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anartist's avatar

Is Fluther catering too much to the oversensitive and the paranoid?

Asked by anartist (14781points) May 13th, 2010

I have only been here since March. I stayed around because this seemed an intelligent, witty, and sometimes outrageous crowd. I had never run into anything quite like it. What is happening now? Is this become a lowest common denominator wins? The first one with hurt feelings changes the landscape? In one of my first dialogues [about American contributions to the world’s art] @dpworkin got pissy with me and criticized my comment by saying “are you on the rag?” I didn’t like that very much, but I had no inclination to raise a stink about it. I answered him very coolly and rationally and the thread carried on. Later I just thought of his remark as typical of the outspoken nature of Fluther and almost amusing. I have never flagged a moderator. I feel like that is being a little tattletale. Does anyone else feel the same way?

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73 Answers

bob_'s avatar

I think it’s mostly a business decision. The site needs more new users, and they, apparently, are turned off by jokes, sarcasm or “jerk” responses. It’s the way things are, I’m afraid. My advice: just go with the flow.

dpworkin's avatar

I did? That was quite rude of me. Were you on the rag?

anartist's avatar

@dpworkin haven’t been for years

YARNLADY's avatar

Flagging is our defense against the ruination of Fluther.

There is a much wider participation now that Fluther is on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, so we see a lot more ‘personal issue’ questions, just like every popular Q & A site does.

Lightlyseared's avatar

What is happening now is that the Fluther guidelines have been altered so that questions in the general section aren’t supposed to have off topic chatter and it will be removed. You are probably seeing a lot of responses mederated for that reason. For it to work people have to do their bit and let the mods know about the off topic stuff otherwise the system will break down

marinelife's avatar

I do think that the implementation of the new guidelines goes too far. That banning all off-topic chatter and jokes is really lame.

Silhouette's avatar

Earlier today I would have said yes, but I have been involved in a thread where some people are a little sensitive to the word fat. They have been very vocal about their upset, going so far as to get a little personally attacking and aggressively hostile. But, the thread remains intact, even though most of the comments have been flagged.

If the staff was catering to the squeaky wheels all of those threads would have vanished already.

evandad's avatar

I agree about the ratting out point. I think the person who responded to you as on the rag is a jerk. I don’t think the site caters to anyone.

rangerr's avatar

@bob_ I’m not turned off by Sarcasm. Just sayin’.

bob_'s avatar

@rangerr Yeah, but you’re not a new user.

Still a noob, though. Booya!

rangerr's avatar

@bob_ ♥ you too.

HungryGuy's avatar

@anartist – Oh, don’t mind dpworkin… He pisses everybody off (I think it’s a mandate of his religion)! If you haven’t been harassed by dpworkin yet, you’re not trying hard enough to be an active Flutherite…

dpworkin's avatar

@HungryGuy Actually my religion mandates that I do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I’ve been trying much harder lately not to be quite so obnoxious. After all, it hurts my feelings when, for example, @evandad calls me a jerk. (Also, @anartist and I, oddly enough, go back nearly 40 years.)

HungryGuy's avatar

@dpworkin – Yeah, but notice that evandad’s sensitive compassionate answer has (0) lurve, while your snotty sarcastic answer has (3) already :-p

Trillian's avatar

Lowest common denominator. I like that. What would that be? I wonder. A pair of functioning lungs? A high-speed connection?
@YARNLADY thank you for that insight. I didn’t realize that the facebook, twitter connection was the reason for all these “relationship” questions. (I use the term ‘relationship’ in its loosest possible sense.)
@anartist I’d have to say that yes, these intellectuals with such outstanding powers of speech and rumination are the ones being catered to. Instead of a nice, quiet corner bar or coffee shop, we now belong to a food court and the time is 4 pm.
Well, I’m off. Maybe I can find a lecture to attend…

HungryGuy's avatar

@Trillian – We even got an “Am I pregnant?” question a short while ago. Whoohoo! It took all my will power to abstain from posting an answer, “What do you think this is? Answerbag???”

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m personally finding the general atmosphere around these parts to be a bit chillier as of late. But maybe that’s just my perception.

Administratively, it just seems to be getting a bit heavy handed lately.

And I guess flagging seems to carry the day. I was told that a recent question that i asked about was removed cuz someone flagged the title as not being clear. Well boo hoo hoo.

Of course the flagger was too lazy to click through to read the details. How do I know that? Because the details of the Q made it quite clear what was being asked.

But because someone with a fast trigger finger on the flag button couldn’t bother their little self to actually read the details ( or the first answer) a perfectly good question by a long time user (not me) who is well known for asking well crafted thoughtful questions got derailed for a long time and relegated to obscurity.

But this lazy ass flagger seems to be catered to more regardless of whether or not the complaint has that much validity. If you don’t understand the title read the damn details for crying out loud BEFORE you hit the flag button.

So, I see exactly where Anartist is coming from on this issue.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Any site that becomes moderately successful follows the same path. The money people call the tune, the administrators dance, the users either tolerate it or leave.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Flagging doesn’t work like it should most of the time. Most of the time, I feel, it’s a waste of time.

filmfann's avatar

@anartist You’ve known @dpworkin for 40 years? Did he always have a wild hare up his ass?

kevbo's avatar

Not much bothers me anymore. So far, I’ve found the current environment the least ire inducing.

If you consistently confront the people who get under your skin, you will find out that they either have a legitimate point or that they aren’t as clever as you, and either way they will cease to be a source of irritation.

dpworkin's avatar

hair, not hare, you doap.

filmfann's avatar

@dpworking. No, a hair wouldn’t explain it. It would have to be rabbit sized.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I have been able to use humour in the General Section. I do have to provide a serious, thoughtful answer to the question but that doesn’t require me to be deadpan!

Zen_Again's avatar

Fluther is becoming facebook.

DP and me = lowest common denominator.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The only way that I know of to prevent this “corporate phenomenon” would be to set up a site that charges its members to use it. This would avoid the investors pressing the administrators to run the site at cross-purposes to the users, since the users would effectively be the owners. The disadvantage is that few people would be willing (or able) to pay the user fees. This model only seems to work with highly specialized or porn sites.

ucme's avatar

I think that’s their target audience isn’t it? At least it seems so anyhoo.

anartist's avatar

@filmfann We crossed paths professionally 39 years ago; where his wild hairs might have been I hadn’t a clue.

filmfann's avatar

@anartist Once again, not a hair. The spelling was on purpose.

anartist's avatar

@filmfann nor do I know where his bunny rabbits were. Will be more observant next time. :-)

Silhouette's avatar

I stand corrected, the entire question has been struck from the record. Yes, they are catering to the crybabies.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Silhouette wait, what was struck from the record? the question where you and I had issues? really?

Buttonstc's avatar

What was the Q just fir curiosity?

They also removed Coloma’s Q asking about name suggestions for her new kitten.


OK so it wasn’t an absolutely complete sentence but EVERYBODY knew exactly what she wanted. This ain’t Jeopardy, ya know.

Good grief. I bet some dimwit flagged it or something. Most likely someone too dimwitted to understand that “Name suggestions for my new kitty?” means EXACTLY THAT even tho, technically speaking the sentence does not contain a verb. Oh horror!

But does it REALLY need a verb to be understood. In this case, of course not. This is the lamest thing I’ve seen yet. Who are they trying to impress by removing this Q?

Silhouette's avatar

—@Simone_De_Beauvoir Yes, there were a few of us over there who had issues and most of us, you and I for instance, resolved those issues without resorting to personal attacks, others, not so much. The bottom line, it was a reasonable question and it got some reasonable answers. Because the topic made some people uncomfortable it was removed and I find that ridiculous.

Everyday there are topics discussed which people feel very strongly about and they identify with the topic at hand, for instance, religion, sexuality, race, political views etc. and it’s inevitable that someone from one camp or the other is going to be offended by the opposing view, but in this case the discussion was removed.

I can only assume it was due to the pissing and moaning of the people who think the topic of obesity is mean. It’s a fact of life for many of my country men and I don’t think it helps anyone to pretend there is no such thing as a fatty. They’re out there and they aren’t that different from the skinnies, they’re just a little more sensitive to their label.

Bravo to pdworking to identifying himself as a member of the obese crowd and for retaining his sense of humor about it.

It’s a load of bull.

Buttonstc's avatar

And yet they keep insisting that this is not censorship.

Yeah, right. I’m all convinced~~~

How about you?

Silhouette's avatar

@Buttonstc I think someone on the moderation staff was offended by the topic.

Buttonstc's avatar

There seems to be a lot of that going on lately.

Can’t even ask for naming suggestions for a kitty. Poor Coloma.

It’s def. a new kind of Fluther these days, isn’t it. ?

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] I wanted to respond to several misconceptions in this thread.

@YARNLADY and others: We are not advertising on twitter, tumblr, or facebook. We do have a twitter account and a facebook page, but those are used only to communicate with current members who have opted to follow us. Mostly, we use them to notify members that the site is going down for maintenance, or maybe pointing out a new blog post. As far as I know, we are still largely a word-of-mouth kind of place, though people find us through Google, too.

@Buttonstc and others: You are making erroneous assumptions as to why some questions are removed. For example, the “fat” thread was not removed because “crybabies” or moderators were offended by the topic. It was removed because the question itself seemed designed to incite anger (what we call ‘flame-bait’), and anger it got. By the end of that thread it had gone all to hell. We determined that the thread could not be saved by simply removing answers. In our judgment, it needed to go… so it did. In addition, the “name my kitty” question being pulled had nothing to do with whether or not folks could understand it.

Again, for the record… the asker of the question is always given a reason for why it is removed. Most of the time, they can do something to fix it and it gets reposted. Sometimes they choose to abandon the question, instead. And every now and again, there is nothing that can be done to save it.

Silhouette's avatar

@augustlan How many religious, atheism or political questions go to hell? I know I’ve seen at least a few thousand questions about homosexuality that are certain to flame and do, those still stand.

The question in question had already burned it’s self out but it was erased anyway.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@augustlan I think (and this might be a new pattern, it seems) the issue is that certain qs get pulled so many days after we already spent the energy on dealing with it and it feels like people can learn from what was said and instead it just gets removed so it makes it difficult to want to participate in some other questions because now (at least that’s what I’m thinking) it feels like ‘what’s the point? it’ll prob get pulled so why bother explaining what’s offensive or bother discussing something that’s important?

Silhouette's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I agree 110%. It was a learning experience for everyone involved now it was a waste of time and emotions.

dpworkin's avatar

I had no idea that was gone. I had quit a bit emotionally invested in that thread. I don’t want to join the hysteria, but Fluther can be very disappointing at times.

Buttonstc's avatar

I was certainly not under the erroneous assumption that the kitty naming question was pulled because it was not understandable.

My point was the exact opposite. So just for the record, why was it pulled? It certainly wasn’t offensive in any way.

The only thing I can possibly think of is that the sentence didn’t have a verb. But it really didn’t need one. It was perfectly clear without it.

And Simone’s point is the same one I’ve been trying to make. The more that Qs get pulled, the more people will just give up and ask themselves, “why bother?”

But you know what, it’s their site. And if they don’t care about how frustrated the users get then so be it.

But if there was a compelling reason for eliminating Colomas sweet question, I’d really be interested to know exactly what that could possibly be.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – We agree 100% on something! Whoohoo!

augustlan's avatar

Note that we very rarely pull entire threads because they’ve gone downhill. That’s because they very rarely go that far awry. It’s entirely a coincidence that it’s happened a few times lately. I think it may be because there’s been an underlying feeling of anxiety/animosity going on since the changes were made. I am most hopeful that it will pass quickly!

@Buttonstc It was better suited for the social section, that’s all.

HungryGuy's avatar

@augustlan“Note that we very rarely pull entire threads because they’ve gone downhill.” Based on my observation, that’s an un-truth.

I thought you separated social questions from general questions so that there’d be stricter moderation of general questions, but less strict moderation of social questions.

dpworkin's avatar

Auggie, I’m sorry, but I can’t help but notice that you didn’t address the question of our emotional or intellectual investment in an item that gets pulled. Why not just shut them down to further posting and let them rest?

HungryGuy's avatar

@Buttonstc“The more that Qs get pulled, the more people will just give up and ask themselves, ‘why bother?’” Right. I’m getting closer and closer to that point…

Silhouette's avatar

@augustlan You can’t protect us from each other in fact the whole point of a site like this is to EXPOSE us to each other.

augustlan's avatar

@dpworkin I didn’t mean to be dismissive of the emotions stuff like this engenders. I know it’s frustrating, and we’d rather not have to do it at all! Your suggestion is worth considering, though.

@HungryGuy I believe you’re talking about something else… questions sent to users to edit. What we’re talking about are threads that have devolved into total train-wrecks, full of personal attacks. Looser moderation doesn’t mean a free-for-all.

@Silhouette We are not trying to protect any one individual from opposing views or strong debate, but to protect the community as a whole from unnecessary aggression. No personal attacks are permitted here, and that’s a very important part of our culture. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Silhouette's avatar

@augustlan So instead of removing the personal attacks you chose to remove the entire question? Why? How is that protecting the community from aggression? Like I said earlier I could show you thousands of aggressive leading questions, answers and comments on this site regarding homosexuality, religion. atheism, politics that circled the drain but are still standing.

Buttonstc's avatar

That’s all ?

(Just to clarify here, I am referencing Colomas kitty name Q)

Well that’s certainly an interesting way to classify the total disappearance of an entire question. It tells me a lot about the new Fluther.

Evidently now you guys don’t seem to feel that yanking a Q entirely is that heavy-handed a way to deal with minor problems with Qs.

I thought the choice of where to put a Q is up to the poster. Evidently not.

Did it ever occur to whomever pulled it that she put it there because she wanted to avoid getting a slew of off-the-wall joky answers ?

So, if she only wanted sensible answers to her Q, she’s not allowed to put it where she thinks that will be best accomplished? I really don’t get it.

That’s all ?

FYI it is not anywhere to be found in Social. I checked. So it is now among the rest of the disappeared simply because someone chose to override her judgement on where to place it.

And you guys are wondering why users are upset by this?

Similar to the Q Simone was commenting on, I find myself increasingly wondering , why bother?

If a Q can get wiped out simply because someone disagreed with where the asker chose to place it, then what will be the next one to go for an equally flimsy reason?

Why participate in any of them?

And if you’re going to say that it’s all in Colomas hands cuz she has control over whether it gets returned, that’s really not that accurate, is it?

She can return it if she’s willing to put it in a different section from where she initially wanted it. Maybe she doesn’t want a bunch of jokes. Or maybe she’s just fed up with all the heavy handedness and just figured, why bother?

Well, message received loud and clear. You won’t be hearing any more of my complaints as I’ve now ceased to bother. When I asked myself, why bother? I just couldn’t come up with an answer.

If Fluther ever gets back it’s whimsy and charm I may decide differently.

But for now the Pharisees are in charge and I’m just one of many who is finding it too much.

I do realize the principle of: our site—our rules. So, enjoy your rules.

Aethelwine's avatar

@augustlan No personal attacks are permitted here, and that’s a very important part of our culture. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

That is what I liked about Fluther when I first joined. The attacks and aggression have gotten terrible lately, and have kept me from fluthering as much as I used to. I was hoping the current changes would help with this problem. I wish some would give it a chance.

Silhouette's avatar

@dpworkin I’d like to address your comment, re. emotional investments. I think you and several others went out on a limb and exposed yours soft spots and I think it’s a real slap in the face to have that bravery swept under the rug. Thanks for putting yourself out there for the rest of us.

Dog's avatar

[Mod Says:] Social is still under the same level of moderation that Fluther has always had. It is not a free-for-all to flame other users or insult people for their weight or any other issue even it is a “joke.”

The only difference with Social in regards to guidelines is that we allow a broader variety of questions to be asked and discussed.

Buttonstc's avatar


I hear what you’re saying and I agree to a point.

But two of the Qs ( not my own) about which I have voiced my disappointment about contained absolutely NONE of that. They were pulled for the most icky picky of minor complaints that I’ve encountered.

They’re ending up throwing the baby out with the bath water.

They don’t seem to think that yanking and derailing Qs for minor stuff should be questioned or that it should bother us so much.

But it does because people invest time and emotional energy into something which gets discarded (or derailed and relegated to obscurity) for the most minor of judgement calls

I attempted to do more than just complain and offered a few suggestions for a more nuanced way instead of just yanking things right and left but to little avail.

One mod inquired sarcastically if I felt they did it for sport.

No, of course they don’t but they do it way too much without any distinctions made between minor infractions and major ones.

But it’s their site and they can do whatever they wish. I just gave up on bothering.

dpworkin's avatar

@jonsblond I am fully aware that I have been one of the people who made Fluther unpleasant through excessive aggression. I hope it has become clear that I have been working hard on changing that, and while I know I am imperfect, I expect to eventually be able to leave that behavior behind. It’s no good for me, either. People I admire end up disliking me. I do not defend it.

filmfann's avatar

@dpworkin I am, for one, glad that you are back. You are a fine contributer here.
I am also glad to see the facial reconstructive surgery seems to have helped so much.

Aethelwine's avatar

@dpworkin I’ve noticed, and I admire you for that. You are a great contributor to this site. :)

dpworkin's avatar

Thanks, that means a lot to me. I will try not to disappoint you.

anartist's avatar

actually I missed you, rudeness and all.

mattbrowne's avatar

No. We should take people’s emotions seriously.

Val123's avatar

Um….I’ve been gone a LOT, didn’t know you’d left @dpworkin! But I’m glad you’re here too!
@mattbrowne Pfffffffttt!!!!

mattbrowne's avatar

The problem is there are many users that suffer from real psychoses like schizophrenia, depression and severe psychosocial stress, as well as all sorts of addictions, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive behavior. Even a combination of this. Only medical experts can really determine who is sick and who is not sick.

Oversensitivity and paranoia might require medical attention or not. Paranoid personality disorder and paranoid schizophrenia does.

anartist's avatar

@mattbrowne Excuuuuse me!
Are you saying Fluther is full of nuts,drunks and druggies?????

filmfann's avatar

Ya! Aren’t you forgetting Pancake Aficianados?

anartist's avatar

@filmfann I’ll settle for a cake in the frizzer.

mattbrowne's avatar

@anartist – No, of course not. About 1% of the general population becomes schizophrenic at least one time in life. For depression it’s about 3 – 4%. There are also well-established statistics for all sorts of addictions, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive behavior (such as anorexia). We’re dealing with thousands of Fluther users. A small minority is likely fall into one of the categories above. These people are not nuts, by the way. They are sick. They need treatment. The vast majority of people are not sick. Some of them are nuts, unfortunately. But doctors would diagnose them as normal (in a medical sense) and they won’t get neuroleptica or antidepressants.

anartist's avatar

@mattbrowne neuroleptica—on, I forgot zombies

Val123's avatar

@mattbrowne….Which category do I fall under???

mattbrowne's avatar

@Val123 – Normal. Fun loving. Enthusiastic. Creative. Need I go on?

Val123's avatar

Are ALL of my personalities like that @mattbrowne? And of course you can go on! And on! And on! :)

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