Does Digg Need a Pictures Section?

That is the first of a series of questions as we examine whether or not Digg needs a Pictures section.

The answer seems obvious. Thousands of Digg users have expressed their support for a Pictures section. Has the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ come up with the best solution?

People have been focusing on that answer, when they should have been analyzing the question. Does Digg — a ‘news‘ site — need a Pictures section? It does not seem like a proper fit. If Digg in fact does not need a Pictures section, then what is the alternative?

The solution can be approached by expanding on the question: Is it Digg — a ‘news‘ site — that needs a Pictures section, or Flickr that needs a Digg section? Flickr is, after all, a photo-sharing site. What better location for these popular photos than a photo-sharing site?

Of course, now we approach a key roadblock for this solution: Flickr Explore. Flickr Explore is like the Digg Front Page, but for popular photos, rather than news. Is Flickr Explore insufficient at presenting the best new photos? That cannot be the case. Flickr’s “Interestingness” algorithm actually does a great job of ranking photos by quality. You could say that it is just as good — if not better than — Digg’s vote-driven quality ranking.

If Flickr Explore is just as good at delivering quality content as Digg’s Front Page, then why are people demanding a Pictures section for Digg? Why not just use Flickr Explore?

By examining the differences between Digg and Flickr from another perspective, we will find that Flickr Explore is insufficient. It is not the quality of content, no. The quality is arguably as good or perhaps even better than Digg’s vote-driven ranking system. The critical flaw in Flickr’s “Interestingness” algorithm is that it does not deliver content that matches the taste of the user. Flickr Explore is glaringly insufficient because it is one giant list of all types of photos.

How successful would Digg be if it was only one category? Could we compare its success in that scenario with Flickr Explore’s success in the photo realm?

If Flickr Explore delivered popular photos of various types to the people who say they are interested in that genre, would Flickr Explore have the appeal of Digg?

I’m Brian Shaler,’s newest contributor, and I hope you enjoyed this one-man Platonic dialogue.

10 responses to “Does Digg Need a Pictures Section?”

  1. I would argue strongly against flickr explore being an alternative (and i LOVE all things flickr), only because a photo section on digg would mean so much more than just a way to show cool photos. As a photo-nut, i always appreciate a photo related entry on digg, which can include in-depth tutorials on retouching, equipment announcements and reviews as well as interviews with prominent photographers. I think the demand is obviously there, so why not?

    A digg-clone site called was launched recently, and though it doesn’t get or give anywhere near digg traffic, a lot of the entries lead to quality photo related content, and having a post recently published there, it does generate a bit of targeted traffic to my site.

    Do it digg! give us a photos section!

  2. I use the videos section at least twice daily. It’s never news, but it’s usually great content. Why not photos too? In fact, just a few days ago I submitted a photo’s “story” to Digg.

    Digg stopped being a news-only service a long time ago (in web years anyway).

  3. I say let digg keep their mitts off photography. StumpleUpon! has pretty good photography support, and photographyVoter ( has nothing BUT photography support. Digg is too big for it’s own good — I much perfer a smaller community with a tight focus on specific topics.

  4. Now I’m confused… are we talking about a “Photography” section (news about photography) or a “Pictures” special feature (like the videos page, for funny/unusual photos)?

  5. I agree with Scott. I think taking a step back and answering the higher level question of “What is the purpose of a Pictures section?” might be useful.

    If the goal is to simply have a place for popular photos to be tagged/rated and as a side note bring people to interesting content, then yes, maybe it is beneficial for the digg model to include this feature.

    But, if we are talking about “pictures as content”, then I believe it needs to stand alone as a separate entity.

  6. You’re asking the wrong question. Is Digg really a “news” site at all? And if it is, do its owners/readers/users want it to stay that way?


    This used to say something along the lines of a “tech news” site. Now they say it’s a “user driven social content website” (holy buzz words, Batman).

    They finally got the picture that digg is to news as myspace is to bands.

  8. As a professional photographer I use to showcase my newer work to existing clients and to put work up that I may not put on a website in the “best of” section, but still work that is interesting and shows what I have been doing the last day, week, month etc. I also use it in conjunction with my blog (the one that I need to update)

    Too many photographers build a website, then NEVER update the freakin’ thing! A flickr stream is not as professional for booking and selling my professional services, but it does allow me to connect with fellow photographers, friends and potential clients.

    So flickr is important to me. I would be interested in being able to tap into for exposure and web traffic.

    I will also say that I don’t always “get” digg, but maybe Brian can fill me in more when we both have 10 hours to kill. 🙂

    It may be a good way for photographers to be featured and to get more exposure, but I’m not the digg expert, so I’ll just have to wait and see what happens!


    Adam Nollmeyer
    Acme Photography – Web – Recent Images – BLOG

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