An argument for Mile High Stadium

I understand that the convention is already over and I wish I had realized it earlier but I have to say it.  Most people in the MSM and indeed here in the blogosphere refer to the site of last nights speech as Invesco Field.

I'm asking you all (especially you posters like Todd, Jerome, Johnathan, and Natasha) from now on to call it MILE HIGH STADIUM.  "Phooey," you say, "Mile High was demolished years ago." Furhermore aren't there better, more noble, less nit-pickey causes to write about?  Certainly all these points are true, but let me explain my reasons before you dismiss this as moon-bat-ery.

As many of you may know Denver was home to a Stadium called Mile High Stadium from 1948 to 2001. Around 1998, after the Broncos finally won a Super Bowl, the owner of the Broncos, Pat Bowen, strong armed the city into building a new stadium for the team which they did using mostly taxpayers dollars to do.  The new stadium was slated to carry the same name as the old one.  However, once the new stadium was built, Invesco bought the naming rights to the stadium and changed it to Invesco Field, setting off a PR firestorm in the local media.  The Denver Post refused to use the name Invesco.  Citizens who had paid to build the stadium felt they had been betrayed and finally Invesco settled to call it officially "Invesco Field at Mile High."

So why should anyone care about a name?  A rose is a rose is a rose, right?  As George Lakoff would say, its all about the framing.  The importance of using Mile High instead of Invesco is that Mile High reminds us that the stadium was built on taxpayer dollars.  The name Invesco concedes the "right" of private companies to rename -- and metaphorically take ownership of -- a building that we the people of the City of Denver paid for.

After a speech like the one that Obama delivered last night, one in which he criticised this conservative doctrine of private companies freeloading on publicly funded projects, it just isn't right to call it Invesco Field.  Granted the stadium isn't a public park, but we paid for it and then Invesco slaps their name on it.

Obama's speech and this convention will be talked about for years to come, so when you write about it call it Mile High Stadium.  It doesn't cost you anything and it reinforces the idea that the building was built by us and not Invesco.  Its also going to make you popular with people from Colorado.

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The Devil Made Me Do It: Blogosphere, Stop Hiding Behind Pseudonyms

By Mitchell Aboulafia  

I was tempted to title this piece, "The Cowardice of Bloggers," but I figured that this might be needlessly inflammatory. No reason to get people angry by calling them cowards just to get a bit of attention. (READ ME because I'm too controversial for words.) I have to admit that the temptation was great, for it seems that one needs to become the Dr. Strangelove of the Blogosphere to get noticed these days.

For the record, before I begin, I should make it clear that I am not suggesting that pseudonyms be banned from web sites. Nor I am suggesting that it isn't fun and at times useful to use a handle that hides your true identity. Everyone wants to be Clark Kent on some days of the week. And of course there are serious political reasons, for example, retaliation by employers or governments, for hiding one's true identity. No question, there are good grounds for using "pen names." With this string of caveats in place, I now make my case

The Blogosphere is about to be buried in junk. When exactly it will be totally buried is anyone's guess, but I see the sphere turning into the electronic equivalent of Wall-E's earth, probably before the glaciers melt. If you go to sites that run political commentary, you will find piles of junk written under "You don't know me or What Me Worry" pseudonyms. Yes, you will also find serious pieces written under pseudonyms, but often the individuals behind these contributions are known to various communities of bloggers. The writer feels a commitment to her work because she has a reputation to maintain.

Words are forms of action, and like other forms of action we bear responsibility for them. How we act and what we say are not separate from who we are. (This is why we should remain skeptical about those who keep telling us that John McCain isn't really acting like himself. No, he is acting like himself. His actions and words are John McCain. They define him and he shouldn't be allowed to walk away from them. I know that I ain't waiting around for the real McCain to show.) Every time you post a commentary or a blog, you are in fact saying something about who you are. You can say, "Well, it's just a game, so whatever I say doesn't really matter. As proof of the fact that it is a game, I am not signing my real name." Ah, and there is the rub. Junk and more junk because people don't feel responsible for what they are saying.

Keep in mind that many sites have just wanted to build traffic. One way to do this has been to encourage pseudonyms. Venting is very seductive. And it takes a lot less time, thought, and effort to turn out a "What Me Worry" comment under a pseudonym. But lots of people feeling this way will increase the "hits" on sites, which translates into advertising dollars. Think about this aspect of the pseudonym phenomenon: when you use one carelessly and often, you may be playing into the hands of corporations. In other words, you are allowing yourself to be used.

Okay, you say that no one is forcing anyone to read blogs or commentaries. Fine. (Although junk comments often take up a good deal of space on otherwise serious sites.) But my concern here is not only for the readers and the cluttered Blogosphere. It's also for the authors. Saying something in one's own voice involves a commitment to oneself. A commitment that can be transformative. So, yes, one can use the Blogosphere to vent, but in the end it's a no growth proposition. If you just want to curse at the sky, so be it. Nothing is going to change and you will end up not taking advantage of something that might be transformative, expressing yourself in earnest.

So, what I am recommending? I am suggesting that more bloggers come clean and that more sites encourage people not to use pseudonyms. The Blogosphere has the potential to become the public square of the twenty-first century. However, we are on our way to filling it with so much junk that the nuggets are getting harder to find. And I am not sure that even Wall-E will be able to get us out of this one.

For a version with pics:

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GBCW diaries and other trivia - update on grassrootsorganizer

In recent days, there have been several diaries bemoaning the level of discord on this site. There have been other diaries that started flame wars that lasted for days. The sad thing about these occurrences is that it is nothing new.

On June 28th, I wrote a diary about the same problem. Mine was titled "Petition to site moderators and owner". It proved fairly popular. It garnered almost 30 recs and generated 165 comments. That makes it obvious that this is an ongoing problem.

There have been several diaries like mine that try to get the site back on track. Most users come here because they believe it is a site dedicated to progressive values and to getting more progressives elected. What they have been finding since this election cycle started is something entirely different.

One valuable contributor to this site finally had enough and wrote a diary that was in some ways similar to mine. Grassrootsorganizer had already contributed several excellent diaries to the site. She was a much needed voice of sanity in the constant troll wars. Her diary was deleted and her account was blocked shortly after that diary was posted. This was quite a shock to most regular users who were familiar with her postings.

She sent me an email earlier today to explain what had happened. I had made a comment in a thread that made it obvious I hadn't known about her getting banned. She decided to fill me in about it. I wrote back asking permission to use quotes from her email in a diary and she gave me the go-ahead. Here is what she had to say about the event.

I'm writing you about your recent comment on MyDD about my diary on Saturday.  So you know, not only was my diary deleted but I was completely banned -- can't post, rate, rec or comment...

The title of the diary was "MyDD: not safe for Democrats and other living things"
It did not slam the administrators or any other posters specifically.  It only said I had gone through the sad process that morning of removing MyDD from my toolbar because I was finding the place destructive to my morale.  I wrote I was tired of waking up every morning and spending most evenings defending the party's candidate from malicious lies and slurs.  I wrote about coming there to engage in intelligent debate and the trade of informed comment and how I had grown tired of recommending substantive diaries only to see them shoved off the rec list by a never-ending supply of troll related diaries.  I also wrote that you know a political forum has jumped the shark when the discussion shifts to personal issues entirely, for example, why my inner child doesn't trust Obama.
MY biggest point however was that the place was sucking the oxygen out of my resolve to see Obama elected -- it was turning me against my fellow Democrats and sapping energy from my support for Obama.  I also made the point that if I wanted to stay in touch with the latest breaking garbage on Obama I didn't need to go over to Redstate, I could count on finding it there first.  
My intent was to start a reasoned discussion on how the nature of the site was effecting folks.  But within two minutes it was on the rec list and within ten minutes it was gone, and so was my account.

I find it completely bewildering why a site would ban someone like grassrootsorganizer and at the same time allow users like this one or this one to continue to post. Many other users wonder the same thing.

Speculating about the thought processes of the mods or owner on this site may be useless, but I do think one of the reasons is based purely on ad revenue. Issues diaries and ones that are positive about the candidates get little attention, and therefore few page views. The controversial diaries get lots of comments and draw visitors from noquarter and other anti-Obama sites.

If I was running the site I'd be very leery about trying to calm things down. Cutting ad revenue means cutting resources dedicated to the site. I can see why the discord has been allowed to run unchecked on the site, since all sites are supported by advertising.

What I don't understand is banning good progressives and letting trolls post whatever they want. It makes me wonder just how dedicated this site is to progessive values. It appears as if it might actually be part of the 2012 Clinton campaign.

Whatever the reason for the way the moderation on this site operates, I'm going to start devoting my time and writing skills to other sites. I came here to be a part of this exciting time in the progressive movement. It's pretty obvious that I'm wasting my time here and letting this historic moment pass me by. That's not something I want to happen.

It won't really matter if I get banned for this diary. I'm not going to waste any more time fighting trolls. The 'Net is a big place. This is only one site out of billions. There are dozens of good progressive sites out there.

Have fun, everyone. See you around the blogosphere. This isn't GBCW it is GBMYDD.

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MyDD: major '08 growth. DKos: not so much.

A quick trip over to Alexa tonight indicates that MyDD has experienced major audience/traffic growth since the beginning of the year, certainly in comparison to its much bigger "cousin," DailyKos.

Judging from the front-and-center "history graphs," for which Alexa's known, MyDD's audience reach (percentage of overall Internet users) appears to have almost doubled since January 1, 2008, while the reach of the significantly larger community at DKos is at roughly just 50% of the numbers it was posting at the beginning of the year.

While traffic at most political blogs during a presidential election year tends to mirror actual campaign activity--experiencing erratic and/or downward swings once the primaries are concluded prior to an uptick around convention time--Alexa's history graphs indicate that MyDD's audience reach appears to have actually achieved a modest gain in its daily traffic over this period, while DKos "reach" stats have plummeted, dramatically. (i.e.: relational comparisons between MyDD's and Kos' overall audience reach around the first week of June indicate an audience-reach ratio of 1:8 or 1:9 between the two sites; however, this week, that ratio is approx. 1:2.5 or 1:3.)

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We all know John McCain is aware of the internet...but he REALLY hates the bloggers!

John McCain was out on the campaign trail last December in New Hampshire, when he uttered these words of wisdom. I'm sure glad that a Presidential canidiate knows important sources of information like the "cables" and bloggers. But what does McNasty think of "the bloggers"?

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