Digg Comment System is Not Retarded

…I am! Ok, so I wrote a post yesterday called “Digg Comment System is Retarded” in which I was complaining about the *new* way story comments are displayed. A short time later after the post was posted to Digg, one user pointed out the following:

you know you do have the option of viewing the comments in differing formats:

sort by most diggs
sort by date (show all)
sort by date (-10 diggs or higher)
sort by date (-4 diggs or higher)
sort by date (+0 diggs or higher)
sort by date (+5 diggs or higher)
sort by date (+10 diggs or higher)

it’s a drop down box right above the first comments number of diggs
sounds like this would solve most of your problems with digg’s comment system

I’m feeling a little sheepish about the whole thing now. In my defense, Digg adds features regularly and after a fairly recent feature addition, the comment view defaulted to the “sort by most diggs” selection which is what I was seeing every time I viewed story comments. I believed that this was just a feature change that I had to live with and it was really getting under my skin how illogical it was.

Frankly I can’t imagine why anyone would want to view the comments this way except to verify that comments from more liberal/irreligious posts get dugg up and conservative/religous posts get dugg down, but the Digg programmers are pretty sharp and I’m sure they’ve got some reason for it. So really, I just need to say, hey folks at Digg, I apologize for the “Retarded” comment. I see you’re really just trying to make it accommodate as many features as possible. You all do great work and I’m sorry for doubting you.

Now, with all that being said, I still have to take issue with one of the items I named in my original post:

Posts are not rated based on whether they are good or well thought out, but rather on whether or not the person rating the comment agrees with what was said.

I acknowledge that this doesn’t take issue with the comment system, but rather with the commentators. And I do take issue with the fact that people do this. I doubt my mentioning it will cause people to change, but I do remember a time when we used terms like “good netizen”–meaning someone who is responsible on the net (tubes), and there were whole documents on ‘netiquette”–that is, net etiquette. In case you’ve forgotten etiquette means (and yes it’s a dictionary definition) “conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion.”

Having proper netiquette in the context of the Digg comments section I think would mean digging comments up or down based upon whether they are demonstrating well reasoned points and whether they are written with temperate language rather than whether or not you agree. If I disagree with someone but they’ve made their arguments well and with respect, I digg them up. There is so much juvenile name calling (yes I realize I used the word Retarded to describe the comment system–nobody’s perfect) that it makes it a place not of enlightenment and discovery, but rather a place of vitriol and anger. It’s completely counter productive.

In hindsight, it’s not the whole system, just the “sort by most diggs” feature that is umm, not so great (retarded is probably too strong), but at least I have choices. I am now viewing the comments using “sort by date (show all)”.

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