Social news site Digg launched on Wednesday night a new algorithm to try to prevent groups from gaming the system.
The update effectively punishes people who vote in groups to promote certain stories. The result of the update is that stories that reach the homepage will need to be "dugg" by a diverse group of people.
"Digg's promotional algorithm ensures that the most popular content dugg by a diverse, unique group of diggers reaches the home page," Digg founder Kevin Rose said in a blog. "Our goal is to give each person a fair chance of getting their submission promoted to the home page."
He goes on to say that as a result of the new algorithm, it will not be uncommon to see stories with more than 100 diggs still in the "upcoming" section. As I am writing this, there are three stories in the upcoming section with more than 150 diggs, the most popular standing at 155.
This is supposedly evidence of the new algorithm at work, but I can't help but think that it must be disheartening for the submitters. The other side of the coin is that Digg's top submitters do wield a good deal of power and often receive a lot of diggs just because of who they are; that's not to say they didn't deserve to get to that point in the first place. The top submitters are in this position because they consistently submit great content.
This update will certainly give the little guys a better chance at getting a story on the front page, but it may anger some of the longtime users.
If the top stories are going to be read by a very diverse group of people, then it is important that they are determined by a diverse group of people. The truth is, however, that a lot of the content on Digg has been determined by groups of hardcore users, and this update may render some of their actions ineffective.
On the whole, I think it's important to stop gaming on Digg, and this is a really good way to do that. I'm sure that a good deal of thought was put into these changes and that Digg would not want to mess with a winning formula without careful consideration.
However, as we have seen in the past and as we are starting to see now, Digg fans are very vocal when they don't like something. Digg could have another great uprising on its hands if the new algorithm does not show any apparent benefits to the community.