Before too much time goes by, I wanted to take note of something that Muhammad Saleem wrote over on his blog The Mu Life about 7 ways to improve Digg. Muhammad, who is not only a top digger but also a top Netscape submitter and anchor, has clearly thought a lot about some of the flaws with the Digg model — including things such as the “Bury Brigade” and the problems with comments — and I think some of his suggestions make a lot of sense.
One of the most important recommendations, I think, is the first: Listen to the community. And I would add to that: “respond to the community.” If there’s one thing that Digg has not been terribly good at — during all the criticism about the changes to its algorithm to stop the “gaming” of the site, and the various other problems it has experienced — it’s responding to and interacting with the community.
At times, it seems like Kevin Rose and the gang want to have a community-run news site, but without having to actually deal with the community, or like they think that if they tinker with enough things behind the scenes it will become a smooth-running machine and no input from them will be required. I would argue they are wrong on both counts. A community isn’t a machine but a garden, and it takes work to cultivate and keep the weeds from taking over.
Muhammad has a bunch of other good suggestions, including retiring the Bury Brigade — which Steve O’Hear of ZDNet has been on the receiving end of — and being more explicit about the moderating and filtering of content that occurs behind the scenes at Digg. I encourage you to go and read the rest.