In the spring of 2005, the Huffington Post opened its virtual doors to a community of over half-million readers. Two of the most prolific and committed community members -- HumeSkeptic and CarlV -- recently passed away. The HuffPost Comment Moderation team would like to dedicate this post to Hume and Carl.
After the Huffington Post launched, a core group of a few thousand pseudonymous online adventurers from every political and cultural nook and cranny began taking up residence in the comments sections of this unique political and news-oriented website. Our early intrepid commenters set about staking their ideological territory and sharpening their wits. They launched into an on-going conversation on an assortment of topics that continues to this day.
Flash forward to the summer of 2010. This original group of commenters -- despite great accretion and some subtraction -- has self-organized into a cohesive community of regulars, occasional visitors and newbies, hundreds of thousands strong. Thousands of bloggers, reporters and citizen journalists provide most of the site's original content. For the past five years, during any hour of any day, hundreds of users on the site spar with bloggers and each other while exchanging information, ideas, opinions, arguments, support, jokes, links, and lots and lots of music videos.
HuffPost readers now generate 750,000 comments a week. Just last month, the community posted nearly 3.2 million comments. By any measure, the Huffington Post hosts the most vast and vibrant commenting community on the Web.
Anyone who reads online comments in the volumes that the moderators do has had the following experience: despite most of our users' anonymity, distinctive voices jump off the page and spring to life though the words, style, and expression that speak in volumes of who wrote them. At times, we have begun to respect divergent viewpoints, even if we disagreed in the beginning.
In the experience of many of the moderators here and of many members of our community, the process of understanding new viewpoints is where we came to know and care about HumeSkeptic and CarlV.
We've noticed that many members of our community have found ways both on and off this site to share thoughts and remembrances of both Hume and Carl. We cannot capture all of your thoughts and memories in disparate comment threads. The best we can offer is to become a container for these moving tributes. Please feel free to copy any of your comments from other threads if you'd like so that it will become a permanent record for your memories and tributes to Hume and Carl.
Below you'll find separate sections designated for Hume and Carl where we've drawn from some of your comments. Feel free in the thread below to add your thoughts and remembrances. We've also added a sampling of memories from other HuffPost community members and from each of their first and last comment.
Finally, we'd like to offer our gratitude to all of you, the HuffPost community, for prompting us to write this blog post. You may hear from the moderation team or from our founder and standard bearer for civil discourse, Arianna Huffington. Community is one of the pillars of the Huffington Post, and we don't say thank you enough.
Thank you, HumeSkeptic and CarlV, for sharing your insights and personalities. And thank you to everyone else who are shaping future conversations around the news.
Remembrances of Huff Post Community
According to our records, Hume began commenting at the Huffington Post in September 2006. He is one of our earliest and certainly most prolific commenters, with tens of thousands published comments.
Stats under the registered name HumeSkeptic:
Total Comments Made: 116966
Comments Deleted: 24038
Comments to News: 115089
Comments to Blog: 1877
Total Fans Of this User: 2120
Total Users this User is a Fan of: 1266
There are no more moving tributes to Hume than the one we found from fellow commenter Looktothe Left. If you were a friend or supporter of Hume, or even simply curious about who this unique individual was, do yourself a favor and read this: http://southpawbeagle.com/2010/07/12/on-humeskeptic/.
Senior Moderator Jan
What can I say about HumeSkeptic?
When I started as a moderator in March 2007 there were several users who had been commenting since the inception of Huffpost. Hume was one of them. There were others, olepotsmuggler, boxorocks, LooktotheLeft, and some others. It's funny, you know, depending on which hours you are moderating, you get to know your "regular" commenters. Morning shift people know their commenters. Later day and late night moderators know their people. It was a much smaller community back then. We had more time to think about and digest the comments from each individual. Sometimes they made us think. Sometimes they made us laugh. Sometimes they made us mad.
One thing I can say for sure, Hume always kept us on our toes! He was opinionated, headstrong, and adamant about getting his posts through! He was also very intelligent, very wise to the world, and very kind. I remember a couple of times, after deleting his posts due to our guidelines, he would send in a comment. "Um, moderators." Or "Dear Moderators. I do not understand why this post was deleted." Or "Come on! Let it through! You know it is true!" Most times I would chuckle, sometimes even laugh out loud. I would always go back and check his comment again. If it fell within our guidelines, even if it was controversial, I would approve it. Hume would always send a thank you to the moderator (which is indeed very rare now). He knew when he stepped over the line also. He would not argue with us. It was almost like he just wanted, needed, to tell his point of view, what was truly on his mind, knowing it would get deleted. He was very gracious about that also. He would not argue with us. He just accepted the fact that he said what he had to say, and that if no one except the moderators read it or saw it, he at least got his point across to someone. I think of an old saying, "I feel like I'm screaming and no one can hear me!"
We heard you, Hume! And hundreds, nay thousands, of others heard you, also. Your list of fans is long. Your following unprecedented. Sometimes I feel like you set the standard for the site. The foresight and intellectualism set the bar much higher for others. The Huffington Post was lucky to have you as one of our "commenter, bloggers". Your avatar will forever be burned into my brain. Every time I see that avatar, I will smile and think of you.
I know as a moderator we are not supposed to get "so involved" with the people who post comments. Normally we don't. But every once in a while, someone special comes along, and no matter what we do, we can never forget them. You, sir, are one of those rare and special persons. Whether I approved or deleted. Argued or gave in. Agreed or disagreed. You earned my respect long ago. I only regret not being able to know who you really were. The "real" person behind that avatar. I have a sneaking suspicion that I would have been even more impressed with you in person!
I have read that Hume was not so much of a, how shall I say, religious person, but a very spiritual person. Please indulge me with this final quote. (As I sit here and write this the tears are still welling up in my eyes, not sure why, but it seems to say a lot about this wonderful person, whose only name we knew him by was, HumeSkeptic.)
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
- Traditional Gaelic Blessing
Blessings to your family and friends. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Senior Moderator Melissa
When I first started moderating with Huffington Post in March, 2008, HumeSkeptic was one of the many people who irritated me because he would always write multitudes of posts whether it was on the news or blog side. I came to respect him, not only as a huge contributor to our message boards, but learned a lot from him as well. I'll miss him pointing out some of our minor flaws as well.
My thoughts go out to Hume's family and friends,
Moderator, User Admin Moderator, Jolene
As one of the moderators responsible for interacting with the users, I had an interesting and at times contentious relationship with HumeSkeptic. There were many times when I felt like pulling out my hair because he just couldn't understand the HP philosophy on things. But I really respected his endless dedication to free speech and fairness. He always had a counter to whatever position you took on almost any topic. That was my experience with him, and I will miss that interaction with him. However, it is now time to put the frustration and negativity behind me and embrace the positive contribution Hume offered to HP and the community. We should embrace Hume's skepticism, and let it remind us that there are no easy answers or solutions to life's problems. Skepticism allows us to open our minds, and accept that we are not always right.
We will miss you Hume!
HumeSkeptic's First and Last Comments
Posted: 2006-09-06 19:57:42
GOP Members Turning On Rumsfeld...
Shessh these leftists like to pop-off about the U.S. but it's top secret if you ask them what country they are posting from.
By: cyberrep on September 06, 2006 at 04:32pm
And which country are you in? I'll appreciate your name and address so what you say can be verified.
BTW, you never did respond to my question after one of your remarks. Here it is again.
Are you embarassed to respond or is it a secret how deep you like it?
Posted: 2010-07-14 23:58:57
Federal Reserve: Continued High Unemployment Threatens Fed Policy Of Pursuing 'Maximum Employment'
It'll take this hopey changey crowd a while to figure it out. But when they do you sure are going to tick these m**nbat s off.
In reply to: Immoral to hack a dead man?
Remembrance of Huff Post Community
Huff Post commenter DocStrangelove recalls CarlV as a man of great humor, beloved on all sides of the political spectrum. He was a sweet soul, a true humanitarian who put his values where his mouth is. He donated to such causes as Utah's "Best Friends Animal Sanctuary" and relief for Haiti. Doc notes that after the Haiti earthquake, Carl dropped everything and flew there to help.
Carl's home was Palm Springs, CA. He died after an extended illness.
CarlV First and Last Comments
Posted: 2006-03-02 12:29:31
AP Catches Bush In A Lie...
Oh... just in case you missed it...BUSH LIED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!!! Posted by: Poz"
But, what can you expect from the party and supporters of Liars, Draft Dodgers, Cowards and Fools ... This is the GOP! "BUSH LIED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ... again and again and again and again!
Posted: 2007-01-11 17:46:48
RICE CAUGHT ON OPEN MIC:
That'll keep McDonalds11 busy for a while....sip