Whatever the “right” decision was for Digg regarding whether or not to delete the offending post Digg knows it is nothing without its passionate and participating members. The enlightened path should have been obvious to them: be completely transparent with users from the beginning. Before it took any action that stripped power from users Digg should have shared its dilemma with the community, explained the conundrum and the legal advice it had been given, and then solicited candid feedback via its forum. Debate would have ensued, but everyone would have felt like they were part of Digg’s ultimate decision, even if that was deletion of the code. More than anything, passionate users want to be heard.
These are simple steps that would have turned “us vs. them” into “us and only us”…without having to relinquish control to a “tyranny of the majority.”
That makes sense to me, and as Adriana suggests, it’s a lot to do with really understanding what a community is.
It reminds me of someting I run into a lot when facilitating Open Space. Before the event, the organising group often stress themselves out second-guessing what will or won’t work for the participants, and I often find the easiest path is to wait till the day and ask them; and sometimes to forget it and trust the group to figure out what it needs unprompted.