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{I expect the diary title may feel demeaning to some members and their heart-felt concerns. I apologize for that, but I couldn't think of a more appropriate short-hand description of the current debate here. I hope you accept my apology and give my diary a read. I don't mean any of it to be demeaning. I'm just trying to shed light where I feel only heat.}

I've been kinda busy lately -- in the past month, my girlfriend has had a retinal tear fixed and a needle place in her spine in attempt to drain a spinal cyst causing nerve damage; and I've had my own eye surgery -- for glaucoma, a repeat surgery of a procedure I had 30 years ago when I developed glaucoma as a teenager, following procedures to repair my retina. My parents came to help out, and I saw what my brother and I agree are signs of senility in my father. I'm also unemployed, paying very high COBRA premiums (since the federal subsidy ran out a couple of months ago), and kind running low on funds.

All of this is just to say that I have missed a lot of the great meta battles that have been raging here -- the new format, moderating, and now this boycott issue. There's a well-intentioned diary on the rec list imploring us all to "boycott" meta diaries and just focus on real issues. That's great advice, but I'd like to take it up a notch with my first meta diary/post  -- because, while I've witnessed countless of spasms of misplaced outrage on this site, this is the first time I've seen it turned on the site itself. I'm not taking sides here, because I haven't read enough to have an informed view abot what Markos has done or about the boycott. What I do know is that the community here is too valuable to lose, so I'd like to take a moment to argue for a more mature dialogue on this site -- about "real issues" and "meta" concerns alike.  

What are real issues? I could say they're like obscenity -- you know it when you see it. The thing is, I think that, on the internet, a lot of people have trouble distinguishing real issues from manufactured ones.

As I've seen over and over again, a huge chunk of the DKos community appears almost to live to get outraged over seeming nonsense and then fan the flames as they all get together in online 'outrage parties' (kinda like pity parties, but with shared outrage instead of pity). On this site, I've kinda made myself a bit of an iconoclast -- even accused of trolling, or being racist, or a secret right-winger -- but I've made it a bit of a personal mission to inject a dose of sanity here when I've seen the community go around the bend with outrage over the most innocuous or frivolous matters. The Rec List is too often dominated by baseless outrage because that stuff always seems to find an enthusiastic audience here. I try to call it out when I see it.

I'm all for getting away from meta and focusing on real issues, but right now, I see little light between the two types of diaries that have dominated the Rec List today.
Are the outrage diaries about frivolous nonsense like Maureen Dowd referring to the President as Barry, really all that different from the 'meta' outrages about some people who went around dishing out Hide ratings and are now upset because they lost Hide Ratings privileges? If I'm missing a larger point about racism here, I apologize, but what I've read seems to be about the loss of Hide privileges -- not actual racism, or even not being allowed to call it out, but just not being allowed to give out Hide ratings. If that's all it is, it seems to me just another example of Kossacks looking for "outrages".

It may be that Markos has acted capriciously here -- I'm not in any position to say, especially since I haven't read the diaries that have called him out and haven't seen the comments that provoked the HRs to issue in the first place. So, I'm not saying which side is right or wrong -- I'm saying we need to dial back the outrage machine and start acting like a more mature community. I know any male under 40 is suffering from testosterone poisoning, but we all need to recognize that it when we see it. It's not about winning a fight -- or ensuring your meme trumps another --  it's about acting cooperatively to make this community and this nation stronger.

I know Markos isn't racist and I'm sure he's acting in a way that he believes is a justified effort to tamp down on HR abuses. Maybe he's missed a larger point --or maybe others are too close to the matter to see it objectively. I can't say. What I can say is that we need to have a mature dialogue about it. Boycotts have their time and place, but I'm not sure that this the time or place. It seems more like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face -- for African-Americans to boycott the site. We'll all be the poorer for it.

Ultimately, for me, this has reached this level because, once again, a group of Kossacks have pulled out the outrage card, looking for validation from others' deciding to support and share the outrage. It would be great if we dealt only with real isssues, instead of these "Outrage parties" that are constantly consuming this site -- whether they be meta outrages or supposed real-world outrages. I coined a term a while back which I think isn't far off in describing the behavior of some Kossacks: "outrage-junkies". I think a lot of people are basically addicted to finding, expressing and sharing outrage with like-minded compatriots on the internet.

I've seen a lot of energy wasted on outrage here -- and I think people -- both good and bad people -- have been wronged by all this ginned-up outrage. I think the DKos community owes Bob Kerrey and Andrew Cuomo apologies for spasms of outrage calling them racist during the '08 campaign (Full disclosure: I got blasted as a racist just for making a joking reference to Cuomo's '08 faux pas -- I'm not seeking an apology for myself, though). I think the DKos community owes a apology to Matt Drudge and others for attacking their publicizing the early reports of John Edwards' affair, and an apology to Breitbart and the original blogger who were trying to expose Rep. Weiner's serial misconduct (OK -- maybe Breitbart doesn't deserve any apology, but he was unfairly accused by the outrage machine during Weinergate). Frankly, the community needs a little contrition for a lot of misplaced and overbaked outrage over the years.

There's a whole lot of stuff that's really outrageous -- GOP' efforts to suppress votes, steal elections, to strip unions of any rights, to use the courts to turn over the democratic system to corporate interests which are pledged to support the GOP and enrich Republicans in their life after government. Climate-change deniers fiddling while Rome (and everywhere else) burns. Those are the real issues -- the things that merit outrage.

I have learned a lot from the people at this site and I really believe in the power of this community to make positive change. I've seen the community rally to support individuals in need of more personal attention, and I've seen the community organize on issues and elections in powerful ways.

It's because I have such admiration for this 'place' and its potential that I often find myself playing the role of iconoclast, trying to restore a sense of perspective when the pitchfork-carrying firebrands call on the mob. If we could build a more mature, reflective community, then I think a lot of good could come out of this latest meta pissing match. It's too important to let it go down the tubes because we've turned on the outrage machine annd aimed it at each other.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:23:56 PM PDT

  •  Breitbart who™? n/t (4+ / 0-)

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:31:49 PM PDT

    •  Too much of an "iconoclast" for me! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, FischFry

      Nobody calling for an apology to Breitbart gets a tip or a rec from me.

      Too bad. I think the poster is more or less correct about the boycott.

      "[S]ince Obama keeps talking nonsense about economics, at what point do we stop giving him credit for actually knowing better? Maybe at some point we have to accept that he believes what he’s saying." --Paul Krugman

      by GreenSooner on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:40:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please see my reply to the above comment (0+ / 0-)

        At the time, I read transcripts of posts from the guy who first found the Weiner pic and others like him, and it seemed pretty clear that they knew a lot about Weiner that we didn't -- that there was a lot of inappropriate behavior that we didn't know about. Also, I didn't buy the Congressman's explanation about why he he was following a bunch of young women on Twitter.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

        by FischFry on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:46:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's my point about that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        What Breitbart did to Shirley Sherrod was an outrage. I hope he gets bankrupted in a lawsuit for that. Based on that, anything he publishes should be viewed with a skeptical eye and closely examined.

        Skepticism isn't the same thing as attacking him without evidence. With respect to Weinergate, there was no evidence that he was perpetrating a fraud again, but people were calling for his hide, demanding criminal investigation.  

        In Sherrrod's case, he used selective editing to discredit her. In Weiner's case, I suspected the reverse -- that he was holding back stuff -- probably even more embarrassing stuff--  and I wrote as much at the time. Maybe, he doesn't "deserve an apology", since his behaviour in Weinergate wasn't exactly forthright and admirable either. My point is really just that the outrage wasn't based in evidence --  so,  ti was not exactly fair or admirable, either.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

        by FischFry on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 10:03:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I did say some bad people were badly treated, too (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry for the serious response, when your'e just being funny -- but it give me a chance to explain myself a little.

      I don't defend the indefensible -- and a lot of what he's done is indefensible. When it came to Weiner, I kept saying that everything I read about what the right-wingers following Weiner were saying suggested they knew more than the rest of us. I also kept pointing out that those defending Weiner had no evidence at all -- just supposition about how he might've been framed. That was never enough to justify the outrage and personal attacks leveled at those who were trying to expose him

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

      by FischFry on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:40:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Anthony Weiner's foolishness is irrelevant... (0+ / 0-) this argument, as is your apology proposal. No tip or rec from me, and I'm almost tempted to HR your tip jar, but keeping them in reserve for a real troll.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:44:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, it might seem tangential, but not irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

          My point was that the outrage machine was turned on folks who were trying to bring down Rep. Weiner -- but, the outrage was misplaced in that case. Given how much energy and blog space was devoted to "proving" that Weiner was being framed by Breitbart, et all -- and to a considerable amount of outrage at this supposed "frame-up" -- I'd be remiss not to mention it. There was more misplaced outrage during those early days of Weinergate than on almost any other matter in the site's history.

          As for the "apology proposal", I've edited the diary to to say that in Breitbart's case an apology isn't exactly deserved -- and I mean that. While he was being falsely attacked at the time, he was acting like a slimeball in laying out a trap for Weiner to walk into with his bullshit denials. Having said that, the guy who first found the weiner pic was really unfairly attacked, having his name and record exposed when he was just trying to out a Congressman who was behaving badly.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

          by FischFry on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 10:14:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  For Tips and Flames. I welcome your comments, too. (0+ / 0-)

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:32:44 PM PDT

  •  Ew. Puke. (0+ / 0-)

    You  make some good points, but I can't believe you would suggest we need to apologize to Breitbart. Frankly anything that douchenozzle says should be questioned until irrefutable proof emerges.

    As far as the poutrage goes, typically I wish we would focus on more productive things (see sig), but after sifting through the issue today I think they have a point this time. Cya.

    "Much more would be accomplished if just half the energy that goes into this internal battling went into the real activism that we see recounted or proposed in diaries every day. " ~MB

    by roubs on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:50:20 PM PDT

  •  T & R (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    FF, you may have missed Kos's recent meta posts about this site.  In the most recent, he said he was in a terrible mood, and was going to remove ratings abilities first & ask questions later.  He said (paraphrase) that it would be capricious, and basically went into Daddy mode:

    You kids stop it this instant or ALL of you will go to bed without supper!

    So it's not like the kossacks in question weren't warned.  Indeed, those meta diaries were incredibly highly-rec'd and had so many comments I didn't even try to open them...I went to Kos's page and read them there.

    Over the past 30-odd years, the Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved into a mental hospital. --Bill Maher

    by Youffraita on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 10:47:45 PM PDT

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