Has the AOL civil war descended into a sad, juvenile battle for WordPress admin privileges? An angry blog post was mysteriously deleted from the company's hotly contested TechCrunch blog, leaving "Page Not Found" at the top of its list of most popular posts.
Paul Carr's post, Yes, Of Course I'll Resign Unless Mike Arrington Chooses His Successor, is back online at the moment, but it's not clear whether its revivification has the approval of AOL corporate overlords, who are reportedly eager to fire TechCrunch editor Arrington, or maybe just demote him, or maybe do nothing, no one really knows for sure including Arrington himself.
Anyway, Carr said he would stand bravely with Arrington, and completely resign from AOL if Arrington is forced out.
Oh, wait, no, that's the column we wish we'd spent 5 minutes of our lives reading, because at least that would be mildly interesting. What Carr actually wrote is that he will quit AOL, on principal, unless Arrington is fired and then gets to choose someone awesome like Paul Carr to replace him. "Unless Mike Arrington appoints his own successor, guaranteeing that TechCrunch retains its editorial independence, I'm gone. Done. Out of the door."
Brave-ish stand, that. But it's for an important cause, namely, keeping TechCrunch the most badass Silicon Valley trade publication ever created. "Ceding control to the Huffington Post will be the death of everything - the voice, the swagger, the 'fuck you' attitude - that makes TechCrunch great." Emphasis from the original (!).
Someone at AOL or TechCrunch took Carr's column offline, turning it into a 404 error page and resulting in the "Page not found" error screencapped above. The column is back, but appears to have been edited; the original headline was "Not Leaving Quietly" and the original ending implied Carr might be leaving his job in a matter of days. Maybe that didn't sit well with the AOL higher ups. Or, uh, maybe it didn't sit well with Carr when he did the math on what sort of income it takes to continue living in luxury hotels full time.
The longer the fight over TechCrunch drags on, the more chances its writers will have to write comically self regarding posts like this one. Someone take some decisive action either way before AOL executives and everyone else decides they should be beating their chests for free on Tumblr rather than for a paycheck on a blog they seem increasingly not to like.
[Image: Carr via Loic Le Meur/Flickr]