Gawker Memo: Don’t Write like BuzzFeed

Gawker thinks quite highly of itself, it appears. So high, in fact, that employees have now been told not to write like those ne’er do wells over at BuzzFeed.

“We want to sound like regular adult human beings, not Buzzfeed writers or Reddit commenters,” new Gawker Editor Max Read told employees of the website famed for its name calling and taunt-filled blog posts.

The editor of the blog that says it is “the source for daily Manhattan media news and gossip,” sent out the memo to employees on April 1 informing them that henceforth Internet slang was banned. No more “derps,” not another “epic,” not one more “pwn,” and most certainly no “massives” will be allowed.

Read is telling employees to avoid using type with a strike through in posts, too, informing them that if they have a correction to make they should actually write the thing out and note that it is a correction.

So old world.

Editor Read just wants to make Gawker a site for grownups not slang-happy, Internet punks… like Buzzfeed. Then again, this is the same Gawker that currently has a headline that reads, “Jeopardy Contestant Accuses Alex Trebek of Wearing Sweatshop Suits.” Then there is, “Map Porn: Average Date of Year’s First Tornado Warning.” There is also the grown up story, “Mike Arrington Won’t Shake Your Disgusting Hand.”

When queried, Read affirmed that his April 1 memo was no April Fools joke. He was totally serious.

Full Text of Memo

I meant to send this out on Monday but forgot. These are my exclamation points.

• Strikethroughs. No more strikethrough tag. It’s HTML styling, and it gets stripped in Google searches, RSS, tweets, through copy-pastes, etc., completely fucking up our meaning, especially in headlines (e.g.:

For corrections, rather than strikethrough, change the wording and link from there to a comment noting the corrected text, as Tom does here:

(While we’re at it I want to note Keenan’s correction here, which is done is the proper spirit and is funny to boot:

We should strive to make our writing clear and precise even absent any text formatting.
Jokes made using strikethrough are generally not worth saving.

• Internet slang. We used to make an effort to avoid this, and now I see us all falling back into the habit. We want to sound like regular adult human beings, not Buzzfeed writers or Reddit commenters. Therefore: No “epic.” No “pwn.” No “+1.” No “derp.” No “this”/”this just happened.” No “OMG.” No “WTF.” No “lulz.” No “FTW.” No “win.” No “amazeballs.” And so on. Nothing will ever “win the internet” on Gawker. As with all rules there are exceptions. Err on the side of the Times, not XOJane.

• The word “massive.” Is never to appear on the website Gawker dot com. Here’s a handy list of synonyms for your headline toolkit:

> huge, enormous, vast, immense, large, big, mighty, great, colossal, tremendous, prodigious, gigantic, gargantuan, mammoth, monstrous, monumental, giant, towering, elephantine, mountainous, titanic; Herculean, Brobdingnagian; monster, jumbo, mega, whopping, humongous, hulking, honking, bumper, astronomical, ginormous

Obama to Give Unions a Veto Over Where a Company Can Set Up Shop
Weekend Caption Contest™ Winners
  • jim_m

    Ok. I suppose this would be more meaningful if I gave a rip about gawker.

    • warnertoddhuston

      I think it is even funnier that BOTH websites are garbage yet one thinks less of the other?? That’s like a prostitute thinking she’s better than a whore.

  • I like IO9, Kotaku, and Jalopnik. Their sports branch (Deadspin) I don’t pay much attention to. Gawker seems to style itself as a “What can we be offended about today?” sort of site – and Jezebel… wow, there’s some serious oddness going on there. The whole Gawker continuum has high and low points – just like everything.

    I think it’s funny they’re trying for a more ‘highbrow’ sort of tone. That’s not really the demographic they’re pushing for, lol…

    • Oh – and I forgot Lifehacker. They’ve got interesting deals – anyone got any old Windows XP laptops laying around? Get $100 towards an upgraded model.

      Of course, there’s fine print attached…

      “Not all products are eligible for trade-in. Not available in all locations and some stores may have additional limitations. Trade-in value may vary. Condition, documentation and accessories may affect value. Device must power on to be considered working. Water-damaged devices and devices with cracked screens are not considered working devices for purposes of this offer.”

      • Paul Hooson

        I like that old XP operating system. So much better than that Windows 8 mess that attempts to mimic a smart phone app.

        • Yeah, but it’s no longer supported. I’m kinda fond of Windows 7 – I think 8’s going to be the usual “Every other OS release is garbage” Microsoft mess.

          • Paul Hooson

            It’s a shame because XP can be used to rescue a computer locked up with some viruses by going in through the front end before startup that Norton used to miss. Norton has gotten better, but some viruses from Russia or Eastern Europe used to slip past some of Norton’s development services. If the same thing ever happens with Windows 8, it would likely mean an expensive trip to a computer shop to figure out a way to get the virus out.

  • Paul Hooson

    Gez, at least they give me a list of other helpful terms to use when I do a story about celebrity breasts over at Wizbang Pop, which is quite often indeed…

  • RichFader

    Subtitle: Hooker: “I’m not a hooker, I’m an actress/model.”