Readers Setting The Agenda — With Limits: Digging Digg

Google News relies on an algorithim to manage story choice and placement. Humans create process but computers make it happen. Slashdot relies on editors who take reader submissions ionto account. But at Digg.com, readers drive choice while placement is based on timing and number of votes. It takes about 50 votes from the 140,000 or so registered users to push one of about 1,400 story submissions to the front page. That formula helped make tech-oriented Digg.com one of the success stories of 2005. As the site matures and moves forward with plans to expand into other subject areas, efforts also are underway to minimize damage from inaccurate articles although still tapping into the wisdom of crowds. Registered users will be able to mark stories as inaccuarate or false; as the Journal notes, negative marks will move stories off the main page. Will that be enough to prevent repeats of a recent incident where a false accusation of code theft stayed in the spotlight much of the day? It wouldn’t prevent it from being posted — anonymity is a powerful cloak — but it could shorten the timeline.