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A couple of diarists today--you know who you are!--have focused on meta-issues, including reinforcement of the rules, you-can't-make-me-follow-the-rules, and various pleas for peace, love, and understanding.

Part of the problem with dKos, as seen in the diary police/freewheelin' hippie divide and, to a lesser extent, in the old fart/newbie divide, is that people don't understand A what this site is and was designed to be (and not be) and 2 people don't make full use of the site's functionality, thus trying to make the diary page do things that other parts of the site already do--including breaking news.

Click through for some advice, consent, and general snot-brainedness.  Plus--and I'm not kidding here--a shocking revelation.  Don't miss the first five paragraphs!

One:  The Rules
Gather 'round, young'uns, and let old grampy folkbum tell you a story.  In the olden days, when we carved out dKos on slate tablets, there were trolls.  Lots of them.  I mean, like, trolls from here to Dayton and back.  Some trolls even used to pretend to be other posters.  Some trolls were just plain old trolls.

Scoop solved all that.  Yes, you had to register.  Yes, it was still bloody orange.  But it stopped the trolls.

And it created a whole mess of other problems:  People who thought the diaries were their own blog, deserving a dozen posts a day; people who wrote one-line diaries with just a link.  People who wrote two- or three-thousand word diaries without using the "Extended Entry" box; people who wanted to turn dKos into some kind of circus.

Believe me--within weeks of the Scoop migration, there was moaning and gnashing of teeth about what stupid people were doing to destroy what Markos had built.  In fact, he repeatedly called for people to actively police the diaries while he worked on code that could solve some issues.

So, in early December 2003--2003, people!--I created the user diary police.  Yes, goyim and burls, I am diary police.  All those clever passive-aggressive comments and flashing lights?  Me.  Moreover, diary police's user ID:  3871.

Markos set up this site as an incubator for the best the left half of the blogoversosphere had to offer, not as an upscale Democratic Underground or orange BuzzFlash.  If people want that, they can go there, he reasoned.  dKos was something different.

So, there are rules, people.  They are there for a reason.  They mean something.  Follow them.

Two:  BREAKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Daily Kos is not a news site.  If you want it to be a news site, you're in the wrong place.  If you want to turn it into a news site, you're doing the rest of us a disservice.

Is it nice to know what's happening out there in the 3-D technicolor world?  Sure.  Is the Donald Rumsfeld self Q-and-A thing annoying?  You bet.  But this is not a news site.

So, you might ask, how do I get my news?  Easy:
Click on [user]'s Page there on the right.  Click on the "My Profile" tab.  Click on the Display Prefs link under the tabs.  Scroll down.

I know that's a lot of steps.  But you'll see, if you do this, that you have a chance to subscribe to feeds from over 100 different websites, including, for example, Media Matters and Guardian Unlimited.  These feeds will show up on the front page below the "Recent Diaries" list.  There's your dKos breaking news section, people.

Three:  But I Repeat Myself a Dozen Other People
Every day, just about, somebody tells somebody else how to set their "Recent Diaries" list to 50.  It's easy--type 50 in the "Show [] diaries" box.

But let's take just now as an example:  Two diaries (here and here) write up the Zogby poll that shows 42% of Americans would vote to impeach Bush if it were proven he lied about the war.  Sure, they're both--20 diaries apart--citing today's WaPo, but that poll was covered extensively over the weekend on the front page and in diaries.

See what I just did there?  I used the search function.  Yeah, yeah, every day someone complains that the search function doesn't work.  It most certainly does--if you change the pull-down menu from "Stories" to "Diaries" first.

Oh, and then there are the people who post their own diaries over and over.  There is a special place in hell for them.

Four:  Slow Down!
One common complaint--from old farts, newbies, diary repeaters, men-on-the-street, the leprechaun that tells me to burn things--is that there are too many diaries.

Put simply:  If people used the RSS feeds instead of the diaries to get their news; if people used the diary search to find what they want to read and write about instead of repeating; if people actually followed Markos's rules; then the diary rate would slow probably by half.  Sure, that's still 300 diaires a day; but, dammit, they would all be signal, not noise.  And old farts like me--and my donut-eating, truncheon-wielding alter-ego--will stop whining.

Originally posted to folkbum on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 06:49 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'll repeat myself (4.00)
    I want to reiterate what I said in a comment earlier this evening on someone else's diary:  Markos specifically invested users, particularly Trusted Users, with the authority and onus to maintain the diary and comment sides of the site as he wants it to be.  I take that seriously.

    blog | These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined. -- Homer Simpson

    by folkbum on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 06:46:51 PM PDT

    •  Aye! (4.00)
      And even though I'm a 3xxxx something user, I've been around since the last election and am well aware of what you guys have to put up with, have put up with, etc.

      All valid points. I'd recommend this, and suggest it be recommended but then, of course, I'd be flamed because it would push more "important" diaries off the list! :)

      That said, I think during registration there ought to be an adjustment that requires a check-mark box next to each rule and that each box be checked before "Submitting" for an account.

      Even with that type of system, there would still be screwballs but....whaddya gonna do, ya know?

      Phillybits "Censoring torture stories doesn't help the troops."

      by Stand Strong on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:08:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, no, no! (4.00)
        Please recommend!  Vote early and often!

        Seriously, the rec function is just as important as the rating function.  It's a way to police and monitor the site.

        On the other hand, there is a worry that some "kabals" are using the rec function to self-promote, but that's an issue that can be dealt with in other ways.

        blog | These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined. -- Homer Simpson

        by folkbum on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:15:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's the thing (4.00)
      TUs are slacking.

      Get on the job please.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:20:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  but there's a problem inherent (4.00)
      in the idea of no repetitive diaries.

      i was called on the carpet by a self-described diary police because i wrote a diary about a new editorial about an old story.

      i wrote about the denver post's op-ed piece supporting the denver 3's right to protest awol without getting hassled and evicted by a fake secret service agent.

      granted, the story was old (a year old) but the denver post op-ed was brand spankin' was the idea of a major newspaper coming out in favor of the denver three and against awol...

      yet, someone decided i was writing a "repetitive diary" and rated me down and told me i "should delete it."

      i'm really getting po'd at the attitude around dkos these days...there used to be more of a sense of fun around it seems that we're all taking ourselves so damn seriously (how dare kos have an ad with a girl in short shorts!).

      come on, let's remember to enjoy ourselves, and a little common courtesy goes a looooong way.

      also, help skippy get a million hits!

      help skippy reach a million hits! only 50,000 to go! click today!

      by skippy on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:44:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  denver 3 objection (none)
        somebody called an update on a year-old story a repetitive diary???  man, that's collldddd.

        You're only young once, but you can be immature forever -- Larry Andersen

        by N in Seattle on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:49:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That was abuse (none)
        I'm sorry you got hit by the overzealous type.

        Generally, I cut people slack if they post a diary within, say, ten minutes of someone else's having done so, or if they are bringing up a new aspect to the story.  The examples I linked above--about Froomkin's referning the Zogby poll--would have been good (the first one, anyway), excepte they presented the poll as the news, not Froomkin's take.  The poll is clearly not new news.

        blog | These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined. -- Homer Simpson

        by folkbum on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:50:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My ideological purity is a sham (4.00)
        Because I frankly have no problem with repetitive diaries. Sometimes these diaries repeat each other, sometimes they're different takes on the same thing. But unless you're actually watching the recent d list, there are generally at most two about the exact same subject (like some article in the Times), and usually only one (I set my list to 30).

        And I really think it should be fine to post a diary about a subject if someone else did a few days ago. There's no harm in revisiting a subject as many times as people are willing to write and recommend them. Just my vote, for what it's worth.

        (By the way, if we're going to start banning words in diary titles, could we add "frame" to the list?)

      •  Not exactly (none)
        I'm sorry I probably shouldn't respond but I'm going to anyway because I do stupid things.

        I looked up your diary wondering who would treat you like that and I think you are confused.

        You wrote a diary that refered to an article that someone else quoted in another diary 2 days prior to you.

        No one rated you down in that diary unless I've gone blind (which is always possible).

        And those that pointed it out didn't have an attitude towards you. And they didn't describe themselves as diary police you brought that term into the conversation.

        I know that time can blur memories, but please review things before attacking others.

        Straw Man (homo calami) - when you don't feel like arguing against someone's actual points just assign them new and easier ones to dispute

        by Liberalpalooza on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 10:38:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no... sorry, but i disagree (none)
          i wrote about the new denver post op-ed...

          granted, i included a paragraph from a previously covered story, but i also included commentary from and about the new denver post op-ed, which was not previously discussed.

          in point of fact you are right, nobody troll-rated me, forgive me.  but they did tell me to delete it.  and while technically it did not affect my rating, it is an example of over-zealousness that has made dkos an unenjoyable place to be.

          you are correct, i was mistaken about being troll-rated, and you are correct, they didn't call themselves diary police.

          but they were acting as such and dismissed my writing without reading it.  

          help skippy reach a million hits! only 50,000 to go! click today!

          by skippy on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 11:40:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Don't know about you (4.00)
      but the search function still aint working for me. I'm not sure though if the bugs are supposed to be fixed. Alignment is still a problem also.
  •  UID # 41937 here, (a mere child, so to speak)... (4.00)
    ...thanks you for your thoughtful and helpful comments.  

    Be the creature. (But not a Republican.) blogomni

    by boran2 on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 06:56:15 PM PDT

  •  Are you calling me names? (4.00)
    Fellow CODGER?  Is that a real word?  I want to know, because if I am being called something I want to have an appropriate response.

    Site Functionality -- I do not use half of what the site is capable of doing.  Repetitive diaries do annoy, but alas so do my typos.  I swear, I do know how to spell but I type too fast for the computer to keep up.  It is the computer's fault.  Just don't give me a ticket, policeperson.

  •  *eeek* (none)
    I'm going to totally rephrase  what I said earlier in Ga10's post of a similar topic:

    As a newbie (who has recently aquired the status of TU), I watch what the oldies (hey, c'mon if you call us newbies...:op) do. How they present themselves how they carry themselves and I follow their lead. The reason I'm at Dkos is not because I agree with everything everyone says, it's because I don't. It's so that I can get a feel for what others are saying about other issues.

    I did my senior theses paper on participation (I'm a poli sci grad) and part of my final point was that blogs and the internet will play a huge role in political participation in the near future. Part of the problem (or reason) is that the internet is seen as a commons. A commons is a place that everyone can use, but that everyone must also help 'police' it (if not police, then help with the upkeep, if you will). What is to say that one person won't help 'police'? Nothing, but the hope is that everyone values the commons enough to help keep it in the shape it needs to be in so that it remains user friendly.

    "So the last throes will be 6 times longer than the actual war" (paraphrased: Jon Stewart)

    by katfish on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:01:18 PM PDT

  •  The Law is the Law... (4.00)
    When people come together to form a society, they agree to certain rules to abide by, so they can best function together.  When someone starts breaking the rules, he or she must be brought back into the fold or punished, for he or she is disrupting the community harmony.  Kos has clearly stated the rules for participation in this site, and I don't believe it is too much to ask to follow them.  
    •  It's not just the rules (none)
      Yes, that was point number one, but a lot of the rules violations would be ameliorated if people used the RSS feeds for breaking news and the diary search.

      That was my real point--the functionality.

      blog | These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined. -- Homer Simpson

      by folkbum on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:11:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm certainly a relative newbie... (4.00)
        but I have to admit, I like to see breaking news diaries.  And, I'll admit that I have posted a few.  Not so much because I need this to get news -- Buzzflash works really well for that -- but because I want to see what people think about it.

        If I want to see what the washington post says about something, I'll read the washington post.  But, I want to see what other people think.  What do the legal people here think?  Is it a real issue?  Is it BS?  What do the politicos think?  Is it going to stick?  How's it going to shape things?

        While a quick diary about a breaking news event may not be a work of art in and of itself, it can provide a forum for discussion.   An RSS feed doesn't.

        •  I think it's fine to post breaking news (4.00)
          but there should be some insightful commentary to go with it.  Why is the news important?  What's the historical context of it?  What questions or larger issues does it raise?  

          The two things that make this site great are the profound analyses and the great discussions.  And the snark.  The three things that make this site great are the analyses, the discussions and the snark.  And the pooties.  The four things...  I'll come in again.

          •  There's a fine line.. (4.00)
            I know what you're saying.  But to me, some of the most interesting diaries to read actually have really lame diary entries.  I'm not saying that I haven't seen some kick-ass diaries, full of original content and brilliant insights.

            There are also plenty of original diaries that are pretty lame, with half-cocked speculations, misinformed views, and shaky logic.  But the reason that I keep coming back is that the discussion that follows the diary is fascinating.

            I'll let you in on a little secret-- when I see a really long diary entry about a subject that I am interested in, I generally skip to the comments.  After reading a few comments, I decide whether to read the whole thing.  I guess I'm a lazy reader...  I'm overworked, lacking sleep, and either stealing time at work or watching an 11 month old tearing apart the house.  I value the comments -- the discussion -- more highly than 99.9% of the diaries themselves.  

            I feel that the diaries are providing a valuable service if all they do is provoke discussion on an interesting topic.

  •  Rules are rules. (4.00)
    Of course, the only rule that I could see someone breaking is the 2 diaries in a day one, but a third diary would have to be my pal needs money for troop armor, he's leaving tomorrow afternoon for Iraq, urgent.

    The search function does work. By no means is it perfect, but if you type in a key word or two, you'll likely find out whether or not someones has already diaried it. If someone points out that your info was diaried 20 diaries below, delete it. I try to lay off asking people to delete or informing something was already diaried, IF there wasn't a rec diary, front page story, or diary within the the most recent 50 diaries on the exact article or whatever.  

    Quite frankly, I think googling project and community-wide piecing together of an issue is sooo much more productive if information is pooled in a couple of threads as opposed to 50 out of the 300 posted that day.  

    Oh, and I'd like to make a suggestion for the front-pagers. I've noticed that a front-pager will put up a front-page story about a topic where a rec list diary has already got a few dozen comments. Why not just promote the diary, especially if the front-pager doesn't have much else to add?  Oh, and something in the code has to be written so that a promoted diary can't also be on the recommended list at the same time.  

    Please visit my blog Penndit.
    RWCM's CW is certainly conventional, but rarely wise.

    by Newsie8200 on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:08:23 PM PDT

    •  And perhaps (4.00)
      once a diary hits the Recommended List, it gets pulled from the Recents. That's one more slot for a current diary to not push a diary off the list.

      Phillybits "Censoring torture stories doesn't help the troops."

      by Stand Strong on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:10:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  while we're at it (4.00)
        i would so love to see an alternate diaries page where the entries are sorted by recommendation instead of chronologically.  

        i would use that instead of looking at the diary list most of the time, i think.  that way the lame diaries would automatically be knocked out.

        jotter does a great thing with the high impact diaries entries, and that's kind of what i'm looking for.  (come to think of it, sorting by "impact" might be even better.)  but there's no way i have time to look at that every day and click through on every entry.  having a whole page with all the intros would be the way to go.

        l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

        by zeke L on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 08:26:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are a million... (4.00)
        concrete suggestions for good User Interface changes.  I'll repeat my hope that the new CSS backbone improves things from here.

        I think the key factor is that people who put a lot of time into their posts resent quick typists, IOW- competition for diary space.

        IMHO it is far better to think creatively about ways to reduce the problem (better organized educational material, practice forum, expanded displays, etc.) than to sit around in a circular firing squad.

        Why don't we call them 'Diary Educators'?  Why don't we train them to do a little research before they pass judgement (nothing pisses me off more than reading someone trash a 1st diary)?

        Why don't we train new users about how to use the 'Search' button?  Why is the default 'Stories'?  What happened to that {a href=" thing?  Why do I feel so old, I've only been here since April.

    •  aoeu (4.00)
      I've always thought that a good idea would be to allow FPers to "fuse" diaries together.  Take one of them and attach it with all its comments into another diary.  This would probably be hell on the DB though.
      •  Yeah, I suggested that eons ago (none)
        And I know some of the older frontpagers saw the suggestion, but nothing came of it.

        I've seen message boards with merging capability, and it's really great. No one loses anything that they posted, and things are consolidated nicely.

        Please visit my blog Penndit.
        RWCM's CW is certainly conventional, but rarely wise.

        by Newsie8200 on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 09:45:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I love ya but..... (4.00)
    I think this has become a sort of news site.  It is a very different place from buzzflash (I think I am qualified to say so because I have been frontpaged at both places).  Like I said before, Markos can do whatever he wants whenever he wants.  But I don't think it is unreasonable to ask for a place where the community discusses news items, which really isn't the same as getting news from an RSS feed.  I think there is a need for discussion of news that this place fills in a way that buzzflash doesn't and I think that insisting on following the original rules is a mistake because it ignores how the site has evolved and how some community needs may not have been recognized at the beginning.  Hell, even the US constitution has amendments and a whole set of case law to make it contemporarily applicable.



    The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

    by mikepridmore on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:13:54 PM PDT

    •  There's a difference (none)
      between discussing the news of the day and trying to break the news of the day.

      Consider:  Would you rather read a post that starts with Breaking!! and is primarily a link to Yahoo!News, or a post thirty minutes later that includes not just the link, but the beginnings of cogent argument.

      I'm not saying we can't talk about news; I'm saying that we should not be concerned with making sure we know the news as soon as it happens all the time.

      And . . . you . . . you . . . love me?  Awww, shucks . . .

      blog | These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined. -- Homer Simpson

      by folkbum on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:21:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I ignore (none)
        99.9% of "BREAKING" diaries.

        Those caps are really a turnoff.

        Someday, the people who know how to use computers will rule over those who don't. And they will have a special name for us: Secretaries. - Dilbert

        by Frankenoid on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 08:00:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  a breaking news thread (none)
        i'm inclined to agree with mike here, even though i'm pretty tired of the BREAKING!!!1 diaries taking up oxygen on the diary list.

        i'd like to put that stuff somewhere else, say on some kind of open thread.  if i had magical coding powers, i'd even make it some kind of continuously rolling thread where the old stuff just fell off the bottom after a while.  and have an ability for users to bump the short diary entries that ought to be open thread comments off to a thread instead of taking up space.  i have no idea how to actually implement those things, of course.

        l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

        by zeke L on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 08:01:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The discussion (4.00)
        is the thing.  That's what I want.  The breaking part is debatable. Occasionally someone here, like the ePluribus peeps, actually does break a new story.  But generally what we have is someone sharing a recent news item that they think is of interest to the community.  And even with a good individual selection of news feeds, I think the ability of this community to monitor and share recent news items is superior to the well-informed individual.  The open threads might work if they were specifically devoted to that.  But they aren't in reality.  It just seems to me that a separate page to discuss recent news items might be a good addition and if that were in a separate place it would help keep the analysis diaries from whizzing by at the rate of c (the speed of light) squared.

        The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

        by mikepridmore on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 08:16:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  PS folkbum, "love" can be an (none)
          overused word, but I respect you highly and admire your work.  Does that count?

          The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

          by mikepridmore on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 08:23:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  show and tell; codgers (4.00)
          I've always appreciated the "show and tell" aspect of dKos.  I think of all these folks, the Kossians, who are out scouring the world for news, poking around in a lot of little byways, as well as ear to the pulse of DC. All those Kossians bringing what they find to show the rest of  us. Some of it is exquisite, but most of it needs editing, or is already known.

          The best of us strive to find and share the best, and judiciously eschew the trivial...

          As far as "oldness" here at dKos, 3 digit UIDs are now less than 2% of the population. That's crusty old. True Codger status are the 2 digit folks. Even the 4 digiters represent only around 15%, so they are now old. Everyone else is some degree of new, but it's a pretty broad spectrum.  Anyway, some of our finest posters have rocketed up to great status in just a few months, or so it seems, so degree of newness is no impediment to true talent here at dKos. The  cream rises, and some of us who have been here all along are barely visible. The longer I'm here, the less I have to say; usually someone else has already said it better. Lost a long-standing TU status 'cause I stopped chattering out everything that came to mind.

          I think dKos is just fine, but most people should edit more, myself included.

          don't always believe what you think...

          by claude on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 09:17:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That's OK (4.00)
      Personally, I don't mind someone posting about news, so long as it's politically-related, or whatever.

      Under two conditions:

      1. That "breaking" never, ever be used in the diary title. Ever. I hate that with a serious passion.

      2. That if it has already been diaried or front-paged, you don't post it. One diary is enough.

      I'm all for troll-rating anyone breaking them thar rules.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 08:48:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just recently (none)
    kos made this comment on duplicate diaries.

    Anyone disagree? I don't.

  •  I have a question about how Search works. (none)
    Whether this is the appropriate diary or not???. . .but then, you're doing such a good job of 'splaining, maybe you can 'splain this.  I was reading a diary and noticed that a particular poster was handing out a lot of 1s and 2s, so I checked on previous ratings that this poster had given, and all he has given according to the search on his name and then ratings given, was 4s, including rating of comments in the diary I had just seen him give 1s and 2s for.  I have noticed discrepancies such as this before.  Any idea what gives?  
    •  Puzzling. (4.00)
      You've encountered situations where the rating button in the diary says 'ek rated this a 2' and my ratings page says it's a 4.

      That's a bug.  If you have links, I'd e-mail an fp- could be part of the upgrade.

      If this is behavior related...

      Umm... fits of madness are not encouraged, but they are tolerated... to a certain extent.

      If, for instance, you were hitting the refresh button and lurking at the top of the 'Most Recent' list, and then posted your own Mojar on MY Diary with a distracting, off-topic comment you extended by replying to your own post- I must admit I'd be tempted to shower you with my ones.

      I'd get over it though, probably just call you out.

      When you follow a poster from thread to thread, search his comments, nuke 'em all... Umm... that's stalking in my book.

      People should remember that they have a permanent record here at Hogwarts.

      •  I don't think I was stalking, really, I wasn't. . (none)
        But the ratings in one particular diary were uniformly 4s with one poster giving 1s and 2s for what seemed no reason, so I thought I'd check out his ratings and then found that acc. to his rating listings, he was giving 4s on that diary??  I think you're right; probably a bug.  
        •  My apology. (none)
          I by no means meant to imply.  I was reacting more to the thread than to you, and I think my main point is that almost everybody makes mistakes- especially me.  'Tis a tricky thing to sit in judgement, and yet the free and vigorous exercise of the self-policing mechanisms of dKos elevate it above any other forum.

          I think the solution is simple- more visible diaries = less competition = less tension.  That and some of the other things I listed above.

          •  Absolutely no apology necessary. (4.00)
            I was just trying to clarify what my intent had been and realize, as do you, that sometimes words are misinterpreted and wanted to make sure that mine were not.  I appreciate your help.    
        •  I'm confused (none)
          Again, I dug into your ratings, and saw no comments--on the first or second page--that said there were hidden, or that had a rating much below a 3 overall.  I saw a total of 49 comment ratings, dating back to May 25.

          It could be a feature/bug that other users (like me) can't see you ratings on comments that eventually get hidden, or maybe ratings on archived comments, but that seems silly to me.  On the other hand, I didn't write the code . . .

          If you don't mind, could you link to the thread you describe above?  I'm interested to see this phenomenon.

          blog | These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined. -- Homer Simpson

          by folkbum on Thu Jul 07, 2005 at 03:34:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Aha! (none)
            I woke up this morning with an Aha! moment and think I might have figured it out!  (Folkbum, by the by, you must not have gotten much sleep last night, and thanks for sticking this out with me!)

            Last night, I gave several 4s to you and to ek hornbeck.  I'm pretty sure that these were the ones that were showing up on my ratings as [Hidden Comments], which tecnically, I suppose, would have been accurate as there was only one rating and thus it was below zero.  I also checked on some ratings that you and ek hornbeck gave me, which showed up on my screen for your ratings as [Hidden Comments], again I surmise because there was only one rating.  What clinched it for me was that this morning, after you added your 4s, some of these [Hidden Comments] were no longer Hidden but were now "official" as there were two ratings.

            I hope my explanation is clear???

            My questions now are these:  Is this just a glitch on my screen or is it something that happens for all non-TU users.  From your comments, Folkbum, I'm realizing that you don't see the same thing I do, and as you're a TU, that must be the difference.  Now, if this is the way it's supposed to work, all well and good, but it's kind of confusing and not very clear. . . at least I was confused and wonder whether others are??

            Thanks again.  Much appreciated.    

            •  You are seeing... (none)
              Exactly what I and every other Regular User see.

              Those who know tell me that the only other things you see as a TU are-

              • Hidden Comments and their Replies- mostly good for recipe collecting.

              • The Handles of the TUs who have Zero Rated (action, not possession) Comments.  This 'super' power is good for picking fights and holding grudges.

              Oh, and you get that 0 choice in the 'Ratings' drop down which you're only supposed to use for good.

              But no single TU can hide a comment, you only have the one Zero.  The exact formula is a closely held secret, I have seen Comments rated as low as 1.33 with 3 Zeros survive.

              As an RU, how can you tell a Comment is hidden?  If it's yours and you're actively defending it, you'll start to see the Zeros pile up.  You won't know who, of course, but it might be time to clarify any positions that could, ahem, be misunderstood.  At some point you'll either refresh the diary or attempt to post another defense of the indefensible and when you get back to the spot your comment should be- it's gone.

              This usually causes people to sputter incoherently about the injustice of it all and maybe, if I'm lucky, write a nice juicy Goodbye Cruel Kos diary.

              For the RU these (sputtering, GBCK) are the two telltale signs that something gossip worthy is happening to a Comment that is not your own.

              If, like me, you are a lazy or slow poster, you may never notice anything at all.  The Comment is gone from my "Comment List'.  The Replies are gone from my 'Hotlist'.  Unless I happen to remember- 'Hey, what became of my modest proposal to eat Irish babies?' and go back and check I'll never know.  Even then I might convince myself it was all just a bad dream.

              And if I continually post Zero Rated Comments I will be demoted to- A REGULAR USER!  Oh wait, I already am.

              My point is that you shouldn't be afraid to speak up, even if your opinion is controversial.

              I am NOT saying a reasonable amount of paranoia is a BAD thing.  Your entire posting history is available to anyone, including you.  All your Diaries, Comments, and Ratings.  I think remembering this fact encourages politeness.

              •  Goodness gracious, EK, I surely must have missed (none)
                your modest proposal. . .but the children of the poor people of Ireland are such a burden, are they not?    

                Thanks for hanging in with me through this tortuous process as I figured out what was going on regarding My Ratings and also thanks for providing humerous perspective.    

                Can you bear yet another question: What is the rationale for TU status anyhow?  In a community such as Daily Kos, keeping secrets somehow seems to contradict democratic/Democratic principles of equality. . . and promotes paranoia!!??


              •  One of the best diaries I ever read here . . . (none)
                . . . was a GBCW diary that had something over 900 comments by the time I quit reading it. It was absolutely hilarious. I learned some new "What do you call . . ." jokes from that one.

                "We must love one another or die." - W. H. Auden

                by marathon on Thu Jul 07, 2005 at 11:38:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  time the great equalizer (4.00)
    wow - seems like none of the big secrets can stay that way for long.  just in the last month or so we learned the identity of deep throat, and today we unmask the great secret of which kossack was the diary police.  (for the record, my money was on soj - oh well.)

    just goes to show that eventually all the dirt comes out.

    but, can we be sure that you were acting alone?  i still have this sneaking suspicion that there was an unnamed co-conspirator...

    l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

    by zeke L on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:54:52 PM PDT

    •  I've never seen that (none)
      I'm sorry, but I don't know that I can explain that.

      blog | These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined. -- Homer Simpson

      by folkbum on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:56:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oops. (4.00)
        I was trying to reply to the post above yours.

        Yeah, I know that it was a big mystery.  I think that back when the diary police debuted, there were betting pools.  I think at least one person caught on once about six months ago, but I did well keeping it secret, I think.

        blog | These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined. -- Homer Simpson

        by folkbum on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 07:58:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Folkbum, what about "Hidden Comments"? (none)
        When I check on the ratings that I have given, there are fairly frequent "Hidden Comments"?  Does that mean that someone has made a hidden comment about the ratings I have given.  Doesn't make sense to me???

        --I am confused in Ioway!

        P.S.  Thank you for taking the time to try to answer questions.  I find it very helpful.

        •  Hidden comments happen (none)
          when the average rating of a comment dips below 0.

          For example, let's say Trolly McTroll posts something, er, trollish.  You rate it a 1, and I rate it a 0.  The average for the comment is 0.50.  You can't see it (I'm guessing, the way you describe it, that you haven't earned TU status), but I would see the rating as (0.50/2) next to the comment title, in the same way you might see a (4.00/3) or something (three people rate a comment a 4).

          The hidden comments themselves are generally not worth reading, though sometimes the discussion underneath them is good.  Sadly, that discussion gets hidden with the comments . . .

          blog | These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined. -- Homer Simpson

          by folkbum on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 09:09:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope, not TU status. . . (none)
            mostly I just lurk and read and learn. . . and occasionally comment.

            I must be dense, but what I'm still not getting is why the "Hidden Comments" turn up when I go to carolkay's Page and then click on Ratings and it shows a list of the ratings that I have made with an occasional "Hidden Comment" that I have obviously not made as I don't have TU status???

            --still confused.


            •  I looked at your ratings (none)
              I didn't see any hidden comments there.  There were several where you were the only rater, so there was no number, just empty brackets.  (It takes two ratings for a comment to be "rated.")  May you be confusing those with hidden comments?

              The second question, though, is how you can be responsible for hiding a comment when you're not a TU.  Short answer:  You can't.  Longer answer:  As long as your rating does not raise the average rating of a comment above 0, it stays hidden.

              blog | These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined. -- Homer Simpson

              by folkbum on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 09:33:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I think this is what you mean (none)
              Those are comments that you rated that were later rated low enough by others to become hidden. Since you aren't a trusted user you see the text "hidden comment" but can't click on it and read the comment.

              I hope that clears it up. :D

              Straw Man (homo calami) - when you don't feel like arguing against someone's actual points just assign them new and easier ones to dispute

              by Liberalpalooza on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 10:53:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  [Hidden Comment] (4.00)
          Almost always these are comments that you have rated that nobody else has.  If you click on the title of the comment you rated, and then on the orange (none/1) button you will see your rating.
          •  Really not a big deal, but I have a feeling (none)
            that TUs must get a different display than us ordinary folk, as when I go to my ratings page, for instance, I have 24) and then the title of the comment, and for 25), all it says is {Hidden Comment).
            •  True, but... (4.00)
              All they get is the same Title, Poster, Time Stamp, Rated display you see on all the other ratings instead of the scary [Hidden Comment].

              I see now where I went wrong, you can't do this directly from the 'Ratings' page.  You need to revisit the diary comment that you rated and click on the (none/1) there.

              You can verify this by experiment- pick an ignored post in a dead diary, rate it, go to your 'Ratings' page.  See the [Hidden Comment]?

              The positive proof is a little more timing and judgement oriented.  Lurk the top of the 'Most Recent' list (it's what the refresh button is for).  Find a new diary with one comment (aha- 'Tip Jar').  Zoom in, when you find a virgin 'Tip Jar'- rate it, go to 'Your Page', 'Ratings' tab, look at the [Hidden Comment], and hit refresh until it changes into a normal rating.


              I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Trusted User

              •  Thanks for the suggested methods to verify. (none)
                I'll give them a try later tomorrow. . . or rather, later today. . . and see if I can get my brain to comprehend.

                You know, I think you hit the nail on the head when you identified [Hidden Comment] as scary!  Silly me!

  •  So (4.00)
    if you're not an "old coot", nor a "newbie" (and precisely when does one graduate from newbiedom?) does that make you a "user of a certain age"?

    Someday, the people who know how to use computers will rule over those who don't. And they will have a special name for us: Secretaries. - Dilbert

    by Frankenoid on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 08:02:41 PM PDT

  •  There's a story I've heard... (4.00)
    I'm sure it's apochryphal, but it has a relevant moral so here it is.

    Some primate researchers set up an experiment in a monkey cage.  They put a ladder in the middle of the cage and hung bananas above the ladder.  When one of the monkeys climbed the ladder and took the bananas the researchers hosed down the other monkeys in the cage with cold water.  They did this a number of times and eventually the monkeys would attack any one of them that tried to climb the ladder.

    Then the researchers started replacing monkeys.  New monkeys learned quickly not to climb the ladder as they were beaten by monkeys "in the know".  Eventually all the monkeys that learned about the ladder the hard way were shuttled out of the cage.  The behavior of their replacements, however, was ingrained, even though none of them had ever been doused with water, and thus none of them had any idea why climbing the ladder wasn't a good idea.

    This is where the parable usually ends, with a platitude about the formation of company policies.  Ha ha, status quo is stupid, why don't you think for yourself you bunch of monkeys.

    The problem is that when a young hotshot monkey does buck the status quo in the spirit of individualism and manages to climb the ladder and grab the forbidden bananas the rest of us get sprayed with ice water again, which is why the rule about not climbing the ladder was made in the first place.

    So the moral of the story really is that a lot of rules are there for a good reason.  Sometimes more than one good reason.  They're there to solve problems that were encountered by the first monkeys on the scene.  If you're new, you better make sure you understand the reasons behind the rules before you go around changing the rules, or the rest of us monkeys are going to beat your ass.


    •  first! (4.00)
      the first! thing i thought of reading this is the way community moderation is enforced for "first post fever."  

      it always gives me a kick to see one of those sitting at the top of the thread with a dozen zeros and then somebody asks, "hey, why are you guys troll-rating this comment?"  and nobody has an answer besides "because that's how we do things around here."

      the second thing i think of is those doctors who poo-poo certain things as "old wives' tales."  i've noticed a number of instances where the old wives appear to be smarter than the med-school grads.

      l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

      by zeke L on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 08:55:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  well (4.00)
    all good points, noble sifu, master of the grammar and diary arts.

    However, one of the reasons the number of content-free diaries is so out-of-control is that so many great diarists have left. My "subscibe" page is all-but empty of new posts now. The unpleasant tendency by a pack of powerful users here to berate, taunt and bully people who don't share their views has been ascendent as of late, and many good long-time posters left in disgust. I'm not seeing them being replaced w/ a fresh new crop of interesting and challenging posters.

    The arrogant assumption that certain POV are "reality based" has quieted people who injected great questions. We're left with a weird hybrid of redstate w/ tpm cafe.

    The groupthink of the period leading into the election has only gotten worse, and I miss the great feminist and even voter fraud voices.

  •  thank you folkblum (none)
    good tips, even for an oldster like myself:-)

    aka terrintokyo4dfa

    by Terri on Wed Jul 06, 2005 at 10:16:35 PM PDT

  •  Fascinating stuff! (none)
    I checked out your Open Thread lists but will investigate further. . . tomorrow. . . definitely tomorrow!  I got all wrapped up in this latest DKos controversy and it's getting very, very late.

    Of interest, I noticed a poster in one of the Diaries commented about not understanding why her ratings list had [Hidden Comments]. . . haven't I heard that someplace before????  

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