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Life After Digg: Interview With a Banned Top Digger

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With me tonight is Greg Davies, known by most of you as cGt2099, one of the former top Diggers (in fact, Christopher Finke’s top 1000 Digger’s list still shows him at #106), and also runs The-Trukstop.com (more info on his background here).

 

 

 

Top Digger banned from Digg cGt2099

Thanks for spending the time to interview with us.

You’re welcome my pleasure.

1 – We had a chance to catch up with Greg and talk to him about life after Digg. Greg, do you think that you’ve been given a fair shake? Especially considering the content that got you banned was front page on Reddit?

That’s a loaded question. Digg has terms of service, which I, like everyone else agrees to when you sign up. I had been banned a couple of times before, for stupid mistakes, and so the guys behind Digg must have believed, “enough is enough”. It’s their playground, and they set the rules; so I’m fine with that.

On the other hand, there didn’t seem to be any consideration into the fact that I was an extremely active submitter at Digg. I’d posted 1800+ stories since June 2006; and they didn’t seem to consider that I was observing the TOS a majority of the time. Consider also, that some diggers have been banned in the past numerous times also – some of them banned for infractions such as accepting payment for submits/Diggs – the consequences I faced at Digg just didn’t seem to be consistent with the repercussions that had been dealt out in the past.

2 – Digg has really done its fair share of changing the way people look at news. Social media can now deliver the news faster than a lot of traditional media. What did you think of the whole Blu-ray controversy where Digg banned several users and the whole community revolted?

The HD-DVD Riots of May 2007 started out as a valiant effort by some users – but turned into a joke. It caused a huge influx of users to join up just so they could act like Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass crew. So, while I could understand and see the initial point of standing up for yourself and your friends; it turned into something ridiculous. Many regular users were glad once the issue was resolved.

But the key thing about the revolt is that the power of Digg doesn’t truly lie in the hands of Kevin Rose, Jay Adelson et al… the power is in the hands of the users. THEY decide what makes the front page. They’re in control. So while the greatest aspect of Digg becomes raising awareness about certain issues the mainstream media isn’t covering; it’s also it’s greatest dictator: don’t be surprised if another riot happens there one day.

Yes, that’s very true. The power of social media is in the hands of the users. I recall hearing about the Virginia Tech shooting through social media, so it is a very real and powerful force.

3 – You’ve had over 1,800 Diggs submitted and over 30,000 stories Dugg in your Digg career. about how much time would you set aside a day for such activity? Also, how do you view Digg changed over time as it grew in popularity and underwent more social networking changes with the new profile and shout options?

It’s never really been a case where I would “set aside time” to submit stories and Digg stuff. I would just take it all on a “take it as it comes along” basis. So, it would be too hard for me to put a number on it. I would just somewhat integrate Digg into my regular internet surfing and online work. The new profiles at Digg were fabulous, and I really enjoyed the change. It took a little getting used to, but I found it a very valuable tool in being able to connect with others easier. All of a sudden; more diggers were accessible – and with something like Digg, the more networking you have with others, the better.

The shouts, on the other hand, are another story altogether. It seemed that from the get-go, shouts were perceived very differently among different users. Some saw them as great opportunities to share stories; others saw them as just a reprehensible method of spamming others. I honestly did my best to give a chance for the shout feature. If someone shouted me; I’d shout ‘em back. But it just became overwhelming and way too time consuming. I ended up having to turn them off on my profile – it was just too much.

4 – What advice do you have for Diggers just starting out? What do you view as compelling content, and where do you think people should go to be on the lookout for good content?

If you’re starting out, don’t dive into the submissions straight away. Seriously. Take the time to just lurk, Digg, read, and even comment. Get a feel for the place first. That’s usually a good method of learning what kind of material has the tendency to become popular. Also, if you only just registered recently; don’t set yourself an unrealistic goal like becoming the number one Digger.

Getting to the top takes time and patience. A LOT of time and patience. When looking for content to post to Digg; I found that the best place is usually with what you are already doing online. In other words, take a look at your regular surfing patterns. Are there any good sites you’re visiting that you don’t often see on Digg? Submit the content from them – others may enjoy it.

One example I can give you is the heavy metal site Blabbermouth.net. When I started submitting content to Digg, I NEVER saw that site there. So I started posting content there. I was surprised to find out how many Digg geeks were also metalheads such as myself. Also, get into RSS feeds, and check out what other social news / social bookmarking sites are making popular. There’s a good chance that if it’s popular at Reddit or del.icio.us or StumbleUpon, then there’s a good chance it might become popular at Digg too.

A handy resource for that is popurls.com. Also, don’t just submit any old thing just for the sake of submitting something. Submit something that grabs your attention. If it grabs your attention, then it’s possible it’ll grab the attention of others too.

On a side note, if anyone is just starting out on Digg and is curious as to how to get on Digg’s front page, you might find this article I wrote about it of some help.

5 – I can’t imagine that you would want to be done using social media just because of what happened with Digg. There has been lots of activity on Digg surrounding your ban, and many are wanting you back. What communities do you think you will explore?

Mixx

I’ve always bounced around different social sites, be it social networking (MySpace/Facebook) or social news/bookmarking (Reddit, etc). At the moment I’ve crashed the party over at Mixx.com. It’s similar to Digg, but it’s new, fresh and just starting out. And since starting out over at Mixx, I’ve been posting quite a lot. I’m hoping the community grows over there because it has a lot of potential.

On a related note, I’d like to thank those who’ve been sticking up for me with the whole “permanent ban” issue. Your support is very much appreciated.

6 – Have you closed the book in your mind about Digg? Or would you get right back into it given the opportunity?

If my account is ever reinstated, or if I’m ever allowed to re-register (they permanently banned via IP also, so I haven’t bothered even trying to set up a new account), I would probably submit content to Digg still. But I’m very comfortable with Mixx at the moment, and would love to be more proactive in that community to help it grow.

7 – Any closing comments?

I’d like to say cheers and thanks to all my friends and fans I networked with over at Digg. It was awesome, and the interaction made it all worthwhile. Also, take heed to what you are posting on Digg. Just because it hits the front page on other sites, doesn’t mean that it will fly at Digg – the admins have itchy trigger fingers…. but if you do fall into the ban clan like myself, come on over and help me shake up Mixx.com a little bit.

[Editors Note: If you're wondering what got Greg banned for the 4th and final time, he speaks about it at length in his personal blog here (h/t: Lyndon)]

Update: looks like support for Greg has really been taking off – check out this parody video of Chris Crocke’s leave Brittney alone:

  • http://blog.yourwebsiteprofit.info Sutocu

    Why on earth do they ban prominent users for minor infractions? Stupid.

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @Sutocu: well, it was 4 bans on the same user.

  • http://www.cornwallseo.com Lyndon Antcliff

    Interesting interview, however it would have been nice to know what exactly tripped his latest ban. I am surprised you didn’t ask.

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @Lyndon: thanks for stopping by, and glad that you liked it. Reason that I didn’t ask him was because Greg already elaborated on what tripped the latest ban in his personal blog, which can be found here. I’ll add that to the end of the post – good point.

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  • http://www.characterplanet.com Dan Anton

    Very interesting read…What was most refreshing is that he doesn’t curse Digg or slander them; really shows great character and shows why he was such a great member of the community there for some time. Social sites need to become less militant though, but like he said, there’s others to go to such as Mixx.

  • http://lifetimegamer.blogspot.com/ Keith L. Dick

    Nice article… I also was recently “Banned from Digg” for god knows what…

    I belong to a popular forum and some members PM’d me to digg a few of their stories that I took the time to read and concluded they were worthy of being Dugg…

    A few days/weeks later I tried signing into my account only to see I had been banned…

    Do I care, well NO, why should I it’s not like I get paid to visit Digg on a daily basis I just go there to pick up on some new news and other tech things which I can still do…

    I do think the people working for Digg need to look more closely at the reasons they may want to “Ban” a person than what they are these days…

    Keith

  • Yeh Roete

    Are you nuts? Community my arse. Move on, loser.

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @newestonthenet: thanks for the link!

    @dan: yes, that’s the right way to be. And Mixx looks promising.

    @yeh: what’s wrong with Digg being a community? What do you see it as?

  • exach

    I don’t get it. This is no big deal. He can just get a new e-mail address and continue digging. I know people who have done it a bajillion times. Move on, folks.

  • http://bighow.com Pramit Singh

    I agree with Dan. Greg is pretty cool and composed about the what happened. That is a reason why his kind is very popular on social media sites.

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @exach: maybe so, but then everything he built up over all that time would not be associated with his account. It’s sort of like joining the Air Force because you got kicked out of the Army.

    @pramit: yes, sportsmanship and not whining like a baby goes a long way.

  • Will Nett

    What urinates me off about guys like these is that there are literally hundreds of good stories that don’t even get a blurb on the radar because some these guys post “Top ten keystrokes” or something like “Dig this and I’ll… du jour.” They don’t report news, they’re worse than Fox… They invent it.

    When Blake Stowell resigned from SCO, there wasn’t a peep about it on Digg. This was a company about to lose a seven billion dollar lawsuit. When SCO collapsed and filed bankruptcy a few months later after judge Kimble passed the gavel, same thing… more top ten icons and wallpapers, no relevant or current news.

    What guys like these tend to forget is that Digg was intended to be a technology social news site, and not a technology social site. I’m tired if seeing the same videos, jokes, and stories become popular, that were on muchosucko or ebaumsworld four years ago… its not new, and its not news.

    Personally, I think this whole thing was staged, and wouldn’t be surprised if this was an auto-interview… as such, I’ve buried the story.

  • http://www.tagsum.com/ Brian

    I too was banned from digg after 2 years of active posting. I ended up over at http://www.tagsum.com which is growing quite rapidly i’m happy to say.

  • http://www.cornwallseo.com Lyndon Antcliff

    Thanks for clarifying Brian. I know have hunted it down, but I’m a lazy git. When I saw it I thought wtf. It seems digg is ol with mild racism, but a fat girls left tit is a no no.

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @will: you have a point. Sometimes, top quality stories slip through without any notoriety. This is a shame, considering that Digg is one of the largest technology social news sites around. I assure you though that this was not an auto-interview or whatever you are trying to say there.

    Hey, it’s your right to bury the story, but this was a real interview. If you take a look back through the history of this site, I interview someone else every week or so lately. Here are some examples.

    Bury those too if you want, but don’t accuse me of auto-interviews. I too would like to see some tech news over top 10 lists and how to’s, so I also read Slashdot :)

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @brian: haven’t seen much about Tagsum, will have to check it out.

    @lyndon: lol, no problem. Rule of thumb: It isn’t a problem to give a top 10 list about what to do with a girl’s tit, just don’t show it. :)

  • none

    The problem with digg is that title of the digg doens’t accruatally reflect what the artical is about. Misleading titles and sometimes satirical titles.

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @none: this is sometimes true, but did you feel that this article’s title reflected the content?

    Life after Digg: check.
    Interview: check.
    Banned Top Digger: check.

    :)

  • http://Destructoid.com Fronz

    Holy crap, I’m still on the top 100 list (diggitydugged). I have to admit, I laughed when I saw the wedding pic. Thanks for all the good reads, cGt2099.

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @fronz: nice job. And yeah the submit was funny, it’s just against TOS.

  • Darrell Kern

    I think this guy got himself banned on purpose to promote his site Mixx. It is a typical PR ploy to drive traffic by someone who is not creative enough to come up with his own idea. There are always knock off clones when something original happens. I do agree this guy has the class not to trash Digg and it clearly shows he is looking to drive classy diggers to his site. But for us classy diggers- we will stay with the original. It takes far more than a mouthy blogger to change our minds. Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose are amongst the most innovative and progressive thinkers in tech today- it will take more than a banned mouth to change this truth.

  • Greg Davies

    @ Darrell

    I have no association with mixx whatsoever, aside from the fact that I am a registered user and regular poster. Outside of that, I receive no benefits (financial or otherwise) from Mixx.com. Not my company, not my site.

    THIS is my site -> http://www.the-trukstop.com/

  • http://online-money-makers.blogspot.com/ William

    I was recently banned also. Not sure why. Oh well I guess I should get someone else to submit my stuff. http://online-money-makers.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.SavingGraceChat.com deb195

    But but but but but… he was my ‘friend’ and I even have Truk-stop link on my site. Damn!

  • Bender

    Digg is the same garbbage recycled over and over. Anything positive about Apple gets to the front page every time, same with anything negative about Microsoft. Then you have your 9-11 conspiracies, Ron Paul pushes, and Bush bashing for the political content. Then tons of stupid top 10 lists, “LOL THIS PIC SI FUNNAY!” pictures and videos. While social news sites is a great idea, they can lead to abuse like digg where its used to push and bury agendas people like or dislike.

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @darrell: Mixx.com isn’t Greg’s site. It’s just a site he signed up on that is similar to Digg.

    @gregg: thanks for weighing in here!

    @william: perhaps they don’t like url’s such as the one you put in your comment here.

    @deb195: yeah, that’s the way it is. For now, anyway. Good news is, Greg is a top er, um, Mixxer? :)

    @bender: I hear you. Sometimes places like Netscape / Propeller have a tighter handle on quality content. Still, maybe you should submit that “LOL THIS PIC SI FUNNAY!” pic to Digg :)

  • http://superstretch.org Dan

    @ Bender
    The only thing more cliche than a digg story supporting Apple/insulting Micro$oft/the rest of the stuff you said is a comment saying that a digg story supporting Apple/insulting Micro$oft/the rest of the stuff you said is cliche.

  • unanimousanonymousbosch

    for the life of me, i can’t figure out why this is relevant or what is the appeal of being a “top digger.” i thoroughly enjoy digg, but honestly, the content on digg seems to be from the same 10 or 15 sites, the competition to be the one that gets dugg the most seems a little, well… pointless and vain. ya know?

  • Ally Kendall

    Digg is a propaganda tar pit. They suppress grass-roots voices. Elitist prigs. Go reddit!

  • william godfried

    This seemed staged. This story seemed to be produced to give digg some type of social validity. No-one cares he was banned because the digg is false. Its not real.

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @dan: way to say it.

    @ally: every community has their advantages and disadvantages. Are you saying that Digg is an Apple / Linux propaganda machine?

    @william: in no way was this staged. Let me ask you – in what way could this have been done to not have given you that impression?

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  • http://harleyblues2007.blogspot.com/ harleyblues

    wow thats deep dude getting band like that I’d post that as a
    “WTF at Techorati!” lol why did he get banned Im not into surfin the net for blogs at this time If you would like to tell lil ol me, a new blogger
    ta
    hb~

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  • bruce

    Greg Davies aka cGt2099,

    I want you to know that in honor of you and also others and my own feeling on being trod upon, I wrote the top people at Digg just now, and told them to cancel my account, and that I’m no longer wanting to be associated with Digg in any way.

    I mentioned specifically what happened to you and specifically asked for Kevin and Jay to be cc:ed my letter… I’m done and Digg is buried in my book.

    I won’t bother you with my own issues with Digg because you certainly already have heard them, but thanks for the warning and I’m now yoda on Mixx, and i’m enjoying it already.

    maybe we can be friends on Mixx, drop me a line, ok?

    peace, and sorry to hear about what you went through.

    yoda aka bruce m.

  • bruce

    oh, one more thing: if they don’t remove my account, i’m gonna submit every pr0n site i can until i, too, get permanently banned!!!!!!!!! either that, or, we can be sure, that MEGAROTIC and TheHun are gonna get some serious traffic! LMAO

    i’m not kidding. although those sites are last I checked, on the top 100 visit websites already…

    so whoever is lurking for Digg here, you might warn them that I REALLY want to get off.

    would this be the “nuclear option”????

    hmmm….
    [admin edit: sorry Bruce. Not linking to those sites from here]

  • http://www.nowsourcing.com/blog brian

    @bruce: way to take a stand. Let us know how you like Mixx.

  • bruce

    @admin oh sorry didn’t mean to offend…its cool.

    @brian thanks! you know i put my heart and soul into digg for about 5-6 weeks and feel kinda dirty and beatup from it, not just from the users, but just the whole gargoyle. i’m totally liking Mixx after just a couple days, and there are some quality people there. plus the greater accountabiility is a good thing..people are not so quick to vote down on anything, since everyone will know. that works. the “terms of use” sounds a little strict, but we’ll have to see if they really are gonna be hardasses about it or not..but maybe it will make people politer. still i like to use some 4letterwords myself at times…have to see what happens there.
    i give it a 9 right now though.

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