encyclopedia-dramatica

Notorious NSFW website cleans up its act

April 18, 2011 at 2:39 PM ET

www.ohinternet.com /

People hate change. But people do love to complain about change. So when anarchic Internet culture wiki and beloved website of foul-fingered 4chan members Encyclopedia Dramatica hosed the pornographic gifs off its pages and changed its name to Oh Internet, things got expectedly ugly.

On Saturday night, when Encyclopedia Dramatica visitors found themselves redirected to the new site, "Oh Internet’s Facebook wall was bombarded with hate messages, graphic pornography, and the like," reports Geekosystem. The page, like the site formerly known as ED, has since been cleaned up.

Sherrod DeGrippo, who founded ED seven years ago, listed the reasons for change in an email interview with Gawker:

Change is made for several reasons:

  • Implementation of Semantic mediawiki, the best thing to ever happen to wikis. An amazing technology that allow for easier editing and querying. This is the kind of data that needs to be easily organized and queried. It also needs to be a piece of cake to add information quickly and easily. Semantic mediawiki does that. I am excited and I love it.
  • There had previously been no upgrades, no redesigns and no changes in seven years. Sites that don't change, become irrelevant. There are tons of examples. I would like to discuss them with [Gawker founder] Nick Denton. We will sit back and talk about those inscrutable users and their dislike for redesigns. [Ed. note: LOL]
  • I think generally SFW is a good way to go. Having a site that is blocked by so many office and school filters is frustrating to work on.
  • That domain name was way too long. Good god.

From shock sites adored by adolescent boys to LOLCats, Oh Internet still explains the darkest corners of the Internet. But you no longer feel like you're there.

In it's previous incarnation as ED, the website was "frequently racist, homophobic and otherwise offensive — indeed, last year, the Australian Human Rights Commission threatened it with legal action over an article that 'encourage[d] racial hatred against Aborigines,'"reports Geekosystem.

In a panel discussion at South by Southwest Interactivein March, Rockeboom CEO Andrew Baron said he launched his esteemed Internet culture repository Know Your Meme as the antidote for web users who preferred their Web folklore without the profanity and pornographic gifs. Soon after, he sold KYM for seven figures to Cheezburger Inc. franchise, which owns I Can Haz Cheezburger, and a host of other Intent humor sites.

The automatic speculation is that DeGrippo dumped ED for Oh Internet in an effort to pick up a similar payday, but she said she’s not looking to sell.

I am not looking to sell the site. I am looking to have something that I, personally enjoy working on and using. Every project I'm involved in is for my own enjoyment and because I just want to do it. That's my motivation for things and I think that's the motivation of all internet users, really. They go to sites they like, they contribute to sites they like. I'm not any different.

Notably, 4chan founder Christopher Poole (aka "moot") recently launched SFW project Canvas, a make-your-own-meme site still in beta. Maybe the kids are growing up. Plus, seven years is a long time to do anything, and you can’t blame DeGrippo for switching things. Still, it’s a misty-eyed moment. Encyclopedia Dramatica marked a point in time.  It was hard to come away from ED without a strong desire for a high-pressure hose down, but somehow the Internet feels less Internety without it.

More on the annoying way we live now:

Helen A.S. Popkin goes blah blah blah about the Internet. Join her won't you, on Twitter and/or Facebook

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