Jalopnik commenters help catch murder suspects


On April 10, Matt Hardigree published a post on Jalopnik asking readers for help identifying a car part left behind after a hit-and-run accident. Within minutes, commenters began working through the options: Definitely a Ford, they decided, probably an F-150, early 2000s most likely based on trim color and spacing of the tabs.

This morning Hardigree wrote that the police department of Waynesboro, Va., issued a description of the vehicle Jalopnik commenters had identified and received an anonymous tip from someone who'd seen the truck. They arrested two men and charged them with felonies. Jalopnik's information was "critical" to the investigation, the police told Hardigree.

Interestingly, this triumph of Internet hive-mindery follows the recent decision of Gawker Media, which owns Jalopnik, to eliminate the "star" system that rewarded certain commenters. (That post now hosts a marvelous comment from one person who says his Gawker star once helped him to crash a great party and end up onstage with ?uestlove.)

Gawker honcho Nick Denton told an audience at SXSW in March that "The idea of capturing the intelligence of the readership -- that's a joke."

Related: Why we’ll never stop struggling over comment sections

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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