Pyrrho:Daily Kos Inc

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NOTE: if you see me editing this diary I intend to post, feel free to chime in... via talk or even by editing it (I could always grab my own latest version if I don't like yours)... I had a diary submit up for this and realized it's requires more thought than that.

This was inspired, peripherally, by the Goodbye Cruel World Diary posted by a homeless person that is unable to subscribe or to tolerate the blinky graphics of advertisers. But that's just the start, what's really at play, and forgive me for the fact that it's more than a single thing, are issues related to Daily Kos Inc. It brings in this:

  • what are the ethics of ad blocking daily kos? are they the same as ad blocking at CNN?
  • what are the ethics of a gated community? are they the same as the ethics of a regular community? do you have a right to demand changes in a gated community? do you have the right to try to remove gates?


  • if we have obligations to daily kos, what are its obligations to us?
  • do we expect that the problems that arise as private endeavors into public policy won't affect us? conflict of interest, service to the needs of the organization instead of the goals it has vowed to support? why will benevolent dictatorship work this time?

The progressive philosophy is not always one that has found good company with corporate philosophy. And these are questions we need to answer, not because I think that daily kos isn't run well enough already, but because there is a big issue here.

But first, please know, I want kos to have a soap box, I want him to be able to make a living off of it. I don't mind that he's using a private corporate business model to do it, and I like the idea of using ads to pay for the site.

But in terms of the community here that is in addition to kos, expecting loyalty to a business model is a bit much to ask liberals and progressives, or even Democrats.


Hey I'm sorry to the people I'm going to piss off, and if you are named by name I hope you see at least the respect I have to mention your point straight on. I can't stop you from thinking what you like and wouldn't want to. I think we need to face these issues in progressive politics and dkos is a good place to start. If something was taken out of context, that was not my intent, though I know some of my comments in that thread could be taken out of context, so please challenge me and I'm not above correcting an error of context that is pointed out to me.


armando didn't like the activism of... (4.00 / 2)

... take control of your browser, you don't have to let it use your bandwidth to call images from advertisement servers.

is that civil disobedient activism, or just plain highway robbery?

- pyrrho</td></tr><tr><td style="border-top:1px dotted gray">by pyrrho on Mon Mar 28th, 2005 at 21:35:37 UTC
It works against the site (none / 0)

It is anti-dkos activism.

"Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.
by Armando on Mon Mar 28th, 2005 at 21:43:42 UTC
armando (4.00 / 2)

if progressive values and dailykos come in conflict...  well, this is not really a case of that is it, but it does skirt the outlying regions of that debate.<p> Dkos operates in a private property authoritarian way, and that brings it in conflict with some of the egalitarian principles of progressives.<p> I'm fine with it, more than fine, I want kos to have a soap box, but in terms of the community here, expecting loyalty to a business model is a bit much to ask liberals and progressives, or even Democrats.

- pyrrho </div>

  • ads and ad blocking*
a lot of things I've been thinking about daily kos were brought out by this ad issue, because it is where comerce and public advocacy overlap. They always overlap and conflict. Always. No amount of wishful thinking will affect the reality of this pattern. But note a few things.
  • I like that kos has a private property soapbox to speak from
  • I like the fact that dkos funds markos endeavor with ads, I think that is win win, especially considering who likes to buy ads
  • I don't mind the ads myself nor am I one of the people that moans too loudly about ads in general. I believe they are a valid kind of communication, so long as they are recognized as propaganda.
  • I think the adblocking ethic is simple, you need a reason to block ads.... if you are a progressive that likes what dkos has done, subscribe, read ads, or do both. If you have a reason to block an ad, you may. I finally blocked that ad with the guy pissing on the "W", I just couldn't take it anymore. I didn't get an ad blocker... you can block images in mozilla, I right clicked and did it. Am I the enemy now? A traitor that hates dkos and wants it screwed up? Make ads that are beautiful pictures, you don't have that problem, I won't block them. Some onus is on the advertiser to appeal to me... I'm not going to accept a formula where I'm bound to view the ads on some moral grounds and the advertisers can just throw whatever crap at me they think will stick in my memory banks. And if, like the poster of that diary, they give you a mental discomfort, a possibly medical issue, and you cannot afford $40, you can block them without a second thought.
It causes a slippery slope? Where everyone, even doctors and lawyers and indian chiefs may also decide to block ads rather than support dkos, because everyone's doing it? But you don't accept that argument about entitlements do you? We shouldn't give food stamps to single mother's, everyone will want it. Now, Armando offered to pay for her, and this is similar to a means testing idea... preserving the idea that "you must subscribe or view ads" but making an exception. That's very nice of him. But he also, in response to this:
*I am really surprised...* (4.00 / 4)

By the anger of those commenting on what I wrote.

I cannot afford to pay because I often have to choose between gas or food. I am homeless. I am not asking for your sympathy, pity, or snarky remarks. I was just sharing the sadness that comes with limitation and the loss os something that was important, because I am overwhelmed by the advertising.

Peace. Jahs girl

by Jahs girl on Mon Mar 28th, 2005 at 21:00:54 UTC

said this:



  • private property*

The most insidious of frames for the right is the frame of private property. First, as soon as I bring up private property negatively many people will revolt instantly, as if I don't like the idea of private property. I do like it... it needs a better framework, but I believe private property is a good thing.

But the insidious frame is one in which private property is taken as fundamental. A "fundamental" right is one that you can put in terms of another right. E.g. the courts used the right to privacy as a fundamental right from which to derive the right to choose. Conservatives of the extreme philosophical type have used property right as The Fundamental right, going so far as to justify things like the right to not be aussaulted as coming from the right to yourself as property of yourself. You can set up justifications like this, you can MAKE a right fundamental in your system by using it that way, but I believe fundamental rights can be found better by looking at nature and using test cases to illuminate their fundamental right.

I don't think there is a fundamental right to property. There are too many exceptions and there is something too unnatural about it. Mind you, it's a right we have, but it is in terms of other rights. For one, it's a practical right. Serfs in feudal Europe did not have a reason to recognize the property of the lords, they had a reason to deny that right, in fact. The right to property is a practical matter, it allows commerce, it justified having a socialize police system to help protect the weak from robbery. It is justified in terms of your right to freedom but even more in the practical needs of society to support productive people rather than theives.

To justify something to me you have to use more than property right. I recognize property right, but not things derived from property right. The concept of property makes sense, but intellectual property, while still making sense, makes less than property. The idea of slavery because of property right, while a direct consequence logically, doesn't hold at all.

  • love it or leave it logic*

The love it or leave mentality is something I associate with conservativism, but more than that, with dogmatism, which I see as antithetical to progress and an open mind. Many of us here will disagree on these points, they will find that it's fine to say "love it or leave it" depending on who you say it to and why. They'll feel we need to be in line and have a better dogma, not a weaker one which doesn't assert itself. Love it or leave it is about NOT progressing. It's about not having to change... that's not progress. As I've tried to be clear, my idea of being a progressive is all about progress, about changing things for the better, even good things can be changed for the better. Sometimes even good things desperately need to be better. "Love it or leave it" is a philosophy meant to deny the need for progress, you can just progress yourself right out of there. I don't buy that in either the big or small cases, e.g. neither when my nation goes to war or when my gated community says it.

Having said that, I am able to live by a love it or leave it ideal, it just has to be reciprocal to be fair, and people have to understand the limits of their power... for example, it's not illegal to us an ad blocker... if people want to just tell people that obligation of a private owner to the community around their product is nothing, because they can just vote with their feet, then they can also vote with their ad blocker. They can vote with a diary complaining about it. They can vote however they can get away with.

If loyalty is owed, it's not one directional, after all, it has to go both ways. If there is no obligation, just dkos giving us what it wants and we accepting it, that too goes both ways. Armando accuses me of advocating fucking over dkos, which is way over the top but on topic. I do feel a sense of gratitude for dkos, and I believe kos has a gratitude for the community. That's good enough for me. Any additional obligations better be explicit because I can be banned at any time and lose access to my own writing, and there is no obligation that I know of to serve me in any way at all.

What I'm getting at is if we put this all down to the idea that the owner can do whatever he wants and I can just live with it or not, then I too can do whatever I want and let him live with it or not. If I steal apples from the orchard, he can try to catch me. The point: no one can ask me to look at ads because they can't make me... you can try to ban me, that's it. Don't tell me of any other obligations unless you tell me what obligations I get in return. But finally, don't think I'm asking for obligations, as I said, I'm fine with it being a relationship of convienience, of mutual beneficience. If that's what daily kos is that's FINE by me, it will not be the model progressive community I'm hoping it to be, but neither is anything else, I don't hold that against it, but I do compare that against it.

  • journalistic ethics*

I don't give a damn about the journalistic ethics issue But I still care about blog ethics and specifically this blog. It's one thing to point out which ethics don't apply, and I'm right there until I think it's a trend under which none apply. When people imply that blogs should have journalistic ethics, I'm not impressed. They don't need journalistic ethics but it would be nice if some journalists would. However, blogs do need ethics, and a mega-blog like daily kos especially needs to understand its ethics. If they are not understood clearly, as they likely will not be, then the price is paid in these terms: when a difficult moral choice comes along, there is no ethical system in place to navigate it, but when a danger to the organization comes along, like ad blocking, the cry will be all about the ethical need not to block ads. Fine, I agree there is some moral pressure about how one blocks ads as I said above, but that doesn't put the ethical balance on an even setting. That leads to a situation where organizational protection ethics recieve support and clarity, but the part of the ethics that tells us how to treat each other and our opposition goes lacking. And since daily kos is a corporate entity, that means we'll clarify the type of ethics that defend a coporate entity, and the real ethical questions that concern progressives will go wanting in comparison.

  • conservative frames

Why this bothers me is that it invokes a conservative frame about private property which progressives need to think over. The very concept of private property (which I'm for, totally for private property here) is one that has built into and around it a framework of obligations and concepts which support the conservative status quo. Unionism has been beat down by this frame, after all, "you can just get a job elsewhere", "you agreed to this conditions, why are you complaining", "there are people that would be thankful to take your place".

  • Gated Community Politics:

Gated Communities: I have nearly looked at rentals before only to find they were in gated communities, and so I cancelled the appointment. I will never live in a gated community, not unless I'm drug into one and it has guards and barbed wire to keep me in.

I always wonder what the people in the gated community have done wrong, why are they kept there, and why do they want to have a deadly traffic jam when the fire sweeps through. And yet, if daily kos is a gated community, I signed up because the spa was so nice and the local paper was fantastic and the gates were just to keep freepers out at night and I hardly noticed them and now here I am. An anti-gated community person in a gated community.

I'm not a partisan. I don't believe in political parties. This is analogous to the gated community isse for me personally, because here I am in a party. I want to make the Democratic Party strong in the same way I might want a strong military... and not out of a love for war. So you can tell me: "don't let the gate hit you one the way out" but that would be sort of wishful thinking on your part. I havn't been convinced I should not go down there and take the gate off its hinges myself.

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