Daily Kos (// KOHSS) is a group blog and internet forum focused on liberal American politics. Additionally, the site features a participatory political encyclopedia ("DKosopedia"), glossaries, and other content. It is sometimes considered an example of "netroots" activism.
In 2007, its parent company, Kos Media, LLC, began a fellowship program to help fund a new generation of progressive activists. About a dozen contributing editors provide content for the site, with three to four new editors being chosen from the Daily Kos community every year.
It is financially sustained by advertising, with Google AdSense and Blogads. The ads focus mostly on activist causes, media, and political candidates. The site also offers an ad-free subscription to members.
As of September 2014, Daily Kos had an average weekday traffic of hundreds of thousands of visits.
In 2008, Time magazine readers named Daily Kos the second best blog. But in 2009, Time listed Daily Kos in its "Most Overrated Blogs" section due to the loss of its mission fighting the "oppressive and war-crazed" Republican administration during Democrat Barack Obama's presidency. The website ran on the Scoop content management system until 2011 when it moved to its own custom content management system referred to as "DK 4.0". In 2016 and 2017 The Trump presidency brought out huge support for the blog, with over half a million in direct donations being received from their email campaigns.
Moulitsas and a small group of select contributors post directly to the front page; other users can post "diaries", the titles of which appear on the front page in reverse chronological order, with special attention and longer display time for those diaries highly recommended by other users. The other major source of content is the comments posted in response to front page entries and diaries. Comments for popular or controversial diaries or front-page articles can run into the thousands.
Front page entries and diaries often take the form of a news story from an outside source interspersed with commentary from the author of the diary or post. Sometimes these stories contain a request for action from other members of the community, such as to get involved with a particular campaign, give money to a candidate or contact an elected official about an issue. Some front page entries are called "open threads", which encourage people to post comments on any issue. One of the versions of these open threads is "live threads" of commentary on important events happening in real time, such as debates or elections.
Administrators may delete diaries, though this is done very rarely. "Trusted users" have the ability to recommend or hide responses posted by ordinary members whose comments they deem solely disruptive. Less than 0.01% of comments are hidden.
Daily Kos had previously partnered with Research 2000 to produce nonpartisan polling for presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races across the country. In June 2010, Daily Kos terminated the relationship after finding their data showed statistical anomalies consistent with deliberate falsification and announced its intention to sue the polling firm.
On November 30, 2010, an agreement to a settlement began as lawyers for the Plaintiff filed a status report indicating that both parties were in "agreement as to the contours of a proper settlement but are still in the process of determining whether the execution of the proposed terms is feasible." In May 2011, The Huffington Post reported that the lawsuit had been settled with Research 2000 pollster Del Ali making payments to Daily Kos.
Beginning in 2003, as his blog expanded to a community, Kos appointed four or five "guest bloggers" (also called "front page diarists," "contributing editors," "front-pagers," and simply "FPers") who are selected from the community and tasked with regular contributions on the front page (without needing to have their articles recommended or promoted).
Additionally, while on the promotional tour for Crashing the Gate, Kos turned over much of the day-to-day management to the 2006 guest bloggers. Emeritus guest bloggers have frequently retained some privileges depending on circumstances, but are not expected to post as often.
A front-page diarist known as "Armando" (Armando Lloréns-Sar) took a prominent role during Moulitsas' book hiatus in 2005 and was well known for his foreign policy and legal analysis. He also had his own political blogging website, called "Swords Crossed" that encouraged dialog between liberals and conservatives, and was a guest political commentator in a wide variety of media outlets, including The Majority Report and Talking Points Memo Cafe. After his identity and details of his legal career were made widely known, he announced his departure from Daily Kos in June 2006, citing loss of anonymity. For two months, Armando would resurface periodically, and all of his comments were accompanied by a signature line stating that he would be returning to blogging in December 2006. Armando did indeed resurface, albeit under a user ID, "Big Tent Democrat," in September 2006. Armando "Big Tent Democrat" then left the Daily Kos site again in March 2007, citing "differences with the Management."
Another contributor posts pseudonymously as "DarkSyde" on the front page of Daily Kos and a blog called Unscrewing the Inscrutable. He is best known as a science writer with specific attention paid to biology, astronomy, and political issues such as creationism or climate change. In particular, DarkSyde's Hurricane Katrina diaries were widely read during the storm and in the immediate aftermath. They are included in a collection of science articles in the e-book Kosmos: You Are Here, co-written with science fiction novelist Mark Sumner and illustrated by paleowildlife artist Carl Buell. All the contributors to Kosmos donated the proceeds to fund the YearlyKos convention.
"Bill in Portland Maine" (Bill Harnsberger) is a front page regular, best known for his recurring Cheers & Jeers feature, in which he bestows plaudits and brickbats on various newsmakers. Cheers & Jeers, which first appeared on Daily Kos in 2003, has evolved into a mini-community within the larger Daily Kos community, in which members post announcements about weddings, engagements, births, deaths, pet news, and other personal items, as well as sharing their own particular plaudits and brickbats. He lives with his partner Michael (known as "Common Sense Mainer"), a cat named Vegas, and his beloved chocolate lab, Molly. In the fall of 2007, Harnsberger lost his job, and the Daily Kos community collected $50,000 in pledges to allow him to continue to write Cheers & Jeers as a full-time paid position.
In December 2015, Faith Gardner, the Social Media Director, started a rotating Featured Writer program to promote articles by top diarists responsible for the most-trafficked stories on social media. The initial four were SemDem, Dartagnan, xxdr zombiexx, and Pakalolo.
In June 2006, members of Daily Kos organized the first ever Daily Kos political blogger convention, called YearlyKos, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was attended by approximately 1000 bloggers and featured appearances by prominent Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, California Senator Barbara Boxer, General Wesley Clark, Governors Mark Warner, Bill Richardson, Tom Vilsack and DNC Chair Howard Dean. The event was widely covered in the traditional media including Capitol Hill Blue, The Boston Globe and MSNBC. C-SPAN also carried portions of the convention.
The event was generally considered a success. YearlyKos 2007 took place in Chicago in August 2007, at which time it was announced that future conventions would be known as Netroots Nation. In 2008, the conference was held in Austin, Texas, with a surprise visit from Al Gore. The 2009 conference was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from August 13 to 16. The 2017 conference was the first time the convention was held in the Deep South in Atlanta, Georgia. Conferences are always held in venues that support a union.
Apart from its activities as a blogging, news, and general digital media platform, the Daily Kos has taken decisions placing it in the category of politically active corporations. For instance, The New York Times report that James Thompson, the April 2017 Democratic candidate for the vacant Kansas Fourth Congressional District (House) seat in Kansas, "was helped by nearly $150,000 from Daily Kos, a liberal blog, and some more modest contributions from a group aligned with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont". OpenSecrets.org reported that "the liberal Daily Kos endorsed Thompson and sent out a fundraising plea, which has so far garnered $178,000 in donations, according to its fundraising page."
Candidate Jon Ossoff, who ran for Georgia's 6th Congressional District in a special election in June 2017, received over $1 million raised on Daily Kos.