I wasn't a Sphinn user either. Danny made another point on short post about his reason for the change, though, having to do with how voting can affect community, and I think it's worth noting here....
My emphasis added...
|Within a week or two, the voting model will end at Sphinn. Stories can still be submitted, but editors will consider those in addition to others they find. Why? Rather than build community, voting -- an activity which is also in decline -- seems to foster an anti-community "who's winning" atmosphere. |
I've seen and experienced the effect of voting in other communities, and I haven't liked it.
In theory, voting should work in a community with diverse and engaged members. In the real world, though, it seems like cliques and system-gamers tend to take over and dominate the process.
I too was an occasional visitor to Sphinn but of late I noticed that my submissions were not showing. Lost interest. Work and life also got in the way. :)
That was my experience when I tried Digg a few years ago. I thought good content might rise to the top, but what rose to the top was usually something posted by a power user. Often, multiple "nobodies" had posted the same thing, or a close variation, earlier but got no traction. I wasn't motivated enough to try to build a posse of mutual back-scratchers.
The reason sphinn didn't go and is declining is because of low quality uninteresting content, simple as that.
It's where SEO's go to promote their stuff, the voting was little more than stuffing the ballot box and had nothing to do with content - plenty of good content in the early days didn't make it to the top. Now the good stuff doesn't get submitted as a result. And by removing the ability for SEO's to game the system (by voting) then there's no initiative for them to submit stories.
Best case scenario they think they're going to turn it into a news site. But that's already been done fabulously by rustybrick and some others.
I want, no, I DEMAND the return of threadwatch :).
[edited by: wheel at 1:35 pm (utc) on Sep 2, 2010]
Michael "Graywolf [webmasterworld.com]" Gray talked about this recently and noted Sphinn's low quality offerings.
Would have thought that it's something Danny would have done sooner but as I can imagine, editing a submitted news site is probably a fulltime job of sorts.
I'd like to see Threadwatch again as well. Loved the no-BS approach.
An editorial editing process can be just as corrupt as a voting process.
Relying on automation as much as possible is the best bet however a simple "vote" can't be the only metric anymore. Number of unique visitors and incoming links are a much better metric for gauging page popularity. A combination of everything, automated with a manual final approval, would be best. Sphinn's made the right choice but hopefully they turn it back on with other factors weighing more heavily.
|In theory, voting should work in a community with diverse and engaged members. |
An SEO/SEM community on the web might be more driven by self-interest than other types of communities. Michael Gray's article about Sphinn, mentioned by theebbandflow, expresses some strong feelings about this, as you can see from its title....
The SEO Community Ė A Tale of Friends and Scorpions
|Itís my belief that, in the long term, you canít maintain an SEO community website without heavy moderation and trusted editors guiding the content. IMHO the best places for this currently is the subscribers section of WebmasterWorld or the paid forum on SEObook. |
|The Shower Scene|
|In the real world, though, it seems like cliques and system-gamers tend to take over and dominate the process. |
An avalanche of training wheel level advice posted by people who were months in the business was getting voted to the top. Most naive were the embarrassing abundance of "TOP TEN LIST" posts. The TOP TEN LIST technique is an ancient and hackneyed SEO technique developed to game digg users and here were these clueless newbs throwing it back at the very SEO community that invented it. It was like 2 girls, 1 cup.
Danny Sullivan made the right choice in killing this. I'm looking forward to a revitalized Sphinn.
|...the embarrassing abundance of "TOP TEN LIST" posts. |
I think these lists are a direct result of voting. From the "Feedback Days" discussion about whether to have voting on WebmasterWorld...
Reputation - Thumbs Up - Thumbs Down - Voting Stars
|...Voting distorts why people post and the kinds of posts you get. |
You end up with a lot of cutesy 10 Best Ways to Reinvent The Wheel type posts... and the forum can become a lot more cliquish.
|Danny Sullivan made the right choice in killing this. I'm looking forward to a revitalized Sphinn. |
Too late. It stinks of failure, and that doesn't wash off.
Graywolf's comments are spot on, there are already places doing the job right. He's named two. If you want to see ongoing news articles, heavily moderated but actually done right, that's rustybrick's site - already everything we need there. Which reminds me, I don't read that site often enough.
I've been a fan of their newsletter for a few months now. It is mostly handpicked articles. I prefer that over automated/games articles. Which is why I don't subscribe to Digg. :-)
I think it is a good move. Though instead of completely removing it, they should still offer a page showing top user voted stories. Having both will be the best compromise and add the most value.