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Digg vs. Diggers?

Is Kevin Rose “snubbing
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Written by Donna Bogatin on
Is Kevin Rose “snubbing” the very diggers that digg for the sake of Digg? 

“Powerful Digg users,” believe they are “no longer wanted” and their labors of Digg love are “no longer appreciated” by Rose’s Digg, so says Michael Arrington. 

What is the basis for restiveness among the Digg “elite”? Arrington questions Rose’s latest algorithm reformulation.

Rose continually tweaks the Digg algorithm with the goal of ensuring Digg is as “useful, democratic, and devoid of misuse as possible.” 

I asked Rose in September about his motivations for changing the Digg story promotion algorithm. He believes it is important to enhance the diversity of digger input (see “Digg: Kevin Rose talks ‘The Real Deal’ in exclusive interview”:

There are 4000 newly submitted stories daily...It is not up to the person submitting story if it makes it to the front page. It is up to the community if that is something they want to see on the front page.

Rose affirmed his commitment to keeping Digg free of gaming influences:

We have sophisticated anti-gaming processes. We are spending a lot in R & D to prevent gaming.

Given that Rose created Digg out of a desire to “democratize” news, I asked if it is not demoralizing to have to commit enormous resources and time to fighting the anti-democratic component of human nature. Rose conveyed that he considers investments in ensuring the integrity of Digg as costs of doing business.

Why is Rose’s latest algorithm enhancement offensive to the “powerful Digg users” Arrington cites? He characterizes the changes as being:

aimed at grouping users who tend to act as a single voting block, effectively neutralizing their ability to move stories to the home page by simply acting together.

So, where is the problem? 

Arrington laments “the days of one user, one vote are long gone.”

How so? Digg algorithm enhancements are actually aimed at ensuring one user, one vote; They are also aimed at preventing one user, 10 votes.

Digg quid-pro-quo voting blocks increase the power of “one user’s” vote by guaranteeing that a vote by any member of the block is automatically strengthened by almost simultaneous votes by the other members of the block, regardless of the merits of the story submission.  

Arrington also warns Rose that he risks “alienating their most active users, who complain that many of the changes to Digg affect them more than the spammers.”

Quid-pro-quo voting block members, however, are spammers.

Arrington also regrets a “complicated and evolving algorithm that gives certain users less voting weight than other users.”

NO, the algorithm aims to ensure all users have the same individual voting weight.

Although Arrington headlines “Top Digg Users Feeling Snubbed,” he concludes with an acknowledgement that Digg is the better for it: 

ultimately its more important to have quality content on the site. And I will say this - the diversity and overall quality of stories the last few days has increased markedly

UPDATE: Web 2.0 indignation: Digger online threats displace Facebooker turnkey riots

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