Corrente

If you have "no place to go," come here!

Whither Progressive Blogosphere 2.0?

[Many, many wonderful, creative thoughts from readers. I encourage everyone to take some time, read them all, and add your own thoughts. -- lambert]

beans

This isn't going to be the definitive Progressive Blogosphere 2.0 post, for the very good reason that PB 2.0 is still ours to define. What I can say is that I came to this discussion with an agenda -- heck, a manifesto -- in mind, but last week's discussion -- hat tip, Big Tent Democrat -- was so creative and thought-provoking that I'm glad I didn't get to, er, manifest.

Why are we even talking about a Progressive Blogosphere 2.0?

There are my thoughts. I've been blogging since about 2003, when some of us (including Leah and Tom) were guest posters over at Atrios's place. And for a long time, I've been an old-school blogger: Pseudononymous, snarky, critical in the best sense of the word--as were many of us, and are many of us to this day. (Also, unfunded, which either destroyed or enriched my life, depending on how you look at it; my life has arced from poverty to a corporate salary to poverty in the span of my blogging career.)

The essence of the old school is critique; in those happy days, when we thought the only problem was the Republicans, that took the form of the media critique of which Atrios was a master; and which is practiced in pure form by the great Bob Somerby even today. How well I remember playing whack-a-mole with the lies justifying Iraq! The aluminum tubes! The uranium! The mobile labs! And on and on and on! As soon as we'd whack one mole, another would take its place. Why, it almost seemed orchestrated -- as indeed it was.

Well, primary season 2008 rolls around -- remember how, after the famous victory of 2006, this was finally going to be our year? -- and as soon as Edwards was out of the race, a lot of the blogosphere, and, I have to say it, especially that portion of the A list that endorsed Obama, abandoned any pretense of a critique. Quality control vanished. The 2008 equivalent of the aluminum tubes, the RFK smear, was propagated without shame (and, to this day, without any remorse or self-criticism [with, so far as I know, a single honorable exception. Readers are invited to submit others]. And, needless to say, the most vile forms of misogyny became the order of the day. In short, in much of Progressive Blogosphere 1.0*, the discourse became just as toxic as it has been in the Village; indeed, one might almost think that the blogosphere had been assimilated by the Village. The failure was massive and systemic, just as when mildew destroys an entire garden.

Now -- and this may come as a surprise to some readers -- I know what snark is, what polemic is, and how to do harm with words. But I don't think I'm clutching my pearls to say that the toxicity in PB 1.0 was different in quality and quantity from anything I've ever experienced in my life, let alone sought to inflict on others. I'm sure that others felt the same; that's why many left the old sites and set up new ones. One could dismiss this as a typical blogospheric cycle, were it not for the effects: As we see the Democratic Party retreat from Constitutional government with the FISA fiasco, and from its commitment to the base in a thousand small ways, but especially by crawfishing on universal health care, the toxic discourse that PB 1.0 created really didn't help progressive programs or values move forward at all. In fact, during the primaries, the Democrat's Overton Window shifted right, not left (which is not surprising; much of the toxicity came as PB 1.0 adopted right wing frames, which are designed -- have been funded -- to disempower progressives. They're doing their job).

So, what to do? If we need a new, non-toxic discourse, then -- it seems to me -- we need to create a new system or framework in which the discourse is created. Last week, BTD rightly stressed that ethos, character, is important in maintaining editorial integrity in the face of political assault; however, it's also clear, from the Stanford Prison experiments (FrenchDoc will correct me on the cites) that "good" people can and will turn to evil if placed in a system that creates and sustains evil; see Abu Ghraib. As Krugman says: Bad systems, bad choices. For example, the site/traffic model of "It's my blog" is hard to argue with; by the same token, if the "my blog" that's in reality a community serving many thousands of diverse voices suddenly becomes so toxic that it starts purging people, there's a lot of pain and suffering, at the least, involved -- and damage to progressive goals, too. Or if the person running "my blog" decides they want become David Broder, instead of critiquing him.

As the photo shows: We've outgrown the old framework; but where's the new one?

So here are a few of the questions and ideas for PB 2.0 systems people came up with:

1. How best can PB 2.0 protect itself from assault by partisans and corporate astroturfing disinformation campaigns? Assuming those are different things. [Hat tip: Goldberry]

2. Should PB 2.0 be a legal entity along the lines of CPB? [Hat tip: Goldberry] Or -- thinking outside the box here -- along the lines of a megachurch?

3. Should PB 2.0 have a business model? Servers cost money. Ads? Subscriptions? Passing the hat? [Hat tip: TnJen]

4. How do we flatten the power curve? Typically for the Internet, as PB 1.0 shook out, there were a very, very few high traffic blogs, with a steep shoulder of lower traffic blogs, and then a "long tail" of very low traffic blogs. Not only are the few high traffic blogs more vulnerable to assault by corporate and partisan forces (assuming those to be different) than a more evenly balanced system would be, having an "A,"- "B"-, and "The Rest" List smacks altogether too much of the two-tier, authoritarian model so prevalent elsewhere under the Conservative ascendancy. [Hat tip: Lambert and FrenchDoc]

5. How do we create a system where seeking truth, and not selling truthiness, is the highest value? [Hat tip: BTD and VastLeft]

6. How can PB 2.0 create face-to-face activism, "instead of this Intertubes stuff"? [Big tip of the ol' chapeau to Bruce Dixon; our problems are not, primarily, technical in nature!]

7. Is AA a good organizational model? [Hat tip: Caro] Like old school bloggers, not only is AA anonymous ("spiritual foundation of our tradtions") it hasn't been captured by partisans or corporations. Indeed, AA might be said to be the epitome of the decentralized and mutually accountable network. [Hat tip: FrencDoc]

8. Should PB 2.0 be "party invariant"? [Hat tip: gqmartinez] Strange bedfellows are bad why?]

9. Is ruthless moderation necessary? [Hat tip: Nadal]

10. Do we need to make shared principles and purposes explicit? [Hat tip: Truth Partisan]

NOTE * Of course, YMMV by individual bloggers; some remained intact, while others totally lost it. I'm talking about PB 1.0 as a system, as a network of interconnected blogs. Taken as a system, the discourse produced by PB 1.0 was toxic.

UPDATE I forgot to say that one way to connect te "intertubes" with "face-to-face" is through project software, especially if the project teams are not geographically dispersed.

0
No votes yet

Comments

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

It can't.

Blogging tools aren't sophisticated enough. And at a certain level putting in restrictions results in more problems than having none at all.(blocks more legit stuff)

People can use proxies and obfuscate their identities until the cows come home.

The only alternative is everyone going "public" and rejecting anything else.

I'm not particularly anonymous myself.

Submitted by lambert on

Moderation and account management require people...

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

the wisdom of giant blogging/diary communities (DK being the archetype of that) as the concentration facilitates contagion (as in contagion theory of collective behavior, such as mob mentality).FDL was not similarly affected because it has only frontpagers. The fever swamp was limited to commenters.

In addition, the lack of mutual accountability (Big Blogs being critical of other Big Blogs) also facilitated the spread of the worst rumors (the War Room doctored video / Obama's supposed photoshopped photo)... or just posts that simply states "whatever so and so said" should be avoided.

So structurally, decentralization and mutual accountability should be key. In addition, it would allow for some degree of specialization and therefore broader coverage of issues.

Submitted by lambert on

Indeed.

In gardening terms, that's a monoculture.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

A couple of snarkily worded posts early on might have nipped a lot of it in the bud...instead he fed the fire.

Somerby broaches the subject.

This Atrios post from way back when, May 25th.

I was writing a post about the primary. But, well, screw it.

...adding, I've been writing a political blog without doing much politics for several months now. I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.

I personally wrote about Atrios back in April.

"It's My Blog and I'll Post What I Want To!"

Question 2: Maybe

3. Hate Ads. No. Don't we have some sugar daddies (or mommies) around here?

4. That's a better question.

5. "Character!"

6. Denver!!!!

UPDATE: adding...

my zero comment posts are evidence that I'm straight up Z-list as far as PB 1.0 was concerned. ;)

Submitted by lambert on

Again, that's the lesson of Milgram and the Stanford experiments. "There but for the Grace of the God(ess)(e)(s) go I..."

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

feh.

If we are to examine how the "system" failed, someone's gonna get bruised.

I'm a scorched earth kinda guy...

but I've got to run for the next couple of hours.

Toodles.

Submitted by lambert on

no question. Check my links, there, willy....

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

This premise:

"One can dismiss this as a typical blogospheric cycle, were it not for the effects: As we see the Democratic Party retreat from Constitutional government with the FISA fiasco, and from its commitment to the base in a thousand small ways, but especially by crawfishing on universal health care, the toxic discourse that PB 1.0 created really didn’t help progressive programs or values move forward at all. In fact, during the primaries, the Democrat’s Overton Window shifted right"

is critical. Whether or not blogosphere actions actually caused this retreat or not is debatable and depends on how influential one believes blogs actualy are. What is not easily refuted is that the blogosphere acquiesed, and facilitated this shift.

What is also clear is that a toxic environment for dissent exists. It is poisonous, and like all poisons often do, inflicts the poisoner as well as the victim.

Hopefully I can address some of the action points next.

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

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

Submitted by lambert on

I had this in mind, from Lord Kos:

“[KOS] It’s a big Internet, so I hope they find what they’re looking for.”

They being the strikers...

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

the wisdom of giant blogging/diary communities (DK being the archetype of that) as the concentration facilitates contagion (as in contagion theory of collective behavior, such as mob mentality).FDL was not similarly affected because it has only frontpagers. The fever swamp was limited to commenters.

That is my view. Open Left and FireDogLake were relatively calm through the whole thing.

There is the Slashdot system with a firehose that those with "positive karma" have access to and can recommend entries with the site's owners having final say. Slashdot also has a system where you can moderate comments or comment on a thread, but you cannot moderate comments on a thread where you yourself have commented.

truthfully I really don't know how we can build a PB 2.0, save reading and recommending blogs we think are doing a good job.

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

With a roller! Thanks solely to you Lambert!

And thanks for moderating--you do it well.

So, are we looking for off the cuff thoughts here? Or more specific proposals?

I looked up some stuff about blogger ethics and have a couple of links here:

http://www.cyberjournalist.net/news/0002... Blogger's Code of Ethics: do we like this one?

http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_artic...
see also other pieces linked here

Also, several of us wanted to schedule discussions about ethics--like about Rawls for instance.

Oh and you said something about the Cassandra Award for pb, which imo you have won today!

Submitted by lambert on

We could certainly schedule one -- contact me via lambert_strether DOT corrente AT yahoo DOT com. We've got a couple lined up already, but it's a good sign we have a schedule...

On this thread, I'm looking for what you can give. That said, examples/critique of codes here in the thread would be helpful.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Wouldn't it be easiest on all to blog/link/comment/(be online) in ways that actually REDUCED our footprint rather than increased it? Shouldn't strategies based on "flying under the radar" (so to speak) be preferred?

If not to feed egos, what use is a hit counter? A time on site counter? A bandwidth counter? Aren't all of these basically tools which are used to mine data, while flattering people in the same way they are flattered when they win craps? i.e. the house always wins!

Maybe PB 2.0 should DISCOURAGE high hit counts, ad sales, etc.? Would bloggers feel the incentive to cozy up if there were no monetary incentive?

So, my thoughts on Point 4....

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

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

Submitted by lambert on

because servers cost money, and lots of us are poor.

That said, I think the network needs business model, and that's distinct from the individual blogs.

And yes, under the radar is just fine. No bandwidth limitation problems....

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Politics needs both. That can lead to corruption. I'm not cynical enogh to think that everyone is corruptable, but I'm not naïve enough to trust that people won't be corrupted with money and power. That even applies to me. Call it my Hobbesian tendency.

I think the "structure" (and not some hardware/software structure) should assume some sort of Hobbesian state and develop "rules" accordingly.

Submitted by lambert on

"There in stately splendor, far about the squalid village below, they fight their petty battles over power and money...."

Yes, Hobbes. Right back to the Federalist Papers: "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition."

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

and the Original Position are worth discussing, both in terms of PB2.0 "rules", but PB2.0 philosophy as well.

How we prevent corruption is certainly important. I think that is partially tied to our principles. I see a set of goals (health care, etc.), but not necessarily a set of principles vigorously debated and pursued. In my view, the real problem liberals face in the future are the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Libertarians. This is what has bothered me most about PB1.0 and Obama. We need to be able to counter their philosophy. Libertarian = You're On Your Own (YOYO or F-You) society.

Submitted by lambert on

The question is how to avoid losing an entire garden.

I think principles go to method, not policy or issue stances.

Supposing Single Payer could only be passed using truthy methods, not the truth. Should we then use truthy methods, because the goal is "good"?

I would argue no, and even leaving aside principle, it's still silly to think that way: There are plenty of people on K street who are very well paid to handle truthiness, and we can't outdo the professionals. So why invest in pale imitations? Because you know that anything truthy not only has to have a budget behind it, it will because truthiness is all that prevents the current shitstem, as the reggae artists would call it, from collapse. (They call it "confidence.")

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i see them as a big threat to progressivism/liberalism too. libertarianism is just a trojan horse for robber baronism. they endlessly tout liberty as their mantra and goal, achievable only by reducing constraints on people, but liberty is really only achievable when you have some kind of coping mechanism in place -- constitution! laws! -- for constraining the sociopaths.

which is a real shame, because now that i look at it on my computer monitor, i like the phrase yoyo fu.

Submitted by lambert on

Both the YOYO-FUs and we would like to at least drastically prune the empire.

Both the YOYO-FUs and we would like to restore Constitutional government.

And I think both the YOYO-FUs and we would like to end the drug war.

Could we do something like say they can have as many guns as they like if we can get universal health care?

The strange bedfellows thing... Why shouldn't that be a more general model?

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by hipparchia on

make for some very interesting liaisons. ;-)

i haven't got a problem with the strange bedfellows model, i'm an anarchist sympathiser from way back myself, but you might want to separate out the big-l libertarians from the civil libertarians. hard to do in many cases, i know, in part because there's a lot of overlap.

the civil libertarians are good people, including many of the ones who are up in arms over gun rights. they're generally very much in favor of the constitution, ending the drug war, pruning the empire, etc, all of which i heartily approve. they're not really yoyo fus.

the real yoyo fus: big-l libertarians [capital l, for libertarian party], who tend towards the robber baron profile. they're the ones wanting little or no regulation of business, including big business. especially big business in the case of robber barons. you might end up having to negotiate a deal with these types at some point, but an alliance would be problematic.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I don't own a blog, I am just a parasite, so this show belongs to you all and you should do what you want but...

Anyone who hasn't read Origin of Species is at a huge disadvantage when trying to formulate an evolutionary plan. It isn't that Darwin gets all the details right, he does not, but he lays out a way of thinking about systems development that holds as true for consideration of deliberate human endeavors as for speciation and genetic survival.

Sort out what failed with P.B.-Beta (that is what it was, no? There never was a P.B. 1.0) and then, as you have begun to do, make a list of everything you can think of that worked to go with the major elements of what did not. (Why would also be good to understand but is often obscure, frequently unknowable and open to endless speculative conjecture; stick with worked/didnotwork and the discussion will be cleaner.)

Lessons learned analyses work this way, listing what went wrong (always a long list but usually condensable into a few key nodes of failure) and what went right (sometimes nothing, but usually a pathetically small yet crucial list) and not worrying so much at first about why; that will emerge in its own way, in its own time, as a consequence of the process.

Select those attributes which worked and combine them all, adding whatever new attributes are required for coherence and not a single one more; superfluous burdens breed disaster.

I really enjoyed the first pass, and look forward to this discussion and more. So seldom get to say this unqualified; you are doing good work here, without question.

Back now to lurking mode....

Submitted by lambert on

Totally your place; you add high value content, and that makes this your place.

So please drop the tiresome pretence of modesty and join in the discussion!

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Surely you jest; modesty is not one of my limitations. It is for me a question of propriety; just not my place to become deeply involved. On top of that you know perfectly well I will cause trouble and instigate dissent and with things actually moving along very smoothly here what good will that be?

Trust me on this one. I have enough messes to clean up already.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

evolution is not necessarily the most efficient means to solve a problem. It could also lead to dead ends and catastrophe for large populations.

Submitted by lambert on

And remember, that "culture" is, itself, a metaphor for how humans harnessed evolution. IIRC, dog breeders were just as essential to Darwin's thinking as the famous Galapagos finches.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

We are driven by it in everything we do whether we like to admit it or not, and both dead ends and catastrophe are part of the process. It isn't neat and clean, it is messy and awful and frightening and terrible. The best we can ever hope for, as a gnat or a dinosaur or a human being or a progressive blogosphere, is to breed before we are eaten. Grim, but it is all we have.

Submitted by lambert on

A list, please.

NOTE And I thought I was the only one running the riff that the blogosphere 1.0 was really a beta, and a crash-prone one at that; the parallelism of great minds, and all that....

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Didn't mean to swipe a riff, had heard that mentioned somewhere but couldn't remember the source. My brain is like a cabbage wagon, some new things stay on the pile and others roll right off.

But jeebus, what was expected? An all-comers construction by committee where 90% of the influence is from a handful of people who came from the competition and whose sole objective was/is to be part of the Big Show once again. First whiff of the familiar gravy train and away they went, reducing the structure to a pile of rubble in the process. Here's one lesson. Don't fool yourself into thinking you have a solid product just because the package sparkles and the brochure is shiny.

After the 2006 elections I argued that it wasn't a reversal of direction as much as the finding of a brake peddle that would not get anything more than experimentally tapped, and that nothing much substantive would change for another three cycles at best. I got told to STFU because I was just a defeatist who wanted to spoil the victory party.

Yet here we are, and now I argue that the next step is getting the Republicans out of the White House and I'm still getting called names. Expecting the PB to do that, help capture the White House, AND revise the Congress AND defeat the BlueDogs AND drive the corporatists from all power AND enact a comprehensive progressive agenda of governance all at the same time is far too much; it creates an atmosphere of failure that depresses enthusiasm and breeds discontent, that masks actual forward motion.

Same with PB 1.1 or whatever; this is just a getting under way event, and we have a long haul ahead. Incremental victories are still victories and should be cherished and nourished; small nodes collected into diversified, decentralized networks are more difficult to infiltrate and resist being crushed; costs shared are always cheaper, organized bargaining power makes them cheaper yet; true communities share basic values and goals, and do not let disagreements over smaller differences in strategy divide them.

I'll try to make a LL list but I will want to edit it and couch it so as to not offend everyone all at the same time, again. Maybe I'll append it towards the end, when this thread cools down.

Submitted by lambert on

What are you talking about, getting "called names"?

Haw.

UPDATE

"Small modules loosely coupled." Or some such.

I think this paragraph sums up a piece of consensus we're straggling toward:

small nodes collected into diversified, decentralized networks are more difficult to infiltrate and resist being crushed; costs shared are always cheaper, organized bargaining power makes them cheaper yet; true communities share basic values and goals, and do not let disagreements over smaller differences in strategy divide them.

I think there's got to be some money in it, otherwise, just like your shrink says, you don't value the therapy. Just not too much. And somehow, more evenly distributed.

What would be the minimum number to get a health insurance deal, I wonder? 10,000? (A big number...)

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

45 million is apparently not a big enough group to band together to get health care coverage, so I have no answer there. Maybe if they got pitchforks and torches....sorry.

If you want change, eh, it is still pain and pleasure that drives people - even politicians. The PB, like the progrssive community as a whole, isn't big enough to cause significant pain the way it operates and sure as hell not big enough to provide pleasure.

If you want a political focus, and why not, find a weak point and bore in on it. Health care is a good one, there are others. Then figure out how to get from talk to walk, or it will all just be hot air and no, I'm not being critical of bloggers, just saying.

Submitted by hipparchia on

Same with PB 1.1 or whatever; this is just a getting under way event, and we have a long haul ahead. Incremental victories are still victories and should be cherished and nourished; small nodes collected into diversified, decentralized networks are more difficult to infiltrate and resist being crushed; costs shared are always cheaper, organized bargaining power makes them cheaper yet; true communities share basic values and goals, and do not let disagreements over smaller differences in strategy divide them.

long haul. yeah, this is where republicans have been successful, they've been in it for the long haul, planned well ahead into the future, stayed on course, ec.

incremental victories. yes! cherish, nourish, celebrate them! the problem i have with the concept though, is settling for them. that dkos thread that was referenced in the hcan't post below has commenters repeating that it will take at least 30 years to get single payer here. damned incrementalists, they do let their tiny comfort zones keep them shying away again and again from cataclysmic changes. canada and australia each underwent what i would characterize as a series of seismic shifts, over a period of maybe 10-15 years in their march to universal health care/coverage. hunh. i had another example besides health care that i was going to use here, but that cabbage seems to have rolled off the pile.

small nodes, decentralized networks. terrorist cells! but yeah, i like being proprietor of my own blog, with full editorial control [not that i exercise it much]. i like saying whatever i feel like saying that day, in whatever format i feel like employing at that moment. corrente is an exceptional group, and i'm glad lambert let me in, but in general i don't want to have to have to belong to a club, group, organization, party [i'm a registered democrat purely out of pragmatism] to be heard or to be able to exert leverage. i'd rather be able to form a variety of short- and long-term alliances with different groups, not all of whom may approve of each other. ephemeral organized bargaining power, perhaps, rather than permanent, but it ought to be useable just the same.

Submitted by lambert on

Cryptonomicon reference?

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Just want to say that.

I want to advocate for something, not against something. I think PB1.0 was defined against Bush/GOP and had no destination in mind. It was trivial to go from anti-Bush to anti-Clinton. In fact, it might have been necessary for it to have any purpose.

I keep saying this over and over because it bears repeating. I still don't know what PB2.0 stands for? I want a mission statement.

Submitted by lambert on

Well, you know what I'm going to say, gq. Right?

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I've been hoping for time to do it. I turned in the thesis a month ago, had to move and am trying to figure out where I'm going to be in 2 months. Heck, most of my blogging is done through my blackberry. Sigh.

Submitted by lambert on

Since your dealing with a small screen and typing with your thumbs.

Pick one principle -- possibly the first -- and share that. Then we can move on from it!

I know, I know... "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one..."

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

Can we pick one thing on the list and discuss?

One of the things I liked in the Blogger Ethics above was that they saw the moderator as an essential part, someone who could nurture the newbies and hang with the old guard too.

How do you make people be less short-sighted and Kool-Aidish? Whatever the flavor of Kool-Aid?

In the MSM, they sometimes fire, demote, suspend people or make them apologize (Rather, MSNBC crew)--but a lot of times news stations/papers just start acting differently and often as if the past hadn't happened. Because there's nothing as old as yesterday's news? Or because it's too embarrassing?

How do you make people not want what they want? Or not use what influence they have?

It's an argument for separating the news reporting and the op-eds.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Supposing Single Payer could only be passed using truthy methods, not the truth.

academic, because truthiness never works for ordinary people.

Submitted by lambert on

And I'm sure FrenchDoc would like you to explain "Ordinary people.."

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

Wow, pretty impressive with the stuff you crank out, gq.

BTW, if I'm a little behind the fair, the comments are not showing for me very quickly.

Nice to see everyone. Thanks for the work you post!

Although the evolution lists have a fair amount of appeal for me I kinda the chaos=creativity which was the obscure point of my ahem "round bacon" post today. A LOT of very creative people--including Esther Dyson!--have very messy desks and it ends up being creative for them, because they bump into all kinds of things.

Let's use ideas from all over.
But I like the goal-mission statement focus too.

And WHAT IS THE INTERNET/THIS SITE for y'all anyway?

To me, it's politically and Constitutionally important, one way of civic duty, educational (for research, analysis, and being shown by others), a mind-and-emotion-saver amongst the sometime blogocraziness, a way to think, and a path to truth.

How do we keep those things?

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

people for whom $50 is a large contribution. People who cannot afford to buy truthiness.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

These points could be intertwinned. If we believe (and I really do think we all believe this) that PB 2.0 needs by definition to be all about truth and not truthiness (Point 5) then Point 8 (party invariant) is not only a certain by-product but a REQUIREMENT.

I just deleted a TRUTH rant I had in this space.

So assuming Point 5 disposes Point 8, what of Point 9 (extreme moderation)? Is that required? What other mechanism can ensure that? Who will watch the watchers?

My earlier point about reducing bandwidth, hits, etc. was process-based on what "attracts" corporate/malevolent interests based on easy access metrics. Is it possible to reduce these metrics and not at the same time reduce influence or impact?

I don't know, it's a question.

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

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

Submitted by lambert on

because IMNSHO maintaining it in a community setting requires "ruthless moderation." Humans are expensive, by blog standards (or poor).

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

1. Trust chain.

Only allow commenters to join the community if they are recommended by another community member.

Maintain the network of who recommended who.

When some of them turn out to be agents, you exise the entire trust chain up to the known-good nodes.

Goodbye entire groups of sock-puppets and trolls all at once.

Submitted by lambert on

That is an extremely interesting idea and can be supported in software. Also, it scales beautifully. You don't go leaf by leaf, you prune a branch.

Any examples, cenobite?

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by PA_Lady on

I'm a ZZ-list blogger, a sometime commenter here, and a lurker almost everywhere else. If I'd had to wait for an invitation to join ... well, I might still be waiting.

Maybe use a combination of trust chain and a probation period for newbies, either with limits to the number of comments/posts per day (a la TalkLeft) or all comments moderated for 30 days?

Of course, that adds to the work of the backstage crew, so it might be more difficult and/or time-consuming than it's worth.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

I think individual sites can decide on "joining rules" based on their own situations, how exposed and vulnerable they are to trolling and astroturfing.

Somehow, I don't think knitting blogging is a hard target (although I'm willing to be proven wrong on this) whereas national electoral politics is.

So depending on the issues a site focuses on, they exposure will be different and so should the strategies to deal with it.

I really dislike the idea of an exclusive club.

Submitted by lambert on

... if there's any kind of revenue sharing, doesn't that imply some consistency for joining rules?

(Note that it is also possible, with things like OpenID, for a single logon to work on multiple sites. This has obvious good effects, and obvious bad ones.

As an admin, I find the trust chain concept very appealing, because it's engineered to resist assault -- and even cross site assaults! And because the pruning is so easy, we could also afford to be more open about account approval.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by PA_Lady on

The subject line was meant to be snarky, but didn't work (obviously) and - oh, the irony - trying to edit gets me a "Not authorized to view this page" message. :D

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

but what exactly is the blogosphere? Isn't it basically a form of communication? Like newspapers or television? Or handbills and newsletters?

One of the problems I've always had with the "netroots" is the idea that it is one entity and the identification of that entity by the form it takes, which is just the latest and greatest technology - the internet - for doing what people have been doing for centuries in this country, bitching about how much the current government sucks and advocating for better.

To me, I think we limit ourselves by focusing only on the primary technology used as if the "blogosphere" is somehow separate and apart from the progressive movement, to the extent there even still is such a thing. The blogosphere, like other public foras, is a place where you can meet like minded people, exchange ideas, argue, vent, and maybe, if you're lucky, even organize. In some ways you can do this on a larger scale given the access to a much larger audience, but there's also more of a chance that what you say gets lost in the sea of information and opinion.

This goes to Bruce Dixon's point about creating action out of blogging (e.g. demonstrations, etc.). This to me is the real challenge facing the progressive movement. There's a relativity low entry barrier to blogging or commenting on blogs if you don't mind someone else owning the bandwidth like Google or yahoo or Kos. So lots of people participate. But getting those people to actually show up at a protest is another matter because you can't do that from your couch. Indeed, I think in some ways the blogosphere has actually hurt my activism by letting me feel as though I'm politically active even when I haven't left my living room. But if you could get those people to show up, then you'd have a lot more influence. It's also, I might add, an excellent way to dampen the success of astroturfing operations. It's easy for one person to pose as 100 on-line, rather harder at a public park.

What I'd like to see is a coalition of folks develop that uses blogging and social networking as organizing tools for greater action. How to do that, I confess, I'm not sure, but I'd suggest looking at the Obama movement. Whatever else I might think about it, it sure could turn out a crowd. Now imagine turning out the same crowd for single payer healthcare.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i'd love to hear more from people who are doing new creative offline actions and what they can teach us all, as opposed to simply using the net to call for bodies to show up at a protest or to call Senators again, etc.

and online is perfect for resources like factsheets and action lists too--i'd be more than happy to help create pdfs and online lists of state-by-state healthcare options for those without it, or food pantries all over the place, or anything like that -- things that can be easily gathered online collaboratively---and that can be printed and distributed for real-world offline impact immediately, and would immediately turn information into action and access to help people, etc.

Also, things like Walk-a-Mile -- i love that one-- it draws powerbrokers in and has them experience the real issues people have.The net is perfect to spread those types of things even further and make them nationwide... -- Walk a Mile is a national educational program that pairs policymakers with constituents who are either low-income parents or youth living in foster care. The pairs spend a month together learning about each other's lives, gaining new perspectives and "walking a mile" in each other shoes. ...

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I think those suggestions would be too limiting. One of the strengths of blogosphere is that anyone can play. At the end of the day you are at the mercy of the site administrators.

Incidentally, one of the amusing things at big orange is to watch Kos cope with the Frankenstein he has created. Pretty funny to watch the Obots attack him.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

Let's beware of limiting / exclusionary mechanisms or we'll be perceived as our own little club where only purists are allowed.

Look at Corrente, unless Lambert is not telling us, it does not look like the site is infested with trolls.

TL also has a good monitoring system where the regulars can point out the trolls.

Let's be open and let quality be the measuring rod.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

Can anyone explain this to me? I'm not getting it.

I want PB2.0 sites to be highly visible because of the breadth of progressive issues they promote, because of the quality of the substance and commentariat.

I want recognition for that, damn it.

(and I want credit for not using the "crashing the gates" metaphor!)

And where the hell is VL, tonight??

Submitted by lambert on

... I see this as flattening the power curve. The PB2.0 network can be highly visible, even if a few sites within it aren't massively dominant, a la the PB 1.0 model.

I mean, is AA highly visible? I would argue that in every way that matters, it is.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

I'd also love to do radio.

My generation of old school bloggers types -- but I also try to type as if I'm talking. If we had a network...

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

Would need to be our network, not somebody else's. We need to control our content, and if there's revenue, we should have it.

Hmm. Not current, though.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

what sense does it make to be consistent?

If you're interested in radio, and since you are just a fun-filled Chinese bus ride away from NYC, give a thought to hooking up at some point with Amy Goodman (hooking up, heh; think of me as your shadchen). As nervejarring teethgrindingly intense as she is to be around, she is also the nicest, sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful person ever and will turn over heaven and earth to help with alternative journalism.

Give her a call, (212) 431-9090, and explain why it is in her interest to do something with you about the PB and how one would compliment the other - mutualism is the key to getting her attention. If nothing else, you'll have an interesting story to tell; if more, well - blessings upon you, my children.

Submitted by hipparchia on

in action.

[as a consumer of bloggy goodness, i really do like both podcasts and videos, and have only recently discovered blogtalkradio. i'd like to see more of it in pb2.0] if you're thinking about the platform, you should email kenneth quinnell. he's very much into the intersection of politics and the netroots, and happy to help out anybody else who is too.

i'll be meeting up with my brother, who is something of a whizkid in computer video, a little later this summer, since it's something i want to add to my own blogging. if you've got anything you want me to ask him about, let me know.

Mandos's picture
Submitted by Mandos on

I feel that a basic assumption underlying this discussion is that The Progressive Blogosphere consisted of people who had similar political goals. I take the approach in BTDs original post and say that no matter what system you use, the nature of the discourse will ultimately reflect the politics, goals, and interests of the participants---this is, at least, the null hypothesis from which I think this discussion should start.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

was the focus on electoral politics as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end.

PB2.0 should be focused on promoting a progressive agenda irrespective of electoral politics (which is only one form of political activism). Because otherwise, we're beholden to the democratic party and what is that getting us?

So, the focus should be on issues, media critique, pushing for progressives ideas. Promoting progressive candidates wherever we find them should be, again, means to an end.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it hurts everyone when it's all about presidential politics-- all issues are always either minimized, dismissed as "left"-only things, or not discussed at all in presidential campaigns.

And there must be lines that cannot ever be crossed, or compromised away for electoral success or any other rationale--the Constitution and our Rights are just a few of those.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I think that's a good concept.

I would imagine that a multilevel system would allow strict issue focus at a more basic, fundamental level and politics at different level. The problem arises when campaign surrogates/activists infest the more basic level. The political punditry of PB2.0 can be replaced easily, and should, given the nature of campaigns.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Our state and city council reps are far far far more responsive and accessible, and also more directly involved in making the sausage that impacts our daily lives. School Boards too.

The rightwing--and especially religious right--have been targeting these levels for decades--with big success, unfortunately. We should be too, but there's too much DC focus online.

Mandos's picture
Submitted by Mandos on

While there's a big scale issue here, it's interesting to note the differences between the Canadian and US blogospheres, which evolved distinctly different structures. The Canadian "political" internet is still highly invested in discussion board software, and when blogs emerged, they were integrated into a similar paradigm based on RSS aggregators.

These are basically just web sites that collect RSS feeds from a group of related blogs and repost them in sequence. The membership is usually controlled by a few people. There's are couple of really big ones, which generate a lot of traffic. One of them uses a voting system to put posts on the front page. It also used to have its own associated discussion board. That one, ironically called "Progressive Bloggers", ended up still having many of the problems that Kos has, excessive presence of boring centrists, etc. On the other hand, it allowed everyone to speak from their own "turf", as it were, rather than the Kos model where everyone is jammed in together in an Orange Horde.

One site in which I am very much involved is Bread and Roses. It's a discussion board that evolved from a series of schisms with other leftist Canadian online communities (full disclosure: though I'm not the founder or owner, I'm a moderator and maintainer). It has a set of related "project" blogs and its own aggregator with a more selective membership list. The board has a relatively selective membership policy. This has allowed us to punch well above our weight in terms of actual membership and coordinate actions across the Canadian blogosphere.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

those are just constructs used to CHARGE MONEY.

Ideas are LOW BANDWIDTH.
Embedded videos are HIGH BANDWIDTH.

Words are LOW BANDWIDTH.
Pictures are HIGH BANDWIDTH.

Links are LOW BANDWIDTH.
Quoting entire articles is HIGH BANDWIDTH.

Refreshing every second is HIGH HITS.
Refreshing only when something changes is LOW HITS.

Again, this is a small point, but if the ideas are paramount, if truth is paramount, then shouldn't the tools be sized to the task?

Viruses are still with us, dinosaurs are not. One is big, the other extremely small. Which triumphed?

Case in point, how much bandwidth do you think Somerby uses? Compared to his impact on everyone here?

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

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

Submitted by lambert on

+100.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

Do a guest (your state) NPR op-ed, record and send to station (call first and make arrangements--a lot of times you even used to be able to use the station equipment if you don't have any.) Be sure to mention us though.

Also, you could podcast here.

I'd like to see our door stay open--it's hard when people are faddish but they change. We have to make sure all the voices are heard, no?

Ideas need to coexist, even if mutually exclusive. I've just been listening to philosopher Martha Nussbaum's 2008 Nora and Edward Ryerson lecture on "Equal Respect for Conscience: The Roots of a Moral and Legal Tradition"--and she keeps emphasizing how Roger Williams stressed civility and politeness in all his discussions and rebuttals of his philosophic and political foes. It really worked for him and he "got away" with getting ideas approved like banning slavery in Rhode Island in the 1600's. He also wrote 400 page book rebuttals to people like the Mather's...hmmm, so more politeness, good solid ideas and lots of words?

These lectures are on-line and this appearance of Nussbaum's on trust and the fragility of goodness is amazing. We really need trust too.

I always think of the movie Groundhog Day with the Ryersons's lecture: "Ned--Ned Ryerson?"

Submitted by lambert on

And adding on to what we do here, not substituting.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

Although I found vlogging incredibly boring (or maybe it's the Big Blogz Boyz that used it that bored me).

Submitted by lambert on

Just like Limbaugh.

Is there such a thing?

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

Revenue sharing!

And the air war....

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

I love the phrase, "the fragility of goodness."

Alas, in the village, Civility means deference, and that unearned. It's just another way of saying Shut The Fuck Up.

How do we distinguish that aristocratic, anti-progressive value from what you are talking about?

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

what are their bylaws? how do you get on the board of trustees? why can't we take over our local pbs stations?

BAC's picture
Submitted by BAC on

A very wise woman once said to me "everything is political -- someone voted on what color an exit sign would be." I believe this to be true.

Under the current "winner-takes-all" political system, it can be challenging to bring about change -- but not impossible. One of the first things an elected official will ask is 'how many voters can you bring me, and/or how much money can you raise for my campaign'. That seems to define your value to them.

A few years ago I met two wonderful lesbians in PA who manage an email list of about 2000 names. In their community some political races are determined by as few as 10 votes. Their list of 2000 names makes then extremely valuable to anyone seeking political office.

There are other influences that are directly connected to who we elect to public office. Corporate America has a tremendous amount of power and influence -- and they have used that power to elected candidates who will continue "feeding the beast."

We clearly don't have the same financial power as Corporate America, but we do have our right to vote. One of the biggest contributions we could make is to increase voter activism -- and yes, I'm talking about encouraging people to leave their computer and go out into the world to help organize.

We are stuck with basically a two party system -- so the question becomes how to take over one, or both, parties?

The other random thought is how to change the culture -- to make it unacceptable to say someting sexist or racist (or anything that ends in "ist"). That may be the biggest challenge.

What we have seen over the past year is a progressive movement evolve (there is that word) into something we all claim to be against? I would imagine Kos would say he's not a sexist, but would his comments truly past the "non-sexist" test? And do we have to call attention to our fellow bloggers, and our candidates, when they engage in behavior that doesn't fit within a non-sexist, racist, mold?

I think the more ways we can communicate with people the better -- radio (broadcast and online), television (online, unless someone has a few million dollars), the blogosphere, etc. Deregulation of MSM has created little more than a vast wasteland.

We need to try to bring a personal connection for why people should want to get involved, and then make it as easy as possible for them to do so. We need to be more forgiving as people are first getting involved, so if someone makes an error they are not driven away by a rigid ideological standard.

Just a few random thoughts ...

BAC

Mandos's picture
Submitted by Mandos on

I don't think that the strange bedfellows model will work in the general case. Strange bedfellows only works because both groups feel they have something to fear and/or to lose. But most of the time, they have mutually exclusive political goals, eg, the Ron Paul economic agenda.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

inherent in human social interaction

aka the family getting together

aka drinking a little beer and shooting a little pool

aka mob rule

aka waging war

there is NO systematic way out of the folly that humans can, will, and frequently do inflict on themselves and others.

the only defense is individual integrity and individual intellectual honesty - largely inherited personality traits.

there is no prescription that will work for the weblog world,

just as there is no code of journalistic ethics that could have prevented judith miller, pinch sultzberger, bill keller, and jill abrahmson from publishing misleading info abetting the iraq invasion and occupation.

"lord, what fools these mortals be", said puck to oberon. he was speaking of love, but any emotion may be substituted with the same effect -including unleashed political loyalty.

Monkeyfister's picture
Submitted by Monkeyfister on

I don't know how to write that in French. :P

But on the topic of PB v2.0...
Personally, I see no reason to get uptight about changing the "Progressive Blog Model."

What's to change? People find a blog, they like it, and read it a lot, the writer changes, writes crazy shit once too many times, takes one too many ads, doesn't post enough... blehblehbleh... and the reader moves on.

As for my situation, nobody speaks for me at my blog except me. People who like my writing, and the stories I post stay with me. Sometimes, I have a terrible Temporal Lobe Seizure, and write some outrageous crap, and a reader or two leaves... So what? (I stopped reading Kos when he let everyone post their shit, DU long before then. And I found Corrente and Susie's site about the same time.) Others come aboard. It really doesn't matter.

Do what you do particularly well, and stay with it, and stay regular, and you can have effect. Do you really think that you're going to somehow change Kos, C&L, FDL or TPM? Let them have their readers, cults and empires. They come, they go, they read lots of everything, and who are we to demand what sticks to them?

I guess that I don't fully understand the basic premise of this PB v2 movement thing-- I'm happy that some 300 or so readers drop in on my place every day. I try to inform and entertain them, and challenge them-- teach them a few skills like gardening, beer making and hunting, and Permaculture, some recipes, Economic reports and articles, ways to minimize the effects of this collapse of the US Economy... I admittedly change some positions over time, but I show my readers why I changed views, and discuss things.

Sometimes, newer information from a commenter reverses my reversal... That's how it is down here in Perma Small-Bloggerville. That's where we are. I'm going to walk in, and either pull the lever on the DEMOCRATIC Ballot, or I am going to pick and choose the MOST Progressive of the Democratic candidates of whatever down-ballot races are available for me. I've long since gotten over any blog envy. I gain a world of joy now, reading and rewarding small blogs and unsung bloggers every Christmastime. Corrente benefited from it. I rejoice in finding and introducing new bloggers. Instead of trying to change a structure that is now unshakable, we should encourage MORE small, specialized, independent bloggers. Dilute the cabal with a host of new, equally qualified experts. A little competition is good, as they say.

To render all this into one metaphoric cliche...
We all add a course to the full meal, and people can pick and choose from a gloriously long menu from the Left Side of issues and ideas. Sometimes, the Kitchen Staff get in a snit, and give all the diners mass indigestion. Sometimes Food Poisoning. It happens. And then we all move forward smartly. Or we don't, and we start losing diners, and even a good little Bus Boy, such as myself, gets burned.

Everyone has a Pet Issue or three. Some Candidates fulfill more or less of those needs than others. On some issues, I can only hold out (probably unrealistic) faith that, say Obama, Has a LEGAL argument that will unwind, say this most recent FISA Law, or SOME ace up the sleeve (Agreed, it is NOT a good feeling to even have to HAVE that faith on such an issue as FISA, having read the wording of the Bill/Law.). I've done my best to get over that one cook who uses non-organic, not-local-in-season vegetables in his dishes, and the Day Sou Chef who allows farm-raised Salmon and foreign Shrimp. But, that Liebermann, who keeps pissing in the Sweet Tea, and those Nelsons, who keep flicking their Blue Dog lice into the salads need to be pounded and and thrown out the backdoor, along with their assistants. I think my point is pretty clear:).

Issues are issues, points are points, but ethics is, sadly, the antithesis of Politics in America these days. Got CASH??? You can change a LOT of stuff. ie: HuffPo, FDL, C&L, TPM, etc. If you don't, accept it, and do what you can, when you can.

If you take money and run ads for revenue-- expect to be hassled, expensively, by Lawyers armed with C&D writs. Want full power of Fair Use and the First Amendment? Take no money at all, and KNOW the Laws. That is Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's advice, and it holds true.

And my own advice: Don't get pissed if everyone doesn't flock to your excellent idea. And I honestly DO think that, in scale, your questions and issues are worth every good blogger/Corrente reader to stop and consider. There is a great amount of conscience in what you are saying, and I would honestly hope to see bloggers showing some sign of impact to you're saying in these posts.

As to larger Democratic politics...

When Super Tuesday rolled around, I was already turned off by the horrible viciousness being generated between HRC and BHO supporters, and cast my vote for Edwards-- even though he had dropped the race days before.

Look-- the Convention can go one of two ways-- wonderfully unified, or terribly divisive.

Which do we want the M$M to portray?

We have a candidate, whether we want him or not. His name is Barack Hussein Obama Hillary is too far in debt to re-launch a campaign post-Convention at this point.

We must either unite behind Obama, or enthusiastically behind a Candidate #3, whoever that might be. Re-playing the HRC/BHO battle is not an option.

Crass said it best:

BE exactly who you want to be, do what you want to do
I am he and she is she but you're the only you
No one else has got your eyes, can see the things you see
It's up to you to change you life and my life's up to me
The problems that you suffer from are problems that you make
The shit we have to climb through is the shit we choose to take
If you don't like the life you life, change it now it's yours
Nothing has effect if you don't recognize the cause
If the programmes's not the one you want, get up, turn off the set
It's only you that can decide what life you're going to get
If you don't like religion you can be the antichrist
If your tired of politics you can be an anarchist
But no on ever changed the church by pulling down the steeple
And you'll never change the system by bombing Number Ten
Systems just aren't made of bricks they're most made of people
You may send then into hiding, but they'll be back again

And so it goes.

There's nothing TO change in the Progressive Blogosphere. It is what it is.

From High Atop The Mighty Corrente Building... Comes Wisdom.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

about the profound error the "progressive" weblog world made when it very rapidly evolved a pecking order.

nothing explains the folly of the progressive weblogs - what joseph cannon calls the "prog blogs", with its appropriate echo of soviet nomenclature -

so well as the fact that there was established early on a pecking order

of those who "knew" (markos zuniga, duncan black, digby, kevin drum, among others)

and

of those who received that "known knowledge" and broadcast it to their own audiences. (this is equally a matter of "fandom" and "groupie" behavior, both being extremely common)

there was even a clever term for this type of behavior, applied by the weblog world to the world of corporate journalism - the echo chamber.

the joke has turned out to be on the weblog world. the big cheeses (ok, cheetos) established and nurtured their own echo chamber - obeisant "small" blogs trotting after the big blogs, sniffing their tails, and barking their "truths" wildly.

the only way out of this mess is to recognize that no poster, no weblog host,

has a lock on the truth.

in short, to devolve away from the current "academic model" of the weblog world as a "orderly" establishment of those who know and those who will learn from them

to what anglachel might call a jacksonian weblog world in which my ideas and thoughts are as meritorious (or non-meritorious) as yours,

be you weblord or no.

is the key.

every poster,

every commenter,

equal in status

encouraged to say what they have to say.

piling on by weblord followers with received knowledge

and

weblord thumb-on-the-scale behavior

to be deeply discouraged.

ddjango's picture
Submitted by ddjango on

Alas, me thinks we miss the point here.

The most realistic discussion would be not about strategy or tactics, but about fundamental goals and mission. I am convinced that those are missing, or at least so obfuscated as to make them opaque.

The "AA model" was mentioned. The 12 Traditions of AA work well because because of AA's "singleness of purpose": the sobriety and recovery of the individual through each member's and group's dedication to the common good. In other words, each member and each group refrains from doing or saying anything that would endanger the survival of the fellowship.

AA is not perfect, just as the members are certainly not. There have been hundreds, perhaps thousands, of "violations" of these traditions over the years. Somehow, not only have those not weakened AA, they have strengthened it by confirming what a mistake it is to ignore the common good in service to the individual. Believe me, when you get a sense that you just might drink yourself to death without the fellowship, you make sure that fellowship survives.

That notion seems almost unthinkable among "progressives". If you locked 100 progressives in a big conference room and gave them a week to decide what the fundamental mission is, on Sunday night you'd find 99 murder victims and a suicide.

Here's the dichotomy: the more screaming about the erosion of individual rights and freedoms, the faster the erosion of those rights and freedoms.

Until there is some vision of what we want society to be, there will be no true commitment of individuals to the common good.

Short form: Progressive Blogosphere 2.0 is a marketing tool. You gotta have a product first.

ddjango's picture
Submitted by ddjango on

Can't believe the silly bot did a biblical reference there. Yuck!!!!!!!

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Read it all the first time around.

Certainly didn't miss the "kid glove" treatment given to those who will not be named. Because, this isn't about the "personal" ya know.

But whatever, I won't beat a dead horse on your my dime.

I'm in line with Mr. Dixon and ddjango.

Lemme know when it's time for some action.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

and writers are famous for having flame wars. We have seen in the editorial pages and opinion magazines, or at least we did until they became dominated by former press secretaries keeping to narrow scripts. But flame wars between intellectuals is inevitable.

On the other hand I think there is a collective acknowledgment that the primary blog wars where shameful, but the Obama people will not acknowledge, even to themselves, that they were almost entirely to blame.

BoGardiner's picture
Submitted by BoGardiner on

[sorry, inadvertently posted this first on last week's thread].

AA has become cultlike and a promoter of harmful bad science through bullying and monoculture, like PB1.0.

It depends on truthiness. The following are its core lies:
—our method is the only one that works;
—it has been proven to have a higher success rate than other methods;
—you’re doomed if you try anything else;
—you have a disease, it’s not your fault, you don’t have the power to do this without a higher power.

Any hard work to sobriety has a decent chance to paying off; AA has been no better or worse. But AA is wrong because it bullies people into believing they must go their route or else, and actively discourages the proliferation of methods that work better for others. It's part of the old truthy model, not a new evidence-based model.

AA's value has been in its support groups, not its principles. People do need people, face to face, which is probably the main lesson to draw from AA.

Caro's picture
Submitted by Caro on

... and leave the rest.

There are as many flavors of AA as there are people who attend meetings.

That's a STRENGTH, not a weakness.

It's only truthy if that's what you take from it.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Auntie Meme's picture
Submitted by Auntie Meme on

I'm still wrestling with conceptualizing PB 1.0
(Sorry, VL, couldn't resist the metaphor.)
As a religion PB 1.0 has
1. offerings--some burnt, some blood
2. lay people doing the yeoman's work
3. call and response (echo chamber)
4. hymns of praise
5. requests for money
6. occasional requests for forgiveness
7. meditative ramblings
8. philosophical questions
9. evangelical zeal of adherents (e.g. DK)
10. priests and priestesses leading the "flock"
11. repetition

Re: PB 2.0
I'm among those who wouldn't get asked to dance, as I have no blog of my own and no way, other than moderator moderator pre-approval of posts, to be accepted into the club. I wouldn't mind someone who I respect doing that, by the way. Unfortunately, in this FISA generation the DK model might become the norm. And the blogosphere tends to eat its own anyway. If your post isn't interesting to the participants (not just readers in 2.0), then your post is ignored and goes into the abyss of the ether library. A shout in the forest unheard.

Ian Welsh's picture
Submitted by Ian Welsh on

The blogosphere is breaking up. There are a few different groups. We thought we were the same people because we all hated bush and the pubs, but we aren't. Now we find out who's who. As for what happened in the primary, humans are pack animals and they act like pack animals. Very few bloggers/commenters wanted to stick their noses out by being against the person most of the blogosphere was for. The blogs that did not go crazy did not go crazy because of specific editorial decisions not to go crazy and because they recognized that there was not a progressive in the fight (yes, I personally agree that Clinton was better than Obama. She still was and is, basically, a centrist Dem.) So the people who are for better dems, not just more Dems, more or less sat it out. Many of them did endorse (I went for Clinton, others went for Obama) but they didn't do so as fevered true believers.

Fundamentally folks in the "better Dems camp", such as Glenn Greenwald, feel that the Dems are and have been complicit in much of the last 8 years. They look forward and they know that in 2009 their job is to hold people's feet to the fire and keep building, not the Dem party, but the progressive/liberal faction within the Dem party. and they recognize those are two different things.

As for what happened in the nomination, the stupidity and pack behaviour and hysteria.... again, human nature. Maybe you can mitigate against it, but I'm not entirely sure how. The fevered embrace of Obama didn't come from the top of the blogosphere y'know, A-listers were not all that enthusiastic at first, they were dragged along by their readers.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

When you write: "The fevered embrace of Obama didn’t come from the top of the blogosphere y’know, A-listers were not all that enthusiastic at first, they were dragged along by their readers."

Maybe not, but they allowed vile behavior to go unchecked and therefore actively participated in unleashing the pack behavior you describe (something you already wrote about in this great post. So, in that they abdicated their moderating responsibilities and allowed extreme behavior to take over, they were implicitly were cheerleaders in this, even if they did not start that way.

Ian Welsh's picture
Submitted by Ian Welsh on

easy gin to throw red meat to people, yah know. Gets good numbers, often enough. On both sides - Taylor Marsh, for example, had a huge traffic boost from being on the other side of the equation. Blogs that refused to endorse, like FDL, and refused to play the game, did not get the huge (2X in many cases, sometimes more) traffic boost that many of those who did play got, with the exception of the election numbers blogs (MyDD, Open Left) who got their boost for other (obvious) reasons.

Now explaining bad behaviour doesn't excuse it. For me, personally, the turning point was the "she's staying in because she wants him assassinated BS", that's where I lost it. To this day I don't know if I so much supported Clinton as hated her enemies.

But because when people are whipped up they respond to and indeed virtually demand raw meat, and become very credulous (I fancy I'm relatively trusted, I had a hard time talking down readers who have known me for years who I consider ok folks about the Kennedy/assassination thing). If you say what people want to hear, you're rewarded. If you say what they don't want to hear, vice-versa. Sure, sometimes you can thread the needle, but then you don't get that 2X traffic surge.

That's what people need to understand: it worked. For the people pushing it, it led to big traffic increases. In most cases they've lost the traffic, but for a few months, they got a huge boost.

One can let that make you real cynical, I'd just suggest that it's like anything else. Notice who didn't go crazy -- even people you disagreed with (who went Obama) who didn't stoop. I think large parts of the blogosphere embarassed themselves, but I also think a lot of blogs had their finest moments, even if they didn't get the traffic to show for it. And sometimes even the refusal to choose sides was admirable. I didn't think so at the beginning, but by the end I could see the argument for not getting involved very clearly.

Again though, in most cases bloggers led by following the pack, putting on a sprint when it became clear that Obama was going to be the consensus blogosphere candidate and screaming "follow me". With a few exceptions, blog readers were far ahead of bloggers.

(The HuffPo was the clearest case of a big important blog making an early editorial decision in favor of Obama and sticking too it. The pictures there really told the tale. They would publish both sides, but Obama always looked great and Clinton looked awful. Watch pictures to see what the editors (not necessarily the authors) really think.)

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

And I think the whole discussion of PB2.0 is this: based on all the stuff you described, the pack dynamic, along with structural issues (the structure of DK, for instance, made it easy for the hyena pack dynamic to develop and thrive), as well as substantial ones (prioritizing electoral politics over progressive issues), where do we go from here?

We can go cynical, i.e., "that's the way it is, human nature and all."

We can go self-righteous, i.e., "you idiots, we told you so and you called us racist." (satisfying, but ultimately not very constructive).

Or, is there any way we can prevent something like that to happen again... it goes beyond BO/HRC. It goes to the role of the progressive blogosphere because, as I see it, they're now stuck (those who drank the Kool aid, that is), and I would add, discredited.

What role do we want for the progressive blogs? What structure do we want for the goals we want to promote?

I think your analysis and the posts and comments from many others here show that we've got the diagnosis well-covered by now.

Now what?

Ian Welsh's picture
Submitted by Ian Welsh on

know that I have the going forward answer. For me, well, I'll work with people like FDL who I (personally, not saying others should) trust and think have the generally right idea (Blue America candidates, fight FISA, etc...) As for others, recognize that they still have an audience and that there are times when we can work together because of mutual interests, but that our fundamental beliefs and goals are different, and take that into account going forward.

Diary sites can build hysteria, but having run one - at the end of the day, a diary still isn't a front pager. Of course, DKos is its own world, and I think some folks there pay more attention to the top of the rec list than the front page. Run a site based on mob action and sometimes it will act like a mob. That's not always a bad thing, but sometimes it will be. I'm not sure how the structure of diary sites, how their virtues, can be seperated from their weaknesses. The good thing about giving everyone equal access is the same as the bad thing - you're giving /everyone/ access. And some really good writers are very stupid, or very bad, or very irresponsible human beings. To be a demagogue you have to be a great rhetorician, not a good person.