Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

November 17, 2004

by J

A Note on the Daily Kos

A little while ago I think I alluded to the fact that I don't post on Daily Kos much anymore. I never really posted there that much compared to many others, but I rarely bother to get involved in a thread at all anymore, even the outrageous ones where someone needs a good usenet-style smacking around. There are many reasons for this, not least of which that I have my own sites that I can post to, if I feel the urge. And, I'm rather fatigued.

But, galiel, ever insightful, has a post up about online communities and how they grow and how Kos himself is failing his own community in some ways. Read the whole thread -- galiel participates throughout. As someone (like galiel) who's been participating in (and sometimes running) all kinds of communities over the years - not quite two decades, at least a decade and a half - I think he's on to something.

And, I was dismayed to read Kos' response in that very thread. It bespeaks a particular immaturity that seems unproductive and unwilling to learn or to consider changing a mode of operations in light of changing circumstances. As galiel points out in the thread, this is particularly ironic given that's Kos's own criticism of the Democratic party.

It's a shame really. I still skim the diaries for links to interesting news bits I wouldn't have gotten otherwise and for Dean tidbits, but Kos's continued stubbornness on these points affirms my instincts that the community may not move to the next level, which means it will probably end up stagnating in one way or another.

It's the Internet, though, there'll be another one to take its place soon enough...
Posted by J at November 17, 2004 05:21 AM

What do you perceive to be the "next level?" I've always felt Kos was pretty far from top-down, as much as any opinion site can be. How is it more top-down than VJ, for example?

Posted by: BZ at November 17, 2004 02:43 PM

VJ is not the same kind of site that Kos is at all, even if they look similar superficially, so I don't think comparisons in that way are meaningful.

I think that at a minimum what galiel was urging in the thread would be a good start.

It's not "top down" or "bottom up"-ness that is my disappointment so much as Kos's seeming resistance to learning from what has gone on in other online communities as they have attempted to scale up. There is a rich wealth of knowledge in people's heads and literature out there from the past couple of decades. It's sad to me to see that he doesn't seem even curious in understanding the dynamics, pitfalls, and potential opportunities that growing a vibrant community can present - beyond what he's learning from direct experience. (Which is not to be sneezed at, btw..)

Now, I don't care about dKos so much that I'm going to make it a mission of mine to educate him - note that I didn't even post in the thread in question - but my observations generally concur with galiel's. That's all.

Posted by: J at November 17, 2004 03:17 PM

VJ is not the same kind of site that Kos is at all, even if they look similar superficially, so I don't think comparisons in that way are meaningful.

Illustrating how this is the case would be a good thing. I'm not sure how Kos works, and although I think I get VJ fairly well, if you can see how people might say that they look the same on the surface, it would be a good thing to go a bit further under the surface and point out the differences.

Posted by: Janis at November 17, 2004 08:18 PM

I wouldn't rely on kos (or any other 'major' blogger for that matter) for grass roots leadership. They have been co-opted by the DNC leadership and paid off in advertising and consulting deals.

kos, in the thread explains his role best:

I advocate for the larger machine, while having a role in one of the cogs.

Look no further than how they have all lockstep adopted the party's cone of silence about the vote fraud allegations - or how kos jumped off the Dean bandwagon when the party elites started showing their displeasure with his candidacy.

kos isn't a revolutionary, he just plays one on his blog.

Posted by: Night Owl at November 18, 2004 02:55 AM

galiel's diary as mentioned above seems to have disappeared. Did he take it down?

Posted by: Serephin at November 24, 2004 02:34 PM

It looks like it. That's a shame.

And, tangentially, another reason why I don't post much there (or get very heavily involved in forums where it's hard to keep a local copy of the discussions) -- one never knows when one's words will just disappear at someone else's whim. There was some good conversation in that thread, IIRC, too.

Posted by: J at November 24, 2004 04:06 PM

I wish I could have read that thread. It sounds as if it was likely constructive criticism. Some folks just can't take it, I guess.

I don't post much on Kos anymore either. My main gripe is that I tire of the self appointed "rules police" that hover over every thread..looking for ways to snottily beat people over the head. If your post is three sentences, it's too short and should be in the open thread. If your post is too long..you should have put a large portion below the fold. If someone else diaried on that topic six hours ago, you damned well better not diary on it again. It's ridiculous.

The content on Kos is fine in a lot of ways. The diaries can be very informative and many of them are currently elevated to the main page, which is nice.

I think Kos has allowed his ego and self importance to cloud things. It's understandable given how he's grown that community, I suppose. It's easy to lose sight.

Posted by: carla at November 27, 2004 03:26 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

In Association with Amazon.com