Back in 2006, when Daily Kos was still sorting out its Community moderation model to keep trolls at bay, Trusted Users got two troll-rates (called “donuts”) per day, and it was not enough. Community member Carnacki had an idea: A nightly post would highlight trollish comments, bringing them to the Community at large so their authors could be dealt with. “This is not to open up a troll war,” he wrote at the time. “This is simply to help the moderation of this community. I have found, with the new two-troll limit, I am engaging people more and explaining instead of just rating and moving on. However, we do get trolls and the only way to oust them and keep dialogue productive is to give them enough 0s for the autoban to kick in.”
The troll engagement strategy helped purge bad actors, but it was Carnacki’s Other Great Idea that had real legs: He wanted to create space to “highlight informative, funny, interesting comments that might not have been seen.” Kossacks would nominate great comments to bring them to the wider Community.
Thus was born a Daily Kos institution: Top Comments.
For 16 years, Top Comments has been a nightly feature, bringing the day’s best, most insightful, wittiest, and most informational comments from story readers to the Daily Kos Community. Over the years, it’s also nurtured its own community of regulars and newcomers, birthing friendships and alliances while helping foster what is great about the Daily Kos Community: Its sense of shared purpose, common values, and mutual respect. The troll-rating strategies that helped to develop our Community moderation system have served their purpose and passed on to their final reward. What remains is a nightly roundup of great comments, a listing of the comments that are highest-rated for the day, and an assemblage of the day’s best images. Its mission today is “to nourish community by rounding up some of the site’s best, funniest, most mojo’d & most informative commentary.”
To nominate a great comment, send it to topcomments (at) gmail or to the Top Comments group mailbox by 9:30 PM ET. The Top Comments wranglers love it when you include a quick explanation about why you think it’s great as well as your username so they can credit you. To join in the fun, just meet the moderator in story comments.
Speaking of great, the team found some terrific reads this week. Community Spotlight’s Rescue Rangers read every story published by Community writers. When we discover awesome work that isn’t receiving the attention it deserves, we rescue it to our group blog and publish a weekly collection—like this one—each Saturday at 7:30 PM PT. Rescue priorities and actions were explained in a previous edition: Community Spotlight: Rescuing your excellent stories for over 14 years.
ten RESCUED STORIES FROM 1 PM PT FRIDAY, MARCH 19 THROUGH 1 PM PT FRIDAY MARch 26, 2021
WOW2 explores events that have shaped history and celebrates those who followed the advice that “well-behaved women seldom make history” in WOW2: Mid-March’s trailblazing women and events in our history, 2021. Officebss writes about the women who made history between March 11 and March 21, from 1279 to 2021, among them large-living nun Mary of Woodstock, coloratura Anna Bochkoltz, writer Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, actor Dorothy Gish, newspaper owner Dorothy Schiff, archaeologist Marion Stirling Pugh, microbiologist Charlotte Friend, feminist theorist Griselda Pollock, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, and Attorney General Janet Reno, among others. Additionally, she documents breakthrough legal cases involving crimes against women. “The purpose of WOW2 is to learn about and honor women of achievement, including many who’ve been ignored or marginalized in most of the history books, and to mark moments in women’s history. It also serves as a reference archive of women’s history.” Officebss, author of 544 stories, is a “left-handed feminist,” obsessive reader, and word lover.
The final installment of a Beowulf minicourse analyzes a new translation of the venerable epic in The Language of the Night: Beowulf for a new century by … um, me. Poet Maria Dahvana Headley goes to the heart of the original language to write a translation that honors the 10th century while speaking to the 21st. Part of her project has been to reevaluate characters who are usually portrayed as monsters, and to reveal the male bias in the narrative of more traditional translations. “My own experiences as a woman,” Headley writes, “tell me it’s very possible to be mistaken for monstrous when one is only doing as men do: providing for and defending oneself.” I write on a variety of topics, including the Readers and Book Lovers series “The Language of the Night,” some stuff about history, and unorthodox old house repair.
No matter how we feel about it, the way the U.S. is set up to apportion Congressional seats isn’t likely to change. In My view on redistricting, stevk looks into the political geographical future to determine how the apportionment following the 2020 census will shake out, breaking down the picks into categories: Much Better (for us), Slightly Better (again for us), Much Worse, Slightly Worse, No Impact and Unclear. He provides a thumbnail sketch of each state, dipping into the “whys” of reapportionment, and predicts an outcome “overall not great for (Democrats) as the (Republicans) have a roughly 55 seat edge in total number of seats that are ‘positive’ for them. It’s considerably better than in 2010, however.” In all, the writer forecasts a hard electoral fight ahead. A member of Daily Kos since 2006, this is stevk’s first story and first rescue.
If you’re a regular reader of Daily Kos, you probably already think that Science will save the economy. In fact, as first-time diarist Tanglebox reports, there’s a recent example of that happening. Remember the Antarctic ozone “hole?” Within 11 years of initial international action, and with several recalibrations to strengthen the effort, chlorofluorocarbons, the main destructive agent, were eliminated worldwide. Tanglebox hopes that the newfound, mainstream knowledge of phrases like “genome sequencing” and “viral protein spike” are signs that the broader public will regain an appreciation for the “robustness of science,” and how it helped begin the end of a global pandemic. Tanglebox has been a member since 2018 and this is their first diary.
Hey, Boomer can be a compliment. Philly526, a Boomer born in 1946, shares why she wears that label with pride. While she agrees that Boomers have much to learn from younger generations, she also remembers how much her generation stood for, how much they protested, how much they questioned authority, and how much they drove change. She closes with a plea to the next generation: Don’t “marginalize any group due to race, religion, gender, gender identification, sexual orientation—or age … Don’t assume our age signals incompetence or apathy. Don’t relegate us to disengaged observers. We have history and experience to share. We have stories to tell and perspectives only long lives can make relevant. Share your journey with us. We may surprise you.” A great-grandmother with an internet connection and the ability to use it, Philly526 has been rescued three times.
In An Asian woman’s voice and vision for America, TaraGreen argues that the U.S. is regressing in regard to both women’s rights and rights for people of color. Although the Atlanta shooting was brutal, she writes that “what came afterward as the response to the shooting was even more lethal,” by seeking to make the murdered Asian women responsible for the murderer’s actions. She adds that, “Because some very powerful men and some very powerful machines in this country regard other people, other traditions, other belief systems, and other countries—including the land, the forest, rivers and oceans, aka, Mother Earth—as the same way they see Asian women: as subjects to be bullied and killed, objects to be exploited and discarded.” TaraGreen has authored five stories. This is her first rescue.
“People who are upset seem to think the issue is an unwillingness to work hard or make sacrifices to pay off the debts, or perhaps that we made foolish decisions and have no one to blame but ourselves for the predicament and now want to be bailed out of our just desserts. It’s incredibly insulting, but again I believe it comes from ignorance of the facts of the situation.” In Why we need student loan debt relief: One man’s story of deception, fraud, and consequences, Toro Blanco tells a tale of desperation, false hope and, instead of a ladder out of poverty, a college that fraudulently traps its students into a lifetime of debt and impossible repayment schedules, demonstrating why “student loan debt cancellation isn’t a bad thing, it’s barely even a good start. In cases like mine, not only will it not fix everything, it will barely fix anything … but you’ll understand, I’m sure, if I tell you I feel like I deserve my money back.” Fort Worth resident Toro Blanco has authored 66 stories for Daily Kos.
Goodwhich notes that the Biden-Harris administration is doing now what the Obama-Biden administration should have done years ago: Educate the public about the ACA. That lack of education has left too many Americans unaware that More than 10 years later, Obamacare is still there. Inspired by the example of the shutdown of a General Motors auto plant in Lordstown, Ohio, Goodwhich discusses the way too many of the employees had to make agonizing life choices because they believed their insurance was tied to their employment. “This shows again the problem of linking your health insurance to your employer: When your employment goes away, so does your insurance.” Not so anymore, and with the recent amendments to the ACA that strengthen the law’s protections and make it more affordable, more Americans need to know their family’s health isn’t dependent on an employer’s business decisions. Goodwhich has authored 28 stories. This is their first rescue.
Counting up all the things that have not happened since one man in Las Vegas shot more than 800 people and murdered 60 in the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, Elixa tells the story of a country paralyzed by a powerful few in Three years, 5 months, a score and 4 … Not “good guys with guns, not civilian vigilance and background checks, not a SWAT team that took 90 minutes to locate the shooter, nothing was adequate to counter one man with 24 different weapons.” One man who shot himself before being taken down “because he had planned to do that all along. He had planned this terror attack for months.” Elixa reminds us that blaming mentally ill people for this kind of violence is just the latest dodge to keep us frozen, and to keep “these weapons intended for military usage … still easily attainable by ordinary people.” Elixa has authored 36 stories, and this is her second rescue.
On its 110th anniversary, new Kossack Honkette pays tribute to a tragedy that birthed a labor movement in Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The day’s events were horrific, leading to the deaths of 146 people, many of whom burned to death while others leaped from windows. But Honkette reminds us that, by the standards of the time, the factory was not considered a sweatshop, but a company with respectable working conditions. The abuses and failures at Triangle “led at the end to a large package of legislation that dealt with many issues: safety, sanitation, employment of children and more. The head of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers, said the legislation was astonishing in scope, but it must not be forgotten that women had to be burned to death for it.” This is Honkette’s first story and first rescue.
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.
An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 9:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT).