We'll start with what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean:
"I dislike the diarist, diary, and/or ideas presented in the diary."
"I disagree with the diary and its thesis and/or evidence."
"I want to suppress the information and/or ideas in the diary."
" I want to make an HR for disagreement appear legitimate by falsely calling CT."
"The thesis in the diary hasn't been proven to my satisfaction."
Or any similar silliness.
The real meaning will be addressed below the squiggly-doo
"Conspiracy Theory" hasn't really been defined in general or with respect to Daily Kos. In days of yore, however, Kos banned some folks for CT and in discussing that action, gave some hints. In focusing on cases widely and commonly known to be wrong, like Trutherism, he seemed to draw a narrower line than I do here, but I hope to set forth the bare minimum requirements.
I'll try to boil it down to two simple points.
First: The diary must explicitly allege the existence of a conspiracy.
I start by pointing out that the diary must allege a conspiracy because I've seen too many diaries that do not do so accused of being CT. Just yesterday we had yet another diary with a glob of people yammering CT when no conspiracy was being alleged by the diarist.
For the record, alleging a conspiracy to exist means asserting that multiple persons or entities are (were) conspiring together to achieve a specific goal or end. I can't begin to enumerate all the times I've asked somebody shouting "CT, bad, bad, bad" to name the conspirators and the object of the conspiracy and found them unable to do so. (Many nonetheless insisted that the diary in question was a CT all the same, justifying said seeming idiocy by typing vapid non sequiturs like "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Hey, if you cannot even limit your determination of what is a conspiracy theory to assertions of conspiracy, then what makes you fit to judge what is or is not extraordinary or evidence?)
It must be emphasized that the diary must explicitly assert the existence of the conspiracy. It is not sufficient for some reader with a masters in creative reading to creatively so interpret the diary. If you cannot point to specific direct assertions, you are not dealing with CT in the diary, but only in your mind.
First Requirement Summarized
You must be able to name the alleged conspirators and the alleged object of the conspiracy as well as the language with which the diary explicitly asserts those specific claims or you should not claim that the diary is or includes CT.
Second: The allegation of a conspiracy must be false
Conspiracies abound. They are a dime a dozen and assertions regarding their existence aren't CT unless those assertions are false. There was a Watergate Conspiracy, there was a FBI conspiracy called Cointelpro, pointing them out is not CT.
1) Your belief or disbelief is irrelevant. It isn't whether you like believe that the conspiracy exists or existed, but whether or not the assertion that it does or did is false. Opinions don't make anything CT.
2) Lack of proof is not falsity nor even necessarily evidence thereof. Nor is failure to present what you may, in your infinite wisdom, consider to be extraordinary evidence, based on your personal determination that the claim in question is somehow extraordinary.
3) Denials by those lacking in credibility are not of significant evidentiary value. That includes those made by persons with a personal or political vested interest in convincing the public of the falsity of the assertions as well as most government agencies and officials.
Recap of Requirement 2:
The explicitly asserted claim of a conspiracy must be false
There you have it, CT requires an explicit assertion that two or more entities are conspiring to achieve some goal and the assertion is false (and known to be so).
Thank you for reading.