While the recent Digg bans have caused much online controversy, little attention has been given to the larger issue affecting users of social sites, namely user rights.
Last year, Mike Arrington, Robert Scoble, Joseph Smarr and Marc Canter wrote a Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web. The document asserts that all users of the social Web are entitled to certain fundamental rights when it comes to ownership of their information.
Our question is: what rights do the banned diggers have?
While their submissions and Diggs remain on the site, their profile information is simply wiped out; they vanish, as if they never existed.
Surely it’s a conflict of interest if the operating company, whose goal is to make money [now or in the future], can be the same body that determines which users can have access to the site and which can not?
Users should be offered a formal appeal process, be it public or private, and be given an opportunity for further recourse through a third party arbitrator if no resolution can be agreed on.
Additionally, while Digg certainly should remove any inappropriate content, any users that have had an account suspended or terminated should still be able to login, and their account should remain functional so that they can review or transfer their content.
Update: Neal Rodriguez put together a five minute video with some excellent points; check out Dear Kevin and Jay