Digg Marred by Racism, Sexism

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Digg has purportedly made some strides when it comes to battling spam on the site and in conjunction with that, has unbanned several sites. While the battle against spammers is seeing some success, racism and sexism still prevail.
With Democracy come many rights and freedoms, and among them is the freedom to express your opinion no matter how slanted it might be, as long as it doesn’t infringe on similarly granted freedoms of others. As the socially driven web moves forward on the path towards democratization of online media, it too will have to deal with problems of expression of racism, sexism, and so on.
Have a look at the stories submitted by user inbox news and you will see an unending list of hateful and racist articles, and surprisingly enough most of them have managed to garner in excess of 25 Diggs.

Furthermore, the other problem that has already been covered by multiple sources is that of community endorsed sexism. The fact that someone would submit the story with a title like that is utterly ridiculous to begin with.

You would expect that the Digg community would immediately bury this (that’s what I would have thought), but no, the submission got almost 6,000 Diggs and over 600 comments! Let’s say you aren’t completely appalled by the story that the submission links to, just have a look at the commentary that ensues from the wise masses of Digg.

I am completely with Rathnavibushana on this one.
While we may be gaining ground on the war against spammers, we mustn’t lose sight of these other problems that the democratic web will bring us.

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  • Muhammad Saleem

    Notice how that comment has gotten 97 up votes. No doubt it got many down votes as well, but that only shows that the initial up votes were much higher than 97, since up votes – down votes = total votes.

  • Brian Clark

    Digg is filled with hateful little nerd boys. What do you expect, wisdom?

  • Rockwell

    I agree with Doug. There’s nothing racist about posting articles about illegal immigration.
    “While we may be gaining ground on the war against spammers, we mustn’t lose site of these other problems that the democratic web will bring us.”
    I presume your suggested solution involves censoring speech that, for example, expresses support for enforcing our current immigration laws.

  • Careless

    I wonder, what rights are these articles violating?

  • Matt Coddington

    This is what happens when you give the mob power: they find a group separate from themselves to smash. Remember the Crusades? Same thing.

  • Muhammad Saleem

    Rockwell, I have thought about a solution and one hasn’t come to me. It’s a very real question and one that the socially driven web will have to deal with and answer soon enough.
    The problem is that it is quite visible that inboxnews is specifically picking on one group of people. Take a look at the original titles of the news items and how the user modifies them.
    1. Original: Soldier Stabbed After Return From Iraq
    1. inboxnews version: Hero stabbed by illegal alien after return from Iraq
    2. Man charged with mother’s death but not baby’s
    2. inboxnews version: Illegal immigrant charged with mother’s death but not baby’s
    I can go all day if you want me to, but I think the point has sufficiently been made.

  • Careless

    “I can go all day if you want me to, but I think the point has sufficiently been made.”
    But… so what? What’s the problem there? It’s a website with an agenda. That’s not illegal. It’s not even immoral. Apparently you find the idea of an anti-illegal immigration website offensive, but you have no right to prevent other people from offending you, especially on their own websites.

  • Wendy Piersall :: eMom

    But Careless, Muhammad has every right to talk about being offended on his own website – what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  • Careless

    He’s clearly not just expressing his feelings, but looking for a way to rectify the perceived wrong.
    I’ll admit, I wouldn’t have complained had he not attempted to use a “rights” argument when the only rights in question are those of the people he wants muzzled.
    I don’t see this as a problem with Digg, because the Digg users seem to like it (6000 diggs for that?). It’s a prolem with people.

  • Zach Katkin

    The only social networking/news community is a strange place. I recently saw a crazy video on YouTube where a large snake killed a goat. As crazy as the the video was, what was even worse were the number of racist comments on the video, all because of the things the guys in the video were saying. I think racism is MUCH easier to express when someone is hidden behind a keyboard and cable connection.

  • Jeremy Steele

    You can take one or two bad things out of any social networking site. And anyways, Digg is a bit like slashdot. 99.9% of the users are little kids who scream and whine if something doesn’t go their way.

  • Rockwell

    “Rockwell, I have thought about a solution and one hasn’t come to me.”
    When you come up with one, let me know. I’d be interested in figuring out how to remove the socialist political rhetoric from Digg – it is personally offensive to me.
    It’s ironic that some of the most nominally “tolerant” people are frequently the quickest to ban speech that conflicts with their own personal sensibilities.

  • Jeremy Luebke

    Digg is a direct reflection of America which is both racist and sexist. I say this as a white male. Get used to it because a system that is voted on by the masses will reflect the masses.

  • 2k a day

    That is absolutely disgusting. It terrifies me that so many agree with those sexist and racist thoughts. I had hoped as a society we learned from our mistakes, but obviously I was over optimistic. I fear for all women and minorities.

  • John

    Oh, good Lord. Noone’s suggesting censorship. It’s actually posts like this, if successful enough on Digg, that are “doing something” about the problem it describes.
    If you look at the comments, you aren’t seeing people defending their right to be sexist or racist; instead, they’re trying to prove that they aren’t those things. It isn’t necessarily malevolence that drives these stories to the top, but ignorance.
    All those ‘hateful little nerd boys’ (no disagreement with that term) could benefit from a deeper understanding of prejudice, wherein they’re introduced to the concept of stereotype reinforcement as a major perpetuating element of sexism/racism. Without that understanding, they’re not going to detect it in what they read.
    While this post could have shed a little more light on these subjects, it does provide the opportunity for necessary dialog; I appreciated seeing it on Digg.

  • Muhammad Saleem

    Thanks for understanding my goal with the post John and Alister. I have personally talked to Senior Diggerati and they are just as appalled by this as most of the rest of us.

  • John

    The story about owning a woman isnt sexist like it seems. It starts out sounding like it, but the reality of it is that the woman tried to scam the man, and he outsmarted her. Try reading more than the title and tiny description before judging it.

  • Jenna

    The’yre are raesists on teh interwebs?!?
    OMG Kn0!
    Personally I enjoy being exposed to different views. I personally think expression or racism is healthy. Sometimes people need to express their hate. Furthermore it gives non-racist individuals a rally point.
    Those of us who accept other humans for their differences can let our scorn show to these prejudicial scum by digging stories like this. If we really do care we should all be actively digging down intolerant stories of hate.

  • Muhammad Saleem

    I did read the whole story and it was still disturbing to see something like that. More than the story, just look at the appalling comment and how many up votes it got!

  • Roger Wong

    Do you think that the nature of Digg encourages users to write headlines that are more sensationalistic in order to get more attention or are the submitters truly racist/sexist/ignorant? Although I’m disgusted as well by the comments, I think it’s revealing a dark side of our society that we sometimes forget about. Racism, sexism, and ignorance exist, what I am interested in seeing is how the Digg community can address this through education instead of banning/blocking. Just trying to hide the problems will only lead us to create a more insular community without resolving the root problems that lead to these types of comments. Ideas on how this can be achieved?

  • Pete Wailes

    I think the problem here is simple. Over here, in the UK, we’re told that racism is bad. Prejudice is bad. Judging people because they look different? That’s bad.
    So we send our kids to school in identical uniforms, because if they look different to each other, that’ll encourage discrimination. We educate them as to how they should behave around other people. “Oh no, don’t talk to him Simon. He’s wearing a tracksuit. He’s a chav! He’s an ignorant person.”
    We tell our children that they shouldn’t attack what’s different, but they way we teach them tells them to do exactly that.
    I could probably be best described as alternative/gothic, based on my social circle, my dress sense etc… As such, I get verbal abuse a lot from people around where I live (a mostly lower class town). Why? Ignorance. I look different, and conduct myself in a manner that the people around me don’t recognise. They can’t make sense of it, because it’s not something they encounter much.
    However, rather than meeting me, and learning about who I am, they instead hurl abuse. Their ignorance creates fear, which compels them to attack me.
    And this, I think, is the heart of the problem. Intolerance, racism, sexism, ageism, and discrimination are always going to appear online, because we can vent what we really feel, without fear of recrimination. Our social ignorance can be seen for what it is.
    And it won’t go away, because we’re too wrappeed up in our culture of celebrity, being told to look this way, and dress like that, and be like them, to step back and realise that individuality is a good thing. That difference is to be encouraged.
    Until we, as a race, collectively reach the point where we meet each other half way, and stop judging based on looks, or social cliques, and take the time to actually get to know other people, and to respect them as human beings, rather than judging them on their appearance, we aren’t going to make any progress.
    Martin Luther Kings was a man who inspired a nation of “the different” to take action.
    A nation of segregated differences inspired Martin Luther King to make a stand.

  • Pete Wailes

    And another quick thought… The way to respond to things like this, is not to attack. We mustn’t come down to the level of those who do things like this.
    Instead, we must reach out to them, and take the time to show them why tolerance, patience and kindness are ways to respond to people who are different. If we attack them, we’re judging them based on what they’ve said. If we do that, are we really any better than them?
    It’s only through recognising everyone has a right to free speech, and seeing that we have a right to respect what they say, even if we don’t agree with it, that we’ll make progress. Because it’s only then that we can have reasoned debate, and perhaps show those who judge and attack needlessly that there is a better way.
    When Danny S. recently tried to talk to the Digg crowd about SEO, and they didn’t listen, a lot of SEO people said don’t bother. Digger’s are scum, they know nothing, they’re intolerant sods who shouldn’t be given the time of day.
    That achieved nothing.
    How much good could have been done if, instead, someone had proposed an open forum on a website, for a day, where people could come and say whatever they want and learn about the people they were attacking? Wouldn’t that have been more productive?

  • Paula Neal Mooney

    Muhammad, I believe you are so right.
    I think this is the main reason John Chow and I got banned in the first place.
    Thank God that cooler (or more money-grubbing) heads prevailed in the DiggNation.

  • Rockwell

    I am not a racist, nor do I like or approve of racism. What I have a problem with is Muhammad conflating opposition to illegal immigration with racism. You might feel similarly if I were to write something like:
    “Treasonous speech is a problem on Digg. For example, here’s a post opposing George Bush’s policies in Iraq. That kind of treasonous speech has no place on Digg, or anywhere else.”

  • Christin

    At a recent gathering of the Digg community in Los Angeles, the Diggnation guys brought several women scantily dressed in French Maid costumes to the stage.
    If the leaders of the Digg community condone the objectification of women so openly then they themselves are perpetuating the ‘bad behavior.’
    Why hasn’t there been mainstream news stories about this? I second the idea that these behaviors should be called out and debated in public forums. In this way, their counter-productive effects will be exposed.

  • Susan Murray

    I find the concept of digg fascinating, but I’ve had bad experiences with it and seen a lot of sexism and racism there. There are also a lot of things missing: like a category for topics in the arts, instead there’s just “entertainment” The content I want to find most is hard to find. The front page has 1 or two “interesting” stories on it, but little I could not find on my own just surfing the web.