Cats sitting on Welcome mat
Daily Kos is a scary place for a lurker considering engaging. It's crowded, with tons of people. Many are brilliant, and there's a fear from new users that they can't contribute at that level. Others are brash and oftentimes rude, and who wants to be yelled at when walking into a new room? And everyone is opinionated, and so what can be rote disagreement can be magnified if you're not used to the rough-and-tumble ethos of the comments.

And then there are those who develop a sort of resistance to new voices -- you know the types, the ones who dismiss a commenter because of her high User ID, or clique up and form a barrier to new voices. It's inevitable human nature, but just because it happens doesn't mean we shouldn't try to mitigate it and avoid things like this.

Because while their confidence may be lacking, every lurker on this site likely has something of value to contribute. And the more people engage in this site, the more will hopefully take additional actions to fight for the progressive values we all champion. In activism circles it's called the "ladder of engagement" -- you might start by reading or watching political content, then maybe comment, sign up to an activism email list, evangelize to family and friends, donate money, make calls, walk precincts, donate bigger sums of money, take time off from work to work a campaign, and then run for office. And lord knows we need more of all of that.

In any case, we want to encourage people taking their first steps into greater political engagement. Thus, we've created our new Partners & Mentors welcoming committee, run by Navajo. She'll be joined by belinda ridgewood, nomandates, paradise50, smileycreek, a gilas girl, and ten-year Front Page veteran Meteor Blades as team adviser.

This group will greet new contributors to the site, helping them feel wanted and at home. They will be a resource of information and answer questions when asked. They will work to make this a more pleasant experience for new users.

They will not be moderators, so don't be asking them for help resolving the latest flareup. They will not be enforcers. They cannot go around warning or banning people. They are happy joyful wonderful people, eager to help newbies integrate into the site, not deal with the ugly bitter fights that can plague this place.

I'm super excited about this, and look forward to seeing something like BiPM's Kiddie Pool open-arm ethos expanded site-wide. Hopefully the rest of you will join the Partners & Mentors team in helping new users feel welcome.

[Update by navajo] New team members have been added:
belinda ridgewood
a gilas girl
peregrine kate

Meteor Blades

Originally posted to kos on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 11:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by New Diarists, Kossacks helping each other, Cranky Users, Welcome New Users, Mojo Friday, and Partners & Mentors.

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