Letters...he gets letters:
"I submitted a comment to John Cusack's meandering love letter on the Chicago edition of the Huffington Post about eight hours ago. It hasn't posted yet. I'm wondering if one of the conditions of the pro bono agreement is that no negative comments will be brooked. Or perhaps I shone too bright a light on the lazy (or nonexistent) editing over there. I was not nasty. I simply wondered why Cusack neglected to correctly spell Biittner, Jordan, Chelios, and O'Neill (as in Eugene; I have to admit I also pointed out O'Neill was born in the US, not Ireland). Additionally, Cusack mistakenly wrote Eddie Gaedel pinch-hit for the White Sox and Sammy Sosa was on the '89 Cubs.
"It's no big deal, but it makes me wonder what other comments aren't being published (or taking an ungodly amount of time to post). I completely understand spelling and fact-checking make for uninteresting reading for some (okay, maybe most), but it's got to be more compelling than a bunch of 'OMG, I love Chicago, too!'"
Another reader had the same experience:
"Incidentally, I posted an not-positive comment about Cusack's little Chicago jerk-off piece. It didn't make it on the site, interestingly."
As of this morning the post had 34 comments, all of them positive.
Oddly, all of this seems to contradict Arianna's stated comments policy:
We never censor comments based on political or ideological point of view. We only delete those comments that are abusive, off-topic, use excessive foul language, or include ad hominem attacks.
On another page, the HuffPost goes into more detail:
Huffington Post pre-moderates comments on our blog posts and post-moderates comments on news stories. We never censor comments based on political or ideological point of view. We only delete those comments that include the following transgressions:
• are abusive, off-topic, use excessive foul language
• include ad hominem attacks including comments that celebrate the death or illness of any person, public figure or otherwise
• contain racist, sexist, homophobic and other slurs
• are solicitations and/or advertising for personal blogs and websites
• thread spamming (you've posted this same comment elsewhere on the site
• are posted with the explicit intention of provoking other commenters or the staff at Huffington Post.
Hey, rabble: don't provoke the staff! But there's more:
There are two scenarios for which your comment may not appear...
2. Your comment violated the policy above. We pride ourselves in providing a medium for engaging and thought-provoking stories and encourage our users to speak their minds freely, provided comments fall within our commenting policy. We must respect our writers and protect them from vicious and inflammatory comments. They too are entitled to free speech- the right to share their opinions without being subject to scathing and mean-spirited remarks.
Or, it seems, any negative feedback at all.
It doesn't sound to me like the readers of the Beachwood Reporter were provoking or scathing -- they just found errors on the site, or didn't like what they read and wanted to discuss it.
Now I don't just want to ask Arianna about her business model of not paying her writers -- I want to know more about the site's comment policy. I'd love to ask her -- politely, not provokingly or scathingly -- about all this, but her representative, Mario Ruiz, still isn't returning my phone calls.