No, Digg, No! (no digg)

Filed under: rants,useless @ 17:14

I’ve long hated slashdot. The articles that make it to the front page are typically pretty good, but the summaries are sometimes misleading, poorly worded or written by someone who clearly had no idea what the article was actually about. Worse, and the actual source of my hate, are the comments each submission acquires.

Whenever I read the comments on an article about Quantum Information (or some other field I actually know something about), I find the number of comments which contain pertinent information to be small, and those that contain accurate information to be entirely negligible. Reading the comments of such articles is infuriating. Why people read a naive explanation of some physical principal and then assume they know all there is to know about it, I don’t understand. Why they claim this knowledge and then publicly demonstrate their ignorance is further beyond me. Extrapolating, I long ago decided that comments on all of the articles were, with high probability, similarly misinformed, so I simply stopped reading slashdot. A better solution might have been to stop reading the comments, but knowing just how terrible the comments were, I lacked the will power to stay away from them; I was the moth, they the flame.

To get my nerdy news fix, I started reading digg. The technical articles there are of a narrower scope, but it’s worth it for the comments which typically come in only two varieties: “no digg” and “I also like cheese. digg++”.

Refreshing. Useless, but refreshing. I never get sucked into reading digg comments because I know ahead of time that they contain identically no information. In particular, there’s nothing there to raise my blood pressure.

Until recently.

A few days ago, I saw an article on digg titled Prof says there’s no hacker he can’t foil. I scoped it out and saw that it was a poorly written bit of science journalism about Hoi-Kwong Lo’s most recent paper: Simulation and Implementation of Decoy State Quantum Key Distribution over 60km Telecom Fiber.

The result is a nice practical demonstration. The article, however, makes the great mistake of confusing an eavesdropper (someone attached to the medium through which you’re sending information from one place to another) and a hacker(/cracker, a person with far more tools at his or her disposal, e.g. social engineering). This error on the part of the journalist made for some really disappointing comments on digg: exactly the sort of comments I try to avoid by steering clear of slashdot. I don’t know if the digg culture is changing, if quantum information brings people out of the woodwork who should remain there, or if this was a statistical aberration. In any case, I’ll have to be more careful from now on.


oddly enough I read an article about a month ago on how to spoof a photon. This proff needs to catch up to the times.

no digg.


Of course this protects against sniffing/mitm attacks etc.. but if a ‘hacker’ just broke into the computer connected to the network, they could probably extracted the data from the network card after it has been decoded, or even from disk if it isn’t encrypted.

FYI, the actual result doesn’t claim otherwise, but digg++.


To allude that your infoilable, clearly is a act of arrogance. Silly human.

Your spelling, then, is clearly not an act of arrogance.


its gonna be open season on this guy

Perhaps. If the “hackers” out there demonstrate a level of reading comprehension on par with that of your own. Or if they feel like punishing a happily innocent scientist for having a ‘sensationalized to the point of misinformation’ article written about him. I admit either as a possibility.


This is all well and good. It’s not a surprise that this overly “intelligent” physics geek made such an outrageous claim. I suppose he didn’t take into consideration that this system could still be “hacked” with good old social engineering.

So close. You see the problem, but miss the source. I’ll give it a ‘I thought about digging it but decided to abstain in the hopes the aggregate would know better than I do’ for potentially leading people in the right direction and allowing some future commenter to correct your misconception.


I read about quantam crypography two years ago. Old shit. No digg.

Ah… this one might be my favorite. Dumb shit. No digg.


dugg for the comments more than the article! haha.

I also like cheese.


    jjk 02.27.2006 @ 17:49

    A fictional conversation between my advisor (A) and me (M) follows.

    A: Jeff, I need you to solve this problem. You will probably want to look into Fourier analysis in your search for a solution.

    M: I read about Fourier analysis two years ago. Old shit. No digg.

    A: What in the hell did you just say?

    This conversation would likely have been followed by me getting fired, but I may have been propelled along the path of professionally making insightful scientific commentary. Or maybe not.

    Adam 02.27.2006 @ 23:29

    Off topic, but this was an actual conversation between my boss and some others (which Dixie might correct me on somewhat. I’m gonna paraphrase):

    (Background, we’ve been having a lot of kind-of-but-not-really-scheduled subgroup meetings recently.)


    Dixie: “So, what time are we going to meet next weekend? Morning? Afternoon? Lunch? Saturday? Sunday? It would be helpful to know before the next meeting actually starts.”

    Boss: “What?! You want me to plan things a week in advance?!”

    Someone Else: “Well Bill, it makes us kind of edgy when we don’t know where you are at all times.”

    Everyone: (general agreement + roaring laughter)


    Anyway, we all thought it was funny. And to his credit, he sent out the email about the next meeting about 6 days in advance, rather than 6 hours, or (as sometimes happens) 6 minutes.

    MDA 02.28.2006 @ 14:06

    jjk, that is quite possibly the funniest thing this site has ever seen.

    Ed 02.28.2006 @ 16:04

    I’m extremely upset that your blog won’t let me post my absurdly long comment.

    MDA 03.01.2006 @ 10:48

    Ed, I have never run into such a problem. If you still have it (I’m guessing you don’t), you can email it to me and I can make sure it works.

    Adam 03.01.2006 @ 21:59

    Mike, I think this post is proof that you need to implement a system like Jeff, Paul, and Greg have that truncates long posts on the front page. You know, the whole “Read More” thing.

    MDA 03.09.2006 @ 10:36

    Such a system is implemented. I have chosen not to use it.

    gv 03.12.2006 @ 15:58

    Let it here be recorded, the venerable site “no digg dot net” owes part of it’s inspiration to this pivotal post

    HAA 03.18.2006 @ 13:05

    Digg helped me find the perfect iTunes smart playlist set for my listening needs: http://www.andybudd.com/archives/2005/08/itunes_smart_playlists/index.php.

    Too Cool.

    Uber 04.27.2006 @ 07:01

    The Internet makes you stupid. Slashdot and Digg both suffer in that the sort of people who offer opinions in comments are not required to know anything about anything, let alone something on a specific topic.


    […] Mike has more on asanine digg comments here. […]

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