November 9, 2005

My suggestion for Digg is a great tool. It takes control of the news and puts it in the hands of the users. Everything on the site is controlled by the users. Submissions only make the front page through the repeated "digging" of the user base. Comments on storues are moderated and sorted by the voting of other users.

The problem is that many features of Digg are lost on the new Digg users. Many only use the site for quick links to news articles or spam the submission queue with every story they find. This is fine because of the very nature of Digg, but so much can be done to educate the many new users and make it a better site!

My suggestion comes from and is inspired by countless video games. The idea of a "newbie tutorial" that must be completed before a users sign up is complete and their account is activated.

The tutorial would walk the new user through the following...
  • What items to look for in a story before submitting it. Is the story recent? Is the story related to the category it is being submitted under? Is the link direct to the source or is it through another website? Many other questions could be asked of course.
  • Next it would walk users through the actual "digging" for stories. It would need to explain how to look past the front page and get into the many submissions and explain how stories get to the front page.
  • Finally the tutorial would walk the new user through how to moderate and rate comments. This is by far the most overlooked area of Digg currently. The tutorial would provide examples of good and bad comments and the user would have the chance to rate each comment in order to receive an activated account.
This tutorial could also be available for anyone that has signed up within the last 6 months; which has been Digg's greatest period of growth. I understand that not every Digg user comments, submits, or even "diggs". A lot probably come just for the quick links, but an account is not required to do this. If they sign up for an account they should understand how to use the site. Lack of knowledge or lack of initiative... a tutorial would help.

Update: 6 Nov, 2006 - Updated post and applied labels.