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I am going to speak for the Daily Kos community here.  Let me go through the common misperceptions that people have.

1.  I begin by saying that I don't speak for the Daily Kos community here.  This is rule 1.  Am I on the payroll?  No.  If I post a diary that argues that 2 + 2 = 7, that does not mean that Daily Kos is a community of intellectually challenged idiots who can't do kindergarten math.  It simply means that the person writing the diary that 2 + 2 = 7 is an intellectually challenged idiot who can't do kindergarten math.

2. In fact I don't speak for anybody else in the Daily Kos community. I speak for me and me only.  When I post something brilliant, I speak for me.  When I post something stupid, I speak for me.  And the same goes for EVERY other person here.  So when you see a news outlet or news personality who takes a diary here and there or a comment here and there and purports that to be representative of this entire site, you know such a person is either peddling propaganda or is completely clueless.

If you understand these two concepts above, then you have mastered the rudimentary concept of Daily Kos.  But there's much more.

3.  Diaries can be recommended or not recommended.  Each person with an active account here can post one diary a day.  Each diary written speaks ONLY for the diarist at first.  So if a diarist writes a disgusting diary, that diary only speaks for me if I recommend it.  And that recommend could have qualifiers to it.  For example I recently recommended a diary I only agreed with in part because I thought the topic merited further discussion and I clarified such in the comments section.  If I do not recommend a diary, that diary does not speak for me.  However it's possible I would like it but never read it.  So when somebody posts a bonehead diary, then simply say that the diary speaks for the diarist and list the names of the recommenders.  Oh, and as a side note, no concern trolling about diary writing based on what you think Fox News will say about it.

4.  Comments can be recommended, ignored, or hidden.  The same concept in number 3 applies here.  If I write a comment that says, "Bill O'Reilly has falafel problems" such a comment is only approved by those who press that recommended button.  So if 3 people recommend that comment, then the argument is that this comment speaks for four people on Daily Kos, not 165,000.  If somebody feels this comment crosses a line, it is a strong way of saying that this comment is out of bounds.  But most comments will get ignored, mostly because only a small percentage of people read it.  And the standard for recommending a comment is far less than that of a diary.  Which brings us to five.

5. The Daily Kos community is made up of many subcommunities.  Yes this is not a monolithic group.  Daily Kos covers hundreds of topics in a day.  Some topics just don't interest me and I never read diaries on them.  Likewise, the topics I write about don't interest everybody either.  In fact, they don't interest most people.  So attempts to label us as one size fits all don't work.  People pick and choose what they want and don't want.

6.  You can't fully pin down the politics of Daily Kos.  The corporate media of course will attempt to label this site as out of the mainstream, too far left, etc... but they are afraid of people like us who often report the news that they censor in the back of their newsrooms.  Nevertheless, the politics of this site range from all over the place from left to right.  In fact, if Daily Kos existed in North Korea, the diaries written on this site would be considered right wing.

7. Daily Kos is like an online newspaper. If I buy a newspaper and Ann Coulter has an editorial in it, does that mean I agree with Ann Coulter?  Of course not.  Daily Kos has the equivalent of the sports, the weather, the comics, the news, the opinions, local news, national news, and a whole host of other things.  People read whatever they want to read.  Do you know a single person who reads every word of a large city newspaper?  I don't.

8.  Daily Kos allows the cream to rise to the top.  If you buy the Washington Post, you are stuck with David Broder and other hacks who could never make it on their own in the marketplace of ideas.  Imagine 1000 editorials being submitted to the Washington Post everyday and the readers, and readers only, getting to select which 5 appear on its editorial pages.  Would David Broder's vituperative and dishonest scribes ever see the light of day?  Of course not.  Here at Daily Kos, the better written diaries, compelling stories, original journalism, actual breaking news, or topics of interests tend to get more attention.  Is it perfect?  No.  With all the quirks in the system, many deserving diaries don't get the attention they deserve while other diaries get too much attention.  (In my opinion I've had diaries in both categories.)  But these things tend to work themselves out.

9.  Daily Kos is like an actual town square. Herein lies the genius in my view of this site.  While the village idiot and the nuttiest of nutcases eventually get kicked out, and a few people who shouldn't get kicked out but do also get sent packing while a couple of people remain who shouldn't, by and large, almost everybody can have a place here.  That means we tolerate people we don't like, have personality quibbles, and a few catfights here and there.  People find their niches, their comfort zones, and their roles.  

Oh and if you disagree with this diary or think it is poorly written, don't recommend it.  

Originally posted to davefromqueens on Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 05:11 AM PDT.

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