What do you do after going too long without blogging and watching your stats plummet? Well, if you are like me, you come back strong and write an entry that's Digg-worthy as a quick way to get back on the "popularity" radar. And maybe you set out to muck it all up too.
I get a lot of fresh ideas for blog entries and not nearly enough time to write. It seems like I'm always horribly busy. Right now I have about 20 or so ideas in the queue and I'm sure some of those will never be written.
What's funny is that when I finally get the time to write, I usually go with something completely different from what I've been thinking about most. I had been planning to write about Nintendo or my last engineering project, and ended up writing about web design mistakes. I don't know why; it was just what seemed most interesting at the moment.
The problem for me is always that whole self-promotion thing… let's face it, I want to be #1 on Technorati too.
I just want to be li(n)ked, you know? Is that so bad?
So enter Digg… let me tell you, if you want to climb the Z-list fast, then Digg is the place to go. All the blog-promotion tips I read (not to say I read very many) agree that submitting your own entries to Digg is a good idea. It worked once too, so why not do it again?
Enter the trolls
Here's a few things you should know about trolls:
- Trolls are always wrong. Usually it's painfully obvious that they are wrong, but even an entire mob of trolls will never realize it and collectively defend each other.
- Trolls never apologize. When you prove them wrong, they only slam you for trying to defend yourself. Trolls could be fascist policemen if they weren't so passive aggressive.
- Trolls reek of jealousy. Hey, are you popular on the Intarweb? Even marginally so? If so, trolls hate you.
The problem with Digg is that it's full of them. They have a powerful aversion to something they call "blog spam." Is there such a thing? Apparently submitting your own blog entries is spam. I think that's a little unfair… if people decide that they like a link and promote it to the front page, who cares who submitted it?
Apparently the trolls care.
Here's what happened
So let's get down to it. I submitted my last entry to Digg. To be honest, I knew it would make the front page. After a couple rides on the Digg wave, you know what works.
The tough part was the description. Those stupid descriptions. It was the same problem with my first entry to Digg, which didn't go well at all. At the time I submitted Liquid Designs and I got slammed for saying it was "not just another CSS gallery." This time, I wrote the description in a hurry and it went like this:
"Things standards-based designers sometimes do, but shouldn't. 8 in all."
I'll leave it up to you to decide whether or not it was a good idea.
Enter the troll
The very first comment by revthwack: "These are just bad design in general. Nothing really to do with following standards."
Did this comment make revthwack a troll? Only partly. So far he was just wrong… it was his following comment that sealed the deal. The KISS OF DEATH was that I didn't follow my own advice: never respond to trolls. Maybe I was being too cocky, or maybe I just thought I could win this one. I zinged back with: "Good observation. Notice how I never said that."
Oh no, HOW DARE I attack a troll. In the next comment I actually called him a troll. Note: never call a troll a troll! Obviously the troll community expects you to bend over and take whatever a troll dishes out, so be prepared for a lot of attacks if you don't. Like this:
"… your attitude has just put me off reading it. No digg." said cazabam.
Here's why so many Diggers suck
Yes, Diggers really do care more about the person posting the article, the comments in the entry, and their particular mood at the moment than the actual merit of the article itself. This is why the Digg community gets so much criticism. Diggers know the power they yield, and somehow try to play a childish game of playground politics with it. When they decide they want to punish you, they utter the word "No digg." It's like a cyber stab to the heart, if you are loser enough to let it hurt you. They ought to get creative and take it to the next level. Some options:
- No digg, and I won't let you date my sister.
- No digg, and don't touch my toys.
- No digg, b****.
I just want to quote boycy on this one, to let you know that not every Digger is a troll, and some even realize the big problem here:
"But why does everyone have to have such a go for a simple mistake. Granted montoya could've accepted the criticism but oh I give up. Everyone get on with your lives and stop attacking everything!"
cazabam was at least nice enough to settle.
"OK, I read the article. No digg because there's nothing new. Happy now?"
I guess that means he's not a troll after all.
Isn't it ironic, don't ya think?
The funny thing is that I read this comment after I started writing this post:
Bad ideas for posting to Digg
Things digg members sometimes do, but shouldn't. 5 in all.
* submit your own site to digg
* include catchy phrases like "standards-based design" in your summary to draw attention.
* post articles with nothing new and no "expert advice" in the article.
* have a bad attitude when someone corrects you
* call others a troll when criticized
Wow, that's good stuff. Props go out to jarrodtrainque. Almost makes this whole entry unnecessary… almost…
In all seriousness, who cares about the trolls? What is really funny is that my entry did make it on the front page for less than an hour, and then lo and behold, the unexpected happened. It got flagged as SPAM.
(Actually, it could have been flagged as non-responsive, but I'm thinking spam. It's not like I'll ever know anyway.)
At this point, it was obvious. The trolls won, and I lost. Good job me, suffering from foot-in-mouth syndrome. Take this as a lesson, and maybe an entertaining blog entry.
Now here's the funny part
The rest of the story is where the funny is. Even though my link got pulled from the front page, it still netted a lot of traffic… I don't know entirely how, but it did. More importantly, it also found it's way into a few Digg syndication sites, like diggdot.us, and stayed there. And like all Diggs, it managed to make it to the forefront of other promotion sites, most notably del.icio.us most popular. So while I may have lost the Digg battle, I still came out a winner :)
In the end, I'm thinking I'll stop submitting to Digg… though I'm almost sure I've said that before. Actually, all I need is a few friends to do the submits for me, but I digress ;)
No, this is not meant to be taken in all seriousness. No, I don't hate trolls. I'm really a nice guy if you get to know me.