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dKos FlagWelcome, New Users, to The Daily Kos.  This Diary is intended to help you orient yourself to the site and ask questions about how to use it.

In the Body you will find some links intended to get you participating more effectively.  Also in the Body this week is a discussion of History using The Daily Kos (dKos) interface.

After that you can ask me any question you want.  I don't know all the answers so if you stump me, you do.  I invite those wiser than I to contribute and correct (or raise a ruckus, just don't scare people).

No permission slips needed, join us at the deep end of the pool for adult swim.

Small Mirror Left

Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic mirror, tell me today, have all my friends been good at play?

I can see Howardblaju (#113422) and Matts Mom (#115088), the first and last users to join the weeks of 12/8/06 to 1/4/07, and all of you boys and girls out there in DailyKosland!

Hello Devil.  Welcome to Hell.

Recommended Links-

Frequently Asked Questions

Highlighted FAQ Areas/Rules for polite conversation-

I have written some diaries you may find useful-

Other Useful Diaries-

Here are some other Diaries that address the needs of new users-

Here are some older takes on what the well informed user should know-

Other diaries in the Welcome New Users Series.  The Welcome New Users dKosopedia page.

History

Certain names will live in history and one of them is ErrinF, father (yes, it's a guy) of the Verb my adjective noun, Kos Diary.

What makes it really funny is that what he wants kos to do is nearly impossible.

Fundamentally dKos is an SQL (Structured Query Language) database.  Each diary is linked to potentially thousands of Comments each of which is linked to each other to provide the indented, threaded view that you commonly see.  Selectively taking out a single user's data is technically very difficult.  It was supposedly achieved once by Theoria who used his Admin abilities to remove his own account, but it was a much smaller database then and evidently he was not entirely successful (hat tip to SarahLee).  Today?  Pfft.  I certainly wouldn't want to have to repair the database after removing someone who was even moderately active.

When I discovered the nature of the dKos database I was shocked, shocked to find that Captain Renault had been gambling at Markos' place.  It made me feel all... Naked.

from Naked dKos! w/Poll

Had I known 2 months ago (I joined 4/9/05 and this Diary was originally written in June) what I know now about how exposed to scrutiny one is on dKos, I would probably have refused to join- both on general libertarian principles, and out of fear.

In a nutshell, every Comment and Diary you've ever written and every Rating you've ever given is available to anyone who cares and knows how to look.

C'mon, let's go skinny-dipping in the hot tub.

Your Page

One way of looking at dKos is as your own personal blog hosted by kos out of the goodness of his heart.  To see the world through those rose colored glasses (ó-ò) go to the right most column of the Front Page and the second item in the 'Menu' Section is Your page.  In my case that would be ek hornbeck's page.  They are the same page, for examples I prefer to point at myself.  I used to have some modesty, but not any more.

Another way to enter this fairy cake world is simply to click on anyone's name anywhere it appears.

What you see are your Diaries laid out almost exactly like the dKos Front Page.  There are no ads and your right hand column controls are limited, but it's a close approximation (for more about another close approximation see '&story_view=long' below).  At the top is some information taken from Your Profile which we'll talk about shortly.

At the very top of Your page are some Tabs.

Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Tabs

"Oi...Get your filthy hands off my desert!"
"What 'e say?"

Brezhnev took Afghanistan.
Begin took Beirut.
Galtieri took the Union Jack.
And Maggie, over lunch one day,
Took a cruiser with all hands.
Apparently, to make him give it back

There are 6 Tabs.  Three of them are visible to anybody who cares to look, Diary (You Are Here <—), Comments, and Ratings.  Three of them are not visible to anybody but you, Subscription, Drafts, and My Profile.  As usual we are going to attack the low hanging fruit first.

Subscription

You don't appear to be a subscriber. Why not become one?

DAILY KOS SUBSCRIPTIONS

You can now subscribe to Daily Kos and help maintain the web's top political community. You can subscribe for monthly service ($4), annual service ($40), or a lifetime subscription ($100).

What do subscribers get? To be honest, the benefits list is pretty short:

  • The ability to turn off advertising

I don't want to fall into the trap of having two classes of readers -- those who pay and get the bells and whistles, and those who don't.

But there's always that warm fuzzy sense of satisfaction in knowing that you're helping build something incredible. 100% of your contributions will be reinvested directly back into building and maintaining this site.

That's got to be worth something.

Drafts

Any 'Diary Drafts' you have saved (Posting Diaries).

My Profile

My Profile has 5 sub-buttons, right at the top.  They are Account Info, Comment Prefs, Display Prefs Interface, and Email / Password.  I will discuss all of them in some future Diary, but for now I'll concentrate on the default page- Account Info.

My Profile/Account Info

On Your page at the top is a box that contains some of the information you enter here.  The fields are- Public Email:, Homepage:, Bio:,and Comments Signature:.

Public Email:

  • This is the first entry field, but the second line of the box on Your page.  If you use a straight email address with an @ sign you are vulnerable to being harvested for spam.  Most people replace it with the word 'at', which has the side effect of making it slightly less useful for applications like 'Outlook'.  Some people in a surfeit of caution will also replace the periods with 'dot'.

Homepage:

  • This is the second entry field, but the first line of the box on Your Page.  If you have your own web site this is sure the place to whore it.  Though I belong to other blogs I try to avoid cross pollination, so my web site is...  ek hornbeck's page.

Bio:

  • "Don't expect a map- peel the onion. Writing leaves your soul on the page, look closely. I've been to many places, now I'm here. ek was my first choice, surprised to get it. –182–"  You get about 250?~300? characters to make your first impression.  Hope it's as cryptic as mine is.

Comments Signature:

  • I've never used this, but all the bad old tricks work (within the character limitation), as do all the usual culprits.  If you use it your entry appears at the bottom of every Comment you ever made.  According to jotter I made 6142 last year so I could have done a lot of Google bombing and blog whoring, but I'm just not that shameless.  When you change it, it changes everywhere.

Ratings

All the previous Tabs have been private.  Nobody sees them but you, though they may have public effects.

From here, we start taking our clothes off.  I hope the water's not too warm.

As a New User what you see may puzzle you.

Hey, I remember that Comment!  I thought it was highly intelligent, well reasoned, and beautifully put.  Why does it say [Hidden Comment]?

That simply means you have Recommended a Comment that nobody in all of dKos has Recommended, just exactly as you should.

I'm just a luv machine,
and I don't work for nobody but you.

I'm just a luv machine,
a hugging, kissing fiend.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
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If you really had a Hidden Comment you wouldn't be able to see it.

Those of you with Ek's Ray Vision can look at my record for blots.  There are some.

Sometimes you can detect behavior patterns from closely examining someone's Ratings history.  Who their friends are, what type of Diary they like to read.  Little things.

Comments

Talk to me.  I want to hear the sound of your voice.  What do I really know about you except everything you've ever written.

Not so much foreplay this time.

Your Diaries are right there all naked and heaving before me, beckoning me to dive in, and I do.  On Your page they are arranged most recent to oldest, there is a 'Next/Previous' button at the bottom to move you around.  There are other ways to look at them, but these will do for now.

But I just can't get enough of you.  Show me your Comments.  Look at mine baby.  #52.

But ek, that's just 'Search'

It's a View Engine.

The first thing I want you to do is bump that counter that says Results: up to '50'.  'Search'.  Much better.

Now Bookmark it in your Browser, because we're going to use it again in another Diary for chatting.

I call this 'View' Scoop Search/Name Only because, as you can see, the only thing you need is my name.  Even though it has spaces in it.  You can also call it 'Comments by', that 'by' thing is the signal that it's part of original scoop.

When you look at me like this you see a number, 1) and then the Subject: of my latest Comment.  I tend to chose Well..., Huh., Heh., and Umm... a lot.  Very helpful.  But they're all links so if you click on one you get taken right to the Comment.

Next to that is my Average Rating.  If nobody has Recommended my Comment (which never, ever happens), all you'll see is a lonely [none / 0].  If one persom has Recommended my Comment it will say [none / 1], that second number is the number of people who have Recommended the Comment.

After 2 people or more have Recommended my Comment (and you can never have enough &hearts;) it will say [4.00 / 999999].  Not so much love?  Sigh.

Most Comments go unRecommended or only loved by one.  This is the community norm.  As long as the number on the left is always at 4.00 or none all is good.  If, on the other hand that number is ever less than 4.00, like 3.99, it means that at least one Community Moderator (Trusted User) has found the Comment so objectionable that it should be hidden from the Regular Users (that's you) of the site.

This is called a Troll Rate or a Zero or a Doughnut.  It's called a 'Zero' because that's its numerical value when calculating the Average Rating.

If a Comment's Average Rating drops below 1.00 that Comment is hidden.  While it technically takes only 2 Community Moderators to hide a Comment it makes more sense if you look at the math.

  • Comments with 0 Recommends and 0 Troll Ratings have an Average Rating of none and are visible.
  • Comments with only 1 Recommend or only 1 Troll Rating have an Average Rating of none and are visible.

  • Comments with 2 Recommends and 0 Troll Ratings have an Average Rating of 4.00 == (4 + 4) / 2 and are visible.
  • Comments with 0 Recommends and 2 Troll Ratings have an Average Rating of 0.00 == (0 + 0) / 2 and are hidden.
  • Comments with 1 Recommend and 1 Troll Rating have an Average Rating of 2.00 == (4 + 0) / 2 and are visible.

For more than 2 Ratings your Average Rating works like this-

  • Comments with 1 Recommend and 2 Troll Ratings, (4 + 0 + 0) / 3 == 1.33, visible.
  • Comments with 1 Recommend and 3 Troll Ratings, (4 + 0 + 0 + 0 ) / 4 == 1.00, visible.
  • Comments with 1 Recommend and 4 Troll Ratings, (4 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 ) / 5 == 0.80, hidden.

It takes 4 Zeros to hide a Comment for every single Recommend.

But you won't have to worry about that will you, because you're all good DoBees.

Right?

Average Rating is also a button, if you push it you will see the handles of all the people who have Recommended you.  You will not see the handle of anyone who Troll Rated you, unless you are or become a Trusted User.

Underneath the Average Rating is my handle, ek hornbeck, pushing it takes you to ek hornbeck's page.  Get back to my Comments you rascal.  Next to that is the Time and Date stamp, between Comments very accurate, between Comments and the Diary they come from... not so much.

Finally there's a link to the Diary my Comments are in.  As you can tell, I'm a big fan of The Daily Show / The Cøbert Repørt Spoiler Thread.

And if you keep pushing the Next Page >> button down at the botton you'll go back through all my Comments to the beginning of time...

Wait.  Why'd they stop?  I've been much more obnoxious than that.

Look at the 'Search' parameters again.  That check box that says 'Search Archive'?  Check it.  'Search'.

This 'View' is not all my Comments either, just the ones in the Archive, but just because you don't see any Comments to begin with doesn't mean there aren't any in the Archive unless you check.

So by continuing to push the Next Page >> button now, we can go back, back, back to the begining of time began.  Back, back...

How many pages was that again ek?  123?  Back, back...

What?  I could swear that was 123.

Oh, I forgot to mention, in 2006.  Which brings us to another way to look at Comments, swish-e 'Search'.

Author, author-  'Search' Comments

No I don't know why the total changes like that and you don't see the 50 Comment Results: I asked for, but this is an incredibly useful 'View'.  It gives you a good idea of approximately how many Comments there are in a given time period (some are easier to work with than others) and you can sort it in interesting ways, not just Newest to Oldest.

When you're not being fancy with things like |sid=("2006")| the way you get theya' from hea' is put double quotes "around the object of your desire" and type 'author=' in front of it.  Switch Find: to 'Comments' (Bye bye, 'by'), From: to '3 years' (the beginning of time), Sort by: 'Time', 'Search'.

8292.  That's some obnoxious ek.

Only 13.5 per day.  I can stop any time I want.

In this 'View' you still get that Subject: link, and yours truly of course.  Also Time and Date and Recommends and Troll Ratings (without the math).  You lose that excellent link to the Diary though and you can't click through on your Average Rating.

Another good thing about this display is that by fussing with the URL (that's the scary looking collection of letters and numbers starting with 'http://' near the top of your Browser) you can get closer to the beginning of time much faster than by hitting that Next Page >> button, although that's how you start.

Go up to your URL and poke around until you find the part that says 'offset=0'.  Change it to 'offset=8200' (or whatever) and push 'Go' on your Browser, not 'Search'.  You should be right in the neighborhood.

Of course you can use all the other swish-e Search commands too.  This one floats up my highest rated comment ever, the Vent Hole of Reading and Recommending at 115 Recommends.  This one shows off all my Troll Ratings, both of them.

Other Ways To Look At Your Diary History

If you have a lot of diaries (over 50), the Scoop Search/Name Only 'View' can be somewhat useful, though not so much because it only shows Diaries not in the Archive.  Is that all I've written?  Not hardly!  Search Archive 'ON'!

With the 'Search Archive' box checked it looks like this, again not outstandingly useful except for large numbers of Diaries.

What they are is good starting points for '&story_view=long'.  The way you get there straight from Your page is-

  • Comments Tab
  • Set Results: '50', Find: 'Diary by' (scoop), 'Search'

Now just like we did with the swish-e Comment 'Search' go up to the URL.  Before any piece that looks like '&old_count=' (or '&old_count=', whatever) insert '&story_view=long' and 'Go' in your Browser, if you've been maintaining your hot tub any discharge will quickly disappear.

Ah, that's more like something, Front Page.  If you're going to look in the Archive, set Search Archive 'ON'! before you waste much time typing.  If you like your new vanity mirrors the best thing to do is Bookmark them so you don't have to type all the time.  Romper bomper.

swish-e Diary History

Search: |author="ek hornbeck"|, Find: 'Diaries', Sort by: 'Time', Results: '50', From: '2 years', 'Search'.

Mostly useful for the Sort by: variants- Recommend, Comments, and especially Impact.

User ID

"When I came to dKos God looked in my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I registered."

At one time or another, someone here had this as their sig.  I thought it was very true so I remembered it.  Your UID is simply the order in which you became a member.  kos is 3, Meteor Blades is 6, anything under 2000 or so is within the first day or 2 of switching to scoop and allowing user Diaries, about September~October 2003 meatspace time.  These were the salad days of blogging, much better than anything that passes for talent, impact, relevance, and wit today by gum.  100% signal and no noise.

Dang kids- GET OFF MY LAWN!

My number is the intimidating 49281, indicating I'm about a year and 9 months old.  My meatspace to personal life calculator says a day is like a week, a week is like a month, and a month is like a year so I'm between 7.3 and 21 years old in blog years.  I like my scotch single malt with a side of ice so I can regulate the temperature and strength, and liberate the aroma.

If you want to find out how old you are and started posting as soon as you activated your account, the best bet is to find your first Comment.  Otherwise dmsilev has charted it in a graph that he periodically updates, but the most recent copy of it I can find is this one-

How do I find it at all ek?

The easiest way is simply hover your mouse over anyone's name in a Comment.  The UID will appear in the 'Status Bar', that grey thing at the bottom of your Browser (don't have a grey thing?  'View'/'Status Bar' ON).

You ca-an't find me!
I only write Diaries!

Back under the bridge troll.  If I 'Search' your name and Find: 'Users' I've got you just the same.

That said, you can't always equate low UIDs with experience.  Take for example my brother the activist.  I was so excited by dKos that I went right out and signed him up, gave him his account as a present.  He's never used it except when I Recommended some comments (not mine, but people I knew) to test it for him.  Call me sockpuppet and welcome, I feel no concern from it.  His number is in the 60Ks as I recall and when I can finally persuade him he'll be a New User.  Just like every single one of us was at some point.

Don't.  Bite.  The.  N00bs.

Now for something completely different.

Shawn Hornbeck is not me or any of my relatives, I am more than happy about his safe discovery.

There are other things to talk about.  Let's get started.

Originally posted to The Stars Hollow Gazette on Sat Jan 13, 2007 at 06:28 AM PST.

Poll

Abducted by Eksmas Elves

22%2 votes
11%1 votes
66%6 votes

| 9 votes | Vote | Results

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