I don't know if you or anyone will actually read this. But lately, when I open Daily Kos and set about reading what's on these cyber-pages, I find myself surrounded by an increasing malaise, and I think it's because of the "new and improved" version that you've put out.
Allow me to explain.
I landed here after the election in 2004. I didn't start actually contributing - commenting, writing - until January of 2005. Either way, I think I've been here a while and I've seen a lot. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think my experience here counts for something, at least from the perspective of being able to try to articulate the wrongness I've felt when coming here lately, particularly since the release of DK4.
There are a few things I've always valued about this site and this community:
Diversity - of point of view, of course. But also of writers. And by that I mean simply that it was always so wonderful to look and see a new diarist write something really excellent and/or thought-provoking, even if I didn't specifically agree with the diarist's point of view. The constant knowledge that I could log in here and discover a new voice and someone new to read was one of the primary attractions.
Thoughtfulness - I'll never forget reading painstakingly researched Plame diary series by emptywheel or the illuminating and fascinating scientific commentary by Devilstower. Those are a scant few examples of the excellent, sourced commentary that has always been able to be showcased here at Daily Kos. I remember reading some of these diarists when I first joined and learning from them what it took to write a diary that truly emanated quality. To me, those diarists are the bricks and mortar that enabled the building of a community and a movement.
I logged on yesterday and then again today to read what people were saying here and I was just surrounded by a feeling of loss. On the reclist were two separate diaries by the same diarist. They had been posted relatively close together. Let me caveat this - I'm not going to single out the diarist because my issue is not with the diarist. I only bring it up, frankly, to underscore what I think is a larger contributing problem. At any rate, the diaries had been posted three hours apart. The first one was what I would expect of a diary: it was newsworthy, it was sourced, and it provided the diarist's commentary on the newsworthy item. The second, though, was just a quote, a link, and three sentences.
So that brings me to issue #1 that I have with the "new" Daily Kos: the one diary per day limit was a good thing. Period. I was here when that prohibition was instituted, and heads collectively exploded at what was perceived as a restriction. But frankly, when you only have one diary you can post in a given day, you choose carefully what you write, you attend to the quality of that writing, and you produce a better product. The lifting of that prohibition has, in my view, seriously degraded the quality and visibility of worthy diaries. This trails on to...
...Issue #2. Because diarists now have unlimited diaries that they can post in a day, any kind of manageable "recent diaries" list has gone by the wayside. When you couple that with the fact that recent diaries have been completely moved to a separate tab that is not on the front page, the odds of finding a great new diary or a great new diarist are diminished to luck and timing. The ability to stumble onto someone or something new is, in my view severely limited.
Which leads us to issue #3 - groups. I'm not trying to crap on groups. But there are too many, it's too confusing, and it takes TOO MUCH DAMNED TIME to figure out which group to join about what and how to leverage that group. It's almost like we've all been invited to set up our own individual cyber-windtunnels, pissing welcome. I've seen all the explanations about groups and have seen those extoling the virtue of groups - but I don't have time for groups. I want to open up Daily Kos, see a manageable reclist with actual diaries on it, and be able to scan the recent diaries list to discover a gem that has not had the good fortune to hit the reclist.
This is an increasingly difficult thing to accomplish.
I like a lot about the new site - the ability to "favorite" an author or a tag is nice. But I don't want to limit my experience and my learning to my "favorites". I came here in the first place to learn new things, not constantly reinforce my own particular point of view. It's almost impossible, short of luck, to do that now.
It's sad. :( Is it just me?