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Digg v4 Bringing Back the Bury Button, Other v3 Features in Effort to Stay Alive

Since switching over to the social media-happy v4 in August, social news site Digg has fallen upon hard times: The immediate backlash against Digg, initially dismissed as the province of loudmouthed power users, translated into a very real drop in traffic (there was a 26% decline in US traffic in the month after it rolled out the changes, according to Hitwise) which corresponded with a significant boost to its rival Reddit’s traffic.

Qualitatively, the changes to both sites are noticeable: Mediocre stories hit the Digg v4 front page with measly double-digit numbers of Diggs, which would have been unthinkable under v3, where the top stories regularly got 3000 Diggs, and the Digg comment section has become inert; meanwhile, Reddit threads are replete with the tales of Digg refugees who’ve made their peace with the barebones Reddit UI as they’ve fled a site that they believe has sold out its community for the sake of advertisers.

New Digg CEO Matt Williams has attempted to address the concerns of the still-substantial remaining Digg community (Williams says the site “still” had 23 million users last month “despite the changes to our platform,” an implicit acknowledgement that traffic has dropped). In a new post to the Digg blog, Williams acknowledges that the Digg v4 launch “didn’t go smoothly, and we’re deeply sorry that we disappointed our Digg community in the process,” and he says that Digg will bring back several Digg v3 features, including the Bury button, which was particularly missed as a tool for voting down submissions that users felt weren’t worthy or suspected made it to the front page through backroom dealings rather than community support.

Williams:

Recently, we’ve been reinstating a number of the features that many of you loved about Digg. In the past two weeks we’ve brought back the “Upcoming” section, started restoring user profiles from the previous version of Digg, and made small but important tweaks to the site including better pagination. In the next few weeks we’ll bring back the bury button, restore all user profiles (including comment and submission history), add filters and navigation for videos and images, provide a tool for users to report comment violations, and update the Top News algorithm and overall site design based upon your feedback. The result will hopefully be a much better web site experience.

On the flip side, reinstating the bury button does bring back the possibility of so-called “bury brigades”: Kevin Rose, no longer the Digg CEO, said that the new Digg wouldn’t have them for fear that groups would get together to keep stories they didn’t want off of the front page. And considering how few votes front page stories get at present, any concerted plot to bury stories will have even greater power now, to the extent that anyone bothers to do things concertedly on Digg anymore. At that, these are changes that the community has been pushing for, and if Digg is somehow going to come out of its current slump, this seems as good a step as any with which to begin.

(Digg via TechCrunch)

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