Digging the Digg

I often use Digg to share bookmarks. When I submit a link, I am requested to specify a topic to facilitate other people to find it. Well, it is a fact that no taxonomy is really exhaustive and that every attempt to group articles by categories is based on a subjective point of view, however the Digg’s selected topics are really a mystery for me. Why? Let us walk through the current list…

Technology Apple   Design   Gadgets   Hardware   Industry News   Linux/Unix   Microsoft   Mods   Programming   Security   Software
World & Business Business & Finance   World News   Political News   Political Opinion
Science Environment   General Sciences   Space
Gaming Industry News   PC Games   Playable Web Games   Nintendo   PlayStation   Xbox
Lifestyle Arts & Culture   Autos   Educational   Food & Drink   Health   Travel & Places
Entertainment Celebrity   Movies   Music   Television   Comics & Animation
Sports Baseball   Basketball   Extreme   Football – US/Canada   Golf   Hockey   Motorsport   Olympics   Soccer   Tennis   Other Sports
Offbeat Comedy   Odd Stuff   People   Pets & Animals

The first area is Technology. It has eleven topics: Apple, Design, Gadgets, Hardware, Industry News, Linux/Unix, Microsoft, Mods, Programming, Security, Software. This is really a strange mix of topics. First of all you have only one family of operating systems, that is, Linux/Unix. Of course you can use Apple and Microsoft to tag the corresponding operating systems, but what if you are speaking of mainframes? What is about Simbian or PalmOS, or Google Chrome? A better approach would be to have a topic for Platforms and another one for Applications. Communication software is ignored too, but you might use Software for that. However, in such a case, should Microsoft be used for company news only, or its software too? Well, we have Industry News for that, I suppose. And what is Mods for? Modules? Models? And what about Hardware? Quite a big category, I think. Should I use that for cellular phones too?

In my opinion, a better approach might be Platforms (for both operating systems and telecommunications layers), Middleware, and Applications for software-oriented topics; Mainframes, Workstations & PCs, Laptops & Netbooks, Mobile, and Devices for hardware-oriented topics. I would also substitute programming topics with Development, which includes modeling, design, coding, and testing, and leave Security and Industry News since they are relevant.

The second area is World & Business. This is quite a poor area, since it has only four topics: Business & Finance, World News, Political News, Political Opinion. I understand that Digg is an USA-oriented service, but since it is used all over the world, it make no sense to assume a USA-centric view. For example, a piece of news about Angela Merkel should be placed in World News or Political News? A better approach would be: North American News, Central & South American News, European News, Asiatic News, African News, Oceanian News. In alternative, if we prefer to focus on subjects rather than geographies, I would use Business & Finance, Local News, Political News, Sport News, Cultural News, Scientific News, Gossip. Note that we are speaking of news here, so that we still need topics for cultural, scientific and sport topics not related to news too.

In fact we have a Science area too, but this is really poor: Environment, General Sciences, Space. It is not clear why Space and Environment are listed whereas Physics or Biology are included in a big basket. A better approach would be: Physical Sciences which include environment-oriented topic too, Life Sciences which includes Biology, Formal Sciences which includes Math too, even if it is not properly a science, Social Sciences, and Applied Sciences which includes Engineering too.

The third area is Gaming. It has six topics: Industry News, PC Games, Playable Web Games, Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox. In this case I would simply aggregate Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox into a Video Games topic. The new list should also include all kinds of games: Board Games, Card & Dice Games, Domino & Tile Games, Guessing Games, Online Games, Role Playing Games, and Simulations.

The fourth one is Lifestyle. Here we have a very heterogeneous list: Arts & Culture, Autos, Educational, Food & Drink, Health, Travel & Places. I would move Arts & Culture away to create a new area, and add to that list Style & Fashion. I would also change Autos to Motor Vehicles, which should include motocycles, planes, and motor boats, and I would add Other Vehicles for all vehicles without an engine, as bicycles, gliders, sail boats, and so forth. Oh, let us not forget Bricolage and Gardening too!

The new area should be called Arts & Culture and it should include the following topics: Drawing, Architecture, Painting, Conceptual Art, Literature, Music, Theatre, Cinema, Dance, Journalism, History, Philosophy, and Popular Culture. The fact that History was missing in the original DIGG list really surprised me.

The fifth area — now the sixth — was Entertainment. Here we have Celebrity, Movies, Music, Television, Comics & Animation. It looks like more a gossip-oriented area than a cultural one, anyway. In fact we have a Celebrity topic too. I honestly do not like this area and I would remove it. In fact Music and Movies are already included in the previous area, and games are already listed in the third area. So I would add Television and Comics & Animation to the previous area, and use Gossip topic in the second area for celebrities.

So we have (back) the sixth area: Sports. The original list is: Baseball, Basketball, Extreme, Football – US/Canada, Golf, Hockey, Motorsport, Olympics, Soccer, Tennis, Other Sports. Very USA-oriented, I would say. I would add at least Cycling, Board Sports, Combat Sports, Paddle Sports, Sailing, Skiing, and Water Sports as swimming, for instance.

The last area is Offbeat. This is really a “whatever else” area: Comedy, Odd Stuff, People, Pets & Animals. I do not like it at all. I would remove it by moving both People and Pets & Animals to Lifestyle area, Comedy to Arts & Culture, and Odd Stuff to the second area, the one related to news.

So, this is the final taxonomy. It is still subjective and not exhaustive but, in my opinion, it is more consistent and aligned to a worldwide perspective.

Technology Applications   Development   Devices   Industry News   Laptops & Netbooks   Mainframes   Middleware   Mobile   Platforms   Security   Workstations & PCs
World & Business Business & Finance   Cultural News   Gossip   Local News   Odd Stuff   Political News   Scientific News   Sport News
Science Applied Sciences   Formal Sciences   Life Sciences   Physical Sciences   Social Sciences
Gaming Board Games   Card & Dice Games   Domino & Tile Games   Guessing Games   Industry News   Online Games   PC Games   Role Playing Games   Simulations   Video Games
Lifestyle Bricolage   Educational   Food & Drink   Gardening   Health   Motor Vehicles   Other Vehicles   People   Pets & Animals   Style & Fashion   Travel & Places
Arts & Culture Architecture   Cinema   Comedy   Comics & Animation   Conceptual Art   Dance   Drawing   History   Journalism   Literature   Music   Painting   Phylosophy   Popular Culture   Television   Theatre
Sports Baseball   Basketball   Board Sports   Combat Sports   Cycling   Extreme   Football   Golf   Hockey   Motorsport   Olympics   Other Sports   Paddle Sports   Sailing   Skiing   Soccer   Tennis   Water Sports

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