Digg changes algorithm to help keep bad stuff out

Is Digg rigged? JP thinks so. He offers an informal analysis indicating that several “top 30” Digg users cross-dig each other’s posts frequently, which could mutually contribute to them staying in the top group of users.
For this post, I don’t really care if there is a cartel of Digg users coordinating self-promotion. The story for ICDers is that Digg changed its system to try to reduce the possibility of this type of pollution.[1]

The announced goal is to “weigh a diversified group of Diggers more heavily than groups acting together.” According to Digg co-founder Kevin Rose,

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 [sic] to deem the story homepage-worthy.

As Rose notes, keeping the bad stuff out (the pollution problem I regularly discuss) is a well-known and ongoing challenge to a user-contributed content community: “we have learned a lot about the user base and how to defend digg from spam, artificial diggs, and digg fraud. It’s a battle we will continue to fight and one that we don’t take lightly” (id).
1There are interesting questions about the conditions under which it is in one’s self-interest to cooperate with a cartel, and what the enforcement mechanisms are that enable this. In fact, my first published article concerned conditions causing international mineral cartels of the past century to succeed or fail: MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K. and Robert S. Pindyck, “Cartel Theory and Cartel Experience in International Minerals Markets,” in Energy: Markets and Regulation, Richard L. Gordon, Henry D. Jacoby and Martin B. Zimmerman, eds. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1987: 187-214.)


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