In the beginning1 there was Usenet, and it was good: online conversations ordered by topic, built around ongoing threads rather than individual posts, so that they could and often did last for months. Then came the Web. And eventually, lo, the Web gave us Digg, and it was good, for a while. Then Digg declined. Then there was Reddit, and it was good, for a while. Now Reddit too has declined. Us techies had Slashdot, until it declined. Now we have Hacker News… which is arguably in decline.
But at least we have Gawker! No, wait. “Capture the intelligence of the readership? …That’s a joke. For every two comments that are interesting, there will be eight that will be off-topic or toxic,” saith none other than Nick Denton himself, re the ‘tragedy of the comments’. Ah, but that’s just them. Here at TechCrunch, all comments are from incisive, witty people who have both read and understood the article they are commenting on, right? Right? …Sigh.