Digg Uproar: Blind Digging vs. Excessively Low Digging

Over the past few months there has been a lot of comments made about a thing called Blind Digging. The general attitude seems to be that Blind Digging is bad… in fact some speak out against it as if it is so cataclysmic that if it continues then it will cause the downfall of empires and the end of civilization, as we know it.

I have given much thought about this concept of Blind Digging and it occurred to me that it is much more complex a thing than most people seem to realize. This thought led me into other areas of Digg, such as Quick Digging and Low Digging.

I am not normally a proponent of creating new words and catch phrases just because I can, the English language is already more complex than it needs to be and I never did like the idea of reinventing the wheel because I was too lazy to utilize what already existed. On the other hand sometimes a change is good, it may even be required because things have changed do much that we must change with it or be left behind. After reviewing this Digging issue, I think it’s time to change the terminology being used …or perhaps “Clarify” is the more appropriate word to use.

Digg and Digging

In order to understand Digging better, we need to understand Digg. Digg is a Social Bookmarking Site, it has been called a Social Content Site by some. The basic reason for the ability to Digg and Comment on the site is for people to interact with each other, i.e. to be Social. On Digg there are several ways of being “Social”, they include (but are not limited to):

  1. Digging items submitted by others.
  2. Commenting on submitted items.
  3. Sharing submitted items.
  4. Sending shouts to other Digg Members.
  5. Friending other Digg Members.
  6. Submitting items to be Dugg or shared.

Four types of Dggs:

As far as I can see, there are four main types, or categories, of “Digging”, they are:

Digging (a.k.a. Regular Digging or Normal Digging): Digging, meaning regular or proper Digging, entails the following basic steps:

  1. Opening up of an item submitted to Digg
  2. Reading what is written, looking at the image or watching the Video.
  3. Deciding whether you like the item or not.
  4. Digging, burying or ignoring the item

According to some mindsets, it is not permissible to take “Shortcuts”. You cannot scan the article, read the Title and Description only, or even just read the first couple of paragraphs. You must read the entire article and be prepared to do a 250 page written report upon the item… if challenged by someone who thinks you are blind digging and then be treated as a Digg Leper and cries will be sent out far and wide to have your account banned to the innermost depths of the Digg Leper Colony where you will never see the light of day or your loved ones again. This form of Digging is generally accepted as “being Social”, which is very important to Digg.

Quick Digging: Quick Digging is the act of Digging items while using shortcuts (See Blind Digging). The shortcuts you may use might include:

  1. Ways to scan as taught in high school, college or in a speed-reading course.
  2. Reading only the opening paragraphs and the closing paragraph.
  3. Reading only the Title and Description given for the article.
  4. Glancing at the image or watch the first part of the video.

You may even choose to Digg an item, in order to get to the Favorites Button, because the person submitting the item usually posts good content. You idea might be to actually use Digg as a Social Bookmarking site by bookmarking it to read later. This form of Digging is “being Social”, it’s only “being Social” at a faster rate than normal.

The downside of “Fast Digging”, or “Quick Digging”, is if you Digg items you know about already and take shortcuts that are not violations of the Digg TOU… then someone (who has most likely never learned to read about the John, Jean and Judy level) will perceive this as you “Blind Digging” and want to send you to the Leper Colony along with all the other Diggers who don’t fit in with their somewhat constricted dea of how Digger’s should Digg. To be fair… it is permissible by most users on Digg to Digg fast, but not too fast for that can be construed as ‘cheating” or “gaming”the system’.

Blind Digging: Blind Digging is the thing most feared by some Diggers, for some odd reason they find it more offensive than clicking on the bury button just because someone dared to post a topic that they are ‘tired of”. This type of Digging is not deemed as “being Social” because it’s the simple act of someone simply clicking on a button – however to some of these people they do not see the irony in freely clicking the bury button. The bottom line is that a Digg is a Digg is a Digg” and if Diggs are considered a way of “being Social”, then evem Blind Digging is being Social to some extent.

Low Digging: Low Digging, especially Excessively Low Digging, is the act of not Digging enough items during a period of time which equals that of the average Digger. This is actually being more Anti-Social than Quick or Blind Digging because the Low Digger isn’t interacting very much or at all with the other Diggers. At least the “Quick: or “Blind” Digger is interacting and helping to raise the stats of the site.

To date there are not many out there who speak out against the Low Digger, apparently it hasn’t reached the attention of the Average Digger that there are many people out there who hardly participate in Digg at all and that the act of not participating diminishes “The Digg Experience” for all. Yet some of these Low Diggers are the most outspoken people when it comes to the doings of the Blind Digger and the Top Users.

The Definitions

Shortly after I began seeing the term “Blind Digging” used I asked myself: Just what in the hell is this “Blind Digging” crap? No one using the term was actually making the attempt to define the term, except in the most abstract ways and I knew the phrase had to mean something. I could guess at the definition of the term, by the way it was used, to mean something like “Blind Digging is the act of digging an item that one does not see” – but it really did not define the term in a satisfactory manner. Such questions as arose:

  1. How many Diggs/day, Diggs/hour or Diggs/minute constitutes “Blind Digging”?
  2. How is the number for “Blind Digging” derived?
  3. What other factors are involved?

I needed more. I did not like the idea that I (or anyone else for that matter) could put whatever meaning they wished upon a term that was apparently so important to Digg and it’s Diggers that it was being used to penalize people for the way they Dugg. The term should be defined (if possible) with hard numbers and facts – not with a lot of guesswork and open-ended statements that would further confuse the issue.

Allowing such definitions was unfair to everyone on Digg. I looked at what people were saying and realized that “Blind Digging” involved two main aspects: Quantity of Diggs and the Speed which the Digger Dugg. Many anti-Blind Digging advocates prattled on about how many Diggs a person made in general, others were more specific and began ranting about people Digging massive amounts of items in very short time periods. Was Blind Digging the same as Quick Digging?

No, the reason being that the word “Blind” means “Sightless” or “Without significant information, especially that might affect an outcome or result”. It had very little to do with the time element. The word Sightless best fit in with the definition for “Blind” used by most Diggers.

Also, since the idea of the submitter’s name not being seen, at least until after an item was Dugg, seemed somewhat popular as a solution for more than one problem on Digg – it was obvious people were not upset over that type of Blind Digging. So the word Blind must represent the idea of Digging a post without ‘seeing’ the item being submitted.

This made it clear that not everything being called “Blind Digging” fit the definition of the term as some people were using it. What they were complaining about was “Fast Digging”, “Quick Digging” or “Excessive Digging” — not “Blind Digging” alone. Some were spouting views about digging items that the Digger knew nothing about the topic, but mostly people were complaining about the amount of Diggs people were giving out and how fast they were giving them out.

My next question was “How do we know what a person knows or don’t know? Is it a psychic thing? Are these people privy to some information about these people they are accusing that no one else is privy to? The answers to these questions were “No, of course they weren’t privy to any special knowledge. They simply were making assumptions based upon the ‘numbers” and “stats” and not realizing that numbers do not tell the full tale. Once they were on the “Blind Digging” tangent, they couldn’t back down easily with out admitting they were wrong.

Blind Digging is the act of giving out Diggs without actually seeing what is being Dugg. This much is clear, but even though it sounds good — it’s just as vague in meaning as what others were putting across as the meaning of “Blind Digging”. So what is Blind Digging – I mean, “What is it really?” After you strip away the comments that are full or words and emotions, but signifying nothing… just what is it? I wanted something tangible, something I could point to and say “This is Blind Digging and this other thing is simply Digging fast, while that is excessive Digging”. When you get down to the brass tacks, the bottom line, just exactly what is it?

Excessive Digging is the act of digging too much, but let’s put some numbers to this. We will do this by taking certain truths into consideration.

  1. Digg allows each Digger to have 1,000 Friends
  2. Digg allows unlimited shouts.
  3. Digg allows people to Digg multiple items on certain pages rapidly.
  4. Digg urges people to Digg more than the items submitted by their friends.

In short Digg promotes “Excessive Digging”, but at the same time they will penalize you for “Blind Digging” or “Over Digging”… at times it’s like watching a paranoid-schizophrenic arguing with him self. Quite often the Diggers are confused over how many Diggs they can give out before the Digg’s Silver Ban Hammer falls upon their heads. On the other hand Digg expects us to use our heads and be reasonable, even though they really give no guidelines on what they consider as reasonable.

I will attempt to fix that problem and hopefully Digg will agree.

The question of “What constitutes too many Diggs?” where “Excessive Digging is concerned is a hard thing to resolve. Many people have different ideas on this. There are some people who think 1,000 or 2,000 Diggs a day isn’t too much, especially when you consider that Digg itself allows us 1,000 Friends. On the other hand there are those who have openly stated that 300 – 400 Diggs constituted “Blind Digging”. So how do we resolve this issue?

We have to consider the “Friend Aspect” because Friends expect support from each other. They may say they don’t mind having items buried or not being Dugg by Friends, but you watch them… if you miss digging a Friend’s Submittals too often then you will suddenly find that many have ‘Un-Friended” you with out warning. Why is this? It’s because of the simple idea that “Friends” are supposed to have “Special Bonds” that go beyond what acquaintances or strangers have with each other. For example, you may plan to go to the movies with friends often, or go to a wine bar once a week, or go visit them at their homes. You really don’t plan to do things with absolute strangers or people you hardly know as a routine thing. The same thing goes for “Digg Friends”, the object is to have a “special connection” with the people you choose as a friend and an even more special connection with those who are Mutual Friends. This “Special Connection” usually takes the form of Digging and shouting their stuff, commenting on their submittals, submitting items by your friends, etc. To make a long story short, if you have 1,000 friends then you should be allowed to give out a minimum of 1,000 Diggs per day to show your support for them. If Digg isn’t willing to allow 1,000 or 2,000 activities per day by a digger, then maybe they ought to cut the number of friends allowable to 500 or 250 friends.

We next have to consider what is possible, yet remains “organic” or “natural”. Let’s assume that it takes the following time to Digg certain items on Digg:

  1. Images: Static Images, like pictures and cartoons, take about 10 seconds to Digg.
  2. Videos: The average Video takes 3 minutes (180 Seconds) to Digg.
  3. Articles:: The average Article takes about 90 seconds to digg.

When averaged out this comes to about 93 seconds, more or less, to Digg, but let’s call it 90 seconds because that is easy to understand. So it takes 1 ½ minutes to Digg the average item on Digg, this means that in 60 Minutes (1 Hour), a person could Digg 40 items. If the person was on Digg for 4 hours, that means they could easily Digg 160 items, if they were on 8 hours then they could Digg 320, if they were on 12 hours, they could digg 480 items, if they were on 16 hours, they could Digg 640 items, and if they were on 24 hours then they could digg 960 Diggs. This means that where it tells us how many items a person dugg in 48 hours, it could say 1,920 Diggs. So once again we fall around the 1,000 Diggs/day mark as an appropriate number to digg in one day.

This means that Digg could easily say that 750 to 1,250 Diggs in one day may be high, but it isn’t ‘excessively” high.

Quick Digging is the same as “Fast Digging” and akin to “Excessive Digging”, however the emphasis is not so much on the amount of Diggs as it is on “The time it took to digg a certain number of items”. To explain, let’s go back to the 40 Diggs/hour, 1 Digg per 90 Seconds. If a Digger has dugg 12 items in 3 minutes, then that person is “Quick Digging”. He or she did not necessarily “Blind Digg” or “Excessively Digg” because we don’t know if that person actually knew about the item dugg or even opened up the item. It could be that the person was opening shouts sent to him by Digg through his or her email address and just spent 5 hours reading everything… then decided to Digg everything at once. To Digg in this manner, one could easily digg 40 Diggs in a few minutes and they could have dugg the item appropriately…. Yet the stats we see don’t reflect anything but the speed a person has dugg items on Digg. In this case we simply default to how many Diggs are allowed on Digg per day and quit being so frakkin’ anal about what others are doing and pay more attention as to whether we are actually supporting Digg in the way we should.

Low Digging is the act of digging an amount of items on Digg that is below the average. According to the number above, anyone who is Low Digging is digging less than 160 diggs per hour. Unlike the Anti-Blind Digging Advocates out there, I see nothing wrong with Low Digging because not everyone is the same and the purpose of Digg is to enjoy and ‘be Social”. If a person is only Digging 20 items a day, or performing 20 activities on Digg a day on the average, then if they are happy and not causing problems for others – who am I to demand that they have to Digg 160 to 240 items per day. That is their business, not mine. On the other hand I do have a thing about people digging less than an average of 1 item a day on Digg for that is not supporting a site that they have joined of their own free will… especially if those people are the ones complaining about how others use the system. I personally feel that if a person joins a site and can only come onto the site once per week, in the same amount of time they spend looking around – they can digg approximately 7 items or better yet – they can mix their activities and give something back to Digg that is positive. It would probably only take about 30 minutes of their time to Digg a few items, submit an item or two and make a few comments – and in return they may find that people are more receptive to them. This brings us to the topic of …

The Forgotten Excessively “Low Digger”

It seems that everyone talks of the “Blind Digger” as being such an evil and vile character on Digg because they aren’t properly Digging, but what of the person who Diggs ‘Excessively Low”? These people are often forgotten because they sort of fly below the radar of most people..

Digg is a social network and if it is deemed that a person who Diggs excessively isn’t considered as “being Social”, then surely the person who Diggs rarely is also “Anti-Social” and as equally as detrimental to the forum. Isn’t the purpose of Digg primarily to be an active and contributing member of the Digg Community?

I already touched on what “Low Digging” is, but I really have not put a hard number on “Excessively Low Digging”. I won’t go into all of the calculations because as an experienced admin for various message boards and forums on the net I found that the average of 1 activity per day to be sufficient to expect out of any member of the site. Anyone can perform 1 activity/day, 7 activities/week or 30 activities/month without demanding of too much time. Let’s face it, even if a person did only 30 Diggs a month, this would take only about 15 minutes. They probably waste more time than that in logging onto Digg and letting the pages load fully.

The Bury Brigadier

After reviewing this I decided to add a section on my favorite Topic… “The Bury Brigade”! I simply love people who think that it’s proper to squelch others rights, while trying to defend their own. It just makes me smile from ear to ear.

Upon thinking of what I wrote, I wondered “How would you think most of those Bury Brigadiers” would react to the idea of not only going after the “Blind Digger” and “Top Users”, but also the “Excessively Low Digger” and “Bottom Users”?”

Let’s define a “Bottom User” a little. A “Bottom User” is a person who has been on Digg for say 6 months or a year and has not averaged out to say 20 things a day on Digg. Keeping in mind that some of the Bury Brigade are active users, we must realize that many of them are not. Would they begin justifying their positions by whining over how little time they have and that they have things to do in the ‘real world’… or would they calmly accept being targeted by Digg Users and Digg?

Better yet, let’s say another Digg Uproar occurs and this time it is over Diggers demanding that the “Excessively Low Diggers” be banned from Digg for not contributing. Also we can throw in a sub-group of people who claim that Digg knows who buries the most and demands they ban these people. This group even says that we do not have to know the Bury Stats for Digg to ban those who rarely utilize the site as intended.

Odds are you’ll have a huge uproar. There would be people claiming that this is “Unfair” and Digg was simply trying to act as an evil overlord. They would point to anyone who voices the opinion that these people should be kicked off Digg as control freaks and people who do not understand. They would definitely inject that they have a real life outside of Digg and the net, especially if they see the movement against them was serious. Some might even do videos and have Question and Answer meeting on their personal sites in order to try to explain to people why they do as they do. Think about this further and see what you come up with.

Now, think about this and see if it doesn’t sound familiar to you. Doesn’t it sound a lot like what has been happening on Digg to the Top Users and Blind Diggers? Of course it does, in the respect that people are looking at mere stats and formulating opinions about others just because of what the numbers show. It may be the numbers are mostly right, but in the end you will still be penalizing good citizens of Digg because they fit someone’s idea of what those numbers represent.

For example:

The number 1 ranked Bury Brigadier became a member on 11/23/2006. His last action on Digg was noted to be on 6/15/2007. That means he was active on Digg for 205 days. The total for his submittals, comments and Diggs came to 1,504. This means he had an average of 7 1/3 actions per day. That is well above the 1 action/day requirement.

On the other hand, another “Bury Brigadier” joined Digg on 7/28/2005 and his last action occurred on 10/9/2008. This means he was active on Digg for 1,179 days. His total number of Diggs, Comments and Submittals totaled to 464. This is well below the 1 action/day mark set.

Whereas Bury Brigadier number 1 has ‘a leg to stand on’ because he did the bare minimum to contribute to Digg, Bury Brigadier number 2 has no leg to stand on when burying others because he is not properly supporting Digg.

The Abominable Blind Digger

A person who is accused of “Blind Digging” is known as a Blind Digger, this isn’t exactly a “Revelation” or “Rocket Science” to figure this out. It seems that the attitude on Digg is that the Blind Digger will cause empires to crumble, the end of civilization, and even cause planets to collide. The Blind Digger is a pox on society and should be shun as if he were unclean.

The fact is that Digg is a Social Site, if you wish then you could call it a Social Content Site or a Social Bookmark Site. On Digg being social means to interact with others on the site, the members interact by sending shouts, commenting on submitted items, submitting items for others to enjoy, making friends and Digging the items submitted by others. If a person Diggs 5,000 items in one day then he or she is ‘being social’. The mere fact of the person shouting or commenting making one more social does not negate the fact that the with mostly a lot of Diggs is still being social. Digg, and many on Digg, seems to think that Digging alone is not being social. They seem to think that those who Digg a lot are not using the system properly. Well if I took this ideology and applied it to other cases, then anyone who doesn’t embrace any social group fully is ‘not being social’ and should be quickly drummed out of the group. Let’s look at this example:

Let’s say you belong to a “Club”. This “Club” is what is called a Working Social Club. This means that the “Club” is for the purpose of people getting together to meet and interact with each other, as well as doing things for the community.

This club is subdivided into two groups. The First Group is called “The Mother Club” and everyone is a member. All that is required is to sign up for the club, pay your dues, and you can attend the social functions of the club (as well as attend and provide input and votes at the General Meetings). The Second group is smaller and is referred to as “The Squad”. The Squad is the group of people, who belong to the club, that not only does the same things as those in “The Mother Club”, but they are the ones that go out to represent the club in the community and help out where they can.

Now, one day a member of the Mother Club realizes that those in “The Squad” get all of the notoriety. People in the community recognize them for their efforts and gives them the attention they are due. This member gets jealous and tired of hearing about the Squad Members doing so much good work for the community, so he (or she) begins to voice the opinion that The Squad members should only be able to do so much for the community and they ought to give the other club members a chance to get some recognition. The Squad Leader states the fact “The Squad can have an unlimited number of people and any Club Member can join for an extra dollar a month, in accordance with the rules of the Club. Anyone wanting to be a part of the Squad and wants to come out to the Christmas Galas for the Children’s Home or help out with the parades in the communities are free to do so. All they have to do is show up and work with the rest of us.” This infuriates the Club Member and his (or her) friends and they begin to press the agenda by placing the Squad Members in a bad light by calling them “Over-achievers” and “Glory Hounds”. They begin driving ideas into the heads of even the less active Squad Members that these “Glory Hounds” are ruining the Club by being so active. Eventually a huge outcry occurs and the highly active members find themselves limited in what they do.

The first thing to realize is that this is not just some story conceived in someone’s mind, it actually happened in the real world to “Groups” that had nothing to do with the internet. In fact one such event as this happened 20 years before the internet became a household name. The Internet mimics life and I see the same things happening on Digg. Some members are jealous over what the Top Users or so-called Blind Diggers are doing and instead of devoting more time or being more social to improve their own accounts, they are attacking those who are doing the most for Digg and trying to set limitations upon them. These people often word what they say in a manner that sounds logical and reasonable to many, they manipulate these others into thinking that this agenda is correct.


I am not saying that it’s is a totally misplaced idea to place limitations on Digg and it’s Diggers, the first reason being that even Digg isn’t limitless on it’s resources. I do, however, say that all members should be treated fairly and equally. Let’s just be so single minded in our views that we feel the only answer is penalizing those who do the most for Digg, let’s place limits on the “Under-Achievers” as well. If it’s not considered as proper to over-Digg, then it should be viewed as least as improper to under-Digg. The question now is “What is too much or too little?”

In this article I tried to fairly approach things on all side and provide a little food for thought for the reasonable people out there. I am not concerned with convincing people with agendas on either side of the coin for their minds are already closed to any outside views. My concern is to reach, what I feel is, the majority of the Diggers out there who really had not the time or interest in thinking things like this out.

Digg really should come out with their numbers on how many Diggs, or activities, that a Digger can do in one day before being eyed as “Violating the rules”. Sure this may help people to game the system, but anything they do can do that. Gamers are just such inventive people that they naturally figure out how best to take advantage of things. They are not my concern because the end result is not to stop the Gamer, but to restrict their activities as much as reasonably possible without unfairly penalizing the average Digger. In short the Gamer is a non-issue with me, much like the troll or even the Bury Brigade. These people will do their thing regardless, the best way to deal with them is to limit their effects as much as possible and simply not worry about them.

This article, believe it or not, was written partly in humor and partly in a serious manner. Anyone taking offense to it has that right, but the end result is “it’s not my problem, it’s theirs”. I do not offer condolences, apologies or even a retraction for my views. Also I do not support a Bury the Bury Brigade, Burn the Extremely Low Digger or Destroy the Digg Mafia response on Digg or anywhere else. That is not my thing, however I do strive to make people aware of such things as the Digg Mafia or Bury Brigade. Digg is a site, if it shut down tomorrow it really wouldn’t affect most of us… we would simply move on. I let the idea that Digg is a vital part of one’s life to those who wish to feel that way. I hope you liked this article, I’ve reworked it numerous times to try to make the humor easier to spot. Thanks for reading.


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