A popular topic of discussion on Digg is that of dupes and what happens when a top digger dupes a story. I am going to look at two recent examples of this and show you what happened.
Our first item is a story that was submitted by a member with no front paged stories (MomoTheCow) and a top 20 digg user (msaleem). The story in question is about global warming and both have the same exact title.
First: Global warming: the final verdict
Second: Global warming: the final verdict
Both of these stories have the exact same content yet they have different URLs. The dupe filter should have caught this, but it did not. Both stories were submitted within 24 hours of each other yet the one by the unknown digger only received 12 diggs while the top users story made it all the way to the home page!
So far we see that both stories had the same exact headline, the fact that msaleem's post had a "_2" appended to the title should tell all diggers that this is a potential duplicate story. I say potential because some stories may share a title (i.e. "Nintendo announces new games for Wii") and not be duplicates.
Msaleem's post has the following for a write-up: "A study by the world's leading experts says global warming will happen faster and be more devastating than previously thought" while MomotheCow went a little bit longer with, "A study by the world's leading experts says global warming will happen faster and be more devastating than previously thought, the most authoritative report yet produced on climate change will warn next week."
The only thing that msaleem has over MomoTheCow is an impressive network of friends. Friends often use the handy links on Digg to see what their friends submitted, dugg and commented on. Msaleem has been befriended by 389 users while MomoTheCow has been befriended by 0 users. what this means is that 389 users will quickly see msaleems post by using the friends feature while others have to actually digg to find MomoTheCow's submission. If msaleem had dugg the original post instead of submitting a dupe (if the digg search was even working) then MomoTheCow's post may have made it to the front page.
I spoke with msaleem about this particular event and he told me that the dupe checker did not alert him of the prior submission. He also told me that he received an email from MomoTheCow thanking him for submitting the story (again) as he wanted people to be aware of the content of the article and did not care about getting the home page credit.
These two postings were made about seven hours apart so it is not a good example of when two users post a link at almost the exact same time. When that happens, things get mighty interesting!
Our next example is just that, a face off between two diggers who are in the top 100! This battle pits Mr. Baby Man against charbarred. Mr. Baby Man is currently number eight on Digg while charbarred is number 33. In this case charbarred submitted his story within one minute of Mr. Baby Man!
First: SmugMug: The (Anti) Web 2.0 Company
Second: SmugMug: The (Anti) Web 2.0 Company
In the early voting these two stories were neck and neck. They both link to the same story on TechCrunch and because of them both being submitted at nearly the same exact time the dupe filter did not raise a stink.
Mr. Baby Man has 486 friends and charbarred has 342 friends... Which one won? Mr. Baby Man did. Let me tell you up front that I have both of these users on my friend list but, I dugg the story that came first. I may have been on the losing team but I don't care, I'd rather digg the first submission.
Interestingly enough, when I talked to charbarred about this (before either story hit the home page) he told me he was more concerned about the potential of both stories being buried and the news never making the home page. See, among top diggers there is a certain amount of honor. They do not want to be seen as stepping on each others toes and they know that if a "digg war" breaks out it is very likely both submissions will be buried as dupes. Regardless, the top digger still won out. What it does show us though is that even among top diggers, the number of users who have befriended you can have an impact on getting your stories to the front page.