The radical redesign of USA Today's website — readers' votes now count as much as news editors' choices in determining the prominence of stories — has prompted predictable reactions. Speaking from the ultra wing of internet evangelism, Steve Rubel says that the newspaper hasn't gone far enough in refashioning itself as a social network. USA Today's readers hate the change: 92% of comments are negative, according to Don Dodge. So who's right? Social news sites such as Digg and Techmeme, which rank stories by reader votes or blog links, can indeed be compelling. And media is definitely becoming more open and collaborative — more social, if you like. But USA Today's mainstream readers go to the site for authoritative news judgment. Established media properties such as USA Today and Netscape, in blindly following internet fashions, risk losing their existing conservative users — without ever persuading early adopters, for all their head-patting encouragement of experimentation, to visit any more often. [Images: the front pages of USA Today, Netscape and the site they both copied with such mixed results, Digg.]