Digg.com has implemented some pretty profound changes without making a peep (other than a teaser mention in a blog post last year). They have addressed most of the problems with exact duplicate submissions, once a gaping hole in their promotion style as well as their credibility.
The Digg blog mentioned 4 months ago that:
“We’re also working on a new system that will, among other things, allow us to track users who abusively submit duplicate content.”
Abusive duping is one thing, but Digg has also implemented a change to fix accidental or simultaneous duplication of story submissions.
The two changes noticed so far are:
Abusive Duping Will Get You Banned
Hidden deep in the chronicles of “How to Game Digg” is an old trick that has been used thousands of times over the years. If a story is already submitted, it is possible to add characters to the tail end of the URL string that will still point to the story but that won’t get picked up as a duplicate by Digg. Some classic ones are /?rss and /#more. It seemed to work like a charm, and to this day it still works.
The difference today is that if you do it, you can get banned.
In the blog post, Digg mentioned that they would deal with offenders harshly:
“While we haven’t fully hammered out all the details, the tool will likely include warnings and limits on duplicate submissions.”
According to a pair of sources who duped stories recently, the “warnings and limits” aspect of punishment was bypassed in favor of immediate banning. To Digg’s credit, they emailed the offenders and detailed not only why they got banned but also how they were caught.
Duping a Few Seconds Later – Fixed
Popular sites, especially those with set posting times, are often submitted more than once within seconds. These unintentional dupes have been documented and a solution was offered:
“Because Digg does not ‘lock out’ submissions once they are started, everyone who starts submitting before the first one is completed will be able to continue their submission.”
Digg solved the problem, mostly. If someone starts submitting a story just as another user is about to finish the submission process, the submission locks. The second submitter will be redirected to the original submission even if they were able to start the process.
So far we haven’t been able to test thoroughly how quickly the first submission registers, but I did experience this last night 23 seconds after the original submission.
Final Issue – Duplicate Detection
The dupe filter on Digg has been considered a joke by many for quite some time. It will often give completely unrelated stories as possible dupes, then miss a story that was nearly an exact match from a different source or from months in the past.
This hasn’t been fixed yet, but if the three changes above, hints in Digg Town Halls, and mentions in the Digg blog are indications, Digg is working hard to build a better dupe trap.
Overall, the changes are definitely positive for the community. They are geared towards rewarding those who deserve to be on the front page, namely the first submitter of a story, and to punish the dasturdly dupers out there. We don’t give kudos to Digg very often, but in this case…
Great work, Digg!
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Read more about Digg and other social news sites on this blog.