Was Digg Right To Ban Diggboss For His Helpful Script?

digg As a member of Digg since from mid 2006, but relatively inactive until 2007, Diggboss has been a great and valuable member of Digg for years. Today I was shocked to see that Digg has banned Diggboss from using the site. Diggboss diggs more than his fair share of articles on the site and contributes top quality links in return. So what’s the big deal and why was he banned?


About The Script

Diggboss was banned for developing a script that checks to see if your friends have dugg the articles that you “shout” or submit to the service. The purpose of the script is to keep from spamming your friends that have dugg your submissions and provide a friendly reminder to those that haven’t. It uses the Digg API and provides in option in your shoutbox to only shout a particular article to those who haven’t dugg it. In a letter to the Digg support team Diggboss notes the following possible misconceptions about his script:

  • My script did not digg automatically or add digg buttons.
  • My script checked if a users friend had dugg his last 15 submission and displayed them on the Digg Friends or Fans Page (see here – http://docs.google.com/File?id=dfwd5kvr_7gc3pxsdk_b)
  • My script had a feature "Friends Not Dugg" which could be used in the shout box. Please review the image – http://docs.google.com/File?id=dfwd5kvr_5cgkcwscs_b – here again I checked from Diggs API who had dugg a particular story and only selected the friends that had not dugg the story in the shout box.
  • My script optionally pre-filled the individual shout box with the friends name and his signature (http://docs.google.com/File?id=dfwd5kvr_10c6dr8bc7_b)

Seems like a harmless script to me, but apparently Digg doesn’t feel the same way. They’ve stated that the script violates the Digg API TOS. In response Diggboss stated that his “scripts used Digg APIs. Anyone can use Digg APIs. Digg data is open under Creative Commons,” in a recent interview.


Was Digg Fair Or Irrational?

DiggDown Does this tool give an unfair advantage to users? I don’t think so. Isn’t the point of the API to allow developers to develop such tools that will help Digg users? Or is it all about pretty charts and being able to Digg submissions without going directly to the Digg site?

The script that DiggBoss created was a valuable tool that most social voting sites should implement anyway. It minimizes spamming, which is a problem that Digg has yet to resolve. I think Digg was unfair in their decision and should give the script a more thorough review. Even if they were to ban the script, I don’t think banning DiggBoss’ account was necessary. The script was the problem, not the Digg user. Blocking the script would’ve been more suitable in this situation.

Regardless, I hope that Digg will restore Digboss’ account. He has taken down his script with a notice to users about the reasons why. Digg may have just lost a highly valuable member of their community over something that isn’t harmful and that doesn’t seem to genuinely violate their TOS.

Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on SheGeeks.net.