I’ll always associate a 5-point star with his site, as it’s his way of providing links to individual posts on his site (a quick search on archive.org reveals he started DF in 2002, but only began using the 5-point star for post links in 2006). He also uses the star at the beginning of a post title to indicate long form entries, entries warranting more attention than his quick, day-to-day reactions to tech news.
The star derives directly from his logo, a circumscribed star. When I’m scanning through my RSS feeds, the star placement in the favicon, post titles and entry links tells me immediately it’s Daring Fireball.
I use the ❖ symbol to indicate major articles, which is a thing I absolutely ripped off from Gruber. I didn’t want to use the star Gruber uses because that’s his in my head, so I picked something else. I went with a diamond, to signify that most wrestling articles you’ll come across are not that good, this one is, or something to that effect. I have noticed more and more tech journalists utilizing indicators to show people where the good stuff is, and I like the move. It shows that, at the very least, the author knows what pieces he wants to show off, and it helps a new reader know where the meaty stuff is. I wonder if the star is something that should be standardized to mean this. But then, you’d have to trust everyone to use it sparingly, or at least thoughtfully.