Originally I started this article because I saw alot of diggers disparaging Ron Paul supporters because they were 'new' as in recently signed up to digg and therefore apparently their diggs and comments were somehow worth less than those of diggers who had been around much longer. This alone was rather disturbing, however when I scratched the surface and started checking out the actual people submitting articles I found much more to it than just that... and therefore this article itself changed.
You have to be living under an internet rock if you havn't felt the waves and reverberations of Ron Paul by now. Still, there seems to be plenty of people who just skim headlines and end up getting a lot of misinformation or even disinformation on this politician. I just thought I'd set a few things straight, for the record.
First... Ron Paul is indeed winning in every online straw poll. What I see a lot of talk about this one is that these polls are not scientific and Ron Paul is not holding his own in the supposedly scientific polls. Further, there have been many allegations that a small but determined group of tech savy Ron Paul supporters are gaming the system and thereby giving Ron Paul an undue advantage in such polls.
That would be fine if it were one or two polls, but really... for Ron Paul to be winning ALL of the polls? It stretches the imagination to think that his supporters could manipulate each and every poll as well as the metrics and records which places such as google, technorati and alexa not only keep, but base their entire business plan on. Really, if Ron Paul fans could 'game' the system to this extent, then he'll win hands down regardless because this is so far beyond 'fiddling' it's almost a conspiracy theory in it's own right.
More... the supposed 'scientific' polls quoted usually either reference a time period that pre-dates the recent Ron Paul explosion in popularity or don't include him as a choice at all... how scientific can that really be?
Second... Ron Paul supporters are (again, via a small but tech savy group) gaming digg and other social networking sites.
This itself would be funny if it weren't leading so many people to the wrong conclusions via the 'herd behavior' effect.
I'll be the first to admit that yes, there are a whole bunch of Ron Paul articles streaming through digg on a regular basis. Let's take a moment though to examine those articles and the people who submit and comment on them eh?
'Ron Paul' is the number one search term for blogs. Ron Paul has the most subscribers on Youtube. Ron Paul has the most friends on Myspace, Friendster and Facebook. Ron Paul, as previously mentioned, has won every single straw poll on the internet. What does this all mean? Ron Paul is POPULAR. What always has a place on digg? Things that are popular. As much as a geek fest digg is, there has always been a place for whatever news that is popular and/or breaking. Every starlet's indiscretion, every hollywood legal battle, every scandal. It all filters through. Popularity alone projects a great many articles onto digg.
Third... Of the many 'Ron Paul' articles coming through digg, a rather large amount of them are anti-Paul hit pieces or straight up spam articles inserted to generate anti-Paul sentiment. This is a tough one to combat, but I would hope that diggers would be a little bit discriminate before declaring everything 'Paul' as spam. If you take a look at who exactly is submitting these articles and what their views are, you'll see that the bulk of 'Ron Paul' related material you see is actually coming from submitters who are against Ron Paul and are merely betting that by upping the number of articles that they can turn popular digg support against him. This alone should raise a big red flag for everyone and cause people to question the motives behind such anti-digg-social behavior. Basically, these folks are betting on diggers being stupid enough to fall for such ploys and are themselves attempting to 'game' the system in order to point the finger at Ron Paul fans as the culprits and lay the blame on them. Personally, as a digger, I find that offensive. Don't think it's true? Here's one digger who's made an account for the exclusive purpose of attacking the Ron Paul grass roots movement: http://digg.com/users/COINTELPROAgent/news/submitted - now that is one source plenty of spam is coming from. The account was made a week ago, all submissions are anti-paul, all diggs are anti-paul and he's befriended every pro-paul digger in order to track and comment bomb all Paul related articles. Is that in the spirit of this community? An account with the only purpose of generating anti-sentiment on... anything?
Finally, there's people like this guy... Politics20, and there are tons just like him, again I'm just providing one example of many: It seems that digg h as seen fit to delete this account - obviously for reason... the skinny of it though is that he tracks ALL political stories, and through a combination of rss feeds and widgets, blind submits whatever political articles that happen to be 'hot' at the moment. Not just here, but on every social networking site. Funny thing is, ALL of his links lead back his personal advertising heavy blog... http://hammer2006.blogspot.com. I'm all for the entrepreneurial spirit, but this is clear abuse of digg and totally against the TOS... the point here though is that this guy and many others like him are adding to the spam and it all gets blamed on the Ron Paul supporters. That's just plain wrong.
At the end of the day, I think if you bother to 'check it out', you'll find that between the articles that would just normally be on digg anyway, the anti-paul spam and the monetary keyword pirates, if you stripped that all out, you have a very few articles by actual Ron Paul supporters and they are all rather high quality and for the most part certainly worthy of a digg, NOT a bury. What's really happened here is that people from OTHER candidate's volunteer organizations have seen the Ron Paul effect and the Power of Digg and made a move to turn it around and incite anti-Paul sentiment. They're betting that diggers are too stupid to digg deeper and find out the real story. I'm hoping they're wrong.
In conclusion, from my own personal experience... support for Ron Paul is indeed REAL. It is widespread. He resonates with the internet crowd and yes, he's not perfect. The polls are correct and not gamed. The massive influx of Ron Paul related articles, or if you prefer 'spam', are NOT due to Ron Paul supporters, in fact afaik they are the one and only group that does any self policing in that regard at all. If you are overwhelmed with Ron Paul material, for the most part it is coming from OTHER candidate's volunteers or those who have a monetary interest in spamming in general, NOT from the pro Ron Paul crowd. So give them a break eh? Is there any other digg clique that at all works to reduce spam? I don't think so.
Ron Paul, he's got my vote.