There’s something rotten in the commune of Diggland. First the peasants revolt, claiming they’re being starved of attention by a cabal of self-dealing aristocrats. Then Kevin, the boy-king, tries to placate the masses by blogging a mealy-mouthed missive. Insulted by the boy-king’s insinuation that they’re gaming the system, the aristocracy rebels. In high dudgeon, the #1 Digger of all, the mysterious X-P9, announces his self-exile:

As a direct result of your blog this evening. I will no longer [be] supporting Digg going forward. I bequeath my measly number one position to whoever wants to reign … I believe you to be a good man, Kevin. Well intentioned or not: your blog satisfied malcontents equipped with baseless allegations while you effectively urinated on your top diggers.

Didn’t anyone tell these guys that they’re “an egalitarian community of readers,” a model for our great new world of social production and citizen media? Live up to our ideals, dammit!

UPDATE: Donna Bogatin sees the bigger picture: “Digg, Google and Wikipedia are invested in maintaining their ‘as-is’ status-quo, no matter how flawed. Not one of the three powerhouses can risk diminishing public confidence in the grandiose vaunted missions each espouses. The leaders of each of the flawed systems publicly evangelize a revolutionary worthiness of their endeavors to rationalize away allegations of abuse, entrenchment, spam, falsehoods, libel, infingement … with a ‘net-positive’ argument.”

8 thoughts on “Undiggnified

  1. Morgan Goeller

    The big problem with all this cool “social” technology is it requires a lot of interaction with those messy, ugly, emotional humans. Dealing with Google’s massive, anonymous server farms looks positively simple by comparison.

    I thought that once SkyNET became self-aware (on August 29, 1997, for you trivia buffs) we wouldn’t have these problems anymore …

  2. Tony

    And yet, this isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last when there is Controversy around Digg.

    I think the thing which is overlooked the most is how Digg touts itself as being user-driven and moderated by the users, when clearly there is some level of editorial control

    Just ask ForeverGeek, or Aliwood.

    Hope no one minds … I’ve catalogued some of the more interesting things over the past year:



    Tony @ DJI

  3. Greg Linden

    Spam is a tremendous problem for most popular lists like Digg. Getting an article to the top of the site where hundreds of thousands will see it provides very high returns. There is a strong incentive to manipulate the system.

    When Digg was just used by a smaller group of early adopters, there was little incentive to spam. Now that it is starting to attract a mainstream audience, Digg will be fighting a long and probably losing battle against attempts to manipulate the system for personal gain.

  4. Ryan

    I think the main thing that set off p9 were the comments by Jay Adelson about how none of the users matter after the mass exodus of top posters to Netscape. Moral of the story, if your site is user driven, don’t insult your users.

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