Recently, Digg has really started cracking down on duplicate submissions and have actively gone after those who do it abusively by intentionally resubmitting something that they know has already been submitted. This is good.
There are times when a submission is good enough to be featured on the front page but wasn’t submitted by a user with the social capital to get it the attention it deserves. Case in point:
There is no question that the Digg community took a liking to the video. There is no question that the video had been submitted at least 3 times before (probably more than that). The way that Digg is set now, technically speaking, this is a dupe and should (A) not have been submitted, (B) the submitters after the first person should have simply Dugg the original submission, and (C) the other submissions should not have made the front page.
Thank goodness that the dupe system isn’t perfect or Susan Boyle’s amazing performance would not have had over 6K diggs with tens of thousands of users enjoying the video. Still, the underlying negatives associated with duping stories outweigh the benefits of having strong content hit the front page. Is there a solution that can discourage dupes, give credit to the original submitter, and focus on content as much as possible?
A Possible Solution
In a perfect Digg, the content would have more weight than the submitter’s networking skills. Right now, strong networking on Digg holds more sway over whether content is promoted to the front page or not. Quality of content is still a factor, but not as much as it could be.
What if users were able to “Resubmit” a piece of content with the original submission still attached? In the example above, Jenocide312 is a strong user with a lot of friends and a reputation for finding excellent content. As a result, his submissions get promoted regularly. The previous submissions were done by users who do not have nearly as much stock within the Digg community. Despite the quality of the content, they had no chance of reaching the front page.
Had there been a “resubmit” feature as described below, it would have been possible for the less active user to receive credit for finding the excellent content while still giving Jenocide312 credit for recognizing and “sponsoring” that content. In essence, Jenocide312 name backing the original submitter’s post could have made everyone happy. Both would get credit for the submission and the original content would have received the traffic.
How Would it Work
Digg currently wants users who find that they are submitting something that has already been submitted in some form to simply Digg the original submission. In the above case, had Jenocide312 simply Dugg the submission, it may have picked up a couple of extra Diggs by being recommended to his friends, but it would not have been enough to propel it to the front page.
If he were given the option to “resubmit” the original content, both his name and the original submitter’s name would have been attached to the video. User Paul292Paul would have been the submitter and Jenocide312 would have been the “resubmitter”, “endorser”, or some other term. Digg could either consider it as a “Popular Submission” for both in the stats or they could create a separate category in the statistics for endorsing stories.
Too often, great content gets passed up because the wrong submitter finds it first. On a site where networking and experience each play such strong roles in the process, the best quality content often never sees the light of day.
With any possible solution, there are always drawbacks. What if a power user endorses another power user’s submission? Appearing on both user’s submission streams would create gaming of a system that is already being gamed. It would force changes in the algorithm that is already as complex as the Google algorithm.
Limits would have to be in place. Here are some that would cover some of the potential issues:
- Stories can only be endorsed for those who have not had a front page submission in over 1 month.
- Stories must be endorsed within 24 hours of story being originally submitted.
- 1 Endorsement per story.
- Endorsements would have the same weighted scale as other attributes, i.e. if a user is constantly endorsing another users’ stories, the endorsement would start to carry less weight.
There are many other ways that this could be gamed. There are solutions to these as well, but I won’t post them here simply because I don’t want to give any users the wrong idea or demonstrate other less-obvious ways of gaming this or the current system.
Still, something should be done. Going back to the old “dupe happy” ways is out of the question. Keeping with the current system will result in great content tragically staying unknown to the Digg community.
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Read more on this Social News Blog.