OK, we understand there is some anger and confusion about the changes in the comments section, and we want to take the time to explain it as best we can.
There is going to be a de-emphasis on shorter comments. This is a Gawker-wide matter. There isn't a whole lot we can do about that at this point. A character limit disables the reply function to your comment if it's not met. Please note: THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE TAKING AWAY YOUR +1s. You can still reply to comments with a +1. You just can't reply to a +1 (or anything under 36 characters). Got that?
This is consistent with another change you may have seen. Going forward, we want to encourage a wider variety of comments. The biggest change will be allowing more thoughtful responses in addition to the usual dick-jokery. We're adding stuff, in other words.
We believe the level of commenting on this site is the best and funniest in all the ether. Second to none. We think it's fair to assume, then, that our discourse here can handle an occasional heavy thought. To that end, we will encourage (or at least not discourage) an exchange of ideas within the comments section. Now, that could get messy, but we trust you guys not to let it devolve into a maelstrom of ad hominem attacks and petty name calling. This site remains decidedly not Yahoo and YouTube. Act like it. Continue to have pride in authoring original, funny, creative and thoughtful comments, and we will continue to have pride in moderating them.
Many of you have privately, and publicly, expressed displeasure and dismay with the change. We get that. Many have decided that things are not like they were back in the "good old days," whenever that happens to be for you. We understand that, too. But we disagree, wholeheartedly. The grass is always greener and the past is always romanticized. It's human nature. Take, for instance, this disgruntled, would-be commenter back in the salad days of 2006. The comment section was an infant, and he thought it had already become terrible.
So, have some perspective. Things are changing, yes. But things are always changing. We're not telling you how to comment; we're just telling you that Gawker, as a whole, is moving toward a new kind of comments section, one where smart commenters like yourselves play an even larger role in shaping the content and tone of the sites.
Most of that is good news, but some of it is kind of a bummer around these parts. So now: the +1 dilemma. We get it. Half the fun in telling a joke, or saying something insightful, is the feedback, and the 36-character limit means that, on occasion, certain worthy comments will sit there surrounded by only silent applause. Do not despair. To ensure that all good comments receive the praise they are due, we're bringing back the "Commenter of the Fortnight" feature in some fashion. Please keep an eye out for that.
Also, because some of you apparently like to be antagonized, A.J. will be doing a live chat tomorrow at 4. Don't miss it.