Splasho |

Apr/06

21

Update on Digg

This follows on from Suspicious Digging

If you’re interested in my response to Kevin Rose’s blog post on Digging Fraud. I also recommend you read ForeverGeek’s.

I would reiterate that some stories were buried and it is possible these were buried by the user base and not the admins. Burial means that the item is removed from the digg queue or the front page but it is still accessible at its URL and with a search if ‘buried’ is ticked. However, my submissions (and those of others) were deleted virtually without trace. This is something that only administrators can do. Only the titles were left intact Notice the “?” in this one‘s title? And notice that there is an error message which isn’t displayed on this totally non-existent page. More information is on my initial post.

In addition I was banned and when Digg acquiesced to my request to be unbanned I received this:

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 [sic] we can not ban them. We ask you kindly to email us if you believe a story is being abused.
[Entire email is in original blog post]

Kevin, wrote this:

Recently it was brought to our attention that several users have created accounts to mass digg and promote stories. While these accounts appear to be valid, they have in certain instances been used for automated in-order (scripted) digging. This is a violation of our terms of service and the accounts have since been banned.

As you can imagine with over 250,000 registered users (and adding thousands more per week) we are constantly monitoring and looking for user SPAM/fraud. Internally, we have several methods for detecting fraud which results in DOZENS of banned accounts per day.

In my opinion what happened in between is that Digg realised this couldn’t be hushed up. Note the long time it took Mr. Rose to answer about the issue.

A few more thoughts (update):
One thing that is annoying me in discussion of this issue is comments which state the obvious. Comments like: “Kevin owns it, he can do what he likes”, “the administrators have a right to exert editorial control, its a business”.

Of course Digg has the right to do whatever it wants on its own server. Indeed its TOS states:

Digg may remove any Content and Digg accounts at any time for any reason (including, but not limited to, upon receipt of claims or allegations from third parties or authorities relating to such Content), or for no reason at all.

Nobody is claiming Digg have broken the law. They have a right to censor what we submit, but we have a right to complain about it. They have the right to artifically promote items to the front page (I’m not necessarily suggesting they have, and I never have), but we have the right to complain about it.

Digg claims on its front page:

Digg is a technology news website that employs non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allowing an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do.

And its success is due to people believing that. It’s what separates it from Slashdot and makes it to some more attractive.

If what it claims is not true then people are bound to seek to expose the truth. If people who seek to spread the truth on Digg are prevented from doing so, then Digg is being dishonest. They’re allowed to be dishonest on their own site, but I’m certainly going to complain about it.

Update: reply received

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6 comments

  • Oliver Zheng · April 21, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    I agree with you completely on the fact that Digg administrators should not alter any submitted content.

    I think Kevin’s diggblog entry about deleting users and banning sites was not telling the whole story. Of course if he keeps silent on this issue nothing can be proven. My guess is that certain political or personal (in terms of digg.com) issues are watched over by moderators and administrators, and this controversy is going to cause a riot sooner or later.

  • Splasho » Suspicious Digging · April 21, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    [...] Update: follow up in the next post [...]

  • Jacob · April 21, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    Well said :P

  • Splasho » Reply from Digg · April 24, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    [...] I asked Digg for clarification on why they contradicted themselves. This is their reply Dear Sir, [...]

  • woybc · May 21, 2006 at 7:09 pm

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  • The Dirt on Suspicious Digging at Digg.com... | Yet Another Linux Blog · August 13, 2013 at 3:10 am

    [...] Splasho’s Blog…Update on Digg [...]

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