Today, I’m happy to announce the “official” launch of my second side project, The Noows. What is “The Noows” you ask? Quite simply it’s a site that lets you, the user, determine exactly what is news. The site works similar to Digg or Reddit in that you click the little button next to the article links and they’re “upvoted” and moved to the top of the homepage. The site (currently) differs from Digg and Reddit in that there is no algorithm that determines a certain item is “front page material” clicking any link will move it to the top of the homepage.
Where the Idea Comes From
In 2008 I became very upset with Digg and it’s army of pro-Obama, voters that upvoted any article that was pro-Obama and constantly buried any article that showed Obama to be a double-talker, or displayed him making a error on facts. A year or so later a big deal was made about the conservative movement that sought to upvote and anti-Obama articles and downvote any anti-republican articles.
Both of these actions were wrong. To me a site like Digg or Reddit works best people aren’t trying to game it for a particular political agenda.
I needed to solve two problems with The Noows, I wanted to eliminate the ability for others to submit stories, and remove the ability to game the site. The first one is easy to solve, and I did it by just relying on the RSS feeds from official news sources (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and eventually newspapers and such). The idea was to remove the ability for people to submit their own articles, thus removing the need for them to game the site.
The second solution is currently two-fold. First, I rely on Facebook authentication for user creation and login. Since most people really only have one Facebook account, they can’t create multiple accounts on the site without also creating multiple Facebook accounts. This (hopefully) makes it more trouble than it’s worth at the moment for a person to want to “game” the site to make sure certain articles are seen.
The second part of the solution is that there is currently no algorithm. You click the “Noows?” button, that article gets moved to the top of the homepage. Doesn’t matter if it’s already on the homepage or not, it gets bumped to the top. The idea here is that the stuff a lot of people really think is news worthy will always be at the top of the site. Will there eventually be an algorithm to determine what goes to the top? It’s possible, depends on what people want and if I ever see a real need for it.
Will the site ever be popular? Who knows. Really I just wanted to get it out there so people can start using it. I think something that aggregates other news sites and brings stuff together in a way that allows everyone to see various articles on the same subject has value. There might even be some value in a future feature that lets users decide on the left/right/center of particular articles. But for the meantime, I hope that some of you can come to use it as a goto place to get your news fix.