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Skinner - Archives
Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 08:37 PM
Thank you to everyone who participated in our public beta test of DU3. The testing site is now closed.

We are currently in the process of importing members' current user data into the DU3 software. After the user data has been transferred over, we will remove the DU3 software from the /du3/ sub-folder, and move it to the top-level URL.

The entire process may take a few hours. When the process is finished, our new software will be live.

We will probably leave the old DU2 software open overnight, and we will probably continue to leave it open for a short time after the new software has officially launched in order to smooth the transition for our members.

Thank you for your understanding.

The DU Administrators
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Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 01:59 PM
You may be aware that we are going to be moving into new software very soon -- probably tonight. And on that software, the community is going to be moderated very differently than DU has been moderated over the last decade. Our reasons for making this change are many. But I want to make clear that the change should not in any way be interpreted as some sort of statement about the people who have served as moderators on Democratic Underground over the last 10 years.

Probably hundreds of different people have served as moderators on DU over the years, and I feel privileged to have had the chance to work with all of them. Being a DU moderator is an extremely difficult, and usually thankless job -- and over the last three years that we have had a Democratic president, the job has become even more difficult and thankless. And yet, through it all, the DU moderators did the job with the highest level of integrity and decency. I only wish that all the members of DU could know the DU moderators the way I know them. They are smart, generous, thoughtful, and funny. They care deeply about this community. Together we have been through some of the highest highs, and some of the most gut-wrenching lows. But they have never, EVER let me down. And despite some of the hurtful falsehoods that have been said about them -- they never let you, the members of DU, down either.

Thanks to their heroic efforts, this community continues to thrive. I am deeply grateful for their help. I cannot possibly ever repay them for what they have given to me.

As a small token of my appreciation, to the DU Moderators: I offer you this... The Golden Hot Tub.

Use it well. And don't forget to turn off the lights in the Mod forum when we're all done. Take whatever you like from the Drinks Cabinet. You've earned it.


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Posted by Skinner in Political Videos
Tue Dec 06th 2011, 10:35 AM
A brief instructional video about Forums and Groups on our new forum software, DU3.
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Posted by Skinner in Political Videos
Mon Dec 05th 2011, 10:58 AM
Another brief video about our new discussion forum software, DU3. We will be doing a public preview of the software this week.
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Posted by Skinner in Political Videos
Fri Dec 02nd 2011, 01:02 PM
Here is a brief instructional video about how to post on our new discussion forum software, DU3.
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Posted by Skinner in Latest Breaking News
Fri Nov 18th 2011, 05:23 PM
Source: TechDirt

The key Righthaven case, in which the details of the strategic agreement between Righthaven and Stephens Media were finally released, was Righthaven's lawsuit against the Democratic Underground. DU, with help from lawyers at the EFF and Fenwick and West, countersued Stephens Media, arguing that it, not Righthaven, was really behind the lawsuits. That resulted in the release of the agreement between the two companies, and the court dismissed Righthaven from the proceedings... while keeping Stephens Media in the case. The Democratic Underground filed a motion for summary judgment... and in its response, Stephens Media has almost totally capitulated -- admitting that the Democratic Underground's use was "fair use" (full motion embedded below):

While Stephens Media disagrees with DU's characterizations of certain facts that are not material for purposes of the present Motion, it does not contest the substantive arguments presented by DU on the issues of volitional act and fair use as applied to the material facts of this case.

In other words, Stephens Media -- who according to the strategic agreement, had to give Righthaven the green light to sue -- now admits that the use by DU was fair use.

From there, Stephens focuses on a separate issue: making sure that additional details of its business relationship with various companies stay secret. Apparently, a number of documents have been filed under seal, and Stephens wants to make sure they don't see the light of day. Basically, DU wanted details of syndication relationships that Stephens has with other parties as part of its fair use argument, but Stephens is now giving them that argument, saying they agree it's fair use... just let us keep those other deals secret. But on the major point of the lawsuit, the copyright infringement, Stephens has now flat out said that it agrees the use was fair.

Read more:

Excerpt from EFF Press release (with quote from me):

Righthaven Case Ends in Victory for Fair Use

Newspaper Publisher Caves at Last, Agrees Excerpts of Articles Do Not Infringe Copyright

San Francisco - In a victory for fair use, the publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Stephens Media, filed papers yesterday conceding that posting a short excerpt of a news article in an online forum is not copyright infringement. The concession will result in entry of a judgment of non-infringement in a long-running copyright troll case that sparked the dismissal of dozens of baseless lawsuits filed by Righthaven LLC.

The case began when the online political forum Democratic Underground -- represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Fenwick & West LLP, and attorney Chad Bowers -- was sued by Righthaven for a five-sentence excerpt of a Review-Journal news story that a user posted on the forum with a link back to the newspaper's website. Democratic Underground countersued, asking the court to rule that the excerpt did not infringe copyright and is a fair use of the material, and brought Righthaven-backer Stephens Media into the case.

The Court dismissed Righthaven's infringement case because it did not own the article, but Democratic Underground's counterclaim against Stephens Media continued. After initially attempting to defend the bogus assertion of copyright infringement, Stephens Media has now conceded it was incorrect.

"I knew the lawsuit was wrong from the start, and any self-respecting news publisher should have, too," said Democratic Underground founder David Allen. "I'm glad that they have finally admitted it."

Read more:


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Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Sun Nov 13th 2011, 07:01 PM
Dear DUers,

Every three months for the last eleven years we have come to you with hat in hand and asked for donations to keep DU running. And every three months for the last eleven years, you have come through. DU continues to thrive and we are eternally grateful for your support.

So why are we no longer going to ask for donations?

The truth is that DU isn't the scrappy underdog that it was when we first started asking for your support. Back in those days you could see where your money was going. Our single server would crash constantly -- eventually we brought in enough money to buy a new one (we're up to seven now). Database errors took ages to fix because we couldn't afford to pay Elad, so whenever we needed him we'd have to call him at his job at the local health food store (true story) -- eventually we were able to pay him a full time salary.

But that was then, and for a long time now DU has been the largest liberal discussion forum on the Web. Since 2005 we brought in a good chunk of our revenue by serving ads to our visitors, which is why we haven't had to increase our 1,000 donation goal since we started doing fund drives. But as DU approaches its teenage years, we've decided it's time for us to grow up too and stop asking for handouts. We don't want this to be the future of DU.

Don't get me wrong -- we still need money. Running a website the size and scope of DU is no small endeavor. It costs a ton of cash to cover server storage, bandwidth, rent, legal fees, and everything else that comes with running a small business. This is a full time job for three people. But while you may think of DU as many things -- a community, a confessional, a place to organize, have fun, argue, make new friends and (of course) unite against the right-wing -- the Admins no longer want you to think of us as needing charity.

Many of you have probably heard that we've been working on a big new update to the site -- codenamed DU3 -- for some time now. At this point DU3 is not just on the doorstep but banging on the door and rattling the handle, and as part of the myriad changes we're making to the site we've decided to switch to a different fundraising model. On DU3 you will still be able to buy a star which will remove all of the ads from the site and provide you with access to special functions and features -- and you'll still be doing your part to keep DU running -- but we are ending our traditional quarterly fund drives. Instead, stars (and the benefits that come with them) will be available for purchase on a monthly or yearly basis for as little as $3.50 a month. And as always, those who choose not to purchase a star will still be able to post and participate free of charge.

This is our last ever fund drive because DU3 will be launched before the end of the year. And here's something important to know: anyone who is a DU donor when we switch over to DU3 will be grandfathered in to the new system and retain their donor star and privileges for one full year from the time they donated. So if you don't currently have a donor star, or if you already have one but would like to extend for a year at the price of your choosing, now is the time to donate.

Thank you all very much for your past, present, and future support as we look forward to providing you with THE best discussion forum on the Internets!

Skinner, EarlG, and Elad
DU Administrators

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Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Tue Sep 20th 2011, 11:14 AM
His name is Isaac. He decided to show up 5 weeks early, but still weighed a robust 7 pounds, 9 ounces. After spending 11 days in the special care unit a the hospital, he finally came home last week. Seems to be in perfect health. Hobbies include sleeping, eating, and pooping. Not much crying.

His mother is also doing well.

For those of you keeping score at home -- yes, he is our third boy. His older brothers, Lucas (4) and Jack (3), are really excited to have a new baby brother. They are on their best behavior with the baby, and can't stop talking about him, looking at him, touching him, and asking questions about him.

As usual, I've got a backlog of emails. Hopefully I'll get through them this week. Thank you for your patience.

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Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Tue Aug 30th 2011, 03:13 PM
Please take a moment to say hello to our new moderators, and to express your gratitude to our retiring moderators.


Danger Mouse
Grateful for Hope
proud patriot
Renew Deal
The empressof all

And I would like to express my gratitude to the retiring moderators, who did an amazing job during the previous term.



NEW MODERATORS: Please log into the private Moderator Forum and introduce yourselves. The moderator forum is in the "My Forums" section at the top of the Latest page. You may have to log out and log back in again to reset your account and access the forum. If you have difficulty finding the Moderator forum, please send a private message to Elad.

RETIRING MODERATORS: Please log out and login again to reset your account to regular member status.

Thank you, moderators! We wouldn't be able to run this place without your help!

DU Admin
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Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Thu Aug 25th 2011, 12:06 PM
Just got this in my email. All you gotta do is give 'em your contact info and they'll send you a sticker.

Go here:
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Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Wed Aug 17th 2011, 12:00 PM
You may have noticed that we are paying homage to the President's midwest Bus Tour with our fund drive thermometer (above). As I write this post, we have received about 350 donations to our third-quarter fund drive. Which means that virtual Obama has already run over three obscure GOP presidential candidates. If you all keep donating at your current rate, Obama will probably run over the next four Republicans, but he might not make it to the three frontrunners: Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, and Mitt Romney. And that would be a shame.

To everyone who has already donated this fund drive, and to our monthly subscribers: Thank you.

To those of you who haven't donated yet, I hope you will take a moment to do so today.

Our third quarter fund drives are usually a little slower than our other fund drives. But our costs remain the same. We still have three administrator salaries, six web servers, and plenty of other expenses. Plus, we've been working hard to completely overhaul the site to make it more powerful and more user-friendly. We depend on the generous donations from our members to help make ends meet.

We know that times are tough for many DUers. If you are unable to donate at this time we understand. But if you are able to donate something -- $50, $25, or even $5 -- you can help us reach our goal.

It only takes a minute, and you'll feel good about contributing to the greatest community on the Internet.

Just click here to donate.

Thank you for your help.

David Allen
DU Administrator

(Please kick and recommend this thread so more people can see it.)

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Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Fri Jul 01st 2011, 07:02 PM
Many of you saw the thread I posted last night about my friend Maia, who works on the Obama campaign:

I'm asking for a personal favor: Please help President Obama and my friend Maia...

My good friend Maia works on the Obama campaign. The staff is having a competition for who can get the most people to donate on their personal fundraising page. The contest ends tonight at midnight (your local time), and right now Maia is in a dead heat with another staff member for first place. As I post this message, she is only 3 gifts ahead.

First prize is a phone call from President Obama. If Maia wins, she is going to ask that President Obama call her dad. He was a county commissioner in Washington state who took her door-knocking for Democratic candidates when she was six. He woke her up early on her 18th birthday to tell her she could only vote Dem. Maia really wants to win this prize for her dad. He would be thrilled.

No donation is too small. Just give $5 if you can.

I just got word from Maia: She won! Thank you to everyone who donated. Maia is thrilled! THANK YOU!!

I don't know what the final score was. But I do know this: When I posted this thread last night at 9pm her page was showing a total of 270 donations, and when I woke up this morning her page was showing over 350 donations -- a total of 80 donations! I don't know exactly how many of those came from DUers, but I think we were responsible for a large proportion.

Thank you so much. You all made my day!

Love ya!


(Note: I originally posted this a a reply to my earlier thread, but I figured more people will see it if I start a new thread.)
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Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Tue Jun 14th 2011, 09:54 AM
She died Sunday morning, June 12, 2011, of a stroke. One of her sisters sent us an email last night to let us know.

According to her sister, while on a flight to Hawaii she developed a headache and lost consciousness. The plane returned to LAX airport where she was taken to UCLA Medical Center and admitted to a neuroscience intensive care unit. She never regained consciousness and was removed from life support Sunday morning about 10:00 am. She held on for about 25 minutes with very little struggle.

She is survived by her son, her estranged husband, and her two sisters. The body will be cremated and returned to Phoenix, Arizona where she lived. Funeral plans are pending.

Her sister suggested that anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution in her name should make it to the Juvenile Diabetes Society or to DU.

Rest in peace, blondeatlast.
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Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Mon May 23rd 2011, 11:02 PM

Congratulations to intheozone, and to all of our virtual Golden Ticket winners.

And thank you to all our donors. You made this fund drive a big success!

Read entry | Discuss (62 comments)
Posted by Skinner in General Discussion
Mon May 23rd 2011, 10:07 PM

Here are all 15 virtual Golden Ticket winnners:

All 15 Golden Ticket holders will be entered into the final GRAND PRIZE DRAWING, and one of them will win a 64GB iPad 2 with WiFi + 3G!

Stay tuned for the winner!
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David Allen
53937 posts
Member since 2001
Washington, DC, USA
I am the owner and co-founder of Democratic Underground.
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