Note: all of these previous replies of mine were made without having actually read a lot of the stuff above because I was looking at an older version of the post/thread.
Anyway, interesting Mouser, the more I read about this stuff, the less I think agree with you.
In fact I think the simplest fix for Digg is just to remove the reward for "Power Diggers". In this case, since there's no financial incentive (generally speaking), the reward is notoriety. So take away their fame, their profiles, etc. What matters (or should matter) there is not *who* Dugg something but *that it was Dugg* by enough people to get it to the front page. I grant that this doesn't address the problem of people being attracted to good headlines alone, or sensationalism, but I think a much more fundamental issue is the "elite" problem discussed a great deal in these articles. I think the Shmula.com "Digg as a game" article has some very good stuff to say on this which also happens to agree with me:
If Digg were to be relevant again, it must tackle the problems of GroupThink, Conformity, Paradigm Shift and Information Cascades.
To tackle Groupthink, make it truly democratic again — do not profile Top Diggers or elevate anybody higher than anyone else. This includes no special weights on previous digging history, etc. — level playing ground for everyone, no monarchies or philosopher-kings.
To tackle the problem of conformity, do not show profile or # of votes for up-and-coming dugg articles. Just show the article link, with no profiles or votes attached to it. As a compromise, only show the profiles and votes on the articles that make the digg front page, but make them un-diggable from the front page.
Doing the above 2 items will most likely fix the Paradigm Shift and Information Cascade problem.
That is coming from someone versed in game theory, and as he shows Digg can be very well visualized using game theory principles. So it stands to reason it could be fixed using similar analysis.
The idea of a representative voting system for the experts means that users can vote on (or rate) experts in much the same way they currently rate stories has a number of benefits. Voting on experts based on their long term editing choices seems more rational and likely to lead to considered decisions as opposed to instantaneous mass voting based on a glimpse at headline titles.
This is interesting - who is to say people won't just positively rate bad reviewers? This just makes the choice of reviewers as big a problem as the choice and voting of stories, IMO. It shifts but does not solve the problem. The problem, at least beyond the "elite" issue discussed above, is that people are basically stupid and easily influenced. They like vapid entertainment and are headline driven. In fact isn't this almost how Digg works already, just more formalized? How else do people become "elite" except by implicit "votes" of support? How can you know the same flawed social dynamics will not govern the influence of your "elite editing body"?
You are trying to solve a fundamental problem of humanity with a rearrangement of the pieces, while still maintaining some semblance of democracy. I say if the people are the problem (and they are
) then forget about it, just make it a benevolent dictatorship: problem solved!
Meanwhile StumbleUpon doesn't really seem to be trying to do the same thing at all. It operates on the same fundamental principles, but - aside the "buzz.stumbleupon" page linked above, which is acknowledged to be "not the point" - it is focused more on suggesting things based on user history and predicted preference while browsing. It essentially takes the direct user element out of the equation in terms of choosing stories to look at. Obviously you can choose to look at something else if it suggests something you don't like, but without a "front page of headlines" it's really trying for something much different than any traditional media. Much more like viral marketing in that the majority of it happens person-to-person and behind the scenes rather than collected on some aggregator ("front page") like most news outlets. So while there may be lessons to be learned from SU (don't let users vote from front page, for example), the goals are different so a direct comparison isn't really useful IMO.
I must say I'm very interested in the influence on popularity of each of these sites' various approaches to these things. Is Digg popular because
of these problems? I see it as a distinct possibility.