Vincent Cheung

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Slashdot vs Digg

I've been a Slashdot reader since the summer of 2000. For those of you out of the loop, Slashdot is "News for nerds, stuff that matters". It has links to interesting articles (those of interest to nerds) - primarily technology and computer related, but also science, politics, and education. It also has a system whereby people can leave comments about the articles. What usually results is that you get an interesting discussion about the article. Slashdot is read by A LOT of people. There's a term for an article that's made it onto Slashdot and visited by so many people that it crashes the server - the "Slashdot effect".

I've recently discovered Digg and have been finding that I visit it quite often. Digg is also a place where you can find a collection of links to articles of interest to geeks. The difference is how the articles make it to the site. With Slashdot, there are editors who determine which articles make it onto the page. With Digg, the users decide. Once an article has received enough votes or "diggs", then it gets promoted to the front page. This distributed and democratic method works quite well.

There was a recent article on Digg that discussed which one was better. Here are my points on how the two differ:

  • Articles get onto Digg faster than Slashdot - hundreds (or thousands) of eyes are better than just a small handful.

  • Digg has more articles than Slashdot

  • Digg sometimes misses some of the articles that Slashdot has, plus Slashdot has things like interviews and "Ask Slashdot"

  • Digg's audience seems to be younger than Slashdot's - Digg seems to have a significant number of "kids" and lacks the knowledgeable professionals that read Slashdot

  • Digg often has no-news articles (blogs, rumours, old news, etc.) - articles make it because people vote for them and see #4

  • The comments on Slashdot are more thoughtful than on Digg - see #4

  • Slashdot is really aimed at geeks/nerds and people with knowledge (university students and professionals), Digg has a wider audience and its reflected by the articles it has (includes the "kiddie script generation")

I think it's frivilous to try and argue which one is better. I like both and they do serve separate purposes, although rather subtle.

In the end, I visit both and read articles from both (I tend not to read the comments unless I find the article particularly interesting). I just deal with the fact that I see duplicates.


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