Equal and opposite version of AskMeFi on the right?
June 1, 2009 8:44 AM   Subscribe

What's the equal and opposite version of AskMeFi on the right?

ie, a relatively thoughtful, right-leaning hivemind?
posted by It ain't over yet to Computers & Internet (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Hmmm...I don't know that I would say that AskMe particularly leans either way.

Most of the time you can find people who are able to see both sides of an issue and express themselves that way.

So, I guess I refute your claim that a "right" version of AskMe would necessarily be an opposite of what you're posting on now.
posted by elder18 at 8:47 AM on June 1, 2009

Do you mean politically or morally conservative (yes, I still maintain there is a difference)?
posted by Loto at 8:56 AM on June 1, 2009

Best answer: Probably better phrasing of this question: Is there a site like MeFi which is right leaning that also has a resource like AskMeFi?
posted by spicynuts at 8:57 AM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

If this site is too "lefty" for you, you're better off hanging out in the Fox News no-spin zone. Seriously, this place is about as American centrist as you can get, which is pretty far right from an international perspective.

If you see bias in the answers here, that's your issue, not AskMeFi's.
posted by hiteleven at 9:00 AM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

I don't think dirtdirt is being biased. The concept of MetaFilter is that it isn't swayed by any one particular agenda or ideology. There are certain ideas that are pretty pervasive here though - like the idea that you should consult professionals when their expertise is needed rather than trying to troll web boards for free, potentially inaccurate, information. But I don't think that's part of any vast left-wing conspiracy.

So IF the hivemind is (and it is, mind you) a neutral entity by its very definition, then the question becomes: what are you actually looking for? Are you looking for Maggie Gallagher to answer "Is my Boyfriend Cheating on Me?" with "Yes, you little tramp because you put out before you got married and now he thinks that the milk AND the cow are free." Are you looking for Charlie Crist to answer "Should I come out to my mom this Christmas?" with "No silly, coming out is totally unnecessary - and it ruins your chances of being elected to public office outside of San Francisco and Massachusetts!" Are you looking for "John Yoo is right about 'enhanced interrogation' and this is why!"

But you see, those things all get represented here. And so we're back at square one.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:02 AM on June 1, 2009

Response by poster: Actual suggestions would be more welcome than further defenses of MeFi, which in my view needs no defending.
posted by It ain't over yet at 9:06 AM on June 1, 2009

The "lefty" aspect of AskMeFi is, I think, largely social - ie, collectively, we don't greet gay-relationship filter with disrespect or antagonism, etc. However, at least some of this is due to the "no noise" rules - I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't approve of choices that posters are making, but refrain from mentioning this, because it wouldn't help and it would just constitute a noisy opinion-insertion instead of a helpful answer.

We're not "left," we're tolerant. Relatively speaking.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:08 AM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think what everyone is saying is that you phrased your question poorly to get the responses that you are looking for. Your question is about AskMe, and is based on a faulty assumption. I suspect what you meant to ask was, "What are some examples of thoughtful political discourse on the right?"

In which case, nobody would try to pick apart your faulty assumption about the political leanings on MetaFilter. And people would suggest you check things like the Becker-Posner Blog.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:14 AM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

I guess the responses you're getting are defenses of MeFi because your question seems to imply that Ask MeFi is left leaning, and so they're saying the basis of your question is incorrect and therefore the question has no answer.

But I'm not sure if you're saying you think Ask MeFi is left leaning, or if you're saying you want an alternative that is specifically RIGHT leaning, and I'm not sure such a beast would exist because it elminates the hive-mind scenario. You would basically remove 2/3 of the people (the leftists and the centrists) and leave you with only 1/3 of the people, and how one would create such a site is beyond me.

After all, a "hive mind" is only a hive due to the number of individuals. To create a site that discourages 2/3 of people from coming there may also alienate some of the remaining 1/3 that are more moderate-right, and then you are left with just a small group.

And if you want that I'm sure you can post questions in the "general discussion" area of any forum on a Rush Limbaugh site or whathaveyou.
posted by arniec at 9:16 AM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

It seems that for the "equal and opposite" assumption to fly, you'd be suggesting that the questions are biased one way or another -- not the responses (or not only the responses). That is, if there's self-selection, it should be on both ends.

Do you think that's true? (this is an honest question). What makes a "left" question?
posted by puckish at 9:17 AM on June 1, 2009

Response by poster: Can anyone suggest a relatively thoughtful, conservative hivemind with AskMe functionality?
posted by It ain't over yet at 9:21 AM on June 1, 2009

Could we get some clarification about what you mean by "right"? This is incredibly vague and open to all sorts of thread shitting if you don't clarify it.
posted by bigmusic at 9:23 AM on June 1, 2009

There's nothing else like AskMetafilter.
posted by Roach at 9:24 AM on June 1, 2009 [11 favorites]

Actual suggestions would be more welcome than further defenses of MeFi, which in my view needs no defending.

I don't think people are defending this site...what they are doing is pointing out the flaws in your question. The fact that you see it as a "defence" of a particular site shows that you are you coming into this pre-programmed into believing that people will circle the wagons to protect this site and the ideology you mistakenly associate with it. That's pure partisansim on your part.

That is, you are assuming that MeFi deliberately caters to people of a certain political leaning. Everyone is trying to tell you that that is not true. As long as answers don't offend, people can put whatever they want up here. If you don't agree with someone's question or response, you are free to inject your own input. If you are so offended by views that contrast your own that you feel that the whole site is biased, again, that's your opinion.

Besides, half the questions on this site are of a practical nature. I hardly see how someone could inject political bias into questions about looking for a doctor or fixing their Wi-Fi issues, for example.
posted by hiteleven at 9:25 AM on June 1, 2009

For specific domain questions, there are certainly forums that have a right-leaning slant.

For instance, for money questions, the Fatwallet Finance forum is much more fiscally conservative than here. Taxes are universally too high and the government should stay out of things; people are responsible for their own actions.

Gun forums also tend to start from a position that gun ownership is Constitutionally protected.
posted by smackfu at 9:28 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Actual suggestions would be more welcome than further defenses of MeFi, which in my view needs no defending."

Perhaps nobody has a suggestion because none exists. My experiences with right-leaning sites and discussion boards is that they are not discussion boards at all but rather places for cheerleading, the repetition of RNC talking points, worship of wingnut radio talk show hosts, and general intolerance for anything different or whom holds a differing viewpoint. They are not places for dissent, or for the practice of debate, rhetoric, or even common sense. It's all "my way or the highway", "with us or against us", "black and white" modes of operation.

But please, AskMeFi, prove me wrong. I'd love to see a right-leaning discussion site that's as useful as MeFi and AskMeFi. It'd keep me from having to read the dreck at the usual right-leaning sites and blogs as a desperately search for cogent and articulate arguments for viewpoints that differ from my own (leftleaning).
posted by mrbarrett.com at 9:36 AM on June 1, 2009

There are sections of stormfront.org in which people post questions of all sorts looking for answers. It's more "repulsive" than "right" in a political sense, but there you go.
posted by vincele at 9:50 AM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

This is a tough one to answer, from my perspective. I look at the answers above, and I think that people have done a pretty good jobs of giving my "straight" answer. Most AskMe questions and answers don't really reflect any political bias. I think that probably the majority of the Metafilter membership represents what in America might be called the "center-left," but I think this also reflects the educational and socio-economic status of most of the participants.

On the other hand, I can offer you a semi-joking suggestion. I think that Yahoo Answers probably nicely reflects the thoughtfulness of the debate within the Republican party these days, as distinguished from conservative thought.
posted by jefeweiss at 9:52 AM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]

I lean pretty substantially to the right, but haven't found too many sites with the quality of answers here without the overwhelming liberal bent. The folks at Hacker News tend to be better distributed politically, and take questions (posts for this are prepended with 'Ask HN'). Their focus is mainly on technology, although they have discussions there similars to ones on Mefi. For example see their discussion on Why It's Expensive To Be Poor. I haven't found any socially-right communities which aren't too extreme to my tastes.

And, for the record, I feel that MeFi is incredibly to the left. It's not even up for debate in my mind: I've only been here briefly, but have been greeted with overwhelmingly left-leaning responses, sometimes to a disturbing and intolerant extreme. I would urge the OP to hang around however, as commentary from all parts of the political spectrum are valuable to our community.
posted by gushn at 9:55 AM on June 1, 2009 [11 favorites]

Hey OP,

Your question was asked on MeFi before here. Perhaps there you'll find what you're looking for.

Good luck!
posted by anitanita at 9:56 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

I always thought we fit nicely into a bell shaped curve. We have our nut jobs from both sides but for the most part we kinda stick to the middle.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 10:01 AM on June 1, 2009

Your question was asked on MeFi before here.

That's asking about MeFi in general, not about Ask Me. There are certainly conservative alternatives to MeFi, they just don't tend to have a question board. That's not a judgment of course: MeFi itself was around for years without feeling the need for a question board.
posted by smackfu at 10:14 AM on June 1, 2009

Honestly, I just don't think anybody has considered it viable enough. Ask MeFi seems to have been almost a miracle, gaining the functionality it has over quite some period of time, and nobody else on either side of the aisle has had any success replicating it to the best of my knowledge. The moderation alone is no mean feat, I'm sure, and part of the success of Ask MeFi is due to it being attached to a previously existing large community which has implemented a material ($5) hurdle to weed out the trolls with nothing to lose.

Basically, unless you have an incredible tolerance for noise filtering, you're not going to find much that comes even close in size, with the possible exception of a few financial forums like Fatwallet mentioned above, or a few center-right or old school Republican intelligentsia opinion blogs for non Q&A opinions of current issues which are usually given some decent thought. Even then, you don't get the functionality or breadth you're likely looking for, let alone the consistency in coherence on most topics.

You simply won't find anything comparable to Ask MeFi on the right or the left. It's a unique phenomenon at the moment, and I've yet to see any alternative with the potential to rival what's offered here. Regarding conservative Q&A or civil debate, any success I have had on that has nearly always been on an individual level. There are plenty of thoughtful conservative opinions out there, they just seem to be a bit more spread out.
posted by Saydur at 10:29 AM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

As far as I know, no such resource exists.

An interesting question is why a conceptually neutral site like Metafilter tends to lean left in membership. But that's a whole other kettle of fish.
posted by desuetude at 10:33 AM on June 1, 2009

Not saying you think this, but keep in mind that AskMe isn't the best place for every question. Stackoverflow.com is usually better for programming stuff, Fatwallet forums (I imagine) would be better for stuff on savings.

On some questions on AskMe, you'll get more responses from a "liberal viewpoint" - support for women's rights, the assumption that gay relationships are valid, etc. - than not. These questions are usually in the human relations category.

In most other kinds of questions (e.g. "How do I control my desktop with my remote?" "What would happen if three dudes weight 300 pounds each got in my inflatable life raft?"), liberal viewpoints just won't come up. So, I'd recommend continuing to use AskMe for these kinds of questions, but staying away from human relations-type questions.

Instead, why not ask your friends? Post something to Facebook or email a large group of likeminded people. You're not going to get as deep a pool of answerers, but it's probably better than hitting the Free Republican message boards.
posted by ignignokt at 10:46 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mod note: few comments removed, please keep this to "suggest a site" suggestions?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:58 AM on June 1, 2009

Best answer: OP, I'm not aware of an AskMe clone with a pronounced conservative slant. I'm not aware of any clone, really. But I do know of some other question sites you could explore if you haven't already. I don't know what slants they may have, if any, or if they all blow as bad as Yahoo Answers, but you can figure that out. I think the problem with searching for an equivalent opposite is that the slant is an ethereal, unadvertised, unintentional thing. As soon as you use an ideological keyword, everything shows up political.

Yahoo Answers is peopled by 13 year olds and is to be avoided.

Amazon Askville.

There are separate MSN Lifestyle message boards on a bunch of topics. Other MSN areas have message boards too it appears. Money, etc.

LinkedIn has a question asking/answering section. The material is broad, but is business-oriented, which I suppose may impart a bit more conservative slant. But it appears from first glance to just be kind of practical questions about running businesses.

Here is where I show restraint and don't make a nasty and funny shot against conservatives. See? We're good like that, bro!
posted by Askr at 1:15 PM on June 1, 2009

The Simple Living Discussion Forums are pretty conservative, and still very thoughtful/non-shrill. The basic root is financial stuff, but there are also forums devoted to things like parenting, workplace issues, spirituality, etc.
posted by jbickers at 2:13 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

I live in the NYC area. Metafilter is listing to the left no matter how much anyone wants to think it is in the middle. AskMe is more in the middle but of course it depends on the question. I have seen varied responses in different types of questions. As for a conservative leaning site that has a hivemind aspect to it, I think you can make this site your site if you phrase the question appropriately to elicit the slant in the answers you desire. No matter which way you lean, you will always have to filter out the answers from the other side unless you ask factual type questions. Stay away from questions that have mostly opinion answers.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:32 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

To return to my Stormfront analogy, here's a sampling of the board's sections:
1.Legal Issues 2. For Ladies Only (AskMe re: women's health and emotional issues; a supposed haven from sexism rampant on the site) 3. Privacy, Network and Encryption (AskMe re: Computer) 4. Lounge (like Metatalk) 5. Opposing Views (a chance for the "left" and "left-center" to engage in "debates" with Stormfront members) 6. Multi-media (Like Metafilter Projects and Music) 6. General Questions and Comments (about site features, like Metatalk) 7. Education (AskMe re: homeschooling) 8. Money Talks (AskMe re: finances)

There's many more sections. They have something like 65 moderators.

Participants come from a variety of ideological backgrounds, from the explicit racialist right, paleoconservatives, libertarian, "National Socialist" and survivalist viewpoints. Members think of themselves as free-thinking individuals who haven't been brainwashed by propaganda.

To be honest, I don't know where my interest in Stormfront came from, since it is truly repulsive to every value I hold dear. Whatever the reason, the upshot is I know a lot about it.
posted by vincele at 9:03 PM on June 1, 2009

Do you really think Stormfront.org is a good answer to this question? The very first image I see there is "White Pride World Wide". I doubt this site qualifies as "relatively thoughtful" in the slightest, and is actually kind of insulting.

Right doesn't equal racist.
posted by gushn at 9:42 PM on June 1, 2009

gushn: I do not equate "the right" with racism. If you read my posts in this thread you'll see that I lay out the explicit political orientations on Stormfront and my feelings about racism.

Of course the tenor of the site does not correspond to a reasonable person's idea of thoughtfulness.

But in my opinion it made sense to offer a concrete answer rather than to theorize about the political orientation of Metafilter as a site, or about what makes AskMetafilter unique beyond comparison. The OP doesn't give us a lot to go on. I've made a good-faith attempt to answer the question. I don't mean to be provocative or contentious.

Stormfront does resemble AskMetafilter to the extent that members submit questions about subjects similar to the ones we get here, in the belief they'll get thoughtful answers from certain extremist factions on the right (listed above). Answers come in large part from users who have identities, histories on the site and reputations. Stormfront has guidelines and an army of mods who enforce them. The mods are well-known personalities on the site. In those ways I suggest it resembles askmetafilter.

I've been interested by this parallel for a while and thought I'd mention it.
posted by vincele at 8:04 AM on June 2, 2009

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