Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Digg This: Hijacked No More

Back in the summer of 2010, there was a tempest in a teapot about a group of conservative Diggers who were supposedly "censoring" Digg.

A group of about 100 Diggers calling themselves the Digg Patriots were apparently using the "bury" feature to regularly bury liberal stories. This shocking discovery was made by Alternet, a blog that may actually be farther to the left than I was when I was young and stupid. I will not dignify the articles by posting links to them here.

The alternet article must be written by the same people who think the mainstream media is too conservative. Other articles currently featured on this blog have titles like

"What Happened When Fundamentalist Christians Tried to "Cure" Me of Homosexuality"

"Why Are Believers So Hostile Toward Atheists?"

"Brave Woman Who Grabbed Clip from Shooter Blames Right-Wing Media and Rhetoric ... In Fox News Interview"



On what planet is Digg in danger of being snatched away from the many thousands of pornified, pro-marijuana, pro-gay, pro-abortion, anti-gun, anti-Israel, anti-Christian Digg users by a group of 100 conservatives?  When I first got on Digg in 2006 or 2007 conservative stories on the front page or anywhere else were nearly nonexistent. Just because there are more than there used to be doesn't mean there isn't still a gross imbalance in favor of left leaning articles.

I have actually learned to love these guys, even the ones with whom there are no words to describe how vehemently I disagree. I have been where they are, and believed what they believe with equal fervor. Maybe they will change their minds one day, maybe not. I did, but it did not render me unable to have a conversation, or to "agree to disagree."

I don't happen to care for burying stories, even ones I don't like. I feel very strongly that having to hear speech I don't like is a reasonable price of a free society. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean other people shouldn't have the right to read it, though I will bury comments that are blasphemous, racist, or just plain evil.  If I don't like something, I don't digg it.  On the other side of that coin, I have often dugg stories that I did not agree with because they made me think, or I found them otherwise worthy of recognition. My liberal Digg friends know that I am willing to digg all kinds of stories.

Winston Churchill is said to have observed, “If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”  The youth of most of the Diggers I know accounts for most of their opinions. But Churchill also said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” This is where many of the progressive Diggers fall short. They shout and name-call, but do not actually listen to opposing views, preferring to bury them instead. Perhaps the Digg Patriots felt that organized burying was the only way to balance the coverage.

I can remember once submitting an article about Barbara Bush recovering from a heart attack, just because I thought it was newsworthy. That was before I understood the anti-Bush vitriol on Digg that prevented any serious consideration of any article that even mentioned the name. The story was buried in the first couple of minutes. It wasn't a political story, just acknowledgment of a serious health issue experienced by a former First Lady that would have been newsworthy had it been about Hillary Clinton.

One of the charges leveled at the Digg Patriots is that they had multiple accounts, and when some of them were "banned for life" they came back in another incarnation.

Please. This happened every day of the week. Where was the outrage when liberals did this?

Anyway, that was before the unveiling of the publisher-heavy Digg 2.0, or 3.0 or whatever they are calling it. As far as I am concerned, that was the final demise of the "social" part of Digg that started when they took away the shout feature.

There is still a lot of interesting news on Digg, but it is no longer a daily, obsessive destination for me. I digg intermittently, and I am still in touch with a lot of the people I met there. I still follow a lot of the interesting blogs and sites I would never have known about if not for Digg. It is a great place to find out what the OtherSide is thinking.  But there are other social bookmarking/voting sites that have more appeal for me these days.

Glad to have my life back.

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