Rose wants key Diggers to keep influence

Kevin Rose has told TechRadar that he wants to make sure that the Diggers who pick out the most popular stories continue to have a major influence in the site – despite the steady move into a more personalised experience.

TechRadar had the chance to talk with Rose at the Future of Web Apps (FOWA) conference in London – where he was keen to point out the ways in which Digg was evolving.

"I think that some people will always prefer to surf rather than contribute, but I think that a lot of people want to get involved," said Rose.

"It's based on their participation; if they Digg something it isn't just about the popularity thing but about the fact that they are explaining to the recommendations engine what they are interested in so their experience is better overall – and that's massive.

"We start making recommendations after one Digg, but it's a process that takes a lot of time. People have to Digg and continue to fill the system in order for it to make the right connections."

On Digg's front page not becoming too personalised:

"The front page is always the default for people who aren't logged in right? That means that anyone can come to the site and see what the zeitgeist is for people at one time.

"What we want to do with personalisation is give people a better slice of that data so they can view what's going on in terms of what's most important to them.

"I think that's the most important thing in terms of niches. I totally get that people's interests change depending on what's happening.

"We'll start looking at the amount of time you spend in these niche areas and making the recommendations based on that as well.

"Just because you dugg one story on a health topic doesn't mean that we're going to fill your inbox with loads of health related news.

"If you haven't dugg in a topic for some time then the system will realise and start to move that down in your preferences."

On making it easier to Digg:

"We have to lower the barrier to Digging," explains Rose. "At the moment you might see a button on a remote site, click it which opens up a new window, then you have to log into your Digg account and then you fill in the details.

"That's quite a big hurdle for a lot of people so we're trying to make that whole process easier.

"Connecting with services like Facebook that allows you to login and bring that whole social graph with you which means you don't have to recreate the whole login process again is a big deal.

"Getting that all working is huge for us."

On making sure good stories get in front of influential Diggers:

"I don't think it's true to say that if the wrong person Diggs something then it has less chance of success, regardless of how good that story is," says Rose.

"With the recommendation engine, it's dependent on who that story is connected to, so if someone Diggs it and they are connected to five users in the same topic bucket then it will spread out to those people.

"I can't get into intimate details about how the recommendation engine works, but we wanted to make sure there was a diverse pool and just by Digging a few thousand stories isn't going to make someone more powerful in terms of influence.

"Otherwise you'd just end up with people Digging everything so that they form thousands of connections in every topic bucket.

"We look at a whole bunch of things and eventually if you Digg things that become more popular then your influence will grow. If you are Digging stuff that is getting buried then you won't be a strong recommender in that topic.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.