Digg v3 and its New Algorithm

Digg has a new design: it’s nice & clean. Digg v3 also has a new backend – that happens to be the exact opposite. It seems that in adding support for new non-tech categories and changing the algorithms to match the lesser traffic and activity in those sections Kevin Rose and his team managed to mess up the algorithm for the rest of the site, leading to much trouble.

The new digg algorithm seems to ‘solve’ something that had previously irked many people: the difficulty of getting a story on the homepage. But maybe there was a reason why it’s difficult. It used to be that a story posted by the right person and dugg by the right people at the right time in the right place could get to the homepage after 50 diggs. For everyone else it took a lot more – something closer to 100 just to make it to the homepage.

But the new digg has changed all that. Take a look at their homepage now or at our capture, digg has made it far easier to get a story to the front page with minimal effort – a good thing? or perhaps not? Did Kevin make a mistake with his amazing start-up? Can digg recover?

From what we can see, it’s nowhere near as good as it could have been, though maybe (just maybe) it’s not fatal either. Take a look at the stories featured on the homepage in our first screen capture. On that one page alone (taken at a random time, no special circumstances or government conspiracies) at least 5 of the 15 entries shouldn’t be there – by digg’s normal standards. These are stories that have been submitted before (and made the homepage – something diggnation doesn’t let repeat itself by and large), spam, or just completely lame (and commented on as being as such – yet dugg nevertheless as a result of making the homepage).

So maybe it was a fluke. Maybe people around the world accidentally dugg the stories that they shouldn’t have, and digg just complied – a one-time thing that’ll never happen again. We’d like to think so too, but just take a look at the homepage now; it seems it’s happening again!

Even then, imagine an article so hated and pointless that the first 200 or so comments on it have buried? Without exception? Hard to imagine, right? Wrong. Look at NST’s capture of a story off of digg’s homepage earlier today. It’s not fake – as a matter of fact the article in question has gotten even more out of hand since: IBM using Napoleon Dynamite quote to encrypt data.

In the end, no matter how you look at it, something is wrong. Whether it’s the members suddenly changing their style at once and without warning or a mistake on the digg team’s behalf, something in v3 is wrong – and unless it’s corrected fast the effects could be permanent and fatal.

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