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DailyKos: Building Democracy One Thread at a Time

This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog. One that recognizes that Democrats run from left to right on the ideological spectrum, and yet we're all still in this fight together.

In your begining...
The FAQ is very helpful for new users with tips on html coding for Daily Kos and important copyright standards. Do not begin posting until you have read the entire FAQ.
This is the official biography of Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga and the begining of Daily Kos.
This is where you can search for comments or diaries by a specific user, but it can take a long time. It's quicker to learn how to travel along the tags and how to use your hotlist.
I consider the hotlist to be the most important feature at Daily Kos and you can access it by clicking here.
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Only recommened diaries that you have read completely and would like other Kossacks to read.
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So the site's search sucks. We know it. The current search wasn't designed to handle 8 gazillion diaries. And categories suck as well (for a ton of reasons I won't get into). I've resisted adding them to diaries, and recently got rid of them on the frontpage stuff as well.

So how do we find the stuff we're looking for? Well, given the growth of tagging, it seems like a great way to go. We've got some ideas on how to make it work on the site. Those of you with experience tagging, feel free to offer ideas or suggestions.

If you don't know what tagging is, don't sweat it. I'd rather hear from those who HAVE used it and have opinions about it -- the good and bad. Any good developer resources would also be appreciated. Thanks.

Kos suggests these codes for election blogging (the primary purpose of this site):

For election blogging, add the year, state and office. So the Colorado governor's race in 2006 is tagged: "2006, governor, Colorado". Also add the dKos-style abbreviation of the race (two digit state abbreviation and race). So a governor's race would be "CA-Gov", a Senate race "CA-Sen", and a congressional race would be "CA-06".

When tagging we need to keep in mind the tag-sort (located in the Recent Diary box), and results from search-engines such as Google or Yahoo.  As of this time, if you search for "CA-06" Daily Kos does come up on the first results page of Google, which should always be the goal.  And who knows, maybe with a few more clicks and diaries with the "CA-06" tag Daily Kos can be the first result. It is important to include the full name of individuals, and use singular instead of plural forms of subjects such as soldier as opposed to soldiers, gay instead of gays etc.

Encouraging contributors

It's nice when someone cares enough to tag to your diary. There should be no need to add insulting tags to another's diary unless they're asking for it.  Someone tagged one of my diaries with "incoherent," just because you don't understand what the diarist is aiming for doesn't mean you have the right to imply their writing is incoherent or not wanted on Daily Kos.

I also think it's important to tag any front page story if there are factual inaccuracies so they can be changed immediately. This goes for diaries as well. I think for diaries (not the front page) it is also appropriate to tag with spelling/grammar suggestions so that the diaries can fix them then delete the tags (it would keep the comments free of clutter) as in this example.

This is how the front page will work for 2006:

These two posts, here and here, explain the criteria for selecting the 2006 edition of the site irregulary. There's no need to repeat myself. So without further ado, here they are:


Congrats to these guys! 2006 will be the best vintage yet. (How's that for piling on the pressure?)

Note, McJoan and DarkSyde will be on a sort of "delayed entry program" since they have other commitments to wrap up. Hence, Plutonium Page's term will be extended into next year (she started late anyway). Armando will still post whenever he wants on Alito, especially as that battle heats up.

 And the "bloggers emeritus" can still post during open posting times when inspiration strikes: Armando, Plutonium Page (when her term expires), DavidNYC, Hunter, DHinMI, Meteor Blades, Trapper John, and DemFromCT. These guys ain't going anywhere.

Community-coined terms

This site is large enough to accommodate both official election tags, issues, races, AND some creativity. George W. Bush, energy, and IL-14 are all great examples of tagging and everyone should use them when appropriate, but always keep Kos's advice in mind to:

Stop with the "cutesy" tags. This is a tool to help organize content, not show how clever you are with keywords like "HUNTERRIFIC" to express how great Hunter's diary was.

If you think Hunter's diaries are terrific then say so in a comment.  Now let's say after Dick Cheney and Antonin Scalia's hunting trip, Dick Cheney was quoted as saying the trip was "terrific", then maybe "HUNTERRIFIC" would be an effective tag for diaries and stories on the subject.  It would help us differentiate between all the other diaries and stories on Dick Cheney. Do not add your creative tags to the front page: if the person is on the front page they probably have their own creative tags to organize stories on the subject already (e.g. Culture of Corruption). If you want a tag to catch on, or organize information on a subject please begin by adding them to the diaries and not the front page. In your diaries place any creative tags first followed by the more "official" tags suggested by Kos. It will help trusted users know whether someone has been adding unnecessary and arbitrary tags to your diary.

Here are some more tag suggestions:

bill tagging: Senate bills should be tagged like so: S 2110 and House bills HR 1606.

contracts: I add this to diaries related to Dick Cheney, Halliburton, Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff, Hurricane Katrina, and Iraq.

King George: George W. Bush was never fairly elected, has abused his powers as Commander and Chief by taking us into an unnecessary war, and untold amounts of unwarranted spying.

quagmire: This is added to stories about Iraq, Iran, and our atrocious involvement there.

Increasing Daily Kos traffic

For those of us who carry on political discussion at other sites that allow html coding, being able to link to a dynamic, yet simple, link like King George, is a great way to bring traffic to Daily Kos and influence public opinion.

For the sake of history, this is how commenting once worked on DailyKos:
Daily Kos commenting and your Mojo

From the FAQ:

Many users believe that the rating system is indented to be an opportunity to express agreement or disagreement with a post, or with the poster themselves. This is not accurate; ratings are intended to help elevate those posters that consistently make clear, good arguments and points, regardless of content, and to prevent trolls from invading the message board. Downrating commenters on the basis of agreement or disagreement with their arguments leads to a monolithic forum, free of new ideas and input.

So, please don't downrate comments just because you disagree with them!

The Democratic blogosphere can be its own worse enemy when we sacrifice progress wasting time arguing over semantics. This site was created to encourage frank Democratic discussion, which is harder to do when the comments are full of fighting over whether George W. Bush is a fascist or not. For more on community norms please read pastordan's diary and I can't believe this needs to be said.

Kos has more on commenting:

This site uses a system called "Mojo" to try to keep the comments as high-quality as possible. All users can rate all comments, except their own, between 1 and 4. When your comments are rated by others, those ratings are combined into a weighted average -- newer comments count more than older ones -- called your "Mojo". This, roughly, represents the rating we could expect your next comment to receive based on your past comments. Users who have a mojo greater than a certain minimum and who have posted a sufficient number of comments are considered "trusted" users, and have the added capability to rate comments below the normal minimum rating (in other words, their rating scale is 0-4, rather than 1-4.) If enough of a user's comments are rated below 1, that user becomes "untrusted", which means that respected members of the community have repeatedly indicated that the user's input is offensive, content-free, or merely intended to annoy others.
Mojo Ratings
  • No rating:   I'd say at least half of the comments here don't even get rated. Most often the farther down a thread a comment the less likely it is to get rated or even read. Comments are often left unrated if the comment is not particularly insightful but neither is it offensive.

  • 0:troll: If a comment is troll rated it is likely to disappear and only be visible to trusted users. Anything xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, anti-troop, or derogatory to fellow Kossacks is trollish. If a comment's Mojo averages below 1 it becomes hidden.

  • 1:unproductive: Anyone promoting commercial interests for personal gain will be rated as unproductive: unless you're advertising for emergency aid or a not-for-profit cause you're wasting your time, please purchase a blogad. Insulting comments about Democratic public officials with no proof will also be rated as unproductive.

  • 2:marginal: Marginal ratings are a warning that your comments are either pointless, off-topic, or mildly offensive (remember the Golden Rule).

  • 3:good:  I rate comments I agree with, but are they really worth the server space on Daily Kos?  For example, we all know how great georgia10 is: that's why she's going to be on the front page for a year.

  • 4:excellent: There is a beauty in expressing and sourcing the simple truth that is called "hyper-minimalism." Hyper-minimalism is thoughtful, insightful, on-topic, and uses html when appropriate. The content on Daily Kos tends to be of such quality that comments receive excellent ratings more than the possible ratings combined.
Tip Jars

A tip jar is the first comment in a diary by the author, it is appropriate to rate that comment as you would their diary.  It's traditional to put the date and include text that continues the theme of the diary itself. If enough users rate your comments as excellent you become a "trusted user." The only difference between trusted users and others is that they can troll rate, view hidden comments, and edit anyone's tags: it's really just more work, so don't worry if you're not one. If on the other hand, your comments are rated unproductive and trollish your diaries' tags and comments will fill up with appropriate insults, cooking recipes, and you will be banned.

Daily Kos is a community of reciprocity: i.e. a silly diary requires an even sillier comment.  Just try to react, most importantly by being yourself (how else can you differentiate yourself from the millions that roam the internet?). And remember to always keep the freepers guessing: it's what makes Daily Kos a lean, mean, fascist-fighting-machine.

Originally posted to theleftknew on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:46 PM PST.

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More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

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