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abby4ever On January - 2 - 2010

What cheek.   A newbie,  in this case someone who’s been here less than a fortnight, publishing an article related to PlanetPOV’s standing and progress, as a new site.  It is a post from the heart, some observations of mine about this extraordinary place called Planet.  And it was prompted by Ad Lib’s  ‘2010–A Planet Odyssey’ published 31 December ’09, an article in which he gave us some impressive stats on how this site , brand spanking new, is faring among its competitors.

Even though I’ve only been at Planet a little over 10 days and subsequently have contributed virtually nothing to this place, I felt a sense of pride in reading these stats, pride in being invited here by two fine posters (who, for all I know, may already be regretting their decision to invite me!),  pride in simply being here, on a site that has had such success in such a short period of time.  

The good stats do not surprise me, for at Planet I’ve seen some great topics written by some great writers, all this topped off by some great responses, three elements that are essential to gaining, and holding, the attention of those visiting the site.  Look at this stat from Ad Lib’s piece:

Average Visitor’s Time on Site on Dec 30:

PlanetPOV: 21:32
Similar Sites: 2:23 .

(At this point you might want to read or re-read Ad Lib’s stats, you will be able to glean, from doing so, that holding a visitor’s attention about 10 times longer than other sites have been doing, is not PlanetPOV’s only virtue. )

Great writing, for me, is writing done with as much courage and honesty as one can muster, writing that provokes thought (ideally, deep thought) in others, even in those who have never been much on mulling over the difficult political (or quasi-political, or even the only-just-barely political) concept.  And I’ve seen that kind of writing here.  

It is in being honest and brave in expressing our thoughts, arguments, priorities and political positions, this no matter how much heat we may take for doing so, that we have the best chance of provoking thought in others…thought that , granted, may end up forgotten in some diary in an old drawer, or, instead, end up changing the world.  Or something inbetween.

To have the opportunity, as we have here, to say something that will get someone thinking about some important issue, is lovely.  Half the world is in chaos and some, though not all, of the reason for that, is sloppy thinking, even lack of thinking, on the part of those running that half of the world.  And who knows, for sure, who might be reading sites like this one?

Imagine if something you wrote had such an  impact on a visitor here that it changed his  perspective on something.   Imagine if that visitor had power and influence.   Is  it too conceited for belief for us to think that something like that might happen?   That something written here at PlanetPOV might end up changing some small corner of the world?  I don’t see why it would be, not when you consider the power of words on human beings.

Of course, if you are going to be honest and courageous in your writing, you must have the freedom to do that.  Here at Planet we’ve got that kind of freedom; it would be a crying shame not to take advantage of it.  (I know I do.)   Given some of the sites some of us have been frequenting, and still on occasion frequent, where our every word is moderated, the freedom we have here to express ourselves, is heady.  Who knew?

That doesn’t mean we can run amok.  Editors exist, in part, to see that we don’t, and I don’t envy the editors here.   Why not?  Because I’ve seen how strong some of the opinions are here and the depth of passion that exists. One of the driving considerations at this place is providing an arena of total freedom of expression.  And yet there is that line between total freedom of expression and abuse of that total freedom of expression, and the editors here will sometimes  have to knock us back a bit if we get too rambunctuous.   E.g. giving some troll or other what for, which, as Ad Lib says, will only serve to encourage him.    Or just mouthing off (one of my fortes) in some post or other, in a thoughtless way that does no one any good and may even do damage.  The task  of the editors here will be easy when we are obviously on the right side of the line, and easy when we are obviously on the wrong side of the line.  It’s  when we are right on the line that things get sticky for them.  They have to decide whether to let us bark, or, instead, muzzle us…and in a place that values freedom of expression as much as Planet seems to, it must be heartbreaking for any editor to ever have to get the muzzle out.

(A troll got in here the other day and I was amazed.  What amazed me is not that any got in, but that only one got in.   I am used to trolls arrving in herds.  Planet must be doing something right.)

In closing I want to say that one of the best things I’ve seen about Planet, is  real respect among members for other members, even in situations where the disagreement over some issue or other, is intense, perhaps even explosive.  Head-to-head, eye-to-eye disagreements, here at Planet, do not seem to result in the kinds of verbal bloodbaths you see on other sites.  Here I see thoughtful, rigorous, sometimes even  fiery debate, minus the nast.  Quelle relief, that’s the way it ought to be!

All in all, and  for what the opinion of a brand new member may be worth, I think Planet is, among its competitors, pretty much the bee’s knees.   Congrats to its founders, and contributors too,  for making it that…and for making me feel at home here.  I am honored.

Categories: PlanetPOV

Written by abby4ever

To all my friends at Planet: I care passionately about 'all creatures great and small' throughout the world. In honor of them, I'd like to cite these two quotations: "The abuse of a harmless thing is the essence of sin." (A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) and "The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But: can they suffer?" (Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) abby January 6, 2010

54 Responses so far.

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  1. whisperingn woods says:

    It is quite refreshing not to be subject to weird and mysterious moderation(like on HP)on this site. I am of the opinion that HP moderators are paid by its advertisers. It is good to know that there are no advertisers on this site.

  2. tb92 says:

    Hello, everyone. I just registered and I must say, this place looks delightful. After yet another misleading headline on HP, I asked for advice on other sites, and Gretel1or2 suggested I come here. If it lives up to half of what Abby claims, I think I’ll be very happy.

  3. Khirad says:

    It might take a while to get used to not every third main being about Wall Street.

    • escribacat says:

      Don’t forget the OUTRAGE! And the OUTRAGE! And the OUTRAGE! Oh, and the OUTRAGE!

    • abby4ever says:

      Hey, that would explain the down-and-out way I’ve been feeling the past fortnight. I miss the money talk. Didn’t realize it until I saw your comment.

      LOL !!!

    • KQuark says:

      Since when did obsessing about money become a progressive principle? Seriously I did not sign on for that and if you look at most progressive sites they do not obsess about money.

      Money is just a means to an end and not an end to itself. But then again if you are Republican at heart you worship money above all.

      • javaz says:

        I can’t say my husband and I obsess about money, but we watch financial markets.
        Perhaps it is from our parents, who survived the Great Depression and instilled into us the meaning of a dollar.
        Perhaps it was because we grew up without much money.
        Perhaps it was my father that lectured me about saving money for that rainy day and preparing young, for retirement.
        Perhaps our outlook on money and finances and debt is our conservative/Republican (before Reagan) POV.

        • KQuark says:

          You are what you talk and care about in many ways. If you talk about and obsess about money all the time then it defines you as a person. Most of us worry about money and have to deal with the realities of life in our own way. It’s really a matter of what you value and prioritize in your life.

          • Khirad says:

            My main problem is how the Queen is trying to be some kind of WSJ or Forbes or something and sound like an authority. There’s Econ people there, and I’m sure they enjoy it aside from the misleading sensationalism. I, myself, am lost, aside from the basics, and like you, would rather not obsess about it -- though those with a higher understanding of economic philosophy I respect greatly. The Bankington Post, quite frankly, just leaves me sorely out of my depth and flailing on the sidelines. It is really quite self-centered on my part, in all honesty.

            • abby4ever says:

              At first glance I thought you were talking about Queen Elizabeth, and I thought to myself: “What on earth…what have I missed on the news???”


              That’s me: slow on the uptake.

            • Khirad says:

              Should have added ‘Greek’ Queen. How about Elizabeth’s little outing though?

          • javaz says:

            We actually had a discussion the other morning about what it means to be rich and we both concluded that we are rich.
            We have everything we need- a roof over our heads, and that we can afford to buy good, healthy food, and if we want something such as a book or DVD or CD, we can go out and buy it.
            At our age, we don’t need anything more, as we have enough junk or stuff.
            And then we decided that we wouldn’t want to be super-rich, because it seems the very rich aren’t really all that happy because they never have enough.
            Does that make sense?

            • KQuark says:

              We have lost our way in so many ways. Most people in America have totally lost the concept of what is a need and what is a want. Most people need for little but the unending want for consumer goods makes us feel poorer than we are. The problem is the Huffy types and too many Starbuck progressives could not give a shit about the real needy.

  4. KQuark says:

    Call me a sentimentalist but while I appreciate all contributors to the Planet I cannot express how happy I am to see you abby on board as well as many regulars I use to post with on other sites. I just don’t want to mention names now because I know my measly memory will forget too many good people. Along with the new folks I’m getting to know on the Planet it’s a great atmosphere that just keeps growing.

  5. KQuark says:

    I have to admit that I usually cringe a little when I see posts about the site not because I don’t want to see accolades or criticism but because I hate when some sites become just about the site itself. However, your comments from a “newbee” uniquely evaluate some of the key things we are all trying to accomplish on the site.

    I wish people would even write about even more topics. We all have various interests and I would love to see even more posts about art, music, philosophy, lifestyle, hobbies, current events, etc… Sure our political leanings are the reason most of us are here but we are all muti-dimensional people.

    I also still want the holy grail of political discourse and wish we had reasonable conservative voices on board. But I recognize that because of the toxic nature of our politics that may just not come to pass.

    I’m glad you see the mutual respect most people have for one another here and while that respect has obviously not just been built on the Planet alone I hope that never goes away. I would caution that we still need to vent and grow the number of members because I have seen where the respect we have for each other can cause us to hold back too much. Eventually all things we bottle up must come out and it’s better we vent continually rather than have it build up like an volcano.

    I know I will do the best I can to avoid limiting freedom of expression. I can honestly say 99.9% of the time people police themselves just by being respectful. I never want to see this as a place where we need a heavy handed administration.

    To be honest I find politics intrinsically boring and seldom payed attention to politics when it does not directly involve my life. Now the debates about how we progress as a nation I find fascinating. I know you cannot separate politics from political philosophy but I do what I can.

    Right now I think the schism that is forming on the progressive side of the journal is the most interesting thing going on in American politics. I truly see the battle between the purists and the pragmatists on the left much more defining than battle on the right simply because the purists on the right won the war and that’s what’s marginalizing the Republican Party. I just hope the left is not so reactionary and understands we can only progress as a coalition.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Excellent post, KQ!

      I would agree with you about the schism on the left. A number of people have been concerned about just this issue…that we are “eating our own”. I hope at this point that those of us on the left will recognize the error made by the right-wing in splintering their own party. Their rabid 20 percenters are not enough to win elections, but I believe they fail to notice in their heated hatred of everything Obama.

      We, as Dems or liberals or progressives, MUST stick together on the issues, and work doubly hard to get out the vote this coming November. If the Dems stay home, we will just be opening the door for the right-wing to again take control. And I believe that we all know how well that would work out for us!

      Good post, my friend!

      • KQuark says:

        As much as progressives don’t want to admit it and even though it’s based on the GOP fooling the public for years we ARE a center right nation if in image only. Until we shift the political center from center right to center left we are at a disadvantage. Shifting that political center will not be accomplished by a third party or progressive apathy it will be accomplished by dominating American politics for a generation. That’s why I super cringe when I hear people say I will never vote Democrat again because things have not changed in a year.

        I just don’t understand the reactionary progressive nihilists.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Ditto! But I would say that we are more of a “center-left” country if we can get the rethugs out of the way. The American people are a good and generous people who, for the most part, do not mind social programs and legislation meant to help their neighbors. The rethugs have tried to make “left” a really bad word on a par with “commie pinko”, liberal, and the like. I hope I can live long enough to see a permanent shift to center-left! It’s up to us to make it so.

          • KQuark says:

            I believe this is a center left nation at heart that has been hijacked by the word games of the GOP. We let them demonize words like liberal and concepts like community and shared sacrifice. We have to face the fact that the Nixon’s southern strategy worked and the GOP are masters at exploiting our diverse society for their own gains.

  6. AdLib says:

    Abby, thank you for your very kind words.

    The proposition of PlanetPOV was really rather simple. We believed that bloggers who wrote so smartly and thoughtfully at HP and elsewhere (as we hopefully did) would shine even brighter when given true freedom of expression and respect.

    And the character of discourse, once it was established that trolls and personal attacks were barred, would naturally seek a level that mirrored the sensibilities of concerned and thoughtful people.

    Build it and they will come.

    And so many fantastic people have.

    As to editing here, you are so right! It is difficult to touch anyone’s comments, it goes against all of our instincts as fellow bloggers. However, through our minimal experience here with trolls and/or conflicts, I have become comfortable with the approach of seeing these as fires that break out and need to be immediately extinguished.

    There is absolutely nothing positive that comes out of allowing such “fires” to grow and spread. It is an abuse and a taking for granted of the freedom of expression that’s provided here. Here, all have the freedom to express themselves as long as they don’t use it to infringe on others and their freedoms.

    Unlike some other sites, we are intentionally seeking to build a community that exemplifies the best aspects of the people who live in this country and this world (we want citizens here from all countries!).

    One thing that is interesting is how the impressive articles that are written here are by people who started off as members saying that they don’t know that they can write as well as everyone else here.

    What I hope has become clear is that when anyone comes here to write about what matters to them, the quality and impact of their writing is just as affecting and impressive to everyone else here.

    Good writing is indeed about honesty and in that way, everyone is capable of being a profound writer.

    For me, this site is now an embarrassment of riches, so many wonderful minds and voices, it’s more than I could’ve hoped for!!!

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Great comment, Adlib! (As usual!!)

      I especially liked your reference to those of us who have never written anything more than mostly one-liners over at HP. I looked back at my first post here and laughed, remembering how hesitant I was to hit that “publish” button. At the time, I thought that surely the editors here would never allow my drivel on such a sophisticated site.

      Quite to the contrary, you and all the others have been nothing but encouraging! I am finding a NEED to write now! I want to tell everyone what I think…simply because I know it will be met with that respect and civil conversation. I find myself craving the exchange of views and look forward to every new post from the other members.

      True, this is a place of riches, speaking both to our deepest beliefs and to the humorous in our lives. But this should not be an embarrassment at all! Let us relish these riches and the wonderful diversity of thought found here!

    • KQuark says:

      Honesty that’s the word I was looking for in my post when talking about mutual respect. We have to be honest not only with each other but with ourselves.

  7. bitohistory says:

    A common thread in all these comments on your post abby, have said something about “learning”! So many of the articles posted are source and linked that they are all like mini theme papers with footnotes. sometimes over whelming in one day for this old brain.

    As far as editing on this site, the only time I have seen it is when some articles get close to where it may close to copyright infringement. I think most people, after a short time, have learned to be careful. When I first posted an article I asked to be edited! I was refused! It is a bit scary not to have something read by someone before it is published.

    Concerning “intruders/trolls. I have only seen 3 (I think) since I have been here since October. The other day was the the only time that I know of where the comment was removed. I think the best thing to do is everyone vote down and if it continues hit “Report Comment”. Something I have yet done.

    Inadequate? Newbie? Let us be the judge of that, Abby :-) Your articles are good and thoughtful, Abby. I spent 25+ years as a carpenter where my written vocabulary consisted of “2X4/2X6….And now I am trying to add some thing. I use spell check and edit for every other word and comment. I may be the least literate person here so don’t think I don’t feel inadequate.
    Keep posting Abby!

    • boomer1949 says:


      But the other day was fun wasn’t it? :-)

      Except I missed a bunch, and now it’s gone. I believe we had one yesterday, and I found it amusing that the nicer we were, the more uncomfortable “it” was — and then poof!

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Oh damn it! I can’t believe I missed it, especially in light of the fact that I was here ALL DAY!

      • Khirad says:

        For shame! I missed such fun?

      • bitohistory says:

        boomer, I wasn’t here yesterday (the owner of the laptop acted like it was theirs all day :-) ) What post were they on? If they join the conversations and answer questions it is interesting. Don’t just “dish and dash.” Like Adlib says we welcome all POV’s. Just follow the rules!
        I had one on one of my posts and I did nothing with their comments (3?). They were on topic and not personal but did look like talking points from redstate or foxnation. They left after a few good questions when as to explain.
        I imagine as we get more members we will see more “intruders/abusers.” Seems a give away is when all of a sudden they post a comment without an introduction.

    • abby4ever says:

      What a lovely reply.

      I think you yourself had better keep posting, too. And, just as you have said to me, let us be the judge.

      Thank you, bitohistory.

  8. abby4ever says:

    Thank you so much, java, for your kind words. What I meant by contributing virtually nothing is that I’ve only done two articles, compared to how many other posters do or have done, and the articles themselves are not rigorous, as theirs are. These things take time.

    Yes, minds can be changed on sites like these, isn’t it neat? I mean the exposure we get to so many differing views. And the expertise. Or, sometimes, just that one little thing that someone writes that stays with you…and then the light pops on, and you understand something you didn’t understand before.

  9. Emerald1943 says:

    Good morning, abby!

    I am so glad to see your article today! I, like you, was filled with trepidation at the prospects of publishing something. But I have found that the reception I received from everyone here gave me so much courage to continue. I never really thought I had that much to say about anything, or that anyone would be interested in reading it.

    I would have to agree with javaz’s comment about your contributions to the site! Your comments are always wonderful to read…free flowing thoughts! Sometimes those are the best! Please don’t stop!

    Every member here is an asset to the Planet! I would bet everyone would agree with me that you are a great one! I look forward to reading more! I’m so glad you are here with us!

    My best to you, lady!

    • abby4ever says:

      I was going to thank the person, in the article itself, who suggested that I post it as an article, but I was worried that if it was badly received, that itself would reflect badly on that person. Do you know what I mean, Emerald?

      LOL !!!

      Thank you for the kind words.


  10. Tiger99 says:

    Hi Abby,
    I have been stopping by to read here for quite some time and just recently started to post… It has been refreshing to see so many opinions that you can learn from here and to be allowed to participate in the discussion without censorship or attacks on the person… I am looking forward to 2010 here at the planet…

    • abby4ever says:

      Yes, tiger, the relief of not being censored, is very great. That word filter at hp always makes me feel as if I am posting in a dictatorship.

      And the freedom from attacks, especially the personal ones, is wonderful.

      I think most everyone here is just more grown up than at other places.

      In any case, it’s a lovely site.

  11. boomer1949 says:

    Hi abby,

    I’ve not been here much longer than you, and I feel exactly the same way. Although, I’ve expressed concern about my inadequacies, by not being able to keep up with our more eloquent and well-informed contributors, our Planeteer family has been beyond supportive.

    I view this as an opportunity for me to learn new things, think outside the proverbial box, and just hang out with some very, very nice people, yourself included.

    I consider it an honor to be in the company of everyone here at the Planet.

    • abby4ever says:

      Oh boomer, if I were you I wouldn’t worry about inadequacies. I enjoy your posts so much, I imagine most here do.

      I do understand what you mean about the Planeteer family being supportive. It has been far easier here, for me, anyway, to be new than it ever was at hp or even FRT. I could say more but perhaps that’s enough.

      • abby4ever says:

        Addendum to boomer: And I don’t mean that you do have inadequacies but your posts make up for them, either. I mean: there is nothing inadequate about your posts. On the contrary…

        Just want to be sure you don’t misunderstand my words.

        • boomer1949 says:

          Oh my dear, I certainly don’t misunderstand. I believe you are most sincere, generous, and extremely well-informed. Me, the only thing I have going for me is my age :-)

  12. javaz says:

    Nice post, abby, but I strongly disagree with one of your statements:

    “Even though I

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