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MurphTheSurf3 On June - 12 - 2014

Home Sweet Home


After Huffington Post moved its comment platform to Facebook, many HP bloggers felt lost and homeless.  For a number of us, that is no longer so.

In the last two weeks a group of former HP posters called upon their knowledge of various blogging sites to create the following cluster of recommendations for the consideration of  those who were searching for another place to blog as good as the old HP.

We ended up recommending that HP posters look to the Daily Kos and PlanetPOV as places to call home and three sources for basic info.  In summary:

1) Daily Kos, is a city sized-site with a huge number of members, posts and options. It is an independent Progressive site that provides some of its own reporting, is very supportive of its bloggers and also encourages and integrates the opportunity for community activism.

2) PlanetPOV, is a neighborhood sized site founded by ex-HP bloggers with a tighly knit but open and welcoming community. It is an independent, Progressive site that has precisely refined features and options and allows members to post articles on their front page

We also suggested using McClathchy, Al Jazeera and Huffington Post as info bases.

How did we make these selections?
By using these criteria to guide our search.  The sites we were looking for need to be, have or contain….

a) A number of levels of interaction open to its members from just reading along, to commenting, to writing one’s own articles, to setting up special interest groups, to sending messages to members in an internal e mail system.

b) Highly reliable, dependably functional, logically structured with an established and positive track record

c) Transparent in its operations allowing new members to find their way around with easy to access guidance/help and a bit of practice.

d) Having a sufficient number of members to provide a large enough base for frequent engagement and enough diversity in the membership so that one is both supported and challenged.

e) A community environment where interaction is encouraged and facilitated.

f) As close to being free of the kind of corporate decision making that makes the blog’s primary purpose money making or that sets the blogs political and social agenda to favor a particular ideology, party etc. The preference is for a blog largely run by trusted fellow bloggers on an independent platform.

g) Without the limitations imposed by pre-publication standards that many label censorship. In other words the blog must stand by the principles and practice of free and open expression.

h) Protecting anonymity. No automatic links to any social media. No requirement that one have a verified social media outlet. Screen names and images of ones own choosing.

Where did the criteria lead us? No blog met all of the criteria completely but we think our selections came close to what we wanted.


1) Daily Kos  http://www.dailykos.com/  A city sized blog.

The site is enormous, diverse but still easily navigated with a bit of guidance and some practice.  Daily Kos is an independent Progressive site that provides some of its own staff reporting, is very supportive of its bloggers and also encourages and integrates the opportunity for activism into its site and community.

At DK one can post articles -short, intermediate, long- that invite others to comment using a publishing tool that is very easy to use and creates very professional looking products.

There is NO pre-publication moderation of articles or comments.

The site is effective in dealing with trolling and abusive behavior.  By and large its members are well informed and they challenge nonsense in ways that seem to negate trollish culture.

Several former HP posters created a Group there for us on June 7, 2014. PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community It is serving as a place to orient new users, answer questions, provide guidance and encourage interaction.  It will also serve as place to gather and make contact with ease.

2) Planet POV http://planetpov.com/  A neighborhood size blog.

The Planet has a medium sized community founded by former HP bloggers several years ago with a tightly knit but open and welcoming community. Planet POV is an independent, Progressive site that has precisely refined features and options. It allows members to post articles on their front page.

The site has less traffic than Daily Kos but it is of high quality focusing on several unique features. There is a lively front page where member articles are in the spotlight. A open discussion page – Time Out for Off Topic invites ad hoc conversations. Other features worth noting: Friday evening Live Chat- Vox Populi, special event Live Chats, the Saturday Music Thread, the Sunday Funnies.

It is easy to navigate. The publication tool is similar to the one at Daily Kos and produces professional looking articles. Articles are submitted to administration before publication but just for technical review and publication scheduling. There are NO mysterious failures to publish or unexplained deletions.

Its commenting tool offers more options than the one at Daily Kos, including the ability to edit one’s own published comments. Comments publish immediately.

A sample post: http://planetpov.com/…

Both The Daily Kos and PlanetPOV are comfortable with cross-posting of articles.  Their format allows one to do this with  little effort.  SO one can write a piece and publish it twice increasing exposure and inviting more commentary.

Neither of these sites require links to Social Media like Facebook or identity verification procedures.

We also suggested McClathchy DC http://www.mcclatchydc.com/  And Al Jazeera English  http://america.aljazeera.com/  to serve as reliable news sources focusing on the U.S but with global outreach and balance.

To serve as a News and Feature Magazine with a national and international flare we suggested The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ Yeah, we were surprised too! The fact is that the site is a  comprehensive news/features aggregator with a large number of departments and features. And yes, it I also tabloid-like, but lots of people like that, a lot.

This article was cross posted to Daily Kos on June 11, 2014.

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

67 Responses so far.

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  1. James Michael Brodie says:

    Planet POV has been a Godsend for me. It has given me the chance to share ideas in an adult manner with people who are thinking about issue, not merely reacting.

    HP did not always give me that.
    Yahoo gives nothing but Fox talking points and a lot of hate.
    Most other sites are no better.
    Will check out Daily Kos. Sounds promising.

    Yes, I do see POV as home, and I am looking forward to more reading, and more writing. I am committed to seeing this site grwo, and will do all I can to help and be a part.

    To the newbies, “Welcome.” And get ready to learn and to teach…

  2. MilesLong says:

    My hope is that the failure of HP and other sites will allow the membership here to grow into sufficient size so that the kind of cogent, effective, and fun (especially when opposing views collide) dialogue that made the early incarnation of HP the vital community it was.

    Moreover, a community of all like-minded participants cannot grow intellectually. It will be interesting if more posters from the Right eventually make their way here…less the more idiotic trolls (Left, Right and Whatever) that so often leave a bad enough taste in one’s mouth to turn a site into an online ghost town. Let’s hope that any of the few remaining Eisenhower Republicans find this place, for example. {wink}

    Miles “To Be Continued…” Long

  3. sillylittleme says:

    Thanks to all who have helped to make the transition from HP. Just to make matters more confusing I have a different moniker on DKos, ditsylilg. I did keep my avatar for those who are visual. I had an account from ’09 at DKos and will be reworking my three diaries as they are still relevant today.

    Looking forward to reading articles here and reading and responding to the comments.

  4. Beatriz09 says:

    First, I would like to thank MurphTheSurf and the HP for having contacted me and for the information about PlanetPOV, site I didn’t know and that I’m very happy to discover.

    That being said, as a former ‘HP community pundit’, I profoundly regret the transformation of the absolutely unique HP comment system into an ordinary FB comment system.

    The HP had a LOT of things that other sites cannot possibly offer, but to me one of its main assets was the fact that it was a site that wanted to be progressive but was founded, paradoxically, by a former Republican. As a result, it attracted all kinds of progressive posters AND a lot of conservative posters, which means that real debates among people who think very differently were perfectly possible, and that’s EXACTLY what you need to create a more vibrant democracy.

    Its second biggest asset was the comment system itself: well-argumented comments were put on top of all other comments, which allowed you to immediately have an overview of the main arguments pro and contra, and to build on them. Having a list of the latest comments on your posts right on the home page made it possible to continue debates with one or the other poster for days, if that’s what was necessary to fact-check your own information and to try to find out whose argument contained errors etc.

    The Daily Kos cannot possibly replace something like the former HP, for all the reasons I just mentioned.

    And even though I agree that half of the HP articles were mere tabloid pieces, the advantage of a newsblog that combines serious topics with low quality ‘entertainment’ is that it attracts much more people than a ‘serious’ newsblog could ever do, which increases the number of people reading comments on ‘serious’ articles, and as a consequence intensifies the debate among people who otherwise wouldn’t be talking to each other even more.

    Conclusion: I strongly regret the destruction of the HP comment section, and even if I’m happy to discover PlanetPOV (thanks again MurphTheSurf3!), I cannot but hope that sooner or later, Arianna (or someone else …) will become interested in using ALL possibilities of online newsblogs to improve the democratic debate among citizens again…

    In the meanwhile, I’m looking forward to continue the debate with other ‘Huffugees’ here on PlanetPOV!

    • Helloise says:

      I agree with almost everything you’ve written, Beatriz09 and it’s nice to see you here. I, too, really appreciate what Murph and his pals have done in providing such well researched guidance. But, like you, I miss certain things about the HP system, including the ability to converse in real time all the time, the opportunity to fan people specifically, the wide range of topics and yes, even the tabloid stuff that I mostly avoided but didn’t mind perusing on occasion.

      While it was wonderful to find so many really smart, well informed and people with similar world views on that site, which is true of Planet POV and Daily Kos, I also enjoyed sparring with dissenters and monitoring the tea party, NRA, etc. when they alit in droves in response to certain articles, mostly pushing exactly the same narratives or should I say, sentences.

      I do realize that some of my objections to go directly to FB are probably a reflection of my generational preferences, but it did feel like a bait and switch, as I have zero interest in that enterprise and have since its inception, despite the fact that many of my friends are users and have invited me to join. I did sign up to continue posting at HP, but have not once visited or responded to their queries.

      Anyway, I suppose HP had its reasons for the switch, but although I’m thoroughly enjoying being exposed to other worthy sites, I still find it sad that they took the detour most traveled on.

      • Beatriz09 says:

        Hello Helloise,

        the only thing I’d tend to disagree with is when you say that there would be something wrong with FB as an enterprise. Imho, if well used, FB can be very interesting. As far as I’m concerned, I only use it for professional purposes, and if you want to keep up with what colleagues are doing and make your own work known, it clearly has some advantages.

        But as others here already said: precisely BECAUSE your FB is (potentially) read by your employer, you cannot possibly use it to write about politics, and that’s why in my case too, starting to comment on HP articles using my FB account was completely out of question.

        In the beginning, I was hoping that the HP would realize that they had made a hugh mistake, as most community pundits cleary refused to accept the new rules of the game. But they didn’t, and even ended up entirely destroying the former comment system. Apparently, posting more tabloid articles makes them earn a lot more than maintaining the best and most democratic comment system in the world… so they decided to get rid of it…

        • Hey Beatriz09! Welcome to the Planet.

          I completely agree about FB, though I have never signed up. I don’t really have any personal need to do so. My daughter keeps up with friends on FB and she likes it for that, but she knows to be careful about what she writes.

          Anyhoo, I hope you really enjoy commenting here and you can rest assured that PPOV will do everything they can to protect your anonymity. 😉

    • monicaangela says:

      Hello Beatriz09 !!

      I’m happy to see you here. I agree with your assessment of what made HP interesting. I also like the different sections that were offered at HP sections like Religion or Art, or sections that were especially for different ethnicity’s or for the L.G.B.T. community etc. As you say, a variety of ideas from every viewpoint and discussion that helped you continue to learn when it was good, discussion that made you laugh when it was bad, and most of all, that added feature in the end that allowed you to just check the responses to your discussion displayed in the top right hand corner of the screen. That feature allowed continued discussion on a single topic for as long as the debater’s cared to discuss it.

      HP was a multi-million dollar operation, and as such was destined to be gobbled up by the corporations that used it eventually as they use every other form of media that has full contact with their consuming public, as a stage for their snake oil salesmen, or as a manner in which they try to sway the thinking public in favor of their horrible political ideas that only benefit the corporations themselves. I especially disliked how they paid posters to break up debates or change the topic of a debate, or gang up on a poster in order to frustrate them to the point where, if they were not strong in their conviction, cause them to back down or just move on to another topic. Those things became more and more obvious in the days before I decided to remove my account. That is the reason I have decided to make PlanetPOV the site I frequent, and I will continue to do so until I begin to feel uncomfortable here, or until the site begins to change in a manner that isn’t what I feel comfortable using.

      Again, welcome to PlanetPOV, I look forward to interesting discussions with you, and if you will remember, I too was a community pundit, and held every badge they assigned until I decided to have them removed. That was another feature I wasn’t very fond of. :)

      • Beatriz09 says:

        Hi monicaangela!

        Nice to meet you here, I remember you very well, it was always a pleasure to read your posts!

        I truly hope that a lot of HP community pundits (and other posters -- conservative or liberal) will discover planetPOV and turn it into some kind of ‘better HP’ …

        Looking forward to reading you!!

        Take care.

    • Nirek says:

      Beatriz09, welcome to the Planet. I too was on HP for several years. I left when AOL bought it. Been here and love the Planet ever since. I started just reading comments and then posting a comment once in a while. Now I am more comfortable with saying what I think on the Off Topic thread.

      I even write articles for the front page. I hope you will read some of them and even write your own. I took a long time to get to it because of dyslexia. I am sure it will not take you long.

      • Beatriz09 says:

        Thanks Nirek!!

        When AOL bought the HP, I was hoping for the best, which would have been more tabloid articles and because of that more traffic, and as a consequence more opportunities to talk with people you rarely meet in daily life.

        It didn’t work out that way. Precisly because the tabloid articles attracted much more visitors, the HP didn’t need its sophisticated comment system anymore in order to increase trafic (read: to give its managing board a pay rise). And its managing board clearly decided that giving themselves a pay rise was MUCH more important than contributing to a democratic revolution through the combination of well-informed articles and serious debate among hundreds of thousands of citizens. So much for its desire to be ‘progressive’ …

        Looking forward to reading you!

  5. Nirek says:

    Brothers3, I hope you find what you are looking for.
    The Planet is my home and you are welcome here. We do not have popup adds or trolls. Those always bugged me at Huffpuff.

    Regards, Nirek

    • brothers3 says:

      I was told there would be no random moderation at this site -- at least for comments which contained no blatantly offensive wording. Yet I find your response to my comment rather odd standing on its own without my comment as reference.

      You state: “We do not have popup adds or trolls. Those always bugged me at Huffpuff.”

      But what you do have is a select group of founding members who seem to exercise censorship arbitrarily when a comment doesn’t fit in with the expected pattern of thought here.

      However, my comment was a reply to Murph, so I’ll send it to his email address, with this comment as a follow-up to further let him know of my disappointment with PlanetPOV.

      My first comment, deleted. That says it all for me.

      Best wishes,

      • AdLib says:

        brothers3, your previous comment was removed because you launched into an insult of the member who wrote a post and the rest of the members here. Please read our Terms of Use, members are not permitted to attack or disparage other members.

        You can express opinions on any issue whatsoever but when that entails denigrating other members, such a comment will be removed. As you quoted, we do not suffer trolls or troll behavior and frankly, your disparaging of the entire membership and site was just that.

        The sensibility here is that we are like a neighborhood diner where everyone gathers to discuss the issues of the day but show a modicum of respect to their “neighbors”, sparring on issues but never making it personal or judging others to be lesser people.

        Your arrival here was similar to someone being invited into a neighbor’s home then proceeding to insult the house, the hosts and the rest of the guests gathered there. Then you apparently expected the mud you threw on the walls to be left there.

        In your comment, you also complained about our supporting Free Expression here and permitting our members to post articles and you used that as a launching pad to judge all of the members and the site as inferior.

        Not exactly a display of good will towards the members who contribute here and keep The Planet spinning.

        And if your reference point is HP, the site of sideboobs and Kardashians as being more substantive, we’ll have to agree to disagree on that.

        If you are looking to simply criticize the folks and admin here, then it would seem self-evident that this is probably not the right site for you.

        Otherwise, if you want to discuss your point of view on issues and have substantial conversations with some very clever and witty people…and be able to post your own articles, you are very welcome to post here.

  6. Harleigh says:

    Doesn’t anybody feel sorry for all of Arianna’s censors and editors and people that were unnecessary for the bottom line that randomly deleted our posts on behalf of trolls? Me neither.

  7. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    By way of an explanation- this “report” is the one I have been sending to HP posters who wanted to stay engaged in a really interactive platform. It is the result of the input of a dozen frequent bloggers.

  8. escribacat says:

    Hey Murph,
    A couple people (eg forpeace) have received an email, apparently from Huffington Post??, that quotes you as saying you are trying to organize some sort of alternative or that Huffington Post is trying to set up some alternative to the facebook posting. I saw the text of the email and it wasn’t clear who sent it or what it was really about. It was confusing. It gives your email address though. Forpeace was puzzled by it. Do you know anything about it?

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I know all about it.

      HP was just helping a group of us from the Pundit crowd make contact with those from HP who wanted a blogging experience that Facebook would not offer.

      The post/article here is the result of the work of that group which recommends DK and PlanetPOV as worthy choices. HP volunteered to provide a bridge between those posters and us, thus my g mail was listed. When folks contact me I sent them this report.

      AND, HP is trying to do something with blogging for its most productive posters. I don’t think it is going to go where we want but they are trying. Points for that and for the assist with contacting pundits and top commenters.


      Please pass the word on to whoever asks. There is no evil plot here. QUite the opposite.

      • escribacat says:

        Okay, thanks. I don’t think anyone thought it was an evil plot, but most of the “Huffugees” I’ve been talking to have a very low opinion of HP. I personally would question any claim of altruistic motives on their part.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Well, I understand but for me it was the action that counted and they sent out a communique to a lot of people many of whom replied to me and got this info.

          So, the works were to the good.

          Please pass this info on to those still looking for a happy home. Copy and paste or provide a link…..


  9. SearingTruth says:

    Thank you for all your hard work gentle friend MurphTheSurf3.

    “I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”
    Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776

    A Future of the Brave

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      You are welcome. Has anyone told you that you do not get an e mail alert when people leave comments at an article you wrote? You just have to keep checking back to see who is there.

      • Nirek says:

        Murph, I figured out the trick of the sidebar posts. Click on the name of the poster and it brings you right to the comment. They seem to be the most recent posts that are at the top.

        I am still exploring the Planet and find that I am getting better at navigating. Takes this old man longer than some other folks.

      • SearingTruth says:

        I just realized that a few minutes ago, thank you gentle friend MurphTheSurf3.

        “I hope we can awaken from such a long nightmare.”

        A Future of the Brave

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Just to be clear- you DO get e mail alerts if anyone replies to comments. It is only direct replies to the posts, the big articles, that the system does not alert you to.

          I have discussed this with Ad Lib and he is aware of it. It may be a Word Press limitation. Frankly, I do not find it to be a bother since it makes me read all of the comments in a thread and I get into other conversations as a result.

      • Kalima says:

        You do get email alerts when people reply, just go to Dashboard, your Profile and change your settings to allow email alerts. You can also do it by clicking under the Comment Box.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Just to be clear- you DO get e mail alerts if anyone replies to comments. I get them. Great service. It is only direct replies to the posts, the big articles, that the system does not alert you to.

          I have discussed this with Ad Lib and he is aware of it. It may be a Word Press limitation. Frankly, I do not find it to be a bother since it makes me read all of the comments in a thread and I get into other conversations as a result.

          • Kalima says:

            I get alerts to all my replies no matter whose post they are on, so you should check your email settings both here and on your computer again as they could go to your Spam Folder, or click under your Comment Box before you submit your comment.

            • Kalima says:

              Then that’s the way WP rolls, and we can’t fix that. I don’t get alerts when I post my updates on MB, it makes sense to me because it’s only set up to alert us about replies to our comments.

            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              Yep…all our replies to comments but not a direct reply to a post. I left one for myself the top of this thread in reply to the post itself that begins with “By way of an explanation- this “report” is the one I have been sending to HP posters….” more than a half hour ago and no alert. Ad and I did test this and the system gives you alerts to replies to comments but not direct comments made to the post.

  10. Kalima says:

    If I may just point out that not all articles will automatically be published on the Front Page. We have many other categories, and it depends if the subject matter/content is a current issue or not. The more personal subjects would be published under our “Speaker’s Corner” category, but still be accessible from the “Recent Posts” widget on the Front Page. The posts are also loaded automatically to Twitter on our PlanetPOV account.

    • monicaangela says:

      “Getting your house in order and reducing the confusion gives you more control over your life. Personal organization some how releases or frees you to operate more effectively.”

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Larry King

      Thank you Kalima for all of your hard work. I as a member of this site truly appreciate what you, AdLib, and others are doing to provide a home for many of us who enjoy stopping by from time to time to engage in meaningful discussion, or personal conversation which allows us to just say hello, or to express something that is on our mind that we would like to share with those who read this blog. The format is great, but I believe the time will come when a decision will have to be made as to whether this site will remain the neighborhood size blog or if it will become larger as many other blogs have. It is up to the founders to decide, my prayers are with you as you undertake this obligation.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        There is some discussion taking place around how the site needs to be ‘adjusted” organized for another generation of bloggers. We need to talk about this. As Kalima and Ad Lib so often say, the Planet is our planet.

        • monicaangela says:

          The Planet IMO is exactly as it should be. What adjustments do you feel need to be made? What type of atmosphere are you trying to create for “another generation of bloggers.”

          I remember all the adjustments that were made at HP to accommodate “another generation of bloggers,” and look at where that has led.

          I believe the way you entertain your guest depends on how you conduct things in YOUR home, not the way they may conduct things at their house/home. Those who appreciate your effort will return for other entertaining engagements, and those who don’t particularly care for the way you entertain probably won’t return and that is fine, that is the way it should be, you can’t please everybody.

          So again, what things on this site do you feel need adjusting? What changes do you feel need to be made? Let’s discuss.

      • Nirek says:

        Monica, I second everything you said!
        This Planet is like home to us.

        • monicaangela says:

          Exactly Nirek. I have remained here for just that reason. Thank you for understanding what I said, and for being one of those I feel makes this site unique.

      • Kalima says:

        Hello monicaangela, and thank you for your kind words.

        Just a reminder that The Planet is a voluntary site and we run only on donations. When and if the time comes that we feel the need to expand, we neither have nor want demanding sponsors or hedge funds 😉 financing us, so will have to cross that bridge when we come to it. It would also depend on how many people would choose to stay as regular members.

        Personally, I prefer quality over quantity.

        Take care, and see you soon.

        • monicaangela says:

          I have checked in here from time to time for quite some time, but I have yet to make a donation. I will fix that shortly. I have no idea what operating cost for this site are. I do realize you can’t continue to provide the services you do without expenditures. I also understand that expansion will require more funds than you now receive. I hope that if you do decide to expand, you will keep the members informed as to what you are doing to expand and how you feel the expansion will improve the site.

          • Kalima says:

            Hello monicaangela, and thank you for your kind offer to donate, it is very much appreciated.

            When AdLib and I can’t swing it anymore, we will of course let our members know.

            Thanks again for the offer.

            Take care and see you again soon.

            • Kalima says:

              Hello monicaangela, and many thanks for your donation, we really appreciate it.

              Take care and see you again soon.

            • monicaangela says:

              Mission accomplished on the donation, and thanks for answering my question.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          As far as funding. boy am I with you on your point of view……no corporate money…none.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Hello Kalima,

          Can you do me a favor please?

          I need to edit my article to include your blog. I missed it. I don’t know how, but I did. Mea Culpa.

          The Paragraph in question should read:

          Other features worth noting: Friday evening Live Chat- Vox Populi, special event Live Chats, the Weekend Music Thread, the Morning Blog, the Sunday Funnies.

          I would be much obliged.

  11. Hey Murph. Good choices there. I would also suggest Salon.com. They have a pretty good discussion board.

    One correction I must make, is about the PPOV music thread. It’s actually the Weekend Music Thread, although it does get published on Saturdays. A while back, it was published on Fridays, but that made it somewhat in competition with Vox Populi. The music thread is also going along well on Sundays and sometimes Mondays. 😉

  12. Dbos says:

    Excellent choices Murph; I would also recommend Disqus and Politicus.

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