The Daily Kos FAQ is old, hosted on a moribund wiki that most current users are probably barely aware exists. The FAQ itself admits it's old and that the technical sections of the page are obsolete. And yet, to this day there is a link to it in the footer of every single page on this site. Until Markos disavows it or gives us something better, it is still the only resource I'm aware of that asks and answers the question "What is the purpose of this site?" And here's what it says:
(Condensed from this diary written by kos in late 2004)"This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog." Those words have been one click away from the home page for as long as I can remember. They are central to what this site is at its deepest core. They mean something. And they're there for a reason.
This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog. One that recognizes that Democrats run from left to right on the ideological spectrum, and yet we're all still in this fight together. We happily embrace centrists like NDN's Simon Rosenberg and Howard Dean, conservatives like Martin Frost and Brad Carson, and liberals like John Kerry and Barack Obama. Liberal? Yeah, we're around here and we're proud. But it's not a liberal blog. It's a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory. And since we haven't gotten any of that from the current crew, we're one more thing: a reform blog. The battle for the party is not an ideological battle. It's one between establishment and anti-establishment factions. And as I've said a million times, the status quo is untenable.The site has grown in the years since that diary. In a comment made in kos's town hall diary in early 2010, he noted:
Daily Kos will be what Daily Kos is, and that oftentimes evolves. I know everyone wants their clearly defined rules, but nothing is that simple.
This site is CERTAINLY NOT for all Democrats. Joe Lieberman learned that. Blanche Lincoln is about to learn it.
This site is about more and better Democrats, not necessarily in that order.
Around 2007, as long-time Kossacks may remember, there came a time when it seemed like every day brought new diaries and comments from people urging support for Ron Paul or the Green Party. As a community, we were slow to respond, and it became enough of a problem that it began to interfere with the purpose of the site as a place for helping to elect more and better Democrats. So we dealt with it. The consensus emerged that advocating for third party candidates, or for abandoning the Democratic Party, was ipso facto HR-worthy. Eventually, the Greens and the Ron Paul fans got the picture.
We have always had a culture of tolerating differences of opinion here. Disagreement can be fun! I often find myself drawn to diaries where there's a healthy debate going on, simply because unanimity can be so boring. But respecting differences of opinion does not mean that this site has to surrender its fundamental identity. If I ran a website about classic cars, say, I would expect (and even hope for) vigorous discussions in the community about the relative merits of Fords and Chevys. But I don't see any reason why I should be expected to tolerate people coming in and saying that classic cars suck and that we should all find something better to do with our lives. Such people are called trolls, and should be dealt with as such. (Indeed, HRs used to be called TRs: "troll ratings." I've never been convinced that the name change was a good idea.) One of the very earliest well-known definitions of "netiquette" (does anyone still use that word anymore?) was based in part on the principle that "the network is good and must be protected." The same is true of any community worth belonging to.
Today, we are faced with the same problem we had in 2007. Every day I see posts from people advocating abandonment of the Democratic Party, or channeling Ralph Nader to declare that there is "no difference" between the two parties. In my opinion, we've allowed this problem to get much worse than it ever got six years ago. And it's time for it to stop. From this moment forward, I shall consider any comments advocating abandonment of the Democratic Party or urging a vote for a third party to be HR-worthy, and treat them accordingly. And I urge others to do the same.
We are at a moment in which many users of this site believe that the government is committing acts of espionage and worse against its own citizens without the cover of law, and that Barack Obama is partially or completely responsible for it. I respect these beliefs, even if I do not share all of them. And those debates should continue here. If you're a fan of Ron Wyden, if you believe in the efforts by congressional Democrats to stop the abuses of the NSA and the FISA court, you'll have no problem from me. If you express that view in a respectful way and someone HRs you for it, I will uprate you to offset it. But if you don't believe that these problems can be fixed within the system, or if you don't believe the Democratic Party can have the moral authority to fix them, then this is not the site for you. Go away.
This is how I interpret the rules of this site, and I intend to interpret them as such until I'm instructed otherwise by Kos or members of the site leadership. If something I do triggers our new robot overlord and I lose my comment rating ability or even get banned, so be it. This is as good a hill to die on as any. The way things are going, if nothing changes around here, I won't want to be a member of this community much longer anyway.
UPDATE: After giving the matter some thought, I've removed the part about "asserting that the two major parties are morally equivalent." It was becoming a distraction, and I can accept that there's a difference, if not a big difference. For the time being I won't HR someone who gives the Ralph Nader "no difference" spiel but doesn't cross the line into advocacy. As I said in a comment, someone who really believes that is either an idiot or flat out doesn't care about climate change, health care, abortion rights, immigration issues, clean air, clean water, civil rights, progressive taxation, voting rights, GLBT rights, public works, same-sex marriage, church-state separation, worker rights, Social Security, Medicare, consumer protection, predatory lending, or a million other incredibly important, incredibly vital issues that affect all of us every day. And if that's you, then you're a bad person, and I have no use for you, and fuck you. But no doughnuts from me, for now.