Tonight the tech team released some major site enhancements, mostly centered around an overhaul of the new user process. We've rebuilt the interface for sign up and login, as well as auxiliary pages like lost password, etc. More importantly we have made a suite of changes so that we can bring on new users immediately, with no waiting period before a new users can post or comment. Read on for more details.
Removing the waiting period is big shift which effects both new user experience and the established community, so we have added several layers of moderation enhancements to make sure the positives of bringing on fresh points of view and growing the community aren't overshadowed by the potential negatives of opening ourselves up to bad actors.
The first improvement is already launched- DK Partners & Mentors Team. Check out this diary to read all about it. In brief, DailyKos keeps a list of first time commenters, and the Mentors check in on these threads, welcoming, answering questions, and providing encouragement. The goal is to create real human connection as early as possible to bring new users into the community. It's impossible to directly measure the effect this has, but this formal system for volunteer community support of new users is totally unique to Daily Kos, as far as I know, and is just the sort of thing that makes the site great.
The second is a few big changes to the warning system. Warnings now can remove a specific permissions- say the ability to comment- and can be set to automatically expire after a certain amount of time. So, a warning could be issued to somebody acting poorly in the comments which removes the user's ability to comment for two days. This gives our moderators something between banning and an acknowledge only warn, allowing them to better fit the punishment to the offense.
The last is an overhaul to the autoban robot. The algorithm can now issue warnings as well as bannings. It will also issue an acknowledge only warning when a comment gets hidden.
Elfling has a diary going up in the morning with more details about the new and improved warning, autobanning robot.
Bonus feature: email a friend is back. Look for the button right next to the Facebook and Twitter buttons.
We hope these changes will improve the quality of the signup process and help grow the community.