General Question

nayeight's avatar

Was I wrong or out of line to ask this question?

Asked by nayeight (3347points) June 6th, 2008

I asked a question a while ago about how many black people like to fluther and it got deleted. A question about ancestry sparked my interest and lots of people who answered the question were of European ancestry and knew alot about their ancestors. I however, am African-American and probably couldn’t go back as far as 5 or 6 generations so I replied that my ancestors were slaves because they were. So a couple days ago I asked how many people on fluther were black and thought nothing of it. I checked back later that day and my question was gone. When I checked my e-mail I got a message from the moderators talking about singling out minorites and what-not. I think its very unfair that I can’t ask a question as simple as that. There is nothing wrong with knowing that people are black and how many people are black, at least not to me I was just curious. Do you think that my question was out of line? If so, why?

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17 Answers

robmandu's avatar

I just think that Fluther is free (as in beer) for us all to use and enjoy. If the mods think something isn’t a good fit, then so be it.

Work with them. They like helping re-word questions. It’s not that hard.

playthebanjo's avatar

I would not have been offended by the question…but it takes a lot to offend me. Why not re-ask the question as “Flutherites, what is your racial heritage?” and don’t forget to tag all the different ones you might find. Maybe that would do it?

nayeight's avatar

Well thats the thing, I’m not really interested about everyones heritage. I just wanted to know how many people like me (black people) were on fluther.

playthebanjo's avatar

Um…if just asking about one race is not allowed, can’t you just add up all the black people respond to your post? Even if you got your original question put in you won’t necessarily get a very accurate answer. Once the question leaves the front page the chances that someone sees it become more and more narrow the farther back it goes.

nayeight's avatar

Well I’m not even worried about the results of the question now. I just really want to know how many people out there think its inappropriate?

gailcalled's avatar

I did, in the original version. Play’s suggestion was the same one I was thinking of.

I am an American Jew, secular, w. ancestors from Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, White Russia. Is that interesting to anyone?

playthebanjo's avatar

It is interesting to at least 5 demographics…more when you start to add the different combinations together. I think it would be a more interesting thread for a larger amount of people. It is just one more way of getting to know people that you fluther with.

TheHaight's avatar

I don’t think it was out of line at all, but I do agree with everyone else- it wouldve been more interesting to ask what everyone elses heritage is, and in your “details” section say note; I am African-American and would like to especially know if there are other African Americans that fluther
I think that’d be more interesting because everyone can participate and you also get to add your question in there. :)

arnbev959's avatar

Not out of line, just kind of awkward.

cheebdragon's avatar

I can understand why they were deleted…..
Would you be upset if I asked how many white people are on fluther? Or how many Hispanic people are on here? I would be considered a racist right?
If you really want to know how many African Americans are on this site, a better question might be “what is your nationality?” then just look at your answers and you will see…...... So what if you get other answers than African american? You would still be getting the answers you want…..

sndfreQ's avatar

Hi nayeight (and everyone). I thought about this question for a while, and hopefully can provide some insight as both a fellow Flutherer and a Moderator. Hopefully my verbosity doesn’t put you to sleep (not my intention).

While I don’t believe your original question was ill-willed or otherwise intended to be divisive, I would like to stress that “high quality” questions are those that are well thought out, and tend to address the community at-large, that is, questions that embrace the “spirit” of the collective-ness that we share here.

I want to give my compliments to the posters above, who have done a nice job of suggesting ways to strengthen the wording of your question and topic, which in this case, is a great example of what makes the collective special-that everyone brings their unique perspective and shares with the collective group. I think that your details in this particular question are far more interesting and thought provoking, as you gave detailed background as to the impetus for your question, as well as your reasoning for seeking the answer.

Your question, in its original form, while not overtly inappropriate, was worded rather narrowly (“How many black people are there on fluther? Description: Just wondering how many blacks are on hereā€¦ Tags: black people”). Frankly, the manner and format of the question falls into the category of a poll question which, in general, are held in low regard in terms of quality (in any case or topic).

Whereas as a question that encourages all of the collective to participate and provide diverse insights follows the spirit of the collective-that we are inclusive (versus exclusive) in sharing insights and information, and furthermore, are given an equal opportunity to contribute and participate.

Again, this question you posed here in this discussion is IMO a stronger (higher quality) question than the original for that exact reason.

Also, nayeight, remember, that moderators are human, and try their best to make sound judgment calls; sometimes communications in either direction can be misinterpreted, but that’s why the option is always there for you (or anyone) to contact moderators via email reply or by the Contact link to clarify and discuss the matter in private. Moderators are usually very receptive to communication and are trained to help Flutherers (per request) to bring the question back to the collective. That’s why when a question is moderated (or pulled), the asker is given the opportunity to re-word or clarify the question and re-submit it for review.

I hope that this information helps and not hinders your participation in the collective-Fluther always encourages thought-provoking questions for all to read, learn from, and enjoy.

As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like to find out more information. You can also leave us a message in the chat room-Man O’ War and we’ll reply in short order. Thanks for being a part of the collective!

nayeight's avatar

I don’t know, I guess that everyone tries to be sensitive to subjects like race and sometimes end up to sensitive. I don’t think there’s anything racist about asking about a specific race. I didn’t use any derrogatory terms or phrases and I didn’t want to tap dance around the meat of the question. That’s why I didn’t ask a general question like the ones suggested. As I said before, I answered a question that generally asked about ancestry and I was the only person to talk about my African-American heritage. Therefore, it would be stupid of me to ask that same question again. I guess I wanted to grab the attention of anyone out there who was black and was just not answering that particular question. I was just curious and wanted to see how many people like me are here on fluther. Its not a big deal or anything, I was just wondering. I know we are supposed to be a “collective” and everything. O-well, I meant well though.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

The comment I would make is that the flagging and deleting of questions by mods is arbitrary at best. For instance, there is a question asked shortly before this one that says “Have you ever seen a live Platypus?” And then in the details sections “YES or NO”. What the heck? That isn’t a polling question of the worst type? It would seem that if you are going to delete some for polling delete them all. If you can’t do that then leave them all and let the collective decide what they want to respond to.

robmandu's avatar

I am now Bored with this.

@sue and @nay, no one is picking on you. Just look at the amount of effort that’s been spent in discussing how your Questions can be improved. Moderators and Collective alike have provided their insights, quite extensively in some cases.

You cannot fix other people’s lame Questions (but you can flag them, if you choose). You can only fix your own. The mods will help with that.

So get to it.

Questions like this current one are very useful to the Collective as a whole as it gives us some insight into the moderator process. But when you reject the very advice/answers you’re asking for, well, it gets old. Hence my incipient Boredom.

I, for one, am thankful that I have the opportunity to be here… even if it means an occasional tussle with the mods.

Can we move on now and discuss honeybees or zits or something?

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

@Rob: Of course it’s all about you. If you are bored don’t click. Same choice we all have. I am not one to rock a boat. I am one that appreciates that the rules are applied equally. That’s all. Sorry to fluther bore you.

sndfreQ's avatar

@Sueanne_Tremendous: There are no guidelines that specify that users can’t post questions that are polls. It’s usually the case that inane poll-type questions, that do not add value to the collective as a whole, are moderated.

Also, polls that tend to single out groups based on their identity are also considered low quality and don’t serve the purpose of the site. Although it’s great to see that users are sociable, this is not a social networking site.

As mentioned in the previous post, the question that nayeight posted was likely moderated because it leaned on the side of exclusivity, and the decision was not arbitrary.

On the assertion that flagging and moderating of questions is “arbitrary at best”, I have to disagree with you. Subjective-yes, but remember, moderators are human, and the job we have is not easy. I’ll try my best to explain why sometimes, some poll questions get “left up” in the forum.

Recently (in the last six months or so), there has been a pretty obvious surge in activity on the site (obvious to those who have been here longer than six months that is), and fact of the matter is, the high volume of questions that are posted only get reviewed periodically throughout the day/night by moderators.

Additionally, if questions are not flagged early by other users, and a number of Flutherers find interest in the question and a discussion ensues, we (mods) generally have a ‘hands off’ policy, unless the discussion has degenerated into flame-war territory (very rare). This situation actually happens frequently, especially when new users post questions that have been asked before (iPhone questions, for example); we generally err on the side of leaving questions/discussions up rather than take them down late in the process.

It’s not an easy job, and is not an exact science. Ultimately, we rely pretty heavily on the input and feedback of other users in Fluther to maintain the quality of the site. But in the end, we (moderators) take our job very seriously, and we make an effort to respect and value the essential purpose of the collective.

Lastly, remember that moderators and admins are users of the site too!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Maybe if you asked something like, “Do you look like me?” and then asked the “meat” of the question in the details section?

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