Barring Digg
April 10, 2009 12:45 PM   Subscribe

In the midst of increasing concern over dependence on URL shorteners, Digg perversely manifests one worst-case scenario, the DiggBar. Put your favorite website's URL into the Digg Bar, Digg provides a shortened version of the URL, handy for use in Twitter and other tiny media. What's the downside? Well, these days any link you follow from Digg has Digg's branding wrapped around it. Hey presto, Google suddenly looks like Digg property.

Needless to say, people don't appreciate being assimilated without permission. Websites are fighting back. John Gruber of Daring Fireball offers a PHP one-liner that site owners can use to send Digg Bar users a message of their choosing: Daring Fireball's is a little rude. Daring Fireball's little message is also one of the most popular sites on Digg today (over 1,000 votes and growing) without Digg's homepage promoting it.
posted by ardgedee (85 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
I hate Digg.
posted by run"monty at 12:50 PM on April 10, 2009 [19 favorites]


Cyrus has his answer, I guess.
posted by dersins at 12:52 PM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Heh. yeah, it's never been difficult to prevent people from wrapping your content.

URL shortening is the stupidest thing ever. Twitter could easily chose not to count URL text in the character counts, and only use URL shortening when sending actual text messages to phones. Instead, the VCs who backed Twitter have invested in their own shortener, bit.ly (which is presumably compatible with Sharia law, as required by all sites registered with the libyan TLD).

The people who run any popular URL shortener could probably make more money in a couple days by redirecting all their links to porn then they could over the lifetime of those services.

They also completely ruin attempts to gather information about the web by spidering.
posted by delmoi at 12:55 PM on April 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


Looking at what's going around on twitter right now, there's this cnet article that dares to ask the question, "But is Gruber right?", and then promptly dares to not bother to answer it. Aces work, there, guy.
posted by cortex at 12:55 PM on April 10, 2009


I've been having the same problem with Facebook--someone puts up a link and it takes me to a Facebook URL. Even after clicking on the story inside the page, I'm still on a Facebook site. Only after reaching in about three layers down can I find the proper URL.
posted by etaoin at 12:57 PM on April 10, 2009


It's...it's...what is the word I'm looking for here? Oh, yeah. Unnecessary.
posted by tommasz at 12:58 PM on April 10, 2009


Yeah, I noticed Facebook doing this same thing. I know I have seen both frame-busting script and Terms of Service that prohibit the "wrapping" of their site. Not sure what this odd re-emergence of an old practice.
posted by bz at 1:02 PM on April 10, 2009


Web 3.0
posted by wcfields at 1:03 PM on April 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wasn't it standard practice to stick some frame-busting script in your website in bygone days? What happened to that? I am so fed up with the intenet lately.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:05 PM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


cortex: lazy writing on cnet? it's almost like the articles are filler for the space they couldn't sell ads for, really.
posted by boo_radley at 1:08 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well... it could be worse.
posted by bz at 1:08 PM on April 10, 2009


The abstraction of The Internet from the real world probably serves as a good thing, as my instinctive reaction upon witnessing the DiggBar was to look for something sturdy and heavy with which I might club it to death, never to appear again.

Huge mis-step on Digg's part. I'd probably not only put in a DiggBar detecting script, it would be altered to send back HTML with hundreds of frames pointing to Digg's most CPU-and-bandwidth-intensive pages.
posted by adipocere at 1:09 PM on April 10, 2009


FireFox extension idea: look for shortened URLs on every page, preload any found in the background to find the real URLs they re-direct to, and replace them in the page with the real URLs.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:10 PM on April 10, 2009 [12 favorites]


This is a huge problem. Whatever shall we do?
posted by mullingitover at 1:13 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been having the same problem with Facebook [...] Only after reaching in about three layers down can I find the proper URL.

What? There's an X in the upper right corner. Click it.
posted by desjardins at 1:15 PM on April 10, 2009


Mullingitover- that is for digg users, grubers script is for site maintainers who don't want digg coopting their site.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:16 PM on April 10, 2009


Why in the fuck would anyone use that?
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


burnmp3s, got greasemonkey installed?
posted by 7segment at 1:22 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just took another look at the Digg post about Daring Fireball. It's got more diggs than everything on Digg's front page, and more than half of the "Top Posts" on the front page, but Digg still isn't promoting it to the front page or displaying it in search results.

Digg's mods aren't keeping up with all the other members posting their own links about it, since those are in the search results (as I write this).
posted by ardgedee at 1:22 PM on April 10, 2009


I'm longing for the simple honesty of framesets.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on April 10, 2009


Google is going to have difficulty complaining. It has been fighting all kinds of trademark lawsuits where Google presents adword based results that trademark holders claim infringe their trademark. For example, put a brand name into Google, and Google wraps the results in Google AdSense derived results.
posted by Muddler at 1:33 PM on April 10, 2009


How dare that company on the internet provide something that isn't free and exactly the way I want it!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:39 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


muddler: That's a search engine putting ads on a search result. If you click on one of the links that Google presents you with it isn't going to a page that is inside a Google branded frame.
posted by aspo at 1:39 PM on April 10, 2009


You know what this needs? Smart tags.
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on April 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I guess what I mean is, I don't see how this is "looking like Digg property." It looks like the same thing Facebook and loads of other apps use for links within their system that you are choosing voluntarily to use.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:43 PM on April 10, 2009


Digg is a cancer.
posted by Damn That Television at 1:48 PM on April 10, 2009


aspo, it is through Google Image Search.
posted by mkb at 1:52 PM on April 10, 2009


Remember how ticked off people were when about.com did the same thing? Within a day or so Zeldman had a nifty jump out of frame javascript on his site that anyone who fancied could use. Lets do the timewarp again.
posted by dabitch at 1:54 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I don't understand is why Digg is trying to become the InfoSpace or the Excite of the 2000's. Jay, Kevin, did you not browse the web in 1998? Do you not know what turds you're dropping on the Internet? For gods sake, guys, what's next, the "Digg Portal"? Maybe a personalized Digg homepage, along with nifty weather and stock price widgets?

BTW, did Mike Arrington have an orgasm over this, or what?
posted by mark242 at 1:57 PM on April 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't like that little Digg Bar since it leaves little black lines across my screen when I scroll the page. I *could* take time out to try and fix it, but I'd rather just hate on Digg.
This is me hating on Digg.
Hate hate hate.
posted by idiotfactory at 2:08 PM on April 10, 2009


Jay, Kevin, did you not browse the web in 1998?

Weren't they, like, 8 years old in 1998?
posted by dersins at 2:12 PM on April 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Hey presto, Google suddenly looks like Digg property.

Two can play at that game:

1. Open the aforementioned link and click on "Google Images"
2. Type in the keyword "digg"
3. Click on any image with the Digg logo

Now who owns whom?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:26 PM on April 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


Well, thank god there's still delicious when I need my fix of the latest blog articles telling me The 11 Vital Things You Need To Know About Improving Your Masturbation Productivity...
posted by Jimbob at 2:37 PM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dugg
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 2:39 PM on April 10, 2009


Two can play at that game

Even better.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:40 PM on April 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


Open the aforementioned link and click on "Google Images"

“Image may be subject to copyright.”
“Below is the image at: blah”
“Remove frame”

(Note that it is actually a frame and not some screen scraping weirdness)

Diggbar has an X that will take you to the intended page, that's it.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on April 10, 2009


URL shortening is the stupidest thing ever. Twitter could easily chose not to count URL text in the character counts, and only use URL shortening when sending actual text messages to phones. Instead, the VCs who backed Twitter have invested in their own shortener, bit.ly (which is presumably compatible with Sharia law, as required by all sites registered with the libyan TLD).

really? is no one going to follow up on this? I actually agree, URL shortening is dumb and twitter should not semi-force people into it by character limit.

However, they don't force you to use bit.ly, I have never used it, and the Libya/Sharia law thing is so incredibly baffling and out of left field that I'm dying to know if it's supposed to mean something, or just a very clever parody of over-the-top anti-twitter rants.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:57 PM on April 10, 2009


Ok i googled it and I get it now:

http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/a-little-bitly-sharia-tech-business-builds-on-libya-domain/

the connection to twitter is still tangential at best, I always use is.gd since it;s the first choice in my menu on twhirl.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:01 PM on April 10, 2009


I have referers disabled, so the fireball thingy did not work. I wonder if there is a server-side way of accomplishing this that would not rely on referers?
posted by maxwelton at 3:05 PM on April 10, 2009


Gruber's message got substantially less rude since yesterday; today's rudeness is "bullshit", yesterdays was something along the lines of "go fuck yourself".
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:06 PM on April 10, 2009


One step better.
posted by adamk at 3:13 PM on April 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yo dawg, I heard you like frames!.

We have google cache header, digg bar, google images header and digg itself. If only I could get that linked from About.com I would have more header than page.
posted by GuyZero at 3:17 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The JavaScript way out is pretty straightforward:
if (self.location != top.location) {
	top.location = self.location;
}
Stick that in the head of your site(s), or in an external JavaScript file, and you'll be set.
posted by sidesh0w at 3:22 PM on April 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Diggbar has an X that will take you to the intended page, that's it.

Except if you navigate around any site with the digg badge on, the URL does't change. It stays digg.com/whatever. And then if you finally decide to close the diggbar, it boots you back to the original page you landed on -- not the page you're currently on. Really poor usability. Lame all-around.
posted by nitsuj at 3:23 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or if you only want to block DiggBar, and not other frames:

if (document.referrer.indexOf('http://digg.com') > -1) {
top.location.href = self.location.href;
}

posted by nitsuj at 3:24 PM on April 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's got more diggs than everything on Digg's front page, and more than half of the "Top Posts" on the front page, but Digg still isn't promoting it to the front page or displaying it in search results.

My god, that's fucking hilarious. Can that really be true? Digg is actively manipulating its site so that a popular article about Digg doesn't show up in Digg's search results?

Search for "john gruber"
The search for "john gruber" in the last 7 days includes a ranty response but not the original.

*laughs*

Fucking digg, man.
posted by mediareport at 3:28 PM on April 10, 2009


Users digg, admins buryy.
posted by GuyZero at 3:35 PM on April 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


delmoi: Twitter could easily chose not to count URL text in the character counts, and only use URL shortening when sending actual text messages to phones.

Another great idea that I had was that people could easily choose not to use Twitter or Digg.
posted by koeselitz at 3:37 PM on April 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Digg is a cancer.

That's not a very nice thing to say. About cancer.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:39 PM on April 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


Internet quietly clips its nails. Digg: Hey! Internet: Hey--who are you? Digg: I'm digg! I'm gonna start a dirfward community. Internet: You're rather stupid, aren't you? Digg: Let's frame content! Internet: Uh-- Digg: Yikes, you don't sound too receptive. I'm going to ignore you and pretend you don't exist. Internet stares in disbelief. Digg: I'm on gopher, right?
posted by shadytrees at 4:12 PM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I saw at least one url shortener that was promoting its service as Twitter-centric put up a frame and 'overbar' on whatever it was pointed to. And I've noticed the Twitter linkmongers who were using it have stopped (probably more complaints than just mine). So is it possible to put a Diggbarframe in a Twitterpartnerframe in a Facebookframe in a Googleframe? How many turtles down can we take this? (Personally, I'm not going to bother, but someone with time and motivation can really have fun with this.)
posted by wendell at 4:18 PM on April 10, 2009


Well, Digg DOES love a good, ol' fashioned pile-on.
posted by basicchannel at 4:29 PM on April 10, 2009


ardgedee: "I just took another look at the Digg post about Daring Fireball. It's got more diggs than everything on Digg's front page, and more than half of the "Top Posts" on the front page, but Digg still isn't promoting it to the front page or displaying it in search results.

Digg's mods aren't keeping up with all the other members posting their own links about it, since those are in the search results (as I write this).
"

Even highly-voted stories can be kept off the front page if their are a correspondingly high number of people downvoting it. Presumably there are enough Digg fanboys on, well, Digg to prevent the article from achieving popularity.

And this is usually a feature and not a bug, btw, since lately the site has become a target for spammed articles from right-wing fringe groups. Right now the highest-voted article in the Political section is a press release from the BNP -- but there will probably be enough people voting it down to keep it off the homepage.

If it weren't for that mechanism then any group with enough motivated participants (or sockpuppets) could get their cause one of the biggest audiences on the web.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:51 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"if there are", dammit
posted by Rhaomi at 5:05 PM on April 10, 2009


Kevin Blows.
posted by autodidact at 5:10 PM on April 10, 2009


Come on guys, take it to http://tinyurl.com/c2rvvz .
posted by phaedon at 5:12 PM on April 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


This isn't really new. Even friggin' Outlook Web Access does this.

And you really think this is a worst-case scenario?
posted by ODiV at 5:19 PM on April 10, 2009


> Right now the highest-voted article in the Political section is a press release from the BNP -- but there will probably be enough people voting it down to keep it off the homepage.

The BNP article is visible in the search results, while the Daring Fireball article is not. That has nothing to do with digg/bury vote activity.
posted by ardgedee at 5:32 PM on April 10, 2009


Twitter could easily chose not to count URL text in the character counts

http://www.you.have.got.to.be.kidding.me.there.is.no.way.that.would.work/i.mean.seriously.even/I/can.think.of.ways.to.fubar.that.system/seriously.html
posted by five fresh fish at 5:38 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


posted by Damn That Television Digg is a cancer.

Diggplasia? or Diggonoma?
posted by mattdidthat at 5:41 PM on April 10, 2009


Twitter's use of URL shorteners is particularly obnoxious, since it will shorten URLs even when they don't go over the character limit. It would be a handy feature to shorten a long address when it causes your message to go over the SMS limit, but doing it universally is a misfeature.

Unless, of course, your goal is to rickroll/goatse as many people as possible in 140 characters or less.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:51 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Diggplasia? or Diggonoma?

Cancer 2.0.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:52 PM on April 10, 2009


Daring Fireball's little message is also one of the most popular sites on Digg today (over 1,000 votes and growing) without Digg's homepage promoting it.

Digg is this century's Slashdot.
posted by DU at 5:53 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I second Artw's initial comment. There are plenty of useful and practical URL shorteners that will not brand your link. It's like the people at Digg were trying to think of ways to make more people hate them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:01 PM on April 10, 2009


ardgedee: "The BNP article is visible in the search results, while the Daring Fireball article is not. That has nothing to do with digg/bury vote activity."

It's not visible anymore, because it's been buried -- i.e., it got enough downvotes to get knocked off the political Upcoming queue. The default site search excludes buried stories, so even if you search with keywords from the story, it won't appear. But, add in the right modifier and it becomes visible.

The same thing happened with the Daring Fireball article, I see:

Default search = no results

Search with "buried" modifier = story visible
posted by Rhaomi at 6:02 PM on April 10, 2009


Cancer 2.0.

Cancr.
posted by cortex at 6:03 PM on April 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


Oncologosphere.

okay, this is just wrong
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:17 PM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I noticed someone sent me a link to digg off of facebook. I saw two interior frames on my browser and I about went ape.. like.. WOA! Web 3.0. Or 2.5 Or something. Frames are back! Guhhh.....

Web 3.5 - In-line music! Midi instruments!

Web 4.0 - ANIMATED UNDER CONSTRUCTION GIFS! WHO'S WITH ME?!
posted by cavalier at 7:29 PM on April 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


cavalier: when do we get our much-missed blink tag back?
posted by hippybear at 8:00 PM on April 10, 2009


Google is going to have difficulty complaining. It has been fighting all kinds of trademark lawsuits where Google presents adword based results that trademark holders claim infringe their trademark. For example, put a brand name into Google, and Google wraps the results in Google AdSense derived results.

So what? Having a trademark doesn’t give you rights to control search results for that trademark. That doesn’t even make sense. The adwords ads show up on google's own pages.

And also there are other search engines out there.

Weren't they, like, 8 years old in 1998?

Those guys are in their 30s.

However, they don't force you to use bit.ly, I have never used it, and the Libya/Sharia law thing is so incredibly baffling and out of left field that I'm dying to know if it's supposed to mean something, or just a very clever parody of over-the-top anti-twitter rants.

No, they don't force you to use bit.ly, I just thought it was funny. I found out the Libya angle from valleywag which specializes in over the top reporting.

http://www.you.have.got.to.be.kidding.me.there.is.no.way.that.would.work/i.mean.seriously.even/I/can.think.of.ways.to.fubar.that.system/seriously.html

Twitter would just show the link text (which people don't even bother with on twitter now), you'd have to click the link to go to the URL. You'd just cut out x characters for a shrunk URL, and if you sent a 'twat' via text message you'd use the shortened URL, otherwise you'd see link if viewing on the web.
posted by delmoi at 8:32 PM on April 10, 2009


Is web 3.0, 3.5, and 3.1415 going to be the same empty-headed marketing ball of nothingness that we saw with web 2.0?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:49 PM on April 10, 2009


http://you.might.be.right/but.i.think.i.kinda.like.this.anyways/so.from.now.on.im.gonna.write/like.this./its.the.new.thing.you.know.html
posted by five fresh fish at 9:12 PM on April 10, 2009


http://you.might.be.right/but.i.think.i.kinda.like.this.anyways/so.from.now.on.im.gonna.write/like.this./its.the.new.thing.you.know.html

http://that-s.actually.web/2.66/it's-in-the-spec/but-you're-6month's-early.html.
posted by delmoi at 9:49 PM on April 10, 2009


Presumably there are enough Digg fanboys on, well, Digg to prevent the article from achieving popularity.

How do we know it's "Digg fanboys" and not the people behind Digg itself?

Serious question.
posted by mediareport at 9:59 PM on April 10, 2009




Web two point blow.
posted by incessant at 11:08 PM on April 10, 2009


mediareport: "How do we know it's "Digg fanboys" and not the people behind Digg itself?

Serious question.
"

Occam's Razor? It seems much more likely that opinion of the toolbar is split enough that no story critical of it could reach popularity than that the Digg admins are manually deleting critical stories.

FWIW, the site's owners have removed stories in the past -- specifically, the ones touting the AACS encryption code, which were taken down ostensibly over fear of legal threats. But they did admit their censorship, did relent after people complained, and (one would hope) learned never to try that again.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:14 PM on April 10, 2009


Real-life feedback sent to digg via the diggbar regarding same:

"This is the first time I've seen that hideous piece of shit called the diggbar AND SUDDENLY I HAVE THIS OVERWHELMING URGE TO DE-ORBIT LARGE MASSES OF SPACE ROCK INTO ANY AND ALL OPERATING OFFICES OF DIGG FOR THE FUCKING LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU WRONGHEADED FUCKING FUCKFACES?"


For the record, I haven't had this much overwhelmingly primal loathing since the last time I ever saw RealPlayer installed on a computer, which wasn't really that long ago. There needs to be a better word for this emotion, this feeling of violent revulsion one gets when you see a giant fucking creepy-crawly thing and your monkey hindbrain is immediately reaching for a stick or large rock with serious heft and bashing potential.

It's only through the cold, steely logic of rationality that I didn't actually smash my screen with a large rock. However, as indicated above I reserve the right to drop very large rocks on the digg offices from space.
posted by loquacious at 2:28 AM on April 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


> Even highly-voted stories can be kept off the front page if their are a correspondingly high number of people downvoting it. Presumably there are enough Digg fanboys on, well, Digg to prevent the article from achieving popularity.

This was posted by a Digg mod in the thread there: "Yes, this story was buried yesterday when it had a much lower Digg count. As always, once a story is buried, even if it gains traction, it won't hit the homepage."

The comment activity in the thread doesn't reflect a a lot of bury vote activity. There are only three or four pro-DiggBar (or anti-Daring Fireball) comments in the thread, all themselves overwhelmed with bury votes. Implicitly either the threshold to perma-bury a post is very low or is heavily weighted towards early activity. It doesn't implicate gaming the post by mods, but it doesn't indicate that gaming the post by mods is difficult within the existing mechanism.
posted by ardgedee at 4:47 AM on April 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


After all, it's not like the kind of people who created Diggbar are the kind of people to pull other shitheaded hijinks. No, not at all.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:14 AM on April 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I haven't had this much overwhelmingly primal loathing since the last time I ever saw RealPlayer installed on a

Harsh words indeed!
posted by Artw at 8:17 AM on April 11, 2009


...on a computer, that is.
posted by Artw at 8:17 AM on April 11, 2009


I haven't had this much overwhelmingly primal loathing since the last time I ever saw RealPlayer installed on a computer

Don't remind me!
posted by grouse at 11:10 AM on April 11, 2009


Seems like the perfect opportunity to do some phishing, since you can't see the original URL.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:49 PM on April 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Yet) Another DiggBar Update: " Since we launched the DiggBar, we’ve received valuable feedback... We are rolling out a few key changes over the next week or so."

In short:

The DiggBar will only appear for logged-in members who have not opted out. The opt-out process is being redesigned for ease of use.

For nonmembers and for members who opt out, URLs will not be obfuscated by Digg's shortener once you've landed on the target page (making Digg's service more like TinyURL than how it behaves now).

These fix the key problems with the DiggBar. Hopefully by the end of the month they will be dead issues. It doesn't solve the problem of Digg using its short urls within its own site, making it impossible for users to know whether they'd previously visited a site or not, but I'm inclined to say that's a concern to be hashed out within the Digg community.
posted by ardgedee at 7:04 PM on April 15, 2009


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