Is Digg Self-Destructing?

Communities need their own rules and of course anyone who wants to be part of a community has to understand that. I can’t call myself part of the Digg community so perhaps I have no place to comment. Never stopped me before. That said, for a while I have worried that Digg is losing its way.

Nick points to Muhammads List Of Sites Banned From – not the first of its kind apparently. I’m sure people who follow Digg closer than I do will have seen some surprisingly popular domains banned from Digg. It doesn’t matter if this is caused by competitors, abuse of the system, if the bans have merit, whether anyone agrees or disagrees. Any successful property inevitably builds a backlash. Either way, if Digg is meant to point people to hot web content then banning popular domains is potentially counter to their mission …

It seems the problem is self-promotion, over-promotion or just the number of submissions being interpreted as spam. First of all my own core definition of “spam” is “unsolicited”. Digg solicits submissions openly. Not all banned domains apparently are commercial either …

So perhaps the argument is people are over-submitting a particular domain. If this is the case why do certain sites appear over and over while others get banned. Why do they encourage people to use Digg tools and widgets? Another complaint is over people getting their friends to Digg a story up, but they offer an “Email It” facility to encourage you to do just that. Digg will not succeed without good word of mouth working in their favor.

The key system that makes Digg work is the voting up or down of content. This in my opinion is where the emphasis needs to be placed, backed up by an effective algorithm that detects the “gang digging” problem if indeed that is a problem. Banning domains seems heavy handed, over used and too easily subverted.

Do you see any similarities between the comments about Digg and talk about Google? It feels quite familiar to me, the love-hate, we need it but don’t necessarily have to like it … perhaps that is where the problem lies. Too many webmasters see Digg as a source of traffic rather than an interesting and fun destination. It is a resource to benefit from rather than a community to take part in. Especially in the SEO forums and blogs most of the talk is around how to manipulate Digg for your own gain.

While I have no evidence to support this hypothesis I have a theory that at least some of those banned domains and the users who submitted them were unknown to the Digg community at large outside of the Digg submissions.  Nobody likes people who take take take without giving back. Just an idea.

I think the main element of this growing dissent is how strong feelings are getting. It demonstrates to me, at least to bloggers, how important Digg has become.

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