DIGG: Socialist Bookmarking?

Remember our comment over at Apple Gazette that Apple stories now seem to be at a disadvantage with a recent change in DIGG’s algorithm? Here’s an interesting perspective from BlogHerald, using analogies with capitalism, democracy and socialism.

Prior to this change, the Digg economy was a capitalistic one. One that emphasized fairness and allowed each individual user to create his own fate. Under this system, each user was rewarded appropriately, based on their level of contribution to the system. This economy has now become a socialistic one (not to be confused with communistic economies), which emphasizes equality over fairness.

Case 2: The case of the new Digg algorithm. Rather than rewarding good contributors based on monitorable past actions, Digg actually penalizes them. The more front-page stories you get, the harder it is to make it to the front-page.

Digg is opting for the second case, to ensure that the average community member gets on the front-page of Digg just as much as the not-so-average Digg power user does. This is done by handicapping the veteran Diggers, while assisting the newcomers reach the front-page. Talk about a contrarian philosophy.

So has DIGG moved from “social bookmarking” to “socialist bookmarking”? I would say the changes probably helped in cleaning up the system of the “DIGG army” phenomenon that used to be so prevalent. However, I know a lot of people are probably going to be unhappy about this, particularly those that are relatively influential DIGG users, or story submitters that have a big number of friends who can DIGG on their entries and increase the likelihood of getting frontpaged. This new means of computing an article’s relevance is effectively a disincentive to be more participative in DIGG, in terms of one’s efforts in getting stories frontpaged (like looking for interesting stories, or coming up with attractive titles and summaries).

I do hope that the algorithm changes would result in better-quality links in the frontpage.

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