Polymeme: the stories that Digg and Reddit miss

Ethan Zuckerman sez,
Belarussian journalist Evgeny Morozov was getting sick of encountering the same stories about US politics on many of the blogs and news sites he frequents. So he decided to engineer some serendipity, building a new type of news aggregation site: Polymeme.

Polymeme relies on the wisdom of crowds in a very different way that sites like Reddit and Digg. For each of twenty core topics, the algorithms behind Polymeme monitor a small set of blogs, chosen because they focus on a specific topic, like evolution, education or economics. The algorithms look to see what stories - in mainstream press, alternative or citizen media - are being linked to and discussed in these "expert" blogs. Polymeme offers a link to the story being talked about, as well as to a selection of blogposts that address the story in question.

The site lets you encounter new ideas as a conversation between an original author and a set of bloggers engaging with the ideas. And the stories featured tend be both fascinating and not to be the ones getting lots of love on Digg and Reddit.

Of course, some things don't change no matter how wide a net you cast: according to the site's own statistics, the two people most often mentioned in the blogs tracked: Barack Obama and John McCain.

Polymeme (Thanks, Ethan!)


  1. True, but if it’s finding positive stories about McCain or negative stories about Obama, you can be sure those were previously slipping through the cracks of Digg and Reddit.

    (I mean, say what you will about the campaign, but when Digg’s best response to a story asking “Why are there so many positive Obama articles and negative McCain ones” is “Because Obama is Jesus and Santa Claus rolled into one, and McCain is like Bush, only older and more senile,” you get the impression they’re not even trying anymore.)

  2. “sick of encountering the same stories about US politics on many of the blogs and news sites he frequents.”

    And yet the vast majority of the stories on Polymeme still seem to be about the USA.

  3. @#2 It says sick of the same articles on US politics not all articles on US politics.

    Looks like a great site.

  4. Yeah, I used to read digg about two years ago, before it got invaded by the myspace crowd.

    Now it’s all “U all need to see this pic OWNED lolol!”
    Or “Iran feeds orphan children, invents perpetual energy machine”

  5. Thanks Cory – I’ll have to give this a spin in my rotation. Digg fell out of my regular reading a while ago now, and Reddit is suffering more and more from an epidemic of slow turnover on the front page. Slashdot, Fark, Arstechnica and Engaget just don’t fill enough time in my day!

  6. As soon as I read the title of this post I thought it should read “Polymeme: the stories that Digg and Reddit miss because of rampant fanboi posturing and spin”

    And on a side note, did you know Kevin Rose got a “special thanks” credit in GTA IV? I thought it was weird when I saw it. But then again there were no less than 40,000 names in the credits, my mother could have been in there somewhere.

  7. sounds like what metafilter strives to be, except replacing contributing site users with algorithms

  8. I like it. I especially enjoy how you can view the default page and your own custom page with topics more relevant to your interests.
    It lets you find things you’ll like and discover new things at the same time.

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