OnStartups

Top 7 Reasons You Won't Vote This Article Up

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on October 7, 2006 in reddit digg 19 Comments


Most of my articles at OnStartups get posted to one or more of the popular social book-marking websites (Digg, Reddit, etc.) by one of the regular readers.  A large part of the reason for this is that I make it easy for you to submit and vote on the articles to the various sites.  

But, despite the fact that over 2,000 people are subscribed via RSS, over 300 are subscribed via email and over 1,000 people will visit the site on an average day, chances are, this article will get no more than a dozen or so votes (if that).  I’m not complaining, I just find the phenomenon interesting and have been giving it some thought.  To better understand why you might behave the way you do, I decided to figure out why I do what I do.  Chances are, we have similar reasons. For the record, this is not a “reverse psychology” thing (i.e. I’m not looking for votes – but comments).

Top 7 Reasons Why You Won’t Vote This Article Up
 
  1. You don’t use Digg/Reddit:  This is a pretty good reason.  I suspect a large percentage of the Internet population doesn’t really see the value in things like digg and reddit.  If you’re not using it already, it’s unlikely that I’m going to get you to start just because I put a “digg this” button on the top of this article.

  1. The content is uninteresting and/or lame:  This is an exceptionally good and rational reason.  The whole point behind social book-marking is so that the “best” content rises to the top.  However, for those of you, like me, that watch the front page of digg.com and reddit.com, you really have to wonder if it’s all about the content.

  1. I’m Posting On A Saturday:  Everyone knows that weekends are slow periods for blogging.  RSS subscribers drop-off, people are away from their computers.  If they are on their computers, they’re looking for amusement and entertainment (and this article fails at both).

  1. Can’t be bothered:  Even on the off-chance you found this article interesting and even though voting is only a click away, it’s just not worth your effort.  What’s really in it for you?  (Only a small percentage of people actually see voting on articles as a form of contributing and helping the community).

  1. No guilt:  If I were sitting at the street corner and playing music for quarters, you’d have to walk by me (and be noticed).  There might be some guilt.  Particularly if you sat and enjoyed the music for a while.  In the blogosphere, you don’t have to worry about guilt.  Perhaps the thinking is that the sheer act of reading the article is a sufficient form of reward (and there’s really no need or obligation to vote).  And you’d be right to think this way.

  1. Simple Selfishness:  This one’s a little darker.  There may be a small part of you that doesn’t want to help a complete stranger succeed, even in some miniscule way.  This is the “why should I help you?” line of thinking.  I can’t argue this one.  There’s insufficient incentive for you to want to help me, or the community at large, at all. 

  1. Offended by Self-Promotion:  You’ll notice that this article was submitted by me (the author) to both Reddit and Digg.  Everyone knows it’s lame and inexcusable to submit your own articles.  (Not sure I understand this line of thinking completely, but it is what it is).


So, which reason have I missed?  If you read this far, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.