Recommendations and Flags -- What They Mean and How to Use Them
Many people on Daily Kos have been around for a long time, and thus, there is lore that accumulates about community norms. For the most part, people are welcoming and helpful, especially if you are friendly. Open Thread posts are usually good places to ask questions on the live site if you're unclear about something that this resource does not answer to your satisfaction. Individual questions can also be raised via Help Desk, publicly or privately.
This is the shortest yet most complete single resource currently available about basic rules and expectations for user conduct on the site. It explains key information about the core mission of Daily Kos; preferred and prohibited behavior by posters and commenters; the goals of community moderation; the meaning and application of flags. Many elements of the Rules of the Road were derived from the following post, written by kos and published in 2013.
One rule to rule them all
"The core of the Daily Kos behavior guide is simple: don't be a dick [or /jerk/ass, now often shortened to DBAD/DBAJ/DBAA.] While we go into some depth in the linked article about sanctionable behavior, it's not an all-encompassing list. There are always types of behavior that while not explicitly listed in the article, rise to the level of "dickishness", and as such are actionable."
Some changes to the flagging/hiding process were implemented with the DK5 rollout in November, 2015. Users who are returning after a long hiatus, or users interested in some site background, might find this diary by kos of interest.
"For those of you a bit new to the site, MetaJesus is the patron saint of Daily Kos. MetaJesus looks over the site, and performs small miracles here and there to generally keep things running -- things like reading really, really crappy diaries, intervening in flame wars, and returning the human souls of posters who have ventured too far, too long, on the dark side, and who have only barely returned, crumpled and gasping, slimy with FreeRepublic ectoplasm, to our midst. You may be saying those are unimpressive miracles, except for that whole soul part, and you are admittedly right. MetaJesus is not Jesus: his powers are, well, more subtle. Mostly, MetaJesus cries. A lot. Well, he doesn't so much cry, usually, as just sigh heavily, or lower his head into his hands, or go off into the other room where he has a liquor cabinet and a very comfortable brown leather chair, or, when the moneychangers are in the Daily Kos temple, throw his Logitech cordless mouse across the room onto the couch, where it bounces off the cushions and lands on the floor next to the sleeping cat -- MetaJesus is a cat person, just as an aside."
And perhaps the most important advice from this classic post by Hunter:
"MetaJesus says that if twenty different people say your diary (or comment) sucks, then thou art not secretly an unrecognized and put-upon genius. Your diary (or comment) just sucks. Thou shalt get over it. Conversely, if one person out of a hundred says your diary sucks, they may simply be a jackass. Thou shalt get over that too."
Wee Mama wrote this post in 2011 when DK4 was new, but it still bears reading.
TrueBlueMajority supplied some clarification for newer users in this post about the function and purpose of recommendations on the site.
Perhaps the two most valuable suggestions are "think about your goal" and "If you make a mistake, apologize."
Think about your goal.
What are you trying to do with this comment? Start a conversation? Learn something? Solve a problem? Or are you trying to hurt someone or punish them because you feel hurt? Or maybe you are you trying to make yourself look good and make someone else look stupid? Think about it. If your goal is to actually further engage, does your comment have the potential to do that? If your goal is to actually hurt someone’s feelings, then hey, you’re a grown-up. Maybe delete and take a walk around the block.