Russell Beattie on digg and sensationalism

Russell Beattie has had enough of blog sensationalism – by which he means the tendency of the blogosphere to become more strident in its tone, and more extreme in its attitudes, as more and more bloggers come online: is a perfect example of this effect at work, but contained one site. I’ve been keeping track of their front page links recently because of all the buzz the site has gotten, and I have to say, it’s really full of crap. No really – the site is nicely designed, and the system is interesting, but the links produced are pure garbage. It seems that the ranking system they’ve created ends up promoting only the most sensationalist headlines to the front page. Pretty much if the title to an article doesn’9t have a least three exclamation points, it doesn’t get promoted.

I added this comment to his post:

I think you’re completely right. The way things stand, the Web is in danger of turning into a gigantic bulletin board where quiet, considered points of view just get drowned out in a wave of binary attitudes and point-scoring. Sites like, while great in theory, are in practice just acting as feedback mechanisms that cause the most extreme views to percolate upwards. You rightly point out that there may be technical solutions to some of these problems, but I also think people are going to start to value human interaction more and more, which will mean some kind of human editing (disclaimer: I work for Guardian Unlimited, so this is horribly self-serving). Web 2.0 is about lots of great things, but I haven’t seen it giving a cogent voice to the mob – yet.

See my earlier post: 50 users v 1 Editor.