False Positives on Gawker Stalker

Both Joseph Clarke,

in the comments to my Gawker Stalker piece, and Andrew

Krucoff, today, make the good point that the evil nature of Gawker Stalker

can be allayed by celebrities (or anybody else) reporting false sightings. Indeed,

false sightings could be a whole new art form: imagine a series of sightings

of John Travolta, say, doing increasingly improbable things in increasingly

improbable places – but all in a manner which is consistent in terms of

the fictional celebrity being able to get from one fictional sighting to the

next in time.

I’m sure that Nick Denton doesn’t care in the slightest if people report false

sightings, so long as the feature becomes/remains popular. In fact, insofar

as the popularity of Gawker Stalker is a function of the number of sightings

reported, Denton might even like the fictional ones: there’s no such

thing as a bad datapoint, if all datapoints, at the margin, drive traffic.

I’m just not sure who we’re meant to rely on to submit the false sightings.

It’s a fun joke for Krucoff for one day, but he’s not going to do it day in

and day out – and I doubt the celebrities and their minions are going

to want to come up with such things day after day, month after month, either.

Still, if you’re ever feeling bored at work, go ahead and give Gawker something

fictional. It’ll throw some noise into the Stalker Database, and will probably

help pay Denton’s hamsters interns as well.

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