Two feeds I've tracked regularly for quite some time are Reddit and the slightly better version of the same site Hacker News. Lately I've been very disappointed with the posts that come to the forefront, perhaps in the same way I eventually became disappointed with Digg.
For those living in caves, all of these sites operate on a collaborative filtering model. Users submit interesting links and vote on what they think is most interesting. The top voted posts are put on the site's front page.
This model seems to work out great for the early lifetime of these sites, but every site I've followed eventually gets popular, and subsequently gamed. People vote up insignificant things, and posts get read because of their misleading buzz-filled headlines. Some such templates for this theme are:
- Why controversial thing X is better than controversial thing Y.
- 5 Easy steps to make your code sing
- Why [thing you like] sucks
- Tutorial on currently-buzzed topic that could easily be found simply googling
I feel like my limited attention is gamed by these "give me hits" posts even though some are potentially interesting. This is why I long ago unsubscribed from Digg and will probably have to do the same for HN and Reddit. I don't have a better solution yet. I think I could probably write a lot more about this. Back to work!