On Tuesday, feminist blogger Irin North gave a scathing critique of the social news site Digg. She described its user community as "incredibly sexist" and included numerous examples of immature, caddish behavior. For those who aren't aware, Digg is a mostly-democratic news site powered by its members, who submit and vote on articles that appear on the site. North's litany of complaints against it begins here:
Women tend to appear on Digg in the following ways: golddigging, posing half-naked by cars (though never driving them competently), never inventing anything worth shit ("You know what men invented? Everything else!"), forcing men to go shopping with them, trying to cheat by offering sexual favors, probably cheating on their loyal partners and being subject to rightful revenge. If we're not bad at math and science, we're ugly. (All of these posts were wildly popular on the site, requiring thousands of affirmative votes.)
So why is Digg so 'sexist'? She offers that its anonymity "feeds into its users' crude impulses." And the fact that those users happen to be, in her view, "the stereotypical nerdy white guy in his basement" doesn't help.
Interestingly enough, North is by no means the first to criticize Digg's male chauvinistic tendencies. In 2008, Jen Nedeau at Change.org wrote a similar piece titled "Is Digg Sexist?" What's fascinating is how the Digg community responded to Nedeau and North's work. In both cases, it's been surprisingly positive. Nedeau's went gangbusters, receiving over 600 diggs. As for North, hers has already racked up 195 diggs--nothing to sneeze at.
Does the Digg community's response suggest its users are more nuanced and self-critical than North would contend?