HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Skinner » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 20 Next »


Profile Information

Name: David Allen
Gender: Male
Hometown: Washington, DC
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 63,313

Journal Archives

We are posting convention pics in real time on Instagram.

In case anyone is curious.



We're off to Philadelphia and DNC 2016!!!

Found my old shirt from 2008.

We'll be posting regular updates on DU, and also posting pictures in real-time on Instagram for our massive audience of approximately 0 followers.


Clinton/Kaine 2016! Stronger Together! See you in Philly!

EarlG in the driver's seat.

Welcome to PA!

DNC Billboard

Just passed the Wells Fargo center. Check out the DNC signage.

At the designated "selfie spot" by the plastic Liberty Bell.

Oh yeah!

Based on what I'm reading on DU, it sounds like Kaine killed it.

How refreshing to see so many people excited about Democrats here on Democratic Underground. I could get used to this.

Welcome to General Election Season 2016

As promised, General Election season on Democratic Underground starts today. Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee, the Democratic primary voting ended last Tuesday, and you've had nearly a week since then to take your last-minute pot-shots at each other (if you felt so inclined). Whether you like it or not, the time has come to put the acrimonious primary behind us and start looking forward to the General Election fight against Donald Trump.

The good news is that most DU members have already started the transition to General Election season on their own. The tone of discussions has improved significantly over the last couple weeks without any new software or admin intervention. This should come as no surprise -- we have been through two contested primaries on DU before, and each time the members of DU were able to come together for General Election season. Most people understand that this is now a battle between Democrats and Republicans for control of the White House, Congress, and local governments across the country. And most people understand the importance of joining together to support our presidential nominee -- Hillary Clinton -- and defeat their presidential nominee -- Donald Trump. (If you don't understand this, then you weren't supposed to be here in the first place.)

Still, there are likely to be a few people on both sides of the former Clinton-Sanders divide who want to keep fighting the primaries. To ensure that this website does not play host to a never-ending rehash of the 2016 Democratic primaries, we have made some pretty big changes to the way we run it. I posted some useful information about these changes in a previous post here. Here's what you need to know:

DU now has clear posting rules
The biggest change is that the site now has clear posting rules about civility and content, and we will insist that all of our members follow those rules. If you want to know whether something is permitted, check the rules to find out. It is the job of jurors to make sure the rules are followed.

Our focus is on encouraging civility
Most of the discussion on DU about general election season has been focused on what people can say about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But the admins feel a much more important issue is what people can say about other DU members. The civility standards during primary season were awful, and it seemed like most of the discussions were aimed at vilifying other DU members rather than discussing issues. This needs to change. The new rules have a very strong focus on civility.

Your expectations are probably wrong
Judging from some of the discussions among members here, it seems that many people on both sides of the former Clinton-Sanders divide have unrealistic expectations about what is going to be permitted during general election season. In particular, many people seem to be under the mistaken impression that members will not be permitted to criticize Hillary Clinton. This is simply wrong. Constructive criticism of Democratic public figures is always welcome on Democratic Underground, and our rules still permit that. As I said in a previous post: "If you are criticizing Hillary Clinton because you want to help her succeed, then you'll be fine. But if you are criticizing Hillary Clinton because you want to tear her down, then you won't be fine."

We want people to stop bashing Hillary Clinton and also Bernie Sanders
It is going to be much harder for the members of this website to come together if we keep bashing former primary candidates or their supporters. We are Democrats and we are all Clinton supporters now. Our opponents are Donald Trump and the Republican Party. So starting threads to attack Clinton supporters or Sanders supporters makes no sense, and it is also counter-productive.

You are permitted to support Bernie Sanders' efforts to influence the platform and the party
Everyone, including Bernie Sanders, knows that Hillary Clinton has clinched the Democratic nomination for president. But Bernie Sanders has made clear that he intends to use the leverage he has gained in the primaries in order to effect reforms he supports. This is entirely appropriate for him to do, and DU members are of course permitted to support his efforts. But everyone needs to understand that Bernie Sanders is not going to be the Democratic nominee, and those who support his reform efforts must do so without bashing Hillary Clinton or trying to undermine her candidacy against Donald Trump. The primary contest is over.

There will be some hiccups during this transition
The transition from primary season to general election season is a pretty big change that includes both software changes and rule changes. We have made every effort to smooth the transition, but we fully expect there to be some unexpected problems along the way -- software bugs, rule changes, confusion about expectations, or whatever. We'll be keeping a very close eye on things to make sure that everything is working as it should, so please bear with us as we make this transition, and try to be flexible and understanding.

Thanks again for being here at Democratic Underground as we move forward into an exciting general election campaign and hopefully landslide victories everywhere this November!

Democratic Underground will be going offline shortly.

In order to transition to General Election season, the Democratic Underground website will be going offline shortly, and should be down for no longer than one hour.

Thank you for your understanding.

DU Admin

DU's General Election Season postponed until Monday June 20

Well, this is embarrassing.

As most of you know, last week we began the seven-day transition period from Primary Season to General Election Season and announced that DU's General Election Season would officially begin on Thursday June 16.

From the perspective of the Admins, this transition has been nowhere near as straightfoward as previous ones. For the past six months we have been planning and building out a new system to replace/upgrade/improve the current Jury system. Elad has been working his butt off to get it finished, and over the last seven days we have been testing the new software with the help of MIRT members.

The new software is ready to go, but we have an unexpected problem -- Elad is not going to be fully available this weekend to monitor the site and make sure everything is running smoothly.

Therefore we have been faced with a choice: either go ahead and put up all the changes tomorrow -- but run the risk that something might go awry over the weekend and make DU unusable for hours at a time -- or wait until Monday when we can be sure that any (inevitable) bugs are identified and fixed quickly.

I know some people like to buy into the fantasy that DU is taking million-dollar handouts from the DNC, but the truth is that this site is now and has always made money solely from member donations and advertising. If we could afford a whole team of programmers, that would be great. But as it is the entire burden of maintaining the database, and programming all of the ideas that EarlG and I come up with, falls to one person: Elad. If he's not available, then we don't have any way to bring the site back if something goes wrong.

This was not an easy decision to make, but we have decided that the safest option is to wait until Monday. I know this will probably come as a disappointment to some of you, but we decided that being forced to wait a few more days before officially ending Primary Season was a better outcome than the possibility that a bug in the new software may shut the site down for the entire weekend.

Our apologies, and thank you for continuing to support and enjoy Democratic Underground. We'll post another announcement on Monday.

DU General Election Season Begins Soon: What You Need To Know

UPDATE: General Election Season Begins June 20. More info here.

Last week I wrote an announcement providing some broad information about General Election season here on Democratic Underground. Now that the primary voting is almost done and it has become clear that Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, we are sticking with our plan to transition to General Election season [strike]on Thursday, June 16[/strike].

This formal transition to General Election season is not a new thing for our website. For every presidential election since this website was founded in 2001, we have expected our members to support the Democratic nominee. It has been written into our Terms of Service for nearly as long as the site has existed, and all of you agreed to it.

But this year's transition is a little different because during the switch-over we will also be instituting some big changes to the way we run the site -- including software changes. We have two main goals with these changes:

1) Making this website a more civil and welcoming place for everyone.

2) Making clear that this website actually has a partisan purpose, especially during election season.

Here's what's going to happen:

[div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-weight: bold;"]DU will have rules again

For the past six months we have been planning and developing a hybrid system which takes the parts of the Jury System that work well, throws out the stuff that doesn't work, and incorporates a number of ideas from the "old" DU. In a post about the primaries back in March, we noted that the new system would focus on "reducing drama, providing better guidance for jurors, and setting clearer standards that better lay out our expectations for what Democratic Underground should be." We want this community to be a friendlier place for everyone, and we believe the only way we can do that is to insist on some standards of conduct.

The first step is to bring back rules -- a set of standards that members are expected to follow when posting, and that members are expected to enforce if asked to serve on a Jury. These rules were created by looking at where we are now as a community, but also by reviewing our old rules from DU2. In fact, if you joined DU any time between 2002 and 2011, much of this will look very familiar to you.

The rules are separated into four sections. Here they are:

[div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-weight: bold;"]Forum Rules (Draft)


No personal attacks or flaming
Do not personally attack, insult, flame, threaten, bully, harass, stalk, negatively call-out, ascribe ugly ulterior motives to, or make baseless claims about any member of this community. Do not post in a manner that is hostile, abusive, or aggressive toward any member of this community.

Why we have this rule: Civility begets quality discussions. Democratic Underground members are highly passionate about politics which means discussions can get heated -- but they don't need to get nasty. There's no reason why a community of intelligent adults who agree on a majority of political issues can't have a conversation without insulting each other or resorting to other anti-social behaviors.

No divisive group attacks
Do not smear, insult, vilify, bait, maliciously caricature, or give disrespectful nicknames to any groups of people that are part of the Democratic coalition, or that hold viewpoints commonly held by Democrats, or that support particular Democratic public figures. Do not imply that they are fake Democrats, fake progressives, conservatives, right-wingers, Republicans, or the like.

Why we have this rule: Substantive disagreement on important issues is always welcome on this website, but our members should not be made to feel unwelcome simply because they hold a different point of view. Democratic Underground welcomes all people who are members of the Democratic coalition, including the full range of center-to-left viewpoints and supporters of all Democratic public figures.

No bigotry/insensitivity
Members are expected to respect diversity and demonstrate an appropriate level of sensitivity when discussing related topics. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or other forms of bigoted intolerance are not permitted.

Why we have this rule: Democratic Underground is a diverse community which includes people of every race, sex, religious belief (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, gender identity, body type, disability, age, etc. We want to promote a welcoming atmosphere for all of our members, and do not want to provide a platform for bigotry.


Support Democrats
Do not post support for Republicans or independent/third-party "spoiler" candidates. Do not state that you are not going to vote, or that you will write-in a candidate that is not on the ballot, or that you intend to vote for any candidate other than the official Democratic nominee in any general election where a Democrat is on the ballot. Do not post anything that smears Democrats generally, or that is intended to dissuade people from supporting the Democratic Party or its candidates. Don't argue there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Why we have this rule: Democratic Underground is an online community for politically liberal people who understand the importance of working together to elect more Democrats and fewer Republicans to all levels of American government, and as such we expect our members to support and vote for Democrats at election time. Rare exceptions are granted at the sole discretion of the DU Administrators. (Current exceptions: None.)

Don't bash Democratic public figures
Do not post disrespectful nicknames, insults, or highly inflammatory attacks against any Democratic public figures. Do not post anything that could be construed as bashing, trashing, undermining, or depressing turnout for any Democratic general election candidate, and do not compare any Democratic general election candidate unfavorably to their general election opponent(s).

Why we have this rule: Our forum members support and admire a wide variety of Democratic politicians and public figures. Constructive criticism is always welcome, but our members don't expect to see Democrats viciously denigrated on this website. This rule also applies to Independents who align themselves with Democrats (eg: Bernie Sanders).

Don't peddle right-wing talking points, smears, or sources
Do not post right-wing talking points or smears. Do not post content sourced from right-wing publications, authors, or pundits. Exceptions are permitted if you provide a clear reason for doing so that is consistent with the values of this website.

Why we have this rule: News media and the Internet are already awash with conservative propagandists attacking our candidates and our values -- we're not interested in providing them with another outlet. We understand that many of our members might hold some conservative viewpoints on isolated issues, but nobody here should be parroting hateful garbage from the RNC, the NRA, or the Family Research Council. Forum members should expect that the only time they'll have to read a right-wing smear or an article from Breitbart is when someone is pointing and laughing at it.

Don't keep fighting the last Democratic presidential primary
Regardless of whether you supported a winning candidate or a losing candidate, do not prolong the agony of the last Democratic presidential primary by continuing to pick fights, place blame, tear down former primary candidates, bait former supporters, or do anything else to pour salt on old wounds.

Why we have this rule: Most of our members want this to be forward-looking, friendly community that is focused on creating a better future for our country. Continuing to rehash old fights that have already been resolved is divisive and counter-productive.


Don't interfere with forum moderation
Don't post messages about site rules, enforcement, juries, hosts, administration, alerts, alerters, removed posts, appeals, locked threads, or anything else related to how this website is moderated (except in the Ask the Administrators forum).

Why we have this rule: The purpose of Democratic Underground is to discuss politics, issues, and current events. Open discussion of how the website is run tends to distract from our core purpose.

No graphic content
Do not post content that is Not Safe For Work (NSFW), which includes sexually explicit material, graphic depictions of bodily functions, or images of extreme violence, gore, pain, or human suffering. Exceptions are permitted when an image adds important context to a legitimate news story, but the post must include a "graphic content warning" in the subject line.

Why we have this rule: Most people do not enjoy stumbling across extremely graphic content while browsing the web.

No kooky, extremist, or hate content
Do not promote ridiculous, bigoted, or extreme-fringe conspiracy theories. Do not promote extreme fringe views. Do not reference hate sites or other extremist/fringe sources.

Why we have this rule: Democrats are supposed to be part of the "reality-based community." Some amount of skepticism toward powerful institutions is healthy and appropriate, but that doesn't mean every paranoid fantasy is true. Posts about mass shootings being "false flag" operations, 9/11 being a controlled demolition, no airplane at the Pentagon, chemtrails, black helicopters, the Illuminati, or other nonsense make us all look like fools. This website may have the word "underground" in our name, but we are not extreme fringe.

No commercial spam
Do not post commercial spam or hawk commercial products or services.

Why we have this rule: It's fine for established members to plug or post links to their own products, services, or publications every now and again, but we do not wish to provide free advertising space for spammers.

Don't start threads in the wrong forum or group
Don't start new threads that conflict with a forum or group's Statement of Purpose. The Statement of Purpose can be found by visiting the main page of any forum or group and clicking the "About this forum" (or "About this group" button.

Why we have this rule: All forums and groups on Democratic Underground have a specific purpose, and we want to ensure that new discussion threads are on-topic for the forum or group that they are posted in.


Respect copyrights
Excerpts from copyrighted sources must be no more than four paragraphs and include a link to the source. See our DMCA Copyright Policy for more information.

Don't post anyone's private or personal information
Don't post private or personal information about any person (including public figures) even if that information is available elsewhere on the Internet.

No malware, phishing, cracking, or other malicious code
Don't post or link to malicious code, or attempt to interfere with this website's software or administration in any way.

Don't post anything that violates U.S. law
Don't post anything that violates U.S. law -- including but not limited to: linking to illegally-shared files, attempting to organize hacking or DOS attacks, sales of weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs, or other illegal products, etc.

Don't use an avatar or signature line that violates any of the other rules
Members may opt to make use of an avatar or signature line that is appended to all their posts. Avatars and signature lines must not violate any of the other forum rules.
We will expect all DU members to follow these rules when posting, and enforce them when serving on a Jury (Note: All alerts sent on rules in the "Legal/Administrative" section will be handled directly by Admin. Alerts sent on the rule "Don't start threads in the wrong forum or group" will be sent to Hosts).

[div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-weight: bold;"]The Jury System: What's staying the same and what's changing
Next, we have made technical changes to the Jury process, implementing various improvements that people have requested over the past five years, and adding a few of our own. We also ditched a number of things that we felt were not working. With all of these changes our focus was on looking for ways to increase civility, set clear expectations, and reduce forum drama and meta-discussion.

Serving on Juries should be as straightforward as it was before -- in fact, we've streamlined the process to make it even simpler. You do not need to know all of the technical details below in order to serve on Juries -- they are provided merely for people who are interested in exactly what changes are taking place. Please note that we're tried to make the list below as comprehensive as possible, but it's possible that there may be further changes or additions as we go forward.

What's staying the same
  • The software will seat a Jury by calling seven randomly-selected eligible members.

  • Jury service is optional; members have five minutes to decide if they want to serve as a Juror.

  • Jurors will be given a maximum of 30 minutes to evaluate whether a post is acceptable or not.

  • Jury results will be decided by majority rule.

  • Posts deemed acceptable by Juries will be left alone; posts deemed unacceptable will be hidden.

  • Jurors won't be asked to serve again for at least 18 hours (unless the site is really busy).

  • If a Jury votes unanimously that a post is acceptable, the alerter will not be able to alert again for 24 hours.

  • If your post is removed, you will be notified.

  • There are still certain triggers that will flag your account for review, and we are adding some new ones to put the brakes on people who repeatedly break our rules. When flagged for review you will not be able to post or use other site functions. (This is a stop-gap measure: We have a number of changes planned in this area that we aren't ready to implement yet; we'll have more to say about this at a later date.)
What's changing
  • The privilege to serve on a Jury is now only offered to members who have been registered for at least one year, have more than 1,000 posts, and have an active Star membership.

  • Alerters will no longer be asked to provide an explanation for their alert. Instead they will be presented with a short list of rules written by the Administrators and asked to select which rule they believe the post breaks.

  • Jurors will no longer be asked to evaluate the post based on the alerter's comments and their own gut feeling. Instead they will be asked whether they believe the post breaks the specific rule selected by the alerter.

  • Jurors will no longer evaluate posts in-thread. Instead they'll be taken to a separate page. On this page only the portion of the thread relevant to the alerted post will be displayed (or just the OP if the OP was the alerted post), and usernames and other identifying information will be removed.

  • The Jury system still forbids "double jeopardy," but posts which were alerted for a particular rule and survived a Jury can now be re-alerted for a different rule.

  • Previously Jurors had two options: "Hide it" or "Leave it alone." Now Jurors have four options: "It clearly breaks the rule"; "Close call, but it breaks the rule"; "It doesn't quite break the rule"; and "It clearly doesn't break the rule."

  • Jurors will no longer be able to provide comments.

  • Alerters and Jurors will no longer receive notifications after Jury service is complete.

  • You will not be able to peek at other members' hidden posts. Only the author of the post can check the text of a removed post.

  • You will be able to officially appeal if a Jury removes your post. We have built in an appeals system that allows members to send an appeal directly to Admin. Admin will review the post and provide a final ruling. If your appeal is convincing, the post will be reinstated.

  • The Admins may also step in from time to time and remove a post if we think a Jury blew it and allowed a rule violation to stand.

  • If you can't bring yourself to enforce a particular rule when serving on a Jury, you can object to that rule and you'll never be asked to serve on a Jury for that rule again. The Admins will keep a tally of objections which will give us useful feedback about the rules.

  • Transparency pages are going away, since they only seemed to serve to create forum drama. (They may be replaced with something else at a later date.)

[div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-weight: bold;"]Software Testing
These are big changes, and they require some pretty big changes to the software we use to moderate the site. Elad has spent countless hours this year programming all this stuff, and it's almost ready to go. But before we go live next week, we need to test it to make sure it works. That means we will need some DU members to serve as testers for the new software. We'll have more information on software testing coming soon.

About the upcoming transition to general election season

There has been a lot of talk on DU lately about the fact that we are nearing the end of the primaries. As you probably know this issue has been raised a few times in the Ask the Administrators forum. I figure it might be helpful to re-post some of my comments out here in the Announcements forum so they get a wider audience.

Timing (link)

After the primaries on June 7 (California, New Jersey, etc.) we will announce that the primaries are nearing an end, and members will have one more week to "get it out of their systems."

The final Democratic presidential primary is Tuesday, June 14 in Washington DC. People will have one last glorious day of primary season on June 15, and then Democratic Underground general election season begins on Thursday, June 16.

What to expect (link)

I think a lot of people have the wrong idea, and are going to be disappointed.

We have no intention of purging anyone, and we have no intention of disallowing good-faith discussion of the issues. I think most people are going to be fine with that. But there are going to be a a few people (including both Hillary and Bernie supporters) who are going to be disappointed because the massive crackdown they have been hoping for does not come to pass.

Most people think the big change coming in general election season is that people on this website will need to stop bashing Hillary Clinton. Yes, that's part of it -- but it's not the only thing and it's definitely not the most important thing. The really big change coming in general election season is that people on this website will need to stop bashing each other.

Throughout this primary season we have been in a death spiral of declining standards. So we are going to institute some rules, and we will expect everyone to follow those rules, and we will expect everyone to enforce those rules when they serve on juries. The rules shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone -- they are mostly common sense, and they are basically the same rules we had for years when we had moderators: No personal attacks, no broad-brush group attacks, no bigotry, no right-wing smears or sources against Democrats, no advocating for spoilers or republicans, no meta-discussion, etc.

I am just so tired of people bashing each other and bashing Democrats on this website. I know the hardcore partisans will try to paint this whole thing through the Hillary vs Bernie lens, and drive that wedge as hard as they can, but that is just so not where I am at right now. I don't care who anyone has supported in the primaries -- I really don't. As long as you treat your fellow DU members with respect, stop tearing down Democratic public figures (including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and everyone else), and don't advocate for Donald Trump or some lost-cause third-party spoiler candidate, then you'll be fine.

What criticism of Hillary Clinton will be permitted? (link)

Unfortunately, there is not going to be a hard line between "fine" and "not fine."

But basically, I think it comes down to this:

If you are criticizing Hillary Clinton because you want to help her succeed, then you'll be fine. But if you are criticizing Hillary Clinton because you want to tear her down, then you won't be fine.

Now, I'm not a mind reader and I can't know for certain what everyone's intentions are. But I think that if the criticism is coming from a place of "wanting her to succeed" then that will be reflected in the tone and substance of the post. If the criticism is coming from a place of "wanting to tear her down" then that will be reflected in the tone and substance of the post. If you are here on DU then you are supposed to be supporting the Democratic nominee against the Republican nominee in the general election -- it shouldn't be very hard to write a post in a way that sounds like it.

I believe that it will be possible to discuss every substantive issue that DUers might want to discuss.

Anything else?

This should come as a surprise to exactly no one. Every four years when there is a presidential campaign Democratic Underground expects our members to support the nominee. It is written into our Terms of Service, which you agreed to when you joined:

Winning elections is important therefore, advocating in favor of Republican nominees or in favor of third-party spoiler candidates that could split the vote and throw an election to our conservative opponents is never permitted on Democratic Underground. ... For presidential contests, election season begins when both major-party nominees become clear. For non-presidential contests, election season begins on Labor Day. Everyone here on DU needs to work together to elect more Democrats and fewer Republicans to all levels of American government. If you are bashing, trashing, undermining, or depressing turnout for our candidates during election season, we'll assume you are rooting for the other side.

We will be providing more details in the near future.

Powerful new ad: Donald Trump rooted for the real estate crash

(I searched but I couldn't find this posted anywhere else on DU.)

Star Wars The Force Awakens recreated in Emoji

Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 20 Next »