Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

An encore on ETs future

by Lily Thu May 28th, 2009 at 06:07:19 AM EST

Last night, I read whataboutbob's diary of May 23rd, "Hello ET community! We need more articles and writers!!"
and it reminded me of something I had been thinking of earlier.

I belong to the group of occasional readers and very occasional contributors to this blog. Since Finance & Economy aren't my major interests, I rather look for diaries in the features section, only that there is no such section. I have been around for a couple of months now so that I now know who will approach topics that interest me or whose diaries or what topics are prone to provoke interesting debates.

This is neither apparent nor appealing for any newcomer but it COULD be.

I have noticed that most news sites change over time. They become increasingly simplified and entertaining and less and less informative.
The ET news blog is and will remain on the informing side but it should become more user-friendly.

You will only attract contributors if you attract readers in the first place.

How?


1) There should be a header with icons that lead you to different areas covered on ET (use past diaries as guide to classify topics), including access to ET archives, e.g.:

HOT : Salon; Special coverage (of events taking place NOW)

Economy : Alternative energies (wind power, solar energy, etc.); Banking crisis; ...

Politics : EUROPE [eventually single out, e.g., Ireland, special coverage by FS, or Hungary, special coverage by DoDo, etc.]; Mid-East [shergald, etc.]; US;    US foreign policy; Asia (China, India, Japan, ...); ...

E & P Specials (ongoing coverage that will lead to the event, e.g. Davos, or that revolve around a phenomenon, e.g. flu pandemic): G 20; Unionism; Globalization; Davos; EP Elections

Features/others : Photoblogs; Travel Diaries; Media; Science (Health, Environment, Climate Change, Space technology...); Culture; History; Spirituality/Philosophy; Gender issues       

ET interna : Open threads; Meet-ups; "Agenda"²

1b) ² It would be constructive to frame the ET agenda. If ET consists of "progressives", then "progressive" should be defined. People want to know where they are and what they can expect.

The community's rather pronounced atheist streak comes to mind which speaks of ET members as parts of a whole not of any set agenda, yet it will determine how ET will be perceived by readers.

I don't speak of self-imposing limitations where there are none. It's rather a matter of self-awareness and clearly-defined presence in the blogosphere. It could be useful to do this with the help of survey results that will show the percentage of ETers voting hard left, left, centre-left, centre, centre-right, right, hard right or the percentage of ETers whose core interests rather lie in Europe or outside Europe or another one as to our belief in the "European idea".

2) Contributors - as they prepare their first diary/those who are regulars already - should be asked to enter up to a dozen or so keywords to describe their competence/interests (from a list provided by ET).

Users should then be able to enter a keyword, say "Unionism" and find a list of those who feel competent or interested in that specific area. This feature would help to strengthen the community.

3) Languages: If the above measures improve reader- and contributorship at ET, I also believe that some "international communitarism" could be welcomed, as follows:

Let's assume someone wishes to debate Spain's windmills in Spanish. He/she could lead a debate with two or three other Spanish-speakers. Should debaters feel that the issues discussed should be shared with the community at large, someone within that group could then present the topic in a new diary (in English).

Or else, the author of that diary should be asked to provide a translation in the beginning and sum up the debate in three sentences at the end. Both could be translated via google, simply for the sake of transparency, not linguistic accuracy; the task shouldn't inhibit the debate or put off anyone out of fear of "having to translate".

4) Rating: I have never liked the rating system. I like to insist that its bias is built-in which is my perception and personal opinion.

Those who are generous raters, will also be rated favourably by others while those who rate sparingly will receive few ratings and tend to draw negative attention when they commit a mistake. Those who share generously are forgiven more easily. This behavioural pattern is part of human nature.

I have read excellent comments before but I wouldn't give any excellent comment that I fully disagree with a "4" - simply because I don't agree. Likewise, I wouldn't troll-rate a lousy comment only because it's a lousy comment. I'd think, "Oh well", move on and ignore the poster.

Therefore, I suggest the introduction of the following rating system:

1)    Troll
2)    Unclear
3)    I don't agree.
4)    I agree.

This doesn't leave room to applaud those comments that really stick out from the rest. A 5) "excellent" could be introduced but that would suggest that a comment that others merely agree with and that is not considered "excellent" will hurt other's feelings unnecessarily. Most of us are a bit thin-skinned, aren't we? We'd opt for "excellent" instead of simple agreement to not hurt and in order to please our friend. Human nature striking again...

I believe that the above leaves less room for manipulative behaviour. The purpose of 2) would/should not mean to offend the diary writer or another commenter. It is supposed to mean what it says, "This is unclear to me." - which could be because the reader is plain dumb or because the one he's rating hadn't been clear enough or because there's disagreement due to a misunderstanding or a different set of beliefs/underlying assumptions. The one who's comment has been rated as "unclear" can decide for him-/herself whether he/she wants to rephrase or leave it at that.

5) The front-page-system as it is would be abandoned. Front-pagers would instead distribute the different sections among themselves. They wouldn't endorse what regulars have to contribute on a specific topic but would be the watchdog against abuse. They could still invest more of their time than ordinary regulars and keep their prominent place due to the quality and quantity of their contributions but they wouldn't have to, except for the one who's in charge of the Salon (Fran) or other special coverage.

Maybe some FPers feel discomfort at the idea of letting go, opening up and sharing the site with a larger community of equals but then it appears to be exactly what is needed to ensure ET's presence and growth and that is, its significance in the blogosphere.  

Poll
Are you in favour of a new rating policy, as described?
. Yes 37%
. No 50%
. I don't care 12%

Votes: 16
Results | Other Polls
Hi Lily - thanks for taking time to write these ideas up! I just read this over once, but on first glance have seen some ideas that I find very interesting - I just need to chew on them more a bit and see what other community members and editorial staff thoughts are on this. But I do think it is important that we be open to ideas about how to attract and engage more readers and writers.

I particularly like the headers that lead to specific sections kind of idea. The Scoop software has its limitations and its structural rigidities, as I understand it (not being technical at all), but definitely worth looking at how something like this could work within the format.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 06:25:08 AM EST
Thanks, Bob. I have no idea as to how major changes could be IMPLEMENTED. Once there is agreement on what change should look like, technical experts can still express their view and work out a plan in order to put the ideas into practise.
Sometimes technical problems are used as a pretext to put off change.

I like the following, "If you put off change for too long you compromise your ability to orchestrate it." (author?)

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 06:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to be clear, Lily, I am but one person and was not promising changes I am not empowered to decide alone, nor technically qualified to make - things happen around here slowly and with a consensus. Which I think is good! And as an example of past efforts, a lot of effort went into creating the ET Archives-wiki, especially by a few people- a LOT of time and effort - and in the end it wasn't used. So <pfft> a lot of wasted effort. Scoop technology seems to be a relatively easy to use "out of the box" program, but in my understanding it really isn't a program that can be altered very much or very easily - and I just don't see that ET is not going to be changing its format anytime soon (because of time, money ,expertise, etc required ).

I don't mean to sound discouraging - but these ARE realities. But as I said, I like especially like the idea of finding a way where people could go to specific topic areas of interest - but I don't even know if that is technically possible, or if there is much interest in figuring out how to do it and or in implementing it - especially if it won't be used much. Let's wait and hear what the interest is...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 09:27:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like especially like the idea of finding a way where people could go to specific topic areas of interest - but I don't even know if that is technically possible

Relatively easy to do for a CSS/HTML programmer. You need to insert a drop down menu below the title of each diary with the choices: economy, politics, finance, social policy, etc...

... and then classify each diary under the corresponding section. Place the section headers - for example - under the European Tribune logo in the upper left hand area of the site.

by vladimir on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:08:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
Relatively easy to do for a CSS/HTML programmer
Scoop is a PERL engine.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:10:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Making sections should not be a problem. Right now only the general diary one is used, but more could be created. In fact, we already have more topics setup, they are just not in use. I think the way things are setup each story can only have one topic.

So, it is, I think possible. But would indeed require work. And I think we would have to think about sections very carefully in order not create something even more difficult and messy to navigate and participate in.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:23:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sections are easy, but clumsy. Tag clouds would be better if we could have an "ET 2.0" implementation. Scoop predates tags in any case.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:43:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I dislike tag clouds.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:53:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're pretty much a useless, at best, an illustration of topical popularity, given the categorical constraint defined.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 01:41:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the categorical constraints are very relative, given that an article can have more than one tag and that new tags can be added on the fly.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 04:13:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
heh, relational database marvels. Appying more than one tag from a finite list of tags accomplishes one thing; it increases the frequency of the tag and the total tag count. Eventually, the tag cloud would betray (as comparative label size or parenthetical count) uniform popularity and insignificance of all the tags.

My surveys of interboobz RE have revealed, a tag cloud is a feature of sites that whose inputs tend to be heavy-handily mediated, typically sole-proprietor and corporate incumbents. The array (of categories) available to the writer is hard-coded, corresponding to db index. Front-end capability to add labels requires a server call to modify the db tables, a security issue that can be managed through software surveillance and dedicated FTE labor.

I'm a survivor of the Dkos "librarian" team. Remember how that experiment in harmonizing tags "added on the fly" by authors and readers ended? Have you seen the tag cloud since?

Bwah.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:23:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't really expect that my ideas will be implemented nor would I insist on that. These are suggestions only, the result of my own thought-streaming.

If I had to choose my own favourite for immediate implementation, it would be the new rating policy.

The prettier and more accessible design - I can only guess - would cost a lot of time and energy, at least if all current content plus archives are to be moved into a new layout. Maybe the whole renewal would require a new beginning within ET that would simply link ET "old generation" to ET "new generation" and its more competitive format.

Without time and technical expertise, though, nothing can be done.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:22:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Without time and technical expertise, though, nothing can be done.

You have some interesting ideas.

I think we all have our wish list of what we would like the site platform to do, but I imagine the work involved in restructuring the site would run substantially into three figures in terms of hours of coding.

The people who keep the site running and add improvements here and there (for free!) all have day jobs (and real lives), and I don't think it's fair to expect them to shoulder a major makeover as well.

Of course, if you can code it's a different ballgame.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ńt gmail dotcom) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:51:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Scoop engine has a lot of "plugins" for various things that can be mixed and matched (link lists some). Unfortunately, ET's Scoop version is a bit old and can't be easily retrofitted AFAIK.

The best long term solution is to scrap the code and migrate it to a recent version, then import the existing comment and story database tables. This is as painful as it sounds, but less painful than doing major surgery or switching to anoter engine.

Realistically, this would need someone with a spare Linux box to install a new Scoop server (free), install all the desired addons, adjust the templates for the ET style and logo, and make an announcement so that people can comment/criticise it. Once it looks good, the database can be imported and the old server retired.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:23:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A good analysis and good suggestions. More later...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 08:35:55 AM EST
yup, good to see your ideas, Lily. it'll be interesting to hear them hashed out in the community.

i think the salon should have header links as well. this would enable quicker posting direct to the sectopn of the salon that fits. i foresee the salon growing exponentially the next few years, and it feels a little lumpy, unless you do a lot of scrolling or have a lot of time.

i expect sections to be a necessary, inevitable solution to the front page's layout, which is good enough, but certainly not ET's strong point, and first impressions are phenomenally important, in life, but even more on the 'net.

religion has more polemic power than anything, just like meatspace, and until people can navigate those waters with a thick psychic skin, we may see a few hot-headed comments, as people have their deepest assumptions nudged, and this activates some primal triggers to go all absolutist, bypassing reason and humility. it is interesting how every so often as if by magnetic attraction, deep philosophy and beliefs will be aired, leading into foreign territory, where minds may be less open than they think.

identifying ET as secular, while advocating whatever you want that doesn't get you banned, lol, seems healthier than stamping the blog as atheist, though i have little doubt an extremely high proportion of posters are. how the thousands of reader/lurkers feel is of course unknowable.

why alienate anyone right off the bat?

open-mindedness and civil criticism should be the only criteria, they're fully sufficient.

economics and energy should be two different sections, methinks.

nice to see you back! i hope some great new ideas will emerge from your diary that will attract more fine quality postings.

note to programmers: i really appreciate how user friendly ET is right now, my suggestions are not based on coding knowledge, so i have no idea how feasible they are. they just would be cool, and streamline the process. anything we can do to make it easier for folks to access will be helpful for ET' progress.

growth in quality, i'm sure it will continue, thanks to new ideas, and the great work behind the scenes accomodating the best ones.

'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 May 28th, 2009 at 10:50:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, melo, and I'm sorry now about my misgivings with regards to identifying ET as secular. It still is only the sum of its parts...

Such identification would be redundant, if ratings were changed...

Let me provide my own example. In my first (of two) diaries, I said within the debate, "Someone, something must be behind all the mysteries that surround us and that we ourselves are." [a subjective statement of opinion - not a command!] Colman commented, "I'll just flag the first unnecessary assumption you make" and rated my comment "1". I asked, "Why?", and linca replied that the word "must" in my statement had probably been the trigger. - Oh.

I only checked last night because I had some such memory that surged when redstar complained on whataboutbob's diary.

I fully respect diverging opinions, controversies and clear disagreement but it is counterproductive to troll-rate statements that cause discomfort. Rate it "I disagree" or "unclear" but don't go troll-hunting when you don't like what someone else is saying or how he will express himself.

So, I agree, it won't be necessary to make ET's "frame" too narrow. It is possible to cement its open-mindedness.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:41:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman commented, "I'll just flag the first unnecessary assumption you make" and rated my comment "1".

He did not rate your comment "1". He did not rate it at all. Two people did rate the comment, both of them "4".
see here.

In fact, at a (no very thorough) check, no ratings below "4" were given in the entire 194 comment thread...

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:51:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This isn't the comment I had been referring to.

I'll look it up for you, though.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:59:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fool alert! (myself)

I'm very terribly sorry about this false accusation. There was no "1" rating just the "flagging" comment. So no abuse there.

Anyway, I STILL prefer the more NEUTRAL rating.

I have read about the "Four Toltecan Agreements" recently, and while I have just proved that I am very much able to get it all wrong, I very much like the wisdom these agreements convey. I don't have the time to elaborate right now.

If we hold back negative AND positive judgements alike, we will come closer to the real nature of an issue, to the truth, and we'll be able to express our opinion more freely.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:12:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are not the first to misread
(none / 1)

as having got a "1". It is a misreading particularly likely to happen newcomers and there for quite unfortunate. I suspect this is a setting, and as such should be quite easy to change. Or is it some kind of hardcoded setting that you choose when you set up the scoop database and then have to live with?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:48:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately it's not that easy to change (or it would have been done before, since it gives rise to misunderstanding).

Something one should bear in mind is that there's a lot of stuff in the database for nearly four years of the site. Scoop calculates "mojo" (for what it's worth - frankly, it's not obvious to me what use it is) from the second rating on (ie, the first rating doesn't count), and only displays the score when the average of at least two ratings can be calculated. Changing that rule would change all the past ratings and mojo calculations, or at least would make the new ones discordant, and no one knows what might happen. Scoop is not so stable that playing around with it doesn't need caution.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:02:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I remember it's way down in the depths of the code, and not easy to take out at all without breaking several other sections of the code base.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:07:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a site variable called "minimum_ratings_to_count" which is currently set to '2'. This could easily be changed to '1'.

That said, changing it to '1' would mean that one single rating could hide the comment. We may or may not want to consider changing it.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:19:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah yes, thats the reason not to, it means a drive-by poster can cause tons of work by downgrading all unrated comments. and a small argument where one person downrates someones comment can get out of hand much quicker.

so as prone to cause confusion as it is, it really has to stay.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:27:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We could however change the text for the rating. for example, "score:4, rated by 3 users", or some such thing.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what would the text say in the case of the first comment, before it had a score though?,  if it says "score:0, rated by 1 users" that could cause just as much misunderstanding.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:40:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"score:none, rated by 1 users"
the score is always 'none' until 2 or more have rated.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:42:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is, the variables are 'score' and 'num_ratings'. Further, there is info for making the link to the display ratings page.

Another possibility is display "(none/1) See who rated you." Making the link more explicit, so that people will maybe be more likely to click through when they believe to have been downrated.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:47:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
could the "none" text be changed to "no average yet"? or does it display as a numeral?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:54:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be harder. The word 'none' is delivered to the formatting block. No code allowed in that block, so we can't easily change it.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 01:00:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hmmmmmmm, cant think of any suitable wording at the moment, there's got to be some somewhere though.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 01:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There could be a solution. Javascript can in fact be inserted, so 'none' can be replaces with something better, potentially.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 01:20:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That does make a lot of sense.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:38:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
clearing up afterwards is messy.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, what you said! ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:03:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's what happened :/
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the basic quality of ET is that it's a free for all. If someone wants to come and argue as a theist, they're welcome to. They're likely to be disagreed with, but it would be a shame to exclude them on the basis of a nominal party line when they may have something interesting to say while they're here.

I like the anonymity. I like the fact that no one has to offer formal credentials, or claim formal expertise, or limit themselves to specific interests, beyond the quality of their posts.

I like the fact that all kinds of content appear in the rec list without differentiation, because it means I'm more likely to read something that might not otherwise interest me.

I think rather than using drop-downs and sections it could be useful to have selective filters which only list certain areas. If you don't want to read the politics and economics diaries, you can make them magically disappear from the list. Etc.

That might not be super hard to do, even in Scoop.

I agree we could do with a slightly less austere look and feel now. Some basic stock photography for the main headers could be useful. It might also be useful to make a prettified how, what and why intro page, which is where people land, and keep the sleeker diaries on a separate page.

I suppose it might even be possible to have two separate pages mining and framing the same content - one austere, one not - and people can choose between them.

I'd prefer a sleeker page for mobile reading, but that doesn't mean a richer page would be a bad thing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:46:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It all depends on whether ET is supposed to be a cozy spot around the fireplace for some or whether anyone expects to attract a wider audience and a better positioning of ET within the blogosphere.

Personal inclinations may match the taste of potential community members but not necessarily.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:58:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It also depends on which audience we're trying to attract, and why.

Since no one is making money off this site more doesn't always mean better. Different may or may not mean better, but it depends on the how and why, and not just on the how many.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:00:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope that Jerome is going to engage in the debate...

I remember that he considered closing down the site because it wasn't flourishing. Do FPers agree on what ET is to them?

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:14:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the editorial team doesn't agree on everything, no...for example, I think Jerome would love ET to be as big as Daily Kos (though I may be mistaken), whereas I dread the thought...and there is likely a range of feelings throughout...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:18:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The (Jerome's) interest of seeing ET grow would of course lie in its greater impact on public policy.

If you take timesonline for example, you'll have plenty of what redstar called "phD esoterica" (I think), an intellectual debate that will only allow non-inflammatory(?) topics in compliance with editorial interests, and other opinions will be ostracised. The site does have a real impact. Otherwise, some characters wouldn't engage in these debates almost around the clock 7 days a week.

Will it be possible to keep up the ET site for coziness' sake alone?
What motivates anyone out of ET's editorial team to invest their time and energy?

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:38:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET will slowly keep developing a larger audience - it has continually grown since its beginning - its just hard to know how that will change things. I used to be able to send emails to Markos at Daily Kos back in 2003 and get personal responses. No way now.

I think you are definitely right about the ability to influence policy, and that is a potential big positive (and Jerome has stated that publicly as a desired outcome, so no secret there) - but what you gain in that kind of influence may also be lost in more personal interactions. But maybe that's a price worth paying.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:55:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be a great shame if many of the well-argued viewpoints gathered here did not change public and private policy - since it is fairly obvious the policies we Europeans have to live under, verge on the stupid.

But I am not convinced that a large audience is necessary to acquire the credentials to present such viewpoints, (sorry, I've been watching Jeeves and Wooster, and the aura of Jeeves seems to have descended unbidden upon me like a Baker Street november fog of the late Fifties).

The level of debate at ET, in energy and economy issues especially, is of the finest kind and possibly not for a general audience. The question we keep coming back to is what is that smaller but more influential audience?   Business and academic is my answer. Not politics (although there are some viewpoints we could feed in there, and have done) And of course the media.

Until these audiences are identified and everyone here agrees, it is not possible to construct the briefs that are needed before doing any major work on reconstructing the site visually or in any other way. It is not a matter of opinions, but of professional know-how in fulfilling a brief.

And why can't cozy and serious co-exist? That would be part of the brief that needs to be created.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 01:03:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeeves and Wooster??

I have nothing against the co-existence of cozy and serious. I had simply thought, ET's future depended in part on its growth...

If that's not the case, fine. I wouldn't over-estimate ET's impact, though, especially when compared with the MSM. Who really rules the world? A sigh of relief went through timesonline with every inconvenient blogger who left to join ET.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 01:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think growth is probably good and necessary, but it is not simply growth for growth's sake.  The quality:quantity ratio needs to be maintained.  Because I think we fill a void with the former.  It's not an asset we should part with easily.  

Also, in America I think we tend to make a distinction between MSM blogs and independent ones.  It's apples and oranges to compare the popularity of TimesOnline to ET.  And if you want to respond by pointing out how influential Daily Kos is, I don't think Europe currently has the political culture or the political crisis necessary to replicate Daily Kos.

So far as influence and audience goes use the blogroll!  Seriously, there have been many times I have found ET blogrolled at a site I appreciate or frequent, and have felt really sleazy that I could not return the favor.  It is really embarrassing web etiquette.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 02:05:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I don't think Europe currently has the political culture or the political crisis necessary to replicate Daily Kos."

Because there is no Europe. There are very few things "pan-european". "Europe" is an eclectic collection of national --what do I say, village size identities. There's no european daily KOS just like there's no federal government, no Washington, no pan european TV or mobile phone operator.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 02:54:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent comment, sven. Early on I thought our policy interests were to influence government - but I have learned over time (here) that European governments (individually and collectively) are quite difficult to influence. I mean the US government is not so easy to influence either, but in comparison to Europe - much easier. You can pressure individual government representatives and committees with well-organized approaches there. But business and academia? Hm. Well, I don't want to take the thread off from its original intent too far, but I wonder if influencing business or academia may be even harder here - but maybe I am totally wrong there. As I think about it (at the moment), it seems to me that our best chance in influencing public policy is through influencing public opinion. But, to contradict myself, there is an amazing knowledge base at ET that is much more focused on issues of economy and energy, and I do think we can make an impact there. Its a good question - where is our strength?

Thought provoking...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 01:26:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Business audience is not hard to reach. I don't mean the MBAs who are lost souls, I mean the people that design, construct and manage infrastructure. In Finland that means the 80% who are engineers of some kind, not lawyers. In other countries it is maybe harder to find those people. Jérôme is one of those 'engineers' (A mining engineer actually ;-),  The Man from Lyon is an engineer - and many others here. I don't think this is a coincidence.

By academic I guess I really mean graduates and beyond - young people who expect to be changing things soon.

But the media is the fastest way to get influence - especially if it is specialized media. LTEs are not enough. But it is not the most pleasant of games. It also needs money.

The problem with politics is that it speaks a special language that we don't speak. And as for bureaucratese, the only person here who understands it might be Frank S - and that is a compliment ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 01:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's not a coincidence that so many people here are engineers or scientists of one kind or another. Or at least have a technical rather than an MBA background.

MBAs would be reachable, but it would mean changing the way MBA courses are taught. I think that could be done, but it's not a small project.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 02:51:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps take a look over at JakeS's diary asking where we are all from.  There are also plenty of other diaries that have discussed why people come to ET and what they get out of it.  

The editorial team are not really all that set apart from regular contributers so the question you ask of the FP team is equally applicable to everyone who contributes on ET.  We don't sit on pedestals and we all have our own reasons for being here.  

We've chosen to take on additional roles as needed to maintain the site eg to keep a flow of stuff up on the front page either by writing stories directly for the front page or by bumping up other contributer's diaries.  Some FPers are here largely to provide technical assistance and some are here to support the community side of things.  There is no editorial line on anything.

Many of us are here to learn and discuss.  Perhaps we'd like to be able to influence policy and there have been loads of discussions and sub groups set up around that, and those involve people other than front pagers/editors.  Some people aren't interested in the policy aspect and just want the community side of things.  There's never been any consensus across the whole of ET nor within the FP team! There's diversity for you.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 01:25:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"asking where we are all from"

The Daily Kos and Booman :)

And maybe that's the whole "problem": finding a way to reach to and also to interest a more diverse audience than just people coming one way or another from leftleaning american blogs. That is, if the point of this blog is also to be diverse and european, and not just american-style progressive.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 03:00:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My impression is that people come over to sites which are advertised by members in good standing in the community where they are based themselves. That's certainly the way most of the current contributors found their way here.

I came to The Midnight Populist because Bruce puts up diaries here. I came here because Orac flagged a poll that flagged ET. I came to Orac's blog because he's part of the Sciencblogs sub-community surrounding The Panda's Thumb, which I came to because it's part of the Talk.Origins community, which I used as a reference resource. A lot of people migrated over from DailyKos because they were in Jerome's orbit. Frank, Lily and the rest of the TimesOnline crowd came over because you flagged ET over there (thank you for that, by the way).

On the other hand, bloggers (at least good bloggers, which is who we want to recruit) are allergic to astroturf operations. Drive-by posts intended to function as advertising have to be really good in order to make people even visit the other end of the link. Hence the need to be a member in good standing in the community you try to recruit from.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 04:22:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You got me curious, TBG, so I checked the Daily Kos site meter - wow - they get over 50,000 visits AN HOUR! ET is averaging 60,000 A MONTH. That's 20 to 30 MILLION visits a month for them - with peaks (in Sept & Oct) to between 70 & 80 million for the month!! NO thank you!! Keep ET cozy!! (although with those numbers you could have a paid staff)...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:14:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
whataboutbob:
Keep ET cozy!!

i hear that!

still,i'd be proud and happy for J. and others if ET did go ballistic.

sacrificing some personal pleasure for a good cause is so worth it, if that leads to concrete positive political changes.

just one kind of pleasure to another...

'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 May 28th, 2009 at 01:46:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with DKOS is that it is a single stream of diaries which fly past you at the rate of 10 an hour and it is very easy to miss good stuff.  And for all that volume it is remarkably one dimensional in its focus on US Democrat politics.

In principle, I would have thought it better from our point of view if 10,000 read a diary, rather than 100, the problem is managing all that content when you have so many diaries being contributed.

So if we do grow ET content volume it would be great if that content was streamed by some core categories as suggested here.  That way we could keep multiple interest groups interested - those primarily intereste3d in economics, politics, photography, breaking news, spanish langauge diaries etc. - could pick an d choose what to look at without - a la DKOS - being absolutely flooded with content we are not very interested in.  

The recommended diary/FP dairy feature could still give prominence to outstanding diaries that are a must read even if you aren't particularly interested in that particular topic.

As things stand, the 2 and 3 ratings in the rating system are almost redundant anyway, so redefining them to mean agree/disagree isn't really a technical issue.  I would like to retain a four for comments I consider very well drafted or thought out or just to acknowledge the work put in by the contributor.

However I sometimes also just give comments a 4 to acknowledge I have read them - (and to flag to myself not to read them again - so that rather defeats the purpose.  The problem here is that once you post a comment there can be a lot of other comments on the trread which you haven't read which are no longer flagged as new).

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 02:41:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Comment responses
The problem here is that once you post a comment there can be a lot of other comments on the trread which you haven't read which are no longer flagged as new).

don't you 'tab-browse'?

_ And for all that volume it is remarkably one dimensional in its focus on US Democrat politics.

yup, got that job done...

if we had a euro-wide presidential election, we'd probably focus in that way. (not saying we should, mind you)

look how motivated we got about phony tony! /snark

as europeans, living in the greatest landmass on the planet, we are much more educated to be multidimensional, whereas in the states they're much more firewalled by their media.

they needed to focus down hard on changing government, we should too, (kudos for your sterling work in this regard), but, sorry to use a cliche here, americans do change more swiftly, we have a _lot more history on our shoulders, and like to take our time more.

more calcified, to be perjorative, more prudent and less easily swayed in the main by rah rah hullabaloo, to flatter ourselves.
they've had 200+ years of federal, largely monolingual unity, we are babies in that regard.

so those are natural growth-inhibitors,slowing our ascent. i don't think there is any quick way, backdoor entrance to influence, i believe in the collective ferment of good minds, worrying at issues like terriers, and the range and freedom of conversation, liberally laced with humour, that characterise this hangout, to be a magnet for people searching for new solutions and pathways home.

the combination of ideals and intelligence will attract more and better input, and i trust that as times quantitively ease people out of their all-about-me complacency and ignorant habits that are based on the fossil fuel energy surfeit, and are no longer relevant.

they are going to be hitting the net for answers and educational debate, and all over the planet nodes of ideas are clustering, we are one and each poster here spiders the web and hauls back goodies to discuss. every day brings more issues that are breaching the surface, each day more dots are connected...

here we sharpen arguments, and acquire the writing chops to make our points better, whetted on the challenge of serious, lively critique.

what a great medium, it's uniting so many who were feeling lonely and abandoned, and shaping a better future by stimulating deep reflection on the most knotty of global problems.

Dkos, like many americans, doesn't look far and often beyond its own borders, giving it perhaps greater heft as a political tool, but limiting its embrace of the whole planet's problems. we, on the other hand, are fated to internationality by our geography.

i wish there were a bot that would crawl all the dkos diaries and select 10 or so a day, chosen according to my interests. one can subscribe to diarists, which is cool, but not quite the same.  

'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 May 28th, 2009 at 04:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is "tab browse"?  I thought Frank's complaint was simply a fact of life, and that's why I enter ET through the recent comments, which is maybe a bit unorthodox.

And PLEASE can we put an end to the moaning about DKos being only focused on US Democratic party politics?  That's the purpose of the blog.  It's like complaining that Cartoon network only shows cartoons, or there isn't enough current affairs programming on ESPN, or Deutsche Welle is too narrowly focused on German stuff.  It's madness.  

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 04:32:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't really see it as a complaint, more a comment about why this place is different.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 04:51:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem here is that once you post a comment there can be a lot of other comments on the trread which you haven't read which are no longer flagged as new.

Well, let's agree that he identified it as a problem.  

I didn't mean his whole post was a complaint.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 05:00:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is "tab browse"?

Most current browsers support opening a link in a new tab. This includes the "reply to this" links (because they are proper links and not the #"%&" Javascript used by WordPress and similar CMSs).

When responding to a post, I usually do so in a new tab, precisely to preserve the (new) tags in the rest of the thread.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 05:09:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To tab browse is to press the ctrl key when you click on something (like "reply to this")which generally opens in in a new tab in your browser (and in this case) means that the "new" comments in the original tab are undisturbed in their newness.

I occasionally do this, but generally have so many tabs open in several browsers I am already at the limits of my CPU's tolerance.

I would contrast ET with Dkos not to complain about Dkos, but because I enjoy ET's diversity of content and was only making the point that if we do get to the point where ET generates 10 diaries an hour we would need to stream them into several subject or interest group streams to avoid overloading people with content.

BTW - DKOS also tuns on Scoop, but I suspect on a heavily modified version, as he has full time technical staff to enhance things.  I don't suppose Marcos would give us a copy of his software to run ET and save us the bother of doing those enhancements ourselves?  Perhaps not.  He's gone pretty commercial...

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 06:07:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i wasn't moaning, simply observing. dkos is a very good hammer that pounds a nail very well.

all great, but what makes dkos special to me is the more random stuff that gets by the censorship, such as it is, because while it doesn't actively promote voting and elections, it doesn't get in their way either.

there is tremendous variety there, and some truly excellent writing. its avowed purpose may be to elect democrats, but the side effects are much more motley and less predictable.

it's great because of that, while being open to many subjects, it gets the job of suggesting, dissecting, and encouraging better electoral politics.

the rallying that occurs when someone is in trouble is sometimes extremely moving.

'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 May 28th, 2009 at 05:52:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly when that happy day begins to approach where diaries routinely scroll off the recent diaries list in less than 24 hours, it would be worthwhile to make tag lists. This diary, for instance, could be tagged [Meta], while a Countdown to $100 Oil diary would be [Economics], [Environment] and [Peak Oil]/[Natural Resources].

But with the current growth rates of the site, it is debatable whether such a system adds much of anything within a foreseeable time frame. And I am not convinced that changing the architecture to accommodate changes in patterns of use that are years down the road, if they are going to show up at all. There is always the possibility that we might migrate to another technical platform between now and then, and in that case it would be a lot of work for no gain...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 05:21:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
watering the gin, eh frank...

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 09:24:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just gave you a 3.  Isn't that what you wanted?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:36:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1)  I'm in favor of any technological tweaks that website more user-friendly.  The problems, in the past, have not been a lack of these types of suggestion, or unwillingness to implement them, but the limitations of the current platform, and administrators who have the knowledge & time to make these changes.

1b) I have to strongly oppose this suggestion.  :(

It has been my experience that blogs which define themselves with an explicit ideological agenda limit valuable participation and effectively censor the site.  Individuals here may have their own explicit ideological agendas, but I would like to think we are capable of respecting those who hold other beliefs, even when not respecting those beliefs, and realize people are more complex than one belief or or another.  If anything, ET should be more diverse, not less.  

I will add that one of the most important lessons I've learned here is that an explicit ideological agenda, even when we think it is the correct and responsible one, is a detriment because the ideological agenda always ends up being given primacy over evidence that contradicts or implicates it, and everyone truly believes they can be the exception to that rule.  No idea/belief is so holy that it is above critique.  

2) Not sure this is necessary, but not sure it could hurt either.  

3) I think there is a consensus that more linguistic diversity is welcome/needed.

4) Rating systems are a necessary evil since they are how the community rewards/polices itself.  But I've always thought there should be some way to differentiate between rewarding a comment because it is productive and because you agree with it, and I've never understood the middle-range numbers- they seem passive aggressive to me.  I think something like this would be preferable:

4=Over-achiever
3=Agree
2=Citation needed
1=Violation (of rules in the FAQ)

This way the rater has to explain their rating.  The highest rating would reward quality, not opinion, and the lowest would not be subject to opinion, nor would it sound like a schoolyard taunt ("troll").  Since 3 serves no practical purpose, let people use it to express agreement.  And 2 would not punish minority opinions, but would discourage unfounded assertions.

5) Yes.  yes yes yes yes....


"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:18:29 PM EST
that an explicit ideological agenda, even when we think it is the correct and responsible one, is a detriment because the ideological agenda always ends up being given primacy over evidence that contradicts or implicates it

The result is that there still is an implicit ideological agenda. In my experience it is much more difficult to deal with this suggestive something that you cannot address because it is not really there.

I'm not at all familiar with dailykos but from what I have been reading here before, it appears that they follow the exact same policy, and somehow shergald is now posting here because he wasn't tolerated at dailykos - where he would have reached a huge audience.

An explicit agenda would lead to immediate censorship in China. Bloggers there can be helped when they maintain a low profile with an implicit agenda.

In a free society, however, we should be able to explicitly name our values and political leanings without fear.

In my experience, the low-key, "agenda-less" approach is preferred by people who like to stall others through subtle manipulation so that they will happily endorse what they wouldn't were they aware of the agenda they are actually backing.

---

I like your suggestion to not call 1 = troll but a violation of ET rules.
2 = citation needed - may be applicable but it's misleading if you simply want to express that you disagree or that someone hasn't expressed himself clearly enough.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 01:01:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it would be most productive to differentiate between the agendas of individuals and those of the site as a whole.  And despite the infrequent dust-up, it appears most of the contributors to this site easily comprehend this.  Where there is widespread agreement on something, it can lead to collaborative work among the members to promote that agenda, but it should never be insinuated that debate undermines the purpose of the blog.  It is in fact what makes it stronger.

Daily Kos and ET operate in dramatically different ways.  Daily Kos has a clear ideological agenda, and those who violate it can be banned.  It is a very large, influential and intolerant site, and dissent is regularly met with immature antics and deletion, not debate.  

With regard to China v. free societies...  What I have learned is that the world is not so black and white, and ideology is still given primacy in our free societies.  Look at the concept of the "free market."  I could write (and have written) diary after dairy about this.  But I'm not going to hijack your diary.

I'm not suggesting an "agenda-less" approach, but the value of a multitude of agendas, agendas which people are free to sincerely endorse or sincerely question.  I agree that pure objectivity is the mantra of those usually pushing a pretty clear agenda.  Objective critique is a valuable aim nonetheless.

Of course, this is my informed opinion, and I don't speak for everyone here.  But it does seem to me to go against the grain of ET's greatest strengths and attractions to define an ideological agenda for the site.   And if lack of contributions has been identified as a problem, I can't understand how this is a solution to that.
---

If you simply disagree with someone, you can respond with a comment explaining why.  I don't think disagreement is justification for rating someone down.  Repeating unfounded hearsay with no interest in facts might be.


"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 01:45:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
poemless,

- okay, I get your point. I can follow your reasoning for wanting to appear "agenda-less".
So far, I have been writing diaries only once every 6 months. In another 6 months (maybe earlier), I would like to come up with different against the stream content. We'll see.

- OT: How do you feel about the things that happen at dkos? Do you see any danger in this mass movement around the Democratic Party/Obama?

I have met Americans who will immediately call me anti-American when I dare ask about the 9/11 investigation. What about freedom of speech in all these areas where people express their personal views and are considered as a threat to American interests? Am I an item for Homeland security for the asking?

- Frankly, I don't know whether this site lacks contributions. whataboutbob and Jérôme seem to think that is the case; others don't, and I don't have any opinion on how many hits, comments or diaries this site should ideally have.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:24:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
okay, I get your point. I can follow your reasoning for wanting to appear "agenda-less".

No, you obviously don't.  Because I EXPLICITLY wrote:

I'm not suggesting an "agenda-less" approach, but the value of a multitude of agendas, agendas which people are free to sincerely endorse or sincerely question.

I really cannot tell if you are trying to put words in my mouth and make underhanded accusations or just didn't bother to read what I wrote (which is perfectly forgivable considering the number of comments in this diary!)  But I am really beginning to question your motives now.

OT: How do you feel about the things that happen at dkos? Do you see any danger in this mass movement around the Democratic Party/Obama?

No.  No, I don't.  I think Daily Kos is invaluable - mind-blowingly brilliant even.    

I have met Americans who will immediately call me anti-American when I dare ask about the 9/11 investigation. What about freedom of speech in all these areas where people express their personal views and are considered as a threat to American interests? Am I an item for Homeland security for the asking?

Look.  I am American.  I've had family members call me anti-American for voting for John Kerry and my best friend thinks I have no right to call myself a true leftist if I have any involvement in the Dem. Party.  It's an incredibly heterogeneous country.  There is a different opinion for every person.  If Markos wants to ban people for questioning 9-11, he can.  He has to make the call about 1) the rules in his house and 2) how he thinks his site has the best chance of making the changes he deems necessary.  I've made people leave my home for saying things I personally felt were offensive and upsetting and accusatory.  I've watched every politician I've known self-censor because ... Oh, do I really have to explain the whole democratic process here?  


"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:33:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had missed this comment! sorry.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:00:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
In a free society, however, we should be able to explicitly name our values and political leanings without fear.

I agree that we should be able to name our values without fear, but we do not have the right to do so without fear of contradiction, i.e. whatever belief anyone professes, everyone else is free to analyze it for logical or factual inconsistencies.

That, ultimately, is why I come here and spend so much time here: any assertion is fair game, and logical inconsistencies are exposed and hidden assumptions get dragged kicking and screaming into the light of day. It's not always comfortable, but it is virtually never uncivil.

First and foremost any change to the site must preserve this rare and delicate creation (see also MarketTrustee's excellent explanation below).

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ńt gmail dotcom) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 04:10:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not at all familiar with dailykos but from what I have been reading here before, it appears that they follow the exact same policy, and somehow shergald is now posting here because he wasn't tolerated at dailykos

As far as I can tell, as an outside observer, DailyKos is effectively a think tank, on the standard American model. An open-access think tank, but other than that a fairly ordinary one. Think tanks squash internal dissent. Full stop. They are playing the political game according to the same rule as all the other think tanks, and that requires them to squash internal dissent. In that respect, they are not that much different from, say, The Panda's Thumb, which is also playing the political game (of course on TPT squashing dissent is made easier by the fact that "dissenters" on the subject of creationism are almost uniformly batshit insane, but that's another story for another day...).

ET is another kind of beast. More akin to a group of people who get together for beer and pizza once in a while. We have some common interests and we have some common values and we have a Conventional Wisdom(TM), because there are concepts that we've taken apart and put together again several times already.1 But I drink beer and eat pizza with people in the physical world who hold views that I would never be able to work with in a think tank modelled on the standard American pattern, and similarly there are people on ET who would not be in the same organisation as me if we had to formulate a coherent party line - but whose participation I would very sorely miss if they were to pack up and leave.

There has been talk about setting up an ET "quasi-think tank," by making a separate page which attempts to concisely sum up the Conventional Wisdom of the site in a format and style that's accessible to people who are not immersed in the community. But of course that takes work - rather a lot of it - and we don't have an activist culture on ET... which is another point of similarity with a beer-and-pizza club :-P

- Jake

1One exercise I'd recommend for anybody who thinks that ET is stagnating is to go back to some of the economics diaries from two or three years ago - the difference is immense, something I attribute to the fact that we have developed conceptual tools for discussing things like unemployment rates and GDP growth that we simply didn't have two years ago.

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 05:03:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
calling ET a "Progressive" community, because I don't know of any self-described "regressive" ones.  Sometimes when I research a topic, or enter an argument on unfamiliar ground, I don't know where I will end up.  I have even surprised myself with my own conclusions at the end of a diary, and I would much prefer things to stay that way.  

For instance, I would hate to have to ask myself, having written a diary or a long comment - oh dear, I wonder is my critique in line with the site's editorial policy - and I wouldn't stay if I felt I were subject to censorship in what I could say.

Obviously you can expect more criticism if what you say challenges the majority of people's beliefs/prior conclusions, but how could it be otherwise?  I have occasionally got into trouble for my views expressed here, but I wouldn't want to be on a site where no views got challenged because people where afraid to say a critical word for fear of upsetting you.

Also, my views have changed over time, and as I learn more, I hope they will change some more.  I think this site has also evolved quite rapidly in the short time I have been here, so even if we could define what the site stood for now, it might be out of date in a few months time.

So I don't think a refusal to state an explicit political orientation for the site is a form of covert manipulation to trap the unwary.  It is simply a determination to stay open to new evidence.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 06:39:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]

5) The front-page-system as it is would be abandoned. Front-pagers would instead distribute the different sections among themselves. They wouldn't endorse what regulars have to contribute on a specific topic but would be the watchdog against abuse. They could still invest more of their time than ordinary regulars and keep their prominent place due to the quality and quantity of their contributions but they wouldn't have to, except for the one who's in charge of the Salon (Fran) or other special coverage.

Maybe some FPers feel discomfort at the idea of letting go, opening up and sharing the site with a larger community of equals but then it appears to be exactly what is needed to ensure ET's presence and growth and that is, its significance in the blogosphere.

Well lets see, from a technical point of view to start with, you're moving with  this point from a few minor tinkerings at the edges, say a hundred hours of coding to a complete site rewrite, say 2000 hours of coding to hit  a usable version, and ten times that before we hit the end of testing, and a stable, usable site that won't go through multiple failures per day. It's not just trivial work.

from the community point of view, why would this change result in an increase in number and quality of diaries? and what would you put in the place of the current front page? A disproportionate number of diaries are written by the front pagers, who would see some of their incentive to write dissappear, if they aren't feeling guilty about not enough content turning up. ;) Many of the stories promoted to the front page are promoted from the normal user base, would you wish for them to lose this writing incentive too? this sectioning off ofcontent and FP responsibility, do you not think that this would discourage new users from commenting in sections where they had no expertise? some users do find it hard enough to comment here anyway.

There are two major killers of online communities, the quick one where arguments tear the  community apart, and the slow one where people gradually stop writing and producing content and it lurches to an unapreciated asthmatic halt. I fear that your suggestion would slowly, but inevitably lead to the second.

Your final paragraph about FPers holding on too tightly and moving on to the glorious future amongst equals, is nice in theory but a long history of online communities tends to show that with a lack of a central community output, arguments and thus the first cause of community failure become more likely.

I'd be interested to hear your responses.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:59:44 PM EST
I don't have all the answers...

My vision seems to differ from your assessment of the role of FPers, and you appear to be the one who brings in experience with community blogging.

I'm going to think about your criticism and get back to you tomorrow since I have to leave now.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 01:20:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
why would this change result in an increase in number and quality of diaries?

I believe the change would attract more readers in the first place because they could easily spot the topics they can relate to. If there are more readers, there will eventually be more people who might also wish to contribute.

and what would you put in the place of the current front page?

I could imagine a format rather similar to a simplified Huffington Post than to dailykos.

A disproportionate number of diaries are written by the front pagers, who would see some of their incentive to write dissappear, if they aren't feeling guilty about not enough content turning up. ;)

Frontpagers bear some disproportionate responsibility to fill the front page. They regularly complain because they volunteer their time without asking/getting anything in return.

WHAT IS their incentive? To appear on the front page??

Many of the stories promoted to the front page are promoted from the normal user base, would you wish for them to lose this writing incentive too?

Honestly, this whole promotion business as a writing incentive suprises me.
Many writers here remain anonymous ET community celebrities (not all). They don't earn any money, and they spend hours - in order to be promoted to the front page?

this sectioning off ofcontent and FP responsibility, do you not think that this would discourage new users from commenting in sections where they had no expertise? some users do find it hard enough to comment here anyway.

I don't think it does. Not ALL diaries have a 2000+ word count and are at PhD level. BTW, The "sectioning off of content" wouldn't make content disappear.

Someone said ET was still too small to require sections.

When I want my flower to grow well, I wait until spring and change the flower pot and give it room to grow. If it remains in the old pot, it may remain as is if I water it regularly and add some fertiliser but it won't be happy for a long time.

Sections would mean room for growth IMO.

PS: I only replied because you asked me to... If vision and input(workload)/output(effect) don't correspond, it won't be done anyway.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 06:57:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I could imagine a format rather similar to a simplified Huffington Post than to dailykos.

Huffington Post is... a different kind of beast. HuffPo does some good and valuable things, but I'm not sure that it would play to the strengths of the ET community.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 07:22:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that it's different but I like its diversity.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:07:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to write has little to do with personal fame, or I wouldn't be writing anonymous.

I write because ET has the capcity to be a platform for subjects I would like to have a larger audience. So sure, there is some degree of ego-stroking involved, and I don't think that's entirely wrong either. I write because I can share information, and to learn from others by sharing it. And currently I have the time and availability to contribute.

And that's it.

I do have a proposal on "sectioning" up the site, but I'll hash that out below separately.

by Nomad on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:24:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will answer this later, in detail, but am busy at the moment.

(But as a personal note and not aimed at you in any way Gardening metaphors set my teeth on edge, Chauncy gardner may have been the perfect forshadowing of the public image of George Bush II, but  talk about larger pots and financially "The green shoots of recovery makes me want to scream)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:09:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is HILARIOUS!

You have been rated "excellent" ten times for debunking my arguments for abandoning the front page system. Now, just have a look who gave you that rating. Front pagers gathering behind their fellow front pager.

That's what I meant by built-in bias!

This site cannot be changed, for the better or the worse unless the editorial team will decide to do so.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:05:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Six of the ten are ordinary users.

Please get your facts right when throwing around accusations.

by Sassafras on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:14:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this site has some 3000 members and maybe one or two dozen FPers... 4 FPers out of 10 plus the comment writer, that's a lot!

BTW, I don't know how you perceive me. I'm not sitting here flinching my teeth but I quite enjoy the exchange.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:26:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to a good extent because they are active members of the community. In all liklihood, the 15 or so editors are part of the 20 most active members, and they participate to most conversations.

We have a couple thousand people that registered as members, but probably 50-ish regular contributors and a hundred or so occasional posters, and probably a few hundred regular readers.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:41:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not hilarious at all, Lily. It means those who gave ceebs a 4 understand what he's saying, think it's accurate, and thank him for saying it.

As to the rest, are you not suggesting the editorial team here should not express itself? Are we to shut up, disappear, just because you have decided you want ET to be a different place than it is?

For the record: there have been many meta-discussions in which the questions you raise in your diary have been discussed, and discussed again. Some of your suggestions have broad support. Personally, I would be very happy to see a system of categories and tags that would make access easier. I would also quite happily see a change in the ratings system. But, with the present platform, these matters are not going to be addressed because they are too difficult or even impossible and demand far too much work - that would no doubt be better placed in a new platform, when that can be done.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:22:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't decided on anything. I believe that ET would benefit from some earth-shaking?? changes.

I have a general interest in the media and like to share my views. It is only natural that the editorial team will stick together when the site policies are questioned.

It seems that some share the interest in a different lay-out which cannot be implemented. I understand that.

At the end of my diary, I will try to sum up what has been said. May it inspire the construction of a new platform some day.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:35:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your discussion on the rating system is on point - but your query to abandon the front page system is not.

There have been made several proposals perviously to change the look and behaviour of the site. There also have been made several stabs by several people in investigating if this can be done technically. ceebs was one of them.

There are two, quite crucial, points to consider:

  • the technical side - can it be done? Perhaps, but it is certainly not easy, and it might not be doable at all. ceebs here is one of the people with the authority (as in, he knows what he's talking about) to say that. And I endorse his view - which is why I also rated him.

  • the philosophical point of view - which is perhaps even worth more attention. It is easy to propose a new system - but how can you guarantee it will give a better return on discussions than we have today? You're answering ceebs; the discussion is not finished.

You shouldn't see this as "debunking". You're talking about a major overhaul that will affect the entire philosphy of the site. I feel it's only logical to also look at the bigger picture.
by Nomad on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good lord, Lily, it's only a blog.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ńt gmail dotcom) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:20:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So?
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:37:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I say abandon them completely. In the case of trolls or truly offensive comments, a simple 'flag inappropriate' button be added to each post. This would silently flag a post so an admin or moderator could rule and hide the post if truly necessary.

Another approach would be a simple recommend system. Either you recommend it, or you don't. The recommend serves as a 'Hear hear, what she/he said'. If you disagree or want  citation, etc ask for one in a comment. If you're too busy to make a comment, then maybe it isn't that important to you.

Without a built-in dynamic ratings system, such as Daily Kos uses, I don't see what the point of having ratings is. I guess people like it because its part of the blogging game. But, maybe ET could do something different?

by Magnifico on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 02:09:08 PM EST
Predefined "keywords to describe their competence/interests" are exclusionary. I think they will limit contributions rather than encourage them.

Also, would there be agreement of definitions?

Take Energy, Environment, Climate, and Economics. These are all related and can often stray across boundaries. Why would assigning a keyword or section to an essay help? I think it'd help make a diary be missed.

It is not as if ET is overflowing in essays every day that the blog would to put diaries in topic ghettos to help manage the torrent.

by Magnifico on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 02:15:39 PM EST
Using a 3 rating in that way would be the death of ET.

What we have here is a pleasant, mostly polite community.  Before we start taking it apart, I think we need to acknowledge what we're doing right. And I don't think it's a coincidence that we currently have a culture where we can agree, give reasons for our disagreement, or say nothing at all.

Most misunderstandings in cyberspace arise from forgetting that you're talking to a real person and that normal courtesies apply. The 3 rating you suggest would involve abandoning the absolutely fundamental courtesy of saying WHY you disagree.  In normal conversation, we wouldn't just make a gesture or snap "No" and walk away, and a 3 rating would be just as aggressive here.

by Sassafras on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 02:28:39 PM EST
sanding away at my stair treads,it occurred to me how i'd like the ratings system:

0 way off base
1 good style
2 good content
3 good style and content
4 off the map great

but it won't work if everyone sticks to the good ole binary 4 or nothing routine.

gradation is interesting...

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 06:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you get a 3 from me!

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:22:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and you a 4!

reg'lar connoisseur of commentary, you are Frank!

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 09:31:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I commend you for making your wishes known. I say further, your confidence belies the sincerity of your other remarks, the gist of which I would summarized thus: "it should become more user-friendly [to my interests]." Instead of a forthright proposal to solicit articles about religion, philosophy or spirituality, instead of writing the article you enjoy, you provoke readers to entertain editorial neglect of conventional "information architecture." The organization you outline may be found in any periodical or newspaper, because it's a proven method to segregate advertising sales and nothing more. Your request for an "agenda" or some sort of political manifesto is dull yet entirely consistent with an expectation, no reader can know or choose what he or she reads unless told.

Yes, I am irritated by this last in a long line of half-assed "visual communication" critiques, bearing little relation to a purpose be that "community" cultivation or business case execution.

Here's what I'd like you to do for me, just another one of the readers you imply you represent. Study the following annotated layouts. Interactive functionality consists of a very few rudimentary devices. Return to post a sketch of the graphic user interface (GUI) you envision and a database design to support migration legacy assets and classification of all content. At minimum, a database design begins as a kind of flow chart that describe the hierarchy of references and (categorical) content displayed by page.

I expect no one will ask you to perform the SQL queries that would be required to classify five years of back matter. But keep in mind granularity as you refine your prototype: the fewer the categories allowed, the greater the number of results returned by a tag search or tag cloud selection. Also "occasional readers" avoid searching for anything, so web-designers tend to reduce "home page" (index) display to a collection of sensational headlines and lurid images to "attract" them.


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

In what ways are these samples more "user-friendly" that ET? Think before you speak.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 02:50:05 PM EST
Here's what I'd like you to do for me, just another one of the readers you imply you represent.

You are NOT one of the readers I imply I represent. I refer to not-yet- or occasional readers - much less in my own self-interest than in ET's growth interest but there I must have mixed up Jerome's interests with those of other FPers.

You ask me to do you a "favour". There is no need to become ironical. I have NO IDEA what you are talking about in your last two paragraphs and I never pretended I would.

BTW, I don't request an agenda. It's already there though not spelled-out. :)

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 07:20:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a collection of sensational headlines and lurid images to "attract" them.

THINK before you speak. Where did I cite "yahoo" as an example or ask for any sensationalist format, hein?

"Classify topics" isn't quite the same as what you are suggesting I'd have in mind.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 07:28:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The two screenshots above are examples of "user-friendly" interactive websites. You offered no examples of "user-friendly" interactive websites. I presume you have never encountered one. Yahoo! and Wordpress exemplify "user-friendly" websites. They share certain graphic features and functionality with ET. Here are more examples, labeled.


Click to enlarge. These are conventional publishing layouts for a book (tabloid or broadsheet) of multiple authors --sensational headlines, lurid images, attractive to "occasional readers." Authors and their material as well as amended reader comments are approved by editors prior to publication. That is not the process at ET, however.


Click to enlarge. Thes are publishing websites that feature multiple authors, too. Michigan Liberal and Street Prophets employ soapblox API (interface set of standard routines, CSS and db design parameters). Notice the layout constraints. (Although *.blogspot provides a variety of CSS "skins," deviation permitted administrators is just as limited.) Energy Bulletin is not a soapblox website, but it is an "aggregator." It features prominently an index to news and commentary divided into sections as well as a simple navigation bar (not shown).

Tsk, tsk.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:46:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should really take all these annotated layouts into a diary.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 01:58:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To provide general reference? OK.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:38:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's a user-friendly site.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:00:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:57:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I presume you have never encountered one."

ET doesn't live on images and colours. I don't believe it should. I like the austerity of the site. I don't know any site that would fill the requirements I think of though these are quite simplistic:

If you have a top bar with topics aligned next to each other, like POLITICS - ECONOMY - FEATURES and you can click on any of these to access a sub-directory and eventually the diaries, that would be very simple. In each section, you can have the headline of the latest 20 diaries displayed and on the front page the headlines of the 20 most debated ones from all sections. You can create larger, flashy icons for ECONOMY and ENERGY but it would basically be more of a side by side, and it would leave room for growth, though that wouldn't be a necessity.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:56:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MarketTrustee:
little relation to a purpose be that "community" cultivation or business case execution.

that's not fair, imo, MT.
Lily has been quite clear that the discussion is far from being limited to the aesthetic, she offered her thoughts and invited debate.

yes, she's confident. she's not snippy though, and deserves a fair hearing, it's not her responsibility that you're fed up with the critiques, even though i see your point of view as a coder, it must seem unconscious, breezily suggesting changes without realising the awesome amount of work involved.

MarketTrustee:

Instead of a forthright proposal to solicit articles about religion, philosophy or spirituality, instead of writing the article you enjoy,

is that your agenda Lily?

does that threaten anyone, or risk steering ET into the tall weeds?


'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 May 29th, 2009 at 06:47:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree with using the rating system as a way to say "I disagree." As others have noted, the most elementary courtesy you can extend to someone you disagree with is to explain your disagreement.

However, I appreciate the thought behind your proposal - that the rating system as currently employed confuses the technical quality of a comment (grammar, coherence, disposition, quality of reasoning) with agreement on the issues involved. And of course the fact that the rating function is sometimes used to acknowledge that one has read the comment in question, so to speak, does not really help the clarity of the resulting ratings either. It could indeed be spelled out more clearly that the rating system is there to promote content that displays technical quality, not content you agree with or simply wish to acknowledge.

Of course, given the vagaries of human nature, it is hard to praise a post for sound reasoning if you disagree vigorously with said reasoning...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 05:03:10 PM EST
i tried, years ago, to express more nuance in rating, i mean, if the options are there, why not play with them?

but i got tired of being the only one using a 3 to signify fr'example that while i found a comment to be worthy and true, it fell short of excellence.

the binary (to 4 or not to 4) is SOP to almost all, most all the time, and i fell back into it.

docudharma has a cute binary, your comment gets a pony or it don't.

too twee for ET, but at least honest about the binary nature we share, this unused feature in ET of nuance lies unused, redundant, and thus a bit silly, imo.

market trustee's comments to lily, while true, were couched in an exasperated, edgy style that i didn't care for, so in the old days i would have given a 3. now i don't bother, just leave it unrated.

so the present ratings setup is like a knife set, of which i only use a couple, and the rest stay in the drawer.

while some cuts are needed that none in the set really do a good job on.

we're not rewarded for mojo here, no supermarket coupons or air miles, so one one level even if we had no rating system at all, i think ET would coast along ok. some dkos's diaries that are giant mojo machines consciously -and amusingly- subvert the competitive nature of mojo harvest as ego tool, but if you can so easily make a mockery of something, why bother having it at all?

dignity, innit?

we all come to ET to see ourselves reflected, and it's the best mirror i ever found. there are so many brilliant comments, and so much discriminating information. this is a treasure in that way.

however having said all that, i think the emotional tone of several commenters borders on unpalatable, and it's been rightly called out, though i leave that job to others, having exceeded my line of credit a few times!

i do find the rating system fascinating though, for this reason. ET is rife with academic, engineering and economic smarts, but from where i stand, and i fully support metavision here, (though she, like i, has lost her cool sometimes), when it comes to emotional intelligence, this site has some learnin' to do.

clicking on a rating is a tiny click, yet it is a continual emotional subtext that can support someone under attack without digging into the fray, or best of all receive support for a comment from someone with whom one has altercated abrasively in the past.

a 4 from someone who quite obviously berated you (should that be 2rated?) and hounded you and generally beat you up for kicks can be a jolt of good energy.

etc etc... i'd miss it if it were gone, for that reason.

since we're expounding -or pounding on - about ye olde ratings system, i had an idea a long time ago that i never aired because it stank of pure mercenary, and i didn't think it was couth or appropriate.

but i still think about it once in a while, and it makes me grin, so here goes.

what i really love most here is the wit. my fantasy was that if everyone who wanted to kicked in say €10 a month, and each 4 was worth 4c, would at the end of the month mojo was tallied up and the modest sums reapportioned in members' mojo accounts for the next month.

why uncouth? cuz we don't come to ET to make money, it's nice to find a spot where mercenary is not always grinning in the background, god know most everything had been commodified. i imagined the scoffing howls of derision i might engender, and i sat on it, feeling it would be difficult to justify, and wondering about my own aberrant psychology, and if this was just another way i was expressing my own brainwashed state... it's good, it's fun, let's make it pay!!! confirm its value!!!

lol.

that fact that it was attached to real money would avoid the mojo-slumming factor, i think, as slathering others with mojo just because you want to up yours would get expensive, and there are some posters who would get most of my money, and some maybe none, but it would have more sport in it than it has now, and who knows, some people could trade their comedic skills for some remit.

my guess is that the cents would shuffle around and pretty much balance out, but supposing ET got huge, and enough readership liked the idea, it could possibly (in some misty, far-off future) yield serious income for those who put time and love into trying to make ET a happier, more playfully interesting place.

and if that happened, maybe ET could take 2% off the top and pay FPers, so they could feel better about all the unpaid hours they clock up.

crass, i know, spawn of mammon that i am...

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 01:19:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow. While I don't have the time to reply individually right now, let me just say again, that I have been thinking these thoughts for months so that the overall idea is rather well thought-through though I do simply have no idea of technical implications any change would mean. Thanks for enlightening me.

On the other hand, my lack of technical know-how is not new to me. Likewise, difficulties of changing the site don't surprise me but I AM surprised that there is so little agreement among ET FPers as to where ET is heading. Sure, my own ideas are quite superfluous on top of that.

Poemless said somewhere further up that Europe currently doesn't have the crisis to develop a site like dailykos. That's a very telling comment. Europe has seen crisis before and developed its mass movement (craziness). I wouldn't aspire to anything like that but then, Europe also needs to be strong enough to withstand the risky changes that come with times of crisis.

It may be a success for dailykos to attract so many bloggers but then I assume that most arrive in their individuality and learn to swim with the flow as time goes by. This is dangerous.

Besides, someone (Magnifico?) called predefined keywords "exclusionary". I don't think they are. I would never expect anyone to feel limited to his keywords. I was considering them as a tool for "bonding" between people who share similar interests.

Finally, disagreement is inspiring. I am not looking for praise though I am pleased about agreement. It doesn't hurt if someone says he disagrees even if he doesn't explain why. Disagreement is no judgement of anyone's/my views; it says that another person doesn't agree with me, and there can be a million reasons for that, vice versa.

It is not meant as the disagreement of parents towards their children who sometimes disagree which means disapprove which means judge and forbid their children's plans.

I believe MarketTrustee who provided these excellent site design analyses suggested I only wanted to create the site according to MY own wishes. I don't or maybe I do. I would definitely contribute more if there was "room" (mental space?) outside the site's core interests. ET FPers encourage the diversity of posts but then I wouldn't want to cause any trouble among regulars who don't like diaries that cover topics that are 'different', i.e. that don't flow with the invisible stream that you become aware of when you try to swim the other way.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 06:09:37 PM EST
"these excellent site design analyses"

- not quite so excellent after having given them second THOUGHTS.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 07:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
but then I wouldn't want to cause any trouble among regulars who don't like diaries that cover topics that are 'different', i.e. that don't flow with the invisible stream that you become aware of when you try to swim the other way.

well put, Lily.

it doesn't bother me (so much) if it's admitted. what doesn't work is when there are double standards.

too unpleasantly reminiscent of the 'real world'...

good luck with that! and thankyou for saying how you feel. some people don't know (or care?) if they are intimidating, that's just their way, big mistake to take it personally. your approach to commenting is very pleasant, you raise serious questions, but don't grandstand and are very polite.

great to see you bringing new dishes to the table.

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 01:28:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you very much, melo.

I like your Freudian slip about my bringing different dishes to the table. I like the challenge of belonging to the obvious female minority on this site. ;)

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:44:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't realise you were dishy!  Maybe we need some lurid graphics to confirm this... :-)

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:18:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I would definitely contribute more if there was "room" (mental space?) outside the site's core interests. ET FPers encourage the diversity of posts but then I wouldn't want to cause any trouble among regulars who don't like diaries that cover topics that are 'different', i.e. that don't flow with the invisible stream that you become aware of when you try to swim the other way.

People write about what interests them, or about what they know something of/about. No topic is unwelcome, but you cannot expect the FPers to write about topics they don't know about, are not aware of, or don't worry about. Just write about topics that you care about, and see what happens (but don't get discouraged from early reactions - it can take a bit of time to establish interesting dialogue on any issue).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:45:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... rather than having the poster categorize/classify the material ...

... have people that recommend a diary select what they recommend it as. That way there can be three to five broad sections.

Instead of tags with different people with different ideas of how creative, prosaic, specialized, generalized the tags should be, or some classification system with some entries in the classification never filled in, some broad general "sections" to this Virtual Newspaper, the European Tribune, with stories voted onto the individual sections as well as the general reclist.

There are already drop-down lists on the top bar, it would be the "diaries" box turning into a drop down bar:

  • recent diaries
  • recommended diaries
  • current affairs
  • policy briefs
  • background briefing
  • ET community

(f'rinstance), with the last four being the drop down options.

Each of the "topical" diary pages would just be the rec diary algorithm filtered down to the recs that specified that particular section.


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 May 28th, 2009 at 11:14:15 PM EST
Help me understand why there is a need for ET to grow. As it is, I can't keep up with more than a small fraction of the diaries, maybe 10%.

My model is that ET is like a coffee shop, with some regulars and some who stop by occasionally and some who just sit in the corner and listen. Some who are interesting and some who I would rather not talk to. But in any case, I certainly don't want to go into a coffee shop that has 10,000 people in it.

by asdf on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:34:00 AM EST
Jérôme on whataboutbob's diary [emphasis mine; the first line is a quote from redstar]:

Sigh... (4.00 / 2)

I think it would be wonderful if this place took its smarts and made itself relevant.

If you told me how to do this, or better, if you got the job started, I'd be most grateful.

But of course, everybody loves "the community", and the "great content", but the fpers who provide a large chunk of that content (by spending a lot of time writing stories, or participating to threads) are just engaging in  useless esoterica and brainless moderation.

ET is what people put in it. Nothing more, and nothing less. I can't say it more explicitly. You get what you give. That's true for me, and that's true for you.

asdf:

Help me understand why there is a need for ET to grow. As it is, I can't keep up with more than a small fraction of the diaries, maybe 10%.

  1. Go figure.

  2. Some here seem to act like school children who will be asked to read more. How shall I manage?

This is ridiculous. Everyone here has a life outside ET and we must read selectively. When you enter our small village library, it doesn't take much time to understand how it's organised and you can find what you're looking for, at least a tiny fragment that will represent what exists on the topic of your interest. Fine.

When I go to Lyon's central library, I cannot browse all bookshelves but will be glad about different rooms and sections. The library is well organised, and I will even spend less time finding what I'm looking for.

Now, ET is no insignificant village library in my analogy but a very SPECIALISED one. It seems to appeal to economists and front pagers.

Why would whataboutbob write a diary to ask for more writers and more diaries?

Why emphasise diversification when there's no room for it?

This specialised library has everything on business and the economy in its centre aisle, WHY ASK FOR MORE when this is all that counts?

PS: ET is NOT just what people put in it. Front pagers provide the platform and front pagers hold the self-inflicted responsibility of running the site and of getting credit(?) for finding their work on the front page, calling themselves editors and marginalising ordinary mortals. :) (Kindly notice my humour in these last words!!)

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
PS: ET is NOT just what people put in it. Front pagers provide the platform and front pagers hold the self-inflicted responsibility of running the site and of getting credit(?) for finding their work on the front page, calling themselves editors and marginalising ordinary mortals. :) (Kindly notice my humour in these last words!!)
You are betraying your total misunderstanding of how the site works. The Front-pagers put other users' diaries on the front page on a regular basis and they don't always put their own diaries, or that of other front-pagers, on the front-page.

Lily:

It seems to appeal to economists and front pagers.
There are a lot of people on the blog who are neither economists nor frontpagers.

Lily:

everything on business and the economy in its centre aisle, WHY ASK FOR MORE when this is all that counts?
European (EU, national and regional) election coverage? Train blogging? Photo blogging? Travelogues? Eurovision? Football? American politics?

Have you actually been paying attention to what goes on in the blog?

Lily:

This is ridiculous.
You got that right.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:50:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
everything on business and the economy in its centre aisle, WHY ASK FOR MORE when this is all that counts?

European (EU, national and regional) election coverage? Train blogging? Photo blogging? Travelogues? Eurovision? Football? American politics?
Have you actually been paying attention to what goes on in the blog?

I should have put it this way: There's more Economy and Energy in the centre aisle; all stuff appears in chronological and not topical order. This is how it's - organised.

Sigh.

I don't want to overdo this and will stop here.

I really don't need you to promote :) my suggestions. Just drop them if they bother you. It doesn't bother me.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:47:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is diversity in the diaries - it isn't just about economics and energy.  That is an area where many people have a strong interest or have their own professional specialism but there is plenty more to get your teeth into on the site.  There is plenty of room for further diversification.

When I first starting writing about equality issues there wasn't a great deal of interest but now there is, there is discussion with a number of people weighing in.  If you want to write about something, write about it. If it doesn't gather much interest at first, find other ways of writing about it and eventually it will get picked up on.

Lily:

It seems to appeal to economists and front pagers.

I don't really know who you think frontpagers are? Jerome is an economist type, I'm far from that.  Front pagers will write about the things that interest them and will promote good diaries from others and as I have said before, there is no editorial line. Just about all of the FP team have been ordinary contributers for some while before they were asked to become part of the team.  If there is an imbalance of a certain type of diary, that is because those writers are more prolific and perhaps also greater in number. We want more topics on the site. I so rarely read the economy related diaries unless it is specifically linked to labour and trade unions.

I am not a front pager for the purpose of getting my diaries onto the front page, that is not my motivation.  I want to write about stuff that I find interesting and wish to share and I want to learn about stuff that others have an interest in that I haven't come across before.  I put my time into ET because I want it to work not because I want to feel all clever and authoritative as though I've been 'published', nor to set my agenda onto everybody else as we so often get accused of doing.

For the record, I would like diaries to be tagged or to have keywords attached but the current scoop layout only gives a basic option for this that I don't think would be all that fit for purpose.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:05:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
will promote good diaries from others and as I have said before, there is no editorial line.

What is a "good" diary?

---

Don't we all see that I diary is "good" when it is recommended by other members or when it has generated a vigorous debate?

Ratings, recommendations, promotions - without any ideological base except for logic and facts.
What logic? What facts? What's the rationale?

BTW, I trust that you write in good faith.

We want more topics on the site.

Who is "we"?
and
Why?

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:39:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
What is a "good" diary?
One that strikes an FPer's fancy and is not objected to by other FPer's.

The FPers are a pretty anarchic and anti-authoritarian bunch ourselves.

You could describe ET as a set of nested herds of cats.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And if I promote authoritarian ideas in a well-argumented diary, will you ever give me a promotion?

You could describe ET as a set of nested herds of cats.

Oh. That hasn't been my attention but I like to raise your awareness of who you are, i.e. no ideology-free, unbiased group of free thinkers. None of us is that noble. Let's face it and deal with it.  

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:53:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
no ideology-free, unbiased group of free thinkers
I never claimed to be ideology-free or unbiased. But I am willing to have my assumptions examined.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:58:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
if I promote authoritarian ideas in a well-argumented diary, will you ever give me a promotion?
Probably not. Would I be obligated to do it?

There is nothing we can do to prevent your authoritarian diary from reaching the top of the recommended diary list, though.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:01:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is nothing we can do to prevent

At least you'd be able to keep the front page clean. :)

Individual members are not ideology-free but an agenda would impair the site's open-mindedness (mentioned further up). How can it be open-minded when there's no chance that you'd promote my praises on authority to the front page?

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:13:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
How can it be open-minded when there's no chance that you'd promote my praises on authority to the front page?
Here's one example: holocaust denial lasts about 15 seconds on the site before a FP censors it without consultation.

There is an editorial slant: this site is (like its founder) pro-EU, progressive, and makes no apologies for either. But beyond that there isn't a consensus on the specifics of what the EU should be like or on what the ideal progressive policies would be, and Jerome often finds himself in the minority in various debates.

So if you write an apology of dictatorship nobody will delete it, it just won't get promoted to the front page because it would be seen as going against the desired editorial slant of the front page. But it might be recommended by users.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:25:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:42:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How far do you want to push this, Lily? It is appearing more and more deliberately provocative.

So: yes, ET is left-leaning. Yes, there is a team of editors who make up the main page (called "front page" in Scoop software, not by any choice of the eds), which is the welcome page pointed to by the site URL eurotrib.com, where most people land when they come here.  No, it is extremely unlikely (though possible if the discussion thread was interesting) that a diary promoting rightwing ideas would be promoted.

In particular, if you were to write a provocative diary with the intention of "testing" the eds, I might as well tell you right now it would not be promoted.

Satisfied?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:29:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a well argued diary with non-mainstream opinions could be promoted.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess I should have said
it just won't get promoted by me to the front page
LOL

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:12:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How far? Well, well, ...

As far as needed (time permitting).

If you manage to realise that no one here is any more enlightenend than anyone else outside ET's very own mainstream (despite the specialist knowledge people bring to this site!), you'll be better able to be open-minded. poemless, e.g., likes this site to be open-minded. If you only think you are open-minded but get a rash when someone says that the Pope has wise ideas on condom use, then your mind is not open.

It helps for each of us to understand how relative our respective views and convictions are.

If you (i.e. someone) are aware of that, you can handle a lot of controversial stuff without becoming defensive about it.

If you are clear about your ideological bias and don't pretend it's not there, you can better tolerate the other thinker and there's more of a chance he'll feel welcome. Now, I don't know whether I am clear here.

This is not directed at you personally.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:40:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in this sentence


If you only think you are open-minded but get a rash when someone says that the Pope has wise ideas on condom use, then your mind is not open.

And define "open" too. Presumably saying that the theory of Flying Spagetthi Monster should not be taught at school is also a sign of not having an "open" mind?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:55:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I didn't mean that literally. Someone may consider the Pope's ideas to be wise for many reasons, and when I am open, I can take that and don't get excited, upset or angry about it.

Presumably saying that the theory of Flying Spagetthi Monster should not be taught at school is also a sign of not having an "open" mind?

No, that's a different category. You can give your opinion on whether that theory has any merit and should be taught.

If you personally attack (or troll-rate or otherwise treat disrespectfully) someone who sincerely believes in that Flying Spaghetti Monster, you don't have an open mind.

The defender of the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory has reasons that only he may understand, as long as you haven't tried to find out what these are and where they come from and whether you, too, should maybe consider taking flight lessons with the SM.

You may not want to become too passionate about that fellow's interest in monster businesses in which case you could say, "I disagree." (hopefully without rolling your eyes about that weirdo)  

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:38:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
If you personally attack (or troll-rate or otherwise treat disrespectfully) someone who sincerely believes in that Flying Spaghetti Monster, you don't have an open mind.
But if you attack the theology of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, is that to be construed as a personal attack on believers?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:42:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can try to deconstruct the theology without the aggressive touch of an attack.

You must consider that you enter sensitive territory when you do.

You said (I noted that on a piece of paper that is looking at me right now!), "When a topic acquires existential importance it can no longer be debated rationally." - I believe it can but it is no easy task.

Believers are likely to receive your attack on their theology (their core beliefs, reason for existence, etc.) as a personal attack. If you understand the existential nature of their beliefs (which you do, I think), then you can tone down your criticism and tune in with your friend's/the other person's sensitivity and reach him where he is.
You will never reach him when you simply attack his theology.

But then, maybe you don't want to reach anybody, maybe you don't (or anyone doesn't) really want to communicate a conviction to another in order to find a consensus or to learn but you are happy because you feel clever about outing the evil Flying Spaghetti Monster Church.

Who's 'helped'? Who may learn from this attitude?
   

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:05:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I disagree" - i.e. without passing judgement on the other who you disagree with. You don't have to justify your disagreement with the other guy's stupidity.

You can simply disagree because you disagree, for your own reasons.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:21:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's an odd definition of open minded.

Would you get a rash if someone told you that the world was ruled by evil shapeshifting alien lizards? Or that George Bush was the second coming? Or that AIDS is spread by dirty looks?

Open minded doesn't mean that you're willing to accept a point of view on anyone else's say so. It means that you know what your point of view is, and you're prepared to consider other points of view as long as they're intelligently argued and there's good evidence to support them.

There isn't a lot of evidence to suggest that random unsafe sex is a good and healthy thing, and a lot of evidence that it isn't.

Unless you can find stronger evidence to argue otherwise, you're going to find the pope's views a tough sell.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:21:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I'm too lazy but I don't feel like debating the Pope's views on contraception right now, though I believe it is possible to accept/tolerate the Pope's views without adopting them for oneself.

There ARE people who don't think his views are a tough sell. One has to begin by finding out why that is(blind submission to anything the Pope says, fear, general moral issues, scientific evidence, poor education etc.???).

Then you can argue from there - but that would fill a separate diary if you really want to find out. Sometimes it's easier to say, "I disagree."

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:49:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And if I promote authoritarian ideas in a well-argumented diary, will you ever give me a promotion?

I've been promoting authoritarianism for ages in my Odds & Ends, though in a more lighthearted, less confrontational way, and I was made an FPer.

Just sayin'.


"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:17:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually go and look at who has recommended a diary in the community - that weighs heavily in my decision to promote

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though, yes definitely, it would also need to fit into the what I perceive as  a fit to the ET progressive view. So I wouldn't promote right wing stuff, or anti-authoritarian nonsense, etc

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:41:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
whataboutbob:
anti-authoritarian nonsense

did i read that correctly, bob?

or was that a oops?

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 06:58:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, any anti-authoritarian rambling automatically makes sense by virtue of being anti-authoritarian?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:41:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
so it was not a mistake.

duly noted...

shiver...

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 09:33:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note bob did not say every antiauthoritarian writing is nonsense, either.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:35:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, I trust that you write in good faith.

The fact that you write that implies that I may not be writing in good faith which I find quite unfair given that I have been reasonable in all of my exchanges with you in the past.

By 'we' I refer to the editorial/front page team and probably a number of contributers too.  We would like to see more diaries, a greater diversity of diaries so that we can get more discussion on a wider range of topics, engage more people, hopefully get more lurkers to contribute with comments and their own diaries.  We'd like to see more female contributers.

We (FPers) each have our own reasons for promoting the diaries we promote.  Anything to do with the European Elections is likely to get promoted at the moment, since it is current and an important topic.  The photoblog usually gets promoted to give an easy to engage with weekend diary when things are slow. Sometimes well rated diaries that are beginning to drop from the rec list but could still have more discussion going on, will be bumped by promoting to the front page.  

It has also been said that a diary is more likely to be read and commented upon when it is front paged - so even though we may be able to see it has many recs, front paging it brings more attention.

Sometimes there are loads of diaries to choose from, sometimes not very many. Sometimes FPers have time to write stories directly for the FP and sometimes we don't.  It is the ebb and flow of the site. As whataboutbob has said already it is an intuitive process.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:21:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The fact that you write that implies that I may not be writing in good faith."

No. I mean what I say. No implication whatsoever.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:24:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to tag onto In Wales, I will give you my perspective - I am one of those dreaded PhDs (a psychologist, actually)! I  was active in the editorial role for a long time, but then just got burned out and went away for quite awhile. I'm barely back, and trying hard to titrate my dose of ET, so I don't get burned out again.  I really DON'T get the "victim" and paranoid stances I see a few people taking here - that makes me crazy - why would anyone want to stay here if they feel that way, unless its for the negative attention? Its just a blog...one of millions...why waste your time? (One wonders...what motivates that?).

As far as our philosophy - It IS a progressive social and political blog - so if some hard-lined conservatives were to come and try to force their views on us, they wouldn't be welcomed for too long by the community.

As for what motivates me to write  - well, for me it is fun to write about something that is interesting to me and get to throw it up as a diary to see what happens, see what others think, etc. I feel lucky to have a place that tolerates my varied and weird postings. Many many times I have posted a diary and little response happens. So it goes! I rarely put  my writing on the front page, unless I am reporting some kind of breaking news. On occasion, others do chose to promote my work, and that's cool for me! I am glad that someone else thinks it is good enough to put out there. So, I am largely hedonistic in my motivation - it HAS to be fun!

MY Biggest function and enjoyment at ET has been the opportunity to promote other people's work. I enjoy reading someone's good writing and putting it out there for more people to read. Long ago I discovered that most of the people who visit ET only look at what is on the front page and don't go into the diaries - and have found that we get a lot more discussion on a diary once it is up front. And that encourages more writing too. Promoting creativity is fun - simple as that. But the process is mostly seat of the pants intuitive - though there is a responsibility to be aware of what is being promoted - not everything is appropriate. Because we recently expanded the editorial team (which is awesome and I am VERY happy about), there is sometimes some quick polling to see who thinks what might be good to promote. But mostly it is just my (hopefully) good judgement on what I think might be good for others to read. I recently had lunch with Nomad, who has been a regular around here a long time before he recently joined the editing team - and he said he was really surprised at how much the editorial team DOESN'T communicate with each other (and honestly, we mostly don't know each other!! Which makes the whole paranoid conspiracy thing rather weird). It really is a rather random, intuitive process.

 

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:35:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like your comment.

"whole paranoid conspiracy thing"...

The common worldview you subscribe to isn't a conspiracy. "Progressive social and political" is a frame but it needs to be defined since, to my knowledge, there are no "progressives" in Europe, and this is a European blog.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
to my knowledge, there are no "progressives" in Europe, and this is a European blog
Considering that there are lot of progresistas in Spain, I do wonder about the extent of your knowledge of Europe.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:26:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One point would be that the "victim" stances were about factual facts: people attacked or disparaged with no reaction from the moderation;
or people gang'd upon for their convictions - which were far from being hard-right, btw, and were expressed with civility. Hence the demands for the editorial team to either push for some more civility and tolerance, or to assume the fact that ET is an ideologically-closed club.

Another point would be that these discussions followed your (otherwise laudable) demand for more contributions. Well some here answered that there are reasons why they don't contribute more and that those reasons might offput other users as well.

Yet another point would be related to the rating system, some of us simply don't like the double meaning of "4-Excellent" (posts are sometimes rated excellent as in, "Great! this is precisely my opinion!") or the what's the use of 2 and 3.

Lily's propositions were about making the site more attractive, and leaner, and I think (I may be wrong) some of them are implementable without so much pain. Or it looks more and more that she is politely told to shut up, using the same system.

Finally, asking us to either comply, or be on our way, frankly, what kind of argument is that? These were all propositions for improvement, not attacks from hardliners dissatisfied with not having a tribune here.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:15:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
saying that religious belief is a belief, ie not based on any facts or reality is not an attack, nor an insult.

You have the right to your beliefs and ideas, not to have those agreed with or even taken seriously. Saying that we do not take your beliefs seriously is not an attack, it's just a reflection of the fact that they are faith-based, not reality-based.

And if you think this is intolerance, well, that's your problem, not mine.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:26:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome, both "deluded" and "bigots" are used with obvious disparaging meaning. If you said that you believe faith-based convictions are doubtful, I would never take it as intolerance, but as your opinion, to be respected. If I say that leftwing ideals are utopias, hence delusions, with a certain tone, how do you think sincere lefties would feel ? This is a point where I could be reminded that this is a progressive blog, and I could reply that what I'm saying is factual and can be argumented. This is a very sensitive line, which is why I don't think heavy labels (deluded, ie, well, a bit mad) should be used easily.

Also, I note your formulation, "we do not take your beliefs seriously".
For one, there are faithful progressive, as you must be aware. Second, they don't come here to shout out loud their faith or to question it, and they don't need "we"'s opinion on the matter, whoever the "we" is. They usually argument their opinions rationally, in specific debates (eg. pope's words on condom use). No wonder they feel aggressed when they are met with mocking or insulting attitudes. Fifth, if by "we" you mean ET as a whole, then you should really call it what it is, put it upfront that this is a secular (if you don't like atheist) site, and that the faithful should stay out, because they will soon be taken into derision one way or another. If you're not prepared or willing to tolerate religious people who are not militant about their personal faith, just say so.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

If I say that leftwing ideals are utopias, hence delusions, with a certain tone, how do you think sincere lefties would feel ?

I'd say: "I would never take it as intolerance, but as your opinion, to be respected."


if by "we" you mean ET as a whole, then you should really call it what it is, put it upfront that this is a secular (if you don't like atheist) site

That's what I just did.


If you're not prepared or willing to tolerate religious people who are not militant about their personal faith, just say so.

That does not follow. We're not willing to tolerate religious people who are militant about their personal faith. Saying that religious faith deserves special treatment as an basis for any opinion is being militant. It's just a faith, ie a set of unsusbtantiated beliefs, just like believing in the flying spaghetti monster.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:49:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unsubstantiated ? A! A! A! Attention! :) This is your personal opinion, to be respected, but nothing more. The faithful are a bit more than simpletons who believe in fairytales. All important faiths have solid philosophical base, on all aspects, from the more esoteric ones to those regarding practical lives. Frankly, I find your way of dismissing faith as not serious quite superficial. You can be secular, just like the French state is, but either from you, or the French state, I won't accept that my personal faith be tolerated a bit like we tolerate children playing Captain Planet. No Jerome, we are adults just like you, and our faith is quite substantiated in our view.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:01:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I won't accept that my personal faith be tolerated a bit like we tolerate children playing Captain Planet.

Well, that's exactly how I tolerate your faith on ET. And I don't care if you 'accept' it or not.


our faith is quite substantiated in our view

Well, the point is that it would need to be substantiated via a replicable process that does not depend on anyone's view. Otherwise it's just faith. Beliefs. Something that is just because you say so.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:25:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure you get my drift : I'm just not discussing this with you. It's as simple as that. It's not why I'm here. And at the same time I will not bring faith as argument, because I understand and respect the political sympathies of the blog.

Oh well. You don't want to ban me for being right, Jerome, do you, or burn the witch ? :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:48:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But you brought it up :


people attacked or disparaged with no reaction from the moderation; or people gang'd upon for their convictions - which were far from being hard-right, btw, and were expressed with civility.

Or are you going to say this was about something else altogether? If so, it's a perfect demonstration that people should not allude to things on blogs, and say what they mean directly.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:20:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By attack I meant Martin's example, or even mine, even as we didn't promote or shouted out loud religion.

By "ganging " I meant situations when someone says something which he considers factual (say, "train driver conditions have largely improved") and gets a flood of indignated replies about thatcherism and workers' rights and unions and on and on, 300+ comments, many of them PhD like in redstar's sense, with lots of logical errors to be debunked, and as by magic (oops! :) )  these commenters are all voted from 8 to 20 Excellent marks, each and every time. If that doesn't make a point, I don't know what does.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
About Martin's example - he said we were not discussing the Pope's actual words, then he said he had them in a print edition of a newspaper at home, then Afew provided a french version and an English translation, then I provided the Vatican's own transcripts. Which showed that the pope's actual words were less nuanced than apologists claimed, as well as showing that the Vatican had annotated the Pope's words in a way consistent with The Lancet's claim that the had been manipulated to change their meaning. He also defended the Church's practise of having a theology for common folk which is different from that for "professionals". And also the Church's practise of giving different doctine on the acceptability of family planning to middle-class Irish and to rural Africans. And then he blistered at the accusation that the Church is hypocritical.

But, more importantly, he took criticism of dogma, of the church and of the pope as a personal insult.

None of this makes it possible to argue rationally.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We've been there before, and I told you what my opinion was after re-reading that thread. Martin also in his last post explained his "sortie" against Colman.

Oh well. I guess at some point I would get tired and bored to go look up threads in search of THE element that proves someone has actually been attacked, or he took criticism of his opinions personally.
Suffices to say that some of us saw it that way. Feel free to take it as a 20 / 6 vote, or whatever, and move on, if you or other FPers consider it unsubstantiated. And also, whether you take it as said in good faith, or just the complaints of a few "malcontents", that's also your right and your business, I guess. Oh well. And oh well again.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:32:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As an aside, blogs are the living proof that information became unmanageable. It looks so much like chatting, so many posts, so many threads, and sometimes, as they say, tout et n'importe quoi, I wish we could have kept at making our debate contributions by e-mail, and that mail arrived every two hours or so - at best. That way contributions would have been taken much more seriously, a bit of distance would have enforced civility, and the much smaller quantity of information would have made sorting out issues far easier. Let alone that frontpaging jobs would have been cooler too.

Can we return to the time before blogging ?

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]

You don't want to ban me for being right, Jerome, do you, or burn the witch ? :)

I have no idea what you're implying here.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:20:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You felt all of a sudden extremely aggressive, as if I had imposed on or militated for some religion. You have to realize that as blog's originator and editor, you are to be feared :) so it is you who should be the most balanced, moderate, unantagonising one here, not us !

The discussion btw remained all in all quite civil after all, especially given the issues.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:50:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aggression is often in the eye of the reader ;)

But you know that, don't you ;)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:46:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, the wink is not funny any more.  

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:54:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see you mastered the use of smileys :)

Seriously, when one says he thinks someone else's belief to be silly,and then adds that he doesn't care of how the other takes that, would you call that civil ? What's next, banning people for being religious? At least that would be clearer and simpler: you have a dada about religion and you jump at people with it because this is your site and you don't care. That's what I meant.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:57:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tiens! Je viens d'avoir une excellent idée.

Websites should be treated like public entertaintment places. Restaurants, clubs.
When a website goes public, discrimination, be that by race, skincolour, sexual orientation (or the opinion about it), religion (or the lack of it),  should be punished by the law. If I want to have my own ideologically-closed club, I should just make it private, and only known to my closed circle. If I make it public, I shouldn't have the right to exclude people because I don't agree with their convictions. This reminds me of those royalists gathered at a chateau in Berry (Lignières ?) and claiming the meeting is public and they've nothing to hide. Then the girl came with the camera, and was politely showed the door.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:01:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET has never banned a user yet. What discrimination?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:02:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't say that, you'll have to read the whole sub-thread, I'm afraid. I was protesting Jerome's muscular mise au point, from an editor and site owner position, with respect to what he considers silly and if he cares or not of what I think about it.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:07:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See if I care. Here's a hint: ;-p

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:13:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And :P yourself !  :-D

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:15:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one is excluding anyone. Have you been threatened with banning?

But perhaps you may have missed the fact that a lot of public debate is between people who think the other person's view is somewhere on a scale from misguided to ridiculous to insane, depending.

Incidentally, it's very obvious that you're attempting to play the victim card here.

I'll suggest politely that this is not an approach that's likely to win friends or influence people, on ET or elsewhere.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:05:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not playing that card, you too should read up the whole thread, I'm sorry.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:12:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You implied that religious people - like yourself - were banned from ET, by definition. No one has been doing any such thing.

You extended that implication and suggested that ET was 'just like' places that ban people for superficial reasons.

But no one has suggested banning you. So. Your point?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope, not my implications at all, neither one of them.
I commented one of Jerome's posts up thread, and said that coming from his position, it sounds so much that what remains to be done is downright banning someone. To the same effect I had said that he sounds like burning a witch, which was meant lightly (smiley at the end) but meaning anti religious can be as radical as the church used to be in the middle ages.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:44:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or otherwise said, both were figures of style. Of course I don't expect nor imply that Jerome would like to burn the faithful. Or at least, I hope not for his own sake! :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:47:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you don't bring up the topic again I promise to you it will not be brought up by me.

Faith is and should remain a personal, spiritual, experience.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

You felt all of a sudden extremely aggressive, as if I had imposed on or militated for some religion.

should read:


You felt all of a sudden extremely aggressive, because I had imposed on or militated for some religion.

:: ::  


You have to realize that as blog's originator and editor, you are to be feared :) so it is you who should be the most balanced, moderate, unantagonising one here, not us !

Indeed.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:19:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure. And the people who believe in shapeshifting alien lizards are just as convinced that their beliefs reflect reality too.

Unfortunately sincerity is not a measure of reality - in religion, economics, politics or science.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:34:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So we get to the bottom of the problem. You guys (or most of you) basically have no respect or consideration for religious people, because your own certainties force you to consider them a bit, well, deluded, and basic civility hardly stops you from letting them know that. Ok...

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:50:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Firstly, there's a difference between respecting people and respecting their beliefs.

I'm sure that there's no one at all on ET who shares all of my beliefs about the world, and likewise there's no one whose beliefs I couldn't potentially challenge or debate.

That applies to everyone here equally. There's a consensus of sorts about left-leaning policy, and a stated but not always perfect preference for civility rather than brutality. But in terms of details and world view that's as far as it goes.

Secondly - how is this different to what theists believe about atheists? Or indeed about people who you're convinced are suffering from a bad attack of avowed ideology?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:10:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, I have no problem with this.

I don't judge atheists or people of other religions, I have friends of both kinds, and in the right context and atmosphere I enjoy debating with them, even on questions of religion. I believe anything, but really anything can be discussed rationally and with civility. Communism is a  delicate topic for me, almost like nazism would be for a Jew, yet this didn't keep me from arguing about marxism, about its intrinsic violence and so on, with factual information from my own experience, books, or other.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:12:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FWIW, I am probably one of the most outspoken atheists on the site.  My tolerance for religion is probably not much more than Jerome's.  But my best friend is an Evangical Christain.  

She makes a good argument, and is thoughtful and well-informed.  I think she is wrong wrong wrong in her faith, but I respect her amazingly.  I just don't agree with her interpretation of the world or her solution to our problems.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:12:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely. My best friends here in Paris are a muslim and an atheist, and I feel quite like you do about this.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]

basic civility hardly stops you from letting them know that

No, we only do that with people who do not have the basic civility not to bring up their religious faith in political discussions.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:20:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perfect. There is the one small problem that when some think they "smell" a religious person, the game of provocation begins and the editors whistle and look the other way, even as the said religious person didn't cry out her faith, not from a desire to hide, but precisely to avoid provoking atheist fellow bloggers.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:18:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

even as the said religious person didn't cry out her faith, not from a desire to hide, but precisely to avoid provoking atheist fellow bloggers.

crying out one's faith is provocative, indeed. One should know better, and yet, somehow, it happens, with predicted and predictable consequences, and the same surprised whining after the fact.

Boooooo - ring ;)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:16:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What whining, do I need to quote your posts all over  again? No no, you did act like an anti- and now you're trying to make it pass by scaling it down, pretending I promoted religion, and framing my reactions as hypersensitive. Bof.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:39:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's the traditional way to make our points here on ET.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:42:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm bored with typing blockquotes and whatever. I'll give the post number. You'll have to copy paste it yourself to fit the traditional way to make points here on ET.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:50:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by the traditional way, you actually meant:

trying to make it pass by scaling it down, pretending I promoted religion, and framing my reactions as hypersensitive

?  :O

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:55:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its post number 141.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:53:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well



I won't accept that my personal faith be tolerated a bit like we tolerate children playing Captain Planet.

Well, that's exactly how I tolerate your faith on ET. And I don't care if you 'accept' it or not.


our faith is quite substantiated in our view

Well, the point is that it would need to be substantiated via a replicable process that does not depend on anyone's view. Otherwise it's just faith. Beliefs. Something that is just because you say so.

by Jerome a Paris (jeromeguillet@yahoo.fr) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:25:29 PM FST

I stand by these words. And your recent comments (link have been whining.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:11:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(darn, this guy is good, how on earth did he find post 141)

I'm glad you stand by them, they prove my point (and break your promise)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Valentin's comments have been whining, yours have been authoritarian, the French way.

Do you know how many people on Earth draw strength from their faith and that it is inseperable from the person who has it?
It's not like: 'Okay, I won't bring my family into the debate.'

Do you look down to them? You shouldn't because it has slipped your mind that you, too, by leaving faith out of the equation subscribe to a belief system. It's called "scientific materialism".

You believe in the things you can rationally explain and scientifically prove and ignore that over 90 % of what exists is so far unknown or hasn't been explained. You cannot access most of what is there when you limit yourself to these max. 10 %.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:36:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely if you have faith then other peoples opinions don't matter? how another person tolerates your view is immaterial to your personal faith? criticism should just blow over your head in the true knowledge that we who disagree are alll going to hell (Or wherever in your personal mythology)

All important faiths have solid philosophical base, on all aspects,

No, not at all, the philosophical arguments around religion are some of the most contrived slapdash works in the philosophical canon.

Now I Know there are quite a few religious people on this site, and even though im an atheist, im willing to respect their views as long as they don't demand it. If you want to spend an hour or two a week in a building decorated like a gay disco, then more power to you if that helps you cope with life. but that respect stops at the point where you demand applause for your faith. Toleration is and should be the best you can hope for.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:48:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Religions are philosophic systems with a mystic side to it. I respect other philosophies and political currents, and I won't call people names because of it, because I won't push my reasoning as far as to consider them nuts or stupid for believing their thing.

Other peoples' opinion or criticism matter little when they're not argumented, actually. What I expect though is the basic civility of not being called deluded to my face by someone who doesn't agree with me. Or else, and this is what I said all the time, just warn everybody that the official policy here is that religious people are considered deluded and should expect derision and disparagement.
I don't expect any particular respect for my faith other than the basic respect for someone whose certain opinions we don't agree with. Nothing more.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:58:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
Or else, and this is what I said all the time, just warn everybody that the official policy here is that religious people are considered deluded and should expect derision and disparagement.
That is your interpretation. My interpretation is that "I know it in my heart because of my faith" is not a convincing argument. Except that it's not a site policy.

It's about what counts as a valid argument on matters of fact, not whether people are deluded or not.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:12:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I completely agree.
I know it's not a site policy, that's why I'm here.
What I and others pointed to was those situations where argument became invective and was not moderated.
I don't have a high opinion marxism, rather on the contrary, but I never issued personal attacks because of that.
That's all I'm expecting in return, and nothing more.
Only when editing doesn't calm people down I begin wondering if maybe that is the site's policy after all.

As an aside, you all know how rigid the society was before, how any weird, norm-infringing behaviour was stonewalled, how judgement was mercilessly passed.
It would really be a shame if leftwing groups pretending to be openminded treat the odd-birds (from their viewpoint) in the same way. It would be much like african-origin people would maintain black-only restaurants. Or women would have no-man clubs. If we replaced one political correctness with another, there really isn't much about progress in our society.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:03:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a blog with maybe a couple of tens of regular contributors and a few hundred readers.

What makes you think that even if we had evil authoritarian views and wanted to discriminate violently and brutally against defenceless people with sincere religious beliefs, we're in any way close to being able to enforce that kind of vicious repression?

This is ET. The worst that happens here is that people get annoyed and/or bored and leave. Very, very occasionally someone will be banned, but only for demonstrating a fervent dedication to being personally insulting.

We don't kick people's doors in. We don't excommunicate dissenters. We don't shoot them dead or bomb them. We don't burn them at the stake.

So.

You're appearing more and more to be someone who's utterly irked because we're daring not to accept your reality at face value - and you're firing off all manner of rhetorical flares and distractions implying that not only should we not do this, but that doing it makes us bad, authoritarian people.

Well - no. It doesn't. It makes us a blog where people may disagree with you and not accept your reality at face value just because you have faith in it.

That's all there is to see here.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:06:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hereby close this thread.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Otherwise I agree with you. Religious beliefs deserve the same degree of respect and kind of treatment as do philosophical or political convictions. I won't accept someone bringing as an argument his personal faith alone, and just like I won't accept there is global warming just because the Greens say so. Arguments must be rational, intelligible, debatable, not esoteric or purely ideological.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:05:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I won't accept there is global warming just because the Greens say so.

It's not the Greens who say so, it's the conclusion from many years of rational, intelligible debate.

You've made your positions quite clear, thank you.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:28:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"it's the conclusion from many years of rational, intelligible debate.

Exactly, and this is why I believe there is a huge problem with global warming. Not because of ideological reasons, but because there is wide scientifical proof. I may have leanings and sympathies, but I always try to think with my own head.

You did not think that I was saying that I don't actually believe in global warming, right !? You should really stop seeing witches all over the place, Jerome. It's true for others too.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:45:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said, making one's position very clear is a good thing.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:20:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know what you said, I just wonder what you meant by it. It sounded a bit like you thought you outed the "there's no global warming" neoliberal. If that was true, you're wrong - see above.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:23:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"faith-based, not reality-based"

Faith and reality are not conflicting.

When you choose to believe in scientific materialism and call it reality, it may conflict with faith but that also means that you'll miss some essential parts of reality.  
(This would be material for a different diary, though.)

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:49:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
Or it looks more and more that she is politely told to shut up

call that polite?

polite would not be to slur Lily's knowledge of spanish progresistas, it would be to welcome a chance to teach her something important, and do it without making her feel less-than.

you got it right about telling her to shut up (and get in her place).

the attitudes here sometimes are infuriating in their unconsciousness of human feelings...

You go Lily, well done for keeping your cool and plugging away.

as chris said downthread, this is what ET needs, (not least because grace and hospitality are in short supply, which chris didn't say.)

steps up for a break from the toobz.

sanding looks real good right about now.
bzzzzz

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 07:09:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
Lily's knowledge of spanish progresistas
You know, melo, Lily's
"Progressive social and political" is a frame but it needs to be defined since, to my knowledge, there are no "progressives" in Europe, and this is a European blog.
and your reaction to it make me wonder whether either of you are actually arguing in good faith here.

Lily appears to be French, so one would expect her to know about progressiste

Partisan du progrès, d'une modification de la société par des réformes ou des moyens violents.
But, whatever.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:23:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't say anything about Spanish progresistas, and I'm not French though we have "Le Progrès" in Lyon. As far as I know it doesn't engage in changing the society through reforms or by VIOLENT MEANS.

I don't believe you mean to say ET wants to see a change of society through reforms or violence. ;)

I guess it's about time that I step back a bit in this debate and let it flow. I think many valid points have been made, and I'll come back here later to try to sum up central/new/essential ideas.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:24:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
I don't believe you mean to say ET wants to see a change of society
That is your prerogative.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:33:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hey! You dropped the end of the sentence!! It was about change through reforms OR VIOLENCE.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:08:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what or means. I can drop the second part if the first applies.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:10:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or includes the possiblity - in this case of violence.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:13:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or is there to accommodate the fact that there are some progressive groups which are reformist and others which are revolutionary.

But never mind. The point is that "progressive" does have a well-understood meaning in most of Europe (though there may be national or linguistic variations) which you denied. I'm not going to move on from that to a discussion of boolean logic and natural language.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:21:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is that "progressive" does have a well-understood meaning in most of Europe (though there may be national or linguistic variations) which you denied.

I didn't deny it. I'm ignorant of it (uneducated, dumb).

Even the US Democratic Party is "progressive" without having it in its name, and I am sure that "progressive" in the US definition doesn't fully match whatever meaning you may wish to attach to it in Europe.

When Americans on this site speak of blogging on a "progressive" site, I assume that they think of Democrats. I don't know what would correspond in each European country.
I doubt everyone will agree on a working definition of what progressive means. :)

Does it have to include the possibility of violence?

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even the US Democratic Party is "progressive" without having it in its name, and I am sure that "progressive" in the US definition doesn't fully match whatever meaning you may wish to attach to it in Europe.

There have been many discussions here about the various meanings of political and ideological terminology and how terms carry a different political connotation in different countries.  Language is living and fluid, so I think this line of objection goes nowhere.

When Americans on this site speak of blogging on a "progressive" site, I assume that they think of Democrats. I don't know what would correspond in each European country.

Maybe you should rely less on your assumptions.  

Does it have to include the possibility of violence?

I'm sure I've missed who originally brought this up in the thread, but WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!  


"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:14:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you should rely less on your assumptions.

I don't RELY on assumptions, or rather only until I have facts that allow assertions. But then, I don't trust assertions that lack facts.

What about you?

Without facts, I can choose to ignore what I don't understand, or guess...

You seem to have a working definition of what "European progressive" means in comparison to "US progressive". What is it?

US politics are always tainted by patriotism. We haven't had that in Europe (well, Germany, France, GB, Spain, Italy at least) for a while.

From the way others here (Migeru) have described "progressives", i.e. as being "lefties", I can tell you that progressives and patriotism don't go together in Europe.

That way European progressive ideology and American progressive ideology are miles apart.

Is that somewhere correct?      

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:08:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Start a new diary if you are going to do this.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:11:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I won't take this ("What about you?") any further though it's scary that you don't reply.

I hope that I'll have a longer stretch before midnight to transport some (unresolved) ideas from here to a second part.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:20:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is it scary?  This diary is about how to improve ET and you want to have a discussion about the infinite incarnations of left-leaning political ideologies.  That's fine.  But you should start a new diary on that topic.  

This is not personal.  All the time people will make a comment and another will reply asking for a diary.  I find it suspicious that you bemoan the lack of contributions, but when asked for a dairy, you accuse someone of trying to scare you.  
If you don't want a new diary, fine.  I can't speak for America or Europe, only myself.  And I've repeatedly banged the drum of "ideological labels serve little purpose other than to subsitute connotation with information when you know you can't win the argument."  

Yet, we've not attained the capacity for telepathy, and so must continue to rely on language - with all its shortcomings - in order to try to communicate.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you should rely less on your assumptions.
I don't RELY on assumptions, or rather only until I have facts that allow assertions. But then, I don't trust assertions that lack facts.

What about you?

Well, I know an intimidating "don't rely on assumptions" from debates about 9/11, and heard it on timesonline.

Do you trust assertions that lack facts?

Some will consider the question alone anti-American, and more so in a 9/11 investigation context.

What about you?

Yes, the question of who and what progressives really are here and there can be picked up in a different diary but I am stealing my time to do this and can only invest plenty of time here on an occasional basis.

Then, there are also other topics that I would rather give the priority and there is little I can contribute on topic when it comes to who or what a progressive is. I would have to base an entire diary on assumptions alone.  

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:52:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I know an intimidating "don't rely on assumptions" from debates about 9/11, and heard it on timesonline.

You said you assumed something about America.  

I have never been to a timesonline blog in my life but it seems like you are bringing a lot of luggage from that site over here.

I actually have no opinion about 9-11.  I suspect they "let" it happen.  I can't prove it.  I tend to ignore 9-11 stuff.  I was here.  It's not something I enjoy reliving.

Do you trust assertions that lack facts?

Did you read my comment about ratings?  The answer is loud and clear in there: No.

Some will consider the question alone anti-American, and more so in a 9/11 investigation context.

Why are you bringing up anti-Americanism?  IMO, it's often left unchecked on ET, but I think you are talking about something else.  I don't know what?  Are you suggesting you want to write a 9-11 diary here but feel unwelcome to?  What does 9-11 have to do with European anything?

What about you?

I don't consider it anti-American.  I do find your comments relatively underinformed about America.  But underinformed isn't malice.

Yes, the question of who and what progressives really are here and there can be picked up in a different diary but I am stealing my time to do this and can only invest plenty of time here on an occasional basis.

Well, I don't think the topic of progressive politics and how they differ from one country to another can be adequate addressed in these comment.

Then, there are also other topics that I would rather give the priority and there is little I can contribute on topic when it comes to who or what a progressive is. I would have to base an entire diary on assumptions alone.
 

Maybe it is just me, but I have really lost track of what you are talking about, of your point.  

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:06:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for having gotten back to me on the above.

I DO bring luggage from timesonline; it will mostly surge when Americans suggest I make assumptions because they have difficulties with their own arguments.

So, I understand that you could not get my point.

I do not want to write a diary about 9/11; but I don't like being told that I'm losing friends, that people harm their careers or that I engage in anti-American hate speech when I ask a question. This isn't about you but it is in my luggage.

You say, my comments are relatively under-informed about America. I'm under-informed about many things, relatively speaking. But I lived in the US years ago and for a couple of years and have friends there. I have some idea what I am talking about though - and I find this very unfortunate - much of what I loved about the US has been overshadowed by having been exposed to too much US propaganda - outside the US.
 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:32:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
I didn't say anything about Spanish progresistas
You did say "there are no progressives in Europe".

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:34:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
your next diary should be "Who/What is a progressive?"

It's too vague a term to casually plug in your argument, just like "Europe" is. One of the things ET does best, is finding out how common terms do not mean the same thing for different people - exactly because we come from different countries, viewpoints, beliefs.

by Nomad on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:41:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mine?? Since I don't know what that is?

Well, I could provide the subject line ...

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:15:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In your diary you proposed yourself to "frame the agenda", and also that " "progressive" should be defined". If you think that's an important step, then go ahead, and start up the discussion. If this is something you'd like to see happen, give it a go and props to you.

You actually began half of the diary yourself in reply to melo underneath. Just put a few more thoughts in, give your own personal opinion what you see as "progressive" and you're done. And really doesn't need to be a meta discussion on ET, but interesting material on its own, as another brick in the pile to build the platform.

by Nomad on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:57:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that's what needs more debate.

not old national meanings, but new pan-european (and global) ones.

Lily, what do you mean by 'progressive'?

are none of your friends or family/tribe progressive, by your definition?

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 09:38:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily, what do you mean by 'progressive'?

It means very little to me. When I translate it into German, it doesn't make sense. Don't we all want "progress"?

Why would "progressives" be more progressive than others who believe in progress? Do progressives hold the key to lasting progress?

Most of my family and tribe are busy with work and family and don't care much about politics though I can imagine that one of my brothers feels "progressive" about his green attitudes that are the only valid but narrow way to go.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:51:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I can tell progressive is a sort of shibboleth and a way of saying "leftist" without saying "socialist" (or "leftist").

In English it appears to have originated in the US' "Progressive Era" ca. 1900.

At least in Southern Europe (if not in German) it is used as complementary to Conservatism (also a label that means very little if taken literally).

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:41:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you. This clears up quite some confusion though I wonder whether Southern Europeans try to distinguish themselves from their American counterpart/the progressive movement there.

Would you know?

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:56:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They probably don't have any idea that the "Progressive Party" of the time of Teddy Roosevelt even existed.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:57:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does progressive carry a positive hint with it, as in is progressive automatically on the good side, or otherwise said, is progress always the right(good) thing by definition?

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:24:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember during the 2007 electoral campaign in France the right often accused the left for presenting itself as good or pure by definition, by its very being left. I wonder if the same can be seen in America. It rather seems to be the other way around, as in democrats framed as unpatriotic (ie, "bad") on a regular basis.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does if you subscribe to the Enlightenment-age ideal of Progress.

The nub is on whether a particular policy constitutes "progress".

People in the de-growth community would have to argue that progressive politics were misguided in the 19th and 20th centuries because they embraced the industrial civilization's idea of progress as growth.


The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:28:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But what is the actual situation, does this happen in practice, in the States, or in Europe (I have to admit that I too had no idea there are "progressist" parties in Europe). Are there conflicting currents or groups of progressives.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:31:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain's PSOE is progresista. They use the word all the time.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:33:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect everyone believes they are on the side of good.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:29:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except the Sith Lords.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously, but I'm really speaking about the concrete case of France, where this kind of accusations (you frame yourself as good by definition, and as such, vilify us) actually occured.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:33:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the right (well, Sarkozy) accued the left of engaging in that behavior. Sarkozy loves to accuse others of imaginary things and claim he's the opposite.

For instance, he loves to claim he's a maverick by bragging about his pro-Americanism, with the obvious implied claim that anti-Americanism is a natural vote getter in France - a traditional slur of the neoliberals against any criticism of their policy prescriptions.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:40:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thats what I said.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:59:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean of course the first paragraph. :D

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:59:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you say the left engaged in such behavior, and I say Sarkozy accused the left of engaging in such behavior. Not quite the same thing.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've been misreading me - again ;)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:18:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How true.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:41:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've snarkily remarked that "progressive" is what we called ourselves when it became dangerous to be liberals, "liberal" is what we called ourselves when it became dangerous to be socialists, "socialist" is what we called ourselves when it became dangerous to be Communists, etc...


"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:41:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But to be clear, most Americans who are openly "progressive" would never ever think of themselves as Communists.  Unless you get them really drunk. This actually happened to me one night talking to a Democratic staffer at a bar.  After his 3rd whiskey, the conversation went like this:

Staffer:  Look, I'm not a Trotskyite lefty, but..
Me:  I am.  A Trotskyite.
Staffer:  Ok, yes.  I am a Trotskyite.  I am.  

Maybe he was just trying to pick me up.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:59:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean by dangerous ? :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:10:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily hasn't been told to shut up - a number of frontpagers have actually agreed with her on the need to look at altering the ratings system, and finding some way of introducing tagging. Opinions differ between the FP team too.  The caveat is that many changes aren't all that easy to do.  You'll have seen previous discussions - we (as in all contributers) almost never reach a consensus.

We (as in FP team) try to be reasonably participative/consultative or whatever word fits best and the debate doesn't reach a conclusion.  We make a decision and change something without 5 diaries worth of consultation about it and we get stomped on for not involving more people.  We're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Grace and hospitality are not in short supply here - you only need to browse other sites to see continual flame wars and downright vitriol thrown about.  That is not the environment on ET.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:23:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We (as in FP team) try to be reasonably participative/consultative or whatever word fits best and the debate doesn't reach a conclusion.  We make a decision and change something without 5 diaries worth of consultation about it and we get stomped on for not involving more people.  We're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Being in the front row is a responsibility that's not always gratifying but that's your choice.

Leaders must live with criticism. If they cannot they're not fit for the job.

It seems there is no way to alleviate that responsibility by sharing more of it but that's also the editorial team's choice.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:07:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
It seems there is no way to alleviate that responsibility by sharing more of it
Never mind that we just recently doubled the size of the editorial team.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:08:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good to know. So, the FPers burden got lighter?
(I'm tweaking you here...)
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:25:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<surprise> No-o-o-o....! </surprise>
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:33:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because the FP's burden is not so much the workload as the constant innuendo of a small number of malcontent users.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:21:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, but that is just childish...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:22:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What, the innuendo?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:29:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the paranoia of misunderstanding. Almost the same thing. Not quite.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:56:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paranoia on the part of whom?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:56:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The paranoia of thinking that there is a minority of discontents that have evil designs upon your IQ ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:58:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who said anything about IQ?

I'm talking about the constant paranoid rantings about FP conspiracies.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:00:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is never about you or any individual. It's about how things work.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right now, they don't.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:06:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mind if I e-mail you about this?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:06:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course not...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:12:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven, I have to disagree with you.  My innuendo antennae were alerted by Lily's first posting

Sometimes technical problems are used as a pretext to put off change.

I like the following, "If you put off change for too long you compromise your ability to orchestrate it."

I took this to mean that any mention of technical difficulties would be smeared as vested interests of the frontpagers.

And, sure enough

This is HILARIOUS!

You have been rated "excellent" ten times for debunking my arguments for abandoning the front page system. Now, just have a look who gave you that rating. Front pagers gathering behind their fellow front pager.

That's what I meant by built-in bias!

This site cannot be changed, for the better or the worse unless the editorial team will decide to do so.

This was in response to a solid technical answer, six of the ten ratings of which had been given by people with no connection to the front page team. Including you, as it happens.

That's not paranoia.  That's observation.

by Sassafras on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:18:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well it is easy to narrow or widen focus. I obviously had not been following the argument blow-by-blow.  My slice through it is not the same as your slice.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:35:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew we could count on you in the circumstances ;)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:45:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I have been remarkably restrained, all things considered ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:53:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True, that. For which I thank you.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:17:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am compromising - it's not that painful.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:38:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes I can live with criticism but I am trying to respond to melo's point so he understands where I am coming from. We try to be participative and it isn't easy, we sometimes will make a decision without consulting widely and people don't like that.  It is important that this isn't overlooked by people who want to criticise the team.

The reason I am using up my working day in following and replying on this thread is because I care about trying to make a positive contribution to this debate.

Yes of course we can expect criticism but your comment here implies that I/we should just take it without responding?  Does responding to criticism to point out that things aren't always as black and white as they may seem constitute 'not being fit for the job'?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:21:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may just be a vicious circle:

You (FP team) take on responsibility.

Others will criticise you.

You will complain about the weight you have to carry.

Others (me) will point to the responsibility that you chose freely.

You will complain because you feel like you're denied your right to complain.

Others (me) will point to the fact that you are also responsible for your own complaints, as I am of my pointing to your responsibility from my comfy zone ;)

Life is tough.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:31:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I really don't understand this comment.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:30:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So she doesn't really mean it if we point out she can't be serious ;)

I can play this game too ;)

It's fun ;)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:43:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes :)
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:01:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Leaders must live with criticism. If they cannot they're not fit for the job.

Thanks for confirming my fitness for the job. How kind of you. What lead you to take it upon you to provide such a kind evaluation?


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:20:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I didn't say "the" leader, did I?

Mine was a general statement.
OT: I would guess that you were born end of July/in August, right? ;)
 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:36:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are not really helping the pro-astrology crowd out, you know.  One point just scored for Jerome's "astrology has no mertit" team.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:41:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are not really helping the pro-astrology crowd out, you know.

You could classify pro-astrology contributions in their section if there was one, and I could find out what you are referring to. :)

I only meant to make a little joke/pun at Jerome since I had come across his aversion against astrology earlier.  

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 01:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I only meant to make a little joke/pun at Jerome since I had come across his aversion against astrology earlier.

Are you trolling?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:53:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You shold say: "If I didn't know you, I'd think you were trolling! ;) "

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:44:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But I don't know her.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:47:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:22:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. :o

Is it trollish to tweak someone?

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:09:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I feel like speaking in the name of the whole ET community and asking, what is tweaking ?

;)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:06:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What wooden language. She was not told directly, of course, the point of those posts, if you read them and get a bit of perspective, is that none of her propositions will find grace in -- ok, ok, not only FPers, but indeed regular blogger majority's eyes. Not even the rating system. It's too useful as a modern tool to lynch someone. Ooops. I guess I used an incorrect word. Someone will officially ask me for proof of where did I see ET users lynching anyone. Well -- not someone - she'll just vote for the alpha male who will destruct my post.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:05:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know this game.  You portray someone or some country as a dangerous bear that wants to eat us alive, and then you poke at them and poke at them and do everything you can to get a rise out if them until they finally react to you, and then you say, "Look, told you so!"  

I've only mostly seen this in the context of American foreign policy toward Russia, but you're doing that now.  You are going to say every taunting thing you can until Jerome or someone is forced to react, and you will use their reaction to your taunts as evidence that they are out to get you.  

Stop taunting them with inflammatory accusations.  It looks like you are picking a fight in order to validate your claims.  It's inside-out logic.

I say this as a "sympathizer" with those who have issues with the way this joint is run.  

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:21:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
grace and hospitality are in short supply

Do you not notice that newcomers are welcomed here? Have you never noticed that emails (if we have an address) are sent to ask how people are after an absence (sometimes the results show up, more or less happily)? Have you not noticed that most communications here are civil if not friendly and humorous?

And did you not notice (this would be hard to believe, since you contributed to it), that Lily herself wrote a first diary on the subject of her Christian belief, and was received, not with agreement, but with respect and interest, and, on the part of those like myself who didn't join in for personal reasons, tolerance. No one censored her, tried to shut her up, told her it was the wrong subject, showed her the door. And yet that diary was well, even totally, outside the mainstream here.

There are some complaints that are really hard to understand.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 11:03:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, when redstar mentioned PhD students, he specifically insisted on the pedantry side of it. I'm not even sure he meant PhD, but excessive pedantry, sometimes meant to promote someone's intellectual prowess, or to hijack diaries.
This too is something factual and it can actually be quite annoying, and (in the end) dismissing it as  anti-PhD (?!) rant is a bit counterproductive.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:25:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great. Jerome a Paris has rated this comment "excellent". He believes it's excellent that someone's asking that I should help him understand why there would be a need for ET to grow.

Jerome?!

InWales states that "they" want more diaries/topics.

What does anybody really want?

What does Jerome want?

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:19:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Feeling rather argumentative today, eh? Cheers!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:43:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The sky is blue, the sun is bright, and the wind is strong...
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:21:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
because, even though I personally would like ET to get bigger, or at least more widely read, I also appreciate and acknowledge that a lot of people, like asdf and others, like the cosy feel of the place as it is, and they do have a point that a larger blog might be harder to manage and the quality of the dialogue might go down (I think not, from my experience of my own large threads on dKos, which generally remain civil, but the point can be discussed).

And I take his description of ET as a friendly café/bookstore as a compliment.

 

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:51:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can imagine a son-of/daughter-of/bastard-populist-hell-spawn-of ET spin off. It wouldn't be PhD level, it would be populist, it could even be trivial and trashy at times, but mostly it would be used as a populist vehicle to get mainstream interest.

I have no problems with aiming at the business community, but it could be just as possible, and possibly more financially self-sustaining, to go tabloid. You could mix in occasional op-ed with celebrity gossip.

Why? Because there's a big potential audience there. And it's a proven model.

It wouldn't be Serious™, and it probably wouldn't use the same branding. But it would have an effect on voter awareness and voting intent - probably more than ET currently does.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:15:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
like rimjob's 'totally irrelevant crap' diaries at dkos!

hmm, i wonder how many dems they help get elected, lol.

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 07:15:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for listening! ;)
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:14:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you want?

(Please note the humour -> ;))

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:06:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily, I really appreciate what is essentially an excellent piece of constructive criticism. Not that I agree with everything you say, of course.

Nothing will ever change unless people come along and do what you did in this Diary.

Although I think I have got as far as I can go with ET, I will be around in future with the odd LQD (Lazy Quote Diary) - as I did today, in fact.

re ET's 'growth', I think it's about quality more than quantity. Certainly the quality of interaction and discussion has improved in the last couple of years, at least by my criteria, and that is why I am typing this now, and haven't cleared off ages ago.

So I say keep on keepin' on, Lily!

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:11:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily, I really appreciate what is essentially an excellent piece of constructive criticism. Not that I agree with everything you say, of course.

Thanks. That feels like an "excellent plus"! :)

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:18:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, that's how ya do it.

if you really want to embrace more visitors.

chris totally speaks for me, better than i could.

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 07:17:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
are you talking to me, or who? What's up - please say what's on your mind.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:21:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No one is being told to "shut up", despite interpretations to the contrary. And the diarist has and is getting a good response to her diary from a number of people with a variety of interesting answers. Not everyone agree's - big deal - we all have our opinions. But you seem rather accusative, so I want to know if you are talking to me specifically. Or if not, who are you talking about? Name names...state your accusation clearly.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:27:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a tone thing, there's no point further polemicising by naming names. look at the responses to Lily, and ask yourself whether she was treated with the courtesy you'd like your daughter, sister or mother to be greeted with.

if you still don't see it, why then chalk it up to me making shit up if you like.

i shouldn't have said that, it was accusatory, and had already been said.

trust me not to know when just to let things lie.

i'm no prosecutor type, and i'm not falling into the trap of making it any more personal than it already is, so ready not to go there.

you have been fine, bob, it's not you. you're a peacemaker, in fact.

i'm chilled, sorry about getting too critical.

Not. My. Job.

forgot my resolution there

'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 May 29th, 2009 at 09:54:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a tone thing...

Worry not about me, melo.

There's too much testosterone on this blog but if I couldn't take it, I wouldn't be here, though I have to go just now.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:03:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Melo - thanks for your response. I don't feel the "tone" thing you speak of that communicates any disrespect or lack of courtesy to Lily (or to anyone else). There have been some strong opinions stated (on all sides)  - and certainly that could feel uncomfortable to some people if they aren't ready for it or don't like what is being said - but no one has called anyone names or anything like that. Just strong disagreements.

I also respect your right to back off and not get into specifics. Let me say what my concerns are when I requested that you be specific: when I hear vague complaints about an "anonymous other" - to me that creates a distrustful and uneasy environment. I believe it is always best that if one person has a problem with the way another person is communicating, then they should check it out with them directly, so any misunderstanding can be resolved. Otherwise resentments and distrust builds up - which is a drag.

My personal preference is that if someone has a problem with me in the future, I would prefer they say it to me directly. Otherwise, how can I respond to generalities? That is where I feel like the "anti-authoritarian" kind of stuff gets communicated (though maybe I am using the wrong word) - but for some reason I bristle when there are accusations made about something the "front-pagers" have done or not done. I can't respond to it and feel accused of being told I am bad. Where can I go with that? I get defensive - and I get defensive for my teammates. And It makes me not like being here. So I really wish people would stop making general accusations when they are unhappy or mad at something that has happened, and instead communicate directly with the person or persons they feel slighted by. Otherwise, its just stirring up mistrust and hard feelings. I'm going to try and be more direct too.

Trying to communicate is hard enough for all of us, but in writing, without being able to see another person's face - that is really hard.  Anyway, you are cool with me, melo, lets just keep the lines of communication open and be more specific with our constructive criticisms. Cheers & enjoy your weekend!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:50:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
different potential visions for the future of ET articulated by different people at various times:

  1. A cosy club more or less as now with a relatively small readership and group of active participants

  2. A serious site influencing mainstream policy makers in state/EU politics and administration

  3. As serious site influencing academics and businesspeople

  4. A think thank doing serious research

  5. A significant contributor to the development of a European demos

  6. A more popular site with a wider readership of sometimes less serious content

I don't see these different visions being necessarily mutually exclusive, although the last 5 could require different priorities in terms of technical enhancements, content development and promotion, graphic design, and marketing effort if they were to be achieved to any large degree.

I personally like the social and personal aspects of blogging and wouldn't like ET to lose that dimension.  However I also don't see blogging as an end in itself or exclusively about self-interest or self-indulgence, and would like to see ET become more effective and influential in public discourse and policy formulation.

But even if ET comes to achieve more in terms of any of the above visions, it can never be all things to all people.  People will try to pull it in different directions, and over time, they may influence its direction.  But there are a plethora of other sites out there if ET doesn't fulfil your particular vision and its isn't a criticism of ET if it doesn't do what you want it to do.  It simply means you have to develop that part of your vision elsewhere.

Ultimately Jerome calls the shots around here, appoints the FPers and decides the broad editorial direction.  If you have a problem with that you have to go elsewhere.  Personally I think he has achieved a lot, has a lot to be proud of, and I don't know of anyone else who has achieved more in the European Blogosphere.  

But there is room for lots of other sites if you prefer a different editorial orientation or a more democratic site organisation.  People come and go, contribute their bit, and move on.  Some have left because they felt badly treated on ET, and I have on occasion felt their issues could have been handled more sensitively or skilfully.  I have felt their loss.

Perhaps, some day, I will start a new site and hope to do a better job of handling conflict and encouraging wider participation, and perhaps over time I may succeed.  However I do think Jerome has set the benchmark very high in developing a site which is both serious in its content, and civil in most of its debate, and it will be a long time before any of us succeed in doing a better job.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:19:10 AM EST
Thank you, Frank, for these interesting points about past debates.

I don't feel attached to this site either way. I may further contribute or not. I don't and never expected that the site would adapt to my ideal blogworld. I tried to argue in ITS own self-interest even if I didn't withhold what I am looking for, ideally.

"... if it doesn't do what you want it to do." ET will continue to do what it wants, or what Jerome wants. You are right about Jerome's achievements despite the shortcomings with regards to reaching a wider audience.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:12:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Within the framework I noted above, there is nothing to stop you writing a series of diaries on e.g. religion, and over time you will probably build up an interested set of readers/commentators who may or may not agree with/recommend/promote your diaries.  If they are uncivil in their disagreement you have valid cause for complaint.  If they don't promote your diaries, you have much less cause for complaint as it is FPers who have the sole right of deciding what gets promoted.

I wrote a whole series of diaries on the US elections which were well supported by a few ETers and totally ignored by the rest.  I can't remember if any were promoted, but if not I can well understand why: US politics is not a core issue/area of concern for ET, and people who are interested in US politics are more likely to go to DKos, HuffPost, Pollster.com, Booman, http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/ etc.

I would argue that different people bringing their specialist interests to ET is what gives it its unique diversity and charm, though I can't complain if that tolerance of diversity is not shared by all ETers whether FPers or not.  They will bring their own sense of what is important and what is not.

I also publish many of my diaries on other sites where very different responses are common.  I find this interesting even if the debate is rarely as good as on ET - although my last diary was probably better debated on DKos.  So my suggestion is: write what you want to write.  Publish here and elsewhere - particularly sites with a more specialist interest in religion.  Compare and contrast.  Its a very good way of learning and honing your writing skills.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:31:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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