Where the unspoken rule was that no rabbit was to mention that any one of them can be suddenly, inexplicably disappeared.
First there was Kos. He owns this site and has truly magical powers. So do his programmers and a few (very few) other people. Don't ever doubt that at least one System Administrator watches over you at all times. Of course so does the NSA and Karl Rove, be careful what you say.
Then there is everybody else.
At the 'Animal Farm' it is true that some are more equal than others. Let's talk about Regular Users first.
As just a plain old RU what can I do? I can make comments, diary (once a day), rate, and recommend. Oh, and I can read stuff too. Lots of stuff (see Speed Reading dKos).
For ratings you have 4 choices-
As an RU, your 'Unproductive' will not be hidden, better be prepared to defend it.
If you are very new, you might go to your page's ratings tab and say "Gasp. What are all these '[Hidden Comments]'? (shudder) Damn, I thought that guy was spot on."
Still, as a Regular User there are ratings you can't see. If you can see your comment, you can see how many zeros you have, but not who. If you can't see your comment, well there you go.
If you are a careful and attentive reader of controversial threads you may notice comments appear and disappear and reappear again. Your own comments may disappear, even highly rated ones. What's up with that?
I call this phenomena 'flicker'.
Trusted Users and 0
Certain 'super powerful' users like me, with my intimidating uid of 49281, after months of posting, rating, and recommending, get to 'dole the trolls'. These are 0 ratings and they behave a little differently.
It takes 2 ratings to generate an average rating. Comments with an average rating less than 1 are hidden. I want to make this very clear. It takes at least 2 users, one of them a Trusted User, to hide a comment. Do the math, (1+0)/2=0.50.
What does being hidden mean? That means that Regular Users (including you) can't see either the comment itself or any of the replies, but the comment is not yet gone. TUs can still see them, both when they read a diary and in a special list called 'Hidden Comments'.
It is one thing to dole, for which there are specific guidelines; but each TU is also supposed to police the ratings of their fellow TUs by uprating comments unjustly trolled.
Trusted Users may disagree about the utility of a post. When I assign myself to 'Hidden Comment' patrol, those are the cases I look for, the ones flickering at the edge of visibility. Personally I'm looking to uprate, not pile on.
As a comment passes in and out of the flicker zone, so too do all it's replies. And if your very best piece of snark with 40 4s flickers in and out of your Comments Tab, do not despair- mojo isn't hidden (well, you can't see the names anymore because you can't see the comment). On the other hand I do hope you composed offline and saved your draft. We all do that, don't we?
"I'll troll rate you out of existence!"
Laugh. Out. Loud.
If I am a Regular User there is not much you can do to me. You can hide my comment, but if it took longer than 15 minutes to compose I have a backup. You can delay me on the path to Trusted User status (now that I am, I can see that the only impediment was my laziness). You are of course invisible because I can't see your handle, but I'll know what happened if I'm paying attention.
Don't get me wrong, persistent bad behavior can attract the attention of those with magical powers.
As a TU I have somewhat more at stake, my status is dependent on good behavior and a certain level of activity. I might become comfortable with the ability to judge others and resent losing it. Pffft.
"But what about the disappearing diaries?"
There are few things I take more seriously here than people's ability to diary. It is your chance to take a blank page and express yourself.
More than that, you can do so with very little exposure. For the most part no one can delete your diary but you.
Which is not to say there aren't rules-
- 1 Diary a Day
- No Duplicate Diaries
Last time I checked the 1 Diary a Day limit was software enforced. You simply can't post another Diary until the time limit has expired.
Duplicate Diaries are enforced by the Diary Police and you don't even have to be a TU to join. As a group they've gotten much less obnoxious over the last month or so, politely saying "So and so [link here] diaried this a little more than an hour ago, perhaps you'd like to read it.", rather than "THIS IS A DUPLICATE DIARY. DELETE IT." A responsible diarist always checks at least the last 50 for duplicates.
Most diaries that disappear do so because the diarist does it themselves, either in response to criticism or because they realize it's a duplicate. Another common cause is that someone has been exposed as a troll or has decided for some other reason to never post again and is cleaning out their diary box (ps. your comments are forever).
Well, Kos could kick the plug on the servers. That's about as magical as it gets.
I have seen diaries deleted, comments vanish, users banished, and other wonderful (hmm... I wonder) things happen.
There is no denying a small group of what I call 'System Administrators' watches over dKos all the time. If you are persistently bad, I have no doubt they can make bad things happen to you. I also have no doubt that they have excellent tools to examine your behavior and that they use them. I recall Kos saying at one time or another that although he accepts recommendations, nobody closes an account but him. Wish I could find the reference. And you can always ask for reconsideration.
Lots of people leave every day for very ordinary reasons. Life is change. I've found a new shiny object. I disagree- strongly. Most simply abandon their accounts, which is why the 70K+ number is deceptive; you get a better read using jotter's diaries.
I suspect that most that do get cut are previous trolls who have reregistered.
After all, if I were willing to abandon my carefully honed and polished ek character I could always roll the dice again.
Or could I? I like to think my style would give me away.
To rouse the people's slumbering ire, and teach the tyrant's heart to feel."