The Internet
16

The Potato Salad Kickstarter Is the Science Fiction Villain We Deserve

As of writing, a Kickstarter campaign for "just making potato salad" has raised $37,115. Every few seconds that number climbs higher, and each uptick is greeted with cheers. It's a self-perpetuating humor machine, and it is horribly efficient. There is no joke, at least not anymore; whatever joke there was has become an adaptive, joke-like arrangement of circumstances. It is a perfect device, compatible with all known theories of humor and therefore with none of them.

2

A Movement, Defined

And now, an enthralling oral history of one of the most important photos on the internet: the definitive Wikipedia image for "grinding (dance)." So we all grabbed some props, because we are sheep, and the hat stayed with Joe all night. After a surprisingly small amount of convincing, they got on the bar and history was made. They were up there for at least 2 minutes, collecting dollar bills while losing a bit of dignity. Of course i had to take a pic, because it was my duty to embarrass them with it later.

This is how history is often made: two embarrassing minutes at [...]

1

The Internet Highway Metaphor Is Dated But Let's Stick With It Anyway

"While the plan is meant to prevent data from being knowingly slowed by Internet providers, it would allow content providers to pay for a guaranteed fast lane of service. Some opponents of the plan argue that allowing some content to be sent along a fast lane would essentially discriminate against content not sent along that lane." Under the FCC's proposed new rules for internet service providers, data sent via the non-fast lane isn't slower, it's just less fast.

16

Writing In Public

Hamilton Nolan's stern post on Gawker, "Twitter is Public," spoke the thoughts of many a journalist yesterday. Those who write for a living (and are therefore themselves occasionally trussed, spit and taken for a spin on the rotisserie of public opinion) can't help but goggle in disbelief that the concept of "public" can be misunderstood. Journalists think about this all the time because the right to report and publicize has often been under attack, such as when the police try to stop someone recording or filming in the street, or when a celebrity or politician objects to the publication of public information, or when [...]

35

Inside The Chive

If you spot a Chiver, he’s probably wearing Bill Murray’s face on a t-shirt, or the phrase “Keep Calm and Chive On” somewhere on his body or social media profile. Likely he has a "KCCO" phone case, towel, beer cozy, or bumper sticker. Chive gear is how Chivers—and Chivettes, their female counterparts—identify each other in the wild.

The Chive, if you don't know it, is bigger than NPR, Salon, Jezebel, or The Onion (no relation). It received more than 8 million global unique visitors in June, according to Quantcast—more than 9 million by internal numbers. The Chive is, on its face, a collection of funny pictures culled from around [...]

4

Monetizing YouTube Animal Videos With Brief Pop Songs

If you've seen the opening credits for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," you've heard the music of Nerf Herder. The Santa Barbara "geek rock" band got its name from the scruffy alien Princess Leia pretends not to like in The Empire Strikes Back, and the group's best known non-Buffy track was a novelty song about Van Halen. This was all part of a larger SoCal scene that shared members and shows and houses with The Rentals, Lagwagon, Weezer, Psoma, Ridel High, the Lapdancers, Popsicko and other such groups popular with the college-educated irony crowd. The late 1990s and early 2000s, everybody!

11

Trolling v. Trawling

Actually, Farhad Manjoo makes a few good points in his Slate screed against the overuse of "trolling." Because, yes: some people who look like trolls are just trawling, for pageviews (or book deals, or maybe sex, who knows what dark things people want). Like for instance, if you have to say "Sure, my piece and its headline were hyperbolic," then you are probably just trawling the Internet with a big, loud net, but you are not actually trolling, because you do believe what you are saying. Despite being hyperbolic. Which, understandably, gives readers confusion.

And then probably some famous trolls aren't actually trolls! It sometimes happens that people [...]

3

This Social Network Changed How News Works. But Then It Made Some News Of Its Own.

The first mainstream story about the now-notorious Facebook "psychology experiment" study was cautious, even sober. "Even online, emotions can be contagious," New Scientist's headline said. It maintained its tone: [Facebook] manipulated which posts showed up on the news feeds of more than 600,000 Facebook users. For one week, some users saw fewer posts with negative emotional words than usual, while others saw fewer posts with positive ones. …

People were more likely to use positive words in Facebook posts if they had been exposed to fewer negative posts throughout the week, and vice versa. The effect was significant, though modest.

This story was doomed, in the internet sense, from [...]

5

The ClickHole Paradox

ClickHole, The Onion's new spinoff site, is funny. This wasn't a given! It's kind of a risky proposition, to make fun of a media just old enough to recognize but still too new to fully understand. The site is mean without coming off as bitter, it nails its tone. That is probably enough frog dissection: It is a good parody of the viral internet.

What it excels at now, though, is media criticism, which seems to be the source of what little backlash I've seen: How many times can you do the same list joke, or quiz joke, or Upworthy joke? But if you were to characterize The [...]

0

The Internet That Cried Apocalypse

The Internet, according to much of the Internet, is about to be ruined: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is reportedly going to propose that companies like Netflix or YouTube be legally allowed to pay Internet providers like Comcast and—will there be any other providers besides Comcast in five years?—to ensure that their stuff reaches people faster and more reliably than companies who don't pay. Death and destruction await.

0

Meet Hunter Moore, The Man Who Makes Money Publishing Your Nude Pics

Hunter Moore was arrested today by the FBI in California for email hacking. The indictment, filed in December, is here. And here is our profile of Hunter, published in 2011.

The word "hated" adorns Hunter Moore's social-media bios. He has drawn the ire of the music industry, young people from all over the United States (as well as Canada, England and Australia), of privacy defenders—and, well, of many, many other people who happen to come across his website, Is Anyone Up?, and find it appalling. The death threats have not fazed him. Nor has the spectre of lawsuits; while many have been threatened, to Moore's knowledge, [...]

1

David Grann, What Is Up With Your Twitter?

Last week, David Grann and I met in his office at The New Yorker, in midtown Manhattan. It is a glorious fire hazard because he doesn't throw anything away. Grann has been a staff writer at the magazine since 2003 and published two books, the enthralling The Lost City of Z, and The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, a collection of his reportage. Stacks of papers related to finished stories ("That's Z, that's Cuba, that's Willingham…") line the walls, while the floor is devoted to a book-in-progress, as yet untitled, on the Osage Indian murders and the birth of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

For fans, a new [...]

14

White House Petitions For Death Stars Now Require 100,000 Signatures

If you're thinking of starting a We The People online petition to force the White House to respond to some nonsense like "building a Death Star" or "declaring the Sasquatch a threatened species" or "bringing our barbarian gun laws maybe halfway up to the basic standards of 21st Century civilization," you will need more online friends to share your dream. As of now, White House petitions require 100,000 electronic signatures, which is a fourfold increase from the 25,000 required to make the Obama Administration do a cute response to the Death Star thing, even as the Obama Administration rains death from imperial robots upon the rebels (and [...]

43

The Terrible, Fascinating World Of Hate-Blogs

Jessica Grose: We're here to talk about hate-blogs. In my novel, Sad Desk Salad (shameless self promotion alert), the heroine and her coworkers at a women's website called Chick Habit are plagued by a hate-blogger who reblogs their posts and puts up incriminating, embarrassing personal information about them.

For those who aren't familiar with the phenomenon, hate-blogs are an actual thing. I based the hate-blog in my book (Breaking the Chick Habit, or BTCH) on the hate-blogs I had read up till then: The ones about Jezebel, the Pioneer Woman, and Julia Allison.

I asked you to join me in this chat because you’ve covered [...]

33

The One True Comment Section

But what if we could build a commenting system that gives commenters a real sense of ownership? What if readers could manage their online identity and contributions across news sites under a single sign-in? What if they could contribute pictures, links, even their own stories? What if they could track discussions and form friendships with one another? Wouldn’t that system build a sense of community and lead to self-policing and civility?

"But what if" seems to be the impetus behind the Knight Foundation's $4 million grant to a joint New York Times, Washington Post and Mozilla Foundation project to fix, save, or salvage internet commenting. What's missing from this [...]

0

The Wikipedian Distinction

"Like any internet community, you draw introverts, and you draw introverts like us who know how to talk to people."

27

Gays Assassinate CEO

Symbolic gestures make sense when there are no pragmatic alternatives, like the things Eich was working on. You shot one of the good guys.

— Dave Winer ☮ (@davewiner) April 4, 2014

If you care about the open web, please help de-politicize Mozilla http://t.co/8n3d8QHCwv

— Ben Moskowitz (@benrito) April 4, 2014

Mozilla, if you don't know it, is a much-respected nonprofit with a business nestled inside it that, among other things, makes Firefox. They elevated Brendan Eich, one of their cofounders, to CEO. Eich was a Prop 8 donor; people objected. Three board members resigned when he was given the job, including two who [...]

11

Four People Whose Twitter Lives Are A Nightmare

1. The guy mistaken for a game developer

@jeb I think I found a bug when ever i open an enderchest it opens and closes continuously

— specialkplaysmc (@specialkplaysmc) August 26, 2013

Jeb Boniakowski is one of the lucky few people who possess a short, apposite Twitter handle directly related to his name: he's just @jeb.

He’s also one of the unlucky people who happens to share his Twitter name with someone or something else that people tend to tweet at on accident.

The other-world Jeb that Boniakowski is often confused for isn’t even called Jeb. Well, he is, after a fashion. Jeb is [...]

3

"The online stranger is the great boogeyman of the information age"

"The online stranger is the great boogeyman of the information age; in the mid-2000s, media reports might have had you believe that MySpace was essentially an easily-searchable catalogue of fresh victims for serial killers, rapists, cyberstalkers, and Tila Tequila…. [But] Internet friendship yields a connection that is selfconsciously pointless and pointed at the same time: Out of all of the millions of bullshitters on the World Wide Web, we somehow found each other, liked each other enough to bullshit together, and built our own Fortress of Bullshit. The majority of my interactions with online friends is perpetuating some injoke so arcane that nobody remembers how it started or what [...]

17

The Questions Following Aaron Swartz's Death

The suicide of Aaron Swartz last week has brought attention to a lot of things in need of immediate and substantial change: the unchecked power of ambitious, self-serving federal prosecutors; the curious disconnect between the ferocity with which those prosecutors hunted down a 20-something political activist, and their respectful reluctance to disturb the potentates of Wall Street; the absurdity of our current copyright laws; ditto, the outmoded laws still on the books with respect to "hacking."

There's also an important point to reiterate. I've seen a number of angry commenters on Twitter and elsewhere claiming that JSTOR "has blood on its hands." This is false. JSTOR declined involvement in [...]