Some thoughts on the Great Kos Purge and the Boycott

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.



Filed under Politics

25 responses to “Some thoughts on the Great Kos Purge and the Boycott

  1. Pangloss

    You might want to add Balloon Juice to your blogroll. ABL blogs there, and the Kos Kids/EmoProgs have been trying to launch a beachhead there.

    • I actually did have it there at one time, but I dropped it on purpose. 😉 Generally, I only keep blogs I actually read on the blogroll, and some have just dropped by the wayside, or are on hiatus/defunct.

  2. You’re so very correct, Norbrook. No amount of boycotting is going to change the culture at that site. People saying they are boycotting for a week sound like addicts bargaining with themselves.

    • I understand the bargaining, and the idea. The problem is that they think Kos really cares whether they return or not. He won’t care until the day the Internet community goes “Who? Oh yeah, weren’t they popular way back when?”

  3. trs

    You might want to add Motley Moose to the blogroll. Some of us have ended up there. I hadn’t been there much since April, and have no intention of going back. My psyche and blood pressure don’t need it. I’ll miss some communities, but I have to do it.

    • I just made it visible. 🙂 My actual blogroll is much larger than what you see here. WordPress gives me the option to keep a link “private” – that is, only I can see it. I will on occasion shuffle the list, or for various reasons remove one from visbility.

      • By the way, blackwaterdog is on hiatus. 😦

        I went over there to steal see some Obama photos and noticed that she left a message earlier in August.

  4. You are quite correct, Norbrook. I looked at the page hits and views and the difference was not even observable. It is hard to tell because you would have to compare it to what the week would have been which is, of course, impossible.

    WordPress is a great (free) tool. I put my site up in less than an hour (then, of course, spent 2 hours tweaking it!).

    As far as DKos changing, they get 1.7 million hits a day. They have 7,000 active bloggers. There will always be something there. For large projects like blogathons and for activism like the Wisconsin Awakening, you can’t beat the immediacy and the sheer power of numbers. As far as day to day blogging, there are better posts on other sites and your advice to peruse your blogroll is a good one.

    • Just a correction: Your scale is off, it’s that many hits a month, not a day. 😉 It’s not anything to sneeze at, but it’s not in the category of HuffPo.

      You’re right about the effect – I looked at it as well, and it didn’t seem to have a drastic effect. Having looked at site traffic stats for a long time, you can see swings up and down constantly, and even short-term “trends” which even out in the long run. That doesn’t mean that DK isn’t losing visitors, it is. Considering that they were touting their 2 million plus monthly visitors in the early part of 2008, and their current visitors stats, it’s clear that they’ve lost something. But it wasn’t an immediate impact.

      • Oops. You are right. I was using this Site Meter and grabbed the wrong number. Ha! 1.7 million hits a day would make kos a millionaire. Looks like about 300k to 500k a day … still nothing to sneer at. This graph shows what you are talking about. Like all blogs, the stats go up and down. Weekends are quieter, big events bring in more hits, blah blah blah.

        The other thing to remember is what makes up the hits. For example, posts to Facebook and Tweets create hits as they cycle into those servers. The tweets may never be read by anyone so can that logically be called a hit? Probably not.

        I can say this from what I saw (I did not boycott … I have a community diary that I do there daily) is that it had an impact on kos, the person. He came out with new standards on Tuesday that state that he is not going to put up with people hijacking other people’s diaries. Whether that solves the problem or not, only time will tell. As you point out, the rancor runs deep and there are way too many frustrati who feel very comfortable there.

        By the way, I crossposted this piece from my blog and it only got one frustrati. Last week, it would have been the breeding ground for a lot of pie fights.

        • His Alexa stats have consistently put the site in the 900-1100 range in the US rankings, which, again, while nothing to sneeze at, doesn’t put it into the “top tier” of sites.

          Honestly, I think any change will be temporary. Kos is two years too late with any attempt to bring the site back under control. In search of increased hits he threw his lot in with the frustrati, and while it worked, it was something I felt was going to backfire on him in the long run. The “Obama sucks!” message his site has been drumming on for a while is not going to fly next year once the election gets underway, and any attempt to get back to being a “Democratic site” is going to be dragged under by those same people.

          I’ve seen this pattern before on a lot of sites, and it’s always the same. Unless the site/list owner steps on things in a hurry, unless they have a clear and consistent standard, it’s going to degenerate into a factional battle which ends up either ending the place or turning it into a very minor, low-traffic site. Kos’ pattern has always been to run in after things have blown up and try to sweep up the pieces. Instead of keeping the fire from starting, or putting it out when it’s small, he tries to put out the last embers on charred wreckage. 🙄

          • overseasgranny

            “The “Obama sucks!” message his site has been drumming on for a while is not going to fly next year once the election gets underway, and any attempt to get back to being a “Democratic site” is going to be dragged under by those same people.”

            DK has been hijacked as effectively by the anti-Obama groups as the old Republican party has by the Tea Party.

          • I think that hijacked is the wrong term, in that it was very obviously a decision Kos made to turn his site over to them. Attempting to change direction and bring it back to where it was in the 2006 or 2008 election cycles is going to be virtually impossible. The lunatics now run the asylum.

            As to what I think will happen, you just have to look at My DD. That was once one of the premier Democratic sites, top of the line bloggers with a sizable audience. It was the site that gave Kos his start. After throwing in with the PUMAs during the election, it has faded into being just a very minor site, with a ranking that doesn’t even crack the top 100K on Alexa.

  5. overseasgranny

    Those that are anti-Obama or bigots could care less about the boycott and are probably happy those people boycotting are gone. Why even think about going back to a poisonous atmosphere like the one there?

  6. KayCeSF

    I boycotted to register my outrage, but I agree, Norbrook, nothing about the boycott is going to change a thing. Not the ratings, not the people lacking conscience who now feel empowered by the boycott and want to continue their hateful, racist, bigoted, unintelligent propositions that our President can never be right no matter what he does who feign some kind of progressive activism for the Democratic Party.

    I also agree it is only going to get worse if we return, therefore, I’m not going back. I have mostly lurked over there for the last six months or more. I prefer reading you and anyone posting at TPV, and I’m searching out other sites to read. I find DKos unhealthy for the Democratic Party and for my own peace of mind. I have never felt DKos speaks for the rest of the country, so why in the world do I need or want to enable the hatred and conflict at that site? The explosive threads and diaries that provote the anger perpetuated by the petulant and disaffected Dems, Greens, so-called Progressives are not helping our Party.

    Attending DKos is like walking the endless loop of demoralization. Who needs it? I’m going to move off that endless loop and move forward. We have a President who needs us to work for HIM, not Markos and his little gang of self-important game-players. Arguing with any of them gets us nowhere and actually puts our Party at a disadvantage, because we aren’t getting anything substantively done!

    I was hoping Markos would man-up and apologize and ameliorate. But he’s not going to do that. Business as usual. Period.

    • Exactly. At the beginning of this year, I pointed out that their griping no longer matters.

      The harsh reality is that any chance of advancing a progressive agenda, pure or not, went out the window when the new Congress took office. Bitching about ideological purity is a waste of time, and totally meaningless. The real problem is trying to keep the damage that the House Republicans want to do to a minimum. None of the attempted rollbacks of LGBT rights, women’s rights, environmental legislation, food safety, and education among many others are because of the Blue Dogs. It’s not because of anything that the President is doing.

      • KayCeSF

        So we have to take our Congress back to allow Nancy to take that big ole gavel back from Boehner before Cantor does. I worry.

        • That’s exactly what we have to do. 😀

          The last chance for Markos to be serious about “cleaning up” Daily Kos was right after the 2010 elections, or back in February. It was obvious that the Teapublicans were serious. Deranged, idiotic, insanely stupid, but serious. It was the point at which real progressive blogs, the pragmatic liberals, pivoted from “what the Democrats haven’t done yet” to going after the Republicans. That’s exactly what you didn’t see at Daily Kos, Firedoglake, and Democratic Underground. They kept right on going telling everyone how the President was a failure, whining about Blue Dogs and how things “should be.” Totally ignoring that they had a much bigger problem with the Republicans, in fact, you’d have had a hard time figuring out that the Republicans controlled the House in Congress, with all that means if you just read what they were writing.

          That he delayed, that he’s equivocated even now, just shows that he isn’t serious. Hence, nothing has changed. As I said earlier, he’s over trying to put out the last embers on a charred ruin, instead of putting out the fire when it was getting started.

  7. You know I always read your blog. I’m out of town tending to the latest Grandkiddo and I have a little time to catch up. As far as I’m concerned the Daily Misery is dead meat. Let the buzzards feed.

    Now, I thought you might get a laugh out of this. THIS IS NOT A JOKE, it happened. I’m in CO right now and want to share this story told me by a guy who works for the Gov in Wyoming. Apparently his district has had a lot of trouble with coyotes attacking sheep so they had a huge local meeting with BLM, Fish and Game etc plus Sierra Club and local ranchers. The Sierra Club person stood up and presented this plan of trapping and neutering the male coyotes.

    An old rancher stood up and said:

    “But Ma’am, you don’t understand. Them coyotes ain’t fucking the sheep, they’re eating them!”

    Sorry for OT but I thought we could all use some humor around these parts.

  8. I really wish I’d been at that meeting. 😆

  9. overseasgranny

    I am watching the great racism debate at DK just out of sheer curiosity. Seems we have spent a couple of days affirming that “we once had a black friend” usually way back in high school or college, like 30-40 years ago. Today is sports day and “we” are remarking that it seems that there are quite a few sports figures that are African-American.
    I doubt “we” will get round to actually discussing racism until maybe 2015-6 at this rate.