Digg In Damage Control Mode

Digg seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place. Following the recent controversy where their top users were virtually tarred and feathered, they promptly issued a statement that they are planning to make changes which will serve to maintain a level playing field for all users. This statement caused many of Digg’s top users to feel alienated, as it seemed to validate the witch-hunt which has been parading through their discussion threads since Thursday of last week.

Many of Digg’s top users have thrown their hands in the air in response to this. They have removed their avatars in a display of solidarity and many have stopped submitting content altogether. The ones who continue to submit stories are faced with frequent flaming in discussion threads and hordes of users who are burying their submissions just because of who submits them (as if that is some form of justice).

Now, it seems that Digg’s staff has taken notice and has engaged in a bit of a juggling act. They’re taking on the task of making sure their top users do not feel alienated while at the same time maintaining that they will level the playing field.

Recently, Jay Adelson, Digg’s CEO, replied to a comment advocating that top diggers’ submissions be buried en masse with this:

I’d prefer you let the content rule. Digg what is good. Bury what you don’t like.

He then went on to defend the top diggers in another recent discussion thread:

What some users of digg are not getting, and it’s our mistake for not making it clearer, is that we did NOT intend to associate our algorithm change with the top submitters! These guys are hard working, honest, amazing contributors to digg, and frankly are being unfairly treated by a few bad apples.

Please, for goodness sake, stop with the targeted burying. Digg stories you like. Bury stories you don’t. Don’t make this personal. If there is abuse, trust us to deal with it, that is all I can ask.

He followed that up with another similar comment:

The mistake we made was not being clearer that we were not associating the algorithm change with the top submitters. These guys are hard working, honest contributors to digg and are being unfairly scapegoated.

Please stop with the targeted burying… Digg what you like, bury what you don’t. We’ll take care of the abusers.

I agree 100% with what Jay is saying and I just wanted to add that the fastest way to ruin Digg is to stop considering the merit of the content. If you suspect that another user is breaking the Terms of Use or gaming Digg, you should email abuse@digg.com. Don’t bury content based on who submits it.

And now Kevin Rose has joined the fray and come to the defense of top diggers as well with a new blog post:

The intention of the post absolutely wasn’t to point a finger at any individual or group. It was intended to openly highlight some of the things we’re doing to keep digg as useful, democratic, and devoid of misuse as possible.

I’m convinced that Digg did not mean to validate the witch hunt that has been going on and that it was just poor timing on their part. This is a good start on their part to help mend the divide that has been growing in their community. More will need to be done though.

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