Wired News: Digg Bashing For Reddit’s Sake

I just finished an initially interesting read on why Digg‘s system is flawed at Wired News (via and via). By the time I clicked the ‘next page’ link, I was annoyed to read that Wired’s parent company owns Digg-clone Reddit.

(Wired News is owned by CondéNet, which also owns Digg competitor reddit.)

Now, I’ll say quickly that I actually like Reddit and I am a frequent complainer about Digg (why no comments allowed on the Digg blog, Kevin?), but this article seems to be a thinly veiled attempt at trashing Digg’s spam algorithm and user-defendant bury component, which seems to really help Reddit out far too much to be a coincidence.

CEO Jay Adelson told me before I conducted this experiment that all the groups trying to manipulate Digg “have failed,” and that Digg “can tell when there are paid users.” Adelson added, “When we identify a (Digg user) who is part of a scam, we don’t remove their account so they don’t realize they’ve been identified. Then we let them continue voting, but their votes may count a lot less. Then the scam doesn’t work.”

There’s no contextual quotes here, only snippets here and there that support the opinion that the author wants you to read loud and clear. She puts this here to set up Adelson for the big ‘doh’ moment when the algorithm doesn’t work near the end of the story.

Now, in an effort to draw out the foregone conclusion the the site stunk to high-heaven, the blogger proceeded to buy herself some votes and earn her blog the coveted ‘became popular’ tag. I guess Digg’s system is completely flawed. Why do we even both with that worthless site anyway, huh?

Ultimately, however, my story did get buried. If you search for it on Digg, you won’t find it unless you check the box that says “also search for buried stories.” This didn’t happen because the Digg operators have brilliant algorithms, however — it happened because many people in the Digg community recognized that my blog was stupid. Despite the fact that it was rapidly becoming popular, many commenters questioned my story’s legitimacy. Digg’s system works only so long as the crowds on Digg can be trusted.

Hey wait, I’m confused, doesn’t that mean that the system DID work? The algorithm is the first line of defense, but when it fails, Digg depends on it’s users to know crap when they see it.

The system did, in fact, work like a charm. But you won’t hear that in the article. The blogger goes on to question if the users can be trusted in the long run. Where did that come from? It is a completely contrived question because her hoped-for flop did not happen.

Plus, most people skim these types of articles. They’d read the main parts of this story and assume that the Digg method is so hopelessly flawed as to mean the site is destined to fail. Is this a fair story?

Nothing like exposing your competitor to some juicy, dishonest gaming so you can have that beautiful link bait article that everyone will gobble up. But, that’s the blogosphere right? We can’t just write a post, we have to write an inflammatory one destined to harm whatever company we can get some traction off of…

Am I getting too old to appreciate the mud slinging or is it just that the mud slinging itself is getting old? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m really disappointed to see this type of article on Wired. (sigh)

3 Replies to “Wired News: Digg Bashing For Reddit’s Sake”

  1. It is definitely a shallow article by Wired. I dug a little deeper into the facts provided by the article and all it proves that the manipulation attemt did not work:

    * Only 1 of 3 manipulated stories got to Digg front page
    * $160 spent on Digg votes for failed articles was wasted
    * The story that got to Digg FP was promptly buried
    * It cost the author $120, with $450 on the line
    * It got 10K pageviews from advertising inert Digg crowd
    * No significant increase in subscribers
    * A link from reddiggulo.us, a link from doggdot.us, and 2 links from PR 0 scraper sites

    More detailed explanations here:

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