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BloggingOn 2.3 – Daily Kos

(I recommend listening to this while reading my break-down of Daily Kos. It is one of several mp3 files posted on the “About” page, composed and performed by Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zúniga. I think we could spend an entire class discussing how incredibly odd it is that the founder of Daily Kos is also responsible for this bot-so-unique brand of tepid piano drivel.)

In “unlocking” Daily Kos I found the following link by Kos member “pastordan” fairly invaluable. In it, he outlines the basic ground rules for the Daily Kos community, and also states what he believes is the purpose of DailyKos: “to build up a strong Democratic party capable of resisting Republican political domination.”

So, DailyKos is a liberal/leftist forum for political expression. It is not created by a single individual, or even a small staff of writers. It is rather a complicated message board where members are invited to contribute “diaries” for public review. Anyone who joins DailyKos can post a diary, after abiding by the one-week waiting period. Similar to waiting periods for purchasing firearms, DailyKos’ policy on this is meant to prevent trolls (“A troll deliberately exploits weaknesses of human nature or of an online community to upset people.”) from disturbing the flow of ideas.

There is also a similar waiting period (24-hour ) for posting comments. Comments then receive a rating from 0-4. Ratings can only be given by “trusted users”. This rating system (referred to as the “mojo system”), serves to either elevate the user to “trusted user” status, or to force them off of DailyKos altogether. As pastordan explains: “This is a self-policing community, and we covenant with one another to make this board a place where all voices can be heard without fear of ridicule, hostility, or overtly hurtful responses.”

The obvious questions is this: can’t this system be easily exploited in order to marginalize or censor opinions that don’t jibe with the DailyKos message? And while the obvious answer is yes (insofar, at least, as that possibility exists), pastordan clarifies again: “Many users believe that the rating system is intented to be an opportunity to express agreement or disagreement with a post, or with the poster themself. This is not accurate; ratings are intended to help elevate those posters that consistently make clear, good arguments and points, regardless of content, and to prevent trollsfrom invading the message board. Downrating commenters on the basis of agreement or disagreement with their arguments leads to a monolithic forum, free of new ideas and input.”

In my opinion, the attempt is admirable. DailyKos, while firmly established on the left, seems to provide an open forum for the intelligent exchange of ideas. I’m sure there are more than a few message-boards and discussion groups on the internet that could benefit from similar strategies. Just the idea that someone (or a community of individual someone(s)) is interested in minimizing emotional knee-jerk reactions and maximizing responsible intelligent dialogue is a good thing.

However, while that may be the ideal, you don’t have to look very far to see that emotional knee-jerk mentality bubbling up here and there. Granted, he is an easy target, but I think that Democrats willingness to personally attack W makes it difficult to see them as opinioned but level-headed contributors to political dialogue.

Aside from the knee-jerk, the desire for status and recognition always seems to be lurking around somewhere, too. Check out these t-shirts from the DailyKos store. I don’t know which is worse: letting anyone buy one of these shirts, or restricting sale to users who have actually earned the “mojo 4.0” rating.

2 Responses to “”

  1. Blogger identity theft information 

    Plain talk about ESBs and SOA
    Truth, honesty, and objectivity are even rarer. I've known Annrai O'Toole, CEO of Cape Clear Software Inc.
    identity theft

  2. Blogger Brett 

    That is fantastically bad music. I agree in that I think the ratings system does inevitably allow the cream to rise to the top while keeping the "trolls" off of the board altogether. That shirt is also excellent motivation to get people to achieve the mojo 4.0 grand supermaster level.

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