Awasu » Committing suicide, Web 2.0-style
Wednesday 2nd May 2007 1:17 PM [General]

This is just fascinating to watch.

If you are even remotely geeky, you will already know what's been happening but for the rest of you, here's the back story. Digg is a "community-driven" site where people can link to stuff on the net and by voting them up or down, get to control what appears on the site. Recently, an encryption key was found that lets you break the copy-protection on HD-DVD's and so, of course, somebody posted it on Digg. In anticipation of the inevitable cease-and-desist order (that had already gone out to other sites), Digg decided to take the post down.

And the Digg users went bat-shit.

People started posting the key left, right and center, voting them up and everything else down, with the effect that the site consisted of nothing but stories with the key in it (screenshots) :blink:

Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg, reversed their position and announced that they would let the posts stand.

We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company.

If you're feeling masochistic, you can read the users' comments to all this here but for me, this one is the money quote:

The behaviour of Digg users over the last 24 hours has been nothing short of disgusting. A small minority has lead a mob mentality, wreaking havoc for the majority and ruining the experience of all users.

Shame on all Digg users for putting Kevin in this position.

I don't know much about the history of Kevin nor Digg but I'm sure that he and his team (as have us here at Awasu) have poured their hearts and souls into the site, spending thousands of hours over many years building something that's actually Really Good and to watch it being put in a position where it could all be brought down by some mega-corporation lashing out trying to protect the unprotectable must be heart-wrenching. I'll bet good money that every single one of those people accusing Rose of being a spineless coward, or worse, has never built a site or a product or anything else of value. It's real easy being tough when you don't have to pay the price of the consequences 😐

If it were me, I'd be tempted to take the site down for a day or two, to give people a taste of what it would be like if the site were to disappear. But to be honest, I don't think most people would care. They would just move on somewhere else, leaving Rose to glumly clean up the wreckage of everything he had built over the years.

Man, you give people the power to do what they want and they use it to commit suicide.

Not that surprising, really 🙄

4 Responses to this post

Thanks for the story, I don't "digg" but I do note that people seem to be more inclined to destroy these days than they are to build. When folks like you and the digg team and others out there with 2.0 sites do all the work, it can be torn down in nothing flat. I am webmaster for a number of sites from genealogy to fellowship sites and it is a lot of work to get them up and keep them updated. Mine aren't even 2.0, just journeyman work, but it is still work.
I do hope that nobody tries to tear apart Awasu, it is a really neat product. Thank you for your work.

>>> people seem to be more inclined to destroy these days than they are to build.

Yah, well it's so much easier to do 🙄

As I said in the post, the people responsible for this mess don't have any stake in it, anything to lose. They get on their high-horse about standing up to the man and when it all falls apart, they just move on somewhere else and have their fun there.

>>Man, you give people the power to do what they want and they use it to >>commit suicide.

I think that you are misunderstanding 'suicide' - what happened looks to me to be more like 'murder', or 'gang rape' of Digg. Secondly, I don't think it is possible to "give power" to people but it is possible for them to "take power", that is, to use their own power. The crunch comes when people with "power" use that power without the permission or "authority" of others in the group to act merely on their own authority as individuals. That is undemocratic and truly "terrorist". In the case of Digg it seems like a mob reaction without overt leadership. It is becoming a world-wide phenomenon and is not apparently confined to any one country or creed. Why? IMHO it all stems from the new views that there is no such thing as "society", only a collection of "individuals". As Shakespeare once said: "O brave new world, that has such people in't".

>>> I think that you are misunderstanding ’suicide’ - what happened looks to me to be more like ‘murder’, or ‘gang rape’ of Digg.

It's an interesting distinction. I think these would be fair words to use to describe what happened but "suicide" also applies. Their actions could've lead to Digg being shutdown, a site which they are members of, so "suicide" is appropriate 🙂

>>> In the case of Digg it seems like a mob reaction without overt leadership.

Indeed. Civilized behaviour requires a certain responsibility from its participants, or failing that, rules and enforcement thereof. The Internet makes it easy to have none of these, hence what we saw.

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