Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


15 years later, Fark discovers moderation
August 19, 2014 8:05 PM   Subscribe

Fark Wants to Ban Misogyny. Is That Even Possible?
posted by CitoyenK (67 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Policing misogyny is fabulous in theory. In practice, it's a bitch.

Is this supposed to be ironic, or illustrative, or wha OW! dammit, my brain just scrammed.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:09 PM on August 19 [45 favorites]


Fark still exists?
posted by vuron at 8:10 PM on August 19 [26 favorites]


Every few years I visit fark.com and am always surprised that people are still using that site.
posted by zixyer at 8:10 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I used to hang out on Fark, years ago, but I got tired of the constant "boobies" talk and other attitudes. It will definitely change the character of the place. I was actually more surprised that it's still up and running!
posted by Biblio at 8:10 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Wow, I totally forgot about Fark, it used to be my first port of call every day about ten or so years ago, while I saved up for a Metafilter account.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:11 PM on August 19 [24 favorites]


I wonder if "First post" will still be filtered to read "Boobies"?
posted by themanwho at 8:17 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


This is clearly just a cynical ploy to trick people into not being such huge jerks.
posted by aubilenon at 8:18 PM on August 19 [22 favorites]


Well, yeah, I haven't visited Fark in this millennium, except, perhaps accidentally and forgettably, but, I have to say that for an overwhelmingly "bro" site to address this issue has to be an indicator of social progress. This is not the first time in the last year or two that misogyny has been publicly acknowledged to be a problem - especially on the Internet. In fact, the terms slut-shaming and rape culture that have become ubiquitous in the last year or two indicate that feminism is making startling advances in Internet culture - and in all mediated culture.
posted by kozad at 8:29 PM on August 19 [41 favorites]


Fark is the closest thing we have to an internet living history museum. Go and visit for an afternoon and be amazed at how people once lived!
posted by boubelium at 8:29 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


"The woman moderators bear the names Jessica, Erica, Sakura, Samantha, Aaliyah, Monique, Yvonne, and Nikita and only one is willing to appear at a time in person or on camera"
posted by aydeejones at 8:29 PM on August 19


Together they earn UNTOLD FORTUNES
posted by aydeejones at 8:30 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


This is a complete tangent, but Fark is responsible for the funniest discussion thread I've ever read on the internet -- wherein a man in a bathrobe, and sitting in a chair with wooden slats, got his testicles stuck in the seat. And, of course, turned to Fark for assistance.

It was hysterical. But I went looking for the thread a few years ago and nearly all the image posts had disappeared. A tragedy.
posted by EmGeeJay at 8:50 PM on August 19 [13 favorites]


Fark is the closest thing we have to an internet living history museum.

I don't know that we are in any position to talk.

What Kozad said--Fark was founded as a bro site before we had the term (there was even a boobies tag icon). That they are trying to shed this is a sign of larger, positive trends in our society.
posted by LarryC at 9:00 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I left Fark for Reddit about 6 years ago, because the bro-ey homophobia, racism, and misogyny were too much. I went back into several comments thread a few weeks ago, and it seemed like a refreshingly unserious bunch of people that were far more civil than Reddit.

I guess I'm trying to say that I love you Metafilter, thank you mods.
posted by DGStieber at 9:05 PM on August 19 [24 favorites]


...a website with an 88 percent male readership that deploys words like slut, boobies, and sandwich so routinely that commenters claim they’ve been magically cleansed of their originally sexist context...

Um, what is sexist about "sandwich"? As in, "Make me a sandwich, woman!"?
posted by jcreigh at 9:08 PM on August 19


Fark is the closest thing we have to an internet living history museum.

Wow, they still have the nigh-illegible topic images! Too bad they had to put in all that whitespace, though. Density was a big part of early era websites.
posted by echo target at 9:09 PM on August 19


This is a little bit like hearing that 8-tracks have decided to ban misogyny.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:10 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: the closest thing we have to an internet living history museum.

(there was even a boobies tag icon)

It still exists. It's just been relegated to their subsite for adult-oriented links.
posted by Shmuel510 at 9:15 PM on August 19


Am I the only one amused by Mefites deriding Fark for being an internet archival piece? I love this place, but it was launched the same year Fark was.

EmGeeJay: "This is a complete tangent, but Fark is responsible for the funniest discussion thread I've ever read on the internet -- wherein a man in a bathrobe, and sitting in a chair with wooden slats, got his testicles stuck in the seat. And, of course, turned to Fark for assistance.

It was hysterical. But I went looking for the thread a few years ago and nearly all the image posts had disappeared. A tragedy
"

Speaking of internet archives, The Internet Archive has an archive of that internet, with most (but not all) of the pictures intact.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:23 PM on August 19 [20 favorites]


Is That Even Possible?

Um, yeah? Well okay probably not 100% possible...but I think Metafilter's a pretty good example of a community site that doesn't tolerate hate speech. Most of the time, anyway.

It's a noble endeavor! Huzzah!!! and all that
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:23 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Together they earn UNTOLD FORTUNES

still not enough.
posted by Dashy at 9:23 PM on August 19


Also, here's a GIS cache of the entrapped nutsack with an Imgur mirror.

YOU ARE WELCOME, FUTURE GENERATIONS OF TESTICULAR SCHADENFREUDE ENTHUSIASTS.

edit: sweet freedom (in card form)
posted by Rhaomi at 9:33 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Am I the only one amused by Mefites deriding Fark for being an internet archival piece? I love this place, but it was launched the same year Fark was.

Yeah, I'm laughing along too. If Fark is a museum piece, so are we.

Anyway, I think this is a good move, back in the very old days, Fark used to throw meetups at bars and have "fark girls" show up in tight tiny shirts and boy shorts and I thought the whole thing was kind of gross. It seems in the past 15 years, bro dudes have sites like The Chive which I find super gross and super terrible towards women even though they claim not to, and reddit, who gathered up all the MRA men-hating-women club, and Fark probably looked at that and said no more?
posted by mathowie at 9:38 PM on August 19 [15 favorites]


From the article:
Curtis' own bio on the site is “Drew runs Fark. Drew likes boobies and beer. That's pretty much it.”
So yeah, good luck with that.

On a sidenote, I saw Drew speak a few years ago - he's a really bright insightful dude.
posted by el io at 9:40 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


My former business partner went to B school with Drew. That dude made moneys.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:43 PM on August 19


Every time I glanced past this story today until now, I somehow interpreted it as FARC and idly figured, well as least Colombian guerillas will be more woman-friendly? Time for me to turn in I think.
posted by lookoutbelow at 9:49 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Nothing says fark like the photoshop contest. Man did I ever have a blast completing some of those entries with just freeware and paint.
posted by Meatafoecure at 9:54 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Heh, I just tested my old login at Fark and it told me my last comment was 13 years ago.

Anyway, credit to them for making a move in the right direction. Metafilter might be the same age, but has been through a lot more cultural growth with the boyzone, "hit it", trans*, and other lengthy, positive upheavals. It's commendable they are trying this and I hope they stick with it - time will tell.
posted by Rumple at 9:55 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


I'm actually impressed that Fark, of all places (and yeah, Drew's bio needs a changing), wants to do this. I wish them all the luck.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:08 PM on August 19


I had my doubts about the article with the first line.

Fark - the irreverent online aggregator launched 15 years ago under the tagline “We don't make news. We mock it”

When I first saw Fark in its early days, its tagline was (and still is) "It's Not News, It's Fark".

Sounds like the kind of accuracy you can expect from Slate.

But hey, back when I was playing around with Photoshop, I came in second or third in a few of Fark's Photoshop Contests (with things like this and this). And I know about Fark moderation; I got one photoshop thrown out, a picture of a giant sinkhole onto which I applied a pair of goatse-like hands. I was such a naughty boy in my 40s.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:09 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


I probably check out Fark a few times a week for the sheer volume of absurdity, but admittedly I don't read the comments. Still, it's been clear over the past few years that the site as a whole is pretty liberal when it comes to gay rights, race, and maybe even guns. The misogyny has made the place seem dated, though.

Still, it's possible that the site will collectively realize that it doesn't have a strong attachment to its default state when it comes to women. Culture in general has been making progress on this and the Elliot Rodger killings sparked some conversations where I think a lot of people took a look at their attitudes towards women.

Just to see what would happen, I took a look at the most popular comments in a Fark thread about a story in the aftermath of those shootings. There are some obnoxious comments, but there's also some decent pushback from people with more enlightened perspective. Some of them are pretty articulate. It would be really cool if this worked on Fark.
posted by alphanerd at 11:05 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Slashdot is still up and running, and precedes Fark by two years, so it's even more of a museum.

/. and Fark used to be my daily hangouts, but I was never really tempted to make an account on Fark. And then I discovered you guys!
posted by Harald74 at 11:09 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


There's a Slashdot article from I think yesterday asking if people would pay to post someplace that kept trolls out. The answers were divided between "nobody would do that" and "a place with no trolls would be terrible", with a single mention that it's worked on MeFi for a decade.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:09 PM on August 19 [17 favorites]


Fark is the closest thing we have to an internet living history museum. Go and visit for an afternoon and be amazed at how people once lived!

Still live. Fark says:
Today we average more than 1,700,000 pageviews on weekdays and close to 150,000,000 ad impressions per month.
How does that compare with Metafilter? What are the numbers here?
posted by pracowity at 11:46 PM on August 19


I have very negative impressions of Fark because about 10 years ago some of my research got (briefly) catapulted into the spotlight. It was a small, kind of tangential project whose implications were blown totally out of proportion and misinterpreted by the media, so the whole experience was pretty stressful. It all blew quickly way beyond my control and I spent a number of anxiety-filled days tracking the trail of misunderstandings as they propagated their way around the internet to be commented on by internet blowhards. It even made metafilter, although I wasn't a member here at the time.

But of all of the internet outlets that picked it up and commented on it, Fark was by far the worst -- because they, unlike almost everyone else, were so incredibly misogynist about it. They (and nobody else) looked me (and even my family!) up - and then it was open season. An entire comment thread that hardly touched on the science, and instead focused on how hot I was, how hot my siblings were, speculations about how good we were in bed, etc.

I was surprised at the time how hurtful it was, even though many of the actual comments were ostensibly favourable. In hindsight, I think the hurtful part was that the act of commenting so crudely on that sort of thing made it crystal clear that to some people, no matter what I did, I could be reduced to boobs and a vagina. Even the things most dear to me (like my family) were made fodder for a moment of entertainment, with no thought that I or they were real people that might notice or be hurt by what was said.

Now, 10 years later, the whole experience is mostly just a funny anecdote I tell. But the role Fark played still stings, and is still the only part of it I feel personally bitter about.

So... well... if this is an indication of any true reform, good for them. About damn time, really.
posted by forza at 11:58 PM on August 19 [47 favorites]


I left Fark for Reddit about 6 years ago, because the bro-ey homophobia, racism, and misogyny were too much.

Now there's irony for ya.
posted by happyroach at 12:00 AM on August 20 [18 favorites]


I have to say that for an overwhelmingly "bro" site to address this issue has to be an indicator of social progress.

Yes, this.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:48 AM on August 20


Poor Fark. I was there, man, from the beginning (or thereabouts), when it was a much smaller site. When there were very few categories, and things like Photoshopping post pics was all quite spontaneous. There were regulars, and discussions weren't the best of the web, but they were possible, at least.

Now it's a ton of ads and a bazillion bros and meatheads that make redditors look like the PC police. Frankly, a lot of racists, right-wing apologists, and yes, sexists.
posted by zardoz at 4:15 AM on August 20


But that's what you get if you're indifferent or incompetent at making your online space safe(ish) for everybody, not just bros. Where casual sexism and racism is tolerated, sexists and racists will feel at home. So it's always a choice sites can make: do you want the meathead traffic, or not.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:23 AM on August 20


I got farked many aeons ago as well. Back then I was one of what felt like five women journallers on the web (this was when the word "blog" wasn't quite there yet). BTW, if you take a gander at the Wikipedia history of journalling/blogging, none of us are in it; to read it you'd think the history of blogging began with straight white men; in reality I knew a few gay men and women pioneers. (Still know a couple who are friends.)

Anyhoo. I had celebrated Christmas with my then-family-not-quite-in-law, and posted a photo of us sitting around a "typically French" Christmas table. Big enough for twenty. My ex and I grinning with plates, glasses, wine and liqueur bottles strewn festively about.

I'll never forget the sheer onslaught of misogynist shit spewed about a fucking Christmas photo, all because a woman had the gall to journal it.

Glad to see the site is growing up a bit. Finally.
posted by fraula at 4:29 AM on August 20 [14 favorites]


Fark? Is that where the goat sex videos are?
posted by marienbad at 4:58 AM on August 20


EmGeeJay, the wooden chair thread was indeed epic, but every year, I pay a pilgrimage to a behemoth TF-only thread from 06, where a TFer announces her wedding and wants farkers to come.

In the ensuing thread, it's revealed that she's never met this person nor even spoke on the phone and is insisting that the wedding is going to happen.

The circles-within-circles of the whole thing makes Inception look like Barney.
posted by dr_dank at 5:20 AM on August 20


Um, what is sexist about "sandwich"? As in, "Make me a sandwich, woman!"?

I haven't read Fark since I was maybe 14, but if memory serves, a lot of photos of thin women would be met with responses such as "Damn, she needs to eat a sandwich," amidst the general discussions of whether or not her body was acceptably thin-but-not-too-thin.
posted by pemberkins at 5:37 AM on August 20


I'm a fan of Fark, but only as a source of interesting links. I've never bothered to create an account and I don't read the comments. I skim the headlines in an RSS readers and click through on stories that interest me.
posted by COD at 6:24 AM on August 20


This entry from a fark photoshop contest was the first thing on the internet that really made me laugh so hard it hurt.
posted by empath at 6:33 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Okay - I'm a woman, so there is probably some knowledge I don't have that is keeping me from understanding something.

....Exactly how in the hell could a guy's scrotum get stuck in between slats of a wooden chair with what look like only quarter-inch gaps between them?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:35 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Well EmpressCallipygos, that's why there are pictures.

(and it's sammich not sandwitch)
posted by sunslice at 7:10 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I saw the pictures, and that's why I'm asking ("but....how did his balls fit through a crack that skinny?")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


A website is like a house, you have to clean it up if you want to sell it...
posted by Renoroc at 7:16 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


15 years later, Fark discovers moderation

That's not quite true. Back around '03 I received a ninety-day bannination for questioning the virility of a fellow TF'er. Still paid my monthly subscription as I felt the moderators were at least consistent and I returned to the threads with an apology after serving my sentence.

I've long ago lost interest in the site, and I assume others have as well, but at least at one time it was a fun and diverse community.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:20 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I saw the pictures, and that's why I'm asking ("but....how did his balls fit through a crack that skinny?")

I haven't seen the pictures, but scrotum != balls. My guess is he hung some skin. Yikes.
posted by echocollate at 7:36 AM on August 20


Sadly, I am responsible for all of this. Jeff, one of the early Fark admins, had this to say, crediting my website as the reason mods are necessary in the first place:

We liked the idea of commenting on Derek's purchases so much that we added comments to our articles shortly after linking to this site.

When Fark first linked to me, everything on Fark was just a link and a sentence -- pretty much Drew's Twitter Account before Twitter was even a twinkle in anyone's eye. Not long after, comments were opened up -- non-threaded, discussion of that link, unlike Slashdot or any of the other "message boards" around those days which had threads and an initial post that may or may not be a link to anything.

I mean this tongue in cheek, I don't think I really influenced Fark's existence in any way
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:38 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen the pictures, but scrotum != balls. My guess is he hung some skin.

Admitting I only looked at a couple of pictures, but it looked like the whole bag of jablonies.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:41 AM on August 20


And to stave off the question - no, I don't know where my brain came up with "bag of jablonies".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:41 AM on August 20 [9 favorites]


Well, at least Curtis figured out that the whole brotastic thing wasn't going to work in the long run. (He's done meetups with Tucker Max as a featured guest in the past, which is pretty high on the brotacular scale.) I used to be a regular, until I got tired of submissions being shot down (yes, "submitted earlier with a funnier headline" really is a thing), not to mention some of their particular shibboleths, such as Lootie. (The photoshop thread mods tried to ban Lootie, to their credit, only to have people insist on including him. I made a personal rule to stop reading a Photoshop contest when Lootie showed up, and found that I was barely dipping my toes into the contest thread as a result. )
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:43 AM on August 20


Fark has too many trolls. I like to read the politics threads, but there's always a few posters who (it seems to me) are employed by right wing orgs. Their posts are bad enough, but they frequently manage to sink threads. The moderation always seemed pretty non-existent to me.

Metafilter is the ego, Fark is the id. Reddit can be whatever you want.
posted by feste at 7:58 AM on August 20


I am encouraged to think that adolescence might not last forever. Good move, Drew.
posted by theora55 at 8:21 AM on August 20


Fark has too many trolls. I like to read the politics threads, but there's always a few posters who (it seems to me) are employed by right wing orgs.

FARK has an interesting feature: logged-in useres can tag other users with colors or text, highlighting their comments (you can also block users). I used to be pretty active there, and marked users with colors. Green for good commentors, magenta for self-admitted trolls.

I hadn't logged in for a few years, but there was still a lot of magenta in those threads.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:23 AM on August 20


Interesting to read all these comparisons between Fark and Metafilter. I discovered both on the same day when they were both mentioned in some article about the internet (perhaps on Salon?). Like many here I lost interest in Fark (I never joined) but have continued to participate here at MeFi. Clearly Matt and the crew are doing something right.

I do seem to remember the "Florida" tag getting used a lot in late 2000, though
posted by TedW at 8:57 AM on August 20


There are some obnoxious comments, but there's also some decent pushback from people with more enlightened perspective.

It's been years since I last visited Fark, but this was one point on which it actually has the edge over Metafilter: you do (or did, at least) get to hear a genuinely diverse range of political opinions on Fark and there was no collective community-enforced attempt to marginalize people who disagreed with the community "norms." Political discussions on Fark would give you access to (and some understanding of) the whole gamut of political opinions in the US, which tended, I think, to give you a much more realistic picture of what was going on in the political world at large. There was much less of that "no one I know voted for Nixon" feeling which colors pretty much all political discussion here on Metafilter.
posted by yoink at 9:30 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


For anyone concerned about the trappedness of this guy's nuts, I also was confused until I saw this picture (NSFW if you know what it is). This shows that a pinch of loose skin on his ballsack got pinched between two slats that were slightly mobile.

I guess the slats were moved a smidge apart by his weight, and then when he shifted they closed on that bit of skin like tweezers.

His list of items he could reach was like a bizarro world IF puzzle.

Your deck (stuck in chair)

You can see a box of matches, a pen, a photo of your parents (framed), a bottle of vitamins (closed), a jar of coffee crystals (closed) and a laptop (open to FARK.com).

What do you want to do?
> WRITE POST _

posted by NoiselessPenguin at 11:33 AM on August 20


I've always been amused by the derision Metafilter has for Fark. If you want to see what's going to be on the Metafilter front page tomorrow, read Fark today.
posted by Rob Rockets at 12:37 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


You may prefer the chair, but my favorite was the streetlight thread
posted by yeolcoatl at 1:06 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


I discovered Metafilter and Fark around the same time, maybe 12 years ago. At the time, the best thing on Fark was the photoshop contests, which have either fizzled out or gone behind a paywall or something. I still go to Fark once or twice a week, mainly for weird news, and because some of the memes and other images in the comments can be clever.

I think the new rules are probably a good thing, although it may also be closing the barn doors long after the horses have gotten out.

I will say that Fark is HILARIOUS today. People are freaking out. Bros are arguing against the new regs, and there's a whole set of new memes to reflect the new normal. They're talking about it in just about every comment thread -- threatening to report each other, asking what's appropriate and what isn't, etc. Like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 1:16 PM on August 20


Fark user number 587, reporting for duty.

These days I don't love or hate Fark. It's like how I don't love or hate Def Leppard -- I just stopped being 14.
posted by NortonDC at 9:47 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Pope Guilty > There's a Slashdot article from I think yesterday asking if people would pay to post someplace that kept trolls out. The answers were divided between "nobody would do that" and "a place with no trolls would be terrible", with a single mention that it's worked on MeFi for a decade.

Oh yeah, that was me
posted by egypturnash at 10:30 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


You may prefer the chair, but my favorite was the streetlight thread

The phrase "It's a streetlight" has been rattling around in my brain for 7 years, and it just came up for air.
posted by EmGeeJay at 7:14 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


« Older Patrick Lin discusses ethics, responsibility and l...  |  Brenna Twohy, representing Por... Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.