Huffing-and-puffing Post

There’s been rather another dustup over at HuffingtonPost. The Guardian tells the tale: Apparently, HuffPost blogger Dr. Peter Rost alleges that he unmasked a troll attacking him as none other than the HuffPost’s own technology manager. He says he discovered this because a comment attacking the good doctor became exalted as a top comment before a server could count to zero. He says he was then banned from HuffPost. So he told his tale on his own blog. But now he’s back up on HuffPost and kissing and hugging:

…I think HuffPo just made a brave move. After all, what makes this site so great is that it is open to all kinds of opinions, in a way most newsmedia would never dare to operate.

The internet age brings the quantum scandal, over in no time.

: LATER: Rost says in the comments that he’s not back; he’s still blocked. Where’s my scorecard?

: LATER AND LATER STILL: Here’s a message from Arianna:

Here’s the bottom line on the issues raised by Peter Rost: We disabled his password for one reason and one reason only — his refusal to act as part of our online community.

A little background: Peter Rost was initially invited to post about issues related to the pharmaceutical industry, his area of expertise — but his posts increasingly became about his personal grudges and beefs or long, self-referential, diary-like entries about finding an injured bird in his front yard (complete with photos) or a blog post about his friend having an extramarital affair.

We suggested that this type of material might be better suited for a personal, individual blog — a suggestion that Dr. Rost followed, creating this site.

However, his penchant for airing personal grudges on HuffPost continued, becoming problematic when he devoted another long post to a personal attack on one of the commenters to his posts (one who happened to work for the Huffington Post), claiming that there was a vendetta against him, and that this employee was somehow gaming the system to give his comments greater prominence — something that did not happen. (By the way, the employee, Andy Yaco-Mink, HuffPost’s technology manager, wasn’t an “anonymous heckler” as Rost claims — he signed his comments “yacomink.”)

Why did I go down this road? Where’s the exit ramp?

  • Peter Rost

    No I am not back!!! Guardian made one mistake, I’m blocked from HuffPo!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chuck

    ….or a blog post about his friend having an extramarital affair.

    Got any pictures?

  • http://www.gabejohnson.org/ Gabe J

    I swear, the types of back and forth argumants that i see taking place on so many blogs. Lets all jsut kiss and make up, shal we?

  • Mike G

    Give people an audience and a fairly high percentage of them will reveal themselves to be fuckin’ nuts.

  • http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/005183.html HuffPostSatireComesTrue

    As described at my name’s link, over six months ago I posted a somewhat similar satire:

    http://huffandblow.com/2005/12/sitin-for-marc-maron-of-air-america-radi-000042.html

    With a similar result:

    huffandblow.com/2005/12/melvin-duchovny-is-a-fraud-and-will-not–000043.html

    Let’s just hope that something similar to this also doesn’t come to pass:

    huffandblow.com/2005/05/ezekiel-zeke-whittle-19022005-000013.html

  • bebop

    You should check out Dr. Rost’s reply to Arianna and the comments to his latest post. HuffPo is actively censoring any comment that disagrees with Arianna’s view. People have been observing their comments appear and disappear all day. If Arianna is authorizing this, then fuck Arianna. If not, then she needs to start firing some people pronto to salvage whatever reputation remains of her site. I for one am boycotting HuffPo until this matter is resolved. I’m sure a lot of the traffic Dr. Rost generated for the post (supposedly around 10%) will be moving as well. What kind of respectable site would allow their sysadmins to express their opinions editorially on a site when those admins hold all the keys to the servers?

    http://peterrost.blogspot.com

  • http://MediaGuardian.co.uk steve

    We too are trying to keep pace with events at MediaGuardian.co.uk (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/organgrinder/2006/06/ill_huff_and_ill_puff.html). We are now up to date (I think).

  • http://www.vodkafish.com David

    While I’m not looking to get into any of the back and forth, I don’t think anyone using their last name as a screenname is attempting to be anonymous (unless overly common like “Smith”); but if he’s signing the comments “yacomink”, that’s not really an attempt to hide his identity.

  • Old Grouch

    What kind of respectable site would allow their sysadmins to express their opinions editorially on a site when those admins hold all the keys to the servers?

    Well, then what do you say about Charles Johnson? :-)

    Without intent to imply any similarity to the HuffPost situation, I note the mu.nu weblogs, whose landlord/administrator “Pixy Misa” occasionally participates in comment threads, usually ones involving techincal questions, but not always.

    In the case of HuffPost, I don’t care whether Andy Yaco-Mink comments as “yacomink” or as “Wizard of Oz” (his identity means nothing to me), provided he plays fair (which includes using the same nick for all of his posts). Taking advantage of his superuser status and “gaming the system to give his comments greater prominence” (which Arianna denies) is unethical, and a different issue.

    Although if there’s someone who’d like to characterize the administrator trolling one of the sites regular contributors as “tacky,” I’d be the first to agree!

  • Old Grouch

    Note: The “Charles Johnson” sentence in my post above wasn’t intended to be bolded… seems to be a formatting bug, which gave a throwaway line far more emphasis than it was worth.

  • http://huffandblow.com/ AriadneHuffanan

    Despite what you might have read above, my site is not a “satire”, and I have no idea who this “HuffPostSatireComesTrue” is. I’d also like to take this opportunity to publicly invite Dr. Rost to post entries at our site, which was founded weeks before that parvenue site run by Arianna.

    As a test, I’ve left several comments on the entries at her site. Most of them do show up, but what happens is many of them don’t show up until after the post has scrolled off the front page. Whether that’s simply because of the volume of comments, or an attempt to avoid critical discussion is not known.

    P.S. Those who want to see their HuffPost comments appear immediately can try http://BigMediaBlog.com

  • Buzzramjet

    It’s not so much that he used his name, but rather that he is an employee of the place. The Dr. properly pointed out that if the yakko the wakko guy is manipulating numbers to make HIS comments the readers best of, then what else is he doing.

    AS well it seems rather strange for the techie to be following the Dr. around to his various postings around the net and harass him. IF so, then why? Just what exactly is the teching getting out of this?

    As well NETVOCATE which has a swarm of people who attack blogs when their clients, and one would easily imagine it’s the conservative elements and corporate seems to be involved in this. If so then one has to wonder about what is really going on at Huffpo.

    The trollz are taking over the place to the point where it has become unpleasant to visit there. On some postings, they are the ones who seem to have over 75 percent of the postings. They rant and rave, they make nasty and snide remarks and are usually the ones who cause the trouble there.

    Why and when did Huffpost become the Jerry Springer of the internet. She had a GREAT idea, but it has degenerated into a money making site with absolutely NO oversight.

    The place is slowly but surely becoming a joke.

  • Kat

    “yacomink”, that’s not really an attempt to hide his identity. –sure it is unless we’re all supposed to know he’s the sys. admin.
    The place is not slowly becoming a joke–it always has been.

  • http://www.ewesoft.com Mike

    “yacomink”, that’s not really an attempt to hide his identity. –sure it is unless we’re all supposed to know he’s the sys. admin.

    Precisely! The sysadmin must reveal himself to be so when making any kind of comment. Failure to do so is “hiding”.

    Mike

  • bebop

    And if they’re in the right, why do they have to censor opposing views? Is it the sheer volume? They don’t have enough people on their staff to fake counter postings? Maybe HuffPo needs to hire Netvocates. They certainly have the money. While they’re at it, they need to talk to some PR folks because obviously they are fucking this up as much as humanly possible.

  • Sanchez

    It’s my company and I’ll censor who I want to. This is a democracy dammit. Bottom line, if you post at that site you are a useful idiot to a woman scorned.

  • kurotenshi

    It’s sad how the actions of the developers/sysadmins have led to this. Yacomink’s participation in the discourse without labeling his position as an employee was unwarranted as he is not the private owner of the blog.
    What made it worse was Jonah’s rebuttal of the situation and his censoring of comments that were not abusive, but rather critical of his professionalism. While he may have wonderful technical skills, his management skills are still quite green. He has in effect become a liablility for Huffpo.
    No matter though, there are other blogs with a genuine sense of community. And Huffpo is a great place for independent bloggers with a real sense of purpose to gain exposure. ;)

  • bebop

    Are you kidding? Wonderful tech skills? A smart 12yr old could have created that site. Technically, that site is a joke. I’m wondering what Jonah’s major was at MIT. They do have non-engineering/cs majors too. Maybe he majored in Rhetoric. I hear MIT’s Rhetoric dept is pretty pathetic like his arguments. Can someone do a background check on this clown?

  • bebop

    Just to state it here too, the censoring of comments has moved to banning of accounts for making too many critical comments. My account got banned yesterday. I guess it’s getting harder to stop the deluge. Dr. Rost had about 10% of that site’s traffic, and his personal blog just recoreded similar #s. I guess he’s taking his audience with him.

  • bebop

    It is a damn shame though. I wish somebody who knows Arianna personally, someone who isn’t Johan Perretti, would sit down and show her all the facts. It’s hard to believe a woman as smart as that is acting so foolish without being duped. The only other explanation is that the large sums of money the site has generated has turned her into the very things she criticizes. You know. A hypocrite.

  • Shooter

    To all those who cling to the hope that Mz Huffington didn’t “know.” Please, get a life. She is the embodiment of the argument/postion to INCREASE the inheritance tax, not eliminate it. She is the metaphor for “spoiled rotten.” Like George Bush, Paris Hilton, sport stars, and many politicians, she cannot comprehend that the rules of honesty, dignity, and respect apply to her. Unlike most of us nobodys, who have to compete in the world of business and commerce, these ne’er-do-wells seem incredulous that they’re not allowed to “game” the system. And Game is what is is. To us unwashed schmucks, struggling to make a living in the fierce, challenging, unforgiving market place, her clueless, petulant, and truly revealing and disgusting response is completely predictable.
    Unlike a common burglar who, caught in the bedroom by the police, flashlights beaming, with a bag containing the family jewels, puts his hands up and says “o.k. you got me,” Mz Huffington, increduously but unsurprisingly, simply cannot accept the realty of what she’s done.

  • bebop

    You’re right man. I woke up this morning and realized she was a dirty whore. After doing some research today, I’m convinced.

  • http://astra-design.com/corporate_identity.html Alan

    I’m happy you got it.

  • http://lancethruster.blogspot.com LanceThruster

    Arianna and HuffPo act in the manner of a sayan.

  • http://bannedonhuffpo.blogspot.com/ frustrateddeminnh

    I have been banned there several times…basically for not agreeing with the party line. No foul language, no ad hominem attacks, nothing provocative…certainly nothing as inflammatory as what commonly appears throughout the threads…I just openly disagree with the posts and the censorship that takes place there and say so. So I am banned. I have a website devoted to this at

    http://bannedonhuffpo.blogspot.com/