So nerds the world over are aghast at the revelation that popular social link sharing website Digg has been manipulated by an organized cadre of right-wing thought criminals for the past year or so. The group, who referred to themselves as “Digg Patriots,” systematically removed Democratic-leaning content from the website through downvoting (or “burying”, in Digg parlance) and complaining about liberal users. But why all this effort to take control of a website that does nothing but let people who are bored at work look at jokes recycled from Reddit (where they were recycled from somewhere else?) Let’s examine the guts of this conservative conspiracy to rule Digg, shall we?
First off, know this basic fact: most conservatives really don’t like to be disagreed with. The very concept of “discourse” is something that they find anathema (and possibly Mexican). That’s why, when conflicting opinions arise, they prefer to bury them under loads of concrete like so many Atari 2600 E.T. game cartridges. The very idea that someone would want universal health care, equal rights for homosexuals, and a rational immigration policy gives them hives. So these “Digg Patriots” viewed themselves as the frontline defense for the other conservatives on the service, exposing themselves to all of these dangerous ideas like human shields to protect the soft, watery eyeballs of the weaker among them.
The Patriots did their midnight riding in a number of ways. First, they would systematically “bury” submissions and comments from other Digg users they believed to be “left-leaning,” which in their definition meant had the Huffington Post somewhere in their browser history, even if it was just a gallery of Bethenny Frankel’s weirdest boob shots. HuffPo was such a boogeyman to these scared honkies that they even created a Tea Party version of the site, the “Rattington Post,” and desperately tried to launch its articles to the front page of Digg. That brings us to their other method of attack: massive upvoting. Digg is run by what is jokingly referred to as “The Algorithm,” a secret blend of numbers, herbs and spices that determines which articles make it to the home page and which don’t. People try to influence this whirring computer mind by coordinating mass Digging from a wide spread of IP addresses. It usually doesn’t work, which is a point in its favor, but that didn’t stop the DPs from going at it like they were stealing the 2004 election all over again.
All this came out when a Digg user infiltrated their secret clubhouse (a Yahoo! group – how 1998 is that?) and posted a bunch of the Digg Patriots’ internal documents publicly, including charming messages like “We should make it our sacred mission to gang-bang this liberal bitch.” and “I’ve been banned several times for submitting articles that do not support the worldview of the common rump ranger. Unless you’re a flaming liberal with scorch-marks around your butt, do not attempt posting those items. You’ll get banned quicker than Kevin Rose sticking his butt up in the air on date night with the boys.” Kevin Rose, of course, is the founder of Digg. Charming!
So what’s next for the Digg Patriots? No action has been taken by Digg against the users involved, but their Yahoo! group has been closed down. My prediction is that they’ll relocate to some other place (say Facebook) and keep on doing what they’re doing until the 2012 elections, when Barack Obama will beat Mike Huckabee and all of their fat heads will explode in a greasy shower of Hardees and outrage.