I've seen it three times already, and now I'm seeing it happen again. We have an established community. The influx of traffic means lots of new faces who don't know the established etiquette start posting on the message boards. There is tension as the established guard clashes with the old guard. Eventually, the old guard is outnumbered, and seeing fewer and fewer of their old online friends, kind of fade away. It's like seeing your favorite pub taken over by a new scene.
As the old guard fades away, the hanger-ons complain how the old-timers are being "chased off". But there's nothing I can do. Online communities are not static. People come and go. And those "old-timers" once upon a time chased off the established community that preceeded them. And those guys chased off the original community. Like I said, four waves.
Each of these transitions hurts a bit. Old friends fade away, rarely with an explanation or a chance to say 'goodby' (like Theoria). And the new crew, well, they don't have the history. But then months pass, and then the history is there, and I make new friends. Until history repeats itself. And during it all, there's nothing I can do about it, and nothing I will try to do about it.
There's another dynamic that is currently causing a lot of grief -- the desire to close ranks close to an election. "Groupthink". And while I am no paragon of party unity, it's not a desire I'll fight. We should close ranks before an election. Those who insist on fighting those battles now are merely distracting from the ultimate goal. Eyes on the prize, and all.
Once the election is over, we can get back to fighting over policy, whether to tackle the DLC, hating Greens or welcoming them to the fold, being a "Wellstone democrat" versus "Dean Democrat" versus who knows what else, etc.
For now, if you come here and trash a Democratic candidate, expect to be trashed back (just like I get trashed when I criticize the party). If you can't take the heat, then don't write that post or diary. Or consider returning after November 2. It's that simple. This is a Democratic blog after all.
As for the current strife, it was much worse during the Democratic primaries, and we came out just fine.
Finally, there's a small cabal that has decided that they can run a community better than I can. And perhaps they can, though actions usually speak louder than words. In any case, I'm not too worried about adding this feature or that feature because I'm too busy keeping the fucking site up through election day. I've invested over $15,000 the last month on technology, plus a full-time programmer, to make sure the site survives the next four weeks.
After the elections, when things are a bit more calm, I'll be more responsive to suggestions. Until then, it's my lowest priority. If you're obsessing about what gizmo you'd like on Daily Kos, you're not doing enough to win the elections in four weeks.