Request for Action

    I want to invite everybody who reads this to give some response, one way or another, and as short as a "yes" or "no" if nothing more.
     I suspect that there are many who read here often but who seldom, or never, add there own comments and reactions. There are several areas of constant and important discussion where that applies to me. I very seldom interact on economics and related policy, for example, and the same was true in the long and ongoing debate about health care reform, but I follow those topics with great interest here because I have come to value the informed opinions of many of the contributors as well as to admire there writing ability and style. Anyone reading this will know that some of those voices have checked out due to, I believe, a combination of anger and frustration.
     I have been hoping that those who have left will drift back. KGB has and I hope it is for the long run. Yesterday Desider showed up and that encouraged me a lot. I should have said welcome back like bslev did and added that I too hope that he will choose to stick around. I would be happy to spring for that cold beer, or two or three or four, that was suggested. For you too, bslev. Others who have added so much here, but that I have been missing since feeling got a bit raw, include Wendy Davis, Obey, Quinn, Cho, and Artappraiser. There are others who had already become, for whatever reasons, only occasional drop-ins, such as Amike and Sleepin Jesus and Miguelito. Ready to Blow is out there somewhere. This is not intended to be a completely comprehensive list of my favorites, such a list would vary with all of us, but I think everyone here will agree that these are all people who add substance and variety as well as feeling and art and passion to the various topics which bring us here. One thing for sure, it aint gonna be the same if they stay away and I, for one, think it will be much for the worse if they do.
     I do not think that it is being too presumptuous to think that the moderators here, who have the un-fun job of moderating, have been proud to have people of this quality participating in the site that they put together. I hope that they will join with me, and what I believe to be the overwhelming majority who read here, in taking this opportunity to invite everyone of them to come back. 


    Sites such as this that deal with political and socio-economic matters tend to have two competing motivations (an oversimplification which is the nature of the best of comments): the desire to engage in spirited debate with those who do not see eye to eye and the desire to engage on issues with those of kindred spirits.  I think we all move along the spectrum of these two desires depending on our mood and the time of the day.  Sometimes the spirited debates that devolve into name calling gets too much, or in a moment of arrogance, dealing with those who just don't get it gets too much.

    With that said, I wish to say I would like join in the invitation to everyone to come back and join in the spirited (and spirits induced) cacophony here that can become like poetry.

    Yes, the more the merrier!

    People find a link, an essay or just an interesting article that I would have missed.

    This has been my new home for almost a year.

    Coming from Cafe I am familiar with almost all the authors and their tendencies.

    Nice reminder!

    Seems I just end up taking longish hiatuses from time to time. Sometimes due to life stuff ... sometimes to give weather a chance to change. Sometimes both. Thanks for the shout-out; nice to feel appreciated.

    Hadn't seen Sleepin or AMike ... glad to hear they are still lurking. Been nice to see Bwak. I wonder what happened to WWS and OGD as long as we're pondering folks - hope they're well. Also too, wish Libertine would visit; popped in to TPM the other day for some reason and checked out a few threads ... didn't even have a desire to hop in a conversation beyond wanting to say howdy (not enough to sort out my Disqus login or anything ... but still).

    I think many of us drift in and out. Sometimes it's life that keeps us away. Sometimes we read but don't comment because we know we'll just get into the same old predictable arguments, and we're just not up for it. Sometimes we just need to take a break to clear our heads and remember why we love to blog.

    I've been back for a few weeks after taking a couple of months off. All 3 reasons applied to me at various times.

    I am in contact with 3 of the people you mentioned, and will pass your comments along to them.

    The coming election will likely bring more of the old crowd back. Could get interesting!

    Great initiative, Lulu. The moderators have stated unequivocally that they appreciate and welcome the diversity, passion, reason and intelligence that so many of those you mention brought to this site. Regular visitors have also sensed the void their absence creates. Some newcomers like smithers (bless his little elitist heart) have tried valiantly to fill their shoes, but ... no,  not quite the same heft.

    I just now checked SleepinJeezus's blog to see when he last posted, and couldn't resist rereading last year's Christmas tale. Pure gold. Come back, Sleepy!

    Let me get one thing straight, though: to qualify for those three or four cold ones, does one have to have formally quit the site, then return? I haven't actually left, but now you've got me weighing the pros and cons. If I quit, then come back, then quit again, am I rewarded with an open bar? 'Cause I'm down with that.

    Canadian beer only, if you don't mind; minimum 5 per cent. None of your alcohol-flavored processed yeast beverage! And whatever you do, don't allow quinn behind the bar. You know how he is.

    Those who stick around consistently get an endless supply of Chambord Kamikazes. At least that is what Genghis told me.

    Great initiative, Lulu. The moderators have stated unequivocally that they appreciate and welcome the diversity, passion, reason and intelligence that so many of those you mention brought to this site.


    Basically I see this site as a microcosm, not saying a representative one because I'm sure it isn't, of the non-GOP spectrum of political opinion in the US.  Hanging out here one can get a pretty fair sense of the personal, interpersonal, intellectual, ideological, philosophical, and many other kinds of barriers that call into question the ability of the non-GOP spectrum of opinion to: a) get it together to thwart the GOP agenda (playing defense effectively, if you will) and b) coalesce enough to get policy that will actually deal, or begin to deal, with our country's, and the world's, most pressing problems (getting an effective, affirmative, responsive policy agenda enacted, beyond playing effective defense).  

    Folks who want to converse, or find themselves only able to converse without losing it, with fellow Obama-bashers or fellow Obama-defenders, can certainly find sites on the 'net to accommodate those preferences.  As for me if the site got to be more or less either of those I would struggle to find motivation to hang out here.  

    I'm not sure if a claim has been made that certain points of view are not welcome here by management but if there has been such a claim I strongly disagree with that.  If the agenda of A-man and Genghis at this site is to try to turn it into a cheering squad for Obama, they sure haven't been following anything close to the moderation and editorial policies that would be necessary to try to do that.  Everyone here AFAIK has been permitted to express their views.  That doesn't mean they have a right to have other people agree with them or that they have a right to be uncivil to others.  But no one here, to my knowledge or awareness, gets in trouble with management for the substantive views they advocate or criticize.  No one.  I think that is really, really obvious if one just looks honestly and fairly at the content of what is published here. 

    I'm sure there are some who would disagree with that take and feel maligned and treated poorly by management.  There are strong feelings and strong disagreements on many public matters of much importance to denizens here.  That gives this place juice IMO--and it can also get out of hand if people don't reign themselves in or are not reigned in by moderators when things threaten to get out of hand. 

    I really don't see any justification for personalizing disagreements.  There is no one I've wanted to leave this site on account of disagreeing with their point of view.  Or even for being uncivil.  I have wanted folks I felt went over a line on incivility to try to tone it down a bit so the substance stands a better chance of taking center stage and to try to minimize a kind of "choosing sides" mentality and dynamic that I think is not healthy or helpful at a site such as this.  That's all.  

    Thank you for taking the initiative, Lulu.  

    Thanks, Lulu, appreciate the sentiment, and hope you enjoyed the humor of our last exchange.

    In any case, couldn't say it better than BBKing.

    Unless it's Sandy Denny.

    Cheers, amigo. I hope we meet somewhere again, and like they say, "If you are not on the edge [ledge] you are taking up too much room". Good songs. Adios.

    Thanks to those who responded. I am also glad to get the message from those many who make up the 224 or so hits and so in affect voted "present" but could not bring themselves to commit further. I've seen that somewhere before. 

    Thanks, Lulu. I second your invitation and affirm that we welcome and indeed desire a wide range of perspectives here. I add that there are so many old-timers you didn't name and may not even know whom I miss as well: DF, Atheist, Lis, Seashell, Bwak, Deadman, Paige, codegen, Jason Miller, MJS, GotToBeMe, G. Zheng, Larry Jankens, Mortimus, Zafig, jaizizzle, Bluesplashy, AM, Chino blanco, elliotness (and if I included TPM folks who have never been to dag, the list would go on and on). It always delights me when someone long absent returns on occasion, as when mageduley popped up a blog post the other day.

    Over the years at dag and TPM, I've found that people often come and go for personal reasons, but I do suspect that a few of the people you named have felt that their opinions and passions were not welcome at dag, so let me address their concern.

    Without opening up another meta dispute, I just want to emphasize that this is absolutely not the case. While we moderators don't hesitate to express our own opinions about politics, we certainly don't want a community in which everyone shares our opinions. Intellectual conflict and debate are constructive and rewarding. Nor do we have any problem with strong opinions and emotions, which are also healthy, or at least can be.

    What we have been trying hard to subdue has been personal conflict--negative emotions that are directed not at ideas or public figures but at other bloggers. It's not that we're concerned about people's feelings; the blogosphere isn't kindergarten. But personal rivalries have a way of escalating until they squeeze out constructive debate and put off anyone who doesn't like flame wars. We believe that gang warfare ultimately spoiled TPM Cafe, and we've been determined to avoid it at dag.

    That's not to say that our moderation has been perfect. We do what we can and what time allows. We try hard to be fair-handed, though I'm sure that we have not always succeeded. But however imperfect the execution, the goal has never been to silence voices nor to subdue passions--just to make sure that they're not directed at one another.

    I wanted to make this point clear, but I would strongly prefer to avoid another meta discussion about it. I ask that anyone who has a problem with this comment to please contact me personally. There's a Contact Me button on my blog page. Thanks.

    And thanks again, lulu.


    as when mageduley popped up a blog post the other day.

    I usually lurk daily, but just haven't been very comment-ish. Like Lulu, I very much enjoy reading others but only really comment when I feel I have some opinion to contribute. I am very glad Mike (Genghis) has provided this DAG island that saved our little band of shipwrecked compatriots from the doomed USS TPMcafe. Thanks again Mike.

    And thank you, Lulu, for the post. I think it helps us remember just how special our gang is here.

    Nice of you to put up this post, Lulu.  Looks like you got your answer, LOL! 

    It wouldn’t have mattered much, in any event, to me if a couple more folks said, “Yeppers.  Come on down!”


    And it looks like with some of us absent, (others will be back; they’ve announced they were on vacation or hiatus with other projects) it’s easier to find a little daylight between y’all and the President.  If I say X, you won’t have to reflexively yell, “NOT-X!”  That’s a good thing, IMO because Obama will continue to get worse; well, except for the 5%-ers, of course.  And the Defense Industry.  Ah, well…see, I couldn’t help myself, could I?  ;o)

    But, shoot; seeing over 100 comments concerning calling Michelle Bachman a vegetable or something causes me to have to really try to scrape up enough energy to even write this....though I confess when I saw the title of Trope’s blog, I did read it, and it took a lot not to comment.  You just may get your wish, Trope, and though the deal will be totally constructed by Obama, since Mitch McConnell gave him a chance at a clean bill…well, never mind.   I get that you and most others think “He just has to make a terrible deal!  Oh, my!”  (I sorta wanted to go Sam Kinison on it, to say the truth; your premises are just bogus, IMO.)  ;o)

    So you’ll get more of the Echo Chamber here that many of you so decry; enjoy yourselves. 

    One of the reasons I stayed was the fun of horsing around with some of mon amis…lotsa great humor was available.  That, and getting more blogs out into the google cache.  And some of the best blogging software ever, and the best sys-op ever (Genghis).

    Anyhoo, for me…the music’s over here.  I hated getting called some of the crap I was called here, and the moderation is just plain…stifling.  Thanks, Genghis.




    Hey, Wendy, it's been a while.  I see Obey and Quinn here, too.  Thought maybe Miguelito would show up.


    Hope you enjoyed yourself, Ramona.

    Not nearly as much as you did.

    Thanks for the mention, Lulu! Twice, no less!


    Interesting, the deafening silent response there. I think the present crowd is happy with things as they are. Which is fine. You all have fun now.

    Some of you may want to drop by Wendy or Quinn's Posterous blogs sometime. Though I shall miss these wonderful comment boxes though...



    ROTFLMAO!  (pant, pant...)   ;o)





    Really nice to see you, kyle flynn. 

    [email protected]  if yer so inclined, sharkbabe.

    I like the diversity and opinionating here and would hate to be a part of a site where everyone takes tea and flutters hankies while throwing air smooches across the room.  I don't see that happening here, but at the same time I'm glad to see the flame wars have eased up.

    Flame wars, when they're not boring the hell out of me, exhaust me no end.  There is (and was) such enormous talent here but it seems so wasted when things degenerate into off-topic snarling cat and dog fights. 

    I do miss some of the people you mentioned and I wish they would come back and join in, but dag won't ever be a good fit for everyone.  Some of them have left for what they've decided are good reasons.  We have to accept that, as much as it would be way more fun with them around.

    I'm with Genghis:  I love seeing some of the old names back in business here, and I'm always sad when I realize they've gone away again.

    Howdy Lulu! And thanks for the shout-out.

    You (and anyone else here interested) are welcome at that thing I sometimes call a blog - even though it functions more as a landfill, really. ;-)

    And really, nobody wants to disturb old bones, so... I won't.

    Pretty obviously, something scalding arose in my life a couple of months back, which made certain ways of being - and blogging - fairly intolerable. I did my best to change my course here, but... let's just say, twasn't to be. So. Not so much fun. 

    Therefore, and in conclusion... we need a song! Preferably a trashy, half-assed, long-haired, semi-demi-brainless rock classic in the making. One with bitter, but not-at-all deep lyrics. This should do the trick. ;-)


    Drop by anytime, Lulu!

    Quinn, though I was unaware of the scalding, I did notice that your blogging took a turn a few months back. I hope that you're doing OK. I'm sorry that dag has not been so much fun for you since then, and I appreciate your efforts to make it work. You're one of the few who has been with us from the very beginning, and I'll certainly miss you. Be well.


    I'm not sure what the rules are. Were comments removed?

    A couple. The relevant commandment is: Thou shalt not write a nasty comment about another blogger. I've got lower tolerance than usual on this b/c I'm sick to death of the nastiness.

    I thought one poster was suggesting that he also felt piled on during discussions.

    I deleted a complaint about the behavior of specific bloggers. As I wrote above, it's not because we're worried about people getting their feelings hurt but because that's precisely the sort of resentful comment that serves only to spawn more resentment, factionalism, and flame wars.

     Ghengis, I want to add a nickel's worth of opinion. I wish you had left brew's comment in. Stardust's too. Brew did express his apparently honest  opinion and in the process also demonstrated something about himself. We cannot, and why should we, avoid forming opinions about the people we interact with here just like we cannot anywhere else, and there must be, IMO, some extent to which we can express the opinions we form about them. If not as a general case then maybe at least in this particular case since I expressly asked for a yes or a no on asking some people to return. Brew is happy for the exodus and said so. If the comment was an example of what you don't want to see at Dagblog then I think you should have said so as a reply to that comment for everyone to see and which would become part of a permanent record which any and all could judge.
     I, of coarse, am not a moderator and never will be here, or anywhere else now that my kids are grown, but If I were I think I would accept that it came with the territory that I would not do it perfectly and so would make some folks mad sometimes, but that I would try to be fair and consistent, and I would let that be my stated position to the contributors. I believe that is approximately what you have said is your position. BUT, if I reached a point where I was fed up enough to remove a comment [and I get pretty fuckin' fed up] I would instead ban the person, announce it right under their offending comment, and tell them to email me in a week if they wanted to return. Longer for repeats. I would not feel obligated to allow them back but almost certainly would, at least if the violation of the site's standards were of the nature and magnitude we have seen around here. I would not ban a person without leaving the reason in place for everyone to see, although there could be exceptions to that rule in the instance of gross violations and in such a case I would describe the offense at the place it happened.
     Just my two-cents worth, adjusted for inflation. Now I am out of money, out of opinions, and out of here. At least for a while.

    Thanks for the comment in (qualified, I think) support.  I do want to note that I did not mention anyone by name, and really did want to emphasize patterns of behavior in discussion threads rather than specific personalities.  I'm sure, apart from aspects of their internet personae, the individuals being referred to are all fine people that I could have a civil conversation, possibly even enjoy hanging out with, in real life.


    Didn't mention by name?

    You said it direct to me, that I'd put MLK on a plantation to whip if I could.

    Ramrod twice said to me that anyone who supports secession as a basic right to free associate (for example East Libya or Chechnya or Taiwan or Bangladesh) by default takes on all the South's sins including approval and embracement of slavery. The 2nd one's still up on one of these blogs as a response to this:

    Yes, as Lulu said, it would be better to leave these haters' comments intact so everyone can judge for themselves.

    I asked if you would have fought for the South. You said "Maybe, Likely". I said that if that were the case, you  would be supporting slavery. I said donning the Confederate uniform was an acceptance of slavery. I stand by that statement. In the Civil war, you could not separate the two.

    I've stated where I stand. You can rebut. I suspect further discussion beyond that will get comments deleted.

    OK we're banning you for misspelling Genghis. See you in a week. :-)

    I think moderation is a bit like, and this is an odd reference, something I saw on the old sitcom, Hazel. The family maid told the husband and wife to stop arguing before they said something they couldn't take back. One would think that having to hit 'reply', then type something out, then 'save' would give people ample time to think about the consequences of what they write, but it doesn't seem to work that way.

    "Time On The Cross", the book used to justify the two parent family arrived from Amazon today. After I finish that book, I will move on to books with an opposite point of view on marriage in slavery. There is knowledge to be gained, even with the heated debate.

    Lulu, I appreciate your thoughts. We're very averse to banning anyone and have done it very rarely. Even the biggest combatants here are great participants most of the time, and we've been trying to get people to respect our ground rules through less extreme methods.

    As I mentioned, the main issue that we've been struggling with has been to suppress personal conflicts and factional wars. These dynamics are common enough in web communities, but we absolutely do not want them at dag. It was partly to avoid them that we founded dag in the first place.

    The trouble is that it's very difficult to enforce. There are occasional over-the-top comments that are easy calls, but most often there's a gradual escalation.

    Brew's comment was not all that egregious on the scale of things, but it certainly would have pissed off a few people, and I'm willing to bet that they would have retaliated harshly. Then most likely, Brew would have responded even more harshly, and maybe someone else would have chimed in, and then we'd have yet another flame war and have to shut down the thread to contain it. (Sorry to mention you by name, Brew, but you acknowledged the comment in the reply.)

    The pattern is familiar enough that it's easy to recognize from the get-go. Sometimes we let it ride to see if a flame war develops and moderate it later. In this case, I'm so sick of the conflicts that I decided to nip it in the bud before anyone responded.

    Of course I cannot stop anyone from forming opinions about people, nor would I want to, but asking participants to withhold their opinions is another matter. In the real world, we censor ourselves for the sake of etiquette all the time. At family gatherings, you don't tell your brother-in-law that he's a pompous ass, even if he is. At the office, you don't tell your co-worker that she's a manipulative bitch, even if she is.

    We ask for a similar level of self-censorship at dag. You can rage against Obama or Glenn Greenwald as much you like, but we don't want participants personally insulting each other because it produces what many of us regard as a poisonous atmosphere for blogging.

    I recognize that some people like the freedom to express personal hostility on the web. That's fine. They don't have to blog here. I will certainly miss their voices, but I'm not willing to sacrifice one of the core values of dagblog in order to have them.

    You make me proud, boss-man.

    Lulu, see the above exchange between Des and Brew and Rmrd? It's been going on the for months now. Over and over. The same fight.

    You should see some of the stuff that I've moderated--accusations and insinuations of racism, comments about someone's "pimply hemorrhoidal asshole," and so on. The thread that started it all is one that we unfortunately chose not to moderate until it was too late. And now it will never die.

    I'm going to shut down this thread now. It's impossible to have a discussion about moderation without this crap starting up. Articleman and I will be discussing the moderation policy this week. Perhaps we'll follow your suggestion about banning people more readily.

    Have a nice break. I hope to see you back.

    Hey Quinn:

    I'd love to see you here all the time but I hope that in the meantime you will at least comment when you feel the itch and have something to say.  Best to you up yonder.


    Dag is like family.  I am part of the night owl crowd and don't get a chance to drop in until everyone is in bed.  So I am usually a day late and a dollar short.  Some of you I have gotten to know very well from your blogs.  I read TPM and many other blogs for a long time before I worked up the nerve to comment.  It was the chat room that I met many of you.  When the cafe was closed I just followed you all here and joined. I have watched some of you really hone your writing style since I have been following you.  Yes I do miss you when you aren't around.  

    Just want to thank all of you for your time and effort that you put into this.

    Thank you, trking. (I deleted the repeat.)  It's always a pleasure to have you here commenting.  Your comments are interesting and more than fair, and that's no mean feat in places like this!

    Some folks do put a lot of time and effort into their posts and obviously put them out there for topical discussion.  If they're opinion pieces, everyone expects (and welcomes) fervent discussion, but when the comments get out of hand and veer off into the personal punches, the blog post is no longer the issue.  That's intimidating to some commenters, and defeating to the writer who worked hard to get his/her points across.

    I'm glad you like it here.  Genghis and A-Man work hard to make dag a place for all to be able to express their views without watching them degenerate into flame wars.  It's such a waste of time and energy when there are so many talented writers with so much to say, both in the posts and in the comments. 

    Thanks for being here.

    As someone who has been taking a long hiatus (and likely will be again), I want to say that my reason for doing so had nothing to do with the kind souls I find here at dag†blog. I do think there is a lot of good information to be found here, and I would hate for dag†blog to lose its character. As some have no doubt surmised (and one has said outright), I've been posting here the last few days as Anonymous, and things in general still seem much as they always have been. Snipes here and there and people crossing the line from time to time, but still a lot of good quality comments, with the lion's share falling into the latter category and not the former.

    I was hoping you hadn't seen The Book of Mormon and converted, or something.

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