Update available here

If the Blu-ray copyright issue is any indication, a storm is a brewing over at Digg.

A storm that has users up in arms.

In the course of an hour, during which Digg went offline on Wednesday (Jan. 23), Digg has strengthened changes which make it harder for a story to go popular.

Used to be 100 Diggs could get you front page. No more. For some power users it can now take up to 200 Diggs before going popular.

For other, less active users life seems to be easier. By evening the Hot Across All Sections was dominated by users with no or little recent activity.


The Anti Power User Argument

Many power users have an extensive network on Digg.

412225441_fba8090d53_m They leverage this network to vote for stories they submit: the first 70-100 votes or so are in already.

Adjusting the algorithm to require more votes, more comments, more activity on their submissions basically discounts the votes of their network - thus creating a new level playing field and giving new users a better chance.

The Pro Power User Argument

Stories come and go on Digg. Fast. For 200 people to see them in a short huggingtime frame is something even most power users can't pull off: it seems this change tries to get rid of power users?

The power users are those who made Digg and who to this day spend an amazing amount of time finding, submitting and Digging stories.

To bury their submissions in favour of submissions from new, unseasoned, fly-by-night users is not appreciated.

Pronetadvertising.com editor and author, Social Media Marketing Consultant Muhammad Saleem (Digg user msaleem) comments in Two Diggs One Cup:

"Top user or not, it should be an equal playing field. Doesn't matter what your standing is, every user should have an equal chance at the front page. Though the system pretends to be helping new users, it hurts them even more."

Top Digger Mr. Babyman

With well over 7500 stories submitted, 1800+ of which went hot, Mr. Babyman is the power user.

In an interview earlier this month he said this about Digg's algorithm and treatment of power users:

"The Digg algorithm is extremely complex, and does its job of levelling the playing field amongst new and experienced submitters quite well.

On a personal note, however, I feel that longtime submitters learn from experience and ultimately submit better content, and it seems a bit harsh when I see fantastic content from my fellow longtime submitters fail to hit Digg's FrontPage because of the inflated promotion threshold."

No Official Statement

At the time of writing there's no official statement from Digg. Honestly? I don't expect one.

If this Digg equivalent of Google's fresh content boost or QDF is as real as it seems to be than I expect that, like Google, Digg will play the CIA game of "we don't confirm nor deny".

From the Field

Digg is a Game - Let's Play For Real This Time

"If Digg is a game then we are ready to play for keeps. What happens if the most powerful users in the community decide to leave? Will others join? Is Digg anything without us? Let's prove it."

Two Diggs One Cup

"An analysis of Digg, the recent change in popularity requirements, and my reaction to it. How do you feel? How long will it take for this to get buried? Should be interesting...."

200 Diggs 1 Voice: Diggers Had Enough

"Many top digg users helped push an article to the front page of digg tonight, that discussed the changes Digg made this week to the number of votes it takes for a story to be promoted to the front page."

The Digg Algorithm has Changed

"Here are some things that seem to have changed since the site was brought down for maintenance today."

Images courtesy of jowo, Grant Neufeld and lantzilla