Unless you’ve been at Daily Kos since the early days, you may not realize how much of the front-page content originated in the Community. Many staff writers and elections team members began as Community members, whose special interests and skills were first expressed in their personal Daily Kos blogs. The site lacked a comic strip, however, until 2010, when Eric Lewis, aka ericlewis0, launched Animal Nuz.
Today's Liberal News
It’s time to check the Community’s zeitgeist again now that we are nine months into the Biden-Harris administration with a signature infrastructure bill to be signed on Monday. A year ago, we were seesawing through election results, hoping nothing (else) dire happened before the inauguration. Then the insurrection gave one last flare of horror before the government was “free” of Trump and we could move on.
Everyone is a storyteller. Every day, we relate different stories to different audiences with different objectives. How we frame the story, the voice we use, and what details we include all contribute greatly to how audiences respond. Commiserating with a neighbor about our street flooding due to a leaf-blocked storm drain, for example, or calling Comcast about an internet connection that drops randomly, both involve telling our stories in search of a particular outcome.
“Hello, human diary! This is Mitt Romney, your better.” Nine years ago, in what feels like a much simpler time, The Chronicles of Mitt satirized Romney and his presidential campaign.
There’s been a lot of talk, on Daily Kos and elsewhere, about content warnings. Also referred to as “trigger warnings,” they send a quick signal to prepare your readers for what’s to come. Trigger warnings are not performative activism games intended to coddle fragility, or a means of short-circuiting discussion of uncomfortable topics. Instead, think of them as a way to avoid provoking serious trouble, like labels identifying food allergens at a potluck dinner.
Isn’t it time to stop sabotaging your excellent story with a crappy headline? You write because you have something to say to readers, and it’s discouraging when a thoughtful story sinks without enough interaction. While no magic formula can ensure your story is noticed among the thousands published every month on Daily Kos, you can improve the odds of attracting readers by practicing some basic headline-crafting principles.
This week’s story is about pie. It was inspired by snazzybird’s comment in my last rescue roundup: “My 16-year anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks. This place has been a haven for me, from the first day I found my way here. … If nobody has ever compiled and curated a ‘Daily Kos Pie Recipe Book,’ I really think it should be done.
Rescue Rangers have read every story published by Community members every day for the past 15 years. We’ve seen Daily Kos staff come and go, while authors we’ve promoted have become Rangers, Featured Writers, and members of the Community Contributors Team. We’ve worked through six iterations of user interfaces presented by different tech teams, haggled over by Community members, and adopted.
The delta surge has triggered the eruption of an enormous new anger in our zeitgeist. We’re tired of being nice to deniers and furious at people refusing to take sensible public health measures like getting vaccinated, social distancing, and mask-wearing. We’re fed up with ludicrous invented problems pinned to words like “socialism” and “critical race theory,” problems created to inflame anti-democratic frenzy and promote cruel policies.
The Community at the heart of Daily Kos manifests not just in our stories but also in our comments. We build community through our interactions, by asking questions of the group hivemind, seeking problem-solving help, fundraising to support causes and individuals, and by telling our personal stories. We fiercely defend our Community and hold it up as an example of what makes Daily Kos special, even as we gripe about the new site design.
When teenagers harassed a local Asian American business owner recently, the incident snagged my attention and not just due to the despicable act itself. Observers claimed the police chose to not take action because the kids were minors (and white, my critical mind added, recalling past city police abuses like this and this). I felt angry and frustrated with the kids, city officials, and my own helplessness to fix the problem.
Redwoodman, a member since 2006 whose 6412093 username was also his user ID, lived the three pillars of Daily Kos: News, Community, and Action. In his unique voice, Redwoodman told stories celebrating his love of nature, unions, and the fight for environmentally sound projects. His most recommended story told of two undocumented migrant laborers a gardener brought along “to help repair my garden walkways by leveling the paths and laying paving stones.
Congratulations to everyone who commented in the username origin story edition of Community Spotlight two weeks ago! In 1,293 comments, there was not one instance of acrimony, snotty rejoinders, or gripes. As elfling said, “I think the count is AWESOME. You host a great party!”
I agree, it was a great party, although it was all because of you—I only opened the room and made sure everyone was served.
Are you satisfied with your Daily Kos username? Why did you choose it? Does it influence how you are perceived by other members or affect how you present yourself? For most of us, the username we chose on Day One will last as long as Daily Kos bytes persist. Did you choose a name that now embarrasses you or is too cumbersome? Perhaps it leads to unexpected consequences, as did mine.
When I went to the dentist last week, I didn’t plan to bring up racism and entrenched systemic abuse of Black people in the U.S. Dodging conflict was a survival skill I learned in childhood, but I pushed past my aversion and took a risk. It was a tiny risk in a situation that wasn’t dire, but the results illustrate that facing difficult issues instead of skimming over the surface can help us break old patterns.
Has spring reached you yet, my northern hemisphere homies? The calendar, religious holidays, and flowering peach tree in my yard say spring is here, despite the April Fools’ Day surprise for baseball fans who saw snow fall on the season’s first home run. Birds fly north, croaking frogs seek mates, wildflowers paint mosaics across the landscape, and tree leaves unfurl. Spring this year is a more welcome revival than usual.
Dismay surged through the Daily Kos Community last month when Meteor Blades began his Feb. 25 Thursday Night Owls with these words: “This is the final edition of Night Owls, a themed open thread that has appeared at Daily Kos since 2007.” I knew we’d miss the intriguing news stories he featured every night for 14 years, plus the Tweet of the Day. However, I didn’t realize that the absence of the comment thread also would leave a huge chasm in my nightly routine.
A common theme of stories we rescued this week—infrastructure and science—makes a 180° turn from last week’s attention to classical literature. Community members spent this final week of February investigating the electric grid and water pipes, plus a niche topic in chemistry and pollution from plastics.
We Rescue Rangers know the Community has broad interests, but you surprised me this week by going big for two rescued stories covering subjects not remotely associated with current news and politics. Previously, I’d exclaimed that Community stories can offer “refuge from politics,” but that referenced nature, more commonly considered a haven away from troubling news.
Looking over the list of rescued Community stories this week, I thought “whew, back to normal” because fear, fatigue, anger, and outrage no longer dominate. For Rescue Rangers who read every Community story as we search for excellent work that deserves more attention, periods of extreme tension make for grueling reading. Imagine our four-hour shifts on Nov.
The day before the inauguration, I pored over images of the 2017 Women’s March, and wept for the particular combo of horror and hope we expressed. That largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history, when 4.6 million people participated in Women’s Marches across the U.S., wasn’t billed as a protest against Trump.
Writing these blurbs for the 14 rescued stories was like reliving the week’s tension over our political turmoil, plus Trump’s wacky-yet-not-amusing alternate election reality, and other conspiracy theories. Two wildlife refuge stories with gorgeous photos offered me an escape from our national drama, a peaceful time to restore my energy, and motivated me to guide others to the nature havens of Daily Kos.
It’s not because we have shorter attention spans than goldfish that this week’s rescued stories shifted focus from the 2020 election. The goldfish myth has been debunked—by fish themselves demonstrating to researchers that their memory is just fine. Fish recognize and learn from each other, have complex spatial maps of their habitats, and when taught to avoid a trap, they will remember that lesson for at least a year.
Every day, a team of Daily Kos members reviews all stories published by the community. When awesome work doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, we rescue that story to the Community Spotlight group blog. Today, I am turning the spotlight on the collection of stories we rescued in the past week and telling you how to find them.
From newly joined members to a 14-year veteran member, these stories show off the talents and interests of the Daily Kos community.
We’ve been distressed by photos of wildfires raging through California’s coastal redwood forest for over a week now. Many of us see the redwood forest as our homeland, or as parks we’ve enjoyed on vacation, so the loss is personal and devastating. The media, however, has been too fast to report this as “all is lost.