In a step that is somewhat similar to Digg’s removal of the top users list, Netscape recently announced that it will stop counting, displaying in user profiles, and taking into account when assessing user rankings, the statistic of ‘number of stories submitted by a user and later promoted to the homepage’.
These promoted stories were previously presented in user profiles as follows:
According to Tom Drapeau, Director of Netscape,
We are reevaluating our homepage configuration, as well as the calculation of member site rankings. Once we have finished our investigation, the idea of “Homepage Stories” may very well become obsolete.
What I find incredibly intriguing is the almost insignificant reaction that this move has caused from the Netscape community or the blogosphere in general, when compared to the same move by Digg. I didn’t even notice the change until I saw a post on the homepage of Netscape pointing it out. I asked Netscape Anchor and the person in charge of the Netscape Navigator team, Ryan Budke, why this was the case, he had this to say:
First of all, you have to understand, social news (at least at Netscape) is not about a ‘my stats are higher than your stats’ mentality. You see the big difference is that at Netscape, the people aren’t so much competing against each other as they are working with each other as a community. What we are trying to measure is, what matters to people the most. Is it the rank, or is it purely the ease with which they can engage in the social activity of sharing news with each other.
What we are seeing more and more is that our community sees itself as ‘doing each other a service’, and their only priority is to share information with each other. To most of our community, statistics are just there for fun, they are purely secondary. Just look at the community’s response, we flipped the switch, and you can count the number of people who really care about this decision on one hand!
With apparently little importance given to rank and a supposedly intrinsic desire only to share information, could Netscape prove to be the social news model that we’ve all been waiting for?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this move by Netscape, and your opinion on why this move has had such little reaction from the Netscape community.
**Disclaimer: I am a Netscape Navigator.