Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Who Moderates the Moderators?

Huffpo has had a community moderation system in place for a while. I think in principle the idea of community moderation has some merit. However, as practiced at Huffpo it seems we may be creating a bunch of Lord of the Flies petty tyrants. The following is just one example. User Artist-53 posted a comment about how Huffpo's advertising had a serious effect on her epilepsy and a "Community Moderator" Hoodoo X replied with a heartless comment that I doubt would have made it past JuLiA for a normal user. Here is a screen shot of the interaction: (click on the image to view it full size)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sie müssen nie von den Nazis sprechen!

This is from Huffpo User JGatsby. BTW, I agree that the Dawkins speech he links to is quite good.

I've noticed that whenever I mention Nazis or Hitler in a comment it very often gets censored, no matter how polite or relevant. I understand the need to stop people from constantly calling politicians (from either side) Nazis or making Hitler comparisons to everyone you don't like but sometimes (as in the example below) it just goes to ridiculous extremes. This comment was censored from an article on religion and morality.

"There is a fantastic article on Its a speech Dawkins gave to a rally protesting the UK government's subsidizing the pope's visit to the UK. One of the things the pope recently mentioned is the old "Hitler was an atheist" claim. Dawkins not only points out the irony of someone who was a member of the Hitler youth making that claim he shows how historically wrong the claim is, a great read:

Ratzinger is an enemy of humanity by Richard Dawkins"

Gun Control Censorship

There is a lot of censorship around gun control topics on Huffpo. Here is one of many examples. Paul Helmke had an article on the importance of considering the victims of gun violence. The following comes from user Dreamweaver2nd:

This is from SewaneeLeftist's "Activities" column. My reply to Sewanee's comment was posted briefly. First my post was deleted, but Sewanee's remained. I checked today and both were gone.

SewaneeLeftist Commented 2 days ago in Politics (October 11, 2010)
“I've been away from HuffPo for a few days, so I'm late to this, but Helmke is right as usual, top to bottom, East to West, and high (concern for gun violence victims and citizen safety from guns) to low (the specious mind-boggling arguments for great...”

Paul Helmke: Make Concerns of Gun Violence Victims a Priority
Elected officials must consider the awesome responsibility of the jobs they've been entrusted to do. Talk to victims, survivors, and law enforcement about the all too pervasive and underreported trage...

DreamWeaver2nd 0 minute ago (7:13 PM)
425 Fans
This comment is pending approval and won't be displayed until it is approved.

It's good to see you, SewaneeLeftist:

I'd like to repeat the last paragraph from your post above -- You accurately describe, once again, the pro-gun team's tactics against other posters on HuffPost and any honest discourse. Ultimately, however, there is a responsibility in allowing intimidation and attacks on a blog.

Two men in Oregon, father and son, planted a bomb in a bank. When police attempted to defuse the bomb, it exploded killing two and critically wounding another. The killers' motivation and rage grew out of the fear-mongering lies and propaganda from NRA extremist groups, such as this one, that "Second Amendment rights will be infringed..." That hysteria, visible in words here, made manifest in violence in the communities of our nation. In allowing unfettered propaganda and attacks against honest opposition in the media and Internet sites, is there a shared responsibility?

I'd mention their deep commitment to silencing any disagreement, but that goes on all day, every day (especially here at HP) so it's nothing new. It's notable only in the continuing proof that in discourse they follow the same tactics that lead them to bring guns into restaurants, political rallies, coffee houses, schools, and banks -- intimidation and the threat of violence are always efficacious in the absence of fact, logic, history, or support for the social contract

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Southern Bubba's Blog

Here is an email from Southern Bubba who also has a new blog:

Banned SouthernBubba here. Just want all of you to know that I am without a doubt the most technologically deficient member of the group. Fair warning, I will probably ask questions and make suggestions that are patently ridiculous from the get-go, so I apologize in advance for any aggravation that I may cause. I am a late comer to the cyber universe and do not have a very steep learning curve and do not know many of the rules of "cyber etiquette", but you will find me a 110%, die hard defender of the 1st Amendment/Constitution and a red hot hater of the hypocrites that are running HP and nearly every other site in the blogosphere.

What we are contending with is "privatized censorship" through the use of a public institution (the internet) and the battle is going to be long and hard and not for the faint hearted. We will all have to learn to bite our tongues from time to time and endure opinions that would make us want to gag or puke or fight, all for the greater good. And make no mistake about it, this is for the greater good of this Nation and the future generations that will never know the great pride that our Founding Fathers took in creating a new nation and the true patriotism that our ancestors experienced by knowing that giving their very lives in the defense of the PRINCIPLES of the Constitution was a price not too great to pay for their future generations. Guess what! We are those future generations! It is time to man/woman up and prove that they did not fight, die, and struggle for words that have been a beacon to the world for over 200 years in vain, because we saw fit to cave in to our own weaknesses for elitism, juvenile thinking, laziness or a thousand other excuses that never crossed their minds.

To contact Southern Bubba email him at:

From the Radical Secularist: HP protests gaining traction

The following idea is from HP User The Martin Gak The Radical Secularist:

So it is apparent that the question of censorship and deletion at the Huffington Post has been gaining some traction. So much so that the site has been forced to address the issue:

The column is somewhat informative though it places the brunt of the responsibility on the Community Moderators and defends the Badge system. Yet, most of the people that have been banned have been the object of actions by the site moderators and not by community moderators, who only have power to delete comments but not to ban

The strange irony is that the people who are addressed by this column cannot respond because they have been banned from the site. Yet, it seems imperative to take the opportunity to respond. So here is the idea: open a new account, copy and paste the following message to the comment window of

and invite anyone who is still in the HP to post to do the same. Most likely it will be deleted so repeated and sustained efforts to post will be necessary. If we succeed, we can 1. get the message across, 2. draw some attention to the policy. Here is the message:

"In order to defend its editorial line, the HuffPo has censored individuals who openly criticize their content, their choice of bloggers, the political positions expressed in the work and the credentials of the writers. Stories on these matters, if anyone would like to know, can be found at

The HP response to repeated criticism has been to delete comments and then to eliminate profiles normally without explanation. The fact is that HP is hardly a space for open deliberation but rather the platform for a section of the Democratic Party. It has a penchant for peddling new age products and has been widely criticized for letting on people that play fast and loose with science, religion, etc.If you dont believe me I dare you to repost this message."

Please keep count of the amount of times your message was posted and erased and report back here if you are so kind. There is a way in which enslaved or exiled speech can be emancipated and freed.

Martin Gak

Monday, October 4, 2010

More 9/11 Censorship

The following is from an email I received from a Huffpo user who was banned. I don't agree with a lot of what he says such as praising Ahmadinejad or calling people "Zionist Jews" but he has some interesting questions for Huffpo on the hypocrisy of their censorship policy so I thought it would be interesting to post his email:

I have been banned, just recently..Not sure why, tho maybe a post to do with 9-11 did it..But here is my letter to Huff post. I note that Huff Post had itself been banned in China, so they are in no position to ban others and maintain any sort of moral high ground.

Note also that President Ahmadinejad's little truth session at the UN on 9-11, has forced Huff Post to break its own rule about airing Conspiracy theories and esp 9-11 ! LOL

The comments are instructive...,most mock Ahmadinejad. Yet if you go to a site like youtube, a much freer site, and its comments on his speech or interview with Larry King, get a very different set of views..most endorse Ahmadinejad, find him perceptive calm, a rational. Its as if this set of persons had been wiped off the face of Ariannas earth. Youtube comments are unmoderated...aka not censored. So it give us a better index of public opinion than HP. Since most of the permitted comments echo the official HP line.. how is this different to ,say, soviet times Pravda?

Its attitude to 911 truth pretty much exposes Huff Post as anything but an investigative journalism site. Its posting the atrocious and racist bilge of Ben Cohen and Bernard Levy should alert people that HP is not what they think it is.

amazingly a commentator of the above post got this thru: 'In any healthy society, free and open debate should be allowed. That's what our constitution provides. We also have to follow the money, as in Watergate and Iran/Contra'

So if you're reading this Arianna, why is HP behaving as if free and open debate is poison?


Here is Brian's email to Huffpo:

Hello Huff Post,

Recently i went to your site to read an article and maybe post some comments..But when i came to do so, i found this waiting for me:


Post a comment
Sorry, but you have been banned from commenting.


I don't know where that came from, as there was no indication why the ban was instituted. However, I had been or was commenting on a piece by the Ben Cohen which went:

'With tiresome predictability, the Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is again in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. And again, he is performing to type. Rambling, inchoate speeches about the decline of capitalism, facile equations of the Iran's judicial system with that of the United States, ranting about Israel - of course! - and a televised sit down with Charlie Rose. And Larry King.' Etc

I was astonished by the invective in that rant, and why you had actually published it. So here is what i wrote:

'With tiresome predictability, the Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is again in New York for the United Nations General Assembly''

and with tiresome predictability the Zionist's slander a democratically elected leader of a independent state...But that's because he is not a sevant of either Washnigton or tel Aviv.

'Rambling, inchoate speeches about the decline of capitalism'

Giving excellent speeches about the corruption of a system that has impoverished even american citziens let alone the third world.

'facile equations of the Iran's judicial system with that of the United States,

the US judicial system which incarcerates on th basis of race and which has imprisoned the Cuban 5 for the past decade on trumoped up charges.

'To protest is to recognize the futility of dialogue with Ahmadinejad, a man who, when it comes to lying, enviably blends classical totalitarianism with postmodern spin'

When it comes to lying, be cant resist trying to outdo Goebbels with the Big Lie...iran is not a totalitarian state...if it was it would have the support of the US which has a history of backing totalitarian states etc.


Now ive been doing some research on Huff Post and ive discovered that Your blog has been engaged in extensive banning and censoring of commentators. Here is a sample:

Each of the persons posting here is disgusted by the very brazen and unethical way they had their commenting privileges banned, or comments censored..with no word as to why. Esp as we see Huffington post allows some truly disgusting persons like Ben Cohen and Bernard Levy (both zionist jews with an agenda), the later of whom is engaged in an ongoing attack against Iran, now using the case of a Iranian woman, Sakineh, accused of murdering her husband, to inflame a mob to back Israels demand the US and its accomplice NATO(aka EU) to attack Iran.Is his what HP wants? More war? Doesn't this violate your policies?

But whats really interesting and ironic , is that Huffington Post itself complained of being banned in China:

'You may have followed the ongoing controversy about the Chinese government blocking foreign journalists' access to certain Internet sites during the Beijing Olympics. Most of the attention has centered on the censoring of the sites of Amnesty International, BBC News and the Falun Gong religious group. Under pressure, the Chinese Communist Party has lifted the bans on Amnesty and BBC News, but one site has continued to be totally blocked:

In Beijing, we can get Drudge; we can get Common Dreams; we can get Raw Story and Truthout. But Huffington Post: censored completely.
Twenty-nine years later, in terms of human rights, I don't think that too much has changed. I still have a great affection for the Chinese people, but even today, one never knows who is listening.

How can Huffington Post rebuke China for banning them, when HP has banned me and so many others for what is clearly political reasons? Read the above grievances...most if not all accuse HP of banning them for their political opinons.
But note that HP is accusing two of the US official enemies of HR violations , censorship and anything else they can come up with. SO is HP acting as an unpaid PR agent of the US government? Perhaps HP hopes no one will make the connection.After all its only the Chinese who institute bans.

Ive also learned HP has censored journalist Max Blumenthal:

the reason?
'Within a few hours, I received an email from a Huffington Post administrator informing me he had scrubbed my video from the site. “I don’t see that it has any real news value,” the administrator told me'

Or was because it expose the racist nature of israel?

Some points on HP policy:
Imaware you have set limits on what can be discussed...just as they do in China.
'We also do not allow the promotion and propagation of conspiracy theories, including those about 9/11. '
Promotion? Not allowing promotion is censorship. By keeping any investigation of 9-11 out of your pages, you ensure the public is left with the official conspiracy theory'

well, youve allowed the discussion of 'conspiracies' before..remember former contributor Jesse Ventura:

It’s worth noting that HuffPost already ran an excerpt from another chapter of American Conspiracies, about the US “war on drugs,” and they had no problem with that subject. But this one is, as we all know, taboo. Clearly, even to question the official story of 9/11 is to engage in “conspiracy theories” (as if the official story is not itself a “conspiracy theory,” and a preposterous one at that).

But significantly, by shutting down debate on 9-11 or any 'conspiracy' you are assuming the official theory is correct, and it should not be debated.You are acting not as a journalist but as an unpaid State Censor....

and: 'As such, we do not allow hate speech, nor do we allow speech that advocates or supports hatred or unlawful violence. We do not allow racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, or other intolerance. Likewise, threats of violence or threats to anyone or any group's personal safety are not acceptable. We also do not allow false claims or misleading implications that any individual or group perpetuates hate or unlawful violence'

and yet as i showed at the beginning, you posted Ben Cohens very libelous rant against president Ahmadinejad of Iran. Which i would read as hate speech.
Would you post it if the person libeled was president Obama?

So why is HP behaving in a manner that loses it good will with that segment of the public who should be its backbone? Do you really think you can disguise your actions with a few chosen policy statements?

its not as if Huff Post is not aware that banning is bad

here a ban is lifted because Facebook censors;

SO why does Huff Post BAN?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Huffpo Censors Thailand Via Amsterdam

I received an interesting email from yet another Huffpo user named Scuter who was banned recently. Like a lot of us Scuter was until recently a loyal Huffpo user who liked the site quite a bit. He posted several comments on the article by Robert Amsterdam titled Thailand Sets a Poor Example to Burma.

The situation in Thailand is complex and even though I've spent a few hours trying to understand it I feel as if I've just scratched the surface. However, what is clear to me is that Scuter's comments were perfectly appropriate. He pointed out a clear bias that Mr. Amsterdam has which was not brought out in the article. He also pointed out errors and bias in Mr. Amsterdam's article and as he makes clear below did so in a way that was clearly in compliance with Huffpo's comment guidelines.

Here is a screen snapshot of one of his comments:

Scuter had 5 comments in a row deleted. Not one of them contained a single untrue word. Some of them contained only links to external news articles that provided a needed contrary perspective to Mr. Amsterdam's article. For example, an Amnesty International report on Thaksin's extra-judicial killings or a link to a NY Times article quoting Human Rights Watch Asia Director saying the 3000 extra-judicial killings under Thaksin were "appalling".

Here are some other links that Scuter tried to include in his comments but were censored. The descriptions for the links come from Scuter: article (05/05/10) which paints a far more accurate picture of the extended crisis, as it unfolded. The protesters were remarkably convincing as hijackers holding Bangkok CBD hostage to their ever-increasingly irrational ransom demands. Over a very long period of time. article (05/14/10) documenting the 'peaceful' protesters (armed with Molotov cocktails, smoke bombs and rifles) as they provoked and then attacked the soldiers who were tasked with returning the CBD to Bangkok's 20 million residents, who had long since tired of watching the government agree to the protesters demands, only for the protesters to reject the generous concessions.

Youtube footage of Red Shirt core leaders (the group that Mr. Amsterdam portrayed as peaceful victims of government repression) ordering their followers to resort to violence and terror in chilling speeches filmed months before the 'peaceful' protesters set fire to Bangkok:

(0:48 sec) Red Shirt core leader Arisaman screaming for the tens of thousands of Red Shirts to bring petrol to Bangkok to burn the city down.

(0:31 sec) Red Shirt core leader Nattawut telling the massive crowd to "burn the country down" and he would take full responsibility.

(1:20 min) Arisaman outlining detailed instructions to the Red Shirts heading to Bangkok to each bring 1 litre of gas to "bargain" with, and if the government doesn't listen, to use the petrol to make them "disappear from this world".