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Stupidity, is much like dark matter.  It's everywhere, but you can't measure it directly.  You can only detect it by its effect on things you can see.

I think anyone who can see can see Daily Kos has encountered a cluster of stupid.

Now before you get out your pointy fingers, let me try to convince you that the last thing you want to do it to try to identify the reservoir of stupid; you won't find it.  The only solution is to add more smart.  Let me explain how.

The equation is simple:

A.  If you want to grow a movement in size and power, you want to look for converts.

B.  If you want to destroy a movement and see it shrivel into irrelevance, you want to look for heretics.

Sites on the authoritarian right, like Red State and Free Republic patrol for heretics overtly.  Say something unorthodox and you're banned instantly; sometimes your posts are deleted.  That's the thing I've always loved about those sites: they will never create a netroots with any power because they are constantly thinning their own ranks.

We would never do that here.  Unfortunately, we have a considerably more irritating approach to accomplishing the same thing: smug self-indulgence.

Everyone wants Daily Kos to be the place where they can grind their particular axe without any regard for shared purpose.  There are scores of people at any time of day, ready to tell you why you aren't welcome here and why you are not needed because you don't appear to support their cause in exactly the way they want you to.

People are leaving because of this.  They feel unwelcome.  And that appears to be OK with the community.  Consider it the I/P-ification of everything.  Thankfully, there are some issues where consensus keeps the worst from flaring up: women's issues, gay rights and health care (more or less) are subject where the bullies are kept at bay by donut-wielding TUs.

Some people on the Internet are basically just looking for people to interact with.  Some have donations to offer (money helps) and some will give their time and energy.  I don't know what percentages are needed to make an effective "netroots," but it is clear to me that the population of Daily Kos is increasingly become just the first class: the social forum-dwellers.

Look, I've been flat-out told that I shouldn't be here by more than one person.  I came here to "elect more and better Democrats," but if that's not important enough to Daily Kos to inspire some camaraderie, communication and understanding, then there are other places I can put my energy.

What's it going to be?  Are we going to get along and attract converts, or are we going to drive away the heretics until Daily Kos is pure — and useless?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Very well said. Idealism is fine except the only (5+ / 0-)

    one who does it well enough for the idealist is themself. Everyone else, eventually, has to driven out if no other reason than that they used the wrong soap.

    Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 08:30:30 PM PDT

  •  Brilliant! (6+ / 0-)
    a cluster of stupid

    I can think of no better description for some of the things I've encountered here lately.  Great and needed diary, tip'd and rec'd.

    And don't you dare go "other places"...you are sorely needed right where you're at.

    Terror has no religion.

    by downsouth on Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 08:49:09 PM PDT

  •  Hey, I am: (16+ / 0-)
    You are the biggest cafeteria christian on this site and your unawareness is staggering

    Link here.

    I'm still here. And I am not intimidated by meanness.

    I'm not going anywhere unless MB says I am.

    Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

    by commonmass on Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 08:50:08 PM PDT

    •  You were brave to go into that diary. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, The Red Pen, avsp, joedemocrat

      I saw the title and thought "nuh-uh. Not this week."

      Cafeteria Christian. Heh. I'm not sure what that means, since "Christians" believe (and don't believe)  such a variety of things, depending on denomination.

      I rate that insult a 3.0 out of 10.  I'd be disappointed if you left because of it.

      :)

      © grover. My sockpuppet is a fuzzy blue muppet.

      by grover on Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 11:14:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Caf Xtian": It's usually an insult hurled by: (6+ / 0-)

        a) Militant, conservative Roman Catholics

        b) Militant, conservative atheists.

        Theology? Very different. Approach? Very similar. Love, understanding and peace? Nonexistent.

        I rest my case.

        My fake faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Ceiling Cat or whatever people want to call it is stronger than the hate of any person. Of course I had the intestinal fortitude to go in there. Just is, my faith is not something I ever would want to see forced on anyone else. You can't force it. It's also not necessary to be a good person and a good Democrat.

        Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

        by commonmass on Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 11:49:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Red Pen, avsp, joedemocrat

          I spent the first 40-ish years of my life as a Catholic. I know what a Cafeteria Catholic is. We pick and choose what Catholic dogma we want to believe. But that's because there's a very set menu to choose from.

          Ive just never heard that used with the term "Christian" where the belief options are so varied.

          Heh. I must not be hanging out with the right -- prescriptive -- crowd.

          I adore people who believe in nothing faithwise and yet tell us what we should believe. It's like the  guy at the park who has never owned a dog, but gives his unsolicited opinion on how to train my dog. Really Dude? And why exactly should I listen to you?

          Humans.

          /rolleyes.

          © grover. My sockpuppet is a fuzzy blue muppet.

          by grover on Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 12:04:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That makes me feel better (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      avsp, Brecht, joedemocrat

      I'm not the only person to whom volfied is a dick.

      Of course, I would feel better if volfied wasn't a dick to anyone.

      Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

      by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 05:06:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am not a poster or regular commenter, but ... (10+ / 0-)

    ... I did post my first, and possibly last, diary earlier this month. I was not surprised at the results, but I thought differently of the cause. I think the problem is that a disapproving 25% are always going to make more noise than an approving 75%. That's what I took away from my experience.

    Money is a government program.

    by billpuppies on Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 08:58:08 PM PDT

  •  Great Diary, But for an Advocacy Site... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Red Pen, avsp

    I still think DK is about as open and welcoming as it gets.  When I post heretical opinions in a way that respects the dignity of the person I'm arguing with, the worst that usually happens is I get ignored.

    I can't believe that the right wing extremist blogs like redstate and freerepublic still have any members, given the delight they take in getting rid of the impure.

    To arrive at what now you do not enjoy, you must go where you do not enjoy. To reach what you do not know, you must go where you do not know. To come into possession of what you do not have, you must go where now you have nothing." SJOtC

    by LHB on Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 01:09:59 AM PDT

    •  DKos is great on some issues (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      avsp, Brecht, joedemocrat

      As I said, overall, DKos is good on gay rights and women's issues and a few others.

      Unfortunately, as important as those are, the #1 issue facing the country today is jobs, and addressing jobs is a populist issue, not a progressive issue.  If the progressives can't let the populists in the tent — at least for this election cycle — we could all lose.

      I can't believe that the right wing extremist blogs like redstate and freerepublic still have any members, given the delight they take in getting rid of the impure.
      Authoritarians are "clubby" people.  They love getting rid of the impure because it means that the remaining, including them, are the pure.

      It's like those "Christians" whose main source of joy seems to be contemplating the eternal suffering they believe is coming for everyone who isn't them.  Love takes courage and these people have none.  Thus, they love themselves by process of elimination; "I am not among the hated, I must be among the loved."

      Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

      by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 05:23:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wait, what? (0+ / 0-)
        If the progressives can't let the populists in the tent — at least for this election cycle — we could all lose.

        The "centrist" repeatedly insists that "progressives don't have a consensus". So how in the hell can "progressives" be in charge of "letting others in" the tent?

        The problem, as I see it, is the demonization of those people who insist that "centrists" include "progressives" in the discussion. But that can't happen when you have posters like this:

        ...ready to tell you why you aren't welcome here and why you are not needed because you don't appear to support their cause in exactly the way they want you to.

        I see more self-identified "centrists" acting like this than I see progressives--more name-calling, more bullying, more marginalizing, more patronizing, more bogus HR'ing.

        The bigger takeaway I get overall is that this tent has just gotten too damned big to be effective. And if that is true, and remains true, then yes, we could all lose this cycle. But the fact of the matter is, we have got to deal with the size of this tent and the goals within it before we can be effective at anything.

        You can't have a broad swath of disaffected people in your tent, and still keep it together indefinitely. That's why you see a mass exodus of posters--centrists AND progs--drop out of here altogether. The pool's too damned big and nobody feels welcome in it anymore.
         

        REPEAL the Telecomm Act & REVIEW this decision. NO journalist should be fired because their boss can't have the truth told.

        by lunachickie on Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 07:18:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm confused by your confusion (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, joedemocrat
          The problem, as I see it, is the demonization of those people who insist that "centrists" include "progressives" in the discussion.
          Where did "centrists" enter into the discussion?

          Certainly I'm not a centrist.  I'm a socialist and not afraid to say it.  That's not centrist.  I am however willing to work with people who aren't socialists if it moves the country in the right direction.

          You can't have a broad swath of disaffected people in your tent, and still keep it together indefinitely. That's why you see a mass exodus of posters--centrists AND progs--drop out of here altogether. The pool's too damned big and nobody feels welcome in it anymore.
          So... what then?  Drain the pool?  Put a fence around it?  Suggest we all go to the beach?

          You may be 100% correct, but how do you get from your observation to a stronger netroots?  Or can you?

          Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

          by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 08:19:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is what this place is like (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Red Pen

    during the part of the partisan power cycle that is Democratic decline.

    We are having the usual argument about what the party has to do and be.   On the one side is the usual relatively conservative bloc (here/now terming themselves centrists) that thinks the status quo can be retained for another election, with themselves coincidentally the bloc that is most in power and has the most to lose from an election loss.  On the other side are the usual liberals (here/now terming themselves progressives) who don't believe the status quo is actually popular in a solid way and think fleeing forward is the necessary thing to do.

    The midterm election result says the support for the status quo in the issue of the day- the economic order- is in fact breaking down.  The conservative position (i.e. conservaDems in control of the decisions) maintaining the status quo in American economic life is evidently no longer bearable, let alone preferred.  The liberal position (i.e. liberal Democrats in control of decisions) is not mature or coherent yet, which is a problem, but more than that it's too much change for average people at once at this point to absorb mentally.

    The intermediate position- the Republican mix of Rightism and populism, this time in economic affairs- is to break the status quo permanently but that is kept small enough in various way (mostly via public support of a level of Democratic obstruction) to be acceptable/survivable.

    When the status quo in something is no longer bearable, The People usually elects Republicans to break it.  Neither side of the internal Democratic argument persuades- no change and utter change are too hard to bear.  And Democrats are too civilized to initiate and revel in the ragefest that turns out to be indispensible and inescapable when there is major change.  Politics is to a large extent Kubler-Ross stages, though.

    Decisive Republican victory tends to smash and wash out the already much thinned and cracking pillars on which the controlling relatively conservative Democratic bloc stands politically.  After that the infighting comes to an end as the conservatives disintegrate as a bloc.  And then the ascent part of the cycle begins for Democrats.

  •  Good, thought-provoking diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Red Pen

    It's only fair to warn that if you leave, I will punch you.

    "Problems can't be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Einstein

    by Brecht on Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 11:52:27 AM PDT

  •  Tipped and Recommended Red Pen.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Red Pen

    We do need to focus on growing our ranks, and that will mean building coalitions with people who don't agree on every single topic..

    Deoliver's signiture line says it very well:

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    Some people are working every day on concrete issues of jobs, wealth, power and justice. And some people are discussing Osama bin Ladin's civil rights or who is "deracinated" - Citizen K

    by joedemocrat on Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 07:12:45 PM PDT

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