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It seems the "elite" mods and company have finally taken Sphinn away from the community. I saw it coming last fall when select articles were removed despite genuine community support, recently when unfavorable comments were deleted by mods with no accountability, and now the Greatest Hits shows Matt McGee (a mod) at the top...after the top ranking Sphinn was deleted without any notice.

If Sphinn really is now a tool to support/promote the mods and their (corporate-backed) agenda, while looking like a community open to all search marketers, with "votes" supporting "important" people and messages, we all have a problem.

Search marketers can’t afford to let a select group like this control the public image.
Comments74 Comments  

Comments

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from Purposeinc 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Look, I like Danny. A very nice, and a very helpful guy. I also am great friends with Nick, moderator at large.Sphinn on the other hand is apparantly not what it appears to be.There are apparantly standards enforced that don’t appear in the TOS. It is a private company, and clearly have the right to do whatever they want.Unfortunately it took the fun away from me that Sphinn first had when I found it.I’ll go tweet this and we will see what happens. :)

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from baiduyou 2079 Days ago #
Votes: -2

Why delete the post after all this time? I don’t get it.Didn’t Danny originally approve? Seems a little bizarre.

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from johnandrews 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’d be the first to admit it’s always been a delicate issue... a Greatest Hits way out in front like that, but as a social media community it is natural that we deal with these issues first. Hell that’s why I did it in the first place.Now we need to know why the communtiy is being overruled, and by whom, under what new rules. Last week Jill Whalen got (apparently) criticized again but this time the post was deleted outright before most could see it. Time for you all to ask the good questions --what else is being censored? Who is framing the issues behind the scenes, to make who else look important? Are we as a community being gamed by our own self-elected leaders?Seriously.. Sphinn is making Rockstars out of some of these people, and we support that because as far as we know, we’re all voting them to the top. But is that true???

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from onreact 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 2

It seems there’s a lack of accountability on the mod side. I’ve got a post on SEOptimise blocked as spam 2 months ago and there was no way to bring it back or find out who did it. The URL was banned forever.The site is growing and it’s time to install some checks and balances. Recently I got a critical comment deleted and no explanation for it. This is very sad as I was always working together wih the Sphinn staff to identify spam etc. I’ve written numerous messages to support regarding fake votes etc.

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from Halfdeck 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 6

Sphinn never belonged to the people. Some of mods made that crystal-clear months ago. There are unwritten laws all around you, like "don’t make the mods or any of their buddies look stupid."

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from streko 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 1

http://www.bjacked.net/LuvToHunt/forums/phpBB2/modules/gallery/albums/album01/Beat_Dead_Horse.jpg

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from DazzlinDonna 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 10

The key is to stop caring about Sphinn.  I stopped caring a while back during one of the drama-fests, and that made all the difference.  Once you let go of the caring bit, it’s all just another place to find and/or market content.  Life is less stressful once you let go.

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from evilgreenmonkey 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 9

If you let me know what the story was that fell off of Greatest Hits, I’ll look into it. It’s always best to contact us first though, rather than trying to make something out of nothing. Pligg is a buggy platform and Sphinn suffers as a result of this. A new Sphinn platform is now in active development, specifically built to address many of the issues which have inadvertantly caused confusion or distress to some users.There is no big conspiracy going on here, and you’re welcome to contact me directly (rob*at*evilgreenmonkey.com) to discuss specific issues that are still outstanding.

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from evilgreenmonkey 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 9

Fixed :)2 Sphinn members (neither were moderators) marked the Greatest Hits post as Spam, moving it to the bottom of the Spam review queue. I’ve removed the spam flag and you should now see the post back in the Greatest Hits section.

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from KenJones 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 5

It’s good to see that the action has been taken to restore John’s post to the Greatest Hits (I’ve Sphunn it now as well sinced I’d previously missed it as it was from before I joined - maybe this extra attention will finally get you the 500 Sphinns you were aiming for John).It’s a bit of a worry to realise that even aged posts with hundreds of Sphinns like that can be pulled as the result of just 2 non-mod members’ (what I can only assume to be malicious) actions.  I notice Matt McGee’s post at number 2 on the Greatest Hits list also shows as having been acquitted; does this mean it was also flagged as spam in the same way?I hope that this new Sphinn platform that’s been in development for such a long time will allow for better checks and balances against this kind of manipulation.

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from Feydakin 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 7

It seems strange to me that just 2 spam flags can get a greatest hit moved while real spam sits in upcomming for hours and hours with at least 1 spam flag given to it.. I can’t be the only person flagging things as spam..

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from Halfdeck 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 4

What about Onreact’s deleted comment?

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from Mert 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 0

how about a code that says after you become a front page story you can’t be spam flagged *without a mod intervention*

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from johnandrews 2079 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Trust is a fragile thing. This system is trading on the names/faces and reputations of the participants. At every trun, Social Media suggests to the viewing public that is is the members who promote/demote items for publicity, not the operators. We even have Safe Harbor LAWS offering legal protections to that effect. It’s great to say "oops.. we fixed it" but it’s the answers to questions like @halfdecks and response to concerns like @Feydakin’s that matter more. With no integrity, Sphinn will die an embarassing death (embarassing for its owners/mods).

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from gridsix 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 4

Wouldn’t they have removed this post if that were true?

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from graywolf 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 6

and I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for you pesky kids ... :-)

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from theGypsy 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 4

I think John just wants to get this one to the top of the greatest hits... hee hee... Seriously tho, who gives a rats ass? Fire and forget it, I write because it’s cathartic for my search obsession. If it goes hot...or get’s tanked by the Sphinn police, no sweat of my...erm... well, U know...it is nice to see some drama though, we’re slipping around here of late....now where’d I leave my drink? It’s Friday ain’t it?

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from Dorian 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Can we get an answer about Onreact’s deleted comment?It’s been asked about multiple times on different threads by respected people.Here is the thread it was deleted from in case a mod needs the URL:http://sphinn.com/story/99991

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from graywolf 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 6

if it makes your day more funfilled to think we have a secret agenda please do, however the truth is pligg is a pretty unsophisticated platform, and until the new platform comes out we just have to live with some of it’s idiosyncracies.

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from Halfdeck 2079 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Strange, Graywolf you sound like Matt Cutts defending Google.

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from graywolf 2078 Days ago #
Votes: 2

@halfdeck its the truth, but if it makes you feel better to go with a conspiracy theory have fun.It would be pretty foolish of me to put myself in a position where I could be proven a liar, instead of just keeping quiet and saying nothing.

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from Misscj 2078 Days ago #
Votes: 4

I’m agreeing with DazzlinDonna and Dave here, I mean if you post here for the "Sphinns" I’d ask you what that brings you.  If a post of mine does well, then good, if not (and there are many!) I don’t really care because some of my favourite submissions are those with hardly any Sphinns at all.  I can’t be the only one.  You choose to participate in a community based on a voting system, and there are bound to be highly competitive people and those who just submit things they think others will like.  Decide if the votes mean anything to you or not. There are also many papers around about why voting communities have problems.  Ask yourself why you come here, and if it’s in peace and for reading some stuff, fine. If it’s to argue, defame, compete...then may I suggest meditation classes!  Seriously...you’ll be a happier person...

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from Purposeinc 2078 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I just want to argue with Johnon some more.Is there anything else we can argue about while we are here?

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from cre8pc 2078 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I read what I Sphinn.  Just now, I de-sphunn about 5 posts and hit the "spam" link for 5 more. Everytime I come here, either to read or post something, I report spam and try to knock out anything that has no tie to Internet Marketing or web design.It IS a community.  Everyone is responsible for their own experience with it.  I appreciate Sphinn and am happy to show my respect to those who manage it.

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from o3man 2078 Days ago #
Votes: 0

True words... Sadly, we are seeing this take place. My wish is that all voices be heard.

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from johnandrews 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It may just be my own opinion, but as Internet marketers and online entrepreneurs pioneering in an age of "new media" and currently "social media", we should be pushing boundaries and stretching. We should try and try again. We should not be afraid to stress systems like Sphinn, as long as the stressor represents a PUSH of the state of the art (in any direction whatsoever - for innovation’s sake). Digg was first, and is a tabloid news channel. Sphinn started with a mission to be a social media experiment for marketers. As they push forward with social media marketing, marketers encounter real problems for which there are no existing solutions. Wouldn’t it be great if we discovered those here, in our community, and learned how to deal with them here, so we could bring that knowledge to the rest of the world? Perhaps for a fee or other benefit?Or we could just make Sphinn into another Digg. Titles will need to be outrageous to get any traction, voting needs to be rigged to be effective, topics limited to a few raw human emotions, and mods having to cozy up to their mod friends to avoid feeling criticized or unloved, and to keep their cool. I say push limits... the golden nuggets are well worth the effort spent prospecting for them. I also note that almost every rockstar/mod/personality defending an established position of authority got there by pushing the limits of the status quo earlier, some more than others.

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from dannysullivan 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 11

I’m at a loss. Honestly, I simply do not understand why this has turned into what seems to be a giant waste of time all around. John’s time, the time for others having to read and comment and question, and now my time having to respond.I cannot recall the number of times now that a relatively few number of people have accused Sphinn of having some type of secret agenda. We don’t have one. I don’t know what more we can say on that front that hasn’t been said already.Moreover, I’ve asked John in the past if he wanted to be a moderator. In fact, I’ve extended in the past publicly to anyone with major doubts about our secret agenda that they can guest moderator for a bit. That’s still open. And spare me the excuses as John twittered today that he doesn’t want to work for free. What, no time to spend a few minutes for a day or two or three exploring our backroom and seeing the admin options firsthand? But time to expend talking about how Sphinn’s trust is in quesiton. Spend a little less time making the accusations and a little more time learning about things directly, and I’d say we’d all save time overall.It would be especially nice for more people to experience what occupies virtually all the time of moderators, dealing with crappy spam. If you need a visual to understand this, then see Crappy MP3 Sites, Comment Spamming & Enough Already. It will give you a good picture of the junk we’re typically dealing with.In John’s situation, I read tonight that the top ranking Sphinn in Greatest Hits (which is John’s own) was deleted "without any notice" with the suggestion that it was done to put Matt McGee who is a mod here at the top, all as part of a plan to push the mods and their "corporate-backed" agenda, whatever that is.Seriously, just how stupid would we be to do this? How could anyone honestly sit there and think that we’d purposely go out and knock off John’s post. He watches everything. He’s been critical (as well as supportive) of Sphinn in the past. Would we be that stupid to wipe his post out like this? We’re so smart that we’ve got a secret corporate agenda but we’d also be that dumb?The reality is that John’s post got hit with two spam reports, as Rob explained, which knocked it off the Greatest Hits page. i wish the Pligg software was smarter so that wouldn’t happen. John, I’m sorry that happened to your post. But it wasn’t something calculated as part of our uber-plan. And I could try and spin up development to to patch another fix on top of the cruddy Pligg platform to in a knee-jerk reaction to what’s virtually never a problem here. I’d rather keep our efforts  focused on the entire new platform that we’ve been building from scratch. I wish I could unleash it now, but it’s still being built. It simply takes time.Well, maybe we shouldn’t have spam reporting tools at all. Except if you also go through some past discussions, that’s by far a bigger issue that the stealth censorship progam some think we have underway here. We get a lot of spam. We need users to help us fight it. The mods are overloaded fighting it. The spam reporting tool does help.I started by saying this was a huge waste of time. In particular, I don’t see that anyone asked us about it. John certainly noticed it, enough to do a discussion here. John’s got my email. it’s not like it’s hard to say "What’s up?"Instead, the first I learned of this was on Friday, when I noticed him twittering about it. I didn’t actually see it on Sphinn itself because I was still digging out from being gone at SMX West this week (where in the middle of the conference, I apparently had time to meet with the Sphinn mods and engineer this censorship, I gather). Soon after, Nick sent an email round the mods asking if anyone knew what happened. And when I looked, it was back. And that’s because Rob has also looked, saw that it was removed due to a spam report and restored.All of this could have been avoided if John had just asked us. Used the contact form. Emailed me or Rob directly (I’m pretty sure he has Rob’s email as well). But no. It has to be a drama. It has to be a point of questioning how we’re quietly advancing some agenda.We’re not.@onreact says there’s no accountablity on the mod side. Again, I cannot count the number of times we’ve been held to the fire over some edit or post removal, in the incredibly small number of times those even happen.@onreact, I don’t know what it is that was in your comment that was deleted. if you can email what you recall it to be to me or Rob, we’ll look into it. promise. Same thing on whatever post you said was removed.@feydakin 2 spam reports moves anything. And I agree, it sucks that stuff can sit in upcoming for hours with only 1 spam report. As we’ve said repeatedly, we could really use members reporting more spam. it would be a huge help until the new platform comes up.@mert, the new platform will prevent legit stories that have gone hot from being knocked out as spam.@johnandrews, Trust is a fragile thing, indeed. And it goes both ways. We as admins and moderators as Sphinn have to earn and maintain trust by answering questions and being held accountable for our actions. But members of the community also earn trust or lose it by how they act. Members firing off accusations of secret agendas certainly gets attention but it doesn’t engender trust. Members asking easily reached moderators for more advice or information about a concern does engender trust. And if you’ve done that and still aren’t satisfied, by all means -- go to the community and enlist their support. We’ve said that consistently time and time again.

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from johnandrews 2077 Days ago #
Votes: -7

Sigh.Saddenned to see so many words and so much effort put in by Danny. It’s no secret that certain mods have earned less trust than others, and no secret that they don’t respond well to criticism. When things are censored, questions NEED to be raised. We (including Danny) should welcome that. And if raised questions are addressed right away, respectfully, concern stops growing.When issues are NOT addressed, the next issue to happen supports a line of conspiracy thinking. Ditto for the next. Left unadressed, IF people care about the community, they will ask more sharply-directed questions. Answer this -- left unquestioned, who would ever know if censorship was underway? It’s a negative phenomenon - we only know what we see.Sorry to see this called "drama",  and sorry to see public statements ABOUT it that are longer and more dramatic than the original. As always I’m ok with taking a hit for saying what is on my own and some  other people’s minds, and for speaking up before things are obviously corrupt. I know that is a healthy thing; something that someone needs to do.  I’m not thrilled with the public statements that paint concerns as overly dramatic. If you don’t have any accounting for moderator actions because of your software, that is an operational problem. If someone’s moderator-critical comments are deleted without explanation, and the criticized mod replies to the  poster as if it’s no big deal and won’t be addressed further, is it acceptbale for you to simply write it off as "our software doesn’t tell me anything"? In that case, wWe SHOULD ask questons, and IMHO, someone other than the criticised moderator should answer.

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from BrentCsutoras 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 3

It was with the candlestick, in the study, by none other than Professor Plum.

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from dannysullivan 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I never said questions shouldn’t be raised, John. I’ve said the opposite over and over again, constantly here. I’ve devoted plenty of time answering them myself, over and over again.The issue with onreact’s comment being removed without explanation in that other thread should have been addressed. After I posted here, I then immediately went back to the moderators and told them exactly that. Specifically, I said:That thread shouldn’t have been allowed to fester in that way. People are asking over and over what was removed, and there wasn’t a reasonable explanation offered.I’m with you on that. I’d like to know what the comment was, who removed it and why.But no, I’m not with you when you started this thread here by saying:Now the Greatest Hits shows Matt McGee (a mod) at the top...after the top ranking Sphinn was deleted without any notice. If Sphinn really is now a tool to support/promote the mods and their (corporate-backed) agenda, while looking like a community open to all search marketers, with "votes" supporting "important" people and messages, we all have a problem. That was drama. You didn’t ask any of the mods what happened. You just started an entire new post implying that this was part of an agenda you seem to wish we had. I fall back again to what I said before. You seriously think we’re sitting around pondering how we can keep a group down and decide, "Got it, let’s pull John’s super public Greatest Hits post -- no one will notice that, and Matt McGee will inherit super-Sphinn powers."You seriously think that? You seriously thought that when you started this off? You honestly believed what you wrote, that this was part of an uber-plan that you fortunately caught and nipped in the bud?I’d have had far more respect for you if you’d simply done a fresh discussion highlighting that onreact’s comment was deleted and despite many questions in the thread over this, no one provided an answer. THAT deserved time and attention. But stirring up drama around your Greatest Hits post, when you haven’t even bothered to ask anyone about it, that was a time waste. It was drama. And if you find that drama tiresome now, then next time email for some answers before you make accusations and start trying to add up things that might be completely unrelated. You’ll save us all a lot of time. And if you’re not satisified, as I said here earlier and as I’ve said many times before, then stir up the drumbeat all you want.

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from Jill 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Okay, so here’s my take since the comment in question was allegedly deleted from a sphinn thread based on one of my Search Engine Land articles. I’m a very new mod at Sphinn, like only 1-2 months of modhood. While some may have thought I was a mod before I wasn’t, I was just an active participant. I was invited by Rob a couple of months ago to be a mod, presumably because I was sending in spam reports numerous times a week anyway, and as a mod, I wouldn’t have to bother everyone else and could just delete the spam myself. Before becoming a mod, I assumed that there was a secret backroom where all the mods chatted about the "regular folk" and discussed what should be deleted and what shouldn’t, etc. But once I had access I found that the backroom hadn’t been posted to for nearly a year! There’s no chatting going on to keep down "the man" of that I can assure you. There is an email list where the mods can email all the others at once if there’s a problem, but I rarely see one of those come across my inbox either. If someone reports a spam via the comment form, it also goes to all the mods. I thought for sure we’d get tons of those every day, but since I’ve been a mod, I think I’ve only seen maybe 3 or 4 at most come through. So for all those who want to complain about the community, do your part first, then complain. We delete at least 100 spam submissions a day from the what’s New section, probably more. And it does take time. We all own companies or have full time jobs and honestly have better things to do with our time, but we believe in the community and want to see it be as good as it can be. Regarding the alleged comment that was deleted, I for one never saw it, which is surprising since it was in a thread I was monitoring. Typically comments don’t get deleted very quickly, even the most spammiest of the spammy. And no mod has come forward to say they’ve deleted it. So personally, I will put my own tinfoil hat theory out there and suggest that perhaps onreact thought he made a comment and perhaps it didn’t go through? I’m quite sure if there actually was a comment there it would have had to have been quite a personal attack if it was deleted that quickly. And there have been others by him that have been, so there was already precedent.

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from johnandrews 2077 Days ago #
Votes: -6

Sigh. Piling on the drama are we?Take away from Danny above: agree with me on everything except that there’s a great conspiracy by all of Sphinn moderators to remove one post. No, Danny... I don’t think that, and never said that. So we don’t disagree on anything now, right? No need for 1000 more words of drama?Take away from Jill above: She’s new here, didn’t even see the comment critical of her which was deleted, and there are no records of moderator activity so no one knows who deleted it. And maybe it was never posted in the first place.So we’re done now? I think this is getting embarassing, looking more and more like a big smoke cloud covering up something. We don’t want that, do we? Seriously, one time on NYPD Blue Detective Sipowitz showed how the bigger the answer to an inquiry, the more there was that needed to be investigated. I’m embarassed to see my questions taking up so much CEO energy for all the wrong reasons. It’s really awkward. Almost painful. It’s almost enough to make one wonder if there’s not some other agenda or something underlying this activity? Very very tiresome. Almost enough to have a chilling effect on future concerns getting expressed. Certainly enough to deter many people from saying anything in public that might be taken as critical. Not me, of course, but others for sure.

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from amabaie 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I with "who gives a rats ass" on this.  It’s starting to sound like Digg around here, and that would be a pity.  The mods will do what they have to do, and if they are right most of the time Sphinn will remain a very useful place to share information.  If they errr occasionally, well, it’s nice to know they are human.  Hands up everyone who thinks the mods should be perfect, can be perfect and deserve being dumped on if they are not.I find a a good question to ask is, "Would I like my SEO clients picking me apart for every misstep or miscalculation I make?"  And the clients pay.  We get this service free, thanks to volunteers and I for one think dumping is tasteless and classless.<div id="seolinx-tooltip" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; display: none; opacity: 0.9; position: absolute; width: auto; z-index: 99999"><table border="0" style="border: 0pt none ; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; border-collapse: separate; width: auto"><tbody><tr><td id="seolinx-table" style="border: 0pt none ; margin: 1px; padding: 0pt; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold"><div style="margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; overflow: auto; width: auto"><table border="0" style="border: 1px solid gray; margin: 0pt; border-collapse: separate" id="seolinx-paramtable"><tbody><tr><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" PR: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" I: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" L: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" LD: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" I: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap">wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" C: wait...</td><td style="border: 1px solid gray; padding: 2px; background: #f0f0f0 none repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: darkgreen; font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 7pt; font-weight: bold; white-space: nowrap"><img style="vertical-align: middle" src=" SD: wait...</td></tr></tbody></table></div></td><td id="seolinx-tooltip-close" style="border: 0pt none ; margin: 0pt; padding: 1px; cursor: pointer; vertical-align: middle; width: auto"><img src="chrome://seoquake/content/skin/close.gif" alt="" /></td></tr></tbody></table></div>

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from dannysullivan 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 4

As for what Jill wrote, you know, I forgot that occasionally people have said they’ve made comments that have disappeared -- but those comments turned out to never have registered. Both Sugarrae and Matt Cutts had this happen a few months ago. With Matt, I think it was Chrome related. But so far, no one can figure out what that comment was that got removed. Some mods aren’t around on the weekend, so maybe we’ll have someone chime in. In the meantime, onreact, why don’t you just go back into the other thread and repost your comment as best you remember, so at least we have some idea of what it was that some people think we’d have found so controversial to remove.John, to your response, you did indeed suggest there was a conspiracy to remove your post, part of a greater plan to advance whatever corporate agenda or backroom dealings you think we have here. Anyone who reads how you started this thread can read that for themselves. Now you say that you didn’t think that? Then why on earth did you write it? You shouldn’t have started the drama you now say you’re so tired of. You shouldn’t lob serious accusations at people who deserve better, and you shouldn’t complain after doing so of having to read through long explanations to the community to explain the concern and address the issues you yourself raised.You think there’s a smoke cloud? You think it’s embarrassing? I think that’s just you trying to backtrack form what you started. You kicked this off looking for some attention to concerns you raised. You went out and twittered up support for people to come in and make sure comments got added. And then you turn around and complain that there must be something going on since I’ve now dived in and spent so much time responding to you?Geez, John. If I hadn’t responded, you’d have gone on and on about what a conspiracy of silence there is. Pick the response, you’d be ready to find fault in it and no apparent fault in yourself or any of your actions. You see nothing wrong with what you’ve done in this thread? You see nothing wrong about ringing all the alarm bells as you did, then reversing direction and saying "oh no, I never believed that."Don’t do that. Don’t waste people’s time, as you’ve done. And don’t whine that the entire thing will now have a "chilling effect" on other people raising issues as a way to somehow try and divert this into yet another "wrong" you think we’ve done away from the mess you actually created.We deserve better than that here. We’ve responded time and time again to issues people have had. Sometimes we’re wrong, and we have apologized. We’re not perfect. Sometimes we’re unclear on things, and we’ve clarified. Sometimes we’re not wrong at all, but we’ll have the discussion anyway, to reassure people.I take accusations like this dead serious. That’s why I’m responding, and responding in such length. But what I have absolutely no energy for anymore are people who view starting these types of dramas as weekend amusement. That’s what this comes across like to me, John. That you were either bored and thought it would be fun to have a wind up. Or that you seriously believed what you wrote, then when it appeared so farfatched to others, you backed away from it. Neither is a positive with me.And yeah, you want to be done now? Then shut up with making yet new accusations of there being "big smoke clouds" etc. Have your last word, and as long as you’re not getting into new areas that don’t need to be addressed, I’ve said all I need to say. And next time? You’ve got my email. You’ve got Rob’s. You’ve got a concern about what happened to one of your posts, or you’re afraid that some particular unnamed mod is making changes that aren’t on? Then talk to us first. It’s not that hard.Enough drama. Enough time waste.

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from Halfdeck 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Thanks Jill. I just wanted to know what happened to onreact’s comment.That said, here’s some context for people who’s not keeping score. This isn’t the first time a mod decided to censor opinion on Sphinn. A thread attacking Linkscrape was shut down because a mod felt it was "going in circles" - though the discussion was relatively civil. In fact closing the thread took away a platform for Rand to defend himself. Danny opened a new thread the next day after some people voiced their complaints: http://sphinn.com/story/79980Before that, pageoneresults - one of the sharpest minds in the SEO industry - was banned for disturbing the peace and supposedly behaving in ways not helpful to the Sphinn community. No mod tried to set him straight; it was more convenient to go with the one strike you’re out policy. I messaged Danny Sullivan about that. No response.These aren’t Pligg glitches. They’re examples of a Sphinn mod deciding to error on the side of censorship for whatever reason. I don’t mind mods deleting comments or submits if they are needlessly hurtful. Many of SpostareDuo’s posts were deleted from Sphinn for that reason. Onreact has a tendency to flamebait with his comments so I wouldn’t be surprised if he crossed a line. But one bad apple spoils the barrel. Just one bad mod making bad judgement calls can cast a cloud over the head of every mod on Sphinn. I didn’t accuse mods of holding a weekly meeting every Sunday writing up a list of people to sabotage. Bottom line is we still don’t know who deleted onreact’s comment IF it was in fact deleted.People make mistakes every day, and that’s ok. But remember this: when a problem comes up, people are just looking for answers. We use drama to gain eyeballs so that the problem gets resolved, knowing that stirring up shit probably will tarnish our rep. I expect better from people at Sphinn than marginalizing legit concerns by playing the "drama queen" card. If a mod took time to address what may have happened to onreact’s comment sooner, this thread wouldn’t exist.

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from Jill 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 2

@halfdeck Regarding the timing, a good portion of the active mods were at SMX when this happened. Had there not been a conference put on by Third Door Media who hosts sphinn, my guess is that this would have been resolved more quickly and/or replies would have come in faster. As it was, most of us were pretty busy and not online as much as usual. When we were, we weren’t typically on Sphinn. At least I certainly wasn’t. And Danny and Michelle were in pretty much every session at the conference.

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from Halfdeck 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Jill, I understand. I’m not blaming anyone for not responding quickly enough. My point is people who voted for this thread just wanted some answers. Regardless of whatever bad blood there is between John and Danny, brushing off his criticism as "drama" didn’t resolve this dogfight as long as there were questions left to be answered.

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from WebDirectory 2077 Days ago #
Votes: -4

I did not realize this was happening. :(

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from MiriamEllis 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 6

"Got it, let’s pull John’s super public Greatest Hits post -- no one will notice that, and Matt McGee will inherit super-Sphinn powers."That says it all. Does anyone here honestly think that’s what the Sphinn mods are doing?I think implying that something underhanded is going on in order to promote Matt is absurd and hurtful. I don’t work for Third Door, but I do know and respect Matt and felt very upset to read such a pointless implication of dishonorable behavior being directed towards him. Why would anyone make an offhand public statement that paints a peer as dishonest? That’s a horrible thing to do. It’s petty, unworthy and unprofessional. John Andrews, I understand that you are a smart and well-respected business person. I’d like to believe that you simply didn’t realize how your accusation might make Matt McGee feel. I think you owe him both a public and private apology for suggesting that he is taking part in something dishonest. That’s such a serious thing to accuse a fellow business person of, and I am very disturbed to encounter such talk being given voice so loosely at Sphinn.Maybe a good time for a review of Dr. Pete’s recent article about behaving professionally in the midst of disagreement.

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from tamar 2077 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"it was more convenient to go with the one strike you’re out policy."Except it wasn’t a one-strike-you’re-out policy, Halfdeck, nor is any of the rest of that statement true.  I don’t think any respected member on Sphinn has ever gotten banned that quickly without attempts of outreach to achieve mutual understanding on behalf of the Sphinn staff/volunteers.  There was a lot more to that specific situation, and the discussion actually lasted quite awhile.  (As for Tad: I still wish I knew how to delete comments. I only know how to edit them.)Going back to John’s statement, I just want to make a few comments and observations:John said: "I’m embarassed to see my questions taking up so much CEO energy for all the wrong reasons. It’s really awkward. Almost painful. It’s almost enough to make one wonder if there’s not some other agenda or something underlying this activity?"If Danny and the moderators didn’t care about the community, they’d leave these issues unaddressed.  The bottom line: Sphinn is a social news site, and guess what -- I think most people here wearing a mod/admin hat want that community to flourish.  Mods and admins are very open about addressing concerns and they’ve spent a lot of man hours to do that.  This goal would have been achieved publicly or privately, so I’m not entirely sure why this needed to turn into a big drama rantfest with nothing but completely off-base sour/bitter accusations.Responding to community concerns is a relatively new way of community involvement (and one that I personally advocate).  I suppose, though, that not everyone is used to personal attention to speciifc complaints.  If the mods/admins actually address an open question, should that be construed as further adding to a big cloud of smoke?  And if nobody said anything, I guess you’d have to argue that we’re being silent (just as Danny said).  I guess we can’t win here.  Either way, we’re losers.John, it may be helpful to see the good in people.  Not everything here is a conspiracy.

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from Halfdeck 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"attempts of outreach to achieve mutual understanding"You can sugar-coat it however you want. Fact remains either one of the mods deleted onreact’s comment and isn’t coming clean (my guess is Mr Green with the led pipe) or it deleted itself. I’ll assume Onreact’s comment was vile enough to prompt deletion and leave it at that. But in case this happens again, you might want to think about tracking mod activity so there’s some level of accountability.

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from dannysullivan 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Halfdeck, the fact is either someone deleted it and hasn’t responded yet to my message to all the mods (which as I said, given i sent it on the weekend, isn’t that surprising -- people do have lives) or it for some reason didn’t go through as has happened a few times in the past.I’ve asked him to repost it. We can ramp the conspiracy stuff up more, but I’d rather see what on earth it was he commented before doing that.I’ve said earlier that I wish someone had addressed his concerns about the comment removal earlier. I apologize for that. But if no one actually deleted it, if there was some glitch, well -- I can also see various mods scratching their heads on how to respond.As for "keeping score," there are an incredibly small number of threads that have been closed, or deleted, or where people have been banned from Sphinn. You call that censorship. To me, censorship is when someone tries to prevent a particular viewpoint from being express. I call what we’ve done moderation. That’s when we make tough decisions that we think benefit civility in the community as a whole.Unlike a number of other internet and search marketing forums, I think we’re also pretty open about some of these decisions. Some places have policies of "no public moderation." If things are pulled or edited or people banned over there, it simply isn’t discussed. We’ve tried to strike a more open ground here, even if it results in us getting beat up on at times.There are some things where we simply won’t comment. Someone sends us an incredibly threatening email, full of use of the C and F words and other profanities. You know, banning a person like that isn’t something we’re going to worry about or discuss publicly.All I can say is that closing threads, banning people or editing comments remains an incredibly tiny number of actions. If you’re really keeping score, then go through and look at all that we do not touch, divide that stuff on your scorecard and then tell me if it’s more than a 10th of a percent, if even that. And if we really had some type of agenda, I’d say it would be a heck of a lot more.I totally understand that people want answers when there are issues they are concerned about. But sometimes people don’t even bother to ask. They make assumptions or unfounded accusations. And if one bad apple can spoil things among the moderators, so too can one bad apple in the membership base spoil things.I don’t want drama being used to gain eyeballs unless people feel there is no other way. What happened to Onreact’s comment wasn’t the focus of this thread. As I said, if that’s what this had been about, I’d have been fully on board with the drama factor being used to finally get an answer (assuming Onreact had also used the contact form to ask someone to look into it officially -- that would have helped).But a thread saying that Sphinn no longer belongs to the people, based on John’s Greatest Hits post going missing and a conspiracy tone that was set? That was unnecessary drama. Sorry, but it was. That type of drama not only deserves to be marginalized. It deserves to be stamped out. It especially needs to be stamped out when someone later says that they didn’t actually believe the accusations they made.Turn it around, Halfdeck. How do we know someone didn’t come along and spam report John’s post in order to spark the entire thread in the first place. Or that Onreact never made a comment in the first place but just said he did. That there’s a group of people that for whatever reason decide that Sphinn should be something they target for fun or profit or whatever?We can all sit around and assume the worst of each other, and that’s a pretty sucky world. I’d rather assume the best. If people have real concerns, we have a contact form. That’s the very best way to ask what’s up. Use it. And if we don’t get answers and you still have real concerns, and you think the Sphinn community needs to know of these, then fire up the drama to get those eyeballs.

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from tamar 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"You can sugar-coat it however you want. Fact remains either one of the mods deleted onreact’s comment and isn’t coming clean"Halfdeck, I’m failing to understand why you quoted me and then referred to someone else in your response.  I have no knowledge of the Tad issue, so I didn’t comment on that except to say that I don’t know how to delete comments.  I only responded about your earlier p1r comment.  I can only respond about issues I have some knowledge of.

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from johnandrews 2076 Days ago #
Votes: -9

Now that Danny has shown his true colors, telling me to "shut up" and exploiting the "drama defense", I’ll speak more freely.It’s pathetic to see Sphinn management react like this, and then make a conscious effort to continue it with a "pile on" of mods vs. concerned users.I don’t know anyone in my real business world that would extend respect to a management that behaved like this. And in the online world, when it comes to community management, this is childish and honestly, amateur.<b>Fix the problem, Danny.</b> Save your energy on these attacks; it’s making you look pathetic. You’ve been told and shown that there is censorship, unexplained anti-user behavior, and (you might have missed this part) a sincere interest by some users to help make it better. It’s time to fix the problem, not stir the drama pot.I can’t accept that you care as you say you do, or that mods are overworked as they say they are, if I witness you recreating the drama for effect, and your mods contributing thousands of words to the dead issue. Seriously, <b>put that energy into fixing the problems</b>. Many of us want Sphinn to succeed and we contribute to that effort. <b>Fix the problem</b> of some <b>moderators apparently  censoring unflattering feedback</b>. Fix the problem of <b>users repeatedly seeing that some things get censored while others do not</b>. Fix the problem of <b>inordinate effort put into pile-on attacks like this one, when a little respectful effort on the initial problem would have been adequate</b>.Obviously you view me as a threat, because there is no other way to explain the personal attack here. I’m not a threat, Danny. The problems are your threat. Many, many marketers have abandoned Sphinn already. I bet few are willing to speak up and risk this kind of a personal attack from you and your mods, especially after this demonstration. I thought you knew better because you’ve been around so long... you’ve seen what happened to the reputations of DigitalPoint, IHelpYou, and doesn’t Jill still run one of those "infamous" forums, too? But I still believe the problems can be fixed here at Sphinn. I’m sure you can do it if you want to. I’m not your problem, Danny. Fix the problems if you want me or anyone else to "shut up".

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from dannysullivan 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 2

John, my true colors? You posted accusations that there’s some secret uber-plan related to removing your Greatest Hits post. Then when I ask you if you seriously believed that, you say you didn’t. I think enough said on true colors.Sphinn management piling on? You accused a lot of people who spend virtually all of their time dealing with spam of being part of the above said uber-plot, and then you get upset over them voicing their own responses? I guess they should just shut up and take whatever you want to dish out at them, even when you in turn recant those accusations. Got it -- you can speak whatever is in your mind, but if people you accuse want to voice their own opinions, that’s simply piling on.Childish? Yes, that’s what I view you starting this entire thread. Your post goes missing. You didn’t actually ask anyone about it, despite the fact you can contact us. You’ve got my email. You’ve had Rob’s. But no, you fire up a grand conspiracy scheme that you then back away from when it gets exactly the attention you seemed to have wanted.Fix the problem? Save my energy? Sure, I’d love to. Try stopping wild accusations for no reason. Try being grown up yourself. Stop whining that we’re childish when you put forth what was essentially a kindergarten tantrum. Don’t complain that I or others respond to you in depth, when you make such severe accusations. And as said, if we don’t respond to you, then you simply will view that as us ignoring the "problems" as part of your uber-cover up.View you as a threat? I honestly have no idea how to view you. Frankly, I feel like you were kind of bored. I have no idea what goes through your mind. You attack Sphinn on the one hand, then retreat into "I’m trying to help the community" on the other. What, there are no other communities on the web that deserve such undivided attention? You don’t think SEOmoz or WebmasterWorld or Search Engine Watch Forums or DigitalPoint need you making sure they’re as honest as you seem to think we are not? We’re that important? I guess we should be proud that your attention is so solely reserved for us.Yes, John, retreat back into the defense that this somehow makes it all a "chlling" environment for open, honest conversation. Do that on the back of having admitted you didn’t actually believe what you posted.You want to speak your mind, fine. But make up your mind. And if you’re going to speak it, don’t later on admit that you didn’t believe what you put out there. That remains a time waste for the moderators who put an honest effort in trying to maintain the community here. That remains a time waste for others in the community who invest in your personal reputation capital only to find it to be a junk bond.Bottom line, why are you here? If we’re that corrupt, if we have these uber-plans and agendas that you have accused us of having over the years on many occasions, why on earth do you invest your time here?No other way to explain the personal attack? Geez, John. You have attacked me and all the moderators with these accusations that you then say you don’t believe. And you try to turn it back as if it is our problem. Not on, not at all. I’m all for fair criticism. I have no time for being unfairly beat upon. I certainly have no time for people who volunteer their time being beat upon. We’re not your playtoy, and while we’re not perfect, we’ve earned more respect than you’ve shown us in this thread.

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from Halfdeck 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Danny Thanks for a thoughtful reply."I call what we’ve done moderation."I don’t want to derail this thread, but banning Edward Lewis wasn’t moderation - IMO that was an excessive use of force. I’m not the only one who felt that way (see comments by Bill Slawski, martinibuster, g1smd, and IncrediBill here: http://sphinn.com/story/60138). I think banning should be a last resort, but in his case he got banned pretty quickly. Sure, in alot of ways p1r’s behavior was out of line. But if someone sat him down and laid down some ground rules - none of which are spelled out anywhere on Sphinn - he would have changed his ways and the Sphinn community would have benefited from his contributions. "That was unnecessary drama. Sorry, but it was."Sure, it was over-the-top drama. But how does using that line of attack further the debate? All it does is piss people off by making them feel ignored.  When Aaron Wall said Google thinks SEOs are scum, said Google is Evil, and bitched about Google banning two of his black hat domains did Matt call him a drama queen? No he picked up the phone, talked to Aaron about what got the sites blacklisted and helped him fix the problem.The fact of the matter is, as John said, some of the mods/admins (not all) in this thread came across as dismissive, which is understandable given the inflammatory tone of the post, but really, that type of response only helps make a problem worse -- especially when you’re dealing with people with big egos.

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from dannysullivan 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Halfdeck, I appreciate your response. And I don’t really want to get into the issues of what happened with Edward. We don’t take banning lightly, and I can assure you, it is definitely not something we do as a first resort with the notable exception of people who simply flat-out spam the site (which was NOT the case with Edward). I can also assure you we do indeed do a lot of follow-up with people before this happens, a lot more than some people realize. I hope you trust us on this, but I understand if you have reservations.In terms of labeling something drama, I don’t do that lightly. I think you can easily go back and look through the many, many times that I (or Rob or others) have diligently responded in depth to concerns as testimony to how seriously we treat concerns. We have repeately engaged with people. Sometimes we’ve taken suggestions and implemented them. Sometimes we also have emailed or had other off-Sphinn conversations with folks.But at some point, sometimes you simply have had enough with responding to accusations that simply make your eyes roll in disbelief. John painting a picture that we have some secret agenda was one of those. I simply could not believe what I was reading. And when I flat out said to him, did you really believe what you said, he came back and said he didn’t. How am I supposed to further the debate on something that he didn’t believe in the first place. What’s to debate?That pretty much seems the type of thing we should ignore, wouldn’t you say? I’d rather reserve my time, the time of the mods, your time and the time of other people here for real concerns -- not made up fantasies. What happen to Onreact’s comment -- that was a real concern. It deserved attention. If that’s what John has started this thread about -- why Onreact asked about a missing comment and seemingly got no reply within nine days from anyone, I wouldn’t have an issue at all with someone speaking up. I’d actually encourage people to speak up in such situations.But starting a discussion about how a prominent Greatest Hits post went missing, implying that it’s all part of some "corporate-backed" agenda? I don’t care how big an ego it is that I bruise in calling that drama. It was. It wasn’t fair. it wasn’t right. It distracted time and energy from a real issue that shouldn’t have been addressed. And to then have the person making the accusation later say he didn’t believe it when writing it?What would your reaction be? Go ahead. You’re in charge of the site now. You’ve got the situation. I’d honestly like to know what your reaction would be?For me, I could ignore it. As said, that risks people saying "See how they’re ignoring it!" Or I could address it, which then gets me a response of "See how they’re addressing it, there must be something there." It’s lose-lose. But if you have a win scenario, and I say this without any sarcasm, I promise, I’d surely like to know what it is.

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from dannysullivan 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 5

I’ll add another thing. Last year, John and I went a round or two on his blog on another issue. For all the accusations about censorship, I found that my response wasn’t allowed to go out without John inserting all his own commentary within it. This was because, as I recall, John felt I was reframing things out of context.And here I sit accused of censorship by John? It’s absurd. He has his own rules for what people can say on his own blog -- which is that they can’t say anything without him reserving the right to shove his own commentary in the middle of what they say -- but it’s Sphinn that’s accused of censorship? You can see for yourself here, where he wrote:I added moderation to the johnon.com blog because Rand Fishkin dropped a rude personal comment and also because I was getting very lengthy commentary which I felt restated things ad-nauseum, possibly innocently but also effectively re-framing the issues in the process. I have now approved every one that wasn’t clearly duplicate, except this last one from Danny Sullivan. Out of fairness I will publish it, because he submitted it like 4 times trying to get it past moderation, but also because he’s sufficiently distanced himself from Rand Fishkin (via email) and I trust him at face value again. I am, however, taking the liberty to add comentary (in bold) following his assertions, so as to minimize the bias that can come out of re-stating issues in new contexts. Danny is free to continue to comment if he’s unhappy with my additions, but seriously, think twice about it. Aside from the personal thing with Rand, I don’t see the value in beating this thing to death so much. Seriously? I can’t recall that Sphinn has censored John once except about a year ago when John and I both agreed that a conversation between us had gotten far too personal and non-productive, and I pulled our respective comments by mutual agreement.For John to come over here and try to rally that we’ve got some censorship uber-plan is absurd. We don’t and yet he seemed to have no problem deciding to implement his own as well as issue his own "chilling effect" on his own blog in warning that I shouldn’t comment there further. Double-standard is OK? The best defense I can think for that is that he might think we should be held to a higher standard than his own blog. That doesn’t wash with me. I think EVERYONE should be held to the best standards.

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from Harith 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Folks!With all due respect. This thread has started moving in a circle. If I  was a moderator I would close it and ask people to leave their computers, go out in the fresh air and take a  long walk :-)Anyone else support me in closing this thread now? 

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from lindop 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Harith - I’d follow this on RSS instead of Neighbours :) I’m already eating ice-cream, curled up on the sofa with a blanket over me, waiting for the next installment!

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from onreact 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Just to inform everybody: I’m working together with Danny and the team on locating the whereabouts of the mysterious comment. As I did not visit Sphinn on the weekend I was even emailed by Danny to sort out the issue.

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from dannysullivan 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Thanks, Onreact. FYI, the comment as he recalls was:"The title of this post is highly misleading. It’s just 8 questions and it’s for noobs. I expect in to go popular anyways as it’s written by a "SEO celebrity"."We’re still checking on why that didn’t appear. Onreact also emailed that he’s had some computer problems and wasn’t completely sure that he actually saved the comment.As it didn’t for whatever reason, he came back and wrote:Who deleted my comment? Is criticizing Jill Whalen forbidden on Sphinn? This headline is highly misleading and you know it.Jill then responded to that comment, as you can see over here.Going back to the big censorship agenda that we’re suppose to have -- really, that’s the comment where we decide to toss out our reputation by pulling it? We’ve had people say things that are far more critical of articles written by moderators than that. That type of comment is actually pretty routine. Indeed, it’s one of the bigger problems people have said they’ve been concerned about with Sphinn -- that some feel like any article of a particular style or from a particular person might go hot despite the content.That brings me back to saying again that there’s a new platform actively in the works, designed to better deal with things like spam, team voting, to help you have a fresher feed of news items and allow us to better track deletions and additions of all types. It simply is taking time to finish it up and have it in place. I wish I could snap my fingers and have it up now, but I can’t. We’re not that big a company. We have to stage out our development projects, and this is the next one up.As for closing the thread, Harith, sure, I’m all for that if others are. I was pondering that last night. But then if we close it, we get people accusing us of closing things to stifle conversation. And if others say they want it closed, do we then get accused of causing people to pile on in order to give us cover to close it. And so on and so on.That’s the type of climate we live in, where you’ve got some people who will simply assume the absolute worst in all your actions. I sure wish that would change.

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from Halfdeck 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"What would your reaction be? Go ahead. You’re in charge of the site now. You’ve got the situation. I’d honestly like to know what your reaction would be?"Danny, I’m a Sphinn user not an expert admin. If someone started bitching about something I spent months working on just because of some fight I had with him a year ago, the first thought that crosses my mind might be "what a clueless self-indulgent mother****."That’d be my reaction, not my response. I’d have reined in the mods requesting them not to comment, then contacted John in private asking him specifically what problems he wanted solved. Then I’d posted a comment saying 1) the greatest hits page thing was a glitch (which Rob did almost immediately) 2) we don’t know how onreact’s comment was deleted but we’ll get to the bottom of it 3) I’m discussing the issues with John in private and this is all we can say for now until at least some attempt’s been made to resolve things privately.BTW I’m done with this thread so I have no objections to it being closed.

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from fletchgqc 2076 Days ago #
Votes: -1

I don’t think the discussion here is benefiting Sphinn. You could close the comments but that might enflame the issue further in other locations. Perhaps it would be better for everyone to excercise self-control and wait until the cause of the "mystery comment deletion" has been identified before posting further.

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from Halfdeck 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"really, that’s the comment where we decide to toss out our reputation by pulling it? We’ve had people say things that are far more critical of articles written by moderators than that."Danny, if that was the sort of comment that was deleted its actually more of a problem, because it means even a mild criticism of articles written by a mod is subject to deletion, not just comments that are extremely offensive. Bottom line is things like this does create a perception of censorship. Trivializing the situation doesn’t help you. All people need to know is it won’t happen again. I’ll be more than satisfied with that.

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from JoshuaSciarrino 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@everyone who wants this thread closed.I think it should stay open. Because there has been a lot of progress since this thread was opened. It started out as "Sphinn is bad because of x, y, and z" and then a mod/admin comes and says "X is now solved, Y is now solved, and we are still working on Z."Yes things got personal, which sucks that it happened, but it did. It’s time to deal with an issue(s) at hand (which Danny and the mods seems to be fixing). Cheers to Danny and mods. Maybe there should be something public saying "If there are any issues/concerns/problems please contact us". Kind of like the Seth Godin plugin on wordpress (where it’s on everypage at the top).Sphinn obviously seems to be in transition. Maybe reaching out to the community (by posting something like i suggested above) is a nice solution for the time being. Props to Danny and the mods for trying to help, aside from the ’shut up’ remarks...

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from johnandrews 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hey Danny, for the record my personal blog was never promoted as a resource "for the people". It’s my own blog. And I don’t meet with the press or Search Engines as a representative of search marketers, as Danny and Rand do. When you put yourself up on a pedestal claiming to represent others, you assume some responsibility, like it or not.It’s a rather nasty mischaracterization to say I withheld Danny’s comments on my blog until I had inserted commentary... not to mention that was a year ago. Danny is clueless about how he comes across when he posts 1000 word comments, and reposts slightly different versions immediately after because he didn’t see them published.  It’s annoying at best. And he adds new words like "grand" and "big" as he did here with the word "conspiracy", inflaming the issue with drama that wasn’t in the original. Danny did it again when  states above that I flip-flopped, saying I admitted didn’t believe what I had said earlier. No, Danny. I don’t believe what you SAY I said... there is a HUGE difference!That ’s why we don’t feed trolls, Danny. Because with every 1000 word recap a troll posts, subtle changes are inserted to warp reality and continue the drama. I agree it’s good to see the problems being addressed. If this thread is the price of progress, keep it open at least until the people are delivered what they are promised.

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from neyne 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 1

can someone let go ? anyone ?

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from dannysullivan 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@halfdeck, thanks for your response. Just to be clear, I didn’t ask any of the mods to start commenting. There was no "all hands" message that went out saying come pile on, etc. I suppose I could have asked them not to express their own opinions. But I think they’re entitled to respond if they want.In terms of contacting John in private, that’s harder to do when he never did the same thing. First I learned of John’s problem with the Greatest Hits issue was a twitter he made that in turned led to this thread. I certainly would prefer to address issues first privately. We actually do address issues this way. But when you’re called out on the carpet in such a public manner, when your motives are questioned, when those of your moderators are questioned -- I guess to me that made responding in public necessary, as distasteful as it was.In terms of what happened to Onreact’s comment, what I’m saying is yes, it is a mild comment. There are plenty of comments like that you’ll find here on Sphinn. There are far more critical comments you’ll also find. So to me, there was no particular reason for moderators with this comment to go "uh oh, we’d better censor that!" It just makes no sense. But we’ll still try to figure out what happened.Fair to say, if something is removed or edited, we’ll do a better job of making a note of such removal in a variety of ways. We might note within the comment if it was edited to remove something that just got too personal. We might remove a comment without any public reference but be more proactive to drop a note to the person when this happens. Please be aware that we actually do this type of thing already, but we’ll work to ensure we do a better job. The key exception is that we’ll simply delete comments from people who are overtly spamming the site without a public comment or any message to the person doing it. There’s simply too much of that going on, and it’s not a productive use of time to reach out to drive-up spammers.@johnandrews, I really don’t try to put myself up on a pedestal or claim to represent the people. I have my own opinions, and I have a publication (Search Engine Land) where I write them. Others also write through that publication. Others, including yourself, also express their opinions through Sphinn.When I meet with the search engines or the press, that’s part of my work. That’s my job. And I don’t go into that job with either party saying "I speak for the search people." That’s your perception, not my reality. I go in as part of the process of gathering information to write stories.Perceptions can suck. I can recall when I was working back in Search Engine Watch days, and I’d occasionally encounter people from WebmasterWorld who were mods but interested in speaking at one of the SES events I’d produce -- or just meeting me in general. Several of them assumed that I hated WebmasterWorld and by extention anyone associated with it. I later learned this was a pretty common view among some WebmasterWorld regulars.Me, I was perplexed. I didn’t see WebmasterWorld as some competitor to be hated. I certainly didn’t care if people were mods there or not. It simply wasn’t something I was thinking about at all. Nor do I think I did anything to create such a climate by my public actions. If anything, I thought I’d been pretty consistent in trying to be as inclusionary as possible.To some degree, you can help shape perceptions. But I’ve also realized that people will have some regardless of what you actually do, and you just have to live with those, I guess.I respect a lot of what you write, John. That’s one reason I list you on the Search Engine Land blogroll in the "Old Farts" section (that’s a compliment, as the blogroll explains -- it means these are people who give you no-nonsense views of the SEO space and deserve great attention).But you also seem to have a strange perception of me. Repeatedly over the years, you’ve made any number of references that imply you think I have some master plan to advance a particular agenda, one that fortunately you’re there to police against. So if I’m tacking on "grand" to what you wrote about a "corporate-backed" agenda, that’s where it comes from -- from your own past actions and statements.And when I’ve tried to engage you on these, you pullback to your standard line of going with word counts or claiming that I reframe things. It’s unfair, John. You raise an issue, then complain that I respond? That I’m too lengthy and dismiss what I say as simply saying the same thing over and over.That’s your opinion. Maybe others agree with you that I’m clueless over it. But maybe others disagree with you. Neither you or I know for certain.What I do know is that if you call someone out, you should let them respond. You might not like my views, but they are mine. I don’t particularly like the many ways I find that you’ll often try to twist things around, in the same way that you feel I do. But those are your views, and you should get to say them. And here, you’ve been allowed to do that.The same was not true on your blog. In that case, you did indeed withhold my comment until you could insert all your own spin on it. It’s there for anyone to see. I don’t care if that particular case was last year -- to come claim censorship here, when you’re happy to effectively do the same on your blog where you often position yourself as looking out for "the people" -- that doesn’t wash.And now I’m a troll? A troll comes along out of the blue to try and rile someone up, John. In contrast, most of the times I commented on your blog in the past, it was because you yourself made some accusations or statement to call me out.The main reason the particular example above is a year old was it was clear that engaging with you was no longer productive. I mean, a week after I took the time to try and respond to your concerns, in a fresh new post, you did it again to me:Editor’s Note: This is the first time I have cutt off one of Danny Sullivan’s comments. It was caught in moderation here because it contains embedded backlinks, not because it was from Danny. He republished it on Sphinn, and it is quite lengthy, and you can read it there. I clipped it here because (you can judge for yourself by readin git over at Sphinn) I felt it was a lengthy re-framing of my post in a quite different light, and I felt it was a mistake to reframe it that way. It does not serve the reader having it here as he posted it, and frankly I’m not convinced it serves Danny well either. But I feel it doesn’t disserve the reader (or Danny) for me to edit it here as long as I linked to it over on his site, where I believe it has been adressed. No need to re-address it here. Right. Rather than just let readers at your blog read directly what I had to say, you clip it and spin that I was reframing things.I pretty much got the point after that. You’re going to say whatever you want, and you’re going to control anything I might say to express my own opinion. So I disengaged. But not this time. This time you crossed a line too far. Once again, you didn’t bother to ask anyone about what happened with something you were concerned about, to exercise any degree of responsibility. You fired up the bait, made accusations that look out, the "elite" were trying to take control. Right back to the beginning of this, again, you wrote:It seems the "elite" mods and company have finally taken Sphinn away from the community. I saw it coming last fall when select articles were removed despite genuine community support, recently when unfavorable comments were deleted by mods with no accountability, and now the Greatest Hits shows Matt McGee (a mod) at the top...after the top ranking Sphinn was deleted without any notice. If Sphinn really is now a tool to support/promote the mods and their (corporate-backed) agenda, while looking like a community open to all search marketers, with "votes" supporting "important" people and messages, we all have a problem.And when I asked if you really believed that, you did indeed seem to flip-flop: I don’t think that, and never said that.So what is it, John? Did I misread that statement. Did you really believe that your Greatest Hits post was pulled as part of a "corporate-backed" agenda to promote moderators here as "elites" and seize control of Sphinn or not?If you did believe that, why are you here? If we’re that corrupt in your mind, wouldn’t everyone be better off if you stepped up into a position of leadership and started your own community. Or put your energy into helping buiid one of the other existing communties out there. If you didn’t believe that, you’ve wasted a lot of time and insulted a lot of good people.

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from dannysullivan 2076 Days ago #
Votes: 2

@neyne, I’d love to let go. I’ve done that time and time again when John has raised various issues. Last year, I even went back as and by mutual agreement, pulled a ton of comments we both made that seemed non-productive. And things seemed fairly calm from that point onward.But at this point, I feel like I’m being bullied. That a lot of unrelated things are being linked together by John to make unfair and unfounded accusations, out of the blue and for no apparent reason. He’s made snipes occasionally like this over the past year, and I’ve diligently decided to ignore them rather than get into one of these tit-for-tat debates that makes neither one of us look good. But at some point, you stand up to the bully. With John, my experience is that he’ll just come along and make such wild accusations again in six months or so. And he’ll cloak it all in a way to suggest that we don’t take issues with Sphinn seriously. We do. I think this is self-evident to anyone who has been here for any length of time. But the issues have to be serious to get attention -- not made up fantasies about a conspiracy to promote "elite" moderators. If I’m going to have to deal with that type of drama, then I’ll deal with it all right now.

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from johnandrews 2075 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Sigh again. BUT, since it truly does sound like you are sincerely emotionally involved here, and because you say this is a bully situation (I dislike bullying), I will reply as you request, even though I suspect I am being trolled.On the flip-flop thing, read the words carefully, Danny. I said it seemed mods had a corporate-backed agenda, and I cited several events. You restated it  -- that I believed  there was some grand conspiracy with you and all the mods to take down my silly Greatest Hits post. I noted that no, I did not think that.Do I need to spell it out? If I suggest one or two mods might be having their way with Sphinn, as reflected in at least 2 instances of censorship (separate from the Greatest Hits silliness), and Sphinn management isn’t concerned, can you fairly restate that I said you are all in one big conspiracy to take down my Greatest Hits post? No. You are incorrect in paraphrasing it that way. I don’t believe that. See it? Satisfied now, Danny? When you paraphrase me using new words with a new slant, (marketers often call it issue framing) and ask  me if I believe it, I will say "no". When you call me out for flip-flopping, and make it the focus of your personal attack, it’s really sad. Pathetically sad. I agree with what I wrote, not with how you paraphrase it. So where does this go now? Nowhere, which is why it’s not a good idea to feed trolls. Stand up all you like, Danny. Call me out all you like, and tell me to shut up. I don’t care. I care that you address the issue of censorship, and address the actions of the moderators you appointed to manage Sphinn. I’m glad to see some of that done already. I wish it had been done earlier.I do know from experience that attitude and tone flow from the top. You’re at the top at Sphinn, above Rob and the moderators, and you stepped in to debate me when Rand Fishkin attempted to slander me on my blog, as you have stepped in to debate me personally here. I’m starting to think of it as a compliment, in a very, very strange way.  As for your comments on my blog, again you can make it out to be whatever you like. I stand by the facts because I know they are true, and I know that no one can produce any evidence proving me a liar as long as I have evidence of the sequence of events on my blog. There is nothing in that sequence of events that supports your claim that I censored you, and I still believe I was quite generous highlighting how you had cross posted verbatim elsewhere. I explained why I didn’t post it, and I even linked to it! Go ahead and  call that censorship. But if you do, we need a new word to describe what Sphinn moderators have done, deleting moderator-critical comments, closing active/popular threads,  etc. Oh, and be sure and tell all the bloggers in the world that if Danny Sullivan decides he wants to post a few thousand words on their blogs, with multiple deep links back to his for-profit web site, they have to allow it or they will be called out for censorship. Seriously.. that’ll go over well I’m sure.I’ve been around a long time, Danny. When you started SearchEngineWatch, I was in the BoardWatch community, and many well established players were shocked that you had played off their name ("ripped off" was how they put it back then). The way you describe me above, using vague words like "Repeatedly over the years" and "any number of references",  people might think I’ve got an anti-Danny agenda. I don’t. I have criticized you a finite number of times, and only gotten into it with you for very specific reasons such as :You promoting the first "SMX Advanced" with an agenda that was no more advanced than any other search conference in the world, at an attendance cost of $100 per hour of my time (not counting opportunity costs... that was reg fee alone).You publishing an article "Get Your Free Links from Wired" which basically mocked Wired Magazine as naive fools for publishing an open wiki with hopes of engaging the community. From what I recall, you did so without warning Wired of your plans. Thanks to your announcement to the SEO community that it was a link spamming opportunity, they quickly shut off linking and had all sorts of trouble understanding what they were getting into. From what I saw, they got a very strong impression of SEOs as spammers and scammers from that experience.Here where you chose to jump in and attack me, as a defense of Jill Whalen and any other Sphinn moderators actualy involved in the apparent censorship or who failed to respect inquiries on same from Sphinn users.I hope that clarifies things for you Danny. Don’t worry about all the extra time and emotional energy I had to put into this thread explaining it for you. You don’t owe me a beer or anything like that. I’d just prefer you put your energies into fixing the core problems instead of debating me in public on side issues that don’t exist or which few others care about.Edited to fix one typo and add these references:Get Your Free Links from WiredGet Your Free Links from Wired was a Stupid HeadlineDanny apologizes to WiredAdvanced SEO (SMX Advanced doesn’t look "advanced" to meRand Fishkin shows his true colors trying to defend Danny on my blog

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from dannysullivan 2075 Days ago #
Votes: 4

So you do think there’s a corporate-backed agenda (for the record, again, there is not). But you do not think removing your Greatest Hits post was part of that agenda -- even though that’s exactly what you wrote. I’ll quote you again and bold the key parts that contrast with your latest response:It seems the "elite" mods and company have finally taken Sphinn away from the community. I saw it coming last fall when select articles were removed despite genuine community support, recently when unfavorable comments were deleted by mods with no accountability, and now the Greatest Hits shows Matt McGee (a mod) at the top...after the top ranking Sphinn was deleted without any notice. If Sphinn really is now a tool to support/promote the mods and their (corporate-backed) agenda, while looking like a community open to all search marketers, with "votes" supporting "important" people and messages, we all have a problem.The disappearing Greatest Hits post was the last in a sequence of events that you trotted out to support your declaration that there’s some corporate agenda at work here. The other events you actually didn’t get specific about -- you simply stated them as if they were known facts without any contention. Other than Onreact’s comment that we later got details about, I still don’t know what these damning bits of evidence are. You simply saying something is so doesn’t make it so.What I do know is that you did indeed flip-flop. You said one thing, named the Greatest Hits removal specifically as evidence of wrong-doing here, then confirm you didn’t believe that. I don’t need to debate whether I’m paraphrasing you correctly. I can look, as can anyone, at exactly what you wrote.Bottom line, John -- I think you really do care about this stuff. Yes, I do have an emotional involvement here. Perhaps you view that as weak -- for me, it means I really care about it -- what happens here, trying to do the right thing for the community, trying to do the right thing by people. Maybe you’re not emotional about it or dare care to admit that. But I think your heart is in the right place, even if I can’t quite understand how you get some of the ideas into your head that you do.i appreciate you sharing your experience with BoardWatch. I had no idea that any of this was a concern. Honestly, this is the first I heard about it. Why did I go with Search Engine Watch as a name at the time in 1997? I’d heard of BoardWatch, yes. I’d heard of several other -Watch sites at that time, too. It seemed a good naming convention for a site that was going to watch what the search engines did. It never occured to me that BoardWatch (which if I recall was about internet bulletin boards) would view Search Engine Watch as a "rip-off" when it covered a completely different topic. By that logic, I guess Disneyland will be coming after me for Search Engine Land (or perhaps LegoLand will come after me, or Disneyland after it).I don’t have a problem with you having been critical about me over your differing views of SMX Advanced, what happened with Wired or a number of other things. There have been plenty of other things you’ve not listed on your blog that have been about me, of course, such as me engineering a plan to turn Search Engine Land toward the black-arts in order to take advantage of the closure of Threadwatch. But yes, you have ascribed larger motives to isolated incidents in what seems like an anti-Danny agenda. That seems crazy? Recall that you’re the one that assumes we have some corporate agenda we’re backing here. Here’s a thought. I’ll try to see how crazy it might seem from your point of view that you making isolated criticisms about me are not part of a bigger agenda that you might have. Honestly, I thought about that hard for the past few hours, so I’ll push the big old reset button. And perhaps you might honestly consider whether you mistaken in your assumptions of agendas that I might have. See, John, the best reason for me to believe what you say about not having an agenda is when i reflect on how way far off the mark I know you are when you assume an agenda here. I absolutely know you’re off the mark since I know first-hand what really happens within my business. You’re totally offbase. And if you’re that offbase looking from the outside in, then maybe I’m as offbase when I look from the outside at what you write and try to add it up altogether.In the end, I think you could have approached this much better. It’s not the first time you’ve not bothered to ask about something you thought was odd. You could have simply emailed me or Rob or used the contact form to have asked why your Greatest Hits post went missing. You could have also at the same time raised a question about Onreact’s post. Doing either of those things would have at least given you some answers before you dived into the accusations you made. At the very least, you could have waited for a better piece of "evidence" to use than your Greatest Hits post. Instead, you rang a very loud alarm bell here at Sphinn to get people running to put out a fire, even though there’s no fire, much less smoke.I should have approached this differently, as well. I apologize for that. I shouldn’t have tried to engage in a discussion with you at all. Publicly, I feel it has gone nowhere in the past. For some time, I’ve simply shrugged off the stuff I felt had no merit, rather than try to step up and defend myself. I’ve had to trust that either people won’t believe some of the crazy stuff (at least that I feel is crazy) they might read or accept that getting into a discussion about it in some quarters simply doesn’t help. And I do also try to at least understand why some people might have these views and question whether my actions can change in ways that might help, if my words cannot. But there is no pleasing everyone, in the end.Privately, I thought perhaps the long email discussion we had in January 2008 perhaps helped us see each other differently. I’ll still hold out some hope that perhaps if we ever meet in person, we might have different and better views of each other, on some points.I’m done with this thread. If you’d like to have more words on the subject, they remain yours. I’ll also not be responding to your criticisms of me in the future for the reasons I’ve outlined. It’s not productive. It doesn’t change anything. It consumes time better spent on other things. It makes both of us look bad.

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from Harith 2075 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Danny,"I’ll also not be responding to your criticisms of me in the future for the reasons I’ve outlined. It’s not productive. It doesn’t change anything. It consumes time better spent on other things. It makes both of us look bad."Those are wise words!Maybe you would have time now to write something productive, for exampel your own feedback about the lates SMX West 2009. I have follwed some session throug the excellent live blogging of Barry and Lisa (big thanks to both of them). And still awaiting to read of your own impression about the conference and some secret talks behind the scenes for exampel :-)Wish you a great day and God bless.

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from sockmoney 2075 Days ago #
Votes: 4

What a great thread. I run a community myself, and have engaged in similar backlash from a select few members in regards to moderation, favoristism, etc. It is an extremely difficult task to run and moderate (fairly) an open community. Unfortunatley I think the cardinal rule of running a community was broken here when the accuser got under the skin of the owner. That is something you should never let happen, regardless of how passionate you are. It ALWAYS turns into a mess, just like this thread did.   You simply need to post a response stating why it happened and if it was fixed.  Leave it at that and ignore the accusations that follow from the upset member.  You addressed the issue, and the solution... no more needs to be said.We keep to very strict mod policies. We don’t permit mod bashing nor discussions regarding moderation from taking place in any part of our site but the feedback section/forum. This keeps the discussions that really only a handful of users care about out of the public eye. Our site gets about 50,000 visitors/day. Of those, we have about 250 "super-users" that are hard core on the site all day everyday. Of those 250 users, about 5 of them complain about moderation. So we are looking at a fraction of a fraction of a single percent of our visitors. 99.99 percent don’t care that joe-shmo’s rude and inappropriate comment got removed. In fact, they are happy it was removed. But you are ALWAYS going to hear it from the group of 5 users that just will never be happy. They will preach unfairness... freedom of speech... and all that. But in the end, it is your site, you need to run with the best interest of the 99.99% group... not the 5 members that don’t like you moderating their comments, regardless of how inappropriate they are.Don’t make across the board changes for problems that only a fraction of the people complain about. Make changes that affect the every day users. Make changes that add value to the masses and improve their experience. You cannot (and will never be able to) make everyone happy.That is my 2 cents!Regards,Sockmoney

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from JMorris 2075 Days ago #
Votes: 4

Well, that’s 10 minutes of my life I won’t get back.

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from wheel 2075 Days ago #
Votes: 1

The problem you’ve got, John, is thinking this site is Threadwatch. It’s not. Figure out that it’s really just an article directory for SEO’s that happens to run on pligg instead of phplinkdirectoy and things will make more sense. Or you’ll care a lot less. Same result.

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from johnandrews 2075 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@wheel you are probably correct. I assumed too much and expected too much. Still though, I am surprised every time I am hit with the reality. @JMorris.. ten minutes! I wish I was as fast a reader.

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from JoshuaSciarrino 2075 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@sockmoneySo we are looking at a fraction of a fraction of a single percent of our visitors. 99.99 percent don’t care that joe-shmo’s rude and inappropriate comment got removed. Great points. Touche!!

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from JeffMHoward 2074 Days ago #
Votes: 0

cough cough....http://catchsearchmarketing.com/1-idea-that-could-make-sphinn-better/57so why not?

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from MinutemanSEO 2074 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@JMorris....seriously, 10 minutes lol? I’ve read novels that were shorter than this.

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from GlobalFusion 2073 Days ago #
Votes: 1

<div class="commenttext"> @JeffMHoward, What makes you think that relevant, accurate and validated information is not already being circulated at the SEOBook Community Forums? I cannot speak for Aaron or on behalf of the community, but as a community member I can tell you that level of information that is shared cannot be matched anywhere else. Plus, why move something that is working well to another environment that is dealing with issues like the ones expressed above? Cheers, Augusto </div>

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from JeffMHoward 2073 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@GlobalFusion - that is a good point, placing more thought into the notion I imagine that good content is flowing well. I am not a member of SEOMoz.org or SEOBook.com, but I wonder if they use the same voting style setup as Sphinn. Nor do I know if a voting system is the most effiecent. Possibly allowing private newsrooms would help the little guy consultant and their clients, someone more like me. I feel the stronger points are the long tail searching advantages of custom categories, and also the benefits of giving the ability for some people who find sphinn’s larger community unfit a private room to share strories with friends. I don’t see a point in removing the greatest hits.

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from johnandrews 2072 Days ago #
Votes: 1

The SEOBook private forum is excellent (SEOBook is the only private or premium one I participate in). It is a true discussion forum, not a PR or announcement list like Sphinn. Very respectful.

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from fletchgqc 1930 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Silly argument, heading and original post misleading.

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