David Chartier on Nick Denton's plans to reinvent online comments and publishing alongside it:
In particular, Denton hopes that handling comments in this way will encourage the subjects of stories to become involved in rebutting these reports directly on the site, instead of calling him to rant at him about them. “I want to take all of those people and I want to have them in the discussion,” he says. “I want to see the story evolve and see the rebuttal, and the rebuttal to the rebuttal.” Not only does that produce drama — something Denton admits he has a fondness for — but he believes it could also help to get at the truth, broadly speaking.
I’m not a fan of Nick Denton or his Gawker blog network in general. But if he thinks he’s found a way to fundamentally improve comments, I’m willing to listen.
This, to me, looks like an excuse to produce more inflammatory, link bait content, do even less fact-checking for stories and let the readers do the leg work. In turn this will lead to more aggravated and stupid commentary, which will then be positioned on the site prominently, so even more people will become enraged and click Denton's links. A concept like this does nothing to further the evolution of online content. It's like he says himself; it produces drama and drama equals clicks.
I agree that Gawker's commenting system is crap, especially the rewards system. Quoting Denton himself:
It was a terrible mistake. It doesn’t work because people game it — and the people who game it are the people with time and social-media expertise, and those are not the people with information or insight. What person who actually has a job and a reputation… would give a f*** about getting some little badge like they’re in high school? It’s patronizing.
This new system won't improve this situation, it'll make it worse for readers and better for New Media Douchebags, including Denton; the loudest people will get the most attention from Denton's site—because that's what he wants, make no mistake here—while the sane commentary will be mostly ignored because it doesn't generate the oh so desirable hits.