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Digg Love Is Not A Right

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Within the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that citizens should have rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No one owes you a spot on the front page of Digg.

Fellow writer Joe Lewis suggested in his article, Digg: A New Platform for Discrimination, that at Digg “it’s liberty and justice for none.”

I’m all in favor of free speech and expression. If you’re in the public eye in any measure, criticism and compliments should be able to flow without worrying about some government functionary writing down your name while jackbooted thugs haul you off for ‘re-education.’

You are owed the freedom to be a complete dope with your words. In our society, a lot of people avail themselves of that right. Pick a favorite example in your mind. Did that person end up in jail? No?

That’s because we have rights. One is the pursuit of happiness, and for many website publishers that happiness can only come with the boost of traffic a mention on the front page of Digg. When they don’t get it, they respond poorly.

Joe’s article considered the points raised in Cristian Mezei’s post about Digg’s algorithm update. It’s conjecture, as Digg does not publicize how its algorithm functions, but the guesses look well-informed. Like most things in life, Digg is a popularity contest; the more people you know, provided they are the ‘right’ people, the better you will do.

There are no guarantees on Digg. Joe makes references to the First Amendment along with the suggestion of discrimination. Neither really applies to Digg that I can see.

The First Amendment allows people like me to point out uncomfortable truths, as in this article for example. I can’t make things up, and more importantly I can’t make you, dear reader, like them just because I think I deserve your praise.

Digg may be discriminating on concepts its users and/or its human editors do not like. But it is a privately-owned site. I use it and am free to vote up or bury stories, and can even submit and comment on them too.

Those who have run afoul of Digg’s practices can’t cry Constitutional violation just because, for example, Digg doesn’t like SEO content. It’s frustrating, certainly, but illegal?

Probably not. No one had to like you in junior high school either, no one had to invite you to the best parties in college, no one had a mandate to hire you out of college into a $60k job with a company car unless you merited or deserved those things.

Some people who enjoyed those benefits probably got them based on who they know. Digg works in similar fashion. It’s just like being fourteen again.

Hard work pays off more than complaining does. Scott at SEOmoz, for one, knows this. Look at what he has planned to work around Digg’s obstacles. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned from that; you can pursue happiness all you like. Just don’t expect it as a right.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Digg Love Is Not A Right
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