Has Digg been manipulated?

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Gadren
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Has Digg been manipulated?

Postby Gadren » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:04 am UTC

I've been looking at some of the most dugg stories on issues like global warming and net neutrality. When looking at the stories from almost a year ago, sorting the comments by most diggs seems to show that the consensus of diggers was that net neutrality was good, global warming was at least partially anthropogenic, and libertarianism was sensible only when tempered with the Constitutional mandate for Congress to provide for the "general welfare" of the states.

Compare that with today: net neutrality is "government regulation" and must be abolished, global warming is either completely natural or "we just don't know," libertarianism and the Ronpaul are like God's gifts to politics, and 9/11 conspiracies are true (with debunkers part of the conspiracy).

One strange discrepancy is that Digg's support for universal health care has seemingly never wavered. There aren't really any popular stories about it newer than 60 days, though, so I don't know if that's changed in recent days.

I don't deny that people can change their minds -- heck, I did a 180 on my religion and politics over a period of about 3-4 years. But the attitudes of so many people on Digg don't seem like they could change their minds together in such a short period of time.

I very much doubt that consensus on Digg could have changed this much through natural means -- not in less than a year.

So, what is the cause of this rapid change? Are people honestly changing their minds about all these issues? Is dedicated effort by a small minority "gaming" the system? Or is it some combination of the two, with strong pressure by a small minority getting a few minds changed, then it snowballing due to confirmation bias, where people's minds are molded by the strong repetition of certain stories and stances on Digg?

Khonsu
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Postby Khonsu » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:27 am UTC

I think Digg (and other systems like it) have the weakness that they can be manipulated rather easily. Go to a forum and post a Dugg article. Urge likeminded people to vote it up (or down) simply so that you "will be heard" in a rather, well, meaningless way. Rinse and repeat, wasting your time manipulating the system exactly to your liking.

Honestly, I have not a lot to add at this point other than net neutrality is cool, global warming has to be dealt with regardless of whether it's our fault or not (being wasteful or polluting is a bad idea, period), and well, the Ronpaul weirds me out. I don't know why, but he does.

Goplat
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Postby Goplat » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:59 am UTC

A group of libertarian Digg spammers was exposed a while back. Given how fanatical those types of people tend to be, I'd be very surprised if they weren't still around, though most likely with better secrecy now.

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fragsta
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Postby fragsta » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:10 am UTC

The thing about Digg is the fact that if one opinion is even slightly more popular than another, the other will be so incredibly snowed-under with buries that it won't ever see the light of day unless you look for it.

If you look at any of the topics you would expect to see divided opinions on, you'll usually see loads of comments at the top with one opinion, and as you go down the comment pile in terms of number of comment Diggs, the polarity of the opinion will gradually change. We could go all mathematical about this but it would ruin it, because as usual, demographics can not be simply explained by statistics. There's always more to it.

We will probably not see a Pro-bush story on Digg EVER because of the extremely vocal "libertarian" population on Digg. (I tread lightly with that word... a lot of them are probably anarchists).

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Postby Khonsu » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:21 am UTC

Libertarianism: Anarchy for grown-ups.

Where did I see that? I'm reminded of it. >_>; Not to insult any libertarians on here, but I am reminded of it.

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Insignificant Deifaction
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Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:33 am UTC

They are... not the same.

Libertarians want a government, but they want the government to fuck off and only intervene to stop people from going at each other's throats.

Anarchists trust people more, and assume that your average bystander will stop the carpe jugulum.

So, I actually support both, in today's world, Libertarianism makes more sense, if we can actually get people to behave like... I don't know... they have a brain, anarchy will make just as much sense.

I have no desire to fight for this view, I was simply making the distinction as best I could, and informing about my view.
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Postby Khonsu » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:37 am UTC

Not saying libertarianism = anarchy, but I saw that somewhere on this here interbutts and it amused me. I'd be all for libertarianism in theory, but they can't seem to agree on a common set of platforms, like how they feel about gay marriage, abortion, separation of church and state, drugs, censorship, gun freedoms, et al. When they're more unified, then I'll check 'em out.

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Solt
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Postby Solt » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:48 am UTC

Khonsu wrote:When they're more unified, then I'll check 'em out.


That completely defeats the point of libertarianism, which is that the government needs to stop telling people how to live their lives.
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Postby Khonsu » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:50 am UTC

But if I don't know how the party stands on issues, how can I vote for them? Scouring Google for hours trying to find every single snippet of information on every candidate to make sure someone I disagree with won't get into office? It's not ridiculous to want to know what a group believes in. Even punks and anarchists have pretty good generalities for beliefs, depending on if they're conservative anarchists or liberal anarchists.

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hyperion
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Postby hyperion » Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:44 am UTC

1) Digg is user-driven, so it must eventually be gamed by some. Unless we've all been strung along and everything is posted by a select group of people.
2) You're wrong about net neutrality.
Net neutrality is good, and people still want it. It basically means that all information on the internet takes the same priority. The "government regulation" is bad because it destroys net neutrality, allowing ISPs to charge more for different sites, and most people want that gone.
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But I digress.

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semicolon
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Postby semicolon » Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:01 am UTC

This isn't entirely on-topic, but Digg's comment system sucks. It sucks so much. And I don't mean the way it's threaded or whatever, I mean the way the dumbass userbase uses it. It was originally intended, I guess, to get rid of the bad comments and keep the good ones, a la Slashdot, and every other comment system ever where you can mod comments up or down. Not on Digg! See a comment you don't like? See a comment you don't agree with? Mod that shit down! You shouldn't have to look at that!

When I see an article on Slashdot that I already know about, I look at the comments because most of them are usually informative, or at least provide an interesting debate. Digg is just, "BUSHHHH SUCKS!!!!!!!!" over and over and over and over. Sometimes I see it on articles that have nothing to do with Bush. Circlejerks are great and all, but not on a news site.

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fragsta
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Postby fragsta » Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:15 am UTC

Insignificant Deification wrote:They are... not the same.

Libertarians want a government, but they want the government to fuck off and only intervene to stop people from going at each other's throats.


Like Khonsu, I'm not saying they are the same. All I'm saying is that sometimes on Digg it almost sounds like some of them would happily live in an anarchist country.

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SecondTalon
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Postby SecondTalon » Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:25 am UTC

Khonsu wrote:But if I don't know how the party stands on issues, how can I vote for them? Scouring Google for hours trying to find every single snippet of information on every candidate to make sure someone I disagree with won't get into office? It's not ridiculous to want to know what a group believes in. Even punks and anarchists have pretty good generalities for beliefs, depending on if they're conservative anarchists or liberal anarchists.


The party doesn't. You look up how the specific candidate votes. At most, we're talking research on 50+ people in a given election, and I'm not going to try and guess on the percentage of them identifying themselves and being affiliated with the Libertarian Party (which is different from being a libertarian, in the same way being a conservative or a liberal has nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat)

That being said...

how they feel about gay marriage, abortion, separation of church and state, drugs, censorship, gun freedoms, et al. When they're more unified, then I'll check 'em out.


The libertarian answer would be - Your choice not mine; your choice not mine; fuck yes; your choice not mine, no, your choice not mine; et al.


Anyway... Yes, Digg is manipulatable and has done so in the past, something about how a large percentage of the highest ranked stories were all submitted by the same small group of people, some of that due to people simply voting up stories posted by people who had a lot of voted up stories, and voting down stories posted by people with few voted up stories... or something, I don't really dig Digg. More of a Farker, myself.
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Gadren
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Postby Gadren » Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:22 pm UTC

2) You're wrong about net neutrality.
Net neutrality is good, and people still want it. It basically means that all information on the internet takes the same priority. The "government regulation" is bad because it destroys net neutrality, allowing ISPs to charge more for different sites, and most people want that gone.

I agree that net neutrality is good, but a lot of the (for lack of a better phrase) the Ronpaul spammers seem to have thrown out net neutrality, because they believe that net neutrality itself is government regulation -- and technically it is, because it's a requirement on companies to treat information equally.

the Ronpaul doesn't like net neutrality, and so his supporters don't like it, and the new consensus of Digg is being shaped by the opinions of the Ronpaul instead of people choosing the Ronpaul because they agree with his opinions.

It's only recently that you see really highly-dugg comments that advocate against net neutrality because the invisible hand of the market means we don't need it, and that a simple regulation that's already existing to protect the consumer would bring about government oppression.

I find this to be twisted and convoluted logic, and it's sad that the Digg community isn't choosing the Ronpaul because he fits their stances, but that they're changing their stances to fit the Ronpaul.

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McLurker
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Postby McLurker » Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:12 pm UTC

the Ronpaul spammers on Digg confuse me. How many Digg users are likely to be registered Republicans? Since he has no chance of getting the nomination, the number of Digg users who will ever get a chance to vote for him must be pretty small.


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