posted on March 31, 2007 11:39
In a flash of brilliance this past week I decided to hook The Dead Hand into the Digg directory. For the uninitiated, Digg is a vast collaborative filter, whose hundreds of thousands (millions?) of users vote on ("digg") news stories, blog posts, and other content they like in what is essentially the Web's biggest ongoing popularity contest.
If you run a small blog like TDH, Digg seems like a great way to reach folks who might not otherwise find you in the noise. If you're inclined to spam, though, Digg looks like a big, fat target... and, to discourage spammers, the company has taken the sensible step of letting their users duke it out in the open: users can "bury" content as well as digg it. Presumably, diggs and buries cancel each other out, and each user account gets only one vote on a given piece of content.
Simple enough, right?
So imagine our astonishment when Robert tried to submit a new post this morning and discovered that our URL had been blocked! The message:
This URL has been reported by users to be in violation of Digg's Terms of Service and cannot be submitted at this time.
Okay, fair enough... we hadn't read those. So we did, and saw absolutely nothing in them describing anything we'd done.
So... why else might Digg users want to stifle The Dead Hand?
The majority of the posts we submitted over the past few days were short excerpts from Robert's new book, The Chicken Little Agenda: Debunking "Experts'" Lies. One of the main themes of the book (and particularly of these excerpts) is climate change, and Robert's thesis is that it is (a) not a man-made problem, and (b) not really a problem anyway.
By now we should all be aware that so-called global-warming deniers have been subject to various persecutions, up to and including death threats. The term itself is a ridiculous play on holocaust denier, intended to evoke the suspicion that its target is at best a crank, and at worst criminally insane. Certainly many proponents of the human-caused climate change theory—perhaps fearful that their cause is on the ropes—have turned away from rigorous debate and have instead taken every opportunity to stifle debate entirely.
Nor is Digg's history unblemished with respect to censorship. Even a casual search will retrieve dozens of instances when Digg has been accused of burying content or banning sites for purely anticompetitive or ideological reasons. We fear that our case is one such instance: that a Digg user, offended by Chicken Little's case against his pet environmental cause, found in a Digg moderator a sympathetic ear and had TDH removed from the scene.
Josef Stalin would approve wholeheartedly.
You Can Help Us!
We've contacted Digg to plead our case, but we aren't going to sit around waiting for an answer that may never come. If you agree that The Dead Hand has been unfairly banned from Digg and should be reinstated, we urge you to click the link below and make your voice heard!
Tell Digg that TDH should be reinstated immediately!
Do You Have a Blog?
Please consider linking to this post! A small link button and associated HTML are provided below for your convenience:
Do You Have a Digg Account?
Digg this post! We have a number of domains, and not all of them are banned yet. Just to be on the safe side, we'll only release the new domains one at a time. Here's a Digg button for this post that still works (if it doesn't, leave a comment & let us know!):
Here are the communications that have passed back & forth between TDH and Digg:
3/31/2007 8:12 AM
The Dead Hand
I am a subscriber to Digg (username argeew). I subscribed yesterday, and posted several articles from my own website (www.thedeadhand.com) to Digg. This morning, I attempted to post another article, and received the following notification: URL blocked! This URL has been reported by users to be in violation of Digg's Terms of Service and cannot be submitted at this time.
I am unaware of any policy violation. If it happened, it was inadvertent, but I don't think it happened at all. I posted several articles on global warming from the point of view that it is not human caused, and some excerpts from my recent book, The Chicken Little Agenda, which also discusses this subject. I suspect that some diligent member who ardently believes that global warming is human caused is simply trying to ensure that I cannot post further information to Digg that presents another point of view. It would be a shame if Digg allowed its services to be used in this blatant political fashion. Please follow up on this.
4/1/2007 7:51 AM
4/1/2007 10:22 AM
The Dead Hand
You guys have it all wrong!
The Dead Hand (http://thedeadhand.com), the site you blocked, IS NOT a book promotion site. Check it out - it's obviously a place where we present our opinions on a lot of matters ranging from science, to politics, to humor, to everything else. While the site does contain articles on global warming, nuclear power, and other controversial subjects that have been extracted from my book, the articles do not in any way promote the book, and these articles form only a small fraction of the totality of articles on the site. Although visitors to the site are given the opportunity to purchase the book, along with other merchandise, the purpose of the site clearly is to promote our ideas - period, like any other blog.
There is absolutely no justification for the censorship. I respectfully request that you review your actions and reinstate The Dead Hand.