Digg Uproar: Zaibatsu Banned

The hot topic of the past 24 hours has been the fact that Digg’s Number 3 Top User was banned by Digg, but he wasn’t banned for the usual reasons. According to Zaibatsu, in the article “I was banned by Digg and for a pretty lame reason“, Zaibatsu stated:

I had linked directly to the pictures of the digg user on her site. However the site owner apparently redirected the site to a spam site after my initial post.

While searching Google, I found a link to an article called “Digg User Zaibatsu banned because of me“, the admin of Jackie’s Jungle stated:

Recently, I was informed that Zaibatsu, one of Digg’s (digg.com) superusers was banned from the website because he placed two posts linking to my gallery.

Wait a second here, let’s back the trolley up… since when are photos in a gallery “SPAM“? Something is wrong here somewhere, images – no matter how suggestive they may be — are not considered as Spam by any legitimate definition of the word. The only thing that makes images Spam is if they are being sold, or used to sell something. So what gives?

This is where reading on pays off, Jackie (and I presume that is her name) states:

“Basically, as I heard over the internet broadcast last night @ ustream.tv around 3:00am my time, he noticed I was digging his articles. He visited my site, realized hey I’m not ugly, and posted a link on Digg which lead to my gallery because he found me to be a cute digger. Digg banned him because they say he violated the terms or agreement by promoting my panty sale.

As we were all informed yesterday, Zaibatsu was not even aware I had a panty sale. Like most Digg users he diggs things without even reading them. Regardless if I am selling panties on my site or not, neither of his links lead to the actual post about the sale. They went strictly to my gallery which has absolutely nothing for sale. Therefore he is completely innocent of these alleged crimes and should not be banned from Digg.”

Ok, some things are made a little clearer, but why would a site that just happened to be selling a product be considered as Spam when the site is obviously not all about being commercial? This ties into an article posted on the City Social Marketing site months ago called “SPAM“. In that article, the author stated:

In general, the term SPAM has come to mean whatever a person thinks SPAM means. Some think that if you post one message, which is off-topic or irrelevant, then it is SPAM. Others think any multiple postings of a similar view, in one or more message threads, is SPAM. Still there others think that SPAM is only something which is applicable to E-Mail. The definition of the word “SPAM” is definitely subjective, however the idea it as being a subjective thing, which is something solely up to the Individual to decide, is a wrong assumption to promote in the various forums around the net. It is wrong due to the fact that it sets the site up for future, potential problems.

The fact is that just because a site being linked to sells something, it doesn’t mean that an item which links to the site promotes the commercial aspects of the site – nor does it automatically constitutes Spam. If it did then any links to Digg would be considered as spam, any links to CNN or MSNBC would be considered as Spam, and in general any site linking to a site which has any ads at all on them would be considered as Spam. If Spam did take into account this type of definition then places like Digg would be forced to shut down because over 95% of the items submitted links to some site which offers ads selling products or services. No matter how subjective the definition of Spam is, there has to be a commonality in the definitions to make one’s personal definition valid.

I’ve read the article on City Social Marketing, “Digg Uprroar: Zaibatsu banned by Digg” and noted that it appeared a couple of hours before the blog post from Jackie’s Blog appeared. The article made some good points, but sadly like most of the previous articles… not all the facts were out yet. Sometimes it takes days for the facts to unfold. The idea of Zaibatsu being set up may not have been planned, but the idea that some troll could set up any digger is still real enough. CSM was right, Digg has to take this into account and try to avert a situation using such tactics in the future. They can do this by a number of ways, but the first way is to get rid of the idea that just because someone makes a complaint that the one being complained about will automatically be banned. Digg needs a policy of approaching members about a possible TOS Violation and hearing the other side of the issue.

In Jackie’s article, she states:

Digg isn’t that great anyway. Upon further investigation it turns out a lot of people hate Digg. Here are the 7 posted reasons why digg sucks:

1. Digg has a very hostile user base.

2. A lot of users are in it to promote their status as power users.

3. Digg has too broad of an audience.

4. Diggs high volume stories makes it hard to get noticed.

5. Diggs categories are too broad.

6. Digg is not transparent, it is not clear why some stories get buried (like mine)

7. In order to get known on Digg one needs to invest a lot of time in their social network.

I will beg to differ with her, Digg is a great site – potentially speaking that is. Digg has all of the things in place to make it a tremendous success – if it is handled properly. The longer it is being mismanaged, the worse it will become.

If Digg wants the great site that it can become, Digg has to hire someone and put them in charge of the daily operations of the site, as opposed to the technical side. This person has to have the time and be willing to expend the effort to ride heard on Users who are abusing the system. They have to give this admin a limited “Free Hand” in managing the site. In the process some Diggers will leave, but most of them will be the abusers and who gives a fig about them. In return this Admin can do his or her utmost to bring more people to digg by various methods.

What I mean by a limited “Free Hand” is that the admin will come up with a plan of attack, he or she then will run this plan by those at Digg. Once Digg approves the plan, then they take a back seat and work on the things they want to work on, like the technical end which they seem good at. They leave the mundane crap of running the Digg forum to the Admin they chose.

The Admin, in turn, would seek out a team of “Moderators”. He or she would approach these potential Mods with the proposition that these people be the voluntary eyes and ears of the Admin. Whenever they see something wrong, they immediate shoot off an email to the Admin – or make contact via IM. The admin goes and investigates, take whatever action is necessary, then moves on to the next problem.

Now, Digg sets up the “Contact Digg” link that is for complaints to an email account that this admin has access. He or she reads and answers the emails, most of this probably can be done by the use of standard replies (which it seems Digg already uses). The Admin also can set up a method where Digg Users can have a chance at stating their case to appeal a decision to ban.

This is only a part of what Digg could do, and I just happen to know a guy who would be willing to accept the position for a mere $75,000 a year. LoL (Ok, relax people… it’s a joke.)

The drawbacks is that an admin of this sort has to be prepared to have certain people butter up to him or her, while being bomblasted by his detractors. Solution: Don’t announce who is in charge, perhaps this person can be called DiggAdmin and it is forbidden for the person holding that account to actually participate in the daily postings on Digg… except in the role of the Admin. Now this person could use his or her regular nickname and do as they want, but it is probably best if the Admin quit using Digg completely. Perhaps Digg can cover that by banning the Admin’s regular account so that it appears the person just simply went away.


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