Fine-tuning news mobs on Digg
September 7th, 2006

(Thanks, Kellie!)

The practice of moderating or rating news stories that are submitted by a population of readers is one of the most interesting recent manifestations of smartmobbery. If there are ways to gain reputation systems, people will find them. It looks like Digg is running up against this phenomenon, according to TechCrunch.

The incredibly successful news site Digg has hit a few speed bumbs recently. Digg is a news site that promotes news stories, submitted by users, to its home page based on votes by other Digg users. If a story is ‘dugg’ by enough users, it goes to the home page and a lot of traffic is directed to the link in the news story.

In addition to the recent targeting of Digg’s business by AOL when they turned the massive netscape.com property into a digg clone, a number of people have recently complained, loudly, about the ability for groups of users on Digg to get a story to the home page, or removed from the home page, by acting as a group.

Political blogger Michelle Malkin was one of the first to complain that groups of conservative or liberal Digg users were acting to remove posts from pundits on the other side. More recently, another blogger analyzed Digg home page stories and concluded that a small group of powerful Digg users, acting together, control a large percentage of total home page stories.

Later in the story, Digg co-founder Kevin Rose is quoted as saying that a new weighting algorithm will be implemented:

This algorithm update will look at the unique digging diversity of the individuals digging the story. Users that follow a gaming pattern will have less promotion weight. This doesn’t mean that the story won’t be promoted, it just means that a more diverse pool of individuals will be need to deem the story homepage-worthy.


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