Editor’s Note About Donklephant, Transparency & Contributors

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Blogging, Transparency

Warning, this may bore some of you to tears. Others may find it absolutely fascinating. My hope is more of you fall into the latter camp since I’ve essentially been forced to give you a behind the scenes look at how contributors come on board.

Confused? Don’t be. All will be revealed soon enough.

Some backgrond…

In July I put out a call for bloggers and received a lot of replies. A good problem to have, and I added many more than I thought.

One of them was from David Anthony Hohol, a Canadian an American living in Dubai. Upon reading some (not all) of his editorials at his site Relativity Online, I thought he could provide a unique perspective. Unfortunately, one of his first editorials accused Israelis of ethnic cleansing and characterized them as “scheming thieves.” Needless to say, his content was deleted from the site and his posting privileges were taken away (although a cache of the post still remains).

Understandably, a rather heated email exchange began. We were both able to have our say and leave it at that. Or so I thought. Because today I’m reading my private correspondence on a public blog.

Even more unfortunate? Hohol has chosen to excerpt pieces of our emails instead of reprinting them in full.

So, what follows is the ENTIRE exchange, not just the emails and segments he chose to share. I haven’t edited any grammar or spelling so all errors remain, including my own. Yeah, it’s embarrassing, but at least it’s honest. The only thing I did take out was some log in information and video embed code. Both are noted as such below.

Please feel free to tell me what you think. I’m open to constructive criticism and am curious to hear your thoughts on how this process works. Do know that I’m unable to pay anybody (at least for right now) so I have to put a lot of trust in my contributors. Sometimes it works out. This time (and recently) it didn’t. But I’ve found it’s better to cut ties quickly to avoid any further confusion and/or damage to the site.

So here we go…the private emails of one Justin Patrick Gardner…

July 2, 2009, 1:27 AM: His initial email asking if he can join
Hello Justin,

I am interested in blogging for you, am ready to commit to 5 blogs per week. Please visit http://www.relativityonline.com/ and click on the “From the Editor” tab for a sample of my writing. Visit the staff page for my bio and qualifications.

Regards,
David Anthony Hohol

July 2, 2009, 4:27 PM: My response
David,

Do you still live in Dubai? If so, I think there’s the potential to not only lend a needed perspective from the Middle East and cover foreign affairs, but also do more blogging during the time when most Donklephant authors would be sleeping.

Drop me a line with a little bit more about yourself and what niche you think you could fill at the site.

Best,
Justin

July 3, 2009, 5:09 PM: His response
Hello Justin,

Thanks for getting back to me. Yes, I still live in Dubai. As far as a niche for Donklephant, yes, a Middle Eastern perspective is something I could offer. I’ve lived in Dubai for going on six years and spent time in Syria, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and Sudan, with much of my outside the UAE time being spent in Jordan (my wife is Jordanian) Further still, with Dubai being the Disneyland-like Crossroads of the Middle East, I have access to endless variety of nationals from around the world. Finally, not only can I access the goings on of the Middle East, but also the perspective of America and the West as seen through the eyes of this region.

My own personal perspective of this region is genuine, informed and from the inside, all of which are often limited in terms of the Western Media. Standing outside the machine, and having passed through more than forty countries also gives me a better perspective of North American life than many of those living within in it…

Let me know what you think.

Regards,
D.

July 4, 2009, 12:00 PM: Having read some of his work, my response
David,

Okay, I’m sold, and it’s my pleasure to offer you a spot at Donklephant.

I’ll be in touch soon with more details, but my plan is to announce all of the new authors around July 13, which is the anniversary of the site launch in 2005.

Thanks so much for reaching out. Really looking forward to working with you.

Best,
Justin

July 5, 2009, 11:23 AM: His response
Hi Justin,

Thanks for the opportunity. I truly look forward to working with you. I’m currently in London adn will be arriving in Canada in a few days. I would be prepared to submit regularly by the end of the month. Let me know if yuo would need me sooner…

Regards,
D.

July 5, 2009, 12:41 PM: My response
Great!

By end of the month do you mean the week of the 20th? The reason I ask is so I can set expectations on the blog. Because I want to announce on the 13th, and if you’re going to start a week later I’d like to tell everybody that.

Thoughts?

July 5, 2009, 6:52 PM: His response
Hi Justin,

I’m on an 8 week break from work in Dubai and will be hopping around until July 25th. I’ll swing back into my routine after that, so starting on the 27th would be more suitable for me. By the way, let me know if you have any topic areas you would like me to hit on. . . Also, I would like to direct traffic back to RELATIVITY via links within the blogs I write for you. Are you cool with that?

D.

July 5, 2009, 11:14 PM: My response
Sounds good. I’ll be on vacation then anyway, so let’s just say Monday, August 3rd.

Yes, linking back to your own content is encouraged, not only because it sends you more traffic, but it also makes Google like Donklephant better, and vice versa. So, when you can, please link back to Donklephant from Relativity.

Also, I’m assuming you want to be know as David Hohol on the blog. If not, tell me what you want your author name to be. I prefer people to be themselves, but don’t require it.

Alright, many safe travels and I’ll be sending you an email with a bunch of info soon.

Best,
Justin

July 6, 2009, 6:29 AM: His response
Looking forward to the info… and yes I want to go by my full real name, including middle name: David Anthony Hohol

Enjoy your vacation and I look forward to hearing from you
D.

July 12, 2009, 6:28 PM: My standard “intro” email
Hi David,

I’ll be announcing that you’re part of the team on Monday. After that feel free to begin posting any time you want. I think you said you’d begin posting at the end of July, and if that’s the case that’s fine by me.

In any event, the following are some dos and don’ts and tips about pictures, videos, etc. Please drop me a line if you have any questions.

INTRO POST
For your first post, please provide a brief intro of yourself and then just launch into the actual post. There’s no “right” way to do this, just “your” way of doing it.

CODE FOR POSTS
Please only use the code provided in the WordPress options. That means you shouldn’t used tags or font tags or

tags. The most important thing I can stress is that you shouldn’t simply copy and paste code from Blogpost into WordPress because it’ll cause problems with the look and feel of. I know it’s a pain, but please make sure that this code is clean. It’s essential to making sure your post looks good on Donklephant.

Also, if you ever want to code a table into a post for whatever reason, create a blog post on your Blogpost site, take a screen capture of it and embed a picture of it in your post. I recommend a desktop app called Skitch, but you can obviously use whatever you deem fit.

For photos, the maximum width is 430. You can use the following code with the width set and the height will work itself out: . Seriously. You don’t have to adjust the height and width. Just set the width and the height will set itself.

For videos, the maximum width is also 430. I would suggest embedding only YouTube videos, but I don’t want to limit you, so if you want to use one that has a bigger width, please recalculate what the height would be at a 430 width and plug the new numbers into the code. For instance, BrightCove videos nearly ALWAYS at least 480 width, but the following is even bigger…

(Boring embed code deleted)

In this code, I would have to replace numbers in two places, the top and bottom. I know I want my width to be 430, but I need the multiplier. That means I’ll take the smaller number into the larger number and come out with 0.98. Take that times 430 and you get 421. Those are my two new width and height numbers, and the code will now look like this…

(More boring embed code deleted)

As expected, the above would be the appropriate code to include in the Donklephant template to make the site look good. Anything else would look out of place.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS CHECK YOUR WORK
Yes, ALWAYS check your posts after they’re posted on the site. If something looks messed up, please try to fix it. If you can’t fix it, unpublish the post and email me and I’ll fix it as soon as I can. I’d rather have something post late then post wrong. I’m sure you understand.

EDITING
After you post your work, I may come in and rework some things just in case you miss something. Usually all I do is add a photo, but that’s only if I can find something appropriate for the subject and tone of your post. If I can’t, I simply leave it alone.

LOG IN INFO
(Deleted for privacy)

Again, please drop me a line with any questions. I’m here to help with anything and everything.

Welcome aboard!
Justin

August 2, 2009, 10:18 PM: Notifying me he was ready to post
Hey Justin,

As promised I have submiited my first slew of articles by August 3rd. I am currently on my family’s farm in Alberta and will be heading back to Dubai in a couple of weeks.

I wasnt sure if I should directly publish my work or not. That being the case I posted them all as drafts, so you can make any changes, edits or additions that you see fit. Is this how I should always do things? Or do you want me to post them publish straight away?

I also have a confession to make… all that code shit is greek to me. I dont know how to post videos. I’m just a redneck with a laptop. I did try to upload some pics but it would not allow me to….

Best Regards,
D.

August 2, 2009, 10:22 PM: Notifying me he had posted them all

Check that… I accidentally posed one, so I figured i’d just post them all’ Let me know if thats what I should be doing anyway…

D

August 3, 2009, 10:28 AM: Shorter response from me “WTF?”
David,

I’m not sure what was unclear from my invitation to the site, but your post on Zionism is COMPLETELY inappropriate. Donklephant is about balanced coverage, not blatant advocacy. There were so many different ways you could have approached that post about the settlers, but you chose the one way that forces my hand.

Given that, I think it’s best we just called it a day on this partnership and left it at that. I simply can’t risk the integrity of the site.

Take care,
Justin

August 3, 2009, 8:15 PM: His response
Hello Justin,

I must say that I am quite surprised by your reaction to the article about Zionism. You wanted me to write about the Arab perspective (review your own description of me as an upcoming writer) and that was what I did.

My words in the article were “many in the region” (ie. the Middle East) look at Israeli as “scheming thieves”. “Many in the Region” is not Donklephant, not you, but just that – the Arabs. That, my friend is the Arab perspective. Full stop. That is the side, the perspective, the opinion, that offers the balanced coverage you say you want.

Balance is about both sides, not one side being free to say what they want and the other being forced to be politically correct. And when you then say, “Okay, I don’t want you to write anything at all anymore,” it makes me wonder why you even invited someone to offer you the Arab perspective in the first place. By telling me, a secular Canadian , that you don’t want me or my stories about the REAL Arab perspective on your site after asking me to do so, is COMPLETELY inappropriate and that, Justin, is where the integrity you say are trying to protect is lost.

Best of luck,
David Anthony Hohol

August 3, 2009, 9:21 PM: My response back
David,

Actually, I said you’d be giving us an insider’s perspective, not a one-sided Arab perspective that accuses “Zionist Israel” of ethic cleansing. I mean COME ON. How would you ever think that’s appropriate to post given what you know about the site and its goals?

What’s more, and forgive me for being so blunt, but when you say that the words in the article aren’t Donklephant’s…are you serious? If you, as a writer for this site, use the words “scheming thieves” and then link those words back to an editorial written by you where you call the state of Israel a terrorist state, well, guess what…that makes it seems as if Donklephant is endorsing that view.

And yes, balance is about both sides. That’s why I invited you. Because I thought you were going to offer a perspective that took a look at the situation colored by more of the realities of a foreigner living in the Middle East. If you feel that viewpoint has integrity, I can’t dispute that, but as somebody who has defended Palenstine on Donklephant I can tell you that it has absolutely no integrity on the site. Think of that what you will.

August 7, 2009, 2:27 PM: He responds back 5 days later
Hello Justin,

I recently posted an article about the Burka and was thinking of your last email. In the end, I guess I couldnt resist replying to you.

It may be a rhetorical question, but when I asked you to read over my editorials so as to get a better perspective on my writing style… did you even read one article form beginning to end? If you had you would have seen where I come from what transpired could have been avoided. You would not have wasted my time… or yours for that matter. It was unprofessional on your part not to know who it is you invite to write for you. Perhaps now you’ve learned your lesson and will be more thorough in the future.

Saying you wanted an “insider’s perspective” as opposed to a “perspective of the region” is just semantics, by the way. That phrase could be defined any number of ways. At NO TIME did you ask me for a foreigner’s viewpoint, as opposed to the Arab perspective.

Further still, calling what I wrote a “one-sided Arab perspective” is flat out wrong and prejudiced. There are many in the international community, not Arab, and not even Muslim, who hold these views. I mean COME ON, you must know this.

I must say I found it interesting that in your first email you cited the phrase “scheming thieves” (which is what 99% of Arabs think of Israelis) as the problem in my article and now in your last email you have left this phrase behind and moved onto to new words like “ethnic cleansing” and “Zionism” as issues of concern. It leads me to think you are trying hard to convince yourself you are right…

Justin, ethnic cleansing is defined as when a single group of people are being eradicated or forced to disperse from their native land, through military action and illegal land grabs to create an ethnic homegeneity. In other words… this IS what’s happening in Palestine . Case in point, a recent Time Magazine article stated:

“And yet to much of the world, the Katzes (a family of West Bank Israeli settlers) are participating in illegal land grabs forbidden by the Geneva conventions, which do not allow an occupying power (like Israel ) from settling its own civilians on militarily controlled land.”

Did you know there are many Jewish groups around the world, growing by numbers and influence everyday that refer to Israeli as a Zionist Warring State ? In an open letter to the people of Palestine , Rabbi Ahron Cohen wrote:

The world stands aghast as the atrocities being committed by the Zionist regime in Gaza, becomes known in ever greater and shocking detail. Mere words are insufficient to express the pain that all mankind feels at the plight of the Gaza and Palestinian people.

Throughout their history, the Zionists have resorted to intimidation, war, ethnic cleansing and state—sponsored terrorism to achieve their goals. This is, has been and continues to be, the criminal agenda of the Zionist movement.
source: http://www.nkusa.org/index.cfm

But I guess these words, the words of a Jewish Rabbi, would not be acceptable on the pages of your magazine.

60 minutes reports, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7XtT91yO6g , Pullizter prize winning American authors http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjBttx6Gd2c , or mainstream online magazine writers http://www.counterpunch.org/loewenstein01012009.html represent the fact that the media’s viewpoint of Israel is changing. Simply put, Israel ’s is cold-blooded in its dealing with the Palestinians and the world media as a whole is shifting. You can join the fearful herd and be a follower Justin, some are better suited to do so than others. But I will join the others in the distance and lead. Being against Israeli actions in Palestine , calling them bullies and thieves, or any other number is names, is NOT anti-Judaism. This is a manipulative lie whose shelf life is finally and thankfully reading its end. Think of that what you will.

Best Regards,
David Anthony Hohol

August 7, 2009, 5:09 PM: My response back
David,

I wasted your time? Respectfully, are you forgetting the part where you contacted me? And yes, of course I read some of your work, but I obviously didn’t read all of your work. Otherwise you never would have received an invite.

Also, you’re pulling the “prejudiced” card on me? You brought up the notion of “Arab” in your response to my initial email, and I was using that term to describe what I thought your perspective was, not to characterize the entire Arab world as sharing that perspective. And I’m sorry, but who called Israeli settlers “scheming thieves” and then linked back to his own editorial?

Moving on…you found it interesting I moved on to other terms beyond “scheming thieves?” Well, I find it interesting that you don’t understand that when you attack somebody, they’re going to defend themselves by providing more detail. Yes, I was justifying my position. It’s called debating.

As far as your definition of ethnic cleansing and then citing the activities of one family as proof? Also, a Rabbi who doesn’t even think that the state of Israel should exist? David, seriously, I’m not trying to be a dick here, but if you brought that into any serious forum for debate you’d get laughed out of the room. As I’ve said before on Donklephant, I think the Israelis have obviously overreached and need to stop building settlements. But you’re going far, far, far, far beyond that and assigning some nefarious “ethic homogeneity” plot to them. That’s just the type of conspiratorial nonsense that instantly discredits you nearly in every forum except ones that still believe that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are valid. Not good company.

Listen, we obviously don’t agree and that’s fine. I wish you and yours the best and let’s just leave it at.

Best,
Justin

December 8, 2009: The email that sparked this post
Hello Justin,

Thought you might enjoy this article. It’s about our chance online meeting this past summer.

http://www.relativityonline.com/from-the-editor/battle-lines/

D.
+++++++++

And so here we are…

One additional note…after I revoked Hohol’s privileges and took his post down, he posted a comment on a site called Newstin that this article was the one taken down.

His post…

I was fired from donlkephant for posting this story. Told it is a “one-sided Arab perspective” and any site that would carry it had “abosultely no integrity.” RELATIVTY OnLine thankfully offers its writers the freedom to reveal their own individual perspecvtive. To read the full version of the above story click here

Note that Hohol not only linked to the wrong article, but he also claims that I said any site that would run his editorial would have no integrity. But, as you’ll remember, I actually said…

If you feel that viewpoint has integrity, I can’t dispute that, but as somebody who has defended Palenstine on Donklephant I can tell you that it has absolutely no integrity on the site.

So there you have it.

Please share your thoughts below.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 and is filed under Blogging, Transparency. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

24 Responses to “Editor’s Note About Donklephant, Transparency & Contributors”

  1. Aaron Says:

    Its unfortunate that the various bloggers out there can’t always keep their conflicts private and it spills onto their respective sites, but I do appreciate transparency as a general rule.

  2. Justin Gardner Says:

    Agreed, but my hand was forced. I couldn’t allow that post to go unanswered and paint a picture that was inaccurate and misleading.

  3. Terry Says:

    Personally, I feel this initial incident is the cause of the lack of activity on Donkelphant. Believe me, I look for posts from all of your writers daily – I just love what you’re trying to do here. Please, do not let one person discolor that.

    It isn’t like you, Justin Gardner, was giving him your opinion about the piece. I was one of the many readers who were just downright shocked at that post. I think I even used the word ‘woah!’ He was out of line and out of sync with the rolling conversation here and you called him out on it.

    I think the fact that he couldn’t help but email you 5 days later – and moreso to recently post your conversation with him from months ago – shows that he is not, in the end, a credible source or voice for here. His email just proves that over and over again.

    So he wasn’t vetted correctly. If that’s your only fault so be it. I appreciate you trying to find perspectives like these – I really want to hear an inside middle-eastern perspective. But I want someone who is more Sufi and less Iran.

  4. Justin Gardner Says:

    Terry, appreciate the kind words. I too used the word “woah!” along with some others I won’t reprint here. :-)

    I still maintain I vetted him correctly, I just didn’t read the one post he linked back to in that post on Zionism. So while that was certainly a mistake on my part, notion that I didn’t read his work (as Hohol claims) is not accurate.

    Trust me, I’ll keep fighting the good fight. And as far as the lack of posting, I’ve been RIDICULOUSLY busy at work and in my personal life so the posting has definitely fallen off. It’ll pick back up in the new year, and I still hope to launch that redesign. But when I put more focus on my professional career, something has to suffer, and given how much time I spent on Donklephant during the 2007-2008 election season, I need a little breather.

  5. gerryf Says:

    Count me among those who was pretty surprised at the original post many months ago. I remember loading the website shortly after the post was put up (at least there were not any comments yet) and I don’t recall if I posted anything, but I do recall thinking, “Well, this won’t end well.”

    The problem with Hohol, and it is a problem he still fails to understand as is apparant after reading his posts over at RelativityOnline, is not that his view has no relevence to we of the western mindset, but that he lacks subtlty in conveying his point so it can be viewed as anything but inflamatory rhetoric.

    Buried within his posts is something we in the west ought to read and understand–the middle east perception of the west and the western world’s perception of the middle east is horribly skewed. We (meaning both sides) will never come to an understanding with such a chasm of misunderstanding between us.

    But one does not bridge that gap by walking into someone’s living room, dropping one’s drawers, and displaying one’s penis on the coffee table. It is somewhat ironic that Hohol seems to view himself as a thinking man’s introduction to middle eastern perception, yet presents himself so carelessly.

    There were/are ideas there, but without subtle, restraint and grace, they are lost in the crass delivery.

  6. erny Says:

    he’s a jerk!

  7. mw Says:

    This is nothing. Just wait until you throw me out of here.

  8. kranky kritter Says:

    Justin, it would probably serve you well if you did a better job of adopting a policy of having new contributors start on a probationary basis where you vet at least their first 5 or 10 posts, and then follow through with it. And ask them to interact in the subsequent comments section.

    I’ll admit that I have little taste for digging deeply into the parrys and thrusts of this food fight. There are so very few reasonable discussions about the Israeli-Palestine conflict between the sides, that I hesitate to bother digging in at all.

    I can’t judge the original piece because your link does not work for me. But I will say this…once you get outside of the avid progressive left, you can’t find too many people who don’t have a cow if you say anything bad about Israel.

    It’s not nice to call Israel scheming thieves. And it plays into anti-semitic stereotypes. I get that. But Israel’s longstanding policy of growing its crop of “facts on the ground” via settlements IMO basically fits that description. Settlements were in fact Arial Sharon’s scheme or plan, and they’re not supposed to be doing it. So I guess I’m saying that I’d be more troubled by this “inflammatory rhetoric” if it were less defensible.

    My perspective tends to veer farther than you towards the notion that the cure for ignorant free speech is more free speech. Comments work as feedback, so this guy could have gotten an education from the comments or voted himself off the island as it were.

    No real biggie to me either way. You’re the king here, and that suits me ok. If it doesn’t someday, I can always vote with my eyeballs, right? Which means you have an interest in protecting your crop of visitors.

    If you ever have someone new that you want vetted, why not ask the regulars to check him or her out? Also, don’t forget that if you really acted as an editor, you would actually, you know, edit the pieces. That’s how an info enterprise maintains a desired editorial tone. If you have some new folks you want to bring on board and you want someone to edit a few of their posts for tone, I can help out for the time being as I have a little time until I find another job.

  9. David Anthony Hohol Says:

    You’re right – posting the whole exchange does make it boring. I don’t think my trimming down took away from your stance or mine. And the integrity thing? Well… saying “you won’t dispute” it if I think the view has integrity and then saying it has “no integrity on the site”, in my humble and often flawed opinion, is splitting hairs.

    With that said, kudos to you Justin for your transparent reply. And in the end, I find the comment by one “Kranky Krittter” bang on.

    Have my views changed since living in the Middle East? Absolutley! As they would anyone – I believe. Most people have never walked the streets of Palestine, never seen life in Tehran, never witnessed the poverty in Sudan, never heard the cries and anger of the Jordanian refugee camps, or felt the frustrations of the Arab world, up close and living color, but I have. And let me tell you – what we watch on our TVs and read in our newspapers differs greatly from the reailty of the situation. There is nothing subtle or restrained about what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people and as a result, at times, I dont feel the need to be myself.

    Two Things that need clearing up however:

    1. I am not American. I am Canadian (comes up in the emails)
    2. I did not post the artcile on Newstin. It was posted by someone I dont know and then linked back to donklephant. (along with others)

    Peace and Best of Luck
    D.

  10. gerryf Says:

    For a guy who was kind of ragging on Justin for always trying to get the last word in, it would have been fairly easy to simply ignore this thread don’tcha think?

    You’re a birght guy, but you might consider turning that eagle eye you have on the rest of the world inward every once in a while.

    I’m just saying….

  11. Frank Hagan Says:

    Donklephant readers expect a more dispassionate approach to issues, as I found out with my first post. Tailoring your writing to the intended audience is an important but difficult skill. The difficulty is in maintaining your personal integrity and not feeling like you are “selling out” because you’ve censored some of your thoughts. Contributors have to remember that political writing is not “art”, but communication. And subtlety is more skillful than invective.

    We’ve had a couple of examples where fine writers stepped over the line, and I always feel its a shame that their views can’t be expressed in a less confrontational manner. But I fully understand the tightrope you have to walk to keep the site in line with the motto “Big Teeth, Huge Ass, Suprisingly Reasonable”.

  12. michael reynolds Says:

    Despite the goyish name I’m an ethnic (secular) Jew and a strong supporter of Israel. But I don’t really have much of a problem with “Scheming thieves.” The Likudniks are scheming thieves. So I don’t quite see why it’s so terrible to say so.

    It’s not anti-semitism to disagree with the Israeli government on settlements. Quite a portion of the Israeli public loudly disagrees with them. There are times when the delicate handling of Israel becomes a case of the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    I rather prefer clearly-stated opinions, even when I don’t agree with them. And I like the occasional rhetorical flourish — keeps things fun and interesting. In fact I’d read Donklephant more often if it was a little less reserved.

  13. Justin Gardner Says:

    kranky,

    The policy that I have in place has worked out 98% of the time. And the two times it didn’t, the authors were asked to leave the very same day the pieces were posted. I read almost every single post on the site, but this isn’t a newspaper and I have limited time to actually edit all of the content for tone.

    Still, I think a policy of reading the first 5 pieces that somebody creates before they’re posted is a good one. I’ve actually done that with others in the past, but it always worked out so I didn’t do it with David and Kyle.

    David,

    1) Sorry about calling you an American. I’ll change it.

    2) You may not have posted the story on Newstin, but the comment below it was obviously yours. And the piece you linked back to was incorrect and misleading. I’ll correct this as well.

    Best of luck to you too.

  14. blackoutyears Says:

    Dispassionate is a good word, Frank. I’ve personally thought that your contributions have improved immensely with just slight tweaking, and your posts re the CRU emails and now the Copenhagen fiasco have been informative and well-written in the sense that they communicate somewhat complex issues concisely and digestibly without pointless editorializing.

    As someone who was quick to jump your debut post and its style, let me also be sure to thank you for the excellent work you’ve done since. I’d hazard that your work is what’s kept me coming back to Donklephant the last month or so. That and the lovable cast of the comments section.

  15. Sam Says:

    Wow, I just happened onto this site today, believe it or not looking for the definition of “Chimney down” from the Andy Williams Christmas song. Still haven’t and am sure I won’t. Anyway…the consensus seems to be that his views are legitimate, but his writing is too inflammatory. I would agree with that, and hope the dialogue ends peacably. I look forward to reading the donkeyphant regularly in the future.

  16. Justin Gardner Says:

    blackoutyears,

    Yes, Frank has been a god send. Many thanks to him.

    Michael,

    You just want to see people fight. :-)

    Sam

    Welcome! But no, I don’t think people agree that David’s views are legitimate. Especially when he accuses Israelis of ethnic cleansing. I certainly don’t. But I do think Israel has overreached. However, that’s a far cry from calling them scheming thieves.

  17. michael reynolds Says:

    Michael,

    You just want to see people fight. :-)

    Dude, how many times do I have to tell you: rule number one, don’t talk about fight club.

  18. DavId Anthony Hohol Says:

    Hi Justin,

    Thanks for making the corrections. And yes, that of course is my comment below the Newstin post. It was not my intention to be misleading by linking the article I did. It’s just the one I originally posted for you was a summary of the article linked, where I am in fact far more “inflammatory.” You got my toned down politically correct version!

    In the end, the fact that this “boring” post has brought more comments than any of your recent articles (or mine for that matter) and this shows people want to take off the gloves and really talk about these things. (as some of your readers have suggested) In the end, however, we are “the kings” of our blogs and each decide what tone is best for our respective sites.

    Once again, thanks and I truly respect the effort for transparency you have made here.

    Peace
    D.

  19. gerryf Says:

    Sam, it’s all in the punctuation

    down the chimney, down (down, down, down). Down is the direction, chimney is not an adjective for down.

  20. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @mw:
    Justin’s never going to kick you off Donklephant. He’ll just email Putin claiming you criticized Joseph Stalin. And then act real surprised when you die of radiation poisoning.

    As for the original posts I agreed with most of what they said, but it rapidly devolved into the kind of partisan flame-fest we try to avoid here.

    Hohol was using what Preacher’s call the “Prophetic Voice.” He painted a truly extreme picture of what the Israelis were doing to make a point: they aren’t the perfect democrats they claim to be. It’s a perfectly valid rhetorical technique. But it is intended to provoke heated debate.

    Donklephant is just not the place for heated debate.

  21. mw Says:

    @NB
    Not a problem. I always bring a Geiger counter to the sushi bar. And I don’t let guys with umbrellas walk behind me. That’s why I’m still here.

    To get back on topic – I happened to read DAH’s post shortly after it went up. I considered it to be a piece of pure propaganda and responded by posting a youtube of Israeli government propaganda focusing on the intransigence of the Palestinian government. I then suggested to Justin that he leave them both up or take them both down. They both came down and I think that was the right decision.

    I was surprise that DAH decided (was invited?) to move on. I expected once the offending posts were gone, he would remain a contributor. I still think it would be a good idea if he is interested. And I still have that YouTube ready and waiting in the queue.

  22. Justin Gardner Says:

    David,

    Well, I said it might bore some and fascinate others. Since I took so much time writing it, I fall in the latter camp and thought many of my readers would too. Especially since this is a rare glimpse under the hood.

    As far as “taking off the gloves” that happens nearly every day here. However, just because we’re not caustic, doesn’t mean we’re not passionate. Too often people mistake yelling and name calling for passion. Personally, I think those who take the time to write a well thought out post are incredibly passionate.

    Also, commenters trade barbs back and forth, but usually it’s respectful. And since the contributors set the tone, commenters are more respectful…for the most part. In other words, I bet most people who argue in the comments section would be fine having a beer with their counterparts if the occasion arose. Tully is a good example of that. We call each other out all the time, but we’ve met and have tipped back a glass or two (or too many) on more than one occasion.

    In the end, I do what I can to maintain a good dialogue here. As I’ve said many times before, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I think we do okay. More conflict would certainly mean more traffic, but I’m in this for the long haul. So I’ll continue to do what I do and hope that folks find it interesting. Fingers crossed.

  23. mike mcEachran Says:

    I’ve read every bloody word of this post and I’d like to say that I need a nap.

  24. Daniel Says:

    All governments are shakedown cartels. Some shake down more than others. Israel and the USA are two such cartels.

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