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DailyKos FAQ

From dKosopedia

Quick links


This is the old (DK3) FAQ

This page refers to an old version of the site (DK3). It is accurate in its description of general, non-technical aspects of the site, but where it refers to specific technical features or mechanics of the site, it is obsolete in many sections. For information on the current version of the site, please see the DK4 FAQ


This FAQ file is intended as an introduction to the daily kos website and community. It includes an overview of the site, a guide to reading and posting diaries and comments, and answers to some frequently asked questions.

What is Daily Kos?

Who is kos?

"kos" is the US-Army/screen nickname of the founder of Daily Kos, Markos Alberto Moulitsas Zúniga. (See also the in-progress dkospedia entry Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, and the Wikipedia pages Kos and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga.)

What is the purpose of this site?

(Condensed from this diary written by kos in late 2004)

This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog. One that recognizes that Democrats run from left to right on the ideological spectrum, and yet we're all still in this fight together. We happily embrace centrists like NDN's Simon Rosenberg and Howard Dean, conservatives like Martin Frost and Brad Carson, and liberals like John Kerry and Barack Obama. Liberal? Yeah, we're around here and we're proud. But it's not a liberal blog. It's a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory. And since we haven't gotten any of that from the current crew, we're one more thing: a reform blog. The battle for the party is not an ideological battle. It's one between establishment and anti-establishment factions. And as I've said a million times, the status quo is untenable.

The site has grown in the years since that diary. In a comment made in kos's town hall diary in early 2010, he noted:

Daily Kos will be what Daily Kos is, and that oftentimes evolves. I know everyone wants their clearly defined rules, but nothing is that simple.

This site is CERTAINLY NOT for all Democrats. Joe Lieberman learned that. Blanche Lincoln is about to learn it.

This site is about more and better Democrats, not necessarily in that order.

Who speaks for this site?

(from Who "represents" Daily Kos? by kos, Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 09:35:47 AM PST)

... here's a quick rundown on who can "represent" Daily Kos.

First of all, no one speaks for Daily Kos other than me. Period.

Those who could be said to "represent" the site are the following Contributing Editors:

  • BarbinMD
  • Darksyde
  • DavidNYC
  • DeminCT
  • Devilstower
  • DHinMI
  • Hunter (fellow)
  • Georgia10
  • KagroX
  • Mcjoan (fellow)
  • Meteor Blades
  • MissLaura
  • Plutonium Page
  • SusanG (fellow)
  • Trapper John

On tech matters, Jeremy also "represents" the site.

That's it.

Update: Actually, that's not it. One more:

Adam B. represents the site in regulatory and legal matters, and is also an occasional contributor on such issues.

Jeremy's user name is 'ct'.

Current Masthead (2/22/11)


  • Markos Moulitsas Zúniga

Executive Editor
  • Susan Gardner (formerly SusanG)

Associate Editor
  • Barbara Morrill (formerly BarbinMD)

Political Director
  • David Nir (formerly DavidNYC)

Senior Policy Editor
  • Joan McCarter (formerly mcjoan)

Senior Policy Editor
  • Jed Lewison (formerly Jed L)

Campaign Director
  • Chris Bowers

Director of Community
  • Meteor Blades (Timothy Lange)

General Manager
  • Will Rockafellow (formerly wilburtronic)

Lead Developer
  • Jeremy Bingham (username ct)

Contributing Editors
  • Arjun Jaikumar (formerly brownsox)
  • DarkSyde
  • David Waldman (formerly Kagro X)
  • DemFromCT (Greg Dworkin)
  • Georgia Logothetis aka georgia10
  • Hunter (Michael Lazzaro)
  • Jake McIntyre (formerly Trapper John)
  • Kaili Joy Gray (formerly Angry Mouse)
  • Laura Clawson (formerly MissLaura)
  • Mark Sumner (formerly Devilstower)
  • Scout Finch (Jennifer Bruenjes)
  • Steve Singiser

Featured Writers
  • Adam Bonin (username Adam B)
  • Bill Harnsberger (username Bill in Portland Maine)
  • brooklynbadboy
  • Dante Atkins (formerly hekebolos)
  • Kris Froland (username exmearden, RIP)
  • Laurence Lewis (formerly Turkana)

As noted above, Adam B speaks for the site in legal matters. These people, with the exception of Will and Jeremy, are referred to collectively as Front Pagers because they can post directly to the left hand side of the Daily Kos main (front) page. You can contact them by using the Contact Us button.

Note: Edits have been made here to correct screen names which are sometimes typoed in the actual masthead, and to update to current screen names if a switch has been made (or is being made) from the original username to actual name.

Who posts here?

The quick answer is "anyone who wants to". There are a wide variety of people writing diaries and comments on dkos. They include elected politicians, candidates hoping to become elected politicians, experts in a range of fields, and active bloggers from around the net. The vast majority of writers, however, are ordinary citizens interested in talking about and participating in the political process. The majority of people posting here fall on the liberal side of the US political spectrum, however people of conservative views are welcome to come and debate. If you are polite, you will be treated politely. Unfortunately, there are some people who post comments or diaries with the sole purpose of provoking others. These people are called trolls. Some tips and techniques for dealing with trolls are described below.

Is that post really from Somebody Famous?

Fairly often, there are diaries that claim to be authored by Senators, Representatives, and other people in the news. The site administrators make every effort to ensure that posts claiming to come from a Senator really do originate from that Senator rather than a prankster or dirty trickster. To date, there are no known cases of anybody impersonating a Representative or other noteworthy person. However, it is better to be safe than sorry; if in doubt, ask, especially if the person is a candidate looking for funds. In addition, it should be noted that diaries that are listed as being by a particular elected official are sometimes written by someone on the staff, rather than by the official themselves.


Many people chose to post to Daily Kos under pseudonyms, keeping their real names confidential. There are many reasons why people would choose not to reveal their real names. Revealing the identify of someone who has chosen to remain anonymous is a bannable offense. It is also a morally reprehensible thing to do.

UID numbers

Often, people refer to UID, or User ID, numbers. Every registered user has an ID number; these are assigned sequentially in order of registration. To find a UID, either yours or someone else's, find a comment written by that author. At the bottom of the comment, there are two links, one with the name of the author and the other with the date and time of the comment. The one with the author name contains the UID. For example, a comment by kos will have a link that looks like, indicating that kos has UID 3. Note that the UID appears in the address bar at the top of your browser, not on the web page itself (it will look something like: At the time this was last edited, there were over 220,000 registered IDs.

How can I post here?

First, you need to create an account. The registration link is in the menu of links, or you can click here. Choose a username, fill in the rest of the fields, and send in the form. After a 24 hour waiting period, you will be allowed to post comments. After a 1 week waiting period, you will be allowed to post diaries. These waiting periods are intended to discourage "drive-by" trolling.

Parts of Daily Kos

This section of the FAQ gives an overview of the different components of the dkos environment. More detailed information on these components is given in the next section on Contributing to Daily Kos.

The front page

The first thing that you see when loading Daily Kos is the front page. Most of the stories on the front page are written either by kos or by a set of contributing editors and featured writers designated by kos as front page posters. At the present time, twenty people in addition to kos are authorized to post to the front page, and another two are currently on leave. Daily Kos formally became a group blog on March 9, 2007.


Most of the action takes place inside of diaries. These are written by users, and then read and commented on by other users. Diaries can be found in three places. Most diaries appear in the Recent Diary list on the right-hand side of the screen. By default, this shows the last 20 diaries that have been posted; this can be reset as high as 50 diaries using the field at the bottom of the list. People reading diaries can recommend them (see below). If a diary receives enough recommendations, it will automatically be promoted to the Recommended Diary list, which sits above the Recent Diary list. Recommended diaries tend to attract a wider audience and more comments than most diaries. The length of time that a diary spends on the Recommended list depends on how many users recommend it; it can vary from a few minutes to more than one full day. Diaries moving to the Recommended list is a democratic process; the diaries on the list are the ones that received the most "votes" to be there. For more detail on this process, see this diary. The third, and most prominent, place to find diaries is the front page of the site. These are the articles that are seen when going to Front-page stories have two sources. First are diary entries written by kos, or by one of the twenty-odd contributing editors and featured writers that make up the Daily Kos group blog, and are posted directly to the front page. kos and the other front-pagers often promote interesting diaries from the Recent list to the front page. These promotions are at the discretion of the front-pagers, unlike the voting process which governs promotion to the Recommended list.


Inside diaries and front page posts, users can post comments. Generally, these comments are in response to something in the diary, or are responding to other comments. Next to the title of each comment are two numbers inside a set of parentheses. These numbers are the number of people who have recommended and hide-rated the comment respectively (see #Rating_comments).

Comments can be shown in expanded form (showing subject, author and text) or shrunken form (just the subject and author); clicking the small triangle to the left of the subject line toggles between the two forms. An useful shortcut is the ability to expand or shrink an entire subthread at once. Simply hold down the control key (on Windows/Linux, or the Command key on Mac) while you click on a triangle. The comment and all its replies will be expanded or shrunk. In between the diary text and the comments, there are a set of buttons which will Expand, Shrink, or Hide (completely hide) all of the comments in the diary. If you select the 'Always' checkbox after clicking one of these buttons, your user preferences will be set to default to that comment display type.

With AutoRefresh selected, the comments list periodically refreshes (without having to manually hit the 'Reload' button). When new comments come in, a little panel slides up in the lower right-hand corner offering links that scroll to view them. Comments that are marked as 'new replies' are replies to comments that you have made; all other comments are marked 'new comments'

User Pages

Every user has a User Page. There is a link to this page in the menu sidebar. The User Page contains a collection of links gathering all of the diaries and all of the comments written by that user. The 'My Profile' tab on that page is the place to change all of your preferences. The User Page is also where you can edit your blogroll. To do this, go to the 'Blogroll' tab of your user page, and fill in URLs and titles for the sites which you wish to add to your roll. These sites will then appear on your user page and in all of your diaries.

From the User Page, you can also add a signature, a short bit of text which will be automatically appended to all of your comments. This can be set by going to the 'My Profile' tab and clicking on the 'Account Info' link. The signature field takes HTML code, so if you wish, you can embed links. It is not a good idea to put images in your signature; besides the visual clutter, it's very unfriendly to people on slow net connections

Hotlist (obsolete)

The description in the following paragraph refers to the old DK3 hotlist. This feature has been broken up and changed considerably in DK4; see the Tools section of the DK4 FAQ.

The hotlist, found under the Tools sidebar, is a place to store links to diaries that you want to refer back to. Next to the title of every diary is a add_hl2.gif ; clicking this icon will add that diary to your hotlist for future reference. Clicking the 'Subscribe' link next to a diary author's name will automatically add future diaries by that author to your hotlist. Once you have subscribed to a diary or diarist, the add_hl2.gif icon will change to a rem_hl2.gif . Click this to remove the story from your hotlist. Comments that are replies to any of your comments are automatically added to your hotlist.


(note: this is a very brief overview of the Daily Kos search engine. For more detailed instructions, see the search help).

There is a vast amount of information and writing contained in Daily Kos. One tool which is useful for finding specific pieces is the Search function. To use the search function, go to the page, type in the search term or terms, and hit the 'Search' button. A Search can be restricted to look only within certain categories of text, including authors, tags, links, and images. See the search help for a complete list and examples.

The type of search performed depends on the setting of the 'Find' pulldown menu. By default, it is set to Stories; these are front-page articles. Setting it to Diaries will return results from user diaries; Stories and Diaries will return hits from both sources. Setting the 'Find' menu to Authors will return links to the user pages of the writer you are looking for. The 'Diaries By' and 'Comments By' options use the previous version of the search engine which only supports author searches and only returns date-sorted results.

The results can be sorted by several criteria. Relevance, the default, is based on such things as where the search terms occur (near the beginning is best, in the title even better). Comments, Recommendations, and Impact result in lists sorted numerically, with highest values at the top of the list. Impact is a measure that combines the number of comments and the number of recommends into a single value. The other pull-down menus allow you to restrict the date range for the search and change how many results appear per page.

Important note: If you use the 'Diaries By' or 'Comments By' settings in the Find menu, the sorting is strictly by date. If the 'Search Archive' checkbox is not selected, the search is over the last 30 days and if the checkbox is selected, the search is over everything older than 30 days. The 'Search Archive' checkbox has no effect for other search types.

Tag Cloud

All diaries posted to dkos are tagged. Tags are keywords that the diary author and/or readers add to identify the subject(s) of the diary. This allows people to easily find all of the diaries that deal with a specific subject. The complete list of tags is called the Tag Cloud. By default, it is sorted by number of diaries that use each tag, but this can be changed to alphabetical sorting in the Interfaces section of the 'My Profile' portion of the User Page. Trusted Users (TU) can edit the tags in any diary and that is a community job as important as hiding inappropriate comments. A list of the most used and approved tags can be found on the List of approved tags page. Tags should be added according to the Tag Guidelines below. See also: Tag Editors Workspace and DailyKos Tag Cleanup Project.


The dKosopedia is a wiki (an easily editable collaborative website) associated with the Daily Kos site.

Unlike Daily Kos, where new articles effectively displace old ones within the current focus, the dKosopedia functions like an encyclopedia. Once added, pages remain where they are (unless they are moved). Thus, the emphasis is on building a reference work rather than attracting immediate attention to an individual piece of news.

Anyone can register at dKosopedia and add/edit articles. Note that registration at dKosopedia is separate from registration at Daily Kos, though most people register using the same user name.

Daily Kos has a simple syntax for linking to dKosopedia pages within a diary or comment: place the name of the dKosopedia page in double square brackets. Thus, for instance, if you write "[[Voting Rights]]" (no quotes) within a comment to a Daily Kos diary, you'll insert a link to the Voting Rights page.

For navigating in the reverse direction, there is a template that will allow you to insert a box on a dKosopedia page that points to the most recent and the most highly recommended diaries with a given tag. See the Voting Rights page for an example.


On the right side of the page, there is a column of advertisements. The cost of maintaining a large internet site such as dkos is signficant; the great majority of this cost is covered by the sale of advertisements. Advertisements can be turned off by purchasing a subscription; subscribing currently costs $4/month, $40/year, or $100 for a lifetime subscription.

Advertising policy

The site's ad policy is mapped out by kos himself in the following piece:

Advertising guidelines

by kos

Tue Nov 14, 2006 at 12:14:48 PM EDT

There was some pre-election controversy over my running a Chevron ad. (It may still be running, for all I know.) I avoided talking about it then to prevent an ill-timed pie war. But given the increased interest in advertising on the site by interests that may sometimes not be aligned with the goals of the site, I had to figure out an official ad policy. And I found it over at The Nation:
Although the relationship of the First Amendment to commercial advertising is complex, we start with strong presumption against banning advertisers because we disapprove of, or even abhor, their political or social views. But we reserve (and exercise) the right to attack them in our editorial columns. The Nation does not consider itself bound by standards that must be applied to just any public forum. Our pages are primarily given over to articles that are consistent with the views of the editors. While we also publish articles and letters from readers that diverge from, or even diametrically contradict, the views of the editors, this is not out of a sense that our pages should be open to all or because we believe we are obliged to achieve balance. Whatever we publish appears in the magazine because in our judgment the views expressed deserve to be called to the attention of our readers by us. We are a magazine of limited circulation that enjoys no monopoly on the attention of our readers. They obtain other views in other places, and, through that process, determine for themselves what views to accept or reject. Advertising is different. We accept it not to further the views of The Nation but to help pay the costs of publishing. We start, therefore, with the presumption that we will accept advertising even if the views expressed are repugnant to those of the editors. The only limits are those that grow out of our interest in assuring that the advertising does not impede our use of the editorial columns of The Nation to say what we want [...] In imposing such limits, we will refrain from making judgments based on our opinions of the particular views expressed in an advertisement. If the purpose of the advertisement is to sell a product or service rather than to express a view, we will allow ourselves greater rein in making judgments about suitability. This reflects our view that commerce is less sacrosanct than political speech [...] Clearly, the whole question is a matter of drawing fine lines and making nice distinctions. Ethics and practicality are interwoven throughout the substance of the issue of how to enable journals of opinion to survive and expand their reach. We do not pretend that troublesome problems are absent from this question.

Running an ad doesn't imply endorsement. But, if I start rejecting ads, THEN every ad that DOES run has an implied endorsement.

And you guys aren't idiots. The advertising purity trolls seem to think that site readers are moron automatons easily manipulated by advertising. I have a higher opinion of you guys. I actually think you're quite intelligent and capable of independent evaluation of the advertising you consume here and elsewhere.

Finally, I'm not afraid of money, and I'm putting it to good use -- the abandonment of Scoop and a massive ground-up redevelopment of Daily Kos to be the ultimate blogging platform in the world, and the establishment of a corps of "fellows" to do great activism.

More details on those projects will emerge in December, but bottom line is that I won't cry if Chevron or anyone else wants to help fund the rise of a professional netroots activist class.

The Nation's guidelines are fair all around and so I'm stealing them for myself.

IRC Channel

For those of you who just can't get enough Kos from diaries and comments, DailyKos has a little used IRC channel on EFnet, #dailykos. For more info on how to get to IRC, [1].

Contributing to Daily Kos

Registration and posting privileges

To do anything beyond simply reading diaries and comments, it is necessary to become a registered user, as described above. When you first register, there is a one day waiting period, after which you can write comments. After one week, you can write diaries, recommend other people's diaries, and rate comments. Posting and other activities are privileges granted by kos, who owns this site. Sufficiently obnoxious behavior, at his discretion, can result in banning.

Deleting Accounts

Accounts are forever, or at least as long as DailyKos remains in existence. Don't ask to have your account deleted. Especially, don't publicly demand that your account be deleted, as this is virtually certain to lead to large amounts of mockery. See GBCW.

Writing comments

Once you've been registered for at least 24 hours, you can post comments inside diaries and front page stories. To post a comment to the diary or story itself, click on the 'Post a Comment' link immediately beneath the diary or story text or at the very bottom of the page. To post a comment that replies to a comment, click the 'Reply To This' link underneath the comment text. Either way, a Comment window will open up in the middle of the page. Choose a Subject (a title for your comment), and write what you want. The buttons beneath the comment window give some common formatting shortcuts. Once you've written your comment, click the Preview button. If the preview looks OK, click the Post button; otherwise, edit your text and Preview again.

The first thing to remember when writing a comment is that it is going to be read by other people. Personal attacks are strongly discouraged. If you disagree with what someone is saying, express your disagreement, but don't go directly after the other person. Because tone of voice and facial expressions are lost in online discussions, it's easy for something to be taken the wrong way. Flame wars do nobody any good.

First comments

On many sites, such as Atrios, it is a tradition for the first commenter on a new thread to post a message of 'First' or similar. That tradition is not followed on dkos. Posting a 'First' message here is likely to get your comment hidden (see Rating Comments below) and/or yelled at.

Diary pimping

People sometimes post comments urging people to read some other diary. This practice is known as "diary pimping". It is a legitimate thing to do under two circumstances. Firstly, when the subjects of the two diaries are closely related. Secondly, pimping is accepted in open threads, generic storyless diaries posted to the front page at regular intervals. Pimping in random diaries (or, especially, diaries on the Recommended list) will likely result in the comments being hidden.

No Text (NT, n/t) and End of Message (EOM)

You'll often see comments whose titles end in the acronyms "NT" (also "n/t") or "EOM." NT stands for no text, while EOM stands for end of message. These acronyms indicate that the commenter's message is short enough to be contained entirely within the comment's subject line, and let you know there's no point in expanding the comment to read the body of the message.

Writing diaries

Writing a diary is, in principle, quite simple. Click the 'New Diary Entry' link in the Tools sidebar, pick a title, write some text, choose a tag or two, and hit 'Publish'. Well, OK, maybe there's a bit more to it than that. For starters, The Rules, as posted by kos on Jan 3, 2006:

Diary guidelines
  1. All users are limited by the system to one diary per calendar day.
  2. New users cannot post diaries for one week after an account has been created.
  3. "Intro" box for new diaries has a three paragraph limit. If you exceed that limit, use the "Extended Body" box for the remainder of your diary.
  4. Diaries should be substantive. A good guideline is that if you don't have at least three solid paragraphs to write about your subject, you should probably post a comment in an open thread, or in a recent diary or front-page post that covers a topic relevant to what you wish to write about.
  5. Copying and pasting complete copyrighted articles without permission from the copyright holder is absolutely prohibited by both this site's policies and copyright laws. Copyright infringement can expose both you and the site's owners to financial liability. Just don't do it. And if you see someone else doing it, please politely ask them to edit their diary accordingly. This is a bannable offense.
  6. Limited copying within the bounds of the doctrine of "fair use" is permitted. A reasonable rule-of-thumb is that copying three paragraphs from a normal-length news article or editorial is acceptable. (This, however, is not a safe-harbor. If even three paragraphs seems like "too much," then copy less or nothing at all.) For more on fair use, please visit this site.
  7. When you quote material that is not your own, please provide a link whenever possible. Also, use the blockquote tags to set off the copied material so that your writing is distinct from the material you are copying. For more on HTML tags, see the #Formatting section.
  8. Hotlinking images without permission is prohibited. Hotlinking means using the [img src] tag to display an image on a diary which is hosted on someone else's server. Hotlinking, especially on a site as popular as this one, can cost people real money in bandwidth costs. It's essentially stealing. If we get complaints from sites about images being hotlisted, we will consider that as possible grounds for banning.
  9. Duplicative diaries are prohibited. Please scan the recent diaries and front-page posts before starting to compose your own diary. This rule operates on a sliding scale. A repeat diary with minimal analysis or originality (particularly on "breaking news" items) is prohibited. Such diaries are subject to deletion without notice. But if you write on a recently-covered subject and provide original analysis or research, that is acceptable and in fact welcome.
  10. If you receive a reasonable request from a fellow Kossack to delete your diary (i.e., your diary is duplicative as per above), please do so.
  11. Cross-posting from your own blog is welcome. Remember, though, that you can only write one diary a day at Daily Kos.
  12. Diarists are strongly encouraged to back up all assertions with facts (and preferably links to supporting materials) whenever possible. Use reputable sources whenever possible. If you can't find a reputable source that supports your position, then perhaps reconsider writing your diary.
  13. As a corollary, diarists should always make it clear when they are expressing an opinion - please do not assert opinions as facts, as this tends to be needlessly inflammatory.
  14. Diaries which engage in wild speculation without any proof are strongly discouraged. Repeatedly posting diaries consisting largely or entirely of wild speculation is an abuse of site policy. Bear in mind that that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
  15. Diaries which contain hateful or defamatory writing are prohibited.
  16. Diaries which are deliberately designed to inflame are prohibited.
  17. Deliberately inflammatory titles, or titles which contain attacks, are prohibited. Also, while this site doesn't prohibit profanity, please think very carefully before using any curse words in a diary title.
  18. "Calling out" other site users by name in diary titles is prohibited. Diaries which "call out" another by name tend to needlessly inflame. If you feel compelled to address another user's comments or diaries in a diary of your own, please do so cautiously. Avoid ad hominems and stick with substantive, constructive criticism only.
  19. Some topics which tend to make for poor diaries: Breaking news. Something you just saw on a TV show. Something currently on the front page of a major news site (eg, New York Times). Something currently on the front page of a major blog (eg, Atrios).
  20. What makes for a good diary: Anything which showcases original research or original analysis. Political calls to action with substantive information on how to get involved. News (plus analysis) on interesting/relevant topics that are not widely discussed.
  21. Diaries on contested Democratic primaries: Be positive. Make an affirmative case for your favored candidate. If you do criticize a Democratic candidate, don't make ad hominem attacks - stick to substantive criticisms, and back them up with hard evidence. Be very cautious if you go after a fellow Democrat. Odds are, that candidate will have supporters on this site. Reasonable people will accept reasonable criticism - unfair criticism will only needlessly inflame. And remember, deliberately inflammatory diaries are prohibited.
  22. "Open Thread" diaries: Diaries designed to serve as "open threads" for discussion on major, breaking events (such as a speech or hearing) are permissible. Please provide links to information about the events (such as news articles or webcasts) in such diaries. Do not post duplicate diary open threads unless an earlier open thread exceeds 150 comments.
  23. When writing a diary on a political race, prefixing the title is always helpful. For example: FL-Gov (Florida governor's race), NY-Sen (New York senate race), CA-25 (California's 25th congressional district race).
  24. Do not use ALL CAPS or exclamation marks !!! in diary titles.
  25. Do not put "Please Recommend" or similar language in diary titles.
  26. Please read an entire diary before hitting "Recommend." Recommending based on just the first few paragraphs or the author's name is strongly discouraged.
These rules are mostly common sense and courtesy. There are a lot of diaries posted here; keeping up is like trying to drink from a firehose. Adhering to these rules helps cut down on duplicate and low-content diaries, and makes everyone's life easier. Please follow The Rules.

Diary drafts

New diaries exist first as drafts. When you click the 'New diary' link, a draft is automatically created. Once you have a draft, you can fill in the content you want. A draft stays around for 3 weeks after being created; during that time, the author can make changes, add text, and so forth. A list of all drafts that an author has is listed on the right side of the dkos hompage. Drafts are only visible to the diary's author. Once the author publishes the draft (hit the 'Preview' button, check the preview for any mistakes, and then hit 'Publish'), the diary becomes visible to other people to read and comment on.

A diary can include a poll. To create a poll, fill in the fields at the bottom of the New Diary screen. You need to specify a question, and at least 2 answers.

Diary titles

When choosing a title, please avoid the following:

Editing diaries

After a diary has been posted, its text can be edited. To edit a diary, click on the 'Edit diary' link just underneath the title. The page that appears is similar to the New Diary screen, except that the existing text of the diary has already been filled in. Make the desired edits, click Preview to check that everything is displaying correctly, and then click the 'Publish' button to change the text.

Updates can be timestamped by placing [UPDATE] (including the square brackets) in the diary; when the story is saved, this will be replaced with the date/time of the update and the user ID of the updater (almost always the diary author).

If the edit consists of removing text, it is preferable to use strike-out (use the <s></s> tags) rather than simply deleting the text.

Diary deletion

There are some times when you will want to delete a diary. To do so, click on the 'Edit Diary' link next to the diary title. Down at the bottom of the edit screen, there is a 'Delete Diary' button. When you click this, a dialog box will pop up asking you to type in some text and then click OK. This is to cut down on people accidentally deleting diaries by clicking the wrong button.

When should diaries be deleted? If there are two (or more) near-identical diaries on the same subject, people will request that all but one be deleted. This often happens when a news story breaks, and several diaries are posted consisting of a link to the story and a few quotes from the AP wire. Please consider deletion if your diary isn't the first diary to break the news. Front-page posters will sometimes delete diaries if there are too many covering exactly the same content. Additionally, sometimes diary authors just have second thoughts about posting a particular diary. Don't delete a diary just because a discussion in the comments has gone off in some direction you don't like.

Please delete your tags before you delete your diary. If you cannot delete them for some reason, replace your tags with the "deleted diary" tag.

Note that when diaries are deleted, the associated comments (if any) are not deleted. A search, or a user's comment history, will still be able to access any such comments.

A deleted diary nevertheless counts toward your "one diary per calendar day" limitation—once you published the diary, it used up your diary for that day. You will not be able to post another diary until after midnight eastern time.

Some Rules Regarding Participation in Diaries and Comment Threads

  1. On multiple occasions, one or more commenters follow a community member into diary threads; and,
  2. The commenter(s) posts comments that include false information, personal attacks, lies, or implied/express disclosure of private information; and
  3. The commenter(s) engages in this conduct with the intent to harass, harm, humiliate, frighten or intimidate another poster. This intent may be inferred from the number of times that the commenter follows a community member into threads and/or the nature of the comments posted.
Stalking does not include the mere expression of disagreement, seeking out diaries or comments of favorite diarists or simply frequent interaction on the boards.
Accusations of stalking should not be made on comment threads but emailed to Meteor Blades or another administrator together with relevant links to evidence that comports with the requirements cited above. Repeated accusations of stalking in the comment threads will lead to a suspension of posting privileges.
Admin Moderation: Warning, suspension, banning.

Dealing with trolls

Trolling is a sad reality of internet life. Most trolls tend to be blatant, posting comments or diaries that are clearly intended to provoke an angry response. Other trollish messages are posted simply to disrupt the conversation in a diary. But some people like to label others trolls who aren't. This is typically done to stifle someone's point of view or to deflect attention away from a real troll. Such promiscuous use of the term muddies discussions and is just another form of name-calling that reduces productive interaction on the site. Be judicious in calling someone a troll or in treating someone as such.

Directly responding to an argument a troll makes is a waste of time; trolls tend not to be interested in actual debate. The community relies on a number of other methods to keep the community as troll-free as possible.

Primary among these methods is hide-rating comments. Trusted Users can give comments a rating of Hide. If a comment has been hide-rated by two users and recommended by none, then that comment (and all replies to it) are automatically hidden. If a comment has been recommended at least once, then Hides must be applied to the ratio of 3x+1 (where x is the number of recommends) in order to hide that comment (again, all replies to the comment will also be hidden). Hidden comments and their responses can only be seen by Trusted Users.

There is no mechanism for hiding trollish diaries. The most common alternative is to post a comment to the troll diary containing a recipe for a tasty dish. (This alternative can be used in replies to troll comments also.) Plenty of examples can be found in the Troll Diary tag (note: Most of those examples will probably be old, as the use of the "Troll Diary" tag is currently discouraged). An entire cookbook of recipes has been collected and is being sold as a fundraiser.

Another alternative for trollish diaries is to post completely blank comments, or comments with a single letter or symbol, as a way of filling up the diary without actually rising to the bait of the troll.

Appropriate use of Hide ratings

An excellent discussion of when a hide-rate is appropriate, and some of the common types of trolls, can be found in the troll rating article, originally from this diary. Reading this article is highly recommended before issuing any Hides. Also read: An Exegesis for Troll Ratings posted by Hunter Tue Jan 01, 2008. (note that Hide ratings used to be called Troll ratings, and are referred to by the earlier name in these references)

Some posters create accounts at dkos strictly for the purpose of causing disruption. It is considered acceptable to hide all of the posts made by such people, even the ones that are not in and of themselves trollish. It should be emphasized, however, that this should not be done lightly. Before rating comments en masse, you should be very very sure that the author is really a troll, and not just a regular poster who is having a bad day. If there is any shadow of a doubt as to whether a person is a dedicated troll, you should refrain from mass-hiding their comments. To reiterate, this "hide on sight" approach should be used cautiously and rarely.

Any and all insults are HRable. Although users are never required to uprate any comment, it is considered a violation of site policy to uprate a comment with an insult in it.

To prevent abuse of the Hide button, as of June 2, 2006, Trusted Users are limited in the number of hides they can give out each day. Currently, the limit is five per day.

An Exegesis for Troll Ratings by Hunter Tue Jan 01, 2008 at 04:09:14 PM PDT

To Troll Rate something has exactly one meaning. When you Troll Rate something, as a trusted user, you are stating that the comment should be made invisible to all site users. You're saying that the comment is so bad -- so disruptive or damaging to the community -- that it isn't worth even a debate, but should be deleted from the discussion as being simply inflammatory, simply off-topic, or simply a lie. Remember that, because that is the only use of the troll rating. It is an editorial vote to delete a comment from the conversation. Conversely, there is one particular reason troll ratings should never be used: to express disagreement with a poster's opinion.
  1. Do not troll rate people for expressing a contrary opinion, so long as it is expressed in a civilized fashion. The exceptions are for conservative talking points or debunked or false information; this isn't a site for conservatives, they have entire swaths of the internet in which they can regale each other with their reality-impaired fantasies.
  2. Do not troll rate someone you are actively having a fight with. If you are in a heated argument with someone, you should not be judging whether or not what they say is trollworthy. Leave it to others to decide what behavior is or isn't over the line.
  3. Do not give positive ratings to people having fights in the comment threads. It is insulting to a diarist to hijack a portion of their comment threads in order to have a fistfight between two or three users. It is insulting to the rest of the community to have to scroll past a fight dozens of comments long in order to get back to the topic at hand. If the fight is off topic or otherwise egregious, it should be trollrated in order to remove it from the thread, but there are almost no circumstances in which users should be rewarded for having a fight. Behavior like that isn't worth positive mojo -- don't do it.
  4. The exception to the normal troll rating golden rule of "rate the comment, not who makes it" is for people so disruptive to the community that they need to be quickly autobanned. This is a very difficult threshold to reach, and is reserved almost entirely for freepers or other trolls here only to disrupt. "Troll rate on sight" is not intended to be used against anyone but the most obvious and egregious of trolls -- if your definition of obvious and egregious is not the definition used by the rest of the community or by the site administrators, expect your rating ability to be suspended.
  5. Troll rate a trollworthy comment, regardless of who makes it. Everyone has bad judgment from time to time. Everyone can have a bad day. Even if the person who made the offensive or inflammatory comment is someone you know and respect, you still owe it to the diarist and the community to remove the comment. You can make it up to them later.
  6. Do note give retaliatory troll ratings. If you get what you believe to be an undeserved troll rating, do not retaliate. Leave it to others to decide if the rating was abusive. It is begrudging community practice to respond to an undeserved troll rating by troll rating the ratings abuser, thus reducing their own level of "trustedness" and making them less able to abuse ratings in the future. But don't do it unless you are absolutely positive the original rating was abusive -- and I mean 100% positive. And never do it if you're the one that got troll rated. I repeat: do not troll rate fights that you yourself are in.
  7. On the other hand, one troll rating does not matter. If you get troll rated by one person, know that you will continue to walk this earth. It's not the end of the world. Unless a second person rates the same comment (either with a recommend, or another troll rating), it doesn't even count. There's no point in complaining to the admins -- they already see every troll rating on the site, and do not usually yank ratings abilities based on one troll rating, or even one thread's worth of troll ratings. It's larger patterns that are more likely to require intervention.
  8. There isn't actually any site rule that says you can't quote hidden comments in order to make a point. You should still think carefully about doing it -- after all, they were hidden because we believe that they are so unrepresentative of the community as to be unworthy of display -- but there are valid reasons to bring them up, and it isn't against the rules to do so.
  9. Banned users are banned permanently -- they are not permitted to return under new names. This is true even if you are autobanned by the community, and even if it was "unfair" -- if you've garnered so much resentment during your time here that it reached that point, we're not going to bail you out. You're done. If you see a new user banned after they make only one or two comments, it's because they're users who have had previous accounts here and blew it the first time. We don't give second chances, and we check new users who seem to get into trouble. For that reason, you should consider your reputation here before getting into fights -- if people start thinking of you as someone who always gets into fights, they will begin trollrating you more and more frequently, and it will be very difficult to convince others of your goodwill. You are responsible for your behavior.

Hidden vs. Deleted comments

Occasionally, a comment disappears from view and there is some dispute (usually from the comment author) as to the fate of that comment. The following text is provided as a reference to use in such disputes:

Comments are not deleted. If you think your comment has been deleted, you are wrong. If you really really think your comment has been deleted, you are wrong. Yes, really. Your comment has been hidden, but Trusted Users can still see it, and have the option to un-hide it. Your comment is unlikely to be unhidden (trust us on this one).


If enough of a user's comments are hidden, the site will automatically ban that user. Banning means that a user can no longer post diaries or comments, or give out recommends. The exact algorithm for determining how many comments are enough to trigger autoban is not publicly known. Kos has, however, stated that the determining factor is the number of comments that are hidden, not the number of troll-rates that each individual comment receives. In other words, once a comment has entered the Hidden Comments section, additional Hides have no effect. Since Trusted Users are limited in the number of hide ratings they can issue per day, it is recommended that they refrain from "piling on" additional Hides to an already-hidden comment.

Tag Guidelines

You cannot post a diary until you have entered at least one tag. Tags are keywords that identify the concepts and content of the diary. The diary author must choose at least one tag for the diary to be posted. After the diary is posted, any user can add tags to their own diary; trusted users can remove or edit tags in any diary. We strongly suggest that you enter one tag, publish your diary and then spend a few minutes creating GOOD tags to add.

The best and quickest way to find good tags is from this list most frequently used tags - the higher the number, the better the tag because it means more people are using it and it is the tag most likely to be searched on. It is updated daily. The Tag Search Tool also makes it very easy to find good tags being used by the community.

You can also find a complete list of tags in the tag cloud. By clicking on a tag, you get a list of all diaries that contain that tag. However, generating the list via the tag cloud" is slow (30 minutes on a dialup connection), so we suggest that you use the Frequently used tag list or the Tag Search Tool or do a search specifying tag=xyz, where xyz is the string you're looking for (surrounded by quotes if the string contains spaces).

Trusted Users (TU) can edit the tags in any diary, and that is a community job as important as hiding inappropriate comments. If you want to be more involved in tag cleanup as a Tag Librarian, please add your name on the Tag Librarians page and join our Google Group. At a minimum, it is important that names in the diary are entered properly as tags.

Guidelines for choosing tags:

  1. Use commas between your tags. Not spaces, not periods, not semicolons.
  2. Please remember that tags are an indexing system, not a tool for demonstrating creativity. This is a tool to help organize content, not show how clever you are by inventing keywords such as "HUNTERRIFIC" to praise a diary by Hunter.
  3. When using a person's name as a tag, use both their first and last name and use proper capitalization.
    • If there is an ambiguity, include middle initials (with a period and space following each initial). For example, don't use Bush as a tag; use the George W. Bush tag or the George H. W. Bush tag depending on whether the diary refers to the previous President or his father, or Laura Bush for President Bush's wife, etc.
    • Do not use titles. Use John Kerry, not Senator Kerry or Senator John Kerry.
  4. Use combinations of simple tags rather than inventing complex ones. For instance, use tags CIA, LEAK and INVESTIGATION, instead of CIA-LEAK-INVESTIGATION. (note that Plamegate is the most used tag for this issue,)
  5. Re-use existing tags Try to use tags from this most frequently used tags list (regenerated daily; the higher the number, the better the tag).
  6. Keep it simple. Don't use tags that are redundant. Example: Don't use both "health care" and "healthcare".
  7. For election related diaries:
    • Add the first and last names of candidates being discussed and their party affiliation (EX: Hillary Clinton, Democrats)
    • Add the office being discussed. EX: "President", "House", "Senate", "Governor", etc.
    • Add the abbreviation of the race (two digit state abbreviation and race). So a governor's race would be CA-Gov, a secretary of state's race would be CA-SoS, a Senate race CA-Sen, and a congressional race would be CA-06. (Use "AL" [at large] for states such as VT, which have only one congressional district.) In all other instances spell out the name of the state.
    • Add the year: 2008 and then the word "elections" EX: "2004 elections" "2008 elections"
    • For state elections add the tag "statename elections" EX: "California elections"
    • Use the "primaries" tag during primary season.
    • Review all standard election related tags in one place.
  8. '/' characters are not allowed in tags, and will be converted to '-'. Other punctuation like "?" or "=" or "*" will make your tag unreadable.
  9. When posting a diary that is primarily about, or in reaction to, a story from a conventional media outlet, include the name of the outlet, e.g. New York Times. This will help cut down on the number of repetitive diaries covering the same "breaking" story.

Note: As of September, 2007, the Daily Kos tag guidelines have changed. While all of the above guidelines are still recognized as "best practices" and are strongly recommended, the editing or deleting or existing tags is to be limited to the correction of obvious typos or malformed tags, and the deletion of insulting or derogatory tags. It is understood that this might lessen the utility of tags as a research tool, but the administrators felt the trade-off in terms of user freedom and the avoidance of tag deletion "wars" was worth it.

The new tag guidelines are as follows:

  1. Always err in favor of adding new tags, rather than deleting or modifying existing tags. Some folks have expressed concerns about the size of the tag database. In terms of server strain, we can assure you, there is no need to worry. (The tag db is comparatively very small.)
  2. Tags should generally only be modified when you see misspellings (eg, Gorge W. Bush) or obvious ambiguities (eg, George Bush instead of George W. Bush, to distinguish son from father). If an ambiguity is not clear-cut, please add a new tag rather than modify an existing one.
  3. If a diarist chooses a particular tag that might be different from what you've chosen (say, "bellwether state" instead of "swing state"), please respect the diarist's choice, even if your preferred tag is in wider use. Feel free to add your suggested tag as well - just don't modify or delete the diarist's tags.
  4. Tags should generally only be deleted if they contain abusive language (eg, "this diary sucks," "sh*t diary", etc.). We emphasize in the strongest of terms that these kinds of tags are completely unacceptable. The use of abusive language in tags will be treated as a bannable offense.
  5. If you see a tag that seems to be completely out of place, please post a comment asking for clarification (there might be a good reason for it) rather than deleting it.
  6. Don't use the "troll diary" tag, or any variant thereof, when you think a diary is trollish. Tags are designed to help folks search for information. There isn't a need to be able to search for alleged "troll diaries" - the administrators have many tools at our disposal to find trolls, and this one is not necessary. It also creates needless flamewars and thread hijackings when people disagree over whether a particular diary is, in fact, a troll diary. (Obviously, if a diary is discussing the issue of troll diaries, then this tag might be appropriate.)

Tag abuse (changing the tags in a diary to express your editorial opinion of the diary) is a bannable offense.

First, and most importantly, you need to know that tag abuse is a bannable offense. If an administrator sees you've engaged in tag abuse, you will be formally warned. Repeat abuses can result in banning at any time without a follow-up warning. This diary should be taken as a warning in itself - now that we are unequivocally on the record about this, we will be more willing to take action against tag abusers the first time we see it. So do not express your dislike of a diary or diarist in tags. Reserve that for the comments. Tag abuse includes deletion of tags in order to replace them with "troll diary."

Controversial Diary Topics

Diaries on certain topics are likely to generate angry responses. Most of these topics fall under the general heading of "conspiracy theories", e.g., "JFK was killed by Martians". The rule for posting such diaries is "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". The more extreme the claim, the higher the burden of proof that commenters will demand. If you can't provide evidence to back up your claim, it is best not to post the diary. This guideline also applies to recommending extraordinary-claims diaries. If a diary makes an extreme claim with little or no evidence to back up that claim, it shouldn't be recommended, no matter what that claim is.


Some people have been confused by the above discussion. Let me make it perfectly plain. Diaries advancing 'Conspiracy Theories' are subject to ridicule and derision from the community at the very least. Repeat offenders can and will be banned. Yes, this does include 'controlled demolition' of WTC 7.

Here is what kos has to say-
The conspiracists by kos

Fri Jul 08, 2005

Today I did something I've never done before (not even during the Fraudster mess), and wish I'd never had to do.

I made a mass banning of people perpetuating a series of bizarre, off-the-wall, unsupported and frankly embarassing conspiracy theories.

I have a high tolerance level for material I deem appropriate for this site, but one thing I REFUSE to allow is bullshit conspiracy theories. You know the ones -- Bush and Blair conspired to bomb London in order to take the heat off their respective political problems. I can't imagine what fucking world these people live in, but it sure ain't the Reality Based Community.

So I banned these people, and those that have been recommending diaries like it. And I will continue to do so until the purge is complete, and make no mistake -- this is a purge.

This is a reality-based community. Those who wish to live outside it should find a new home. This isn't it.

Update: I've been reinstating some of the banned accounts as they email me. Some people wondered why there wasn't any warning. There have been warnings from others -- repeated pleadings for people to ground themselves in reality.

It's telling that I have NEVER done something like this before. Because this has been an extreme situation. This isn't about disagreeing with what people are saying. If that was the case, everyone would've been banned by now. The myth of the "echo chamber" is just that. A myth.

But as for warnings, well, this has been my warning. I wanted it clear that I was serious, and I think that has come through. I am reinstating those who ask to be reinstated. But the message has been sent.

But, what about Freedom of Speech?

Doesn't the First Amendment give me the right to talk about whatever I want here?

No. Daily Kos is owned by kos. The servers are his. He pays the bandwidth charges. He makes the rules; we are here as his guests. If he decides tomorrow that anyone not posting in iambic pentameter will be banned, your options are either to brush up on your poetry skills or find/start another forum.

Controversial 9/11 Diaries

DailyKos accepts that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by agents of Al-Qaeda. It is forbidden to write diaries that:

  1. refer to claims that American, British, Israeli, or any government assisted in the attacks
  2. refer to claims that the airplanes that crashed into the WTC and Pentagon were not the cause of the damage to those buildings or their subsequent collapse.

Authoring or recommending these diaries may result in banning from Daily Kos.

Webbugs, Scripts, and other mischief

From time to time some bright bulb decides to post an executable script or a webbug...such as an image linked to a browser stats a diary or comment. Doing so will result in the immediate banning of that user.

Liveblog diaries

From time to time, there are events that people want to track and talk about in realtime, in what are called "Liveblog" diaries. Diaries of this sort can attract a large number of comments, so to keep things manageable, there are a few special guidelines for liveblogs:

  1. No pictures. Not even cute cats. Not everyone is on a fast network connection.
  2. For high-traffic liveblogs, multiple diaries may be necessary. Once roughly 300 comments are in a diary, a new one should be created. If the old diary is on the Recommended list, people should unrecommend it before recommending the new one. This keeps the Rec list from getting dominated by a liveblog series.
  3. Have people volunteer ahead of time to post the next diary in a series; this will prevent two or three people from posting "Part IV" simultaneously.
  4. Part n should have a link to at least part n-1, and preferably all of the prior parts. It's also a good idea to have a link, or links, to sources of streaming video/audio of the event in question.


A visual guide to formatting diaries and comments can be found by following this link:,-Linking,-Images,-Embedding,-and-Tables

Auto Format

Comments and diaries are both written using HTML, which stands for Hyper-Text Markup Language, the basic "language" or set of invisible instructions that your browser software uses to format all the text, images, and other data in a way that makes sense for viewing. On dKos sometimes people use a very few simple HTML formatting tags to spiff up their posts. But please know that you need not do anything other than type in your ideas to be able to post. The default formatting of the site will make sure you look pretty good. If you want to embed a hyperlink to somewhere, you enclose the link in square brackets:

[ Daily Kos]


Daily Kos

A shortcut to link to dkosopedia pages is to enclose the name of the page in double curly brackets with 'dk' in front:




Two sets of square brackets: [[DailyKos_FAQ]] will also link to a dkosopedia page.

A shortcut for inserting links (and pictures, see below) in comments is to use the link editor. When posting a comment, click on the 'Link' button at the bottom of the editor. In the 'URL' field, put in the URL that you want to link to; in the 'Label' field, put in the text that you want to appear in the comment. When you click the 'Add' button, the link will be inserted into your comment.

Most additional HTML formatting spiffiness for dKos posts can be accomplished using "Auto Format Mode," the default writing mode here, so you don't have to be an HTML formatting expert to add a little shine to your prose. Think of Auto Format Mode as little cheater characters or shortcuts so you don't have to remember a bunch of HTML tags. Some of the things you can do in Auto Format mode include:

Numbered lists are created similarly. Use a numeral at the beginning of each line, followed by a period or a right parenthesis ')'.

  1. Numbering each line like this
  2. produces a numbered list
  3. and periods after the numbers
  4. are optional.

Lists can be automatically numbered (starting with 1 and going sequentially) by starting each line with a '#' character.

There are a few other common effects you'll see here that do require actual HTML tags. A tag is always preceded by its tagname enclosed in <brackets>, then the text you wish to format, then a closing tag, which is the same as the tagname but preceded by a forward slash "/", also enclosed in brackets. Like this:

Finally, remember that Preview Is Your Friend. Before you post a comment or a diary, you need to Preview before posting it. Don't just assume that the preview is correct; check to make sure that you are getting what you want. This will save you LOTS of embarrassment. Trust me, a person who has been shamed many times by many "oopses" that could have been avoided if I had previewed my otherwise brilliant post first.

Block Quoting

A common sight in diaries is some text set off from the main body by a grey box. To create this effect, called a 'blockquote', you type

<blockquote>some text</blockquote> to get

some text


Unfortunately, there is no straight-forward way to create tables. The two options are to do it manually (insert a bunch of spaces and blank lines between elements until things look right) or to use the table tools built in to HTML. A brief overview of the latter is given here. Tables require some care to get right; be sure to preview your diary/comment carefully before submitting. Information in a table is contained within 3 seperate layers of HTML. First, every cell (entry in the table) is enclosed by a table-data tag:<td></td>. Then, sets of cells are combined to make rows, using the table-row tag:<tr></tr>. Finally, all of the rows are combined into a table using the table tag: <table></table>.

As an example, let's say we want to put the names of four US cities into a table, with two rows and two columns. An individual cell would be <td>New York</td>. To get a row, put a couple of cells together, along with a table-row tag:

<tr><td>New York</td><td>Chicago</td></tr>

Finally, put a couple of rows together, and enclose the whole thing inside a table tag:

<tr><td>New York</td><td>Chicago</td></tr>
<tr><td>Houston</td><td>Los Angeles</td></tr>

to get the table:

New YorkChicago
HoustonLos Angeles

A cell which is a row or column header is created by using the <th></th> tag instead of <td></td>. A row of headers for the above example:

<tr><th>Column 1</th><th>Column 2</th></tr>

Putting this immediately after the <table> command gives:

Column 1Column 2
New YorkChicago
HoustonLos Angeles

Finally, you can add a border around the tables by changing the <table> command to <table border="1">:

Column 1Column 2
New YorkChicago
HoustonLos Angeles

Over-riding AutoFormat

Sometimes, AutoFormat is too smart for its own good, doing things to your comment that you would prefer it didn't. For example, if you try to use the '<' character, AutoFormat will try to turn that into some sort of HTML command, probably not what you want. The way around this is to use the '\' character to tell AutoFormat to leave the next character alone. To get a '<', type '\<'. Similarly, to get a '[', type '\['. To get a backslash, type '\\'.

Browser extensions

Users of the Firefox browser can download an extension which provides access to many of the formatting shortcuts in a convenient right-button menu.

Pictures and images

Another common thing to do is put an image into a diary or comment. Before you do this, please stop and think for a moment. Pictures require much more in the way of network resources than text. Big pictures make life difficult for people without fast net connections. Keep your pictures small, and only use them when it really adds something to the point you want to make. That said, there are three steps that need to be followed to insert a picture into a diary or comment:

Putting the image on the web

The first step is to put the image on an approved Web image hosting provider. This is required: you are not allowed to directly link to images from news media, personal sites, or others. This requirement prevents those sites from suffering large bandwidth fees if not being taken offline due to the enormous traffic Daily Kos can cause for them.

The approved image hosting services are currently:

Many of these services offer image hosting for free; you simply need an account with them to get started.

Daily Kos makes no guarantees about the quality or security of these services, and including them on the allowed server list doesn't imply any endorsement of those companies or their services. These were simply selected as a subset of sites that were already in use by Daily Kos members that appeared to satisfy our policy at the time they were examined. Use of any of these services is strictly at your own risk. You are advised to read and understand their terms of service before deciding whether to use them.

You may request others for approval using the Contact Us link; approval will only be given if the provider is willing to support this traffic and does not allow the images to be used as "web bugs" (this is a security measure). No, your own ISP or your organizations' will not be considered, this recommendation ability is intended to allow a list of sites that specialize in hosting images for these purposes. Please don't bother the admins with requests to allow your own servers to be included on the allowed image hosts list.

The homepages for the hosting services, and the technical-support pages for the ISPs, will have instructions for how to upload an image from your home computer or from elsewhere on the web. Once you've uploaded the image, the hosting service or ISP will give you a URL for the image.

There are some issues to be aware of when uploading images; see the section #Image_sizing_and_hotlinking below.

Linking the image

Once you have the image on the web, you need to link it into your diary or comment. There are two ways to do so; linking and hotlinking. Linking an image means that in the text of the diary/comment, the reader will see a URL; clicking on that URL will open the picture. Hotlinking, by contrast, will cause the image to show up alongside the text, without the reader needing to click on a hyperlink. Hotlinking can result in significant loads on whatever server is holding the image; pure linking is to be preferred whenever possible.

To link to an image, you create a hyperlink pointing to that image: <a href="">Elephant</a> The URL of the image goes between the quotation marks; the text immediately before the </a> is the text that the reader will see marked as a hyperlink.

To hotlink an image, you need to put an 'IMG tag' into your diary or comment. This tag contains the URL pointing to the image that you put on the web: <img src=""> which will insert the image into the text. Hotlinking is only allowed from a few hosts; see #Image_sizing_and_hotlinking below for details. The URL pointing to the image goes inside the quotation marks:


There are a couple of shortcuts for inserting images. If you use a hosting service, it will typically generate the necessary code for you; just copy and paste. You want to use the code labelled 'For Websites' (Imageshack) or 'Tag' (Photobucket). Other hosting services will have similar labels. The other option is to use the link editor. In comments, you can use the 'Link' button at the bottom of the comment window. Click this button, fill in the URL to the picture and a title. Select the 'Image' checkbox, and then click the 'Add' button to insert the link into your comment.

Formatting the image

The final step in image insertion is to format the picture. The most important formatting issue is the size of a picture; many pictures have a lot of pixels, and if they appear in a post at full size, they can fill the window and screw up the rest of the page's formatting. For large pictures, you can specify a "width" field when you are putting in an image. Using the same image as an example,

<img src="" width=100>


A width of 500 is the maximum that can be accomodated without causing problems.

In addition to changing the image size, you can change where the image appears in the text. By default, it appears at the left margin, and any following text starts beneath the image. You can get text to wrap around an image by using an "align" field:

<img src="" width=100 align=right>

Text that comes after the image now wraps around the picture. You can get the same effect, but with the image on the left, by using align=left instead.

Lastly, to keep space between the image and the text, use the hspace field, e.g. hspace=2

Image sizing and hotlinking

Unlike text, images require a significant amount of network bandwidth to transmit. To minimize the impact of images, there are two things to keep in mind: don't hotlink images, and keep the file size small. A hotlink is when you find an image somewhere on the web and plug its URL directly into a IMG tag. When you do this, every time your diary or comment is loaded, that external site has to supply a copy of the image. With the sort of traffic that dkos gets, that can amount to a significant load (and cost) to the host site.

Hotlinking is only allowed from certain approved hosts. In other words, you can't hotlink to some random image that you saw on the web. Currently, hotlinking is only allowed from images hosted at the following sites:

For images under your control (photos that you took, for instance), you can reduce the bandwidth load on everyone by decreasing the file size as much as possible before uploading to the web. Try to keep image sizes below 50 kilobytes; below 20 is better. Dropping the resolution to 640x480 in an image editor and saving as a jpeg with a low quality setting (high compression setting) will help a lot in reducing file sizes.

Embedding YouTube Video

To embed YouTube videos, put the word youtube and the video ID of the clip in question in a double set of parentheses: ((youtube vid-id)). YouTube URLs are of the format ; the video ID is everything after the equals sign, so for this example, you would type ((youtube 9MpOy1ujOYo)). You can also copy and paste the YouTube 'embed' code into your diary/comment (do not use the Link dialog box), but after clicking on Embed you must also select "Use old embed code" for it to work; otherwise, the embed code will include the "iframe" tag, which is not allowed in Daily Kos diaries or comments.

When embedding a video, it's a good idea to give at least a short recap or summary of what's in the clip; not everybody can easily play embedded video.

Note: At the moment, YouTube videos whose video IDs contain underscores (for example, will not work properly using the double parenthesis method. You must copy and paste the Youtube 'embed' code and escape the EACH instance of "_" in the embed code with a preceding '\". For example, xKm_zrxL0p0 becomes \xKm_zrxL0p0.

Embedding Video from Other Sources

At the moment, embedding video from sources other then YouTube is a hit-and-miss proposition. Many sites provide cut and paste embed code, but that code may not actually work within the Daily Kos AJAX comment forms. For instance, some sites whose embed code contains "iframes" will not embed correctly. Embedding Google video seems to work fine. Beneath the video is a row of thumbnail images of other videos. Beneath that, on the right side is a link to "Email this video," and below that is a link to "Embed video." Click that "Embed" link, and a little window will drop down offering you the embed code. Select and copy that embed code (ctrl a, ctrl c in windows, cmd a, cmd c using Mac), switch back over to your comment or diary in DKos, and paste it (ctrl v or cmd v) where you want the video to go.

Daily Kos user SuperBowlXX has designed a nifty guide for embedding videos from Comedy Central.

MSNBC no longer uses iframes in their embed codes, but the HTML for MSNBC videos still contains some unusable tags. However, there are a couple of user-friendly guides for embedding videos from MSNBC programs. Daily Kos user wader has come up with a somewhat complicated but definitely usable workaround with a couple of freeware programs. SuperBowlXX has outlined an alternate method that requires no program downloads.

Embedding Documents and PDF Files

Using the publishing network Scribd, it is possible to embed other kinds of files such as Microsoft Word documents, PDFs, Powerpoint presentations, and Excel spreadsheets. Embedding a Scribd file allows you to publish a large report (for example, a Supreme Court decision) in its entirety without taking up much space in your diary. SuperBowlXX has designed a quick how-to guide for embedding these kinds of files.

Recommending diaries

Almost all diaries can be recommended; the exceptions are those that are posted directly to the front page. To recommend a diary, click on it, and then click on the 'Recommend' button on the right side of the window. Diaries can only be recommended in the first 24 hours after posting. When should you recommend a diary? Very simply, recommend a diary if you think other dkos users should read it. That may mean that the diary is covering a breaking news story, or it has an insightful bit of analysis, or even is an extremely funny bit of humor. Note that diaries can have much more content in the comments than in the main text; it is perfectly legitimate to recommend a diary because of an interesting discussion in the comments. Don't recommend a diary simply because of who the author is.

Note: Please use common sense when recommending diaries. Diaries that rely entirely on unreliable sources such as Wayne Madsen, Capitol Hill Blue, or Lyndon LaRouche are generally not considered acceptable. Recommending poorly sourced conspiracy theory diaries may result in banning without warning for all recommenders.

Rating comments

Any registered user can rate comments in a diary. Buttons to give these ratings are at the bottom of each comment. For regular users, comments can be recommended; trusted users can recommend or hide comments. The number of ratings that your comments gather, and their average value, determines your comment mojo. Mojo is used primarily for determining whether a user has trusted user status. So, when is each rating appropriate? Much virtual ink has been wasted in arguments, but the following is generally accepted:

Note that there isn't a rating for 'I disagree'. If you disagree with something in a comment, post a reply saying so (and why).

If you wish to remove a rating that you gave to a comment, simply click the recommend or hide button a second time. Comments can be given ratings for 24 hours; after this point, ratings cannot be given or removed from the comment.

One piece of Daily Kos slang worth knowing refers to a recommend as a "4" and a hide as a "zero" or, by analogy, a "donut" (or "doughnut"). Hides used to be called 'troll-rate', and some people still use the old language.

Tip Jars

Because diaries can't be rated, a comment titled 'Tip Jar' is automatically posted with each diary*. This is intended as a place to give mojo for the diary; if you feel that the diary was worthwhile, it's a nice gesture to leave a recommend in the tip jar. A tip jar should only appear under the username of the author of a diary. Posting a tip jar in somebody else's diary will be regarded as an attempt to take credit for the diary; at the very least, you will be yelled at by other commenters. There is no rule, however, that says commenters must wait for a tip jar to appear before they can legitimately comment on the diary.

*A diarist's opening comment can also be customized. Just follow the advice of Kossack LaughingPlanet in: How to pre-post (a.k.a. personalize) your "Tip Jar"

Trusted Users

If a user gathers enough comment mojo, they become a Trusted User. To prevent people from gaming the system, the exact amount of mojo required is not publicly revealed. Trusted Users have a few additional privileges compared to regular users. A regular user can recommend comments; a TU can also hide comments. If a comment gets enough hide ratings, it becomes hidden to regular users (also see the trolls section below). TUs can, if they wish, see the hidden comments. TUs thus have the responsibility of deciding whether comments should be hidden or not. In addition, TUs can edit and remove tags from diaries; regular users can only add new tags. There are two easy ways to tell if you are a TU. First is to look at the Tools sidebar; if there is an entry reading 'Hidden Comments', you are a TU. The other way is to try to rate a comment; if there is a 'Hide' button next to the 'Recommend' button, you are a TU.

One of the factors that goes into determination of TU status is time. If a user stops commenting, or their comments stops getting recommendations, eventually that user will lose TU status. This can be easily remedied by posting more comments that meet with the approval of the readership community.

Sock Puppets

(portions adapted from the Wikipedia entry on Sock Puppet)


A sock puppet is an additional account of an existing member pretending to be a separate user. This may be used to mimic community support in an argument or for acting without consequence to one's 'main' account. It is considered dishonest, trollish behavior.

At Daily Kos the term 'sock puppet' is also commonly applied to non-authorized accounts of previously banned users.

Identifying a Sock Puppet

Typically, the user has more knowledge than would be expected of a newcomer regarding the site's methods, rules, and community members; takes part in similar discussions and has mostly same opinions as the user's main account; and sometimes has an account name similar to those of other suspected sock puppets.

Penalties for Sock Puppetry

Though there is no officially articulated penalty for 'Sock Puppetry', there are many recorded instances of banning for the offense.

If you are banned as a user for any reason, the only court of appeal is Markos himself. Banned users posting using an account not authorized by Markos are subject to repeated, continued banning. It is the user, not the account, that is being penalized.

Tag Abuse

Tags: New Features & New Guidelines by DavidNYC Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 11:14:25 AM PDT

  1. Always err in favor of adding new tags, rather than deleting or modifying existing tags. Some folks have expressed concerns about the size of the tag database. In terms of server strain, we can assure you, there is no need to worry. (The tag db is comparatively very small.)
    • Our general principles behind this policy are two-fold. First, different folks have different ways of mentally categorizing things. That's the strength of a folksonomy, and by letting a plurality of tags bloom, we play to that strength.

    • The second reason is the flip-side of the first, namely, that individual tags have to be "allowed to fail." The tag system is not the Dewey Decimal System - it's not designed to be. On a site as large and free-wheeling as this one, it's almost certainly futile to try to enforce a rigid classification system. So it's okay if some tags only get used once. Other tags will "succeed' and be used many times.

    • If you would like to search for a particular tag, you can always check out the DKosopedia tag search tool here, or use the "Sort by Tag" feature found at the top of the Recent Diaries section of the sidebar.

  2. Tags should generally only be modified when you see misspellings (eg, Gorge W. Bush) or obvious ambiguities (eg, George Bush instead of George W. Bush, to distinguish son from father). If an ambiguity is not clear-cut, please add a new tag rather than modify an existing one.
  3. If a diarist chooses a particular tag that might be different from what you've chosen (say, "bellwether state" instead of "swing state"), please respect the diarist's choice, even if your preferred tag is in wider use. Feel free to add your suggested tag as well - just don't modify or delete the diarist's tags.
  4. Tags should generally only be deleted if they contain abusive language (eg, "this diary sucks," "sh*t diary", etc.). We emphasize in the strongest of terms that these kinds of tags are completely unacceptable. The use of abusive language in tags will be treated as a bannable offense.
  5. If you see a tag that seems to be completely out of place, please post a comment asking for clarification (there might be a good reason for it) rather than deleting it.
  6. Don't use the "troll diary" tag, or any variant thereof, when you think a diary is trollish. Tags are designed to help folks search for information. There isn't a need to be able to search for alleged "troll diaries" - the administrators have many tools at our disposal to find trolls, and this one is not necessary. It also creates needless flamewars and thread hijackings when people disagree over whether a particular diary is, in fact, a troll diary. (Obviously, if a diary is discussing the issue of troll diaries, then this tag might be appropriate.)

The seminal supporting work is-

Meta: Tagging and Tag Abuse by MissLaura Wed Apr 25, 2007 at 12:47:16 PM PDT

"Tags should generally only be deleted if they contain abusive language (eg, "this diary sucks," "sh*t diary", etc.). We emphasize in the strongest of terms that these kinds of tags are completely unacceptable. The use of abusive language in tags will be treated as a bannable offense."

I don't know how you can be much clearer than that.

Technical Problems

Daily Kos is a large and complicated site, with much going on behind the scenes to make everything work. Sometimes, things don't work as they should. If you are having trouble with some part of the site, check here first to see if your issue is addressed.

Login problems

Most login problems are related to browser cookies. These are small files which sit on your computer and are used to keep track of various preferences and the like. You must have cookies turned on to be able to log in (and hence write comments) to dkos.

If you have cookies turned on (typically found in the Security section of your browser preferences) and logging in is still not working, first try logging out and then logging back in. If that doesn't work, try using your browser's preferences to delete all cookies that reference, and try logging in. If it still doesn't work, contact the technical team. Include the details of what operating system and what browser you are using.

Comment problems

In early 2006, the comment system was given a complete overhaul to deal with the ever-increasing volume of comments. The new system requires a relatively recent web browser to work correctly. Recommended browsers for different operating systems are listed below; for more details, see these diaries.

The comment system is continuously being revised, both to eliminate bugs and to add new features. If you are having problems, please let someone know. Post a comment in an open thread or in one of the occasional diaries about the comment engine. If that doesn't work, try the Contact Form.

When reporting problems with the comment system, please include the operating system and web browser that you are using (including version numbers) and the type/speed of net connection (dialup, DSL, etc.).

Time Zones

To make sure that the comments show up with the proper time-of-writing, you need to set your time zone. To do this, go to your user page (link is on the right-hand sidebar), and click on the 'My Profile' tab. Click on the 'Display Preferences' link. On the pull-down menu labelled 'Your Time Zone', select the proper zone. Important Note: The software powering Daily Kos does not automatically adjust for Daylights Savings Time. You need to change the zone manually. For example, if you are located in the Central timezone of the US, during the fall and winter, select 'Central Standard Time' as your zone; during the spring and summer, change it to 'Central Daylight Time'.

Diary series

Several series of diaries are or were posted on at least a semi-regular basis. These are listed below along with links associated with dedicated tags where possible. Where no dedicated tags exist, links point to tags that also encompass diaries outside the series, or to the author's diary page, or to a search shortcut for the series. Ordering is alphabetic within each category.

By category

Political news overview

Daily Kos overview

Political specialty

Alternative specialty



Diary Series Calendar

This table shows the various series in a weekly-planner format. Times are based on the official "diary day", Eastern Time midnight to midnight. Defunct series, and those which aren't posted on a regular schedule are not included here; all others should be. Daily series shown with an asterisk appear on weekdays only (early Tuesday through Saturday if late night); those with a plus will appear many days out of seven, but not all. See individual entries for further details. The new "Late Night" section refers to diaries posted after midnight in the new day (though they could be a little early).

Daily Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Late Night

Links to other resources

DKOS community norms

Version 1 of the FAQ

Some useful dkos diaries

This section is for listing some important 'meta' diaries, diaries about how Daily Kos operates.


Meta Diaries by Tag

User Groups

Diaries by ek hornbeck

Common terms and acronyms

An extensive list of terms and acronyms can be found in the Kossary; a few of the more common terms are listed here.

n/t – no text. Also nt or eom (end of message). Used by commenters when the entirety of the comment is the title.

asdf – The opposite of "n/t", this comment title means "I don't have a title and I'm required to type something in this field; read the comment text". It represents the first four keys on the home row of a standard English keyboard.

aoeu – Like "asdf", except it represents an easily typed sequence on the Dvorak keyboard, the first four keys on the home row.

UID – User ID. Assigned sequentially in order of registration. Lower UIDs mean a person has been registered at Daily Kos for a longer period of time.

GBCW – Good-Bye, Cruel World. A type of diary where a user announces that they are through with Daily Kos and are leaving for all time. Posting a GBCW diary is usually not a good idea; they tend to be greeted with ridicule. There is now a penalty for doing so: the user's account will be deactivated permanently, unless Markos or Meteor Blades are later willing to consider reinstatement. This diary (big download) is considered to be the Platonic ideal of GBCW diaries.

SCLM – So-Called Liberal Media. Many people think that the idea of a "liberal media" is a myth.

MetaJesus – MetaJesus is invoked when there is too much meta-discussion, that is to say discussion about dkos itself, usually with the phrase "stop making MetaJesus cry" or similar. MetaJesus was given life by Hunter in this diary; other diaries invoking MetaJesus's name can be found here.

One final note

Congratulations on making it all the way through a rather long document. Think you know the FAQ? Try taking the FAQ Quiz to test your knowledge.

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