Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Censoring Sarcasm makes Rob S. Happy!

Rob S. is a Senior Moderator who often responds to complaints about censorship. He is the person who gave us the tag line "The Mandate is from the Corporation" when I asked him why a progressive blog needed to have such aggressive censorship. Here is another gem from Rob in response to Artist-53's complaint that one of her comments was censored. Apparently Rob S. is happy that their automated censorship program (the infamous bot) can now detect and pre-emptively censor sarcasm. Yes, that's right, sarcasm apparently is not appropriate for Huffington Post comments anymore and they are proud that their automatic system can detect and delete comments that may include it:

> To:
> From:
> Subject: Mising Comments
> Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2010 12:19:10 -0400
> Hello:
> First, please understand that 6 out of 7 comments submitted to Huffington Post are moderated by automated systems--we simply cannot afford to have people read every comment, but management thinks it's important we do our best to keep the conversation respectful. This is an imperfect solution. Automated systems catch some "bad" comments, and don't catch others--though ours are more sophisticated than most. In the case of your first comment, the system caught it and removed it, your dcomment went away because it was in reply to the first, and your third comment went away because the system recognized it as sarcastic--which actually makes me pretty happy.
> With all that being said, please avoid ad hominem attacks (attacks on a person rather than on their argument) and avoid emulating the people who sneak stuff through--they will eventually end up banned.
> Rob S.
> Senior Moderator
> Huffington Post


  1. Wednesday, August 11, 2010
    5:20 PM CST

    ..."Rob S." has NEVER been this "polite" or responsive to us...

    Good. They are already on the defensive, BEFORE the petition is even published !

    I'm already making some headway in getting some influential souls to consider signing on...DON'T TOUCH THE PETITION folks !!...Just write up a good "cover letter"...but for heaven sakes don't make it LONGER than the petition !!

    Timing is not crucial ...for the moment...

    J.B. (AKA General Ballard *****)

  2. It is interesting to note that the article I commented on was asking readers to vote on Bachmann quotes. From "boring to bonkers". I'm sure they didn't feel they were out of line but when I replied with a witty come back, that's when they used the "Sarcasm Bot" and tossed my comment to the rubbish. As if it was not suitable. Yet they can mock Bachmann and they feel it is alright.

    Well they cannot have it both ways. Post mocking insulting articles, (I'm not a Bachmann fan) but no one is to respond to it in the same light? Only HP can control the narrative? Do as I say not as I do mentality?

    Thank you for posting the letter that Rob S. sent me. It was a very strange and if he becomes "Happy" when someone is flagged, for "sarcasm" I think I made his day and he was overjoyed that all the HP bells and whistles keep folks like me at bay. Another near miss averted by high tech software. The Sarcasm Bot!! The world is once again saved.

    BTW,I'm a she , not a he.:-)

  3. Sorry about the gender mix up. English really needs a gender neutral pronoun.

  4. 12:00 PM CST

    ...Which brings up my point about our eventual petition publication. I've addressed this before and we can't afford to dodge it. How are we going to sign ? What flavor will the petition have if the majority are signing with cryptic pseudonyms and HP avatars? Most petitions I've seen on the Internet are using actual names.

    Ideas anyone ? It's not like we're giving out cell #s and residential addresses. (Some of us already have !)

    Think credibility.


  5. Is this considered sarcasm? Because it was removed...

    Kaine: "That was definitely one where, you know, it should have stayed in the thought bubble over his head than being spoken."

    No problem. Gibbs said out loud what we already knew.

    Gibbs: "The President has urged those who want change to push for it and hold him accountable."

    Again, no problem. I'm voting third party or not at all.

    Btw, a number of people responded to my post and marked it as "favorite."

    My comments seem to be removed when I post a comment during the first part of the day.

  6. @ "Anonymous"
    5:20 PM CST

    Keep in mind, "sarcasm" is a side issue; all comments have been vulnerable to censorship, be they "sarcastic" or not.

    Why don't you join us in signing your name to the petition ? Ask Red Dog or me ( send you a copy.


  7. Yes, I realize that sarcasm is a side issue, and certainly not anything to censor someone over.

    I was being somewhat sarcastic when I asked that. :)

    In regard to your post at 12:00 PM CST, there are a few online organizations that give you the opportunity to sign anonymously by clicking on a box, but yes, I would like to look at the petition. I'll email you shortly.


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