Not to go completely against the general flow of the blogosphere general consensus regarding Digg and the AACS issue, but the recommendation at Demand Satisfaction is unrealistic and unpractical.
Digg posted publicly about their decision at 1PM on the day of the ‘revolt’. Jay was clear on exactly why they made their decision. Digg censors all kinds of things from porn to torrent sites to hate speech routinely. There is no dialog about this. No transparency or ‘candid feedback’ on those types of posts is necessary.
By the evening the Digg users had turned into an unruly mob that overwhelmed Digg’s systems. In the larger scheme of things, the 09 number itself is no big deal and already revoked, but somehow it caught the attention of Digg’s users and the mob was not a pretty sight.
Faced with the complete loss of control of the site, Kevin, Jay, and the rest of Digg were faced with a simple decision:
Is the risk of a DMCA lawsuit worse than the risk of losing the Digg users (the essential element to their success) ?
Obviously they felt that the risk of lawsuit was lower and bowed to the wishes of the mob on this issue within 8 hours. It had nothing to do with the right or wrong of the DMCA/AACS issue and everything to do with Digg staying in business. Consider that if tonight, the Digg users decided they wanted to fill the front page with porn links, they could do that as well. What stops them from doing that? I don’t know exactly what, but it sure isn’t ‘transparency’ or ‘candid feedback’ on why porn is not allowed on Digg.
The suggestion at Demand Satisfaction that calm, reasoned debate would have worked is laughable. Reasoned debate and the interweb do not belong in the same sentence. Discussions on long running sites like Metafilter or Kuros5in are hardly make people feel they are part of “the decision”. Go read any MetaTalk thread and see the snarkfest it routinely descends into on the simplest decision like changing colors. The wing nuts over at Flickr that freaked out over the ‘Old Skool’ message are just another example of catering too much to a vocal minority and over-explaining your rationale.
The kind of warm and fuzzy thinking at Demand Satisfaction is nice in an academic sense, but anyone trying to run their business that way, by explaining every decision, is fooling themselves. You will never please everyone and often make the problem worse, the more you try to explain. Everything doesn’t need to be a discussion. You need to pick your discussions just as you pick your battles.
Yes, dialog with your users is an important tool for any web site or business for that matter, but it is not the only tool. Many people seems to think that giving the users control is the only tool you need. Those people are wrong. Do not forget the old saying, 'When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.'Posted by michael at May 04, 2007 02:42 PM