This post is not going where you probably think it's going.
I have various drums that I like to beat here from time to time. One of them is the use -- or, that is, the lack of use -- by activists and bloggers on this site of Dkosopedia.
Dkosopedia is our own little Wiki. When you see a question like the one in my title --
What do we really know about Perry, Romney and Bachmann?-- it is to Dkosopedia that, in a well-functioning activist blog, you should prepare to go.
That should answer the question of what we know about them. The problem is that we're not using it.
We have this great resource -- and we're not using it!
Perhaps we ought to start. We do have a campaign coming up, after all.
One of the most famous progressive sayings of them all is attributed to the martyred labor activist Joe Hill:
It gets deployed often in times of greatest need by or in relation to our greatest writers. Search for the phrase on Google and the second hit is a column by Molly Ivins -- as always, one worth re-reading. The fourth hit: Meteor Blades used it as the title of his diary on the day, a darker day than even today, after the 2004 election. The ninth hit: a 2010 editorial in the Boston Globe marking the death of Howard Zinn.
We think of "organize" as relating to people, as with the Tar Sands Action taking place this fortnight in DC -- and of course it does. But that's not the only way to organize. You can organize to fight for peace and social justice from your own computer, as soon as you finish reading this post.
"Organize" also refers to information.
In the back rooms of a political campaign, as in a newsroom, one of the lines you hear is "whaddaya got on ...?" Whaddaya got on Romney? Whaddaya got on Bachmann? Whaddaya got on Perry? Whaddaya got on Koch Industries? (Oops -- as I compose this post, that lead to a blank page. DKosopedia doesn't have a page on "Koch Industries" -- or "Koch Brothers," "Charles Koch," or "David Koch." Oh well.)
Whadda we got?
Well, let's use our DKos Search function. Let's focus on Rick Perry.
Start with a tag search, going back only to the beginning of the year. We have 1414 diaries/posts tagged "Rick Perry" as I write, along with another 19 with variations of the term.
You wanna know "what we got" on Rick Perry? Dig in! 1433 diaries! We'll cover comments in a moment!
Ohhhh, I hear you sigh -- that's just a mess. What use is it?
"Don't mourn, organize."
That's right -- we could organize that information, find the nuggets, polish them up, and put them on display. We could be ready for the upcoming campaign. We could have all of the embarrassing and should-be-embarrassing facts at our fingertips.
But we don't. We're not organized.
(Yes, if you search on "Groups: Description Contains" you'll find at least one "Texas" Group. Happy hunting.)
Let's search for diaries this year containing the name "Perry." There are 1308 of them. (That suggests to me that the tag search is probably going beyond just ones for this year.)
Whadda we got there? I don't know. We're not organized.
Comments search? OK. 11,485 comments, as I write. Whadda we got? I don't know.
We have one obvious and compelling resource for organizing our information about candidates, locations and issues, and that is DKosopedia.As I hope that the above exercise in searching demonstrates, we really don't have an alternative. Even if some entrepreneural sort collected everything we learned about Rick Perry in a given week and created a series of "Rick Perry Knowledge Repository" posts for later reference, it would be a pale echo of what DKosopedia is already set up to do!
We need to organize our information leading up to 2012 (and beyond.) DKosopedia is, far and away, the best tool we have to do so. Organizing information would, if I had my way, be considered the dues one should have to pay for taking up everyone's time opining about topics on DKos itself.
This is what we can do. We can have a Rick Perry Day to start to mine information from the various diarists/posts and comments on this site. We can put it in a diary for "processing," and then transport it into DKosopedia.
In fact -- and I did not have any plan to do this when I began writing this a half hour ago -- I think I'll do exactly that.
I DECLARE TODAY "RICK PERRY DAY." I will start a new diary to collect information already in Daily Kos on him. By dawn tomorrow, we may have the beginnings of a kick-ass "Rick Perry" article on DKosopedia.
Then everyone will know exactly where to go to find out "what we got" on Rick Perry.
11:18 AM PT: OK, I've begun my Rick Perry Fact Repository for the day; the first example of how I'd mine DKos for info is in the fourth top-level comment. I put some effort into refining the full text of the story linked to in this Jan. 3, 2011 diary; if you don't want to do so with your entries, you don't need to. Just point people towards the nuggets. That helps too!