How Digg Fights Cheating

I thought this piece over on Technology Review was interesting, not so much because of a special interest in Digg (though I do partake occasionally), but because of the data visualization technologies that they are using. The graph of Digg users and story Diggs that the story talks about is particularly cool; patterns in the data that is graphed represent meaningful patterns in user behavior, making it easy for admins to pick out weird (or just popular) stories and users.

As a profoundly non-visual person, I’m always impressed by simple solutions like this that take abstract data and make it into something that people can actually relate to quickly and intuitively. There are so many non-intuitive and meaningless graphical representations in the world that are obviously the process of some pointy-haired lobotomite looking at a presentation and saying ‘this needs some charts and graphs’ rather than an attempt to convey information in the most cogent way. The volume of information that’s available on the web has, for a lot of roles, put the issue of availability of information entirely off the map. What’s left to be grappled with is how to organize that information, and make the reams of data into something useful.


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