I originally came to Top Comments (right at the very beginning of the series!) because I hoped to find a ‘community’ here, a ‘home,’ of sorts. A place like was described in the old ‘Cheers’ tv show, the place where ‘everybody knows your name.’

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn't you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.

You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows
your name.

(Source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/ )

Making your way in the world today DOES take everything you've got, doesn't it?! Sometimes, with societal stresses like we're facing during the shutdown and looming default, it can seem to take MORE than what we've got. What to do? Where to 'hang out?'

Of course, I did not have the 'Cheers aspect' explicitly in mind when I first came to TC. I did want a ‘home,’ a place where I could meet and get to know a core group of fine Democrats. But the rest was rather nebulous. I only realized the Cheers thing after the Top Comments community evolved a bit.

Since TC began in 2006, it has been consistently one of the most committed Daily Kos ‘community’ diaries. The goal has been to highlight great or interesting comments in much the same way as SusanG’s (now Susan Gardner) original Diary Rescue series (now Community Spotlight) highlighted diaries that, for one reason or another, did not garner the attention they perhaps merited. As is true with Diary Rescue, comment ‘rescue’ is purely subjective. In my years with TC I have picked comments of almost every kind. Comments with an unusual insight, comments I strongly disagreed with but found provocative in a way that contributed to the force of dialogue on the site, comments I got in emails, of all things, unrecommendable on Daily Kos, comments explicitly CRITICAL of Top Comments. There is no hard and fast rule. That a comment is selected does not mean the comment is ‘better’ than any other comment anyone might find on Daily Kos. It doesn't mean we even LIKE the comment. It does not mean that the comment meets an objectively verifiable standard of some sort. No such standard exists, no such standard is likely to EVER exist.

In one of the finest developments within the series, Top Comments accepts comment submissions from any and all Kossacks. If you are a diarist and you like a comment someone has submitted in your diary, you are welcome to submit it. It may reinforce participation in your diary! It may link other visitors to TC to your diary. Or you may have encountered an interesting/worthwhile comment in your own forays throughout the site. Submit it! We will appreciate it, as, hopefully, will all that night’s visitors, and the person who submitted the comment her or himself!

In yet another evolutionary development, sometimes comments people liked but did not directly submit may appear in a given night’s TC diary. I call these ‘flagged’ comments. Something someone said in response to the comment indicates the potential of the comment for inclusion in that night’s TC diary. I call it ‘flagging,’ and I will no more take credit for the submission than I would for writing someone else composed. If you flag it and I find it, you get the credit, as you deserve. But it is a fine way of finding good comments, tried and true.

As regards community series diaries, they have a long and illustrious tradition on Daily Kos. Though Top Comments is one of the oldest (as of this diary 4377 tag results), it is not THE oldest by a long shot. From the cursory research I have done, these two series, at least, (and perhaps others, please list them if you know of them or find them and I will edit this diary to reflect more appropriate info!) are older:

Cheers and Jeers dates at least from 12/10/2003 (link to that very first C&J diary!). (Thank you, BiPM!) 3570 tag results (Inconsistently tagged, so I don’t know how many of these there actually are. A LOT!)

IGTNT dates at least from 4/10/2004 (link to that diary). (2853 results) I consider it to be one of the most important community series diaries. I rejoice that its frequency has diminished in these past months, because that means fewer troops have died, which is great news. But the IGTNT diarists have performed an invaluable service, and they continue to. May your precious diaries be ever fewer and farther between! And bless those you have honored, and their dear families and friends. Thank you, series originator, I dunno.

(Please keep in mind, those old diaries are still recommendable! Ridiculously, mine, at the time of the posting of THIS diary, is the ONLY recommendation that first IGTNT diary ever received. That is absurd, and I hope that you guys will help change that tonight. It deserves THOUSANDS of diary recommendations! Tens of thousands! Recommend old diaries when you visit them! Perhaps the diarist will never know, perhaps no one else ever will. But YOU will. And it will matter.)

Bottom line, there are a lot of community series diaries on Daily Kos, going back many years. They have different focuses, different appeals. Each is a ‘home,’ of sorts, for a group of Kossacks. Often, there is overlap between the ‘community’ communities, and patrons/diarists of one often frequent another. Usually those are people deeply committed to Daily Kos, to its success, to its growth, to its relevance in our national political debate.

(That I have only mentioned a couple community diaries does not in any way reflect negatively on the many fine diaries in community series! I appreciate all of them, even if I am not able to visit and patronize all of them.)

Well, what is it like to do diaries for such a group? I only diary for Top Comments, so my perspective is limited to TC. For me, it is an exceptionally gratifying experience. I am proud to be a member of the Top Comments diary team. I am proud of the consistency of Top Comments. TC did ‘go dark’ a couple of nights, in the early days, with no diary on a given night or two. We haven’t gone dark in many years, however. We have managed to put up at LEAST an Open Thread kind of TC diary EVERY night since. We work hard to post at the same time every night, so people know they can find us. They know where, they know when, and they know that - regardless of who hosts - TC will bring a fun, positive energy, with warm welcomes and a willingness to engage pleasantly on just about any subject. TC functions almost like an open thread, in that TC is all but unhijackable. Photos are welcome, YouTube links, links to personal or community diaries and comments, sharing personal information or stories, just asking for an ear, when times are stressful, or a place to vent.

I have taken advantage of all of those options and more, myself, both while hosting and while visiting when someone else hosted. TC has afforded me the opportunity to write about literally ANYTHING. I love the freedom TC offers in that regard. It is a community diary series, but very, very often, TC diarists jump right into the critical issues of the day. We take the purpose of Daily Kos - to elect more and better Democrats - and to fight the important fights in our society, very seriously indeed.

Mostly, I love the community. My team members are spectacular human beings! They have fine hearts and brilliant minds.They pair those with some serious writing talent! I never cease to be amazed at the breadth of their knowledge and insight. I learn new things ALL the time! I get fresh ideas all the time. I pick up tremendous inspiration and motivation. My fellow hosts are like people I have known and stood with all my life, and they are people I expect and intend to call friend for the remainder of my life. I expect to stand with them in the good times and bad, to celebrate or commiserate, as appropriate.To support when they are down and to lean on them, gently, respectfully, when I am.

I can’t possibly recommend highly enough the enterprise of diarying for Top Comments, and I feel sure the experience is comparably gratifying for most any of the other community diary series. Ask the other hosts if that is not so! If you have the opportunity to contribute to a Daily Kos community series as a diarist (and it fits within your circumstances and wishes), TAKE IT! If you are invited to participate, accept! If you feel you have found your place, volunteer! And, specifically with TC, if you find good comments out and about on Daily Kos, comments you appreciate, PLEASE SUBMIT THEM! Everyone in TC will thank you, the authors of the comments will appreciate your validation and support, and you can make a contribution without worrying about specific commitment.

Should you decide to contribute as a host/ess, yes, some work is involved. But that is true for anything that is worthwhile. We wouldn’t value it, otherwise. And it will bear fruit. Even if you do not see all the fruit all at once. Or even if, as often happens with seeds, you do not see some of it at all. I am a big believer in seeds.

Update note: I guess it was clear this diary was not supposed to post last night, and it certainly was not expected. Be that as it may, it DID post, and I want to thank all who have visited my diary. You are special people, and you are the reason writing and working on Daily Kos is so rewarding. Together, there is little we cannot do. I consider writing on Daily Kos to be a high honor. One I experience anew on a quite regular basis!

And special thanks to the Community Spotlight team. I have never had a rescued diary before. That was truly a surprise, and a special gift I won't forget.

Originally posted to Top Comments on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 05:12 PM PST.

Also republished by IGTNT Advisory Group and Community Spotlight.

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