I love Digg
for a lot of reasons, but the problem is that stories and comments are
not dug or buried for their merit, people do so based on whether or not
they agree with it. For the comment system in particular, that makes it
The new comment system demonstrates this very well. While I think the new system is pretty cool, some people hate it.
If you read the comments on that story, the people who do like the new
system just get dug down anyway, even if they have an opinion with
There are a great many things to think about though in terms of what they've done here. Daniel Burka has a blog post explaining many of their design decisions.
I think that for the most part he makes a great many compelling
arguments. There's a constant battle in my mind about how to build a
forum discussion. In real life, even a large group of people talk in
turn, one after another. A linear style thread, like those found on
most forum apps, is recorded this way but it's not real time the way a
human conversation is. To compensate, that means you have to quote
previous posts, and far too many people never bother to trim those
quotes so you end up with a ton of repeat or distractionary data.
the other hand, you can do the Usenet-style true threading, but the
problem is that a conversation can then splinter off into a thousand
different directions, which is, frankly even harder to follow. It can
lead to many posts spread out by the same user too, often saying the
So I think that the linear threading is still better
in most ways, but you still have that problem with quoting. I'm not
sure how you solve that problem.
The thing I do like is the AJAX
loading of posts. The theory of it at least is interesting, in that you
have less database activity, less initially transmitted HTML and a more
manageable page for the browser to render. I'd be very curious to know
what the measurable impact of this is.
The online discussion has not really evolved all that much in ten years. I wonder now what imagination will lead us to.