- I'm not a scaling expert
- I'm not even a programmer
- I'm neither a Digg nor a Stack Overflow user
- I have no problems with Joel Spolsky
With those points out of the way, I wanted to write a post about a statement that Joel Spolsky made that made in regards to scaling and comparing Stack Overflow to Digg. I think it can go without saying (based off of the above disclaimers) that I don't understand the intricacies of either Digg or Stack Overflow's code base and server setup, however, I have culminated some of the discussion on this topic.
As I'm sure many of you know Digg is a social news site where community members can submit links for other community members to vote and comment on as well as dynamic widgets that can be found on thousands of sites across the web.
Stack Overflow, is a Q&A style site which allows it's community (of programmers) to ask and answer questions of various topics on programming and vote up or down on the submitted questions and the answers.
So what is being said about this comparison? First off, I'll direct you to a former Digg engineer's comment about this very subject. This post more speaks about what servers Digg has running (or had during his time there).
Interestingly enough, there is a decent conversation thread on reddit about this as well (where people far brighter and informed on scaling than I, discuss the differences), that I thought I would highlight some of the more on topic comments.
So what are they all talking about? Essentially the points that I have pulled out are that one cannot compare the scaling needs of Digg to Stack Overflow due to the different nature of request loads each site has and how much of each site's pages can be handled in cache and also that Digg is unique from Stack Overflow in the sense that they have dynamic widgets that are embedded on thousands of sites some with extremely high traffic, where Stack Overflow doesn't have to deal with the load issues of these widgets.
To be fair, I've only pulled out the comments that are in agreement that Stack Overflow and Digg aren't comparable in their scaling needs, if you think these viewpoints are wrong or disagree, I encourage you to read and join in on the reddit discussion about this topic.
Scaling is a hard and unsolved problem. A few dozen engineers are working very hard to work on a problem that isn't exactly the same for each of them. I put together this blog post because it's so easy for a person who isn't a tech person to hear statements like this and make blanket opinions based off of some one else's opinion.
While I'm not a fan of Digg myself, I do find the problems of scaling an absolutely fascinating topic, one that isn't widely understood and often misunderstood. I've seen so frequently in Social Media people repeat criticisms they've heard in regards to engineering as their own opinions without having a basis of understanding of those criticisms or the oposite side.
The time is almost upon us! Starting this Saturday (October 16th) at 8am Pacific time, I will be participating in a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for the Children's Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, California. Below, you can click on the clip to be taken to my donation page. 100% of your donations go directly to the charity and are tax-deductible. Please consider sparing even as much as a single dollar or two.
You can also join in on the fun by tuning in to my Justin.tv channel, which will be providing a live stream of the gaming awesomeness with myself and team WNOHGB! You can either watch the stream from tia-marie.com or directly on Justin.tv (links provided below).
http://www.tia-marie.com/live.html - Video/Chat Embed
http://www.justin.tv/tia_marie - Justin.tv Direct link.
I'll also be doing some giveaways during the stream, so don't forget to pop by the channel and see what you can possibly win!
^ Click me ^
If you read my previous post, you've gotten the full blow by blow on one of Die Antwoord's songs, "Evil Boy." Today I was thoroughly pleased to discover that their entire album can now be purchased for digital download on Amazon and iTunes!
If you liked "Evil Boy" you should certainly pick up a copy of this album, I already have and it's downloading as I write this.
I'd love to hear what you think of the album so leave me a comment or shoot me a tweet to @tia_marie.
It’s no secret that I’m particular fond of foreign music. I find myself drawn to genres of music in other regions of the world that I would not enjoy produced in the states.
One song in particular that drew my attention is the song “Evil Boy” by the South African Zef group Die Antwoord (Afrikaans: “The Answer“). The song is written in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa and has a sound similar to American hip hop.
Admittedly, what drew me to the song originally was the total WTF/NSFW nature of the video associated with the song. Dark, grungy and incredibly phallic symbolism is used throughout the entire video. Watching the video for the first time, with no lyrics or context is very confusing. Which is what led me to dig around deeper.
The lyrics have pieces of social commentary about adolescent circumcision within Xhosa tribes as well as a shout out to AIDS awareness campaign from 2002, to encourage condom use across Africa and even a word play joke on the armed wing of the African National Congress.
Before saying much more, I’ll let you watch the video for yourself, pay special attention to the period of 1m24s to 2m10s. This section is sung in Xhosa by Wanga:
On first pass, you’re probably very confused and upset that I didn’t mention NSFW about a dozen times. If you read the english lyrics in the section of the video I mentioned, it may on first glance sound as anti-homosexual commentary. However, as the band has explained, these lyrics are in regards to Wanga’s personal experience with his tribe’s ritual circumcision:
It’s gone into more explanation about the environment of ritual circumcision:
This ritual circumcision is performed in unsanitary conditions, often with the same knives that has caused the spread of STDs and HIV. Post initiative deaths are extremely high and there is great social stigma associated with the ritual. There is much attention (but still not enough) towards the practice of female genital mutilation, yet very little attention has been turned to the practice of adolescent ritual circumcision.