The Social Corruption of Digg.com

By | April 20, 2006

Front Page Gangs?  Digg Police? Banned URL’s?  Not in a social Web 2.0 site right?  Wrong.  Along with a fair amount of corroborating evidence, forever geek’s post “Digg Corrupted: Editor’s Playground, not User driven Website” exposes what has become one of the largest examples of anti-social social network sites. Digg  has become an excellent example of why social software is doomed.   Sure, it’s a wonderful idea.  Your ideas out on the internet, floating about as other people read and “digg” it until it is either a popular idea or it bombs.  Sounds great, and in theory, it is.  The problem comes when you get groups of people who reciprocate “diggs” between each other.  Not a problem if the group is one or two people, but if said group grows to 50?  An instant 50 diggs to any story you publish on digg makes for a pretty quick trip to the front page, and to traffic, and recognition.

To digress for a second, we all know that people who Digg a lot have friends who use Digg. So often times friends digg articles for each other, and often times you may see the same people digging stories, and what not. The buddy-buddy system in effect. That’s fine (in a way) – it’s a shortcoming of all social networks – the more popular people gain more influence.

I submit that digg and the other social software sites like it are no longer social network sites, but social caste sites.  If you aren’t somebody, you’re nobody.  You see, as much as we want to hold ourselves to ideals here in the Cyber world, we can’t do it.  The real world keeps on sneaking in.  We’ve never been able to have truly non-caste societies, so why do we expect to be able to have one here on the net?  We can’t.

So, que taps.  There’s a funeral procession heading by.  The web 2.0 bubble is reaching it’s breaking point.

[tags]digg, social corruption, social software, web 2.0, digging[/tags]

7 thoughts on “The Social Corruption of Digg.com

  1. Matt

    I did some analysis on all of the stories submitted by the people that dugg this story that made the front page. Results here – http://www.zippitydoodahonline.com/?p=10

    On average each submission recieved 8 diggs from others in this group, within the first 24 diggs a story recieved. Extremely suspicious, and looks like proof to me

  2. Brady

    Interesting… I argue that the problem with digg is probably solvable through some clever programming and error/manipulation checking built into the engine. Of course you can’t make everything a perfect system but you can at least limit the effect of rogue elements.

    With a community as big as dig the accuracy of the system should actually grow with the size of the community since even a group of 50 people can’t have a notable affect on if a story makes the main page if mainpage stories are regularily getting 5-8k diggs.

  3. Thatedeguy

    It seems that there is also a set number of “reports” of lame or other that will bury a story. Reportedly at 10 it seems somewhat disproportionate to the number of diggs a story could get. One suggestion was that rather than a hard coded number that it be a ratio. So, depending on what it was set at, say 25% a story of 1000 would need 250 “reports” to be buried. It becomes a little harder to gang up on any one story. I believe that the hard coding is why the accuracy hasn’t grown with the users as is is unable to scale along with the growth.

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