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View Diary: You are much better than I am at figuring out what actions we should take (208 comments)

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  •  There are varying degrees of importance. (21+ / 0-)

    Some types of community activism likely get noticed but relatively ignored, as they don't appear to directly contribute to campaigns or getting more, theoretically better democrats elected. But noting which ones may help reinforce the infrastructure, laying the groundwork for other issues and ideals to be pursued, will make a difference.

    There are some types of actions that don't speak to a larger political form of activism yet are of key concerns to some groups; those, too, likely get at least a passing notice but aren't considered "actionable" in keeping with the overall vision and goal.

    And some types of issues garner attention, and maybe some action, but aren't "big" enough to draw upon requisite pools of larger resources.

    We have some specific "spinoff" segments to deal with some specifics - Daily Kos Elections, Daily Kos Labor, Mother Talkers, Street Prophets, Congress Matters, DKtv, Daily Kos Photo Coop.

    And there's some specific groups that help with "smaller" issues, awareness & acknowledgements: KosAbility, Top Comments, Black Kos, Community Spotlight, IGTNT, Native American Netroots, dKos Quilt Guild... there are many more, of varying sizes and levels of participation.

    Recently, one example of some intragroup community activism that achieved a small but measurable goal manifested in the Okiciyap Quilt Auction. That was a successful fundraising effort that garnered a large chunk of money for an important cause - it may not help more, better Democrats get elected, but it helped some people who needed help.

    Although helping the people of the Cheyenne River Reservation wasn't done out of political activism, it is and continues to be a truly human, humanitarian effort that espouses some of the best principles of democracy - and Daily Kos, as well the primary objectives of the dKos vision & goal - benefit from the association.

    Another example is the NOKXL Blogathon - part of serious climate reality activism. That was a community-coordinated effort that helped get the word out. Climate Change SOS, among other dK groups, helped fight that fight.

    The point of this is that there may be a couple of ways to ensure that some of these other "mini-campaigns" don't get lost - the energy and impetus they generate isn't lost to other causes, issues or events: it's generated and "there" - people helping people and taking action, being the grassroots.

    That's what we are. We're more than just a multivaried bunch of knuckleheads or keyboard commandos: we're a community of people from a myriad of backgrounds, "edumacation" and experiences that come together not simply for ranting or pooties & woozles or the latest (p)outrage...and not always, not solely for political activism.

    But there's important "smaller" issues that aren't necessarily "small" nor are they unimportant. And those issues do, often, tie directly to the main primary purpose of the site.

    Take NAN, for example. Native American Netroots isn't just raising the awareness of the community and public to Native American issues. It's also raising the issue of how to better help those communities, and in that pursuit it is looking to identify roadblocks: not all of which are roadblocks simply to Native Americans, or even to the wider communities of color, but issues that in one form or another affect EVERYONE.

    Example? Sure - tying in Voting rights & voter disenfranchisement. That's a big issue, and it's also one that the Native American community could use some help with. There was a proposal for a panel touching base on the issue at a NN a couple years ago that could have benefited due to location & timing. It didn't make the cut - so the issues stayed under-noticed.

    Yet it is an issue that could have significant impact on upcoming elections, off-year and not, if I understand even a small bit of what I thought navajo and Meteor Blades had mentioned about the issue.

    We can't let issues like that hit the sidelines. The community can pick up the slack on some elements, and on others it will take the ball, run with it, score a touchdown and do a happy dance. But there needs to be a better way to analyze issues that may fall by the wayside, and check to see if there's a way to elevate them for some clear action to help even the occasional "small" causes along - keep them noticed, keep their spark alive and help them develop.

    Not all of those causes will have larger, usually unnoticed or indiscernible  ties to bigger issues, but some do.

    And for those that do, recognizing those ties may help not only change the weighting of those issues, it could also help chart another path to attack whatever the wider issue at large is.

    Drones - not a good thing. Voter disenfranchisement - ditto. Warrantless wiretapping. CISPA. Keystone XL. Space exploration. Alternative energy. Sustainability. Cradle-to-cradle manufacturing. Single payer.

    Accountability for big banks, past political groups & presidents.

    Torture. Human rights. Indigenous rights; tribal sovereignty.

    Many issues, large and small, tie these things together.

    Not all the obvious metrics work - at least, not until they are able to be applied to data sets turned on their sides and inclusive of the information, activities, and patient mapping of the consequences (intended and otherwise, known knowns and known unknowns, etc.).

    Conclusion:
    We need an assembled, dynamic list of topics that folks can provide feedback on, which can also have notes added that would help identify when, where and how there could be additional advantages. And sometimes, those advantages may only consist of "because we're human and it's the right thing to do" - not because it helps achieve a "greater' agenda.

    Because that, in a very real aspect, is how we remain a community, and thus how we remain cognizant of and on track with the larger goals and vision of this site.

    IMO. YMMV. (anyone still reading this...?) ;)

    •  In summary: Adjust the threshholds. (12+ / 0-)

      Sometimes, include an item or items that fall outside the threshholds but appear to hold community interest: pockets of activity may indicate untapped veins, either for opportunities to encourage further engagement simply by helping out with a campaign that may not have met thresholds, or by finding a previously unseen connection and justifying it that way - accomplish the goal of addressing the introductory topic, and use the completion of the action to segue into the next related action.

    •  awesome comment, GreyHawk (13+ / 0-)

      sounds to me as if you're proposing a holistic approach to politics and engagement, rather than just going the biggest noise and most obvious and immediate returns. If you were to put it in economic terms, seems to me that you're suggesting to look beyond quarterly profits and valuing all stakeholders instead of just the immediate shareholders. I get some of the popularity contest metrics the administrators are using, but I don't think that should be the exclusive measurement. There are some things you just have to cover because it's the right thing to do. I get it that a lot of people enjoy it when Mitt Romney is made fun of, that's basically like catnip and I myself am very susceptible to that. But when innocent children are being droned or native American communities are starving or the planet is frying we owe it to ourselves to at least try to get people's attention. If we bill ourselves as changemakers, we sometimes have to take a chance on tackling low interest topics and try to make them high interest. I think any topic can be made engaging with passionate and imaginative writing and visuals.

      Ecology is the new Economy

      by citisven on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:07:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're scaring me, dude (6+ / 0-)

      We've just gone through a set of diaries accusing TPTB here at DK of corruption and co-optation in selecting panels for NN13 because a couple of proposals did not survive the selection process. When the complainer learned what the selection process is and the extraordinary measures that are taken to ensure that those of us who want to be part of that process are - and have always been - encouraged to participate in it, the result was an apology diary, an apology diary that nonetheless has its detractors who still insist against the original poster that DK has been co-opted and is 'run' top-down.

      Now we have your comment asking TPTB to assert themselves against the community 'in its best interests'.

      Let's review:

      At the most basic process level, every one of us can submit a diary - multiple diaries per day now - making a case that a particular subject is worthy of community attention.

      On top of that, DK now includes the 'Group' function that allows one quickly and easily to coalesce with every other member who agrees in that judgment and to campaign in a coordinated manner for its inclusion as a matter of high importance.

      And now we learn - I, for one, for the first time - that Chris and crew are observing carefully the results of all those efforts - individual and collective - to arouse the interest of this community.

      Aren't we talking about 'the marketplace of ideas' here? And isn't that a good thing?

      Or is community judgment only good when the results accord with our own individual preferences?

      I like things the way they are.

      Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

      by Clem Yeobright on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 04:05:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you're misreading what I'm suggesting. (3+ / 0-)

        The current methods by which TPTB select items for activism is based on finding elements that meet certain thresholds of popularity & impact. But those methods alone will create an eventual circle-jerk - possibly still a very effective one, but the purpose of this diary appear to be to ask how to be more effective - to help catch items and elements that are perhaps long, slow burning fuses which don't meet their existing thresholds but which are important to the community and could also help extend the reach, impact and effectiveness of our community.

        Remember, we've got some diaries that post at odd times in the firehose of throughput - some might hit the rec list, but shortly be replaced by other popular trends like Pootie or Woozle diaries, or by a rant by Bob Johnson when Rex donates his socks to charity and then claims the deduction on his own return (where he also lists Bob as a dependent, I hear).

        Some items that don't make the currently established thresholds are ones that might meet community standards of importance, and provide additional potential to expand the site's reach & potential effective impact overall, thus extending it's overall success.

        Thus, there needs to be some adjustment to the thresholds as well as some way to help identify sub-threshold issues which also serve to grow the community & advance its agenda as a whole.

        •  You want to save Billy Budd, don't you? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          melo, Smoh, GreyHawk

          I am having trouble understanding where fiddling with the thresholds ends and imposition of administrator quirks and preferences begins - and why that would be a good thing.

          We need an assembled, dynamic list of topics that folks can provide feedback on, which can also have notes added that would help identify when, where and how there could be additional advantages. And sometimes, those advantages may only consist of "because we're human and it's the right thing to do" - not because it helps achieve a "greater' agenda.
          Everything above is already in place except 'assembled', isn't it? Isn't everything there covered in user diaries?

          I'm impressed with the amount of effort Chris and friends have put into what they do. I certainly don't feel disempowered by the application of an algorithm to the activity of this site, but I would if I saw personal predilections being honored.

          That said, your 'circle-jerk' reference is valid and troubling. I hope - and expect - that there are periodic reviews and tweaks of 'the algorithm' so that  ... Billy doesn't hang, for instance, and I suppose I am comforted with the knowledge that kos can at any time hit 'Reset' if his site becomes pets.com ...  Still, I like what it has become, and I'm grateful for the effort put into it and especially for the renunciation of authority by TPTB. Thanks, people!

          Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

          by Clem Yeobright on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 06:09:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree & concur - (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clem Yeobright

            circle-jerks are troubling, and the folks here have created something very comforting with their yeoman's efforts at letting the community drive.

            I think that simply tweaking the algorithms, however, might not have the additional capacity to increase effectiveness that they're hoping for.

            But your other concern is crucial, too - anything added to the process of selection still has to have a primary community-driven aspect. I don't think the admins would be "imposing" authority - I think they'd be expanding their selection parameters for what gets pulled for action items, in a way that helps provide more balance to include some of the slower-but-longer-burning community issues that don't meet the current (but quite effective) thresholds for engagement.

            And I think the community is quite likely the key to providing ideas on how to identify such sub-threshold elements in a way that maintains integrity in the system, helping the admins make selections that aren't accidental personal projections of what is important.

            How? Not sure of a method at this time - but I'm sure Chris & others will welcome any suggestions for consideration. :)

          •  Additional thought: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clem Yeobright

            The admins, for example, might see a "trend" developing for a CT-like subject. Even if 1/3 of the site's active users at a particular time seem to be jumping into the fray, it may be something that's too detrimental to the site & reputation as a whole - so they don't go for it. It doesn't become an activity, or it might become a bannable offense if it gets too ridiculous.

            Other times, the site might jump on a hot topic like the live grenade of gun control - potentially driving off or alienating some users depending where the chips land.

            That's partly why kos rightly deserves the right to hit "Reset" and lay ground rules.

            Not all "big" topics will be selected, despite community participation, simply because the topic doesn't fit within certain internal guidelines that help provide the infrastructure that we are operating within.

            Similarly, some not so "big" topics might be worth popping into the community's wider lens - even if they don't meet the current threshold.

            The tricky bit is determining how to find and select such topics for action.

            ...suggestions...?  ;)

          •  By the way - love the Billy Budd reference. :) n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clem Yeobright
      •  I can't imagine OPOL didn't know (0+ / 0-)

        at least roughly what the selection process was. It was heavily discussed and presented last year. And many might not think that issues that seem to you like "personal preferences" (some more putting down words were used), when they quite clearly are issues whose interests go even beyond US borders?

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