A couple of weeks ago I attended my first DK group meetup at a lunch with the Indianapolis Kossacks. I had a great time meeting and visiting with some wonderful progressive bloggers. CityLightsLover did a fantastic job of organizing, and we played a fun game that helped us learn a little about each other. After that, though, folks began to converse more casually in twos and threes. I was totally engrossed in my own conversation with the spouse of a Kossack.

As we got ready to go, I noticed others also engaged in discussions, and I wanted to know what they had been talking about, too. But, alas, I never would. That got me to thinking about real time blogging like we do at Daily Kos. In many ways, it's actually superior to real life meetings.

So I'd like to make the case for comments below the double gnocchi. However, if you want to skip to the Good Stuff™, that's OK too. But, first, a word from our sponsor:

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and Top Photos and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send us the comments you'd like to nominate (but not your own) either by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board before 9:30pm ET. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission.

Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The diarist reserves the right to edit all content.

As a Commenteer, I may be prejudiced when it comes to comments at Daily Kos. I think, even more than the diaries, they are the heart and soul of the place. It's the free-wheeling, on-going discussion that gives this place life, IMO. And I am obviously comfortable with the format.

But online real time comment threads offer some benefits that meat-space conversations lack. Here are a few of the advantages as I see them.

First of all, you don't miss anything. You get to read the comments by everyone. This format allows you to pick and choose which thread(s) you wish to participate in and which you wish to avoid. You can easily control your engagement. There are no awkward goodbyes or excuses to make when you walk away. No one gets upset if you leave a thread abruptly or if you jump into one in the middle. Those options can be rude in real life.

Second, when people type out comments, they tend to be more thoughtful than face to face conversations. You can accompany your comment with illustrations, quotes, and links, too. A good pootie pic can be worth a thousand words.

Third, you can concentrate on what the other person is saying. In meat-space, you are often thinking of your own reply rather than closely listening to what the other person is saying. In cyber-space, you can read, digest, and think about the other person's comment before you reply.

Fourth, physical appearance is irrelevant. You can't visually prejudge in a cyber-conversation. You don't know the gender, color, ethnicity, age, shape, or economic status of the person you are talking to unless they reveal it. Instead, you judge their thoughts and words only. It makes for a more diverse conversation.

Fifth (and maybe best of all), you get to think up that witty reply. You know, the one you always think of later that you should have said at the time. If you don't understand what I mean, just check out tonight's nominees! Maybe these would have happened in meat-space, but having a few minutes to think of a hilarious riposte makes for some ROFL threads, I think.

Finally, you can blog in your underwear. Or not. You can be snarfing Doritos with one hand and scratching your nether regions with the other. You can bong or not bong. Not only do you not have to worry if you're using the right fork, you can skip the fork altogether and eat mashed potatoes with your fingers. You don't have to worry about your body odor, your hair (or lack of it), your halitosis, your dry skin, or your spare tire. No one cares if your sweats have a hole in the crotch. You can, in a word, relax.

Now advantages do exist to being in the same physical space for conversation. You can see expressions and body language and hear intonation, all important parts of communication. You are less likely to be rude to someone who disagrees with you without the shield of pseudonymity. And there are the hugz as well. Fancy brackets around your name are just not the same. Suffice it to say, I like meat-ups, too! They have their advantages.

But if it's a great conversation you want, I'm not sure you can do better than what we offer here at Daily Kos. Nevertheless, there is one other thing to keep in mind about these conversations. They are permanent. As the poet said,

Nothing is lost, ever lost! At last you understood.

--From "Original Sin: A Short Story," a poem by Robert Penn Warren

This permanence, of course, is a double-edged sword. I have made many comments I wish I could retract. I can edit or delete a diary, but I can never change or erase my comments. So take advantage of this format. It's a great way to have a thoughtful or a teasing exchange with someone. But don't forget: That rant is forever!

Image Credits:
Typing courtesy nwn.blogs.com
Say What courtesy rhodescomm.com
Blah, blah, blah courtesy therelaxeddentist.com
Cartoon courtesy jantoo.com
Bong courtesy edca.typepad.com
Nice big cup courtesy pics.livejournal.com
Rant courtesy teacupbadassery.wordpress.com

Here's the Good Stuff™:

November 30, 2013

Thanks to tonight's Top Comments contributors! Let us hear from YOU
when you find that comment that is tops!

From Youffraita:

In Sorta Randle's diary about accidentally killing cellphones called How to Kill Your Phone, Without Really Trying…, Former Chicagoan Now Angeleno proves to be a serial killer.
From tofumagoo:
I have a love-hate relationship with puns and other word plays, and this one by JamesGG in David Harris Gershon's diary about Pope Francis is definitely on the love side.
From rubyr:
I liked this hilarious comment about Black Friday by jakedog42, in Friday's Kitchen Table Kibitzing diary by Sara R.

(H/T to Steveningen for helping rubyr submit her very first Top Comment. Keep 'em coming, rubyr!)

From your humble diarist:
In his own diary, The Corporate State And The Global Revolution That Will Bring it Down, Ray Pensador flagged this "very insightful comment" by Jim P.

concernedamerican offered this accurate summation of why the apocalyptic rhetoric of the far-right is so ridiculous in kos' Saturday nutpick-a-palooza.

In Hunter's dismantling of Rep. Darrell Issa, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker cracked me up with this...um...hopeful comment.

November 29, 2013

(excluding Tip Jars and first comments)

Got mik!

  1) What false witness? by El Sobrante — 175
  2) The whole commandment is: "Thou shalt not bear by dallasdunlap — 163
  3) No, it doesn't violate either injunction. by aimai — 139
  4) A passionate, by raptavio — 125
  5) I think a lot of their image of President Obama... by JamesGG — 114
  6) He gets support RG by Patriot4peace — 110
  7) I disagree by marykk — 103
  8) Followed the link, and yes, by Youffraita — 79
  9) heh.  It is my field and by Denise Oliver Velez — 74
10) Like the KKK was out-marketed on integration by Dallasdoc — 74
11) Nice to see someone with a world stage by civil wingnut — 72
12) I don't see anything in this diary by marykk — 72
13) I love it by Patriot4peace — 71
14) Religion is an obstacle to by TomP — 69
15) This isn't quite true: by Andrew F Cockburn — 69
16) You are absolutely, 100% wrong by boadicea — 69
17) This is the issue that I have  been patiently by Bob Johnson — 68
18) Why are you presuming to speak for this diarist? by nomandates — 67
19) I wonder if you could have expressed those by Just Bob — 66
20) Actually not that surprising. by rudewarrior — 64
21) My reaction is anger. by smoothnmellow — 64
22) No one by harrylimelives — 64
23) With all due respect, by gramofsam1 — 63
24) Testy day after Thanksgiving(kkuh), y'all. by Yasuragi — 63
25) No, you are seeking by gchaucer2 — 62
26) O'Keefe doctored his results by marykk — 61
27) My earliest childhood hero by gchaucer2 — 59
28) He wanted to see if people judged the book by its by MA Liberal — 59
29) One force can stand up to global power structures by Buzzer — 58
30) You support Ralls? Own his racism too then by mahakali overdrive — 58

November 29, 2013

Enjoy jotter's wonderful PictureQuilt™ below. Just click on the picture and it will magically take you to the comment that features that photo. Have fun, Kossacks!

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