Mayday! Lesson to Learn from the Digg Revolt

Author: | Posted in Digg, forum 10 Comments

If you haven’t been to Digg today, you’ve missed a LOT! Basically the whole site has blown up in Kevin Rose’s face and it’s all due to a little tiny hex code. Just to catch you up on events, the hack was submitted to Digg, was removed from Digg, submitted again, removed again, users were banned, and all hell then broke loose. As I write this every single story on Digg’s home page is about the code or the revolt. So, other than sitting back and grabbing some popcorn to watch what happens next, what is there to do? Well, if you look carefully, you can find one very valuable lesson.

As many of you know, this site, SEO Refugee is in existence today because of a similar revolt at the formerly popular SEO Chat forum. A change was made, posts were made about it, posts were removed, posts were rewritten, bans started being handed out like candy and all hell broke loose. Sound familiar? The lesson in both cases is relatively simple: If your site was built by your users/members, it can be torn down by them as well. As Pops said in his 10 Lessons He’s Learned About Managing a Forum:

2. Your forum exists by the grace of others.

Value your members. No matter how much you have to offer and no matter how valuable the information you distribute, your forum can’t exist without its members. Treat them well, don’t exploit them, keep them informed and try not to surprise them.

Users are going to get out of line from time to time. That’s a given. Fights break out, people post things they shouldn’t and they get angry when they are called on it. The make or break point for your site, whether it’s a forum, a blog, or a social news site, is how you handle the controversies that erupt. Digg has been censoring their content since the site began and yet still portrayed themselves as a democracy. I’ve written about this issue several times and knew that eventually this issue would come back to bury Digg (pun intended). Had Digg been straight with their members from the beginning, and been honest while dealing with the issue that arose today, they wouldn’t be in the middle of one of the most epic member revolts in internet history.

So, while you’re free to enjoy the mayhem on someone else’s site, and believe me it has been and will be VERY entertaining, at least take away this one simple lesson:

Don’t mess with your members!

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