The 5 Second Summary – “In reality, if your story is critical of Digg or exposes a flaw in Digg, there’s a very good chance your story doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of making Digg’s front page. While this allegation is nothing new, and very strong anecdotal evidence supporting that claim had been previously presented, to my knowledge, no physical evidence had been used to support this claim. That is, of course, until now.”
Digg has time and time again tried to portray itself as the digital democracy. They are nothing like slashdot where an elite set of editors picks and chooses the content that is distributed. No, Digg is a perfect democratic system where any story or submission, no matter how humble its beginnings, can make the front page and become instantly famous. It’s the epitome of democratic ideals right?
And now we’ve got proof. While Digg’s founder, Kevin Rose has waffled back and forth about the existence of moderators at Digg, the message has always been clear. Digg does not censor submissions. Each story, according to the Digg mantra, is allowed to stand on it’s own merit to be evaluated by the mass of Digg users. In fact though, that’s only MOSTLY the truth. In reality, if your story is critical of Digg or exposes a flaw in Digg, there’s a very good chance your story doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of making Digg’s front page. While this allegation is nothing new, and very strong anecdotal evidence supporting that claim had been previously presented, to my knowledge, no physical evidence had been used to support this claim. That is, of course, until now.
Yesterday, after submitting what was sure to be a controversial article, I was finally able to compile several screen shots proving that Digg does in fact censor the content on their front page.
After only an hour, the submission had received 25+ diggs. While this is hardly a record, submissions that gain diggs that quickly usually make the front page fairly quickly. However, despite only receiving 2 buries (view them here and here) during that time (according to Digg Spy), the story inexplicably dropped from the Upcoming and Hot lists about an hour and a half after it had been submitted. At that time, the submission had 34 diggs which SHOULD have been enough to put it on the first page of the Upcoming list when sorted by “Most Popular”.
However, as you can see (if you click to view the full size version) the story is nowhere to be found. This is of course nothing new. Stories that get buried never show up on this list. The only problem is, my submission was not buried.
As the picture shows, my submission was still coming up in searches WITHOUT checking the “Include Buried Stories” option despite being missing from the upcoming and hot lists.
At first I figured this was just a momentary glitch. However, it remained in this Anna Nicole Smith-esque (dead but not quite buried) state for over an hour. Also of note, is the fact that a Digg employee noticed my submission and commented on it just before the story did it’s mysterious disappearing act. User grendelboogie posted a brief but dismissive comment urging users to “move along.”After a couple of comments back and forth of grendel assuring me that the glitch had been fixed despite the claims found in the article, I questioned grendel about the purgatorial state of my submission. Not surprisingly, he has yet to respond.
It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to conclude grendeboogie decided, despite the 33 votes (at the time) to the contrary, that my submission was unfit for the front page (either because he/she thought the issue had been resolved or because the story highlighted one of Digg’s mistakes) and removed it from the list of upcoming stories. Whatever the motivation, the result it clear. A Digg employee overruled 33 Digg members and manually removed my submission from the upcoming queue. This was not the Digg community self moderating, the story was not buried by angry Digg loyalists, it was removed by one of Digg’s moderators against the wishes of myself and 46 other Digg members.
I don’t know about you, but I call that Censorship.
P.S. If this story is submitted to Digg (which I think is likely) watch it’s progress carefully. You might find it to be an enlightening experience.