Sunday, September 07, 2008

Digg's Inaccurate "Inaccurates"

A few minutes ago, I shared this observation with my chum Jerry, and thought it worth posting here as well. I wrote:

I have noted, in browsing on, that a fair number of articles that are not entirely adulatory toward McCain and Palin are flagged "Reported by Diggers as Possibly Inaccurate." Interestingly, these articles--at least the ones I've noted--are not from blogs or YouTube or fringe publications with dubious standards or motives. Rather, they are from Newsweek, the New York Daily News, CNN, and the like. Obviously, this is no guarantee against inaccuracy, but having read several of the articles in question I began to wonder why and how they had been so flagged. And so I browsed through Digg's FAQ and found this:

    What does it mean when a story has a message saying it may be inaccurate?
    If a story has been repeatedly buried by the Dugg community, with the reason being that it is inaccurate, we display a message next to the story indicating that it may be inaccurate.

In other words, if I don't like something that someone has Dugg, I merely have to hit the "bury" button...and encourage you to do so, too, and eleventy other friends and so on, and then at some magic tipping point Digg announces that the article has been "Reported by Diggers as Possibly Inaccurate." Which is itself inaccurate: All that's happened is that a certain number of people have hit the "bury" button...they have offered no evidence to indicate the "inaccuracy" of a given article. Indeed, they have not even made an unsubstantiated claim that the story is inaccurate. All they've done is said they don't like it, and then Digg transmutes that into "inaccurate." Hmm.

As I expressed to my friend, I always make a point of Digging those articles when I see them, just to flip the bird at those who, it seems pretty obvious, are using the "bury" button--and Digg's lax definition of "inaccurate"--to cast doubt upon anything that points out something negative about their darlings.

Frankly, I think the "bury" button is a bad idea. The very concept is wide open to abuse, as is being illustrated.

And for the record, Diggers: "Don't like" or "don't agree with" is not the same thing as "inaccurate."

The phrasing is very odd, too: "Reported by Diggers as Possibly Inaccurate." Just about everything is possibly inaccurate, no?

Here are some recent articles from Digg's US Elections 2008 category flagged as "possibly inaccurate." Please note that I have limited myself only to articles from the so-called mainstream media, omitting even the higher-quality left-leaning sites such as the Huffington Post or DailyKos. Judge for yourself the "inaccuracy" of these pieces:

Sarah Palin may have women flocking - to Barack Obama

[Reported by Diggers as Possibly Inaccurate] — If John McCain wanted to poach the women's vote from Barack Obama, he shouldn't have tapped a running mate who dubbed herself a "pit bull with lipstick."More… (US Elections 2008)

McCain's Lies

[Reported by Diggers as Possibly Inaccurate] — Lies McCain made during his convention speech.More… (US Elections 2008)

Palin's Speech Didn't Move Undecided or Democratic Women

[Reported by Diggers as Possibly Inaccurate] — McCain's pandering to women improved her standing to women in focus groups in Nevada, but polling data suggests that there is no movement in national polling data, showing women are not stupid like John McCain and Karl Rove think they are. More… (US Elections 2008)

McCain Operatives Trying to Derail Palin Investigation

[Reported by Diggers as Possibly Inaccurate] — Key Alaska allies of John McCain are trying to derail a politically charged investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of her public safety commissioner in order to prevent a so-called "October surprise" that would produce embarrassing information about the vice presidential candidate on the eve of the election. More… (US Elections 2008)

Palin's Speech Raises $1M for Republicans; $8M for Democrats

[Reported by Diggers as Possibly Inaccurate] — Sarah Palin’s speech to the convention Wednesday night energized conservatives and inspired excited Republicans to donate a cool $1 million to the RNC's effort to elect John McCain. Bloomberg reported that Palin’s speech was even better for Democrats who got over $8 million in donations since Wednesday!More… (US Elections 2008)

1 comment:

jdwilsonmom said...

I also was curious about this label and investigated on Digg in the same way. I think its pretty funny! I've read comments from McCain/Palin supporters that say Digg is a liberal site. I think they've got it wrong - Digg does not post the articles, the readers do, and the Diggers move the articles up in popularity depending on what they like or want to read more of - so majority rules, just like in a democracy! The other thing I find funny is the McCain/Palin supporters lame attempts to somehow distract from the truth, pointing out that they are hardly interested in objective fact OR in differing opinions.