(Update: Ironically, someone put this post on Digg! It's got the silly bar and all! Also, the evil bar attempts to eat the post.)Digg is a website where users submit links and vote on them. If you are lucky enough to have a link to your site come to the front page, you will be gifted with visits from thousands and thousands of raving idiots. It's the AOL of the 21st century. I don't use it myself, but it is relatively high-profile, and I hear about its scandals.
Right. Now, in common with a lot of people, Digg is probably hurting a bit from the whole collapse of the global economy thing. So, they introduced a thing called the Diggbar. Now, when you click a link on Digg, it puts a silly bar on top of the target, through framing. This is, of course, rather irritating, and impedes bookmarking and so forth. There's also no easy way to escape from the frame. So that's unpleasant. A variety of crapper websites used to do this back in the late 90s, but it largely went out of fashion as really, really annoying. Reddit does it, but it is an opt-in feature, for people who like this sort of thing.
There may also be an issue of the technique diverting pagerank away from the target sites and towards Digg, though that is rather dependent on linking user behaviour.
Someone posted a blog entry on how to block users coming in with the silly bar, via referrer inspection. This ended up on Digg itself, with a score of over 2000 (generally good enough to get to the front page) and overwhelmingly positive user comments. However, it is not on the front page. Do you think that this is because (a) this popular article has been buried by users, who like it but don't want to see it on the Digg frontpage or (b) this popular article has been buried by Digg themselves, for insulting their new (presumably revenue-generating) feature?
Of course, we don't know, because such records aren't public. But it doesn't look great. The Streisand effect, where an effort to hide something on the Internet leads to it being spread all over the place, has probably been invoked. Unfortunately for Digg, regardless of how it actually happened, at this point people are largely going to assume they are covering up.
This comment is rather interesting. Anecdotal, of course, but this user, whose comments had decent scores on the site, apparently had his commenting disabled temporarily because other users didn't like them. Hmm.
It'll be interesting to see how this develops. The current blocking technique is simple and based on referring URL. More interestingly to site owners, it would also be trivial to force a redirect to the real site, without the bar, on detecting it (by sending a meta refresh specifying the 'TOP' frame, for instance, or giving the user a link to click to escape). (Update: Engadget apparently does something along these lines.) I can see an arms race developing where Digg changes or hides the referrer, and site owners refine their detection technique.
Incidentally, people were probably so willing to believe that there was some form of coverup, because there has historically been some worry about the alleged power a small number of users have over the process, especially the burying of stories. An example of a supposed incident here. And here, weirdly, is the Guardian on a related topic.