When people sign up for Kinja, they are given their own Web address on the Gawker platform — similar to a Tumblr Web site — which becomes a collection of that person’s comments on stories. Kinja will also enable readers to write headlines and summaries — comments that have graduated from college, if you will — for stories on Gawker and even from other sites. Readers will then be able to use Kinja as a central hub for discussion on these stories, almost like their own chat room protected from the commenting maelstrom.Great. I hope the design works. Seems similar to what Metafilter has been for many years. It's good to allow people to take possession of their collected comments that are otherwise scattered about. You can take some pride in your body of comments, at least within Gawker blogs (as, on Metafilter, you have a page that collects your comments on all the various Metafilter posts you've commented on). It makes being a commenter more like being a blogger, and it lets a popular commenter drive traffic to blog posts. But it's all very intra-Gawker, just like Metafilter is intra-Metafilter. I'd like to see an overarching comments system like this. And I'd love to see Blogger provide something like this for Blogger blogs like mine.
Along with the updates to the comments service on Monday, Mr. Denton is set to unveil “a manifesto” of sorts that will outline Gawker’s plan to further blur the line between reporters and readers and explain readers’ rights. Among them, there is “the right to experience legible conversations” on the site.I've had a big struggle, peaking over the summer, with the problem of "illegible conversation," as problem commenters maliciously disrupt what might otherwise be a readable comments section. Now, I don't know that the Kinja solution will work. It might empower some of the most disruptive commenters, as they go off topic to entertain and win admirers for some agenda or style of comedy or edgy satire who'll relocate to their Kinja page. But Denton just wants you within the Gawker media empire, and not off on Twitter or Facebook, because he wants the page views in his operation, where he gets the ad revenue. The situation for a blogger is different.
I blog to publish my own writing, and I include comments as a way for me to interact with readers and to amplify and get different angles on things I want to talk about. I'm not about devoting my work to maintaining a social media website for people who don't care about what I'm writing. That's the enterprise of people like Denton who are designing a mechanism for making a lot of money. As an individual expressing myself — with the long-time motto "To live freely in writing" — I am more like the commenters upon whom Gawker is leveraging its Kinja scheme.