2009 / 20 February

Digg Finally Admits the Auto-Bury Exists


It has long been debated and rumored that Digg has an auto-bury feature that would automatically bury specific user’s submissions.

They have for a long time denied any such mechanism exists, but a recent incident with Digg user ‘Nitmeh3’ shows evidence to the contrary… through Digg’s own admission.

It all started yesterday when Nitmeh3 submitted an graphic and NSFW image telling Digg what they could do with themselves.

The initial submission did not explain what had occurred but the submission was quickly buried (or as we now know probably auto-buried). Later the user was also banned.

Today, Nitmeh3 posted an article explaining why he was banned and what made him so upset.

You can read all the emails here, but what I noticed right away was a specific Digg’s response to Nitmeh3 after he asked if his submissions were spam (and thus being auto-buried).

We appreciate that you have submitted quality stuff on but because we must be vigilant in protecting against activities that compromise the Digg community we were forced to bury your submissions.”

Digg went on to say that they would not only auto-bury all his submissions, but that they would not allow him to digg any upcoming stories either.

We appreciate your passion towards Digg and this is why we haven’t locked your account yet. But, unfortunately we would not to be able to feature you on the homepage anymore and prevent you from digging any upcoming stories though you can Digg Popular stories.”

These emails between Nitmeh3 and Digg were also submitted to Digg today, but the submission was quickly deleted.

So it would appear that Digg is taking an even stronger stance than ever on how they will control users activities and success… completely behind the scenes and without their knowledge.

I guess the whole MC Hammer algo in the closet is a little more accurate than we initially thought.

So much for their attempt to be more transparent.

*There is no way to know for sure whether these emails have been changed or doctored. The user in question is adamant that they are original though.

However, in a Digg townhall overview on, Jay Adelson talked about auto-bury:

“Adelson is talking about “auto-bury,” which he says is not quite as conspiratorial as some users have suggested. It’s really for spam control.”

EDIT: I received an email from Jen Burton at Digg indicating that although they do have email correspondence between Digg and Nitmeh3, “none of the communication indicates the existence of an auto bury list or his supposed place on it.”

They indicate the above referenced emails do not exist in their system.

A question was asked of the this statement from Digg on this submission page for this article, as to why Nitmeh3 would go off and get so mad if none of this occured.

Jen responded by saying, “I can say that folks are generally unhappy when we have to enforce our TOS.”

This does bring up an interesting question as to what enforcement measures where used against Nitmeh3. He was not banned until after this whole situation occurred and I am only aware of one enforcement that Digg has for violating their TOS and that is to ban the user.

Hopefully Digg will comment further and help clear this up, as there still seems to be some unanswered questions about this recent issue.

(photo courtesy of Techipedia)

  • I don't know if I can justify Nitmeh3 act as childish, noobish or unprofessional he is my good friend and I know he never submitted any stuff which is bad or unethical.
    Obviously when you devoted so much of time on digg and all of a sudden you get a message from digg "you don't belong here" this will lead to upset and anger.
    Whatever he did is a message for all a message that we all need to read and specially digg moderators.

    Dear Digg moderators
    It's good that you are trying to prevent the spam by implementing autobury and being strict with your new rules and algo but its also important that you should consider that the time and devotion we have given to digg is also meant something to us.
    We have been submitting quality stuff from all over the Internet to make Digg a unique website in terms of quality but in the end you ban users without informing.

    I believe it will be best, if you have some notification system for a DIgg user if he is going out of the way after a while.

    Nitmeh3 profile may have banned previously but after his comeback the quality of submission he has given to digg. Banning of his account can you justify that?

    Why don't you make more guideline for the users to give us a more transparent view.

    One more thing that any submission from whitelisted sites are sureshot a homepage but what about other bloggers and webmasters who writes quality stuff and deserve a homepage but due to unlack of exposure there submission never made an FP.

    I suggest:

    # Some Email Notification system
    # Digg support forum

    The best thing what we can do here is that you can create a page dedicated to those power user who got banned and reason behind it.
    This will help others as well to understand what Digg don't like about them.

    This is my felling after reading the whole Fiasco.

  • nitmeh3 is full of shit... / February 20, 2009 AT 1:38 PM

    This would be all fine and dandy if those “e-mails” he posted were legit e-mails and not made up.

  •, as many other web sites are private property, so they can do anything they want with rules. And cause, for end users – it is a completely free service, so be ready to get a hammer (MC's or not:) at your head any time they like.
    All IMHO

  • Digg stuff is full of old, fat, bacon/cat loving IT faggots. Don't even try to win with this phenomena.

  • I closed my account a year ago.

  • This has been debated, but the last remaining questions is… Why does a top user flip out for no reason? If he wasn't banned, didn't get the emails, and was not being auto buried, then why just go nuts?

    • I'm not denying that he may have been auto buried, and I'm not debating he was banned.

      I think there is probably something he did that he's not telling us. Maybe they realized he was banned previously on other screen names and notified him? Maybe his old tricks weren't working and he was mad that they added things so he couldn't game the system to get on the front page? Maybe he just wanted to leave digg for reddit and wanted to go out with a bang to get all his friends to go with him.

      I'm not sure of why he did it, but I think that he just wanted to start shit with digg so he made up emails.

      • I hear you.. The other aspect is he was not actually banned. That is the problem. Digg admits in their comments they did something to him, but the only thing that is listed that could a possible would be auto bury, which is the basis of the article.

        Should a person be allowed on Digg after they have been banned numerous times… probably not. I can also see them not wanting to just ban them again since it is just too easy to keep making accounts.

        The real point is that Digg users feel that it is not transparent the way the site works. As a site that has from the beginning claimed to be completely decided by its users, the users get upset when they can see it is not true and Digg continues to deny it.

        Thanks for the comments :)

        • The Digg TOS says "Digg may also impose limits on certain features and services or restrict your access to parts or all of the Services without notice or liability."

          Since Digg is remaining silent on what they did, they may have done a number of things, and imposed extra limits on anything. I suppose that could be an auto-bury of his posts, but there are various other things that may have happened. Maybe his right to digg/bury something was restricted because he was using bots for it, which he admitted. Maybe he was restricted from the up and coming page until enough people dugg it that weren't bots dugg it. I would think if the same, say, 500 people dugg every post you made, they would change posts from that user to not show up until more unique users dugg it.

          You are right in that they should be more transparent with what they do. But with that comes more ways for people to abuse it.

          Thank you for the responses.

  • Funny.. This tends to be what some people throw out about countries or jobs.. if you don't like the way America works then get out.. right?

    I think there is nothing wrong with wanting your community of choice to work and interact with you in a proper manor.

  • Funny.. This tends to be what some people throw out about countries or jobs.. if you don't like the way America works then get out.. right? Don't like the way your company does something, then quit.

    I think there is nothing wrong with wanting your community of choice to work and interact with you in a proper manor.

    • Of course not! I didn't mean to imply that people should never complain about anything. Nothing would ever improve if that were the case! I simply meant the amount of drama that arises from this is not worth what the website actually is.

  • If you do not want to use Digg smple leave out of digg. Wot does it indicate when u still go to digg even after being banned by them 3 times….

  • I received an email from Jen Burton at Digg indicating that although they do have email correspondence between Digg and Nitmeh3, “none of the communication indicates the existence of an auto bury list or his supposed place on it.”

    Did anyone else notice how this sentence was phrased? Jen doesn't deny that an "auto bury" list exists, she merely says that *none of the communication indicates* that the "auto bury" list exists. In other words: "you can't prove an auto-bury list exists", which sounds very suspicious. Why not simply deny the existence of the list if such a list doesn't exist (unless, she is trying to avoid lying)?

  • reddit is dying too

  • Who cares!!! I can't believe I spent the time to read an article on such a trivial topic (and then comment about it).

  • While on one hand I can understand his frustrations with digg it still does not justify his actions. His last submission was just simply way over the top to say the least.

  • I can understand anyone's frustration from something like this especially if this eats their livelihood in anyway. Why does that person use a blogspot blog anyways?

  • I was there and saw the carniage that day. It was not pretty but the nitmeh post was pretty hilarious b ut at the same time it had a message. I don't believe for one minute that he just went off for no reason at all. I believe his side of the story over Digg.

  • Digg is not the only one share content service… Ditch them!

  • I haven't had good luck with Digg. My account was almost banned because they thought I had more than one account. Digg needs to allow more freedom of speech and not go on a banning spree.

  • I have never agreed with anything more in my life.

  • I think the main debate is not about his banning or whether he should be gone or not. It is about a long stance Digg has taken in denying that any such systems are in place.