One example of being jerks: http://blog.jgc.org/2006/07/sense-of-humor-failure-at-digg.h...
After that I was unbanned, but not after an employee of Digg defamed me in a blog post by making false claims: http://blog.jgc.org/2006/07/unbanned-from-digg.html
And here's an example of how reddit people weren't jerks when I inadvertently brought the site great slowness: http://blog.jgc.org/2010/09/tale-of-two-cultures.html
Digg wanted to make money.
If Conde hadn't bought Reddit, then it would likely have been a far closer race.
When your competition isn't interested in making money, you're always going to be at a major disadvantage.
Prior to the Internet you had mass media controlling distribution. The Internet comes along and you have things like Usenet and the proto-Web.
Then comes the first crowdsourcing sites to allow people to find content without employing people to curate that information. Slashdot was certainly early in this trend.
What Digg allowed is a certain band of people to control the information flow. People would get paid to promote submissions as it became clear that a front-page submission generated a lot of pageviews.
But what became apparent with all these community sites (and this includes forums) is they start with an early group who provide value to each other. This group ends up becoming insular. De facto standards form. But even in the Usenet days you had the "September" problem (where new college freshmen would get Internet access and not understand the "rules" and conventions that were in place and would ask questions that had already been answered, etc).
Basically all these social sites get worse over time as the masses flood in.
Digg died because the idea that there is a central source for news was a holdover idea from the old media days. Reddit understood this. Global reddit is basically useless. The subreddits are the only remotely interesting thing about reddit.
People complain about how HN is getting worse. That's probably true and it is true (and will continue to be true) of any such social site in the future.
I've heard the same complaints about Twitter.
Facebook for most people is not a source of news. It doesn't have the same link-sharing mindshare (IMHO) for most people that other mediums have. Ultimately I think the biggest use case for Facebook is still sharing photos. People go to Facebook to find out what their friends are doing. Very few go to find out what's going on in the world (much as Facebook would like that to be the case).
I'm surprised at how some wax lyrical on how amazing reddit is. It's just a minor tweak on a long trend of existing prior art (the subreddits). Personally I think it's a cesspool full of trolls. Proggit (programming.reddit.com) is (IMHO) just awful.
So I went over there, and the first article is about protocol-less links, and the first comment notes that they have performance issues in css for IE7 & 8. The second article is a link to dadgum and the first comment is about optimizing network communication.
It's not HN, but awful is an overstatement.
I tried for about 2 months to politely explain to posters why their posts didn't fit the guidelines and then I quit and gave up. Why fight an inevitability?
Agreed. In many ways I find Reddit to be much better and more enjoyable. First, it provides a better UX, especially for posting and revising comments. Second, there is much less pedantry there than on HN ("Well technically... Well technically... Exception in this exceptional case! No it's not. Yes it is! Exotic edge case under theoretical conditions I read about in a book that one time!" etc.). Third, there are less haters. Fourth, there are lots of funny and creative writers there, again, unlike here on HN. There are definitely positives about HN, and both HN and Reddit share some of the same weaknesses (a unimind or Thought Police effect: if you post a view that strays too far from the median you will get downvotes that penalizes your karma, even if your post was thoughtful, well-written, constructive, polite, etc.)
The percentage of interesting articles has declined over time. Is that because I have overdosed a bit on the types of articles and discussions that appear here? Or simply because I have consumed more internet based news now than I had when I started reading HN? Who is to say.
Yes, sites in general can and have declined. However, due to the fact that I have not seen trolls dominate HN, and in my view the quality of HN is approximately as good as it has always been, I find it difficult to measure the quality of the site to a precision that would allow me to track it over time. In my own head.
The short answer is, this site is still among the best discussion news sites on the internet.
A good way to test this hypothesis would be to check with people who are new to the scene and new to Hacker News. Do they react to the content similarly to how old members initially reacted?
>> People complain about how HN is getting worse. That's probably true and it is true (and will continue to be true) of any such social site in the future.
1. "Worse" is subjective.
2. I think it's more of a trade-off between quality and size. Hacker News doesn't have to get "worse", but would have to remain niche in order to avoid it. That is why subreddits can succeed, because Reddit is essentially a platform for lots of niche communities.
Reddit is the easiest way I know of to generate a targeted community. I've set up subreddits, forgot about them, and come back to find them with thousands of members and fresh content. Are there other comparable ways to do this?
The quality of individual subreddits varies wildly, of course. This should not be a surprise. In a way, Reddit's subreddits feature brought back the spirit of Usenet.
They only get worse for people who don't like mainstream content.
FB, Reddit, HN did not "kill" Digg. The tribe growing up and or moving on to other things ended Digg. A similar tribe is at Reddit now, but a similar tribe used to live at Slashdot. Before that they probably lived on Usenet message boards or wherever.
In college, the comp sci program I was in had a private message board that ended up having a very similar vibe to digg/reddit/slashdot. Tech heavy, at times very heated political and religious debate. Eventually the original group graduated and it's never been quite the same.
It seems that each generation has something like digg, slashdot, reddit, whatever... that is "the thing" for hanging out and sharing/complaining about the news of the day or whatever is interesting. They might look like fads because on the internet they peak and crumble pretty quick, but really it is probably a natural cycle that communities and tribes go through.
Eventually HN and Reddit will become irrelevant to certain groups and the tribes that live there will move on to the next thing, whatever that might be.
I'm guessing the next site like this already exists or is going to be built soon, so any guesses as to what it will be if it's already out there?
Most of the content on Reddit these days isn't technology- or politically oriented at all. This has changed over the last year or so - there are subreddits for pretty much anything. What makes these communities special is that a lot of them have very specialized and very diverse knowledge, not necessarily related to the subjects Reddit's early adopters were interested in. There are subreddits for science, fitness, finance, sex, art and just about any other subject people would be interested in following. What gets to the default front page doesn't even begin scratching the surface of what the ecosystem has to offer.
I have the contrarian opinion that Reddit won't be displaced for a long time in the realm of primarily text-based news sharing and discussion.
I think the only thing that would really kill reddit is if the people in charge try too hard to monetize it, like Digg did.
When aging HN users get tired of the changing atmosphere they will splinter off.
What I'd like to see come next: A community for hacker+entrepreneur types with an HN-like policy on commenting and etiquette that doesn't pander to Silicon Valley and doesn't need to stay on the good side of tech rags. Bootstrapping, programming, running a company -- that's it. Nothing so vague as "gratifying one's intellectual curiosity."
But it was pretty obvious much earlier on that Digg had zero respect for its users. In many ways, Digg had a very old school broadcast attitude: the users were merely part of the product, only the advertisers mattered.
Digg were apparently sustainable at their prior valuation, and with their existing userbase.
This is the same problem Facebook is facing having promised investors astronomical per-user revenue. They continue pissing off their users and if they aren't careful the next ad-based redesign could be the turning point.
Digg was viable previously. Hence the Icarus problem. They tried to fly too high.
Most startups are stillborn. That's a different Greek myth.
Don't get me wrong, I think they'd have been far better off taking far less money and simply being a profitable property. I think nearly all startups would be better off doing this. I just don't believe that digg did anything abnormal for a typical startup.
I logged in. Still no content. That was the last time I visited digg.com, and I'm sure I'm not alone.
My guess is that if the acquirers just rever to the pre-redesign version Digg will come back to life.
I read a bit of the discussion on Reddit, and there were surprisingly (to me) many people that had used Digg before. Then something called "v4" came and Digg became unusable to many people. As I understood the discussion. Digg didn't care. So its users looked for alternatives and moved to Reddit. Digg still didn't care. People got used to Reddit and stayed. Digg still didn't care.
Yesterday I looked at Digg.com for the first time in years. Only a quick look and I spotted already a number of beginners mistakes only in the front page design.
For example the clickable headlines to the stories: they are the main content. Yet they are very /very/ light and hard to read on the white background. WTF. You want your main content to have /good contrast/ and stand out, and secondary stuff (like "points" or "who submitted" or "vote buttons") to have less contrasts as to not distract from your main content. Yet, even such basic things Digg gets wrong. I didn't dare to digg further.
As soon as that happened, Digg lost the alpha nerds. The rest was destiny played out over time.
How long before web designers start complaining about reddit the way they complain about craigslist's design?
In Craigslist case, there are clearly better ways to browse housing spots than in a list of links with non-standardized location information in the linktext. In Reddit and HN, part of the joy is serendipity...you don't need to aggregate the content behind each link at once...because of the voting system, you don't worry that clicking on the top link will be a waste of time. That's not the case with CL's chronologically ordered list.
Reddit has made some concessions with allowing thumbnails of image-based posts to show up. Otherwise, its minimalistic approach serves a real usability purpose and is not simply the result of stagnation.
Picc.it is tuned to sharing pictures with people you don't know, but share your interests.
Think of it as the difference between glomping onto a pre-existing community (e.g. Facebook friends), and creating a new one (e.g. Reddit).
In any such ecosystem where the inmates are running the asylum, pissing them off is not a good course of action.
The tribe knew that it was the reason why Digg was what Digg was. But arrogance on the part of the upper management at Digg was its downfall; they couldn't come to terms with the basic fact that the people were responsible for Digg's success. So they decided to tweak it, "enhance" it, modify it to "Digg 2.0", and the people revolted.
Lesson: if you are a user-driven site, listen to them. Don't piss them off.
What killed it (for me anyway) was that Digg suddenly allowed advertisers to start posting away. Ads popped up everywhere, and every other post from directly from Mashable. Digg was no longer cool, and mostly, it was Mashable's alternative site. :)
I switched to Reddit. Reddit didn't like all the Digg users migrating over initially, but attitudes have cooled over time. I can't really see a move that Digg could make at this point that would entice me back.
The Digg v4 idea was good, but poorly executed. They shouldn't have suddenly forced you to follow other people to get your news. They were trying too hard to become a social network like Twitter / Facebook. Instead, I think they should have integrated with Twitter / Facebook to find top news, rather than starting their own social network.
Part 1: http://ncomment.com/blog/2009/04/08/war-13/
Part 2: http://ncomment.com/blog/2009/12/17/war-23/
Part 3: http://ncomment.com/blog/2012/01/06/war-33/
The day that Digg changed their interface was the day they lost a huge portion of their users, including me. I went back once more after that, and then never again.
Reddit was right place, right time to pick up the exodus. I don't think it did anything to kill Digg.
Kevin got caught in a situation where he had to please investors and they were looking at what other people were doing and he stop innovating and started copying.
That's what killed Digg. Nothing else.
Even Microsoft is not the same since Bill Gates handed the reigns to Ballmer. They're just too big (Office/Windows cash cows) to actually die from that.
Founder disinterest is lethal.
Reddit was founded in 1997?
This isn't a problem with the sites, it's a problem with the users of these sites. This is democracy in action. It's cable news. People voting don't want to see challenging, thought-provoking content. They want to see things that confirm their biases, or things they can repost to facebook for quick laughs from their friends.
1) With sub-reddits, this hasn't become as big of a problem unless a lot of users still keep the sub-reddits that annoy them. There is a reddit for everyone, especially since anyone can create their own sub-reddit. While Digg only had one idea tribe, Reddit has many. Moreover users that create their own sub-reddits can police them with other like-minded users.
2) Reddit is able to fit more content per page given their design. I don't have to keep clicking the next page link to get more.
But there's a tricky problem. Subreddits like /r/programming dominate, while more focused subreddits like /r/ruby (or whatever) languish. If I have a ruby link and I care at all about karma, I'm going to post it in /r/programming.
In your case, ruby already has a good news site and it doesn't need reddit. Rubyflow is more than sufficient imo
Call me an optimist, but I can't help but think that there's something better than what's out there now.
Well if there isn't, as I've already mentioned, you can make your own sub-reddit.
> Call me an optimist, but I can't help but think that there's something better than what's out there now.
hmmm you're right... Reddit's sub-reddit's is imo a half-assed implementation of an idea tribe paper that showed up years ago on HN. To this day I can't find it.
Anyways the gist of the idea, is that everyone belongs to an idea tribe / group aimed that making wikipedia better. All of these groups have differences in what they think are accurate, right, cool, etc... However many groups have things that they agree on. The paper talks about how great it would be if we could have something that would highlight those commonalities.
That doesn't mean anyone's going to use it. It takes a long time to grow a community. I would love for /r/trueskyrim to take off because /r/skyrim has become 99% garbage, 1% content. Unfortunately trueskyrim hasn't had a post in 6 months.
The only reason /r/Games ever took off was because it was started by the mods of /r/gaming and got lots of attention on /r/gaming's front page. Don't get me wrong /r/Games is wonderful, but without the publicity that it got from /r/gaming I doubt anyone would use it.
Why not seed it yourself for a few weeks and see what happens?
> The only reason /r/Games ever took off was because it was started by the mods of /r/gaming and got lots of attention on /r/gaming's front page.
It's not like you can't work with the mods of other sub-reddits. r/libertarian is on r/politic's sub-reddit page
That is 100% your own fault.
Anyone who's been on reddit long enough has a front page of all the sub communities they follow, and probably only a couple of the defaults.
The pop-culture types get the pop stuff and the veterans get the small, focused culture, so everyone's mostly satisfied.
When one community starts becoming watered down, someone will usually start a new subreddit, rather than go to a new site altogether.
Altogether, I think these will give reddit better longevity than slashdot/digg.
HN will be a great place to go to, so long as it is heavily (and transparently) moderated. Otherwise the hordes will come in, and destroy it with meme's and sensationalist articles.
If you're bothered by the community then just subscribe to subreddits. It's the same with Facebook. Any post that annoys you can be filtered with a few clicks. It's quite customizable.
Are you basing theory on anything except your personal dislike of regurgitated memes, nerd pop culture and rage comics?
As far as I can tell all evidence points to the fact that Digg was in fact killed by their version 4 release, it was widely disliked by their users and you can find articles about sharp drops of pageviews (never recovered) after that specific release and, IIRC, also articles about reddit gaining pageviews at the same time.
So a combination of poor product design, a selling out the Digg community and availability of alternatives killed Digg.
So the question is: What was the big deal with v4?
Yes, REALLY My memory seems to function better than yours.
Let me restate that the pro-microsoft trolls were the reason I left Digg in disgust.
Looking through your past comments it is clear that you have some sort of grudge against Microsoft, so perhaps I am not surprised you were downvoted after all.
In case you didn't know, Digg was my day job from 2004-2007.