Take a look at the Gawker Media Empire’s commenting figures over the past 5 years:
How has this been done? Joshua Benton explains:
Gawker implemented a
new, stricter commenting system, in which trusted commenters get
preferred access to readers and the unknown hoi polloi have to audition
for an audience. (We
wrote about it at the time; in an internal memo, Denton wrote about
“taking back the site from some commenters who thought they were in
charge” and said “we’ll be able to encourage the kind of discussion that
*we* want — not one that is dominated merely by the most prolific of
While not immediate, the long term effects have been largely positive for the Nick Denton empire:
As the chart shows, the shift led to an immediate decline in comment
volume. (Interestingly, the biggest drop seems to have been at Jezebel, Gawker’s women-centric site.
Attention communications and/or gender studies grad students: There’s a
thesis somewhere in there!) But comments quickly rebounded and have
since skyrocketed at a much faster slope than before the switch. Some of
that is no doubt related to Gawker’s
in traffic, but the scale of the increase is still remarkable.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.