Gawker Media higher-ups found themselves under the microscope Monday after Jezebel staffers publicly called them out in a memo, saying they haven’t done anything to rectify a months-long problem where anonymous accounts leave graphic and violent imagery in the comments of Jezebel blog posts.
Now Gawker Media has come up with a solution: It’s time to change the comment system. Gone are the days where anyone can leave any kind of comment on any post across Gawker’s landscape.
For those readers who have been around a while, you may remember what this looked like, but here’s a quick and dirty explainer: At the bottom of any given post, only comments from approved commenters — those who are followed by Jezebel — will automatically be visible. At the end of these featured discussions, there will be a pending comment queue. Comments in the pending queue are visible to readers, but only if they choose to see them. Users will have to proactively click to see what lies beyond; there will be a clear warning that a reader is wading into wild west territory and doing so at their own risk. Approved commenters will have the ability to promote comments out of the pending queue but, again, only if they choose to wade in there. As for replies to readers’ comments, you be notified if something is pending, but you won’t see what that comment is unless you choose to reveal it.
The main issue that Jezebel staffers and its dedicated readers had was that Gawker Media was being more delicate with its famed Kinja platform than it was with the feelings and well-being of its writers.
Kinja has allowed for anonymous posters to submit tips and comments that can sometimes result into high-traffic stories for Gawker’s sites. Limiting it, which they will now be doing with their new system, could potentially hurt Gawker’s potential.
But Jezebel staffers were loud and public about getting this fixed after months of apathy from those in charge at Gawker, a method that Editorial Director Joel Johnson told Business Insider he appreciated. Johnson allegedly supported the suggestion of a public call-out in one of the conversations Jezebel staffers had regarding how to rectify the situation.
As for Jezebel’s writers, a staffer tells us: “I’m really happy with how quickly [higher-ups] moved on this, and I’m happy to work for a place where [a public call-out] won’t get a person fired.”
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