Digg President Kevin Rose explains his controversial decision to remove from the use-powered news site the list of the top "diggers" to reduce spam and discourage people who try to game the site. But Steve Rubel thinks he's playing with fire, potentially demotivating the top contributors. (Not to mention, Christopher Finke of rival Netscape promptly wrote a program to divine the top users anyway.) Rose's intent may be valid, but I also wonder if a prime reason to contribute to Digg has just vanished. Egoboo is a powerful thing in the Web 2.0 world.
Update: Svetlana Gladkova at the Profy blog has an interview with a top digger, Krzysztof Pajak. An excerpt:
Svetlana: And how do you think your activities on Digg will change without the top users list?
Chrisek: I think it won't change, I post for fun.
Svetlana: And what about other top users?
Chrisek: As for other top diggers they will go away from Digg, I think. You know that attaining a high rank takes a lot of time and effort. And when you're NOT getting paid for your efforts (like those at Netscape *are*), you tend to try and look to other things for motivation. One of them is public recognition. With no top users list you won't have motivation.