Is Digg getting better, or worse?

by Mathew on December 18, 2006 · 8 comments

If you like things like podcasts, video and a widescreen look to a website, then Digg has just launched a site redesign that will be a nice ChristmaHanuKwanakah present for you, as described by both Om Malik (at NewTeeVee) and Mike Arrington at TechCrunch. But will all of these new additions help to broaden Digg’s appeal, or will they just further dilute that appeal?

If you’ve been following the blogosphere, there has been a fair bit of controversy about Digg — not about it broadening its reach into general news and other areas (in fact, there’s been surprisingly little comment about that) but about it being rigged, about submitters taking money under the table (which I wrote about here), and so on. Jason Clarke has argued that Digg is useless.

digg.jpg

It’s obvious that some of this is getting to other people too. Over at TechCrunch, one person says they hardly go to Digg any more because the comments are cluttered with morons, and that “As Digg gains more and more momentum to be mainstream we will see that it no longer becomes a barometer of cool but just another established website beaten by fragmented niche sites.”

There are definitely both risks and rewards to the way Digg is going. On the one hand, video is becoming more popular — and Digg’s crowd-voting system can no doubt bring its value (positive and negative) to that as well. But at the same time, adding podcasts and video streams and other features takes away from the streamlined focus on Web links that made Digg so popular (StumbleUpon, which got its start in Calgary, has also launched a video service).

As Digg-style voting tools get worked into other sites, it’s also possible that people might desert Digg for other, more focused sites in particular areas (the way Digg used to be for technology). Meanwhile, Pete Cashmore over at Mashable says the changes are “ridiculously overhyped as usual.” And Neil Patel at Search Engine Land notes that Digg has also made some changes that will affect submitters in subtle ways.

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  • http://drumsnwhistles.com Karoli

    I took Digg off my feeds because half their posts were inane and the comments even more so. It seemed to me that the place was inhabited by high school kids who roved in gangs digging and burying according to how drunk Kevin Rose and Alex Alrecht were on that week’s podcast. I was a huge fan of both Digg and the podcast for the better part of a year, but as I began to watch the way digg was being gamed and overtaken by trolls, the less I felt like spending time there.

    I think Digg is a great concept. I just don’t think anarchy is an effective way to monitor a website.

  • Mathew Ingram

    I agree, Karoli. There is some good there, but it is often obscured by all of the crap and sophomoric comments.

  • http://engtech.wordpress.com engtech

    My biggest issue is the commenters. I like the quote from the lifehacker people that describes online communities:

    “Also, netiquette in public forums has a lot to do with the content around which the community is centered. Lifehacker’s posts set out to help folks, so in kind, our readers want to help us and each other back. Digg is a popularity contest of oneupmanship. Gawker is all about making fun of things, so its readers mock each other and it right back in the comments. Karma’s a boomerang.”

    but I can’t help but notice that Lifehacker also restricts who can comment. :)

    I wrote on the subject of trolls today, nothing that insightful although I did find interesting foreshadowing on the Natali del Conte / TechCrunch split.
    http://engtech.wordpress.com/2006/12/20/the-internet-is-for-trolls/

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