APA Deletes Responses to Hoffman Report on its Website

Whether through purposeful effort (apparently not), or through incompetence (apparently so), the American Psychological Association (APA) has now seemingly silenced three people who have been named in the Hoffman Report (the investigation into APA’s role in okaying ethical guidelines for psychologists involved in torture interrogations). Two responses from two different sets of people were removed from the APA website on their page entitled, “Responses from those Mentioned in the Independent Report.”

After their removal, the APA made no proactive mention of the fact that they were removed (apparently due to some sort of issue). That is, until I commented on the page.

After I pointed out the responses were missing, the pseudonymous account “apadiscus” wrote (seriously, why can’t staffers use their actual names when interacting with us members and the public?!):

We are having some problems with the back-end of this application. As we tried to fix it, the postings from Drs. Levant, Koocher and Arrigo came down. We are working with them to get their statements reposted. We apologize for the problem and hope we can get it fixed quickly.


Disqus is a well-known (and well-understood) commenting platform run on thousands of websites and tens of thousands of blogs — for years. There are no known problems with the “back-end” of the application — only with problems of those who don’t apparently have much familiarity with the platform.

This episode nicely illustrates one of the core problems with today’s version of the American Psychological Association. They’re used to talking to both their members and the public on a one-way street. They speak, you listen. Or through private listservs, where the discussions can be kept carefully compartmentalized and discreet. Or, as the Hoffman Report made perfectly clear (at least to me), actively manipulated to go in the direction they want them to go.

The APA is a dinosaur in technological innovation. It seemingly clings to the past and old technology platforms. Rather than being a fast-moving, responsive organization keeping up with the times, it is a lumbering giant, taking months — and in some cases, even years — to reach a consensus or do anything other than pass yet another resolution (that nobody outside the APA reads).

The idea of opening themselves up to a public forum must’ve been scary for the APA. It’s scary to give people a public platform to give you direct feedback and comments. I can understand that, since we’ve had such a platform here at Psych Central for 14 years. And, as illustrated by this episode, the APA doesn’t seem to understand Web 2.0 technologies — stuff that the rest of the world has been working with for nearly a decade now.

We here at Psych Central feel badly for the APA, though. So we helped them out with backup copies of the responses they “lost” with their fumbling around with unfamiliar technology.

We hope this keeps the conversation open and transparent — two things the APA claims it wants to do moving forward.

Read the comedy of errors here.



Modern Psychologist’s Response to APA

Your pattern of deception continues…

“B.S. you have deleted our posts and tweets for the past month now”

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Grohol, J. (2015). APA Removes Responses to Hoffman Report on its Website. Psych Central. 

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