Digg Continues to Reinvent Itself

Digg continues to reinvent itself, announcing the rollout of new features, a bug fix, and other changes in a post by software engineer Will Larson on the Digg Blog. Highlights:

When we launched Digg V4, one of the new features was allowing users to link RSS or Atom feeds with their accounts. After being linked, new stories from those feeds would be automatically submitted; the effect was identical to a user submitting those stories by hand. We believed this new feature would bring more great content to Digg. What we didn’t account for was the tremendous impact feed submissions would have on both content discoverability and Top News quality.

As the release cooled down, discussion about the impact of automated submission picked up. Feedback came from the Digg community letting us know that our users had concerns about how feed submissions had changed Digg. In addition to community comments, we started collecting some numbers…and those numbers are in: 95.5 percent of stories on Top News come from manual submission.

Most weekdays, only one to three stories that reach Top News are submitted by feeds. Worse, we were routinely finding fantastic stories submitted from feeds that weren’t getting as much attention as similar stories from manual submission.

After measuring the numbers and deeply considering the Digg community’s feedback, we felt the best course for everyone was to stop feed submissions entirely.

Diggers are understandably proud of the comments they make, and the user profile page had the unkind habit of only showing the most recent comment a user made on a story. This meant a lot of fantastic comments were harder to find than they should have been. Well, no longer. Going forward, rest assured that your second or third comments on a story won’t condemn your first to reduced visibility; you will see them all.

The first wave of modules includes: the Top Users module, which recommends following users who had content promoted the previous day; the Facebook and Twitter modules, which make it easy to discover friends on Facebook or Twitter who are also on Digg; and the Get Recognized module, which encourages users to add a profile picture so their comments and submissions are easier to recognize.

If you’ve been curious how many views stories on Digg get, your curiosity is about to be satisfied. Every story will now include the number of views it receives.

The new design we launched last week has been made available out to all logged-in users for more than a week now. After collecting a great deal of feedback, we’ve decided to enable the improved design for logged-out users, as well.