ruining the digg experience, one shout at a time

it was supposed to be a feature that we had all been requesting for a long time: the ability to communicate with other digg users easily, and on the site. instead it ended up being a spam nightmare. here are my thoughts on david’s ten reasons to hate digg shouts:

note: i omitted reason 4, 6, 9, and 10 because they are largely irrelevant.

1. new diggers are now able to get submissions on the homepage

i don’t know why this is on the list david. allowing new diggers to get on the homepage is a good thing. it gives them an ego boost and ensures future participation from them. i think the fact that new diggers get on the homepage is not a problem, rather the problem is that they spam their way there.

2. it doesn’t require as much skill to get submissions on the homepage – anyone can do it

yes, this is incredibly annoying because people who don’t care about social bookmarking etiquette can get on the homepage while the people who actually give a damn (and are refraining from shout-spamming) have a lesser chance to succeed.

3. new diggers are adding 900+ friends, shouting them all and getting 40 diggs in less then an hour

i think that is an understatement. i’ve seen people add just a hundred friends, shout to them and get an 80% response, after which they don’t need any more (most of these new spammer-diggers can get a story on the homepage using this method with just 40-50 diggs). this is one of the main reasons why i have 2,108 fans but only 98 mutual friends (and decreasing). i’m hesitant to network with other people for fear of getting spammed.

5. top diggers are being challenged

a challenge is good but putting michael jordan in a wheelchair and asking him to compete is not a challenge, it’s a crime…

7. ron paul submissions can now get over 100 diggs in an hour

the best part, though, and the part that makes me love digg (and the social news space in general) is that the content is still moderated so that legitimate content gets on the homepage and stays there while most of the spam is buried while it is still in the upcoming queue, or shortly after reaching the homepage.

8. the feature reminds me of netscape/propeller

i’ve written extensively about this and yes they pretty much copied the feature from propeller without learning how to prevent (or limit) spam the way propeller is trying to.

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10 thoughts on “ruining the digg experience, one shout at a time

  1. Andrew Flusche

    Hey Muhammad,

    I’m really curious how we SHOULD be using the shout feature, from your perspective. I’d agree that simply adding 900 friends and shouting all day is bad. Frankly, if someone mass shouts at me more than once per day, I un-friend them.

    But do you consider it spam to have 70 or 100 friends and shout something to them all once a week?

    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Andrew

    Reply
  2. Fred @ Newest on the Net

    The way I see it is that if you want to get your material on Digg’s front page, you need to have people who you know promote your writings. If you don’t have a network of collegues’ email address, then the only way to get attention is through shouts. I realize this is kind of annoying, but people just want their articles read. And they want the thrill of making it on the front page. This is healthy for Digg.

    If you already have a network of fans, you don’t need to shout because you already have peoples’ attention. But somehow you worked your way up to that. How did you get your start? Did you send some variation of shouts using other online service like email, IM or forums?

    Reply
  3. Court

    This is one of those times where users really need to stomp their feet, removing friends that are cheating the system like this. Somehow I knew that you would address this issue here. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Steven Snell

    I do think it’s nice that newer users can get stuff to the front page now, although I guess I can understand how that might frustrate the more established users. It’s a shame that shouts are so abused, it ruins the effectiveness of them for everyone I think. So far I’ve used shouts twice and those were my only 2 submissions to ever make the homepage. I plan to use them once a month or so and hope that they have a little more power than if I use them 10 times a day.

    Reply
  5. Fiar

    If someone was shouting me often to digg a story, I would remove them. It’s no different than email. I’ve left comments at sites before where the next day I started getting emailed links to every single new post on the blog.

    If I wanted to be automatically updated, I would have subscribed to the feed. The result is 2 things, I don’t ever visit those sites anymore. I blocked the email addy.

    I would do the same thing with shouts, or turn them off altogether.

    Reply
  6. Matt

    Digg could easily deal with it by limiting the number of shouts sent from a non-mutual friend, or by disallowing it altogether.

    They probably figure that in the end, the shouts increase Digg pageviews, and hence is a tolerable evil.

    I personally don’t bother much about the shouts I get. Sometimes its a good way to let me know what my friends are submitting – and sometimes its a pain. Like almost everything in life…

    (BTW read about your Google malware warning problem somewhere. It is a third party service which does it for Google – you can request a review on http://www.stopbadware.org/home/reviewinfo

    Do that and they remove the warning in a little while. Usually, entirely, their fault. Matt Cutts has written some apologetic stuff about it – but in the end, their bad.

    Reply
  7. David Eaves

    I agree that most of the time it doesn’t work for the spammers or even when it does they get buried very quickly once they reach the homepage. The Propeller comment was below the belt, I think in the last month or so they have done a lot to combat the spam over there, I am seeing less and less of those mortgage submissions etc.

    Reply
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