April 24, 2004
POLITICS: More Kos For Concern
So after Thursday's post I am informed, in at least one case with a fairly typical lack of civility, that there is a distinction between those posters at Daily Kos who could be considered co-bloggers and those who make "diary" entries posted to a different part of the site . . . I'll admit that in my time of reading the site I never really noticed the difference, and I don't think it makes much of one, in the sense that the site really has more in common with the Democratic Underground or FreeRepublic.com than with a mainstream blog in having no filter whatsoever to keep the worst examples of hate-filled extremism from filling up the site (at least Charles Johnson, for all the guff he gets, doesn't let the nuts out of the comment section). [UPDATE: Gerry Dales assures me that Free Republic does, in fact, have filters to keep the place from going to the nuts. My bad - not a site I read regularly either, and perhaps I'm making the mistake of buying into the bad reputation of the site in some quarters. Lesson: don't make generalizations about sites unless you're a regular reader.].
I went back today just to look over the "diary" area, and like clockwork there was this beaut, reprinted in its entirety:
is it time yet to turn on our soldiers
Sat Apr 24th, 2004 at 16:04:28 EDT
I ask this question knowing I will inflame many here.I'm just old enough to remember vietnam and how divided this country was back then.One reason the people who opposed Vietnam were able to stop it was that the people doing the killing were being shunned by their peers.In the Iraq war we are now involved in all responsibility is being placed at the feet of the president and his neocon cabal and those who are doig the killing are being portrayed as heros with no responsibility.The fact that they "volunteered"is also being used to make it seem like they agree with the policy in Iraq.The shunning of people like Kerry may have made him think long and hard about his service in vietnam which the soldiers in Iraq may choose to avoid if no responsibility is placed on them.
I hope this diary and the dicussion to follow will stay civil.I realize how tempting it will be to give a gut level response and hope that can be avoided.
Granted, the author here at least thinks he's being civil . . . people like this may shed crocodile tears for our troops, but this is clearly not a show of sympathy here.
In a few minutes you will have some email regarding this post.
I'm not sure if you end up at Daily Kos via a link from some other Kos-basher or what. I think if you spent enough time over there to find that diary on your own you would have a better handle on how things work...
You are basically passing judgement on a popular site with a vast array of content and contributors by the comments of one person. It's pretty much like if someone pulled one of my comments here and claimed it represented "The Baseball Crank" blog.
I am a regular reader, user and commenter over there. The vast majority of the content is well-reasoned and (to me) interesting if not enjoyable. Clearly you are going to have issue with a lot of what you read on a lefty site, and that's fine, but if you are going to pick posts like that as if they represent an accurate portrayal of the Kos community you are being disengenuous.
Anyone can register as a user at Kos and post a diary. It is a reader-regulated site. Posts, diaries and comments are "rated" and you can feel free to sign up and comment yourself and give that guy a bad rating.
From the FAQs at Kos:
You have to register with the site to post comments or diaries.
New users must then wait 24 hours to post a comment, and one week to post a diary.
Trusted and Untrusted Users
This site uses a system called "Mojo" to try to keep the comments as high-signal as possible. All users can rate all comments, except their own, between 1 and 5. When your comments are rated by others, those ratings are combined into a weighted average -- newer comments count more than older ones -- called your "Mojo". This, roughly, represents the rating we could expect your next comment to receive based on your past comments.
Users who have a mojo greater than a certain minimum and who have posted a sufficient number of comments are considered "trusted" users, and have the added capability to rate comments below the normal minimum rating. If enough of a user's comments are rated below 1, that user becomes "untrusted", which means that respected members of the community have repeatedly indicated that your input is offensive, content-free, or merely intended to annoy others.
Below is a comment posted in that thread from a guy who actually is a "co-host" who posts in the mainbar (ala Mad Hibernian?):
you ask in good faith... (4.00 / 9)
...and the answer is nope, never. They are honorable men and women doing what they think is right. If they are misled or poorly informed (poorly led and misinformed?) it is not their fault.
These kids think they're doing the nation's work for 9/11. how can you fault them? Out in the field they're protecting their buddy's backs and their own butts.
Adding to the inevitible trauma when they get home is wasteful and cruel, and changes nothing.
I frequently go over to David Hackworth's site to see how the grunts are taking things. The answer is in many cases, just like us. They have a different angle on what they're supposed to be doing, but when soldiers do the wrong thing, inevitably it's because the folks giving the orders are the ones screwing up. Now, I'm not a vet. But that's a Vietnam lesson.
"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx
by DemFromCT on Sat Apr 24th, 2004 at 16:13:14 EDT
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The comment above got great ratings, the diary post that Crank refers to got a bunch of zeroes. The diary's author, however, knew he was going to get slammed for bringing up an extremely touchy subject (in an extremely clumsy and poorly-written manner I should add). I gave the diary a 2 ("marginal") for his attempt at honest discussion, even though I don't agree with him nor am I even clear what he is advocating, if anything.
In conclusion, Kos has to live with the fact that he doesn't censor posts and allows pretty free access to people to contribute. Both are admirable even if the result always isn't.