It's been a couple of weeks and we are settling into our new digs. The re-arranging of the furniture continues a-pace, and the creepy crawlies are gradually being eradicated. Terminex, brought to you courtesy of elfling, ct et al.
Site layout continues to draw comment especially with relation to the Front Page. I have seen suggestions that not enough content is visible in most browsers when the page opens. Whether or not the Title of the top article appears depends a bit on the Community Spotlight box, which re-sizes to accommodate varying Diary Title lengths.
I have also seen the suggestion made that the Community Spotlight box be moved ... Afghanistan might be a good place to put it. Comments that it be moved are, I think, misplaced, and I want to express a view as to why.
In the beginning (catchy start), we had the Rescue Rangers. Actually, we didn't have them in the beginning, they came along later.
They were formed to satisfy a legitimate complaint about older versions of the site. That complaint being that it was very hard for new Diarists to have their work "brought from the gloom to the sunlight".
The Rescue Rangers had but one job. To select, for a FP Diary, ten other Diaries that had been missed by us, the general viewing audience. Those Diaries should have few recommends and comments and, above all else, be well written.
The result was a Diary series that is probably one of the most popular recurring Series on DK3. Rightly so, you were being singled out as having written a very good Diary. The "rescued" Tag was, and is, highly prized by those who have it attached to their Diaries.
To the Diarists concerned it was very welcome exposure, and I well remember my feelings the very first time a Diary of mine was singled out that way.
Moving on to the transition to DK4.
This move brought forth many complaints of "Balkanization". If you didn't have a shedload of Followers, and couldn't get into the Streams of the regular visitors, how on earth could your Diary ever get noticed? I mean, how do I pit my 73 Followers (thanks guys) against Keith Olbermann's 2600? In addition, the Recent Diary List has been hidden in the basement (it hasn't), so my normal place to see all Diaries, and cruise for good stuff, is gone. There is some legitimacy for some of this, but my personal experience is that it's minor.
Notwithstanding the above, the transition has provided not just problems, but new opportunities, one of which is the Community Spotlight.
No longer is it a single Diary posted after the East Coast is sipping cocoa and reading their Kindles in bed (you do have a Dkos subscription on that thing, yes?). Now it is a roving band like Robin Hood's Merry Men. Not robbing from anyone, but stooping to offer a welcome hand of friendship and help to that wonderful Diary being swamped in a deluge of output from Kossacks apparently grateful for their own, new found opportunities.
Hourly, or more, new Diaries, and new as well as not so new, Diarists are having their work exposed to the baleful glare of Kossacks the world over. We are not "missing" these contributions, we are, apparently, embracing them with arms wide open.
I can only speak to my own experience. I have seen the Diaries of others go from Rescued to Recommended, I have even changed the Tags on a couple, but I want to describe what has happened to just four of my Diaries in the last couple of weeks.
The English Disease Posted on Feb 15th was stuck on maybe 20 comments and a handful of Recs. Was rescued and now carries "Rescued", "Recommended" and "R to R" Tags. Comments went to over 80
Sweet South Carolina A Diary I am quite pleased with. It is up to the standard I like, but missed out on the rescue, and that's just fine. Went 26 comments and a handful of Recs. Those who read it, liked it and it was shared 7 times. As a Diary it is just as good as the first, in my view.
Mrs Twigg Hates Markos This is an interesting one. Written in my normal style it generated a great thread of 57 comments, and 35 Recommends. Just missed the Rec List and had 452 Views. See, Titles matter :) It wasn't rescued, but neither was it ignored so wouldn't have qualified anyhow.
Culture War? - We Have to Make it Personal! As I type, this Diary is on the Rec. List. It has 131 Recs and 650 Views. It didn't start out that way. When I went to bed last night it was stuck. It had a few good comments, and a handful of recommends. It was Queued for Community Spotlight, but I could keep my eyes open no longer. When I woke up it had three shiny new Tags .... "Recommended", "Rescued" and "R to R".
All of the above I am very happy with in terms of style and content. I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite (probably The English Disease), but the reception and attention they each received varies widely. It could be that two of them simply appealed more to Kossacks, and it could be that the Community Spotlight is working blindingly well.
Whatever the concerns might have been about well written Diaries not showing above the Diaries of the "cool kids", it is not being born out by my personal experience.
If anything, the new format is bringing those Diaries to a vastly wider audience than they were ever seen by in previous incarnations of this site, and I heartily welcome that.
There is plenty of up-to-the-minute political news here, for even the most insatiable reader, but the Rescue Rangers, and the Community Spotlight are giving a breadth to the site that never existed before.
Front and Center is where the Community Spotlight lives, and that is right where it should stay. It may need adjusting, it might demand some tinkering, but only with the view to improving one of the Crown Jewels of Daily Kos.