How Right-Wingers Rig Digg
David Berreby is the author of "Us and Them: The Science of Identity." He has written about human behavior and other science topics for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Smithsonian, The New Republic, Nature, Discover, Vogue and many other publications. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Paris, a Science Writing Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory, a resident at Yaddo, and in 2006 was awarded the Erving Goffman Award for Outstanding Scholarship for the first edition of "Us and Them." David can be found on Twitter at @davidberreby and reached by email at david [at] davidberreby [dot] com.
According to Ole Ole Olson at The Public Record, over the past year an invitation-only Yahoo group called "Digg Patriots" has been systematically pushing right-wing content and "burying" liberal views on Digg.com.
According to him, the conservative conspiracy against Digg began crudely, with exhortations on the Free Republic site to digg the stuff that Free Republic people want to promote: "All I’m asking you to do is vote for an article at Digg and then leave." Digg's community was more than equal to this kind of attempted manipulation. So last year, Olson writes, the activists created Digg Patriots on Yahoo (since his report, the group appears to have shut down). There, they planned campaigns to digg right-wing content and bury stuff from the left.
They also, Olson said, created multiple profiles (including fake African-Americans who complained of leftie racism). Digg users who tried to call them out were targeted for attack. "We need to mine his stuff," Olson quotes one poster in the Digg Patriots group. "I think if we look hard enough, we can get him banned. We should form a team to mine his submission and another to mine his comments for incriminating material."
Olson doesn't say how or when "our researchers" got access to the closed Digg Patriots group. If this report holds up, though, he has done all Diggers a service, exactly the sort that can't be performed by a multitude.
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