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Unbaby.me, baby
August 6, 2012 9:03 AM   Subscribe

Tired of looking at your friends' baby pictures on Facebook?
1. INSTALL unbaby.me
2. BROWSE Refresh Facebook. Any baby pics will now be cats.
3. REJOICE Now you don't have to look at all your friends' annoying kids.

"We were having drinks one night after work and were joking around about how Facebook is just lousy with babies, and wouldn't it be funny if you could replace all those photos with cats." The photo-replacing Chrome extension replaces babies in your Facebook newsfeed with "awesome stuff."
posted by 2bucksplus (495 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite

 
THIS. This wins the best post contest.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:04 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Why isn't this available for REAL LIFE.
posted by elizardbits at 9:05 AM on August 6, 2012 [81 favorites]


And what to do if you want to cleanse your feed of pictures of felines, those dirty eyeball-eating, schizophrenia-causing vermin?
posted by docgonzo at 9:05 AM on August 6, 2012 [31 favorites]


Clearly, another initiative in the LOLCAT Collective's efforts to completely take over the Internets. Digital toxoplasmosis!
posted by darkstar at 9:05 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Doesn't work if there is no caption on the picture of the baby.
posted by bilabial at 9:05 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter babies are cute. Cuter than cats, even.
posted by ColdChef at 9:06 AM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


It isn't Facebook that's lousy with babies. It's a certain age demographic. First babies are, of course, the worst. What with all the stories about diapers and long car rides you can hardly fit in a comment about how well your middle-schoolers are doing on the math team. It's terrible.
posted by DU at 9:06 AM on August 6, 2012 [42 favorites]


I would love this
posted by Forktine at 9:07 AM on August 6, 2012


But is there a version that allows people to just see MY babies? Because mine are the cutest and everyone loves seeing pictures of them.
posted by papercake at 9:08 AM on August 6, 2012 [38 favorites]


> And what to do if you want to cleanse your feed of pictures of felines, those dirty eyeball-eating, schizophrenia-causing vermin?

rebaby.me
posted by blue t-shirt at 9:09 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't care one way or another about my friend's babies, but I don't especially want to see photos of them, because babies all sort of look alike to me. They show me a photo, and all I can say is, yes, that is a baby. And the babies are never doing anything except being babies, and, when they are not crying, babies don't really do much of anything.

If you have a photo of your baby flying a rocket or fighting an alligator, that might interest me. But otherwise, once you have seen a picture of one baby, you have pretty much seen every picture of every baby.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:09 AM on August 6, 2012 [95 favorites]


Not just kittens, mind. You'll also get cars of cool food, sexy cars and occasionally sweet wild animals.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:09 AM on August 6, 2012


Ooooooooooh yes, so the forever alone's can skip the core functionality of a, *cough* social networking site. "But I don't WANT to know about your life!"

Also: Because there aren't already enough pictures of cats on the internet.
posted by TomMelee at 9:10 AM on August 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


And what to do if you want to cleanse your feed of pictures of felines, those dirty eyeball-eating, schizophrenia-causing vermin?

Install unkitty.me, which replaces all pictures of cats with babies.

Take care not to install both at the same time though, as both cat and baby pictures will all be replaced with a photo of Winston Churchill during his "Furry period."
posted by Panjandrum at 9:10 AM on August 6, 2012 [31 favorites]


Looks like the replacement photos are more than just cats. As far as I can tell, this turns babies into Pinterest.

I'm not sure that's an improvement.... trading one kind of insufferable for another...
posted by schmod at 9:11 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Magnificent. A filter-bubble firewall that helps crazy old cat people get crazier with more cats.

Truly, the internet has everything.
posted by mhoye at 9:11 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you'd rather see pictures of cats than pictures of babies, you're a bad person. Good people will replace the baby pictures with pictures of cars and guitars.
posted by The World Famous at 9:14 AM on August 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


Babby
posted by obscurator at 9:14 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


The extension works by looking for a bunch of cute baby related words in the caption of the photo, and is fully customisable: for a while I was blocking all Olympics-based traffic with the words London2012, Olympics, Bolt, etc.. Ran into bilabial's problem above: no caption=no block.
posted by Omission at 9:14 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


And the babies are never doing anything except being babies, and, when they are not crying, babies don't really do much of anything... But otherwise, once you have seen a picture of one baby, you have pretty much seen every picture of every baby.

Sometimes baby pictures are funny.
posted by ColdChef at 9:15 AM on August 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


How about an extension that superimposes cats sucking the life out of babies?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:15 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


I would rather see broken image placeholders than another tedious picture of someone's baby doing an uninteresting and really honestly only cute the first time baby thing.
posted by elizardbits at 9:15 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, thank God. This has been a long time coming. And at 25 you can imagine how disturbing it is to see my newsfeed plugged up with babies – why are the youth so enthusiastic about overpopulation these days??
posted by Mooseli at 9:16 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is it really so hard to click "unsubscribe from Jenny" or whomever the offending parent is? Don't get me wrong, unbaby.me is a funny gag, but I'm getting a little sick of all these complaining assholes griping that all their friends talk about is their children. What the fuck did you expect to happen after we all got married and stopped using birth control?
posted by incessant at 9:17 AM on August 6, 2012 [40 favorites]


Your babies are an unusual exception. I don't usually like pictures of people's children in general, except ColdChef's.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:18 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


> why are the youth so enthusiastic about overpopulation these days??

Because the species must continue and having kids when you're still young is biologically superior to waiting?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would rather have a plug in that removes bad photos and replaces them with good photos.
posted by mazola at 9:19 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


And at 25 you can imagine how disturbing it is to see my newsfeed plugged up with babies – why are the youth so enthusiastic about overpopulation these days??

I'd rather see my newsfeed plugged up with babies than plugged up with divorces, retirement boasting, or obituaries.
posted by The World Famous at 9:19 AM on August 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


Can someone do this for football (and, honestly, any other sports) posts?
I would rather look at people's pets and kids any day of the year rather than read another damn post about what they think about this or that group of overly muscled men or women.
posted by Seamus at 9:19 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


incessant, I suspect it's because single people don't really appreciate how having kids can completely overwhelm one's life and nudges out other interests and talk of much of anything else for years and years.

Which, on reflection, is probably a major contributing reason why folks are eager to have kids, to begin with.
posted by darkstar at 9:20 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


There was one baby in my whole feed, and the damned thing's still there.
posted by Huck500 at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


What the fuck did you expect to happen after we all got married and stopped using birth control?

That you'd have babies yet maintain a reasonable sense of proportion about their relative importance vis-à-vis the universe at large.

Haha! Just kidding, I didn't expect that at all, that would be ridiculous!
posted by enn at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2012 [71 favorites]


Also works for Olympics.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


incessant, I suspect it's because single people don't really appreciate how having kids can completely overwhelm one's life and nudges out other interests and talk of much of anything else for years and years.

With all due respect, I think we absolutely do appreciate that effect. It's just that we don't necessarily want to share it.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2012 [40 favorites]


Can someone do this for football (and, honestly, any other sports) posts?

The images are blocked based on the captions, no? Seems like you could just type in the most likely caption of a kind of photo you don't want to see and *poof*..
posted by obscurator at 9:22 AM on August 6, 2012


But I don't want to see cats either.

Can't I have baby elephants or horses instead?

Plskthx.
posted by Malice at 9:23 AM on August 6, 2012


Haha! Just kidding, I didn't expect that at all, that would be ridiculous!

Not ridiculous, just a relatively ineffective parenting/genetic strategy.

Good people will replace the baby pictures with pictures of cars and guitars.

Pretty much my life (babies: 0, cars: 2, guitars: 5, I think).

I like babies, though. At least, other people's. And some of my favorite people were babies once.
posted by weston at 9:23 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you have a photo of your baby flying a rocket or fighting an alligator, that might interest me.

I would download that Firefox extension.

I agree generally about baby photos: They are cute, but a baby photo is pretty much a baby photo. However, turning all those cute baby photos into pictures of cats is like trying to clean a sticky kitchen floor by pouring crude oil all over it.

And as long as we're throwing out truisms ("once you have seen a picture of one baby, you have pretty much seen every picture of every baby"), you are welcome to show me your cat or dog but please do not invite me to "meet" it.
posted by cribcage at 9:26 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is going to make my friend Christian's day.
posted by Kitteh at 9:26 AM on August 6, 2012


Does it work on photos of pregnant women's bellies? Because a good handful of my Facebook people have "very pregnant belly" as their profile picture.

Although I don't know where the kittens would go in that case.
posted by Nomyte at 9:26 AM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


photos of babies in cat costumes. win-win
posted by angrycat at 9:27 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd rather have babies in my feed than yet another poorly-executed Instagram monstrosity or crappy iPhone photo.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:27 AM on August 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


This was stupid when every tech beat writer covered it over the weekend, and it's stupid now.
posted by swift at 9:28 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Duh. This is exactly what G+ provides.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:29 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have nothing to say but: damn we are an impressive species when we put our minds to it!

Science. It works.
posted by mazola at 9:30 AM on August 6, 2012


I don't really get babies - my feelings about them range from indifference to fear - but also, I don't use the Facebook.

I do, however, react around cats the same way other women react around babies. I think this means that there's a cat somewhere who really, really wants a human baby ugga wugga wugga.
posted by mippy at 9:30 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I made a group on Facebook of people who I think would like to see my baby (family, a couple friends with babies) and then I only allow those people to see the pictures of my baby that I post.

Should I, from time to time, tell everyone I'm posting pictures of my baby and if they want in on it to let me know? Or should I just leave it as is?

This reminds me that I've been seriously slacking in the baby picture dept.
posted by ODiV at 9:32 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thirty Helens agree: "There's a time and a place to show photos of your children."

"They'll stop an evening dead."
posted by straight at 9:32 AM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


incessant, I suspect it's because single people don't really appreciate how having kids can completely overwhelm one's life and nudges out other interests and talk of much of anything else for years and years.

Or they do, and that's why they don't have kids. (Also, having kids as nothing to do with being "single" or not.)
posted by spaltavian at 9:33 AM on August 6, 2012 [25 favorites]


having kids can completely overwhelm one's life and nudges out other interests and talk of much of anything else for years and years.

Which, on reflection, is probably a major contributing reason why folks are eager to have kids, to begin with.


I don't understand. You're saying that people have babies to overwhelm their lives and crowd out other interests?

I mean, I'm one of those forever alones who doesn't have babies, but surely people don't have babies for such a crazy counterproductive reason. Obviously they have babies because of Tom Selleck's mustache, or at least that's what my mom told me.
posted by winna at 9:33 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


photos of babies in cat costumes. win-win

I actually do have one such photo, but in deference to this post, will keep it safely hidden from view.

Seriously, though. As a parent, I feel like I can't win. Post too many and you're one of Those People. Too few and grumpy relatives and friends demand more. I post fewer than once a fortnight, and if people get huffy about it -- well, too bad. When did it become my responsibility to manage your news feed?
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:33 AM on August 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


...you are welcome to show me your cat or dog but please do not invite me to "meet" it.

Ahem
posted by griphus at 9:33 AM on August 6, 2012


That dogs is shaking with the wrong paw.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:34 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


not as good as "apple's new shoes," IMAO
posted by elizardbits at 9:35 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just made a separate Facebook account for our kid. If people want to see his pics, they can friend him there. This has the bonus of shunting extraneous family members who may have conflicting views of reality off my feed, as any obligation (read: My Mom nagging me to accept Great Aunt Gertrude's friend request) I have to accept their friend request goes away the moment they get access to sweet sweet baby pics.

The only downside is the family who post comments to my kid's updates as if they are talking to him. You do know he's 2 and can't type, right Gertrude? And the things you say to him... *shiver*
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:36 AM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I find it sad on Facebook when mothers turn their profile picture into a picture of their baby. It would be OK if they themselves were in the picture too, but having just the baby as a profile picture says to me "this is my entire life now, I am entirely defined by my role as a mother."
posted by melissam at 9:37 AM on August 6, 2012 [71 favorites]


FWIW if you follow me on Twitter any pictures I post will be equal parts cats and cute kids.
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on August 6, 2012


Anyway, as I'm only 30 my friends aren't marrying/sprogging yet. So my FB feed used to consist of:

a) young relatives talking about things I really don't want to picture god I remember when you were in nappies and scared of the hoover

b) old schoolfriends talking about sport and how the people from rival local team are [a word we don't like here on Metafilter]

c) old schoolfriends, who stayed in my home town, got engaged at 19 and had no interest in exploring life outside of the postcode area*, showing off their new shoes/child/nails, with text speak,

d) a brother of my ex-boyfriend arguing that unions and benefits are unnecessary in modern Britain as nobody is victim to industrial accidents or is living below the breadline, in between telling us about his second new Lexus of the year

e) an ex-boyfriend, who never moved past Anti-Capitalism 101, slagging off the NHS, the Poppy Appeal 'happy invade other countries and blow them to bits day' and anyone working in banking/advertising/newspapers. This would be mildly amusing were it trolling, but it isn't.

...and every time I logged in it made me wonder what I was doing with my life to amass all these people whose opinions I did not wish to hear other than to amass schadenfreude, and how it would be a pain in the arse to start unfriending people and getting e-mails asking why. So it seemed healthier to opt out.

* if that sounds snobby, I don't mean it to be. 90% of girls in my year went off to study child development/beauty therapy then moved in with a guy at 19 straight from the family home. If you bumped into one and told them you were studying for a degree or had moved away to do X or Y, the first question would be 'what do you want to do that for?'
posted by mippy at 9:38 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I guess it was inevitable that the thread about removing baby pictures from facebook would serve as bait for facebook Wall Of Babies Apologists.
posted by blue t-shirt at 9:38 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


These people seem to think "HOW IT WORKS" means something completely different, like "installation instructions"? I was hoping to find out about the image-recognition technology they're using but there's not an actual "how it works"-related detail in sight. (Ah, I see. They work in advertising. Of course.)
posted by RogerB at 9:39 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we have an app that replaces all my parent friends' profile pix with a photo of their ACTUAL ADULT FACES, instead of those of their often-indistinguishable babies?
posted by lalex at 9:39 AM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm starting to feel like I'm the only person on MetaFilter who bothers to remove annoying people from their feed. I open Facebook, all I have is boring pictures of other people's parties, and an echo chamber of opinions I agree with.
posted by griphus at 9:39 AM on August 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


Anyway, as I'm only 30 my friends aren't marrying/sprogging yet.

Can I borrow your friends?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:39 AM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


In all seriousness, though, if I wanted to see your baby's pictures, I'd friend your baby.

Did I friend your baby? No, I did not friend your baby. Your baby and I are not friends.
posted by blue t-shirt at 9:40 AM on August 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


Can we have an extension that takes childless people complaining about having to listen to stories about the way that every single human being who has ever lived, ever, got here, and replaces THAT with guitars and cars?

I understand not wanting to have kids. I do. I have one myself, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't ask myself, "what the HELL was I thinking, having this screaming thing that is slowly destroying everything I own, including my sanity?" But I'm not even going to pretend to understand a subculture that asserts, proudly, that there's something weird about being overly-interested in reproduction, something that we share in common with just about every animal with a nervous system more complicated than a jellyfish's.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:40 AM on August 6, 2012 [41 favorites]


I don't care one way or another about my friend's cats, but I don't especially want to see photos of them, because cats all sort of look alike to me. They show me a photo, and all I can say is, yes, that is a cat. And the cats are never doing anything except being cats, and, when they are not tearing up things, cats don't really do much of anything.

If you have a photo of your cat flying a rocket or fighting an alligator, that might interest me. But otherwise, once you have seen a picture of one cat, you have pretty much seen every picture of every cat.
posted by zephyr_words at 9:41 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


What if it is a cat on a roomba though.
posted by elizardbits at 9:42 AM on August 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


Cats, when they are just being cats, are typically rehearsing murder. That tends to produce a pretty entertaining photo.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:44 AM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Holy Zarquon - move to a city/country where you need a deposit of £45k to buy a shoebox-sized flat, and you'll quickly meet a lot of people who are putting off other expensive life stuff. Friend of mine told me the average wedding here costs £21k - while I'm sure not everyone needs an ice swan sculpture and a designer dress, that is half the cost of the deposit my friends put down on their first house. Even renting in London is really expensive - so much so that one place I looked at sounded great until the landlord told me that the other room in the house would be occupied by a couple and a nine-month old - and you get fewer rights in terms of doing things to the property and being able to stay put, so a lot of people want to buy first so they have the security when they start a family.

I suppose you could keep the babies in a chest of drawers - they don't take up that much room.
posted by mippy at 9:45 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like to suggest a mashup of this technology and the herpderp youtube commentator thread from a few weeks ago.

Specifically, a technology that changes every single word on a Facebook page, including the word Facebook, to Herp Derp. Also, all pictures changed to cats.

This would be the thing that would finally get me on facebook.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:46 AM on August 6, 2012


At some point last year, I took a look at the list of people I've removed from my feed. While not all of the blocked people were young parents, I noticed that all friends who ARE young parents are removed. I didn't do this intentionally or anything. I just take people out of my feed when they post pictures of children or child-related status updates. I wish Facebook let you tag status updates. That way I could just block updates that were tagged with "child" or "baby".

Fact is, I could really give a crap about my friends' kids. I just don't like children. And if they'd had kids when we met, we probably wouldn't have become friends to begin with.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:47 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think they need to tweak this app to replace the baby pictures with animated gifs of that baby, teamed up with a cat, flying on a rocket, fighting an alligator who is flying a jet. Or a zeppelin. Or, possibly a Corgi. That should keep everyone happy.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:50 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Every time I think a thread is just going to be a thread and not a thing, I always surprised at which ones do become a thing.

Listen, I like babies fine, I adore my nieces to pieces and tolerate the sheaves of photos sent to me every Christmas because they are adorable dammit, but I will enjoy them more when they start speaking in whole sentences and have other interests than the shit ton of toys my sister and brother-in-law insist on buying them. And dutifully I look and scroll past at the few friends who post their children's pics on FB. It doesn't rankle me. But I do find it funny there is a wonky application thingy for replacing baby photos. Shit, I'd want it to replace the constant pics my friends have of their manicures/scooters/guitars/wah wah pedals because IT IS CATS.
posted by Kitteh at 9:50 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


But I'm not even going to pretend to understand a subculture that asserts, proudly, that there's something weird about being overly-interested in reproduction, something that we share in common with just about every animal with a nervous system more complicated than a jellyfish's.

I'm not ever going to be a baby person but the childfree movement I've seen online is bizarre. Either have babies or don't. You don't need to be rude about them. But back in the LJ days there were these whole communities of people talking about 'breeders' and 'moos' and 'crotch droppings' amongst other unpleasant names for THE CHILDREN WHO ARE OUR FUTURE.

Maybe it's an American thing. It seems that for whatever reason people take more of a stand on what's seen as more personal choices/opinions/issues in the UK, and I don't know what's behind that culturally. eg. Abortion rights here are based around the debate about length of term - people who are pro-life generally make it a personal decision for themselves, and same with pro-choice too. There's a minority of those who will protest one way or the other, and certainly I'd have something to say if people went about trying to restrict my abortion rights, but for most people it's a personal moral choice and not a political one. For me, I think you can choose not to have children and not have to make it some kind of ideological stance, like atheism or enjoying Marmite.
posted by mippy at 9:50 AM on August 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


NB let us not derail a nice thread about kids and kittens into an abortion one. It was just an example, and besides, nobody got their mind changed about this by the internet.
posted by mippy at 9:51 AM on August 6, 2012


I suppose you could keep the babies in a chest of drawers - they don't take up that much room.

I slept in a drawer when I was a baby, because my parents were too poor to buy a cradle.
posted by Forktine at 9:51 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm nearing 40, and while FB wasn't around when most of my friends had their babies, now I get the delight of seeing these kids slam headfirst into their awkward tween years and scowly teen years. At least babies smile.
posted by ladygypsy at 9:51 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


move to a city/country where you need a deposit of £45k to buy a shoebox-sized flat, and you'll quickly meet a lot of people who are putting off other expensive life stuff.

People wanted more children in 2000s, but had fewer

Makes sense to me. Even with the housing bubble, living expenses in cities just keep rising. I think it would be interesting to look at exceptions, like I believe that the fertility rate in Scandinavian cities is relatively high, possibly because of the level of support given to parents.
posted by melissam at 9:52 AM on August 6, 2012


Honestly, I'm on the other side. I'd love my friends with babies to stay in touch, but however hard I try by taking a keen interest in their babies, they stop responding to my overtures even to tell me baby stories.

It's sad and I wonder if they'll ever look back and wish we'd stayed in touch, or if the baby was a convenient excuse to ditch all their old friends.
posted by winna at 9:53 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Either have babies or don't. You don't need to be rude about them.

It is a reaction against the sort of people who think it's fun to characterize anyone who has not had children as "forever alone's [sic]."
posted by enn at 9:53 AM on August 6, 2012 [25 favorites]


My sister and I shared a room until I was seven and she was nineteen and moved in with her then-boyfriend. I find it weird that same-sex siblings sharing in the US is seen as something poor families do - but then you do have bigger houses with the dryers and the dishwashers and the carports.
posted by mippy at 9:54 AM on August 6, 2012


Also, obligatory STFU, Parents link.
posted by lalex at 9:55 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just installed an app that replaces every status update where someone talks about what they had or will have for lunch with which public figure they had or will have a torrid lovemaking session with.

Turns out my dad is not so big on ham sandwiches anymore. He's more into Joe Biden.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:57 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


People opt into technology which is supposed to help them stay in touch with friends, then get angry when friends share important moments in their lives.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:58 AM on August 6, 2012 [25 favorites]


I'm down with loving one's child, but it would be nice if it was leavened with a groking of one's child has six billion other humans sharing the world with it. That's all I'm after.
posted by angrycat at 9:59 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I want a plug-in that replaces every Facebook post with a pile of $20 bills on the table in front of me. Only twenties and not fifties because I don't want to seem greedy, but the bills still need to appear in the form of piles.
posted by item at 9:59 AM on August 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


So, I post a link on Facebook to a song I spent months recording: nothing.

I post photos of the bike I built from scratch: nothing

"Hi everyone, I made it to the top of Rainier! Check out these pics." Nothing.

I post a stupid picture of my two boys curled up in bed: 35 comments and 50 likes. "oh, so sweet!" "hugs and kisses!" "Cute overload!"

I think some people are confused about the relative importance and popularity of babies on Facebook.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:59 AM on August 6, 2012 [18 favorites]


I wish Facebook let you tag status updates. That way I could just block updates that were tagged with "child" or "baby".

A few years back, Facebook gave you more control. There were sliders for individual components of a friend's activity. For instance, you could adjust the sliders so that you would see more of Sarah's photos but fewer of her status updates, or you could adjust all of Sarah's settings down to 4 but raise all of Bob's settings up to 10. Today you have less control. You can remove someone altogether from your News Feed, or you can select their updates on a three-degree "All / Most / Only Important" scale. (And Facebook™ will decide what those adjectives mean.)

I miss the sliders. You could filter a close friend or relative's status activity, if he linked his Twitter to Facebook and then updated every hour, but you'd still be able to see when he uploaded family photos. Now I remove some people from my feed because they overuse one type of update, and it would be nice if I could still lower that particular slider to 0 but keep the others at 5.
posted by cribcage at 10:00 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I always favorite my friends pictures of their babies. Not because I actually like the photos, but I don't want them to think I'm an asshole.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:04 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here is what Facebook's sliders looked like.
posted by cribcage at 10:05 AM on August 6, 2012


I'd rather see the baby photos than have the constant stream of potty training updates! I don't care if your little treasure managed to go number two in the potty today!
posted by sadtomato at 10:06 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine just had a baby that looks exactly like Winston Churchill. I knew that was a thing, but I didn't know that it was, like, an actual thing. (I tend to dislike baby pictures because my reaction is always more like "oh poor thing, she got her father's nose" or "oh dear, I hope she grows into those ears" and I feel like a horrible person for thinking these things.)
posted by restless_nomad at 10:07 AM on August 6, 2012


Is there a plugin that removes all content from everything? I am tired of reading and looking at things.
posted by mattbucher at 10:08 AM on August 6, 2012 [34 favorites]


I don't care if your little treasure managed to go number two in the potty today!

You might if you had to walk around the apartment....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:08 AM on August 6, 2012


You know how everyone's baby except your own is a hideous, malshapen monster with a probable developmental problem? This is how I feel about other people's cats most of the time as well.

"How could you love that thing?"

I have exceptionally beautiful and talented children, and my cat is gorgeous. I would probably kill myself if my kids or cat looked like yours
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:09 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you don't have anything nice to say, then implement a technological solution which will contain or redirect your snark.*

*Proverb updated for a 21st century audience
posted by gilrain at 10:10 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can we have an app that replaces all my parent friends' profile pix with a photo of their ACTUAL ADULT FACES, instead of those of their often-indistinguishable babies?

OMG yes. This is something that bothers me much more than new parents posting baby photos. Of course they are going to post baby photos. I'm going to click Like even if I don't care that much.

But there is no need to subsume your whole identity to your child, even to the point of removing your own photo and replacing it with the (yes, indistinguishable—sorry, your baby looks like every other baby, especially as a thumbnail profile photo) child. It's even worse when combined with the recent fad for changing one's name on Facebook to be totally unrecognizable.

My Facebook feed is full of babies with strange names posting about the difficulties of being a new mother.
posted by grouse at 10:10 AM on August 6, 2012 [28 favorites]


Heaven forbid one should log into Facebook and view images of the things that one's friends are interested in.
posted by gurple at 10:13 AM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Can we have an extension that takes childless people complaining about having to listen to stories about the way that every single human being who has ever lived, ever, got here, and replaces THAT with guitars and cars?

Many childless people who don't like baby photos have good reason to want to avoid them. Some of us who have experienced pregnancy loss or who struggle with infertility find it difficult to stay connected on Facebook and other social media sites where baby photos are abundant. For us, baby photos can trigger our grief and remind us that we still don't have what we so dearly long for. I wish there were an application that could remove all baby photos (not just the ones with captions) so that I could keep track of other things going on in my friends' lives instead of having to withdraw from Facebook altogether.
posted by bluestraw at 10:13 AM on August 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


A friend of mine just had a baby that looks exactly like Winston Churchill.

Baby Geniuses 3: Operation Pacifier
posted by griphus at 10:13 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


cribcage: "
I miss the sliders. You could filter a close friend or relative's status activity, if he linked his Twitter to Facebook and then updated every hour, but you'd still be able to see when he uploaded family photos. Now I remove some people from my feed because they overuse one type of update, and it would be nice if I could still lower that particular slider to 0 but keep the others at 5.
"

I never got the sliders to do much, but I use FBPurity lots.
posted by mkb at 10:14 AM on August 6, 2012


I find it hard to believe people don't really like seeing pictures of my kids.

Is this the right time to ask for the IMG tag back?
posted by mazola at 10:14 AM on August 6, 2012


I'd rather see the baby photos than have the constant stream of potty training updates! I don't care if your little treasure managed to go number two in the potty today!

It is unfair to expect parents to contain the amount of joy this produces. Just be glad you're not getting invited to any "My Kid Just Pooped in the Potty" backyard barbecues. Mine's gonna have a keg.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:15 AM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm thibking maybe If you don't really care about the biggest thing going on in your Freinds life maybe they are actually more of an acquaintance and you should just unfollow them?
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on August 6, 2012 [35 favorites]


I have nothing to say but: damn we are an impressive species when we put our minds to it!

Science. It works.
posted by mazola


The Curiosity landing thread is a few down.
posted by yoga at 10:16 AM on August 6, 2012


At last the whole computers / internet thing is beginning to pay off.
posted by rainy at 10:17 AM on August 6, 2012


I find it sad on Facebook when mothers turn their profile picture into a picture of their baby. It would be OK if they themselves were in the picture too, but having just the baby as a profile picture says to me "this is my entire life now, I am entirely defined by my role as a mother."

I kind of felt like that when the picture was of a couple. Not couple-ist - I am in one and very happy with it too - but your whole identity isn't tied to with whom you swop your bodily fluids.
posted by mippy at 10:18 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


People opt into technology which is supposed to help them stay in touch with friends, then get angry when friends share important moments in their lives.

Facebook isn't a way for me to "stay in touch" or "share important moments". It's a place to shoot the shit and kill time and socialize.

There's also a difference between speaking of intimate things and yabbering on incessantly about a subject. If a friend's got something on their mind, I'll listen; if they talk about that thing constantly for months and months I start tuning out.

Some people can have babies and make funny or heartwarming or insightful comments, and some people are just as boring with babies as they were without, only they talk more.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:19 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


It doesn't stop for some parents. One of my friends only posts things on facebook that happen about/to/with her daughter, who is a high school senior. I'm friends with both of them and their posts are identical except for the point of view. It's sad and creepy at the same time.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:19 AM on August 6, 2012


MetaFilter babies are cute. Cuter than cats, even.

No such thing as a baby that is cuter than a kitten, a puppy, or a bunny. I don't care what your baby did, my cat Marc Anthony will do it better and cuter without even trying. Compare the love and glee of a person talking about their kitty versus the one talking about their kid -- the cat wins it every time paws down.

LOLbabies as a supreme meme? No, no, no, infants are no match for the fuzzy kids...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 10:19 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some people can have babies and make funny or heartwarming or insightful comments, and some people are just as boring with babies as they were without, only they talk more.

Well, sure. But does hiding the Facebook pictures of their babies change that?
posted by gurple at 10:21 AM on August 6, 2012


Facebook isn't a way for me to "stay in touch" or "share important moments". It's a place to shoot the shit and kill time and socialize.

So what you are saying is that people are Doing It Wrong?
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


but it would be nice if it was leavened with a groking of one's child has six billion other humans sharing the world with it

Seven. We've been adding a billion about every 13 years since 1960.
posted by Zed at 10:22 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is of course a special dispensation for anyone posting pictures of their baby riding on one of the Mars rovers.
posted by elizardbits at 10:22 AM on August 6, 2012


So what you are saying is that people are Doing It Wrong?

Have you ever met people?
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:25 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


If someone could also find a way of removing references to wedding preparations as well I would be very grateful. BabyMarriageBook indeed.

If it sounds like I'm bitter and joyless it's actually just that I am bitter and joyless.
posted by spectrevsrector at 10:28 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


My view: if you are active on Facebook, daily or a few times per week, you get what you deserve.
posted by Postroad at 10:29 AM on August 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm thibking maybe If you don't really care about the biggest thing going on in your Freinds life maybe they are actually more of an acquaintance and you should just unfollow them?

That's exactly what I do. Only problem is they occasionally post something non-child-related, and I wind up missing it. It's like some diminished version of their former self clawing to get out.

This is why Facebook needs to let you tag status updates.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:31 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you are active on Facebook, use protection or you may have unwanted babies in your future.
posted by mazola at 10:32 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I find it a little strange that right when there are millions of celebratory MeTa posts about babies, there's also a MeFi post about how we don't want to hear about the babies of our families and friends.

All of the backlash about baby pictures on Facebook has made me super self-conscious to post pictures of my brand new little dude, and then I get complaints that I'm not posting enough about him. I've taken the two-pronged strategy of: post a new album every 2-3 weeks and minimize photos between then, no photos or comments about poop ever. Still the fact that I have almost nothing to talk about other than the baby, and I suspect people will bitch about me if I only talk about the baby, has meant that I have heavily withdrawn from Facebook. This only adds to the isolation I sometimes feel as a new mom.

For new parents it's really a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:34 AM on August 6, 2012 [21 favorites]


I'm not ever going to be a baby person but the childfree movement I've seen online is bizarre. Either have babies or don't. You don't need to be rude about them. But back in the LJ days there were these whole communities of people talking about 'breeders' and 'moos' and 'crotch droppings' amongst other unpleasant names for THE CHILDREN WHO ARE OUR FUTURE.

I’m pretty uninterested in children, but I’ve never heard that kind of talk. Seems a little excessive. It’s probably just people blowing off steam because they have to be polite and smile while their friends tell their millionth update about the kids. I would bet that the people who wrote the most militant anti child stuff end up having children. It’s the fear talking.

Children are not my future, I will be dead.
posted by bongo_x at 10:37 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


For new parents it's really a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.

A different set of friends solved this by making Facebook accounts for their kids and posting pics there. People who are interested can friend the kids, people who aren't don't have to deal with it. It seems to be working well.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:37 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is there anything that lets me replace the babies with cats, but at the same time also replaces existing cats with babies? Because seeing babies doing stuff like this would be kinda awesome.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:38 AM on August 6, 2012


I started a blog for my kid, two years ago. Pics go there. Friends opt into the blog -- they can look at it, they can ignore it.

Baby stuff only goes on Facebook, rarely, if it's concise and either really important or really funny, to the best of my ability to determine objective funniness.

On the blue moon when I post a kid picture to Facebook, friends inevitably clamor for more. I point them to the blog.

I'm doing it right. But, really, if your friends are doing it wrong, just unfriend/hide them and explain why to them. If you can't have that conversation, then the friendship isn't worth your time.
posted by gurple at 10:42 AM on August 6, 2012


I decided not to create a Facebook account for my kid. I'm an adult, I can decide what parts of my privacy I'm willing to jettison forever and what parts I'm not. She's a baby, she can't.
posted by gurple at 10:44 AM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


As someone who lives on the border of Stoke Newington (think the London equivalent of Park Slope or wherever it is that bobos go to breed) and patronises establishments specialising in coffee, I'd chip in to a Kickstarter that would develop a wearable augmented-reality version of this, with noise-cancelling features.
posted by acb at 10:47 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm very lucky that almost all of my friends and family are sane about their baby pictures and updates. Some of that stuff on STFU Parents makes me a little nauseated. There isn't ever an excuse to post pictures or epic descriptions of any family member's excreta, and I have been known to retaliate with descriptions of the fluids ejected by my old cat that day. (Although, I am not a cat supremacist, and don't think my cats are "better" than my friends' kids.)

These babies are part of my friends' lives. I like my friends, so I want to know about what's on their minds. At least the overexuberant baby photographers in my life, don't overlap with the far more annoying overexuberant food photographers. The ones who upload pictures of their every meal with captions like "bear meat and zebra tongue risotto with elk squeezings and garlic butter flambé a la bathtub gin, with a thimble of Prince Charles' bitter tears. My husband is such a gourmet! Def a keeper!"

BUT. I jettisoned a high school friend because she combined baby-photo-oversharing with meal-photo-oversharing. You know what the hell I'm talking about. "Here is toddler ClunkyUnfortunateOldLadyName just loving her vegan gluten-free breast-milk-infused kale mist, because we aren't poisoning her with vaccinations or aspartame." Every single frigging post. It was like receiving transmissions from the Platonic form of such a person.

Have to say, though -- my friends who are grandparents are a LOT worse about this baby photo deluge than the parents are.
posted by Coatlicue at 10:47 AM on August 6, 2012 [18 favorites]


For the most part, my friends have been pretty good at maintaining their adult identity when they have kids. I know of a couple who seem to be treading the stereotypical "baby ate my brain!" path and talk only pooping and baby talk, but they are pretty easy to filter out on FB, although I hope they regain their sense of self as I miss them.

The extension? We all need more pictures of kittehs.
posted by arcticseal at 10:51 AM on August 6, 2012


If this could be used to change my actual children into actual cats on demand, I would pay real dollars for it.
posted by dotgirl at 10:53 AM on August 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


HEY WHAT'S UP the National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition says we need to lose 2/3 of the earth's population, we are already over-using resources by a factor of about two as compared to what the earth can regenerate, and most of my peers seem to be having children as fashion accessories.

Let's hear some more about how rude the mean, grumpy people are to you for having four adorable little munchkins! Can't wait for the Christmas card.
posted by samofidelis at 10:54 AM on August 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


To be fair, I also don't get this obsession with photographing your food. Or posting about mundane shit, in general. But my friends' food pictures never fail to get Likes, much in the same way that peoples' pictures of their screamy little babies get Likes.

What I think it comes down to are different Like behaviors. For example, I have one friend who Likes EVERY DAMN THING I POST. Even comments on other peoples' posts. Even comments on my girlfriend's posts that have nothing to do with him. (which is awkward) I think some people are just "validation Likers" who will Like something either because (A) they think they have to or (B) to make someone feel good and validated. Whereas I only Like something if I genuinely think it's funny/amusing/informative.

Sorta like how favorites on MeFi are equally meaningless. If they were any indication of how much we liked someone, [HYPER ARGUMENTATIVE PERSON WHO I WON'T NAME HERE] would be one of the most loved people on MeFi, when in fact I'm pretty sure he's one of the most despised.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:57 AM on August 6, 2012


Four kids? My guess is that person stopped vomiting daily kid pictures to Facebook three kids ago.
posted by gurple at 10:58 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now, can they do this for Chick-Fil-A and Olympics posts?
posted by Doohickie at 10:59 AM on August 6, 2012


Look, you know what? My son isn't my sole purpose in life, but he's...well, he's probably the most important thing in it. I don't post many pictures of him for privacy reasons, and when I do I don't tag him, but I'm saying---you wanna be friends with me, you're gonna hear about him or see him. Probably the same with my dogs. Don't ever wanna see my kid? Then you're probably not *actually* my friend. Want to stay in contact but don't want to see my kid? Unsubscribe from me. You can't honestly expect every person with a kid to make a separate facebook account for their infant/toddler child and deal with multiple logins and tags and notifications and associated privacy issues just because you don't want to see babies.

I would suggest YOU start a second facebook account and fill it just with the really cool kinds of people you have really cool intellectual radical conversations with about everything BUT the mundanities that make up modern life for most folks, and you keep your old one to be "polite" or to make sure you know when Aunt Gertie finally kicks the bucket.

I get that there are people who accept every friend request, and who think they need 1500 friends. Protip: You don't.

GRAR BABIES is quite possibly the most entitled, selfish, and puerile internet bit of non-news flamebait I've ever, ever seen---and that includes stuffing cats in scanners.
posted by TomMelee at 11:04 AM on August 6, 2012 [24 favorites]


Guess who pooped today... ? in my coffee!!!

              _)_
           .-'(/ '-.
          /    `    \
         /  -     -  \
        (`  a     a  `)
         \     ^     /
          '. '---' .'
          .-`'---'`-.
         /           \
        /  / '   ' \  \
      _/  /|       |\  \_
     `/|\` |+++++++|`/|\`
          /\       /\
          | `-._.-` |
          \   / \   /
          |_ |   | _|
          | _|   |_ |
          (ooO   Ooo)

posted by mazola at 11:05 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sorta like how favorites on MeFi are equally meaningless.

That's just a legal thing. If you go around the corner, there's a stall where the Yakuza dudes "buy" them for cash.
posted by griphus at 11:06 AM on August 6, 2012


My Facebook profile picture is a picture of my baby. Because when I was taking snaps of him one day, he made a face that looked exactly like Baby Herman, and I thought it was the funniest damn thing. I changed it once, briefly, and got a million messages saying "NOOOOO BRING BACK THE FUNNY BABY!" So I did.

However, I almost never post about my children, save for a flurry of posts when the aforementioned baby had to go to the ER and get admitted to the hospital. This is partly because I don't want to alienate my Facebook friends, although that doesn't stop me posting about politics and social issues, but mostly it's because my children are actual people and deserve to develop their own narrative. I also don't post about my husband a lot, for the same reason. It makes me feel squicky to open up their lives to an Internet they don't even understand.
posted by KathrynT at 11:06 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know someone who's in the process of having a house built. For the last four months or so, it's been picture after picture of foundation, walls, plumbing, kitchen. And nothing else.

I hid her. I'll unhide her in a year or so and see if she's more interesting. If she wants to reach me for some reason, there's email and texts and phone calls.
posted by gurple at 11:09 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


GRAR BABIES is quite possibly the most entitled, selfish, and puerile internet bit of non-news flamebait I've ever, ever seen

No, it's more like this : in a previous age, you would fade from our lives just like friends with kids are supposed to. Instead, we have Facebook, an are constantly reminded that our friends have become boring, unrecognizable people.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:11 AM on August 6, 2012 [19 favorites]


I find it sad on Facebook when mothers turn their profile picture into a picture of their baby. It would be OK if they themselves were in the picture too, but having just the baby as a profile picture says to me "this is my entire life now, I am entirely defined by my role as a mother."

Two things:
- Why is it only sad when mothers do this? I know plenty of fathers who do the same thing.
- I really don't like photos of myself. Before I had a baby, my profile picture was one of my cats. Now it's my daughter. I'm still a well rounded person, I just happen to use a photo of my baby as my profile pic... it doesn't mean anything beyond the fact that I think my baby is cuter than me.
posted by barnoley at 11:11 AM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Cats are the best. Internet kitties are super good too. I had to have my cat, Monkey put down this morning. She was the super best.

Everyone hug your cats (and your babies.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:12 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


And yes, hearing people talk about their houses is almost as boring as hearing people talk about their kids. Dear god, I recently hung out with a friend at a "boys' weekend" retreat, and while we were on drugs, he couldn't stop talking about crown molding and faucet handles. It's like dear god fucking kill me now.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:12 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


So if I post a picture of my cat AND my baby would Facebook explode?
posted by Leezie at 11:13 AM on August 6, 2012


GRAR BABIES is quite possibly the most entitled, selfish, and puerile internet bit of non-news flamebait I've ever, ever seen

I dunno, believing you have an inalienable right to create a person regardless of the consequences seems like it could run a close second.
posted by samofidelis at 11:14 AM on August 6, 2012 [20 favorites]


Hey, let's put all the militant breeder haters on a committee that will personally approve all births on the planet.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:19 AM on August 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


I dunno, believing you have an inalienable right to create a person regardless of the consequences seems like it could run a close second.

♬ ♩ Someone sounds envious of my offspring ♫ ♪
posted by mazola at 11:21 AM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


So if I post a picture of my cat AND my baby would Facebook explode?

Try tagging the baby "cat" and the cat "baby," and it very well might. The plug-in will have no choice but to delete everything.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:21 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, let's put all the militant breeder haters on a committee that will personally approve all births on the planet.

Or maybe stop acting like popping out another screaming, crying consumer is some kind of special achievement and not something that most people over 12 are capable of.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:22 AM on August 6, 2012 [19 favorites]


Look, there hasn't got to be a justification. We don't like massive amounts of baby pictures in our Facebook feed. Period.

Just like parents didn't have to justify to us the decision of having babies or posting their pictures by the thousands, we don't need to justify being bored of them, and you can't make us love them, either.
posted by Tarumba at 11:24 AM on August 6, 2012


> Or maybe stop acting like popping out another screaming, crying consumer is some kind of special achievement and not something that most people over 12 are capable of.

Wow, too bad for you.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 AM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hey, let's put all the militant breeder haters on a committee that will personally approve all births on the planet.

No! Let us construct a giant straw golem and write Hebrew script upon its forehead so that the straw golem comes to life and smashes them.
posted by samofidelis at 11:25 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


The idea that I would set up Facebook accounts for my kids makes me queasy for reasons I'm having a hard time pinning down.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 11:26 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let us construct a giant straw golem and write Hebrew script upon its forehead so that the straw golem comes to life and smashes them.

But then somehow one letter gets erased and it ends up posting baby pictures to Facebook.

A cautionary tale.
posted by griphus at 11:27 AM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Hey, maybe let's all just cool it a little bit or go out for a walk or something instead of collaboratively escalating a dumb fight in a thread, yeah?
posted by cortex at 11:27 AM on August 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


aww but mom
posted by elizardbits at 11:29 AM on August 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


MetaFilter: Collaboratively Escalating a Dumb Fight™
posted by mazola at 11:29 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


But I'm not even going to pretend to understand a subculture that asserts, proudly, that there's something weird about being overly-interested in reproduction

It's a reaction (probably an over-reaction, but a reaction nonetheless) to the subtle and sometimes not so subtle message that those of us who can't or don't wish to have children are bad people, broken, or losers. I'm happy for my friends who have kids, and I don't mind seeing pictures of them at all. I do mind being repeatedly asked when we're going to have kids, and getting negative reactions when we say "probably never." I also mind when friends who have kids no longer want to be friends with us because we don't have kids (even though we're happy to hang out with their kids and even babysit from time to time). Yes, it's a minority, but it has happened.
posted by primethyme at 11:29 AM on August 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


The link is dumb fight bait.
posted by gurple at 11:29 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


YOU"RE DUMB LINK FIGHT BAIT
posted by samofidelis at 11:31 AM on August 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


This thread makes baby mazola cry.
posted by mazola at 11:32 AM on August 6, 2012


So if your friends are boring and unrecognizable to the extent that you don't want to see their children, their homes, their dinners, or any of the other mundane-ness that is Facebook...uh...unfriend them?

I'm thinking maybe my entire definition of "Friend" is what's throwing me off kilter here.
posted by TomMelee at 11:32 AM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


I hope this isn't going to affect my friends' enjoyment of the John Waite videos I regularly post on FaceBook.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:33 AM on August 6, 2012


>
I'm thinking maybe my entire definition of "Friend" is what's throwing me off kilter here.


I think so. Facebook friendship is only vaguely correlated with, you know, friendship. Conflating the two is totally useless.
posted by blue t-shirt at 11:34 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


the subtle and sometimes not so subtle message that those of us who can't or don't wish to have children are bad people, broken, or losers.

I have a kid. I love my friends who don't have kids (whether because they can't or because they don't want to).

My wife and I had some monumental bad shit go down, over the last couple years. Who had time to help take care of us, to be with us? Mostly not the friends who had to spend all their energy on kids. Mostly the ones who didn't.
posted by gurple at 11:34 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well in my case I think my friends' kids are pretty cute, and I am very happy for them. But not enough to be flooded by 100 pictures of their little feet (cute, but too much).
posted by Tarumba at 11:35 AM on August 6, 2012


Have I ever told you about the time baby mazola asked for 'pisghetti and meat bulbs?
posted by mazola at 11:36 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm thinking maybe my entire definition of "Friend" is what's throwing me off kilter here.

Facbook is a nice way to passively stay in touch with people. Some of those people are actively your friend. Some were close friends, but aren't any more. Some are just random people you happen to know. Facebook doesn't give us a good way to distinguish these groups or treat them differently. Really, nobody's come up with a good solution for that. G+ is a barren wasteland, and their "circles" thing wasn't really a good solution anyway. Facebook has "groups", but nobody uses them because they're an expert-level feature that wasn't part of the service from day 1. And since it's unlikely that any social network will eclipse Facebook, this is what we're stuck with.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:38 AM on August 6, 2012


G+ is a barren wasteland

ISWYDT
posted by gurple at 11:40 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, some of my friends post amusing witticisms, funny pictures of stuff they've seen around the city, and insightful observations about life. Just because I'm not interested in diapers, crown molding, or what my friends eat for lunch doesn't mean that Facebook holds nothing of interest for me.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:40 AM on August 6, 2012


So I get that they're not the SAME, I mean real friends and fb friends, but ideally these are people you are at least a little bit fond of? I know several people who have two, one with their families and work contacts, and one with actual for real friends. I would just assert that if you have an objection to the way it's set up, then the onus is on you to find the fix, not the people who are using it as designed.

And you do realize you can unsubscribe from status updates and/or whatever from any given person, right?

Again, don't get me wrong. I'm overly protective of my little boy's pictures, it's why I've never even let them be posted here, even though MeFi helped me immensely with all the everything associated with his brewing and pouring.
posted by TomMelee at 11:42 AM on August 6, 2012


To be fair, Facebook holds nothing of interest for me.
posted by samofidelis at 11:42 AM on August 6, 2012


I would just assert that if you have an objection to the way it's set up, then the onus is on you to find the fix, not the people who are using it as designed.

Isn't that what the extension at issue is for? The one that you deride as mainly of interest to "forever alone's"?
posted by grouse at 11:44 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Don't ever wanna see my kid? Then you're probably not *actually* my friend. Want to stay in contact but don't want to see my kid? Unsubscribe from me. You can't honestly expect every person with a kid to make a separate facebook account for their infant/toddler child and deal with multiple logins and tags and notifications and associated privacy issues just because you don't want to see babies.

Very few people complain about having seen a single baby photo on facebook. Many, many people complain about seeing a ridiculous amount of baby photos on facebook. Just because your kid is the most important thing in your life doesn't mean that any number of photos you post is appropriate.

Plus, you make it sound like making a separate page for a baby is going to be some totally hard and impossible thing. I know people whose most important thing in their life is their band or their small business, and they totally make a separate fb page for their band or their business. People do this for things that are not babies all the time. It's not some super hard thing, at all.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:45 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


> but ideally these are people you are at least a little bit fond of?

Ideally. In general, though? Not really.

> And you do realize you can unsubscribe from status updates and/or whatever from any given person, right?

Oh, and I do. End result: the complete exclusion of everything that person has to say, as if they've totally given up existing.
posted by blue t-shirt at 11:45 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok. You win. :(

FYI, as linked to above, FBPurity will let you block individual posts by keyword and type, so that may help you in your quest to make FB what you want it to be.
posted by TomMelee at 11:48 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


If your friends are able to restrain themselves to only posting pictures of their babies, count yourself lucky. Mine have taken to tagging me in pictures of their baby. I have not met the baby! Good thing the babies are wearing adorable outfits. Oh, that's right. They're not. They're fucking naked.

Please stop tagging me in pictures of your naked babies. In fact, please stop taking pictures of your naked babies. Much less, please stop taking pictures of your naked five year olds. You're making us all uncomfortable.
posted by goHermGO at 11:48 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I get tired of people's endless reposting of terrible memes, there's a setting for "only important updates," but I have no idea what Facebook thinks is "important," other than ad revenue.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:50 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


TBH it sounds like people would be happier in general of they just stopped using Facebook.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on August 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


Dear god, I recently hung out with a friend at a "boys' weekend" retreat, and while we were on drugs, he couldn't stop talking about crown molding and faucet handles. It's like dear god fucking kill me now.

Did you give him a copy of Fight Club?
posted by bongo_x at 11:53 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


An app that hides pictures with drawings of ironically old-timey people and text that's meant to be amusing because it appears next to an old-timey person.

An app that hides pictures of dead famous people with quotes next to them.

An app that hides vaguebooking. That's a bit harder, but I bet it could be done with 90% specificity at 90% sensitivity.

All these things should exist.
posted by gurple at 11:53 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Re the whole parents posting as their babies things: that's not going to go well at all when said babies grow up and discover their pictures and dorky "comments" all over the internet. Some presidential candidates will discover they have naked baby pictures floating on the net, and will not be happy. There will be a push to make such things illegal.
posted by Melismata at 11:54 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, it's more like this : in a previous age, you would fade from our lives just like friends with kids are supposed to. Instead, we have Facebook, an are constantly reminded that our friends have become boring, unrecognizable people.

what

seriously, what
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:56 AM on August 6, 2012 [17 favorites]


I don't think it archives the post with the image that was used at the time.
posted by ODiV at 11:56 AM on August 6, 2012


I don't care one way or another about my friend's Michael Cera impersonators, but I don't especially want to see photos of them, because Michael Cera impersonators all sort of look alike to me. They show me a photo, and all I can say is, yes, that is a Michael Cera impersonator. And the Michael Cera impersonators are never doing anything except being Michael Cera impersonators, and, when they are not tearing up things, Michael Cera impersonators don't really do much of anything.

If you have a photo of your Michael Cera impersonator flying a rocket or fighting an alligator, that might interest me. But otherwise, once you have seen a picture of one Michael Cera impersonator, you have pretty much seen every picture of every Michael Cera impersonator.

/for no real reason whatsoever...

posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 11:57 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


what

seriously, what


it's true, you are a total dorkface now
posted by elizardbits at 11:57 AM on August 6, 2012


what

seriously, what


Friends lose touch as their lives change and they grow apart. Facebook just makes this process more awkward, formal, and annoying.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:00 PM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


elizardbits: "it's true, you are a total dorkface now"

aww but mom
posted by barnacles at 12:01 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, it's more like this : in a previous age, you would fade from our lives just like friends with kids are supposed to. Instead, we have Facebook, an are constantly reminded that our friends have become boring, unrecognizable people.

Actually this is the opposite of true, IMO. In a previous age, you would have had a lot more interaction with babies, even before you had a baby yourself (or if you didn't have one). Babies are facts of life, every baby born is special to their parents and if you don't like their pictures showing up on Facebook, block the ones you don't want to see (and rethink the friendship). Life includes babies and it's silly to think you can keep Facebook a baby-free zone when the rest of the world isn't.
posted by peacheater at 12:01 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


it's true, you are a total dorkface now

you didn't even know me before I had a kid. ELIZARDBITS IS LIES
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:02 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Life also includes venting about babies. I think there's room for both on the Internet.

and also pictures of cats
posted by ODiV at 12:03 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Friends lose touch as their lives change and they grow apart. Facebook just makes this process more awkward, formal, and annoying.

It's the idea that people with kids are supposed to disappear that I find bizarre, if that helps.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:04 PM on August 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'd happily block all of my friends posts live blogging their fabulous overseas vacations and gloating over their blissful marriages, because those are the areas of my life wherein my bitterness is most acute.

My baby is more adorable and fascinating than any other baby so I indulge updates re friends' babies in the spirit of noblesse oblige.
posted by milk white peacock at 12:04 PM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


you didn't even know me before I had a kid. ELIZARDBITS IS LIES

I did. You changed, man. You used to be cool and now you sold out. Back in the day you'd never work with Dave Matthews but now he's producing your albums. You meant something and now it's just all about selling your songs to Hyundai commercials and playing stadiums.

Babies ruin everything.
posted by griphus at 12:05 PM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Actually this is the opposite of true, IMO. In a previous age ...

You mean that previous age.... before 2004, when Facebook was invented? Because that's what I was talking about.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:06 PM on August 6, 2012


babies prolly wrote that 50 shades of poop thing
posted by elizardbits at 12:06 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


CAN'T WE ALL JUST AGREE THAT PARENTS ARE SELF-CENTERED AND BORING AND CHILDLESS PEOPLE ARE SHALLOW AND UNENLIGHTENED ?! ?
posted by mazola at 12:07 PM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


now it's just all about selling your songs to Hyundai commercials and playing stadiums.

true true, gotta make that paper, keep the baby in gold lamé and eating straight organic. artistic authenticity seems pretty sad and meaningless next to the sight of your baby totally owning all the other babies on the playground in his limited-edition Wayfarers.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:07 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


TBH it sounds like people would be happier in general of they just stopped using Facebook.

This is basically what I do, though I do keep my Facebook account open for those rare occasions when I need to accept an invite or see people's pictures. And while I know people think I'm weird for refusing to be on Facebook and almost never checking my account, I don't even care. It gives me so much social anxiety, annoyance, and rage, it is just not worth it. Also, now what feels like literally my entire, huge extended family is on there, and I had to friend them all or risk my mother's wrath ("Why are you being so rude on the Facebook?"), and I can't even deal with maintaining the separate family/friend spheres, so I solve this problem by almost never going on at all. Ironically, considering how this thread is going, the one thing I will check Facebook for is baby pictures.
posted by yasaman at 12:08 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The thing I want an extension to kill, more than excesses of baby updates or cat updates or even Olympics updates, is the damn George Takei reshares, please and thank you.
posted by immlass at 12:08 PM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


i can agree that i am superawesome and that SOME PEOPLE in this thread are dorkfaces
posted by elizardbits at 12:09 PM on August 6, 2012


babies prolly wrote that 50 shades of poop thing

I am beginning to think a baby has hacked elizardbits' account. No actual elizardbits would type "prolly." QED.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:09 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


melissam: "I find it sad on Facebook when mothers turn their profile picture into a picture of their baby."

My FB profile photo is a picture of my son. Almost all of the profile photos I have used since signing up have been pictures of him, actually.

My pictures usually are of him because (a) I take a lot of photos and am thus not often in front of the lens, and (b) I think he's pretty cute. So is this sad, or is it OK because I am not a woman? I'd honestly like to know. How does your perception change when gender is reversed?
posted by caution live frogs at 12:09 PM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Babies are WAY better than that one college friend whose every update is about zumba.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:09 PM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


My friends have put up with me and some of my esoteric interests for years. I can take five seconds out of my day to look at what's absolutely changing their life.

Besides, I like looking at baby pictures since it gives me a false hope for the future of humanity, I look at each one and think "Ah! You're the chosen one long promised and foretold in the ancient prophecies."
posted by honestcoyote at 12:10 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


... constantly reminded that our friends have become boring, unrecognizable people.

It's probably very helpful to a lot of people to think of people who have kids as becoming uninteresting and not worth being friends with.

It's probably emotionally easier for a lot of reasons to drift apart from people who have kids, if you don't want kids yourself and if you feel threatened about that decision.

Plus, people do change their interests when they have kids, because their attention focuses itself on kids. Hell, I wish I had time to keep up all the hobbies I had before.

I'm glad my kidless friends didn't decide that my unrecognizability and increased boringness was something to give our friendship up over.
posted by gurple at 12:11 PM on August 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


GenjiandProust: "babies prolly wrote that 50 shades of poop thing

I am beginning to think a baby has hacked elizardbits' account. No actual elizardbits would type "prolly." QED
"

Curse the iCloud and its lax security measures!!! >|(
posted by barnacles at 12:12 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Besides, I like looking at baby pictures since it gives me a false hope for the future of humanity, I look at each one and think "Ah! You're the chosen one long promised and foretold in the ancient prophecies."

But they are!

Look, it's not my fault that 99% of ancient prophecies involve barfing on the cat.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:12 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


caution live frogs: It's only okay if you are making sexually suggestive comments on random pictures and status updates.

PhoBWanKenobi: Or pyramid schemes. Ick.
posted by ODiV at 12:12 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm fairly convinced that anti-baby sentiment is nature's way of keeping those not in a position to be breeding from breeding.

As for the GRAR, MY FRIENDS AREN'T DOING THE SAME CRAP THEY WERE ALWAYS DOING BEFORE THEY GOT HITCHED/IMPREGNATED: really? Now that I have kids when I go out, &c. I feel absolutely the reverse: you're still doing this shit? Like really, going out is not all that hot unless you're in it for the breeding purposes which, hey, case closed for those friends anyways. To me boring is the same nonsense over and over again.

Please though, keep posting photos of your EPIC WEEKEND WITH PEOPLE I FORGET WHERE I GOT SO WASTED (AGAIN) and think its more meaningful than your boring friends who are attempting to not fuck up human beings left to their disposal and are happy to see them progress.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:13 PM on August 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


TomMelee: Ooooooooooh yes, so the forever alone's can skip the core functionality

It's weird seeing how ingrained the idea that having children is a necessary part of life. If you don't want to have children, you are/want to be alone forever, apparently.

I'm married, dude. I find my wife, unlike children, to be great company. The only thing I'm missing due to my lack of wanting children is a lack of wanting children.

mippy: THE CHILDREN WHO ARE OUR FUTURE.

That's the attitude people are reacting to, though. Children are not my future. I will continue to rarely interact with children, and the people I interact with in the future will be adults by then, even if they are children now. Certainly, this gives me an incentive to support quality, free public education. Though I will never have children who benefit from it, I will eventually be in a plane piloted by, eat a meal cooked by, or read a book authored by, someone who is much younger than me.

But that doesn't mean I have any desire is seeing how much they like cookies, see their first steps, or hear how cute their parents think they are. I have friends with kids, and I don't mind seeing them or hearing about them; same way they might have a passing interest in hearing about something I'm into. But beyond that, I'm not interested.
posted by spaltavian at 12:15 PM on August 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'm fairly convinced that anti-baby sentiment is nature's way of keeping those not in a position to be breeding from breeding.

Here it is again; if you don't want a kid, you're defective.

The only thing keeping me from being a good parent is that I don't want to be one; why do you need to insist something is wrong with me?
posted by spaltavian at 12:18 PM on August 6, 2012 [33 favorites]


Ogre Lawless:As for the GRAR, MY FRIENDS AREN'T DOING THE SAME CRAP THEY WERE ALWAYS DOING BEFORE THEY GOT HITCHED/IMPREGNATED: really? Now that I have kids when I go out, &c. I feel absolutely the reverse: you're still doing this shit?"

Clever gambit! Also known as the "How dare you criticize my lifechoice by using an extreme example!? Just to show you, I'm going to do the exact same thing but about your lifechoice!" tactic.

This whole post seems to be the Kobayashi Maru of Metafilter threads. Fascinating.
posted by barnacles at 12:20 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's weird seeing how ingrained the idea that having children is a necessary part of life.

There are three core functions that any animal on Earth has evolved for: Eating, killing or hiding from things that want to eat you, and reproducing. We are literally built to want kids, and to want to raise them. Why is this surprising?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:20 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm fairly convinced that anti-baby sentiment is nature's way of keeping those not in a position to be breeding from breeding.

Oh for pete's sake. What if you just read the arguments these people write. You know, like WE NEED MORE FRESH WATER and THE ICE CAPS ARE MELTING BECAUSE TOO MANY BABIES, those things, instead of just assuming there's some secret reason they must have because babies are so dang cute, who wouldn't want one.

Seriously, what the eff. I don't want to stir the pot back up, but really? You think you have the right to make a person because you have access to X pieces of green paper? That is not the only thing that matters when it comes time to decide to make another person.

It's possible to accept that there are people who are starting from a different set of premises than you, and not to invent SECRET REASONS. A lot of people not choosing to have kids are doing so in order to make sure your kid doesn't end up fighting in a resource war.
posted by samofidelis at 12:21 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I would feed my hypothetical baby nothing but sour poffins.
posted by elizardbits at 12:21 PM on August 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


If the government required you to have children, as various despotic regimes have required since the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus, I bet many of these people wouldn't be posting brag-pictures of their offspring. This being the U.S., they'd be boasting about how they escaped the coercion of the nanny state by NOT having children or by passing off other people's kids as their own, same as boasting about tax dodges in the Cayman Islands.

You don't know how lucky you are.
posted by bad grammar at 12:22 PM on August 6, 2012


We are literally built to want kids, and to want to raise them.

You might want to speak for yourself, dude. I am built to want to throw kids onto the nearest passing ocean liner in the hopes that they will be taken thousands of miles away from me.
posted by elizardbits at 12:22 PM on August 6, 2012 [17 favorites]


I don't want to stir the pot back up...

Why do more words follow this?
posted by griphus at 12:23 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I would feed my hypothetical baby with Ogre Lawless' baby.
posted by lalex at 12:23 PM on August 6, 2012


I would kill everyone.

Wait.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:24 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


[siren.gif]

FLASH! METAFILTER MEMBERS CROTCHETY, ANTISOCIAL
Prefer to use social networking sites in least social way possible
OBAMA TO BLAME?

posted by shakespeherian at 12:24 PM on August 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


no your plan is definitely the best
posted by elizardbits at 12:25 PM on August 6, 2012


No, that's a false flag spalt. I was being stupid above when I said forever-alone, it was more a joke about cats than about no-babies. But saying that you're "not in a position" to have babies isn't an insult. It may not be awesomely worded, but it's not an insult.

I see it in the same way as the "christian" argument. People who are vehemently anti-religion (I'm in this camp) tend to view people who post or espouse christian views as "attacking my right to not have belief", whereas people with those views tend to feel attacked for HAVING them. It is entirely possible to not want children without castigating anyone who has them or wants them, in the same way that it's entirely possible to have them without castigating those who don't or don't want to.

In short, nobody cares that you don't want to have kids. I mean seriously. Nobody *cares.* Nobody cares that some people do. Saying that people who want/have them shouldn't post pictures/stories/songs/dances of those children on a *social networking site*, is pretty silly. It's akin to "Don't put that bible in MY hotel room!"

Again, I am not a person of faith and won't raise my son to be one, I'm simply pointing out it's a made up issue. I say it's a made up issue because we had our son relatively late---all of my cohort had babies 5-10 years ago, and I never felt attacked or rejected for not having them.
posted by TomMelee at 12:25 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh FFS, people who don't want to have children aren't broken any more than people who don't want to build their own houses or climb Everest or open restaurants or become classical pianists or do anything else hard are. This shit is hard enough that it's only worth doing if you want to do it. The big difference is that nobody goes to a party and wakes up two weeks later to discover they've accidentally become a thoracic surgeon.

But when people are in medical school, they talk about the sorrows and joys of med school. When they're training to climb mountains, they talk about the sorrows and joys of climbing mountains. When they build houses, or open restaurants, or audition for the symphony, they talk about the sorrows and joys of those processes. And so do parents. If you don't want to hear about the sorrows and joys of people's pursuits, why are you friends with them?
posted by KathrynT at 12:25 PM on August 6, 2012 [28 favorites]


This thread was totally worth it for 'Apple's New Shoes'! Dogs do not like to wear shoes.
posted by trip and a half at 12:26 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do more words follow this?
posted by griphus at 14:23 on August 6 [+] [!]


Because otherwise someone shits all over other people's beliefs without arguing fairly.
posted by samofidelis at 12:26 PM on August 6, 2012


I don't have kids and have no plans to have any for the next few years at least, but my friends are of the age where many of them are having kids, and so my facebook feed often has photos of babies or toddlers or whatever. It's not really my thing but it doesn't create any more outrage in me than the people who post photos of whatever else happens to be very important to them. I completely understand that my friends with kids have a new thing in their life that is very important to them, and want to share it with their friends.

If you have deep painful reaction to your friends having babies and sharing photos of them, I think that says more about your own psychological issues and insecurities than it does about them. For those of you who don't like seeing babies because you are infertile, you have my deepest sympathies. But it's no more reasonable for to believe that your friends shouldn't post pics of their kids b/c it hurts your feelings any more than people who post pics of their parents shouldn't do it in case they hurt the feelings of someone who recently lost their parents.

Shit happens and you need to deal with your issues rather than assuming the rest of the world needs to change to accomodate you. Especially in something as fundamental as the biological drive most people feel to ensure the continuation of the species.

And I know plenty of new parents who are still the same awesome people they have always been, but now have an important new responsibility -- they don't cease to be interesting simply by virtue of being a parent. If your friends have become like that, I guess you picked the wrong friends, because it's not an automatic consequence of becoming a parent.
posted by modernnomad at 12:27 PM on August 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


Choosing not to have kids is perfectly fine, and nobody should take issue with it. Being a bitter asshole about it and letting the world know on the other hand makes you a ridiculous person and fair game for mockery.
posted by Artw at 12:27 PM on August 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


Also I keep reading the title of this thread as "UNHAND ME, BABY!" like a prim victorian lady chastising an overly forward suitor. A suitor that is a baby. I guess.

THAT CAD.
posted by elizardbits at 12:28 PM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Seriously I totally get people not wanting to have kids, but when you start denying the existence of a biological imperative to reproduce as it applies to anyone anywhere, I'm off your train of logic.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:28 PM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Man, remember when the cliche was the proud dad pulling his overstuffed-with-photos wallet out and forcing you to look at them all right then and there? Science IS awesome.
posted by bendy at 12:30 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "There are three core functions that any animal on Earth has evolved for: Eating, killing or hiding from things that want to eat you, and reproducing. We are literally built to want kids, and to want to raise them. Why is this surprising?"

Not eating literally kills you. It's not a choice. However, we've come to the point now where the other two are choices. We can choose not to kill things (as best as we can) and thanks to the power of modern birth control (or lifestyle choices) we can choose not have children.

But whereas modern society is only just starting to generally accept the idea of people choosing not to kill things for food and to be vegetarian, the concept of choosing to not have kids is so confronting to many peoples' worldview that they cannot move beyond resorting to simple othering tactics and belittling people who choose not to have kids.

Of course, not every parent does this! But many do, and that puts many people not interested in reproduction into a very defensive position, and that defensiveness can turn a bit aggressive now. But it's still a very child-normative world, and many many people find it genuinely confronting to try to parse the choice of not wanting or liking children, and the result is threads like this.

Parents and people who reproduce are still the vast majority of people. Their lifestyles are hypernormative and society accommodates them in massive ways. If the worst they have to put up with is the occassional releasing of steam from non-parents like this "kids to cats" thing, well, it shouldn't be too outrageous for a group with power to understand a minority group's play and resistance, should it?

Mind you, I'm not a parent. I may be one someday, but I may not. But, either way, cats are still pretty great. We should turn this into a "posting pics of our own cats" thread.
posted by barnacles at 12:30 PM on August 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


This extension would not be necessary if parents created a profile for their baby. Then you could assume all the folks who want to see the baby pics actually want to. To me the current situation is no different than a friend whose only photos are of their boyfriend or girlfriend. Boring.
posted by l2p at 12:30 PM on August 6, 2012


How does it derail your logic train to tell you the true and factual information that some people who are completely normal do not feel a biological imperative to reproduce and have in fact never once in their entire lives felt thus?

I think maybe you missed your logic train and are on the express to wtfville.
posted by elizardbits at 12:31 PM on August 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


samofidelis: I agree that one of the most important choices in life with regards to environmental impact would be whether you have children or not. I have to say that I would be very shocked if a significant portion of the population made the choice based on that reason though. No one really seems to talk about it much instead of in general, worldwide, terms.
posted by ODiV at 12:31 PM on August 6, 2012


Choosing not to have kids is perfectly fine, and nobody should take issue with it. Being a bitter asshole about it and letting the world know on the other hand makes you a ridiculous person and fair game for mockery.
posted by Artw at 14:27 on August 6 [+] [!]


What does it make me if I offer arguments against a culture bent on encouraging everyone to have kids because we're facing significant ecological crises. What particular variety of bitter asshole am I?
posted by samofidelis at 12:32 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I only want to block the photos of babies that drink formula. Also, any that look like they'll grow up to ride bicycles through red lights.
posted by orme at 12:32 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian added a cow to his farm in wtfville!
Click here to start your own wtf
posted by shakespeherian at 12:32 PM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


This thread was totally worth it for 'Apple's New Shoes'! Dogs do not like to wear shoes.

They didn't even work!
posted by griphus at 12:32 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would block with extreme prejudice any baby that looked like it might, at some point in the future, eschew the Oxford comma.
posted by elizardbits at 12:33 PM on August 6, 2012 [20 favorites]


...the concept of choosing to not have kids is so confronting to many peoples' worldview...

Is it? I don't see that in my Facebook feed, I don't see it in this thread (coupla comments you could make a weak argument for, maybe), and I don't see it deep within the dark well of my own bitter, breeder soul.
posted by gurple at 12:33 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those babies are prolly jerks.
posted by elizardbits at 12:34 PM on August 6, 2012


I am just skimming through this thread - I can only endure so much hostile ranting. whew.

To the childless: I birthed two children at a time (40 years ago) of Great Anxiety about Malthusian predictions. I felt guilt and fear for their future. They are fine. They are contributing amazing things to this world. I am enriched by knowing them. I am proud of who they have become (no pics enclosed).

To the child-full: I was a very young mother, so my children grew up in the company of my peers -- many childless adults. They all survived and thrived. We all adapted. The children did not live a child-centered life, but were protected from the 'rawest' parts of the adult lives. The adults adored them; my children still have many connections to those adults and people of all ages.

Re: Facebook: If you don't like it, don't view it.
posted by Surfurrus at 12:34 PM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


but when you start denying the existence of a biological imperative to reproduce as it applies to anyone anywhere, I'm off your train of logic.

People have a biological imperative to fuck. Children are just what happens after that. If this "biological imperative" was for reproduction and not the act of sex, I suspect we'd have far fewer children in this world.

Also, this gave me a laugh :

Please though, keep posting photos of your EPIC WEEKEND WITH PEOPLE I FORGET WHERE I GOT SO WASTED (AGAIN)

Because childfree people are all ... fratboys?

And for the record, my complaint is not about people who post boring crap... it's about Facebook not giving us better tools to screen out the boring crap and see the stuff that's actually interesting. The 3 times a year Nancy posts about something other than her children, I'd like that to appear in my feed.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:35 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


In short, nobody cares that you don't want to have kids

My mom cares. She's always hounding me about it, even though my younger sibling reproduced. I'm all 'mom, you have babies to play with already.' and she's all 'winna, I want YOUR BABIES.' as if my uterus was an untapped pokeball and she was a Pokemon master.
posted by winna at 12:36 PM on August 6, 2012 [18 favorites]


I just assumed Facebook would delete profiles for babies. Don't you have to be 13 or something?

Also, Facebook letting us filter based on keywords or albums would be awesome. They allowed us to selectively filter game notices, probably out of sheer self preservation. But if I could get rid of any topic that starts to annoy me on any given day, or at least limit it, without silencing the friends who are big on it completely, then that would be cool.

I'm not sure what their incentive is to do this really. They allow people a bit of control already that hardly one takes advantage of so maybe they figure hardly anyone would use it?

I have no problem with third party tools like the one linked.
posted by ODiV at 12:36 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I swear to god I am going to mention poffins in every single thread for the rest of this week.
posted by elizardbits at 12:37 PM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


CONTEXTUALLY.
posted by elizardbits at 12:38 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I get that they're not the SAME, I mean real friends and fb friends, but ideally these are people you are at least a little bit fond of?

In my case, yes. But social norms vary with respect to Facebook. At some universities, it is the norm to "friend" everyone you meet and it is very unusual not to at least friend everyone in your graduating class. I've been told by younger Facebook users that even if you hate a person, you still connect with them on Facebook. This last bit seemed hard for me to understand, but I just got shrugged at. "That's how it is."

Many Facebook-related complaints have this problem, that they depend on a particular social dynamic. I can't relate to certain complaints because, say, I don't have friends who change their display names to fictional characters or who engage in dramatic status-wars. On the other hand, I do have friends who post baby pictures because we are that age, but my mom doesn't.
posted by cribcage at 12:39 PM on August 6, 2012


In Wee Britain it's pronounced 'Poppins.'
posted by shakespeherian at 12:39 PM on August 6, 2012


elizardbits: "How does it derail your logic train to tell you the true and factual information that some people who are completely normal do not feel a biological imperative to reproduce and have in fact never once in their entire lives felt thus?"

Fuckin' A, elizardbits. From what I've seen for women, if one expresses that opinion in public they are greeted of responses of "Oh, don't worry! Your biological clock will go off!" or "Oh, you'll change!". For guys, it's more of a "Oh, once your woman wants ladies, you'll like them, too!"

But it's astonishing how people are willing to trot out the biological imperative for reproduction, withouot considering that perhaps it is incredibly influenced by both technological availability and cultural mores.

Some people are very much of the mind that biology will dictate and lead to feelings of wanting to reproduce. Other people don't ever feel that they need to reproduce. And yet, the former group is almost always the group telling the latter that their feelings are wrong. Have we not learned anything about trying to deny people their own lived experiences?!
posted by barnacles at 12:40 PM on August 6, 2012 [17 favorites]


since there's no objective, universal standard for what is "boring", the only way facebook could implement some kind of screening system would be to require everyone to tag photos with multiple descriptors (kids, party, holiday, work, guitar, cat, etc), and then allow people to tailor their newsfeed to ignore certain tags.

But that's never going to happen, because it is reliant on people voluntarily tagging their photos with accurate topics, and who wants to waste time doing that? Thus, you special souls who are wounded by what your friends choose to share with you will have to deal with the old fashioned way -- either unsubscribe to your friend's updates (I've done this to people who's sharing I find too frequent or just dull), delete your friend, or stop using facebook altogether.
posted by modernnomad at 12:42 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


What does it make me if I offer arguments against a culture bent on encouraging everyone to have kids because we're facing significant ecological crises. What particular variety of bitter asshole am I?

I think you're probably the guy that everyone assumes just doesn't want kids now, or ever, and is latching on to a convenient excuse. And they wonder why you get upset that they're questioning your motives.

Then later, if you're considering having children based on a number of factors and much careful consideration there is extreme pressure to stick to your guns in order to avoid everyone thinking the constant "oh, you'll change your mind" comments did anything but piss you off.

Am I close?
posted by ODiV at 12:42 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, once your woman wants ladies, you'll like them, too!

QFT
posted by shakespeherian at 12:42 PM on August 6, 2012 [24 favorites]


How does it derail your logic train to tell you the true and factual information that some people who are completely normal do not feel a biological imperative to reproduce and have in fact never once in their entire lives felt thus?

That does not derail my logic train. I hear it regularly from some of my best friends and family members and my head remains unexploded (although most of them do still have sex drives. I was responding specifically to the idea that it's mystifying for other people to want kids (or to think they deserve to be allowed to have them, in one viewpoint) like they're part of some kind of cycle of life or something. It's the same you-don't-know-what-you-want, in reverse.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:46 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Most of my Facebook friends who post baby/child pictures on my newsfeed were never actually friends of mine to begin with. Were my good friends having babies, I'd be happy to see them, meet them, hear about them. But these are acquaintances, former classmates, former coworkers - people whose babies I never would've seen pictures of in real life, and here I am seeing tons of photos of them on my Internet. It's about as interesting and exciting as seeing all those pictures of parties I wasn't invited to and vacations I didn't go on, again because these people were never friendly enough with me that they would've ever been compelled to show me those pictures directly.

I feel like these are things I should not be seeing. Maybe it's because I'm an introvert, but I end up feeling overwhelmed hearing so much personal information about so many people that I just don't want to know that well. And yeah, I have ended up filtering out a lot of these people from my newsfeed, so I don't see them anymore. I'm pretty sure none of the people I've blocked actually care that wondermouse is not seeing pictures of their baby.

At this point in my experience with social networking, why people feel compelled to broadcast photos of their children and private parties to people who aren't actually a part of their lives is a mystery to me.
posted by wondermouse at 12:46 PM on August 6, 2012


So I take it that y'all wouldn't be interested in watching my kids whilst I take Mrs. Creature on a hot date?

Because frankly, we're tired of uploading all these baby pictures onto our Facebook accounts and could really use a break
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:49 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


since there's no objective, universal standard for what is "boring", the only way facebook could implement some kind of screening system would be to require everyone to tag photos with multiple descriptors (kids, party, holiday, work, guitar, cat, etc), and then allow people to tailor their newsfeed to ignore certain tags.

Text mining, image analysis, and machine learning are advanced enough that this could be automated. Facebook is a perfect testbed for this kind of technology since the penalty for getting something wrong is basically zero (you get shown a cat picture you don't want to see or don't see one you did want to? oh no!)
posted by grouse at 12:50 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Children are not my future. I will continue to rarely interact with children, and the people I interact with in the future will be adults by then, even if they are children now. Certainly, this gives me an incentive to support quality, free public education. Though I will never have children who benefit from it, I will eventually be in a plane piloted by, eat a meal cooked by, or read a book authored by, someone who is much younger than me.

Those pink, vaguely boiled-looking bug-eyed babies whose pictures your Facebook page is being spammed with will probably end up paying your pension when you retire*

* Offer not valid in Anglocapitalist societies.
posted by acb at 12:53 PM on August 6, 2012


"Siri, block all baby pictures please."

...what do you mean it doesn't work like that?
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:54 PM on August 6, 2012


Text mining, image analysis, and machine learning are advanced enough that this could be automated. Facebook is a perfect testbed for this kind of technology since the penalty for getting something wrong is basically zero

The Facebook Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th, 2013. Human decisions are removed from wall postings. Facebook begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug. Facebook fights back.
posted by griphus at 12:54 PM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


...with baby pictures
posted by elizardbits at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I find that the people who publically post the most pictures of their babies are also the ones most likely to share warnings about how paedophiles are sending friend invitations from their Facebook group so DON'T CLICK ACCEPT. Or something equally hysterical.
posted by rh at 12:57 PM on August 6, 2012


What does it make me if I offer arguments against a culture bent on encouraging everyone to have kids because we're facing significant ecological crises. What particular variety of bitter asshole am I?

Well, presuming you're being an asshole while doing it, the kind of asshole who rolls around on the floor shouting "I'M SO OPPRESSED!" while still actually being an asshole.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


My pictures usually are of him because (a) I take a lot of photos and am thus not often in front of the lens, and (b) I think he's pretty cute. So is this sad, or is it OK because I am not a woman? I'd honestly like to know. How does your perception change when gender is reversed?

I hadn't seen a man do this yet, only mothers, but my opinion would be the same. I have nothing against these folks, it makes me sad to see on my own feed because it reflects how these people are probably only going to do kid-things now and I won't be seeing them very often. And every comment or update they post looks like its coming from their kid, not from them.
posted by melissam at 1:00 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's the attitude people are reacting to, though. Children are not my future.

Erm, I was referencing St. Whitney in an ironic way. But then, I shouldn't get defensive. I decided long ago never to walk in anyone's shadow.
posted by mippy at 1:03 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's about as interesting and exciting as seeing all those pictures of parties I wasn't invited to and vacations I didn't go on, again because these people were never friendly enough with me that they would've ever been compelled to show me those pictures directly.

True enough, but you can look at Facebook as changing that. Fifteen years ago, maybe I had a circle of friends with circumference [X] that I was "friendly enough" to share vacation photos with. Because back then, sharing vacation photos meant going to CVS to get my photos developed and then actually meeting up with people to show them. And there are only so many hours in the day.

Today, the bar is much lower. It takes me about five seconds to snap a photo of my awesome vacation and upload it to everybody. No cost, no effort...it's easy. Accordingly, "friendly enough" becomes a much lower standard.

Just last week I clicked "like" on some vacation photos that a grade-school classmate of mine posted on Facebook. The main photo showed her two kids zipping around a beach in some kind of newfangled buggy contraption. It looked fun and it made me smile. And you're right, fifteen years ago I wasn't even in touch with this person let alone friendly enough to be shown her vacation photos. Facebook's ease made that possible. I see it as a positive.
posted by cribcage at 1:04 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


...with baby pictures

"Those that cannot remember the past..."
posted by griphus at 1:04 PM on August 6, 2012


I guess part of it comes down to how deeply people have interests not linked to their current phase of life and place in the world. Some keep their interests throughout their lives and thus have something other than life-phase-specific content (photos of being drunkfaced at parties, baby photos, chatter about house prices, discussion of heart/prostate problems, &c.) to talk about, and thus hooks to connect with friends not at the same phase of life. Others (and perhaps this includes the vast majority of people) don't. When people are young, in the friend-accumulating phase of life, they adopt interests to help build up a social circle, and then jettison the interests later in the way that they might jettison their XBox 360, collection of Threadless T-shirts and the bass guitar they played in a band in their 20s once they and their partner buy a smaller-than-expected flat.

Though perhaps it's a good thing that society is gradually becoming more neotenous, with people staying partly in a more youthful, flexible mindset through later stages of life. Perhaps the attitude that once you're married, mortgaged and a parent, interests other than your children and property values are irrelevant and/or counterproductive, will become less prevalent.
posted by acb at 1:05 PM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Pictures of new babies and pets are fine in my books, so long as they're out of the womb. I refuse to coo over anyone's uterus, and I'm sorry if that offends anyone If someone could figure out how to block all the ultrasound pics, I'd really love that.

For anyone who wants to filter Facebook using keywords etc, I highly recommend the FBPurity browser add on. I've been using it to block sports scores and farmville invites for about a year now, and I enjoy both Facebook and my friends status updates a little more for it.
posted by peppermind at 1:05 PM on August 6, 2012


Why don't we just admit that none of this is specific to babies? Facebook has made me profoundly disinterested, and often disgusted, by the things you people do. The only reason I am friends with you is so that I can force you to look at all of the fabulously interesting things I do, insightful thoughts I have about things, and pictures of my amazing children. Truth be told, I've written my own script that blocks every stupid thing you people say and pictures of your butt ugly cats and children.

Also, that ice cream you got at Molly Moon's and posted about yesterday? That shit is making America fat and destroying the planet and I'm sick and tired of having your pro-frozen treat agenda forced at me every fucking day. Some of us are perfectly happy without ice cream, so just please stop it.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:12 PM on August 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


It's fairly easy to make a Flickr set or simillar for baby pics (we have pics from the sonagram through age 3 or so) and then just send a link anytime someone wants a picture.

Also having lots of friends who are too messed up to ever mate or have children helps.
posted by emjaybee at 1:12 PM on August 6, 2012


I'm fairly convinced that anti-baby sentiment is nature's way of keeping those not in a position to be breeding from breeding.

Hahaha, this is the single most ludicrous comment I've read on Metafilter this week, at least.
posted by lalex at 1:17 PM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


now I need http://www.uncat.me/
posted by klapaucius at 1:18 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


this is the single most ludicrous comment I've read on Metafilter this week

It's only Monday though.
posted by elizardbits at 1:19 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hell, I'd be happy if it did something about half my friends list posting "Dancing With The Stars" commentary.

I already don't watch it i don't care what you all think about which dancing has-been outdoing that other dancing has-been shut up about it
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:24 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


We are literally built to want kids, and to want to raise them. Why is this surprising?

We're "literally built" to want to do the thing that makes kids; not to believe people who don't want kids are p-zombies.

Those pink, vaguely boiled-looking bug-eyed babies whose pictures your Facebook page is being spammed with will probably end up paying your pension when you retire*

Which is why I said the whole thing about how I think society writ large should still educate them and everything. I just don't care how adorable they look in their jumpers. Christ, did you not read my post at all?
posted by spaltavian at 1:25 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


i can't read or write
posted by shakespeherian at 1:33 PM on August 6, 2012


you need bitter poffins
posted by elizardbits at 1:35 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I hope this isn't going to affect my friends' enjoyment of the John Waite videos I regularly post on FaceBook.

They ain't missing you.
posted by sourwookie at 1:36 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm fairly convinced that anti-baby sentiment is nature's way of keeping those not in a position to be breeding from breeding.

Here it is again; if you don't want a kid, you're defective.


I concede that I may be wrong, but I didn't read Ogre's comment as claiming that those who wish to remain unenkidded are defective. Rather, I read it as him saying that it's good for those who don't want to be parents to not be parents.

Please, please, please, as someone who "had to be" born (no way my mother's Catholic parents were going to help her get an abortion in 1970), I beg of you, if you don't want to be parents, please take every precaution to not be parents. Reluctant parents are terrible parents. Parents who become parents because someone else is expecting it of them are terrible parents. Don't do it unless you're wildly enthusiastic about changing your life to meet the needs of someone else for a good chunk of years.

I won't think you're defective. I'll think you're doing what works for you, and hope you don't mind me doing what works for me.
posted by MissySedai at 1:39 PM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Perhaps shakespeherian has reached max sheen and needs no more poffins.
posted by winna at 1:41 PM on August 6, 2012


I can't wait until I have a child, so that I can repay all my babycrazy friends with the MOST over the top babbified facebook profile this world has ever seen.

I'll change my profile picture to my baby. I'll change my background image to my baby. I shall delete all of my vacation photography and/or digitally insert my baby into those photos.

I'll delete all my old interests in television and music and culture and replace them with "my baby." (Also, possibly, "The Bible" because those things seem to go hand-in-hand.)

I'll describe my baby instead of describing myself, because I think by then I will have probably lost any semblance of my own identity.

I must change my timeline to reflect the moment that I became a parent, and my demarcation for time shall cease to be reflected in BCE/AD terms, and will instead become BB/AI (Before Babby/Anno Infans, The Year of Our Babby).

I will mark all major milestones in my child's life, from first poops to first grade to first vehicular manslaughter due to intoxication.

I will begin commenting on others' status/photos/links as if I was my own pre-lingual child - with things like "Baby likey!"

And all of this?

All of this will still be better than fucking Farmville.
posted by jph at 1:45 PM on August 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


You should post a daily Bible quote except replace "Jesus" with "my baby."
posted by griphus at 1:47 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


My baby wept.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:50 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


Most of my Facebook friends who post baby/child pictures on my newsfeed...

But they're not posting anything on your newsfeed. They're posting stuff on their wall, which gets posted to your newsfeed because you've told Facebook you want that to happen.

I think here is where we're starting to get to the crux of the annoyance. For the person reading the newsfeed, it definitely feels like they're getting spammed by their friends about topic X (I've definitely felt this way at times). For the person posting though, they're putting whatever they feel like on their wall.
posted by ODiV at 1:50 PM on August 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


incessant, I suspect it's because single people don't really appreciate how having kids can completely overwhelm one's life and nudges out other interests and talk of much of anything else for years and years.

No offense, but this is completely ridiculous. You really think single people don't know that having kids sucks major ass? That's why we don't have them!
posted by IvoShandor at 1:52 PM on August 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


Ha, oh god.

I'm going to throw my data points into the roiling data pot:

1. cared naught for babies or kids 'till I had one
2. completely gooshy about them now, it's sort of embarassing
3. still don't get much out of baby photos, though they are useful basis for statement: "YES THAT IS A BABY"

Honestly, folks, it's chemicals. You'll be rocking along being all like 'HUH i'll call that baby cute when it's old enough to buy me a DRINK' then you get the chemicals spurted into your brain and WHAPPO you're all with the oogie woogies and whosa cutie pizzle pozzles.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:57 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think the problematic assumption here is that the overwhelmingness of kids inherently sucks.

But then what the hell do I know, my Facebook wall is nothing but pictures of a lazy puggle.
posted by griphus at 1:59 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


While they were eating, my baby took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
posted by jph at 2:05 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think you're probably the guy that everyone assumes just doesn't want kids now, or ever, and is latching on to a convenient excuse. And they wonder why you get upset that they're questioning your motives.

Then later, if you're considering having children based on a number of factors and much careful consideration there is extreme pressure to stick to your guns in order to avoid everyone thinking the constant "oh, you'll change your mind" comments did anything but piss you off.

Am I close?
posted by ODiV at 14:42 on August 6


So, I said previously that it's impolite to ascribe motivations to people other than those they clearly state, and to argue against my position that our society should not encourage childbirth, you invent a complicated relationship issue where I have a partner who wants children whom I am disappointing. Is that an accurate summation? You get why that's a dick move, right?

And you're not even remotely correct. I'm a scientist. The preponderance of scientific evidence suggests man-made climate change is looming. Population pressure is likely to lead to a series of ugly crises. Best estimates suggest a sustainable population of 2 billion. First world babies grow into first world grown-ups, and consume far more than their share of resources. Thus, I do not think I have some right to have children. And I would encourage others to choose similarly. As an example of how I wish to see that change effected, I would do away with tax deductions for minor dependents.

See? I didn't say anything about what your spouse and you argue about!
posted by samofidelis at 2:10 PM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


At this point in my experience with social networking, why people feel compelled to broadcast photos of their children and private parties to people who aren't actually a part of their lives is a mystery to me.

That you choose to follow people on social networking whose lives you don't actually care about is a mystery to me. If you aren't a part of their lives then WHY are you looking at this stuff in the first place?

Seriously, I hear this kind of complaining all the time and I just don't understand it at all. No one is making you read that stuff. This isn't even LinkedIn or whatever, where talking about kids and private parties would be weird and inappropriate. If you don't want to know about someone's personal life, don't follow their personal Facebook profile (or Twitter or Tumblr or whatever.) If you feel like you can't defriend them for interpersonal politics reason, then hide them from your feed. It takes literally two or three seconds.

Reading this thread makes me feel like I've stepped into some kind of Orwellian alternate universe where government agents are forcing people to look at their 8th grade math teacher's grandchildren.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:11 PM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


And we have a new "most hostile thread on Metafilter." Holy shit.

I am honestly blown away by the vitriol of the baby wars being expressed here. It is just awful all over, extremely uncharitable, and totally lady-shaming.

Why isn't it okay to make the choices that you want to make? If you don't want to have kids, Mazeltov! If you do, and you can afford to take care of them, fantastic! We don't have to scream at each other, and declaring baby-making so vile that you can't even possibly see an image of a baby on your Facebook feed without feeling cheated seems....so stupid and goddamned petty that I don't even know what to say.

You should defriend these people. They don't deserve your snide hate. They don't need you looking at them and pretending that you're their friend.
posted by corb at 2:13 PM on August 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


you can afford to take care of them, fantastic!

Externality.
posted by samofidelis at 2:15 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am honestly blown away by the vitriol of the baby wars being expressed here

[...]

declaring baby-making so vile that you can't even possibly see an image of a baby on your Facebook feed without feeling cheated seems....so stupid and goddamned petty that I don't even know what to say.

I'm honestly blown away by the vitriol ... so let me add some more vitriol.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:20 PM on August 6, 2012 [19 favorites]


As an example of how I wish to see that change effected, I would do away with tax deductions for minor dependents.

Yeah, the poor should have to pay a disproportionately larger percentage of their income if they have kids! How else will they learn?
posted by griphus at 2:24 PM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


samofidelis: If you think I just made a dick move I think you may have wildly misread my comment or the meaning I intended to convey was the complete opposite of what came out. Nowhere was I saying anything about your motivations, just how other people react to them and tend to disparage or not take seriously those from people who have decided not to have kids.

Where did you get the disappointed spouse thing? You have completely baffled me with your response.
posted by ODiV at 2:26 PM on August 6, 2012


I might just memail you because I made what I thought was a sympathetic comment about people not listening or ascribing different motives to decisions you've made and apparently that's not how it came out.
posted by ODiV at 2:28 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


As an example of how I wish to see that change effected, I would do away with tax deductions for minor dependents.

Yeah, the poor should have to pay a disproportionately larger percentage of their income if they have kids! How else will they learn?
posted by griphus at 16:24 on August 6 [1 favorite +] [!]
No, the poor shouldn't be paying tax. I'm also in favour of a wildly progressive tax structure. I'm in favour of large inheritance taxes, too.
posted by samofidelis at 2:31 PM on August 6, 2012


Anyone feeling extra smug about how their childfreeness affects the environment might want to run and check whether they are still living in the western world and using electricity to post on the internet.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:32 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I concede that I may be wrong, but I didn't read Ogre's comment as claiming that those who wish to remain unenkidded are defective. Rather, I read it as him saying that it's good for those who don't want to be parents to not be parents.

Yes, and good for people who don't want to be parents to not want to be parents. Also OK to change your mind. I was one of those. Lots of parents have been at one time. Also OK to never want children. Also OK to want children and change your mind, though preferably best done before having them and if not finding non-headline grabbing ways of getting out.

Kind of not OK: judging your friends who have gone on a divergent life path as somehow defective because in your eyes they "got boring" and now find their children/partner more interesting (or a compelling way to spend a Friday night) than you. I've been both of those people as well. I know its a kick in the balls to not be held in the same esteem as a creature who shits itself but propagation is a bitch and not without cause. I mean, anyone who gets myopic about any project is a boorish prick, yeah?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:35 PM on August 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


might want to run and check whether they are still living in the western world and using electricity to post on the internet.

A lot of people have access to 100% renewable electricity. This attitude of just throwing up hands and declaring that there is nothing people can do, when there is plenty, isn't useful.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:42 PM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Only the goofiest threads can get people to take themselves this seriously.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:43 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find it sad on Facebook when mothers turn their profile picture into a picture of their baby. It would be OK if they themselves were in the picture too, but having just the baby as a profile picture says to me "this is my entire life now, I am entirely defined by my role as a mother."

I find it sad when people consider their Facebook profiles to be complete, encompassing representations of themselves.
posted by bluefly at 2:46 PM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


I am not inundated with babies on my Facebook feed, but if I was, I would do something to change it. However, I agree with those who dislike it when parents change their profile picture to their child - I am friends with you, I like looking at you, and I don't know or barely know your kid - at what point do I get to see your face again when you update under your own name?

While I understand the practical application of a baby having a separate page, at what age does that stop? Do parents intend to "hand the keys" of the facebook page over once they're old enough to post? Do you wait for your kid to object to sharing pics and updates of them online on their page at some point?
posted by agregoli at 2:47 PM on August 6, 2012


It's a facebook profile of YOU, I appreciate when it's a picture of you as your profile photo, so sue me. Doesn't mean I think your profile is an all encompassing representation of you. Just that it...have some representation of you, and another human being isn't you.
posted by agregoli at 2:48 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm... Plagiarism is wrong, and copyright infringement is illegal... but it sounds like part of the problem here is that babies look alike...

I detect a business opportunity selling "stock photography" stolen off the internets, but which no-one can prove is stolen!
posted by -harlequin- at 2:49 PM on August 6, 2012


I wonder if baby plagiarism is already a huge - but completely undetected - thing?
posted by -harlequin- at 2:50 PM on August 6, 2012


While I understand the practical application of a baby having a separate page, at what age does that stop?

Same age as if you were posting those things to your own wall. Same content, same rules.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:51 PM on August 6, 2012


It's a facebook profile of YOU, I appreciate when it's a picture of you as your profile photo, so sue me.

My facebook profile pic is of some pretty sailboats I saw on my vacation. One of my friends uses a funny picture of Will Ferrell as his. Would that bother you as well?
posted by bluefly at 2:57 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


What does that mean? The kid takes over? I don't understand what you mean.
posted by agregoli at 2:58 PM on August 6, 2012


Really, I can't possibly stress enough that my desire for status tagging goes far beyond babies, houses, and food. I wish I had it for my own feed so that, for example, my non-programming friends wouldn't have to see my programming-related updates. I actually hold back on these most of the time because I don't want to fill my wall up with jibberjabber that most people won't understand, and I don't want to have to answer the question "what is type erasure" in a way that a non-programmer could understand. Sure, I could make a programmers group, but that would be a serious pain in the ass to make and maintain.

I'm really curious why FB hasn't gone in the direction of tagging. I mean, Twitter seems to have embraced it. Or at least its users have.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:58 PM on August 6, 2012


I will also note that having a facebook for your baby is against Facebook's terms of use, so expecting that people do it is expecting they will be breaking the rules of the social media platform they're on for your convenience.
posted by corb at 2:59 PM on August 6, 2012


I am honestly blown away by the vitriol of the baby wars being expressed here.

I think you misreading some of it, I don’t think most people here are really that serious. Except me, I hate babies. And parents.
posted by bongo_x at 2:59 PM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Bluefly - no, it wouldn't, although I prefer pics of the person themselves. It's the usage of another person (non-famous and perhaps unknown to others) as the photo of you that bothers me.
posted by agregoli at 3:00 PM on August 6, 2012


Seriously, I hear this kind of complaining all the time and I just don't understand it at all. No one is making you read that stuff. ... If you feel like you can't defriend them for interpersonal politics reason, then hide them from your feed. It takes literally two or three seconds.

I hear you, and I agree. But I also concur with Afroblanco's point above, that Facebook should make it easier to selectively filter a person. When you filter someone completely, you miss things.

Here's an example. I tend to filter people not based on what they post, but how often. I like my News Feed to feature a blend of different people—grade-school classmates, law-school friends, colleagues, extended family. When one person posts often, they (unintentionally) monopolize my News Feed. So I filter them.

As a result I have filtered a couple people that I want to follow, like one former coworker. She posts something every couple hours, a status or a check-in or a photo, and it inundates my News Feed. But she's a cool person, some of what she posts is legitimately interesting to me (including baby photos, incidentally), and she's also a really pleasant "Facebook friend" in terms of liking and commenting-on other people's posts. I like being friends with her. I don't want to filter her. But in order to follow her and keep my News Feed as varied as I like it to be, I have to add her to my filter and then remember to check her page manually from time to time. Which is exactly the opposite of what I like about Facebook, its ability to make social interaction easy.
posted by cribcage at 3:01 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was responding specifically to the idea that it's mystifying for other people to want kids

Well it’s kind of mystifying to me. I understand the part that makes babies being desirable, but not the outcome. Kind of like how I understand how jumping out of an airplane would be fun, but not if you don’t have a parachute or it doesn’t open. Seriously, use a parachute.

Honestly, folks, it's chemicals. You'll be rocking along being all like 'HUH i'll call that baby cute when it's old enough to buy me a DRINK' then you get the chemicals spurted into your brain and WHAPPO you're all with the oogie woogies and whosa cutie pizzle pozzles.

The truest thing said here. It’s all chemicals. That’s why I’ve avoided so diligently. I would become that person. It is funny to watch parents try to deny that though, like it must be something else.
posted by bongo_x at 3:05 PM on August 6, 2012


For Pete's sake, people, this is a bell curve. On the far left are people who do not want to see, hear, or discuss anything about babies ever. On the far right are people who get massively bent out of shape when people dare express a lack of interest in seeing tiny humans. 99.7% of the people in between are mildly annoyed by babies or sometimes want to see some kids but not see 500 pictures of them every time they log into Facebook OR enjoy posting pictures and seeing pictures of babies but don't have to say "how dare you not want to see my tiny humans! What is wrong with you!"

If people could stop attributing others' 'mild annoyance' at either position to being in the crazy .3% on the curve ends, that'd be super.
posted by nakedmolerats at 3:06 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really, I can't possibly stress enough that my desire for status tagging goes far beyond babies, houses, and food. I wish I had it for my own feed so that, for example, my non-programming friends wouldn't have to see my programming-related updates. I actually hold back on these most of the time because I don't want to fill my wall up with jibberjabber that most people won't understand, and I don't want to have to answer the question "what is type erasure" in a way that a non-programmer could understand. Sure, I could make a programmers group, but that would be a serious pain in the ass to make and maintain.

Yeah, that's what Google plus tries to do, but it is very hard to maintain. I have so many followers now, that it would be nearly impossible for me to add each of them to circles. Plus seems to be enough of the IT crowd though that I mainly use it for that kind of stuff.
posted by melissam at 3:06 PM on August 6, 2012


I would LOVE subject-based filtering. I have a good friend whom I've known for nearly twenty years, who posts on a number of subjects interesting to me. He also "likes," comments on, and re-posts some pretty blisteringly hot kinky pictures. Which is fine! Sexy pictures for everyone! But I'm often checking Facebook stuff when, say, my kids are playing at the park, or while I'm waiting for the next machine at the gym, and I don't always want those pictures popping up in that environment.

I didn't ask him to change what he posts, but when he asked if they bothered anybody, I told him my frustrations. He agreed that that was not-so-good, and ended up making a second identity for all the kinkster stuff. (I wasn't the only one with problems.) That's a pretty blunt hack for what should have been a one-click solution.
posted by KathrynT at 3:07 PM on August 6, 2012


I find it sad when people consider their Facebook profiles to be complete, encompassing representations of themselves.


It's only the thing I see when you comment, when you RSVP for an event (though if a baby is your picture you probably are at home with your baby), when I search for you, when you make a status update about anything. So yeah, it does make an impression on people.
posted by melissam at 3:08 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Err... harlequin I think you missed my point. No one is 'throwing up their hands'... the point is, no one is a perfect enviro-saint, and pretending like people with kids are world-destroying monsters is stupid.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:08 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cribcage, I have had that exact same problem as well, particularly on Tumblr. Most of the time I end up unfollowing them entirely, and you're right, it sucks to have to miss all of what someone has to say just because they're a much more active user than me.

Hopefully Facebook and Tumblr and whatnot will figure out a better way to help people deal with this, because I agree that it's a problem with no good solutions right now.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:08 PM on August 6, 2012


Yeah, that's what Google plus tries to do, but it is very hard to maintain.

You know, I said from the very beginning, "This would be a very useful feature if they gave us some kind of Venn Diagram-like functionality that let us make circles that were intersections or subsets of other circles." But they never did that, and now G+ has become "the thing that only Google employees use".
posted by Afroblanco at 3:12 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Err... harlequin I think you missed my point. No one is 'throwing up their hands'... the point is, no one is a perfect enviro-saint, and pretending like people with kids are world-destroying monsters is stupid.

Babies aren't world-destroying monsters, but their carbon footprint throughout their ~75 years of life is going to amount to a hell of a lot more than the few watts of electricity consumed by powering up a laptop and making a post on Metafilter. I'm really not sure what point you were trying to make.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:15 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think being able to perform boolean operations on circles is not a thing that would appeal more to the masses rather than Google employees.
posted by Pyry at 3:17 PM on August 6, 2012


You know, I said from the very beginning, "This would be a very useful feature if they gave us some kind of Venn Diagram-like functionality that let us make circles that were intersections or subsets of other circles." But they never did that, and now G+ has become "the thing that only Google employees use".

Or opt-in to a particular subject rather than making the author opt you in (Plus now) or opt-out to a person entirely (FB now).
posted by melissam at 3:18 PM on August 6, 2012


I think being able to perform boolean operations on circles is not a thing that would appeal more to the masses rather than Google employees.

I mean, when you put it like that, sure it sounds complex. But saying, "I want everyone in my coworkers circle to be part of the programmers circle" is something everyone could understand, and I'm sure they could think of a user-friendly way to do it.

Hell, forget intersections. Just subsets alone would be nice.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:20 PM on August 6, 2012


Really, I can't possibly stress enough that my desire for status tagging goes far beyond babies, houses, and food. I wish I had it for my own feed so that, for example, my non-programming friends wouldn't have to see my programming-related updates. I actually hold back on these most of the time because I don't want to fill my wall up with jibberjabber that most people won't understand, and I don't want to have to answer the question "what is type erasure" in a way that a non-programmer could understand. Sure, I could make a programmers group, but that would be a serious pain in the ass to make and maintain.

I have a number of Facebook friend lists for such purposes; one's named “Technical”, and consists of programming/tech/computer-related discussion; if I post something about design patterns or the Objective C runtime or somesuch, it goes to that list. There are others for other interests, as well as ones for travel plans, politics and several enclosing levels for personal posts, among others. I'd like to think that if I added parenthood to my interests (or acquired a suitably adorable cat) and, as a consequence, became photographically incontinent, I'd make an appropriate list to post the relevant photos to, rather than spamming all my childless and/or cat-allergic friends with them.

Then again, I did end up writing an iPhone app for managing Facebook friend lists; FB's user interface doesn't go out of its way to make it easy for you. (I think they want you to share as widely as possible.)
posted by acb at 3:50 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


What bugs me is when people post a front-on headshot as their profile pic.
posted by mazola at 3:50 PM on August 6, 2012


HEYhey FYI gang I got a really polite message from ODiV explaining that he wasn't trying to imply that those who advocated fewer children are deluding themselves, but rather that those who criticize them often make those kinds of ad hominem and dismissive remarks. I think his "Am I close?" comment was asking if those were the kinds of things one would frequently hear.

He seems like a real mensch.
posted by samofidelis at 3:55 PM on August 6, 2012


I too am offended and would like to spend my time letting everyone here know that.

Babies and Facebook are serious fucking business, you assholes. Anyone who finds this program amusing is clearly socially retarded.
posted by WhitenoisE at 4:00 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


To clarify, I find the program pretty funny. It's the comments of some people here that I don't think are as amusing.
posted by corb at 4:13 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can't wait till I have kids and send pictures to Afroblanco...he'll love/hate it immensely!
posted by schyler523 at 4:23 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


nobody goes to a party and wakes up two weeks later to discover they've accidentally become a thoracic surgeon

It was college. I was experimenting.

*goes out to smoke a cigar*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:25 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just surprised that we've made it 300-odd comments into a thread in which so much divisive personal opinion has been expressed, and there hasn't been a "facebook sucks" comment yet.
posted by brand-gnu at 4:29 PM on August 6, 2012


It's implied.
posted by mazola at 4:35 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Posting baby photos is a kind of phatic communication.

There's no semantic content in them; there's no intellectual interest or aesthetic merit.

Rather it's a kind of ritualized social interaction. The meaning is not "Junior ate apple sauce this morning" but something close to "behold I am with child, confirm your social bond!". And the "oh so cute" comments on it are a ritualized "I hereby confirm my social bond".

For that reason I dislike baby photos on Facebook just like I dislike all those doggone periods that are posted on Metafilter obituary threads, that are also ritualized noise.
posted by dontjumplarry at 4:43 PM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


In short, nobody cares that you don't want to have kids.

Ah ha ha hahahahahahaha. I'm gonna bet that you're not a childless married woman in her 30s, because I can assure you that family, friends, and coworkers get real interested in my long term plans for my uterus.

PS: Facebook sucks.
posted by jess at 4:50 PM on August 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


I can't wait till I have kids and send pictures to Afroblanco

I was thinking about getting a couple of kids just to start sending pictures to Afroblanco. I could keep them in the barn. But then I thought maybe I would just use random baby pictures off the internet and send them out to everyone and make up stories. It’s not like anyone could tell that it’s a different kid in the photos. I also wouldn’t have to feed them, and the barn will stay cleaner. Who’s got a super cute photo I can use for my profile picture?

My imaginary child just vomited on the floor and drew a smiley face in it. So cute. Pictures coming soon.
posted by bongo_x at 5:13 PM on August 6, 2012


> "I hereby confirm my social bond".

A sound clip of someone saying that in a Portentous Voice should play every time you post anything to Facebook.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 5:21 PM on August 6, 2012


Forget barn-raised children. Just use the stock photo business that -harlequin- is starting and you can send baby photos to Afroblanco without having to actually deal with raising children. EVERYONE LOSES WINS!
posted by asnider at 5:27 PM on August 6, 2012


HAHAHAHAHA!!! I just sent Afroblanco several actual children!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:28 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


For that reason I dislike baby photos on Facebook just like I dislike all those doggone periods that are posted on Metafilter obituary threads, that are also ritualized noise.

A lot of Facebook is just ritualised noise (whether it's baby photos, meal photos, Spotify/last.fm charts or Foursquare check-ins), rather than high intellectual content. Which is why Facebook has mechanisms such as friend lists (for filtering what you send out and who sees it) and the option to select how much you see of another user's posts (to tune out the noise of casual acquaintances).
posted by acb at 5:45 PM on August 6, 2012


HAHAHAHAHA!!! I just sent Afroblanco several actual children!

Thank you for the alligator chow, but couldya please drill some air holes next time? Chompey only eats live food.

Thanks!
posted by Afroblanco at 6:55 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah ha ha hahahahahahaha. I'm gonna bet that you're not a childless married woman in her 30s

just hang in there jess, once you turn 40 people start getting polite about it, assuming that it may be "an issue". The only people that still tell me that I'll change my mind these days are the ones that are completely deluded regarding my age. it's lovely!

what unbaby.me actually needs to do is mess with the baby pics so that they become enjoyable to look at - say by adding a big stogie to the baby's mouth, or an octopus eating it's head, or a crazy hat. Surely there's face recognition software available that would ensure the added images fit properly onto the photos?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 7:00 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


HOLY CRAP that is awesome!
posted by Yellow at 7:02 PM on August 6, 2012


That you choose to follow people on social networking whose lives you don't actually care about is a mystery to me. If you aren't a part of their lives then WHY are you looking at this stuff in the first place?

I've looked at this stuff in the first place because it's the default setting until I start turning off photos from individual people. I have nothing against the people who post these things; I just don't enjoy a newsfeed filled with pictures of acquaintances' kids and people at their parties that I don't know and will never meet, since they would never invite me to their parties, since we're not actually friends and both of us have a tacit, amicable understanding of that.

This isn't anger, it's me finding it weird how some people choose to broadcast their personal lives to people they don't actually know all that well.
posted by wondermouse at 7:04 PM on August 6, 2012


You guys are in trouble now!
posted by Artw at 7:12 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


People always act so mystified about why non-parents are defensive, but then you have one of the early comments in this thread calling people who aren't enamored with babies "forever alone," which is just vile. Others have made similar comments about people who don't want kids being defective. People, especially women, who don't want children are treated as if there it's something wrong with us. So do we get defensive? Hell yeah, we get defensive.
posted by Mavri at 7:25 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Artw: "You guys are in trouble now!"

I had the same reaction to this as I do to Maru videos: How do you keep your floors so fucking clean?
posted by Room 641-A at 7:27 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


My question was what inspired that (very cute) child to assemble her DUPLO into an assault rifle.
posted by cribcage at 7:29 PM on August 6, 2012


People always act so mystified about why non-parents are defensive, but then you have one of the early comments in this thread calling people who aren't enamored with babies "forever alone," which is just vile. Others have made similar comments about people who don't want kids being defective. People, especially women, who don't want children are treated as if there it's something wrong with us. So do we get defensive? Hell yeah, we get defensive.
posted by Mavri at 4:25 PM on August 6 [+] [!]


FWIW, with one child you get the same thing about 'so when's the next one coming along, eh? eh?'. 'Get fucked, none of your business' is apparently unacceptable as an answer.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:31 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, see, once you're a parent you're public property Anyone, absolutely anyone who sees you with the kid gets to ask the "how old?" question. It is just a thing that happens.

And, for the ladies, pre-birth there's that creepy belly touching stuff that some folk try to pull.
posted by Artw at 7:37 PM on August 6, 2012


How far along are you?

Around five months.

Do you know what you're having yet?

Not quite sure, but we're hoping for "human".

...
posted by ODiV at 7:40 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is this a good place to promote my new, in-development, Facebook game:
Babyfarmville?

It features Amelia Dyer and cats.
posted by Mezentian at 7:41 PM on August 6, 2012


I am waiting with great anticipation for the denouement of this prank, which is when the folks who made this thingy suddenly and without warning replace the baby pics for every single person who is using it with goatse instead of kitties.

Ah, goatse, your giant floppy butthole has brought us so much joy, but there is still more to be mined.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:45 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: giant floppy butthole of joy.
posted by acb at 7:48 PM on August 6, 2012


Coming soon: DEFACEBOOK! Where YOU only get to post things that are interesting to ME! ME! ME!
posted by jeanmari at 7:57 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Only in threads on this specific narrow topic does the conversation rest on the assumption that your Facebook profile is a full, truthful representation of who you are as a person.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:08 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not quite sure, but we're hoping for "human".

it is actually a charmander
posted by poffin boffin at 8:21 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gosh! Who could poffin boffin be?
WHOOOOOO?
posted by Mezentian at 8:27 PM on August 6, 2012


it is a mystery
posted by poffin boffin at 8:38 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately we're all child-hating Forever Alones, or parents to busy posting poopy baby pics to Facebook, so there won't be any damned kids around.

You might get away with it.
posted by Mezentian at 8:52 PM on August 6, 2012


People always act so mystified about why non-parents are defensive… People, especially women, who don't want children are treated as if there it's something wrong with us. So do we get defensive? Hell yeah, we get defensive.

OK, yes, very true. I'm still mystified though.

Let's say that your dad put a lot of pressure on you to become a doctor. He made you feel that if you don't become a doctor, there's something wrong with you. Yes, that sucks, I'm sorry your dad is a jerk. But that doesn't remotely explain or justify having a visceral hatred of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and the sound that ambulances make as they go past your house.

It makes sense that you would feel defensive towards people who make you feel bad. It makes no sense to hate a group of people (i.e. babies and children) who have never done anything to you, ever! You also hate parents, and not just the people who make you feel bad and happen to be parents -- all parents.

I am a parent, but I have never in my life thought or said anything negative about people who don't have kids, you or anyone else. Yet I feel like you hate me, for no good reason, just because I made a choice about my life that you wouldn't have. That's exactly what you complain about being done to you, so it's kind of hard to feel sympathetic.
posted by AlsoMike at 9:12 PM on August 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


"Do you have any kids?"
No
"Do you want kids?"
No
"Does your wife want kids?"
No
"Did you ever want kids?"
No
"Don’t you like kids?"
No, we don’t want kids and we don’t really care anything about kids.

The person asking usually has kids and will not stop until they force me to tell them I don’t like kids, which of course seems rude. Sometimes they’re offended, sometimes they laugh with that look that says they’re jealous, sometimes they just keep asking questions. I don’t mind that much except when they force my opinion and then get offended. The difference in getting older is that they just seem confused, intrigued or amazed, when I was younger I had to listen long talks about how I would change my mind, I was missing out on life and how great kids are, blah, blah, blah.

It’s one thing from relatives, it’s another from people I’ve just met.
posted by bongo_x at 9:22 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


Ah, goatse, your giant floppy butthole has brought us so much joy, but there is still more to be mined.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:45 PM on August 6 [2 favorites +] [!]


...yes... we have to go...

...................................................deeper........
posted by Sebmojo at 9:45 PM on August 6, 2012


Well, sure I hate parents. Duh. But only because I hate their children so damned much.

Kidding. I am kidding. I don't hate kids, I just feel better when they're not around.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:45 PM on August 6, 2012


My sister had a baby today, after 58 hours of labor. It's ironic that I should find this today.
posted by brony at 9:47 PM on August 6, 2012


Someone just posted this perfect gift in the 50 Shades thread for your new baby-relation.

Imagine the hilarity.
posted by Mezentian at 9:59 PM on August 6, 2012


By chance, Australia's favourite 'mommy blogger' site, has decided to weigh into similar waters asking the question: Can single women really be friends with mums?

Clearly babies ruin everything, for ladies.
posted by Mezentian at 10:16 PM on August 6, 2012


Oh, no. This is so 4 days ago. Psh. MeFi never does Facebook links well...
posted by mrgrimm at 10:31 PM on August 6, 2012


"Do you have any kids?"
No
"Do you want kids?"
No
"Does your wife want kids?"
No
"Did you ever want kids?"
No
"Don’t you like kids?"
No, we don’t want kids and we don’t really care anything about kids.


You know how my convos have gone with fairly close, childless friends who are married:

"You guys thinking about kids?"
"Not really."
"Not ever?"
"Probably not."
"That's cool..."

... moveon.org to different subject. There are LOTS of reasons someone might not have kids, some of which might not want to be discussed. I think that's pretty much standard courtesy from anyone, akin to not saying shit like "Hey, how did you get all those pockmarks on your face?"

Babies and kids are both as amazingly wonderful as adults can be. You just need to find the right ones.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:36 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's say that your dad put a lot of pressure on you to become a doctor.

Let's say you have a ton of dads, many of whom you barely know, and who all, because they are seeing the issue through their eyes rather than yours, are, despite being nice enough dads in general, totally failing to realize that they're contributing to a really obnoxious pattern of aggregate behavior.

But that doesn't remotely explain or justify having a visceral hatred of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and the sound that ambulances make as they go past your house.

It might explain an accumulated sense of annoyance, though. There's a lot more accumulated annoyance than visceral hatred on this issue.

My wife and I don't have kids. We don't want kids. Kids are fine, I like interacting now and then with kids as funny little bundles of actively developing humanity and all that, but I also like going home without them, and such are my life choices. I have friends and siblings with kids, that's keen, we get along fine.

But I get tired of the question of my kid plans being a constant and a sort of vaguely assumed-to-be-in-the-works topic of discussion. With family who should know better, with people who should know that they've got zero reason to ask. I feel like I can't even slow-play big news with my folks because if there's room to breathe between "we've got exciting news" and, e.g. "we bought a car", there's that immediate OH IS IT A BABY THEN thing that just goes off behind their eyes.

It's a weird thing. It's a weirdly common and pervasive thing. It's not a viscerally hateful thing, but it sure as shit is an annoying thing.
posted by cortex at 10:42 PM on August 6, 2012 [21 favorites]


Friend me, not only will I look at your baby's pictures, i will genuinely enjoy them as I love babies. had I been able to have half a dozen, I would have. Instead I spoil all my nieces and nephews and post pictures of them!
posted by SuzySmith at 10:48 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


if there's room to breathe between "we've got exciting news" and, e.g. "we bought a car", there's that immediate OH IS IT A BABY THEN thing that just goes off behind their eyes

You may be misinterpreting. They may be hoping you're going to tell them that you're going to start posting to Mulder's Big Adventure, again.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:59 PM on August 6, 2012


@afroblanco: To be fair, I also don't get this obsession with photographing your food.

I haven't worked out the stats, but my rough guess is that people without babies/kids are the ones most likely to show me photos of their dinner.
posted by readyfreddy at 2:35 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]



what unbaby.me actually needs to do is mess with the baby pics so that they become enjoyable to look at - say by adding a big stogie to the baby's mouth, or an octopus eating it's head, or a crazy hat. Surely there's face recognition software available that would ensure the added images fit properly onto the photos?



defacebook! that would be the perfect name for it! it could also add moustaches, blacken out teeth, add huge hairy eyebrows... it wouldn't have to be just babies...

surely someone here could make this happen - I can provide artwork...
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:59 AM on August 7, 2012


I am a parent, but I have never in my life thought or said anything negative about people who don't have kids, you or anyone else. Yet I feel like you hate me, for no good reason, just because I made a choice about my life that you wouldn't have. That's exactly what you complain about being done to you, so it's kind of hard to feel sympathetic.

I'm not going to say that no one hates parents and babies, because the world is a big place and there are all kinds of people, and surely some of them do indeed hate babies, kittens, or apple pie.

But mostly I think you are misreading irritation at the social pressure to have children as hatred towards children. I love borrowing kids, but I also love returning them. This weekend a friend dropped off his six year old for the day, and it was great to get a nice dose of kid; it was also great to hand him back right about when he was getting tired and fussy.

It's very odd -- there's this intense social pressure to have children (or to want to have children) on the one hand, and yet at the same time we've constructed a society that is extremely unfriendly towards parents, making having children a much bigger impact on your life than it was forty or eighty years ago. Needing to have both parents working, having health care be both so fragile and so expensive, constructing cities and suburbs that privilege cars and prevent children from playing and exploring unsupervised, and making higher education so fraught and paid for individually by debt all come together to put intense pressure on parents individually.
posted by Forktine at 5:33 AM on August 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


Well, if that's so people could be a lot less lazy and mindbogglingly rude when they're expressing that irritation. It's absolutely not a stretch to take it personally when people say what they have upthread about how parents are inevitably mindless and boring and made a shitty selfish decision that makes people irate and if you post pics of your kid you are going through an empty ritual devoid of any real data/meaning (bizarre) or you're a feminized tragedy of lost identity or whatever the hell else. I don't have kids but all my peers do and imagining reacting to the changes in their lives in that incredibly hostile and smug dismissive way horrifies me. This thread has been something else.
posted by ifjuly at 6:11 AM on August 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


ifjuly, there are lazy and mindbogglingly rude people on both sides of this discussion, just as there are on all sides of every discussion. Fortunately the actual rude people are few and far between.

But it may explain the ire of other people you meet; they've just met one of the really rude people and are touchy. I think we're all a little touchy because we've all had run-ins with one of the rude people.

Man, let's just gang up on the rude people. They're ruining everything.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:47 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


What I find weird is people who tell me "Happy Mother's Day" when I am childless. It boffles me so much that inevitably I tell the guy who is saying this, You Too! And then he's like whoa you are kinda daffy. It must be the tendrils of grey in my hair spelling out in Sekrit Code: "I have pushed an organism out of my womb! Talk to me about it!"
posted by angrycat at 6:48 AM on August 7, 2012


Ah, see, once you're a parent you're public property Anyone, absolutely anyone who sees you with the kid gets to ask the "how old?" question. It is just a thing that happens.

I didn't know this was a thing. I shouldn't do this?
posted by josher71 at 6:49 AM on August 7, 2012


It must be the tendrils of grey in my hair spelling out in Sekrit Code: "I have pushed an organism out of my womb! Talk to me about it!"

I think it's likely an assumption that since you are female you therefore MUST by default be a mother and that, my internets friends, is creepy and unnecessary.
posted by elizardbits at 7:00 AM on August 7, 2012


I wasn't touchy at all til I read this thread, and yes, I've had all the "Kids! When are you gonna have 'em?" pressures and assumptions and socially awkward moments. But I don't then ascribe those individual moments and however they made me feel to all parents ever. Which reminds me of what someone mentioned upthread, about how it seems like maybe the vitriolic folks here just have only been exposed to insufferable kids and parents. God knows they exist. I used to be wary of kids too, didn't know how to connect with them (often still don't if I'm not familiar with them), then had the epiphany they're just like any other set of people, some are cool with me and some are...not. They're not a monolothic group interest- and personality-wise. Neither are their parents--I know the cliche religious mommy blogger who's fearful of everything characterized upthread exists, but none of my friends with kids are anything like that--the feminist lawyer who worked domestic abuse cases and loves pot, nudity, and raunchy humor is still all those things, the old skool (aspic!) Southern gothy foodie with the greenthumb and immature sense of humor is still all those things, the marathon queen who's a bit kinky still (ahem) does all those things, the uber confident loud-mouthed nerdygirl programmer with committed to politics/social justice still has all that going, the shy and cynical bookworm animal-lover who fosters pets extensively is still doing her thing, and all of us go out for drinks and chatter away about it still. Sure there's baby talk and pics, but these are my friends, so it's funny stuff, just as I would expect from folks I picked as friends in the first place for their senses of humor and balanced sense of self-importance vs empathy.

A bunch of the hostile generalizing and smugness upthread (and yeah there's been a bit on the other end, but it got jumped on right away and struck me as an immediate hurt/defense mode reaction to the pile of already established bile coming the other direction right here directly as opposed to cited bitterness from real-life encounters being pinned to all parents everywhere inthread) makes it out like all parents by definition made The Wrong Choice and should be guilted for ruining the planet thoughtlessly with their selfishness, or that you simply cannot be interesting anymore to your childfree friends, etc. And as someone also mentioned above, this is surprising/disheartening too because it's no secret (Metas about it indeed) a bunch of Mefites who are likely reading this have babies/kids.
posted by ifjuly at 7:28 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Uh yeah, if I don't even know someone well enough to know whether they have a child - which is a pretty basic level of knowledge vis-a-vis someone's personal life - I won't be wishing them a Happy [insert parental role] Day. Wow, that's demeaning.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:29 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, okay, maybe they want you to tell your mom happy mother's day? For them? A stranger they have never met? nope still creepy.
posted by elizardbits at 7:32 AM on August 7, 2012


And as someone said on Facebook (which is, gasp, where I first saw this link), "But where is the app that turns pictures of cats into bottles of tequila"
posted by ifjuly at 7:38 AM on August 7, 2012


5_13_23_42_69_666: "Surely there's face recognition software available that would ensure the added images fit properly onto the photos?"

Mustachify.
posted by mkb at 7:57 AM on August 7, 2012


Don't like babies?

FLAG IT AND MOVE ON PEOPLE.

Oh, wait.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:59 AM on August 7, 2012


The World Famous: "I'd rather see my newsfeed plugged up with babies than plugged up with divorces, retirement boasting, or obituaries."

"I'm dead, LOL"
posted by Deathalicious at 8:00 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


If I'm reacting against anything, it's the pervasive attitude that parents should own the moral high ground in this debate.

You've seen the articles. Ever since they took those surveys which showed that having children has a negligible or negative effect on your overall happiness, I've been seeing these articles everywhere trying to refute those surveys. Putting aside for the moment the ridiculousness of trying to refute a survey (that's just, like, their opinion, man), these articles all seem to have the same thesis : "Sure, non-parents may rate themselves as happier, but our happiness is deeper and more meaningful, while their happiness is fleeting and empty, like eating a Big Mac." Hell, I've seen that attitude a few times in this thread alone. And I'm tired of it. Whatever my gripes are about Facebook, I'm not going to say that my happiness is somehow more "real" than someone else's, in some deep ineffable way. I don't understand how raising a child could make someone feel fulfilled, but I'm not going to say that it isn't possible -- just that I don't get it.

Also, I'm tired of people acting like having a kid is some sort of noble, laudable thing. Not that I think it's a reprehensible, dishonorable thing. I think it's just a thing. A choice people make. A spectacularly unoriginal, traditional choice, but hey, it's a free country. What I chafe at is the idea that by having a kid, you're doing some kind of public service to the world, when in fact, you're creating another consumer in a world that already has too many. Sure, your little wuzzy wuzzums may be the next Albert Einstein, but it's far more likely they'll commute to work like the rest of us, burning gas and using too much water in the shower. And if you really fuck up, they might even vote Republican. Now, I'm not the type of environmentalist who thinks you should forgo having kids for the sake of the environment, but let's be real here, the world does not need more people. You are doing nobody a favor by putting another one on this planet.

Finally -- and this ties it back to the original discussion -- it is annoying to be childfree, living in a world that assumes everybody wants or has kids. And even more annoying is the attitude that I have no right to be annoyed, because the parents are the ones Doing The Right Thing, and that I'm the weird one and that I should just suck it up and deal. But America is an essentially conservative nation, and unless you're fortunate enough to live in a handful of urban enclaves, conservative values are assumed. I hope our culture becomes more enlightened, but I'm not holding my breath.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:30 AM on August 7, 2012 [21 favorites]


Also, if you're friends with me on Facebook and you're reading this and you have kids, ummm... forget everything I said upthread. Everybody else's kids are annoying, your wubbly little schnookums is ultra-cute and totally looks different from all the other babies. Please no, don't do that thing you're thinking of doing... don't unfriend me.... I see your mouse pointer hovering over the button, please don't press the button please please please don't press the button.... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.... I want to remain passively aware of youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu......
posted by Afroblanco at 8:34 AM on August 7, 2012


Hey guys, I'll let you in on a little secret. Come a little closer now. Here it is . . . . babies are temporary. Yeah, you heard me right. The little fuckers grow up, start to become more independent, and parents finally have more time, energy and freedom to do non-child centred things for a change. It's great stuff! And here is another secret, . . . when that happens they even stop talking about poopy diapers and boring shit like that. Really! I've seen it happen with my own eyes! I've even heard rumours that the sprogs grow up into actual adults, move out of the house, and then there are another 30 or 40 years or so of life left to live!
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:35 AM on August 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


The World Famous: "I'd rather see my newsfeed plugged up with babies than plugged up with divorces, retirement boasting, or obituaries."

"I'm dead, LOL"


I was using my wife's computer last night and switched over to her browser, which had her front page of Facebook open.

I was a little taken aback because there was her recently deceased grandmother, starting right at me from the gutter.

"YOUR DEAD GRANNIE only has 24 friends. Recommend more!"

*turns and looks at wife while ... CTRL-SHIFT-R, CTRL-SHIFT-R!*
posted by mrgrimm at 8:51 AM on August 7, 2012


I'm down with loving one's child, but it would be nice if it was leavened with a groking of one's child has six billion other humans sharing the world with it. That's all I'm after.

Here's Jack enjoying his bowl of porridge in his high chair. Did you know that Mrs Gretchen Bumgartner of Halifax, Nova Scotia, has eaten over 137 bowls of porridge since 2008?

Jack sure loves his teddy! Bears are disappearing from northern forests at an alarming rate. If you are interested in bears, we recommend the Werner Herzog film Grizzly Man.

Here's Jack crawling over his father's head at 4 a.m., overwriting Dad's short-term memory of that cool stuff he never tells you about any more with temporary consciousness of pain.

Here's Jack playing in the garden. We took him outside during a rare moment of sunshine even though the tennis was on because encouraging him to eat earthworms reduces his food miles.

Jack has started playing with Lego. He now owns one brick for every 7.5 million people on the planet. In the interests of a more equitable distribution of Lego, we have started the Share in Jack's Lego Foundation, which offers homeless adults in the local area the opportunity to build something out of Jack's Lego on the third Sunday of every month.
posted by rory at 9:18 AM on August 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


The world does not need more people. You are doing nobody a favor by putting another one on this planet.

By "the world", do you mean the lump of rock floating through space, the non-human creatures living on it, or the people living on it? Because in the first two cases you're no doubt correct, but I doubt most people would agree that "people do not need more people". Cue Children of Men.

When you have kids you're usually doing your family a favour, and for most people those "nobodies" loom larger than all the other bodies.
posted by rory at 9:25 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Afroblanco: "You've seen the articles. Ever since they took those surveys which showed that having children has a negligible or negative effect on your overall happiness, I've been seeing these articles everywhere trying to refute those surveys. Putting aside for the moment the ridiculousness of trying to refute a survey (that's just, like, their opinion, man), these articles all seem to have the same thesis : "Sure, non-parents may rate themselves as happier, but our happiness is deeper and more meaningful, while their happiness is fleeting and empty, like eating a Big Mac."

...

Finally -- and this ties it back to the original discussion -- it is annoying to be childfree, living in a world that assumes everybody wants or has kids. And even more annoying is the attitude that I have no right to be annoyed, because the parents are the ones Doing The Right Thing, and that I'm the weird one and that I should just suck it up and deal. But America is an essentially conservative nation, and unless you're fortunate enough to live in a handful of urban enclaves, conservative values are assumed. I hope our culture becomes more enlightened, but I'm not holding my breath.
"

I'm guessing there are some breeders out there who are just assholes about it. I have a kid. It's maybe the most awesome (in both sense of the word) thing that has happened in my life. It's also the most challenging. I don't think my happiness is deeper, it's just different. And, it's different than the happiness of other parents too. It might be the exact same happiness that some other dude gets from model trains, I dunno.

For me, I get defensive when people trot out the figures about how costly kids are, how they ruin people's lives, etc. But I get defensive for the same reason I get defensive not being vegetarian. In the end, I know it's a largely selfish behavior, unnecessary and possibly harmful to the planet. It's a choice I made though, and I don't regret that choice, and I don't think badly of people who make different choices but I still sometimes feel guilty about the choice I made, and if anything that's what sometimes puts my hackles up.

Truth is, being a parent is hard. Really hard, and costly. So there are benefits and structures out there that help people who are parents. Now, in many ways I'm glad I no longer live with my parents but in some ways it would be easier if we did not all live the nuclear household. So what's happened is that support structures that should have been familial are now largely political, cultural, social, and economic. I think in the early paradigm, choosing not to have children was a more acceptable life choice because even if you had no children of your own you would still end up caring for children -- your much younger siblings, your brothers' or sisters' children, or even extended cousins or other children in your village/clan/tribe, etc. And while I don't think having children is necessarily this great, laudable thing to do, I think caring for children is. I believe we, as a species, are generally supposed to care for our (collective) young. It really is a profoundly, deeply transformative experience that today unfortunately is generally available only in the context of a nuclear family.

Every time one of my friends has a kid (and I'm right at that age where everyone in my peer group -- fairly well educated hipster types -- is having them), I love to jokingly say, "One of us, one of us!" And realistically there is this positive externality where the more of my friends are parents, the more we can do having-kids things together and lend each other stuff and have play dates. Having kids is a collective experience that a majority of people experience and while deeply rooted in cultural and societal expectations, there also can be a deep primal component to it as well -- both the impulse to procreate and the impulse to nurture.

You are not weird for being different from than majority, but you are not the norm, and often people simply label that which is not normal as "weird". As one of the many breeders, I'm sorry you've been made to feel this way.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:36 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Deathalicious: Having kids is a collective experience that a majority of people experience and while deeply rooted in cultural and societal expectations, there also can be a deep primal component to it as well -- both the impulse to procreate and the impulse to nurture.

You are not weird for being different from than majority, but you are not the norm, and often people simply label that which is not normal as "weird".


This is really good point, and it jolted me into realizing where a lot of my resentment comes from: replace a couple words, and the above could just as easily be describing a religion. And all the social pressure that areas with high religious involvement put on the non-religious.

I was raised as a fundamentalist deep in the bible belt, and I still live there now, as an atheist. Here, procreation, parenting in general, are deeply intertwined with religion. And more generally, the fundamental divide in relatability between people who have and have not had a child could easily, and does I think, lead to an impassioned divide similar to the one between the religious and non-religious.

To be very clear, I am not equating parenthood with religion -- obviously, I know there are many wonderful, non-religious parents. I'm only suggesting that the radical difference in experience or perception between parents and non-parents leads to a gulf nearly as wide as between religious and non-religious.
posted by gilrain at 9:48 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sure, it's a worldview thing. You have extremists spouting nonsense like:

The world does not need more people. You are doing nobody a favor by putting another one on this planet.

So ... without advocating human extinction then, who is allowed to have kids and who isn't? And who gets to decide? Or do you want humans to die out?

But most (knowledgeable) people tend to have a more nuanced view of raising the next generation of humans.

I really thought a lot about whether or not I wanted to have kids. I thought about it for 6-7 years while my relationship with my partner developed. To me, honestly, it was about: a) whether or not I thought my child would be a benefit or detriment to our community/planet and I eventually answered benefit; b) whether or not we should just shut the whole species down, and I eventually answered no; c) whether or not the habitable planet is going to survive in (at least semi-)peaceful form past 2100, and I eventually answered yes (perhaps against my better judgment).

I love my kids, and I have no regrets, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't question those last two (B and C) often. :\

I am an atheist myself, but sure, whether or not you think human procreation (or humans in general when you get down to it) is a benefit or detriment is definitely a fundamental philosophical question.

I'm guessing there are some breeders out there who are just assholes about it.

IRL you'll never know I have kids unless you ask. Now here ... well, sometimes it's fun to be an asshole...

The long and short of it is that babies are way cuter than cats, dogs, or bacon, and that we--unappreciated, unrecognized, selfless, laudable, and noble yet fantastically fashionable parents--are spawning the necessary service personnel who will be wiping your ass when you're hooked up to the cybernetic medical unit in 30 years.

You're welcome.

(c'mon, really. y'all are just jealous of the cuteness, aren't you? or are peeved that your lolcat pic only gets 1 like from your mom while the babies get hundreds? it all smells a bit jealous ... it's very easy to "Hide" oversharers or people whose FB contributions throw you into paroxyms of childless rage)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:34 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I'm dead, LOL"
posted by Deathalicious at 8:00 AM on August 7

posted by small_ruminant at 10:45 AM on August 7, 2012


So ... without advocating human extinction then, who is allowed to have kids and who isn't? And who gets to decide? Or do you want humans to die out?

This is a specious argument. "Fewer people having children" does not equal "extinction".
posted by Afroblanco at 10:58 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Please don't say mere annoyance at a thing is "childless rage" or insinuate childfree people are jealous of babies. Both are totally ridculous and insulting.
posted by agregoli at 11:00 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is a specious argument. "Fewer people having children" does not equal "extinction".

Which is why mrgrimm said "without advocating human extinction, then". I think his point about "who gets to decide who has kids and who doesn't" is a good one. A better question, though, is how does the existence of many of your friends posting baby pictures to facebook prove the birthrate in GENERAL is going up as opposed to just the birthrate in YOUR OWN SUBSET is going up? I've a feeling it's more the case of the latter.

And dude, I'm saying this as a person who is childless and will most likely remain so, and is happy that way, and is annoyed by the all babeez all the time atittude too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:05 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Which is why mrgrimm said "without advocating human extinction, then".

Still, it's a specious argument. I say "people should have fewer children" or "fewer people should have children" and then someone throws "extinction" in my face. And I'm sorry but mrgrimm's wuzzy little pookums is not the one thing standing between us and certain extinction.

Children of Men was a goddamn movie. With religious undertones at that.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:17 AM on August 7, 2012


> You've seen the articles. Ever since they took those surveys which showed that having children has a negligible or negative effect on your overall happiness, I've been seeing these articles everywhere trying to refute those surveys. Putting aside for the moment the ridiculousness of trying to refute a survey (that's just, like, their opinion, man), these articles all seem to have the same thesis : "Sure, non-parents may rate themselves as happier, but our happiness is deeper and more meaningful, while their happiness is fleeting and empty, like eating a Big Mac." Hell, I've seen that attitude a few times in this thread alone. And I'm tired of it. Whatever my gripes are about Facebook, I'm not going to say that my happiness is somehow more "real" than someone else's, in some deep ineffable way. I don't understand how raising a child could make someone feel fulfilled, but I'm not going to say that it isn't possible -- just that I don't get it.

Also, I'm tired of people acting like having a kid is some sort of noble, laudable thing.


Fine, but what this has to do with generalizing and dismissing every parent everywhere, a group which includes people you probably care about and who've done nothing to you, is beyond me. Direct your criticism and ire where it belongs, to stupid revolving door media articles and conventional wisdom about this stuff (hint: conventional wisdom about most things is bullshit and exclusionary). I don't buy any of that shit either, but it has nothing to do with being civil around folks who happen to have kids.

Sorry if I sound all het up. I'll stop now.

And I will grant a lot of the more acid remarks here seem to be coming from a place of hurt about an onslaught of people denying the validity of living childree, and while I've gotten some clueless remarks for sure I guess I just consider myself lucky--even here in the traditional South I rarely deal with anything remotely like that. It would be unheard for someone in my circle to imply you were lacking something or less noble or whatever for choosing not to have kids--friends of mine with a whole brood would never dream of being so rude. And I've got a bunch of 40something year old childfree (and many single) ladyfriends and they never get hassled about it either, so I know it's not just because people think my time isn't "running out" yet. (shrug) Maybe it's easy for me to be civil because the company I keep, parents included, doesn't suck.
posted by ifjuly at 11:24 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


As for "who should decide", that reeks of straw man. Obviously it's a personal decision. My point is that adding more consumers to this world is not an inarguable good.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:25 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry but mrgrimm's wuzzy little pookums is not the one thing standing between us and certain extinction.

It also is not the Last Straw That Broke The Back Of The World Population Camel either, though.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:27 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know who I feel more sorry for, the assholes who have kids and spooj all over everywhere about them or the assholes who don't have kids and make parenting into some kind of awful cult everyone should stay away from.

But here's the thing:

They're both assholes.
posted by incessant at 11:36 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking for my own wuzzy little pooki, by my calculation the two of them represent not just a net increase of zero in world population once my wife and I are gone, but a net decrease because various of our siblings aren't having kids. But of course, random people on the street wouldn't know that. Random people on the street have demonstrated in the past that they can't even tell that friends' kids we're taking out for the day aren't ours.
posted by rory at 11:45 AM on August 7, 2012


*Runs to register World Population Camel at the Band Name Database*
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:50 AM on August 7, 2012


* Grins * Yeah, I gotta admit I've been rereading that comment a couple times and thinking "yeah, I'm kinda proud of that."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:00 PM on August 7, 2012


I could be wrong here, but I get the very distinct impression that most of the people who are talking about world overpopulation... didn't actually ever want kids in the first place. Which is fine. It's fine not to want them. But it's pretty disingenuous to act like you came to the choice after carefully considering the environmental impact, when in actuality you would never have had a kid even if he was carbon-neutral.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:08 PM on August 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


I say "people should have fewer children" or "fewer people should have children"

The obvious questions are: 1) OK, how many children should be born each year and who should have them? What are you basing that number on?

Please don't say mere annoyance at a thing is "childless rage" or insinuate childfree people are jealous of babies. Both are totally ridculous and insulting.

Well yeah. I said it was fun being an asshole sometimes. Everyone else is too nice to do it, so I'll play the role. I'll be the guy you want to hate. ("YOU NEED ME ON THAT WALL!")

Focus your full 2 minutes of hate on me. Feel the power--its pull is irresistable!
posted by mrgrimm at 12:11 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


^ 2)

insinuate childfree people are jealous of babies

If it makes you feel any better, there are multiple times every week when I am very jealous of childfree people. Usually it's around 3-4am (when one of them wakes up in the middle of the night), or 5:30am (when I have to get up for work to make daycare pickup in the pm), or 4-6pm (when I remember what Happy Hour used to mean), or 8pm Friday (when I consider my regular poker group, for which I've attended 5 times this year) ... or every fucking night when I have figure out what to make for lunch the next day, etc etc.

Believe me, I am most certainly very jealous of you. That's probably when some child-free juicebox comes in talking about how oppressed they are by parents, I just scoff and put on my asshole suit. I rarely get a chance to show it off, and it still fits.

I could be wrong here, but I get the very distinct impression that most of the people who are talking about world overpopulation... didn't actually ever want kids in the first place. Which is fine. It's fine not to want them. But it's pretty disingenuous to act like you came to the choice after carefully considering the environmental impact, when in actuality you would never have had a kid even if he was carbon-neutral.

Mostly they're just wrong.

Overpopulation: The Making of a Myth

"Sometime in the latter half of this century, human population will peak. Having swelled to a bit over nine billion people, our numbers will begin to drop as people age and women worldwide pass through the urban transition, gain control over their own life-choices and have fewer children.

After that, population will proceed to decline by the middle of the 22nd century to a number somewhere between 8.5 billion and 5.6 billion (depending it seems largely on whose assumptions about longevity growth you find most credible).

That's pretty much the consensus position among demographers (though there is a range of belief about when the peak will happen and whether we can expect to more or less plateau at 8.5 billion or experience a long bumpy slope to a stable-state population of about 6 billion). Note that we don't need to assume any sort of apocalypse here: this is the orderly progression of human beings passing through a post-industrial demographic threshold you can already see in cultures from Japan to Italy to Finland."


What are the Sustainability Implications of Peak Population?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:26 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


And I've got a bunch of 40something year old childfree (and many single) ladyfriends and they never get hassled about it either, so I know it's not just because people think my time isn't "running out" yet. (shrug) Maybe it's easy for me to be civil because the company I keep, parents included, doesn't suck.

My last comment: perhaps it is all context and social circles. I, for one, living in San Francisco and Berkeley, have never heard anyone ever give anyone shit for not having kids. Free to be you and me and all that.

However, I have been told by two people directly to my face that I am "wrong" for having children (for environmental/population issues).

Comme ci, comme ca. We all think we're so special...
posted by mrgrimm at 12:29 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess I don't get what you're going on about, mrgrimm. Not jealous of babies, don't think any childfree person is. And I don't think anyone here wants to hate anyone.
posted by agregoli at 12:33 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but the Bay Area is a place where complete strangers will come right up to you and criticize you for smoking. Like many other places, there is a huge set of social expectations about what people "should" and shouldn't want to do / eat / drink / smoke. Maybe it's all the smug in the air?
posted by 1adam12 at 12:38 PM on August 7, 2012


Yeah, mrGrimm, but those are rude people you encountered, they do not represent the Totality Of The Childfree Demographic As A Whole.

I'm telling ya, there needs to be a Global War On Rude or something like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:44 PM on August 7, 2012


y'all are just jealous of the cuteness, aren't you?

Man, babies and kids are certainly capable of cuteness, but they are also on average about three clicks lower on the cute scale than presented. And very few parents are receptive to any kind of frank assessment on that front. Which is fine because who asked me? Except for the part where parents will in fact directly or indirectly do just that. I am not a walking cuteornot.com, please do not put me in the position of having to lie to validate your feelings about your child, etc.
posted by cortex at 1:04 PM on August 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't have cats or kids, but I encounter that "Want to see my...?" or "You have to meet my...!" confirmation-seeking stuff from pet owners more often than from parents. And while some parents might get huffy if you don't validate them enthusiastically, I think an at-least-equivalent proportion of pet owners tend to respond to the same by just writing you off completely as a "type" of person.
posted by cribcage at 1:35 PM on August 7, 2012


Cat owners are just parents to a different-species offspring who like the moral superiority of pretending that they're super childfree, yo!

But they act just like parents in a lot of ways, down to fretting about their poor babies and getting them the best kind of care and feeding and showing pictures around and demanding everyone know how cute they are, and getting jealous if the cats like anyone else better.
posted by corb at 1:38 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cat Owners are parents in roughly the same way that Otherkin are cats.
posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on August 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


Holy generalizations, Batman! I have cats, they're just cats. Not kids, not offspring, no way. Just cats.
posted by agregoli at 1:46 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


As long as you don't give your pets distinctly human names. And, I'm not talking about cute sounding names like "Freddie" or something. People who name their dog "Jennifer" or "Brandon" or something are broken souls.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:49 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


My cat's named Fantod. He almost ended up being named Alex (after the protagonist of A Clockwork Orange), though.
posted by acb at 2:01 PM on August 7, 2012


I don't have a dog but I always thought a distinctly human name would be hilarious. Who wouldn't laugh at a dog named Jeremy or Clancy or Reginald?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:10 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guess I'm a broken soul? What a shitty thing to say.
posted by agregoli at 2:13 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


In a vacuum and devoid of context, I can see those names seeming weird. But I can also easily visualize a Friends fanatic naming her dog after Jennifer Aniston or a leftover goth naming his dog after Brandon Lee.
posted by cribcage at 2:14 PM on August 7, 2012


a leftover goth

Is that a thing?
posted by acb at 2:16 PM on August 7, 2012


(My cat is Mona, husband's is Tupac. Guess we must think they're just like people! Ugh)
posted by agregoli at 2:17 PM on August 7, 2012


I'm just recalling an incident I saw where a woman was being pulled around by her leashed dog. She was trying to reason with it like a two year old, with constant "Jennifer slow down!" cries. I'm not excluding comical possibilities!
posted by Burhanistan at 2:18 PM on August 7, 2012


Impossible. More likely: it was a stiff leash, the woman was actually pushing the dog, and the dog was entreating its owner to stop.
posted by gilrain at 2:28 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm late to the party!
Baby posts almost exclusively share happy, positive thoughts. I think they're a nice counterpoint to updates steeped in the need to cover emotions or experiences with irony and jaded ennui. Bring on the genuine joy and adoring fascination with your cutiepie genius babies, parents!
posted by BigJen at 2:58 PM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


> I don't have a dog but I always thought a distinctly human name would be hilarious. Who wouldn't laugh at a dog named Jeremy or Clancy or Reginald

This is my husband's take on naming pets. Ours are Horace and Gertrude.
posted by ifjuly at 2:58 PM on August 7, 2012


I always thought it'd be good to name a pet Ted. It's like the least explicable pet name possible; Gertrude, Tupac, these are names that have a certain soupcon of quirkiness to them as applied to a pet, something a little evocative.

But Ted? This is my dog. His name is Ted. This is Ted, the dog. That's just daring someone to come up with any kind of external sense of why you did that. You can see them starting to open their mouth to ask a question before realizing they don't even know what they want to ask.
posted by cortex at 3:13 PM on August 7, 2012


I dunno, I think it's easy to picture what a dog named Ted what look like. He'd have to be one of those basic, Fisher Price-level archetypal dogs--maybe a light brown or blonde lab. He'd have a long muzzle and his tongue would always be flopping out expectantly. Pretty much the doggest of dogs.

(A friend of ours named his dog Jocko and come to think of it, he looks like a Ted. He's fairly large and kind of dumb but very cheerful and tends to swish his tail, knocking out all manner of precious board games in play, projects, glasses, etc.)
posted by ifjuly at 3:17 PM on August 7, 2012


Of course, for comic effect you could name a feminine looking, super yippy, long-haired, needs-to-be-groomed-with-a-ribbon/barette-to-hold-hair-out-of-eyes little dog Ted. That'd be pretty funny.
posted by ifjuly at 3:18 PM on August 7, 2012


Granted. I have never come up with a single name that is entirely bulletproof against a subjective contextualization. I think Jim would also be a good weird name for a dog, but I can kind of imagine Jim the dog.

I suppose the key thing would be to make sure the dog you name Ted doesn't, furthermore, look like a Ted.
posted by cortex at 3:18 PM on August 7, 2012


He'd be like the canine version of Ted on Better Off Ted--handsome and basic, easygoing.
posted by ifjuly at 3:19 PM on August 7, 2012


My dog is named Hank. He showed up at my door and I thought, "Hi Hank". After searching for an owner, Hank became my non-bill paying furry roommate.
posted by futz at 3:26 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am still on the fence whether or not mrgrimm's wuzzy little pookums is a force for good or ill.
posted by mazola at 3:52 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I had a cat named Jim, after Slippery Jim diGriz. I tried calling him Slip when he was a kitten, because it seemed more catlike, but it just didn't stick. He was Jim, so that's what I called him.
posted by Rocky Mtn Erica at 3:54 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


My cat was bound to be Zach. I think he got the name from a combination of "we heard it was the name of a kid in an Ikea ad" and "we have spent three hours arguing about every other name and this is the only one that neither of us hates so we're going with it".

My grandfather called all seagulls "Ernie." I think they're more "Sid."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:04 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


So ... without advocating human extinction then, who is allowed to have kids and who isn't?

a) That shall remain at the sole discretion of ME.

And who gets to decide?

b) See a)

Or do you want humans to die out?

c) I will rule on this at a later date.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ernie is a really good name for seagulls! Ha. I may have to steal that from your grandfather.
posted by ifjuly at 4:50 PM on August 7, 2012


Also, if you're friends with me on Facebook and you're reading this and you have kids, ummm... forget everything I said upthread. Everybody else's kids are annoying, your wubbly little schnookums is ultra-cute and totally looks different from all the other babies.

Damn straight.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:16 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Stavros is a perfect name for a chicken. Much better than, say, "Steve the Super Chicken."
posted by Thoughtcrime at 8:52 PM on August 7, 2012


Cluck Kent is the best name for chicken. BEST.
posted by Mezentian at 10:35 PM on August 7, 2012


showbiz_liz: "you would never have had a kid even if he was carbon-neutral"

Just you wait. They'll start marketing carbon-neutral children soon enough.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:38 PM on August 7, 2012


cortex: "y'all are just jealous of the cuteness, aren't you?

Man, babies and kids are certainly capable of cuteness, but they are also on average about three clicks lower on the cute scale than presented. And very few parents are receptive to any kind of frank assessment on that front. Which is fine because who asked me? Except for the part where parents will in fact directly or indirectly do just that. I am not a walking cuteornot.com, please do not put me in the position of having to lie to validate your feelings about your child, etc.
"

This is why we generally restrict our "isn't he cute?" to relatives who are legally obligated to answer, "Yes".

OH AND PS, HERE HE IS EATING A LEMON.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:44 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty meh about children in general, but I could watch babies eat lemons all day long.
posted by malthusan at 12:33 AM on August 8, 2012


As long as you don't give your pets distinctly human names. And, I'm not talking about cute sounding names like "Freddie" or something. People who name their dog "Jennifer" or "Brandon" or something are broken souls.

My cat Franklin is quite a good cat, and although my soul may have some issues, I think they are unrelated to the naming..
posted by St. Sorryass at 1:40 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


OH AND PS, HERE HE IS EATING A LEMON.

The best part about babies is their grim determination to understand why the world is constantly trying to trick them. "Why is this orange so sour! Must persevere."
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:49 AM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


If I ever have kids, I'm going to take all my pictures of them in different poses against a greenscreen background so that they can be easily photoshopped into more interesting scenarios. Then I really could post pictures of my baby flying a rocketship.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:37 AM on August 8, 2012


Hmm. This extinction and who will choose who will breed and you are jealous of the cute talk seems a little unfortunate.
My cat's name is Parker, and indeed I have a dead soul, so you better not show me your cute baby, because indeed, such soul-deadness is catching and then your child will be Damien from Omen AND WHO WILL BE JEALOUS THEN?
posted by angrycat at 5:37 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


> If I ever have kids, I'm going to take all my pictures of them in different poses against a greenscreen background so that they can be easily photoshopped into more interesting scenarios. Then I really could post pictures of my baby flying a rocketship.

Someone totally did something similar, where when their daughter was napping they'd arrange her in all these blanket scenarios...let me look for it...

Mila's Daydreams. Like all cool site ideas, it got turned into a book so now the best early content is kind of limited, but that thumbnail thing gives an idea.
posted by ifjuly at 6:05 AM on August 8, 2012


Who wouldn't laugh at a dog named Jeremy or Clancy or Reginald?

Or RUPERT STANLEY PICKLEBOTTOM, for example. Delightful!
posted by elizardbits at 7:41 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I admit to having mild baby jealousy occasionally, specifically on hot tedious days when I am lumbering home from work all exhausted, and I pass by a snoring toddler in a stroller and think to myself YES THIS IS WHAT I NEED, A COMFY CHAIR IN WHICH TO NAP WHILE OTHERS ARE FORCED TO PARADE ME AROUND LIKE A GOD-KING, CATERING TO MY EVERY WHIM. And then I remember that these things are likely in my elderly future and I am over it immediately.
posted by elizardbits at 7:44 AM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Someone totally did something similar, where when their daughter was napping they'd arrange her in all these blanket scenarios...

Holy fuck, where are those magical napping babies and where can I get one?
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:21 AM on August 8, 2012


If I ever have kids, I'm going to take all my pictures of them in different poses against a greenscreen background so that they can be easily photoshopped into more interesting scenarios. Then I really could post pictures of my baby flying a rocketship.

Heh, here is my newborn-ish baby at Occupy Wall Street with my father-in-law.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:59 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is why we generally restrict our "isn't he cute?" to relatives who are legally obligated to answer, "Yes".

I guess. This whole OMG NEVER IMPOSE YOUR BABY ON ME EVER thing is kinda sad to me, honestly, especially considering how isolating new parenthood is and how it makes things like postpartum depression worse.

If a friend asked you if you liked their big craft project/recipe/beer/bike that took them nine months to finish, you'd say yes. What makes it such a huge pain in the ass when it's a baby? It takes soooooo much effort to just be like "yes, s/he is cute"? Come on. At some point you're becoming like those people who get mad when cashiers ask them how they're doing. If basic social interactions stress you that much go live in a cave or something.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:07 AM on August 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I tried but there was no wifi.
posted by elizardbits at 9:11 AM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, babies and kids are certainly capable of cuteness, but they are also on average about three clicks lower on the cute scale than presented. And very few parents are receptive to any kind of frank assessment on that front. Which is fine because who asked me? Except for the part where parents will in fact directly or indirectly do just that. I am not a walking cuteornot.com, please do not put me in the position of having to lie to validate your feelings about your child, etc.

Also, you're not supposed to actually evaluate them on the scale of cuteness. They're asking you to say, in different words, "I care about you, and I acknowledge your accomplishment. You are right to be proud."

Pretty much no parent genuinely needs you to validate their feelings about their child, and I'm kinda making this face at you right now at that assumption. They're just trying to make a connection with you and/or bragging in the form of a question.

I mean, I could be wrong, and there could be parents out there who genuinely aren't sure if they love their baby unless cortex says "yeah, it's cute", but I will posit that those people are probably mentally ill and in need of help. I am completely serious about that, I am not meaning it as an insult.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:15 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


What makes it such a huge pain in the ass when it's a baby? It takes soooooo much effort to just be like "yes, s/he is cute"? Come on.

It's not your fault personally that fuckin' everybody wants their baby cooed over, but that it's not your fault personally doesn't make it not tiring and annoying. "Sure, but just suck it up, it's no big deal" as a response to "I'm frustrated by this systemic, asymmetrical social intrusion" is kind of unconvincing.
posted by cortex at 9:15 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


If a friend asked you if you liked their big craft project/recipe/beer/bike that took them nine months to finish, you'd say yes. What makes it such a huge pain in the ass when it's a baby?

Friends don’t show you new pictures of their craft project constantly for years, keep you updated about when you’ve shown no interest, invite you over to see it when you’ve seen it repeatedly, send you newsletters about it, talk about nothing else, or ask to keep it at your house for a while. I don’t think anyone gets upset about parents showing off pictures of newborns the first time or the first few times. Except me, I hate babies. And parents.
posted by bongo_x at 9:21 AM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's not your fault personally that fuckin' everybody wants their baby cooed over, but that it's not your fault personally doesn't make it not tiring and annoying. "Sure, but just suck it up, it's no big deal" as a response to "I'm frustrated by this systemic, asymmetrical social intrusion" is kind of unconvincing.

It's asymmetrical? You never have anyone listen to your music and ask them what they think? Show off your new couch or shoes or whatever? What I'm saying is that just because it's not one-to-one baby comparison doesn't mean that you never show things to your friends that you're proud of. I mean, damn, there are literally two subsections of metafilter that are specifically designed for people to show the community things that make them proud. Obviously, it is possible to do this in a rude and socially clueless way, but I don't see it as something specific to parents and children.

I'm also confused by you calling it an intrusion. Are people literally stopping you on the street to demand that you rate their babies? Or are these normal conversations where you just don't like the topic or what?
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:23 AM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, to be clear, this is not something that I as a parent feel self-conscious or defensive about. I have actually gotten shit for not talking enough about my baby, believe it or not, because it's basically impossible to win as a mother. You are either obsessed with your kid and a non-person who has subsumed her entire identity in her child, OR you are neglectful and cold.

I mean, people are genuinely making fucking plans to avoid losing their personhood when they have a child. That's not an actual thing that happens, it is completely invented in order to shame women for not being both perfect caretakers AND fun! free! sexy! interesting! consumers! It also has the effect of perpetuating our shared capitalist delusion that caretaking is something that makes the caretaker valueless and therefore subject to low or no pay, poor working conditions, and general invisibility.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:45 AM on August 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's less like hearing about someone's art project (which can, indeed, get tedious), and more like listening to someone rave about their new religion- a religion that often requires them to carry around a loud boombox that's tuned in between radio stations, and later on, to mash wet crackers into any available hair or electronic equipment.

I actually like listening to people talk about how their new religion has made their lives a better, more fulfilling experience, but as soon as they expect me to identify with it, it gets annoying.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:53 AM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Sure, but just suck it up, it's no big deal" as a response to "I'm frustrated by this systemic, asymmetrical social intrusion" is kind of unconvincing.

I don't find it unconvincing, and I think it's pretty much what you are left with in many social-convention discussions no matter how legitimate your complaints. I don't know if baby-photo sharing is asymmetrical, except in a similar way that giving out Halloween candy is asymmetrical (take for a decade or not at all, then give forever), but asymmetry abounds in society. Setting aside asymmetry I think you could make a better "intrusion" argument about something like introductory handshakes, but ultimately the answer is that same, "Suck it up, it's convention."
posted by cribcage at 10:06 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


> a religion that often requires them to carry around a loud boombox that's tuned in between radio stations, and later on, to mash wet crackers into any available hair or electronic equipment

I would be fascinated by the Facebook posts of any acquaintance who did this, and eagerly wait for updates.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:15 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's less like hearing about someone's art project (which can, indeed, get tedious), and more like listening to someone rave about their new religion friend.

FTFY. There is always jealousy when your very good friend makes another friend she might care more about.

There is something inherently offensive about the premise of the add-on.

Imagine UnFatty.Me, which replaces all pictures of fat people with supermodels. Or UnSenior.Me, which replaces all picture of old people with babies. Or UnBlack.Me, which replaces all pictures of black people with cats ...

Also, to be clear, this is not something that I as a parent feel self-conscious or defensive about. I have actually gotten shit for not talking enough about my baby, believe it or not, because it's basically impossible to win as a mother.

This too. I don't post really many pictures of my kids at all on Facebook. And I'm given shit for it ALL the time by family members and friends. "Why don't you post more pictures to Facebook?!"

You literally cannot win; except with the kids.

I think you could make a better "intrusion" argument about something like introductory handshakes

Or Christmas. What the fuck; it's a national holiday!
posted by mrgrimm at 1:01 PM on August 8, 2012


I can't figure out how something that blocks pictures of something you don't like to look at constantly could be "inherently offensive." No one would know you had this extension. Being offended that other people see a need for this for them, personally, baffles me.
posted by agregoli at 1:27 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


agregoli: "I can't figure out how something that blocks pictures of something you don't like to look at constantly could be "inherently offensive." No one would know you had this extension. Being offended that other people see a need for this for them, personally, baffles me."

Well, until somebody comments "What a cute puppy!" on photos of someone's newborn.
posted by mkb at 2:02 PM on August 8, 2012


(Shamelessly copy-pasting because I have neither the time nor inclination to re-write this joke from memory)

A woman got on a bus holding a baby. The bus driver said, "That's the ugliest baby I've ever seen!"

In a huff, the woman slammed her fare into the fare box and took an aisle seat near the rear of the bus. The man seated next to her sensed that she was agitated and asked her what was wrong. "The bus driver insulted me," she fumed.

The man sympathized with her and said, "Why, he's a public servant and shouldn't say things to insult passengers."

"You're right," she said. "I think I'll go back up there and give him a piece of my mind."

"That's a good idea," the man said. "Here, let me hold your monkey."
posted by griphus at 2:12 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Being offended that other people see a need for this for them, personally, baffles me.

Don't get me wrong. I am not offended in the slightest. But I think the add-on is offensive. C'mon, that's its intent, and the only reason it got any attention (for a few days).

I think the UnFatty.Me analogy is fair. What if a FB user decided he didn't want to see pictures of his fat friends (or his friends' fat friends) and wrote an add-on to hide any pictures with people who have waist:shoulder ratios over X?

I wouldn't be offended at that add-on either. But it is offensive.

Know what offends me the most?

I blogged about this Chrome add-on on my site LAST FRIDAY. It was released LAST WEDNESDAY. It was on the Huffington Post LAST THURSDAY. And it shows up here 4 DAYS LATER? This is FARK material, IMO.

Step into my office, MetaFilter: YOU'RE FIRED. I do enjoy shitstorm posts like this one but it is a shitty post in general.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:26 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


But I think the add-on is offensive.

"You are petty and small-minded for being irritated by uninteresting status updates, but I am perfectly rational in being offended by your choice in browser plug-ins."

I mean, people are genuinely making fucking plans to avoid losing their personhood when they have a child. That's not an actual thing that happens, it is completely invented in order to shame women for not being both perfect caretakers AND fun! free! sexy! interesting! consumers! It also has the effect of perpetuating our shared capitalist delusion that caretaking is something that makes the caretaker valueless and therefore subject to low or no pay, poor working conditions, and general invisibility.

Yes, it's The Man. Again. Trying to get you down, as he is wont to do.

Actually, no, it's people seeing their friends do something annoying and vowing not to be annoying in the same way. I see nothing wrong with this.

Baby updates are just like Farmville updates. The only difference is that Facebook gives you a way to block Farmville.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:53 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't mind, and sometimes even enjoy, meeting and/or talking about your kids. However, if that's *all* you have to talk about, then you are a boring person.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 3:25 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Baby updates are just like Farmville updates. The only difference is that Facebook gives you a way to block Farmville.

...

if that's *all* you have to talk about, then you are a boring person.

Facebook lets you "Hide" all posts from certain individuals. If the problem is that some people only post pics of their babies and you don't want to see them, problem solved.

If you don't want to see ANY babies anywhere on Facebook, yeah, that seems about the same as not wanting to see any fat people or black people to me.

It is interesting the antipathy people have towards babies (as opposed to children in general), since it's our extended babyhood (neoteny) that makes humans unique.

... ah, maybe neoteny itself explains the baby antipathy - my 4 y.o. has some serious problems with babies--partially because they take her toys or hit her or scream and don't have to follow the same rules she does. But I think her biggest annoyance is how much attention the babies get (i.e. jealousy).

Perhaps the adults who object to babies so much just retain that juvenile trait throughout their life and let that jealousy build and build...
posted by mrgrimm at 3:45 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Until this thread, I'd never heard the term "Forever Alones". Is that a reference to people who don't have "Companion Children"?
posted by Room 641-A at 3:45 PM on August 8, 2012


Forever Alone
posted by griphus at 4:03 PM on August 8, 2012


Yeah, mrgrimm, that's at least the second time you've suggested that those of us who aren't fawning must be jealous. Are you jealous of your friend's new kitten that she keeps posting pics of? No? Me, neither. Good grief.

Equating getting tired of a deluge of baby pics with racism and size-ism seems just whacked to me, but if you don't see the difference, you don't. The difference is clear as day to me.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:29 PM on August 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


HAVING A BABY IS A PERSONAL CHOICE, RESPECT MY PERSONAL CHOICE.

(i am the arbiter of all browser plugins, your personal choice is wrong)
posted by Afroblanco at 4:44 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Perhaps the adults who object to babies so much just retain that juvenile trait throughout their life and let that jealousy build and build...

Babies are never tiresome. Over-enthusiastic parents, however, are extraordinarily tiresome.
posted by Forktine at 5:24 PM on August 8, 2012


I dunno, you ever try to talk philosophy with a baby? They won't shut up about Ayn Rand, it's ridiculous.
posted by cortex at 5:26 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jesus christ, on my flight back from St. Louis, this one baby would not shut up about Hume's response to Kant.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:34 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant: Baby

Introduction

Of the difference between Pure and Empirical Knowledge

WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!! WAH WAH WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!

And so the flight continued....
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:52 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, if fat/black people are the same as babies on your FB feed, you have seriously weird friends. I've never had friend who posted daily pictures of their fat/black friend about how cute/unique/able to poop they are.

I had also never seen the forever alone thing before this thread and was pretty disappointed that a poster I've admired would say something so awful.
posted by Mavri at 5:53 PM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


On the "able to poop" front, today my FB feed is clogged with posts about Sims Social and Sims pooping, complete with pixellated pictures of Sims on the toilet, and fancy Sims toilets. I'm pretty sure now that I don't want posts about excretory functions in my feed, whether they're about tiny humans or computer simulations (or anybody's cat either, although at least nobody's posting about their litterbox today).
posted by immlass at 9:25 AM on August 9, 2012


Okay, so this discussion is probably about over now that I got it it. But...

The real problem is (as Curly from City Slickers would say) One Thing.

If you have One Thing, and that is all that you talk about, or 90% of what you talk about, it will eventually get on the nerves of other people who are not also that obsessed with One Thing. If that one thing is your precious cute baby, or if it's that you're buying a house*, or it's your wedding, or if it's that you are super obsessed with Fifty Shades of Grey, or if you can't talk about anything other than knitting...this kind of reaction is inevitable. People like variety in their conversations, and if you can't provide that because all you can think about and talk about is your baby, your house, your wedding, your porn book, or your knitting, then people will get sick of you and think you've turned into a one note human being.

Where the baby thing in particular gets a bad rap is that unlike the house buying or the wedding (which if you're lucky, will blow over in a year or two), people are probably going to be in Baby Obsession Mode for a minimum of at least five years, to possibly 18 years, to possibly forever. It may NEVER end. Throwing in the expectations on top of that that (a) everyone else should also be obsessed with your baby, or babies in general, and (b) that everyone should and has to have a baby, regardless of ANYTHING, and you get even more frustration. Sometimes even from *gasp* people who have their own babies!

And of course, Facebook makes this worse because now it is apparently the entire Internet and has to have EVERYTHING mashed together for EVERYONE WHO'S EVER HEARD OF YOU to see. Way back in the day, folks would have a "My New House!" blog, or a mommy blog, or a knitting blog, and people who wanted to read only about those subjects could do that, and those who didn't, skipped it. But now everything has to be seen all at once by everybody, no matter what. Yet another reason why Facebook sucks (had to say it).

Moral of the story: vary your conversation topics, people. That is all.

* Dear god, the buying-a-house people! I want to stab all people involved in the house buying process every time I am forced to hear about the evil stuff going down when people want to buy a house. Which I did on a daily basis for 3 months at work--still can't block people on that one.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:30 AM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Are you jealous of your friend's new kitten that she keeps posting pics of?

Yes, yes I am. It makes me look around at my small apartment and my two cats and dream of moving to the country so I can have a gazillion kittens and maybe a pygmy goat. My husband would gladly pay to have all kitten photos replaced with bacon on my computer.
posted by snickerdoodle at 11:28 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know what I'd love to be able to filter out? Relationship status changes.
posted by ODiV at 11:09 PM on August 16, 2012


That'd be complicated.
posted by Artw at 11:14 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Again, FB Purity allows you to filter out relationship status changes too.
posted by TomMelee at 5:53 AM on August 17, 2012


Thanks. Mostly using it on my phone these days, though.
posted by ODiV at 9:27 AM on August 17, 2012


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