Jason Calacanis has a blog post entitled New views of Netscape Homepage/Hive where he writes

The Netscape homepage has been taken over by political stories. I hate politics, and seeing 1/3rd of the stories on the home page related to "Bush Sucks/Is Great" stories has really burned many of the users out.

You see, people vote 2-3x as much on political stories and they comment 10-30x a much on those same stories. So, we're gonna change the home page to be one of the two below (descriptions by CK from his post on the issue):

I remember the same thing happening to Kuro5hin during the 2000 U.S. elections and the site never recovered. The site went from a more democratic version of Slashdot to being the precursor to DailyKos. As Jason points out, the reason is that people are more likely to comment on or post stories about politics especially during an election year than they are to post about AJAX design patterns or which startup got flipped to Google this week.

Imposing a quota on how many stories from a particular topic/section can show up on the front page sounds like a good way to enforce diversity on the front page. However it is likely to hide the true culture of the site which may actually be heavily tilted to being a political news site than a technology or general news site despite Jason Calacanis's best efforts. Time will tell if this was a good move or not. Either way, it is clear that the community is going in a different direction from what Calacanis and his cohorts at AOL would like. Welcome to the world of user-generated content. ;) 


Sunday, November 5, 2006 9:54:55 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
They could also eliminate this problem by showing different content to different people depending on their interests.

Digg and Netscape.com are popularity contests. Generally popular is not necessarily interesting, especially if your preferences diverge from the majority of the community using the site.
Monday, November 6, 2006 7:21:43 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Also, I think that non-partian political sites are unstable. First it turns into a contest as to which side gets more of their links posted. When one side starts winning, the other side abandons the site, since they don't really want to read a site whose primary topic is why their beliefs suck. Then the site becomes an echo chamber.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006 3:26:40 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Well, simply personalizing the content is no solution IMO. Blinders anyone? Would you like to put your head in this bucket of sand?

The challenge for those engineering user-generated content sites, as I see it, is very tough. Presenting users with topics of interest is key but, the actual content *must* be diverse...when was the last time you learned anything from listening to yourself speak??

A recent article on digg highlighted this very clearly for me. It was on climate change. http://www.digg.com/world_news/Climate_chaos_Don_t_believe_it_2

Published in the Telegraph, the article doesn't dispute global warming, etc, etc. But it does question the, very specifically, with scientific backing (read numbers), the veracity of a recent UN report.

This article is published in the context of increased taxation in the UK to fund "protection" from climate change.

How many diggs you think it got? Blinders anyone?
mike padula
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