Nick Denton just turned Gawker into 4chan
If you logged into Gawker in your morning haze as I did, you saw there were now more called out stories at the top, and a bunch of weird hash tags. The Awl’s Choire Sicha described this as “Gawker just digested and extruded Twitter in some weird hashtaggy way.” But I think it goes farther than that.
Nick Denton, I would say, is having fantasies of being as influential in our online world as moot, the creator of 4chan.org. moot, like G-d, is the creator, but does little to rein in the anarchy that makes up his weird-ranging message board, filled as it is with disgustipating photos, strange memes, japornimation, and lonely computer nerds asking for advice on how to find a girl they can make sweet love to. I’ve tried to keep up with it once or twice, and it’s just exhausting. So is anarchy. Gawker + anarchy = endless sleep deprivation, especially for everyone who works there.
And here is how Gawker ‘editor-in-chief’ Gabriel Snyder describes what they did today:
The basic way this works is that you can type a comment, upload a photo, or embed a video into that box up top and it will be published on the site wherever you choose by giving it a Twitter-style hashtag. So, got a news tip or link? Tag it #tips and it will show up here. If you saw someone famous, use #stalker and it will go straight to the Gawker Stalker page. Or you can use your own tags. Got something to say about Anna Wintour, send it to the #annawintour page. Have an internal memo to post, tag it #internalmemos. Or make up your own. We’re trying to learn to stop worrying and love the chaos.
While this all sounds fairly anarchic (it is), the hierarchical commenting system still applies. If you’re not an approved commenter, your posting has to be approved by an editor, moderator, or star commenter and the two-tier system applies to these tag pages, too. And, as always, trouble-makers will be banned. There’s a revised Commenter FAQ if you want to brush up.
So, it’s the 4chan-ization of Gawker. Gabriel ends his post noting “Today should be fun.” Yes, I’m sure today will be. Just wait until some enterprising cabal, and there is always an enterprising cabal, figures out how to fiddle with your hash tags so that the top of every index page is filled with a video of someone driving a Hummer over a litter of puppies.
The Internet, yes, is anarchic. But Gawker has long been an oasis, a perch from which a few cool heads saw the anarchy and promoted some of the best parts of it. But when you let all of the anarchy inside the oasis, someone’s going to take a dump in the watering hole. One dump leads to many dumps, and that’s when everyone gets dysentery.
All I can say is, good luck /g/-tards.