After the first round of bannings, I made a bet with MikeonTV. He said that, despite Digg saying that the bans were permanent, that they would get it all straightened out and give them a second chance if they sent an email saying they wouldn’t break the rules any more and would delete all scripts from their computer. My thought was that Digg does not go back on their “word” when it comes to these types of issues (even though they have gone back on their word on other issues, but that’s not for this post) and nobody would be given a second chance whether they deserved it or not.
Sadly, I was right.
Most everyone knows the history. This post is really for Digg to (hopefully) read.
What Should Have Happened, but Didn’t
For whatever reasons, whether it was server strain, lack of pageviews, levelling the playing field, they have every right to stop people from using scripts. Posting on the blog was a start, but it wasn’t enough, apparently, especially with lines like this:
These changes will be more transparent, warning and preventing the users from using these scripts/bots.
Warning? What warning? Most of the users in the first round of bannings were blindsided. If they wanted to warn people, they could have sent an email about it, posted it as the top message on the front page, sent a shout to all users, or even singled out those who were suspected of using scripts by sending them a direct message. They did none of these things. They just banned.
That would have actually been okay. The fastest way to get a user’s attention is to ban them. They probably received a ton of emails saying “sorry” or “I’ll never do it again” or “I didn’t realize it was against TOS” or something like that. At that point, they should have reinstated the accounts. They did not. They waved their hands, declared themselves right, and went back to their witch hunt.
Scripts are the Worst Thing Ever
The site is crawling with spam. Most of it, luckily, does not get many Diggs, but some of it does. Porn gets submitted. Crap in general gets submitted. Based upon the list of the banned, a ton of those users were not submitting spam, porn, or crap. They WERE using scripts, and that is apparently the worst thing ever to Digg, thus the permanent nature of the bans.
Keep in mind, you can submit spam, get banned, and get reinstated. Happens all the time. Happened the other day, as a matter of fact.
Keep in mind, most of the offenders were using a script called Digg Friends Easy which was created in response to Digg removing a feature that they used to have. Until a year ago, the “Friends’ Submissions” page had Digg buttons on the posts similar to the way the recommendation engine does. They, in their infinite wisdom, decided to take this a way.
The script that most of these users had did not automatically Digg or delete anything. It was not one that caused server strain. It DID reduce the number of pages that had to be viewed in order to get the number of Diggs in necessary to have a strong account. That, in Digg’s eyes, is apparently evil.
Do the Right Thing
It isn’t too late. People are scared right now. They do not want to Digg too much, submit too much, or say too much about it. They worry that they may be next to be hit by the ban-wagon. The site is getting negative press regularly and users (and former users) are migrating to other social media sites. The Digg counts are way down. The quality of the front page is at an all time low.
Digg, it’s time to rebuild a little credibility. Do the right thing. You know you didn’t give fair warning. You know that there are top users today who have used scripts in the past. They changed their ways. Everyone can change their ways in this regard, they just need the opporunity to do so. You gave Brian Cuban a second chance and he didn’t take heed, but that doesn’t mean that nobody will. He even admitted that he made a mistake. Do not punish the others because one person did not take advantage of their second chance.
You have an opportunity to rally the community around your actions instead of pushing us farther from center. We want Digg to succeed beyond what it has already accomplished. We just need a little effort on your part. This is the right thing to do.
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Check out other posts about Digg on Social News Watch.
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