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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

The next step in Digg clones Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named diggin.gifOn Saturday I wrote a post asking for private email from people who are working on Digg clones. I got about a dozen responses, they all look good. I think any of them could work for the project I have in mind.

This left me with a vexing problem -- which one should I work with, and what should I tell the others? I decided to work with all of them, and anyone else who may be reading, by describing the project here, openly.

So here's the idea...

Imagine Digg in the old days, when there were just 25 people using it. Maybe that wasn't enough. Maybe it didn't really get interesting until there were 100 users or 250 or 1000. It was good, the articles were gems, things we weren't finding on our own, there were huge numbers of them, but they were prioritized, and the community had a heart of gold, people were doing it for love. The maturity level was high.

But then something happened as Digg grew from 100 users to 100,000 and more. I'm not going to characterize it other than to say that it stopped being interesting to me as it grew. The stories weren't what I was looking for.

I wonder if we could start a Digg-like community with the readers of Scripting News. The numbers are small, relative to Digg, it would be just like the old days, maybe 250 active participants. I was describing the idea to Fred Wilson this morning, and offered that his blog might host such a community. Or we could do a Digg-like community with 25 people by invitation, some you've heard of, some you haven't. All would be voracious news junkies. They would be empowered to add articles, comment on them, vote them up or down. I would invite Scoble, Fred Wilson, Steve Rubel, Amyloo, Jim Posner, Lawrence Lee and (I'm sure I'll think of many more). We'd count on the judgement of these people to find us interesting news items, and be fair in deciding their relevance.

Key point -- it would serve as an editorial system. Only members could participate in the social functions, but anyone could read the results. You could see what the community decided was important at any moment in time. You might choose to read the TechCrunch Digg clone, but not Scobleizer's or Instapundit's.

Two very smart people are thinking this way too.

1. Steve Gillmor, the genius who brought us attention and gestures, has exactly this kind of system running right now, in private beta. I first stumbled across it when I described the idea to a friend back in October, and was told "You have to talk with Steve!" So I called him, and sure enough he had it. He plans on unveiling it publicly very soon, perhaps even this week. ;->

2. Om Malik and I talked about this on Saturday when he came to visit in Berkeley. I am pretty sure this is part of the editorial system he'd like to use at GigaOm. One thing we both agreed on, strongly, is that it's time to shake up the market for open editorial tools. It's been stagnating. Enough of that!

So that's the idea. I want starting a Digg-like community to be as easy as creating a weblog on Just fill in a form, click Submit and off we go. Let a thousand flowers bloom. Sure most will be ghost towns, there will be press articles talking about the abandoned communities, but I bet we look back in a couple of years and see the landscape in the blogosphere has changed yet again.


Last update: Monday, November 26, 2007 at 11:12 AM Pacific.

Dave Winer, 52, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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On This Day In: 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997.

November 2007
Oct   Dec

Lijit Search
Things to revisit:

1.Microsoft patent acid test.
2.What is a weblog?
3.Advertising R.I.P.
4.How to embrace & extend.
5.Bubble Burst 2.0.
6.This I Believe.
7.Most RSS readers are wrong.
8.Who is Phil Jones?
9.Send them away.
10.Negotiate with users.
11.Preserving ideas.
12.Empire of the Air.
13.NPR speech.
14.Russo & Hale.
15.Trouble at the Chronicle.
15.RSS 2.0.
16.Checkbox News.
17.Spreadsheet calls over the Internet.
18.Twitter as coral reef.
19.Mobs of the blogosphere.
20.Advice for Campaigns.
21.Social Cameras.
22.The Next Big Thing.
23.It's time to open up networking, again.
24.Am I competing?
25.Time to shake up conferences?
26.Bloggers working with journalists.

Teller: "To discover is not merely to encounter, but to comprehend and reveal, to apprehend something new and true and deliver it to the world."

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