The Internet has made it possible for anyone with a computer to publicly attack anyone else. This extends to authors, whose Amazon review sections are sometimes derailed by trolly, abusive comments.
On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Josh Miller, the precocious 21-year-old Princeton dropout behind Branch, one of tech’s most buzzed-about new startups, took The Observer on a tour of the Obvious Corporation, a growing operation helmed by the cofounders of Twitter that advises and invests in an elite set of fledgling tech companies, Branch among them.
The San Francisco office radiated industrial California coziness, with tall windows and exposed pipes, dark grey walls and a fridge overflowing with Vitamin Water. Mr. Miller, who is tall and insouciant, with the laid-back linguistic tenor of one who spent his childhood in Santa Monica, bustled about the office, seemingly unthreatened by the fact that he is both much younger and less experienced than the majority of Obvious employees.
“Check this out!” he called from a breezy conference room with a panoramic view of downtown San Francisco. He pointed to a wet bar fully stocked with top-shelf bottles. “You know, I’m just out of college, so sometimes I’m, like, afraid to drink any of this because it’s so expensive! It’s like, where’s the Franzia?” he joked, referring to the cheap boxed wine favored by destitute college students. Read More
After a week of closed commenting sections, Gawker released its new commenting system today, and it’s a doozy. Nieman Lab has a great rundown of the changes, including a computer algorithm that sifts through the comments and looks for ones to feature, as well as “a new inbox [that] focuses attention on all replies to a user’s comments… the original commenter must explicitly approve a reply to allow it into the conversation.”
Nieman Lab reports that the proprietary system is officially called Powwow, but interestingly enough, the actual discussion threads themselves are called “branches.” Read More
Gawker overlord Nick Denton’s commenting revolution is in full swing, with the first phase–revoking the illustrious “star” from each commenter, and temporarily disabling comments altogether–implemented last week. Mr. Denton has been very vocal about the fact that he wants to ditch the site’s old insidery cabal of snark-obsessed commenters in favor of more thoughtful, inclusive discussion. Read More