Gawker bans ‘Internet slang’

“We want to sound like regular adult human beings, not Buzzfeed writers or Reddit commenters,” new Gawker Editor Max Read says in a memo to the publication’s writers. Words like “epic,” “pwn” and “derp” are no longer welcome on the site. Read also says the word “massive” is “never to appear on the website Gawker dot com.”

He also asks staffers not to use strikethrough for corrections, preferring they “change the wording and link from there to a comment noting the corrected text.” He singles out a correction by J.K. Trotter that was done in “the proper spirit and is funny to boot.”

Full memo:

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

THE BANNED LIST:

• 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.: http://gawker.com/5974190/here-is-a-list-of-all-the-assholes-who-own-guns-in-new-york-city)

For corrections, rather than strikethrough, change the wording and link from there to a comment noting the corrected text, as Tom does here: http://gawker.com/thanks-ill-correct-it-and-link-down-to-this-correctio-1554296985.

(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: http://gawker.com/david-brooks-may-not-have-gotten-divorced-after-all-1555282728)

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

A couple people asked on Twitter whether this memo is a late April Fools’ prank, so I asked Read. “Ha, no, not a prank,” he replied.

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  • http://www.howtogotonorthkorea.com/ Gabriel

    Interesting move on Gawker’s part. Either a move to up-sophisticate or ignoring its roots. We got into it on The Lip TV… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2HX2rj2NQw

  • http://www.howtogotonorthkorea.com/ Gabriel

    Hah! Good point. Disavowing its roots?

  • sigaba

    Nothing will ever “win the internet” on Gawker.

    Not with an attitude like that.

  • TrillCosby

    Because these days it’s used by every teenage boy to describe every superhero movie trailer and new call of duty that they play.
    Usually most shit isn’t “epic”. It’s a totally overused descriptor that is mainly used as hyperbole these days.

    “Wow epic face plant bro XD”

  • TrillCosby

    I’m glad. I’m tired of reading something and feeling like I’m reading an article written by a brain dead 13 year old boy who plays xbox all day, and just found out that internet slang exists and thinks it’s the coolest thing ever to impress his friends. It’s not funny, it’s not innovative, and it’s pretty fucking insulting.

    Go write for Nickelodeon if you want to spew that trash.
    My only concern is how Jezebel will be able to write an article now…

  • SarreqTeryx

    omgwtf, they’re being such massive derpnozzles. lulz

  • http://alephblog.com David_Merkel

    While I appreciate the desire to have more adult discourse, strikethrough text is an improvement, not a loss. It is the Court jester at the banquet telling the King the truth, as opposed to the Court-sanctioned line.

  • Joe Crowe

    The word ‘massive’ is over-used in headlines. To avoid being trite, it is a good recommendation. The doily on a turd comment was spot on.

  • Elaine Huang

    That makes sense. I agree with you about the word ‘awesome’.

  • Joe Crowe

    That would be… Brobdingnagianesquely awesome. We need more focus on the minutiae of how something is communicated and less attention to what is actually being said. Thanks to Gawker for pointing that out and leading the charge.

  • Joe

    Well his letter reads like almost all the articles on Gawker, forget he comment section. They have writers that are (tops) one or two steps above 4chan. Gawker thrives on the type of juvenile crap more fitted to Ceacked.com; Gawker just uses bigger words to sound more intellectual.

  • nickseam

    I wish every website would implement those rules. Except for the massive thing, I just don’t get that.

  • Hard Little Machine

    Pretentious douchebag?

  • tetriminos

    that is covered under ‘ etc ‘

  • tetriminos

    yes

  • Thurlow Weed

    Gawker sucks.

  • nwmhqqty

    Suck-o-rama. Like who will go to Gawker now, dude?

  • Kidakor

    All hypocrisy on their part aside, banning degenerated web slang is an awesome idea.

  • Nigel Rushman

    ‘Awesome’ should be number 1 on this list. It is a pathetic use of language

  • Nigel Rushman

    ‘pulling a doily over a turd’ – brilliant I love that and will use it – Thanks!

  • http://www.truewisdomclothing.com/ Adeel

    Wahoooo Nice Sharing dear.

    Best hoodies

  • PeterMcPumpkin

    Please be advised ‘kitteh’ is not on the banned list. Use ‘kitteh’ liberally.

  • http://occasion-to-be.com Walker

    I don’t know? Massive seems more professional unless it is describing shit. But, then again – 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 – are gross too.

  • lironmiron

    Anything that originated in Gravity Falls gets a pass from me.

  • mambobananapatch

    And “afterparty.” There is no such thing as an “afterparty”, there is only ANOTHER FUCKING PARTY.

  • Final_Word

    I’ll be happy if they just ban the word “natch”.

  • WaitWut

    I don’t think Caity would understand any ban on cray…

  • sternci

    Yet you’re allowing the portmanteau “humongous” and the awful “ginormous?” No.

  • http://www.gypsyforlife.blogspot.com/ Trista Crass

    But…Buzzfeed writers and Redditors ARE real people!

  • 3FootSmurf

    This is amazeballs lvl derp on a massive proportion WTF lulz. The fallout from this will be epic OMG. And all the +1 win posts will belittle this editor till he leaves imo FTW

  • Dab Naggit

    Since Gawker stopped being relevant awhile back I’m sure no one will notice…

  • XSShadow

    What exactly is the problem with this memo? The fewer people on the internet who sound like XOJane writers the better.

  • Katie Parcels

    Uhhh… like the same Gawker? The one with Jezebel and Kotaku under its umbrella? I do not foresee this going well…

  • Jason Griffin

    There goes Gizmodo. Not that Gizmodo has been interesting to read or even about about gizmo’s for years now. These days I only read it to get angry at how bad it is.

  • Nix_Nightbird

    I understand and approve of every one of these (and would add that use of “cray-cray” be punished by 30 lashes with a rubber hose) but I do not understand the problem with “massive”, as it’s a perfectly acceptable English word.

  • westcoastwhitesox

    Oops, I thought Gawker and Buzzfeed were the same people.

  • jeff belli slack

    AND! LOL!

  • jeff belli slack

    Um? Remember Gawker? When it was fun?

  • http://www.IKnowbo.com/ Slam1263

    Not like Gawker is relevant.

  • Cyber Dactyl

    IDK WTF is going down. It could b they want 2 sound hip amongst the crowd.

  • urrrborrr

    Hamilton Nolan (the only writer I like there for his pointed misanthropy) was pretty adept with ironic usage of Internet slang, lol, but it dripped with contempt for the unwashed mob..

  • lunarcamelco

    “We want to sound like regular adult human beings, not Buzzfeed writers or Reddit commenters” — Now?! Why? It’s far, far too late for them to put that voice back in the box. They’ve been gurning so hard for so many years now it’s not merely their editorial voice, it’s a way of looking at the world. Trying to disown it at this point is as convincing as pulling a doily over a turd.

  • ceraunograph

    The only thing not worth saving is their new commenting layout. Egads is it ever awful.

  • http://www.ianmacallen.com/ Ian MacAllen

    Remember when Gawker would have posted this memo and made fun of it?

  • fixitfixitfixitfixit

    For me, using the word “massive” is kind of like using the word “awesome” in an article (I HATE that) – it connotes a size and scale that far outstrips anything else and therefore has almost no meaning. The sun is massive; New York gossip is not. Although, I imagine he’s banning the word for the sake of avoiding cliche, rather than respecting the actual meaning of words.

  • http://www.samelawrence.com/ Sam E. Lawrence

    He probably watched too much Ali G one weekend, and it got to him.

  • Elaine Huang

    I still don’t see what is wrong with the word ‘massive’. Can someone please enlighten me?

  • J_Temperance

    I wish I could ban “amirite” from the fucking internet. Fuck “amazeballs” too.

  • Emily Moses

    OMG +1. THIS is amazeballs, these guys were massively pwned! Editor FTW.

  • ZenShadow

    Is this a post April 1st April Fool Massive Joke? Dwerp Dwerp.

  • swizz chard

    yeah, he’d like that.

  • http://cowboykillr.blogspot.com/ cowboykillr

    I think you mean looses the internet

  • swizz chard

    also, he probably shouldn’t just put a period and restart a sentence wherever he wants.

  • ProducerMatthew

    Sudden influx of Gawker headline writers using “Brobdingnagian” imminent.

  • swizz chard

    This guy sounds like a derpy boss and he loses the internet.

  • swizz chard

    Seriously, what is wrong with massive?

  • swizz chard

    Massive

  • jimmyt

    Massive