So I have a morning ritual. I get up, make coffee, get my iPad (yeah shut up), and browse my favourite sites for updates. It’s normally around my second piece of toast that I get to site number four: Encyclopaedia Dramatica (ED). So imagine a half-eaten slice of heated bread falling to my kitchen floor in slow motion, when – instead of seeing the front-page of my favourite wiki – I am greeted by a new site called ‘Oh Internet!’.
As I fell to the floor gasping for breath, I started the normal routine of blame: “ED has been haxx0red”, “this must be a joke”, “/b/awwwww”. But as I investigated further, the truth became clear. This was and inside job! An intentional act of euthanasia by its creator.
For those not in the know, ED started back in 2004 as a wiki to catalogue memes, oddballs, and most importantly ‘lulz‘. Despite criticism from the Internet, it was actually a very well written clever piece of satire, that pushed the boundaries of …well…everything to the logical limits.
To find out what happened, I got in contact with ED’s architect of the lulz, Sherrod ‘girlvinyl’ DeGrippo:
What happened to ED? It seemed to be ticking along ok, why change it all?
I don’t think anyone would say that ED was ticking along ok. There were criticisms all over various messages boards, forums, etc. I take those seriously and it is shocking to me that anyone would say ED didn’t need a chance. The site hadn’t had an upgrade or redesign in literally 7 years. I wouldn’t run a laptop that had been up for 7 years with no upgrades, why would a website? We have implemented semantic mediawiki, streamlined the design, added lots of new hardware and gone to a much shorter domain name. Additionally, when we attempted a content overhaul previously, there was just too much to keep track of, so doing development and improvements with a core group of sysops is what we decided would make things easier.
So this new beast ‘Oh Internet‘ is very similar in its approach to ED. There are, however, some new rules. The most notable is the ‘Safe for work’ approach, why is this?
Because the sysops and I all have jobs that we want to browse from. There are lots of workplace filters that block sites which aren’t SFW and it is a real pain to get anything done or even check on uptime and status because of it. I tried checking some downtime from an apple store once and it really showed me how much impact that can have.
There has been some concern amongst the ED community that a SFW Oh Internet will be too tame, and lulz will not be able to grow, how do you answer these charges?
I think people should give the site a chance instead of being hysterical. It’s 99% the same moderator and sysop group as before. We’ve been doing this a very, very long time and we know what we’re doing. The people who truly know what they’re talking about will understand this.
Shoe on head!
We’ll have to wait and see what the future brings for Oh Internet!, but I remain optimistic. Like Sherrod says above, these guys have been doing this for a really long time now, and I’m sure they’ve thought the whole thing through. Time, as they say, will tell.