Where Digg Fails, Reddit Succeeds

Reddit's Aquatic LogoA few weeks ago, the Bounty Fishing blog came out with an excellent and well-thought-out blog post about 27 Aquatic Lifeforms You Never Caught While Fishing. The story did quite well on Digg and on Reddit, with Reddit users noticing that one of the fish forms actually looked very much like the Reddit logo.

So what did Reddit founder Alexis Ohanion do? He changed the Reddit logo to that aquatic lifeform for several hours.

That story hit the front page of Reddit and on Digg, and 67 people voted on my comment:

Props to Reddit for visibly interacting with the community it serves.

Beyond the cool factor, Reddit is easily getting new users by paying attention to its user base and even creating surprises when not even necessary. (And Reddit doesn’t stop there.)

It’s great to build a self-sustainable social network and then be able to sit back and relax while the users run the show. It’s even better when you take part in the everyday details of your site and focus on your user’s experience. Not long ago, I wrote about how 17-year-old Andrew Sutherland was doing this on Quizlet. His site is successful on its own, but his involvement makes the user experience all the more enjoyable.

Just a few weeks ago, I posted about how Kevin Rose was Digg’s brainchild and that his vision probably differs from the vision of the top users. I understand that Digg founders have other projects, but that should not preclude the Digg founders from being more involved in the online services that they helped build. It would help them understand where their users are coming from when we ask for more transparency. It would help if there was more communication, like warnings on the site before scheduled downtime. (I’ve asked for that before, Mr. Rose.) It would help prevent posts like these. Better yet, the fact that they show that they listen (beyond for damage control purposes) would be a wonderful thing.

20 Comments

  • Yuri says:

    Hmm. Maybe I should start using Reddit more. I am enjoying Stumble lately, though.

  • tgpo says:

    I agree. I was a die hard digg fan, but lately have found myself lured to reddit more and more.

  • [email protected] says:

    >>I am enjoying Stumble lately, though.

    Stumble is slow as hell though. I click “stumble” and wait a few seconds for a new page to load. That even happens when I’m at work on a machone plugged directly into a Catalyst with a vlan connecting just me to a router hooked up with an OC-12 to the internet. So its obviously my connection.

    I still use Stumbleupon but I get frustrated with its slowness.

  • For Digg user like me tamar weinberg’s and my other friends’ involvement, their stories, are more important than Kevin’s.

  • haha, thanks Ravi. I think it would be nice if once in awhile Kevin said something to address the users. Then maybe we’ll start valuing that too. :)

  • Slipgrid says:

    Reddit is much better. First of all, Digg is slow. I don’t like the 12 second latency for every page view. Second, there is the bury brigade on Digg; you never see any story that doesn’t jive with their politics. Then, the comments seem more insightful on Reddit. Also, Reddit allows you to link to pages on its own site. It has a way to send messages to other users (digg might have it now, but I can’t handle the page load time it would take to check an see). The Reddit comment system is broke. And, that’s just the tip. Lots of other reasons to love Reddit.

  • My primary complaint with Reddit is that while it’s not slow at all compared to other social news sites, the interface is very primitive. I’d only suggest a few GUI enhancements, but I know that’s in the works already. ;)

  • Slipgrid says:

    Err… in my earlier comment I said the reddit comment system is broke. I mean the digg comment system is broke.

  • Mark Dykeman says:

    Hi Tamar, great blog! I recognize your handle from Digg.

    Interesting coments on Reddit and Digg. I actually found Digg’s community to be more open and accepting than Reddit’s, but to be fair I probably approached Reddit in the wrong way. I had actually felt that there was a strong Bury Brigade at Reddit, but again, I may well have committed some faux pas and gotten on someone’s bad side. I think that if I were ever to start with Reddit again, I’d approach it much differently.

    It will be interesting to see if GUI changes will make Reddit more attractive and if that helps them attract more users.

  • Rich says:

    Due to a problem with Digg (something to do with the server y.digg.com) I can’t use it any more. There are a small group of users who are affected by the same problem, but we’re too small a group for Rose or his cronies to pay atrention to. I’ve posted a couple of bug reports about it, but to no avail, so I gave up on Digg and decided to try Reddit instead.

    Although I’m not a huge fan of the minimalist interface, I’m getting used to it, but for me, the one thing that really makes Reddit stand out is the quality of the comments -whats more, I actually think the interface contributes to this. While the whiny fanboys and kiddies continue to use Digg because it’s shinier, Reddit seems to have built up a base of people who are more interested in the content than the gloss.

    Should the problem with Digg ever get resolved (I’m not holding my breath), I won’t be rushing back in a hurry. I’m getting to used to the higher quality of debate on Reddit, although to be fair, compared to Digg, it would hard not to look good. Digg posters tend to be second only to the people who comment on YouTube videos in terms of the immature drivel they produce.

  • Hey Tamar,
    Thanks for noticing. Iíve been doing this for quite some time, but itís not entirely because we love our users (most of the time), Iím just always looking for logo doodle ideas.

    (had to repost, because of an extra angle bracket)

  • Kerry says:

    I would also suggest giving mixx.com a try. We have a nicer interface than Reddit’s (in our humble opinion), have a photo section, and a video section. We also offer the ability to customize your start page–pick out the topics that interest you and see the top stories just in that topic — in addition to the “popular” category.

    We’re a small but growing community, and have a much more open philosophy. We also respond to all our feedback :)

  • Hey Kerry, thanks. I noticed that other users are trying Mixx and just signed up myself. :)

  • Dimitri says:

    I use both Digg & Reddit, but am getting tired of both of them. I hate being forced to wait to post comments “you are posting too fast”, blah, blah. I’m using http://www.subbmitt.com now instead. You don’t even have to login or sign up to post articles or comments. They also default to the queue page so every article ends up on the front page and you don’t waste time posting articles. They’re just starting, but it seems like it might do well.

  • Mihirshah says:

    I was a big digg fan and love reddit and mixx as well. I am working on a new site called http://www.sneezit.com and am looking for beta testers. Any help building the community would help.

    Thanks,

    Mihir

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