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I feel like a stranger who has wondered into a new club where everyone else seems to be a long-time member.

Indeed most comments are by regulars rather than hit-and-run posters (probably selection by registration has that effect), though there are regulars who comment maybe once a month.

Yes, I am interested in the EU, and, coming from Ireland, I may have a different perspective on things.

Should be interesting. So far we have two Irish regulars, one of whom is soon-to-be site administrator Colman, but he prefers short snarky remarks when it comes to Ireland (or anything else) :-)

But who are the readers? Is it just a few midnight nerds with words to spare? How many are there? Why would I bother writing here?

The last everyone answers for him/herself. According to Sitemeter, we have much more readers than commenters. Registered number over two thousand, regular commenters I recognise (including those activising once every month) are maybe two hundred. They are very varied: geographically (from Japan through Egypt to New Zealand, in-between from Russia through Hungary to Spain, and Norway through Germany to Greece), age-wise (from students to retirees), job-wise (from bankier through railway engineer to housewife), and within the left spectrum, even politically (from liberal centrist through social democrat and Green to communist).

And what's all the this HTML stuff?  do I really have to learn all that to prepare a presentable story?

No, but it helps :-) It's all in the New User Guide. An ET reader even made a Firefox extension to make things easier. It is said that on ET we like graphs. We certainly like to see arguments supported by linked data.

You know the inverted snobbery stuff -it can't be good if it's popular or accessible and easily usable by the masses who don't even know html!

No worry. Daily Kos is just about the biggest blog around, and it runs on SCOOP.

And what are the hidden agendas, the implicit value systems, the no go areas?

If you stick around, you'll see that different regulars and even different frontpagers have different agendas, value systems and no go areas. But you got the big picture about right. I will emphasize a general disdain for 'neoliberalism', and 'reform' talk, and that not infrequently with a France vs. Britain angle (that comes from ET having been created by Jerome a Paris, but may get consent from non-French too...)

Or is this just that wonderful human institution, an Irish pub without any beer, but where everybody gabs just for the sheer fun of it?

That, too.

Just what is your unique selling point?

"If you expect agreement, go someplace else." "Do you have graphs to prove it?"

Is it a mutual admiration society, a community learning experience, an opportunity to brag about how much I know on certain topics, a forum to exercise my debating skills or just a nice friendly place to be?

The first s bit, but admiration must be earned hard. The second definitely. The third definitely not, expect to be cut to pieces. The last two too, with the addition that one must stay friendly in situations when on other blogs a flame war would break out.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 28th, 2007 at 06:50:24 PM EST

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