Community Spotlight: Woo-hoo (and farewell)! Rescued stories now live on the front page

Community Spotlight: Woo-hoo (and farewell)! Rescued stories now live on the front page

The technical experts who keep Daily Kos humming take a lot of flak from us, but they do listen to Community gripes, devise solutions, and then implement them. Tonight, let’s shout our gratitude and appreciation for their efforts, which often occur without much fanfare—though sometimes elfling issues an announcement about her team’s work, such as changes to the navigation bar and the return of a Front Page section for Community Spotlight.

In this final Rescue roundup, I want to thank those who restored Rescue to the Front Page and remind readers about Community Spotlight’s purpose and the criteria behind our selections, as well as provide some helpful resources on writing stories and headlines. Skippysmooth encapsulates how we see ourselves by comparing the Rescue Rangers to “my favorite waitstaff in a dining establishment [who] tells me all the special things on the menu that day … I have [learned] to just ask ‘What would you suggest?’”

I love this analogy: We find the tastiest Community story morsels and make sure everyone has a chance to try them.

And so we suggest you begin with this recap of some highlights we’ve featured over the past 63 weeks, check out the stories rescued this week and then, in the poll, thank the people who restored Community Spotlight’s daily visibility.

For 15 years, the Rescue Rangers behind Community Spotlight have read every Community story in search of excellent work that didn’t grab the attention it deserved. We’ve continued to do our work even after changes to the Front Page eliminated the section dedicated to rescued stories; in collaboration with Staff, I created this weekly roundup to promote our suggested reading.

Now, thanks to strong advocacy and technical wizardry, Community Spotlight has returned to the Front Page. As peregrine kate observed, “The Rangers have been an important part of the Community for a very long time, and it’s terrific to have this key section back on the Front Page. Woo hoo all around!”

Our dedicated section features the four most recent rescued stories; a hyperlink in the “hamburger” menu at the top left of every page also takes you to our rescue list. Additionally, clicking on “Community Groups” in that hamburger menu while on the Front Page will do most of the scrolling for you.

The “hamburger” menu is in the top left (three parallel lines). To find the Community Spotlight section with four rescued stories, scroll down the page, or click on ‘Community Groups’ in the menu to jump to that area.

Rescue Rangers shower a million thanks upon the technical team who made this happen: peregrine kate, iterology, QAMichelle, elfling, and others. We lavish a million more upon Managing Editor of Community Content Jessica Sutherland and Senior Editor Emily Epstein White who helped make this weekly roundup a reality. Sutherland also, as elfling reported, “tirelessly and effectively advocated to get Community Spotlight back in, well, the spotlight. In a time and space where everyone is very busy, and there are a lot of competing priorities, it wouldn’t have happened without it being a personal priority for her and her patient and consistent voice keeping it top of mind.”

Thank you to everyone who made this happen!

Knowing our work is appreciated by both the Daily Kos Staff and Community has kept us going since the first Rescue Rangers volunteered in 2006. Fourteen people form the current group: ybruti (the only founding member still involved), watercarrier4diogenes, Susan Grigsby, OceanDiver, mommyof3, Lorikeet, jlms_qkw, ItsJessMe, grog, Flowergirl77, DrLori, dopper0189, brillig, and Bésame. A founding member emeritus, Unitary Moonbat, commented in the first roundup, “A Ranger’s eye has fallen on every single Community-written diary posted on Daily Kos since late summer 2006. The Rangers are an all-volunteer, self-organized group that has never taken a day off even as other websites, personalities, and technologies came, lived out an entire online lifecycle, and went.”

In addition to being well-written and not getting the attention deserved, we have a few secret metrics guiding our decisions, but the main criteria are those basic to any good writing, as outlined in the first edition.

  • Original work. We check for plagiarism, although you may quote sources as long as you properly cite them and meet Fair Use standards. Original also refers to the thesis, the ideas you write about, your point of view. Why did you write this?

  • Facts used in the story need to be cited. Tell us your sources by adding hyperlinks, except for well-known common facts.

  • Well-written text that carries out the thesis. The basic criteria of structure (story and paragraph) and grammar apply. Some stories may lack the backbone of a thesis (fiction, personal experience) but they should have a purpose. Why write about this particular event or idea?

Sutherland’s Daily Kos goal also includes promoting Community writers. In response to requests, she organized a Community Writing Workshop earlier this year, and the writing guidelines she presented were reiterated in “Making the political personal is more effective than you may think.” Another roundup edition shared Managing Editor of Trending News Jen Hayden’s pointers on headline composition. We’ve also provided additional tips on writing and using images, and DrLori’s advice on unleashing your inner writer.

In the past 63 editions, collected in this list, OceanDiver, DrLori, grog, Flowergirl77, and I explored the Community’s zeitgeist and key moments in Daily Kos history alongside the week’s rescued stories. Two weeks ago, Flowergirl77 talked about taking the plunge to publish that first story. DrLori’s editions often examined our diverse interests, featuring Community Groups, from the 13-year history of Black Kos and the Community Quilt Project, to the “Pootie People.” I discussed topics of concern to the Community and featured retrospectives of past favorites, like Animal Nuz, Mr. Bus, hate-mail-palooza, and the pie fight origin story.

Now that we again have permanent Front Page real estate, we no longer need a weekly roundup to bring you rescued stories. At the end of the day, our work isn’t about us, the Rangers, it’s about Community writers; we are gratified when writers consider being rescued to be an accolade.

Paulex recalls, “The first time it happened, I was a relatively new member and I didn’t even know what the Community Spotlight was. And then the post went ‘Rescued to Recommended.’ I was amazed, I think that was my first recommended diary, and it encouraged me so much. But the ‘rescued’ tag is the one that is a badge of honor.”

seven Rescued stories from 1 PM, Nov. 26 to 1 PM, Dec 3, 2021

Community Spotlight’s mission is to ensure that the best stories from the Daily Kos Community receive the attention they deserve. We encourage members who write excellent stories with original views to keep writing by promoting their work.

Reminder: The numbers in parentheses after each author’s name indicate the year they joined Daily Kos, how many stories they’ve published, and how many we’ve rescued.

When a professional chef makes Thanksgiving dinner: A story with pies by Babushka (2021-19-3)

Taking a couple of days out of the regular routine, babushka gives her kitchen over to a professional chef—her grandson—for the Thanksgiving meal. What ensues is a dance of competence with sharp knives. “It was easy to laugh at his snark about the bottle of (pinot) noir in my wine collection. ‘That’s what I use to cook with,’ he said. The next day, he made a supply run to come back with moscato for our glasses.”

Climate Brief: Cow farts & climate change by Boatsie (2006-805-?)

Given that 40% of the world’s methane emissions come from 1.4 billion cattle, the human inhabitants responsible for the planet’s overheating might want to look at ways of reducing our dependence on beef. Boatsie makes the case for 1) less meat consumption (good), 2) vegetarianism (better), and 3) veganism (best of all, not only health-wise but also in terms of climate footprint). “A major IPPC report on land use and climate change suggests we could increase the number of people we can feed using less land if meat wasn’t such a major source of nutrition.”

The climate crisis is about saving the human race, not ‘saving the planet’ by Tanglebox (2018-2-2)

Without a doubt, the ecological damage from climate change is devastating—in human time. Tanglebox points out it’s relatively short-lived in geologic time, however, and “​​it is this disparity that remains at the source of the branding problem with the climate crisis.” Changing the message to saving humans from the “economic and human costs of sea level rise, super droughts, increasingly destructive wildfires, and extreme weather events” might pierce the right-wing denial and “wake up some who may otherwise delight in ‘owning the libs.’”

The next target(s) after abortion rights by Sebastian Trump (2005-11-1) Rescued to Recommended

The author, whose profile page notes that the “​​unfortunate (user) name choice predates and is entirely unrelated to the 45th President,” offers the alarming yet logical assessment that eliminating abortion rights is merely step one for the “alliance between Republican big business and the social conservatives.” Sebastian goes on to describe the steps involved in achieving “the end goal: to keep women pregnant, and/or forced to be attached to some man through marriage, or forced into a ‘maternal’ role against their will.” Once this is achieved, they will continue recreating “a world that was dispensed with because, frankly, it was nightmarish and terrible for everyone.” 

The Hanukkah-insurrection connection by Stephen Dreyfus (2017-169-2+)

That “religious freedom is worth fighting for” is “a message that all Americans, regardless of religion, can also embrace,” asserts Stephen Dreyfus. It also is the real message of Hanukkah; this year’s is the first since the insurrection. “Just as there are Republican revisionists who deliberately distort and deny what really happened on Jan. 6, some historians believe the story of Hanukkah was also distorted for political purposes. Yet although these two events are quite different, there are some similar parallels worth noting.” Dreyfus gives a historical overview of Hanukkah and how it compares to the insurrection, noting that “some historians make the case that the battle 2200 years ago was as much as a civil insurrection as a foreign attack … the conflict was between different factions of Jews who violently disagreed over the role of religion.”

I remember the Before Times by joniworx (2014-1-1) Rescued to Recommended

Joniworx, in her first story for Daily Kos, describes her mother’s illegal abortion and other personal reflections on the pre-Roe v. Wade era to frame her manifesto. “I will be damned if I will die having lost Roe and not fighting back. [The case] was my introduction to politics; sexual and domestic violence has been my mainstay in all of my years of activism and ministry, and I will go down making sure that women’s bodies are under women’s control.” 

Have you ever noticed how staunchly lesbians support abortion rights? by ultrageek (2003-520-?) Rescued to Recommended

Abortion rights are a perennial topic of concern, as a subset of Americans repeatedly attempt to undermine Roe v. Wade. Ultrageek explains why lesbians also defend this right: “It isn’t JUST that we can get pregnant too. Although there’s that. It isn’t JUST that rape affects our community too. Although there’s that. It’s that individual liberties grow and shrink together.” Because once one constitutional right is denied, what right could be next?

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