I drag my head out of a big SEO audit, throw a glance at Twitter and spot this:
Not completely numbed down by the heat (30 degrees Celsius outside, 250 thousand inside) I thought Todd Mintz must have done an op-ed on the hotly debated one week old decision by Sphinn to have its editors emphasize exceptional content by taking a hard look at voting patterns for crap.
They really want to stop the voting.
A Spectacularly Bad Idea
There are many things wrong with voting sites. Digg has bury brigades, a term befitting South American countries in the 80s; black-ops, nightly murders, slaughter. Sphinn has voting rings; about as exciting as an Ovaltine decoder ring.
It gets worse " apparently some people just vote vote vote and never even read the stories they vote on. People come to their wisdom of the crowds community news site to read the best of the best and whats voted right up there on page number one? Crap.
And thats just the tip of the iceberg.
Theres spam (Id have to repeat that word 490 times to give you a feel of just about how much spam there is). Oh, and a lot of the crap, voting and spam is all self serving; participants often dont act as United Nations blue helmets of content but want fame and fortune. Tsk tsk tsk. What is the world coming to.
wisdom of the crowd popularity contest sites have to come up with ways to make life bearable for their editors and the top content passable to its readers. Digg does this through God knows what kind of weird algorithms. Google does it by hand tweaking search results (oh wait, different discussion). And Sphinn does it by banning voting.
In Dutch wed say that youre taking the corner a bit too tight there, dude. Youre fixing the problems with voting by removing voting? Uh
Just Ditch Sphinn Instead
Look, I get it. Voting is down and the voting that does happen is gang voting.
Besides people share their stuff on Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader; youre just not relevant anymore. Fine.
Then stop. Go home. Thanks for the ride.
But dont take our voting from our community site:
- its not polite
- its not the right thing to do
- you were never meant to be an editorial site
Seriously, what place is there for you without voting, without the community angle? I sometimes have to filter out links on Twitter or Id be reading the best, most fascinating SEO posts all day. I follow a ton of SEO blogs on Google Reader/FeedDemon and have curators their sharing the best of the best.
And you expect me to go to Sphinn to see what a handful of editors (all respect there, all respect " seriously) have deemed to find good enough?
What do you think?
Are you going to use the new & improved Sphinn (now with cleaner content!) or will you get your best of the best fix somewhere else?
Will you miss Sphinn or was the site dead before it knew it itself?
47 thoughts on “Sphinn Is Dead: Long Live Anything Else”
My 2 favorite social media sites gone within one week. Why couldn’t Danny wait a while until some of us got over the trauma of digg? I do feel better after reading this, Ruud. You nailed it.
.-= emory @ clickfire recently posted: Did Twitter just Choke =-.
Thnx for this post. I completely agree with you although I cannot put it as well into writing. I am just angry. That’s one of my two modes. Just wanted to connect with a comment and say that I really appreciate what you wrote in the comments of the Sphinn thread about the voting closing down (wow that was a weird sentence…).
@Jesper feel fortunate & honored that I was allowed to be your voice, Jesper. Thanks for sharing that; makes me day, I tell you.
I aborted Sphinn over a year ago. Reluctantly I might say, but it simply became less useful than the alternatives.
With that in mind, is this Twitter’s first legitimate scalp?
.-= James Duthie recently posted: Next Digital Wrap Up =-.
Reading the whole thread on Sphinn, and thinking back to their statement last week, the issues seem to be “we don’t agree with the quality of the articles that go hot” and “we think user participation is too low”. Valid concerns, very odd remedy.
Ruud, I responded to many of the things you raised here on the thread at Sphinn, so I won’t repeat them all here.
But I will add this. If we’re so wrong about the change, that’s an easy opportunity for you or anyone to do. Go launch a social media sharing site with voting for internet marketing. Have at it.
If removing voting is a spectacularly bad idea — if everything I’ve explained is completely wrong because I just don’t get it — that’s a great opportunity for someone else. Heck, you can position it as the site that really cares, where community counts, go all negative or anti-Sphinn in your marketing.
If you think we’re somehow removing your community from your site, well, it’s your community. Take it elsewhere and do it right. Really.
My guess is you’ll have some minor initial support, then things will die down. If you do develop an audience, prepare for some gaming. Prepare for people to make all the same false accusations that they’ve made toward us over the years, if they don’t feel they’re “winning.” Some of them will get abusive, even.
Don’t expect anyone to credit you for giving visibility every day for lots of great content, or lots of great sites. The negatives, people remember. All the positives get forgotten.
That’s what you’ll inherit with a voting site, in my prediction, having actually run one from the administrative site for three years.
But go ahead, do it. The future is there for you or anyone who thinks we’ve got it wrong.
Me, I’m focusing on the positive. I think Sphinn can continue to find and promote good content from sites large and small from across the web. I don’t think we need voting, with all the many negatives it brings, to do that. And that’s what we’re going to try, having given more than enough effort to the voting model.
Appreciate you coming by and commenting, Danny. Also much impressed with your ongoing involvement in the thread(s) on Sphinn itself.
No, running a site like Sphinn certainly isn’t a pleasure. We knew that too; in the months before Sphinn launched Search Engine People was hard at work. Also with the Pligg scripts, by the way.
I hear all you say but here’s how I feel about the direction Sphinn is going. One, I rather have an imperfect voting based site than no voting based site. Vote rings, sometimes so-so content: so be it. We take the good with the bad. No reason to dump the bathwater, the bath, the baby and the whole bathroom. Second, then *if* it really all has to go … then I would have rather read today “we’re closing shop”.
But — thanks for having given us Sphinn in the first place. For giving us that verb, the “button”, the good feel when something went “hot”. Today must be less than pleasant for you as people like me complain and nag. That’s just the love, Danny, and nothing personal — nothing against you.
That’s a great point… if you don’t like it go build it better yourself. True… but do you really want to alienate your users?
… just curious, why not just give the editors a vote that is worth more. There must be some kind of middle ground that can be found.
.-= Thos003 recently posted: Baby Scorpions Under a Black Light =-.
@Thos Like that idea too. Different user groups.
I don’t know about everyone else, but the biggest reason I’m sad to see this change in Sphinn is for a couple of reasons: 1- it has been a great way to help good posts get some notice 2- as has been mentioned, it has been a great way to help others, especially those new to the industry, some added exposure 4- It was better for me that most of the summary posts that are out there since had such a great variety of sites 4- and let’s face it, it was a great traffic generator for my own posts.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t think that most of us are really upset at any individual for this or even the group of editors. I respect all of them for filtering a lot of the crap out, and just for who they are in the industry in general. What I’m sad/disappointed about is that I’ve seen some really good use out of Sphinn, and with these changes it feels like it is all going away. Only time will tell of course, and as I’ve been thinking about it today I’m mostly curious to see how it pans out. Maybe Danny is right and it will be better. Maybe he’s wrong. I’m curious to see.
I think the editors should still allow voting on content after they put it on the homepage. At least that way they would see if people like their selections and get a better idea what their community wants, or doesn’t. That way they get what they want – a community that isn’t gamed by voting because that isn’t the reason the story got there. But the audience will still get to say yay or nay on their suggestions.
.-= Kristi recently posted: How to Stop Competitors Copying Your Links =-.
Yup. The idea of at least a Facebook Like button on those stories is doable, I think. Very happy to see you comment here, Kristi: was really hoping you would! Thanks!
You nailed the crux of the argument in your finishing line. Sphinn was always there IMHO to provide the ‘best of the best’ fix. The question you have to ask yourself is whether this move helps or hinders that goal.
Users can still submit articles and instead of wasting hours deleting spam, the editors will be selecting and promoting the best material. Personally this will give me back time to read more articles and promote upcoming talent in the industry.
I also believe community resides in the commenting/discussion, not the voting. If Sphinn better serves everyone’s “best of the best fix” this will be judged a success.
.-= Nick Wilsdon recently posted: Industry In Revolt Now Turns On TopSEOscom =-.
Nick, I respectfully disagree. Sphinn wasn’t there to provide an editorial best of the best — it featured “news stories submitted to Sphinn and discussions within the site that have been voted the most active recently by the Sphinn community”. That latter part is now gone. Sphinn is just another aggregation site now albeit one with editors. The removal of voting is as trivial as Google News being hand edited from now on.
I just don’t understand the thought process.
People aren’t engaging because of fears about bloc voting and power users.
Let’s create a system where the front page is decided by bloc voting from editorial staff.
I’m all for turning a problem into a solution, but this just seems mental.
Thanks for the info I was just about to submit a link!
Why don’t some folks like you Donna, Ann Smarty, Gerald, David and a few others get together and start a new and improved “Sphinn-like” networking community??
Thanks for the comment, Ileane. From what I read on Twitter, some people already consider something like that. Also … well…. you never know.
You’re welcome. I’m putting you in my list so I don’t miss future posts!
.-= Kristi recently posted: 9 Search Optimization Tips with Benefits for Your Visitors =-.
…And what exactly is the purpose of Sphinn without the voting angle? I thought that was the sole purpose!
These guys either are going to shut the site down, or will add an angle that hasn’t been featured before and will make up for the voting (although I doubt it).
The guys admin-ing Sphinn are in the wrong field IMO.
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