There's uproar out on the Internet today; Digg.com made some changes to their commenting system.
Yes, you read that right.
For those not in the know, Digg.com is a social bookmarking website with (almost) total democratic editorial control.
Anyone can submit a story or a link to Digg.com and the community at large will determine if it is then promoted to the front page through a user-based ranking system. This differs from the hierarchical editorial system that traditional news-sites employ.
You can see it all going down just here (brace yourselves):
Previously, Digg.com had a simple commenting system whereby only two levels of comments could be made. The changes they have made in the last few days now allow deep threaded replies.
Now, that's not so ground-breaking; everyone does that, but the changes that have been made have, in the opinion of many (just read the comments in the link above), rendered the site unusable. It is now slow; very slow. Whereby in the past every comment on an article appeared by default on the main page, the user now has to follow a convoluted, and slow process of revealing each level of comments. This requires a further connection to the server to fetch the additional comments, a process that takes as long as the original page load.
Are they using AJAX technology here for the sake of it? Because it's cool and what everyone expects of a Web2.0 site? Are the changes enforced due to technical reasons; reducing the load of the back-end database servers? Are the changes meant to save on bandwidth costs as people will not always drill-down to see all the comments, therefore reducing the amount of data requested per page visit?
Who knows. It's certainly upset the customer though!
The changes that digg.com have made have been on the back of user criticism of the old commenting system. Damned if they do, and damned if they don't. However, the new solution has created much more unrest than the old system ever did.
All eyes are now on Kevin Rose (Digg.com founder) to see what the response will be. Will they follow the democratic process that is the key tenet of their website and roll-back the changes, or will they dig their heels in and ride out the storm?
To read more about the history of Digg.com, there's a comprehensive Wikipedia article, here:
Head of Future Development