Digg forsakes its first love.

January 26, 2009 •

Let me start off by saying, I know what this looks like.  This appears to be “the little emo-kid trying to raise a huge ruckus by throw rocks at Digg because his/her articles never get dugg”.  But, let it be known, I have no gripe my lack of success in the Digg Popularity Department.

My problem with Digg is that it has seemingly abandoned the sections that would most appeal to technical/web professionals, the people who made Digg great.

State of the Union

Digg has seen a plateau in its number of visitors to its site, resulting in recent staff cuts . Although layoffs are normal to this economy, it doesn’t explain the leveling off of users.  And I’ve noticed a drop in my usage too, when Digg shut down the API key for Eventbox (an app which I’ve already blogged about here), I decided to just see if I could live without my digg addiction.  I have gone on living just fine and am quite happy.  And that sparked my “investigation” into why I wasn’t affected by cutting out 300 articles a day from my RSS diet.  My research led me to the sections that I care about most.

The Programming Section

digg-programming-2

There’s currently only 2 pages of frontpage articles an the 2nd page just has a handful.  On the Programming frontpage (see screenshot below) there are the typical stories you would expect to see - jQuery 1.3.1 and the Rails/Merb merger.  But the programming industry is extremely volatile and there are new technologies coming out everyday which should make it here (read Ajaxian.com).  Where are the .git tutorials and the WCAG 2.0 articles?

Most of the posts that get promoted are are titled “30 Essential Wordpress Plugins” and “100 Essential Firefox Plugins”.  The words “Essential” and “Plugins” must be key to getting your story promoted by the Digg Algorithm.  

The Design Section

digg-design-2

This section is desolate as well. Although it has 4 pages of articles, by page 3 I noticed there were articles I read when submitted 19 days ago.  This is unnecessary because there are thousands of people churning out new web/print/illustrative designs everyday.  There are also designers out there looking for inspiration cruising countless inferior CSS gallery sites that don’t have the comment engine and user base of Digg.  Now, there’s a digg clone just for design and the only limitation of the site seems to be the low number of users.  Like the Programming section, Design is extremely fluid and changing everyday.  Design inspiration isn’t too hard to come by (see FFFFOUND!) and with modern/retro/web/print/UX/interface design all being sub-genres of this catagory, the well is clearly not being tapped.

Articles in this section tend to be titled “50 Free Wordpress Themes” and “20 Free Icon Sets”.  I guess “Free” will always be successful.

Rework Ur Algorithm Plz

Digg was an awesome+awesome alternative Slashdot and was a great new home for Slashdot refugees to participate in tech topics and discussion and feel like they’re on the cutting edge of web technology…  then came the high school kids… and Ron Paul… If there’s a reason I’m not going to digg now it’s because I’ve already got XKCD and Smashing Magazine in my Google Reader.

So, I’m pitching the usual whine of most digg users: “rework the algorithm”. Give me more stories that don’t have to reach the impossible algorithmic threshold to compete with “X Essential Plugins I need for Y”.