On the social voting site Digg, a story that is submitted multiple times is known as a “dupe” or duplicate story. It’s a major problem for the service because it adds a lot of noise to the system and can prevent an important story from getting promoted to the home page, where it would be seen by the most people. But Digg thinks a solution is near.
“Improvements in duplication detection are underway and expected soon,” Anton Kast, Digg’s head of research and development wrote on the company blog today. Kast says that there will be a new system that allows Digg to track users who continuously submit duplicate content. Presumably, these users could be banned from the service if they don’t stop such behavior.
Some won’t like to hear more talk about the banning of users, as that has been a hot topic on Digg in recent months as it attempts to move away from its tech base and toward a more mainstream audience. But solving the dupe problem on Digg is an important challenge the service needs to hurdle if it wants to become a better news provider.
Kast’s blog post also covers another issue Digg has been dealing with for a long time: Home page story diversity. A certain number of popular users on the site currently control much of the stories that are on the main page. “Our goal is to give each person a fair chance at getting his or her submission promoted to the home page,” Kast writes. Of course, he’s not specific about how that will happen other than “ongoing tweaks” and “testing different approaches” with regards to the algorithm that handles the service’s story promotion.
But the real solution to both of these issues may be in the thing Kast mentions last: “participation and discovery of content outside of the home page proper.” One of the keys to that is Digg’s recommendation system, which seems to work pretty well. Another feature that was just implemented, “Related By Keyword,” should help as well.
If Digg is able to solve those issues, then all it needs to do is figure out a way to change the Digg comment section from the cesspool of hate and ridiculousness that it is, into something useful. Oh, and figure out a way to make money.