I am an avid longtime reader of Gawker. However, something has gone fundamentally wrong at Gawker. Very, very wrong. Horribly wrong. And I suspect it is already too late to fix it.
The problems started when they got hacked in 2010, and the hackers not only stole login information, they also posted conversations between the writers, which angered many commenters when they saw that writer Richard Lawson referred to them as ”peasants”. As if that was not bad enough, Gawker then had to roll out its new format early, since the hackers had stolen their source code as well, and many readers hated it. It has only gone downhill from there, but the latest problems are completely self-inflicted.
They replaced well-liked editor Remy Stern late last year with AJ Daulerio, editor of Deadspin (a related blog which covers sports). Yet there is absolutely no comparison between Gawker and Deadspin, other than that they are owned by Nick Denton, founder of Gawker Media. While Deadspin did occasionally make some interesting posts – all sports-related, obviously – the audiences for the two sites could not be more different. In other words, what worked great on Deadspin would never work on Gawker.
That was the beginning of the end for Gawker. It was not long before Dauliero started posting some very, very strange stuff which seemed intended to provoke ire from the commentariat. For example, he would make posts which said merely not to comment there, left the comments open, then banned everyone who commented. He even banned many of the respected starred commenters who had been on Gawker for years.