The Noisy Channel

 

Digg Getting Faceted Search?

April 3rd, 2009 · 6 Comments · General

I’ve never really dug Digg (though I remember Dig Dug from the 80s), but I’m delighted to hear that they’ve announced plans to “fix search” by, among other things, adding faceted search to the site. Here’s a screen shot, by way of TechCrunch.

Upcoming Digg Search (via TechCrunch)

I’m still not keen on Digg’s social filtering model, which strikes me as particularly open to gaming. But giving the users more control over their exploration of the content will surely make the site more valuable, and possibly even discourage gaming by diluting its effectiveness.

The Digg blog doesn’t say when these “big changes to Digg search” are coming, but hopefully their release of a screen shot means they’re close. As always, I’m excited to see faceted search becoming more broadly accepted as a way to interact with information.

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Otis Gospodnetic // Apr 3, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I believe that’s Solr under the hood, by the way. :)

  • 2 Daniel Tunkelang // Apr 3, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Looking forward to playing with it. Isn’t Digg already using Solr for its current search?

  • 3 Jason Adams // Apr 3, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Gaming Digg is not as easy as you might think. You can drive a little traffic to a site, but in order to get the kind of results that make it worthwhile, you have to invest serious effort into it — probably more than it’s worth. If you really want to game it, and not be banned, you have to organize a group of people to vote up a story to a critical mass. Though if you can organize a bunch of people to vote for it, then really you have only reinforced Digg’s model. A social group found it worthwhile enough to help you, so presumably the Digg audience will find it useful too.

    And if you don’t have the content to support a good digg, the visitors you get will be useless anyway. Stumbleupon can drive insane traffic your way, but they are the non-clickingest visitors you’ll find. Same goes for Digg on a dud story.

    Didn’t mean to turn this into a defense of Digg’s model — I have barely touched the site in the past six months. And I’ve only looked at gaming Digg briefly as a research challenge, not to actually drive traffic to my blog… :)

  • 4 Daniel Tunkelang // Apr 4, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Well, organizing a group of employees / activists to pump up a story sympathetic to their company / cause doesn’t sound so hard, especially if you can keep creating new web mail accounts and using those to create new users. The more interesting question is whether the traffic has any value. If there’s no way to game your way to useful traffic, then I suppose that as good as preventing gaming.

  • 5 Jason Adams // Apr 4, 2009 at 9:31 am

    I’ve read anecdotal stories claiming that a bunch of votes from new users or users from the same IP will trip the red flag on Digg, but no idea if that is actually the case or what the threshold might be.

    The lack of value of the visitors also means Digg is next to useless except to its users, who don’t pay a thing for it.. Do they even have a monetization model? I see a few ads, but that can’t generate much.

  • 6 Daniel Tunkelang // Apr 4, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Those would be good heuristics to implement. Though, if Digg mattered enough, it would make sense to create a bunch of accounts and maintain them over time.

    Looking at Digg right now, the top stories have between 66 and 333 diggs. Getting a hundred people or fake accounts to act in concert doesn’t strike me as that hard. It’s a similar problem to the one faced by review sites–it’s not hard to astroturf enough reviews to promote a product in a moderately popular category. Or to manipulate relevance ranking / recommendations, as may have happened in Amazon’s girl-scout-cookie-gate.

    In my view, such sites would be much better if the user-generated content were not anonymous–assuming the reviewers didn’t face the prospect of retribution.

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