Digg Scraps Top Diggers List

This is huge news: Digg is scrapping their top diggers list:

Kevin rose explains the decision…

This is huge news: Digg is scrapping their top diggers list:

Kevin rose explains the decision:

“Which leads me (Kevin Rose) to a disappointing trend that we’ve noticed over the past several months. Some of our top users – the people that have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours finding and digging the best stuff – are being blamed by some outlets as leading efforts to manipulate Digg. These users have been listed on the “Top Diggers” area of the site that was created in the early days of Digg when there was a strong focus on encouraging people to submit content. The list served a great purpose of recognizing those who were working hard to make Digg a great site, as well as a way for new users to discover new content. Now, as the site has matured and we regularly get 5,000+ content submissions per day, we believe there are better ways to discover new friends based on your interests and what you’re digging. So if you have been digging stories about digital cameras and Oolong tea, you will be introduced to other top users with those interests.

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.

This will completely change the Digg system!

The thing is, nobody (not even the Digg designers) can guess how this will change the system, but you can bet that this will change it in some deep way.

This is exactly the type of problem that I would characterize as a “social design” problem. You simply can’t know how this will change the Digg social scene: social motivation, attention, etc…Digg is certainly treading brand new ground here. They’ve got an audience that has been using this feature for the last couple years, and there is really no way to test the implications without a site-wide release.

How can you user test this sort of thing? You can’t.

I’ve been using Digg as the primary example of gaming lately…gaming that has both good and bad outcomes. The good is that it probably helps Digg grow by incentivizing the top diggers to keep their top ranking by digging great content, but also risks making all the most-digged items come from the same top diggers.

I’m fascinated by this development, and I bet there are thousands of developers out there who are thinking about building social systems that will be paying super close attention to how this turns out.

Published: February 2nd, 2007