The first thing I'll say here is that lately - and every time we get near an election - this site gets all clogged up with total crap from people who AREN'T part of the community. They just show up when they think we can be useful for furthering their own cause. And part of what we are for is furthering progressive politics, but those of us in the community miss our community in times like these.
But beyond that, I'll say that those of us who ARE in the community do a lot more than just posting the occasional diary or comment. In fact, you can be a part of the community and never post a diary at all. And if you DO post diaries all the time, that doesn't necessarily make you a part of the community. We're not here to serve as free PR, advertising, and donations for those who seek that.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating: DailyKos is my family. When my life hit rock bottom, you guys were there for me. When I had to go to Ann Arbor to see a migraine specialist and potentially stay in the hospital for the first time since I was a newborn baby, about 16 or so Michigan Kossacks made my visit much less stressful and much more pleasant.
Sometimes people tease me a bit for the number of cities in which I've met up with Kossacks. Okay, there's a lot of truth there. I've attended/organized Kossack meetups in Madison, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Las Vegas, Tempe, San Francisco, LA, Dallas, Portland, Austin, and San Diego.
Part of the reason is that I travel a lot for work. Part of the reason is that I moved across the country a year ago. But most of the reason is that I am much more interested in befriending Kossacks and working together with them to build a progressive infrastructure than I am in meeting any other type of people.
There's a political aspect to being a part of this community, involving writing and reading diaries, commenting, reccing, or lurking, contributing to charities and campaigns if you can afford it, signing petitions, and obsessively following the news, etc. But there's also the social aspect. That's what really defines us a community.
I can also honestly say that I've learned more from the community here than from probably anywhere else or anyone else over the past three or so years. I'm a pretty bad diary-reader since I'm often either not online or suffering from a migraine (or both) but I'm a great comment reader when I post a diary.
I read every comment because I know that those who read the diaries typically can provide insights to those who write the diaries. And I know that my diaries aren't about me. They are about us. The diary is just the conversation-starter. Then you get to have the conversation. That's the real fun.
One more thing I've realized over the years is that I'd better make darn sure my diaries are worth reading if I am going to take up space on the Recent Diaries list with them and thus push someone else off the bottom of the page.
I've been lucky and I've had more than my share of recommended diaries. I try to stay cognizant that all of us here share those 8 spots on the recommended list and I try to make my diaries worthwhile if there's a chance they might take up one of the eight spots. And I try to pick and choose which diaries I pimp around. As much as I enjoy getting a diary up there, I also enjoy seeing talented newcomers get their diaries on the rec'd list.
Maybe you're reading this thinking that I'm a big diary whore (although I hope that's not the case) but I can promise you that at the very least, I try to use my judgment. I'd like to be a team player and support others in our community as they write about their pet issues and help us all move progressive causes forward.
If anyone's wondering why the community might be a bit pissed off at them, well, there's my two cents. Yes, we are a community, but if you want us to accept you as part of are community, you need to be supportive to the rest of us as we are to you.