• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    lililam on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    lililam on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    William on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    Catscatscats on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    Sweet Sue on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    Propertius on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    Propertius on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    Propertius on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    Propertius on Here’s the approved GOP talkin…
    Catscatscats on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    bellecat on Here’s the approved GOP talkin…
    William on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    jmac on To impeach or not to impeach,…
    jmac on Also…
    William on Also…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    April 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Mar    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    282930  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

  • Top Posts

  • Advertisements

DailyKos: Conversion and Conformity

ccv3h71w8aasjtlPeter Daou wrote about Markos Moulitsos, founder of DailyKos, and his announcement that he will be shifting his support to Hillary as soon as the nomination is wrapped up. Sorry, Bernie fans, time to get in line.

Atrios yesterday wrote that he doubted that one person’s “Why I am Voting for So&So diary” is worth anything. I was happy to see Atrios embrace the idea that your vote is your own but I think he’s dead wrong about the value of the conversion diary. Maybe they’re not as powerful as they used to be but I saw DailyKos lose its collective mind and then get in line twice in 2007-2008. First, it went bat s^&* crazy over John Edwards, then when Edwards became non-viable, it became moonstruck over Obama.

During the infamous Rec List Hostage Crisis of 2008, the pivot from Edwards to Obama was incredibly smooth. I could almost swear that the same people were writing those diaries.

The value of the testimonial can not be underestimated. Maybe we should get John Dehlin, psychologist, former Mormon and host of Mormon Stories to come and explain how it works. The conversion or testimonial is particularly effective in groups that are also exercising other high control tactics, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

A typical conversion story relates how a person is transformed by a moment of revelation. They become “born again” in some important way. People who study high control groups might say the convert’s  behavior has been unduly influenced by informational, emotional and thought control. Go ahead, read about the BITE model and you’ll never see DailyKos in the same way again.

That’s why I think Markos’s conversion story looks like it might not be important to those of us who have figured out how he operates even if it eventually does. His life is only going to change if his revelation leads to more advertising revenue from the Clinton campaign. Deep down inside, I doubt that Markos is wed to any one particular candidate. If anything, he seems to swing Libertarian and attracts the same guys who are stuck in adolescence who aren’t going to let any woman be the boss of them. It’s his business model.

Also, the conversion story does not work in the absence of other features. There has to be praise of the convert. In many religions and high control groups, this would include love bombing. At DailyKos, love bombing is accomplished through the use of recommendations. If a diarist gets enough recommends, their diary can make it to the recommended diary list where its prominence will influence other Kossacks.

The more you toe the founder’s line, the more mojo you get. That is, your level of  authority, at DailyKos increases and you can achieve Trusted User status. A trusted user has very few privileges and while Kossacks are told they don’t mean much, they actually do. A Trusted user can demote recommendations. They are enforcers. A mob of enforcers can deplete a Kossack’s mojo completely. If you don’t stay with the herd, you can be excommunicated and banned from the site.

This is what happened to me in January 2008 when I used the word “jihad” to explain how Obama supporters were mobbing other candidate’s supporters on DailyKos in order to get them banned. In the span of a couple hours, I went from being a trusted user to an exile. I was on to them by the time I posted that diary and while my diary was not meant to get me banned, I watched in fascination how efficiently and quickly the process worked.  I guess to someone who likes to be one of a crowd, that might have been devastating and I saw other Kossacks try very hard to not it happen to them. But for me? It was no big deal. What I learned at DailyKos was that I could write well enough to make the rec list fairly frequently. So, I left and started The Confluence. I didn’t get the fame or the ad money but I’ve enjoyed it anyway.

Those of you who still visit DailyKos can correct me if I’m wrong on any of this. Some of the rules of the game have changed since I was there last. The parameters of the model can be tweaked to keep everyone in line. But Markos knows what he’s doing and he set up his site to enforce conformity and a single message. Yes, there is a bit of wiggle room there. It’s like the difference between being a Methodist and a Presbyterian but it’s still Christianity. And when Markos signs the contract or gives the nod of the head, the machine works of his site will kick into gear and everyone will fall in line, write conversion diaries and disfellowship the apostates.

It’s conformity on a grand blog scale.

Maybe it doesn’t mean as much as it did 8 years ago. But Markos still attracts a lot of the same kind of people. They talk amongst themselves, reminisce about when they had their revelation and swallow their disappointments on queue when their leader gets “new light”.  And when it came time to throw away rules, disenfranchise voters and abbreviate roll call votes in Denver, the Kossacks were enthusiastic supporters of all things not very Democratic. We ended up with an establishment president who is more conservative than just about anyone on DailyKos but by golly, they won, didn’t they? So what if they ripped their party in two in the meantime?

They have a lot in common with Trump supporters.

Yes, conversion diaries, especially many of them, written with the blessing and encouragement and sometimes the coding skills and public megaphone of the founder, can and do make a difference. It simply is what it is, regardless of what Atrios says.

 

Advertisements

About Kos and Netroots Nation

Please fade away

I’m embellishing a comment I made in the last thread and moving it up to the front page.

This is not specifically about Netroots Nation and Markos Moulitsos, the founder of DailyKos, and why he won’t go to Arizona next year.  However, I went to the first two YearlyKos events so I can comment on this whether they like it or not.  The first YearlyKos in Las Vegas was amazing.  The second was just weird in ways I can’t even describe.  The “vibe” was off and I started to feel coerced in a way that was not dissimilar to the kind of emotional manipulation you might find in a fundy evangelical tent revival meeting.  It was deeply unsettling.  So, maybe I knew after YearlyKos2 that I didn’t really belong anymore.

But now I hear that Kos is onboard with getting behind Hillary and telling his droogs to fall in line.  I don’t know because I don’t go to DailyKos and haven’t for going on 6 years now.  But I did read his self-righteous little screed about why he wouldn’t be attending Netroots Nation in 2015 and here’s my take on it:

For the presidential campaigns of 2016, Kos should STFU. Seriously, it was Kos that forced us (Clintonistas posting at DailyKos) out of our tribe and then lead the social psychology storm troopers to quell stifle smother kill dissent on the left.  If I recall correctly, he referred to us as a “shrieking band of paranoid holdouts”, or something to that effect. (Katiebird may remember the lovely term of endearment better than I can) Let’s examine Kos’s moral authority to make pronouncements about 2016.

Did Kos support Florida and Michigan voters in 2008? Um, no.

Was Kos a Hispanic leader defending the rights of primary voters who were locked out of Texas caucus sites? Um, no.

Did he defend the little old ladies who were silenced in Kansas? How about the primary votes in NJ that were handed over to Obama at the convention without so much as a “by your leave” by that paragon of virtue, Jon Corzine? Did he question the precedent the Democrats were setting when the most successful female candidate in the history of American politics was humiliated by being denied a legitimate role call vote at the convention?

No, No and, most emphatically, No.

His behavior was egregious and extraordinarily un-democratic in 2008 but no one challenged him. Well, WE did but then his flying monkeys accused us of racism.

So, I’m sure that Kos now flatters himself as a man of principle by refraining from entering Arizona. But he sold those principles to the highest bidder in 2008 giving us a president who I am convinced will go down in history as the Nero of our republic. In the process, he helped to invalidate the primary system, promoted the ends justifying the means, and allowed misogynism of the most vile and opportunistic kind to flourish on his blog.

So, fuck Kos with a 2″ diameter test tube brush.

He’s done enough damage. The best thing for Democrats to do is to get the hell out of the way and let people have choices in 2016.  A legitimate primary where real issues are discussed in detail by women who are familiar with policy, and can extrapolate policy outcomes, would be a very good thing. The party’s obsession with trying  to decide what is the best for us (and I am being generous with my words here) backfired stupendously in 2008.  It needs to back off now.

Just stop tinkering with the election process. Most Democratic voters know who is going to work for them. They don’t need to be corralled like sheep.

Update: So, I went over to the Big Orange Satan to see what they’re up to and it’s worse than I thought.  They are playing with dangerous things.

Update2: Maybe it doesn’t matter whether Kos attends Netroots Nation.  But we should never forget the atmosphere that he created in 2008 or dismiss the idea that it can’t happen again.  It can if we aren’t vigilant.  IMHO, Democrats should start with a fresh slate in 2016 (not necessarily fresh candidates) and evaluate candidates more dispassionately than they did in 2008. (yes, I know I’m dreaming)  As far as I can see, we did not learn our lessons and safeguards are not in place in the primary system or online to prevent a repeat.