Whitesoap: Digg Meets Slashdot

By Nathan Weinberg

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Jason let me know about this cool site he’s involved in, called Whitesoap. Whitesoap is a news site, taking some of the great ideas from both Slashdot and Digg and creating something unique in its own right. The process: Stories are fed to the site by RSS feeds, users vote those stories up like on Digg under the “Undiscovered” tab, and a group of editors chooses which of those stories gets promoted to the front page and the “Featured” tab.

Slashdot’s moderated process ensures uber-crap doesn’t make the front page, but is slow and completely non-transparent, very secretive and not at all friendly. Digg’s process is mostly transparent and completely user controlled, but due to the juvenile nature of most internet communities, is struck with the occasional awful, unimportant, and inaccurate story, and the community tends to bury stories that are controversial to its audience.

Whitesoap solves these problems by giving users a voice, letting them make known the stories they like, but leaving intelligent editors in charge of keeping the chaff from wider public consumption. While a crowd tends to be insular, the editor nature lets stuff that would never make Digg, views that are opposed to by the community, make the front page, balancing things out in a way the “Bury Brigade” does not allow on Digg.

The site is going to have trouble scaling up the way Digg has, since ultimately there have to be editors for every front page story, so expansion into new categories is going to take some time. Hopefully they’ll come up with a process for promoting active, intelligent users to editor status. I also hope they pick editors with an eye to diversity, so as to keep bias out and balance story selection.

The site, which launched early this month, is looking pretty good (and I’m told the darker colors will likely be replaced “at some point” by something calmer), and will hopefully gain a nice user base. If they start letting users leave comments and suggest stories (as opposed to just pulling them in from feeds), the site could develop a nice community.

The purpose of Whitesoap seems to be to create a balance between moderation and community, and they’ll have to keep tweaking that balance for it to take off. Give the users more control, but keep the sane voice in charge, and I could see a really useful site developing. I wish them luck.

Posted:
March 16, 2007 by Nathan Weinberg in:
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3 Responses to “Whitesoap: Digg Meets Slashdot”

  1. //re:digg\ » Blog Archive » *another* digg + slashdot hybrid Says:

    […] Whitesoap is advertised as a “Daily Webzine” that features stories chosen by editors and suggested by users. (via Google Blog News Channel). […]

  2. //re:digg\ » Blog Archive » *another* digg + slashdot hybrid Says:

    […] Whitesoap is advertised as a “Daily Webzine” that features stories chosen by editors and suggested by users. (via Google Blog News Channel). […]

  3. Search Engine Land: News About Search Engines & Search Marketing Says:

    SearchCap: The Day In Search, March 19, 2007

    Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web:…

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