I've felt for some time that the readers of Daily Kos are getting meaner and meaner. It seems like whenever I write a diary or make a comment, no matter how well intentioned or how much time I take to craft it, somebody always takes offense and pounces with an HR or a slur of "Troll" or both.
I have started to resign myself to not writing here anymore. There seem like a lot of semi-professional diarists, aspiring pros, aspiring politicians, none of which is me. People who have a lot of time, are members of numerous groups and are quite involved. To the contrary, I dabble when I have time, every few months when something really strikes me.
But like I said, people are quick to HR and attack. Seems like the only thing I can do is write happy cheerleader comments or diaries, but what's the point? Most get ignored.
Then just a moment ago, I noticed something that seemed amiss. On a diary, I get 2 choices? Recommend or HR are set as "radio buttons", which are an either/or choice. You, as a reader, are implicitly guided to either recommend or suppress a diary or comment.
So, let me expound upon something I do know a fair bit about. Software engineering and usability. When you present users with a choice, they are very likely to use it. So, either recommend or HR this diary. That's the choice you've been given. And this is ingrained in the DKos culture and I believe part of what sets DKos up to be so confrontational.
From a usability perspective, I posit that these two are not a related decision. It should not be set up as a one or other radio button control. Rating a diary is a separate decision and a separate set of criteria from HR'ing it, and these two decisions should be totally separated.
You may not agree with a diary at all, and that is legitimate, but you are given no easy quick way to register your opposition other than the HR radio button. You may agree with a diary a little bit, but you are just given the recommend button... all or nothing.
Please, DKos overlords, consider separating these two concepts. Ratings should be a star type control, 1-5 stars. This would be much more valuable and accurate feedback to the diarist and give the readers more control.
And then make HR a totally stand-alone checkbox, with a link to the criteria for HRing a diary/comment. Because whether you agree or not with a diary should not define whether you HR it. But, DKos doesn't make that possible.
Lots of pie fights lately on DKos. Lots of misunderstanding. And I have been jumping to the conclusion that it's just the people of DKos. But if you want to create a civil and constructive community, give people better ways to be constructive and not so quick to be destructive.
AND - one final comment in my little diatribe here... I have not looked for discussions of usability on DKos. I imagine there might be a forum somewhere or old diary where this has been discussed. And I simply have not looked for it, because this is just a top of my head diary and I don't have time to do the research. If you are bequeathed with great knowledge about what has been considered, by all means, please provide them in the comments so we have the history on how things have gotten or stayed so black and white in the ratings capabilities on DKos. Perhaps it's intentional?