Top 7 Reasons You Won't Vote This Article Up

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Top 7 Reasons You Won't Vote This Article Up


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 and, 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.

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on Sat, Oct 07, 2006


I do not use Digg/Reddit... I directly read the postings from your website.

posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 at 12:24 PM by Krenar

For me the reason is simple - I cannot see the links/icons in the RSS feeds, and I open your blog as a proper website only if I want to move on from reading it in the RSS reader, but still have your entry open in another browser tab ;)

That's my #8

posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 at 12:29 PM by Marcin Brzezinski

I use digg and when I visit the site I occassionally digg the article. But if I just read the article in my RSS reader, the digg and reddit images dont show up so it doesnt cross my mind.

posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 at 1:22 PM by Justin

I go with #4 with a slice of all the rest. (In my opinion) there is no pavlovian mechanism for Digg, No stimulus-response-reward. You're reduced to and dependent on the mathematics of social interaction on the Internet, which from what I've read says that roughly 1% of users actively contribute content (votes, in this case) and the rest are potted plants. Given that you have 1300 semi-regular visitors you should get approx. 13 diggs per article. From what I've seen of Diggs for onstartups this is pretty accurate.

I don't vote for many articles (voting for your own is called 'astroturfing' btw, and I do it too) but I vote for yours Dharmesh. Not because I always agree with what you write, but that I think you're a decent human being who brings value and insight and took the time to converse with me.

I am, in fact, Digging the person. Food for thought: maybe you should be asking those who do Digg your stuff 'why' they Digg. Therein lies the secret of Digg superstardom.

posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 at 1:29 PM by Trevor

For me, the reason i don't digg them or anything is because the articles aren't of what i'd call "bookmark quality".. they aren't something i'd ever read again. All posts on this blog are generally lists, quick reads and simple 'read and go' activities...

Another reason would be that the placement of said 'digg' and 'reddit' javascript embeds is pretty bad.. and it ruins the general appearance of the blog. One last point - why would ANYONE digg a story they haven't read yet? Think about your placement..

That's my personal opinion on the matter.

posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 at 1:36 PM by Jay

Definitely don't use digg or reddit (never heard of it either). Don't see the value of Digg, I don't want people telling me what they think I might find interesting, I can do that myself.

posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 at 3:47 PM by Jay

Nick: Point taken. It was a Saturday so I thought I'd try something different.

Will be back to our regular programming on Monday.

Thanks to everyone for their comments. Wasn't expecting it, but have some ideas of things to fix.

posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 at 5:21 PM by

I don't use digg or reddit...never have. I think I visited the digg site ONE time just to see what it was...but honestly, I have way to much information to process in a given day anyway... Am I immune to the social networking phenom? I don't use delicious, reddit, digg, social networking sites, I don't blog, I read very few blogs, I don't "chat" much, I don't "network" much online...just read a few discussion boards and less than a handfull of blogs.

BTW, I would read your discussion groups a whole lot more if you would fix the "Remember Me" cookies so I don't have to log in every single time. Further, it would be great to be redirected straight to the page I was going to...after I log in...instead of the general board page. I can help you do both of these if you need it.

posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 at 7:58 PM by Dan Hirsch

No disrespect intended by not "voting" it up. I don't vote anything up, since I don't use those services. There is WAY too much information to be digested, for me to think about whose content is best, or my responsibility to help an author "succeed" in blogging. I didn't even know the whole process existed. If posting content doesn't provide value in some way for the author (outside of popularity contests), they shouldn't do it. Obviously, the process seems like wasted effort to me.

posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 at 12:24 AM by anon

> Nick: Point taken. It was a Saturday so I thought I'd try something different.

When you read bloggers who blog about blogging and link to pieces about viral linking, the whole blogosphere starts to loose perspective. There are some great writers out there, who are informative and entertaining. But what they do is probably not what business bloggers who ultimately want to sell a product should do.

posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 at 12:57 AM by Nick Hebb


In my case it was #1 for a very long time. Then i decided that let me try. When i wanted to try digg, i had to enter my e-mail id, which was again a hurdle (SPAM). But thought will give it a try and got myself registered.

Next, it is not #2. My first digg registration was for your article "Selling Technology To Small Business: 7 Insights From Top Innovators". Why did i do that? because i wanted to know more about enterprise web 2.0. which means your article was good and i wanted to read more.

In my perspective, good contents are always read and there has to be constant efforts by the author to promote their content. For example, if you vote this article i know you like this article and that way I can write more about this article and you get to read more contents of interest to you

posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 at 1:53 AM by Anand

1, 4, 7

posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 at 11:42 AM by david


There's no link to "digg it" on the RSS article, so the majority of your readership can't.

I don't have a digg or reddit account anyways.

posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 at 7:16 PM by Oog

I don't use digg or similar sites , could be useful for you to put a poll up for your readership to see how many use those type of services. I find I get the info I want (and plenty of it!) by googling,podcasts and blogs etc I read regularly , something like digg would lead to more yet more clicking and less time on my software!

posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 at 2:55 AM by Richard

> One last point - why would ANYONE digg a story they haven't read yet? Think about your placement..

Definitely agree with Jay's comments about the placement of the digg/reddit voters. Probably would fair better immediately after the article. Looks awkward up at the top, too, like Jay said. (And what's with the bottom of the word reddit getting cut off? Also kind of detracts [anally speaking] from the general appearance.)

my $.02

posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 at 11:08 AM by John

I'd vote for this:

"Only a small percentage of people actually see voting on articles as a form of contributing and helping the community"

Frankly it never occurred to me that there was any particular need for me to vote for someone's articles - or why it would/should matter to you whether I do or don't.

As per your stats above, over 2300 people read your blog posts. I think that's great, in my opinion, and were it my blog I'd be very proud of that and satisfied with that. So why is that not enough for you? Why is it so important to you that your articles get voted on at digg or reddit? Vanity? Insatiable desire for more? :-)

I'm being tongue in cheek, of course, but only half so. I honestly don't understand why this is an issue for you.

posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 at 11:11 AM by DAR

I don't digg any longer because it would automatically reduce my iq.

Have you looked at the ridiculous comments that are made on that site?

Uh, no thanks. That's a conversation that I don't want to be a part of.

posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 at 1:13 PM by Vic Berggren

I get this when I try to vote.

The domain "" has reached the free requests limit for the Digg Counts Feedflare service and therefore has been redirected to this ad page. In order to support the costs of providing this service and to stop this ad page from appearing (scroll to bottom for Digg link) the domain owner or a loyal fan can subscribe "" by registering it via Paypal:

posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 at 1:33 PM by ameya

Both #1 y #4 . I found almost always interesting your post. Sometimes I print and store to have a nice lunch/reading session. I store some articles in my own groupware software and I have you added to my favorites. Better: I am so familiar that I don´t use the Favorites, I simply type your url at least a week in search o new articles. But I seriously think that delicious+digg+reddit+rss+atom are tothgheter a little bit a sobreexposition to information overload.
I thinl all of this will be just ephemeral so I don´t care about digg it an reddit and youtube, etc.
It´s all so pervasive that i decided taht just real "thinked" content worth my time. Not social playings around.

posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 at 5:04 AM by Rolando S. Buenavilla

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