Digg versus Reddit; Reddit versus Digg. Much could be written about the unfolding war for your attention that’s taking place on the battlegrounds of news aggregates come and gone. That was pretty poetic, wasn’t it? Look, here’s the raw deal: Whether you’re a Digg enthusiast, Reddit convert, or vice versa, there’s no reason why you should have to live your online life using the simple, raw tools that either site has provided for you.
No, there are plenty of unique tweaks and twists that you can build into your conventional Reddit/Digg experience—provided, of course, you’re rocking either Firefox or Chrome as your browser of choice. And if you’re using something else or, for that matter, using another site on the Internet for your daily news updates… well, you’re out of luck in this week’s Freeware Files.
So, for those that are left, get ready to see how you can kick your Reddit or Digg surfing to new levels of awesomeness (really, usability!) We’ve split the extensions/add-ons up by browser and by site, with a special little bonus in the end for anyone who sticks around that far.
This extension is the end-all, be-all add-on for killing two birds with one stone: Watching Digg’s front page and submitting stories to the service without having to actually keep an active tab on the site open at any time. In essence, Digg Reader slaps a miniaturized version of Digg in a little sidebar menu that pops up whenever you click on the related icon.
You can read front-page stories, top stories, and upcoming stories as easily as you can click to a new mini-tab. As well, submitting the site you’re currently browsing in your main window is but a one-button affair. The only downside? You can’t actually add Diggs to stories within this highly customizable mini-reader.
The aptly named “Digg Extension for Firefox” is simple in its execution, but it provides a novel way to combine common Web surfing with all the different functions and abilities that Digg offers. Install the extension, and you’ll get a little addition to your menu bar right between, “Tools” and “Help.” The new entry, “Diggs,” will give you a numerical count of just how many Diggs whatever URL it is that you’re currently viewing has received.
You can click on the menu title itself to get a drop-down list of recently submitted stories to Digg, recently popularized stories, and both the top and hottest stories happening at the current moment. It’s just like real Digg, minus all the pretty graphics and the, er, ability to Digg itself—no can do via the menu, alas.
And behold, a mouse was hovered over a Reddit user’s username. Revealed were their stats, including link karma and comment karma, as well as how many days said user has been an active member of the community!
In a nutshell, that’s Reddit Reveal. This simple extension adds a little extra behind-the-scenes information to your normal browsing on ol’ reddit.com. Not only do you gain access to the user details listed above (again, when you hover your mouse over someone’s name), but you can also see the total number of upvotes and downvotes for any submitted story. Statistic-friendly geeks, rejoice!
It sounds worse than it is, trust me. Consider Reddit Mutilator to be like your own personal Greasemonkey script for the news/social aggregate. With this add-on, you can slice and dice the site into your own customized configuration of links (be they links to stories or images or whatnot, or the actual links that make up the raw framework of the site).
For example, using Reddit Mutilator, you can automatically nuke all NSFW content from any Reddit page (useful for those at work) and block the comments of any user from ever appearing within your browser. You can also turn on and off the various links that permeate the site, including elements like a story’s “share” link, the site’s “submit a link” box, or the search box of Reddit itself. The power, as they say, is yours!
Okay. We’ve shown you how to maximize your Reddit and Digg use across the Web. Now, we’ll assume that most of you have jobs and likely can’t spend seven of your eight working hours trolling links on the Web. Or, at least, that’s the idea—you still want to. Heck, you might even still do that regardless of your personal work ethic.
If you need a more forceful way to keep yourself off of Reddit, Digg, or any site under the sun during the ol’ 9-5 grind, then check out StayFocusd if you’re a Chrome user—this extension makes it easy to assign yourself set amounts of time that you can browse any given site. Once time’s up, it’s back to work you go (hi-ho.)
Firefox users, be sure to install your equivalent extension RescueTime. While this won’t stop you from visiting sites, it will annoyingly tell you exactly how much time you spent anywhere on the Web—your own guilt will be your undoing here.
Maximum PC’s David Murphy would gladly come up with more awesome Firefox and Chrome add-ons and/or extensions, but he has to go check out new Civilization 5 tips on /r/civ.