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Corgi Lover On December - 8 - 2009

pen and paper

Disclaimer:  I am not an owner or employee of PlanetPOV.  All opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.  Only through the wonder of a non-moderated free internet press do these opinions appear.

To Ms. Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post

I would like to communicate to you my sincere concerns over the overall premise and day to day operation of your website, the Huffington Post.  If I did not care on how the image of Huffington Post reflects on all progressives, within and outside of the blogosphere, I would just walk away and say nothing, but it is considered a “representative” source for progressive thought.  This is why I am commenting here.  I have come not to praise Caesar nor to try to bury her.  Instead, it is time to openly and honestly say what is at issue with the Post.

Those who you have entrusted to operate it have turned it into a tabloid.  It no longer resembles a blog for intelligent discourse but instead contains far to many questionable items, as I will list:

  1. Stories only fit for the National Inquirer.  Frankly, I don’t care how cute or naïve that the almost son-in-law of the former governor of Alaska looks in his Playgirl photo shoot.  Nor who is or is not wearing panties at some celebrity event.
  2. The headlines for the more serious stories are now glaring examples of deceptive advertising.  They are designed to bring you in to see what’s in the circus tent it seems, not what is actually under the big top.
  3. The accuracy of a number of your stories is getting diminished all the time.  I will give you the benefit of the doubt and say this is do to quick and lazy writing, not purposeful deceit like I would expect from my hometown Republican newspaper.

The stories are supposedly for a progressive audience, but more and more they have an agenda of their own, and it is not the agenda of the core progressives I know, and certainly not mine.

Those whose duties it is to maintain decorum and equilibrium in the flow of thoughts and ideas on the comments section, otherwise known as the moderators, are an utter failure.  I cannot claim them to be anything but.  Why?  Because:

  1. There is absolutely no actual enforcement of the commenting policies.  It is as willy-nilly as it can be.
  2. Besides turning the “comments” section into a social gathering place, you have allowed and seemingly approved of the publishing by trolls, and some others, comments that are vile and ugly in a manner that all civilized people should recoil in horror from.  I have seen comments calling the president a “nigger”, holocaust denial comments, comments claiming our government is worse than the operators of the concentration camps, etc.  Even in an open exchange forum those types of comments should be severely limited, but it seems no longer at HP.
  3. Good, intelligent comments, backed by unbiased fact sources, are often obliterated for unknown reasons.  It is almost as if real thought and discourse is being discouraged.
  4. People are being exiled for extremely dubious reasons, and yet some members are allowed to perpetually exist; promoting vendettas against others, often for reasons only based on opinions.

This is not a healthy environment for anyone.  I don’t know what the management’s motivations are these days, but it does not seem to be for the promotion of progressive ideals and thoughts.  This is sad.  Instead, it has become nearly as virulent as some of the right wing blogs in some ways.  This is unacceptable to clear thinking people.  And it is becoming an agent infecting even good progressives who would have shown more civility in the past than I see them showing today in their posts.

If you sincerely want the Huffington Post to be a beacon of progressive truth, it is time for you to put aside other pursuits and wade back in and take the bull by the horns.  As it stands today, the Post is becoming less and less believable, and although you may be receiving awards for being a highly influential woman, you are losing readers who no longer have any faith in what you are saying or what you are really after.  I became one of those a few months back.  Disillusionment is sad for everyone, including myself.

I am willing to be a “proper” visitor to HP if and when the environment there is cleaned up.  Until then I will come in, say what I got to say in a passable manner, and get out.  If someone wants to see my more intelligent and eloquent postings, they should not look at HP, but instead at PlanetPOV.  This is what a more healthy environment can and should look like.

Sincerely, Felonious Monk

89 Responses so far.

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  1. Truth says:

    Excellent letter, Corgi Lover/Felonious Monk. I hope you agree that I use parts of it -- while referencing to you -- for our planned Emerald series on the HP.

  2. jdmn17 says:

    Thanks for a well spoken piece. The thing is that a lot of us were there and saw the deterioration and complained as softly as we could. But it became more and more like People Mag lite with links to TMZ and Radar for example. And Ariana’s obsession with the Palins finally turned ugly and over the top. Last week, when many people were trying to get her into the background with Anne Coulter -- where she belongs IMO -- there she was pasted all over the site. The other thing about her and the Palins is she would leave stories on endlessly, apparently if there were still a poster or two out there she would cater to them. The result was that on one page you might see three overlapping stories often in contradiction with the other. When the news is stale then replace it. The whole Egypt story was the final sort of straw. We would have a decent flow of moderated comments going and then poof, the 5000 posts were gone and you were on a new one. To find the old thread you had to go back to your comments and get the link. People had no idea where to go to share.

    I know now where I am going to share, here and another site.

  3. Scheherazade says:

    If anyone wants to send that directly to Arianna and staff let me know. I can give you the information you need.

    :) Hehe.

  4. TheRarestPatriot says:

    Well, …what else can be said? Everyone here has experienced the new tyranny exploding on the other side of the Planet. (nice, huh?) I have had at least 4 socks banned over there and countless and I mean countless posts scrubbed for whatever reasons they think of at the moment. You could even begin to see the ‘shift change’ over there with the mods. Some would let you post like the old days, where others just enjoyed scrubbing and banning. You would literally have to WAIT until that mod left for the day to get any moderately interesting posts posted! Weird and sad considering what that site used to be. I have closed my accounts there but have decided to put on some new socks to promote the PlanetPOV here, however….I have submitted no less than 3 requests for a new account and still can’t log in. I get the email saying “Welcome” and all of that, ..but when I go to log in it says my user name/password is incorrect or my account hasn’t been approved yet….it’s been days….anyone else having this issue?

    • AdLib says:

      K7 was having a similar problem but once he cleared his cookies and his cache, all was cool. Try that and let me know if that solved the problem.

      And thanks big time for helping promote The Planet over there! Lots of good folks still there and more coming every day, I think they will be as appreciative for being invited to come here as we will be to have them here.

      Cheers!

      • TheRarestPatriot says:

        Will try the clearing…again…LOL~
        Yes, I know a LOT of posters on the other side of the Planet that need (for mental stress reasons)to get away from that cauldron of chaos.
        Thanks for the savvy advice, BTW.

  5. escribacat says:

    Just saw a link to this blog. I hadn’t seen it before:
    http://hp-lostcomments.blogspot.com/

    • I may be just paranoid, but alarms went off in my head.

      I was glad to see some deleted posts by DocStrangelove on there, because he strikes me as both passionate and rational.

      But there’s something going on there that really bugs me. Can’t put my finger on it.

    • PepeLepew says:

      I’m trying to figure out who that is and what they’re up to…

    • AdLib says:

      The blog is well intentioned but the posts and its very existence makes more of a statement about the need to let go of HuffPo.

      I let go nearly a year ago and it was a healthy choice, no more do trolls posting there or the cliques and competition for approval, fans and attention intrude on more meaningful pursuits of blogging.

      I’m back to what I originally joined HuffPo to do and that works for me.

  6. Bitsko says:

    Well said, FeloniousMonk.

  7. boomer1949 says:

    Cheers!

    2.5 years and I canceled over the weekend. I am so glad to read that others have experienced the same behaviors. For awhile there, I thought it was my imagination, but then during the campaign and following the election, respect and decorum was pretty much flushed.

    Found out about PPOV from HITO and I’m glad I did.

    btw — anyway comments/replies can be locked so they can’t be cut/copied/pasted?

    • kalicowgirl says:

      It’s good to have my impressions validated, too. It’s hard to figure out why the vile comments have a longer shelf life than reasonble, well-thought out ones. There’s a lot of anger to slush through on the main threads, and things seem to be getting worse.

    • SeeknDestroy says:

      Welcome to Planet POV, Boomer1949!
      Enjoy!

    • PepeLepew says:

      I noticed the downturn in the forums in April … right about the same time as the first Teabagger rallies — I’m pretty positive it’s a concerted, organized effort by trolls to “take over” the forums, or whatever.

      I noticed the quality of the site (inflammatory headlines, etc.) deteriorate in the summer.

    • HITO says:

      You’re gone from HP, Boomer? Congratulations if so. Almost offed the one sock that is a remake of HeIsTheOne today, due to conflict. May still do it.

      You OK? I hope so. It is so much more empowering to do that than getting on their shit list and getting scrubbed, etc.

      I will email you asap. Really glad you are here.

      :-)

      • boomer1949 says:

        Yes I am. Absolutely! Now if I can only write as well (okay ALMOST as) as everyone else, I’ll be in 7th heaven. :-)

        • FeloniousMonk says:

          Boomer, I think that if you write sincerely, from the heart, and have some good conclusions, all the rest will come together. Not everyone writes masterpieces on a daily basis. I don’t know of any. Even those who make their livings at it. So go with your heart, and discover that we are receptive to many different manners of thought and ways of writing. Welcome and congratulations on you emancipation from HP.

          • boomer1949 says:

            Thanks!

            I did write a short piece over the weekend about Perpetuum Jazzile. The group is from Ljubljana, Slovenia. If vocal music is of interest to you, you might want to read about the group.

            • HITO says:

              I saw that!

              I had seen that vid you posted over the summer from my kids’ music teacher.

              Excellent Boomer.

  8. Hallucinocynic says:

    FM, a heartfelt piece. And one I heartily agree with…to a point.

    I’ve been visiting HuffPo for about three years and in that time I’ve also watched the quality of blogging deteriorate. My deduction, similar to others that have been expressed above, is that HuffPo is a commercial site, and I believe that was Arianna’s intention from the beginning. That an “Impeach Obama” site can advertise on the very same page as an article that applauds him underscores this fact. I have no issue with that. I also have no issue with the trolls that show up -- even those who are there simply to obfuscate or deflect worthwhile dialogue. Dialectic exchanges are rarely neat and tidy.

    As to moderation: I’ve been scrubbed too many times for the most nebulous of reasons. Sometimes it’s my language. Sometimes I just step over the line of good taste. But, more often than not, I have no idea why my wonderfully insightful bon mot has disappeared. Maybe the mods just don’t like me. I’m OK with that, too. (Though I have adopted the method of often copying my entries prior to posting to comment just so I can reintroduce them elsewhere in the thread.)

    If PPOV remains a blogging paradise -- that is, moderation without consideration for profit or brain-training, a la Freep, Politico, et al, then I will truly enjoy coming here to read and contribute.

    But, as a devout Progressive, I will also continue to show up at Arianna’s party to echo progressive ideas in the face of dangerous, regressive disinformation campaigns. All progressives should be willing to take heat, and a certain amount of humiliation, in order to keep pushing the ideas and beliefs of a more humanistic -- more beneficent -- movement. The more progressives on HP, the louder the communal voice.

    But then, that’s just me.

    • FeloniousMonk says:

      If you’ve read my piece here on, Hi, I’m Rob-S, and I’m a Moderaholic, you know what I think of the depth of the moderation problem.

      This was written to provide us more leeway in our dealings, to realize that there are issues and that they should be known to Arianna, whether she acknowledges them or does anything about them. But I was not going to use it as a piece to vent on. I can easily do that any time.

      Yes, some of us use HP as a joisting field, and there are far more than enough Trolls worth lancing to keep in practice with.

    • PepeLepew says:

      I draw a big line between the trolls who are there to obviously just be annoying and to distract and obfuscate … and the ones who are just flat-out pathologically psychotic. I’m fed up with the psychotic ones … and there’s several at HP.

  9. SeeknDestroy says:

    Well said, Felonious.
    I have lost track of how many times I had stop what I was doing, just to follow a troll around flagging them to get them banned.
    The last time I reported someone,I was banned.
    BTW, that poster was named….”Nigger”.
    I hate that word.
    I reported that poster and was banned 6 hours later for my trouble.
    Ponderous bullshit.
    Most of the socks I had until recently were from 2006..and I had one left from late 2005…BobDoleNot….
    Everything I have now, I have with the understanding that I may wake up, and my accounts will be deleted.
    I must admit, I love the action, but seriously dislike the hypocrisy.
    The trolls have a free pass to say almost anything, including misogynistic comments, blatant racism, homophobia…but my favorite(not) is when they quote the Bible right after doing something horrid.
    I hate self-righteous religious idiots. Standing on their Bibles while promoting hate against others. Hypocritical and revolting. I have a sentimental reason for still posting there, and you know what it is.
    Nuff said.
    Well done, Felonious.

    ~Seek~

    • PepeLepew says:

      Seek, I’ve noticed the ones who quote the Bible usually don’t even know the meaning of what they’re quoting.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Hiya Seek! You echo my thoughts too. You mentioned that repugnant troll who kept posting the “N” word and I still recall that with anger. Not only at him, but at how that could have happened. It went on for at least a good half hour. How can that happen?! Seriously, if they have a word filter, how is it conceivable that that word doesn’t trigger a ban? What the hell is going on?!

      I also noticed that when I have reported someone as offensive, my comments start going to pending, as if even reporting makes you suspect. Screw that!

      And today, as yesterday, I notice that the ratio of trolls to other posters is about 1:1. That is a noticeable and terrible change since I started posting in February.

      • SeeknDestroy says:

        Hiya Chernynkaya!
        Is it okay if I call you Cher?
        I noticed a lot of my on topic posts get scrubbed more than my off topic nonsense.
        I understand some of the scrubbing, but some people,
        who shall remain nameless, get away with murder, while others are let to spout whatever vile nonsense they wish.
        I’m truly baffled by it.
        Anyhow…
        Welcome to Planet POV.
        Enjoy the freedom…this place is great.

    • HITO says:

      All I know is that when I’m over there in hell, I feel safe when I see you, Monk or Dey, in the comfort of sanity.

      Thanks Seek.

  10. FrankenPC says:

    I agree. Albeit sadly. I was commenting at HufPo back when there was a lot of meaningful discourse.

    I might add, everything seemed to go downhill during Obama’s race for presidency. That would seemingly indicate that the fantastic increase in traffic (and consequently advert dollars) may have corrupted the site. My 2 cents.

  11. PepeLepew says:

    Co-sign, Monk, well said.

    • FeloniousMonk says:

      Thank you, Pepe. It needed to be said. Let no one suggest we are unreasonable, only that we have standards which we are unwilling to sell off for a few clicks here and there.

  12. KevenSeven says:

    Monk,

    Just a quick and slightly lazy scan of your letter, my critique would include at least:

    Hairyanna no longer owns the site. She is just a tool for it, and it for her. It’s a pay check.

    Yellow Journalism has long been their stock in trade. For as long as I was there, and I think I have been there as long as any here. I still remember AdLib faking me out with sarcastic criticisms of Obama. I had been there a few years before that.

    The moderation came in after O’Liely cited some Bush hating comments (what’s not to hate?) that compromised in Hairyanna’s mind her ever expanding pundit-hood. Anything that stands between her and a TV camera is at grave peril.

    The purpose of Huff is not to reflect the aspirations of progressives, nor is it a site where liberals are welcome to comment.

    The purpose of Huff is to make money. That is it. Their business model is working just freaking fine. As I said to peacekitten when she came here to announce her banishment: their business model does not have room for you or me.

    • Bitsko says:

      I agree, KevenSeven. HP is all about the money. But look at her history, that’s what she’s been about all along.

    • FeloniousMonk says:

      Keven: That is the problem, the “business model”. The American MBA is the biggest piece of poison we spread throughout the world. I have one. Took a lot of effort to keep my mouth shut for 16 months and eat the shit they offered. But I had hopes it would be useful. Unfortunately, I am still who I am. I cannot act deceitfully and take advantage of others, so in many work environments I could never use my MBA in Management.

      Now I’m also still a child of the 1960s. I still believe in the Age of Aquarius. I still beleive we can be greater than we are now, as opposed to the Troll concept that being an animal is good. I still believe that peace can be had, although in the modern world there are far too many sources for hate and weapons to augment that hate with. If I cannot believe in the greater good and capacity of man, the world has no meaning beyond being the holding place for just so many animals.

      • KevenSeven says:

        I suppose it is a problem. But more to the point it is a fact. Bugger Huff. Go there, don’t go there. They will continue to fly under the cover of progressive politics while scamming people and selling ads.

        I have an MBA as well, and have low regard for the profession. I wish I had studied the law instead. Now there is a profession you can admire.

      • escribacat says:

        Monk, I am very curious about what they teach you in “MBA school.” Please write about it!

        • KevenSeven says:

          How to bamboozle people for fun and profit. Including how to climb to the top while shoving your co-workers down into the quicksand.

          My program had just prior to my starting in launched an overriding curriculum of business ethics. Almost a perfect fraud.

      • nellie says:

        I think those beliefs are important as well. But I don’t know how they relate to the Huffington Post. And I must confess, I don’t understand why they should. What I hear is people wanting the site to be something other than what it is. And for me that is like walking into J.Crew and expecting to find merchandize from Brooks Brothers. I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic. And I do miss the old site — which was a lot of fun. But HP is what it is. If you want to log on there, do so with full knowledge of where you are.

        • KevenSeven says:

          Nellie, As ever, yours is the voice of reason.

          Although anti-theism is not a religion; I don’t care what you say!

        • AdLib says:

          Co-sign.

          It reminds me of the parents of kids who grow up to be rotten human beings.

          “But he was such a happy child, I remember when he’d make me drawings and was so loving and sharing!”

          That kid grows up to be a criminal and the Mom still sees him that way, not for who he is today.

          People grow and change, they rarely revert back to a previous state. They may grow more thoughtful and more patient or more spiteful and more cynical.

          Who somebody is right now, is who they are. What the sensibility of a business is today is who it is.

          HuffPo can’t go back to being a startup or one or two years old. It can’t go back to not being owned by Oak Investments’ hedge fund.

          The HuffPo that people here remember from 2 years ago is gone and though nothing is impossible, its reverting back to where it was several years ago is highly improbable.

          Simply put, hedge funds don’t care about principles or respect for you as a human being. They care about making as much money as possible and clearly, they are convinced that HuffPo being a non-stop mudfight is the most profitable model.

          Lastly, a word about going to HuffPo to prove trolls are lying. That was one of my major motivations for blogging there towards the end of the election.

          I took a break from blogging after the election and with some perspective and looks of amusement from friends when I told them about my purpose for taking on trolls, I realized that it really was meaningless and I had allowed myself to think it mattered.

          Thoughtful people will never buy what trolls say. Less thoughtful people may not believe what you blog over what a troll blogs. The propaganda they spew is on plenty of other blogs and websites than HP so proving them wrong there doesn’t affect what they write elsewhere.

          What I’m saying is…we were convinced that confronting trolls at HuffPo matters.

          And the truth is, it doesn’t…not to the opinions of the majority of the American people, only to HuffPo’s quarterly returns.

          It’s a game, like Dungeons and Dragons and you can get into the role playing and combat but the only one who profits from it is HuffPo.

        • FeloniousMonk says:

          Thank you. I’ll refrain from supplying a Keven Seven style reply.

  13. HITO says:

    Good one Monk.

    Ever wake up with a knot in your stomach and your head spinning about an injustice that keeps repeating itself over and over again? You grab paper and pencil and get to work.

    And you did a fabulous job!

    • FeloniousMonk says:

      Thank you, my friend. I sometimes think that my time has past, as fire and brimstone progressives are often not wanted by many of the “respectable” lefties. When Ed Schultz gets a cooking, I can just see them drawing back in fear. Me, I’m going to be who I am, and they all can be damned if they can’t handle it.

  14. Chernynkaya says:

    Felonious, I appreciate your well-reasoned post, and for the most part I couldn’t agree more. Yesterday was a rough day for me there. I spent most of my time on a thread about the EPA and Copenhagen. What a mess. Never have I seen more stupid and disruptive trolls. Now, I don’t expect that a public forum will contain only those who agree with me--that would be boring. Maybe it was so distasteful because the topic dealt with facts--the science of climate change. But I was open to discussing it even those who have doubts. There was only one climate change denier who had even slightly debatable ideas (based on those emails). The rest repeatedly (for HOURS) kept spouting actual nonsense. I felt as it I was on the World Net Daily site.

    But there is another part of your post that I’d really like to discuss: The HP as a source of Progressive truth. I think it is, in the sense that (depending on the definition of “Progressive”)it does fairly criticize the President when he veers from that Progressivism. There are several areas where I believe he has strayed.

    But here’s my problem: I support Obama, and will vote for him again, even though I have problems with some of his actions. But on HP, one finds that is a very difficult position to take. I hate to discuss my concerns about the President when the choice is either to completely agree with him, or to give comfort to the enemy--the hate-filled trolls. So any middle ground or nuance is impossible for me.

    Finally, I’d like to think that this site is a place to have an open and reasoned discussion, a place where those of us who support the Administration can come and talk openly without defensiveness--without feeling that any criticism will give ammunition to the haters.

    Anyway, thanks for your post and for hearing me out.

    • escribacat says:

      Cher, I appreciate your point about not feeling comfortable airing any doubts about the president on HP. I do not want my questions being used by chortling rightwing trolls. The far left Obama bashers over there are just as bad as the rightwing extremists as far as I’m concerned. I have some issues with Obama, but that doesn’t mean I’m picking up my marbles and going home in a snit. I means I have some issues. I’m still a democrat and I’m still reserving judgment until the next election.

      • Khirad says:

        Said it better than I could have.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        The only semi-positive thing I have to say about the Righties is they strengthen my resolve to keep electing good Dems. Whenever I read their comments-- and I usually scroll past them-- I realize how very much worse they are then even the sorriest Blue Dog. And I try to point this out to the far Left as well. I just cannot understand how they can be so demoralized as to allow the Reptilians to re-gain control. Maybe it’s true that their role is destined to be that of an outsider.

      • HITO says:

        Welcome Cher.

        Glad you are here. Planet offers an excellent respite from the usual hell over on hp.

        I look forward to seeing you and reading your intelligent thoughts on here.

        :-)

    • FeloniousMonk says:

      Cher: I hear you. I do know where you’re coming from. There are many issues I have issues with the president on. I’d give you references to my latest HP quotes, but that would require me to acknowledge my latest socks, sorry. I am very disappointed in some of his decisions. But I don’t think the criticism I see out of the HP writers and Arianna is just or accurate. I’m a New Deal kind of guy, through and through. Pro-union, pro conservation, and pro making America work. I don’t see Arianna or her minions talking that. I doubt that Arianna would let a Union (wo)man into her publishing empire.

      No, it’s hard to say that he has been disappointing at times without providing fuel for the Trolls. But neither can we be blind cheerleaders, not that I think you are advocating that in any way. But there are some over there who come off that way.

      I always care about your opinion, Cher.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Thanks, Felonious. I am 100% a New Deal Liberal. But I have come to realize that the US government operates incrementally. I guess I’ve grown up, but it still frustrates the “labor leader” in my soul.(Actually, I am thinking of writing a post about incrementalism-- it’ll be a way of my coming to terms with it.)

        One more thought about the trolls--and I am talking about those who are not plain disruptive, but the ones who are Fux News victims. I like to read their talking points and then research ways to refute them. It makes my position stronger, but I also hope (unrealistically?) that I might change the minds of some who might be on the fence. At least, that’s what I tell myself. :~)

        • kesmarn says:

          So good to see you here, Chernynkaya. I’ve had the same feeling about some of the trolls. They tend to be like the irritating grain of sand that just might produce a pearl of a counter-argument, much as I hate to admit it!


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