Muhammad Saleem has written a short paper outlining seven steps that Digg needs to take in order to achieve success in 2007. For those that don't know, Saleem is one of the site's top 'diggers' (currently ranked 20), and regularly posts commentary on the social news scene on his own blog - including helping to expose the fact that some of the top users of Digg are being paid to promote certain stories.
Saleem's seven steps are as follows:
- Listening to the community
- Creating a trusted submission platform
- Retiring the Bury-Brigade
- Preventing the community from mass blind-voting
- Abating the Digg Effect
- Solving the duplicate story submission problem
- Handling content that isn’t safe for all audience
For each step that needs to be taken, he outlines a number of solutions. Some are obvious (like creating a discussion forum to help Digg's management listen and respond to the community), whilst others are a little more radical e.g. to prevent people digging stories on-mass without actually reading content, Digg should only enable stories to be dugg via a browser plugin.
However, where Saleem definitely gets it right is by highlighting the need to 'retire' the bury-brigade (a group of diggers that will routinely mass-bury content from users or sites that they view unfavorably), and offering a very workable solution for doing so:
The best way to prevent abuse of the content burying mechanism at Digg is to ask the reader to explain the reasons why the content was reported. This reasoning can be displayed to the Digg community alongside comments on the article, and the community can decide if that person's reasoning is legitimate or not. This will make a user think twice before marking content without giving it just thought, and even then, it allows the community as a whole to decide the content should be buried or not.
Having been a victim of the bury-brigade myself, it would certainly be nice to see some accountability of why a story gets buried. Comments would be preferable, but even implementing different 'bury' buttons would be useful - such as one for spam, one for inaccuracy and so on.
Saleem has sent his seven steps to Digg founder, Kevin Rose. It will be interesting to see if he responds.
Related post: Was I just censored by Digg?