This is one of the craziest things I've ever seen online.
the community web site where users can upload stories and then
other users vote them up or down with the most popular stories forming
the highly trafficked home page, had a major revolt yesterday.
began when an article that contained the encryption key for the DRM
protection scheme of the new HD-DVD technology. The article was
removed from the site with an explanation from a site official that
they were complying with a cease and desist order and that this post
violated Digg's Terms of Service. The community was offended by this
(perceived?) censorship and began voting up a number of articles
containing the code (a 16 digit hex value) until the entire Digg front page consisted of nothing but
stories about and/or containing the encryption code. (Another wrinkle
that got people angry was that HD-DVD is a sponsor of the popular Diggnation video podcast.)
initially reacted by banning the accounts of people posting these links
and removing the stories. But the response was so overwhelming that
they reversed their position within a day.
“But now, after seeing
hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it
clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger
company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories
or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the
consequences might be.”
(much of this write-up is based on the Wikipedia summary of the incident as well as a few other blog posts and Digg threads)
A lot of the Web
2.0 talk these days is about how the secret of online success is to
allow your users to create your content to make a valuable web site.
People upload pictures to Flickr, bookmarks to Delicious, information
about themselves to Facebook. But this incident shows the flip-side of
this equation and how quickly things can turn if you offend your users
for any reason (and how a mob mentality can develop as easily online as
People have long memories so it will be interesting to see what happens
to Digg in the weeks and months to come? Will users come back? Or has
it been permanently tainted by this breech of its users' trust?
(Oh, did I ever mention that Reddit is my favourite community news site and has been for a long time? )