I read a lot of blogs and news articles and some time ago I discovered Digg and subscribed to it's feed. Initially, the articles were pretty good and interesting and related to tech stuff. I really thought I was onto a winner, and like many, a potential Slashdot killer. Slashdot at the time was getting a bit slow on publishing articles.
Now for those who don't know, Digg and Slashdot are both techie news sites, however they operate in very different manners. On Slashdot, readers submit interesting articles which are then reviewed by an editorial body, and if deemed interesting or news worthy, published. Slashdot doesn't publish the whole story, just a description that gives you a good idea of what the article is about and provides a link to the story if you want to read the whole article.
Digg on the other hand, hands all this control over to the users and thus removes the need for an editorial body. Users submit links to interesting stories, with a custom title and a brief description, which other Digg readers read, and if they like the story and find it interesting, they "digg it" and comment on the link, thus increasing it's "popularity". When a story gets very popular, it reaches the front page and then thousands of people read the story. In principle, this is a clever idea, however recently, this has proven to be to the detriment of Digg's reputation.
Recently, I have been led to feel that the average Digg commenter/submitter must be about 15 years old and with a lot of spare time on their hands and not much understanding how the whole news idea works.
The general feel of the stories submitted has gained a real immature feel with the same stories coming up again and again, each with a bloody useless description and title, and then a billion and one "It's a dupe" comments. More and more of the links that are not duplicates are really stupid things like "250 Gig External Hard Drive $99.99 (after $50 rebate)" or "Black Holes FAQ" - yes, these are for real and actually occurred on the front page today. Oh, and that's not to mention the load of "check this site for loads of cool wallpapers" links too.
Erm, this is meant to be a tech news site - a 250G hard drive for $100 may have a slight technical slant, but it's not news - it's sales. As for the Blackhole FAQ - WTF???
Another issue I have against Digg, and to a lesser degree Slashdot, is what is known as the "Slashdot effect". This expression comes from the situation where your website gets reduced to a crawl, or even a crash due to huge influx of traffic caused by one of your stories being linked to in a Slashdot article.
The onslaught of traffic directed from Slashdot is no where near as severe as the traffic from Digg, as people can actually read the description of the story and make a decision to read more or not. Digg's useless titles and descriptions mean people actually have to visit the site to find out what the story is about, even if it's only for a few seconds to find out it's a load of rubbish. As a result, you get a lot of AWOL websites that have been linked to by a Digg post. Surely this is a form of Denial of Service attack?
So, unfortunately, I've joined the ever increasing number of people who no longer read Digg or subscribe to it's feeds. I don't have time to wade through ten tons of shite every morning - I want a clear and accurate description of the story and a link to read more.
Long live Slashdot, and the new general and tech news site Newsvine.