SearchDot, Er, SearchDigg?

I've been noodling over an idea, and wanted to get all your input on it. Here at Searchblog I've been blessed with a very robust community, one that over the years has gotten my email and used it very judiciously – usually to send me tips and ideas for…

I’ve been noodling over an idea, and wanted to get all your input on it. Here at Searchblog I’ve been blessed with a very robust community, one that over the years has gotten my email and used it very judiciously – usually to send me tips and ideas for Searchblog items. I very much appreciate the tips, but as many of you have noted, I can’t get to grokking each of them and posting them in as timely a fashion as I might like.

I’ve also been fascinated by the rise of community edited sites like Slashdot, Digg (an FM site), Reddit (also an FM site), and others, and find the model – of a community moderated approach to news – to be very cool, and as you all know, very very powerful.

Now, I had the thought – what if I were to create a Digg-like site for the Search vertical? There’s an open source module, Pligg, that looks pretty easy to implement, and we’ve already got the coolest and hardest part done – a strong community of readers who care enough to engage in a particular subject matter.

You can see this idea in action over at, another FM site. Piers and his team have created, a sort of Digg or Slashdot for marketing stories. What do you all think of doing the same for Searchblog?

Update: To clarify, I’m not thinking about losing my own and Melanie’s analytical posts, but instead *adding* this feature….

17 thoughts on “SearchDot, Er, SearchDigg?”

  1. I love the idea. Broad search now fails for many “in depth” types of research and I think having the search community suggest, screen, and rank posts will lead to a kind of depth seriously lacking elsewhere.

  2. John;

    Take my advice on this: don’t do it. I do not subscribe to you for your ability to pick stories from a river of them, I read your blog because of your analysis of what is happening. Also, working on a slashdot style site will make you extremely interrupt driven, and you don’t want that.

    Find me for lunch sometime and I’ll tell you about the non-fun that comes with running a slashdot-like site. It can be quite a grind.

    Chris DiBona (former slashdot editor)

  3. Pligg is based on a spanish project called meneame. http://www.meneame.met

    And I think that could be a good idea, but I thought that you should know that the original project of all this is meneame, it is for spanish speakers.

  4. Chris DiBona has a good point.

    It is analysis that brings me to Searchblog. Diluting that analysis with popular articles sourced from elsewhere will not add value.

    I understand that you are short of time these days, but I would urge you to react by posting less frequently rather than moving to a different model.

  5. It is seeing your mind at work, John, that brings people around here. The search vertical is certainly fascinating but secondary to your own personality. What is Melanie up to these days anyway?

  6. John,

    We will be debuting a new site in a few weeks that is a social searching community where users can connect to one another in true social networking fashion. We will also allow people to create topical groups, in fact I already have a group for “search engines” that I created. If you are interested in testing out our alpha and seeing if it meets your needs, let me know.


    Chris Seline
    Dumbfind Inc

  7. You may have already considered this, but if you decide to proceed and don’t want to reinvent the wheel, the Slashcode project is also open source and is what Slashdot is based on. You can customize it from there, but it has a nice model going. However, I don’t know if it allows community article ranking, like Digg does, just comment moderation.

  8. It never really took off but similar has been tried.

    They didn’t launch with your name though, and I think you need some critical mass for it to snowball.

  9. My initial reaction is to do it in a separate but complimentary site. This site stays as it is, but there is an affiliate site that does the user-directed part, with a link from here. Now, is there really both enough search news and enough user interest on a daily bases to make it work? You probably will not know until you try. Would I participate? I may look at the top news, but probably not spend a lot of time digging for search stories. Then again, I am not a hard-core student of search.

  10. John,

    Don’t do it.

    Do something original, not this, it will just make Searchblog look like another teenager targeted digg-me-too site.

    As dibona says, we come here for *your* insights, not other peoples.

  11. it seems like everyone is saying they don’t want another slashdot
    and it seems like John is saying he gets too much feedback to filter and respond to it all.

    what if the feedback mechanism was group-edited, but the blog remained untouched? that way the community could ensure John doesn’t have to field many emails all about the same thing, or stupid marketing emails or nonstarter press-releases… ? The only problem here is the question of whether the really good stuff bubbles to the top @ slashdot and its ilk or if the most common-interest stuff is all that gets through.. since this is a more specific community i would like to think the stuff of most interest to John and the community would get through..

  12. I’m absolutely thinking that collaborative web filtering needs to move
    hard into much smaller communities of practice and that some smart
    guy is going to do this. Digg for sports, Digg for gadgets, Digg for
    Macs, Digg for cars, Digg for music, and all kinds of long-tail
    and invisible-tail Diggs for handmade artsycraftsy exploding
    coke-bottle-mentos yadda yadda. I figure this has pretty much
    got to happen.

    Your commenters are absolutely right to warn you about the
    cognitive loading and the opportunity costs, but hey, somebody’s
    got to be the pioneer and take the arrows.

  13. It sounds interesting but I doubt I’d use it. I come to you for what YOU give me. Not what your readers give me (although I do find the comments really useful and I do read them). But you’re at the center of it all.

    Something to be aware of with Pligg is that it uses the AFGPL (Affero General Public License) which means that if you use it for your site and make any changes you’re legally required to give out your code. The AFGPL isn’t widely used (and less widely understood) so go into it with your eyes open.

  14. The filtering could work to bring the best comments to prominence.

    In a few years time social filtering will be like search is today. The home page of community sites will display the most voted items per tag or category.

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