Digg’s democracy does not work

Here is a great example how democracy just doesn’t work. Not because democracy is bad (I prefer it over other forms of ruling), but random people are just not good-enough to administer. Democracy is as good/bad as the quality of its subjects.

So, Thom submitted his editorial to digg.com, story got live after 11 hours, only to get buried within 15 minutes from the front page and not to be seen again. The story is legit, it’s not trolling (don’t let the zealots fool ya). It’s an honest, personal opinion on the state of the Linux desktop. And I also happen to agree with it, along others too.

But, some readers buried the story. Burying is not provided by Digg for people who disagree with the editorial, but as a tool to report abuse/spam/lameness. And yet, the Linux zealots buried the story, simply because they didn’t agree with it, or because they didn’t wanna damage Linux’s image to the world at large. That’s Digg’s democracy for ya.

This is also the reason why I also don’t like OSNews’ own thumbs up feature. People don’t vote for the story quality, but they vote if they agree with the story or not. For example, you might have a very controversial, but extremely well-written linked story, and yet it would get 0 votes just because people think they are voting for their own opinions instead of the quality of the story. They don’t want “food for thought”, they want “peace of mind”. It gets personal when you, for example, do an extremely interesting interview with let’s say, a Microsoft employee, and yet no one votes it up because they don’t like Microsoft, even if the article was insightful. It makes the editor –who spent time lovingly working on the article– feel bad for getting hammered for the wrong reason.

But then again, I don’t need to be “popular”. If I was to have “popular ideas and opinions”, I would just be like the rest of the non-thinking mass. I never allowed myself to be one and the same with the mass, not even when I was 12 (one of the reasons I left Greece was because I didn’t fit in with my ideology and interests). I got myself popular with my unpopular ideas and strong opinions, and I am proud of this. I better die rather than go along with the tide.

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CPinto wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 1:31 AM PST:

I really liked Thom’s article and I think it hit the nail right on the head (didn’t bother commenting on OSNews because I got the feeling that it wasn’t worth it) but I have to disagree with your opinions on Digg: having stories buried or digged is what makes it stand from the rest of the crowd. That’s just the way it works and you shouldn’t mind too much about it.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 1:36 AM PST:

CPinto, as I said, democracy is as good as the quality of its subjects. If your readers are idiots, or zealots, this will reflect on the site. For example, Apple-related stuff is the No1 favorite subject on Digg, more so than Linux.

The only problem I have with Digg itself is that they should not allow stories to get buried after they have been promoted to the front page. They could “mark” them as inaccurate (like they currently do), but not remove them. Retracting a story is a big deal for news outlets.

All the rest of the blame goes to the Linux zealots, not to Digg.


Alex Forster wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 2:05 AM PST:

I agree that stories shouldn’t be able to be buried (unless done by an objective Digg editor), but in lieu of “burying” I think they should significantly raise the amount of diggs required to get to the front page. If dugg fast enough, something can get on the front page with ~20 diggs. Watch the flash visualizer; most people just run down the page and digg everything they read. Forget the article, most people don’t even read the description.


JBQ wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 2:13 AM PST:

Well, democracy is effective when what people need (as a whole) is also what most individuals want. The model sometimes breaks down, e.g. when we comfortably bury our collective head under the sand.

Voting isn’t the only situation where this happens: look at all the cases where people complain about unemployment but continue buying goods from distant countries when locally made goods would support the local economy.


Moulinneuf wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 3:08 AM PST:

That’s a ridiculous accusation ,Digg is not democracy as not everyone get to vote or the right to vote , or know it exist or as access to it , also if the story had 300+ digg then there would be a problem , but so far it only have 79 vote ( including mine ).

There are no Linux zealot , if there was , you guys who feel they exist would be dead for just disagreeing with them , its one of the worst word in the human nature that exist only below Nazis. It would be really pleasant if you stopped using that word , its does not add anything to your comment , its false and to the contrary it completely diminish the point ( valid or not ) that you are trying to make.

I agree that things are slowing down from the Novell and Red Hat angle on the general desktop , but Red Hat and Novell never where about the general desktop , Mandriva took itself out by bad management so its a third blow , but then the GNU/Linux desktop community is not made up of only those 3 company , KDE and GNOME are also project who have fundings on there own , they are not dependent on those company for survival due to there independence. One contributor you also forget was caldera who got taken out byt its own SCO they where a big contributor to KDE early days.

Thom made is opinion available and it was not the popular one on Diggs its also full of incomplete data , but he was able to make it known , that’s also part of democracy , there is no guarantee everyone else will agree with you.


vince wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 3:09 AM PST:

I just think you have to get 25 people with Digg accounts who all agree to help you. Things on the upcoming page move so fast that it’s not practical to do it many other ways (post the ‘digg this’ on the your article being the only other decent way I can think of.

Personally, I think they should look into a system like Blinklist has where as soon as something is ‘blinked’ it goes to the front of the line. That way you wouldn’t have things with 15 diggs sitting somewhere on page 24 of upcoming.

BTW- the article made Slashdot today.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 3:20 AM PST:

>but so far it only have 79 vote

This is because it got off the front page too quickly. The story had the necessary votes to go to the front page, which is about 35 votes. From then on, it gets voted much quicker, but it got off before it got more votes than that.

>Digg is not democracy

Digg is described as a democracy within its own ecosystem, yes.

>There are no Linux zealot , if there was , you guys who feel they exist would be dead for just disagreeing with them

They are doing their part to be virtually dead, I can assure you of that (some even ask people to boycott osnews). Zealotry is a spot on word for what some people are.

>they are not dependent on those company for survival due to there independence

Especially Gnome is depending A LOT of its development speed on companies. And don’t forget that all of its servers and bandwidth are paid by Red Hat still.

>there is no guarantee everyone else will agree with you.

There is one thing to not agree with an article, and another to ABUSE THE (digg) SYSTEM in order to prevent a bad image for your favorite OS getting out.


Moulinneuf wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 4:25 AM PST:

“Zealotry is a spot on word for what some people are.”

I disagree , its demeaning to the meaning of that word and its insulting for everyone else because the association gets made with killers and is targeted at the community entirely , GNU/Linux user are really pigheaded ( or cow headed )and sometime very obnoxious ( I know I am )( probably why the sigh of GNU is a big wildebeest ) we are very vocal in our opinion and most of the time run against the majority just because its contrary to our values and idea , but we are not killers.

We live in a time where there exist real zealot and you don’t have to go look very far to see some example of it and I am sorry but GNU/Linux user are not killer and they do not kill as in killing for real , not stupid blocking by immature scared cowards who frankly don’t represent what GNU/Linux is about , its a real problem and should not be buried because it sheds a bad light on your distro of the moment.

What can I say , I always think that one of the biggest problem is how things are perceived and done , Red Hat is a 3 billion USD company and they don’t have offer like Apple and Dell does do for the desktop I find that really really sad , ( if they want to do it on the cheap just do a trade stock swap with Gateway witch is 1 billion ) but its all profit driven this days so we have to live with a lot of disappointments.

We will have to see to where it really leads maybe its the start of the end of some major projects and maybe the death of GNU/Linux on the desktop , but maybe people will realize that paying Novell , Red Hat and Mandriva for general desktop solution is not the right way to get something that is on the same level as Apple Mac OS X integration to there hardware. I cant say That I was impressed by any offer from anyone else either even Linuxcertified and Linspire witch I thought would offer better version this turn around have disappointed me , only system76.com is on the right track or at least they put up a good front.

What can I say , you got a real good point but personally its sad that some cowards tried to bury it , but I think just presenting the news to other News site is going to help more then discussing how it was blocked on Digg and how its not democracy when it never really was , getting to vote on things dont make it a true democracy , you needs right too.

Sorry I talk too much.


hata wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 9:30 AM PST:

Diggâ„¢ criticism from around the web.


Thom Holwerda wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 12:30 PM PST:

Yes, it feels very wrong. When a story is up on the front page, it should stay there. End of story. This bury feature is wrong, because nowhere does it say it is actually just an undigg feature. Also, the bury thing is not transparant at all.

On OSNews I’ve also posted a few dogs of stories on the front page, but you won’t see me removing them. Once it’s up, it’s up (except when it’s a dupe).


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on December 22nd, 2006 at 12:31 PM PST:

Agreed. The “bury” feature on Digg should only work for before the story gets live. If a story got live, it means that enough people thought it was worthy of promoting to the front page.


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