Hey Kevin — what’s with the silent treatment?

by Mathew on November 5, 2006 · 3 comments

It seems that Kevin Rose is in the news again — the blogosphere news, at any rate — and this time not for being on the cover of Business Week. It appears that Digg has been doing some more algorithm-tweaking, and has pissed off a bunch of its top contributors, because the filters it is using are preventing them from getting on the front page with as much frequency. Two top contributors write:

Why then, we wonder, does Digg continue to snub its most prolific community members, rather than reward or even encourage them? With the latest change in Digg’s promotion algorithm, it seems that the message you are sending to the site’s most active users is that its time for them to quit.

My first response to this complaint, I have to admit, was something along the lines of “So quit, already. Who needs you? Go submit stories somewhere else if your poor little ego is bruised.” As Markus Frind of PlentyOfFish points out, the top contributors to just about any public forum or site often become egotistical maniacs and troublemakers. And what does being a top Digger consist of? Being the first to post links to things you found online. Not exactly rocket surgery.


My friend Tony Hung at Deep Jive Interests makes a good point, however, which is that Kevin can be criticized for more than just tweaking an algorithm to deny top Diggers their moment in the sun — apart from a blog post during the last algorithm crisis, one which came long after the fire had started, there has been little or no response from the Digg gang to any of the concerns raised by their most frequent submitters, and little or no consultation with them.

As Scott Karp notes at Publishing 2.0, this whole “social media” thing is a delicate dance, not to mention something that we are all pretty much having to make up as we go, and it requires more than just sticking a “Web 2.0” or bloggy label on something. As Edelman has found with the Wal-Mart fiasco, it is not enough to talk the talk — you have to be prepared to walk the walk. If Kevin Rose wants Digg to be social media, he had better start getting social.


BloodJunkie, a Canadian who is in the top 10 Digg submitters, says in the comments on the Mu Life post: “The change they made to the algo was so obvious (and drastic) that I expected to read a blog post about it on digg’s blog all week. But that never happened. At the very least, they should explain what they have done and how it makes digg better.” And Drums ‘n Whistles points out that Flickr is also taking flak for changing its algorithms.

Update 2:

Kevin Rose has posted a very brief comment on the changes to the algorithm — one which isn’t likely to soothe any ruffled feathers in the Digg-osphere.

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