It has now been a little over three weeks since RedState was abruptly shut down to transfer data to a new design including the use of Disqus. I have been patient as I listened to the reasons for the change -- honestly hoping for the best and reasserting my love for this site as we all grappled with the chaotic changes. I decided to write this diary with the hope that Erick will consider feedback from the perspective of a very unhappy member.
I have been a member at RedSstate for about fifteen months so I am not able to provide a long-term perspective as many of the old-timers have been able to do. But I can say that I have grown leaps and bounds with respect to becoming better informed about conservatism and conservative activism as a result of my RedState membership and active participation. Little by little, I gained the confidence to start writing diaries and I derived immense pleasure from the experience -- especially interacting with members through the comments section.
Without listing exactly what is wrong with this new design, I just want to say that I am grieving what feels like a permanent loss of the cohesive community we once had. The new design is fragmented and requires a lot of clicking to see what is going on everywhere. The lack of so many simple features -- such as being able to personalize our signatures or "reco" a diary publicly -- has left me feeling cut off and isolated. Somehow, an anonymous star just isn't the same.
I understand that Disqus is a huge improvement for the mods (at least that's what I heard from I think it was streiff), and enabling the mods to more effectively moderate things is an important aspect of RedState's purpose. But, from the perspective of a member, the camaraderie and sense of belonging has been severely impaired from the redesign changes. Many of us used to use the Morning Briefing as an open thread to link to breaking news or articles of interest, and now, we cannot even do that any more.
I do not want to sound whiny and nit picky -- I am trying to convey the overall affect of the redesign on member cohesion. RedState is very unique in that it attracts very intelligent, creative and courageous people -- the kind of people we will need to save America from the destructive haters on the left. The cohesiveness we had before is a critical element for our success because the left never stops trying to divide and conquer us. We need a safe place to come and spew, develop strategies to win elections and get support from our allies.
So -- with all due respect -- I am making this appeal to Erick to consider changing back to what we had before and finding other ways to prepare for future expansion. What good is expansion if we lose one of our most critical components -- membership camaraderie and cohesion -- as a result?
As usual, I am very interested in hearing what the rest of you have to say about this.