Digg Removes Top Diggers List

Posted on February 2, 2007

There are many bloggers discussing Digg's decision to remove its list of Top Diggers.
So what does this all mean? After considerable internal debate and discussion with many of those who make up the Top Digger list, we've decided to remove the list beginning tomorrow. As for what's next, we're currently working on designing and refining the technologies required that will help enable our nearly 900,000 registered users to make real connections that we believe will greatly enhance the Digg experience - whether you're brand new to the site or have been on Digg since the beginning. We plan on rolling this out in the coming months along with features and programs that do a better job of rewarding positive contributions to the Digg community.
Matthew Ingram has a nice roundup of some of the discussion regarding Digg's list. He also points to a list of the Top 100 Diggers that was created by Christopher Finke using Digg's API. Yesterday, Finke called Digg's decision to remove its list an "exercise in futility." Today he proved it by creating a script to build the list.
It's an exercise in futility. A competent programmer could easily throw together a page scraper to determine the top submitters, so when the dust settles, Digg will still have problems with pay-for-play, but the most prolific users will no longer be recognized by Digg for their work that makes the site so successful.
Digg is always going to have problems with people trying to game its system. All popular social media sites are going to really struggle with this kind of problem. It isn't a problem that's really unique to social media sites. Email has spam, ecommerce has phising and Google has people constantly trying to game its index. In the Web 2.0 world we see Digg being hit with payola schemes, fake stories and spam. Wikipedia has the Wikilobbying dilemma. Blogs have their own spam problem (splogs) as well as payola for blog posts. YouTube has a growing problem with fake videos -- videos that pretend to be a video about one subject but are really about an unrelated topic or an advertisement. Some of the most popular sites like YouTube and Digg will probably require more and more real editors -- in addition to increasingly complex algorithms -- to fight off all the spam. YouTube's already testing the editor idea with its guest editor program.

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