A Very Angry Digg Nation

Update: Digg just took their site down. Kevin Rose on the company blog gives his response:

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.

Nerd anarchy? An e-Rebellion? Or just mob justice… which ever way you look at it social news site, Digg is facing the greatest crisis of its young life. The front page of Digg has been taken over by stories about and related to a hacked HD-DVD key.

To recap, someone has posted a link to a story about the said key getting cracked, and included the key in the title and description of the story. Digg staff took down the story, fearing that it would get sued by MPAA, as outlined in this blog post by CEO Jay Adelson.

This resulted in a proverbial take-to-the-streets riot, and now most of Digg front page stories are either related to the key-story, or are variants of the original deleted story. Ryan Block of Engadget is not alone in wondering, “How did such a loyal userbase as Digg’s so quickly divert its all-consuming energy to defying — even damaging — the company to which it was so loyal?”

One of my readers (hi Jon) sums it up nicely, “I think the real story here is user-generated content biting back when it’s actively censored by the site generating revenue from it.” Another dear friend is wondering if this is going to lead to traditional media wrinkling their nose at the social media and its ills.

It is hard for me to form an opinion on this right now – for I am watching this drama unfold in near real time with morbid fascination.

The questions on my mind now (but no answers)

1. Is it legally liable for the actions of its community which was initially pointing to a story published by an independent publications? If that is the case, then YouTube-Viacom drama becomes even more intriguing.
2. If not, then did Digg act rashly?
3. Can Digg recover from this set back?

Thanks Jon, Brian and everyone else who sent this in.