Something Rotten in the State of Digg.

I would like to make it clear that I fully support the effort from Digg, or any forum or group on the net for that matter, to catch fraudulent members who employ unfair tactics in order to gain an advantage over the other members of the group, however I also feel that the tactics employed by any forum admin or site owners should be fair and just to it’s members on the whole.  The bottom line is that every member should ‘have his (or her) day in court“ when an accusation arises over any ‘suspected” violation of the rules. Site owners should give their members the respect they deserve by giving them a chance to offer an explanation when accusations arise.

I recently became aware of another instance by the staff and management of Digg where their efforts should be applauded, but the methods employed are somewhat questionable.  It is my considered opinion that there is “something wrong in the Site of Digg” when it’s staff and management can make decisions not based upon what the their published TOS states, but rather what they want the particular admin or moderator wants the TOS to say on a “per case” basis.  Recently I have been informed of the following situation that arose on Digg.  The situation goes as follows:

A person who is known to enjoy participating in the various message boards, forums and social bookmarking sites on the net recently joined Digg due to the advice of a few  friends. It was said that Digg was one of the best sites out there for social content due to it being a fast site and the fact of it having millions of members who post thousands of submittals on a daily basis.  This person liked  the idea and decided to check it out.

As a part of the background, this person was never much for commenting on posts just because someone an item was posted.  This lack of posting commentary and replies was especially true in the cases where “discussions” were not common place for the person always insisted:

“When I go to the various forums on the net, I do not go ‘to hear myself speak‘ or to feed an inner desire to see my words written on a page for the sake of them being there. I  already know my own views and my ego is not of the fragile nature that I feel compelled to post commentaries for the sake of posting comments.  Whenever I post a reply or message, I prefer to see the opinions of others — whether I agree with them or not.  Anything else, in my humble opinion, is very much akin to masturbation!“

Prior to doing anything on Digg, this person went to the Digg Terms of Service (TOS) and carefully read the terms posted on the Digg site. I take the person at their word on this for why would someone lie about such a thing, then offer parts of the TOS in their reply as proof of their claim?

Once this was done, the next thing was to get “the feel for the forum and it’s people“.  This also gave the person time to learn a little about how Digg functioned.  Finally the time came when the “Digger” became assured enough to get active on the group.  Around the 23rd of July, plus or minus a few days, this Digger decided that it was time to quit wasting time on the other sites and embrace the “Digg” experience.  Instead of spending an hour on this site and 2 hours on that site, this “Digger” decided to spend all that time on Digg.

This Digger read all about the Digg Recommendation Search Engine, which was provided by Digg to help people to find “like Diggers“, and primarily used this engine for the parceling out of “Diggs”.  Other tactics were employed as well, such as using the items listed on the Popular page and the Upcoming page.  Also this Digger dugg the requests sent by friends through the shouting process and even took the initiative to go to the profiles of friends to Digg things found through those pages.  There is no doubt that this person became a “Digging Machine”, but being a “Human Digging Machine” is not against the Digg TOS.  The end result was if these methods gave the Digger 1,000 posts to Digg per day, the person dugg 1,000 posts per day.  Carrying this idea further… if these methods gave the Digger 5,000 posts per day – all of those posts would be Dugg. This made the Digger feel a part of Digg and it seemed that the people liked it because they would  Digg this Digger’s submissions in return. The final results during this period of roughly 1 week’s time were:

Posts Dugg:  20,000 (plus or minus 1,000 – 2,000 Diggs.)
Highest amount of diggs given in a day:  4,000 (plus) (as per Digg)
Submittals made to Digg:  11 to 13 articles.
Number of Diggs received for submittals:  approximately 400
Number of Friends Digging the submittals:  170
Number of Comments made:  10
Number of attempted submittals: approximately 10 to 20

Digg is free to contest these estimated values and provide their figures, however it should be noted that prior to becoming unable to work — a part of this Digger’s job entailed the keeping of statistics to be used for performance reports at a later date.  Old habits die hard and this person opted to do something which kept a sharp mind, instead of hanging out in bars getting drunk or other things people do that are equally wastes of time, useless or stupid in the eyes of others.

At any rate, on the morning of the 30th, the Digger logged onto Digg and Dugg a few posts before having to go to a doctor’s appointment.  After coming home from the appointment, the Digger logged on again and found that the site connected to an “Oops” page which said the page was not found.  During that afternoon and evening, the Digger finally decided that no matter how the profile was accessed, the Oops page came up.  On the 31st of July the Digger wrote Digg Support, asking to check out and fix the problem, and later that afternoon this following message was received.

Greetings from Digg.com,

Your account has been banned under suspicion of using a bot/script/macro to Digg stories, which is explicitly against the Terms of Service (digg.com/tos) you agreed to.
Over a period of 24 hours you Dugg 4000+ stories which is not indicative of organic Digg usage and determined that there is no way you would have been able to actually read the stories you Dugg in the time-frame.


Thank you for understanding as we must be vigilant in protecting against activities that compromise the Digg Community.

–Digg Support”

This is where the story basically ends, instead of the Digger arguing with the people at Digg… the option was taken to not only never go back to such a poorly run site again, but to advise others to not patronize Digg in the future.  That is this Digger’s way of dealing with people who have no clue on how to proper run businesses in the real world or sites on the net.  No sense in getting mad about it, just go someplace better.

As I see it, the issue is not over whether this Digger could have been doing something more useful with the time used to Digg posts, or it’s not a matter of whether this Digger needed a life.  In this world there are people on the net who cannot get out as others think they should for one valid reason or another, the net becomes a way to keep a person once social from becoming a shut-in.  The real issue is over a person signing up to a site, taking the time to read and comprehend the rules, and following the rules within reason — only to be judged as doing something in violation of the rules which they haven’t done.  The absolute worst is when action is taken against an innocent person with out even providing a proper investigation, which includes trying to contact the person to see what is going on.

Digg only offered the response of “Oh, we don’t believe a person can Digg 4,000 plus posts in a 24 hour period, therefore we will mindlessly ban you for doing so!“  There is no proof of the claim offered, instead they state something about their TOS that doesn’t actually appear in the TOS.

Let’s look at this and decide for ourselves, shall we?  First, you can check this out by going to the Popular Page or the Upcoming Page and simply click on all 15 articles as fast as you can.  Take the time to time it and see how fast you can Digg all of the items on the page.  If you take over 20 seconds to Digg an entire page, then you are lollygagging. I have tested this and found that it roughly takes 10 to 17 seconds to Digg a full page of 15 and to go to the next page.  To keep things simple, I average this out to it taking 1 second to digg a post.  I then went and dugg a post by clicking through to the actual post, this only took me about 3 to 4 seconds per Digg.

What this breaks down to is that a person can digg 15 posts in about 15 seconds, or 60 posts a minute, providing there is no net or page lag.  If you figure that a Digg takes 1 second to do, this means that in one minute you can Digg 60 posts and in an hour you can Digg 3,600 posts.  Digging 4,000 posts would only require about 1 hour and 10 minutes to accomplish.  We aren’t talking about a person going on Digg for two hours and digging 4000 posts, which is possible in theory… we are talking of a person who spent several hours on Digg during the course of a 24 hour period.  The case is made that you don’t have to use a bot or macro to digg 5,000 posts in one day, so to claim anyone used one of these cheats just because they happened to digg alot of posts is not only insulting but baseless.

I then went to the TOS and read it thoroughly and the closest infraction that could be utilized is the following:

By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree not to use the Services:

9. with the intention of artificially inflating or altering the ‘digg count’, blog count, comments, or any other Digg service, including by way of creating separate user accounts for the purpose of artificially altering Digg’s services; giving or receiving money or other remuneration in exchange for votes; or participating in any other organized effort that in any way artificially alters the results of Digg’s services;”

No Diggs were sold, no diggs were given in order to artificially alter the Digg Top Users lists, No Diggs were made by any Bot or auto-digging script.  The Diggs were purely organic in nature and for the purpose of “Digging Posts”.  Posting 4,000 diggs per day can easily be reconstructed by anyone who has the honest desire to attain that number of Diggs, just because most users don’t Digg 4,000 posts in one day doesn’t mean it can’t be easily done.  It also doesn’t mean that someone has to have some ulterior motive to abuse Digg for their own gains.  It simply means the person enjoys Digging.  Many people benefitted from this Digger’s diggs – especially the top 100 users on Digg. The diggs were diverse, at least as diverse as the Recommendation Engine allows.

I’ve also scoured the TOS and found that there is not one thing written which states that a person has to “Read” the articles they have dugg.  It doesn’t even state that a person has to know about the article they have dugg.  The only way any digger can prove they actually read the article is if they provide commentary pertaining to the article that includes aspects of that article.  “Great Digg” and other like comments do not fit the bill.

So according to the TOS, there is no rule governing how many Diggs can be done in one day and no rule stating that each and every article dugg has to be read by the digger.  The fact is that we are saturated with news and information all day long, it’s nonstop.  CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and even some local stations have all day news on the air.  Newspapers get delivered between 3 AM and 7 AM and can scanned in a matter of 10 or 15 minutes.  The Radio also have all day news and talk channels, while most stations have news on about once an hour.  The Internet can give us alerts and contains sites which offer us news and information.  There are other social content sites which allows it’s members to post news and information… and many of those sites have the same members Digg has who are posting the same content.  A person doesn’t need to get their news and information from Digg because there are so many other sources for this information to get to us.

Additionally one doesn’t have to read an article on any subject to automatically like the article. As an example, if a person is a Cubs fan or like Opera… they would not have to read any Cubs article or item talking of the Opera to Digg it.

The point being that the items posted to Digg are not rare items.  Most of what is on Digg are things that are seen by many people prior to coming onto the Digg system in the first place.  In opposition to what some may think, many out there do not get their news from Digg.  Digg is not a major news source, it’s a social content site which gets it’s news and information from people who has seen these items elsewhere.   I could see Google demanding that a person click through to google news because Google News has real news feeds… but Digg is just another social site dependent upon it’s members to provide whatever data is on it.

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2 Responses

  1. This sounds like a classic “you know my friend has this problem and I wonder….” story.

    I’ll bet YOU were that eager guy who dugg 4000 pages in a day. Now you can try to justify that all you want, however basic mathematics form a formidable obstacle for you.

    A day has 24 hours or 1440 minutes.
    Now if you claim that that “OTHER” digger was diggin’ 24 hours a day, that gives him about 20 seconds on each digg (1440 / 4000 = 0.36 minute = 21.6 seconds.)

    And if we are slightly more realistic and let him (you?) sleep for say, 6 hours, then we’re down to about 15 seconds per digg.

    Even with your preposterous defense that this guy apparently already had read the entire internet and was just digging it all up because he’d already read ’emt, that barely leaves enough time to load the Digg pages and read the headlines.

    This article is a joke, and you should really go back to doing something you master, like dragging you knuckles, grunting and drooling.

  2. This is going to be fun because you are so full of illogical reasonings and wrong assumptions. Ok, here goes….

    First. Don’t quit your day job and try a career in gambling… you are not good at it. You have nothing to base your bet on and that makes it a losing proposition from the beginning.

    Second, Of course the story sounded like the classic “I have a friend…” spiel – the reason being that it was not important to provide names and personal data on the person – nor was it the business of anyone to know. The important point is that the guy posted over 4,000 Diggs in 24 hours (according to Digg).

    Third. I am proud that you can do math. That ability is lost amongst many today. Now wrap your mind around this, if you can get it off of the idea that everyone has to digg as you see fit.

    The Digg site (at that time) provided the means to Digg an entire page of 15 diggs in less than 15 seconds, but let’s say you are a butterfingers and can’t walk and chew gum at the same time without tripping over your own two feet — surely you could still manage to scroll and click 15 items in one minute. This means that you have a whole 4 seconds to hit one little digg badge next to an entry on the page. If you can’t manage that then it must have taken you hours to type your reply here. So what we are talking about is the ability to digg anywhere from 900 to 3600 Diggs per hour (or 15 to 60 diggs per minute).

    Now the problem comes in with the higher the amount of diggs, the more of a chance that the Digg site or net would screw up your count due to some interference. Maybe an ad on Digg takes too long to load, maybe net congestion causes a lag, the reason for the interference don’t matter. What matters is that if you attempt to digg (3600 Diggs/hour x 24 hours =) 86,400 Diggs in one day then there is a huge probability that you will fail in the attempt. On the other hand we are not talking 86,400 Diggs in one 24 hour period, we are talking only 4000 diggs. So…

    Let’s take a reasonable figure of 30 diggs per minute, that is 2 seconds per digg. In order to get approximately 4,000 diggs you will have to spend approximately 2 hours 13 minutes 20 seconds . Now if you wish to claim that it takes one minute to digg a page of 15, then it will only take about 4 hours 26 minutes and 40 seconds…. there is plenty of time in a 24 hour day to look up the odd item that you haven’t seen 50 times over.

    Sorry guy, but your reply is the only joke here. You obviously never even attempted to prove a thing wrong.

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