Digg, Slashdot, and Publius

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Digg is a Democracy, Slashdot is a Republic.

The analogy is imperfect, of course: for example, no one elects Slashdot's editors. But it's pretty close. This Federalist article is about controlling "faction:"

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.
Madison goes on to say that obviously, you cannot remove liberty or give everyone the same opinion. So therefore you must look into controlling its effects:

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.
Not that I am foretelling Digg's death, violent or otherwise ...

Then Madison goes on to say how a small group of citizens charged with providing for the rights and interests of everyone is more effective, and scales better, and so on. Madison never claims this is a perfect system, but just that it is far better. I tend to agree. slashdot.org

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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