My response to Drew Mckinney’s 5 reasons why digg sucks.
Here are his 5 reasons… my response in bold.
1. Despite being a “technology news website” it consistently features stories that are not technology-related in the least. Stories like, “OMG! Clay Aiken is GAY!!” or “Britney Spears to appear on Simpsons!!” are very common on the site.* GMAFB, what does any of that have to do with technology? It’s a little thing to bitch about but still, if I wanted that kind of crap I’d look up different sites that specialize in it. Just keep things to technology, that’s all I ask.
Besides being an exaggeration (no, no Britney), it’s deeply inaccurate. DIGG started that way because the users , at first, were predominantly geeks and fans of the fallen TechTV universe. Everything changes, and the technology section IS filled with tech stories, not gossip or opinion pieces on sexual preference. That’s what filters are for, and they are easy to use on the site. But heaven forbid we expect someone with the knowledge and wisdom to “monetize the web” have the extra neurons available to process the concept of simple filtering. Wouldn’t want you to strain or possibly crowd the area of your brain that keeps track of google adwords stats.
2. Members can be elitist assholes. I rarely see anything that approaches a rational discussion in the comments, instead, you are treated to off-topic flame wars and personal attacks, most of which involve some sort of “I’m OLD SKOOL and I’m great” type of talk. I’ve seen new members of the community ask a reasonable question only to be told to “Go back to engadget where you belong because this is Digg where our mouths are even bigger than our dicks.”**
That last part is funny, but not for the reason you think it is. See, if YOU think our mouths are big and we’re exaggerating that means when we speak of our dicks, those are huge, too. I like to consider myself above average, but then again when I think of social news criticism, I’m not thinking too much about cock. You know why so many digg users seem elitist? Well, one reason is what many have suspected, widespread Aspergers. The other reason? Because we’re geeks and we tend to deal with a lot of really dumb people on a regular basis, many of whom are in positions of power. So we grab a little power where we can get it. Sad, a little, but when you’re on DIGG, you’re in our house. And didn’t you just say you missed all the tech stuff? If you REALLY missed it, you’d realize that comes with the territory. And remember, this is the Internets, everyone is more rude here. Another important thing to remember is that pointing out that you’re wrong isn’t flaming. Common misconception.
3. Webmasters are given no warning when their site is going to be “dugg.” I think it’s irresponsible of a so-called technology community to overwhelm a web server without having a system in place that would allow the webmaster to set up some mirrors or somehow prepare his site for when the traffic comes. The, for lack of a better term, digg-effect can be devastating to a site and the bandwidth bill can get into the thousands before the webmaster knows what’s going on. These “diggers” know exactly what they are doing yet they completely disregard their responsibility for bringing a site down.
Sorry, that is what we call passing the buck. When you PUBLISH, those are the risks you take. And were you aware that there are different ways of looking at success? One of them is monetary, and the other can end up being monetary but not as instantaneously as you’d prefer, obviously. This is what makes me so sick about the whole basis of your criticism. You look at success as monetization of your content. The rest of the world could care less about your ad response rates or clickthrough ratios. You’ve missed the whole point of publishing anything. You want success, but you don’t want the attention. Kind of like those celebrities you chide above, many of them want the money and the fame and the power, but they hate the attention. Granted, most of them deserve very little of any of those things, but at least they take responsibility for most of their success.
In other words, you publish and want to generate ads. Writers, real ones, publish and want to be read. They want their words understood, absorbed. They want to inspire people, inform them, educate them. Most writers I know would LOVE to have their site go down because of TOO MUCH traffic. But no, you want it to be “just enough”and you want to pick and choose who your audience is. Guess what? The rest of us don’t get to choose, so what makes you so special? Why should you get that choice? How about you focus on being a good writer, with something unique to say and let your audience be who they are.
And don’t even get me started on hosting. You get what you pay for. And, no offense, if you’ve set up wordpress on a Pentium 2 in your bedroom, you have received EXACTLY what you deserve. Also, if you set yourself up to draw traffic and the second that traffic grows suddenly (there’s almost no other way traffic grows these days) your host shuts you down, you have again got exactly what your 9.95 a year is worth. Almost nothing. Being pissed at the rest of us because you made the wrong choices just makes you look like an ass.
4. Digg traffic does not equal advertising dollars. Many webmasters have advertising on their sites, like Google’s Adsense or Yahoo!’s YPN and mistakenly thing that getting dugg will equal money in their pockets. This is dead wrong. The people that use digg don’t click on ads, they’re the wrong crowd for contextual advertising, and the webmaster usually ends up paying for a ton of bandwidth and lowers his click-through rate, thereby causing himself to be smart-priced out of the higher-paying ads that might have been shown on his site.***
Cry to them, not us. Again, your choices and you’re blaming us. No-one is forcing you to publish, and we owe you nothing in return for the favor of loaning you our eyes. If anything, you owe us quality for giving you our limited time for the purpose of deciding if your words are worth reading. Then, to add insult to injury (and more insult), you hate us for liking you. Besides, who told you that you were entitled to advertising dollars? If what you have is so valuable, and you’re just so sick of us reading your words without giving you anything in return, get yourself an agent and see if publishers love you as much as we do. Or charge us to read your words. Oh wait, yeah, it’s kind of hard to sell your content without anyone knowing who the hell you are, isn’t it? But… but.. how do they know who I am if I…
Kind of seems like a catch-22, huh? Well, it’s not. It’s a puzzle every writer, musician, performer, composer, filmmaker has been trying to solve since the first caveman intellectual property lawyer started hanging around campfires waiting for his client’s campfire songs to be sung so he could collect royalties. Part of the trick, at least these days, is not insulting or attacking your audience. I think there’s a lesson for you in there somewhere.
5. Apple is God and Microsoft is the Devil. I just don’t understand why everyone has to jump all over a guy just because he has Windows installed on his laptop. You want to know something jerks? Sometimes people in the world can’t afford the Apple-tax and they have to get something that’s in their price range. Yeah, everyone knows that Windows sucks, we don’t need to hear it every second.
You know what? I’m kind of with you on this one. But I feel it’s important to point out that for every person reading this that agrees with us, there is another who disagrees with us and thinks we’re both asshats. It’s how the world works. If everyone agreed with everyone else, the world would be boring (or Singapore). You really need to accept this in order to be a remotely happy and adjusted individual. There is NO unmoderated or slightly moderated community that does not have discourse. And you should know by now that when a community is heavily moderated, the opinions tend to side with those doing the moderating. And what kind of a real conversation can occur in that environment (or Singapore)?
DIGG is like any other free place, you’re going to hate at least half of it. If you love all of what you see in such a place, it is no longer free.