Community Spotlight: You never forget your first time

Community Spotlight: You never forget your first time

Daily Kos allows its members to be as anonymous as we like. We choose our own usernames, and we’re not required to provide our given names. As for the rest of our identities, we can reveal or keep back as much as we like.

Even with that anonymity, when you publish a story on the site, it’s still your username below the headline, and your tip jar at the top of the comments. Make no mistake: Plucking an idea out of your head, fleshing it out into a story, and holding it up for the scrutiny of our virtual small town (and the rest of the internet) is an act of courage.

Especially when it’s your first time.

The blank Daily Kos blog page offers us a chance to tell our own stories, or bring attention to news that might be of interest to the Community. It allows us to share our creative work or call our fellow Community members to action on something we care about. When our work resonates with the Community, we can carry on the conversation in the comments. Rock crushers and pie fights aside, a lively comment section can be a powerful thing when it’s your work being discussed.

What inspires a Daily Kos Community member to post their writing or photography here for the first time? Personally, I had been thinking about doing it for a while before I finally clicked on “write a blog post”; one morning I got annoyed by something I saw on cable news, and I posted a quickly written rant. Elenacarlena was inspired to write her first story by one she read on Daily Kos. “Just before that first diary, I had read a [Daily Kos] story by Jen Hayden about an older woman facing the prospect of losing her home. As an older woman, I felt for this woman.” EC used that first story as a rallying cry. “The story ran on the Faux network. And when I commented in a Faux [Fox News] article about her situation, I was given hell in their comments. So I told the folks here about it, hoping that some would also go [to the Fox News story] and join my side. I also hoped that some [Daily Kos] Michiganders would be able to do something to help her.”

A lot of us got our start by pitching in for Groups, which are always looking to fill empty slots in their schedules. Writing and publishing a story through an established Group can be a softer, friendlier way to write for the site for the first time. Groups that publish regularly have a built in audience of people open to that genre of stories, and are genuinely supportive of new writers.

Lostintheozarks had just that experience with the Daily Bucket. “I was nervous but excited. I see myself surrounded by a host of other contributors who know much more than I do about the science of nature, but I have learned that everyone here has something positive and unique to contribute, and it is really gratifying to see new contributors come along and take an active part in this effort.” CaptBLI also first published through the Daily Bucket. They say of their experience, “I was nervous that I would get everything wrong. Once I saw my words in the draft, I figured out how to publish … My first article was sent to the Community. I was proud to see it there.”

Going back to the first time I published a story on the site, I was nervous. I actually hit the “Publish Now” button, and when the system asked if I was really ready to publish, I hit “Cancel.” I did this about three times before I finally just closed my eyes, hit that final “Publish,” and posted my writing to the site. In speaking with a few members of the Community about their experiences, I discovered that my reaction was not necessarily universal. Elenacarlena was already an established presence in the comments, so when she published her first story, she wasn’t worried. “I don’t think I felt nervous; by this time I was pretty familiar with the general tenor here and had made some friends.”

There wasn’t much response to my first Daily Kos story, but sometimes that’s just how it goes. When asked about his first story, Alonso del Arte recalled that “​​I got seven recommends but only one comment (the tip jar). Maybe I would’ve preferred to get only one recommend and seven comments.”

That first attempt is a learning experience, whether you get little engagement or make the top of the Trending List. You can see how factors like the headline you chose and your topic work together to grab the attention of the Community. As Elenacarlena explains, “I had good responses pretty quickly, thought it had quite a large response at the time (about 30), so was happy with it for a first diary. [I] knew nothing at the time about how to bring people to my diary, of course. Don’t think I knew anything about Groups then.” CaptBLI notes that “Every mistake I have made on Daily Kos has been worth learning how to be a better person and writer.  Presenting myself (through words, photos and selected items of personal interest) has opened me to new experiences. I would encourage anyone thinking about a first article to do one.”

Do you remember your first time publishing on Daily Kos? Is there anything you’ve learned since that you wish you’d known when you started? If you’ve never published a story here, are you interested in trying? Is anything holding you back?


Rescued stories this week—as compiled by grog—include discussions on America’s willingness to accept universal healthcare, reflections on memory, a defense of “woke” pop culture, and a Rescued to Recommended look at the ways women internalize and adjust to the threat of sexist violence. Be sure to spend some time with the work spotlighted below, then join the discussion in the comments!  


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.

Good news: You don’t have to search to find our rescued stories! The nightly News Roundup, an Open Thread published six days a week at 7:30PM PT, includes links to each day’s rescued stories.

Even better news: Thanks to the hard work of the Daily Kos tech team, Community Spotlight can now be accessed via the drop down “hamburger” menu in the top left corner! You can also find the four most recently rescued stories on the Front Page, just beneath the Community Groups section.

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.

Maybe we are ready for universal healthcare by cmhmd (2007-38-9)

Perhaps the widely pushed theorem that Americans are unready to accept universal healthcare isn’t actually accurate. Cmhmd finds that popular support for universal coverage has grown to a firm majority, and the traditional reasons we’ve been told universal healthcare is unpopular are surprisingly weak. When it comes to this issue, even self-described conservatives share common ground with mainstream Americans.

Knowing what you know now, if you could go back … by babushka (2021-17-2)

Childhood music lessons can bring back problematic memories for many of us. Babushka has such memories, and if they could, they’d go back in time to several old, “cranky,” piano teachers’ homes, and throw up a big angry middle finger before slamming the door on their way out. Being retired, they can now learn at their pace, in their house, and in peace.

There will be no ‘confessions of a misogynist’ (part one) by BoiseBlue (2007-153-10)

BoiseBlue begins the process of a personal consciousness-raising, as it pertains to internalized misogyny. This exercise of mindfulness causes her to inventory a history of sexual abuse and violence. Such experiences she has in common with many women—leading to the realization that “women are trained from a young age how to adapt to this violently misogynistic society, rather than young men being trained how to not be sexually or otherwise violent towards women.”

Detox the Vaxx’ is the new anti-vaxxer grift on TikTok by Stwriley (2016-29-4)

Stwriley documents the latest medical quackery being promoted by the anti-vaxx crowd to “undo” their vaccines. These include a “radiation detox” process, that they claim nullifies what a COVID-19 vaccine supposedly activates; using Borax to “take the nanotechnologies out of you”; or even “uninjecting” the actual vaccine with a syringe. The plus side? If they believe they can “undo” the vaccine, they might actually get vaccinated—so who cares if “they strip a few layers of skin off themselves in a Borax bath or cover themselves with cupping glasses and tiny razor cuts?”

Electoral McCarthyism’: Our road to fascism by novapsyche (2006-36-0)

Novapsyche explores the origins of the “communism” label during the McCarthy era, and its use as a slur. They connect that to the later use of the “liberal” label as a slur. In each case, Democrats ran from these labels, despite them being a basic self-identification of the party. The writer shares their feeling that a similar attack from the right is ongoing—specifically aimed at race—in an effort to again make Democrats run from the very things they defend.

Woke fiction by insipid47 (2012-7-2)

Insipid47 discusses how inclusivity in cinema and comedy is injecting some much needed freshness and representation into a variety of mass entertainment genres. One example they use is a Black Superman. Admittedly, Black superheroes didn’t exist in 1938 but now? Imagine a young Clark Kent being the only Black guy in his rural Kansas school. Or Watson and Holmes as partners, in both work and in love. The story possibilities when reimagining many of these stereotypical tropes bring renewed interest into their characters. Making our heroes “woke” isn’t about political correctness, it’s about making better stories.

The stuff of memories by postdoc (2011-7-2)

Postdoc recounts a night he and his sister spent in their 90-year-old mother’s apartment. While she was in hospice, they were going through her things, deciding what to keep and what to discard. Postdoc explores the differences between archives, monuments, and relics, before returning to the hard choice the siblings faced: What to do with their mother’s memories?

GOP policies cause inflation: How to message it (monopolies, investor housing speculation, the Fed) by Tweedledee5 (2005-43-2)

Tweedledee5 offers a topic summary and guide to responding to the latest conservative talking points about inflation. They explain how to frame discussions, by sympathizing with people affected by inflation; don’t discount its impacts, even if they’re not broadly felt. Tweedledee5 also encourages readers to point out deeper factors, such as the long-term effects of anti-trust regulations, tariffs enacted by the previous administration, vaccine resistance as it impacts workers at various points in the supply chain, and how state and local Democratic administrations are actively working to mitigate inflationary tendencies.

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by Community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.

  • In the top left of each page, click on the menu (three horizontal lines) and then on “Community Spotlight” to see our rescues as they happen.
  • Each day’s collection of rescues is reported in the News Roundup published on the front page at 7:30 PM PDT.
  • To add our rescued stories to your Stream, click on the word FOLLOW in the left panel at our main page or click on Reblogs and read them directly on the group page.
  • You can also find a list of our rescued stories by clicking HERE.

An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 10:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT).

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