No more Digg shouts: Rationalizations to Why Digg Needs a Better R&D Department!

A few days ago, Digg disabled ‘shouts’, which is the ability to share a certain article with your Digg.com friends. Many Digg users were frustrated, as this means they have to rely on Twitter and Facebook to share their Diggs. I’m not a power-digger, and never cared much to be one. But, after reading a couple of articles about Digg putting an end to the “shouts” feature, it got me thinking: What the hell are they doing?

Now, allow me to say what’s on my mind…

 

Starting with a little history…

More than a year ago, Digg noticed that the top diggers with many “friends” to whom they shout articles to dominated most of Digg’s first page content. To solve this issue, they changed the algorithm to look for ‘diversity’ in votes. Diversity here – as I understand it – is to have different people digg up different articles, and not the same group of people voting on every article the gets promoted to the front page. Say, one article was dugg by X, Y and Z. If X, Y and Z digg another article as a group, their vote would be depreciated. Now, this makes sense and in general would reduce group voting power over Digg’s front page.

But, as it turns out, this does not and did NOT provide a solution. Power diggers where still in control of the first page after this change. Why? Well, here is how I see it: A power digger would have thousands of “friends”. Do you think that every shout of an article would be seen by the exact set of diggers receiving the shout? Probably not! We’re talking about thousands of diggers while only 50 to 100 votes in a short period are usually required to deem an article popular.

 

The end of “shouts”…

So, this failure led to the end of “shouts” – but is this going to solve this problem? I’m voting for: No. Proving my point is DiggShout.com as an example; it gathered an active community in under 24 hours. DiggShout is a community of Diggers wanting to publish and promote their articles. In a similar way Digg’s original shout worked, but this one is totally uncontrolled by Digg or Kevin Rose! Same goes for Reg Saddler – @Zaibatsu on Twitter – according to ReadWriteWeb, he’s already using Twitter to redirect users to help Digg up stories he finds interesting. He’s got 80k+ followers at the time of writing.

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