Saturday, September 6, 2008

The digg mentality and Veritocracy

Veritocracy is a new site (still in beta version) that aspires to become the next great content aggregator. Users will submit pages, other users will vote them up or down, and the top articles will appear at the top of the main site. I've never enjoyed their kind of article much--the "ape escapes from zoo and visits the local Starbucks" stories don't do it for me--but they have an interesting way of dealing with "gaming." From TechCrunch:

If you submit crap, miscategorize your articles, or even vote for other people’s crap, readers won’t be voting for the same things you are (and may even vote down things you vote up) and thus the the system will uncorrelate you from everyone (or won’t correlate you to them in the first place). This will make sure your content and votes have less chance of effecting what other users see in the future.

This is a step in the right direction because it would discriminate against bad users who simply don't care. But it would not discriminate against gaming by smart users, who could generally vote for all of the highest rated content and then selectively vote for articles that they would like to see at the top. Indeed, this system would probably actually help smart gamers because it increases their pull.

Weeding out the dumb gamers is doable, but fighting against smart users on this type of site is a highly intricate. And for me, this conundrum reduces the utility of the aggregator.