Mob Rule at Digg

Charles Johnson provides a case study in the “digital Maoism” at Digg, where gangs of likeminded lefties pounce on any post from his site and ban it from the front page even when it gets hundreds of “diggs.” Indeed, the post pointing out the problem has nearly 600 diggs at the moment but has been effectively kept off the front page.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    Personally, that kind of thing is one reason I’ve never really gotten involved with such “services”. The way such things are put up, is far too subjective. You have in the past, and with some justification, main complaints about the way sitemeter is working and or not working. I submit the problem there is a matter of programmatic design. (Though frankly, and in fairness, given the numbers of hits sitemeter gets I can’t imagine being able to program a way around the problem…)

    But, I would also submit that the issue with Digg and the like, is also programmatic; the program is designed with far too many humans involved in the decision-making chain.

  2. Nick says:

    That’s alright, I think Technorati has come out with something similar to digg. Too bad the initials are “WTF”…

    Hey, I guess if you want to get into the front page, you better do a little ass kissing nowadays..

  3. Joe Buz says:

    I’m not digging the controlled bias…same crap on youtube. There are a ton of opinion control freaks out here in the internets…or is it the wwwtf?

  4. Hal says:

    I guess no one has any faith in markets any more.

  5. James Joyner says:

    I guess no one has any faith in markets any more.

    If collusion by a few can derail the preferences of the many, it’s not a free market. If Digg or other social networking sites naturally attract a disproportionate share of lefties who don’t vote for LGF, that’s well and good. If, however, a handful of them are colluding to ensure that the hundreds of votes LGF gets among Digg users are canceled out, it’s a broken system.

  6. Joe Buz says:

    Hal, ..kinda like having faith in a Venezuelan market?

  7. carpeicthus says:

    Digg IS a mob. That’s how it works. The 600 people digging up Charles’ crap is another mob, the same people who keep trying to make him into a living saint on Wikipedia.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    To, maybe, flesh out Hal’s point:

    If Johnson is correct, then Digg will effectively dig its own grave (sorry for the pun). After all, if it isn’t giving its users the most popular posts, then why use it? If this becomes an issue for enough people they’ll stop using it, and it will simply fade away or be relegated as something only for a niche market.