Digg This: A Cyber Riot Erupts

digglogo.jpgWhile news reporters were getting beaten by LAPD officers yesterday, a cyber riot broke out over Digg’s attempt to stop users from publishing a nine-digit encryption code for HD-DVDs.

Angry over censorship and deletions on its site, “rioters” saturated the site with code-laden posts. The reaction proved overwhelming, and Digg temporarily shut down.

Eventually, the Digg folks acquiesced to the mob, and let users publish the code, saying:

In building and shaping the site I’ve always tried to stay as hands on as possible. We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. 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.

Died trying? We think they would have died either way — had they continued the deletions, users would have left. This way, though, users get a Lord-of-the-Flies-type victory, and no one wins.

Oh, well. Watch here for whatever court cases emerge from this.