Corey Inscoe

How They Work

Membership

Membership for all three of these sites is free with just basic registration information (name, e-mail) required to set up an account. Each registered user recieves a blog when they sign up. On OrangePolitics and BlueNC, you can immediately start using this blog and posting, but with DailyKos there is a one week period where new members cannot post new entries with the hope that they will take the time to understand how the site works before they start putting up content.

BlueNC user profile

BlueNC user profile

For DailyKos and BlueNC you have to be a member to comment on someone else’s blog entry. OP allows annonymous comments, but they are all held for moderation and are displayed in gray text so that users notice the difference when reading through the comments. This encourages membership to the site. It is also possible for Sinreich to do this because the community is much smaller than the other two. The smaller number of users allows her to look at each anonymous comment individually, something that is impossible for the other blogs.

Administrators

All three sites have administrators that monitor the content that is being uploaded to the site. These individuals make sure that the content is not offensive and is relevant to the discussion on the site. At the smaller blogs (OP and BlueNC), these administrators read each post and comment, usually being the first to comment on a blog post after it is published. In my experience with BlueNC, they have offered encouraging words or suggestions to how I could make my post better or more relevant. The goal of these comments is to get the users posting more often and putting out better material. They want to foster participation in the community and encourage users to speak out through posts or comments.

The administrators of BlueNC and OrangePolitics also have the ability to “front page” any posts that they think are especially relevant, interesting or important. “Front paging” is when an administrator moves a post from a users blog onto the main page of the website. Here is a post that I wrote in October for the site and it was front-paged that same day.

My post on the front page

My post on the front page

This practice encourages participation as well as putting quality content into posts. As Sinreich said when she visited our class, the only way that she will front page posts are if they deal with an important local issue and bring new information into the discussion. A user that continually posts unrelated content or just reposts headlines from major news sources, they will not get front paged and other people will not read their posts.

How Daily Kos is Different

Because of its size, DKos’ administrators work slightly differently. Nearly all of the front page material comes from a select group of contributors that includes Kos and six other bloggers that he has designated “front page posters.” The administrators simply don’t have the time to go through every blog post submitted and decide which ones are fit to be on the front page. Instead, there is another system that allows users to get their post recognized.

Recommend

Recommend

Readers are able to recommend diaries that they think are important need more attention. By simply clicking on the link shown on the left, other users recommend a diary. Obviously, the more a diary is recommended, the more popular it becomes and administrators are more likely to read it and pay attention to it. This puts the task of sifting through the heaps of content on the users rather than the administrators, which allows the admins to work on posting more content.

Recommended Side Bar

Recommended Side Bar

Highly recommended stories find their way to the front page two ways: first, the top recommended diaries are listed in a sidebar on the front page (shown to the right). This allows someone to quickly see what posts people are reading and liking. Second, if one of the administrators notices a story in the recent or recommended section that they particularly like, they can put it as a front page story. While this does happen relatively often at Daily Kos, user contributions are not as prominent on the front page of DKos as they are on the other blogs. DKos doesn’t rely on users to put up a majority of the information, but instead leave that to the front page posters. Only if they find something interesting will it jump to the front page.

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