Update — I have decided to go through with this.
The intent of this diary will be to test reactions from the DK community.
I will wait a few days to post this on DK. My target date will be the day it is discussed on the FP there, probably when DavidNYC returns from his vacation. My username is the same there. If you’re free at that time, your support will be appreciated.
Title: Will Daily Kos welcome the full range of Swing State Project users?
Subtext: Can a not so liberal Democrat feel Welcome at Daily Kos?
SubSubtext: Can a poster who feels lost in a huge fast moving community feel comfortable in a big city environment like Daily Kos?
I am a Democrat. I mostly left Daily Kos (DK) a while back in ’07, in part because it had grown a bit too large for me. In addition, I was starting to feel out of place, given the tenor of some of the comments. But I am currently a regular poster at Swing State Project (SSP). I felt like I had a home there, because of the focus on more Democrats, because they welcomed more conservative Democrats, and even have a significant population of “respectful” moderate and conservative Republican posters. Now that they are being merged under the DK umbrella, I feel like I’m being pushed back. I feel like I’m about to lose my community.
Susan Gardner, DK executive editor, has tried to make us feel welcome. http://www.swingstateproject.c… She has tried to reassure us that SSP will be able to retain its culture, post-merger. In context, her welcome reminds me of the promises from China just before they took Hong Kong back from the UK. One liberal blogsphere, two systems?
First, I’m not implying any similarity between DK and Communism, Maoism, or any sort of authoritarianism.
With that in mind, here’s a little background on my analogy: There was considerable fear in the first half of 1997, as the UK was preparing to return Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty. The fear came from the differences, not only in size, but in systems. The principle used to reassure the people of Hong Kong was “one country, two systems”.
By two systems, I’m referring to how SSP works differently from DK, and how I hope its culture is preserved after the merger.
One important difference is that SSP has welcomed Republican posters as guests. We’ve had several prized posters who’ve clearly identified themselves as R, who’ve provided excellent data and analysis — and overall have participated with honor. (We also have our share of New Democrats and Blue Dogs.)
It is important to me for the SSP section of DK (known as Daily Kos Elections [DKE]) to retain that same welcome. IMO, SSP works because that welcome extends to Democrats and Republicans of all ideologies, as long as they follow the standards of the SSP community.
I am one SSP user. I might be near the middle of the spectrum there. I support more Democrats. I believed it was important to support those Democrats who are less popular here on DK, such as Bart Stupak, Bobby Bright, and Gene Taylor, because they’re the best Ds we can realistically hope for from their districts. I think the move to primary Democrats like Scott Matheson was foolish, but wish someone would take out Dan Lipinski. I love those Democrats who represent me here in Oregon, as they represent me well. I believe we are a big party, better because we represent so many different points of view.
I want to be able to root for Democrats like Jon Tester, Ben Nelson, Heath Shuler, Joe Manchin, and Dan Boren here on DK without fear. I do not know if that is possible. Bluntly, one thing that unified many of us as SSP users is that common fear, based on our experiences at DK.
In general, SSP users don’t discuss policies, except in the context of how it affects election prospects. I believe some policies unpopular among DK users were the reason Democrats were able to hold the line against the R wave in ’10 here on the west coast. I support the fastest possible increases immigration consistent with our security, and want to move up that emerging Democratic majority.
I was discouraged by diaries like this http://www.dailykos.com/story/… where so many Democrats here at DK declared that they would vote for a Republican against the Democratic majority leader.
It’s not like I run every time I hear a bit of criticism. I’ve participated in and even helped moderate mixed forums before. By mixed, I mean a group which ranged from Kucinich Democrats through Michelle Malkin Republicans. Frankly, I was not sad when I needed to sanction R users. But I found it necessary at times to criticize people who are politically more like myself, when their behavior went over the line.
However, I’m not the fastest person to react. I try to take time to formulate the my responses. By the time I’ve reacted in the past Daily Kos, I feel like most posters have moved on to the next issue — and have stopped listening.
So I went looking for a smaller community. I tried OpenLeft for a while. I appreciated the quality of the work from the main diarists. But the language and actions from some of the main diarists towards commenters was discouraging.
I eventually found a home of sorts at Swing State Project (SSP), and started to post there regularly in mid-’09. But now, SSP is being incorporated under the Daily Kos umbrella. Despite the reassurances being given by great moderators like DavidNYC, JamesL, Crisitunity, and Jeffmd, I feel fear.
Perhaps this diary is a passive-aggressive reaction, and I am sorry for that. But given my experiences here at DK, I am gun shy about the coming merger. I do not know if I’ll come along for the ride. Back to my Hong Kong analogy, there have been and still are significant problems. However, many have been surprised by the autonomy retained by the Hong Kong “Special Administrative Region,” over a decade after the merger.
The current SSP welcomed Republican users, as long as they didn’t push issues. They kicked off a number of disruptive Democratic users, when they pushed issues. It is a Democratic site, with a clear bias towards more Democrats. I fear this is about to change. I know some of the Republicans on SSP do not feel comfortable coming along as SSP is brought under the DK umbrella in the coming weeks. I know that some excellent Democrats also do not feel comfortable coming along as well. Some are more, others are less liberal than I. I do not want to come into an echo chamber. While I understand that DK prides itself on being “reality-based,” there’s a peer pressure in numbers that’s often inescapable.
Nevertheless, I am thankful and grateful to DavidNYC, JamesL, Crisiunity, and JeffMD for the great site they created, and the welcome they’ve given to users like myself. I am glad for the opportunities they now have as part of the DK community. I wish them well in their new ventures.