The Diggergate Scandal

Story broke yesterday earlier morning of a underground Digg conspiracy group that called themselves: Digg Patriots. The purpose of the group was to work together and deliberately vote down specific users story submissions and comments that appeared to be “Left-Leaning” politically. In essence breaking Digg rules.


A writer who goes by the name oleoleolson broke the story (which I have titled, Diggergate) on AlterNet’s blog with great detail. I for one would like to applaud Mr. OleOleOlson for some great undercover work. You should really apply for the Chris Hansen‘s position at Dateline when he retires. Screenshots, quotes, facts, and usernames; I haven’t seen one report that accuses this is a false report.

I’d also have to applaud the Digg Patriots (let the negative comments start….now). Regardless of their reasons for their actions, the well thought out plan, the network, the behind the scenes actions; it kind of reminds me of the Mafia.  To be honest, what they did is no different than any other party that influences news sources to censor what the public is hearing. Ultimately to hide their misfortunes or benefit from someone elses publicly displayed misfortunes. It happens ALL the time in mainstream media. They will do anything to get ahead. In the end, it doesn’t make it right though.

Think Again

If you think this is the only group that is out there you are probably mistaken. I don’t have any proof but I can probably bet my wife’s wedding ring that their are others out there. More will pop up, and this is, more than likely, not the end for the Digg Patriots. Right now they are scheming to stay a live. Sure this is a blow to them but they will probably lay low for a couple months, wait for the dust to settle and comeback. Meanwhile, Leftist will be trying to make headway into the network and other networks to take a strong hold.

To most, this is no big news and could probably give a crap. Everybody has a motive for why they are power users on Digg or other socially media news outlets. Even MrBabyMan has his reasons. But also, my guess would be MrBabyMan didn’t even bat an eye about the news of being targeted by this group. He probably even chuckled a bit.

Ugh.. Mashable

Mashable seems to think this is a “major black eye for the social media giant Kevin Rose built.” I was pretty shocked to find that Mashable’s report on Diggergate was very opinionated and forth coming about how the new Digg v4 should be released soon to prevent this type of action. Also, the damaging quote that “Digg is easily gamed” didn’t sit well with me.  After all what Digg users have given you Mashable? Tons of Diggs and tons of traffic and you want to single out Digg as the only social news site that is gamed? You see that share button on your posts? Each one of those sharing links are sites that are easily “gamed” and are being “gamed” as we speak. Please do not give the appearance that Digg is the only site that has this trouble.

How to fix it?

Digg, you have come up with a great algorithm to determine which articles go popular and which ones don’t. No one has cracked it and no one should. Suggestion: make the “bury” action a part of the algorithm. If it’s an article that is getting a lot of diggs AND also a lot of buries, maybe it would be great front page topic of discussion. This would prevent a mass group from doing a mass bury because then it could actually HELP the Digg submission in some instances. Obviously, if a submission has no diggs and has an abundance of buries, then this could be determined as a spam submission and then let it be buried away off the site.

I’d be curious to know what other people think; how would you fix it?

In the end

I have the overwhelming feeling that the power users involved probably don’t care. I also have the feeling that the power users uninvolved don’t care either.

The whole thing doesn’t really mean anything. It won’t change much and things will continue to go on. – anonymous power user

Just like any other scandal that happens in politics, this will pass. People forget and it will still happen or they will find other ways. Who knows this could be the best thing that happened to Digg. Bad press could be turned around to their advantage.

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  • Gustavo Obregon sheinbaum

    Ironically the new Digg that is being heralded by the liberals as “neutering the impact of hitting the front page” will end up removing one of the main appeals and motivations for many honest users to use the site to begin with.

    In reality, if you study what makes the front page of Digg, most of it is rather liberal and generates a lot of traffic for liberal causes, as can be seen by this scandal that started off with a 9000+ Digg article and is now being talked about in British, Japanese, and Polish newsblogs.

    My honest opinion is that Digg having factions is kind of a healthy thing that generates rivalries and motivates others to join. Moreover, once Digg becomes an echo chamber for a user and his friends, it will just become a glorified version of Twitter and fade into obscurity, thus removing an important source of traffic for many independent blogs, liberal and conservative.

    My conclusion is that the Digg progressives shot themselves in the foot when they begged Digg to remove the bury button and create customized front pages.

  • Robert Forsythe

    Something just ain't quite right about this whole story.

    First, OleOleOlson is Digg user “Novenator,” hands-down the most ugly, partisan troll that lurks on Digg.

    Second, there have been two, no wait, three … oh crap, now 4 different versions of the so-called Digg Patriots Hit List. More and more names of innocent liberal-leaning Diggers keep getting added.

    Makes a guy wonder.

    If you scratch beneath the surface of this story, something smells to high heaven.

    • Gustavo Obregon sheinbaum

      Man Novenator is one big attention whore! And if you search for “Digg Patriots” in Google you will find that this is being reporting in Russian, Japanese, Spanish, Polish, and Chinese!

    • Every Man A King

      And what might your Digg user name be? Sounds like you are pretty familiar with Digg. It sounds like you are one of Bettverboten's friends. If the Digg user you named is so ugly and partisan, I know of 5 Conservative/Teabagger Diggers that are a lot worse.

  • Robert Forsythe

    Something just ain't quite right about this whole story.

    First, OleOleOlson is Digg user “Novenator,” hands-down the most ugly, partisan troll that lurks on Digg.

    Second, there have been two, no wait, three … oh crap, now 4 different versions of the so-called Digg Patriots Hit List. More and more names of innocent liberal-leaning Diggers keep getting added.

    Makes a guy wonder.

    If you scratch beneath the surface of this story, something smells to high heaven.

  • Laptop battery

    Digg becomes an echo chamber for a user and his friends, it will just become a glorified version of Twitter and fade into obscurity, thus removing an important source of traffic for many independent blogs, liberal and conservative.

  • JD hates Pontiac

    The “massive conspiracy” was like 70 people out of the tens of thousands that use Digg every day. Considering half of the most popular stories on Digg are about gay marriage, legalizing pot, or hating Christians, I don't really think the people who are upset about this have anything to worry about. More than likely they are just college kids who are mad at their moms and dads and that anger is manifesting itself in some sort of righteous indignation against the “evil conservative cabal” trying to censor Digg.

    • Every Man A King

      You forget one thing. Say I am a liberal. Anyone can monitor my submission rss feed. What that means is even conservatives/Teabaggers can follow my submissions. That means they'll be notified right away when I submit something. So once they see I submitted something, Bettverboten will post that to the group. And given that most of Bettverboten's submissions now get 150 or so Diggs with in the first two hours of submission, my guess is that this has a pretty powerful effect. As it is, we don't know how many buries it takes for a story to disappear. But just do the math.

  • DDayDawg

    If I were running Digg I would not only have a algorithm for the stories but also for the users. I would remove the “one man, one vote” mentality. If you just joined well your vote doesn't count as much as a long time Digger. If you bury way more stories than you Digg then your impact would go down. I would also look for common groupings for Diggs and buries. This would stop some of the collusion of the power users as well. If you 20 people always vote together then every time you do your votes count less and less toward the front page. It could be done.

    I like your idea of a Bury counting toward something being interesting for the front page though. I never thought of that but it would probably keep the site really lively.

  • Gaalaaant

    WEll I mean this was against the TOS, and it was a valiant effort, but they kinda screwed up. Digg is one of the most liberal outlets on the net. They couldn't have stopped that even with guns.

    • Gustavo Obregon sheinbaum

      All it would take would be for some 500 users to sign up and be active for the angle of the site to change dramatically.

  • Gustavo Obregon sheinbaum

    All it would take would be for some 500 users to sign up and be active for the angle of the site to change dramatically.

  • scsfsfsdfsa

    DIGGS SUCKS! its is sooooo easy to game it around. Plus, too many conservative hypocrites!

  • steveO

    I saw the digg link in the top 10 yesterday morning (uk time) with the comment: “if this gets buried – its true”. Lowv and behold, it was gone by midday…

    You decide: Digg or Patriots

  • Jimmy1920

    I clearly don't spend enough time on the Digg site.
    I guess I have another life

  • mick

    Israel uses this tactic and actively run a PR campaign to “control the story”. has over 40,000 “members” that are notified of sites running stories/polls/video on Israel so the “member” can “steer” the comments.
    They also have ,the “charter” appear below….

    What are we about?

    Our mission at SDC is to fight the spread of terrorist propaganda on YouTube. This is not an effort to stifle free speech. We value free speech as much as the next person. In fact, our efforts are to help protect that right to free speech we value so much. The terrorists use YouTube services for propaganda purposes and to recruit new members for the fight against the West. And make no mistake, those hirabist, islamo-fascist terrorists who use our right to free speech, will take that right away if they win.

    Some say, it is not worth the effort to fight the online cyber-jihad. “YouTube is not responsive,” they say. “Besides”, they add, “the hirabists will just keep uploading their terrorist videos. What good is it to remove a few videos if they just keep coming back?” We beg to differ.

    Soldiers are dying to protect our right to free speech on the battle fields of Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to help them by fighting on a battlefield we can impact. We need to help them by taking the terrorist's recruiting tools away. We need to let the terrorists know the West is not going down without a fight. We need to let them know we are not going to sit here and allow them to use our services against us. The fight starts right here. Tell the terrorists we are coming. Tell them we will win!

    Should we cede this battlefield because it is not worth the effort? NO! We should fight! And, if we fight like a pack and not a herd, we will win!

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
    is that good men do nothing.”

    ~ Oft quoted words, never so true… “”

    (ed)Why fight for truth if you can just hide the evidence !

    • Elim

      Thanks for the links, Mick. We should sign up for those places and smack down the zionists when they appear.

  • Douglas Souza

    Your idea to have posts with both a lot of digg's and bury's be singled out for discussion is already used at Reddit under their “Controversial” tab. However, I don't think they implemented it the way you suggested. Great idea!

  • jaspervonblowhole

    I was really delighted about a month ago when I noticed it had been about two or three years since any imbecile journalist had used the tired “(scandal)gate” meme. Thanks for destroying that.

  • Amanda Sparks

    Um…this is all very interesting, but I'm kinda with the Conservatives when they point out that most of the big stories featured are pretty liberal in slant. Don't get me wrong- I enjoy that, personally! But if this is a conspiracy, its a pretty lousy one.
    I mean…I can't think of anything I saw in Yahoo or UK sources that wasn't on Digg at some point (if it was interesting.)
    Honestly, if they're trying to subvert the news, they're just not doing it very well.
    It feels a little….contrived.
    Is someone having a bit of fun here at our expense? I suspect so. (Cute though, keep 'em coming!)

    • 1hrSleep

      Digg having a majority of stories with a liberal slant is fine because it's natural. Digg has a population that has a liberal population in the majority.

      I'm just going to copy a comment of mine from Digg:
      “You're not understanding the point.

      You get buried because people want to bury you. There's no organized effort to bury you, we just do. Digg doesn't even need a “Liberal” bury brigade because the majority of the Digg population are left leaning (and pretty much every other first world country is left leaning compared to the US.)

      DP was coordinating targeted buries to disproportionately represent themselves and silence others.”

  • Vicf294

    It would be great to see a list of items that were “voted down.” Publishing this list would be a quick and easy counter to the attempt to bury them, fitting the standard that the cover up has greater impact than that which was covered.

  • jgmurphy

    I have been blocked from commenting on rawStory, mysteriously. Could they have been behind it??? If so, how do I get unblocked?

  • Enzo

    That is why I like instead. Stories don't get promoted based on votes, all reasonable stories will make the front page, with the exception of obvious spam.

  • Greg Flewelling

    First, this isn't even a confirmed story. More importantly, assuming for argument it is true, why the huge fuss? I mean where was the hue and cry when the Journolist scandal was uncovered last month? (If you're not aware of this large scale media scandal with actual and significant impact to the freedom of information, you're not alone as the vast majority of news organizations ignored or downplayed it because they were either implicated directly or by inference.) Seriously, people are upset over some conservatives voting on Digg, a miniscule source of information for 90% + of the general public? Really? Why not take issue with an actual threat to our the free flow of information: the journalists and editors who for decades have been “voting down” stories not in line with their liberal point of view.

    • Obi-jonKenobi

      The Journolist “scandal” is yet another example of hair-on-fire hysteria by the reich-wing echo chamber. This is the typical half-truth, hyperbole, and hype that they/you spew daily.

      What happened on Journolist was nothing more than a strategy discussion of how to frame issues done by a self-selected private group. Compare this to the daily distribution of talking points that was sent out by the Bush White House and repeated dutifully by the echo chamber from Faux News to the slobbering hate talkers like Insannity, O'Liely, LIMPbaugh, and Dreck. That was framing on a massive scale directed from the White House. If you want something to set your hair on fire about, that was a good one.

  • markusgarvey

    these guys were part of the original bury brigade for sure:
    emersonbiggins (formerly EdHurl, rjwusa, MightRighty, BurtToast, GangusGreen,
    le0pardess(1bad kitty)
    minarchian (duplicate accounts as Phreedom, CongressCritter, formerly

    and not listed are:
    Israeligirl (Roni)

    lots of these people are connected with the “JIDF”

    • Minarchian

      You claim that a lot of the DPers were part of JDIF but, just like the writer of the hit piece, you show no proof of you claims. It’s a ludicrous lie on your part and you should admit you have no proof. Not one email in the list even mention other organizations. You’re using the same tactics as the writer of the hit piece is…throw out garbage and hope people will believe it.

  • allenallen

    I liked DIGG but it started taking faaarrr too long to bring up pages so I quit.

  • Douglas Karr

    I’m in total agreement with you. For those of us who made every attempt at using Digg and promoting useful links… we’ve ALWAYS known that it was a small group of organized Diggers that controlled the strings. The uncovering of DiggPatriots is great, but if Digg digs deep enough (sorry), they’ll find groups from every political stance trying to game the system. The net is that BORING stories make it to the top of Digg and everything else is buried.

    Digg also doesn’t have the incredible reach and influence it once had – it’s been dying for a while. This is why. It doesn’t end at Digg, either. Google gets gamed just as bad.

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