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View Diary: The Community Spotlight Effect (160 comments)

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  •  Thanks, nannyboz. (8+ / 0-)

    It's good to know there is support out there for the diarists that make it to the Community Spotlight box.  Much appreciated.

    "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

    by Got a Grip on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:16:26 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I wrote the other day (6+ / 0-)

      about diaries and feel good when something is well written or stirring or otherwise compelling that it gets read.

      As someone you have rescued three times I really appreciate the effort you take in doing this job.

      I'm glad Community Spotlight is working out well!  I figured it would.

      If you plant tomatoes you dig tomatoes.

      by nannyboz on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:35:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm glad that the R2R rate is up (0+ / 0-)

      (as you guys truly do have great taste), but I also think that it could get too high.  With the Spotlight where it is, it's a huge advantage for diaries making the Rec List.  When a large number of Spotlighted (Spotlit?) diaries make the Rec List (receiving double exposure), diaries promoted by the more traditional means can lose out more than they should.

      One suggestion below is that diaries on Spotlight don't become Rec List eligible until they scroll off.  I think that's a good idea (for the purpose of having eighteen highlighted diaries at a time rather than as few as twelve.)  Also, given the advantage, it might be good to cap the number of Spotlit diaries on the Rec List to, say, four at a time.

      The Rec List seems wonderfully roomy these days.  One nice thing about that is that some diaries appear to last for well more than a day now, but it doesn't seem bothersome because there's so much more room.  If we're eventually making the choice between a fifth spotlit diary on the Rec List and the previous day's blockbuster (which many people who don't tune in daily don't read), I don't want to stack the deck too strongly against the latter.

      But, as someone else said here, this is a good problem to have.

      They tortured people
      to get false confessions
      to fraudulently justify
      invasion of Iraq!

      Never let people forget this.

      by Seneca Doane on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 12:10:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't agree with capping the number of diaries (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane

        that would go from Rescued to Recommended.  Why would you cap them?  They have the same right to hang on that list as any other diary, IMO.

        However, I think the other part of your idea about not having them physically move to the rec list until they scroll out of the Community Spotlight box has some merit. Markos has been trying to find a solution to the population of both lists as have we rangers.  We don't think it's any more fair to have those diaries in the box and on the list than anyone else does.  To my mind, once we've gotten the diaries more exposure and they go Rescued to Recommended then our job is done in so far as we've taken them to a successful place and completed our mission there.  You don't want to yank them from the CS box but you don't want to have them repeated all over the front page, either.  So I think this part of your idea has merit.

        "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

        by Got a Grip on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 07:51:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Capping them would be one alternative (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Got a Grip

          simply because, admirable as the Rangers are, you -- and I don't think you -- want the prominence of the Spotlight box to mean that your choices dominate the Rec List.  I think that the alternative you talk about (mentioned by someone else here first, so I can't say it's my idea) is wiser.

          They tortured people
          to get false confessions
          to fraudulently justify
          invasion of Iraq!

          Never let people forget this.

          by Seneca Doane on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 10:17:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Once we put them in the Spotlight and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Miep

            there are so many people who like them and recommend them and comment in them so much that they go to the rec list, then they are no longer "our" choices.  They become the choices of the public at large.  I don't see why having the rec list dominated by good writing is a bad thing.  I don't see why having diaries make the rec list simply because there are some with a big enough email or "friend" list to call in people who rec them automatically without even reading them is a better choice than having quality writing that wouldn't get attention without that kind of fan base making it there.  

            Our choices are made on strict criteria that have everything to do with good writing and all that entails and nothing to do with popularity.  So if people view our choices and find them worthy, then that's as valid a way to get to the rec list as any other.  There are many diarists her who spend a lot of time on the rec list now that got their popularity by originally being plucked from obscurity by us because they write well.  So I think your notion that somehow it would be unfair for those diarists not to have their shot simply because we chose them is skewed.

            "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

            by Got a Grip on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 08:07:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              vcmvo2, Got a Grip

              To put a cap on it would be going along with the idea that there is some inherent unfairness in the Rescue system that needs to be countered. The system itself should act as a counterbalance, not be something that needs to be counterbalanced.

              I look at the Rescued pieces quite frequently, but I certainly don't recommend them just because they are in CS, nor should anyone. The criteria for recommendation has been (and I gather still is) that one thinks the piece would be of interest to all, or to many at least.

              Meanwhile, there are still frequently pieces on the rec list that do not start at CS, that do not meet that criteria. People might keep that in mind as well, when considering suggestions about hobbling CS thusly.

              •  The "bias" comes from the limited number of slots (0+ / 0-)

                I'm sure that many more diaries than can appear in the Spotlight section on a given day might deserve to be there, but they have to make hard choices.  For this to be one way that diaries are brought to public attention is great; for it to be the main way, given how much selection to be Spotlit increases the chance of a diary making the list, eventually becomes a problem.  I don't trust even the most wonderful group of people with that much influence.

                Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

                by Seneca Doane on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 11:16:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  you're basically implying (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  vcmvo2, Got a Grip

                  that this has the potential to turn into another way to game the rec list.

                  But you are giving the other users very little credit, with this argument, for being able to make their own independent decisions as to what to recommend. If people are recommending things JUST because they are in CS, that's not CS's problem.

                  OTOH, If people are getting ignored by CS unfairly, that is. And without evidence that this latter is happening, I don't think you have a lot of ground to stand on as far as accusations of bias go.

                  Also, CS is open to more members; it could have a lot of members. It could have one for every hour of the week. It is not a closed system; it can and does get quite a bit of turnover.

                  If you really felt the need to control the whole phenomenon more, you could argue that there should be a limit to how many times a person can get rescued in a given time period.

                  It's tricky. My strongest sense of it all is to let it work out for awhile, see how it changes how the site works, see how many new authors are (or aren't) attracted to trying to publish.  But one thing I think we should not do is make decisions based on people's inclination to rec things just because they are on a list, or in a box. I see the purpose of CS and the RR's to save me time looking for this stuff - NOT to tell me what to rec.

                  •  I have to say that it would be very hard (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    vcmvo2, Miep

                    to give an honest look at what we do and how we do it and conclude that we're somehow rescuing personal favorites or in some way gaming the system.  It's actually fairly remarkable how disgustingly fair we are.  There are lots of criteria that have some say in what we do, but the one that gets the vast majority of the weight is the quality of the writing.  The next factor would be how well known the diarist is.  And part of the reason we can stick to those criteria so easily is because no one person has the final say.  All the diaries are vetted by multiple people, and those people are as varied as the stars in the sky.  So after you've done this for a bit it becomes easy to just focus on the quality of the writing and all that entails and forget about your own personal preferences.

                    So I think anyone would hard pressed to find we are biased in our approach to what gets in that little box.  We're very careful.  Mistakes can be made, of course, but they're rare, I think.  Too many eyes have to look at a diary for someone to game the system.  And if we caught someone trying to game the system, we'd throw them out on their ear so fast they wouldn't know what hit 'em.

                    "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

                    by Got a Grip on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 06:56:54 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Very interesting (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      vcmvo2, Got a Grip

                      I have y'all backs, and wasn't concerned about it, but SD comes up with interesting discussion material and I think it's good for everyone to kind of talk this stuff out, now that CS is so much higher profile.

                      Comments like yours here do help with transparency, and will only be helpful in the long term.

                      •  Oh, I agree it should be talked out. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Miep

                        It was baffling at first to be attacked as we were even before the site went live, and then in the first few days.  I tend to be a brawler and a caller of bullshit when I see it, and while I thought I had a thick skin I apparently didn't when it came to what we do in CS.  But 10 days have gone by and I've got a handle on my initial anger at the naysayers.  I'm much more prepared now to have a reasonable discussion when it's offered.  And it should be noted that while we don't trumpet our criteria, we're more than willing to be scrutinized for our methods.  

                        Transparency is always good, sunlight is the best disinfectant.  So an open and honest discussion is welcome at this point.

                        "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

                        by Got a Grip on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 08:50:10 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                •  slight clarification (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  vcmvo2, Got a Grip

                  There are only so many slots visible on the page at once, but how fast diaries move through those slots is negotiable.

                  I think the main potential for problems with this system is indeed going to be realized if it really works beyond expectations. At the same time, that would mean that the RR's and kos et al had indeed created an effective tool for drawing good writing. If that's our biggest problem here, we need to re-examine our definition of problems :-)

            •  I do dislike it when diaries make the Rec List (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Got a Grip

              because of an e-mail or Facebook or Twitter alert.  The question is how to distinguish between diaries going R2R (should there be a new term for it now?) because they are great diaries versus ones that go because they are prominent.

              Yes, you guys do have great taste -- I'm not sure I've ever seen a rescued (or spotlit) diary that I didn't appreciate reading.  But don't you think that even theoretically it could be possible to have too much influence -- like if the Rec List were composed only of diaries that had first been Spotlighted?

              If you don't think that there could ever be too much influence, then we just disagree.  If you agree that somewhere there would be a negative return on additional influence, then the question is just where we draw the line.

              My bottom line is that I want as many meritorious and popular diaries as possible to be as visible as possible.  It's only the simultaneous appearance of currently Spotlit diaries on the Rec List that has made me think that we're not maximizing that.  If they did wait for Rec List consideration until they scrolled off of the top bar, then I agree that that would be better than my initial suggestion.

              Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

              by Seneca Doane on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 11:12:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think we are going to have to agree to disagree (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                vcmvo2, Seneca Doane

                at least up to a point.  As we discussed earlier, I think the idea that a diary doesn't go from the box to the rec list until it scrolls out of the box has merit.  It keeps both lists from being redundant if nothing else.  Where we disagree is on capping the number that could go on the list.  The rec list is calculated to the most extent by the number of recs and comments a diary gets, and when others with more of that weight come along then others get bumped off.  That's as fair as it gets.  So if there's lots of recs and comments for a diary in the CS that weights it more than others on the rec list, then it should go to that list.  But holding that off a bit by allowing a diary in the CS box to only go to the rec list once it passes out of the CS box to subsequent pages is fair, I think.  If, at that time, it still has enough weight to rest on the rec list then it's on its own at that point.

                As to R2R being a new terminology, it's been common terminology in the ranger lexicon for years now.  In a group doing what we do you find you have quite a bit of terminology that finds it's way into the common language of that group.

                For instance, when we had the nightly post on the front page, the posting function for that was known as "the Shredder," as the posting function for the FP was decidedly picky and prone to taking your carefully crafted coding and spitting it back in your face.  We have quite a few terms like that, things that apply to what we do.

                We've recently added a new one to our lexicon - BQD, or Blank Queue of Death.  When we're faced with a dearth of well-written diaries to keep the CS box rolling along.  As with everything, good writing can be a feast or famine situation, some days are full of great diaries, others are a dry as a desert.  So when you're staring at an empty queue and there are slim hopes of having anything come along to keep things rolling, you're faced with BQD, or the Blank Queue of Death.  The mere mention of BQD sends a shiver down the spines of a dedicated ranger.  ;-)

                One of these days I'll have to write a diary on the ranger lexicon.  

                "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

                by Got a Grip on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 08:08:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Also, SD, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Seneca Doane

                if you could provide me a link to the comment you've mentioned about holding diaries from the actual rec list until they scroll out of the box I'd appreciate it.  I gave a cursory look for it a couple of times but I can't find what you're talking about and I'm too swamped with the work involved in getting CS running smoothly to give a thorough search.  So if you could give me a link to that comment I'd be very grateful.

                "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

                by Got a Grip on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 10:20:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Happy to do so (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Got a Grip

                  It came from Alfonso Nevarez, here.  It makes enough sense to me that I happily withdraw the "capping" idea -- and I appreciate your constructive dialogue on this.  I hope it's clear that it's nothing against you or the Rangers; it's a Federalist Papers "this is a government of laws not men" sort of observation that the system should be designed not only to work with enlightened people running it but also to protect against the possibility that someday less enlightened people may be at the helm.

                  Here's an unsolicited suggestion for the "BQD" problem you mention above.  Some days you must have a surplus of eligible diaries, no?  Have you considered keeping a cache of those so that, as and if needed, you can go back a few days for one of the ones where the timeliness hasn't expired?  I don't think anyone would complain!

                  Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

                  by Seneca Doane on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 11:21:20 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We've been getting on top of the BQD issue. (0+ / 0-)

                    We're learning to adjust our posting times according to what flow we're getting.  This is all new to us, a great difference from the old way of putting out a nightly rescue that encompasses the entire day with a limit on what we can save as opposed to no limit but still adhering strictly to our criteria.  So it's taken a few days to adjust, but we're getting there.  Most days we don't have this problem, there are lots of good writers out there banging away in obscurity.  And I actually expect the flow to pick up as people start to adapt to the new tools and embrace having the option to post more than once a day.  So time will tell, but we're not nearly as panicked about BQD as we were in those first few days.

                    "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

                    by Got a Grip on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 11:35:52 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh! And thanks for the link. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Seneca Doane

                    I appreciate the help.  I've enjoyed the discussion, as well.  ;-)

                    "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

                    by Got a Grip on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 11:37:02 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

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