I was a bit distressed today to discover by e mail that my friend, the well known and respected author Frank Sanello, has been permanently banned from HubPages. So far as I can see all his hubs, which are of exceptionally high literary standard, have been taken down as well.
Why should that be the case?
His only offence seems to have been that he wrote about famous homosexuals in history. Hardly earth shattering, and definitely not offensive to anyone, but those with the most chillingly narrow minds.
Is it not time for HubPages to look again at their censorship policies, including the ridiculous "automatic content filters"?
I myself have had ads disabled, and several hubs unpublished, simply because I wrote about a cat, and affectionately referred to her as a pussy. An article about Great Tits, (the avian variety), met with the same fate.
Come on HubPages, loosen up a bit. Your contributors are all adults, I think; and most of the readers are the same.
Welcome back Frank Sanello. Dont let this become your "Nikolai Rubinstein" moment. (Nikolai Rubinstein is infamous for disrespecting Tchaikovsky, and his first piano concerto).
Frank Sanello is an internationally renowned author and journalist. He is deserving of better treatment than this.
It brings little credit on HubPages, to serve him in such a manner.
I didn't realize Frank is banned!!! What?! I've been following him since his GREAT Hitler/ WWII series. What happened? I'm not sure I understand. Has anyone heard from Frank, himself, directly?
Several people have been banned permanently for a variety of reasons, some you can understand, some you can't.
Something is happening I don't understand. I got a hub yanked the day before yesterday on Mary Wollstonecraft, the first feminist. Frank got banned altogether. They apparently pulled ALL of Andrew's hubs, and WriterOnline apparently got some flack, too. I'm not sure what the deal is, now. Are there some new rules? Should I go and look at our TOS again, in case something has changed?
This is the background to the banning of Frank Sanello.
I hope it makes things a bit clearer.
Google AdSense Censorship of Ezine Articles
HubPages.com disables advertising on Hubs (its articles) that deal with child abuse. That is HubPages' official policy, but it also disables ads dealing with homosexuality or frank discussions of sexual issues.
HubPages at Google AdSense's behest has disabled advertising on G-rated articles about Freud, sexuality, and other adult-oriented topics.
The articles use clinical terms and no obscenity or profanity. If the articles were feature films, children unaccompanied by parents would be admitted to movie theaters.
Historian and journalist Frank Sanello submitted to HubPages an article on Sigmund Freud’s work, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. After the author published the article, Google Ads were instantaneously disabled by a robotic censor HubPages calls "automatic content filters."
HubPages also refused to publish the article although it had no obscene or prurient content. Sanello only used clinical terms to describe Freudian psychology and sexuality. No obscenity, profanity (taking the Lord’s name in vain?) or prurient content.
The Supreme Court inadequately settled the issue of what constitutes pornography in the 1960s.
Another article by Sanello discussed HubPages/Google AdSense’s censorship, and the article was instantaneously unpublished because the article, according to HubPages’ robotic censor, allegedly had “duplicate material.”
The "duplicate material" consisted of readers’ positive comments about Sanello’s articles.
To avoid charges of duplication or plagiarism, the author cited the sources of the allegedly duplicated material, which also consisted of readers comments about other articles written by the journalist dealing with gay rights and child abuse
Most of the article, however, contained original material written specifically for HubPages by Sanello. That didn't prevent HubPages' robot censor from flagging the article as "duplicate material."
Sanello, a gay activist and victim of homophobia, having been fired from a college teaching job because of his sexual orientation, plans to pursue this issue with the ACLU, LAMBDA, the gay First Amendment lobby, and other First Amendment rights organizations.
He is a good man, and a great writer. He would be a great loss to HubPages. Hopefully his banning will be reversed.
I asked where have all the hubbers gone the other day. So now I know why.
I have a hubber that follows me and she emailed me that when ever she writes a hub it's rejected. I've even had her send it to me email and she asked me to revise it so it will get published.
I did take a look at it and to me it was good and didn't violate any of the TOS but they wouldn't publish said graphic content. I've seen more graphic content on other hubs.
I referenced some other sites for her to try like Squido,blogger and word press.
So now I know some of my favorite hubbers have been banned,what a bummer!
I didn't know Frank S or his writing, but what I am reading here concerns me.
It's bad enough knowing what the line is for the Panda game without worrying that an article out of line could result in a ban.
I do think that HP probably benefits from a wide range of content, not all of it commercial, in order to promote itself as a 'writing' site rather than an MFA site. The mixture is, I think, good for Google love.
Perhaps a considered response from HP to put our minds at rest might help?
We do not ban capriciously. The moderation team will only ban if there is a long history of repeated violations, abusive behavior towards staff, etc.
Keep in mind that since we do not generally share the reasons for a ban publicly, you're only hearing one side of the story.
Thanks Jason and I accept that you don't just ban for the fun of it. It's slightly hard being on here and only hearing the one side.
I'll echo others in saying I appreciate that there are two sides to this. However, I do also recall at least one instance when HP made a genuine mistake in banning a Hubber. I don't know how much went on behind the scenes in rectifying that situation (and, yes, it was eventually corrected), but I do know that the forum discussion about it helped other Hubbers to see how a mistake can be handled and resolved without rancor. Or maybe I should say with a minimum of rancor.
I guess my assumption would be that if that is not done (correcting a mistake gracefully), there may be a valid reason for whatever happened. Even so, I'm sorry to lose Frank. I enjoyed the hubs of his that I read, and I wish him well wherever he is.
I wasn't aware that someone was mistakenly banned. Do you by chance have a link to the forum discussion about it? I know that Hubs have been mistakenly moderated, but that's a far less severe matter.
I have looked at this Hubber's moderation history, and I will say that I can understand and agree with the ban.
Hubbers who do have violations but who work together with the moderation team in a professional manner to rectify them, and not repeat them over and over again, never run the risk of getting banned. That's particularly true when we do roll out new moderation standards, as we did a few months ago.
I'll look for that thread and link it, Jason. You may be absolutely correct that it was a matter of moderation, rather than banning. This could be a memory fault on my part. I do remember that at the time I thought it was a ban. I'll check and BRB.
Are you talking about Spacey Gracey?
That's the first person I thought of when I read this...
Thanks, wordscribe. Yes, that's the one. I just spent 15 minutes checking ineffectively, and since you have posted this I have realized what I should have done instead! I appreciate your help.
I know that that was a sad/bad, but honest mistake, and I believe it was reassuring to everyone who read it to know that HP looked into the situation and corrected it.
I also know that there have been other situations (other than the SG matter and other than this current one) when a staff person has said they knew the situation and HP was justified in their actions; and I respect the fact that we "out here" can't know all the details of these matters.
I remember a different sort of situation when I was fairly new at HP and one Hubber that I really admired - one who had seemed very kind, supportive, and encouraging - left HP in a sort of huff. I followed to another site where she was posting, and oh boy did I get an eyeful. Her posts were extremely spiteful and vindictive, full of ugly language, and truly flaming behavior.
That's all to say that sometimes we only see one side of a person's personality here, and it can very well happen that the staff has seen that hidden side in the behind-the-scenes interactions.
Didn't know about that case, so thank you for sharing it. Yes, apparently it was a mistake in process, one that is almost impossible to happen today due to a change in moderation procedure.
And, yes, Aficionada, we on staff are privy to seeing the entire moderation history. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people completely misrepresent their moderation history here in the forums to curry sympathy (not talking about Frank here). That's not to say that anyone who complains is in the wrong, either.
I think the rules have gotten more strict, just lately. I do use Wiki for biographical details; I found with one hub I wrote recently, that it was flagged for duplicate material, because I included the same biographical details that Wiki did. I don't know how else to get across the story of the woman's life that I was writing about (Mary Wollstonecraft, the first feminist). There was more to the article, that was not duplicate of any material anywhere, and was completely original with me.
Something recently has changed. I'd like to know more about how to stay compliant. I think if HubPages would work with Frank on this, he also would like to continue publishing here; he needs to know what to do to stay within the (new?) guidelines, as do we all.
Of course we don't know the whole story on Frank, and it is a story with two sides to it. Also, though I deeply regret the loss of Frank from HubPages, HubPages does have the right (since they own the site and we are not paying anything for it ourselves) to make the rules.
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