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HuffingtonPost facing a dilemma: Too many comments

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September 08, 2005

HuffingtonPost facing a dilemma: Too many comments

Stephen Baker

The downside of moderated comments: Humans are slow. Arianna Huffington tells me that HuffingtonPost, the meta blog she established in May, has a backlog of 15,000 comments to the site's 400-odd blogs. She says that volunteers are wading through the comments and posting as many as they can. But they can't keep up.

02:52 PM

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? Managed blog services? Do you need them? from Weblogs Work

Arianna Huffington sounds like she does. The HuffingtonPost has backlog of 15,000 comments waiting to be moderated. This may not be such a crisis for Arianna, but what do businesses do?

... [Read More]

Tracked on September 8, 2005 10:32 PM

HuffingtonPost: Arianna’s Pink-Collar Sweatshop? from

BizzyBlog’s Opinion: Wealthy conservative-turned-liberal Arianna Huffington is exploiting the good will of some of those involved with HuffingtonPost by not paying them, either because she can get away with it, or because she has to show a profi... [Read More]

Tracked on September 12, 2005 06:31 AM

I understand the whys but moderation really slows down the conversation as I've mentioned before. You are fairly quick but I noticed the message for comments on BW articles says it could take days...or something to that effect. Might as well just go back to snail mail and letters :-)

I think the best method is where someone has to provide a valid email address and click a link to verify the comment like you'll find here...

I presume all the Weblog Inc. blogs use this system.

It might not prevent all out of place comments but at least someone with a verified, trackable email address made them and you can then ban the bad users.

Posted by: PXLated at September 8, 2005 09:17 PM

Having worked for Arianna, I can say that she's not quite up to speed on the internet. She's a great, smart woman, but like a lot of folks, not aware of the true cost of effort involved to building succesful communities online.

Posted by: D at September 9, 2005 02:54 PM

Having built and run large blog communities (Wes Clark campaign), I can say for certain that this is the wrong approach. the best way to deal with comments is to not moderate before posting but rather to allow everything to be posted immediately, and let the community iself vote comments up or down to determine whether they stay published. Nobody likes be censored. If you treat a community right, they will return the favor and do the work for you. But you have to trust them first or they will never trust you.

Posted by: Cameron Barrett at September 11, 2005 01:41 AM


Maybe it's a pretty good idea to let the community indicate what's acceptable. I wonder how comments are expunged according to the community? is there perhaps some way to vote? The downside to this is mob rule. I understand there's also the issue of

brand and quality standards. For instance, BW. Maybe a filter for abusive vocabulary, and the moderator gets veto power on deletion of at-risk submissions? It's great to read the opinions blow back and forth. Got to keep that going. You and Heather also do an okay job of picking topics. But, one of the reasons I keep coming back is that there's a limited amount of careless vulgarity. Browsing around, it seems like not everyone exercises editorial control.

Pete Z.

Posted by: Pete Zievers at September 12, 2005 01:12 PM

HuffPost recently changed how they handle links in comments, as I describe here.

The backlog described above doesn't satisfactorily explain how some threads (like Randall Robinson's cannibals) have lots of comments, but others have zero. It also doesn't fully explain how a comment I left at one of fair Arianna's threads was posted fairly quickly. (Unless some celebrities are more equal than others.)

I assumed that the pseudo-pundits themselves approved the comments, but I'm not surprised to learn that they have a team of interns doing it instead.

I don't think mob rule would work too well over there, as most of the people leaving comments seem to be complete idiots.

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog at September 16, 2005 06:53 PM

There are some people whose comments are posted immediately, i.e., within minutes, and others, like mine, that don't get posted for two days. There are obviously privileged users and then ordinary users and its the same old elitism all over again.

Posted by: Dov Prombaum at October 3, 2005 08:19 AM

Clearly when you have partisans editing out all the content that does not agree with there agenda it causes a backlog.

This is censorship, with a Smile face or arrogance

Only offering edited comments is worse than not offering comments.

Posted by: Dave Milk at February 9, 2006 02:47 PM

I have actually just flat out been banned form HuffPo and I have absolutely no reason why.

I agree with many here, having censored or editing out comments to suit their agenda is worthless and serves no purpose may as well not have comments and that solves the whole problem, of course it also turns the whole site moot.

They need to wake up

Posted by: Nunyabiz at January 27, 2007 11:56 AM

One of the reason that post is so popular is that there is a continuous posting of news as it is happening. People can comment on current events immediately.

But I do wish some of the comments there were more civil. People need to realize that they can get their point accross without being so mean.

Posted by: Dan F. at January 29, 2007 09:27 AM

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