Why a ‘Digg Clone’ using Google Reader won’t work

Steve Mermelstein’s thoughts that Google Reader could become a Digg clone. If this indeed is the intent of the Google Reader team, it won’t work because:

1) Certain humans have a habit of messing up bottom-up voting systems.
2) Google Reader is limited to feeds that you’ve subscribed to.

If you’re not familiar with Google Reader, you can ‘tag’ articles that you read to ‘share’ and it will publish to a link blog. Colleague Robert Scoble publishes his on his linkblog which is an example of a non-verbal gesture.

Bottom-up systems have benefits as well as challenges
There are several bottom-up or users created news systems that are being deployed, they each have advantages and disadvantages

Although not perfect, the Digg Network deploys a form of a Democracy in the Digg authors community will help purify the results, nasty users are kicked out. Digg has even been under attack for having just a few representative votes controlling the majority of results, and Calacanis is trying to figure out which users are being paid to post and vote.The Digg network has it’s benefits as the stories can not only be voted up (digg), but also voted down (undugg).

TechMeme, which aggregates blog conversations from the a few seed bloggers works because it’s a true form of a representative democracy. Those on the techmeme page are considered of having some form of intelligence and can usually add to the conversations (although not all the time)

I’ve been criticized because I say the problem with wikis is people. Certain humans tend to intentionally cause trouble when they can hide behind anonymity, and Marketers tend to muck up most systems.

Limited Scope
Currently, Google Reader only shows the feeds that one is subscribed to, which for most is only a small number of ideas that one can consume and share in a day. Since one can only read so many feeds, in it’s current system, the scope of content that can be voted or shared from a reader is limited to the amount of feeds contained.

Potential Solutions

A Google Reader voting system will only work if we can first validate the identify, and trust of those that are sharing items. Secondly, the Google Reader is only limited to those items to be shared that are subscribed in one’s feedreader.

Perhaps if we were able to create an identity of some sort, and validate one’s network worth and have ability to share items outside of one’s Google reader this could work.