Social Bookmarking 101: You gotta own your bury/sink. (or How Kevin Rose is painting himself into a corner).

Kevin Rose is getting called out again today for the mob-like behavior of the “digg kids.”

For those of you who haven’t been on the receiving end of the “digg kids mob,” it’s basically a fanatical group of digg users that will attack and bury any good story about someone they don’t like, while promoting bad ones about the people they don’t like. This group is also known as the Bury Brigade.

I’ve been beat on constantly by these kids, as has Danny Sullivan. Today, LittleGreenFootballs gets beat up.

The way this works is that stories on digg can be buried (voted down), but unlike positive votes, negative votes don’t have names attached to them. This was done in the early days, from what I was told from insiders, so that the staff of digg could kill stories they didn’t like and blame it on the will of the community. This kept the digg staff’s fingerprints off of things that were killed so the staff of digg could say “we didn’t kill it, the community did.” Very smart… but now it’s coming back to haunt digg. I’d love to see the buried votes on some early anti-digg stories… you can be sure digg will never release that data.

When I was running Netscape–which is doing really well right now–I insisted that our negative vote (called a “sink”) was tied to a name/user account. This means that if 20 of the staff wanted to kill something the community would know and them out on it. We made people own their sinks/burries/negative votes–accountability.

LitleGreenFootballs posted a story asking Kevin Rose to add accountability for sinks and–as you might suspect–the story was sunk!

Kevin Rose will, of course, not responded to this request and not bring up on the digg blog–which doesn’t have even have comments!!! Hello!??!!? How can you be for social media and audience empowerment and not let folks have a discussion on your blog?!

Frankly I think Kevin is painting himself into a corner that’s making digg’s credibility spiral downward… you can’t say you’re an open community then do things like have covert negative voting and no comments on your blog. Unless of course you want to limit your audience to your fanbase–which is exactly what’s happening to digg. They are pushing anyone out who’s not a 10 to 25 year old male who loves the Wii and LOTR.

Who knows, maybe that’s the goal?

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