Digging the intolerant

Digg has been one of my favorite sites on the Internet.  It’s a great resource for keeping up on news, finding great links and gauging reaction from the community.  In my 18 months in visiting Digg I’ve noticed some established traits in the stereotypical Digg user:

  • They love the Wii, hate Sony
  • They love Apple and their products
  • They hate Microsoft (or at least love to bash MS)
  • They love to make smart-ass chauvinistic comments
  • They hate Republicans (and love Ron Paul)
  • They are committed atheists and despise religion
  • They are intolerant of opposing views

The last bullet has become more prevalent in the last few months, reducing the enjoyable community experience.  My most recent visit to Digg epitomizes degradation.  I’ve been following the story on Bills TE Kevin Everett, who suffered the spinal cord injury during the Broncos game.  News broke that he has gained voluntary movement and is hopeful to walk again. On Digg someone posted the story with the headline: “NFL Player may walk again! He is moving his arms & legs again! Digg & Pray!” This is great news, but of course the stereotypical Digg user can’t get past the fact that prayer was referenced in the headline.

If you go to the story on Digg you’ll find that a few comments praise the good news, but most of the criticize the fact that prayer was added.  The further on you read the more intolerant and offensive the comments become.

It’s one thing if you don’t believe in religion or prayer, but these people are so threatened that they feel the need to attack prayer and anyone who believes that.  What makes this so disgusting is that people completely forget about Everett and his situation just to drive their own point home.    They are so stuck on themselves and their own views that they managed to take a tragic story on Everett that has some hope, and make this about themselves.  Why do they feel the need to inject their beliefs somewhere it doesn’t belong?

This represents what’s wrong with the Digg community and why this site is hitting a glass ceiling.  I’m not sure how Digg can expand their userbase when their core users are so territorial, intolerant and mean-spirited. Their users are more interested in protecting their safe haven for their views that they refuse to be welcoming and accepting of other views.  It’s been said that Digg is essentially the inmates running the asylum, and I’m inclined to agree.  Rather than bringing in new traffic, it’s going to just drive more people away.

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