What are they?
We are still feeling our way through the new Group facilities, and I am still seeing a lot of confusion about what Groups are, and how they work.
I have no inside knowledge, but here is what I have gleaned so far.
A Group looks, at first sight, just like a separate Blog, with it's own membership and Permissions.
But there is a much simpler way of looking at Groups, which makes their processes easier to understand.
All a Group is, is a List.
It is the same as all the other lists on the site, it has just had a fancy front-end bolted on to it.
The Front Page, for example, is a Group, with members, and Admins, and Contributors, and a Publishing schedule. The main difference is that the Diaries, for that is what they are, are given a different front-end to the other Groups.
So .... What happens when you write for a Group?
Well you write a Daily Kos Diary, in exactly the manner of all the other Diaries. When you Publish it to a Group Queue, it is given a different header line, and placed on a list that is accessible to those with permission.
While it is waiting, nothing happens publicly, it can't be seen by Kossacks, except the Diarist and Blog Admins (and Editors?). At this point it can be read, discussed edited or simply Published.
When a Diary is finally Published to a Group, it goes live on the site ... visible to all.
However, it is still the Diarists Diary ... like any other. It can be Rescued, Rec'd, appear on the Rec. List and the Recently Recc'd List. It also appears on the "list" that is the Group, so it can be viewed in the Group Blog.
Co-operative writing is made possible because of the Group Queue. This allows input from selected others BEFORE a Diary is Published, but it doesn't have to be worked on. It can go to the Queue and be published immediately by any Blog Editor or Admin ... or it can be scheduled.
So ... recap:
A Diary is just a Diary.
Any Diary can be Published directly to the site by the Diarist .... IF you Publish to a Group it adds in aother facilities, and Queues the Diary on that List.
Once Published it is again just YOUR Diary, and gets treated like all the others you write.
I probably missed stuff out here, I just wanted to answer a few basic questions that people seem to have. Hope it helps someone.