That is the first of a series of questions as we examine whether or not Digg needs a Pictures section.
The answer seems obvious. Thousands of Digg users have expressed their support for a Pictures section. Has the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ come up with the best solution?
People have been focusing on that answer, when they should have been analyzing the question. Does Digg — a ‘news‘ site — need a Pictures section? It does not seem like a proper fit. If Digg in fact does not need a Pictures section, then what is the alternative?
The solution can be approached by expanding on the question: Is it Digg — a ‘news‘ site — that needs a Pictures section, or Flickr that needs a Digg section? Flickr is, after all, a photo-sharing site. What better location for these popular photos than a photo-sharing site?
Of course, now we approach a key roadblock for this solution: Flickr Explore. Flickr Explore is like the Digg Front Page, but for popular photos, rather than news. Is Flickr Explore insufficient at presenting the best new photos? That cannot be the case. Flickr’s “Interestingness” algorithm actually does a great job of ranking photos by quality. You could say that it is just as good — if not better than — Digg’s vote-driven quality ranking.
If Flickr Explore is just as good at delivering quality content as Digg’s Front Page, then why are people demanding a Pictures section for Digg? Why not just use Flickr Explore?
By examining the differences between Digg and Flickr from another perspective, we will find that Flickr Explore is insufficient. It is not the quality of content, no. The quality is arguably as good or perhaps even better than Digg’s vote-driven ranking system. The critical flaw in Flickr’s “Interestingness” algorithm is that it does not deliver content that matches the taste of the user. Flickr Explore is glaringly insufficient because it is one giant list of all types of photos.
How successful would Digg be if it was only one category? Could we compare its success in that scenario with Flickr Explore’s success in the photo realm?
If Flickr Explore delivered popular photos of various types to the people who say they are interested in that genre, would Flickr Explore have the appeal of Digg?
I hope you enjoyed this one-man Platonic dialogue.