There is a fundamental problem with Digg. The site tends to favour content from big blogs and media publishers. Meanwhile, content from less prominent blogs and web-publishing entities remains in the shadows, unknown to most. This isn’t the fault of Digg itself, as the site relies entirely on user voting and participation. The flaw in the system can be traced back to the perception of users.
Most users tend to favour content from notable publishers. There is a high level of assumed quality. Although this is usually true, it doesn’t mean that the most interesting, thought-provoking articles on a given day will come from a limited number of sources. In face, there is a high likelihood that the best content is produced by long-tail publishers and never viewed by the masses. These “golden nuggets” often spur new discussions and conversations.
Due to this assumed perception of quality, very little variety is present on the front page. It is unlikely to find a small publisher unless a combination of timing, theme, and serendipity collide in a productive manner.
Perhaps, Digg needs to explore new methods of content discovery, highlighting high quality content from the lesser known sites somehow. I’m not exactly sure how this can be accomplished. An idea would be to showcase high quality articles from smaller publishers by filtering out content from the top X% of publishers.
A vicious cycle needs to be broken. Because the small guy has to credibility, no-one Diggs his content. Because no-one Diggs his content, he remains small in size and relatively unknown, unable to build authority and status. My hope is that Digg is able to come up with a new method of discovering quality content that wouldn’t otherwise receive any attention.