Digg



Digg is a news website with an emphasis on technology and science articles. It combines social bookmarking, blogging, and syndication with a form of non-hierarchical, democratic editorial control. News stories and websites are submitted by users, and then promoted to the front page through a user-based ranking system. This differs from the hierarchical editorial system that many other news sites employ.

Readers can view all of the stories that have been submitted by fellow users in the "digg all" section of the site. Once a story has received enough "diggs", depending on the calculations performed by Digg's algorithm, it appears on Digg's front page. Should the story not receive enough diggs, or if enough users make use of the problem report feature to point out issues with the submission, the story will remain in the "digg all" area, where it may eventually be removed.

Articles are short summaries of stories on other websites with links to the stories, and provisions for readers to comment on the story. All content and access to the site is free, but registration is compulsory for certain elements, such as promoting ("digging") stories, submitting stories and commenting on stories. Digg also allows for stories to be posted to a user's blog automatically when he or she diggs a story. As of July 2006, there are over 400,000 registered Digg users. This represents substantial growth from one year earlier, when in July of 2005 membership had just reached 17,000.

Originally, stories could be submitted in sixteen different categories which include: deals, gaming, links, mods, music, robots, security, technology, Apple, design, hardware, Linux/Unix, movies, programming, science and software. A separate category titled Digg News was reserved for special announcements relating to the site, and could only be used by Digg administrators.

With the release of Digg 3.0 on June 26, 2006, the categories became divided into 6 containers: Technology, Science, World & Business, Videos, Entertainment, Gaming, with sub-categories. For instance, the "Technology" container includes the following categories: Apple, Design, Gadgets, Hardware, Tech Industry News, Linux/Unix, Mods, Programming, Security, Software and Tech Deals. On July 21, 2006, a Sports container was added.

To help remove duplicate, spam or offensive story submissions, Digg.com allows users to report such posts. When a story has been reported enough times, it is automatically removed from the queue and/or buried by the Digg software.

Story reporting options include duplicate story, spam, wrong topic, inaccurate, and ok, this is lame.

On March 4, 2006, Digg switched to a threaded comment system. The new system allows users to reply to another users comment, without having to quote someone by copying and pasting, though only two levels deep.

Digg users are able to rate other users' comments, which ensures that spam and/or offensive comments stay virtually invisible. User comments are under a 'digg' system much like the stories on the rest of the site. User comments can be 'dugg,' making them more visible, or 'buried' making a comment hidden until the user clicks a "show comment" link.

Digg started out as an experiment in November 2004 by Kevin Rose, Owen Byrne, Ron Gorodetzky, and Jay Adelson (who serves as CEO), all of whom currently play an active role in the management of the site.

"We started working on developing the site back in October 2004," Kevin Rose told Richard MacManus of ZDNet "We started toying around with the idea a couple of months prior to that, but it was early October when we actually started creating what would become the beta version of digg. The site launched to the world on December 5th 2004."

Although the domain name of Digg is registered under the name Jerimiah Udy, he is not one of the original founders of Digg, but rather a friend of Kevin Rose's. The domain name was registered under Jerimiah's name because Rose did not want others to know that he was associated with Digg. He wanted Digg to stand on its own and not become a message board for all things he personally stood for.

Kevin Rose's friend David Prager (The Screen Savers, This Week in Tech) originally wanted to call the site “Diggnation”, but Kevin wanted a simpler name. He chose the name "Digg", because users are able to "dig" stories, out of those submitted, up to the front page. The site was called “Digg” instead of “Dig” because the domain name “dig.com” was previously registered by the Walt Disney Company.

“Diggnation” would eventually be used as the title of Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht's weekly podcast.

The original design was free of advertisements, and was designed by Dan Rice. But as Digg became more popular, Google AdSense was added to generate revenue. The site was updated in July 2005, to "Version 2.0". The new Digg featured a friends list, the ability to "digg" a story without being redirected to a "success" page, and a new interface designed by Daniel Burka, of the web design company silverorange. After the redesign, some users complained about the lack of the simplistic, minimalist layout used in the original version of Digg. The site developers have stated that in future versions a more minimalist design will likely be employed. On Monday June 26, 2006 V3 of Digg was released with specific categories for Technology, Science, World & Business, Videos, Entertainment and Gaming as well as a View All section where all categories are merged. A Sports category was added about a month later.

Digg has grown large enough that submissions sometimes create a sudden swarm of traffic to the "dugg" website. This is referred to by some Digg users as "the Digg effect" and by some others as the site being "dugg to death". However, in many cases stories are linked on many of the popular bookmarking sites at the same time. For example, a story may be linked simultaneously at Fark.com, Boingboing.net, and Slashdot.org. In such cases, the impact of the "digg effect" is difficult to assess.

Timeline

* 2004 - December: Digg.com launches.

* 2005 - July: Digg launches a new design with version 2.0.

* 2005 - October: Digg receives $2.8 million from venture capital groups and investors to support its continued growth.

* 2005 - November: Digg.com surpasses the 100,000 registered users mark.

* 2005 - December: "Digg Spy" updated and enhanced to Digg Spy v2 with new features including a live and dynamic behind-the-scenes peek into story submissions, diggings, comment submissions and the like. The right-hand navigation bar also received a new look.

* 2006 - February: Digg is listed on Alexa as one of the most visited 500 websites on the Internet.

* 2006 - March: The Digg Team releases new, threaded comment system to digg users.

* 2006 - March: Digg surpasses 200,000 registered users.

* 2006 - April: Digg surpasses rival site Slashdot and enters top 100 sites of the internet on Alexa's rankings.

* 2006 - June: Shortly before the Digg 3.0 upgrade, founders Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson reported that Digg had received 8.5 million unique visitors in May and was routinely seeing 3,000+ new story submissions daily.

* 2006 - 26 June: Digg goes down for 3.0 upgrade at 12:14 UTC. The upgrade was completed at 13:05 UTC.

* 2006 - 25 July: Digg launches Digg Labs.

Digg is often used to spur other internet users into vigilantism, which has resulted in action both on and offline. In several cases members have, presumably in acts of vigilante justice, flooded internet websites and businesses with DDoS attacks in response to stories posted by single users. Examples of this include:

* When one user posted a story about the business practices of an online camera store, some Digg users responded by placing simultaneous phone calls to the store and crapflooding its website, impairing the company's ability to function. Many users encouraged this activity and some posted comments instructing others how to participate in such an attack.

* Digg was seen as an important generator of traffic and interest in the website Stolensidekick.com, which described how a girl had stolen a sidekick and refused to return it. After the post on digg, and sites such as slashdot, the girl was identified, and she was harassed on her MySpace page, and in real life.

* When Netscape redesigned its portal site to a style similar to that of digg, a digg user used a flaw in the site's coding to put a pro-digg pop-up message on the site and redirected the visitor to the digg homepage

Many have expressed concern over Digg's growing influence as a news source. The site's reliance on users to submit stories and moderate their prominence has been criticized for spotlighting false, misleading and poorly-written information. Some issues have been significantly publicized:

* Unverified and inaccurate information can earn a large number of "diggs" simply by interested readers, and potentially have a negative effect on parties involved. In one high-profile example, a front-page story suggested that video game publisher Stardock wanted people to pirate one of their recent-releases, Galactic Civilizations II. This forced Stardock to publish a rebuttal on their website, which resulted in a user-submitted correction appearing on the digg homepage within hours; the correction, however, featured a typo in its headline that mistakenly cited the game's title as its publisher's name. However, users are able to label the submission "inaccurate" if they feel the information presented is not correct. Once a certain number of users agree on its inaccuracy, "[Reported by Diggers as Possibly Inaccurate]" automatically appears in the description of the story, and "Warning: The Content in this Article May be Inaccurate. Readers have reported that this story contains information that may not be accurate" appears on the story's Digg page.

* Users who succeed in frontpaging several stories may become known by the community and garner Diggs almost automatically from followers (such as those who have friended them), accuracy and quality aside. As an example of this, in July 2006, it was reported that the top 100 Digg users controlled 56% of Digg's frontpage content, and that a niche group of just twenty individuals monopolized 20% of the frontpage content.

* Users and specific URLs can be blacklisted based on user complaints or site administrator's request, which has led to legitimate sites and contributors to being banned from participation.

* Even though Digg is depicted as a user-driven website with non-hierarchical editorial control, there have been recent complaints of intervention by editors to promote certain stories, bypassing the choice of users. The same editors are accused of hiding these facts by censoring stories which mention them and by banning users who have posted them. Founder Kevin Rose responded by blaming the promotion on users rather than staff. An exposé by tech blog Forever Geek uncovered what it felt was obvious intervention by editors to promote or bury certain stories, bypassing the choice of users. It also implicated Kevin Rose himself for digging the same exact stories in the same exact order as the users, and therefore being complicit in the promotion. A statistical analysis of the diggs showed that an average of 7-8 of the users dugg each others stories within the first 24 diggs per story that made the front page, and Kevin Rose dugg 28% of these stories within the first 24 diggs. The accusations were addressed extensively by Rose in an appearance on This Week in Tech. On that podcast, as well as on the official Digg blog, he stated that the charges stemmed from a coincidence (two stories that Rose was found to have been the 17th person to "digg"), and that the whole snafu arose after ForeverGeek users were banned for artificially inflating the digg counts of their stories.

* The commenting system is often seen as highly biased since posts that receive enough negative "diggs" from fellow readers are hidden away. This has often resulted in comments that are either critical or go against the prevailing opinion at the site to be blocked from normal view even if they are not considered to be offensive or poorly written. However, these comments can be shown by clicking a "Show Comment" button located at the top corner of the post. You can also change your viewing preferences so that such "hidden" comments are always visible to you.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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