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Digg Dirt: Exposing Ron Paul’s Social Media Manipulation

3 July 2007 106 Comments

There are rumors of Ron Paul supporters manipulating Digg. I’ve got the names and the evidence.

A funny thing happened last month. I wrote a blog post about the history of Digg.com as part of my study of the social bookmarking site. Normally when posting, my entries receive little to no response on Digg, which is fine since it’s hardly viral stuff.  When I posted the “history” blog, however, I received a whopping 17 diggs, a number I had never reached with this blog before.

Realizing that something must be up, I did a little investigating. To my surprise, the majority of people that dugg my post were supporters of Republican Congressman from Texas Ron Paul, a Libertarian and presidential candidate.

When I say “Ron Paul supporters,” I mean that these people ONLY digg stories about Ron Paul, and many of them don’t read the actual content of submissions. My “history” post had Ron Paul’s name in the title (Digg Dirt: From the Digg Army to Ron Paul) but had only the minutest mention of him in the article – I referenced how a push from Digg may have resulted in him getting on the Daily show.  The piece itself had NOTHING to do with Ron Paul!

So why the Diggs? Who are these people? The “Ron Paul Army” has a very strong and unified presence on Digg, but no one calls them out on it – at least not on the individual level.  Ron Paulers are organized and networked. They are “friends” on Digg. Their mission: Digg every story with even a slight mention of Ron Paul in order to keep his name in the public eye.  How can I say that? RyanUnderdown.com has done a pretty good job of cataloging memos related to the planned Digg manipulation. Check them out here.

Paul’s critics at RadioLeft.com explain Paul’s popularity on Digg.com thusly:

“The unlikely arc of Ron Paul's rise to popularity on Digg is interesting, because this is a case where the alleged wisdom of crowds is now shaping the public debate… It also should be noted that the early focus of Digg was on technology, and that the prevailing view of its users is that they are tech savvy, educated, and lean politically to the center-left if anywhere at all. The increasing number of political stories on the front page is a relatively recent development, and many Digg users may not be familiar with what political sites have credibility.”

Now, I have no opinions on Paul’s political platform nor do I have any political agenda of my own. I merely seek to point out that what Ron Paul’s supporters and active campaigners are doing is wrong for the following 2 reasons:

1)    Collusion is a violation of Digg.com’s Terms of Service.
2)    Agenda bloggers, in this case agenda diggers, must engage in transparency or full disclosure in order to ensure ethical practices.

The first is easy to prove. Article 3 Section 9 in Digg’s Terms of Service states:

By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree not to use the Services:

9. with the intention of artificially inflating or altering the ‘digg count’, blog count, comments, or any other Digg service, including by way of creating separate user accounts for the purpose of artificially altering Digg’s services; giving or receiving money or other remuneration in exchange for votes; or participating in any other organized effort that in any way artificially alters the results of Digg’s services.
A group of networked Ron Paul supporters with enough votes to get a Ron Paul story out of the Upcoming Stories bin every time (an action that requires around 12-15 diggs) is most certainly “artificially altering” the results.

The second point is a little harder to demonstrate. Without transparency, there is no accountability, and people can be misled by bias or unverified sources.  This is why we explain who we are in blogs and link to our sources. It’s the only way to be sure that we’re accountable to the public for our actions. Perhaps this instance will clarify:

A digg user “mstebbins” submits the entry Ron Paul Army Engage to Digg.  The referenced article is this one from StudentsForPaul.org posted by Jeff Frazee.  The problem: “mstebbins” and Frazee are part of the same circle of Ron Paul diggers, submitting Paul-related entries and actively promoting their candidate. On Digg, however, their profiles make no mention of their political agenda. In fact, the only thing listed in Jeff Frazee’s profile is his handle “jefffrazee.” If he wanted his diggs to be reputable concerning his active agenda, then he should list the political blog for which he posts in his profile. By the way, mstebbins is really Marianne Stebbins, Libertarian Party member “10 years ago or so” and author of the Paul blog On Scribbler's Mind. Perhaps she should have mentioned that on Digg.

Most of the Ron Paul supporters’ real identities can be found by searching Libertarian Meetup Groups and comparing Digg names. Many use a first initial and last name as a handle. None reference their own political blogs or agendas.

This type of organization may keep Ron Paul’s name on Digg and in RSS feeds, but it also creates Digg spam and blog spam. Resistance Intelligencer wrote an excellent post about Ron Paul, Digg, Spam and everything. By pushing up agenda articles, the group is undermining the democratic purpose of social bookmarking. Digg has received a fair amount of accusations as to whether it is truly democratic. If the Top User debacle last year failed to demonstrate Digg’s vulnerability to collusion and the herd effect, then the Ron Paul manipulation surely shows the site’s lack of democracy – ironic considering this is being done for political reasons.

The Ron Paul web manipulation is not limited to Digg either. Ron Paul is the number one search term for blogs. He has the most subscribers on Youtube. Ron Paul has the most friends on Myspace, Friendster and Facebook. He has won every single Internet straw poll (his supporters use bots to vote multiple times). The problem is that his web popularity does not translate to real world popularity. His fame is a product of online spammers alone.

Obviously, the man has some support to sustain this kind of guerrilla campaign, and I’m not here to dispute his political strategies.  Clearly, his tactics, although unethical, are working. Supporters have pushed him into prominent interviews with everyone from Joe Scarborough to Jon Stewart and got him into the Iowa Debate. Even the tactic itself has drawn press; just look at what Wired wrote about Paul.

Not playing within the rules of social media, however, is inexcusable.  Masquerading as genuine Digg Users (as well as MySpace. Facebook, YouTube, and Friendster users) in order to influence others is not ethical. It is schilling. If mass manipulation is the weapon of choice for the Paul camp, then I hope it does not translate to the methods of the man himself.

What follows is a list of 30 Digg Users that are bonafide Ron Paul spammers. If your name is on this list, it is because you are networked in to all of the other Ron Paul spammers, do not link to the Ron Paul blog for which you write, and/or Digg Ron Paul-related stories almost exclusively:

1.    mstebbins
2.    skyorbit
3.    AlexLibman
4.    FuzzyBall
5.    megaman83
6.    badfish0116
7.    kfed2
8.    chessmasterjoe
9.    Jeff Frazee
10.  thunt
11.  Elwar
12.  CPMan
13.  phenry
14.  bwigfield
15.  FunkBuddha
16.  Scrotchety
17.  Libertarian4321
18.  gypsynuke
19.  goldorakdan
20.  badfrog
21.  saynotoslavery
22.  BuddyRey
23.  zdotz
24.  thebutangjedi
25.  rictek
26.  rprev08
27.  pkeith
28. Churchill2004
29. earthdome
30. MichaelElliot

I’m all for freedom of political expression, but it must be done ethically and without the intent to mislead one’s audience.  Even guerrilla campaigns need to keep it clean.

106 Comments »

  • Anonymous said:

    Can you show me where in the Digg terms it states that a person must Digg a wide variety of stories?

  • Anonymous said:

    You forgot me, jerk. :P
    Seriously, you guys are lame. Who in their right mind asserts that tech savvy computer geeks lean center-left politically? WTF? Braindead.

  • Anonymous said:

    Too bad.
    I had never heard of Digg before I read stories about how Ron Paul was big on it. Since it was precisely because I wanted to observe this phenomenon that I went to Digg in the first place, it's only natural that a review of my Digg history will show that I digg posts that are positive about Paul and bury those that are negative.
    There's nothing unethical about it at all. It reflects my actual preferences. You seem to be saying that there's something wrong with the fact that I'm expressing my preference, even though social media is supposed to be about expressing preference.

  • Anonymous said:

    And what the HELL is a “genuine Digg user”, anyway?
    The only definition of a “genuine Digg user” that seems possible to me is “someone who signed up for Digg”. I'd probably be amused to see you attempt to come up with a different definition.
    Unless I'm using dualies to inflate my influence, if I sign up for Digg, I'm a “genuine Digg user”. Period.

  • Anonymous said:

    I would also point out that while I digg Ron Paul articles, there is no huge organizational structure (that I know of) colluding to do this. I go to digg and search for Ron Paul to find articles to read, because that's what I want to read about. If I like them, I digg them. That's how it's supposed to work, no?

  • Anonymous said:

    I see where you're angling here, and I can respect it, however I'm not sure you've been completely fair to some of the Ron Paul supporters out there. A few points of contention:
    1) In my experience, the Ron Paul diggers who are 'organized', and I use that term loosely, actively spend time burying duplicate and cheezy no-content articles. They recognize that there is a problem and have made efforts to mitigate them. The blind-digging, from what I can tell is not from the organized folks but from lone-wolf supporters who aren't interested in the greater good but simply ram-rodding through an agenda without a care as to the detrimental effect of their methods. The exception to this rule would be when an 'important' article comes out and gets buried out of hand, then there is sometimes a concerted effort to override what is apparently an 'organized' effort to suppress anything and everything Paul-related.
    2) On that note, I think it's a bit unfair to not show the other side of the coin here. There are indeed people working actively to bury Ron Paul related material. Some of this is certainly blowback, but some of it could probably be termed as with nefarious intent. Case in point… I've submitted several Ron Paul articles and the diggs do not match my logs… i.e. blind digging… but neither do the buries. I've even had articles where I've watched on digg spy 20 buries come in yet my logs show that I've had zero hits on that page. I'm not going to lean either way here, because both sides are to blame, I just think it's important to show that there is another side.
    3) Digging only articles about a certain topic is no crime. The fluff that comes through digg for the most part, for many people, has little merit whatsoever. There are also plenty of other sub cultures who have an equally narrow news vision and nobody is pointing any fingers at them. In fairness, those should be pointed out or this point should itself be left out.
    Anyhow, I think you've hit on some good points here, but I also think you only present one side of the argument. Perhaps another article to present the other side might be in order? In any case, I judge this digg worthy.

  • Anonymous said:

    One other point… all of these efforts have nothing to do with the actual Ron Paul campaign. This is a true grass roots movement, undirected and with a life all it's own.

  • Anonymous said:

    Cool. I've become notorious. Thanks for the plug to my little bitty personal blog, On Scribbler's Mind.
    And thanks for giving me a jolly ol' ROFLMAO. My many GOP friends are going to give me a hard time for being a “Libertarian Party member for the past 10 years,” when in fact I was “LP member 10 years ago or so” but not since.
    I have to confess, I don't know any of the people you list, but they sound like good folk, and I'd love to meet them someday.
    In the meantime, here's a little video on Blowback for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSpm8Qs0u1o

  • Anonymous said:

    “Ron Paul Army”
    How can I become a member?
    How many diggs are needed to join?
    oh no! I'm a victim of Ron Paul’s Social Media Manipulation
    HELP ME!

  • Anonymous said:

    The 1,000 plus people attending the Ron Paul Celebration of Life and Liberty in Iowa on 6-30 weren't “repeating”.

  • Anonymous said:

    I've dugg about 20 or so Ron Paul articles, but also articles on other topics. I'm not sure why people are so bent on this subject. The main stream media (MSM) is jamming every other candidate down our throats. At least Ron Paul has popular support by people who know the issues and aren't just going with the last name they heard boob tube.

  • Anonymous said:

    Amazing if I were to digg tecnology articles exclusively “cell Phone” no one would have a problem with it. They only seem to have a problem if you digg “Ron Paul” articles.
    I don't understand the thinking here since people digg what they personally have an interest in. 20000 meetup members it's easy to see how Ron Paul articles are dug to the top. People have a sincere interest and it's no stickly Libertarian

  • Anonymous said:

    This is the most pathetic article I've come across and I'm not even a Ron Paul supporter.
    Get a life.

  • Anonymous said:

    “Ron Paul is the number one search term for blogs. He has the most subscribers on Youtube. Ron Paul has the most friends on Myspace, Friendster and Facebook. He has won every single Internet straw poll (his supporters use bots to vote multiple times). ”
    You think that's because of spammers? lol… Nope. We're regular folks…

  • Anonymous said:

    I am a huge Ron Paul supporter and often digg articles relating to him. I read the articles and even many of the comments. What you don't mention is that many Libertarians were the first to flock to the Internet years ago or many computer users are Libertarians. Whichever it is that explains a lot. I have many friends that also support him too and we share a number of things in common.

  • A distrust of the media. We get our news online.
  • A frustration with the Digg bury brigade and a need to combat them. That's why the battle over everything Ron Paul.
  • The desire to 'socially network' ourselves to get more information on him. That's why Digg links get posted other places. You mentioned a couple of people I know but in the forum I run we have 100 users and 50 of them are highly active supporting RP.
  • A knowledge that our current political system sux.
  • Complete disenchantment with either of the 2 main political parties. (When asked how we would vote if RP doesn't win the primary you get answers from the mainstream Repubs to the Dems to Libertarian to 'why bother'.)
  • A call to arms when people like you attack us.
  • Anonymous said:

    One quick point – while it's entirely possible *some* so-called 'Ron Paul Army' diggers are organized to digg most things which appear on the site bearing his name, merely looking at the comments on this blog seem to indicate that this organized population only constitutes a fraction of his supporters on digg.
    So it really shouldn't come as much of a surprise that some people, independently, read digg (possibly even exclusively) for Ron Paul coverage, since it's relatively frequent compared to mainstream media outlets.

  • Anonymous said:

    First they ignore you
    Then they attack you
    Then you win

  • Anonymous said:

    first, congrats on 117 Diggs as of this comment (I'm not one of them, sorry)
    second: hmmm, maybe I should try the same tactics, but for Barack Obama… nah, he doesn't need a lame army of losers on digg, he's running the most successful grassroots campaign in history based on merit and this thing called “talking to constituents”

  • Anonymous said:

    lol..keep the politics out of Digg [/sarcasm]

  • Anonymous said:

    I believe you have simply underestimated the actual number of Ron Paul supporters.

  • Anonymous said:

    You're inexcusable. If you're trying to pass this off as actual legitimate investigation you'd better stick to the waiting tables. You're gonna go a lot farther.

  • Anonymous said:

    I think I value the comment section to this article more than I have ever valued a comment section. Let's not ruin it as diggs increase. I <3 Ron Paul. I really do, I love his cute little old face.
    But more importantly, sometimes I have even not dugg articles about RP just so people wouldn't have me to point at. That's a bit of a wrinkle I'd say.
    Ron Paul is like christianity (I'm laughing as I write this but think it is a good comparison) don't judge him by his 'followers,' judge him by who he his. And he will give you eternal life. (okay I'm kidding about that part.)

  • Anonymous said:

    So you've found about a dozen people who are blind-digging Ron Paul stories. The problem with that is that that isn't enough to get to the front page, and many Ron Paul stories end up with hundreds, if not thousands, of diggs…not just a dozen. I also don't see how you've shown any connection whatsoever to Ron Paul's actual campaign. Why can't you accept that there really are a large number of actual people who support Ron Paul who are also internet-savvy and thus spend time on sites like Digg?

  • Anonymous said:

    I don't think they were bots either… or were they?

  • Anonymous said:

    Check this out:
    The “Bury Ron Paul” movement:
    http://buryronpaul.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous said:

    I guess this person thinks only the media corps are suppose to be manipulated.

  • Anonymous said:

    What about the Digg iPhone spammers?

  • Anonymous said:

    This seems pretty ridiculous. People digg what they feel is important. I feel that Ron Paul is important, so I dig the articles. Ive also dug articles on cool inventions, Ubuntu etc… I'm not part of a big conspiracy and neither are the other people. We have a genuine interest in Ron Paul and how his ideas can help America. I woud assume everyone both diggs and posts articles about what they are interested in… It's how digg works… remember?

  • Anonymous said:

    Obama is mainstream, he's not running a grassroots campaign. The only reason his online numbers are high is because every breath he takes makes the nationwide news.

  • Anonymous said:

    It's beautiful isn't it? People are so scared that they started a whole website to coordinate and focus their fear. I love it. Hasn't seemed to work very well as about half of the RP stories I submit go front page these days.

  • Anonymous said:

    What a freaking cry baby. How can I get my name on your list?

  • Anonymous said:

    The mainstream media could not stop talking about Obama during the 2004 election. Even now they can't stop talking about him, grassroots he is not.

  • Anonymous said:

    Wow. And now they are all spamming your site. Unfortunate – but keep exposing these shills for a political crank. They are unbelievable.

  • Anonymous said:

    I only digg iPhone stories. Am I part of some huge conspiracy involving Steve Jobs?
    Okay I admit it, I work for Apple. Apple paid me $10.000 to digg all iPhone stories I could find. It's all part of a huge scheme to take over the world for the Illuminati. I swear it's true.

  • Anonymous said:

    Newspoo.com loves you! Ron Paul

  • Anonymous said:

    And also learn how to spell.
    Must have been so excited to break this stupid scoop that he couldn't bother to spell check the TITLE of his own article.

  • Anonymous said:

    exactly. i almost always digg a supportive ron paul article because it's supporting ron paul. if you look at my diggs, you'll see a propensity to digg ron paul articles.
    i don't digg much, but damnit, ron paul is the best thing for our country. so, yes, i'll will digg anything that supports him.
    i think the author of this blog underestimates just how much support ron paul really does have.

  • Anonymous said:

    So you think 20 odd users can account for thousands of diggs? I am really sick of being called a spammer. I am an American who thinks that this is the most important pending election in our history. I, as an individual, seek out, read, and digg articles about Ron Paul that I like. There is no one telling me to do this. I don't listen to blogs. I do what I want. I want to support Ron Paul. If you dont want to see politics on digg, block that category. Don't call it a conspiracy, just because you cant fathom the real world support he has. Don't think it translates? Well over 1000 “real world” supporters showed up in Iowa at his rally. There is no organized effort by the masses. Plus, I would much rather read an article on Ron Paul than one of the two dozen Apple iPhone stories that get spammed to the front page. See, I can use loaded words too.

  • Anonymous said:

    I don't think he has a problem digging stories about specific candidates, I think its more about using digg as a medium to push an agenda. Sorta of like those commercials about candidates before they had to say “This ad was supported by “. There conveying a viewpoint without the accountability of be called out for it when a particular story could inaccurate and pushed as reality. From a personal viewpoint I see alot of exargerated stories from places whose journalistic credibility is highly questionable but the story is dugg none the less.
    Anyways my point is that I miss the days when digg was all about promoting tech and grassroot geek ideas instead pushing political and religious agendas

  • Anonymous said:

    Hello, I am a proud member of the Ron Paul Army. I fully admit to not reading every single article on digg about Ron. However I also don't digg every single article with his name in the title. I would just like to mention one reason why we would though. Ron is under what can be described as a media blackout. There is little coverage of his campaign in the press, and what is there is often slanted negatively. What we may be trying to do by digging articles about him is to simply raise name awareness, so that people might take some time to find out more about him. His positions on the issues are unique among the presidential contenders, and when people begin to be exposed to them, some really appreciate his policy ideas. In closing, we in this “army” are not scheming vengeful interlopers, we're just fighting against the mainstream media and trying to get our candidate, and his ideas, out into more peoples consciousness. Thanks for the attention!

  • Anonymous said:

    As long as each of these people per account exists and they are digging for free, then it is totally within the bounds of the agreement, as well as morality.

  • Anonymous said:

    This is really true – I just posted a link to an article on my site with the title: “Ron Paul: mobile website for those in need of local resources” I can usually get a few people interested in my article but nothing much – this got 5 diggs – which is 3 more than normal!.
    You can see the list of people who dugg it here : http://digg.com/politics/Ron_Paul_mobile_website_for_those_in_need_of_local_resources/who
    And the strange thing is that there is no mention of Ron Paul – even slightly in the article – it is about a mobile service for finding toilets!

  • Anonymous said:

    Excellent article and spot on. Ron Paul morlocks have done some serious damage to Digg.
    I find myself using Digg less and less because at any given time half the front page stories are about that irrelevant loon. If Digg continues to allow itself to be gamed by a tiny fringe political movement (if you can call it that at all), it leaves itself open to a competitor with better controls. Are you listening, Digg?
    Oh, and I see the RP zombies are out in force in your comments section proving your point – this happens every time a blog posts a story with “Ron Paul” in the title (ref: LGF).

  • Anonymous said:

    ive read many articles that the trick to digg is that people dont really read the story, they usually just read the title and digg it. often when they actually do digg the story… they forget to go back and digg it.
    also, where does it say that people have to digg many types of stories? Its not digg gaming, its just very avid supporters of ron paul…

  • Anonymous said:

    It might be of note that the author of the article works for a media advertising company (Unreal Advertising). In fact, he has a lot of big name clients who represent interests against Mr. Paul. To be calling what in its worst form is advertising as morally incorrect is a bit hypocritical I would think.

  • Anonymous said:

    An impressive piece of detective work. The editors of ThinkProgress.org have done something similar.
    ThinkProgress' Manipulation of Digg
    Unfortunately, Dig does not seem to care when political operatives violate their TOS.

  • Anonymous said:

    Wow…what a gross generalization. Not everyone that likes Ron Paul is a member of the Digg “elite.” Most of us are just regular people that just happen to like alot of what Mr. Paul is saying.

  • Anonymous said:

    I don't think you ever stopped to think “Hey maybe Ron Paul is that popular!” That would be to complicated for you I'm sure.

  • Anonymous said:

    I completely agree with him. If you watch and see what political stories get to the newly popular stories, they almost always support a liberal slant. You'll notice that every day another story pops up about Bush being impeached even tho it is highly unlikely right now. Just wait until republican conservatives figure out what sort of power digg has. It seems conservatives are slightly behind, but they're trying to push their way in with stuff like the conservative wiki. It's only a matter of time before they attack digg.

  • Anonymous said:

    Today, the 4th of July, 2007, the top story on Digg is Keith Olbermann's call for Bush and Cheney to resign. Stories that expose the corruptness of our government leaders are frequently the top stories on digg. It is obvious that there are many Digg users that are politically minded and disenchanted with the “politics as usual”. So why is it so hard for anyone to believe Ron Paul would find support amoung these Digg users.
    For the record I am a 42 year-old mother of four and I have no connection to any Ron Paul support or spam group. I simply like his ideology. I often look on Digg for articles on Ron Paul and if they are positive I digg them. I've never text messaged anyone in my life, until the Fox news poll, when I texted in my vote for Dr. Paul. There may be a few dozen Ron Paul supporters that work actively to support him online, but I believe there are more people out here like me than anyone cares to realize. Surely Guiliani or Romney with all their millions in donations could hire twice as many staffers to spam whatever site or poll they wanted. Do you really expect anyone to believe that these other politicians are too ethical to do that and Ron Paul isn't…come on…that's laughable. If anything the only reason pro Guiliani stories aren't dugg up is because he hasn't focused his vast financial resources, or any resources, on gaining influence in the online communities. If Dr. Paul's supporters are purposefully digging up pro Paul stories it is because they respect the online communities and see their potential power. So really you're trying to discredit the one candidate that takes you seriously.
    Ron Paul you have my vote.

  • Anonymous said:

    grass roots? ahahahahah he's bought and paid for…

  • Anonymous said:

    Pffft… I've dugg lots of Ron Paul stories and I don't have a “thing” for Ron Paul. What bothers me is that mainstream media simply tells us who we are supposed to vote for, and they TELL us who has no chance.
    This is a democracy. Anyone on the ballot has a chance, unless people start believing what we are told. I hate that. So I will continue to dig RP stories.
    Bite me.

  • Anonymous said:

    Sorry to see that all the wankers are now spamming your blog. Good work.

  • Anonymous said:

    Also interesting how this is tailor-made to get Digged.
    Talk about manipulation.
    Advertising = Propaganda.
    Watch the Century of Self if you don't believe me.

  • Anonymous said:

    You forgot to do this for mac/iPhone, anything liberal in general, and probably the picture of the earth being compared in size to a bunch of other celestial bodies. Get to work!

  • Anonymous said:

    Ron Paul is my favorite candidate and I am a Democrat! I can digg ron paul stories if i damn well want to–you can't find any stories about ron paul on any of the major online news sources–this is one of the few forums where PEOPLE rather than CORPORATIONS choose what news is fit to be disbursed! And I CHOOSE to digg stories that cast ron paul in a favorable light. How is that manipulating anything? I dig stories I like! That's the whole concept!

  • Anonymous said:

    You really an are an idiot.
    I'm sure you're going to do all you can to make sure Ron Paul stories from now on get buried.
    But that's fair, and definitely isn't media manipulation.
    Get a life.

  • Anonymous said:

    Ron Paul Digg Army – how to join a group that does not exist
    First it was the Ron Paul Five, now it's the Ron Paul Thirty, how far will anti-rp forces go before they realize they're feeding the fire they're trying to stop? Learn how to join a group that doesn't exist and how advocating support for a political candidate in America can get you put on some list. Maybe next time it'll be you.
    http://digg.com/2008_us_elections/Ron_Paul_Digg_Army_how_to_join_a_group_that_does_not_exist

  • Anonymous said:

    Get off the cross, some of us need the wood. I think you are torturing the words of the the Terms of service. Moreover, just because there were a wopping 17 diggs to some article you wrote I doubt that shows conspiracy. is it not possible such a small number of people independently thought the best way to help promote RP on Digg is to seek out all Ron Paul articles and digg them. Is it moronic? Yes, but it does not violate the terms of service because you have ONLY conjecture to prove conspiracy.
    You moralizing diatribe about people telling their business on digg and their political agenda. If a person only diggs Ron Paul stories and commonts only on Ron Paul stories, do you need a bigger hint they are Pro-Ron Paul. It's not like all these people are paid by the RP campaign. What is a genuine Digger? This is such a plastic term, its like who in your opinion is cool or not.
    I also find your exhortations to Democracy laughable. Really, if a person get the most voters to the polls does not that person deserve to win. I use “get” in the figurative sense, in that inspire people to do things, unlike the rest of the Republican candidates who just want money and hardly have grassroots. Most Republicans I see are wonder 'well who doesnt suck?' The anti-war, small government types have their choice= RON PAUL.
    Besides getting 12% in the California Republican Straw Poll, placing second in the Utah Republican Staw Poll, getting over a 1000 people to attend a conference in Des Moines last Saturday. The massive outpouring of support in New Hampshire. It's really just a cabal of 30-40 people on Digg? LOL @ you.

  • Anonymous said:

    It's really not surprising that a polical figure is the focus as this issue comes to light (again and again). Where are the complaints about all the other things that are so obviously “manipulated” on Digg? Yeah, there's the iPhone, but how about Ubuntu, or “The PS3 is dead”, or, “Nintendo rules, PS3 drools” -themed articles? There was a time on Digg when reading browsing through the top 20 listing on Digg was like browsing through what was up the day before, and the day before….over and over.
    Do we think those things make the tops of the lists just because people are “generally interested”? Not a chance. IMPLICIT COLLUSION.
    *Anti-MS people group up and pounce on any Ubuntu article.
    *Nintenboi's digg up articles about how terribly the PS3 is/was doing.
    *Iphone this, Iphone that…
    *And pro/anti politician diggs are everywhere.
    So it's not surprising that the same people implicitly group up to support any article that may benefit the recognition of their man/product/ideology. (“Any press is good press.”)
    Of course, if you're a fan of something that you're digging, it is simply impossible to believe that the thing you like is being dugg because of collusion, as opposed to everyone “just loving it”. Ha.

  • Anonymous said:

    If anyone doubts that Ron Paul has support, in the past two weeks I've seen 3 Ron Paul signs on overpasses and the rear windows of cars. Granted thats in Nashville Tennessee but the only other political statments I've seen are 04 Bush stickers. This is truly viral.

  • Anonymous said:

    Ok, first of all – you are completely forgetting that Digg is a social bookmarking site – many of us who digg thousands of articles each week, (Check my profile, user Bonked) aren't trying to push an agenda when we dig headlines of interest to us. We are saving them in our history to view later when we have more time – you may think that a “Dig” means you support or have taken the time to read the article in full, but that is not why Digg's voting system was put in place.
    Am I supporting Hillary when I Dig a story about her but don't read it at that moment? No. You are fundamentally viewing digg.com's purpose from a very narrow viewpoint of how you feel the site should be used.
    Just like any other web 2.0 application, different users use the site differently – read “Getting Real” by 37Signals – specifically why they didn't have to add a category feature to their to-do list application.
    Also, you can not deny that Ron Paul has support (which is what you are trying to do here) when he has more people showing up in person than at nationally televised media opportunities that specifically banned him.

  • Anonymous said:

    If I may interject, I haven't seen so much enthusiasm since I went clean for Gene. (Most of you are too young to remember that.) I have since become rather apolitical, so I have no bias in the discussion about Mr. Paul.
    I would like to welcome all of you to our blog. I just want to point out that if you look at

    1. The nature of this blog: An open discussion of professional online communications, and
    2. The keywords the author chose for his post: Website, PR, online, Industry, ethics

    …you will see that the actual point of the discussion has less to do with Mr. Paul or his candidacy than it has to do with the muddying of the waters of the blogosphere. Various groups have co-opted the tools of Internet social networking for their own ends. Is this bad or good? That's what we're here to discuss.
    The real point is that we need to examine the information we find on Digg and other folksonomy sites as skeptically as we read our newspapers. Perhaps even more so.
    Morty

  • Anonymous said:

    Good article, and don't worry about the negative comments at the beginning. Those were probably from Ron Paul Zombies who were busy clicking away on all RP stories per usual, when they did a double take and said, “Wait a minute. This is a negative Ron Paul story! I better go give the author a piece of my mind. Oh, and spam Ron Paul some more in the comments while I'm at it.”
    A lot of us, who have been on the site well before this whole Ron Paul mess, agree with you and don't like it one bit.

  • Anonymous said:

    are you gonna take your ball home now?

  • Anonymous said:

    @anon
    about Bush being impeached
    That's not the “liberal” slant, it's the SANE slant. He has violated his oath of office many times over, and that's EXACTLY what impeachment is for, Bubba. Bush is NOT above the law.
    It's not about left and right, it's about Right and Wrong. Take the flag off your SUV and be a real patriot by learning American history from a BOOK, and not TV.
    And, as an ancap, I'm waaaay more conservative than you, bro. Ron Paul is the only candidate that is even remotely acceptable, and in fact he's eminently desirable.

  • Anonymous said:

    Here here, I am a conservative as well. Rudy and the rest of these clowns running for the repub nomination are just as liberal as the dems! This article's writer is truely delusioned. I dig Ron Paul stories because he is the only supporter of our constitution running! Mainstream media won't cover him because they would be in trouble if he were elected. If not for the web and sites like this, we might be forced to only listen to what mainstream media tells us. With digg, a homeless guy working on a library computer has as much say as the president of a media company as to what makes the front page.
    VOTE PAUL

  • Anonymous said:

    Guy, there is collusion. I posted a story a month or so ago about Ron Paul just to test this, and it got like 19 diggs before the Ron Paul kiddies realized it was negative and buried it.
    My town has had 2 hundred-year floods in as many years, I've had a stone frog left outside and turned into dust from acid rain over the past 3 years, and Ron Paul doesn't think anything is going on with climate change? Bullshit. Ron Paul thinks that killing “don't ask, don't tell” would be a social experiment? Bullshit. The only appeal the guy has to me is that he's for pulling my brother in law and cousins out of Iraq, and that he would like to reform the tax system (which I really wonder if he could do with H&R Block lobbying congress).
    The iPhone is a completely different story. Curiosity about emerging technologies is an inherent property of computer geeks.

  • Anonymous said:

    I forgot to mention, yea, it was Ron Paul supporters who were digging it.

  • Anonymous said:

    “Clearly, his (Ron Paul's) tactics, although unethical, are working.”

    Nice try. I doubt Ron Paul would endorse manipulation of Digg if someone told him it was happening. The fact that some of his supporters are a bit obsessive is not lost on the rest of us (recall the latest Ron Paul excluded from Iowa Taxpayers & Christian Alliance Club candidate's forum). I will concede that it's possible that there are a few bad eggs out there who use multiple accounts to “spam” Ron Paul stories, but I see no proof of it with this article.

    I appreciate the list of Ron Paul supporters though, I will add them to my friends list. If some of them turn out to be gaming the system their accounts will undoubtedly be deleted.


    Constanze

  • Anonymous said:

    Name recognition? What good is name recognition if every time you see his name you associate it with digg “users” abusing the system. Digg needs to change their digg algorithm to take into account a diggers habits. That way a user who has a pattern of constantly digging the same keywords (especially without even clicking through to the article) could be given less weight than a user who is truly DISCOVERING content and enjoying it. Agendas would longer be an issue.
    Name recognition… Puhlease. I like Ron Paul and even I associate his name with net spam thanks to you losers. Good job dumbasses, way to overdo it.

  • Anonymous said:

    I don't actively digg, but I go to digg because they are a source for Ron Paul information. I work in the technology field and lean to the right/libertarian.
    “and got him into the Iowa Debate”
    If you are referring to the Tax Relief Forum this past weekend, he was not invited.

  • Anonymous said:

    There's nothing artificial about it when people digg the articles they like.

  • Anonymous said:

    um…I like video games, and I pretty much digg any games I'm looking forward to. What's wrong with them digging a Ron Paul article if they are feverent over it? If it gets 3000 diggs. 3000 dugg it. Period. Thought that was the point. On your point of course we should complain about GTA, HALO3, BUSH IMPEACHMENT, ANY NEW MAXIM PIC, because peeps are gonna digg it because they are “in to it”. And by the way, logic holds : people read your article because of looking for something significant they cared about and generally could care less about your drivel. You said it. Maybe…I Don't know….write something people would care about and guess what you might just get a digg with Ron Paul. Kerrr WAaaaa!

  • Anonymous said:

    The only REAL conservative running (or not yet running but likely to) is Fred Thompson.
    Ron Paul is a frickin libertarian under the Republican name.

  • Anonymous said:

    I believe the Digg submission this article is referring to can be found at:
    http://digg.com/2008_us_elections/Digg_Dirt_From_the_Digg
    That submission now only has 7 diggs. I would think this means that at least ten of the people who dugg it were banned.

  • Anonymous said:

    If what you say is happening really was happening, I don't think Ron Paul would approve. Try to separate his sometimes overzealous supporters from the man himself. Saying that he has masterminded the whole thing points to the inferred belief that he has a strong understanding of how sites like Digg work. He doesn't. He's grateful for the net exposure he's gotten, but has no idea how it came about.
    He's innocent of your accusations.
    And as far as how many supporters he has, I've personally turned about 12 people on to Mr. Paul and his unique views and every one of them has become a supporter. They're not bots (as if I knew how to do that) they're not “repeats” they're friends who think somewhat like myself who see the potential good that a candidate like Mr. Paul represents.
    Now if that 1 to 12 ratio of exposure were even close to the norm, then he'd have supporters from sea to shining sea in just a matter of weeks. Which he has. If the true ratio were half of that, he'd still be booming.
    Get a grip dude. You wanna deflame him, fine. I'm willing to hear anything negative about him that anyone has to say. I'm not a zealot. I've just not heard anything negative about him. This is the only accusation I've seen against him that didn't involve twisting or applying spin to what he said and what he meant… and it actually has nothing to do with the man himself.
    Whats viral about Mr. Paul is his message and his views. Not his machinations for world domination. That would be the other guys.
    I'd like to buy you a cup of coffee so you can WAKE UP!

  • Anonymous said:

    Fred Thompson isn't conservative, at least not on his foreign policy views, he's big government. And Libertarians are fiscally conservative, that's their platform. Ron Paul's been a Republican since 1976, how much more Republican does a guy need to be?

  • Anonymous said:

    I'm Jonathan Bennett from Jonesboro, GA and my digg username is MuuhdistMonk. I should be on your list as well. I love our Constitution and I am a proud Ron Paul supporter. I love freedom and liberty and I will continue my support for Ron Paul until he wins the Presidency. I first found out about Digg.com through lewrockwell.com. I have dugg just about every Ron Paul article and Freetalklive podcast that I've seen on digg.com. Sorry, that's the way the free market works. Digg.com has the articles that I enjoy( unlike the mainstream media) and I, in turn, vote for, or digg, them. I don't think it is unethical to digg an article that contains information that you agree with. To not show your overwhelming support for your candidate, especially when the establishment is against him, would be idiotic. Keep digging, Ron Paul supporters! Spread the word however you must!
    “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a Revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

  • Anonymous said:

    Woo Hoo! I made it onto the cool list.
    Unfortunately for the writer he thinks there's some sort of “organization” going on here…I'm sure that's his first instinct because he's probably used to other organizations or communes or whatever the term they might use. Individualists do things on their own. I am on that list not because of some organization or organized effort. I am on that list because I as an individual like to go onto digg.com to find the latest information on Ron Paul. When I see a good article about Ron Paul I digg it. I also go to many other sources for Ron Paul information, digg is just one of many so don't feel so high and mighty. I work for the government so I have a lot of time on my hands during work.
    Digg is getting my traffic because of Ron Paul. Otherwise I would have never even heard of the site.

  • Anonymous said:

    If I didn't know any better, I'd think this blogger was trying to get hits on his site. And the Ron Paul fans who have signed up for hundreds of ids to trick the rest of the world into thinking there are more than 12 actual Ron Paul fans have worked overtime signing up on youtube, digg, meetup, etc. And they also put on various disguises so that the thousands of uploaded videos of people hanging home-made Ron Paul signs and rallying for Ron Paul (just how did these 12 people disguise themselves as 1100 in Iowa last week?) appear as if they're really from thousands of different people.

    It is terrific that you're exposing the truth. There really aren't any Ron Paul supporters on the internet or anywhere else. In fact, only about 3 of the comments here are made be anyone other than me. And of the 12 listed above, I am 11 of them. My primary user is 'demidog' on digg and you can find my conspiracy headquarters here.

  • Anonymous said:

    In an effort to provide clarity,
    Please source the following:
    “…and many of them don’t read the actual content of submissions.”
    “…(his supporters use bots to vote multiple times)”
    “Clearly, his tactics, although unethical, are working.”
    “…and got him into the Iowa Debate.”
    He was not invited to the Iowa Debate, he did the NH and SC debates.
    Clearly your either misinformed or biased.
    Regular people use digg, too.

  • Anonymous said:

    Cry More.

  • Anonymous said:

    Ditto. I have been using the internet for a very long time, for news, business or just classic reading. I know I am not alone here, it is the MSM which has driven me to search and search online for more of Ron Paul. I rarely “bury” a story, after all, it is generally just someone else's opinion to which they are entitled. But if I like one and may want to share it or go back, I might digg it too. I am not a Libertarian either. Oh, not a 20, 30, or even a 40 something, either. But after 30 some years of voting, I finally have a candidate I can get excited about voting for in that republican Congressman from Texas! He has more political experience than all the other candidates combined and his record shows he has been on the house floor fighting for MY life's freedom, and MY liberties for a long, long time. I think I owe him.

  • Anonymous said:

    Wow, look at all those thoughtfully written real comments from real people who posted about what a moron you are and what a bad conclusion you came to.
    Do you think a “bot” or some lame dude with too much time on his hands wrote all these posts saying how they are regular usesr of digg just like you, and digg the things they are interested in, just like you?
    Do you get it yet? You could not be more wrong. Ron Paul is popular on Digg.com because Ron Paul is popular, especially popular among the younger generations who use the internet to get most of their news.
    The only conspiracy is in your head. I digg Ron Paul stories because I like to read Ron Paul, and I come to digg to read what the stories are about Ron Paul, among other things. Get a clue.

  • Anonymous said:

    I would like to recommend that commenters only assert what can reasonably be documented and try to assume good faith.
    I don't want Ron Sansone or the members of the Anti-Ron Paul Spammers League (ARPSL) to assert that *all* Ron Paul supporters are spammers and we should in turn not assume that Ron Sansone necessarily has ulterior motives.

  • Anonymous said:

    What about all the legalizing weed posts that horde digg each week? Isn't that a little suspicious too?

  • Anonymous said:

    How exactly do you know that the people who dug your article were Ron Paul supports. It's not like there is a little tag next to your name that says “I support Ron Paul.”
    Get a life. Maybe these people just liked your article. And why are you getting so proud of 17 diggs? I think you need to take a step back and refocus all this negative-ness of yours into something more constructive than bashing people for digging stories that they like.
    pathetic.

  • Anonymous said:

    You ought to be grateful Ron Paul supporters are utilizing Digg. Because I can assure you, I never heard of your site Pre-Paul, and I will probably never again use it Post-Paul.
    The “Digg” feature is L-A-M-E.

  • Anonymous said:

    There are about 45 million American adults who didn't vote for Bush or Kerry in the 2004 election. Political pundits like to pretend that those people don't exist, exclude them from polls, and do everything else in their power to make their disenfranchment a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    Most of those people are not lazy or stupid, they are politically depressed – they don't want a left-wing slave-master or a right-wing slave-master, they just want the government out of their lives! But they know the game is rigged, so why bother trying?
    Now that, for once, there is a viable presidential candidate who speaks for those people, who has what it takes to rally them (along with the “lesser of two evils” voters) into a powerful political base – the mainstream is trying to sweep them under the carpet more fiercely than ever before!
    The two-headed RepubliCratic party will call us all sorts of things: one-percenters, spammers, freaks, even terrorists… (Very reminiscent of how other one-party states deal with their political opponents. Make no mistake about it, there's now more disagreement and genuine debate behind the closed doors of the Chinese Communist Party than in our three-CSPAN circus!)
    The political elite is desperate to keep us from realizing our own strength, to maintain the illusion that we're just a bunch of pot-head phreaks and spammers conspiring in some Berkeley computer lab, or whatever image they're trying to paint. If that false stereotype is ever debunked, the avalanche of support for Ron Paul will become unstoppable!

  • Anonymous said:

    I'm one of those 45 million politically-depressed adults. I have been eligible to vote for 37 years now and never voted because I never liked any of the candidates offered on any ballot. Now for the first time in my adult life I am seeing an honest politician and getting a breath of freedom. No wonder people are excitied! The author Sansone would probably feel the same were he to take an unbiased look at Ron Paul, which he freely admits he has not done.

  • Anonymous said:

    How is commenting on a post spamming. I am sick and tired of being called a spammer. I have never sent an unsolicited email to anyone.

  • Anonymous said:

    Thank you for the list of Ron Paul supporters. I am #8 on the list “chessmasterjoe”. Now I can add the rest of the list to my friends and get even more articles about Ron Paul that I might otherwise miss.
    I am a supporter of Ron Paul and will do whatever I can to get him elected. I do not think that digging a story about Ron Paul is immoral or wrong in any way. It is not only my right ,but I believe ,my duty to do whatever I can to get our country back from the people who have taken it over. I believe that the constitution is the supreme law of the land and we are not following it at all.
    Why do people keep calling me a spammer? What I write and post is in no way spam.

  • Anonymous said:

    I find your reply really funny, and I will give you some “mad props” for it.
    In fact, its such a good reply, I'm gonna go Digg your reply and have all my friends digg it too, just cuz this page has Ron Paul on it.

  • Anonymous said:

    Dammit put my name on that list too! Ron Paul is wierdly popular with people who know what the constitution says and actually care that our government neglects it. This is a real democratic action, these are real people who are really in Ron Pauls message of freedom, limited government and return to the Constitution between the government and the people werein the government is subserviant and accountable too the people.

  • Anonymous said:

    And how is acid rain related to climate change? Acid rain's main source is from coal burning power plants who do not meet clean air criteria. Look at the entire state of Pennsylvania for god's sakes. Hundreds of thousands of acres of trees with no leaves being burned alive by acid rain coming from power plants in north eastern ohio. And hey guess what, it isnt carbon dioxide that causes acid rain.
    On top of that, what you say is out of context. Ron paul has never said that there isn't a pollution problem. I've only heard him state (and numerous times) that he doubts man made global warming. No one disputes climate change, there is climate change, it has been changing for millions of years, and will continue doing so.
    Btw, the #1 green house gas is WATER VAPOR.
    Maybe you should join us “computer geeks” and pick up a book…. And read it…

  • Anonymous said:

    I think it's naive to think that Business isn't routinely gaming the social mediascape. At the school where I work, kids earn credits interning for major recording labels and often their task is to join a list of social media sites and promote label bands as though they were actually fans. I think the difference is that Ron Paul's supporters are acting on their convictions and are very passionate about the issues. I know for my own part, although I have no affiliation with Ron Paul's organizers, I've been motivated to DIGG related articles because I'm hearing my feelings expressed in Paul's policy– something that hasn't happened in the last twenty years. I'm certainly not DIGGing any 'business as usual politics on the Hill' stories.

  • Anonymous said:

    Remember to register as a republican and vote in the primary for RON PAUL!!!!!!!
    http://www.gop.com/RegisterToVote/

  • Anonymous said:

    This whole article is drive by and a bunch of lies. I post a lot and talk a lot about Ron Paul, but I don't cheat polls and I don't spam. This is just a drive-by piece meant to hurt Ron Paul. I've noticed places like Fark that harbor radical ANTI-ron-paul folks that will delete moderate any mention of him. with him being deleted from polls and being lied about by Fox and with him being attacked everywhere, I doubt that he is getting more than his fair share. Despite being attacked by the media, he is getting on the radar. He shows up even those he is being suppressed! RON PAUL!

  • Anonymous said:

    And you “block” access from http://politics.reddit.com/info/5yib9/comments now?
    Dude. What the hell.

  • Anonymous said:

    We didn't block access from Reddit. Must be our Internet provider for some reason. I'll look into it. Thanks for the heads up.
    STEVE O'KEEFE

  • Anonymous said:

    Actually, we *did* block access — must have gotten a forged comment or something. Anyway, it is unblocked now. Sorry — and thanks for the notice.
    STEVE

  • Anonymous said:

    Just because you aren't digging everything with “Ron Paul” in the title or following organized digg efforts doesn't mean no one is. Sure. Paul has real-world support, but it's no where near what it appears to be on sites like digg.

  • Anonymous said:

    another area that not has not been explored is that many of these accounts are actually created as part of a botnet that has its only mission to digg or befriend any mention of Ron Paul on many of the popular sites such as digg, reddit, del.ic.ious, myspace, xanga and so on.
    If he was so popular, he would have a higher rating all around than any other candidate in history.

  • Anonymous said:

    how do you explain the tremendous monetary donations going to ron paul's campaign?

  • Anonymous said:

    As if there weren't enough comments already, here is mine:
    Gee. tell me a bit more how to do this stuff so I can get my name on the list too! As a fervent supporter I have been lax in not spamming the bookmarking sites, I admit it, but you have inspired me to new heights of activism – thanks.

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