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Digg In Fight With Its Community Leaders
Over Change In Algo
trillianjedi




msg:3078673
 10:35 am on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

In an attempt to defend Digg from gaming and spam, founder Kevin Rose announced the site will be changing its algorithm for weighting and ranking stories.

The effect has been to cause the No. 1 community leader to resign, with other Digg big hitters following suit.

This story goes to show that once you set out your community stall, it's very difficult to change it unilaterally without causing serious upsets.

[wired.com...]

 

Webwork




msg:3078746
 12:16 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

If my (brief) reading is correct Digg seeks to lower the weight that can be given to any one member's vote. Digg upset some active contributing members by effectively devaluing their "active" contribution.

Instead of devaluing their contribution why not assign "trust rank" to active members who have a "long history" of "unbiased voting"? This argument, of course, begs the question. After all, is there really any such thing as "unbiased voting"? Therefore, maybe Digg is right to devalue active voties.

Still, the real issue is the merit of the votes, not the sheer volume. Unless Digg had reason to doubt the voting motives and vote merit of their more active posters they should have used the active and non-suspect member's behavior and experience as a data set for helping to build a Digg trust rank system.

The overarching issue is how to get trust rank to work in any system.

Trust rank that works is especially valuable to a business model that relies upon people who are working for free, i.e., a system based upon public contributors. Presumably all that free labor frees up capital and revenue streams, so those funds can pay for the services of intelligent people who are supposed to be intelligent enough to create systems or procedures that keep the free workers happy.

Maybe Digg can find some free intelligent workers - systems and procedures people - who will do a better job of designing the inner workings and controls of their free labor system? :-P

[edited by: Webwork at 12:40 pm (utc) on Sep. 11, 2006]

maximillianos




msg:3078759
 12:32 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

The manipulation of Digg has been going on for quite some time. The owners were probably quite aware, but it wasn't until they got bad press about it that they actually did anything. It is a tough community-type problem to solve, and I think they are starting down the right path with the randomizing of their algorithm. I think the original backlash from the top users is expected. But if these are the same users who are controlling the content, then their departure will only help Digg's cause.

KenB




msg:3078779
 1:03 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the original backlash from the top users is expected. But if these are the same users who are controlling the content, then their departure will only help Digg's cause.

Exactly.

If you really look at Digg it has become a good old boy network where a select few control what gets promoted to the front and seen by the masses. Regardless of how much the most active contributors are, their control will hurt the long term growth of Digg because their squelching of other voices discourages new members from becoming active.

Besides even if Digg does lose its top contributors, it will not lose postings because there will be others out there who will still report on the same news articles if those articles are truly of interest.

Diggs solution of devaluing votes between individuals who habitually vote for each other's articles is a smart move because it will help break up the voting clubs and lessen the power of the good old boy network that exists.

ByronM




msg:3078825
 2:21 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

The problem with digg is mac fanboyism and microsoft hatred.

With the above two issues everything is entirely biased - even good comments.

weeks




msg:3078841
 2:35 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've checked out Digg and have to agree that it has a problem in bringing forth compelling content. Something had to be done. If the change upset people, so be it.

TomWaits




msg:3078886
 3:02 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

The problem with digg is mac fanboyism and microsoft hatred.

Name a tech-centric site that isn't like that. That's not a problem, that's simply a reflection of the userbase.

I've tried to get into Digg and reduce my Slashdot skimming, but I never felt Digg could touch Slashdot, whatever the reasons for that are. Digg seemed a good place for common knowledge pieces that I already found out about before I got around to visiting Digg. That's what popularity rank means to me. I don't need a Newsweek treatment of my tech news -- I need to find out what I don't already know. And popularity rank doesn't get it done.

Clark




msg:3078891
 3:03 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

When you give a baby candy, let it smell the candy, taste the candy, and then take it away...the baby will cry.

rogerd




msg:3078955
 4:06 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is an overdue reform. It's been an open secret that a tiny, tiny fraction of community members accounted for the majority of front page stories at Digg. A new member might quickly realize that the odds of his/her story making it to the front page were almost nonexistent, and participate elsewhere.

Successful communities balance respect for long-time contributors with providing new members with visibility and a voice. At Digg, this area needed some re-balancing.

That's a tough process, though, because it can (and in this case, DID) alienate some of your best and hardest working contributors.

Winters




msg:3078968
 4:29 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've been following digg for a while, and I'm really glad that they're doing this. Like others have said it breaks up controlling networks.

I've seen stories with merely 14 or 15 votes hit the front page, so these networks can be small if they are well coordinated. Once a story gets to the front page, even for a few minutes, the other votes will follow easily.

If you look at the digg history of an average member, you'll probably notice that 90% of the articles they voted for have thousands of votes. They see it on the front page and vote for it, rarely looking at "upcomming" stories.

The top contributors are only being pissy about losing control. They probably made a fair chunk of change on their schemes as well. Is anyone really sad that they've resigned? Seriously.

walkman




msg:3078996
 4:54 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

just went to digg and 90% of their frontpage stories do not interest me--and I am a news junkie.

bwnbwn




msg:3079082
 6:13 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am all for it as I added an article once and like I said once it was buried by the good ole boys in a matter of mintes by the voting so that was that, I won't waste my time there again.

It may be the same junk always at the top has reduced the traffic to this to lets say losing money...

After the owners get the ranking inplace I will give it another go..

benistheword




msg:3079086
 6:17 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

The problem only starts with the top users controlling the site. A bigger problem is the site mostly regurgitates the same news over and over again.

How many times do people need to be told FF's marketshare is increasing, someone installed Linux, how to install Linux, Apple released another ad / product / rumours of a product.

AhmedF




msg:3079125
 6:40 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have to disagree with the general sentiment here.

Digg added controls to help make it easier to digg your friends' contributions/interests. Quite a few people have added me as their friend, and I have no clue how they are. Now if they are searching for stories, and they see it in green (to indiciate I or any other friend dugg it), they will be more likely to digg it.

What is this? Nothing more than exactly what Digg wanted. They wanted users digging the stories of other users. To insinuate that there was some digg cartel or that the top users were controlling everything is very simplistic. They have lots of friends who simply digg each other.

Sure, it may be a broken feature, but for Digg to publicly blame these very users (who not only submit, but also digg a lot of queued stories) seems to keep up with their previous 'blame everyone but us' mentality.

Lastly - if there is anything abused too much on Digg, it is the ability to bury a queued story. In fact, lets say I am from Competitor X. I could create 5 different aliases (on different computers), and start marking every single story submitted and dugg by the top 50 users as lame. What better way to drive away the most active users?

I'm starting to digress, but to summarize: The top users were simply using Digg's features, and Digg, while putting out its fancy 'Digg Labs' has quite a few holes in the system.

rogerd




msg:3079286
 8:44 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think there were actually two problems. One was spammers who might be able to give a story a boost by concerted effort. The other was the dominance of the front page by a small number of members, which was heavily reported on a month or two ago. Even if the intent of these very active members wasn't nefarious, the effect of the algorithm was to make it difficult for a great story from a new member to get much visibility.

plumsauce




msg:3079636
 3:40 am on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)


think back several weeks. this is a reaction to calcanis and netscape.

joeduck




msg:3079758
 6:33 am on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

90% of their frontpage stories do not interest me--and I am a news junkie.

This has been my experience as well, though I'm wondering if the rank manipulations are a reason that "real news" often is trumped by sensational crap stories at Digg. I doubt it though, and think Digg is simply very focused on young male video gamer interests.

KenB




msg:3080155
 2:50 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

This has been my experience as well, though I'm wondering if the rank manipulations are a reason that "real news" often is trumped by sensational crap stories at Digg. I doubt it though, and think Digg is simply very focused on young male video gamer interests.

I think you will find it is both causes: rank manipulation by a core group in a "good old boys" network AND the fact that it is dominated by young male video gamer interests.

Personally I normally skip the front page and go straight to upcoming stories to find things of interest.

I do think that greater efforts need to be made to move stories to the proper categories and to penalize people who habitually post stuff in the wrong places. I'm constantly finding stuff in the science category that has absolutly nothing to do with science. It drives me nuts. This problem isn't unique to Digg, as all Digg like sites have the same problem -- particularly when it comes to what is and what is not science.

unreviewed




msg:3080741
 9:53 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

OT, but I see John Battelle has launched a Digg like thing aimed at the search industry. I don't think he spent too much time thinking on the name, battellemedia.com/searchmob/

The dot com name “searchmob” has been registered by someone since 2003.

walkman




msg:3080823
 11:14 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> OT, but I see John Battelle has launched a Digg like thing aimed at the search industry. I don't think he spent too much time thinking on the name, battellemedia.com/searchmob/

Shouldn't John be selling ads for Digg instead? I can't believe he actually got VC funding for his company...absolutely nothing new or revolutionary. Ads on the companies he represents are good only if they sell links for their PR.

wmuser




msg:3086733
 9:43 pm on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Making upset some leading contributors is defenetly not a good idea,except making some positive changes to prevent spam they must have done some things wrong too

rogerd




msg:3088968
 5:56 pm on Sep 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

You never want to upset your best contributors when you make community changes. Sometimes, though, you DO have to take an action for the long-term good of the community that will make some members unhappy.

In that case, your best approach is to communicate with these key members in advance. Solicit their input and suggestions. Comment on their ideas to show that you listened. Incorporate any good suggestions. Even if they disagree with your ultimate action, these members should at least feel they had a chance to be heard in the process.

netchicken1




msg:3089077
 7:31 pm on Sep 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

In all seriousness, the best stories are in the Upcoming stories section.

I follow Digg daily and the changes are good, I suspect the quality of the Popular Stories has decereased slightly but is made up in terms of variety.

However if you want to know what new on the net the Upcomng stories are the pulse.

The worst spam are people with pathetic one idea and 50 words blog entries that keep submitting them to Digg. There should be a limit that prevents posters from sumbitting the same sites ad nauseum, maybe a restiction of 10 times per month for one URL.

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