Topix is the 'Gawker of the Ozarks'

The NYT has an interesting piece on Topix, an online news aggregator and bulletin board that has been kicking around for a decade, but never really caught on in urban centers. But in rural, small town America — where casting aspersions is a way of life — it's flourishing as the hot place to post shit about your friends and neighbors. Like the ones you run into at Dee's Place, for example, a diner in Mountain Grove, Missouri.

A waitress, Pheobe Best, said that the site had provoked fights and caused divorces. The diner's owner, Jim Deverell, called Topix a "cesspool of character assassination." And hearing the conversation, Shane James, the cook, wandered out of the kitchen tense with anger. His wife, Jennifer, had been the target in a post titled "freak," he said, which described the mother of two as, among other things, "a methed-out, doped-out whore with AIDS."

Topix CEO Chris Tolles says the site has a dedicated and growing following within the "feud states" — which you can familiarize yourselves with in the final installments of our Worst States Poll — and notes that one of the most heavily trafficked Topix forums is the Pikeville, Ky., home of the Hatfield and McCoys.

"We're running the Gawker for every little town in America," Mr. Tolles said.

Excuse us? We hardly think that kind of comparison was called for.

Next up on Gawker: Our latest coverage of methed-out, doped-out whore with AIDS, Lindsay Lohan! Stay tuned! [NYT, image via starberryshyne's Flickr]