Originally, pligg allowed the admin to set the "follow" status of submitted links. That's how the sites where able to rise in the search engines without any assistance - the RSS module automatically created outbound links, and the spam submitters created headlines that where keyword optimised and since the links where "nofollow" the site would not lose ranking due to the low quality of those sites.
That was the main reason why I used pligg - I could create a post and bookmark it, and the site would be ranked on google within the hour, thanks to the "kaffiene" update.
Mark, are you requesting a new setting: nofollow attribute for the New stories (with status = new) only?
But just a few clarifications:
1- There was not settings for the nofollow in the Pligg Admin Panel.
2- The nofollow attribute was hard-coded in the link_summary.tpl, depending on the story status, published or new!
3- The nofollow attribute was a setting in the Links Module, for the Admins to set it for the URLS converted to links in the story content and the comments (I fixed this module to works as such)
The accuracy of ranking, as you described it, is debatable, according to Matt Cutts and many others.
A Story can quickly acquire the set number of votes required to be "Published", this includes any means where a user who submitted a story can ask other users to vote for it until it is published, and therefore will not have the nofollow attribute in the source link of the story. Does this guarantee the story is not linking to a site with a questioned reputation? absolutely not!
I can add this settings to let the Admin select whether to apply the nofollow attribute to the Published and new stories separately, it is easy to do, and as I answered the other two users, the settings for nofollow is available as an option TRUE/FALSE and it is up to the Admin to select what suits his site's needs!
The SE algorithms are very complex, but quality outbound links to authority sites are a necessity to increase your ranking I used the RSS import to provide a constant supply of these.
Of course, a spammer could vote their own link onto the published page, but hopefuly the mods would spot this and remove the link.
We did metrics a few years ago - my mate had a yt channel with millions of views so we had traffic to play with, and in those days you could get your page-rank from the google toolbar. We mainly used alexa however, and the two did appear to be linked somehow on the back-end.
I allowed spam submissions, knowing that the nofollow links would be of no use whatever to the spammer, but the spam headlines would show up in search with a link to our page, far above the actual target.
So that's two ways that this setting has helped me to rank highly.
Because our site was ranked highly in the real-time index, all we had to do was to post a follow link, and the target would appear on google in less than one hour! I had about 10k unique hits per day.
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