The Power of Digg Top Users (One Year Later)

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One year ago Rand Fishkin posted some quite interesting and at the same time incredibly damning statistics about how a small number of contributers were doing most of the work on Digg and were responsible for a majority of the content on the front page of the site. Here’s a look at new statistics, one year later.
While many people argue that it is problematic and a flaw in the purported Democracy of Digg that a small number of users have so much visibility, I think these people fail to understand Digg and their assertion is far from the truth. In fact it is just evidence that some users, whether it be because they have been long-time members of the site, or because they use it intensively, have an intimate understanding of Digg and the site’s community.
Because they understand the nuances of the site and the preferences of the community, they are able to submit content that is appreciated by the democracy-based community of Digg and the content is consequently promoted to the home page. Without further delay, here’s a look at the impact of the top 100 users on Digg today (the number of submissions is actually the number of promoted stories):
As you can see, the top 100 community members on Digg are now responsible for 43.8% of the content on the homepage compared to 56.41% one year ago. Astonishingly, top-ranked Digg user MrBabyMan is contributing almost 3% of the front-page stories. While the statistics have changed a little, Digg still remains a community of a few extremely active users and a majority of moderately active users.
A special thanks Adam Lyttle for providing me with the statistics.

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  • Pensador

    How can you be *that* active?

  • Ryan

    I couldn’t agree more. I think Rand missed the point completely trying to invoke some BS class warfare on Digg that doesn’t exist. If you look at ANY system you will find similar results. The real story is’s ability to attract a hyper-active userbase. Those user’s submitted content sure hasn’t hurt digg’s ability to attract eyeballs has it?

  • Chris Duffy

    Excellent Post Mu!!!
    Has anyone ever heard of the 80/20 rule (Pareto’s Principle?) A web-adaptation of this says that, “out of 100 web users, 90 will passively view something, 9 will actually engage and/or interact with it, and 1 will create it.”
    Real life stats appear to be even more evenly distributed. The fact that The top 100 contribute 44% of homepage submission should be neither surprising -or- cause for a frustrated digg submitter’s anger.
    Fairness means everyone starts out from the same place -or- is given the same chance – not that everyone wins, has the same results, or gets to the homepage as much as Mr.BabyMan!
    Once again, excellent post – I’m going to blogging this and will link back as soon as I’m able.

  • Heather Paquinas

    So basically, stop reading digg, b/c you’ll never be in the trusted elite?

  • Quinton

    It makes perfect sense. The more you use the site the more you learn about how everything works and you just keep winning again and again. Gotta love it!

  • AllSux

    I have submitted precisely 1 story that has made it to the Digg front page – something I found on YouTube. The story turned out to be false, as a few of the first dozen or so comments demonstrated clearly (with links). Nonetheless, the story got 2,500 Diggs and was front-page material. Moreover, my homepage URL is still banned from Digg, despite my contacting Digg repeatedly and receiving no explanation. Is Digg a democracy? Why is my URL banned? Why will no one even write a short email to explain that? Is a democracy so easily fooled? I have submitted many other factual stories, but the one that makes the front page is the one with the catchiest headline that I didn’t thoroughly vet? Sounds like a bad democracy to me.

  • monster

    this information was great keep up the good articles

  • AllSux

    It’s true, but frustrating. The author of this Pronet article (who is a great guy!) just made the front page with a link to an image that I submitted a link to weeks ago. Mine got 20 Diggs, his has 25,000. I’m not really surprised, but it makes me (as a less avid Digger who still enjoys the site) less inclined to post. I think that’s the problem in the long run: people like myself don’t think there’s any point in posting, because the chances of something we submit getting popular seems slim. All of that being said: I don’t hold any of this against top Diggers – though I wish there was a way to balance the system.