Number Two Digg User Quits in Hailstorm of Criticism Over Changes in the Service

digg – Gaming Digg / New Changes Well yesterday Kevin Rose announced changes to Digg’s algorithm and today Digg’s number two user (per their rankings) P9 has resigned from their service with a scathing public letter of criticism condemning the service.

“I believe you to be a good man, Kevin. Well intentioned or not: your blog satisfied malcontents equipped with baseless allegations while you effectively urinated on your top diggers (correction: top gamers). I wish you well. I will be turning over the Digg Users Support Group to someone else.”

In order to become one of the top social networkers on any site, while working for free, one has to have an incredible passion and devote an incredible amount of both time and emotional energy to the process. It is not surprising to me to see such charged language from P9 over his resignation.

Social networking sites like Digg and Flickr and MySpace must also come to terms with the fact, however, that those who spend the most time and energy on their sites are likely to become the one’s who know how to use the structure of the site to promote their own popularity best.

Recently Flickr changed it’s algorithm for Explore (those photos flickr selects as the top photos on their site each day) considerably. As a result there were some complaints from top users who ended up with less photos being promoted on the site.

Of course attention and popularity on a social networking site to some degree is a zero sum game. When Flickr has 500 photos that they highlight each day or Digg has X number of stories on their front page each day, each story or photo promoted means another will not be. So to this end there could be something to trying to preserve a more democratic slightly larger reach among your top users — of trying to nip their influence at least a bit from time to time.

There is also risk to social networking sites that your top users can gain too much popularity and may in the end use their popularity to promote a competitor of yours (such as is the offer by Netscape to effectively buy digg’s top users).

But Digg should take P9s letter seriously. When someone who has invested this much time and emotional energy responds so vitriolicly I think an examination must take place.

My own opinion of Digg is that I like it a lot. I think overall it works very well. I think it represents a new frontier and the future for news delivery. I like it’s somewhat unfiltered approach warts and all at times.

Perhaps my only criticism of the site is that I feel a tad more transparency is needed with regards to those who bury stories. Although those who digg a story positively are made a matter of public record on digg, those that bury a story may do so quietly and silently. I think that this invites abuse and even invites companies and groups to game digg to disrupt and kill hostile news about their companies.

I think both diggs (positives) and buries (negatives) ought to be disclosed to all digg users. If someone is burying a story because it is critical of their company or them personally at least this might be pointed out by others.

Interestingly enough it seems like those in the digg community are at least somewhat supportive of P9’s position as more have promoted his letter quiting digg than have demoted it.