February 02, 2007

Digg Running Circles Around Slashdot for Tech News

Slashdot used to be the ultimate site for all news geek-related. If you got your news article or blog post on the front page of Slashdot, it was hallowed ground, promising tremendous traffic. One of the Internet's new media pioneers, the site relies on users to submit articles, and for these articles to be selected by one of a handful of editors for addition to Slashdot's front page. Yet, for the latest tech news, Digg not only has a wider range of articles, but front-page news hits that community much more quickly. By the time the news hits Slashdot, it's almost guaranteed I've already read it.

Today, it was announced that Viacom asked YouTube to remove more than 100,000 videos, ostensibly for copyright infringement. By early morning, Digg user "tommytrc" posted a Reuters story announcing the demand.

Less than an hour after his submission, the story had received enough Diggs to be considered popular, making the front page. As of 9:30 pacific time, it had received 897 diggs, and 134 comments.

Yet, it wasn't until 7:30 p.m. pacific time that it reached the front page of Slashdot, more than 10 hours later.

The second most recent important story on Slashdot at the same time, covers a growing lawsuit against Nvidia by Vista users who feel misled by the graphics card manufacturer. It reached the site shortly after 5 p.m. Pacific tonight.

Yet, on Digg, the same frustrations toward Nvidia had erupted nearly two days ago, in a piece submitted by "sadonomic" called "Nvidia - Peeing on the Vista Community?", which garnered 570 diggs, and more than 200 comments.

If Slashdot is to regain its lead in tech news against newcomers like Digg, which rely more on community participation and voting than editor moderation, it will have to make massive changes. Unlike traditional journalism, Slashdot's editors don't author original stories, or add much of an editorial bias, so their role as gatekeepers is highly limited. If the site's editors aren't there to add value, but instead, just to add time, users, like me, are going to move to Digg and leave Slashdot behind.