What is Digg?
Digg (www.digg.com) is a website on which users can recommend news stories, pictures, video and other content that they think people will be interested in. Once somebody submits a link, other users can click on a button marked ‘digg it’ to vote for it as worthwhile. The pages which get the most clicks are listed on the front page of Digg.com, though the default page gives emphasis to newer stories. You can also search the site for content on a particular theme. It’s also possible to vote against a story (a ‘bury’), if you consider it unimportant, inaccurate, or spam.
Do I have to visit the site to vote for a story?
No, many websites, particularly news sites and blogs, include a voting button alongside articles they hope will appear on Digg. The advantage of visiting the site is that you can take part in discussion about the links. This discussion often adds new information or corrects errors that appear in the linked content.
What type of content appears on Digg?
There tends to be a mix of topical news stories and bizarre content of the type people tend to forward to friends. For example, when I wrote this article most of the top ten links on Digg were to stories about the United States presidential election. However, the top rated link was to a year-old photograph of a child standing by a burning house giving an evil look
What happens to sites which get major links from Digg?
In many cases, the site owners will be delighted as they will see a large increase in traffic which can raise advertising revenues. However, some sites (particularly non-commercial ones) will struggle to cope and may experience server crashes. In the case of a link to a thread on a discussion forum, an appearance on Digg may mean many new members joining. This isn’t always a bad thing, but some regular posters may feel it damages the ‘community’, in the same way that a large group of newcomers might affect the ambience of a bar that has a crowd of regular customers.
Are there any restrictions on links?
Generally there’s no need for formal restrictions as the Digg voting procedure weeds out stories which the user base would find offensive. The site does retain the right to remove links and most notably did so when a user posted a link to technical instructions showing how to defeat the copy protection system on DVDs. This prompted an intense debate among users as to whether doing so violated free speech principles.
Does the site have any drawbacks?
Because there are a few people who spend a lot of time voting for stories on Digg, it’s possible their tastes and opinions can have too much influence. However, the number of users in this category appears to be so small that a genuinely popular link can easily rise to the front page. That said, the site does arguably put more emphasis on technology and computing stories than a mainstream audience might prefer.