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Digg Bannings: Interview with Diggboss

With me today is a popular former Digg user, Diggboss. Thanks for joining me, Diggboss. Ok, let’s get right into it:

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you start getting into social media in the first place, and which network did you like the most from the start?

2. When did you first discover Digg, and what were your impressions of it back then? How do you think it has been in its progression and dealing with growth, enhancements, and issues?

Answer to 1 and 2 above –

Thanks for having me and giving me a chance to talk to you. I am a Freelance programmer. I specialize in Data Extraction services and writing web-robots or spiders as they are called. Hence the spider avatar.

My first exposure to social media was through digg.com. I didn’t know then that Digg was a “social media site.” I absolutely loved and still love Digg, I am not active on any other social media site other than Digg, i created accounts on Reddit, SU, etc but never found them as interesting as digg. I still don’t even have a MySpace or FaceBook account.

I guess I started from mid 2006, reading news and interesting geeky stuff on digg.com. I became an active Digg member since April 2007.

3. Although Digg has issues with your scripts as you have noted on your site (https://checkfriends.appspot.com/), any plans for creating scripts for other social media sites?

I am not into any other social media site as much as I was in Digg, I do use Plurk and Twitter sometime for micro-blogging but only rarely. So there are no plans for any scripts on any other site.

4. Had you kept your Digg scripts secret, only for personal use, would Digg have caught on you?

I could have kept it a secret but I thought it was a benefit to other Digg users so I wanted to share it. I had no idea it was going to end up like this.

5. Do you feel that your scripts had proper disclaimers on yours scripts? Remember that many Digg users probably don’t understand what goes into a script, API calls and the like. Do you feel upset that many people were just booted, assuming that the reason was due to your scripts?

My scripts used Digg APIs. Anyone can use Digg APIs. Digg data is open under Creative Commons.

6. Do you think that Digg was justified in banning you due to creating your scripts? It could be said that letting users create such scripts would give them an unfair competitive advantage versus diggers just using the tools that Digg alone provides.

Absolutely not as I said anyone with a little knowledge of CURL or WGET can make use of the APIs and do what I did.

7. Which begs the question: what should developers that work outsite of Digg be doing with the Digg API? Colorful charts of who’s Digging what? 😉

Digg is not FaceBook, coders please stay away from Digg. Digg does not have open policies and does not support coders. Every script is a BAD script. Digg uses its TOS to its advantage.

8. Ever think of starting your own social media site? Seems like you have the head for it.

Haha, thats an outrageous question, nope, never.

9. So what’s next for Diggboss?

I am sure Digg would restore my account, I don’t have an alternative. I am banned.

I loved Digg and will continue to love it, my love for digg is not conditional.


  1. BrettFromTibet

    Sorry to hear DiggBoss is gone for now.. 🙁 He definitely was a loved the site and contributed quality stuff. Thanks for the head’s up about Digg policies and murky TOS.

  2. maxyRO

    Well, a riot started. Digg is banning many top users, is banning websites like crazy. Who knows when it’s gonna blow up in their faces…

  3. Notque

    Digg should give everyone a warning first. Further, they should have nothing to do with banning people for using the Digg API that they encourage people to use.

  4. Russ

    I don’t think it will ever blow up in their faces. Personally, I think these are the things that have kept digg from being sold. While it seems it’s not created for gaming the system, that’s how people were using it. It only takes one or two to ruin a good thing, and I think that’s probably what happened here.

    Sucks though.

    Russs last blog post..SEOMoz, Directories and the lowdown on linkfarms

  5. rc

    Digg.com ownz j00!

  6. Tal Siach

    DiggBoss is a good friend of mine and i can say in 100% that he built these tools in order to help other diggers, In his case its not to try and game the system its truly the will to try and help his friends , as he said he could use these tools privately however he went and publish them for all of the community to see, and i think that shows a lot.

    I can understand why digg trying to fight the scripts but in this case its a true API script that trying to make digg better , to know which of your friends already dugg the post before sharing looks to me something digg would like to do in the future.
    I think digg should look at this situation again and see that DiggBoss didn’t want to do wrong. The real problem here as DiggBoss said is rather digg wants to open their API to public to improve and built like Facebook or to shout the people down. For some companies people who build stuff around the API can be huge assets to the company and i think digg could leverage on that if the rules will be clearer.

    I am sure there are cases that digg staff needs to fight people that build scripts to game , however, DiggBoss case is simply not one of them. i hope digg will let him back again, and will clarify the TOS so people will understand better what’s wrong and what’s not.

  7. Anonymous (no not that one!)

    Diggboss contributed a great script to Digg that actually reduced shout spam, made it easier to delete old shouts, and allowed you to easily see who your real friends were on the site.

    In no way did it allow a user to digg shouts any faster other than to conveniently open up all your shouts at once in your FF tabs. It was not an automatic digging system like the kind the Brian Cuban admitted using.

    Imho, Digg would do well to incorporate the enhancements that Diggboss created for all users rather than to ban many members who cared enough about Digg to devote much of their spare time to the site.

  8. Daven

    Wow, i didn’t know he was just using Digg’s own API. It’s outrageous that they band you. If they are going to put the API out there, they can’t ban you for using it.

    Digg is going down hill fast. Their leadership is driving them into the ground. Banning their top members for using their own API. WTF?

    I think digg has forgotten that without their users their site is nothing. Heck, you can put up your own digg-like site in under 15 minutes. The only thing you are then lacking is a loyal userbase, but it appears all you need to do is wait for digg to ban all their loyal users and you could just snatch them up.

    This user is moving to reddit permanently.

  9. adam

    I am still not a power user of social Media, because there is so much more to learn. In last few weeks I asked DiggBoss a few times to check if my submissions are appropriate for Digg, and he always honestly told me his own opinion. Due to his extensive experiences I even called him ‘Boss’ during our conversations. I will certainly miss him. People who spend many hours on Digg every day are contributing to Digg more than the company will ever realize. Many times they also help newbies to learn how to use Digg in an optimal way, much faster…and not like me, when started and shouted my own story to all my friends up to 20 times:)
    I would have never learned how to contribute more to Digg community, if not interacting with Power Users. I do respect them and one day I would like to become one of them, as well.

    adams last blog post..Adam, Eve and the AppleMacBook

  10. Jas

    How many digg users know what the heck CURL or WGET is?? It’s obviously an unfair advantage. Way to sugarcoat that one.

  11. Kristen

    What a mess! I am one of the banned diggers and I can tell you that I was using one of these scripts. My intentions were honest….more convenient digging and I can’t for the life of me figure out why no warning was sent. I literally had no idea this was against the tos. All of a sudden–BANNED! The apology note I sent even landed on deaf ears. It seems to me that Digg is destroying a community they claim to support.

  12. Brian Wallace

    @BrettFromTibet: you bet, it’s rough to see how this has played out.

    @maxyRO: not sure if this is the same level riot of days passed, but we’ll see how Digg prevails moving forward.

    @Notque: it would be cool to make Digg give people a warning first. I believe that they have done this in the past. Perhaps you should bring this up for the next Digg town hall meeting?

    @Russ: agreed that this will probably not blow up in Digg’s face. Sure, a lot of users were banned this time around…but this is a very small amount of users as compared to all the registered users in the system.

    @Tibi Puiu: here here.

    @Tal Siach: well thought out argument and agree that Digg should reconsider lifting Diggboss’ ban. He was a mutual friend of mine on Digg and always seemed to offer up good content.

    @Anonymous: you make an important distinction between Diggboss’ script and other scripts that seem to clearly be purposed around gaming Digg. As there is a Digg API, each script should be evaluated individually. Digg probably does look at them case by case, though.

    @Daven: I don’t totally agree with your train of thought. How else could he have been making such scripts without interacting with Digg’s API in some way? Also, making your own Digg-like site in 15 minutes is always an option, but you won’t have nearly the following that Digg has. Reddit is a cool community though, and they have been making good strides lately.

    @adam: a good tribute. It’s great to see when power users help out newbies to the site.

    @Jas: Digg users don’t need to know what CURL or WGET is, unless they are web developers that are looking to extend Digg through 3rd party apps. I don’t follow how this is sugarcoating, please explain.

    @Kristen: it’s a shame that Digg doesn’t have a lot of the features that 3rd party developers have tried to create for the community. It’s also not the best when people try to write in to Digg and not hear much back, if anything.

    @Corvida: I hope so too, keep the faith 🙂

  13. Jim Gaudet

    Ok, I have to say i am sorry, or my timing was just wrong. I found DIGGBOSS’s site last week and loved the idea. I had so many people re-shouting me that I wrote a blog about it.

    I got this submitted to DIGG and was climbing real fast. 255 DIGGs in half a day before I was banned and 12 others who Dugg my article.

    The one thing I noticed from the 50 plus comments was that everyone loved his API.

    DIGGBOSS sorry if I fucked things up for you, truly. I didn’t expect this, I was just trying to show everyone how great your tools were. I even emailed DIGG asking if your options would ever be put into DIGG itself, as they are perfect tools for us.

    You had like 100 visits to your page from my post in the last two days, then I checked your site and noticed you were banned. SO SORRY, I think I brought too much attention to your site.

    Please forgive me,

    ~ Jim

    Jim Gaudets last blog post..PLEASE!!! Stop Re-Shouting Me

  14. Joshua Sciarrino (sure-reno)

    Great interview.

    Although I wish I could find good article on scripts that are under Digg’s radar. I’ve listened to a few podcasts and read a few articles and to be a ‘digg top user’ you really have to use scripts. Some take it overboard like Diggboss but they were never intentional.

    Either way, good luck Diggboss on being restored to Digg and thanks Brian for covering the interview.

    Joshua Sciarrino (sure-reno)s last blog post..1

  15. Liam Delahunty

    I say this really has nothing to do with API scripts and everything to do with the amount of digging.

    Diggboss was digging at least 250 stories a day, that’s got to raise some flags for blind digging and so Digg used the TOS against him for the API calls as an excuse.

    Liam Delahuntys last blog post..1

  16. Glen Allsopp

    It’s funny that all this starts happening after I spend more time in Digg ;). Great scoop though dude.

    Great to see your feed count rising, I’m just getting back into blogging again as work has been crazy, re-subscribed to the feed now that I can focus on this niche again!

    Glen Allsopps last blog post..New Website: PluginID ~ Plugin to Your Identity

  17. rajkumar

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