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Hi kossacks. You know me, I'm the French guy who never surrenders his spot on the recommended list. On a day like today, when diaries are flying so thick that one wonders how any diary can be visible long enough to be read, let even to be recommended, let me explain how I do that.

The short version is: libruls (of which, of course, the kossacks and kosmopolitans vanguard) are traitors, America-haters who love all things French and cannot resist the irresistible stuff coming out of my diaries.

The long version is below the fold.

First of all, you need a punchy title. That's the only thing people know about your diary, and you have to make them want to read it. "This is amazing" or "How stupid do they think we are" might work if your content is truly amazing or shocking, but otherwise will annoy people if it isn't. Provide information, make the main point of your diary, and try to be as specific as possible. Be honest about the content of your diary.

The second bit of information is the name of the diarist. Obviously, a recognised name helps, but indifferent diaries by well-known kossacks do not get promoted and great diaries by unknown will make the cut. Some diarists, I will click through in any case to read him/her, which is certainly an advantage to get recommended, but it does not mean it happens all the time. But how do you become a "must-read" diarist? By writing lots of must-read diaries!

So the next bit is the actual content of your diary. Bring out interesting information. Bring out new - really new - information. Use unusual sources. Put things in a different perspective. And put some effort in it. Don't just bring out someone's article or text. Explain why it's relevant, why it's important for the kossack community to absorb that information. Show that you care - write about things that you know and care about, and tell us why you care, and why kossacks, as a progressive community interested in US politics, should care. Provide specialised expertise. Or just write really well to express what we all feel but cannot put words on. In all cases, unless it's a vital bit of information, it's usually helpful to have visibly put some time and energy in the diary.

The next item is to be around to respond to commenters in your diary. Unless you have a good reason to be absent (and it's good form to inform your readers then), it is the right thing to reply to at least some of the comments in the thread, especially direct questions, and to uprate the more thoughful posters. As a bonus, replying to the early comments improves the appearance of "dynamism" of your thread in the diary list (a diary with lots of comments must be interesting).

The last point, and this is where I let the cat out of the bag, is timing. There are better times than others to post diaries. You have about 3 cycles of recommended diaries during any given day: one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the late evening. As you may have noticed, diaries on the reclist tend to stay there for a while because they have more visibility and they attract more new recommends than those in the recent diary list. The only way to beat that is either to have a great diary that will immediately capture a lot of recommends, or to find the time when some of the reclist diaries are getting "tired". It's not necessarily times when there are fewer diaries. More diaries also mean more readers, so that's actually a neutral factor. As jotter has noted in his series, there is no specific time of the day which is better, as the cycles are never the same each day. If you know my diaries, you will have noticed that I usually post my diary of the day in the early morning. That simply started because I had time around lunch (here in Paris) to write and post, but it appears to be a pretty good time as the diaries of the previous day hold a weaker hold on the reclist after the lull of the night. So the world of DailyKos does belong to those that get up early - or that are in a different time zone (but then I miss all the active evening threads). Maybe paradoxically, the higher number of diaries has slowed this cycle in recent days, and you have fewer diaries rotating as those that do make it to the reclist get a lot more recommends and the threshhold to jump in becomes higher. (This diary is a test of my ability to read these new cycles, as well as of your tolerance for meta-diaries...)

Finally, if you want to be recommended and recognised, it"s helpful to also recommend others and acknowledge their work. Do it generously, without any calculation. Recommend what you like, and rate the same. Write compliments - or questions, or additions - to diaries you appreciate.

Et voilà.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:14 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not crossposted on the European Tribune (4.00)
    and in case you worry - I am writing this on Monday over here, so technically, this is tomorrow's diary.

    European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
    in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

    by Jerome a Paris on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:11:19 PM PDT

  •  yep. (none)
    Personally I'd like to see The Recommended List expanded a bit. Maybe to 20 or even 50 entries. As it is, with only 10, there is lots of important stuff on there, but currently also lots of good stuff that gets crowded out--and the regular diary list is scrolling by way too fast.

    Not recommended--no offense Jerome. :)

    Oh, and I know from experience how hard it is to get anything recommended--I don't think any of my diaries have ever made it, although my recent one about the need for a Katrina timeline was probably the closest.

    •  Hah (4.00)
      Not recommended? That's not nice, and definitely not showing good MetaChristian spirit! I am metarighteously offended!

      More seriously, thanks for the regular readership.

      European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
      in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

      by Jerome a Paris on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:17:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Someone asked about that once (none)
      and, if I'm not misremembering, the response was that calculating the Recommended list is very compute-intensive, and any non-trivial expansion would really hammer the servers. It was thus decided that it wasn't worth the cost in overall site responsiveness.


      •  This doesn't surprise me. (none)
        From what I know of Scoop... heh, maybe I should take a look at the code. How hard can it be?[tm]
        •  Hint: the relevant subroutine (none)
          runs from line 483,248 to 488,997.

          Piece of cake, 'specially since it's that straightforward perl syntax.

          (Actually, I suppose there are a pile of files involved)

          Let's get serious about renewables and efficiency. It's time to Win the Oil Endgame.

          by by foot on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 07:38:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Figures... :( (none)
            Now that I've looked, that code isn't open to the public, is it. Ugh. Well anyhow, hopefully someone can rewrite it. I'll ask ct about it later, he doesn't appear to be around atm.

            I will say this, though--hopefully it should be (almost) as straightforward as (a) maintaining a small sorted list, and (b) having a threshold for entry into that list. Of course there are probably concerns with dates and expirations and stability of the list etc. etc., but ultimately I'd hope that it would boil down to those two things.

    •  Ten? (none)
      It's just eight.

      Jotter can say better, but this week I believe we've been topping 700 diaries a day.  Even if 20 diaries share those eight spaces--and that's being generous, given our habits--that means fewer than 3% of written diaries are hitting the list at all.

      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 Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:01:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sturgeon's Law... (none)
        90% of everything is crap... so easily seeing 43% of the good stuff instead of 11% would still be a vast improvement. :)
      •  regardless of how many diaries are written (none)
        the number of good diaries tends to stay the same.  If someone hasn't posited this before we can call it the bitterguy theorem.

        just really tired of all the bullshit.

        by bitterguy on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:38:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Diaries (none)
        But every one of those 700 diaries a day has been essential, no duplications, and all ten of the "DID YOU JUST SEE KAYNE WEST" diaries last night was irreplacable.

        I'm going to be a curmudgeon, and tell folks what will never get my recommendation, but then add a few brief thoughts on good diaries.

        OK, things that I don't recommend, and usually don't even read:

        --"My public leter to..." diaries.  

        --Minute-by-minute updates on what's happening on television, especially when there are multiple examples of the same thing:





        --Unless in jest, as an ironic or whimsical usage, the following words almost always ensure I don't read the diary:
        Freep this

        --Hyperbole never works for me.  Saying something that's not a genocide is a genocide means I'll probably not read your diary, or at least not take it seriously except as a symptom of shoddy thinking.

        --Variations on "X is a pussy" or "X needs to grow balls" or some such crap.


        --Calling out another Kosmopolitan by name/moniker in the title of your diary doesn't earn brownie points either.

        --And GBCW diaries almost never rate a recommendation, although last winter I did recommend to all other readers that they recommend one particularly incredible example of the genre, where the person complained that people didn't like his poetry, so he said screw you to everyone.  It had an incredibly funny comment thread, eventually reaching about 600 comments iirc.  So, you can write a GBCW diary and get my recommendation, but only if you perform a cyber self-immolation, and it's so pathetic that it's funny.  It's a tough act to pull off, and I suggest you not try.

        Now, on a positive note, I concur with Jerome that the title is key.  Have a punchy title, something that will make people want to open your diary.  And then, in that first or second paragraph, you've got to hook 'em like a pike on a lure.  The first (or maybe first two) paragraphs are key.  State your point, or start out with a really compelling story.  It's an investment of time, and if somebody is going to read your diary (over the other 49+ diaries and frontpage posts), you have to convince them it's going to be worth their time.  

        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

        by Dana Houle on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:39:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The conscience of the diaries speaks (none)
    Heed these words, apprentices!

    signed, a grateful reader

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:14:19 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the kind words (4.00)
      The good news is that I only started writing diaries regularly on dKos early this year. It seems far away, but it's only been 8 months. Not so much in real life, is it (even if these particular 8 motnhs have been pretty painful all around).

      European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
      in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

      by Jerome a Paris on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:20:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK, but you left out... (none)
        Have a metacool user name. That Frenchie shit sure seems to work for Jerome. Smart and snarky is pretty good, too. A lot of folks seem to like geographical IDs. But anything that sounds even remotely like a refugee from freeperville is to be avoided at all costs.

        "I love mankind; it's people I can't stand." --Linus/Peanuts

        by homogenius on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:49:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Jerome - I always love your diaries and... (none)

    But you said it yourself.  Diaries are being posted thick and fast over the last several days and some of them are very important (your previous one today, included).  But because of that, there is a one diary per day limit in effect & this is at least diary #2 for you today, dude.

    Just sayin'...

    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." --Thomas Jefferson

    by frisco on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:16:42 PM PDT

  •  Nice (4.00)
    This should be added as an appendix to the FAQ

    Oh when the frogs. . Come marching in. . Oh when the FROGS COME MARCH-ING IN!

    by pontificator on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:16:42 PM PDT

    •  Yes, I couldn't agree more. (none)
      This is a very good primer for writing a diary and it should definitely be in the FAQ. It should also be the example diary on any first time DKos users diary page IMHO.

      Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

      by Alumbrados on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:21:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good advice... (none)
    and nice pic. Reminds me of better days, MUCH better days...
  •  Actually, It's Simpler Than This (none)
    Just write original content or provide original analysis or present data that people have not seen before.  And you'll have a 50% of getting recommended.

    Seriously, there has been only a handful of diaries like this today.

    Most have been "breaking news" or "outrage" diaries.  Which is fine by me, because there has been a lot of breaking news and a lot of need for outrage.  But are these diaries recommendable?  Not really.  Sometimes, but generally no.

    "When you starve the beast, you starve the people. And the bathtub was a reference to New Orleans." -- bink

    by bink on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:19:48 PM PDT

    •  Yes, God Yes (none)
      I just put some random thoughts on diaries upthread attached to Folkbum's comment, but God yes, please write diaries with original content.  If I want a transcript, I'll find it.  If I want to know what's on TV, I'll watch it.  But if you've got some new information, you've done some research, you've got some interesting analysis, or you just took some time and wrote something compelling from your heart, I'm probably going to read it.  But just make it original, please.

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:45:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  aoeu (4.00)
    I never made it onto the hallowed list :(  Oh well.

    Read and recommend (I mean it!): this

    by TealVeal on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:21:47 PM PDT

  •  My best try... (none)
    got eight recommends, hardly enough to even think about the list.  :(  Oh well.  Recommended, for the sheer irony.
  •  btw (none)
    Are we still at one diary per day, or has the "diary cap" been lifted?

    Oh when the frogs. . Come marching in. . Oh when the FROGS COME MARCH-ING IN!

    by pontificator on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:29:05 PM PDT

  •  Hmm... (none)
    Bright.  Shiny.  Meta.  ek like.
  •  Categorization (none)





    Check out all the Catorigized Diaries.  Just click on one of the links on that page.  

    You can make dKos more helpful by contributing to the effort to categorize diaries.  You don't have to be a great writer or researcher - you just have to remember to add the Category Name(s) from the list at the above link in a diary comment.

    When you write a diary, you can add it to the categories you think are appropriate by adding the "Category" entries in your tip jar.

    If you are reading a good diary and there is no category comment, add it!  

    If there is a category comment, but you think that a different or additional categories should be included - then just add a comment and add them.

    This is a community effort to make it easier for everyone to find relevant information a weeek or two later.


  •  The Rec List breakdown (none)
    I would think it goes something like 70-80% of the diaries on the rec list have been written by people who have already had diaries on the rec list, and something like 5% of them are from first-time diarists (people who may never even have commented before...who I think actually help their chances by mentioning that "this is my first diary!").

    In your case, you're like a regular columnist...I've been checking your diary page recommended or not for your oil insights during this crisis.

    I would like it if someone e.g. jotter broke out real numbers for these claims.

    The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

    by peeder on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:49:24 PM PDT

    •  I have it (none)
      See this diary by jotter with all the statistics for the first half of the year.

      European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
      in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

      by Jerome a Paris on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:00:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That diary is fascinating (none)
        especially with its graphical display of "cliquishness", but it doesn't put real numbers to those percentages as far as I can calculate.

        Everyone knows there are regulars or "stars" or whatever you see all the dominant are they of the entire picture here?

        It's not that I'm jealous...I would inspire such envy for my record with LTE's. It's just a more realistic take on the contents of this diary: The majority of recommended diaries come from these regulars. And the only way we address that is to make them front-pagers like we did with C&J.

        The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

        by peeder on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:18:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  peeder (none)
      Did you happen to catch this diary?  I think it may help answer your question about relative contribution of diarists.    

      I can't answer exact question about diaries on the official front page recommende list, because I don't track those.

      I'm convinced that most well known diarists, such as our host on this thread (Hi Jerome!  Great Job!) have earned their position.  In addition, even people who don't make the front page list get quite a bit of exposure, perhaps more than they realize.

      •  Thank you sir (none)
        and another outstanding analysis.

        To finish the story in numbers, the top 10 diarists contribute 10% of impact, the top 200, 50%. It takes 1390 to deliver 90%, and the the last 10 percent comes from over 4300 different users.

        So I would say my number estimates aren't all that far off...50% of the impact comes from 200 regulars.

        Anyway, this is addictive because it's like a video game, and if we all got high scores easily, we wouldn't play.

        The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

        by peeder on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 08:47:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are welcome, glad you like it. (none)
          I wonder if you would call all the 200 on that list regulars though. It was interesting to me to look through the list and see how many names I recognized and didn't recognize. It dropped off pretty steeply after the first 50 or so. So your prediction really depends on how many people you think are on the "regular" list. How about writing down, off the top of your head, all the users you can think of that you would call a regular, and letting us know the number?
  •  What do recommended diaries have in common? (none)
    The diarists posess three things.  The ability to write well, the ability to spend lots of time on this site and a certain level of common sense.  I know that diaries can occasionally hit the big time containing improper grammar and awkward sentences.  Sometimes, a person will get a recommended on their first diary. I know that.  Once in awhile, some idiot will divebomb an FPer or in some other way submit a diary that will offend the readership and will end up on the list to give everyone a chance to take potshots.

    Overall, though, it's good writing, lots of time and the common sense to know how to appeal to the readers.

    For myself, my writing is at least passable, but I don't have enough time to research and write diaries.  The jury is still out on my common sense. :-)

    It is irksome to me, though, to know that I could write a beautiful diary with content that triggered some real positive developement, and it would float down to the bottom of the new diary list without a flutter of interest.  I don't mean to say I've written such a diary, I was speaking more from the point of view of that group of diarists who don't have a must read name.

    What if user name could be hidden from the diary list as an option?  That way you could choose to leave the names off as a viewer, forcing you to at least think about the title for half a second or even click on an unknown diary and spend a few seconds on it.  A confident diarist could choose to hide their name on the list as a sort of quality control check. The name of the diarist would still be available within the diary, but should be at the end -- not right up top.

    I also think that one diary a day is probably more than enough. I know there are prolific writers here who could conceivably have two great time-sensitive diaries on the same day, but couldn't one be an extended comment in an open thread?  Honestly?

    I Am The King Of The Eleven Comment Diary

    by CalbraithRodgers on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:28:01 PM PDT

    •  I Think Good Comments in Lots of Diaries... (none) a sure way to get extra initial interest in one's diaries.  That goes to the time factor you mention.  

      Plus, I think there are some changes going on because of the scaling of the site.  What got a diary recommended when there were 100 diaries a day and 200,000 visits is different a yeah and a half later when there are 700 diaries and 700,000 daily visits.  I think it's harder to "break in" now just because of the sheer number of diaries, and the fact that a smaller number of diarists are recognizable to a smaller percentage of readers.  

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:52:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Never met a meta I didn't like. (none)
    Wait, that's not true.  Once there was this metaphysician.  Ewww.  Metaphysics.  I still can't wrap my mind (or any other part of me) around that.

    I've only written about four or five diaries, but two of them made the recommended list and stayed there all day.  The other two were inconsequential and not meant for wide distribution anyway. I don't count my substitute Cheers and Jeers diary, filling in for Bill in Portland Maine when he was vacationing last winter.  C&J's were always automatic.  Bill's deserved all those recommends every time.  Mine was a poor substitute.  Very, very much fun, though.

    re: your suggestions.  All true.  I diary little, comment a lot -- usually smartass little comments designed to raise a chuckle or a hackle.  But both of my "real" diaries that made the list and stayed there all day started out as comments on subjects about which I knew something and had something real to say (unlike most of my comments).  The first one began as a comment in a media thread and it took several people encouraging me to turn it into a diary.  A week later, and with  more than a little trepidation (afraid of failure?  ridicule? what if they hate me?) I finally did it -- at 8am CT -- and whammo, it hit the top of the list and stayed there for 24 hours or so until the next morning.

    The reaction to the most recent one about levees and such surprised me.  It really was just a late night extended comment at the tail end of someone else's diary that I figured nobody would see, but it just poured out of me.  Then when Hunter rated it a 4 I reread it and decided, what the hell, it's 2am so why not clean it up and post it as a diary?  If people hated it, it would get lost in the flood (sorry) of other New Orleans traffic and I could just blame Hunter anyway.  When I woke up on Wednesday it was recommended up the wazoo with a slew (slough?  sorry again -- I just can't resist puns) of excellent comments by very interesting people.  Even one from you, J a Paris.  I was honored.

    But that one, I think, is an exception to the timing rule.  Maybe I hit the slack time when a lot of the rec list was growing tired and I just got lucky.  I agree with you that overnight/late weeknight diaries have a harder time making the list.  If there is one, 9am ET seems to be the gold time.  

    PS:  jotter is amazing.  Were it not for his lists I would miss half of the great stuff I find here.  Every regular dKos visitor would be well served by subscribing to his "High Impact Diaries" lists.

    The most un-American thing you can say is, "You can't say that." -G. Keillor

    by Eddie Haskell on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 06:29:12 PM PDT

  •  Jerome (4.00)
    Has given everyone good advice. I can only hope that many people take heed.

    As a reward over and above clicking the recommend button, because I know you like to see the data, and because someone else asked for these, here are the number of diaries and highly recommend diaries (nrec>=30) in the past week. Only Thursday and Friday were in the "outrageous I've never seen the like before" category. The failure of the number of highly recommended diaries to scale with the total number of diaries is telling us something - we just have to figure out what.

    day	n   nrec
    Sat/Sun 411 40
    Mon	237 23
    Tue	353 21
    Wed	444 24
    Thu	718 29
    Fri	708 25

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