MeFites' Last Words
November 16, 2010 1:27 PM   Subscribe

MeFites' Last Words
The last comments written by MeFites before their accounts become (for whatever reason) disabled.

Listed without attribution so that you can try to guess who said what, but each quote discreetly links back to its source in its ending punctuation. Feel free to memail me with any you'd like to see posted.

Also, Houyhnhnm: if you're out there somewhere, shoot me an email, bro. I hope you're okay!
posted by hermitosis (33 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

This makes me weepy.
posted by psylosyren at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

It makes me weepy that is not a real website.
posted by not_on_display at 2:05 PM on November 16, 2010

Italics are implemented in all cases where they were in the original comment. If you see one where that isn't the case, please memail me.
posted by hermitosis at 2:20 PM on November 16, 2010

OMG, wendell's in there!


I might just reactivate my wendell account and deactivate this one, with this as my last comment as oneswellfoop... but probably not, since I'm not that big an asshat.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:15 PM on November 16, 2010 [6 favorites]

I had never really looked at my contacts until recently, and when I finally did, I saw a bunch of blacked-out names there. The first thing I looked for? Their last words, grasping at what might have led them away.
posted by fake at 6:25 PM on November 16, 2010

But "this will oneswellfoop" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
posted by JHarris at 9:00 AM on November 17, 2010

I've never been able to see why people disable accounts rather than let them lie fallow. I mean, you might want to come back someday, right? Why burn bridges?
posted by JHarris at 9:03 AM on November 17, 2010

Typically you can come back easily (don't I know it) even if you have disabled, it is as easy as emailing a mod. I guess some people want to sent the clear message that they're not around. Or others find it's easier to resist getting too involved in the site if they aren't readily able to comment. And more than a few of them, like wendell, are actively flitting around the site under a new nom de guerre. So it's maybe not quite as bridgey-burny as it appears.
posted by hermitosis at 11:01 AM on November 17, 2010

I've thought many times about disabling my account so I don't waste so much time here. But now I have to make a witty comment before I disappear. Argh.
posted by miyabo at 4:09 PM on November 17, 2010

The Straightner is gone‽

posted by nenequesadilla at 5:20 PM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Some of your links are broken, might want to go through and double check.

Overall, this makes me vaguely uncomfortable, a little like slowing down to gape at car wreck scenes, and gave me the same vaguely guilty feeling as I read through them. Sometimes you can tell whose fault it was, sometimes you just shake your head and wonder, but it just gives me a vibe of drawing attention to something that's often just unfortunate and sad and might be better left obscured in the archives.

That said, a more lighthearted and not-at-all-unseemly tactic for this site might be to check the Deleted Thread Blog for self-linkers and share their last comments. The "three comments and a swing" spammers are often doofy enough in their contributions to be pretty entertaining.
posted by Gator at 7:12 AM on November 18, 2010

Thanks to those who have pointed out broken links, both here and via memail.

That feeling you describe, Gator, is definitely a part of why I wanted to do this. But I'm especially interested in how the really unfortunate ones mix in with the rather banal ones. The closing of an account may be a very small death in the scheme of things (except when it coincides with an actual death), but there is something very haunting in the way that some people seem to go willingly, others are dragged out kicking and screaming, and still others vanish for no apparent reason. Some were completely insignificant occasions, some were very publicly grieved. It is a sort of microcosmic, extremely specific view of death and loss.

As for leaving them obscured in the archives, as far as I'm concerned, stuff like this is why we HAVE archives.

As for self-linkers, I am trying to round them up too, but as far as the blog is concerned there is no difference between their last comments and those of venerable members.
posted by hermitosis at 9:21 AM on November 18, 2010

…last undeleted comment.
posted by klangklangston at 5:00 PM on November 18, 2010

“Buy yourself a folding canoe and store it in your closet.”

That makes a fine epitaph.
posted by davejay at 9:39 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm a little confused as to why Pope Guilty left. What was he so upset about?
posted by josher71 at 6:06 PM on November 19, 2010

What was he so upset about?

Are you joking? He was at a state of near-constant rage in many of the political threads and I think at some point decided that we coddled assholes and conservatives too much for his tastes and left. It was no secret that he thought our tolerance policy was bullshit.

If people want to know more about why other people left, I'll be happy to talk more about it (if I know anything, which I often don't) over email but I'm not comfortable going on the record with any of this.
posted by jessamyn at 7:15 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

But "this will oneswellfoop" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

"This will foop swell"?
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:06 PM on November 20, 2010

I really love seeing all the votes here because it means these particular people ARE NOT GONE
posted by hermitosis at 7:51 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

It seems like we've lost a lot of people recently....
posted by The Whelk at 2:37 PM on November 21, 2010

But how do you choose which of dirtynumbangelboy's final comments to display?
posted by nanojath at 4:53 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

See what I mean?
posted by Gator at 5:03 PM on November 21, 2010

And of course in at least some of these cases there were other last words that were deleted, so this is a slightly skewed view, but I suspect this is a pretty small-audience endeavor and I'm not nitpicky to that level.
posted by jessamyn at 5:07 PM on November 21, 2010

It's weird for me, reading through these, in part because I recognize a lot of them and most of those memorable-to-me ones are memorable specifically because they represent some sort of final breakdown of an effort to work out a clash of ideas about how this place can or does or should work. Which, this isn't really a project for me so much so that's neither here nor there; it's an oddity for me as a reader that this is more a rehash of my job than anything surprising. But it's a strange feeling.

The ones where the last comment has no finality are the odd ones, definitely, and for us they're odd when they happen—we get an email noting the account closure, there's often no reason or nothing specific, and it becomes a little mystery.
posted by cortex at 11:59 AM on November 22, 2010

You're posting other people's comments. Are you asking permission? Because when I closed my account earlier this year I would have hated having attention drawn by being republished out of context like this and would emphatically not given permission for you to do so. All posts (c) their authors and all that.

Also are you removing these if an account is reopened? It would also really bother me being included in a list like this now my account is active as I made a point of just starting again without making any kind of deal about it. I don't want some website listing me as someone who had a disabled account at some point, no matter how subtly.

I'm sure most people don't care like I do, but the only way to find out (and surely the right thing to do given the copyright and whatever) is to ask first.
posted by shelleycat at 12:31 AM on November 23, 2010

shelleycat raises a good point; the (lack of) permission aspect reminds of the long-forgotten-and-purged MetaFlippant debacle, actually.
posted by Gator at 5:23 AM on November 23, 2010

Ugh, let us never speak of that again, basically, but the material difference there was more in the overt mockery on that site and more to the point the crazy flipout that followed criticism of the whole thing, not the general ever-quoting-content-from-the-site issue.

While I think the shelleycat's questions are interesting and I'd hope (and from what I know of him also totally expect) that hermitosis would be thoughtful and responsive to a request from someone about taking down their comment for one reason or another, this is a pretty neutral presentation and one that doesn't feel like any sort of violation of general mefi practices.
posted by cortex at 5:51 AM on November 23, 2010

If someone's account became re-enabled and it was brought to my attention, I'd definitely remove the post.

As for asking permission, these are quotes from a public forum from profiles that have been abandoned. They are attributed via link to their corresponding profile. I don't see why asking anyone's permission would be necessary, and in most cases I couldn't ask even if I wanted to, though if I received a note from someone specifically asking me to remove their comment I would probably do it right away.
posted by hermitosis at 10:18 AM on November 23, 2010

Yeah the MetaFlippant guy was actively hostile towards the moderators and the site's users and notnly ignored polite requests but was on some sort of a rampage. We don't really have a problem at mod-level with this as long as hermitosis is decent to people who may be less comfortable with this. As I said, it's a teeny project in a teeny part of the internet.
posted by jessamyn at 10:23 AM on November 23, 2010

I realised last night that my comment might sound kind of hostile which isn't what I want. But I think these are important questions that should be thought of. I know I'm not the only one who finds any singling out of people who have closed their account somewhat icky, and I still feel really really uncomfortable with this whole idea. I kind of think that the part where you *can't* contact someone makes me think you have even less right to be republishing their comments out of context like this (and the new context you've added is what makes it feel icky to me), but I also realise I'm probably way out on the extreme for this so *shrug*. Go for it.

It does mean I'll never be closing my account again even if I don't want to use it or need to take an enforced break from the site. Closing it last time was absolutely the right thing to do (I finished my PhD thesis after all) but it no longer feels like an option.
posted by shelleycat at 11:13 AM on November 23, 2010

For what it's worth, if you need to take a break again some time you can drop us a line and we can just make your account not-usable in a way that doesn't broadcast it's closed status in the interim.
posted by cortex at 11:15 AM on November 23, 2010

I am kind of hoping to never have to write another PhD thesis, but you never know! And also one day to figure out how to write comments on the internet that don't sound pissy when I'm not. (Does that even make sense? I don't know that the morning caffiene has kicked in yet)
posted by shelleycat at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, my old account is there. And the last comment was quite banal too...

But I'm happy with my new identity here so I'll just pretend that it never existed.
posted by ts;dr at 10:12 AM on November 24, 2010

Oh and pope guilty is happily posting along in the /r/anarchism subreddit, if anyone misses him here.
posted by ts;dr at 10:27 AM on November 24, 2010

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