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Critique of the Digg governance process

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
24th January 2008


This echoes Wikipedia Reviews’s earlier summary of criticisms of the Wikipedia governance process.

Here is a similar approach from the blog RevoltNation, a group of users who are leaving Digg. Here is an excerpt where they are summarizing the reasons why:

Critique of the Digg Governance Process:

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.”

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