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Growing Censorship Concerns at Digg 473

I find site rivalries boring, but growing concerns over Digg "censorship" have been submitted steadily for the last few months. Today two such stories were submitted so numerous that I had little choice but to post. The first claims that Digg is the editor's playground- it explains how a few users control Digg, and that it's not really the 'Democracy' that they claim it to be. Personally I think this is all totally within the rights of their editors to choose content however they like. But it's less pleasant when combined with accounts getting banned for posting content critical of digg, and watching other content getting removed for being critical of sponsors (also, here is Kevin Rose's reply).
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Growing Censorship Concerns at Digg

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  • This should be fun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sanity ( 1431 ) * on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:23PM (#15166303) Homepage Journal
    Of course, it would be remiss not to point out that Slashdot has also been accused [] of forms of censorship.

    It is also worth noting that Digg has rapidly gained popularity to the point that Slashdot and Digg are now neck and neck [] according to Alexa.

    Digg is an interesting site that implements a number of things many long-time Slashdot users have wished Slashdot would do for quite some time. It would be a shame if they are failing to live up to their claim of non-hierarchial editorial control. If this is true, then they deserve to be outed.

  • Boo hoo (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:24PM (#15166306)
    You don't like it? Don't use it.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:24PM (#15166307) Journal
    So you build a website that acts as a community (a webmunity?). And one of the great things is that you get to be God of Gods at your webmunity and do whatever you want to users. You giveth life and taketh life away!

    And all is good.

    But your reader base hates you for it. And one day, dissent might arise. If you don't address it you risk losing your user base. If you try to cover it up and the truth breaks out, I guarantee you will lose your user base.

    So the editors do what they want and you vote with your clicks. This is no grand concept, we provide them revenue by visiting their sites. We are traveling to their sites by keystrokes and clicks (not our feet) so vote with them and everyone is happy!

    If you can't find a fair site, build your own! Show us how it's done and let us know where it's at. I, for one, would like to see more slash/digg hybrids popping up that rate everything (stories, users, comments, etc) and have a tight handle on who gets how many mod points. I don't care for the easy exploitation of digg and I don't care for the veto happy choice editors for Slashdot.

    This isn't a cold war (yet) since they aren't openly bashing each other like the USSR Vs USA war ... or is it? Is this the opening salvo in a war of words between the editors of Digg and Slashdot? I hope not, this site is the center of enough flamewars as it is.

    It would most likely boil down to a witch hunt. Sites will be judged by two qualities: fascist nazism & crap content. It's like precision versus recall, everyone has their own preferred happy medium.

    Frankly, the Godaddy digg [] seems to be there and intact. But I did have to Google it. Remember, you can hate the diggers who submit (and digg) crap [], the GNAA trolls [] & Adolf Hitroll [] but only as much as you hate your freedom to submit, digg and post yourself.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:32PM (#15166389) order to not like it, you need to know it is happening.
  • by Kethinov ( 636034 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:32PM (#15166390) Homepage Journal
    With respect, the contention here is that the Digg admins do this stuff in secret, whereas the Slashdot editors are completely honest about exerting editorial control over stories and sometimes, but rarely, comments.
  • by thedogcow ( 694111 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:33PM (#15166398)
    Such as what? Apparently you have been censored while you were typing your post.
  • weird timing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by towsonu2003 ( 928663 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:34PM (#15166409)
    this, the same day I decide to quit "digging" after seeing how their community is racist, sexist, ethnocentric, and so on... weird concidence.
  • by VonSkippy ( 892467 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:43PM (#15166510) Homepage, to put it simply, sucks. Without any true editors, their focus and target audience have drifted far from their stated "we're a tech site" definition.

    Most stories have no bearing at all on tech, and comments range for the childish to outright stupid. is more like, except it's not as good.

    As to Kevin Rose, who cares. Like his site, he's a major tech poser.
  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:45PM (#15166533) Journal
    I quit taking Digg serious shortly after I thought I liked it, soley because of the obvious censoring they do, all in secret. Also because they edited my comments, changing the context, AND they were not against Digg or anyone else. Just simply Admin abuse.

    I still find a story or two that is interesting, but mainly I just try to mod up the trash just to prove how fucked up and bias it is.

    Digg is already old news, earning perhaps a footnote in Wikipedia someday.
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:47PM (#15166548)
    At least on digg you know who is modding you up or down. Plus everyone's article and comments are accepted.
    On slashdot you have no idea who is removing your submitted articles and comments, not who is modding you down.

    In both groups there is an intolerant and active "politically correct" core. If you dont agree with them on IT or social comments, you get abused.

    My prediction is this comment will disappear because it is "wrong".
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:51PM (#15166591)
    It may have been just because of meta-moderation that lowered your moderation ability. When you Modded that post up Meta-Moderators figured didn't agree with the moderation and so your private moderation score dropped for a while. A similar thing happened a while back when I decided to get even with someone who responded to my post and really annoyed me. So I had Mod Points at the time so I went in and searched for that user and I modded everything he had that I could moderate as a Troll. Shortly after that I didn't have moderation rights for a few months. Most likely because Meta Moderators saw that completely untoll marked as troll and Meta-Moderated it correctly. The problem with systems like Digg and Slashdot it is easy to think you are purposely being censored but you may just be a victim of software algorithms, based on democratic results.
  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @01:56PM (#15166640) Homepage Journal
    So, you abused the moderation system and then were denied access to it? I can see how people would think that's unfair.

    To be honest, a lot of these "F'ing censoring bastards!" posts come from trolls who hate seeing a particularly good troll post get canned. If you're trying to game the system and get called on it, don't be surprised when you lose privleges. That's all I'm saying.
  • True Anonymity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:00PM (#15166680) Homepage Journal
    I'd love to see Slashdot's "rejected" queue. That would really be a testament to "open source", of the journalistic kind.
  • by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:07PM (#15166758) Homepage Journal

    Some people need to be bitchslapped. Personally, I think that the tiny bit of editorial control that /. editors exert is a plus, not a minus.

  • by shmapty ( 957603 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:10PM (#15166783)
  • Re:True Anonymity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by caffeination ( 947825 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:12PM (#15166814)
    That ignores the issue of confidentiality. Who wants to give content to a site that will humiliate them if it's not considered good enough?

    Viewing failed submissions with the submitters names not shown sounds a lot better.

  • by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:12PM (#15166815) Journal
    Digg can have #1 among spyware infested morons.
  • Re:weird timing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NewmanBlur ( 923584 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:16PM (#15166868) Homepage
    I liked Digg at first, but then got tired of seeing the same articles day after day: "177 php tutorials!", "Ruby on Rails for newbies!", "Create a dynamic drop down list with Ajax!"

    Still worth an occasional visit, but it's gotten a lot less likely that you'll find anything worth reading.
  • by comp.sci ( 557773 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:37PM (#15167076)
    Ignore and let them co-exist.
    They are no rivals and have completely different models of providing news.
    Most people come to /. for the comments whereas you can find fun and interesting stuff that gives you a minute of fun on digg.
    Let's not follow into the thinking many digg-users seem to have that "a war is going on".
  • Re:Very true (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:43PM (#15167128)
    One thing that's been making me sick of Digg are all the damn blog posts.
  • by ciroknight ( 601098 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:47PM (#15167171)
    I quit taking Digg seriously after I realized that Digg had brought new life to Slashdot, making the articles much more up-to-date, less dupes, and better comments.

    That, and Digg's travesty of articles like "How to increase your adsense dollars" (aka "How to make your e-penis larger").
  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:55PM (#15167235) Homepage Journal
    I've still been off the mod list for the last 4 years now, but about two years ago I started being able to meta-mod again. I considered it a good step forward.

    The whole thing pisses me off to no end because I basically got trolled into moderating up one of the "offensive" posts, and I feel like I was caught up in the general moderation bitch-slap that went around at that time. What's worse is I've never actually "trolled" on Slashdot. I've posted some stuff that I thought was funny, and some of those may have been "in opposition" to the prevailing attitudes about the topic (maybe pro-Microsoft or questioning the sanctity of Linux or whatever.) But I've certainly never done any frist ps0ts, obscene ASCII art, or any of the other griefer-type posts.

    I like that Slashdot has a strong policy against censoring, and that they use the mod system to hide the griefers. I honestly don't know how they've avoided the casino spam, but whatever they're doing in that regard is also excellent and appreciated.

    But I don't mind the occasional off topic discussion, and I don't have a problem replying to ACs. I also find some of the trolls hilarious, and I've even befriended one just because she's an excellent creative writer. So while I'm not a troll myself, I do enjoy the (very occasional) troll. I sometimes wonder if I'm too close to the border for them to restore my mod points.

  • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:59PM (#15167277)
    I used to get mod points almost once a week, then I started exerting my Republican viewpoint on Slashdot and I havent seen mod points in over a year and a half.
    Most likely you got hit by bad metamoderation, perhaps a few times in a row. I once used my mod points to moderate down a troll who was plagiarizing posts from different blogs ... since metamoderators don't see context, I was metamoderated badly, and it was several months before I got mod points again.

    Of course, you could make the argument that you shouldn't have been using the moderation system to push your own viewpoint. Although, of course, those with "popular" viewpoints can do it without any fear of retribution, which is a big part of the problem.

  • Bunk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amyhughes ( 569088 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @03:06PM (#15167324) Homepage
    Most of the comments that get seen are predictable. Post something contrary to groupthink and get moderated troll or off-topic.

    Oh, but there's meta-moderation to deal with the abusers. Whatever. The same people that only want to see certain viewpoints also judge the moderation. That works. Not!

    I lost interest in slashdot (and let my sponsorship lapse) when I lost moderation privileges. I was never told I was black listed. I simply stopped receiving mod points. It doesn't really matter if the editors or the hive mind blacklisted me; the result is the same. The moderation system here is not an asset, it's just a tool for the status quo. It's not even available if you don't pass some test of conformity.

    It pains me to read some other forums because the quality of the commentary is so bad. Slashdot is capable of so much more, but it takes more time than I have to find the good through the parrotry. Go ahead, mod me down. Whatever.

  • by toby ( 759 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @03:19PM (#15167441) Homepage Journal
    I haven't spent much time there, but the inanity, ignorance, immaturity and incivility of Digg posters reminds me of the time I quit Slashdot for a few years - before moderation it was fairly puerile.

    With moderation, I find /. bearable, but it does suffer from that "attention curve" -- comments posted after attention has decayed from the story will probably never be moderated up. If you want moderation attention, you have to post very early.

  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @03:20PM (#15167450) Journal
    You are correct that it seems to have breathed new life into Slashdot. To me, Digg is like a Mall, where you don't know anyone and your actions have little consequence, good or bad.

    Slashdot is like a pub where everyone knows you, so you find more meaningful conversation. People actually give a damn about Slashdot, even when pointing out the flaws. Actually, if they didn't care, they wouldn't bother. Digg just isn't a "community" and never will be.
  • by theStorminMormon ( 883615 ) <> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @03:33PM (#15167553) Homepage Journal
    Or maybe there are just more people modding now? When I first signed up for my account I got mod points all the time. I very rarely get them now. I've never really posted anything that I considered anti-slashdot, and I have no problems modding up posts I disagree with as long as I think it's something worth seeing - so I have no reason to believe it's anything other than just the workings of the algorithm.

    I could whine and moan that the admins don't like me because I'm Mormon, or religious, or some of my politcal views - but that would just be random speculation.

    In any case, I'm not really a fan of modding myself. If I care enough to mod, I'd rather post. When I have mod points I try to pick a topic I'm reasonably well-informed on but don't really care too much about and use them to be helpful. It really is more of a chore than anythign else, however, and I just do it to be doing my part. So if I don't get mod points as often, I'm not missing them.

  • Hahahahahaha. Maybe I'm missing something, but some of those guys built this place, right? Did you think that Slashdot was conceived by the internet via immaculate conception?

    I'd love to see more open-ness and an open metric and stuff like that, but as long as there are people like you wandering the byways of cyberspace with this insane feeling of being entitled to every website you land on I'm not really that surprised that the creators retain (and delegate) more authority than would otherwise be optimal.

    It's precisely this attitude of being entitled to stuff other people created that makes socialists so annoying.

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @04:31PM (#15168104) Homepage
    Either way, this sounds a *lot* like the stories about Wikipedia's Office account and the stuff that goes on there. Slashdot has had it's share of accusations of administrator manipulations behind the scenes. The question then comes down to: what should the power of the administrator be?
    The problem is - there is two different editorial/administration models being lumped together here.

    • Slashdot - 'accused of manipulations'. Huh? How can you be 'accused of' something that is proudly boasted of? It's never been a secret that Slashdot is Taco's playground, always has been and will be for the foreseable future. I suspect one of the reasons that Taco's brief transperancy (the two 'State of Slashdot' articles of a couple of months back) ended is because he's learned just how far his vision and that of the userbase has diverged.

    • Digg and the Wikipedia are not supposed to have administrators in the first place! Their model is (theoretically) complete democracy and consensus.
  • by analog_line ( 465182 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @05:46PM (#15168775)
    I just unchecked that little box in my preferences that says "Willing To Moderate".

    A good moderator is someone willing to read through all the 0 rated stuff to find the hidden gems that deserve moderation up, and frankly I'm not willing to waste time reading the drivel at that level, so rather than just spending points on already high rated stuff (I browse slashdot at +4) I just got out of the system altogether. I haven't missed it.
  • by Idealius ( 688975 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @05:51PM (#15168810) Journal

    This story is fairly interesting to me because I recently started reading Digg and using RSS feeds, etc. though I've been a Slashdot mainstay for a long time. I find digg's practice of hiding the fact the editors filter the frontpage stories and ban site submitters at least a huge turn off if not all out scandalous.

    They need to get their shit together or they will die. Slashdot's crowd keeps coming back because they're mostly no b.s. Trust > all.
  • Re:True Anonymity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oxymor00n ( 780866 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @06:16PM (#15168984)
    I suspect they don't want to do this, because then there would be people submitting stuff for the queue, not for the front page. Look at dig, the summarys people give are most of the times copy/pastes from the article. This would lead to more poor submissions, and if you believe taco the editors are already overloaded. I would like to view the rejected storys, yes, but i think it is not a good idea here.
  • by l33tmike ( 924626 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @07:05PM (#15169286) Homepage Journal
    • So unless you're Google or some other virtual equivalent of the USA, better treat your users nicely.

    I'm sorry, but no. If google did something irrational that pissed everyone off, they would go and use a different search engine and there is nothing google could do about that.
    The 'USA' as 'google' however, would blow up all the other rival websites claiming its 'their internet' and you can't stop us... god told me to do <insert stupid thing that pissed everyone off in the first place />, so its okay...

    But I digress from the actual topic, as has been mentioned by another reply, the whole world is made up of tiny dictatorships, with the illution of democracy etc... internet included.

    Well thats my two pence... night all.
  • by Penguinoflight ( 517245 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @07:56PM (#15169557) Homepage Journal
    Most users get moderation ability pretty early on slashdot, but some never do, and others dont get it until a few hundred posts with a good karma rating. Slashdot has avoided problems by being conservative in their judgments. The biggest thing that people dislike about slashdot is the poor choices of posts. In the past it was the lack of a solid html code base, and slashdot did respond (very slowly). I think that the editors of slashdot realize they must pay attention to what people want, and they usually address a problem eventually.

  • Re:True Anonymity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @02:52AM (#15171210) Journal
    That would also greatly increase the number of trolls submitting troll stories. That's what editors want to avoid at all cost. Find a solution to this one first, then likely Taco will think of it :)

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson