My God! It's full of assholes!

Flagged as "Fantastic Comment."
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:24 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the only forums I've been on that I really [i]liked[/i] - as opposed to, "Well, here's a place on a subject where I can just get information" - was called The Forge, and it was focused on tabletop roleplaying game theory and design and play. It is/was notorious in the community, partly for its moderation, which brook'd no bullshit. There's a podcast-interview here - show 25, forum talk starts at ~5:45 - if anyone's interested in some in-practice talk on the subject.
posted by curious nu at 1:24 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


So not having super diligent mods (policemen) is worse than there not being a way to shame people who are being assholes (anonymity is a killer).
posted by Slackermagee at 1:25 PM on July 21, 2011


"This makes me nervous because it seems as though it's arguing that people should be policiing what others say on the internets so that no one gets their feelings hurt."

Nah, it's sort of what the mods mean when they say there are few hard and rules on Metafilter and they solve problems on case by case basis. Randomly yelling the N-word will get your comment deleted and possibly a talking to. Using the N-word to illustrate historical context or as an example of something probably won't cause anything, even if other people are bothered by the usage in both cases. You need to people to source out these differences.

but there will be plenty of grey area that won't be covered by any set of policies.

Again, that's the whole point of having smart, sensitive people as moderators. Someone needs to handle those grey areas in community positive fashion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:25 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


chaz: "I must be in the minority, but I don't find the comments on Reddit (the ones I read, at least) to be that bad."

By the standards of the internet as a whole, they aren't bad. Compared to something like MetaFilter, they're terrible: casual racism and misogyny under a protective shield of "I'm just joking around! Why so serious?" It's like a community of Scott Adamses in that way.
posted by brundlefly at 1:26 PM on July 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


> Uhh no, it's saying that I don't want to hang around with a bunch of jerks. If you want to hang out with jerks there is the entire rest of the goddamn internet.

I took "constantly charged with defending this wonderful, expressive medium in a way that creators in every other discipline seldom find themselves obligated to do" to mean the entire web.
posted by mmrtnt at 1:27 PM on July 21, 2011


Dark Helmet: How many assholes do we have on this ship, anyway?

[Entire bridge crew stands up and raises a hand]

Entire Bridge Crew: Yo!

Dark Helmet: I knew it. I'm surrounded by assholes!

[Dark Helmet pulls his face shield down]

Dark Helmet: Keep firing, assholes!
posted by jquinby at 1:32 PM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Now if only we could convince women that they should disable anonymous comments when they walk past workmen.
posted by srboisvert at 1:34 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


But is his hovercraft full of eels? That's what I want to know. ;)
posted by luckynerd at 1:34 PM on July 21, 2011


A perfect storm of bitter assholes.
posted by homunculus at 1:37 PM on July 21, 2011


Heh. I used to moderate over at ArborUpdate, and some of the biggest problems were that we didn't have a way of really, persistently banning a handful of people (all pro-Palestine partisans who wanted to make EVERYTHING about the I/P conflict), and that the editors had pretty different expectations about what was OK and what wasn't. Persistent identities would have helped somewhat, but we also had a regular problem with pseudonym outing — we wanted to encourage a lot of the knowledgeable insiders from city government to comment (we had a lot of them), but then it turned into people spoofing those IDs and a lot of backend maintenance in figuring out which ones were legit and which ones weren't, and also trying to protect people… (I tended to believe that a lot of the contributors should be treated closer to sources).

If making money had been the goal, we might have fixed some of the structural issues with smarter coding (it was mostly just an out-the-box textpattern site) but with no real budget, we were kinda screwed. We still had consistently much better comments than the local official news sites, and routinely scooped them, but the asshole policing was a part of why the site wound down after the principles moved away — it was hard to get other people to step up and be as consistent and involved.

(I also totally realize the disjunction between some of my behavior here — where I've been told that I can be an asshole — and my back-end behavior over there, where I really tried to be impartial, fair and de-escalatory.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:40 PM on July 21, 2011


No link to the perpetual contrast of Metafilter versus Youtube?
posted by benzenedream at 1:44 PM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's like a community of Scott Adamses in that way.
brundlefly

That's a great way to put it, not only for the casual misogyny and racism, but the hilarious sense ofself-importance and constant harping on their own brilliance. The Ron Paul brigades that rise up every election cycle to swarm the site don't help either.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:44 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


If it's shaped like an asshole, then it's a VERY special snowflake.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:44 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the source:
When people are saying ruinously cruel things about each other, and you're the person who made it possible, it's 100% your fault.
I know what he's saying here, and I sympathize with the general intent, but this bugs me. It treats trolls and driveby assholes as a force of nature, not human beings with agency.

Admittedly, I'm not sure what to do with that.

Also, not sure why Anil says he permits commenting on his blog when AFAICT he does not.
posted by adamrice at 1:47 PM on July 21, 2011


adamrice: " Also, not sure why Anil says he permits commenting on his blog when AFAICT he does not."

I don't understand? There are 71 comments currently at the linked article.
posted by zarq at 1:49 PM on July 21, 2011


I honestly think the relative civility at metafilter has more to do with the $5 sign-up process than anything else. And Stack Exchange appears to have a reputation system which can bar you from commenting if your reputation isn't high enough.

Both good cases of automated tools doing things that would overwhelm humans. All of this is well covered by Matt's talk on moderation tools.
posted by vacapinta at 1:49 PM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm sorry but your tagline "A Blog About Making Culture" just invites this :

There are many metrics by which you might judge a sites success. I've noticed that mefi's talk about what /b/ tards do, or at least help start, like Goonswarm, Anonymous, lolcats, etc. Ain't many people talking about mefi except mefis though.

Your well moderated discussion sites like metafilter simply aren't generally "creating culture", they're maybe helping organize & yuppify it, well that's the filter part. Indeed, our real contribution isn't link propagation so much as affixing snark, i.e. our own cute little way of being assholes.

Instead, the wider internet culture flows from the unmoderated highly chaotic places, like 4chan, as well as adult but highly dedicated sites that create original content, like wikipedia or fivethirtyeight.com, and even very targeted blogs, like wlcentral.org.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:50 PM on July 21, 2011 [11 favorites]



adamrice: " Also, not sure why Anil says he permits commenting on his blog when AFAICT he does not."

I don't understand? There are 71 comments currently at the linked article.


Is this something I would have to have Facebook to know about? *rolls eyes*
posted by anildash at 1:50 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anil Dash's opinion is like an asshole, because he's got one.
posted by crunchland at 1:50 PM on July 21, 2011


Great article Anil, this asshole agrees in the most verbose manner.
posted by clavdivs at 1:52 PM on July 21, 2011


For a lot of websites, assholes are their target audience. Advertisers want an audience. . .

*Ernie Anderson voice* MMMET-a-FILterrr! Brotchabuy -- Prrrreparation Aitch!

Preparation Aitch: "Thanks to you, good buddy!"

and by Anusol, for wh- bzzt click
 

posted by Herodios at 1:52 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Instead, the wider internet culture flows from the unmoderated highly chaotic places, like 4chan

4chan is to culture as a yeast infection is to a pap smear.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 1:52 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


jeffburdges, I'd say that's overly simplistic. If we look at, say, the rise of lolcats in popular culture, then I'd argue there's a clear origin at 4Chan and a clear mainstream presence in ICanHasCheeseburger, but that MeFi was an indispensable amplification platform. If we're looking at how culture's made, you need all of those elements working in concert. MeFi is often how things graduate from the obscure web to the mainstream one, at least it was when those were more meaningful distinctions.
posted by anildash at 1:52 PM on July 21, 2011


Oh, OK, I get it. I've got a Chrome extension that blocks Facebook Connect because it always struck me as creepy. This is the first time I've seen it used for anything I might like. As you were.
posted by adamrice at 1:54 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


His logic is sound. If my life were full of assholes, I expect it would be my fault too.
posted by bicyclefish at 1:56 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now they know how many assholes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:58 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you have it set to sort by best, which I believe is the default, you usually get good information and harmless jokes.

Yeah, Reddit's great.

Just a few days ago I commented there to say that you can find a guy interesting even if you don't share his interests, and described the last guy I dated as someone I could talk to for hours. I didn't say anything about him other than that.

Some other guy commented to call me a shallow bitch who only dated him because he was hot. Just completely out of the blue. I'm a woman who dated someone not him, so I must be a shallow bitch. He got like 20 upvotes. Not a lot in Reddit terms, but it was more than I got. Misogyny is really popular there.

MetaFilter, in comparison, is a wonderful place to come, because anyone who said something like that would be (rightly) trounced. You don't have to feel so alone here.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:02 PM on July 21, 2011 [34 favorites]


the $5 helps.
posted by Stu-Pendous at 2:10 PM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Good article. Shared it with a few others I work with in making communities work.

I can't remember if it was in there, but along with the idea of taking moderation seriously, one has to be careful of who's moderating. I've seen a few communities where the greatest damage was done when one a moderator was/became a petty tyrannical asshole.
posted by drewbage1847 at 2:15 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kutsuwamushi :: If the internet has taught me anything at all it is that a largish majority of people in the world are unthinking, rarely feeling cretins. That sounds pretty elitist I know but it is what it is - at least for me. Prior to entering online discussions on a wide basis - somewhere around the mid 90's I really had a different outlook about people in general. The thing is , o the internet your are exposed to people who you would consciously or unconsciously ignore/avoid in real life. But, like your Reddit experience (which mimics mine), on the internet the much more diverse experience of mankind is there right in front of your face unavoidably like it or not.

The internet has made me a cynic. It's given me understanding into the real thoughts and feelings of the bulk of mankind that frankly I wish I had never experienced. I was a much more optimistic, or possibly naive, person about things that involved people prior to the internet.

SO now I am back to finding ways to consciously ignore/avoid the 80% or so of people on the internet that I wouldn't want to deal with in real life either. I may get mildly nicked in the comments here for saying such things but on Reddit I'd be flamed into oblivion. Which is why I am here rather than there.

Four (?) great moderators have a whole lot to do with it but even the minimal $5 bar to entry puts a value on the account I truly believe keeps 90% of the problem children away.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:17 PM on July 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


I doubt that metafilter has much role as amplification platform, anildash.

Alexa says metafilter ranks about twice as low as 4chan, and about half as low as fark. Interestingly, metafilter and fark each have only about twice 4chan's reputation, despite the transient nature of 4chan discussions.

And reddit obliterates all three in both ranking and reputation, making it the real amplification platform.

You won't much impact the internets image culture without an image tag, btw.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:18 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


And reddit obliterates all three in both ranking and reputation, making it the real amplification platform.

The number of people buying Big Macs combos probably outnumbers the number of people buying a meal at Sardis by hundreds of millions a year. Which of the two groups do you think likely has a greater overall effect on society? I know, I know.... it's elitist ...blah blah blah but it's very likely true for better or worse (I'm a socialist so get off my back). I'm just pointing out that quantity means nothing in terms of societal impact. A relative few affect what society does and how it operates. My guess is that the movers and shakers of our society have never even heard of Reddit nor would they care.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:26 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Four (?) great moderators have a whole lot to do with it but even the minimal $5 bar to entry puts a value on the account I truly believe keeps 90% of the problem children away.

I'd love to believe that this is true, because if it is it means that most internet trolls place so little value on their own words that they're not even worth five bucks to themselves.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:29 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good and true stuff here, but I think Anil (sorry, man, I hate talking as if you're not here) focuses on the mechanics of things, which, granted, are more easily nailed down and addressed. But like the piece says, the points he makes are just a start.

I've got to run right now, but I think I might have a Big Block Of Text to offer later if Friday beers don't distract me first -- maybe even on my own site. Gosh, it'll be like 10 years ago all over again! ;-)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:36 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Four (?) great moderators have a whole lot to do with it but even the minimal $5 bar to entry puts a value on the account I truly believe keeps 90% of the problem children away.

I'm sure that the $5 helps, but I don't think we can take too much of the credit away from the people here (mods and frequent commenters both).

I'm on LiveJournal communities a lot, which are all free to participate in. The difference between the commenters in them can be extreme. There are communities that are respectful and intelligent, and there are communities whose comments are full of disgusting, dispiriting shit. I think that the moderators have a lot to do with it. Hell knows that the LiveJournal communities I moderate carefully are slightly less cesspool-like than the ones that I've neglected. Even in the absence of rules banning certain kinds of behavior, moderators and frequent commenters can really set the tone of a place.

MetaFilter is quite large, in comparison to these communities, so the $5 entrance fee probably keeps it much more manageable, but still. I think the people deserve a lot of the credit..
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:37 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've seen a few communities where the greatest damage was done when one a moderator was/became a petty tyrannical asshole.

I am part of one now where the mods run everything behind the scenes and users get banned for startling infractions, including trolling (AFAICT voicing a political view other than libertarianism), sockpuppeting (which seems to involve the mods noticing that multiple accounts originate from the same IP address) and "arguing with the mods via PM" (which seems to be banned users who explain that the two accounts banned are from roommates who are two distinct people). This, coupled with the priggish profanity filter and the mods' deployment of sarcasm at the second-grader's level as a means of public relations -- I once dropped a line to a mod saying that a link he posted went to an incorrect site and he wrote back that he was SO SORRY to have WASTED several seconds of my OH-SO-VALUABLE TIME) -- makes coming to metafilter, where mathowie and jessamyn and pb are grownups, a positive delight.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:40 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I doubt that metafilter has much role as amplification platform, anildash.

I personally put "Will it blend" on national television after I read about it on Metafilter. Other folks have done similar things.
posted by Jahaza at 2:42 PM on July 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Agreeing with the fivedollar brigade.
(some comment about willing to put my money where my mouth is or somthing...)
posted by djrock3k at 2:45 PM on July 21, 2011


Because a company like Google thinks it's okay to sell video ads on YouTube above conversations that are filled with vile, anonymous comments.

This is a great point. Until I read this, I had never really considered that YouTube comments could actually be something other than a cesspool full of racist 13 year olds, where you have to apply Greasemonkey scripts to sanitize the bile before showing a video to kids. It doesn't have to be this way, Google.

It reminds me of the Scott Adams debacle, where most of the Reddit commenters could not fathom a forum existing on the net that was not all anonymous trolls, and where assholish sockpuppetry wasn't tolerated.
posted by benzenedream at 2:47 PM on July 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


I really don't think the average newspaper has comment volumes high enough for the complete hands-off approach they use. The one online-only newspaper I know that has good comments just approves them all by hand.
posted by smackfu at 2:48 PM on July 21, 2011


Yeah the $5 is a good filter but SomethingAwful has a $10 entrance and tends to brim with assholes*. So the moderation and the culture of civility engendered by the community is a big or bigger factor.



*But! They are $10 assholes, which is still better than $0 assholes I guess.
posted by jnrussell at 2:49 PM on July 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not only am I mathowie's fault but he let me in for free! That whole "five free a day" thing will haunt you forever!* Muahahahahaha!!!

*unless I get perma-banned or something....
posted by MikeMc at 2:58 PM on July 21, 2011


My guess is that the movers and shakers of our society have never even heard of Reddit nor would they care.

And you think they care about MetaFilter?
posted by me & my monkey at 3:01 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


And you think they care about MetaFilter?

I think Obama put me in one of his Google+ circles.
posted by maxwelton at 3:03 PM on July 21, 2011


MetaFilter reaches an incredibly influential subsection of the media world, which Reddit really did not until recently, so it's had a disproportionately strong impact on the rise of memes into broader culture, as Jahaza demonstrates.

My guess is that the movers and shakers of our society have never even heard of Reddit nor would they care.

Depends how you define "movers and shakers". I've had conversations with people at places ranging from the White House to the New York Times to Goldman Sachs to Disney to whatever other major institution of culture you want to name, and they're not just extremely aware of MetaFilter or Reddit, some of the people there are your peers who are participating here.
posted by anildash at 3:18 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


If your website is full of assholes, people are mainly just coming for the preview gallery. That's why you save the best for subscribers.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:46 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Admiral Haddock: See mods? It's your fault I'm here. FUCK YOU, AND ALSO EVERYBODY!!!1111

I liked it better when you would go on about blistering barnacles.
posted by JHarris at 3:52 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Interesting point about advertisers on YouTube, home to vile comments.

Also interesting that dashes.com requires comments via Facebook, which some of us find to be unacceptable.
posted by ambient2 at 3:56 PM on July 21, 2011


I solved that long ago on my web site by not having comments; there's only one asshole good enough to post on my site, and that's me!

Wait ...
posted by bwg at 4:25 PM on July 21, 2011


Meh, the points in the article are perfectly reasonable but it lost me at the end. Specifically, when I saw that he uses the Facebook social plugin for his comments. There are clearly some important differences between his definition of "asshole" and mine.

(Although I suppose he gets a pass because reading through the comments here I learned there's a Chrome extension to block it. Thanks adamrice!)
posted by kprincehouse at 4:45 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I ran into Anil about two weeks ago. He was buying a slush from a food truck near Union Square.
posted by jonmc at 5:05 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been reading media for several years and rarely comment mostly outta shyness. However, the comments are often as infomative and interesting as the posts. I sent This article to my local paper here in Richmond,Va.. It is a festering pile of hate spewage and is all their fault.
posted by shimmerglimpse at 5:13 PM on July 21, 2011


Yes, mefi was "corrected" media.back to lurking.
posted by shimmerglimpse at 5:14 PM on July 21, 2011


I think the five dollars in combination with a community (and I think the big difference between a site like this and a newspapers comments section is that there are regular posters) which has a low tolerance for assholish behavior is what works.

Why pay five bucks if your being an asshole isn't going to be put up with anyway? Its not like there aren't plenty of places on the web that would be more fun if one wants to be a jerk.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 5:40 PM on July 21, 2011


I'm going to guess a strawberry slush.
posted by clavdivs at 6:01 PM on July 21, 2011


I didn't stick around long enough to find out. I was on my way to grab some lunch, then see my shrink, then to my bar.
posted by jonmc at 6:08 PM on July 21, 2011


I'm a fan of Brian Leiter's philosophy blog, and I have long appreciated his enlightened comments policy and his careful moderation. His policy has resulted in discussions that are intelligent and civil, quite unlike the "cesspools" of the comments sections on other legal theory blogs like Volokh and Althouse.

Anil Dash's article is stating pretty much what Leiter has been saying for years.
posted by jayder at 6:34 PM on July 21, 2011


Yeah the $5 is a good filter but SomethingAwful has a $10 entrance and tends to brim with assholes*. So the moderation and the culture of civility engendered by the community is a big or bigger factor.

A bit of a derail, but I'd be interested in hearing more about the SA moderation policies. It seems that people get banned from there constantly - every thread I read has "USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST" and I can very rarely figure out why / what they did wrong....
posted by Meatbomb at 6:49 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


See here, Meatbomb. You might not be able to unless you have an account there, though.

SA is a moneymaking machine, where the decision was made many years ago to make a nasty game out of banning and reinstatement, where every turn of the wheel meant more money into the coffers. Cynical and awful, to make a small joke.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:01 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, I really only regularly visit three different sites with comments. They are:

Metafilter (where I basically live).
A.V. Club.
Cracked (I know, most of you hate it, but I find it funny.)

Now, MeFi most definitely has the best commenter culture. There's not even a contest there. It started out as Matt's friends, then adopted the Cartmanland strategy when that circle got too large to handle, and then forced a perfectly-rated registration fee and a week's effective lurking time on new members before they could post, with a single steadfast rule (no self-linking) which does most of the heavy-lifting involved in immediately ousting people who aren't going to take care to play well with others here. I think that one rule does more than we know to preserve civility here.

A.V. Club, meanwhile, isn't full of assholes so much as it's full of tired and frustrating in-jokes, and is bad as a general rule at policing what's acceptable and what's not. It's the premier pan-pop-cultural criticism site by now (if it's not more popular than Pitchfork it is at least more relevant) but that comes with downsides, most notably that pretty much everyone, even homophobes and misogynists and just straight up ASBOs, watches TV and listens to music and whatnot. Everybody's going to have an opinion. There is moderation there (my favorite instance was in a MYOF article about Roberto Benigni's "Pinnochio," where some dude was so pissed off that not everybody had read the original book that he copypasted the entire novel into a single comment. There's a character and line-break limit now.)

But the biggest problem with A.V. Club's comments is in the tabbed responses, which I'm so, so very happy that Metafilter will never use. Because the site is so popular, and the individual articles so full of geek-bait, there is still a strong sense of competition for firsties there, which leads inevitably to their in-joke about firsties (wishing "cancerAIDS" upon them) and then groans from another six commenters about just letting that joke die already. Then there's the battle between getting your precious opinions out in a primary comment, which will likely disappear below the fold, or as a response to whatever the first one was, no matter how relevant, and then people bitching back and forth about points being made in the first comment tab that were already made earlier, further down the page. It's ugly and just a bad design, in my opinion.

Bizarrely, Cracked's comments aren't nearly as bad as you'd expect. Considering that it is ostensibly a place for dick jokes, you'd think that the commenter culture would be the worst juvenile drivel and full of attacks on other members, but it's not. I think that part of that is that, for however childish the jokes are, they are generally framed inside "educational" articles (which cite their sources, too!) and so the commenters are ever so subtly intellectually primed, and thus actually discuss what was in the piece at hand. Additionally, though the place is still pretty damned boyzone, the tone of the pieces doesn't jibe with misogyny or homophobia or racism. Hell, they've even gotten Seanbaby to tone that shit down or discard it altogether. When you've got a site that regularly features articles about examples of horrible racism or why the arguments against gay rights are ludicrous, it's hard to imagine that seeing the opposite in the comments will go over well.

I dunno. Anil obviously knows a hell of a lot more about this than I do. I feel like nature of content is the most important thing to look at in what kind of commenter culture you're creating or permitting. With MeFi, that means tighter reins on the members themselves, as they are the content providers, but in the end, if the menu isn't suited for trolls, they're not going to eat at the restaurant. Just my $.02
posted by Navelgazer at 7:04 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder how much the slow growth of MeFi has impacted its culture? It seems to me that the slow accretion of users has been a critical component of creating a decent shared space. If it had grown explosively, I think it would be much more like SomethingAwful, which apparently has very aggressive mod policies, but still a horrible user base.

I think my observation is that culture takes time to transmit, and accumulating users too rapidly makes it very hard for it to 'infect' them before they overwhelm the nascent social order.

I think Second Life is a very good example. The early SL felt very, very much like Metafilter does... very friendly, interesting people. You could fly around, see someone, and strike up a conversation, and be pretty much guaranteed an great conversation with someone who was creating something cool.

But then Linden Labs went for growth in a big way, and the original social group was overwhelmed, even though we were intensely aware of the problem, and fighting it like crazy. We lost, and were drowned out by mediocrity. If they'd gone slower, and let the place accumulate users in slow layers, letting the creative culture trickle out from the original "colonists", I think it wouldn't be the digital ghetto it turned into.
posted by Malor at 7:16 PM on July 21, 2011


Could this also be extended to - if your Facebook fan page if full of assholes, it's your fault?
posted by Unsomnambulist at 7:26 PM on July 21, 2011


I got a ginger slush with mint.

Back on topic, I have a lot of misgivings about using Facebook for my comments, but (especially with allowing Yahoo signins) it was the best tradeoff that I could use to encourage good conversations. Would love to have a better option.
posted by anildash at 7:40 PM on July 21, 2011


In retrospect, perhaps pushing for an open comment section with no real registration on a music site may not have been the best idea.

Back on topic, I have a lot of misgivings about using Facebook for my comments, but (especially with allowing Yahoo signins) it was the best tradeoff that I could use to encourage good conversations. Would love to have a better option.

FB makes me more polite, since its tied to me.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:16 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]



For me, the weirdest case is the Onion AV Club. Their editorial sense is superb, they seem like good, smart people, and they do at least some moderation. But their comment threads are still asshole farms.


I want to state for the record that the Lovecraft In Brooklyn who posts on the AV Club might have the same name, media tastes, and posting style as me, but he (or she?) is not me!

Seriously, there are some good comments but it takes 'boyzone' to a whole new level. Every Community story has a 'wow Alison Brie is hot' thread.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:20 PM on July 21, 2011


Huh. I always find AVClub comment threads endlessly amusing. They're never 'real discussion' per se, but they are almost always chock full of comedy gold.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:26 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


The number of people buying Big Macs combos probably outnumbers the number of people buying a meal at Sardis by hundreds of millions a year. Which of the two groups do you think likely has a greater overall effect on society? I know, I know.... it's elitist ...blah blah blah but it's very likely true for better or worse (I'm a socialist so get off my back). I'm just pointing out that quantity means nothing in terms of societal impact. A relative few affect what society does and how it operates. My guess is that the movers and shakers of our society have never even heard of Reddit nor would they care.

But SA and 4chan memes have had a big impact on society, or at least pop culture. There's apparently a Zybourne Clock reference in Fallout: New Vegas.

I don't post on those sites, but the crazy nature of them I think allows the sort of wild ideas to flourish. MeFi seems to be more about discussion and politeness, so less stuff gets 'built'. Though SA does have a cost to sign-up...

The most polite forum I was on before this was the old Neil Gaiman forum. I ended up flaming out. Most of the other sites I post on are for people with such narrow interests that there just isn't much trolling since everyone kinda knows each other online. Though I did leave Aussie music forum Mess & Noise, since online tiffs could sour real life relations...
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:29 PM on July 21, 2011


So, I really only regularly visit three different sites with comments. They are:

Metafilter (where I basically live).
A.V. Club.
Cracked (I know, most of you hate it, but I find it funny.)


Hmm. I visit all three of those sites too. The only time I scan Cracked comments is during the historical articles, since I want to find out more Badass War Stories (or whatever) that the commentator missed. I can't imagine being a part of the community.
The AV Club comments are probably worth it now for Fake Stan Lee (gimmick posters are a huge part of the culture). his comment on the Captain America movie is gold:

You know what, gang? We saved the best for last! This sensational summer of Merry Marvel’s Hollywood heroics comes to a courageous close with none else than the Star-Spangled Avenger himself: CAPTAIN AMERICA!
Just in time for his swingin' seventieth, our favorite shield-slingin' superhero returns to the silver screen in a senses-staggering saga of adventure, action, and good old-fashioned derring-do!
Take it from Stan, we pulled out all the stops for this one. You'll see scrawny Steve Rogers's incredible transformation into the world's first super-soldier, brought to life just as if it had leapt from the very pages peerlessly penciled by "Jolly" Jack Kirby himself! And the whole gang is present and accounted for—Cap's scrappy sidekick BUCKY, DUM-DUM DUGAN and THE HOWLING COMMANDOS, and just you try not to spill your popcorn when the rancorous RED SKULL is revealed!
Will the newly forged Sentinel of Liberty prove his mettle against the forces of HYDRA? Will the Red Skull's titanic tyranny be toppled?
What in the name of the Yancy Street Gang are you waiting for, true believers? Because Cap's turning seventy— and brother, have we ever thrown him a bash!

And lest you think this marks the end of Marvel’s Tinseltown travails— Sufferin' Stan can finally reveal the secret he's been bustin' to tell you all! You guessed it— Earth's Mightiest Heroes, THE AVENGERS conquer the silver screen next summer! This is the main event, gang—a fever-pitched feature film starring IRON MAN, CAP, THOR, HULK, NICK FURY, HAWKEYE, BLACK WIDOW, LOKI—heck, it's got everybody but RED GHOST and his SUPER-APES!

And as if that wasn’t enough MIGHTY MARVEL for a decade of summers, your friendly neighborhood SPIDER-MAN and even the ghoulish GHOST RIDER are marching back into multiplexes! (It just may be enough to even give pause to a certain Caped Crusader from the Distinguished Competition! 'Nuff said!)

So until MATT MURDOCK enlists LOCKJAW as his seeing-eye-dog, always, always Make Mine Marvel!


Excelsior!

posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:41 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got a ginger slush with mint.

WANT

Back on topic, I have a lot of misgivings about using Facebook for my comments, but (especially with allowing Yahoo signins) it was the best tradeoff that I could use to encourage good conversations. Would love to have a better option.

Moderators. Or pre-approval of comments. Both take time, and possibly money.

I don't really talk or act differently on facebook than I do here, or in meatspace for that matter (though I am perhaps not as blunt in meatspace as I can be here. But I also don't find or put myself in situations IRL that require or encourage that bluntness). But I don't want my online self tied too tightly to my meatspace self. It's not entirely rational, but there you go. If a site requires me to use my facebook login in order to comment, I'm not going to comment.
posted by rtha at 10:21 PM on July 21, 2011


'I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member.'
posted by porpoise at 10:25 PM on July 21, 2011


'I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member.'

It's always nice to meet another adherent of what I like to call Groucho Marxism.
posted by Minus215Cee at 10:44 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It surprises me to see people defending the AV Club comments. I read a lot of the articles over there, but I've just about given up on the comment threads, because the vast majority turn into posters talking about how they want to have graphically-described sex with one or more of the women involved in whatever is being discussed.

It's disappointing that I can't even read a recap of a smart, female-positive show like The Good Wife or Community without coming across that bullshit. It's frustrating that every woman is reduced to how fuckable she is. And it's exhausting to think that no matter how skilled or talented or hard-working a woman is, now matter how amazing the movie or tv or book she created is, the first thing some people are going to comment on is how they want to come on her face.

The AV Club is definitely a boyzone, and it makes me have a lot less respect for the otherwise-excellent writers there that nobody seems to give a damn. They sometimes delete racist comments, but as far as I can tell, they let the sexist and homophobic stuff stand. Whatever gives you ad dollars, right? The jerks look at just as many ads as the rest of us.
posted by Georgina at 1:23 AM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Georgina: Do you have any suggestions on how members of the AV Club community can improve the comments? They used to delete some of the worst sexist ones, but they've recently backslid to the point of posting a Newswire about Alison Brie and the other woman from Community doing a GQ photoshoot together. Should I just call them out every time it happens?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:29 AM on July 22, 2011


It surprises me to see people defending the AV Club comments. I read a lot of the articles over there, but I've just about given up on the comment threads, because the vast majority turn into posters talking about how they want to have graphically-described sex with one or more of the women involved in whatever is being discussed.

The vast majority? Really? Interesting. I can't recall ever seeing that, in the year or three I've been making it a daily habit. But I tend to dip pretty lightly there, so perhaps I'm missing the stark meaty stank down in the underparts.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:52 AM on July 22, 2011


Note: stark meaty stank is a trademark of wonderchicken industries™
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:54 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got a ginger slush with mint.

It's not often that I'm jealous of things available in America which I won't find here at the arse end of the earth, but damn, there's one.

And yeah, the article is exactly right. I've seen too many journos complain about how the internet is full of arseholes & therefore not worth bothering with. Do they think their editor publishes every missive they get on the letters page? No, they filter them for quality & relevance. And yet they let their comments sections fill up with the worst sort of writing, as if TCP/IP magically makes arseholes appear out of nowhere.

If your site is full of arseholes, it's because you've let them stay, not because the Internet is worse than any other form of communication.
posted by harriet vane at 3:21 AM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've had conversations with people at places ranging from the White House to the New York Times to Goldman Sachs to Disney to whatever other major institution of culture you want to name, and they're not just extremely aware of MetaFilter or Reddit, some of the people there are your peers who are participating here.

Aye Anil, just you go and get your head patted and waggle your wee tail for them.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:57 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


stavrosthewonderchicken, I agree that I could've chosen a less dramatic phrase than "vast majority". Perhaps "goodly-sized percentage" would have been better. As for finding such comments, here's a couple of examples.

(Unfortunately, the AV Club has no way to link to individual comments.)

Here's the AV Club's review of For a Few Paintballs More, the last ep of Community season two.

And here's some comments:
- ALISON BRIE WAS TOTALLY HAWT I WOULD SO PENIS HER

- I'd like to cover her in my paint, if you know what I mean.

- I'd like to ejaculate my semen on her, if you know what I mean.
That's just from the first two pages of comments. There's nine more. And if you go back through the Community recaps, you'll find comments like that in every single one.

Elsewhere, here's the AV Club's review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Here's a comment by user Misogynist!:
- I'd like to have really rough, degrading sex with her. I'd fuck her is what I'm saying. I'd like to leave some of my cells all over her face.
There's also: A comment on the author's looks ("an older, sexier Rebecca Black"), several comments in the "skloot that ass up baby" vein, and a comment suggesting that "skloot", the author's surname, should be used as a word something akin to "skeet" but with a different bodily fluid. You can look that one up on google.

I don't give a damn if you call yourself "Misogynist!", and I don't care if you're just doing it for the lulz. You're still typing it. You're still putting it out there. You're still looking at a woman who spent a decade researching a little-known aspect of science history and wrote a bestselling book about it, and reducing her to how fuckable you think she is.

For comparison, here is the thread on Skloot and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on MetaFilter. Lots of discussion of the book and of Henrietta Lacks herself. No discussion of the author's looks, name, or fuckability.

What does MeFi have that the AV Club doesn't? Strong moderation. Which brings it neatly back to the topic of Anil's post, and why, Lovecraft in Booklyn, I unfortunately don't think that there's much that individuals can do to change the commenting culture at the AV Club. As long as comments like the above are allowed to stand, people will keep making them, and the people who find the AV Club a boyzone will just end up commenting elsewhere. Like here, perhaps.
posted by Georgina at 4:49 AM on July 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn, my apologies for mistyping your name.
posted by Georgina at 5:05 AM on July 22, 2011


some dude was so pissed off that not everybody had read the original book [Pinocchio] that he copypasted the entire novel into a single comment.

To be fair that book is insanely awesome and far too few people have read it.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:33 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aye Anil, just you go and get your head patted and waggle your wee tail for them.

sgt.serenity, some people think they can change huge institutions without ever engaging with them, simply by lots of wishful thinking. I think I can help right some of their wrongs by trying to talk to them and persuade them with a different perspective. I can understand if you disagree with that, but certainly don't know that I've earned that degree of condescension.
posted by anildash at 7:38 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


sgt.serenity: "Aye Anil, just you go and get your head patted and waggle your wee tail for them."

can we get a cleanup in aisle dickhead
posted by danny the boy at 11:08 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure you didn't do anything special, anildash. sgt.serenity is pretty generous with disdain and condescension.
posted by rtha at 11:15 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's really interesting to me that someone upthread commented on the Forge, because I just spent two days wandering though some sexism threads on rpg.net and man, I'll never post there because of the crappy moderation policies. Someone needs to send the mod team there this essay, stat.
posted by immlass at 3:48 PM on July 22, 2011


whoa gross
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:28 PM on July 22, 2011


Sometimes I still miss images at Mefi, but I think their absence here at least partially accounts for differences between 'our' comments and that of A.V. Club, for instance. With Metafilter, text is *all* there is to respond to (unless of course, ha ha, you RTFA) so there's more of a value placed on anecdote, rhetoric, argument, or witticism, less obviously on funny (or sexy or gross or 'cool') GIFs or JPGs, or folks' opinion of same.

Mainly though, I'd credit the culture of Metafilter overall (intelligent, liberal, progressive) and its specific values (be helpful; give good links, good advice or answers, good conversation, or witty repartee), which are to some extent self-enforcing. Metafilter's reputation attracts the people who use the site and who perpetuate that which gives the site its reputation.

Snark is the great danger here. I like to crack wise as much as the next Mefite, but when you hesitate to create posts based on things you love or have enthusiasm about - because you fear a snarky evisceration of that which you hold dear - I would argue the site overall suffers. I've seen a lot of users make comments to that effect, by the way, I'm not talking about myself. Fear is the post killer. And I worry snark often wears users down, leads to a general malaise.

It's a truly remarkable accomplishment to have created and maintained Mefi. The mods have done an amazing job, and Meta conversation has helped ease out casual sexism or racism or other aspects of privilege endemic on most of the net. I just hope Metafilter doesn't become the friendly, helpful, inclusive site that disparages absolutely everything.

/ramble
posted by stinkycheese at 7:49 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I still miss images at Mefi, but I think their absence here at least partially accounts for differences between 'our' comments and that of A.V. Club, for instance.

AV Club dosen't have images either.
/pedant
Agree on snark being MeFi's big problem
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:07 PM on July 22, 2011


stark meaty stank is a trademark of wonderchicken industries™

You'll be hearing from my solicitor shortly.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:21 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know users can't post images (though they do have avatars), I mean there isn't a big photo of the actress from Community or whatever on the same page people are commenting on. Though Mefi links to other pages, which of course may have pictures, the site proper has no pics.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:54 PM on July 22, 2011


meant there isn't a photo here, as opposed to there (A.V. Club)
posted by stinkycheese at 8:58 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


How the Internet Created an Age of Rage.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:46 PM on July 24, 2011


It's a truly remarkable accomplishment to have created and maintained Mefi.

In other news, "us" voted most awesome people in the world.

On snark: Actually, I love Metafilter's snarky attitude. Love and puppies are great, super, wonderful, until someone STOMPS THEM TO THE GROUND. When that happens, snark is well-deserved in response. Cynics are just seasoned idealists.

How the Internet Created an Age of Rage.

Anonymity has caused no problems at all. People on the internet are just able to give voice to things they've always said to their close friends, or to themselves. In the process they discovered, hey, I'm not alone. A lot of the things people get angry about on the internet are things that truly need to inspire rage. As a wise cartoon goat once said, "It ain't baad to get maad."
posted by JHarris at 2:35 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It definitely helped that I, like many others, lurked for years before signing up (I started reading the site in 2003 but just recently signed up). I knew the culture. And I can beanplate with the best of them.

I've been on lots of boards/communities where I felt like I would be absolutely blasted for anything I said. Here I've already shared stuff that a lot of my friends IRL don't know about me. I love that I was able to engage so quickly with a website I felt a part of for far more years than my user number indicates.

The mods deserve a ton of credit for fostering that. In teaching we call that "creating a classroom community" and it is almost the sole factor in predicting a teacher's efficacy. Plus the level of discourse here reminds me that there are other people who care about written expression, logic, and fairly high quantities of snark.

Best. Five dollars. Ever.
posted by guster4lovers at 10:49 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]



Anonymity has caused no problems at all. People on the internet are just able to give voice to things they've always said to their close friends, or to themselves. In the process they discovered, hey, I'm not alone. A lot of the things people get angry about on the internet are things that truly need to inspire rage. As a wise cartoon goat once said, "It ain't baad to get maad."


So what about those people who say, for example, 'NETHACK SUCKS. THERE'S NO GRAPHICS AND ITS TOO HARD. DIABLO IS WAY BETTER'?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:51 PM on July 24, 2011


The mods deserve a ton of credit for fostering that. In teaching we call that "creating a classroom community" and it is almost the sole factor in predicting a teacher's efficacy. Plus the level of discourse here reminds me that there are other people who care about written expression, logic, and fairly high quantities of snark.

Why does snark follow on the rest of it? Are there intelligent communities without snark?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:51 PM on July 24, 2011


LIB, I just really enjoy both snark and intelligence with my plate of beans.

And to answer your question, I haven't found one, and I'm okay with that.
posted by guster4lovers at 11:43 PM on July 24, 2011


So what about those people who say, for example, 'NETHACK SUCKS. THERE'S NO GRAPHICS AND ITS TOO HARD. DIABLO IS WAY BETTER'?

I get mad at them. Your point?
posted by JHarris at 1:49 AM on July 25, 2011


LIB, I just really enjoy both snark and intelligence with my plate of beans.

And to answer your question, I haven't found one, and I'm okay with that.


I like beanplating and love. Like the Shining thread. Snark, unless directed at the powerful and evil, is just meanness and leads to problems.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:58 AM on July 25, 2011


Changes coming to the A.V. Club commenting system, including ways to flag inappropriate comments.
posted by Georgina at 6:34 AM on August 20, 2011


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