E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


Built using Django, served with gunicorn and nginx. The database is SQLite. Hosted on a FreeBSD VPS at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet.


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Stuff I Use

Bitbucket, Debian Linux, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, macOS, Markdown, Mercurial, Python, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, xmonad

Spam Report

At least 237143 pieces of comment spam killed since 2008, mostly via Akismet.

Digg vs. Reddit vs. Me

The title of this post is a joke, but one you're only likely to get if you actually use one of these services: in the attention economy of link-sharing, titles that pit one thing against another tend to rise higher. (Maybe this validates the old Wired Magazine guideline of "no conflict, no story" -- or maybe it proves the easiest way to get attention is to antagonize.)

Over the past few months I've played with both Digg and Reddit as ways to discover new and interesting stuff, and wanted to post some notes for the hypothetical reader who is even farther behind this particular curve than I am.

I got interested in Digg and Reddit after my belated adoption of Delicious, which I continue to use for logging interesting finds. Delicious has a view called "popular" which shows items which are, you know, popular, but it lacks one thing -- comments -- that both Digg and Reddit provide. (Delicious submissions do have a "notes" field, but it's for annotation, not discussion.)

A few observations about the differences:

Some generalizations, which I could preface with a disclaimer but won't:

For me, Reddit is a much better fit. Perhaps that means I'm old, or have a secret desire to be a Lisp programmer.

Normally at the end of a post like this I'd inconclusively ponder what the future holds, but here that's somewhat moot. The central activity of both these sites is ephemeral. What works right now is good enough.

Monday, February 6th, 2006
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0 comments pending approval
Comment from Alexis , later that day

Consider your "conflict theory of headlines" validated (your headline certainly got my attention).

You bring up some very good points about where we could improve, but I'm happy to see that overall, you're enjoying reddit. Who knows, there could be a Lisper lurking inside of you...

Comment from Paul , later that day

No doubt there is! I just hope it doesn't come out a la Aliens...

Comment from Andrew , 6 days later

Personally, I agree with you. But, I don't feel old as a result of liking reddit over digg. I feel more mature because I'm not reading something some 12 year old submitted because it says some foul word 40 times. Also, with reddit, you tend to not have the really "trendy" stuff. It's normally pretty good content, however I could be wrong. It could be the simple interface that keeps me coming back.

Comment from gareth , 1 week later

Delicious has a view called >“popular” which shows items which >are, you know, popular, >but it lacks one thing — >comments — that both Digg and >Reddit provide.

this is delicious greatest feature, its lack of centralised community means content is filtered organically allowing for critical independent thought and a diversity of opinion, digg in particular tends to suffer from 'group think'

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