Monitoring Buries At Digg

Earlier this month, I wrote a long article looking at how some people at Digg might bury stories just because they disliked the topic rather than the story content itself. Indeed, many doing buries might not have read the article. Worse, they might use the bury reason of "spam" rather than more appropriate options. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way at Digg to see who has done a bury over a long period of time. However, The Bury Brigade Exists, and Here’s My Proof from Pronet Advertising describes a new technique you can try to monitor things, and I’ll add some tweaks to that as well.

Muhammad Saleem writes about tapping into the Digg Spy service. Digg Spy is awesome. I might seriously get a LCD projector and a spare computer to display Digg activity on the wall over my regular monitors. Bigspy shows stories dropping from above, with the font size indicating how popular a story is (also check out Digg Swarm and Digg Stack for other awesome visual displays). It’s compelling.

Digg Spy is a more "classic" view of digging activity. The page constantly refreshes, showing you what people are reporting as spam, burying, marking popular and so on. Unfortunately, you can only see the last 20 or so activities that have happened.

Muhammad describes how to call up Digg Spy activity in a textual format:

&showdiggs=1 &showburies=1&showcomments=1&showtop=2&maxitems=25

Do this, and you see all the Digg activity in pure textual format. You can then import it into a program (even a spreadsheet) to generate reports.

Muhammad talks about how to spot a comment, a Digg, a submit and a bury – plus how to get more than 25 results. That got me thinking, and playing — could I filter things to only show buries?

It turned out to be pretty easy. It was just a matter of dropping out all the parameters not needed. For example, the &showdiggs=1 part in the URL above means that you should be given any Diggs in the data you request. Set the value to 0, and the Diggs disappear. Or just remove the parameter altogether. Here’s what I’ve been using:

That says to display only bury activity (the part I’ve bolded) and to show the last 1000 actions of that type. Want more than 1,000 actions? Set the maxitems number (also shown in bold) to whatever you want.

Here’s an example of a bury for spam reason:

{"type":"report","itemid":"1457387","date":"2007-02-28 04:31:15","timestamp":"1172665875","reason":"Spam",
"Top 10 SEO Mistakes and What to Do to Correct It","url":

The first bolded word "report" tells you this line is a bury. The second bolded section tells you the reason for the bury was that this was deemed to be spam. A key element is missing, however: "uid." That, if present, would show the name of the person doing the burying.

Muhammad got his tip from doing this from David LeMieux, who created a Digg Bury Expose site. Rather than having to look through the ugly data like above, his site nicely showed all the people who were burying things and why. But David’s site now says "looks like they figured out their bug." What I think he means is that the UID field was probably removed only from buries after he started his site, so that buries remained anonymous.

Spying On Digg Spy is another article you may find useful, if you want to play with the Digg Spy feature and pull data from it. Of course, the real solution would be for Digg to publicly show in Diggers’ profiles what they are burying and why, in the same way they’re happy to show someone’s submitting and Digging history.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search Engines: Digg | Search Engines: Social Search Engines | Social Media Marketing


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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