I started using Digg back in 2005 and I remember a lot of features they had and have abandoned. I thought I would share as many as I can remember and why I think they were removed.
This was a list of the top users, which listed the a user’s username, how many stories they had got on the homepage, how many submissions they had made, the ratio of homepage stories to submissions, how many stories they dugg, how many comments they had made, and how many pageviews their profile had recieved. Later on it was broken into 2 tabs one for Top Diggers and the other for Top Submitters. This was a great feature in the beginning as it featured those who helped make digg what it was. However, as the Digg algorithm became more important it let to the conclusion that the top users (power users or submitters) were the ones that had an unfair advantage of what made the frontpage.
Digg Spy (the original non-flash version)
I always like the non-flash version of Digg Spy, it was a great way of seeing what was becoming popular or unpopular (you could see buries). I showed this to people when I needed to give them an idea of what AJAX was and let them know that this was pretty much real time data. It was taken down since they had built another version of it in Flash.
A messaging system for users to contact each other through Digg to help get friends or other users to promote stories they submitted or for messages in general. However, it ended up becoming mostly a spammy system where people tried to get everyone to promote their own stories. However you could disable this feature or only allow friends to shout to you. It was replaced by email, Twitter and Facebook sharing links.
I believe this was introduced to help stickiness (to keep traffic on Digg as much as possible) since it gave a shortened URL for all links and put the site linked to below in an IFRAME. It also featured a random button that would send you to another story, which many believed was a way to compete with StumbleUpon. Originally you could also type digg.com/ before the URL of any page you’re on to create a short URL. As of writing, this feature hasn’t been removed, but Kevin Rose has stated it is going away.
A feature that let you blog about a story that you or someone else submitted. Was considered no longer needed once they added the email, Twitter and Facebook sharing links.
This was basically a tag cloud, but for stories submitted to Digg. This was replaced by the Upcoming section.
Digg Comments with a Slashdot style rating system
Many may not know that the comment rating system Digg used in the early days, was very similar to Slashdot. They used to let you rate a comment as +3 Excellent, +2 Insightful, +1 Useful, 0 Neutral, -1 Redundant, -2 Flame, -3 SPAM. Eventually they went to the simple, thumbs up or thumbs down.
Comments replies via email that sent you the reply
Digg finally realized they should email you replies to your comments (I always wondered why they didn’t do this earlier). However, I believe they decided to remove the actualy reply to your comment for 2 reasons. One being that it was susceptible to spam, but I think the biggest reason was to get more pageviews by making you want to see what someone said and you had to visit the link they sent you to do that.
Categories Digg has removed
- Deals – This was for finding great tech deals online. However, it wasn’t used very much, but then again, there probably aren’t that many good deals out there on a regular basis.
- Robots – A section for robotics, but wasn’t used all that much so it went away.
- Election 2008 – Makes sense since they only needed it for that time period.
Like any good website Digg has evolved and continues to try new things to see what works and what doesn’t. I still wish they had remained true to their technology niche, but at least I can filter out the categories I don’t like and disable image and video submissions.