Linked by Kroc on Tue 19th Dec 2006 13:39 UTC
Editorial Web 2.0 throws a lot of buzzwords at us. New technology has given us new terms to describe a particular design process. One of these is "user-centric" design. An example of a website that isn't user-centric would be microsoft.com. A static site where the users have no control over the content of the site, nor any choice in what they see. The company displays the information they deem important. This is considered web 1.0. (Note by AS: a new microsoft.com site has gone live since this submission). YouTube and Digg are examples of Web 2.0, user-centric sites whereby the users of the site contribute not only the content that the other users consume, but each user helps decide what content is promoted. Today, I'm going to coin a new term: self-centric design. To define this new term, I will compare OSNews to one of the leading web 2.0 sites: Digg.
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RE: Yes and No.
by Get a Life on Tue 19th Dec 2006 19:32 UTC in reply to "Yes and No."
Get a Life
Member since:
2006-01-01

The community of Digg is the primary thought behind its design: it is the engine of the reporting and consumption of items for ad revenue. It is mostly-undirected and representative of a larger cross-section of the Internet populace than sites directed by some manner of editorial control.

The tools that Digg provides to enhance discussion are not uninteresting, since they largely cede comment selection to a similar user-level filtering as news items. If a comment does not advance a discussion, it can be weeded out for the benefit of others, and comments are not seen as inherently valuable. Considering that most comments on Digg are retarded, I think that is actually a good perspective.

The threading at Digg is pretty bad, but that is true of a lot of discussion forums on the Internet. The AJAX features are incredibly useful, and anything that reduces the irritation of using a site (especially one with perhaps hundreds of comments) is fine by me.

Of course the problem with Digg is that it is community driven and seeks to appeal to a wider cross-section of people than sites directed by editorial control. Any idealistic value of the tools it provides is quickly crushed by the harsh realities of the mob. As it turns out people are kind of stupid: between the absurdly low quality of discussion on Digg and the vapid stories that find their way to the front page, I only look at Digg once or twice a day and only on the first page or so. If I were running Digg through a spam filter I might be able to tolerate it, but as a website it's obnoxious. The comment selection responds to popularity rather than quality, which spurs partisans to swap whines about being buried because of bias. The front page is obviously 'gamed' to promote advertisements. Much of the articles that are selected that don't appear to be advertisements are duplicates or stupid.

If you want a lesson on why a republic is better than a democracy, well I think Digg will let you know. If you want to see how to be hot on the Internet, though, then you can also think of Digg. It went from nowhere to being an in thing, by appealing to a broad audience. That is its community: it's large and kind of juvenile, with considerable in-fighting and group-think. It's like the world, I suppose, only "enhanced" by the anonymity of the Internet.

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