Gawker Will Deputize Commenters, Says Sheriff Nick Denton
Gawker plans to launch an ambitious new commenting model within the next couple months, said its founder, Nick Denton, at SXSW today. The company aims to recruit commenters to elevate the level of discussion on its blogs by segmenting them and giving them moderation tools.
So the first person to leave a comment on a Gawker network post will now be in charge of policing the thread of commenters who reply, maintaining a high level of discussion and recruiting other voices to participate and bring more page views. And there will be multiple comment moderators and threads per post. Free labor!
In a conversation with longtime blogger Anil Dash, Denton said he’s tried throughout his entrepreneurial career at Moreover and Gawker to cultivate good conversations online, at scale. Lots of things haven’t worked.
For instance, the gamification of comments — basically, giving people badges for repeat participation — were a wrong turn, because they encourage insular communities and aren’t a motivator for the most interesting people.
And while Facebook’s embedded comment system might help control for blog-comment trolls on sites like TechCrunch, Denton said, it makes conversations more boring by discouraging new and anonymous commenters. Those people often share the juiciest information.
“The most interesting comments, they don’t come from people with Klout scores. They don’t come from people with a history on our sites,” Denton said.
The ultimate goal of the new system, Denton said, would be to attract people like American Apparel’s Dov Charney or NBC’s Brian Williams — who are at the center of news on Gawker sites — to chime in themselves.
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