Like it or lump it, the major reason that determines whether any given online story will get read or not is how much play it gets on news link sharing sites and social networks like Digg, reddit, and StumbleUpon. Unlike earlier news sharing sites like Slashdot, these sites have no central editorial control. Instead, the stories that get prominent play on these sites is determined entirely by readers. That sounds like democracy in its most basic form, but in practice what it really means that stories can be buried from sight by abusive users with an ax to grind.
I became aware of this because in the last few weeks I’ve had several stories that were pro-Linux and anti-Microsoft-Linux, it doesn’t get any faster and Macs, Windows 7, and Linux–first became popular on Digg, and, an hour later they were buried.
On Digg, what this means is that, unless you already know the Digg link, or specifically search for a tale with the buried story option on, the story link disappears. In short, no matter how many people thought it was a good story, other people will no longer be able to see it.