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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 Community Diaries 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 zelda253 (#118382) and pyxylyx (#119289), the first and last users to join the weeks of 2/23/07 to 3/8/07, 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.

Community Diaries

This is actually a much deeper subject than it looks, full of pitfalls for the New User, some of which are due to our rather nebulous definitions of "community".

It's a word that get thrown around a lot in various connections, not all of them positive.  That's one of the reasons I published Community Diary Survey, so that I could gauge the temperature of the water.

It's as tepid as it ever gets, but there are big fish that brush against your legs when you get this deep.


I of course like the definition I put forward in Community Diary Survey, "A group of people working together."  There are people who prefer other models for our interaction here, like non-hiearchical multi-node peer to peer transmission of information and societal inputs.

Frankly, from a practical standpoint, I think a more useful metaphor for dKos is High School.

What?  Didn't have a good experience?

My High School was just about the size of the active readersip of dKos, 3541 active Kogs yesterday according to jotter.

Motorheads and Vo-Ags, Bandos, Chorals, Jocks, and Nerds, Druggies and Drunks, Bullies...

A few.

But that's life you know.

When we met in the 'Commons' (that's what we called the Cafeteria), it wasn't even all at once.  Shifts for lunch based on your classes, heck Junior year I scheduled myself out of lunch and lived on SweetTarts in History.  So where do you set down your tray?

Especially if you're the 'new' kid.

There is a school of thought, perfectly justified, that contends dKos is a News site, a Network of Action and Activists, a Fundraising engine, a...


For me, it's a place I come to to be with a group of people where my political beliefs are not considered 'odd', so if they slip out every now and again I don't instantly lose all my credibility.  I think a lot of people feel the same way, which is part of the reason why words like 'centrist' cut so deeply.  I am edgy and dangerous, gosh darn it.

I don't go to pep rallies if they can be avoided, rah rah rah for the orange and black.

Did I mention rah?

My goal is to empower thousands of community activists to ensure a permanent Democratic majority.  I think in that environment my Anarcho-Sydicalist policy proposals have a better change of becoming accepted.  To the extent that we agree that a permanent Democratic majority is desirable we have no disagreement at all.

Let's build a team.  What's meta about that?

I don't even have to like you for you to be part of my team, but it sure helps.  Corporations spend bajillions of bucks on Seminars and Retreats to build team spirit.  Here in  DailyKosland we have the occasional and sometimes semi-regular "Community" Diary, attendence not mandatory.

"Why does 'Garden Blogging' belong on a political site? ", Frankenoid asks.  What a good question!  feelingsickinMN says, "After slogging through diairies on politics all week, it is great to relax with some of the community blogs, feel that there is life out there outside of politics."  emmasnacker says, "The country has descended into the I, at the expense of the Us. We rediscover working together where our interests meet. It is good practice for political activism, based in areas that we take pleasure from. They are platforms, on which we can solidify and springboards from which we can launch ourselves into the political work of the days."

monkeybiz says, "They're more like rubber bands: they give us flexibility in how we see each other, room to expand conversation beyond politics and build connections, and the ability to stick together."  "The same folks tend to show up, but the nature of the diary -- a place to share knowledge and ask questions -- is a standing invitation to lurkers and newcomers to jump right in."  "I can post a "Help!" query and not feel dumb; when the help comes back, as it invariably does, it's always phrased as gentle suggestions."

Subjects cover the personal, the political, and the practical.  claude says, "... it helps keep people who elect Democrats get on with their own lives in some small way, and thus they will (presumably) have more energy towards activism."  blue jersey mom has this to say about politics, "I came to dKOS for the politics after the 2004 election, but the community diaries are one of the things that keep me here."  anotherCt Dem contributes, "these arenas are where we can see and make connections with posters you might have felt nothing in common with, or uncomfortable with, because of political differences. AND, gardening, cooking, lifestyle, etc tips are just plain useful. I read Kossacks complaining from time to time about these sort of diaries not being 'serious' enough - I don't agree."

Me either.

So in this "community", how do we handle disagreements?

"Community diary"

means it's OK not to talk about politics.  :)  In fact, while it's acceptable to talk about politics in passing, I realized a week or two ago (due to falling inadvertently into a Hillary/Obama discussion on WYFP) that it in fact feels rude to engage in substantial political argument in a "community diary."

That, I think, is because community diaries exist mainly for the purpose of getting to know and like each other better, foster connections, and provide minor emergency moral support-- all of which improves our ability to communicate the next time we're in substantial political argument.

I have, for instance, been engaged in a flame war with another user at one moment, then found myself chatting with them in a friendly way on a community diary not long afterward.  I don't feel inclined to go back to the flaming.

Too bad some of our most egregious flamers wouldn't be caught dead in a community diary (or only to say, "why are you bothering with this stupid, pointless community diary that [invokes God/says "fuck in title"/is perennially goofy, etc]?"

by renaissance grrrl on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 08:20:49 AM PST

"Do you think...

personality is important to how persuasive someone's arguments are?

by ek hornbeck on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 08:52:23 AM PST"

Well, it's harder to think of

someone as an unrequited asshole when you know that they cried when their cat died, or they are kind to stray animals, or bend over backwards to be good to their mother.  So yeah, I think the tendency would be to cut them a little more slack...

by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 09:03:45 AM PST

Not that you good 'Do Bees' ever would be disruptive, but how could you tell?

Unless you make basilisk jokes, which should be troll rated into oblivion in my humble opinion, what you will notice is a distinct lack of love.  This is called 'shunning'.  Sometimes it is not effective, as Friend of the court points out, "the main problem with shunning.  If done properly, who knows?"

If you are not sensitive stronger remedies are available.


Everyone's welcome in C&J.  The tradition is to give recommendations generously.  Trolls rarely show up there, and when they do they're either ignored or someone derails them with snark.  Once in a while there is unpleasantness in the form of personal attacks or inappropriate troll-rating, usually because someone has forgotten where they are and decides to behave inappropriately.  We call that 'pissing in the kiddie pool'.


The point of participating in a "Community" Diary is to become part of the "community".  To learn about how others feel and show others how you feel.  To create relationships that will help you advance your agenda.  To practice your communications skills.  To have FUN!

cosmic debris says this, "My involvement on Dkos up until pretty recently has been almost exclusive to a number of the community diary series. I found the 'shark tank' to be kind of intimidating as a new user way back when and discovered Carnacki's Happy Stories and Bill's Cheers and Jeers to be great places to get to know fellow kossacks in an environment of compassion and comedy.

I believe those series allow us to build up a sense of trust and comradeship to then be able to branch out with our voices with more confidence into the broader community.

There is a potential in these series to become too inclusive and exclusive though, leading to the tendency of cliquishness. I think it is important to be sure to not get stuck in them, to be sure to bounce around other areas to avoid the downside of tribalism."

Tribalism is inevitable.  Sorry.  Washington thought the division between the Democratic/Republicans and the Federalists spelled the doom of the Republic.  But the damage can be limited by building relationships and recognizing that we are a "community" of human beings behind our masks, as complex and difficult to herd as cats.

Me Ow.

hono lulu contributes this mcjoan video link the connection and significance of community diaries to political action

BigSkyBlue suggests reading McMillan & Chavis.

Community Diaries

Why would you, as a New User want to post in a "Community" Diary?

To improve your posting skills for one thing.  One thing I do with my computer clients who haven't been exposed to Graphic User Interfaces yet is hook them up with a game so they learn the basic mouse pointing and selecting skills, Window sizing, Drag & Drop, that kind of stuff.  Keeping up with the conversations in a "Community" Diary will help prepare you for fast moving "Issue" Diaries with Comments in the high hundreds.

Another reason is to network.  If you have an issue that you are going to be promoting on dKos you can go into "Community" Diaries and identify people who are also interested in your issue and establish communications with them.

For some people the main reason is simply establish and maintain relationships.  I like to think I have friends, no cyber about it.

For a little more about the 'how' of posting in "Community" Diaries I'll turn to the 'kiddie pool', Cheers and Jeers.

Cheers and Jeers

Cheers and Jeers appears on the Front Page of dKos, right along with kos and the other Front Pagers.  When it does, it's hosted by Bill in Portland Maine.  Other times, like the last week or 2 it is hosted by volunteers (including yours truly) and appears in the 'Recent Diaries' list like everyone else.

It runs Tuesday to Friday at about 7 to 9 am EST.  Every second Friday only the West Coast friendly edition appears at about 6 to 7 pm EST.  On Mondays there is a regular suppemental edition usually hosted by AAbshier at 9 to 10 am EST.

The reason the times are very ish is that Cheers and Jeers is very popular and many people prepare their Comments before hand.  Any Fancy Formatting you can do in a Diary you can do in a Comment and sometimes just the right pootie or puppy pic is the perfect way to spew your morning cuppa across your keyboard and monitor.  The snark level is high.

Typical Cheers and Jeers Comments will take the form-

  • Cheers- Scooter Libby == "Convicted Felon and Adjudicated Liar".
  • Jeers- 682 days.

People often talk about significant events in their personal lives, like birthdays.  I think this is a breach of your pseudonymity, be careful about revealing personal details over the internet.

Wednesday is Humpday, expect lots of innuendo (not just Wednesday, did I say snark level was high?).  Friday is for Rum and Coke.  Hey, dKos is a 24/7 blog and the sun is over the yard arm somewhere.

So you do your Comment.  Mine are mostly news of the weird.  You Preview it until you're reasonably confident it works in another Diary and you wait by the 'Refresh' button for C&J.

And they're off.  It's ok to be 'frist' but not say it.  There's a name for that sort of behavior and it's very dangerous, almost certain to be met with community disapproval.

In a few moments you have about 20 - 30 comments, then kind of a lull as people Read and Recommend, and then a bunch of new Comments as people who actually read the Diary start chiming in and people react to the first set of Comments.  It takes less than half an hour to reach 100 comments (20 minutes today).

Some mornings, it is the only thing to do.  Not enough or too much news and the Diary that attracts you can get few and far between.

Periodically hitting the 'Refresh' button on your Browser will open all the late Comments, as will leaving and re-entering the Diary.

Tuesday's Fill-In Cheers and Jeers (with tips for new users) by klamothe identifies some of the elements of a typical Cheers and Jeers Diary.

Cheers and Jeers doesn't self identify as a "Community" Diary, but I think the people who participate will agree it is the quintessence.

Community Diary Survey List-

Like Cheers and Jeers, Top Comments is eagerly awaited.  It's ish is that the Top Mojo list of most highly Recommended Comments can be tricky to post sometimes.  It is a "community" project by several Authors and Contributors to which any User is welcome to contribute.  You can email your nominations to topcomments (AT) gmail (DOT) com by no later than 9:30PM EST.  Please include your handle, descriptions, links to Diary and Comment, stuff like that.

If you are too late for the deadline you can always contribute in Comments.  People are explicitly encouraged to pimp (others) and whore (their own) Comments and Diaries; and contribute their observations about life, the universe, and everything.

Top Comments is a regular Diary and relies on Diary Recommendations to stay visible.  There is usually less preparation in a Top Comments Comment than showpiece Cheers and Jeers Comments and more reaction to the Diary content, news of the day, and site activity.

Other "Community" Diaries

For all "Community" Diaries the most well received contributions are the ones that are closest to the existing culture of the Diary "community".  I strongly recommend that you read a few Diaries to get a feel for them before you plunge in.  I have included 4 weeks worth of context for most of my links.  Use common sense.  Certain kinds of atheistic expression are ok in Brothers and Sisters, but confrontational expression of any type is not.  Most "Community" Diaries follow that rule or something similar, be a good guest.

Nominated by Author

Nominated by others

  • Teacher's Lounge by rserven (nominated by CSI Bentonville and plf515) at 10 am to noon on Saturdays
  • DIDS (Damn, I Did Something!) by cskendrick (nominated by CSI Bentonville) at  8 pm EST on Tuesdays
  • Feminisms: (nominated by kath25 and CSI Bentonville), at 9:30 to 10 pm EST on Wednesdays

Other Diary Series

The FAQ has a list of several Ongoing Diary Series.  Most of these Diaries do not self identify as "Community" Diaries although almost all of them have a "community" in the sense of a regular readership.  This list is kept fairly up to date, but no one is paid to write for dKos and you don't have to punch a time clock and check in and out.

Welcome New Users is not included, because the last time I updated it, I wasn't sure if there would ever be another Dairy in this series.

I suppose I should fix it.

I'd like to thank some other contributors to the Community Diary Survey, OneCrankyDom, cookiebear, CanadianBill, Elise, shaharazade, Eddie Haskell, dkmich, curmudgiana, CTMET, FlyingToaster, and jetskreemr.

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

Originally posted to The Stars Hollow Gazette on Fri Mar 09, 2007 at 06:15 PM PST.



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