Wasting Time, Lesson Two

Did you know that some psychologists have started diagnosing a condition often referred to as “information addiction” or “Internet addiction” as a psychological disorder? I don’t think I’m there (no 40 hour long marathon online gaming sessions for me, thank you), but I DO read a lot online. Especially my two favorite news sites, SlashDot and Digg.

The two sites are often compared with one another (in fact, some members of their respective communities have a big rivalry going on… myself, I see them as different resources, each with a very different emphasis and demographic).

SlashDot bills itself as “News for Nerds. Stuff that matters.”, and that is a fairly apt summation. It features a lot of geek-talk about computers, technology, politics, and science. The average reader (or at least, the average person who joins in the discussion) is a bit older, mostly people involved in information technology or science. This means (importantly), that on SlashDot, the stories don’t matter. If you read SlashDot and just look at the little article blurbs posted, you’re missing the point. SlashDot has some amazingly intelligent and cogent commentary on the articles, as well as a complex (and effective) moderation system to ensure that insightful comments are displayed prominently. I urge you, if you ever look at SlashDot– read the comments, not the article. I occasionally comment when I have something worth saying… You can see a record of my latest comments.

Digg, in contrast, has the most useless and juvenile “community” I’ve ever encountered. It’s a great site to visit to see the latest New Thing ™, and to see interesting, out of the way news. But under no circumstances should one read the commentary on their links. It will cause loss of sanity and faith in human nature. The owners of Digg are trying to change this, I think, by introducing some better moderation tools… but it will be an uphill climb for them. So, visit Digg, but don’t read the commentary. Just click on the links and see the latest and greatest the internet has to offer. Oh, you can see a list of stories I recently “dugg” (that is, found interesting) on my profile page.

Enjoy wasting some time!

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