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zootliberal On February - 13 - 2011

I received an interesting reply to my final email sent just before I removed myself from HP. The cynical me might think this only came because of days of users abandoning that site, but let’s give this moderator the benefit of the doubt, and deem her reply sincere.

Here is a recap of our exchange thus far, if she responds to my reply I shall post it then:

Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 4:20 PM
Huffpost Username: zootliberal

3 years, 1300 some odd fans, and I get banned from commenting because I tried to tell some friends about a another blog. Ironically I had elected to stay here while keeping my options open. Telling friends at the other site not to be so strident in their objections to the merger. So much for 3 years of reasonable posts, where I had many conservative friends despite being liberal. I hope it was worth it for you, apparently nobody here has read “The Tipping Point” I would have said good luck, but now I hope your whole enterprise fails. You broke my heart.


Okay, a bit melodramatic, but today I received this reply:

From: Stephanie Vaughn Hapke
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2011 23:14:10 -0800
To: (zootliberal)
Subject: Re: banned from commentingHello,

Your account was not banned, it was suspended for 24 hours. Furthermore, it was not done as a result of sharing another website, but rather your spamming of that message, along with the blatant obfuscation to try and conceal the other site’s name.
We define spamming as posting the same comment multiple times to the same or different article. Spammed comments are always removed, as are complaints about moderation. These two factors were the cause of your suspension.
I see that you have self removed at this point. If you change your mind and would like to come back, please let me know. If you do, you will once again need to abide by our posted comment guidelines.

Stephanie Vaughn Hapke
User Support Specialist
Huffington Post Moderation Team

To which I replied:

From: (zootliberal)
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2011 14:38:46 -0800
To: Stephanie Vaughn Hapke
Subject: Re: banned from commenting

Hi Stephanie,

Thank you for replying, I am sure you have been very busy, so I do appreciate it.

I am not sure it would have made a difference, but the message I received simply stated that I was banned from commenting. No mention of the 24 period. That I felt the need to employ “blatant obfuscation” in passing on a useful link to my friends was of course in direct response to HP’s blatant censorship. If you doubt me, please note your email indicated as much, off-handedly stating “complaints about moderation” are “always removed.” Why would HP censor such complaints?

In case your defense might be there that were other channels – links to suggestions, & tips etc. – available for such complaints, note I availed myself of those numerous times. Always polite with my suggestions, always acknowledging what a difficult job it must be to moderate a site with millions of users, and almost always ignored. Almost, because about a year ago I suggested that when a comment is flagged ‘pending’ and later deemed suitable that it be placed at the top of the list of comments, instead of posted – and often buried pages deep – according to the time submitted. I thought this hampered discourse, and discourse is why many of us commented there. Indeed, eventually, and especially in the last couple months, discourse became difficult and frustrating. I did receive a reply that this suggestion would be considered, but its consideration obviously had no effect. At least I received a reply.

As for returning to HP, perhaps, though it’s doubtful. You won’t see my avatar at CNN, USA Today, or any of the other purportedly political neutral news sites either. I came to Huffington Post because it leaned left, because it offered those on the left a chance to have our voices heard by a large audience. The right wing has more than their fair share of similar outlets, so it was refreshing to have HP, for awhile at least. The other night, on the Bill Maher show, Arianna confirmed what we all were thinking when she stated that Huffington Post is “95% entertainment, and 5% political.” Like so many of your ardent and long time commenters, I didn’t come there for the entertainment. I didn’t complain about it either, and often enjoyed it, but there are an abundance of entertainment sites. I want a site that speaks for the left, that calls out the r/w propaganda machine on its lies. Forgive me if I thought that was the main mission of Huffington Post, and not entertainment, am I obviously slow and rather naïve.

I believe HP missed an opportunity, and perhaps the editors can make amends. May I suggest that instead of banning (even temporarily) users sharing such sites as PlanetPOV, you should investigate and maybe write an article on them, as places where people might go for further discourse. Sites such as PlanetPOV are not HP’s competition Stephanie. May I extend a personal invitation for you to join us, see what we are saying about HP, join in the discussion, argue with us for goodness sakes, your comments aren’t limited to 400 some odd words, or censored. And that wasn’t a criticism of HP. Millions of users, and tens of thousands of commenters necessitates some sort of system to keep things organized. Indeed. except for the heavy handed moderation – and the way “level 2 mods” learned to game the system – HP has perhaps the best commenting system on the web.

Once again, thank you for the reply.



The subtext here is that perhaps PlanetPOV could prove a valuable adjunct to such sites as HP/AOL, overtly, where users could go to really get down and dirty with the important political topics of the day. I have no idea how such a partnership might be engineered, but it’s worth thinking about. Yeah, I’m a dreamer, but can’t we all get along – lol.

Written by zootliberal

Progressive and friggin' proud of it.

1,518 Responses so far.

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  1. I still have not gotten a reply to my request (three weeks ago?) that HP stop sending me notices of new articles. Apparently, you have to manually unsubscribe from the notices before you delete your account (or before you get banned).

    However, Gmail now classifies these notices as Spam, so it’s all good.

  2. foxisms says:

    Your mock up is a work of art!
    I’m brushing up against some really creative people here and very happy about it.
    Just goes to show how positive a’ role free speech and a little latitude can play in an online community.

  3. gmb007 says:

    Zoot, your spoof front page of HuffPost is OUTSTANDING!! Totally love it! Keep up the great work. :)

  4. bettybp says:

    Thanks everyone, for making the planet such a great place -- I really like it here!

    • jdmn17 says:


      It’s pretty awesome here isn’t it? I got here about 12 days ago and there are some really amazing people here.

      And friendly? Hell, even the conservatives here are chipper. So far :-)

      Have fun

  5. AdLib says:

    From Gawker:

    Arianna’s Mandatory Cult Meetings

    Ryan Tate — Arianna Huffington for many years sought to downplay the extent of her involvement in the Movement For Spiritual Inner Awareness, a cult ex-members described as sexually and financially exploitive in a series of Los Angeles Times exposés in the 1980s and 1990s.

    During her then-husband’s 1994 U.S. Senate run, the Greek-born socialite claimed movement founder John-Roger (pictured with her at a 2004 book party, left) was a mere friend, and pictures of him holding her daughter were ordered withheld from the group’s newspaper, the editor later said. But the Huffington Post editor-in-chief is an ordained “Minister Of Light” in the group and once described John-Roger to Interview as her “way-shower.”

    John-Roger is depicted as a paranoid leader who secretly wires each room in Insight headquarters with a microphone connected to his office, who taps the phones, and who warns that his critics “had been infected by a powerful and contagious negative force known as the Red Monk,” a spirit of whom members were terrified. He removed “negative entities” in a popular “exorcism-like” ceremony known as the “Super II’s,” organized hours-long “Prana Awareness Trainings” involving “repeatedly answering a simple question,” and organized followers into a complex hierarchy, including a Melchizedek Priesthood and an inner, elite circle of attractive young male ministers known as “the Guys.”

    The LA Times said one of these favored sons was among at least three close John-Rogers associates who said they had sex with him “as an important spiritual favor:”

    Lots more here and in other Gawker articles about Arianna, a real treasure trove there:


  6. bettybp says:

    New Friends/Old Friends:

    Hi, am new today, and hoping to see many of my old huffpo friends here – I miss you guys!

    • intotheabyss says:

      Welcome! I’ve only been here for about 10 days. A lot of former HP people have just arrived as well. It’s a refreshing change from the growing insanity back “there”. Glad you decided to join us.

    • celere says:

      Welcome, bettybp! There are lots of us newbies here. It’s so benign and pleasant compared to HP, takes some getting used to. 😉

  7. intotheabyss says:

    Wow. I just read the Gawker post about Arianna’s cult. That pretty much explains everything. She’s a total manipulator. As others here have stated, it was easy to get sucked in to the site. It did become addictive. Now we know it was all in the master plan. Scary. I haven’t felt any desire to go back there in the two weeks since I left. I guess it’s like quitting any addiction. Cold turkey usually works best.

    • coffeegod says:

      I’m pretty lost without my daily update on Gwennie’s latest cleanse or the latest propaganda post about nutrition.

      * shudder *

      Ye ghods, what a memory. I’m much better now.

    • Khirad says:

      Think of us as a nicotine patch and methadone all in one!

    • Truth says:

      intotheabyss: rather scary stuff, isn’t it. Did you read up on the sect too? There are some reports on the net from ex-members. It’s a long time ago when I read that, so I have no links. However, I suggest we could start to collect reference material of all sorts under the Action Tab/Reference. I asked the admins if this is meant for things like that, am currently waiting for the answer.

      • intotheabyss says:

        I haven’t read up on the sect yet. From the article on Gawker it sounds pretty typical of a cult. Mind control is what they’re all about. I hope Stephen Colbert’s bit calls more attention to the hidden motivations of Ms.H. She’s garnered a lot of credibility for herself and it will probably take a concerted effort to turn that around. I like the idea of an article we can all contribute to.

        • Truth says:

          Mind control -- you sum it up very well. And yes, I’m determined not to let her get away with the millions AND the good reputation. But one step after the other…. If we all work on it, that should be pretty good!

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      Steven Colbert gave Ariana a Wag of the Finger, last night. He got in some pretty good jabs.

      • celere says:

        Really glad to hear this, KT. We can’t just suffer in silence. The situation needs wider attention.

        • KillgoreTrout says:

          No suffering here. If the Gestapo type censorship at HP hadn’t existed, I would have never been directed to The Planet.
          This place is just miles above HP. HP now resembles Politico, with all the right wingers.

      • Truth says:

        KT, good, but not enough! The silence of the left is deafening, really.
        We thought of writing a post together about all that crap -- deygirl said she’s start it. Let’s see how the dynamic develops when we start on that….

  8. Truth says:

    @deygirl: It would sure be excellent if you want to start it. You could also ask AdLib to help you in setting it up if you feel like?
    My media button is now finally there and working in my dashboard, so I’m currently in the learning process to upload a picture…. Great to meet you!

    • deygirl says:

      Gotta go to work, so remind me, kay? I’ll be under my bed. Throw a spider after me, should scare me out of there in a big effing hurry.

      • Truth says:

        Oh my! You think I’m that cruel? Nah! If you feel like starting the thing, do it -- if not, ok too! If you want any assistance or whatever, just ask. No worries, this will work out just fine.

  9. bettybp says:

    Hey, Boomer! -- glad to see, am looking forward to getting reacquainted with everyone!

  10. BigDogMom says:

    Welcome bettybp!

  11. escribacat says:

    Hey Betty, Welcome!!

  12. chasethis says:

    Welcome, bettybp! Would we recognize you under a different name, or are you bettybp at HP, as well?

    • bettybp says:

      yes to your hp question! thanks chasethis, glad to see you here -- will take me a bit to get used to getting through this site, as I’m somewhat computer challenged, but it looks great so far.

  13. boomer1949 says:

    Welcome to The Planet bettybp! Happy you found us! :smile:

  14. deygirl says:

    Posted two comments at Huffy {[spit}} yesterday. One stated that the banks’ part in the meltdown was not as big a danger to the country as Thomas’ betrayal of the country in the Citizens United case.

    The other stated that Obama had been destroying the country since the 1950s.

    Guess which one was deleted.

    • jdmn17 says:


      I am enjoying the Huff {[spit]} stuff

      You Canadians may be a bit of a pain with your cheery attitude and national health care but I do like your sense of humor

      • deygirl says:

        I’m an Oregonian who happened to find Corner Gas when it briefly graced our airwaves.

        thanks for the kind words. :)

        • jdmn17 says:

          So an honorary one. Americans are rarely that polite and gracious :-)

          I am half Canadian on my dad’s side. It was hard to deal with getting close to it as my dad was an asshole but I’ve managed to get through it. Love my Canadian cousins in Quebec and am making progress on my French.

          Corner Gas sounds like a gas -- I’ll sic my son on finding some DVD’s

          PS. My son loves Oregon. Think he’d move there in a second

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      Good to see you deygirl. Welcome to The Planet.

    • boomer1949 says:

      Welcome to The Planet deygirl!

    • BigDogMom says:

      Afternoon dey, gee, let me guess, give me a minute, why’d you have to make is so hard! 😛

      • deygirl says:

        I’m just wicked that way. 😉

        • BigDogMom says:

          How you doing, taking some time for yourself I hope? Being a caregiver is not any easy job, takes it’s toll after a while if you don’t step away sometimes.

          • deygirl says:

            Looks like I’ve found a sunny beach to relax on, here.

            I miss when my son lived with me and could spell me. Since my siblings are “too busy” to pitch in, I sometimes feel overwhelmed. That’s when I pitch a good tantrum (I quit! I’m to old! I’m too little! It’s not FAIR!) and get back in the trenches.

            You guys have been my salvation.

            • jdmn17 says:

              Dey girl

              I am the sole responsible for my 87 year old mother. She’s up and around but needs someone looking in on her, doing the cooking etc. Thankfully my son helps out as well. My younger sister has MS and can’t help. The other one lived far to the south. The two times a year she comes through is a living hell as she makes up for her guilt my micromanaging anything and everything, when she leaves town my son and I breath a sigh of relief. I am sort of dreading when he’s done with school and heads out on his own.

    • Orcas Island says:

      Why either would be deleted is fkn annoying.

    • Truth says:

      Since the …. (I don’t want to spit) is so progressive the answer is clear….

      • deygirl says:

        It’s just virtual spit. 😉

        It’s hilarious on Corner Gas, because whenever anyone says the name of the other town, EVERYONE spits without even thinking about it, and keeps talking like it’s normal.

        • Khirad says:

          The reason I watch that show whenever it comes on:


          • Truth says:

            Khirad, you’re another person who seems to know just about everything? I’m floored! See you later, I need to get a close-up view from my bed now.

          • Truth says:

            Khirad -- thanks God I have no TV! I can’t tell one of those songs and vids from the other, thanks anyway. My reason to be there however is spiritual and my other language is Swiss German, not Hindi….

            What is the meaning of Indophile?

            • Khirad says:

              Ah, ashram thing?

              Indophile means a lover of things Indian, including Bollywood in all its cheesetastic glory. But that song was from a Telugu film because I forgot Bangalore is Kannada (the scripts throw me, it’s the difference between Hindi and Marathi).

              Oh my God, Schwyzerdütsch? Hochdeutsch is no use!

          • deygirl says:

            She is drop-dead gorgeous. How effing unfair that there’s no eye candy for us straight gals?

        • Truth says:

          Why not….. i live in India and when they spit it’s not all that virtual….

          • deygirl says:

            Where in India? My dad was from Nagpur. My mother (who is white) attributes all of my idiosyncrasies to my Bengali genes. 😉

            • Khirad says:

              I notice you’re in Indian silicon valley there. Coincidence?

              I’m an Indophile, took a few years of Hindi. But here’s something more appropriate to Bangalore. :-)

              I should call you सच from now on. 😉

            • Truth says:

              I’m in the South near Bangalore. Good to know about your dad, so I know you can relate to India.

              ***Edit: Although you said your family life was very difficult. I can imagine that it had to do with the 2 entirely different cultures.

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