Metafilter community guidelines and expectations
The fundamental goal of MetaFilter is for this to be a good, kind, generous, inclusive, and fun community on the internet. Some basic guidelines for participation:
- Treat the people here decently. Treat each other like fellow community members. Be considerate and respectful. MetaFilter discussion threads are conversations, not contests; add your own informed perspective and nuance instead of shutting others down. Extend the benefit of the doubt in conversations, and earn the benefit of the doubt that others are extending to you. Listen if someone says they're upset, and be willing to apologize and step back if you've said something hurtful, even if it was unintentional.
- Grow the good parts of the site. Act like you want to be here; model the behavior you hope to see from others. Encourage and support people and content you enjoy. You help set the focus of the site by what you engage with and how.
- Be sensitive to context. Read a thread before commenting, to engage with what people are really saying. Respond appropriately to people's mood and investment in a topic; for example, refrain from making light jokes in a serious discussion. If a discussion is about a big-picture issue or one example of a widespread phenomenon, recognize that's probably the wrong place to debate small technical points or the exact details of the one example. If there's a real-world context for a thread, take that into account rather than acting like the thread is taking place in a vacuum. Avoid analogies or "but what if the positions were reversed" hypotheticals in charged discussions; these often involve ignoring or distorting the real-world context.
- Speak for yourself, not others. Speak from your own experience and perspective. Say things you genuinely mean (rather than playing devil's advocate, trolling, or saying bad things ironically). Raising criticisms of someone's point is fine, just do it without putting words in their mouth or telling them how they feel or should feel. Respect that other people know their own lives and believe them when their share their experiences and perspectives.
- Remember we come from many different backgrounds. Members here are from around the world, including non-native English speakers, people of many races, gender identities, sexualities, nationalities, cultures, religions, disabilities, ages, incomes, immigration statuses, levels of education, life experiences, and so on. We're all here together trying to make a decent community. When considering speaking about a group of people, remember someone from that group is probably in the room and you're speaking to them too. Avoid downplaying problems just because they're not problems for you. If you're an American or an extremely-online native English speaker, allow for the possibility that other people are coming from a very different cultural or linguistic context. Be kind.
- Take extra care in discussions where you're a member of a dominant group. Recognize your own positioning. Members of dominant groups (such as white people, Americans, men, cisgender people, etc., depending on context) should take active care to avoid racist, sexist, exclusionary, etc., statements or actions that can harm or alienate fellow community members. The first step is to be aware of how much space one is occupying in a discussion. Let threads on topics affecting marginalized groups be about those topics/groups, and let members of those groups take the conversational lead — don't divert the topic, don't treat it as an abstract thought exercise, and don't talk over people who have more direct experience/stakes. There's more detail about the impact and responsibilities of dominant group members here.
- Avoid common microaggressions. For example: Use people's correct name, gender, and pronouns. Be respectful rather than exoticizing or jokey about another culture's touchstones — things like names, food, language, religious concepts. Avoid stereotypes and outdated terms. Don't make a joke of conditions that affect real people. Believe people about their own experiences. Some common microagressions, and ways to avoid perpetuating them, are explained here.
- Accept feedback gracefully. Be willing to listen and apologize if you've said something hurtful. If someone criticizes your ideas or statements, or points out harmful impacts, it's not a personal attack. Remember that you can do harm without intending to, and the goal is to avoid doing harm to fellow community members.
- If you're a member of a marginalized group seeing a problem: The moderators recognize they have areas of ignorance, and you can let them know if there's a problem they may not recognize. The option to flag [!] with a note lets you fill in some context (this method is one-way, you won't get a reply), or the contact form is available at the bottom of every page (you'll get an email reply within an hour, usually sooner).
- No hate: No racial slurs, deliberate misgendering/misnaming, or other racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise hateful speech. This includes making hateful statements ironically or sarcastically.
- No spamming, no SEO, no promotional posting. Do not take advantage of the MetaFilter community by astroturfing or promoting your work or your client's work.
- No harassment, threats, or creepy or abusive behavior toward your fellow community members, the site, or the moderation staff. Not in public discussion, not over email or MeFi Mail, not off-site.
- No doxxing or publishing people's private/personal information. If someone hasn't explicitly and intentionally brought their potentially sensitive info into a public discussion, don't make that decision for them.
- No "fuck you"s or name-calling directed at others in a conversation. (Pointing out that a statement is racist or otherwise problematic is not name-calling.) In general, cursing is fine on the site, but cursing at another member or a staff member is not okay.
- No wishing violence on people, even despicable people. It can be okay to talk in strongly critical terms about people's words and deeds, but don't cross the line into wishes or fantasies of harm.
- No being a jerk. This place is a collaboration among every participant, and depends on a basic expectation of good will. Above all else, spending time here requires basic decency in your daily interactions.
Violation of any of these "don't"s may result in deletion of the comment, a temporary ban, or a permanent ban from the site. Repeated violations or violations after an explicit warning are likely to result in a permanent ban. Mods will work on issues with someone who is making a genuine effort, but it's ultimately your responsibility to manage your own behavior, not the responsibility of the mods or community to tolerate it.
Contact the moderators at the contact form to report violations of these guidelines.