Gawker Media has announced a radical new stance on commenting on their websites. They’re now giving commenters the power to control the direction of the discussions they begin. Responses are sent to a commenter’s email, and they have the power to swat trolls and keep things tidy. Previously, comments in the Gawker sites were internally moderated by editors. Bad comments were removed, good comments were rewarded with spry yellow stars. The stars are gone now, though, and, with the great responsibility, Gawker is giving commenters greater freedom (or was it the other way around?). Readers can now comment anonymously, through a system they call “Burner.” No email addresses are involved, and a randomly generated key can allow you to comment under the same username on different devices. It’s “flying in the face of conventional media wisdom,” Gawker founder Nick Denton acknowledges in his announcement post, but, “We’ll accept some disorder if that’s the price of freedom in one’s personal life, in politics and the press.”
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