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Tue May 13, 2014, 01:53 PM

If you hate the DU jury system, you're going to hate this. [View all]

[center]

Introducing



www.discussionist.com[/center]


It has been two-and-a-half years since we launched the jury system as part of the DU3 upgrade, and during that time we've observed it closely and made a number of changes and improvements. Overall, we believe it has succeeded well beyond our original expectations.

Yet throughout the long process of creating the jury system and watching it in action, a question has continued to intrigue us: How well would this work if we weren't using it under such tightly-controlled conditions? That is to say, what would happen if the jury system were tried outside the relatively protected cocoon of Democratic Underground, in an open-to-all environment without ideological boundaries, where the community itself can truly take the lead in setting its own standards?

This is not an experiment we could ever hope (or would ever wish) to try here at DU. To quote from our own About page, DU is "a diverse community of people holding a broad range of center-to-left viewpoints." Therefore the jury system needs to be backed up by an active team of administrators and MIRT members who must intervene to ensure that the site does not stray too far from its intended purpose.

So we thought we would try the experiment somewhere else. If you like the jury system, and if you are curious about the possibilities, then we invite you to take a look at Discussionist.


What is Discussionist?

Discussionist is a general-interest discussion forum with a focus on current events. Unlike Democratic Underground, Discussionist is intended to be open to a wide range of different worldviews. It is not a safe-haven for a particular viewpoint, but we believe that the jury system will allow for robust, passionate discussions while maintaining a level of civility which is acceptable to the broad range of members.

We have also experimented with a new way to organize discussions. The site is separated into 11 top-level categories: news, politics, culture, sports, science, tech, money, health, life, beliefs, and fun. Within each category, every new discussion thread can be assigned to as many as 10 different forums via a simple tagging system. If someone tags a post with a tag that has not yet been used, a new forum is automatically created for that tag. In this manner, the community can spontaneously create a multitude of different forums, and content from those different forums will cross-pollinate throughout the site.

Discussionist is built on the same discussion forum software that runs Democratic Underground. So if you are familiar with DU, or with discussion forums in general, you shouldn't have too much difficulty over on Discussionist. You will notice that we have made a number of changes, both big and small, but overall the software should seem pretty familiar to you.


What does this mean for Democratic Underground?

In a word: nothing. Democratic Underground will still be here, same as it's ever been. All your friends will still be here. All the interesting and aggravating discussions will still be here. And the administrators will still be here, too. Other than being created by the same three people, Discussionist is intended to be entirely independent from Democratic Underground.


How do I join?

Just go to discussionist.com and create an account.

We encourage you to sign up with a different username from the one you use here at DU. The message board culture is going to be different over there, and it might be more fun with a different name. Don't expect to find Skinner, EarlG, or Elad posting over on Discusionist; we've changed our names too. (If you simply must use the same username, you can request it here on DU by sending a DU Mail message to Elad with the title "Discussionist username" so he can release your name to you. We have set aside all usernames from DU so trolls can't grab them on Discussionist, but we have not copied over your email or password for privacy reasons.)


A word about inevitable glitches

Discussionist is still in "beta" and there is a good chance that you may find some bugs, or stray references to "Democratic Underground" when you are over there. If you do have any problems, please post them in the Help section so we can fix them.

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