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The Title of this Diary is taken straight from a comment on this site.

When I woke up to that this morning I felt like I had been physically assaulted. I felt so bad that I wanted to write something ... not in anger or hurt, but something that would try to explain to others why it is important to maintain a level head and sense of proportion.

We bemoan the fact that this site is a messy community that cannot attract enough minority posters, and loses good people. We need to understand why and so I am going to explain why you very nearly lost me today.

Let me start by correcting my apparent mistake.

I am sorry I placed a Hide Rate in the Tip Jar of anneonymous670. I apologise unreservedly for any hurt I contributed to. It was not my intent to cause any harm or distress and if I did so, then I am sorry.

Now we are all quite clear on that, there are a number of matters we need to reflect upon. I cannot count the number of ways that the quote in the title is wrong, but wrong it is and there it sits, with two Tips as I write this. I will not link to the comment. It is easy enough to find and no part of this Diary is intended to call-out a single User who has done little more than "pile-on" [sic]

We need to go back to that evening to understand what happened, and what various folk were thinking and doing. If at the end of that y'all feel that I erred, then that is a judgement you are entirely free to make. I can only speak for myself, so I will tell you my story and you are free to make a judgement. I doubt mine is much different from some of the others.

That evening I was editing the Community Spotlight. What that means is that I was spending eight hours of my time working as part of a highly skilled and dedicated team, trying to find written material worthy of a wider audience. As part of that role it is my job, and the job of any editor, to ensure that Diaries postulating that "Fracking Causes 5.8 Magnitude Earthquakes" are not promoted on to the Front Page. Some of you will remember that :)

So I was spending my evening reviewing and discussing various offerings, and trying to help find the best. I know that most of you are very pleased about the work we do, and there is no need to say so again ... I am not looking for appreciation here, that is not the point.

Into that evening dropped a quite extraordinary Diary from a completely unknown User.

It was a video which purported to be Mitt Romney. We now know that it was Mitt Romney because it has been verified by David Corn of Mother Jones, and by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. At the time we knew nothing of the kind.

Over a fairly short period of time eight further Diaries were published making nine in total. All of them included a short video clip and little else. The Diarist made comments suggesting that the material was in the hands of the media and would become a big story. The Diarist was repeatedly pressed for something, anything that might speak to the veracity of the claims, and the only response was that we should trust the Diarist.

"I won't show you my tax returns, but trust me, I paid everything I was obliged to pay".

There is a conflict that arises. On the one hand, you would quite like to trust the Diarist because hey, the material was, to say the least, interesting. It was not quite as interesting as the stuff I saw on TV last night because the sound and definition have been cleared up considerably.

Yet last time the media "trusted" an unverified video, we lost ACORN.

That was my "hindsight" at the time. So I ask this community what you would prefer. Would you prefer that we occasionally get the Community Moderation thing wrong, or that we do nothing, even jump gratefully on any rumour or claim and end up made a laughing stock on Fox News?

So as the Diaries piled up, and the questions grew so did the Tip Jars begin to attract Hide Rates. At any point during this process Admin, or any Front Pager could have stepped in and stopped it. Indeed, I have a decent reputation around here, and could probably have at least slowed it down myself. Maybe I should have, I wrestle with that one because all I have is my reputation and while I do sometimes use that to chat to people, I do so carefully and sparingly.

Other things began to emerge too. Like the fact that the Twitter account of the Diarist had been suspended. Indeed, we now know that those videos were originally posted to YouTube by someone impersonating Rachel Maddow.

In the end I made a judgment that this material should be hidden from casual view. It was unverified, it was delivered in a manner that suggested spam, and the source was looking increasingly dubious. So I placed a single Hide Rate in the Tip Jar of the ninth Diary.

For that egregious offense I, along with the others who HR'd, had to face Kossacks including a Front Pager, calling for our Ratings Abilities to be removed, and in my case being likened to Todd Akin.

I have fixed it with the Front Pager concerned. He is a reasonable guy, and reasonable people can discuss, agree to differ and not fall out. Besides, he, along with many others are operating with what we know now, not what we knew then.

In the end I would have happily faced Markos while he ranted about this issue. We are all disappointed from time to time. We are human and we make mistakes yet in his ranting, Markos accepted what so many are failing to. He accepted that kossacks in good standing were simply seeking to prevent a major embarrassment to the site.

There was no "posse" ... there were just the TUs who were here at the time. They did not all "pile-on". They asked questions, sought verification and finally they used the only tool we have to remove just the Tip Jars from view. Some even waited until the ninth Diary to do so.

How many years have we been asking for the ability to refer Diaries?

The only "posses" in this whole sorry episode are those that arrived yesterday. With no knowledge or thought for the people here at the time who didn't have the benefit of the whole of MSNBC telling them that the videos were verified, they piled in demanding bans, rating restrictions, apologies all round. Even when those apologies were forthcoming, several times, they still saw fit to post comments one of which is directly quoted in the Title of this Diary.

Be under no illusion. At the time those Hide Rates were placed, they were completely justified under the custom and practise of this Blog. They were placed honestly and with no intent to trigger an auto-ban. Again ... how many times have we complained that the autoban is slow to trigger, even when it really needs to? Y'all banned a front page cartoonist last week with about 140 HRs in a Tip Jar, so you do not get to criticize twenty four Users by alleging "pile-on" That dog does not hunt!

The wider issue, and the one I find most distressing, is that as a community we are just not very good at examining issues like this. In the last twenty four hours I have been called a "concern troll", been likened to Aiken and had folk suggesting that I do not have the judgment required to use Community Moderation tools.

I found myself considering my position this morning. I accept that a mistake was made, and I own my part in that error. However, strong though my stomach is, it was turned over by the complete lack of any sense of proportion or decency displayed in the reactions.

I thank those of you who offered support. I am sorry that a User was banned when they were trying to tell us something important. I also hope that some of you who have taken great relish in abusing long-time Kossacks in good standing, will take a long hard look at yourselves before you vent your ire on others.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nobody died. (12+ / 0-)

    Nobody even went to the hospital.

    Don't let the kids at the junior high lunchroom table get you down.

    You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

    by kenlac on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:06:48 AM PDT

  •  Yep With No Way to Authenticate and Such (15+ / 0-)

    a secretive diarist carpet bombing, I don't see how else the community could've reacted.

    This is colliding with some idealistic, simplistic beliefs of ownership about how people can and do behave. The fact is there is no simple formulation like "free speech" or "be an adult" that will generate ideal behavior of a large diverse group in all circumstances. There are always going to be boundary conditions that require restraints and active governance, in our case moderation.

    That's inconvenient, but reality is always inconvenient to America.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:12:46 AM PDT

    •  without piling on the tip jar, probably. (0+ / 0-)

      There is no reason to not be cynical when diaries like that are posted, but by your own logic, the videos not having been verified did not warrant the hrs the diaries received. Not verified should equate to no recs and no hrs. verified to be fake should equate to hrs. Verified to be true should equate to lots of recs. At least that's how your reasoning comes off to me.

      Lo que separa la civilizacion de la anarquia son solo siete comidas.

      by psilocynic on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:37:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe to be productive and move forward we (18+ / 0-)

    should discuss how things should function in a similar circumstance.

  •  Babies & bathwater (12+ / 0-)

    I saw some of the criticism towards you and yes, you did not deserve the personal condemnations. But OTOH 99.9% of the Dkos membership did not chide you for this incident at all. If Dkos consisted of the 10,000 most polite people on Earth, you'd still have gotten a handful of snot-o-grams. We are many things, but we are not the 10,000 most polite people on Earth. (For evidence just look who is posting this.)

    So WFIW consider how much you personally value the 99.9% in comparison to how much the 0.1% irritate. Then decide accordingly how much effort to put into this site. I agree the 0.1% piled on you a bit but don't forget how many did not.

    For me, thanks for doing the Community editing stuff. But if you decide to give it up I would understand that too. Only you can decide where the reward/annoyance balance lies.

  •  Spot on! We need a "disapprove" (15+ / 0-)

    button for diaries. All we can do right now is recommend them. We also need a disapprove button that we could use instead of hydrating the tip jar. At some ratio of disapproves to recommends, the title would go red and an auto generated text would say this diary is not supported by the Kos community.

    I'm not asking for a smite button. Kos made clear very long ago there will never be a smite button. But if we had a disapprove button like this, there would be less need to hide rate jars.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:35:02 AM PDT

    •  One of many good suggestions (7+ / 0-)

      I have seen.

      I know that Admin agrees that the system we currently have is fallible.

      At least when Meteor Blades was hands-on we could refer stuff to him.

      I look forward to the promised improvements. They are a long time coming so maybe working out the coding and algorithms has proved a little tricky.

      No point in replacing a poor system with one that is broken :)

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:43:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For the record, I thought the piling on (11+ / 0-)

    of criticism on you and others who were performing community duty was way over the top. In a repetitively redundant way. But my two cent opinions are really worth less than that in the context of blame assessment.

    Rachel Maddow said on her show last night something to the effect that they couldn't verify anything of the videos that were placed on youtube in her name with a false account. If she with her great staff couldn't verify or get info from the poster, how the hell could you?

    I don't participate on the site much anymore due to a lot of crap in general, but you guys on the diary rescue team do excellent work. I'm sorry I don't tell you that more often.

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:45:21 AM PDT

    •  I wrote this Diary (6+ / 0-)

      because it is a discussion we can have ... I hope

      The reason that I did not link anything is because it should not be about recriminations, but about moving forward positively.

      I know folk hate this kind of stuff, but we do need to talk about issues that they may be avoided next time.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:47:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, Lost and Found, JVolvo

        Someone, or several someones, made the suggestion that there be some sort of alert when an autoban happens so that staff can review the situation and remedy it if was "wrong."

        And for crying out loud it would help if the "rules" and "FAQ" were updated and clarified so we wouldn't have so many piefights about which diary sets out the "correct" site policy. I'm quite happy to abide by the rules as long as I know what they are.

        "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

        by klompendanser on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:54:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Alas, I've found that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          twigg, klompendanser, Sylv

          it's best to avoid pie fights no matter what - don't HR tip jars just because the HR trigger-happies are piling on, and don't uprate any HR'd comment. EVER. Because Markos will bojo and/or NR all of those people too, if he has to step in.

          Perhaps it would do us all well to avoid joining in pie fights and pile-ons. At least, not for NOT-obvious trolls. Best to simply ignore diaries that fall into the grayscale range, go find diaries that are more worthy and less unsubstantiated.

      •  This had made me think. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I honestly don't know if I was involved, but I could have been.  I take my cues from people who have been around longer than me.  I think I'll be much more careful from now on.  Ultimately, what I do is my responsibility.  I'm sorry you got hammered - I enjoy most everything you write.  You're one of my go to authors.

        Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

        by Smoh on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:53:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Okay, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, FloridaSNMOM, bluedust, Smoh, JVolvo

    * Didn't see the diaries in real time.
    * Didn't know they existed until yesterday.
    * Wouldn't have hide-rated the tip jar.

    * Because I don't consider myself a dyed-in-the-wool Kossack.
    * I'm not terribly invested, I'm not here everyday.
    * Hide-rating tip jars is something I don't feel I'm qualified to do despite TU status, unless the diary would was blatantly racist or sexist.

    * I leave the decision to hide-rate tip jars to those who are here nearly every day, who are invested in DKos, who work as a community in real-time to moderate a site they deeply care about.   And Markos has a secret mojo-meter thingo that probably involves math (shudder) that is dialed to worked with community users.

    * From my view, the system worked.
    *I can easily understand the reasons for the tip jars in issues were hide-rated, as has been expressed.
    * I get that this site, nor its users, don't have the tools in place to do bonafide investigations of videos that hit the web.

    * As some have proposed, a Referral System so Markos and Staff can make their decisions about whether to pursue a story or let it go.   And they will have to trust that the Community won't flood their inboxes with tripe and/or personal flame wars.

    * I find this entire situation interesting.  I loved Kos' update to his post. Beating each other up is, I think, silly; but then again, it is how decisions are made here, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    * Great post, Twigg.  

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:46:11 AM PDT

  •  I saw the diaries going up at the time (7+ / 0-)

    and the pattern seemed "spam-like".  So I understand that rationale for HRing at least one of the diaries.  The fact that you waited for diary 9 to impose an HR adds credibility to your description of what happened at the time.

    The issue I have seen, over and over again, when it comes to HR and general skepticism at DK, is the need many seem to have to personalize the action of HRing or skeptically commenting.

    I am a TU, and, for whatever reason, I have 5 bars.  (Not quite certain I deserve that many, but who am I to argue with the algorhithm.)  I tend to miss most of the pie fights, which tend to occur over the weekend or at night, when I don't have access to a computer.  But I have been know to give out an HR or 2.

    When I do it, I add one of two things:
    1.  A reasonably dispassionate explanation of why (or)
    2.  A tip to a comment which has already explained someone else's HR is a reasonably dispassionate way.

    That's my responsibility as a TU.  When I see something which I consider harmful to DK, within the parameters described by admin, I give an HR rating.  Not as a crusader, but at a responsible member of DK.  I don't like doing it, and would prefer not to do it at all.  I am a big believer in free speech, and generally don't go searching for "trouble".

    So, when I saw the diaries in question, which were posted in a pattern which suggested spam, I did nothing.  I understand why you did, and respect that.  I thought about it myself.  

    The more important issue for me is this tendency to attack others while performing the functions that a TU should perform, that of HRing and engaging in responsible debate.  I haven't seen that tendency in youj.  I have seen it in others here, who need to learn how to be more mature.

    Whomever posted the quote in your title (not interested in knowing; not the point) needs to take a look in the mirror.  That type of comment is unworthy of us.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:50:45 AM PDT

    •  One of the puzzling things I've seen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is noticing that people will go into the hiddens and pile on HRs on a comment that not only is hidden but has been for several minutes. (Yes, I was bored that day.)

      •  That does happen, yes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bluedust, Unit Zero

        It is a double-edged sword.

        On the one hand, a comment is hidden with 2 HRs and no uprates. Unless people take the time to look at the hiddens then the trolls who need to be banned would stick around for a lot longer.

        Also, many TUs have hidden comments always visible (I do), so they don't need to go into the hiddens to see them, they remain in the comment thread of the main Diary.

        Egregious comments nearly always attract more donuts than are necessary to simply hide them. That is how the autoban system works.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:08:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There are two issues (8+ / 0-)

      The on-going pie fights, and HR stupid stuff, is not the same thing as what happened in this instance.

      Someone yesterday made a comment that slinkerwink was a good example of why a person should remain banned, once a ban had occurred.

      I've had my differences with slink .... but that comment was truly beyond the pale.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:03:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wholeheartedly agree. (7+ / 0-)

    So very often decisions must be made in a limited time frame, with the information available at the time. Hindsight affords more perspective, and sometimes spawns regrets.

    So, move forward. Correct what you can, take your lumps and move on. Seems to me that this was done reasonably quickly. If no malice or negligence was involved in the decision making process, then no shame should accrue.
    Nobody needs to climb into a warm bath and open their veins.

    We don't need the pie fight. We should ALL be talking about Romney foot-in-mouth episode 172. We should be gloating, trading high-fives and talking about what a dick-wad Romney is.

    twigg, I'm getting your apology for the consequences of your decision but not for the process which led to that decision. Nuff said.

    Thanks for doing your job.

    Trickle-down theory; the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows. - J.K. Galbraith

    by Eric Twocents on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:54:04 AM PDT

  •  I'm to lazy to go back and look (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, JVolvo, Susan from 29

    But I think I commented in at least one of them asking for the sauce and asking that the diarist at the least take em down and put it into one diary for discussion.

    Take it for what it was, an accident and sometimes accidents happen. So we stepped in crap that day, we realize it, wipe our shoes off and keep on trudging.

    I for one love the work you guys do in the spotlight, hell half of my diaries would never see the light of day if it wasn't for the work of you fine folk.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:30:26 AM PDT

  •  Remove the tip jar from view ? (0+ / 0-)
    they used the only tool we have to remove just the Tip Jars from view.
    That does what exactly ? Hide rating the tip jar isn't to hide the tip jar .
    For the record, I thought the piling on
    of criticism on you and others who were performing community duty was way over the top.
    It was not a community duty . It was a violation of the rules , it was an attack on another site user .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:52:24 AM PDT

  •  I get why this happened, and don't know if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    anything can really be done about it.  it was a perfect storm, of sorts.  it came on the heels of what seemed like spam.

    of course you can't separate out the sociology of this site from why specific users decided to "take a side", either.

    it was pretty obvious who was gonna fall down on what side, based solely on past piefight stuff.

    I don't even separate myself out from that.  I like joelgp, so I was more than willing to give him the benny of the doubt, when I probably wouldn't have, if it had been someone I dislike.

    in that vein, twigg:  I see you, in another comment, upset about a comment made by a super popular kossack.  I respectfully submit that that's what's going on there (your inherent bias in favor of that kossack), as I completely agree with the comment you thought about HRing.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 09:31:23 AM PDT

  •  What did you expect to happen... (0+ / 0-)

    when you gave that hide rate?

    Did you expect it to hide the diary?

    You and I both know the system doesn't work that way.

    I, of course, don't think dK has any credibility that needs defending.  It's a blog, not a news organization.

    Granted that you did think those diaries were causing damage, why did you not then go to the moderators or Front Pagers (the only people with any power at all to correct the situation) and instead decide to take matters into your own hands?

    Perhaps you weren't thinking about the consequences of you actions at all and merely felt the need to express your pique and disapproval.

    I don't know.  I can't read your mind.  I do hope you and others will take the time now to let those who actually speak for the site do their jobs and not arrogate their authority for a group of self appointed volunteers.

  •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

    This treatment was enough to make you want to leave the site?  This one comment a handful of uprates?  Would you consider that a posse?  As a commentor that has been the frequent subject of bullying at the hands of self appointed DK patrol officers and other bands of group-thinkers, all I can say is 'put your big boy pants on.'  There wasn't a posse?  Ask joelpg about that.

    You really took this as 'likening' you to Todd Akin?  It's pretty clear to me the commentor was making a point about the difference between 'expressing regret' and a genuine apology, giving two examples.  If those who refused to apologize like you do here were likened to Mitt Romney (as someone who also refuses to apologize) whould that be 'likening' to a person, or likening to an act that person performed?

    One thing you are right about is that the community is not good at examining things like this.  For example, it's pretty absurd to insinuate these unedited videos were in any way like the obviously highly edited videos of James O'Keefe.  

  •  twigg, the only comment I made in that diary (0+ / 0-)

    expressed the hope that the hide raters would withdraw their ratings of joelpg's diary. I got sidetracked down thread, but reading your response again I wondered if we were talking about the same diary. (I tried to ask you, but my iPad got hung up and wouldn't let me.)

    From the sound of this diary I am pretty sure we weren't talking of the same one, simply because joelgp is not a new user. Looking at his diary, I don't see that you did hr his tip jar.

    Not that that changes the main thrust of this diary, we do have to find a way to deal with new users who bring unverified information to DKos.

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 10:30:47 PM PDT

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