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 Digg.com 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 Cnet.com, 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)