Why the Townhouse list is bad for those of us in the slums

[Crossposted at My Left Wing and Daily Kos.]

First of all, I've been holding on to this diary idea for months -- every since I discovered the Townhouse list from a MyDD diary.  I've been waiting for what seemed like the right moment, the right atmosphere, to post this.  Now it's arrived, thanks to this excellent diary by the inimitable Maryscott O'Connor, with whom I am completely in agreement.  Something IS rotten in Blogmark; in fact, it has been rotten for some time, at least since the Pie fight and maybe before.  But I digress.

What I want to talk about here is something that I think has been chipping away at the integrity of the blogosphere for months, and that has become a serious, potentially catastrophic issue for the blogosphere at large.  My goal here is not to attack or demean anybody, simply to enlighten and to give my opinion, inconsequential as it may be.

This diary is about the Townhouse list.

I have been a blogger for three and a half years.  I've been involved with a Presidential campaign, two Congressional campaigns, and a follower of countless others.  So you might say I'm jealous at not being included on a list that is supposedly populated by "popular liberal bloggers".  And in fact, that's exactly why I didn't publish this months ago.

But upon reflection -- as I said, months of it -- and discussion of this with other bloggers, I've realized that the problems I have with the Townhouse list are shared by others and, that they have value beyond my own jealousy.  The Townhouse list is, purely and simply, bad for the blogosphere.

This Townhouse list is bad news.  NOT because important bloggers shouldn't be able to communicate privately, bounce ideas off each other.  But because their doing so on a large scale, in secret, with a mocking screed at its gateway, undermines the kind of free debate that the blogosphere is all about.

I joined the lefty blogosphere because it was a free marketplace of ideas.  Half Horatio Alger, half Karl Marx, the net allowed everyone to apply for greatness through the strength of their writing, the validity of their information, and the force of their personalities.  The same sentiment that allows us to flame people like Joe Biden and Barack Obama when they post online -- the absolute equality of people online, subject only to their intellectual and grassroots abilities.  People like MSOC and Georgia10 and Armando and SusanG rose through the ranks because of their writing, their research, and their courage.  Not everyone became a "top blogger," but everyone had the chance to.

But the Townhouse list, no matter what its founders and members might say, is an agent of blogosphere stratification.  It is a way for the blog "in-crowd," who got there through the articulation of their variegated and multitudinous voices, to STAY there through the synchronization of message in secret.  I'm not alleging, of course, that one person (like Kos) is doing the synchronizing for them.  It's simply that when a group of people talk amongst themselves in private for a long enough time, their views and ideas begin to synchronize into one.  Look at the infrequency of hung juries; look at the near-unanimity of individual local caucus meetings in Iowa every four years.  The end result of this intellectual inbreeding through the Townhouse list is twofold -- the dumbing-down of discourse of our greatest minds and the simultaneous exclusion from the inner circle of those up-and-comers who came up too late to join Townhouse.

Setting the recent TNR and Trevino allegations of misconduct aside -- and most of them are far too tinfoil-hattish to be believed -- this list is bad, bad for the future of the blogosphere as well as for the decentralizing impulse that made our greatest bloggers great.

Chris Bowers, who disagrees with me, makes his point very well in Stop Telling Me What To Write:

...We have found ways to talk to one another, such as the Townhouse list. ... We have done this to maintain our energy and increase our effectiveness. We have done so with our best attempts to be open and fair. We have done all of this in an attempt to stop replicating the same mistakes the progressive movement has been making for decades: exploiting its hardest workers, and not talking to one another. ...

Chris's point is well taken; but as a lefty blogosphere, our efforts to "talk to one another," to "maintain our energy and increase our effectiveness," should be done out in the open, in the kind of open-source blog cross-commentary made popular by the likes of Ezra Klein.  THIS is how we hone the message for everyone, not just blogosphere leaders; THIS is how we bring everyone in.  To do otherwise, to keep our strategizing a secret even from our allies is to take the Rovian line, and ultimately to lose the hearts and minds of our readers and fellow bloggers.

So please.  Get rid of this thing, this Townhouse list, that excludes those of us unfortunate enough to reside in the no-man's land of the blogosphere slums.  Return the blogosphere to what it once was -- a place where the best ideas won, every time, because nobody was better than anyone else other than by merit.

Tags: Chris Bowers, dailykos, Kos, Maryscott O'Connor, Matt Stoller, meta, Townhouse list (all tags)



First diary in a LONG time

Sorry if it's choppy.

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-08 04:36PM | 0 recs
I was kicked off the Townhouse list

But I think it is brilliant.

by Bob Brigham 2006-07-08 05:11PM | 0 recs

to both statements?

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-08 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad for those of us

by Michael Bersin 2006-07-08 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad for those of us

Ah, Groucho. :)

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-08 05:35PM | 0 recs
Couple thoughts

First, I've never been a part of Townhouse, so what I know about it is limited to what kos wrote about it a couple weeks ago:

People talk about the need for the left to work together and have a unified message in the face of a unified conservative noise machine. So a google group was created called "Townhouse", and it included  many bloggers and other representatives of the netroots as well as a large number of partisan journalists and grassroots groups.

It allowed us to discuss policy, issues, tactics and coordinate as much as you can ever get a bunch of liberals to coordinate.

There was one big rule for this list, an important cog in the growing Vast Left Wing Conspiracy -- everything discussed was off the record.

Maybe those involved could answer some basic questions about Townhouse to help clear the air here:

1. Who founded Townhouse?

2. How do you join? Does the group have open membership?  ie. Can someone who wants to join...ask to?  

3. Is the membership list public? Are members free to disclose that they are members?  

4. Are people from "groups and organizations" representing those groups, or just themselves?  If they are representing their groups...how do they do keep Townhouse "off the record?"

5. If membership is not open, what criteria are used to include or exclude members?  Who decides?  And what was the rationale for creating a closed group?  Could the same purpose have been served another way?

6. What is the rationale for the "one big rule" that the group's discussions be off the record?  And how does that square with "open source" and "people powered" politics?  How does Townhouse square with "Direct Democracy?"  

7. What is the extent to which the "off the record" rule applies to Townhouse members? Ie. is Townhouse a blanket "off the record" discussion group where everything discussed...even the discussions themselves...are off the record?   Or is there a less stringent standard?

These are pretty simple and basic questions.  If anyone in Townhouse can answer them...that would be great!!

From my own experience in online and offline politics I would simply make the observation that a "secret" communication path inevitably plays some role in how its members communicate in public.  Hell, the first thing out of most "political" peoples mouths is..."you have to keep this secret."  Secrets are a very big tool of defining "in" and "out" and "power roles."  They just are.

And while "off the record" speech is inevitable and important...that doesn't mean we should just use it without really thinking it through...especially in light of being an "open source" movement.

Regardless, since we don't know much about Townhouse other than what Kos wrote for the public record...all I have for now is the above questions.

by kid oakland 2006-07-08 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: I do have answers

Interesting list.

Blogswarm, it would be enlightening to find out why you were kicked off the list.

Test runniing attacks. Love it.

by michael in chicago 2006-07-08 06:30PM | 0 recs
For myself

I think the best outcome would be if someone from Townhouse could just be forthright about it here.  (Or more than one person!!)

For myself, I'd rather listen to kos or any Townhouse member at their word right here on the blogs we know and love rather than work through Trevino and Zengerle or the oblique references to Townhouse on Glenn Greenwald or Steve Gilliard.

I have no doubt that what you write above could well be accurate, nonpartisan.  But it strikes me as hearsay.  And it's not the same thing, imo, as having an open and voluntary discussion.  Further, it would just be really different having, say, Matt Stoller voluntarily write about this himself and answer some questions.  

That would seem more fair and open to me...if he's willing to do so.

by kid oakland 2006-07-08 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: For myself

I agree with you.  Just trying to put what I know out there in the interest of full disclosure.  And I don't take offense.

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-08 06:41PM | 0 recs

DHinMI is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of the Townhouse list.  My bad.

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-08 07:24PM | 0 recs
What about privacy

This is my 1st time writing here so bear with  me. There is something about the critisism that has just  
rubbed me the wrong way ever since this whole issue got started. I've been having a hell of a time trying to articulate it while not coming off rude so don't take any offence please.

I've finally come to the central issue that's been bothering me and it's the notion that everything that a progressive activist has/will do politically has to be done in front of everyone. There seems to be no sense of boundries with the detractors who demand "accountability" from Kos and Jerome. No sense that not everything you want to say may not be directed at everyone and that maybe perhaps you don't want to deal with everyone 24hrs a day but simply want to speak privately amongst people you trust. It's this notion that simply wanting to speak "off the record" somehow is proof that whoever is speaking is a nefarious evildoer. To be quite frank, I'am kind of embarrassed that the online progressive movement is so weak that it can't even handle a group of likeminded individuals speaking privately amongst themselves without devolving into paranoia. The reaction to the Townhouse list is a helluva lot more telling about what seems to be inherently wrong with movement liberalism than Townhouse itself.

If townhouse (and similar concepts) are really so dangerous than what about E-mail should every "A-list" blogger post every personal e-mail they'ev written/received so that it will vanquish the "appearance of impopriety" should "A-list" bloggers hook-up a webcam to their computer or around their home so that anyone with any lingering doubts can watch their favorite do-gooding blogger do good. How far should a blogger, or anyone for that matter, go just to prove to they're onthe up and up. How much of there right to privacy must be sacrificed to make you and your ilk happy. I'am sorry that you feel that the concept of Townhouse is wrong and unfair
because I believe trying to force people to speak publicly when they want to speak to a few people is not only counterproductive, because that kind of pressure acts as a censor cause what people say amongst themeselves they would'nt want to say publicliy thus causing them to inhibit what they might say, but it also would'nt work, because people would eventually chafe against that kind of constant exposure and would eventually withdraw completely thus starting all the rumors and the dreaded "appearance of impopriety" would once again rear its ugly head.  

To me Townhouse is merely a group of likeminded individuals speaking amongst themselves, however the reaction to Townhouse represents (to me anyway) the anti-privacy left that is so paranoid of the "appearance of impopriety" that they think there should be no privacy just to make sure that no one is trying anything "funny", I'm mean after all if your not doing anything wrong you should'nt have problem with no privacy right, RIGHT.

by The La Li Lu Le Lo 2006-07-08 08:30PM | 0 recs
Let me clarify:

First of all, I'm not alleging any "impropriety" on the part of the Townhouse group.  They didn't do anything untoward.

What I AM alleging is that they formed a formalized clique, complete with all the trappings that represents.  The group wasn't "a small group of friends," it numbered over a hundred, to my understanding.  It actively excluded people and regulated its membership.  It decided as a unit how to behave online.  To me, that represents a bad and dangerous judgment on the part of its members.

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-08 09:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Let me clarify:

actually you really aren't answering this person's point is what you re doing. he or she makes an excellent critique of the whole idea that this is a clique. Maybe its just people wanting to share thoughts among one another in private. not everything needs to be public. not every thought process should be based on whether everyone can be a part of it. there is an issue of, in others, privacy.

by bruh21 2006-07-09 09:21AM | 0 recs
No privacy

in discussions about the future of the blogosphere, among the leaders of the blogosphere.  NO privacy.  That's my take, at least.

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-09 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: No privacy

I am stunned by how unrealistic you are.

by bruh21 2006-07-09 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Let me clarify:

It decided as a unit how to behave online.

Did the group put something to a vote, and then require all members to act in a certain way? Knowing what we know about liberal activists, do you really think anyone could enforce the kind of discipline you imagine?

by DavidNYC 2006-07-09 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Let me clarify:

Of course not.  The problem is that they even tried.

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-09 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Let me clarify:

what makes you think they tried?  if some people want to talk among themselves, whether to compare notes or just talk through ideas, what possible business is it of anyone else?  the whole idea that this is some type of overarching cabal directing unified messages and actions or compelling allegiance is all a bit silly.

instead of spinning your wheels coming up with an internecine plot, spend your time working for candidates you support or shooting down right-wing misinformation.

just my two cents, for what it's worth.

by edgery 2006-07-10 09:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad for those of us
To be perfectly blunt I honestly don't care if they were a small group of friends or "a formalized clique" numbering over a hundred my point still stands. These were like-minded indivduals coming together to discuss things in private. You think somehow the existance of such a group is inherently wrong, and while I can see where your coming from I still believe the alternative is to much of a violation of their privacy. you say they should do everything out in the open and I'am saying that there may be reasons why they may not want to do such a thing (public outcry/backlash as well as the opposition easily reading and planing and countering what you or the group is to pull off). Again, I can see where your coming from but I still Believe respecting a person or persons privacy should come first.
Don't get me wrong I'm not telling you to STFU I'm just saying that the altenative, which is to do everything in the public could end up being more inhibiting and less honest than it could if you were speaking privately you may or may not think that's important but to me the idea of speaking in private and having that privacy respected is more important than than the creation/formation of anyone clandestine group (if you can even call them that.
by The La Li Lu Le Lo 2006-07-08 09:57PM | 0 recs
The one thing I find fascinating...

Jerome recommended this diary. To me, this suggests that even he's not a part of this 'elite' group.

I think it's unnecessary, and it proves a point some MSM journalist made a while back - there are indeed a few group of bloggers that have an inordinate amount of power compared to everyone else.

So yeah, I'd like an answer about this.

by PsiFighter37 2006-07-08 10:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The one thing I find fascinating...

I rec things without agreeing on them necessarily. I never got on the list, I'm not really into listserves and such.

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-07-09 12:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad for those of us

And also just how much of a bloggers life do we really need to know before the blogospere cuts them      some slack. Do they have to share EVERYthing about themselves. Is there know thought or action that they can do without having the blogospheres permission, is ther no thought or action that they can keep to themselves without having someone call them out as some sort scoundrel (not that you called them scoundrels but you get my point). I just don't see anything inherently sinister in this group/unit/clique/whatever.

by The La Li Lu Le Lo 2006-07-08 10:24PM | 0 recs

no one has called anyone a scoundrel.  "Sinister" is your word, not nonpartisan's.

I don't necessarily agree with everything in this diary or with nonpartisan's listing of people's names above.  And I've said so.

But...I do think it's a bit dissappointing that no one from Townhouse has come here and just talked a bit.  That shouldn't be so hard, should it?  You know, talking to the readers...the "people" part of the "people powered" politics?

Silence is not the wisest tactic, if you ask me.  Open interaction and authenticity form the "goose that lays the golden egg" of the blogosphere.  People are happy to create free content and go with the flow so long as that goose is happy.

My advice to the cognoscenti, respect the goose.

by kid oakland 2006-07-08 11:03PM | 0 recs
To clarify

My listing of names above was NOT in an attempt to "out" anyone who is on the list.  Those names have been gleaned from PUBLIC sources -- Trevino's article, Chris Bowers' front page post awhile back, Kos comments.  I have not mentioned the names of any list members who haven't publicly mentioned themselves, nor could I if I wanted to.

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-09 06:56AM | 0 recs

the diary explicitly states that people should be able to talk outside the public eye.  That's never been the point.

The question is, should folks be "coordinating message" and "building coalition" off the record...ie. is it good for the "netroots movement" to have that coordination going down with so much needless secrecy?

I don't think so.  And I've got a little experience in that regard.

Further, while it's par for the course, it's a bummer no one involved in Townhouse has had the ability to step up and just outright answer some questions.  Fuck my questions...just answering ANY questions would be a step in the right direction. It would clear the air.

Contrary to popular belief, answering questions does not make you "weak"...just the opposite.  And, sad to say, creating "secrets" and "exclusivity" where you need none doesn't make you strong, even if it feels that way.

Fwiw, the whole "cold shoulder" approach works really well...until you really need the people you've been ignoring and bitching about behind the scenes.

And, uh, there always comes a time when you need the people you've been bitching about.  

by kid oakland 2006-07-08 10:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Except

why shouldn't they? not every thinking process or decision needs to be made in public. some of the best choices comes behind close doors. some comes in front of everyone. it really depends, and there are no easy answers to what you are asking.

by bruh21 2006-07-09 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Except

Stoller runs the list. That's a publicly known fact. Why don't you e-mail him your questions?

by DavidNYC 2006-07-09 02:52PM | 0 recs

that's exactly the problem.  This is NOT a discussion that should happen behind closed doors; it should occur in public, for all to see.

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-09 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

I am interested in all correspondence pertaining to Cegelis and the Cegelis Scandal of 2006.  I sincerely hope someone did not delete my previous comment.

by illinois062006 2006-07-08 11:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

Don't know what your prevoius comment said, but why does everything seem to be a conspiracy to you?  Seriously--interested in your background, whats your deal... why do you speak in such black and white, harsh terms?  (And why do you think its ok to downrate every member who disagrees with you?)

by njfellow 2006-07-08 11:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

Maybe I did not post it.  But now that I no longer have trusted user status, having had been a victim of your abuse of the ratings system, I have no way of checking if I did or did not.  The tone of my comment is not defensive, for I am very interested in emails Kos and others wrote on this race.  And yes, such emails were sent, and I recommend reading comments written on this site and at Soapblox Chicago.  Perhaps they were not sent to the Townhouse group, but the coordinated smear of Cegelis and her supporters online leads me to believe that a list existed somewhere.  Is it too much to ask for the names of everyone on such a list?  And is it too much to ask to have access to every email sent on such a list?  

Perhaps you never did research.  If you ever accessed an archive, you would know letters and notes of great significance are available for public scrutiny or, in some cases, for scholarly research.  Why should it be any different for correspondence between politicians and between those who attempt to manage the minds of their readers?

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 12:27AM | 0 recs
Sorry. No.

I never received an email from anyone telling me to support Tammy Duckworth, or to investigate the financial dealings of Cegelis' supporters, etc.  Not one.  Ever.

by Adam B 2006-07-09 05:15AM | 0 recs
That's oddly specific

Regardless of the nature of the comment, the idea that the "A-list" front pagers were nearly completely silent on the race (with exception of Chris' post around Christmas) still seems odd to me. If this was coordinated, then I'd like to know about it because I believe that is completely wrong. Especially if there was a concensus to do so.

by michael in chicago 2006-07-09 08:13AM | 0 recs

It took me a minute on Google to find one, two, three FP diaries by Markos on the race.  Which is certainly more than what he said about PA-8, which similarly featured a rookie "fighting Dem" in a deeply contested primary.

I don't think how you could argue this race was under-covered by the blogs.  Cegelis lost because Cegelis lost, not because Chris and Markos didn't write enough about her.

by Adam B 2006-07-09 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: huh?

Link one covered Duckworth's entry to the primary.

Link two was part of the fighting Dems post series.

Link three was almost a year before the primary.

My comment was not about Cegelis losing, but whether or not there was coordinated silence on the race by those in the major blogs. You've pointed to three links, none of which within two months (prior) of the primary.

Maybe it was just a coincidence, but why the silence on such a high profile primary? I'd like to know if this was coordinated, consensus, or what.

by michael in chicago 2006-07-09 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: huh?

I have no reason to think it was coordinated.  The only three Dem primaries that Markos covered extensively were Tx-(Cuellar), MT-Sen and now CT-Sen, all of which had "bad guys" who were significantly more noxious, politically and personally, than Duckworth.  Everywhere else I can think of -- PA-Sen, PA-8, HI-Sen, RI-Sen, CA-(Harman), NY-Gov, NY-Sen, etc. -- most bloggers have left the coverage to their readers to lead.

by Adam B 2006-07-09 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: huh?

I have every reason to believe it was coordinated.  A review of comments of those who support/ed Duckworth reveals a reliance on certain terms and phrases.  There are also bloggers such as "riverred" who disappeared once Duckworth edged Cegelis in the primary.  I must say there was a lot of suspicious behaviour.  In fact, to not admit there was an immense amount of coordination and now subterfuge is tantamount to practicing bad faith.

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: huh?

No, it's just telling the truth. I coordinated with NO ONE at ANY TIME.

People like me, who like you didn't live in the district, looked at the facts and drew different conclusions than you did.  That's all that happened.

by Adam B 2006-07-09 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: huh?

Are you able to support that assertion with incontrovertible evidence?  If not, I remain convinced that a group of bloggers did everything within their power to derail those who attempted to alert the blogosphere of Cegelis and her campaign.  

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 09:35PM | 0 recs
Re: huh?

And so what if they did? It is their blogs and they run their blogs to offer their opinions.  These blogs are not newspapers!!!!

I can understand why some people would feel stabbed in the back or whatever by bloggers who make them feel as part of a larger community but then "conspire" over what information to offer...

but again, these blogs are written by bloggers to offer bloggers opinions and to accomplish bloggers goals...

bloggers are not journalists--they are allowed to strategy. moreover, bloggers are not elected officials, and dont have to disclose any of their communication

by njfellow 2006-07-09 11:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

And yes ,it is too much to ask for emails Kos and others sent regarding this race or any race.  Kos or any other blogger doesnt owe you anything.  They are not elected officials, and there emails are not public property.  I don't know (and kind of dont care) whether bloggers had any strategy regarding this particular race (although I doubt it, since Cegelis was treated very, very positively by most bloggers--especially the bloggers at MyDD), but either way, you're not entitled to know what communication occurred between bloggers (a-list or not) anymore than any of us--and if you want to be on the list--ask to be on the list--and WHEN they tell you no--feel free to stop participating in the sites of those bloggers, including this one.  

by njfellow 2006-07-09 09:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

I do not desire to be on the list.  I simply want to read all correspondence pertaining to the Cegelis campaign, as such correspondence, if it exists, has affected 600,000 people.

Refrain from ad hominem statements, please.

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 10:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

ILLINOIS 062006: Can you please stop following me around from thread to thread rating all of my comments as "1"

Seriously--grow up, you loser.  


And feel free to rate this comment as a 1, since it is the only one I have submitted to date that actually might deserve it.  

by njfellow 2006-07-09 09:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

Given you have only posted in three threads, I do not believe I have stalked you.

You are very demanding for a troll.

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 10:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

hah--ok now I'm a troll...


by njfellow 2006-07-09 10:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

for what reason does this get a 1 and for what reason did every single thoughtful comment I posted in the "Rahm Emanuel" thread get a 1 from you--a thread which you didn't even participate in if my memory serves...

What is your problem?  

by njfellow 2006-07-09 10:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

You are the problem.

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 10:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

Nevermind--forget the question--I've figured out the answer.

Your problem is clearly that there exist many people on this site who are able to disagree with your positions and disprove your arguments in thoughtful, intelligent, and articulate ways.  That clearly bugs you--and then you rate them 1s and 0s in an attempt to undermine their credibility.

Enough of this discussion--can we start to disagree over an actual issue or something?  Isnt that what this site is for--not this petty crap?/

by njfellow 2006-07-09 10:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad
That's it. You're banned. We warned you about the ratings abuse. You didn't listen. Enough is enough.
by Chris Bowers 2006-07-10 04:46AM | 0 recs
another one bites the dust

by Adam B 2006-07-10 05:59AM | 0 recs
Re: another one bites the dust

(Gubernator accent)He'll be back.

by JRyan 2006-07-10 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: another one bites the dust

I THOUGHT I recognized that style.  This is the guy that propositioned Kagro X for sex on dKos awhile back.


by Nonpartisan 2006-07-10 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

Thank you--now I feel bad that I retalliated a little :(

by njfellow 2006-07-10 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

And now you are unfairly rating my comments.  How is that productive?

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 10:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

Again, please give one example of an unfair rating coming from me. I have not. If I wanted to, I could just click on your username and rate all of your comments 1. But I dont feel a compelling urge to do that, despite the fact that you clearly did that to me.  

Please explain why EVERY SINGLE ONE of my comments in the "Rahm complains about Dean" or whatever thread was rated as a 1 and then we can talk about productivity/fairness/whatever.. or rahter dont bother.. im not getting into this with you AGAIN.  This is absurdity at its best.

I have better things to do at 2:30 AM, clearly you dont--sorry about that.

by njfellow 2006-07-09 10:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

Because you refer to intraparty criticism as a "circular firing squad," which I take to be a centrist talking point that does not contribute to thought.

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 10:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

Ok finally an explanation and something we can disagree on on a much higher level than this petty ratings crap (and seriously-can you give that a rest)

I'm sorry tha tyou have a problem with either my phrase of "circular firing squad" which I believe I picked up either at this site or at KOS--too sites which I would not call centrist--or what you perceive as centrism

1. I am not a centrist and dont like centrists very much.

  1. my phrase is not centrist
  2. even if points 1. or 2. is not true, that doesnt give you a good reason you downrate my comments... Centrism, while i disagree with it, is allowed at this site the last time i checked, and regardless of whether you think "centrism" "contributes to thought" it is an abuse of the ratings system to downrate those who you believe to be centrists...
and i dont disagree with intraparty criticism--
in fact, if youve been following my posts (and by follow I mean actually read, as opposed to just clicking on them to rate them with a 1), you would know that I am in favor of challenging Lieberman, and although I havent posted on it, I am in favor of holding other Democrats accountable to the progressive movement... I simply believe that there is a time and a place to criticize, and I believe that in some cases when we over-criticize democrats in a public forum such as this, it is irresponsible and can have negative results--thus the circular firing squad--which does not occur on the right...

frankly, i dont care if you disagree.. it is still a valid point. and i dont care if you dont think it "contributes to thought"

many on this site may believe, just for example, that nothing you say "contributes to thought"--it would still be wrong for them to follow you around from thread to thread and give everything you say a zero or a one.    

by njfellow 2006-07-09 10:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

I rated this comment a two, for you are attempting to invalidate my legitimate question with an unfair and unfounded personality assessment.

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 12:39AM | 0 recs

People--get over it, seriously. It is an email list, plain and simple, where people with common goals and likeminded ideologies converse with each other.  Agree with Lucas--BS on the egalitarian crap... seriously not trying to be offensive, but it sounds like many (not all) who whine about the list are simply upset that they are not on it... everyone wants to know what the cool kids are talking about... well, plain and simple, by now, everyone in the "blogosphere" should be able to see that this is not only some kind of activisty-experiment or whatever, but it is an actual full-time for many of the top bloggers, and it is a part of the larger progressive movement with growing significance.  It is absolutely appropriate and imperative that people who are serious about progressive activism and winning the battles over ideas and elections will coordinate their activities to an extent.  GET OVER IT.  as for egalitarianism, i'm sure that if you keep being a good blogger, maybe you'll get added to the list.  and if you don't like it, start your own list.  Seriously, sorry if this sounds rude--not directed at any specific person.

by njfellow 2006-07-08 11:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Townhouse

All me to quote:

but why does everything seem to be a conspiracy to you?  Seriously--interested in your background, whats your deal... why do you speak in such black and white, harsh terms?

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 12:23AM | 0 recs

"Allow me to quote"

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 12:28AM | 0 recs
Re: erratum

Thanks for the reply, but it has nothing to do with what I posted.  

by njfellow 2006-07-09 10:00PM | 0 recs
Re: erratum

Perhaps you need to reread the comment and the thread in which it is placed until you understand why I wrote what I did.  

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: erratum

You say similar things to so many people who don't see your logic...

...I know that people often dont understand what youre saying around here, so maybe its time for you to realize: it may be that actually, were not idiots--it may be that you arent communicating your thoughts very logically (in the nicest possible way i can put it)...

seriously dude, relax with the condescension

by njfellow 2006-07-09 10:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad for those of us

You know Kid Oakland I think there are many poeple on both sides of this debate that agree with the spirit of the oppositions point but don't really like the reality of the postition.

You or nonpartisan didn't say the words scoundrel or sinister but let's not kid each other your implying that the very concept of a group of perceived power players getting together to privately plan/coordinate/shoot the shit amongst themselves is    
INHERENTLY nefarious. In other words you really don't have to call anyone or anthing a sinister scoundrel because the argument you've offered kind of does that for you. And its not that I don't understand were you're coming from I do. Its just that I don't agree with the alternative, which is to blog about everything going on with a bloggers activism.
I see your point because on the one hand no one likes to feel left out,everyone likes to feel that they're in on everything thats going on ,but on the other hand that is simply impractical because being "on stage" all day everyday starts to grate on a persons nerves after awhile. You can spill your guts only so many times before your left feeling hollow. Not to mention you may not want what you're saying to be heard by eveybody in the blogosphere. What about when you want to talk to a person or group privately what then. And seriously , how much of a bloggers life should we know about. When so much information too much information. Honestly, I can see why your bent out of shape over this (even tho I'm not and see nothing inherently wrong with Townhouse)I just don't like the altenative which is to spew for everything your doing always. People should be made to feel okay to say whatever they like but I think we both know how nieve(sp?) that notion is. Sometimes you just want to speak privately I guess I repect the concept of privacy more than I do the concept of live one life in a fishbowl.

by The La Li Lu Le Lo 2006-07-09 12:03AM | 0 recs

Quite honestly, more than anything I'm just a little bummed that one of the first coalitions that the netroots has built was in this form, that's all.

For myself, I don't really see the need to make netroots political strategy so "double super secret" that members of Townhouse can't even talk about it here on the blogs...especially with the phrase "people powered politics" pretty much emblazoned all over the place. As I've said above and numberous other times, a little openess would go a long way.  

by kid oakland 2006-07-09 07:47AM | 0 recs
Keep your eye on the ball

And I hate sports metaphors...

There are enough clean, well lit places here on the Internets that if an individual doesn't like a particular sandbox or group of sandboxes they can find another suitable (or superior) place to hang out. Even better, you can start your own.

There's work to do and republicans who need the pain and hassle of a strong campaign challenge...

by Michael Bersin 2006-07-09 03:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Keep your eye on the ball

One question: How is this related to the diary?

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 04:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Keep your eye on the ball

I'll explain it to you slowly.

In some places it is 30 days to the primary. It is 121 days to the general election. There is more pressing election business than this wringing of our collective hands and proffered sober analysis because we didn't get to sit with the "in crowd" at the junior high dance.

You want to get noticed in blogtopia (yes, we know, skippy coined the phrase)? Then write well, and maybe people will notice, or not. You want to get noticed in politics? Then work hard for candidates - and in the hard give and take, dish it out smarter, harder and tougher than the opposition. It won't happen if you spend your time worrying about how close your seats are to the front of the stage.

by Michael Bersin 2006-07-09 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Keep your eye on the ball

You obviously do not understand why I posted the question.  Perhaps I am asking you to address the concerns articulated in the diary.  

By the way, you poorly represent the Missouri Democratic Party.  And no, I do not endeavour to be a renowned blogger.

Must you project your desires onto others?

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 09:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad for those of us

You call this a screed?

"You cannot view or post messages because you are not currently a member.  Membership is invite only.

Description: This is a networking group for those who drink on Sunday afternoons, twice a month."

by zappatero 2006-07-09 07:44AM | 0 recs
Glad you posted that

This is a networking group for those who drink on Sunday afternoons, twice a month.

That's so mocking.  It's so mocking of those of us who are out in the cold and not invited in, because it's a LIE.

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-09 08:03AM | 0 recs

Sounds like you want to be invited to drink beer with some list of all important bloggers on Sunday, yet you don't really want that, yet by acting like this, you'll never get invited to drink beer with importatnt bloggers.

And hereI thought Kos just had to issue a diktat for all bloggers to follow by the force of his person?

by zappatero 2006-07-09 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad for those of us

someone's got a real inferiority complex, best I can tell.

by zappatero 2006-07-09 09:11AM | 0 recs

I think I made that clear already.

I decided to post because I think this is about more than my inferiority complex.

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-09 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad for those of us

The Townhouse is a train wreck of an idea. Perhaps it served its purpose when the lefty blogosphere was forming, but for Kos to use it to "take the oxygen out of" stories that are critical of him is beyond the pale. It's outlived its usefulness and is ripe for corruption. Aw, heck, they've already corrupted it.

The fact that Kos and the others, Hamsher included, never really addressed the problem of using a private email list to decide what does, and does not, "get play" in the big blogs, is a real problem. Instead Kos and the others addressed side issues, like the Armstrong SEC problem, etc.

No, the problem is that the Townhouse list was used by the elites to keep inconvenient information away from the public.

Shut it down, keep it down. Or Kos: rename your book to "Only-Some-People-Powered Politics."

by Mark Spittle 2006-07-09 10:15AM | 0 recs

What, the concern trolls are having their weekly convention here and nobody informed us?

It's obviously way past the time to convene a panel on blogger ethics.

by Michael Bersin 2006-07-09 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad for those of us

Finally, someone who's made a point about this Townhouse thing being bad that I can understand--

I still am on the other side of the fence on this one--but I think you present a valid argument...

I think that if Kos and the other bloggers were running the NY Times or any newspaper, this would be bad... we don't believe in newspapers not covering something just because it reflects themselves poorly.  But they're not in the journalism business (which is why I also disagree with them when they believe they should be treated the same as journalists).. they don't have the same responsibilities to the public or even to their readers... the whole point of progressive blogs is to further the movement.. at all costs... and sometimes that means strategizing and plotting and conspiring, etc...

We're in this to win elections.  Newspapers/journalists are not blogs/bloggers and vice versa.  

I hope this explains why I disagree with those who think that Kos and the bloggers should be transparent no matter what, but I do understand your legitimate concern (and can understand those of you are disgusted at this behavior from people who profess "people-powered politics")

Maybe its easier for me to say this because I have only recently started posting (although I have been reading for several years)--the big bloggers (like Kos) clearly want to make you feel like part of a community and a part of the family, and thats why many of you expect so much from them--but folks (and this is not a bad thing what I'm about to say)--thats part of the strategy too-- they are not about making friends with you--thats not why they do it--they do it to WIN ELECTIONS and to win the war of ideas, AND to encourage others to follow them--and I commend them for what they do.  

by njfellow 2006-07-09 10:10PM | 0 recs
Crappy attitude and bullying

I think this "then go somewhere else" attitude is crap. It doesn't address the root issue and basically is a bullying attitude to get people to shut up.

So, is it now wrong to question our leaders? Gee, where have I heard that before...

by michael in chicago 2006-07-09 11:20AM | 0 recs
Oh, grasshopper

I think this "then go somewhere else" attitude is crap. It doesn't address the root issue and basically is a bullying attitude to get people to shut up.

So, is it now wrong to question our leaders? Gee, where have I heard that before...

Oh, grasshopper. You really don't get this political campaign thingy, do you? Questioning does not make one a leader. Simply by questioning you become a follower. If you lead you become a leader.

Here's how you become a leader among the progressive blogs: Have something to say. Say (write) it well. Create your own blog. Rinse. Repeat. Pretty soon you'll have a track record, practical experience, and practical credibility. Other bloggers and readers will seek you out for your advice, expertise, and wit.

Here's how you become a leader among political activists: Volunteer for someone or a cause you can truly believe in. Work at whatever needs to be done for the campaign. Observe. Learn. Soak it up. Apply lessons learned. Rinse. Repeat for the next campaign or candidate. Pretty soon you'll have a track record, practical experience and practical credibility. Candidates and campaigns will seek you out for your advice and expertise.  

by Michael Bersin 2006-07-09 01:13PM | 0 recs
Snatched the wrong pebble

There is a difference between being a leader and asking questions of them.

Maybe re-read my comment and see that I am responding to what is in effect "shut up or leave" in response to anyone who questions the leaders in the netroots that is taking place in this discussion.

But thanks for the lecture on how to become a leader. I wish I had thought of all that stuff instead of just sitting around on my butt doing nothing all day...

by michael in chicago 2006-07-09 02:05PM | 0 recs
Then, hop to it
But thanks for the lecture on how to become a leader. I wish I had thought of all that stuff instead of just sitting around on my butt doing nothing all day...

As opposed to posting high dudgeon on a progressive political web site? Then time's a wastin' - hop to it, grasshopper....
by Michael Bersin 2006-07-09 02:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Then, hop to it

Yet I seem to be not the only one here posting comments of ill humor. Keep grasping for that pebble...

by michael in chicago 2006-07-09 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Then, hop to it

Thank you for the vapid talking points.  Perhaps you should tell us something we do not already know.  This may require you to think before typing.

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 09:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Then, hop to it

Who do you think you are, the next Armando?  

Why are you so rude?

by njfellow 2006-07-09 10:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

Actually, it is an ad hominem statement with a negative assessment of my personality.  I fail to see how this person's opinion of me relates to anything I may write.

by illinois062006 2006-07-09 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Why the Townhouse list is bad

Actually, I didn't state an opinion, I asked a question about your perspective, and you didn't rate my comment a 2 as you said you would, you rated it a 1.  Thanks. And thanks for replying to my other comment in this thread with nothing that had to do with that comment.  Seriously, dude, I've now seen how you operate with me and with other users. Stop abusing the ratings system (meaning= don't downrate people only because you dont like what they have to say) and stop being so arrogant/aggressive/rude.  

Still trying to make nice--I think we're on the side overall, most likely.

Seriously--interested in your perspective.  What is it?

And please do the right thing and remove your crappy ratings to all of my comments.  

by njfellow 2006-07-09 09:52PM | 0 recs
Points well taken

You ask:  How are they supposed to coordinate with complete transparency? Do they have to blog emails back and forth?

Fwiw, my opinion, and it's just my opinion, is that the "super duper secret" stuff is just overdoing it.  Complete transparency is not necessary or even desirable.

But what do you think would happen if that Google Group were not completely "off the record?"  If members could say they were members?  If new people could ask to join? (For all we know, that's the case now...who knows?)

In my opinion, there is a middle ground.  When I was on the board of a non-profit, we kept notes of our meetings for the public, but we kept the private matters, private.  We tried to keep everything we said in private, however, what we were willing to say in public.  It worked, for us.  

Personally, my experience has been that needless secrecy is usually more hurtful than beneficial.  It serves to make walls where you don't need walls.

But, hey, that's just my opinion, if you don't like it...fair enough; we've had a discussion.  When  you say "go somewhere else" I don't get it.  Isn't the point of the blogs that we can debate and disagree but still come together to work on our common ground?

by kid oakland 2006-07-09 05:15PM | 0 recs
Re: I do have answers

Ok, screw it.  Apparently I have NO idea who's on the list and who isn't.  Take Armando and McJoan off the list, cuz they've asked me to.  Beyond that, I will not claim to know who's on the list beyond Stoller (cuz he runs it).

by Nonpartisan 2006-07-09 07:34PM | 0 recs


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