Re: Hey, Lurkers?

1

I'm guessing, here, that this dynamic is going on:

This seems to have too many commas. And perhaps an extraneous word between them. Or perhaps that word just needs to be moved to the end of the sentence, depending on what exactly it is that you mean. Regardless, something seems wrong.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:47 AM
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I'm not going to participate in this conversation at length. I just thought I would point out if the subject is how the discourse in congenial or uncongenial to commenters here, I am a now mostly lurker who stopped commenting--indeed posting--for a lot of reasons, but ogged's behavior was not a minor contributing factor. I know that ogged's behavior has also contributed to other commenters taking their leave of the blog.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:48 AM
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It partakes of the generally unedited and comma-rich nature of my bloggy prose, but I don't think it's worse than most of my sentences. I meant "Here in this post, I'm just guessing that this dynamic is going on." Not clear?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:49 AM
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Wow, I actually don't think "ogged's behavior" is nearly as noticeable as a lot of people's behavior.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:49 AM
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What specifically about Ogged's behavior?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:51 AM
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2, 4: Because everything's about me, and this is a fresh clean new post with some actual argument in it, maybe we could work on whether my theory's full of shit before devolving into who's personally obnoxious?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:51 AM
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Goody gumdrops.

Have a fun day, everyone.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:52 AM
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Add 5 to the comments intended to be addressed by 6.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:52 AM
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As a semi-lurker, I have to say that what keeps me from commenting more often is that I don't have the time to dedicate to engaging in a full-on conversation in the comments. Usually I fire off my half-considered opinion, and see what sticks.

I find the discourse here by-and-large congenial, and don't feel inhibited from commenting on anything I want to comment on...


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:52 AM
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3: Meh, it was clear enough, I was just being bitchy, in the desperate hope that it might somehow derail another long meta thread into something more interesting, like bickering about grammar.

I'd also like to register a complaint about the length of the front-page post. Fold?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:53 AM
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I don't think ogged has to change anything about his behavior, by the way. It's his blog. I am better off for not hanging around here as much, and it doesn't matter to me. But if he's going to be all "the lurkers support me in email," I just want to point that out. Uncongeniality: in the eye of the beholder.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:54 AM
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And you're charming and congenial at meetups - the best kind of semi-lurker.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:54 AM
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12 to 9.

I'd also like to register a complaint about the length of the front-page post. Fold?

Man, you people are fold-happy. Fine, I'll fold it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:55 AM
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Part of the problem seems to be that the discussion moves too fast for a casual participant. Also, you all get drunk together off-blog. It's the equivalent of everyone e-mailing each other all of the time.

But the other part of the problem seems to be that in order to ensure that what I'm writing is not misread (or read at all), I have to commit to around 400 comments, most of which will be along the lines of 'You disagree with Extreme Position Y? Are you crazy? I only was ever arguing for Moderate Position Z Which Had I Stated, Would Not Have Lead to 400 Comments.' It's not that I need people to have their position worked out immediately. I just need some belief that it's going somewhere interesting.

Sometimes I'm in the mood for that. Sometimes I'm really not. The birth control pill thread was one where I thought Becks (among other people) were making very good points that were continually dismissed as 'because someone's worried a girl might go up a cup size or be a little moody' that left me thinking 'If no one's reading, why bother?'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:55 AM
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And you're charming and congenial at meetups - the best kind of semi-lurker.

I think you misspelled "drunk", but thank you.

I strictly disparage Ogged in email. It makes me feel like a big man.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:56 AM
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Also, ogged, love ya, but the move 'everyone agrees with me in e-mail', whether true or not, is about the oldest whiny troll card in the book, right next to 'everyone's thinking what I'm thinking, I'm just the only one bold, brave, and beautiful enough to say it, you're all too PC.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:58 AM
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Okay, I'll say something to get things started. I am sometimes inhibited* from getting into a conversation because I get the feeling of being dismissed without getting the benefit of the doubt. Recent examples: In that hideous thread on how Ogged can't find a smart enough girl, I threw out a thought that "not smart enough" struck me as a self-defeating mindset. I won't try to explain what I was trying to say there, because that's not the point, but I felt like I get pretty roundly pounced on as a self-righteous scold who was accusing everyone of being stuck up snobs. This was disheartening as it was not at all the point I had been trying to make (though, admittedly, once I get thoroughly pissed off, I did slip into a sort of tone of, "Fine, then, [assorted people] are a bunch of arrogant fucking assholes.").

Another thread, the question of double-standards and the instinct to be more protective of girls' sexualtiy than boys'. I made a comment that I thought was expressing pretty non-controversial agreement with the comment that preceded it, as someone responded with some snarky jab about me getting a bulk rate on all the straw I'd used to construct my strawman argument. Not having thought I was constructing an argument in the first place, the hostility of the jab really put me off of wanting to even bother participating in that discussion. (Though, had I not been in court, I surely would have, and probably would have gotten pissed and antagonistic and maybe the ensuing discussion wouldn't have turned out as productive as it did.)

I do think there is a problem at times of people (me included) not making a sincere enough effort to understand the opposing viewpoint. Some of that is just wanting to try to stay ahead in the rapid fire commenting. Some is defensive reactivity. Some is that people can just be plain old jerks sometimes. I have no solutions. Just thoughts.

* Yes, I am sometimes inhibited. You can only imagine what it would be like if I weren't. This may, in fact, support keeping things as they are as a certain amount of inhibition is a good thing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:58 AM
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I find it hard to reconcile the length of threads around here with the notion that this place is generally "offputting". Like Emerson said in the other thread, it's not going to be able to be all things to all people.

People, just fucking comment already. Generally, emailing the owner of the blog to bitch is really twatty behavior.

If some of you are uncomfortable commenting on certain topics, maybe the problem isn't with the blog.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:58 AM
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I suspect I'm going to largely stay away from this thread as well, but you have to have a thick skin to enjoy yourself here. Or for other people to enjoy you here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:58 AM
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13: to tell the truth, I don't personally care about folds at all, but I get emails from people complaining about them.

In response to 6, yes, your theory is full of shit, and what everyone else (including, ahem, me in the other thread) is right: it's all about volume. 14 nails it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:00 AM
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19 is not in response to any of the comments that preceded it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:01 AM
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I was thinking about this after the thread last night, so I'm going to take the invitation to be completely self-indulgent in my response.

As a quasi-lurker, with a non-confrontational style, I find that it's more common to be ignored than yelled at (and, no, I'm not interested in being more confrontational so that I get yelled at more).

LB made the point here that being ignored (or misinterpreted) is perfectly normal and, of course that's completely correct.

But I really do think that, particularly in fast moving threads where people are trying to respond to a number of other people at once, there's a tendency to focus the response on the most recognizeable person, and fold everyone else into the "I'm responding to a general argument that multiple people are making" category.

The one example that really annoyed me at the time was trying to participate here when I felt like whatever I said people just responded to Frowner.

Again, I stress, that's to be expected some of the time, and I get responses to several of my comments. But, as long as you're asking what stops lurkers from commenting, that's my answer.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:01 AM
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It is true that some of us get drunk together off-blog, but I've been impressed how little of that shows up here, aside from "I met X and s/he was nice." Off-blog communication really does, for the most part, stay off-blog.

Whether the very fact that people make reference to their in-person relationships when defending people is a problem is its own matter. (I've never asked anyone to defend me, especially not on those grounds, but a lot of people have met me and use that as evidence that I'm not evil or weird.) I've never met Tweety or Apo, either, but I happily engage with both of them with the same kind of we're-buddies generosity I'd give to my IRL Unfogged friends.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:03 AM
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In other words, in my experience, 14 gets it right, and there was a lot of agreement with that sentiment last night.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:03 AM
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What I really want out of an argument is clarity: I want people to know exactly what I mean, and to know exactly what they mean, and to be able to state clearly in which regards we agree and in which we disagree. I don't like unexamined comity.

Spoken like a true lawyer. Translation: "There is no agreement that I cannot make fail."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:04 AM
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IDP is a master of the very kind email.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:05 AM
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I suppose I lurk mostly because I already invest too much time in reading others' comments. It's like drinking through a firehose, and that problem is only compounded by the fact that I have a job that should be occupying all the time I spend here.

Also -- and I say this as someone who agrees with y'all probably more than half the time -- there's enough (rather remarkably) like-minded folks here who spend lots of time commenting that it seems clear you'll just get shouted down if you veer off the well-worn path ranging from, say, the NYT editorial page to the faculty lounge of any random liberal-arts college.

In any event, that's coming from someone who hits refresh way more often than I should. And I'd like to think that it's not to say that I couldn't defend my positions amongst sharp folks like yourselves. But doing so would require rather more of a commitment to commenting than I'm willing to allow. At the risk of damaging an admittedly delicate ecosystem, maybe it would be interesting if there was more serious divergence of political opinion among posters?

But hey, I'm just a guest in your place, and a happy one at that.


Posted by: Eli Cash | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:05 AM
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Why don't I ever get kind emails, IDP? Now I feel left out.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:06 AM
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I don't like unexamined comity.

Sometimes the examination of a comity can seem a little like the interrogation of a person, not least in that very few treasures tend to be discovered.

As for me, frequently I wish we were all less predictable (as I tend to feel with respect to real life conversations and cultural products, as well), but I can't except myself or blame "political correctness" or Newspeak or what have you. Not sure what to blame, truly.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:06 AM
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someone responded with some snarky jab about me getting a bulk rate on all the straw I'd used to construct my strawman argument.

I was that someone, Di, and let me use this occasion to apologize. You are one of my favorite commenters in this forum, and I probably took my own exaggerated sense of kinship with you to give myself permission to formulate a harsher retort than was warranted on the merits.

Your comment above also makes me realize that, to the extent I agree with those complaining about uncongeniality, I am dwelling in an uncomfortably fragile vitreous structure.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:07 AM
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But I really do think that, particularly in fast moving threads where people are trying to respond to a number of other people at once, there's a tendency to focus the response on the most recognizeable person, and fold everyone else into the "I'm responding to a general argument that multiple people are making" category.

This is huge. If there's one thing that hooked me on the comments here, it was having an early, desultory comment on how Ogged should date welders acknowledged and responded to -- suddenly I felt all insidery. And the speed of threads feeds into the same thing; you end up with a club of people who know each other well chatting, but it's hard and unappealing to break in from the outside.

14, 17: Huh. You know, in both of those incidents, I know what you mean, and they were rightfully irritating (I say as someone on the irritating side of both). I'm not sure how to think about them structurally, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:09 AM
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Another part-time commenter's half-considered opinion: If Unfogged is uncongenial, we'll need a whole other family of superlatives for the other 98% of internet.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:09 AM
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I'm a lurker, so I'll bite.

I pretty much said this in the other thread, but it does seem that this place (or certain personalities in this place) seem to value argument over discussion. On a couple of occasions when I've commented in the past, my comment has been swiftly mischaracterized, and then the misconstrued comment (not what I really believe!) denounced and ridiculed. Granted, it was, I think, the same person both times who did this, so it's not like this is attributable to this website in general.

As apostropher said above, it takes a thick skin to comment here, and I think it also takes a lot of time and patience to explain yourself to people who sometimes appear determined to misunderstand you. I don't have the skin or the patience, but that's perfectly fine -- I still enjoy reading the discussions, even if I don't comment.


Posted by: j | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:09 AM
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30: You'd better cease your pebble-propulsion studies.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:10 AM
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I've commented like twice, and what stops me from doing more is just what Cala describes in 14: the fact that it would take hours to keep up with what people are saying, and usually by the time I've read to comment 398 my response to #7 is not what anybody wants to talk about any more. See? Just in the time it takes me to type this, ten more comments, saying largely what I have to say.

All this stuff about people's personalities scaring away commenters baffles me. The fact that so many people are not afraid to yell at each other once in a while, about interesting and sensitive topics, is exactly what keeps me reading. An effort to moderate the tone, or pad the elbows, or soften the edges, or whatever, would make it boring.

What's more, people who are going to scared off by the fear that "their ideas are unacceptable and will be treated harshly" are sissies.


Posted by: Mother's Younger Brother | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:11 AM
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it was having an early, desultory comment on how Ogged should date welders acknowledged and responded to

Yet not acted upon!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:11 AM
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so far, all the folks who have commented I'd most definitely count as frequent participants, and not lurkers. Somethiing from a true lurker: see 9, 14.

Unlike some other blogs, Unfogged always seems to me as an all-or-nothing place. A lone comment here or there always seems ignored/not responded to, especially when other commenters don't recognize the said commenter as "one of them." A person needs to totally commit to a thread (constantly posting and responding) in order to be validated as someone worth saying something.

I am always wary to say anything unless I have a few hours to get completely involved, which is rarely or never. During the day, I'm working. Even if I make a comment I feel might be interesting or valid, I sometimes feel it needs to be OUTRAGEOUS in order to get a reaction, otherwise, it's simply lost in a sea of other more frequent and important commenters. And if it is an "outrageous" position I'm gonna take, I can't simply make my voice heard an move on- I need to prep for battle.

The above may sound negative, but I don't think it necessarily is - it's how your community was built. But it doesn't bode well for lurkers who have other shit to do during the day.

Basically, what Cala said.


Posted by: lurker | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:12 AM
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This is huge. If there's one thing that hooked me on the comments here, it was having an early, desultory comment on how Ogged should date welders acknowledged and responded to -- suddenly I felt all insidery. And the speed of threads feeds into the same thing; you end up with a club of people who know each other well chatting, but it's hard and unappealing to break in from the outside.

I agree completely with the thought that if your comment isn't responded to, then you feel like it was a waste.

Sometimes, I have suppress a little sniffle.

Apo is correct. You need a thick skin.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:12 AM
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I've commented like twice,

But due to your excellent name picking skills, I remember those comments. And visualize you as my Uncle Dennis.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:12 AM
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30: KR -- Thanks, I appreciate that. Actually I knew it was you. I left it as "someone" in the comment because I have genuinely enjoyed interactions with you but for that one and bear no personal ill-will. Maybe some slight hurt feelings, but if I didn't have hurt feelings about something, I wouldn't be me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:12 AM
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Because you're not a woman, Brock.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:13 AM
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As long as we're enjoying each others' navels, is this web interface the way most people comment? I get the odd impression that these comments appear on this webpage via some backend pipe from email, and that folks are using emails to carry on the bulk of these conversations.

I guess if that's not accurate, I've just insulted the comment controls. Cool.


Posted by: vasudeva | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:13 AM
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I find unfogged less funny than I used to, and I'm commenting less because I can't get away with quite as much time on here at work as I could at school. But less funny is far from everything, and while I've noticed that there have been some threads which seemed to provoke harsh feelings lately, I haven't noticed an unusual amount (or, if there's been a peak, it's the kind of peak we've hit before and things have moved on from there). The lack of notice could be due to reading less though.

I don't see that there's a problem with not enough different people commenting and becoming part of the regular community, I don't think it can function that well above a certain critical mass/carrying capacity and I don't think we're particularly far below it.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:13 AM
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19 is very very true. Back when I commented way more than I do now (and before I became my pseud) I regularly thought before hitting Post: "Will it get under my skin if someone calls me on this possibly bs or glib thing I am about to say? Do I have time in my day to become involved in the thread? Did I miss one of the above comments and am thus making a jackass of myself?"


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:15 AM
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Okay, I'm going to indulge myself in my usual practice of repeating what's been said.

A standard semi-joke of mine is to introduce myself by saying "I'm just visiting from a parallel universe of discourse." There are representatives from many different such universes here, and that can make communication dicey.

However, that's also one of the great fascinations of the conversations. It's like the liminal areas in ecology: wonderful things happen at the edges where different communities meet.

Those intersections can look like arguments (as I think LB defines them) but (for me) they're also incredibly educational. But, as LB also said, we've got group social dynamics going on, and conformational pressures and group bonding practices go on simultaneously.

I don't know what my conclusion is, either. And LB nailed it in 31. (can I say "nailed it" without half the world thinking "ATM"? This language stuff is too hard. Ooops again).)


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:16 AM
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Washerdreyer used to make me laugh.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:16 AM
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Oh man. I totally started this whole meta thing, didn't I? I feel terrible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:16 AM
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Technological fix- why are numbered comments used, instead of threaded? It would be much easier to follow bits of conversation.
I entirely skip threads I'm not very interested in, but then you miss threadjacks that end up being important. Eg, I didn't know this discussion was happening on the choosiness thread. Also, I agree with 37, a lot of comments are just ignored and it seems somewhat dependent on who the author is.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:17 AM
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due to your excellent name picking skills

Considering the source, that's high praise indeed.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:17 AM
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Because you're not a woman, Brock

Not completely true, but insightful. And I hope obvious, and mock–able.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:17 AM
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Ogged was itching for it, so don't worry. Really, I just wanted to get my licks in and the other thread was too long.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:18 AM
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And visualize you as my Uncle Dennis.

I have an Uncle Dennis! Probably not the same guy.

But you should read Ragtime, by E.L. Doctorow, at your earliest opportunity.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:18 AM
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46: That would mean there are two people who find my comments funny.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:18 AM
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48: I don't run things around here, but if the comments get threaded, I might be able to actually get some work done, because I'd stop reading them completely.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:19 AM
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9 and 14 pretty much explain why I haven't posted. I find myself reading the conversations, and appreciating the discussion without participating, and also feeling like my rejoinder to post 100 isn't worth the effort when the comments have stretched to 500 and mostly died down in the past 24 hours. For example, when I loaded up the page this morning and read this post, then the topmost one, and saw something about the last couple hundred comments on Choosiness, I scrolled down only to be somewhat stunned that it had 1137 comments. Last night the last time I looked, it had only ~500.

Yesterday I was bub. The Unmasking thread is probably the right place for this detail, but who knows me?


Posted by: Pantene | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:19 AM
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Arg, 53 was me again.


Posted by: Mother's Younger Brother | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:20 AM
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Technological fix- why are numbered comments used, instead of threaded? It would be much easier to follow bits of conversation.

Threaded comments are horrible and hard to read. Also, Movable Type, which powers the site, doesn't support them out of the box.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:20 AM
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37: Okay, completely screwy idea. Moratorium on commenting from 'regulars' on every post for a day -- give everything a day to sit and accumulate comments before the regulars respond.

It breaks down on 'who's a regular' and probably wouldn't work otherwise, but would that help some?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:21 AM
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Oh man. I totally started this whole meta thing, didn't I? I feel terrible.

No, no, Sifu. Don't feel bad -- it's good to talk things out. Like relationship counseling, but in a comment box. Maybe we can all try repeating back what we think we heard the other person say and validate one another more.

(And that is meant somewhat tongue in cheek, but sounds snarkier in tone than I would like. "Cause deep down, I mean it.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:21 AM
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I think Unfogged would have made a great Usenet group.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:21 AM
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54- Why are threaded comments worse than numbered? Particulary when a thread is multiply jacked, I end up just scanning through intervening comments until I find ones that are on topic to the part of the discussion I was interested in. Also, scrolling back to references to previous comments is annoying, although somewhat addressed by the quoting rules.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:22 AM
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I have an Uncle Dennis, too. And he's effing hilarious.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:23 AM
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I don't run things around here, but if the comments get threaded, I might be able to actually get some work done, because I'd stop reading them completely.

I agree with both the general and the specific sentiment of that comment.

As the internet, with its spaghetti of links, is to hierarchical file storage structures, so are the recursion-filled numbered comments of unfogged to a threaded discussion forum.

You'll take my numbered unfogged comments when you pry them from my cold, dead harddrive.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:23 AM
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this: before devolving into who's personally obnoxious

is inconsistent with this: (And lurkers? Do you really support Ogged in email? If so, strange.)

which is mostly a jab at ogged.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:23 AM
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Although I agree with most of the comments above that the main problem is volume, I do think there's something to LB's theory. It does explain why most of the problems with this sort of thing arise on the gender threads.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:24 AM
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Moratorium on commenting from 'regulars' on every post for a day -- give everything a day to sit and accumulate comments before the regulars respond.

It breaks down on 'who's a regular' and probably wouldn't work otherwise, but would that help some?

Excellent idea. Tomorrow, only the non-cool kids get to comment.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:24 AM
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Okay, completely screwy idea. Moratorium on commenting from 'regulars' on every post for a day

Bad idea. Despite the complaints, the fact that the regulars are deeply engaged with unfogged is a good thing. This seems like it would just put all the regulars in the situations of being frustrated because they couldn't respond to things that they were interested in, and that wouldn't help the site.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:24 AM
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Hi Pantene!

I don't run things around here, but if the comments get threaded, I might be able to actually get some work done, because I'd stop reading them completely.

Me too. I want to check the end of the thread for the new comments, not scroll up and down trying to figure out which branch is longer than it used to be.

Also, if there are more humor-type threads rather than argument-type threads, people do not feel like their comments are wasted if they are not responded to, and people don't feel overwhelmed by wanting to respond to something that was 200 comments in the past.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:24 AM
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Moratorium on commenting from 'regulars' on every post for a day -- give everything a day to sit and accumulate comments before the regulars respond.

And do what, work? Commenting from work is how we stick it to The Man.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:25 AM
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Expanded threaded comments are hard to read, but some software allows collapsable threads (see Kos.) Yes, that's an investment to switch to.
In general, the fewer comments there are, the more likely I am to jump in because I feel bad posting before reading all the previous comments for fear of pwnage. Usually if a thread is 100+, I won't bother starting unless it's a topic I'm very interested in.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:25 AM
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64: True, it is inconsistent. If you really want to talk about Ogged instead of lurkers generally, go crazy -- I have given up my claim of moral authority with which to discourage you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:25 AM
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I love what I think of as the "counterpuntal" quality you get from several different simultaneous topics and conversations in the same thread, which may or may not suddenly refer to one another, and which I find quite easy to keep straight and distinguish.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:25 AM
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think Unfogged would have made a great Usenet AA group.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:26 AM
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66, I look forward to more comments from capital-W Will. lowercase will has just become another kewl kid.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:26 AM
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65: Yay, I liked my little theory and someone's shown an interest in it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:26 AM
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I've never seen a threaded interface on the web that I didn't find ugly and miserable to read and stay focused on.

Re: 61, it would be cool if you could much more easily link to previous comments, such that when I say "61 scoots my boot" you could click on 61 instantly and then jump back instantly. Scrolling is a pain in the ass.

It would also be nice if the first time you opened a comment thread it jumped to the the top, and every time after that to the bottom, but I figure that's impossible.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:26 AM
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Moratorium on commenting from 'regulars' on every post for a day

[Looks around nervously, blood-pressure soaring.] But I can stop any time I want to. I just don't want to. I'm a social commenter. It helps me relax. Just one comment, OK? Goddamn you, let me comment! Omigod, there's spiders crawling under my skin!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:27 AM
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As a most-of-the-time lurker I like reading Unfogged like I like listening to NPR --- in consistent but small doses. I admire (platonically of course) the regulars for their posts and comments. I was once banned by Emerson for commenting on swimming, which remains the high point of my Unfogged experience. Because I am a bit less left-leaning / more centrist than the regulars, commenting on many of the threads would be a little too much work. Oh and I miss posts from Tia and Cala. And Unf.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:27 AM
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I'd chalk it up to nostalgia, but it's so obvious that the blog stopped being funny after ogged's earnest cancer. By Standpipe, meta cancer isn't helping either.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:27 AM
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The points about critical mass are good, and while I can't speak for all the semi-commenters, I don't think the issue being raised here is that we need to turn every lurker into a regular. I can tell that I came to this place too late to relate to it in the way most of you do; I don't mind. The real issue is that, occasionally, these people might have something constructive to add. It's not "how can we turn these lurkers into commenters," it's "how can these lurkers contribute to meaningful discussion without having to become regulars."

Threaded comments are a radical idea worth considering. (Though probably hopeless; I feel everyone is quite attached to the aesthetic here.)


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:27 AM
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What this site needs is a serious deep dicking.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:28 AM
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69, 77: We'd be commenting on the prior day's posts, at our normal rate. The idea would be to give lurkers space to jump in before we obliterated them with our volume of comments.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:29 AM
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58: Maybe, LB? I think a lot of this just comes back to a personal lack of time, more than "the regulars are hijacking everything wah wah wah." I mean, I enjoy reading the regulars. That's part of why I love Unfogged- you guys are the website, in essence. If it's all left up to lurkers like me, then... wow. You could be in for some massively disappointing comments and a seriously boring day.

I don't knwo if there is really a solution to all this... or, if there is actualyl a problem to solve, to be honest. Just thought I'd step up to the plate for once and give my opinion.


Posted by: lurker | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:29 AM
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Yay, I liked my little theory and someone's shown an interest in it.

Aw, did I validate you?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:29 AM
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I can tell that I came to this place too late to relate to it in the way most of you do; I don't mind.

I felt that way about 8 months ago or so. I found it entertaining to read the archives. Just, you know, random archives.

Search Google for "superkoranic fellatio panic".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:29 AM
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This seems like it would just put all the regulars in the situations of being frustrated because they couldn't respond to things that they were interested in, and that wouldn't help the site.

But on the bright side, with that many people who are that intelligent actually being forced to work, we may see a little bump in the US quarterly productivity numbers. If you won't do it for Unfogged, do it for the stock values!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:29 AM
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Concrete suggestion:
1) More substantive posts. Maybe this isn't a direction the blog wants to go any more, but I think this would help in two ways:
a) people are intimidated by feeling like they have to be up for 800 rounds of comment-fu. If there are more posts, the threads will be shorter meaning that people don't have to read 450 comments to contribute, and people don't have to feel like their comment has to stand up for 450 comments; and,
b) there is a desire for argumentation here that used to get funneled into many interesting threads, that now seethes around in swimming posts until someone makes a comment about feminism and whoosh whoosh, it all comes out at once.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:30 AM
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Actually, I knew you'd all hate the threaded suggestion, I just said something I knew would get responses so I could have some validation.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:31 AM
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I basically agree with LB's main post here. To me, arguing things out is a good thing even if it can be painful. In my everyday life, with my family, etc., there's lots of stuff I don't talk about because I want things to be all lovey-dovey. I like Unfogged because it's not like that.

The really big tensions here are about fairly substantial issues (feminism and politics). It's not like we could make those topics less contentious. We could just avoid them. (I even suggested that once, but all snark and gossip, all the time, would get very boring.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:31 AM
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I think it's important to distinguish between the comments as entertainment and community. I read more often than comment because it's fun, and because I just don't have what it takes to keep up with it as community. That's partly time, and partly thin skin. Also, I used to relate to the community more when it was small and mostly guys. It takes more effort to sustain and defend a perspective now that it's more diverse. I still really enjoy reading it for entertainment, but I don't have it in me for so many reasons.

But I think good communities should be hard to join, otherwise they won't hold up to much. As many have said, can this website actually sustain any more commenters?

This is all just to say I think ogged should throw B out again. Boy, those were good times.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:31 AM
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83: That's true. I comment at the rate I do because I'm desperately unhappy and non-functional at work; my tenure at Unfogged has corresponded pretty perfectly with a job I'm not liking or doing well at all. I figure anyone who comments at anything near my rate has some explanation of that or some other sort, but a functional hard-worker really couldn't possibly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:31 AM
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78: I was never a poster here!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:32 AM
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I think it's important to distinguish between the comments as entertainment and community. I read more often than comment because it's fun, and because I just don't have what it takes to keep up with it as community. That's partly time, and partly thin skin. Also, I used to relate to the community more when it was small and mostly guys. It takes more effort to sustain and defend a perspective now that it's much larger and more diverse. I still really enjoy reading it for entertainment. I'd love to be one of the gang, but I don't have it in me for so many reasons.

But I think good communities should be hard to join, otherwise they won't hold up to much. As many have said, can this website actually sustain any more commenters?

This is all just to say I think ogged should throw B out again. Boy, those were good times.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:32 AM
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b) there is a desire for argumentation here that used to get funneled into many interesting threads, that now seethes around in swimming posts until someone makes a comment about feminism and whoosh whoosh, it all comes out at once.

DID YOU MENTION FEMINISM? DON'T GET ME STARTED ON THOSE PEOPLE!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:32 AM
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Moratorium on commenting from 'regulars' on every post for a day

While I appreciate the attempt including the new kids (also the personal response above--it really does draw me in!--and the pseud-love, whose extra-specialness I do appreciate given the source), I think this is a terrible idea. The regulars' comments are what makes it interesting around here, so while the volume of comments may be a problem, this seems a solution that's much worse than the problem.

To clarify, I see that the idea is to do this briefly, to bring in some new blood who could then be regulars themselves, but I think it would just result in one boring day, followed by a return to the status quo ante.


Posted by: Mother's Younger Brother | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:32 AM
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84: You did indeed. I'm just wriggling with affirmation here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:33 AM
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At unfoggeDCon, will there be a lurker's room where people don't have to talk?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:33 AM
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I think the main reasons why I don't comment more (which may well be a good thing, given how busy I am) is:
-the incredibly long threads, which can be interesting to read but also take ages to get through
-The fast pace of commenting (not much to be done about that)
-the cliquish/in-groupish vibe--sometimes it feels like it's tough to break into an ongoing conversation

Another thing that I've noticed in the past few days are that LB's emphasis on clarity can make threads kind of repetitive, because people restate their positions multiple times (eg, the No Guts No Glory thread); also, the surfacing of interpersonal issues that might not be apparent to casual commenters (as on Choosiness) can be a little unsettling.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:33 AM
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there is a desire for argumentation here that used to get funneled into many interesting threads, that now seethes around in swimming posts until someone makes a comment about feminism and whoosh whoosh, it all comes out at once.

Ogged, the swimming posts are giving everyone conversational blue balls.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:33 AM
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92: But your comments have the force of posts in themselves. Mere software restrictions can't keep you off the front page in the reader's minds.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:34 AM
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As someone who proposed an upgraded comment technology in the last thread, let me dissent from the people urging changes to the page style. Not that I think the management is going to pay attention to those calls, but the feature I want, where you can load only the new comments, could be easily tacked on to the existing interface. (Or someone could fix unfoggedbot.) So don't lump that in with these revolutionaries calling for chili peppers and threading.

My crappy Internet takes over a minute to refresh long threads, so I usually end up being left out of those which go above 200. Not that I think more participation from me should be a motivation for change or anything.

On preview, 81 is completely correct.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:34 AM
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Because I am a bit less left-leaning / more centrist than the regulars

Bill and I need to form a support group.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:35 AM
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I was never a poster here!

Calameida is two people and not one?!?!?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:35 AM
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I have actually -- this is embarrassing -- spent a fair bit of daydreaming about what an ideal unfogged comment interface would look like. I'm not going to get into it, but boy, it'd be great. Incidentally, the people who are so psyched about threading should just write a parser that indexes comment references and quoted blocks in comments and build threads. C'mon, slackers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:35 AM
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Thesis: elevated animosity derives from a comparative lack of cock jokes.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:35 AM
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Following up, I alluded to the predictability issue, which I'd guess is not unrelated to the cliquishness issue, the other day:

Will this be an "I am a [man/woman] of the people and my tastes in food and drink so illustrate; prissy foods that I scorn include..." or an "I am the sexiest sex machine who ever sexed in Upper Sexington, Sexachusetts, but my sexy, sexy sexing is populist and frank, without need or desire for..." thread?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:36 AM
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98- the cliquish/in-groupish vibe
You just need to sleep with more of the regulars.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:36 AM
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I'll be back when this thread goes several stages more meta, or devolves into cock jokes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:37 AM
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Not that I think the management is going to pay attention to those calls, but the feature I want, where you can load only the new comments, could be easily tacked on to the existing interface.

There are some technical issues surrounding this, but it could be done, ja.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:38 AM
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And just to be explicit, I do think Cala's 14 and my 17 relate to your theory to the extent that I think we are both suggesting that there is a subset of commenters who like that striving for clarity thing and wind up frustrated because they feel like other commenters are instantly lumping them as either GPs or BPs when really they are just Ps trying to work out what they think.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:38 AM
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I have actually -- this is embarrassing -- spent a fair bit of daydreaming about what an ideal unfogged comment interface would look like.

Really hitting that bong, aren't you.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:38 AM
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Well, as a former lurker I first responded to a post very similar to this years ago. Without getting maudlin, Unfogged reminds me of dinner table conversations at my grandmother's, with various generations yelling at each other over some interesting or not so interesting topic, with multiple side conversations. Thck skin needed only if you take this shit seriously, otherwise remember you're being called an asshole out of love.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:39 AM
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I find that it's more common to be ignored than yelled at
That's something else that I've noticed--it's not fun to make a comment and have it sink without a trace. (Not that I think all my comments are necessarily pearls of wisdom--it's just something that I find frustrating sometimes.)


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:39 AM
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Belatedly: That comment made me laugh, Flippanter.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:40 AM
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Mano negra has a good idea. There's no reason why a thread couldn't automatically go onto a new page for comments 201-400, and then a third page for comments 401-600, and so on, if that happens.

By "There's no reason why" I mean "The software makes it impossible".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:41 AM
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As per many previous comments, I'm too damn slow and often find that when I do bother to comment on #37 or the original post or whatever after 200 other comments have come through, I end up as comment #248 of a 248-comment thread, which is just dull.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:41 AM
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104- Does it look like Second Life, where you can enter Ogged's Den of Iniquity?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:41 AM
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Personally, I only sex populists named Frank.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:42 AM
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There are some technical issues surrounding this, but it could be done, ja.

Translation: "It'll cost ya, but you seem to want it pretty bad".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:42 AM
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Dear Standpipe,

It's so cool that I invoked your name in 79 and then *poof*

Love,


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:42 AM
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112, now I'm imagining Unfogged as the Olive Garden in those commercials narrated by the young Italian stereotype.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:42 AM
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114: Thanks. I had feared being overlooked or taken as more insulting than I intended.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:43 AM
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LB has brought this up before, but speaking as a lurker, it's the volume of the opprobrium that turns me off, rather than the tone. I've got thick skin, so I can deal with a stinging retort--if I can fire back. But when you get piledrived by 15+ responses, all inscribed on your forehead in acid and making slightly different points, it gets suffocating. There have been a few times I've wanted to post but abstained because I dreaded the hassle of getting misconstrued--or indeed, even reasonably responded too--ten different ways and having to draft a rebuttal that was both brief and responsive to all ten objections.

For example, during the single blind dating-stereotypes clusterfuck, I thought that Grad Student Boy had brushed on a few legit points. Legit points at the bottom of a seething cauldron of ressentiment, of course, but legit none the less. But I didn't post because I knew I would get blasted off my feet midway through my distinction-drawing and it just sounded so tiresome.


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:43 AM
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I have actually -- this is embarrassing -- spent a fair bit of daydreaming about what an ideal unfogged comment interface would look like.

See, e.g., "I have a fully worked-out position on the ideal handling of comments-refreshing, but every time I try to type it out I get suicidally depressed over the fact that I have a fully worked-out position on the ideal handling of comments-refreshing."

Also, that thread was funny.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:43 AM
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Dear sam k,

Thanks for the love! Change your name to Frank and we can work something out.

Love,


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:44 AM
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It's not "how can we turn these lurkers into commenters," it's "how can these lurkers contribute to meaningful discussion without having to become regulars."

This seems absolutely correct.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:44 AM
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Translation: "It'll cost ya, but you seem to want it pretty bad".

Sigh. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that line...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:44 AM
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Bill and I need to form a [centerist] support group.

Nah, there's a few others of us here. I just tend to avoid most of the political threads. Not so much for fear of the shouting match, but more because they seem to all be about the Iraq war or torture these days. And, to be quite honest, since I'm not a lawyer, neither of those seem to have many developments to me. Torture is still bad (shocker) and it's still happening while the same administration stays in power with virtually no oversight (shocker). I don't even really know what gets discussed in those threads anymore, but they keep getting big.

Political threads did used to be interesting though, and included even fairly reasonable righties such as baa and (less often) TLL.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:44 AM
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salacious, I definitely hear you. Just keep in mind that it is not a coordinated attack, it's a bunch of individual people who end up being repetitive. And someone like GSB is more likely to be rational if he feels that more than zero people think he is sane.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:44 AM
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113: On the 'sinking without a trace' thing. Come to think of it, something that makes a big difference to whether a comment gets responded to is whether it's addressed specifically to someone else's comment -- with a quote, or calling another commenter out by name. People feeling ignored should try that more.

110: Yeah, my formulation of the theory put most of the weight on people afraid of being characterized as BPs, rather than on other people wrongfully characterizing them as such,which also happens. I was just trying to tease apart 'serious disagreement on issues' from 'characterizing the disagreed with person as a BP' -- I think it's possible to do the first without the second, and often try, although I don't always succeed, to do it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:45 AM
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115: I don't think that'd be very good since it would also mean changing the style. What I'm envisioning is a simple Javascript 'refresh' button at the bottom of the page which sends a request for only the new comments, which would then be dynamically added to the already-loaded page. It would look exactly the same (save for the refresh button), save bandwidth (how many megabytes of data were wasted on people refreshing the 1,200 comment thread?) and make things easier for those of us with crappy third-world Internet.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:45 AM
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Other lurkers,

Are there now or were there in the past other online communities in which you posted more regularly? I may not be representative of the lurker who is for one reason or another turned off on posting to Unfogged specifically. Rather, the volume of the comments and the personalities involved are really what keeps me coming back to read, and I have just been a lurker, mostly, wherever I find myself, online.

Also, 105: definitely


Posted by: Pantene | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:46 AM
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You know, there's a business opportunity here, to exploit the fact that lurkers don't have the time to invest in developing a full-on "personality" on Unfogged. Just start gold farming with a couple of stock personalities (boring white guy, ardent feminist, radical gay rights activist, stuffy conservative - just base them on stock sitcom characters). Then, once the personalilty has been established (say, when LB recognizes the name) you can transfer "ownership" of that personality to one of us lurkers who don't have the time to spend here full time. Then we can comment away with impunity, knowing our voices will be heard...


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:47 AM
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123 is cogent and applicable! Salacious should find a job they like less, and comment more.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:47 AM
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130- This is what Atrios has.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:48 AM
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If Landers' Folly doesn't get mentioned somewhere in this thread, I'm going to cry.

Cala: for about a year (during which I read the site every day), I too thought you were a poster. I would have sworn it, actually. I was very confused when I realized otherwise.

One unmentioned problem is that "you have to read the archives", while always tongue-in-cheek, is actually incredibly useful advice. Or was, until probably roughly 12-18 months ago, when it became completely impossible. If you read the entirety or even most of the archives it is easy to immediately start participating as a a regular. And you get all the hilarious in-jokes. (Not incidentally, the dramatic drop-off in hilarious in jokes probably has a lot to do with the fact we have many new commenters who can't possibly hope to read the archives.) There's nothing to be done about this, obviously, but it's worth noting.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:49 AM
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123 sounds like a combination of 1.) there are a ton of people here and 2.) we do have a certain degree of effective consensus. In the case of GSB I might have come in too, but there was too much other stuff going on.

To me, it's just unavoidable that net everyone will feel comfortable here. I'm an insider, but when I showed up I was an outsider, because I couldn't stand the centrist consensus of that time. Since then that's become a lot easier, since Bush has pretty much destroyed centrism and moderate Republicanism. But it got pretty nasty it time, and I was in the middle of that (I don't mean as a victim).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:49 AM
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This mostly lurker is most discouraged by the length and velocity of threads, not their tone. I also find threadjacks offputting. What would bring me in more:

(1) More frequent top posts, so each thread is shorter and more on-point. This could easily be done by expanding the number of people with top-posting privileges.

(2) Relatedly, instead of threadjacks, post an open thread every week or so where everyone can post their off-topic thoughts, life successes/failures, etc. maybe put the open thread permanently on top, or on the side somewhere so it's easily accessible. Making Light does this succesfully.

These changes offer some of the advantages of threaded comments, without actually having threaded comments.

The one day moratorium on regulars has some appeal.

Finally, I'm not complaining. Lurking is a pleasure in itself.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:50 AM
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Incidentally, the problems of threads being too long and people wanting their comments to be acknowledged do not have a compatible solution.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:50 AM
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I almost always lurk, though I've commented maybe 10-20 times over the past couple of months. And here's the thing: 1) I come here not to refine arguments but for wordplay, to watch quick people write clever things. I like the meter of the comments -- at least usually. So I come back. 2) I comment to see if anyone is listening. When they are, that's really nice. I'd write "affirming," but then I'd have to spend the rest of the puking. But when they're not listening, that's fine, too. I know the bar is high, which is why I come in the first place. 3) I keep coming back because, though I'm not part of it, this is a community. And it interests me to see how that plays out in real time.

3 leads me to this: the long-time members of this community, at least some of them, seem pretty worried about its health. As a newcomer, though, things look pretty good. Admittedly, I have neither enough insititutional memory to know if I'm right, at least not relatively speaking, nor the time to dive into the archives to check. But it really is a great blog, both run and visited by witty, smart people. Are you hard on each other? Sure. Is it sometimes daunting to consider commenting? Yup. Is that something for you to worry about? Up to you. Were it me, though, I'd worry less than it seems many of you are. Regardless, I'll keep coming back. If that's okay with you.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:50 AM
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I was never a poster here!

92: In 78, "posts" s/b "comments and/or posts." Sorry, Cala, for being unclear.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:51 AM
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There have been a few times I've wanted to post but abstained because I dreaded the hassle of getting misconstrued--or indeed, even reasonably responded too--ten different ways and having to draft a rebuttal that was both brief and responsive to all ten objections.

Just quit worrying about being brief and it gets easier. I tend to pack about 5-6 comments worth into one comment sometimes because I want to respond to all the arguments, but don't have the time to keep coming back to the thread (just remember short paragraphs, oi). Also, when your responses are ignored, take that as evidence of your incredible logic-fu intimidating everyone else into meek obsequience.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:51 AM
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"Does the behaviour of regular commenters put off lurkers from commenting?" rather resembles "Do the universitites stifle young writers?" and, I think, Flannery O'Connor's response to the second question probably does as a response to the first.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:51 AM
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Are there now or were there in the past other online communities in which you posted more regularly?

Good question. For the record, let me say that I comment more at unfogged than I ever have anywhere else, so any complaints are clearly minor since, overall, I do find unfogged more congenial than anywhere else online.

Of course, this probably means that I am not actually a lurker, just a low-volume commenter.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:52 AM
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Holy crap, that (140) was way longer than I intended. Sorry.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:52 AM
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the long-time members of this community, at least some of them, seem pretty worried about its health.

I think that's more of a "kids these days" complaint than a serious concern. Since I started reading, the site has evolved. I miss some of the old stuff, but the new stuff is cool, too.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:52 AM
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Threaded comments would be very un-unfogged. Part of the distinctive character of these threads comes from the out-of left-field witty rejoinder, the comment that ends up leading the thread in an entirely new direction, the counterpoint that develops between divergent discussions. Sometimes threads wither, sometimes they end up in dead-horse-flogging tedium; that's the price you pay for the ones that turn out to be brilliant. Things didn't work out the way you wanted? Cheer up, bucko &mdash tomorrow is another thread.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:52 AM
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Theme Continued- Discourse is so fast that, at times, I've put together an argument that got pwned. And I've put a couple half-assed posts to avoid pwnage. It's much better to lurk than to do that. It's a great blog, though.

Full Disclosure- I've recently changed my pseud.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:53 AM
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3 leads me to this: the long-time members of this community, at least some of them, seem pretty worried about its health.

I'm honestly unsure that there is a problem. Ogged seemed to see one, and has talked about it before. I'm not clear on his thinking at all, but figured I'd throw the floor open to see if people could figure it out for me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:53 AM
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#133: I did actually sell a prominent troll account on Slashdot, back in the day, in exchange for some software.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:53 AM
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That's something else that I've noticed--it's not fun to make a comment and have it sink without a trace. (Not that I think all my comments are necessarily pearls of wisdom--it's just something that I find frustrating sometimes.)

I agree with The other Paul.

also,Cryptic Ned makes me cry.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:54 AM
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New posters are much like indie bands trying to stand out from thousands of other indie bands.

I think that we're at critical mass already. We just need enough interesting new people to replace the ones who leave.

Having lurkers comment more (I'm not saying it would be a bad thing) would exacerbate the swrm-of-comments effect, and if everyone responded to the new people, it would exacerbate it again.

Ogged should set up a cyber-colony.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:54 AM
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I think the idea for "more frequent posts" is good, but it would have to be accompanied by a change in the sidebar "recent comments" policy, or the problem of some posts being swept into the dustbin of history before their time will only get worse.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:55 AM
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Lurking is a pleasure in itself.

It is.

139: Agreed. Also, I don't know if what appeals to me about the site as it is could be preserved if the threads were much shorter. I often wait until the length has reached triple digits to start reading, myself.


Posted by: Pantene | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:55 AM
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I'll confess to something else. Too often, when dsquared makes comments in a thread, I just end up pissed off and frustrated because I wish that I had said what he said. (mainly the cunt comments)


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:56 AM
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140 seconded. Is there something in particular that's got people worried about the health of the community? On preview I see LB saying she's not sure there's a problem, and pinning the concerns on Ogged. Ogged?


Posted by: Mother's Younger Brother | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:56 AM
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RE: 132
I also lurk because of the personalities and volume of comments, but I generally stay out of the discussion largely because I'm involved in about 5 or 10 other online communities and blogs and oh yeah, I'm supposed to be working, so I haven't yet taken the effort to become involved in this one. I imagine it would just eat up even more of my time. I can't put forth that kind of commitment.


Posted by: ButteredPopcorn | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:56 AM
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I'm honestly unsure that there is a problem. Ogged seemed to see one, and has talked about it before. I'm not clear on his thinking at all, but figured I'd throw the floor open to see if people could figure it out for me.

Does ogged get vastly more random unsettling email from lurkers and passersby than you do?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:57 AM
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the long-time members of this community, at least some of them, seem pretty worried about its health. As a newcomer, though, things look pretty good. Admittedly, I have neither enough insititutional memory to know if I'm right, at least not relatively speaking, nor the time to dive into the archives to check.

As a regular, things look pretty good to me too. I've got my issues with this place in its current incarnation, but it's weathered much worse than this before and made it through okay. This isn't an existential crisis by any means.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:58 AM
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I'm involved in about 5 or 10 other online communities and blogs

I see the outreach efforts have been working.

Frankly I probably make two blog comments a week that aren't on Unfogged. I guess that makes me a content-generator around here, and you people free-loaders. All right, I'm finally important!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:59 AM
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Dsquared used to post a lot about Natalie Portman turning into a statue.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:59 AM
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Hell, imagine or remember a meatspace meeting with 30-300 people. Do they raise their hands and take turns? If they talk all at once or divide into groups much is missed or ignored.

The format is great. If a lurker has left something interesting, even if ignored or insufficiently engaged by the crowd, I have probably read and appreciated it. See I don't necessarily seek dialogue or conversation on 500 comment threads with 100 participants, and most of the comment threads I read around the blogs do not gain their value thru interaction, but thru personal expression. Look at the blogosphere. Torture has been a multiple-year conversation, and Yglesias doesn't need to link to Obsidian Wings and Abu Aardvark to know that conversation is ongoing. And commenters don't necessarily need to engage each other.

I comment not for Ogged or LB or AWB, but for the universe and eternity. Or for myself. Or because I can. Or must. It will be read. Or not. But the archives and communities will continue to grow, and we really don't need to worry about it.

I really think too many bloghosts still have meatspace mentalities, like they are hosting a dinner party. Sorry. The nets are out of control. Deal.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:59 AM
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If he gets any at all, that's vastly more. The only email I ever recall getting from lurkers, and there hasn't been much, was things along the lines of 'you sound like you could answer question [X], but I don't want to ask publically' or 'here's an answer to your question [Y] or something I thought you'd like to no.' Never anything on site dynamics.

And I don't get much at all from regulars about site dynamics; occasionally someone griping about a spat, but no calls to action.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:00 AM
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'no' s/b 'know'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:01 AM
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107: I'm holding out 'till they take me to Paris.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:01 AM
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Emerson: By and large, I find myself in agreement with the Unfogged-hive-mind consensus. In the context of the GSB discussion, I had wanted to argue that certain aspects of his argument, contrary to appearences, did not fall under that consensus and were, if you will, unexplored territory. But more than a few commenters here sometimes act as if they score a point for every use of that consensus to smack down an opponent. (Hell, when I read as a lurker I sometimes feel a little rush of glee when I see an opportunity to do just that.)

If I may use an example, the whole "on the veldt" trope is an incredibly useful gambit for identifying some pernicious pop-science themes and smacking them down. I wish I could use "on the veldt" in RL discourse because it's so rhetorically efficient. But its use has also generalized and spilled over and it gets used to preemptively shut down entire areas of potential discussion. How do you respond after you get "on the veldt"-ed?


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:02 AM
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This is the only online community I've ever been an active participant in. I lurked and very occasionally commented at several others before I discovered this place.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:03 AM
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As I said in the other thread, I think the range of acceptable opinion here is way too narrow and as I also said there, I'm not sure what's to be done about that. We seem to have reached a critical mass of like-minded people the very existence of which, even if they were all polite and decorous, would make expressions of heterodoxy challenging. So smart people with interesting things to say--and not just lurkers--drop out of the discussions, and I think the site is less interesting for that. There are probably other points to be made here having to do with my hating you all, but I just ate a bunch of turkey and I'm sleepy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:03 AM
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How do you respond after you get "on the veldt"-ed?

Seriously, you say "No, I think this one makes sense, hear me out." And then go into what makes it non-silly. No guarantees that you'll convince anyone, but saying that you buy the general critique but don't think it's well applied to your statement should buy you some breathing room to make your argument.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:04 AM
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It is kind of interesting to me to read Ogged and LB coming out on different sides of whether there's a problem. Mostly because I'm reading the "problem" defined as one of an excess of incivility getting in the way of productive discussion. As I said in the other thread, I can understand arguments on both sides as to whether the problem really exists. But seeing as I more or less have this image of LB as something like the middle child mediator who not infrequently intervenes to try to keep people from ripping each others' heads off and this image of Ogged as the mischievious little brother trying to stir shit up for his entertainment, I would have expected LB and Ogged's readings of the blogs tone to be exactly reversed.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:05 AM
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So I'm a lurker, right? And one of the reasons is, who's got time to even process all these freakin' comments when there's, like, work to be done. Teaching the youth of America and whatnot. So I can't even hardly be bothered to try to connect this comment to the stream of the conversation in which it will undoubtedly be dropped like, well, something mildly irritating and perhaps even unpleasant that could be dropped somewhere to the chagrin of those who were simply going about their business and didn't want to be bothered.

Anyways, what I've always wondered is whether the Chopper from Minnesota is the person I know from Minnesota who's called Chopper. 'Cuz that'd be weird.


Posted by: Boy with a Fish | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:07 AM
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But seeing as I more or less have this image of LB as something like the middle child mediator who not infrequently intervenes to try to keep people from ripping each others' heads off and this image of Ogged as the mischievious little brother trying to stir shit up for his entertainment

I've seen it as the opposite.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:08 AM
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LB, to go from "1. Ogged sees a problem" to "3. there is a problem" you need "2. Ogged sees things as they actually are." But a large part of the content of this blog is devoted to demonstrating the falsity of 2.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:08 AM
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I comment not for Ogged or LB or AWB, but for the universe and eternity. Or for myself. Or because I can. Or must. It will be read. Or not. But the archives and communities will continue to grow, and we really don't need to worry about it.

Hurrah for bob mcmanus! I want these words to be carved on a monument!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:08 AM
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As I said in the other thread, I think the range of acceptable opinion here is way too narrow and as I also said there, I'm not sure what's to be done about that. We seem to have reached a critical mass of like-minded people the very existence of which, even if they were all polite and decorous, would make expressions of heterodoxy challenging. So smart people with interesting things to say--and not just lurkers--drop out of the discussions, and I think the site is less interesting for that.

I agree.

I liked it better when there were rightwingers who were defending their positions righteously against hordes of leftwingers, but I guess the hordes just got too big, and now we have very, very, very feminist feminists defending their positions righteously against merely feminist feminists, which is a bit more echochambery and pointless.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:08 AM
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I more or less have this image of LB as something like the middle child mediator who not infrequently intervenes to try to keep people from ripping each others' heads off and this image of Ogged as the mischievious little brother trying to stir shit up for his entertainment

Interesting. That sounds about right for ogged, but my image of LB is more as the opinionated big sister actively engaging the little brother in his antics while ostensibly trying to control him.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:08 AM
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Flippanter's Upper Sexington was funny.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:10 AM
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Well, ideally you do that--your ability to do so quickly and effectively is what makes you such a great commenter. But when you combine 166 with the velocity of the comments, it often happens that something gets shut down, the discussion moves on, and unless you want to be incredibly tenacious about tugging the conversation back towards your point, the moment is dead and gone.


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:10 AM
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Becks doesn't comment much anymore, but she's definitely the person I most strongly associate with the peacemaking middle child role.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:12 AM
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How do you respond after you get "on the veldt"-ed?

Apply for your research grant; contact this place to buy yourself enough Capuchin monkeys to establish statistically significant results so strong that even a casual once-over of the population results will show clear patterns; pass your experimental design through a couple ethical committees; then carry out the painstaking research; spend the year or two of revisions and waiting necessary to publish your results in a top journal (otherwise who'll believe that shit?); and then SHOW THEM ALL!!! (until the other side begins to seriously argue that subconscious sexist researcher bias was picked up by the monkeys, skewing the results a la Clever Hans).

Geez, you act like you've never argued on the internet before.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:14 AM
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170:

Here I'm going to be all confrontational, and pick a fight with Ogged.

I get the sense sometimes that part of what Ogged wants is a blog where it's 'safe' to say things that you don't want to argue. So, space for bomb-throwing, without the bombthrower having to deal with 300 comments on "Aren't the logical implications of what you just said that we should strangle babies to death with the tails of tortured kittens?"

The thing is, if a (fair, reasonable, which I realize we don't always achieve, but we do okay with, compared to most places) argument about something you say is going to make you feel too unsafe to say it, I think you probably shouldn't say it. Bombthrowing's fine, but I like to see it restricted to people happy to accept return fire. Which makes my ideal blog in some regards 'civiler' than Ogged, but in others much less of a safe space for dissent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:14 AM
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179: Yeah, actually that makes sense. But I was carving out Apo for oldest child status because he's mostly all aloof and above the fray. Maybe he can be the dad, Alameida can be the mom, then LB, Becks, Ogged. The rest can be cousins or something.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:15 AM
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"until the other side begins to seriously argue that subconscious sexist researcher bias was picked up by the monkeys, skewing the results a la Clever Hans"

Researchers prefer monkeys with .7 waist to hip ratios. True story.


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:17 AM
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And since I'm commenting for the sake of history and eternity, I now feel duty-bound to reveal to future historians that I was xxx, even though no one living today cares.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:17 AM
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As I said in the other thread, I think the range of acceptable opinion here is way too narrow

Blah. If you can't defend your opinion, you're either wrong or a sissy. Either way, I see no great loss.

Also, the call for greater inclusion meshes nicely with the peevish repetition of "as I said in the other thread," making all of us who didn't slog through 1200 comments (was that even the other thread? who knows?) look like slackers/outsiders.


Posted by: Mother's Younger Brother | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:18 AM
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At a minimum, the center of gravity of like-mindedness--not all, or even primarily, on what would be regarded as substantive matters--has changed quite a bit. That changes the type of personality the blog appeals to, etc. I miss the old Unfogginess, sometimes, be it in the form the nature of the discussion or the absence of some prior regulars. I don't know that there's a solution. To be honest, I don't know that there should be a solution. There is a lot of good stuff still here. It's just different. From time to time, there will be a bone that sticks in someone's throat. Happens.

I do think a little more charity might be in order, but I think that the lack of it isn't a function of bad faith but of the speed of commenting and the lack of long familiarity with each other as the Unfoggedariat grows. Speed has been mentioned several times, and familiarity--one hopes--will take care of itself.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:18 AM
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Isn't Apo the uncle who isn't allowed to be alone with his nieces?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:18 AM
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LB, I think some people are perfectly willing to argue, but only when the arguments happen in a spirit of charity, rather than the spirit of crushing the opposition.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:19 AM
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183: I actually saw a study somewhere arguing that girl monkeys liked to play with pots and pans, and boy monkeys liked balls. Given that monkeys don't cook in the wild, you've got to think there was some Clever Hansiness going there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:19 AM
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I think Unfogged would have made basically is a (great) Usenet group.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:19 AM
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but I just ate a bunch of turkey and I'm sleepy

Isn't the correlation here generally agreed upon to be coincidence, only hammered home by that damned Seinfeld episode?


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:20 AM
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I've been worried lately that Unfogged hasn't been as narcissistically self-reflective as it was in the past -- but the last couple days have put me at ease. The world needs a blog dedicated to The Unfogged Phenomenon, and what better blog to fill that role than Unfogged itself?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:21 AM
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171: slacker.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:21 AM
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Isn't Apo the uncle who isn't allowed to be alone with his nieces?

Okay, fine, I give up. But we're all agreed that Ogged is the mischievious little brother, right?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:21 AM
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I don't think that this blog is narrower. It's more inclusive of left-of-center points of view, and less inclusive of center-right points of view. So the range would not be center / center-left / left, where it used to be center-right / center / center-left.

Bush did that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:22 AM
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. So, space for bomb-throwing, without the bombthrower having to deal with 300 comments on "Aren't the logical implications of what you just said that we should strangle babies to death with the tails of tortured kittens?"

I think you're assuming a common understanding of what's a bomb, and that's a mistake.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:22 AM
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"is now"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:22 AM
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I send and receive an awful lot of email about Unfogged, with regulars and posters (not lurkers). It's staggering the amount of my IRL time this site eats up. You are all weirdos.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:22 AM
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I don't think that this blog is narrower.

That's just because it's moved in your direction, old timer, and you're only looking at one kind of discussion.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:23 AM
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It was turkey stuffed with those GHB toy beads.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:24 AM
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I've been worried lately that Unfogged hasn't been as narcissistically self-reflective as it was in the past -- but the last couple days have put me at ease. The world needs a blog dedicated to The Unfogged Phenomenon, and what better blog to fill that role than Unfogged itself?

Narcissitically self-reflective, or possibly a group of people who enjoy engaging one another wanting to work out their thoughts on what would make that engagement more enjoyable.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:25 AM
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Yeah, I'm glad that it moved in my direction, but what I'm saying is that it hasn't narrowed. I really doubt that Stras, Minneapolitan, or Frowner would have wanted to be here two years ago.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:25 AM
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198: This never occured to me. Now I feel like such an outsider (sniff).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:26 AM
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and now we have very, very, very feminist feminists defending their positions righteously against merely feminist feminists, which is a bit more echochambery and pointless.

It's not pointless, though, if the point is to narrow the range of acceptable opinion on feminist topics. In which case, the tone of righteous indignation that is often directed toward the merely feminist seems to work quite well.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:26 AM
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189: in a spirit of charity

That just seems to me to be fantasy. We've got a bunch of strangers with spare time and no social controls -- how are you going to achieve a broadbased spirit of charity? Diving into the fray and trying to encourage one, sure, but that's never going to work broadly.

196: I think you're assuming a common understanding of what's a bomb, and that's a mistake.

Well, I think it works if a 'bomb' is 'any statement that I know will set off an argument too vehement for me to deal with'. If you don't want to engage the arguments you know ahead of time your words will inspire, it's hard to figure what anyone else should do about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:26 AM
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The world needs a blog dedicated to The Unfogged Phenomenon, and what better blog to fill that role than Unfogged itself?

The answer to your question is "Adam Kotsko's blog."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:26 AM
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192: So true!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:27 AM
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201: Why can't it be both?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:27 AM
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The world needs a blog dedicated to The Unfogged Phenomenon, and what better blog to fill that role than Unfogged itself?

Acephalous made a play for it yesterday, but apparently someone shot that down.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:28 AM
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201: If you enjoy things you are a Bad Person.

Ogged, the problem is that there's a ton of premises which many people here accept the truth of and will appeal to in an argument and someone holding whatever views you're worried about the squelching of probably deny a large number of those premises which just go unmentioned here because they're taken for granted. Which makes it very difficult to get a conversation going about whatever point they want to disagree with consensus on, because you need a point of agreement to work from. Don't you?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:28 AM
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193:
171: slacker.

So this is what it feels like to "have arrived." Exhilarating.

Here's a somewhat serious question, namely: How? By which I mean, what are the mechanics of keeping up with this beast? Do you all just keep the comments window open and constantly refresh it? I mean, I have an easy enough time procrastinating as it is.


Posted by: Boy with a Fish | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:28 AM
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Given that monkeys don't cook in the wild

No, they eat out way too much. That's why they never have any money!


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:28 AM
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Narcissitically self-reflective, or possibly a group of people who enjoy engaging one another rather than wanting to work. out their thoughts on what would make that engagement more enjoyable.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:29 AM
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198: This never occured to me. Now I feel like such an outsider (sniff).

Same here.

We can console ourselves by knowing that as non-IRL acquaintances of the Unfoggoisie, we must have been twice as good in order to become recognizable characters.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:29 AM
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"I really doubt that Stras, Minneapolitan, or Frowner would have wanted to be here two years ago."

I don't think they would have wanted to be here because they would have regarded discussion here as an unproductive use of their time. I don't think they would have been met with abject hostility. You can't say the same for center/center-right people now. I imagine you think this is a good thing, and I sympathize, but I hope you can see why the cases are not symmetric.


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:30 AM
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Do you all just keep the comments window open and constantly refresh it?

Yes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:30 AM
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205: I can't quite understand if you believe that there has been a change in the tone of the discussion, or if those claims just seem off-base to you.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:30 AM
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208: Because I am very sensitive to perceived harshness in tone and doubly, even triply, sensitive to issues of narcissim.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:31 AM
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Isn't the correlation here generally agreed upon to be coincidence, only hammered home by that damned Seinfeld episode?

Here Counterfly performs a classic maneuver, steering the thread toward its eventual fate as a food chat.

I'm inclined to agree with Emerson about the political spectrum represented. Center-right positions are increasingly bankrupt generally, so I'm not surprised not to find them here so much. And the spectrum that is represented here is sufficiently broad that political threads usually leave me feeling radicalized.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:31 AM
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204: It's not pointless, though, if the point is to narrow the range of acceptable opinion on feminist topics. In which case, the tone of righteous indignation that is often directed toward the merely feminist seems to work quite well.

IA, you were one of the people I was thinking of in stating my theory in the post; not so much from anything you've said directly, but from occasional comments like the above, and some stuff Emerson said.

I guess, where you hear 'righteous indignation' I hear 'disagreement'. I have the sense, not pinned down because I'm not very clear on your positions, that we disagree about some stuff around feminism and gender issues. That disagreement, and my strong interest in clarifying what it consists of, because thats the sort of thing that interests me generally, shouldn't be taken, and isn't meant by me, as a reason for you not to express your opinions, or a personal condemnation of you for holding them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:32 AM
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211: I have an unfogged window here, a grant proposal in an editor, and I'm prepping a lecture.

I should just give up on the idea of a tenure run now, right?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:33 AM
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213: I am finding myself more and more in agreement with Emerson these days.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:33 AM
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222: You have to admit that it's pretty convenient to have "procrastinating" turn into "participating in an unprecedented, dynamic online community that future anthropologists will study."


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:34 AM
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I should just give up on the idea of a tenure run now, right?

With multitasking skills like that? You'll be fine.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:34 AM
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215: There was a lot of ridicule of The Left back in the old days. I think that the people I mentioned would have received it if they'd tried to make their points. I felt ultra-left here even after I moderated my position in order to fit in. (Yes, kiddies, the Central Committee assigned me to Unfogged. Their goal for 2008 isto get you all to dress as giant puppets in our big demo.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:34 AM
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189- Maybe this happens with a community that's been around, but when things start to get nasty, there always seems to be one or two people who will defuse it with self-deprecating humor. I can only think of one thread in which things truly got out of hand. Not bad for such an active blog.



Posted by: ajs | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:36 AM
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I lurk but don't comment mainly, I think, because I'm in denial. I've accepted that I must read the entire internet, including long unfogged comment threads, before I do any work. But commenting seems like the gateway to much worse ...


Posted by: Fern | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:36 AM
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217: I think there's some casual stuff that'll get argued or disgreed with now, that used to pass without comment, largely on gender issues. But I don't think there's been a big change in tone overall.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:37 AM
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216
Do you all just keep the comments window open and constantly refresh it?
Yes.
---
I am imagining a virtual conversation being conducted by a large community of very highly educated security guards. Either that, or all y'all are superhuman. Because I've now tried to follow this (rather, my own little "fart in the elevator" piece of this) for about 20 minutes, and there ain't no way to get nothin' else done. This likely marks the "and fall" portion of the not-so-epic rise and fall of Boy with a Fish as an Unfogged non-lurker.


Posted by: Boy with a Fish | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:37 AM
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You have to admit that it's pretty convenient to have "procrastinating" turn into "participating in an unprecedented, dynamic online community that future anthropologists will study."

If by "convenient" you mean "silly," I wholly agree. If someone was seriously contending this is all material for future anthropological study, that would indeed be bordering on absurdly self-important, but I didn't pick that claim up anywhere in the thread.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:38 AM
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For what it's worth, I'm a little baffled by the idea that this blog has taken a hard left turn.

Granted, we have few consistent `right wing' commenters. Moreso a couple of regulars who have conservative views in particular areas. But I'd characterize a lot of stuff that comes up as pretty centerist.

Maybe that's just the skew in US political discourse writ large.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:38 AM
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accepted that I must read the entire internet, including long unfogged comment threads, before I do any work.

Hee. Yes, precisely. Once I finish the internet, I'll get work done.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:38 AM
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Actually, in the old days the center-left (i.e. Yglesias) described themselves as The Left, whereas the left was referred to as "crazy dirty hippies with puppets".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:39 AM
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(I don't think they would have wanted to be here because they would have regarded discussion here as an unproductive use of their time

And this isn't an unproductive waste of my time? I have two masthead designs, a spending chart and an overhaul of the grant files that say otherwise. )


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:39 AM
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"e.g."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:39 AM
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I thought this comment (which I realize is written hastily and in anger), from an argument about late term abortion, was pretty discouraging. Taken generally, it implies that pretty much any disagreement over the limits to a right is going to be taken as a serious insult. I know I'd prefer to avoid that sort of dispute, so in that case I stay away.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:40 AM
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221: I should just give up on the idea of a tenure run now, right?

Somewhere on this campus somebody's probably looking at my tenure file right now. By the way this seems to be sucking me in, I might have held off for just long enough ...


Posted by: Boy with a Fish | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:40 AM
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Frowner, your posts here are tremendously productive. Tons and tons of product per post!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:40 AM
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230: That claim actually came up in a now-deleted Acephalous post reflecting on the world-historical importance of yesterday's experiment.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:41 AM
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For what it's worth, I'm a little baffled by the idea that this blog has taken a hard left turn.

It's all relative, but there was a time (before I started reading here, so certainly before you did) when this place was significantly more conservative than it is now.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:42 AM
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Hee. Yes, precisely. Once I finish the internet, I'll get work done.

I once had a chat with an old CS prof who had got into the net early. He was talking about how he had to read usenet in the morning before getting any work done, and one day he realized it wasn't possible any more.

After a few minutes I realized he was talking about all of it.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:42 AM
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214 old should be older


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:43 AM
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'cause I'm ageist. And wrote 241,242.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:43 AM
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236: ? What? Did you look up at what it was referring to? It was a snippy response to Opinionated Grandma calling her "smug". That's not "any disagreement", that's back and forth snippiness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:43 AM
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crazy dirty hippies with puppets

I often think of this site's personalities in terms of Muppets. Ogged, inevitably, as Kermit; Cala with her calabat as Miss Piggy; John Emerson and bob mcmanus as the critics, or a version thereof. I think it's patently obvious who plays Oscar the Grouch.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:44 AM
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I am imagining a virtual conversation being conducted by a large community of very highly educated security guards. Either that, or all y'all are superhuman.

I'm a receptionist; my job consists primarily of sitting at a desk waiting for the phone to ring. Under those circumstances, following Unfogged threads is quite possible (though still not easy).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:44 AM
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213, 233 Emerson is in the zone right now.


Posted by: ajs | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:45 AM
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225: My lurking doesn't extend back into prehistory, so you'll have to excuse my ignorance. When you say "ridicule of The Left," are you taking about Ogged's predilection for (i)hippie-mockery, (ii)the "frathaus" atmosphere, (iii)discussions of political strategy, or (iv)substantive policy discussions? I think the first two mark a definite change in tenor, but I'm not clear they would make someone feel uncomfortable the way someone who is center right would feel. The third is largely an intra-Left conversation and I think I can see where you are coming from regarding it--there has been a shift from the Tim Burke emphasis on reasoned dialog which definitely excluded leftists advocating a more adversarial strategy. The last, substantive policy, has shifted, but AFAIK the center of gravity was never so far right as to exclude lefty participation.


Posted by: Salacious | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:45 AM
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I think there's some casual stuff that'll get argued or disgreed with now, that used to pass without comment, largely on gender issues. But I don't think there's been a big change in tone overall.

I think that means we have a pretty basic disagreement in description, so there's probably a natural limit to how productive the discussion between us could be. (With no intent to imply anything about who is right, etc.) That might be--though I obviously don't know--the same for others.

It will work itself out or it won't, but I don't think the disagreement is at a verbalizable level.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:45 AM
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239: Ah, I see. Didn't read that post before it apparently got taken down. I'm confused, though, as to why whatever SEK wrote would make the discussions on Unfogged itself "narcissistically self-reflective."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:45 AM
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245: I do, in fact, love trash.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:45 AM
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whereas the left was referred to as "crazy dirty hippies with puppets"

Wait, so you think we've accepted the puppet people now? Really? When did this happen?! Didn't we at least get to vote on the matter?

You, Stras, and the twin cities kommie krew are accepted here, and quite great commenters on a lot of stuff, but you're still quite far left of most of the discourse. And I think part of what changed is the topics of political conversation on this blog. There's not much room for leftism vs. centerism on torture. Or on a war that I, for one, opposed from the beginning. This blog just doesn't discuss anything where there is really interesting room to explore right vs. center vs. left viewpoints anymore.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:45 AM
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Muppets, guys!


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:46 AM
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But I was carving out Apo for oldest child status because he's mostly all aloof and above the fray. Maybe he can be the dad, Alameida can be the mom, then LB, Becks, Ogged. The rest can be cousins or something.

Does LizardBreath have to be my first cousin, or could be we kissin' cousins?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:47 AM
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249: I think that means we have a pretty basic disagreement in description.... I don't think the disagreement is at a verbalizable level.

At this point, I'm still interested, but I can't go any further.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:48 AM
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254: Oh, I was just including front-page posters as part of The Family. The rest of us are just beloved friends and/or creepy stalkers.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:49 AM
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Don't we like the snippiness? I like the snippiness. Admittedly, sometimes I rant and rave a bit to [sanctity-of-off-blog-communication-person] about those Unfoggers, but I wouldn't stick around if it weren't for the snippiness.

The thing is, if people are going to genuinely disagree, things will be a bit crabby from time to time. There are lots of blogs where everyone is already pretty much on the same page politically, and those blogs aren't as interesting as Unfogged.

Also, because people are fierce and bitey, we don't have much of a troll problem. Compared to other blogs which discuss abortion, feminism and sex, that's pretty amazing.



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:49 AM
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200 - ha, a friend of mine sells those, which has caused much hilarity this week.

LB, going back to the post - I think your theory is sound, for some people at least. (Personally, my thought-process is more like, "I'm right you idiots, why can't you accept that?") My partner for instance is like that, although far far less so now. But in the early days of our marriage we had some bizarre arguments because he'd take everything personally. It's really not sensible to feel like you're being pushed onto the Bad Person side of the fence on the issue of paint colour though. But I'm afraid I can't summon much sympathy for that attitude, and my response would be similar to yours.

Feeling like I'm commenting here 'successfully' is more a question of putting in the time for me. I told some friends months ago that I expected that it would take me the rest of my thirties to completely infiltrate this place.

Also, I'm getting little red "wrong spelling" dots under things - is this the latest update of Firefox or a MT thing? Fine for highlighting typos, but telling me colour is spelt wrongly pisses me off.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:50 AM
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153: (Cryptic Ned) the idea for "more frequent posts" is good, but it would have to be accompanied by a change in the sidebar "recent comments" policy

Making Light has a link to its last 1000 comments on a separate page. I know nothing about blog software but perhaps this wouldn't be too hard to add. I don't think threaded blog comments are a great idea.

I'm surprised to see mike d describe himself as a semi-lurker, I think of him as a regular albeit not a high-volume commenter. Perhaps this is affected by his being one of the few people I can put a face to. Me, now, I'm a lurker. I don't comment that much mainly because of transatlantic time lag - the conversation is usually too far advanced by the time I read it. So I end up with the occasional comment of the form "Well, in my country the custom is X" as it's usually the only point not already made by someone else.

Once upon a time I used to post more to Usenet, but then I hated my job and my boss was someone with massive psychological problems. Also the time-lag issue didn't apply to me much more than it did to other people.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:50 AM
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fierce and bitey

Hee hee. You say the nicest things.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:50 AM
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I have been wanting "merely feminists," analogous in a way to the "center" and "center right" to speak up for some time now. One of the difficulties is working out a way to express amorphous reservations, which we nonetheless strongly feel.

LB is a very valuable interlocutor to have in this discussion, maybe irreplaceable. IA, and in her own way Cala, possibly RFTS, and Parsimon, and men like Charley Carp and Emerson who have been bulldog-stubborn in asserting the experiences of women they know and love, are trying to make counterpoints, and have made an impact. So have many others I haven't mentioned.

I think those kinds of threads are very rewarding, even when they've felt a bit lacerating.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:51 AM
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When I showed up, I felt that this place was centrist on iii.) and iv.) And centrism requires rejecting the extremes and getting the center-right and center-left to work things out. That hasn't made sense since Gingrich became speaker, but old Unfogged was pretty centrist that way. There was a real attempt to dialogue with Republicans, but I don't see that that's possible now.

A fair number of the old moderate Republicans supported Kerry -- but only the ones who had retired from politics. (E.g., an ex-governor of Minnesota, and an ex-Lt. Governor of Oregon.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:51 AM
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I used to comment on a blog run by two friends using multiple fake identities to make it seem like I wasn't the only one reading their esoteric philosophy posts. Before actually going a meetup, I secretly imagined that Ogged did the same thing.


Posted by: Gump | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:51 AM
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Don't we like the snippiness? I like the snippiness.

Tastes vary. But this:

There are lots of blogs where everyone is already pretty much on the same page politically, and those blogs aren't as interesting as Unfogged.

is very true.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:51 AM
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262: As noted before that's because Bush has fouled that nest enough that things shifted.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:53 AM
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Don't we like the snippiness?

Yeah, I like it. Which I've said before.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:54 AM
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244: I got the impression that OG's joke brought out a line of reasoning that was there all along and that tends to make those discussions so angry. Maybe it was snippiness, but she must have meant something by saying she has to literally convince people that she's a fully rational being.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:54 AM
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258: It's Firefox. And you just got the version with the American English dictionary. You can change it for the GB dictionary, or just turn off spellchecking.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:56 AM
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Occasional lurker, put off by the pace and fervor of the comments, the interface, the impossibility of telling what the comment conversation will even be about based on what the post is about, and therefore whether it's worth an investment of time to read, the in-group one-upsmanship, which is strikes me as the veneration of a particular kind of cleverness that seems fun to participate in but leaves me unfulfilled and tired, almost like two hours spent playing video games. It's empty fun, and doesn't make me a better person. All of it, the intelligence and the sense of community and the particular kind of wit in the fun-poking, hold some appeal. They're why I visit from time to time, but participation would require a very particular sort of personality and a very intensive willingness to invest time refreshing. If I spent enough time here to participate, I would feel like I were stealing from my employer, or from time I could be spending outside. As an outsider, my perception of the "in group" community that's been built here is both an envious one -- y'all are smart, and gentle with one another, and fun -- and also somewhat suspicious. I wonder if this almost frantic, almost constant, virtual chatter with one another makes you feel more lonely or less, better about yourselves or worse. I still get drawn in by the conversations sometimes and spend an hour or two reading threads, but it always leaves me feeling kind of worse and more isolated, like I've eaten junk food. Whereas turning off my computer and going outside always, always, makes me feel better.

Honest answer. I don't think "good people/ bad people" has much to do with it.


Posted by: Scheherazade | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:58 AM
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Just to pile on. I'm one of the oldest lurkers who has never turned into a commenter (at least, that's what I believe having been reading since mid 2003, and even having my own thread directed at me for harrassing ogged via google). I've never had the desire to put the work in to make myself a regular. Comment threads which move too fast for my slow typing skills are great for reading and entertainment.

I've been around long enough to see people come in to the community and it's been pretty clear over the years that people willing to put the time in can come to be accepted. There have certainly been some high profile fights and hurt feelings, but some of that's the nature of beast...you can only really hurt/be hurt by those you love.
The more serious problem is that occasionally people will get thrown into something before they're really 'family' and that's just uncomfortable.


Posted by: guilty | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:58 AM
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Me, now, I'm a lurker. I don't comment that much mainly because of transatlantic time lag - the conversation is usually too far advanced by the time I read it. So I end up with the occasional comment of the form "Well, in my country the custom is X" as it's usually the only point not already made by someone else.

Yeah, I enjoyed the thread in which you said that in your European country names are gendered, and before you could look at the thread again it led to a bunch of people thinking you were a man from Bosnia.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:58 AM
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And I think part of what changed is the topics of political conversation on this blog. There's not much room for leftism vs. centerism on torture. Or on a war that I, for one, opposed from the beginning.

Ogged should go back to being pro-Iraq war then.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:00 AM
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Almost like two hours spent playing video games....
I would feel like I were stealing from my employer
.

We don't disagree about the facts.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:02 AM
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I think the range of acceptable opinion here is way too narrow

That's a stupid thing to think, asshole.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:02 AM
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I wonder if this almost frantic, almost constant, virtual chatter with one another makes you feel more lonely or less, better about yourselves or worse.

I wonder this too, and the answer I give changes frequently.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:02 AM
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250: Dude, seriously -- Unfogged is, after all, a blog. I thought that everyone would understand that "narcissistically self-reflective" was just a given.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:03 AM
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274: Hide the nieces.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:03 AM
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276: A Chalcedonian would think that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:04 AM
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Frowner!

I send and receive an awful lot of email about Unfogged, with regulars and posters (not lurkers).

Weren't you going to send mix CDs to the people who voted for you in the poll at some point?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:05 AM
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269: I wonder if this almost frantic, almost constant, virtual chatter with one another makes you feel more lonely or less, better about yourselves or worse. I still get drawn in by the conversations sometimes and spend an hour or two reading threads, but it always leaves me feeling kind of worse and more isolated, like I've eaten junk food. Whereas turning off my computer and going outside always, always, makes me feel better.

Oy. But probably largely true. I should say that I really enjoyed your blog (you're the lawyer/sailing coach Scheherazade, right), but I don't think I ever commented.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:05 AM
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Also, I'm curious. Who is the oldest lurker?
I can only prove to May 2004 although I have been around much longer. http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_1864.html
Note: how polite ogged was back then.


Posted by: guilty | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:06 AM
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Very long-time lurker here. (I've commented just a couple times.) In the grand tradition of Unfogged, I've read some but not all of this thread, so here's my thoughts for what they're worth.

1) 227 and 232 cover most of the reason I don't comment -- commenting seems like committing to a lot of time spent in a discussion (interesting though it probably will be) that doesn't pay the bills. Reading the thread much later provides a lot of the entertainment value without taking as much time and energy. (Though it does mean I miss some of the suspense of the redacted thread of last March, for example.)

2) A related point: the issues I'm most interested in weighing in on are the ones that are directly tied to my work; I can't really justify to myself (or really to my coworkers) constantly hitting refresh to follow the dynamics of the conversation about my work, when I should be actually doing that work.

3) Very few people today are offered the kind of welcoming gifts that I remember from days past.


Posted by: BDM | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:07 AM
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276: Dude, seriously -- this is kind of a stupid debate, don't you think? I herewith beat my sword into a plowshare, 'kay?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:10 AM
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Come off it, Scheherazade. I don't feel ugly or lonely or not for banging away on this web site, and moreover, there's hardly some monolithic truth to the fact of people's participation.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:11 AM
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Very few people today are offered the kind of welcoming gifts that I remember from days past.

I was doing that for a while after Weiner (pbuh) left, but then I stopped commenting as much and no one really took over.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:11 AM
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I wonder if this almost frantic, almost constant, virtual chatter with one another makes you feel more lonely or less, better about yourselves or worse.

Ouch. I'll conjecture that is an oft-thought, seldom articulated question. My answer is pretty much identical to LB's.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:12 AM
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Di, don't do that. Abuse Costco a bit. He likes it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:12 AM
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Weren't you going to send mix CDs to the people who voted for you in the poll at some point?

I never received mine either. So sad.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:13 AM
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Shorter Scheherazade: All you people cry, cry, masturbate.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:13 AM
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What's with Weiner, anyway?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:13 AM
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Dude, seriously -- this is kind of a stupid debate, don't you think?

I don't think you're taking Adam's comments in quite the right spirit.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:13 AM
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279/288: Er, um, I'm on vacation in Chicago and should probably clear out of here.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:14 AM
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What's with Weiner, anyway?

There was a schism.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:14 AM
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Scheherazade

I used to read her blog all the time. Very enjoyable. Don't remember why I stopped.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:15 AM
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287: He's welcome to beat his sword (into a plowshare or whatever) too. Really, probably more fun than arguing whether it's fair and kind to scoff at the narcissistic self-reflectiveness of bloggers.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:15 AM
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Weiner lurked for a long time, though. I wonder if he still checks in.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:15 AM
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I don't comment much anywhere these days (I used to in my first year or so of blogging, but I never got anything else done, and I hated it whenever I got into fights). I certainly don't have the time for the regular comment-return-respond-rinse-repeat somewhere as busy as Unfogged. Plus, I'm not fond of wasting bytes and bandwidth on things that other people have already said, and being original is hard work. Some of us like just reading and making the occasional observation without any commitment. (Yes, I do have all sorts of commitment issues.)

In any case, what are you worrying about? As a lurker, it seems to me that this place is pretty damn successful in terms of commenting community. You regularly have several hundred comment threads with lots of energy and intelligence; if you had a broader range of commenters you'd just have hundreds more comments, there'd be even more and nastier arguments, real moderation problems, and nobody would be able to keep up anyway. (Plus the server would grind to a complete halt instead of just being slow.) It'd be fucking horrible. Seriously, this is right into 'be careful what you wish for' territory here.

Am going to relurk now. But you did ask.


Posted by: sharon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:17 AM
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Also, I'm curious. Who is the oldest lurker?

I'm sure you mean: who's lurked here the longest?

I'd be curious, due to my interest in generations and inclusion, in who the actually oldest person to comment here might be.

So far as I know, Biohazard, b.1941 is the oldest semi-regular. There are about a half-dozen regulars, in the top fifty, as old or older than I am, b.1952.

Which is amazing, for such a generalized, chatty, pop-culture-referring blog.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:17 AM
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I wonder if this almost frantic, almost constant, virtual chatter with one another makes you feel more lonely or less, better about yourselves or worse.

If you type enough comments, you don't have time for thoughts like this.

No but seriously, I'm far too amazing to have this occur to me. Than, and playing with you folk a bit keeps me from wandering the halls and disctracting people too much.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:17 AM
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I herewith beat my sword into a plowshare, 'kay?

You got a frequent shopper card at the cliche store or something, Kotomy?

(Not meant in earnest--I still heart you!)


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:18 AM
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Further to 295, Teo is probably right in 291.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:18 AM
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293: One of those off blog things, huh?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:20 AM
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I don't have any more time to waste with you assholes. I'm out.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:20 AM
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300: I thought I'd offer the theologian a nice biblical cliche as sort of an olive branch, a dove of peace as it were...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:22 AM
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304: Damn, two more punches on your card and you get a free one!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:23 AM
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279: Nick S! (I haven't abandoned ship....just busy and even Frownier than usual. Also, the furnace went out, also got Tariq Ali's Fall of Communism novels from the library. Tariq Ali isn't as funny as Unfogged, but there's a lot more pathos, and a lot more Stasi.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:23 AM
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An insecure commenter is a good commenter.
Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-27-06 12:04 AM


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:25 AM
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Er, um, I'm on vacation in Chicago and should probably clear out of here.

And you haven't even thought of drinking with us? For shame.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:26 AM
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There are people who want to be on the "Good Person" side? Who would want to do that? Other than panty-waist liberals, but they're so fucking dull. We should invade another country already.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:27 AM
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If you had found a more Zizekian cliche Adam would have squealed with delight. But I can't help you there.

I'm never told why someone leaves, and I've only asked once. You do get the impression that there's a council of greybearded elders (most of them women) meeting in a dimly lit room.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:28 AM
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304: The basic point of my remark as to "why can't it be both?" was that I was -- hilariously -- accusing you of posing a false dichotomy. Somehow that got lost along the way.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:30 AM
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I think that there's something to the idea that our "stronger than dirt" keeps the trolls away. But maybe the council of elders is diligent with the delete key.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:30 AM
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Are there now or were there in the past other online communities in which you posted more regularly?

I've belonged to a number of different online communities, with my participation more-or-less tracking the level with which I engage here: enough to get recognized by most of the usual crowd, not enough to be a real regular. Activity tends to occur in bursts, as time allows and something grabs my attention, followed by long periods of inactivity. I don't, for instance, personally care to engage in discussions of dating, gender relations, etc. I'm just here for the stuff I find fun, the rest I don't bother with (as a result, I'm sometimes clueless as to what's going on between people, as I haven't read the latest 1000 comment flare-up.)

That said, the dynamics here, and the current navel-gazing, seem typical of every online community I've ever encountered that persisted over a significant length of time (though style and content varied, of course.) As do, unfortunately, some of the negative feeling that can arise from spending too much time living in one's computer. What use is an endearment and a joke, to borrow a line. Anyway, there's no solution to any of the problems people perceive (or don't perceive); things will just muddle along, until such a time as they don't.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:31 AM
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305: I think more attention to these things would help with the issues of tone and civility. If we could all just learn to turn the other cheek a bit more, to do unto others as we would have done unto us, it would make all the difference.

Now what's my free prize? Do I get bonus points (or a penalty?) for entertaining impure interpretations of those last two?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:32 AM
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JL finds such an elegant way to say "cry, cry, masturbate". That's really what it comes down to, isn't it?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:33 AM
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308 was me, even if saying that hurts the odds of 'smasher coming drinking with us at one of the many fine beer purveyors in this town.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:34 AM
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I guess, where you hear 'righteous indignation' I hear 'disagreement'. I have the sense, not pinned down because I'm not very clear on your positions, that we disagree about some stuff around feminism and gender issues.

We do indeed disagree on some of the gender/feminism stuff. Now, if we were both at a rightwing or a christianist or an antifeminist site (not that we would be, but anyway), I'm pretty sure we would be on the same side on just about every issue. So I see this as a disagreement from within, a disagreement amongst feminists.

I don't have a problem with disagreement. And I didn't have you in mind when I picked up on Ned's righteously to use the term righteous indignation.

I'm talking about a dynamic where, in the course of a disagreement, someone (uh, is it more obnoxious to name names or to not name names here?) comes in with a statement that goes something like, "I can't believe anyone could say that! You people suck," and then a few more people chime in to solidify their feminist street cred by expressing their agreement with and/or approval of this intervention, and then perhaps someone else comes in mid-thread with an ALL CAPS endorsement of "EVERYTHING THAT LB [OR WHOEVER] JUST SAID." It's a circling of the wagons, and also, I think, a way of policing the borders. You can't that here, is the message, whether or not that message is consciously intended. Or at least, you can't say that here without expending an awful lot of energy fending off attacks which may or may not have much to do with what you actually said or would like to say.

This may or may not be my own idiosyncratic interpretation of a dynamic that may or may not exist on this board. But that's basically how I see it, and as far as I can tell, it really only happens around the gender/feminism stuff.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:34 AM
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Where's Tripp?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:34 AM
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310: Ah. I will have to brush up on my Zizek for future reference.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:34 AM
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I'll say that it's mostly the volume that makes it difficult to comment. Having said that, there is an element of condescension to some people's debating style. I enjoy heated debates, but I don't enjoy people attacking my motives, and a few prominent posters have a tendency to do this a lot. Of course the regulars, especially those coming from the center of the consensus on most issues, don't notice this. This is because the regulars are known to people, and therefore, their motives are never questioned. Everyone else who disagrees is treated like a troll, even when they aren't.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:35 AM
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I keep thinking that someone, somewhere, could develop an ecologically positive car fueled only by comments on Unfogged...

The 300+ comment posts become tiring to read, especially when there's threadjack, ofttimes followed by return to topic. Is there a way to redirect threadjack to a new thread in a timely manner, thereby keeping things at least vaguely related to the post title? I don't read every post/set of comments - the sports ones hold no interest for me - and I suspect there are others who miss things they might have commented on because the topic change occurred in comment #435.

And what did happen to the cock jokes?


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:36 AM
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Or what IA said.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:36 AM
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There never were cock jokes. That's the joke.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:41 AM
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319: A starting point. Google is wonderful.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:42 AM
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Email me, Po-Mo. I wasn't planning on calling for a meetup, but it looks as though some friends might have to beg out of our prior plans, so it might be doable.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:42 AM
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Also - and while this sounds like it's sucking up, I still sneer at the lot of you! - when you gather a large number of analytic philosophers and lawyers, the general level of argument (rhetoric? something like that) is pretty dauntingly high. I get by on picking battles, a lack of self-awareness, and a lack of moral opposition to trolling.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:43 AM
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I would comment here more often if there were more threads about the things that really interest me -- specifically, oily pelicans, and/or oily ducks.

But there never are, these days.


Posted by: Felix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:43 AM
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I haven't read this thread, and maybe it has completely moved on, but as a hemi-semi-demi-regular, I want to endorse this comment from, like, 300 comments ago:

Unfogged always seems to me as an all-or-nothing place. A lone comment here or there always seems ignored/not responded to, especially when other commenters don't recognize the said commenter as "one of them." A person needs to totally commit to a thread (constantly posting and responding) in order to be validated as someone worth saying something.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:45 AM
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That's really what it comes down to, isn't it?

Too true. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be in my bedroom.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:46 AM
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This thread is OK, I suppose, but I find the atmosphere in it uncongenial.


Posted by: Felix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:47 AM
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I keep thinking that someone, somewhere, could develop an ecologically positive car fueled only by comments on Unfogged...


I prototyped one of these. Works great in the fuel efficiency department, but the damn thing was nearly impossible to steer. Takes sharp corners with no warning. Hard to stop, sometimes, too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:48 AM
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Introducing "cry, cry, masturbate, cry" into the discourse is my sole achievement in life thus far. (And I actually stole it from an Onion infographic on what single people are doing on Valentine's day.)


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:48 AM
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Felix, if you start petrobirds.blogspot.com, I'm sure they could find a place for it on the blogroll.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:50 AM
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321: So, it was Chinese New Year, and Rory plopped down on the couch to tell me about her day at school.

"What did you learn today, sweetpea?"

"I shouldn't marry a cock," say Rory.

I wipe up the coffee I have spat all over myself. "Um, yeah. I agree, that's definitely true. But, um, well... This came up in school?!"

"Yeah, see?" She pulls a placemat from a Chinese restaurant from her bag printed with the Chinese Zodiak. "I'm a rabbit. I shouldn't marry a cock."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:52 AM
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I am, uncharacteristically, going to comment on a post where I haven't read all the comments.

Upthread, someone said:

Hi Pantene!

That made me think of our old tradition of giving fruit baskets to newcomers. A few people used to take on the (unpaid, thankless) task of staying alert to newbies and after their first handful of comments, actually acknowledging and welcoming them.

Back then the active community was smaller, so it was easier to spot newcomers. Also, we had a few folks who were willing to take on that task (Matt Weiner was one of them, and there were a couple of others I'm forgetting.) These days, both LB and Ogged take on a lot of "host" duties, but neither of them handle those particular -- I would almost call them geisha-like -- skills.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:53 AM
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I actually stole it from an Onion infographic

My illusions lie in tiny, jagged, bitter pieces.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:54 AM
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323: What, w-lfs-n's collection of cock pix wasn't a joke?


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:55 AM
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328:

That's kind of like life, no? There aren't so many of us that could - absent some sort of fancy pedigree - walk into any sort of conversation and have our views immediately credited. You gots to work at it. (But maybe that's the Minnesotan in me. Standoffish and all.)


Posted by: Boy with a Fish | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:56 AM
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335: Tho' in October, I think newbies ought to get fruit bats.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:57 AM
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w-lfs-n's collection of cock pix wasn't a joke?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:58 AM
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?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:58 AM
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Does adding my last completed degree add to my credibility?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko, MA | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:58 AM
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334- Honestly, the best cock joke I've ever heard. 314- Your bonus points for affirmation-parenting technique in 334.


Posted by: ajs | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:59 AM
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Your last completed degree was Massachusetts?


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:59 AM
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335: I don't think we need to do a thing to grow the community. If anything, resident grouches need to ratchet up the hostility toward lurkers-cum-commenters.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:00 PM
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That's kind of like life, no?

Well, sure, but LB asked the question, and I answered.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:00 PM
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Say, didn't LB promise that we could continue the conversation from "Choosiness"? I'm kind of low on my quota of comments from men who feel inadequate and defensive in bed.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:00 PM
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dsquared is doing his part in 143.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:01 PM
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Remember, the best way to grow something is to throw some manure on it.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:01 PM
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342: No. But it does make you look like an asshat, so that's something.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:02 PM
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348 --> 345, 347


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:02 PM
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I'm an occasional de-lurker, and don't de-lurk more often mainly because of the time-suck factor--the volume is intimidating, the impulse to refresh hard to resist and yet necessary if you have work to do. It is laborious enough just to catch up (indeed, I don't have time for that today, to read through the 300+ comments here, or the 1000+ comments on choosiness). The cliqueish insularity is also a deterrent, because it just seems odd to join a conversation between people who know each other, have all these in jokes, and sometimes come off as suspicious of and snarky to strangers. It's like being the new kid at school and asking to join a handball game and all the kids look at you funny.

The tone is sometimes off-putting, as everything comes with a generous helping of snark. It's a bit like rhetorical olympics and sophistry for its own sake--sometimes the debates are interesting and productive, othertimes just grindingly pedantic and mean. And it's not just the lawyers' faults as some say; I'm a lawyer and I get turned off pretty quick by it all. I really sympathized with Teofilo's post on his own blog about this. It just sometimes comes off to us outsider-lurkers as being very in-groupy, snarky, and argument for its own sake (when it is substantive it is good and I don't mind it).

This is not the product of being oversensitive; it's just wondering "what's the point?" for a non-insider who has limited time resources and would join more threads if it was less insular and more "fun" rather than competitive and snarky.

Anyway, my two cents. I'll still de-lurk on occasion, although I imagine it'll only be for posts and on threads in which my participation would be constructive rather than draining.

I do enjoy the show, though.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:03 PM
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Po-mo, if you see this, email me at the email address listed on the blog at my URL, pretty please.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:04 PM
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I'm kind of low on my quota of comments from men who feel inadequate and defensive in bed.

You should accept this as a good thing. A large portion of my life was wasted attending comments from men who feel inadequate and defensive in bed.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:04 PM
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I've only had time to skim this thread, but I haven't seen this point made directly: LB seems to start from an incorrect premise that the fact that some people are reticent about commenting here is a bad thing.

I lurked for a long time before my first comment, and it was largely out of intimidation - the volume of inside jokes and genuine erudition are both pretty high around here. When I first dipped a toe in, I resolved that I wouldn't make any comment that didn't raise the median comment-quality level.

Of course, anyone who reads my comments knows that I've long since abandoned that policy. Even so, my greatest contribution as a commenter here is all of the dumb comments that I deleted before hitting "Post."

I imagine I am not the only one making this invisible, but vital, contribution.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:06 PM
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But honestly, guys -- the female orgasm is a myth, right? Are you with me?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:08 PM
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the general level of argument (rhetoric? something like that) is pretty dauntingly high.

Yeah. That's what makes this place interesting, along with its guarantee of a serious laugh or three per day and the presence of some very appealing people.

Otherwise, the dynamics are pretty much the same as everywhere else in cyberspace I've been, and I've been surfing around since the days of 300 baud acoustical modems and $500/month Compu$erve fees. For sure this lurker/meta/introspection thread isn't at all new to me, I think I've seen twenty or more before.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:08 PM
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In-groupy snarky argument for its own sake.

New hovertext?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:09 PM
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352:

I haven't read the thread, but what BelleLettre said, almost in toto.

The tone is sometimes off-putting, as everything comes with a generous helping of snark. It's a bit like rhetorical olympics and sophistry for its own sake--sometimes the debates are interesting and productive, othertimes just grindingly pedantic and mean.

This was for many months, and sometimes still is now, how I've felt about threads here. What sucks is the extent to which I have to ask myself whether I contribute to it. Will stop that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:10 PM
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317: I see what you mean. (On the more obnoxious to name names or not front, I tend to think that it's somewhat obnoxious to single particular people out by name as objectionable, but more obnoxious to single out particular people by implication that the reader is left to figure out.) This is one of those problems that's just hard to solve, though -- when you do have a lot of people here who agree on a group of issues, trying to disagree is going to be tough.

Under circumstances where you do want to make a point and are afraid you'll be swamped if you do so, foregrounding that problem might be one way to go -- an explicit statement that there's just one of you, and you need a little breathing room to make your points. I don't know if that'll work, but it might help remind people to lay off a bit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:12 PM
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Very few people today are offered the kind of welcoming gifts that I remember from days past.

I assume you refer to the customary bucket of chum. Welcome, lurkers!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:12 PM
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Sheesh, amble downstairs to make a peanut butter sandwich and half a dozen comments appear...


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:12 PM
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The female organism is not a myth, but it's easily preventable -- hardly the threat that some bedwetters claim it is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:14 PM
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The cliqueish insularity is also a deterrent, because it just seems odd to join a conversation between people who know each other, have all these in jokes, and sometimes come off as suspicious of and snarky to strangers. It's like being the new kid at school and asking to join a handball game and all the kids look at you funny.

I really should start doing my welcoming thing again. Here, Belle Lettre, have a fruit basket.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:15 PM
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verything comes with a generous helping of snark. It's a bit like rhetorical olympics and sophistry for its own sake.

Perhaps a masthead text?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:15 PM
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363: F. Winston Codpiece III once wrote a brilliant post on the danger that the female orgasm poses to the social order, but the blog that hosted it has since been deleted. That guy is fucking amazing -- whatever happened to him?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:16 PM
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I like when DE is around, because we get casual use of words like "amble."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:17 PM
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334: Sometimes, I wonder why I even bother to read Unfogged let alone occassionally comment. But every once in a while there's something like this that makes it all seem worthwhile.

Thank you Di Kotimy!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:17 PM
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352 outlines all the reasons I heart Unfogged. I like teo just fine, but I couldn't find any truck with his complaints about this place, and were even half of his recommendations adopted Unfogged would utterly suck. It needs some nip/tuck action, maybe, but hardly a total overhaul and definitely not some governing niceness rule.

Funny to me that Belle Lettre would post this comment, as she's one of the new commenters I want to read.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:18 PM
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New hovertext?

I'm still hoping for :

Okay, not very straight. But definitely not gay.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:18 PM
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Flesh-eating bacteria. It was tragic and malodorous.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:18 PM
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Is there an emerging consensus on which structural changes would be helpful? I think these are relatively innocuous: a) a refresh button by the comment box (this doesn't even have to do with the issue-at-hand, it's just blindingly obvious), and b) some kind of "recent comments" feature for each post. I'm also a fan of c) more posters, but I can see that one being controversial.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:18 PM
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My comments run the gamut from glib to flip.

The sudoku-line vernacular of numbered references
to prior comments
103: 67
224: 168
evokes prison folklore of inmates numbering the jokes, then
telling the number, not the joke.


Posted by: Econolicious, aka Anonymous D | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:19 PM
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58: One whole day might be a bit much, but how about one lurker-only thread? Loosely defining lurker as less than a dozen comments total, or less than one a month.


Posted by: King-Walters | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:19 PM
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I'm kind of low on my quota of comments from men who feel inadequate and defensive in bed.

Maybe if you spent more time reading Unfogged you could write things from that perspective yourself.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:20 PM
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Is there an emerging consensus on which structural changes would be helpful?

As far as I can tell, if there's an emerging consensus position it's "none."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:20 PM
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Re: Snarkiness: Oh, my littles, you have been sheltered so long in the loving arms of Unfogged that you have forgot what true snarkiness is. The Unfoggedosphere is mellow compared to many areas of the Intertubes...

Like Biohazard, I've been online since before some of you were born. The snark here is G-rated. Gather round the fire and Granny will tell you snarktales that will quiver your insides.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:21 PM
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368: Yay! I feel so validated.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:21 PM
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374: No. Lurkers already have their own thread: IRL creepy caves, nooks, crannies, long shadows, and such.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:22 PM
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As far as I can tell, if there's an emerging consensus position it's "none."

But at least you feel like you're concerns have been heard, and you were included in the process, right?

j/k


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:22 PM
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356: Comity!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:22 PM
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372.a: there is a refresh button near the comment box. It's on your keyboard directly below your monitor, and says "F5" on it.
372.b: also present. 8 inches to the right of the refresh button, and labeled "end".

Insider solidarity: engage!


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:22 PM
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I am just surprised that 500+ comments stay coherent. Think of Atrios or kevin drum, or god forbid youtube.

This is a good Clay Shirky article:
http://shirky.com/writings/group_enemy.html

The in-jokes, time required to read and post, discursiveness and ,inevitably, the difficulty of new commenters being heard are features not bugs. Which isn't to say that new commenters are not welcome.

Also, pick a better name than I did. I am thinking of switching to Eddie Constantine.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:24 PM
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377. Kids today.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:25 PM
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384: Yeah, all those chariot drag races on Friday nights and that lyre music...


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:26 PM
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No, joeo, switch to Lemmy Caution.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:26 PM
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there is a refresh button near the comment box. It's on your keyboard directly below your monitor, and says "F5" on it.

What I'm envisioning is a simple Javascript 'refresh' button at the bottom of the page which sends a request for only the new comments


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:27 PM
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Or somehow make it clear that "joeo" has three syllables. Or make it "Jungle love, jo-e-o-e-o".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:27 PM
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386

Lemmy Caution is better google-wise.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:30 PM
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364: Thank you Teo! I have been meaning to email you for some time (I lurk on your blog, too), to express my support. I really like your blog and have been meaning to say hi.

369: And thank you, Armsmasher! I wanted to drop in on Choosiness, but wanted to cry in impotent despair when I saw that I couldn't keep up with the comments. And it was I Don't Know You Day, which should have impelled me to comment, but didn't in a way--why join the fray when know one knows who you are, such that you may realize:

1) wow, people are mean even when they don't know who they're rejecting, and I am getting out of here

or

2) damn it, people like me, but they don't know who I am so I'm putting effort on this comment thread without reaping the friendly benefits. It's like playing handball without telling anyone your name, so they just keep calling you "hey new kid!"


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:33 PM
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387: destroyer, meet the stateless protocol


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:34 PM
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Even so, my greatest contribution as a commenter here is all of the dumb comments that I deleted before hitting "Post."

PF is oh so right. I've de-lurked a few times when I had something original to add or my schedule was light enough to allow me to keep up, otherwise I just enjoy the discussion at my own pace.

I'd wade in with divergent thoughts more often except I am a slow typist - it is hard to argue when you're limited to the speed of hunt and peck.


Posted by: tantalus | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:34 PM
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I sincerely think that on the Internet in general, "having strong opinions" needs to be decoupled from "being mean/arrogant/etc." -- i.e., from the perspective of current perceptions, things need to get more mean.

And I live out my convictions every single fucking day, unlike the rest of you pathetic whining sacks of shit. Every fucking day.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:37 PM
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281: I've been lurking sine roughly August '03.


Posted by: King-Walters | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:39 PM
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This is why I don't post more often.


Posted by: King-Walters | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:40 PM
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(I haven't read all the comments yet, so if someone already mentioned this, laugh at me.)

Maybe we could take a page from my feminist pedagogy course:

Everyone gets five pennies. It costs a penny to speak. Once you've spent your five pennies, you can't speak again until everyone else has spent theirs too. In theory, it sounds stupid; but in classrooms, it makes everyone think harder both about what they're saying and what other people are. (Also cuts down on the repetition.)

Obviously, this is a no-go from a technological stand-point -- but a modicum of restraint might make the conversations more substantial (if that's what people want).


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:40 PM
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393: Adam, if I only had enough money I would surely be negotiating for the rights to the bio-pic, The Adam Kotsko Story: Living My Convictions Every Fucking Day


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:44 PM
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396. Ha! I'd sit on a penny and force the whole class to sit quietly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:47 PM
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396: computer network practice shows token-based systems are generally too complex for the theoretical performance gain. clearly we need to use collision detection with exponential backoff; i.e. silently delete any comment posted by a non-lurker less than one minute after another non-lurker posts, the one-minute value increasing with each deleted comment.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:50 PM
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One ring to rule them all, 399.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:51 PM
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Thank you Teo! I have been meaning to email you for some time (I lurk on your blog, too), to express my support. I really like your blog and have been meaning to say hi.

If only there had been a recent opportunity...

Seriously, though, I appreciate your saying that and I have noticed and liked your occasional comments here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:54 PM
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I worked with token-ring switching gear (and ESCON, and... LU2.1 (? is that right)) in a previous life. Couldn't pay me enough to touch that shit again.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:55 PM
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You know what's interesting? Even on the "for the lurkers" thread we have going on here, by far the preponderance of comments that get responded to or acknowledged are from regulars.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:56 PM
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401:

Natch. It ws especially the impulse after "discomfort," although I'm more of an emailer than a commenter.

Will do forthwith.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:57 PM
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Be the change you want to see in the world, mrh.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:58 PM
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On principle, I am not responding to 405.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 12:59 PM
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You know what's interesting? Even on the "for the lurkers" thread we have going on here, by far the preponderance of comments that get responded to or acknowledged are from regulars.

What else is there to talk about? Don't feel like throwing more bombs in the "feminism requires massive societal change to make things less competitive and more solidarity-ish", oil slicks suck and scooters are deathtraps...

I also procrastinated enough that I can't drop off my application for an Indian visa for a trip starting next week at the embassy today.

Could go into the office, I suppose.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:00 PM
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One whole day might be a bit much, but how about one lurker-only thread? Loosely defining lurker as less than a dozen comments total, or less than one a month.

This makes total sense but it depends entirely on what thread it is.

Just imagine, the lurkers wait all week for the lurker-only thread, and it turns out to be "Jessica Biel seems friendlier than Jessica Alba. Discuss."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:02 PM
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398: Hah ! I expect you'd sit for about five minutes before you just had to say something - to put in your one cent, as it were.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:03 PM
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I lurk here. I got here from reading Yglesias. It seems a little cliquey here. I don't feel a great need to participate, but the discussions are interesting and playful.


Posted by: Bram Boroson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:03 PM
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are from regulars

Don't hate us because we're beautiful.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:04 PM
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Everyone gets five pennies. It costs a penny to speak. Once you've spent your five pennies, you can't speak again until everyone else has spent theirs too.

Looks like it's encouraging participating, but is actually attempting to leverag peer pressure to mandate it. ("Spend your fucking penny already, so I can speak again!") If students were allowed to communicate freely outside of formal contributions to class, a market in speech-tokens would surely emerge.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:05 PM
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404: I don't mean to guilt-trip you; your comments in this thread are all the validation I need.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:06 PM
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Copied from choosiness thread.

671

"I genuinely don't understand what you don't understand. More smart interesting people would comment here if the site were more open to heterodox views. Isn't that a problem?"

More dumb boring people would comment also. And there are too many comments already.

Do you have examples of blog comment content that you prefer?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:06 PM
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"Jessica Biel Alameida seems friendlier than Jessica Alba LizardBreath. Discuss."

"Jessica Biel w-lfs-n seems friendlier sexier than Jessica Alba Ogged. Discuss."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:07 PM
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Alright, I obviously skipped over the stuff where people were talking about me.

I do think there's something to be said for Unfogged as the Ur-online community to be studied by future anthropologists, because of 1) how intelligent contributors, commenters, and lurkers are and 2) how frequently self-conscious these people are.

I don't think this is terribly narcissistic of me, partly because I don't consider myself much of a regular. I comment about as often as Adam -- enough to be known, but not enough to be considered part of the regular cast and crew.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:07 PM
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415: "sexier" s/b "bi-curious"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:07 PM
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54

"48: I don't run things around here, but if the comments get threaded, I might be able to actually get some work done, because I'd stop reading them completely."

I agree with this.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:09 PM
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417: "sexier" s/b "bi-curious"

Which, under the right conditions, could make him sexier. It's all so circular.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:10 PM
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because of 1) how intelligent contributors, commenters, and lurkers are and 2) how frequently self-conscious these people are.

Interesting because in the future all online communities will be as intelligent and self-conscious as unfogged is now, or because they will mistakenly believe that the unfogged sensibility was the modal experience of a by then vanished golden age?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:11 PM
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This place is a blast, but it's so big that it would be a full time job just to keep up.

(I'm sure someone made this point before me, but I don't have time to read the 412 comments that preceded me.)

Anyway, I can't see how you could possibly remedy this, except to turn into raging assholes and chase everyone away. And that hardly seems worth it.


Posted by: Steve/Ryno/MackDaddy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:11 PM
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Wait, Di, you mean there are conditions where bi/bi-curious isn't a net gain? Has the media been lying to us this time?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:11 PM
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the discussions are... playful.

See, if you were a regular, you'd just come out and say 'gay.'


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:12 PM
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210

"Ogged, the problem is that there's a ton of premises which many people here accept the truth of and will appeal to in an argument and someone holding whatever views you're worried about the squelching of probably deny a large number of those premises which just go unmentioned here because they're taken for granted. Which makes it very difficult to get a conversation going about whatever point they want to disagree with consensus on, because you need a point of agreement to work from. Don't you?"

There is something to this. If you want to argue about whether the earth is a sphere or an ellipsoid responding to someone who thinks it is flat can be trying.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:13 PM
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420: The latter. Like `endless september'.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:13 PM
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403- Does seem counterintuitive, but the exact scenario plays out in another forum that I lurk in. I think the degree to which there's a problem with lurkers feeling uncomfortable is usually exaggerated. It's nice to be acknowledged with a Lurkers' Day occasionally, though.


Posted by: ajs | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:13 PM
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422: Di-curious would, of course, be even sexier.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:13 PM
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Interesting because in the future all online communities will be as intelligent and self-conscious as unfogged is now, or because they will mistakenly believe that the unfogged sensibility was the modal experience of a by then vanished golden age?

Neither: it's interesting because it's unique, and its uniqueness tells us more about the normal mode of online interaction than a place where normal online interaction takes place.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:15 PM
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427: More common as well, I'd wager.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:15 PM
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someone who thinks it is flat can be trying a complete waste of time.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:15 PM
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I wonder sometimes if I'm the only regular commenter who never lurked. Dive in with both feet on the ground, that's what I say.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:15 PM
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432

352

"... It's like being the new kid at school and asking to join a handball game and all the kids look at you funny. "

It's like being the new kid at school and sitting down at lunch at the table where all the cool kids sit and make fun of everyone else. Just asking for trouble.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:16 PM
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431: no, you aren't.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:16 PM
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431: I never lurked, but single-digit comment thread were the norm back then. So lurking wouldn't have been much fun or particularly informative.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:17 PM
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Agreed with SEK re how interesting Unfogged is as a phenomena. I would love to apply social network analysis to it.

SEK is the reason I started commenting, blogging, and reading blogs outside my legal academia comfort zone.

Damn you/Thank you, SEK.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:17 PM
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429: Ha. Not so much, unfortunately. But I feel validated by the thought nevertheless.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:17 PM
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Can we make a rule that no one can say "natch"?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:18 PM
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414: That's very nice, Teo. In any case, I emailed you by The Real Name. Fruit baskets are awesome.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:18 PM
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433: good to know, fellow heedless extrovert!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:18 PM
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"Ha. Not so much, unfortunately."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:18 PM
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437: then this would happen, natch.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:19 PM
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I wonder sometimes if I'm the only regular commenter who never lurked.

Yes, well, everyone already knew who you were. Makes it a little easier.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:19 PM
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I think I'm fairly recent on Unfogged. A couple of years. maybe? I don't think I lurked either. Just started commenting.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:19 PM
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it's interesting because it's unique, and its uniqueness tells us more about the normal mode of online interaction than a place where normal online interaction takes place

Presumably these anthropologists would have to do some work establishing what the normal mode was first, then.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:19 PM
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Can we make a rule that no one can say "natch"?

I haven't heard "natch" in a while. How about a rule that no one can say "orders of magnitude" or "parse"?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:20 PM
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442/443

I just started commenting. The first thread I read must have had someting in it I had an opinion about (surprise). Or something. I'm actually a little bit surprised that more people don't do this, but I guess it makes sense.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:21 PM
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I commented before even reading a post here.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:22 PM
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there are orders of magnitude more uses of `natch' than there are of `parse'. Or the other way around.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:22 PM
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Agreed with SEK re how interesting Unfogged is as a phenomena. I would love to apply social network analysis to it.

I am skeptical that unfogged has any especially interesting structural properties.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:22 PM
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440: My point exactly, Apo. Will's been busting his ass for months trying to pimp me out, and where has it gotten me? Where I ask you? Oh yeah, here.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:23 PM
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there are orders of magnitude more uses of `natch' than there are of `parse'. Or the other way around.

Someone who uses the latter as often as the former = parse natcher.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:24 PM
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How about a rule that no one can say "orders of magnitude" or "parse"?

Also "booty."


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:24 PM
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449: could study the emergent snark, though. natch.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:24 PM
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I think an interesting process is the opposite one. I presume I'm not alone in having blogs where I used to comment but now just lurk because the posts are interesting but the comments troll-tastic or inane.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:24 PM
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I commented pretty quickly, as ownname first then pseudname; hadn't been much of a commenter anywhere much before that. I commented at B's from about a month before, but before that had probably less than twenty comments in what was then, 2005, seven or so years of reading blogs.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:24 PM
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432: Bah, this 'cool kids' thing is a bore. It's an online forum &mdash just nut up and comment, or not. You seem to handle it just fine, Shearer.

436: You kidding? Who isn't Di-curious?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:24 PM
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454: this is the natural order for blogs. What is surprising is when it doesn't happen.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:25 PM
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Yeah, it was all glamorous having **Sifu Tweety** show up and comment. Now, of course, the bloom is sadly off the rose.

432: Just asking for trouble.

That's what you're explicitly seeking out here, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:25 PM
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re: 457

Yeah, good point.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:26 PM
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While we're banning annoying locutions, I'd like to reintroduce my proposal to ban facile jokes about evolutionary psychology ("On the veldt..."). I never got a second on that motion the first time I made it.

I'd even entertain an amendment whereby use of the phrase would be permited under limited, specified circumstances (i.e. sarcastically shooting down egregiously sexist arguments), but not for humor value alone.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:27 PM
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Can we make a rule that no one can say "natch"?

If we can also ban "nuff said", and the use of questions consisting of some personality trait followed by the word "much?".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:27 PM
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on the veldt, everyone knew ev-psych was a crock.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:28 PM
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455: Oh, so YOU'RE Matt Weiner!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:28 PM
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460 Preach.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:29 PM
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456b -- Wait, what? If there is some Di-curious community out there, I demand a fucking meetup already.

Double fucking entendre totally intentional.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:29 PM
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"Double Fucking Entendre" would be a great title for almost anything.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:30 PM
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I have a list of joke forms I don't like and would like to see banned. Also, a theory about brontosauruses.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:30 PM
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I'll go along with all of these suggestions iff we also ban the use of `the', all interogative pronouns, and the letter q.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:31 PM
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I have a list of joke forms I don't like and would like to see banned.

Does it include three-word phrases ending in "Evar"?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:31 PM
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456: well, presumeable Di (by virtue of satisfied curiousity). Otoh, you can totally speak for the rest of us.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:32 PM
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Also, a theory about brontosauruses apatosauruses.

On the veldt, commenters were banned for use of obsolete designations for dinosaurs.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:32 PM
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472

On the veldt, everyone said "on the veldt."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:32 PM
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473

On the veldt, commenters were banned for use of obsolete designations for dinosaurs.

The reference to the original was perfectly accurate.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:34 PM
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474

465: Perhaps you should come for the DC bash.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:34 PM
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presumably Di (by virtue of satisfied curiousity)

Well, she has found that sex with herself has become tiresome and repetitive.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:34 PM
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476

474: I can bring Rory, right?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:36 PM
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477

I demand a fucking meetup already

This is precisely the kind of thing that makes a person Di-curiouser.

and the letter q

Hey, wait a sec.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:36 PM
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478

475: I've heard that for some, merely switching hands will add a frisson due to infidelity.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:37 PM
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479

Surely 'iff' should be banned.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:37 PM
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480

I can bring Rory, right?

No, Apo, don't say it!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:37 PM
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481

477: it's ok, we're case-sensitive.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:37 PM
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482

I notice a systematic campaign to steal attendees from the Chicago meetup to the DC one a few days later.

Would that we could all go to both, or that anybody could. Maybe AWB will.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:37 PM
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475: Yeah, I say I'm trying to please myself, but wind up just making myself feel objectified and dirty. I give and I give, but it's never enough.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:38 PM
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484

479: occupational hazard.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:38 PM
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485

478: touché


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:38 PM
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486

483: Buy yourself a drink first?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:39 PM
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393:

I sincerely think that on the Internet in general, "having strong opinions" needs to be decoupled from "being mean/arrogant/etc."

Agreed. Not that that adds content or anything.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:39 PM
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488

You know what has changed around here? Less self-referential comments with links.

Either we're lazier, the volume got to big, or the hoo-hole did.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:40 PM
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489

Re: clever, interesting, thoughtful, funny comments that no one responds to, I often see something I want to acknowledge, but it's 50 comments ago or I don't want to make a long thread longer or I'm just too damn busy.

But have faith! Just as many lurkers have reported they enjoy reading the regulars without saying much, be assured that plenty of folks probably enjoy your comment without saying anything. (Not that I don't prefer public admiration myself.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:40 PM
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490

and by less, i mean fewer.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:40 PM
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491

I say I'm trying to please myself, but wind up just making myself feel objectified and dirty.

Have you considered meeting yourself at the door dressed only in Saran wrap and holding a bottle of champagne?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:40 PM
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492

491: Sadly, yes I have.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:41 PM
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493

(Not that I don't prefer public admiration myself.)

Sir Kraab is JFK!!!! Or dated JFK. Or something.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:42 PM
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494

I sincerely think that on the Internet in general, "having strong opinions" needs to be decoupled from "being mean/arrogant/etc."

Fixed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:42 PM
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495

471: Gonerill plans to homeschool his children into the sacred mysteries of Creation Science.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:42 PM
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496

Someone tell me that there is at least hot Unfogged back-channel cyber action going on, if not actual front-channel non-cyber action.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:46 PM
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497

I don't think Unfogged has "back-channel action". Maybe you mean "backdoor action".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:47 PM
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498

496: It's like Peyton Place in cyberspace. You wouldn't believe the goings-on. I, myself, have spent years having hot sex with an occasional commenter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:49 PM
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I, myself, have spent years having hot sex with an occasional commenter.

NO!


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:50 PM
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I, myself, have spent years having hot sex with an occasional commenter.

Funny, me too.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:51 PM
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498: And I with an opinionated lurker, hoping an occasional commenter doesn't hear us.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:52 PM
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498: Nice try, but your husband doesn't count.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:52 PM
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496: dude was I trying to gay sex you last night, or not?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:54 PM
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502: If you just told your wife about the site, Ruprecht, you could say the same.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:55 PM
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489:

But have faith! Just as many lurkers have reported they enjoy reading the regulars without saying much

I suspect the original post slightly misunderstands the nature of the concern, which I took to be not just that lurkers can find this place off-putting, but that ex-(semi)-regulars have been increasingly falling silent.

If that's just nostalgia, fine, things change; but it doesn't seem to be just nostalgia, but rather a felt sense of increasing intolerance on the site. A narrowing of the range of acceptable opinion, as someone or other around here keeps putting it.

Discussion of lurkers' concerns addresses that to an extent (cf. the attack-dog style of argumentation, the mischaracterization of commenters' positions, the condescension), but only to an extent.

I feel there's a lecturing tone in the above, though. Shit. And I just noticed this thread is in the 500 range. Again!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:57 PM
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Nice try, but your husband doesn't count.

Knecht says that to all the laydeez.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 1:58 PM
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I, myself, have spent years having hot sex with an occasional commenter.

This gets the emphasis wrong. It should be, "There is someone with whom I frequently have hot sex who I have convinced to comment here occasionally."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:04 PM
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Only if you wanted to suck every last vestige of ambiguity out of the statement. And what fun would that be?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:06 PM
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508: "vestige of ambiguity out of the statement" s/b "lurker"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:09 PM
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dude was I trying to gay sex you last night, or not?

Not very hard. Trying, that is.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:09 PM
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Ogged is the only regular contributor to this blog I haven't slept with.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:11 PM
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Not because I didn't offer, Adam.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:12 PM
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I lurk, mostly because I think/type too slowly. (the necessity of absorbing 300+ comments before adding your own doesn't help.)

Emerson's point about fissioning isn't entirely off base; on my way to lunch I was thinking "yeah, but that would be kind of a shame," and on my way back I was thinking "but wait, it already is!" as the population of a given thread varies strongly based on subject matter.

The recent trend towards HAY GUYZ I WENT ON A DATE in unrelated threads might've damaged this.


Posted by: elemund | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:12 PM
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What makes you think I'm interesting?


Posted by: BrianZ | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:13 PM
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There is a real problem here: that ogged feels alienated from what's going on. I don't know how to fix it because I do (mostly) like what's going on, but it's a real problem.

I do think there are some meta things about the feminism threads that are hard. I've participated in a few and watched a bunch from the sidelines and learned from both, but I can understand they're a turnoff to some. Partly it's that some of what's happening is more about vocabulary than about desirable social structures, which makes it easy for peope with less theoretical background to feel talked down to, and partly it's that we're talking about really fundamental social stuff about who gets to consider themselves normal, which is hard. But it does help a lot to just sit back and watch sometimes, and when I have gotten into fights I've learned from them, especially after I cooled down a bit.

And there's nothing at all wrong with keeping your mouth shut when an argument has taken shape in a way that doesn't leave room for you to make your point without getting jumped on. If you hang onto the insight and wait for the topic to come up again, you can jump in when people aren't already pissed off and defensive and have a better discussion. (This is also How to Argue with your Spouse, Lesson 19.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:13 PM
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513: But whenever you comment, I think of this poem. Which entertains me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:17 PM
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Ogged is the only regular contributor to this blog I haven't slept with.

Perhaps this explains the doleful cries of sexual dissatisfaction that pervade this site. After having Adam, none will ever again be truly satisfied by anything less.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:20 PM
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How, then, to explain Ogged's dolefulness? Clearly "haven't slept with" was the most transparent of equivocations. Yeah, I'm sure you guys weren't doing a lot of sleeping, IYKWIMAITYD.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:22 PM
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517: And you know what my secret is? Living out my convictions every fucking day!


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:22 PM
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And you know what my secret is? Living out my convictions *every fucking day*!

That would be the "cry, cry, masturbate, cry" thing, right?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:26 PM
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520: No, this one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:26 PM
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While discussing whom is sexing whom, how, is more entertaining, back to the original topic of the post:

I mostly lurk now despite having at some points being a fairly active commenter. Notwithstanding that I have gotten in some pretty nasty arguments here, and even complained about the tone here, my absence actually has nothing to do with any of that. Even for someone like me who is at the far edge of the distribution on many questions getting discussed here, conversation here is generally good because it generally is much more civil and reasoned that you would find IRL (and much cleverer), for conversations at the same level. That is why I still read almost all of the posts and comments.

Sure there is occasional idiocy, nastiness, over sensitivity and poor, doctrinare reasoning. Welcome to life. I think there is less here than most places.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:34 PM
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Welcome to life. I think there is less here than most places.

Yes, to keep up here you do need less of a life.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:53 PM
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I once referred to myself as a lurker, and was contradicted. Apparently I'm recognized to some small extent. I identify with what the others mentioned about high thread volume and difficulty of being noticed, but it seems to me that you do start to be included in conversations after a while.

One of my pet peeves, though: I just slowly read this thread up to 385, in between work. Then, ready to comment, I hit "refresh." Aaaand hey presto, the latest is 522. It can be Sisyphean. I posted this without reading the new ones.

Also, discussion acquires a picked-over quality at this point.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 2:54 PM
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OK, I skipped the last 400 comments (which speaks for itself) -- and I am sure that someone has made this point --, but I just want to point out that part of the reason that I like the site is that it is not entirely accessible. When the commenting is good it is like one of those really great, but rare, conversations one has in the real world. The threatening part is committing yourself to having that sort of conversation on a less than rare basis and as among dozens rather than a few persons; things can go from sweet to ugly just so very fast. It's all that risk / reward crap; "call this number for a good time, but be prepared to have your cock handed to you on a platter". Any effort to to be more inclusive will likely just make the conversation crappier and the reward less rewarding.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:06 PM
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What Belle said.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:10 PM
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I don't understand this problem. All you have to do, lurkers, is have a period of time where you comment a lot. Then you will become a "regular," and you can stop. Like, I guess most people would think of me as a regular, but I barely even comment. Voila! Community.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:12 PM
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If you just told your wife about the site, Ruprecht, you could say the same start looking for a new place to live.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:17 PM
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I lurk because immediately after I post a comment I feel a crushing wave of shame.

'What the hell, winn?' I ask myself, shaking my head mournfully, 'What you've said in no way contributes to the conversation! It is tediously over-sincere and/or doesn't fit well with the style conventions of that community. Go back to your bloghole in the swamp, old woman. You are unsuited for the bright lights of Internet Big Time.'

I don't particularly think that people who have that reaction should post. So I don't. I do read almost every post and all the comments other than the swimming ones. I have found a number of wonderful authors and musicians thanks to recommendations on this blog. I have a number of commenters I hold in high esteem, often starting emails full of praise for their good sense, wit and erudition. I never send them, though.

I think that there are problems inherent in any site transitioning from a smaller community to a larger one. Some of those problems cannot be resolved. This includes regulars who control discourse by virtue of their tenure, conventions of tone which may seem off-putting to new people, and the difficulty for new users in competing for attention with longtime participants. I've not ever seen an online community solve those except by driving off the older participants to make room for new ones, which inevitably changes the settings for tone, accepted opinions and alliances among users but can never erase the fact these settings exist. Chasing people away is not be a very good solution, so I can understand why it would be a concern. I think it's just growing pains, I suppose, if someone who is a faithful reader but not actually a member of the community may express an opinion.

I will now press post and writhe in shame!


Posted by: winna | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:17 PM
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524:

Then, ready to comment, I hit "refresh." Aaaand hey presto, the latest is 522. It can be Sisyphean. I posted this without reading the new ones.

I actually think it can be good and useful if people go ahead and comment on things way(ish) upthread. It's happened to me more than once that I'm grateful to someone for picking up a semi-abandoned strand of a thread.

And doing more of that gives others more of a sense that they can come in without necessarily being up to the minute on wherever the thread is at the moment. Obviously it's not always appropriate, but if nothing else, it slows the pace of discussion and creates space for others to get a word in edgewise.

It does take some guts to comment outside whatever the current flow is. I think it's heroic, I tell you, heroic!

(I don't know why I'm still interested in teasing this apart, but there you go. I'm sure I'll get off it soon enough.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:18 PM
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I'm a retarded lurker! (in the french sense, of course.)

515: The feminism threads have been the ones to lure me in. Feminism is inherently contentious, and it gets people boiled up about all sorts of issues, which is part of its beauty. No two feminisms are exactly alike, and there are too many grey areas to even identify. The lovely thing that I've found about the Unfogged feminism discussions is that people's different feminisms are suddenly highlighted in neon. Moreover, the comments are enlightened, well articulated and sensitive (most of the time).

However, it is disconcerting to return to the computer after a day's absense to find that discussions you would have loved to participated in are now old, old news. (Sigh, reiteration of first line of comment)


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:20 PM
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529 was good. I hope your shame-wrathing is levened with a dollop of satisfaction.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:20 PM
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I feel a crushing wave of shame.

What? You're an old-timer, winna! You should be unshameable by now.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:21 PM
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529: Winna, that comment was at least as cogent as anything else in this forum. You gotta give yourself more credit.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:22 PM
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I actually think it can be good and useful if people go ahead and comment on things way(ish) upthread. It's happened to me more than once that I'm grateful to someone for picking up a semi-abandoned strand of a thread.

Me too. I've found that threads often get stuck in something of a rut after a few hundred comments, especially with the more contentious arguments that we've had so many times, and someone coming in and resurrecting another strand can be a godsend.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:24 PM
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I do read almost every post and all the comments other than the swimming ones.

Fucking lurkers.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:25 PM
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Fucking lurkers.

UnfoggeDConII: The Afterparty.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:29 PM
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'What the hell, winn?' I ask myself, shaking my head mournfully,'What you've said in no way contributes to the conversation! .... and/or doesn't fit well with the style conventions of that community.

I can't understand how anyone could say that about Unfogged .

Contribute to the conversation? Fit well with the style conventions of that community? I wasn't raised that way!

My goal is to set Unfogged on the right path. I did everything I could to derail the Harry Potter threads, for example. Boy, what a mess of futility that was. Buncha crack babies.

I'd ban Winna forthwith, were there any need to do so.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:30 PM
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538: If I were to be sincere, however, I, like Winna, would be ashamed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:32 PM
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I maintain that you won't miss (hardly) anything good by skipping the swimming threads.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:33 PM
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I did everything I could to derail the Harry Potter threads

It was a noble cause, John.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:33 PM
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I like the swimming posts.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:36 PM
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535: Yes, someone returned a thread I hijacked back to its original bicycling theme awhile back. Two wrongs don't make a right, though. Irredentism run amok can lead to untold violence.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:36 PM
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I will now press post and writhe in shame!

That is an excellent sentence.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:38 PM
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I like the swimming posts.

Hip-snapper.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:38 PM
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I'd just like to throw in my vote for MOAR SWIMMING POAST.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:40 PM
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Winna is cute when she writhes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:43 PM
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Hip-snapper.

LB secretly wants me to teach her how to swim. DC Unfogged Swimming lessons - sign up early!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:43 PM
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Winna is cute when she writhes.

Writhing definitely gets you at least a PG 13 rating.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:44 PM
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Everyone is secretly jealous of the swimming posts. If there is actual swimming at UDC2, I will be sad and jealous.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:47 PM
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I'm thinking about it. Sally just figured out the dolphin kick in lessons last week -- went from flapping her shins to the full-body undulation. I think this fall is when she becomes a better swimmer than I am, although I'm probably still faster just on overall strength. But I'm a rotten lousy swimmer.

You know what I've figured out from watching her classes and listening to you guys? I thought that on freestyle, you were supposed to be keeping your shoulders and body square to the bottom of the pool as much as possible, just turning at the neck to breathe. That's wrong, I see now -- you're really rolling back and forth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:47 PM
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I thought that on freestyle, you were supposed to be keeping your shoulders and body square to the bottom of the pool as much as possible

I thought we weren't going to try to make commenters cry anymore, LB. She's sorry, Will; she didn't mean it like that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:49 PM
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I can't even swim. I find the swimming posts elitist and exclusionary.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:50 PM
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That's wrong, I see now -- you're really rolling back and forth.

Belly button toward one wall. Then, belly button toward the other wall. (Or change to belly button to "butt.")

If you care, I can email you an article that others have found really confusing and unhelpful.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:50 PM
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If you care, I can email you an article that others have found really confusing and unhelpful.

Might as well be a post, then.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:51 PM
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Heh. Next, my misconceptions about the timing of how the kick and arm-movement go together in breaststroke. Actually, I can't even describe this one, but whatever I do is obviously wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:52 PM
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Unfogged has taken over my life. I was just sitting here biting my nail and reading the threads when my umm.... ex/boyfriend/roommate came in and said:
"maybe we should get you a hamster."
me: "Why"
him: "So you can play with it..."

Maybe he's right. It's a hard life being a Lurker.


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:54 PM
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558

Pull, kick, glide.

I'd be willing to bet that you are pulling your elbows back to far on your pull and with your kick, you are spreading your knees apart before you kick and you are bringing your knees to your chest instead of your feet to your butt.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:54 PM
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marcus is lacking valuable life skills. does he even know how to drive a stickshift?

as for rotation - your lats are about ten times the size of your rotator cuffs, so if you think about what you'd have to do to get your lats involved, you end up with hip rolling.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:54 PM
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I'll bet Ogged doesnt have lats.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:55 PM
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They removed them when they went after the kidney. SO???


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:57 PM
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Also, to get semi-vaguely back on topic, there's no chance of an Open Thread convention ever being established, is there?

Back when I was commenting regularly, there were all these things that I wanted to somehow turn into an Unfogged thread or discussion but never did - most of them having little to no feminist or political applicability. Given the number of people who've said things like "I find myself wanting to respond to something brought up three hundred comments ago, but by then the conversation has moved on", and appreciating the rare cases when folks sucked it up and did just that, it might be helpful if there was some kind of space to do just that, or even random topics of the "this should really be a front page post" part.

On the other hand: Atrios.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:58 PM
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Having a life interferes with Unfogged commenting, I've observed. There's a solution, but few dare practice it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:58 PM
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Heh. Next, my misconceptions about the timing of how the kick and arm-movement go together in breaststroke. Actually, I can't even describe this one, but whatever I do is obviously wrong.

here i have no advice to add. i swam competitively for 8 years, and figured out the breaststroke timing three months before the end of my not-so-illustrious career. frustrating. watching videos may help, and trying use the kick to drive your hips upward rather than forward might help too.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 3:58 PM
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I posted this great breaststroke clip a while back.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:00 PM
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536: no doubt. just the other day I missed an entire sex sub thread by ducking out of work for tryst.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:00 PM
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567

566 to 563


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:01 PM
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Ironically, Bill's #78 is what got the swimming posts started here:

I was once banned by Emerson for commenting on swimming, which remains the high point of my Unfogged experience.

I re-ban Bill.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:01 PM
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Oh, I don't even swim, except in the summer at the beach. I just watch my kids in lessons, and realize, "Hey, I never knew to do that." Sally appears to be a selkie, though - she's not the fastest kid in the class, but you need threats and brute force to remove her from the water if there's any way she can keep swimming.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:02 PM
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does he even know how to drive a stickshift?

Actually, I've never driven anything but a stick shift, and I'm awesome at it. But if I were to drive off a bridge into water over my head, I'd be screwed.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:03 PM
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571

171: Boy with a Fish, this is me. Same guy?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:04 PM
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563: How, How?? Oh wise one, teach me the secret of your ways.


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:05 PM
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Also, to get semi-vaguely back on topic, there's no chance of an Open Thread convention ever being established, is there?

It's been discussed and emphatically rejected before. Maybe more than once.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:07 PM
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572: visit the guru in his far-away village, and you will see the No Life solution first-hand.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:08 PM
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Disappointment, thy name is Unfogged. You people had a full day to turn this thread into a vast flamewar full of bitter recriminations and vicious personal attacks, and what do we get after that promising start? Hundreds of comments' worth of civil, witty and sometimes OT discussion and banter. I thought this place was supposed to be dysfunctional.

I feel like open threads would be a bit redundant, personally. But given that there's probably someone upthread complaining about threadjacks, who knows?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:10 PM
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It's been discussed and emphatically rejected before. Maybe more than once.

not to mention that given how strictly the comment threads track the content of the posts, it would be completely superfluous.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:10 PM
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An open thread is like an open marriage. It would wreak havoc with Emerson's no-relationships policy.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:12 PM
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Open thread on Unfogged? That's about as useful as pulling your kids out of Montessori because the regimented classroom environment is constricting their personal growth.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:13 PM
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how the hell would we tell the difference between open threads and non. It's not like a no-threadjack policy would fly. Hard enough to get agreement for no threadjacking at the very beginning.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:14 PM
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572: Step one, live as an impoverished pensioner and forget about relationships. Step two, have something you plan to do which is more important than Unfogged.

No step three is required. The only thing that could ruin this plan would be to find something less important than Unfooged to spend your time one, but what are the chance of that?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:16 PM
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581

"even less important than Unfogged to spend your time on"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:18 PM
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what are the chance of that?

You could hang out on YouTube comment threads.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:18 PM
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456

"432: Bah, this 'cool kids' thing is a bore. It's an online forum &mdash just nut up and comment, or not. You seem to handle it just fine, Shearer."

Sure, but I may not be an ideal role model.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:20 PM
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584

Maybe not open threads per se then, but some sort of traditional, occasional thread specifically for responding to points and tangents that get brought up and can't be answered "in time" or within the normal conversational flow?

Of course, I really just want this to happen so that we can have more Humanities vs Sciences discussions and y'all can hate me for reasons wholey unconnected to my feminism, but hey. On a non-jokey level, feeling alienated from the pace of Unfogged (as well as the general tone/commentariat) seems like a very common reaction of lurkers and even "regulars" going through a funk, and it seems like some structural way of dealing with that would ultimately be a more welcoming solution than various attempts at censorship or "changing the tone": the problem with arguing over content seems to me that no matter what, some faction of "intelligent, thoughtful" contributors is going to be alienated - I offer myself as a counterpoint to the "feminazis are driving everyone away" trope. At any rate, trying to compensate for some of the practical issues with Unfogged seems like it would be much more tractable than dealing with the "social" ones.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:20 PM
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Unfogged: Soft on lurkers


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:21 PM
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586

Ah, I see --- LR wants to mount a scratch thread.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:22 PM
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587

"Open thread" was probably a bad term for me to use; it's just the closest thing I could think of. Maybe "Asynchronous Thread" would be better?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:22 PM
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I am not even going to read this whole thread, but 18 and 19 got it completely right.

Also I lurked for a while and was ignored when I first started commenting here. And yet, I lived.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:22 PM
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On a non-jokey level, feeling alienated from the pace of Unfogged (as well as the general tone/commentariat) seems like a very common reaction of lurkers and even "regulars" going through a funk, and it seems like some structural way of dealing with that would ultimately be a more welcoming solution than various attempts at censorship or "changing the tone"

Perhaps, but I don't see how a regular open thread would solve the pace problem.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:23 PM
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Sure, but I may not be an ideal role model.

I think you're onto something, here.

(then again, who is?)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:23 PM
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458

"That's what you're explicitly seeking out here, right?"

Not exactly, I see it as the price I have to pay to participate. A price others may be unwilling to pay.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:23 PM
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y'all can hate me for reasons wholey unconnected to my feminism

Your spelling?

Maybe, not exactly open threads, but closed threads? Like, any post with an interesting topic include a note saying [keep the comments mostly relevant], and the goofier posts could have comments run wild?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:24 PM
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"Open thread" was probably a bad term for me to use; it's just the closest thing I could think of.

Doesn't seem like such a bad term to me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:26 PM
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591: Seriously, you're wildly wrong about, say, 70% of everything you post, but having people to argue with is a good thing, and there are worse people out there to argue with (like, you're neither particularly abusive or incoherent). If you wanted people to be less hostile, chatting about something non-contentious occasionally rather than only showing up to argue would probably make the arguments generally get less hostile.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:28 PM
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really just want this to happen so that we can have more Humanities vs Sciences discussions and y'all can hate me

this sounds like great fun.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:28 PM
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When a post about My Name is Earl spawns 680+ comments about things like how protective a father should be of his daughter, who needs open threads?

By the way, I finally watched that episode, and I agree -- it was surprising that they got all of that content onto network TV.


Posted by: Steve/Ryno/MackDaddy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:29 PM
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not the hating part.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:29 PM
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589: If it's specifically marked as "this thread is specifically designated to move at a slower pace and be more 'loosely threaded' chronologically than normal threads"? Also if the timing is chosen to coincide with periods when more people are liable to have time to comment and/or read; not weekends, given Ogged's last posting of traffic trends, but maybe Friday evenings?

I don't really get the hostility towards open threads per se, either; the main reaction seems to be "but we already have those!". Well, yes, so presumably the net effect would be a resounding 0. Or, they'd be valuable in the sense that we finally would have a designated dumping ground for round #384 of "Dongfogged Frets About Dating And Girls", and therefore perhaps a lessening of the acrimony surrounding "confessional" or personal commenting now.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:29 PM
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That's about as useful as pulling your kids out of Montessori because the regimented classroom environment is constricting their personal growth.

Leaving aside the fact that this is an ANALOGY, and an inapt one at that: it's fucking funny.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:29 PM
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not the hating part.

Wait, you were serious about that?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:30 PM
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584: y'all can hate me for reasons wholey unconnected to my feminism

Doesn't your feminism inform your beliefs about scientific practice in any way? Seems to me we could join all the hating into one beautiful, terrible circle.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:31 PM
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I don't really get the hostility towards open threads per se, either;

Social scorn directed at Atrios, mostly, I think.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:31 PM
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If it's specifically marked as "this thread is specifically designated to move at a slower pace and be more 'loosely threaded' chronologically than normal threads"?

How on earth would you enforce this, though?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:31 PM
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598: I don't really get the hostility towards open threads per se, either;

Sounds too feminist. And I really hate you for bringing it up.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:32 PM
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i was serious about the humanities vs. sciences discussions. i don't hate ell-rock and don't think anyone should, particularly.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:32 PM
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Wow, how many times can I say 'specifically' in one post? Jesus, I suck at words.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:32 PM
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It's already too much of a chat room here, open threads would just be capitulation. Never!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:32 PM
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598: Wait, the open thread would be supposed to be slower? How would that work? I can imagine open threads ripping along at the normal crazy pace, and topical threads limited to only what was on topic, so going more slowly, but I can't figure how we'd work a slow open thread.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:32 PM
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582: DS is always selflessly trying to help.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:33 PM
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605: I don't hate L-Rock either, but I do hate humanities v. sciences discussions. That's just me, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:33 PM
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Hah, I could arbitrate. I'm Reasonably Balanced Woman. I suppose most of our sciencier commenters are as balanced, come to think, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:35 PM
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You people really are nuts.


Posted by: A waitress | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:36 PM
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I suppose most of our sciencier commenters are as balanced, come to think, though.

indeed. the truly science-y types wouldn't stick around here long.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:36 PM
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I can imagine open threads ripping along at the normal crazy pace, and topical threads limited to only what was on topic, so going more slowly, but I can't figure how we'd work a slow open thread.

I can imagine the converse as well, especially with topical threads on controversial issues, but I still don't see how to ensure that it happens that way.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:36 PM
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609: It's what Marcus Garvey would have wanted.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:36 PM
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No enforcing, just encouraging. Which is to say, just show tolerance towards people coming into the discussion late and from odd points. And maybe regulars who feel invested in trying to "improve" Unfogged could make a bit of a conscious effort to respond directly to lurkers or less frequent posters.

So yeah, I guess it is feminist, if by FEMINIST you mean SILLY HIPPIE WITH CONFRONTATION ISSUES.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:37 PM
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We could FedEx a talking stick from commenter to commenter. The necessary day between posts would keep things at a tolerable pace.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:39 PM
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No enforcing, just encouraging. Which is to say, just show tolerance towards people coming into the discussion late and from odd points.

Is this the problem? I thought the complaints about pace were referring to how fast the comments come. This is closely connected to the volume issue, of course; with people commenting so fast, the number of comments in a thread gets huge very quickly.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:40 PM
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Have I noted that discouraging people *in general* from commenting is a good thing? Content neutral barriers are great in some ways and I don't think we should do anything to encourage more commenters. I was thinking of doing an "if unfogged could only have five commenters, who should they be?" post this week. In retrospect, it might have been less contentious than what happened.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:41 PM
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617: A conch! A conch!

Any-hoo, I'm off to brainstorm some non-feminism-related reasons to hate on L-Rock, I don't think we're quite there yet. Have a good weekend, everyone!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:41 PM
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I commented way upthread, paid attention through about comment 200, then took a long hiatus. I'm now back, taking a quick break from something annoying I'm writing, and only took the time to read a little way back into the discussion. In short, forgive me if this has already been asked and answered.

All of that said: Bitch's 588 made me think of something: how much does "getting noticed" hinge on having your own blog?

The best answer, I think, would be to take note of the fact that I don't. Have my own blog, that is. And then ignore me.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:45 PM
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619: Huh. You want fewer commenters, but ones that are in some respect different from the ones you have now. Have you considered sending out invitations, and password-protecting the blog otherwise?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:46 PM
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how much does "getting noticed" hinge on having your own blog?

As far as I'm concerned, not at all. I used to click through to people's sites, but only do so rarely now; I just pay attention to the comments. Some people (LB, I think) will click through and probably remember you better if you have blog.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:47 PM
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588: Also I lurked for a while and was ignored when I first started commenting here.

That was during her short-lived "Demure PhD" phase, when she was even more wholesome and tried desperately to assimilate to Canadian ways.

Alternatively:

Also I lurked for a while and was ignored banned when I first started commenting here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:48 PM
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That's right. It's not a status thing, that the blog gives you credibility, it just gives you a 'face' to put with the name. Will's got a wildly dull swimming blog that he doesn't update, but I click through without thinking probably a couple times a week, remember "right, nothing here", but have Will's identity more firmly in my head because of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:50 PM
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Re: slower threads

A practical suggestion: a longer list of Latest Comments on the left-hand frame. As it stands, the latest comments are often those posted in the last 5 minutes. This discourages checking in to threads that might actually have had something said in the last 20 minutes.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:50 PM
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I posted this in the wrong thread:

http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_7771.html#684429


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:51 PM
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We've lost an important element of the problem in the focus on 'pace' and 'volume'. It's not just that one has to read and respond to many comments in order to participate; it's that, if one wants to participate from a position outside of the accepted boundaries, one has to read and respond to many aggressive comments.

The "deal with it" position is a little facile. It wouldn't be unreasonable to ask those in the standard, majority position to question whether they all need to be attack dogs, nor to encourage people to play devil's advocate.

In general, I think LB's theory in the post is right on, and its natural conclusion is too. The assumption of good faith wouldn't hurt.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:51 PM
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A practical suggestion: a longer list of Latest Comments on the left-hand frame. As it stands, the latest comments are often those posted in the last 5 minutes. This discourages checking in to threads that might actually have had something said in the last 20 minutes.

This is a good idea, and it's been expanded before, but there's apparently some technical issue with expanding it further.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:53 PM
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625: Uh huh, I didn't think it was status so much as what you're suggesting: a way to cement an identity in the minds of other readers. Anyway, just asking. Thanks for the answers.

Come to think of it, identity should be more fluid than cement. So that's a lousy image. Sue me. I'm saving the good stuff for my professional writing. Or at least that's what I tell myself.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:53 PM
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Not that I probably ever left much impression on the folks here, but I'll tell you why, even though I really like this blog, I generally no longer bother to comment.

The comment structure has everything to do with it. There is no threading. That's fine when there are 20-30 comments typically and 100 in an active thread.

But here, you get 500+ in an active thread, often within a day (ahem. I confess to not reading them all before posting this).

I can't read blogs all day (much as I would like to), and I'd have to be pretty committed to really keep up with the conversation here. If there were threading, there would be more hope that at least the people interested in my litttle subthread would definitely read what I write.

Some of it is just how huge the group is. Bummer for me, but more power for being attractive to a wide audience of loudmouths.

The fact that I showed up for a bit and then left should be considered no comment whatsoever on the substantive issues you raise in your post. I'm in near total agreement with you. Heck, I spend much of my commenting time on *libertarian* blogs. I'm not afraid of disagreement, and the culture of vague hand-shaky unexamined agreement in service of being "nice" makes me gag.

If I disagree and respect somebody, I want to hash the whole thing out, and *update my beliefs* if they have something to say I haven't heard before. So, I'm not completely cynical about the power of argument. I've changed my mind as the result of argument, and it's my experience that the smarter people are, the more likely they are to do the same. It only happens with honest argument though, not tactical debate wankery, or ad-hominem nonsense.

Anyway, if you ever thread the comments in a usable way, I'd settle back in and be a regular, because there are a lot of brilliant people here that I like to read.


Posted by: Michael Sullivan | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:54 PM
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Open threads are OK with me, but not if the implied message is that I can't hijack threads any more.

I think that Ogged has been very good about putting up posts that are interesting enough to free-associate on but not so serious that you feel bad about hijacking them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:55 PM
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there's apparently some technical issue with expanding it further

As far as I know, it can be expanded. It might be more helpful to have a "latest comments on each thread" listing. I'll think about that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:55 PM
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It wouldn't be unreasonable to ask those in the standard, majority position

It's not unreasonable to ask (I was in the unusual position of being outnumbered in the 'should I go to Paris' thread, and it does feel weird), but it'd be the dickens to coordinate. This is putting the onus on the minority again, but I suggested to IA that actively noting when you're feeling outnumbered, and asking for people to give you space, might get people to back off some.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:55 PM
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I regularly click through to other people's blogs, and that does help me remember who's who ... then again, I also read (well, lurk) the blogs of most of the people who comment here. It's less an "identity" thing, more of a "branding" thing.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:55 PM
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Somehow this seems relevant
http://www.thepomoblog.com/papers/pomo74.htm

esp. in re commenters acting as participants in a live conversation vs. lurkers reading opinions.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:56 PM
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I've mostly skimmed this thread, but 352 has it right. The cliqueishness and in-groupishness of Unfogged are particularly pronounced, far moreso than the vast majority of comparable blogs, so the barriers to entry are relatively high for new commenters, especially those endorsing relatively heterodox views.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:56 PM
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or even better than a longer list, have the identity of the most recent commenter plus the count of comments posted in the last n minutes.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:56 PM
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635: Branding and identity are different? Tell it to the folks in marketing. Wait, don't. They'll just shout you down.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:57 PM
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Which is to say, just show tolerance towards people coming into the discussion late and from odd points.

Being time-zone challenged, I show up late pretty frequently and don't feel particularly scorned, for whatever that's worth. (I also stay out of some stuff that's interesting but that I don't think I can productively comment on given what's gone before, but that's just life.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:57 PM
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I'd like to point out that, while we may be a little harsh with newbies, or just ignore them, when the annoy us we don't track them to their homes and workplaces, or research their family information and their children's educational arrangements.

Yet.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:57 PM
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"they"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:58 PM
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Ogged:

It might be more helpful to have a "latest comments on each thread" listing. I'll think about that.

You're halfway there:

) a refresh button by the comment box (this doesn't even have to do with the issue-at-hand, it's just blindingly obvious), and b) some kind of "recent comments" feature for each post.

Please! I've recently started reading this site from my iPod Touch, and scrolling down 500 comments on that is miserable.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:58 PM
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641: Speak for yourself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:58 PM
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641: How could you take the time? You'd miss so many important threads. Priorities.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 4:59 PM
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Nobody followed the link in 627. Or if they did, they didn't care that I have to work all weekend. Nobody commiserated or offered sympathy.

I feel really belittled and ignored. I'm never commenting here again.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:01 PM
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Have I noted that discouraging people *in general* from commenting is a good thing?

You could try banning people when they're being difficult.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:02 PM
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And yes, I know I can click on the comment links on the side to go straight down, but that requires loading two pages, and Wi-Fi is slow and unreliable in many places.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:03 PM
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Going back to the fissioning Unfogged and sending off a friendly colony or sibling site: where could we divide it? We wouldn't want to have all-snark vs. all politics, for example, or more-feminist vs. less-feminist.

A serious question. Maybe an affinity group of primary posters could take a few frequent commenters with them and start a site. Back and forth visiting could be encouraged.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:04 PM
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641: Yeah, while it's no fun to have your imaginary friends mad at you, worse things have happened. Part of the answer has to be just not taking what happens here too terribly seriously. (Yeah, I suck at that too, but I gather that quite a few others suck quite a bit worse.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:04 PM
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It might be more helpful to have a "latest comments on each thread" listing. I'll think about that.

*cough*


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:06 PM
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We could even have fellowship gatherings, encourage the children of Group A posters to marry the children of group B posters, and join in on projects at the level of the bishopric.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:06 PM
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Eventually Mar Ogged could be a full-time cardinal , and travel from diocese to diocese blessing relationships and non-relationships.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:08 PM
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I see now that my link in 651 no longer makes sense.

Anyway, open your hearts, not your threads!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:08 PM
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I remembered that comment eb, and had already started formulating the justification (concessions to circumstance, etc.) in my head. But I hate you anyway for bringing it up.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:08 PM
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Also, while I think very highly of a lot of what's posted at Obsidian Wings, I think it's important to preserve whatever it is that makes this place different from that one.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:10 PM
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645: You can set LB's private detectives on us after they're done finding out how her coworkers can afford to live where they do.


Posted by: elemund | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:14 PM
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I think that we should put together tracking software and compile a database first before we start making the home visits.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:17 PM
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657: Dude, you have a pathological fear of seasonal progression.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:17 PM
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Also, obviously, the split needs to be swimming/not swimming.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:19 PM
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660: Good idea. That would siphon off at least 2% of the excess coments.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:21 PM
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Detective agency (I think I've linked this before).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:21 PM
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Two reasons I don't comment much:

1) Too many comments too quickly, not enough time (this time I just skipped them, but I don't like commenting without reading existing comments first as a general rule)

2) I doubt I'm quick-witted enough to fit in


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:23 PM
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While I would not want to see this site and its community bifurcate on the basis of content, I wouldn't mind seeing, as a parallel to the complete, unabridged Unfogged, a "Reader's Digest Condensed Unfogged."

Also, I still haven't given up hope that I will live to see Unfogged - the Audiobook Edition in my lifetime.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:24 PM
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Living to see it, but not in my lifetime, would be even more impressive.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:25 PM
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I doubt I'm quick-witted enough to fit in

Don't we all? (Semi-serious question.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:25 PM
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I doubt I'm quick-witted enough to fit in

An insecure commenter is a good commenter.
Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-27-06 12:04 AM


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:27 PM
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I doubt I'm quick-witted enough to fit in

I keep reading variations on this theme. People, I don't set the bar very high 'round here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:27 PM
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If everything happens to be sized right, my browser tab calls this thread "Hey, Lur...".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:29 PM
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Apo, first of all, you're funnier than everyone, so shut up. Second of all, what slol said.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:32 PM
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659: I do! It's the cliffhangers after the Unfogged season finale that get me. Luckily the WGA doesn't cover blogs.


Posted by: elemund | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:32 PM
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I think that we should put together tracking software and compile a database first before we start making the home visits.

My fingerprints are on file at the INS.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:33 PM
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I don't really have fingerprints -- annoyed the cop trying to print me for the PC background check no end. The lines are barely visible, but not enough to make a visible impression on paper -- I just get a smear.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:36 PM
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Hey, Ogged, may I say mean stuff about/to you?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:36 PM
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My fingerprints are on file at the INS.

Mine too, but it's called the USCIS now, old-timer.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:36 PM
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This is all just to say I think ogged should throw B out again. Boy, those were good times.

Spaz is banned!

This likely marks the "and fall" portion of the not-so-epic rise and fall of Boy with a Fish as an Unfogged non-lurker.

NO! Sad! MYB seems funny. We need more funny.

and now we have very, very, very feminist feminists defending their positions righteously against merely feminist feminists, which is a bit more echochambery and pointless.

It's not pointless, though, if the point is to narrow the range of acceptable opinion on feminist topics. In which case, the tone of righteous indignation that is often directed toward the merely feminist seems to work quite well.

See, that seems as snarky and righteously indignant as anything I ever say, even though it doesn't use any swear words. If the feminist discussions seem pointless, then why read them? I mostly don't read the sports posts unless it's a slow day.

And really, part of why I engage in those discussions is because I really truly am not the "very very very feminist feminist" that some people think I am. I'm straight. I'm married. I'm a stay-home mom. I'm white. I'm hypereducated. I'm *loud*, but my feminism is pretty dang Ms. magazine conventional.

Anyway, I really don't know what's to be done about this stuff. I get wound up partly b/c of my personality, but also partly b/c whatever it is I'm getting wound up about is really important to me (education, abortion rights, birth control). I get just as frustrated by phrases like "echochambery and pointless" as other people presumably do by phrases like "fuck you."



Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:37 PM
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Hey, Ogged, may I say mean stuff about/to you?

Nope. New rule. Sorry.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:37 PM
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An insecure commenter is a good commenter.

In that case, I'd argue that one problem is that too many of us/you have become far too secure. Ogged, I think you need to start handing out more random ass-kickings.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:37 PM
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677: I hate you.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:38 PM
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674: Oh, go ahead. You know you want to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:40 PM
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Ogged, I think you need to start handing out more random ass-kickings.

It really felt good to be stu for those few hours.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:40 PM
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I think we should securitize the comments and sell them off to other sites.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:40 PM
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The discussion linked in 651 is what I was (mis)remembering about expanding the recent comments list.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:40 PM
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Comment derivatives are the subprimes of the future.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:42 PM
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Anyone want to start a hedge fund?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:43 PM
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actively noting when you're feeling outnumbered, and asking for people to give you space, might get people to back off some.

AGREED.

Apo, first of all, you're funnier than everyone, so shut up.

You know, Ogged, you might really want to consider whether this kind of statement doesn't contribute to the problems by implying that you don't find anyone else here very funny.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:43 PM
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As I understand, people who get in and out at the right times do very well during financial disasters. The big comment-derivative scandal of 2010 is our friend, if we play it right.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:43 PM
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678: And who do you think you are telling ogged how to run things?


Posted by: Sprezzatura | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:44 PM
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B, you're funny and your butt's not fat. So shut up now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:45 PM
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If everything happens to be sized right, my browser tab calls this thread "Hey, Lur...".

I was once at a multiplex movie theater that was showing "Kings of Comedy". There was apparently only room for 13 characters on the inside digital marquee, which read "Kings of Come".


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:45 PM
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636: I have no heterodox views; all of my physicians are gay.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:46 PM
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this kind of statement doesn't contribute to the problems by implying that you don't find anyone else here very funny

Are there other funny people here? I haven't noticed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:46 PM
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I think we should securitize the comments and sell them off to other sites.

I've wondered occasionally how much money could be made off this site if the powers that be wanted to be mercenary about it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:46 PM
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There was apparently only room for 13 characters on the inside digital marquee, which read "Kings of Come".

At least they weren't showing "Queens of Cumin."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:46 PM
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682 is brilliant.

I love the idea of selling "slices" of unfogged comments (the most valuable slices would probably be 12-4 EST,etc . . .)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:47 PM
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Here's a funny thought: I think Ogged's issue is that he finds the liberal truism that "we tolerate all points of view, there is no Wrong and Right" totally annoying. And he wants to solve that problem by introducing more points of view, and having us all be more tolerant of them.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:47 PM
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I don't really have fingerprints

Replicant? You really should have spoken up more in the Blade Runner thread.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:48 PM
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693: I've wondered occasionally how much money could be made off this site if the powers that be wanted to be mercenary about it.

I don't know how much, but I do know on which axis.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:48 PM
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not weekends, given Ogged's last posting of traffic trends, but maybe Friday evenings?

Great! How about calling them "loser threads"?


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:48 PM
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No, B, as I've thought about it more today, what I want is for people to be able to say more substantively controversial things in more conciliatory ways.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:49 PM
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Stop trying to be funny, Ogged. You're not Apo.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:50 PM
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No, B, as I've thought about it more today, what I want is for people to be able to say more substantively controversial things in more conciliatory ways.

Wait, so you mean what you want is for people to be nicer?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:51 PM
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My ex's studio name was too long for AmEx; they truncated it to XXXXX XXXXXXXX Stud on his card


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:51 PM
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Are there other funny people here? I haven't noticed.

I feel really shut down by this type of comment, and I don't see how it's productive.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:51 PM
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702: Hah! Teo wins the blog.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:52 PM
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LB has no fingerprints because she does all her laundry by hand using homemade lye soap. It's her ethnic heritage.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:53 PM
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704: Ogged's still working on that 'concilliatory' thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:53 PM
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Teo wins the blog

Now that it's mine, I intend to securitize it and make a fortune off of comment derivatives.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:54 PM
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695: Thanks.

I'm trying to remember now where I read something recently where someone was talking about how modern business has made it possible to sell time.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:54 PM
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Wait, so you mean what you want is for people to be nicer?

I wouldn't put it that way, since "nice" usually rules out things like telling people that what they believe seems totally wrongheaded. In fact, I think part of the problem I was having in describing the issue was in trying to describe it in one way, when I'm after two things.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:54 PM
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what I want is for people to be able to say more substantively controversial things in more conciliatory ways.

Okay, seriously, this makes sense to me. The problem becomes, though, that saying controversial things nicely gets you dismissed, often (ahem) by your own fine self, Ogged. E.g., "what, children should have voting rights? That's crazy."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:56 PM
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things like telling people that what they believe seems totally wrongheaded

which is no doubt the source of some of the awb controversy. easy to tell someone that what they said is totally wrongheaded when it's some random political argument, much harder when it's the details of their sex life.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:56 PM
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So which five commenters would you have, ogged? I'm quite curious.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:56 PM
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I'm hardly blameless, B. We've been talking about things we can all do to make things better.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:57 PM
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Wait, we're supposed to stop telling motherfuckers they're crazy?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:57 PM
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I wouldn't put it that way, since "nice" usually rules out things like telling people that what they believe seems totally wrongheaded.

Not the way I use it (or, at least, have been using it in this context). It's all about tone.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:58 PM
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I wouldn't put it that way, since "nice" usually rules out things like telling people that what they believe seems totally wrongheaded.

Think of the consensus that worries you, and think of how much of it you see being enforced by directly abusive comments rather than comments saying that another commenter's beliefs seem totally wrongheaded. I don't think there's any 'conciliatory' tone that would have a substantive effect there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:58 PM
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From now on, everyone should mentally preface my comments with "I treasure you as a person and as a friend, but...." I think that would clear up most of my uncongeniality issues, as well as my acne.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 5:59 PM
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I don't think there's any 'conciliatory' tone that would have a substantive effect there

Well, the telling someone they're wrongheaded would have be done without using words like "wrongheaded." I think it's definitely possible, although people will slip, obviously. But we're not even really trying now.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:00 PM
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Well, the telling someone they're wrongheaded would have be done without using words like "wrongheaded."

But you wouldn't call this being nice?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:01 PM
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The Iceaxe of History will finally solve all your problems, splitter.

I'm off the my far-flung social life. So long, losers!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:01 PM
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Like, how would you rephrase "you're being totally wrongheaded" in a way that is conciliatory but not nice?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:01 PM
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714: Well, I was partly joking, but seriously, this is the crux of the thing, and what I was saying yesterday about wanting to be able to argue about X set of issues because we agree about Y set.

For folks whose ideas are genuinely controversial, the jocular kind of "that's nuts" thing or, even worse, the civil "that seems wrongheaded" type of dismissal is inherently uncivil. More than yelling is. Look at how Emerson reacts to the center left thing, or how Stras reacts to the Clintons, or how I react to some feminist shit, etc.

There's a fundamental tension, I think, between jocular camaraderie, which depends on a "we're all basically on the same page here" feeling, and genuine controversy, which depends on being able to *seriously* engage with people who *aren't* on the same page.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:03 PM
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I'm not hung up on whether it's called "nice" or not, Teo. It's not how I would use the word, but I'm just one guy (with thirty dicks, yes, but still).

And now I'm off to buy a pot. Try not to kill the blog, barbarians.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:03 PM
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There's a fundamental tension, I think, between jocular camaraderie, which depends on a "we're all basically on the same page here" feeling, and genuine controversy, which depends on being able to *seriously* engage with people who *aren't* on the same page.

Yes, exactly.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:04 PM
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Like, how would you rephrase "you're being totally wrongheaded" in a way that is conciliatory but not nice?

It's entirely possible that I'm wrong, but I think your position doesn't stand up to scrutiny, asshole.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:04 PM
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See, that seems as snarky and righteously indignant as anything I ever say, even though it doesn't use any swear words. If the feminist discussions seem pointless, then why read them? I mostly don't read the sports posts unless it's a slow day.

It's snarky, yes, but I honestly don't see the righteous indignation.

I actually don't think the feminist discussions are pointless (and anyway, a fair bit of the feminist discussion takes place in threads that don't initially begin as feminist discussions). But I do think they sometimes reach a point where it seems pointless to argue any further, because opposing viewpoints are basically being shouted down. And one reason why I don't like this, btw, is that I think it reflects poorly on feminism: we're on such shaky ground here, it seems to suggest, that we can't afford the luxury of tolerating dissent, and we can't adhere to the discursive rules that govern (informally govern, I mean) our discussions of other topics.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:06 PM
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I know! What we need are color-coded posts! Like, orange for Serious Civil Argument and blue for Jocularity Here!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:06 PM
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I'm not hung up on whether it's called "nice" or not, Teo. It's not how I would use the word, but I'm just one guy (with thirty dicks, yes, but still).

Fair enough. I'm mostly just trying to hoist you on your own petard. But I treasure you as a person and as a friend.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:06 PM
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Like, how would you rephrase "you're being totally wrongheaded" in a way that is conciliatory but not nice?

Ok, before I go. Usually I'll first ask a question to see if I have the person's position right. "Is what you're saying...?" When I think I've understood it, I'll say "I don't think I can agree with that, because...."

I don't do this often, obviously, but it's how I try to engage with people who have positions substantively different from my own.

Ok, pot time.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:07 PM
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712: More to the point, there are plenty of "random political arguments" (or other topical statements) that some of us cannot but take personally. I think this is really the root of the "feminazi" issue. This notion that there's necessarily a clear divide between what's "on topic" and what's "personal" seems ridiculous to me; I could give some specific examples if people really want, although I feel a bit like bringing up "old stuff I took offense at for being nastily misogynist and personal while cloaked in someone else's notion of topicality" would be really counterproductive. It does feel, though, like chosing one standard of what can and can't be "taken personally" is a step towards fewer and not more heterodoxy in the comments.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:08 PM
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719: I still don't think this works. I'm making this all about me, because everything is, but I have the impression that on the feminism issues I'm a part of the consensus you see as a problem: people don't want to say something I'll disagree with because I'll bulldoze over them for three hundred comments. Thing is, though, I'm fairly polite, mostly. (Not to baa, who for some reason when I disagree with him makes me much angrier than seems reasonable. But to most people.) Someone griping about my argumentative style would have to be griping at a higher level than straight abuse (mischaracterization or something, but you couldn't have a rule against that, or I don't see how you could).

I can't see a requirement of 'concilatoryness' in argument that would require me to watch what I type much at all -- I might reword the occasional comment, but not many. So if I'm right that argument of the style I engage in is part of what you see as the problem, conciliatoryness isn't any part of the solution.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:08 PM
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Ogged, I can promise you I'm not going to be nice to anyone. You can ban me and delete my comments if you want, but it will come to that.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:08 PM
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but I'm just one guy (with thirty dicks, yes, but still).

sure, but in your case they're all commenters.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:09 PM
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Usually I'll first ask a question to see if I have the person's position right. "Is what you're saying...?" When I think I've understood it, I'll say "I don't think I can agree with that, because...."

Whatever you call this, it's pretty much exactly what I was saying I would like to see before.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:10 PM
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717: Hm. What I mean by righteously indignant is that I infer a certain kind of "damn hippies and their puppets" undertone to the "very very very feminist" vs. "merely feminist" opposition. Which is why I pointed out that I'm not, in fact, a radical feminist either philosophically or personally. And I think we're going to have to agree to disagree about whether or not shouting arguments reflect poorly on feminism; my take on that is that wanting feminists not to engage in shouting arguments feels too much like "now, now, ladies, no one will listen to you if you're not polite." If anything, I think it reflects incredibly well on feminism that we can have shouting arguments and then turn around and be friendly about something else five minutes later.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:12 PM
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Slightly off-topic, but could anyone venture a guess at the cumulative economic impact of Unfogged -- the number of hours of work lost, etc.?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:14 PM
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Ok, pot time.

Apo's influence is showing.

735, 732, 730: See, and I think this kind of approach would make threads even *longer*, and in many cases sort of snoozefesty. Kind of like, well, the discussions at my place.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:15 PM
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See, and I think this kind of approach would make threads even *longer*, and in many cases sort of snoozefesty.

Not necessarily longer, if it means there are fewer misunderstandings. As for snoozefesty, de gustibus etc.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:18 PM
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my take on that is that wanting feminists not to engage in shouting arguments feels too much like "now, now, ladies, no one will listen to you if you're not polite."

I'm not suggesting we hold tea parties. But I think the space between shouting argument and ladylike docility is vast and wide, and offers ample scope to manoeuver.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:19 PM
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741

For the record, Bitch's comment threads are uniformly terrible.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:20 PM
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de gustibus etc.

Well, exactly. But there seems to be sort of a morally righteous underpinning to the "nice" vs. "not nice" (short, obviously, of the kind of nasty posturing nonsense that happens at Drum's place) preference that makes it more than merely an issue of taste.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:20 PM
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I just don't think it would change anything much. It might kill the conversation, if we've got commenters who couldn't handle a politer, more formal style comfortably and end up leaving, bored. But the kind of thing IA's complaining about -- her feeling that "because opposing viewpoints are basically being shouted down" -- is, with the same commenters making the same arguments more politely, going to happen in exactly the same fashion. I don't think the problem Ogged sees (which I'm not clear is a problem) is a problem of civility.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:21 PM
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740: I think so too, and I think that by and large we're well between those two poles.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:22 PM
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But there seems to be sort of a morally righteous underpinning to the "nice" vs. "not nice" (short, obviously, of the kind of nasty posturing nonsense that happens at Drum's place) preference that makes it more than merely an issue of taste.

I, at least, have been trying very hard to explicitly disavow this the entire time I've been talking about it. I even said that I wasn't trying to actually make it happen and that I realized it almost certainly wasn't going to, and that that was okay with me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:23 PM
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I was once at a multiplex movie theater that was showing "Kings of Comedy". There was apparently only room for 13 characters on the inside digital marquee, which read "Kings of Come".

The Canal Bait Shop on Smith St. in Providence for many years had a sign from which the "C" in its name had fallen off.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:23 PM
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It might kill the conversation, if we've got commenters who couldn't handle a politer, more formal style comfortably and end up leaving, bored.

Resulting in fewer commenters, which ogged also wants!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:24 PM
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745: Yeah, when I say it wouldn't change anything, it would probably make you more comfortable, which would be nice. But I'm pretty sure your tastes here are idiosyncratic, not what Ogged's talking about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:25 PM
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742 seems to me to be obviously true and to be pretty much the crux of the feminist/non-feminist issue.

I do not appreciate it being implied that I'm a nasty, incivil meaniehead because I get sick of, for example, people making douchebaggy comments about my gender expression under the guise of "topicality", and then refusing to back down.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:25 PM
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I'm pretty sure your tastes here are idiosyncratic, not what Ogged's talking about.

Yeah, they are, which is why I haven't brought them up until now. Not a big deal, in any case.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:26 PM
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I only bring it up now because it seems ogged wants the same thing, though apparently for different reasons.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:28 PM
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Which is funny because he was one of the people arguing against me last time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:28 PM
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I would take this thread to 1000 all by myself, but I have to go now.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:29 PM
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Never explain the joke, teo!


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:30 PM
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745: I know, but I think it's inevitable that "nice and polite" get privileged as "better."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:30 PM
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Yeah, I think he's dreaming. He can get what you want by mandating it -- it would make things a little stiff, but verbal civility can be insisted on if you've got moderators. But I'm pretty sure that's not what he wants. What he wants is an environment where it feels safe to disagree with the consensus, and there's no way to do that without banning argument, or getting rid of the argumentative commenters who make up that consensus.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:31 PM
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744 cont: Moreover, I think what's really important isn't the tenor of a given fight, or even fights generally; what's important is what happens afterwards, and if people carry grudges (or let it be shown that they're carrying grudges).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:32 PM
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What he wants is an environment where it feels safe to disagree with the consensus, and there's no way to do that without banning argument, or getting rid of the argumentative commenters who make up that consensus.

That's a little extreme. Surely some judicious conversation moderation would work, along the lines of, "Hey, Commenter X, let's not jump all over Commenter Y like that."


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:33 PM
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I think my greatest disappointment regarding Unfogged was that this post did not turn out to be about this picture. 'Cause I tell you, there's no unacceptable narrowing there.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:34 PM
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The problem isn't one of tone or civility, exactly. Or having a tea party (but if we do I get to wear a hat.) vs. a beer brawl.

More like a tendency towards caricaturing someone's argument, which happens most often in the feminist threads (on both sides), or responding to an outlier claim with a very strong kneejerk reaction rather than the kindly 'huh?' the position might deserve. That's not really a civility problem; if the person were really advocating eating the Irish babies, 'wrongheaded' and 'cracksmoking' would be appropriate adjectives.

Thing is, this has happened before. It seems to be something that goes in cycles and then calms down.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:35 PM
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If this place gets moderators, though, I'm taking my calabat and your football and your swimming gear and leaving because if I wanted people stepping in to enforce niceness, I'd post at ObWi.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:36 PM
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758: Maybe, but I can't see it working -- what behavior, exactly, is going to be deprecated? If it's reasoned disagreement, there goes argument. If you let reasoned disagreement through, I'm pretty sure people are going to feel just as jumped on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:36 PM
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Okay. Very civilly and politely, what did you mean by 759, JL?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:38 PM
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Maybe we should just have designated back-patting threads were everyone slobbers over each other and uses emoticons and stuff, instead of open threads.

I'm down with the tea parties, though. I was actually thinking of suggesting a tea room Bay Area meetup a while ago.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:39 PM
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More Calabashing!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:39 PM
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tea room... meetup

It's not that kind of a blog! Oh, wait a sec, yeah, I guess it is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:40 PM
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If you let reasoned disagreement through, I'm pretty sure people are going to feel just as jumped on.

Sure, but that's what thicker skins are for.

And I don't think this place needs moderators. Ideally, we're smart and decent enough to police ourselves, and if someone gets out of line, Becks will kick their ass.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:41 PM
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This being where I usually take my mom when she comes to visit.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:42 PM
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769

I could really use some nice tea. Good tea is a nicely affordable luxury.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:42 PM
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770

768: If you'd called me when I was in town, you cunt....


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:43 PM
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:( I know, B, I suck.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:43 PM
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But I do think they sometimes reach a point where it seems pointless to argue any further, because opposing viewpoints are basically being shouted down. And one reason why I don't like this, btw, is that I think it reflects poorly on feminism: we're on such shaky ground here, it seems to suggest, that we can't afford the luxury of tolerating dissent, and we can't adhere to the discursive rules that govern (informally govern, I mean) our discussions of other topics.

Arguments do get to the point where it's pointless to argue further, but that's arguments in general, not just arguments at Unfogged. The solution is to step back, take a breath, let everybody cool down, think a little more deeply about what the other person was saying than is possible in the heat of battle, and then return to the topic later and have another go at it. And, maybe, for those of us who are particularly argumentative to step back a bit every now and then and let somebody else carry the discussion for a while.

And: to some degree we're talking about how to define what the normal American family looks like and how status gets distributed. People care about these things. It's not shocking that it gets a little heated.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:44 PM
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I hate to get aggressively meta, but IA? Are you still reading? And do the comments since your last, at 740, feel as though you've been shouted down?

Because I suspect they may. There hasn't been a lot of agreement with your position, and you haven't gotten much, if any, support. But there hasn't been any incivility that I can spot directed at you.

I really don't mean to put you on the spot -- just to describe how, if this sort of conversation is the problem, more civility isn't the solution.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:44 PM
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771: No, no, you're not SUPPOSED to be all chagrined and like that. You're supposed to perform that name-calling is okay. Damn you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:46 PM
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I would, except I genuinely feel bad about being lame and not calling you, so.

Accursed conciliatory nature!


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:47 PM
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Bah, don't feel bad. We live in the same state, we'll get together another time. I'll call you instead of w-lfs-n.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:48 PM
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On the matter of civility. Apo really settled it entirely in 19:

you have to have a thick skin to enjoy yourself here. Or for other people to enjoy you here.

You gotta make tradeoffs, and if you're going to have an interesting, mind-expanding conversation, there's going to be some controversy. Eggs and omelets and all that.

Given that fact, I'm intrigued by ogged's speculatation in 619 about "if unfogged could only have five commenters."

B might have a reputation as the nastiest commenter here, and Emerson actually is the nastiest son of a bitch here. I have to believe that both would be at the top of any list of Indispensible Commenters.

With all of this soul-searching about the defects of the Unfogged Commentariat, I wonder if someone can point me to a blog with better commenters?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:51 PM
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You guys would be having a big conversation about The Future Of The Blog during two days when I've been sick and unable to read the site. I'm trying to catch up but, damn, there are a lot of comments.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:51 PM
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commenters who couldn't handle a politer, more formal style comfortably and end up leaving, bored

I'd be one of them. I made it a point to be a bit pointed about it upthread, teo, but I disagree with you starting with the second sentence of your characterization of Unfogged: "It really does seem like the place is full of people who are determined to be gratuitously mean to each other as often as possible, even over the smallest and least important differences." I find that this is a fun place to argue, even heatedly, and especially over unimportant topics, because there's a form of rhetoric that's appropriate that isn't appropriate to practice often IRL. Add to that the fact that even pointed arguments actually don't have much cost to them when you're arguing with 47-year-old balding men strewn across the nation—what's the harm in a debate unfold even if there's a possibility that an argument will ensue?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:53 PM
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B might have a reputation as the nastiest commenter here

Wait, is this serious? Because anyone who actually thinks B is nasty is a total puss.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:53 PM
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No need to be civil and polite, B, or not to me, at any rate. What I meant was a little joke about all the navel-gazing, evidently falling flat as most of my jokes do, done in the form of a statement that, while it may not do me credit, reflected my own thoughts. Or to put it another way, she may not be Ogged's type, but I'm all for it. Now may be a good time to concentrate on my drinking, though, and not send out random comments here.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:57 PM
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779: Speaking of arguing, 'smasher, you were off-base with Scheherazade (sp?) upthread. It was pretty clear that she was expressing a personal reaction, not a judgment on the rest of us.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:58 PM
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780: I was careful to distinguish reputation and actuality. There was a very, very weird thread about B being a big meanie not too long ago.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:59 PM
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I compared this place to boxing in the last thread.

Maybe it'll help to think of it like a mosh pit. Not everyone likes the mosh pit, but it's still fun to watch. And not everyone has to be in the pit at all times. But if you don't let people bounce off each other, it's not a mosh pit anymore.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 6:59 PM
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Is tea room some more of your dirty hippie slang?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:00 PM
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779: Does that comment come in recognition that, as a roommate of one of the posters, you don't enter a heated argument in the same position as the average de-lurker?

There are several bizarre, self-contradictory strands working through this argument, which is only fitting, because this is a bizarre and self-contradictory place. Yes, it's only the internet, so no one should give a shit if they end up looking ridiculous; but no, it's Unfogged, and that means it's a uniquely tight-knit place, where one does care about reputation.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:05 PM
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as a roommate of one of the posters

And the handsomest print journalist in DC, don't forget.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:06 PM
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And do the comments since your last, at 740, feel as though you've been shouted down?

God, no.

There hasn't been a lot of agreement with your position, and you haven't gotten much, if any, support.

I don't need/require/expect agreement and support. And I really would hate for everyone to turn all nicey-nice. And also, usually when I am irked by the shouting, it's not because somebody is shouting at me. My main concern is with the range of acceptably feminist opinion that is permitted/tolerated on this blog. I think it's too narrow.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:06 PM
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Apologies for not having read the whole thread, but I just wanted to offer a quick answer to the question originally posed by Lizardbreath. I lurk here, find these conversations entertaining enough to sometimes read, but, well, take this thread for example -- 785 comments! I don't have enough blog-reading-time to read a thread of this kind of length and add something intelligent to it. And it seems like a lot of good Unfogged threads are this long. So, given time constraints, I lurk, and am entertained.


Posted by: A Lurker | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:07 PM
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Apologies for not having read the whole thread, but I just wanted to offer a quick answer to the question originally posed by Lizardbreath. I lurk here, find these conversations entertaining enough to sometimes read, but, well, take this thread for example -- 785 comments! I don't have enough blog-reading-time to read a thread of this kind of length and add something intelligent to it. And it seems like a lot of good Unfogged threads are this long. So, given time constraints, I lurk, and am entertained.


Posted by: A Lurker | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:07 PM
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786: If anything, wouldn't IRL relationships make arguments here more risky rather than less?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:07 PM
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782: I just re-read her comment, Laertes, and I'm still a little put off by the tone; it sounds to me like she's saying, in an admittedly respectful way, that the people who enjoy and participate in Unfogged (with its "almost frantic, almost constant, virtual chatter") have an otherness about them that she doesn't share. I think it was a very tolerant judgment and I meant my response lightly, but I disagree with her assessment—I also like to go outside and feel good about going outside, but I think that's neither here nor there.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:10 PM
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788: But what does it mean for an opinion to be permitted/tolerated? I don't see all that much in the way of direct abuse of people holding unusual opinions here. There's some -- I lost it at baa a while back, there was that personal spat with parsimon last night, but that wasn't about issues, it was about personalities.

What do you see happening, when an untoward opinion is stated, that constitutes it being not permitted or tolerated?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:10 PM
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793: My kid is up past his bedtime because I'm a lazy slattern of a mother. So I guess I'd better put him to bed. But I'll be back to continue this...


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:12 PM
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If anything, wouldn't IRL relationships make arguments here more risky rather than less?

I think people are far more willing to give the benefit of the doubt and resist caricaturing the position of someone they know.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:13 PM
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791: Of course.

Overall, these recent threads are going to wind up with more people leaving, like a personnel change, and that's okay and normal, is it not? Especially when the blog proprietor is dissatisfied.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:14 PM
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792: Maybe my reaction was covered by having lurked on her blog off and on a couple of years ago, which gave me an image of her as someone who would like some aspects of this place and be put off by others, and interpreting the comment accordingly. But I'm also responding lightly--I thought your response was kind of humorous in a thread about making lurkers comfortable and a little harsh, but not a big thing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:17 PM
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The question on the table is tricky for me because a.) unlike IA, I'm objectively pro-nastiness (thank you, pf!) but I did agree with IA on the issue she's talking about. So I would frame things entirely differently: IA's position should have gotten more respect. It should have been on the list of topics not to be nasty about.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:18 PM
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797, first line: "colored," not "covered"


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:19 PM
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^ b.) ^


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:19 PM
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786: I was commenting here long before I Becks moved in, or even before I met most of the IRL/blogging friends I have here in the District. I guess my context has changed but my opinion about the virtues of Unfogged hasn't changed.

791: Ask me about the time that Ogged posted about a trend that concerned my personal life (albeit without mentioning me specifically) at a tense time between me and my exbeforelast (who comments here) not to mention another couple. It was heated on thread, off thread, and I thought about walking off. Who needs this kind of abuse, right?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:24 PM
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798: I don't want to fight with you again, but I still don't know what position you were arguing in that thread, not to disagree with it or agree with it. I came out of it angry, but very confused. And I don't know IA's positions on much of anything -- she's alluded to being out of step with what she perceives as the consensus on the blog, but not described the manner in which she is. She's agreed that she disagrees with me about some stuff, but not specified, and I haven't seen her arguing positions that I've disagreed with.

I'm pretty sure that a position stated in declarative sentences won't draw abuse or nastiness from anyone, and I can promise it won't draw abuse from me. I can't promise I won't disagree, but disagreement is okay, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:25 PM
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Ask me about the time

I'm asking. Link? This rings no bells.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:26 PM
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I'm pretty sure that a position stated in declarative sentences won't draw abuse or nastiness from anyone.

I don't think this is true. Or rather, I think it is true, but I think that's because most people have learned their lesson about what kind of statements get abuse and nastiness.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:27 PM
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Lurkers are lily-livered cowards, pantywaists whose dribblings should never see the light of day. They're namby-pamby natterers, thick-fingered vulgarians whose filthy stench befouls the air around them. Look at the prisons: filled to bursting with lurkers. George W. Bush is a lurker. Hitler in his hideyhole in Argentina: totally lurking right now.

Plus, to post you have to come up with a pseud that fits LB's exacting standards. Most people would rather be waterboarded.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:29 PM
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Could you link to what you're talking about -- someplace where someone stated a position, straightforwardly, and got nastily abused for it? I can see that maybe in the Iraq war threads, but this really isn't clicking for me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:30 PM
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What do you see happening, when an untoward opinion is stated, that constitutes it being not permitted or tolerated?

Maybe as simple as you and B tag-teaming for a couple hundred comments? That's pretty formidable. I don't think it's a bad thing myself, but you're sometimes capable of a manner that my wife's colleague refers to as "ferret on crack" when she employs it, and B's B, and I can see how someone could get to feeling beleaguered. But I can also see that--and why--you're feeling beleaguered too in those arguments, so yeah, difficult.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:32 PM
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803: Qutb.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:34 PM
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807: The thing is, I get that, and that it's intimidating and difficult to deal with, if that's what's going on. But it's not incivility, it's argument. I could promise to drop arguments whenever my interlocutor was sick of them at the "Agree to Disagree" signal, but how else would that work?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:34 PM
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The five commenters question is entertaining difficult.

Assuming all the front page posters stay, and don't count against the limit of 5, I'm thinking the list of 5 has to include a couple of the male commenters to balance that out.

My first thought RMcMP, Apo, SCMT, Heebie, and the Emerson (partially because he and Heebie have a fun raport) but that seems all wrong, and not nearly combustable enough.

I do think that, of the regulars, SCMT, is one of the best at being able to maintain a position that's out of step from the consensus without starting arguments.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:36 PM
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The kind of civility I'm talking about is something I'd like to see extended to heterodox views; I certainly don't want a nicey-nice blog. And Cala's 760 might be the key here: when someone is saying something that we feel confident we don't agree with, our reaction (and I do mean everyone) is to immediately jump on them, but the vast majority of the time, it turns out that there's very little substantive disagreement, or that the disagreement is about differing definitions of something. Maybe the simple fix is this: make sure you understand what someone is saying before you tear him a new one. This might be particularly effective because it also short circuits the kind of trolling (I do it, B does it, other people do it) that starts with an inflammatory claim and defends it into unrecognizability.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:36 PM
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All hail Walt Someguy, for truer words were never spoken. Lurkers: harden the fuck up!


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:37 PM
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806: to start with, i think the response fake-parsimon got for her comments about fake-awb were a vast, vast, overreaction.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:37 PM
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I came off angry and confused too, and I don't want to raise it again now either.

"Nasty" is not the word I should have used in 798. IA didn't meet nastiness, but ran into a stone wall. The situation was not helped by the fact that she was off the internet during most of the argument and I felt obligated to stand in for her, since these are issues she and I have talked about. It's quite possible that I didn't express the point of view well.

It was all about the Hirschman type issues -- the feminist status of stay-home mothers and primary caregiver mothers vs. professional women. I don't want to define it more clearly than that at this point, since it's an enormous question and this is not the time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:38 PM
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not that fake-parsimon used simple declarative sentences, but the hostility in her comments was probably at or below median for the site, and she got 95th-percentile personal attacks in return. if not 99th.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:39 PM
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apo is a front-page poster.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:39 PM
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817

810: Apo is a main-page poster.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:41 PM
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Whoops, I forgot that Apo is a main page poster. That means I can add B, which does feel like a better list.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:41 PM
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Wow, I haven't been pwned in a while. It feels good.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:41 PM
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809: Understood. I don't have a solution, I'm just throwing out an attempt to partially answer your question.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:42 PM
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815: That one has an extended personal history of parsimon being hostile to AWB, and being asked to quit it. The over the top reaction was to the history. But that's really not about the expression of a point of view, that's long-term interpersonal weirdness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:42 PM
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The five commenters thing was an example of a hilariously bad idea; not something we should actually do.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:43 PM
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IA didn't meet nastiness, but ran into a stone wall.

Yeah, this I can see. But it's the Internet -- who convinces anyone?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:43 PM
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The parsimon blowup was about a great deal more than her turn as Tabletop, and it seems fairly disengenuous, if par for the course, to try and distill that incident into something meaningful without taking into account the background.

The fact that a number of people guessed who she was far before her reveal should I think indicate this.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:45 PM
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lb, you have email.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:46 PM
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The five commenters thing was an example of a hilariously bad idea

Yes, I realized. But I posted 810 anyway, partially because it seemed like a way to recognize some people who's personalities are important to the site, but have less assertive personalities.

But, yes, that's an idea that probably should be stifled, and no offense intended.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:46 PM
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You're off my list, NickS.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:47 PM
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824: I don't know w.m. much, but I wouldn't call him disingenous -- the parsimon/AWB history was very easy to miss, if he hadn't read all the relevant threads.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:47 PM
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it's the Internet -- who convinces anyone?

My politics are a whole lot different and a whole lot better informed than they were before I started arguing on the internets.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:48 PM
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823: I'll agree that the disagreement is substantive, not procedural. My proposal is that Unfogged need not be open to every point of view, but it should have been open to that one.

I think that that point of view also ran into at least two diligent and relentless opponents, probably more. I also think that IA, who has a track record (not really here), deserved to have her point of view considered more sympathetically, whereas she seemed to be treated as a generic outsider sailing in with what was judged to be an anti-feminist argument.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:50 PM
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Fair point on 828; still, given that people (namely, me) explicitly brought up the history before the "nastiness" in the thread wm is speaking of, it still rings disengenuous in a particular way I associate with parsimon. Hence, "par for the course".


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:50 PM
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I can't believe y'all are ignoring my eminently sensible 811. What, do I not post enough?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:51 PM
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833

You do, you're just not funny.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:51 PM
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834

Lunar, cut it out.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:52 PM
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834 to 831, but 833 can feel it, too.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:53 PM
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during that thread yesterday, i was also thinking that a lot of the newly-pseudonymous commenters were describing a rather unappealing (to me) sort of sex, that i woudln't touch with a ten foot pole. and when fake-awb mentioned the thing about the guy not understanding that making it about her made it not for her, my reaction was "hmm... you know, i can see how that works, but wouldn't have thought of it that way on my own. maybe i can apply this in my own life; i just hope she tried to explain this to the dude in question rather than quietly seething." but even though i thought this was a pretty uncontroversial or at least not personally offensive comment, i didn't say it, because i was pretty sure how it would be received, and really what's the point of getting into that particular argumentative hellhole?

i don't think it's a good idea to post things in comment threads that you aren't ok being challenged on, and if someone does challenge you they'll get four different people calling them giant cunts.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:54 PM
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832: If you lot are planning on redoing Hirshman/SAHMs/careerism in a new-found spirit of comity, could you promise to keep it nice for a couple of hours? I have to go for a while and I want a chance to participate. The last one was enlightening but I got there way too late.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:54 PM
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835: Oh, for fuck's sake, dude.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:56 PM
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Water Moccasin just emailed me and is not parsimon, LR.

my reaction was "hmm... you know, i can see how that works, but wouldn't have thought of it that way on my own. maybe i can apply this in my own life; i just hope she tried to explain this to the dude in question rather than quietly seething."

I really don't think this would have drawn a hostile reaction from AWB at all; it's very different from the tone of the comments that did.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:57 PM
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If you lot are planning on redoing Hirshman/SAHMs/careerism in a new-found spirit of comity....

I'm pretty sure we're not. maybe later someday.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 7:57 PM
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You're off my list, NickS.

The new banning?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:01 PM
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You want a response to your 811?

This: Maybe the simple fix is this: make sure you understand what someone is saying before you tear him a new one.

has to be a two way street. Someone who feels hard-done-by and misinterpreted has to be willing to restate, and explain, and clarify. Anytime someone says "I didn't mean anything like that, and I'm offended that you attributed those views to me" and doesn't go on to say "What I meant was this, instead" they're wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:02 PM
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No, you're banned, too.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:02 PM
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ogged: What's an actual example of a heterodox opinion that you feel is unfairly jumped upon?

The GSB discussion yesterday was not our finest hour, but I don't think any general conclusions can be drawn from it (it took place under weird circumstances, after all).


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:02 PM
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Nobody really wants to be on Ogged's list.

Or maybe you do want his sweet, sweet lovin'. In which case,sucks to be you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:03 PM
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I've had ogged. He was okay.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:04 PM
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I really don't think this would have drawn a hostile reaction from AWB at all; it's very different from the tone of the comments that did.

that also would have been at least three steps more considered than any of the other comments in the thread, which i don't think is a fair standard to require for "will not inspire rabid counterattack". parsimon's comments were maybe one step more hostile in tone than most, if that.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:05 PM
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842: The emphasis does have to be on reading what the other person actually wrote, though, if we're trying to encourage heterodox participation. Otherwise we're back to the earlier problem: only jump in if you're willing to be misconstrued for several hundred comments.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:05 PM
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Someone who feels hard-done-by and misinterpreted has to be willing to restate, and explain, and clarify

Yes, sure. But if we start by asking for clarification, maybe we can avoid some of the hard-doing-by.

What's an actual example of a heterodox opinion that you feel is unfairly jumped upon?

Affirmative action bad; pharmacists should be able to refuse to fill certain prescriptions; and pretty much anything James Shearer ever says.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:05 PM
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Someone ought to start a new thread so we can try out the whole "being nice, but not 'nice,' exactly" thing.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:05 PM
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851

Most evenings this week I've checked in after work (normally I can look in during the day, but I'm on the road and up to the gills with meetings) to see how the Ongoing Giant Meta Unfogged Thing is going. And here is another giant monster thread which right now seems to be at exactly the same point as the time I arrived yesterday. Handy.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:08 PM
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biological differences between men and women that are not socially constructed. i understand lb's point that this argument is frequently used dishonestly, to the point that it's worth trying to discredit it in general, but if this is a place where everyone is on the same page, more or less, it seems like we shouldn't have to enforce political correctness on each other.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:09 PM
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847: Sure, always, but ambiguity and misunderstanding will always be with us, and there's no way to eliminate them. Once an honest misunderstanding has occured, the only person with the capacity to straighten it out is the person who's been misunderstood.

848: You know, AWB had taken a lot of hostility in that thread already -- I was commenting about how unpleasant people were being before GSB even piped up. So, more hostile than the rest of the comments in the thread is quite hostile.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:10 PM
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it seems like we shouldn't have to enforce political correctness on each other.

Dude, as someone who's been on the receiving end of some of the feminist ire around here, that is not what goes on.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:11 PM
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732

"719: I still don't think this works. I'm making this all about me, because everything is, but I have the impression that on the feminism issues I'm a part of the consensus you see as a problem: people don't want to say something I'll disagree with because I'll bulldoze over them for three hundred comments. Thing is, though, I'm fairly polite, mostly. (Not to baa, who for some reason when I disagree with him makes me much angrier than seems reasonable. But to most people.) Someone griping about my argumentative style would have to be griping at a higher level than straight abuse (mischaracterization or something, but you couldn't have a rule against that, or I don't see how you could)."

I don't think you are seeing yourself entirely objectively here. Not that this is wrong exactly but it is the case for the defense.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:12 PM
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856

ambiguity and misunderstanding will always be with us, and there's no way to eliminate them

Sure, but they can be mitigated. And of course we're not going to let people become "but you misunderstooood meeeee" whiners.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:17 PM
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756

"... What he wants is an environment where it feels safe to disagree with the consensus, and there's no way to do that without banning argument, or getting rid of the argumentative commenters who make up that consensus."

My take is that what he wants is a wider range of views so that there is less consensus agreement.

Perhaps he would like more abstract commitment to freedom of thought as well.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:18 PM
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855: Well, sure. I don't have internal access to a perfectly objective assessment of myself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:19 PM
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But it's the Internet -- who convinces anyone?

Okay, fair enough.

But I really do think this site is at least a little bit different (and by different I mean better) than most of what's out there. I read only a handful of blogs anymore, and I rarely comment at any of them. There's no percentage in it. Most comment threads that I know of really aren't worth the effort it would take to compose the response that would almost invariably be misconstrued and misunderstood (granted, I don't visit too many blogs these days, so I may well be overlooking vast areas of commenting excellence).

My problem with some of the feminism discussions here is that they sometimes resemble the discussions at those other blogs, where it's just not worth the effort to pursue an argument. A too easy dismissal of statements that don't obviously conform to the already-established parameters of the debate, and a presumptive hostility toward anyone who doesn't immediately and obviously signal that she's on the right (in this case, the feminist) side. Too much us-v-them circling of the wagons, in other words.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:19 PM
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I think B's "truism" in 696 has to be a joke, but I can't make heads or tails of it that way either.

There's no reason to think main page posters aren't eligible for "if there were only five commenters" status, especially since some of them are terrible posters and excellent commenters.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:22 PM
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Dude, as someone who's been on the receiving end of some of the feminist ire around here, that is not what goes on.

not in general, no. in the specific case about the value of even considering if there is some explanatory power about gender-based different mindsets, i think that's a fair summary of LB's position.

You know, AWB had taken a lot of hostility in that thread already -- I was commenting about how unpleasant people were being before GSB even piped up. So, more hostile than the rest of the comments in the thread is quite hostile.

after a bit of skimming, i'm almost prepared to say that the responses were about what someone non-awb who made awb-style pronouncements would receive.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:22 PM
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857: My take is that what he wants is a wider range of views so that there is less consensus agreement.

Sure, but you run a blog with the commenters who read it, not the commenters you want.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:23 PM
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You know, I'm now really tired of being talked about in this way.

That's to the general vicinity of 824 and surrounding comments.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:24 PM
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in the specific case about the value of even considering if there is some explanatory power about gender-based different mindsets, i think that's a fair summary of LB's position.

It's like we're not even reading the same blog.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:25 PM
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in the specific case about the value of even considering if there is some explanatory power about gender-based different mindsets, i think that's a fair summary of LB's position.

You know, it's something that I pretty reliably disagree with. How do I express that disagreement without enforcing PC?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:25 PM
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"Freedom of thought" is a nitwitted phrase describing a nitwitted concept. Broad consensus of opinion is not necessarily a sign of a repressive intellectual environment or groupthink. How it gets expressed and how dissent is dealt with is a different issue, but neither really warrant the use of that phrase.

861: People other than you having strong opinions which they believe in genuinely and express strongly does not constitute "enforcing political correctness", and accusing them (us?) of "political correctness" is accusing them of disengenuousness and also a wink-wink-nudge-nudge way of undermining their position, because see, everyone KNOWS that so-and-so, they just can't say, because it's "politically incorrect".


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:27 PM
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after a bit of skimming, i'm almost prepared to say that the responses were about what someone non-awb who made awb-style pronouncements would receive.

But everyone knew who was posting as AWB -- she dropped her new pseudonym a couple of times. So the responses were what AWB posting as AWB got.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:27 PM
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Sure, but you run a blog with the commenters who read it, not the commenters you want.

Hrrm, I pronounce you "difficult." Your formulation still includes folks like Jake and baa who seem to comment less these days (maybe for independent reasons, maybe because it's tough to comment fruitfully here).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:28 PM
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I'm just not clear what I'm supposed to do to encourage them to comment more, other than not disagree with them. (Okay, for baa, I could be politer.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:30 PM
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"Freedom of thought" is a nitwitted phrase describing a nitwitted concept.

This is the kind of thing that probably ought to be frowned upon in the new Unfogged, yes?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:31 PM
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853: Yes, I know that. And I sympathize; I'd certainly like it if people brought their A-game more often and could back up their arguments.

But the problem people are reporting is not that they're afraid of being misinterpreted and having to clarify, but that there will be no way not to be misinterpreted and that clarifications won't help. e.g., I don't talk about Hirshman because I don't want to hear how I just can't handle women with a nasty tone, even though I thought IA was making some very good points.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:31 PM
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The situation was not helped by the fact that she was off the internet during most of the argument and I felt obligated to stand in for her, since these are issues she and I have talked about. It's quite possible that I didn't express the point of view well.

Actually, you did express the point of view very well, and better than I could have done myself. I still feel a bit guilty that I basically checked out of that thread, after making the admittedly too-provocative comment that set off the firestorm of controversy. (In my defense [forgive me, unfogged commentariat, for I have sinned, it's been too many weeks since my last confession...], I had to go to Albany because my MIL was having surgery, and didn't have access to a computer for most of the weekend, and by the time I got back, the thread was pretty much over and done with).


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:33 PM
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other than not disagree with them

Come on, LB, work with me here. We could take more care in figuring out what they're saying before we respond and we could also keep in mind the assumption that they're fundamentally well-intentioned. No one wants anyone to shut up and no one wants to be treated with kid gloves, but being fair takes effort, which we (again, all of us) don't always expend.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:35 PM
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Come on, LB, work with me here.

Let's make the working with each other mutual. I've got water moccasin talking about my enforcing PC because I reliably think innate psychological gender differences are bunk. And I do pretty much think that, or at least that there's no good data for them. But I'm not clear on what about my beliefs or my comments in this regard constitutes enforcing PC. Who's been treated unfairly?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:39 PM
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LB lacks commitment to freedom of thought!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:47 PM
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Who's been treated unfairly?

The blacks, mostly. But I hear you, "political correctness" justifiably gets people's backs up. Trying to read wm charitably, I take him to be saying since this isn't a place that we need to establish basic commitments to feminist principles, maybe we can let gender difference ideas play out a bit and bat them around, rather than feeling like we have to immediately defeat them. I'm not 100% sure I agree with that, but I take that to be the argument, and it's not unreasonable.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:50 PM
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You know, it's something that I pretty reliably disagree with. How do I express that disagreement without enforcing PC?

i offered it up as an example of a heterodox thought that gets jumped upon.

i happen to think that there's a lot of marginally honest deployment of supposed biological differences between men and women. i think that there is probably some interesting conversation to be had along the lines of either "ok, suppose these differences are biological, what then?", or maybe "hmm... well now that you mention it, you don't hear a lot of girls saying 'no, it's actually much more fun when it rains because if you fall down you don't get a nasty bruise, you just go *splut* and get covered in mud'". but i realize that that conversation cannot be had here, because the reaction is going to be "I reject the validity of this as a subject of debate and will continue objecting until you drop it".

i have a similar reaction to a few hot-button issues (academic job market), but recognize that registering this doubt about the validity of the issue as a large-scale problem doesn't really contribute anything to the conversation. so i try to bite my tongue.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:50 PM
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This seems to be getting messy again.

However, I guess I'll venture this: I see a triangular relationship between three feminist emphases: career equality (LB), sexual independence (AWB), and what I guess is "difference feminism" (IA). None of the three actually opposes either of the other two, but priorities are different in a big way.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:51 PM
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866b is a bizarrely over the top accusation of bad faith by Lunar Rockette, and really is the sort of thing which short-circuits discussion. Also, I'm pretty sure I agree with the position LR is arguing in favor of.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:54 PM
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i realize that that conversation cannot be had here, because the reaction is going to be "I reject the validity of this as a subject of debate and will continue objecting until you drop it".

Huh. I'd say that I accept the validity of that sort of claim as a subject of debate. I just, you know, want to debate it. I can't remember ever thinking ill of you or your previous pseud (whose absence from the scene appears to be worrying Ogged -- can I tip him off to who you are), or demanding that you stop talking about the possibility of biological gender differences when you had something you wanted to say about them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:56 PM
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mrh, w/d, toward a self-regulating commenting community! Appreciated.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:56 PM
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ogged-pwned. and probably shouldn't have used the term "political correctness."

but i think between 876 and 877 the point was at least somewhat well made. i know that LB thinks there isn't any basis for them and that discussing them is not only a waste of time, but actively harmful. i find this too bad, because LB frequently has very interesting things to say, but she may be right that discussing them is a waste of time, and so i understand that if i want LB-insight, it'll have to be on some other topic. but there's a lot of space on unfogged, or at least there should be... we have swimming posts for god's sake, even though those bug the hell out of people.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:57 PM
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I know who he is, LB, but he's still been commenting less.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:58 PM
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866b is a bizarrely over the top accusation of bad faith by Lunar Rockette

Come on, what other interpretation is there when people trot out the "enforcing PC" line?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 8:58 PM
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I've been trying to think of one, but I'm not coming up with much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:00 PM
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JE, would you mind explaining what you mean by "differences feminism"? From here, my background beind what it is, if I had to guess I'd assume you're talking about a specific kind of "Second Wave" feminism that dealt with a lot of affirmation of certain gendered behaviors, but is/was basically essentially, but I honestly have no idea what you mean.

879: It's a nitwitted phrase, damnit! I'm sorry, "freedom of thought"? It just speaks to the whole idea of Repressive Politically Correct Brave New World-style "Thought Police", and I don't think political discussions are the place for science fiction. Not even getting into how ridiculous it is to talk about "freedom" in the context of a blog - actually, calling the phrase "nitwitted" isn't an accusation of bad faith, per se, in that to attack the concept on the "intellectual merits" (heh), I'm assuming that Shearer actually means it and isn't be disengenuous.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:01 PM
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886: I think w/d was griping at the tone of your objection to the use of 'PC', not the freedom of thought bit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:04 PM
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i just tipped ogged off. and yeah, you don't demand that i not bring them up, because i generally don't bring them up, because i've seen you reject the value of the discussion in the past. or at least i imagine that i have.

again, coworker social commitments beckon. again, useful conversation had on blog late at night. thanks all.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:05 PM
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886: It's a phrase I've heard others (B) use which I thought was well-known.

I understand it to mean a feminism which proposes giving greater respect and support to traditionally female work and traditionally females, rather than simply aiming at dividing up these unrespected roles equally and getting more women into traditionally male jobs and careers.

This will be accused of being a straw man and I don't think that it is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:05 PM
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"traditionally female roles"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:06 PM
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yeah, you don't demand that i not bring them up, because i generally don't bring them up, because i've seen you reject the value of the discussion in the past. or at least i imagine that i have.

I'm just stuck on this. When I read it, it appears to say that the fact that I disagree with him keeps him from saying what he wants to say. That's a shame, I suppose, but my desired action in response is unclear to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:08 PM
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"Shouldn't have to enforce political correctness" is charitably equivalent to "should let people entertain ideas which are of a type that are frequently used by people of ill-will without behaving as if they are a person of ill-will.". This basically goes back to the explicate first, then challenge mode, mentioned above.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:08 PM
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OK, I put up some of my thoughts in a post.

Some others after reading 2000 comments of metaness:

* No threaded comments ever.
* As always, I encourage people to interpret each other's comments more charitably. The differences are rarely as far apart as people originally think.
* I encourage people to lurk (and for a decent while) before commenting. That's the only way to learn the norms.
* While I'd like people to rachet down some of the antagonism, I'm not looking for a lovefest. Conflict, argument, and snark is encouraged if productive or funny.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:09 PM
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No, it's not a straw man, and at least I, personally, wouldn't make that accusation. That's about what I would have guessed, myself.

And predictably, I don't think the distinctions you're laying out are actually that helpful, but I do know the sort of ideological divisions you're referring to, and I don't think it's trolling to point them out.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:09 PM
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How about a user voting system for comments like Digg or YouTube uses, where comments can be "dugg" up or down, with the total score posted next to the comment. Even without threading, this could let readers seek out key developments in a post with hundreds of comments on it.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:10 PM
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Recruit. Seriously, the game is played at a ridiculously high level here. And there's a lot of inside baseball. So if Ogged wants newcomers who have different opinions and will stick to their guns, go out and get them. Find them commenting elswhere and invite them to come here, offering a fruit basket as compensation. Otherwise, it's a pretty hard community to join, probably especially if one is out of step with either its social norms or ideologies (too strong a word).

So again: recruit. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions to offer for commenters. The few really good ones that I noticed at other blogs, before ever coming here, included SCMT (at Chez Yglesias) and Emerson (at CT, where he got into a back-and-forth with Douchey McDouche, PhD, who accused Emerson of ethnocentrism -- or something). And it turns out that they comment here already.

Which leads me to this: if you find some really smart conservative voices, share the news. I went to dinner last night with some very bright lefty literati types. We tried to think of some bright conservatives to invite to our fair campus to give a talk. We couldn't come up with one. Well, we came up with some economists, but nobody outside that field.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:11 PM
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"Shouldn't have to enforce political correctness" is charitably equivalent to "should let people entertain ideas which are of a type that are frequently used by people of ill-will without behaving as if they are a person of ill-will.". This basically goes back to the explicate first, then challenge mode, mentioned above.

yes. although a bit of googling to find the instances where lb took the stand that i am currently accusing her of taking was as yet unsuccessful. i don't think it's in my head, but i may have to backpedal a bit to defend the weaker position that one should be able to speculate about things on unfogged even if one hasn't done sociological research to back it up and doesn't have jstor access to search for such research.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:11 PM
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When I read it, it appears to say that the fact that I disagree with him keeps him from saying what he wants to say.

I don't think this is what he's saying. I think there's a difference between "i've seen you reject the value of the discussion" and "I've seen you disagree with me."

I made this observation without endorsing one view or the other.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:13 PM
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How about a user voting system for comments like Digg or YouTube uses, where comments can be "dugg" up or down, with the total score posted next to the comment. Even without threading, this could let readers seek out key developments in a post with hundreds of comments on it.

i have a possibly unhealthy and excessively personal aversion to digg/youtube style comments. i think one of the best things about unfogged comments is their unthreaded nature. if nothing else, it allows the joy of "335 to 336".


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:14 PM
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I'll certainly cop to believing that innate psychological gender differences are generally bunk, and rarely supported by any kind of data. I can't recall butting heads with you particularly -- try finding a post of mine about "The Female Brain" and a nice Language Log debunking of it; it's on the right issues, and maybe it's a thread you were thinking of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:14 PM
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"Shouldn't have to enforce political correctness" could be in this context charitably equivalent to "should let people entertain ideas which they know are disagreed with by a majority at this blog without making the conversation about the disagreement before the basic idea can be explicated."

This might be an edited double post, if so, my apologies.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:16 PM
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It is a double post, and I like the later version better. I don't know how much of an issue we have in that regard, but I'd accept that that's a good way to behave generally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:18 PM
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This probably makes me a bad person, but


Affirmative action bad; pharmacists should be able to refuse to fill certain prescriptions; and pretty much anything James Shearer ever says.

is my nightmare world of comment topics.

The comment that touched off GSB's comment radiated hostility towards men in grad school, and GSB responded in kind. His response did not make him look particularly good, but I'm not surprised someone found the original comment offensive.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:19 PM
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also, and i'm not sure how to phrase this eloquently, and i really really have to go now. of all the unfogged commenters that are people in my head (as opposed to a random names), i think lb is one of if not the most perceptive and quick-witted and high on the list of wouldn't want to see on the other side of a courtroom. while i know that my thought processes and writing tends to erratic and hard to follow, there are three or four people who (no offense intended, w/d and mrh) have no trouble understanding what i'm trying to get across. this confuses me.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:19 PM
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I see a triangular relationship between three feminist emphases: career equality (LB), sexual independence (AWB), and what I guess is "difference feminism" (IA). None of the three actually opposes either of the other two, but priorities are different in a big way.

That sounds about right. Again, and as I said earlier in some other thread, if we were at a rightwing anti-feminist site (not that we would be), my impulse would be to lend support to whatever LB or AWB had to say, even if it meant (which it probably would mean) minimizing or glossing over our differences. But when we're, you know, just talking amongst ourselves, a little more patience would go a long way, is what I can't help but think.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:21 PM
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Hi, Cryptic Ned!

Life intruded. And it does again, now, in the form of sleep.


Posted by: Pantene | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:22 PM
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Wait, huh? Why am I not supposed to take offense?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:24 PM
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Thanks for the compliment to my acuity, generally. I'm sorry to have been confusingly slow to understand you -- I have to admit that mrh's comment, outside the context of a particular conversation, doesn't illuminate things much for me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:24 PM
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to defend the weaker position that one should be able to speculate about things on unfogged even if one hasn't done sociological research to back it up

This sounds an awful lot like you want to support your positions solely by anecdote, and not have anyone call you on it.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:25 PM
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901: Except that's the thing - why is this trend of "BE MORE NICE AND ACCEPTING" couched constantly in language that needs to be interpreted charitably, that insinuates certain kinds of behavior about the posters and commenters it's aimed toward?

I also really don't see, for what it's worth, how given the format of the blog per se, anyone can be said to keep an idea from being fully explicated - that's on the person explaining it, not his or her audience.

It also seems from my perspective that "making the conversation about the disagreement" can only work in practical terms by stifling people's ability to dissent or disagree - I'm not talking about being careful with tone and attempting to give a "fair read", but just disagreeing, period. Basically: who gets to decide how much consideration is due any particular argument?

I realize it will sound like I'm saying "FUCK BEING MORE CHARITABLE", and really, I'm not: I'm just saying that these kind of disagreements are inevitable, trying to solve them only causes more problems. In other words: "everyone, get the fuck over it" is the least bad solution here, but it doesn't necessitate individual commenters "toning things down" or rethinking their practices or what have you.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:25 PM
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Also, what gswift said.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:26 PM
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Is will Will? I'm all confused.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:26 PM
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907: I wasn't clear on that bit, either, but I think the takeaway is that you understood him and I didn't, which is peculiar given his generally high opinion of me. I don't know where the apology to you comes in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:26 PM
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910: Yeah, pretty much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:28 PM
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Here are my suggestions:

1) That we avoid, when possible, engaging in battles of reifications. "Feminism" does not demand things. "Political Correctness" does not stifle things. As soon as reifications begin to take over conversations, I usually fade away from them, partly because that's a good sign that people have started typing faster than reading, and partly because I know how to find specialised literature on that sort of topic if I want to.

2) That for God's sake, the administrators ignore the people who are clamoring for threaded comments.

3) That we try to avoid overt expressions of factionalism. Yes, some of us have met in real life, have gone out drinking together, or have even slept together. Those relationships, insofar as they exist, exist in a different medium than this very public, usually pseudonymous forum.

Sure, having slept with Chopper's feet, I tend to be a more interested reader of his comments. What I'm more concerned about is the way nebulous alliances get expressed in vituperative arguments. It makes the heated back-and-forths feel more personal when the Sanctity of Off-Blog Communications keeps getting pointed towards, let along broached.

4) That we all get a little less personal. I do sort of interact with the site as though you all were balding 47-year old men in basements. Even those of you I've met. Repeatedly.

Related to this is what somebody said above: any fact or emotion expressed in a public forum like this can be buffetted around in completely unpredictable ways. I'm not at all convinced that confessions are always positive.

5) That we all remember to lead full and happy lives offline. Myself, I'm about to continue reading James Wood on "the comedy of forgiveness."

Oh, yeah, and Be Excellent To One Another.


Posted by: Peevish | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:28 PM
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Jack, you're stuck in yesterday. But I like the Bill and Ted signoff.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:30 PM
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373: My comments run the gamut from glib to flip.

Mine run frome glib to bilge, and back again.

Hypothesis: we're having confusion along three axes:

First, the cooperation-competition axis. Group members must cooperate to preserve the group, but advancement within the group depends on competition. Balancing the two, within a western capitalistic individualistic tradition, is problematic.

Second, the culture and communication axis. Different cultures, or sub-cultures, use different symbols to mean different things. Joking, in particular, can be problematic Jokes that signal affection and acceptance in some groups can mean things quite different in others.

Its worth remembering that we've got a disproportionate number of academics and lawyers here. Both professions have arcane symbol sets, tend to reward the lone gunman (those who don't play well with others), and advancement is often accomplished by the ritual killing of a superior.

Third, the political/personal axis. This axis isn't as clear in my mind, but I was intrigued by this comment:
731: ... This notion that there's necessarily a clear divide between what's "on topic" and what's "personal" seems ridiculous to me; ...

The political involves questions of group norms and conventions, who's in and who's out, status, etc. From this arises the pressure to conform, to agree, to support the group and the concensus in one's personal beliefs and actions. The personal, each commenter's beliefs and opinions, statements and actions, also have implications for the group. Yet many of us want to maintain some sort of distinction between what's personal and what's political.



Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:30 PM
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And I should put forth that "get the fuck over it" includes taking and expressing offense when people (on any side of an argument) feel it's warranted, instead of trying to mediate it out of existence, which I don't think is going to work in any kind of grouping of human beings ever, let alone on the internets.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:31 PM
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886

"879: It's a nitwitted phrase, damnit! I'm sorry, "freedom of thought"? It just speaks to the whole idea of Repressive Politically Correct Brave New World-style "Thought Police", and I don't think political discussions are the place for science fiction. Not even getting into how ridiculous it is to talk about "freedom" in the context of a blog - actually, calling the phrase "nitwitted" isn't an accusation of bad faith, per se, in that to attack the concept on the "intellectual merits" (heh), I'm assuming that Shearer actually means it and isn't be disengenuous."

The point at issue was what Ogged wanted. Obviously you don't think freedom of thought (or diversity if you prefer) is an important value but Ogged might disagree.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of "I disagree with what you are saying but defend your right to say it" sentiment among the commenters which does make things less congenial for minority views.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:31 PM
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I'm not balding and older than 45. I do live in a room in my sister's house (i.e., my sainted mother's house, where I grew up.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:32 PM
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Sure, having slept with Chopper's feet

People are changing their pseuds far too much around here. Or I drank even more than I thought at UnfoggeDCon.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:32 PM
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The main reason I don't comment much is because I'm on the other side of the world from most of you. I wake up in the morning and there are a few thousand comments to catch up on. So when I do comment it tends to be at the tail end of a thread, and that can be kind of dispiriting.

Another reason, though, is the difficulty of constructing an identity here when I don't have time to be a regular commenter. There is another internet forum in which I have participated for years; as a result I have a clear persona there and so I don't worry so much about how any given comment sounds. Here, I am in agreement with most of the commenters most of the time, yet I am more likely to post when I have something contrarian to say. Example: most of the time I disagree with Shearer, but I have neither time nor inclination to join the crowd piling on, and I typically don't have anything new to add anyway. I'm more likely to want to post on the rare occasions when I agree with him, but then I worry that this will get me (probably unconsciously) put in a certain box. (I don't worry about this with LB, mind you, because I know she'll forget my name.) Again, if I felt I had the time to try to be a regular, this wouldn't matter, but when I'm only dropping in a comment once a week or so, it makes a difference.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:33 PM
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912: Never mind. I see that he is one and the same. (I hadn't read all the swimming comments above when I wrote 912.) But why have you become capital-Will?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:33 PM
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916

Jack, you're stuck in yesterday.

Oh, phew.

Also, unthreaded comment threads forever. I swear it was threaded readers that killed Usenet.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:34 PM
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sexual independence (AWB)

FWIW, I think this isn't a good description of AWB's feminist priorities. She posts about sex a lot here, but my sense is that she would describe that as a personal, rather than feminist project, and I recall her posting quite a bit on more "traditional" feminist topics on her old blog.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:35 PM
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Oh. Sorry about that. But Chopper does have promiscuous feet.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:38 PM
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I didn't say AWB or any of the others were exclusively one way, but AWB certainly put more stress on that part of it. I don't remember her saying that it was a femenist issue for her, but she is certainly a feminist and certainly is strongly committed to the sexual freedom part.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:38 PM
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I have to admit that mrh's comment, outside the context of a particular conversation, doesn't illuminate things much for me.

I admit, I've only been half paying attention to the particular argument between LB and mr. moccasin, but the point he seems to be making is that there's a difference between a difference of opinion that leads to an interesting debate, and one that leads to a shutting down of debate. LB, one reading of your comments late in this thread is that you're saying all you're trying to do is (1) but that you don't recognize that what sometimes comes across is (2).

You said: it appears to say that the fact that I disagree with him keeps him from saying what he wants to say

I think if you change "fact" to "way" and "I" to "people" we might get somewhere?

To Ms. Rockette: I also really don't see, for what it's worth, how given the format of the blog per se, anyone can be said to keep an idea from being fully explicated - that's on the person explaining it, not his or her audience.

You may have a sufficiently confident personality that this is true for you; it is not true for everyone.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:39 PM
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Yet many of us want to maintain some sort of distinction between what's personal and what's political.

I realize this; but look, as a queer woman, I can't really take discussions of things like DOMA and all it's slimy children non-personally. As I said in one of the other threads: being able to make those kind of distinctions is a luxury. For example, I'm white and so seem to be the majority of Unfogged commenters; we have the luxury of a certain amount of distance from race, we can not take it personally. On the other hand, I expect Apo to take it personally when certain conversations about national politics turn to Southerner-bashing. What I have a problem with is people acting like when this kind of thing happens en masse, the behavior is irrational, or evidence of groupthink or "political correctness" - no, it's evidence of a broadly shared experience of the personal impact of certain policies.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:39 PM
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There doesn't seem to be a lot of "I disagree with what you are saying but defend your right to say it" sentiment

Jesus. How about we just assume everyone thinks you have that right.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:40 PM
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Nick's right -- AWB's posts here are more talking about her personal life than her feminist philosophy. My personal life produces fewer interesting anecdotes, but I don't think that expresses any particular distance between us on philosophical issues.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:41 PM
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cdm: I don't post as often as others might, and when I do it is often at odd hours, but I expect the commentariat to look upon my works and despair, so why shouldn't you? None of these people are ass/elbow experts, so let fly.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:43 PM
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928: Rrrr. It's hard to look at a comment that suggests that the force of your opinions makes it difficult for other people to express theirs, and not respond forcefully to it. I appear to be stuck on the horns of a dilemma here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:44 PM
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930: Yeah, I'm not clear on what's being defended against. Anyone who's got the cops coming after them needs defending. Beyond that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:46 PM
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928: I also really don't see, for what it's worth, how given the format of the blog per se, anyone can be said to keep an idea from being fully explicated - that's on the person explaining it, not his or her audience.

You may have a sufficiently confident personality that this is true for you; it is not true for everyone.

No, I'm sorry, I cannot accept this. It is still people's responsibility to explain themselves. "I'm a delicate shrinking violet" is not a defense.

This is not a physical space. No one is literally being shouted down here, no one is being physically intimidated (whether overtly or covertly).


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:46 PM
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Can we also just note that some times a dipshit idea just needs to be call a dipshit idea, and sometimes a dipshit commenter needs to be called a dipshit commenter? Not all ideas are created equal.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:49 PM
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Gosh, Lunar. Hmm, I'm having trouble thinking of how to respond to you congenially.

Do you think you could try not reducing my point to a caricature like "I'm a delicate shrinking violet?" That's rude.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:49 PM
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It is still people's responsibility to explain themselves.

That sounds rather unpleasant.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:49 PM
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930: I'm amazed that anyone thinks that isn't the default consensus opinion. Certainly seems to be so from here.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:50 PM
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940

Now that I think about it, it sounds like the trial scene at the end of Alice in Wonderland.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:51 PM
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937: Somehow, though a similar point made more gently and less clearly in 933 has failed to attract your attention. Which is kind of the problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:51 PM
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JM, I'm working on the assumption that "explaining oneself" involves typing up a blog comment and posting it, since the original post was talking about an idea's initial reception and how quickly the conversation turned to disagreement.

But, specifically, what do you think is or would be unpleasant?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:53 PM
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"You're all just a pack of c
a
a
a
a
a
a
a
a
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ards!"


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:53 PM
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907: because i said it was surprising you got something and lb didn't.

909: i am not opposed to being called on arguing by anecdote, since that's clearly what i want to do. or rather, i want to compare anecdotes, or be told "hey go read this paper on the gender distribution of the programming ability," but feel frustrated by the insistence that the null hypothesis be everything is socially constructed. people are perfectly happy to swap anecdotes on other topics. this one is different.

also, i definitely agree with ogged's sense that there's something weird going on with certain heterodox opinions here, and since no one else is really willing to go to the mat for it, i'm trying the best i know how.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:53 PM
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Also, let me just point out, apparently my point wasn't being expressed clearly enough, so I'm trying to explain further, and I'm not really finding it unpleasant, or in fact seeing what the big deal about other people having to do the same thing would be.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:55 PM
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feel frustrated by the insistence that the null hypothesis be everything is socially constructed.

That's my null hypothesis. I'm still not getting how my beliefs in this regard affect your capacity to express yours.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:55 PM
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947

At this point, are people just trying to get to 1000? Is there glory in that?


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:57 PM
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This sounds an awful lot like you want to support your positions solely by anecdote, and not have anyone call you on it.

This is sociology we're talking about, not organic chemistry. There isn't a body of reliably demonstrated theories that you could point to, the fundamentals of the discipline are as contested now as they ever were, and you'd probably get as many opinions about a topic as you did researchers.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:58 PM
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Humblest apologies, LB. I scrolled past your comment. It was thread length, and not tone, that caused me to miss your comment. I would be extremely displeased to give any more credence to the idea that being rude is the way to get noticed around here, since I find Lunar's commenting in the past 24-48 hours really unpleasant.

So! You said: Rrrr. It's hard to look at a comment that suggests that the force of your opinions makes it difficult for other people to express theirs, and not respond forcefully to it. I appear to be stuck on the horns of a dilemma here.

I think this is an awesome example of what the problem might be. You've rephrased what I said, but I don't think your rephrasing is what I meant. Per Ogged's suggestions above, you might have instead written, "Do you mean that it's the force of my opinions that makes it difficult for people to express theirs?" And then I could have said the following:

No, it's not the force of your opinions. Strong opinions are clearly favored here, yes? But there's a way to express a strong opinion strongly without doing it in a way that makes people in the minority feel like they can't speak up.

And hell, I'm not making the rules around here. I'm just trying to point out that when someone says sometimes the way you debate makes it hard for those holding the minority position, they have a point. What should you/one do about it? Maybe what Ogged (I think) suggested up-thread: ask more questions, make fewer statements. I dunno.

I'm sorry if this offends, or angers you in any way.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 9:59 PM
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915 is excellent.

Upthread a bit: I kind of think an affirmative action thread might end up more like a guns thread than a feminism thread. It might be worth a shot.

And now to dinner.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:00 PM
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951

AWB has at least twice shocked the hell out of Unfogged. She may not have philosophical differences with LB the way IA does, but it strikes me that she's ventured on a rather unusual feminist path.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:01 PM
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933 and 937 sure as hell don't look like they're expressing the same sentiment to me.

Rrrr. It's hard to look at a comment that suggests that the force of your opinions makes it difficult for other people to express theirs, and not respond forcefully to it. I appear to be stuck on the horns of a dilemma here.

yes. this is a tough situation. one way of dealing with it (which i generally endorse) is to say "hey, i hold strong opinions and so will express them forcefully, and if someone reacts to that by being driven away, not my problem." another way of dealing with it is to say "huh, well, that's not what i'm trying to do, but to some extent it's going to happen, but point it out when it occurs and i'll decide if it's a legitimate complaint or not." a third way (which seems to be what's going on), is "what? we don't really do that here, do we?"

This is not a physical space. No one is literally being shouted down here, no one is being physically intimidated (whether overtly or covertly).

This, on the other hand, is different. I wasn't aware that "you aren't being physically intimidated, so suck it up" is the new standard of behavior for unfogged.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:02 PM
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953

This is sociology we're talking about, not organic chemistry.

You might be on to something here. I was a chem major, and raised by a biologist.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:03 PM
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But there's a way to express a strong opinion strongly without doing it in a way that makes people in the minority feel like they can't speak up.

This doesn't clarify anything at all, though. You've told me a few times now that something about the way I express myself makes it hard for people who disagree with me. That thing is not holding strong opinions, apparently. I don't think it's egregious interpersonal rudeness -- if it were, surely someone would have mentioned it by now. (Admittedly, if baa shows up, he'd have a point.) I have no further ideas as to what it might be and how to stop doing it.

I'm somewhat unhappy to have been implicitly asked to stop making it hard for people to disagree with me in an entirely undefined way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:03 PM
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953: Don't go changing on me, G.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:04 PM
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956

There's an obvious difference between arguing to persuade and arguing to destroy.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:07 PM
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957

I should go to bed now since obviously I've become punchy, but first I should get all serious again and explain myself, as I apparently have a responsibility to do.

I suppose I'd say this: not everyone enjoys explaining themselves under hostile fire, as it were. "Define your terms!" "Back up that claim!" "Say that again, in small words and direct sentences!" That kind of conversation is one of the reasons I left Obsidian Wings.

It's one of the ways that a small comment can lead to five hours of explanation, justification, retreat, shame, reconciliation, vindication (or whatever): that little thing you said somehow became all about you.

Honestly, there are some days when I just can't be bothered to explain, or I don't think what I said was really worth spending time on. And I dislike it when other people assert that they have the authority to decree what my responsibilities to pixels are.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:08 PM
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something about the way I express myself makes it hard for people who disagree with me

Isn't this why you get paid the big bucks?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:08 PM
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959

But mrh went on to make suggestions, LB.

I'll note again that the habits of caricature and quick disagreement are widely shared. I'm not sure why we haven't been able to come to a consensus that the norm should be to avoid those things and to try to do some self-policing about them. Insofar as people try to shut up LB by claiming "too forceful," I'm not going to stand for that, but I don't think that's what's happening in this thread; it's just people trying to articulate their sense of the situation.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:08 PM
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OK, here's a specific example:

I'm still not getting how my beliefs in this regard affect your capacity to express yours.

This comes across as willfully not getting it. Obviously, the fact that you hold a belief doesn't preclude someone else from expressing their belief. So, why would you assume that they mean something so ridiculous?

Oh, and: That thing is not holding strong opinions, apparently. I don't think it's egregious interpersonal rudeness... I have no further ideas as to what it might be and how to stop doing it.

"Holding strong opinions" and "egregious interpersonal rudeness" are not an exhaustive listing of possible commenting states. It's expressing strong opinions in a dismissive manner.

And, no, of course, I don't mean to imply that dismissiveness is ALWAYS! BAD! But it certainly is a part of what I think the problem is.

On the particular feminism issues, I don't actually have a specific example, because I happen to be on your side most of the time. However, I can still imagine a commenting style that would intimidate someone with a minority viewpoint.

(And it's not just you, I don't mean to harp on you -- one person can't have that much effect, it's the cumulative effect of a lot of people commenting dismissively.)


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:09 PM
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961

But mrh went on to make suggestions, LB.

Could you point me to them?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:10 PM
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962

How's about, 949: I think this is an awesome example of what the problem might be. You've rephrased what I said, but I don't think your rephrasing is what I meant. Per Ogged's suggestions above, you might have instead written, "Do you mean that it's the force of my opinions that makes it difficult for people to express theirs?" And then I could have said the following:


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:11 PM
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946: Surely isn't that surprising in other contexts; does one expect to have fruitful political discussions on RedState, even though there's nothing about them being little wankers that prevents someone from posting a thoughtful feminist critique there? No one here is near as bad, obviously, but it strikes me as disingenuous to believe that stating something overly forcefully and having a little cheerleading squad that posts mostly 'LB is so right!'* couldn't conceivably prejudice the tone.

*Nothing structural about this, so not much to be done, and it's not a bad thing that people express agreement. But I imagine wandering in and trying to set forth a competing hypothesis might not be fun unless one is trying to blow off a day at work.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:12 PM
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That kind of conversation is one of the reasons I left Obsidian Wings.

Yes, and this sort of thing is especially annoying when deployed as a means to avoid merits discussion. A filibuster.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:13 PM
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965

See? You people are making ogged cry. Not that that's hard, but you all should be much more mindful, and also less bitchy.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:14 PM
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966

My last crossed with 961.

This comes across as willfully not getting it

Nope, not willful. "Dismissiveness" is the problem? I'm not certain that it's workable getting through the day without a certain amount of dismissiveness, but I suppose I can think about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:14 PM
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A practical/technical fix I'd love to see: It would be excellent if the preview showed up at the bottom of the thread instead of the top so one doesn't have to scroll down 300+ comments to see what's been added while one is typing.

And so to bed.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:16 PM
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In the case of IA and me, you argued like a lawyer. I'm not opposed to arguing like a lawyer, and I do it sometimes, but I do not think that that was the right time to argue like a lawyer. That's my dog in this fight.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:18 PM
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957: Honestly, there are some days when I just can't be bothered to explain, or I don't think what I said was really worth spending time on. And I dislike it when other people assert that they have the authority to decree what my responsibilities to pixels are.

See, I think this is perfectly fair, and I don't think that's what I'm insisting, per se - I think "dude, I'm not going to explain because it was just a throwaway comment" is a perfectly reasonable move. It just feels like a lot of this going over certain people's comments with red pen to edit them into superior "congeniality" is, in fact, an attempt to decree what my responsibilities to pixels are.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:19 PM
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970

But I've been working a long day here, and I should go home. I find a whole lot of what's been said on this thread puzzling, and I'm upset by some of the rest of it -- I'm going to leave the upset until sometime I've had more sleep.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:19 PM
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God knows I don't want to be responsible for defining the problem. I'm content to point out what might be a problem. But Ogged and Cala seem to be get what I'm trying (badly) to say, so I think I'll leave things in their more capable hands and go to bed.

(And: LB, I'm really sorry that this turned into kind of a picking on you thread. I have nothing but admiration for you.)


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:20 PM
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972

Good night, LB. Take care.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:21 PM
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Um, wow. I just ran across this self-justification from Althouse.

You can give me hell for that post as long as you want, but I stand by it. The central point is that Bill betrayed feminism. I know I put it in a way that makes people crazy. That's their problem.
She wrote that today (in the context of Drum's Winger awards) about that Valenti post from last year.

Anyway, I pass it along it because every time I read Althouse, I want to become a little more generous and self-aware.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:23 PM
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night, lb.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:25 PM
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975

Yeah, I should be clear that I'm not really trying to pick on LB.

It's just not all that inconceivable that a very active, fast-moving commentariat that always clearly and forcefully asserts (and sometimes caricatures) a position might not seem welcoming to someone who wants to jump in with the opposing view. Part of it should be trying to encourage people to jump anyway, but lots of people have given reasons why they're not jumping, so part of it should be trying to find structural reasons why they're not jumping. Obviously, a bad takeaway would be 'Person X should not comment ever', but something like having more concurrent topics might help shorten the threads, which would allow people to read it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:26 PM
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LB, I'm really sorry that this turned into kind of a picking on you thread.

See, I really don't think these kinds of threads - basically, about "what's wrong with the site" or "who is acting in bad faith" or "which group of people are on the wrong side of congeniality" - can not turn into picking on a person or persons, and it really bothers me that seems to be the direction in which Unfogged is headed.

... and, wow, Althouse is slime.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:27 PM
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At least we're not judging people's comments by their... BMI. Once again, the fact that that's what gets tenure is what will console me when I end up with no job.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:29 PM
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978

There's an obvious difference between arguing to persuade and arguing to destroy.

This reminds me of the intro to Philosophical Explanations, which is awesome. I've not read past the intro however, and somewhat doubt that the book lives up to it.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:52 PM
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979

978 is me. LB, if you come to the meetup this weekend I will bring baked goods, though not biscuits.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 10:55 PM
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953: Don't go changing on me, G.

Heh. I was trying to be congenial. Really, my gut reaction is that arguing "innate differences" is biological, and that means it's time to bring EVIDENCE, MOTHERFUCKERS, and anyone arguing biology from anecdote should expect some disdain. But that would be uncongenial.

Also, I'm having a hell of a time fighting the urge to give a giant middle finger to anyone claiming there's issues of PC eforcement and freedom of thought around here.

I should stop now.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:12 PM
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Look at that, this thread achieved tiresomeness after all.

I'm not sure where we're at with denouncing factionalism, but I'd like to reify and then denounce a faction. The "we are intimidated by other people's forcefulness" faction should not be too surprised at failure to elicit sympathy. For those who, for instance, feel Los Feministas hold some kind of unfair majority consensus position: guess what? Now you know how many of them felt when they first showed up here. The dynamics of gendered discussion in particular are markedly different because different people take part, and this is because certain people chose to persist. If you don't feel strongly enough about these issues to do the same, it will naturally be difficult to take your complaints about it seriously.

I say this, mind you, as someone who really isn't part of any particular feminist consensus, nor interested in being so.

I would also like to align myself with the ogged-led "you should understand people's arguments before you respond to them" faction. In other news, I believe that it is wrong to kill cute kittens with hammers or murder hoboes for their shoes. I am a denouncer of Bad Things. (I'm also shamelessly influenced by the first sentence of 876, with is the single most correct thing to be written on this thread.)

The poster in 824 should thoughtfully read the poster in 910, and ponder.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:50 PM
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I have to respectfully disagree with ogged here:

The five commenters thing was an example of a hilariously bad idea; not something we should actually do.

In a thread seemingly devoted to finding fault with commenters, this seems like an opportunity for a positive discussion of what works here. I propose that we seek Five Unfogged Commenters: Knowledgeable, Entertaining and Reasonable (FUCKERs).

Here's my list: Bitch, Emerson, SCM Tim, heebie geebie and A White Bear.

I can see, theoretically, how this could devolve into unpleastantness if someone felt compelled to slam my choices. But I'd really be curious to know who other folks think are the real contributors here, and why.

And if this really is a "hilariously bad idea," well, I'm commenting at the bottom of a thread that's already spent, so maybe nobody will notice.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:53 PM
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Also, any "five commenters" list that does not include yours truly will be reported forthwith to the military wing of the British North American Association for Coloured People. You have been warned.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 9-07 11:55 PM
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984

Maybe the 'five commenters' scheme could be like jury duty, with randomly selected mineshaftians summoned each week. Hijinks might ensue.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 12:13 AM
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985

Dammit, I wanted to disagree with LB a little bit here, but then she became a bit of a target and now I want to defend her. LB, the main thing about arguing with you is that you're really good at it, you're tenacious as hell, and you tend to chew up and spit out half-baked arguments. That's a good thing. It may be hard on discussion when somebody has a half-baked argument that could turn into something if better developed and clarified, but that's the responsibility of the person proposing the argument and of others who think there's something there (and it's probably a good idea for all of us to look for opportunities to help work out partially-developed arguments now and then). Every now and then I see an argument where I think you're missing something significant that somebody else is trying to say, and I'll probably try to jump into those arguments more often, but whatever the problem is here, you ain't it IMHO.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 12:30 AM
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The 5 commenters idea is amusing. But if I don't appear on someone's list, people will die [or I'll weep sadly and quietly].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 12:45 AM
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or I'll weep sadly and quietly

And there goes my image of the Scots. I thought killing was the only acceptable remedy for personal insults and weeping was reserved for a few particular bits of poetry.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 12:56 AM
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Well, since you're all here assembled: the person I first suggested this to started to make a list and it started with Jesus McQueen, then ttaM, and I interruped to say "you're going to say DS next, aren't you?" and I was right, and that's when I started to make snoring noises. You're all great in a mix, but five of your type together might as well found The Very Reasonable and Articulate Society for Reasonable Moderation.

I still think it's a bad idea to share these lists.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 12:56 AM
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987 is correct, but I am trying hard to fit in, dammit. I'll have to put that 'sensitive' mask back in the cupboard for another time.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 12:58 AM
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983, 986 - You folks are joking, but I'm pretty sure that B was being serious in suggesting something similar in 686 and 704.

Discouraging personal criticism is an understandable goal - though one I disagree with in this context. Discouraging personal praise seems completely misguided to me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:03 AM
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Man oh man. "Articulate" I can live with, but "moderation" is deeply hurtful. When I sober up tomorrow on Monday, I'm turning over a new leaf.

990: I'm pretty sure that B was being serious in suggesting something similar in 686 and 704.

I would like to reasonably and moderately suggest that you're on crack, my friend. Both comments are pretty clearly mocking previous comments from ogged along similar lines.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:15 AM
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991: Goddamit. I was puzzled reading those, but I can see now that you're probably right.

The real solution is that Unfogged needs to encourage the use of emoticons, so that jokes can be more accessible to those of us who are a bit dim.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:26 AM
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I've often wondered about the emoticon thing. Sometimes they are annoying as fuck, but occasionally, they'd help.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:31 AM
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As I'm sure has been said above, (but can't point out where since I can't be bothered to read all of the previous comments), the fastmoving pace of the comments keeps me from commenting. Add to that the fact that I'm usually only able to browse for fun starting around 11:00pm PST, well, by then the posts have gathered multiple hundreds of comments before I have a chance to contribute at all.

Case in point, a few days ago an early comment in a thread mentioned that we have here in Portland a coffeeshop that advertises that it uses "100% organic solvents" to decaffinate its coffee. I wanted to joke that "It's the benzene that makes our decaf so aromatic"*, but I didn't even have time to read the remaining 300 comments, much less comment myself. And I figured that nobody would want to hear my jokes about comment 20 way down in comment 400.

So anyways...fast moving comment threads and limited time to comment keep my involvement lower than I'd like.

* Complete with an argument that "organic solvents" is completely inapplicable to water if water is in fact what they were using to decaffinate their coffee.


Posted by: wink | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:35 AM
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Emoticons can be a useful way to mitigate the problems with interpreting tone in text-based media. I don't mind them myself, but some people seem to really hate them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:36 AM
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Case in point, a few days ago an early comment in a thread mentioned that we have here in Portland a coffeeshop that advertises that it uses "100% organic solvents" to decaffinate its coffee. I wanted to joke that "It's the benzene that makes our decaf so aromatic"*, but I didn't even have time to read the remaining 300 comments, much less comment myself. And I figured that nobody would want to hear my jokes about comment 20 way down in comment 400.

Similar jokes were made by others, if that's any consolation.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:39 AM
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Remember when it took something like 6 days and lots of entertaining craziness to reach 1000 comments on a thread?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:43 AM
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Yeah, I remember that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:44 AM
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A lurker posting for the first time should post 1000.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:46 AM
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Suck it, new commenters.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:54 AM
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few days ago an early comment in a thread mentioned that we have here in Portland a coffeeshop that advertises that it uses "100% organic solvents" to decaffinate its coffee. I wanted to joke that "It's the benzene that makes our decaf so aromatic"*, but I didn't even have time to read the remaining 300 comments, much less comment myself. And I figured that nobody would want to hear my jokes about comment 20 way down in comment 400.

That's funny, and you should have done it. Some of the commenters here remind me of Teo with the ladies. Be pushier.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:55 AM
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That's funny, and you should have done it.

OK, I will. In turn, don't be surprised when you get a comment from me referencing something from 500 comments ago and that clearly is ignorant of everthing inbetween.


Posted by: wink | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 2:15 AM
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Suspect this point has been made, but 1002 comments later, I'll make it again: I'd sort of like to participate here, but I'm not in a American or American-friendly timezone, and by the time I get to a thread it has 200-300 comments, the current subject isn't even vaguely related to either the post or the first 40 comments (where the meat tends to be anymore) and everyone has gone to bed.

This probably boils down to "it's a popular blog now".

Also, what is with the lurkers supporting people in email? I lurk all over the place, and I think I've emailed people privately to express my support for them about twice in ten years on the net and in both cases I was a friend of the person being so emailed.


Posted by: Pineapple | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:42 AM
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Forgive me if this is old hat by now, i have only slogged through the first 300 comments:
I am baffled by the idea put forward a couple of times now that the feminist opinions here are extreme. As a lurker for more than 2 years, I have never read *anything* here that sounded like extremist feminism. AWB, lb and bitch just seem to be talking a lot of common sense. Anyone thinking they are extreme really needs to broaden their reading a bit - I am sure the interweb will provide.
As a lurker i am most put of by bitching about grammar, misspellings and capitalization blahblah. It makes the bar for an non-english speaker artificially high.
And while i am at it: Can we get over this whole thing now? Unfogged is fine, don't bitch so much about form and guys: grow a spine!


Posted by: raster | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:37 AM
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so, raster, you're saying we should just ditch w-lfs-n and the rest will take care of itself?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 6:33 AM
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Eh... maybe we can just drug him with something pleasant and drowsy making?


Posted by: raster | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 6:38 AM
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As a Japan resident, I have a little bit of sympathy for the "But I live in a different time zone" crowd. But ultimately, my advice to them is, man up and start posting. If enough of us post in "off-hours", the threads will keep growing around the clock.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 6:52 AM
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993, 995: If we could use emoticons, then it would have been clear that my support for emoticons was intended ironically. Better discpline in reading and writing is what I need.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 7:13 AM
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My 5 commenter list: Shearer, mcmanus, baa, Emerson, B.

Also, a peach basket full of wolverines.

Now that would be a comment thread.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 8:51 AM
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You're all great in a mix, but five of your type together might as well found The Very Reasonable and Articulate Society for Reasonable Moderation.

I bring you love, and you call it moderation. Hrmph.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 8:55 AM
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Jesus is obviously a member of Jaroslav Hašek's "Party of Moderate Progress within the Bounds of Law". Hašek was like a Dadaist, except less sensible.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 9:20 AM
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Perhaps we should elect a committee to assign a task force to look into the ills of the blog and present a report to the community.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 9:24 AM
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I think that we should form a committee to look into the possibility of electing a committee to appoint a task force.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 9:47 AM
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I'm uncomfortable with forming a committee without first having a panel to answer questions about the formation of said committee.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 9:48 AM
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I propose culling excess commenters with myxomatosis.


Posted by: Felix | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 9:50 AM
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Clearly, you'll need to focus-group the idea of the panel to see if it'll fly.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 9:51 AM
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I think we should swallow a cat to catch the bird to catch the spider to assign a focus-group to assess the panel to answer questions about the formation of ths committee to assign a task force to look into the ills and present a report to the community.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 9:57 AM
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Have the proprietors clearly posted the proper certification authorizing them to conduct this forum in the first place?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 10:00 AM
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More importantly, when they eat out, do they tip the waitresses?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 10:02 AM
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I think every commentator should be taxed a certain amount to hire a consultant to deal with this scientifically. Also, an astrologist, because I think that that key aspect has been wrongly neglected so far.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 10:12 AM
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when they eat out

My erstwhile Kiwi housemate had laughing fits over a meal receipt that had "Eat Out More Often!" printed on it. Apparently "to dine in a restaurant" is not the primary meaning of the term in NZ.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 10:16 AM
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This dreadful Canadian band wrote a song called "Let's Eat Out" based on the same ambiguity.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 10:27 AM
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Isn't Bachman Turner Overdrive the dreadful Canadian band, leaving all others in its shadow?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 10:45 AM
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Like anyone is gonna read this, after 1000+ comments, but why not. I've stated this before, here even, but I'll do so again. I am a lurker only because my online access can be sporadic so I miss whole days sometimes (like I totally missed this thread) and I am in Europe, which means I miss the prime commenting time. I either get these threads at the very beginning and then am gone for the rest, or I get them really late, where all the funny shit has been said.

However, internally, I feel like a regular here, as I generally read almost every thread, but rarely actually contribute anything (mostly to the music threads). Hell, my wife knows half your guys' handles because of all the funny crap I read here and tell her about. There ain't nothing you guys could do to make a lurker like me participate more. But for Pete's sake, don't stop. This is my daily fix of fun.


Posted by: Platosearwax | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 10:57 AM
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As long as nobody is reading this, I just want to say that I thought these threads were good and interesting.

I really hope that LB doesn't end up feeling too upset and picked on, but the blog has changed over the last couple of years, and not a bad thing to have a conversarion about what people think the blog is and what they want it to be.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 11:30 AM
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1012-1014 and 1016 made me laugh. I want to marry you guys. Also, Gswift for saying that anyone who actually thinks B is nasty is a total puss.

Now, substance. Basically I agree that the "make sure you understand what people are saying" thing "has to be a two-way street," as LB said--if you're feeling misunderstood, then for god's sake, say so. I, personally, am a little put off by the repeated use of "cariacature" (which I've spelled wrong) to describe what I, when I do it, tend to think of as either (1) summary, often of several similar arguments; or (2) summary that points out the (a) logical consequence or corrolary of said argument.

Ogged once told me in a very direct and mean way! that if I'm gonna do that I should say "the logical consequence or corrolary of your argument is . . ." I admit I don't do that, because that's awkward and wordy, but I do, because I love Ogged so very much and don't want him to ban me ever again (my god, I'd have to actually do productive things!) try to say things like "no one is specifically saying this but the gist of the argument is something like . . ." or words more or less to that effect. Anyway. That's two paragraphs of wordiness just to say that okay, I'll take the cariacature thing seriously, but I want it On The Record that I Object to the use of that word, which I think is uncharitable.

Ogged gave three examples of topics he thinks get unfairly jumped upon: Affirmative action bad; pharmacists should be able to refuse to fill certain prescriptions; and pretty much anything James Shearer ever says.

Guilty as charged. I've stopped responding to Shearer, b/c I think he's nuts, though, so no jumping on him. But honest question: in, e.g., the "affirmative action bad" argument, one jumps on it because (1) it is offensive; (2) there is evidence against most of the common arguments against aa (and I'm pretty sure I've referred to said evidence in an argument about the topic here); (3) it's the kind of argument racists make. Now, that DOES NOT MEAN that anyone making the argument is a racist; but is there not kind of a burden of reasonableness on someone arguing against aa to demonstrate that they *know* it's often a racist argument, and that they distance themselves from the racists because _____?

I suspect Ogged would say that among friends, we should assume the anti-aa arguer is not a racist. And there are a lot of people here, probably most, who I would assume that of. But there are some I would not. In any case, I think that this gets back to the idea that there's a responsibility on *both* sides of an argument; on the jumpers to try not to jump, sure, but also on the people making heterodox arguments to try to preempt jumping by explaining that they know that the "innate biological differences" argument is often used by assholes and that the difference between what they're saying and what the assholes say is x, y, and/or z. Otherwise you're asking some pretty superhuman patience of people who, as Rocky's saying, are often (and imho should be up front about this) *personally affected* by the hypotheticals being batted around.

Finally, re. difference feminism and Hirshman. FWIW, I'm probably kind of a difference feminist myself--at least I think (and I'm sure this is completely clear, but it seems not to be given that people seem to be saying that the Feminist Consensus here, of which I have to assume I am a part, is anti-difference feminism) that the motherhood thing is a pretty big deal, and no, fatherhood is not equivalent to it. On Hirshman, I think my (and LB's) position has itself been cariacatured, or rather warped: it doesn't boil down to "no one likes argumentative women," nor does it boil down to "women who don't become investment bankers are bad feminists." And it's not fair to say that one doesn't want to get into that discussion again because we'll say those things when I know we've explicitly said otherwise.

This, I think, is what Rocky meant when she said why is this trend of "BE MORE NICE AND ACCEPTING" couched constantly in language that needs to be interpreted charitably, that insinuates certain kinds of behavior about the posters and commenters it's aimed toward?

One last, last thing. Specifically for Invisible Adjunct I think there was some bad feeling about my being, well to be honest, shocked and scandalized by IA saying that she lets her boy say "ew, girl stuff". What got me there was the tone of how you reported this, IA--it seemed like you was preemptively assuming that the p.c. feminist cabal (me) would jump on her, and your initial comment read as defensive. Here was a heterodox opinion coming into a discussion in which yeah, I think we were assuming that no one would do that, and I get why you'd feel defensive at the outset. Now, I think I'm good at recognizing that the "how I raise my kids" thing is something women *are* sensitive about, so I think I held back my initial response to that comment, which was an angry one *not because you lets her boy say "ew girl stuff"* but because you seemed to be casting aspersions on, well, me, that my not liking that sort of thing is just bossy p.c. feminism rather than coming from a place of having thought about it and being, myself, really concerned about stuff like *my* son having friends and being "normal" and all that. I explained why I don't let my kid say that stuff in what i *think* was a calm and reasonable manner. I would earnestly like to know if that particular discussion is one that you, IA, see as a good or bad example of how to conduct such a discussion. And I admit that that incident has been in the back of *my* mind in exchanges about feminism between you and me, and that I'm frustrated (and a little angry) because I feel like there's an unfair presumption on your part that I don't, and won't, respect anything you say on the topic. Yes, I do assume that most feminist moms think that "ew, girl stuff" is Not Okay. But that doesn't mean that when a feminist mom speaks up and says, actually, I think that's fine, I'm going to yell at her.

What I, personally, wish, is that when I, personally, am demonstrating a set of assumptions about "feminist moms" or "my friends" or "decent human beings" or whatever else that an interlocutor who is in that group does not, in fact, share, that said interlocutor could say "actually, I don't share that assumption" without themselves assuming that my reaction to that is going to be "well then you're not a feminist" rather than "huh, really? explain." Because sometimes I too! get mad at the implication that I'm an unreasonable asshole, rather than at the argument itself.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 12:07 PM
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"jump on her" s/b "jump on you."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 12:12 PM
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B, serious question, it seems like the situation is this: You have a style that is absolutely fine most of the time and that predictably annoys people occasionally. You don't want to try to change your style to prevent that occasional frustration because, after all, most of the time it's entertaining and no problem at all.

Is it possible that the solution, in you case, is just to make a little more effort to respond on the rare occasions when someone ways, "I'm annoyed at you right now."

I'm not sure what that would look like and I don't know, for example, if teo was statisfied after the mango exchange when it was clear you were joking, but if it really is just an occasional issue,. it's probably better to try to deal with the problems when they occur rather than trying to pre-empt them.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 12:32 PM
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No, I seriously *have* changed my style and *do* make such an effort. I mean, like, look at how I responded to Teo (both times), for example.

I think the counter to your question is that part of the problem is that one gets a *reputation* for being like X, and then people don't see it when you're *not* like X. And they expect X and read Y as X.

Also, to be fair, this surely isn't about me. I think part of the "feminist cabal" thing really *is* about me, but I don't think that the "feminist cabal" is the problem Ogged, specifically, is talking about.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 12:47 PM
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Taking trouble to distance oneself from Bad Persons X is something I expect people will do when they're running for public office. Here it's an accommodation for ad hominem bullshit, and it's the kind of thing folks are getting at when they complain about PC. I don't feel obligated to submit to a purity test whenever I want to argue for something unpopular.

I say consider things on the merits or not at all.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 1:53 PM
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1031

I think you're caricaturing my argument, Michael.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 2:00 PM
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I say consider things on the merits or not at all.

The more thoroughly an idea is associated with hack, cranks and nutcases, the more likely people are going to choose "not at all." We could expend maximum effort to consider afresh every new claim to the effect "I've finally found the secret of perpetual motion/the proof that Saddam hid his WMDs in Syria/firm evidence that the dusky races really are genetically inferior!" But let's face it, we all have better things to do. Of course you have to be providing something extraordinarily new if you're coming from the direction of normally crankish ideologies.

This sucks for people who are associated with, say, a part of the political spectrum whose views are now widely considered crankish. But, too fucking bad. They're considered crankish for good reason.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 2:06 PM
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Slack, you have to stop doing this or I'll get a crush on you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 2:10 PM
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1034

We need a contentious gender thread, stat!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 2:13 PM
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1035

As I understand it, B, you're saying that we should justify our worldview whenever we find ourselves at least temporarily on the side of bad people. That's ad hominem, isn't it? Maybe that policy has some kind of pragmatic value, but I'd rather keep that stuff out of discussions even at the expense of engaging the occasional racist or whatever. If the policy they're advocating has unfair consequences for such and such people, then presumably that will come out in debate. If the same person argues consistently for similarly bad things, you just ignore them.

This thread is taking a long time to refresh now.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 2:16 PM
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That's not ad hominem, and I'm not saying "whenever we find ourselves at least temporarily on the side of bad people." I'm saying, in an atmosphere where there's a general consensus about certain things (as everyone seems to be saying we have here), there is also going to be a general association of *certain* kinds of positions--anti-affirmative action, pro-pharmacist discretion--with assholes. For good reason, by the way. And that if you're going to step into a consensus and challenge it, and *if* that challenge is specifically on a topic that has come to be seen as "the province of non-assholes"--which not all topics are, but c'mon, racism? denial of birth control to women?--then yes, as a *practical matter*, you are going to save yourself a world of trouble by saying, up front, "I know a lot of racists oppose a-a, but I oppose it for X non-racist reason."

I'm not saying you *have* to. I'm saying, if you don't want to be yelled at or have your argument misconstrued, it might help.

I'm also saying, by way of implication, that if you refuse to do it and then get pissy about how the people who are misconstruing you are being stubborn by refusing to modify *their* discourse, then you're not playing fair, and it's going to be a little hard to take your complaints seriously.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 2:23 PM
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I never thought it would be the case that bitchphd and Ann Althouse would agree on something.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 2:35 PM
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1038

Except that she's a bad-faith hypocrite, and I'm not.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 2:39 PM
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I don't know, for example, if teo was statisfied after the mango exchange when it was clear you were joking

I was, and b has indeed changed her behavior towards me in exactly the way I requested, which I appreciate.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 2:59 PM
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if teo was statisfied after the mango exchange

My, this sounds rather dirty.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 3:01 PM
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"statisfied?" Is that like ER slang for "satisfied, stat"?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 3:04 PM
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1042

We ran some multiple regressions, IYKWIM.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 3:08 PM
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I can't believe this thread is still happening.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 3:36 PM
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Some random thoughts.

1) I wonder if I'm the only occasional poster who is really really bad with all the initials. I can remember some, like AWB, because there is but the one A White Bear. But B? I don't reliably ever know who B is. And I have to wonder if anything worthwhile is done by chopping off the few letters that would add up to the rest of a handle.

2) I have a quote from the last mega-thread to illustrate a point. I want to make it clear I do this because it is both compact and something I read today; if I had a bit more time I'd have hunted for something of my own to illustrate. a poster commented at one point that "men can't possibly see strippers as human beings". Then they seemed never to get what I thought was at least a semi-explicit objection to, specifically, the "possibly" part of that. If they were to say that men do not see strippers as human beings, I'd agree it's a valid generalization. If they were to go further to say that there are social pressures not to see strippers as human beings or even more actively to not see them as human beings, I'd have to agree with that, too. But the treating of any man who does see strippers as human beings as miraculous, breaking the iron laws of the black iron prison world, strikes me as taking it too far.

In my experience, a lot of the nastiest arguments turn out to be over this kind of thing - some very specific part of a post sets off someone else's panic buttons, heated words ensue, and the window of opportunity to point with focus and clarity is lost. I am, um, certainly not guilty of this, on either side of the exchange. It's hard to talk about without some specific examples, too, because (at least, in my experience of perpetrating it) the specific problem seldom looks or feels like it'll be a problem - it's just vigorous, enthusiastic writing in advocacy of something I care about it. And on the receiving side, when something hits one's self-esteem just right (again, at least in my case of reacting to it), it can be very hard to want to calm down enough to identify the specifics, or (having done so) to care about identifying them calmly for others.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 3:59 PM
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1044.1: The reason people call me "B" is because Matt Weiner, who's not around any more, and Ogged, who is a big pussy feminist, can't bring themselves to call me "bitch."

I think the rest of your comment is correct.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:06 PM
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Thanks for the scorecard, seriously. (Would that be worth a side page somewhere? "Things that come up as convenient shorthands that we don't want to have to redefine all the time but that would benefit from being spelled out once"?)


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:41 PM
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1047

The reason people call me "B" is because

The reason is that, god fucking dammit!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:44 PM
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1048

Suck me, Ben.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:47 PM
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1049

I don't fraternize with "reason is because"-ers.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:49 PM
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1050

I use initials partly for the reason B says, but also because I can't think of LB by to her handle anymore. In other cases it's just saving typing: AWB.

I don't know where the feminist cabal thing came from, but the core argument was between LB and Invisible Adjunct (IA) and I (me.) B came along later on LB's side.

I've known IA and longer than I've known anyone else here, and feel that she should have gotten a better hearing, as though she were a regular here even though she isn't. I tend to agree with her on the issue at hand too, and this is something she and I have talked about in detail.

I'm not too interested in generic civility improvement or the restructuring of Unfogged, except maybe for fission and a a spinoff blog. I am mostly concerned with this specific case.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:50 PM
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Oh, we all know IA from pre-Unfogged days. I assume. And agree that she gets extra bonus regular points b/c of it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:52 PM
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Omit "a", "and", and "to". That kind of little short fucking word rankles my ass.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:53 PM
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Oh, we all know IA from pre-Unfogged days. I assume.

When you make an assumptiong you make and ass out of U and Mption, B.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:57 PM
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1054

Fuck you, extraneous g!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:57 PM
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1055

When you make an assumptiong you make and ass out of U and Mption, B.

Amateur.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 4:59 PM
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I don't fraternize with poor spellers.


Posted by: Extraneous G | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:00 PM
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None of this answers the question I why I should by expected to know IA per the aegis of the sum of the base natural logarithms.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:05 PM
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Fuck you, inappropriate I!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:06 PM
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B was speaking loosely. Only the good commenters already know IA.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:06 PM
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Sife, you don't huff so you can't keep up with us.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:07 PM
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IA's blog is what brought both Fontana Labs and me to unfogged.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:07 PM
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1062

IA gives out the monthly typo-free awards.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:08 PM
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IA used to write about higher education stuff, Tweety. The kind of thing you wouldn't understand.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:08 PM
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IA can't be blamed for other people's actions.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:10 PM
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People were involved in this whole "higher education" deal in 2004? Knock me over with a feather!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:12 PM
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IA was a short-lived but very good blog, still available athough stopped in '04 from Unfogged's blogroll. Doesn't take that long to read all the posts and get a sense of where she's coming from.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:22 PM
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I used to have a blog with a shockingly ugly colour scheme. What was I thinking?

B, I'm not ignoring your comment in 1026, which I appreciate. I haven't yet figured out how to respond without revisiting the whole debate, which might not be such a good idea now that this thread runs to over a thousand comments.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:26 PM
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1100!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 5:55 PM
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I really hate to add anything to this monstrosity at this point, but there's something that I think hasn't clearly been said despite well over 2000 comments: ogged, can you point to another website that has comments that look more like what you envision? I ask principally because to my mind, this site has far and away the best, most interesting, most educational, wittiest and overall most entertaining comments on the internet. And as far as I can tell it's more or less a fluke: the list of outstanding blogs with nothing but bilge water in the comments is countless. If you think there's something else better out there, then please by all means point us to it as an example. But if not, please think hard about what you're trying to do here, and realize that messing with a winning formula is a very dangerous game.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 6:08 PM
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1100!

Ogged isn't the one messing with the formula, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 6:21 PM
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Say, Brock has the right idea! If threads get too long, we can just put every comment in bold, and then it'll be really easy to keep up with all the later comments!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 6:25 PM
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That's cool, IA, you can just email me if you'd rather.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 6:26 PM
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1069: Last I checked (over a year ago, so this may no longer be the case) Making Light has the same kind of great comment threads as we have going on here at Unfogged. Posts regularly have 100+ comments, and on rare occasions top 1000. And they are, by and large, intelligent and witty comments, not the dreck you find in most blogs.

That said, I don't think they are doing anything markedly different in their comments than we're doing here. Nor, do I think, is the commenting any better or worse there than here. So I don't know that there are better comments out there on the internets, but there are at least peers. We could probably learn something from them if we wanted to.


Posted by: wink ;) | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 9:36 PM
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Di in 230:

One of the cool things about anthropology is that they are not really that interested in the the things that people recognize as being great and glorious. It is the simple day-to-day things that are really cool, and hardest to reconstruct. So, unfogged might just be one giant glorious midden of 21st century digital culture.

Just to illustrate answering something a whole kilo-comment too late.


Posted by: ukko | Link to this comment | 11-10-07 11:38 PM
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Whatever bad things you can say about this thread, this quote from teo makes it all worthwhile:

We ran some multiple regressions, IYKWIM.

Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-11-07 6:54 AM
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749 saith: 742 seems to me to be obviously true and to be pretty much the crux of the feminist/non-feminist issue.

I do not appreciate it being implied that I'm a nasty, incivil meaniehead because I get sick of, for example, people making douchebaggy comments about my gender expression under the guise of "topicality", and then refusing to back down.

It's my experience that nearly every heated discussion that I've seen characterized as "very very feminist vs. the merely feminist" has involved people who just plain don't get feminism complaining about the mean feminists who won't let them get away with [dick-wagging|enabling disk-wagging] without comment, and some examinations of male privilege.

I'm going to go out on a big fat limb, and without having even *read* what this characterization is describing, be pretty damn sure that this is exactly what's going on. Some earnest little liberal wants to call themselves feminist because, you know, they didn't think ERA mandated co-ed public bathrooms, are down with suffrage and don't actually think women should be barefoot and pregnant. They are running into people that actually understand something about male privilege who are trying to educate them and they don't much like it.

That's just my guess. And you know, I'd trust bitchphd or LB (or any of the other eminently reasonable actual feminists on here) to say "yup" or "not really" to this without even needing to go back and find what you guys are talking about.


Posted by: Michael Sullivan | Link to this comment | 11-12-07 9:14 AM
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It's my experience that nearly every heated discussion that I've seen characterized as "very very feminist vs. the merely feminist" has involved people who just plain don't get feminism complaining about the mean feminists who won't let them get away with [dick-wagging|enabling disk-wagging] without comment, and some examinations of male privilege.

Around here it's more like people complaining that they are being accused of attitudes they don't think they have. We're aware of the existence of male privilege.

I'm going to go out on a big fat limb, and without having even *read* what this characterization is describing, be pretty damn sure that this is exactly what's going on.

You can do that, but everyone is now aware that you are not actually talking about them, so you'll be ignored.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-12-07 9:19 AM
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unfogged---aka bush league attorneys or philo-flunkies doing imitations of Bob Duvall's mafia attorney in Godfather.............jus' another mob site with a few PC schicksas


Posted by: 9 | Link to this comment | 11-12-07 6:59 PM
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Good to see things have finally started to deteriorate in this thread.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-07 7:02 PM
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Unless I miss my guess, that's the Troll of Constant Sorrow his own damn self! Right on!

SEK once made an auto-Troll of Sorrow text generator, but it doesn't seem to be online anymore. Too bad.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-12-07 7:05 PM
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1080: url to something about him?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-07 7:08 PM
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The Troll of Sorrow in full flight.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-12-07 7:10 PM
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Funny. Supposedly TOS made a Troll of SEK generator, which may also feature some SEK Kissinger imitations, and it's still online, tho' sort of too nauseating to actually visit. Right the F On!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-12-07 7:11 PM
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TOS! It is you, isn't it?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-12-07 7:13 PM
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I lurked for a bit because there seemed to be a very specific tone that I wanted to get right, then I posted for a bit, and then I stopped because the real world got busy and reading Unfogged got triaged.

Upon my return, I saw this thread and resolved to read the whole thing, but now I've given up after 500 comments. Maybe I should confine my commentary to the swimming threads.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 11-12-07 7:13 PM
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This is my first comment, after several months of lurking. I haven't commented because a) it would take too much time to get sucked into a discussion and b) people usually already say the things I would say anyway.

And so it's been with this thread -- many people have made these two points already, so as I was reading, I felt myself dissuaded from commenting. Meta! But I'm commenting anyway, dang it, simply for the sake of de-lurking. Hi, everybody!


Posted by: Elsk | Link to this comment | 11-13-07 4:08 AM
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