Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Overnight an explosive situation has arisen at Digg, a vast user-generated site. It is, on the face of it, a monument to web libertarianism. Stories are posted in Digg by users and the user body creates a hierarchy of levels of interests by 'digging', basically voting for which stories are the most gripping. Unfortunately, libertarianism at the margins, when the chips are down, is a hard creed to sustain. A code was posted on the site. This apparently decrypts HD DVDs and is, thus, highly commercially sensitive. Digg adminstrators removed the code. This inflamed the users, who promptly started posting it on hundreds of different pages. Digg was forced into a massive programme of deletions. This has, in fact, compromised my ability to provide links as pages, though visible on my RSS reader, are vanishing as we speak. This one seems to be persisting. Even the Wikipedia page has been locked and another page on the issue has been removed. Web libertarianism - as I have recently pointed out - is a fragile, implausible and illusory phenomenon.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:34 am