Saturday, January 19, 2008

Uh-oh, The Villagers Have Pitchforks & They Want Digg's Secret Editor List

OK, so maybe that title's a bit 'too much' in terms of link bait ~ becoming more like flame bait. But it seems to match the mood of Internet villagers upon hearing that Digg employs invisible editors.

I concede that nameless, icon-less, user-name-free persons (who are empowered to do more than dump the spam and protect kiddies from porn, but who can also edit submitted links/stories) could should be less invisible; folks should not only that someone has the access to edit, but know who it is, even if it's Monster814, so that users can take the issue up with them in the event they feel some censorship was at work. That would be 'transparency' vs. 'invisibility'. But is anyone honestly surprised by this?

Anyone who has ever moderated a forum, or their own blog comments, knows there must be some human involvement here. And if folks don't know by now that humans are biased creatures, with their own points of view, if not out-right agendas, well, that person doesn't understand how communities work, and, fundamentally, how Digg works. I'm not just talking about Internet communities, but real communities of actual lifeforms.

However, it seems to me the real danger or upset here is not that Digg uses editors, nor even that users cannot see/communicate with them, but that Digg doesn't seem to even understand it's own purported purpose.

If Digg is to be a democracy, where The Public of users, or members of the Digg nation if you will, determine the success and failure of Digg's gross national product, why don't the citizens have any control in the elections or evaluations of the public officers who over-see such things? Shouldn't the citizens have the right to know, address, challenge, or at least report on those who are in charge of citizen security (protecting them from public enemies #1 & #2, porn and spam, respectively), and who, due to access, shape public policies (editing for outcomes to suit own beliefs)? Where's the public accountability in the democracy that is Digg?

Some of you will likely counter with facts declaring that Digg is not a nation, but a business; &/or pick at some flaw in my (very brief & greatly simplified) civics comparison. But spare us all; the former because Digg compares itself to a great democracy, the latter because I've not been hired as your Civics 101 instructor.

What matters here is that in Digg's growth the mission has been somewhat lost, and as such it stands on shaky gound. It's not that it cannot adjust; it certainly could...

But while they are busy defending their need for invisible editors, the public sees shadowy figures in the dark. That's a PR problem. Domestic and foreign. When your GNP is based on user created content, you'd better be taking the matter of public perception to heart; those villagers with pitchfolks matter.

Meanwhile, as Digg founders are busy rationalizing, others are ready to exploit. If secret editors were intended to keep the country safe, the borders are now in danger.


I found this story at Scott's blog, along with the above image, and that's what I'll leave you with today.

You may now sort our your feelings, & write a response.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Marketing Whore said...

Sara sent me this link, Digg.com goes offline while, saying, "Look what you did! Oh, the intrigue."

Oops! ;)

January 23, 2008 2:21 AM  
Blogger Sara Winters said...

Hmm. Two Diggs, One Cup makes things a heck of a lot more interesting. Perhaps the site has forgetten that the best way to have user generated degrees of popularity is to actually let the user generate it.

January 23, 2008 2:26 PM  
Blogger Marketing Whore said...

Wow, you're becoming Digg Obsessed! lol

I'm going to guess Digg hasn't been reading here, because what's described at "Two Diggs" seems to moving in the opposite direction of what I said...

January 23, 2008 5:37 PM  
Blogger Marketing Whore said...

PS I just tried to leave a comment at "Two Diggs" but the stupid site requires me to use a word verification thingy ~ which is not showing up no matter what I do, reloads included. :sigh: And no contact info is provided (at least that I can find). :another sigh:

January 23, 2008 5:44 PM  
Blogger Sara Winters said...

Obsessed? No. Spin Thicket just happens to be a great way to stay relevant on all sorts of topics. ;-)

January 23, 2008 6:20 PM  

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