User-driven discontent
August 26, 2010 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday morning, social news juggernaut Digg.com finally unveiled its much-ballyhooed redesign: Digg 4.0. More than a simple cosmetic makeover, the new edition of the popular link-sharing platform fundamentally alters the underlying mechanics of the site.

Not only has emphasis shifted from users to content publishers -- major news sources like CNN and Gawker now have RSS-powered accounts that users must "follow" and which automatically submit new stories -- but the submission process itself has become decentralized and opaque. Whereas all content used to enter public "upcoming" queues, allowing users to browse new content and vote up or down what was in line to be published to the front page, submissions now enter a figurative black box. Users can only view not-yet-popular content if it's been submitted or upvoted by friends or published by selected media sources, and this mixture of personalized content has now replaced the site's vaunted front page. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an outcry among Digg's userbase, who lament the reduction in user participation, the perceived selling out of niche content providers in favor of mainstream media, and the ransacking of the site's archives (example), in addition to a rash of bugs and slowdowns, a sharp curtailment in the site's feature set, and an assortment of other problems. But while previous transgressions by the site's staff such as the controversial 2007 censorship of the HD-DVD encryption key (previously) resulted in prompt backtracking and humble apologies, it's looking like CEO Kevin Rose and company are standing by the redesign. Will this bold move lead to a revitalization of Digg's slowly declining traffic and a sea change in how news is shared on the web? Or does the ongoing exodus of longtime users to Reddit and other rivals signal the demise of a site trying too hard to ape Twitter and Facebook?
posted by Rhaomi (135 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Metafilter Metacritic Digg redesign prompts user revolt!

If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:41 PM on August 26, 2010 [454 favorites]


This post is a great example of why I loyally read Metafilter but not Digg, not just in quality but in content.

Thanks, Rhaomi, for giving me a great snapshot and making feel informed about something I care about in theory but not in practice.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:43 PM on August 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's probably better for pads. who's going to spend their time trying to type in content on those things?
posted by nervousfritz at 1:45 PM on August 26, 2010


They really, really want you to "follow" major content publishers. When you sign in and aren't following anyone, you get a blank page. You have to select the "Top News" tab to see something that vaguely resembles the old digg.com.

If I wanted to see what those publishers were publishing, I would be on their sites, not bothering with a middleman like digg.
posted by tommasz at 1:45 PM on August 26, 2010 [15 favorites]


So in other words, Reddit's going to just keep getting slower, then?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:46 PM on August 26, 2010 [19 favorites]


Metafilter Metacritic Flickr Facebook Windows Digg redesign prompts user revolt!

After all, people don't like change.
posted by davejay at 1:46 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's worse is this new MetaFilter 4.0. Matt seems to have removed the [more inside] feature.
posted by straight at 1:46 PM on August 26, 2010 [15 favorites]


Yes, it's become much more difficult for my cabal to vote up our OBAMAISSOCIALISTHITLER articles now.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:46 PM on August 26, 2010 [15 favorites]


nitpick: "major news sources [...] have RSS-powered accounts that users must "follow" and which automatically submit new stories"

Following any of the pre-suggested feeds is not mandatory, you just click "next" or "continue" without checking any of them and you're free. These items are neither things you "must" follow, nor are they selected by default. I've only used digg three times in the last year but I was able to figure this out and only get a feed of my friends' content thanks to the new facebook/twitter/google connection.

The redesign isn't likely to make me use the site any more or less than before.
posted by Doug Stewart at 1:48 PM on August 26, 2010


The reddit community deserves props for having the best usernames I have ever seen in a community and some of the most consistently funny joke characters.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:49 PM on August 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


People get so pissy about free shit these days.
posted by wcfields at 1:50 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or does the ongoing exodus of longtime users to Reddit...

If all the diggers go to reddit, who will redditors feel superior to?
posted by brundlefly at 1:51 PM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think I've been on Digg's site before, probably from a story someone sent me, but I can't recall any compelling reason to ever go back. From what's described in the FPP, I now know I will never seek out "Digg 4.0." I guess I just don't get voting up or down an article. I grew up around newspapers and around print people. I know well that newspapers are edited, but the thought that an article can be deemed worthy through the tyranny of the masses just isn't my cuppa. I realize that my sun is setting and I'll never get to read Pogo in my Daily American ever again. So get of my lawn.
posted by beelzbubba at 1:52 PM on August 26, 2010


If all the diggers go to reddit, who will redditors feel superior to?


Slashdotters.
(+5 Insightful)
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:52 PM on August 26, 2010 [18 favorites]


/looks at Digg.

Still looks horrible.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on August 26, 2010


(+5 Insightful)

Plastic still exists.
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on August 26, 2010


This post is exemplifies the way I like to learn this social web thingy. To read the meta-argument instead of jumping into it.
posted by Free word order! at 1:56 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I left digg and went to reddit when I heard that reddit has subreddits for every topic imaginable. And also when digg stopped being interesting.

Does this make me an uncool person?
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:57 PM on August 26, 2010


Thanks, Mike. Full disclosure: I've been an active member of Digg for more than three years and am pretty disappointed by these changes. For the benefit of Mefites who don't use Digg, here is how Metafilter would work if the same design changes were applied here:

If you made an FPP, it would not get posted to the front page, or anywhere else where the public could see it. Instead, it would only show up on your profile and in the news streams of your contacts. Many sites that frequently get posted to Mefi would generate their own FPPs automatically via RSS, which by nature would crowd out the contributions of regular members. FPPs would only move to the front page if they garnered enough favorites from your contacts (and virally through their contacts, etc.). Since this activity occurs out of the public eye, there's no way to see which unpromoted stories have the most popular support. In practice, only major sources like the NYTimes and "power users" with hundreds of contacts could hope to garner enough favorites to front-page their material.

Add on top of this a whole host of pointlessly obnoxious design changes large and small: You can't view all comments at once. Comments from you and your contacts are automatically inserted above the main discussion. All your previous favorites have been deleted. The highlighting of the asker and best answers in AskMe is gone. The Mefi homepage is now a personalized stream of potential FPPs -- the true front page is just another section of the site. The professional white background is now mandatory. All favorites and comments from 1999 through last month have been reset. The flag button is gone. The [+] favorite button has been replaced with a green up arrow. Timestamps have been removed from posts and comments. The comment box is two lines high, not resizable, and generates light blue on white text. Recent Activity doesn't show comments anymore, only post titles. All usernames are rendered lower-case. The RSS feed no longer works. All Greasemonkey scripts designed for Mefi no longer work. The site is plagued with broken links and downtime. Etc., etc., endless etc. It's a fiasco.

I suppose I can do what a lot of longtime users are doing and move to Digg rival Reddit. I've still got a soft spot for more raucous high quantity (albeit lower quality) news discussion that these sites provide. But it's a tough thing to do after spending years building up an extensive history on a site. Why do so many places have to fix what ain't broke?

(On a lighter note, this has pretty much solved the problem of the Digg Patriots. I've read comments from many of them complaining that the site isn't worth using anymore.)

On preview: Doug Stewart, you don't have to follow the suggested sources/users, but they're your only ticket to viewing upcoming content now. If you don't follow anyone, your "My News" page is empty, and you can only participate in the discussion and moderation of content that has already reached the front page.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:57 PM on August 26, 2010 [33 favorites]


So a sucky site sucks worse? It sounds like they're just fulfilling their mandate!
posted by delmoi at 1:58 PM on August 26, 2010


Web two point blow?
posted by incessant at 1:58 PM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wasn't I recently reading that Digg was being heavily played by conservatives ranking all "liberal" content lower?

Someone go fine that for me, I'm a lazy American.
posted by Relay at 1:58 PM on August 26, 2010


I mainly scan Digg to see the stuff that will be appearing on Metafilter later.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:02 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Never been a huge Digg fan but it's sad to see it go corporate. I can't imagine this will drive readership up. Making changes that directly effect your user base without asking for their input is usually a good way to alienate them.
This is why Metafilter kicks ass, even little things like changes to the comment field are usually discussed before hand. I have never met or even emailed Matt or the Mods (I have mailed bugs to pb) but i feel like I could talk to them if I needed to and it wouldn't be a problem. The idea of being part of a community where the leaders are unapproachable figure heads who make changes seemingly on a whim, holds no attraction for me.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:02 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


On a lighter note, this has pretty much solved the problem of the Digg Patriots. I've read comments from many of them complaining that the site isn't worth using anymore.

Really? I would have thought it would have put them in a prime position to be "power users" driving the thing.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on August 26, 2010


Relay: "Wasn't I recently reading that Digg was being heavily played by conservatives ranking all "liberal" content lower?"

Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the related link.
posted by graventy at 2:04 PM on August 26, 2010


Someone go fine that for me, I'm a lazy American.

So lazy you couldn't see the link in Rhaomi's comment two above yours on this very page!
posted by hippybear at 2:05 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


On a lighter note, this has pretty much solved the problem of the Digg Patriots.

It strikes me that this largely solves the problem of participation by users, period. Pesky users.

I've never been much of a Digg user, but it was a good timewaster sometimes. Now I know it's worthless by design, instead of just by accident.
posted by Malor at 2:07 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Really? I would have thought it would have put them in a prime position to be "power users" driving the thing.

Apparently users are now limited to 50 actions an hour (according to this link from the FPP). So even if they manage to get together the network they need to compete with the major media players to get their content to the front page, they can't game the system as easily by using automated favoriting or updigging or whatever to force the issue.
posted by hippybear at 2:08 PM on August 26, 2010


Oh sweet mother of god, I will be so relieved when this 'social media' bandwagon frenzy ends, and the next dimwit 'let's make everything this' takes over.

Also, Digg? Old and busted. Upvoting user content as the core mechanic and site draw? Soooooo 2007, darling!

That's the problem with following fashion (even if you were key in launching it) -- you look like an idiot a year or two later. Stay consistent, keep to the classics, with maybe just a hint of this year's latest bullshit trend, and you can weather every transition with some dignity. Like our dear old blue battleship. Sexy, maybe not so much, but reliable.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:08 PM on August 26, 2010 [16 favorites]


Well, to be fair, Reddit got raided by 4chan and/or the white power movement. They're not really sure if 4chan was involved, but they suspect.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:08 PM on August 26, 2010


The Mefi homepage is now a personalized stream of potential FPPs -- the true front page is just another section of the site.

When I go to www.digg.com, I see a list of Top News that I can filter various ways. There is another tab for "My News" that may be the home page for logged-in users, but it's just that - tab. It's like if the Mefi Contacts side bar was it's own tab that loaded in lieu of the home page when logged in.

So no, the "Digg Homepage" is not a personalized stream of anything. Your "My News" page is, though.
posted by muddgirl at 2:09 PM on August 26, 2010


Also, I think any comparisons between Digg and Metafilter are unfair to both Digg 3.0 and Digg 4.0 - not that Metafilter is better, but their philosophies are so different that any analogy is quite senseless.
posted by muddgirl at 2:10 PM on August 26, 2010


Hey guys, America Speaking Out is still up, and it now has a decent User:Troll ratio! Of course, the users tend to be uberconservative and insist any use of government money is the same as mugging a private citizen.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:12 PM on August 26, 2010


Also, I think any comparisons between Digg and Metafilter are unfair to both Digg 3.0 and Digg 4.0

I don't think that there were comparisons being made... I think that Rhaomi was trying to make clear to users of MetaFilter who may not be Digg people what the new Digg is like in terms they are familiar with.
posted by hippybear at 2:13 PM on August 26, 2010


davejay: "Metafilter Metacritic Flickr Facebook Windows Digg redesign prompts user revolt!

After all, people don't like change."


Heh, if you really want to see emotions raging check out the feedback forum for the Google News redesign - to say that people were... disappointed with the changes would be an understatement, especially when Google staff members chimed in with leading questions like "So, what do you find especially useful and great about the new layout?" in hopes of finding any positive feedback to put on their reports.

Oh, and anyone looking for another place to hang out: head over to Sensible Erection (NSFW, duh) (I only read it for the articles).
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:14 PM on August 26, 2010


Why do so many places have to fix what ain't broke?

I think this is really the root issue with these major redesigns, and to some extent the Internet in general. It arguably makes business sense for a site to fundamentally change how things work, but a redesign necessarily destroys the previous version, which at least some people would consider to be superior to the new version. It's like if it was impossible to drive a car older than the most current ones being build, the new ones have the latest features but there can be valid reasons for preferring some older models to the new ones. With the Internet, there's not way to really go back and experience the "classic" versions of sites, they are just gone.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:15 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I certainly hated the new Google News - stupid click to expand - but it's the new Google Images that I see the most hate for out there though. Personally I can take it or leave it, though the lazy loading of images is rather cool. Oh, and whisper it, but it looks a lot like the Bing Image search.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on August 26, 2010


doctor_negative: "Making changes that directly effect your user base without asking for their input is usually a good way to alienate them."

The new version has actually been in an invitation-only beta for months with a survey form attached. I can't imagine the feedback was any better from the early adopter crowd, but as far as I can tell no significant changes to the redesign have been made since it was first announced earlier this year.

Artw: "Really? I would have thought it would have put them in a prime position to be "power users" driving the thing."

I don't know... I get the feeling a lot of their behavior was idiosyncratic and set in its ways. The way they talked on their Yahoo group made them sound like gaming Digg and other sites was pretty much all they did online. If these major changes made their old strategy harder to continue, I can see many of them saying "fuck it" and going back to FreeRepublic or wherever. That's the vibe I'm getting from one of the ringleaders, at least. This one is still going strong, though.

muddgirl: "When I go to www.digg.com I see a list of Top News that I can filter various ways. There is another tab for "My News" that may be the home page for logged-in users, but it's just that - tab. "

Yeah, I guess the site defaults to "Top News" if you're not logged in. That maintains the importance of the front page for the much larger casual/drive-by audience, but it's still a drag for regular users who just want the front page without dealing with the Twitter-esque "My News" stuff. Maybe it would be better if they added an option to default to whichever view you want, but it seems like they want to discourage the old way.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:19 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that Rhaomi was trying to make clear to users of MetaFilter who may not be Digg people what the new Digg is like in terms they are familiar with.

But again, I think the "terms" are unfair to new Digg.

For example, there is a negative connotation given to the fact that content providers get RSS feeds.
Many sites that frequently get posted to Mefi would generate their own FPPs automatically via RSS, which by nature would crowd out the contributions of regular members
But in my experience with Digg, most of the content from these providers was regularly posted anyway - in essence, they've removed the "race to post" that we sometimes see here at Mefi with Obit threads and other big news items. This is seen as a "negative" because posting Digg-worthy items was valued in the Digg community, while Metafilter takes the reverse approach and tends to value "deep track" finds.

So there is no analogous way to describe what Digg 4.0 does in Metafilter terms, because Metafilter does not value popular links the way that Digg does. Anyone can "get their name" on the front page of Metafilter - that's never been true for Digg.
posted by muddgirl at 2:20 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've set up the "My Latest News" page at Digg... and it has no advertisement anywhere on it...and has absolutely no content either.

Well... Kuro5hin died... and now it's Diggs turn, I guess.

I think the next big thing will be a voting type site that lets you vote in multiple orthogonal dimensions.
posted by MikeWarot at 2:21 PM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


It turns out that I actually registered with Digg two whole years ago (I think it was for the job I was working at the time) and promptly forgot about it. Never used it, not even once. So when I saw that the "New Digg" had rolled out, I dredged up my old Digg login and tried to join in.

And yeah, I don't get it. I was immediately thrown by the fact that there's no way AT ALL to see what the latest submissions are unless hundreds of other people have already seen and upvoted them. It's bizarre that there's a "most recent" tab that doesn't seem to do AT ALL what it says. The bugginess is probably to be expected and I could live with the "broken oxen" messages while they work that stuff out, but I honestly don't see the point. I'm not terribly interested in "following" a bunch of random people and I doubt that anybody's interested in "following" me, so if they don't at least give us some way of seeing what's new, I can't see myself getting much use out of Digg (and therefore their advertisers won't be getting any of my precious, precious eyebeams).

P.S. I actually joined Reddit last week and have been having quite a fun time. It's not MeFi, but that's okay.
posted by Gator at 2:29 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I actually quite enjoy some of the subreddits, the programming one in particular, but weirdly it gives me no urge to participate or even read the comments all that much.
posted by Artw at 2:32 PM on August 26, 2010


If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.

This is only a half-truth. You're also the product that can walk away if the lure (in this case, a social network that functions in a certain way) changes. The company loses their product because of their decision to court a certain market. But maybe that's something they've factored into the decision: "We can still come out ahead even if we lose X% of the users, and some will stay dedicated to Digg as long as we don't really fuck shit up." Reddit serves as another option, from what I understand (which isn't much, in this case). If there's a viable alternative, don't make that alternative more appealing by changing what people love about your lure. Otherwise, you'll lose the users and the marketing money.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:33 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think what I really like about reddit is it has a lot of links that are good, interesting content but which if posted to MeFi would be shat on as "thin" or too obscure.
posted by Artw at 2:34 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's the Digg office prior to launch of "Digg 4".

Reddit has only five engineers maintaining the site and adding features.

Expect this trend to continue.
posted by vectr at 2:36 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.

Whoa.

(no word of a hamburger, that's a great insight)
posted by Sebmojo at 2:38 PM on August 26, 2010


Why do so many places have to fix what ain't broke?

From what I heard it was broken, at least from a business/profitability stand point.
posted by milarepa at 2:38 PM on August 26, 2010


Possibly that huge crowd of developers could be part of the problem there.
posted by Artw at 2:44 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think what I really like about reddit is it has a lot of links that are good, interesting content but which if posted to MeFi would be shat on as "thin" or too obscure.

Yeah, like I said, it's not MeFi, but that's okay.
posted by Gator at 2:44 PM on August 26, 2010



I think what I really like about reddit is it has a lot of links that are good, interesting content but which if posted to MeFi would be shat on as "thin" or too obscure.


Yes, Reddit is great for random light content. MeFi is great for the ability to provide multiple links on a subject. Not a lot of sites let you do that easily. But really, despite what everyone says, MeFi is really about the comments. Sure the ability to flesh out your post helps cultivate a nice conversation, but where MeFi shines is the conversation. No where on the internet do you find such well articulated, punctuated and polite (for the most part) conversations. It really is the gem of the internet. Sometimes I'll see a subject on Reddit or Fark (*gasp*), think it's interesting, but wait until it hits MeFi. It's then that I get to explore the content with interesting, well spoken people users. And of course AskMe, thanks to the wonderful moderation, is one of the most helpful, safe places on the internet. And it's great because it's small enough that you get to know a lot of people's style, ideas and experiences. I read the site daily, but post irregularly. Nevertheless, I feel like I am part of the site. Whereas on Reddit or Digg or Fark or wherever, I feel like I am just shouting in the dark, which is why I never comment on them ever.
posted by milarepa at 2:49 PM on August 26, 2010 [15 favorites]


I'd thumbs down it... were that still an option.
posted by Elmore at 2:50 PM on August 26, 2010


Why do so many places have to fix what ain't broke?

From what I heard it was broken, at least from at
least 2005.
posted by Elmore at 2:52 PM on August 26, 2010


Digg Has been a big pile of suck for a while, and I've mostly switched to reddit. Anything good on digg was on reddit 3 days earlier, and the comments on digg are marginally better than YouTube.

Reddit seems to have a much smarter user base in general and the moderation on the subteddits I read is generally excellent.
posted by empath at 2:53 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


From what I heard it was broken, at least from a business/profitability stand point.


Also because small groups of power-users/ideologues were apparently controlling a significant portion of the content.
posted by Copronymus at 2:55 PM on August 26, 2010


The reddit community deserves props for having the best usernames I have ever seen in a community

That has not been my experience.
posted by mikelieman at 2:56 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


On a lighter note, this has pretty much solved the problem of the Digg Patriots. I've read comments from many of them complaining that the site isn't worth using anymore.

Really? They can't just get their bosses at FOX News and GOP.com et al. to game the new system more directly? It sounds like the new setup is perfect for more direct marketing by the content-publishing arms of the brownshirt movement.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:56 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anecdotal evidence of Digg's demise:

New metafilter registrant here, this is my first comment. Hi everyone! I've been using Digg every day for my daily lunchtime news needs. Never submitted much (seemed pointless) but I've commented frequently. I'm so turned off by the unnecessary, seemingly anti-user changes at Digg that I've decided to abandon the site, and so have finally found the motivation to pay the five bucks to participate over here. This place always seemed to have a much higher level of discussions anyway (and I guess there's always reddit for my wtf needs, they seem way geekier than me for general use though).
posted by DigitalMindShadow at 2:57 PM on August 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


I went over to reddit after the digg HD-DVD key thing. It wasn't the censorship, but rather the overreaction to it, which caused the site to become unusable.

I eventually went with the reddit trend of "novelty accounts" and started Unicode Unicorn, which made it onto the big reddit poster. Which, to date, is probably the most successful thing I've done.
posted by hellojed at 2:58 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I've never read Digg or Reddit, does that make me MetaPure?
posted by chugg at 2:58 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.

Can't agree with that. Been here for 10 years, and I've profited immeasurably in that time.
posted by johnny novak at 3:01 PM on August 26, 2010


Here's the Digg office prior to launch of "Digg 4".

Whoa, I wonder if thats just a photo op or how they actually work. Coding while sitting on couches with their laptops in their lap? Makes my wrists hurt just looking at it.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:02 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that trend chart for Digg/Reddit is pretty insightful. Digg started to lose its userbase when it started to edit and moderate. It looks like it's turning into a news aggregator, which isn't what got it a userbase originally.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:04 PM on August 26, 2010


Also, a redesign and a rearchitecture of the fundamentals of the service are two wholly different things. Everyone bleats a bit when you move buttons around and rename stuff, but Digg had a very specific end-user proposition and it seems to me they've fundamentally altered that, so I understand why people might not want to reappraise their involvement.
posted by johnny novak at 3:05 PM on August 26, 2010


I only go to Reddit for /r/pics

It's got the perfect mix of cute and inane.

Where's my damn img tag hoverboard?
posted by djgh at 3:06 PM on August 26, 2010


If I had a critisism of Reddit it would be it's users weird insistance on posting everything as images. Honestly, if they linked to this comment it would be as a screengrab.
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


I do all my slummin' at FARK, and all my cultural/brainy stuff here, all my hatin' at GFD.

Don't really see a need for much else, other than specialized sites.
posted by chronkite at 3:17 PM on August 26, 2010


That's probably borne out of the fear of the comment being edited or removed, so they need to snag "proof" of its hilarity. No fear of that here.
posted by Gator at 3:17 PM on August 26, 2010


After all, people don't like change.

Maybe it's time to go back to k5. Rusty has ignored the site for years and, as far as I can tell, k5 is the same as it ever was.
posted by sudogeek at 3:19 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the primary problem is that, conceptually speaking, you used to be able to describe Digg in a sentence. It's hard to think of any sentence that could describe Digg v3 that still applies to v4, which itself now needs a couple of paragraphs to describe.
posted by Sparx at 3:38 PM on August 26, 2010


"Digg 4.0 is a link aggregator where you can Digg what your friends have posted or view the most popular links."
posted by muddgirl at 3:42 PM on August 26, 2010


Did anybody else get a strange "Saw your post about Digg on MeFi" email this afternoon, or do I just have a new fan?
posted by Gator at 3:55 PM on August 26, 2010


"Digg 4.0 is a link aggregator where you can Digg what your friends have posted if you can find it amongst the autosubmitted content from privileged media organisations and vast lists of things your friends have Digged, and or view the most popular links as decided by opaque processes heavily weighted in favour of aforementioned organisations.

Seems ropey.
posted by Sparx at 3:56 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I remember the ancient debacle at Fark when it was first revealed that some of the posted pieces were paid-for content (but they weren't telling anyone), followed by mass deletion of any mention of said controversy on site and accompanying banhammers.

Seems like this is aiming for the same thing, just without the open controversy.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:14 PM on August 26, 2010


if you can find it amongst the autosubmitted content from privileged media organisations and vast lists of things your friends have Digged

Don't subscribe to the "privileged" media organizations and they won't show up, right?
posted by muddgirl at 4:28 PM on August 26, 2010


I haven't subscribed to a blessed thing, but there's a sponsored post from Threadless on my "My Latest News" page, nestled in between two of the three or four things I've actually Dugg. I click over to the "Top News" page and oh look, there's another sponsored post in the middle of the stuff that's listed there because hundreds of other people have Dugg them. There's a bunch of other stuff that may or may not be autoposted stuff from Big Companies like womansday.com and mashable.com and CNN, etc., who knows.
posted by Gator at 4:36 PM on August 26, 2010


I eventually went with the reddit trend of "novelty accounts" and started Unicode Unicorn

Woah a reddit celebrity.
posted by empath at 4:38 PM on August 26, 2010


Ah, Rhomboid didn't say anything about sponsored content in his Metafilter Summary Of How Digg Sucks.

Sounds like a pretty classic sell-out. Sucks when it happens.
posted by muddgirl at 4:38 PM on August 26, 2010


They're basically selling out. I'm sure there will be a huge drop in traffic, but they'll be able to monetize the traffic more directly, by simply selling traffic.
posted by delmoi at 4:41 PM on August 26, 2010


The reddit community deserves props for having the best usernames I have ever seen in a community and some of the most consistently funny joke characters.

As we all somehow being eternally 15 years of age
posted by the noob at 4:42 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heh, Digg CEO Kevin Rose is getting pretty passive-aggressive with the Twitter responses:
omgyouri: @kevinrose way to go ruining digg, now it's gay and ur a fagg.
about 1 hour ago via web from Tampa, FL

kevinrose: @omgyouri we are using the exact story ad placement as the old digg, nothing changed
about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to omgyouri


drsjlazar: @kevinrose I hope the "taste makers" are enough to keep digg going... They'll probably be the only ones left.
about 2 hours ago via web

kevinrose: @drsjlazar traffic is up 20+%, thanks for the concern tho
about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to drsjlazar


eyeisdotca: Congratulations @kevinrose you have officially created the most bug infested, garbage design, and all round hated site by its users
about 2 hours ago via HootSuite

kevinrose: @eyesisdotca thank you
about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to eyesisdotca
posted by Rhaomi at 5:14 PM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


@kevinrose way to go ruining digg, now it's gay and ur a fagg.

That's pretty much the reason to steer clear of Digg (and most of the rest of the internet, truth be told), right there.

The fact that Kevin felt compelled to respond? That's just kind of bizarre.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:20 PM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Woah a reddit celebrity.

I can't tell if you're serious or not. Then again, it's a dubious honor.
posted by hellojed at 5:26 PM on August 26, 2010


Don't subscribe to the "privileged" media organizations and they won't show up, right?

On a barely remembered account I have, I just tried following Ars Technica, and then unfollowing. My 'My News' was still full of not only Ars Technica articles, but stuff Ars Technica (or its account) had Dugg on other sites, crowding out two random heavy users I had tried to follow. Ugly. Possibly a bug, but not a good sign. And you can't follow just what people submit anyway, it's appears to be all or nothing.
posted by Sparx at 5:27 PM on August 26, 2010


Looking over the Top News page, I'm seeing a lot of stale content, some almost two days old. Maybe fewer people are using the site normally? And most of the comments are off-topic, grousing about the changeover. I wonder if they'll have second thoughts if people keep it up.

stavrosthewonderchicken: "That's pretty much the reason to steer clear of Digg (and most of the rest of the internet, truth be told), right there."

Most of the commentary on Digg is well above this level. I still think of the site as a guilty pleasure, but I wouldn't be using it at all if most of the users posted like that. That's barely YouTube-quality.

stavrosthewonderchicken: "The fact that Kevin felt compelled to respond? That's just kind of bizarre."

It irritates me. There are plenty of users with legitimate concerns about the redesign, but he chooses to spotlight the people with the dumbest, most offensive, most grammatically-challenged complaints. He's painting the people who oppose the change in a bad light instead of engaging with them.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:34 PM on August 26, 2010


Digg has long been one of my occasional go-to sites for "popular" news, weirdness, whatever. As non-member, I suspect I shall continue to view it as I always have. That is, who cares how it "chooses" whatever ends up the front page? If it tweaks my curiosity, I'll click on it. If it doesn't, I'll go elsewhere.

Maybe just add it to that list of the things that it's best not to know how they're made:

- laws
- sausage
- old movies that pre-date animal cruelty laws.
posted by philip-random at 5:38 PM on August 26, 2010


> They really, really want you to "follow" major content publishers. When you sign in and aren't following anyone,
> you get a blank page.

about:blank has been my home page since forever. Trend-setter.
posted by jfuller at 6:32 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't tell if you're serious or not. Then again, it's a dubious honor.
posted by hellojed at 7:26 PM on August 26 [+] [!]


Ok, this is a little embarrassing, but I actually gasped in delight when you revealed that you were Unicode Unicorn. Nothing dubious about it- I loved Unicode Unicorn.

I'm also a big fan of Joke_Explainer and CommentInSonnet
posted by Jpfed at 7:16 PM on August 26, 2010


Is that really what other community-blog type sites look like? Digg's interface is a frigging disaster. It's like the cloven-hooved spawn of myspace and reddit.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 7:21 PM on August 26, 2010


Am I the only person that's terrified that Digg people will spill over to Reddit and then Reddit people will spill over to Metafilter?
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 8:14 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I the only person that's terrified that Digg people will spill over to Reddit and then Reddit people will spill over to Metafilter?
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 10:14 PM on August 26 [+] [!]


It's even possible that some Reddit users are already here!
posted by Jpfed at 8:22 PM on August 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


Am I the only person that's terrified that Digg people will spill over to Reddit and then Reddit people will spill over to Metafilter?

I keep trying to get my reddit obsessed friends over to mefi, they don't want to come because they don't think it's worth the 5 bucks and the site design looks outdated.

Ok, this is a little embarrassing, but I actually gasped in delight when you revealed that you were Unicode Unicorn. Nothing dubious about it- I loved Unicode Unicorn.

Most people I tell are pretty gob-smacked, except for Reddit legend P-Dub, who I met last week, he seemed nonplussed.
posted by hellojed at 8:45 PM on August 26, 2010


Am I the only person that's terrified that Digg people will spill over to Reddit and then Reddit people will spill over to Metafilter?

$5/account is a bit of an impediment.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:46 PM on August 26, 2010


China should have used teh $5.00 account to keep out the mongol hordes.
posted by mecran01 at 8:49 PM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


After doing some more poking around the new site, I think I've discovered the most damning aspect of this relaunch.

I already pointed out in the FPP how the site's archives had been "ransacked," but I thought that just pertained to the digg counts on old stories and comments. These old counts are useful for determining the most popular stories ever submitted and for following the flow of older conversations, but are not intrinsically valuable. But it turns out the new Digg dispenses with far more than that.

If you pull up any story older than June 2010, you'll find that the comments section is either totally empty, or littered with a few spam comments from several days after the story was posted. Almost all of the substantive comments are gone.

It's hard to express how big of a "fuck you" this is to the users, especially long-time ones. I've been an active member of the site since March 2007. I've dugg more than 10,000 stories and God knows how many comments. I've left 4000+ comments of my own, more than everything I've posted to Mefi combined (hey, the threshold is lower). I've participated in innumerable discussions and debates, posted countless jokes, arguments, opinions, and stories. Hours and hours spent leaving constructive commentary, contributing quality material, and helping to moderate the site by upvoting good stuff and downvoting the bad. Other users have been doing the same for years longer than that.

And now, inexplicably, almost every single one of those contributions is gone. Every story I've submitted has had its count set to zero. Every digg and bury I've given to every post and comment has been erased. And almost every comment I've made -- thousands of substantive contributions -- has been deleted. Along with every other contribution from every other member of the site for the last six years.

Just imagine if that happened here, if every favorite and 90% of the comments were simply deleted from the database. Every legendary thread and epic joke and amazing story, gone. An absurd waste -- it dispenses not only with any practical use one might get out of revisiting old discussions, but it destroys all the history built up by the community and discounts the contributions of every member. I think the navigation is so clunky partially to obscure this absurdity from the users.

This isn't just a screw-up anymore. It's a slap in the face of anyone who ever gave a damn about the site enough to contribute something other than spam. I can't even begin to imagine what led them to believe this would be a good idea.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:22 PM on August 26, 2010 [21 favorites]


So. This Digg thingy you mention?Is this something one would need to be online to understand?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:58 PM on August 26, 2010


Just wait until the upcoming Gawker redesign comes out of beta. That's gonna be so much fun to watch!
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:38 PM on August 26, 2010


Just wait until the upcoming Gawker redesign comes out of beta. That's gonna be so much fun to watch!

Wait... what the fuck... that just did what when I clicked a link? Calm it the fuck down with the AJAX people.
posted by Artw at 10:41 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just wait until the upcoming Gawker redesign comes out of beta. That's gonna be so much fun to watch!

They appear to have broken the back button, nice one.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:47 AM on August 27, 2010


Bah. That whole text-farm blog network of which Gawker is a part -- whichever the fuck one it is, Denton or whoever's -- all sport a semi-consistent but horrible, eye-searing, annoying and user-unfriendly design aesthetic made from nearly pure distilled suck and wrong. Almost anything would be an improvement, for any of them.

Ironically, all the AOL-owned corresponding competitor blogs, like Engadget and Joystiq et al, are fucking sweet, at least in my opinion, in terms of design. That makes me laugh a little. AOL for the win!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:49 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Upvoting user content as the core mechanic and site draw? Soooooo 2007, darling!

1999
posted by DU at 6:23 AM on August 27, 2010


And on Netflix, you no longer have to go through the trouble of selecting or prioritizing which DVDs you want shipped to you.

Your queue will now be automatically generated based upon the movies your Facebook friends like.
posted by jeremy b at 8:15 AM on August 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


They appear to have broken the back button, nice one.

Ouch. Looks like their fancy AJAX replaces the URL but doesn't restore the homepage content.

Sometimes a page is better off being left as a page, people.
posted by Artw at 8:18 AM on August 27, 2010


the real problems with Digg that aren't fixed are the rampant sexist themes of what content is elevated as well as the moronic comments attached to most link descriptions. but hey, if this revamp cuts into the skew that the freaky invisible class of right winger nut jobs have been making, i'm all for that... but likely i will just continue to ignore Digg unless i'm really, really bored.
posted by kuppajava at 9:17 AM on August 27, 2010


The fact that Kevin felt compelled to respond? That's just kind of bizarre.

No, it's a pretty common and nasty rhetorical technique. By responding to the "this site is gay UR all fags" guy, he implies that that kind of idiocy is typical of his critics, that most of the criticism is just as stupid and hateful.
posted by straight at 10:54 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


straight: "No, it's a pretty common and nasty rhetorical technique. By responding to the "this site is gay UR all fags" guy, he implies that that kind of idiocy is typical of his critics, that most of the criticism is just as stupid and hateful."

And they have to be aware of the real criticisms. For instance, I made a lengthy comment summing up every change for the worse I could thing of and posted it. Somebody else took a screenshot, submitted it as a story, and it now has more than 800 diggs after only 18 hours. Meanwhile, the first two stories on the front page have 60 and 54 diggs, respectively, and are each more than a day old.

They're obviously preventing critical reactions from becoming "popular" (no doubt trying to avoid a repeat of this), or worse, they're actually selecting which stories get promoted by hand from upcoming queues that only they can see. The fact that the newest stories have so few votes suggest that the pickings are mighty slim in terms of non-redesign-related stories.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:51 PM on August 27, 2010


Just imagine if that happened here, if every favorite and 90% of the comments were simply deleted from the database. Every legendary thread and epic joke and amazing story, gone. An absurd waste -- it dispenses not only with any practical use one might get out of revisiting old discussions, but it destroys all the history built up by the community and discounts the contributions of every member. I think the navigation is so clunky partially to obscure this absurdity from the users.

Wow, that's pretty shitty. I'd be surprised if many people who realize what's happened stick around after that.
posted by homunculus at 1:24 PM on August 27, 2010


Interesting twist: that list of complaints I wrote that got screencapped and submitted has been responded to point-for-point by Kevin Rose on his blog. Some of the more notable ones:
The upcoming section is gone.

Out of 200+ Million pageviews in July, only 0.4% was from upcoming (yes, that's less than 1/2 of a percent). I definitely see the fun behind wanting to see stories just before they jump, so we'll add a view of upcoming popular stories soon.

Mainstream outlets and power users have been given more power over the front page.

All diggs are still equal, nothing has changed there. Our directory of recommended users will eventually open to the entire world. We will sort users, not on popularity (followers), but based on how good you are at finding/digging content (similar to wefollow.com). This will remove the popularity contest and put the focus on quality diggers.

The default homepage is now "My News" and cannot be changed.

Makes sense, we'll add this setting.

All your favorites have been deleted

Our fault, we'll add these to your "saved stories" section.

The bury button is gone.

By removing the bury button we have put a stop to the bury brigades. The "hide" button next to every story also acts as a "report" button, if enough people hide a story a site moderator is notified and we review it for TOS violations.

Historical submissions, like the Obama victory thread, have had their digg counts reset and their comment sections mangled.

We will fix this.
If these are actual planned near-future changes and not just empty placating, I think I've moved from "hate it" to "skeptical but on the fence."
posted by Rhaomi at 4:37 PM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


The main thing is digg just isn't fun to go to anymore. I don't know anyone there, so I don't follow anyone there. I just want to have the old experience, where there was a nice mix of entertaining content. Now, look at the top news page: TechCrunch, College Humor, Mashable, Cracked over and over again. So boring.

I'm closing my account there and I'm probably not coming back unless serious changes are made. I know, I know, they don't care. That's pretty much what the redesign communicated anyways.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:55 PM on August 29, 2010


By responding to the "this site is gay UR all fags" guy, he implies that that kind of idiocy is typical of his critics, that most of the criticism is just as stupid and hateful.

Hmm, nice catch. From what I know of Kevin, he doesn't seem the sort to deliberately pull that kind of move, but who knows, I guess.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:53 AM on August 30, 2010


When I first went to Digg, it was a tech-focused site and a replacement for Slashdot for me. Once it went general purpose, it became kind of useless.
posted by empath at 7:37 AM on August 30, 2010


If you visit digg now, you will notice that the front page is filled with reddit posts.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:59 AM on August 30, 2010


Wow. Weird.

Should we feel envy?
posted by Artw at 8:28 AM on August 30, 2010


You should envy them alot.
posted by homunculus at 9:35 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you visit digg now, you will notice that the front page is filled with reddit posts.

So no change, then.
posted by empath at 10:58 AM on August 30, 2010


If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.

blue_beetle, I just wanted to let you know that apparently everybody in the entire fucking twitterverse likes this line and enjoys retweeting it, not least Tim O'Reilly.
posted by cortex at 12:34 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


twitterverse
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:31 AM on September 3, 2010


<keanu>woah</keanu>
posted by blue_beetle at 12:33 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I go on Digg maybe every few months or so. Got the newsletter announcing the redesign, so I clicked, but the site wasn't responding. I promptly forgot about it. Now I have to go look to see what all this fuss is about. Thanks a lot, Metafilter.
posted by etoile at 1:54 PM on September 3, 2010


Update: Despite the (small) upgrades they've been making so far, I haven't spent much time on Digg or given it much thought since I last posted here. I've had a sinking feeling since then that their traffic has actually grown in the intervening time despite all the hatred and blowback, that this really was just a tempest in a teapot.

Holy crap, was I wrong. Look at these charts:

- Percent of global pageviews
- Daily pageviews per user
- Percentage of visits that consist of a single pageview
- Daily time spent on site

I thought that maybe it was because a lot of the userbase is in high school or college, and that the start of the fall semester was to blame for the decline. But looked at in a broader historical context, the drop is even more severe. They just reversed literally years of growth practically overnight.

That's a pretty epic fail, to use site parlance. And it looks like Reddit picked up most of the slack. Also, keep in mind that a sizable chunk of the remaining activity on the site is being generated by a remnant of disgruntled users still grousing off-topic-ly about the relaunch, weeks after the fact. I'm shocked they haven't undone the changes yet, considering they were ostensibly undertaken in order to boost traffic and pageviews. I wonder what their ad numbers are looking like right now.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:42 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, if you're read is accurate here Rhaomi, it's looking like this Digg-reconfig will go down in online infamy as a failure of genuinely epic proportions. I can see the post-mortem book title already:

HOW TO GET IT COMPLETELY WRONG
posted by philip-random at 9:50 AM on September 9, 2010


The Top Queries on Reddit are a bit weird.
posted by Artw at 9:53 AM on September 9, 2010


Of course, just a couple of weeks ago Kevin was blithely gushing about how the usage "looks extremely good (ie. more people registering (43,000+ new users yesterday)." I wonder how much of that number was from the pre-registered people who had tried to register while the old Digg wasn't accepting new registrations, waiting for Digg 4 to come out?
posted by Gator at 10:05 AM on September 9, 2010


Oh wow, it's like the New Game Experience from Star Wars Galaxies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:44 AM on September 9, 2010


In this episode of Everybody Retweets Blue Beetle, Gruber quotes someone else quoting it and offers attribution.
posted by cortex at 8:36 AM on September 12, 2010


The Top Queries on Reddit are a bit weird.

They have a subreddit called 'jailbait' which is basically just skeevy, but fully-clothed pictures of underaged girls. They should probably get rid of it, tbh.
posted by empath at 9:50 AM on September 12, 2010


So "Upcoming" is back now, but it appears to only show stuff that has at least two Diggs -- so if you submit something and you don't have any "followers" to help you promote it, there's literally no chance of anybody else ever seeing it. Was it like that before? At least on Reddit you have a fighting chance with the "new" queue.
posted by Gator at 5:16 PM on September 12, 2010


Actually, reddit's even better than that. If you post in most subreddits, it immediately goes to the front page of the subreddit, unless it's very high traffic. From there it could go to the reddit front page, or someone could link to it on the bestof subreddit and THAT might go to the front page.

Reddit's also really good about giving credit to original posters and it's rare that your link will be posted again by a power user.

I had a comment of mine make it to bestof and get 300 upvotes, and it was just a random bit of microfiction that I posted halfway into a video game thread that itself only had 10 upvotes when I posted it. If you post something good on reddit, it WILL get recognition.
posted by empath at 5:28 PM on September 12, 2010


Oh yeah, I've been on Reddit for about three weeks now and I'm loving it. It's got its share of jerks and voting cliques (the comics subreddit just recently exposed a voting circle that was going on at one of the private webcomics boards), but the fact that you have the opportunity to see absolutely everything that gets posted, even the stuff nobody upvotes, is great. That's why this Digg business is so puzzling to me -- you're apparently only allowed to see things that have achieved a certain level of popularity.
posted by Gator at 5:44 PM on September 12, 2010


From an former Digg employee who worked on version 4 and who left this past May: "THEY CAN’T GO BACK"
Digg v4 finally launched last week, and it’s taking a lot of fire, for both design decisions and technical issues. There are a lot of angry users asking them to go back to the old version. This is simply not going to happen. Love it or hate it, v4 is here to stay.

Digg v4 is not a redesign, not a reskin, it is a 100% rewrite. It’s completely new design, code, architecture, and infrastructure. It has almost no relationship to the v3 system whatsoever.

[...]

Even if they still have the systems and the desire to roll back, they don’t have the talent to maintain Digg v3. Nearly everyone who built and worked on the legacy Digg codebase has left the company.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:04 PM on September 12, 2010


"(CNN) -- Social news site Digg this week launched a major new version that seeks to change the way we consume news radically."

I would like to believe that the precariously dangling "radically" is supposed to apply to the "change," but seeing as it's coming from old-media CNN, I have a feeling the sentence is really meant to convey the idea that the method by which "we consume news" (a rather icky trio of words even without an adverb) is what's radical. Ew. Either way, that's one heck of a poorly-constructed sentence.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:16 AM on September 13, 2010


> Either way, that's one heck of a poorly-constructed sentence.

It can't just be my confirmation bias; news sites are getting increasingly sloppy and lazy with their grammar and usage lately.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:26 AM on September 13, 2010


But imagine the angry emails if they'd dared to split that infinitive in the interest of clarity!
posted by Gator at 11:29 AM on September 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


It can't just be my confirmation bias; news sites are getting increasingly sloppy and lazy with their grammar and usage lately.

Well, if they're anything like the Toronto Star, it's because they've kicked all their editors to the curb.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:43 AM on September 13, 2010


In related news ...

How Facebook sells your friends-- "Web site plans to become the biggest ad juggernaut since Google."
posted by ericb at 7:08 AM on September 24, 2010


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