The Digg Community’s Concerns With Digg

We, the undersigned (comment to join) are ready to find out if there is more to social bookmarking than Digg. We are going to stop submitting to Digg. The alternatives are plenty – now is the time to venture into new territory. As we organize we will evaluate and find a new space.

When a digital identity, like a Digg account, becomes penalized through its consistent interaction with a website we assume that site falls into one of two categories. Either (a. The site in question is ill-suited to become a healthy social network. or (b. The premise of the social network is such that it is based on competition.

Digg is, in part, a game. It always has been – and that is one of the reasons we love it. That it helped us share useful, entertaining or interesting content only made it that much more fun.

Unfortunately the rules to the game have never been under the community’s full control. As far as we can tell, the rule-makers barely listen to us. The latest change in the algorithm, along with rumors of secret editors, auto-buries, etc., have led us to believe it is time to break ties with Digg.com.

Here are a list of the main charges against Digg:

1) Lack of communication and disregard for the Digg community
Digg is not a newspaper, a magazine, or a blog. It produces no content of its own and is entirely dependent upon its users for traffic. Digg users hunt down the stories online, craft the descriptions and titles, digg the stories, provide all the comments. Despite this dependency, anecdotal evidence suggests that Digg has repeatedly failed to respond to its users and address their concerns.

2) Unexplained and unacknowledged banning of top users
cGt2099, Emobrat, and others who have submitted hundreds of quality stories to Digg were recently banned under suspicious circumstances. Digg did not acknowledge these bannings, nor make any public explanation as to why they took place. These are not the actions of a “democratic news site.”

3) Lack of transparency – Digg only shows you the stories that people have dugg, but not the ones that are buried.
This has resulted in the birth and flourishing of bury brigades, whose existence has gone unacknowledged, but which undoubtedly have the capability to shape what content gets onto the front page without any interference or objection from other Digg users.

4) The auto-bury list – For months, dozens of sites have been on an auto-bury list, often with no explanation whatsoever.
These sites often get submitted to Digg and then are invariably buried after a certain amount of time. While it’s up to Digg what sites it wants to allow, it’s important that if it brands itself as a democratic news site, it makes clear why it bans these sites.

5) Repeated and flagrant disrespect of its top users.
Digg’s top users generate roughly 30-50% of Digg’s front page content but repeated and unexplained changes to the Digg algorithm have penalized the ability of top users to get front page stories promoted. Perhaps worst of all, this has resulted in other stories from lower ranked users with less diggs being forced off the “Hot In Upcoming” pages and hurt their ability to shine.

In short – the site has become too powerful a media force and its lack of transparency and faith in the community is reason for concern. In addition, the allure of instant traffic has led to the manipulation and abuse of the site by tolls and spammers.

The collective “WE” built this site from the ground up and while it is sad to leave it, the time has come to move on. We as a loose group of social bookmarkers will find a new community that will allow us to stay in touch and stay informed.

If Digg is a game then we are ready to play for keeps. What happens if the most powerful users in the community decide to leave? Will others join? Is Digg anything without us? Let’s prove it.

Andy Sorcini (mrbabyman), David Cohn (DigiDave), Muhammad Saleem (msaleem), Reg Saddler (zaibatsu)

Update: For the record…Nobody is leaving Digg. After our conversation with Jay Adelson & Kevin Rose, we feel the main issue of a lack of open communication with Digg has been addressed to our satisfaction.

Feedback is absolutely welcome, but positive or negative, let’s keep it constructive. Flamers will be deleted.

  • neoronin

    Ditch Digg and Join Reddit.

  • Pingback: Digg Revolt

  • http://www.chomskyswar.com Phil Harper

    Sharing links for links sake is dead and buried. Where digg started is great, but whats the point in sharing links with such a niche crowd? Only people who understand social networking sites get to reap the fruits of your labour. Why not increase output to television?

    Current.com is tackling all of the issues you have laid out, and as well as that it has the unique selling point of having a TV channel. Current want a “two screen experience” which basically means they are trying to get internet news on TV and visa vesa, breaking down the barriers between media formats.

    If you want to link share to a decent audience and have the serious output potential available with television then it’s a no brainer. Current.com is a sure fired winner, they have a TV station, no-one else does.

    There’s only one logical place to go to.

    http://www.current.com

  • http://sinlung.com sinlung

    I (was) a huge contributor for Digg but my account got banned, my site users not able to submit anymore even a proxy site of blogspot has been banned. Digg has not given any reason even after repeated emails. Digg should be buried forever.

    JOIN REDDIT

  • Pingback: Falta de transparencia en Digg causa problemas con su comunidad

  • Dave

    Why not find a new career? If you don’t like it, move on. Digg is not “yours”. You sign up as a member, you have that choice. The rules of the game changed because the owners decided to make a change. It’s their house, if they want to rearrange the furniture they don’t have to ask you, or anyone permission.

    “The most powerful users”, take a look at the last word. ‘User’, that’s what you are. And what makes you so ‘powerful’ because you submit a link to story you think is interesting? If you leave, what ‘really’ happens. Other stories will float to the top. There are plenty of submissions, and many outlets carry the same ‘story’ anyways.

    You act like it is your job to submit links to digg, and if you didn’t no one else would. Grow up, and get a clue…

  • http://www.zeropaid.com MercedRocks

    I TOTALLY AGREE! I gave up on Digg months ago after it went all “social.” It lacks the organic sort of story promotion that was previously an intrinsic aspect of the site and now is little more than a weird MySpace/CNN hyrbid.

    Now it’s replete with auto buries and absurd Digg count requirements for front page promotion that it has become a test of will to continue to make story contributions to the site.

    All this “shouts,” “friends history,” and such is nothing but a bunch of utter BS and merely distracts from what Digg used to be all about – NEWS!

    Please let me know what site you choose in Digg’s place. Haven’t settled on a replacement myself just yet.

    Sincerely,

    “MercedRocks”

  • Pingback: Control over social networks: users vs. administrators | social media and green horses

  • http://www.modsuperstar.ca/ jamEs – modsuperstar.ca

    Digg definitely has problems, but I think much of what you’ve outlined is just sour grapes.

    The problem with Digg is that there are so many unwritten rules within the community as to what is deemed worthwhile content. Anything that comes from a smaller blog gets labelled blogspam or gets buried by people with agendas. You mentioned the downmod squads, which pretty much enforce the popular opinion of Digg, which is amusing given how much play issues like mass media censorship get on the site. Anything that goes contrary to popular opinion on Digg has no shot of appearing on the frontpage, no matter if it were the best written, most articulate article on the given subject. If you’re not part of the inner clique of users your story has virtually zero chance of being promoted. The biggest problem is that the little guy(I include myself in that category), has really no chance of gaining traction in the community. You submit a great, diggable story and all it will take is another user of higher standing submitting the same story from another source for your story to fade to the background. I know I’ve submitted quite a few stories only to have a story of near identical content make the frontpage while mine wallows in obscurity, even though mine was submitted first and comes from just as valid a source. Ideally a user like myself would like to contribute to Digg, but gets frustrated by the futility of the whole situation.

    I think many of the moved Digg has made is trying to rectify these issues and empower the every-user, which obviously gets the top diggers knickers in a knot.

  • Pingback: Digg’s algorithm change explained « Qgyh2’s Weblog

  • Crni

    I agree with these.

    But you can’t say that diggs future depends only from you 4 guys. I know that you are strong bloggers an respecting yours work.

    I think that you can be the generals, but under generals there are Major, Captains ect. You guys can organize the protest, i will support you that’s for sure. Also i’g going to promote your ideals which are also mine too.

    Supporting from the

    Crnii – Digg and Stumble

    Crni – Mixx

    Oxyon – Propeller

  • http://socialmediatoday.blogspot.com/ chris1234

    Digg will be nothing if it is going to loose the top n activers diggers.

  • SilentJay74

    Digg’s Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose have decided to hire an outside investigator into the Algo issues. To tighten security and ensure the Algo is not leaked they are flying in a top programmer from China. Mr. Wot Wen Feuking Wong will arrive in San Francisco tomorrow.

  • Pingback: Interview with Social Media Hotshot, ViperChill

  • Juana Gettta

    I am sorry to see you all go. I wish you luck in your endeavor to get a life.

  • someone

    You know what? You go right ahead and leave. Somehow, some way, I’m thinking the RATHER LARGE user base at Digg will keep things going for at least a little while longer.

  • http://www.scienceandsupermodels.com Cash

    The only thing in this that looks a little suspect is that you’re only arguing against the auto-bury list now. Why not 24 hours ago? Becoming a defender of Digg transparency only after they do things you don’t like is not great.

  • http://sorrow.tumblr.com zach

    While i respect you guys for all of the good content that you have gotten dugg to the front page, I must say that I think you’re blowing this way out of proportion. The digg community will inevitably find the best stories whether they are submitted by top users or not – its that simple. So your leaving the system and making a big huff about it… only affects you and the people who are interested in how you feel about the matter. In about two weeks after you leave, we’ll be back to where we started.

    So what it boils down to imho, is that digg has always been intended as a fair democracy – no more, no less. At no point (as far as I know) did you get bonuses, or have diggs needed to front page cut back, etc. Now you’ve got too many of you friends digging your stories up almost regardless of their content (or lack thereof), so the algo has been adjusted to prevent gaming the system that way.

    Basically you guys have gotten all pissy over something you didn’t have in the first place and are leaving because of it…. and the community at large won’t notice the difference. I salute you, and good luck in finding some new system that will let those overly-keen to participate gain special bonuses.

  • unicronband

    Being a digg user for over a year, I have regularly enjoyed reading and commenting on your stories and for the most part find your submissions interesting. But I find this post/boycott/rebellion to be reeking of arrogance.

    You point out that the top diggers submit up to 30-50% of front page material. Digg is supposed to be somewhat democratic and represent a diversity of opinion. Many ordinary users lacking hundreds of friends have become frustrated seeing the same names on the front page day after day, while their submissions, equally informative and interesting, go nowhere.

    Digg is trying to address this by changing their algorithm to give less influence to those who mindlessly digg up every story a person posts, and put more power back in the hands of casual diggers who hold no alliances and digg only what they find interesting. This is mostly in response to the many spam sites that regularly game digg and flood the front page with crap.

    While I believe at least mrbabyman, zaibatsu and msaleem are sincere in their submissions, they utilize the same tactics as the ronbots, Apple fanboys and everyone else who is degrading the quality of material on Digg. While you all may be an unintended casualty of these changes, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for you make your stories popular, just harder. If these changes keep most of the crap at bay, but mean that your popular story ratio goes from 25% to 15%, so be it. I’m willing to bet at least 75% of people who have submitted stuff to Digg have never seen the light of the front page. If this is reason enough to cause you to leave Digg, please do.

    I’m actually quite interested in seeing what Digg will be like without the 30-50% of stories from the same users hogging front page real estate, giving users who don’t spend their entire waking existence a chance to make some meaningful contributions. Maybe it will suck. Maybe it will be great. Only time will tell.

  • Pingback: New Digg Algorithm Favors Diversity for Front Page Stories

  • Pingback: The Numbers Guy : Digg's Transparency Hole

  • Pingback: The Drill Down » Blog Archive » The Drill Down 025A - RevoltNation, Part 1: The Issue at Hand

  • Pingback: What news orgs can learn from the Digg mini-revolt | New Media Bytes | Online journalism, web production and promotion

  • Pingback: Digg revolution was just a practical joke. Sorry « Qgyh2’s awesome blog

  • http://andy.teamsoell.com andy

    Wow. You’re going to complain about Digg not playing fair with their site, but you delete dissentious posts on your own site?

    Do you see the hypocrisy?

  • http://thedrilldown.com andy

    @andy
    There’s a distinction between dissent and flaming. You’ll notice there are several dissentious comments in this thread, and they are quite constructive in their criticisms. What I’ve mostly deleted from this thread are comments with no constructive participation from the commenter (y’know, of the “suck my balls” variety). If you have something critical to say, and you can state it intelligently and with purpose, your views are welcome here.

  • Pingback: Digg user? You are at a disadvantage. « Qgyh2’s awesome splog

  • Pingback: January 26th Weekend Link Festival

  • Pingback: MGH Word of Mouth » Blog Archive » DIGG TOWNHALL WEBCAST WRAP-UP

  • http://modifiedlimitedhangout.blogspot.com Dhalgren

    Slate has a great story on this topic today.

  • Pingback: Boletín Informativo de la Sanidad Pública » Blog Archive » Digg, Wikipedia y el mito de la democracia en la web2.0

  • Pingback: Web Development » Blog Archive » Digg, Wikipedia, and the myth of Web 2.0 democracy

  • http://virgintech.blogspot.com p@r@noid

    2) Unexplained and unacknowledged banning of top users

    This is the most annoying, because when you spent more then hours daily on digg and in the end , someday when you try to login and it says oops Digg found an Error!!

    ask me i can tell you how frustrating it is

  • http://www.ResumeBuilderPlus.com resume building

    test

  • http://recordsresources.com public records

    i think that I use Unit tests to drive out my design and use Rhino Mocks. … found more resistance with the lamda style Stub

  • http://thedudedean.com/ TheDudeDean

    Great post, but doesn’t it seem like History is repeating itself?

  • Anonymous

    Your post says, “Is Digg anything without us? Let’s prove it.” And now you’re basically saying, “Never mind, It’s okay now!”

    That’s kinda funny. Nice post, but funny.

  • It’snewcokeagain

    http://olddogg.3rdeyeview.co.uk/index.php is a nice refuge for those of use who just done. Digg4 should have been launched under a different name and branded as a social media news site, ruining a the good thing they had going just makes no sense to me. I haven’t left digg completely as a form of protest I visit now only to digg stories like this one,and I’d urge everyone to do the same.
    -sean aka yourmartdotnet

  • Nutsanddolts

    Good post. Agreed on several points, though I consider the censorship element (digg brigades) as serious as the lack of communication issue. Also, I agree with Anomaly100′s comment that on one hand you’re saying: “Is Digg anything without us? Let’s prove it.” and now, all is good. I think whether all is good or not remains to be seen.

  • http://www.spot.us digidave

    Strange that this is being circulated now (in 2010) two years after we originally wrote it. That the underlying issues are still there seems like a problem, no?

    As for me. I am barely active on Digg anymore. I still consider some of the other diggers I met there friends and I have nothing but respect for them – but the site itself lost a lot of value. I wish it well and hope the feeling that I first got from the Digg community comes back to me in some way shape or form.

  • Kilon

    If diggers leave, there will be no digg.

  • marc

    Lets stop pretending, this is a hostile takeover, with Rose apparently in the loop. The way it is being done makes it apparent that it has been carefully planned. They intend to destroy digg as it was, a site could actually get information out to the masses that might be less than flattering for corporate entities. The way to win is not give in, keep the pressure on, and never let this issue drop until ALL of our demands are met, and digg is returned to the users. Keep it alive! Digg is a valuable resource that is being destroyed, lets rebuild it before it is too late.

  • http://www.logoonlinepros.net/ Design Business Logo

    I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Thanks for everything