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What Digg Should Learn From the HD-DVD Revolt  (View post)

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, May 8, 2007
12 years ago4,713 views

You're making some strong assumptions concerning what users 'would have done' if Digg had been open and honest. There's no evidence to suggest that Digg users wouldn't have reacted in the same / similar way if Digg had explained why it was censoring them.

"Obviously there wasn’t any legal reason to do the second thing..."

As to the above, the post violated Digg's terms of service, as posting the HD-DVD key was illegal according to the DMCA. *NOTE: I'm not saying I agree with the DMCA or with Digg's actions in deleting the users account.*

I agree that Digg could and should have handled the situation better, but I think it's naive to think that just telling people why they were censoring stories would have made the problem disappear. They were (and are) angy that their perceived control over the site was trumped by editorial control – so while an honest approach would have been a better PR move, any kind of censorship was always going to rile Diggers.

Clifford VanMeter [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Unlike you, Digg is no longer a favorite of mine, their utter lack of credibility as a "user driven" site renders them valueless in my eyes. In fact I emailed the Digg staff and asked that my account be removed. The staff at Digg, including its founder Kevin Rose didn't just behave stupidly, they behaved dishonorably and disrespectfully. Further, Kevin Rose's comments since the incident have been disingenuous at best, if not deliberately evasive.

Clifford VanMeter
TechPolitics.Us

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> There's no evidence to suggest that Digg users
> wouldn't have reacted in the same / similar
> way if Digg had explained why it was censoring them.

I was one of them. I remember. Nobody was angry before digg started removing stories ABOUT take downs.

> As to the above, the post violated Digg's terms of service, as
> posting the HD-DVD key was illegal according to the DMCA

There were legal reasons to remove the post. There were no legal reasons to remove SENDER'S ACCOUNT and that's what I was writing about.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

"You Can Own an Integer Too – Get Yours Here"
freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1155
[Via Digg.]

Tue Abrahamsen [PersonRank 7]

12 years ago #

I couldn't agree more – I was thinking just the same thing myself about the whole scandal.

My biggest problem come from the post Kevin Rose made, stating that they would no longer remove the stories, as diggers were revolting. I found the post rather arrogant and decending to the digg community.

Trying to push the whole responsibility of diggs future onto the community, who just wanted transparency and information, rather than censorship, was too much for me.

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

[put at-character here]Ludwig: Fair enough, but the fact that 15,000 users dugg the original reposted HD-DVD story implies that a few Diggers were miffed that the first one got pulled. I agree that being honest would have helped, but I don't think you can say outright that it would have prevented the fall-out. It seems to me (witness Clifford) that many (not all) Diggers are p**sed that their user-driven site had any kind of censorship. A polite notice explaining why they were doing the censoring may not have satisfied everyone.

As far as the sender's account goes, I agree – they shouldn't have done it, but as far as the DIGG TOS goes they're pretty well covered:

"...you agree not to use the Services: for any illegal or unauthorized purpose.
Digg may remove any Content *and Digg accounts* at any time for any reason (including, but not limited to, upon receipt of claims or allegations from third parties or authorities relating to such Content." [emphasis mine]

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Let's see ... if Digg had replaced the story by the following text...

   "Due to local laws and customs, we have removed some
   content. If you don't like this, please consider donating to the EFF"

...then you think the Digg users would have been happy? I don't.

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> As far as the sender's account goes, I agree – they shouldn't
> have done it, but as far as the DIGG TOS goes they're pretty
> well covered

I didn't say they shouldn't do this or that they broke their TOS by doing so. I just said they didn't have to. DMCA doesn't force site to remove users' accounts.

> Trying to push the whole responsibility of diggs future onto the
> community, who just wanted transparency and information,
> rather than censorship, was too much for me."

Thanks Tue, I love this quote.

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> then you think the Digg users would have been happy? I don't.

I'm SURE there wasn't be any riots. Of course they should make it more personal.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Isn't Digg-the-company safe anyway until someone sends a take-down notice, on a per-submitted-Digg-article basis? I mean considering there's a safe harbor policy in the DMCA and Digg's content is user-generated...

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Lessons Learnt

1) Do everything with a good degree of transparency!!
2) Always communication prior to actions
3) "Be liberal on what your receive and cautions of what you send" – Jon Postel – RFC: 791

alek [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Excellent analysis and dead-on accurate IMHO about the *real* issue WRT Digg and how they should operate.

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Oh, I just found link to my article on Digg – digg.com/tech_news/What_Digg_S ...
Nice ;)

Conor Cleary [PersonRank 8]

12 years ago #

I still like Digg but I only joined a week before the Key issue. What is a better replacement to Digg? If Google had one, I would be in heaven ;)

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

===>"Digg received a letter form AACS and decided to remove the story."

Philipp, I don't think they received a notice at all, they just preempted a notice issue by removing the content.

If they did get a notice, they should have posted it. Yes, safe harbor policy would have given them at least 4-5 days time to review and take down the contents, but this did not happen. The article /post were removed within 48 hrs and then the foo hit the ceiling!!

Him [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Be it for the purpose of pushing their own agenda (anti DRM) or just because it would be an interesting experiment (and generate some momentum – I don't think they could have foreseen the amount of PR they got), it seems to me like this was a pretty deliberate act...

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

There's one thing I've found interesting in the aftermath of the HD-DVD key Digg riots.

I accept it as a given that most people (myself included) think that it's ridiculous that publishing a sequence of numbers can be illegal (which it is under the DMCA). But isn't that a separate issue to sites following this law?

It seems that people are expecting companies like Digg to behave as activists. Yes, safe harbour would have given them 4-5 days to review the contents, but in reality about 10 seconds would have been enough to confirm that what was posted was a key that under the DCMA is illegal to post. Should Digg drag their feet as long as possible simply because they're legally allowed too? Why? Is it up to Digg to fight the law by attempting to circumvent it? Shouldn't the community be raging against the government that created the law rather than the company that's obeying it? Complaining to Digg won't stop posting numbers from being illegal. Complaining to the government and the courts might.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I agree people should complain with their governments, but there's also a time for civil disobedience if laws get silly. One thing to keep in mind though: Digg is made up of an international audience. I'm from Germany for instance and never had the chance to vote for or against the DMCA. Yet another point to make: many of Digg's users (I bet) are in their teen years. Are they actually allowed to vote?

I think the real (emotional) issue here which triggered the revolt, similar to what Ludwik argued, is that Digg's value is user-generated, and thus, users expect to be respected. Just deleting an account is simply disrespectful – from what I heard from others, Digg did this far too quickly in the past. So yes, I think the right and respectful thing to do (for such a big site) is to drag out the DMCA process as long as possible... in fact, the revolt showed that this can only be dealt with on a per-post basis, didn't it? Just removing some stuff doesn't work, and that's the core of safe harbor: it's impossible to moderate this stuff! And if you ban a certain string, people will simply post to the string, or decrypt it in funny ways in their submissions...

CJ Millisock [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Hi, I'm CJ Millisock, (www.cjmillisock.com). I'm the person who clicked on the original story and found the "Oops!" 404 error message. I then re-submitted it, and my submission received over 15,000 Diggs before getting removed.

I just wanted to give my 2 cents here. This is my personal opinion.

If I would have been confronted with a page saying that the original post was removed because of copyright or anything legally related, I DEFINITELY would not have submitted the story again.

Ludwik Trammer is exactly right. I thought it was an act of censorship on Digg's part, and that's why I reposted it.

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

[put at-character here]Philipp: I agree, and I think the Digg revolt was an excellent demonstration of the power of civil disobedience. The law is silly and a site like Digg is ultimately un-moderatable. The revolt demonstrated to everyone that information can no longer be effectively censored once it's free on the web.

The thing is, people seem to be upset with Digg for complying with a law of the country in which they are operating (international users and users under 18 doesn't make it any less illegal to post the key on a US site). I would expect people to be saying 'look government – your law is stupid and ultimately useless!', instead they seem to be saying 'look Digg, your censorship has failed!'.

"I think the right and respectful thing to do (for such a big site) is to drag out the DMCA process as long as possible"

I don't necessarily agree with this. I agree with the anti-DRM agenda, but why does Digg have to? Maybe they think DRM is an excellent idea. If it was a death threat being posted should they also drag out the removal process for as possible out of respect for users?

You're absolutely right though, Digg has not treated its users with the respect they deserve – and that is what has generated a lot of the ill-feeling.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I just took a quick peek at the top in 365Days on digg..

kevins post (his decesion) currently sit's at approx 37K diggs and 1.5K comments.. an all time high

Zim [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Sometimes it's hard to understand things from "inside"... Let's hope they learn from this.

macbeach [PersonRank 6]

12 years ago #

Digg didn't start out open and honest did it? I heard that Rose first demonstrated it on a TV show he hosted without bothering to mention that it was his product.

I tried it, and found the signal to noise ratio way too low for my liking. User created news, except in cases of natural disasters and such where eyewitness accounts are valuable, is way over rated. SOMEBODY you trust (or at least know about their prejudices) needs to do the first cut at a story when it comes to laws, technology etc. Having places like Digg (or Slashdot which I prefer) where users can weigh in on the issue is great too and that is what is still broken about the mainstream media, who are still figuring out how to interact with the public.

But eventually, the people who do the original research on a story, whether it is AP, Reuters or the New York Times, will figure out how to ramp up their interactive efforts and there will be much less need for things like Digg, except as a monitor of pre-pubescent fads.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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