Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

Happy 10th birthday Observation Deck

Ten years ago today the io9 staff created Observation Deck

Want to chat with your fellow io9ers about any topic you want? We’ve got an open discussion forum going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in a place we call the Observation Deck.

Ever since that post I’ve been confused on whether to refer to this blog as the Observation Deck or just simply Observation Deck. I usually go for the latter.

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Before the Kinja software was unveiled #observationdeck was a semi-organized area wherein some io9 commenters (and staff) chose to interact. Since Kinja was hatched, Observation Deck was reorganized into a distinct community blog wherein io9 commenters and staff could interact. Eventually, and for never-completely-explained reasons, io9 and the other Gawker Media Group blogs decided to minimize and/or completely cut ties with the community blogs that they created. This decision at a management level, implemented at different levels of completeness at different blogs, resulted in a general end of contact between the io9 staff and this blog.

It’s been a few years since that happened and personal and community Kinja blogs have been generally overlooked in terms of any Gawker Media Group -> Gizmodo Media Group drama. But with the new management, that seems to be no longer the case. On 22 August of this year Clashtalk, a community blog which was commonly critical of some of the content and staff of the G/O Media blogs, was shut down. I don’t mean that posting privileges to the blog were removed, I mean that all of the blog entries were deleted. This general event had happened before but it hadn’t happened in a long time, so it was a clue that G/O Media had changed how it was going to work with the content that it had control over.

Since then, the staff of Splinter were fired and that blog was stopped, and the staff of Deadspin were a combination of fired for not playing by the new rules and recommended to resign rather than continue to work for Deadspin. So two of the blogs which G/O Media purchased earlier this year are gone, both by the personnel decisions of management. The end of Splinter and Deadspin didn’t mean that Splinter and Deadspin staff lost their Kinja passwords, so some of them went to their personal blogs to write critical words after their departure. This, along with the growth of several personal blogs created by members of the community which were very critical of the management, led G/O Media to consider eliminating all community blogs. They talked themselves away from that rather poor decision but the threat has been made.

That Observation Deck survived to celebrate its 10th birthday only happened because the management decided not to carry through on a threat they made. This blog was a few decisions and actions away from being deleted. And we would have had nothing to say or do about it other than uselessly complain.

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I don’t like this turn of events at all. I think that Observation Deck has seen better days but I don’t think it should be snuffed out of existence because of inept management decisions. I think the most cautious course of action is to accept that Observation Deck might not be around a year from now and slowly transition our usage here to another place. Maybe we all need to give money to this podcast and just become their devotees.

Today’s Potential Topic: Have you heard about the Kinja-adjacent Discord group?

Today’s Other Potential Topic: How is your board game collection doing?

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