Hello diggers!  We’ve hit the front page, so I hope our little WordPress operation doesn’t lock up and die

Final edit: At 3:03 am EST, the first non-HDDVD post appeared on the front page! God bless you, “Have we been burying people alive? How Doctors are redefining Death!” Hopefully this will signify digg’s return to normal.

I’m a very active member of the digg.com community, and in the past few days there has been some turmoil between users and moderators. Digg functions as a democratic social news service, where users submit news and then vote on stories they enjoy, which make it to the front page at a certain point. Well, 2 days ago, a story came onto digg containing a hexadecimal code that had been leaked in the hacker community, and was apparently the key to cracking almost any HD-DVD you have. Digg allegedly responded by silently banning the submitter and removing the story. When the users discovered this hidden censorship, they planned a protest to show digg that they disagreed with their hidden tactics.

So on the night of May 1, when I visited the digg homepage, I noticed something odd. Every story in the top 10 was related to the numbers. Most were not even news stories, they were just different, unique ways of repeating the hex code. After one refresh and about 30 seconds, the entire front page had been completely overrun with the flood of HDDVD stories. I took an image of the entire site below (caution, it is fairly big, click to see full):

So now the question arises: Because the issue is far too big to ban everyone involved, what does digg do? Do they continue to attempt censoring incoming stories related to the HDDVD issue? Or do they let their site get overrun completely and release a press statement pleading with users to stop? Or perhaps, do they release a press statement admitting they were wrong in censoring the original story?

In my opinion, the digg moderators were wrong in censoring the story in the first place. The site was not being used to promote cracking or copyright infringement. It was simply hosting a user-submitted story informing users how the crack was done. This is no different than hosting a news story about how a killer committed his crime, where there is certainly no risk of people connecting the crime with the news source. The issue has arose that digg is/was sponsored by HDDVD. If this is the cause of the censorship, then digg should be ashamed and I might soon find myself burning my sweatshirt and deleting my account. The reason we joined digg was the idea of power to the people. It was a fun and easy way of seeing the news stories that like-minded people thought were interesting. But if backdoor dealings are affecting stories that in no way break the Terms of Service, then digg is going to have a lot of explaining to do.

EDIT: Founder Kevin Rose has released the following blog post on the official Digg blog:

We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. 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. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Digg on,

Kevin

If Kevin and the guys actually go through with it, and lets the digg populous be heard, then I’ll proudly fly my digg flag high. This is a bold statement by them, and if they stick to their guns I will be thoroughly impressed. I want to continue my digg-addiction, and I will as long as they stand tough by their words.

Here, for history’s sake, are the updates I posted while digg was in panic mode:

Edit: Could my title be true? Under the incredibly heavy traffic tonight, digg is currently (1:45 am EST) down “for maintenance.” In its final minutes, stories could be seen on the front page with 1 digg, showing just how messed up the system was. It’s ironic… digg got dugg, and dugg hard. It looks like someone needs to post a duggmirror link in the comments of the front page, because it, like so many other sites, has been crashed by digg users.

Double edit: (1:55 am) Digg came back, but wasn’t functioning properly. 5 minutes later, it was down again, this time just giving a 404 error, the mark of a truly crashed site.

*It came back solidly around 2:20 am*

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