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The Rise of Digg.com 429

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-know-you're-on-top-when-they-wanna-bury-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wired has a story about Digg, a community bookmarking site that creates its own version of the Slashdot effect. It's a provocatively titled piece - 'Digg Just Might Bury Slashdot' - but goes on to consider the obvious similarities between the two and the differences. Digg is more chaotic, immediate and user driven, whereas Slashdot features more in-depth and technical discussions." Well, I hate navel-gazing news but I think the aggregation of blogs is a critical step in the future of on-line content, and Digg is doing good work here. The interesting thing will happen when their population grows a bit more. Scalability is hard... but I imagine the millions of dollars of VC funding will really help.
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The Rise of Digg.com

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  • Naval Gazing? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Liselle (684663) <slashdot@lise[ ].net ['lle' in gap]> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:54PM (#14054168) Journal
    CmdrTaco, I like the Navy as much as anyone else, but I don't see how looking at sailors has anything to do with Slashdot or Digg. Oh, you meant "navel gazing". Well, some of us like to talk about the site, though, can we get a topic for it? Maybe? The icon could be a battleship. :D

    So anyway, we finally have a story where Digg.com rants are not offtopic. Well, I'll fire the opening salvo: I've been to Digg, and their stories are much more current than Slashdot's (seemingly because of the way stories are posted), but the comment system is a steaming pile. There is no threading (seriously hard to follow conversations without threading). And, despite Slashdot's flawed moderation system, scanning article comments at +4 is usually a pleasant experience, and I can't find that kind of functionality on Digg as an anonymous reader.

    I come to Slashdot for the comments. Not for the editor abuses, the typos, the political slant, the "last week" news, blah blah etc. I know I am not alone in this. It seems to me that Slashdot and Digg are both filling a different niche at the moment. I'd like to see Digg with a better commenting system and some form of user-moderation of posts: right now it resembles graffiti on the wall, not discussion.

    Any Digg cheerleaders out there with some positive things to add about the comment system that I missed in my ignorance?
  • by Dotnaught (223657) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:56PM (#14054191) Homepage
    A Slashdot post will get you traffic, if you have a site linked to your user id. That's not the case with Digg. Ergo, Slashdot wins. It gives you more for participating. For Web site owners, traffic has real value.
  • Digg (revisited) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BushCheney08 (917605) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:00PM (#14054238)
    I've been checking out digg for the past few weeks. The only real advantage I see to it over slashdot is that you can see all the submitted articles and vote them up to the front page. The downside of that is that there's a whole lotta crap to filter through. And there's nobody to blame for the dupes. And the comment system sucks. And the dupes. Oh, and many of the posters seem to be 15 (at least those tend to get modded down on /.).
  • by ColdCoffee (664886) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:04PM (#14054296)
    Why can't both co-exist peacefully without constant 'Slash-Digging' at each other? I like both sites. I check them both quite frequently throughout the day? Can't we all just play nice? There's enough room for both Slashdot AND Digg!!
  • $2.8 million??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:12PM (#14054410) Homepage
    I thought that whole dot-com bubble was over. $2.8 million just because it's a high traffic site? You gotta be kidding me... I run a real business with real assets and real profit, but these stupid investors don't care. I honestly don't think that the dot-com bubble is over yet if sites like this can get $2.8 million for simply existing. There's nothing really unique about the site to warrant that kind of capital investment.
  • Re:Naval Gazing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:15PM (#14054437)
    Any Digg cheerleaders out there with some positive things to add about the comment system that I missed in my ignorance?

    Not a cheerleader, but a user of both sites, so here goes:

    I've been to Digg, and their stories are much more current than Slashdot's (seemingly because of the way stories are posted)

    Right on both points. They don't have lazy editors to get in the way between a good story and the readers. A truly democratic method. I'm surprised, though, that a troll community hasn't been fostered that gets foul image sites permanantly at the top. Maybe they have a method of preventing that, I don't know that much about it.

    but the comment system is a steaming pile. There is no threading (seriously hard to follow conversations without threading). And, despite Slashdot's flawed moderation system, scanning article comments at +4 is usually a pleasant experience, and I can't find that kind of functionality on Digg as an anonymous reader.

    Comments aren't digg's focus. The stories are. You'll get some commentary on the story, but that's about it. And I think there's some simplistic beauty in that - the goal there isn't to get an off-topic discussion going, it's to provide a simple mechanism for commenting *on the story.* So threads aren't really needed. This doesn't mean they're better or worse than /., just different.


    I come to Slashdot for the comments. Not for the editor abuses, the typos, the political slant, the "last week" news, blah blah etc. I know I am not alone in this. It seems to me that Slashdot and Digg are both filling a different niche at the moment.

    Precisely.

    I'd like to see Digg with a better commenting system and some form of user-moderation of posts: right now it resembles graffiti on the wall, not discussion.

    But then it would be slashdot - what would be the point?

  • Digg and /. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FerretFrottage (714136) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:16PM (#14054464)
    I have both open in a firefox tab as both offer something to me that I find useful. With digg, you get stories that are generally "fresher", by days or in some cases even hours--which is like forever in "web speed". However, there stories are also all over the board and many are jsut links to other peoples' blogs--(e.g. "I hate the cold heat soldering iron blog story"--big deal) and I only "digg" about 10% of them. Comments are for all practical purposes useless compared to /. [when viewed at the appropriate threshold]. /. if more like a tortise if digg is the hare. Stories on /. have already been on digg 1,2,3 or more times already, but in taking it's time..it's damn sweet time, in getting stories out, I find more of the stories to be more the "stuff that matters" than I find on digg. /. has its trolls and flame tossing ACs, but in general you can find good discussions here as long as you don't mentions religion, politics (ignore the sig please), GW, or MS. Digg's comments seem more like where ACs are born or where the /. trolls go to play once no one bites on them here.

    If you haven't seen digg.com, check it out. There will be some interesting stuff there, but it's no replacement for /. IMHO
  • Re:$2.8 million??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by psbrogna (611644) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:17PM (#14054471)
    Cut 'em some slack- $2.8M's isn't exactly a King's Ransom or anything. Isn't that what VC's all about? Throwing some money at what everybody else thinks is a stupid idea? It wouldn't be much of a "venture" if it was obviously going to exceed.
  • Re:My comparison (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ivan256 (17499) * on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:20PM (#14054499)
    That's both the strength and the major weekness of Digg. It shows you what the majority wants to see. For now that means it's only slightly obnoxious. As it becomes popular with more mainstream "tech" guys it will become less and less useful for people with niche interests. We already have media that caters to the mainstream, and they know exactly how to draw readers. Just because it's user driven doesn't mean the front page won't look more and more like a cross between a variety of trade rags, just a few weeks early.

    I don't know about you, but I could care less about what the majority of people want to read. I want to read what *I* want to read, and the best way to do that is to find a site that is moderated in a way that matches your interests.

    Hopefully the people who like Digg better will go there instead, and stop bitching about how their stories got rejected in off topic slashdot comments.
  • Re:Naval Gazing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:21PM (#14054512) Homepage Journal
    Comments aren't digg's focus. The stories are. You'll get some commentary on the story, but that's about it. And I think there's some simplistic beauty in that - the goal there isn't to get an off-topic discussion going, it's to provide a simple mechanism for commenting *on the story.* So threads aren't really needed. This doesn't mean they're better or worse than /., just different.

    I know a lot of people here hate the word, but that makes Digg sound an awful lot like a blog...

  • Re:Late again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoganEkz (552402) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:21PM (#14054514) Journal
    Digg.com had this article posted six hours ago.
    I'll bite at this.

    When did the article make it the main page? It seems that when people refer to when an article was posted, they are talking about when the article was submitted to digg.com, not when it appeared on the digg front page. Even sites such as digg vs dot [diggvsdot.com] use the digg article submission time and compare this with when the article appeared on Slashdot.

    This is comparing apples vs oranges.

    What I would like to see is a comparison of when the digg articles appear on the digg front page vs when they appear on the Slashdot front page.

  • by Lewisham (239493) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:29PM (#14054582)
    You're right about the crap problem, and it will only get worse. As Digg continues to expand, so the number of users submitting stories is increasing. If we assume there's only so much interesting news a day, the crap ratio is going to increase as well. This seems to be happening already.

    Digg will implode if the expansion continues, because no-one will be bothered to digg for anything that isn't on the front page. So in the end, those that have the time/inclination to wade through the stories will end up becoming pseudo-editors (you can promote a story on just 50 diggs if you submit at the right time), and then it'll either get dugg more by people who enjoyed it and can't be bothered to digg for stories, or it'll be reported out. Front page stories will only end up being the ones that the pseudo-editors like.

    Losing the Digg we're-all-equal-community ethos seems inevitable. They should give up, and start weighting user votes. For example: users who post stories that are often promoted; those who digg stories that are often promoted; or those that comment well should have their submitted stories in one pool. Stories below this privledged status go into another one. The stories for all will still go to the front page, but the more esoteric stuff that a sizable majority enjoy reading about (which really made Digg; getting stories interesting to you that editors didn't think were worthy) will end up in the privaledged pool.

    Like Taco said, scalability is going to be a big problem if you aren't ruling from the top-down.
  • Re:Naval Gazing? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nutshell42 (557890) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:33PM (#14054652) Journal
    I've been to Digg, and their stories are much more current than Slashdot's [...] And, despite Slashdot's flawed moderation system, scanning article comments at +4 is usually a pleasant experience, and I can't find that kind of functionality on Digg as an anonymous reader.

    I think those points are two sides of the same coin. We don't come to /. for the news, we come here to talk about yesterday's news and an important part of every productive discussion is that all sides are familiar with the topic and have an informed (*cough* but we *are* talking about +4 here) opinion about it.

    /. - Watercooler discussions for nerds. Stuff that mattered a few days ago.

  • by mudbogger (668451) <dlandis AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:35PM (#14054668)
    Almost every post on Digg is of the same quality and so they'd all have to mod'd (-1, "Worthless"). Filtering really wouldn't help too much in that situation unless you just filtered them all out...
  • by Mr. Cancelled (572486) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:37PM (#14054683)
    Is that Digg gets the articles faster (Well duh... It's completely user/score driven. On /. you have to wait for an editor to post the articles), but also that most of them don't like wading through all the diatribe and arguements in the comments.

    Now obviously Digg doesn't have a great comment section, since you can basically only add new message, not keep a thread going, or easily quote/tie your response to a particular comment, but that's not it's thing. That's /.'s thing.

    I did find it interesting about how many people have told me that they hate /. for it's users, and the amount of crap you have to dig through in order to get some real info out of the commentary. While I don't mind wading through some crap to find my info, it's been a real eye opener how many people don't care for /.'s nerdy insults and arguments. When i'd mention that with a /. account, you can tailor what types of responses you see when looking at a thread, everyone I mentioned this to came back with a "Why bother? I've got digg now".

    So I guess this means that the trolls are doing their thing here on /. (driving people away), and that the common user simply wants to know what's going on in their world. Not to discuss it, or defend their viewpoint against a bunch of Linux hounds, or holyier-than-thou type responses.

    Me... I (obviously) still come back to /. for the threads, but I'll be honest in that digg's my 1st stop these days, and when I come to /., it's usually with the thought of "Let's see what /.'s got to say about that digg story I read, if it's even been posted there yet".

    To me, the threads are still the "meat and potato's" of /., but I have found myself moderating a lot less since everyone else seems to be wasting their mod points on modding down posts, rather then elevating the good ones above the bad. Maybe /. needs to clean house of some moderators, since they seem to be focusing on what they disagree with, rather than focusing on the strengths which an opposing viewpoint might bring to the table? Just a thought...
  • Re:Naval Gazing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Khalid (31037) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:39PM (#14054725) Homepage
    Amen to that; although it often seems here that Everybody here loves to hate Slashdot comments :) I have been an avid Slashdot reader for at least 6 ou 7 yes :) and I have spent (lost :) ?) an awful amount of my life reading this thing, but I have to admit that I have learned an incredible amount of things here, and it has contributed to broaden my technology horizon.

    Things I have discovered here :

    Linux and Open source
    MP3 (yes the first I heard about it was here)
    p2p
    Google (that was really the begining of the begining)
    Wikipedia

    and much more

    I have then been an evangelist for these among my friends and relatives.

    Slashdot is incredibly useful to spot emerging trends, and I am pretty sure that it has been fundamental in the launch of the sites and technologies mentioned above; Google has really learned that, that's why you have now at least one Google story per day.

  • Re:Naval Gazing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ParadoxDruid (602583) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:44PM (#14054767) Homepage
    I come to Slashdot for the comments.

    I agree wholeheartedly. I tried Digg, and still get useful links from their sometimes, but it's lacking a soul. There's no community beyond framers and a brazen competition for frontpage stories. There's no interesting discussion of links.

    That said, Slashdot could learn a lesson or two from Digg:

    • Better integration with other websites.
      Digg's "Blog this" and other tools really allow people with a web presence to link seemlessly with Digg, making it easy on them and reinforcing the popularity of Digg by easily spreading it.
    • The "didn't make it" stories
      Often, I find more interesting links in Digg when digging through new links, and ignoring the front-page entirely. Slashdot could have a "stories that didn't make the cut" section, and I'd be very interested.
  • Re:$2.8 million??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BushCheney08 (917605) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @03:07PM (#14055020)
    Over the weekend digg had a "story" submitted showing that digg's pageviews had surpassed slashdots. The "story" was a link to Alexa's site comparing graphs of the two. Keep in mind that Alexa measures this information via people who have the Alexa toolbar for IE (which many consider to be spyware) installed on their machines. I think this says far more about the technical awareness of the visitors of the two sites than anything.
  • Quick (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @03:14PM (#14055086) Journal
    Quick! Join Digg now to get a low UID!!

    Wait... they don't have UIDs?
    Will NEVER be like Slashdot

    Without uber-low UIDs, nobody can say "I'm right because my number is 1,234" (and the followup comments saying "yea I wouldn't argue with him, his low-ID buddies will beat you up"

    Anyways, I noticed three things
    1. Their comment rating system goes from +3 Excellent to -3 SPAM (kinda like the wild old days of slashdot's moderation system)
    2. someone already registered CmdrTaco [digg.com]
    3. They have spelcheking
  • Re:Naval Gazing? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by houseofzeus (836938) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @03:37PM (#14055366) Homepage

    Slashdot exhibits a lot of broken behaviour - dupes, typos, bad grammar, entire words missing from sentences, obvious astroturfing/paid-for stories, front-page stories linking to Goatse pages, etc.

    Anyone claiming Digg doesn't have these problems isn't looking hard enough. Many articles do get duplicated (and dugg up to the top), have ridiculously poor grammar in the blurb and/or link directly to some tards blog, which in turn links directly to the ACTUAL article anyway.

  • Re:My comparison (Score:3, Insightful)

    by courtarro (786894) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @04:16PM (#14055845) Homepage
    I don't know about you, but I could care less about what the majority of people want to read. I want to read what *I* want to read, and the best way to do that is to find a site that is moderated in a way that matches your interests.

    (I think you mean you "couldn't" care less...)

    This, though, is what Slashdot could be with some simple training of the editors: a collection of well-chosen articles that is consistently based on a particular range of topics, with well-written summaries. I genuinely don't understand why the editing at /. hasn't improved in the many years of complaints about dupes and bad grammar. Slashdot has gotten into the bad habit of posting "italicized quotations" for the summaries, which specifically prevents the editors from modifying those summaries and doing exactly what the job description entails: editing. Instead of posting rote copy, the editors should be converting the summaries to paraphrased copy with proper grammar, as well as checking for basic errors in facts and interpretations.

    Personally, I like the current list that is supplied by the Del.icio.us Popular [del.icio.us] page. If you're not into things like web design, CSS style, and Web 2.0, it's probably not for you. However, I probably end up visiting 50% of the links that appear on that page simply because the types of people who currently interact with Delicious are just like me. Also, that page doesn't really reward users who contribute to it passively (by saving links on Delicious) since there's no summary to be proud of, or comments to attract attention. It's simply a list of links that are attracting the most attention right now. Eventually even this site will probably succumb to popular interests and become a list of links to ebaum's world, but for now, it's exactly what I want.

  • by freeweed (309734) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @04:50PM (#14056207)
    So I guess this means that the trolls are doing their thing here on /. (driving people away), and that the common user simply wants to know what's going on in their world. Not to discuss it, or defend their viewpoint against a bunch of Linux hounds, or holyier-than-thou type responses.

    You nailed it, in a sort of derogatory way. Allow me to reciprocate (maybe not directly targetted at yourself, but oh well :)

    Slashdot, as long as I've known it (6, 7 years?), has always been targetted towards more technical types. More nerdy types (hey, it's in the tagline!). More obsessive types. We're the ones who get addicted to Evercrack. We're the ones who laugh at every obscure Simpsons joke, because we know damn near every line off the top of our heads. We're the ones who compusively try out every new Linux distro, spending hours of time playing with obscure computer minutiae (probably spelled that one wrong!) instead of doing things the rest of the world sees as normal.

    It's always been this way. There has always been a very visible pro-Linux, anti-Microsoft slant here. Because overall, that's how the really geeky think. We also think we're smarter than everyone else, and that our viewpoint is the correct one.

    THAT IS THE POINT OF SLASHDOT. I've never heard Rob whining that he doesn't get enough of the "common person" checking out his site. Most long-time readers aren't whining about the lack of MCSEs commenting on Linux stories. No one who actually spends any time here can seriously think of this as a general tech news site, aimed at anyone with a slight technical leaning.

    I don't think it's so much a matter of trolls driving people away, it's just that most normal people look at Slashdot and realize it's not for them.

    If you want to point out that Linux is hard for your Mom, that's one thing. If you're going to complain that you simply aren't interested in learning how your OS works, and that you shouldn't have to edit text files, and that Open Source is useless because not everyone is a coder, then guess what?

    This site is not for you.

    Apply those sorts of criteria to virtually any other discussion we have here. Hell, we just had a poll for "the most realistic nerd portrayal on TV". We're geeks. The majority of us like Linux. If you can accept that, you can have fun here, even if you're not as weird as the rest of us. If you can't, you're just going to find this site frustrating. There are plenty of other places to go for news. Even pro-Microsoft sites, and places where people almost never mention the Simpsons.

    Personally, like the small marketshare of desktop Linux, I love it this way.
  • Re:Naval Gazing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macshit (157376) * <miles@NOspaM.gnu.org> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @06:40PM (#14057341) Homepage
    I know a lot of people here hate the word, but that makes Digg sound an awful lot like a blog...

    Yup; from what I've seen, Digg reads pretty much like a typical web-forum/blogg/whatever; stories can be rated so that people know what's most popular (most web forums just show the most recently posted story first, which actually does tend to keep them in "popularity order", but less explicitly).

    The comments I read were mostly the completely random pointless crap you tend to get on most web forums. They allow you to "rate" comments too (I guess like kuro5hin's "anybody can moderate" system), but there's little evidence that anybody actually takes advantage of this, and as you might expect, the few ratings that do get done don't seem to have much meaning (i.e., high-rated comments typically don't seem to be very good ones). As others have mentioned. there's also no apparent threading of comments, which makes it hard to follow them as a series of conversations, and reinforces the "random" nature of the result.

    Another problem with digg is one shared by most "slashdot-like" sites (included many that use slashcode): most stories have very few comments, which means that few achieve the "critical mass" necessary to get a really good discussion going.

    Finally, the digg user-community seems far more average than Slashdot's -- despite all the trolls, Slashdot has an unusually high degree of smart and knowledgeable users, and the moderation system tends to make their comments visible (and hide those of the trolls). Fundamentally it's the boring users (posting banal pointless comments) that make most web-forums so awful, and Digg has this problem in spades. Slashdot's elaborate mechanisms may seem unfair to some, but they do a pretty good job of keeping conversations focused and interesting, which is exactly what Digg comments aren't.

    The end result is that Digg is actually quite lame; I don't know why people are getting so excited about it. It you want more anarchy (but more crap) than Slashdot, Kuro5hin appears to offer roughly the same functionality implemented more competently, with a somewhat more clueful user community.
  • Re:Naval Gazing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by apoc.famine (621563) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <enimaf.copa>> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:14PM (#14058192) Homepage Journal
    To some extent I agree, but I left Digg after a few weeks of trying it out. Why? Because there was a lot of useless crap posted that made the main page. In fact, there was more useless crap there than I found on Slashdot. Yes, we have substantially more astroturfing and adverarticles, but at least here people point them out. And those people get moderated up when they do. On digg, if a person or two point out that everyone is sending clicks to a paid-per-view website disguised as an article, they get lost in the shuffle.

    Another issue I saw was that when users can vote-in articles, one runs into the problem that most users are fucking morons. I saw the same article hit the frontpage 3x in one day, actually being on it in two locations at once. Different submitters, apparently different people voting it in. Not worse than slashdot, but when I come here, at least people realize that it's a dupe. The other issue is that someone can submit a story into the "submission pool" as often as they want. I saw one shitty-ass self-promotion show up, after a bunch of morons "Dugg" it. Checking the submitters history, they had submitted the same article SEVEN TIMES in the last two days, with slightly different writeups.

    While Digg could be better, it won't be until they learn how to moderate (and thread) comments. When intelligent and insightful people can speak up on the topic at hand, everyone wins. When they get drowned out by trolls and omg-me-too-fanboys, the article has to stand on its own merits. While I see the power of a democratic system of story submissions, I'll take useful editors over it any day. Currently, Digg's voting system isn't much worse than the editors here.

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