Review: Voting on Digg

Digg is like the wikipedia of newspaper commentary. Some people find content, everyone creates commentary and then editors have to sweep in and clean up the mess.

Articles to Bury. I bury anti-Semitism. I bury pro-multilevel marketing. Surprisingly, even with issues that stark, sometimes figuring out what the users message is can be tricky. An article that says, “Don’t buy from Amway” might be saying “Do buy from my MLM scheme”

Comments to Bury. I bury comments from people that don’t know that Digg isn’t threaded and post replies to comments that are 25 comments away or already buried out of sight. I bury comments that are poorly thought out misinformation.

My #1. It looks like a ‘super digg’ Not exactly useful since it only holds one slot and on a given day I’m interested in a few themes.

The invisible individual editor. The depressing part about being the editor on digg is that you make such a small impact. On Wikipedia, if somone posted an article about how the moon landing never happened, editors would quickly move it to “lunatic fringe interpretations of history” or remove it altogether. Wikipedia has a standard of truth: published references, better yet, published references from peer reviewed journals. Digg doesn’t have that. It takes hundreds of comments on a front page article before the Digg’s standard of truth– consensus–has a chance to form.

Consensus as truth. Consensus is biased towards finding the average belief. Using average belief as a standard of truth is as reliable as conducting a survey about who hotter, Brittany Spears or Monica Lewinsky and using that for anything but amusement. Still, while consensus is a weaker standard of truth, people would be less likely to pick the lunatic fringe argument if they had a good feel for how few people agree with them. If one finds oneself the sole believer of a fact, you have to think, does this fact have extraordinary evidence, or is it probably wrong? I personally suspect, albeit without evidence, that believers of crackpot theories highly overestimate the support for their belief among the rest of the world. Digg may be a remedy for that.

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