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We are so glad you have found us.  If you read David Brooks's Op/Ed piece this morning and came here to find out what all of the fuss was about, then you have more in common with us than you might think.  As NY Times and Newsweek readers, you are intelligent, curious about the world and like to keep up with current events. I've taken it upon myself to welcome you to DailyKos, introduce you to our site and purpose and give you a quick tour of the how this place works.  

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Introduction- who we are and why we are here
DailyKos is a dialogue about the State of the Nation, as it says in its title.  The primary purpose of the site is to restore balance to government.  We see evidence that two, and possibly three, branches of government are currently in the hands of a radical group of individuals who operate under the mantle of the Republican party.  Our goal this year is to get Democrats elected to Congress in order to check and balance the Executive branch.  

We do not march in lock step.  In fact. you will find conservatives, libertarians and recovering Republicans as well as Democrats of all descriptions here at DailyKos.  We are united because we love our country very much and we are willing to put our individual ideologies aside in order to save it.  

Who is Markos?
Markos, or Kos, is Markos Moulitsas, the founder of this site.  He put together this community sometime in 2002 or 2003.  (I wasn't here at the time so the details are sketchy to me)  The power of the community is quite the opposite of what David Brooks would have you believe.  This site is egalitarian.  The people who post here have as much chance to be heard as Markos does.  Kos is the primary Frontpager at the present time but his views are no more relevent than any other poster.  It is the community that decides what is important and promotes certain stories and diaries.  As for Markos, he is a visionary and our cheerleader but not our Messiah.  He believes in "Crashing the Gate".  As I understand it, this means that if you don't like the way things are going, you have the responsibility to do something about it.  You shouldn't wait around for a leader to guide you out of the wilderness.  This principle was exemplified beautifully recently when we held our first convention in Las Vegas.  Gina Cooper, a high school teacher from Tennessee, became an event planner.  She thought it would be cool to have a convention so she got some volunteers together and did it.  She didn't wait around for Markos to tell her to do it.  It was her first event and she did a spectacular job.    

Markos makes his living off of this site.  He sells advertising to pay for the servers that handle millions of page hits and he pays for his administrators to help keep this site healthy.  We do not object to this.  Many of us who understand the IT side of this site have an appreciation for how much effort and money it takes to keep things running.  The man and his family have to eat.  If he is making a profit, well, you'd think that he has the kind of entrpreneurial spirit that Wall Street would embrace, right?   So, we like Markos, appreciate what he has put together for us but we don't worship him.

How DailyKos works
Ok, this is where you come in.  You will notice that this site is broken into sections, sort of like a newspaper.  But this newspaper is one that YOU put together.

The main section is the FrontPage.  As I said before, Markos is the primary FrontPage blogger at the moment but there are others.  Right now, our other FrontPagers are DarkSyde, SusanG, mcjoan and Georgia10.  (Correct me if I've forgotten anyone. We have regulars too like AlRogers and BillinPortlandME who have regular features)  Each one of the FrontPagers has a different perspective and writing style.  For example, DarkSyde is a science blogger.  He comes from a conservative background, believe it or not.  Markos writes about various congressional races around the country as well as the zeitgeist of the country this year.  Georgia10 is just a baby (and a wise one at that) who recently took the bar exam.  She writes about things legal.  

Once a year, Kos asks for nominees for new FrontPagers.  The nominees usually come from people who write great diaries that get recommended.  The Recommended Diary list, in the panel to your right, is a list of diaries that other members of this site find interesting, compelling or particularly well written.  The Recommended list can host diaries on every conceivable topic from corruption to garden blogging.  We all have a voice at this site and we can use it by recommending a diary to be promoted from the Recent Diaries list to the Recommend list.  

Any registered user can post a Recent Diary. There is no restriction on the topic.  There is a limit of one diary per person per day.  We are growing rapidly and there has to be some kind of control on these things.  If your diary gets enough recommends, it gets promoted.  If not, it stays on the recent diary list but slowly slides to the bottom and then disappears to be replaced by other people trying to be heard.  If you like a Recent Diary, you can recommend it and it may eventually show up on the Recommended list if other users agree.

If you find a particular diary compelling, you have an opportunity to comment on it.  You can agree or disagree with the diarist's opinion.  We actually like to argue so there is no reason to hold back if you don't agree.  All we ask is that your disagreements are backed up with a well reasoned argument.  If you think we are all a bunch of crazy liberals (well, you would be wrong), it is OK to say so but you must support your argument.  If you think we are all a bunch of crazy liberals and you don't want to talk about it but just want to rant at us, then you will most likely find yourself called a "troll".  A troll is a person who likes to disrupt a thread with incendiary and non-productive comments.  There are Trusted Users on this site who will rate trollish comments and these comments will disappear.  So, to recap, disagreement, good; mean spirited comments, bad.  

Trusted users are really no different than other users except they get to troll rate comments and can read the comments that get troll rated.  There aren't very many TUs on DailyKos.  In a way, that's a tribute to the way things have evolved around here.  Not many people need to be troll rated.  To become a Trusted User, you accumulate mojo.   Mojo is good ratings on your own comments.  So, if you say something that the community likes, you get rewarded for it.  The community is diverse and some people will love what you say.  Others will ignore it.  But gradually, we all start working towards some kind of consensus.  That consensus at DailyKos seems to be that we are for social justice, fiscal responsibility, a healthy planet, privacy and peace.  If that makes me a crazy blogger, call me crazy.  
By the way, I don't represent every user on this site.  The others will no doubt correct me on some point or another.  This is not a bad thing.  We have to be willing to accept constructive criticism and refine our thoughts so that we say what we mean and mean what we say.  It's a learning experience.  Jump in at any time.    
Welcome.     PS. A number of users have referred to the FAQ page. Check it out to see how you can become a registered user and the few rules we have.

Originally posted to goldberry on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 06:12 AM PDT.

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