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The Ineffable Quietness of the European Tribune

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 08:42:43 AM EST

I have been holed up in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre for the past few days at the invitation of an artist friend. It's a rambling old country house on a beautiful wooded lakeside estate set in the drumlin countryside of County Monaghan. Artists of all stripes can stay here (subject to acceptance of application) at state subsidized rates to meet, work, and reflect on their practice. At the moment it is full of quite an eclectic and international mix of novelists, painters, printers, composers and performance artists. The estate was gifted to the people of Ireland by the family of Tyrone Guthrie, a noted theater director in Ireland, England, Canada and the United States.

As a lowly blogger I don't feel particularly qualified to take part in the many informal discussions between artists of wildly different backgrounds, but it did get me thinking about the apparent decline of my own particular art form: the community blog; and more particularly, my favorite platform, the European Tribune. Why have we gone so quiet, and is there anything that can be done about it?

Hidden within the 355 comments on End game for Greece? are a couple of sub-threads which begin to deal with this issue.  rz set the ball rolling:

It has become very quite here at the European Tribune. Why is that? Maybe we all feel that things are total spinning out of control and there is nothing left to do about it.

The European discussion is over, everything that matters now happens on the national level.


To which rifek replied:
It could be that the possibility of a solution is so remote, everyone is throwing their hands in the air.  That's pretty much the case here in the US (I figure we're a generation away yet from people taking to the streets, although an old-fashioned food shortage could change that in a hurry.).  Or it could be that we're in the opposite of an academic debate (where the debates are so bitter because there is so little at stake): The stakes are so high, debate isn't much of a priority.  Two men in a burning building can't stop to argue.

And Migeru weighed in:
What is there to discuss? The European Union is institutionally hopeless

Whereas Upstate NY was more upbeat:
There is a silence. But sometimes, from reading you all for years, I also always hear your voices in the silence. ET is special in that way.

I want to try to weave together the many other comments on those sub-threads to come up with an overview of why ET may be in decline, and to come to an initial analysis of what might be done about it, always assuming that community blogging is an art form worth preserving and indeed one which should be developed further.


The initial factors have already been prefigured in the comments above:

  1. Disillusion with the European Ideal and the rise of nationalism (as illustrated by the recent Danish election results and the way the Greek crisis is being framed as a conflict between thrifty northern Europeans and lazy Greeks). Drew J Jones:
    A large part of it is that I think we had this figured out years ago, and at every step along the way, the EU leadership has screwed it up.  There's not really much left to say.

  2. A sense of powerlessness amplified by the sense that European politics is drifting in an ever more rightward direction: That the elites are triumphant and their media organs have succeeded in framing popular narratives to hide their machinations and scapegoat the relatively powerless. Thus the role of the banking industry in offloading the consequences of their bad lending practices onto the taxpayer and hiding the role of the Greek elite in systematically under-developing the Greek economy and off shoring their profits are treated as mere technicalities within the over-arching narrative that the Greek people have brought this upon themselves by their lazy fecklessness and corruption. As I noted:
    Perhaps the ideological capture of popular thought by neo-liberalsm is so complete that most people simply can't understand alternative analyses.  There doesn't seem to be much of a counter culture alive and kicking these days...

  3. Others blamed the rise of social media
Starvid:
It is mostly that the ET to a considerable extent has been out-competed by social media like Facebook.
although I opined that Facebook performed a different function for me, and I didn't really see it as competing with blogging per se, although it might reduce the time that might otherwise have been available for blogging. Having said that, I have deliberately not become active on Twitter, mainly as I see it as another devourer of online time which I would prefer to devote to more creative pursuits.

4. Community versus Content.

Redstar took the view that ET had prioritized community standards to  the detriment of a greater diversity of content, so much  so that those with views significantly divergent from the dominant narrative within ET were often chased away... that we gained greater ideological consistency at a cost of diversity and wider participation.

Content could have been an alternative driver. Lots of things happened in this regard, including some of the aforementioned rows. Welcoming content in the present EU context requires, in my opinion, a certain level of openness to alternative opinions. And accountability and transparency in editorial decisions. But very little content is being produced today; a media site with no content simply disappears from the media landscape.

My feeling was:
Perhaps we have fallen between two stools - not really an authoritative expert blog like say, Krugman, but not a very accessible  one either for those with just a basic knowledge of (say) economics. Perhaps we needed more "hobbyists" like Dodo on trains and Helen on Beer to attract a wider audience. I can't really do poetry, art, cinematography or music analysis, but they always seemed to be a major missing to me

For afew:

Scoop blogs were, from the start, community blogs in that all users could post "diaries", ie were bloggers. ET shared that characteristic with MyDD, DKos, etc. It was the hot thing in... 2004-5.

But it was never a decision here that I'm aware of, to put the accent on community. That aspect was baked into the cake. And there was always concern with the quality and interest of content.

What's clear today is that the blogs that have retained and even increased audience (against the competition of the major social networks) are specialist blogs run by one or a small number of likeminded experts. ET has always been generalist. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not what works in today's Internet.


Whereas melvin valued ET's often contrarian content:
There are a million places to go to get my pre existing opinions reinforced. Such "communities" hold little appeal.

And Starvid  reveled in it:
I've been a resident right-winger at the ET for a long time, and nowadays I even consider myself to be a conservative. Yet I've always felt welcome, and also felt that at the ET, substance is valued over posturing. But who knows, perhaps people have been sniping at me all the time, and I've just been to dense to notice it? ;)

5. Wonky Maleness?

melo: decried what he described as ET's wonky maleness

My guess is ET is way too male, hyper-acidic and wonky for more than tiny cult consumption, and who would want it turning into zerohedge anyway?
and I have certainly spoken in person to a former female participant who was quite bitter about what she felt was the arrogant and dismissive way her comments were treated by frontpagers who she felt would have been better employed as facilitators of debate rather than as arbitrators of ideological correctness.  She felt that ET was dominated by very intelligent "student types" who lacked empathy or the ability to tolerate a range of different views and abilities. In particular she felt it was a very intimidating environment for all except the most assertive, self confident, intellectual or assertive and with no one to nurture those who were still finding their way in the world of blogging.

6. Personal life-cycles and inequality of resources

Metatone took a more personal view:

Recession bit hard in my life. I don't have the time I once had.
I also don't have the psychological resilience I once had for facing up to how broken mainstream economics and politics (including EU politics) are.

For me the reality is that we (whoever we are) are up against powerful interests. They have the "commanding heights" of media, money and power. I think we all might have hoped that community (and content) could be a starting point in turning the tide.

At some level I still believe that - but we didn't gain critical mass, we didn't find ways to support our work. And the "other side" got in on that internet thing too, with all their resources. And so now, if not back to square one, we're back to a reality, ET helped us find each other - and if we had no other priorities (of our daily lives) it could still be a great launching point into the world of social media etc. etc. But I think right now few of us have the time required...

But if some of us are too busy or tired to be more actively engaged, where is the younger generation coming through?

---------------

The above is only a cross section of the views expressed, but I hope has captured the main thrust of why participants feel ET has not exactly been going from strength to strength. Some years ago, at a Paris meet-up, I expressed the hope that ET could become a multilingual, multi-community platform for critical thinking about Europe - a sort of European DKOS, but more diverse and with a much wider and larger user base. There are many reasons why this has not happened. Partly it was because we didn't have the resources to develop a multilingual platform, or to sponsor the volume of content and range of activities - like conferences - which would be needed to really drive such an enterprise forward.

But the main reason, I felt, was that there were so many diverse strands within ET - with many different views as to how ET could develop, that there wasn't sufficient consensus on the best way forward. Perhaps that is still the case, or perhaps things have changed. What seems clear to me is that the current model may be nearing the end of its lifespan. Anybody got any ideas on where we should aspire to go, and on what would be the best way to drive things forward?

Display:
Quiet is not exactly how I would describe the site the last week. Perhaps because the collective brain here revels in analysis and the propaganda onslaught has been intense after the declaration of the Greek referendum.
by fjallstrom on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 10:02:19 AM EST
There's an element of morbid fascination with disaster porn in the last week of the Greek tragedy.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 03:44:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 04:12:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean here, too.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 01:52:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While I mostly agree with redstar's view, I would like to concentrate on point 1:

Disillusion with the European Ideal.

I do not think it is disillusion per se. The point that should be obvious by now is that we were wrong in our belief in the EU (ah... and please do not conflate Europe with the EU). And then, the bond that held most people here (represented by that ugly flag on the top) disappeared, as we went in different directions with regards to how to react to all of this. Yes, there is disillusion, but above all that disillusion broke the soul of the site which was the belief in the EU as a force for good.

by cagatacos on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 10:33:41 AM EST
"The point that should be obvious by now is that we were wrong in our belief in the EU "

Well I disagree,

by IM on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 09:02:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your comma suggests that you wanted to extend this post. I would be quite interested in hearing you view. In general I also have given up on the EU, but I would be interested in a more positive view.
by rz on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 09:43:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just different majorities. in parliament, concil, court, ecb.

To give an example: the changing majorities in the ecb from the Trichet to the Draghi era mattered.

by IM on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 10:37:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1, 2, 3, 6.

Community is essential to keep a basic level of politeness. That and some policing for people who can't understand the concept of politeness or consider it just too terribly bourgeois.

As for 5, it amounts to the proposition that maths, statistics and science are male domains. We've had this discussion before. It went badly.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 10:52:36 AM EST
I noticed a big change in ET when the recession hit. Many here were fighting for their lives. Nothing like a good depression to kill interest in alot of things.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 11:40:10 AM EST
Yes, if you lose your belief in your own future, any future, then it becomes hard to hold to other ideals

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 03:12:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or at least all your cognitive power is used up keeping head above water.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 03:16:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Drew diagnosed it when he said we'd worked out the problem years ago. Everything after that was documenting the fallout and becoming increasingly horrified by the intransigence of the elites.

To me, the Greek situation was simply the final act in the death of the EU ideal ; the self-defeating idiocy of austerity was laid out so starkly, yet they simply doubled down.

So yea. We saw the problem, we spent ages saying that it will break the EU. They went and did it anyway.

I'm so disillusioned that, if Cameron calls the referendum, I might even vote against.

and yes, I know that means things will get worse. But at least, should a sane government ever take control, we stand a chance of getting ourselves out of it. The EU is going down in flames, baling out is the sensible option.

What that means for this site I don't know, but the energy has gone cos there's nothing to get animated about. The last time was Obama's election and that was 8 years ago.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 03:24:54 PM EST
to a large extent. There doesn't seem to be too much more to be said about the political economy of most of the world that we haven't already said on ET over the years. Still, I don't feel that ET has 'passed on'.

I come here mostly for a comfortable read - which makes some of the pie fights a bit annoying. I simply do not have the time to comment much.

DoDo seems to be about the only 'hobby' reporter left, which is too bad. I've done some gardening pieces and some travel pieces in the past, but to some extent they would be 'wash, rinse, dry, repeat', if I did them now. In the political vein I've written about our community, forest, and party work out here in WA state, but the progress there is very slow - though often gratifying. Mostly I'm just out there doing - as I suspect most of us are.

Of course, I do read ET when there are particularly European events underway. And I like to have some sense of how ET folks are doing as individuals.

In any case, as much as I'm concerned about events everywhere, I'm old enough to remember - and in some ways celebrate - our (very broad "our") responses and sometime victories in past social crises and movements. So - it's often "here we go again" for me. Likewise with institutions like ET, I hope.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 02:32:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen:
if Cameron calls the referendum, I might even vote against.

I can sympathise... A lot of tbe last decade has been spent realising that somehow Europe represented an upgrade to the appalling state of UK politics since Thatcher, but they are just as bad.

No point jumping from a frying pan unless you're sure the fire's any cooler.

Not that I think Britain will ever leave really, too much business pressure not to.

They never took the poisoned chalice of the Euro, why leave except to please some splenetic old backbenchers?

I used to think the EU stood a better chance of getting its shit together without the constant petty-mindedness of UK input, but they're all the same at root, corrupt, venal and worst convinced of their moral rectitude.

I think ET will survive even without many diaries,  just the news Salon would even be enough to keep on, the diaries are the gravy. Sometimes they come thick and fast, then less, no biggie.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 09:15:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I made a number of good friends on ET, with whom I remain in contact. But I have many more friends on FB, and especially friends and colleagues in closed FB groups, each with a narrower focus that suits my particular range of interests. Almost all of these groups are currently optimistic; that is, devising plans and assembling facts as to how society needs to be steered, whether in software, music, media, science, technology , behaviourally or in narratives. Most of these groups are growing in membership. None of them have the 200 plus comments of some ET's halcyon diaries, but they are 'well-liked'

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 03:39:43 PM EST
this:

Almost all of these groups are currently optimistic; that is, devising plans and assembling facts as to how society needs to be steered, whether in software, music, media, science, technology , behaviourally or in narratives.

actionable solutions

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire

by marco on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 04:55:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes ... if the ET is your "go to" for discussion about how Austerity Economics is screwed up, actionable solutions within the EU are on the opposite side of the local/national/regional spectrum from the VSP's and the analysis of in what way their most recent lie was a lie.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 07:40:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are no actionable solutions in Europe.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 01:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are actionable solutions in Europe, but they are local solutions to problems in reach of local resources ... at the regional level, the minimum necessary is beyond the reach of the maximum achievable (similar to the US in many ways, even if sometimes on different specific problems).

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 08:01:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've come here very late and lurked mostly so I can not comment on how it has changed.

What I can say is this; A good democratic society needs critical and virtuous citizens. European Tribune fills me with hope in the intelligence and virtue of humanity and the possibility for a good, sustainable society. It is a beautiful and singular site that stands out in a splintering public sphere. The current "social media" does not create a public sphere as much as a multitude of information feeds. Mainstream journalism has many problems: cuts to investigative journalism, proximity to power to get scoops, ever-present game narratives, incompetence, clickbait business models et cetera. To me, the need for this community and others like it is greater than ever as elites expand their power and control over information.

We do not need to change, we need to be heard!

by chumchu on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 07:36:54 PM EST
And sepaking of making the site heard, how do the diaries look when shared on facebook, are pictures and the right text picked up?
by fjallstrom on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 05:09:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All you get is the generic Eurutrib masthead with no diary specific content or intro as in the past. People don't tend to click on links unless they are pretty sure they will want to read the content of what follows, so I write a separate intro on FB.  

I also get a lot of negative feedback on the Eurotrib look and feel from occasional visitors - especially from web designers and graphic artist who regard it as too complex and visually unattractive.  I get their point, but I wouldn't like to see Eurotrib adopt a very generic web newspaper design optimized for mobile phones.

For better or worse we are a largely text based blog with the occasional photograph, graph or video and with almost no videoblogs or audioblogs.  If you want a quick fix, go to FB or twitter, Eurotrib is for more reasoned and detailed analysis - not quite as turgid as academic blogs - but not making too many concessions to tabloid simplicity either.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 06:53:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually wouldn't mind it if Eurotrib evolved to look like something more like Medium or Quartz. But it's not like we have money to splash on web design...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 06:56:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with the critics. Visually the design is amateurish and awful. It's a huge block to credibility.

I don't think money is the problem.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 12:29:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Call it developer time.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 12:33:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know if its even developer time.  Its the amount of time it would take to get a consensus on what ET should look like...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 03:10:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we look at it from a functionality standpoint, what I think is important are:

  • Layout in the diaries that fits the screen. Now you have to scroll left to read a line, then down and right for the next line or have rather small print.
  • Finding new comments. On the computer it is simply Ctrl+F [new] but I haven't found an equivalet on my phone (not that I have really searched for it either, I hasten to add in case it is really trivial)
  • Layout in comment box that fits the screen.
  • Meeting the standards of Google to maintain google rating.

When it comes to how it looks I think enlightened dictatorship tends to beat committee. And besides, whoever that puts in time to do it should get some reward.
by fjallstrom on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 05:22:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good developers/coders don't always have good graphic design/usability analysis/user experience skills...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 06:14:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I know :)

But if you run on volonteers I have found it best to handle the responsibility to those who wants to do it. If that scares others into also volonteering, then they form a group. Otherwise first volonteer gets to do it.

Knowing that I will not code m.eurotrib.com I am happy to give input, still happy if it is ignored and even happpier if anything is used.

by fjallstrom on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 06:20:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds like a threat to discourage the developer time.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 12:37:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if there is one thing developers hate it's people changing their minds as to what they really want  after development has commenced...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 05:49:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
>Its the amount of time it would take to get a consensus on what ET should look like...

You don't need a consensus. You don't need a whole lot of developer time either. You're not aiming for a design award, just something that isn't terrible.

Worry about mobile if the traffic ever appears.

If you were really in a hurry you could put up the redesign as a job on elance and get someone professional to do it for pocket money in a day or two.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend that for humanitarian reasons, but it does make the point there isn't any Great Architectural Effort or Vast Outpouring of Resources required.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 4th, 2015 at 10:03:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not too many scoop developers about, and it would take even one person at v. least a day or two to come up with a minimally acceptable design enhancement and feature list - although I suspect most of that has already been put together during previous enhancement debates which never quite led to a substantial revamp

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 4th, 2015 at 11:09:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Disagree. I don't expect Arts & Letters Daily to look like some bleeding edge web design site either. But it is first every day, with the first cup of coffee. Content over ephemeral fashions.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 06:34:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a nice site, thanks for the link!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 09:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's hardly an ugly and amateurish design though.

The design communicates the content, which is what you want design to do.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 4th, 2015 at 09:45:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could we drop the all html editor? Or at least add a quicker and easier editor on the side?

It's really annoying to have to check the presence of closing tags/correct tags...

This makes it difficult to contribute, for a gain that stay marginal (how many comments or diary go beyond the text/text/image/text schematic?)

If websites usually try to separate content and code, it's for a reason... ;-)

by Xavier in Paris on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 06:04:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea - html is easy if you have any coding experience at all, but for those who don't, its extremely off-putting and intimidating. In this particular diary I had a /blocktext wrong.. It took a little while to find it because there are so many quotes and the editor doesn't highlight where the error is.  

Also we could use a standard non-blank diary/comment template including embedded links, images, facebook links,  you tube videos, tweets and blockquotes - its easier to delete them (or comment them out) if you don't want them rather than look up the user guide to remind you of the syntax.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 10:25:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
HTML is also time consumming: the time you spend to ensure that your syntax is correct, however short it may seem to the trained eye, feels longer if you just plan to put a quick post on a thread before moving on.
by Xavier in Paris on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 06:32:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Something else I would like to see implemented, is the possibility to save drafts (of diaries...) like what is possible with wordpress.

I may not have a lot of time at once to work on something, but I could spend 10 minutes a day and finally get something done.

by Xavier in Paris on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 08:21:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea - I have on occasion lost a "work-in-progress" diary when my laptop rebooted unexpectedly.  DKos has a separate "Publication Manager" module which allows ou to save drafts or delay publication.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 08:52:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you see the display options pull-down menu when you create a diary? The options are:
  • Editing
  • Submitted
  • Never Display
  • Always Display
  • Only Display within Section
As this depends on user permissions I don't know what options are available to you.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 08:53:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Users haven't got those options. I just tried.

Currently the only way for users to save a work in progress is to select and copy/paste elsewhere.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:01:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea - I sometimes save to word if I am writing a longer diary and am afraid of losing stuff.  More times I forget... Is there any reason those options can't be more generally available - e.g. to trusted users - or does that require some fundamental re-coding?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:05:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't know but suspect there would be obstacles. I don't think there's any sense in talking about tweaking Scoop any further. Surprisingly incongruous parts of Scoop are hardcoded. And apart from that, are there any available Scoop developers?

It's a new CMS that is needed, as we have said often in past meta diaries, and was slated to happen one day.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:17:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually like a lot of the functionality available in Scoop, which I'm not sure exist in other CMSs.  It's the look and feel which is a bit off-putting for new or very occasional users - perhaps too much complexity until you get used to it. Ideally there would be a simple and visually attractive front=-end skin for people who just want to lurk and occasionally comment, with most of the functionality reserved for trusted users and diary authors who need/want more options.  Most blogs seem to be based on WordPress these days, but I don't know if you could replicate all the existing ET functionality in that environment.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:30:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can do a lot with Wordpress but I don't know about permitting user blogging. I was thinking more of Joomla! or Drupal, to name the best-known.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:50:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can have multiple users with layered permissions on wordpress. But I'm kinda partial to indented comment threads. The things you can do with comments in ET's Scoop are prety unique.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:57:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can have indented comments with Wordpress.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 10:15:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All previous discussions on this issue concluded that the first rule would be to keep (ie reproduce) what was best in Scoop.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:07:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shurely shome mishtake?

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:10:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ok - Plebesphere then... - you can take Editor out of your title, but you can't take editing out of your dna...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:18:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Try again.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:14:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have those options when I edit an old diary, but not when I start a new one.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:21:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to have lost those options now plus a few options from the home page now - including new story which  never used.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 12:50:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That had to do with the old "Future Discussion" and "ET Workshop" sections of the website.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 12:57:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still not.

One would also need access to the Story List to retrieve what was saved under Editing.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:22:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Try again.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:30:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you change my group from Future Discussers to Users? Or apply your changes to Future Discussers also.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:44:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Try again. Again.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, it works.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 10:13:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure? I seem to now have permission to edit all diaries.
by generic on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 10:22:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Try again. Again, again.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 10:24:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Still got editor privileges.
by generic on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 10:52:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right. I'm an editor again.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 10:25:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're more picky than a few.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 10:26:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 11:10:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So am I it seems: I can edit all front-page stories and diaries too, although I've never been an editor...
by Bernard on Fri Jul 10th, 2015 at 04:28:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But you can only save the edited diaries to the old Future Discussion sections.

Since the idea at first was to permit Users to save their part-finished diaries using the "Editing" option, it would seem that either more work is needed to bring that about (including access to the saved document), or that this is a bit of a dodgy system to leave in place.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2015 at 04:59:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
If you want a quick fix, go to FB or twitter, Eurotrib is for more reasoned and detailed analysis - not quite as turgid as academic blogs - but not making too many concessions to tabloid simplicity either.

What you said about the the dearth of feminine energy. I wonder sometimes if the maschilist elements here are so much so that they are absolutely blind to that fact.

Back in the day when more women frequented the site I was so often baffled by the way they were treated. The internet is not usually a place where peeps go to experience particularly gentlemanly behaviour, (snort) and while it rarely descended into outright rude, the overall affect levels were disturbing to my feminine side, lave alone real women, who left dependably shortly after sparring a few bouts with de boyz.
You can't hold something against someone if they don't realise they're doing it though. That's the problem. It is like trying to play chess with a dog.

The females who have lasted any time here were made of stern stuff indeed, and still managed to be delightfully, refreshingly feminine before disappearing. These folk were not asking for special treatment in any way that I could tell.

It was there, and not that subtle...

If you study a group for long enough, (which you can only do by joining with it) it always provides an illuminating reflection and microcosm of what we face in the macro offline world.

Every group I have ever joined has hewn to this, it must be fractal on some level.

There is a new anthropology being coded into our circuits bt extensive amounts of time interacting with machine. What Taylorism did to peoples' psyches is continuing albeit in a much more refined form via the net.

Honestly there is only so much socio-economics a brain can take, therefor ET will remain a cult, with a corresponding small readership.
It turning into Huffpost will bring a whole new raft of issues. Some things don't scale up well (yet)/ Every dog has his day...

So psychologically too much machinery turns to accentuate the mechanical sides of our beings more than the playful side which responds to cute and fluffy.

Eurogreen, I wish you could have experienced ET before it jelled into what it is today. It was a wonderfully colourful place some days!

But there is an invisible (unless you squint) orthodoxy (enforced by more-or-less gentle scorn). I paradoxically don't want ET to lose that as it cuts to the truth bone and gives a lot of veracity pack to punch.

It is an amazing, but thorny oasis. If too many people found it it would be trolled into tiresomeness, so the thorns serve some purpose.

Better small, a bit mean, and truthful than frothy like most successful blogs/news aggregators/comment forums.

I have been conditioned somewhat by this blog (home page for a decade+) and have had to back off from its ability to become more reflective of the world's toxicity than anything. I have probably pissed off/exasperated more than I have informed or amused here over the years, but if I wanted more cuddles I'd go offline.

Gimme some truth...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 09:09:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I wouldn't like to see Eurotrib adopt a very generic web newspaper design optimized for mobile phones."

I wouldn't mind it, if it came up on m.eurotrib.com but not on www.eurotrib.com


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 07:55:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see that I wrote that in Ozzie. It doesn't literally mean, "here's a way to do it that I would not fight", it rather means, "I think I would kind of like this, but not enough that I'd be willing to get into an argument fighting for it".

So, to restate in Murkan English, I'd kinda like that, as long as it was what happened when you went to m.eurotrib.com as opposed to what happened when you went to www.eurotrib.com


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 01:32:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it s not that bad, there are still plenty of meat/smart brains to pickup, when something interesting happens (like Greece).It s going to be more lively as the EU continues its breaking up process (Portugal, Spain, UK, France 2017) while China has some hiccup.

& The oil is still quite far from $200 ;-)

I did learn a lot here, changed my view about public spending/austerity (i am quite right wing in France, but France has pushed the public spendings envelop to ridiculous level of stupidity/inefficiency).

But all is focused on economy while I strongly believe the most dangerous issues will be linked to immigration/population replacement/bedouins' religion (the most stable countries are also the most homogeneous)

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 08:20:33 PM EST
felt was the arrogant and dismissive way her comments were treated by frontpagers who she felt would have been better employed as facilitators of debate rather than as arbitrators of ideological correctness.  She felt that ET was dominated by very intelligent "student types" who lacked empathy or the ability to tolerate a range of different views and abilities.

Things have improved at ET as many "student types" have learned their knowledge/certainty/rightness/goodness do not stand the test of time (if only EU politicians could change their dogmas too).

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 08:30:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We all show up here notwithstanding our differences, not because we're all buddies in meatspace but because we like what happens when this self-selected group puts its collective head together and hiveminds analyses we come to individually but need to soundboard on by throwing ideas into the pot and see who resonates, positively or not.

I have learned so much here these last years, during which I have also become a fairly heavy FB user as well. I think blogs serve a purpose, even small ones like ET, that no other format achieves. While they may have peaked and given largely way to Twitter, whose format I don't see the allure of, though I acknowledge its power and respect its intention.

ET used to be full of quirky folk who moved on, leaving mostly quirky economists :) and political wonks who have extensive historical knowledge.

What it boils down to for me is 'insight per page read' and for all the things that grieve me because I projected ET would flower in very different directions to help balance and round out the 'hyperacidic male wonk' factor that I and many others predicted would drive out many members and repel many who ambled over to try our wares.

For all that syntax-free grief, ET still remains the highest S/N ratio on the web. I can bemoan all I want, but there is a thread of continuity here that is still centred on the interface of economics and energy, the two most corrupted vectors of modernity and yet, perhaps ironically, the shortest way out of the labyrinth into which we were all born.

ET has been the uni I never got a chance to attend, the place where I could practice putting my thoughts into words, and share in conversations I could not find folks to talk about with in my locality.

I couldn't imagine a better place to learn about economics (and politics). An acquired taste perhaps though!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 08:57:51 PM EST
melo:
We all show up here notwithstanding our differences

But isn't the problem that less and less of us are showing up less of the time? Perhaps Colman can publish some graphs of page impressions etc. over time.  I have no idea how many lurkers there are.

I have no doubt those of us that do turn up get value for our time spent here; but that value is diminished if our message isn't reaching any of our target audiences, or having any impact on what happens in the real world afterwards. It may be a cozy place to chat, but that's a small consolation if the objective was to change the world for the better!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 07:03:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
But isn't the problem that less and less of us are showing up less of the time?

There are some great new people here, not as many as have left, but still...

So many great blogs have bit the dust, Europe would have its dkos if we didn't have the language issues we have here in Yurp.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 09:27:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aim higher

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 10:01:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should clarify. That is not entirely an expression of personal bile. Despite a few high profile writers who express dissident opinions (the house niggers), the site is overwhelmingly in bed with the Dem party, hardly a progressive force. Accordingly it pushes Dem candidates for congress etc including some of the worst turkeys in American politics on the theory that - I guess - everything will change once there is a Dem majority. This is obviously crap. We had a Dem majority, and it sat on its collective thumb waiting for I don't know what.

Dissident voices and energy have been systematically purged.


Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 10:28:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree about this basic flaw in the dkos philosophy, and Markos is far from perfect.
However the site still attracts many intelligent, funny commenters, and is a mine of knowledge and good writing with a S/N ration of around 50%, we can certainly aim higher. My point was if we want eyeballs it will prolly turn into multiple bar brawls as well as more points of view.
Also anyone who said "gfy" would be auto-banned,  (unlike here!)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 06:31:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fairness DKOS tends to support the progressive end of the Dem spectrum more - Obama, Warren, Sanders - which is about as left-wing as you can get in the US without falling off the mainstream 2 party system.   they may be centre right in European terms, but you can only judge people in their context.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 06:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
In fairness DKOS tends to support the progressive end of the Dem spectrum more - Obama, Warren, Sanders

That's why I relate to the site more than its leader who is to the right of his readership.

He's still a good leader though, and correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think he's losing many eyeballs to FB, though he is using the latter to push his product and pull in new readers.
I have some smart FB friends, whose additions to my feed I find as interesting as ET's, but here there's way more depth of commentary. Also the good thing about ET being small is after hundreds of posts by the most vocal here, one has a goodish grasp of their psychology, and can allow for that while parsing their posts, and modulate tone somewhat while replying.

I think a Dkos sized blog would lose a lot of that quality. I think we get trolled very little considering here, they don't get much slack!

Problem is more not enough slack for the new visitors, and lately a bilious ad hom-ishness.

I totally understand Afew's decision to give up catherding, and thank him for the amazing work ke has done over the years, a very fair ref indeed, imo. Fran and Ceebs too, outstanding, as are those left, you know who you are.
I am super busy and have taken to getting a couple of days behind on the Salon even, so it doesn't bother me there aren't too many new diaries, or that OT's become weekly, whatever. There's a digestible amount of content here... Salons are great, but the diaries pull in more dialogue, so I gravitate to those.

In a better workd governments would pay well to have the group qualities so present here, but we ain't so dreams of having any power beyond the zero we have had I always took with a pinch of salt, though I heartily wished for it too.
Luck comes to those who last, and I know ET serves a very valuable service. The offerings of some of the recent additions (eurogreen and melvin two great examples) are as good as we have had in the past, though I really miss ARGeezer lately, I hope you're ok, if you are lurking.
I also love how posters like wu ming, De Gondi, Starvid and LEP come out of the woodworks periodically, reinforcing my belief that a lot of the old crew may be too short of time to comment, but still come around for something, we may have more lurkers than we assume.

What we may lack in outreach is more than made up by quality, (definition needed, ed) and the tenacity of some who stubbornly refuse to leave, still filling the pages with quicksilver insights and tangy barbs who give the site its gnarliness. You guys rock, and generously! Not gonna name more names in case I forget some, but you are the bedrock of this site and the mix is heady, potent and enlightening (a very welcome alternative to FB!) so peace out (and thanks) to you all. ;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 12:11:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That might be the feeling if you dig into the comments, but from the main pages alone, Daily Kos is not at all like you describe.
by Zwackus on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 06:46:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still believe. I believe that a democratically united Europe is the way to go, towards a federation of member states were each individual is equal. However, I must recognise that very few hold this view, and for most practical purposes, my country should at this stage be preparing its path towards an orderly exit from the EU. In essence, ET is declining because the EU is at a dead end.

Personally, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of distraction and irrelevant stuff floated at FB, I rarely go there. I posted there my latest diary and got a few comments, but it is nothing like here. What makes me visit ET regularly is the quality of the comments, not at all the like-mindness (there is always someone in totally disagreement with what I may write).

In fact blogging in general is declining. This is happening for two reasons: a) most folk now access the internet with hand-held devices, from which writing a blog is not really practical; b) sadly, superfluous content remains far more interesting, selfies, soundbites, etc, is what most folk seem to prefer - the quick dopamine fix.

Perhaps these two aspects are connected: the slow erosion of the EU and the general disinterest for demanding matters such as economics or politics.

Should ET really be fixed? I am not sure it is broken. I still prefer it to the social media, as long as it remains up I will use it.

Finally, on the gender subject I recall this becoming an important problem for the TheOilDrum at its hey day - and for the same reasons stated here. Eventually nothing was ever made about it, but the best suggestion I can recall was the creation of a women only area. Women are in general scared away by the natural confrontation in male rhetoric.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 04:38:25 AM EST
Luis de Sousa:
sadly, superfluous content remains far more interesting, selfies, soundbites, etc, is what most folk seem to prefer - the quick dopamine fix.

Good description of what facebook delivers. Facebook rewards (with visibility) anything with high emotional content (leading to likes, shares and comments), including flame wars (lots of comments on those).

by fjallstrom on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 05:16:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because Facebook is primarily about grooming. That's its purpose. Which is true of pretty much all human social interaction.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 05:18:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For me its more about keeping up with extended family and friends in faraway places - and an easy way for me to compensate for the fact that I don't do xmas cards or letters - and don't even send that many personal emails any more.  

In some ways it actually a productivity tool - an easy way to share and learn about the going ons with others that they are sharing in a somewhat generic way.  Of course the really private stuff has to remain 1 to 1, but that's only a small % of our overall social interaction.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 03:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Luis de Sousa:
a) most folk now access the internet with hand-held devices, from which writing a blog is not really practical;

I think if we want technical improvements, this would be the right area. I have commented from my phone sometimes, but I am more likely to think "I should comment on that when I am on the computer".

by fjallstrom on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 05:20:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think one of the biggest problems at ET is the general lack of new diary content of any sort, and in particular the lack of "Editorial Voice" front page content.

Clear argument, relevant news links, and coherent writing draw hits, especially when they're tied to a dash of personality.  There's not much of that any more.

I'm not entirely sure if it's accurate to say that blogging is in decline - rather, it's still going strong, but is dwarfed in size and volume and influence by the social web.  As others have pointed out, the social web is not, and has never been, the place for the kinds of discussions that take place at ET.

A second, completely unrelated issue, is that the standing ET commentariat (of which I am a fringe member at best) really does operate at a very high intellectual and argumentative level at pretty much all times.  Nowhere do graphs sway opinion as they do at ET.  This is just fine for readers who are interested, but it really is intimidating for anyone who wants to jump in.  This is not just a male/female issue - there are tons of men who cannot engage at the ET level, and there is another pretty substantial subset that could, but don't have the time or can't be bothered.

These are two independent problems, but they feed off each other in really ugly ways.  As a community blog without a big personality on the front page, ET absolutely, desperately needs community members to feel comfortable enough to post their own new diary content ... but the comments are so intimidating that very few people ever try.

by Zwackus on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 06:21:30 AM EST
All of the above (or nearly).

The ET format (look and feel) in itself is dated, of course, which is not a problem in itself, but a symptom of being out of the mainstream. And superficially off-putting in an online world where everything is easy and slick.

Getting referrals from other sites and media is important in bringing new viewers. Having regular and substantial new content is important for showing up in web searches. Decline feeds decline. (footnote : beware of a decline in Google rank, now that Google downrates non-mobile-friendly sites. I am available to participate in a "mobile skin" project; not that I'm a shithot programmer these days, but I have done everything at least once).

How to encourage casual visitors to come back, and to participate? There is a steep, invisible barrier, a bit hard to define. Personally, I came across the site (followed Jérôme from the oil drum), thought wow, this is amazing!, signed up, posted a couple of comments, couldn't really understand how the community worked, and drifted away. This is all the more perplexing in that I now consider the site my intellectual and political home, and that the sense of community I find here is a major part of that.

I keenly feel the dearth of female participation. This, I suspect, is both a cause and an effect of the rather austere relationships we tend to have with each other. People rarely write about their lives or personal circumstances; chat and banter are not absent, but they are rare, and intermittent. Personally I like that sort of online interaction, and want more of it. Many may choose not to participate; others, readers rather than contributors to the wonkish discussions, may find in it a reason to come back.

I consider myself more of a quirk than a wonk, and I miss the quirks and want more of them. I am interested in the arts, literature, cinema, music, which rarely get substantively discussed here.

Broadening the subject base will widen the appeal to generalist readers who are no doubt intimidated by the tightly focused economy and politics discussions. Bearing in mind that encountering a site as intellectually rich as ET can be a transformative experience, I feel that if that ET is going to be useful, it needs to broaden its reach.

I have posted very few diaries myself, and I'll be having a think about what I can contribute to turning the situation around.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 07:20:50 AM EST
The chat and banter have moved to Facebook/Twitter pretty much. If you wander back into the archives you'll see very different stuff.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 08:07:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And that's a shame. A one-stop shop is important for me. Also, the sense of an on-line community is undermined severely when there are back-channel cliques on other media...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 08:24:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Back-channels develop then people start meeting in meatspace.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 08:34:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. Reminds me of my youth activism days. A group will just begin to gel, then people start sleeping together and, after a brief flurry of activity, the group falls apart...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 08:39:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An old (sexist) definition of a Management Consultant is of someone who knows a thousand different ways to make love, but doesn't know any women. I hope this never applies to ET.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 09:01:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This has been an illuminating foray in the long grass of meta Frank, thanks for setting it up.

ET is a hangout, highly unusual because it doesn't have a Markos or Arianna at the top.

The captain has been too busy in his cabin for years to come out on deck (Hi Jerome!) but I am sure he will show up again some day, well maybe. He did found ET is a much less wonky spirit than it became, though he wonked with the best of them, he also had fun and treated the ladies with elegance IIRC.

There have been occasional diaries with the "What can we do to make ET matter more?", or "It's stagnating, needs new blood" themes before and while the comments showed a mild desire to change its DNA somehow, it carried on down its collective-unconsciously chosen path notwithstanding.

The image I have right now of ET is a group of guys playing boules. Scenario tres Europeenne, parfois vachement drole!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 09:26:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean when not then. #goFigure

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 09:56:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We understood!

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 10:40:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Facebook is where my grooming activity happens: it just happens that a set of friends I've made here are among my Facebook friends.

And things like "back-channel cliques" is pretty much why I don't do grooming here any more.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 09:10:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Opening twitter is like inviting a cloud of mosquitoes into the house. I've tried; just can't do it.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Sat Jul 4th, 2015 at 02:26:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I keenly feel the dearth of female participation

It's odd, I've typed several responses and deleted each of them. But I don't know how to broach the subject without incurring criticism. I've also tried mentioning that we were getting quiet and that some "official" policies were diminishing diversity nd that got critiqued as well.

I dunno. I'm the designated noise and banter, but my opinions don't actually matter

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 05:03:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Same here. And now I am going to leave this thread again. Quickly.
by Katrin on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 05:50:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lets face it.  Some guys are clueless about women and that has nothing to do with their intelligence on other topics. Coming from a family with 3 brothers and no sisters I had a lot to learn, and I'm still learning... but there really isn't a need to be worried about incurring criticism.  I tend to push the boat out quite a bit - sometimes saying things I know will annoy some others but which I feel need saying anyway.  It isn't the end of the world if someone takes a different view, and most people here have toned down the invective as they have gotten older and more experienced in the online world.  The keyboard doesn't really do emotion well, but I really appreciate it when others bring a different dimension to our discussions. And that includes you guys.  Don't go away, and don't feel any need to stay quiet.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 07:38:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you even figure out who here are men and who are women? Sure, some have actual names which are male or female, but most users just have more or less nonsensical user names which do not betray the gender of the user.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 12:22:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I'm not sure even the heavy hitters here's opinions matter much either much.
I do take Frank's point about whether we could actually be useful-ler...
That's one of the gripes, that ET should matter. I never expected to, nor does it matter to me much whether ET matters more, it is what it is, let the chips fall where they may.

Trying to matter before you're ready leads to confusion and tends to inauthenticity, which is absolutely not the problem here at ET.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 08:55:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Today I happened to look at ET for the first time in a long time and was happy to see this diary and discussion.  Not sure why I stopped coming here on a regular (daily) basis some time ago.  I enjoyed the intelligent discussions, and I feel I learned a lot along the way.  

I agree that the site can be a bit clunky, but also agree with Melo that the thorns keep out the trolls.  

I also liked the quirkier aspects, photos, trains, odds & ends, etc. but I think I mostly came to ET for the Europe-related discussions.  Come to think of it, that's probably why I tuned in today--the Greek vote.  I feel that ET is one of the best places to get real time talk about what is happening, particularly in Europe or from a European view(s).  Maybe the last time I stopped by was when the new Pope was crowned (robed?).  ET is reliably where people who know about Europe and have something to say, say it.  

After I've spun around the Guardian, BBC, France24 & Speigel four or five times looking for up-to-the-minute news/reflection, I inevitably come to the thought: maybe someone is talking about this on ET.

As for the girl thing, idk, I get it that women might feel intimidated, but as someone said there are probably a lot of men that also feel intimidated by the intelligent conversation.   I admit I feel more comfortable reading than posting, though I never felt attacked and usually felt encouraged when I did post something.  There are a lot of people who just want to show and talk about personal stuff, and that's fine.  Facebook is the place for that. Instagram + Twitter is good for that too. But that's not why I come to ET.

by jjellin on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 12:04:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of good stuff here.

Critical mass is where it's at.

There's probably some minimum of active diary writers and active commenters needed to keep a place like this ticking over.

I'm not sure what that number is - it may be possible to estimate from looking at some of the high points of ET.

As to how to get back to that kind of number (which turns the vicious circle of decline into a virtuous one) I'm not really sure. The internet world has changed - Facebook etc.

Also, we used to get people coming by because people they know recommended the newsroom - but I think that was work intensive (back to my original point) and in some indefinable way I think it feels less useful than in the past. I visit it less than I used to and I'm not sure why.

Final thought - the European public sphere didn't arrive and so there is little space for collaboration between ordinary people across Europe to have an impact on Europe. So that brings us back to analysis, but as others noted, we seem to live in a Europe full of leaders making the same old mistakes - it's hard to do new analysis on it.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 03:44:33 PM EST
Out of interest - how is Booman Tribune doing these days?

(I have no idea.)

One thing it has that we don't is that dedicated regular poster... but it's an interesting potential comparison, to see if that is enough to ward off the changes in the Internet (FB etc.)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 03:46:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly Booman still retains all of the classic old Scoop look and feel (perhaps because he has no developer resources) but also, increasingly, cross-posts on Progress Pond, which looks like a modernised Scoop skin with much the same functionality.  Perhaps he is trying to gradually migrate his userbase across to a more generic platform, but I don't know who owns/controls Progress Pond, and I'm not sure it adds any value other than looking a bit more modern.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 4th, 2015 at 04:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To amplify on the analysis issue - while there are different views on ET on all sorts of issues, there's a key core in economics which has quite a bit of agreement, but has virtually no support from the politicians in power.
I think that breeds an alienation here in the long term.

Another strand is that we were here long before Occupy, Syriza or Podemos, but we don't seem to have caught any of those waves of interest... part of that comes back to the lack of a European public sphere and maybe part to not having critical mass. And I'm sure there's more reasons too... it all adds up....

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 03:58:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
from the very beginning, but i still pop in periodically and wade through the comments, flame wars and all, when i want to figure out WTF is going on with europe-related news. for that reason alone, i hope you guys keep doing what you're doing, since the rest of the english language is next to useless on the greece situation
by wu ming on Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 at 04:36:34 PM EST
A few suggestions to improve the internet reach of ET:

. Create an RSS feed - a lot folk are still using that.

. Post front-paged content to Google+ - of all the social media this is the only medium I use regularly; somehow content has remained focused over there.

. Post front-paged content on other social media - not sure what could that achieve, but this is a strategy followed by many "old" blogs.

One of the big changes from web 2.0 (blogs, fora, etc) to web 3.0 (FB, Twitter, etc) is that information now comes to you. You do not need to check if there is something new, are you instantly notified - i.e. now your dopamine fix is also a surprise.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 03:57:43 AM EST
Post to fb - even I could do that, even after a major implosion the other day I have quite a few  "associates," some very active in that world. That is, if you want eyeballs. I am not convinced you do.

(I just had a terrible fb experience. For the first time in all these years, a disagreement so fundamental and so disagreeable - over the Thomas dissent to Obergefell, what else? - that we are disfriended and mutual friends are throwing tomatoes in various directions.)

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 04:20:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am 99% certain an FB account won't be that useful, unless to post pictures from meet ups.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 01:00:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so sure... the software at FB makes sharing so easy, even with Trib Ext it's a lumpier deal here.

And I can't get Trib Ext to work like it used to, as Comments reply is completely broken for me this last year or so. It was extremely useful. :(

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 09:00:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have the existing EuroTrib twitter account follow the twitter accounts of ET users, and add a twitter feed view to the ET main page.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 04:24:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, so a Eurotrib twitter account exists and doesn't do anything? Why not tweet new front-page items?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 04:43:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
https://twitter.com/EuropeanTribune

We could tweet:

  • Every new story or diary title
  • Every story with an active comment thread, once a day
  • Every new comment that has fresh input in the Subject field (tweet the subject) especially if the poster has a twitter account


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 06:38:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ah... I had just foolishly followed an inactive account called "eurotrib"...

May I suggest that a high volume of tweets would be off-putting? Just new diaries would be enough.
Then of course you'd have to get people to follow the account... the prime target being ex-contributors now infrequent visitors... mailshot?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 07:30:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though sometimes there is good content in the comments to.

Retweeting on comments would be indication that some diary is still generating fresh comments, so rather than on specific comment, it seems like a retweet of the diary when a threshold number of comments is posted a day or more after the first tweet, with "## comments / past 24hrs." added.

Of course, if an article generates interest among dedicated tweetizens, much of the discussion will be taking place on twitter.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 11:26:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like I may have to re-activate my twitter account after all...and I was doing so well without it...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 10:31:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suggest to also reply tweet (reply to the original post) the comments that get a minimum number of votes.
by Xavier in Paris on Mon Jul 6th, 2015 at 05:33:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I could see a column with the most active ET tweeters latest or most followed etc. Then one could click on it if desired.

The site is awash with energy whenever something big happens like now, doesn't feel at all defunct.

Also, the way the site is used during these dramas is very similar to twitter anyway, not sure of the advantage of trying to split the energy as it will divert traffic there, when they already are hyper active.

Oh yes, to catch someone influential's eye, that's right, duh. Twitter seems more suited to individuals, does it feature comment boards like ET? Facebook does, but it'd be better imo to code the connections better between the 2 so when you want to share a particular diary on FB it doesn't just take you to ET home page.
I know Scoop can handle it because Booman has it working correctly. Could it be c/p'ed into ET's code?

Shifting to FB entirely as a private group would have some bennies as let's face it FB's software is way better than Scoop's, but too much sugarmountain in life already, and Scoop works well enough.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jul 6th, 2015 at 11:50:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FB does not have a search facility. It only nests comments one level deep (or two depending on how you count). Its software is definitely not better than Scoop for what we do here. And Zuckerberg owns your content.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 6th, 2015 at 11:55:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, the way the site is used during these dramas is very similar to twitter anyway, not sure of the advantage of trying to split the energy as it will divert traffic there, when they already are hyper active.

Oh yes, to catch someone influential's eye, that's right, duh. Twitter seems more suited to individuals, does it feature comment boards like ET?

In a sense, twitter is one big comment board, since its just comments and replies to comment ... all the other features are bells and whistles embedded within the comments.

Unlike FB and its "own everything, be everything" model, on twitter, all long form content is included by reference. So the reason to have an auto twitter feed would not be to attract the notice of "someone influential", but to make it easy for twitter users to subscribe to notifications that something has been published on ET.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jul 6th, 2015 at 10:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This sort of automated sharing/publication is what I have mind. Even though I do not use Twitter.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 01:02:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's happened to all the sites I love that have not whored themselves out. Cliff Furnald's incredible cdroots, for instance, has been on life support for while now. Toss him a dime you Jacobites by name, and lend an ear.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 09:02:10 AM EST
It's occurred to me that sites have a half-life. They achieve a peak, and then participation falls away. I co-founded one which was magnificent at its peak, in about 2001, and still exists, but is of no significance.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 10:26:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is perhaps instructive to look to other sites one admires. To take just one example, I have long been a devoted reader of Intercontinental Cry. It is basicly a Canadian version of Survival International, but in the North American style it is in your face. It is amazing to me that IC has gone from success to success to further success. The only explanations that come to mind are the singular focus on indigenous issues and the white hot intensity of Ahni himself.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Fri Jul 3rd, 2015 at 10:45:07 PM EST
afew resigning as editor, and DoDo pointing out that this means that the Newsroom cannot continue in its previous form, ...

... the status quo ante is not an option.

The daily or two-daily Newsroom placed the European Tribune in one class of blog.

A pure Stone Soup Newsroom is unlikely to work, without heavier traffic than the Eurotrib currently receives. The dynamic is traffic is higher some days, lower other days, some days go by without any stories happening to get posted, some people stop checking so often, traffic is lower, and posting frequency spirals down. A smaller traffic blog needs a kernel of Newsroom posts to maintain visits to a daily Newsroom.

A daily Newsroom could be kept ticking over based on somebody posting it (which could be on a roster) and four or five or so people per day (which could be a rotating roster) committing to posting three to five stories to a volunteer Newsroom.

Or, if there is enough editor volunteer time to maintain it in the former style at a lower pace, the Newsroom could switch to a semi-weekly format, posting on, say, Wednesday and Saturday, or Monday and Friday.

Or plans C, D or E, to be volunteered below.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jul 4th, 2015 at 10:26:09 PM EST
I am not a regular on newsroom, and my presence on ET tends to be a bit spasmodic for a variety of real world reasons, but I really appreciate AFEW's many contributions here, and particularly his role as editor.

I wish people would grow up and not use personal insults here, and, failing that, just accept an editors ruling on the matter. and move on. We don't have the right to expect any volunteer to accept grief on an ongoing basis.

I hope Afew reconsiders, and if there is any repetition of said behavior, that he just shuts down that conversation or offending account for a couple of days. The standards required here have been published, and it is an editors job to enforce them.  Anyone who doesn't like that has other options.

We have already lost one long term contributor this week because he took exception to a personal insult, we cannot afford to lose an active editor as well. EOM.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 03:47:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Frank, afew (from the tomb where he lies) appreciates your kind  comments. But afew is no longer with us, and will not return. As for me, I'm not an editor and don't wish to be.

It's been harder and harder for me to find time (available useful concentrated cognitive time) for ET. I'm engaged in rewriting a series of historical novels I first brought out thirty years ago, and self-publishing them on Internet. I'm finding that doing justice to both the writing and the busy-busy sales effort at one and the same time would be a fulltime job and a half. There's lots of advice out there about how to market your own books, but it's like everything else: why aren't the advisors selling their own books like crazy themselves? Internet Marketing™ is just around the corner in many cases.

Apart from that, I have other activities, like building a house. And considerable local voluntary work in structures that I feel are all the more necessary in that, as we see daily and rage, the higher instances of our governments/supra-national structures are not fixing to promote anything but authoritarian negative policies for the (how long?) time to come -- so I'm for building what we can locally and independently, in terms of food production and distribution, eco-construction and energy projects too, and seeing what kind of a springboard for political ideas and action they might prove to be.

This doesn't mean I consider ET is of no use. On the contrary, the discussions here are vital (all the more reason to be pissed off when adults behave like spoiled brats who can throw a tantrum when they feel like it). It's just that, timewise, I have been on administrative chores mode for a long time -- I only have time to come in and make sure the basics are ticking over, doing Newsrooms, putting up OTs, promoting diaries, checking new sign-ups and whacking spammers. No time to write diaries or contribute more fully to discussions, and therefore, not a "frontpager". The latest spat just brought a decision to the head (a decision I don't mean to go back on).

This question of people not having time any more is central to the decline of ET you're asking about here. Most of what's discussed in this thread has been (abundantly) discussed before and decisions were taken -- just that the volunteers for implementing them suffered one way or another from crisis capitalism, could not put in the time, got demanding new jobs, disappeared... Since about 2010, a lot of people have found it necessary to dedicate their full time and attention to keeping their head above water.

The Newsroom can perfectly well be user-fed. The only editorial bit is preparing the shell. Open Threads are easy to post, either weekly as now, or ad hoc. Perhaps, if there are volunteers, they should step up, and let the dwindling set of current eds give them the necessary status change. I can't do it, I'm just another user (satisfied sigh).

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 12:17:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi John. Glad to see that you have fulfilling activities and new projects in meatspace, and I'm fully with you on the dwindling available time and the frustration of witnessing adults (who should know better) behaving like spoiled brats. As I wrote below, it won't be the same as it was, but I'm sure we'll find something.
by Bernard on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 12:40:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In my experience, most useful and important enterprises are driven forward by a very few dedicated individuals who seem to have an energy and resilience few of us can match. you are/were one of those few here.

And then there are a lot of people with big ideas making big noises but who generally take for granted what already is and can disappear as fast as they came when others don't sing to their tune...

It's natural enough for good people to be very busy, especially at a time of recession or other real world pressures.  The sad thing, for me, is that there haven't been sufficient new people coming through to take their places.

I generally give a new project about five years, make a contribution as best as I can, and then move on to make way for someone else.  Lately I have noticed that that strategy isn't working too well - there is no one new coming through, and those that have been offered the chance haven't stayed the course.

And so I find myself still involved in a couple of charities - Restorative Justice and drug addiction services - long after my self-designated departure date.  I can almost feel your relief at dropping the editorial role...

I'm happy to volunteer and make any contribution here I can, as long as the role doesn't require me to log in religiously every day, as that I cannot promise. When the current Eds have considered what roles they need to fill, they can drop me a line.

As for you, many thanks for your contribution as editor, and the best of luck with your many ventures. I hear this new chap, John Evans, has some interesting things to say.  Perhaps now that he is freed from other roles he will be able to mix it more in diaries and discussions. We need some fresh blood!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 01:02:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ek hornbeck school of blogging!  Any crap will do.  Some of it is bound to be good.
by ek hornbeck on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 08:13:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For me, #6, "real life happens", is the main reason I'm spending less time on ET. Oh, I still have a job and even though we haven't have much raises lately, well, at least the close to zero inflation is good for something.

Things have happened at my workplace: people laid off, other "voting with their feet" and not replaced, all this means, as I've read somewhere, that those left behind have to toil even harder. During the week, I hardly ever have the time to quickly read the newsroom from two days ago or catch up with the open thread. I'm often discovering the main diaries days after most of the action has flared up, which, these days, seems more of a blessing... On the week-end, I have time to drop the occasional comment, or, taking advantage of a quiet Sunday morning, flesh out a DIY newsroom.

How did we end up that way? The main thing that strikes me is the relatively low amount of newcomers, obviously, not enough to compensate for the number of old-timers who've left. Renewal, or rather the lack thereof, has hurt us I'm sure: when we did a quick survey of our demographics, back in the days, the bulk of us were in their fifties and above; today the average is probably trending higher than that.

And why would so few people joining in the conversation? It is a bit intimidating for a newcomer I'm sure: a good amount of wonkishness that you need to digest at your own rhythm; it may be intimidating for taking part in the discussion: many remain lurkers for quite a while. I personally haven't perceived the "male" thing, besides the occasional tongue-in-cheek "Macho Moment of the Day", but then again, I'm a white male in my mid-fifties, so probably way too obtuse to see it...

Flame wars are a though problem: some have been easily - too easily - slipped into ad hominem. Moderating these behavioral issues, trying to keep things from getting way too ugly ("cat herding"), is a lot of work and is taking a toll on even the thickest hide.

Coming back to my original point: less and less time and less of us to do a more challenging work: no wonder why this site is now crawling. A positive note though: even people who are loudly complaining about whatever ET "position" or "policy" or whatnot, keep coming back despite the disagreements. I suppose the overall quality of the debate and the arguments (even though civility is sometimes wanting) cannot be found anywhere else...

The quality of the contents and the comments is probably the only reason why I still have some optimism. ET is not going to be what it was in its first ten years - and certainly not the DKos of Europe", but it will continue in a way or another.

by Bernard on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 10:34:44 AM EST
Thanks. Even small occasional contributions can add up, and I suspect you are right about there being a lack of renewal.  I don't know how hard/easy it is to dig statistics out of Sccop, but it would be interesting to see the number of new accounts set up each year - though that would have to be adjusted for all the scam accounts which used to appear...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 5th, 2015 at 10:44:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well thank goodness the notorious ek hornbeck is here to repay Jerome a Paris' many acts of kindness with pure obnoxiousness.

Why change anything?  Tired of being right?  I never get fatigued of that.

by ek hornbeck on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 08:04:45 AM EST
How curious, a newly created account that knows about Jerome a Paris who hasn't been around for over a year...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 08:41:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't access the account

But I couldn't reply to an earlier comment of yours either (the one with a long quote from the LSE)

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 08:48:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had posted it in the wrong(ish) thread.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 08:51:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it gave very apt substance to my speculation that legal action against the ECB might not have an effective remedy or be certain of success - whatever the Treaty might say.

BTW - how do you delete a comment?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 08:54:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Admin privilege.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 09:06:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aha! So your are a closet frontpager after all. Can you take over from Afew? :-)

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 09:19:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 09:34:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing actually suspicious ~ not even a coincidence.

ek hornbeck would have known Jerome from the Energy2020 days at Agent Orange ... he and The Mom Cat have been running The Stars Hollow Gazette for the past five years.

And in their post Greek Voters Say NO to Austerity, I mentioned ET as a place to go to for Greek crisis news from a Real World Economics perspective.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 11:23:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've known Jerome on line for over 10 years starting at Daily Kos.  He was instrumental in helping set up one of my two current sites, <a href="http://www.docudharma.com/">DocuDharma</a>.  I'm a great believer in daily content and if that's a perceived problem I'm more than willing to help out.

On the warning side I've been banned from dK twice, once for flat out calling users who supported suppressing the Abu Ghraib torture photos 'Good Germans' and once (and finally for I have no intention of returning again and had to be begged by Meteor Blades himself the first time) for calling Denise Oliver a 'rapist apologist' for defending a verbally abusive Obamabot troll against a friend who was a survivor.

So now you all know the good and the 'bad' (not bad in my eyes, I'm totally unapologetic).  I write every day and I'm happy to share.  If Magnifico is still around he'll tell you I was the second author of an 'Overnight News Digest'.

by ek hornbeck on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 03:20:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Being banned from DKos can be a plus here....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 04:34:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Long thread...

"We have to few new users, yadda, yadda"
"New user in the house!"
"New user? With some connection here? Very suspicious, what if, bla bla, theory?"
"Not at all, reference links, conclusion!"

fjallstrom:

because the collective brain here revels in analysis

By which I mean to say, welcome ek! How nice of you to join us!

by fjallstrom on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 03:19:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I promise to use my indoor voice.
by ek hornbeck on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 03:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can some editor enable ek's account properly?

(I resign and the job doesn't get done, grrmmble grrmmble...)

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Jul 7th, 2015 at 04:11:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As the frontpagers will tell you, we sometimes get dodgy new accounts who just post links to dodgy sites or engage in some abusive or trolling behaviour.  I couldn't make much sense of EK's original posts so I suspect Mig's suspicions were aroused. Turns out EK's not only a bona fide account, but a distinguished one.  Welcome EK!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 08:16:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<looks around>

Ineffable quietness? What ineffable quietness?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 06:19:00 AM EST
It was very quiet when I posted this thread.  Not even a Diary on Greece.  Thankfully we've all been in full blogger jacket mode since.  I hope it lasts!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 08:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing like a good existential crisis, eh?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 08:54:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I like writing, but not enough to wish a crisis on anyone.  May we live in boring times, where every. thing works as it is supposed to do...is my new motto.

I don't have wild dreams about the potential of the EU anymore.  If only current leaders could display minimal competence and good will would be an acceptable start.  It's not rocket science; a solution could be arrived at which crosses no red lines. There seems to be a basic lack of competence surrounding how a negotiating should be structured.  

For a start the Eurogroup should be cut out of the loop.... max 6 people in the room, each side having full authority to make binding commitments although "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed" is also a principle which should be followed.

Finally, no leaks.  Lock them in a room with only a toilet and no phones until they come to an agreement which can only be ratified in whole by the Council, not picked apart again...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 8th, 2015 at 09:13:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... no, wait ... that's not it.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 9th, 2015 at 07:47:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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