*edit, August 13, 2013 – This edit includes the bottom of post email I received and just now read. I had just copied and pasted its contents when I clicked on my Disqus and discovered that a backlog of my disappeared CD posts had been released. I was just about to email CD to invite them to subscribe to my blog, laugh out loud! I violated, unintentionally, their rule about self promotion when, in frustration, I tossed in a link to my blog, earlier. This was out of frustration and in the middle of my furious posting to see if anything could get through. I have no idea what’s going on here and I will not delete this post. I might be (partly) wrong about staff and their intentions, but I made the right call based on the facts as I knew them. And, instead of going through all of this again, should I truly get banned, in the future and in similar (unwarranted) circumstance, then I’ll just point people to this post. So there.
The following comes off of the Common Dreams website:
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We welcome your comments on our articles, as long as they are respectful, relevant and civil in tone. We do not pre-moderate comments. However, in order to maintain this site as a trusted and useful resource, we reserve the right to remove any post that does not comply with our Comment Policy, or simply is not in keeping with our editorial standards for civility.
October 2012 Update: Spam Filter May Capture Legitimate Comments…
Any commenter who ignores our policies may be banned permanently and without notice.
We may delete any comment that contains:
Slander, personal attacks or abusive, hateful, offensive, or racist language or material.
Spam or links to spam (repeated attempts to redirect readers to another website are considered spam).
Comments off-topic to the article.
All capital letters.
Intentionally inflammatory rhetoric.
Links to inappropriate or unrelated content.
Identical, repetitive comments posted on multiple articles.
Excessively long URLs
Personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc.
Blatantly promotional content.
Reproduced copyrighted articles from other sources: provide a link only.
More than 1,000 words. Text continued to another post to bypass the 1000-word limit will be deleted.
— When a comment is deleted for violation of these policies any underlying ‘children’ in the thread of comments are also automatically deleted. When an account is deleted all past comments are automatically deleted.
— Common Dreams will delete the account and ban the IP address of any commenter (person) found using multiple aliases under multiple e-mail addresses in a deceptive manner.
Our comment section is provided for readers’ opinions. The staff and the board of Common Dreams do not fact-check the statements posted here, and do not necessarily agree with the opinions.
Disclaimer: Common Dreams, Inc. is not responsible for injury or liability to any reader or commenter resulting from the content posted on the site, or from comments posted by readers, that may be viewed as offensive, misleading, inaccurate, illegal, or otherwise unsuitable.
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It appears that CD has changed its tune somewhat in regard to censoring. Somewhere on the site, probably where the above information is laid out, CD once stated in plain English that it didn't censor. Ever. (As an aside, Reading over its commenting policy, now, I am tempted to ask, How can you censor and not censor at the same time? I am all for responsible management, but not abuse. I’m not a fan of power trippers. And you signal that your intentions are not good when you power trip.) Censoring is one thing. Moderating and weeding out grenade-type posts is another. I agree with responsible management of the site, which could necessitate blocking trouble makers. But then again, I have good intentions. I wouldn’t use a policy like CD’s to block someone whose intentions are good, doesn’t attack people (with malice for sure) but has opinions about things that are sometimes different than mine. (And not having the commenting policy perfectly memorized would not qualify a poster who slipped a little, say in regard to long posts, as someone with bad intentions.) I wouldn’t block a reader whose main purpose was to object, without even using foul language, to those who abuse power, even if they believed ‘I’ was doing so, unless I had reason to believe they were insincere and intended only to disrupt the discourse enjoyed by all. I – my views – am out there, online in various forums and in my blog. And I can be spoken with. You can know, fully, my intentions.
"However, in order to maintain this site as a trusted and useful resource, we reserve the right to remove any post that does not comply with our Comment Policy, or simply is not in keeping with our editorial standards for civility."
Your standards, CD, are not altogether different, apparently, than the standards of the fascist United States government, which heaps praise on itself and always has the noblest intentions, by fiat. But you can't question the corporatist state. You can't know what it's doing. And learning about what you see it doing takes a lot of risky investigative work. The difference between that and the Common Dreams that is coming into view is in degrees.
Common Dreams isn’t going to disappear me along with my posts the way that its government, under the right circumstances, would. And shunning isn’t as bad as being hated and treated accordingly by a lawless, vicious elite and its political machine (controlling police, security orgs, the justice system and everything) comprised of individuals who believe in inequality and ‘riches for the strongest’ and whose idea of democracy, freedom and choice is evident in the way that you are free to agree with them and support them or else. But, If CD does the former because, in fact, it’s in alignment with those who would do the latter, then the degrees don’t matter. As Jesus Christ said, “He who is faithful in what is least is also faithful in what is much.” It’s the principle of the thing. Which is the point that Alexander Abdo and Patrick Toomey make about the US government’s justifications for its criminal behavior in regard to surveilling American citizens. “If you emailed a friend, family member or colleague overseas today (or if, from abroad, you emailed someone in the US), chances are that the NSA made a copy of that email and searched it for suspicious information. The NSA appears to believe this general monitoring of our electronic communications is justified because the entire process takes, in one official’s words, “a small number of seconds”… That is not how the fourth amendment works. Whether the NSA inspects and retains these messages for years, or only searches through them once before moving on, the invasion of Americans’ privacy is real and immediate. There is no “five-second rule” for fourth amendment violations: the US constitution does not excuse these bulk searches simply because they happen in the blink of an eye.” (See “The NSA is turning the internet into a total surveillance system,” which I came across on Common Dreams, and which I posted a couple comments to that were promptly disappeared/ blocked.) Disagree with them about their war on terror and you’re a terrorist. But they’re not terrorists – because they say so. What they do isn’t terrifying, because that isn’t how they’d describe their behavior.
Common Dreams states: “We understand that to assure a meaningful participation by all in democracy we must maintain a free press – providing reliable information, critical thought and creative ideas.” What critical ideas of mine rub CD managers, or their friends in high places, the wrong way, I wonder? I guess it’s one thing when CD refuses to be bullied into bullying its readers and points to its policy concerning liability in defense of its position. But it’s another thing when they take instructions or advice from those they consider allies, who may not like the views of a reader like myself. “Common Dreams, Inc. is not responsible for injury or liability to any reader or commenter resulting from the content posted on the site, or from comments posted by readers, that may be viewed as offensive, misleading, inaccurate, illegal, or otherwise unsuitable.”
As for my standards, I don't deserve to be banned from a truly progressive organization. And I'm aware that I'm not part of the Common Dreams organization, but stated the matter that way as a form of shorthand. I'm banned from being a part of the community – some whom are truly agents of chaos (like fakefakefake, MountainMan23, gardnernorcal and others). At any given time, those participants can be found saying reasonable things. But out of the blue those individuals attacked me like rabid dogs. And if participants, and staff of Common Dreams and any visitors looking in don't notice or forgot soon after they did, "I" noticed.
And what’s with this?: “More than 1,000 words.” may get you banned. Why? I, and others, often post long posts. There is even a feature that folds the long posts so that they aren’t an eyesore. You get a banner on a folded post that says ‘read more’, which you can do or not. Will CD enable us or power trip to defend special interests? I don’t think much about it when I post. I am concentrating on building the post. I love discussion and blogging. It forces me to research and I learn in the process. I like learning and teaching. Is that a problem? If long posts are a problem for CD, then, instead of forcing us to count our words or risk suddenly being flushed down the toilet for our efforts – and certainly we in the 99% don’t have oodles of free time that allows us to easily slough off losing hours to a sudden pulling of the plug by some overseer following some rule that we are not focussed on – then make it impossible to write an overly long post. Lots of websites do that. Or is that not any fun?
If anyone would like to get an idea of what my standards are, just read my blog. As of this writing, there are 432 posts on it. You should get an idea about me after reading through them.
You can get an idea what some of CD’s key staff think from their own featured articles. I’m not the only one who has disagreed with, and even found statements made by, for example, Abby Zimet, problematic. Which is fine. I’ve agreed with, rather than disagreed with, most of what she’s written – and that has been important information and very welcome righteous indignation. So, To give credit where it’s due, some CD staff (notably Abby Zimet and Jon Queally) are sort of visible. Sort of. For there is no interaction between them and readers of CD’s accepted articles and no opportunity to engage them and ask them hard, and easy, questions. Who are those key staff? I can only introduce you to them. They are (at the time of this posting):
“When an account is deleted all past comments are automatically deleted.” Well, What do you call it when you can no longer post to ‘any’ articles in Common Dreams, but you still see your old approved, or is that ‘not disappeared’, posts?
“We do not pre-moderate comments.” A few minutes ago I posted a comment, one sentence long I think, that, rather than appear and then disappear, appeared along with an ‘awaiting moderation’ message. Whatever. The post I tossed in was in response to another poster who asked the question How could anyone not see that Barack Obama is a liar? I simply stated: How could anyone ‘who pays attention’ not see that Obama is a liar is the question that answers itself.
“Any commenter who ignores our policies may be banned permanently and without notice.” Did they mean ‘permanently annoyed’? Maybe CD just doesn’t want to delete me. “Let’s force feed him with ‘awaiting moderation’ messages and by letting him see his old messages,” could be their thinking. So… Moderate this, CD.
* A day or two later after the above post, in my inbox, I get: