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Why You Don’t Work For Digg…

There is a reason why the author at PeelOpen.com doesn’t work for Digg – he has no idea what he is talking about. After seeing his submission on “5 ways to fix Digg” go front page, I was hoping to see an insightful set of solutions to the issue of “Power User” effectiveness on Digg. Instead, I saw a poorly-thought-out set of tweaks that would do little service to the site. I have dealt with each of his solutions item-by-item below. You many notice the heavy level of redudancy in my answers. It seems, unfortunately, that all of the “fixes” offered by the author are easily circumvented using the same methods Digg spammers, and spammers in general, have used since the inception of the internet — create more accounts. I follow up with how to REALLY FIX DIGG. Please skip to the bottom to read that…

Blind Digging Algorithm

“Power Users” will just create multiple accounts with proxies to solve this problem. It makes it a little harder, but not much. Instead of having 1 very-powerful account, they will have 50 pretty-powerful accounts, which they can use in concert any time they really need something to go popular.

Temporary Banning System

(notice the pattern?) “Power Users” will just create multiple accounts with proxies to solve this problem. It makes it a little harder, but not much. Instead of having 1 very-powerful account, they will have 50 pretty-powerful accounts, which they can use in concert any time they really need something to go popular.

Submission Limit

(notice the pattern, again?)  “Power Users” will just create multiple accounts with proxies to solve this problem. It makes it a little harder, but not much. Instead of having 1 very-powerful account, they will have 50 pretty-powerful accounts, which they can use in concert any time they really need something to go popular.

Take Away Shouts

Shouts actually make it easier for Digg to track tainted-votes (votes that were solicited by a friend). Taking away shouts would be stupid.

Reduce the Digg Time Limit

(and again?)  “Power Users” will just create multiple accounts with proxies to solve this problem. It makes it a little harder, but not much. Instead of having 1 very-powerful account, they will have 50 pretty-powerful accounts, which they can use in concert any time they really need something to go popular.

Block User & Submission

You would never Digg him in the first place, why block him? Now you aren’t seeing his good submissions (perhaps he poached them, but they are still good submissions). This is the same as saying you would like to blindfold yourself whenever some guy keeps breaking into your house. If you can’t see the bad-guy, you can’t stop him. Very counterintuitive.

Block by URL

Yes, this may be valuable, but it only makes the site easier for you, this doesn’t improve upon the issue of power-users getting to the front page..

Banning Justification

Appeals process is a good idea, but once again this doesn’t improve upon the issue of power-users getting to the front page.

Warning System

Once again, how does this prevent power-users from hitting the front page?


How to Really Fix Digg

There is only 1 true method for making sites like did less susceptible to power-users, spam voting, etc. This is the old Hot-or-Not method of content delivery.

  1. For the first 24 hours, the new story cannot be accessed by any single URL.
  2. All stories are accessed through randomized “upcoming” mechanism.
  3. Users cannot vote on stories found via “site search” or via on-page “Digg Buttons”
  4. A temporary URL is supplied for each user and each page, so if they did attempt to send the URL onto another individual, the URL would fail.
  5. At 24 hours, a perma-link is applied so that Google can still index the story, etc.

Using this method, it is impossible for one user to prompt another user to vote on their story while it is being considered for promotion. Of course, a huge amount of functionality is lost in this method.

  1. Users have no way of knowing if they have seen all the upcoming stories.
  2. Users have no way of seeing stories their friends have recently submitted.
  3. Large numbers of organically generated votes would disappear at the same time. Fewer options of how to find the good stories.

The site becomes a whole lot less useful, but at the same time you would prevent vote manipulation. I think the trade-off, which is just the right to see your name next to a front page story rather than someone elses, is not worth it. The more important question is this – who cares whose name is next to the submission? The only people who ought to care about this are people who are trying to dupe the system.

Why You Don't Work For Digg... by No tags for this post.

4 Comments

  1. “he has know idea what he is talking about”

    I think you mean NO, because if he knows than you invalidate your own point.

  2. Dave Dugdale
    Dec 31, 2008

    I read that “fix” post this morning and had scratched my head on why that post got so many diggs. I guess most are upset that it is so easy to game digg and would like it fixed.

    Your ideas are interesting, not sure they would be implemented but they are at least thought provoking.

  3. Michael Martinez
    Jan 5, 2009

    Not being a DIGG user, I couldn’t care less about whether they fix their search engine spam engine or not.

    However, I’ve seen quite a few “how to fix DIGG” blog posts over the past week so I guess there is an upswell in community grousing.

    They could just treat the DIGG part of DIGG the same way Yahoo! treated the directory part of Yahoo! — move it to a second tab.

    That is, serve up current stories by category regardless of who DUGG them on the basis of trust (established sites that have good DIGG histories), freshness, and perhaps some other undisclosed criteria.

    The social aspect of DIGG should evolve. Simply trying to fix a system that is so easily exploitable smacks of the Google Syndrome — they are STILL trying to make PageRank work (and failing miserably).

  4. Peel Open
    Jan 10, 2009

    There seems to be flaws in your so called idea’s for making Digg better.

    Firstly lets get some things straight about my post. Not all idea’s were thought up by me, some of them were — but I also added idea’s actual Digg users came up with and up-voted in comments on the Digg article.

    Secondly – If you hadn’t noticed, all of your idea’s involve the use of proxies. In case you didn’t know, Digg isn’t so blind to the use of proxies. If they notice that 50 new accounts all created on the same day dugg or promoted the same story, they will get flagged/

    No one would go to the trouble of creating 50 accounts considering they would require 50 email accounts. Sure they could use a disposable email account, but it would far outweigh the benefits of getting to the front page.

    Your so called ways to fix Digg and answers to my idea’s are by far the most ridiculous I have ever seen.

    A power user having 50 accounts would be useless, why? Unless the power user somehow had 50 active accounts with friends who would Digg their every submission, its not likely, unless of course the power user with 50 accounts is logging into all of them and Digging all friend submissions, even then they’d eventually all get banned for spam like activity.

    Real users of Digg only friend people who are constantly active and have been a part of the site for a while. So while 50 accounts might take your vote count up to 50, all it takes is one bury and it’ll take way more votes to get anywhere.

    A warning system would hand out warnings to users who are obviously blind digging. Making blind digging against the TOS would stop most of the power user activity and introduce diversity.

    While you may think its as simple as creating 50 accounts with proxies, you obviously have no concept whatsoever of how Digg works or what you are talking about.

    Author Response: First, your post is entitled “5 ways to fix Digg”. Your methods may decrease some power user’s abilities, but that would be fruitless if it did not impact the ability of others to do just the same thing using multiple accounts rather than a single one.

    I promise you that you have no idea about Digg’s understanding of proxies. I do not want to go into the naiveté of your comment regarding proxies, but I assure you that while Digg may make strides against preventing proxies, Digg exploiters are not creating 50 accounts on the same day and then all voting on the same stories. They understand the intricacies of deception, create accounts at random time intervals, have those accounts auto vote on random but likely-to-vote-on stories, accept friends, comment, etc. and, occasionally, when necessary, no greater than 10% of their Digg arsenal will vote on an important story. That pattern of voting will never occur again, as the next 10% will be a completely different set of voters.

    50 Email accounts? You are joking right? From simple tricks like using Catch-All domain accounts (infinite number of email accounts generated via 2 clicks in Cpanel) to buying pre-created Yahoo or Gmail accounts at literally a dollar per 100, creating email accounts for this type of effort is mindlessly easy.

    Your misconception here is the assumption that Power-Users are the most powerful users on Digg. What you don’t realize is that Power-Users may account for 30% of front pages, but Power Networks account for another 50% – you will never notice them because the account that hits the front page is different nearly every time. Trust me, though, it is much better to know and see your enemy.

    However, you chose not to address the most important part of my piece – how to really fix Digg. The Hot-or-Not method makes it impossible for people to chose which stories they are going to get an opportunity to vote on while they are in upcoming. This destroys friend networks, bot networks, and literally all of the available cheating mechanisms that allow a person to get to the front page.

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