Tag Archives: Brittany Wong

How The Huffington Post Silences Writers Without Giving Any Reason (A Summary)

I’ve been a Huffington Post blogger since 11-11-2013.

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And I’ve still got an author’s page on The Huffington Post site.

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View my archive now: John McElhenney on The Huffington Post

But somehow, The Huffington Post blog team has cut off my posts and blocked me from being able to login to the new publishing platform. Here’s the top of my archive today.

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And you will notice a long gap between my last two published posts in NOV. 2014 and my most recent publications on the new Contributor Platform in OCT. 2106. I had been allowed to publish posts since NOV. 2014 but not 1 of the 70+ posts I submitted got released to the blog.

I struggled with this loss in my publishing platform. I wrote letters to Arianna, the woman who invited me into the publishing platform in the first place. I wrote letters to Brittany Wong the woman who wrote a profile about me and my journey as a positive divorced dad. I wrote letters to the email address for corrections and issues from the blog team. (blogteam@huffingtonpost.com) And for two years I got nothing.

Then The Huffington Post finally made the transition to the new platform. And in that process I was given a credential to login and create my NEW account. Which I did on October 6, 2016. I updated my profile for the new platform. I got a new author’s page http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/jm32austin-893, and was set up to finally rejoin the ranks of Huffington Post blogger.

And so I started out with a few posts in my sweet spot topics. Divorce and Health and Fitness. And to my surprise, the new Contributor Platform allows writers to push the post live without “editor” intervention. So all four of my posts went LIVE.

And once of them, the “Dear Ex-wife” post began to trend. Within an hour I had over 3,000 views directly from The Huffington Post. And they hadn’t even added me or promoted me in a section yet. The post was taking off in the generic posting on The Blog.

Of course, I was thrilled. I looked for another post, the last Brad and Angelina post, that I could throw into the stream to up my traffic. And BOOM. It was all taken down.

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And now none of my 2016 posts are live.

What could have happened? I speculate all the time.

  1. Someone on the blog team has suppressed my publishing back in 2014. (Without telling me why or giving me recourse to remedy my transgression.)
  2. My viral post was threatening to some editor so they took it down. And then proceeded to take all of my recent posts down, to complete the suppression.
  3. Someone on the blog team saw my posts, connected the dots with 2014’s suppression and re-killed my publishing platform.

In all of these cases there is a problem if The Huffington Post is attempting to foster a community spirit with their new Contributor Platform.

The kumbaya statement of community with the Contributor Platform looks like this,

“The community we are working to build here is one where diverse, vibrant and original ideas are celebrated and elevated. We welcome posts that embody that free-speech ethos, even when those viewpoints differ from our own.”

And then comes the hard part,

“We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.”

And yet there is no mention of the community of editors, the conversation that should be had around any removal or suppression. So far, even on the new Contributor Platform I have been suppressed, on all of my posts, and not given any explanation or justification for what went wrong. And I don’t expect my record is going to be any better than it was since 2014. Maybe they’ll open a new platform and give me a credential to login there, who knows.

Three Rules of an Open Community

  1. The community rules.
  2. The community can discuss the rules.
  3. Questions about the rules should be allowed and discussed in the community.

When you take out the third rule, you’ve created the same problem you had with the old platform. When editors can suppress writers and not give any explanation then there is no community.

I realise there are thousands of writers who are willing to write for The Huffington Post for free. I am one of those writers. And there a thousands more asking to be let into the community every day. But if you really want to create a community you need to have a feedback mechanism. We are people. We are part of the community. And we deserve an explanation when our post or our entire publishing rights have been rescinded.

I have never gotten any explanation or response in two years of requesting feedback. I lucked into a loophole when the new system was brought online. And then I am merely suppressed again, without explanation or response to my repeated requests for information. I’m guessing, from the comments on my previous posts about this issue, that I am not alone in this.

Dear Arianna Huffington Post and The Blog Team, your Statement of Community is just pretty words. Until you provide a mechanism for feedback and give all of your writers an opportunity to communicate with you, there is no community. You have created the idea of community while behaving like the same all-ruling dictator that we have come to know. Tolerance is our only recourse.

The message of your community becomes more transparently BS when you realise there are many writers that have been cut off without explanation, like myself.

I’d love to hear what happened. I’d love to know how to get my publishing turned back on. I’d love to know if you still value the 70+ posts that are still live and still generating traffic on your blog. I know you no longer value me or my voice. But I’d at least like you to tell me why.

Sincerely,

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

PS: I’d love to hear your HuffPo shutdown story in the comments.

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An Open Letter to Arianna Huffington On the New Contributor Platform

Huffington Post has launched a new publishing platform. And for part of one day I was allowed, once again to publish my articles on single parenting. And then they discovered my post going viral and they killed my account. I’m still in some odd form of stasis. I’m still ON the platform, but I’m not able to load the platform. I’m guessing the company that admins the program doesn’t have an easy way to suppress authorised users. So today, when I try to load the contributor platform it goes into some broken load/reload sequence and never escapes until I quit the browser.

Here’s what that looks like:

If you go look, my new contributor page is still online: John McElhenney on The Huffington Post. You’ll notice the last four posts, if you try to load them will result in the following screen.

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Okay, so what can be going on here? Why won’t the Huffington Post Blog Team, the divorce editor Brittany Wong, or Arianna herself answer my question about why I would be banned from publishing on the new contributor platform.

Well, the entire idea of “contributor” only holds together if you look at their community statement. Here’s the little part they put in about removing posts from the new platform.

We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.

That’s all fine and dandy, but if there is no recourse, no way to ask “What happened?” then they have violated the true spirit of an open community. Apparently the blog team has oversight on the new platform. So if ONE of my posts was flagged, why were all four of them taken down? If I was given publishing credentials, why were they taken away within hours of my first post? If I had a successful post on The Huffington Post why would you suppress that post, especially if there were no clear violations of your trust agreement?

Dear Arianna,

I know you are no longer involved in the day-to-day execution of the Huffington Post. While I applaud your opening the new Contributor Platform, and even your grand gesture in the Statement of Community that surrounds and empowers the new system, I am sorry to say, the lack of transparency is death to openness. An open community means there are channels for communication when things go wrong. If your blog team never responds to a contributor and yet continues to suppress that contributor’s writing, isn’t that a violation of your own statement of community?

When you say “we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the place we are trying to create” don’t you think that information should also be made public? If the blog team suppresses material, shouldn’t they also answer requests for information about why?

If the Huffington Post wants to create an open community bounded by ethics and moral inclusiveness, they should not also engage in hidden and unfounded suppression of valuable and reasonable material.

I am optimistic that you will answer my question about why four of my posts were accepted, published, and then suppressed in a matter of hours. I am also optimistic that you will reinstate my publishing privileges, as you so warmly welcomed me to the Huffington Post publishing family over three years ago.

Yours Respectfully,

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

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Why Are We Losing Men’s Voices on The Huffington Post? Why It’s A Big Issue.

I tried asking questions first. For a month. And got no reply from any of the Blog Team or directly from Arianna. Dear Huffington Post, WTF Is Going On with You? So, I guess I need to dig a bit deeper to see if I can understand what’s going on with the conversation about Parenting, Relationships, and Divorce at the Huffington Post.

Women *and* men get divorced, our children are along for the ride, we both make the difference in how their lives and future relationships will be managed.

I am not claiming that men’s voices have been completely shut out of the Family & Relationships sections of The Huffington Post. But I do see that the Divorce, Parenting, and Dating posts are 95% by women for women. Something bigger is going on here. Something that creates a complete imbalance in the viewpoints discussed, something that misses the fact that in traditional parenting one woman AND one man are required.

I was a Huffpost blogger with great success in the Parenting, Dating, and Divorce sections. I’m not saying I made the Front Page, but I often made the front page of these sections. And my posts are still live on The Huffington Post, gathering traffic for them, and a few click-throughs for me. And I’m very interested in keeping men in the conversation about these very important topics. I’m a contributing editor to The Good Men Project, who regularly shares content with The Huffington Post. Even last week, one of our editors, and good friend, Mark Greene was interviewed by Huffington Post about his transformative ideas about divorce and parenting. BRAVO!

But why are there no men editors in the entire staff of Family & Relationships? If you look at The Good Men project, a site that shouts, “The Conversation That No One Else is Having,” you’ll see a pretty even balance between men and women. It’s important, even in a powerful site about men that women and women’s voices are represented fairly. So why is the Huffington Post so down on men? Or is it just me?

Here’s the staff section from Family & Relationships section of The Huffington Post.

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Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 8.22.05 AMAnd while it’s not a bad thing to have mostly women, and mostly women in their twenties and thirties running such a critical portion of The Huffington Post, can you see how their perspectives might be a bit skewed? And when the Senior Editor on Divorce is also the Senior Editor on Weddings… And is, just getting married… You can imagine that “divorce” might not be one of her points of interests. And I’m guessing not part of her history, either.

I’m not sure how I would compartmentalize my enthusiasm for this major beginning in my young life, while espousing the views and pains of so many older women, and yes, men. And it’s sorry what’s happened to the sections over all. The conversation is not so much a conversation any more, it’s a blast of celebrity reporting (marriages and divorces) alongside some well-known authorities on dating and divorce. And mostly… eh hem… women.

And I have to respect the business model here. The Huffington Post is in this business to make money. And if their demographic is 90% young upwardly-mobile women, well, then I guess they’ve nailed it. But I’m pretty sure the intension that Erma Bombeck had when she convinced Arianna to start the divorce section was something more inclusive. After all, divorce usually involves two people, and 50% of those people happen to be men.

The story that Arianna tells is that she was approached about adding a Divorce section and she asked Erma why. Erma responded, “Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever.” It’s on the Divorce Masthead, though no longer attributed to her. The light went on for Arianna and the section was born and has thrived ever since.

I’ve chosen to live my life and to survive my divorce by finding the good in everything that comes my way.

I met Arianna at a trade show in 2013 where she spoke about her newest passion, The Third Metric. In that meeting of high-level communicators, she gave out her email address asking the audience to send her their ideas. And true to form, she responded to my email within a few hours of that trade show. I imagined her zooming to the airport in her limo and cleaning out her inbox with a fury and efficiency.

At that moment, she caught my voice in the post that I sent her. Here’s her emailed response to me that same day. It was a HUGE win for me.

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And 8-months later I really hit the post sums up the bulk of my writing on Divorce.

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click to read article on Huff Po
Getting men’s real and honest stories in the mix of the conversation about Parenting, Dating, and Divorce is critical for all of us.

What you see there is a picture of a dad’s hand and the hand of my two young children. I have pledged to say 100% positive about my divorce, and in all of my dealings with my co-parent and ex-wife. That’s my message. There are Good Men who get divorced. There are good father’s who try to stay connected as often as they are allowed, even when the system is stacked against them. I write The Whole Parent as a voice for men who are doing parenting right, before, during, and after divorce.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get new posts up on The Huffington Post. And I’m not sure that’s important to me any more. But getting men’s real and honest stories in the mix of the conversation about Parenting, Dating, and Divorce is critical for all of us. Sure, professionals who write about the subject and offer platitudes and brief sounds bites of men’s stories, to illustrate their points, are fine, but they are professionals, and therapists, and lawyers. Even if they’ve been through a divorce of their own, they are now making it their business to tell us what to do.

farahWhen The Huffington Post lost Farrah Miller as an editor (she was the person Arianna cc’d on the email above) we lost an experienced editor with a broader vision.

I don’t know what to do. I only know that I’ve chosen to live my life and to survive my divorce by finding the good in everything that comes my way. Have I lost a lot in the process, yes. But I have also gained a new voice, a resonant voice that comes from deep within me, and sings out MY STORY, and ultimately, MY POSITIVE STORY OF DIVORCE.

I think men need to be in the conversation, and I would like Arianna Huffington to address this lopsided conversation with the same vision she had when she started the section with her dear friend. Women and men get divorced, our children are along for the ride, both partners have a huge impact on our kids lives and future relationships will be managed. If only a small percentage of the posts are by men, and 90% of those men are relationship professionals (lawyers, coaches, and therapists) rather than fathers, then the conversation on the Huffington Post is written by women and to women. That is not a not a holistic or healthy conversation at all.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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