Can We "Digg" Forums?

When at a loss for what you might want to blog about, go to…and voila–the top entry on the page was about a new site that’s using Web 2.0 online community concepts to bubble up the best technical pieces of content to other devs.

The site is called “Tweako”, and the idea is to use a Digg-like interface to elevate the most interesting pieces of content to the top.  A simple idea, but as Digg has shown, the concept works fairly well.

This got me to thinking…how could this be applied to community discussion sites, like the MSDN Forums?  I’ve toyed with the idea of “Digging” individual users to create reputation, but never ordering the content based on votes.  What would this look like?  Would it work?

I’ve always thought that there really are two different types of users that are going to the forums–people who want to participate in the discussion and people who just want to search and read the discussions.  Looking at our server logs, 99% of the people who go to the forums never even register, much less post content.

Given this, two different views make sense–the standard, chronological interface for users that want to participate in forums the way they always have, and a new, Digg-style interface for the browsers.

The Digg-style interface would bubble up the *best* posts by forum.  The voting could also go into search relevancy, making sure that the best threads show up first.  It’d also be a great feed to expose on the MSDN Developer Centers for given technologies.

Just my thoughts for a Friday…

Comments (2)

  1. MSDN Archive says:

    Ya gotta watch out for just how much you copy digg, lest you suffer their wrath 😉

  2. Peter Ritchie says:

    I think there’s a certain amount of merit to multiple, disparate, reputation ranking systems.

    As you say, there’s observable evidence that there’s at least two types of users (other than those who only answer).  Providing reputation ranking geared to your targeted user types would provide added value.   Ranking content based upon one or more of the reputation criteria would provide readers the ability to judge a response based on criteria that best suites them.  What the criteria may be is the tough part.  Currently MSDN forums offers the ability to tally the number of answers and usefulness ratings, as wells reply quantities.  From a user-looking-for-an-answer point-of-view, quantity of reply probably wouldn’t rank high on importance; but you still want to reward participation.  Aggregating usefulness ("not useful," "useful", "really useful", "saved my bacon", etc.), degree-of-answer (maybe dispersing varying percentages to all posters whose post has been marked as answer based on usefulness), and "tagability" (the fact that someone found the post useful enough to tag it for later retrieval means something) would allow greater trust in the reputation rankings.

    Of course, these means expanding MSDN forums to the point where an individual post can be tagged/digged/

    Thinking out load: once that underlying framework/infrastructure is there, the ability for a user to rank-the-rankings (i.e. providing ratios that are applyed to the 2-3 ranking systems) would allow them to customize a single ranking number/metric that is unique to them.