Sunday, November 06, 2005

The World According to Digg

I discovered digg.com earlier this year. What is digg? Well from the digg FAQ:

Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allow an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do.

By 'stories', they mean links to stories. A user submits the link, a title and a brief description. They are not submitting an actual story written by themselves (though many submit links to their own stories or blogs - more on that later). Users 'digg' a story by clicking the 'digg it' link on the page for the story. Get enough diggs and your submission is promoted to the front page of digg.com. A more thorough description, again from the digg FAQ:

Once a story is submitted by a user it is instantly posted in the digg area queue. This is a temporary holding place where stories wait to be promoted to the homepage. To help promote stories to the homepage, simply visit the digg area and digg stories you think are cool. Once a story has received enough diggs, it is instantly promoted. Should the story not receive enough diggs, or is reported, it eventually falls out of the digg area queue. Digg works because a large group of people actively promote good stories to the homepage. Since this site's content is user-driven, it is up to YOU to contribute.

As the FAQ mentions, users can report story if there are problems with the submission. Each story has a 'problem?' drop down menu, from which users can report the submission as a duplicate, as a bad link, as spam, as old news and as lame. It all sounds so wonder, so social, so "user-driven". But in reality, digg is hardly user-driven. The only aspect of digg that is user-driven is the ability to promote pages to the front page. The number of 'diggs' is the only published statistic. Users have no idea how many people found the submission lame or old or a dupe or as spam.

If digg.com is truly user driven then users should be given the option to select 'no digg' if the submission is lame or sucks or select 'half digg' if the find submission useful but with problems. These statistics should be listed along with the number of diggs to enable users to make a better informed decision as to whether proceed and examine the submission or to pass. I have clicked on submissions that had 1,000 or more diggs, and they were lame or had nothing to do with technology.

Another issue I have with digg is users submitting stories that link to their personal blog. Usually, a link at the blog points to the original story or opinion. This is nothing but a method to increase hits to that individual's blog. As far as I can tell, no one at digg.com has put an end to this activity.

By no means am I saying that digg sucks or digg is bad. I do not visit slashdot, so this is not a slashdot versus digg rant. It is a rant about making digg more user-driven, about making the quality of submissions better and about making the comment system better. Let the flaming begin.

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