The biggest problem with Digg is that it’s largely an all-or-nothing game. After spending a few days looking around Digg with the sole intention of understanding what is wrong, I’ve come up with this simple proposal:
Separate the logic of going popular in a category from the logic of going popular on the front page.
Ok. So what exactly do I mean and I why am I proposing it?
Right now, Digg sets a very high threshold for going “popular” – and it’s the same threshold for both the category pages and the Digg front page. Because of this high threshold for making the front page, there are many categories that are just ridiculously “stale” – I easily found a category where the top news story was from more than 6 days ago. I bet there are some categories with older news.
Because many of the categories are stale, or only have a few fresh stories per day, no one really monitors them as “breaking news” sources. Or even as a steady dose of interesting news. Most of the category pages are just plain dull and boring.
To fix this, Digg should have two levels of filtering. First, allow stories to go to the front page of a category more easily. This will create a steadier stream of new and interesting content on the category pages. Then, force a story that has gone popular on the category page to fight it’s way onto the “All” front page.
This kind of setup would create an environment where users votes on the category pages actually meant something. In other words, let the Digg users act as collective editors that play a critical role in deciding which “really good” stories deserve to be considered “great” – a 2-tier system of popularity would allow really good content the chance to exposure, it would freshen up the category pages with a steady stream of information, and it would put the average digg user back in control of what ultimately makes the front page.