Last week, Markos Moulitsas conducted a purge of Daily Kos removing a good number of people he considered to be “problems.” What didn’t escape notice was that a good many of the banned were people who pushed back against the “purity” group, posting defenses of the President, and a sizable percentage of the African-American posters. In reaction, a boycott of Daily Kos was called, and at least one very respected community, Criminal Injustice, took itself off of the site entirely. Having read many of the comments regarding this, in addition to being a former Kossack myself – although mine was entirely self-imposed – I have some thoughts on the matter.
First, for those who were unjustly banned, it’s not the end of the world. As many of us have found out, there’s a big world outside of Daily Kos, and many of us have moved on to other venues. Take a look over at the Blog Roll here, and you’ll see places where many familiar names can be found. All of us welcome comments, and some welcome new authors. Heck, start your own blog, and while it may take some time, you’ll get readers. For those who liked the “community” aspects, the other blogging software isn’t quite as nice as the Scoop platform, but for the price (free) and ease (really simple) you can’t beat WordPress or Blogger.
Second, for those who are boycotting Daily Kos this week, I hate to say it, but it’s not going to change things at Daily Kos. The reason I left there was my realization that the “trend” I had been seeing for several months was not the result of a “pie fight” (a battle between two factions on the site) but was the policy of the site’s owner. That is, he had made a decision to cast his lot with the firebaggers, the emogressives, the frustrati, the PUMA’s. Nothing in the almost two years since then has made me change my mind on that. If anything, from my perspective his current action is just another example in a long line of them.
If – or when - you return, you’ll find things won’t really have changed for the better. The same people who made the site a poisonous cesspit for many are now feeling empowered. They’ve received their validation from Kos. If you think the “drop” in hits may change his mind, sorry, but one week doesn’t do it. Sites vary their views constantly, and Daily Kos has seen large drops before – for example, right after the 2008 election. It’s considered a “temporary blip,” unless it continues. You may have a very temporary improvement in behavior, but it’ll be temporary.
I recognize that it’s hard to leave. I was a member of several communities, and it hurt to walk away from them. There are people I still correspond with, people I respect, and it’s tough to say “I’m sorry, but I won’t go to that place.” That was what brought me back there, after my leaving, but in the end, I realized I was better off just staying away. You see, in some ways, it’s like an abusive relationship. You have ties, you have history, you have a lot invested there – but you’re taking a lot of abuse. Leaving and going back is not going to change the abusive behavior.
Wrapping this up, if you’re staying away to boycott Daily Kos, recognize that it isn’t going to change it. If you return, be prepared to accept that you’re not likely to get Kos to change his mind anytime soon. If you decide not to return, you’ll find out that there’s a big world out there, full of people who are more than happy to have you. The choice is up to you.