Emailing: 17-247.htm

public virtual MemoryStream: Digg manipulation

I find this both
interesting and disturbing.
 

public virtual MemoryStream

Luke Hutteman on Java, .NET, J2EE, RSS and whatever else comes
to mind…

Friday, March 17, 2006 10:28 PM
Digg manipulation

Silicon
Valley Sleuth
reported this morning how several stories about Google buying
Sun suspiciously made it to the front page of Digg.com. These "baseless rumours" were all
submitted and promoted by a small group of Digg members that seemed to be
working together.

I found this story through Digg
itself
, where it was posted on the front page. It later mysteriously
disappeared from Digg though, and a URL
search
indicated that the story was since marked as "buried".

The Digg
Blog
says the following about this burying feature:

Digg now allows logged in users to bury stories as ‘inaccurate’.
Once enough people bury the story, it is removed from the queue and the
following banner is displayed at the top:

No banner is displayed though, which makes me wonder if it was buried because
enough people marked it as inaccurate (the same people who were promoting these
Google+Sun stories maybe?) or whether an admin removed it in an effort to hide
how easily Digg can be manipulated. There’s currently an update on Silicon
Valley Sleuth stating that it seems unlikely the Digg system was actually
manipulated in this case, but this update wasn’t there when the story was
buried, and also doesn’t make the theoretical possibility of this happening any
less likely.

Due to the automated nature of Digg (which uses user-votes to determine how
prominently to display a story) it certainly seems possible for a group of
people to get together and promote stories in order to get them onto the coveted
front page, while at the same time burying stories they don’t like. Worse than
that, what would stop someone from automating this process and creating a couple
hundred accounts for this purpose? To reduce suspicion, these accounts could
digg random stories from time to time, or even undigg stories once they’ve made
it to the front page.

If this is not going on already, I predict it will soon. Compared to the
trouble BlogSpammers are going through in order to game sites like Google,
DayPop or Blogdex, gaming Digg seems relatively easy. While Digg claims to have
ways to prevent manipulation
, one can’t help but wonder whether it’s enough,
and I’m sure there are plenty of spammers out there just dying to beat the
system…

Comments

I totally agree.
Digg is already manipulated. It is not only possible to
bury stories they don’t like – it is possible to block entire domain (block
future stories) when there are "enough middle-man reports". I removed links to
digg from my blog.

Posted by Anatoly Lubarsky at March
18, 2006 06:06 AM

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