For those of you who participated in Gawker's long-standing starred commenter system, you'll be very disappointed to know that those perky little yellow insignias you worked so hard for are now gone forever. We do appreciate your contributions in coming weeks, as our new commenting system is rolled out on this site. The best way for readers who want their comments to be a vital part of the discussion is to take a more economical and thoughtful approach. To commemorate this sea change, Gawker.com will disable commenting privileges tomorrow, starting at 6 a.m.
Here's a brief overview from the Gawker Commenting Executive Committee of what you, newly starless commenters, should embrace in order to better acclimate yourself to the new system:
Each comment and thread is judged on its own merits. Your previous record does still count. But we recognize that some of the most informative contributions come from the subjects of articles, other first-time commenters, and tipsters whose anonymity would be compromised by any public history. Our evaluation of each thread is therefore based on several factors:
* a reply's acceptance (or dismissal) by the original contributor
* the thoroughness with which a discussion's participants have in general curated these replies
* a textual analysis of the contribution
* an editorial evaluation of the contributor's track record, if any
* the company a commenter keeps: don't associate with trolls and bores!
* the "shape" of each discussion thread
* recency of the latest addition to a thread
We will not disclose the details of this algorithm. It is the public nature of starring, unstarring and banning that have made for so much unnecessary drama. The energy put into gaming the system is better spent elsewhere, in honing an intelligent or informative contribution. The most valuable contributors demand nothing more than this: civil company on the page, respect for their time and an intelligent audience. By those standards, judge us in turn.
To sum up: be better. We'll try to be better, too. Now you can take this space below to air all of your grievances. We expect civilized, thoughtful, engaging discussion down below soon. Today is not that day. You may wail.
And good luck at work tomorrow. Your boss will be so impressed with your productivity.