Ullman Calls Me a Conspiracy Nut

First, I'm pretty sure you can't have a conspiracy of one. Just saying. Paranoia, yes. Although, I'm willing to concede that it was overzealous moderators who fawn on Ullman who won't let my comments on. It's wussy, either way.

Dana Ullman, having run out of fresh material, posted a piece on Huff about his favorite Nobel Prize winner who went wonky, Luc Montagnier, whose latest ideas have been roundly dismissed and occasionally derided as being beyond absurd.

I commented, absolutely within the guidelines, pointing out that he was appealing to authority, the material wasn't new, and that several science-based bloggers had already debunked this. It made it up long enough to get comments and then was removed because it "violated guidelines."

I'd at least posted it over at facebook as a link, where part of the comment was posted. The rest of it read if you're evidence-based, you follow the science, etc. Typical stuff.

I noticed last night it was removed, so I tried to get a couple variations up:

But no luck. Now what's so threatening? Me or Novella? I'm sure it's mostly Novella, but come on? So I asked. Authors at Huffington can moderate comments, thereby bypassing the guidelines, and if you routinely post at Huffington, you know that the moderators do not follow the guidelines. So I started asking on twitter:

Dana's response, his usual sweetness and lightness is as you see:

None of my comments appears at Dana's article. The ones I tried last night didn't get on at all. So Dana, you'll totally be complaining to Huff, right, and argue that even if it disagrees with your articles by linking to articles that rebut you, it should go on since it doesn't violate the guidelines.

I tried again this morning:

Same comment, under two profiles, and neither allowed on. As you can see*, these violate no guidelines. How do you tell something might be complete bunk? When it won't even allow criticism or rebuttals.

Ullman, this is going to be my introduction of your woo to students. Thanks.

*The guidelines can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/p/frequently-asked-question.html#moderation and read  in part:

"(I) The Huffington Post welcomes all users to join our community and to comment and treats all members of the community equally.

We do not discriminate based on the person who is posting, and we never censor comments for political or ideological reasons. We never delete an appropriate comment because we disagree with its viewpoint or ideology, and we never publish an inappropriate comment because we agree with or support its viewpoint or ideology. We also do not tolerate ad hominem attacks of any kind."

Not even this one applies,as they didn't allow the comments: "Members of the HuffPost community deserve to be free from spam, and we do not allow posting the same comment multiple times within one thread or on multiple threads." No violations, just the fear of people reading rebuttals to Ullman.


Marc Rosen said...

As you said, a conspiracy of one is NOT a conspiracy. I do believe the moderators were kissing his ass, but they tend to do that for a lot of whackjobs, not just him (hell, they allowed some real tinfoil people to post their crap on there). And to be honest, we all know that aliens don't use mind-control rays. They use anal probes to control us, and no amount of tinfoil will matter when it comes to protecting your ass!

Todd W. said...

Not surprising. I would, however, recommend including a link/quote of HuffPo's commenting policy, so your readers can see for themselves that you did not violate anything.

Ren said...

Like AoA, you should have a child paint a picture of someone with their mouth covered, or some such, and post it as a complaint to being censored... Then delete any comments critical of you too.
I mean, if we're going to play their game and all.

Sheldon said...

Right idea, wrong person.

Ullman isn't a community moderator.

And the censored comments have been very gentle.

The culprit is docmalerba and his community moderator 1 badge.

I've posted a comment and I'm sending a complaint to community-support@huffingtonpost.com

Adam said...

My experience of HuffPo's moderation policy tallies with yours. I have also posted comments in response to Ullman's drivel, and despite being completely in accordance with their moderation guidelines, they did not appear.

They may say they don't moderate posts just because they disagree, but the reality is that they do.

And that, of course, is standard practice for a great many alt-med bloggers. If you're arguing from a completely irrational point of view, the best way to win the argument is to delete any comments that disagree.

KWombles said...

Thanks, Sheldon. Authors do have some ability to delete or approve comments, regardless of moderator status, but I willingly concede it may have been a moderator alone.

Certaoin authors on Huff I can not get my comments on no matter what the comments say.

Clay said...

There was a really interesting discussion of HuffPo's censorship recently on AlterNet, under the subject of AOL buying out HuffPo. It seems that people are leaving HP in droves now, and coming to AlterNet for serious discussions.

Sheldon said...

I wrote Huff-Po and amazingly, I got a response.

I jumped the gun with an apology comment as I thought the response cleared docmalerba.

But it does explain the moderation process better.

I've put the response up at my blog