Be a Pligg

For several years a couple of us have wanted an easy way to rate and organize content that students submit. Sure, we have a the typical CMS/LMS tools, but we have always talked about something much more simple and much more open. When Digg hit the web a couple of years ago we thought the model was perfect — a place where users submit content and then the community does the rest. All we wanted was that environment … enter Pligg. A little piece from their site:

In a world with so many Content Management Systems fighting for control it can seem nearly impossible to pick out a perfect CMS to suit your needs. That’s why Pligg exists, because we know that no CMS is going to offer a perfect out-of-the-box experience for every user. The net would be a boring place if every site looked and acted the same, so be different! Pligg’s dynamic structure allows users to quickly and effortlessly install and customize their sites.

What it all means to me is that I can quickly create a site that lets users submit content and control (through action) where that content lives on the site. I have a Pligg demo site running on one of my domains … take a look.

I see two areas where this stuff could be very helpful — at the course and at the organizational levels. We talked about this during ETS Talk 27 this past week, but I think it is worth repeating here and hoping that the community will participate in some sort of conversation around this thing — in other words, I could use some help thinking about what I will write about.

In the classroom this could be used as a sort of “Leader Board” where students could constantly submit and review content in an ongoing basis. The best content consistently rising to the top of the site. If you made it part of the assignment process you could create a very interesting way to view student and faculty contributions over the course of the semester. I have wanted to let my students be much more active in both contribution and quick assessment — this may be the way.

At the organizational level I think it could be very useful as well. As an example, the new Blogs at Penn State platform has allowed the vast majority of my staff to start blogging out in the open. I would say that at least half are blogging on a regular basis and their posts have been very insightful on many levels. A few weeks ago I discovered how to aggreagate posts together quickly and easily using Google Reader — that has been very helpful. But what if we wanted to take it to the next level? What if we wanted to see how the community would react to not only the content in their blogs, but also at all of our community hub sites and the general web? Pligg could offer us a very unique opportunity to create a new sort of meta hub for community based sharing and control. Solid and informative posts rise to the top and stay sticky longer — that would be a good thing. I am wondering if this could be viewed as the ETS News site — with our press releases competing with staff content … it could just prove to be very interesting.

I would really like to know what others think about adapting a digg model to support learning and organizational communications.

6 thoughts on “Be a Pligg

  1. Pingback: University Update - Google - Be a Pligg

  2. Very Nice. A dig clone may be extremely handy. I wonder if it supports “submit to pligg” links and/or extensions for FireFox. With a potentially large amount of blog content coming out this could be very useful.

  3. The idea of using voting or rating to influence how users view information is one we are very interested in – so much of our user experience today is looking for information via search (the world as Google). Various search algorithms are used to determine the order results are presented, but mostly they are based on how closely the content matched the search criteria plus how many others had looked at the content, or linked to it, previously.

    An important element is also how valuable those users found the content, and a voting mechanism adds that information. Now if there is also a way to determine “who” voted for something – not their name, but who are they in relation to me. Are they an expert in their field, or just another “amateur” like myself?

    Google does this somewhat today with it’s weights applied to links, so that a link from an authoritative source (e.g. is more meaningful than a link from an ordinary blogger. What I am suggesting is to add this voting capability, and combine it with some form of weighting so that not all votes are equal (just as not all links are equal to Google).

    Hopefully this both makes sense and is not a much-published idea which I have just not caught onto.

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