If you’ve noticed a stricter than normal vibe around the Gawker comments section lately, you’re not necessarily imagining it.
Nick Denton, Gawker’s mastermind, indicates that the site is focusing on attracting a higher class of commenters on the blog- despite their already stringent commenting policy revolving around a complex system of stars and seemingly-random bans for sins such as failure to properly capitalize when mocking Lindsay Lohan’s breasts. Commenters have in the past staged mutinies, such as the creation of a site for disenfranchised Gawker users after the controversial, traffic-slashing redesign earlier this year.
Denton isn’t afraid of alienating even more readers, many of whom left in droves after the remodel left the site slightly more clumsy to navigate among other complaints. He says that offensive posters and the grammar undesirables aren’t even the target- it’s the dullards Gawker seeks to eliminate:
“I would like an AT&T engineer who has an explanation for why AT&T’s data coverage is weak in New York and San Francisco to feel comfortable in our comment environment,” he said, also naming NBC’s Brian Williams as a Gawker devotee who’s a model for the kind of commenter he’d like to attract.
“The problem is the boring people online — they’re incredibly difficult to get rid of, because they’re often really nice,” he said. “But they simply haven’t contributed anything to the discussion.”
Not to put to fine a point on it, the blogging mogul added that Gawker’s readers are “cooler and more authoritative than [they] may seem.”