In beta I could expect feedback on every post I made, but now that Newsvine is open there is so much seeding that many good articles are being ignored, often because there are dupes posted later the same day that split reader attention. Dupes, however, are not the only reason conversations seem to be faltering around here.
I'm not just griping about my own column. Taking a look at most articles under the tag "Apple" shows that most articles are being voted on up to 3 times max and nobody is leaving comments. Conversations are being spread too thin. For example, live chat can't work when there are hundreds of rooms with only one inattentive person in each one (no audible cues when a message is posted means conversations die quickly). And how could there be meaningful discourse about French law and DRM if there are five different seeds on the subject. Also irritating is that if I were to get the jump on the AP feed of a story, as I've done a few times over the past several days, my story doesn't appear on the "front" page of a tag until hours later. By then the AP story appears and that's where the conversations occur. So offering plebes the chance to host their own news blog, and even entice them with ad revenue, ends up being an exercise in vanity. The front page layouts make official news sites automatic A listers and relegate the plebes into the C List. The B List, so far, has proven to be random and fleeting.
The end result is that I would be better off making my own Apple blog elsewhere on the net and drum up traffic the old fashioned way. I can't even link my newsvine column into Technorati (Any attempts to submit my blog and claim it are foiled because newsvine strips external site URL link code from the front page of every users "column" - an anti-spam measure that effectively sandboxes my page from the internet).
So that is my list of gripes. Here are my suggestions. What do you think?
• Change the front page layouts so that AP and other official feeds compete for top billing with newsvine seeders and columnists.
• Implement Dupe detection, similar to digg.com's but more accurate. Dupes are watering down the feeds.
• Give higher placement on the front pages for seeds by newsvine contributors with active columns. That would encourage people to create their own news content instead of mindlessly digging, I mean seeding news links.
• Allow columnists to submit their columns to technorati or other external blog indexes by allowing an editable box of external code on their front pages. If you want to prevent spam, then hand pick which blog indexes you support and allow new indexes to petition for inclusion. That way columnists cannot abuse the front page with spam. This would allow columns to be searchable outside of Newsvine and bring more traffic in.
• Consolidate live chat by keyword or section, not per article. It's simply spread too thin. It's like IRC with everybody having their own private room. Meaningful conversation simply isn't occurring.
• Make voting more obvious. It's not a spelled out feature and is therefor not getting used much. I discovered it by accident. I would suggest replacing the Arrow icon with text to make that feature more clear.
• Improve the speed at which an article shows up on the front page of any given tag. It should be instantaneous but it's not. There is an indefinite delay anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour sometimes.
Without change, Newsvine is in danger of driving away the same people that helped launch it - people with intelligent views and interesting things to say - and become simply another news portal.