Community Building

This is one of those posts that must occasionally be written, though I don’t like to write them.RedState is, above all else, a community site. Anyone can start a diary and participate in the community. Those who play well in the community avoid the blam stick and, over time, we tend to promote from within to the front page.The way we do promotion is pretty straight forward. We look for people who write quality diaries and are engaging in the comments. Here then is the rub.I have been negligent in promoting diaries to the front page. I have occasionally asked other front pagers to promote diaries to the front page too, but I get a pretty constant refrain and have seen the same myself — a lot of diaries at the site are short or filled with typos or factual errors or have other problems. Being a largely volunteer run site, it becomes time consuming to fix all the errors to promote something to the front page.In the last few days I’ve endeavored to get better at it. But I need your help. We have a couple of things happening that combined are causing issues.First, a good number of you have become very good friends and that is awesome. At the same time, those who have been around a long time and have become friends tend to recommend each others diaries, thereby hurting the chances of a newbie to get on the list. Additionally, many of us tend to stick up for one another and do what amounts to a pile on of a commenter who disagrees or is taken to disagree with a diary or other comment.We are in danger of developing more Clans than the morons in Twilight — seriously people, to borrow from Caleb, if your boyfriend shimmers in the sun and won’t sleep with you, he’s not a vampire. He’s gay. But I digress.Second, a number of the diaries are cross posted, which is not a bad thing, but they, coupled with the short form diaries, push a lot of good quality, well thought out diaries off the front page before anyone can see them. While I don’t want to discourage cross-posting, I do think we all need to work together to find a way to shine the spotlight on quality long-form diaries and, in particular, to encourage new users instead of ganging up on them.As any community grows, we tend to evolve. Things that were once important sometimes stop being important. Some things that were not important once grow to become important. I suspect that some of the issues we are dealing with result largely from the evolution of and growth of the site.I personally think the willingness to embrace newcomers at the site, even those with whom we disagree on some issues, is critical to our strength as a site and we must necessarily, even in a time of growth and evolution, always be willing to extend a welcoming hand to those new to the site.I’m not sure what all the solutions are, but hope we’ll be mindful of some of the problems and work together on this. Feel free to leave a comment with any suggestions or concerns.