Sunday, February 25, 2007

Diggheads and How to Identify Them

Little Green Footballs (LGF) is one of the best blogs on the Internet. Not necessarily due to its opinions - which people may or may not agree with - but in terms of its transparency.

Digg is arguably the most popular social bookmarking website on the Internet.

A recent article called Mob Rule at Digg highlighted how Digg is being exploited by those who have differing political views to LGF's Charles Johnson:

Somehow, I don’t think the “social bookmarking” model is supposed to operate like this. The idea behind an ostensibly non-partisan site like is that people submit links to interesting things, and other people rate the links, so that interesting stuff gets more votes and rises to the top.

But at Digg, this utopian web fantasy has turned into a system of mob rule.

Case in point, our post today about the ACLU’s newest attempt to get Islamist spokesman Tariq Ramadan into the US: Digg - ACLU: US Can’t Bar Terrorism Supporters.

As soon as this post was “made popular” (received enough votes to get listed on the front page), leftist Digg readers swarmed all over it, clicking the “bury” button like busy little progressive beavers. They also voted against almost every supporting comment, so that they disappeared from the list.

They’re doing this with every LGF post that shows up at Digg now, and the swarm is almost instantaneous. If one of our posts gets to the front page, it’s buried within minutes.

It’s a leftist totalitarian dreamworld. They simply exclude any and all points of view that violate the groupthink—and call it “democracy.”
The concept of "burying" seems inferior to the concept of "adding comments", because the former is about stifling information discovery and dialogue, whereas the latter is about enhancing it.

Those that actively exploit Digg to stifle or restrict online information discovery and dialogue for the purpose of pushing their own agenda are henceforth known as diggheads.

No system like this is free from exploitation and arbitrage. It is better to shine a light on it rather than try suppress it.

Therefore three suggestions are proposed:
  1. There should be a list of articles that have the most number of "diggs" and "buries" in total. Volume implies interest, whether positive or negative,
  2. There should be a list of people who do the most burying, along with the list of articles that they bury, and
  3. There should be some visual representation highlighting groups of people and the sets of articles that they bury. Given Digg's impressive tools, this should not be too difficult to develop.
All three suggestions do nothing to restrict information. On the contrary they increase information. In this case, information that can identify diggheads.

1 comment:

Daniel Greenfield said...

unfortunately social network can tend to favor the most fanatical and the kind of obsessed people who can believe that determining what is or isn't dugg up or the content of a wikipedia entry is the most important thing in the world and that gives them the edge