Suspicious Digging

Update: follow up in the next post

Have a look at this blog post, which talks about Digg potentially being misused. I posted this partly because I was unable to digg that post. If you scroll down to the list of diggers here and here, you will notice that the order of the first 16 diggers is identical and that only 2 of the 24 vary in each.


You can click the images to confirm the results yourself. Whether this is a coincidence (KevinRose is there) or more malicious (trying to accelerate things to the front page) I don’t know. Read about it on ForeverGeek.
Also: See ForeverGeek’s follow up.

I submitted this post to digg a while ago. I was puzzled that it dissappeared after about five minutes. This was it( highlighting is because of this):

So I submitted it again:

Again it has vanished. They were located at: here and here. You will notice that the title of those pages is correct, whereas this displays nothing. That shows they WERE there.

Update 2:
I then found I was no longer logged into digg, tried to log in and:
A little 1984-ish.

Update 3:
Made a new account, posted a comment linking to this post here (please digg up manchild’s comment). My comment was promptly deleted and I am now blocked from logging in by IP. 🙁

Update 4:
After an email to, explaining that I did not believe I had broken the ToS I received this reply:

Dear Sir,

As you pointed out “to abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate other Digg users”. We have had many problems in the past due to users accusing other users of abuse based on false facts. As we have told other users that have emailed us about this subject, there is no abuse involved here, we have investigated it and yes it does look suspicious to the eye, but they are all legit users and therefor we can not ban them. We ask you kindly to email us if you believe a story is being abused. We would have done the same to any other user that might have been accusing you. You can post negative comments and negative stories [I had implied perhaps unjustly in my email that I was blocked for submitting negative stories about Digg] about digg, but please restrain from accusing or intimidating other users. Your account has been unblocked. If you have any other questions, please email us and we’ll do our best to help you.

Thank you,

-The Digg Watch Team.

So I now have an account back, which is nice. I guess they could well be telling the truth when they say there was nothing suspicious going on. It wasn’t the initial story ‘gaming of digg’ that annoyed me rather it was the censorship of submissions that sort to point that story out.

I think Digg should rely on its users to make editorial decisions. Users can do a lot to rectify incorrect submissions as in this case. Stick by the text on the front page: “With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allowing an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do.”

Update 5:
Ken points to an Aviran’s Place story about more Digg editorial control. The same thing seems to have happened to ForeverGeek which is why I wrote this post at all.

Update 6:
OK. Digg has now not deleted Digg Corrupted even after 47 minutes and with 49 diggs.

However, it has not made it to the front page. These two screen captures were taken at the same time. The former is from the front page, the latter is still in diggall.

You will note that the one on the front page has less diggs than the other. This is despite the fact that it was submitted almost a day ago whereas the other was submitted less than an hour ago. This means that the “Digg Corrupted” submission has received almost 24 times as many diggs per minute. And yet it has not been promoted to the front page. I smell ‘hierarchical editorial control’. The articles are buried so they’ll never make the front page, I guess they could’ve been user buried. But this doesn’t detract from the fact than mine and other’s submissions were deleted (not buried).

Update 7:
Well at time of pressing Save button an article has made it to the Digg front page unburied. Ironically it points to the Slashdot item about ‘Growing Censorship Concerns at Digg’. Oh, and that links to me so hello Slashdotters! (and Diggers turned Slashdotters!)

Update 8:
Kevin Rose’s response. I will respond to it when I have time, but I don’t at the moment. It contradicts the email above.

Update: follow up in the next post

64 thoughts on “Suspicious Digging”

  1. is interesting.
    and MY screenshots are: and

    You could the second comment here (by manchild):

    Or shout this: [link]

    When I emailed to ask why they banned my account they said it’s against their policies to accuse digg users of abusing (in public). They suggested I had to email them about any abuse I notice.
    Well, if it’s from more than 16 users as we can see, then i think it worth getting public. Besides, they wouldn’t be in trouble if they were really innocent. But the case here is not about users abusing digg, it’s about digg owners abusing their powers.
    What I noticed: Kevin rose was one of the Digg Army who dugg both articles. When it was published in ForeverGeek he undugg it, then he dugg it again. Why this weird behaivour?
    Splasho, take care, they ban IPs, too.

  2. That’s my comment right there. this is an interesting situation. I’m having serious doubts about the integrity of digg. Manchild has done a good job to try and draw attention to this issue. Let’s hope there is some response or action.

  3. What a load of crock. Those two stories were obviously promoted to the frontpage in a non ‘user-driven’ manner. ‘Legitimate’ my ass!

  4. Digg also trigger happy blocking entire web sites just because they don’t like a single post submitted by users, as in this story, which however demonstrate that Digg don’t leave the editorial job to the users, but has its own editors

  5. This DOES NOT surprise me. Its disappointing because the DIGG concept is cool and if left to its own could become a real force on the web.

    If this kind of manipulation and abuse is true it will undoubtedly cause DIGG to implode.

    Please keep this story alive. If DIGG is community driven then the community should be told the truth.

  6. Alfat, that’s not what they mailed the blocked ppl about. They even banned the users and mail eg. me and said “u’re accusing digg users and that’s against our policies”.
    The whole email:
    “Dear Sir,

    Your account was suspended for violating digg Terms Of Use. Accusing
    users of abusing digg. You have no right to accuse any user of digg
    based on false facts. We have more then 250.000 users on digg that
    contribute to digg. If 50 users dugg the same story from the same user
    at the same time and you believe it’s abuse, then you are more then
    welcome to email us and we’ll do our best to investigate it and not
    publicly accuse digg users. We’ll unban your account if you agree not to
    do this again.

    For more information visit:

    -The Digg Watch Team.”

  7. Cuz they were reported, look at the red thumb next to them, I think everyone is having a hard time believing this story…

  8. I created a digg account this morning (I’m a reddit fan) so I could try to re-submit this article and try to get it some more attention. I didn’t monitor its success, but 4 hours later and my account is disabled. This whole thing just stinks.

  9. Your servers are doing extremely well. This page loaded normally, even under the slashdot effect…congrats on getting frontpaged

  10. Yeah I was banned too yesterday for posting ForeverGeek’s original Digg post.

    I got unbanned as long as I promised not to do it again.

  11. Well this is disappoining. I don’t really disagree with the site having active editors, yes it kills some of the community but prevent it from turning into a warez, pron portal. ’cause people are evil by default and will abuse technology that way. But I am however disappointed to see the editors use their power in a very selfish manner, IE promoting stories arificially. But what really gets me is that the stories that state that are activly being removed or burried. What happend to the freedom of opinion?

    Now more important it’s really stupid that they do that. The stories of corruption may very well not be true but who is going to believe that now that all the stories about it are gone and the people who post it get banned?

  12. I did some analysis on all of the stories submitted by the people that dugg this story that made the front page. Results here –

    On average each submission recieved 8 diggs from others in this group, within the first 24 diggs a story recieved. Extremely suspicious, and looks like proof to me

  13. Eh, Digg was cool, then Newsvine came along and made Digg average at best.
    Now Digg is corrupt, shady, and unprofessional… and no longer worth my time.

    Goodbye Digg.

  14. Motive?

    “Hi. Im Company X. I’ll pay you $x to promote us to the front page but make sure Company Y doesn’t.”

    I’ts called business 🙂

  15. I too have been blocked and shown the dreaded “Bad IP address” page – I just got back from 2 weeks of holidays away (from the net) and now I cant use Digg! I have done nothing wrong, they never emailed me once explaining why I was blocked and now I have to beg to get access.

    What the F*#CK!

    Digg is going WAY to far in the way it bans people – its insulting to be banned with ZERO explaination.

  16. I’m reaaaaal late to this party, but god damn, in-your-face DIGG!

    4 yrs later and that site is nothing but an irrelevant, bloated and an stupid link to the bubble-gum days of social bookmarking.


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