December 8th, 2006
As Digg increasingly confronts the spectre of spam and gaming of the system (Tony Hung has the latest round), Kevin Rose and Co. have been forced to add increasing complexity to the Digg algorithm, to the point where the value of a Digg on Digg has become so opaque as to be rendered utterly meaningless. Which raises the question — why even bother to show the number of Diggs? Here’s a sample from today’s front page:
And just below those stories…
Anyone coming to the Digg homepage for the first time would have no idea what these numbers mean — even insiders, despite all the speculation on Digg’s algorithm, don’t really know for sure what these numbers mean. So what’s the point really?
A “democracy” that has to forgo transparency in order to avoid becoming undemocratic has already ceded its democratic ideals.
I wonder what would happen if Digg stopped displaying the number of Diggs — the loss of transparency would only be superficial. And what if they removed the record of who Dugg what and the Digger ranking? What if all incentives for power and fame were removed, and the only incentive was to help your fellow Diggers find useful information? You know, community.
Of course, Digg would never do that because the “community” would eviscerate them.
Digg has been a fascinating laboratory — the stories of gaming Digg are actually far less interesting than what Digg has taught us about the dynamics of “social media.”