Saturday, October 22, 2005

reddit Vs. memeorandum (Distributed Vs Monopolistic control)

I have been following since I got my eyes on it (I suspect I have been one of the first 100 users of reddit). I start my day with it; be it office or home. And I am amazed every day.

For the uninitiated, it is a news/articles aggregator. Basically any registered user can contribute any link to the site and the link will come up on the newest links tab. Then users can rank the link with either a "+" or a "-" showing their interest/preference for the link. The most popular ones will then be lifted to the hottest tab. there also exists an all time favorite tab.

The links that come up on the new tab are themselves worth the time one spends on the site. They are an eclectic mix mirroring the interests and biases of the frequent contributors to the site. I may be the target audience for such a site so the presented links generally interest me a lot. There are many sites which do that. Kuro5hin and slashdot come to mind. But what really drives value in reddit is the unexpected surprise of a link which is both rare as well as very pertinent or interesting. This I guess is because of the way the site has chosen to rank the links: people vote with their eyeballs/mind/clicks.

On the other hand there exists memeorandum. This site was started by Gabe Rivera, the 32-year-old programmer who quit his job at started off with a politicas section and now it has a tech section too. This takes more of a centralised approach. Links are selected in a pseudo algorithmic way from pre-picked sites which Gabe selects. "Credibility and Engagement within peers" seems to be the ranking index for selection. memeorandum has received its share of publicity which can be seen via links at the right hand pane on its blog.

memeorandum serves up a mix of links which turn into talking points because of the close coterie of high visibility bloggers and "web 2.0 conference attendees". the discussion and the feedback among bloggers is the only reason I frequent this site.

Both the sites greatly alleviate the need to go through hundreds of links served by feed aggregators. But in my opinion reddit clearly is more informative and enjoyable than the staid, polictically correct style of memeorandum. Also reddit is faster, way faster. This can be seen in the number of days it took memeorandum to pick up the flock story. It has come on memeorandum today (Oct 22, 2005) only while it appeared on reddit almost a month back. This i think is because reddit gives power to the people. Links with nuisance value only, get segregated into the new tab guaranteeing that links in top tab are really useful. I think in future this the way to go: people vote within a system which filters content with only nuisance value. The centralised way of filtering content will slowly fade away or get slotted into niched applications where freshness of content or new innovations are not necessary.


At 11:27 PM, Blogger steve [spez] said...

I'll be uping your karma this evening... :)

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Beowulf said...

I have had the same experience with reddit. I have followed slashdot closely for years, and reddit has stories much more quickly. Digg is similar, but for some reason the freshness of the stories on digg haven't been nearly as good.

I'm currently in development of a system that I hope will be as good as reddit, and some aspects a little better. We'll see, they've set the bar pretty high.

At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spez you promised me there were no shenannigans with the Karma :^)

I still read Reddit daily but post somewhat less than I used to. I believe this is because it is working well! Over time I imagine a core group of posters determine the hottest content and a very reliable source of news emerges.

It is also quite snappy and continues to add enhancements whilst staying simple and easy to use.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger sundar said...

hey Spez, good to see you leave your footprints here.

hi beowulf, I agree with all of your points. I also have some ideas about features I would like to have from reddit or reddit like site. Maybe I will srite about it sometime

Hi Bob, I totally agree with you. let somebody else do the work while i enjoy the fruits of the labor ;)

At 2:12 AM, Anonymous shane said...

Isn't reddit just a subset of Have you checked out


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