Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Moderate THIS, Huffington Post!

Still in the wake of the latest Richard Dawkins-induced brouhaha, a friend of mine responded to someone's assertion that there probably wasn't a Muslim university in the world's top 200 universities. The person asserting this was perpetuating Dawkins' stubborn refusal to face the issue of who does things like hand out Nobel prizes and make lists of the world's best universities, and hey, let's not forget the problematic nature of the phrase "Muslim university." As I say, my friend responded to this assertion, and his comment was judged, by whoever the Hell moderates the comments at Huffington Post these days, to be beyond the pale. Too horrifying to appear on the website. My friend's comment was removed. Here it is, in its entirety. Brace yourselves:

"At least one Muslim country made the top 200."

Wow! I know, right? What a horrible, disgusting thing to say! Who can blame HP for deleting it?

The thing is, this wasn't a one-time glitch. Similar comments posted by this guy are removed so frequently that it doesn't even surprise me any more, just makes me angrier. So why don't I go complain to HP, you ask? I did, and my report that something was wrong got an error message several times in a row. And at least one comment of mine was deleted. (I don't know how many of my comments had been published in the meantime.)

Something is wrong. Another one of my friend's deleted comments reads as follows:

"There is no archaeological evidence of Jesus' existence. There is some historical evidence but it is biased evidence. Other than that there is the Josephus' mention of James. And there is the Pilate Stone with Pontius Pilate's name on it."

That's much, much milder, not to mention more accurate, than many atheist comments which are published every day on HP and which stay up. I copied-and-pasted that last comment into a comment of my own. Later, in a comment which included my entire comment which had included his earlier comment in its entirely, my friend informed me that my comment had also been deleted. They haven't gotten around to deleting that one yet. And the deletions of my friend's comments happen much, much too often to be a coincidence. It's so obviously not a coincidence that I have to wonder whether my comment or comments being deleted is a coincidence. Some childish person (or persons) has been given an HP moderator's buttons and is abusing them maliciously. And/or, those moderating functions have been hacked by trolls. My inability to report this to HP through normal channels would seem to suggest the latter. Whatever. I'm not going to be quiet about this. The thought of being banned from a forum as effed up as this doesn't bother me much. On the other hand the thought that some grown-up at HP might eventually hear me and look into this, the possibility that this might eventually be straightened out, the very thought is sweet.

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