It seems that Digg is being a little hard on the Beaver. The banned count is nearing the century mark with no end in sight. While it is fair to ban those who have broken the rules, the tough part to swallow is the fact that most if not all of the recently dismissed seem to be in a permanent state of oblivion. Digg really needs to consider some aspects of their site and their users before giving no second chances to the majority who have been banned.
In short, this is a plea to Digg.
While many are rejoicing at the idea of the “cheaters” getting banned, I would like to point out a few things. Yes, there was a blog post, and yes, it is in the TOS, but few people read the blog posts and nobody reads the TOS. Even though ignorance of the law is no excuse in any state other than California, the proper way to handle this is to suspend the accounts until they agree to follow the rules.
We know why you aren’t doing this. You’re putting your foot down. You’re “mad as hell and you’re not going to take this anymore!” The problem is that your actions are inconsistent. You have allowed things to get out of hand. It reminds me of the kid who gets picked on and picked on and takes it and picked on and takes it until one day he goes berserk.
YOU, Digg, encouraged people to Digg a lot with your recommendation engine. You bragged about how many Diggs your site was seeing, up 40%. The users are not stupid. They saw that those who submitted a lot and Dugg a lot were hitting the front page and anyone who takes the time to read everything they submit and everything that they Digg were left dying in the masses of stories that never see the light of day.
Of course, you can say that you tried. You offered the approach of repentance to BCuban and he did not take advantage of it. He admitted that he was wrong and was reinstated. The fact that he continued to use scripts is not an indication that everyone else in the same situation would do the same. In fact, I would wager that Brian Cuban’s actions were rare, that almost all users banned for using scripts would stop using them.
You have really no reason to go through the trouble of reinstating anybody except that it’s the right thing to do. Offer them the same chance that you offered BCuban and I guarantee few if any will find themselves banned again for using scripts. The site is getting some good press over this, but it has been mostly bad. To ban the offenders was right. To make it permanent was too harsh given the circumstance and history.
I believe that morale will improve regardless of your response to this. If the bans truly are permanent, so be it. This is social media. We have the attention span of wombats. Heck, I can barely remember what was said in this article, and I’m in the process of writing it. The only problem is that the media might look away, but they never forget. This will creep back up and bite you someday. There’s a reason why the site has never made it past the last stage of sale. You have the opportunity to show mercy.
Now that’s great social media press.