Let me start by saying that I have nothing against Javalobby, TSS or Slashdot. This is just an opinion on how I see things moving on the internet. I used to be an avid reader of Javalobby and TSS as recent as last year. The issue I used to have with those sites was the lack of content compared to the wars going on within the comment threads. I was never a consistent reader of Slashdot as there were too many bad apples spoiling what was a good selection of content.
These sites were the precursor to the social media sites we see today. Javalobby and TSS are much closer to a newsgroup, message board or forum. Slashdot is very similar to Digg in many ways. The major component missing is the “friends” feature which is prevalent in the social media sites. Slashdot started as a significantly technical community (and still is) and this is the most likely reason for its’ slow decline. Don’t get me wrong, Slashdot is still a strong force and was one of the first sites to become a verb (meaning slashdotted). Even though Slashdot still gets a decent amount of traffic (about the same as Reddit), the other sites are tiny in comparison. In the case of Digg, the comparison may not be fair as it has a large nontechnical audience. However, Reddit is highly technical and only recently added “subreddits” for things like sports.
Javalobby and TSS are more of the content contribution site. Digg and Reddit are the social media aggregation model. With the rise of blogs and the simplicity of using hosted services like wordpress.com, anyone can create content. The addition of blogs and the social media “democracy”, anyone can create content that becomes widely read. Everyone becomes an editor if they vote for a post on Digg or Reddit. As a reader of both Javalobby and TSS, I have been disappointed in the quality of content being posted. They used to be the sites to review for excellent content. However, this shift must be seen as a good thing. Sites like Digg and Reddit now have various blogs around the world making their front page that may not have been able to get the attention in the previous situation.
Sites like Digg and Reddit are popular because of the power they give to the people. The idea behind democracy is a powerful one, because most people like to feel as if they did something. With the social media sites, a lot more people can have their 15 minutes of fame.