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Digg Banning Users For Not Reading Stories

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007...10:05 am

Digg Banning Users For Not Reading Stories


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Digg can be a strange entity at times. In the latest bit of drama, the powers that be seem to be cracking down on something most Digg users are guilty of: Blind Digging/burying.

The following text is from an email received by a banned Digg user, as reported by SeoPedia.

Your account was banned for the rate of Digging activity you’ve engaged in. We’ve determined that the time in which your Diggs happen, it isn’t possible to actually read the stories. Please read each and every story before you Digg or bury a story. Once you agree that you will Digg/bury more responsibly and read the stories, we will unban your account.

It would appear that there is some sort of automated algorithm which measures the interval between landing on a page and Digging a story. If it determines insufficient time has passed to have read the article it throws up a flag, and the user may be banned.

The reality is most stories are Dugg without the story ever having been read so they must only be cracking down on users who engage in this on a large and frequent scale.

The idea of having users actually read an article before Digging, or more importantly before hitting the bury button, is something I completely support.

However instead of simply banning people why can’t they implement a mechanism which warns people as they are doing it? If you’ve ever tried to add multiple friends on Digg in a short period of time you would have no doubt encountered the message telling you that you are adding friends too quickly.

A messaging system similar to this which encourages users to read articles before Digging/burying seems like a much more productive alternative than banning them altogether.

Don’t hold your breathe though. Implementing meaningful changes doesn’t seem to be on their to-do list, and after the whole HD-DVD encryption saga Digg management is no doubt more fearful than ever of challenging the status quo.

37 Comments

  • E Pluribus Unum
    May 23rd, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    I think I’ll just ban Digg instead.

  • According to that email, you have to read ALL stories before you buy ANY of them! “Please read each and every story before you Digg or bury a story.”

  • Oops, “bury” I mean.

  • Yep but how often does that happen? This is why I prefer Reddit. At least you know a story is being judged on its merits. Most of the time anyway.

  • [...] over at The Wrong Advices, wrote in his blog his thoughts on a new controversy involving Digg, a popular website that allows users to submit news articles, rate the news posts, [...]

  • [...] Not really, or at least not on ideological grounds. They’re simply asking them to read the stories before they make a judgment. Or, to put it in practical terms, “wait two minutes after the story hits the page before flushing it down the toilet for having been authored by a conservative.” [...]

  • What if you have a digg page open, but in another tab you are browsing sites from another social bookmark site, and digg it coincidentally? For example, I frequently have the Techreport open, and for almost all articles I digg at the end, but I also have been known to refresh digg as well.

    Just kidding. I quit digg over the DMCA issues. It’s obvious they care little about their users.

  • That might go a few steps towards making Digg usable again. I stopped using the site about 3-4 months ago as the signal to noise ratio is much worse than at slashdot (which is really saying something).

  • That’s the best news I’ve read all day!

    I can’t believe it took this long to respond to the obvious existence of the bury brigade. I guess it’s better than the kneejerk reaction the bury brigade employs.

    Personally, I think Digg should count your buries vs. diggs ratio. If you bury more stories than you digg then the effectiveness of your buries should decline — they should have less of an impact on the story’s status, I mean.

    It will take time to polish their algorithm, but at least they’re trying. The bury brigade has been a huge problem for a long time now. The bury brigade seems to love Bush and the Republicans, hate 9/11 Truthers and Apple and god knows what else (we probably miss a lot of stories because of them).

    Btw, I must not be “most” Digg users, but I’ve probably buried 3 stories in all my time on Digg (a lot). All were after reading through the comments and seeing evidence that refuted contentions in the article. It is a useful feature (burying) but it is also obviously being abused by a group with a specific (and corrosive, IMO) ideology.

  • One problem with this (of many) is that Digg doesn’t have a way to mark a story to read it later (unlike Reddit). If I’m wrong, please correct me. I often Digg an article so I can read it later. It’s not rare that I undigg or bury a story after doing so, either.

    Over all, though, I have to say I’m against this. There are legitimate reasons to quickly Digg or Bury an article. For example, you don’t have to read an entire article to know it’s been on Digg before, or to know it’s some kind of spam.

  • A couple problems:

    1) Sometimes it doesn’t take much evaluation to know to bury something. For example, when there’s three clones of the same stupid “funny” pic or video of the day all on the front page, and you’re trying to take at least one of them off. On the other hand, you still want to prevent bury brigades and so don’t necessarily want to lose this constraint.

    2) You can easily fake it out by just not digging or burying until a substantial amount of time has passed. If they’re smart, they’ll have a quantity of “reading time” for each user that accumulates for every article they click on, so if you open 10 articles, wait 6 minutes and bury all of them, it’ll count against you. With that it’ll at least slow down the rate of false voting.

    It’s definitely not easy to combat, but with the route they’re taking they’ll definitely have to come up with some very clever formulas, and will need to change them indefinitely because just about any hard and fast rule system like this can be examined and tricked.

    I think they should have created weighted votes and devised a system that detects exceptionally “false” voting and quietly discounts them (not completely, maybe fractionally), while doing the same for exceptionally “honest” voting and quietly promoting those. If accounts with “honest” traits digg an article, maybe it counts as 1.4 diggs, while a “dishonest” account burying it only counts as 0.7.

    To make it transparent (thus harder to even know it’s happening and much harder to reverse engineer), have each vote count for a full 1.0 value, and every X votes just smooth it out. So, for instance, the digg amount is at 402, 100 votes come in and it increments and decrements normally to arrive at, say, 468 (83 diggs, 17 buries). It has hit another 100 vote milestone, so it evaulates and smooths out those last 83+17- votes, bringing the actual digg value to, let’s say, 451 (so the bury votes carried more weight than the digg votes, per capita).

    That’s just an off-the-top-of-my-head example, but the point is this heavy handed banning stuff is just going to make their methods plain, and the people who want to do this will have an easy time getting around it.

  • http://www.msbands.com - my site that got deleted from digg

    That happened to me. I was so ticked when it happened. For no reason also. I read a few every day, and actually read/commented the blogs. Ugh.

  • This is horrible: I do defacto moderation of the Apple section by burying duplicate submissions. I don’t need to read the article to know that “Apple Announces iPhone!!!” is the fortieth dupe of the same thing I’ve seen in the last hour.

    You’d be surprised how many times a dupe that’s 3 days old gets half a dozen diggs before I bury it. But with this system I can’t do this.

    Welcome to even more duplicates.

  • [...] the up/down buttons? Your account was banned for the rate of Digging activity you’ve engaged in. We’ve determined that the time in which your Diggs happen, it isn’t possible to actually read th… Please read each and every story before you Digg or bury a story. Once you agree that you will [...]

  • [...] May 24th, 2007 [link][more] [...]

  • pasame los scripts en perl :D

  • [...] course this really seems to be a day for controversy on the BlogSphere. There also seems to be a tightening down over at Digg and they are banning users based on too many Diggs. This may be a good move on Digg’s part or [...]

  • This truly sucks. I open a Digg page then open the stories I want to read in separate tabs, read them one at a time, then go back to the Digg page and digg the ones I liked, which might be 1-2 or as many as 10 stories on one page, all at once, then go to the next page and do the same. So my digging could look like too many diggs in rapid succession. How many is too many? Only Digg knows. :(

  • I’m trying to protect the integrity of the site by marking all of the Ron Paul spam as, well.. SPAM. If I get banned for that while the spammers continue to spam, that is bullshit. I do click those links to make sure it’s one of the MANY that violate the site’s TOS, but digg has turned it’s back on me its fair share of times with shadow banning for public dissent, something Kevin Rose will never admit that he does often.

    I’m not really trying to protect digg, I guess, I’m just trying to keep people from getting misinformed or fooled by people with tons of multiple IDs digging up spam. I care much less for its terrible management.

  • “I think I’ll just ban Digg instead.”

    I’m with you on that! Digg sucks anyway… It would be better if they would just stick to technology, all the liberal politicking gets old.

  • Why don’t they just put 10 cents in our paypal account for every article we read all the way through. A much better idea.

  • We at newspoo.com do not have any such “algorithm”….while you don’t “digg” at the site, you do vote on relevant stories, that guess what?..You may have run across already in your daily surfing. While newspoo may NOT be a site for you…there are plenty of alternatives to digg.

    Rock the vote….IGMFU

  • [...] in,” an official message said to a user of the social news site Digg.com (according to this blog). “We’ve determined that the time in which your Diggs happen, it isn’t possible [...]

  • indy …if you often have mutliple social bookmarking sites open on your computer, you may want to think about getting a LIFE. Quitting Digg was a good start. You are on the right track.

  • So…

    Reading 10-20 consecutive articles, and later going back through to either digg or bury all the ones just read is some kind of violation of the TOS, merely because I push a digg or bury button too quickly?

    Dear digg,

    GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR A**!

  • Their propagandist policy is pure nonsense and so is your agreement with them. I do not need to read nonsense fluff garbage on their front page about “Feeling Sexy Photo Contests” or “Technorati Website Facelifts” to realize that it is pointless, wasteful, useless waste of electrical energy, disk cache, bandwidth, and is doubtlessly outright misleading non-news intended to bury true important news of genuine signifigance and value.

  • Am I the only one who actually reads the articles?

  • Not sure if you knew already, but this article made the front page of Reddit. :)

    http://reddit.com/goto?id=1szzi

  • Definitely dumb to ban them instead of rate limit them.

  • Well that’s bad news for speed readers I guess. I do agree people should actually READ the stories they decide to digg however. It only seems logical, but yeh this is a pretty extreme measure to insure people do so. I wonder what they consider to be a reasonable amount of time to actually read a story?

  • [...] Digg is banning users for “blind Digging” which I think is commendable. [...]

  • Lol… and I got banned for digging other’s story before this post. :P

    Shit.. can all u folks make up ur mind. :P

  • You know what’s funny?

    I’m pretty sure they aren’t taking into account FeedBurner feed flare units… so if you click the “digg this” link on the bottom of a feed in your feed reader it make look as a “bad digg”.

  • the website
    http://www.vybr.com solves this problem.
    It doesn’t require such a complicated algorithm like digg has.

    I agree with your point on warning the users though.

  • [...] The Wrong Advices Related Posts: The Digg RevolutionAre You On The Digg Super Secret Autobury Blacklist?Are we [...]

  • [...] Banning Users For Not Reading Stories 1pssts Chad shared this 0 seconds ago http://thewrongadvices.com/2007/05/23/digg-banning-users-... This blogger reports that several users have been banned from Digg for blindly digging/burying [...]

  • [...] read more | digg story [...]

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